May 6, 2020
I love to learn from the best practices of others. Sometimes the education takes place throughout a span of time watching the other person work and live life. Other times, it comes through a conversation or mutual experience.
No matter how the opportunity arises, it requires a bit of humility to submit to the mentor — even when the person doesn’t realize he or she is serving in a mentor-type role.
And an ability to listen well, watch closely and connect dots makes all the difference.
Applying what others have discovered through their personal journey, sometimes the hard way, really can save the rest of us a lot of time, energy and frustrations.
For instance, my predecessor here at TAB Media, Bob Terry taught me many things during our 24 years serving together.
A recent situation brought one of those lessons back to the surface for me as I sought to understand the status of an existing project being managed by one of our team members.
I forgot to lead with the phrase he taught me: “My questions are for clarifying purposes, to help me understand. They are not an attack or meant to come across as scolding.”
The difference in how the rest of the conversation goes when that phrase is included should keep me on my toes to always remember it.
A recent conversation with Rick Lance, executive director of the Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions, spurred me to implement a practice he uses: “What’s the next best thing to do? What do I need to do today to keep us moving forward?”
Simple yet profound.
Dr. Lance also has an amazing ability to take an extremely complex matter, boil it down to the bottom line and explain it in simple, easy-to-understand terms.
How often do we overcomplicate matters and end up causing confusion and, many times, unnecessary drama rather than staying calm, carefully dissecting the information and outlining the next steps to take in a simple, straightforward manner?
And how often do change and unknown circumstances prevent us from taking even the simplest steps forward?
When Sandy Wisdom-Martin, executive director of national WMU, shared with us how WMU leaders are weathering the current COVID-19 crisis, I wondered how many times I resist God rather than running toward Him in anticipation of what He is going to do.
Her comment says it all: “It’s humbling to think God entrusted us with this sacred season. I know we will never go back to ‘normal.’ I pray daily God will reveal the ‘new’ and we will run toward it.”
These are three recent examples of how I learned from others in less than a week’s time. If I had written down every rich nugget I’ve scooped up from others along the way, then I could more than fill an entire issue of TAB.
And along with all the mentors, I’m also blessed to have a mom and dad who have always poured so much into me.