@BackstageLeader Lesson 1: Mark Batterson

Mark Batterson was the first session for the semester of @BackstageLeader and it was an incredible start to a semester of learning. I actually have already blogged briefly about the call with Batterson, so be sure to check it out but I will add to it here.

One thing that Mark said that has stuck with me almost more than anything this semester is this one quote:

“We over-estimate what we can do in a year and we under-estimate what we can do in 10.”

I can not tell you how often this plays out in my life. As a leader (young or old) we tend to put everything on our plate. We think “if I can just do this, and take that trip – if I can go to this conference, and work on that project – if I can just complete this task list and start working on a start-up ministry…” We think we can take on the world – and rightfully so – we can. We have unbelievable abilites and talents. God has wired us each with our own strengths and with those we can do amazing things…But not all at one time.

Do you ever wonder if you are doing so much today that you can not even begin to think about your sphere of influence in 10 years? Do you ever find your self so swamped in the today’s work that you could never even dream of what 5 years from now will look like?

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A Semester with @BackstageLeader

As you can tell, I am not an avid blogger- as much as I have wanted to write and tell about my experiences and how i learn from them, i just always make excuses as to why I do not. However, this past semester, I have had an incredible opportunity to be a part of a great experience called Backstage Leadership and I would hate not to take an opportunity to share with you about a few things that I have learned.

As we have gone through the semester, we have talked with some incredible leaders. We have been able to learn from them in a much more intimate setting than you normally would at a conference or any other big event, which has been fun to watch them in this setting. These leaders have been great business leaders like Dan Cathy, authors like Ken Blanchard, and pastors such as Mark Batterson.

So, over the next few blogs (and yes, i will actually commit to write 4 in a row), I will be debriefing my experiences from Backstage Leadership. I will try to keep them brief, and hopefully you will see a take-away that you can apply in what you are doing in your world right now-

Stay Tuned

For more information about Backstage Leadership and how you can be a part next semester, check out BackstageLeadership.org


You are Where you Eat – Local Leadership Lessons

I really love restaurants – I mean really love them. I recently told someone when I was standing in line for a taxi at the New York Airport, that I could easily enjoy eating my way through a town when I travel. I don’t love eating a ton of food, but I love local restaurants and seeing places that I have never been before. I think it is great to be able to walk into a place that you can see no where else in the world and get some great food and some local flavor.

I also know where I want to eat when I come to a town. For instance, when you do come to Central Florida, you should definitely eat at Charley’s Steakhouse, and when in Birmingham, AL you need to take a stop at O’Carrs for some incredible Chicken Salad. I also love to be in Atlanta and take a stop by the original Chick-fil-A in Hapeville, or stopping at the Carnegie Deli in New York City.

I think that the thing is that a lot of what makes a local restaurant so good actually has a lot of lessons that we can learn about leadership and running a great organization. I know that it may seem a bit off, but I can explain:

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The Power of a Mentor

As I have mentioned, I am still young and I am learning a lot – but one thing that I have really learned about leadership is that you should never go at it alone. When I was college, I kept hearing one over-arching theme from a lot of very wise people. It was that you need a mentor – someone that you can walk alongside of in life. I have been blessed to have some great people step into my life and offer me some great counsel.

As you think about a mentor relationship I have a few pieces of advise that I have found to be helpful:

  1. You need to find someone who can be involved with your life but at the same time not immersed in the day-to-day activities of your life

    – I think that it is great to have bosses, co-workers, and family members who can be of counsel to you in life, but I also think that it is very important to have some people who are a bit more removed to walk along side of you. I find this so helpful, because as much as they understand what is going on, they are able to see it from a much bigger perspective.

  2. You need to be specific of what the outcomes that you desire

    – I think that you make the most of the relationship if you know what you need to work on and what you need to improve. If you know what the goals are it is much easier to have someone help you achieve them. I personally have developed 1, 3, and 5 year goals and I am open to share these with the people that I look to for counsel in life. They can help hold me accountable and also help me accomplish all that I want to accomplish.

  3. You need to ask what can I give before you ask what can I get

    – I am constantly learning that a mentor relationship is a 2-way relationship and that the mentee (not sure if this is a word) can also influence the life of the mentor. Do not underestimate what you can bring to the table to influence others. This is a fun thing to learn and I feel like it is not natural, but I also think that it makes the most of the relationship.

How about you? How do you approach your mentor relationships? Do you have a mentor? How have they impacted your life and how have you impacted their’s?


Keeping Track of Thoughts

This week I have been learning a lot about getting organized, getting everything out of your mind and getting in on paper, how to keep up with all bits of information that come in, etc. I attended a seminar in New York called “Getting Things Done” in which we talked a lot about writing thoughts down and developing a system of what to do with the things you write and how to process next actions or storage.

I say all of that to bridge to my next thought.

I have always had a hard time keeping track of things. I think that I get a lot of great ideas about how to change work items, how to make things better, future plans and growths, etc. but I seem to loose a lot of them. I think its because I may not value them all. Sometimes I think “well by time I can actually do that I will have thought of something better.” Chances are this is right, but why start from scratch every time?

On Monday I was on a call with Mark Batterson though BackstageLeadership and one thing that stood out to me was this thought:

Keeping track of things is more of a stewardship issue than anything. God has given you a gift of thoughts and ideas and you have to be a steward of those things.

I think that we so tend to get caught up on the idea that stewardship is wrapped up in money, but what abut our thoughts and our ideas? Are we not stewards of them? Would we ride down the road with our trunk full of money and the lid open so it can all fly out? No thats absurd, but are we not doing the same thing when we do not write our thoughts down?

…Just a thought.

What methods do you use to record all of you thoughts? A blog? A Moleskin? Do you have an App for that?


Changing the way that I blog

As you can see, I only have 2 blog posts so far and I think that this is simply because I was trying to blog something that I am not. I wanted to be a blogging expert on the challenges that face people who work with people in my generation. I was thinking at first that I could read great books and talk with insightful leaders and tell you of all the things I learned and give you some great commentary.

Well News Flash – that is really not my style at all – probably why I have 2 posts and no readers.

So here is the real approach. I will still be blogging about leadership and what I am learning about leadership, but most of my posts will not come from profound books that took 7 years of research to write. They will not come from the greatest experts or most well-known leaders, but I will blog about what I am learning about leadership through my life.

I am young. I am learning through trail and error. I am learning through conversations with great leaders. I am learning by not getting it right 100% of the time. The fun thing is that you are too. So, I hope overtime that this will be a conversation platform. A place where I can talk with you about the things that I am learning now that will make me a much better leader later in life.

I am a David who too often wants to skip over the ‘shepherd’ years and just beat Goliath.


Leading our Generation

The reasons that I will be writing on the ideas of leading the next generation and working with Gen Y and Gen Z is that I first of all have a passion and a desire for my Generation and the generations to follow us to not allow endless opportunity to pass us by, but more so for us to be able to see and shape the future; for us to be able to seize every opportunity and take advantage of the possibilities that we have to be the most influential group of people that this world has ever known.

Another reason is that it has recently become a career for me; a chance to spend my whole days and weeks seeking out opportunities to find the best ways for our organization to pour into the lives of young people, specifically to pour into and invest in college students. We are so excited and blown away by the quality of young people that we are able to do live with and we understand that there is potential for them to do more in life to change society than ever before.

I have recently started reading “Not Everyone Gets a Trophy,” a book written by Bruce Tulgan that is looking into some myths about the Gen Y group and actually talking through the best ways to get the most out of the young people.

One of the most challenging things that I have read thus far that may challenge you in your org as it will mine as I unfold what this will look like is this:

“If you want high performance out of this generation, you better commit to high-maintenance management.”

See, we are an organization of doers, leaders, and thinkers who need and desire a transitional relationship with our bosses. We believe that we have things to offer as well as a lot to learn, and inside of all of us, we want to be invested in and valued. We need our bosses to be coaches, investors (in our lives), and teachers.

So, now its time that we step up to the plate. We get to be the leaders that our generation will want to follow. How will you do this in your org?


The Next Generation

As I start to blog, I am going to try to steer my thoughts around leading and investing in the lives of the Next Generation. I have a lot of political views, social stances, and conservative world-view ideas, however it is my intention for this blog to not turn into an avenue of my own rants and one-sided view points. There are millions of other blogs out there that will take these traditional stances and view-points, however this will not be one.

My goal is to actually give value to you for reading this. My focus will be investing in the lives of the next generation, which is what most call Gen Y and Gen Z. (Gen Y being people born between 1978 and 1990 and Gen Z being those born between 1991 and 2000.) We are the next generation of leaders that will radically impact the world in ways that are more influential, more efficient, and ore passionately than any other generation that has ever existed – but only if we are invested in, coached, and mentored into the influencers that we have the potential to be.

I want to start blogging at BrentFielder.com with a short video that will hopefully describe who we (Gen Y and Z) are so that we can have a better understanding of how to pour into and invest into the lives of the next gen.

Bottom line: take the time to be a good steward of your influence

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