I wrote Monday about the most impactful message we heard when we went to Willow Creek’s Leadership Summit this summer. I came home from the summit inspired, informed, and motivated to apply all of the things.
However I wasn’t expecting for anyone to apply anythings to, well… ME! Within 24 hours of our return, not one, but two different friends individually decided they needed to have a “crucial conversation” with me. Continue reading
Recently we met for dinner with a young couple we love whose marriage is in crisis.
Another friend’s teenage son entered rehab.
Two had to fire employees.
One needs to break up with her boyfriend.
AAAAARRRGGGHHH! For the love of world peace!
In each of these situations a crucial conversation (or series of them) was called for. Conversations where emotions ran high. Sometimes there was a difference of opinion. Perhaps there was hard truth that needed to be clearly, but gently communicated.
John and I often repeat something our friend Nancy Beach once said: “Leadership is a series of hard conversations.” I think that might as well be “LIFE is a series of hard conversations.”
In August we took a large group from our church to the annual Leadership Summit at Willow Creek. The most pertinent talk for many of us was called “Crucial Conversations” by Joseph Grenny.
He said, any time you find yourself stuck, there are crucial conversations you’re not having, or not having well. Continue reading
My husband John has been in the leadership boxing ring with a maddening challenge for the past couple years.
I’m on the sidelines, literally jumping up and down, shadow-boxing in our kitchen and yelling “Go to the mattresses!” when he reports the latest crazy atrocities at the end of a day.
I’m a DO-er!! I want to take out an Uzzi and FIX this now! Ok, as a Jesus-follower that might not be the best plan, but for the love of justice!!!
Trying to ratchet back the passion and put on the mantel of patience John seems to wear so easily, I’ve been reflecting on the different responses to THE ROCK AND A HARD PLACE LEADERSHIP CHALLENGES I see in Scripture. Here are three I’ve come up with: Continue reading
In our relationship John and I often say that the emotional trajectory of my typical day looks like this:
And John’s emotional trajectory looks like this:
So when a young woman I mentor asked if she could come over and talk to us about how John has navigated the crises and criticism of leadership with a “non-anxious presence” and how I have achieved the victory of not, you know…killing, any of those critics, we said, “of course!”
John’s temperament just naturally sets him up better for criticism, but he also has a lot of wisdom to share and I have a lot to learn. Our conversation made me reflect on some of the lessons
I’ve learned I am trying to learn about dealing with criticism.
Here are a few: Continue reading
John likes to say he grew up in the Simpson family and I grew up in the Cleaver family. For those of you born before this century that’s the Leave-it-to-Beaver-all-american-solve-the-oh-so-dramatic-problem-of-someone-telling-a-white-lie-in-30-minutes-and-live-happily-ever-after-TV-family-of-the-1960’s.
I share that only because we’re coming up on Thanksgiving and Christmas and every holiday that involves families gathering together.
Some of us have dreams that look like this:
But reality can often look like this:
And as wonderful as my family is, and as much as I’d like to think they’re perfect, I’m resigned to face the truth that there is no such thing as a fully functional family. We live in a broken world and we’re a broken people – dysfunctional in some way, every one of us.
The other day I wrote about “good” fights. The times when somehow, against all odds, and all our emotion, and in spite of our bent towards holding grudges, with God’s help, we address conflict and come out on the other side…Maybe more whole. More compassionate. With a better understanding of grace. With a little clearer picture of redemption.
I outlined some steps that have been helpful to me, but…”1,2,3 steps” are always dangerous. I really wish we lived in a “1,2,3 voila!” world, but we don’t.
What about when a “good fight” goes bad?
Many years ago when I was first learning about what Jesus would ask of me regarding conflict I had a situation with a neighbor friend involving our kids. I really, truly felt I had gone through each of the steps to handle our disagreement in a healthy way.
I prayed like crazy! I examined my heart and thought I owned my part! I was calm for Pete’s sake!! I was warmly assertive and humble, darn it!
We sat at my kitchen table and you know how she responded? Continue reading
I think I had a pretty good fight recently. Not great, but it was progress. Let me backtrack.
Someone did something that made me, well… furious!
I grew up in a home where there was very little conflict, and when there was, we ignored it.
You know, like a kid who thinks if he closes his eyes no one will see him. So conflict’s not really been my thing. It’s had to be a growing edge for me as an adult.
And I’ve done it wrong. A. Lot.
When someone said something thoughtless, or did something mean, or (gasp!) was controlling or dismissive or disagreed with me…
I’ve done the angry email thing and the passive-aggressive thing, and the withdraw and punish thing…
See, I told you I was bad at this!
But the other day, once I settled down, I experienced a tiny (and I mean tiny) victory. Continue reading
John said, “I think you need to do a Matthew 18:15.”
No, no, NO! Anything but that! Not that Uncomfortable Thing. Not that Truth-Telling thing. Not admitting that someone has the power to actually ding me.
“If a fellow believer hurts you, go and tell him—work it out between the two of you. If he listens, you’ve made a friend. If he won’t listen, take one or two others along so that the presence of witnesses will keep things honest, and try again.” Mt. 18:15, 16 MSG
Those are some of the sentences I’d like to cut out of my Bible.
The other day I was wrestling (and by that I mean full body Hulk Hogan throw-down wrestling) with the tangled Christmas lights outside by the prickly pokey evergreens in front of our house. My hands numb, my nose drippy.
And under my frosty breath I muttered “He never helps with this. If any decorating is going to get done it has to be me. Always me doing all the work to make us Christmas-ready.”
I know. My problems are so real!