As leaders whether in business, church, family or any other area “what are your motivations” when you speak to someone?
We often get caught up in wanting to look the best or we fear that If we don’t perform perfectly that we may look like a fool. If we look like a fool how can we lead others? Who wants to follow a fool? And the list can go on and on. So I want to point out two things. How can looking like a fool be encouraging? And How knowing your WHY can give you the courage to step out on your own.
Seek to encourage not to impress. There is so much said in that one sentence. Seek to encourage not to impress. I think this is the WHY that should be guiding all of us a we lead. Our focus should be on adding value to others not ourselves. Impressing someone could be as simple as entertaining them but encouraging means you must give something. How do we keep from trying to impress? I believe if we keep our eyes on what they need (not on what we need and are trying to gain by impressing someone) then we can forget ourselves and give what is needed. In this case we see their need for more courage and give them what we have. If our WHY is to meet the needs of others than we muster up the courage to step out on our own. The goal I guess is humility- not thinking less of ourselves but thinking of ourselves less.
So how can looking like a fool be encouraging? There is an equation that I think sums this up well:
Enthusiasm >; ability = injury/opportunity
When our excitement is greater than our ability we risk injury. The only problem is our excitement being greater than our ability is also what raises us to greater levels of opportunity. We must risk looking like a fool in order to gain the opportunity to speak into others lives. What does it matter if you fall and look foolish? If people know your heart is to encourage then even when you stumble over your words or you say the wrong thing they don’t see it as failure but as encouragement because now they see you as on the same level as they are. Now they see that they don’t have to be perfect that you struggle like they do. I fear we have this problem as leaders where we get so caught up in wanting to impress others that we make things more difficult than they really are. My goal is to make things so simple that when people see them they say “Surly if this dumb dumb can be successful than I can too” and that is only achieved trough being vulnerable and being willing to step out even at the risk of looking like a fool. Simple does not impress but it does communicate. So now, if I stumble along the way it creates connection where we can relate. And it shows that, it is in action not in perfection that something is built.
Being vulnerable is not something that most of us are good at but being vulnerable and sharing our failures ,or allowing people to experience our failures with us is what encourages them that they can rise to the next level as well.
The apostal Paul built his ministry on this idea of looking like a fool and if you ask me he was pretty successful.
“When I came to you, brothers, I did not come with eloquence or superior wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. I came to you in weakness and fear, and with much trembling. My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power.” (1 Corinthians 2:1-5 NIVUK)
Don’t be so worried about messing up that you never move to action. Seek to encourage not to impress. If you have to do it like Paul “I came to you in weakness and fear, and with much trembling.” then do it scared. Reach higher than your own ability and trust in Gods ability to pull you through. If you never risk more than the ordinary you will never experience the extraordinary.