Month: February 2020

Flashback Friday #5

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One concept I’ve written about captures my mind almost more than all the others, and it’s today’s flashback.

The Horizon of Possibility is something I love thinking about, and something I use constantly. This week, in fact, the concept has been used in at least two conversations, and I love it!

Before I dive too deep, click here and check it out!

Is This the Worst Student Leadership Mistake?

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What do you do when you have a student who shows great leadership potential?

Over the course of my ministry experience I’ve had a few students who seem to be a step ahead of their peers when it comes to reading and understanding a room. They have an intuition about them that makes them appear more mature and capable than everyone else.

So, it only makes sense to give them more and more responsibility, right? I mean, we want to develop student leaders. That’s kind of the point of what I write about here at 3QL.

Let me offer one caveat. And it’s one that is still fresh in my mind.

I never want to crush a potential leader’s spirit. I desperately try to avoid adding too much to their burden, but when a student has a high capacity, I find myself wrestling with this.

That’s why I’ve started reminding myself of the following thought.

Give students student leadership opportunities, not adult leadership opportunities.

If you want someone to feel the weight and worry of leadership, give a teenager the load you would expect from an adult. I’m not saying some teenagers cannot handle such responsibility, but they have the rest of their lives to be adults.

Put in the effort to help a student find appropriate levels of challenge for where they are. I want to avoid expecting a 14 year old, who shows incredible capacity for influence, to carry the load I would ask a 34 year old to carry. No one wins in that situation.

Instead, I want to help that 14 year explore leadership in appropriate avenues.

Stretch their thinking? Of course.

Challenge their abilities? Sure.

Help them grow their leadership influence? Absolutely.

But if I ask them to start adulting, they will burn out and I will give up.

So, how are you at this? Are you providing high capacity students with student leadership opportunities?

When to Walk Away

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What happens when you misread a situation?

I had a situation recently where I made a decision to handle something one way, and it turns out it was completely wrong.

Have we talked about how unique people are? There are not just one or two unique people in the world, all of us are. We may handle things similarly, but none of us handle every thing the same way as someone beside us.

We all have baggage and issues we carry with us that impact how we interpret actions of those around us. And until we 1) acknowledge our own baggage and 2) realize our baggage is not someone else’s baggage, we will misread and misplay situations.

So what do you do when you misread a situation? You have two options: move on or try to make it right.

When we move on we basically throw our hands up in the air and walk away, deciding the outcome does not cover the effort. Sometimes this is necessary because the situation quickly devolves into quicksand, sucking our time and energy dry. We get trapped trying to sustain our position, and no one wins.

When we try to make it right, we are saying “this relationship/situation/scenario is worth the effort.” It may cause us angst or stress or worry along the way, but we think the end goal is worth the effort we have to put forth.

Now, how do you know the difference? That’s why you get paid the big bucks to be a leader. What guiding principles do you have leading you? What mission or vision are you pursuing? What values determine your actions? Have you written them down?

Whatever situations you find yourself in this week, ask yourself if you need to dig in and try to recover, or if you just need to walk away. Then do it.

Flashback Friday #4

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I have a post it note on my computer monitor in my office that says: Not having THAT conversation is selfish.

I wrestle with this constantly. I dread difficult conversations. That’s why today’s flashback is a reminder for me as much as for you to not hide from hard conversations.

Here’s a glimpse:

The “right time” and the “necessary time” are two contrasting opportunities. The “right time” is much more of a gamble. I have a tendency to justify waiting by saying I am waiting for the right time. The right time, however, comes before the necessary time.

Click here to check it out!

The Repetition Key

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Practice makes perfect, or so the saying goes.

The past few years I have coached my oldest daughter’s basketball team. Right or wrong, one of the things I made them do was work on shots from the block. I wanted them to be able to make a shot close to the basket using the backboard.

We would have competitions to see who could make more. We would take turns. We would have timed drills, all with the purpose of helping them develop that one shot.

Why? Because you perform how you practice. If you practice making shots from the block, you have a higher likelihood of making shots from the block in a game. The math is simple.

There’s a rhythm to the repetition. Your muscle memory takes over at some point.

For me, in high school, I shot countless shots from “the elbow” of the free throw line. That was almost 20 years ago, but guess what: today, I can make an elbow shot almost without thinking about it. I repeated the process over and over, and it has stuck with me, somewhat.

Leadership is redundant. As we teach students the ins and outs of leadership, we have to embrace the redundancy.

It’s practicing block shots every practice, knowing eventually you can move further away.

It’s asking and answering the 3 questions every week, over and over, and seeing how the answers change.

It’s inviting those around you to join you as you accomplish a task.

Leadership is doing the same thing over and over. Even when you think you cannot do it again, repeating the process. And teaching others to do the same.

Does repetition get old? Sure.

Does repetition get boring? Sometimes.

But is repetition necessary? Absolutely.

As I’m embarking on helping developing a new group of student leaders, I realize the importance of repetition, and easy repetition to start. I’m striving to help them find a rhythm, to find a place to get started. The goal is to help these student leaders see the opportunities for them to make an impact.

What needs repeating in your setting? Are you willing to tackle it?

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