Attitude: How to Separate Yourself from the Pack

I’m amazed at how many people have a horrible attitude. If you want to set yourself apart from the competition in the workplace, become an influencer in your community, or even set a life-changing tone in your home…here’s the secret: Bring a Great Attitude.

It’s becoming harder and harder to rise above cynicism, negativity, and complaint but those who can will change things – they will lead. I’m convinced of this.

Here are 3 steps to possessing a winning attitude:

1) Begin by Clearing Your Head
A few weeks ago my heart and mind felt heavy – I found myself beginning to be really negative. So I tried to step back and ask myself, “Why am I feeling this way?” I began to realize that I was exposing myself for extended periods of time to negative influence. This came primarily through my Twitter feed. This is not a bash on social media – I love the opportunity it creates to connect with and influence others – but it happened in this moment to be the channel by which I was obliviously exposing myself to excessive amounts of negativity, complaining, belittling, and backbiting.

The weather sucks.
My food is gross.
My boss is horrible.

I hate my job.
Uhh…I’m stuck in traffic again.
I hate today.
I hate life.

And on and on the list went.

So I decided to delete those apps for a season from my phone. Again, I’m not against social media. I really enjoy it and I know I’ll reinstall those apps at some point. But I needed to clear my head. Perhaps you need to as well – perhaps not because of social media – but perhaps in another way. If so, do whatever is necessary to create some quiet space in your mind. For me, the reason I was hesitant to do it was I felt like I was going to miss out on something. Can’t tell you how much I’ve enjoyed the quiet.


2) Begin to Look at Things Differently
One of favorite things is to be a part of conversations where things aren’t going as planned. Sometimes I get to listen to business owners share about their particular market. Sometimes I get to listen to educational leaders in our city share about the problems in our schools. Sometimes I get to listen to a parent concerned about their child. If I’m not careful, I’ll allow others to drag me into solely focusing on the problem. The focus becomes all of the things that are “not” there. But if I can begin to look at the same situations differently, I can usually create an opportunity to bring a positive perspective to things. This takes incredible self-discipline…because quite honestly it’s easy to just get sucked in. But if I can find the opportunity that the problem presents or concentrate on what “could be” instead of what isn’t, I’ll probably be able to create a positive moment.


3) Begin to Speak Positively

Once the opportunity is there, then you have to seize it. It’s your chance to be positive. And people are drawn to positivity. I’m not talking about unrealistic, over-the-top, annoying optimism. That can just be irritating – and will actually create skepticism from others. But a positive word, an encouraging word, a well-timed and seized moment could be your ticket to lead.


So today, I dare you to lead yourself – look for opportunities to bring a positive attitude. Too many around you are too quick to remind the world how much everything sucks. Lead differently.

Regrets

December 25th through January 1st encompasses 8 of my favorite days of the entire year. In addition to spending them with family, one of the things that happens during those 8 days is my mind begins turning…with anticipation of the new year.

I love the new year because it represents a new start. Almost anything seems possible again regardless of what the entire last year has looked like.

But then comes January 15th…and typically I hate January 15th. Can you guess why?

By January 15th, I can already begin to tell which things I’m going to do differently, which things I’ve started, which things have already moved from the “Wish List” to the “Task List”…and consequently I can also tell which things probably won’t be any different at all.

Perhaps I’ve already stopped my new workout, or I’ve already spent what should’ve went in savings, or I’ve already been undisciplined in some other way. And what begins to creep into my mind is regret.

I’m reminded of what hasn’t happened. I’m reminded of where I’ve fallen short. I’m reminded of where I feel trapped. I’m reminded of regret.

So as I barrel towards January 16th this year, I’m determined to do something different: to take things one day at a time, to be faithful with small things, and to bring my best. All of those are part of leading myself. And I’m confident if I do that on the 16th, I’ll be heading in the direction of less regret.

You can too.

Life Plan?…or Life Mission?

Last Thursday, I had the opportunity to speak to several hundred of Liberty University‘s Student Leaders (Resident Advisors and Spiritual Life Coaches). Being that I used to serve in Student Leadership at LU and that I’m a Liberty University Alumni, it was a great honor.

My talk centered on How to Move from Here to There as leaders. As part of the talk I encouraged the group to be more concerned about identifying a Life Mission than a Life Plan. This seemed to resonate with many of them…and it’s something I would encourage you to consider as well.

Essentially, a Life Mission is something that is fairly fixed but allows you the flexibility to do many things or accomplish that mission through a variety of venues. For example, since approximately age 19, I’ve felt my life’s mission is to connect with individuals, listen to where they are in their journey, and help provide practical next steps that will lead them towards their dreams becoming a reality. That’s it. I feel that’s my life mission. However, I’ve been able to see that lived out in a variety of ways: as a restaurant manager, as a coordinator of overseas internships, as a 20somethings pastor, and now as a campus pastor. The life mission has stayed the same in each of those areas, but the landscape of how that’s been accomplished has changed multiple times. And because the mission was fixed as opposed to the plan, it’s provided opportunity as opposed to frustration.

Life plans on the other hand tend to be more rigid and narrowing. They’re often written in Pen instead of Pencil which allows for no mid-course correction or re-focusing of attention in another area. Life plans usually become outdated because the new job, or new relationship, or new family creates roadblocks in accomplish the plan. Life plans (as in Step 1 then Step 2 then Step 3) that don’t work out tend to lead to disappointment and regret.

Here’s the catch. One isn’t necessarily against the other. Following the talk I saw one student tweet “Life Mission vs. Life Plan”. What’s important to note is that plans are often (almost always) needed to stay on point and be intentional with one’s Life Mission. So it’s about keeping mission the priority. Keep mission in front of plan. The plan should compliment and lead the mission to success…but shouldn’t discourage, detour, or derail the mission along the way.

So today…what’s your mission? Do you know? Have you thought about it?

If not, your plan might be working against you.

The Butterfly Effect

There are generations whose very lives will be shifted and shaped by the moves you make and the actions you take today. And tomorrow. And the next day. Every single thing you do matters. You have been created as one of a kind. You have been created in order to make a difference. You have within you the power to change the world.

Andy Andrews shares this thought in the book The Butterfly Effect which talks about the ripple-effect that our daily decisions make not only in the present, but throughout history.

You and I have no idea how our momentary decisions, actions, or words will impact or change someone’s life…will change history. But be sure of this: that everything you do matters. Every. Single. Thing. And the unique way that you “bring You” has the potential to not only change a person’s life today…but may alter the trajectory of countless lives in the future.

If so, then I’d bet you’d want to make today count.

So do it. Make today count.


The above quote currently hangs above my desk on two enormously large post-its.
Right now it’s my reminder of my opportunity.
Hope it will be a great reminder of your opportunity as well.

I Spy? Or I SEE?

Who didn’t love playing “I Spy” as a kid? You know, the other person said, “I Spy something BLUE”…and so you violently scanned the horizon calling out answers from the sky, to the river, to your very own eyes. Was pretty fun…especially on long road trips.

But even in the game of “I Spy” once you had guessed the correct answer, your mind quickly floated to a new color, a new object. You might have SPIED, but did you really SEE?

I think we have a habit of doing the same with people, or at the least, the potential exists for us to do the same thing: Spy but not See.

As a leader, you can afford to default to spying. When you do, you miss the greatest part of that person who is following…you miss who they really are. And that’s super important.

The people on your team, or on your staff, or in your family are more than cogs in the wheel, more than folks designed to serve you and your purposes. They are real people who experiences successes and failures. They are people with great ideas and deep pains. They are people who impact your story but have a unique story of their own.

And they need to be seen. Not just spied.

Today, as you interact with people (at work, at the grocery store, at the gym, at your kid’s football practice, the neighbor next door, your spouse, your child), don’t just spy.

Make sure you SEE.

My 3 Hopes for Our Campus this Month

Our campus launched only 18 months ago, propelled by the momentum of a church that’s been in existence for nearly 30 years. Nothing ever happens over night…but momentum is gained by years and years of people praying hard, serving hard, and loving hard – and of course by depending on God for His leading, wisdom, and empowering. Our church has done that. And our campus has benefitted greatly as a result.

Dreaming big has been something I’ve always admired about LCBC. I’ve constantly heard them ask, “What if God…” I admired it as an attendee and a volunteer. I admire it even more as a staff member. But it doesn’t take a lot of great faith to dream big…it takes big faith to take action steps forward towards those big dreams.

Our church has always dreamed of reaching tons of people with the Good News of Jesus, especially those who may have never heard about Jesus or haven’t connected with Him in a long while. We dream that way because people matter. Every. Single. Person. matters to God. And so we’ve tried to step towards those dreams by inviting others to join us and by giving big love to each person who comes through the doors.

In a few days on October 6th, we’ll take another step towards reaching and loving others by adding two more gatherings at 4:30pm and 6:15pm on Sundays (Other gatherings will be at 9a, 10:45a, and 12:30p). And as we do, we’d love for you to join us! Just come.

And as we take those steps forward, I really have 3 Hopes for the folks of our campus:

  • I hope we will dream big, pray hard, and rely solely on God
  • I hope we will invite people to come like we truly believe that the Good News of Jesus can turn someone’s life upside down
  • I hope we’ll bring our best and fully love others in a way that they know they matter to God and to us

Because if we pray, invite, and love that way I’m absolutely convinced that more and more lives will be changed, both for eternity and for today.

* #LCBC_YRK is located at 951 N. Hills Road, York, PA 17402

 

 

You’re Doing Good Work…That’s Not Stupid

It’s funny leading people. Actually at times it’s not funny at all. It really can be an overwhelming responsibility. But it is funny some of the things we have to do as leaders. Even funnier, or perhaps I should say interesting, can be some of the things we have to ask of our team members. We might ask them to go above and beyond. We might hope they buy-in and support something that deep down you know might be completely opposite of what they’d prefer. We ask them to give us their best effort. We ask them to leverage their creativity.

And we often ask much, much more.

So I’ve found two phrases that, when offered, can really bring a team member to life:

You’re Doing Good Work.
That’s Not Stupid.

These two phrases are pretty self-explanatory, but let me give just a quick thought or two of context.

I’ve yet to meet at team member who didn’t want to hear they’re doing well when in fact they were doing great work. But I find it interesting how many team leaders refuse to share those 4 simple words. Can’t figure out why they don’t share them.

I’ve also seen team members or had team members that from time to time in the midst of them giving their best effort, energies, creativity, etc just simply wonder, “Am I stupid for thinking this way?” I’ve not implied that their idea or work is stupid, but at times, I’ve heard some of them utter those words out loud and at other times you can tell that’s what they’re thinking by the look on their face. As team members, employees, or staff hammer out details on the ground level there are times of uncertainty and sometimes they’re too close to ground level to know if the way they’re thinking or the strategy they’re attempting is truly working. When applicable, simply let them know they’re on the right track.

Providing a little affirmation (when applicable) can go along way.

It can give life.

Up Your Leadership Game: Simply Pick Pencil

You’re frustrated. I get it. Want to know why?

You’ve been planning in pen instead of in pencil.

Recently, our teams at work have been encouraged to read Sticky Teams by Larry Osborne. If you haven’t checked it out, it would be well worth your time. At one point in the book, Osborne suggests that “Planning in Pencil” is one of the 6 Things Every Leadership Team Needs to Know.

I couldn’t agree more.

As a leader, you have to be able to honestly evaluate where you are (point A) but also be confident about where you want to go (point B). As several of my teammates discussed this, we all agreed that almost everything else in between those two points should be written in pencil. Even though we might think we have a really good idea about what it will look like to get from A to B, rarely does it ever look exactly like we think. If you’re not careful, budgets or policies that are written in ink can become barriers to growth and can hinder your progress. All the more reason to make sure you’re planning in pencil.

One of our Senior leaders suggested: “When we plan in pen, we are saying we know the best way.” Experience has shown us sometimes best is still yet to be discovered. I’d bet you’ve had an experience or two that would cause you to agree. Planning in pencil keeps us humble and in a position to keep learning, to keep growing.

So as you lead, plan in pencil…pretty sure you’ll be less frustrated that way.

SPECIAL NOTE: If you lead a team…
As you communicate vision and direction make sure your team understands where you are planning in pencil. Be specific about where your point A and point B are. Let them know your ideas for the path to get there but make sure they know which parts are written in pencil. Frustration is created when you’re planning in pencil and they think you’re planning in pen.

York…Dare You to Save A Woman

One of the greatest things we can do to lead by serving others is to stand up for those who may be unable to stand up for themselves. My friend Christine’s been doing that for several years – she’s been standing up for women around the world – specifically in Thailand through Freedom 4/24.

Freedom 4/24 has a 5K race coming up in York on Saturday, October 19th at Dallastown High School and YOU can be a part of helping create freedom for another person. Our family will be running and we’d like to invite you to join us!

So check out the video below and then visit HERE to read more and register to run. Please share this post with friends on Twitter and Facebook!

 

Stealing Credit and Building Your Kingdom

This week I came across this quote:

“The real power of effective leadership is maximizing other people’s potential, which inevitably demands also ensuring that they get the credit. When our ego won’t let us build another person up, when everything has to build us up, then the effectiveness of the organization reverts to depending instead on how good we are in the technical aspects of what we do. And we have stopped leading and inspiring others to great heights.” – Jim Wallace

When I read that first sentence it stopped me in my tracks. Do I ensure that those around me: my friends, my family, my teammates at work, get the credit?

As I tried to answer the question, I found myself doing mental gymnastics to see if I could answer the question with a true “yes” or if I had to somehow justify what I do or don’t do as a leader because, as humans, our most honest impulse is usually to lift ourselves up, to bring ourselves to the forefront, to ensure the credit is ours. We like building our own kingdom.

But it’s interesting to think that when we lift ourselves up, our influence actually diminishes because we steal focus and credit away from those whom we are ultimately there to serve.

It’s interesting that Jesus knew that the greatest would be the one who serves. He knew that by serving, we’d empower and inspire others to maximize their potential. And as they maximized their potential, we’d be able to watch them excel, we’d see them create or become something far beyond what they could’ve ever envisioned. And when they did, we’d have no problem stepping back so they could get all the credit. Because really, our joy as leaders isn’t in the credit…it’s in watching people grow and succeed.

So how about it? How well do you do with ensuring that others get the credit? Because, how you answer that question says a lot about how you maximize other people’s potential…which in turn points to the effectiveness (or lack thereof) of your leadership.

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