Tag: momentum

Lessons from the Farm

Lessons from the Farm: Boundaries

Boundaries
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Stampede! Or, at least in my mind that’s what I thought was happening.

Granted, now, I realize there was definitely a flare for the dramatic in my response, but I was still pretty green at the whole thing.

We were “driving” cattle, which meant we were trying to move them from one field to another. In the process, they will sometimes naturally run.

The field we were trying to move them out of had a very large ditch (about 40 feet deep) on one side. As we were moving the herd closer to the gate, they started running toward the edge of the ditch, or draw as we called it, I started freaking out.

In the movies, this is where the hero rushes in to divert the herd from the cliff, thus saving the day. So, in my infinite wisdom, I sped over to keep them from jumping to their death.

I didn’t understand one basic concept: cattle may not be hyper intelligent, they’re also generally intelligent enough to realize a 40 foot drop is not a great idea. In other words, the herd was not going to plummet to their death.

The very thing I thought was a danger, was in fact a boundary.

Boundaries are beneficial as you are moving a herd, because it helps reinforce the direction you’re heading. Having a solid boundary on one side allows you to multiply your efforts on the other two sides, and actually increases progress.

Leadership is similar. Sometimes the things we consider to be death traps are actually boundaries in place to help us maximize our effort.

The sacred cows (no pun intended) that drive us crazy actually give us insight into the priorities of those we lead.

The attitudes we don’t understand help us process and choose the right steps forward.

When we understand the limit on one side, we can spend more time on the other two to help push things forward quicker.

Sometimes the boundaries have to be broken through, but often if we shift our mindset just a little, we begin to see the opportunity in front of us and it helps clarify our next steps.

The rest of the story is this: boundaries shouldn’t be boundaries forever. Eventually we moved out of that field into a new one. Those attitudes and sacred cows will eventually stop being boundaries, but only after you’re able to lead forward.

What are you facing today that feels like a death trap, but is actually just a boundary? What adjustment do you need to make to help move things forward?

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Leadership Journey

Check It Out: 7 Reasons Your Resolutions Go Up in Flames

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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.

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Big Picture

Make 2019 The Best Yet

Make 2019 the Best Yet
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What was your biggest takeaway from 2017? Yes, that’s right, not 2018, but what did you learn from the effort you put forth in 2017?

Do you have a formal review process to check over at the end of a year? Do you have an informal one? Do you have a place where you right down lessons you learned and tweaks you wanted to make in 2018?

If you do, I’d love to hear from you! Comment below and let me know what you use and how you track/evaluate a year.

But if I were to be completely honest (and why wouldn’t I be honest?), I can barely remember November 2018, much less anything from 2017. Today let’s finish 2018 with a bang and kick off 2019 with some momentum.

As you look back at 2018, here are three questions to help you evaluate the year. You can go as deep and detailed as you want, or you can stick with general bullet points that can be reread in minutes come December 2019.

  1. What We Did. Again, you can spend hours filling this out, but what if you stepped back and looked at where you started in January and maybe listed out a few mileposts along the way. We’re not looking for evaluation at this level, but more just testing your memory, so include a couple of misses as well as some successes.
  2. What Worked. Once you have listed out the what, ask yourself what went well. Hopefully something you did was successful, so celebrate it! What made it work? Looking back, can you describe what made the difference? If you had a significant event or turning point in your ministry, emphasize that. For me, I was able to attend HORIZONext in April, and walked away with a great idea for Senior Recognition in 2018 and 2019. That milestone helped me make strides for the Fall, so it is definitely something I want to remember. Pick a few things, and celebrate what went well.
  3. What to Do Differently. Here, you get to dream. No year is the same, but if you could repeat 2018, what would you keep the same, and what would you do differently? Maybe back-to-back-to-back red bull themed lock ins were not a wise decision. So, what would you have done differently? Be honest, but also be a little wishful on your part. If you wished you would have spent more money on an event, that’s okay.

So, there you go. You’ve evaluated 2018, and guess what? You’re ready to set some goals for 2019 by allowing 2018 to inform your direction for 2019. You may not like resolutions, but the truth is we all feel a little surge of optimism and excitement come January 1, so capitalize on it for your ministry and get ready for a great 2019!

 

This post originally appeared on the Horizon Resources blog, but I thought it was worth posting here as well.

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Leadership Journey

Never Assume

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We have all been there: we make a decision about someone (their willingness or unwillingness to do something), and then are surprised when they contradict our expectations. The surprise can be good or bad, but it is a surprise either way.

The reality is we can rarely know exactly how someone is going to respond, but for people with whom we have experience, we can anticipate a response. (Here’s a post about not letting someone’s character surprise you.)

Today, I want to go a little different route. Sometimes we compare ourselves to people around us as a way to denigrate our own creativity or ability. I have a youth minister friend who feels they are not as experienced or “good” as others in our circle, but the reality is their combination of experience, creativity, and passion makes them perfectly unique!

When we assume the people around us are doing the things we are doing, we are neglecting a simple truth: people are wired differently. What comes naturally to one, may not come naturally to another. But we will never know unless we ask.

There is something you do naturally that few people find easy, and there is something with which you struggle that other people may find easy. This is lived out in my children: one daughter loves to read and has to work in math, while the other has to work in reading and loves math.

I have two suggestions for you today: First, embrace your strength. What makes you, you? What comes naturally to you that other people have to struggle to accomplish?

Second, help someone else discover what they do naturally. There is someone in your list of contacts, who is walking through the day defeated because they do not realize they are naturally gifted at something. Take on a role to help them discover that today (or the rest of this week).

Make a difference in someone else’s life today.

 

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Leadership Journey

2 Key Traits for Student Leaders

2 keys
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Have you ever noticed some people look at situations differently than you?

A few years ago, I heard a radio personality talk about how science has proven women and men look at cleanliness differently. Women actually see dirt more easily than men. It’s not that they have some sort of super vision, but their awareness of filth is higher. This means as a husband, I need to adjust my standards of clean in order to be a blessing to my wife.

This happens in developing student leaders as well. So many times, as youth ministers, we fall into the trap of thinking a student has to meet a certain level of leadership ability in order to take on the mantle. But I would disagree.

In fact, as I have been working with student leaders more intensely over the past 3 years, I have noticed 2 criteria which are critical to developing successful student leaders.

1. OPPORTUNITY TO SERVE

I cannot think of a single situation where anyone has led without first making the most of an opportunity. In fact, without opportunity, nothing happens. Where there is no opportunity, there is no movement.

Opportunities are simple, but it may require you changing how you view situations. The old saying goes “If you’re a hammer, everything looks like a nail.” While the intent behind the saying may be negative, the truth is opportunity opens up when we shift our perception.

Every time you meet with students, there is an opportunity for leadership. My question for you is: are you making the most of the opportunities around you to allow students to grow and develop as leaders.

2. WILLINGNESS TO SERVE

The other part of developing student leaders, and the most critical, is willingness. If a student is not willing to take intentional steps, any effort you exert will be diminished.

A student’s willingness to serve is imperative to their own development. But if you think about it, this concept is a no brainer.

As an adult, if you need to lose weight or cut back on salt, no one else can make that decision for you. It’s a decision you have to make. The people around you can provide opportunities, but it is up to you to make the most of the opportunities.

Students who are willing to serve, are more likely to grow as leaders. Students who are unwilling to serve will hit a ceiling of their own making.

The bottom line is this: if you can find a student who is willing to serve, give them an opportunity to serve and lead, and watch the impact they begin to make!

 

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