The Horizon of Possibility

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This week is being spent writing a little more about the “3 Questions”. I’ve taken one at a time and will finish with the 3rd today.

Just for a refresher, when you walk into a room, ask yourself:

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

(Click herehere and here if you haven’t read the original posts yet)

Leaders have an ability to see the “horizon of possibility”

The Horizon of Possibility sounds like an awesome title for a fiction novel about an astronaut who gets stranded on the moon, but the concept is much simpler. Leaders can look ahead and see all the things that could happen, and they lead others to help make sure the best option does happen.

Asking the third question has a few hurdles, but first dream what could happen if you embraced the horizon of possibility. Imagine looking at a situation, seeing the options, and then leading a group of people to pursue one option.

As we include others, we are simply inviting them to look at the horizon with us. There will be times where you bring other people to the table and let them help decide how to move forward.

I enjoy bringing other people into the planning process on things. Each year at my church we take a short Spring Break trip. We have done it for 4 years. The first two years we stayed in town and did work projects around town. The last two years we have gone to our associational campground and done work projects around their campus.

This year, as I started planning the trip, I was able to bring another person into the decision making process. We fed off of each other, weighed pros and cons of different options, and ultimately made a decision.

We took the time to examine the Horizon of Possibilities and chose to move forward in a unified manner.

Leadership does not have a secret sauce. Some people are more naturally gifted leaders, and some people struggle with the concept from the beginning.

Struggle, when embraced fully, paves the way for confidence. Learning how to lead, for people gifted with leadership and those who are not gifted with leadership, is all part of the journey.

What situation are you facing today that may benefit from you stepping back and evaluating the Horizon of Possibility?

Who can you bring into the discussion and help them examine the horizon?

Remember, the goal of the 3 Questions is forward movement–movement with a purpose. How can you leverage the Horizon of Possibility to include someone in the work you’re doing already? Are you willing to take the necessary steps?


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Learning to Step Up

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Today we are continuing to dive a little deeper into the “3 Questions”. You can read Monday’s exploration of the first question here.

Just for a refresher, when you walk into a room, ask yourself:

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

(Click herehere and here if you haven’t read the original posts yet)

Today, we are going to examine the second question a little more.

We Cannot Accomplish Anything We Are Unwilling to Do Something to Change

As we learn to answer the 3 Questions, it helps to come to terms with our own ability to make a difference. You have influence on many of the situations you find yourself facing. (more…)

Fresh Eyes Change the Room

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This week is going to be spent writing a little more about the “3 Questions”. I’ll take one at a time.

Just for a refresher, when you walk into a room, ask yourself:

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

(Click here if you haven’t read the original posts yet)

Today, we are going to explore a little more of the first question, specifically the benefit of seeing a situation with fresh eyes.

Fresh eyes change the room

Think about your life. When have you walked into a situation and been able to see right away what needs to change? Think of a time when you walked into a situation or a room and had a difficult time discerning what needs to happen.

There is something powerful and invigorating about walking into a new situation and assessing what is happening. My personality may fit this better than most. I am not a “walk into the room and take charge” kind of guy. In fact, one time in college I was in a class of about 15 people and six weeks into the semester one of my classmates made the statement “I forgot you were in the class with us!” I love analyzing issues and situations before speaking.

You may not be wired that way. I have friends who are wired to speak first and think later, but the principle is still there. We all, in one way or another, have learned to walk into a room and evaluate what is happening, and do so naturally in many situations.

When you turn on a sporting event, you are becoming aware of things: who is playing, what is the score, who is winning, who is announcing, who is having a good game, who just made a big play, etc. Can you imagine the days of the cavemen when the score on TV only flashed periodically? How did anyone ever survive? Now, we evaluate instantaneously.

When we walk into a room for the first time, either literally or metaphorically, our fresh eyes allow us to see things other people naturally do not see.

The goal in developing our leadership ability is to  learn to develop fresh eyes on a regular basis. If we can walk into a room and realize what needs to be done, then we are ready to ask and answer the second question.

Today, try looking at the situations around you with fresh eyes. What needs to be done? What is something that, if you were new, you would see as an area that needs changing?

Wednesday, we will dig a little deeper into the second question: What can I do to help?


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3 Questions to Help You Become a Better Leader (Part 2)

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On Monday, I wrote about the first two questions (click here to read if you missed it). Today, I’ll finish it up with the third question.

Just a refresher, when I walk into a room, I want to ask myself three questions. The first two are:

1) What needs to be done? (Awareness)

2) What can I do? (Willingness)

And that brings us to the third question.

3. who can i get to help?

The third question focuses on including others in what has been a very personal and individual process. The difference between people who can answer the first two questions and the people who can answer all three often comes down to an ability to lead others. But leading others is not an art form that few can master. Everyone has the potential to lead.

Leadership takes place when you see a need and you invite other people to meet the need, preferably with you. A quick google search of “definitions of leadership” will return more results than you might care to peruse, but the simple idea boils down to seeing a better future and bringing people along to join in the better future and help it happen. Leaders have an ability to see the “horizon of possibility”.

If Leadership is rooted in the first two questions, then it blossoms in the third. It is not enough to simply be able to assess a need and meet the need, but a successful leader will be able to include others in meeting the need.

I have been teaching these questions to a group of junior high and high school students since August. One of the easiest ways the three questions have found expression has been through setting chairs up on Wednesday nights before our service starts.

A few weeks ago, before anyone else had arrived, an 8th grader, who has not been included in the teaching of the 3 Questions, walks into the youth room and begins to set up chairs. Completely unprompted by me (and like a bum, I didn’t even help).

This student had been included by the others so many times, that he unknowingly answered the first two questions that night.

Leadership leads to movement

Inviting others to help accomplish a task is good, but it is not the end goal. Ultimately, we want to move people in a common direction.

As a father, I want to lead my family to faithfully serve God.

As a leader, I want to lead others to impact lives for the sake of the Gospel.

As a Youth Pastor, I want to lead students into a growing relationship with Christ, and in turn I want to lead those students to lead their peers.

Ultimately, however, the goal of leadership is to leverage influence to create forward movement.

As we work through the 3 Questions, we have to come to terms with where we want people to move. Never be satisfied by simply answering the questions, but be willing to evaluate where you’re going.

So, there you go. These questions have slowly started shaping the way I lead, the way I teach others to lead, and the way I interact with people around me. I will continue to unpack what these mean and what they look like, but this is all for now. Thanks for reading!


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3 Questions to Help You Become a Better Leader (part 1)

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Well, here we go. If you haven’t read the intro to the 3 Questions, click here to do that before reading on. Once you’ve done that, read on.

The 3 Questions are all based around a single starting point: When you walk into a room, ask yourself these 3 questions.

As I mentioned last week, the first two questions really have very little to do with actual hands on, forward moving leadership and immensely more to do with service. Every leader, though, has to start somewhere, so we first lay the foundation for strong servant leadership.

1. What Needs to be Done? (Awareness)

The first question I want to ask when I walk into a room is “what needs to be done.” Before I move or even attempt to serve, I want to look for simple and complex tasks that need to be done. I want to sharpen my awareness before I do anything else.

For the sake of clarity, some exploration of the grander idea needs to take place. Walking into a room is not the steadfast starting point. Sometimes, the first question is asked when coaching a sports team, while sitting in a meeting, at a computer, or even at home. The first question does not have to happen upon an entrance, but it is a mindset.

I am not trying to establish a critical spirit or mindset, but instead trying to look for ways to help. The goal of the first question simply becomes creating an awareness of how things work and what needs to be done.

We cannot, however, move forward until we are able to determine what needs to happen.

2. What Can i do? (Willingness)

The second question moves from a simple assessment into the realm of personal evaluation. After walking into a room and asking what needs to be done, the next question to ask is “What can I do to help?”

The journey to leadership involves self-awareness and a willingness to meet a need. We all know people who excel at pointing out faults or weaknesses in our personal lives or in the organizations we serve and lead. How many times would a conversation move away from criticism if it included the statement: “what can I do to help?”

The second question may be the most important in terms of establishing a relationship. If we are unwilling to put forth effort, how can we expect to see results?

Think about it like this: we cannot accomplish anything without a willingness to do something.

If we want to see results from our leadership, we need to understand the importance of being willing to step in and meet the need. We may not always be an expert in the area, but sticking our head in the sand will not help us make a difference in the lives of those around us.

Sound simple enough?  As I have explored the second question, and even taught it to others, I have realized some people do these things naturally, while others do not. Some people intrinsically look for ways to help.

So, once again, before moving forward, ask yourself honestly if you’re wired to answer the first two questions, or if it is an area in which you need to grow.

Please don’t think I have all of this figured out, because I don’t. But, we have to start somewhere. So why not start by asking what needs to be done and what can I do to help?

Check back on Wednesday where I will post about the third question and a few things I’ve been wrestling with over the past few months specifically.


Click here to read Part 2.

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