I saw the angel in stone and I carved until I set him free. - Michelangelo
Sunday, August 28, 2011
My coloring was always controlled, defined, and neat. Then a day came when I realized I might be among a few proud line definers, the day my daughter opened her first coloring book. For her, it was all she could do to try to spread each color on each page of the book as quickly as possible. I had no control over this and it, surprisingly frustrated me. Why would she not want to make her pre-formed art perfectly planned and executed?
We do this a lot on our own teams, in our families, and with our peers. We want them to see the lines we have drawn and only color within those lines. Do we provide adequate space for them to color how they choose to color?
My daughter now has more motor control over her coloring and produces wonderful, colorful renderings with her name proudly across the bottom or top of the page. Don't we want this from our teams? The pride that comes from completing a job even though it has their own flavor or sprinkling of personality on it? Don't we WANT our kids, our employees, and our peers to feel as though they can be proud to be themselves within the confines of our lines? Someone wiser than me said there is a difference between breaking the will and breaking the spirit of a person...
You can and should draw lines within your organization, otherwise how will anyone know what you stand for, what you do or what you are. HOWEVER, you are missing a big piece of the puzzle if you use those lines as ways to control those who follow you.
Thursday, August 25, 2011
So what did a lid have to do with people? What was this magical principle that shed light on to my dark canvas? As I focused on my own thoughts, on my own situations, on my own weaknesses, I placed a heavy lid on my soul. I found myself inside I confined space with no ability to get out and do something with my life. I cannot stand to be in tight spaces. I enjoy my 3-feet-of-life-bubble. So how did I allow myself to get so confined? I let it happen, I ignored my passions, I let things happen to me instead of taking a step forward. I let the lid get nailed down over me - I was suffocating and didn't even take notice until I was almost out of breath.
What do you do? What do you do when you find yourself out of air, out of the passion that fuels your life? You start digging in - you start chiseling away at the stone! It only takes one small hole, one tear in the lid to allow the breath to enter your space. For me, I began drawing pictures of my tightly closed box, then I began adding holes, which allowed light to enter. When enough light entered the space, I began to see the keys laying inside. I began to take note of ways to unlock the lid.
Sometimes we just are not able to see what needs to be done because we are in darkness. Digging in, making small movements, introducing light to your situation, allows you to take account of what tools and resources are available to you. Leaders understand this concept and those who know how to lift the lids of others appreciate the power of letting light slip into the cracks. They know they do not need to provide the tools, just guide the light.
I enjoy seeing the world without a lid to block the view. It can be an amazing place, but it starts by digging in, allowing a little light to cast into your life, then MOVE in the direction of the light!
Sunday, August 21, 2011
The first stop on our family trip was to Pennsylvania. My Dad owns a small farm in a rural town right outside Pittsburg. They moved there right after I graduated from high school. During my college years, I spent many hours sitting on a swing staring at this majestic view. In those quiet moments, I found inner peace just watching clouds pass by an expansive horizon.
So often we get caught up in the web of frustration, wound tightly around our worries. What would it look like in your life to surrender to the solace waiting for you in a quiet moment, left open to the Master’s hand to create masterful work in your life? If God created a small piece of 15 acres with beauty so breathtaking it could move a hurting, hardened heart to be still, imagine the movement He is waiting to create in you.
Sitting in that same swing this past week with my daughter and son, listening to their laughter and watching their faces smile with excitement as they talked about their next outdoor adventure, I remembered days when I was joined on that swing by my own mother. We sat and planned my wedding, talked about the impending birth of her first grandchild.
Those moments are pieces of a lifetime mosaic of a legacy I will one day leave for my own children, just as my mother left memories and moments I will treasure forever. As the three of us walked to her gravestone this week, we talked about who she was and how much she lives on in our hearts. She continues to cast light into our lives – that was her legacy. What will be yours?
Monday, August 15, 2011
This made me think about what my leadership creates for others. Is there a detail I miss when engaging with my team, how are their lives affected by the impact of my leadership (or area where leadership is lacking)? Can you see far beyond the members of your team you are able to improve details along the way for them so it is easier for them to get to where your vision is taking them? Do you take care of the details?
This weekend was an amazing trip to Elevation Church in Charlotte, NC. Just as our team does at Waters Edge Church, they focus on the details. In all areas...excellence matters. Do you know why?
What this produces and what impact this has on those who attend allows guests to experience something astounding. They are not distracted by the little things we forgot, or the thoughts they have about "how I wish there was this or that" They are able to focus on their reason for coming. They are able to focus all of their attention on what matters to them. As a result, lives are changed. As a result of diligence on the part of leaders who think far ahead, entire generations are changed.
Do you have this level of intensity about the details in your life? Do you "fold the toilet paper ends" for the people you care about?
Thursday, August 11, 2011
|First Step was to remove the large screw front my tire so this trip could be possible! Little things have a way of making a BIG impact on your life. (I will spare you the puns)|
Tonight is the preparation, not only of the schedules and iteneraries, reassurance for the kids, handling last minute household responsibilities, but also for the planned time I will need to manage the impact this next week will have on me personally. A trip to see the extended family surely will include emotional and physical demands associated with the gauntlet of home visits, hugs, and run down of our lives in 60 seconds or less as I tell my 3 year old not to over feed the fish or push a toy cart down the stairs (these are actual examples of his antics). Fortunately, the first leg of my whirlwind tour is a roadtrip to North Carolina for work. Considering I work for a large contemporary church, this trip has the potential to be both a professional and personal recharge.
No matter the destination, it's what you do on the ride, how you intereact with where you are, and what you bring home. Every trip is an adventure. I look forward to sharing my next eight days with you.
Monday, August 8, 2011
I was reading today about art legend Andy Warhol. He is the pop culture artist that many may recognize for his celebrity prints, such as those done of Marilyn Monroe. He is also the man, not surprisingly, credited with the creation of the screen printing concept. If you have ever worn a t-shirt with a graphic on it, you can thank the brilliance of this man. Screen printing helped him form his art out of reproduced shapes, he simply added a variety of colors to add vibrancy and life to the repetition of images.
It made me think a moment about my leadership: What am I doing today with such excellence, that it can be reproduced by those around me without the need for additional training? What tasks, ideas, or actions do I bring to my team and my everyday life are worth the distinct honor of having someone else reproduce?
Every Artistic Leader has an art form they do exceptionally well, whether it is the way they relate to people, casting vision, coaching followers, or a myriad of other qualities. After years of honing it, perfecting it, adding their own unique signature to it, there will come a day when someone else will need to pick up where they left off and carry the torch for another generation of artists. This individual or group of individuals is usual an apprentice in the craft of his leader or someone a Leader coaches, molds, invests time in developing, demonstrating a strength in those areas where his leader excelled, but also with his own unique skill. This pattern repeats itself over and over again across generations to form great organizations, strong families, or perhaps communities poised to overcome the greatest of catastrophes. A strong leader with reproducible passions and vision, has the potential to reproduce his work long after he has resigned his formal position in limelight.
What are you passing on to the next generation of leaders? Who will carry on your passion past the moment of today? What would it look like to "screen print" your best qualities?
Thursday, August 4, 2011
Functionality of a frame
A frame allows us to determine the edge, the borders, the outer limits. As an Artistic Leader, we call these boundaries and we set them for several reasons: to establish order to our workplace, home, or social groups. This prevents us from being taken advantage of, us taking advantage of others, and to set a values system by which everyone will abide. While we all function within the boundaries of the relationship, we are able to work and co-exist in harmony. When those boundaries are tested, it causes stress. As parents, we place boundaries on lots of things in order to protect our kids from harm; we set rules for them to develop self-control and self-reliance.
If you created a frame around your leadership, how would it look? How would it affect your interaction with your followers or the people you lead? Would you see a reduction in stressful relationships?
Aesthetics of a frame
Frames also create a piece of art that is pleasing to have hanging on your wall. I take this opportunity to acknowledge that many pieces of modern art do not have frames but are in some other way hung, shaped, or placed in space that is otherwise aesthetically pleasing. Defining your Leadership "in space" would translate to mean your leadership has presence. When you encounter other people, based on your interactions with them, they are easily able to determine the characteristics or your "DNA". The more clearly this is defined by you, the more likely you are to live it outwardly. Think of it like this: You know where your yard is because you live there, you mow it, you see it everyday and it's yours. But to help others see it, to enhance the appearance of your yard, you might be inclined to put a fence around it. There would be no doubt about where YOUR yard ends.
Can other people SEE your Leadership? Do people know where they stand with you?
I am challenged by this daily, not only as a parent, but as a person. I think if we are honest with ourselves we could see some area where we could use at least a small white picket fence.