What kind of person are you? Are you dependable; are you a leader, are you one that people can turn to in times of trouble? In thinking about this, I’ve been dwelling on what it means to press into something.
Imagine you have some play dough on the table and you take your thumb, and press into it. What happens? Does it all flatten out? Not at all. Only the part you press into compacts under your thumb. The rest of it seems to wrap itself around your thumb, leaving you with a big lump of play dough where your thumb should be.
Consider a child that is hurt, or needs the security of a hug when they are in trouble. They don’t just hug you, they squeeze you like they are trying to get as much of you as possible to surround them. Those are the hugs that make me melt, especially when it is one of my kids. The photo above was taken by a friend of ours at a time when my youngest son was playing and was in one of those moods where he just wanted to be close. This photo sits on my desk at work as a reminder of two things, both equally important. The love of my kids, but also the fact that as their father, I am supposed to be one that they can press into when they need comfort, or security or wisdom.
Everyone is a leader in some form or another, whether they are at home, in the workplace, at church, or wherever, there is always someone that will look to us as a leader and as leaders we need to be the kinds of people that can be a strength to others, and a support when they need comfort, direction, or even the wisdom of someone else to talk to.
Everyone needs someone that they can press into, but let’s keep in mind, that as leaders, we also need to be those kinds of people that are a support to others who look up to us.
Have a great week,
One of the great things about sport is that, if it is trained into the players, it develops the team mindset rather than a solo player mindset.
I remember playing some sports at school that I really enjoyed. One of them was Baseball. Baseball is a team sport, but one thing is noticeable. When the batter steps up to the plate, everything is up to him. He does his part for the team, but at that very moment, it is all about him. All eyes are on him to see how he will perform. He can’t pass it off onto someone else - at that moment he has to play his part.
Leadership can be like that. Some great leaders are solo players. Some great leaders play well as a part of a team. Some are great in the lead role, others are great in support, but regardless of where they play, a great leader will be able to step up to the plate and do his part for the team.
The first chapter of Joshua in the Bible speaks of Joshua being called to replace Moses, an incredible leader of several million people. In there, God says to him, “Be strong and of good courage”. Joshua was called to lead Israel, but he had to do it as Joshua. He was called to replace Moses not to be Moses.
The key is not to try to be a leader that you are not. Know where you best play well and work hard at that. You can work at developing your weaknesses, but don’t forget to keep working at your strengths also.
Somebody once said, “There’s no “I” in team, but it does have ‘me’ in it. I want to encourage you this month with this. Find your place in the team, and play your part to the very best of your abilities. Train and practice, train and practice, so that when it is you turn to step up to the plate, you can hit a home run.
Have a winner of a month,
What have you done with your life? This is something people often ask when they hit their mid-life years. They question their life’s achievements and when they calculate how much time is left, they can doubt the possibility of achieving anything really significant.
If you're like most people you would have experienced the frustration of knowing you're capable of achieving so much more than you have seen already. The question therefore is, “How can we get past this and move forward to achieve more with our lives? Many businesses and organisations have a Mission Statement. The benefit of a Mission Statement is that it defines why the business or organisation exists and can be used as a filter to determine what things they will pursue. This helps them move forward rather than running in circles pursuing every good idea, and in reality - achieving none.
So, what is the Mission Statement for your life? Why do you exist? Have you given much thought to this (or have you thought, “We’ll just see what happens?”) Once you know what your Mission is, write it down. Hab 2:2 says, “Write the vision make it plain so that whoever reads it may run with it.” It’s good to constantly have a reminder before you as to where you are going, and what you are doing because this will help you get there. The place of your focus is the place of your travel.
Once you have identified your Mission, then clearly write down your goals. Start with where you would like to be at in 2 years. Then list where you need to be at in 90 days so that you will achieve your goals in 2 years. List where you need to be and what you need to have done at 4 weeks, then 2 weeks then every day of this week.
Now you simply put into practice, your “Mission Possible”.
Whenever he heard someone complain about something trivial, a friend of mine used to say, “Just build a bridge and get over it”. Although this was often said a humourous way, there is a strong message in it if we choose to look at it.
What is the purpose for building a bridge? A bridge is a structure spanning and providing passage over a barrier, whether the barrier is an obstacle or a gap. When a bridge exists, the barrier is dwarfed by the bridge. However, without the bridge, the focal point becomes the barrier regardless of how big or small it is.
Some barriers look insurmountable. The sheer size of them can be so overwhelming that sometimes we fail to get beyond viewing the viewing of the problem and into the stage of bridge-building. The Bible story of David and Goliath is a good example of this. When David stood before the giant Goliath he could have agreed with the general consensus and said, “He’s so big we can’t hit him”, but he chose to respond with a winners attitude, “He’s so big I can’t miss!”
When we stand and face our barrier, we too are faced with two options when it speaks to us (and it will). We will either say, “I will” or “I won’t”, but we need to choose what our response will be. Henry David Thoreau once said, "Never look back unless you are planning to go that way."
The next time a problem rises it’s dominating head before you, make the decision that you will face it head on. Then you can build a bridge and get over it.
I was thinking about the word “Attitude” recently and I was reminded of the phrase by William Shakespeare, “What's in a name?” He goes on to say, “that which we call a rose, by any other name would smell as sweet." The idea here is that it doesn’t matter what the name is, it is the fruit of something that it is known by, not just by the name it is given.
The same can be said for people. We are known not just by our name, but by who we are. An individual can know two people both with the same name. One can be a mentor and coach and the other a bully. Simple thoughts relating to the mentor and coach can inspire them to achieve greatness, yet thoughts about the bully can sometimes induce crippling fear. What is the difference? The answer is in this fact - we are more than just a name. We impact people emotionally. If you think back to your school days, you can remember some of your teachers, not by what they said, but who they were. The emotional impact on someone’s life can last a lifetime.
Who are you being when it comes to other people? Your attitude in every situation will reflect who you are as a person and therefore your outcome in every situation. A bad attitude will end up with a bad result, and a good attitude will bring a good one.
As an exercise, take every letter of the alphabet and number them so that A=1, B=2 etc. Take the word “Attitude” and assign the corresponding number to each letter. Then add the numbers up. That final number is the percentage of impact your attitude will have on your life, on your outcomes, on your behaviours on who you are being and who you will be known as.
The picture above sums it all up perfectly - “Attitude is Everything”. Choose your attitude wisely because it will determine everything else about you.
Have an attitudinally amazing week.
PS I'd love to hear your comments and feedback.
1. Weathering the Storms
2. Maintaining Momentum
Recently, my brother asked if I (along with a willing other team of helpers) could stack some hay bales on his property after they had been cut and baled by the tractors. It was something I hadn’t done since I was a kid, so long in fact that I had forgotten the procedure for making hay. First it is slashed and then several days later another tractor passes over the cut grass and ‘rakes’ it into rows, then another tractor passes over it and gathers it, and feeds it into a chute where it is neatly packed into square bales, is tied off and then fed out of the back of the tractor where it waits for the crew to come by and stack it onto a trailer to be carted off and stacked for storage.
Thinking back over the procedure, I dwelt on the work of the tractor. I have grown up around tractors having grandparents that owned a farm and I first learned to drive, not in a car, but on a tractor.
The tractor is a real workhorse. Many a farmer would be lost without it as it is such a vital tool on any farm. But if their tractor did break down, what would they do? I can tell you now that they wouldn’t hitch up their Corolla. Why not? The car has a body, wheels and an engine, so why can’t we hitch it up and put it to work? The answer is quite simple. The Corolla was not designed as a piece of farm machinery. If you put that type of car through the load of a tractor, you would burn the engine out, the body would get dented, you’d probably rip the sump out at the first gutter you drive over, assuming you ever got there as you’d probably get it bogged in the paddock.
The car would end up a tired, rusted, and burned out because it was not looked after and treated in the way it was supposed to be.
We know that the above scenario would be a stupid one if acted on, but when it comes to life, we do exactly that. Let me ask you this. “Are you functioning as you were intended to?” Many people do function in areas they think they ‘need’ to as there is no one else to do the job (particularly when it comes to working with volunteers). But as we have seen above, functioning in an area you are not created to do will only in the long run leave you a burned out, rusted out wreck in a paddock, in a place where you should never have been.
If you can identify with that scenario, then in order to avoid being the casualty, the decision needs to be made right now for a life saving change. If you focus on what you are not gifted for (such as bookwork, or administration) then you are preventing yourself from doing the things you do enjoy doing. Functioning in the area of your giftings (and yes that might even be bookwork or administration) will bring you a sense of joy and will go a long way to recharging your emotional batteries rather than burning yourself out, and leaving you somewhere to rusting away in a paddock somewhere.
If you want to go the distance, find your strengths and work in those areas. Allow your weaknesses to be taken care of by others and you will go a long way to running the race well.
My prayer is that you keep aiming to finish well, and that you have an amazing month.
I’d love to hear your comments. Please click here to add your comments or feel free to share this article.
No doubt you have heard of the recent events regarding damage caused by the floods and then this week’s cyclone Yasi. The extent of the damage from the floods was in the billions, but then all of a sudden, as people are beginning to rebuild their lives, cyclone Anthony passes through and then the phenomenal Yasi unleashes it’s fury on Queensland. We heard the news about the cyclones while we were away on holidays this week on Bruny Island which is South of Hobart on the D'Entrecasteaux Channel.
One morning whilst we were away, I decided to go for a walk along the beach. I was admiring the incredible view which reinforced to me God’s incredible design. The sand stone cliffs where I was standing right on the shoreline boasted some amazing patterns cut into the rocks by years of waves and storms that battered that part of the shoreline. I was thinking how amazing it would be to enjoy something like that every single day of the year, but then I realised something… without the storms, the amazing part of that coastline wouldn’t exist.
I suddenly realised that even though there are many storms in life that we will face including some that seem like they carry the fury of Yasi, the storms will pass and although there may be some cleanup required, it is the pressure endured from the storms we have faced that have helped shape the lives that we are living right now. We are who we are because of the life we have lived. How we choose to respond to the storms that we will face over the course of the rest of our lives will determine who we will become. Weather the storm well.
I’d love to hear your comments. Please click here to add your comments or feel free to share this article.
With each New Year come New Years Resolutions. I have come to realise that there is one word that often goes hand in hand with a New Years Resolution. It is almost always expected to follow, if not in a few days, within a few weeks or months. It is expected for nearly every person. That word is - “failure”. Statistics show that after 6 months, more than 50% of people who made a serious NYR have failed to see them through. After 12 months, more than 90% of people have failed.
Many New Years Resolutions are made to improve people’s lives. Most people are wanting to get happier and improve their lives, and yet again, they often fail - even when it is something as serious as putting things in place to ensure their ongoing health. Why is it that something that is so important like our physical and mental health is often something we fail at protecting?
During December I posted something on Facebook with relation to the large number of ministers and business people who suffer burnout and invited people to respond with their comments as to why they think that there are such large numbers of people that burnout (click here to read the responses). The response were varied ranging from looking at yourself, to looking at others. Unfortunately when it comes to burnout we try to look at where things went wrong, but we often miss the obvious and avoid looking at ourselves. Many businesses often fail because their owners are so busy working in the business that they forget to work on the business. It is the same with our own lives. If we want to run to the finish line then we must on a regular basis work on ourselves.
Below I have listed 12 keys that will help with the balance of life work and ministry.
1. For those involved in ministry, relationship with God is a huge key. Payer and reading the Bible are part of your “Professional Development” that cannot be ignored;
2. Take regular time off.
3. Get proper exercise and sleep.
4. Exercise fairly vigorously 3-4 times a week. Driving a car around town clogs the carburettor Cars need a good run to burn off the gunk. Exercise burns the built up stress in the same way.
5. Allow adequate time for sleep. Most doctors agree that adults probably need 8-9 hours' a night!'
6. Allow time to Relax - Down time is not wasted time.
7. Time Management - What more needs to be said here? If you would like to download our free Time Management budget, click here.
8. Restructure your thinking. Take a personal audit and reassess your goals. Make sure that your goals follow the S.M.A.R.T. principle (for more information on setting S.M.A.R.T. goals, click here to download our free book “Going for Gold - Practical tools for achieving your goals” )
9. Improve your self-attitudes. Did you know that depression comes from spending large amounts of time focusing on how bad things are? What do you think focusing on how good things are would result in?
10. Learn how to use the middle two letters of the alphabet - “NO”. If you know your gifts, and your limits this will become easier.
11. Face your fears; don't avoid them by pretence, or bury them in an addiction.
12. Have fun! No one ever said that we need to grow up, so enjoy life like a child.
Let your New Year be one of new beginnings. Forget about making a New Years Resolution this year. Just make yourself the promise that this year will be your best one ever.
The numbers of ministers and business executives that burnout each year is staggering.
The Fuller Institute of Church Growth reported that:
i.90% of pastors work in excess of 6 days per week.
ii. 90% felt that they were not adequately trained to cope with the ministry demands placed upon them.
iii. 80% believe that pastoral ministry is affecting their families negatively.
iv. 75% have reported a significant crisis due to stress at least once in their ministry.
v. 70% of pastors do not have someone they would consider a close friend.
vi. 70% have a lower self-image after they’ve pastored than before they started.
vii. 50% felt unable to meet the needs of the job.
viii. 40% reported a serious conflict with a parishioner at least once a month.
ix. 33% say that being in ministry is clearly a hazard to their families.Church Resource Ministries -1998)
x. At any given time, 75% of pastors in America want to quit.
Do you know someone who has burnt out? I'd be interested in hearing your feedback as to why there are such large numbers of people that burnout each year.
What are your thoughts?
Christmas is a time of celebration, joy, blessing, giving and so much more. Not only that, it’s just around the corner. Our kids still with great excitement count the remaining days by saying, “Only 24 sleeps to go!”
One jolly fellow that is often referred to during this season is ‘Santa’. Children are often told that if they are nice, Santa will bring them a present, and if they are naughty, their name goes on “The List…” and they won’t get a present at all. I wonder how many of us remember hearing that story as children? I remember hearing that and making a sudden change in my behaviour and attitude because I didn’t want to end up with my name on “The List...”
I wonder what would we do if there was a ‘list’ today used to record ‘naughty’ and ‘nice’ leaders? Have you ever considered that a ‘list’ does exist? It is in the mind of each person we come in contact with. John Maxwell says, “A man who says he is a leader, but as nobody following him is just a man out taking a walk.” Whether it is right or not, people are quick to judge and not quick to forget. The way you impact someone the first time will affect how they respond to your leadership. You may possess incredible leadership skills, but permission to lead them can be given by the person themselves. How you treat people will determine whether they give you permission to lead them or not.
Which list will your leadership be on this Christmas? Naughty... or nice…?
Have a blessed and safe Christmas.