Weekly Thought – August 6, 2019
Fred committed much mental and physical energy thinking about Christianity Today, International (CTI). His friendship with Billy Graham began long before the inception of the magazine and his relationship to the work of CTI was on his mind until his death in 2007. Paul Robbins and Harold Myra were great partners in their mutual exhilaration process. They capably activated the “fire hose” of Fred’s thinking. This week’s content is extracted from an interview with Paul. Even though it is nearly 30 years old, the thoughts are contemporary.
www.breakfastwithfred is a senior citizen in the world of digital content. This summer needed repairs were made. Upgrades are currently underway to bwfli.com. Houses, cars, and websites all need maintenance, don’t they? Thanks for your prayerful encouragement. We are grateful for your standing with us throughout these years. It is joyful to serve you while expanding the reach of Fred’s work.
Paul Robbins (PR), Harold Myra (HM): Fred, you have achieved a great deal in your life. How did you find the time?
Fred: Those of us who divide our efforts, particularly in the more visible activities, may appear to do more, but I doubt it. Frankly, I thought you might ask me why I have done so little, considering Wesley, Napoleon, Churchill, and others who have done so much with their 24 hours. I keep thinking how much Wesley did in such a relatively short life span. I am not being facetious or humble. My rule is to “think use, not amount.” Blaming lack of time can become an escape mechanism.
PR, HM: You always appear so relaxed, even casual, yet there is below the surface a lurking intensity. Does this intensity have a special meaning for you?
Fred: Yes, I guess it does, for it is one of my touchpoints, like a channel marker to a ship captain. Intensity is the boiling point of effort, the concentration of energy, the tip of the welding flame. Most accomplishers have a special ability to develop intensity at the right time over the right issue. Most pros have the ability to maintain a relaxed pose, then snap into action at the right moment. Only amateurs keep jumping up and down all the time like college cheerleaders. Many hardworking people fail to accomplish because the lack intensity at the critical points. Good leaders study situations, identify the critical elements and put additional resources at those points. Occasionally I do a check-up on my intensity level. If I am flat and intense about little, I know I need an adjustment. The people around me and the projects are important to maintaining intensity in good working order. I need people who correctly evaluate and turn up the intensity. Those who can’t can foul up the play or severely limit the options.
PR, HM: What are shorthand clues to your style?
Fred: I try to decide 1) what I’m trying to do, 2) what it takes to do it, and 3) who can I get to do it better than I can. I find summary thoughts helpful to keeping me conscious of goals like: “Results are the only reason for activity.” So many good-intentioned people will spend their time (and try to take mine) telling about the details of the work they are doing. I short-cut this by looking them in the eye and simply saying, “Don’t tell me about the labor pains – show me the baby!”
This week think about: 1) What are some of my key markers for leadership? 2) How apt am I to get bogged down in labor pains? 3) Where is my source of intensity?
Words of Wisdom: “Blaming lack of time can be an escape mechanism.”
Wisdom from the Word: “Trust in him at all times, you people! Pour out your hearts before him! God is our shelter!” (Psalm 62:8 NET Bible)