Welcome to October Boss-Sister! Things are getting interesting! I am kicking off the month with a Leadership Strategy Coaching offer in Episode 22 of The Gina Duke Show podcast, where I highlight the importance of meeting structures from a recent coaching call I had with a client. Listen in so you will get a good feel for my coaching style. And then I am stressing the importance of ordering your plans in this week’s mini planning session in Episode 23. Believe me, it makes a difference. You can listen in or read the show notes in this post below.

Episode 22 – What If You are Unknowingly Undermining Your Success by the Way You Lead People? These Tips Will Make Any Leader’s Strategy Successful \\ INFLUENCE Episode. Show notes are below or listen in HERE.

You are in for a real treat today because I’ve got a packed coaching session for you on the topic of how to create transformational groups by holding highly effective structured meetings.  You may be thinking right now how much you hate meetings because we often have to sit through too many bad ones, but hold up! I am going to take you on journey, so you will want to buckle up for this ride.  Please know that I am going to take you down some back roads of my past work lives and periodically pull over and expound on past experiences, as well as share my thought processes for you to have optimal insight.  Let’s get in and  Let’s go

Today’s session was born out of a coaching session I did with a client last week and it is fire, if I have to say so myself.  Speaking of…do you have a coach?  Have you ever hired one?  In case you did not know, I am putting my shingle out to you to let you know that I do coaching.  My clients included pastor’s wives, ministry leaders and professionals.  I have also experienced some great coaches myself.  Earlier in my career I had what we called mentors.  It was through experiencing different mentors that shaped the kind of coach that I wanted to be. 

I had one mentor who every time I called up when I got stuck would simply ask me… “So what do you think you should do? And I wanted to say… “Well if I knew the answer to that question, I wouldn’t be calling you”.  It almost felt like a gotcha moment.  And I was like…”Well yeah you got me alright…I don’t know the answer.  Can you please tell me!!!” I just never felt like I got anything out of that mentoring relationship.  It wasn’t helpful and it certainly was not enjoyable.

Then I had another mentor, who I was so comfortable with bc of her collaborative style that I would have something figured out 80% and would call her for her input.  It would go like this – I would tell her what I am thinking about doing and she would always say something like this… “This sounds great, but have you thought about this?” And I would say “Noooo I have not thought about that!!!” and then we would brainstorm through it. And then she might ask “And what are you going to do about such and such?” And I would say, “I haven’t even thought about that!” and again we would collaborate on how to get me to my desired state.  This, my friend, is what a collaborative process looks like with a great mentor/coach. 

With me, you will get a collaborative conversation.  I am a collaborator, brain-stormer and strategist.  I am going to share some good ideas and strategies with you for how to move forward.  My goal is to get you unstuck with a good strategy.  So let me share with you a coaching session with a woman named Miranda who is trying to figure out where she should serve in church and how it should work.  Now, don’t check out because everything I am going to share in this episode will make you a better leader in ways you have not thought. All my tips are transferrable to your leadership roles, whether they are in ministry or the marketplace. 

Here is Miranda’s situation.  Within the past few weeks she has decided that she is going to get involved in the youth ministry of her church.  She has upcoming teenagers at home and decided the youth ministry may be a good area to check the pulse on and better understand.  After a few weeks, she is having second thoughts.  She is feeling overwhelmed and not sure this is where she should be.  I asked her to share why she feels this way.  Then she describes the problem. 

On Wednesday nights, the youth gathers together for worship and a short biblical message.  While all of that is fine, it’s the last 10 minutes of the Wednesday night youth service that is the problem.  The boys and girls divide into small groups.  Miranda is one of the three youth leaders that meet with the group of girls.  They do a round robin activity of asking the girls for their highs and lows of the week. 

Miranda said the girls share highs of frivolous things like “I got a new phone case”, but the lows are super low stuff like depression, anxiety, stress and panic attacks – all mental health issues.” After the round robin activity where the girls throw out all this heavy stuff, there is no time to try to address any of what they are going through, so we have prayer and then it like – Good-bye, God bless!  Miranda said after that she just wants to go home and get in the tub to soak away all the heavy.  She feels helpless and so burdened for these girls. 

I asked her why were they doing the round robin this way bc it sounded like this exercise was negating the worship and message.  The point of a Wednesday night service is to encourage and uplift the body of Christ.  Miranda does not feel uplifted or encouraged after this service, so I bet the girls at her church does not either.  Miranda said they do this because that is all they have time for.  They did the round robin, prayed and then was like good-bye and God bless.  The reality that she was not able to try to help these girls more, was the crux of Miranda’s heartache in this situation. 

Okay, first off, I have head of families using this – tell me your hi-lo’s of the day at home with their kids because they are trying to spark a conversation with them and get a pulse on what is going on their kids lives, which is fine.  But if I am at church where my goal is to help youth grow spiritually, these questions are not conducive to that, can we agree? 

Okay…Let’s pull over here for a moment like I said we would from time to time so I can share from my past experiences.  Miranda’s story actually reminded me of a time when I inherited the responsibility for for safety at a company.  I was the new HR Manager and was unexpectedly given safety after about 6 months on the job, which I knew nothing about.  With this responsibility came the task of leading the safety team, which was made up of a group of employees who met monthly.  The way these safety team meetings were set up, the employees would come in and begin to list every safety concern they had and I was supposed to add their concerns to this ever growing list that was slowly being worked on.  It was exhausting.  For 45 minutes, the employees through out all their complaints. I felt like I had been thrown up on and like Miranda, wanted to go home and take a bath. Now of course, these employees were only doing what they were structured to do, so I did not blame them at all. 

Boss-sister, I have a question for you – do you think this is what is meant by being a leader.  Your sole job is to be a dumping ground for your team’s problems that you are supposed to fix?  I hope you said No because this is not leadership.  It did not take me bout a couple of meetings to realize that I was not interested in continuing the structure of these meetings.  For one, I wasn’t even sure if these safety complaints were legitimate issues or not.  I was more worried that I was missing bigger safety issues that neither my employees or I realized due to the lack of our expertise in the safety field.  So, I restructured our meetings.

Right now, if you are in a leadership role in ministry or the marketplace, do you know what kind and quality of meetings are being held your organization?  Miranda’s youth leaders were holding 10 minute meetings that were completely undermining the intent of Wednesday night services, which is meant to encourage.  My organization had been hosting safety meetings that were not ensuring a safe environment. 

So, this is what I did with our safety team that I ultimately helped get Miranda a game plan for her youth group breakout sessions.  While I continued to work on the list of safety concerns I went to the regulating authority in safety – OSHA.  OSHA requires companies to have specific safety programs in place.  This is what I decided to focus my little safety team meetings on.  Together we collaborated on how to best implement the specifics of the safety program.  Each month we focused on a new program until we had them all implemented.  It was this activity and accomplishment that resolved many of the safety concerns and transformed our facility into a safe work environment. 

So how could I take this past work experience and apply it to Miranda’s 10 minute youth session? Listen up – Keep in mind that she is new to this ministry and hasn’t decided if this is the where she will remain.

  1. I recommended her to ask permission to share some feedback and insight on this 10 minute service ending activity.  This way they should be more open to hearing Miranda’s heart on this issue.  When she receives the go ahead to recommend this.
  2. Suspend the round robin as is.  Instead ask the girls to submit their answers by either texting it to the youth leaders by phone or writing them on note cards that will be handed in. 
  3. Ask the questions differently.  Instead of asking for high where you are prone to get answers like a new phone case, ask them how have they experienced God so far this week.  Remember, church is for the spiritual.  In various forms each week, ask this question in three different ways.  You can ask how have you felt God’s presence? Is there something you felt especially grateful for this week? Was there a moment you were outside and recognized God’s greatness?  Asking these type of questions will do 2 things – 1) it will cause the girls to think less about worldly highs and more about spiritual highs.  2) it will cause them to look for God in their week.  They will want to be able to answer this question.  It’s like an awareness campaign that I discuss in episode #? They will not be able to help themselves.  Now, you may be thinking, Gina, if it was that easy to plant thoughts in teenage girls minds about what you want them to focus on, we would already be doing this.  And to that answer – true, if you have the know-how.  Because I know the how.  Don’t forget I’ve raised two girls of my own. 

So, let’s pull the car over here again and let me take you down memory lane to show you how easily you can supplant thoughts into the minds of kids.  This is not witchcraft…I repeat…this is not witchcraft…Scripture says that God’s Word will not go out void; it will always accomplish its goal.  When my two daughters were in school – 1 in middle school and 1 in high school. My husband and I started having family devotional time on Sunday nights.  This helped get both hearts and schedules aligned.  I decided to give the girls a biblical topic to pray about during their school’s moment of silence every morning.  Right from the start, my elder daughter, who was always too cool for school back then, let me know straight up that she was not going to be doing this.  I said okay and I am not going to stop giving you a topic to pray over every week.  So I continued on with my family devotion plan.  A few weeks later, my elder daughter came to me to let me know something…She said, “I don’t want you to get all excited about this, but I wanted to let you know that I have been praying about your topic during the moment of silence.  I just can’t help it; you planted the idea in my head, so I pray about it.”  I played it cool per her request and said. Thanks for letting me know.  So, because I had seen this planting of ideas succeed before, I knew it could work here.  

Next, I recommend that they ask the girls to text them 1 to 2 things they wanted prayer for.  Sending a text did a few things.  First, they were creating an easy two-way conversation.  Remember when Miranda said there was no time to deal with any of these girls problems beyond a prayer, good-bye and God bless approach?  Now you have a text that can be used for further engagement and encouragement.  Secondly, this allowed the girls to be more transparent since their texts were private. Thirdly, it kept the girls from copying the emotions of others.  Youth are impressionable.  If you have a girl sharing how she is having panic attacks every time she and her boyfriend has a fight, other girls are prone to adopt the same kind of response whenever they experience conflict.  In some ways we are all a little prone to picking up others coping skills that we think our mainstream whether it’s healthy or not. 

Now pay attention to what has just happened here.  The 10-minute round robin that was negating the positive of the Wednesday night service and leaving everyone feeling overwhelmed by life is now a 1 to 2 minute exercise producing more a positive and helpful impact. This now leaves at least 8 minutes to do something else more beneficial

  • I recommended that they, the youth group leaders, pay attention to the trends in the prayer requests.  This reminds me of an excellent episode I produced on how to successfully use trend analysis work for strategic planning; go re-listen to ep #? The youth group leaders can take the trends and determine how to use that information in the remaining 8 minutes they have together.  If trends show panic attacks, stress and anxiety, these leaders could research and  start sharing healthy coping skills with these girls. 
  • That was the extent of my recommendations on how to course correct this last 10 minutes of the youth group’s Wednesday night service with a more strategic and helpful approach.  But this was not the end of my coaching session with Miranda.  As for whether or not this was the place for her to plug in or not would depend on the youth group’s structure.  In its current state, it was not going to be beneficial for Miranda to remain.  She was not able to add any value to what they were doing if all they were doing  was having a group prayer and saying goodbye and God bless.  This could be done whether Miranda was there or not.  Now, I am not promoting an attitude of – do it my way or it’s the highway – I am just saying that if you want to be engaged in ministry there must be a way.  This is how we become women of influence.  Participating in a structure where cell phone cases and overwhelm to the point of retreating to the bathtub is not a picture of woman of influence.  Creating just enough structure for these girls to focus on higher things and receive helpful ministry is the results of women of influence.  And you can listen to my episode about how to create just enough structure in ep #14?

In the end, we all want to be in a place of influence where God has placed us.  We all want to be in the will of God.  My prayer for Miranda is that God will bring her success and to that place for His glory.  Let me remind you that I have an awesome resource for you called the Simple Self-Discovery Spiritual Gifts Survey that can help you determine where God may be leading you to minister in your church. 

If you could benefit from a Leadership Strategy Coaching call with me, you can request one HERE.

Episode 23 – It’s Not What You Plan, But the Order of Your Plans That Will Guard Your Intentions and Protect You From Disappointment \\ Mini Planning Session. Listen in HERE or read the script below.

You know what I am learning? There must be order to your order if you want to avoid failure; this will make sense in a moment. It’s time to plan so grab your planner and let’s walk out this new month together in today’s mini planning session.

We are fresh into a new fall month boss-sister! I followed my first of the new month – By-day-2 Rule – I’ve looked ahead into October and settled my plans by October 2nd.   Have you?  For me, I only have Pastor Appreciation Month and Halloween on my radar this month.  This means, I’ve purchased a card and gift card for my pastor, and pumpkins and candy for Halloween.  Completing these tasks by the second day of the month is how I avoid procrastination.  You may recall that last month I did not follow my By-day-2 Rule because that weekend was Labor Day and I wanted to hit the Labor Day sales since I had three birthdays to buy for last month.  Well Phyllis, that got me completely off track.  I felt like I was shopping all month and up to the last minute because I did not stick firmly to buttoning up everything by Sept 2nd.  I’m calling this a LFOI fail – lol. 

This fail reminded me just how good my By-day-2 Rule is, and that is the practice of solidifying all the new month’s plans and completing associated purchases by the second day of the new month.  So, I was thrilled to kick off October like I like! 

If you have not already, grab your LFOI framework guide (there is a link in my show notes in case you need it) and review your monthly reminders section.  This is what I do every month, so I don’t forget to do things that are important to me.  And within the last week, I’ve learned just how important it is to also order these things. Here is an example –  A couple of weeks ago, I reminded you to start your fall decorating, as I was decorating my front porch, but then  I realized I needed to stop what I was doing until I took the time to clean the siding on my front porch.  We’ve have had some major yard work done recently so the siding and floor of my porch was very dirty and dusty.  It’s hard to decorate dirty, don’t you agree?

I like to power wash my house every Spring, and now I believe I will spray wash my porch areas again in the fall because it looks so good now with all my black and white buffalo plaid decor.  There is no better time than just before the year-end holidays to clean your front porch.  This is especially important if you intend to host company during the holidays.  You will want a clean porch and front door to receive your guest, without being embarrassed. I have now listed this task of cleaning my front porch in my LFOI framework guide for the month of September.  So next year, by the 2nd day of September I will not only make all my birthday purchases but I will also purchase the cleaner I use that is so simple to hook into my hose pipe.  I was done within a matter of 15 minutes.  It looked as if it had been power washed.   If you would like to easily clean your siding as I described check out this product: https://amzn.to/3AiQU6H

Anddd… I had another LFOI fail.  A while back, I had also mentioned this flower arrangement that I like to call the witches brew that I liked having on my porch.  It was a lovely garden dish assortment of fall plants in a large black kettle.  It also had these black cattails that stood up tall as the centerpiece.  It was spooky cool and so festive.  Last year while we were on some backroads of Kentucky we found this neat little nursery and store that had these and I just loved it.  My husband and I drove up there over this past weekend to get another witches brew for the side entrance of my wrap around porch but sadly she had sold them all.  She had 60 at the beginning of September and sold everyone of them.  I had waited too late.  So you better believe when I got home I got my LFOI framework guide out and made a note in the September section of monthly reminders to make this purchase so I don’t miss out again next year. 

So now in September, I plan to work on my front porch in this order –  remove my flag bunting, spray wash my front porch, purchase my witches brew and finish decorating my porch for fall – there is an order I must follow if I want my porch decor to look the way I want; I’ve learned this lesson well.  This is a practice you can follow as you continue to plan toward the major holiday seasons.  So Order your plans accordingly.

In Ep 20, I shared how we can compound the benefits of our routines, and today’s topic reinforces this idea.  Year after Year, we can improve upon our LFOI framework to the point that not only will we feel more in control and command of our lives, but it will be our reality. I’ve mentioned and focused so much on the word order you may feel like this is an ORDER episode when in fact it is just another mini planning session.  And I am Glad you joined me for it. 

And now for the SHOW NOTES!

Episode 22 Commercial: Hope When Your Heart Is Heavy. This devotional is FREE with a gift of your choice to Proverbs 31 Ministries for a limited time. Don’t wait!  Click here to learn more.

As a free gift for taking part of this LFOI experiment with me, I have a 15-page LFOI Framework Guide so that you can build your own personal framework for a Lifestyle of Faith, Order & Influence: https://ginaduke.com/podcast-resources/

Let’s build community in my private Facebook Group for The Gina Duke Show so we can LFOI together – Ha! https://www.facebook.com/groups/ginadukepodcast

One of the best things you can do to have more order in your life, is to have an organized approach to your prayer life.  Grab yourself a copy of my award-winning book, Organizing Your Prayer Closet: A New and Life-Changing Way to Pray (Abingdon Press) https://amzn.to/3BWt2rw

For coaching, consulting, or collaboration, contact me here: https://ginaduke.com/contact-gina/

You can also follow me @TheGinaDuke on Instagram where I like to post pics of my junk journal inspired prayer journals. You just might want one for yourself!   

Thank you for stopping by! Please tell ALL your girlfriends and female colleagues about the Gina Duke Show for faith-filled female leaders who want to grow in faith, order & influence. 

Enjoy your LFOI and lead on sister!

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