What does it mean to color outside the lines?
When I reference lines and colors, I’m talking about the defaults and templates that exist in our business and ministry worlds. There are certain procedures and patterns for how things are done. The catch is that, sometimes, these patterns actually hold us back from innovating.
When I was younger, I believed I was called by God into the ministry. I also believed, based on the ministry templates I’d been surrounded with my entire life, that this limited me to three branches of employment: a pastor, a missionary, or an itinerant speaker. Today, I believe that God is more creative than that! When we go beyond our self-imposed limits, we’ll find that there’s so much more in store for us than the templates we’ve created for ourselves.
You have a unique gift— a unique color. Nobody else in all of history will possess the exact calling and color that you possess. Therefore, your color automatically falls...
If you’re the lead leader in your organization, you’re likely familiar with something called the wisdom gap. Even if you don’t call it by that name, the wisdom gap plays an integral role in your daily responsibilities.
What is it? This gap is the space between your leadership level and the leadership of the person directly underneath you: your second-in-command. It’s the discrepancy between your potential and theirs; your experience and theirs; your capacity and the abilities they bring to the table. The wisdom gap is born because of two key truths at play:
After all, each day you wake up, you’re being stretched. You’re encountering new challenges, opportunities, and connections. You’re reading books, listening to podcasts, and pioneering new territory. As the lead leader, everything you do is growing your capacity and potential. It’s just the territory of your role.
Here’s a personal development thought for your day. It’s simply this: become indispensable. Most of us are part of a team and/or organization, and the secret to maintaining and growing your leadership capacity on that team is becoming indispensable. The organization has to have you, because of what you bring.
To be indispensable, you’ve got to be a big contributor. A lot of people are big consumers; but it’s the big contributors that truly make a difference. Here are three things that big contributors do:
1: Promote someone other than yourself. Big contributors aren’t concerned about simply promoting themselves; they’d rather promote somebody else. Put in a good word for someone this week!
2: Serve someone other than yourself. Big contributors don’t have a problem with helping somebody else succeed.
3: Give to others secretly. That simply means that other people don’t have to know all the good that you help bring their way. If you do...
I have a passion for automation—for setting up systems and processes that reduce human involvement and maximize ministry output.
For example, during my time in ministry, I kept an email folder called “Drafts.” Inside this folder were 25 different responses to common questions: questions about baptism, infant dedication, our summer programming, and so on. These email responses were pre-written and well thought-out; they waited in the wings to be sent to people who had the appropriate questions. That is automation: working on something once in such a way that it works hundreds of times for me in the future.
In ministry, if we don’t come to the table with some level of automation, we are going to be a small gear spinning so fast that it starts to smoke. That is a recipe for burnout. If you sit down and think through the elements of your ministry you can automate right now, you’ll begin to set up a process that literally pays you back hundreds of hours...
What is capacity? It’s the margin and space we have for taking on new things. All of us have things on our plate right now—no matter what stage of life you’re in or what your pursuits, we all have things taking up space in our lives. When we reach capacity, it means we don’t have any more room to add new things.
The main challenge is that we are not aware of our capacities. Your people have capacity; you have capacity. Your leaders have capacity. And sometimes, when we go over our capacity, we come to a place in our life where we start feeling what we call stress. Some people call it “stretched.” It doesn’t matter what word you give to it. Here’s the word that makes better sense to me: “overwhelmed.” Overwhelmed means that I have to do more, go more, be more, but I don’t have the capacity to go to where I need to go.
So you have to analyze your capacity issues; you have to analyze not only, “Can we do...
Today, we live in a creative economy, and the best ideas are king. Even businesses like banks, manufacturing, and service industries are all realizing the importance of creativity. So if you desire to live out a creative career, there’s no better time to be alive than right now. But the problem is, as any veteran creative professional will tell you, ideas are fragile. They often come and go without warning, and if we don’t have a good system for capturing those ideas, then we’ll never benefit from having them in the first place.
I’ve spent a lot of time working out various systems for making sure those creative ideas in my head actually have the best chance of execution. After years of different methods, here’s the system I use now. Keep in mind that you don’t have to copy the way I do it – or the way anyone else does it. The important thing is do develop a system that works for you.
The key is the realization that our memory is...
As you live your life today, there are two versions of “you” that influence your beliefs and decisions. All of us have the choice as to which version we will fixate on more, and which version has the most sway over our life.
The first version of you that influences your life is the Historical You. This you is comprised of your past—your past decisions, your past relationships, your past callings, jobs, hobbies, attitudes, beliefs, and so on. The Historical You is who you have been, and where you’ve been. It’s why you’re here today. There’s value and merit to the Historical You. Without that past, you wouldn’t be who you are.
Consider a newborn baby. On Day One of the baby’s life, he or she can potentially speak any language in the world. However, where in the world the baby is born—to what parents, in what culture, in what nation—will determine what language he or she learns to speak first. A German baby will speak...
"If you always do what you always did, you will always get what you always got.” —Anonymous
If you desire to have a high-impact organization with results beyond your current experience, then you are going to need to embrace one thing: change! Without change, things stay the same, results remain mediocre, and organizations become stagnant.
Almost everyone likes the idea of change, yet embracing it is a different story. We do the things we do because of what we’ve been taught. Our behavior is rooted in how we’ve been raised; the culture we were brought up in has contributed to patterns we’ve made our own over the years. We view the world around us through a paradigm established by these collective factors, which have created a limitation, an invisible barrier,...
I met a producer the other day who was really frustrated. He doesn’t perform well at meetings, he continually gets turned down for jobs, and his career is suffering. I met with him because I know he’s talented, has great energy, and good people skills. I was baffled at what his problem might be until he showed up for our meeting...late. For some reason, I couldn’t get his being late off my mind so I started to probe. I found out that being late for things is pretty much a constant in his life. He won’t admit it of course, but I started to ask around, and sure enough – others had the same experience as me.
The opportunity came up for me to go with him to a meeting, so I took it and observed him very closely. Here’s what transpired:
He was late picking me up, so I asked him what happened. He said he wanted to get plenty of rest, so he slept late as he could, which admittedly threw him off his schedule. Then, just as he was walking out...
What’s the greatest destroyer of leadership?
What can undermine your potential faster than anything else? What’s the number one cause of failed leaders—on personal, organizational, and even national scales? What’s the Achilles heel that disarms leaders, and makes them more vulnerable than anything else?
It’s not money. It’s not admiration. It’s not business. It’s not logistics. It’s not numbers.
The greatest destroyer of your leadership is arrogance. Pride.
Why? Because arrogance and pride say this: “I am better.” In order for you to hold this view of yourself, you have to put others down. You’ve got to demean them, disrespect them, and not honor them.
Proverbs 16:18 tells us that “Pride goes before a fall.” As leaders, we’ve got to be extra vigilant to ensure that our confidence and self-esteem doesn’t morph into arrogance. You likely have people around you that affirm, encourage, and...