With all the knowledge, skills, talents, and drive you may have, if you are not emotionally self-aware, you will not succeed at your life’s goals. You do not have to look far to find someone who has failed in this regard because they did not take the time to know who they were emotionally, how to control their emotions, and what motivated their emotions. You yourself may have experienced consequences due to lack of awareness of emotional strengths and weaknesses; perhaps you failed because you thought you were strong in an area where you were actually weak.
I am looking out of my apartment window in the complex where my family and I live in Johannesburg, South Africa. It is little after 9 on a Monday morning, April 20, 2020. Usually by this time I am on the campus of the college that my wife and I are leading. But today is day 25 of the lockdown here in South Africa. We have been out of our complex only four times in the past 24 days. This has been quite an adjustment for us; under normal circumstances we rarely go a day without leaving the complex.
One of the challenges we all have to learn to overcome is to realize there are some things we have no control over. Too often we allow things we can’t control to get us angry and frustrated. The sooner we come to grips with the reality that we don’t have control over them, the sooner we better manage or react to our circumstances.
For example, we allow the behavior, attitude or ways of thinking and speaking of others to bother us to the point of worry and anger. When we allow the way someone is behaving to affect us, we are giving energy to things over which we have no control.
Recently, as I coached a leader, we discussed how difficult life had been over the past year but was now on the upswing. I then asked her to reflect on what had made the last year so tough and why was the present different?
The leader is involved currently in something that is very new and exciting, and she is passionate about it. So I asked the question, “How much of a difference is your improved situation tied to your involvement in something that you’re passionate about and is new and exciting?” The leader was quick to point out that although this new and exciting thing did help, it was not as big a reason as one might think.
Good and successful leaders are approachable leaders. Their followers find it easy to approach them with whatever concerns they may have. Good leaders don’t hear things from third parties, their followers are comfortable with approaching them directly.
Approachability comes over time as you, the leader, intentionally create a culture of trust and openness so your followers can feel safe and confident in approaching you. There are a number of things you can be intentional about in your leadership that will make you an approachable leader.
Most of us grew up hearing the phrase, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” My friends, wherever that phrase came from, it is far from reality. The pain that words can cause is as deep as the deepest sea! Words can hurt and they can hurt deeply.
Think of how many conflicts you either have been a part of or have seen others engage in that were all about the words that were spoken. Wars have been started over words. People have been killed or physically hurt because of words. To say, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me” is simply not true.
When all you do is try to avoid conflict in a relationship, you are only allowing it to get worst. The longer you wait or the harder you try to avoid it, the worse the conflict will become.
The Lenten season serves to remind us of many things, including our humanity (really, our mortality!) and our dependence on God. For most of us though, we have the tendency to first rely on our humanity and only turn to God when we have exhausted our human options.
The story of Jesus’ temptation in the wilderness (Matt.4: Lk.4) is a good reminder to us that if we are going to have the victory over any temptation, we must learn to rely on God more than we rely on our own strength and resources.
Well, it’s that time again when we start thinking about what we are either going to give up or add to our lives for the next 40 days. For many, the Lenten season is a time of reflection and making life adjustments.
In thinking about the Lenten season, two words come to mind: grace and judgment. These two words are central to this season. Because amazing grace was shown to us through the suffering and death of God’s Son, Jesus, we may stand in the Day of Judgment and not be condemned for our sins.
Today we presented our first official deputation service as we continue following God’s leading to South Africa. We are still trying to get our heads around the idea that God has opened the door for us to serve in the same institution He had called us to some 27 years ago. Although we did not make it to Nazarene Theological College South Africa (NTC-SA) back in 1991, here we are 27-plus years later, coming full circle to fulfill the call. At least we came in under Moses’ record by 13 years. It only took him 40 years before he was ready to answer the call to do a task that was way beyond anything he could have done on his own.