Do You Hate Saying Yes?

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I’ve been reading through the book Hero Maker with a couple friends. There have been some interesting concepts that have jumped out to me along the way, and a few that have popped in to mind in key moments.

One of the points the author (Dave Ferguson) makes in the book is learning to say yes. I realized a while ago that my default is no, but I can often be talked out of that no.

I don’t think that I’m a negative person, but I do have a tendency to see potential roadblocks. Okay, maybe that makes me a negative person. But sometimes I will point out a roadblock with the singular intention of solving it.

But when push comes to shove, as a leader, am I willing to say “yes”?

I can think of two situations with students within the past few days where my default would have been “no”, but am instead trying to lean into a “yes”. And for the first one, I’m so grateful I was able to do whatever possible to help. The second one is another strong idea, and something I’m hoping will turn out really great as well.

But it’s not without hesitation deep inside of me. I want to save the day. I want to prepare them for the hiccups and protect them from disappointment. But at the end of the day, the struggle is what makes the end profitable.

So, what about you? To whom do you need to say “yes” today? What do you need to let go of, personally, in order that someone else may thrive and grow? What are you waiting for?

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Make the Next One Even Better

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Do you have something that you enjoy doing, but it takes a lot of energy to convince yourself to do it? Maybe it’s exercise, eating healthy, or following up on a conversation you had previously.

For me, I love when I’m finished reviewing an event. Not just pulling the event off, but actually sitting at the finish line and working through the process that got me there. Unfortunately, in spite of the joy I find in having finished it, I have to spend a lot of time convincing myself to do it.

Why do I love the finished product? Because I have a terrible memory, and when I can take notes on something I’m able to write down the things I don’t want to forget.

For example, this week we are doing a fund raiser at our church. Because of COVID, this is only the 2nd time we’ve done this fundraiser in my 25 months at this church. To spell it out even more: we haven’t done this fundraiser in 2 years. Now, my memory is pretty bad most of the time, but when I have to remember the minutia of an event 2 years ago, all hope is lost.

That’s why I’m grateful I took notes two years ago. I wrote down the process, what worked, and changes I needed to make. This way, I don’t have to re-apply the energy it takes to make a decision, and I can even make the event itself better.

As John Maxwell says: “Experience isn’t the best teacher. Evaluated experience is the best teacher.”

What do you need to review? It’s like writing a love note to yourself that delivers down the road. You’ll be grateful.

Finally, because I love practical elements, here are the questions I use to evaluate. Enjoy!

The Pain of Letting Go

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One of the most difficult things to do in leadership is to watch something grow, and then to let it go.

If you’ve been in a leadership role for very long, you have had the opportunity to oversee something. Maybe a project, or a program, or even a person. You pour time, resources, and emotions into making your something the best it can be.

But, inevitably, if you’re going to grow as a leader, there comes a point where you have to step back and let it go.

Letting it go could mean inviting someone else to play a key and critical role, thus begging the question, “Will they do it as good as me”?

Letting it go could mean launch day, thus begging the question, “Did I cover my bases”?

Letting it go could mean releasing a leader (or student leader) to oversee a project or program, thus begging the question, “Did I train them well enough”?

All of these things are painful. But that does not mean they’re not the right move. Simply put, if we never let go, we will never grow.

If we want our own leadership to grow, we have to let go.

If we want the people around us to grow, we have to let go.

No one has learned to sustain themselves by being spoon fed all along the way.

What are you holding onto today? What can you let go? Who can you invite to step up as you let go?

Our leadership influence grows as those around us grow. Push through the pain today. Trust me, it’s worth it.

Permission to Multiply

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Today, instead of sharing an old post, here’s a fresh one.

Each week, following our Wednesday night program, I sit down with our student leadership team to evaluate the night. My wife usually hangs around until we finish to make sure kids are getting picked up and other assorted duties.

We’ve recently added a new volunteer, a young man who is excited to help where he can. In addition, I have our summer intern who lives in town and helps on Wednesdays nights as well, and someone I’ve been meeting with weekly for the past year.

A few weeks back, while I was meeting with student leaders, my wife shared this observation. My former intern was putting things up, making trips to and from our “base of operations” (we are essentially a portable ministry within our building for this current season). After he finished about two of the steps, he realized our new volunteer was nearby, and a light bulb went off. He showed the new guy how to do what he was doing, so the next time either of them would be equipped to do the job.

Actually, the conversation was more like this: “Shoot, has Wes taught you the three questions yet? No? Okay, he will, but until then, let me show you what I’m doing.”

And that’s the power of the third question. It’s an excuse to invite someone to join you. If you (or the people you lead) are not naturally gifted at asking for help, the three questions give a framework for expanding leadership influence.

That influence expansion begins with cleanup after a program, but very quickly, as the muscle is developed, it grows into leveraging influence to lead others in accomplishing a goal.

Someone around you needs permission to ask others for help. Teach them the three questions and see what happens!

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Where Do We Start?

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I started the Three Question Leadership Blog 4 years ago. I thought I would spend the next few weeks sharing some of my first posts, in their entirety, here. Whether you’re new or have been with me all along, I hope you find these concepts applicable.

So much of my experience in developing leaders comes from working with teenagers. Over the past two years, as I have talked with other youth workers, I have started to notice a common thread in a few of our conversations:

The necessity for a student to show a readiness to lead before being given opportunities.

My approach to developing student leaders takes a slightly different path. Instead of waiting for students to show a competency for leadership, I have tried to redefine leadership potential.

I treat teenagers as though they are capable of taking a leadership role, regardless of their age. Why? Because, they are capable of leadership regardless of age. Yes, Juniors and Seniors are more mature and can exhibit stronger leadership, but what are we missing by not developing those Juniors and Seniors as 8th and 9th graders?

I’m so grateful that in 9th grade my youth minister gave me the opportunity to start developing my leadership and passion for Christ. It was a decision and discussion that set my life on a path I never would have dreamed.

Who do you need to give an opportunity this week? What are you waiting for?

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