management San Diego Living San Diego State

Two San Diego State Universities: The Power of Winning

I’m new to State. I moved into the College Area in 2008 and quickly adopted them. I’m not an alumni. I didn’t grow up in San Diego. They are just the school that’s near my house and I enjoy going to football and basketball games.

McLane Creative

Start-up Mode, What We’re Learning

“So, how is the start-up stuff going?”

It’s a fair and caring question. I get it all the time.

Several months ago Kristen and I felt God pulling for a big change. Long before we even knew exactly how it would play out… we knew it was time to go for it. You know, a double dip recession and the worst economy in a generation is the perfect time to launch a start-up, right?

Actually, it is.

If you have a good business idea there is no such thing as a bad economy. If you want to think about economics, tomorrows biggest business winners are being determined today because the people who profit while everyone else is floundering will pay bigger dividends than those who either lose ground our don’t do anything now.

“It’s crazy.”

That’s my response when people ask that question because it’s the truth.

It’s crazy fun. It’s crazy the things I’m working on. And it’s crazy to think about all the conversations I’ve had as I’ve considered various opportunities over the past months.

It’s crazy to have to do things like month-to-month forecasts. And it’s crazy to have to rent an office for myself when I’ve had an office of my own provided by an employer since I was about 19 years old.

What I’m Learning

  1. I wish we had done this earlier. It’s not that I regret a moment of my time at YS, but as we ramp things up that I could have done this sooner and we’d be further along in our development.
  2. It’s not scary. Right now, there are millions of people doing jobs they hate because they are too afraid to make a change. I’m more afraid of doing a job that I don’t want to do than I’m afraid of starting my own business.
  3. Mission drives focus. I’ve been asked to consider projects that just weren’t right for what I’m trying to do. And a few times, in my insecurity, I’ve said yes to things that were more a distraction to my mission than they were profitable for our business.
  4. You have to stand up for yourself. In the past I’ve either just dealt with difficulties or had someone to help me with things I couldn’t correct. But now? I’ve got to have difficult conversations with people. I’ve got to be clear about what I am and am not going to do. If I won’t stand up for myself, I’ll get stepped on.
  5. Disappointment is part of the deal. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gotten amped for a big thing that hasn’t happened. It just goes with the territory. It’s not that I don’t allow myself to be disappointed anymore. But I have learned to deal with it quickly and move on.
  6. Dreamers get paid. Some of the most fun projects I’m working on happened because of saying, “Hey, wouldn’t that be cool if…?” Or it’s cousin, “How can we work together on that?
  7. Helping people is best. I LOVE helping people do stuff they thought wasn’t possible. There’s nothing quite like doing some training and seeing people go, “Oh, I could do ___ with that. Wow!” Believe it or not… that’s not that common. Traditional business wisdom would teach the opposite.
  8. It’s all about value. I have a philosophy that I want to deliver ridiculous value to the people I work with. Why? Delivering value builds loyalty.
  9. Admit when you suck. Just like I’ve had to learn to stand up for myself I’ve had to learn to go over and above when I’ve stunk. It happens. It will happen. Just admit it, pony up, and resolve to do better.
  10. Take advantage of the flexibility. The biggest mistake I’ve made in the past six months is not taking time off. I’ve gotten good about scheduling stuff. But vacation time? I didn’t do it. In 2012, I’ve got 4 weeks of downtime already booked.
Church Leadership Good News

Do we live on the same planet?

Sometimes I’ll meet a person in ministry and think, “Do we live on the same planet?” 

  • I’ve got a really solid core group of kids each Wednesday night– I think they have a chance at winning the Bible quizzing championship.
  • Our high school students are very involved in the community. Each year we get together with other churches in our district for a youth rally. They love it.
  • I always take my sword wherever I go. You have to be prepared for battle at all times.
  • I had to pull my kids out of public school because in California there’s a new law that teachers have to include gay history in the curriculum. (What’s really weird is that they don’t live in California!)
  • I teach my students that they need to take a stand. A life with Jesus is all about taking the stand, right?

Code language. Insular communities. Church-centric attitudes. It leaves me wondering who they are trying to reach?

It makes me wonder how they have a conversation with their neighbors? I wonder what they are thinking as they get to know Diane next door, who just had to put her mom in a home. Or what they talk about with the gay couple across the street? Or what their neighbors think about them when they turn off their light on Halloween? Or refuse to come to the block party because people are drinking?

I wonder if people think of them as good news in the neighborhood?

I’m guessing that there are a lot of neighbors hiding from a lot of their Christian neighbors in this country.

I believe in Jesus. He is my only hope for salvation. And I fully acknowledge that the church is God’s chosen instrument for believers. But there is this sliver of people in every church who… are really weird.

And no one ever has the guts to tell them the truth: “You’re weird. And you really need to work on that. Jesus asks us to be different in a good way. Your weirdness is making it harder for me.

The Flip Side – The culture wars are dying

Not all church staff are like that. It’s actually very few.

More and more I’m hearing a bad strategy being replaced with good strategy.

  • In order to reach a community you have to meet the relevant needs of the community.
  • In order to start reaching more people we had to stop fighting culture and stop teaching that the output of a life with Jesus is behavior modification.
  • We recognize that to reach our neighbors we have to be good news before they will hear Good News.
  • Rather than bring a program into our community which worked elsewhere, we’re going to the community and asking how we can serve them.
But it’s the really weird ones that we now have to shake and ask, “Do we live on the same planet?