If you follow my blog, you know I love to read. As a life-long learner I learn from others’ writings and I believe integrous writers should always give generous attribution to authors whose ideas they embrace or write about. That’s why I often reference my ideas. Recently I read Do More Great Work by Michael Stanier. It’s a short but good read.
Stanier takes the reader through simple exercises that helps him clarify when he is at his best. In my case, I read the book with an eye to discover when I lead at my best. This is especially important in my life now as I transition from a senior pastor role into a coach/consultant role for pastors and churches.
In one exercise I spent a few minutes choosing words that best describe me when I am at my best. For example, some of those words included poised, reflective, and focused. The next step, however, make this exercise stick. After I picked about 20 words and narrowed them to a dozen or so I then wrote opposite each word another contrasting word that would describe me when I’m not quite myself. I didn’t necessarily choose words opposite in meaning but ones more anemic in contrast to the others. Oppose to the three words above I chose diplomatic, distant, and intense.
When I chose the contrasting words it helped clarify my leadership vibe, that state of leadership toward which I should aim.
Here’s the list that contrasts when I’m at my best (on the left) and when I’m just ok (to the right).
- Non-anxious—self controlled
- Clear minded—distracted
- Present—just there
- Self-aware—self focused
I put this list in my iPhone prayer app (My Prayer Lists) and review it almost daily. Those words remind me to seek to live them out as I lead and relate to others.
Take 10 minutes and see if this exercise does for you what it did for me.