In the previous blogs, I have looked at how to salvage big problems. However, the reality is that unless you have a very bad case of the negative 6th head, you will actually not face very many big issues. Therefore, we need to learn how to leverage the small issues so we can make the choices that will position us for the power of the positive head to be unleashed in our lives.
Learning to recognize the small win/lose situations and skillfully leveraging them is the heart of the matter. The win/lose we will focus on today is empowering vs. enabling. By empowering, I mean creating a situation where they are able to unpack some of the resources that are within them. By enabling, I mean someone asking me to do for them what they could and should do for themselves.
Now I need to be perfectly clear at the outset that my creating an opportunity to unpack their treasures does not mean that the other person will choose to step into it. My job is simply to point in the right direction, and to refuse to facilitate their taking the easy, no-growth way out of their situation.
My playing field is e-mails. There are a certain percentage of high maintenance people in Plumbline. They are high maintenance because they have successfully manged to get the world around them to do their work for them for years. They have become accustomed to asking someone else for help as their default position, instead of doing what they can first.
One such e-mail that is VERY common is “Do you have any events near me in East Overshoe, Iowa?” The emotionally gratifying answer would be, “No. East Overshoe, Iowa does not exist and I prefer to minister in reality, not in fantasy land.”
The expected answer would be, “No, we don’t have anything scheduled there now, but I will make a note of your e-mail and if we do anything within 500 miles of you, I will make sure you are personally notified.”
But instead I write back simply saying, “All of our public activities are posted on the Events page on our website. You can track them there.” I am not even going to make the word “Events” a live link, or tell him that it is in the second item in the menu. Make him work!
They really need to learn the habit of plugging into the normal communications modalities of the modern culture, rather than expecting personalized service for such trivia. I am inviting them grow up, by saying “Go look up the available information yourself.”
A markedly different e-mail would be, “I urgently need your book on the victim spirit which helped my friend so much, but I can’t find it in the store.” Now in my ears this sounds totally different. This person wants a self-help product. He is prepared to invest some effort in his own life. I like him already. He took the effort to front load the investment by looking in the logical place and couldn’t find it. I also happen to know that our website search feature does not work so if he tried to use that, he also struck out.
So I respond with emotional engagement instead of a curt, sterile, data-driven answer. “Dear Fred, I have good news for you. You don’t have to buy the book and wait for it to be shipped. We have discontinued the printed version, but you can get a free, e-book immediately by downloading it from our Library. It is in the Spiritual Warfare section. Here is a direct link. Enjoy! And blessings on you as you learn how to become dangerous!”
For the first person, NOT helping them constituted giving them a chance to grow in self-discipline. They may well be so abjectly lazy that they will never bother to go check (in which case I really don’t want them taking up space in one of my seminars anyway) but at least I did not reward their laziness with a direct answer. By contrast the second person looked very ready to grow, to invest his effort, to unpack his potential treasure of dominion. So information invested in him would be an asset, not a detriment to his growth.
It is a judgment call when to help someone with the resource they want and when to tell them where they can find the resource they want. I don’t always make a correct call, since I am having to guess from an e-mail where they are in their pilgrimage, but I try.
Here are two contrasting e-mails. “Please tell me how to grow in my spiritual authority.” And, “I understand the general concept of coming in the opposite spirit as a lifestyle, but I am having some difficulty figuring out what to do with my boss. I tried this and this and this, but it doesn’t seem to be working. Can you tell me a better way?”
The first one does not appear to have invested much effort. I will simply tell them they can purchase the Redemptive Gifts of Individuals since it has a lot of teaching on earning authority (and I will deliberately refrain from telling them which track has the six-minute nugget). The second person will probably get a three paragraph answer from me, or possibly even a series of three e-mails as we try to refine an answer.
The short version is that when I expend the effort to help a lazy person NOT expend their own effort, I am enabling. They win. I lose. And I lose twice because I not only gave away the scarce resource of time in the natural realm, but I also empowered the negative 6th head.
On the other hand, when I expend the effort to FOCUS the effort that someone else is already willing to expend on unpacking their own stuff, my loss of time makes the world a better place in the natural and in the spiritual.
My hero this week is Micah (his real name). He came to me announcing that he wanted to be a social entrepreneur when he grew up. I asked him what he was doing to get ready for that and his answer was the usual “nothing.”
I was highly unimpressed. I know his brothers, all of his cousins and most of his second cousins. There is a small army of people out there calling themselves social entrepreneurs who are passionate about changing the world, and their only credentials are carpel tunnel from using the remote and a degree in Couch Potato.
So I gave him a complex third world nation to research asking him to figure out its redemptive gift. He worked on it for awhile then wrote back saying, “I see this and this and this. I have narrowed it down to these possibilities but need to do more work. I don’t want you to tell me the answer, but can you give me a hint to let me know if I am reasoning in the right direction?”
Ya gotta love the guy. Here is a win/win/win/win. I invest a modest amount of time so I win. He begins to unpack a skill set that is part of his God-given design so he wins. He eventually gives me a nicely written paper that I can post on the website so the whole world wins. And along the way we both earn authority against the infamous 6th head.
Oh, yes. Throw in another win there. I get some great fodder for the blog. Thanks Micah. And may your tribe increase.
So hopefully by now you have earned enough authority by your dealing with the crises in your life that the number of crises is radically decreasing. You have moved from -50 to -5. Good job! But don’t stop there. Now do an inventory of the people in your life and the requests they make from you.
Who are the perpetually needy people? No matter what you give them, they need more tomorrow. You probably need to stop meeting their wants and start pointing them to the resources they have within them, if they would only unpack those resources. They will either grow up, or, if they are certified life time parasites, they will simply go find someone else to enable them.
And who in your life is a grower? What can you do to craft your answers to them in such a way that they can unpack more, faster?
You know who is an absolute master at this?
I don’t very often get a straight answer from Him. I ask a question and I get a question back. Ah, but the wisdom in the questions He asks me is amazing. As I answer those questions, I not only find the answer to the original question, I also discover treasures in me, in the Word and in the world around me that I did not know were there!
So, you have an immense playing field in front of you. Every time someone asks you for something you can pause, and adjust your answer to earn authority. Using this tool will help you fly through those 100,000 steps to the stupendous release of the positive 6th head in your life.
Copyright October 2010 by Arthur Burk