Can you believe 2020 is less than three weeks away?
Near the end of every calendar year, I take time to reflect and write down the two or three most important things I learned during the year. I want to remember them. Practice them. Live life differently because of them.
Well . . . 2019 is drawing to a close. And I find myself reflecting on another year of learning. Here’s the Big 3 lessons that have emerged:
1. On the other side of what I fear – God has something amazing planned
Approximately eighteen months ago, I was challenged by a peer to consider launching leader huddles (some call them cohorts, or clusters) as an avenue of helping more leaders. Huddles are not a new concept . . . but they were new to Converge Coaching. Historically our bread and butter had been one-on-one mentor relationships. Huddles are a one-to-many arrangement. Questions flooded my mind: “Will huddles cannibalize our one-one-one relationships?” “Will huddles work?” “What if they don’t?”
Despite those anxieties, we pushed ahead and launched our first huddle in September of 2018. None of my fears materialized. In fact, we’re now running three huddles, our one-on-one mentoring client base is ballooning—and—we are now on the cusp of two open doors that have the potential to grow the huddle offering nationwide.
And the thought occurred to me a couple of months ago: “What if I had allowed fear to keep me from trying the huddles? Would these two doors that have swung wide open not been available if we let fear prevent us from taking a calculated risk?
When we face our fear, take reasonable risks, refuse to be confined by our comfort zone, God has open doors waiting for us to walk through. Amazing doors we couldn’t have imagined on our own.
2. Whatever success I have in life is a result of God’s grace
His grace gives me the strength to be diligent, to work hard, to plan wisely, to think strategically. His grace opens doors for me. His grace keeps me grounded.
In John 21 Jesus told the disciples where to throw their fishing net, and they landed such a large catch they couldn’t pull the net into their boat. But the net didn’t tear. And after their great success, Jesus invited them: “Come have breakfast with Me.” Jesus isn’t anti-success. He simply wants us to remember that our value doesn’t reside in the success of our ministry or career. It’s anchored in His amazing grace, in relationship with Him. His grace even helps us to enjoy success properly, to handle success without it swelling our head.
3. When I feel like failure is inevitable—I’m usually on the doorstep of a breakthrough
The first eight months of 2019 felt like we were scratching and clawing from a ministry perspective. There were days when I wondered: “God are you sure I’m the right guy to do this?” Upon sharing this with my pastor, he responded, “it sounds like you’re in a season of planting and watering.” His words proved prophetic. These last four months of 2019 have been awash with open doors, new clients, national exposure, record book sales, etc. We’ve sold more books in the past two months than we usually do in an entire year.
And it makes me wonder: Why do we worry and fret during lean times? Especially after all the years we’ve walked with God and all the times He’s come through for us?
My leader friend . . .
If you’re facing decisions that scare you—thinking about trying new things that cause you anxiety—on the other side of your fear awaits something amazing. Don’t let fear keep you from taking reasonable, well-thought-out and prayed-though risks.
Remember any success you experience is a result of God’s grace—and your success isn’t what makes you valuable. Your values is grounded in being an adopted son or daughter of Father God
If you feel like giving up because you’re in a prolonged season of scratching and clawing—a breakthrough is likely on your doorstep. Don’t give up. Refuse to give in. Stay the course. I believe you’ll see the fruit of your labors . . . over and above what you expected.
So what are the two or three most important things you’ve learned this year? Take some time before 2020 gets here to grab a cup of coffee and a piece of paper, and write down those insights you never want to forget. Let them become lessons that shape both your personal and professional life for the long haul.
I’m rooting and praying for you!