SURVEY: Why don’t we mentor others?

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I am curious about what keeps us from investing in others more. I think most of us believe it is important, but I think many of us get derailed in the process and don’t actually invest in others in an intentional way. Why not?

Please take this survey (its only 1 question) and help me understand the barriers that keep us from mentoring others.

My goal is to develop some resources and tools to help us push through these barriers to help more people invest in more people.

Thanks! You can take the survey by clicking here.  I will post results to the survey and some potential solutions here at DougHalcomb.com soon.

Don’t make a splash!

What if you could do better than "making a splash" in life?

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Last night I was watching Olympic diving with my family and I was impressed with the ability of those divers. Amazing talent and hard work got them to the Olympics and those athletes were all trying to do their best. I am glad my kids got to see it. However, what I really wanted to see was some Olympic divers doing cannonballs and belly flops. I think that would be awesome! Those kinds of dives would get medals from me. The bigger the splash the better the score.

People love seeing splashes and people love making splashes. Just watch someone walking by a lake and I bet you that they will pick up a rock and throw it in. We like to make a splash. I am convinced that the concept of the wishing well came from someone who saw some water, ran out of rocks, and was willing to throw in money just to make a splash. Splashes are fun. Splashes are awesome. We love seeing a splash and we love making a splash, and I don’t think we ever grow out of that love of making a splash.

I remember as a kid being at a pond one day on a camping trip. My dad remarked how the water was like glass because it was so still and so calm. My reaction was the same as any other young kid: “I can change that!” I immediately started throwing rocks in to make as big of a splash as I could. The fishermen at the pond that day loved it, I’m sure. Then my dad pointed out that every rock I threw didn’t just make a splash, it also created ripples. I never noticed that before but it was obvious that day because the water was so calm. The ripples were amazing. They went as far as I could see on that pond. My eyes were redirected from the epicenter of the splash to the ripples that cascaded out from the point of impact. I thought it was pretty cool…even if the fisherman continued to glare at me. Each rock thrown in the still water started ripples that went and went and went all the way across the pond. I was fascinated, but I went back to making splashes pretty quick.

We love to make a splash. It is what many of us want to do in life. We want to “make a splash”; we want to get noticed. We crave achievement and significance and we think that “making a splash” is the way to do it. We want to contribute something to the pond that makes a splash and draws people’s attention to us.

But what if there was something better we could contribute to the pond? What if there was something bigger we could contribute to life? What if we could do better than just “making a splash” in life? What if we could make some ripples? What if we could contribute something to the world that had a rippling effect that went further than our little circle? What if we could make a ripple that made a difference even further than the water we see right in front of us? I think we have that opportunity every day. I believe that when we invest our life in the life of another person we create a ripple that goes beyond ourselves.

I want to challenge you to think about creating a ripple by investing in someone. Rather than trying to “make a splash” by getting noticed or by achieving something yourself, find someone and try and find a way to help them move their story forward. Find a way to help them grow. Find a way to help them make a difference. Try to make a difference by making a difference in someone else. When you impact someone else’s life it has a rippling effect that cascades out beyond the point of impact. Who is someone you could invest in? What could you do today to make a difference in someone else’s life?

 

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A Leadership Lesson From a Sinking Car

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Texas has had a lot of rain recently so I have seen several posts and reports about what to do if you find yourself in a car that is sinking or has already been submerged. You can check out the details to be prepared for such an emergency here at the website The Art of Manliness.

NOTE: the chances of searching for this info when the emergency is happening is not likely, so it is one of things that you prepare for with the chance that you will never need, but it could save your life if are prepared.

One thing stood out to me in the steps as a very important leadership lesson. Reading the article it addresses what to do if you have passengers in the car with you. How do you get them out safely?

The article said this: “The first goal is to keep them calm. Take control of the situation by explaining exactly what you’re about to do. When people see there’s a plan, they’ll usually calm down.”

Did you see the leadership principle there? It is an important one that applies to more than just a sinking car. It could apply anywhere you have an opportunity to lead. Sometimes the best thing you can do to calm and rally people is to have a plan that is well communicated. Know what to do, and communicate that plan to others well, and it can have a calming effect on people. It might be the best thing you could do for the people you lead is to have a plan that is well informed and well communicated.

I read a quote from Tom Paterson recently that stuck with me: “If you plan you work, and work your plan,  your plan will work.”

Questions to Consider:

  • Are you doing more than just worrying about worst-case scenarios?
  • Are you planning and preparing?
  • Where in your life do you need a plan?
  • And what can you do to communicate that plan well to the ones you lead?

 

Contact Me: If I can ever help you in the planning process for you or for your church or organization, please contact me and lets have a conversation of how I could help. Lets me help you plan and prepare.

Lessons from a Rubik’s Cube about Leadership and Problem Solving

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When I was a kid I was given a Rubik’s Cube for Christmas from my parents.  It was a huge pop culture craze then and all my friends had one.  As hard as I tried, I just couldn’t solve the Rubik’s Cube.  It was a problem I never could solve as a kid.  I could only get one side of the colors to line up, but couldn’t get all the colors to line up on every side unless I took it a apart of took off the stickers and rearranged them. I could only solve one side but the rest were a mess.

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The next year, I was given another Rubik’s Cube but this time instead of the 9 colors per side it had 16 colors per side.  Talk about being defeated.  Gee thanks, Mom and Dad!  I already couldn’t solve the Rubik’s Cube and now the problem just got harder.

That is a lot like leadership.  As you are in process of solving one problem, someone takes it out of your hand and puts a larger more complex problem in your hands.  That is the nature of problem solving as a leader.

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However, the Rubik’s Cube does teach us a valuable lesson in leadership, and it is a lesson we must be aware of as we seek to be a problem solver.

When we are solving a problem we must always think of the big picture.  As we make decisions and look for solutions to get things to line up around the problem at hand, we may make decisions that mess up the colors and mess up the solutions for other parts or the Rubik’s Cubes that are our organizations.

The key is to step back and think about the implications of our decisions.  The goal is not simply to solve the problem but to make the organization better.  The bigger problem to solve is always the end result of the mission of the organization.

Consider these questions:

  • What problems are you trying to solve right now?
  • What are the ripples of your potential solutions?
  • What will the impact of your choices be on the entire organization and the furthering of this mission of the organization?
  • How will it impact the culture of the organization?

Remember: Solutions are possible but big-picture perspective is always required.

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A Wilderness Wanderer’s Prayer

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At some point in our life we all find ourselves in a wilderness place.  A place that is dark, unknown, and not a place where we would purposely choose to go.  It can feel like the worst place to be as we are are wandering looking for direction, wondering what God is doing, and waiting for something to change.

The good news is that God does some of His best work in wilderness places.  When you remember that God is with you and for you, when you realize that there is purpose in this place because He is present in this place, you can discover that the wilderness can become the best worst place you could ever be.

I found myself in a wilderness place several years ago as I processed some major life decisions.  I was overwhelmed and felt like I was wandering through that season of life.  I was wondering what God was doing and I was waiting for direction.  I was overwhelmed and felt lost.

Thankfully, I had three guys who were traveling companions during that leg of the journey.  Even though we lived in different cities very far fem each other, we decided to meet together for several days in a hotel room in North Carolina to be together, seek direction together, and encourage each another on the journey.  I am very thankful for my three friends and the role that weekend played in helping me navigate that wilderness.

During those couple of days together, one of them gave us a copy of a prayer by Thomas Merton.  I keep it on the bulletin board above my desk and it has served me well as a wilderness wanderer’s prayer.

Here is that prayer:

A PRAYER: By Thomas Merton

My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going.
I do not see the road ahead of me.
I cannot know for certain where it will end.
Nor do I really know myself…and the fact that I think I am following Your will does not mean that I am actually doing so.

But I believe that the desire to please You does in fact please you.
And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing.
I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire.
And I know that, if I do this, You will lead me by the right road,
though I may know nothing about it.

Therefore I will trust You always though I may seem to be lost
and in the shadow of death.
I will not fear, for You are ever with me,
and You will never leave me to face my perils alone.

 

Question:  What gives you hope and help when you find yourself wandering, wondering, and waiting in the wilderness?

*If you would like to watch the sermon series called The Wander Years, you can watch them on the Live Oak Community Church website. It is a 7 week series that runs April 12 through May 24, 2015.

Simple Mentoring Plan

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When you hear the word “mentor” what comes to mind?  What I really wish you pictured when you hear the word “mentor” is yourself.  I think everyone has something to offer someone, and everyone needs someone investing in them.  But sadly, I think many people don’t picture themselves as a mentor and don’t step up to invest in someone else.

I am very curious at why is mentoring so hard for people.  Why is it we deselect ourselves from being a mentor?  Is it that we think we have nothing to offer?  Is it that we think no one would be interested in what we have to offer?  Are we too busy to offer what we have?  What is it?  Give your answer here to let me know what keeps you from mentoring or mentoring more.  VOTE NOW

I think it could be that we are intimidated by the word “mentor” so we shy away from it.  Or maybe the term intimidates us for other reasons.  Maybe we have complicated what mentoring actually looks like to where we think we don’t have the time or the stuff needed to be a mentor.

Again, I think everyone has something to offer, so let me try and give you a simple statement to help you think of what this could look like.  Using this simple framework every day could help you think through a simple step you could take to mentor someone today and everyday.

Learn & grow all you can, Identify whoever you can, Invest in them as much as you, and do that for as long as you can.

What if it really is that simple?

What could you do today to learn and grow all you can?  Who could be on the receiving end of your investment today?  How could you invest in someone and walk with them for the long haul?

It Is Not Good For A Man To Eat BBQ Alone

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One of my weekly habits for the past couple of years has been to go to Rudy’s BBQ on Friday mornings to read and reflect on scripture while eating a breakfast taco. One of the things we talk about a lot at Live Oak Community Church is the importance of engaging the scriptures.  We like to say “when you engage God’s Word, God engages with you.”

One day I decided that it is not good for a man to eat BBQ alone, so I decided to make an open invitation to any guys who wanted to join me to connect to God’s Word and to each other.  One reason is I think we were created for connection with each other and its good to read the Bible together.  Another reason I decided to invite any guys to join me is because it is I believe in mentoring.  For years I was intimidated by the idea of mentoring, but then I realized that sometimes mentoring is as simple as inviting someone to join in on something you are already doing, reading, or studying.  Just invite someone to join you.

So if you live in Lubbock, Texas, you are invited to join me on most Friday mornings from 7:30 to 8am at Rudy’s BBQ to connect with God’s Word and connect with some other guys as we read and reflect on some scripture together. Right now we are reading through Philippians.

So bring your Bible, come to Rudy’s this Friday morning and most any Friday morning at 7:30 to 8am, buy a breakfast taco or two and something to drink, and lets connect.

Everybody needs to be connected to somebody.

I Triple-Dog Dare You

Joseph Who

There are some awesome nicknames in the world of sports.  Gordie Howe is “Mr Hockey” and Wayne Gretzky is “the Great One”.  Pete Rose is “Charlie Hustle” and Charles Barkley is “the Round Mound of Rebound”.  George Herman Ruth earned two nicknames: “Babe” Ruth  and “The Great Bambino”.  Have you ever earned a new nickname?

I have earned a few nicknames over the years.  We earn nicknames based on one of two reasons.  Some of my nicknames have come from varieties on my name (Dougie, Doug E Fresh, Snuggie Dougie, etc.)  I have also earned some nicknames based on things I have done and roles I have played (Papa, Chappy, etc).  *NOTE: No permission has been given to any individual to use any one of these nicknames in referring to me without expressed written consent.

There was a guy you can read about in the Bible whose name was Joseph and he earned a new nickname. Its not the Joseph with the coat of many colors and its not the Joseph that you would have in your nativity scene.  Its a different Joseph.  You can read about it in Acts 4:36-37 –

Joseph, a Levite from Cyprus, whom the apostles called Barnabas (which means “son of encouragement”), sold a field he owned and brought the money and put it at the apostles’ feet.

Joseph gets a new nickname from the Apostles and its not a play off of his given name.  His new nickname wasn’t just because of what he did, rather it was what he did for others.  He gets a new nickname based on the impact he made in others lives.  We are told in that passage that the name Barnabas means “son of encouragement”.  Literally, in the Greek language, he “came along side others.” Barnabas was a guy who encouraged others; he moved them forward.  You can read the rest of his story in the book of Acts as he lives a life true to his nickname (Acts 4:32-37; 9:1-31; 11:19-30; 12:25-13:12; 13:13-51; 14:1-28; 15:1-35; 15:36-41).

Wouldn’t it be awesome if we could all earn a new nickname because of how well we invested in others? Most people want to make a name for themselves in life.  What if you lived to make a name for others? Barnabas did!

Here is my challenge for you: I dare you to do something that earns you a nickname based on how well you invest in others.

 

Preview: Joseph Who?

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Most New Year’s resolutions are about making our life better. What if this year we made a resolution to make someone else’s life better? What if we committed to investing our life in someone else?

In a brand new 4 week series called Joseph Who?, Live Oak Community Church will look together at a role model from the Bible who lived to make a name for others, rather than trying to make a name for himself. He will be our role model of showing us how to invest in others relationally. The Series begins on January 25th.  Then on February 15th Live Oak has what we call NEXT GEN Sunday  and it will also be the conclusion of the Joseph Who? series. We believe that God wants us to focus on investing in the next generation and this Sunday will challenge us to invest in kids and students personally through relationships, as well as challenging kids and students to connect to adult followers of Jesus as examples and mentors in life and faith.

I am really excited about this topic of mentoring as I have been thinking about since studying mentoring while working on my Master of Arts of Global Leadership at Fuller Seminary.  It was the subject of my final paper.  I have been writing a book about it, also called Joseph Who? that I hope will be finished this year. But the main reason I am so excited is that I believe we need this.  I need this and so do you. Everybody needs this. Everybody needs to be connected to somebody. We need to be people who are committed to connecting to other people for the purpose of developing them, discipling them, investing in them.  We need to be about others.  Everybody needs somebody investing in them and everybody needs to be investing in somebody.

Throughout the series I will be giving some practical resources, reflection questions, and a Joseph Who? Bible Reading plan, so check be here through out the series, and through the year to further this focus on investing in others.