Life isn't about finding yourself.
Life is about creating yourself.
─ George Bernard Shaw
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- Read as much as you can. Really. As a leader, you have to seed your mind with leadership ideas to keep learning and growing. During a the Willow Creek Global Leadership Summit a few years ago, David Gergen said, 'Not every reader is a leader, but every leader is a reader.' Leaders, read diligently. I take every opportunity I can to absorb new ideas.
- Use a 'discernment filter.' Once you’ve exposed your mind to innovative concepts, you’ve got to put the ideas through a discernment filter. The truth is that some of the ideas you learn fit you and should be integrated into your current leadership style. But other ideas don’t fit you, and they don’t pertain to you. You shouldn’t act on them.
Some ideas are good, but they fall into the 'not now' bucket. I’ve seen leaders over the years who absorb all of these great ideas but are unable to keep up with taking them all in.
There’s no short cut to discerning your leadership lessons. We all have to do the hard work of deciding which ideas are valuable—and which aren’t.
- Assign an owner. Once an idea makes it through the discernment filter, leaders have to determine how many leadership ideas they can implement in their church (or organization). I know that I can bear the responsibility of the vision for our church and make sure that our strategic values are clear, but I’m careful not to bear the weight of implementing all new ideas. That’s where your team comes in. Don’t be afraid to attach cool ideas to people on your team, so they can run with them.
- Embed the ideas into your culture. Once you discover new ideas, put them in a filter, and delegate them to a team member—you have to start to institutionalize the most important ideas. The ultimate objective is that all of the ideas have to find their way into the DNA of your organization. The main goal of ideas isn’t just to learn about them, it’s to embed them in the culture."
"Time management systems are tricky beasts. They may help us be more productive, but not necessarily less stressed, or more fulfilled, or more in touch with our true nature. We may look freer with our priorities all tidy, but too often, time remains the master and we get 'given' time for obeying the system.
"I'd rather be fulfilled than obedient. And it turns out that when I'm fulfilled, I'm...fulfilled -- whether I'm productive or not. And that gives me plenty of energy to be more focused on what matters most, which makes me truly productive. It's a beautiful thing. Here's how I got there:
1. Stop keeping a detailed to-do list. If it's truly important, you'll remember to do it. A few post it notes and texts to yourself should be all you need.
2. Say no, thank you to four things a day. My coach gave me this assignment. It changed my life.
3. Relentlessly focus on the one or two vocational desires that turn you on so much that envisioning doing JUST those things seems so fantastical that it borders on erotic pleasure (yep, I think it's your birthright to feel that hot about your work in the world). Everything else that is not about fulfilling your most intense vocational desires is getting in the way of making your fantasy life a reality.
4. Work with talented and excellent human beings. Amateurs, posers and mediocrity-makers are time squatters. Move 'em out.
5. Delegate the stuff that doesn't light you up.
6. Have (only) 3 important things to accomplish every week. Make those three things happen and you're closer to making your fantasy life a reality. Accomplish more than that and you'll feel like a super hero (good esteem fuels fulfillment AND productivity.)
7. Batch n' chunk. Pay all of your bills at the same time. Create a day just for errands. Make all of your calls before noon. This "while you're at it" kind of momentum is incredibly efficient.
8. Ask yourself every morning what you really feel like doing. Not what's most important. Not what's expected of you. But what you're most excited to do. Enthusiasm is the DNA of making things happen. Start there."
You're more likely to hear what people think and feel, if you've established real, ongoing human connections with them.
You're more likely to hear people's real thoughts and feelings once you've established a history of reacting calmly and constructively to comments of all kinds, even when they're personal and not positive.
Seek out people's perceptions and perspectives in the context of a specific task, project, or program.
Build a developmental network of people who will give you candid feedback.
Finally, if she's willing, your boss can also be a valuable source of feedback based on her own experience with you, and she can pass on what she hears about you from others."
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"The linchpin resists the pressure to conform and comply. Instead, she works without a map, solves interesting problems, leads, connects and creates an impact. The linchpin is the one we can build a project around, the one we will miss if she leaves.
"At least once in your life, you have been this person. The one who does work that matters.
"The linchpin might be the doctor who spends an extra two minutes with a stressed out patient, or a politician willing to break with the status quo. The linchpin might be a teacher who uses the lesson plan as a starting point, not a destination, or it might be a customer service rep who can solve even an ornery customer’s problems.
"You’ve probably already guessed: The linchpin is graceful. Graceful under pressure, certainly, but graceful as he walks through the world. Scarcity creates value, and the linchpin understands this.
"Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon.com, spoke at Princeton’s graduation this year. He asked some difficult questions:
Will inertia be your guide, or will you follow your passions? Will you follow dogma, or will you be original?
Will you choose a life of ease, or a life of service and adventure? Will you wilt under criticism, or will you follow your convictions?
Will you bluff it out when you’re wrong, or will you apologize? Will you guard your heart against rejection, or will you act when you fall in love?
Will you play it safe, or will you be a little bit swashbuckling? When it’s tough, will you give up or will you be relentless?
Will you be a cynic, or will you be a builder? Will you be clever at the expense of others, or will you be kind?
"These are the choices the linchpin makes every day. When you choose to stop being a compliant cog in a blameless machine, it sets you up to be graceful instead.”
Godin, Seth (2010-10-13). Graceful (Kindle Locations 85-87). New Word City, Inc.. Kindle Edition.
1. Wastes of time: hard-to-execute ideas that would have little impact on you achieving your goals anyway. Dump these now and invest the energy you save into more productive activities.
2. Tactics: easy-to-execute ideas that will not significantly impact your success. Execute these if you want, but they are not important enough to be a strategic priority.
3. Winning moves: easy-to-execute ideas with huge impact. Execute those now!
4. Crazy ideas: difficult-to-execute ideas that, if you could figure out how to make them happen, would really make a difference. Most companies discard these 'go to the moon' ideas. Outthinkers spend time figuring out how to make these feasible."