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Choosing A Response

July 11, 2019
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Frustrated woman looking at cell phone, considering how to respond.

I struggle with crafting a good response when my paradigm of the world is challenged. But, how I respond is an important factor when representing the organizations I help lead. The easiest “out” is to be silent and not engage in the conversation, especially publicly in places like social media. 

But staying silent does not help change the world, and it just makes me feel like a coward. 

Whenever I am faced with the temptation to respond harshly to an opposing world view, I like to do what I call a “heart check” of myself. These are the thought strategies I’ve found most helpful:

  • Play the devil’s advocate and seek to understand the other party. If I were in their shoes (had grown up where or when they did) would I see it differently? I remember often being very critical of my parent’s conservative handling of their possessions. But I did not grow up during one of our nation’s worst economic depressions. They did. 
  • Consider the end goal. Is my goal to change the other party’s mind or tear them down and make them look like a fool? When I do the latter I most always end up looking and feeling like the fool myself.
  • If I am honest, am I able to identify any good motives in the other person’s position? Knowing that there are good intentions does not always bring agreement. However, it sure opens the door to understanding and a civil debate of the issues.

If these measures bring no hope of understanding, or making the other person feel understood, then my wisest choice might be to not engage in the discussion. The engagement will possibly just make me angry and bitter, and I don’t want that spilling over into my other relationships. 

“Even fools are thought wise if they keep silent, and discerning if they hold their tongues.”

Proverbs 17:28

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Rear View Mirror Design

Are You Using Your Rear View Mirror?

May 17, 2019
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Effective leadership requires a 360 degree view. Vision and seeing forward is a integral ingredient of effective leadership. Equally as important is seeing what you are leaving in your wake. I call this self awareness. Are we willing to look in the rear view mirror of life and see how we affect others by our words, attitudes and actions?

For some, self awareness is intuitive and for others, not so much.

Now don’t get me wrong, we all have our blind spots. We all occasionally find ourselves dealing with pride, and selfishness. Sometimes we don’t notice the unhealthy things we are doing that may affect ourselves and others. But this does not have to be the norm.

Just like a good car operator we need to stop and check our mirrors when navigating the relationships in our life. Relational wrecks can be as destructive as the ones in our automobile. They can often be avoided though, by slowing down and checking your mirrors once in awhile to see if you have run someone off the road, or worse yet run them over. The only way to know this is to glance back, while still keeping our eyes on the road.


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