Posts Tagged ‘decisions’

I recently was evaluating my life and the journey it has brought me through.  I thought about the moments that I felt like I had failed, which led me to the question, “Did I Fail?”

The truth is I have made some very dumb decisions.  I have hurt others by my decisions and I have let a lot of people down.  Like the time I tried to get a volunteer to resign from her position.  I came up with a plan that would give her some time off.  My hopes were that she would enjoy the time off and come and resign to me.  Not a good idea.  After the “time off” was over, she was ready to get right back in, and she did.  After a few weeks of avoiding her calls and hoping for a good ending, I had to talk with her.

The conversation did not go well.  I listened, for what seemed like hours, about how I was a poor leader and I needed to be honest upfront, even if it was going to hurt.  I felt horrible.  She was right, she deserved better and I let her down.

If the story ended there, I would say I failed.  However, because of that blunder, I committed to myself to learn from this and become a better leader.  That moment hurt her and some others, but because of that, it helped shape my character.  Today, I make difficult decisions, but I am honest and clear about the decision.

I believe failure is when you refuse to allow your character defects to teach you to become a better person.  Don’t be a failure, learn and correct.  I learned a valuable lesson at the expense of someone else, but I am glad I learned the lesson.

“You Gotta Believe”.  That was the phrase that my high school baseball team had plastered everywhere.  It was on our bags, painted on the locker room wall and on the letter head used by the head coach.  Believing is very important but it wasn’t enough to win a state championship (even though we had the highest quality of talent our high school had ever seen).  We need more than belief, we needed “trust”. Many people believe but few move into the arena of trusting.  Trusting is placing your confidence in someone or something else.  Trust is the action point of belief.

Not long ago, I believed in God and his provision, direction, and wisdom.  I believed, as long as things went well for me I was in the center of His will for my life.  Then something happened.  Things seemed to start to turn south for me.  My visual picture of the future started to become scarred and torn.  Things were not turning out like I had hoped or planned.  Was belief enough?  Or was there something I was missing?  That is when my belief collidated with the reality of trust.

I believed God had great things planned for me but I had never placed my trust in him to do those things for me.  Because of my circumstances, I needed more than a belief.  I needed to learn how to trust God.  I did everything I could in my own power to no avail.  I was forced to trust God.  Trust Him for my provisions, trust Him for my security, trust Him for peace, trust Him for significance and trust Him with my future.  The journey has not been easy, but is one that has taught me a valuable lesson.  He has met my needs, He has given my security, He has taught me to trust Him.  While I wish I had a reserve tank filled with things that I can dip into if times get tough, I have learned to trust God every single day.

My friend Barbara King put it this way, “I believe there is a bridge across the royal gorge, I can see it. but do I trust that it is good enough for me to cross over?  Even the devil believes and trembles over the name of Jesus, But I trust him with my everything. Believing is the not same as trusting.”  I have believed.  But now, my belief is filled with trust.  Do you see the bridge God has planned for you and do you trust Him enough to start walking?

Life is a process of events and moments that help mold and shape you into what God’s desire is.  That sounds great but moments can be hard.  Moments in life are often painful and full of questions.  However, think about this, what if every moment in my life, and yours,  were driving us to a destination?  It doesn’t matter if the moments are good or bad, they are the fuel to push us to a greater destination.  Moments help fine-tune us.

Moments may drive us to a destination but the road is paved with attitude.  Moments have the potential to launch us into the next phase or sink us into despair. Like standing at a crossroad with one sign pointing to the left and one to the right, I must decide my attitude. That attitude will shape and formulate my destination.

Embrace the moments of life and let them drive you to your destination, as long as you have the right attitude. It is not easy at times (I sometimes relapse with a bad attitude) but stay focused and stay on track.

Imagine if our churches were filled with embraced moments with good attitudes?  Imagine if the work place were filled with embraced moments with good attitudes?

number-1-sign-756266I have discovered Facebook to be a great place to get feedback.  I ask a question on my status and I get lots of great responses.  A few weeks ago, I posted, “What does Failure look like?”, and I received some amazing thoughts.  So this week I posted this question, “What is the # 1 leadership lesson you have learned?”  I figure if I could provide a list of # 1’s, it would be a valuable list.  So, here they are and not in any order:

  1. “I agree with General Robert E Lee when he said, “I cannot trust a man to control others who cannot control himself.” submitted by Kevin King
  2. “You cannot give what you do not have.”  submitted by Shane Wilson
  3. “Spend 80% of your anointing/calling ministering to God.  This is the key to not getting burned out, and staying effective.-Graham Cooke”  submitted by Angela Barnard
  4. “Be willing to make mistakes: admit them, correct them as much as possible, and move on.” submitted by Jenny Archer
  5. “Always look at the best results that can happen and at the worst that can happen and make changes to keep the worst from happening.”  submitted by Lisa Garrett
  6. “Don’t be afraid to take into consideration the experience of your other team members when decisions about projects are being made.  If someone can can save you the pain of a mistake because of what they have already learned, that is a great gift.”  submitted by Carol Porterfield
  7. “Keep your mouth shut, even if they have it coming”  submitted by Sabrina Roberts
  8. “Servant leadership.  Christ was the great example.  Don’t ask others to do what you are not willing to do yourself.”  submitted by Jennifer Swift
  9. “Being a leader is hard and pretty much impossible without the Lord behind you.”  submitted by Jim Smith
  10. “Communication is HUGE.”  submitted by Cyndi Stahl
  11. “Don’t be to proud to do the lowest job.  Remember, Jesus washed the feet of his disciples, stay HUMBLE.  Pride comes before a great fall.”  submitted by Dana Covert
  12. “If momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.”  submitted by Randy Cartwright.

Thank you to everyone that took the time to respond.

What is your #1 leadership lesson you have learned? I would love to hear them.

failureA few weeks back I asked this question on my facebook, “What does failure look like?”  Within seconds I started receiving a number of responses.  Here are a few of my thoughts on what failure looks like based on the responses I received.

  1. Failure is objective.  Eric Thomure added this, “depends on what success looks like”.  How true.  We have no idea if we are successful if we have no benchmark of success.
  2. Failure is strongly connected to emotion.  It is amazing how many can feel like a failure on Monday and feel like a success on Tuesday, and nothing has changed between the two days.  Emotions change, and as they change, the feeling of being a failure can move up or down in direct proportion of our emotions.
  3. You can fail.  Wow! If you are given a simple task that you are capable of performing, you can fail (look at #1).  However, failing at a simple task does no make us a failure!
  4. Blending the lines of failure is VERY DANGEROUS.    It is possible to fail at simple tasks.  However, failing at a task does not make me a failure as a dad, husband or even a man.  Another way to say this,  “perspective is everything.”  Loosing a job or missing that golden opportunity is very painful, but don’t blend the lines of who you are as a creation of God with difficult situations.  If you do, it can be devastating to you and to those around you.
  5. Failures increase your wisdom.  The Bible connects gray hair with wisdom.  Gray haired individuals have been around a while, they have incredible perspective.  They have gained wisdom through their failures and success’.  I am sure if asked they would tell you their failures in life helped shape who they are and they really were not failures.
  6. Failure shows  you were willing to try.  There are only 2 people that walked on water.  Jesus and Peter.  Peter gets ridiculed a lot, for getting his eyes off of Jesus and sinking.  However, he was the only one to get out of the boat and try!  Everyone else stayed in the safe dry boat.

I leave you with a response from a friend who went through a very dark time.  Listen to this response…  “you’ve been taught that “all things are possible through Christ” but yet you’ve encountered an impossible situation.  You feel like all is lost.  We must remember tho that when Christ died on the cross – it looked like failure…however, it was really the beginning of everything God wanted to do for mankind.  I think we have to be careful not to judge “our” failure and look instead for what God is doing in us.  Hope is extremely powerful!!!!  It snuffs out failure every time.”

1212912_38514992Business is good when the growth chart shows “up and to the right”.  There may be some decline at various places but over all the chart moves up and to the right.  Looking at such a chart, whether it be the stock market, profits, or even church growth, we get a sense of success and everyone feels good.

However, lately, I have been charting my life, my personal life.  I gotta say, it doesn’t look like the “up and to the right” success model.  I have found a lot more downs than I have ups.  My chart looked like the scribblings of a polygraph test.  I must admit, this was pretty discouraging.  I started to feel like a failure.  The chart doesn’t lie and that must be proof. Until…

I started charting some of the life charts of hero’s in the Bible.  I charted Joseph, Jacob, David, Peter and even Jesus.  Here is what I found out…none of their charts were up and to the right.  They are all different.  Just look at Joseph…Dads favorite (up), brother hated him and decided to kill him (way down), brothers didn’t kill him (up a little), instead sold him as a slave (down), became Potiphar’s trusted servant (up), falsely accused and put in prison (way down), became the head prisoner (up), interpreted a dream of the baker and cup bearer which came true (up), cup bearer forgot about Joseph (down), Pharaoh has dream and is interpreted by Joseph (up), Joseph elevated to second in command (way up), and finally he was reunited with his brothers and father (way up).  Joseph spent more time down than he did up.  However, God had a plan and it the process was part of the plan.  If you were to ask Joseph, if he could change anything of his past, I am sure he would say, NO.  Because it was worth it all.

God’s view of success is not “up and to the right” and neither should ours.  Be encouraged, you are in the process.  The one thing everyone had in common was the chart went WAY UP when Gods purpose was fulfilled.  God has a purpose, enjoy the process and your chart will sky-rocket when you have fulfilled Gods purpose.

I recently read an article by Sam Chand asking the question; Would you rather be successful or fulfilled?  Interesting question.  Which one would you like for your life?  If you answer honestly you would say, both.  We each desire both success and fulfillment.  Here is a brief rundown of the differences:

  1. Success is external, fulfillment is internal
  2. Success is measurable, fulfillment is hard to measure
  3. Success is temporal; fulfillment is eternal
  4. Success you work for; fulfillment you live for
  5. Success is taught; fulfillment is learned

Both are good but fulfillment is preferred over success.