What's in this session?
- Nobody likes someone who makes excuses all the time (0:22)
- Our haters (0:54)
- What can I learn? (1:33)
- You are not your work (3:07)
- Tiny example: Lily's toothbrush (4:10)
- Extreme example: Aunt asks about infidelity (4:56)
- Work example (6:27)
Show notes and resources
- Pro Church Tools
- Pro Church Tools on Facebook
- Pro Church Tools on YouTube
- Brady Shearer on Instagram
- Brady Shearer on Twitter
- Alex Mills on Instagram
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Alex Mills: Well, hey there and welcome to Pro Church Daily, the show where in 10 minutes or less you’ll get your daily dose of tips and tactics to help your church share the message of Jesus while we navigate the biggest communication shift we’ve seen in the last 500 years. I’m your host Alex Mills. I’m joined as always by the boss man, it’s Brady Shearer. Today, we’ve got a leadership lesson: why personal responsibility is the ultimate key.
Brady Shearer: Nobody likes the person that’s a part of the group that always makes excuses. Nobody likes hanging around with somebody that’s always making excuses. There are a couple of people that I know like this, and it’s like, “Well, this thing at work’s happening.” “Oh, this person, they’re just being so bad.” “Oh man, the cops are [inaudible 00:00:40]. They pulled me over, they were clearly out to get me.” “I swear, the person at McDonald’s, they didn’t give me the right food on purpose.” It’s just like, “Oh man, you’re just not fun to be around.”
Pro Church Tools is big enough at this point that we have enough share of haters, and one was this morning. I saw a YouTube comment this morning, and it read as follows. It was on one of our Pro Church Daily episodes. It said, I quote, unsubbed, “You are useless of late.” End quote. People don’t really have much filter online, especially in the YouTube comments. This is one of those things where you have a choice-
Alex Mills: Absolutely.
Brady Shearer: -when this type of thing happens. You can consider that comment coming from a terrible person or a person that is just being uncharitable, and you can just deny it and just forget about it, or you can do the right thing and take personal responsibility and say, “Is there anything that I can learn from this comment?” So, what I did with this specific comment is, yes, as most of us are thinking right now, clearly that person is being uncharitable and ignorant, but I asked myself, I said, “Okay. Where could this be coming from,” because it says “useless of late”. Does that mean this person once enjoyed our content, and one thing obviously is that we were in the middle when this comment was made, we were in the middle of the Nucleus launch, which means we were doing a lot more promotion for one of our products than we normally would.
Alex Mills: Right.
Brady Shearer: So it made me think this person was probably just like, “Enough about websites. You’ve been talking about websites for now a month. Enough about Nucleus. You’ve been talking about that so much. Where’s all that free valuable content?” You have to kind of look at that, and then you have to be introspective and self-aware and say, “Okay, this person may have a point that we were doing a lot of promotion, more than we normally would, so maybe they have a right to be upset because things are a little bit different, but why is this happening?”
Well, we do one, maybe two, big launches a year, and the rest of the year, the other eight months, is completely free content. So if that’s the trade off that I have to be okay with, I think I’m going to be okay with that. If it’s going to upset a couple of people so that we can give free content for 250 days of the year, then yeah, then that’s okay because the alternative is not do that many promotions and not do any free content because the company does not exist because it makes no money. That’s a trade off I’m willing to make, but you have to take personal responsibility for that hater and say, “I’ve created that hater because of the way that I’ve decided to do business,” and that is the way that it is.
The way that you can make this possible is that you have to separate yourself from your work. You have to say, when you hear a comment like that, or if you don’t have an online platform, you hear a negative comment from someone in your church, you have to say, “Okay, I’m a leader and if I can separate this comment and my work from my own identity as a human, I can absorb this comment and look at it objectively, and glean anything I can from it.” The problem is that most of us are not self-aware and mature enough as leaders where, when someone critiques us or the organization or church that we’re a part of, we’re not able to separate our own selves from our work in our church-
Alex Mills: Right, and we take it as a personal attack.
Brady Shearer: You’re criticizing me as a human being. That’s why when someone criticizes someone else and you see them get all defensive, it’s because they are taking an attack at that own person’s worth. Of course, you’re going to get upset about that. The key is you need to be mature enough as a leader and say, “Yeah, I’m in leadership. I’m going to get shots fired at me. I need to separate my own self-worth and identity from the work that I do and the people that I lead.”
Here’s some more examples of this. Here’s a tiny, tiny, tiny example. The other day, I was putting together the new toothbrush, automatic toothbrush, for my daughter. She’s three and brushing every night, and I was getting so frustrated with the instructions on this toothbrush. I could not get it to work. My wife walks into the bathroom, and I look at her. She can tell I’m upset, she can tell I’m frustrated. She’s like, “What’s wrong?” I was like, “Well, this stupid toothbrush, these instructions are dumb.”
If you’ve ever put together an IKEA piece of furniture, well clearly these instructions are the problem. I thought to myself in that moment, and I said, “First of all, no one likes,” and it’s not a good look when you’re upset at a toothbrush, and I was like, “What would it cost me to just simply say, ‘I’m frustrated because I do not understand the instructions that have come with this’?” Instead of blaming the manufacturer, and maybe it is their fault but that’s the point, it doesn’t do any good to blame someone else when you can take personal responsibility.
To take that to an extreme example, when I was discussing this with my family over Christmas, my aunt asked me and she said, “Yeah, but if your spouse cheated on you? Would you take personal responsibility for that?” I said, “Obviously there are things that are out of my control, but I’m not blameless in a situation like that. Yeah, I’d take personal responsibility for whatever role I played and ask myself, ‘What did I do to create this? How can I improve myself as a person, and what did I do to lead my wife or husband into a place where they thought that was the right decision to make?'”
Alex Mills: We see that on YouTube a little bit too. Some of the comments that we’ll get are just completely outlandish and just totally offside and super ignorant. So similar to that example, the consequences, it’s not equal but somewhere to that example, the other party is clearly in the air but we still have that responsibility to take responsibility for, like you said, the content we’re creating. Even though that comment is way offside, we can’t just dismiss it. We have to introspectively say, “You know what? Is there actually something legitimate to this?”
Brady Shearer: That’s the key. You can deny the credibility if you can dismiss … You can deny the claim if you can dismiss the credibility of the individual. That’s something I say. Deny the claim by dismissing the credibility, if you can just say, “Well, that person’s crazy. I don’t need to listen to them.” We see this with politics. It’s like, “Fox News, anything they say is a lie.”
Alex Mills: Yeah, fake news.
Brady Shearer: You don’t have to listen.
Alex Mills: Fake news.
Brady Shearer: CNN, fake news! Fake news!
Alex Mills: Yeah.
Brady Shearer: If you can deny the source, you can deny the claim. It’s just not helpful as a leader to do that because we need to be better and rise above that. One more example, in your own church or work, you could have, if you’re a pastor or a leader, you could have someone that you’re trying to lead in a certain ministry and they’re just not cutting it. You can say, “This person, they’re just not rising to the occasion. These dumb millennials, it’s their fault.” Or you can say, “I have not given them the resources needed to succeed,” or “I put the wrong person in place.”
We’ve fired developers and designers before, and I said, “You know what? You’re not working for us,” but at the end of the day, I had to admit that I didn’t have the skills needed to actually hire the right person for the job. That’s my fault. My fault. Falls on me. Personal responsibility. There are some practical benefits of this as well. Just like nobody likes the person that’s always making excuses, everybody wants to follow the leader who always takes personal responsibility. Nobody does not want to follow the person that’s always like, “Guys, gals, I want to push the limits and this was my fault. This fell on me. I’m going to do better.”
Alex Mills: Yeah, you’re right.
Brady Shearer: You respect that person. You want to give more to that person and you want to follow that person because they are doing what most people can not. The reason that we all know somebody who makes those excuses and is always blaming something on somebody else is because that’s easy. It’s difficult to be the leader and always, continually, every single YouTube comment, every time you launch a product, any time you release an episode somebody goes, “You are bad. You don’t care about the church. You’re a wolf in sheep’s clothing,” I’ve been called everything in the book and every time that happens, I have to say, “Hm, was there something in my communication? Do I come off as arrogant? Do I come off as self-entitled? Do people think I’m too young and that’s why it’s happening,” and if that’s the case, I’ve got to own that. I’ve got to be okay with that. Personal responsibility. Personal responsibility. Personal responsibility. There is no better example of this than Jesus himself. As he is being crucified, the most heinous act that has ever been committed in human history-
Alex Mills: Yeah, completely blameless.
Brady Shearer: -we killed God. He says, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” That was how he took personal responsibility. “They don’t know what they’re doing. I know what’s happening, and I’m okay with this. I choose for this to happen.”
Alex Mills: Yeah, and you hit on it earlier when you were talking about separating yourself from your work. What’s enabled me to get to this point in my own life, and I’m not saying that I have this mastered or I have it figured out-
Brady Shearer: Nor do I.
Alex Mills: -but in order to be able to take responsibility when you get criticism, you have to be unoffendable. That word has been super important to me, very important in my marriage, in my friendships, especially in church, that when somebody brings critique or criticism, or whatever it is, whether it’s online or in person, my first reaction, I have to remain unoffendable because if I take offense upon hearing that, I can’t move past it. I can’t take responsibility, but if I, in my own life, my own heart, remain unoffendable, maintain that posture of not being able to take offense, then that door is open for me to be able to walk that path of taking responsibility. But if offense gets in the way, I can never get there.
Brady Shearer: Jesus, give us more of that.
Alex Mills: Yeah.
Brady Shearer: Our churches will be healthier for it, our marriages will be healthier, and we’ll be able to share this message of Jesus with more people.
Alex Mills: Yeah.
Brady Shearer: That’ll do it for today’s episode of Pro Church Daily. We’ll see you tomorrow.