Articles: Building your Singles Ministry/Personal Growth: Other Authors
Anticipation by Lisa Jackson
Anticipation strengthens relationships over time, builds excitement and leaves the desire to know more--that’s why a good writer knows how to build anticipation to keep readers glued to each page until they get to the book’s end. It wouldn’t make sense to put the ending of the novel in the opening pages and then have people read backwards to the beginning of the story!! Yet this is something we have probably all done at one time or another in our dating relationships (I know I have made this mistake)--figuratively speaking--we have gone straight to the book’s ending (jumping headfirst into relationships driven by feelings or emotions) and then the interest wanes! When this happens, we short-circuit the development of friendship in the relationship, of allowing it to grow and deepen over time, of becoming the cornerstone of a healthy, Christ-centered marriage.
God created us, He made us with relational natures, with an anticipation of connecting with others. Stories of relationships forged over time are woven throughout the Bible: Boaz and Ruth, David and Jonathan, Elijah and Elisha, Solomon and Shulamith, not to mention the close relationship Jesus shared with His disciples that was such a critical component of the early Christian faith. Jesus spent time with these men, allowing them to get to know Him, to watch and learn as He went about His Father’s business. So enjoy your relationships, let them develop over time, without rushing things along. Remember the old adage, “all good things take time.” Time spent with God creates a craving for more of Him, anticipating what He will reveal to us and how we can grow more like Christ in building strong relationships, especially in the one that could lead to marriage.
Lamentations: 3:25: The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the soul who seeks Him.
Lisa Jackson Lisa enjoys studying and writing about Christ-centered dating relationships and marriages. She hopes to use her part time passion to encourage others in this journey. Email: email@example.com
Jennifer's Story by Single Parent Director, Holly Crain
When she walked into the small Louisiana church for the first time, she cautiously looked around as she gripped her four-year-old daughter’s hand. She hesitantly made her way to the back of the church and sat quietly, thumbing through her Bible avoiding eye contact at all costs. When just as she was wondering if she really belonged there; a warm, friendly woman sits beside her and begins to make conversation with her four-year-old daughter. The young mom is certain the woman notices her empty ring finger and she hangs her head in shame.
As a former, unwed, teen mom, Jennifer Maggio can tell you that many years ago when she began her journey, she didn't know where she fit. Jennifer says, "I was ashamed and fell away from church. For almost seven years, I hung my head in shame. I did not feel like I belonged anywhere. Consequently, I struggled. I wandered around desperately searching for the love of my King."
You see at 19, Jennifer Maggio was pregnant for the fourth time, living in government housing on food stamps and welfare. She wondered how she ended up in this place. Suffering through the death of her mother, years of sexual and physical abuse, and homelessness had culminated into an almost unbearable plight. How could she take care of her children? How could she survive? The next several years of financial distress, parenting woes, and overwhelming stress led to her crumbling to her bathroom floor one day, certain no one could understand and crying out to the God that she was certain couldn't love her.
But He did! I cannot wait for you to hear the rest of Jennifer’s story this summer. It is the evidence of God’s grace. He redeems, He pursues, He loves perfectly, He heals and He even makes all things new. In 2 Corinthians 5:17 it says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!”
If you have not met Jennifer Maggio at our past Life Bible Study Rally or at the Oasis Single Moms Conference a few years ago, you will have a chance this summer! We are hosting her ministry conference this year here at Houston's First. Jennifer and I would both love for you and your children to be a part of our time together! The gospel of Christ and what God did in our lives changed these two ordinary girls forever! And we know He will do the same for you! He will! Enjoy church, the SPF ministry and The Life of a Single Mom Conference this summer! You belong here!
Executive Leader Function: Three Disciplines to Elevation Inpact and Create Freedom by Cheryl Scanlan
Executive leadership requires a well-functioning trio of executive presence, emotional intelligence, and accurate assessment. This article will examine how they fit together to elevate your impact to your organization while simultaneously create thinking, breathing and yes, living space for you as the leader.
I recently presented at an executive leadership conference to a room full of C-Levels, and found they all had one thing in common. Their primary concern was expanding their impact while recognizing their limited capacity. You may wonder "Is that possible?" The answer is an emphatic "Yes." In fact, this Executive Leadership Function model with a three-fold approach may actually make it possible for you to spend more time outside of the office while also ensuring your company flourishes.
For example, a client was spending most of his time managing situations. He was managing his employees, his business, and himself. He couldn't get out from underneath the weight and details of this management approach to running his company. As we worked together on these three component of executive function, he shifted from a management approach to a leader approach. He began to see himself as who he really was - a leader.
1. Command of Self - Executive Presence When you walk into a room, what happens? When you say something, how do others respond? Leaders want a strong executive presence; however, this can extend beyond how we portray ourselves into how we command ourselves. The discipline of developing an executive presence with a command of oneself can be worth the investment. A willingness to hone oneself is what sets great leaders apart from the rest.
I know a leader who is a "great guy," but whenever he stepped into a leadership role, he became hyper-strong and somewhat belligerent. He thought he was displaying a commanding presence, although to the contrary, his words and presence caused people to groan and shut down.
Things like facial expression, tone, body language, and stance have cause and effect that we can't afford to ignore. For example, if a leader portrays anger because they have lost control of a situation, it communicates instability to the organization. However, if modulated anger is expressed with purpose, this intentional approach can propel productivity and sobriety in thought and rapid response for a team. How do you craft that kind of presence? John Beeson, author of Deconstructing Executive Presence says: "Find your voice as an executive: that is, identify your assets and leverage them to the hilt. In an increasingly diverse world, executive presence will look very different from one executive to another. However, the constant is building the confidence of others that you can step up as a leader when times get tough."
How do you handle unpleasant surprises? Does emotion work for or against your organization? When someone on your team brings a fire to your attention, it's best to avoid pouring on the gasoline that adds fuel to the fire and multiplies stress. Command of the yourself benefits everyone.
What is your presence growing in your organization?
2. Awareness of Others - Emotional Intelligence Think back to the last time one of your team members brought something to your attention. How did they present the problem to you? Did they lead the conversation with solution, truth, emotions, analytics, etc.? A leader goes beyond understanding the information presented and becomes aware of why that information is being presented. People communicate a lot about themselves in the way they present concerns, information, questions, and feedback. As leaders, we must be disciplined to understand why this issue is important to them. Consider, "What's going on for them? Why are they bringing this to me and therefore what do they need from me?"
Even if emotional intelligence is not innately understood, it can be learned. It's a matter of intentionally and consistently shifting focus: "Building one's emotional intelligence cannot - will not - happen without sincere desire and concerted effort. A brief seminar won't help; nor can one buy a how-to manual. It is much harder to learn to empathize - to internalize empathy as a natural response to people - than it is to become adept at regression analysis. But it can be done." (Daniel Goleman, "What Makes a Leader?")
As a leader, one of your responsibilities is to work through the barriers that stall progress. It is to not only know your team, but to also help them know themselves so they can grow in their capacity for handling crisis.
When is the last time you coached your team through a problem? To be clear: delegating responsibility and dumping responsibility are not the same thing. Leaders don't just push their team into the deep end. They also teach them how to navigate daunting depths on their own, one step at a time.
What does your team's emotion-meter say about your leadership?
3. Clarity in Crisis - Accurate Assessment By the time something reaches the desk of a leader, it is a crisis for someone. Understanding that most anything on your desk is a crisis, but not necessarily your crisis is the key. How are you leading instead of managing the way you triage crises? Jesse Sostrin, Director of the Leadership Coaching Center of Excellence, offers some helpful case studies in a recent article: "Diagnose your urgency trap- don't let yourself get stuck in knee-jerk reactions to everything that comes to your attention. Leave delegated tasks delegated. Bring focus to the right priorities - don't spend time on what you want to do at the sacrifice of what you need to do. Avoid extreme tilts and avoid rash decisions. The pendulum will never stop swinging, and your stance will never move from reaction to response as long as you don't give yourself margin to change."
When something goes up in flames, your primary job is not to treat the flames; it's to find the source of the fires. Every moment spent on the distractions is a moment you could have spent solving the root issue at hand.
However, clarity in crisis doesn't mean that everything needs to be cooled off and watered down. Sometimes, clarity means knowing when to embrace the heat and yield it to something productive. Rick Wagoner, previous CEO of General Motors, learned this lesson the hard way. His failure to have command of self and make difficult, often counter-cultural decisions amidst difficult times in an organization led to its epic downfall: "At GM, if you went along, you got along. Wagoner never pushed back hard enough against that culture of the status quo... Until very recently, General Motors acted (at least in public) as if everything would be okay. Responding to crisis demands agility. In many ways, Rick Wagoner was too easy going to be GM's chairman." (John Baldoni, "How GM's Rick Wagoner Failed to Lead in a Crisis") Regardless of how hot the crisis gets, how do you cultivate clarity in your assessment and response?
Any one of these principles sharpened alone will help, but will not necessarily pull a leader out of management mode. When the interconnected power of the three components are harnessed, that is when leadership can truly pull an organization forward:
When Executive Presence and Emotional Intelligence are combined, we have strength in relationship. If I can command a room, but not myself, I have no integrity to my message. And vice versa, if I have inner discipline but lose it in front of my audience, I have proven that I can lead myself but not the masses.
When Emotional Intelligence and Accurate Assessment are combined, we have strength in execution. When you are aware of others, you win influence. When you have clarity in crisis, you win control. But when you have both influence and control, there is nothing that can stop you or your organization from breaking through to what used to look out of reach.
When Executive Presence and Accurate Assessment are combined, we have strength in decision. Have you ever seen a leader with charisma but not wisdom? Or a leader that is a genius but lacks social skills?
My client mentioned at the beginning of this article learned that challenging and rewarding lesson. He explored his executive function from these three areas. As a result of making a shift in the way he thought about and behaved in his seat, there was a major shift in his organization. The company is stronger, more profitable, and he is less involved yet very engaged. From this well-honed and yes, hard fought position, he is now able to launch aggressively into his next set of professional goals, business imperatives as well as personal endeavors. Impact! Read More Articles by Cheryl Scanlan
About Cheryl Scanlan Cheryl Scanlan, MCC, CMCC, BCC is president of C3Advantage. She has worked with CEOs that are in Fortune 100 through next generation small business owners. Having also run a multi-million dollar firm in New York, Cheryl knows the importance of business goals and the impact of teams. Cheryl's thought partnering method helps leaders see clearly what is fuzzy, articulate what is currently unintelligible, and generate coherent & executable strategy.