Episode 218: Using Your Talents to Lead with Hope

February 22, 2022

God has gifted you in a unique way. That means your strengths bring hope to life differently than your spouse, your colleague, and even your friends. 

Today we’re exploring how leaders create hope in different ways. Specifically, how your strengths show up and create hope for different people in different ways. 

In this episode, Tim and Sara use two CliftonStrengths to explore how leading with hope may look different for different people. It’s an opportunity for you, as a leader, to remember and claim the ways God has gifted you and to celebrate the ways that you share hope with the world. 

It’s no secret that many people are weary. One of the ways we can remind ourselves and one another of the faithfulness of God is to pause and celebrate the giftedness of others. To recognize how the people you lead are a blessing to others because of the way God’s gifted them. 

One final reminder: don’t just recognize your strengths. Put them to use in your leadership to be intentional about creating and fostering hope. And remember, when you share hope, it multiplies. 

Mentioned in this Episode

Episode 218


[00:00:00] Sara: Welcome to leader cast episode 218

[00:00:05] you're listening to leader cast, transforming missions podcast with Tim Bias and Sara Thomas. Providing you with resources to navigate the challenges and opportunities of courageous christ-centered leaders

[00:00:23] Tim: Well today, we want to talk about how leaders create hope and different ways specifically how your strengths show up and create hope for different people. We mentioned this in passing last. We want to dive into it a little deeper. This.

[00:00:39] Sara: So before we do, let me remind you that you can find show notes. For this episode@transformingmissionand.org forward slash 2 1 8. And if you're thinking they're still talking about hope. Yes. We're still talking about hope and we're going to be talking about. Throughout the year. And yes, I just did a little play on words there because that's also the name of a devotional that we are putting together that you can find information about on the show notes page.

[00:01:10] Once again, at transforming mission.org forward slash two one.

[00:01:18] Tim: Sara wouldn't you would agree that no, two of us have the same combination of strengths and that we lead in different ways. So we might communicate hope in different ways. Is there a way that we can look at this?

[00:01:35] Sara: Yeah, I would say that you, you just nailed it. So why don't we take two Clifton strengths? Show up often for Christ centered leaders and have that conversation.

[00:01:49] Tim: So those two strengths would be, what do you want to work on?

[00:01:54] Sara: You know what let's, let's take a learner and connectedness

[00:01:58] Tim: Okay. Learner and connectedness.

[00:02:01] So first let's start with learner. Tell us about.

[00:02:07] Sara: So how might someone, and, and we're talking about one, two of the 34 Clifton strengths, some of you may know it as a strength finder and the talent theme of learner. So for this one, because the process of learning excited. You might communicate best by teaching others, what you're learning or creating an environment of hope by teaching others.

[00:02:35] What you're learning. You might share information and resources that are helpful with others. That gives you an opportunity to learn. So maybe if there's a new initiative that you're exploring a theme for a sermon series. Create some opportunities for others to learn and ask if their learning needs are being met.

[00:02:56] That's another way that folks that have this talent can really create hope is by inviting others to reflect on what are they learning and are those their needs for that journey of learning and growth being met and just a little. Little aside that is especially important with the upcoming generations generation, Z and millennials.

[00:03:21] They want opportunities to learn and grow all of that to say in the process of using this talent and really diving into a growth journey and either teaching or helping other people to learn or sharing what you are learning, you're going to create hope.

[00:03:39] Tim: Okay. That's learner. How would that work was connectedness.

[00:03:45] Sara: So for folks who have connectedness, they have faith in the links between all things. And sometimes part of what I see with folks who lead with connectedness is sometimes they can be surprised at the connections that people don't see, because it's such a natural part of the way that you view the world and relate to people.

[00:04:11] Yeah. You're just caught off guard when other people don't see it. So you can create hope by naming those connections by zooming out and providing a different or wider perspective and helping people to see the connections that they might be missing.

[00:04:27] Tim: Well, you've heard Sara describe learner and connectedness. So now try to imagine these two leaders serving alongside one another. They have a message to communicate. They want to share hope with Christ centered leaders. So Sara, how might the first person who leads with learner go about leading others and creating hope?

[00:04:53] Sara: So you're looking now for. Examples because I've, I've given you how they might do it in broad terms. So let me give you a few examples of that, that come to mind. Folks who have the learner talent many of them you're going to find, they have a collection of books. They enroll in classes on their own.

[00:05:16] They might even have YouTube channels that they follow because they enjoy the process of learning. So that's where this first one comes from. Share the strengths-based leadership book with people because it offers insights for all 34 strengths about how, as a leader, you can create. So that might be you one another one might be to share Shane Lopez, Lopez's book, making hope happen so that people can learn more about what hope is about and how you can learn to be a person of hope and how you can teach hope and how you can help others experience hope.

[00:05:56] In the context that, that we are in another example, might be lead a Bible study on. Or a book study about one of the books that I just mentioned. You might call people together and invite them to bring their top five strengths and share how creating hope would work with the group that you have assembled.

[00:06:19] Or if there is something that a mission that you are a. Engaged in locally or globally, maybe share the strengths that you have, and then talk about how your participation and leveraging those strengths might create hope around that specific initiative that you are a part.

[00:06:41] Tim: So Sara let's get more specific and strategic you're in.

[00:06:46] Sara: Tim, leveraging his strengths.

[00:06:48] Tim: You're in the 23rd month of a pandemic and you're feeling weary. But there's a devotional. You're putting together, which of these suggestions excites you and why?

[00:06:59] Sara: so Tim's, Tim's bringing this to real life. Not that I'm not that I'm feeling weary. I may be feeling weary of the month. January as we're recording this, but that's, that's all. But to your question about which one of those suggestions excite me I think for me, I would invite people together to explore their Clifton strengths and hope and what the intersection of their strengths and hope really are around a strategic initiative.

[00:07:33] And in that I would want to share with them suggestions and have a conversation about where and how they're experiencing hope to encourage them to share with other Christ centered leaders. That story in the devotional hope throughout the year. So you see the bridge that I'm building. I'm going from, what is your specific strength and how might you experience hope to reflecting on that to then inviting people to write something, to share with others in the devotional hope throughout the year.

[00:08:09] What about you, Tim? This is one of, this is one of your top fives.

[00:08:13] Tim: Learner. Yes.

[00:08:15] Sara: And maybe it's not any of those suggestions. Maybe you have something completely different.

[00:08:19] Tim: I'm a whole lot more selfish with learner. It's more about what I can learn and then. Parsing it out little by little, oh, this is what I learned. So I'm not sure that I'd be very helpful being, being hopeful at, at those moments that you may see that a bit differently. But I'm learning in every situation.

[00:08:41] I mean, I, I, every day I pray helped me learn what I need to learn and every situation and circumstance today and I think it gets incorporated into my life. And so it gets incorporated into relationships, which then is the way all for hope.

[00:08:56] Sara: Part of what I heard you say, a couple of things about your learner strength. You said I'm selfish about with my learner strengths, because it's about what, what I'm learning. And then once I've learned it, then I'm sharing it with others. So when it comes to experiencing hope and sharing hope with others, what are you learning about hope right now that you would want to share with others? It may not be something new.

[00:09:27] Tim: One of the things I like about you, Sara, is you're able to put me on the spot so easily.

[00:09:34] Sara: stealth coaching skills.

[00:09:36] Tim: I did not know until a few years ago that hope was built into my, to, into who I am. Part of what I discovered, and, and when we talk about strengths and I've learned this from you, is that some of the strengths that we have, if we're not using them the way they're intended to be used, they end up in what is called the basement.

[00:09:58] And so I spent a lot of time in the basement, my life, because I didn't use the strengths. So the things that God had given to me, And the way they were intended to be used. But as I've learned, and as I've grown, I can find hope and just about anything because I don't think we live in a hopeless time and I don't think we're in hopeless situations or circumstances.

[00:10:25] Are they the way I want them to be? No. Is it going the way I want it to go? No, but does that mean there's no hope. No. And So, if I'm with somebody who's, who is particularly and, and experiencing hopelessness or feeling like they're stuck or feeling like they've made some mistakes or. People don't like them. I mean, I pastors feel that all the time when they get resistance, they make it personal. I'm trying to help them see a way to get around those things, to see that there's something better on the other side, that's hope.

[00:11:09] Sara: so I'm just going to point out that Tim did some strength swapping right there and jumped into his strategic strength as I'm hearing it. it doesn't surprise me, Tim, hearing you say what you said about the learner talent, because as I have watched you lead and interacted with you now for what a dozen years you are so firmly planted in that strategic story.

[00:11:41] In terms of who you are as a leader, that it's always going to start there. And then you're trying to identify the, see if what I'm saying back to you resonates at all. You're trying to identify with your learner's strength. What, what am I learning along this path that can get woven in here and would be helpful in this context and in this conversation or to this person?

[00:12:06] Is that.

[00:12:08] Tim: You said it much more clearly than I did, so,

[00:12:11] yes. That's fair. That's fair.

[00:12:13] Sara: I'm just reflecting back what, what I heard and, and bringing to two strengths together. So do we want to jump into connectedness?

[00:12:25] Tim: Sure. That's the second person who we're talking about leading with connectedness?

[00:12:31] So how do they go about leading others and creating hope?

[00:12:35] Sara: Yeah. So let me remind you what we said at the top of this episode, about people who have this talent. So people with the connectedness talent have faith in the links between all things. That's the big thing that I want to highlight for you about this talent. Well, it's not hopeful to report that 850,000 people have died from COVID-19 in the United States.

[00:13:07] Collective grief is certainly present. So for someone with the connectedness talent theme, one thing that they might do to help people experience and create hope as they journey with grief is. To bring those individuals together to acknowledge that grief. And again, that's probably not sounding very hopeful, but think about a time that you have experienced grief and the people that created space for you to give voice to that and what that might look like.

[00:13:48] And the other thing that I'll remind you here is that we're experiencing grief and. Lots of different way, ways, certainly 850,000 people have died. And so the impact of those individual lives on the people who love them and people who worked with them, people who were their neighbors continue on down the line.

[00:14:13] That is, that is huge. There are also those moments for our children that they missed a recital. Or they didn't get to go to the camp that they were. So they were planning on going to, and there's grief there as well. And so don't fall into the trap of comparative suffering. Well, that wasn't as bad as grief is grief and we're, we're experiencing grief right now.

[00:14:44] So for someone with connectedness, normalizing. And hear what I'm saying. I'm not saying minimizing, I'm saying normalizing that it is happening and connecting that grief to the hope of Jesus is going to be, and can be a powerful way that someone with this talent theme might go about leading others and creating.

[00:15:12] Tim: I, this isn't going to be hopeful either. It doesn't sound hopeful, but isn't that? What isn't that? What pastors do at funerals?

[00:15:23] Sara: Yes. it's that opportunity for us to name the grief that we're experiencing collective and to name the hope that we have. But Tim, think about how many funerals haven't happened over the past two years and how many people haven't been able to experience.

[00:15:43] Tim: but would that be a place right now, as we're talking about it, giving somebody an idea, gathering some people together to say, I know what you have not been able to experience.

[00:15:55] Can we take a step toward That now?

[00:15:58] Sara: That is exactly what, what we are pointing to. and I say that that. That doesn't sound very hopeful simply because we're talking about grief, but, but I think as we move through the different seasons of grief, that's what people are longing for is that hope and rim and reminding people of the hope that we have in Jesus.

[00:16:23] Okay. We're going to stop dwelling on that one. Move on to another example. Another way that this person. Might lead and create hope is they might lift up and celebrate the different parts of the body that are functioning to either keep ministries going or the different ways that people are sharing their gifts with the collective team, the congregation, whatever it may be.

[00:16:51] The other thing that I think this person might find it second nature to do is to remind people what is constant.

[00:16:59] And here simply reminding folks that the love of God that we know in Jesus is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow, and pausing to reflect on what hasn't changed in two years and lifting up what still remains. But what of, of God that we know in Jesus is still there. The church is still pressing.

[00:17:26] We are still the body of Christ. And so finding ways to name what hasn't changed and what won't change either with a small group of people or as a community, and to celebrate the enduring love of God at the center of all we say and do might be a way that this person could create hope for the people that they're leading.

[00:17:52] And then the last. Thought or idea might be that they look, look at a specific age group and I'll just take. Teenagers, because I was having a conversation with someone yesterday about how this pandemic absolutely positively would not have worked when we were teenagers, because we would have just given one another COVID-19 by hanging out on porches and sitting in our cars with one another, because we didn't have cell phones and we didn't have social media and we didn't have zoom or FaceTime or any of the things that the technology that.

[00:18:29] The teenagers have today. looking at how teenagers are navigating the pandemic through their ease with technology and looking at the human connection there and the relationships that have flourished now, yes, you can go down a whole different route with all of that, but remember, we're talking about hope here.

[00:18:50] And so lifting up. The good and the transfer transformative stories in the midst of.

[00:18:58] Tim: So we've looked at learner and we've looked at connectedness. So let's invite people to get more specific and strategic. That's the same kind of question, even though you're not weary. We are talking to people who are wary that in the last 23 months of of the, of the pandemic which of these suggestions excite you and why, why would, which one of.

[00:19:21] these would you choose? And I don't think connectedness is in your top five. Is it.

[00:19:26] Sara: It's not my top five, but it is in my top 10. So I still consider it one of my. One of my dominant strengths. I'm thinking about our listeners and you're in your 23rd month of a pandemic and you're feeling weary, but Sunday's coming,

[00:19:44] which of the things that have been. Named excite you. And we're walking through this to invite you to do the same thing with, with your strengths. So for me, where I would land on that question is because I've done this talking with friends who have teenagers or. Folks that work with teenagers and celebrate their ingenuity, their perseverance, their creativity, and encourage them to share those stories with other Christ centered leaders.

[00:20:19] I'm I'm I switched the question. So if it was about the devotional to do that in an, in and through hope throughout the year, if it was on Sunday morning to raise that up on Sunday morning, and you might not be naming specific names, but the situations. This is a place. And I think part of why I I landed on that one that as I think about and reflect on the past two years, I don't think that there has been enough attention given.

[00:20:50] To all of the amazing things that our young people have done and have been able to endure in the ways that they have persevered. We've only we've focused on what isn't going right for them and what, what is problematic. But I also see and hear an awful lot of. Good things. And my concern is, is if we don't capture those and share those, there's going to be a narrative about the generation that is in middle school and high school right now.

[00:21:29] That just isn't true. I just see a group of people. my gosh, their person perseverance and their creativity and their ingenuity is off the charts.

[00:21:43] So, Tim, what thoughts do you have on, on that one? And maybe it's not about that talent, but about any of those scenarios. And then we'll do some reverse engineer.

[00:22:00] Tim: One of the things that I think that any of us can do as leaders is to remind people what has not changed. And that's the love of God. We know Jesus, and that will not change. It doesn't make any difference if all the changes around us, whether we like them or not, whether they're good for us or not.

[00:22:22] The one thing that does not change is God's love. And so being able to remind people of God's love and Jesus in whatever situation and circumstance. I think is is an offer of hope because that's where you can plant your feet. And when everything else seems to be shaky or crumbling, you still got the solid.

[00:22:49] If, if I may use the image from the scripture, the solid rock to stand upon, and that's, that's where I would. That's where I make a connection at this point.

[00:23:00] Sara: Yeah. And part of what part of what I appreciate about you, Tim bias is I dunno where consistency is in your 34, but you are so consistent and partnering your strategic and futuristic strikes. To be a person of hope you're, you're looking forward and you're seeing what is coming with your futuristic talent.

[00:23:34] And at the very same time, you're helping people to navigate that and guiding them in the direction that is filled with hope. And that comes in, in through a relationship with.

[00:23:50] Tim: don't know what to say. Thank you. That's good. I'm glad that's me. I feel good about that.

[00:24:00] Sara: Well, and part of what you've just demonstrated, Tim, is that, and why I said to you, it might not be about the talent, but about one of the examples is different. Different strengths can do the same thing. They're just going to go about it in a different way.

[00:24:17] and so whether you have any of the Clifton strengths that we have mentioned on this episode today or not, what we wanted to illustrate for you today is that there are many ways that you can create hope as a leader, and you're uniquely gifted to do it in specific ways. So claim who God's created you to be, take a step back and ask yourself how's God gifted me.

[00:24:46] And how might I use those gifts to share hope with others and share hope with the people that I am in relationship with. I feel like we should put the Nike commercial here. Just do it.

[00:25:00] Tim: Well, all I could add to that is, is that whoever you are listening, you are a person of hope. That's The way God's created you and to live into who you're created to be, you're going to find ways of offering. It's not going to be the way I do it. It's not going to be the way Sara does it. It's going to be the way you do it. And there's a time where you need to become comfortable with that, claim it for yourself and, and, and discover the ways or develop the ways you can offer hope to the people around you, because they too have that seed of hope within them. And that's part of that's part of what our work is as leaders.

[00:25:47] Sara: The image that's that's coming to mind, Tim, and it's a psyllium. But I mean, it in a serious way is put on your hope glasses. All right. Are, are the things that you're seeing and the way that you're viewing the world, is it through the love of God that we know in Jesus? That's what I mean by hope glasses.

[00:26:13] When we do that, it's really hard not to experience hope, even when things are crappy, it's really hard not to experience.

[00:26:24] Tim: we've gone through two months, maybe eight episodes now of talking about hope. I, one of the things I want to say, and this is coming out of some of my own experience. Positive and negative is that just to remind people hope is not wishful thinking. Hope is not pie in the sky. Hope is not wanting something that you don't think you can have, but you just wish you could have it. We're talking about a concrete a fulfillment of God's plan and purpose and your life. And in the lives of the people around you, because we know as we started this episode that we're resurrection people, we know that all that we face that all that's trying to drag us down and all the places where we spent time, even in this episode, talking about grieving that there is something better coming on the other side, and I'm not talking about.

[00:27:34] In heaven. I'm talking about down the street. I'm talking about around the corner. I'm talking about when we can, when we can understand and claim where we are and know where we're going. There's hope because then we can navigate the Goshen. Whatever it is that you have to do to get around the barriers that seem like I can't do this any longer.

[00:28:01] This isn't what I signed up for. This isn't what I thought it was going to be. Just remember, God's loves the same. God's still with you. God's sending people to you to walk with you So you can get around those things to get to where God intends for you to be.

[00:28:23] Sara: So before Tim doesn't alter call.

[00:28:30] Well, let me just remind you that you can find show notes for this episode@transformingmission.org forward slash 2 1 8. And in all seriousness, if you need to rewind and play again. Tim just said to hear it again and to hear it again tomorrow and to hear it again the next day, so that you can be reminded that you were a person of hope and that you have, God has gifted you with unique talents and strengths do it.

[00:29:06] The episode's not going anywhere. Keep playing it over and over again. And remember who you are is how you lead by.