Where there is no vision, the people perish.

sometimes it gets difficult to keep forging on when it feels like no one is along side you to help. it feels a lot like high school while pursuing your goals sometimes, everyone has had the experience where you had group project in which you had the leader to delegate what needed to be done amongst the group, but when the project was due it was usually one person who ended up doing while everyone got credit for it. i guess that is the cost of doing what you love in life. even if it doesn't seem fair at moments you have to keep going. leadership is so tricky sometimes, you want to lead by example but then if you look back and no one is following are you really a leader at all? leadership requires the greatest amount of responsibility, you potentially could get the most amount of glory, but if you, your band, your project, or your company fails it rests on your shoulders completely. you have to make the best decisions and keep your own selfish motives out of your decision-making. its not what i would do, but what should we do?, what are our goals? how can we obtain them?

'i must follow the people. Am I not their leader?'-benjamin disraeli

it’s lonely at moments, especially when making the tough decisions and when it is not as exciting as it used to be, or the monotony of life or the job begins to wear on everyone. but that is when a leader steps forward and picks up the slack until people come alongside him/her to help again. don't quit because others around you are dropping off.
leaders don't always get the credit they deserve, but leaders don't lead for the need to be noticed, they lead because it is in their nature to make decisions, lao tse said 'when the effective leader is finished with his work, the people say it happened naturally.'
set your course, and keep steady. i understand it feels like it would be so much easier to do it by you. but think of life as a ship; and you the captain of the vessel of your choice. you need a crew, or the ship will not operate, and will be unable to be of any use. you cannot be everywhere at once, someone must help in the normal day to day opporation of the vessel; and even if the ship goes down guess who has to stay, the captian. but even if there are hardships or obstacles in your way fight on, lead on, believe in.
maybe someone got something out of this, or maybe it was just therapeutic. either way i leave you with this...
'leadership must be based on goodwill. goodwill does not mean posturing and, least of all, pandering to the mob. It means obvious and wholehearted commitment to helping followers. we are tired of leaders we fear, tired of leaders we love, and of tired of leaders who let us take liberties with them. what we need for leaders are men of the heart who are so helpful that they, in effect, do away with the need of their jobs. but leaders like that are never out of a job, never out of followers. strange as it sounds, great leaders gain authority by giving it away."
— admiral james b. stockda
for more reading on leadership please read j. maxwells '21 irrefutable laws of leadership'


Rach said…
I've actually been thinking alot about leadership lately. Striking a balance between aggressive leadership and passive leadership can be tricky. That quote ("strange as it sounds, great leaders gain authority by giving it away") though, really put it into perspective, so thank you. That was extremely helpful to me.
Andrea said…
I haven't really had any leadership experience myself, but I always remember these things for the future.
and I know exactly how you feel to write stuff out like this... it's very, very freeing. maybe some day and I actually do it in music and take advantage of the recording studio in my backyard :)
Melanie said…
I'm having a hard time leaving my co-workers and reading this helped me a lot. Thank you for writing it.
Rachel said…
So incredible.
guard my dreams said…
i have a good friend who is having trouble being a leader simply because the people she has been chosen to lead aren't being very good followers. i'm sure that she will greatly appreciate reading this blog of yours when i send it to her and give her the confidence to stay strong and not give up.
Anonymous said…
you don't even realise how much everything you say helps so many people. thank you.
kelliemarie said…
its funny that you should say this because the message that my pastor gave today was about perseverance and he gave us a few scriptures about it: Hebrews 10:36 Romans 5:3 and Hebrews 12:1
great minds think alike!
Sean said…

my church is going to be fasting the next 3 days and this reading has helped prepared me for it.

From reading this it seems that leadership is just living our lives; I mean we're not all called to do major things that the world may call leaders, but breaking everything down and seeing that just small acts of our lives reflect that of a leader- again, it's natural.

This line that you wrote,
"leaders don't always get the credit they deserve, but leaders don't lead for the need to be noticed, they lead because it is in their nature to make decisions"
this really hit me hard because it's our sinful nature that gets us to believe we need to be given credit, whereas it's God's credit but not ours.
liz said…
Whoa. Yes. You always do find the most amazing quotes.
themockingbyrd said…
I'm never sure whether to perceive myself as a leader, or simply someone who doesn't naturally follow, but I do understand what you're saying--and I suppose one could say that many of the points you lay out are simply directives on loving others, except directed through the viewpoint of someone with the gift of leadership.
Antoinette said…
I should try to be a leader, but I'm not. I'm usually one of the people who ends up following. I've had the opportunities, but I never take them -- I think, what if I don't make the best decision? If it ruins the entire thing for everyone, if there's someone with better ideas who would make a better leader? I think for me, I care too much, if that's at all possible.
Book of James said…
I have had many leadership opportunities. Some were successful and some were complete dissasters.

Regardless, the following always applies.

Hapoleon Hill Foundation

Thought for the day September 15, 2007


Opportunities are never just handed to you; they must be created. Opportunities abound for every individual in every walk of life.

They may not be the opportunities that you prefer, but each opportunity of which you take advantage leads to bigger and better opportunities. Physical and mental handicaps may mean that you have to explore territories unknown to others, but they also mean you have opportunities those others will never find.

Think of Stephen Hawking’s brilliant research on the nature of the universe despite the fact that a crippling disease makes writing and speaking, as we know it, impossible for him. Those who approach their jobs and careers with enthusiasm always find plenty of opportunities, while those who complain about no one ever giving them a chance are merely observers of life.

When you are determined that you will not allow others to determine your future for you, when you refuse to allow temporary setbacks to defeat you, you are destined for great success. The opportunities will always be there for you.

If there are adversities that you cannot overcome right now, remember to capitalize upon them at a later date by looking for the seed of an equivalent or greater benefit.


Thanks to my late great Mom for turning me on to Napoleon Hill!!
Chris said…
Truly appreciate your thought provoking posts. Leadership is difficult for me. It requires a delicate balance, that if we sway too far to one side, we land on the negative attributes listed in the quote below:

"The challenge of leadership is to be strong, but not rude; be kind, but not weak; be bold, but not bully; be thoughtful, but not lazy; be humble, but not timid; be proud, but not arrogant, have humor, but not without folly" Jim Rohn
Anonymous said…
As I was reading, I was thinking about you, and the rest of the guys. I couldn't help but think you guys are having trouble right now. It sounded to me as if you were talking about yourself as the leader, pushing the guys to move towards the goals. If that is so, I wish I could help in some way. I have my own set of problems I'm dealing with, foremost clinical depression.
I know I can turn to you guys for help, but who can you turn to?
Anonymous said…
"The important thing is this;
to be able at any moment, sacrifice what we are, for what we could become."
Charles Dubois.
Lexi said…
This one has always been a favorite of mine:

"If you want to build a ship, don't drum up people together to collect wood and don't assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea."

-Antoine de Saint-Exupery
tehillim said…
I've been thinking about this lately, about what James wrote about leaders. How no one should ever want to just BE one. There is such a higher standard for us. My leadership in ministry I think shifts in intensity, and I'm not with some of the kids I've worked with as much before but we keep in touch. And I will be damned if I did something stupid, something to lead them astray.

My managers at work are relatively new to the company and are still figuring out the most effective way to manage the store. We've been along the gamut from an iron fist to completely lax, and at no time has the store been as greased of an engine as before the change. She's still learning, but she has all of my respect.

it's a tricky situation. the fact that no one may follow you doesnt mean you're not a leader. Jesus Christ had to go and tell some guys to quit what they were doing, abandon their families, and come follow Him. It was an invitation more than a command, sure, but by and large He had as many haters as lovers at that point. Things have changed a bit since, but then again they may still be very much the same.

Anyway thank you for your thoughts. As I said, I have been pondering this topic lately as God reveals a little more of what I'm supposed to do with my life. It will be leadership, an "abnormal" ministry if you will, and your insight is particularly helpful. It's true we need a vision, but we also need to know & want for it to come from on high. You're doing a great job. Keep doing what you're doing because I really see God working through you & the music, and I don't even know you.
Brian Hammons said…
I’m a longtime Anberlin fan and as of just recently, been printing out all the archives of your blog and reading time when I can find some of that genuinely cathartic “solitude and silence” time you referred to as so golden way back when.

The topic I want to discuss briefly doesn’t deal necessarily with this entry’s topic, but more so, some of the issues that raised my interest around the time of your writings during, if memory serves, the first-half of ’05; as well as other misc. entries. You had wrote about the Christian’s perspective of war, as well as (of that time) your more pro-right conservative stance and its subsequent positions. I was surprised at first, but tried to look at it without my personal bias, but found myself later relieved by being able to relate to your apparent change in your stance, veering more towards heroes of yours (and mine) like Jesus Christ, Ghandi, and Martin Luther King, Jr. when you said that they wouldn’t want us in Iraq, nor should we.

An interview with Aaron from mewithoutYou had the following to say about the merging of politics and religion, and his view of the Christian’s stance on war:

Aaron wrote some journals at the time of the past election that touched on the topic of politics. He had some strong words in these journals for George W. Bush and company, so I asked him about the role that Christians should have in politics. “Anyone that makes a living pleasing people, accepting bribes, doing the popular thing, invading countries, murdering, stealing resources, is far from what Jesus would want. Any sort of the rhetoric the Bush administration used to justify the Iraqi war is sickening. Bush using Christianity to justify war is idolatry and nationalism. Committing violence and brutality and theft in the name of Jesus is the worst of anything. If you’re a Christian you have to lay that stuff down – love your enemies turn, the other cheek. When faith and power mix together, the results are troubling. When people say, ‘when you reject the Republican Party you’re rejecting God’, well, that just has to be one of the biggest tricks the Devil has pulled. The people who might be reading this interview, I don’t know where they’re coming from, but we just need to walk in the path of Jesus and there are going to be toes we’re going to step on. God is forever, the Republican Party is not. The people who say God is a Republican, well, you’ve got a very, very strange Christian. He’s not a Democrat either, but he’s definitely not a Republican. Jesus did not come to build up a political party, he came to bring Truth. America is just gluttonous, wicked, and frankly probably line for God’s wrath. Christians don’t want to hear about that, they want to hear ‘God Bless America, go to church on Sunday and all is well.’ We are not fooling God.”

He touched on the topic again in another interview from almost exactly one year ago:

“Also, what you mentioned with Iraq and the fact that all Christians are waging war even against countries, when we are told not even to defend ourselves, “ Do not resist an evil person but turn to the other cheek, love your enemies.” So far from doing that, we’re waging war against our enemies in case they ever strike us, we’re killing them before they can even strike us. And it’s received as a blessing and a sanction, the approval of most of the churches or many Christians that I meet, think that we need to support our President, support what our government decides to do. And it me it seems wicked. That’s an issue facing Christianity; how do we react to war and the possibility of taking a pacifist position is not even considerate. But for groups like the Amish, and the Mennonites, and the Quakers, that is what I’ve come to identify more with, called the Anabaptists groups. They just say “We don’t pick up arms, no matter what.” I just wish more of Christianity would take seriously, the teachings to not resist evil.”

I was wondering if you’d share your thoughts on his statements, as they’re slightly in disagreement with ones you posted, on what date I don’t recall, but I’m paraphrasing when you said “we shouldn’t bully or start fights” but justified us fighting under certain circumstances.

Due to the nature of and people having such strong emotional opinions towards these topics, I just want to clarify that I’m not trying to “stir the pot” or upset anyone, especially you. I’m a big fan of both you and Aaron as musicians, but more importantly, I look up to you as reminders of virtuous people who admit their flaws and inspire me to follow in Jesus’ footsteps.
Shanrocks said…
I got something out of this. I've been under some stress over what I didn't even realize was a 'leadership' issue at work. Seems a bunch of higher qualified employees have recently quit and left me to take the brunt of a lot of work, as much the remainder are newbies and the higher qualified staff can't be around on every shift. So here I am, stuck as a 'leader' (again, I never realized that's what I am, in fact until thinking it over here)...It can be frustrating doing so much more work while watching everyone else joke around and relax...

Your blogs are always insightful and make me feel more peaceful after reading them. You're like the pastor who makes people feel singled out, as though he's talking to them, personally, when in fact, it's only that he's bringing up a universal topic and it's resonating to the personable level that's desired. :)


how did Christ lead?
by being a servant.
Lizzy said…
i think that people who want to lead fail to garner any followers, simply because they are so focussed on "leading" that the original motivation behind their leadership is lost. they have nowhere to lead to.
Laura said…
I'm trying to sort out my band, and the one thing we can't find is a frontman/leader.
But reading this has made me realise there are different qualities to being a leader, and so I've got more of an idea about leadership.
Thanks for writing this.
Danielle said…
did something trigger this mindset? i mean, like, are you having troubles or something? need me to pray for ya? i mean, like, more than always...?
Chris said…
Maybe this is what it takes to be a good leader...

Proverbs 4:23 (The Message)
23-27 Keep vigilant watch over your heart;
that's where life starts.
Don't talk out of both sides of your mouth;
avoid careless banter, white lies, and gossip.
Keep your eyes straight ahead;
ignore all sideshow distractions.
Watch your step,
and the road will stretch out smooth before you.
Look neither right nor left;
leave evil in the dust.
Tiffany said…
wow I really appreciate that. I really needed that esspecially today. and I'm not just saying that either, really. thanks.
Nadia said…
very nice.

anyone here want to express something of their own go to myspace.com/thenaturalstructure
please do
Moose said…
I thought it was interesting that you said it felt like you were basically doing this alone. I've felt that way. I look at the place that God has put me in, and I've felt like Elijah. You know, when he felt that he was the only one still serving God, or at least trying. But then God showed him that there were a ton of people out there like him. It's kind of funny that you wrote about this. A couple weeks ago, I was very discouraged. Then I read the lyrics to "Audrey, Start the Revolution." This line stuck out to me:
"Look past, learn, move on
We're all here, you're not the only one."
So even when we feel like we're going it alone, God's got our back, and we are indeed "surrounded by a cloud of witnesses."
God bless!
Andrew said…
Thank you so much for talking about this. I am a leader in my church youth group and I have been struggling with what that exactly means. That ending quote by James B. stockda is very insightful.
Anonymous said…
I'm a coach, and with that comes huge amounts of responsibility. It's harder than I ever imagined it would be. I took the job because it is who I am, and I love it, regardless of the outcome. Most days afterwards, I lay in the middle of the field in silence, hoping that somehow it will give me strength to keep going. No one around me really seems to understand what I mean when I tell them how difficult it really is. They all just keep telling me to give up. But, I can't because it is so much of who I am.

Thank you, for this. I needed someone else to understand too.
Anonymous said…
I just wanted to let you know, I sent this to a teacher of mine who teaches a lot of leadership classes and he loves this.

It is written well and it is something he really has no new input on. Your writing is VERY appreciated.

I don't like saying this often, but I feel ya.
V-Ron said…
You are brilliant and an daily inspiration.
Anna said…
“If you're going to lead people you have to have somewhere to go.”
I don't remember where it's from...but I try to remember the message all the time.
sj. said…
i've just started reading that book!! wow.

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