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!

The Leadership X Factor

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They must be getting some bad advice.

Look at the people around them, no wonder they’re making the decisions they’re making.

They’ve surrounded themselves with a bunch of “yes-men”.

Have you ever made any of these statements? Have you ever thought about the implications for your own life?

I am wired to try to understand why someone is making the decisions their making. I want to know what information is informing their actions. So, years ago, I discovered something I would consider foundational to my growth: be careful who speaks into your life.

I think we’ve all seen it. A public figure making poor choices, and it seems obvious to us. Or maybe it’s someone we work with, obsessing over something we see as somewhat superfluous.

Or, in the youth ministry experience, it’s someone going to a conference (or reading a book, or listening to a podcast, or reading a blog post) and deciding to immediately implement a new strategy. The new strategy makes sense in the original context, but in another context (our context), it needs to be massaged and developed.

But it all boils down to that outside influence.

Be careful who speaks into your life.

I notice it in my language. The words I use are almost subconsciously influenced by the people I spend time with, or the tv shows I’ve been watching.

When I give my focus and attention to something, I’m not just receiving information, I’m being influenced.

The same goes for the people with whom I talk. So, am I talking to level headed people who are going to help me grow as a person, or am I talking to someone else? Am I surrounding myself with people who are working towards similar goals in a healthy way and facing similar problems, or am I isolating myself?

Today is all about you, on two fronts. First, are you surrounding yourself with the right kind of people–people who make you better, who help push you to more, who help you process what’s happening and how you can approach your role? Or are you surrounding yourself with people who don’t have your best interest at heart?

Second, are you that kind of person to the people around you? Is there someone with whom you need to initiate a conversation today? Not to tell them how to live their lives, but just to be an encouragement? What are you waiting for?

The truth of the matter is our leadership rises and falls partly based on the people who are talking to us. Surround yourself with wisdom, and watch what happens.

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.

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.

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