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Aug 12, 2014

Learning to Lead


...i want to be an encourager.
...i want to build others up.
...i want to teach and mentor and help others take ownership.

but can i be really, totally, transparently honest with you?  one of the biggest struggles i have is relinquishing control over things.  i've seen this tendency (maybe it's even a twinge of jealousy?) rear it's ugly head at different times in my life, and i hate it.

earlier this summer, i began building a community for bloggers.  its off to an awesome start, and i love watching that community build and flourish.  and as it grows, and i dream bigger dreams for it, i realize that there's no way i can be the only one managing and cultivating it.  if it's going to become something truly awesome, it needs more than just me at the helm.

but that means releasing a little control.  that means handing over responsibility and ownership and stepping back and letting things happen without my direction.

i work for a church, and we often talk about raising up leaders and replacing ourselves.  as a staff, we believe very strongly that it's important to build other people up and find someone who could replace you.  not because you plan on leaving your position, but just as jesus discipled the twelve and then sent them out, we're supposed to acknowledge and develop characteristics in others that will help them become the person god made them to be.

but replacing yourself?  man, that's tough.  especially for someone who likes to be in leadership positions and is a do-er (*raises hand*).  i know what the root of the problem is...its my human nature that wants to be the best at whatever it is i'm doing.  to be irreplaceable.

but that's not the true mark of a leader.  a real leader surrounds themselves with others who are passionate and amazing at what they do, and then collaborates with them, giving them the freedom to work within their calling to make the project or organization thrive.

i love reading paul's epistles.  he is an ultimate example of what it really means to lead...he went, he planted, he trained others up, and then he sent them out.  so many of his letters open with "i'm sending you so-and-so, listen to them"...paul handed over authority to those he raised up.  he asked them to lead, showed them how to, and then said "go do it!".

i'm not saying that i'm an awesome leader by any means (in fact, i'm kind of saying the opposite).  but i desire to be.  i desire to encourage and inspire and build others up and help them realize and develop skills within them.  and i'm working on it.

39 comments:

  1. love this post & i totally agree. it's hard to let go sometimes and trust that others will be *careful* with something that we care so much about--but sometimes it's totally worth the leap of faith!

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  2. so true meagan! it's definitely a growth process

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  3. Thank you for sharing, Betsy! I can completely relate to this post because I too, have a hard time handing things over in certain situations/projects. We're natural-born leaders and our job is to help build up others to also be leaders. It can be very difficult to take a leap of faith or trust in someone and even ourselves in the matter - but in the end we will learn something, and that's what matters most. :)

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  4. I completely relate to this! I have been a leader in a number of church functions, and so I experienced this too. I had some great mentors who trained me up to be a leader, and taught me to do the same for those that came after me.

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  5. I needed to hear this today, Betsy! It's so hard for me, sometimes, to relinquish control. It is truly evident that you are a strong and passionate leader--I can see that in The Peony Project! I'm so proud to be part of such an amazing group of ladies!

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  6. I can totally relate to the control issue. I have a REALLY hard time letting people help because I get nervous they won't do a good enough job (for my standards) and I hate when things have to be done twice.

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  7. I LOVED this!!! I have such a hard time sometimes giving up control. And I don't think I'm a control freak .. I like people's help but I also like the thought that I have the last say .. you know. You are right .. it is our human nature coming up in us. Thanks so much for sharing!! I needed this! The Lord has been teaching me about this for a while now. :)

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  8. Love these thoughts of leadership + what a true leader is. I can relate -- I have a very hard time relinquishing control too. It's not easy to let go of the reigns, but that's also where the magic can happen. Can't wait to see where The Peony Project goes!

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  9. Great post, I would also love to be a better leader. I'm not a natural leader and I have lots of learn, but I do believe some of these skills can be learned with practice and patience

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  10. So true.


    oursweetthingcalledlife.blogspot.com

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  11. love this! I totally am with you. At our church we are always told work yourself out of a job. I read once that when you delegate obligations you create followers, but when you delegate authority and responsibility you create leaders.

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  12. Enjoyed this post! Being a leader and relinquishing control are tough. Encouraging and inspiring others to lend a hand and step up to the plate are vital to growth though. Great post!

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  13. AGREED. Letting go and giving the reins to others is so difficult!! But you're so right - it's our calling to build others up and give over the reins often. Thanks for this, dear friend!

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  14. agreed....it is hard to "let go"! I am a "controlling" person-not in a mean way! but I like control. Control of my kids, control of my home, etc. God taught me a huge lesson on this when Hudson was in the hospital for almost 5 months. I stayed with him and this was 3 hours from home. I learned it was time to "let go" because I could not control these things while dealing with a baby that was fighting for his life, which I also had no control over! This was very tough for me but once I learned to "let go", God showed me things will work out!! Do not feel alone when you feel like this..I am right there with ya! ;)

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  15. totally! finding someone who is a good leader and who you admire is also key....let yourself be mentored and raised up into a better leader!

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  16. thanks Caitlin! it's such a difficult thing for me to do!
    also, got your letter in the mail today! you're too sweet :)

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  17. awe, thanks Faith! Its been such a difficult lesson for me to learn, but I'm working on it!!

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  18. amen, girl! i can be so particular about how things are done, and letting go of that control is difficult!

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  19. awe, thanks so much Sarah! You are so encouraging, and I'm so glad you're in that group...it's been awesome getting to know you better!!

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  20. having mentors is a complete blessing...and so irreplaceable!! i aspire to be a good mentor someday!

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  21. I want to hug you. I feel like we were meant to be friends, Bets. God is doing and is going to continue to do AMAZING things through you, I just know it - and it makes me sooo excited! Thanks so much for sharing this today :) I think you're awesome and *you* inspire me.

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  22. thanks for stopping by, Summer! so true...it's a total leap of faith, and I think having faith in other people can be difficult at times! I wish I was better at readily handing over that trust!

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  23. I am such a do-er as well. I have a super hard time delegating. It is definitely something I need to continue to work on.

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  24. The desire to be a good leader, an encourager, an inspiration is the most crucial part of being a success at it. There is a quote that says something like, "To be inspired is great but to inspire is amazing." You are an inspiration to others just continue to do what you already do.

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  25. awe, that makes my heart smile! thanks so much for those encouraging words! I think YOU'RE awesome and I'm so glad we're friends!

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  26. that's an awesome quote! thanks for your encouragement...that means so much!

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  27. This is so good! I have a hard time relinquishing control in group projects. I get really possessive of the work because I don't feel like anybody can do it right except me... which is a gross attitude. It's something God has worked with me on in the past school year.

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  28. You're doing a great job opening up the peony project and then letting other people run with it! If you can do this in other areas of your life then you have nailed it!

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  29. I love your heart; this can be such a struggle! I stumbled upon your blog because I also go by Betsy (although my first name is Elizabeth) and I'm from Central PA. :) Also, the Peony Project sounds amazing--I'm going to check it out now.

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  30. shut up! my first name is Elizabeth too! my parents just had a friend named Betsy and loved the name, so they've always called me that! love meeting other Betsys! :)

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  31. thanks so much Ali! I'm so glad you're a part of it!

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  32. I think recognizing these things in yourself.. and being transparent about it is great leadership. :) I've been so encouraged by peony project.. i'm really thankful that you put that together!

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  33. Betsy, what a great and honest post! I think that a lot of us take it personally when we are participating in the training and building up, but we realize we are being "replaced" in the process. It's hard but I think that we forget how rewarding it will be to see our "pupil" so-to-speak, leading others and encouraging others and blossoming. You'll reach that moment of pride in someone and know you were a fantastic leader.
    On another note, I love what The Peony Project is becoming and I am honored to be co-admin with you!! Excited to watch it grow. Let's get coffee soon? :) xoxo

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  34. this is so hard for me as well - good to know I'm not the only one. I feel the pull especially in education. Getting ready to go into a master's program gets me all pumped up into thinking that "I'm gonna be the best at something! And then people will want to learn from me!" when in actuality - my desires should be to help others with what I'm learning/growing in. I appreciate the reminder (and your honesty!) Thanks for sharing!

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  35. Very recently, I've learned that letting go of control feels SO good. I, too, was a control freak, but I found it's much healthier for my body and mind to not worry about carrying the weight of the world and just have FUN and let someone else do the work! Plus, you know Who is really in control!

    (And THANK YOU for starting The Peony Project!)

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  36. I have the biggest struggle with this and hate giving up control. I have been better about it recently, but its good to know that I am not alone.

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  37. You are doing an amazing job leading the Peony Project, and it is cool to see other members raising up to lead different portions of it. Releasing control is not easy, "Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much." - Helen Keller. This is the quote I think of whenever I am working in a group or leading others. I am able to do more, touch more people, and change more things because I have others alongside me on the journey heading towards the same goal.

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  38. Such great advice. I think I often forget that I'm supposed to help other lead, but I like to be the one people call on for help and to be the do-er. Thank you for that great reminder.

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Hi! Thanks for reading! I read every comment posted here. Your thoughts are valuable to me! Thanks for taking the time to contribute!

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