Tag: curiosity

6 Leadership Principles I learned by being a tourist

Two major shifts happen when you make the transition from “tourist” to “resident.”

  • A place starts to feel like home. Which is good. You grow comfortable. You feel safe.
  • A place starts to feel like home. Which is bad. You grow comfortable. You feel safe.

Safety is good, as long as you don’t rot. Home is good as long as you don’t spend all of your time lazing on your couch.

Recently, we traveled about 350 miles from our home in California, to the state of Arizona. The place we went was a desert, with temperatures hitting 116 degrees Fahrenheit while we were there. But let me tell you, it was one of the most beautiful parts of the country we had ever visited. The mountains, the cacti, the wildlife, and the colors were simply stunning.


While we were there, we acted like tourists. Because we were. We took tons of pictures, drove all over the place, and stared way too long at rocks. Everything was different, new, and alive.

And in the process of being tourists, I learned a couple of things we naturally did as a newbie to the area that translate to leadership.

Tourists are curious.
Leadership: Be genuinely curious. Curiosity is the pursuit of something previously unknown to you. Be curious when it comes to potential solutions, new systems, and ideas. Approach problems as if it’s your first time there. Not your first time on Earth…use your intelligence. But be curious.

Tourists ask a lot of questions
Leadership: Ask questions constantly. This is how you’ll learn people’s motives, direction, and desires. Questions uncover truths, and get to the bottom of difficult situations much more effectively than when you come in and “have all of the answers.” Questions don’t put people on the defensive, but give them a chance to safely share.

Tourists search out new things
Leadership: Never be content with, ‘But we’ve always done it this way…’ Every new, shiny object isn’t worth pursuing, but be on the lookout for ideas, systems, and directions outside of your box.

Tourists are amazed with the ‘ordinary.’
As a tourist, you notice more about a place than a resident notices. Your eyes aren’t glossed over by the mundane everyday passings of life.
Leadership: Joy fuels ministry. Never lose the “why” behind the “what.” For us as Saddleback, we work to continually gather stories of life change, and share those with one another. It reminds us why we do what we do.

Tourists continually learn.
I picked up pamphlets. I Googled stuff. I sat and listened to tour Guides.
Leadership: Leaders are learners. The moment you stop learning is the moment you stop leading. Read books, listen to podcasts, go to conferences, and stretch your mind to think, dream, and strategize.

Tourists explore.
Leadership: Go do something new. If you’ve got a problem you’re facing in leadership, going about solving it the same way you tried last time is foolishness. You’re not going to get different results. (side note: if you don’t have any problems in leadership, just quit. Because your job isn’t necessary anymore. Leadership is needed when there’s a problem.)

The safety and security that comes when your role starts to feel like “home” is something we strive for. But the danger is that the feeling of comfort would lead us to laziness, a lack of curiosity, and half-hearted work.

So take your feet off the couch and go exploring.

Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men,  knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ. – Paul, Colossians 3:23-24

In your leadership, are you a tourist or a resident?


5 Leadership Lessons Curious George Teaches us

My son loves when we read Curious George to him.  It’s one of his favorites!  But I read everything with a critical eye.  And while I don’t always appreciate that part of me, I just can’t turn that switch off and just completely read for fun.  I wish I could.

Image via MyDorchester

Yesterday, I told you about the bad parenting lessons I’ve learned from Curious George. (you can read that HERE)

But I’d be remiss to say there aren’t some great jewels of life wisdom here, too!  Even wisdom that leaders can glean.  To be honest with you, I never thought I’d be learning leadership lessons from a cartoon monkey.  But, alas…the life of a dad…

5 Leadership Lessons Curious George Teaches us

Enjoying life is infectious.

When you enjoy life, you help others to do the same.  At the end of every book, the entire cast of characters is smiling.  Not to say that life’s easy or fluffy or always happy, but looking for ways to enjoy the gifts and opportunities God’s giving you is infectious for everyone around you.

Helping people is messy work.

George’s goal throughout the series is to help people.  But in helping people, he often gets into big messes.  Before it’s all said and done, many people are frustrated with George.  Even those who love him the most (the man with the yellow hat).  Which is what you’ll sometimes, unfortunately, find in life.  Helping people change, grow, and deal with life is often messy and frustrating.  But I can’t even begin to tell you how it’s worth the frustrations.

Creativity is messy and chaotic, but at the end of the day, it’s worth it.

If you pursue creativity in life, things will get messy and chaotic.  Rarely will you find yourself in the middle of creativity and in the middle of order.  Just know, going in, that you’re going to have to put up with a bit of chaos in the creative process.  But at the end of the day, it’s worth it.  The insights, new directions, and “art” you’ll create through the process make it worth the effort.

Curiosity will get you in lots of trouble.

The more you poke around, question systems, and look for new ways of doing things, the more you will frustrate some people.  Because, often, it’s easier to leave the status quo untouched.  To assume you can “arrive” and be done growing and changing.  And the more you push for those out-of-the-box changes, the more you’ll frustrate those who are satisfied with keeping things the way they are.

Curiosity will lead you to lots of fun.

Children naturally gravitate towards creativity and fun.  But life has a tendency of breaking many of us of that.  Curiosity is a beautiful thing.  It leads to new discoveries and new adventures, as long as you’re willing to pursue it.  Don’t get so tangled up in details, systems, and processes that you forget to have a little fun along the way.  There’s an adventure around every corner if you’re willing to look.


Have you seen any of these lessons come true in your life?


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