I am pumped about this theme of “KNOWN” we just concluded at Catalyst in Atlanta last week. And we’ll be carrying this theme of KNOWN through the spring of 2014 with Catalyst West and Catalyst Dallas. If you weren’t at the event, you can still plug in to post event stuff here.
What do we mean by Known? Well, the simple idea is that to lead well, you have to wrestle with 3 key areas of your leadership- Identity, Calling, and Legacy.
Identity is focusing on who you are, Calling is focusing on what you do, and Legacy is focusing on what you will be known for.
Your identity starts with the understanding that you are radically loved by Jesus. That the God who KNOWS all truly KNOWS me. Being truly KNOWN means being truly loved by Jesus. Period. Such an unbelievable but radically incredible concept.
And getting to the heart of being known means you understand as a leader that Being comes before Doing. What we do is always determined by who we are. Your significance and security is founded solely on the idea that your identity is found in Jesus. And ultimately, I can truly Know myself, because I am truly Known by God. Remember: Who you are determines what you Do. We need Leaders who are leading from who they are.
Over the last 14 years, every Catalyst theme we’ve ever had has been personal. Mainly because these themes always flow out of felt needs for our team. They are personal to us. Every time. And this year is no exception. It’s personal to me.
This theme of KNOWN is rocking my world. So much that I’m intentionally stopping. Taking a timeout.
Stopping at this point in my life to intentionally answer these questions:
1. Who am I? Really? Truly?
2. What has God called me to do for this season of vocational life, and even into the next season?
3. What do I want to be KNOWN for?
For the last 12 years, my own personal identity and calling has been wrapped up in being “the Catalyst guy,” which is amazing and has always been a huge honor. But again, I think it’s imperative for leaders, and I mean every leader, to stop. Take a pause. Evaluate. Rest. Recover. Refresh your mind, heart and soul. And reimagine.
So what does that mean for me? Well, I’m taking a 3 month sabbatical starting this week. In my 12 years of being a part of Catalyst, I’ve never really taken an extended vacation. I will basically be non available through the end of the year. On sabbatical.
The sabbatical will be a time for me to rest, recharge, connect with some of the key people in my life, spend some time doing a major leadership intensive and 360 feedback evaluation, and creating space in my life to think, dream and pray about what’s next for me. This is something I’m incredibly grateful for. Everyone I’ve talked to says that taking a sabbatical gives fresh vision and perspective, and you return better than when you left. Leaders- we all have to step away at some point to get fresh perspective and vision. I’ve noticed in my own leadership the need to pause. Even this summer, I had several conversations and moments where I just realized that my own personal leadership was getting stale, I was in a rut, and needed to step away for an extended time just to refresh.
After the sabbatical my plans are to return to Catalyst, but not be in the same role that I’ve been in the last 12 years. Not sure what a new role will/should look like, but part of the strategy of this sabbatical is for me to step out of the day to day running of Catalyst, and let someone else step up. The plan is for Tyler Reagin to step up and be the Catalyst team leader, and really run the day to day of Catalyst, and we’ll figure out how I fit in going forward. Again, part of the goal of the 3 month sabbatical will be to gain clarity on what the next season looks like for me, through study, prayer, reflection, conversations, and rest.
So why do I even share this with you?
Well, I want you to be in the know, but I also think there is a powerful leadership lesson here that I am getting the chance to live out. WhatI I’ve realized is that in many ways I am a case study for this theme of KNOWN. And I want my journey and current season to be of value and hopefully pass on lessons to other leaders.
Handing something off that you love is not easy. Stepping into a different role even though you feel like you are just starting to settle into something is not easy. Allowing those around you to take on more leadership and stewardship and make decisions differently than you, and go potentially in a different direction is not easy.
But it’s time for me to pass the baton and move into a different role. This is a requirement of leadership. If we are going to do our job well as leaders, part of our responsibility is to pass the torch. To create a proper trail of succession. To realize that you are not the reason for the success, and the organization doesn’t revolve around you, and life will go on once you’ve stepped into a different role, and that younger leaders on your team will step up and replace you.
I am passionate about raising up the next generation of leaders, and I want to make sure I am passing on the torch of Catalyst to the “next generation” way before I need to. I think this is a demonstration of proper stewardship and generational transfer. I’ve watched way too many organizations, and type A “founder” type leaders, hold on for way too long and continue to lead even when everyone around them and on their team were hoping they would step to the side. That is unacceptable.
There is no story behind the story in this case for me. No performance questions, no moral or personal failure, no personality conflicts, nothing besides just the continual pursuit of what is best for Catalyst, and what I feel like my role should be and what God is truly calling me to do. All of this started with me talking with a good friend Steve Cockram (some of you know him) and us having a conversation about Catalyst and my role and what the next 5-10 years look like. And I just realized that I want to make sure I hand off the running of things before I really need to, and also make sure I’m in a role that continues to challenge me and fits my skills and gifting. And positions me best to live out my calling for this next season, and ultimately leave a legacy.