Jan 152014

My lovely wife likes to watch HGTV. She’s interested in design, appreciates innovation and creativity, and is fascinated watching ideas turn into reality. One of the shows she likes is “Love It or List It”. The premise of the show is that a realtor and a designer work with a homeowner who has decided that their current home just isn’t working for them.

The designer wants to remodel the home in a way that will cause the homeowner to love it again and stay put. The realtor, of course, thinks that a new residence is the best solution. He wants the homeowner to list the house and buy a different one. The question after the remodel and real estate search is, “Are you going to love it? Or list it?”

What the heck does this have to do with leadership?

Managers allocate resources to attain preset goals and objectives. Leaders are change agents who define the goals and objectives. You may say, “Well, I’m not a leader.” We use the phrase, “How are you leading your life?” In that sense, everyone reading this post is a leader. So whether we’re talking about leading ministries, organizations, or your own life, the question to ask regarding every aspect of what you’re doing and how you’re living is, “Do you love it? Or loathe it?”

(This is going to sound like a non sequitur, but it isn’t – really.) Basic accounting keeps track of assets and liabilities – the things that increase value and the things that decrease value. One of the reporting goals of accounting is to produce a Balance Sheet: Assets on the left side of the page, Liabilities on the right. Hopefully, the assets outweigh the liabilities and there’s “something left over.” That “something is what keeps the enterprise going.

Pretend you’re a “leadership accountant.” Just as an accountant has a list of accounts that make up balance sheet, you need to make a list of the significant areas of your life. Entries may include work, home, relationships with particular people, character elements you admire, finances, recreation – and the list goes on. Then go down the list and ask yourself about each one: Do you love it as it stands or loathe it? (If you’ll send me an email requesting them, I’ll send you a couple of forms to help you assess the significant areas of your life. Click on the “Contact Me” tab on the upper-left of this page.)

Pick an area you really loathe. That’s the one that takes up far too much of your emotional energy and negatively affects your sense of wellbeing. Take a piece of paper and write the name of a significant aspect in this area that causes you to loath it. Now write two sentences beneath it.

The first sentence begins, “If I could change this area to something I’d love it would look like ________________.”

The second sentence begins, “I can’t change this area because __________________.”

Take a careful look at this second sentence. It will tend to have “external factors” as the reasons listed. Let’s call them what they most often are: excuses or blame-shifting. Now list the “internal factors” that are preserving the status quo. Hint: If “I’m afraid that ________ if I __________” isn’t somewhere on the list you’re probably not being completely honest. Be bold. No one’s going to see this list except you. Dealing with this list is the price you will have to pay if you are to make changes in an area you loath and turn it into an area you love. Until you’re ready to pay that price, nothing will change.

Most people need help making these changes. If it were easy, they’d have done it already. The page you’ve just written is a great opening agenda for a coaching engagement. Can I have the opportunity to help you or would you rather continue to “loath it”? Don’t forget, you can schedule a Free Discovery Session by clicking the link in the menu on the right side of the page.

Call me.



 Posted by at 9:12 am