Check it Out

Camp Survival Tip #1

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Summer is upon us. As I go through my summer, I thought today I would share a tip from a couple years ago. The tip comes from a very personal place, so before you click over, here’s a glimpse:

I have one simple rule for surviving camp. It’s a personal rule, and not one that I share. It does not affect other people. It does not make me a better leader. Quite the contrary: it’s a survival tip.


So, here’s my survival tip for camp: use the same shower each day and learn which way the knobs turn.┬áSimple enough?


Years ago, early on in my camp ministry, I learned the painful lesson that the hot water doesn’t always turn the same way to shut off. Simply put, I changed showers one day and instead of turning off hot and cold, I turned the cold water off and cranked up the hot, resulting in a scalding.

If you want to see how I was saved from taking cold showers for a week, click here to keep reading!

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In the Trenches

Know Your Fish

know your fish
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This past weekend I got to spend time with a great group of teenage guys. We built a trip for them, and it was a great experience.

On Saturday we had the opportunity to fish and shoot skeet (clay pigeons). If I were to be completely honest, we shot skeet because it’s been a while since I’ve shot and I wanted to shoot, and we fished because the boys asked to go fishing.

Now, the last paragraph reveals something about me — I’m not a fisherman. My thoughts when planning the trip didn’t go to “It would be so much fun to fish” but instead “it would be so much fun to shoot skeet.”

When it comes to fishing, I don’t know what I’m doing. I can make some guesses. I can buy some fishing supplies, mostly on clearance because I like a good deal. But the bottom line is the one time I’ve ever taken my girls fishing and tried to figure it out, we caught a turtle with a turkey hot dog. Let that sink in.

Shooting skeet, on the other hand, is more in my wheel house. I know what it takes. I know what we need. I know who to ask. I have a good idea of how to set it up, because I have done it often. I know what my goal is, and I know how to achieve it.

Here’s your leadership principle – if you don’t know your goal, you don’t know how to achieve it.

I don’t know what bait to use to catch what type of fish.

I know which gun to use to shoot skeet.

If you are working and don’t have a goal in mind, then all the effort you’re putting in is wasted energy.

Even worse, if the people you are leading don’t know what your goal should be, then all the effort you’re putting in is wasted.

A clear vision/purpose/direction/goal allows you to create shared forward movement. When you get everyone on the same page moving forward, the progress you’re able to make will be beyond what you ever imagined.

But it doesn’t happen if you don’t even know what kind of fish you’re trying to catch.

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Check it Out

Communicating Expectations

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There are a few things ideas that keep popping up for me as I ponder leadership ideas and principles. Today, on the back end of a trip and the front end of an event, I wanted to share a couple posts that are on the forefront of my mind.

First, learning to communicate expectations proves a continual struggle. In this post, I share how I came to the realization on a trip.

Second, as with anything, learning to communicate expectations well goes a long ways to further your leadership influence.

Whether you’re new here or have been with me for a while, take some time to check these posts out today.

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Leadership Journey

Silent Victories

Silent Victories
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On Tuesday I posted about watching as two airport fire trucks doused a plane as it was pulling up to a terminal. If you missed it, click here to go check it out.

Now, the rest of the story. Contrary to my worries, the plane was fine. In fact, it was a plane filled with military veterans. They were arriving in Washington DC on what is called an Honor Flight.

Those of us in the terminal gathered around as the passengers disembarked, and clapped as they passed by. It was remarkable.

I could wax eloquently about the lessons we could learn from the faithfulness of those walking by, or the impact it had on my life, or the joy of sharing that moment with my daughters. But I’m not going to do that.

Instead, let me tie into Tuesday’s post and unknown reasons.

I had no clue what was happening. I had no idea an Honor Flight even existed. But there’s a large network dedicated to Honor Flights. People spend countless hours and energy preparing and carrying out trips.

I watched as one stood in the terminal. She was beaming with joy not because people were recognizing her effort, but because people were honoring these heroes.

The core of leadership is setting other people up to win, regardless of recognition.

My leadership is not better when I get recognized My leadership is best when someone I’m leading gets recognized.

This is why I love working with student leaders. I want to set them up to win long after they are in my realm of influence. I want them to grow and achieve more than I ever could dream, but it has to start somewhere.

We all have to start somewhere.

Are you ready to invite and equip leaders around you? What are you waiting for?

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Leadership Journey

Hidden Reasons

hidden reasons
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Last week I had the opportunity to take a vacation to Washington D.C. It was an incredible trip, and we were able to see so much.

One of the most striking things was probably the most unexpected. As we arrived at the airport, we stopped before going through security to grab a donut. Looking out the window, I noticed two fire trucks pull up not far from the terminals where we were going.

Now, just in case you’re not sure, when I get to an airport, I turn into a 7 year old boy when it comes to fascination with airplanes. I’ve always loved planes. So, I was naturally extremely curious as to what was going on.

There was no rush to the movements of the fire trucks. They were parked, waiting. No lights, no hustle and bustle.

Then, a plane started to pull up to the terminal, and the fire trucks sprung into action, spraying the plane with water. At first I couldn’t tell if there was purpose or not to their actions. And honestly, until later, I still wasn’t sure what I had just witnessed.

Leadership can be the same way a lot of the times. The things we see others do may not make sense from where we sit, but most people have a reason for the decisions they make.

We, as leaders, need to understand people are working with information we may never receive. So critical spirits, when we know nothing of the circumstances, are not beneficial.

Likewise, there are going to be things we do that people will not understand our actions or motivations. Sometimes out of necessity (because we can’t share) and sometimes out if neglect (because we failed to share).

If you’re in a position where you are training leaders, be willing to share what you can to help them know what’s going on and what went into a decision.

As for what was happening, more on that Thursday. Click here to subscribe to the emails so you don’t miss it.

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