July 6, 2018

A Tight Rope of Humility and Courage

NOTE: This is an edited version of what was in my July '18 newsletter. Go subscribe and you'll be the first to read these kinds of updates.

This week, I am in Austin with thousands of people from across the Episcopal church. Months ago, I thought this would be a huge opportunity to recruit church planting leaders. I sent emails and made phone calls, inviting people to sit down with me to discuss partnering with my office to start new congregations. Half a dozen people responded to my meeting requests. A little disappointing but I gladly reached out to those people to set up meetings. Guess what happened next?


At the end of the day, no one would agree to a time and place. Before casting blame, I reached out to wiser leaders and mentors asking, "What did I do wrong?" Was I intimidating, too informal, too formal, etc. The response I received? "People are not prepared or desire to take risks." Granted, I've learned to improve how I recruit leaders and at the end of the day I've connected with the right people to partner with in other ways. Nonetheless, I think these mentors are right; most people want to take a familiar path, a path with a predictable outcome.

I find that boring.

You don't have to come to Texas and plant new faith communities with me but if you have an imagination for something new and different, take the risk and do it. Whatever you learn, however you grow, no matter the outcome it's a win because you were the one to do it. Notice how I framed the benefits of risk-taking? The competitive edge is internal. Those that take risks, learn from the risk–whether failure or success, and try again are those that walk a tight rope of humility and courage. It has far less to do with whether you're "the best" at something and so much more to do with whether you're willing to try and learn. Being "the best" is an external perception. The will to try and learn is internal and matters a lot more.

What risk are you going to take?

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