Thursday, May 24, 2018

What To Do First to Make a Profit


The PF Women Team at our Annual Team Retreat  ~ 2018

Today on Seth Godin's blog, he said:

"It's tempting to decide to make a profit first, then invest in training, people, facilities, promotion, customer service and most of all, doing important work. In general, though, it goes the other way."

Yes, it does. If you are waiting to make a profit before you do these things, in my experience you're  not going to make a profit. So many organizations, ministries and churches are struggling with financial issues. I know your pain. As anyone who follows our story knows, our ministry was in a ton of debt four years ago when I came on as director.  Since that time, we've gotten out of debt and turned a profit every year.  God has done amazing things through out team, for which we give Him the glory!

I find that what Seth is saying here is absolutely true, with one disclaimer. For Christian leaders, spiritual disciplines must always be first. Before we started investing and training and all of that, seeking God for his blessing and direction was and still is -- and always will be, first.

With the team I'm honored to lead, we've followed this method. And I can tell you, it works. We have sought God and then invested in our team and in people, trained, promoted, been committed to excellent customer service and doing the important work we do with excellence, BEFORE we expected to turn a profit.

 If you want to read about our team values (which were created by our entire team as a collaborative effort) you can do so here. Many people ask how we get the results that we get. I believe reading our values will give insight into how it happens.

By the way, Seth is one leader and thinker I follow. I'm not saying I agree 100% with what he (or any leader/thinker) says, but he's someone I've gleaned good insights from. People often ask me what books and blogs I read and what podcasts I listen to, so there's one. Read Seth's blog here. 

Sunday, May 20, 2018

I'm Just Being Transparent...



This year at the Stronger Conference, a young minister stopped me as I was walking out of the room at the conclusion of a workshop and she said, "I want to tell you something..." (I was all ears.) She said, "Do you notice how many of the speakers this weekend are saying, "Now, I'm just being transparent when I tell you..." or "I'm just keepin' it real..." I nodded yes. In fact, I mentioned that I was one of those speakers. I think I probably said a few times in both my keynote message and my workshop that I was just "keepin' it real."

After I affirmed that yes, I had noticed that -- she said, "Do you know why they have to do that? They do it...and you do it, because so many people don't keep it real. So many in leadership aren't transparent, Deanna. That's why all these people speaking here feel an urge to declare their transparency.." I let her know that usually when I say, "I'm just keeping it real" it's because I have just shared something that I believe some people may think is inappropriate because they aren't used to hearing it publicly. So they are shocked. And I'm trying to soften the blow to their sensitivities in some way.

She thanked me for leading a conference that featured such openness from the speakers.


The conversation with this millennial really left me thinking. Here are some things that rolled around in my mind...

Should we stop saying, "I'm just keepin' it real" or "I'm just being transparent..." or "Can I be transparent with you?" in our messages? Is it getting old? Overrated? It is really in vogue to make these statements, and maybe it's become overkill, a worn out cliche that has lost it's luster.

Maybe we all need to train ourselves to stop saying things like, "I'm just keeping it real" and just live real and let people notice that without announcing it. And if their sensitivities are shocked, well, just let that be their issue to process.

Thoughts?

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Leader: Put your blinders on!


Sometimes in leadership, we've gotta put proverbial blinders on. It is so easy to get off track by looking around us. This will almost always slow us down. I'm a detail person and I can get distracted super easy.  Before I know it, I'm behind in my goals because I'm looking at something other than the objective. I often have to remind myself to snap out of looking around and run full steam ahead for the win.

It's going to take every ounce of energy you have as a leader to accomplish big things.  We can lose the race by broken focus. Remember when Chad le Clos lost to Michael Phelps after famously turning his head to look in the middle of the race? Oh my lands, what an awful mistake. I think of that a lot in regard to leadership. What are we stopping to look at that we really don't have time to look at if we want to stay on our game?

Leader friend...put those blinders on and run toward your goal with all your might!  Run like you are on fire! Run like you are the third monkey trying to get on the ark!

Friday, May 18, 2018

Leadership: This Changes Everything


Are you a leader in need of a lift in your spirit, fresh ideas or a change of pace? Get up and walk outside!  This is so powerful, it's no joke. Getting outdoors changes everything for me. I'm a homebody, which few would guess because I'm on the road so often. My favorite thing is curling up with a book in total silence or perhaps with a bit of light classical or monk music in the background. (Yes, I am serious. I often work or relax to monk music...stuff like this.)  But, as happy as the indoors can make me, there is absolutely nothing that brings a boost like going outside.


Fresh air impacts our lives in such a great way. Research shows that spending time in fresh air increases energy in 90% of people. Whenever I'm lacking energy, this is one of my main go-to's. I'm at a place right now where I'm reminding myself that it mustn't be a go-to just in times of severe stress, but it needs to be an every day thing, as regular as brushing my teeth. I am endeavoring to lead myself better in this way.

Scene from my walk this morning
One of my favorite thing is the scent of outdoors.  It's a proven fact that outdoor smells help to remove stress in our lives and promote relaxation. Some of the ones that are my favorites are the smell of rain, freshly cut grass, and pine. One of the wax melts I use all the time in my house is pine, but there is absolutely nothing like the real thing. Walking outside boosts our immune system and helps fight off depression. Oxygen energizes our bodies and minds. What's not to love about it?

Going outside is something every leader can do, no matter their situation. It doesn't cost anything to step outside. You can take five minutes or five hours.  Maybe the best thing you can do today is go outdoors for a little while. I have to preach tonight, but I began my morning outside on a 3 mile walk. So much of what happens for me and for others will be impacted by my time outdoors today.

More than ever, people seem to be creatures of indoors. How do you break out of that? What do you most like to do outdoors and how does it affect you?

 

Monday, May 07, 2018

This Could Have Ruined Everything... (But It Didn't!)

 No one would ever guess what happened to me this weekend in Jacksonville, Florida...so I'm going to tell you. :)


As I was preaching at the Fearless Tour at New Hope Assembly of God this weekend,  I got choked up, literally. For probably 2-3 minutes I coughed profusely and greatly struggled. Then I drank some water and kept preaching. Everyone was gracious to give me a few moments to get my bearings. If you were there, you'll remember it!

What no one realized at the time was that I swallowed a bug that flew right in while I was preaching! So disgusting! I said nothing because I was at a point in the sermon where I was really connecting and I knew if I said, "I swallowed a bug," everyone would either laugh profusely or be really concerned, or start feeling sorry for me.  And at that point whey wouldn't be thinking about the message anymore, but the fact that I had just swallowed a bug. They would then imagine what it would be like, and feel grossed out which is understandable. I was pretty repulsed myself.  It was quite literally "stuck in my throat" and I was hacking and finally decided to drown the thing and be done with it. (I'm on Keto right now, so thankfully it was just protein.)

We went on and it was a great response around the altars. I think of people like Jasmine who had a life-changing encounter with God. We couldn't afford to let a bug get us off track!!!

It's important to stay focused no matter what. All kinds of things come along to steal our focus. And they are legit. Things like financial issues, family problems, health problems, criticism and more. We can let these things determine the day or we can stop letting the tail wag the dog.

A bug could have ruined everything on Saturday, but it didn't. 

Stay focused, friend!