24 April 2017

Even Jesus Had an A-Team

the-a-team


The A-Team aired from 1983 to 1987.

Our topic at JobSeekers a couple of weeks ago was, “Who’s On Your A-Team?” The “A” stands for “advisory,” as in, “Who’s On Your Advisory Team?” I can’t think of a successful person who doesn’t have an advisory team. Even Jesus had an A-team.

The president of the U.S. has a cabinet. The president of a company has a board of directors. The manager of a baseball team has a coaching staff. Lance Armstrong had a team of scientists, engineers, designers, mechanics, trainers, sponsors, cycling teammates — and, it turns out, doping specialists.  🙂 When he won the Tour de France for the seventh straight time, we didn’t say, “Lance Armstrong and his team won the race,” we said, “Lance Armstrong won.”

Job search, and most any endeavor in life, requires the use of an effective team to achieve the best results. The pastor at your church has an A-team.

Even Jesus had an A-team.

After Jesus was tempted by Satan for 40 days in the wilderness, the first thing he did was go to Capernaum on the Sea of Galilee and recruit some people to help him accomplish his mission here on earth. Jesus built an advisory team. Jesus’ first four recruits were two pairs of brothers, Simon Peter and his brother Andrew, and James and John. In all, he recruited 12 disciples, who he also called apostles. In the meeting, I usually show a diagram and advise everyone to surround themselves with three particularly close advisors. Jesus did the same thing: Peter, James and John were his three closest advisors.

The pastor at my church preached a sermon one time entitled, “Even Jesus was a Teammate.” His sermon could have been the lesson at JobSeekers one Friday. Chuck said, “Even the ultimate leader assembled a team because ‘great missions require great teams.'” If you are going to get the best possible result from your job search, surround yourself with savvy, supportive and spiritual people to help you along the way. Chuck pointed out that people who we think of for their great individual achievements had strong teams behind them; people like Daniel Boone, Charles Lindberg and Albert Einstein.

I don’t think we fully realize what we lose when we leave a traditional job; it’s a lot more than income. Whether you are an entry-level employee, a salesperson in a remote territory, or a CEO, you lose the team that supports you. For instance, there is no one to give you an “orientation session” on your first day of unemployment. There’s no one to train you or to give you work to do; likewise, there’s no one to delegate work to. There’s no one to hold you accountable (BTW, A-Team could also stand for accountability team). There are no metrics. There’s no task force, no white boards, no brainstorming sessions. There is no one, that is, unless you make it happen – unless you build your own advisory team.

This is one reason why companies retain the services of outplacement consultants. (Forgive me for moment while I put in a shameless plug for what I do for a living.) We add structure, expertise and accountability to an otherwise self-directed project that is of utmost importance. We help people protect their finances, their health, their relationships and their futures. However, I notice that clients who rely only on me tend to take longer to find a new job than clients who also build a team with several advisors.

Here are three key points to keep in mind as you build and use your advisory team:

1. Pray for God to place the right people in your life.

Chances are He already has; if you ask, He will also place more people in your life to fill any gaps. Ask for discernment to choose the right people. In January 2005, for example, God placed Bob King in my life. Because he had been President and CEO of the Georgia Hospitality & Travel Association, and in leadership roles in other nonprofits, he was instrumental in helping JobSeekers achieve our tax-exempt nonprofit status. We couldn’t have done it without him. I met Bob less than 24 hours after JB Kirk (one of my three key advisors) said we needed someone to lead us through the process.

2. Aim for an honest exchange of information.

When you build your team, ask them to give you honest (but not brutal) feedback. Likewise, with your three closest advisors, disclose the unvarnished truth of your situation; threats to your finances, your health, your marriage or other relationships; pain from the loss of your job, fears that hold you back, and frustration about how difficult finding a job really is. Not too long ago I gave someone some honest feedback; I told him that he needed to discharge his anger before he moved forward in his job search.

3. Meet with your A-team as a group.

Your advisory team is more than just friends who give you a word of encouragement and a pat on the back. Friends may not ask you the penetrating questions or reveal great insights without your help. In order for this to be effective, you have to drive the process. You are responsible for creating the right environment and drawing them out.

When possible, get three or four advisors together for a brainstorming session, you could accomplish more in one hour with three advisors than you could by meeting with each of them individually for one hour each. I see the power of a small team every time I do a workshop because I usually limit the size of the workshop to only three people. It’s so powerful that I prefer my clients to work in the small group setting in addition to the one-on-one time with me.

Build your team.

During the JobSeekers meeting I challenged you to recruit your advisory team, especially your three closest advisors. Build a balanced, multidisciplinary team. Team members may include: a career coach, another job seeker, a spiritual advisor, someone who knows your industry very well, someone who understands your profession, an association leader, someone with a knack for marketing and sales, a recruiter, an HR professional, an attorney, a CPA, and a financial advisor. Who’s on your A-team?

As I wrap up for today, I leave you with three relevant quotes:

“I not only use all the brains that I have, but all that I can borrow.” – Woodrow Wilson

“Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not easily broken.” – Ecclesiastes 4:12

“Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.” – Proverbs 15.22

Use all the brains you can borrow. Don’t let yourself be overpowered; weave a strong cord. Seek wise counsel, and you will succeed. My sincere prayer is that will not only hear, but that you will act upon this advice. May God bless you all!

See you Friday at JobSeekers, the place where we hear and respond to God’s word!

Copyright © 2017 / Dave O’Farrell / All Rights Reserved

If You’re Going Through Hell, Keep Going

Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego survive hell on earth

Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in the fiery pit — who’s the fourth guy?

“If you are going through hell, keep going.”
– Sir Winston Churchill

When I’ve gone through tough times in my life, I’ve found it helpful to remind myself that the difficulty I’m in is only temporary. I know many of you are going through some unimaginably tough times right now. When we find ourselves in a fiery pit, it may seem that we are bound to stay there for eternity. That’s not the case of course; oftentimes what determines how long we’re in the flames are the things we think, feel and do.

Meet Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. 

The ultimate example of being in the flames took place during the captivity of the Hebrews in Babylon. The story is told in the first three chapters of the book of Daniel. After Daniel had interpreted a dream of King Nebuchadnezzar’s, the King was so impressed he appointed Daniel governor of Babylon. King Nebuchadnezzar also gave important posts to Daniel’s three friends: Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego.

Later the King gave orders for a statue to be built; it was to be 90 feet high, nine feet wide, and made of solid gold. With great pomp and ceremony he commanded his officers, governors, captains and counselors to come and worship the statue as god. Only Daniel’s three friends refused.

When King Nebuchadnezzar learned that his order had been defied, he flew into a rage and demanded that Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego be brought before him. “If you do not worship as I tell you, I will have you thrown into the furnace and burned to death!”

They replied, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”

Nebuchadnezzar had the furnace heated to seven times its usual heat (How would they have measured it back then?). Then the men, fully clothed, were thrown into the flames. To his astonishment, Nebuchadnezzar saw not only that the men were unharmed, but also that there was a fourth man in there with them. When the king called them out from the flames, everyone saw that not a hair was singed, not a thread of clothing was burnt. Nebuchadnezzar decreed that he and his people would worship only their God.

God delivers us while we are in the flames.

Chuck Hodges, senior pastor at Athens First UMC, describes this as more than a divine encounter. He says that sometimes God delivers us from the furnace, but other times he delivers us while we are in the furnace. Our goal is to avoid the flames, but God is right here with us while we are in the flames. Many believe that the fourth person in those flames with Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego was the preincarnate Christ.

Charles Lindsey, a former member of JobSeekers, wrote to me: “God is always able – but sometimes does not remove the circumstances – and that should not alter our commitment to faith in God. The three men had no assurance of a physical rescue, but were solid in their spiritual health. That has always seemed to strike much more of a chord with me than biblical heroes that heard directly from God with a future promise.”

Never, never, never give up!

I opened this message with Churchill, and I will close with Churchill. On 29 October 1941, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill visited the Harrow School in Harrow, England to speak to the students. This became one of his most quoted speeches, due to distortions that evolved about what he said.

The myth is that Churchill stood before the students and said, “Never, never, never, never give up. Never give up. Never give up. Never give up.” The first time I heard the myth, it was only five words: “Never, never, never give up.” Then he sat down. (That would have been a great speech, by the way.)

In reality, he made a complete speech that included words similar to what are often quoted. Here’s the excerpt: “Never give in. Never give in. Never, never, never, never – in nothing, great or small, large or petty – never give in, except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force. Never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.”

Friends, never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.

You are in the midst of the flames right now, and Jesus in right by your side – just as he was with Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. In spite of the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy, they claimed the ultimate power – the power of God almighty. The difference is in what you think, feel and do. Choose God, the ultimate source of encouragement and strength.

See this Friday at JobSeekers, where we never give in and never give up!

Copyright © 2017 / Dave O’Farrell / All Rights Reserved