Wednesday, February 29, 2012

You Will Never Reach Your Maximum Potential

Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” ~Matthew 19:26

If this verse is true, and I do believe in the authenticity of every single verse in the Bible, it means there is no such thing as reaching your maximum potential. That would be limiting yourself. In human form, we have many limits, but if God lives in us, and we posses power through Him, our influence and our potential then becomes limitless. We have no end point, no destination, no such thing as maximum.

What could we accomplish today if we asked God to expand our potential and influence beyond human limits into the realm of limitless? Nothing, nothing, would be impractical, out of the question or impossible.

All things would then be possible!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

The Definition of Success

I have learned that there is no universal definition of success. I may view it as one thing but you certainly will have your own parameter that you judge personal achievements by. However, if we could come relatively close to representing a clear picture of success so that anyone could fully understand and grasp its meaning, there is no greater interpretation than the one penned by Ralph Waldo Emerson.

To laugh often and much;
To win the respect of intelligent people
and the affection of children,
To earn the appreciation of honest critics
and endure the betrayal of false friends;
To appreciate beauty,
To find the best in others,
To leave the world a bit better
whether by a healthy child, a garden patch,
or a redeemed social condition;
To know even one life has breathed easier
because you lived.
This is to have succeeded.

May all leaders of influence-wherever you are placed-endeavor to succeed by these standards and not through superficial external wealth alone.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Somebody's Got To Set The Standard...Will It Be You?

Who is holding you accountable? Chances are, no one is, and here's the reason.

Our society is one of tolerance. Whatever you believe to be right, is right. You don't have to worry about someone else infringing on what you think or do, as long as you do not go against the laws of the land. It has to do with tolerance, religious freedoms and unspoken moral codes. But here is where it gets sticky.

Personal morality is just that-personal-and not something society will try to mandate. With that said, is wrong only wrong if you get caught? Is it OK to take office supplies home for personal use as long as no one catches you? What about the interoffice dating rule. Is it an offense only if you get caught at Applebee's holding the hand of your secretary?

When God laid out rules for living to Moses, he specifically said:
You must not do wrong just because everyone else is doing it....You must not tell lies just because everyone else does. Genesis 23:2

If you are a Christian, there are no excuses. Your coworkers might be OK with you bending or even breaking the rules. You might even get away with doing it and no one else knowing. But God clearly points out that you know better. You can't use the old "everyone else is doing it" argument with him.

Besides, what a lousy leader you would make if you lowered your standards to those of society's, don't you think?

Friday, February 17, 2012

"Cause You Were Called, Dummy"

Occasionally, I like to give other leaders the chance to sound off on the difficulties, joys and rewards of leadership including the good, the bad, the in between. Today's guest nails the concept of leadership on the nose, not only as it applies to church leadership, but to the life of influence as a whole.

There are some days we feel like we can change a nation like William Wilberforce, and there are other days when we are courageous enough to take a bullet like Martin Luther King, Jr. There are days of clarity and a resounding affirmation of vocation. You know why you do it in the bottom of your gut. In the words of Will Campbell, “‘Cause you were called, dummy!”

Then there are the days when ministering to people on the margins–doing church differently–that can get to us. Being on the margins means suffering through the in-between times: The time between sermons, meetings, group ministry, and joyous youth events. Them are some lonely times.

Jesus tells a parable of a shepherd who leaves the comfort, conformity, and safety of 99 sheep in order to search for that one sheep on the margins. Never mind that it is easier to just let that sheep meet its fate out in the desert; the sheep probably deserved it anyway.

No, Jesus’ shepherd leaves home to find that one sheep.

So, for those facing hardships and find yourselves on the margins, on that journey road in between safety and conformity and that place on the horizon (“Cause you were called, dummy!”), this is for you: You are not alone.

Visit Baptist Spirituality to read the article in its entirety.

Monday, February 13, 2012

The Shortest Route To Success

An influential leader motivates, not manipulates, people.

That's a tough task to take on, but one that can be accomplished with the right tools. For a Christian executive, there is one tool that should take priority over workshops, conferences, and retreats.

Joshua, be strong and brave. Be sure to obey all the teachings my servant Moses gave you. If you follow them exactly, you will be successful in everything you do. Always remember what is written in the book of teachings. Study it day and night to be sure to obey everything that is written there. If you do this, you will be wise and successful in everything. Remember that I commanded you to be strong and brave, Don't be afraid, because the Lord your God will be with you everywhere you go.
~Joshua 1:7-9

The formula described in Joshua is foolproof. If you want to be successful, study the word of God-specifically his laws found in the Torah or first five books of the Bible. Don't just read it, study it. Contemplate the purpose for each law and then make sure to obey those laws. From that comes wisdom, which I believe, is the key to becoming a great leader in the eyes of the Lord. Without wisdom, you can lead and influence, but will it be long lasting? Will it change the lives of your employees or just make yes-men out of them?

Study, obey, acquire wisdom and be successful. But then, God commands that great leaders like Joshua follow through on one more important aspect of leadership. Being fearless. Be strong and brave and never forget that whatever you encounter, God is with you.

There is no shorter, more effective route to leadership success than God's way.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Bless Your Heart

There is an ancient tradition that somehow never made it into recent history. The blessing.

When our patriarchs were ready to concede life and move on, they would speak a blessing over their children that became a sort of premonition and later reality. Read the words Noah spoke over his children. Shem's blessing was pithy:

May the Lord, the God of Shem, be praised! May Canaan be Shem's slave. Genesis 9:26

From the lineage of Shem came Abraham, and later, his sons who, you guessed it, enslaved the land of Canaan.

The Old Testament is peppered with such predictions and blessings. It's important to take your words seriously and not withhold blessings from your family, co-workers and employers. A wise leader will not refrain from speaking any words of encouragement, motivation or, yes, that word again, blessing.

Only you know the right words for each person and what it will take to truly empower them. If not, write their name on paper, pray, and whatever God leads you to write, speak those words audibly over them. You will be blessed for blessing them.

My blessing today for you is this:
May the Lord give you success,
and may he give you and your children success.
May you be blessed by the Lord,
who made heaven and earth.

Psalm 115:14-15

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

I Just Might Bend But I Won't Break

Sometimes encouragement defies written words and is better said through music. Here is your daily inspiration courtesy of Mercy Me.

I just might bend, but I won't break.
There's gonna be brighter days.

It's time to move!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Add John C. Maxwell To Your Friends List

In case you haven't met John C. Maxwell, this is a good time for an introduction.

John C. Maxwell is an internationally recognized leadership expert, speaker, coach, and author who has sold over 19 million books. Dr. Maxwell is the founder of EQUIP and The John Maxwell Company, organizations that have trained more than 5 million leaders worldwide. Every year he speaks to Fortune 500 companies, international government leaders, and organizations as diverse as the United States Military Academy at West Point, the National Football League, and the United Nations.

A New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Business Week best-selling author, Maxwell has written three books that have each sold more than one million copies: The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, Developing the Leader Within You, and The 21 Indispensable Qualities of a Leader.

If you are into social networking, facebook is probably pretty familiar to you. The concept of meeting like-minded individuals and friending them for business purposes, or connecting with family is the brain behind the machine. When it comes to leadership, it's important to become "friends" with those that can mentor you into that next level and take you beyond your comfort zone. You need to choose leaders who are ethical, successful and are purpose driven.

It is not always possible to find motivating individuals in your local vicinity. Sometimes, thanks to the internet, you can make cyber "friends" with leaders that can propel you forward. One such mentor is John C. Maxwell More than just a successful author, Maxwell is responsible for training an elite group of leaders that know who they are and how to get the job done. His concept of leadership will challenge you to become better. He will require that you grow, and oh, what a proposition that becomes at times. It is well worth it, though, to become known for being a leader of excellence. You want to be more than a worker, more than a manager, more than a President or owner. In fact, if title matters little to you, you are the audience Maxwell is seeking. Leadership is not limited to a nameplate; it is a way of life. Maxwell isn't driven to become more by any materialistic standard, but instead employs a way of thinking that embraces ethics and morals and motivation as well as investing in others.

Lest I become his short infomercial, check out his link and long list of best selling books, and become familiar with the strategies that are working for him. In the meantime, here are a few of his quotes guaranteed to precipitate your success!

Leaders must be close enough to relate to others, but far enough ahead to motivate them.

A man must be big enough to admit his mistakes, smart enough to profit from them, and strong enough to correct them.

A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.

Leadership is influence.

The greatest day in your life and mine is when we take total responsibility for our attitudes. That's the day we truly grow up.

The greatest mistake we make is living in constant fear that we will make one.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

What's In A Name?

"How lucky a country whose king comes from a good family,
whose leaders eat only at mealtime and for strength,
not to get drunk."
King Solomon

I know you have seen them. Leaders who diligently worked towards a means of success seem to do very little once they get there. They polish their name plate, flash their business cards, and will tell anyone, anywhere, what their title is. While they are quick to announce themselves, they have a hard time telling you exactly what it is they do. That is, once they have that title, they do very little. Leaders by title only are like a pecan shell that is empty once it is cracked open.

What is a title? It certainly can not become the goal itself. In fact, if a leader gloats in it, he is not a true leader. Leaders worth their title don't care about the title.

Remember Joseph, the seventeen year old who was a victim of his brother's jealousy and ended up in prison? I would hardly call a prisoner leadership material, but he proved to be more than his label. He rose beyond ex-prisoner status to the interior of leadership. He didn't deserve the title of prisoner any more than some leaders deserve their title.

Are you preoccupied with the status of your position?

Are the fringe benefits of your title worth as much as your salary?

Do you walk the halls of your office, silently demanding respect based solely on what your business card says?

It's time to reevaluate. What matters is your contribution, your work ethic and being an employee of integrity. Here is the challenge. Although corporate America signs your check, it is the one who sits in heaven that you really answer to. He is the one who has designed you with a conscience for a purpose.

Laziness is a quality that is anything but attractive. Make sure that when you do achieve your satisfactory level of success, you continue with honorable business practices, lest you be labeled a lazy leader.