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The Catalyst Leader Participant's Guide, deisgned for use with the DVD-based study of the same title, identifies the 8 essentials and key characteristics of a Catalyst leader for leading well now and over the next 20 years. Are you a high-octane, energizing leader with big ideas and the skills to back them up? Do you help shape the hearts and minds of those you lead? In short, are you a Catalyst leader? The reality is that most of us want to be good leaders, but weÆre not sure how to build those elements in ...
The Catalyst Leader Participant's Guide, deisgned for use with the DVD-based study of the same title, identifies the 8 essentials and key characteristics of a Catalyst leader for leading well now and over the next 20 years. Are you a high-octane, energizing leader with big ideas and the skills to back them up? Do you help shape the hearts and minds of those you lead? In short, are you a Catalyst leader? The reality is that most of us want to be good leaders, but weÆre not sure how to build those elements in a way that will deliver the most impact in our leadership.
The Catalyst Leader lays out the key elements and defines what it means to be a Catalyst and reveals the path for developing these elements in your own leadership skill set.
You may be recognized as a leader, but it doesnÆt mean you are influencing and truly making a difference. The Catalyst Leader is a brand new resource designed to help you lead now, and lead well.
FINDING YOUR UNIQUENESS
The calling God has placed on your life is one of the most important discoveries you'll ever make. Many people wander aimlessly through life with no sense of purpose. They accept job offers, move across the continent, or make life-altering decisions based on money, familiarity, or the possibility for advancement. But could it be that in our jockeying for "success" we may be missing out on the thing God has designed for us in this moment?
Ever since I was young I've felt a call deep down in my gut to lead. I loved being in front of people, influencing their thinking, and holding their attention. I was even willing to make a fool of myself in order to get others to laugh. In college I felt as though I needed to know everyone. When I joined a fraternity, I started a Bible study that attracted lots of leaders from different backgrounds and networks and "rival" fraternity houses (and, of course, sorority houses as well). I sensed something inside me that pushed me to gather, connect, and inspire others. I didn't know the specific vocational plans God had for me at the time, but I knew He'd marked out a path for me if I was willing to look for it.
I'm often asked if leaders are born or made. I never know how to answer this—I suspect it's often some mix of the two—but I know that key clues to our calling are often in plain sight, usually from a very young age. When I was working for Life@Work magazine, we defined calling as "God's personal invitation for me to work on His agenda, using the talents I've been given in ways that are eternally significant." But, practically, I've often leaned on this simple equation:
Natural Talents + Inborn Passions = Divine Calling
Where your greatest strengths and deepest passions intersect is where your sense of calling is usually found. If you believe that natural talents are a gift given by God and inborn passions have been placed inside you by the One who made you, then it follows that God has planned something special for you where those two elements intersect. Unfortunately, most people haven't traced their gifts and passions to the locus of intersection. As a result, they end up living life on whims built on circumstances or ambitions.
But finding one's calling is too significant to hang on the nail-head of a whim. After all, you only get to travel this journey called life once. You'll never relive today. Life is too short to spend it enduring or even suffering forty or more hours per week at your job. I realize that every hour of your workday can't be glamorous or exciting. Every job requires expending energy on mundane but necessary tasks. But if you dread climbing out of the bed Monday through Friday, you must make a change. We tend to make calling mysterious. Don't overcomplicate your calling and purpose. Sometimes true purpose is right in front of you. You may already be connected to it.
Be warned. This journey of discovery is not always easy. The pursuit of purpose is hard work, takes time, and often requires great sacrifice. Yet, the reward waiting at the destination exceeds the price of traveling there. As author and A21 Campaign founder Christine Caine has said, "Our sense of calling should be like an unfolding epic adventure."
You have to be intentional when pursuing your calling. For most of us, it takes time and intensity and a sense of perspective. As Erwin McManus has stated, "You are pursuing the wrong dream (and calling) if you only find fulfillment when the dream is accomplished. You can know you are on the path to a God given and God designed dream if you truly love the process, if you love the gritty work, the painful experience, the part that requires blood and sweat and tears. If that part fulfills you, you're pursuing the right dream."
Are you ready to begin walking the path to discovering your calling? God has a unique purpose that He desires to carry out in you. You were made for something specific and significant. Being a Catalyst Leader begins with identifying, understanding, and pursuing God's call on your life with reckless abandon.
As you consider the topic of calling, take a few moments to answer these questions on your own:
1. Think back to childhood. What were some dreams you nurtured from an early age that you abandoned later in life?
2. What type of actions has energized you since childhood? What have you been good at from an early age?
3. Do you love the work you're doing? If not, what can you imagine doing that would ignite your inborn passions and leverage your greatest strengths? Capture a few of those ideas below.
4. If you could pursue any career path—perhaps within your current organization—without taking a pay cut, what would that be? What is preventing you from pursuing this path?
5. Connect with those around you whom you trust deeply and have them affirm your calling or sense of purpose for this season of life. Write down their opinions and perspectives in the space below. 6. Read Ephesians 4:1-16. How do Paul's comments on calling inform your own?
Take a moment to view this week's video segment where we'll hear from thought leaders Gabe Lyons, Carlos Whittaker, Jon Acuff, Rick Warren, Tullian Tchvidjian, Bianca Olthoff, Dave Gibbons, Kirk Franklin, Michael Hyatt, Katie Davis, Brenda Salter McNeil, Lori Wilhite, Bob Goff, and Christine Caine. They'll be answering questions about how to identify your calling and locate the courage to pursue it if you aren't already doing so. Make sure to record helpful quotes and your thoughts in the Reflect section at the end of this lesson.
While this week's video segment is still fresh on your mind, take a moment to discuss the following questions with a small group of your peers or coworkers.
1. Rick Warren tells us that one of the things that makes him most excited about the Catalyst generation is our growing fervor for the Great Commission. How do you feel you have been personally called to participate in the Great Commission?
2. Tied to Jon Acuff's story, is there something you should quit today in order to focus more on the specific calling God has placed on your life for this season? Where are you in the waterfall? Don't compare your beginning to someone else's ending.
3. Katie Davis gives us an incredible example of how more often than not we discover our calling by stepping out and taking risks. What risk is God asking you to faithfully step into right now that could reveal your specific calling?
4. Many times our calling is determined by what is placed in front of us. Who or what should you be responding to right now around you that requires your immediate attention?
5. Christine Caine's story of calling is a great example of God calling us to a specific assignment for a season of time. What other examples of your friends, your family, or other people in your circle demonstrate this principle of responding to what is in front of you?
6. Discipline is crucial in pursuing your calling. Kirk Franklin mentions doing something you love. What is the one thing you would do even if you weren't getting paid?
This week, try applying this essential in each aspect of your life. Here are some suggestions to get you started:
PERSONAL: Take time to draft a purpose statement for your life. Make sure it is concise—no more than one or two sentences—and clear.
Write down the one thing you would like to be doing at this point in your life. You may have to blow up your financial standards in order to pursue this.
SPIRITUAL: Make your one and only request of God in your prayer time this week to be that He gives you a clear calling. Ask Him to help you identify your natural talents and inborn passions. Express your submission to whatever He desires for your life, and request divine courage to pursue His will.
ORGANIZATIONAL: Ask a trusted coworker to give you a "confidential calling review," analyzing whether or not you are engaging your gifts and interests in your current role. If not, ask him or her to make suggestions about another possible role in the same organization you might pursue in the coming year. If no such role exists, begin thinking about where else God might lead you that is more consistent with His will for your life.
Over the next week, write down what you're learning about calling. As you put into practice what you're learning, record the successes and improvements you're witnessing in each area of your life.
UNLEASHING THE REAL YOU
Leaders will never reach their potential in life unless they know who they are and share that person with others. This sounds like a bold claim, but the longer I lead, the more I realize its truth. As author Reggie Joiner has said, "Loving people authentically is the key to influence and leadership."
I'm best at being me. Authenticity wins every time. Be human. Be real. Unfortunately, the world we live in makes this essential difficult to develop. Society inundates us with images of airbrushed faces, carefully crafted public personas, and embellished stories of overnight success. Life's bar seems to be set impossibly high and pressures leaders to pretend to be better, smarter, and cooler than they really are.
If you've been a leader for very long, you've likely experienced similar insecurities. Almost every leader I know fights this battle, struggling with being good enough or smart enough or relevant enough. Ambitions beckon us to be the person we think everyone else wants us to be. That person is usually different than who we are deep down. If we don't learn to be content with who God has made us and called us to be, then we will never reach our potential as influencers. The best leader you can be in the moment is the one you already are.
I see this strong pull to be someone we're not with everyone from speakers to college students, from organizational CEOs to pastors. As pastor Judah Smith has said, "Be strong in the grace. Your grace, your gift, your ability, who God's called you to be, just be yourself.... Don't be anybody else, don't compare yourself, just be you. If 'You' is not everybody's cup of tea then don't worry about it."
Judah echoes the sentiment of Matthew 6:33, which says, "Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well." When we prioritize God's kingdom in our lives and cast aside our selfish desires, our innermost desires are paradoxically met. We find acceptance and love and contentment—everything we were searching for to begin with.
Of course, this is more difficult than it sounds. I know because I struggle with this essential more than any other. Like you, my ambitions often get in the way, leading me to pretend to be someone I'm not. I'm often tempted to create a new and improved Brad Lomenick who has it all together rather than being the imperfect and deeply flawed person I really am. Like you, I wrestle with being comfortable in my skin—the skin God made for me.
Our networks and friends are often more perceptive than we give them credit for. In a world of created personalities, they can spot a fake a mile away. Others recognize when we're putting on airs, and they've come to value those leaders who are brave enough to bear their true selves to the world. Those you lead will more readily follow you when you embrace your flaws, admit that you don't always know the answer, and accept responsibility for failures.
Authenticity is the currency being "traded" today of how influence is created and gained. Pastor and author Mark Batterson describes authenticity as the new authority regarding your leadership. You must be willing to share both your successes and your failures, which is crucial to letting people in and allowing you to lead well. People connect with us way more when we share our failures instead of only sharing our successes.
Take some risks to be authentic. It's okay for those around you to see your weaknesses. We don't have to be perfect, but we'd better be authentic. This means creating a community where you feel free to talk openly about your struggles.
Becoming an authentic leader is at least a two-step process: embracing your true self and sharing that person with others. Too many leaders don't know who they are because they hide behind their influence, power, title, or position. They don't allow others to speak honestly with them. I suggest gathering a few trusted friends and advisors and giving them permission to point out where you've constructed walls. You should be warned, though, that this is a painful process.
Second, you must have a system of accountability that will encourage you to share your true self with others. These individuals must have permission to call you out without retribution when you're creating facades or avoiding blame. The knowledge you've established with this network will help you think twice before you develop unhealthy habits. Allow those closest to you permission to tell you what you don't want to hear, to give periodic reviews, and to always have the right to speak up. As hard as these two steps may seem, they will help you unleash the real you, and in turn, release your true leadership potential.
As you consider the topic of authenticity, take a few moments to answer these questions on your own:
1. What weaknesses in your life and work make you feel the most insecure?
2. Think back over the last year. Where are you suffering from "reality deprivation syndrome," or living and leading in a state that is completely disconnected from the reality around you? How have you pretended to project an image of someone who is better, smarter, or cooler?
3. Reflect on Matthew 6:33 for a moment. What are some ways you need to reprioritize your life to begin seeking the kingdom of God first?
4. What are some walls you've constructed in your own life to keep others at a distance or protect yourself from getting hurt?
5. Which trusted individuals would you place in your circle of accountability?
6. Broken people typically are more real, and ultimately can be more trustworthy. How can you share more of your story complete with all the failures and frustrations with those around you, ultimately creating greater trust?
7. Living in the digital age with social media gives you the ability to create an online "profile" that is different than who you really are. This is a dangerous reality. What steps do you need to take to rid yourself of those distractions and dangers?
Take a moment to view this week's video segment where we'll hear from thought leaders Craig Groeschel, Carlos Whittaker, Lysa TerKeurst, Reggie Joiner, Mark Batterson, Charles Jenkins, Matt Chandler, Patrick Lencioni, Eugene Cho, Lecrae, Amena Brown Owen, Vicky Beeching, Judah Smith, and Mike Erre. They'll be answering questions about how to identify and destroy barriers to authenticity in your life and how to create an authentic environment for your team. Make sure to record helpful quotes and your thoughts in the Reflect section at the end of this lesson.
While this week's video segment is still fresh on your mind, take a moment to discuss the following questions with a small group of your peers or coworkers:
1. Judah Smith tells us we are never fully ready to lead, that we step into our leadership by first and foremost trusting in God, and that we are made into the leader we were created to be through a process. Is there currently an area in your life or leadership where you are "faking it"? How can you be more authentic by trusting God right where you are as opposed to being something you are not?
2. Vicky Beeching reminds us that being authentic is being true to our core, to who God has created us to be, instead of following every popular trend we see. What areas in your life or ministry are you forcing because of an expectation or what's cool that aren't really at the core of who God has called you to be?
3. Reggie Joiner tells us that the key to influence and the key to leadership is loving people authentically—that people will better identify with us in our moments of weakness than in our moments of success. Write down any weaknesses or failures in your life that you have hidden away in shame. Pray and ask God for the boldness to share that weakness with others and watch Him use it for your influence and His good.
4. Mark Batterson says that authenticity—letting others see your failures—is the new standard and key element of influence. In the space below, write down some of your failures, then discuss them with your team this week.
5. It's imperative that we as leaders are vulnerable and approachable. Does your team/staff feel comfortable approaching you with issues, suggestions, or criticism? How do you know?
6. Mike Erre talks about staying grounded and the issue of faithfulness. Authenticity requires us to stay centered and receive our worth from God, not others. Where are you out of balance regarding the "attention of others" giving you self-worth?
7. We are raising up a generation of leaders who have a hard time dealing with reality. Are you sensing this, and what specifically are you doing with your team to create an authentic environment?
8. Carlos Whittaker talks about the power of being real and vulnerable with those around you. Who in your life can you share anything with?
Excerpted from THE CATALYST LEADER by BRAD LOMENICK. Copyright © 2013 by Brad Lomenick. Excerpted by permission of Thomas Nelson.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Welcome to the Journey.................... 5
How to Use This Resource.................... 7
ESSENTIAL ONE | Called: Finding Your Uniqueness.................... 9
ESSENTIAL TWO | Authentic: Unleashing the Real You.................... 19
ESSENTIAL THREE | Passionate: Living in Pursuit of God.................... 31
ESSENTIAL FOUR | Capable: Making Excellence a Nonnegotiable................ 43
ESSENTIAL FIVE | Courageous: Preparing to Jump.................... 55
ESSENTIAL SIX | Principled: Anchored in Your Convictions................... 67
ESSENTIAL SEVEN | Hopeful: Building Toward a Better Tomorrow............... 79
ESSENTIAL EIGHT | Collaborative: Drawing Power from Partners............... 91
APPENDIX | "Today's Christian Leaders" Study, in Partnership with Barna
Research Group.................... 103
About the Author.................... 119