Incoherent Ramblings

The Leadership Invitation

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When I was a 8th grader, my youth minister had a conversation with me that helped set me on a path for the duration of my high school career.

I went to a small school and a small town church, so there weren’t a plethora of students in our youth ministry. As an 8th grader, there were some strong seniors and a junior, but a gap between the junior and my class.

My youth minister sat me down and said the next year I was going to be one of the leaders, along with a couple of classmates.

And the invitation to leadership altered the next four years. It opened my eyes to opportunities all around me.

There’s someone around you who is waiting for an invitation to leadership. Maybe they haven’t been asked to step up. Maybe they haven’t seen the need to step up.

The invitation makes all the difference in the world. Who can you ask?

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Leadership Journey

Check It Out: Redundancy

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There are a few leadership ideas and thoughts that have a way of resurfacing in my life from time to time.

I love routine. Once I find a good routine, I have an uncanny ability to stick with it.

Last year I wrote a post fleshing out this redundancy idea, and thought I would share it today. You can check out it out here.

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Incoherent Ramblings, Leadership Journey

Leadership & Relationship

Leadership & relationship
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This morning I found a journal that was given to me almost 17 years ago. In it were notes written from youth group members of my home church. The words were encouraging, hopeful (stay in touch!), and affirming, even 17 years later.

As I was reading their words, I was reminded of something: the most impactful leadership rarely happens outside of relationship.

Reading people who write (or blog) about leadership is imperative to leadership development, but the most impactful leadership happens in relationship.

I have a regular habit of watching a video on leadership development at the beginning of each work day, but my life is impacted more by personal relationships.

Our greatest leadership impact is to those whom we lead relationally. When we invest in those around us, our influence begins to grow exponentially. The mistakes we make, the victories we experience, and the joys we experience grow because of the one on one relationship.

But the relationship has to start somewhere.

How are you doing at developing relationships? Are you listening to people, or simply waiting for a chance to speak up? Do you care for those around you, or are they simply a means to an end?

The words I read this morning reminded me–those words came as a result of relationship. Not because of my “great” ability to lead, my wisdom, or my extreme good looks. The impact that was made blossomed out of relationship.

How are you investing in those around you? Is there something that needs to change? Is there something you’re doing that needs to be duplicated? Make a difference today, build a relationship.

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Incoherent Ramblings

Mindset Makes the Difference

Mindset Makes the Difference
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Sometimes, I think perspective is a super power.

And by perspective, I mean mindset. How we choose to view a situation.

What is more disarming in a tense situation than admitting or realizing things aren’t as bad as they may feel in the moment?

Look back at a time where you overreacted to a situation in the moment. How would things have changed if you had taken a breath and allowed your perspective to shift?

I have been taking kids to camp for 16 summers. Over that time, I’ve learned there are some things that are not worth stressing about. Messy bunks all get packed up at the end of the week, but little steps taken the night before go a long way.

My mindset has changed over time. Some things have become less important, while other things have become more important.

When we approach a situation filled with change, we have a choice to make. Are we going to mourn the change, or are we going to accept that change always happens, and agree to move forward in a healthy way?

I heard a quote this week that went like this:

Change is inevitable. Progress is not. Focus on progress and stop worrying about change.

Charles Lee

Focusing on progress instead of worrying about change is a mindset shift. It’s choosing what is more important and focusing on things we can influence.

You have the opportunity to spread a sense of peace to those around by the way you view and talk about a situation.

Your mindset will influence the room.

My question for you is this: are you going to allow your mindset to make your situation better or worse? Are you going to engage the opportunity, or withdraw because it’s a challenge? Are you going to focus on change, or on progress?

Ultimately, you decide. Your mindset makes the difference.

Grab your superhero cape. Change your mindset. Change the world.

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Leadership Journey

Lessons from the Farm: The Right Tool

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Today’s thought probably goes more naturally with the “Lessons from the Farm” series, but it crossed my mind last week and I thought I would share.

I don’t know your level of agricultural background, so I’ll get kind of basic right now. I’m guessing you know what a tractor is. One of the things (of many) that gets pulled behind a tractor is called a plow. There are different types of plows, but they all have one thing in common–their job is to break the soil.

In order to break, or till, the soil, you will sometimes use a different type of tool to actually go into the ground. These attachments are mounting onto a shank. There were three different main types that we used growing up–a chisel, a sweep, and a duck bill.

One of the most dreaded days for me as a hardly working 11 year old was when my dad would inform us (usually my brother and I), that it was time to put {chisels/duck bills/sweeps} on the plow. This was a tedious task that involved sitting exposed to the sun, scooting around for an hour or two, and likely getting a pretty nasty gash on your finger.

But the principle was simple: the tool on the shank wasn’t the correct tool for the job at hand.

Sweeps killed weeds, chisels didn’t.

Chisels dug down into the earth turning the soil over, sweeps didn’t.

Different tools, different tasks.

The same is true in leadership. There is no one size fits all answer to our leadership approaches. There are constants (tractors and plows), but the specifics vary based on the situation and the need at the moment.

We should always be moving forward (there’s no plow we ever used that worked in reverse), but the specifics we use to move forward must be adaptable. Your group dynamics can change in a few months, so be willing to adjust.

Maybe your approach to leadership (if you have an approach) is working great right now. Great! But be ready for a shift in the near future, probably sooner than you realize.

Maybe you don’t have an approach. Put the plow in the ground and move forward. I see too many people try to make leadership development something requiring a PhD. It’s not. It’s creating awareness, providing opportunity, and collaborative evaluation.

At the end of the day, we never changed from chisels to sweeps and parked the tractor. We moved with purpose and for a reason. Do the same.

Not sure where to start when developing student leaders? Here are three questions I’ve started teaching students leaders in an attempt to help them take steps. You can also subscribe to get posts like these in your inbox every week.

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