Monthly Archives: August 2009

Leadership Lessons from a One Year Old

Leadership lessons 02Saturday afternoon Samantha, Anabelle & I were out in the city doing some shopping and I was pushing Anabelle in the pram as we followed Mummy in and out of the shops. I was happily following Sam through the stores pulling faces at Anabelle and having a great time laughing with her.

Then it hit me, right there in the middle of the store my 14 month old daughter was teaching me how to be a better leader! Too often we think that if we’re going to be a great leader we need something elaborate and expansive, something really amazing. We forget that the simplest things in life are often the most powerful. Here’s what I learnt from Anabelle:

1. Smile at everyone

As we walked through the shops, Anabelle was giving huge smiles to everyone we passed. That one smile was enough to bring a smile to the face of the other person and it instantly brightened their day. Granted, a smile from a 30 year old man may not get the same reaction but its the principle of the gesture ;-). Anabelle’s smile is unconditional. She doesn’t care who you are, what you look like or where you’re from, when she sees you she’s going to welcome you with a smile.

As a leader how often are my “smiles” conditional, based upon my need to get “something” from you? 

Lesson one: smile unconditionally and treat everyone with the respect they deserve.

2. Don’t be afraid to say hello

I also noticed that Anabelle not only smiled but she said hello to almost everyone she smiled at. It didn’t matter if they were looking at her or not, she surprised at least three people by saying hello to their backs and then greeting them with a huge smile as they turned around to see who had said hello. Again it was completely unconditional, some people turned around and said hello, others didn’t even seem to notice. It didn’t bother Anabelle, she was going to keep saying hello no matter what.

As a leader how often do I treat people like that? How often do I say hello and really mean it, no strings attached? Its really easy to only talk to those we’re comfortable with, or worse, need something from isn’t it?

Lesson two: Say hello to everyone, no strings attached.

3. Say “Yay!” at the top of your lungs, a lot!

The third thing Anabelle did was to randomly yell out a long, loud “Yay!” and clap her hands excitedly. Some “Yays” were as we exited a store, some were as we went in, and others while we were browsing. Regardless of the timing every “Yay” was said with pure enjoyment and excitement. Anabelle was living the moment, glad to be there, enjoying the experience.

As a leader sometimes we don’t stop to live the moment and enjoy the experience. We’re so focused on what needs to be done and what’s coming up next that we miss the amazing things happening in the here and now. How will we ever learn if we don’t embrace the present?

Lesson three: “The past is history, the future a mystery and today is a gift. That is why it is called the present” Celebrate today and learn all you can from it before its gone.

4. Enjoy the ride

Anabelle didn’t decide to go shopping that day. She didn’t choose to ride in the pram, she had no say in the stores we visited nor the length of time spent in them. She could have been grumpy, she could have complained but she didn’t. Instead she totally enjoyed the ride and made the most of the opportunity. She was determined to smile, say hello and celebrate her way through the mall and in doing so she made a ton of other people smile along the way.

We all end up in places and situations we don’t want to be in. Sometimes it’s of our own making and other times it’s totally out of our control. As a leader what I do in those times, how I react, shapes my character. Will I grumble, complain or throw a tantrum because I didn’t get my way? Or will I enjoy the ride and make the most of every opportunity I’m given, good or bad?

Lesson four: “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade” Enjoy the ride, learn what you can, trials build character and character makes you a better leader.  

So there it is, I learnt something new this week, and I learnt it from my 14 month old daughter. How amazing is that!

When have you learnt an unexpected leadership or life lesson?

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Filed under About Me, church, Family, God Stuff, Humour, Life Coaching, Random, Worship

How to Survive a New Job

wink cupI just started in a new job, same place of employment just a new area of work, completely different to my previous position. As with most new jobs, the learning curve is huge and my mind feels all squishy as I try to cram more and more information into it. It’s occupying the majority of my mental capacity at the moment but my sense of humour seems to be functioning fine.

 So here are my top tips for surving your new job:

  •  Ignore the first five people who say “good morning” to you
  • To signal the end of a conversation, clamp your hands over your ears and grimace
  • While going in the elevator, gasp dramatically each time the doors open
  • When in the elevator with one other person, tap them on the shoulder and pretend it wasnt you
  • Say to your boss, “I like your style”, wink and shoot him/her with double-barreled fingers
  • Everytime you get an email shout “email!”
  • During a meeting slowly edge your chair towards the door
  • After every sentence, say “Mon” in a really bad Jamaican accent. As in: “The report’s on your desk, Mon”. Keep this up for at least an hour

You might not keep your job very long, but look on the bright side… you’ll have the opportunity to do it all again some place new 😉

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Filed under Humour, Life Coaching, Random

What is the Church?

My friend Michelle George is currently asking a series of questions on her blog as she writes about her current spiritual journey.

Her current question is one that I want to throw open to all of you who visit this blog. Michelle is asking “What is the Church?” and has suggested the following three ideas:

  1. The Church is a community of believers.
  2. The Church exists for the benefit of those not in the community of believers. Church is not about my needs or wants as a believer. It’s purpose is to meet the needs of those who are not yet a part of the community and to demonstrate God’s grace, acceptance and love to the world.
  3. The Church has a message that never changes, but understands that the method must change if it is going to fulfil its purpose. “If we are going to reach people no-one is reaching you have to do something no-one else is doing.”

You can read her post here and I’d love for you to be part of the discussion, either on her blog or on this one. You can read my thoughts in the comments on Michelle’s blog.

So please head over, read the post and comments and lets discuss!

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Filed under church, God Stuff, Worship

The Church of Tomorrow

HomelessThe church of the 1990’s and early 2000’s made its name through the style of ‘worship’ it offered.  It learnt that people connect in ways other than just singing and listening. Interactive sermons, dramas, video, multimedia is what it presented.

The churches that did this well were the ones that forged the way and set the standard that others have followed. These churches were the ones that connected with the non-christian in a way they could understand. Their fresh approach brought people back to church and reintroduced the church as a real option for the 21 century.

The thing is that after nearly 20 years its old news, most churches have caught on and are doing this well… so what is going to set the church apart tomorrow? What will make people stand up and take notice of God and the church?

“The Church of tomorrow will not be known because of its worship style but by the way it helps the poor, marginalised, outcast, orphans and widows”

I’m not sure where I heard the above quote but it stopped me in my tracks… That is a powerful statement and if it’s true it will revolutionise the way we ‘do’ church and the impact we have on the world. 

I believe that the church of tomorrow will be defined by the way it ministers to the poor, the outcast, the orphan, widow and downtrodden. Social Justice is almost a dirty word in today’s churches. We know that we’re supposed to help those less fortunate than ourselves but somehow we think its ok to leave that job to other welfare agencies, I mean most of them are christian based right? We continue to build our own comfortable worlds where everything is ok because “God is in control” and we neglect the very people Jesus came to save. We forget that but for the grace of God our lives would be garbage, a mess, a wreck.

Jesus came to seek and save the lost, hurting and broken… that’s our mission isn’t it? To share the Gospel of hope with a hurting world? As technology increases and the world becomes smaller and smaller, the more we are all aware of the atrocities of our planet. Social Justice is at the forefront of people’s minds… forget those in far away lands for a minute, what about those next door? The single mum who works three jobs to feed her children, the homeless, the unemployed, those with addictions and health issues… aren’t we called to minister to them?

Jesus said “whatever you do for the least of these, you do it for me”

I believe that the church of tomorrow will be defined by what it does to make a differnce in the community around it. If we want to continue to impact this world for Christ we need to get outside the comfy walls of our church, to seek those who are lost and to minister to their needs. We need to practice what we preach, we serve a God who is all about justice and restoration. We must display the love of Christ by our actions, its time to show that love by getting out there and making a difference…

I’d really like to hear your thoughts on this subject, do you agree/disagree? Have I completely lost it? Let’s discuss!

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Filed under church, God Stuff, Life Coaching, Random, Worship

What is your passion?

BooksWhat is your passion? What do you LOVE to do? If you had a choice to do anything you wanted to do with your life what would it be?

God places passion in our lives… that strong desire to do something because we love it, it brings us joy and a sense of fulfillment. When we are doing it nothing is better, we’re motivated, excited, ambitious and extremely focused.

Ever been like that?
Do you know what I’m talking about?

Now how many of us actually do that every day, do that as our job, live to fulfil our passion? This isn’t some hedonistic pursuit I’m talking about, if we’re honest most of us know that our passion is something that we really want to do but for many reasons we just cant seem to justify pursuing it. Life gets on top of us, we work a tedious job because we have responsibilities, bills need to be paid and we cant see beyond our current circumstances.

Sound familiar?

Let’s face it, that’s life for most of us and its just how it is for now. Very few of us are blessed enough to be pursuing our passion full time, but you know that’s totally OK! Life isn’t all about getting what we want is it, but it is about balance and this is where it gets important. Everyone knows that we need to have a good balance in our lives if we’re to stay physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually healthy. We need a work/life balance, a balanced diet and regular exercise, enough sleep vs. waking hours etc.

But often we don’t balance our pursuit of our passions and that’s not healthy. Sure we can be over zealous and pursue them at all costs but more often than not we somehow feel that its not as important, we can do without it or that it’s selfish to pursue those things… I don’t believe that to be so.

God has given each one of us a passion for something and He designed us to go after that passion because it’s part of who He intends us to be. To ignore your passion, or more to the point, ignore making time to pursue it is selling ourselves short of the person that God wants us to be. Whether its, music, gardening, reading, golf, writing, scrap-booking, social justice, theology or whatever, that passion is God given and He wants you to make time to pursue it because He will use it to grow you into the person He has designed you to be…

I believe passion is a biblical concept because God is a passionate God. He is characterised by Joy, Love, Faithfulness and Justice… He created the world with passion, Jesus lived on earth with a passion to know God’s will and to follow it and His passion for us took Him to the cross.  it drives us to be focused, committed and active. Think about the characteristics of someone who has a passion for something. They’re always talking about it, they strive to know everything there is to know about it, they live it and breath it and when it comes to pursuing it they are laser focused. Passion is a good thing because it motivates us to get going, to be active and to get things done.

Is your life out of balance? Do you need to set aside time to pursue your passion? I’d love to hear about your passion and how you go about pursuing it, please leave a comment 🙂

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Filed under Family, God Stuff, Life Coaching, Worship