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guy-roadtrip

“Love does not give money, it gives itself. If it gives itself first and a lot of money too, that is all the better. But first it must sacrifice itself.” ~ Thomas Merton

A little over a week ago, I took a road trip to California. I was going to help lead a training retreat for advanced coaches. I was going by car because I absolutely love road trips. For me there’s nothing quite so satisfying as driving a long stretch of uncharted road under a grand and open sky with the beauty of the natural world floating past you. I call it the Epiphinator, ‘cause of all the insights and clarity that typically come to me when I get immersed in landscapes like that.

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My Story (Part 2)

February 9, 2015

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(Hey, friend. This is the second part of My Story. You can read the first part here.)

As I write this, I’m in the latter half of my 50th year on Earth. As anyone my age or older will tell you, by the time you get here you’ve already been many different people and lived many different lives. There isn’t time here to recount them all. So let me tell you instead a little about the man I’ve become now, and why I’m so passionate about the work I do.

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My Story (Part 1)

January 31, 2015

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I don’t think I fit into any particular box very well.

I know because I’ve tried.

Man, have I tried.

I’m a native Texan, with all the big-hearted fun and ethnocentric pride that brings with it, but none of the southern drawl or cowhide boots or country music. I was always more spaceman than ranch hand, even as a boy. My dad loved cowboy heroes, but the Wild West could never capture my imagination like the Final Frontier could. I’m a devoted son of Star Trek, Star Wars, Battlestar Galactica, and every brilliant or ridiculous film or TV show they’ve inspired. I have loved them all (and still do). As a boy growing up, when I wasn’t building model rockets, I was converting my bedroom into the bridge of the Enterprise and going on wild adventures where no young man had gone before.

Part of this was just the natural expression of my adventurous imagination. And part of it was because I really was trying desperately to get away, and this was the only way I knew how.

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Top 5 Posts of 2014

December 30, 2014 — Leave A Comment

As I looked back over my most-read posts of 2014, I was surprised to find that three of the five were actually written in 2012 or 2013. I guess that either means my posts have gone downhill of late, or sometimes I hit on something that resonates year over year. I choose to believe it’s the latter. 🙂

Here are my top 5 posts in 2014:

1. 5 Leadership Conflict Styles (and Why You Should Know Yours!)

Back in the ’70’s, researchers Kenneth Thomas and Ralph Kilmann identified five main styles of dealing with conflict. Their research showed that people typically have a preferred conflict style. But not every style works effectively in every situation. As a leader ~ and most especially if you are a senior leader ~ you need to know which conflict style you tend toward most, and what the weaknesses of that style can be…
 

2. The 3 Levels of Listening

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Have you ever talked with someone who was so present with you that it unnerved you? Someone whose full attention was locked on you, their focus so completely yours it made you feel as if you were the only person in the world? Someone who made you feel really seen, and really heard, in a way that was both wonderful and a little unsettling? If you have, then you’ve been in the presence of a skilled listener…
 

3. Building Trust: What IS Trust, Anyway?

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In Patrick Lencioni’s Five Dysfunctions of a Team, the first and most foundational team dysfunction the author cites is “absence of trust.” When it comes to team failure (or the failure of any relationship for that matter), the loss of trust is the “first domino”; all the rest of the dysfunctions ~ fear of conflict, lack of commitment, avoidance of accountability, and inattention to results ~ flow out of that fractured foundation. I say all that to emphasize what we all intuitively know: Trust Matters…
 

4. 4 Steps to Stop Being a Crazy Person

crazy-people-dont-know-they-are-crazyWe’ve probably all heard the saying: Insanity is repeating the same behavior over and over again expecting a different result. Brilliant. Love it. Sooo true. Unfortunately, simply hearing that saying hasn’t stopped me from continuing to live that way sometimes…
 

5. Why I Stopped Doing a Quiet Time

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I’ve been doing a quiet time pretty much every day since I was 16. I’ve got stacks as tall as I am of journals and Bible study notebooks I have filled. The Bibles I’ve used over the years each look like a graffiti war zone of ink colors and highlighters and notes in the margins. I’ve got a bookcase full of study tools (now made irrelevant by the internet), and files full of study methods, prayer methods, journal methods. I’m all about the methods. I’ve even published books on methods for studying specific parts of the Bible. For the most part, this daily practice has been good for me. As far as it goes. But it doesn’t go far enough. In fact, it never really has…
 

So grateful for a terrific 2014! Looking forward to an even better year to come.

What are you most looking forward to in 2015?

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My friend Eric Bryant has a new project coming out today called A Fruitful Life: Becoming Who You Were Created To Be.

You may know of Eric from his work at Gateway Church in Austin or at Mosaic in Los Angeles or from his previous book Not Like Me: A Field Guide for Influencing a Diverse World .

I asked Eric to tell us about his new project and what makes it unique. Here are some of his thoughts:

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CraigGlassI’m excited to welcome to the blog today my friend Craig Glass. Craig is the founder and president of Peregrine Ministries in Colorado Springs. Through a variety of avenues ~ including father-son “rite of passage” retreats, conference speaking, individual coaching, and ongoing partnerships with churches and their men’s ministries ~ Craig helps men understand their identity in Christ, embrace their role as men, and Live out their God-given calling in life. I encourage you to learn more about his life and work at www.peregrineministries.org.

In 2002 TIME magazine’s Persons of the Year were three women who spoke truth to power:

  • Sherron Watkins, the Enron vice president who wrote a letter to chairman Kenneth Lay warning him that the company’s methods of accounting were improper.
  • Coleen Rowley, the FBI attorney who caused a sensation with a memo to FBI Director Robert Mueller about how the bureau brushed off pleas from her MN field office to investigate a man who became one of the 9/11 disaster
  • Cynthia Cooper, who blew the cover off WorldCom when she informed its board that the company had covered up $3.8 billion in losses through phony bookkeeping.

More recently, Gregory Hicks, the deputy chief of mission during the Sept. 11th assault on the U.S. embassy in Libya has been speaking truth to power by describing a series of events other than what we have heard before.

The first documented time the term “truth to power” was used was in a series of papers, “A Quaker Search for an Alternative to Violence,”developed by the Quakers in the 1950’s as they urged alternatives to violence in the conduct of the Cold War. Considering the consequences a truth-teller might experience, speaking truth to power epitomizes genuine conviction that something is wrong, and genuine courage to do and say something about it.

Every now and then doing the same might place us in disagreement or even outright conflict with those in positions of authority over us. As we see in the news on a regular basis, conflict with those in power happens in the workplace, in ministries and the church, and in the military. Authority gets potentially abused or blind in just about any place we might work.

What do we do about that? I propose we speak truth to power.

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“If your leadership is not Life-giving to you or those closest to you, then you must ask, am I leading toward God’s Kingdom? ~ John Burke

In Jesus’ conversation with the Samaritan woman at the well, he said something remarkable. “Whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life” (John 4:14).

If you’ll pardon the pun, I’d like you to take a moment and really drink in that statement…

“Whoever drinks the water I give them
will never thirst.
Indeed, the water I give them
will become in them
a spring of water
welling up
to eternal life.”

In the center of Austin (where I live) lies the famous Barton Springs Pool. Covering three acres, the pool is fed from underground springs and is, on average, 68 degrees year-round. In a city where summer highs often soar above 100 degrees, the spring’s cool waters make it an especially popular place for locals and tourists alike. I’ve swum there myself dozens of times, often surrounded by hundreds of others all soaking in the refreshing cool waters. Yet none of us cost the spring an ounce of its strength by doing this because the spring is continually renewing itself, being perpetually fed by fresh cool water from unseen sources.

What if leadership could be just like that?

What if that’s how God intended it to be?

I’ve worked closely with faith leaders for over 25 years now ~ the first 15 in the publishing industry, engaging leaders and creating resources to serve them; and the last 10 as a leadership coach partnering with leaders and their teams to unleash the full potential of their work for the Kingdom. Most leaders I know are not like springs. They’re more like desert wadis ~ winding, dusty channels cut through the sunbaked earth. Much of the time they feel dry as old bones. But on those rare occasions when the rains do fall, they quickly flood…and just as quickly rush to empty themselves out again, pouring every ounce they have into the parched lives of those they serve. This cycle repeats over and over in their leadership, creating in them a mindset of scarcity, where the infilling of God’s supernatural presence is a luxury they constantly thirst for, but rarely experience. Eventually many of them grow numb to their desire, and come to accept leadership disconnected from God as normal…or at least, as the path God has chosen for their lives.

But it isn’t. Nothing could be further from God’s heart, or from the gospel itself.

I’ve learned a lot through my coaching work with pastors, managers, presidents, worship leaders, and CEOs over the past 10 years. In that time, I’ve discovered there really is a better path available to faith leaders ~ a better way of leading ~ one that’s not only far more life-giving for them personally, but also makes them far more powerful and effective as leaders because it keeps them in intimate connection with Christ as the living and active Head of the Church.

I call it Leading Wide Awake.

I’ve just released a new ebook in which I share the core principles that define Wide Awake Leadership, and provide a collection of the most effective and strategic spiritual practices I’ve picked up through my years of coaching spiritual leaders. No fluff here ~ just the practical tools every leader needs to survive and thrive spiritually as they strive to lead others well.

I couldn’t be more excited about getting this resource out to leaders everywhere ~ in part because I know how badly it’s needed, and in part because I’ve seen the impact of these practices on leaders first hand. These practices really work!

That said, some of the practices require you to take risks. A few may even require all of your courage and faith to implement. But if you are willing, I’m convinced you will find as many other leaders and I have: a whole new kind of life and leadership awaits you.

Download your copy here: LEADING WIDE AWAKE

If it inspires you, then please, spread the word. Buy it for the leaders in your organization. Tell the leaders in your network. Join me in bringing this resource to faith leaders everywhere.

Thanks!

Mike