I’m working my way through Leadership Coaching by Tony Stoltzfus. There’s a lot of great advice on how to help folks you are coaching. One of the things he talks about is where folks can’t see a path ahead. They want to do something, but they’re looking at their current situations and only seeing limitations. They are stuck in the box.
Tony’s book is to help the coach, so there’s a particular exercise where he gives a scenario and discusses several key indicators that the woman in question has boxed herself in with her own thinking. She wants to expand her role in ministry but she’s only thinking of things within the traditional ministry setting. So Tony proposes two other ideas that we as coaches should consider:
- Outside of ministry, how can she apply her gifts?
- Outside of traditional ministry, but still within the church, how can she apply her gifts?
These are valid ways to think, but as I was looking at the scenario, another thought came to me. This one is influence by Seth Godin in his book Linchpin. Godin offers up the idea to do more in exactly the role you’re in. See, that’s thinking out of the box, too. Most jobs have expected duties and expected behaviors. However, we always have the option of doing more. And I don’t necessarily mean more work. Let me give you an example.
We had a gentleman who worked in our mailroom for years. He was the one that delivered the mail throughout the corporate office. However, every stop he made, he took the time to greet you, to get to know you. His formal job was to deliver the mail. However, he was much loved by many within the organization because he took the time to be a positive part of your day. That’s out-of-the-box thinking. He made everyone’s day around him a little bit better simply by crossing their path. It was a sad day when he retired.
You don’t have to step outside of a role or position or opportunity to make a bigger difference. Sometimes the best thing to do is consider what you can do within an area you already serve or work. Get out of your box by considering what more you can do. Don’t just consider the traditional work more hours approach. Also consider how you can further your relationships, how you can help the folks around you, how you can add value to your organization because of something you either do better than anyone else within your existing job or how you expand your responsibilities in a beneficial way. This is how you make yourself invaluable and also open opportunities for growth and advancement.