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Courage

Courage is the great need of our time.

Courage requires consequence.

If there is no cost, no risk or consequence, then courage is easy – and empty. In fact, as consequence rises, so does the amount of courage needed to take a stand.

The word courage is defined as “mental or moral strength to … persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty.”

I believe it is in our very nature to admire those who stand against the odds and withstand danger – many great leaders come readily to mind. One who is currently rising on the world stage received a standing applause in the House of Commons this week.

However, simply stated, courage is meaningless without consequence.

Consequence

“Courage is the form of every virtue at the testing point. Pilate was merciful until it became risky.” CS Lewis.

Courage to accept the inescapable truth that greatness can never be achieved without adversity, a struggle that is prerequisite for growth.

Edmund Burke shared this.. “Adversity is a severe instructor, set over us by one who knows us better than we do ourselves, as He loves us better, too. He that wrestles with us strengthens our nerves and sharpens our skill. Our antagonist is our helper. This conflict with difficulty makes us acquainted with our object and compels us to consider it in all its relations. It will not suffer us to be superficial.”

A measure of our success in life will be determined by our response to adversity and the courage that you have as you wrestle with the problems, that will strengthen your nerves and sharpen your skill, just as Burke said.

Indeed, courage is the power to let go of the familiar and face up to the unknown.

We are faced every day with situations that require courage and strength.

What courageous actions will you take today?

Unity

“Leadership is influence – nothing more, nothing less”– John Maxwell.
Yesterday, I used this quote in a pre-conference short leadership team meeting.
Influence – “the power to have an effect on people or things, or a person or thing that is able to do this.”
Then we started our mission conference.
We shared articles, beliefs, doctrines, ideas, music, principles, quotes, scriptures, standards, stories, and many truths were told.
Then, we laughed together, we cried together, we spoke in English and in Dutch together, we prayed together, we bore testimony together.
We influenced one another.
We were united, we were 𝒐𝒏𝒆.
In my own mind’s eye, all day long I had another definition of leadership running through my head.
“Leadership is communicating to people their worth and potential so clearly that they are inspired to see it in themselves.” Stephen Covey
Yes – we even inspired one other.
Serving as mission leaders is one of the most arduous, challenging, rewarding, and uplifting (all at the same time) things that we have ever, ever done.
But it is truly majestic to see, hear and witness the development of the rising generation.

What lies within us….

I love quotes! They are insightful, oftentimes intriguing and on many occasions inspiring! I found one such quote a few weeks ago now and posted it on my personal Facebook page. “What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.”

The words have rung in my ears for weeks now. I’ve searched to identify who the quote was attributed to and have found some evidence that it was possibly originated by Ralph Waldo Emerson.

An extended version appeared in the 1990’s attributed to Henry David Thoreau, who states “What lies before us and what lies behind us are small matters compared to what lies within us. And when we bring what is within out into the world, miracles happen.”

No matter who it is attributed to, it is a powerful, insightful and thought provoking statement about the power that lies within each of us, to rise above the various storms of life and succeed in whatever we choose to do with our time upon the earth.

A Pearl

As I reflected upon the quote, I was reminded of the story of a pearl. A pearl develops from an irritant that gets inside the shell of an oyster, such as a grain of sand. The oyster then produces a special substance, that surrounds the foreign matter and over several years it forms a beautiful pearl. Every oyster produces a different form of pearl and similarly I believe that every irritation within each of us, can produce different results in our own lives – all of which have the capacity, over time to become beautiful pearls. We simply have to recognise those irritants, act upon them, desire to change and watch as they emerge as powerful strengths.

I love this old parable told by J. Thomas Fyans: “There’s an ancient oriental legend that tells the story of a jeweller who had a precious pearl he wanted to sell. In order to place this pearl in the proper setting, he conceived the idea of building a special box of the finest woods to contain the pearl. He sought these woods and had them brought to him, and they were polished to a high brilliance. He then reinforced the corners of this box with elegant brass hinges and added a red velvet interior. As a final step, he scented that red velvet with perfume, then placed in that setting this precious pearl.

The pearl was then placed in the store window of the jeweller, and after a short period of time, a rich man came by. He was attracted by what he saw and sat down with the jeweller to negotiate a purchase. The jeweller soon realised that the man was negotiating for the box rather than the pearl. You see, the man was so overcome by the beauty of the exterior that he failed to see the pearl of great price”

Lesson Learned

And so it is with each of us. Lets not be deceived by the beauty that lies around us, but take a long, long, hard look at what lies within us. We all need to slow down, pause in our busy lives and take much more time to reflect upon those things that really do matter most. Self reflection and its reward of self awareness are critical elements of personal development and leadership in homes, in our communities and in our business organisations.

My invitation is to stop today! Now even! Even if its just for 5 minutes. Reflect upon those things that matter most and bring what is within you, out into the world…. today! Write them down too! You may well be truly surprised and inspired by the pearls you have been blessed with. *Henry B. Eyring stated “Someday, when you know who you really are, you will be sorry that you didn’t use your time better”.

How do I become a better leader?

Recently I was asked, “How can I be a better leader?”
My thoughts returned to a childhood memory…
As a child I remember having a kaleidoscope. With each simple turn of the kaleidoscope a new beautiful pattern appeared. Hence the name for a group of butterflies, as they flutter around together – a kaleidoscope!
Kaleidoscopes constantly generate changing symmetrical patterns from small pieces of coloured glass.
In a similar way a kaleidoscope can symbolise anything that changes continually. Consider leadership!
“Trying to describe leadership is like having several viewers trying to compare what they see in a kaleidoscope when the mere act of passing the kaleidoscope shakes up its design.” Neal A. Maxwell.
Growing older, I am beginning to see that life can be like a kaleidoscope. We can get shaken up from time to time. By pausing, slowing down, reflecting and looking inside our kaleidoscope of life and holding it to the light – beautiful new patterns emerge.
Sometimes however, we play the busy card and don’t stop long enough to see the beauty appear.
So it is with the kaleidoscope of leadership. Endless patterns, endless models, endless ideas, endless determining factors constantly shifting and shaping our leadership styles.
What matters most are the constant principles that create the most respected leaders – namely; 𝒍𝒐𝒗𝒆, 𝒌𝒊𝒏𝒅𝒏𝒆𝒔𝒔, 𝒑𝒂𝒕𝒊𝒆𝒏𝒄𝒆, 𝒎𝒆𝒆𝒌𝒏𝒆𝒔𝒔, 𝒉𝒖𝒎𝒊𝒍𝒊𝒕𝒚, 𝒉𝒐𝒏𝒆𝒔𝒕𝒚, 𝒇𝒐𝒓𝒈𝒊𝒗𝒊𝒏𝒈, 𝒄𝒐𝒎𝒎𝒊𝒕𝒎𝒆𝒏𝒕, 𝒓𝒆𝒔𝒑𝒆𝒄𝒕, 𝒔𝒆𝒍𝒇𝒍𝒆𝒔𝒔𝒏𝒆𝒔𝒔 𝒂𝒏𝒅 𝒐𝒃𝒆𝒅𝒊𝒆𝒏𝒄𝒆.
So you want to become a better leader?
Then I suggest you focus on each of these character traits. In turn each will produce a kaleidoscope of beauty, no one can eclipse.

Change 6 things!

Facilitating a meeting earlier this week with our Mission Leadership Council, I used one of my favourite little change activities. I paired each participant up with a buddy, had them stand back to back and then invited them to change 6 things about their appearance.
I always love running this activity as it is such a great little icebreaker. It went very well and everyone had some fun together.
There were also some great points made by the participants and some very positive in the moment learning takeaways…
Two points I want to make today about this little activity.
Firstly, I always change something about myself. It is always very difficult for them to spot. When they are all busy changing various things about themselves, I simply sneakily remove my wedding ring. Eventually, after several guesses, someone always identifies the change. I then explain how difficult it is to remove my ring. Its been there a long time – 27 years! And it has great sentimental value, which brings back many memories too.
𝐋𝐞𝐬𝐬𝐨𝐧 𝟏- Change is sometimes difficult because we have been doing things the same way, for a long time. Little things, are often BIG things!
Secondly, after the activity, everyone changed their appearance, back to how it was. I didn’t ask them to do it, yet every single one of them did!
Why did they do that?
𝐋𝐞𝐬𝐬𝐨𝐧 𝟐- Simply stated, because that was the way they were before and frequently its much more comfortable there!
Two simple reasons why change is sometimes difficult to achieve!
William Bridges Transition Model, is a great place to start to understand more about change.
What change are you facing today?

To don’t list!

“How about a “to don’t list”” – that’s a new idea I thought.
Working smart has been at the forefront of my mind the last few days. With an increasing challenge of fewer missionaries in country due to COVID-19 set to continue for the next few months, I’ve been thinking how we can work smart to address all that we need to do!
Once you accept that you have more to do than time to do it all, that is actually a very freeing concept.
We all know about to do lists, but creative thinking techniques encourage us to turn things upside down.
A “to don’t list” seems a bit of a weird idea, but actually thinking about it more, it seems to provide a lot of positives! I am starting to recognise that many times what you do not do is far more important than what you do do! Perhaps a little experiment is in order.
For example here are some ideas for starters…
– Don’t thoughtlessly scroll through social media
– Don’t always try to be right
– Don’t stay up too late
– Don’t try to please everyone
– Don’t interrupt others
Consider any bad habits you want to eliminate and anything that distracts you from being productive – that’s the key.
Go on, give it a go and write your “to don’t list” today!

Asking Questions

What will you do differently because of what you learned today?

Asked any good questions lately?

Questions can be extremely powerful. They help us to think, feel and do things differently.

We all need to learn how to ask great questions!

Some professionals like doctors, lawyers and journalists are taught how to ask great questions as part of their training.

In my own professional career through sales and coaching, I have found it equally important to be able to formulate and ask the right question.

Questions aid performance, close sales, help provide inspiration and direction, they even help to build trust and rapport.

“Management teams aren’t good at asking questions. In business school, we train them to be good at giving answers.” – Clayton Christensen.

It’s time to be a little more curious. Asking questions is an important part of life and learning.

As a coach, I am constantly asking questions to help clients move forward.

– What do you really want?
– What do you need most right now?
– So what?
– Why now?
– How can you be truer to yourself?
– Can you tell me more?

What question can you use today to unlock your own potential?

“Its as easy as ABC”

“Oh yes” I thought, “its as easy as ABC.”
At extremely short notice recently, I was asked to design and deliver a virtual workshop primarily on change. After a discussion with the client, I got down to the tricky matter of bespoke design. Never easy at the best of times and now the time pressures were on too!
It meant some last minute personal changes in my own schedule and working all day on a Saturday. Sometimes when in design mode, thoughts come very slowly. However, that day, inspiration flowed freely, I was in the zone! I loved it! Job done!
Then it hit me, I forgot one key aspect, the client also wanted to understand a little more about building resilience for the leadership team. Scratching my head, contemplating a few different models on the topic, a favourite popped into my mind, from cognitive behavioural theory – “its as easy as ABC!” Eureka!
In short, Albert Ellis developed the ABC model to help us understand the connection between adversity or an activating event (A). How we think about this creates beliefs (B). These beliefs then influence what we do next, so they become consequences (C) – our emotional and behavioural responses.
By challenging our 𝒃𝒆𝒍𝒊𝒆𝒇𝒔 we can build our resilience and bounce back.
How do you bounce back from adversity?

Deep Change

“What is your favourite book on change?” asked a course participant.

I’ve spent the last week talking and facilitating workshops all about change (again).

It is likely you are aware of a few change models, including the Kubler Ross Change Curve, Kotter’s 8 stage model, Bridges Transition model, Prosci’s ADKAR model (lots of models) et cetera.

But if you want to really change in your personal life or in your organisation, consider this thought from Deep Change – Discovering the Leader Within from Robert E.Quinn – “Deep change differs from incremental change in that it requires new ways of thinking and behaving. It is change that is major in scope, discontinuous with the past and generally irreversible. The deep change effort distorts existing patterns of action and involves taking risks. Deep change means surrendering control.”……

This is an introspective journey that will challenge your thinking, you’ll need a reflective journal, in Bob’s words it’ll be like “walking naked into the land of uncertainty”.

You will be introduced to new ideas, new ways of thinking, new ways of behaving and can put an end to the slow death dilemma forever.

Consider this book a masterpiece!

Deep Change reveals the remarkable capacity each of us holds to change ourselves and ultimately our organisations.

Do you think I enjoyed it!?

You will too.

Penalty Points…

No! Not again – another 3 points! 😟
1989, an unforgettable year. I was in my 24th year of life. Young, enthusiastic, driven and eager to succeed.
I’d just secured a new job in sales and vividly recall taking the train down to Adwick-le-Street, near Doncaster, to pick up my company car. A new fast car, with a car phone to boot. I was in heaven.
Driving home a few days later, I discovered that I never had so much power at the touch of a small pedal in my life before.
Then it happened.
A few short weeks later, speeding fine number 1. Silly me I thought.
Another few weeks and speeding fine number 2. I’d better slow down I thought.
And not many weeks later, speeding fine number 3. I had to slow down.
I can’t recall my boss’s exact words (thanks Tony), but they went like this…”Daryl if you get caught again, you’ll be banned from driving with 12 points, and we’ll have to let you go.”
Albeit I was forced too, but I learned a much needed powerful lesson.
𝑰 𝒔𝒍𝒐𝒘𝒆𝒅 𝒅𝒐𝒘𝒏.
In time the points expired.
Frequently in life physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually and socially we all may be 𝒇𝒐𝒓𝒄𝒆𝒅 to slow down.
Yet, it is far better to 𝒄𝒉𝒐𝒐𝒔𝒆 to slow down.
To speed up in life, sometimes you need to slow down.
When will you “slow down?”