Monday, November 30, 2015

A New Hope

There is a way forward.

These are some of the most powerful words someone can hear in a time of need. When faced with insurmountable odds or circumstances, finding the hope that there is a way through the darkness, pain, uncertainty or confusion is life giving.

A friend of mine was facing some huge challenges in his marriage after his wife uncovered his infidelity. He was broken, confused, distraught and utterly overwhelmed by the reality of the weight of the potential consequences for his actions.

But somehow, he still found hope...and so did his wife. Together, they pursued restoration, healing and forgiveness and today they marital union is vibrant and inspiring.

I imagine their story would have unfolded differently had they not been given the gift of seeing a way forward that didn't further deepen their pain.

Their story isn't unlike yours or mine. Every single one of us is faced with difficult realities in life. And when these moments are revealed, we have a choice to make. We can choose to uncover a way forward, or we can choose to become overwhelmed and immobilized by the fear of uncertainty.

Leadership is chalked full of moments of uncertainty, second-guessing, confusion, clarity and more. It's in these moments that I am learning to pursue hope while taking the time to discover a way forward. And for me as a follower of Jesus, this has meant much prayer, listening and facing the fear that has attempted to immobilize me at every turn.

You and I are not dissimilar. No matter what you may find yourself immersed in at the moment, there is a way forward. Find the hope amidst the chaos. Face the fear with courage. Create a new normal.

There is a way forward.

Friday, November 13, 2015

All Shapes and Sizes

Leaders look different.

This is one of the many gifts the millennial generation is innovating in the leadership world of today. There is no longer this desire to be like everyone else. Individuality is the flavour du jour, accompanied with a deepening appreciation for diversity and variety.

One question that I've been stewing over lately is the correlation between personality and confidence.

How does one's propensity towards extroversion or introversion affect their level of confidence as a leader?

I'm a pseudo-sociologist junkie by nature. Armed with my keen powers of observation, there are some general realities. that I've discovered with having the privilege of interacting with hundreds of different leaders over the years...and this one is preoccupying my thoughts the most as of late.

The most confident people tend to be the most quiet. 

Volume doesn't equal confidence. There is a time and place to rally people towards a cause using one's exuberance and energy, but there is also a time to be still and quiet in order to discover what is really happening on the leadership level internally, not just externally.

I've made the mistake of assuming that quiet person in the room is the one that needs to be encouraged or spurred on the most. Often times this had led to me swallowing both my feet right in front of them as I've unsuccessfully attempted to woo them towards the perceived elusive confidence I believe they are lacking.

Sometimes being quiet has allowed a person to embrace their identity at a deeper level. Those of us who tend to be loud may simply be attempting to control the environment in which we are seen or perceived so that it can continue to fuel our insecurity through verbal affirmation and relational reward.

If you've ever spent some time being still and enjoying a part of nature (mountains, beach, forest, etc.) you'll understand that there is a different layer of enjoyment when the noise and clutter are removed from the moment.

Leaders create spaces and opportunities to grow in confidence. When you think about who you are as a leader, what are you learning the most about remaining confident in who you are or in who those around you are meant to be?

Are you someone who is motivated by your own insecurity, or are you able to appreciate the rich diversity and variety that are essential to leadership health?