If You Think Reading is Boring, You’re Doing It Wrong

They may be hand-drawn animation, or computer-generated imagery, or even real actors in a stage play or musical.

Whatever the media, there’s a powerful story – and life lessons – in Beauty and the Beast.

To Gaston, a book with no pictures might as well have blank pages.

To Belle, a good story doesn’t need pictures to be understood.

 

No matter how busy you may think you are, you must find time for reading, or surrender yourself to self-chosen ignorance.

– Confucius

 

Coming Soon: 2018 End-of-the-Year Reading Wrap Up

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Discover Your Own Giftedness and Its Potential to Change Your Life

Your divine design, as expressed in Ephesians 2:10, is more knowable than you realize. You are God’s workmanship created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which He has prepared in advance, that you should walk in them.

With the right tools, courageous dialogue, and an experienced guide, you can accelerate progress in articulating your life vision and aligning your life vocation.

Auxano Founder Will Mancini and pastor Dave Rhodes have developed those tools.

The books referenced in this SUMS Remix are just a taste of what possibilities exist as you explore what you were created for.

Once you read through this “appetizer,” read more about how you can and should know your Life Younique: your God-given identity and your God inspired dreams. Then, you can discern and design the practical next steps to get there.

THE QUICK SUMMARY – The Person Called You by Bill Hendricks

“I can’t stand my job anymore.”
“I feel like I have no direction.”
“What should I do with my life?”

Sound familiar? If so, you’re not alone. Barna Group finds that 75% of Americans are seeking ways to live more meaningful lives. And among practicing Christians, only 40% have a clear sense of their calling.

But there is a way to find and follow your purpose.

For over twenty years, Bill Hendricks has been helping people of all ages and stages find meaning and direction for their work and for their lives. The key is harnessing the power of human giftedness. Every person has their own unique giftedness—including you! And the best way to discover it is not through a test or gift assessment exercise, but from your own life story. Through this book, find out what you were born to do and the profound difference that insight makes for every area—your work, your relationships, even your spirituality.

The Person Called You is a celebration, exploration, and explanation of human giftedness. Bill describes what it is (and isn’t), where it comes from, how you can discover your own giftedness, and, most importantly, its potential to transform your life.

A SIMPLE SOLUTION – Determine your giftedness

When we hear someone speak of another as “gifted,” we often conclude that giftedness is an uncommon thing, reflected in a few superstar athletes or maybe in the brilliant thinking of Nobel Prize winners. While such people are amazing, giftedness is not for a fortunate few. It is part of the human condition.

Giftedness is not just what you can do, but what you are born to do,  enjoy doing, and do well.

Giftedness is the unique way in which you function. It’s a set of inborn core strengths and natural motivation you instinctively and consistently use to do things that you find satisfying and productive.

Giftedness is not about what you can do but what you were born to do, enjoy doing, and do well. People can do all kinds of things. But they only enjoy doing certain things. Everyone has something they gain energy from doing. The giftedness is not in the activity itself, it’s in the person, in their sense of joy or fulfillment or accomplishment.

Giftedness is fundamentally about your behavior. It is found in what you do and how you do it. Not so much why you do it. Giftedness is a phenomenon; it just is. Your behavior – the consistent pattern of what you actually do and how you do it – tells me what your giftedness is.

Giftedness is about behavior, but not just any behavior. You many do any number of things, but certain activities have a way of focusing your energy in a highly engaging way. If you examine those moments carefully, you’ll discover a consistent intertwining of strengths and motivation in your behavior.

If giftedness is about motivation combined with ability, it follows that it is also about satisfaction combined with productivity. When you get to do what you’re motivated to do, you feel satisfaction. And if you do what you’re actually able to do, you tend to be productive. You actually accomplish something.

Your giftedness never fundamentally changes, but that doesn’t mean you can’t develop as a person. Your giftedness is your most powerful tool for personal and professional growth in two ways: 1) you can develop your gift yourself; and 2) you can use your gift to acquire skills and cultivate competencies that you did not come by naturally.

Bill Hendricks, The Person Called You

A NEXT STEP

Find time in your schedule to spend a few hours disconnected from your job and other responsibilities. Turn off your mobile phone, and any other distraction.

Think back over you life to a time when there were certain moments or activities that captured your interest in some compelling way. Perhaps you found yourself lost in the activity you were so involved in it.

You accomplished something – maybe not anything impressive to others, but something significant to you. When you think back to that activity, you recall it as an energizing and satisfying event. You might even want to do it again.

That activity had two important criteria: 1) you were actually doing something; and 2) you took satisfaction from the activity.

The satisfying activities of your life described above hold valuable clues as to what your giftedness is all about.

To more fully understand what you are doing when you’re in the sweet spot of your giftedness, complete the online version of the author’s “Discovering Your Giftedness: A Step-by-Step guide found here.

Excerpt taken from SUMS Remix 80-2, released November 2017.


 

Part of a weekly series on 27gen, entitled Wednesday Weekly Reader

Regular daily reading of books is an important part of my life. It even extends to my vocation, where as Vision Room Curator for Auxano I am responsible for publishing SUMS Remix, a biweekly book “excerpt” for church leaders. Each Wednesday on 27gen I will be taking a look back at previous issues of SUMS Remix and publishing an excerpt.

> >Purchase SUMS Remix here<<

 

 

The Story of Disney’s Magical Connection to the Christmas Season

Disney magic is alway special, but at Christmas time, it seems to soar to even greater heights.

A new book by Jim Korkis, Disney Historian and an internationally acknowledged authority on Walt Disney, delivers over 30 stories about Disney’s connection to Christmas over the years. Each meticulously gives the background details and sources that bring the story to life.

The Vault of Walt: Christmas Edition is divided into four sections:

  • Walt Disney Stories
  • Animation and Television Stories
  • Disney Park Stories
  • Mouse-ce-llaneous Stories

Here is one paragraph of one story that perfectly captures the delightful depth and breadth of the book:

“It was that Christmas gift of a pair of boots that gave the world the Walt Disney we know today. It was that gift that helped a thirteen-year-old focus on what his future would be as a cartoonist and to work to make that dream come true. The right Christmas gift can transform a young person’s future as it did Walt Disney’s life.”

This absolutely fascinating teaser is just one example from an excellent book. If you are looking for the perfect gift for the Disney fan in your life, look no further than The Vault of Walt Christmas Edition by Jim Korkis.

Are You Living in the Leadership Loop?

Leaders, by definition (if not practice) have followers. Leaders find, recruit, and train followers for specific tasks. While this is an important task in any organization, a leader who can only lead followers is limited. To make it to the next level of leadership, a leader must be able to lead other leaders – those alongside them.

Leading peers is a unique challenge, no matter what organization a leader is part of. A highly competent leader who is seen – rightly or wrongly – to have considerable influence with his boss is often at a disadvantage when it comes to peer-to-peer relationships.

To succeed at leading alongside your peers, you must work at giving your colleagues reasons to respect and follow you. You do that by helping them win, and in doing so, you will not only help your organization but you will also help yourself.

THE QUICK SUMMARY – The 360° Leader, John Maxwell

Don’t wait for that promotion! Start leading NOW…right where you are!

What’s the number one question leadership expert John C. Maxwell is asked while conducting his leadership conferences? “How can I implement what you teach when I’m not the top leader?” Is it possible to lead well when you’re not the top dog? How about if the person you work for is a bad leader? The answer is a resounding yes!

Welcome to The 360° Leader. People who desire to lead from the middle of organizations face unique challenges. And they are often held back by myths that prevent them from developing their influence. Dr. Maxwell, one of the globe’s most trusted leadership mentors, debunks the myths, shows you how to overcome the challenges, and teaches you the skills you need to become a 360° leader.

If you have found yourself trying to lead from the middle of the organization, as the vast majority of professionals do, then you need Maxwell’s insights. You have a unique opportunity to exercise influence in all directions—up (to the boss), across (among your peers), and down (to those you lead). The good news is that your influence is greater than you know.

Practice the disciplines of 360° leadership and the opportunities will be endless . . . for your organization, for your career, and for your life.

A SIMPLE SOLUTION

The middle of an organization is a great place to practice and build your skills while at the same time extending your influence in all directions. Leaders above you recognize your contributions to the greater organization. Followers below you are grateful for your leadership and influence in developing them.

However, people who find it difficult to lead alongside their peers are often individuals who don’t excel at building relationships. More so than leading up or down, developing and deepening relationships with your peers is critical to your success in leading alongside them.

If you want to gain influence and credibility with people working alongside you, then don’t try to take a shortcut or cheat the process. Instead, learn to understand, practice, and complete the leadership loop with them.

Take a look at the following graphic, which will give you an idea of what the leadership loop looks like:

You can see that it’s a cycle that starts with caring and ends with succeeding.

  1. Caring – Taking an Interest in People

You have to show people that you care about them by taking an interest in them. People always move toward someone who increases them and away from anyone who decreased them.

  1. Learning – Get to Know People

Take time to talk to your peers in the organization. Ask to hear their stories. Try to discover their best skills. Ask for their opinions on work-related issues. And as much as you can, try to put yourself in their shoes.

  1. Appreciating – Respect People

We should strive to see others’ unique experiences and skills as a resource and try to learn from them. If you treat your peers with this kind of respect, appreciating them for who they are, then they will be more likely to respect and listen to you in return.

  1. Contributing – Add Value to People

Few things increase the credibility of leader ore than adding value to the people around them. When you go out of your way to add value to your peers, they understand that you really want them to when with no hidden agenda of your own.

  1. Verbalizing – Affirm People

Few things build people up like affirmation. When you affirm people, you make firm within them the things you see about them. If you want to influence your peers, become their best cheerleader.

  1. Leading – Influence People

The things you’ve done up to know have served to build your relationship with them, give you credibility, and display that your motives are good. With that kind of history, you will have earned the opportunity to influence them.

  1. Succeeding – Win With People

Great leaders don’t use people so that they can win. They lead people so that they all can win together. The wonderful thing about helping others succeed is that it earns you more opportunities to help an even greater number of people.

If you help others succeed, additional people will come into your life whom you will have an opportunity to help succeed, and the cycle will start over again.

John C. Maxwell, The 360° Leader

A NEXT STEP

Draw the leadership loop pictured above, and post it in a visible, but out-of-the-way place in your office or work area as a reminder.

Create a matrix on a spreadsheet listing your peer’s names in a horizontal column, and the seven leadership loop actions in a horizontal row across the top.

Over the next month, review the seven actions above on a daily basis, and intentionally schedule and follow through on these actions each day with your peers. At the end of each day, make a brief note in the respective place what action you have taken with each of your peers.

At the end of the week, review your progress, and consider how you will continue and improve in the next week.

At the end of the month, call your team together and debrief your experiment with them.

  • Ask them at what point they realized you were doing something differently.
  • Ask them what they thought about your actions.
  • Encourage them to express what it felt to them as an individual.
  • Ask them if they, in turn, began to do some of the same things with others.
  • Discuss with the group how the actions you took increased the relationships of the team.
  • Challenge your peers to work through the leadership loop in a similar manner.

Excerpt taken from SUMS Remix 79-2, issued November 2017.


 

Part of a weekly series on 27gen, entitled Wednesday Weekly Reader

Regular daily reading of books is an important part of my life. It even extends to my vocation, where as Vision Room Curator for Auxano I am responsible for publishing SUMS Remix, a biweekly book “excerpt” for church leaders. Each Wednesday on 27gen I will be taking a look back at previous issues of SUMS Remix and publishing an excerpt.

>>Purchase SUMS Remix here<<

 

5 Simple Things You Can Do to Help Design Your Life

Your divine design, as expressed in Ephesians 2:10, is more knowable than you realize. You are God’s workmanship created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which He has prepared in advance, that you should walk in them.

With the right tools, courageous dialogue, and an experienced guide, you can accelerate progress in articulating your life vision and aligning your life vocation.

Auxano Founder Will Mancini and pastor Dave Rhodes have developed those tools: Younique, a life-long process of discovering and living out your unique life call.

Once you read through this “appetizer,” read more about how you can and should know your Life Younique: your God-given identity and your God inspired dreams. Then, you can discern and design the practical next steps to get there.

THE QUICK SUMMARY – Designing Your Life by Bill Burnett and Dave Evans

At last, a book that shows you how to build – design – a life you can thrive in, at any age or stage.

Designers create worlds and solve problems using design thinking.

In Designing Your Life, Bill Burnett and Dave Evans show us how design thinking can help us create a life that is both meaningful and fulfilling, regardless of who or where we are, what we do or have done for a living, or how young or old we are. The same design thinking responsible for amazing technology, products, and spaces can be used to design and build your career and your life, a life of fulfillment and joy, constantly creative and productive, one that always holds the possibility of surprise.

A SIMPLE SOLUTION

As you look around your office, home, or the coffee shop where you are reading this, you will realize that everything surrounding you was designed by someone. And every design started with a problem.

The same process that created the things around you can be applied to designing something far more important – your life.

Like the unique lamps or furniture, a well-designed life will have a look and feel all of its own. You can use design thinking to create a life that is meaningful, joyful, and fulfilling.

You never finish designing your life – life is a joyous and never-ending design project of building your way forward.

A well-designed life is a life that makes sense. It’s a life in which who you are, what you believe, and wheat you do all line up together.

A well-designed life is a marvelous portfolio of experiences, of adventures, of failures that taught you important lessons, of hardships that made you stronger and helped you know your self better, and of achievements and satisfactions.

A well-designed life isn’t a noun – it’s a verb. Just keep building your way forward. Design isn’t just a technique to address problems and projects – it’s a way of living.

Good design always releases the best of what was already there and waiting to be found and revealed.

Life design revolves around five simple things you need to do:

  1. Be curious – there’s something interesting about everything. Endless curiosity is the key to a well-designed life. Nothing is boring to everyone.
  2. Try stuff – With a bias to action, there is no more being stuck – no more worrying, analyzing, pondering, or solving your way through life.
  3. Reframe problems – Reframing is a change in perspective, and almost any design problem can use a perspective switch.
  4. Know it’s a process – Awareness of the process means you don’t get frustrated or lost, and you don’t ever give up.
  5. Ask for help – Radical collaboration means that you aren’t alone in the process.

You can apply some of the five mindsets virtually anywhere, on any given day. The opportunities to live into being curious or to try stuff are endless.

Bill Burnett and Dave Evans, Designing Your Life

A NEXT STEP

Write the five mindset phrases above, each to a single journal page. On a weekly basis, work through the following steps.

Be Curious – choose a new or new-to-you topic which you have just heard about in terms of your ministry area. Reflect on the following questions:

  • What would someone who is interested in this want to know?
  • How does it work?
  • How did it used to be done?
  • What is the most interesting thing about it?
  • What do I need to learn more about?

Try Stuff – choose a new ministry topic or event in the near future. Reflect on the following questions:

  • How can we try this – even on a small scale – this week?
  • What would we like to know more about?
  • How do I go about finding out?
  • What will we learn when we expand the scale?

Reframe problems – choose a recent ministry event that has concluded. Reflect on the following questions:

  • What perspective am I viewing the event from?
  • How can I change to a completely different perspective and view the event?
  • What other perspectives could other people have about the event?
  • In describing the event from other perspectives, what new information did I learn that will be helpful the next time?

Know it’s a process – choose a ministry idea that someone on your team has talked about but not yet implemented. Reflect on the following questions:

  • List all the steps leading up to, and following after, the idea.
  • What would happen if you didn’t think more than one step ahead?
  • What’s the worst thing that can happen? What would you do?
  • What’s the best thing that can happen? What will you do?

Ask for help – identify a ministry action or event that you have been thinking about, but is not yet public. Find a peer you can talk to about your ideas, using these questions:

  • Describe the idea in five minutes, then ask for five minutes of feedback.
  • List the individuals and/or groups that would be involved in launching this idea. Are you connected to, and in conversation with, all of them?
  • Keep an “ask-for-help” journal, and right down questions you want help on. Each week, identify people who can help you, and ask them for help.

By keeping the mindsets as an active orientation in your daily life, you will soon see how they can help you continually design your life.

Excerpt taken from SUMS Remix 80-1, issued November 2017.


 

Part of a weekly series on 27gen, entitled Wednesday Weekly Reader

Regular daily reading of books is an important part of my life. It even extends to my vocation, where as Vision Room Curator for Auxano I am responsible for publishing SUMS Remix, a biweekly book “excerpt” for church leaders. Each Wednesday on 27gen I will be taking a look back at previous issues of SUMS Remix and publishing an excerpt.

> >Purchase SUMS Remix here<<

Exploring the Continuing Leadership Influence of Walt Disney

J. Jeff Kober’s latest book, “Disney, Leadership, and You” is an excellent work that more than delivers on its title.

Drawing from an inquisitive mind and keen insight, Kober has nearly five decades experience with Walt Disney – from both within and without the company – which provide a very readable, practical, and thoroughly enjoyable leadership book that you will find yourself returning to time and again for just the right nugget to use.

I have “known” Jeff for years through his writing, and earlier this year was grateful to meet him and engage his services for an immersive park experience with a group I was leading. The warmth, wit, and sheer knowledge of Disney, coupled with his ability to instantly link it to practical applications of my group, was one of the highlights of our experience. That same experience has been translated into this book.

If you are a leader in any size or type of organization, the stories Jeff Kober has captured in “Disney, Leadership, and You” should be a valuable addition to your library, a source of personal encouragement, and a wealth of practical training for both you and your team.

The book is divided into four sections:

  1. Defining Leadership
  2. Leaders Attain Results
  3. Leaders Build Relationships
  4. Putting It All Together

In those four sections you will find 18 themed chapters, each chock full of leadership principles illustrated with stories of Disney leaders from all ranks. The principles are solid in themselves, but what makes them memorable is the stories of the Cast Members.

The stories and principles perfectly describe how Disney Cast Members create magic each day through their hard work and respect for Walt Disney’s original vision.

You organization is not Disney, but you can learn from their excellence. “Disney, Leadership, and You” is an extraordinary source of lessons and learning to help you make a dramatic impact on why you do, what you do, and how you do it.

 

 

Effective Leaders Know How to Make the Shift from Critic to Critical Thinker

Leaders, by definition (if not practice) have followers. Leaders find, recruit, and train followers for specific tasks. While this is an important task in any organization, a leader who can only lead followers is limited. To make it to the next level of leadership, a leader must be able to lead other leaders – those alongside them.

Leading peers is a unique challenge, no matter what organization a leader is part of. A highly competent leader who is seen – rightly or wrongly – to have considerable influence with his boss is often at a disadvantage when it comes to peer-to-peer relationships.

To succeed at leading alongside your peers, you must work at giving your colleagues reasons to respect and follow you. You do that by helping them win, and in doing so, you will not only help your organization but you will also help yourself.

SOLUTION #1: Shift from critic to critical thinker

THE QUICK SUMMARY – How to Lead When You’re Not in Charge by Clay Scroggins

Are you letting your lack of authority paralyze you?

One of the greatest myths of leadership is that you must be in charge in order to lead. Great leaders don’t buy it. Great leaders lead with or without the authority and learn to unleash their influence wherever they are.

With practical wisdom and humor, Clay Scroggins will help you nurture your vision and cultivate influence, even when you lack authority in your organization. And he will free you to become the great leader you want to be so you can make a difference right where you are. Even when you’re not in charge.

A SIMPLE SOLUTION

As a leader, you have undoubtedly been told “no” at some point in your life. When that happens, what is your typical reaction? Do you become cynical and defensive, or do you redirect that energy into a more positive direction?

Leaders who want to become a positive influence with their peers must learn how to overcome the tendency to be critical and become a critical thinker.

Great leaders know how to listen, watch, connect the dots, and fix problems because they’re able to think critically.

If you are seeking to develop the skills of a critical thinker, there are four subtle shifts you must make.

Shift #1 – Stop thinking as an employee.

Start thinking as an owner.

Owners see things others don’t see.

Owners have more buy-in than others do.

Owners care more deeply because their future depends on it.

If there is trash in the hallway or in the parking lot, employees may decide to walk past it. Or worse, they call someone in facilities to pick up the trash. Owners pick up the trash because it’s their reputation on the line.

Shift #2 – Stop stacking your meetings.

Start scheduling thinking meetings.

As a staff member, you often get sucked into a multitude of meetings. It’s the natural gravitational pull of any organization. The worst is having a stack of meetings, back to back. While this may seem efficient, it can also be an enemy of critical thinking. You get to the end of the day and realize you’ve generated no new thoughts or new ideas.

Schedule space to think critically, marking it down like a meeting, at points throughout the day. The greatest enemy of thinking critically is an overcrowded schedule.

Shift #3 – Stop being critical.

Start thinking critically.

If thinking critically is a skill, being critical is a snare. Many leaders don’t want to be critical. They don’t sit around planning to be cynics, but they still get caught in the trap.

The key difference between someone who is critical and someone who is a critical thinker is motive. People who are critical want you to lose. They’re bringing problems, not solutions.

People who are great critical thinkers want you to win. They’re motivated to make something better.

Shift #4 – Stop giving others a grade.

Start lending them a hand.

No one likes the feeling of being constantly measured and monitored. If you’re not careful, your critical thinking will make others feel like you’re giving them grades.

This is not about whether you should convey the thoughts that could better those around you. It’s about how you pass on those thoughts. When you communicate critical thoughts to others, you need to do so with a helping hand, not a grading tone.

Clay Scroggins, How to Lead When You’re Not in Charge

A NEXT STEP

On a chart tablet, write each of the shifts, leaving space below each one to add comments.

Set aside time to review your actions in the last week, focusing on activities in which you were involved with one or more of your peers.

Write down, under each shift, the actions that fit the first part of the shifts – the “negatives.” For each one, write out how you can make the shift as described in the second part of the phrase.

Take the initiative to review these actions with your peers, and ask them to comment on the shift you would like to enact.

Excerpt taken from SUMS Remix 79-1, issued November 2017.


 

Part of a weekly series on 27gen, entitled Wednesday Weekly Reader

Regular daily reading of books is an important part of my life. It even extends to my vocation, where as Vision Room Curator for Auxano I am responsible for publishing SUMS Remix, a biweekly book “excerpt” for church leaders. Each Wednesday on 27gen I will be taking a look back at previous issues of SUMS Remix and publishing an excerpt.

>>Purchase SUMS Remix here<<