Growing Up in a Microwaveable World

microwave

I want to change the world – today.
I want to be financially secure – yesterday.
I want to be in charge – RIGHT NOW.
I want to be the leader I imagine being in my mind NOW.

The microwave was invented in the early 20th century, patented for household use in 1945, and became a popular household item between 1970 and 1990. The point of a microwave? Cook things quicker, faster, sooner.

In many ways, the microwave is a reflection of how culture and generations have changed.

Ambition, innovation, and growth have long been desires of the human soul. Over time, we started to expect things quicker, faster, sooner.

The problem? Many of us aren’t ready for the kind of growth we expect microwaved for us.
Furthermore, we don’t always grasp the work required to achieve the results desired.

There are some things that can’t be microwaved.

Instead of microwaving growth, ambition, creativity, and leadership, we need to focus on a few principles that I have tried to apply to my own life:

1. Take small steps every single day.

In a microwaveable world, we want everything now. When we don’t get it? We give up.

Instead of wanting the whole thing now, focus on taking small steps every single day.

If you want to grow as a leader? Don’t set a goal to read a book this week or 20 books in a year. Focus on reading 5 minutes every single day.
Want to become financially secure? Don’t focus on the massive debt load, focus on paying 10 extra dollars a day to pay it down.
Want to change the world? Focus on the person or problem right in front of you right now.

Take small steps every single day. It’s amazing how those small steps add up.

2. Be faithful and engaged in the present.

This is one of the biblically true but underutilized principles out there.

So often, we question whether God TRULY has us in the right place, the right job, or the right situation. And sure, there are times where we might not be in the ideal place or situation and a change is required, but does that mean it isn’t “right?”

Furthermore, if we can’t be engaged and faithful in our present, why would God want to give us a better future?

It’s common to hear Christians say, “The best is yet to come.” Eternally, that’s certainly true. Circumstantially, that may or may not be true.

What I do believe to be true? If you are faithful and engaged in the present, honoring those who lead, the resources you’ve been given, the people God has called you to love, God will give you more.

The challenge for myself and every young(er) leader I know: Sometimes, a microwave is not possible. Let things cook. Slowly. Take small steps. Be faithful and engaged in the present.

Over time, you’ll become the kind of leader and person you dream of becoming.

It just make take some time.

Here to There (With People)

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I’ve always heard it said that leadership is moving people from here to there.

I agree. Leadership is about seeing a vision of what’s possible, making a case for why an organization, church, business, or group of people canNOT stay here, and leading people to the vision of THERE.

However, there is a dark side I’ve seen play out too many times: It’s possible to achieve a vision while leaving people in your wake. 

In the name of a vision and moving people here to there, it’s quite possible to plow the very people you are called to lead along the way. Leave them in your wake. Crush their spirits. Use them, abuse them, and move on without them.

Sure, there are always a certain percentage of people who simply will not come along for the ride from here to there. Usually, they’ll self-select. They aren’t interested. They don’t have what it takes. They don’t have the skills or talents to keep up. Maybe, they just don’t believe in the vision.

But, there are a number of organizations, businesses and even churches who will do whatever it takes – even if that means leaving people in their wake – to achieve a vision.

That’s why, my personal mission statement is this: Lead people to achieve a God-inspired, compelling vision together.

Personally, I don’t want to be a leader who moves (X) from here to there without people. God has called me to love people, and I want to lead those people with a self-sacrificing love.

Trust me, this is not easy. It’s not easy to place love above the vision. I’m an achiever. I want to accomplish. I will, if not careful, leave people in my wake in the name of a vision.

But that’s not who I want to be. I don’t want to plow over people. I want to till the soil, prepare it, plow away the obstacles so that the very people who I am called to love and lead have the ability to follow closely behind. I want to lead people to achieve a God-inspired, compelling vision TOGETHER.

Leaders: Don’t leave people in your wake. Sacrifice for them, clear the way, and make it easier for them to follow. But always make sure you do it together.