There will always be opposition

Have you ever encountered someone who doesn’t agree with your point of view or see things the same way you do? I’m sure you’ve experienced the tension that lies when you have an idea but know someone is going to challenge you. This is what makes the world a beautiful place, but it can annoy us and stress us out. We can probably agree with this statement: there will always be someone who does not approve our work.

So, if it’s true there will always be opposition, how then might we adjust our behavior?

If it’s true there will always be at least one person who doesn’t like what we’re up to, what might we need to consider in our mindset and thinking?

If it’s true all people will not see things the same way we do, what’s next?

Adjusting our behavior

One of the ways we can deal with opposition is to adjust our behavior. As humans, we have the ability to change the narrative, change our thinking, and see the world differently. Some of this happens in our thinking patterns or in the invisible world. Some of this happens in the external or physical world. How we behave exists in both of these worlds.

Since there will always be opposition, make an agreement with yourself that you will not sulk or get discouraged when you hear someone who doesn’t like what you said. There will always be people who don’t get you, and you knew that beforehand! If you didn’t know that, it’s true, right? We can’t live every moment of our lives in terms of those who oppose us.

Since there will always be opposition, change your surroundings. Switch things up. You don’t have to have your desk in that dark corner. Your room does not have to be painted that color. Make a simple tweak to your surroundings to help you remember you have the ability to change your surroundings. Charles Duhigg illustrates this in his book Smarter Faster Better where he describes how members of the military were given the ability to rearrange the furniture in their living quarters. This gave each person a sense of autonomy and a deeper sense of control. You can do the same.

Since there will always be someone who doesn’t like your work, decide now that you won’t let that freeze you up. The last thing you should do is freeze up and stop making stuff. That’s what the opposition wants. Decide on the front end that you will create art. If there are people who don’t get it, as Seth Godin would say, it wasn’t for them.

Mindset and thinking questions... (Invisible world)

As you think about your internal dialogue or your invisible world, you can structure how you want to think about your work.

How much attention are you going to give the opposition? Decide before it destroys your day.

How much attention will you give your support team? Know who they are so you can run to them in emergencies.

What voices ultimately matter most in your life? Brené Brown suggests having a 1 inch by 1 inch piece of paper with the voices that are most encouraging in your life. It’s small on purpose. Let them know they are on your square and keep them close, especially when you feel discouraged.

What’s next? (Physical world)

If it’s true there WILL be opposition, Get to work. What are you waiting for?

Stop complaining. You knew this wouldn’t be easy.

Butt in chair. Thanks, Anne Lamott

Find out what inspires you — and come back to it when you’re discouraged. Keep a rainy day file.

Use criteria to create momentum

Objective data, truth, facts, science, and proven studies all accomplish something for those that consider themselves thinkers: protection.

A plea to “be objective” rids any hint of subjective emotion, stories, feelings, and ideas from being creditable. It counts subjectivity as something not to be used or valued.

But what if we’ve gotten it wrong? What if dismissing subjectivity (and all the emotions and lesser things that go with it) is a big mistake?

Human tendency: to know things.

There’s a pull we have as humans to want to know why and find the real answer that causes something to be true. So when we find facts backed by balanced studies and research, it’s like finding a firm foundation. By placing our trust in facts, we don’t have to rely on our inadequacies, weaknesses, or fear that we might be wrong. How could I have known that study wasn’t conducted properly — it’s not my fault!

On the other hand, as humans we have feelings, ideas, and stories that aren’t backed by any kind of conclusive, scientific study. We have raw heart and emotion. The best leaders, thinkers, writers, and doers have all figured out some way of managing their raw emotion so they can get through the day and engage with other people.

One option sometimes offered is to “put our feelings in the back seat.” That we can put our emotions on the sidelines and count them as part of the experience of what it is to be a person.

Maybe you’ve heard someone say something like, “oh that’s just subjective” or “I hear what you’re saying but that’s not really rooted in facts.” Basically, a tendency to dismiss things that are felt...

Another option... define criteria

Maybe there’s another option. Maybe the tendency to dismiss things (especially subjective remarks) is an inability to define criteria.

Defining criteria takes effort and concentration

Many of us do not take the time to define criteria. Defining criteria takes effort. It takes time. To define criteria for something means we have to do the hard work of thinking.

Defining criteria requires our slow, deliberate brain (not our fast, fear brain)

Our slow brain is the part of our neurology that engages in higher-order thinking, planning, and reasoning. Our fast brain is the part of our head that thinks we are going to jail if we don’t behave properly.

When we have to “define criteria” we have to go beyond objectivity.

Decide to focus

The Focused State” is something you may be looking to reach. You may have reached it once or twice before but find that it’s hard to replicate and reproduce on command.

You may blame your boss, spouse, or lack of time. You’ll blame anything and anyone. I’ve been there.

Choosing to focus takes effort.

Focus takes discipline and perspective to make good decisions on what you need to focus on and why it is appropriate for right now.

But what we often miss with focus is that it’s a decision. You and I must DECIDE to focus — to quiet the voice that says we need to be working on something else.

Focus is a decision

When you make the decision to focus, you direct your attention away from the trivial and toward a topic. You block out distractions and clarify the win. You decide what will consume your attention and how far you need to get before you’re willing to let up.

Choose to focus

You have a choice today. You can decide to focus. Or you can let someone else do it for you.

Asking “how might we” questions

A powerful tool to help your leadership is to ask great questions. Yes, there is such a thing as a bad question. In school, teachers sometimes say there’s no such thing as a bad question. Good advice for young students. Bad advice for adults. There are many WRONG questions that we can ask that we don’t need to be asking. There are WRONG questions we can ask about our spouse or about how things are in the world. Here’s another example of a bad question:

Zoom example of a BAD question.jpg
No. You suck. Bad question.

Change your question, change your focus. 

HOW MIGHT WE...”  questions

How might we...” questions allows the brain to engage in the higher-level thinking of the brain instead of operating out of the lower-level “fear” mindset.

In your personal life ...

  • How might I find ways to get 7–8 hours of sleep each night?
  • How might I find more energy each day?
  • How might I go deeper in my relationships?
  • How might we find more ways to spend time together?
  • How might we create a less stressful environment in our home?
  • How might we spend less time on screens?

In your role as a leader... 

  • How might we better serve our customers and clients?
  • How might we motivate and employees and staff?
  • How might we create a fantastic experience for everyone?
  • How might we best communicate this idea?

Start asking these questions today!

The best thing is you don’t have to buy anything or learn anything else to start using “how might we” questions. 

A powerful extension is to make sure your whole group or team is asking the same question together. Change the questions, change the focus. 

This post was inspired by Jake Knapp’s book, Sprint 

Dealing with Resistance

Anytime we do important work, we WILL face Resistance

It is pretty much a guarantee. 

People won’t like what we’re doing. They may even let us know (to our face). They’ll cheapen our hard efforts and make us feel bad. And a common tendency would be to compromise — to give in and give up. Some of us may even take those comments personally.

Sometimes Resistance is loud. People will tell us they don’t like what we’re doing and ask a million questions about our motives. They may hold some kind of campaign and protest. Or they’ll suggest that what we’re doing isn’t important. 

Other times (maybe more often?), Resistance is quiet and passive. Nothing specific is said, but there’s a lack of involvement or excitement that shows us they don’t like what we’re doing. Resistance can even take place in our own mind.

SO... what do we do about it?

Before I offer a powerful tool to keep us on track, here are 4 steps for dealing with Resistance:

1. Recognize Resistance is inevitable. It will show up. It’s not going to go away. Ever. That means what we are doing is starting to work and it’s being noticed. 

2. Embrace your team and community. You have a group of people right here in this thread who wants to help you succeed. If you’re taking something personally, LET US KNOW. You are not alone! We are here for you! If you face resistance, we can be praying for you, and help you lead.

3. Greet Resistance when it shows up. The worst thing we can do is ignore the Resistance. Begin by saying “hello Resistance!” when it shows up in whatever form it takes. And in your head, just whisper to yourself “I think I’m facing Resistance right now.” This simple phrase activates the part of your brain that is more deliberate and thoughtful rather than fast and thoughtless. 

4. Stay focused on our end game. Specifically on Sunday morning’s our end game is that people would think “I’m coming back next week.” We must stay focused on this and remind ourselves and our team members that every Sunday is someone’s first Sunday and we want to eventually bring them into a growing relationship with Christ. 

A powerful tool for staying on track... 

Clarify the win. 

Another way to deal with Resistance is to clarify the win. Everyone wants to win. When we are clear on what it looks like to win, people can better evaluate what we’re doing. Most people are already evaluating what we are doing based on their own inner-defined win. Sometimes this is what there’s Resistance — what we’re doing doesn’t match THEIR win.

Your role: Restate the win frequently. It may feel like we are a broken record at times, but this just means what we are saying is starting to spread. We must remind people why we are so fanatic about making the Sunday experience “irresistible” so we can let God do the work only he can do. 

QUESTION: Have you experience Resistance in your role as a leader? 

QUESTION: Are you prepared to greet Resistance this week and next? (And the week after that?) 

QUESTION: How do you deal with Resistance when it shows up?

(Inspired by Steven Pressfield’s The War of Art and Andy Stanley’s 7 Practices)

Communicate early and often

I’ve experienced it and I’m sure you have too. You’re getting close to a deadline for a project and you’re waiting on 12 essential details to complete everything. 

You’re so close to the deadline that having any conversations or communication will KEEP you from completing the project

So what do you do? 

You skip them... and get to work. 

Seriously though... who has time to communicate early and often when you have a deadline to meet? 

It’s easier to go silent and communicate less when there’s a big event or deadline right around the corner. However, one of the strategic behaviors I want all of us to consider as leaders is this:

We communicate EARLY and OFTEN.

Part 1: Communicating EARLY

This means we talk about stuff while we can still make plenty of adjustments. When you communicate late, there’s often no time left to make changes. On Nov 13, I wrote about how we plan in advance so that ‘lack of time’ is never an issue. Around CFC, we don’t want to fall into the “I didn’t have enough time” trap. That’s not a good excuse! By communicating early, we can keep each other in the loop before it is too late.

When you communicate early... you can let your team know about stuff while there’s still time to figure out key details and other solutions. 

When you communicate early... you allow time for proper planning. See my post from Nov 13 for more planning tips and tricks: https://public.3.basecamp.com/p/HonuXbbxWwdGMvnDsXg1nJXG

Part 2: Communicating OFTEN

This just means we’re in the pattern of a consistent conversation — not a irregular monologue

So far my personal attempts to achieve this have been:

  • Monthly volunteer training meetings (Saturdays) 
  • Weekly(ish) posts here in Basecamp (like this one)

But I’m sure there’s more I could do and that we could all do... 

Next steps...

  • What, if anything, do you have to communicate that would be better for your team to know SOONER than later?
  • How often have you communicated? 
  • What can we do better to make sure communication is happening EARLY and OFTEN?