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?
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?
We are one month into the New Year. At the beginning of January I posted how I love the momentum a New Year brings. Today, I thought we would check in to see how you’re doing after the first 30 days.
Carey Nieuwhof has become a leader in the ministry leadership space, and I found this post on his blog: 7 Reasons You New Year’s Resolutions Go Up in Flames and How to Change That.
I think evaluating is a key part of leadership, so if you set some goals on January 1 and aren’t making progress toward them, maybe it’s time to reevaluate and see what you need to do to make some progress.
One down. Eleven more to go. Let’s make progress this year.
Have you ever had a light bulb moment? Maybe you were driving in your car and a statement from earlier in the day popped into your head, followed by a moment of clarity.
Maybe you’ve been wrestling with an issue for quite some time, then while brushing your teeth, it hit you.
Maybe your light bulb moments come when you exercise, or drive, or shower.
But I think we can all think of a time when we had a breakthrough in our thinking, a moment of unparalleled clarity. From there, you gained clarity, focus, direction, purpose, and possibly even motivation.
I had one of those moments this weekend. Because of a family situation, I ended up taking Sunday off. Normally, when I am going to miss, I make a point to line out the hurdles and get someone to cover all the bases. This weekend, however, I forgot one thing: the sound board.
I am a bit of a sound board nerd. I always tell kids if I wasn’t on staff at a church, I would serve in the sound booth. A few years ago, we were able to upgrade our sound board at church to a really nice board, and I am constantly amazed at the power and capabilities. There is so much to know, and I haven’t gotten around to training someone else to run it. I haven’t brought myself to ask the 3rd question when it comes to the sound booth.
After realizing my shortfall, I sent a text Sunday morning, and then received one right before the service. There was some shuffling, but they were able to get the board to work without a hiccup.
And now my lightbulb moment: Sometimes it’s okay to let go of something I enjoy in order to bring someone alongside and train them to accomplish the same thing. After all, and this is a common mantra here, what if the someone I ask to help actually enjoys it more than me? What if they, and this is hard to fathom because I’m awesome, can do a better job than me?
The question for each of us comes down to this: as a minister, is it my job to do the work of the ministry, or to equip others to do the work of ministry?
Not a minister? Then, the question for you is similar: as a leader, is it your job to accomplish tasks, or to equip those around you to accomplish tasks?
We are better together. It’s okay to ask someone to help.
Do you remember being a child and watching clouds, trying to imagine what shape they’re making?
“Ooh, there’s a lion.”
“Whoa, look at the mountain!”
“Hey, that looks like a centaur attacking a cat.”
As a parent, I thoroughly enjoy hearing my girls talk about what a cloud looks like, and then listening as the other one tries to find it. The truth is, just because one daughter thinks it looks like an animal, the other one can think it looks like food, and neither can be wrong.
The difference is perspective. Each girl looks at the same thing and see something different.
The same is true in leadership, and especially in developing student leaders. Perspective makes all the difference. There are teenagers I watch grow and develop and see one thing, while someone else sees something different. One person’s frustration is another person’s compassion.
When we set out to develop student leaders, we have to understand something from the get go: every student has the potential to lead. Let me say that again.
Every student has the potential to lead.
The challenge for us, though, is viewing a student with the right perspective. Some students are natural up front leaders. Their peers naturally look to them, respond to them, and follow them. But what about the student in the background? Are they chopped liver?
My compassion point is not for the up front personality, but for the behind the scenes student. If I can find a student who loves to serve, but does not desire credit for serving, then my heart starts pumping. I know if I can teach that student not only to serve, but to find someone like them and train them to do the same thing, a movement will start.
Now, my compassion for the behind the scenes student does not mean I neglect the up front natural leader. I develop both, but approach each with a different perspective.
Today, what perspective shift do you need in your life? If you’re a youth leader, what is your natural compassion point? How does that influence your actions? What change can you make today?