Where I stand now – Leadership

Leadership. I’ve learned so much about this, both from the things I’ve been taught, the things I’ve observed in others, or the things I’ve learned by teaching others.

I taught a lesson to the youth at my church a couple months back where we watched a YouTube video called “The First Follower.” Looking back, that was one of those teaching moments that probably means much more to the teacher than the students.

I have taken leadership roles in the past for a number of reasons, sometimes because no one else will, sometimes because I felt the need to be in charge, and sometimes just because I really wanted to see a mission succeed and saw an opportunity for myself to help achieve it. More often than not, though, my attempts at “leading,” especially when it’s a position when I’m “in charge” have been met with a bit of frustration.

I’m finding more and more that I long to be that “first follower.” I long to not just find something and go achieve it, but to find a cause that not only I, but someone else, wants to achieve, and then to go do it together. Teams. Partnerships. I love that. I love not going alone.

It’s becoming central to a lot of my wants and dreams. One of the ones I remember the most was when I thought up, “to share my story with a room full of people.” That was shortly followed by, “To help someone else share their story with a room full of people.” In reality, the second one excites me more. It’s not that my story doesn’t have value, but if my story can reach a room full of people, what would it be like if my story could affect a few people who then have the courage to share their story with a room full of people… EACH!? That’s what I want. That’s how I want to lead.

In my business, that’s become clear to me as a part of my consulting work is to help companies do what they do best… better. To use technology, and even other areas I have understanding in, or have connections in, to help organizations excel. To see them succeed is to see me succeed.

Is that leadership? I guess so. Developing plans for others, developing goals for others, and listening are on this list of top strengths of mine from a survey I took awhile back. Lots of focus on others, very little on myself. Perhaps that’s why I don’t get that “much” out of what is really true success for myself. I probably should get more. But I have also learned that if I can find what makes me come alive, and go do that, I will be doing what I need to do.

I love to lead others to explore their ability to lead. Whether their “leading” is getting up front and taking a team to the championship, sharing one’s faith, or just being comfortable in one’s skin, that’s what I long to do. It applies to what I do at work, what I do with youth, what I want to do in my family, and where I really want to serve in places all around my life – church, community, school, business… it’s all over the place.

Anyways, that’s where I’m at here. Vague, yet much clearer than before. Even to the point that I’m not far from finding it as part of my purpose. Actually, I know it is. I just don’t have a nice sentance for it yet.

Where I stand now – Level of Motivation

This is a tough one. I see so much potential. I have several specific goals, both for my business/professional life and for my personal life. Some of them even cross that imaginary line and affect all of my life. A few of them I’ve put into goal planning sheets, and some others I’ve just stepped up and done because I knew they needed to just be stood up to and done. But then there’s the ones I know will take a lot of work, a lot of planning, and a good plan that could very well fail. I’m much more comfortable dreaming and even prioritizing dreams than I am turning them into actionable plans.

I want so much more right now. I see the way to get there. But I often feel I’m going at it alone. I know I have friends, I have a coach, I even have customers that will sit down and give me advice. I have a God that has plans and a future for me, and that also sets steps before to take that lead to that plan and that future. But the question that gets me still seems to be, how to I get from here to there?

Much of it is busyness. I’m still busy doing things to keep myself busy and bring in immediate income.

But beyond business, I think there’s something bigger. I think there is still fear of letting the plan be in control. Obviously not above God’s plan, but accepting the responsibility that even He wants me to step up and get from here to there. He wants me to trust him, to throw it all in, to risk much more than having to work extra hard to pay the bills.

I guess one thing I want is someone to walk this journey with. I’ve opened up much more to my wife, and even to a few friends, about ideas and plans, but that just seems to be sharing on the personal side. I don’t know if I want a partner, an investor, a what… but I want someone I can develop this plan with, someone else who has an investment. As I look at that, though… I have to ask…

Why do I feel I need that? And do I? Truly? Is that “part of the plan?”

If it is part of the plan, then I should make plans to make it happen. It could also just be fear, wanting someone else to pony up to the risk, to risk failure and success alongside of me.

So that’s where I’m at. It’s not where I want to be, but it’s further than I was. As I said at the start, this is a tough one.

Some questions I want to answer…

  • What does motivate me?
  • Who motivates me?
  • What kind of motivation lasts for me, both short term and long?
  • Can I make it a goal to find motivation that works for me?
  • Do I want to be motivated? Really?

So anyways, enough about that for now.

From Where I'm Standing Now – Self Confidence

I think we all have plenty of opportunities to stop for a moment and ponder where we are in life right now. So many times, for me at least, I didn’t want to know. I don’t want to look at where I am, where I could be, and how I was either moving away from that point or just not moving at all. So I didn’t think about it. That’s one sure way to never get where you want to go. Maybe it’s a guy thing – like not wanting to look at a map or ask for directions – but I think it’s probably rather universal to the human condition, at least to the human condition left to it’s own. I am seeing God open up doors in my life into rooms that I otherwise would be afraid to enter because of the mess I might find inside, but with his help and assurance, I can enter them, clean house, and then possibly even invite a guest in to share the experience with me in a useful way. God truly can use the worst or dirtiest experiences or parts of our lives for His greatest glory.

I’m continuing that journey of standing on the mountaintop and looking around to see where I’ve been, how I got here, and where I’m going. Or maybe it’s not a mountaintop. Maybe it’s a hill. Ok… let’s be honest. Maybe I’m just stepping up on a dirt clod in some cases. But my head is above water, I can look around for a minute, and this is good.

My growth up to this point in terms of SELF CONFIDENCE

Much of this I’m sure is related to my growth up to this point in terms of Self Image. How can one be confident in one’s self if one does not know who one’s self is? I have gone for the majority of my life believing lies and only half-accepting truths. As I continue to grow to believe that I do have value and that I am a full fledged adopted son of The King, my confidence in myself grows as well. I still struggle with being comfortable in my own skin (literally at times), but I’m much more aware of that battle, which makes it more of a fight than a struggle, if that word differentiation means anything.

Take this last week for example. I made a mistake in the “sales process” with a new customer and wound up billing them for something we hadn’t fully discussed. They caught it, and confronted me about it through a polite email. In the past, I would have either (1) launched into an explanation as to why the cost was justified and how it was a part of doing business with me or (2 – more probable) just told them to ignore it and let it go. This time I did neither of those two. I instead scheduled a meeting to review the issue. As we sat down, we went back to “the list” of what I had originally proposed we do, and saw that we were making significant progress on it. My client was not in fact mad at me… they are overjoyed at the work we’re doing. When it came to the invoiced item in question, their problem with it was first of all that we hadn’t discussed it, and second of all that they didn’t feel they wanted that service. Again, I could have backed down, tucked my tail between my legs, and “lived to fight another day,” probably through a defensive email.

Instead I pushed on… “Ok,” I said, “I see your point. But I have to do something. This is part of what I consider taking care of your business and it’s a way that I ‘cover the cost’ of some of the tools we purchase to even be available to service you. What can we do?” The discussion continued. Eventually, I blurted out something like, “Well, the going rate for this service on a purely hourly basis is $___ an hour.” ($30 an hour more than I was currently working for) The next words shocked me.

“Let’s do that. I’m totally fine with that… Your customers want options,” she told me. I may think that the best way to do something is this way, but that may not (and will not) work for every customer. Just because that doesn’t work doesn’t mean I need to give up. I can press on, ask the hard question, get the customer involved in answering the problem. And I did it! I now have a client who doesn’t pay me a little service fee each month to cover my cost but instead covers my costs through a higher hourly rate. Everyone is happy, content, and feels they have been heard and their issues addressed.

That is a very specific place where I see my self confidence growing. Before, I would not have pushed through that door. I would have considered it shut and locked, when in fact the customer just had her foot against it, preventing me from breaking and entering without first asking permission. I used the things I’ve been learning, put them to action, and wound up right where I needed to be.

This self-confidence thing applies to many other areas of life. I’ve seen it dramatically influencing what I’m willing to talk about via email versus phone or in person discussions. I’ve used emails and written words too often to try to avoid direct confrontation, and something always gets lost in translation.

I took a personality test as part of my coaching process. My greatest strength, it said, was listening. Along with that strength came character qualities such as passive, not liking change that isn’t well supported, and so on. Those are not qualities I thought I admired about myself, but as I see that they aren’t necessarily bad, when combined with a life lived on purpose that doesn’t just “stop living” when things get hard, I see that they truly are strengths and not signs of weakness. I am interested to see if things change should I re-take that test at some later date, but I value knowing that listening is a quality I’m good at; it not only affirms my value, but it gives me something to relish doing when given the opportunity.

So all that said, my self confidence is on the rise. As is my need for a basis for that self confidence. I am confident in myself because I am created with value, because I have something to offer, and because people enjoy my company. I need not be afraid of being talked down, discouraged, or even told “no.” Those words do not determine or change my value; they give me opportunities to better myself, to examine weaknesses and make them strengths, and to boldly go where no Chet Cromer has gone before. I’m loving it.

But it sure isn’t easy. 🙂

But as David said in the Bible…

The Lord is with me, I will not be afraid;
What can mere mortals do to me?
The Lord is with me, He is my helper;
I look in triumph on my enemies.

My enemies are not often specific people. They are rather attitudes such as despair, loneliness, doubt, disappointment, and isolation. I think they still fit in this passage.. what can they do to me? What power do they have over me? Only that which I have given them, and I’m proud to say I am taking back lost ground.

From Where I'm Standing Now – Self Image

One of my assignments this week is to “describe my growth up to this point in terms of” 8 different areas of life. As I look at these topics, I’m looking forward to what I get to write down. I have not gotten to where I want to be in all (any?) of these categories, but I can actually say I’m able to stand up, look around, and give myself an honest look, finding both places I’ve grown and places I’ve still got room to grow.

So here we goooooo……

My growth up to this point in terms of SELF IMAGE

I see so much that has changed, and so much that is still the same, when I look at my image of myself. On one side, I’ve finally began to enact the believe that “I have worth.” For the last several years, even before my coaching experience, I have begun to better understand the reality that I am a child of the King, a full fledged, adopted son to the Creator of heaven and earth. But during the past several months, it’s like I’ve heard God telling me, “Then Act Like It. Act like you are who I tell you you are.” What’s that look like? What’s changed? Where have I grown?

I’m not a disappointment. In fact, I’m a success! In my family, my church, my business, and many other areas of my life, I provide something of worth. I add value to other people’s (and even organization’s) lives. The things I do are worth their investment – time, money, commitment. I don’t need to feel that I must only charge enough to provide a decent living. I can even see myself growing my business instead of just surviving this massive changes I’m going through right now.

I am beginning to truly enjoy the “running the business” side of running my business. In the past, I don’t know if I didn’t feel that I had what it takes or if I just didn’t really feel it was right for me to build a growing and decently profitable business. I think perhaps I was raised to believe, and then in turn believed myself, that every dollar I earn must be hard-earned. Must be fought for. Like I had to “prove” my value by the manual effort I put into something, instead of the results or value it produced. I would have seen myself as that guy who could charge $1,000 for pushing a button because he’s the only guy who know what button to push. But I’m finding now, that I do have that kind of value. Maybe not just for button pushing, but for things I am uniquely created for and gifted in… I have value. And I believe it. And as I look into these other growth things I think that will come through to me even more.

I still struggle here. I still have a huge weak spot for feeling like I’m a disappointment. I still read into people’s words (especially non-verbal) and actions. I told a friend of mine earlier this week that I was going to stop analyzing everything they said and just believe them. I need to do that. I don’t need to lower my image of myself just because something rubs me wrong. If it’s an insult against me, fine, I can either retaliate, ignore it, or take it in stride and move on. It doesn’t have to ruin my day or cause me to fire back my own words or thoughts defending myself or fighting back.

I.

  Have.

    Value.

That is where I’ve grown the most in this idea of self image. I AM something valuable, I HAVE something valuable to offer, and whether or not people can see that in me, doesn’t change it.

This is affecting several areas of my life, including the way I talk, the way I seek out in-person meetings instead of hiding behind emails, the way I want to improve my health and body composition whilst at the same time being content with my own skin, and even the ability to just let some things go. It is so freeing.

Tournament of Champions

 

Purpose

This tournament takes the champion from each category and pits them against each other.

Round 1

1.       Develop my own personal response to “how are you,” that while genuine, is not as shallow as “fine.” Also consider the answer to this question each morning, affirming how I am, who I am, and what I am here for. (SOCIAL)

2.       Establish a mentor relationship with Steve Pierce and meet with him on regular basis for prayer, advice, and simple sharing. (SPIRITUAL)

Establish a mentor relationship with Steve Pierce and meet with him on regular basis for prayer, advice, and simple sharing. (SPIRITUAL)

3.       Get pop out of my life. (PHYSICAL)

4.       Establish a monthly meeting with my wife to set up our budget, our calendar, and monthly goals. (ORGANIZATIONAL)

Establish a monthly meeting with my wife to set up our budget, our calendar, and monthly goals. (ORGANIZATIONAL)

5.       Make time each week to have an adult conversation with my wife and talk about what is important to us. (MENTAL)

6.       Learn how to fly an R/C airplane (OTHER)

Make time each week to have an adult conversation with my wife and talk about what is important to us. (MENTAL)

7.       Give away an increasing proportion of my income: Read the biography of R.G. LeTourneau (MATERIAL)

8.       Give away an increasing proportion of my income: Read the biography of R. G. LeTourneau (FINANCIAL)

Give away an increasing proportion of my income: Read the biography of R.G. LeTourneau (MATERIAL)

9.       Plan a week in 2011 to go somewhere new. Put in the calendar, and plan for it as a goal (FAMILY)

10.   Plan ahead for business finances: Create a dream and bare-minimum budget for C2IT starting from the point I’m at now and out for the next 12 months. (CAREER)

Plan ahead for business finances: Create a dream and bare-minimum budget for C2IT starting from the point I’m at now and out for the next 12 months. (CAREER)

Round 2

1.       Establish a mentor relationship with Steve Pierce and meet with him on regular basis for prayer, advice, and simple sharing. (SPIRITUAL)

2.       Establish a monthly meeting with my wife to set up our budget, our calendar, and monthly goals. (ORGANIZATIONAL)

Establish a mentor relationship with Steve Pierce and meet with him on regular basis for prayer, advice, and simple sharing. (SPIRITUAL)

3.       Make time each week to have an adult conversation with my wife and talk about what is important to us. (MENTAL)

4.       Give away an increasing proportion of my income: Read the biography of R.G. LeTourneau (MATERIAL)

Make time each week to have an adult conversation with my wife and talk about what is important to us. (MENTAL)

5.       Plan ahead for business finances: Create a dream and bare-minimum budget for C2IT starting from the point I’m at now and out for the next 12 months. (CAREER)

Plan ahead for business finances: Create a dream and bare-minimum budget for C2IT starting from the point I’m at now and out for the next 12 months. (CAREER) (BYE)

Round 3

1.       Establish a mentor relationship with Steve Pierce and meet with him on regular basis for prayer, advice, and simple sharing. (SPIRITUAL)

Establish a mentor relationship with Steve Pierce and meet with him on regular basis for prayer, advice, and simple sharing. (SPIRITUAL)

2.       Make time each week to have an adult conversation with my wife and talk about what is important to us. (MENTAL)

3.       Plan ahead for business finances: Create a dream and bare-minimum budget for C2IT starting from the point I’m at now and out for the next 12 months. (CAREER) (BYE)

Make time each week to have an adult conversation with my wife and talk about what is important to us. (MENTAL)

Final Round

1.       Establish a mentor relationship with Steve Pierce and meet with him on regular basis for prayer, advice, and simple sharing. (SPIRITUAL)

2.       Make time each week to have an adult conversation with my wife and talk about what is important to us. (MENTAL)

Make time each week to have an adult conversation with my wife and talk about what is important to us. (MENTAL)

Overall, this was definitely much harder to choose between options than the other rounds. Everything listed here is important to me. They already survived the first round of scrutinization as I looked at them by category.

When it comes down to it, what’s most important to me now seems to be building into my wife’s life, and building into my own. Perhaps that’s because I’ve spent so much time working this business over the past few months that while it still excites and drives me, I feel a lacking in those other areas. It may change over time, but for now, these guys win the battle.

Tournament of Wants – Organizational

Purpose

The purpose of this exercise is to look through all the wants, desires, and dreams I have listed related to ORGANIZATIONAL GOALS and find out “Which one is most important to me now?” That is the ONLY question I am to consider. Not “I have to do this first” or “I’ll want this in 10 years…” “Which one is most important to me now?” That’s it. Each round will take two wants and get a winner, and then those winners will face off, and so on until there is only one thing. Let’s see where this goes.

Round 1

1.       Develop better methods to “leave work at work,” both during the week and on vacation. (Family Life Development)

2.       Develop lists of core beliefs and understandings: Make a list of personal beliefs that are non-negotiable, and develop a written understanding of each. Develop into a list of personal and business values. (Ethics and Beliefs Development)

Develop lists of core beliefs and understandings: Make a list of personal beliefs that are non-negotiable, and develop a written understanding of each. Develop into a list of personal and business values.

3.       Establish a monthly meeting with my wife to set up our budget, our calendar, and monthly goals. (Family Life Development)

4.       Get up early every day (5:00?) to make the most of the early morning hours (9/22/10)

Establish a monthly meeting with my wife to set up our budget, our calendar, and monthly goals.

5.       Identify and implement a project-based method of finishing tasks that works for both personal and business areas of my life (Mental Development)

Identify and implement a project-based method of finishing tasks that works for both personal and business areas of my life (BYE)

6.       Learn to remember people’s names quickly. (7/23/10)

7.       Plan our future together with my family – short and long term. (Family Life Development)

Learn to remember people’s names quickly.

8.       Retain what I’ve learned: Blog or journal a small summary from each day, before the day is gone forever.

9.       Spend one hour a day, Monday – Friday, on my sales action plan or self improvement. Listen and read to self improvement books / audio at least 5-6 times a week. (Mental Development)

Retain what I’ve learned: Blog or journal a small summary from each day, before the day is gone forever.

Round 2

1.       Develop lists of core beliefs and understandings: Make a list of personal beliefs that are non-negotiable, and develop a written understanding of each. Develop into a list of personal and business values.

2.       Establish a monthly meeting with my wife to set up our budget, our calendar, and monthly goals.

Establish a monthly meeting with my wife to set up our budget, our calendar, and monthly goals.

3.       Identify and implement a project-based method of finishing tasks that works for both personal and business areas of my life (BYE)

4.       Learn to remember people’s names quickly.

Identify and implement a project-based method of finishing tasks that works for both personal and business areas of my life

5.       Retain what I’ve learned: Blog or journal a small summary from each day, before the day is gone forever.

Retain what I’ve learned: Blog or journal a small summary from each day, before the day is gone forever.

Round 3

6.       Establish a monthly meeting with my wife to set up our budget, our calendar, and monthly goals.

Establish a monthly meeting with my wife to set up our budget, our calendar, and monthly goals. (BYE)

7.       Identify and implement a project-based method of finishing tasks that works for both personal and business areas of my life

8.       Retain what I’ve learned: Blog or journal a small summary from each day, before the day is gone forever. (BYE)

Retain what I’ve learned: Blog or journal a small summary from each day, before the day is gone forever

 

Round 4

1.       Establish a monthly meeting with my wife to set up our budget, our calendar, and monthly goals. (BYE)

2.       Retain what I’ve learned: Blog or journal a small summary from each day, before the day is gone forever

Establish a monthly meeting with my wife to set up our budget, our calendar, and monthly goals.

 

Tournament of Wants – Material

 

Purpose

The purpose of this exercise is to look through all the wants, desires, and dreams I have listed related to MATERIAL GAINS and find out “Which one is most important to me now?” That is the ONLY question I am to consider. Not “I have to do this first” or “I’ll want this in 10 years…” “Which one is most important to me now?” That’s it. Each round will take two wants and get a winner, and then those winners will face off, and so on until there is only one thing. Let’s see where this goes.

Round 1

1.       Be completely debt free (7/21/10)

2.       Buy a new tractor, complete with attachments (9/9/10)

Be completely debt free

3.       Buy a working farm (7/17/10)

4.       Buy lower level season tickets to the Indianapolis Colts (9/9/10)

Buy a working farm

5.       Buy someone else a house (7/18/10)

6.       Give away an increasing proportion of my income: Read the biography of R.G. LeTourneau (Financial /Career Development)

Give away an increasing proportion of my income: Read the biography of R.G. LeTourneau

Round 2

1.       Be completely debt free

2.       Buy a working farm

Be completely debt free

3.       Give away an increasing proportion of my income: Read the biography of R.G. LeTourneau

Give away an increasing proportion of my income: Read the biography of R.G. LeTourneau (BYE)

Final Round

1.       Be completely debt free

2.       Give away an increasing proportion of my income: Read the biography of R.G. LeTourneau (BYE)

Give away an increasing proportion of my income: Read the biography of R.G. LeTourneau