After taking a sabbatical from my blog to focus on my new job as the Communications Director at my home church…I will pick up the digital pen once again on January 1, 2017.
Archives For Leadership
Over the past ten years, people have always asked how I can get so much done. They wonder how do I find the time & energy to run multiple ministries at the same time, lead hundreds of volunteers, focus on my creative work, be a dad and husband, read lots of books and find time for myself. Well, I’ll let you in on my little secret. I write it down and plan for it. I call it, “My Personal Growth Plan”.
There is something special about writing your priorities and goals, both short-term and long-term. They give you a score card to evaluate if you are accomplishing what it is you need, and want, to accomplish. BUT it is not good enough to just write them down, create a plan and then forget about it…you have to be methodically looking it over and adjusting it. Your growth plan doesn’t have to be complex or filled with huge goals and dreams, it just needs to be attainable and organic.
The new year is almost upon us and another chapter has been written in history. When you look back and reflect on your life, what do you see? What emotions stir in your heart when you think of the choices you made…or didn’t make. For me, 2011 has been a wild ride. It has been bitter-sweet. I love where my life is now, but I do miss where it was…
My family and I have transitioned from a great ministry in Toledo to a new exciting adventure in Indy. In 2011 we added to our quiver, and now with three boys ages 5 and under, it is definitely full…lol. Personally, I made the move from being a full-time pastor at a church to a full-time stay at home dad. I went from just living my life to learning how to share it with others. BUT, reflection is more than just mentally revisiting the timeline of your life, it is about learning from your decisions….good or bad.
I remember when I was in high school, I swore that when I graduated I would never read a book again, but little did I know that most of my time in college would be spent reading for an exam or class assignment [thank God for cliff notes]. It wasn’t until I was launched into ministry and leadership did I understand the benefits of reading. Maybe I like it so much now because know one is forcing me to do it…lol
Everyone has different tastes in how and what they read. Some like fiction, biographies, love stories and how-to-books. Some people read the paper, blogs, on an e-reader or through audiobooks. Personally, I like to listen to audiobooks, but will read a “book” if one is not in audio format. I have found that I prefer fiction or how-to-books in order to learn and expand my influence. I am actually a huge book-junkie and love to refer a great book or blog to people I encounter that might be looking for answers to certain life, business and ministry questions. I am also a firm believer that if you are not growing or reading…you ARE NOT going to have influence or see growth in your life. Period.
They say that everyone loves hearing the sound of their own name. In fact, if you take any type of training on sales or read any books on how to influence others, experts will usually suggest to you to try to use the customers name as much as possible. BUT, as a parent, the one thing I love to hear more than the sound of my own name is when my kids call me “Da-Da”. I have three boys and I can remember exactly when each of them said those words for the first time…and being competitive in nature, I am pleased to announce that each one of them said my preferred name, “Da-Da”, before they learned how to say, “Ma-ma” or anything else. And…since I have all boys, their 2nd word was…of course…”ball”…sorry honey.
Rather than bore you with details of my kids’ phonetic journey, let me get to the point. A couple of days ago, my 7 month old…and last kid my wife and I will bring into this world…said “Da-Da” for the first time. After bragging about this on Twitter, I realized something sobering. This was the last time I would hear those words for the first time.
One of the best things I can do for myself, my family and those I influence is to “Just Say No!” I know, I know…it sounds cliche…BUT when it comes to prioritizing your life and maximizing on the time and influence you have with others around you…learning to say, “No,” is crucial.
Some may argue that following this advice seems negative. It’s actually a matter of perspective. Every time you say “No” to something, you are in reality saying “Yes” to something else. Think about it…if I say “No” to a guy’s night out, I am saying “Yes” to dinner with my family. If I look at my son and say, “No” almost every time he asks me to buy him a candy bar or video game when we are at the store…I am saying “Yes” to investing that money in something he actually needs. When we say “No” to that temptation that stares us down daily or weekly, we are saying “Yes” to building character, discipline and integrity in our lives. In a world that is constantly screaming at us to say “Yes” to doing this or consuming that…I say no…and I am trying to teach my sons to do the same…BUT…they know it’s okay to say “Yes” as long as doing so is saying “No” to the right stuff. Are you confused yet?
One of the things that has changed recently in my life is that I have “switched places” with my wife and now she leaves everyday for work, and I get the joy of working at home and being with our three boys during the day. At first we weren’t sure how this would work out, but I think that it has been one of the coolest things I have ever done. Not because I have the freedom to play video games all day now with my oldest, but because it has allowed me to appreciate even more what my wife does and the time I get to be “just a dad” to my boys.
A couple of months ago, my oldest son looked up at me and said, “Dad I want to be like you…I want to do what you do.”
The measurement of successful leadership is complicated. There are so many definitions, styles, opinions, types, world-views, etc…you get the point. BUT, the one statement that I think can sum it all up is that “Leadership Is Influence”…period! Whether you are a parent leading your kids and family, a teacher molding and shaping the minds of your students, a CEO, pastor or even a cashier at a fast food restaurant…each of us has a sphere of influence. As a leader, any of us can influence anyone in any direction. All of us are leaders in some way, and in turn, all of us are followers too. It’s pretty powerful if you think about it, because who you end up following greatly influences the kind of leader you are and will become. I am proud to have followed and help lead many great “influencers” in the past 4 years at Northpoint.