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“Leadership and Learning”

“Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.” – John F. Kennedy

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Overcoming Discouragement

The story of Elijah has often brought great inspiration to me as a leader.  This was a man who had a nature like us, yet God worked in incredible, supernatural ways in his life.  When he prayed, God answered, in a big way!  Drought, rain, fire from heaven, his prayers were precise, powerful, and always accomplished God’s purposes. His was a life that was used tremendously to fulfill God’s purposes and plans.  Yet with all the victories he experienced, in 1 Kings 19.4 scripture says, “And he asked that he might die, saying, “It is enough; now, O Lord, take away my life, for I am no better than my fathers.”

This man had just experienced a tremendous spiritual victory and is now curled up in a fetal position asking God to take his life!  In his perspective, he was no better than those that are already dead!  What an outlook!  What happened to this great man of God who only recently was calling fire down from heaven?

He allowed his circumstances to dictate his emotions rather than his relationship to his heavenly Father.  Instead of resting in his relationship with God, he began to look at the world around him for his joy, peace and security.  When the world seemed to be against him, he erroneously decided that he was the only one left in the world who served God!

Don’t we do the same thing?  When the circumstance are not our ideal, or become unbearable, we turn inward emotionally?  Inward focus always has a magnifying effect.  What we dwell upon becomes bigger than it really should be.  Our lows become lower, our highs become higher and it begins to control our lives.  We must have a change of perspective in order to restore balance once again.  How? Here are 5 starting points to get back on the right track.

  1. Spend time alone with God.  Listen for his voice.
  2. Remember what God has done. Recall the things He has accomplished in your life.
  3. Phone a friend.  Having a relationship with an encouraging friend can provide perspective.
  4. Invest in someone less fortunate.  Outward focus will silence the voice of inward disappointment, discouragement, and doubts.
  5. Develop healthy habits.  Eating right, exercise, and hobbies is a necessity for healthy balance physically and emotionally.

10 Tips for Successful Self-Leadership

Leadership Organizer Key holder
Leadership Organizer Key holder (Photo credit: 아우크소(Auxo.co.kr))

Leading others is tough. Leading laterally and leading “up” is tougher still. But “self -leadership” is the toughest of them all.–Bill Hybels

 Self-leadership can be defined as the process of influencing self to establish the direction and motivation needed for optimal performance.  The person who successfully leads themselves finds that they are not only more confident, but experience job satisfaction and increased performance. Self-leadership is the key to leading a fulfilled life in spite of the challenges the world throws at you!

Even with all the benefits associated with successfully leading ourselves, I find that many leaders have a difficult time leading themselves.  They often find themselves feeling inadequate, unfulfilled, and often depressed or discouraged in spite of the accomplishments they have experienced.  So how can you successfully lead yourself?

  1. Honest Assessment: Know who you are!  What are your strengths and weaknesses?  What can you develop and make stronger?  What do you need to let go of?  Are you trying to be someone you are not?  Having an honest assessment of who you are and where you are at in life will develop the foundation of successful self-leadership.
  2. Established Priorities: What are your highest priorities for your life?  What gives you the greatest fulfillment? God, family, friendships, and causes are priorities which gives life purpose and direction.  Establish these priorities and you will find greater fulfillment in life!
  3. Realistic Planning: Setting goals is an important step in helping you know where you are going in life.  Setting goals like “trying to take over the world” maybe a little out of your range.  Try asking yourself, what realistic goal could I set for the next step in life?  You will find that as you accomplish realistic goals, you gain confidence for bigger goals.
  4. Humbleness: Leaders can be humble by understanding that even though you are in the lead, you need others to come along in the journey!  You cannot self-lead without humbly understanding that others deserve credit for your leadership to be successful. Investment in others gives us a proper perspective of self!
  5. Don’t Compromise Integrity/Character: There are some things in life that you don’t compromise on no matter how creative or innovative it might seem.  Self-leadership says “will this damage my credibility to others?”  Living a life of integrity will help you to live with yourself!
  6. Foster Creativity and Experiments: Take time to dream dreams and take risks personally and professionally.  Too often leaders can get into ruts of “this has been successful in the past” and don’t allow themselves to get beyond what is comfortable.  There are many things that were once thought impossible until the first person did it!
  7. Outside Input: Self-leadership is not always based on the internal voices that give us guidance and direction.  It is important that we have a mentor/coach/friend that has the liberty to speak truthfully into our lives.  An outside perspective can be a productive part of successful self-leadership.
  8. Lifelong Learning: Constantly asking questions like “why?” and “why not?” are important in developing self-leadership.  Being curious helps establish the knowledge and wisdom necessary to make right decision personally and in your own leadership.  Know why you believe what you believe and always make informed decisions!
  9. Take Initiative and Lead Change: Great leaders understand that someone has to take the initiative for change and the same is true in leading self.  Don’t be dependent upon someone else to change your direction.  Initiate change.  It won’t happen until you establish that change needs to happen now!
  10. Finally, Listen to God’s Voice: Your Creator knows you from the inside out.  He knows how He created you and what your purpose and His plan is for your life.  Understanding this is essential in knowing how to lead your life in the right direction.  He has made His plan for your life very clear through scripture, and through prayer, He can help you establish that plan successfully!  He can help you live a fulfilled life!

The only way to successfully lead others is to successfully lead ourselves.  Take the initiative to make changes in your own life and you will find that your leadership will be much more fulfilling!

Question: Are there more ways to successful self-leadership?  What are they?  Please use comment box below!

Blessings!

A Minute Devotional–James 1.2

King James Version of the Bible
Image via Wikipedia

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds,  (James 1:2 (ESV)).

When faced with the difficulties life throws at us it is easy to turn to a natural response of anger, discouragement, confusion, despair or a combination of all other these.  Easily life can cause a person to struggle emotionally, physically and spiritually.  James gives a peculiar instruction when he tells us to “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds,” (James 1:2 (ESV)).

Count it all joy?? Are you kidding me??  Yet that is exactly what it says!  Count it ALL JOY!  What is James talking about?  The word count is an interesting word it is (ἡγέομαι) hēgéomai which literally means to lead or go before, go first, or lead the way.  Metaphorically, to lead out before the mind.  In other words it means to lead your mind in the direction it needs to go!  Toward Joy!

How?  James 1 gives a great foundation for how the believer faces life and still maintains joy.  It is only possible if you apply James 1 to your life!

Enjoy life!

Blessings!

(Please take a moment and comment on the devotional or any other post on this blog.  Your feedback is appreciated! Thanks!)

A Minute Devotional–James 1.5

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IMG_7315 (Photo credit: six steps )

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.  (James 1:5 (ESV))

When we face difficult challenges, trials, or even life in general, we need assistance to help us navigate the journey!  It is comforting to know that we don’t have to face life dependant upon our own wisdom, knowledge, or understanding.  Why? Because God has an unlimited amount available to us! The only requirement attached to this great treasury is that we ask!  Why do we have to ask?  When we ask, it means that we trust that He knows how to take care of our lives and situations the best.  Remember Solomon when he said: Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil. (Proverbs 3:5–7 (ESV)) The wisdom that God gives is: …first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. (James 3:17 (ESV))

When we depend on God’s wisdom rather than our own, we find peace which passes all understanding.  Why?  The pressure is on Him not on us!

Blessings!

Top Ten Reasons Pastors/Leaders Experience Difficulty in Transitions

English: Transitions Abstract
Image via Wikipedia

Every leader feels the need at one time or another for a tranistion to take place in their organization.  Whether it is a church or a business, each of them require the leader to factor in the human dynamics that accompany this kind of change.  Developing a transitional strategy will take into account ten specific areas which often cause people to resist change.

People often resist change because:

  1. They have inadequate skills for functioning in the change.
  2. They feel like they are “left in the dark” and are left feeling uncertain about what is coming next.
  3. They lack the understanding of why the change benefits them and the rest of the organization.
  4. They are reluctant to stop doing what they have always done.
  5. They are reluctant to learn new skills, behaviors, or structures.
  6. They are unable to let go of the past in a healthy way.
  7. Poor planning or implementation of the change which creates confusion and resentment.
  8. Unclear expectations about what is required to succed in the new structure.
  9. Fear that the change will not succeed.
  10. Inadequate support to help those involved to succeed.

If a leader takes the time to address these challenges and develop a strategy for meeting the needs of those involved in the change, they will find that transitions become easier to manage.

A Minute Devotional–2.29.12

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IMG_7318 (Photo credit: six steps )

“I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you.” Jeremiah 31:3 (ESV)

What a wonderful promise! God has, does, and always will love us with an everlasting love!  It’s the kind of love that cannot be bought or sold, earned or bartered for.  It’s a love which God grants because of His unmerited favor on your life!

Because He loves you, He will also be faithful to you.  No matter what!  He has never failed you and He won’t fail today or tomorrow.  Throughout eternity he is going to always be faithful to you!  Thank God He will never leave you or forsake you!

Blessings!

3 Nonnegotiable Traits of a Leader

Leaders must possess many traits that will assist them in their leadership position.  But if you were to narrow them down to three specific traits that are nonnegotiable for a leader to be defined as a success, they would be:

  1. Competency: Defined as having the necessary ability or knowledge to do something successfully, competency is not something that naturally is inherent in every leader.  It is often developed through personal study, application and experience.  A leader who is constantly developing their competency is a leader who will find their leadership to be effective for the long-term.  Anytime you quit learning is the day you quit becoming an effective leader!
  2. Character: Defined as the mental and moral qualities distinctive to an individual; strength and originality in a person’s nature; or a person’s good reputation.  Character is developed through defined standards that the leader is going to live by.  Standards that are committed to personally will be the standards that will mark their leadership.  Too often the leader’s lapse in character becomes the defining characteristic that will be who they are perceived to be the rest of their leadership.  Above all, guard your character, it is the most important leadership quality you have!
  3. Concern: This not the type of concern that happens in the moment you say something to make you feel like you care about the other person, but genuine concern goes beyond mere words.  Concern can be defined as relating to; to effect or involve; to regard it as important enough to do something.  Therefore genuine concern goes beyond just saying the words, it involves action which meets the needs of others.  A leader who genuinely cares about those he leads will do whatever it takes to make sure they are taken care of!

Happy Leading!

One Minute Devotional–2.28.12

“Therefore do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward.  For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised.”

Hebrews 10:35–36 (ESV)

This is an incredible promise to the believer who trusts and serves God with all their heart.  That we have a great reward waiting for us in eternity.  Spending an eternity with Him! The hope and joy that this instills into the life of the believer should not only be their foundation, but the most contagious of all their traits.

But this promise also comes with specific conditions of which a true follower of Christ must display, confidence (or faith) and endurance (or persistence).  Confidence means that we have faith and trust in God with our lives and endurance means that we will persistently press on in our relationship with Him, faithfully following His will.  When these conditions are met in our lives, heaven is truly ours!