Accelerating Your Growth of Wisdom and Discernment

RoyAllBlacksTMay2010-e1295093522512A common challenge for the Ministry Leaders and Business Executives I coach is how they can learn from their daily encounters and experiences.  The art of reflection is often neglected in the push to add another meeting or another appointment to the day.

Yet I am often reminded of the words of my mentor Dr. Bobbie Clinton, “The number one reason leaders fail to finish well is they plateau.” They stop growing.

Here is a simple way to stay in a learning mode which will allow you to make better decisions and relate to the challenges and relationships in your life with wisdom and discernment.  You must create the space by hitting the pause button and reflecting on a short period of time.  Once a week will not work.  Too much is forgotten and goes stale before you can gain from it.  Instead install a “startup” and “shut down” rhythm to your day.  Here is a suggested pattern I use.  It has been refined over the years as I borrow ideas from other leaders.

A PRACTICAL TOOL TO HELP REFINE, STRETCH, and CORRECT YOUR PERSPECTIVE:
The shutdown ritual should be they last commitment in your work day.  Set the appointment with yourself in a quiet area.  The same technique is very helpful  as a recovery and buffer pause to capture key learnings after a messy challenging encounter.

SHUT DOWN APPOINTMENT WITH YOURSELF:
(10 to 30 minutes)  at the end of each work day or right after a strategic meeting.

Use a consistent tool to capture your thoughts as you examine your day.  Consistent capture tools may be 3×5 cards, a written journal or private document online.

QUESTIONS TO ASSIST YOU IN REFLECTION:

What did I see today about individuals with whom I had interaction?

What did I see today about our culture? (NOTE PLUSES AND MINUSES)

What di I see about myself today?

What do I offer up in thanks to God?

What do I lay before God in confident faith he will provide the way forward?

How do we want people work together differently?

Based on what happened today what 3 things do I need to do tomorrow and what do I change in my daily plan for tomorrow to create space for these actions?

PART OF THE SHUT DOWN RITUAL IS TO RETURN THE GIFT OF THE DAY BACK TO THE ONE WHO GAVE IT TO YOU.
LAST ACTION BEFORE YOU LEAVE YOUR WORK DAY…

HANDS — PALMS DOWN ON DESK.

THANK GOD FOR LETTING YOU STEWARD THE DAY.

TRUST HIM FOR GRACE AND STRENGTH TO BRING FRUIT AND GROWTH FROM TODAY’S WORK FOR HIS GLORY. GIVE THE DAY BACK TO HIM.

Once you have the shutdown routine in your rhythm add a “start up” routine

When you first wake up in the morning turn on to your back and look up.  Raise both arms with hands palm up to God.

A sample prayer could be: “Father thank you for the rest during the night and now you are offering me a new day to manage.  Today is a (work day, play day, rest day, family day, etc., define the major purpose for this day).  You have gifted me with this day. Help me to be a good steward and invest it for eternal reward.”

Caution yourself to not pollute the day.  If it is a work day don’t lose focus and waste time tracking your teams online.  If it is a rest day do not pollute it with work.  You get the idea.

Now begin a “perspective” and “getting current” mini-retreat

Read David Allen’s GTD – Getting Things Done book for an excellent overview of a weekly check in.  To his words I would add these ideas.  In a period of a storm of major changes you need this mini-retreat once a week.  Let me suggest you set aside 1/2 of a day to fast, pray, rest, and look back over the recent days by reviewing your daily shut down notes and review your commitments to see if you have not drifted off course.

If you are not in a storm of change you may be able to do the mini-retreat every 4 to 6 weeks.

CONCLUSION
The most important person you lead is yourself .  Poor decisions are made in a reactive rather than reflective mode.  It requires discipline to engage in a time of pausing and reflecting which creates space for your thinking and feeling to get to an inner quiet and hear from God.  Those who seek him and his wisdom do grow and develop confidence and contentment in their leadership.

PLEASE JOIN ME IN THESE PRAYERS

Several times in the past two years I have been deeply convicted that my prayers are too small for the God I worship.  I do not mean God doesn’t care or we should not pray for individuals or small concerns.  BUT — is that all I am praying? Do I primarily pray out of the small circle of concerns touching my life?

As Pandora and I have traveled to the Middle East and North Africa Region God is enlarging our hearts. I was one of those Christians who heard of the annual day of prayer for the persecuted church and I might offer a two minute prayer.  But now I see faces, I know names, I have heard their testimonies and God is showing me how precious these suffering brothers and sisters are to him.

I found these prayers in some reading materials and have adapted them for me to use on a regular basis to “prime” my thinking and stir me to pray.  Would you join me?  CLICK HERE AND DOWNLOAD.

Roy and Pandora Close UpLet me know what you think.

Do We Operate Out of Who God Declares Us to Be in Christ?

The life as a Jesus follower is a journey from being declared with right standing before God to experiencing the reality of our new identity in Christ.  Anxiety about the past failures, or the future unknowns, fear of the present challenges, a sense of weakness and uncertainty are all rooted in a lack of living in our identity in Christ.

Suggestion:  CLICK HERE AND DOWNLOAD A PDF.  This is a list of statements and Bible passages on Who We Are In Christ by John Stumbo.  Take the first statement.  Read the passage 3 times very slowly.  Then, in your journal record your answer to this question.  “If this truth was guiding my life today how would I see differently?”

Let me know your thoughts.  Let’s live out of what we believe in 2018!

Highly Recommended Book — by Reggie McNeal KINGDOM COME: Why we Must Give Up our Obsession with Fixing the Church — and What We Should Do Instead

Reggie’s newest book is a practical theology on the Kingdom of God.  He clarifies the relationship between the kingdom and the church in the biblical drama of God’s redemption story.  In the second half he lays out examples and concrete strategy for the people of God (i.e., the church) to live for Kingdom values and influence that entices others to become Christ the King followers.

And Jesus taught us to pray….”your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth at it is in heaven.” Matthew 6:10

“Jesus wants us to pray for, deeply desire, and dedicate ourselves to seeing the Kingdom as it operates in heaven made visible  and active in our daily experience here on earth.” (pg. xiv)

“The purpose of the church is to further God’s kingdom.” (pg. xx)

“…the key to church renewal lies in anchoring the mission and purpose of the church in the biblical teaching of what it means to be the people of God.” (pg. 4)

CLICK HERE TO BUY ON AMAZON

The Person/s Supervising Me are Not Leading Me Well. What Should I do?”

THE Critical Question for you to answer, “Can I trust the character/heart of the person/s over me even when I have good reason to not trust their competence in handling the situation we are facing?”

If you answer, “No” to that question; pray and ask God if you should leave the position.  The Bible warns of the danger of leaders with corrupt character creating a wake of destruction.  OR …At least know how to pray and be very cautious.

If you answer “Yes” realize that the poor exercise of competence can still sink the organization, wound people including you, and generally make a mess.  The lack of or poor communication or a hundred other poorly executed skills related to leading, managing and empowering others still spells poor supervision.

BUT

Skills can be learned and practiced and improved in many cases if a supervisor is humble and teachable.

SO — what do you think and do?

Think — I should not assume that someone over me knows how to lead me well.  Your supervisor/s are not mind readers and often do not have a good feel of what you need to carry out your responsibilities.  They are too concerned about their own work to know yours well.  They often hired you to do what they do not have time or desire to do.

Do  —  Inform the supervisor/s what you need to be empowered and effective in your responsibilities.  List your vital contributions to the organization.  Then describe what you need now or in the near future to be effective.  Sit down and discuss the list — even when it includes items such as, “Limit surprises that disrupt my day or week… they confuse my priorities and push me out of clarity into crisis reaction.” Be honest but realistic about the nature of the workplace.  Lead UP the way you want to be addressed by someone UNDER you.

ALSO — 

Remember that you work FOR them.  Do not assume that you know their preferred work language.  Ask questions and then be diligent to lay down your own preferences, if necessary, to use their language.  WHAT IS A WORK LANGUAGE?

Examples of questions that uncover work language or style?

  1. How do you prefer to communicate?  (face to face planned meetings, as you walk by, e-mail, text, phone, etc.,)
  2. How do you prefer to address conflict? (write up summary and then ask to meet to follow-up, over lunch, etc.,)
  3. How do you prefer to evaluate results? (standard reports of benchmarks, surveys, daily tasks accomplished, etc.,)
  4. How do you prefer to handle personal non-work issues in my life? (leave it at home, let’s have coffee, at weekly meeting, etc.,)

Bottom Line — We are ALL developing competence in leading UP to those over us and DOWN to those under us.  Stay humble and ask this question, “What am I doing that is making your job more challenging or difficult?” Then listen, act on what you hear and follow up in a few weeks to see if you have improved.

WHAT IS HELPING YOU TO LEAD UP OR LEAD DOWN?

How do I deal with fears when I get up to teach or preach?

Get there early… lay your stuff down at the front… walk around and greet people.  Shake hands and ask questions to hear some of their stories… “what they do, why they are here today”, just connect.  Get your mental focus off of your self and do not even mention you are a speaker unless they pick up on it.
15 min before .. get alone. Ask the Spirit for his words in your heart, and breathe in through nose and out through mouth slowly and deeply 5 to 6 times as you pray….
What Has been helpful for you?

Two Good Books for Summer Reading!

If you are a Father with a son who is, or will soon be, a young adult read the conversations between John and Sam Eldredge in Killing Lions.  (Click Here to Purchase from Amazon)

One of the great contributions are the quotes and lessons they share from their own reading.  So our Leadership Training Group decided to read the novel they mention a few times.  One of the fellows mentioned this week that this novel was one of the best books we had read together this year.  So let me also mention a good pool side read… THE ALCHEMIST — story of a shepherd’s journey to find the treasure of the heart.  (Click here to purchase from Amazon)

SHARE YOUR SUMMER READING SUGGESTIONS IN COMMENTS BELOW!