Changing Environments

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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?

Teaching Student Leaders

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Last weekend, I had the privilege of hosting a Student Leadership Workshop. We had three churches come together, with a total of 21 students, and we spent a good part of the day equipping students to become better leaders.

To close the workshop, I borrowed a Habitude from Tim Elmore (click here to read about him). I asked students if they were a thermostat or thermometer.

Thermometers take the temperature of the room and reflect it. They do not control how hot or cold something is, but instead passively reveal the current state.

Thermostats set the temperature of the room. They determine how hot or cold a room is at the moment, and what it will be in the future.

My dream for student leaders is that they realize they have the potential to become a thermostat and set the temperature of the room through their actions, their behaviors, and their interactions with other people.

I love watching student leaders step up and lead. Few things compare with watching teenagers begin to realize they’re not too young to make a difference.

In my own life, I personally would like to become more of a thermostat than a thermometer. What about you?

Lessons Learned about Blogging, Pt. 3

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*This will be my final post for 2017. I look forward to sharing with you even more in 2018!*

I have learned quite a bit about blogging over the past 11 months. Today, I want to share the most important part of what I do.

My blog would not be what it is without you. Whether you just click over and read, or you have commented or sent me an encouraging word: Thank you!

I am always thrilled when someone likes, shares, comments, or even gets in touch with me about anything I’ve written. Hitting “publish” can be a very scary proposition, so all feedback is appreciated.

But most importantly, thank you for reading. Whenever you joined me on this journey, thank you. I plan to keep it up for another 12 months and see where we are next year, but until then…

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Lessons Learned about Blogging, pt 1

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Last December, I bought a domain and published my first post. Then, in February, I fully launched this blog. It has been an interesting journey, and I’d like to finish out 2017 by sharing a few things I’ve learned along the way.

1. Blogging takes time, both mine and yours.

That seems like a pretty obvious statement, but I had not done the math when I started. Posting 2-3 times each week is an interesting endeavor, and one that has helped me grow over the past 11 months.

But more than the time it takes me to write, edit, prep, and publish, is the time you take to read. If you have spent any time reading anything I’ve written, let me say thank you.

I know you have important things going on in your life and your time is being fought for everyday, so I appreciate the time you spend reading my ramblings.

Some days are shorter, like today. So let me close by saying I have had a blast over the past 11 months, and I’m thankful that you have joined me along the way, or stuck with me through the ups and downs. I’m looking forward to the future!

Leadership Isn’t Always Flashy

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I think it is safe to say everyone has a situation in their life where they would enjoy being the leader. Is that a generic enough statement to start today?

What I mean is this: everyone has a desire to lead, something.

But the reality is leading is often the hardest thing you can do in a situation. One of the most consistent struggles I see in student leaders (and in my own ministry) is the constant battle to find ways to leverage leadership influence.

I’ve written about the redundancy of leadership before, and this is similar to the feeling of redundancy. Being a leader who makes a difference is a choice we make when we walk into a room or encounter a situation.

The 3 questions actually establish a different foundation for leadership. Instead of starting from a position of top-down authority, the 3 questions look for ways to exert influence with simple actions.

Effective leadership, whether it be top down or simply exerting influence, maximizes impact when pursued on purpose. In other words, part of being a leader requires conscious effort. Everyone can lead a little without thinking about it, but the best leaders work on their craft.

So, what are you doing to work on your leadership? Read books that help you become a better leader. Surround yourself with people who make you stronger. Strive to become a person of positive influence. Find blogs or online articles that challenge your processes.

It may not be flashy, but find ways to grow as a leader. Put in the effort and work, and you’ll see the benefit.