Tag Archive - journey

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Leadership Lessons I Wish I Understood as a Young Leader

Lately I’ve been thinking about some leadership lessons. You know…the “I wish I knew then what I know now” kind of stuff. See I’ve had a lot more time to think recently. That is, thanks to my wife for registering me for a triathlon this Fall. She said it was something that “we could do together.” She’s the one who races in the family. I’m the one who visited 5 different Starbucks cheering her on while she ran the Chicago Marathon. But it’s been interesting, as I’ve been training how many of my experiences have paralleled lessons that young leaders need to internalize and learn early, or risk potentially derailing their leadership journey before it really gets going.

So in no particular order here are 5 Leadership Lessons for Young Leaders based on my experiences training for a triathlon.

#1 Young Leaders have a Tendency to Overestimate their Capacity

When I started training for this triathlon I thought I’d pick it right up. After all I played varsity sports through out High School, have been pretty active as an adult, and heck I even lift weights pretty regularly. Well that was before I got in the pool and almost swallowed half of the water as I attempted to swim laps. Young Leaders are notorious for believing they can do more than they actually can. If you’re a young leader and ready to change the world, don’t be discouraged it may be in there; it just needs to be developed over time. You’re not nearly as good as you’re going to be if you keep working on it over time.

#2 Young Leaders Need to Learn Internal Fortitude is the Muscle of Leadership

I’ve got to be honest. There are days I don’t feel like training…I’d rather sleep. And there are moments when I’m running, or biking, or swimming that I’d rather just stop. But I don’t. And if you’re a young leader you need to soak this next statement in. The will to keep moving forward in the face of adversity, to find a way when there doesn’t seem to be a way; this is what separates “Big L” leaders from the weekend warriors. Not a lot of people will say this, this way, but there are a lot of ridiculously talented leaders out there (more talented than me) that fell by the wayside because they simply lacked the internal fortitude to take another step forward. They allowed their leadership muscle to atrophy.

#3 Young Leaders Need to be Given the Right Resources

I can’t believe all the gear that you “need” to run a triathlon, it’s a complete grocery list! Shorts that you can swim, bike and run in. Shoes that you can run in and another pair that clip into your bike. A helmet for your bike ride (we didn’t wear helmets when I was a kid…just saying). Oh yea, gotta have a bike, and I’m not talking about the BMX bike you had as a kid. A special watch for training where you can measure you distance, pace, calories spent and will probably tell you what time it is on Mars at any given moment. You get it. But why don’t young leaders get that there are real leadership skills that can be and need to be acquired and honed over time? If you’re a young leader and aren’t being developed where you are, then you need to take responsibility for your own growth. Listen, the majority of talented and experienced leaders out there aren’t going around looking for people to invest in. They’re up to their elbows creating the future! You’re going to need to find a leader who has what you want and chase them until they catch you. Remember leaders press into people who press into them.

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are we there yet?

By now most of you know that my family and I recently all piled into the minivan and made the multi-day drive across the country to start the new adventure of serving as the Lead Pastor at North Metro Church in the northern suburbs of Atlanta. That’s not to say that the drive itself wasn’t a bit of an adventure. And thanks to my good friend Aaron McRae my kids actually thought that the more they said, “are we there yet,” the faster we would arrive at our new home in Atlanta!

My kids aren’t the first people on the planet to be so enamored with the destination that they lose sight of the journey. I bet Moses heard this phrase more than a few times from the nation of Israel, Noah probably heard it from his kids, Abraham heard it from Isaac, and so on, and so on. The reality is that if you and I are not careful we run the risk of becoming so fixated on the destination and where we are going that it becomes almost impossible for us to enjoy the journey along the way. This is especially true if you are the kind of person who has a fairly clear picture in your mind of a desired future and where you believe you are supposed to be, or where you are supposed to be leading a group of people to.

So how do you know if you’re so addicted to the idea of the destination that you’re in danger of missing the journey? If you can identify with the items from the list below you may need to come up for air and do some self evaluation, or better yet, hit your knees and do some confession.

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