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Archive for the ‘leadership’ Category

Leadership is a powerful word. I am sure we can all think of ways that leadership has been carried out well, and ways in which it has been manipulated.

Leadership is no small thing.

The one aspect about leadership that is most forgotten is that leadership is about leading.

Leaders crave influence the most. They desire for their words to have weight; they want to know that what they offer has value.

Leaders are drawn to stepping up into directing roles. Leaders are often enabling situations to offer into.

Leadership requires the character traits of humility, wisdom, compassion, and integrity. I also believe that leadership requires the character trait of open handed leading.

John the Baptist is my hero when it comes to mastering this balance of leadership. He is always my go-to guy when I need a reminder of how open-handed leadership is done well.

What is open-handed leadership?

It is the ability to hold loosely to the ones you are leading. No one is a possession. No one is “ours.”

John the Baptist always made it clear that he was not the Christ. He was so great at directing everyone’s attention and reverence to Jesus. John freely confessed that he was not the Christ.

Do we?

There was even a time where John’s disciples were ranting to him that Jesus, and his disciples, were baptizing more than they were. The people were going out to Jesus instead. John responds by saying that they should. John reminds them that he is not the Jesus.

John came to lead the way to Jesus. This is the same truth for our lives as well.

I am hugely passionate about leadership. I am always drawn to the leadership role. I love soaking up knowledge that pertains to leadership. I will most often step up and pursue the directing role as well.

There is a tension and a balance that needs to be mastered when it comes to leadership. I always need to ask myself the question of, “where am I leading to?” Leaders most often struggle when it comes to the direction of leadership.

I confess to my own human flaws of struggling with the balance of leadership. I love influencing. I love offering. Sometimes I can forget to keep the focus off of me and on the one I am leading for.

I still struggle with jealousy when it comes to leading. I have also been the one ranting to God that more people are going to him than me. That’s just honest. I struggle with fears of having nothing to offer. I struggle with the fears of not being liked, and being made to feel foolish. These are some of my weaknesses wrapped around my love of leadership.

I have been learning a lot from John about the character and value of leading with open hands.

Leadership is about leading well towards him.

So allow me to ask you…where are you leading others to?

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Have you ever received an invitation to spend time with someone you admire?

This can be someone who you have an admiration for what they do (i.e. writing, playing music, speaking, teaching, a business person, artist, etc.) This could also be someone who exemplifies the life you respect and desire to emulate.

I have experienced this invitation on a couple of occasions. I have a huge passion and heart for leadership, so my invitations came from people I admired in leadership. I love sitting at their feet, listening to their wisdom, life stories and lessons. I have learned from some great people.

I still have a list of people who I would love to sit with. I call it my “sit-list.”

One of the greatest aspects of the invitation for me was that it came with the investment of the other person.

I learned how to become a leader because a couple of people took the time to invest their life and wisdom into me. I learned how to mentor because someone taught me through mentorship.

The invitation of investment is something that always stands out to me when reading the gospels. Jesus is THE MAN of invitation. He calls his first disciples to follow after him through invitation. Jesus invited his friends to do life with him. He didn’t just ask them to follow him in hopes that they would learn something, but he took responsibility for their invitations.

Jesus takes responsibility for the invitations he gives.

John Maxwell talks a lot about how Jesus was just a different kind of leader compared to all of the other leaders of his day; Jesus really did make fishers of men. He invited them with the intention, and responsibility, to make them fishers of men.

Jesus does the same with you and me.

He invites us to do life with him with the intention of taking responsibility for that invitation. We are wired uniquely with his purposes. He takes responsibility to mold, and train us into whatever those purposes are.

Sometimes that main point gets lost for me. Too often, I feel like life is up to me and I am responsible to make it all work – the tethering line between God and I drift apart. His desire is to do life WITH me.

I am learning to remember that God offered me an invitation that comes with his eternal investment. It makes me well up thinking about how much God invests in me. I am humbled by his patience and faithfulness to make me who he wants me to be.

What does God’s invitation of investment look like for you?

Anyone you can think of who could use your investment?

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This idea of carrying the weight of influence scares me. If I was being most honest, it scares me to think that my life, words, actions, silence, beliefs, and values affect others. I do not take the fact that I am in influential positions lightly. I choose my words carefully.

These days I am finding myself more and more in positions of influence. As a Life Coach, I am working with individuals to make desired changes in their lives. That is a big deal to me. As a speaker, I am responsible for the words spoken from my mouth. My heart feels heavy just thinking about the weight of influence that desire holds for me. The weight of that influence represents truth, hope, living as one who believes and knows someone greater than myself. My life is meant to magnify the one I want to speak about.

Blogging is a way of speaking as well. Social media reflects our character and how we treat people. There is a weight I feel when posting. I am methodical about what I write, even if it’s light-hearted. I desire to influence those who read.

Written words, in any form, and for any reason should not be taken lightly.

Everything I say and do should reflect the answer to the question Jesus asks of who I say he is. Before I can be a Coach and a Speaker,  I have to just be a follower after him. Before I can play those roles, I must walk out the identity I claim in him. If I had no job, I would still be responsible and accountable to claim Jesus as the Christ. There is still a weight of influence to those who you don’t know are watching and listening. There is a weight of influence for yourself.

You have to be what you want to say!

I do not take my words lightly. I want to be good for others. I desire to speak truth, provide truth and hope. I crave the weight of my influence to point people to someone greater than me. Even the ones I don’t know are listening and watching.

How do you handle the weight of your influence?

How have you seen influence used poorly?

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Awareness is a bittersweet thing.

Sometimes, I would love to just be blissfully unaware of the “good” things around me, as well as what other people have.

As kids, we learn so quickly what want feels like. This only happens when we experience someone else having, or doing something, we want to do. There is an unfairness that rises up in our hearts. With eyes wide open awareness sets in and the fruit of want takes root.

I am one who struggles with jealousy. It is the thorn in my side. I actually find this struggle to be real with leaders. I would consider myself a strong leader and one who leans into that role predominately.

Jealousy raises its ugly head in me when I start to compare myself to others. Jealousy is conceived in me when I start to compare myself to what others have. This could be monetary things or just influence.

Andy Stanley talks a lot about the losing battle of comparison in a great sermon series he does. In that series he talks about how the Pharisees are jealous of Jesus because He has the crowd. There jealousy eventually leads them to crucifying Jesus.

I get that. If jealousy is left unattended, pain and even death is inevitable.

Andy states that “there is no win, satisfaction, or finish line when it comes to comparison.”

We are not meant to compare ourselves with the successions, failures, gifts, talents, influences, and even life stories of others. When we place our eyes on the lives of others, we miss out on the life we are meant to live.

I suck at the comparison battle.

My eyes wander and my awareness of want grows. Jealousy is my weakness.

We live in a culture of comparison.

Honestly, there are times I just need to step back from platforms like Twitter that can be a breeding ground for comparison. Everyday I can see one who is five steps ahead of me in my dream life. It’s just plain hard.

This past week, I was blessed to attend Story Conference in Chicago. I loved it. However, I also learned that conferences are filled with temptations to compare. So many awesome people doing awesome things and it always makes me wonder if I’m good enough. This week as I head down to the ATL for Catalyst, my awareness for comparison is heightened.

Jealousy is a battle.

There is no freedom in comparison.

As far as I can remember our culture has lived by the mantra of “keep up with Jones.”

As long as we are running life’s race to keep up with our “Jones” there is no room for the life we are meant to live. It is impossible to celebrate anyone else in the state of comparison.

I feel like I have wasted too much time comparing myself to others. I want to be a person who celebrates the gifts and victories of others. I want to mourn with those who feel the pain of failure. More importantly, I just want to be ok with where I am and what I have.

Are you?

“What or who are you using as a reference point to determine whether or not you’re okay?”

“Are you exhausted from trying to keep up with ______?”

“Are you allowing what others have to keep you from enjoying what you have?”

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Listening is something that does not come natural to most people. We like the sound of our own voices. We like our thoughts to be heard. We like to be “helpful.”

But are we?

Are we hearing or being heard?
In my experiences of being a counselor, conversationalist, and well…a friend, I have heard lots of listening styles. I do mean heard lots of listening….

What kind of listener are you?
I have thoughts about different categories of listeners. These are not technical terms or names, some styles I hear. I am not saying any of these are right or wrong, but there a different styles of listening for different people. There are also pitfalls to every listening style. You just have to find the right kind of listening for you.

The Match Maker Listener:
Some people communicate that they get it through matched stories. For example, someone is telling you their thoughts and you have experienced something similar. The match maker tells a similar story in order to convey their understanding and “getting it.” For some this form of listening works. Both parties feel understood. For others it can feel dismissing.

Strategic Listener:
Some communicate listening by asking challenging questions. Some people take what is being said and see the way to fix it. Some people need those questions of challenge and strategy. Some people need help in the way of direction through their processing. This type of listener helps others get to the hopeful desired end. However, some might not be ready for strategy.

Dear Abby Listener:
Some people listen with the intent to give their two cents of advice. Some people listen with the intent to share their own thoughts. Some people need the advice of others. We can get stuck, or even have blind spots in our own processes. However, Some people might not need/want feedback or thoughts yet.
Listening is Listening. Scripture says, “be quick to listen and slow to speak…” Listening is a skill. Listening is a sought after need. We so often forget that listening mostly requires just BEING present with someone, and really getting to know their hearts.

I want to challenge you to get to know what kind of listener you are. Not only that, get to know what kind of listener you need for yourself.
We all want people to see, hear, and know our hearts. I have found the best way to listen is to just be present. I ask the person if they even want feedback or just for me to listen without questions or thoughts. We can “get it” by hearing where the person is wrestling, and offering empathy not necessarily our thoughts.
However, I will say that if you find yourself saying the phrase, “How are we back on me?” or “I felt like I talked the whole time….” You might need to work on your listening skills.
Hear people. Listen to what they are not saying. Listen between the lines. Learn people’s hearts. Everyone is saying the things they are saying for a reason. Care about that thing. It matters to THEM!

What kind of listener are you?

What kind of listening do you need?

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Today, I have the awesome opportunity to “sit” down with my friend Moe and talk Discipleship!

He had some awesome questions for me to answer!!

1. In your own words, what is discipleship?
 
2. What has been the hardest lesson you’ve learned as a Christian?
 
3.  What is one thing that “burns” inside of you? 

I would love to know what your answers would be to some of these….

Come hang out today! or LEAP on over!

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I don’t know about you, but my parents tried out many different forms of discipline for my brother and I. Some worked and some did not.

I remember when my mom tried to ground me one afternoon. I had lied about not riding my bike somewhere she had told me not to go. So she grounded me.

I had no idea what that was. We had never been grounded. This was a new one. I even had to ask my older brother what being grounded meant. His reply was, “I think you go to your room or something?

There were definitely those disciplines that I would shrug off and endure. However, there were also those times where we would hear the footsteps or tone of voice and “the fear” set in.

The times where the discipline invoked the most fear related responses definitely made the most impact.

Discipline matters in ways our soul cannot live without.

Discipline is God’s gift to those he loves. His discipline is also his grace.

I have struggled with learning that discipline and grace go together. I have long developed the associations that grace means being released from a depth I could not pay, which it is. For me, grace is an almost “off the hook” kind of feeling. I have viewed grace as the second chance for my wrong doing minus the consequence.

Conversely, I thought discipline was the alternative to grace. Discipline is what happens when I “pay for my wrong doing.” The truth about discipline is that it is necessary for transformation. Without discipline, I would never learn my lesson.

Discipline and grace are tethered together.

Andy Stanley stated in one of his messages that, “God is generous with his grace, and thorough in his discipline.”

Grace says that I forgive you and love you. Discipline says that I love enough to not let you keep going down the road you are on.

Grace loves us back, and discipline brings us back.

God extended grace to his people so many times in the bible. Each time the Israelites turned their back on God and followed their own desires and ways, He waited. When His people repented, God extended his loving grace, but also instituted discipline.

Discipline is what God uses to transform our lives from the unhealthy patterns we just lived out. Grace is the response that covers our debts, and discipline is the action through which change happens.

I am learning more and more that grace is not the alternative to discipline, but that they happen together. Discipline is where obedience is formed and learned in me.

I am so thankful for a God who forgives me, but also loves me enough to make me new through discipline.

What are your thoughts on grace and discipline?

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