Archives For July 2012

I’m so pleased to have my longtime friend Rick Lawrence guest posting this week. Rick is the author of dozens of books, including his most recent, which releases this week ~ Shrewd: Daring to Obey the Startling Command of Jesus (shrewdbook.com). He’s also the author of Sifted: God’s Scandalous Response to Satan’s Outrageous Demand (siftedbook.com). He’s has been editor of Group Magazine for 25 years and is the co-leader of the Simply Youth Ministry Conference. Rick is a consultant to national research organizations and a frequent conference and workshop speaker. He and his family live in Colorado.

Five-or-so years ago I was locked in what felt like an all-out war over a dream that was in danger of dying, because a man who was much shrewder than me was bent on stopping it. One day, in my grief and fear and anger over what was about to happen, I felt God sort of “sit me down” and challenge me ~ it was clear that my “frontal” way of dealing with this situation was not going to work, and He was asking me if I was going to have the courage to move more shrewdly. In the nicey-nice Christian culture that is promoted and perpetuated in most churches, shrewdness is anathema ~ worse, it’s entirely off the radar as a spiritual practice.

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Are You Unleashed?

July 23, 2012 — Leave A Comment

 

“Freedom is actually a bigger game than power. Power is about what you can control.  Freedom is about what you can unleash.” ~ Harriet Rubin

I’ve been reading a lot lately from a book called Beauty. Written by one of my favorite writers, John O’Donohue, the book explores the many facets of beauty in the world, what happens when we encounter something beautiful, what makes it so, and why (says O’Donohue) beauty is not a luxury, but is essential to the human soul. In one part of the book, O’Donohue dives into the beauty of human life, and explores how each of us in our own way is always striving to create something beautiful out of who we are and the lives we live, whether we are always conscious of it or not. At one point, he writes: “This is one of the sacred duties of imagination: Honourably to imagine your self. The shortest distance in the world is the one between you and yourself. The space in question is tiny. Yet what goes on in this little space determines nearly everything about the kind of person you are and about the kind of life you are living.”

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“Obstacles cannot crush me. Every obstacle yields to stern resolve. He who is fixed to a star does not change his mind.” ~ Leonardo da Vinci

In my free ebook Leadership That Changes the World (if you don’t have a copy yet, you can download it here), one of the things I talk about is the difference between a Reactive Leader and a Creative Leader. A Reactive Leader is one that habitually focuses on the many problems, obstacles and other forms of resistance that regularly show up in leadership. They are drawn to see what’s not working, what’s broken, what’s missing, and so on, and spend the bulk of their energy attacking these issues. They are the leaders who say (even proudly) that leadership is problem solving, and if you aren’t solving problems, you aren’t a leader. While there is certainly some truth to that statement, I think it’s a particularly weak and narrow view of what leadership is and can be.

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“Becoming a leader is synonymous with becoming yourself. It is precisely that simple, and it is also that difficult.” ~ Warren G. Bennis

There comes a point in every leader’s life where he realizes that “what got me here won’t get me there,” and if you are to finish the race set before you at all, you’ll have to learn a completely new way to do it. All the time-tested strategies and ways of being that got you where you are today no longer work (often inexplicably) and what was once easy and invigorating now sucks your soul so dry there’s nearly nothing left.

You’ve come to a threshold, one that’s both enticing and terrifying. And it’s calling you to cross it. On this side: all that you’ve known, all of your expertise, all of the bluster and verve that has served you well to get you where you need to go. On the other side: nothing but the unknown. Like the ancient maps of the world, you’ve reached the edge of what has been explored. “Beyond this place,” your fears tell you, “there be dragons.”

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