November, 2013

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The Principle of Boldness

The Principle of Boldness

 Humility is a virtue; timidity is an illness.”   (Jim Rohn)

Pro 28:1 “… the righteous are bold as a lion. “

 Great Leaders have the boldness to make decisions and to take action even if they are not 100% certain they will succeed. Leadership demands decisiveness. Your capacity to move, to step out in faith, even when there might be the risk of loss or failure, is a typical characteristic of true leadership. Leadership is not the absence of fear. Leadership is the ability to subdue fear, to even use fear as a motive to take action. A leader must be bold, therefore a leader must be decisive. Many great leaders have learned to link fear with the necessity of taking action. So every time fear shows its ugly face they step forward and act.

 Everyone experiences fear; leaders are clearly those who master their fears and take action in spite of their fears. As one author has put it you “…do it afraid.” You must develop the habit of boldness. This is done by acting boldly whenever boldness is needed. When fear rises its ugly head, take action. Thoughtful, focused, self-disciplined action.

 People tend to avoid pain and move towards pleasure or comfort. Because of this we tend to avoid or to back away from the things we fear. But when you force yourself to resist this inborn tendency and do the opposite, when you move toward the thing you fear, your fear withers and loses its control over you.You will either control fear or fear will control you.

 “Never let the fear of striking out get in your way.”   – Babe Ruth, baseball player

 Two of the greatest hindrances to moving ahead in life are the fear of failure and the fear of what other people think. Some people would advocate to totally get rid of the fear of failure. I don’t. The reason why is a little bit of this fear under your control can keep you from doing some very stupid and or dangerous things with your life  your business and/or ministry. The key is that it must be under your control. Also, you must understand this. Every great accomplishment is preceded by multiple failures and by many criticisms. In fact, if you meet someone who claims that they have never failed in their personal, spiritual or business life, quickly look for an exit, you are dealing with a thief and a liar. Experience is born of failures and the lessons you learn from these failures will empower you to succeed. 

 Always remember that failure is a negative learning event. It is not a person. You are not a failure, you have experienced failure. If you think of failure in this way you will no longer be afraid of or controlled by it.

 Proverbs 29:25 “The fear of man bringeth a snare…”

 Secondly, your ability to rise above the criticisms and disapproval of others will bring you to the place where you can truly enjoy the success you achieve at a very deep level.

Develop the habit of dealing with your fears. Don’t hide from them, attack them. If there is anything in your life that causes you apprehension, treat it as a personal challenge and decide to confront it now. Don’t put it off, “Do it afraid…”

 2Tim 1:7“For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. “

 Understand this, your life will be seasoned with many complications, distress, disappointments, adversities, and hindrances that might easily discourage you and cause you to want to quit. Don’t quit! Get over it! This is the real deal, this is life.Don’t lay in your pity pool waiting for someone to join you. Get up, dry yourself off and ask yourself this question. What is the worst thing that could happen? Chances are that it would just be another failed attempt. But, would that be the end of your world? Would you die from it? Most likely, no. So, ask yourself this question, “What have I learned from this negative result?” Then go ahead make a new choice and take action, make the needed adjustments and try again.

 Act 14:22 “confirming the souls of the disciples, calling on them to continue in the faith and that through much tribulation we must enter into the kingdom of God.”

 The mark of a great leader, is never allowing himself or herself the self-indulgence of depression or self-pity. The leader does not grumble, make excuses, or wish that somehow events could be effortless or better than they are. Great leaders don’t live in the lala land of “I wish things were easier.” They live in the real world and by “Faith” make the choices that will move them closer to their desired outcomes.

 Decide today to develop the habit of boldness by acting boldly, by doing the things afraid, and by dealing boldly and genuinely with the troublesome people and circumstances of your life. Each time you do this you will gain courage and strength to meet the challenges that lay ahead of you.

 Action Steps:

 1. What actions would you take in your ministry if you knew that failure was impossible? What goals would you set if you knew you could not fail? Whatever the answers to these questions are, begin taking action today as though this was reality and your success is just ahead.

 2. What are some specific fear or fears in your life, such as beginning a new project or doing something in a totally different way then anyone else. Today, whatever it is, talk to yourself, and tell yourself the truth about this fear. Quote the Scripture from 2 Timothy 1:7 and then take the action needed to deal with this fear and conquer it.

The Principle of Genuineness

The Principle of Genuineness

Job 20:5: That the triumphing of the wicked is short, and the joy of the hypocrite but for a moment?

Mark 7:6: He answered and said unto them, Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me.

Jesus Christ reserved his harshest criticism for those who were not genuine, but were hypocrites. The power and willingness to be absolutely genuine in your life and ministry are one of the most important qualities of a great leadership. The measure of how genuine you really are will be shown by your resolve to deal with people and life in general by being absolutely genuine and real.

You must also live your life by looking at things as they are and not living in denial. You must admit that things are the way they are only don’t make them worse than they are. I’m a firm believer in thinking and speaking positively. But denying reality is not positive, it is noxious. It keeps you from being able to deal with the issues of life as they are.

To do that you must concentrate on getting data, get the facts. Facts don’t lie. The more solid data or facts you gather, the better will be the picture of life as it truly is. The quality of your decisions will be largely determined by the quality of the information on which those decisions are based. To gather data you must ask the right questions. To get data and information you must ask “what” type questions. Don’t ask “why” type questions if your after information. The time to ask “why” type questions is when you’re wanting to move somebody to make a decision, or take action. But if you ask a “why” type of question when you’re looking for information you will close down communication. That is because a “why” type question is the moral equivalent to pushing someone, or pressuring someone. The normal response to this type of action is resistance, evasion or out and out lies.

To get the facts, to get data you need to ask “what” type questions. What happened? What was said? What did they do? What was your response? What results did you get? What did you do? Etc.

This is even true when you are dealing with yourself.  Don’t ask yourself “How can I do this…” If you knew how you’d be doing it. Even here a “what” type question is more effective. Phrase it like this, “If I were to do or accomplish “X” what would I do?”

As a musician and having a strong motivational gift of a teacher I am often asked by people for advice on learning to play a certain instrument in some particular style e.g. jazz or rock. What I tell every aspiring musician is this. Listen to the pros playing, what it is you want to learn. Listen only for your instrument e.g. drums, guitar, bass etc. Then ask yourself this question, “If I were going to play that, rift, song, line etc. what would I do to get it to sound like that?” This releases the creativity in you to solve problems and develop new ways of doing things.

Once you’ve gotten it down and you’ve matched the pro ask yourself a new question “What can I do to enhance, improve on or spice this up?

As you gather information and you get facts and data you must then discipline yourself to remain objective, and to avoid assumptions. Assumptions are the lowest form of knowledge. And when you begin to operate on assumptions you are not operating on truth but fantasy. Look for the truth above all, rather than trying to strengthen or excuse a position you may already hold. An exercise you might try is this. Pretend that you’re looking at somebody else’s ministry or somebody else’s church or someone elses business and you’ve been asked to counsel and speak into their situation. Standing back from the situation looking at it from the outside, will give you a more honest and factual view of what really is happening and what the facts really are.

Truly mature people are confident enough in themselves and they are extremely honest and objective about who they are . They have no illusions. They are not insecure and do not feel compelled to explain themselves to others. They know who they are and they accept themselves, with out having to hide anything or pretend to be something or someone else. They are “genuine, they are authentic.”

Genuine people know they are not perfect and they don’t try to be. They can admit their weaknesses are willing to change their behavior to correct them. They don’t require perfection of themselves and as a result don’t feel guilty when they make mistakes. Because of this they don’t demand perfection of others and are more gracious in their interpersonal dealings with subordinates. The fact is that most people, including very successful people, often have weaknesses as well as strengths. And, they make mistakes. Mistakes are part of the learning process.

To be genuine you will need to evaluate yourself realistically. What are your greatest strengths? What are your areas of weakness? Your strengths, most likely are what have gotten you to where you are today. Your weaknesses are like the emergency brake that is left on, and they will regulate the ease that you move ahead in your life ,business or ministry. In what areas could your weaknesses be holding you back or limiting the effectiveness of your life, business or ministry? What action can you take to change that?

Your weaknesses will set the limits of where you can use all of your strengths. The more genuine you are and authentic you are with yourself, the more effective you will be in contending with the nonstop changing settings of life.

What are the strengths and weaknesses in your life today? Ask questions continually, of yourself and everyone else. This will give you a better picture of things as they are. Read, study, attend courses, and get other people’s viewpoints to get greater clarity of how things really are.

When you are willing to face the weaknesses and imperfections in your life, your church, your business or your ministry, whatever they might be, then you can be genuine and then you can authoritatively and effectively pray for guidance to do something about them. Then do it! TAKE ACTION!

If you don’t like the way things are, you have the God given freedom and ability to make a new choice. Imagine how you would like things to be and then begin creating the reality you envision. Be future focused rather than the past bound. Focus on the solutions rather than the problems. Decide where you are going rather than fussing over where you came from. (Phil 3:13 ”this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,”)

Stop granting yourself the self-indulgence of regret about things that have already happened and that cannot be changed. Something that has already happened is a fact. It is a part of your past reality. Many times the only thing that you can do about a fact is to control your perception of it, let be something you learn from not something you constantly regret. The way you respond to an unalterable state of affairs will often influence your effectiveness in the now and success in the future

One method I have found that is most workable for us is what we call our Monday morning Debrief. This involves a meeting of all the key people who are involved in the Sunday service. The head usher, my wife, all pastoral staff, the worship leader and the sound crew. Every Monday morning we go over the Sunday Service that we had the day before. We analyze and critique everything, including my sermon and its delivery.

Our goal is to improve and the only way we can do that is to be brutally honest and genuine with ourselves about how things went and what needs to be improved. This keeps us moving ahead and doing it with genuineness.

You must take the responsibility to do what is needed to solve the problem or change the situation. Never allow yourself to wish, hope, or trust that someone else will do it for you. You are a leader not a victim. You are in charge. Deal with your world as it is, and how you are, only then can you do what is needed to make it how you would like it to be and how you would like to be.

ACTION

“Nothing happens until something moves.” (Book by Robert Ringer)

Action Steps:

1. Examine your strengths and major weaknesses. Then list them down. What are the most vital skills you need to strengthen or change. What is your most ineffective personal quality? What is your weakest essential skill? Describe them clearly and then develop a plan to change them.

2. Identify and examine the genuineness of your church or ministry, your services, and your methods of operation. What are the weaknesses or areas that need improvement in your ministry? Whatever they may be, take some specific action today to correct the weaknesses and to make the most of your strengths. Become a genuine minister of life instead of a wanna-be or a hypocrite.

For more articles of this type click here.

TWELVE FOUNDATION PRINCIPLES OF LEADERSHIP

TWELVE FOUNDATION PRINCIPLES OF LEADERSHIP

How to lead in life!

Hi, for those of you who are new to my blog this is the introduction to a book I wrote back in 2005 and I am making it available for free to all who become regulars on this blog. I will eventually have a log in button on this Blog so I can send you updates or information for other free training materials.  Please realize this book was developed for training leaders primarily in the Christian community and particularly for those in ministry.  If this offends you I am sorry, but I hope you can see the value of using it in you personal life or business regardless of your belief system. 

Introduction

Just as any building needs a sound foundation to build upon so leadership needs a foundation upon which to build and grow. Leadership is one of the most important components in determining ministry success or failure in this chaotic, sin-sick world we are called to minister to. Excellence of leadership is most often what determines the strength or weakness of a church or ministry. The presence of God and a commitment to Biblical principles are absolute essentials, but many problems can be traced, not to these two vital components, but rather, to a lack in understanding the foundational principles of leadership. The ability to provide the required leadership when and where needed is the key to mastery in all ministry enterprises. And there has never been a more widespread need or demand for leaders of excellence, at all levels, than there is now.

Leadership and the making of leaders as well as the qualities of good leaders is a subject that has been studied for centuries. Furthermore there have been thousands of books, and articles, on leadership and leaders, each contributing to our overall understanding and insight of what it takes to become a great leader.

One of the cardinal truths that have come to the forefront is, that contrary to popular belief, leaders are made, not born. Yes there are those rare individuals that seem to have come into this world with all the talents and abilities that leaders need in their lives, but they are few and far between. Most leaders are just average men and women who take the challenge to step forward and accept the responsibility and call of leadership with all it involves.

Some people view themselves as “not the leader type.” But I believe that his is a false concept based on an incorrect idea of what leadership is. Let me explain. If you and say, a hundred other adults are siting in a theater that you have not been in before watching a movie. Suddenly you’re  alerted to the fact that there is a fire that has broken out blocking the way you came in. You all begin to panic, because you are unfamiliar with the place, you don’t know where to go. Then a young girl of about 11 stands on a chair and begins to screen out, “Follow me I know where the exit is!”  This young girl has just become the leader of 100 adults.

Why is this significant, because anyone can become a leader in certain circumstances if they have three things operative in their life. 1. The know where they are going. (the way out)  2. They know why they are going. (to escape the fire)  3. They step up and take the lead.

Now being a leader in life has to have these elements, but to be a consistent leader in life there are other qualities needed that we will examine in this book.

Those who are fortunate enough to have someone to mentor them and also provide a model to follow usually succeed early on in their leadership life. Those who don’t usually struggle with the challenges of leadership until they are able to gain the expertise needed to function successfully. Others may quit due to frustration and failure turning to some other path in life or wrongly concluding they just aren’t cut out to be a leader.

There has never been a time in history where a person can obtain more input from top level leaders than now. The internet is a gold mine of leadership information that can help you find a mentor or mentors to help train you in what is working in their lives.

The life of Gideon

Judges 6:11-14 Then the angel of the LORD came and sat under the oak that was in Oprahwhich belonged to Joash the Abiezrite as his son Gideon was beating out wheat in the wine press in order to save it from the Midianites.

12. The angel of the LORD appeared to him and said to him, “The LORD is with you, O valiant warrior.”

13. Then Gideon said to him, “O my lord, if the LORD is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where are all His miracles which our fathers told us about, saying, ‘Did not the LORD bring us up from Egypt?’ But now the LORD has abandoned us and given us into the hand of Midian.”

  1. The LORD looked at him and said, “Go in this your strength and deliver Israel from the hand of Midian. Have I not sent you?”

Here we see a man who is hiding, beating out wheat so the Midianites won’t get it. He is not someone you would think of as a “leader” type. But he was God’s choice and who God chooses He gives the grace to achieve what He desires.

Now you don’t need to have a visitation from an angel of God to become a great leader. So how do you become a leader? You become a leader in your ministry and in the world around you by stepping forward to take the challenge before you and identifying and practicing the traits and behaviors of great leaders. It is wonderful if you have a mentor who you can model your leadership after.

But even if you don’t sometimes a negative model is as good if not better then a positive one. When you have suffered under an incompetent or insecure leader you don’t soon forget it, the lessons learned are burned into your soul. Additionally, you usually can see clearly what you don’t like about a certain leadership style and begin to make adjustments in your own life to insure you don’t copy the same traits. Leadership ability is obtained by practice over time, but you must be careful to do it right because, practice does not make perfect, “Practice makes permanent.”

It is wonderful to be a great leader. As a leader, you can acquire the admiration, honor, and the encouragement of the people around you. You possess a greater sense of self control and inner mastery in every part of your life. And best of all you get to see the lives of people change because of the influence of your life through and the power of the Holy Spirit.

The more you conduct yourself like a great leader, the more optimistic you become. You have a greater sense of personal worth, self-respect, satisfaction, and contentment. You have a sense of being more effective and resourceful and more capable of getting things accomplished with and through other people. You make decisions quicker and with less mistakes and you become more competent in making positive changes in your ministry, your personal life, and even in your family. Leadership doesn’t happen instantly. Instead it grows by degrees.

As you begin to think and act the way great leaders do you will apply the Principles of Leadership to your life and ministry. This will bring you into contact with other great leaders. Who you can learn from. As the Bible declares, “Iron sharpens iron.” (Proverbs 27:17) Leaders are attracted to people who are like them and they attract to themselves people who are like them.

The more you work the principles of leadership in the small matters of life, then more opportunities to lead in other areas will come your way.

Matthew 25:21 His lord said to him, Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful over a few things; I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.

As you fulfill your obligations with excellence today, the greater the assignments that will be given to you in the future. Your leadership future is truly in your hands.

The Principles of Leadership have been recognized and studied over and over for hundreds of years. They have been taught in military schools, colleges, universities, business schools and seminars around the world. However, there has generally been an absence of concentration on this subject within the Church and Christian organizations. This is particularly true in the developing nations of the world. I hope, with this little book, to begin to change that situation to some degree.

This has just been the introdution to “Twelve Foundation Principles of Leadership”

In the next Blog I will introduce you to the Principle of Genuiness