“Regardless of what you were told at Richmond, your delay was weather related and therefore we will not hand out hotel vouchers, but even if we were going to do so, we have exhausted our vouchers for today.”
What a great announcement to hear over the speaker at 2am.
After waiting in the Richmond terminal for almost 7 hours (click here for more on that), our flight finally left. We arrived at DFW expecting to get some relief, only to hear the announcement, and so the adventure began.
To say our return home from vacation was a memorable experience is an understatement. We ended up renting the only vehicle available at any of the rental counters that were open at 3am–a 12 passenger van. The movie Home Alone flashed through my head at one point, thinking of John Candy and his polka band riding in the back of a moving van. We were not far away from that, minus the accordion.
Honestly, I do not know what to add about leadership from my experience Monday night/Tuesday morning, other than to say your attitude makes the difference. I am very grateful my wife and daughters (and myself) were able to roll with the punches on everything that went wrong without getting angry. Remaining calm disarmed what could have been a very explosive situation.
So, mind your response. How you respond in the moment will determine how you handle the situation. Remain calm and navigate the choppy waters, regardless of how big the waves may seem.
Last week, I blogged about Routines vs Ruts. Today, I have a bit of a confession for you.
I feel like I have several ruts in my life right now, one of them being this blog. So, naturally, the best way for me to process this rut is to blog about it. That makes sense, right?
Here’s my blog rut as I see it: Up until the end of May, I was incredibly consistent. Every Tuesday and Thursday, I would get up and crank out a post of some sort. Sometimes, I would even be really diligent and hammer out the post the night before.
My topics were generally thoughts that came to me as I sat down, but the best ones were ones where I had written them down before as a topic to attack, thus letting my mind chew the proverbial cud of content potential.
That routine worked for a season. Granted, for a significant season. I love writing these posts, even if only for a handful of people.
But over time, recently, my routine became my rut. I knew I would write better if I did not write and immediately publish, but my rut was (is) to write and publish.
As a result, my consistency has dropped over the past five weeks. What used to be clockwork has become cork-work. The routine has become a rut.
So, how do you get out of a rut? In real life, sometimes you have to ride it out, knowing that the rut will change when the terrain changes. Sometimes, you have to steer hard to one side or the other.
Honestly, I am still pondering what breaking out of a rut looks like. But I think a key element is understanding you’re in a rut.
That’s why last week I asked you to write down three routines you have and one rut you’re in. I want you to identify what holds you back or holds you down.
Now, answer this: what are you going to do to break out of that rut? How are you going to overcome it? Write out one thing you’re going to try.
For the record, this is not me saying I am going to take a break from blogging. I enjoy it too much. But I do have to admit that I find myself in a rut that I want to break out of. Maybe you can learn something from my struggle.
Thanks for sticking with me.
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.
Last week I went to camp. One of my roles at camp was to teach leadership to a group of 12 students. What I did not anticipate, however, was the leadership challenge I was going to face in the process.
The kids were great. They were willing to step up and serve, they had humble spirits that were willing to learn, and they poured back into their own groups to make a difference.
The challenge was on my end. I had two roles while at camp: leadership and sound booth. There were certain times in the schedule where the two overlapped, and so I was faced with the tension of the 3rd question: both things need to happen, but I cannot accomplish both at the same time.
(Side note: If you do not know the 3 Questions, click here to read about them. The 3rd question asks “Who can I get to help?”)
The tension of the 3rd question boils down to this: asking other people to help actually helps us accomplish more. Revolutionary, right? Maybe not. In fact, this concept is completely logical. It makes perfect sense that the more people we ask to do something, the more we can get done.
The tension, then, comes when we as leaders would rather do something on our own for any number of reasons. Maybe there’s a certain level of glory in being in charge of something, or we enjoy accomplishing the task. But at the end of the day, if we want to lead, we have to answer the 3rd question.
So, today, what are you holding onto that you can let go? What is on your plate that overwhelms you, but you are afraid to ask for help? What can you ask someone to help with in order to create some forward momentum? Answer the third question this week and see what happens.
Yesterday was a milestone for me as a father. I have a busy week this week, so I took some time yesterday morning to mow my yard. This time around, however, was different. I had a helper.
My 10 year old, earlier this summer, went through Papa and Mimi Lawnmower training. So, naturally, as I prepared to mow yesterday, I recruited her to help. She was scared to try a bigger mower, so I had her edge until I got to one spot we agreed would be her spot.
Now, having grown up on the farm, I remember how this works on tractors. My dad would make the first round, then put me on the tractor to finish the rest. So I did the same.
I made the first round and it was ready for Anna. So, I called her over, had her sit down on the mower, and gave her the orientation. Throttle. Mower blades. Forward. Reverse. Brake. She was ready.
I stepped back and was ready to gloat at my incredible lawn mowing daughter. Then she took off. The first 5 seconds were magical, then I realized she couldn’t see where I had gone the first time.
She turned way too early. Skipped a mower width away from my initial cut, and consistently turned short, leaving skips on the ends.
Strangely enough, at this point I was not upset or angered. I only chuckled to myself and called her over. I pointed out where she missed, gave her some tips, and sent her on her way again, still watching.
Can you guess what happened next? She still made mistakes. So, I called her over and showed her a trick that I learned decades ago, and let her go at it again.
The leadership principle here? When we let someone do something new, we have to remember they don’t have the experience or judgment we have at the moment. Actually, we would do well to remind ourselves of the mistakes we made when we first started.
But, if you want to expand your leadership influence, you are going to have to fight the battle between “I can do better myself” and “I do not have time to do this.”
My daughter is years away from being a professional yard care expert, but this summer she has had a great start.
Everyone has to start somewhere. The question becomes, are we going to give them their start or not?