Category Archives: Leadership Stories

Leadership Lessons I Learned from My Daughter, the Junior Philanthropist

Leadership lessons I learned from my daughter

It’s a lot of fun to watch children grow up as a parent, especially when they start to come into their own as a person. I have two kids and both are pretty amazing in their own ways. My 9-year old son loves sports and works hard at each of them and is very naturally gifted in the athletic arena.

My daughter continues to amaze me with both her thoughtfulness and unselfishness and her willingness to sacrifice for others. I wish I could tell you I taught her that, or it was an intentional outcome of great parenting. However, she has exhibited this characteristic since she was very young.

I remember her making cards for her friends that were sick when she was in Kindergarten and first grade. She made a sympathy card for one of her teachers when she was in the 4th grade that showed an enormous amount of compassion and empathy.

What’s impressed me most, though, is her willingness to raise money for a specific group of kids in Haiti. My wife has visited an orphanage in Haiti over the last few years – Hands Across The Sea. It is an integral part of her year, and my daughter has involved herself in a number of ways, even though she hasn’t been able to go (yet).

Molly decided a couple of years ago that she wanted to help one of the students pay for school. The amount she needed to raise? Two hundred seventy five dollars. That’s a decent amount for anyone to fund-raise, but for a 9-year old? I didn’t want to discourage her, but I had my doubts. Yet I also knew my daughter and, once she decides to do something, she’s almost impossible to stop.

After a year of lemonade stands, selling rainbow loom bracelets, collecting change, dog-walking and more, she did it. She saved up for a whole year and not once did I see her get down or discouraged. She accomplished her goal chunk by chunk, bit by bit.

You should have seen her face when we counted the money and she was only $10 shy of reaching her goal. She was overjoyed! And, being the good dad that I am ;), I committed the final $10 to the cause.

Just this weekend, she made cake pops for her teachers for Valentine’s Day. She had help from a couple of friends, but she did the majority of the work herself. (And they’re a lot of work!) They were pretty amazing too! (Just ask our neighbor who recently ate 9 in one sitting.)

And she’s back at it for the kids in Haiti. Last night, she went to Hobby Lobby with my wife and used $25 of her own money to buy them art supplies, toys, and fun crafts to do. She loves it. And she can’t wait until the day that she can go with my wife to meet these kids in person. And they will love her!

To say I’m proud of my daughter is an understatement. But it’s not about what she does or is doing.

It’s about Who. She. Is.

She’s making a difference one life at a time. And here’s what I’ve learned and continue to learn from my baby girl.

Do What’s On Your Heart

Whether it’s big or small, act on your intuition. Help when you can and where you can. Don’t worry about the what or when or why. As you seek to do what’s on your heart, doors will open and you might be pretty amazed at the result.

Give What You Can, When You Can

Again, it doesn’t have to be a huge sum of money. It might just be a little bit of your time or a smile that can make a difference in someone’s day. Write a note to or text a friend and let them know you’re thinking about them. Send a card with a handwritten note. Or cake pops. You could make some cake pops. 🙂

Think Outside of Yourself

This is so hard sometimes. The older I get, the harder it seems. When you have work, sports, music lessons, and more, life can get in the way. It’s easy to get lost in the busy-ness of life. But it’s important to remember and to think about how we can love and serve others. For Molly, it’s easy because that’s just who she is. For you and me, it might take a little more effort.

Persistence is Key

Chunk by chunk. Bit by bit. Stay on that goal until you achieve it. Does it matter if you don’t get it done by the time YOU want it accomplished? Don’t give up – keep after it – even if it takes much longer than expected. Think about how incredible it will be when you’ve achieved it.

Invite Others to Share in the Journey

My daughter is a very social creature. She loves being around friends and including them in her projects. What a great lesson to learn. Isn’t life more fun when we share the journey with others? Oftentimes, we start to wonder what people will think if we tell them about an idea or something we want to do. Ask other people to be involved – let them decide whether they want to or not (and don’t get discouraged if they say, “no”.)

Those are just a few of the lessons I learn from this crazy cool kid. I love watching her grow up and can’t wait to see what the Lord is going to do with her in the future. Whatever it is, though, I know one thing. She will embody all the things I’ve listed above and more. Because that’s who she was created to be.

One more thing. Her birthday is coming up next month. Guess what she wants to do for her “party”? Go take some friends to feed the homeless at a local shelter. Yup. She’s THAT kid. And I love it.

What leadership lessons have you learned from your kids? What is one way you can implement the lessons above? Let me know in the comments below. 

Warning! Do NOT Read This Unless You Want to Become a Dangerous Leader.

leadership can be dangerous

You might have seen one of these “creatures” before, but you probably didn’t know just how dangerous they can be.

They are prone to wandering outside the box.

They upset the status quo and have dangerous ideas.

They are often hard to manage and continually step out of bounds.

They tend to push ahead and are not easily satisfied.

They are driven but can also be dangerous and tend to upset others.

They seem to create problems and more work for others wherever they are found.

You can often find them brainstorming and creating new and alarming concepts.

They do not always play well with others but have a tendency to run ahead of everyone else.

There is often no reasoning or settling with these individuals.

They have a penchant for risky situations, with no regard for personal safety and security.

They have a tendency to lure people in with their new, shiny notions.

These people are highly intelligent but must be monitored closely at all times.

Though their ideas seem to spread quickly, most people usually tire of them and return to the safety and security of the status quo.

If you see one of these individuals, you are encouraged to keep your distance. These people are a serious impediment to existing conditions.

Do not approach them. Stay away. Unless you, too, want to become one of them.

Have you seen a dangerous leader in action? How would YOU describe them? Please share in the comments below. 

Go Jump Off a Bridge!

Go Jump Off a Bridge

I was standing on a rail looking down into the water. It looked very, very far away. Fear of heights, my old friend, was trying to pull me back off the ledge. My heart was racing, palms sweating, not from the warmth of a summer day in Northern Wisconsin, but from the anxiety gripping me.

“One.”

Gulp. Am I seriously going to do this?

“Two.”

Have you ever had that experience where what seems like a million thoughts rush through your head in a split second?

“This is NOT a good idea.”

“Mom would be so freaking out right now.”

“Dad would never allow this.”

“I wonder if this is going to hurt.”

“People do this all the time. They survived.”

It’s funny how similar thoughts come to you when you’re about to make a big decision that regards life, work, or leadership.

“What if this doesn’t work?”

“What if this DOES work, and I really have to deliver what I’m promising?”

“How am I going to explain what I do to others? Family, friends, my spouse?”

For me, right now, in starting a new business, every day seems like jumping off a ledge into the unknown. Blog posts, emails, newsletters, affiliate programs, internet marketing, WordPress. Most of these are quite new experiences, and each requires a bit of a learning curve.

I’ve been going through an online business course, Internet Business Mastery Academy, and I seriously don’t know what to tell people at times. Not because they wouldn’t be supportive, but I just don’t know if they would understand what I’m trying to do.

Maybe it’s my fear speaking again, but until I get this going, I’m not sure I want to deal with the hassle of questions or looks of bewilderment.

It’s true of any new adventure, though, isn’t it? The doubts. The fears. The oncoming questions coming at you. People are mostly curious and want to be supportive with the best intentions. Only, it doesn’t always come across that way.

“Three!”

For a moment, you feel like you’re just hanging in the air. Then, the water comes screaming up at you like a madman.

Splash!

“Yeeeeaaaaaaaaah!”

“Way to go, Will!”

I must have surfaced with a huge grin on my face. My friends were smiling and yelling. I did it. It was my first time to jump off a bridge, and it was quite the rush. It definitely wouldn’t be the last time, either. As quickly as I could, I swam to shore, ran up the road, back to the bridge and jumped again. 

I find myself on the rail once again looking down into the water which seems so far below.

“One.”

I’m writing an eBook, and I don’t want to release it.

“Two.”

Here comes a million thoughts and questions again.

I’m developing a new course, and I’m afraid to put it on my site. What if no one subscribes?

I don’t think this guest post is good enough to send. What if I get rejected (again)?

What if I advertise for a workshop and no one shows up?

The flood of doubts and fears comes rushing back. Will I let my old friend fear pull me back down off the railing? Back to safety and security?

Or will I leap off the rail, hang in the air for the briefest of moments, and plunge into the cool water below, feeling the rush of adrenaline surge through me?

When I’m standing on the ledge, and I’m looking at the water below, I ask myself some questions:

What’s the worst that could happen? No one ever died from a rejected blog post!

If I advertise for a workshop and no one shows up, I will have learned how NOT to market it.

If I publish that eBook, and no one buys it, I can give it away on my site. It’s not a wasted effort.

No one succeeds without some form of failure. The confidence you gain from failing and pushing through will be worth it in the end. And, that rush of adrenaline, or the feeling of satisfaction is quite contagious. It might just keep you going back to that rail over and over again.

The first newsletter subscriber (besides your mom).

100 and then 1000 likes on your Facebook page.

Your first money made online.

The sale of your very first eBook. 

The income you’ve made that just replaced your day job.

Ok, I’ve made up my mind. Will you join me?

“Three!”

Member Spotlight: Pedro Balcita

I am really excited to introduce you to one of my subscribers (and just to let you know, I don’t think of people as merely subscribers, but members of this adventurous community). His name is Pedro Balcita, and he is from the Philippines.  Pedro was one of my first subscribers, and he and I have been emailing back and forth for a while.

He is always so gracious and encouraging to me.  I recently asked Pedro to answer some questions about himself and his ministry.  He is a pastor in the Philippines and has an amazing story.  I hope you’ll read it and that it will bless you as much as it has me.  I’ve also included some pictures so you can see Pedro and his church (including where they meet).

Tell me a little bit about yourself?

Pedro “Peter” D. Balcita , 45 years old , born on August 1, 1969, born at Mameltac, 2500 San Fernando City, La Union, Philippines. And got married to Victoria G. Balcita on June 7, 2000.

PrChurch Photos (Building and Pastoral House) 002esently pastoring United Community Baptist Church in La Union, Inc. While pursuing his 5-year Mechanical Engineering course in the University, he pastored two Baptist Churches in the province of La Union. He graduated with a BS in Mechanical Engineering in April 1991.

 

 

A week before getting a promotion in the Cement Manufacturing Company, he had an accident.  While doing his supervisory work, the running inclined conveyor caught him leaving the flesh of his left forearm chopped! It was at the hospital bed that he realized God demoted him from the world of materialism to promote him to the world of higher calling.

With a clear call and vision from God, he left his profession and went to Philippines Baptist Theological Seminary (Baguio City) for formal training and pastored a church as field education. He graduated in March 1999. He and his wife Vicky responded to the call on pastoring International Baptist Church-Filipino Congregation in Hong Kong (2008-2009). Due to a very serious illness of Vicky, they decided to go back home to Philippines in October 2009 but she died due to endometrial cancer on January 22, 2010. Peter continued to pastor the church that he and Vicky pioneered in 1999.

He enjoys serving the Lord despite many challenges. He considers those challenges as opportunities for personal growth in Christ and to experience God’s wisdom and power for breakthroughs to bless others. When Peter saw the need to undergo another Theological training, he grabbed the opportunity to take up Doctor of Ministry offered by Far Corners International Theological Seminary, a mobile Seminary in the Region. And he finished it by God’s help and graduated on May 30, 2014 .

Peter’s heart and lips gratefully express his gratitude to his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for saving him from sin and calling him to the noblest profession of all times amidst many sufferings and persecutions, for using Robert Schuler to write, “Tough Times Never Last But Tough People Do” for the influence it contributed during his severe trials in the ministry, to Christian friends and brethren who continue to uplift him in the ministry, to prayer partners and to his late wife who was a faithful sister and friend. To God be the glory!

 

How long have you been in the ministry?

19 years. 1995-present

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Tell me about your church and ministry in the Philippines?

The church I am pastoring will be 15 years by this October 2014. Members come and go due to the following two major reasons: Some went to work in other provinces and settled there with their families and others went abroad to work. So we only have 25 average attendance during Sunday worship. But membership active and inactive we have 50.

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The membership is divided into five small groups. Each group has its schedule for small group BS once a week. We have six outreaches in our town barrios/communities. The five teams are scheduled to go to those outreaches once a week. We have four outreaches: Sunday afternoon,  Saturday afternoon, and Wednesday afternoon.

The purpose of the small group BS and the mission team is that to develop leaders and the more leaders that are developed the more workers for the harvest. I let them have their own meeting to plan and evaluate their teams. Just last Sunday, I told them to identify their weaknesses and their strengths. And encouraged them to address their weaknesses to improve their teams.

I’m their coach and trainer. I have schedules for them to conduct leadership training and seminar to fulfill the vision of developing new breed of leaders to fulfill the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20) and reach out the 39 barrios/communities of the town of Bauang, La Union to establish a group of believers in each community and be discipled to become obedient and faithful leaders to be world changers for God’s glory.

 

What has been your greatest adventure in leadership?

My greatest adventure in leadership is to develop a multiplicative new breed of leaders and become workers to fulfill the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20) through a substantial and dynamic leadership training and seminar that would start at our church. That whatever happens this would be my advocacy and become my legacy for the next generation to the glory of God.

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What has been the most rewarding thing about your work/ministry?

The most rewarding thing about my work/ ministry is God’s faithfulness that when I love Him as a response for His love to me, I can love His work and His people He entrusted to me and people also learn to love me.

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What is your biggest challenge with your work/ministry?

The biggest challenge with my work/ministry is leading people to fulfill God’s vision He impressed in my heart which is producing leaders to become His workers for the bountiful harvest of souls in the 39 communities in our town and establish them as functional group of believers to also fulfill the Great Commission with the wisdom and by the grace of God.

Challenges can be part in the leadership that I need to face them like different responses, commitments, personalities, level of maturity and back grounds of those that would be leading to during leadership development.

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How can people pray for and support you?

I keep on reminding church members to pray. This is the reason that the church has a regular weekly prayer meeting during Thursdays and prayer vigils every 1st Friday of the month. I asked my relatives and family members who are Christians, friends in other churches and organizations here and abroad to pray for me and my ministry. The church I am pastoring gives my support.

Until now I am thinking of looking for a part time job to sustain and my other needs be provided but there would be possibility just in case to having lack of focus for the ministry in the church. The growth of the church will be affected negatively. I will just be dependent on the Lord how He will provide my other needs the church will not be provided. Lots of needs to be provided but I am sure the Lord will provide.

Team Building Lessons I Learned from a Family Kayak Adventure

Team building kayak family adventure

Last week, I went on a kayaking trip with my family and some of my wife’s extended family. We rented kayaks and SUP’s (Stand Up Paddleboards for the newbies reading this) 🙂 at a local marina in the town where we were staying.

We went on a 2-hour jaunt on a lake outside of Breckenridge, Colorado. The water was a bit chilly but it was a fun trip. Here are some team building observations and lessons I gathered from our adventure.

You can’t paddle for everyone.

When you are in separate boats, it is impossible to paddle for other people.  You have to do the work yourself in order to make your boat move.  You are in control of what is directly around you and can’t control other people’s boats.

In business, leaders often try to tell people what to do and how to do their jobs. It’s frustrating for employees when their bosses micromanage every detail of their work. In short, it’s an issue of trust and control.

What if I jumped on someone else’s paddle board because they weren’t paddling the exact way that I would? The results would be disastrous, potentially ending with both of us getting soaked.

Freedom + coaching = great excitement.

My son is 7. He started out on a paddle board but we quickly realized that wasn’t the best option for him, so we switched him to a kayak. He wasn’t thrilled with getting off the SUP, but he finally agreed.

He started out tethered to another boat, but quickly wanted to be more independent. Since I have been before and am a strong paddler, I decided to stick by him and let him go on his own. He did a great job, and was super excited to be free and “flying solo”. I continued to coach here and there, but also tried to give him lots of encouragement.  [I was rather impressed since this was the first time he had ever been kayaking.]

When we’re working with teams, we need to give people freedom to do their jobs, while also standing by them and being willing to coach as necessary (with lots of encouragement as well).  According to Inc.com, one of the top things employees desire is autonomy.

What would have happened if I had not let my son boat on his own?  More than likely, no one would have had a lot of fun.  What was the worst that could have happened by letting him boat on his own?  He could have fallen out (doubtful, though, but he was also wearing a life jacket), and I would have had to go rescue him.  It was the best decision at the time, and one in which he excelled.

What would be the worst that would happen by allowing your employees more autonomy?

Set a vision for the end result.

On our adventure, no one was designated as the leader, but we got to our destination anyway. We didn’t have an agenda and weren’t really concerned with going too far, so no agenda or direction was no big deal.

However, with a team of people, it is necessary to set a direction and vision, and keep it in front of your team. The likelihood of not giving direction and an end result and everyone ending up at the same destination is virtually impossible.

Communicate roles and expectations.

Alongside of a clear vision, everyone needs to know their roles and expectations.  I knew my role was to stay by my son and assist if he needed help.  With the items we rented, we had to share and switch off so everyone would have the opportunity to try different things.  Our expectations were also to have fun and be back within 2 hours (since this is the amount of time we rented our boats for).

In the world of work, communication is critical.  People need to know what their role is in the team, along with the expectations that accompany their specific role.  When these things break down, people are left feeling as if they’re in the dark and unimportant.

When roles and expectations are defined clearly, people can excel at their specific function and also know when things need to be adjusted.  When leaders set specific objectives and boundaries for those, they also have a way to determine when people are not meeting goals and have leverage for those not meeting expectations.

What roles and expectations do you need to set or clarify with your team?  How will you evaluate and adjust those?

Have you ever been kayaking or boating with a group?  What leadership principles can you learn from such an adventure?

 

 

Leadership Begins with Attitude

Leadership and Attitude

He sat across from me in my office talking to me about his job. He works the night shift at a local food-processing plant. It’s not a glamorous job by any means, but this man is truly grateful for his position there.

When challenged by another co-worker, he simply responded, “I think it’s a good place,” in his thick African accent. You see, Chibuzo, is a refugee from Congo. He is happy to be in America and glad to have a job.

“[Expletive]!” his co-worker replied. “That’s [expletive].”

“No, it is not [expletive],” Chibuzo replies, matter-of-factly. “I believe it is a good place. It helps pay my bills. It is a good place because I believe it is a good place.”

Chibuzo is sometimes hard to understand because he is so soft-spoken. I love it when he comes in my office. I could listen to him talk all day. His attitude and demeanor shine through his words as we talk of life, God, and leadership. (Not to mention that terrific accent.)

To be honest, I doubt Chibuzo thinks of himself as a leader, yet I encouraged him to continue to be positive and make a difference at his workplace. I imagine there are not many at this plant that think it is a “good place.”

It’s great to have ambition and to better yourself. Chibuzo is taking a class to learn to be a phlebotomist. He is improving himself, yet he is content at his current job. Sometimes, we get frustrated because things don’t happen as fast as we want. We don’t get the promotion that we think we deserve. We don’t get the salary or a raise in the timing that we think it ought to happen. So we get frustrated, angry, and begin to think that our place and our position are not good.

In reality, “good places” are about attitude. Any place can be a good place. It doesn’t mean that you have to land there forever. It simply means that you choose to have a positive attitude where you are. “Bloom where you are planted,” the adage goes.

For Chibuzo, he is blooming and leading in a place that he eventually wants to leave, but is satisfied with it at the moment because it provides money to pay the bills for him and his expectant wife.

How often do we miss opportunities to lead where we are because it is not exactly where we want to be? Leadership is more than just having a certain number of people reporting to you, a high-powered position, or a corner office. It begins and ends with attitude. Like Chibuzo, we must determine that our place is a good place. It provides for us, our families, and also can provide opportunities for our growth, if we have the right outlook.