Incoherent Ramblings

Be Careful Who Speaks into Your Life

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For the record, one of the regular parts of what I’m going to try to write about are little lessons I’ve learned along the way.

This semester I have the fortune of having an intern, and every week we sit down for what I call “incoherent ramblings”. Often these are going to be more about things I’ve learned along the way instead of current lessons I’m learning.

Today, our incoherent rambling centers on the people who speak into our life.

Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but deceitful are the kisses of an enemy. – Proverbs 27:6

When I was in Seminary, we had a guest lecturer come into a class and share the following advice: Every minister needs three people in their life. First, they need a Paul–someone to mentor them. Second, they need a Timothy–someone they mentor. Last, they need a Barnabas–someone walking alongside and encouraging them.

While that advice has proven true, and would undoubtedly provide a great subject for a blog post, I have learned over the years we need to be selective about who we let speak into our lives.

Surround yourself with people who never challenge you to grow, or who never see something in you which you cannot see,  and you will never improve.

Surround yourself with people who are incapable of understanding your situation, and the advice they give will never help.

Surround yourself with people who only see negatives and wrongs, and you will begin to see things through their perspective.

Surround yourself with people who have an agenda, and you will simply become a means to an end.

There is another option. As we learn to guard who speaks into our lives, something begins to happen: we are able to realize when someone is using us for position or authority. We begin to see when someone is looking out for themselves, and not for us. We begin to understand there may be more motivation behind an action than we realized.

But, when we surround ourselves with the right people who speak the right things into our lives, the difference is clear.

Surround yourself with people who care about you growing into the best minster/leader/parent you can be, and you will begin to grow.

Surround yourself with people who fix their eyes on Christ and not on the problems surrounding you, and you will begin to do the same.

Surround yourself with people who have a heart for serving, and you will begin to have a heart for serving.

I have men and women in my life who make a greater impact than they will ever know. They encourage me, they correct me, they guide me, and they even tell me things I do not want to hear, but I know their words can be trusted.

Learn to be selective about who gets to speak into your life.

 

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Incoherent Ramblings

Don’t Hide from Hard Conversations

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Have you ever had a meeting scheduled that you dreaded all day? Maybe it’s a yearly review, a potentially explosive situation, or a conversation you are fully expecting to go south. Over the years, I have learned the difficult lesson to not run away from difficult conversations.

A few years ago terrible situation arose at Penn State University that cost many people their jobs, and left a disastrous effect on several young boys. Through such a terrible situation, we learn an important lesson with implications for both youth ministry and the church as a whole. (more…)

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3 Questions

The Horizon of Possibility

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This week is being spent writing a little more about the “3 Questions”. I’ve taken one at a time and will finish with the 3rd today.

Just for a refresher, when you walk into a room, ask yourself:

  1. What needs to be done?
  2. What can I do?
  3. Who can I get to help?

(Click herehere and here if you haven’t read the original posts yet)

Leaders have an ability to see the “horizon of possibility”

The Horizon of Possibility sounds like an awesome title for a fiction novel about an astronaut who gets stranded on the moon, but the concept is much simpler. Leaders can look ahead and see all the things that could happen, and they lead others to help make sure the best option does happen.

Asking the third question has a few hurdles, but first dream what could happen if you embraced the horizon of possibility. Imagine looking at a situation, seeing the options, and then leading a group of people to pursue one option.

As we include others, we are simply inviting them to look at the horizon with us. There will be times where you bring other people to the table and let them help decide how to move forward.

I enjoy bringing other people into the planning process on things. Each year at my church we take a short Spring Break trip. We have done it for 4 years. The first two years we stayed in town and did work projects around town. The last two years we have gone to our associational campground and done work projects around their campus.

This year, as I started planning the trip, I was able to bring another person into the decision making process. We fed off of each other, weighed pros and cons of different options, and ultimately made a decision.

We took the time to examine the Horizon of Possibilities and chose to move forward in a unified manner.

Leadership does not have a secret sauce. Some people are more naturally gifted leaders, and some people struggle with the concept from the beginning.

Struggle, when embraced fully, paves the way for confidence. Learning how to lead, for people gifted with leadership and those who are not gifted with leadership, is all part of the journey.

What situation are you facing today that may benefit from you stepping back and evaluating the Horizon of Possibility?

Who can you bring into the discussion and help them examine the horizon?

Remember, the goal of the 3 Questions is forward movement–movement with a purpose. How can you leverage the Horizon of Possibility to include someone in the work you’re doing already? Are you willing to take the necessary steps?

 

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3 Questions, Big Picture, Leadership Journey

Learning to Step Up

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Today we are continuing to dive a little deeper into the “3 Questions”. You can read Monday’s exploration of the first question here.

Just for a refresher, when you walk into a room, ask yourself:

  1. What needs to be done?
  2. What can I do?
  3. Who can I get to help?

(Click herehere and here if you haven’t read the original posts yet)

Today, we are going to examine the second question a little more.

We Cannot Accomplish Anything We Are Unwilling to Do Something to Change

As we learn to answer the 3 Questions, it helps to come to terms with our own ability to make a difference. You have influence on many of the situations you find yourself facing. (more…)

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3 Questions, Big Picture, Leadership Journey

Fresh Eyes Change the Room

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This week is going to be spent writing a little more about the “3 Questions”. I’ll take one at a time.

Just for a refresher, when you walk into a room, ask yourself:

  1. What needs to be done?
  2. What can I do?
  3. Who can I get to help?

(Click here if you haven’t read the original posts yet)

Today, we are going to explore a little more of the first question, specifically the benefit of seeing a situation with fresh eyes.

Fresh eyes change the room

Think about your life. When have you walked into a situation and been able to see right away what needs to change? Think of a time when you walked into a situation or a room and had a difficult time discerning what needs to happen.

There is something powerful and invigorating about walking into a new situation and assessing what is happening. My personality may fit this better than most. I am not a “walk into the room and take charge” kind of guy. In fact, one time in college I was in a class of about 15 people and six weeks into the semester one of my classmates made the statement “I forgot you were in the class with us!” I love analyzing issues and situations before speaking.

You may not be wired that way. I have friends who are wired to speak first and think later, but the principle is still there. We all, in one way or another, have learned to walk into a room and evaluate what is happening, and do so naturally in many situations.

When you turn on a sporting event, you are becoming aware of things: who is playing, what is the score, who is winning, who is announcing, who is having a good game, who just made a big play, etc. Can you imagine the days of the cavemen when the score on TV only flashed periodically? How did anyone ever survive? Now, we evaluate instantaneously.

When we walk into a room for the first time, either literally or metaphorically, our fresh eyes allow us to see things other people naturally do not see.

The goal in developing our leadership ability is to  learn to develop fresh eyes on a regular basis. If we can walk into a room and realize what needs to be done, then we are ready to ask and answer the second question.

Today, try looking at the situations around you with fresh eyes. What needs to be done? What is something that, if you were new, you would see as an area that needs changing?

Wednesday, we will dig a little deeper into the second question: What can I do to help?

 

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