Getting To The Bottom Of It - Part 1

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The first time I visited a Coal Mine I was blown away by two things: the tires on the large equipment which were literally bigger than my car and the amount of coal that was everywhere: With all of this coal, there must be diamonds deep below. I've hit the jackpot. Maybe I could just take a little coal with me and get to work on squeezing it until it becomes a diamond. 

My friends told me I was stupid but I was determined. I found a vice in our family tool shed and began to squeeze. Before long my floor was covered with coal dust. No diamonds, just a really big mess! With black smudges all over my face. I was devastated. Someone told me that diamonds came from coal. Why isn’t this working?

I think part of me just wanted to believe that it would work because it was a beautiful thing to think something as cheap as coal could become a diamond. The way I figure it. At some point, someone was digging, found a piece of coal, and then found a diamond. (Which in itself is strange because most diamonds are formed 90 miles below the surface.)  You can squeeze this all you want, but it’s just not happening. 

How could my understanding be so wrong? Where did I get this bad information? It was on this day that I learned the power of Getting To The Bottom Of It

Today on the podcast, Part 1 of Insight

We can rarely ever accept the first thought for something in leadership. And yet we do it, ALOT. Which made me wonder why. Why would we accept the first reaction when what we do is so important? 

Maybe it’s because we’re afraid.

What does fear have to do with it? Actually, fear has a lot to do with it. 

Often times, fear can creep in because we don't have a better understanding or insight to offer so we take it at face value because we don’t want to look foolish. Case in point, how many times has someone said to you “They said it was horrible” or “a lot of people didn’t like that song.” When we hear things like this we have two choices: get scared and start changing things OR we can pause just long enough to say:

Really? Who’s they? Who said? Was it really A LOT of people? 

Often times the next response will lead to great frustration because it’s really just one person. And here we were getting ready to change everything! 

Another thing that creates fear when "getting to the bottom of it” is that sometimes we're afraid of what we might find. We’ve all been there. Thinking, if I ask too many questions, I may discover it’s actually worse than I think. This can cause us to just look the other way.

I can’t tell you how badly I wanted to look the other way as the campus pastor at Elevation when our second time visitor numbers started to dip. The campus felt good, we were growing but based on data from our kids ministry, people were starting to come back less frequently. 

It can be a scary thing to dig into the data. What if we discover that our volunteers aren’t doing their part, what if I’m not communicating well from the stage, what if parking is a bigger problem than what I thought? You can see how we become afraid of the truth because it may reveal greater problems.

I’m not here to tell you that those fears are invalid. I’m here to say that great leaders will push through those fears to ‘get to the bottom of it’.

Today, I encourage you to push through any fears you may have and dig into some of the challenges you are facing. Gain some fresh insight and start changing things for the better.

Bottom Line: Fear provides horrible insight.

This podcast is brought to you by You Lead Coaching. Do Ministry Better. Find out more at

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Next Week on the podcast: Getting to The Bottom Of It: Part 2

Perfection In A Box

Perfection In A Box

The crowd went crazy. You would've thought we just won the World Cup! It was late in the season and I was now 100% in stopping penalty kicks as a goalie. Never before had it been achieved in the history of our school. Our entire team was actually given a warning by the referee because they ran out on the field celebrating this victorious occasion. But let's rewind.

We were late in the season. Our number one and number two goalies were both injured and we didn't have a third. 

I never thought I would be in this situation. Never in a million years. With time running down on the clock, as captain of our high school soccer team I am now being put in as goalie for a penalty kick. To be clear, I have never, ever played goalie. I try to recall watching other goalies in the past. The crowd looks on as the other teams star player lines up for the shot. I prepare myself for failure.

As he begins his approach, I wonder if I should go left or right. As he strikes the ball I freeze. The ball comes to me almost in slow-motion, directly at me. Before I know what happened, I kneel down and catch the ball coming to me at the pace as though it was kicked by a toddler. As he prepared to kick the penalty, he kicked the ground as he made contact causing the ball to travel at only a couple miles an hour.

I was victorious.

For just a brief moment, I was Perfection In A Box

Today we talk about: Hype

I don't know about you but I feel a lot of pressure when I get on Instagram and Twitter and see all that everyone else is doing in leadership. They seem to be winning. Doing so much. Achieving so much, faster than I could possibly imagine. But here's the thing, their social media isn't the whole story. As an article in the Huffington Post proclaims: social media is the highlight reel.

I want to encourage you to not let a social media post get in your head and make you think less of yourself and what you're doing. It's fine if somehow it challenges you or inspires you, but don’t let it derail you. Every leader is struggling. Every leader is trying to figure it out.

To be clear, I'm not suggesting that you assume that everyone else is all messed up and they don't have anything going right and they’re living a fake life on social media but I am saying when you see those images, when you start to feel like you're failing, remember it's not the whole story. 

So by all means, be inspired by social media. Be challenged by social media but don't be disappointed in yourself because of social media. 

After all, we could all take a story and make it look like we're perfect. 100%. undefeated.

Today, stop worrying about updating your highlight reel. Figure out how you're going to win at the little things. 

Keep investing in friendships.

Be faithful with the small responsibilities at work.

Find new ways to support and encourage your family.

Maybe the greatest thing you can achieve today is not pursuing perfection but fighting for relationships.

Bottom Line: Most of your greatest victories in life will come from consistency in day to day responsibilities.

I hope these posts are helpful. If they are, I'd love you to share it with a friend.

This podcast is brought to you by You Lead Coaching. Do Ministry Better. Find out more at

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Almost An Eagle Scout

Adapted from The Discovering Leadership Podcast by Frank Bealer.

I was almost an Eagle Scout.

Ever since I was a little kid, I can remember wearing my uniform proudly every Monday night. Collecting badges and honors like the Arrow of Light.

I had my tribe. My people. The same group of guys from our small town would gather to learn how to make knives, tie knots and repel off mountains (I later discovered that these were small hills but at the time, they might as well have been MT Everest).

I learned some critical leadership skills but you'll never find it on my resume because I never became an Eagle Scout and saying I'm a Life Scout just doesn't quite have the same ring to it.

The first decade was incredible but then everything changed. The student leader of our ragtag bunch of guys, Scooby who was just weeks away from becoming an Eagle Scout himself walked into our meeting and delivered a crushing blow.

Scooby went on to explain how our troop leader had made a choice that changed the trajectory of our group forever. After a decade of leading us, he decided to steal all the money from our bank account (including our hard-earned car wash money to be used for the big camping trip). Suddenly we found ourselves without a leader. He was gone. He had taken more than our money. He took our tribe. In the midst of the transition, Scooby aged out of scouts falling short of achieving Eagle Scout. As you can imagine our group fell apart and because I was from a small town that was the only group that was available to me. With just six months until I would achieve the rank of Eagle Scout, I was searching for a new tribe. Where was I going to find connections and leadership?

I guess I could try a new group, I told myself.

It was the end of my Freshman year and walking into that new group for the first time I realized this was nothing, absolutely nothing like what I had experienced before. So before long I found that I didn't have a place to belong. My tribe was gone and I stood in a crowd feeling all alone. My focus shifted to sports and music and my life as a scout was over.

I was Almost an Eagle Scout

Today we talk about: Transitions.

I think I might have finished the requirements to achieve the status of Eagle Scout if someone would have been there to help me through the transition. 

After all, navigating transition can be difficult. Sometimes we forget just how difficult. As you encounter the people you have the privilege of investing in today, think about this: A guide during transition is a welcome gift. 

You have the opportunity to help someone through the extremely difficult task of finding a new rhythm in the midst of transition. 

And the reality is, it’s never as easy as we would like to think and yet much of life is determined in these moments. 

Where you go, what you achieve, who you will be influenced by are all magnified during transition. 

Today, I encourage you to find out what transitions are happening in the lives of the people you lead. Find out what’s in their head and heart. Give them some fresh perspective and speak hope and life into their situations. 

Bottom Line: A guide during transition is a welcome gift. 

This post is brought to you by You Lead Coaching. Do Ministry Better. Find out more at

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The New Discovering Leadership Podcast

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This podcast is for you. After all, we all need to be encouraged, equipped and empowered by stories of leadership and practical insight to help us win when we lead. With each podcast lasting under ten minutes (many under five), you can grow a little each week. Consistent, incremental growth will lead to tangible improvements in the way we lead. Together we can shift our perspective and gain clarity in some of life's most unique challenges. 

The podcast officially launches on September 4th but you can download and subscribe now. 

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