Archives For Leadership

7 STEPS TO GREATER AWARENESS

September 17, 2019 — 1 Comment

Steven Covey has been quoted as saying, “Self-Awareness involves deep personal honesty. It comes from asking and answering hard questions.” I have dedicated September as the month for our journey through the importance of integrity in our leadership. In Fellowship of Christian Athletes, integrity serves as one of our main pillars toward seeing our vision – to see the world transformed by Jesus Christ through the influence of coaches and athletes – successfully implemented. This week I will expand on the importance of awareness in being a leader of integrity.

I can remember the first time I drove a car. There is something about driving for the first time that you become keenly aware of things one never observes as a passenger. I was now aware of names of streets, other cars, buildings, landscapes and people. They had always been there but now my view had changed. This is what self-awareness is… changing the view. How do we change our view in order to become more aware? Emotions, personality and reactions all play a major role in our awareness.

  1. Know your why. When we are confident in why we are where we are, or why we are doing something, it brings loads of clarity to our life. Simon Sinek says, “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.” People of the highest integrity know why they do things and lead from this position of strength.
  2. Ask hard questions. A lot of our awareness is built around asking hard questions of ourselves and others. Hard questions force us to think harder and deeper about who we are and what we truly believe. You might ask yourself the following: What is my ideal definition of success? Do I carefully consider other people’s suggestions before I dismiss them?
  3. Answer hard questions. Asking hard questions may be difficult for you, but answering them can prove to be even more difficult. I think it’s best to run answers through a few filters, such as your values, or how others might answer the same question about you. Journaling is always recommended – getting your answers down on paper helps you to process them more effectively.
  4. Notice warning signs. Being aware of the warning signs in regard to your emotions and how you react to situations can help head off any major issues. Does doing certain activities cause you to be angry or stressed? Be aware of the button-pushers in your life and leadership. What is your emotional kryptonite?
  5. Make adjustments. Great awareness allows for a greater ability to make adjustments. Being aware of the traffic around us allows us to adjust when needed. People of high integrity are not people who “dig in their heels,” they are people are aware of adjustments that may need to be made.
  6. Listen better… especially to feedback. Many have argued that feedback is the most important skill a leader need. When someone gives feedback to us, it is a great opportunity to build awareness. Hearing other perspectives helps us grow. Winston Churchill said, “Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfils the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things.”
  7. Be a planner. Writing out your goals, plans and priorities helps develop a keen sense of awareness. Step one is to write down what you want to do, and the second step is to develop a way to track the progress. This will bring clarity awareness around the things that really matter.

Paying closer attention to skills, emotional patterns, deeper feelings and our behaviors allow us to live lives of deeper integrity. This awareness will become the foundation of personal growth, success and sustainability over our lifetime.

Lead Differently!

Greg

AWE

September 12, 2019 — 1 Comment

The other day I was spending time with Steve, someone who has become a great friend over the last few years. Steve and I often get into conversations about theology, and primarily discipleship. During our conversation, he mentioned a book he was reading entitled, Awe: Why it Matters for Everything We Think, Say, and Do by Paul David Tripp.

As Steve and I continued to talk, we briefly talked through the impact of the word awe in our Christian faith and life. Awe is defined as: a feeling of reverential respect mixed with fear and wonder. After leaving Steve’s office I began to think about how awe is so much a part of my life and how much power true awe can have. I am in constant awe of God, finding it hard to grasp what He has created and how He created me to operate with purpose within His creation. Think about this for a second – God created the world and all that we are able to see, touch and enjoy, and within this creation He created you and me. Not only does He want us to enjoy this spectacular world but wants us to play a part in the opportunity to help transform all who live in it with us. To you and me, with all of our pain, mistakes and brokenness, God Himself says, “Let’s go change the world together!” In my opinion that is awe inspiring! When my awe, ultimately lies in the love of God, it does three things to me:

  1. Awe Moves Me Toward Awareness. It’s the things I am in awe/fear of that I become most aware of. I can remember when I saw the Grand Canyon for the first time, it was truly awe inspiring. I sat there, for what seemed like hours, amazed at what I was looking at and having a hard time coming to terms with it. It’s these types of moments that unfold in front of us where every part of us is affected – our emotions, our minds, our bodies – and the impact is etched into our memories forever. This is God’s desire for us with Him, to be in such awe of Him that his love and presence in our life affects every piece of who we are, how we feel, how we think and how we act.
  2. Awe Moves Me Toward Accountability. Just as being in awe of God affects how we feel, think and act, it can also connect us to that forever. For me it is the awe of God that connects me to Him. Awe always happens when our thoughts and emotions intersect with something. It’s at that intersection where we become connected to it. Ultimately my desire is be connected to God, because when I intersect with God, I am never surprised by what God does. My awe is found in the faith and expectation of God’s greatness. I stumble most when I am in awe of my own created fears or consumed by the untold future of my story – the story I attempt to write about how I’m not good enough, I’m not smart enough, or whatever chapter I begin to write. This is the worst level of accountability…accountable to a fear-based story that causes me to miss the awe-inspiring love of God.
  3. Awe Moves Me Toward Action. D.L Moody said, “I believe firmly that the moment our hearts are emptied of pride and selfishness and ambition and everything that is contrary to God’s law, the Holy Spirit will fill every corner of our hearts.” Emptiness inspires awe. Awe of God turns the focus from us toward asking this question, “what do people need from me?” In Acts, Everyone kept feeling a sense of awe; and many wonders and signs were taking place through the apostles” (Acts 2:43). Awe moved everyone toward action, it restored faith, confirmed strengths and changed lives. Awe has the ability to do just that.

True awe brings about indescribable moments. Louie Giglio writes and speaks about the indescribable moments in our relationship with God. That is what awe is – those moments so big in our life that we cannot describe them, we only know they move us toward action and change.

Ponder these:

  1. When was the last time you were in awe of something? How did you feel?
  2. Take time to write out the indescribable things God has done for you that move you toward awe.

Lead Differently!

In our house, we have always told our kids there are only two rules. Years ago, Monica and I decided that instead of making a long list of rules that would be impossible for our children to obey (much less us enforce), we needed to make the rules simple but impactful. As a result, we decided on only two rules: 1) Honesty always (there is no lying) and 2) Must respect Mom. We both felt (and still feel) these two rules develop the highest level of integrity in our children – honesty and respect. If they can’t learn to respect their mother, then it will be tough to respect anyone else.

I love our vision at FCA: to see the world transformed by Jesus Christ through the influence of coaches and athletes and our mission: to lead every coach and athlete into a growing relationship with Jesus Christ and his church. I find so much value and fulfillment in what we do and why we do it. We have values that serve as the pillars of both our vision and mission: Integrity, Serving, Teamwork and Excellence. Our team is spending the next four months focusing on each of these four values in order for us to stay connected to our why. Hopefully these will be useful for us all.

This month we will focus on Integrity. For us in FCA, integrity means we will value demonstrating Christ-like wholeness – privately and publicly. This is based on the great verse in Proverbs 11:3, “The integrity of the upright guides them, but the crookedness of the treacherous destroys them.” Ouch! Being leaders of integrity means being leaders focused on the right way to think, speak and ultimately lead.

I love this quote from Brené Brown; “Integrity is choosing courage over comfort; choosing what is right over what is fun, fast, or easy; and choosing to practice our values rather than simply professing them.”

What are some ways we can be a leader who practices the value of integrity? I will expand on each of these in the coming weeks.

  1. Being self-aware may be one of the greatest keys to not only being leaders of integrity, but also living a joyful and fruitful life. Every leader needs to be aware of their strengths and weaknesses, how they communicate, how they handle conflict, and how all of this works together to influence those around us both positively and negatively.
  2. The best and easiest way to be a leader who practices integrity is to first hold ourselves accountable to Jesus and how we have seen Him lead, and to hold ourselves accountable for what we say and do. Accountability is not easy, but it is necessary. Integrity requires accountability to truthfulness and spending time looking at the truth provided to us by Christ and the impact of our words and actions.
  3. Finally, our attitude toward the ups and downs of life and leadership influence our integrity. Decision making, honesty and living in Christ-like wholeness are many times rooted in our psychological and emotional behavior.

I will expand on these three practices over the next few weeks. In the meantime, spend time this week answering these two assessment questions:

  1. Do you have a tendency to choose what is easy, fun or fast over what is right? Why do you feel you do this?
  2. What are 3 things you can do this week to practice integrity more intentionally in your life?

Lead Differently!

Greg

Knowledge - light

I am coming off my seven-day social media fast, and though I missed being able to share things with everyone, I did find the time away nice.

A couple weeks ago I shared five books with you that I thought would be great books for the new year. This week, I would like to share five books I am currently reading. If you do the math — it’s 10 book ideas for you this year!

1. Pivotal Praying by Tim Elmore and John Hull. As I mentioned in my previous post, I read this book at the beginning of every year. There are a lot of books on prayer, but this is full of stories and great application.

2. How to Be Rich by Andy Stanley. I love Andy Stanley books because the are so incredibly practical. This book is all about recognizing how rich you are and how rich you can be in many areas of your life.

3. The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg. I have underlined almost everything in this book. It can be a little heady — you can’t just skim it. But it’s excellent for establishing good habits and breaking bad ones.

4. Global Explorers: The Next Generation of Leaders by Stewart J. Black. I am in school, so honestly I have to put in a book that I’m reading for school. This is a great book about the essentials of Global Leadership and how the world is in desperate need of it.

5. Happy, Happy, Happy by Phil Robertson and Mark Schlabach. This is the biography I am reading now. I attempt to read at least 4 biographies per year. Many of you are familiar with Phil and Duck Dynasty. Very intriguing story of the rise to fame.

Hopefully one of these books will help you in some are of your life. Enjoy and good reading!!

Photo ©iStock.com/sansara

library of old books

As we all begin the new year, I thought I would mention 5 books I have found to be very profound and helpful for me personally. Later I will share what books I am reading now.

Great leaders are always in the process of taking advantage of opportunities and training to be better. (tweet that)

1. Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand. Incredible true story of inspiration, survival and perseverance.

2. 7 Men and the Secret of Their Greatness by Eric Metaxas. The compact stories of seven great leaders in world history and what drove them toward greatness.

3. Becoming a Strategic Leader by Richard Hughes and Katherine Beatty. This is a great book for any leader looking to increase the effectiveness of your role in your organization.

4. The Energy Bus by Jon Gordon. Great read on how to energize your life, work and organization.

5. Pivotal Praying by John Hull and Tim Elmore. I re-read this book at the beginning of every year. It helps me to get back focused on the power of prayer and it’s effectiveness in times of great need.

These are five books I believe will help you in every area of your life. Like I said earlier, I will list the books I am reading now a little later.

Enjoy!!

My Planning Process

January 6, 2014 — 2 Comments

My New Year Plan

Years ago, a good friend of mine, Tim Elmore, got me hooked on a process that has really impacted my life. Tim encouraged me to develop a strategic plan for the new year. The process included spending time looking back at the previous year, and then looking forward to the year ahead. I wanted to share the process I go through with you. I have made some modifications to what Tim does. You can follow Tim’s amazing work at www.growingleaders.com. He has his process listed on his blog. Enjoy!

Like I said, I spend about half a day looking back at the previous year. I journal a lot, so it’s easy for me to look back at the details of the year and the bigger events are pretty easy to recall. I always look at seven main areas of my life and see how I did in accomplishing the goals and dreams I had set, and where I achieved beyond my desires and where did I not do such a great job. My seven areas are:

  1. Spiritually
  2. Marriage
  3. Fatherhood
  4. Ministry
  5. School (I am getting my doctorate and it is a huge part of my life right now so I include it)
  6. Relationships
  7. Leadership

I ask the following questions:

  1. Did I grow in this area? If so, where and how?
  2. Did I benefit the growth of others in this area? If so, how?
  3. What was the one thing I am most proud of in this area?
  4. What is the one thing I am least proud of in this area?
  5. Was my strategy for each area effective? Why or why not?
  6. Did I fulfill the mission of my Life Sentence (this is essential and I will blog on this later) this past year?

Once I complete this process, I send a day looking forward and setting goals (actually, I like the term dreams better than goals). Tim Elmore calls his items “action lists” or “standard lists” which I love! This process looks like the following:

  1. What is the main dream I have in each of my seven areas? What will be needed in order to achieve this? (I use a Dream Chart that I developed in order to complete this process. A Dream Chart looks at where you are [Now] and where you want to be [Dream] and then maps out all of the steps required to get you there.)
  2. Of my 7 areas which areas do I need the most growth?
  3. What resources will I need for the required growth? (i.e., books, seminars, counseling, coaching, web sites, podcasts etc. I decide all of this at the beginning of the year and map out a schedule of when and where.)
  4. I map out my entire year. Monica and I do this together. We set date nights, family date days, vacations, major events on our calendar at the beginning of the year. These are non-negotiable!!
  5. Monica and I set family goals. What are one or two things we are really going to try and teach the kids this year? Last year it was patience and courage. We also set financial goals for the year and plan purchases for our house, what and to who we support financially, gifts, etc.
  6. I have a weekly chart that I use to account for pretty much every hour of my day Sunday – Saturday. I do have free areas where nothing is planned in order to account for surprises as well as provide me with down time.

My dream is that I continue to grow in all areas and the best way to do that is to learn from the past and plan the future. I believe just about any dream can be achieved with a good strategy, regardless if it is losing weight, changing jobs, buying a new car, building relationships, etc. My dreams are only as good as the strategies I implement. (you can tweet that)

Have a great new year!!

How Do You Plan?

April 30, 2013 — Leave a comment

Hand drawing empty diagram

I have to admit that I am a planner. In fact, it is diffcult for me to operate without a plan. One of the things that really makes my marriage to Monica work is the fact that I am a planner and she is not, so our plans never really compete against one another.

I joke when I say she is not a planner — she does plan, but she is not obsessed like I am. In fact, our nine year-old, Jaana, may be more of a planner than both of us. I have turned her into an obsessive planner, which may be deemed child abuse in some circles but I deem it as I have created a girl who is always ready.

All joking aside I do believe planning is very important and I believe it is something we don’t do a good job of, especially when it comes to our life. I am going to do a series of podcasts on planing your life and the importance of balance, so I thought I would give you a taste of what’s to come.

Why should we plan?

1. Planning prepares us for the unexpected. Many people may say that planning takes away spontaneity. I would argue that planning better prepares us for spontaneity. I know the definition of spontaneous is impulse, but I believe if we have a plan for our life then we are better able to be impulsive in a constructive way. There are impulses that can work in our plan…if we have a plan for our marriage, then we can be impulsive about a date night or writing a note to our spouse. Planning can free up the time to be impulsive.

2. Planning can prevent regrets. We have all had regrets. I think it was Elvis who said, “Regrets, I’ve had a few.” There are too many people walking around in a sea of regret. If they had only had a plan for their life, the regret could have been avoided. For example, it took me 14 years to get my undergraduate degree in college. My plan was not to take 14 years to accomplish this. If I simply had a plan I could have avoided this regret. Oh and by the way for those of you saying, “Yeah, but look what you learned and the lessons you were taught during the process” I will speak to you specifically in some upcoming blogs.

3. Planning is already a part of our life. I know some of you may say, “I don’t know how to plan.” I am going to help you in the coming weeks, but understand one thing — you already plan. I mean, most of us plan when to take in our car for service, or how long we will sleep at night. We plan what route we will take to work, what we will do at work…you get the idea. We were created to plan because our Creator planned to create us and the world. We were born to plan.

This is just the beginning of how we will plan together. Over the next few weeks I will help learn how to develop a plan for your life. Once you have a plan the execution is easy and the results are pure awesomeness!!

Are you ready?!?!