No Excuses

We finished the work day yesterday and I as I was walking back to the bus, one of the ladies from the team we were working with was sitting on the steps, so I decided to join her. My knee was hurting and back was aching. 

I set down by this sweet lady who by the way is 59 years old and I said, so what brings you on this adventure and she said something that shocked me. “I wanted to come while I could still walk.”

I said what do you mean, she said I have MS. As we began to share she told me several stories about how she lived her life and the struggle that she deals with and how she has made up her mind she will not allow this to stop her from doing what God wants her to do. 

Needless to say I was a bit embarrassed that I was even thinking about my aching knee and back. 

It truly struck me though, how much of the time we excuse ourselves from things that God wants us to do over little things that if we would be honest with ourselves are mere excuses. 

I wonder how much more full, and satisfied we would be if we would get rid of the excuses and say no matter what, while I can, I will do whatever God wants for me today?

To me, heros are people who do for others regardless of the circumstances, minus the excuses. 

As for me I’m asking God to help me to eliminate any excuses that would hold me back from everything He wants for me. 

 

The Secure Leader 6

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“Before I shaped you in the womb, I knew all about you. Before you saw the light of day, I had holy plans for you: A prophet to the nations-that’s what I had in mind for you.” But I said, “Hold it, Master God! Look at me. I don’t know anything. I’m only a boy!” God told me, “Don’t say, ‘I’m only a boy.’ I’ll tell you where to go and you’ll go there. I’ll tell you what to say and you’ll say it. Don’t be afraid of a soul. I’ll be right there, looking after you.” God’s Decree. (Jeremiah 1:5-8 MSG)

Secure leaders enjoy affirmation but don’t have to have it. They get their fulfillment in their purpose, not from popular opinion.

It’s always been amazing to me how important the opinion or affirmation of others are to a leader. I think every leader, if they are being honest, can Remember times when the affirmation or approval of others were entirely to important to them.

This is truly a significant difference between a secure leader and an insecure leader.

The insecure leader needs constant affirmation. In order to move forward they must have people who dote on them, and tell them how great they are. It’s almost as if affirmation is the fuel that keeps them going.

The sad part about this is in every leaders life there are times we must stand alone. It’s the very essence of leading. Sometimes you are standing out front by yourself.

The secure leader wants their followers to be with them, and to be happy, however their main goal is to reach their destination. To accomplish the purpose. They find their fulfillment and satisfaction in their purpose not in popular opinion.

The insecure leader will never get very far, because they are dependent on the emotional responses of others, and we all know how inconsistent that can be.

The secure leader will normally achieve their goal because they keep leading no matter what, realizing that’s what leadership is. Getting people from where they are to where they need to be whether they like it at first or not, or whether it’s hard or not.

Like Jeremiah, we need to keep our focus on what we were created for, our purpose as leaders and not on fearing those we are leading.

Remember affirmation and approval can be addicting. Leadership is not a popularity contest it is a journey of purpose.

How?

1. Know your purpose.

It’s been said, if you don’t know where your going your not going to like where you end up.

2. Let fulfilling your purpose be enough.

People stroking your ego may feel good for the moment but it won’t be enough in the long haul. Especially when some of the same people will speak against you when they don’t agree.

3. Learn to affirm yourself.

Encourage yourself. Celebrate your wins.

4. Acknowledge your need for affirmation.

Every human being needs affirmation. It’s ok to get it and to give it, but we can not get addicted to it or make decisions based on it. Appreciate it and let it go.

Be secure in your purpose and don’t seek affirmation.

The Secure Leader 5

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Good-tempered leaders invigorate lives; they’re like spring rain and sunshine. (Proverbs 16:15 MSG)

Secure leaders are refreshing to those following, and their confidence makes followers feel secure in submitting to their leadership

We’ve all met those leaders who bring complication, difficulty, and demand to the table. Many of us at times have been that leader. The type of leader that is ill tempered, always irritable hard to get along with, hard to please, never satisfied. This type of leader is not refreshing, they are like the hot sun. Not the, “it’s a great day to get a tan sun,” but the “it’s hot I’m parched, where is the air conditioner sun.”

The secure leader is confident doesn’t need coercion to lead because they use vision, encouragement, coaching and positive confrontation. This type of leader is refreshing. They are like the fresh cool rain that relieves us from the sweltering heat of organizational pressures and stresses that come from challenges.

The secure leader gives confidence to those following because the more refreshing you are the more people want to follow you. If you bring answers, and positive attitude to the situation it makes it better. If you bring fear, threats, and blame to the situation no one wants to follow you anywhere.

How to become a refreshing Leader:

1. Bring solutions.

John maxwell talks about bringing water to the fire and not gasoline. Adding to the problem is not refreshing and doesn’t solve anything. Leaders turn the mountain into a mole hill.

2. Don’t jump to conclusions

Always assume the best first. There could be a real good reason for the thing you are frustrated about. Get the whole picture before you make any judgements.

3. Be a thermostat not a thermometer.

Anyone can tell the temperature but a good leader regulates it. Create your own atmosphere. When you come in the room it should change for the better. People should not want to duck you.

4. Love what you do and love the people you do it with.

Enjoy your work. No complaining, or carrying around frustration. Be happy and hopeful.

5. When you have to press make it fun and full of meaning.

Explain why you’re pressing and why it’s important and find creative ways to make it fun.

The Secure Leader 4

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Here’s my concern: that you care for God’s flock with all the diligence of a shepherd. Not because you have to, but because you want to please God. Not calculating what you can get out of it, but acting spontaneously. Not bossily telling others what to do, but tenderly showing them the way. (1 Peter 5:2, 3 MSG)

A secure leader lifts their followers, they don’t leverage their followers. They motivate they don’t manipulate.

When we are leading people we have to remember we are leading to a greater cause not to our own personal success. Whether we “succeed” or not is beside the point. The point to leadership is to influence people to move from where they are to accomplishing the goal of the greater cause.

When you use people for your personal gain you will always end up manipulating them. Using people is not the goal. Teaching, training, developing them is the goal. If you accomplish greatness in your organization but haven’t benefited your people in the process you miss the point. The journey is far more important than the destination.

Our job as leaders is to motivate and lift those who follow us. Lifting them and motivating them in the direction of the cause of our organization. Not to push and pull and point, but to lead, guide and direct.

A good rule of thumb when we are leading is to think like a Sheapherd and how he relates to his sheep. He legitimately loves and cares for them and leads them to the best place for them.

This doesn’t mean we have to be less aggressive or passive it means our motives are to benefit others and live for a greater purpose. Try it I think it will work out well for you.

How?

1. Discover what your real purpose is.

Why do you do what you do?

2. Treat your team like you want to be treated

Remember the Golden rule. As a leader you exist to develop them and lift their lids in life.

3. Take responsibility for the culture and attitude of your organization.

Don’t allow a dog eat dog mentality. No wolves allowed in this flock.

4. Lead, lead, lead.

Lead people, manage resources. People are not things.

Secure Leaders 2

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Give yourselves to disciplined instruction; open your ears to tested knowledge. (Proverbs 23:12 MSG)

Secure leaders are not afraid to hear, or implement good ideas from their team. All ideas don’t have to come from them to be used by them.

If we are not careful as leaders we begin to see ourselves as the source for our organization and everyone in it. We can become threatened by those around us who have good ideas and skills.

It’s the insecure leader that is threatened by the input of others. If we are honest we can all say at times we’ve struggled being threatened by talented people around us.

The secure leader is a wise leader because they don’t see using the ideas of others as a personal loss to themselves but an incredible gain to the whole organization.

When we are threatened by those working around us, or under us we create an unhealthy competition as opposed to a healthy cooperation.

Being secure and empowering causes, freedom to grow, high moral and positive progress in your organization.

Being insecure and controlling stifles creativity, innovation, and ingenuity.

Be a secure leader, listening to and using the ideas of others on your team and don’t worry about who gets the credit.

Remember being secure broadens your horizons and throws opportunity wide open to you, while insecurity continually shrinks your world and minimizes your potential and that of those around you.

How?

1. Listen

If your the only one talking growth is not happening.

2. Be open

Listen for those ideas that you haven’t thought of, and don’t prejudge because it didn’t come from you

3. No defensiveness

Don’t be defensive about your own ideas. If you are, there is no chance they could be modified for the better.

4. Have a team flow

Allow your team the freedom to speak by using their ideas. If there input is never acknowledged they will stop giving it, or go somewhere else and give it.

5. Remember why they are there.

Your team is not just there to carry out tasks you give them. They are there to think, and to implement great ideas to accomplish the purpose of your organization.

Integrity is a Leadership Necessity

Good leaders abhor wrongdoing of all kinds; sound leadership has a moral foundation. (Proverbs 16:12 MSG)

Love and truth form a good leader; sound leadership is founded on loving integrity. (Proverbs 20:28 MSG)

Integrity defined:

1. Adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character and honesty.

2. The state of being whole, entire, or undiminished.

3. Sound, unimpaired or perfect condition. (not broken)

In our attempts to identify with people by our transparency we can not lose our integrity in any sense.

Integrity breeds trust, which is the basis for relationship, which is the foundation for influence, which is the key component for leadership.

Challenges to integrity

Pride-sometimes we develop a dishonesty to keep from looking bad, or to make ourselves look good.

Pressure-it’s easy to be honest, and whole when there is no pressure, but when the pressure is turned up do we retain our integrity or do we rationalize our behavior?

His wife said, “Still holding on to your precious integrity, are you? Curse God and be done with it!” He told her, “You’re talking like an empty-headed fool. We take the good days from God-why not also the bad days?” Not once through all this did Job sin. He said nothing against God. Job’s Three Friends (Job 2:9, 10 MSG)

Prosperity.

Sometimes everything going well or being blessed tempts us to get loose ethically or morally, relaxing our dependance on God and putting ourselves in the drivers seat, or trying not to lose what we have.

Integrity means

Be truthful.

No exaggeration it’s the same as lying.
No shading the truth
No insinuation that leads to deception.

Be honest.

No cheating.
No manipulating a situation to get what you want.
No rationalizing bad behavior based on peer pressure

Be complete

Don’t make others pay relationally because of the emotional void in you. Trust God, He is enough, others never will be.

If your in leadership to fill some void in you it is a huge mistake and will not end well.

Be pure

In your thinking
In your words
In your actions

People will identify with you in your weakness but won’t truly respect you as a leader until you live with integrity. They are glad your not perfect so you can understand them but they want to know you’ve overcome, it gives them hope.

If you haven’t arrived at where they are trying to go then where are you leading them. Leadership implies being in front.

How?

1. Personal spiritual development
Stop reading so many books and study the bible.
Pray daily. No excuses. Seek Gods face.

2. Don’t view success the way the world does.
If you do, then you have to act like the world to get the worlds version of success.

3. Die to yourself.

Then Jesus said to His disciples, If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. (Matthew 16:24 NKJV)

Among those who belong to Christ, everything connected with getting our own way and mindlessly responding to what everyone else calls necessities is killed off for good-crucified. (Galatians 5:24 MSG)

And those who belong to Christ Jesus (the Messiah) have crucified the flesh (the godless human nature) with its passions and appetites and desires. (Galatians 5:24 AMP)

4. Put on the mind of Christ

For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. (Romans 8:5 NKJV)

Lead Anyway

I hear this word a lot. “frustration.”. What is it? To me frustration is the differential between reality and expectation. You have certain expectations for people, situations, circumstances, and even goals. But at times your reality misses the mark. That is frustration.

Problem we have is getting focused on the frustration, which creates more frustration. We have to remind ourselves we move in the direction of our focus, so regardless of reality keep our eyes on the expectation and it will draw us to it.

If things aren’t working out just right lead anyway. If people aren’t getting it, lead anyway. If your reality has never been farther from your expectation lead anyway.

Frustration is a killer if you allow it to become your focus and paralyze your leadership.

Focus on the expectation of Gods purpose for you, and lead towards it, and regardless of people, circumstances or time, you will arrive at your expected end. Lead anyway.

Having an Audacious, Aggressive, Attitude=Great Leadership.

 

Goliath challenges the Israelites scene from M...

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True Leadership is to go beyond the mediocre.  To raise the lid on average.  To take followers farther than they’ve been before.  It is important to realize if we want our leadership to be significant, we have to rise above the mundane, the passive, the pretentious and attack life with an audacious, aggressive, attitude.

I think it was Stephan Covey that said, “either you act on life, or life will act on you.”  When you decide to lead, you’re taking on much more than merely moving followers from point a to point b.  You will encounter, mindset struggles, and attitudinal obstacles.  Issues you didn’t know were there, and challenges you’ve never faced before, and in order to overcome and be successful on the other side of all that, you have to have audacity, which is to be bold and daring! You have to embrace being aggressive, which is to be assertive and likely to attack.  These two qualities are imparative to your attitude towards leading if you want to make a difference.

King David was just such a leader.  Even before He became king.  I’m referring to the battle between he and Goliath of Gath.  I don’t need to rehearse the whole story with you, most likely you know it or have heard it.  You can find it In 1 Samuel 17. The following are principles taken from that account, which show us the heart of great leadership.

1.  Make a decision to Fight

  • Don’t let fear rule you;  If you lead you must not be ruled by fear.  As Joyce Meyer says, “sometimes you have to do things afraid.”
  • 2 Timothy 1:7, God did not give us the spirit of fear, but of love, and of power, and of a sound mind.
  • Don’t let the unexpected surprise you or scare you.  Goliath was a surprise to the Israelites and scared them, but David was not moved.

2.  Refuse to be moved by people who don’t get it

  • People don’t get it, because they are too familiar with you. They can’t see in you, what God sees in you.
  • People don’t get it because your courage reveals their fear
  • People don’t get it because they have good intentions but wrong perspectives
  • Stand your ground, don’t let anyone talk you out of your victory, do what you know God Called you to do.
  • Acts 21:11-14, well intentioned Christians attempted to talk paul out of the will of God for him, because they were afraid for him.  Love them, and let them go.

3.  See the cause in the Crisis

  • The army saw the crisis, Saul saw the Crisis, David’s brothers saw the Crisis, David saw the Cause. His brother accused him, and David simply said is there not a cause?

4.  Always remember your past conquest in God

  • God helped David kill the lion and the bear that were attacking his sheep, he could also help him defeat the giant.  It’s that simple

5.  Use the weapons God has given you. (your talents, your time, your treasure)

  • You have to give of your self, you can’t expect someone else to do it, we have to do our part. Can’t just go thru the motions. David could not use Saul’s armor, he had to go with what he knew.  A sling and some stones.  He sacrificed himself for the greater good.

6.  We conquer and prosper when we trust God and Speak our Faith.

  • David was sure God would cause him to win, so much so, that he told the giant he would take his head, and had no sword to take it with.

7.  You must act in Faith aggressively

  • David ran toward the fight.
  • David refused to deny the problem
  • David didn’t wait for the problem to come to him.
  • David didn’t ignore the problem
  • David acted in Faith and watched God do what He does.
  • Make the decision in faith, take a step of action in faith, give in faith, speak in faith, live in faith.

8.  Your influence will encourage others.

  • When David Struck the blow, the Israelites realized, although the odds were stacked against them they could conquer, so they joined the battle.  They stopped observing and started fighting.

So, in that one fight, David teaches us so much about leadership.  You can do it, have an audacious, aggressive, attitude and you’ll be a great leader.

Something to Say About Leadership…What is Insecurity?

In life we hear the word insecurity often. We use this word to describe people who lack confidence, people who wear their emotions on their sleeves, and people who are enamored with the idea of pleasing other people.

What is insecurity really? The dictionary defines it as an unsafe feeling. A state of mind characterized by self-doubt and vulnerability. So insecurity is a feeling of not being secure. It is a feeling of being a target for hurt or harm, when you get right down to it insecurity in its true meaning is just plane fear, the fear that we are not safe.

We’ve thought of insecurity as an overly emotional state, immaturity, and a lack of confidence. All these things characterize insecurity. They also Characterize fear. Insecurity simply means I’m afraid I’m going to be rejected. It means I’m afraid I’m going to fail. It means I’m afraid I’m going to hurt. It means I’m afraid to risk. It means I just don’t feel safe.

We can all see how this can sabotage a leader. This type of thinking paralyzes a leader. Keeps them from moving forward. Keeps their focus on their performance not the vision. What we need to do however is remove the mystery from the word insecurity and just call it what it is, Fear. Say it after me. “I am afraid.” We all go through this at different times. It’s what we do in those times that matters. Will we see insecurity for what it is and eliminate it, or will we see it as a small weakness and let it stay. It’s fear, and if you are a leader fear is your mortal enemy!

Fear is the enemy of the leader. That’s the way we should look at it. We need to listen and believe the bible. Romans 8:15 says, “we have not been given the spirit of bondage again to fear, but the spirit of adoption whereby we cry abba father. It says in Timothy, “God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of love, of power, and of a sound mind. So Fear does the transverse of this passage. It eliminates love, makes us feel weak, and paints us into a corner of confusion. Fear is an enemy to the leader.

We need to understand the power Insecurity and fear can have if we allow it in our lives. What does it cause? If I fear people’s opinions than I can’t lead with a clear vision, If I fear taking a risk, or failing, then I will stick with the status quo. If I fear rejection from people I will be obsessed with my performance and never feel like I’m good enough. It really is a killer of leadership. We must force it out of our lives.

I taught our staff today, on the idea that leading progress requires courage. Its possible to lead and not be moving forward, Moses did it for 40 years in the wilderness. It took courage for Joshua to get it moving forward. God told Joshua in the book of Joshua chapter one, to “be strong and of good courage and not to be afraid” four times. He was getting the point across to Joshua that it was going to take courage to lead to the fulfillment of the dream, to do the right things, to stand against fear itself, and bottom line it takes courage to lead people. It requires us to do the uncomfortable, to confront, and to influence others.

When I was starting out, I wanted everyone to like me. I thought that was leadership. It made me second-guess my communication. I wondered constantly if I was measuring up. It caused me to compete with others in my own mind, and to compare myself with others. I was afraid I would be rejected or I wouldn’t succeed. It wasn’t until I realized leadership is a “stand alone” place much of the time and It takes courage to help people. You can’t help people if you are constantly seeking their approval, because then it’s all about you and not them.

There are ways to defeat this fear. There are perspectives we must have, and perspectives we must change to defeat this enemy. It can be done.

Next blog I will talk about the first way to overcome insecurity, and how our perspectives can create either a vicious cycle of fear, or a victories cycle of confidence.

Hope this is helping you. Please comment on fears you have faced in leadership and how you have overcome them.

-David