Our inner “Sennacherib”

Even if you are not familiar with stories in the Old Testament, this one has profound implications.  I like to use biblical stories because I enjoy seeing how ideas of long ago are still being told today in different ways. I also do so because most modern people read the bible and are like “WTF?”, because the nuggets are obscured by the fact that the biblical worldview seems all but extinct in our lives. But consider this. Here’s the quick backstory.

Hezekiah was a king of Judah who was a great leader by comparison to most of the flunkies around him. He wasn’t perfect, but he really tried to get things on track and bring their people back to focusing on God (modern people might say focusing on the right things). He wasn’t a complete stickler for the rules but was going after sincerity of peoples heart (2 Chronicles 30:19-20), and it really worked out well for the people.

Along comes the king of Assyria in chapter 32. He was the massive power of the day. The superstructure. He had social power, economic power, military power, he was a real force.  Also, his plan is to take out Judah along with Hezekiah.

Now think of this in terms of modern mindsets in business, politics, sports, or any cultural paradigm. Even today, we always assume the bigger the entity the more correct they must be. The more cultural power they have, the less any individual has.

So the Sennacherib (king of Assyria) invades and finds that Hezekiah has dammed up all the water, which was like trying to ward off a modern military strike with an umbrella.

Sennacherib asks Hezekiah: “ON WHAT ARE YOU TRUSTING?”

When all the big forces seem to be standing in our way, our inner Sennacherib comes out and asks the same question, but it sounds more like this:

  • “Do you know how hard it will be to break into the music industry?”
  • “Do you really think you have what it takes to compete in sports like the pros?”
  • “Haven’t you learned your lesson that your businesses will never get off the ground?”
  • “You may as well just quit dreaming and park your butt in some cubicle for the next 30 years.”

Some people call these defeater beliefs.

Others call them our inner critics.

I’m calling them the inner Sennacherib.

The point is that the force you are depending upon is called hope. Most religious people call this God. Unbelievers define it differently but recognize its power just the same. As long as you have hope, you can go one more step. The moment its gone, so are all your dreams, all that is left is despair.

In the end Hezekiah sends Sennacherib home with his face hung in shame (v21). Why?

The power of God is with the humble and the sincere, not the prideful and those who are arrogantly displaying power. This is a life principle that is found in nearly every world religion and is a part of most Hollywood movies. It’s the underdog story that captures the hearts of all people. It’s the truth. It’s God’s voice in the world.

You don’t have to call yourself a Christian or Jew to see this, to experience this, or to acknowledge this reality. Like mathematics, it just is.

Everyday you will have an inner Sennacherib who will criticize you, try and keep you small, stuck, or discouraged. Your odds against the billions on earth seem petty, but that is part of the deception. Whatever you do, DON’T BELIEVE HIM! It’s a lie, to keep you in many prisons.  See them all not as competition, but as people whom you can serve with your unique gifts, and Sennacherib will die.

God’s voice says to hope and not quit. Following it, will liberate you and you will be among the many Hezekiahs of the world who have sent their prideful enemies home in shame.

k

Why people fear competition.

People always fear competition. The obvious reason is that if someone else is working in your space, then they have the potential to apprehend resources, customers, and opportunities, that might ordinarily go to you. But I think the real reason is deep down, people fear their own success.

Competition causes people to try and find an advantage,  a unique differentiator that we can pull ourselves up on. It’s a proven strategy–so long as our mindset is one of “scarcity.”

Engaging in competition is also very distracting. The diversion of focus, and resources to playing defense reduces our ability to make offensive plays. This means that innovation takes a back seat and personal progress is slowed to the speed of the herd.  The moment one innovative idea makes it to the marketplace, it is captured by the competition because most are playing defense and shouting “me too.”

The whole thing is very noisy. It is a vortex that sucks people in.

But what if we stray away from the herd’s mentality of scarcity and see things with a view of “Abundance?”  

If we do, then the people are not competition, but opportunities to serve.  The noisy vortex is essentially the shouting of the bullhorn of where to invest in an endeavor for service. Then we can grow ourself or our business by creating mutually beneficial exchanges by helping all these people in need. It’s an unfathomable market cap. Jesus was right when he said the harvest is plentiful but the laborers are few.  This isn’t about evangelizing. This is about redeeming the world.

It’s no wonder that the masses with the “herd mentality” struggle to get by, and have embraced the lies and distortion that there is only “so much” to go around therefore you have to do whatever it takes to stay on top. Why does anyone really want to live and work in this giant “MOSH PIT?”

And then it came to me.  The answer is because people actually believe it is easier.

  • It’s easier to blame others for lack of success than to own the fact that we squandered our time and opportunities.
  • It’s easier to feel like a victim of a cruel system, than to intentionally engage in pursuing excellence.
  • It’s easier to compare one’s character to a low functioning people in the herd than to be surrounded by top performers and feel like a flunky.

If this is true, then competition is the reminder that we could be something amazing, but instead settled for something less.

Competition has everything we need to gain character, strength, vision, and global transformation–It doesn’t prevents such things.

We fear competition, because we fear becoming our very best self. We fear the best world possible.

We do have a choice.

Abundance or Scarcity?

Thriving or Barely getting by?

Taking advantage of others or Serving others.

Finding your life or Settling for a default life.

If you might be stuck in any area, I’ll be happy to help “Repot” your life.  www.repotnow.com

k

Everyone is a LIFE COACH these days.

I’m amazed at just how many life coaches exist who are not even 40 years old.

At first glance you might chuckle and say something typical like: “How much life does a 24 year old really know?”

Now if you are in your 40’s, 50’s, 60’s or older then many of the lessons of a 24 or a 30 year old would be something well-lived in your life.  BUT NOT ALWAYS.

Personally, I love the fact that people are defining themselves as “life coaches.” I believe we can warm our hands to everyone’s fire and even if the bandwidth of experience of a young person is less than an older person, there is much to be gained from learning from our youth.

In Scripture, Timothy is admonished by Paul to “Let no one despise you for your youth, but set believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.” (1 Timothy 4:12)

But my favorite example is that of Elihu in the book of Job. Job’s friends were not helping Job with there advice during his time of great trial. Elihu hangs back and then when they are all done, he rips off a couple of chapters where he essentially hands them their butts in a sling. (Job 32). He possessed more wisdom and clarity than the aged and the learned. We see this everywhere today. So maybe we need to listen to a few 25 year old life coaches.

The big issue here is this:

Are you coachable?

For most people over 40, the answer is “No.” And that is an issue of pride and it is terribly foolish. It stems from an assumption that a person knows better than someone else how to make progress in their own life. That assumption can be disastrous.

Here is your test.

1. On a scale of 1-10, how valuable is coaching in the life of people?

a.  If you rated 6 or higher then there is hope for you.

b.  If you rated below 6 then you likely have the “I know it all syndrome.”

2.  For those who rated coaching above a 6, how much did you personally spend on coaching this year?

a.   If you answered $0, then you really do not value coaching but you convinced yourself that you do.

b.   If you began redefining the term coaching to include books, blogs, and articles or even sermons that help you, then you get partial credit. But remember while this is a good start, you will grow even more if you have a few good coaching programs.

Personally, the rule of thumb that I employ is to allocate at least 1% of my annual income to coaching. This allows the young who don’t have a lot of economic power to get help from young peers who can help them advance in their progress. As that income goes up, they need better and better coaches to get them into the highest levels of performance and well-being.

It’s important to be coached.  Being a great leader begins with being a great follower.  Every master not only started as a student but continues to be a student of their craft.  In return, I coach many people in various stages of their lives and in various ways.  Many of them are coaching others.  See how this works?  It’s a system of people building each other up. Liberating each other, and being students of each other and of live.

For those of you who are faithful students (learners) let me just throw one word into the pile to put this in perspective.

Student is another word for disciple.

If you would like to explore coaching more, please let me know.  http://www.repotnow.com

Default mode for Business

It’s a commons story. An exciting, thriving small company is built upon strong values and an unswerving commitment to serve customers and its employees. A corporate culture follows that allows tremendous success and growth, and the company and its’ customers are all doing well.

Then a cumbersome, large company with great economic power sees this company and buys it in order to drive its growth. Hoping that swallowing this thriving company will be like a vitamin to the overweight behemoth, the large company then initiates the process of trying to make the small company into an even greater success.

The fatal transition is that the small company now must conform to the big companies’ S.O.P.”s.

  • Compliance replaces the Customer.
  • Savings replaces service.
  • Authority replaces Influence.
  • Implosion replaces Innovation.
  • Control replaces Liberation.
  • Process replaces People.
  • Management replaces Leadership.

And so what was once a thriving refuge of excellence becomes part of the woodwork of machine that is ever teetering under its own weight.

But can this be changed? If so, How?

I believe it can. But the default mode of business is actually not a business principle, it is a personal one.

Is there a leader with real vision? If so, then does this leader have real courage?

It will take courage to go against the default mode of Business as Usual. He or she will need to fire people, but this time, it will be based on principle, not performance.

They will need to have an anchor deeply stuck in values and determination.

The herd will resist, but in the end the team that will take the company back to true success will emerge.

This new team will:

  • Run through walls for their company.
  • Remain inspired toward excellence.
  • Be unswerving in the celebration of their lives.
  • Be the very best possibility of success over competition, decline, and market position.

It’s not the only recipe for how to put numbers on the board.  Any coxswain who can bark orders can scare employees into some level of performance against a metric, but that isn’t success.

Only this kind of change can do all things well.

In the end this is the only company our world really wants.

Its up to each of us to lead toward that end.

Start today.

k