You'll Figure it Out

You’ll Figure It Out

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Did you know I play bass guitar?

I got my first guitar in junior high and learned to play over the following few years. Who am I kidding, I’m still learning to play.

But for Christmas my senior year of high school, my dad bought me a bass guitar. Ever a pragmatist, he decided to buy me a “real” bass so that when/if/when I decided to give up on it, since I was a guitar player, the bass would have a good resale value. That meant my first bass was a Fender Jazz Bass.

But there was something he didn’t expect: I’m a pack rat, so I never get rid of anything. So I kept my bass. I learned one 8 bar blues bass line that made me sound like I knew what I was doing, but never really had occasion to play bass.

Fast forward a couple years. I was serving at my first church as the youth minister. Even though I was in charge of youth, I helped with music where I could. Then, with the arrival of a new music minister, something changed.

Our new music minister was incredibly gifted musically, but had cut his teeth playing bass guitar. So, he started teaching me how to play. But his approach was different.

I generally have a pretty poor memory, but I’m pretty certain we never sat down for a formal “lesson”. It was always learning “on the fly”.

I still have a picture in my head of one morning. He was on guitar. I was on bass. It was the opening song for the morning. Right before he started playing, I remember telling him I didn’t know the song. And his words continue to ring true: you’ll figure it out.

And that’s what I had to do. Sink or swim. And I sank, a lot. Until I learned to swim.

Playing with him I learned to anticipate the changes, to play with the rhythm, to find the groove, and so much more.

His leadership approach is something I occasionally employ today. Sometimes the best tool for growth is immersion.

Does that mean it’s going to be perfect? Nope.

Does that means it’s going to be flawless? Nope.

Does that mean it’s going to be memorable? Very likely, one way or the other.

There is someone in your sphere of influence who needs an opportunity to sink or swim. There is someone you are leading who needs a challenge they feel they cannot meet.

So I have two questions for you today: 1) who is it? and 2) are you willing to step back for the sake of their growth?

Multiplication vs Addition

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Open your text books chapter 2 section 1. Today we are going to talk about multiplication.

Just kidding, kind of. The math concepts that come to mind apply to leadership as well. Would you rather be given $100 plus $100 or be given $100 times 100?

As we seek to develop leaders, we’re not looking to just add leaders. We are looking to add leaders who add leaders. I want to develop students who in turn develop students.

If developing students who develop students is my goal, then my approach is different. My training doesn’t only center on the tasks of a leader, but on the tasks of a leader and how to train others to fulfill the tasks of a leader.

So how do we do this?

  1. Begin with multiplication in mind. Sure, some of the best development comes from places we never anticipated, but if we know we want to multiply in the end, how we begin changes. We don’t accept just anyone. We set a higher bar. We encourage commitment. We encourage but don’t coerce.
  2. Keep multiplication in mind. Relational investment plays such an integral part in multiplication. We cannot expect someone to grow if we do not understand where they need to grow. That’s where relationship comes in. Get to know those you lead.
  3. Model multiplication. Continue to invest in and grow leaders. Do not stop with one or two. When it gets difficult, push through. When it becomes a challenge, keep going. Model the behavior you want to see repeated, and it will be repeated.

I love investing in students. I love the conversations we get to have as a result of the time we spend together. But, at the end of the day, my influence is greater as I learn to multiply. Yours will be as well.

When “No” is the Best Answer

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I think I’m a bit of a unicorn. Why? Because my cheesy pickup line effectiveness is 100%. In other words, the woman to whom I’m married, fell in love with my clever charm and wit from the beginning.

Okay, maybe not. But it doesn’t change the fact that I’m 1 for 1.

Rejection hurts. I may not have experienced rejection as part of my only serious romantic relationship, but I’ve been told no many times.

One summer, as I was preparing for camp, I asked ten different women to go as a sponsor, and every single one said no. We were in desperate need, and I felt helpless.

Again, let me say, rejection hurts. Rejection demeans and beats down. Rejection makes us doubt our purpose and mission.

And if you’re like me, the fear of rejection paralyzes you.

I will put off asking a question because I’m afraid the answer will be no, when in reality the longer I wait the more likely the answer will be no. Can you say self-fulfilling prophecy?

One of the things I’m learning currently, yet still struggling to put into practice, is that people are willing to help. It’s just a matter of finding the right person to help.

Sometimes a no is exactly the right answer.

That’s why, as leaders, we have to get comfortable with the answer no. I would rather have an honest “no” than a fake or resentful “yes”. Because when I find that “yes”, they’re going to go above and beyond.

When we learn to push past the fear of rejection and continually work the three questions, our leadership will continue to grow.

How about you? How are you at asking for help or involvement? Are you willing to face rejection for the sake of growth? Is anything holding you back?

Mastering the Ask

Mastering the Ask

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I’ve said for years that I have an uncanny ability to see both sides of an argument. Most of the time, I can argue either side, and often, because of that, I have a difficult time landing on one or the other.

Today, I want to hear from you.

As a leader, part of our job is to bring people on board. But in order to bring people on board, we have to learn to cast vision and master the “ask” (the ability to ask someone to join your team). Some people are incredible at this, while the rest of us seem to merely tread water.

When you’re trying to recruit someone to join your team, do you give them a specific position or need you’re looking to meet and let them weed themselves out if they don’t match, or do you cast a broad net with the idea that you can tailor a position to them?

I have some thoughts, but I’ll share those tomorrow. For now, comment! You can comment on the blog itself, or on whatever social platform you access this from, but I’m genuinely curious to hear your responses!

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