Month: August 2012



All of us have had them or at least have experienced the angst of them.  Jobs you hate to do.  Realistically, there isn’t any job or career in the world that you will love 100% of the time.  Everything we do has at least a little part of it that you’d rather put on the shelf and leave alone.  But there are benefits to the “hate-part” of your job.

For me, the worst job I ever had was a one-day stint as a prep cook at an Italian restaurant.  Chopping, dicing, cutting – at that was only  my fingers.  The kitchen was hot and the chef was Jerry Garcia, back from the dead (no pun intended).  But the benefits of having even that one day gig were plentiful.  They came in the form of 3 learning’s:

First, I learned what I didn’t want to do.  This is obvious when you’re doing a job that isn’t a fit.  You instinctively know that you’ll be job-hunting again soon.

Second, I learned not to go after the money.  My brother worked at the restaurant at the time and got me the job.  After his first week, he brought home a paycheck that was double what I was making at the time.  I went after the money and was miserable.

Third, I learned how to quit gracefully.  After that first day, I went to my boss, thanked him for the opportunity and explained that if I were to stay, it would hold back the productivity of the kitchen and hurt his business.  I didn’t criticize the job, his chef or the patrons.  I simply stated why I felt it wouldn’t work and that I’d decided not to come back.  I felt bad but I knew it was the right thing.

What jobs have you had that you absolutely hated?




Have you ever felt trapped?  I mean, really trapped.  The bills are coming due and you’re moneyless.  The child’s behavior problem is out of control and you’re desperate.  The spouse’s distance is wider than the Grand Canyon and you’re depressed.  You team has no idea how to solve the glitch in the program.  You’re trapped.  Out of options. Just like Moses against the Red Sea.

You remember the Bible story.  A large group of people are at the edge of the Red Sea, hemmed in by the water to the West and a large mountain range to the East.  The Egyptian army is coming down the hill and there is literally no where to go.  But then, God’s intervention allows for an opening and – ala Charlton Heston – you are shown the way out, or rather through.  (Click Here for the Bible Story).

Just like Moses, here are some ways to lead your team out of feeling trapped.

1 – Stop complaining and start brainstorming.  The people in the Bible story freaked out and complained about their situation.  Complaining only wastes thinking energy because it taps into our negative emotional bank.  Leaders think before they speak and use their words to open the doors to possibilities.

2 – Be calm no matter what.  Moses didn’t allow the people’s desperation sway his focus.  Moses kept his emotions in check as he placed his trust in being shown a solution.  Leaders know that eventually a solution or way out will show up.

3 – Take small, simple action.  Moses took what was in his hand and made a simple motion on the water.  When stuck, leaders ask their team simple questions to help discover simple actions.  They prioritize what needs to or can get done now and are strategic in their motions. (Click here to read a post on simple daily action).

4 – Place your trust in something greater.  God knew what He was doing.  He used Moses’ small action to create a HUGE opening.  Leaders know that the best way to lead is to do your best and leave the results up to God.

Question:  What are some other ways you solved problems? Leave a comment above.




I was meeting with a friend who was concerned about, what she finally called “Control Issues.”  She wants to know everything about what is happening in our church and has a deep desire to see that everything runs well.  She doesn’t want to micro manage.  In fact, she doesn’t have a history of that.  She doesn’t want to take over or run the shop.  She simply loves our church and has wonderful solutions toward making our ministry even more effective.  As we talked, it dawned on me that she was struggling with the difference between having control issues and being controlling.

Having control issues means you have concern about many things and you think you have the best answer to fix any problem.  Being controlling means you act out on those opinions by taking over, usually at the detriment of the person in charge.  Having control issues can be good – being controlling is mostly bad.  So how do you keep your control issues from turning into being controlling?  Here are 5 ways:

1)  Change your perspective and see that your concern can be a good thing.  If it doesn’t come from a desperate need to feel important or popular,  you may have some great ideas!  If you have opinions about a lot of things, it may also mean that you are wired to be a good leader if you can think before you speak or act.

2)  Accept the fact the you don’t always have the best answer.  I’ve had to grapple with this one.  I my pride, I think that my solution is the perfect one.  Often times, my answer is only the start and it takes my team to really come up with the best solution.

3)  Ask yourself if you have the right to dive in and take over.  Sometimes, in very rare cases, it may be good and necessary to jump in but only when your responsible for that area.  Most of the time, controllers are looking over the fence at other people’s business and break that boundary by offering opinions when they are not asked for or welcomed.

4)  Ask permission to share you thoughts.  You’re not the one responsible for every area, department or event in the world.  People who are controlling feel the need to voice their opinion all the time which inserts them into other peoples business.  If you have a good idea, say, “I think I could help.  Do you want to hear  my opinion?”  This then allows for conversation because you’ve disarmed the person in charge.

5)  Most importantly, resign as general manager of the universe.  If you’re a person of faith, you know that God is ultimately in control of everything.  You also know that the minutia of the daily grind really doesn’t matter in the large scheme of things.  It may not be the end of the world to have a program or ministry or product launch bump along and not be perfect.  You obviously want to do your best in any area in which you’ve been given responsibility, but God is and always will love you, even if your idea falls flat on its face.

Question:  “Do you feel that you are controlling or simply have control issues?”  Leave a comment …