Tuesday, 10 April 2018


If you want to be a better leader, choose better words!

Power of words:
People determine if you are positive or negative, backward-looking or forward-focused, follower or leader, weak or powerful by the language you use.

Yes, behaviors establish your reputation. But… Language is the music of your day-to-day leadership.
Dark notes:
  1. Negative language makes you a negative leader. Monitor your conversations for a day to see how many dark notes you use.
  2. Complaining doesn’t make you a leader. It makes you a complainer, even if you don’t want to admit it.
  3. Problem-centric conversations create stress and stagnation. Solution-centric conversations make us sing.
Improve your language – expand your leadership.

Bad music starts:
  1. “I can’t believe ….” Unmet expectations are prime opportunities to complain. But complaining doesn’t help us meet expectations.
  2. “Did you know ….” Juicy morsels about others often become dissonant notes.
  3. “They totally screwed up ….” Sentences that begin with ‘they’ often conclude with complaints.
  4. “It’s not fair ….” The search for fairness always ends with complaining.
  5. “That’s stupid ….” Remember, smart people DO stupid things. “Momma says, ‘Stupid is as stupid does.’” Forest Gump
Stop complaining:
Success is easier when you eliminate ineffective behaviors.
Being a positive leader might feel daunting. No worries. Just stop being so negative. I confess that it’s not enough to just stop complaining, but it’s a great start!

Monday, 8 January 2018

25 Ways Be a Better Person

If you are like me, you are always wanting to learn to be a better person in this life.  I want to be an encourager, an inspiration to others, calm under pressure, in control of ME!  I am a learner in life and am looking to learn from others as much as I can.  This week I read a great post by Nicole Booz.    

Some people might come close to what we might describe as “perfection,” but the truth is there is no such thing as a perfect person.
We are all learning and growing. I hope that when my time comes, I can look back on my life and feel confident that I did my best to leave a positive impact, be kind to others, and reach my full potential. That said, here are 25 ways to grow into a better person starting today.

Here are 25 ways to be a better person:

1. Let the little things go.
In the grand scheme of the world, the little things that you allow to permeate your mind and emotions and only affecting you. Chances are this little thing won’t matter five years from now, so adjust your mindset and let it go.
2. Control your emotions, don’t let them control you.
It’s important to remember that it’s your actions that define your character. We all experience emotions from elation to rage to extreme sadness and that’s okay. It’s normal and it’s healthy to acknowledge these feelings.
We will be better off if we don’t act out of anger, sadness or hurt feelings. Take your emotions and spend time with them, but don’t act on them immediately. It only leads to regret.
3. Move your body.
Bodies aren’t made for a sedentary lifestyle. Our bodies are made to move our souls around, to take us out into the world to see and do things and to provide for ourselves. 
4. Eat better.
You probably already knew this was going to be on this list. But instead of just eating better and killing yourself by trying to give up sugar completely, just make room on your plate for more of the good stuff. Eat more fruits and veggies and your body will thank you for it.
5. Read more.
Books of all genres help us to learn more about the world and improve our emotional intelligence. Reading makes us better writers and better communicators.
Even if you aren’t in to reading books, read something.
6. Learn about cultures different from your own.
No matter where I go in the world, one thing I’ve learned from people all over is how important it is to expose yourself to other cultures and other ways of living. Learning from different cultures will not only make you more knowledgeable but more compassionate as well.
7. Carve out time for yourself every day.
You cannot pour from an empty cup. Try as you might, but nothing will come out. It is imperative that we take time to ourselves every single day to honor and support our emotional wellbeing.
8. Give to others.
Giving is a humbling experience. Whether you can give your time, your money or your skills, giving to others builds and supports the communities that sustain our world and each other.
9. Embrace discomfort.
Nothing revelatory ever came from someone’s comfort zone. I know being uncomfortable is scary and challenging, but it is 100 percent worth it. Growth comes from discomfort, and you will only ever know what you are capable of by leaving your comfort zone.
10. Know your limits.
Saying “yes” to every opportunity and request that comes your way only drains your metaphorical cup. There is a value to saying no and not pushing yourself too far. If you are over your limit you are serving no one, least of all yourself.
This applies to drinking, too.
11. Never assume anything.
There’s a saying: when you assume you make and “ass” out of “u” and “me.” In many cases this hold true. Making assumptions about other people, about situations, about anything really, is never a good idea because it introduces bias and creates misunderstandings. You’re better off just asking for clarification.
12. Spend time with your friends.
In the digital age, we neglect our friendships more than we should. We trade meaningful conversations for likes and comments on social media. Spending true quality time with your friends will make you a better person.
13. Make an effort to understand someone else’s perspective.
Assuming that you are always right is a mistake. You might feel strongly that you are right from you perspective, just as the person on the other side of the coin feels the same way. Make an effort to see the situation from their side, too.
14. Take responsibility for your actions.
Good or bad, you are responsible for the outcome and consequences of your actions. We all make mistakes, we’re only human. Apologize when you’re in the wrong, own up to your mistakes — you’ll be better for it.
15. Honor your word.
When you say you are going to do something, do it. Don’t allow yourself to be flaky or irresponsible. If no one can depend on you, what does that say about you?
16. Avoid gossiping.
Gossiping about others only creates a toxic environment. It’s unnecessary to discuss the behavior, choices, and traits of others. If you’re genuinely concerned for someone, bring it up with them.
17. Educate yourself on your impact on the world.
Everything we do affects other people. Everything we do affects our planet. Each action has a consequence, for better or worse. The goal is to leave the place better than we found it.
18. Allow yourself to fail.
The only way you will every truly succeed is by failing. Anyone who has succeeded has failed hundreds of times over before getting to where they are. You must be a beginner before you are an expert. You can give yourself permission to suck, if you need to.
19. Work hard.
The best people to be around are the people who don’t shy away from hard work. They are the people who put the extra hours in, who do the work without praise, take every opportunity they can, and are often the first to volunteer when needed.
20. Don’t take shortcuts.
You become an expert on something by putting the work in. There are certainly lessons to be learned in others’ experiences, but you will often find that the most value in going the long way around.
21. Always be kind.
Kindness is a form of compassion that touches everyone. It costs nothing to be polite or to share a compliment. In the very least, you will set a good example for others to follow.
22. Practice gratitude.
Those who practice gratitude either by writing daily lists of things they are thankful for or simply thinking it each day generally find that they have less to complain about.
Gratitude makes negative situations easier to cope with and makes you more receptive to positive opportunities.
23. Encourage others.
When people encourage others, it makes the world a better place. It inspires confidence in the unconfident. It encourages people to reach outside of their comfort zones and reach their full potential. It inspires others to be their best selves.
24. Lead by example.
If you act as if others are watching you and are going to learn from your actions, you’re going to want to do the right thing. Words are powerful, but actions speak louder than words.
25. Don’t compare yourself to others.
So many of us suffer from comparison-itis where we compare our failures to others’ successes and vice versa. When you begin to adapt to an abundance mentality, you realize there is not a finite amount of success in the world and that there is enough to go around. Comparing yourself to someone else only pushes you off of your own unique path.

 To be a better person, we need to focus on how our thoughts and actions are impacting not only ourselves, but the world around us.

Tuesday, 2 January 2018

5 Bad Habits to Break for a Better New Yea

A great Article by Dan Reiland.

Even good leaders can have bad habits

There are some scary truths about bad habits that hinder our ability to break them.

  • Scary truth #1: Sometimes we really don’t see the habit. (We need a friend to tell us.)
  • Scary truth #2: Sometimes we justify the habit because of heavy pressure or high productivity.
  • Scary truth #3: Sometimes we kind of like the habit, and we don’t want to stop.
  • Scary truth #4: Sometimes we’ve lived the habit so long, it becomes a lifestyle we adapt to.
  • Scary truth #5: Sometimes those around us let us off the hook when they should call us on it.
  • Scary truth #6: Sometimes we minimize and dismiss it because it’s not a “sin.”
One bad habit of mine is that I often run about 5 minutes late to a meeting, sometimes even 10 or more. It really is a bad habit. Being late doesn’t convey how much I value and care about the person who is waiting. It puts me in a rushed state of mind, and it communicates that maybe it’s OK for others to be late.
My scary truth is #2. I attempt to justify it because of my high productivity. “Hey, I just took an urgent phone call from a staff member.” Or, “I finished that leadership talk that is due in two days.” Or, “We were at a critical decision point in the previous meeting and couldn’t just cut it off.”
It’s dangerous when a leader bends reality into a justification, rather than making a tough decision or exercising more discipline.  

5 Bad Work Habits to Avoid – Any of them yours?

1) Stop letting guilt misdirect your time and energy.

Being sensitive to conviction from the Holy Spirit is good. That merits a heartfelt response and any appropriate action. But far too often it’s not conviction from God, but human guilt that prompts how we lead, make decisions and use our time.
Breaking free from guilt, (or its distant cousin people pleasing), is difficult but necessary.
I’ve seen too many church leaders run in circles and exhaust themselves trying to make everyone happy. It doesn’t work. In fact, it’s impossible. It’s better to know what is important, according to your vision and values, and stick to it.
Three things to know and do in overcoming guilt:
  • Know where you are going, and stay focused.
  • Know that you truly care about people, and show it.
  • Know that you are aligned with God’s plan, and listen to His voice.

2) Stop overlooking key or close relationships.

Good leaders don’t take people close to them for granted, but they can forget to slow down enough to enjoy meaningful conversations.
I’m not talking about idle chit-chat; I mean heartfelt conversations. I’ll let you in on a little-practiced secret. You can have deeply meaningful conversations in surprisingly few minutes with people you know well. (Key/Close relationships.)
When you have a relationship of substance, just jump into the deep end of the moment. You don’t need a finely crafted transition, or to be overly blunt, to be direct and speak from the heart. People can travel fast in conversations when they know and trust you. Remember, they are probably just as busy as you are.
Of course, some conversations require a substantial amount of time. But don’t waste those moments when you can have a brief heart to heart connect that makes a difference.

3) Stop using grace to avoid tough conversations.

One of the big reasons you are in ministry is because you love and care about people. It’s good to be kind, forgiving and lean into grace, but not if it’s a way to escape the necessary tough conversations.
What is one tough conversation you know you need to have this week? Pray. Settle your resolve. Have the conversation.

4) Stop letting busyness overtake productivity.

Activity does not equal accomplishment. Just because you’re busy doesn’t mean you are getting the most important things done. It’s very easy to get tired without making progress!
Email, favorite projects, easy tasks, and the squeaky wheels, etc., are the great thieves of accomplishing your most important responsibilities.
A ruthless focus on the highest priorities and most significant responsibilities is required of all great leaders. You will never be free of the tension of too little time, but as you gain more experience, success, and confidence, it does get better.
Here’s one of the best practical steps you can take. Ask your boss to tell you what your most important/primary responsibility is. It’s a tough question. Have the conversation!

5) Stop comparing and complaining.

Negativity of any kind (mild or major) will eat your lunch as a leader.
If your attitude and perspective go sour because you compare what others have, to what you don’t have, you can’t lead well because that attitude will leak out of you.
Complaining never solves anything and only serves as a wet blanket on what otherwise might be hope and encouragement. Instead, do your best to be solution oriented.
We all have moments where we complain about something. That’s human. Remember, we’re talking about habits. And if complaining is a habit, that is a big bad one that you are wise to break.

Saturday, 9 December 2017

5 Steps to Finding Your Balance Between Work and Play

A great post by Olivia Edwardson
It’s easy to get into workaholic mode. You’ve got meetings to prepare for, projects to create (or in my case, lessons), emails to send, and a million other to-do items. I know. I’ve been there myself, and I often don’t even realize it until my friends start calling about how MIA I’ve been.
Don’t get me wrong – I’m an advocate of hard work. Hard work equals success, and success is not for the lazy. But it is important for us twenty-somethings to also take some time for ourselves. A few weeks ago, I met a group of friends to listen to a band playing at a local venue. I had been to see the band almost a year prior, and forgot how much I loved their style. Between the good friends, conversation, and awesome music, I could feel some of my pent-up stress just melting away. I had to remind myself when I left: I need to remember to do things like this more often
It’s not easy to find that balance. Soon to be starting my fifth year in my career, I’m still struggling with this. I love what I do, but I notice that I’m much more myself and relaxed when I also take time for activities I enjoy.

Here are some tips I’ve compiled to make it easier to find the balance between work and play:

1. Set a schedule for how late you plan to be at work.
It is so easy to lose track of time when you’re working on something and you’ve got a deadline. Set a schedule for how late you plan to stay at work. If you’re required to be there until 5:00 but usually stay much later, compromise somewhere in the middle. Then be sure to stick to it. If you mean to leave at 6:00 PM, leave at 6:00 PM. Don’t tell yourself: just one more thing.That “one thing” can very quickly turn into a dozen.
2. Leave work at work.
Unless you work from home, leave your work at work. If you absolutely have to take things home, prioritize them in manageable chunks. I’m in a profession where I typically have evening grading to do – it’s just a matter of determining what needs to come first. If you work from home, separate your work space from your living space. Don’t touch that desk until you “go back to work.” If your mind is always occupied with one more thing that needs to be done, you’ll never find that good balance between work and play.
3. Make plans with the people in your life.
Ah, the good ol’ college days where I could spontaneously text my friends one random evening and we’d all be able to get together. Now 26, I am not able to do that anymore. We’ve all got lives, and busy ones at that. I take the time to schedule plans with my friends and family. The upside of this is that it also gives you something to look forward to!
4. Take time for your own individual activities.
For me, these activities vary. It really depends on my mood. Some days I’ll read a book, or binge watch Netflix. Maybe I’ll go for a run through the park, or hit the weights at the gym. Or for me it might mean playing the piano for an hour or archery target practice at the range. Pay attention to your moods, and choose an activity you enjoy. Don’t have a lot of hobbies? Find a new one. These are good outlets, especially when you are stressed about something work related. Doing something you like helps balance your overall life attitude.
5. Don’t feel guilty!
I can be easily guilt-tripped. Sometimes I think: I really should have finished that unit plan I need to have done in 2 weeks instead of spending 45 minutes browsing Barnes & Noble. You can’t feel guilty for doing the things that make you you. You’ll be more productive in the long run by allowing yourself to enjoy life. Obviously you can’t overdo it – that’s what vacations are for, and that is a post for another day. But taking 45 minutes on a weekday or meeting friends on a Saturday night might be just what you need to relax. Don’t feel guilty about it. You work hard and deserve it.
In the end, finding that balance between work and play is all up to you. Being a twenty-something is all about discovering what makes you unique, and that includes both work and play. Enjoy your life for all its aspects.

Friday, 24 November 2017

7 Questions That Can Help You Crush A Plateau And Gain Momentum

Chances are you would like what every leader would like—momentum.  A post by Carey Nieuwhof.

All of us hit both personal and organizational plateaus. As much as we think momentum should be a permanent state, it never is. No one lives in a state of momentum all the time.
So if you hit a plateau or fall in a rut, how do you get out of it—both personally and organizationally?
A number of top leaders will talk about how to find and sustain momentum (plus so much more) in Atlanta at thE. Not a senior church leader? Register instead for the Orange Conference in Atlanta. I’ll be at both events (and I’m hosting ReThink Leadership), and I’d love for you to join me. Early bird rates are on until March 16th!
In the meantime, how do you find momentum when you don’t have it?
Sometimes the answers on how to get momentum can prove elusive until you’ve discovered the right questions.
Here are 7 questions I’ve collected over the years that I ask myself on a semi-regular basis to push through to the next level and find momentum.
While I can’t guarantee they will help you, I promise they have helped me get unstuck over and over again.

1. Are You Spending Most Of Your Time In Your Sweet Spot?

You may be good at many things, but you’re actually only great at a few things.
And you’re only truly passionate about a few things.
This is true for individuals and organizations.
Jim Collins asked the question this way: What can you be best in the world at?
I know that’s an audacious question, but the more you can align your gifting and passion with how you spend your time, the more effective you will be.
Sure, in start-up mode, you need to do a little of everything, but over time, the more you spend doing what you’re best at, the more you will love what you do and the greater value you’ll bring to your team and cause.
Often churches and leaders who plateau get stuck because they’re not operating in their area of peak giftedness or effectiveness.
2. In Your Weekly Routine, What Are You Having To Manufacture Energy To Do? Why Are You Doing It?
You don’t approach everything you do with the same enthusiasm.
Neither does your organization.
Sometimes you have to manufacture energy to do things, personally and organizationally. That’s okay every once in a while, but if you’re consistently having to manufacture energy, it can be a sign it’s either time to stop doing what you’re doing or hand it off to someone else.
Maybe a program that was once effective has stopped being effective. No matter how much you promote it, you know it’s accomplishing nothing.
As the famed marketing genius, David Ogilvy, once said, great marketing just makes a bad product fail faster.
As hard as it is to admit, maybe you’ve plateaued because you simply have a bad product. So either make it great or kill it.
On a personal level, maybe you’re spending a lot of your time doing something you’re not great at. Change that.
3. Who Are You Spending Time With That You Don’t Need To Be Spending Time With? 
This is a huge question. Don’t overlook it.
It’s tempting to think you have to spend your time with whoever asks to meet with you. And if you do that, you’ll always lead a small organization. That kind of time management doesn’t scale. As I shared here, that’s almost always a mistake.
Second, you’ll ignore your best leaders (because they’re low maintenance) and spend all your time trying to prop up your weakest leaders or with people who simply always have problems (you know who I’m talking about).
The people you spend the most time with don’t have to be the smartest people or the richest people by any stretch (that can be sinful), but you should spend most of your time with the key people you’ve trusted most deeply to carry the mission forward.
Chances are they won’t ask for more of your time because they manage and lead themselves well. But they should get it anyway.
Great leaders spend most of their time with the leaders who generate most of their results.
Do that, and you’ll almost always either find momentum or discover why you don’t have it.
4. Who Are You Not Listening To That You Should Listen To?
Leadership is isolating. You tend to hear from the same people again and again, and it generates a confirmation bias: the people around you say the same thing and it confirms the theory you have about why you’re stuck.
One of the best things you can do when you’ve hit a plateau is to get out of your office and even break from your usual circle to do some selective listening.
Create a focus group and ask them what they’re seeing or feeling.
Design a survey to solicit feedback. If I find myself in a preaching rut (it happens), I’ll often convene a focus group or survey the congregation on a topic I’m going to address. I learn so much about how people actually think through and talk about an issue that it reframes how I’m going to preach a subject. (Here’s an example of a current survey I’m running. And yes, you can take it.)
Bottom line? No matter how you do it, get out of your normal circle and listen.

5. How Can I Put More Fuel In The Areas That Are Seeing The Most Traction? 

Just like you need to spend most of your time with your best leaders, you and your organization should spend most of your time focusing your efforts on what’s producing the majority of your results.
If you can apply the Pareto Principle to all areas of your organization, you’ll go further.
For example, let’s say your kids’ ministry is seeing huge growth right now. Do you give resources to other areas that are weaker, or do you give more money and resources to kids ministry to further their growth?
I would vote for giving more money and resources to kids ministry. And then jump to question 6, below.

6. What Areas Of Your Ministry Are Seeing The Least Traction? 

Kill what’s not working. As my friend Reggie Joiner says, “It doesn’t take a leader to kill what’s dead. It does take a leader to kill what’s living.”
You need to prune and cut your organization as much as possible to fuel momentum. In the same way that a pruned apple tree grows more apples, a pruned ministry bears more fruit.
7. If You Were An Outside Consultant, What Would You Tell You And Your Team To Do?
I love this question.
It might seem a little strange, but it will give you distance.
If you were an outsider, what would you tell yourself to do? Most of the time you already know the answer to this… you’re just afraid to say it.
So say it.
And then once you figure that out, just go do it. Often answering that question can lead to a breakthrough.

Sunday, 12 November 2017


A great post by Dan Rockwell - A must read!

I’m still grappling with the realization that kindness/warmth is inconvenient. I’d be kind if I had the time.
Thankfully, when I work with people or organizations, they are my agenda. But what if you’re not on my agenda?

Warm and competent:
Change your thinking if you believe gunslinger-leaders get to the top.
“If you’re seen as low-warmth, you have something like a 1-in-2000 chance to make the top quartile of effectiveness as a leader.” (1) Zenger & Folkman
Don’t sacrifice warmth on the altar of competence.
The first thing teams need to know is, are you friend or foe. Do you intend harm or help?
The second thing teams need to know is, are you competent?
Leaders worry too much about competence and not enough about warmth.
Two questions that determine warmth:
  1. What is your intent?
  2. Are you able to act on your intentions?
Trustworthy leaders are warm and competent.
If you must choose between warmth and competence to build trust, choose warmth. That’s not to say that incompetent leaders are trustworthy. It is to say that we are quicker to trust warm leaders.
Adam Waytz, “Warmth really predominates judgments of trustworthiness.” (2)
The seven practices of warmth:
  1. Help others reach their goals. This assumes you know the goals of others.
  2. Display optimism, but don’t minimize challenges.
  3. Follow through. Leaders who don’t follow through are seen as uncaring.
  4. Maximize the strengths of others through coaching and mentoring.
  5. Challenge people to reach high and support them on the way. Low standards aren’t warm or inspirational.
  6. Explain an intention, seek feedback, and change. “I’m working to display optimism. What am I doing that displays optimism? How might I improve?”
  7. Maintain a forward-facing posture. Don’t ignore the past. Just focus on the future.
What concerns you about displaying warmth?
How might leaders display warmth?
  1. I’m the Boss! Why Should I Care if you Like Me?
  2. Measuring Trust Through Competence or Warmth
  3. Susan Fiske – Youtube video  (not quoted.)
  4. The Effects of Status on Perceived Warmth and Competence (Not used in this post.)

Saturday, 14 October 2017


If we aren’t careful, as time passes, leaders expect more from others and less from themselves. 

Would you hire you, if you interviewed yourself?

You expect the people you interview to answer important questions with concise clarity. Maybe it’s time to hold yourself to the same standard.

Questions to interview yourself:

1. Imagine 20 years have passed.
  1. What have you accomplished that makes you proud?
  2. What have you done to enrich the lives of others?
2. What do you wish you could do better?
Don’t humble-brag by saying silly things like, “I tend to work long hours.” Or, “I find it difficult to take time off.”
  1. How have your weaknesses held you back?
  2. How are you compensating for your weakness?
3. How forward-looking would the people you work with say you are on a scale of 1 to 10?
Suppose you believe your colleagues would give you an 8 on the forward-looking scale.
  1. Why didn’t you give yourself a 7?
  2. What would be true of you, if you were a 9 on the forward-looking scale?
4. What have you done to develop your leadership over the last 3 months?
Development requires focused attention and purposeful practice. If you aren’t working at developing your leadership, it’s not happening.
  1. How much time do you spend reflecting on your leadership practice?
  2. When are you reflecting on your leadership trajectory?
5. What leadership behaviors are essential for your future success?

6. If you don’t achieve your dreams, what will you have left undone?

7. What value do your strengths bring to the organization?
Bonus: What is your definition of leadership?
  1. How do you fulfill your own definition of leadership?
  2. How do you fall below your own definition of leadership?                                                                                                                                   One way to stay humble and connected is to give yourself a job interview.