Authority loves being in charge.
Influence loves to serve others.
Authority is a transactional interaction. Influence is earned through relationship.
Great leaders care so much about their people that serving them isn't something they do, it's just who they are.
Would you rather follow someone into battle that you trust or be watched by someone that will criticize you if you fail?
Pretty ridiculous question.
One that should be a gut-check for anyone in a leadership position.
I've heard it said before that if you are a leader and look behind you to see no one following...you are just out for a long, lonely walk.
The only way to turn a lonely walk into a genuine movement of the people you want to lead? Humility. Walk back towards them. Ask them how you can serve them. Anticipate their needs. See them as people first, not just what they do on your team. What they do is influenced by what you say, how you say it, and how you walk out those words.
When you walk out kind words that are rooted in your vision and core values, it's likely you'll turn around to see an army of people right there with you...ready to conquer the challenges in front of you.
A leader who wants to be seen as the authority and in charge is more concerned about their appearance and need for control. They love a good pat on the back...as long as it's theirs.
A leader of influence wants to serve their team and is more concerned about the needs of each team member, and helping them grow as individuals. The result is a group of people who want to, and ultimately do, grow as a team. They become a family. An influential leader's hands are used to serve their people, not pat their own back.
1. An authoritative figure dictates and talks down to their people.
2. A leader of influence inspires and lifts up their people.
3. Be option #2.
Transactions vs. Relationships.
What is the difference?
In a nutshell...
Transactional interactions are when people do something for someone until it doesn't serve their needs any longer. It's selfish, and driven by arrogance.
Healthy relationships exist when people pour into one another's life with no strings attached. It's selfless and driven by love.
If you don't know how to spot the difference, there are key characteristics of a culture where relationships are healthy...and the exact opposite...where people's actions towards others are based on what they can extract from one another.
Unhealthy cues include (but are not limited to...)
Healthy cues include (but are not limited to...)
5. Unconditionally loving
Transactions are the appearance of friendship based on convenience. We are there for someone because we think they can do something for us now, or down the road. It's conditional love at all times. It comes with restrictions. It will put on the happy face, sing the song, and do the dance it needs to as long as it will come back in dividends later.
Building relationships is about the privilege of serving someone out of genuine love for them. It is being there for someone because of a deep and genuine care for them. It's unconditional love because it couldn't be any other way. No pretense. No judgement. A 24-7 commitment to do life with someone...through the ups, downs and in-betweens.
1. A culture of transactions can't sustain itself. Emotional bankruptcy will set in.
2. A culture of healthy relationships will create teams of influence because love wins.
3. Be option #2.
Having the best of intentions.
The mindset battle we are talking about today sounds like semantics.
The two are actually very different.
I said it the other day, and it bears repeating because it's so true.
The intentionality of our approach will impact our results.
Having the best of intentions means to get it done, but ultimately finds an excuse as to why it didn't. Intentionality prepares for it, and makes it happen.
Best of intentions puts lipstick on lazy and tries to call it amazing.
Having the best of intentions loves the appearance of being productive, but isn't. It usually sounds like this..."We would have won, but...", "I meant to, but...". The work needed to turn "would have" into "we did" isn't remotely attractive to someone who has the best of intentions. They want to see their name in lights, but don't understand you can't earn credit for something you never made a deposit into.
Intentionality wants accountability because it's a growth opportunity.
Being intentional means you aren't afraid to dig in and do the hard work of discovering what it takes to improve. You crave the details that bring that process to life, so that your team can have an edge on your competition. You understand that learning is part of the process, and eat up any chance you get to sit at that table.
Be intentional about learning so your team can keep growing.
Your team loses. During the game there is a sense that things happened that weren't fair. (An officials call/non-call, the weather, behavior of an opponent, etc...) It affected your team's ability to focus mentally and achieve the results you had hoped for. The next day comes and you want to be intentional about improving, but there is this sense that some of it just wasn't your team's fault. That frustration ("this isn't fair!") has created a distraction.
Being intentional brings accountability to the forefront, and the opportunity to grow from it to the table.
Team activity:(Do this first thing the day after a tough loss)
1. Grab a dry erase marker and find a wipe board on a wall. Ask your student athletes to call out every single thing they didn't think was fair about the game the previous day. As they share them, write them down on the board so everyone can see them.
2. Ask your team which ones they, and you, could have controlled.
3. Let go...what is outside your control.
4. Have a great practice focusing on what you can.
1. Put down the lipstick, and pick up a shovel. Do the hard work of being intentional.
2. Let your competition complain about "fair". Complaining is emotionally draining.
3. Learning from what was creates leverage for what is coming next.
Excuses vs. Decisions.
Excuses are emotional, preferential, and individual. Excuse makers look for a way out based on their need for security.
Decisions are intentional, relational, and cultural. Decision makers see the big picture when they are faced with adversity.
We tend to see these two foes square off when the chips are down, when a team is falling behind, or chaos of some sort has been ushered into their world.
Here is what they might sound like:
"I shouldn't have thought that, but..."
"I shouldn't have said that, but..."
"I shouldn't have done that, but..."
"I thought that because..."
"I said that because..."
"I did that because..."
Two words that mean more than we realize.
"But..." creates the excuse. "Because..." explains the decisions.
The teams that make excuses are uneasy and nervous when unchartered waters hit their boat. Their next move is often made based on how they are feeling in the moment. When emotions are running high, mistakes are made. Mistakes can be the breeding ground for...you guessed it...excuses. The recipe for a great excuse also adds in preference and individuality. Personal preference steers choices, as individuals fight to protect their image and place on the team. All of that adds up to people looking to divert attention to others, avoid taking responsibility, and find a way out of the discomfort. They are on constant look out for the fastest route to their personal security. To excuse makers, adversity isn't opportunity, it showcases their immaturity.
The teams that make decisions are steady and calm when rough ground is under their feet. They look around and calculate their next move based on who they are, where they are, and where they want to go. They knew they'd be in moments like this, and have prepared for it intentionally. Their next move is to honor the relationships that got them there...their leadership, their teammates, and the organization they are part of by making choices based on their core values...collectively. All of that combined has created who they are culturally. To decision makers, adversity isn't difficulty, it's opportunity.
1. Excuse makers are rattled when adversity hits, and cause a team to fracture.
2. Decision makers are committed to who they are and the big picture.
3. Healing a culture of fractures begins with a commitment to see the big picture.
4. The big picture is about building and honoring a healthy culture...with each choice.
There are two types of confrontation.
One creates resentment, the other builds a connection.
Here they are:
Confront the person.
Confront the issue.
Here is how the two might sound in action:
"You have a problem because you are constantly late. You need to fix it."
"You've been late a lot recently. We need to solve this."
Confront the person and they'll likely shut down.
Confront the issue and they are more likely to open up.
Put another way...
Ears don't open just because a mouth does.
Try making a withdrawal from an overdrawn bank account. It doesn't work. It's the same thing with our words. If we haven't developed the trust to speak into someone's life, the words won't mean anything.
How can we expect to build a person up by tearing them down simultaneously?
Build them up, and offer to help remove the issue collectively.
Confronting a person might get them to back down. They might even agree with everything we say. But...they are doing it so we'll stop. They are agreeing they want the confrontation to be over, not to taking the steps to correct the behavior. Why? Because we haven't helped them find any. We fixed it but we didn't solve it.
Confronting the issue allows for someone to trust us. They are far more likely to feel comfortable opening up to us. When that wall comes down, we can speak truth that will be received. It empowers them to take that seed, plant it, and be proud of the solutions that come from it.
1. Confronting the person creates a division within your team. (Yes...teammates talk)
2. Confronting the issue is an opportunity to build emotional equity.
3. Build the trust found in #2 and you'll find a culture people will flock to.
Fixing a problem.
Finding a solution.
The intentionality of our approach will impact our results.
It might sound like this in a team meeting...
"I found a problem that we need to fix."
"I came across a challenge today that I know our team can solve together."
The intentionality of our approach will impacts our results.
Fixing means something is broken. Tell a group of people something is broken, and the approach shifts to blaming. "It wasn't my fault." "It's not my job."
Solving brings people together. Tell a group of people they get to solve something together, and they feel valued as individuals who want to see their team win. "I've got your back." "How can I help?"
1. A culture of fixing and blaming isn't something people want to be part of.
2. A culture of solving and growing is contagious and builds momentum.
3. Be option #2.
A New Year.
We wake up, look at the calendar, see one digit change, and hope returns. Funny how that works, isn't it? We batch together 365 days, and how they turn out (for better or worse) determines our mood and outlook on life. The past year was either a success, or one we'd rather forget about.
That's a lot of pressure.
Then we double down on the next set.
365 more days.
Another chance to "get it right".
Enter..."New Year Resolutions".
I resolve to (fill in the blank with any and every thought on how to improve our life).
Then in a matter of days, weeks, or months, we break them.
What in the world can we do about it then?
Glad you asked.
I have an approach that I am going to use in 2019 to enjoy the process that is this journey we call life. If it helps you, or is an encouragement to you, I'd invite you to join me. It's what I am calling #TheRealYou2019.
Here is how it works.
Take a look at this image I created to help us make sense of it:
I don't want to be anyone but me in 2019.
I want to be the R.E.A.L me, not someone else's version of me. I am not going to focus on the expectations others have of me, opinions they have about me, or what they would do if they were me. They aren't me. I am. So that's my jumping off point in 2019.
To help me be me, I created the R.E.A.L. acronym as an encouragement.
Here is what each word means:
Reduce: There are some things in my life that I could reduce. They might be things I consume, places I go, or even people I'm around. I'd do better to realize I'm a better me when I reduce the amount of something, or presence of some people in my life. It's not to say I'm completely cutting this stuff out or people off, just that I need to limit the amount or time I give to them. That might sound selfish. It is. That isn't a bad thing. It's actually THE thing that will allow me to be healthier so I can be who I need to be for those closest to me.
Eliminate: There are other things that need to be shown the door in my life. Take the same beginning thought found in the "reduce" part of this acronym, but go one step further. I won't consume, go to it, or spend time with them anymore. Why? Because I know what is good for me, so I can be the R.E.A.L. me. So do you. I won't make this list so long that it will be impossible to stick with. I'll be honest with myself by choosing a few select things to show the door that I know I won't let back in. It's an emotional eviction notice to some stuff that stems from a conviction process of the heart. That's healthy. That's me being R.E.A.L. That's me bettering me, so I can be there for...yup...those closest to me. Sensing a theme?
Accentuate: This is gold. When we think of New Year Resolutions we don't typically think of things that we want to celebrate and make a big deal about. We associate the whole resolution thing with what we won't do. In 2019, I'm celebrating who I am, why I exist, what I believe, and how I do what I do by intentionally placing a celebratory focus on a few things I'm really good at. I'm going all-in with them. I get excited when I think about those things. You have areas in your life where you can do the same. Thinking about them gets you all sorts of ramped up to make a difference with them. How cool is that!
Live: The last word is an action verb about the first three. Take a deep breathe. Reduce, eliminate, and accentuate...so you can truly live. So you can be the R.E.A.L. you in 2019.
Look closely at the hashtag.
There is reminder and encouragement in it.
Before you convince yourself that you can't...TRY.
Before you tell yourself you won't stick with it...TRY.
Before you don't see the point...TRY.
We aren't going to be perfect.
If you stumble, get up.
If you fail miserably, fight back.
If you don't think you can do it, ask for help.
Have fun tossing your thoughts into the categories of being The R.E.A.L. You in 2019.
Move them from one to the other as life changes around you.
You might find by reducing something, it eventually moves to the eliminate category because you don't depend on it, need it, or want it as a staple in your life anymore. You might find that by eliminating something, it leaves more time to focus on one of the things you want to accentuate this year. When the movement between the different categories starts, that's called momentum.
In all of it comes that theme from before...
Being the R.E.A.L. you is a source of strength. It honors who you are, and where you are going as you follow your calling. And...it gives you a reserve to call on as you serve those you are doing life with. You'll have energy to walk out your journey, and be a friend to others in theirs.
1. Give yourself permission to fail. We aren't perfect. Get back up, and keep going.
2. Find a friend who will hold you accountable on your R.E.A.L. journey.
3. Invite a friend to start their own R.E.A.L. journey.
4. Print off the image I created. Stick in on your fridge, desk, or keep it with you.
5. Enjoy the journey. Progress is a process.
Thanks for stopping by today.
I hope this is an encouragement to you...
To be #TheRealYou2019.
Turning The Corner: AKA...to move on.
Sometimes it's hard.
Should we go for it?
We are stuck because we wrestle with potential regret if it doesn't work out.
Would you like a silver lining up front?
If you've done your due diligence, it's possible there is more value in what's next, than what was. The problem is, we like comfortable and known. We want guarantees. Guarantees are test scores of something we've already experienced. Possibilities are taking a test that we've prepared for, but aren't yet totally sure how we'll do on it.
Turning the corner is taking a test without knowing the score you'll get until you do.
Let's say you go for it. You make the move. You forge ahead.
From time to time things will come into view that tempt you to re-trace your steps so that you can go back again. But if you do...every step you'll take to go back to it will walk you past your progress. You'll be moving backwards.
Are you really willing to look the reminder of how far you've come in the face...ignore it's value...only to make a run for static, known, and comfortable?
Temptations only remind you of the best of your past, not the reality of missing out on the possibilities of your future if you cave in to them.
The next time you are wrestling with the two steps forward, three steps back disaster tango...re-read this before you start the dance.
Sensualities numb you to reality and create the cravings that take you down.
Sensitivities allow you to stay on track and pursue your calling.
Make a choice based on being sensitive to your calling, not giving in to the sensuality of a craving.
The lust for a temporary fix (craving) makes you overlook the soon to be reality that you'll be walking with a limp as you lean on that crutch for your permanent existence.
And there's a phrase for that.
Crash and burn.
It's not sustainable.
The only way to turn the corner successfully?
Lean into it.
Submit to it.
Commit to it.
You'll come out aimed at the future you want, with the momentum you need.
I love the show "White Collar".
In season 6, episode 5, about 14 minutes into it one of the main characters (Mazi) spoke a line that stuck with me...
"Talent hits a target no one else can hit. Genius hits a target no one else can see."
Stop doubling back and turn the corner.
In a world full of talent, be the genius.
Is our preference impacting our progress?
That question came as a thought to me as I woke up on Independence Day.
And then I wondered...
What if we all could experience Independence from preference?
Is all preference wrong? No, not at all. But the preference I'm speaking of here comes in the form(s) of self-placed obstacles, and self-induced frustration.
If we made a list of all of the things we prefer in life, I wonder how many of them we could truly do without. I wonder how many of them, once removed, would actually launch us forward in the pursuit of our dreams.
Preference is a subtle thief of contentment.
One smile at a time. One moment at a time. One conversation at a time. And slowly but surely, we see days, weeks, and months fly by as the best years of our life are littered with regret.
It's the kind of regret that is easy to forget, honestly.
Because preference can be a wolf in sheep's clothing.
We need this.
We deserve that.
We wish that...
I'm wondering if maybe it's time to shift gears a little.
To stop needing, thinking we deserve, or wondering about what we prefer, and start removing those obstacles from the path that is our calling.
Our calling will require sacrifices.
Our calling will require hard work.
Our calling will require focus.
It's entirely possible that if our calling doesn't seem clear, that something is blocking our line of sight.
If our vision seems cloudy, it might be time to do something about it.
If we are stuck, it might be time to do some heavy lifting.
It's one of the most freeing feelings in the world.
It turns a roadblock of frustration into an open road towards our destination.
That's the road trip of our dreams.
And it can be the road trip of our reality.
So why keep staring at the same obstacles?
Remove them, and take the trip.
It might be time to experience...
24 hours in a day.
23 posts written so far in May.
"...it MAY BE that..."
this last post being the 24th is symbolic, significant, or a combination of both.
If 24 hours complete a day, it's only fitting the 24th complete #TheMaybeClock.
I wish I could tell you I planned it that way. I wanted to write every day. I told myself I would. And I went 24 for 31. Along the way I found the need to take a day off a week. I chose Sunday to be that day. I have learned the value of rest if I truly want to be at my best.
So I guess I'm 28 for 31.
My consistency grade on this writing project would be an A-.
But here's the thing...
If I gave myself a grade based on how bad I beat myself up for missing the three days it would be far worse.
And that might be the biggest takeaway for me in this project.
We need to find joy in the process, not seek perfection as the only sign of progress.
What area of life are you tired of saying "MAYBE" to?
Is it something you need to pick up? Set aside? Go all-in on? Walk away from?
Whatever your story is, and wherever your journey takes you, I'll be praying that you find the courage and encouragement that you need to make the most of the 24 hours you are given each day.
Notice I said MAKE THE MOST OF.
You aren't going to be perfect.
No one is.
So as the last few moments tick away on the #TheMaybeClock, and a new project starts for me, I'll look forward to sharing from my heart the best way I know how.
And when I run out of steam on any given day I will leverage the lessons that I learned about my journey in writing #TheMaybeClock this month...
"...it MAY BE that..."
I need to stop and rest once in a while to be a better writer.
I need to be ok when perfect isn't the outcome.
Can you relate to those?
Rest + My Best = Progress.
I like that as the last thought from #TheMaybeClock.
Short, sweet, and easy to remember.
But...before we leave, I can't wait to tell you about our next series!
If you've ever felt set aside, forgotten about, or wondered if you were ever going to get the opportunity to live out what your heart has been beating out of your chest about...you know what it feels like to live life on "The Back Burner".
I've been there.
Still am in some aspects.
And when I see the company I'm in, I know that #TheBackBurnerLife wasn't meant to be a permanent destination, but rather one of the most important and epic parts of our journey through life.
More on that tomorrow.