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3 Types of Advice I’ve Given that I’m Now Applying to Myself

To move up…

To move up sometimes you need to move on.

I’ve given that advice to youth ministry friends over the past decade. And this year I finally awoke to the reality that it was time to take my own advice.

There was no more room for me to grow personally or professionally in what I was doing. I have more I want to do. To move up sometimes you need to move on.

It’s not a judgment on what I was doing. I loved what I was doing. It’s not judgement about the organization I was helping to lead. I love what we created.

There just was no where to grow.

Think of it like a goldfish. Did you know that if you keep a goldfish in a small tank it’ll never grow to it’s full size? It’s the same for humans. Sometimes we just need to move to a bigger tank so we can grow to our potential.

To move up sometimes you need to move on. It’s as simple as it is difficult.

The Skills that Got Me Here…

The skills that got me here won’t get me there.

I’ve taken a job to do a thing I haven’t done before. I’m a 44 year old rookie. I’m a month into it and I know about 6 million things I didn’t know in June. That’s just how it goes. I might have 20+ years of positive experience in ministry but I didn’t know anything about setting up a development department when I accepted this job. But I do now. And I expect to learn another 20 bajillion things over the next 12 months.

There is an academic path to mastery. There is an apprentices path to mastery. And then there’s the path to mastery that throws you off the dock into the deep end to teach you how to swim.

It’s that last one that I like. It’s actually the only path that’s ever presented itself to me. So here I am.

A 44 years old rookie learning and hoping to master something new.

But I didn’t know much about running a business until I needed to.

And I didn’t know anything about web development until I needed to.

And I didn’t know anything about running a church until I needed to.

And I didn’t know anything about managing a staff until I needed to.

And I didn’t know anything about operating a machine until I needed to.

And I didn’t know anything about running an ice cream shop until I needed to.

And I didn’t know anything about painting until I needed to.

And I didn’t know anything about being a bus boy until I needed to.

The skills that got me here aren’t going to get me there.

You gotta put stuff down…

You gotta put old stuff down to pick new things up.

Adam, if you believe the first two things are true, then you’re going to need to swallow hard on this third one and put it into action.

To get where I want to go I need to give up on things that I’m pretty good at but aren’t taking me in the right direction. These are skills that I’m known for. These are skills that have paid a lot of bills and opened a lot of doors.

But these are skills I need to lay aside so that I can concentrate on building up new skills that’ll take me new places.

So no, I am not going to come to your church and talk about teenagers and social media anymore. It’s not that I don’t care about that or don’t believe in the value of doing so. It’s that in order to concentrate on what I’m trying to do now I need to give it up.

So no, I am not going to help you with your website problem anymore. And I’ll be super honest— while I’ve got those skills, skills that I originally started learning to help the church I was working at in the early 2000s– as good at it as I am– I’ve been hating it for the longest time and it’s really time to just draw a line in the sand on web development once and for all.

And I say that even though a lot of what got me here is because of web development. But to get where I want to go I need to let go of it.

That’s just two quick examples. There are more.

You gotta put old stuff down to pick new things up.

So what’s the lesson?

I suppose there’s two points of application I want to bring up.

First, maybe these three things are useful for you. Maybe you’re feeling stuck or not seeing a place to grow or not free to try new things? Over and over I’ve learned that you release tremendous potential in your life when you try new things and take some risk. So if that’s you I hope you make a wise decision.

Second, maybe you’re a person who gives people advice, provides professional coaching, or is just seen as an expert. And to you I humbly ask, “Are you willing to take your own advice?” Because for me, when I do that, not only do I see my life improve… I also validate my own message because people see me living out the things I’m saying.

By Adam McLane

Kristen and Adam live in the San Diego neighborhood of Rolando with their three children.

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