determination

4 Responses to Other’s Successes

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How do you respond when someone you know wins big? Maybe they earned that degree, got that promotion, closed that deal, or got their work published? If you are in the church world like me, maybe they successfully launched another campus, added some amazing staff, baptized 10, 50 or 100 people last month, or raised a million dollars for missions? All of these should make us want to throw them a party! However, sometimes other emotions are stirred.

Maybe we feel we have worked harder for longer? Perhaps we feel overlooked and under-appreciated? Admit it. We’ve all felt this way even if for only a few fleeting moments. When we do, it’s our cue to hit our knees and check pride at the door. How should we respond?

Here are 4 Responses to Other’s Successes… 

1) Celebrate. Knowing how hard it is to achieve something significant yourself, celebrate their win! Congratulate them in person, on social media, or send them a hand-written letter. Take the time to tell them just how much you admire their dedication and what specifically you appreciate about their success.

2) Motivate. Use the positive energy created by someone’s achievement as motivation to keep striving in your own life, family, church or business. Don’t give up! Someone has said, “If God calls you to it, He’ll see you through it.” Who you are and what you do matters and you are closer to breaking through than you know!

3) Question. The question isn’t, “How did they get so lucky?!” The question is, “How did they get it done?” You are likely to find some of the same common denominators that will equate to your own win in time… things like the grace of God, a great team, hard work, courageous creativity, and perseverance. Find out what you can learn from their success and especially their failures along the way.

4) Challenge. More than motivation to just “keep on keeping on…” take their win as a personal challenge to not only do better, but to BE better. Humble yourself. We never arrive. Put it all back on the drawing board if you have to. Gather some honest and experienced voices who will help you see what you can’t and say what you need to hear about yourself and/or that thing you do. Then, pray for the grace to be better. And, don’t be afraid to do things a little (or a lot!) different. Maybe you need to go in a different direction altogether?

Much of what you do as a servant leader will be overlooked and unsung while others get standing ovations and the promotions to go with them. Do it anyway. Your kindness and compassion won’t always put you in the front of the line. Be it anyway.

Remember Jesus’ parable of the talents? This is what we should all be striving for… “‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’” (Matthew 25:23, NIV)

How do you celebrate the success of others? Share your thoughts below in the Reply section…

 

 

 

The 2 Rails Leaders Run On

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How do you manage the tension between leading with a visionary faith and sound stewardship? Consider your path as a ministry or business like the 2 Rails a train runs on. Knowing that we each have a tendency to run on one or the other, discover what running on both rails can do…

Rail #1 –  Stewardship. This rail keeps the train running in a manageable way. Running on this rail means asking measured questions such as, “Who do we want on board?” “What is our destination?” “What is our timetable for arrival?” And, “What is needed and where are we when it comes to people and financial resources?” You need to gather numerous advisors to help you keep the train on this rail.

Warning: Don’t use this rail as an excuse to stay at the station. The destination isn’t going to come to you. That is, unless eventual closure or failure is your goal. Then, by all means, keep saving for the “rainy day” that never comes and don’t move until you have more than enough of everything.

Rail #2 – Faith. This rail gets the train moving and keeps it moving, trusting that God will guide and provide along the way unseen. You might say this rail feels like it is alway running downhill, wanting to pick up pace as the mile markers fly by, fueled by an inspirational vision and in a blur of increasing morale and momentum.

The Hebrew writer encourages us, “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” (Hebrews 11:1, NIV) 

Warning: Don’t use this rail as an excuse to move too far, too fast. No, not everyone is going to go with you. Still, give ample time for you and your lead team to map the course and promote the journey with excellence and allow all those going to get on board. Besides, while you want to move with swift purpose, you don’t want to get derailed when you come upon unexpected and hard curves.

The wisdom writer reminds us, Desire without knowledge is not good – how much more will hasty feet miss the way!” (Proverbs 19:2, NIV)

Label this under a tension to be managed and not a problem to be solved (ala Andy Stanley). Make sure you have in your engine car leadership engineers… some who like the rail of stewardship and some the rail of faith.  Together, these will keep you moving successfully towards your destination.

How do you ride the rails of leadership? Share your thoughts on these 2 Rails in the Reply section below…

Bounceback – 5 Suggestions for Doing Better Next Time

images-8We’ve all been there. Whether it was leadership training, a sermon or teaching session, you leave the platform knowing you “struck out.” At some point most of your audience were hoping you would stop circling and just land the plane, as it were. You feel defeated, depressed and like you let everyone down. The question is, how do you bounce back?

We’ve all been there. Whether it was leadership training, a sermon or teaching session, you leave the platform knowing you “struck out.” At some point most of your audience were hoping you would stop circling and just land the plane, as it were. You feel defeated, depressed and like you let everyone down. The question is, how do you bounce back?

Here are 5 suggestions for doing better next time…

1) Own it. “Excuses, excuses.” I’m full of them! “I didn’t have enough prep time this week.” “There wasn’t a good vibe in the room.” “The audience just didn’t get it.” The hard truth is that 99.9% of the time I was the one responsible for the message falling flat. Bouncing back begins with simply owning the fact that we didn’t prepare well… didn’t study our content, didn’t practice our delivery, didn’t consider our audience, didn’t pray sufficiently, weren’t disciplined enough to be rested up and ready. Don’t dodge it. Own it and you are well on your way to bouncing back.

2) Review it. Yes, it’s painful. However, listening or watching your own message will help you hear and see yourself better. This includes that illustration that didn’t connect, the point that wasn’t relevant, that phrase that didn’t “pay” or that question you failed to ask, let alone answer. Take the time to put yourself in your audience’ shoes and review your message. Take some notes along the way and ask, “What does it sound like to the audience?”

3) Get a “second opinion” (and third…). More times than not someone else can hear and see what we cannot. From your spouse, a member of your lead team, to someone right in the heart of your target group, have others listen and ask them to specifically critique how relevant your content was and how well you delivered it. The more specific and “brutally honest” the better. If they can’t tell you what the point was, it is doubtful your greater audience could.

4) Get over it. It probably wasn’t as bad as you think. How many times have all of us thought we “bombed” and then someone comes up and says, “Thank you. That’s just what I needed to hear!” Keep it in perspective. Besides, your best message probably wasn’t as awesome as you thought, either.

5) Rehearse it. Now that you have some perspective and are clear on specific ways to improve, practice it. Remember, “Practice doesn’t make perfect.” Don’t just ingrain poor habits. Rather, practice better communication skills and then communicate your next message with a grounded sense of confidence in what you are saying and how you are saying it.

One more thought… study more. Often we over-compensate for a lack of content with points that drift or stories without one, an increase of pace or, worse, in volume. Remember, nothing replaces quality and quantity time spent in the Word of God and in prayer. Last-minute “Saturday night specials” will not invite a moving of the Holy Spirit for your sermon, teaching or training. There are no shortcuts. Do the work.

None of us can hit a “home run” every time. However, put these 5 practices in play and you can and will do better next time!

What are some of the ways you purpose to improve your communication skills? Leave a suggestion in the Reply section below!

How to finish it.

imgres-3I don’t know what “it” is for you. Maybe it’s that book you started writing, that blog site you were creating, that desk you were refinishing, or that proposal you were developing.

Whatever “it” is… now it’s hanging over you like a dark cloud. That unfinished feeling stays with you and, even when you manage to drown out its voice in the busyness of business, it haunts you in the still of the night. You aren’t alone… I’ve been a professional procrastinator all too often.

No more. It’s time to finish. You can do it. Here’s how…

1 – Get it out. Pick it up. Dust it off. Download it, again. Put it front and center where it stares you right in the face and dares you to try and ignore it.

Do you have trouble even starting because you are afraid you can’t finish?

“Give yourself the gift of done!” (Jon Acuff)

Here’s a great resource to help you get started and then finish strong! It’s a book called FINISH! https://acuff.me/books

2 – Set a date. Give yourself a deadline and then work backwards. How much do you need to complete daily to finish on time or even ahead of schedule?

3 – Find the time to do something daily, even a little something. Go with your optimal waking hours… if you are a morning person, wake up an hour earlier. If you are a night owl then burn that midnight oil intentionally toward your goal.

4 – Give permission. Find someone you trust to hold you accountable, follow-up, “nag,” and otherwise encourage you to follow through with determined excellence.

No more excuses. Yes, it’s hard. You can do this!

I leave you with the words of my High School baseball coach…

“It’s not what you did, it’s what you’re gonna do.” – Coach Alan Stock

What are you doing reading this? Go… get to it!

#Philippians 4:13