Teaching student leaders to answer the 3 questions has been quite a journey. I knew up front I would learn from the process, but never guessed the breadth and depth of what I would stumble across.
One learning, perhaps the most significant to date, is the difficulty of the first question. As a friend commented on a previous post, we have become a society where we are expected not to rock the boat, so we neglect having an awareness of what needs to be done.
On a more basic level, I think some people are born with a propensity to subconsciously ask the first question, whereas others are not. The challenge for us, as leaders, is to discover how those we lead are wired. As we learn who is more likely to self-initiate the first question, we know who we need to urge along the way.
Part of this boils down to having the belief that we can make a difference in a room or situation. If I do not believe I can exert influence, then there is no point in asking the 3 questions. If I, however, DO believe I can make a difference (large or small doesn’t matter to begin with), then the first question becomes my diving board.
So, today I have a few questions for you to think about:
On Tuesday, I finished my post about the Undercurrent of the 3 Questions with this statement: The goal of leadership is to make the world a better place because of our having been in it. Today, I’d like to explore this idea a little more.
I serve as a youth minister at a small church in a small town, so the majority of my time spent developing leaders is spent with student leaders. Over the last few years I have been teaching our student leadership team to ask themselves the 3 questions, and it has been an interesting process.
The biggest hurdle has been trying to get a 14/15/16/17 year old to buy into the belief that they can make a difference. You see, there’s something scary about trying to lead your peers. There’s something scary about asking them to simply help you accomplish something.
A mindset shift is one of the biggest goals I have for them. I want them to know they can make a difference in a situation. I’m not talking about changing the world in a drastic way, which could happen down the road, but an acknowledging of the current potential in a situation.
My goal for student leaders is for them to understand they have the capability to change the atmosphere in a room. They can do little things to impact those around them, but positive influence rarely happens by accident. Negative influence, on the other hand, is infectious.
I want my student leaders to understand they can make the world a better place, but that starts by making the situations and people around them better.
I want to understand I can make the world a better place, but that starts by making the situations and people around me better.
And I want the same for you. Find a way today to positively influence someone. Make a difference even when you think you cannot. I’m cheering for you.
If you have been with me from the beginning, or even for the past few months, you have likely read about the foundation for 3QL. If not, please check it out by clicking here.
The short version is a few years ago I stumbled onto three questions I have since been teaching student leaders. I hope to train and equip student leaders (and adults, too) to change their mindset when encountering different situations.
Here’s why: I believe we, as leaders, can influence the direction of an organization (or a situation) by being intentional. The influence may not provide immediate results, resulting in a painstakingly slow process, but it can be done.
Let’s think about this another way: when I become part of something, I want it to get better. How do I help make it better? By increasing my awareness (what needs to be done), my willingness (what can I do), and my leadership (who can I get to help).
One of my main goals is to raise up a generation of leaders who get involved, stay involved, and when they leave, leave things better because they were there. In student ministry, the results seem simple enough to measure. In the real world, however, things are usually trickier.
But the question has to start with me: am I making the things around me better? Am I equipping and training other people to accomplish what I’m accomplishing? Am I hogging responsibilities and thus preventing someone else from doing something they love? Am I setting my church (and not just the student ministry) up to win because of my time spent serving?
The goal of leadership is to make the world a better place because of our having been in it. What are you doing to equip those around you to be influencers and not participators? What steps can you take this week to help others grow their influence?
I have a very bad habit of driving somewhere, putting my vehicle in park, and sitting in the vehicle for a while before I get out. Sometimes, I do this because I’m listening to sports radio and want to hear the end of the thought being expressed, or maybe I’m just moving slow that day. But occasionally, I hesitate because I don’t want to trade one climate for the other.
If it is bitterly cold outside, then the warmth of my vehicle is too appealing.
If it is raining, I dread stepping out into the rain. (This one doesn’t happen very often as we rarely get rain.)
If the heat outside is blistering, then the allure of the A/C can be too much.
In leadership, we have to be careful about developing a similar habit.
We may find ourselves waiting outside a meeting where we know the atmosphere will be chilled by attitudes.
Or maybe we hesitate to call an important meeting because we fear what may take place.
Or we put off having a tough conversation out of fear the conversation will go to a dangerous place.
Understand this: if you are in a position of leadership, find the balance between looking for problems to blow up and hiding from situations that scare you. You do not have to become a bulldog that tears into every conflict with glee, but you also cannot afford to be a turtle who hides in your shell at the first sign of unpleasantness.
As a leader, someone has placed trust in you to lead, so make the most of that trust.
Over the years, I have found that when I hesitate to do something, my hesitation is a key indicator the something needs to be done. I seldom worry and put off things that do not matter. Is that true for you? What are your own signs of the need for something to be done?
Have you ever set a New Year’s Resolution?
Have you ever chosen not to set a New Year’s Resolution?
Have you ever claimed “My New Year’s Resolution is to not have any New Year’s Resolutions”?
A few years ago, I felt guilty for ever getting excited and setting some goals for the new year. It seemed every conversation covering resolutions took on a significantly negative tone. And I bought into it.
Then, I read a blog where someone said they always looked forward to the new year and the hope that it brings.
So, today, I want to take a stab at doing that for you. You may find yourself having given up hope for 2018 based on 2017 as a whole, or in part. Well, it is not too late to change your approach. It is okay to hope.
What if 2018 becomes the year you do something great? What if 2018 becomes the year you accomplish that goal you’ve never seemed to achieve before? What if you have matured as a person to the point where the mistakes you made in your younger days will no longer provide as much resistance as you remember?
Let yourself, for just a moment, find hope and refreshing in the changing of the calendar, even if we are a few days behind.
Pick one thing you’d like to accomplish this year and write it in a place where it will serve as a reminder for you. Stick with it. Keep it in front of you. Pursue it. Achieve it.
Who knows, maybe 2018 will be the best year yet for both of us. I look forward to taking this journey with you.