Leading Well in Life: Celebrate

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How are we doing today?

Are we making any progress on the goals we set when there was just 80 days until 2017? This is what I wrote back then about leading well in life…

Here’s what’s coming…

…a new site, with posts focused on what I know and what I see – leading well in life, making a difference, building local church, walking with God and other stuff too.

…a place of encouragement, answered questions, resources and some challenge along the way too

…giveaways, book reviews and more interaction with those who happen to pass by these pages.

I’ve even managed to finish a one month devotional which I aim to launch as soon as I can and the Leadership book is almost completed too. This is not to boast, more to make myself accountable to you.

Wherever we have got to it is important that along the way we celebrate the journey. I can look at these statements and be frustrated but I can also see that I have managed to get a little further with them too which puts a smile on my face.

The books are out for editorial suggestions. I surprised myself and asked some well-known church leaders to contribute to the book, and have even had some replies. What they have written will add a different aspect to the book and I am really happy with that.

The publishing journey never moves as fast as you would like but the aim is to send the leadership book ’19’ to the publisher in January 2017. Some kind of crowd funding project may come soon to help bring this dream to reality.

So how is your journey shaping out? Let’s not just look at what we haven’t managed to accomplish but rather notice where we have made progress. It will never be as much as may have wanted but hopefully it’s something.

Keep plugging away. Check out the previous posts in this series too.

Breakthrough moments

Setbacks

The Right People

Be Determined

Don’t Break the Chain

 

Breakthrough Moments Will Come

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I recently read ‘Love Does’ by Bob Goff. I was amazed at all the incredible stories he told. You read the adventures that he and his family have been on and realise that they have happened mostly because they had just learned to say ‘yes’ to opportunity and go on the journey.

I wrote a review which you can read here. My observation was easy – ‘If I want to have stories like Bob then I have to put myself in the right place for them. Or at least be prepared to go with whatever happens’.

This journey recommenced when there was 80 days to go until 2017. That was my way of putting myself in the right place for a more adventurous journey. Or perhaps it was to at least give those goals a good go. It was my way of getting back on track (again) and the desire to see some kind of breakthrough moment.

Here’s what I have discovered…which maybe 5 ways of saying the same thing…

BREAKTHROUGH MOMENTS come to those who are willing to start the journey. They can ‘happen’ but only if we have ‘happened’ to do something.

It can seem like BREAKTHROUGH MOMENTS won’t happen, they just take time.

BREAKTHROUGH MOMENTS come more often to this who are willing to take a risk.

Because they involve taking risks, BREAKTHROUGH MOMENTS can be scary.

However, this is what makes those BREAKTHROUGH MOMENTS so exciting.

Look for the green shoots of progress. It might not seem like much for all the effort but it could just be the beginning of a BREAKTHROUGH MOMENT you have been waiting for.

What BREAKTHROUGH MOMENTS have you enjoyed since writing your goals down?

Get Past the Setbacks

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With 80 days until the new year we made the decision to go for our goals. Maybe we wrote something down. Perhaps we imagined what the future could look like if everything worked in our favour.

We started off with great levels of energy, we laid out the plan, made some progress and then, for a whole bunch of different reasons, it all just grinds to a halt. Lack of time. Slow progress. Distractions. General procrastination on our part. People not helping. Perhaps it’s all a little bit harder work than we thought it would be.

When these inevitable times come along, we can think on 3 things…

Perspective. We are never as good as our best day. We are never as bad as our worst day either. Keep the perspective right. Keep looking ahead. Keep doing the right things. Be consistent. Be determined. It doesn’t mean it is over. It’s just something that needs to be overcome and worked out.

Big Picture. Rome wasn’t built in a day. Keep the bigger view in front of us will remind us that this is a journey and journeys take time. There will be twists, turns, obstacles and set backs. Once we accept this inevitability we will better placed to not lose hope and just keep on doing what we can.

One Step at a Time. We are excited about the end game, yet in reality it’s the next step which is the most important. Concentrate on the one step. We are so busy painting the final detail we often miss out on what needs out attention right now.

Keep being brave. Keep going. Ask the hard questions. Take some time to think things through.

What is the one thing I can do to keep things moving forward? What one thing can I give my attention to right now?

5 Ways to Help Leaders Think

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Here are 5 quick things I have learned when it comes to the thinking aspect of being a leader. I recognise this may not come easy to everyone but I have discovered the importance of the thinking the process, and how much it is an essential aspect of leadership which every leader must embrace.

To not think things through could be seen as ignorant, maybe lazy, perhaps a little dangerous.

Create Space. For me I have to be deliberate and block out time, even to the point of putting it in the diary as an appointment sometimes.

Learn they way which works for you. I like a clear desk and a pile of clean sheets of paper and then I am ready to go on the journey of thinking, noting down thoughts, questions, ideas which I can come back to later. To an observer it may seem like a curious process but I have learned over the years what works for me.

Honest Reflection. We have to be willing to ask the more difficult questions. It’s not about what I think is right for me but rather what is right for what or who I am leading, to which there is a subtle difference.

Good sounding boards. My personality is more introvert and therefore I naturally lean to sitting on my own to work things through. However, that is not the best kind of leadership. Getting the right people around me can help take my own good thoughts and make them even better. Plus it is good to be able to ask someone else who you trust and who shares the same vision, values and heart as you, ‘what do you think?’

Time with God. I can have great thoughts but what I really want are Gods thoughts. All of the above are only as useful as it is to make time to hear from God, what does He think, how is He wanting to lead and direct me. One of my favourite scriptures is from Proverbs 16:9 ‘A man’s heart plans his way, But the Lord directs his steps’.

There are benefits to thinking things through properly, none so more powerful than just not looking like you haven’t really thought about it. People are not always keen to follow a leader who doesn’t seem to care or give them confidence of any thought or preparation.

Thinking things through builds trust. It creates a greater sense of team, if we involve them too in the thinking process. It shares responsibility too. It reveals how much you actually care about who or what it is you are leading.

Why not take some time this week and create your own thinking plan. Think about how you will make time to think. I guarantee it will be worth it, for you and for your teams.

Any other suggestions in regard to this idea of leadership and thinking?

11 Questions to Ask About the People Around You

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You can go further when you have the right people with you and that’s a fact.

We were created for relationship and more importantly, we were created for the right kind of relationships. Most people agree, we become like those we hang around with, so the question is, who are you hanging around with?

In pursuit of the dream, the accomplishment of a  particular goal or just a strong desire to lead well in life, all can be enhanced by having the right people around. Be willing to ask yourself the tough questions. People can bring out the best in you or the worst. People can lift you or pull you down. Who do you have around you and what do they bring?

Do they believe in you? Do they encourage you?

Do they inspire you? Do they resource you?

Do they challenge you? Do they ask the right questions?

Do they celebrate with you? Do they have a great walk with God?

Do they demonstrate loyalty? Do they trust you?

Do they share the same values and beliefs?

Now, I’m not telling you to go and say goodbye to all your friends but I am telling you to be careful about your connections. The right ones can cause you to flourish, the wrong ones may possibly destroy you.

When there were 80 days left until the New Year I asked what would you give your attention to during those days. Now 14 days have already passed, lets see what we have done. [Awkward moment when we reflect and either say something or nothing].

Here’s one thing you can do which will help in making some progress – get the right people with you on the journey. Take time out over the next couple of days and ask yourself, who is the one person who could help me, who could I share my dreams with, who could I be accountable to for actually making things happen. If you believe in God, why not spend some time asking Him to help in bringing the right people into your world.

How has having the right people around you helped?

5 Ways to Be Determined

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Leading well in life doesn’t come by default, it only comes by design, through a determined effort on our part to actually make something happen. I can pray like it depends on God but I must still work like it depends on me.

In Mark 5:25-34 the story is told of a woman who had been ill for years who reached through the crowds, touched the cloak of Jesus and received her healing. Her determination to live differently in life and lead well can remind us of a few thing:

Have a clear picture of what you want to accomplish. Write it down. Paint a clear image. Put that preferred future in front of you as often as possible. In my imagination I see her having on the wall somewhere, maybe on the equivalent of the fridge a little message, ‘If Jesus comes through town make sure you get out there and touch His cloak.’

Push through the crowd of normalness. A post-it on the fridge is one thing, acting on it is something else altogether. Lots of people want change but are unwilling to put the effort in. The same power was available to everyone yet she was the only one who saw the change because she was the only one willing to ‘reach out from the crowd’.

Be willing to have some awkward moments. The spotlight may well come on you. ‘Who touched me?’ An awkward moment for her. However, it was the acceptance of this awkward moment which brought about the healing. When you go after what you believe God is calling you to do, the eyes may be on you and that’s alright. In such a moment, just like this woman, we experience the power of God in our lives

Stay in faith. Don’t back off, keeping leaning in. Keep praying and keep working. There were plenty of opportunities for her to back away and not follow through with this crazy idea, yet she stayed in faith. Never lose hope that the breakthrough, the success, that thing you desire to see happen will happen.

Remember, nothing changes unless something changes. When you have been stuck for 12 years it can be easy to just accept this as the way things will always be. The change we want can come miraculously but more often than not it is attached to some change we have to do ourselves. Weight doesn’t fall off in a miracle, we play our part. Debt doesn’t disappear with a prayer, there is some change needed from us too.

Be a person who leads well in life. Keep pushing forward on your 80 day goals. Be determined, don’t give up.

How is your sense of determination? What gets in the way of you seeing your preferred future actually happen?

 

Don’t Break the Chain

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When I wrote last week there were 80 days until 2017. Did you make the decision to focus on anything of meaning and purpose. I hope so. If not, why not? What’s stopping you? I’m sure that if I can do this, then anyone can.

Whatever ‘IT’ is, just choose to start. It doesn’t matter when. Make it today. Then once you have started, be bold, be courageous, keep going and make sure you do one thing…

Don’t break the chain.

This is not an original thought. This technique was made famous by Jerry Seinfeld, who said that he wrote a joke every single day. No matter how he felt or whether he had anything to say, he wrote at least one joke every day.

Why not get a calendar put up on the wall and mark it with a great big X in the first square when you complete your ‘IT’ for the first time. Then repeat every day. Or whatever timescale you decide.

Now there are just 73 days until the New Year to accomplish something of purpose, something of value. Let’s do this!

What is the ‘chain’ you would like to make? Why not share what you will commit to make progress on?

 

80 Days of Leading Well

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So, I am on with a plan, no more procrastination, instead it’s time to get on with what I have spoken about many times before but never actually done.

My name is Julian and I am a serial procrastinator.

Here’s what’s coming…

…a new site, with posts focused on what I know and what I see – leading well in life, making a difference, building local church, walking with God and other stuff too.

…a place of encouragement, answered questions, resources and some challenge along the way too

…giveaways, book reviews and more interaction with those who happen to pass by these pages.

Thanks for the recent feedback, I aim to include posts that answer the questions you are asking. Feel free to complete the simple questions and leave a comment about what you would like to see and what might help you.

I’ve even managed to finish a one month devotional which I aim to launch as soon as I can and the Leadership book is almost completed too. This is not to boast, more to make myself accountable to you.

Leading well in life is not always about how well we lead others. Let’s be honest, if we could only lead ourselves better we would be better placed to make such a massive difference.  The quote attributed to Thomas Edison seems apt here “If we did all the things we are capable of, we would literally astound ourselves”

With 80 days until 2017 why not set yourself some end of 2016 goals that are all about leading well in life.

80 days of deliberate living.

80 days of consistent living.

80 days of productive living.

80 days to get some of that ‘stuff’ we said were going to do done.

Make today Day #1 and commit your 80 day goals to paper or leave them as a comment – one or two things you will focus on, things which mean you have to lead yourself better, you may have to say no to something deemed good because you know in doing so, better has an opportunity of being accomplished.