Favs This Week #4

Tweets

Empathy is feeling the feelings of another w/o trying to solve or fix them. - @LeadershipFreak

It is a good rule never to look into the face of a man in the morning until you have looked into the face of God. – C.H. Spurgeon - @NickyGumbel

Thanksgiving and worry can’t occupy the same space … You can’t worry if you’re giving thanks. – Matt Chandler - @jkimlcop

A deep soul notices, questions and doesn’t just go through the motions. It lives in awareness of eternity, not simply today. #SoulKeeping - @JohnOrtberg

Posts

The Secret to Finding Your Own Voice – Leadership Freak

“The voice in your head is someone else, who sounds like you. Don’t trust it.”

3 Reasons You Should Learn From People Different Than You – Gavin Adams

“The breadth of your learning will influence the depth of your learning.”

One of the Best Ways to Discover How You’re Really (Honestly) Doing As A Leader – Carey Nieuwof

“The quiet outside often reveals the disquiet inside … It is easier to stay busy than it is to stay honest with ourselves.” // So good!

Videos

How I Use Launch Center Pro - A pretty geeky iPhone app that is pretty powerful.

You’re Doing Twitter Wrong - Another ingenious Tripp and Tyler video.

The Company at Vibe 2014 - This is next level dancing … it almost seems fake. If they got 2nd place, can’t imagine what 1st place looked like!

Favs This Week #3

Tweets

Public giftedness can propel you to prominence long before private character can handle it. Let others speak into your life. - @EdStetzer

Criticism says: I know I can do ___ better than you did. Constructive criticism says: I know you can do ___ better than you did. – @adkinstom

Only you have complete access to your own selfishness, and only you have complete responsibility for it. – @TimKellerNYC

“Forgiveness allows us to leverage the lessons from the past without having to carry around the luggage of the past.” #StartingOver – @AndyStanley

Posts

Plan or Perspective – Radical Mentoring

Maybe prayer isn’t about planning but about perspective. “God might not always answer our prayer with a plan but He will give us perspective.”

Top 10 Habits of Leaders Who Effectively Guard Their Hearts – Carey Nieuwhof

Guarding your heart in leadership and in life is probably one of the most important things you can do … because it’s not about competency, it’s about character.

Latest Free Infographic Templates and Elements – The Neo Design

I LOVE Infographics … I think it’s because I love design and I love statistics … it’s the collision of numbers and art.

Videos

Introducing Face2Face - brand new technology from Apple?!?!?

Oceans - lyric video of Oceans from Hillsong

Omnifocus 2 - I’ve been using the new Omnifocus 2 in beta and now it’s finally available. Here’s a video highlighting the new stuff.

Favs This Week #2

Tweets

Grace is inviting to the unrighteous and threatening to the self-righteous. – @AndyStanley

There is a difference between putting on the appearance of humility before others & being truly humble in God’s presence. #LeadLikeJesus – @LeadLikeJesus

If your god never disagrees with you, you might just be worshiping an idealized version of yourself. – @TimKellerNYC

You make PEACE with your past by owning your PIECE of the past. #StartingOver – @AndyStanley

Posts

With Great Korean Barbecue Comes Great Responsibility - NPR

Fascinating article on the distinction between service at Korean restaurants vs. American restaurants.

What To Do When People Want A Church To Grow…But Not Change – Carey Nieuwhof

Great blog on what to do when people say “I want our church to grow. I just don’t want it to change.”

How Leaders Use Hump Day – Leadership Freak

Practical tips on how to use hump day.

Videos

Christian Tingle - hilarious parody video on Christian dating sites

Let It Go (Mother’s Style) - a fun opener we did at our church on Mother’s Day

More Than a Children’s Story Bumper - one of my favorite bumper/title packages we’ve produced at our church

Favs This Week #1

Tweets

The function of leadership is to produce more leaders, not more followers. – @nickygumbel

Be especially faithful in the small & ordinary things. We may not get noticed but so what. God notices & delights in us. That’s our purpose. – @eugenecho

Jesus wants your obedience over your sacrifice. In other words he wants you, not what you have to offer. – @timkellernyc

Don’t  compare your inside to someone else’s outside.  Compare your inside to their inside.  You’ll need a scalpel. You can only do it once. – @johnortberg

Posts

Church For The Unchurched Versus Church Unchurched People Love To Attend – Gavin Adams

Remember – there’s a big difference between a “church for the the unchurched” and a “church unchurched people love to attend.” Finding the balance can be tough, but it’s worth the effort, because the church is fulfilled best in the context of both reaching and growing all the people in our communities.

12 Surprising Ways to Use Evernote You Might Not Have Considered – Michael Hyatt

Love Evernote and don’t know what I would do without it. But always growing in how I can use it more. Some helpful uses here.

33 Ways to Show Appreciation to Volunteers at Your Church – Unseminary

Volunteers are the life blood of your church. In fact … your church literally wouldn’t exist without them! Often it’s small actions that show your true feelings about your volunteer teams. Why not pick a few of these things off this list and try them this weekend at your church?

Videos

Kevin Durant’s MVP Acceptance Speech - amazing speech where he turns his MVP moment into a moment where he recognizes his teammates and his mom as the real MVP’s

Stories That Matter - Hillsong, Elevation, Church on the Move … top producers of church videos today

Financially Free Families (Dave Ramsey and Rachel Cruze)Every parent must watch this sermon as we must get better at helping our children understand money and generosity

Please Stop Complaining About How Busy You Are

This is a great article from Harvard Business Review about the busyness of life and how we present ourselves. It reminds me of a Eugene Peterson quote that I blogged about before. She actually gives some helpful tips at the end as well. Give it a read … it’s worth your busy time!

Please Stop Complaining About How Busy You Are

by Meredith Finem, blogs.hbr.org
September 2nd 2013

We’re all just so "busy" these days. "Slammed" in fact. "Buried." Desperately "trying to keep our heads above water." While these common responses to "How are you?" seem like they’re lifted from the Worst Case Scenario Handbook, there seems to be a constant exchange, even a a one-upping, of just how much we have on our plates when we communicate about our work.

My favorite "busy" humble-brag was that of a potential client who apologized for lack of communication due to a "week-long fire drill." What does that even mean? Does this mean there were fake fires, but not real ones, all week? Does calling it a "drill" mean that everything is okay? Is your business in flames? Should I call someone?

Then there was the date I had with a fellow who was so busy "crashing on deadlines" that he asked me to "just make a reservation somewhere" for him. I was floored.

So much of this is about out-doing each other. To say that "I’m busier than you are" means I’m more important, or that my time is more valuable, or that I am "winning" at some never-finished rat race to Inbox Zero. (Inbox Zero is another absurd contest to tackle at another time.) What you’re trying to say with these responses is: I’m busier, more in-demand, more successful.

Here’s the thing: it’s harming how we communicate, connect, and interact. Everyone is busy, in different sorts of ways. Maybe you have lots of clients, or are starting a new business, or are taking care of a newborn. The point is this: with limited time and unlimited demands on that time, it’s easy to fill your plate with activities constantly. But this doesn’t mean that you should.

To assume that being "busy" (at this point it has totally lost its meaning) is cool, or brag-worthy, or tweetable, is ridiculous. By lobbing these brags, endlessly puffing our shoulders about how "up to my neck" we are, we’re missing out on important connections with family and friends, as well as personal time. In addition to having entire conversations about how busy we are, we fail to share feelings with friends and family, ask about important matters, and realize that the "busy" is something that can be put on hold for a little while.

I am not trying to belittle anyone’s work-load in the slightest. But in using it as a one-upping mechanism, we’re failing to connect in a very substantial way. And we’re making the problem worse: When everyone around us is "slammed," it’s easy to feel guilty if we’re not slaving away on a never-ending treadmill of toil. By trying to compete about it, we’re only adding to that pool of water everyone seems to be constantly "treading" in. And all this complaining is having serious effects on our mental health.

And yet we continue to use long hours as a sort of macho badge of honor.

We need to work smart, not (just) hard.

Just because you clocked 15 hours at your office, with likely dry eyeballs and a complete lack of focus, doesn’t mean you’ve accomplished things in a smart way. Many people have written or spoken about this. Typically, you have 90-120 minutes before you devolve into internet fodder or social media. If you’re putting in 15 straight hours at your desk, without breaks, how good is your output? How much time are you wasting?

The distinction between working hard versus smart has hit me as an entrepreneur. In high school and college I was always that girl who read all the assigned reading (and no, I was not giving you my study guide). I created outlines, outlines of outlines, and then flashcards. One of my greatest lessons as a businessperson has been to throw out that skill set. This isn’t to say you shouldn’t be diligent or that you should half-heartedly execute, but rather, that it’s crucial to know what you have to do as opposed to everything you could do. It’s about being strategic.

For once, I’d like to hear someone brag about their excellent time management skills, rather than complain about how much they can’t get done. Maybe we could learn something from each other.

In fact, I’ll start — here are three tactics I’ve been using to work smarter:

Constrain the time. The more I constrain my time, the more focused and productive I feel, and the less I waste time on low-priority work. If you can only afford to spend 45 minutes on a certain project, then only spend 45 minutes on it — and move on, even if it isn’t perfect.

Use a scheduler. If you’re really up to your neck, it’s very easy to find a scheduler, virtual or otherwise, to help put things on your calendar. Sometimes it’s a matter of freeing up that time used for coordinating plans to actually doing them. Zirtual is a great answer to this. As is the DIY scheduler Doodle.

Cut the fat. Once I cut out superfluous meetings that were not: fun, productive, leading to new business, or really had something wonderful in it for me professional or otherwise, that plate emptied a little bit. (Here’s a tool for figuring out what to cut.)

Yes, we all have some strange need to out-misery each other. Acknowledging that is a first step. But next time you speak to a friend and want to lament about how busy you are, ask yourself why. Try steering the conversation away from a complain-off. With some practice you might find yourself actually feeling less "buried" (or at least feeling less of a need to say it all the time).

And maybe that’s something worth bragging about.

McDonald’s Theory

This is brilliant!

I use a trick with co-workers when we’re trying to decide where to eat for lunch and no one has any ideas. I recommend McDonald’s.

An interesting thing happens. Everyone unanimously agrees that we can’t possibly go to McDonald’s, and better lunch suggestions emerge. Magic!

It’s as if we’ve broken the ice with the worst possible idea, and now that the discussion has started, people suddenly get very creative. I call it the McDonald’s Theory: people are inspired to come up with good ideas to ward off bad ones.

This is a technique I use a lot at work. Projects start in different ways. Sometimes you’re handed a formal brief. Sometimes you hear a rumor that something might be coming so you start thinking about it early. Other times you’ve been playing with an idea for months or years before sharing with your team. There’s no defined process for all creative work, but I’ve come to believe that all creative endeavors share one thing: the second step is easier than the first. Always.

Anne Lamott advocates “shitty first drafts,” Nike tells us to “Just Do It,” and I recommend McDonald’s just to get people so grossed out they come up with a better idea. It’s all the same thing. Lammott, Nike, and McDonald’s Theory are all saying that the first step isn’t as hard as we make it out to be. Once I got an email from Steve Jobs, and it was just one word: “Go!” Exactly. Dive in. Do. Stop over-thinking it.

The next time you have an idea rolling around in your head, find the courage to quiet your inner critic just long enough to get a piece of paper and a pen, then just start sketching it. “But I don’t have a long time for this!” you might think. Or, “The idea is probably stupid,” or, “Maybe I’ll go online and click around for—”

No. Shut up. Stop sabotaging yourself.

The same goes for groups of people at work. The next time a project is being discussed in its early stages, grab a marker, go to the board, and throw something up there. The idea will probably be stupid, but that’s good! McDonald’s Theory teaches us that it will trigger the group into action.

It takes a crazy kind of courage, of focus, of foolhardy perseverance to quiet all those doubts long enough to move forward. But it’s possible, you just have to start. Bust down that first barrier and just get things on the page. It’s not the kind of thing you can do in your head, you have to write something, sketch something, do something, and then revise off it.

Not sure how to start? Sketch a few shapes, then label them. Say, “This is probably crazy, but what if we.…” and try to make your sketch fit the problem you’re trying to solve. Like a magic spell, the moment you put the stuff on the board, something incredible will happen. The room will see your ideas, will offer their own, will revise your thinking, and by the end of 15 minutes, 30 minutes, an hour, you’ll have made progress.

That’s how it’s done.
- Jon Bell
Do you agree?

Discouragement WILL Hit

Discouragement WILL Hit: What Leaders Can Do by Scott Boren

It’s unfortunate, but discouragement is a reality for all leaders. 5 keys to navigate the tough times.

With leadership comes discouragement.

In fact, let me be so bold as to say that if you never experience times of discouragement, you most likely are not taking many risks. Or you don’t care that much. But if you don’t care, you most likely are not reading this blog.

Discouragement is just part of leading.

You will hit walls when you don’t know what to do. Your group will go through times that make you want to give up. People will disappoint you. And you will disappoint yourself.

What do you do with this?

Let me suggest a few things that I’ve learned about discouragement through the years of leading.

First, beware of the temptation to ignore the reality of what you are facing.

Avoid the tendency to ignore your discouragement. Some will tell you to have faith, to get back in touch with the vision, to claim God’s promises and to act as if there is not a problem. When we do this, we are not dealing with reality. God knows where you are on the journey and wants to meet you in your discouragement.

Second, learn to be honest about what you are discouraged about.

Really honest. Take it to God. Share it with a friend, a pastor or a coach. God’s leaders are “wounded healers” and you don’t have to pretend to be more than you are.

In the midst of this honesty, the third step is to ask God what he wants to do in you.

The situation that is causing your discouragement is not a problem to be fixed. It’s an opportunity for you to meet God in a new way. What is God saying to you in the midst of the discouragement?

The fourth action may the hardest: wait.

Be still. Make room in your life for the Spirit to transform you. Every time discouragement has hit me, my natural tendency is to get over it and get back to doing what I know to do. But when I finally wise up and slow down, I sense God working deep within my soul in a new way.

Fifth, act in faith.

Grab the vision. Walk in hope of a new future. Claim God’s promises. Fight. But know this. You will fight in a different way because you have pressed through the discouragement.

You’re not alone. God’s working.

Praying for Others … There’s an App!

Has anyone asked you to pray for them and you forgot? As a pastor, there are many that people that ask for prayer and also as a pastor, I feel the burden to pray for people. But at the same time, it’s hard to keep track sometimes. Years ago, I remember feeling this burden and wanting to be better at praying for people, and so I remember creating an Excel spreadsheet.  The top columns were the days of the week and the rows were the different people that I wanted to pray for, organized by category (family, friends, church, missionaries, etc.). That worked well, as finally I had a system to keep track of people I’m praying for. But over time, it was hard to keep it updated, as I would have to make changes on the computer and then print it out over and over.

Well, about 6 months ago, I found an app on my phone called “Prayer Notebook” where it would keep track of the people that I pray for.  But it would really take it to the next level.  Things like being able to text them right after I prayed for them, letting them know, to alerting me at a specific time to be reminded to pray for something, it is an amazing little app.

Look at all the features from this little Prayer Notebook app:

  • Focus on intentional prayer with Prayer Mode
  • Group prayers into categories
  • Subscribe to prayer feeds to get new prayers daily
  • SMS or email contacts when you have prayed for them
  • Tweet what you are praying for
  • Schedule prayers daily, weekly, or for a specific day
  • Set an alert for prayer requests to remind you to pray
  • Mark prayer requests as answered
  • Password protect your prayers

Download it now on your iPhone … it’s the best $1.99 you’ll ever spend.

How do you keep track of your prayer requests and pray for people?

Leading Up …

leadingup

Most leaders will spend most of their time leading those who are "under" them (i.e. direct reports). But what about your boss? How do you lead up? If we want to be a 360 leader, we have to not only learn and grow from all directions, but we have to lead in all directions as well.

I read this great post about 4 ways to lead your leader and I think it provides some helpful ways to respect your organization and your leader/boss:

4 Ways To Lead Your Leader

No matter what area we work in, at some point we all find ourselves in a support role for a leader in our church or organization. When you are in the co-pilot seat, you have a responsibility to lead up and help that person grow and lead effectively. You have a responsibility to lead up.But how do you do that? By remembering that the greatest threat to any leader is themself.

In light of that, here are a few key actions that can help you lead your leader.

1) Protect Them With Perspective

After sitting in the leader’s chair for a while, leaders have to work harder to see things accurately.

Being a mirror for your leader is probably the most powerful gift of protection you can give them.

For me this has meant showing a leader where they have unknowingly hurt someone, or where they have an incorrect perception of how other’s see them. Being a mirror for them protects them from treating others in a way they didn’t mean to, it protects them from incorrectly beating themselves up, and on the good days it protects them from puffing them self up.

2) Inform Them With Accuracy

Even a great decision maker is only as good as their information. This is just true.

A great leader with bad information is unsuccessful 100% of the time.

If a leader is as accurately informed as possible the organization can move quickly under wise decision making. One challenge for leaders is that their staff can sometimes paint a positively skewed picture for their department thinking it will make them seem more competent – your leader can get lost in the “spin”. It’s your job to push for clarity. Over communicate the most accurate information to your leader and they’ll make better decisions for everyone.

3) Confront Them With Truth

In healthy organizations, as leaders move up the ladder they often have to make decisions in smaller and smaller circles. This is good because they can make decisions in good time. However, the people in that small circle must be willing to confront the leader when they feel that they are making poor decisions for the organization or in their life.

You may be the only regular, daily guardrail your leader has.

You must take that responsibility very seriously. People are counting on you.

4) Encourage Them With Regularity

While people often think the leader gets all kinds of praise, here’s what I’ve learned:

Most leaders don’t walk around over encouraged, they just don’t.

Their position means they are likely on a platform, and that makes them vulnerable to criticism. There are definitely far more arm-chair quarterbacks in the world than there are people who are willing to lead. Pray for and encourage your leader when they need it and when they don’t expect it. It’s like fuel in their tank and it will never be wasted.

So what leader are you serving and how are you leading them well? What practices are you putting in place that help protect that leader?

My Twitter Birthday

So, exactly 6 years go, I started using Twitter and I had no idea how addicted I would be to it. I got on it pretty early as I’m an early adopter on many services that I got a three letter twitter handle (@ksc). Most of the time it’s great, except when there’s something happening at the Kennedy Space Center (@KSC), and then my mentions on twitter goes crazy. :(

As I reflect on how I’ve used Twitter in the past 6 years, it has not only kept me connected with friends and met new ones, but really been a place where I’ve been challenged, encouraged and learned so much from the people I follow. The best way I can explain Twitter is that it’s all about influence. I have been influenced by those I follow and I am able to influence those who follow me. Through this medium, I’m able to learn from people who I would never had access to and I’m able to influence people who I’ve never even met. That’s amazing.

As I celebrate my Twitter birthday today, another interesting fact is that Twitter was actually born on the day I was born. We share the same birthday. I knew I felt a connection to Twitter. :)

Michael Hyatt wrote a blog post about a conversation he had with a friend about Twitter, who was skeptical about it.

He finally blurted out, “It just seems like a huge waste of time. I don’t need one more inbox to check. I can barely keep up with what I have now.”

I said, “Buddy, you’re completely missing it.”

“Missing what?” he said, defensively.

“The potential.”

“What potential?” he asked emphatically.

“It’s not about what you get out of it,” I said. “It’s about the opportunity it affords you to give to others and make an impact.”

“Excuse me,” he muttered.

“Twitter is an opportunity for you to lead in a way that was not possible until now.” I explained.

“As you and I both teach, when you boil it down, leadership is influence. Agreed?”

“Agreed,” he acknowledged.

“Leadership is not about position, a title, or status. It is about influence. Plain and simple. I know you believe that, too, right?”

“Right.”

I continued, “If that’s true, then Twitter provides an unprecedented opportunity for people like us to extend and amplify our influence. You don’t have to buy time on television or radio. You don’t have to write a book or magazine column. You don’t even have to blog,” I went on.

“All you have to do is write short 140 character micro-posts about what you are doing or—more importantly—what has your attention right now.”

I could almost hear his brain shift into a different gear. “You and I both know that people today crave leadership. They are dying for role models. They want to see what good leadership looks like—as it is lived out in the challenges of everyday life.”

I continued, “If you are living your life on-purpose, like I know you are, then by Twittering, you are modeling something worth emulating. This is unquestionably the most powerful way to lead.”

“Hmm.” I could hear the flicker of possibility in his voice. I knew this was resonating with him. But then he countered, “But you just can’t lead by Twittering.”

“I agree. I am not suggesting that you can. It is simply one tool in your leadership toolbox—but a very powerful one. Twitter is like an influence amplifier. It enables you to extend your influence in ways never before possible.”

We continued to chat about this for several more minutes. He finally said, “Wow! Maybe there’s more to Twitter than I thought. How do I get started.”

How do you use Twitter?