Being First

Being first doesn’t always mean you’re the fastest.  In fact, I’d argue that sometimes being first means you’re the slowest.

Have you ever been on the leading edge of change?  Whether that’s adopting a new process or perhaps integrating new and unfamiliar tools or software to improve your work, being the one to go first usually results in slower performance as we adopt to the newness before us.  We also have the added challenge that, if we’ve gone first, there usually aren’t experts on our team that we can ask questions of.  When we go first, we are the expert.  Albeit the expert in in training.

I’ve often discovered that while slow-going, being first affords us a unique opportunity to shape how the change we’re embracing will be used and adopted by others.  Being first also puts us in a position assist those who come behind us and offer them a smoother transition than we had.

Personally, I’d rather be involved in shaping change and guiding others who come behind rather than sitting around and waiting until the path is clearly spelled out.  That’s why I like being first.

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Change

Our church is currently in the middle of a couple of significant changes.  We’re looking for a lead pastor and a youth pastor as well.  Fortunately, it’s a good thing.  Both of them left on excellent terms to pursue the next step in their careers.  Even so, the congregation is sad to see them go and interested in seeing what this change will bring.

I’m again reminded how constant change is in our lives.  As a result, I want to make sure I’m not defaulting to being afraid of change, but instead deciding how I want to view change as I live my life.  For me, there are 3 thoughts about change that I try to keep in mind:

  1. If there’s something I’m currently enjoying in my life, don’t take it for granted. Be thankful for it and enjoy it while you have it, because you never know when things may change.
  2. All the things I currently enjoy usually entered my life as the result of a change of some sort. Therefore, with regard to change, I’m always asking, “What does this make possible?”
  3. As a Christian, I know that God never changes, and He is with me no matter what changes I experience.

These thoughts give me the mindset to see change not as tragic event or something to be avoided, but as fertile ground for new opportunities.  If you’re looking for something different or new in your life, the only way it will happen is through some sort of change.

The next time you’re facing a change, whether you chose it or not, consider one or all of the thoughts mentioned above.  You just might be on the cusp of something exciting… and you won’t want to miss it.

Pieces of a Puzzle

I’ve been learning to play the bass guitar for just under a year, and although I’m not very good right now, I’m really enjoying the process.  It’s like putting a puzzle together.

Each new concept I learn about the bass guitar is like an individual piece of a puzzle.  There are so many “pieces” of knowledge needed to successfully make music with a bass guitar.  For several months, I felt like I’ve just been collecting pieces of this bass guitar puzzle.

Lately, the learning process has become much more exciting, because I’m now seeing how some of the pieces of the puzzle I’ve been learning are starting to fit together.   Scales make more sense now because I understand how they are used regarding keys and triads.  Those pieces fit together with the concepts I’ve learned regarding improvising and composing.  It’s fun to see my understanding grow as the picture gets clearer with each piece I acquire.

I think it’s like that with any new experience we undertake.  The process seems to be:

  1. Collect pieces of the puzzle in the form of knowledge and understanding
  2. See how these pieces fit together
  3. The picture becomes more clear
  4. We go back to step 1 and repeat the process

If you’re trying to learn something new and are getting frustrated with the progress, perhaps you should change what you’re looking at.  Instead of looking at the completed picture of what you’re trying to accomplish, why not look at how the pieces of what you have learned fit together to give you a glimpse of where you’re going.  And keep in mind, with every new piece, the picture becomes a little clearer.

Seek Someone Who Has Been There

Have you ever started a new undertaking and quickly realized, “I’m really not sure what to do first… next… at all”?

I’m glad I’m not the only one!

Whenever we feel like this, I think the best thing we can do is to seek out someone who has already been where we currently want to go, and ask them questions about their experience.

The unknown can be a scary place that keeps us from new experiences or reaching new heights.  However, when we hear someone tell us about how they navigated a path that is currently before us, somehow it seems less mysterious.  We begin to see our own journey take shape.  We’re able to see the steps required, as well as potential pitfalls to be avoided.

If you’re starting down a new and uncertain path, and you’re not sure what the journey looks like, find someone who has already traveled down that road and task them to tell you about their journey.  Not only will you gain valuable insight from their experience; they’ll very likely be eager to share with you what they’ve learned.