Leadership Journey

No vs. Yes

Yes vs No
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If you’re reading this near the original publishing date, I’ve got some good news: Lessons from the Farm is coming in April. Over the past two years, some of the best response I have seen has come from the Lessons from the Farm series. So, over the next few weeks, you might want to check out a few of the past lessons. Here are some of my favorites:

Don’t forget to subscribe or like 3QL on Facebook to make sure you don’t miss any posts!

Today, let’s shift gears a little. I ran across a quote earlier this week and thought I would share it:

The art of leadership is saying no, not yes. It is very easy to say yes.

Tony Blair

If you have been in leadership for very long at all, you have felt the tension of deciding between yes and no.

As a leader, saying no is not an automatic response, but many times the necessary response after weighing the possibilities. Our role as a leader is to look at the bigger picture and make decisions based on the information presented, as opposed to being able to zero in on a single situation and make a decision based on limited factors.

Parents know this struggle. Our child comes to us, wanting a toy/snack/prize/drink, but we know the looming results. Sometimes it can be exhausting to be the adult in the relationship, but the truth remains–someone has to be willing to say no.

I know for most people I don’t have to say the following, but for someone I do: Saying no all the time is bad leadership. Beware of being the person who never says yes. As someone who battles the balance, learn to say yes and pursue the adventure.

Today, you may be presented with an opportunity. It may be a great opportunity. It may be a mediocre opportunity. Do you have the wisdom to discern between the two, and the courage to give the right answer, not the easy one?

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Incoherent Ramblings

Checking In

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As of last night, it was Facebook official, so let’s make it blog official today.

This past weekend I went in view of a call to Trinity Baptist Church in Kerrville, Texas. They voted to extend the call for me to come as their Minister of Students, and I accepted.

I will start in two weeks, which means a couple things.

First, I fully plan to continue posting during the transition. 3QL has become such a vital part of my information processing, that I cannot imagine it not being part of my routine moving forward. That being said, there may be a day or two where I don’t get a post up, so forgive me ahead of time, please.

Second, transitions create excitement. That means in the months ahead, as I get to experiment with some of the theoretical ideas I’ve presented on the blog, I’m going to make mistakes. But mistakes mean growth, right?

Finally, there may be a little bit of a format change for some of the posts, but we will have to wait to see how that develops.

One last thought: February brought the highest number of visitors to 3QL in it’s 2 year history, blowing the previous record out of the water. I’m looking forward to year full of these milestones, but I need your help. If you read a post you find helpful, please share it on Facebook, Twitter, through email, or carrier pigeon.

I’m so grateful you’re joining me for this leadership journey, and I look forward to continue helping you expand your leadership influence.

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Leadership Journey

Mistakes Mean Growth

Mistakes Mean Growth
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This year I got a daily desk calendar with leadership quotes. It’s been interesting to see the different quotes over the past two months. Some of the pages remain on my desk, making an appearance when I want to remember a quick lesson or share some encouragement with a friend. Other pages are not so lucky.

Several quotes hone in on a particular theme, one which I have been spending extra time pondering lately, and they make regular appearances in my reviews. So, today, I thought I would share one.

Mistakes are a fact of life. It is the response to the error that counts.

Nikki Giovanni

The past year has been full of lessons for me, but mistakes are something to which I keep returning. I am realizing over time the necessity of mistakes. I have gone through seasons in my life where I have been afraid to act out of fear of a mistake, and that missed the point. I have gone through seasons where I make mistakes, learn from them, and grow as a result.

Mistakes, as quoted above, are a fact of life. Everyone makes mistakes. You make mistakes. I make mistakes. Our heroes make mistakes. The question then comes down to: are we willing to make the change necessary to correct the mistake the next time around?

I don’t view this as a license to live by the mantra “it’s easier to ask forgiveness than permission”, but even that mantra is necessary on occasion.

If I can teach my children, student leaders, or adults one thing lately, it is that mistakes will happen. Mistakes have to happen. The magnitude and impact of the mistakes can be mitigated, but mistakes are natural.

We should not live in fear of making mistakes. We should live in fear of not learning from the mistakes we will inevitably make. The subtle shift provides remarkable freedom.

What’s holding you back in life right now? What action are you not taking for fear of making a mistake? What if you lived by the mantra that making a mistake is not the worst thing that can happen to you, but making a mistake and not learning from it is the worst thing that can happen to you?

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Incoherent Ramblings

Know Your Strengths

Know Your Strength
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I played sports in high school. I was a multi-sport athlete because I went to a small school and that’s what you did.

Possibly my favorite sport was tennis. I was not very good, but I was decent. My doubles partner and I had a unique style, and one that frustrated good players–we lobbed the tennis ball.

But more than that, I played the baseline and my partner played the net. I was 6’4″ at the time, and my partner was somewhere around 5’8″. Picture that for a moment. You see two guys walk onto the court, one tall and the other short, and then they take the opposite spots. It doesn’t make sense, until it makes sense.

I was too slow to play at the net. My reaction time was often delayed just enough that I could not respond quickly enough. On the baseline, however, I was surgical. I could lob a tennis ball with a foot of my aim, and had patience for days.

Now, we didn’t win the state title or even get close, but boy did we have fun and frustrate some people along the way, all because we knew our strengths.

The same is true in leadership. There are certain things that make you unique. The way you approach situations and scenarios is different from those around you, and that’s great. But, you need to know what those strengths are.

Self awareness makes us a better leader. When we are able to be honest with ourselves about what makes us unique, we are better able to understand why certain people seem to clash with us, and hopefully have a little more compassion in those clashes.

What makes you unique? What mindset do you have about things that drives people around you crazy? Who do you need to cut some slack today in an effort to do what is necessary to fully leverage your leadership influence?

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Leadership Journey

Where Does Learning Originate?

where does learning originate
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On Tuesday I wrote about learning from everyone, and I got some good response from it. If you missed it, click here to read it.

Shortly after posting, I had a conversation that centered around the concept of the post, specifically what makes a great leader.

So, what do you think? What makes someone a great leader? I have a theory (obviously).

A leader never stops learning.

But who would argue with that? Someone who views themselves as a leader would likely agree rather easily that learning is essential for surviving.

The difference between an average leader and a great leader comes in where learning originates.

A great leader views everything as a growth opportunity.

A great leader understands learning opportunities are all around us. An average leader assigns learning to a few specific realms (classroom, books, etc.) and rarely learns outside of those.

Great leaders (like John Maxwell) are willing and ready to learn from anything and anyone. We never know where leadership lessons will originate, but great leaders learn from everything.

The danger we all face, regardless of our age, is limiting learning to locations. We can learn leadership everywhere, but that’s no excuse to sit back and wait. Leadership growth is also a pursuit. Read books, listen to podcasts, subscribe to blogs (convenient, right?), talk with other leaders, ask more questions, and observe dynamics around you.

The world is our leadership classroom, are you ready to learn?

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