Service

RLL 53: '100 Years Since the Great War'

RLL 53: '100 Years Since the Great War'

One of my favorite veterans: my dad! This is also one of my all-time favorite pictures: Dad in his signature Dodgers cap, my older daughter in a Cinderella gown, and me getting ready to coach a soccer game. These kinds of memories are ones to treasure.

One of my favorite veterans: my dad! This is also one of my all-time favorite pictures: Dad in his signature Dodgers cap, my older daughter in a Cinderella gown, and me getting ready to coach a soccer game. These kinds of memories are ones to treasure.

Today, on the 100th anniversary of Armistice Day, the day that ended what would become known as World War I, I am struck with three thoughts that I wanted to share with all of you. These three thoughts occurred to me in relation to how to celebrate our holiday of Veterans’ Day, but they also are great reminders about how we should approach leadership.

First, we should do the work of remembering. Our brains are funny things, and when we fail to think of things often enough, we tend to forget them. This isn’t new or novel information, but it’s worth being reminded about: we need to be reminded and we need to remind ourselves of important information. That’s the whole purpose of holidays (literally ‘holy days’, or days set aside for a special purpose): to remember something important from our past. So today, let us remember the service and sacrifice that millions have made to give us the world that we live in today. It’s far from perfect, but it’s also better than it might be.

Another one of my favorite veterans: my mom! Here, Mom and my younger daughter were dressed up for a school event.

Another one of my favorite veterans: my mom! Here, Mom and my younger daughter were dressed up for a school event.

Second, we should be grateful for what we have and where we are. We live in a world with amazing technology, plenty of food and medicine, and a world that even goes out of its way to be beautiful (fall leaves, anyone?). God has given us this amazing planet to live on, and we need to show gratitude to the Creator of beauty and to the brave men and women who have fought to make it safe for us to enjoy such beauty.

Third, we should be humble and kind in all of our dealings with other people, especially with those that we disagree with. There are some serious disagreements out there, but if we approach each conversation and interaction with love and respect, with truth and gentleness, with humility and service in our minds, then we’re much more likely to have a helpful, positive interaction. Plus, it’s just good policy. As C.S. Lewis wrote, “There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilization—these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit—immortal horrors or everlasting splendors.” Every single human is an immortal being created in the image of God, and when we remember that, we tend to treat them differently, better.

Today, let us remember those who have made our world possible. Let us honor them and thank them. Let us show gratitude and humility in our dealings with others. And most importantly, let us be thankful to Jesus for making all things, and let us look forward to His return.

Action Step: be sure to thank a veteran (or a lot of veterans)!

RLL 44: Leading in the Midst of Busy

Real Life Leading #44: Leading in the Midst of Busy

This week has been crazy: following a long holiday weekend there's been school, soccer practice, podcast interviews, prepping for upcoming events...oh yeah, and also wanting to still spend time with my wife and daughters! I'm sure for some of you it's been the same way. So the question is: how do we make sure that we're doing what we're supposed to, even in the midst of busy? Here are a couple quick tips to consider.

Me and my partner-in-life: my wife, who helps me get everything done, even when I don't fully realize how much she's helped!

Me and my partner-in-life: my wife, who helps me get everything done, even when I don't fully realize how much she's helped!

1) Prioritize what needs prioritizing, and stick with it. For me, each day begins with a routine that involves reading my Bible. I get up, let the dogs out, feed them, and then read by Bible while they're eating. I know that if I don't read my Bible early, then it's not likely to happen. I also know that I need that time to spend in reading and prayer in order to get myself prepared for the day. So, look at what HAS to get done, and make that your priority so that when things get busy, it still gets done.

2) Make a list. I tell people all the time, "If I don't write it down, it doesn't exist in my world." If I don't put it on a list, it probably won't get done. I have, right now, about six different post-its on my desk of various lists that need to be addressed in the next week or two. Write down what needs to get done so that things don't fall through the cracks.

3) Enlist help. Whenever possible, get help to accomplish everything, especially when you feel overwhelmed. Better yet, don't wait until you feel overwhelmed! I often ask my wife if I can help her; and she's great about doing the same for me. At school, sometimes I ask my student-assistant to make copies, etc, so I have more time to do other tasks (typically things like grading essays and other fun things like that). Ask for help! It's not a sign of weakness, it's a sign that you trust the people you're asking.

Just a sample of the lists of things on my desk!

Just a sample of the lists of things on my desk!

4) Be ok if something is left undone. Rarely do I accomplish every task on my list within the original timeframe I've given myself. I purposely try to overload my list and then prioritize it, so that what HAS to get done does; and then everything else that gets done is bonus. Also, just take a moment to realize that much of what we think HAS to get done really doesn't. The world won't end, the sky won't fall, and we'll be ok if some things get pushed back. Give yourself the freedom to let things wait.

5) Schedule time to relax! I had a pretty big list for this weekend, and I am thankful to have gotten most of it done. But the best part of the weekend so far? Catching up on sleep! My wife and I took a 2+ hour nap yesterday, and it was possible because we had planned to have time to relax after finishing up other tasks. You need time to unwind, or you'll burn out. So, make "relaxing" part of your "to do" list!

I hope everyone else has had a great week, and I'd love to hear about it! As always, please feel free to share this and pass it on to anyone you think needs it. In the meantime, please be in prayer for me as I get ready to present at a conference in Florida this week and also do more podcast interviews. If I can do anything for you, email me and let me know. Thanks!

RLL 43: How Do You Begin to Lead with Passion? Serve!

Real Life Leading #43

To Find Your Passion, Begin by Serving

This past week, I was blessed to see two very different organizations be celebrated for their service in local communities. On Tuesday evening, my family and I were able to attend a dinner fundraiser for our local Boys and Girls Club, and on Thursday I spoke at the luncheon of our local chapter of the Lions Club International. At the Boys and Girls Club dinner, the club awarded their annual 'Home Town Hero' award to a woman who has served the local club for almost twenty years; at the Lions Club meeting, the local chapter (Anniston) was awarded the 'Club of the Year' for the entire state of Alabama.

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After attending both of those get-togethers, I asked myself, "What do the members of those groups have in common?" The answer should have been obvious: a desire to serve. The woman who received the 'Home Town Hero' award is a former prison administrator, who at one point was in charge of six facilities. Thus it makes sense that she would spend much of her free time helping underserved youth, hoping to help them follow different life paths than what she saw everyday.

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The men and women of the Lions Club are doctors, reporters, attorneys, bank managers, and former school teachers. The Lions Club helps raise money and awareness about diabetes, childhood cancer, vision-screenings for kids, and world hunger. Again, it makes sense that these types of people would, after their 'job' ends for the day, continue to help others through volunteering with the Lions Club.

What's the point? We are called to serve, and one common reason that people give for not serving is that they haven't yet found their passion.. So how do you find your passion? You take a page out of the Boys and Girls Clubs and Lions Clubs playbook, and you simply begin to serve in your local area. Jesus himself said that he came not to be served, but to serve, and He calls us to do the same. These two groups are just a couple of examples of the countless ways you can get involved.

Perhaps working with at-risk youth isn't what you end up being passionate about. Perhaps you find that you are drawn to serve the homeless in your area. Perhaps you feel passionately about raising money for families who are dealing with cancer or other diseases. Perhaps you are, like my wife, constantly drawn to help animals who are without homes.

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Here's the crux, though: you won't know until you get out and try. Nothing is set in stone: go get information, volunteer with a local organization, and see how God may be calling you to use your skills in the service of others. As you serve others, you'll start to see what you enjoy and what you don't, where your skills are a great fit and where they might be better utilized. But you have to begin by doing it, not just by thinking about it.

If you want to learn more about why it's so important to serve as leaders, and to get more ideas on how to do so, go grab a copy of my recent book Inverted Leadership: Lead Others Better By Forgetting About Yourself . (https://www.amazon.com/dp/1983110167/ref=tmm_pap_title_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1528802141&sr=8-1)

In the meantime, get out and serve, and then be sure to tag me on social media so I can celebrate your service as well!