Archive for the ‘Leadership’ Category

From A Seed   Leave a comment

Autumn tree with seeds.

Autumn tree with seeds.

One of the interesting things about autumn is seeing some trees prepare to drop their seeds.  Outside the window of my home office is a tree that has small berries or seeds on it.  Almost all of the leaves have fallen from the tree but these seeds hang on.  Wrapped by a soft, protective covering, I know there is a seed.  I also know that this seed will at some point fall to the ground just like the leaves of the tree.  When it falls, if it lands on soil that is accepting, the seed will be buried in the soil where it will sit over the upcoming winter.  Then if all the dynamics are correct, this seed will produce life when the warm sun of spring and the rains come.  From this new life will be the potential for a new tree to begin.  This occurs year after year with all forms of plants.  This whole process came into my mind when I looked out my window and saw the tree but it also caused me to think of its reality in human lives.

Much like the trees and plants which we see in creation, we also drop seeds throughout our lives.  Sometimes they are seeds of wisdom.  Sometimes they are seeds of values.  Sometimes they are seeds of behavior.  There are many types of seed but as we go through life and encounter others, we share our seeds with them.  Like the seed from the tree I mentioned, if the soil (the life of another) is accepting of our seed, our seed will bury itself where it may sit for some time only to be warmed and watered into new life within another person’s life.  The seed from the tree must lay somewhat dormant over the winter months and so it may be with the seed we offer to others, a period of dormancy may occur.  However, if all the dynamics are correct, it will produce new life.

This concept is symbolized in two very different ways which come to my mind today.  The first is through a song from long ago entitled The Rose which was made famous by Bette Midler.  The song speaks of a love between people.  One line from the song states, “Just remember in the winter far beneath the bitter snow, Lies the seed that with the sun’s love, in the spring becomes the rose.” The song writer wants to remind us that we can plant seeds of love which may take time before we ever see them blossom.

The other way that I have seen this concept symbolized is in the words of Jesus as he shares a parable regarding faith.  He speaks of different types of soil receiving seeds of faith.  The success of creating a healthy faith is found in what type of soil the seed lands.  You can read what Jesus says in Matthew 13:1-23.

So today I think about the patience of one who sows the seeds of life.  The sower must realize that she or he may never see if the seed takes root but must continue to sow and be patient.  I also think about being receptive to the seed which others may sow in my life.  What kind of soil am I going to be?

Being Remembered   2 comments

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Yesterday I heard a sermon which had as one of its points that each of us is remembered by name by God.  I was grateful to hear that message because it provided comfort for me.  That statement has resonated in my mind for the last twenty-four hours.  So as I sat down this morning to write my post, I decided to spend a little time thinking about why I was comforted by those words and why they are resonating with me right now.

When a politician is coming to the end of her or his elected time in an office, many of the political pundits begin to speak about his or her legacy.  What is it for which they will be remembered?  What type of legacy will be left behind?  We hear of individuals who want to secure their legacy through some sort of contribution(s).  When donors give to an institution they often have their names engraved on something or placed on a building or room within a building.  (Granted, the big the gift, the bigger the recognition)  All of this speaks to the human desire to be remembered.

I confess that I have such a desire.  As I think about my legacy, I definitely think about my two sons.  I am very proud of the young men who they are becoming.  I am pleased with the influence that I have, and continue to have, on their lives.  They are to me the greatest legacy that I can ever leave.  In addition to them, I desire leaving a legacy which encompasses having a positive impact on the lives of other people.  I want to be remembered as someone who helped another person grow and become who they are called to be.  I have always desired to assist people in growing in faith, growing in their skills and abilities, and growing in their perception of themselves.  I realize that in some situations I have lived into that desire and in some situations I have failed in that desire.

So today, I want to know for what you desire to be remembered.  I also want to remind you of the truth which I heard in the sermon yesterday, you are always remembered by name by our Lord.

Finding Good   1 comment

One of the things that I think is lacking in our world is the acknowledgement of good.  Occasionally, someone will share a story of the good actions of someone or a group.  However, most people seem inclined to spend their time identifying the bad in people, groups, and situations.  Many individuals go to great lengths to find something bad but will not expend the same level of energy trying to find something good.  This may not be new to norms of society but recently I have felt overwhelmed by the amount of negative energy being spent pointing out the bad in people and situations.

As I have tried to understand this trend in myself and others, I can identify a lot of reasons which this may be true.  I think that in part this trend is due to a perceived need to raise one’s self above others.  I also think that it appears a lot easier to identify the bad than it does the good.  Some of this trend may be due in part to the easiness which we have in finding fault in ourselves which I addressed a little in my post from earlier this week, Accepting Yourself.

Whatever the reasons, I would like to challenge myself and you to fight this trend.  I would like each of us to try for twenty-four hours to name as many good aspects of people and events as possible.  Then stretch that attempt to three days.  Then take it one more step to one week.  How might this change our perspective on life?  How might this change our attitude toward others?  How might this change our mood?

Let me know what you discover.  Please stay posted to see what I discover.  I will share my discoveries in this blog.

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Posted October 16, 2015 by thoughtfulbeliever in Christian Living, Leadership, Life, Self

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Rudderless Ship   2 comments

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For those of you who are leaders, let me tell you how vitally important your role is in whatever organization that you lead.  There are many times leaders feel that they work goes unnoticed.  I would say that this does occur at times.  A leader can easily become discouraged when it appears that they are not able to make much of a difference.  So let me start this post by saying to you, do not feel you are not having a positive impact.  An organization without leadership is an organization which is bound to fail.

I have recently become acutely aware of this reality.  I am observing an organization which is currently without a central leader.  This organization is going through challenges which is somewhat normal when a leader is not present.  Whenever this occurs, there are a few ways the organization can go.  The key to the future success of the organization is which choice the members make.  Right choices will allow sustainability until a new leader is identified.  Wrong choices can easily spell doom for the organization.

One of the choices in responses could be that there is a division of leadership and people carry through on their commitments.  This choice can be successful in the interim.  The key to this choice is clear division of responsibilities, consistent communication, and trust.  Those who take on the various leadership roles must be given the freedom to exercise their judgment.  The members must be willing to follow a variety of leaders and honor their leadership in their specific areas.  The benefit to this approach is a sharing of responsibility and an effort to lighten the load.

Another choice which can be made is for one leader to emerge as a temporary leader until a more permanent leader is identified.  The benefit to this approach is that one person is guiding the organization and all members know who to turn to with suggestions, concerns, and problems.  The key to this choice is trust.  The members must trust that the temporary leader will use wisdom in her/his guidance.  The members must then follow that guidance.

A third choice of response would be for no defined leadership to be empowered but instead everyone does what he/she thinks is best.  This often leads to confusion, bickering and power-struggles.  In the vacuum of leadership, various individuals try to assume control and yet no one follows.  There is no one to work toward compromise.  Disagreements and resentful feelings become the order of the day.  Continued fracturing will lead to the ultimate demise of the organization.  The organization truly becomes a rudderless ship.

So leaders, realize what a very important role you play in an organization.  Members, think carefully about how you choose to respond when you are in a period without central leadership.

Beware the Quicksand   1 comment

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Sometimes one of the most difficult things to do in life is to make sure that you avoid the quicksand.  What I mean by this is that all of us encounter times of difficulty in life.  During these times, people can start attacking one another.  Blame  is easily projected on other people without a fair reflection upon the whole situation.  When these pieces start coming together, there easily develops a negative and hurtful whirlpool of destruction.  Much like quicksand, it is easy to step into this mess and become trapped.  Once you are in the mess you will inevitably be pulled farther and farther down.

A person who is successful in staying above the quicksand is someone who can truly be a role model for others.  A leader needs to be such a role model.  However, it is not limited to leaders.  Anyone can be a role model for others when the quicksand of blame, negativity, and fighting enters a situation.  We need more role models who avoid the quicksand.  We need more people who make the conscious decision to watch for the quicksand and stay out of it.

So my caution to all my readers is to beware the quicksand.  You will be far better for doing so and you can be the one who by example helps others stay away from the quicksand as well.

Boldly Go   Leave a comment

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I grew up watching episodes of the TV series, Star Trek.  As I was pondering what thoughts to share, the opening declaration of the mission for the U.S.S. Enterprise came into my mind:

Space: the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise. Its five-year mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before.

I think that the reason this came into my mind is because lately I have been giving a lot of thought to what it means to be a leader and person living in these times.  First, let me say that I do not think we are that unique in having to live in changing times.  Yes, there is some uniqueness regarding the particulars of the changes during our time but this is not the first time there have been significant societal shifts.

As I ponder these words from a 1960’s television series, I am drawn to the final words in the statement, “to boldly go where no man (sic) has gone before.”  I would naturally change it to say “where no one has gone before.”  The key here for me is “to boldly go.”  So many people just allow the time and the changes to take them along.  However, I think it is important to change the way we maneuver through these times.  I think that we need to have the courage to go boldly into these changing times.

For me, the only way that I can obtain that courage is to realize where my hope and confidence finds its source….. the Lord.  I believe that the Lord is more than capable of handling whatever changes take place.  I believe that my strength, courage, and ability comes directly from the Lord.  I believe that my only true hope is found in the Lord.  So with these beliefs, I strive to boldly go where others may not have gone.

Alongside   1 comment

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One of the greatest gifts which people can give to one another is walking alongside another person.  There are times when we are called to lead others.  There are times when we are called to follow others.  There are far more times when we are called to walking alongside each other.  Each of these situations create much different dynamics in our relationships with one another.

When we are called to lead others, we are asked to have a vision and a direction.  We take a sense of control.  There is a clear separation which takes place because we are ahead of the other individual or group.  This also requires a sense of confidence.

When we are called to follow others, we must be open to being guided and directed.  We must trust that the one or ones who are leading know the best direction.  Again, there is a separation which is evident in this relationship.  We must allow others to make decisions which will impact us.  This requires a willingness to submit ourself to the leader.

When we walk alongside someone, there is a significantly different dynamic.  There is no separation between us and the other person or persons.  There is more a feeling of camaraderie.  An equal sharing takes place.  We impact each other.  We gain our strength from each other.  No hierarchy exists in our relationship.

So I repeat…. One of the greatest gifts which people can give to one another is walking alongside another person.  Who are you walking alongside of today?