Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Week 12: Friction....the good kind

Image from
 What's the bear's problem in the picture? 
He didn't read or heed the warning sign.
This is the pivotal moment that I feel that I'm at right now.  All of the reading that we're doing for the leadership series class is really causing several paradigm shifts and basically creating a lot of friction inside.  I've got two choices: 1) Ignore the warning signs that appear on the billboard of my mind - warning me of the dangers of status quo; or 2) Listen, embrace, explore, evaluate, and adjust what my current realities are regarding my strengths, leadership, and general approach to dealing with people.

I choose #2.

Because of that choice, two words that keep challenging me this week.  The first word is "intentional".  It has been a theme in conversations with friends this week and was the theme within the bible study group that I participate.  I can choose #2 from the choices above all day long, but I have to be intentional about it.  I can't just take an intellectual journey, but need to be intentional about digging deeper and looking for opportunities to change and/or apply what I've learned into my daily walk.

The second word is "friction".  As I try to embrace the things that I'm learning, it is causing growing pains.  Lots of friction inside, as I begin to remodel this metaphorical house.  It's a good friction though, not the typical friction that would connotate conflict with others, but rather it is conflict within myself as I confront the reality of who I am versus who I REALLY am.  This has lit a fire inside, that is a purging fire - transformational.  Deep, yes, I know.  But, that's the best I can do for this week to explain it, so chew on that a while.

This week's reading assignments have been about "calling", "vocation", and "self-deception".  During the week, we read Let Your Life Speak: Listening for the Voice of Vocation by Parker Palmer.  The writer is very poetic, deep, and transparent.  I didn't love the book, but was definitely challenged by some of the content.  We complemented that reading with chapter 38 from the book, Business Leadership: A Josey-Bass Reader, Joan Gallos (editor).  But, the book that has really captured my attention and is causing the most friction inside and resulting in noticeable change outside, is the book, Leadership and Self-Deception: Getting Out of the Box, Arbinger Institute.  I can't seem to put that book down.  It is well written in the same type of style of The Goal by Dr. Eliyahu M. Goldratt.  I have typically considered myself diplomatic, easy to work with, open to criticism, and having a genuine concern for people.  This book has made me reexamine myself and challenge me to completely embrace the concept of living "out of the box".  Read the book!!

I hope that I am not conveying, in any way, that this is an easy process.  Because, it is not.  However, I am absolutely loving this journey and would not trade it for the world!


  1. Good post John. It is nice to hear your thoughts on the journey. Some weeks are great, others challenging. However- the challenge is what keeps us going.

  2. Hey John, I found myself praying for you multiple times this week with regard to you going to see your mother. I hope you had safe travels and were able to handle your studies as well. I really have just laughed at how similar our responses have been to this course. See ya in class tomorrow. Good post by the way.