Stop Making Excuses

Stop Making Excuses
by James Bailey

I remember sitting in church one Sunday in 2008 when Pastor Paul used a graphic that looked terrible–I’m pretty sure it involved some stick figures and a pie-chart—and began to apologize: “Sorry for the graphic; we don’t have a graphics designer on staff.” Immediately God told me, “This is where I want you to be.”

It’s been nine years since that moment. I started as a part-time, fresh out of college intern. Back then, I didn’t have a lot of design or leadership confidence, so I focused on the basics. And only focusing on the basics meant I was operating very lean.

During the Playback series this past May, Pastor Paul challenged us with: “You can make excuses or you can make progress but you can’t make both.” As I sat in the audience I asked myself: “What excuses am I making?” I’d been the full time Creative Director for awhile, but I realized I was allowing my comfort to stop me from growing and leading a team. As the church grows, we’ll need fresh ideas and I had to stop letting fear of leadership stand in the way of that.

This seemed like something above my experience. Wasn’t I just that intern sitting in the auditorium? Building my confidence as a leader wasn’t an overnight process. I had to take intentional steps to make it happen:

Steps to becoming a better leader:

Be a Multiplier

To become a better leader you need to increase the capacity of everyone around you.  It’s not just about making sure the job is getting done. It’s about equipping and empowering the people around you to carry out the vision.

Be a Challenging Leader

You have to be really comfortable asking other people to be uncomfortable. Don’t settle and don’t expect your team to settle. Call them up and out to bigger and better things.

Allow Space to take risks

Great leaders don’t assign projects; they define and assign problems to be solved. If a team member’s process looks different than yours, don’t fear it—celebrate it. Be grateful for the risk takers on your team enough that more and more show up.