I had a good friend send me a podcast to listen to yesterday. It was John Maxwell on the 5 Leadership Questions podcast, and I’m grateful I listened.
During the podcast, John was asked who he was learning from currently in his life. His response–everyone.
My cynical side took over for just a moment as I thought to myself, what a “great” answer. Then, I realized it was a great answer. When someone who is synonymous with leadership answers a question that way, I should probably pay attention.
There’s something about someone who is willing to say they’re not too smart or experienced to learn from anyone. It’s an attitude of humility worth cultivating. And it’s an attitude that ensures the people around you will be willing to work with you for years to come.
But the struggle comes in the choice.
It’s a choice to listen more than you talk (John guessed he tried to listen 80% of the time and only talk 20%).
It’s a choice to ask engaging questions, and wait for the answers.
It’s a choice to not assume yourself an expert in a given situation.
It’s a choice to value the person in front of you more than yourself.
Today, as you go through the day, I want to challenge you to learn from those around you. Learn from everyone. People older than you, younger, more naive, more seasoned, and with different views all have something we can learn. Do the hard work of humbling yourself and learning from someone around you.
Part of learning from everyone includes blogs! If you haven’t subscribed to get 3QL posts in your inbox, click here and do that now.
I mentioned this last week, and still don’t think I’m fully ready for this, but here goes.
My father-in-law passed away on January 29. It was, for us, a long process, but in reality, a pretty quick progression. He was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer in the esophagus and stomach, and passed away (according to my records) 365 days later.
At the memorial, he wanted an open mic. The morning of the service my wife asked me if I was going to share. Honestly, I had not considered sharing before that point. I thought about it, but really did not know what to say if I were to share.
The people who did share did an incredible job highlighting who he was as a man, father, brother, uncle, and friend. I could not have added anything to the service to make it better.
But after the open mic, it hit me. And since I blog and have a captive audience (you), I hope you will indulge me this morning.
With the passing of my father-in-law, I lost an advocate. Every birthday card he gave me was addressed to “No. 4 Son”, and he meant it. I was not a son-in-law. He saw me as part of the family.
As my wife and I were approaching our first anniversary of marriage, she was talking to him one day and made a statement to the effect of “You know, when Wes and I fight, I usually win most of the time” (time warped interpretation, but that was the gist of it). Andy replied as only a father can, “You know sweetie, sometimes it’s just easier for the husband to let the wife think she’s right.”
We celebrate our 15th anniversary this summer and there were many other times in our marriage where he stepped in for me, and I am forever grateful.
My thought is not necessarily about what I lost, although I may be losing quite a few more arguments from here on out. My thoughts today are about the kind of man who treated an outsider like family. Who trusted someone he did not raise to love and care deeply for his only daughter.
For me, as I reflect (because that’s what I do), I cannot help but ask myself 2 questions: 1) Am I willing to live up to that trust? I love my wife beyond what I ever thought possible, and am committed to continuing our journey together through the ups and downs. And 2) Am I willing to show that same level of trust when the day comes?
I usually like to end my posts each day with a nice little bow, but you know, today, I don’t have one. The grief we feel in mourning the loss of someone we love is deep. The joy we have in remembering his legacy is great. I think there’s room for both.
Last week my Father-in-law, Andy, passed away. I plan to reflect a little more on his passing in a future post, but for today I want to take a different approach.
Over the course of the past year our family has walked an interesting path. Andy was diagnosed with Stage 4 Esophagus and Stomach cancer, and the outlook wasn’t positive. He chose to try chemo, so my wife spent a considerable amount of time helping take care of him over the past 12 months.
As I slow down this week to reflect on the past 12 months, one thought rises above the rest: Support Counts.
We have a wonderful church family who has supported us through the journey. They offered to help lighten my load while my wife was gone. They encouraged my wife. They have walked alongside us through it.
At the end of the day, their support meant the world to our family.
The leadership lesson here is two-fold:
So, what relationship can you build on today to help provide support? To whom do you need to reach out and offer some support? Be an encouragement today!
“I accidentally lost 50 pounds this year!”
“I accidentally read 20 books this month!”
“I accidentally lead our church to grow by 300%!”
There are some things we will never hear. Accidents happen, but rarely do accidents happen for the positive. People unknowingly gain weight, but only occassionally does anyone lose significant weight without any thought put into it (unless it’s a stomach bug, in which the thought is “I wish I were dead.”)
I’ve been listening to Dave Ramsey lately. His realm of influence is money. He wants his listeners to get out of debt and to live lives of generosity. One of his keys pieces of advice is to stop wondering where your money went and tell it where to go with a zero sum budget. He encourages his listeners to be intentional with their money, and the stories of people whose lives are changed are remarkable.
Leadership is the same way. Leadership rarely happens by accident. Let me rephrase that. Great leadership rarely happens by accident.
In fact, if you were to truly study the most influential leaders you know (whether it be ministry, thought, electronics, etc.), I truly believe there will be one constant in each of their lives: intentionality.
Intentionality in leadership takes many shapes and many forms, but the simplest beginning is this: deciding how you are going to be intentional. We can all say we are going to do something, but until we decide how we are going to do it, it won’t happen.
Diets are the same. “I’m not going to each as much” pales in comparison to “I’m going to do the Keto diet.” When we give our intentions boundaries, we move in the direction of progress.
Today I want you to fill in the blanks for this statement: I am going to intentionally ___________ today by (doing) ____________.
Now, follow through with it!
I have been blogging for almost 2 full years. First of all, let me say that if you’re hanging in there with me, thank you so much. I cannot describe how much it means to me to have people who click to read my incoherent ramblings.
My goal in starting this blog was to help you grow as a leader. Sometimes, that growth comes in growing and developing others around you (student leaders, in my case). Sometimes, that growth comes when you expand your own leadership influence. But, in the end, every keystroke I make is intended to help you grow.
So, once again, thank you for joining me.
Now, I’m going to get a little numbers nerdy.
In 2017, when I started my blog, I wrote a total of 28,010 words. Take Time to Say Thank You registered the most views. And August was my most viewed month, averaging 14 views per day.
In 2018 I wrote a total of around 32,750 (depending on the final word count of this post). 3 Fundraising Tips registered the most views. And November was my most viewed month, averaging 10 views per day.
Because the “view” stats can be superficially inflated (redesigning my site registers as views), I usually measure visitors instead. In 2018, I surpassed my 2017 visitor number in early November, so more people are at least clicking.
Facebook is my biggest traffic driver. Because of this, if you haven’t liked 3QL on Facebook, you can click here and do that right now! Also, if you ever read a post that is helpful to you, please share it.
Email subscribes have gone up 25% in 2018. I know everyone processes content differently, but email is the most consistent way to make sure you receive the 3QL posts. Every Tuesday and Thursday, the email goes out at 10am Central with a new post for the day.
Finally, one last thing. Of course I want 3QL to reach more people in 2019. Of course, I would love to surpass my 2018 visitor total in the summer of 2019. But the truth of the matter is this: I will continue what I’m doing for one person that engages. I intend to grow as a leader and I want you to do the same. Along the way, if other people join us, that’s great. But for now, let’s expand our leadership influence.
I’m going to take a couple weeks off and will pick back up in January 2019. I wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.