Category Archives: Leadership

Are You a Natural Thinker or Feeler?

Naturally, I am a feeler. Meaning, I base most, if not all, my decisions on how I feel about them and how they might effect others. The opposite side of the spectrum would be the thinkers. Those who base their decisions on logical thought, often taking emotions out of the process. Thinker

Both are valuable. Both have their faults. So let me tell you about the fault of the feeler. Basing my decisions on how I feel about them has brought some challenges to my world. For example:

  • If I don’t feel like working out, chances are I’m not going to work out, because my feelings won out.
  • If I don’t feel like writing a blog, I usually don’t do it because my feelings got the better of my decision making.

Most of the time, when I’m not actively doing something, I let my mind wander. But I’m not thinking. I’m feeling. As a feeler most, if not all, of my life sifts through the filter called: feelings. This is not a bad thing, necessarily, unless it keeps you from doing the things you know you need to do.

Recently, I asked a trusted friend, boss and mentor to teach me how to think. Being a natural thinker, he thought the request was interesting. He encouraged me to do a few things which have already helped me take back the control of my feelings instead of my feelings controlling me.

  • Start a Thought Journal–I used to journal all the time. But my entries were all about what happened that day and how I felt about them. He encouraged me to start a thought journal instead of a feeling journal. In this journal I write down things I’m thinking, things I need to do, goals I want I’m going to reach.
  • Think!–You can’t have a thought journal without actual thoughts coming out of your brain. He encouraged me to start thinking. This takes some intentionality since I am not naturally prone to thinking. So when I’m in my car, or find myself with some free time, I make myself think: What do I want to accomplish? What lessons have I learned today? What ideas do I need to expound upon to make them a reality?
  • Plan in Quarters–Businesses plan their budgets in quarters: three month chunks four times a year. Why not take this model and apply it to ourselves? We talked about the goals I wanted to accomplish this quarter (the end of June.) Once I accomplish them I will move on to the next quarter. Picking one or two things to focus on in a shorter amount of time helps me not become overwhelmed with all I want to do.

What about you? Are you a Natural Thinker or Feeler? What are the pros or cons of being one or the other?

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Friend or Leader?

Working in youth ministry gives me many opportunities to learn and grow. One of the areas I’m growing in right now is finding the balance between being a friend and a leader.

I work with several adult volunteers who, over the course of the three years we’ve been doing ministry, I’ve developed strong ties of friendship. I think relational leadership it is a great way to lead, and probably the way I lead the best. But when problems arise it can be difficult to know which side of the fence to lead from: Friend or leader?

Inevitably, in leadership, you’re not going to make everyone happy. (I’m learning this too, but that is a whole notha blog post). When it’s your friends in the ministry who become unhappy about certain things it can be hard not to take their complaints personally. It can be a challenge to not allow their opinions of you to dictate how you lead and what decisions you make.

There have been several instances in my three years of ministry where I have had to figure out this balance between friend and leader. Here are a few things I’ve done to help me along the way:

  • Always check–Anytime someone brings a complaint about how I am leading, I always check myself through prayer to see if their complaint has any truth. If it does, I try to reconcile things with the person. If it doesn’t, I continue to stand firm in my decisions knowing my ultimate goal is not to make other happy, but to please God.
  • Seek Counsel--I am surrounded by leaders who are far better and far wiser than I am. Their guidance in areas like this have helped me tremendously along the way.
  • Don’t take it personal–The ministry is not about me anyways. I’m simply a steward of what God has given me. When complaints or frustrations with volunteers arise I take my emotions out of the equation and try to lead from an objective mindset. (Ok, so I try to take my emotions out of the equation. Like I said, I’m still learning!)
  • Know who you are–This one is so important. If I don’t know who I am or have a firm grasp on why I’m doing what I’m doing, it would be very easy for me to wither under the scrutiny of of what others think. I’ll say it again, I’m not here to make others happy, I’m here to serve, honor and obey God, and only Him.

Maybe you have had similar experiences. I’d love to hear your thoughts on the subject.

What do you think, Friend or Leader?

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Are You Emotionally Intelligent?

Emotional Intelligence 2.0Our staff is currently reading the book Emotional Intelligence 2.0. This book helps us understand emotions in ourselves and in others and offers tools on how to manage behaviors and relationships. This is an important concept since we are all creatures of emotion and we interact daily with other creatures of emotion. This book offers enlightenment and strategies for improvement in these four areas:

Self-Awareness–to know yourself as you really are.

Self-Management–your ability to use awareness of your emotions to actively choose what you say and do.

Social Awareness–a skill used to recognize and understand the moods of other individuals and entire groups of people.

Relationship Management–The ability to make your relationships work.

As I make it through the book I’ll share some insights and nuggets, but I highly recommend the book to everyone. Each book comes with a unique code in the back so you can take a test to gauge your personal emotional intelligence.

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Confessions of a People-Pleaser

No one wants to admit they are a people-pleaser. The hyphenated word brings such negative connotations, like having no spinning platesbackbone, not thinking for yourself, or being a doormat, allowing everyone to walk over you.  But I’m a pretty opinionated person, I think for myself quite well, and don’t bend over and let others walk on me–but I realized I was still trying to please people.

I realized I was living in this state of mind after reading this familiar verse: Gal. 1:10 “Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ.”

I had read this verse a hundred times. It’s even underlined in my Bible. Every time I would read it, I would think, “Oh, yeah, those people who try to please others… they have no idea!” and then one day I realized… I’m “those people.”

I think the reason I tend to be a people-pleaser is because my personality type is one that says “people are the priority.” I’m passionate about meeting people, connecting people, watching people figure out who they are, that sometimes I try to control situations where people are present. (which is often in my line of work.) Whether it be a life group I lead, the adult leaders at SWITCH, someone I’m mentoring/counseling–I want so badly for people to be pleased with whatever situation they are in, that inevitably, I become a people-pleaser. The pressure of pleasing people was like spinning hundreds of plates and not letting one of them fall. Why did I feel like I was responsible?

But recently, I realized a simple truth: Making sure people are pleased is not my job!

I’m not in control of their reactions. I can’t sway them one way or the other. If someone doesn’t like the way things are going it’s not my fault–nor should I take it personally, thinking “if I had just done more I could have made them like things”… (All of this makes sense to me in my brain… sorry if you don’t understand, but getting it out is good therapy.)

Realizing this truth has lifted a huge weight off my shoulders. I would say I probably enjoy my job more because I’ve learned how to just be myself and not worry about trying to control others. I would say I’m becoming more of who I really am, unhindered by the the pressure of trying to please everyone. I’ve been freed, and life on the other side of people-pleasing is pleasantly care-free.

Thanks for letting me talk that out. I feel better now. What about you? Do you find yourself trying to please people? Share your thoughts.

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Are You a Part of the Herd?

Herd-Of-Brown-Black-CowsAre you a cow or a bull?

The first time I remember hearing about this thought was after an event in downtown Oklahoma City. The event had just let out and my family and I and everyone else at the event was trying to get home. The problem was when 40 + thousand people are all trying to get out of the same area at once a log jam happens. One would think we’d be sitting in traffic for hours, making progress inch by inch, but it wasn’t 5 minutes until my dad pulled onto a side street. We drove down a desserted alley way and wound around the old buildings in downtown, away from the traffic. I thought my dad was just being impatient, so I asked him,

“What are you doing?”

His reply gave me much to think about. “I’m not being a part of the herd, that’s for sure!” He went on to say, “All people fall under two catagories, either they’re a cow or they’re a bull.”

After a few more moments of strategic driving we found a ramp to the highway, and were homebound long before anyone else.

This has stayed with me all those years later and I can see how true this statement is for my life.

Being a part of the herd means you don’t think for yourself. You are easily led to believe anything anyone wants you to believe. You follow the crowd, never stopping to make sure the way the crowd is going is the best way for you. Your oppinions are often easily swayed because you haven’t taken the time to search out the facts and take a stand for what you believe. You are a cow.

However, if you are a bull, you are not a part of the herd. You stand out. You are a leader. You know what you believe, spiritually, emotionally, politically and you have done the research and taken the time to know what you’re talking about. You have taken a stand and decided that you are in control of where your life goes. You don’t always buy in to what others tell you because you’re always thinking, “Maybe there’s a better way.” You always think for yourself and often find new paths to blaze before anyone else. You are a bull.

Are you a cow or a bull? Are you a part of the herd that blindly follows wherever they are led, or have you taken a stand for your life and decided where you’re going to go?

Thanks to my dad, Dirk Meadows for teaching me to be a bull and think for myself.

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I-D-L-E

I was reading in 2 Thessalonians this morning when this scripture stuck out to me:

“Stay away from all believers who live idle lives…”

The word that struck me was idle.

We hear all the time to stay away from sin, and remove sin from our lives: “Don’t do this, this, this, or this.” But what about the sin of not doing anything?

Idle–(Adjective) Not working or active. Habitually doing nothing or avoiding work; lazy.

Out of all my 23 years of living I’m convinced the enemy’s greatest strategy on the believer is not to lure us into sin, but to keep us from moving at all. As believers, we know about sin. We are well versed in how to confess it, renounce it, stay away from those who live in it and walk blameless lives living under the grace of our Savior, thinking we’ve made it. But deception still lurks in dark corners, keeping us blind to our inactive behavior.

Being a beliver doesn’t just mean we’re forgiven of our sins. Being a believer should mean we’ve surrendered to a glorious relationship that is so wonderful we can’t help but remain active in our excitement. But unfortunately that is not the case for so many of us. I feel as if Christianity has been reduced to a “get-out-of-hell-free” card. We accept Christ’s salvation and then that’s it, like a pail of water sitting stagnant all summer long, stinky, unmoving, ineffective.

I’m guilty of this myself. The reason the scripture above stuck out to me was because it hit me square in the face. I’ve become idle. I’ve allowed the deception to blind me, thinking that if I just don’t sin than I’m a good Christian. But my prayer for myself and others who may see themselves in this is that we won’t allow laziness to to creep into our walk with Christ. That we will allow our fervor and love for Christ to move us forward, not in legalistic duty, but in passionate desire to please our God.

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How to Most Effectively Influence Others

I was never good at math. Writing was always my better subject. But recently I’ve been thinking about compound interest.

The equation for compound interest is: P = C(1+ r/n)ntWhere:    P = future value    C = initial deposit    r = interest rate (expressed as a fraction: eg. 0.06 for 6%)    n = # of times per year interest is compounded    t = number of years invested

Get it, right? Ok, so maybe that is a little hard to understand. (Except for you really smart weirdos…)

Here is a better definition:

Compound interest is interest earned not only on an original investment, but on its accrued earnings as well.

So I started to think about ministry and leadership, and saw that not only can you compound INTEREST, but you can also compound INFLUENCE. God freed me from the thought that I had to lead, develop and pour into every person that came my way. He taught me how to compound my influence to be the most effective.

For me, since I work in student ministry, I started with a few adult leaders to pour my time into. A small group of  high-impact volunteers– those people volunteering who have the ministry instincts that others just don’t. They usually have great people skills and lead out of a natural ability. Second we started meeting with these leaders once a week, or twice a month to develop, cast vision, and give away leadership responsibilities. As they started to lead we saw our influence compound. Instead of directly leading 60 to 75 adult volunteers, we only lead 5 to 6. Which in turn lead teams of 10 to 12.

But what if you don’t work in ministry? What if you’re a mom? Think about your children as your little group of influencers. If you take the time, energy and intentionality to develop them into who God has made them to be, think about the compounded influence you will create. My parents had 7 children, and each of us has answered our own specific callings in life. My parents may not be directly influencing the people in our sphere, but because of their love, support and training, they are indirectly effecting hundreds if not thousands of individuals through the compounded influence of their children.

What about school teachers? You may never know how the life lessons, love., and acceptance you show to your class will effect them for the future.

What is your position in life? Everyone can influence someone. How can you compound your influence to be the most effective?

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Do You Play a Vital Role, or a Value Role?

Roll CallOften times I run into people who are discontent with the role they play. Whether that be a student, a leader or someone I’m meeting with, I’ll often hear these words: “I just don’t feel like I play a very vital role.” Or “Sometimes I wonder if what I do matters.”

Let me ask a question: Do you play a vital role, or a value role? Both are equally important, but each one has it’s own characteristics.

Vital roles tend to be those roles that are more visual or out in the open.

Value roles are roles that tend to stay behind the scenes, directing, coaching, and giving support.

The interesting thing about these roles is that one can’t survive without the other. They both need each other to reach their common goal. It reminds me of this scripture:

“But our bodies have many parts, and God has put each part just where he wants it. How strange a body would be if it had only one part! Yes, there are many parts, but only one body.”–1 Corinthians 12:18-19

So which role do you play? If you know it, play it well, stop wishing you played a different role, and be thankful God has chosen you to play a role in HIS story.

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How Bad Do You Want It?

How bad do you want it?

This phrase has marked my journey for the last four years. I now realize it is the question that holds most people back from the things they want the most.

I’ve often heard people say things like:

“I want to  lose this extra weight.”

“I want to get that promotion at work.”

“I want to go back and finish school.”

“I want to find my soul mate.”

“I want to fulfill my dream.”

I hear these phrases often, but just as often, nothing happens. Here’s the question I want to ask when I hear those phrases.

How bad do you want it?

Can you see it? Can you feel it? Does the lack of progress make you angry? Can you taste it? Can you hear it? Do you want it? Do you WANT it?

How bad do you want it? The answer to this question will take you to your next step. So…

…How bad do you want it?

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I am Woman, Hear Me Roar!

These are the notes from my breakout session at #orange09. Very challenging stuff! 

 

Eternal roaring—what your saying on the inside isn’t coming out but it’s so good that is should… Do you ever feel this way?

 

There are significant lies about the kind of roar we should have in ministry that we as women believe:

  • I have to be:

Stronger, bolder, more courageous

  • I have to work:

Harder, longer, smarter, be the best

  • I must:

Chokes back tears/ push down emotions

 

What are we trying to prove?

 

Princeton business survey:

Women are more assertive, bold, take more risks than their male counterparts

 

But what about LOVE! That is what we are gifted at!

 

If someone followed me around for a year, would they say my collective roar is a roar of LOVE?

 

4 Distinct Areas to look at as women in leadership

 

  • Living into our unique leadership style:

Never stop growing

Become professional listeners

Become professional encouragers

Never try to be someone we’re not

Discover your strengths

Find helpful language to describe yourself and then share it with others. Discover who we are

Discover our unique spiritual gifts

Personality types

Celebrate the uniqueness of others

Never make your leadership about YOUR leadership

                        This is about the kingdom

                        This is about others

                        Root out selfishness

                        Work through our wounds

                        Find comfort in my own skin by realizing it is not about me anyway

  • Creating a healthy rhythm of life

What season of life are you in? My life, my challenges, my unique experiences /Celebrate your seasons!/Live into your season, stop apologizing for your seasons…

Knowing what your values are //the kind of life we’re trying to lead//what are my priorities?

Knowing the importance of rest

Knowing the importance of my unique capacity //am I pushing myself too much?

  • Forging Healthy Relationships with Male counterparts and Female counterparts

Men

            Seeing myself as a team player// “I have something to contribute to the team.”

                        Build bridges to the spouses of married team members //

                        Pick the battles you will fight!

                        Be wise with boundaries

                        Have a healthy sense of HUMOR!!

            Women

                        Avoid competition and comparison                        

Cultivate Friendship with female counterparts

Keep confidences—don’t gossip, don’t listen to gossip

Celebrate the successes of other women and grieve with the losses

  • Handing our story to other women

                        Invest!! Invest in a girl and she will do the rest

                        Encourage

Develop

Hand over the keys—leadership

 

A roar that is competitive is different than a roar that is secure in who God has called us to be.

 

Be a woman of exceptional, extravagant, and selfless love! 

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