It’s Okay to Hope

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Have you ever set a New Year’s Resolution?

Have you ever chosen not to set a New Year’s Resolution?

Have you ever claimed “My New Year’s Resolution is to not have any New Year’s Resolutions”?

A few years ago, I felt guilty for ever getting excited and setting some goals for the new year. It seemed every conversation covering resolutions took on a significantly negative tone. And I bought into it.

Then, I read a blog where someone said they always looked forward to the new year and the hope that it brings.

So, today, I want to take a stab at doing that for you. You may find yourself having given up hope for 2018 based on 2017 as a whole, or in part. Well, it is not too late to change your approach. It is okay to hope.

What if 2018 becomes the year you do something great? What if 2018 becomes the year you accomplish that goal you’ve never seemed to achieve before? What if you have matured as a person to the point where the mistakes you made in your younger days will no longer provide as much resistance as you remember?

Let yourself, for just a moment, find hope and refreshing in the changing of the calendar, even if we are a few days behind.

Pick one thing you’d like to accomplish this year and write it in a place where it will serve as a reminder for you. Stick with it. Keep it in front of you. Pursue it. Achieve it.

Who knows, maybe 2018 will be the best year yet for both of us. I look forward to taking this journey with you.

Lessons Learned About Blogging, Pt 2

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It’s hard to believe I have been blogging for the majority of 2017. I’ve learned a few things along the way. You can read the first one here. Here’s my second thought:

Social Shares Rule

(disclaimer: this is not intended to guilt you into social sharing)

If I were to look back over the past 11 months and examine the views and page visits for my site, the days with the highest views were the days where someone shared a post, usually on Facebook.

I have done a little bit of work to get 3 Question Leadership optimized in search engines, but honestly: how many people google search the phrase “3 Questions for Leadership”? It’s actually lower than you think, even if you think it’s low.

So, what’s the best way to get what I’m posting out into the inter webs? Social shares.

If you have shared one of my posts over the past year, I would like to thank you for doing so. Every time I sit down to write, I hope to write something that connects with someone, so when you share, it means the world to me.

If you found me because someone shared a post on Facebook or Twitter, then that’s proof!

Lastly, if you worry about missing my posts on social media, I would love for you to sign up to receive the 3QL email. The daily email delivers at 10am on the days I post, so you never have to guess if I’m posting something because it will show up in your inbox.

Once again, thank you for taking this journey with me!

Keeping Vision Out Front

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A few weeks ago I met with my student leadership team. These kids have been walking with me through my 3 Question journey since August of 2016. The 3 Questions shape so much of what we do.

So I was somewhat surprised when I asked them to tell me the 3 Questions, and they struggled to answer.

Then, I had an epiphany: I’ve been blogging about the 3 Questions for the past 10 months, they haven’t.

In other words, the 3 Questions have become part of my everyday processing, but that doesn’t mean they had the same experience. They weren’t sitting down at a computer multiple times each week trying to write a blog related to the 3 Questions.

What’s the leadership lesson? Just because something is inherently important to you, does not guarantee it is inherently important to someone else. You have to keep vision out front.

You know what they say about assume? When we assume, we eventually have to exhume.

Well, nobody says that, but maybe they should. When we assume everyone else focuses on vision the way we do, we will soon find that vision being buried and forgotten.

So, what’s your next step? Ask yourself what you have been assuming everyone knows, but in reality needs to be brought back in front. You will feel like a broken record, but important things are worth repeating.

Don’t think of it as being a broken record; think of it as being a hit single set on repeat.

Confusion Breeds Chaos

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When I was an 8th grader, we didn’t have enough boys in 7th and 8th grade to field a football team, so the school decided to let 6th graders play. This was both good and bad.

It was good because we had enough kids to be able to play football that year, but it was bad because only one of the 6th graders had hit puberty. As a result, we had a historic season, and didn’t win a game.

Towards the end of the season our coach decided to work in a couple trick plays. One play involved some yelling from the sideline that we were using the wrong football, which would result in the center handing the quarterback the football (a legal exchange), the quarterback running toward the sideline as though he were going to trade the football. Just before getting to the coach on the sideline, the quarterback would run up field for what would hopefully be a touchdown and a win.

It didn’t work. The referees said the coach couldn’t yell that from the sideline. But the premise was true: confusion breeds chaos.

If we could get the other team questioning what they knew to be reality, then we could take advantage of the moment and surprise them.

In leadership, the principle applies as well. If the people we lead are unclear as to next steps, or even what we are trying to do, the result is chaos.

As a minister, if the adults who volunteer in my ministry don’t understand the long term goal and vision I set, then we have a team of volunteers who set their own long term goal and vision.

If student leaders don’t understand their role, then they set their own guidelines.

This isn’t master level manipulating. This is learning to sail the ship and getting everyone moving in the same direction.

What part of your leadership is suffering due to confusion? What steps can you take to add some clarity this week?

Leadership Grows

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Our own personal leadership should always be growing and evolving.

On Tuesday I made the statement that we are not who we are today without who we were yesterday. I promise that’s not my attempt at philosophy.

Do you ever find yourself being content with where you are as a leader? I don’t think I’m alone in this. The struggle is always going to be “is this it, or can I grow some more?”

The answer, by the way, will always be yes, you CAN grow some more. But there’s comfort in what we know.

Don’t settle for comfort. Don’t settle for anything.

So, how can you grow in your leadership? Here are a few tips:

  1. Learn to ask good questions, and ask them a lot. I love being around people who can ask a question that inspires me. Find someone like that and learn to ask good questions.
  2. Find people who are doing something different, and learn. This is true of craftsmanship: if you want to learn how to sew, find someone who knows and learn. But it’s also true in leadership. You don’t have to lead like someone else does, but you can definitely learn from what they’re doing well and apply it to your life.
  3. Find the way you learn, and grow. I’ve blogged about this before, but find out what learning style you are, and get after it! Embrace your unique giftedness, and learn.

If you’re not growing as a leader, take some time to evaluate and ask the question “why”?

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