It’s a delight to welcome authors Kathi Lipp and Cheri Gregory to the blog today. Their new book, Overwhelmed: How to Quiet the Chaos and Restore Your Sanity (yes, please!) is the perfect read to kick off the new year. How about we make 2017 the least stressed year of our lives so far? Sound good? Read on!
Post by Cheri Gregory
I frown suspiciously at the leadership conference schedule. Monday and Wednesday look comfortingly normal. But Tuesday?
“Leadership as Improv.”
I don’t do improv.
I love drama—as long as I’m performing a well-memorized script or directing. But improv? No way.
I like my spontaneity well-planned, thank you very much!
I enter the auditorium Tuesday morning with secret plans to bail the moment my hyper-sensitive comfort zone indicators signaled the slightest discomfort.
I feared being pulled on stage, given three random words, and instructed to “improv.”
But what I find is a jazz quartet warming up.
Surprise and relief morph into curiosity.
What can a jazz quartet possibly teach me about servant leadership or ministry or life?
Making Music Together
The quartet leader begins by discussing the goals of improv jazz:
The the performers are the composers. Composition occurs organically as they perform, giving the music immediacy and life.
I am surprised to learn how much structure improv actually involves; it is not chaos or “anything goes.” But it is flexible, giving rise to a paradox: autonomy within community.
The quartet demonstrates, and I am swept up in a live musical metaphor.
As one instrument solos, the other three “comp” — that is, they play support.
After the quartet pauses for a few bars of silence, they are incredibly intentional about starting back up again. Each player watches the other, counts carefully, and even nods or calls out to make sure they all start back up again on the right note at the right time.
As I watch, two things become clear to me:
No one is fretting about who plays the solo.
Everyone is focusing on the music they’re making together.
Letting Go of Who Gets the Solo
For decades, I suffered from self-inflicted overwhelm as I tried desperately to land the solo.
I sought the attention, the approval, the achievement of being the one (and only) solo player.
In leadership. In ministry. In every area of my life.
Until God spoke through improv jazz quartet to help me recognize that soloing is an a unworthy goal for servant leadership and ministry and life.
Who gets the solo? Is no longer my test of success.
Instead, I ask:
Are we making music together?
* * *
How to Write Your Personal Manifesto — FREE!
Instead of making New Year’s resolutions (that will only last for a week), how about creating a Personal Manifesto that will carry you through the rest of your life? Sign up for great ideas and resources about how to get out from overwhelmed and you will receive “How to Write Your Personal Manifesto” as Kathi’s and Cheri’s gift to you. Get off the overwhelming cycle of making and breaking resolutions and create a gentle plan for lasting life change. Sign up HERE.
A Book Giveaway!
Kathi and Cheri would love to send a copy of their new book, Overwhelmed: Quiet the Chaos & Restore Your Sanity, to one of you! Enter the Rafflecopter drawing below to win (leave a comment & share this post on social media). [Email readers: Click HERE and scroll down to the bottom of the post to enter the drawing]
Feeling overwhelmed? Wondering if it’s possible to move from “out of my mind” to “in control” when you’ve got too many projects on your plate and too much mess in your relationships?
Kathi and Cheri want to show you five surprising reasons why you become stressed, why social media solutions don’t often work, and how you can finally create a plan that works for you. As you identify your underlying hurts, uncover hope, and embrace practical healing, you’ll understand how to…
- trade the to-do list that controls you for a calendar that allows space in your life
- decide whose feedback to forget and whose input to invite
- replace fear of the future with peace in the present
You can simplify and savor your life—guilt free! Clutter, tasks, and relationships may overwhelm you now, but God can help you overcome with grace.
About the Authors
Kathi Lipp is a busy conference and retreat speaker and the bestselling author of several books, including Clutter Free, The Husband Project, and The Get Yourself Organized Project. She and her husband, Roger, live in California and are the parents of four young adults.
Cheri Gregory spends her weekdays teaching teens and weekends speaking at women’s retreats. She’s been married to her college sweetheart, Daniel, for more than 28 years. The Gregorys and their young adult kids, Annemarie and Jonathon, live in California.
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