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Looking for David

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Looking for David

Today I'm reminded of King Saul, the first king of Israel. The people didn't want God to lead them directly, they wanted a king like everyone else, so God gave them Saul though it wasn't what God wanted for his people. Then when Saul lost favor with God for his disobedience, God sent a spirit to torment him. Meanwhile, God has a young shepherd boy named David anointed by the prophet Samuel to be the next king of Israel. 

It would be another 30 years before David would be king and for 15 years he and his army would live life on the run from Saul. David had two opportunities to kill King Saul, but he didn't because he was God's anointed one. So for 30 years, the nation of Israel would be led by a king that was out of God's favor. A king that was filled with jealousy and rage, randomly throwing spears at people. A king that would frequently take thousands of soldiers to hunt David down to kill him. A king that massacred the entire priesthood, over 80 priests, because he was upset that a priest inquired of God for David, which he had done for years because David was the commander of the Israelite army. 

What's the moral of this little story? That sometimes God gives us what we ask for even though it's not what's best for us...including a king. That while God may appoint all kings and those in leadership and we are to pray for and honor the king, it is very possible for that leader to lose the favor of God (and presumably God's people) because they fail to obey and lack character. And that God is raising up a David somewhere and I just gotta keep my eyes open for God's anointed one. And that it might take 30 years for the anointed one to come to leadership. And that though David's army was a drop in the bucket in comparison to the size of Saul's army, they were still on the right side of history. And that like David, we don't have to be the ones to kill the king; God will deal with the king in his timing and in his way so that our hands may remain blameless.

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Bad Clients Don’t Get Pearls

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Bad Clients Don’t Get Pearls

Sometimes in business, we find ourselves working with clients that just aren’t the right fit. Maybe they started off ok (read “sane”), but somewhere down the road they became a painful burden. I had a client like that before, and found myself sharing this wisdom with my design team: 

Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.
— Matthew 7:6 (emphasis added)

Jesus said these words in the infamous sermon on the mount, and while he wasn’t there to give business advice, this is still very applicable to the marketplace. As skilled professional entrepreneurs who actually have a choice of whom we work with, we have to have the courage and self-respect not to give our valuable time and energy to clients that simply don’t deserve it. You can make money from other sources, but your time and energy are things you can’t get back. 

Clients who are more like pigs often take so much from us that we can’t give to the clients who really do deserve our pearls. So what do you do if you’ve been tossing your pearls before pigs? 

Address it with the client

If the frustration is arising from an issue that can be rectified, perhaps the client just needs some training in what is appropriate or acceptable behavior in a business relationship with you. This can be anything from managing rounds of revisions, creating realistic timelines or paying their bill on time. This also assumes that if you can fix these issues the client would then be a keeper (and there aren’t any additional reasons they are not a good fit).

Let the client go

But maybe the client just isn’t worth keeping, and you need to cut them loose. You don’t have to burn bridges or be rude, but cut cords sooner rather than later. I remember having a hard conversation before when a client was being abrasive over the phone with one of my team members. A big no-no! I had to get on a call with the client to let him know that we would not be accepting that kind of behavior and that I would be sending all of his files on a CD so that he could move on to another designer. This was also important for me to do as an employer. It told my team members that I valued them and would have their back. 

Protect your pearls

Regardless of what you do, value yourself and your business by protecting your pearls. Not everyone is worthy of working with you. Entrepreneurship is hard enough as it is. There is no need to make it harder by constantly lowering your standards and crushing your self-esteem by continuing to work with clients that are trampling your treasures under their feet, and might even turn and tear you to pieces on the inside. 

If you’d like some coaching on a problem you’re experiencing, schedule a free 15-minute call with me to get some candid and honest feedback. 

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Just Go…Doing What It Takes to Follow Your Calling

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Just Go…Doing What It Takes to Follow Your Calling

The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you.” […] So Abram went, as the Lord had told him; and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he set out from Harran.
— Genesis 12:1,4

God told Abram to go, to leave all that was comfortable and secure. He was told to leave his country, his people, and even his father’s household, and was not even told where he was going. God simply said to go to the land that he will show him. 

God didn’t layout a 12-step plan or provide a Google map. He just said that he will show him which implies he will give directions as Abram went. Abram wouldn’t know the next step until he took the first step. All he know was that God promised to bless him and that was good enough. 

And the scriptures say that Abram simply went as the Lord told him. He didn’t make a pro/con list. He didn’t pull out his bank statement and run a spreadsheet to calculate how long he could follow God to this unknown place. He didn’t have to get a second opinion or wait until there was a better time. He just went…at 75! He wasn’t some young kid without responsibilities, using his parents as a backup plan. He was an old dog being taught a new trick called, “Go where God tells you to go NOW, no questions asked.” 

I can be the opposite of this in business. Sometimes my analytical and logical mind pushes out my spiritual mind. I battle with how much am I supposed to seek wise counsel and be a shrewd manager with how much I’m just supposed to operate in pure faith, trusting that I actually heard God command me to go, and so I go, no questions asked. 

I think this is where you have to be sure of your calling. There are going to be many things that you will need to count the costs on and make the wisest decisions based on the facts before you. Then there are those things that are going to be directly tied to what God has called you to do, and you just have to go trusting that he will show you how to get there, and qualify you along the way. 

Father, help us to quiet all of the noise in our hearts and just hear your voice when you tell us to go. We don’t need to have a strategic plan for your will and we don’t need to know exactly where we going to end up when you send us. We just need to obey your command to go and trust that you will show us along the way. In Jesus name, Amen. 

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Be a Compassionate Leader

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Be a Compassionate Leader

This morning I found myself reading in the book of Esther, where I kind of stumbled on a sentence that spoke volumes about good leadership, or lack thereof. In verse 15 of chapter 3, it says, “The messengers scurried forth with the king’s order. The edict was issued in Susa the citadel. While the king and Haman sat down to drink, the city of Susa was in an uproar!” I’ve read the book of Esther a number of times, but this was the first time this almost small note jumped out to me. 

The commentary on this passage is shameful, but there are great lessons to be learned as a leader. In this story, the king and his highest official send out an edict that permitted the killing and plundering of all the Jews. And as the edict went out, they threw back drinks while the people in their kingdom were in disarray. 

While we as business leaders may never issue a similar decree, we have the power to make decisions that will dramatically impact the lives and welfare of the people we employ and lead, and we have to stay sensitive and compassionate toward them. We can’t be like the king and Haman, who were only concerned for themselves.

In business, we have to make tough decisions. We have to decide if we need to fire or layoff, if we can afford to provide health insurance and adequate paid time off, or if we ask our team to work well above a 40 hour work week or to enjoy a balanced life. Some of these decisions are purely a matter of what we can afford to do, but I encourage business owners to make these kinds of decisions through a compassionate and caring lens. To consider others better than ourselves. Over the years, I made several decisions to provide and care for my team, understanding that it meant that I would take home less profit, but I have no regrets. 

And this isn’t just about being a nice person…it’s building your business’s brand. Will you create a company culture that encourages team members to stay onboard, or to leave at the first opportunity presented to them? Your team will work harder for you and be extremely loyal and trustworthy when they know that you give great weight to their happiness and wellbeing before you make decisions that would impact them.

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Thinking Clearly: A look at Jacob and Esau

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Thinking Clearly: A look at Jacob and Esau

Desperate times call for desperate measures, or at least that's how the saying goes. But sometimes we only think we're desperate. In the book of Genesis we find the story of twin brothers. One was a skilled hunter and the other was content working among the tents (and was apparently a good cook)! Let's peer inside the scriptures for a minute to look at their story.

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Go In the Strength You Have

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Go In the Strength You Have

This #CallingQualified devotional comes from the story of Gideon in Judges 16. If you ever feel too weak or small to do what God is calling you to do, be prepared to be encouraged.

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