I was totally engaged, making furious notes. All in! Ready and willing to contribute, and then it happened.

Everything changed.

I was totally let down and disappointed by this rebellious act of insubordination and willful disobedience. No matter how hard I pushed and pressed, it refused to give what it no longer had. My favorite pen was out of ink.fullsizeoutput_c51

The moment, of course, was quite ironic. I was sitting around the table with other servant leadership practitioners this morning, and we were discussing how to maintain servant leadership during stressful situations. In particular, we were exploring the role of being rested (i.e. having a full charge, managing your reserves) so that we don’t run on empty.

That’s exactly where my (former) favorite pen was at… staling on empty.

So that’s when my pen schooled me.

  • Regain perspective. It took some time for me to recognize that my frustration level was getting high. But, once I recognized it, it became easier to adapt towards the right perspective.
  • Return to the high ground. As I was glaring at my pen, one of the servant leadership masters made the comment “always operate form the high ground.” So I stopped torturing my pen with my fiery gaze and returned to listening for additional wisdom.
  • Exchange places. I started thinking that, at times, I too am just like this pen. Out of “ink” – out of energy, passion, and compassion. I was reminded today that when I no longer have the energy to stand, I need to continue on my knees.
  • Ask for a refill. Many people are willing and ready to refill my empty tank. I also receive strength from God who is always ready to help. I am reminded of “I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing” (attributed to Jesus as recorded in The Gospel of St. John chapter 15 verse 5)


I love getting together with fellow servant-leadership practitioners! There is so much value in the collective wisdom we share. For example, at a recent gathering I captures 7 practical ideas for pursuing the, often elusive, “great day.” Here they are… raw and real:

  1. Count your blessings daily (really, do this literally)
  2. Write down positive encounters and ideas in a log book or journal
  3. Work with your hands at something you enjoy – do it joyfully by yourself
  4. Take a walk and go out to enjoy nature (this can be done even in the city… find your “secret spot”)
  5. Serve others out of a generous heart
  6. Get away from the “noise” of TV, News, and social media (disclaimer: I love social media but I can see the wisdom of this practice)
  7. Model (imitate) the right thoughts and action (we can amplify the good stuff or perpetuate the negative)

I am convinced that the more I practice these, the closer I get to the right mindset, outlook, and engagement I will need to have a truly great day.

Have a Great Day!

(or the ever popular… Make it a Great Day)

  • Simple but not easy
  • Persistence and assistance
  • Practice the fundamentals

I attended my first WI Servant Leader City Tour event on April 25th at the Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE) in downtown Milwaukee, and I was equally impressed with the facility, the presenters, and the participants.

MSOE graciously hosted the event and provided for all necessary comforts including a centrally located room, lunch, and free parking in their visitor lot. I was equally impressed with the students I happen to meet in the hallway. Most of them greeted me cheerfully and made me feel very welcome (one even opening the door for me with a generous smile).

The event started with a 30-minute interactive, story-filled, engaging presentation about the “Nuts & Bolts” of Servant Leadership. This energizing time was followed by three guest community speakers who shared their Servant Leader journey. It was great to hear about their real-life leadership adventures and experience their work-in-progress approach to self-awareness.

The roundtable discussion that followed unearthed three big take aways:

  • Self-awareness is simple but not easy. It’s not unreasonable to think that most leaders understand the value of self-awareness and they can articulate the steps necessary to mature in this area. However, self-awareness is a difficult journey to undertake, one that demands an uncomfortable transparency into the real self.
  • Self-awareness takes persistence and assistance. No one becomes self-aware overnight. Yes, there are growth spurt moments, but generally speaking, it requires practice over time. One also needs a coach (assistance) to help point out some of the blind spots.
  • Self-awareness thrives on practicing the fundamentals. One of people who sat at our table operates at a high level of expertise in his field; however, this person takes a fundamental training course each year as a means to remain grounded. This concept resonates with me deeply. When I played viola professionally in a Music at Popa Rususymphony orchestra, my teacher (read coach) had me practice scales like any entry level musician. Self-awareness fundamentals are no different. Practice humility, transparency, compassion, forgiveness, listening, and patience (not an exhaustive list); and when your self-awareness “sounds a little off”, stop, regroup, and try it again. Yup… practice.

Yesterday we had our first planning meeting for Agape Community Church. We took our first steps together in a great adventure. I can’t wait to see what God will do next! I reflected today on a parable that Jesus told his followers, and I was very encouraged. I hope the King’s words will encourage you also – this is what he said:

“The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. Though it is the smallest of all seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds come and perch in its branches.” (Matthew 13:31,32)

Dialogue Café

Posted: December 17, 2014 in Church Start-Up
Tags: , , ,

close-upWe are actively working on launching other Dialogue Café groups. God is working in the hearts of people and preparing them for investing in other people… more at Agape Community Church.