C3 Community Leadership Breakfast Notes

Here are simple notes from Bob Doll’s keynote this morning at C3 Leaders Forum Community Leadership Breakfast at the Bellevue Club.

Bob is a senior portfolio manager and chief equity strategist at Nuveen Asset Management.  He is the author of widely-followed weekly commentaries and annual market predictions.  Bob also loves Jesus, keeping his eyes on Christ as he leads in the world of commerce.

Seven Lessons on Life from Bob Doll:

1. Focus on the best, sometimes at the expense of the good.   Is this the good thing or the best thing?  If the Devil can’t make you bad, he can make you busy.

2. Live a heart-motivated life. How are you doing while you are being?

3. Get a grasp on the brevity of life.

4. It’s not about me. This point is number 4 and in the in the middle of this talk for a reason. This is a big problem in the world.

5. It is not the circumstances that define us, but how we respond.

6. Tune your heart to God’s heart. Pray.

7. Live a life of worship.

What a blessing. Thanks, Bob.


Why World Concern for Me?

World Concern LogoAs you may have seen on social media, I joined the team at World Concern, a ministry of CRISTA.  This was the conclusion of a five-month process of one-on-one meetings and interivews (you can read more about this process in previous posts).  This process was more than just looking for the right job; I was looking for the right fit.

So what made World Concern the right fit for me?

First, they are a human service agency that leads with Jesus.  Yes, they are involved in child protection/education, improving livelihoods, economic development, disaster relief, water, non-clinical health and nutrition.  As are many organizations.  A key differentiator of World Concern is that all of the work is done, first and foremost, in the name of Jesus.  Our faith compels us to extend opportunity and hope to people facing the most profound human challenges of extreme poverty.

Second, my mission has always been hard to reach audiences; a.k.a. “the furthest out kid.”   World Concern isn’t operating in just any country, but in the most difficult to reach.  Brenda and I were talking about it this weekend.  I asked, “Somalia?  South Sudan?  How is that even possible?”  She answered, “The Lord” (I’m so thankful for that wife of mine).  World Concern works with the poorest of the poor in the most difficult and hard to reach places at the end of the road, outside of mainstream humanitarian aid, to provide holistic and sustainable solutions.

My mission work has also been incarnational.  God’s model of missions is to move into the neighborhood.  The best work is not done by someone from out of town.  World Concern has just over 576 internationally-based staff in 13 countries.  First, just do the math on those stats.  World Concern goes deep.  Now get this…this stat is shocking to me.  Of those 576 employees based overseas, how many do you think are expatriates (a person living outside their native country)?

FIVE.  Five.  Can you believe that?  And one is a German, only four folks from the United States.  This is an incarnational mission.  World Concern hasn’t puffed itself up by sending Americans overseas.  This is a mission that is built on local citizens that are concerned for their communities.  They speak the language.  They know the customs.  They are actually less expensive to employee.  They know everyone.  It’s the best model and it reflects God’s model.

As I shared yesterday, I have a family history at CRISTA.  My grandfather was here at the founding of the ministry.  My mom walked the grounds as a kid and later served in her final years at CRISTA Senior Services as a nurse.  It’s good to be at a place where I have such deep roots.

I may have some history, but after 20+ years in the same organization.  This is a new organization and a new line of work.  My primary role is to help donors see the impact of their gifts and have a greater vision for Christ’s redemptive, holistic work in the world.  As a new line of work, in a new organization, it is going to be a challenge.  I’m committed to be a life-long learner, so I’m excited about the prospect of growing, trying new things, stretching new “muscles.”

Finally, it’s a gift to work for an organization and it’s leadership that actually wants my gifts and abilities.  In the job search process, I was entirely honest with who I am and what I bring to the table.  I’m aggressive.  I get after it.  I had one interview team that did not like that quality.  At first, I was apologetic and then I realized, God created me to be intentional, aka aggressive.  The leadership here has embraced my flat sides and my strengths.  In just two days of work and a few hours of interviews, I already feel affirmed for who I am and a strong sense that my gifts fit the organization’s needs.

Out of all these reasons, I did leave out one significant point…  God has called me.  That is clear.  I’m excited about to call the mission of World Concern home.

Terrific Time of Transition

Tomorrow I start a new job, actually a new career.  I don’t want to step onto that new stage without recognizing where I have been the last four months.  It has been an incredible season.

Upon leaving my job at the start of the year, I set a personal goal to meet with three people each weekday including two new introductions per week.  I met with over 140 business, community, church and non-profit leMeeting Mugaders.  I probably had another 40 or 50 job-specific meetings or interview.

These coffees, breakfast, lunches, office visits, walks, happy hours and dinners were one-on-one.  I met with business, community, church and non-profit leaders, and …

  • All of my meetings were in Snohomish and King County, except one day in Skagit and another in Kitsap.  I simply didn’t get to so many good friends.
  • Two of these meetings were scheduled on the calendar for 15 minutes (each went over 45 minutes).  Most meetings were 90 minutes though a few went over two hours.
  • I only had three people decline my request for a meeting, everyone else was very welcoming.

The purpose of these times was to expand my horizon on the market and what God may be doing in the world.  I learned a great deal.  You can read a previous post where I shared some of what I had gained by clicking here.  I took detailed notes, asking each person three questions:

  1. What do you see going on in the “market?”  However they defined market.
  2. How do you see God moving in the world?
  3. As I meet with other leaders, is there any words, phrases or ideas that I can listen to on your behalf?

Upon launching into this season, I also asked a small group of people to serve as a prayer group for me.  I wrote to them every Monday with prayer requests and praises.  This was invaluable.  It really became my weekly rant and rave section.  I cleared my head at their reading expense.  Thank you.

While I’m saying, “Thanks,” a big thank you to all of those who met with me…and I know there are a few more that are to be scheduled.  We’ll get them done and I’ll forward to it.  As I’ve shared, those meetings have been extremely valuable.

I do want to note a couple of special people who leaned in with me during this time.

  • Jeff Rogers – He took me on right from the beginning and coached me.  An amazing man.  He gave me question number three, above, and helped me connect with the “need” in each person with which I met.
  • Joel “Buzz” French – Buzz told me to do two new introductions a week.  This was key in expanding my horizons.
  • Mike O’Leary – An old boss who gave me kind words at the start, “Oh, the places you will go.”
  • Tim Jenkins – He spent hours with me working it through.
  • Scott Hardman – A Presbyterian banker with some level of prophetic gifting…who would have thought.
  • Barry Crane – I met Barry as a part of this process, but he spoke specifically into my life reminding me that this is going to be an amazing journey and that I was going to meet with 200 people before I took a job…I may have just hit that very number.
  • There are a few people I met with more than once – Lonac, Burleigh, Schock, Austin, Jenkins, French, Thompson, Hardman, O’Leary,  Lanning, Caldwell, Charles, Pearson, Quick, Franklin, Eney, Wellman, Rogers, Ingle, Owens, Mader, Marshall, Rydberg, Holien, Littlefield, Larson, Paine, Buskirk, Cress, Fankhauser, Kopicky, Nelson, Chin, Trettevik, Parrott, Savidge, Turner, Weholt and Dingman.  Faithful men and women.  Thank you.

So tomorrow, I launch into the next thing.  My head is loaded with the knowledge and experiences from this present cloud of witness.  My heart if full of their support and love.  Energy is up.  I can’t wait to get after it.  Now, here we go.

Thanks to all of you for sending me.

Serving Those That Serve Our Troops

Last week, Brenda and I were in Italy with Military Community Youth Ministry (MCYM).  I thought I would give a brief review of our time.  Over the next week or so, I’m going to outline some of my talks, as well, so that you can see in detail what we discussed.

MCYM is in a unique season.  The organization contracts with the U.S. military to provide youth ministry on bases around the world.  Their transition is tied to changes every defense contractor faces with new government requirements.  Some of these challenge MCYM’s core beliefs.

Rather than ditch their core beliefs, they are working to continue their ministry in new ways.  The result is that each staff person and the entire organization is in the midst of a transition.  Staff are either leaving the ministry completely or they are working on new ways to care for military brats.  The organization is working on new relationship models with the military so they can to continue to serve the families and children of our front-line troops.

IMG_2445I did a couple training sessions and Brenda and I had numerous individual or meetings with couples.  These were holy times.  My keynote talks applied the trails, temptations and transitions of Biblical leaders.  The outline was as follows:
  • Day 1 — Joseph (Gen 29-43) was faithful in hard times and God promoted him
  • Day 2 — Mary & Martha (John 11) patient, partners preparing for their ultimate task
  • Day 3 — General Teaching on Security (strongholds, temptation, etc.)
  • Day 4 — David (Psalm 16) trusted God for all during a challenge
  • Day 5 — The Temptation of Jesus (Luke 4) and what our Lord models for us

I was honored to meet MCYM, their staff and spouses during in this process.  I had a strong sense of my calling to this opportunity and it increased with every day, meeting and interaction.  I greatly enjoy creating to meet changing cultures.  It’s what I’ve competently done for the last decade plus.  At the same time, I’m in a transition of my own, so my talks were not as an objective observer but more as a fellow traveler.  It was group therapy…and it was good.

Pebble Breach

This little rock was in my shoe. It had been poking at me the last few days during a trip to Italy. I couldn’t find the issue, the poke, but this morning it finally rolled out.

Just a tiny little thing. Not particularly jagged, even roundish. With where I’ve been walking this could be a historic, 15th-century pebble. Even small, round and potentially noteworthy, it was a pain in my sole.

What are the tiny, “rounded out,” possibly even long-term deals in your “walk” and soul that need to roll out of your life?

Take the time. Do the search. Get yourself in a place and with the space to do that work this weekend.

You’ll walk with a fresh step come Monday.

Riding a Bike Through Life

There was the day that you were encouraged to ride a bike…without training wheels. “Hey, it’s a beautiful day, let’s learn to ride your bike.”  Or maybe your young self-driven self said to an adult, “I want to learn how to ride my bike.”

Regardless of how it started, someone did it with you.

I suppose you could learn to ride a bike alone, but it is going to be painful. You will fall. You will “get a bump.”  If you take this route, do it on a lawn…and it is still a lousy, lonely way to start.

Have someone help you. That is the best way. Someone else can hold you up, walk along side of you. They will make sure it is safe. They’ll give you tips, encourage you. If you fall, they will get you back in the saddle. They will give you that second, third or fourth push. They will keep you focused on the goal, not allowing you to give up. They will cheer you on, clapping and with joy say, “Pedal, pedal, pedal.”  They will celebrate with you as you cruise by competent and confident.

This early lesson in learning on that sunny day with the bike will echo through life.  Everyone has tough lessons to master in leadership, friendship, commitment, honesty, character, etc. All of these are best learned with a friend who will help, encourage, pick you up, keep you focused and celebrate with you.

Once you have mastered these life lessons with a friend, mentor, coach or teacher, they will become “as easy as riding a bike.”