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What Kind Of Leader Are You?


Leadership is a huge subject and I claim to be no expert, neither will I be trying to cover it off in one post.  So I will focus on what came into my thoughts today.

Being a leader is not something everyone embraces easily, in fact many struggle with it and shy away from it. Why?

Well mostly I have heard some of the following statements expressed, ‘I hate being the center of attention!’ ‘I don’t want the responsibility,’ ‘I don’t like standing before people!’ or ‘ I like working at the back as part of the team.’ Any of this sound familiar?

John

Truth is a leader, a good leader, can lead a team from the front or from the back depending on their style but either way they will have responsibility, they will have to be seen at the front from time to time and their work will bring attention on them because a burning light can never be hidden.

So what makes a good leader, truth is I think there are many things but these are a few I recognise and appreciate?

  1. A leader that does exactly what the tin says – lead. They have a vision or know how to give clear direction to resolve a problem or start something new.
  2. They demonstrate qualities that others admire and wish to attain for them-self.
  3. They speak not just for themselves,  but for others, especially their team.
  4. They make the difficult choices and ask the challenging questions?
  5. They have strong moral values or principles which they stand by. They do not drop these easily in the face difficulty, money, power or position.
  6. They are able to connect or relate to people and so gain a position to influence others.
  7. They are able to support someone even  if means, that person can surpass their achievements
  8. They are able to build something with the support of others.
  9. They are able to delegate in order to build others, and harness their strengths
  10. Some how they can find the positives
  11. They take risks when they need too.
  12. They always want to learn and push their own personal boundaries
  13. They never stop, even after adversity

Now, there are many paths that lead into leadership, some by default, some by clear ambition and some because its imposed upon you.  So needless to say, leadership will reflect both good and bad leaders.

Types Of Leaders

The Figure Head: Some leaders can seem to be more like figure heads? In that, they are where they are not because of the quality of what they do, but down to the quality of what the team do for them. Harsh, but true.

The Loner : The leaders who do it all them self, why? Because they have no idea how to build a good team through relationship and rapport. Therefore, there is a lack of trust outside of them self and its easier to do it them self instead of asking or delegating.  This can lead to over work, stress and burn out.  Now there may be a genuine argument that the leader has a poor team around him. But I would say rarely, do you find the case where a good leader has no positive impact at all on an individual, even one.

Mr or Mrs Friendly: Leaders that want to be everyone’s friend and please everyone. Fact is, I believe you can’t. Because at some point, difficult conversations have to be had. Those challenging questions and observations have to be faced and said. If someone holds enough respect for you then they will take the rough with the smooth. Sometimes, you have to clearly identify the elephant in the room, and this may cost blushes and make people uncomfortable. the word ‘No’ may also need to be said.

People are always the greatest resource and investment.  Whether its a business, a church, a family or a group. Therefore, a leader has to show consistency in what they say, which I think often aligns with their core values.

One of my many favourite stories from the bible is the story of David and his ‘Mighty Men.’ David was a King who was a great leader because of his influence with others.  He had built up and immense army and he had some of the most amazing soldiers and leaders in it. This was because he acquired their trust because he lead by example.

These men loved David to the point they would lay down their life for him, even go into the enemy’s camp to get water from a particular place, just because he mentioned it. Their love had grown over time by going through the same battles and sharing the challenges, victories, and heartache that comes from be soldiers and friends in war.

In the story of Ziklag 1 Samuel 30 all their families and possessions were taken by the Amalekites and they were devastated to the point where his own men wanted to kill him. (no one is perfect or infallible).  Breaking points occur in leadership and this can define who you are or finish you.

But David did not abandon his faith and asked God if he should go after them? He was directed to go, so he set out with 600 of his men.  However, the journey was hard and they were travelling at a great pace and some of the men became exhausted, 200 of them in fact, resulting in one-third of them having to be left behind.  The rest went on and the long and short of it was they were able to rescue their families and take the possessions of the Amalekites as spoils of battle for themselves.  Now, when they arrived back at the point where they had left the 200 exhausted men, some of David’s men did not want to divide the spoils equally as they felt they had done all the work and the others had done nothing to deserve such a payback.  All they felt the 200 were entitled too were their wives and children.  But David said ‘NO!’ Everyone was to get the same share, because the battle was won because God made it so.  If God had stated otherwise, no one would be receiving anything in fact they could all have dead or been seriously injured.

David recognised what was important and ensured everyone benefited because all had lost something.  All had done their best and God’s direction was for the benefit of everyone.  The 200 had used up all their energy.  Not everyone has the same capacity or capability.  Giving your all is as much as anyone can ever do.

It takes a lot to stand in the middle of an agitated group and represent what is right for the greater good. I think that is an admirable quality for any leader.

As with anything, Good Habits can be learned and Bad Habits replaced. Being a good leader comes from making good choices.

Sometimes you may feel more like a pin cushion than a leader but keep shinning your light. Learn how to support people in the right way. Even if you need to learn a few things.  Find yourself a good mentor.  They can be in work or out side of work.  Either way a good mentor brings the best out of you so that you in turn can bring the best out of others.

I would also encourage you not to deny what you have but to use it. A good leader makes such a difference to people.

Until next time.  Continue to be the person you want to be.

 

Aqene7 = Peace

 

Dare To Be Different!


One well-known story I have loved in the Bible,  is the story of Gideon.  Often told to show how someone who is doubtful of them-self puts a few challenges to God in order to be convinced that what is being asked of them is truly from God. But I got intrigued by something else.

For me it was where Gideon was found – ‘Threshing wheat in a wine-press?” Judges 6:11. This was during a time when the children of Israel were being impoverished by Midianites who were literally draining their resources and livelihood. However, Gideon was managing to disguise what he did by ‘Threshing wheat in a wine-press.’

When things are seemingly not working in your favour its hard to see any glimmer of hope let alone an opportunity to some how get through.  But Gideon utilise something that was not designed for the purpose he used it for, in order to survive. He realised that it was unconventional, but also for that very reason, no one would be looking for wheat in a Wine-press.  It takes ingenuity, cunning and risk sometimes in order to not end up like everyone else.

Dare to be different!

Opportunity goes against the grain sometimes.  It means going out of step or against the tide of normality and conformity. Its requires courage because the enemy doesn’t like being out smarted or made a fool of.

Different

Albert Einstein said that

We cannot solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.

Likewise, opportunity cannot be seized with the same mentality that gave you your comfort zone. Once you see an opportunity you have to be willing to pursue it, action it and make it happen.  So you need to challenge yourself and seek a new set of ideas. Being unconventional, being different, doing the unexpected, may not be that crazy an idea.

So here’s to renewed thinking!

Until next time – Continue to be the change you want to be:-)

 

Aquene7 = Peace

2015 – Go Get Your Blessing!


Well I have been quiet for a while, busy doing other things and simply just enjoying the holiday season with family.

I entered this year with a clear focus in mind and have started to work positively towards making things happen in my life.  I started with a clear goal and plan in mind, which I knew from November last year. It’s not a New Year Resolution but a determined effort to change what I do on a month by month basis.

Time waits for no man, and this year I am expecting great things, starting with me.  So here’s to a brand New Year and a fresh start.

One of my new changes was to start a Devotional Journal in which I write all my inspirations I receive during my prayer time with God. I came across a sermon by Dr Tayo in which he suggested dividing your prayer time into small segments of different types of prayer, as the bible says we should pray all types of prayers.  The aim is to build yourself and increase your prayer time.  Not so that it becomes a process that is rigid and inflexible but a guide enabling you to grow. So it could 5 minutes per section or 10 minutes.  It could 10 minutes in one area, 5 in another and 20 in another. It’s completely up-to-you.  These are the areas I spend time in for around an 1 hr in total each morning:-

  • Worship
  • Confession
  • Intercession
  • Petition
  • Meditation
  • Praise

For as much as I have a vision for this year I recognised that it was also important to have an effective prayer life.  I have to be able to pray effectively for myself and understand my own direction for myself. So it was important to build my prayer life equally as much as the rest of my life for 2015. It’s all about my faith this year.  Determination will get you far in this world but when you want what God has planned for you it requires you to walk in ‘Faith’ and that is a totally different ball game:-)

So I am excited for the gift of another year and look forward to new inspirations!

Enjoy the video and go get your blessing:-)

Be the change you want to be, until my next post.

Aquene7 = Peace

Thank You Readers!!


Well I am amazed that my posts have been viewed in 57 different countries over the past year! Who knew:-)  Some of these wonderful places I have never even heard of, WordPress is truly an amazing platform when it comes to global reach. I am really pleased I challenged myself by taking on Blogging 101 as I have seen a real improvement since September and a change in myself regarding the things I write about.  Blogging would never be the same with those who have read, followed, liked or commented on my blog, so I just wanted to say a massive ‘thank you!’ to each and everyone who has taken time out to read or view something I have written.

thank-you-wordle

From Creative Common – Google Image

Another wonderful bit of statistical information from me is that  I posted my 75th post last Saturday and once again who knew when I first started with my first post on 2nd October 2013 I would have been able to write that number of posts!

Needless to say I am really grateful to God for every bit of inspiration he has given me and for the things I have done so far as I was so unsure when I first started, having no idea where my thoughts would come from.  Here’s to another year with WordPress!!!

These are a few of my past posts which I like for different reasons hope you like them too:-

1. Being The Catalyst

2.  Light Bulb Moments!

3.  What Are You Feeding Your Mind?

4.  The Wisdom Of Naomi

5.  Football – ‘The Beautiful Game’

6.  Inspiring Words – A Wind Of Change

Happy writing everyone and be encouraged to be the change you want to be.  Until the next post.

Aquene7 = Peace

Natural Law – Doesn’t Change!


Bountiful-Harvest

Google Image

You reap what you sow.

I’m sure we have heard this statement many times. Usually, used when someone has done something viewed as bad. But how true is it? Do you believe in that or as others would like to call it Karma.

The bible says that all seeds and vegetation were to produce after itself and its own kind Genesis 1 11-12. That is a natural law. An apple tree (without mans intervention these days) will produce apple seeds and apples only because that is what it was designed to do. A lion will not give birth to a bear nor will anything produced outside of its own design. Natural laws are in place for a reason. they keep things in check and in balance.  Our seasons are always Winter, Spring, Summer and Autumn.  They may vary in length, but depending on your location most people will experience all four. Where ever we get an excess or imbalance in a season, nature some how develops a resilience to adapt.  Seeds will lay dormant in the sand for months and years in a desert. Animals and insects are designed for extreme cold or extremely hot weather. But as soon as it rains in the desert the landscape changes and of course the plants will produce after themselves.

So whatever is sewn that is what you reap in life.

The law of Genesis covers all kinds of seeds and vegetation likewise birds, insects etc. But what about the intangible things. Fear, doubt, hate, greed, love, faith etc. Don’t these things also begin as seeds? In Matthew 17:20 Jesus uses the example of faith the size of a mustard seed being able to move mountains. Anyone who has seen a mustard seed will know, it is not big at all.

MustardSeed (1)

A Mustard Seed

Salvadora_persica

A Mustard Seed Tree – West Africa

As you can see a mustard seed will grow in the most challenging of areas. So it not the size of any seed but the potential that is carried within it that determines what we see outwardly.  Farmers and those who enter competitions for producing the biggest and the best of any plant, flower, fruit or veg, will say they use only the best quality seeds when they sow because that is the only way to remove flaws and get the best quality product.

Horse breeders or animal breeders will also pair up the pedigree breeds in order to get the best. So it’s all about the potential in the seed.

All seeds have to be fed or nurtured in some way in order to grow. Physical seeds would need watering and their nutrients comes from the soil they are in. But, what about those intangible things? Well we know doubt and fear go hand in hand and together they work against faith. If someone is offended by someone, if left unresolved, that then has the potential to become bitterness, dislike and hate. All are seeds and its our choices that give them life in our lives and space to grow producing after themselves or not.

Its important therefore, to sow the best seeds into our lives. Anger, bitterness, jealousy, fear,etc., are common to us all. No one is above these emotions.  But we all have a choice, and we can let them drive us and own us or we can choose to limit their influence in our lives. Just like the specialist breeders we can choose the best of things and sow those seeds on a daily basis.

I believe in the fruits of the Holy Spirit and believe those are the best seeds to sow in our lives.

fruit-of-the-spirit-tree11

Google Images

Sewing these things into our lives I can’t say is easy.  I have found that from a human level there is always a situation that max’s me out. Something that takes me to the end of my own resources where patience runs out, peace runs out, etc. Given these are spiritual fruit, it stands to reason that it takes God to increase your capacity in these areas. Likewise, it takes God’s love to enable us to realise the importance of letting go of certain things in our lives, that we are giving strength and life to everyday but is causing us harm because we a reaping what we sow. Hence, forgiveness when sewn into your own life releases you from so many things.

Natural Law doesn’t change nor does spiritual law. Their seeds produce after themselves. Doing good is always the challenge in this life because it is so giving and hardly is it acknowledge and rewarded. But we all choose what we want for ourselves at the end of the day. So choose to reduce the negative things where possible I say.

Be the change you want to be, until next time.

 

Aquene7 = Peace

‘A Moth To The Flame!’ – Being Tenacious


I feel I have fallen unexpectedly into writing my first series in my blog.   Flowing on from my blog about The Wisdom Of Naomi, and that is –  the things I admire in a person’s character that attract my interest, like ‘A Moth to The Flame!’ Now, by the time I am finish my list, I think I may end up with the most amazing qualities that I really do not expect to see in one person, but I feel it is possible to find a number of them in a person and you may find that these qualities are in your friend, your wife, your husband or yourself.

What came to  my mind this morning was to consider Jacob and how he wrestled with the angel,  Genesis 32:22-31.

What fascinates me about this story was Jacobs fight and his tenaciousness. Tenacity or to be tenacious is explained as:-

1. Holding or tending to hold persistently to something, such as a point of view.

2. Holding together firmly; cohesive: a tenacious material.
3. Clinging to another object or surface; adhesive: tenacious lint.
4. Tending to retain; retentive: a tenacious memory.
I love this artistic interpretation by Alexander Louis Leloir 1865.

My first question was ‘what prompted him to send his family and possessions ahead of him?’ Secondly, ‘Why did he choose to be alone at that point in time?’  I think there are times in your life when defining moments can occur and the decision-making is for you and you alone with God to make.

You can be tenacious in your attitude to life, both for yourself and for others. Jacob was ready to fight by holding on to the angel for as long as it was going to take in order for him to get what he wanted – his blessing.  He knew that as much as he could see it was a man before him the fight he was having was no human fight. At no point was he going to release the grip he had, whether it was with both hands or just one.  He may even of involved his feet, because if you have ever watched professional wrestling a hold can involve the locking of your feet and thighs around someone.

Wresting requires mental strength, physical strength and a sharp mind because you are focused and weighing up/assessing your opponents weaknesses and strengths all the time in order for you to make your next move.

The bible says ‘When the man saw that he could not overpower him, he touched the socket of Jacob’s hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man.’ Genesis 32:25.  This fight cost Jacob physical pain and a life time penalty of a limp. He was fighting for a big blessing and it did not come without cost. His reward was not just a blessing to fulfil his destiny, but also his name was changed.   He was changed.  He was no longer the same man who took up the mantle at the beginning of the fight, the whole process transformed his life.

We often use the example of Gold/Silver when its being refined and what it has to go through for it to become quality gold or pure gold. Gold with as much of its imperfections removed as possible. It means going through testing. It goes throw a fire process where a craftsman melts the gold into a crucible and using his expertise skims off the impurities or dross that rises to the surface of the molten liquid.  It is an intense job, done in intense heat and takes time.  www.gold-traders.co.uk/gold-information/how-to-refine-gold.asp

There are times where we all need to find the tenacious side of us in order to survive, move forward or demand what we want out of our lives. It is a fight we may even do for others. Jacobs fight wasn’t just for himself, he was fighting for a nation.

Tenacity, I must admit it’s another quality I don’t hear much of these days.  People talk about the need to be ruthless in business in order to get far.  Willing to do all that it takes to get what you want, I beg to differ. You can be tenacious and keep your integrity. Ruthlessness, often is at the expense of your integrity as well as others.

Jacob was ambitious. He knew exactly what he wanted. He knew exactly who had it and he was will to fight that person in order to get it be they God or Man. That is some mind-set.

When you hold on to God in order to receive what he has for you that reward lifts you up before God and man.

So do you have a tenacious personality.  Are you a person who holds on to something you recognise as blessing that could change your life?  Are you willing to use all you mind, soul and physical strength in order to make it happen?

Some dreams require all the above in order for them to happen.  It’s a long fight with penalties. But if you reach your ‘day break’ your life will never be the same again.

Be tenacious  about your life. It can be a quality like wisdom, that draws people to you and into your life.

Be the change you want to be, until next time have a great day.

 

Aquene7

Peace

 

 

The Wisdom of Naomi


As a Coach I always work with the view of ‘beginning with the end in mind’  by Stephen Covey.  But, its important to recognise both ‘the journey’ along the way, as well as the ‘destination.’

The people you meet, the things you do or do not do. The lessons you have to learn and the opportunities you have to share and teach.  The journey is a deeper experience than the ‘living in the fast lane’ experience and the constant adrenaline rush.  It’s the things that make life valuable and worth living for; the things that take you past the gloss and shine of life and brings you into a richer place that’s important and needs to be treasured. It is the tapestry of your life filled with vibrant colour and quality stitching amid the imperfections of our humanity.

I try to make time to have time out with God in my day.  When I do it tends to be in the earliest part of the day, when things are more still and quiet. Today ,this was what was impressed upon me and I thought I would share.  When considering the above I thought about Naomi and Ruth and the relationship of these two women.  I thought about the story of how Naomi left Bethlehem with her husband Elimelech and they moved into an unknown country or place called Moab. Unfortunately, her husband died and the culture and the times were, that then, a women was financially supported by her husband.  If for whatever reason he died, then a male family member could step in to take up the  role or yours son’s would support you.  Naomi was fortunate to have two sons who eventually married and for 10 years her family lived around her supporting her. But then her sons also died.  Now Naomi, as far as society was concerned was old and had no male near her who could provide for her.  She was now (for want of a better word) living a life that had in her own words ‘No hope’ (Ruth 1:12).  But she did have two daughters-in-law Oprah and Ruth.  Her relationship with these women were good and they loved her and did not want to abandon her.

Naomi had no wealth, she was now a mature women who was at a time in her life where to find a husband and to then  have children would require an absolute miracle and the odds of this happening were totally outside reason. In her eyes she had nothing worthwhile to offer these young women ,who still had their life before them.  She did her best to deswayed them and to release/push them from her life.  ‘Go, return each of you to her mother’s house.’ (Ruth 1:8).  Eventually, Oprah agreed and left, but Ruth was adamant she was going nowhere and stated:-

16 But Ruth replied, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. 17 Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if even death separates you and me.”

http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Ruth%201:16-17&version=NIV

I really thought about these two women and their relationship.  I thought about their journey and their end destination, which was to return back to Bethlehem having lived in Moab for more than 10 years.  The thing that was impressed upon me was how Ruth recognised Naomi’s worth.  She recognised that their was something too important in Naomi to let go.  It was a relationship that was more valuable than going back to her mother and getting married again.  I questioned ‘what was it that Naomi had?‘ For me it was ‘Wisdom and depth of character.’ 

‘Wisdom and depth of character.’ 

Wisdom is not something that is talked about or recognised as much in Western society as in other nations I believe today.  Understanding life and how to live in it, was information that would be sort from your elders.  Naomi knew how to live and be a women of character and integrity.  Her wisdom is what guides Ruth in how to conduct herself in front of Boaz, who we all know eventually marries her.

Wisdom is such a valuable commodity, and yet so under valued today.  There are certain lessons in life that are simply gained because you have lived more years than someone who is younger than you, and it has given you a valuable experience both for yourself and others. Are there things in you, stories about your life, things you have battled against and overcome, experiences that if shared could really help someone else?  Are you someones Naomi?

Do you see something important in someone, to the point you feel they are worth clinging onto or investing in?  Do you recognise someone has something about them that maybe society doesn’t value at the moment, but you do?

People can be as important to us as we are to them.  This journey of life is never to be repeated, it is ‘the road less travelled’ so how can you impact someone life?  Or who is there currently in your life that could have a big impact on you?

Naomi’s wisdom enabled Ruth to become the wife of Boaz and she provided the lineage of David and eventually Christ.  Naomi’s life was changed from a barren place to a fruitful place. Those who originally saw her as poor and without hope had to change their word’s to:-

14 The women said to Naomi: “Praise be to the Lord, who this day has not left you without a guardian-redeemer. May he become famous throughout Israel! 15 He will renew your life and sustain you in your old age. For your daughter-in-law, who loves you and who is better to you than seven sons, has given him birth.”

http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Ruth%204:14-15&version=NIV

Do not under value wisdom and its importance in today’s society.  Wisdom is needed and it’s not everyone, that has wisdom in how to live and get through on a day-to-day basis. Wisdom is a gift.  There are what I call ‘valley lessons’ that speak volumes.  Not everyone can say ‘been there done that!’ Naomi lost her husband and all her children who happened to be son’s, the providers in her life. But she still had a value, she still had something to say and share with the world, even if the only person who listened at that point in time was Ruth.  You can be sure by the time Ruth got married and had her baby that audience had increased and Naomi carried a lot more influence.

5 let the wise listen and add to their learning,
    and let the discerning get guidance

http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Proverbs%201&version=NIV

It pays to be wise and it also pays to be discerning of people.

Be the change you want to be.  Until next time have a great day!

Aquene7

Peace

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