Have you ever found yourself stuck?
The kind of stuck that has you frustrated?
We've all been there.
Life throws us a curveball.
We were hoping to make contact, but then we swing and miss.
And after we swing, we realize the pitch wasn't as good as we first thought.
How do we respond in those moments?
The ones where it feels like there is a stadium full of people watching us strike out.
It's been said we can't hit what we don't swing at.
But I think we are missing out on some equally solid perspective.
We can't hit what isn't in the strike zone either.
If the pitch is high and tight, low and away, up and in...making contact is doubtful. And if it's a wild pitch or a pitch-out? Well, you get the point. We aren't getting on base swinging at offerings like that.
We aren't going to make progress by swinging at bad pitches.
I think sometimes we place so much value in putting our head down and pushing forward, that we miss the point. There is a more effective way to move forward. It requires more patience (that's not always easy). It requires more persistence to "foul-off" a few pitches that we aren't sure if they are strikes or not, just to keep the at-bat alive. But in the end, there is a common goal we are trying to reach.
Getting on base.
Listen...if you are finding the pitches aren't there today...stop swinging.
Stand in. Don't leave the batter's box. You can't get on if you aren't in the game.
Be patient. With a watchful eye, value the swings you don't take as important too.
And at the end of it...when enough bad pitches come?
Enjoy the moment when you can...
In the next blog, we'll talk about what to do once you're on base.
That's just as important.
Simply put, it's
WHO you are and WHY you exist
as an organization. (In business, education, ministry, family, etc...)
You exist to _______________________, so that _______________________.
You exist to (do something specific), so that (a specific thing happens as a result).
When you can articulate who you are, what makes you tick, what breaks your heart, what keeps you up at night, what you'd do if you could spend all day doing it...you are getting close to your vision.
The key word there is articulate.
Yes, it's important.
If you can't be clear, you'll never be able to explain it to anyone else.
You can't give clear directions
where there aren't specific boundaries.
That is what a clearly articulated vision does for you and your organization.
It's the starting, middle and end point of your conversations, meetings, brainstorming, etc...
It keeps you on track.
It's your filter.
We exist to help you discover WHO you are, so that you will know WHAT to do.
That is what drives us at WHOBIX.
That is our vision.
It's clear. It's concise. It's our filter.
Notice we aren't calling it a "vision statement". Unfortunately that term comes with some serious baggage. It makes us think of some paragraph of general drivel with big words. Boiled down, I think we'd be hard-pressed to find a single person in any organization that could repeat, much less explain one of those from memory.
When you get who you are and why you exist into a single sentence, something cool happens.
It gets you past incoherent babbling, and into intelligent conversation.
It enables you to cast your vision to me.
It empowers your team to do the same with others.
It gets me, as the listener, excited to hear more about you.
It allows your team to process opportunities more effectively because it keeps you on point.
It helps you avoid getting distracted by something that looks cool, but ultimately isn't who you are.
Do you see where all of that is going?
Having a clearly articulated vision will keep your team focused.
Having a clearly articulated vision will help you lead with confidence.
Having a clearly articulated vision will launch your team into it's calling.
Having a clearly articulated vision will attract others to join you on the journey.
Who are you?
Why do you exist?
Start brainstorming thoughts, words, phrases.
It will take some time, but the most beautiful, simple, articulate, and meaningful things always do.
Put this on your whiteboard.
Pin it on your corkboard.
Place this on your bathroom mirror.
We exist to ______________________________, so that ___________________________________.
I can't wait to hear your vision.
I get excited when other people find theirs.
And if you get stuck, send us a note.
Maybe we can help you discover yours.
You've been asked to do something incredibly important,
but fear it won't work out in the end?
You've been incredibly inconvenienced,
because this moment wasn't something you had planned for?
You've been confronted with an easy way out,
knowing full well it won't end well?
There will come a time in your life when you will come face to face with something of great importance. But that won't be the challenge. That is found in the fact that it will be inconvenient, unknown, and have a built in escape hatch if you want out.
You'll come face to face with a life altering decision.
And here is the rub…
It will likely not have as much to do with you as you think.
It will very likely have to do with your ability to effect positive change in the lives of others.
Are you ready for that?
Have you decided ahead of time how you will respond to that moment?
We will all face a "WHAT HAPPENS WHEN?" moment in our lives.
Maybe more than one.
So the next time you are feeling the weight of great importance and inconvenience,
think twice before you take the easy way out.
It's very likely a legacy moment for you.
It's very likely a game changer for those around you.
Don't say no to the challenge, because you don't know what will happen.
Perhaps it's time to double down,
and beat "logic"…
Put The Hay Away!
You've heard the phrase "It's like looking for a needle in a haystack" many times.
The phrase itself is basically admitting defeat. It's too hard. You'll never find it.
But what if it's as simple as reversing our train of thought?
Stop looking for the needle, and put away the hay.
Seriously…you aren't going to find the needle by tossing the hay around randomly until it appears. But if you commit to systematically "putting away the hay" a little bit at a time?
The only thing left will be the very thing you wanted all along.
I don't know what your "needle" is.
And I don't know what the "hay" is that is keeping you from finding it.
I do know that if you
do what you can, with what you have, where you are…
You'll find the needle faster than you think.
That is how you get "IT" done.
"You've got to create healthy boundaries."
You must do this so that things that appear attractive don't become habits that are destructive.
Let's go swimming for a minute. At first, it's a lot of fun. One stroke at a time. The view is great, the water refreshing. Then something starts to happen. Our arms tire, our breathing becomes more labored. And in a moment, what we are sure will be there to help us catch our breath is not any longer. We go to put our feet down on solid ground to stand, and we can't feel it.
We've gotten out so deep in the water,
we are in over our head.
Work. Home. Relationships. Ministry. It can happen in all of these places. Our best of intentions can get us in situations we should never have had to encounter.
So how do we avoid this part of chaos?
Just like the buoy line in the picture above tells us we need to turn around, we need limits in place in our work, families, relationships and churches. Candidly…there are just some places that some people are not equipped to go.
As a leader it's your job to identify them, articulate them clearly, and set your people up for success within your organization.
As a follower it's your job not to rock the boat and pitch a fit when you don't understand. Many times you won't be able to "see the difference". In other words, you won't know if the water is 4 feet or 44 feet deep. So you will keep swimming. You'll insist "you are fine". And at some point, it may end in a tragic situation.
Listening to and honoring the leadership over you may be the very thing that will protect you.
Separating what looks the same isn't easy, and not everyone is called to do it. But those that are need to be listened to.
(Insert why it's so important that parents stop trying to be their kid's "best friends" all the time here. Just lead well!)
That's how you can make sure that something that looks attractive doesn't become a habit that is destructive.
You avoid deep waters that will overtake you by trusting the vision set before you.
Are there times when the boundaries need to be pushed so that your team can get to where they need to go? Absolutely. But that is never done by just diving in and rushing into the unknown. It's done out loud, in advance, with intentional preparation so that you can get where your team needs to go safely.
Leaders are leaders for a reason. If you are under one that casts vision, and leads by careful influence to get everyone someplace special…together…congrats. That's a cool place to be. And if you are a leader, don't let this go to your head. It's your responsibility to get everyone there safely. Your pride has no place in that process.
If, on the other hand, you are in a situation where orders are barked out, and you stay on the shore forever…there isn't anything wrong with having a conversation. Talk it out. Share your concerns. And then make decisions that are healthy.
But please, don't just jump in and start swimming to prove a point. The point you prove may end up being you in over your head. And that's not any place you are called to.
Turning chaos into order
starts with intentionality.
It starts with setting healthy boundaries.
Embrace them so that you can get where you are going with a purpose, on purpose…to make a difference in the world around you.
Part 3 is coming soon!
Here is what we'll tackle.
3. You've got to create systems and structure. You must do this so that you can multiply your progress in a healthy environment.
See you all soon!
From the desk of our founder, Brett W. Gould.