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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How to Develop Leaders

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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.

Over the past few years I have noticed a shift in my focus on leadership. As my own leadership has grown, I find myself looking for ways to help others.

This does not mean that everything I do has provided excellent results. Nor have my efforts been error free. But, as I have learned to start developing young leaders around me, and as leaders around me have done the same, I have noticed one thing.

Leadership education happens in a classroom. Leadership development happens through experience.

Educating leaders is not an unworthy task. In fact, as I talked about here, I believe leaders should develop a habit of consistent learning. So, there is a definite place for the classroom in leadership development.

However, knowledge of a subject does not lead to experience in the subject. We cannot neglect real world leading as a teaching tool if we desire to develop leaders.

Each summer over the past four years I have taken a group of students on a leadership trip. The trip is very education focused, and it serves a great purpose. But only recently have I started understanding the importance of giving these student leaders opportunities to lead.

Then, when students (or adults), have an opportunity to lead, they grow. And that’s my goal–to develop leaders.

Develop leaders, don’t just educate them. Find the balance.

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What’s the Relationship of Leadership and Growth?

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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.

If you’re reading this, let me start today by saying thank you. I appreciate you reading, thinking, sharing, and participating. I started this blog with one basic premise: I think there may be something to the 3 questions I have started asking myself to help me grow as a leader.

What are the 3 questions? Well, when I walk into a room (or find myself leading an event), I ask:

  1. What needs to be done?
  2. What can I do?
  3. Who can I get to help?

If you’re new, you can click here to read the original series of posts introducing and explaining the 3 questions.

Disclaimer: This is not an effort to toot my own horn, but let’s be honest–there’s a level of self indulgence that comes with writing a blog (probably my biggest struggle with continuing to write and post).

I am constantly amazed at how when I ask myself the three questions in most situations, I am immediately presented with an opportunity to grow, especially as it comes to that tricky third question.

It’s risky to ask someone for help. It’s natural to fear a no. It’s easier to do it myself. It’s less revealing of my shortcomings when I’m the only one who realizes how poorly I plan. It’s comfortable to stay where we are and never grow.

But, once again, let’s be honest: leaders who never grow, never last.

Too extreme? Maybe, but I know I am not going to find satisfaction unless I am willing to push my own leadership limits and encourage those around me to do the same thing.

What about you? What are you building into your life and routine that regularly challenges you to grow? Is it working?

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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.

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