Leading Happy

Where Leadership and Happiness Collide

Category: Guest Post (page 1 of 2)

Sorry. No, You Don’t Get a Trophy (Guest Post)

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Think about this:

Imagine you are a parent and you are at your son’s’ final baseball game and your son is pitching in the bottom of the 9th inning and there are already 2 outs on the board.

He throws the first pitch. And boom. Strike 1.

He throws pitch number two. Strike 2. Now it’s all up to this last pitch.

He winds up and pitches! Strike 3! Hooray.

The kid batting is out and the game is over!

Your sons’ team just won!

Except something is amiss.

As they are passing out the trophies and awards they give every team the same “Great Job” trophy. Even though the opposing team just lost, they still got a trophy. Wait just a minute!

Why?

According to Mensjournal.com, “Trophies make kids feel like finishing in last place may be good enough.” Which is exactly true. Kids nowadays don’t have the same drive to win as kids did a decade ago. People would rather make their kids feel like a “winner” than for them to face the fact that they actually lost.

Where did William Edward Hickson famous quote go, which claimed, “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try, try again.” What happened to that? He clearly didn’t say, “If at first you don’t succeed, that’s okay you still get a trophy!” This alone teaches kids that by losing you will get the same reward as someone who purposefully works hard to do something. Something that absolutely doesn’t happen in life as an adult.

Now, yes, I do agree that getting a trophy can boost your self-esteem, like stated on mommyhastowork.com, “Glass awards and plaques will help change a child’s self-esteem for the better, encourage further development in a skill or quality that they have pride in.” So yes, they can help, yet in the end, getting an award for something you don’t really deserve can have a horrible effect on their work ethic and desire to advance in something. A pat on the back in adolescents  can potentially turn into a huge slap in the face in adulthood.

Now I’m not saying kids don’t need or deserve trophies, but I think it is better when they don’t get them simply for playing along.

Kids need motivation to work hard, and if they can always count on winning then they won’t learn important lessons that will stay with them into their adult life. They will continue to think that losing and being bad at something is okay. Sorry, but it just doesn’t work like that.

So No. You don’t get a trophy if you don’t actually deserve it.

Sincerely, clearlymakenzie


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Makenzie is a mass communications major in Missouri. Follow her musings, fun research, and other postings at www.clearlymakenzie.wordpress.com.

 

Tools for Tough Times!

 

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As leaders most of us will become close friends with stress in some form or another. We often experience pressures from internal and external sources surrounding our roles and responsibilities.  The internal stress usually revolves around insecurities, fear of failure, unhealthy comparisons, or even pride at times.  External pressure can come because of extra work demands or unreasonable expectations and needs of team members.  All good leaders care about these things; some of us struggle under the weight of our roles and that can start to push in on who we are at our core, not just who we are as leaders.  Over the last 13 years of leading in a church context I have found four helpful ways to keep hold of my authentic self, balance the demands of external pressures and fight the internal whispers that keep us up at night.

  1. Dynamic Prayer life
  2. Friends who do the same thing as you
  3. Leadership Coaches
  4. Counseling

Dynamic Prayer life

First and foremost, prayer and all that goes into building a personal, growing, and authentic relationship with God has become a key to me keeping my head above water in times of stress or pressure.  I don’t say this as a pithy Sunday-school answer. Prayer, meditation and scripture reading serves us, in that it focuses our attention away from ourselves and onto Christ our Creator and Savior. I have seen over and over again that when stress and pressure starts to swell over my head, I have most likely started to abandon my abiding time with God.  I may have started skipping my morning liturgy or tried to use the study I’m doing for this week’s sermon as “devotional” time as well.  In these times it is so important to refocus and shift my perspective from all MY struggles onto God’s greatness and goodness, which brings peace to overworked minds and stressed out hearts.

 Friends who do the same thing as you

There’s nothing quite as comforting, even for those of us who are introverts, as looking someone in the eye and not having to explain the pastor thing to them.  Maybe for you it’s not pastoring. Maybe you lead a non-profit or a business yet this suggestion on how to stay healthy in leadership is still relevant to you.  Find people who get it. Who either, have been or are leading in the similar areas to you.

As a lead pastor, I have some unique situations that arise and I find it extremely comforting to text or call a friend who is a pastor as well. Someone I know will not judge me or shame me but will listen and say those words we all long to hear “I totally get it.”  It’s a gift that cannot be replicated by someone who has not done what you do.  So give yourself the gift of a friend or two who share your vocation, people who understand the challenges and know how to celebrate the wins with you.   They don’t have to live in the same city as you; technology is great for connecting us over long distances. Who knows? One day they may need you to say, “I get it,” and you will get it!

 Leadership Coaches

Leaders are capable of leading well only if they are ahead of their followers.  In other words, leaders must be continually learning and growing.  One of the resources I have found to be helpful in my leadership journey has been hiring a leadership coach.  My coach knows his stuff. He’s qualified to ask great forward thinking questions, offers resources and challenges me in the places where I have let complacency or fear rule instead of courage.  The beauty of coaching is that it revolves around the challenges I identify as my own and the goal is that I will find solutions that are practical and achievable. It’s not meant to delve into the past or even the present problems, but to help you think clearly about where you are currently and where you want to go. Coaching sets you on a course to follow the purpose for your life and make choices to grow into your future leadership.

Counseling

All of us, but specifically leaders who are in helping roles, will face loss, trauma and grief at some point in our lives.  We’ll react in ways that we don’t understand, be present for others during traumatic events and we may even struggle with our own demons.  No matter if we are the experts in our field there will be places in relationships where we need help.  Our spouses, our families and possibly our own issues with control, dependence or addiction need to be addressed if we are to be healthy, flourishing human beings.

This is why we need professional counselors.  To walk us through all the stuff that comes at us. As leaders we need safe, confidential, educated people to help us.  Counseling saved my life at a time when I was desperate for a place where I didn’t have to be “on” all the time. Counselors want only the best for you and will not take from you, as others often do.

Are you using tools like these to help you prepare for and weather the hard times? If not, what is holding you back? Are there other tools and approaches you find helpful? Whatever help you have in place, don’t be afraid to lean on it. They might just save you when nothing else can.


1973901_10152950229189523_1668957572110615096_o-200x300Korista Lewis-Beaty is one of five amazing ladies who regularly blog at www.thepreachergirls.com. Korista and her husband, Ryan, are church planters in Houston. If you enjoyed this blog post, find out more about Korista and her leadership here!

 

Work Hard, Rest Hard

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Note: Guest post author kept anonymous due to the sensitive nature of missions work in certain areas. 

Faithful Christian men and women pay my family thousands of dollars to minister to the unreached in the Arab World. People who live paycheck to paycheck manage to write a $20 check to our account every month. That sweet grandmother gives a portion of her social security check with a diligence that would put the most successful CEO to shame. But when it comes down to it, we could sit down on the couch, kick back, and watch Netflix all day. Any of us could. We could avoid relationships that hold us accountable, show our face in the appropriate places, at the appropriate times, and just… coast.

And unfortunately, many Christian ministers do. Too many.

“We should be the hardest working people in the world.” It’s something I’ve often heard repeated by a mentor.

And not only in order to be good stewards of that grandmother’s faithful offerings, but also, and perhaps more importantly, because we have been entrusted with a task. As vocational ministers we are to grow the Church, to reach the world with the gospel of Christ, our Lord.

But sometimes it’s all we can do to survive.

We’re tired— exhausted even— just from the day-to-day life of overseas living. Our minds are exploding from learning one of the most difficult languages in the world. Our emotional energy is stretched by co-workers, local friends, and those we are mentoring. Our bodies are maxed out from carrying groceries home, walking upstairs, and trekking across the city via public transportation.

It’s all completely and utterly draining.

But… we press on.

We find that last ounce of energy to knock on our neighbor’s door to offer a plate of food in hopes of another gospel-centered conversation. We wake ourselves before the sun and before our children so that we can spend our first quiet moments of everyday seeking the Lord. We stay that extra hour after our painstakingly long Arabic lesson is over in order to get a head start on our studying. We have a job to do.

Kingdom work is the thread that is woven through every aspect of our lives. Click To Tweet

We wake in the morning with Him on our minds and in our hearts. “How can we grow His kingdom and glorify his name in our lives today?” As Americans, we generally approach life from a position of selfishness: “What can I get out of this?” “How can I make this situation easiest on me and my family?” “What is the best outcome for us?” —but Christ turned that upside down when he said “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength, and love your neighbor as yourself.”

There’s very little self-concern involved in those two responsibilities. In fact, the Scriptures command just the opposite. We are called to die to ourselves again and again. So we use 100% of our time, energy, and resources to the best of our ability in order to grow His kingdom— no excuses— for six days out of every week.

And the seventh? We rest. We rest hard. We replenish our souls so that we can glorify God faithfully and diligently in our consistent, repetitious work.

Too often in our culture, we exalt and even celebrate the one who “doesn’t have time for a sabbath” or the one who is “too busy for a vacation.” Surely they are more “holy” than the rest of us (as if our own personal strength is a sign of holiness.) At the most basic level though, it isn’t noble to work long and continuously without resting— it’s disobedient. The Creator of the universe rested one of the seven days in the formation of the cosmos and all that is found within, so with what standing do we approach the throne as if we are above the need of rest?

My family and I have been ministering to the unreached of the Middle East for over a decade, and I’m just beginning to deeply understand the sacredness of the sabbath. Each morning, we draw ourselves from our beds before the sun has peeked over the horizon.

We saturate ourselves in His word in the quiet pre-dawn hours. And then we hustle.

We teach English, study Arabic, minister to our neighbors, and share the gospel with those have never heard it. We shuffle our kids to and from school, attempt to decipher their homework—all in Arabic of course, and help them navigate their relationships with local friends. We mentor new workers like ourselves, lead and attend team meetings, and remain faithful in communication with our support base back in the U.S.

But every Friday, we roll out of bed late, create and play with our kids, order dinner in, read from our favorite thinkers, relax with friends, and replenish our souls. It’s not a luxury but rather a necessity.

If we as leaders are working to our fullest capacity and being faithful in all that we do— as we should be doing— then, in tandem, we must also faithfully rest well.

Work hard, rest hard. Click To Tweet

Is your sabbath a priority, or do you simply view it as a luxury, an extra, an “if we have time for that?” Do you clear your schedule and vigorously protect it, or is it an afterthought each week? If we are to see this good work to its completion, we must commit to be in it for the long haul. For as noble as our efforts out of our own strength may seem, what value do they have if we are snuffed out?

Friends, may we run our race well … and may we also see to it that we finish well.


The author has been serving as a missionary in the Middle East since 2006. She, along with her husband and three children, are currently forming a team in order to plant the Church among the unreached in a neighboring war-torn country. But in her times of rest, she thoroughly enjoys eating gourmet foods, traveling to new countries, staying up way too late playing cards with friends– and she can whip up a mean chocolate chip cookie.

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