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Is a Boss Automatically a Leader?

 

Paula4qualitiesHave you ever had a rotten boss? I mean the kind that just should not be leading? The kind who maybe gets your name wrong every time, or the kind of boss who hides behind an office door. I had one just like that. He was the principal of an elementary school, but you could tell he did not like children. He did not even really like teachers—or teaching, for that matter! Yet, there he was leading us.

Lucky for me, I had a good team. It was my first year teaching, one year out of college and even some experience under my belt. I knew, though, that this man was no leader. He could not remember his teachers’ names, let alone any of the students. He was not really respected at the school, because he never came into the classrooms! He somehow even delegated the job of observations and lesson plans to a Curriculum Coordinator who actually interacted with us. He was a far cry of a leader; everyone knew it. “How did he ever become principal?” I often wondered.

When you think of the word leader, what do you think of? I think of Jesus—someone who gets in with the people, someone who feels the pain of the people. A leader is someone who helps and guides and prays for his/her people. A leader is confident (yet, not over powering), stern, and gentle. Good leaders are really in the business of serving others.

When you interact with people in your business, you may not think of yourself as a leader like Jesus, but think of this quote on leadership from John Quincy Adams: “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, and become more, you are a leader.” I like that image. I believe all of us have the potential to be a leader, and some of us have the potential to be GREAT leaders if we so choose. It is a choice. How do you see yourself as a leader in your business? Do you have the courage to be a great leader?

Courage is defined as a noun, but it is very much an adjective…an action word. You have to put action to it for it to be effective! One of the best pictures I have seen describing this came from Brene Brown. She points out four qualities of a courageous leader:

  1. Ask for what you need. Even leaders need help! Just ask—it’s biblical!!
  2. Speak your truth. Share with people what you know—it helps them and you.
  3. Own your story. When you share your story, people respect you for being real.
  4. Set boundaries. This seems very hard, but this, too, is biblical!
  5. Reach out for support. We are designed to be in community. Get help to be and do better!

Matthew 7:8 paints this picture the best. It’s a great representation of a healthy way to show courage. "For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.”

Even if you work by yourself, you are a leader. You (should) have a community around you that you are reaching out to and serving. In order to gain trust and respect as a leader, you can always learn more. Use helpful resources around you to make yourself a better leader. As a NACWE member, you have this built-in community to learn from. A wise person gets it. Proverbs 16:16 states, “How much better to get wisdom than gold, to choose understanding rather than silver!” Do you choose understanding over gold or silver? I do, because what good is having tons of gold if I’m dong nothing good with it?

If you ask me, the biggest thing that my first boss lacked was the fact that he did not seem to understand the qualities of a leader, and that was why he wasn’t respected. But, what did I know at 23 years old? You are not automatically a leader; you become a leader.

PTobeyPaula Tobey is a Healthy Living Coach for Parents, Speaker and Founder of PheMOMenal Life. Paula works with moms who are looking to put balance back into their hectic lives. Her inspiration for living a healthy lifestyle came as a mission from God and she is living proof it can be done one baby step at a time focusing on the five areas of health.  She is a former special education teacher, mother of two great girls, and a water and nature lover. Learn more about Paula at www.PheMOMenalLife.com​.

7 Tips to Create Vision and Forward Momentum

 

NicoleLeadingVisionEveryone has his or her own unique style of leadership. Personality, training, and emotional wellbeing are a few elements that impact a leader’s way of interacting with others and the decisions they make in their businesses, homes, or ministries. However, one element needed by all leaders who desire their businesses or influence to grow and advance with purpose is the ability to lead with vision rather than simply managing a status quo.

Visionary leaders are not content to simply maintain what already exists. They look for ways to improve, grow, streamline, and have wider impact or influence in what they do. They see beyond the moment. They want bigger and better.

On a recent episode of the television program Restaurant Impossible, I was impressed with how an interior designer walked into a restaurant and—despite its present condition—was able to envision something else. . .something better, fresher, and updated. She saw its potential. Once the vision was concrete in her mind, things had to be removed, rearranged, and remodeled to accommodate her vision.

How about you? What is your vision for what you are currently doing? Are you maintaining a status quo, or are you hungry for change?

If you desire something more than what currently is in your life, business, or ministry, here are a few tips that might help you to move past managing and advance with a fresh dream:

  1. Close your eyes and think about what you want to see in the future. Then, write it down. Habakkuk 2:2 says, “Write the vision, make it clear.”
  2. In your description, use active words that invoke passion. Include the gifts God has given you.
  3. Make sure that your vision encompasses your beliefs and matches your goals.
  4. Keep the vision before you—make pictures of it, and create a wallboard of what you envision.
  5. Do not assume that current structures in your life will always look the same. Be open to modifying ways, means, methods, training, direction, locale, techniques, etc.
  6. Create a mission statement of your purpose and function. Your mission statement must be future-oriented, must focus on one common purpose, and should portray your business or ministry as it will be, as if it already exists. Make it one or two sentences, specific to you and not generic.
  7. Be aware of vision killers such as tradition, apathy, fear, short-term thinking, or negativity. You are destined for more and greater things—believe it, and go for it!

I hope these tips will encourage your journey as a leader. Your vision and influence matter in making this world a brighter place.

Nicole-headshotJ. Nicole Williamson is an inspirational speaker, author, and CEO of King’s Lantern International, a motivational ministry. Certified with AACC and a licensed minister with a Bachelor of Theology, she trains in personal development through empowered thinking, authentic identity, and intimacy with God. Her books include The Empowered Woman, Heaven’s Secret of Success, and Freedom in the Light. She and her husband live in the Dallas, Texas area. For more information, see www.kingslantern.com.

 

Leading Through Peace

059209-stress-womanI think most can agree that we live in a world of not only increased technology, but increased stress, too. Peace is often a bliss that escapes us, rather than a constant inward reality.

Nevertheless, whether we are business leaders, ministry leaders, or parents, our peace level is critical to our leadership and influence. Inner chaos or chronic stress not only impacts our ability to think clearly or respond appropriately, but it impacts those around us. Scientific studies have now actually given this a name—it’s called “secondhand stress.”

As leaders, we often look for peace through positive partnerships, harmonious interactions, and smooth transactions. However, conflict is a part of this world, sometimes to an extreme. While the definition of peace includes “freedom from disturbance or oppressive thoughts, harmony, and calm,” learning to keep in peace isn’t always an easy thing. Unchecked levels of personal stress not only wear us out mentally, emotionally, and physically, they can easily perpetuate a state of chaos in those we lead.

I recently took a Critical Incident Stress Management course and was impacted by one simple fact: when conflict or chaos happens, the first thing people seek is safety and stabilization—we seek peace. We look for what will bring us back to a sense of “norm.” And if we can’t find it, we may look to unhealthy ways of self-comforting. The truth is that God created us to function from a place of peace. It is no wonder that the Redeemer He sent to restore us is called the Prince of Peace.

So, how can we both live and lead in peace in the midst of a chaotic world? Here are seven helpful tips:

  1. Seek solutions, not control—We like to control life (and people) around us. And when we can’t, we get stressed and out of peace. Learning to find solutions and implement helpful changes where we can, as well as accepting what we can’t change, is important for abiding in peace. Seek out wisdom from trustworthy voices on ways to ease any conflict that is troubling you.
  1. Practice positivity—Perspective is key! Practice looking at situations from a different perspective and positive outlook. Address any mindsets that are sabotaging your peace, as well as where that mindset came in; hold them up to the clarifying light of God’s truth. Also, take time to do something you enjoy. Laugh as often as you can! Laughter is like emotional aerobics that flings away disturbances of the soul.
  1. Forgive—Bitterness and resentment war against your peace. They wreak havoc in your mind and body, elevating cortisol levels, increasing blood pressures, straining adrenals, and keeping you imprisoned in negative emotions. Forgiveness isn’t approving another’s wrong or sweeping things under the rug. It means that you don’t allow the offense to dominate you or implant a bitter root inside you. Forgiveness means to send the offense away as you commit the situation to God and look to Him for His counsel. He is able to bring about good out of something bad.
  1. Love how God made you—Celebrate who you are and the gifts you have. Don’t compare yourselves to others. 2 Corinthians 10:12 calls comparing ourselves with others as “unwise.” You are unique—celebrate it! Doing so overthrows the voices that want to oppress you with words of unworthiness or lack of value. These war against peace. Your uniqueness is a beautiful facet of His image that He wants to shine.
  1. Practice self-care—Eat healthy and exercise. Choose healthy foods that nourish brain and body activities, rather than junk food that may taste good but actually works against healthy brain and body functions and thus against inner harmony. You may be tempted to reach for an unhealthy “comfort” food when stressed, but healthy food is critical for restoring taxed adrenals. Begin to make those lifestyle changes so that eating healthy is a “norm.” Worry and stress create toxins; these wear you down at the cellular level. Another way to get rid of them is through exercise. Make a habit of 15-30 minutes a day to exercise and release those toxins from your body.
  1. Get organized—Disorder is another factor that creates stress. Set aside a day to put things in order. If you need to, hire someone to help you get organized. Peace is a by-product of order.
  1. Trust God in the uncomfortable—Practice rehearsing God’s promises, as well as past experiences where you have seen God come through for you. Exercise confidence with expectation that He who is faithful will bring you through to an expected end. And remember, the God of Peace will crush Satan under your feet…shortly (Rom. 16:20).

How about you? What do you find helpful to keep your soul in a place of inner peace?

Nicole-headshotJ. Nicole Williamson is an inspirational speaker, author, and CEO of King’s Lantern International, a motivational ministry. Certified with AACC and a licensed minister with a Bachelor of Theology, she trains in personal development through empowered thinking, authentic identity, and intimacy with God. Her books include The Empowered Woman, Heaven’s Secret of Success, and Freedom in the Light. She and her husband live in the Dallas, Texas area. For more information, see www.kingslantern.com.

The Art of Leading with Tenacity

 

SumoNicoleEvery leader will face times of overwhelming opposition and challenge. Problems can arise that seem unsolvable, impassable, or even insurmountable. The question is, how do we respond? Do we move forward with hope or give up? Do we stand firm or cave in? Do we focus on impossibilities, or do we press in to see what possibilities God has waiting to demonstrate on our behalf?

A good leader is tenacious—not in the sense of being obstinate to get what we want, but being resolute in what God has spoken to us. The word tenacity means the quality of being able to grip something firmly. The things we do as leaders in our businesses or ministries aren’t merely about what we offer but also the ideas, dreams, and directions God has given us to effect good and prosper His designs through us.

Life is full of battles. The art of tenacity is a faithful persistence rooted in the intimate knowledge that we are not walking our path alone but with the One who called us to our place and will see us through every challenge. Such challenges include an unseen enemy who works tirelessly to cause us self-doubt in who we are, doubt in what God has said, and even doubt in God Himself!

Many men and women in history who seemed plagued with failure pressed through to succeed…immensely! As a young man, Abraham Lincoln went to war a captain and returned a private. He failed as a businessman, as a lawyer, in his first try for the legislature, and again in his first attempt to be nominated for Congress. He was defeated in his application to be commissioner of the General Land Office, in the senatorial election of 1854, in his efforts for the vice-presidency in 1856, and again in the senatorial election of 1858. Did he feel miserable at such defeat? Yes! But he didn’t quit. Instead, he went on to be one of the greatest of all U.S. presidents.

As a boy, Thomas Edison was called “too stupid to learn anything” by his teachers. As a young man, he was fired from his first two jobs for being “non-productive.” And as an inventor, it took Edison 1,000 unsuccessful attempts in trying to invent the light bulb. Nevertheless, when questioned about the failures, he didn’t see it as 1,000 failed attempts but as 1,000 steps to success!

Finally, As Harriet Beecher Stowe once said, “Never give up, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn.” Who knows? It might just be your next step forward that will be the turning of your tide and thus the tide of those under your leadership.

 

Nicole-headshotJ. Nicole Williamson is an inspirational speaker, author, and CEO of King’s Lantern International, a motivational ministry. Certified with AACC and a licensed minister with a Bachelor of Theology, she trains in personal development through empowered thinking, authentic identity, and intimacy with God. Her books include The Empowered Woman, Heaven’s Secret of Success, and Freedom in the Light. She and her husband live in the Dallas, Texas area. For more information, see www.kingslantern.com.

 

A Leader Stops the Bus at Crazy Town!

 

She’s willing to confront issues and recognize mistakes.

She knows if she has lost her way because her Vision is there to guide her.

When “in action,” she takes time to come up for air—she takes a breath, gets her bearings, and corrects her course as necessary.

She takes breaks, walks away, asks for help.


These thoughts came pouring out in a rush of clarity as I struggled to work on my new coaching program, "Cultivating a Savvy CEO Mindset." Things were just not coming together. All morning, I felt hugely disconnected. Frustrated, I researched more ideas and found myself following a new path of Googled Thought Leaders who seemed to have the answers. I found myself on a sales page that took me down a very familiar road. That road where the signs read: “You’re Not Good Enough!” “You Don’t Know Enough!” “You’re Not Qualified!”

I found myself becoming anxious, doubtful, and ready to hit the Purchase button so I could learn from this “expert” who would finally teach me how to become what I most desired. Suddenly, I was directed out of my reverie by the obnoxious clamoring of the buzzer on my dryer. It broke me out of my stupor and into the awareness of where I found myself. It allowed me the time to take a break and walk away from the glamorous testimonials that seemed to be decrying my lack of worth.

As I folded the laundry, I told the voices plaguing me to STOP! The words at the top of this page shouted in my head, forced me to grab a piece of paper, and write them down to consider their meaning.

Dryer and Inspiration blog post

In that moment, I stopped the bus at Crazy Town…and so can you!

I confronted the insidious Voice inside my head who was distracting me. I prayed for help—and God spoke.

Writing a blog post on Leadership was on my “Must-Do” list today, to share with you that, for a short while, I lost my way and arrived in Crazy Town.

I made a mistake by looking for new information rather than focusing on what I know is true for me and what I have to share with others.

I recognized this because my Vision and Purpose is to share what’s true for me as a Mom-preneur, to allow myself to be my most authentic self and to create a community for women who want the same. My Vision doesn’t allow me to run in the circles of double-mindedness and doubt, but to live in the Divine Favor and Protection of Christ who is Love. His words of love can be convicting but never negative or mean-spirited. His words build us up, not break us down.

Crazy Town is that place where your mind swirls with negativity and hopelessness. It says, “I’m not enough.” Christ tells me I can do all things through Him—He is my strength. He’s not the mayor of Crazy Town. When I need help, I just call out His name.

Being in action, I focused on my goal. By setting a timer, I was able to literally come up for air and assess my mental whereabouts—I was waaaay off course in the swirling ocean current of Not Good Enough.

Walking away from the computer and getting out of my brain and the pain I was in by performing a simple, menial task like folding laundry allowed me to stop, assess, ask for help, course correct, and recognize God’s Divine hand holding me and pointing in the right direction.

I hope you will take time to do the same!

Shannon Marketing photo 2Shannon Spencer is the Founder and CEO of The Savvy Woman Business Network, Executive Coach, Joy Strategist and Marketplace Minister. A life-long entrepreneur who is passionate about shining the light of Christ through all she does, she has a strong background in retail management and specialized in Mental Health and Wellness. Shannon lives in the wine country of Kennewick, Washington with her amazing husband and talented teenagers, where she teaches and empowers Christian Mom-preneurs to fulfill their missions at home and through their work with joy. Kingdom living is her passion. Find out more about Shannon—and her newest program, Cultivating a CEO Mindset for Savvy Mom-preneurs—at www.TheSavvyWoman.org.