Are you a Generous Mind?

Are you a Generous Mind? If you are intrigued by the idea, this is a place to explore what it means to you. Our blog focuses on helping you to learn what it means to be generous with what you know. You will find helpful tips and encouraging examples that will inspire you to release your ideas to the world! Find out more at www.generousmind.com.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

A Multiplier Question

We all know what it is like to be short on resources and asked to be more effective. In Liz Wiseman's book Multipliers, based on significant research done with global leaders, she talks about the characteristics of a leader that multiplies the efforts of others rather than diminishes them.

As I was listening to the book today, one thing that stood out was a question she referenced when talking about how to help multiply the efforts of others. She encouraged the reader to ask the question "What kind of intelligence does this person have?"

I love this question because it does 2 things:

  1. It assumes everyone you work with is intelligent and insightful.
  2. It recognizes that the contributions of each person around you will be different and powerful if rightly understood. 
Many times we look a person over, make some assumptions about their potential and then put them in a box that limits their contribution. What would happen if we asked this question of each person we worked with regularly? I think we would uncover and empower whole new pieces of their potential!

Monday, September 18, 2017

A Few Square Feet of Generosity

Photo from the Little Free Library site.
I've recently become aware of an amazing movement (50,000 strong) that was sitting in my back yard. It is called The Little Free Library and the concept is simple. People all over the world sign up to be the steward of a Little Free Library and either build our buy a small library box that sits  on their property in a place that is accessible to the community. Then they begin to build a network of people in the community that will put a book in every time they take one out.

This simple concept creates a physical space for generosity. By putting up this little box and inviting your neighbors to take from it and give to it, these stewards have created a tangible place to practice being a generous mind.

Being generous with ideas is often a very cerebral affair. That is why generous minds tend to be known for books, lectures, TED Talks, coaching, mentoring and the like. But what The Little Free Library does is give actual physical space to the discipline of being a generous mind. I now have somewhere I can go on a regular basis to see what someone else has been reading and share with my neighborhood the ideas I treasure and value.

As you practice generosity with ideas, consider ways to make that act tangible for those around you. Don't let your discipline reside in your mind alone but give it that physical outworking that allows those around you to understand the gift you are giving and participate in it.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Why does everyone want to have a conversation?

"...we have to acknowledge that our lack of tolerance for vulnerable, 
tough conversations is driving our self-sorting and disconnection."

Everyone wants to have a conversation. If you listen to the news, talk shows, water-cooler talk and so on, you will hear people say, "We need a [global, national, local, company, family] conversation on ..." 

Everyone knows some tough conversations are needed if we are to address some of the challenging situations in our world today. Logistically these conversations don't seem to happen or happen in unhelpful ways because:

  1. We are talking with others that hold the same views as us.
  2. Our conversations are happening in settings that only benefit a small number of people. 
  3. The conversations are not always moderated intentionally to produce impactful results. 
  4. Seldom do the conversations we have lead to actionable and collaborative next steps. 
However, there is a bigger problem and Brene Brown hits on it in her Fast Company article (link above). The bold and practical conversations that will help people understand, heal and move forward take a level of courage and empathy that we seldom see. 

Maya Angelou said, "History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, but if faced with courage, need not be lived again." We get our courage to face today's conversations from the pain we have walked through. That pain produces growth and then we develop conviction. 

We can design countless online forums, town hall meetings, niche conferences and special events, but without a courage that comes from deep pain, growth and conviction, those words will remain empty shells. 

So let's have those conversations, but before we do, help the world find those bold courageous people to be the light the rest of us can learn from. And who knows, maybe each of us will get the chance to play that role as we understand our past and dream about the future. 

Friday, July 14, 2017

Learning from Jim Reapsome, walking with Jesus

Jim Reapsome
Jim Reapsome went to be with Jesus on June 26, 2017. The idea of Jim and Jesus walking together brings a smile to my face. In his book, 10 Minutes a Day with Jesus, Jim shared his personal desire and his desire for each of his readers so well when he said, “Ultimately, my prayer is not only that you will love Jesus more wholeheartedly, but also that your life will reflect his values and commitments. God’s purpose for all of Christ’s followers is that they will become like him.”

That was Jim’s heart. And out of that heart of surrender to God, Jim developed a deep love and passion for being on mission. As a journalist, that passion came out through a life-time of words. In the book, Innovation in Mission, that Jim and I co-edited, he said it well, “Christianity is humanity’s greatest and most noble cause, and it too has a mandate…The mandate of a Christian is to recognize God’s glory and then to obediently use personal talents to make him known to others. Missions is no more and no less.”

Jim embodied this commitment to “use personal talents.” He crafted the English language into prose that walked the dusty roads of reality, inspired soaring vision, and searched the heart. Whether he was serving the Army, the Garland Daily News, InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, The Sunday School Times, Evangelical Missions Quarterly, World Pulse, Christianity Today, Zondervan, David C. Cook, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School or the countless boards to which he gave his time, Jim called believers to know Jesus and respond to His calling on their lives. And he had that role in my life.

While Jim was teaching at Trinity, my mom took one of his classes. She loved it so much that she encouraged me to connect with Jim. I did and the result was a semester-long self-study course in Jim’s living room learning how to write. He taught me to find the powerful stories, to hone every word and to make those words count for the Kingdom. I would drive to Jim’s home in a leafy, tree-lined neighborhood in Wheaton, Illinois each week for our afternoon sessions. We would lean into his dining room table wrestling over writing concepts and troublesome sentences. He helped me learn to craft complex ideas into clear thinking; which produced clear writing.

Jim went on to be a close friend, a mentor and a constant door-opener. We shared many laughs and times of personal encouragement. He gave me my first opportunity to publish an article. He worked with me to secure my first book contract that he co-edited with me. Jim not only taught me how to write, he opened up the world of professional writing to me.

But that was who he was. He was a man of action. And his passion for seeing people grow to be who God made them to be caused him to invest in others. I remember the many meetings we had at a local diner in Wheaton as we worked on the Innovation in Mission book. Each session was an opportunity to move the project forward, but more importantly he was helping me move forward.

I can’t imagine moving forward in mission without Jim’s words of wisdom. So it’s a good thing Jim spent all his time pointing me and others to Jesus. Jim’s influence on my life did not leave me more tied to him, but instead more dependent on my Savior and His call on my life.

So let’s pause to thank God for Jim, pray for his family and then get on with the work. As a man of action, I know Jim would be very disappointed if we got distracted, even for a moment, from God’s mission in this world.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

A Leader's Legacy

Recently one of my mentors, Dr. Kent Wilson, died after a battle with cancer. This was a hard loss during a month of losses. In this moment I want to remember Kent and honor him for all his work.

The best way I can think to do that is this blog post I wrote for the Christian Leadership Alliance blog about Kent's legacy as a leader who mentored others. I hope it will inspire you.

Read the blog here.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

You are Known by What You Share

Today on Twitter Cathy Day shared "You are what you read." I have heard multiple versions of this quote over the years. Another popular version is "You are what you measure." The main idea behind these quotes is that our actions reveal something very significant about who we are as individuals.

As I thought about Cathy's tweet, I decided to write back with this addition, "You are known by what you share." While what you read ends up making you who you are, what you share is what defines how people know you. It will paint you as a radical, a friend, an intellectual, a humorist, a profane person or a person of great principle.

As I considered this idea, I thought about the fact that we can shape how we are known by what we choose to share. Are we sharing on particular issues? Maybe we have a cause that drives our Generous Mind. Or perhaps we are sharing about family and friends and that is what defines our generosity.

Whatever we share, we need to be aware of the huge impact it will have on our reputation. Now, that should not be the reason you share things, but it is one of the results of being a Generous Mind. The more you share, the more people have insight into what you are reading, thinking and doing -- thus the more insight they have into who you are!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

A Generous Imagination

There is a lot of buzz around the new Noah movie coming out soon. Many are excited to see it and others are very apprehensive about how it presents the Biblical story. I have not read very many perspectives yet and I have not seen more than a quick trailer. But I want to focus on one key idea that we have to consider as we respond to Generous Minds.

When someone is being generous with their ideas, they are usually taking something from the world and presenting their own ideas or thoughts about it. They are riffing off of something and adding perspective that only they could bring. How we respond to their generous gift will significantly impact their willingness and ability to share in the future. With that in mind, let's consider Noah.

The story of Noah has many details and very few all at the same time. We see great detail about the things God wanted us to know such as Noah's character, the size of the task, the reason for the flood and the care for God's Creation. But for some reason, God chose not to tell us much about the rest of the people Noah was living amoung. Beyond our knowledge that they were very evil and that they mocked Noah, we have little info.

So as the creators of the new movie sat down to develop a script and bring it to life, they had a big challenge. The medium of video is all about dialogue and interaction between characters - heros and villians. In the story of Noah, those elements are fairly thin. So the writers began to imagine what it might look like and have brought to the viewer one interpretation.

If they truly had good motives and were trying to share an honest perspective of what Noah might have lived through, then their script should be considered a generous gift and part of an ongoing dialogue about this important story.

I'm not saying that this perspective on the story should be taken as Biblical. Instead that it should be taken, with generous hearts, as the efforts by a certain group of creatives to share what they think might have happened.

Generous Minds need the freedom to share what God gives them to share and to know that they will not be judged for the sharing. Now, we can have great discussions about their perspective and approach. We may find it helpful and others may find it far from the mark. But the ability to allow someone to share what they think might have happened and speak into the global conversation is crucial.

Will you allow the creators of this film that opportunity?