I Missed the Party, Because I’m an Introvert

I was sitting in a restaurant at the Atlanta airport. The people around me were laughing, joking, story telling. Obviously, they had a layover like I had and decided to grab a bite to eat. In addition to filling their bellies with food, they found a way to make it fun. They appeared to have a great time talking about March Madness, politics and life. They didn’t know each other, but they formed some common bonds and passed their time by building temporary friendships.

It looked like a lot of fun.

But I missed the party.

I watched. I laughed. I said nothing.

I missed out.

It happens all the time. It could be in a coffee shop, at a party, or any social setting.

My introversion won’t allow me to break the ice. Sometimes I do and when I do I have a great time. I’m always glad I did. But, most of the time, I keep eating my soup alone, admiring the party from the distance. Sometimes that’s okay, because I like my time alone, but in this case, I had things I wanted to add to the conversation (even better thoughts than were being expressed…at least I thought) :) , but I couldn’t push through the introversion to share them.

I can wish it weren’t true, but it is.

I missed the party, because I’m an Introvert.

Anyone else like me?

True Confession: I’m An Expert. So Are You!

It’s been an interesting week in the world of football. America watched as Peyton Manning chose to go to Denver, rather than Tennessee…or any other team. It was honestly disappointing, because I’m a Peyton fan, having watched him as a University of Tennessee player.

I felt sorry though, thinking of what it meant for current Tennessee Titans quarterback, Matt Hasselbeck. Reading THIS article in The Tennessean was difficult, because I felt his pain. Yes, he handled it with class (I understand he’s a committed believer), but he knows he was second choice in quarterbacks. As strong as he is as a Christian and man, I’m certain it still hurt. It may have hurt even worse for his family.

Here is an excerpt from the article:

“This is Peyton Manning,” Hasselbeck said Thursday.

“There were no guarantees I was going to be back,” he said. “If Peyton Manning had come to Tennessee, you know, I wouldn’t be playing for the Titans next year and that would’ve been unfortunate in my mind. My family and I have fallen in love with Nashville.

“But at the end of the day, I get it with the Peyton thing.”

I get it with the Peyton thing, also, Matt.

I get it, but it still hurts.

Have you ever been second choice?

The reality is Hasselbeck is still a good quarterback. In fact, of all the people in the world, Hasselbeck is a great quarterback. One of the best if you compare it in sheer numbers. Compare him to me (or you) and how good is he? Pretty good, huh?

But Hasselbeck is not Peyton.

And, guess what?

I understand.

I’m no Andy Stanley when it comes to preaching either.

I’m not Matt Chandler when it comes to dissecting a Bible passage.

I’m not John Maxwell when it comes to leadership.

Let’s be honest, if I ever write a really good post people think I stole it from Seth Godin.

The point I’m making is that in our system of comparison we may not measure up to someone else. There will always be someone who can do something better than we can do it.

We can even argue about who is “best”.

But, I’m not sure that’s the best method of comparison.

The good news for me is that God doesn’t measure like the world measures. (1 Samuel 16:7)

In the eyes of the world, I’m probably not an expert at anything.

In the eyes of God, I’m an expert at being me.

Be honest…

Have you been trying to be someone you’re not?

7 Leadership Lessons from the Gambler, Kenny Rogers

Kenny Rogers made a song famous a few (quite a few) years ago called The Gambler. Perhaps you remember it. If not, check it out HERE. Beyond a catchy tune, the song tells a story of a young man learning as he watched a season gambler.

I heard it recently and thought there were some good leadership lessons in the song. Some I’ve learned by experience…the hard, but valuable kind of lessons.

Here are 7 leadership lessons from the Gambler:

You got to know when to hold ’em – There are sometimes in leadership when you know you’re right, even when everyone else thinks you’re wrong. In those times, follow your heart, your gut, and the Holy Spirit of God. And, remember, God has not given us a spirit of fear.

Know when to fold ’em – You can’t win every battle. I’ve learned this one the hard way. Sometimes you are better to forfeit your right to control a minor issue so you retain your right to control a major issue. Don’t lose your leadership credibility over an issue of little lasting consequence.

Know when to walk away – There are better people on the team than me to make certain decisions. Recently there was a situation where I was asked to make the final call, but what didn’t make sense to me is I know little about the subject. I walked away, giving over the decision to others on the team.

Know when to run – There are times to run away from something and times to run to something. When it comes to issues, such as moral improprieties, get away from them as fast as you can. Avoid the appearance of evil. On issues where you know God has clearly called you to something, run to it fast, by faith, regardless of your fears or reservations.

You never count your money when you’re sittin’ at the table – You do the best you can to plan for a Sunday, an event, or a project. Give it everything you’ve got. Then don’t worry when you get there if the crowd is less than expected. Deliver everything you planned to deliver if the crowd was twice or four times the size.

There’ll be time enough for countin’ when the dealing’s done – There is a time to evaluate. You should always ask what you could have done better. Never settle on a plateau, but keep getting better. The gambler always did. (You know he practiced that poker face in front of a mirror.)

Knowin’ what to throw away and knowing what to keep – Leadership includes a lot of balance. You have to discern good from bad, better from best. You have to choose the right leader for the right position. You have to judge timing for change and know when to spur momentum. It’s often the weighing of options. It often seems “every hands a winner and every hands a loser”.

What lessons have you learned in leadership that you could share with my readers?

This comment is for legalists in my life: Please understand I’m not endorsing gambling, just using it as a backdrop for a post on leadership. Love ya! :)

3 Problems with Unresponsiveness

I met with a young man in our church recently. I love his heart. I baptized him a few months ago and have taken a personal interest in him. I see such kindness in him, that I asked him to serve in our children’s ministry. He was delighted.

After we talked about the opportunity, he said he filled out a card asking to serve in our preschool ministry a year ago and never heard anything. He assumed we weren’t interested in him. I was devastated. Hopefully, he simply fell through the cracks of our system, but this type of thing frustrates me more than just about anything.

Responsiveness is paramount in ministry and leadership. Whether it’s an email, a phone call, or Facebook message, most people expect some sort of response. I realize busyness makes this difficult, but it’s an important enough issue to address. I encourage leaders to figure out a process that allows for diligent responsiveness.

Here are 3 problems with unresponsiveness:

It makes a person feel unappreciated – When someone doesn’t get a response back, the person feels they aren’t important enough. They wonder what they’ve done wrong or why they aren’t good enough.

It makes a person feel unloved – Like it or not, unresponsiveness is translated, especially in the church setting, as an indicator of love. If you don’t respond, you must not love them very much.

It makes a person mistrust you or the organization – People will only tolerate unresponsiveness a few times. Want to wreck an organization’s credibility? Become known as unresponsiveness.

So what do you do about it?

  • Make responsiveness an extremely high value in the organization.
  • Leaders should lead by example.
  • Answer all emails and return calls promptly, even if you don’t have an answer yet.
  • Have a system is in place to respond to all queries.
  • Never ignore a request.

Even in the best environments, situations like the example above will happen. People will feel they’ve not been listened to, that no one cares, or that they are unloved. They’ll take it personal enough to leave the organization.

The more you can do to avoid it the better you will build an atmosphere of genuine trust.

How does it make you feel when someone doesn’t respond to an inquiry?

Advice to Young Leaders: Don’t Try to Make it On Your Own

I’ve met with numerous young leaders recently who want the opportunity to “make it on their own”. I’ve seen it in my own two sons. They want to get their first job without the help of others. They want to stand on their own merits. They want to attain a level of accomplishment without the help of their parents, their parent’s friends, or any connection they didn’t make personally.

I understand. I felt the same way when I was a young leader.

And, I love the ambition. I simply don’t agree with the practice. That’s based on experience it’s taken me years to understand.

My advice:

Don’t try to make it on your own.

For one thing, we weren’t meant to live life alone. We are designed for fellowship, with our Creator and with other people. But, also, it simply doesn’t work.

There is no such thing as a self-made person.

Everyone gains success with the help of others. Failure to realize that leads to false pride.

More than ever before, knowing the right connections can help you accomplish your goals. I’ve told my two boys they will most likely never have a job in their lifetime where they didn’t know someone who helped them obtain it. If that person is your parents, or people your parents know, so be it.

I’m not suggesting you don’t try and I’m not releasing you of responsibility. You are ultimately, under God’s authority of course, responsible for charting your own course. You can’t expect anyone to give you something you aren’t willing to earn.

I am suggesting that you shouldn’t be timid or feel bad about using the connections and networking relationships you’ve been allowed to make or those connections of people who know you and care for you. Those relationships may be as important as any skill you bring to the table.

Does it bother you to rely on help your parent’s offer you?

30 Life Lessons

I’m a slow learner, so some things take longer than others for me to learn. I previously posted some of these separately, but I keep learning, so here I am again.Some of these you have to learn the hard way. Some of them you may be able to glean from my experience.

Here are 30 life lessons:

  • If you have to impress the friend, he or she isn’t much of a friend.
  • “Just once” probably is a bigger deal than led to believe.
  • The sooner you decide to get your life headed in the right direction the more time you have to enjoy it.
  • There are few shortcuts to success.
  • Hard times come naturally in life…determine early to use them for God’s glory and to help others.
  • Kids grow up too fast. Enjoy them at each stage.
  • There is wisdom with age. Always be willing to learn from those who have lived and experienced more of life.
  • The longer you wait to forgive someone the longer it takes to heal your heart.
  • If you don’t act on what you feel led to do, because of fear or indecision, someone else will and you will miss the blessing.
  • More success in the world does not automatically bring more happiness, more success with the things that matter most does.
  • A “lesson in humility” teaches far more than a “ego boost”…
  • Often…in my experience…what I don’t want to do is the very thing I need to do the most…
  • The best friends sometimes say the hardest things to hear…
  • Sometimes it’s not until you give up the right to control that a breakthrough comes…
  • People are more honest with you if they can predict your reaction…
  • We hurt most the ones we love the most…
  • Very few people can really comply with “don’t tell anyone”…
  • You never get a second chance at a first impression…
  • God’s way is better than my own…
  • Rebuilding trust is more difficult than keeping established trust…
  • Don’t let any of them pass you by without learning something.
  • Stay in physical and spiritual shape throughout your life.  It is much easier to maintain than to try and get back in shape.
  • If you have a strong passion to do something, (and it is honorable) be willing to risk everything to do it.  You can always recover if you fail and, if you fail, you will learn valuable lessons in the process.  Someone once said to me, ask yourself: What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?  Do that!
  • Never quit dreaming. Dreams often fuel the best of life.
  • It goes by fast. Let me say it again, because you read that too quickly. IT GOES BY FAST!
  • Things are usually not as bad as they appear right now. Be patient, make wise decisions, and it will get better.
  • You will look back and wish you had done some things more and some things less. Figure out those what those things are now and prioritize your life accordingly.
  • Let a few people into the deepest parts of your life. Allow yourself to be vulnerable with a select few. There will be a time when this is needed.  (Trust me.)
  • Make relationship decisions carefully.
  • Above all else, guard your heart, for it affects everything you do.  (Proverbs 4:23)

Which of these resonate with you right now?

Some of my most re-tweeted Tweets.

I have many blog readers who don’t use Twitter. Some pastors I know have said they don’t understand the value of it. It may not be for everyone. Some would simply prefer to read it in a blog. I decided though, that I’d bring some of my Tweets to you here.

Here are some of my most re-tweeted (most shared) tweets over the last couple months:

  • Do anything of value or worthwhile and you invite the critics to join you. The best defense is a continued offense.
  • God is thinking higher thoughts…are you? (Isaiah 55:9)
  • Leadership stopped being easy as soon as people got involved :)
  • I wonder if God giggles when He sees His children laugh…
  • My mom is such an innovator, she skipped Myspace and went straight to Facebook :)
  • Don’t expect to minimize complaints because you’re doing the right thing. The only way to do that is to do nothing.
  • To succeed as a leader you need to succeed at character, commitment and competence.
  • God sees potential in you that you can’t see. He’s got plans for you that you can’t imagine.
  • Don’t let your inability to understand keep you from your ability to respond by faith in obedience
  • It’s a cheap grace that comes with a list of stipulations
  • Satan loves a good disruption….but remember, he’s a loser.
  • Make sure your leadership is more about people, less about programs; more about progress, less about process.
  • If you’re not feeling the weight of leadership…well…then you’re probably not leading…
  • One time God parted the Red Sea & thousands of people crossed on dry ground. That same God isn’t overwhelmed by your situation
  • A Christian who is never happy about anything is like a pig who doesn’t like mud…Or something like that….
  • When you quit trying to be like someone else you have a better chance of being who God designed you to be.
  • If you only trust on days things are going well…well…that isn’t much of a trust, is it?
  • If we will trust God with our eternity, why wouldn’t we trust Him with our current situation?
  • True, genuine, trust with your life friends are rare. If you find one, hang on to them.
  • The way we learn to handle disappointment often determines the degree of contentment we have in life.
  • Some people need to lighten up….Life would be more fun…just saying :)
  • That day everyone agreed with you….did you also see pink elephants, or was it just that one illusion?
  • The less I pretend it’s all about me, the more I can live the reality that it’s all about Him.
  • Leadership requires picking your head up & seeing what’s coming while everyone else is consumed w/the task at hand…
  • Often you have to do the difficult thing before you can do the things you enjoy. #Discipline
  • If you keep looking for excuses…you’ll keep finding them…. #JustDoIt
  • If you don’t ask hard questions…you’ll only get the easy answers…
  • Collaboration and communication leads to cooperation and completion #Leadership
  • Never underestimate what God can do with a person’s story! Never.
  • Satan loves to frustrate, confuse, and distract godly leaders. Be aware, seek truth, stand strong, let nothing move you…
  • Frustration with self is often disguised as anger towards others….
  • Worry is usually a product of mistrust…
  • Life stopped being easy after I became potty trained…or at least I don’t remember it being too difficult prior to that…
  • A mature leader says what needs saying & doesn’t say what needs kept silent. And knows the difference.
  • If your relationship with God is based on performance you’ll often feel distant from God….Our hope is faith in Jesus & HIs righteousness
  • Don’t miss what matters most by worrying about what doesn’t…

By the way, if you’re on Twitter, you can follow me HERE.

7 Types of People I See at the Gym

I am more of an outdoor exercise person, but in the winter, I frequent the gym. I belong to the gym on our local university campus, so I’m usually one of the old guys. It has made me more aware of my surroundings. I sometimes feel uncomfortable, like everyone is thinking “Who’s the old guy?”.

Recently I started observing the different type of people who come to the gym.

Here are 7 types of people I’ve found at the gym:

Stalkers – They scope out one person and always seem to use the equipment next to them. They are at the gym to make connections, for one reason or another.

Walkers – These people belong to the gym only to walk around a small track. It seems to work for them, but they could just as easily be mall walkers. :)

Gawkers – They are just here to stare and they do it well.

Talkers – The gym is their social place. They do more socializing the exercising.

Balkers – Balkers are still not sure they’re into this gym thing. They move from machine to machine quickly, never landing on one they actually want to use. They may or may not be back.

Clockers – These gym people are just doing their time. They may or may not want to, but they know they need the exercise. They do their business and they’re gone.

Bulkers – These are the ones who seem to be at the gym every time you go, regardless of the time of day. They are serious and they seem to look at their muscles a lot too. :)

Which are you? Any others you’d add to my list?