Check It Out: The Calm in the Storm

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I had a moment yesterday.

When I was younger, there was a movie called Frequency. The basic idea was a man found his deceased dad’s old radio and cranked it up. As he talked to different people he realized one of them was actually his dad–the radio was allowing him to connect with someone 30 (?) years in the past. (You can look it up to see how poorly I’ve described it, but I think I have the gist.)

Anyways, yesterday, I had a moment. Where a post I wrote in June was just what I needed in October. So, today, I thought I would share it with you in the hope that it helps.

The post is called The Calm in the Storm, and talks about finding a pocket of time in your day. And I want to challenge you to do just that today. Find a pocket of time and let your productivity soar. You can do it. But first, click here to read the post!

Always Growing

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I never want to stop growing.

If we’ve never met, you might be surprised to find out I’m a large man. I’m 6 feet 4 inches tall, so I tower over most people. But I don’t mean I want to grow physically.

No, I never want to stop growing in knowledge and experience. I want to take steps everyday that help me move down a path in life. I want to develop and practice and hone habits today that set me up thirty years from now to be continually growing.

But I know the best way to ensure I’m on a growth path in the future is to take steps today. So, that’s what I’m doing. I’m doing things today to set me up for the future.

What one step can you take today to help set you up for where you want to be five, ten, twenty or thirty years down the road? What are you waiting for?

4 Hacks to Put 3QL In Practice

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On Tuesday, I reflected pretty specifically on the first of the three leadership questions I teach to those around me. You can go here to read it.

Today, let’s focus on the third question. (Go here if you need a refresher on the three questions.)

Once we nail down what needs to be done, and are able to determine our willingness to accomplish that task moving forward, we are faced with the third question, the question of leadership: Who am I going to invite/include/empower/equip/enable to help me meet the need?

I’ve been teaching and asking myself the three questions since before starting this blog, and one of the areas where I need help is actual implementation. So yesterday, I started developing a worksheet to help me make progress as I strive to expand my own personal leadership influence.

Here are the questions I asked myself:

  1. What area needs to grow? This is key because I’m asking myself the awareness question from a different perspective. No longer is it simply about accomplish a task, now the question becomes what am I doing already that can be done better.
  2. How am I doing at it? Are you good at being honest with yourself? Go ahead, ask this about an area where you know you’re weak, or even where you think you’re strong. Either way, I’m going to guess the answer won’t be a 10/10. But again, evaluate and let this response determine the urgency in the next two questions.
  3. Who can I ask to help? List out names. Specific names. Even names you wouldn’t have considered before the exercise. These are people you’re willing to go to and ask for help in this specific area, but don’t let it be the same people every time.
  4. By When? What’s your timeline. I did this yesterday, and one of them was a more immediate timeline–even beginning next month. The other, I set a goal for next year. There was freedom in both. There was freedom in simply listing a time line. The third question is no longer ambiguous.

There are a couple extra questions I added along the way, but you’ll want to make sure you’re signed up to receive the 3QL emails, as I’ll be sending it to specifically to subscribers once it’s been polished.

At the end of the day, though, leadership is only leadership if we are leading people. To quote John Maxwell, “Leadership is influence, nothing more, nothing less.” What specific steps are you taking today to grow your leadership influence? Spend some time working through the questions above.

Time to Get Started

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This weekend was a remarkable weekend for me. There was no significant event that really happened. I had nothing on the calendar. But I had a few Audible credits. So I bought a book.

A few years back, during a guest talk by a leader I respect, I heard about John Maxwell’s 5 Levels of Leadership. It was intriguing, but it just sat in my brain for a few years. Then, on Friday, I redeemed an Audible credit for the book and started listening.

Early on he had a pdf included for the listener to work through. Because I’m trying to engage books more than finish them these days, I sat down and worked through the pdf. And my world was rocked.

I’ve lost sight of developing leaders the way I know I can (and should).

That got me thinking. I’ve said for a few years that as I talked to Youth Ministers about leadership, my first question would always be “What are you doing to develop student leaders.” The answer? Most of the time the response was an event or two they had students attend, maybe even a camp.

The sense I always got was everyone has developing leaders on their list, it’s just not close enough to the top to get our best energy. And that’s where I’ve been lately. I’ve been so focused on treading water, and honestly, getting my wits about me since starting my new position, that the difficult part of leadership development has gone by the wayside.

So let me ask you this question today: Are you developing the people you lead to become better leaders? Not just the ones who are easy to develop, but the ones that make you sweat thinking about trying to help them develop. Are you doing the difficult work of developing and leading and teaching and training? Are you willing to do so? What step can you take today?

Now, go lead.

Overcoming the Reflex

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Leadership development is a discipline not a reflex.

This concept has been on my mind a lot over the past month. I’ve served in student ministry for somewhere around 17 or 18 summers, and I’ve never had a summer that felt like this. It seems everything is flipped upside down.

And when we park in chaos, our reflexes take over. We naturally default to the things that come easy to us, or the things in which we find comfort.

Planners find rest in planning.

Creative types find rest in creating.

Busy types find rest in busy-ness.

Very few people, however, default to developing leaders. It’s not natural to bring someone along and to empower them to serve. Capable people, especially, have a difficult time including others in their work.

Leadership development is a discipline, not a reflex.

Think of it like trying to lose weight. The only time in my life that I have lost weight without being highly intentional is when I have a stomach bug. When my body is rejecting the fuel I’m trying to give it, I can lose weight without much effort (but usually quite a bit of pain).

My natural reflex is to put my head down and accomplish. I fear rejection, so I default to not wanting to bother people for help. I justify it, and move forward alone.

But that’s not how I grow as a leader. I want to develop those around me. I want the people (young and old) around me to be grow because of the leadership influence I have on them.

But it takes discipline. It takes purpose. It takes intentionality.

Do you agree? Is developing leaders around you a discipline, or a reflex? What is one thing you need to do today to develop someone around you?

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