Posted tagged ‘Leadership’

Learning How to Breathe

June 14, 2012

A breath of fresh air.

The breath of life.

A deep breath.

You’re probably thinking, “I know how to breathe”. Of course you do – you wouldn’t be reading this if you weren’t breathing. But there’s such a thing as strategic breathing.

Like today when my friend delivers her 9 pound baby through a 10 centimeter canal. Oxygen to the baby is critical and thus the breathing of the mother in labor is vitally important. Birthing classes teach you how to breathe so you can reduce fear, reduce pain (oxygen-starved muscles HURT) and deliver a healthy baby.

It takes concentrated, synchronized breathing to push a baby out. There’s nothing easy about it. But ask any mother, is it worth it? What a ridiculous question. There’s no measure of how much it’s worth it.

So how are you doing with giving birth to your dreams and plans? Are you surrounded by people who are encouraging you? Have you made measureable progress? Is it time to push?

I sometimes hesitate to tell others I’m a marketplace midwife. Because I don’t only work with women and it’s a pretty graphic image when you visualize childbirth. But the world is waiting for that which is inside of you to be expressed. I’m trained to help you bring it forth.

If this speaks to you, click HERE for details on the Summer Strategy.

Now, take a deep breath, it’s good for you. And say a prayer for my friend who’s in the labor room. She’s got a big job to do but the miracle is about to happen. And yours can too.

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The Wild Ride Of Change

March 30, 2012

Are you one of those people that runs to grab the front seat on the roller coaster so you can maximize the thrill of the dips and climbs, the wind in your hair and the screams at your back? Me either. In fact, when I was a kid, I thought Mr. Toad had a wild ride.  I had no clue.

The level of change in most of our lives in the past decade has felt  like a roller coaster when I would have opted to go higher via a smooth and steady ride in a climate-controlled gondola.   Even if you have segments of time when you’re not experiencing dramatic peaks and valleys, don’t be lulled into thinking that’s the norm. The ride is far from over, so let’s consider how to make the most of it.

I cringe when I hear the term “embrace change” since change is more like a wild ride than something warm and comforting. The very nature of change is that it ushers in the unfamiliar and thrusts us out of our comfort zone.

It’s said that everything we ever wanted is just outside of our comfort zone. If that’s true, and I think it is, then it serves us well to harness the momentum instead of trying to wrestle things into their old places to maintain the status quo. I don’t think most leaders really want the status quo, which ultimately spells mediocrity, but shifting paradigms and long-held beliefs is an ongoing process. We can make the decision to shift, but walking it out takes daily course corrections. That’s where a compass comes in.

Mastering the art of navigating change successfully could very well become one of the most sought – after skills in the marketplace in the days ahead.

Our youngest daughter, who is in college, was planning a road trip recently and her dad asked if she had a map in her car. She looked at him in puzzlement and said, “dad, no one uses a map anymore. Maps are old-school!”.   A GPS recalculates if you miss a turn and shows where you are in relation to where you need to be. But a compass will work when the satellite can’t get a reading and can be counted on to keep you headed in the right direction, even if you’re not certain of exactly what road you’re on.

Besides having a navigational tool, cultivating an attitude of expectancy is key to a successful journey. Our attitude toward change has much to do with our personality type. I run full force into change with sword drawn, ready for action. One of my partners gets out the calculator, gathers information and ponders long and hard before taking action. Neither one of us have the correct approach. In fact, the ideal is to travel with a team that have all different perspectives that come with different personalities. The one with gutsy boldness and daring has to have someone to catch their tail and haul them back up when they step off the edge of a cliff in the fog.

Change is inevitable, survival is essential, but improvement is optional. Sometimes the whole process is exhausting. It comes in handy that we are more adaptable than we think. Agility is maintained by stretching and change is the way we stretch. You can resist it and it will come anyway. Might as well fasten your seat belt and learn to enjoy the ride.

“Do one thing every day that scares you.” ~ Eleanor Roosevelt.

Who You are Speaks So Loudly…

January 6, 2012

Who are you listening to?

It better be someone who has what you want. In fact, you need to identify those who have what you want and seek them out.  Go where they are, hang out where they hang out – listen and take notes!

Who is speaking into your life?

We hear a constant barrage everyday from within and without. I laughed the other day when a friend described his internal dialogue as drunken monkey chatter. Oh my. Then there’s the incessant sounds around us. We hear from many – but who do you really listen to? As in, weigh their words, maybe even write them down and give them thoughtful consideration.

Mentoring relationships rarely just happen.  Intentionality pays off.

By the way, free advice (espeically that which is unsolicited) is typically worth exactly what you pay for it. Almost anyone is willing to give you an opinion, but I’ve learned to look into their life and see if they have what I want in the area they are advising me on. Fact is, if you think like they think, you’ll get what they’ve got.

You can set goals all day (and I’m a huge advocate of goal setting) but there’s a time – and it’s NOW – to get up out of your chair and go where the action is. You are changed by the people you surround yourself with, for better or for worse, so choose wisely.

Now here’s a thought; if you could get sound advice from someone who knows the future, is powerful, well-connected,  100% invested in your success and loves you without measure, wouldn’t you want to listen to them? Yea, me too. That would be God Himself. And He wants to talk to you and give you downloads that will make you shine. Sometimes we just don’t take time to listen. Or build the right relationships.

I’m listening. I’m building.

P.S. Clay Shiver is one of the people that I listen to. He drips wisdom when he talks (seasoned with hilarity if you’re around him long enough) and he’s going to be sharing ” 7 Steps to Growing the Anointing on Your Life”. Tuesday, January 10th – This will be an hour you want to hear.

Leading an Army of Volunteers

December 14, 2011

I used to think there was a difference between leading a team of volunteers and managing employees.

Yes, it’s true that you have the power to fire employees. (And then there’s always the volunteers you only WISH you could fire!)

The reality is that if you’ve resorted to threats and punitive measures to “motivate” your team, you’re not a leader, you’re a dictator. History tells us dictators don’t build productive, happy teams that are sustainable.

I have a two word assessment for you. Provoke or Rebuke. What’s it going to be?

In the original meaning of these words, provoke means to ” call forth, challenge”. Rebuke means to “repel, beat back”. It’s pretty clear that to provoke creates a forward motion and stirs people to action. A rebuke does quite the opposite.

The etymology lesson is over and I’ll tell you the story behind this post. I was rebuked last week by someone who “had my best interests in mind.” This person was trying to motivate me to do something by being critical. You can guess what my reaction was. No action. Instead of going forward, I pulled back.

So, next time you’re tempted to pull rank as a way to get people moving in the right direction, consider the fact that you’re leading an army of volunteers. Motivating the team is one of the virtues of a good leader. And when it comes to followers, they’re all volunteers.

Made for the Impossible

November 28, 2011

Thanksgiving weekend ended strong for me with a Celebration of Life Service for a precious friend who moved to heaven. It was a fitting end to an amazing week with family, as the focus was on the joy of a life well- lived.

I took note of  something she spoke into the lives of her 11 grandchildren. She told each one, “you were born for the impossible”.  That resounded within me and caused me to look back at an email she sent me in January, telling me I have a “Caleb spirit.”

Caleb had the kind of attitude and action plan I want to emulate.

Caleb was a man who answered to a higher authority than military science and tactics. It did not make good sense to take Hebron. Joshua had figured the odds, said it wasn’t worth it, and bypassed the walled cities. There was no sense fighting the giants of Anak. But Caleb was not content with that. He was marching to the sound of a different drummer. He had been confident 45 years before. (Read the book of Numbers, Chapter 6 and follow his story) And he was still confident 45 years later. He was an uncommon man and uncommon things transpired when he fixed his mind on obtaining God’s best for his life.

Joshua and Caleb have gone down in history as the only two out of a team of twelve who saw opportunity where others only saw danger. They saw possibilities while others whined about obstacles. They had vision, faith and hope, where others had negativity, fear, pessimism and doubt.

Choosing the path of least resistance is a choice to settle for mediocrity. There’s territory to be gained and victories to be won.

We were made the for the impossible and we are more than conquerors.

It’s time to take the mountain. Thanks, Tommie Jean Woods, for being one of the vast cloud of witnesses now cheering me on from the grandstand of heaven.

Your Deepest Fear

June 23, 2010

Fear is a jailer that will lock you up, imprisoning you longer than you want to stay and costing you more than you expected to pay.

I’ve pondered the following thought, expressed by poet Marianne Willimason,many times and it never ceases to stir something deep inside of me. “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn’t serve the world. There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We are born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us, it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

Remember, “God has not given you a spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind.” And that’s the Truth.

I think I could have a chance to be the poster-child for “Do it Scared”.
This week’s 3 min. coaching tip is titled “Facing the Giant”. Click Here to View.

The Four Most Important Things I Have Ever Learned

June 9, 2008

One of the first blogs I started reading by a fellow speaker was John Spence. His March post with this same title was very thought–provoking and I determined right then and there to start a Lifepoint blog. It’s pretty hard to limit this list to 4 things, but here it is:

1. I don’t have to be right. Having the attitude of “I’m right and I’ll prove it” is definitely an obstacle in effective communication. Whether it’s dialogue with a co-worker or my spouse, when I am focused on being right, I don’t truly listen. I’m too busy thinking about my rebuttal to hear or respond well to them.
(Warning – your pride will take a beating if you apply this lesson. But your relationships will improve with more effective communication. Pride – as in inflated ego is overrated anyway.)

2. Be real and be willing to confront an issue.  Okay – I’ll admit it. I’m a pleaser. Like most characteristics, there are 2 sides to this. Indeed, I’m quite a diplomat and I excel at customer service. But as a leader, (“boss-lady”), there are times when direct confrontation is called for.  I have found that a problem left to fester only gets worse with time – not better. So the ostrich’s approach of sticking his head in the sand is a sorry tactic and simply doesn’t work in business. 

3. Take care of yourself – stress will eat you alive if you let it. None of us are indispensable – though we perceive ourselves to be. Rest, refuel, refresh and take time for family and friends.  

4. The 80/20 rule is as certain as the law of gravity.  Understanding the rule is critical. It prevents whining, resentment and bitterness.  You simply can’t change people. Be thankful when you have the passion, vision and energy to do what others are unwilling to do. (That means you’ll have things they only dream of having.)