Can Dissatisfaction Be a Good Thing?

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I’ve been reading through a John Maxwell’s “5 Levels of Leadership” with a group of friends. In this week’s reading, we came across a line I thought was interesting.

“Dissatisfaction is a good one word definition for motivation.”

John Maxwell, 5 Levels of Leadership

Maxwell’s words resonated with me. I want to always be getting better. Last week I talked about Routines and Ruts. I think dissatisfaction provides the traction to get out of ruts in our lives. As we feel ourselves getting comfortable, often dissatisfaction proves to be the nudge we need to get out of a rut.

But, in our discussion yesterday, a friend asked a great question as a followup: how do you stay healthy in the midst of dissatisfaction? In other words, if we are dissatisfied all the time, don’t we eventually become someone people avoid?

I think, as leaders, we have to celebrate the wins. We have to learn to enjoy the moment. But in balance with a healthy sense of dissatisfaction.

A football team (do you remember football?) plays one game per week. A single win does not make a successful season, but can instead lay the foundation for growth and progress.

In High School, I never once had a coach come in the day after a win and say “good job guys, let’s take the week off after that one.” Instead, we celebrated the win in the moment, but remained focused to progress and grow.

The same is true for us as leaders, especially in ministry. We may remain dissatisfied, but until we learn to celebrate the victories along the way, growth will evade us. If we are always dissatisfied, though, we become jaded and our leadership influence takes a hit.

So where do you land on this spectrum? Is there something you need to celebrate? Is there some dissatisfaction that needs to start brewing? Take a leadership step this week.

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Embracing Solid Routines

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Do you ever get ideas in your head and they just don’t go away?

I’m in an interesting spot in my life at the moment. I feel like I’m spending more time trying to decide the kind of person I want to be when I grow up. More specifically, I want to be someone who is always learning, always stretching, and always progressing. Not for the sake of knowledge, but for the sake of growth.

I have a deep desire to develop leaders. But as I age, I never want to stop growing. I want leaders around me to be challenged and inspired because of their interactions with me.

So, how do I accomplish that? I don’t have a solid answer, other than knowing I need to build some routines into my life.

For example, at the beginning of 2019 I started something called The Miracle Morning. It has helped me add structure to the beginning of my day, and is possibly one of my favorite parts of my day. It’s become a solid routine.

In 2019, I also set a goal to finish 36 books, with a healthy mix of audio and physical. I was able to accomplish that goal, but I actually never established a routine. To this day (I’m about halfway to my goal this year), reading is still not part of my routine.

But there’s a danger to routine. Routine, when we allow it to be done mindlessly, quickly becomes a rut. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

Routines allow us to grow. So, what three routines in your life help you grow? How are you intentionally building those routines to set you up for the future?

If you want a refresher, I actually wrote about Routines vs Ruts two years ago. You can read those posts here, here, and here.

Stick around for Thursday, and I’ll talk some more about the dangers of routines turning into ruts.

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Happy 365

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This post is my 365th post on Three Question Leadership. I have written somewhere north of 120,000 words over the past 3+years.

Five years ago I never would have dreamed I would be someone who blogs. The concept in and of itself is so foreign to me. I’m a terribly private person, so the thought of putting my thoughts on the inter webs is actually terrifying. But I’ve done it. And I’m going to continue to do it.

And I want to share my secret recipe. The majority of what I write about can be boiled down to one simple thought. Are you ready?

What’s the leadership principle I can learn from this situation?

There you go. There’s my secret. Maybe I should trademark it.

From that thought, I have written a Day by Day in a Year calendar worths of posts. Some haven’t been so good. Some that I feel embarrassed to post, resonate the most.

But the question remains the same. I want to grow. I want to learn.

But more than that, I want YOU to grow. I want YOU to learn.

My greatest joy in writing here is not the way it helps me process past and present situations, but instead when I see how you interact with it. When you like, comment, share, reference it in a conversation, or shoot be a word of encouragement.

I cannot express how grateful I am for the time you give me to read my roughly 300 words twice a week. And my greatest desire is the time I spend will help you expand your leadership influence.

So if you’ve been with me for a while, thank you for sticking with me. If you’re new, consider subscribing to get this in your inbox, or liking the 3QL page on Facebook so you see posts as they arrive.

But at the end of the day, learn to ask yourself “what’s the leadership principle I can learn from this?” You never know what could happen as a result.

Lessons from the Farm: Acknowledging Influences

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Well, here we are again. April at 3QL means I dig into my past and bring some leadership lessons from the farm. If you’re new, or if you’d just like a refresher, you can see some of the lessons from the farm posts from the past by clicking here, here, here, and here. Now, let’s move forward!

Growing up in an agricultural family, I spent a lot of time on my dad’s land. We lived in town, so anytime we needed to meet up, or to work on something, we never went to “the field”. Every field had a name. Seems simple enough, right?

Here are a few of the field names I grew up saying:

  • The Hangar Field
  • The 90
  • The Triangle
  • The Shelter Belt
  • North of the Twin Windmills
  • South of the Barn
  • The Adobe House Field
  • The Big Field

Now, look back over that list. Some names are incredibly descriptive, if you know where the landmarks are. North of the Twin Windmills only makes sense if you know where the Twin Windmills are. Same with South of the Barn. But those are easy enough, because those still structures still stood during my lifetime.

A couple, however, are a little trickier. I’ve never walked in the Adobe House the field was named after, because it wasn’t there. Oh, and the Hangar in the Hangar field? Nope. I’m pretty sure it was gone shortly before my arrival in the 80s.

Yet those fields have those names. There’s actually a new hangar, but it’s not in the Hangar Field. Go figure.

On the farm, once something has a name, it carries that name for decades. There’s history wrapped into the name. Memories of each field evoke emotions.

In leadership, we have to be aware of the unspoken influences and memories tied to the organizations we lead. Understanding where something (or someone) originates provides insight, and allows forward movement.

Is there something around you that you need to stop and consider the story behind. You never know, you may find some beauty in the story behind the name.

Or, it may be called the Big Field because it’s a big field. You never know until you ask.

Train Student Leaders

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Last week I shared a couple thoughts I had about developing student leaders during this unprecedented experience. Today, I’m executing one of those ideas.

I’m doing an online leadership workshop for my small group of student leaders. Just to recap: they applied to be on the team in January, and we started meeting twice a week: a follow up to our midweek program (about 10 minutes max), and each Sunday before small groups for prayer.

The follow up meetings are something I’ve done (and valued) in the past, but as we got a few weeks into the process, I realized the question I was asking had no real frame of reference with this group. So today I’m teaching the 3 questions over a zoom call.

I’m a little apprehensive about the delivery method. Teaching to a computer screen, even if I can see everyone else, still feels like I’m talking to myself. The content is going to be pretty simple, and I’ve taught this multiple times before (not to mention blogging about it), but again, the delivery is going to be most interesting.

At the end of the day, my biggest goal is to introduce these students to some shared language. If we can all get on the same page and move forward with it, then it will be interesting to see where we go from here.

So, what are you doing to train student leaders? If you were going to set up a Zoom call and do an online leadership workshop/training, how would you approach it? What are you waiting for?

Even if you don’t work with student leaders, how can you gather and train those you influence in the coming days?

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