I have a dirt driveway. Well, part of it is dirt, and part is caliche. When it rains, the dirt turns to mud (obviously), and I avoid driving through the mud. Sounds simple right?
I avoid the mud for two reasons: I hate getting my suburban muddy and I hate having to drive through dried ruts (created from driving through mud in the first place).
Ruts can be annoying. The make the ride rougher, because I can never seem to find the right spot to drive through the rut.
But, ruts can be beneficial. When I’m driving down the dirt road leading to our house, I can tell which part of the run is the muddiest by looking at the ruts.
We all have ruts in our lives. I bet you didn’t see this one coming, right?
Not just ruts, though. We also have routines.
I have a specific routine when I park my suburban. I always back in. I have no solid reason or justification for it, I just prefer to avoid the ruts in my driveway when I’m starting my day. Not swerve around them, but bypass them altogether.
You have routines, too. It may be exercise, food choices, weekly schedules, the order you get ready in the morning. Routines give structure to what can often become a chaotic world.
Routines are good. They help us prepare for what comes next, because we know our routine. After completing Task A, our routine says it’s time to move to Task B. It’s simple.
Until a routine becomes a rut. What used to be simple and natural, now feels forced and rough.
Honestly, I think routines and ruts are both very natural, but I do not think they are both beneficial. Ruts mean the time to change has already passed; change now becomes necessary.
I have no secret weapon today, but let me challenge you to do something: take a sheet of paper (or open a note on your phone) and write down 4 things: first write down three routines you have; then write down one rut you find yourself trying to navigate.
Now, you’ve identified a rut. What do you need to do to get out of it? Who can help? What do you need to give up?
Bronte ISD (in the community where I serve), held commencement services on May 18, 2018. As usual, that marked the end of school and beginning of summer.
Pending unknown and unforeseen circumstances, this will be the first week since graduation I have not packed a suitcase. Not every trip has been a church trip, however.
When I planned my summer I knew it was going to be busy with church activities. One thing I did not plan, however, was the way our family trips would fill in the other weeks.
Thinking back over the past few months, our family schedule has been a little crazier than normal. So, knowing that, as we went into summer, we wanted to be able to have some intense quality time with our girls (who have had a busy summer as well!).
Navigating pace is a challenge, and something I do not have figured out fully. One thing I do know, however, is we have had to be intentional with our family time this summer.
Here’s our leadership principle for today: when the pace speeds up, find ways to slow down.
For some people, that means saying no at the front. Other people can find the times to slow down in the midst of the chaos. The days we are home this summer, we get done what needs to get done and hit the brakes hard, enjoying a different speed for a moment.
Slowing down for you may mean unplugging from your phone. Or maybe finding time to pursue a hobby (I built a stool last Friday). Maybe it’s getting caught up in a good book, or journaling. It may mean some great family time watching a movie or taking a mini-trip of some sort.
If you want to survive in leadership, and in life, do not let yourself become a victim of the pace you set. Find ways to slow down when you need to slow down, and see what rest can do.
As I mentioned last week, I had the opportunity to direct a leadership camp. The general structure of that leadership camp looks like this: a combination of leadership instruction, relationship investing, and real life leadership experience.
The real life leadership experience comes in the form of leading rec for the camp each day. We had 12 kids who stepped up and did an incredible job all week.
The final day ended with a massive color war. Every kid and sponsor at camp had the opportunity to get a packet of color powder and participate in a massive color battle. It was quite amusing to watch from a distance.
Our leadership principle today, however, comes not from the color war, but from afterwards. We had run some relays prior to the color war, and our supplies were still out. After the commotion had almost completely died down, I saw one of the boys from the leadership camp, covered in a myriad of color powder, walking to the relay stations and picking up supplies.
I never specifically told him we needed to pick up supplies. He did not come to ask if there was anything that needed to be done. He was able to assess the situation and decide what he should do next.
As a result of his picking up supplies, a few other kids saw it and started doing the same. He created a movement simply with his actions.
As a leader, sometimes we need to be reminded that even though we may look like a package of skittles exploded on us, there’s still work to be done.
Take a moment today. Look around and ask yourself what needs to be done, then do it. If possible, invite someone to join you for the task. But never be afraid to step up to take care of that which needs to be done.
Let’s talk about Student Leadership today. More specifically, let’s talk about developing Students with leadership potential.
Over the past 5 years I have had a student leadership team of some sort. The intensity has increased each year as I try to find the right balance between commitment and over commitment.
A few years back, I thought differently about how to bring student leaders into the fold. There were a couple of girls who I thought showed incredible leadership potential, so I went to them and invited them to apply for the leadership team. They did, and what unfolded over the next year was unexpected.
“You cannot motivate people to do something they don’t want to do.” This statement was the focus of a conversation I had last week, and something that has been bouncing around my head ever since.
I think the temptation we have as leaders is to believe we CAN motivate people. We are good with words, maybe even charming. But the truth of the statement above shows us motivation does not last. Instead, we need to find people who are motivated and equip them.
This is the struggle I found in student leadership years ago. I saw potential in a few, but they were not motivated to be part of our leadership team, so things went south over time.
Now I focus my energy on the kids who show some level of motivation. I may not have as many, and I still see potential in others, but the fruit comes from the motivated ones.
So, as you look around your leadership realm, who are you pouring effort into but they simply lack the motivation? Who around you shows a level of motivation? How can you pour into and strengthen them?
One last thought: everyone is motivated to do something. The challenge for us as leaders, and as church leaders especially, is to get to know people well enough to discover what motivates them. Build relationships. Love the individual. Help them grow.
I’m at camp this week working a group of student leaders. We will be teaching leadership principles, giving them opportunities to lead, and teaching them to evaluate as they go.
So, today’s thought is a short one: find people to pour into. They are all around you. They vary in age. But they are all around you. Find ways to invest in people and to help them grow as a leader.
One way to do this is by spending time and getting to know people around you. Ask questions about what they are experiencing. Find out what they’re struggling with and what they are good at. Take time to slow down and connect this week.
For me, nothing in leadership is quite as invigorating as investing in leaders around me. I hope you find the same to be true.