You are the most important and difficult person you lead every single day.
That being the case, here are three ways you can completely sabotage your future self.
1.Caring too much about what others think about you.
If you are doing big, adventurous, faith-filled and curious things, there will always be people who feel small around you. Your desire to live a curious life that is full of faith will illuminate some people’s desire to live a life characterized by safety. And they will belittle you as a result of their own insecurities.
Do not take this personally. This is often more about them than it is about you.
Not everyone has the same level of risk tolerance, and not everyone is at the same place in their faith.
Take careful inventory of your words.
Ask God to protect your heart and continue to bring clarity to you as you lead and leverage your one and only life.
2. Caring too little about what God thinks about you.
From heaven’s perspective you are a magnificent creation of the most high God. And there is no doubt that God has woven abilities, talents and gifts into your life that you have not even come to realize yet!
Little stuff that other people never even notice are things that God notices because He made you on purpose.
God recognizes and keeps track of every detail of your life.
One of my favorite stories to illustrate this truth is of the Statue of Liberty.
Oscar Hammerstein had seen a picture, a photograph of the top of the Statue of Liberty from a helicopter. And he said, “This picture reveals the intricate detail that has been sculpted on Lady Liberty’s head, her hair and her crown and all of those things at that angle which no one could ever see,” and he said, “I got to thinking that sculptor must have realized that never will anyone see the top of the Statue of Liberty’s head, since there were no airplanes or helicopters when the statue was set in place. But he spent the same kind of detail and care and painstaking craftsmanship on the top of Lady Liberty’s head as he did down at the feet and everywhere else that would be seen by everyone.”
God has carved things into you that only He can see.
You were created by the oldest, most famous, skilled, loving Creator in the history of the world.
Believe what God says about you and don’t get fearful and fail to fulfill the purpose and plan for which you were created.
Ephesians 2:10 – For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.
3. Living in the future and neglecting the now.
Leaders are built for the future.
But our faith, friendships and family are all requesting that we live in the now.
I can tell you from personal experience that one of the quickest ways to sabotage your future self is to live constantly in the future.
I would say to leaders that instead of “living” in the future you should be content to “visit” the future … but continue to live in the now.
I am currently in the Dominican Republic with a cohort of pastors on a “Next Level Leaders Retreat” sponsored by GO Ministries.
It has been an amazing week experiencing multiple expressions
of culture shaping local ministry.
God is at work through the church plants, seminary, nutrition centers, sports teams, kingdom businesses, medical centers and local leaders that GO Ministries has raised up and empowered over the past several decades.
Part of our time together has been spent discussing this curious thing called leadership. I have been privileged to give several talks about how next level leaders live curious lives.
Here are 9 of the 15-20 ingredients we have talked about that are often mixed into the life of a next level leader.
1. They lead themselves first.
One of the most curious axioms I have learned and been forced to embrace in the past 3-4 years is …
I am the most important person I lead every week.
That could sound so self centered and egotistical but it is not meant to be. It’s just true.
If I can’t lead myself well … I won’t be leading others for long. I am the most important person I lead every week!
2. They say NO.
“The enemy for leaders is not lack of opportunity; it’s the overabundance of opportunity.” I love this quote from my friend Carey Nieuwhof. Isn’t it true that next level leaders usually have an abundance of opportunities.
There is always someone saying, “You should be here, you should be there, you should do this, you should do that.”
It’s easy to let others SHOULD ON YOU!
Worse yet … next level leaders often SHOULD ON THEMSELVES!
And I “should” add …
Opportunity does not equal obligation.
Leaders listen, if you never say “NO” and you try to care for everything you will soon realize you do not have the capacity or bandwidth to care for anything!
You will flourish yourself to death.
What I have learned is that ministry is so comprehensive you must actually steward your energy and compassion. Jesus didn’t have unlimited energy and capacity to care – neither do you.
3. They visit the future but live in the now.
It is so easy for leaders to live in the future. After all, it is our job to lay track so the train never has to stop. Right?!?!
The problem for leaders living in the future is that they inevitably neglect the now. It’s not possible to be present in both places. And when we live largely in the future we skim life.
Thus my challenge to next level leaders is …
– Make plans.
– Lay track.
– Cast vision.
– Dream ahead.
Visit the future, but live in the now!
4. They understand their culture is their currency.
It’s a somewhat curious and count-intuitive thing but when it comes to recruiting and retaining next level leaders …
– A pay-check won’t keep them … someone will always pay them more.
– The perfect job description won’t keep them … there will always be a better job description.
– A big house won’t keep them … there will always be a bigger and better house.
So what keeps them? An infectious culture keeps them. Your culture is your currency.
5. They have a long list of “obeyed” Holy Spirit promptings.
In my estimation there is no better way to be balanced, healthy and refreshed than to have a constant string of “obeyed” Holy Spirit promptings in your life.
The Bible is also clear, throughout scripture, that the Holy Spirit gives promptings and whispers to the hearts of His people. I know that promptings are rather mystical and mysterious and I’m not sure how they fit into your theology.
Yet, doesn’t it seem true that if God lives in us by the power and presence of his Holy Spirit. He will give us promptings?
The truth is there are only two kingdoms you can build – yours and His.
If you obey the promptings of the Holy Spirit of God you are building HIS kingdom.
If you do not obey the promptings of the Holy Spirit of God you are building YOUR kingdom.
SO … WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU OBEYED A PROMPTING?
If you cannot honestly remember the last time you obeyed a Holy Spirit prompting you had better take a really good look at whose kingdom you’re building.
If we are not daily obeying promptings we are in danger of building our kingdom not His!
6. They understand the pit falls being omni-aware.
Our world is becoming increasingly “omni-aware.” We are now aware of all the good and all the bad in the world the moment it occurs.
Think about that …
– We see every heroic act immediately.
– We see every violent act immediately.
Thus creating unintended hero’s and villains almost daily.
When I think about our current culture – it feels like we are living in a comic book. Because we are globally aware of super hero’s and villains like never before.
Often what happens to Christians when we get a real-time look at the world we get depressed. Because frankly it often looks like the Church is losing.
I love the documentary on CNN a few years ago that celebrated the 50th anniversary of the allied invasion of Normandy. During this special documentary CNN interviewed two elderly men who had been young soldiers and participated in the Normandy invasion.
An infantry soldier was interviewed and said, “We landed on the beach and I made my way thru dead body after dead body … I saw my whole unit killed! I fought hand-to-hand combat paying a high price for every foot of territory. I looked all around me at all the dead bodies and I fell to my knees in defeat. And I said to myself … there is no way we can win.”
A reconnaissance pilot was also interviewed and said, “It was my job to fly over the entire area of the battle and then report back to the allied command everything I could see from my aerial perspective. And as I flew over the battle field with every hour I became more and more confident with what I saw. And I said to myself … there is no way we can lose!”
Two people viewing the same set of circumstances only from a different perspective.
I believe it’s our job as next level leaders of God’s Church
to remind God’s people about God’s view.
If we could just this world from heavens perspective we would see that the message of Christ is advancing every single day. And there is no way we can lose!
7. They leverage technology.
Technology is amoral.
It can be used for either good or bad – just like money.
We should be curios and committed to leveraging all platforms, old and new, for good.
8. They have next level friends who they can be 100% honest with.
Ministry is hard. Isolation makes it even harder.
I read a study recently that claimed 70% of pastors do not have close personal friends, and no one in whom to confide.
This just seems crazy to me but also awkwardly true as I encounter lonely leader after lonely leader. We don’t share life very well together is seems. Maybe we are too busy, jealous, preoccupied or focused on our “own thing” to care about another persons thing.
This is tragic and I’d say to all wanna be next level leaders…
Let’s be others centered not self centered.
Let’s do our very best to live and model for others what Paul says in Romans, “Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.”
9. They have a killer commitment to a private devotional time.
What is it that separates you from a very charismatic, gifted, energetic, determined person who works for a Boys And Girls Club or a Chick fil A franchise or Google or some benevolent brand or non profit?
Your connectedness to God.
The greatest and most compelling thing next level leaders have to offer this world is our connectedness to God.
For many years I had a small sign in my office that said …
When you are faced with a busy day …
save precious time by skipping your daily devotions.
Don’t let satan make you so busy with “good things” that you miss the “best thing” your daily time with God.
Next level leaders have the ability to lead people closer to God because they have been close to God themselves!
There you go … a short excerpt from several of my Dominican Republic talks.
Live curious friends.
When I find organizations that have a benevolent brand and missional mind I get excited.
These are five organizations that I love, trust and support.
Check em’ out.
I have been a Laker fan for more than a decade and continue to be a Lamar Odom fan. What is playing out for the public to metabolize is so painful to me.
I understand, while a man is in the hospital fighting for his life … this is not a good time to make judgements about his character or conduct.
I am not here to judge or condemn Lamar Odom.
It’s just that I feel such hurt from this situation, and I see so few people speaking out as to what leads to this kind of outcome in a man’s life. So, here are a few thoughts as I try to process all of the events surrounding Odom these past few days.
Many people I know are trying to discern where God is calling them to love, lead, live and serve in the future. When I talk to leaders young and old it is not uncommon to hear the refrain …
- I’m just not sure where God is calling me to lead.
- I wish I knew where God wanted me to serve.
- I’m confused as to which path to take in this unique season of life.
Here are three questions I often ask people who are trying to determine where God is leading them.
Do you remember the first time you were exposed to explicit or questionable content?
I do … it was my first day of first grade. I was 6 or 7 years old, and I was walking home from school with two friends; I can still remember their first and last names, but I won’t mention them. They asked me if I wanted to see something cool, and of course I said yes. They led me to a big oak tree that was rooted virtually in my own back yard, and they pointed to a hole about 8ft. up the trunk. They told me to climb up there and look inside. I was nervous, but I did it. And I can still remember, to this day, what I saw.
It was a front cover to a magazine that said “Playboy.”
I can still remember exactly what that front cover looked like, and that was close to 40 years ago!
I will be honest with you, I rushed home from school for the next several weeks more quickly than usual. I climbed that tree many more times to sneak a peak at that cover. Then one day when I climbed the tree, the magazine was gone, & it never appeared again.
My exposure to explicit images was then dramatically altered and reduced to the times I could find a thick JC Penny catalog laying around the house and quickly look at the lingerie section! Or once a year when the Sports Illustrated Swim Suit issue came out, and my buddies and I could go to the local convenient store, distract the store clerk and look at those girls in bikinis.
Fast-forward to today, several decades later, access to pornography is easy and everywhere. Anyone with a smartphone in his or her pocket can view pornography at a moment’s notice, really whether you want to or not!
Today, pornographic images are practically unavoidable. Whether you are seeking it or simply stumble onto it – it’s pervasive in our digital society.
Did you know …
- 12% – 18% of all websites are pornographic.
- 30% of all data transferred across the internet is pornography.
- 25% (1 of 4) of all search engine requests are pornography related.
– Last year, porn sites got more visitors per month than Netflix, Amazon, and Twitter combined.
- 47% of families say pornography is a problem in their home.
- 8 – 11 years old is the average age of a child’s first exposure to pornography.
- 90% of high school males will view pornography before they turn 18.
- 64% of Christian Men / 15% of Christian Women say they watch pornography at least once a month.
We can ignore all of this and pretend these statistics don’t apply to our lives, our marriages and our children.
Or we can be honest, brave and bold and address this subject.
This weekend at Christ’s Church of the Valley I shared a message where I unpacked and debunked these “5 Messy Myths About Pornography.”
My goal in this message is not to make you feel bad about your past – it is to make you feel optimistic toward your future.
My goal is to convince you that a porn-free life is actually possible.
MESSY MYTH #1 – Pornography is a private thing and not really hurting anyone.
Anyone who has battled or become addicted to porn has at some point adopted this erroneous mindset in order to justify their actions. To a clear mind this sounds crazy, but to a mind that is trying to rationalize out of bounds behavior, this notion makes perfect sense.
Friends, this is naïve and foolish. We live in a world where everything is interconnected, and it’s virtually impossible to assume that your private behavior has no public impact.
There is story after story of men and women where pornography became a gateway to sexual escalation. Eventually their private pornographic sessions led them to publicly crossing boundaries they swore they would never cross.
Consider the fact that pornography is a gateway to sexual escalation. Eventually private activity leads to public interactions and giving yourself permission to cross boundaries you swore you’d never cross. You don’t do anything with your body that you don’t first conceive of in your mind.
Porn is always progressive.
What happens “online” will eventually happen “offline” in our real lives – there is always an escalation.
Then, after desire has conceived,
it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown,
gives birth to death.
~ James 1:15
Pornography is something that always escalates and will eventually destroy you emotionally, relationally and spiritually.
MESSY MYTH #2 – My desire to read or look at pornography will go away when I get married.
No, it won’t. There is no research or indication anywhere that saying, “I DO” magically eradicates a person’s pornographic tendencies or desires. In fact, the most devastating manifestations of pornography are often only exposed after you get married.
One of the most detrimental consequences of pornography in marriage is unfair and unhealthy comparisons. I know an increasing number of men who have a real problem comparing their real-life wife to a fake woman on a computer, smartphone, tablet, TV, Xbox or PS3! And equally there are women who after years of reading erotic romance novels cannot be captivated or romanced by a real-life man.
They have been Nicholas Sparki-fied!
Did you know the use of the drug Viagra has skyrocketed in recent years some 312% between 18-45 year old males? One of the theories, that is never shared in commercials, is young married men have been so repeatedly stimulated by fake pornographic fantasies, they can no longer be aroused by their real-life wife!
Listen, young men and women … your unattended lustful thoughts or desire to look at porn or read explicit material will not go away when you get married. I want to challenge you today, if you are single, to fight for your purity.
Singles, every time you guard your mind and heart and soul and say NO to explicit content – you are saying YES to your future spouse and marriage!
Singles and students, don’t buy into the lie that your out of bounds habits before marriage will all of the sudden disappear when you say, “I do!”
MESSY MYTH #3 – Pornography can spice up a stale marriage.
This is a lie. I have talked to enough men and women over the past few years who have told me that when their marriage really went off the tracks is when they decided to believe this lie.
They decided to bring porn into their marriage. They thought it might help. They thought it might bring them closer to each other.
And the truth is … every single time … it does the opposite.
I was reading this week about the typical narrative of pornographic sex. It is pretty simple: strangers meet, have sex, and never see each other again.
This scenario doesn’t work for married people because, for starters …
YOU HAVE TO SEE EACH OTHER AGAIN!!!
Married people, take a look at this verse from the Bible …
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true,
whatever is noble, whatever is right,
whatever is pure, whatever is lovely,
whatever is admirable—
if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—
think about such things.
~ Phil. 4:8
- Would you say that verse describes a husband & wife watching porn together?
- Would you say that verse describes a man looking up explicit hashtags on Instagram?
- Would you say that verse describes a woman reading 50 Shades of Grey?
Friends, listen, pornography does not spice up a stale marriage – in fact, it does the opposite and destroys marriages.
MESSY MYTH #4 – Kids don’t start struggling with pornography until puberty.
As mentioned in the statistics at the beginning of this article, the average age of a child’s first exposure to pornography is between 8-11 years old. It’s not just boys. Girls are also struggling to live pure in this sexually explicit world.
Parents, our kids find porn two ways.
Some of them are seeking it out, & some of them are stumbling onto it, and there is a big difference.
Here is a graphic that explains the progression of pornography in our lives.
I explained this graphic in detail in the blog post “Porn Again & Again Christians” a few days ago.
Parents, you need to understand this progression of pornography.
And you need to fight this like it’s your job … because it is.
Parents, do not let another week go by with an unrestricted stream of pornographic images & explicit content flowing into your home!
MESSY MYTH #5 – I can’t defeat this addiction to pornography.
That is also a lie from the evil one himself! You CAN defeat this addiction because …
Greater is He who is in you
than he who is in the world.
~ I John 4:4
Through Jesus, you can defeat this desire, but it’s not easy, and it likely won’t happen in a day.
Listen to what Paul, who wrote much of the New Testament, says about our human nature and sin in Romans 7:17-27. (Message Bible)
But I need something more! For if I know the law but still can’t keep it, and if the power of sin within me keeps sabotaging my best intentions, I obviously need help! I realize that I don’t have what it takes. I can will it, but I can’t do it. I decide to do good, but I don’t really do it; I decide not to do bad, but then I do it anyway. My decisions, such as they are, don’t result in actions. Something has gone wrong deep within me and gets the better of me every time.
It happens so regularly that it’s predictable. The moment I decide to do good, sin is there to trip me up. I truly delight in God’s commands, but it’s pretty obvious that not all of me joins in that delight. Parts of me covertly rebel,
and just when I least expect it, they take charge.
I’ve tried everything and nothing helps. I’m at the end of my rope. Is there no one who can do anything for me?
Isn’t that the real question?
The answer, thank God, is that Jesus Christ can and does. He acted to set things right in this life of contradictions where I want to serve God with all my heart and mind, but am pulled by the influence of sin to do something totally different.
Curious friends, you can find freedom in your life from any temptation, sin or addiction but it will only happen through Jesus Christ.
So here is the challenge … make a decision today to get accountable.
Accountability is the greatest enemy of pornography.
Here is a path to accountability.
1. Admit it.
Admit to yourself that what started as a temptation has become an addiction. What you were simply “stumbling” onto at first, you are now “seeking” out. Be honest with yourself, you owe that to yourself.
Admitting this to others such as your friend, family member, fiancé, spouse or parents could be the toughest thing you feel like you have had to do in decades. But don’t forget that accountability is the greatest enemy of pornography.
Admit it to God. And realize when you do, He is not going to say, “What, are you kidding me? I had no idea!!!” No, He already knows. So why not go ahead and admit to God what He already knows to be true about you?
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just
and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
~ I john 1:9
2. Engage it.
Nothing will change in your life until you make some changes in your life!
I know the mindset when it comes to pornography can easily become, “I’m never going to solve or defeat this problem, so why even try?”
It’s true … you likely will not solve or defeat this problem in a day or a week.
But don’t let that keep you from engaging this issue.
Make a decision that this will be the last week that this MESSY SECRET remains a secret in your life, family or home! And realize that getting past porn is a spiritual partnership with God in your life.
To this end I labor, struggling with all his energy,
which so powerfully works in me.
~ Col. 1:29
The key to getting past pornography is not your own power, but it is the power of Jesus & the presence of the Holy Spirit in your life.
Friends, live curious and counter to the culture of this world and make a decision that this will be the last week that this messy secret remains a secret.
*** I am indebted to many websites and articles for this message. But I want to specifically give thanks and point you toward XXX Church that has incredible content and a power-packed software called X3 Watch. And also Covenant Eyes, a website full of great information for families when it comes to living pure in this sexually explicit world.
As my son Cole heads to high school today, I have been wrestling with how I have prepared him for this new season of life.
Have I done enough?
I know for a young man there may be no greater challenge these days than navigating the high school experience. This is the season of life where …
– grades really count
– sex really happens
– hormones rage
– tempers flare
– faith is challenged
– friends are made and betrayed
– party invitations are extended
– love is lost and found
So as I send him off into this grand adventure called high school … here are nine things I have been trying to reinforce and teach my son:
1. Start your day with Jesus.
Son … I know this means getting up even earlier … but as Henry Beecher says, “The first hour is the rudder of your day.”
And whether you are listening to your Bible on your phone as you brush your teeth or reading your Bible as you eat cereal, please do not neglect this habit. There is nothing that will provide you with more confidence during this coming year than being firm in your foundation and of who God says you are.
– You are more than a student.
– You are more than an athlete.
– You are more than a friend.
– You are more than a musician.
You are a child of the most high God, and He has created you on purpose as His great masterpiece … new braces and all!
2. You’re cool, brah!
Son … I know that means less and less coming from dad, but I figure if I can say it 700 times, then 7 times may sink in.
So I’ll say it again, “You are the coolest young man I know.”
– You are funny.
– You are caring.
– You are creative.
– You are brave.
– You are adventurous.
– You are handsome.
– You are confident.
– You are smart.
– You are full of faith.
3. Bounce your eyes off the yoga pants.
Son … this is very simple … yoga pants will mess up your mind as there is little left to the imagination.
When you see the Lululemon logo … look away!!!
4. Your high school is a mission field not a popularity contest.
Son … God knows exactly what class schedule you will have and what lunch you will eat. He also knows every single other student who will be around you during the day.
He has put you where He has put you on purpose.
I do not expect you to spend your day being an evangelist. But I pray you never miss a chance to encourage someone who is broken or stand up for someone who is being beat down.
I pray that you will live your high school life for an audience of ONE not 2,500.
5. You will have teachers who will mock God but also speak truth.
Son … do not be confused when a teacher who does not claim to know God speaks truth.
I think one of the greatest perils of Christian kids is thinking that anyone who doesn’t know God speaks only lies. The truth is that people who don’t know God can still speak truth.
That is because God has created them, whether they admit that or not. And God, who owns truth, has deposited it inside all of His creation.
People can speak His truth without understanding, admitting or accepting who He is.
6. You must treat girls with respect.
Son … many of your friends will treat girls with very little respect because they have never been taught to respect or interact with the opposite sex. But you have been given a great gift in your 17 year old sister.
As you head to High School and you are wondering …
– Should I open the door for a girl?
– Should I make a sexual comment about a girl?
– Should I be honest with this certain girl?
Just ask yourself how would you want another guy to treat your sister.
Would you want a guy to open a door for her? YES!
Would you want a guy to make rude sexual comments about your sister? NO
Would you want a guy to be honest with your sister? YES
Son … girls are different but not lesser.
They are priceless and meant to be honored, protected and respected.
7. Show me your friends, and I will show you your future.
Son … how many times have you heard me say that?
This is one of those sentences I have tried to speak to you and your sister as often as possible the past few years. And now as you enter into High School, this principle hits its peak of usefulness and truthfulness.
Who you choose as friends will determine so much of your High School career.
I am not saying, don’t be kind, accepting and open to all … I am just saying, be careful who you choose to hang with most, because that is who you will most become like.
8. Give grace to your teachers.
Son … remember your teachers are human too!
You have no idea if a teacher is coming off a great summer or a terrible summer. And there is no doubt that teachers also feel unique pressures and get nervous about the first day and week of school.
Their job will be much easier, and you can endear yourself to your teachers, by simply giving them some grace and assuming positive intentions.
They are not there to make your life miserable!
They are there to protect you, teach you and help you succeed in your freshman year.
They absolutely do care about you.
Listen to them and give them new grace each day.
9. You don’t have to be perfect.
Son … I do not expect you to be perfect.
You will make mistakes.
I expect you to make mistakes, and I want to tell you right now that your mistakes will not affect how much I love you.
The Willow Creek Global Leadership Summit took place the past few days on August 6th & 7th, 2015. I have set aside this weekend to marinate on these leadership quotes & principles.
My prayer is that as you seek to live and lead curiously,
these leadership axioms will also add value to your life.
Here are 71 great quotes and inspiring leadership principles from this year’s summit!
(Special thanks to Jeremy Jernigan, Brian Dodd and others in the Twitterverse for some of these nuggets.)
“When we delegate tasks we create followers. When we delegate authority we develop leaders.” Craig Groeschel
How do you know if you are living a curious life?
1. You get up early.
When you love the life you are living, you are anxious to wake up and live it.
2. You are exhausted but energized.
Being energized and refreshed does not come from an absence or lack of work, it comes from the presence of purpose. A vacation will never bring the same type of refreshment that purpose does!
3. Others call you names.
Those living curious lives are called clever, blessed, rebellious, lazy, unconventional, unbelievable, entrepreneurial, unemployable, enjoyable, carefree, cocky, creative, resourceful, brave, innovative, awkward, unique …
And the list goes on.
The bottom line is, it’s way easier to critique a curious life than it is to live one.
4. You are cautious but confident.
Whenever you are blazing a new trail there will be nerves involved. The goal is to allow your confidence and caution to work together.
A curious life is not an irresponsible life that sidesteps responsibilities and duties.
A curious life is original, humbly heroic, counters culture and pushes others into the spotlight.
5. You choose courage over comfort.
I have talked about this before … but comfort is the killer of a curious life.
If you are going to live a curious life, for the sake of Jesus, you will be led out of your comfort zone.
6. Others become curious and ask questions.
When you begin to live a curious life, others will take notice and want to learn how and why you do it. You will get invited to lots of coffees to tell your tales and share your methods.
7. You are misunderstood but determined.
Not everyone is going to understand the life you are leading, but you better.
8. You gain and lose friends.
You will be complimented and criticized more than ever as you untie from the dock and explore unchartered waters. And in new waters you will often gain new friends.
9. You welcome interruptions and unintended moments.
A curious life embraces and celebrates margin which makes room for all kinds of unique conversations and observations.
If you are regularly meeting irregular people, you are likely living a curious life.
And remember the reason to live a curious life
is not to draw attention to yourself
but to draw attention to Jesus
and make Him more famous!
Over the course of the last two decades, I have been blessed to be around some phenomenal leaders and some very phony leaders. In an effort to avoid becoming a phony leader, I have kept a list of terrible leadership characteristics on my Evernote. Here are five ways I have learned that leaders can destroy their leadership equity and opportunity.
1. Only present perfection.
Far too often we are the star of every story we tell. And we only present to people what we want them to see … which is usually our best. The only problem with this is people never see our weaknesses and therefore often can’t truly relate to us. They know we aren’t perfect, but we act as though we are … and this does more damage than we think.
Leaders, especially those who teach, I have found that when we share our weaknesses wisely … our people lean in … and God gives us strength.
2. Never say thank you.
When we offer no thanks we assume that others know how grateful we are for them. But the opposite is actually true. I learned many years ago from pastor Andy Stanley that, “Unexpressed gratitude actually communicates ingratitude!”
The people we lead need a regular stream of encouragement and thanks.
3. Hoard the perks.
As key leaders in our organizations, we are receiving perks that other employees are not. Perks like …
– Tickets to concerts, movies, sports, plays or the orchestra
– Book allowances and free books
– Use of vacation location condos and homes
– Gift certificates for restaurants, coffee shops and clothing stores
Depending on the organization, tenure and temperament, there are almost always perks that flow to key leaders. By hoarding all these perks, we fail to share the blessings with those we do life with, and instead of building trust, we build walls and fuel jealousy.
4. Be unavailable.
There is a difference between being accessible and being available as we lead. As key leaders with busy schedules, we may not always be available when someone needs us. Our schedule simply will not always allow us to be available. But we can always be accessible to our people who need portions of our time if we pro-actively put place holders in our daily or weekly schedule.
A sure way to become a terrible leader is to remove ourselves from those we are leading.
5. Whisper a lot.
When leaders whisper, suspicion grows.
It is my opinion from experience that great leaders don’t whisper. They are not afraid to make comments in full voice, and if they do have confidential comments or criticism, they take that to a private place where they can again speak in full voice.
When leaders whisper in public or semi private places, people fill in the quiet space with negative, not positive, assumptions.
Part of becoming a great leader is learning how, when and where to critique and encourage.
As a general rule I would say …
– Critique in private.
– Encourage in public.
And don’t whisper.