“One of the most difficult skills a quarterback must learn is the ability to listen to the right voices on the field. If you’re a football fan, then you now how loud a football game can be: screaming fans, defensive players yelling out distractions, referees blowing whistles, teammates shouting commands, the loud speaker booming out music. For a quarterback, learning to tune in the right voices and tune out the wrong ones often means the difference between winning and losing.” – (taken from page 76 of The Up the Middle Church)
If you are a leader of any capacity then you know how true the above quote can be. At the end of the day, the voices we choose to let in and the voices we intentionally keep out will make or break our leadership. Here are a few thoughts:
1. We choose the Voices we “Turn Up.”
Over the course of my leadership life, I have had to adjust the voices that speak into my life. When we began NLC 7 1/2 years ago, we went on a quest for new voices who could show us a new way of doing ministry. And the voices we found have made all the difference.
Over the years, the voices I choose to turn up have morphed and changed with the seasons of my life. As a leader, I work hard to find voices who are speaking to where I’m living in my life at the time. It’s not easy to find the right voices, but in the end it’s well worth the effort.
2. We choose the Voices we “Turn Down.”
In my opinion, one of the most important things a leader can do is identify the voices that no longer fit into the reality God has called them to lead in and Turn Them Down!!!
So many leaders underestimate the power of “Negative” or “Manipulative” voices in their ear. It doesn’t mean we don’t EVER listen to someone who sees the world differently than we do, but for the voice that is “A Continual Dripping” like Proverbs says, or doesn’t fill us up EVER, we’ve got to learn to marginalize that voice and turn them down.
Leadership is hard and having voices that constantly drain the life out of us will wear us out and make us question our vision.
3. The Voices in our ear affect the voices in our head.
I learned the hard way that when I have given some voices too much volume in my life, they affect the way I view myself. In once incident, I had a leader who was constantly questioning the direction we were going. I truly think he was just genuinely trying to examine our ideas, but I found myself questioning my vision every time I would leave a meeting with him.
So, I ended up having to move him out from my direct ear shot. I couldn’t lead effectively with his voice so loud in my ear. He was affecting how I saw myself and the vision God had put in my heart.
4. Make a Decision today to Take Control of the Voices that influence you.
Ultimately, it’s up to us to choose the voices we do and don’t listen to in our lives. This may require some hard conversations. This may require distancing ourselves from voices that have played a powerful role in a previous chapter in our lives. All the same, as leaders, there is too much at stake for us to NOT examine the voices we’re allowing in and take control of who gets “Ear Time” in our life.
After all, “For a quarterback, learning to tune in the right voices and tune out the wrong ones often means the difference between winning and losing.”
Voices in My Head
Another great, insightful blog entry from Matt Keller: