Author Archives: Mark Francis

About Mark Francis

Encourager who desires to support others discover and live authentically in their strengths and gifts.

Others-centered Self-awareness

All of us, at some point, have been challenged by what others perceive as our “real selves”. Regardless of how often this happens, our reactions to their perceptions can range from feeling gut-punched or angry to overwhelmingly encouraged. How often, would you say, others accurately describe your own thoughts of who you believe you are, including your attitudes and behaviors?   Now consider those around you…how are they feeling about what others perceive of them? Taken together, it is easy to see how relationships can get messy quick, many times based on false assumptions of one another. However, we can help create accurate awareness of others and their lives leading to fulfilling and authentic relationships, no matter their purpose.

How can we minimize the impacts of misunderstanding one another? Here are a few thoughts to encourage change:

  1. Resist Assumptions – Be ruthless with yourself anytime you assume anything. Practice recognizing when you do it and especially when you make decision based on it. Ask others to help you assess and better understand when you make assumptions with them. Sensitivity to your own heart grows in the light of offered transparency and accountability.
  2. Ask Questions towards Understanding – Clarifying questions become windows into the heart. All of us fundamentally want to define ourselves to others. Doing so helps us own our own path, and helps others see the real us.
  3. Invite Feedback – Making room for personal input from others in our life helps create increased sensitivity to the realness of our life. When we ask the question of ourselves on a regular basis, we strengthen our “others-centered” vision to look for the same in those around us.

Living life with others, whether at work or in our personal lives, can only be authentic and life-giving to the degree we continually grow our others-centered self-awareness. To be seen accurately by others becomes both a gift and a growth path to each of us. To offer the same to others strengthens your union with them and creates capacity for growth through all seasons. As leaders, this gift and growth path is ours to give to each person in our care. Let’s give it our best!


Negative Feedback as a Growth Gift?

Responses, or personal feedback, to our attitudes and actions come daily to all of us. While we all enjoy the positive ones, we can be less welcoming of those that come with disappointment, pain, questions or even anger. However, if we value personal growth at any level, cultivating our skills to find a “growth nugget” from any feedback encounter, regardless of how it comes or from whom, enhances our capacity for positive and helpful change. The ability to do this consistently means practicing the art of discoveryseparation and embracement for feedback responses, even the hard ones. I know what you may be thinking — do all responses have meaningful nuggets I can grow from? I would suggest most do, depending on how we handle the feedback. Keep reading to see what I mean.

Initially, we must first believe in the presence of and then search for a specific meaning in the core content of a response. What attitudes or actions in me are they reacting to and why? Connecting that back to our own role in the matter reflects discovery. Once identified, you now have a personal “growth” purpose for the response beyond how it was offered. What can I change? How can I do it different? These and other key questions can serve you with specifics towards improvement or change.

Now realizing a discovered meaning, separating this meaning from the way a response comes becomes important. It’s easy to dismiss feedback based on accompanying emotions, how its offered, or even who it comes from. Easy, but perhaps wasteful. How so? A response offered to inflict some negative impact on you does so if you judge it solely on this intent. However, if you find meaning despite this intent, rather than being diminished by the negative, you are rather enhanced by a greater opportunity to grow and change. In essence, you transform a negative intent to a positive outcome. Now comes the final action – Embrace.

Having a capacity to embrace a “growth nugget” in whatever form it comes creates a perspective within you to see and experience life differently. Certainly pain, disfunction, and brokenness surround all of us in many forms. But, we decide their defining impact upon our own hearts, minds and attitudes every day. Choosing to embrace a new way of seeing myself through these discovered nuggets for growth puts the emphasis on my personal change rather than the response itself. I then can emerge strengthened, encouraged and transformed for the better. And maybe, just maybe, I also can come to see others for the treasure they possess despite their present condition. Would we not want the same consideration?

Discoveringseparating and then embracing a deeper personal truth in feedback is a choosing to see myself through the eyes of others so that I can increase my self-awareness and make changes in my life AND for the benefit of others. Applying this skill values my personal growth as well as contributes to positively impacting the “others” in my life, friend or foe. What a gift I can give myself and to others!  Is that a personal legacy you want to build? If so, value feedback for what it can be – a gift!


Change Starts Inside

“What we value in our hearts manifests in our daily lives. To change what we do starts with a change in what is important to us.” — Mark G. Francis

We rarely can hide what dwells within us as our crucial life values and motivations. They tend to leak out when we are not looking, mostly when we are focused on the “ordinary” tasks and efforts around us. Co-workers, friends and family can be very helpful in these moments as they experience the true YOU. Listening to their descriptions of your actions and behaviors can be eye-opening and authentic, even in difficult situations. If personal transformation and growth is important to you, look for the revealing language surrounding you and then take personal inventory of what you value. Emphasis here towards positive change will result in positive change in your attitudes and behaviors towards your best you.


The Question “Key”

Insightful, honest and transparent questions serve as powerful “keys” that can unlock darkened vision, forgotten dreams and personal hidden truths. For too long many of us have denied this powerful tool within a relational context and defaulted to believing that these kinds of questions equaled failure. In fact, the opposite it true. One who dares to tread in this realm usually carries a higher vision of “what can be” over “what is”. Isn’t that the kind of people we want in our journey — those who can see something more and are willing to ask about it? If you are ready to take that step, I am willing to take it with you. Let’s explore how we can use this KEY to unlock your best future!


A Gift for You

What traits, in general, would mark your relationships with those you lead? Do you consistently experience strong trust, open communication, faithful encouragement and steadfast confidence? Or, do those you serve with offer significantly less than this to you? If so, do you know why?

Generally a purpose behind staff and peer reviews, we can find ourselves wondering where we stand in the eyes of others. As leaders, knowing this reality is crucial for our on-going growth and success. I would like to help.

Asking for honest, yet meaningful feedback from those we work with can be intimidating. Sometimes we wait for “formal” reviews, which unfortunately, may never come or address the core issues. What if as either a leader or team member we didn’t wait? What if we stepped out with bravery to invite others to share their insight about us on a consistent basis?

Today I am offering you the use of a couple of tools I have developed from years of experience and asking these questions. My Bridging Assessment Resource Workbook provides both assessment tools and explanations to help you collect input and make assessments about these and other questions. It is yours as a free gift. You can find it here . Please feel free to share with others, and if you would want my involvement in this process, I would love to help. Contact me for additional information and scheduling.

One last thing. If you do use these tools, it would be a blessing to hear from you about how you were impacted. Thanks for your consideration.

 


Cultural Legacy

Each and every one of us are building an impactful history, or legacy, on a daily basis. Every decision we make, each conversation we take part in, the actions we repeat, and the values we hold to all contribute to the individual culture, or relational environment, we create for ourselves and those who walk the path with us. What lasting impact or mark on the world do I want to leave? If not by our design, the answer will lie in what we practice day in and day out, more specifically how others feel around us. Impactful, life-giving leaders who leave a legacy that lives on after them treasure those around them through mutual honor and respect. They live as a leader motivated by humble honor, willing to serve so that others can discover their own worth and make their unique contribution in their sphere of influence. Whatever our organizational description we are a part of, it serves in many ways as simply the backdrop for building cultural legacy that endures, calling those after us to a higher road. What marks your legacy?


Undiscovered Treasures

One of the roles, I believe, for leaders is to search and discover the “undiscovered treasures” of personnel that surround us. Too many times we label personnel based on their history or second-hand reports as to the strengths and skills they possess. The worse part is when they start believing it. Yet, as leaders, we can make a difference and change this outcome. Through intentional attention to seek out the hidden gifts of personnel, our voice can become the defining one for others where encouragement, hope and fulfillment mark the outcome. Is this the voice you want to have? Me too. If you desire another encourager to walk with you along the way, please contact me.


Connecting verses Communicating

Thousands of emails. Tweets that fly out as fast as we can type them. Words, words, and more words. Emoticons, abbreviations, slang, and anything else that distinguishes us from others. We have become a culture of communication in forms that are visual, written, sound or all three. Daily it surrounds us, like a slave driver demanding more and more.

Into this reality, I ask what I believe is a deeper question — in the presence of all this communication, are we connecting in greater degrees? If connecting simply means staying in contact, then maybe we are. However, in my view, connecting means much, much more. Listening, seeking understanding, developing a value of other perspectives, and coming to better identify with others and their journey all reflect aspects of connecting that are especially relevant and important not only personal relationships, but also in the work environment. Are you connecting with others in these ways to greater degrees? Amid all the growing information exchange that surrounds us, I encourage you to be a connector. The impact you have will far outlive your own life.


A Journey Into Discovery

I want to challenge you today…will you take my dare?

The life you possess is of the rarest form. Why? Because there is no one else like you! Yet, we all get into those places where we diminish our living and begin to exist. Sound familiar? I know…I don’t like it either.

To challenge these parts of our life, I dare you to embark on a journey. Where to? A journey with wide open arms ready to embrace discovery, and no, not a place. No, I challenge you to explore the reality of who you are. There is more to you than you have seen or experienced. There are worlds of personal virtue you have been given to discover for this time and season of your life. What? Really?

Let me ask…have you fully plunged the depth of your serving others? What about the manner you honor others? Have you fully come to understand, much less do this consistently? You get my hints. I am daring you to ask more of yourself when it comes to positive, healthy and powerful internal virtues that serve and bless others.

I will be doing this too. I’ve been convicted of the “more” of my heart that I have not tapped into, especially as it connects to the world around me — people, environments, work, play, etc.

Let’s go after this with all we have. And if you need help or someone to walk it with, I would be honored to be a part of your journey. Together, let’s make this the year of discovery, impacting our world with the strengths we possess.

You can do it! I dare you!

 


What Impact Do You Have?

As a leader, you expect to impact circumstances around you. Increasing revenue, changing business outlooks, growing client population and the like remain as types of measurements that are both valuable and significant. But what about the people you encounter? More specifically, what about those you lead? How are they impacted by your leadership?

Important questions that determine both the quality and enduring nature of your role, I want to share some resources that can help you bridge what you may understand as your impact and what actually others receive from you. The Bridging Assessment Resources provide one mechanism for assessing your influence upon other leaders and teams you lead. Designed as a means of providing real-time perceptions how you connect with others, the results can give you the necessary strategic guidance over areas of strengths, as well as those that need attention.

For your copy, download from my HOMEPAGE on this website. Whether you choose to use it personally or would like my involvement for developing targeted action plans for growth, I offer it as a gift for your success. Let me know your comments and how it works for you.


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