Authentic Leadership

The authentic leader is not something that just happens to a person. There is character development, reflection, accountability, passion, and hard work in becoming an authentic leader. As I have noted, there are many great books that help us think about what it means to become a great leader, but none are as effective as the Bible. My thoughts about being genuine, authentic, and a leader of integrity are governed by the scriptures and I hope you will see that in the following. I will pose questions to myself and try to answer them as well as I can.

Which people and experiences in your early life had the greatest impact on you?

I have been blessed with great men in my life who have been examples of how Godly men should live in this world. However, the most influential person in my life has been my mother. Most of my early childhood was spent with my mother because she was my home-school teacher. My parents chose to home-school me and my siblings in our early developmental years because they believed that this would allow them to have the greatest impact on our lives moving forward. For me, it did. I was able to see how my Mother interacted with people throughout the day and to see how she scheduled our time, made plans for the following day and still managed to have a flawless home cooked meal on the table for when my father would get home from work. Without a doubt, she molded my character the most and shaped my personality to what it is today.

Growing up in the church, I was heavily influenced by my Pastor and Elders in the church. My theology about God was shaped and formed by these men. Specifically, Pastor Bill Glenn. He was not only a Pastor to me, but a great influence in my relationship to my wife. He had a such high regard for scripture that it permeated through his relationship to his wife and family. He also introduced me to the doctrines of grace and the wonderful blessings that came from applying these truths to my life. One event that changed the course of my life happened on a Sunday evening service when I was in my late teen years. We were watching a series by R.C. Sproul called “Chosen by God”. I remember walking away that night thinking deeply about my condition as a sinner in comparison to God’s Holiness and asking, “why would God even bother with me?” I was given an answer that night and I will never forget it. God didn’t need to bother with me at all and he would have been perfectly just in allowing me to to die in my own sinfulness. Just as a Judge is just in sentencing a criminal his due punishment, so was I guilty of the worst crimes known to man, I was against God. But He chose to save me, a dead man walking with no desire for the things of God, He loved me first and opened my eyes to his power and majesty and gave me life.

What tools do you use to become self-aware?

I use Holy Scripture to become self aware. By reading and meditating on God’s word, I ask myself if I believe what the Bible says about me is true. I try to answer honestly and then see if that is how I live my life. It seems to me that no other tool in life can cut to the heart of an issue like the Bible can. It dissects my motives and exposes me for who I really am. One of my favorite verses for self-awareness is in Hebrews 4:12, “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” Scripture reminds me that I am not high and mighty, nor will I ever be and I have no place for pride. At this moment, I am self-aware and I know who I am in Christ.

I use teaching to become self-aware. It’s been said, “If you want to learn something, teach it.” There are many ways I try to teach subjects to other people, including myself. First of all I coach Upward basketball for our church on occasion. I’ve played, watched, and enjoyed basketball all of my life, however, when I coach, I feel like I’ve never see a basketball in my life. Weather it’s a new technique, new play, a coaching strategy, or just simply adjusting to a new type of players, coaching and teaching go hand in hand, they prove what you really know about the subject matter. So I use coaching, teaching, managing a business, leading my wife in home studies, and so on to make myself aware of what I really know and what I think I know.

I use prayer to become self-aware. Nothing humbles me quicker than prayer. Here I am, alone with the creator of the universe trying to be honest and sincere about my troubles, joys, needs, passions, circumstances, etc. At the heart of my prayers is a desire to get from God what I want, when I want it. However, when I am in communion with God for over three sentences, I begin to truly understand who I am talking to. I get a sinking feeling that He is looking past my superficial needs and desires and he already knows what I am there for. At that moment, I ask deeper questions that turn the focus from me to him. I am know that my greatest needs have already been accomplished by Christ on the cross so I turn my attention to giving him thanks and praise for making me alive to truth. I realize that anything outside of hell is a gift from God and I have every reason in this world to be happy, joyful, at peace, and patient with God. My pressing needs become a passing temptation to use the good things in life for my own personal gain. In prayer, I am aware of who I am in Christ.

What are your most deeply held values?

The most valuable possession in my life is Christ. What flows from that are the values I hold and the reasons I get up every morning and live. Because Christ first loved me, I can see what it means to love others, especially when some are not lovely people. Christ made me value people by loving me and giving me grace when I didn’t deserve it. As a business owner, I strive to show grace, mercy and love to my employees as much as I have been shown those things in my life.

Because Christ love me first, I can work as though I’m working for God and not for men. I value the freedom we have in Christ to work hard like no other group on this planet. I know that my reward is in heaven and from that I have a desire to work everyday for God, even if I have a human boss or weather I am the boss. I am always held accountable for my work and I want it to be done with excellence. Working for the Lord produces fruit and this is how we are known, by our fruit. Work is not a curse, it is a gift from God and we can choose to either enjoy our work or despise our work by how closely we cultivate our relationship to Christ.

What motivates you extrinsically?

I am motivate extrinsically by watching people accomplish great things weather it be weight loss, good grades in school, or by accomplishing a great feat like becoming a famous actor or musician. Excellence in other people is what I feed off of in my own life. I love to watch the world perform talents that seem to be impossible. Sports are probably the greatest way I can think of that exemplified being successful. When I see Peyton Manning break passing records that we never thought could be broken or Usain Bolt run faster than any man in history, or Stephen Curry break a 3-point record in a single post-season, I get motivated to become excellent in my own profession. There is something about sports that transcends into our own lives. I have not set a touchdown record but I can learn to practice like the pros do and I can be the absolute best I can be in my everyday work environment.

What kind of support team do you have?

One of the great ironies of accountability or support is that the person asking for accountability is the person who should be holding his or her accountability partners accountable for holding him/her accountable. By this I mean that no one can hold someone accountable until they all of the sudden don’t need accountability anymore. It just doesn’t work like that. The person who needs help and support is the person who needs to do all the work. If not, then the accountability and support is for nothing. That being said, I have a team of people that I am close to who routinely conducts an audit of Jake Mansfield. I have asked them to and they have been willing to dig into my life to spot inconsistencies, sin, and places of improvement. These people are pastors of my church, my wife, and friends & family.

Is your life integrated?

Yes, I believe that most of my life is integrated in the sense that my work life, home life, spiritual life, and everyday life have all started to culminate into one purpose and one direction. As I look at the many different sections of life, I realize that they all need to be built on a solid foundation of Biblical truth. If my spiritual life is right with God, it will only come natural that the rest of my life aligns and integrates into the same purpose. Because I am a child of God, My eternal destiny has been secured, therefor, I don’t allow trials and trouble to change the course of my life. I can have financial difficulties, physical ailments, family troubles, etc. and I can continue to live for a purpose greater than myself. The purpose that God gives us infiltrates every part of our lives and integrates them over time.

What does being authentic mean in your life?

To be authentic ties so closely to integrity and genuineness. The person who understand himself/herself from an objectively truthful viewpoint can only understand what it means to be “true to yourself”, or authentic. I believe that God has allowed us all to know who we truly are in light of his word. Once we understand that we are sinful to the core, against God in everything we do, and broken beyond measure, can we than begin to have authenticity towards God and others. That understanding will allow us to come to the cross on our knees begging for forgiveness and restoration. I cannot help but think of the two men praying in the Bible who Christ calls one authentic and the other a hypocrite. The Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector goes like this according to Luke 18: 9-14, “To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable: “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get. “ But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.“I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” Being authentic in my life is not easy. It requires that I humble myself, live with integrity, walk with God daily, and recognize who I am according to God’s word.

What steps can you take today, tomorrow, and over the next year to develop your authentic leadership?

Authentic leadership starts by acknowledging that leadership is not about you, it’s about empowering people to lead in their own leadership positions. Authentic leadership is about building people up to become leaders or improve on their existing leadership positions. The trusted position of leadership comes with great rewards. Not the kind of accolades that rock stars or actors get but the kind that come from the enjoyment of leading a group of people towards a common goal that is worthy of living for. The writers in HBR’s Leadership book, “Discovering your Authentic Leadership” chapter put it this way, “No individual achievement can equal the pleasure of leading a group of people to achieve a worthy goal.” The authentic Christian leader should be able to say the same thing except add the fact that the goal is to glorify God in our success and our failures.

There is a higher calling and a more noble cause for the Christian man who goes to work each day and lives for Christ. Weather he is a janitor, businessman, or Pastor, authenticity is an imperative for the Christian life.

ReferenceHBR’s 10 Must Reads – Website Reference

Indiana, we’re breaking up. It’s not you, it’s us.

 

Farewell Indiana, Hello Florida!

The title says it all, Jess and I have decided to move to Florida-for good! Come mid-september, Jess and I have decided to leave the great state of Indiana and pursue 100 more days per year of sunshine in Florida.

Jake and Jess Mansfield

It’s an exciting season and we think it is the right move for us at this time in our lives. We have been debating on this idea for the last couple of years and finally decided to make a move. As a native hoosier for the last 37 years of my life, I have many ties, close relationships, and wonderful memories of every corner of Indiana. My wife Jess, on the other hand, is a native Dominican, New Yorker, Philidelphian, and Miami girl. That being said, Indiana is just as special to her as any other place she has lived, if not more. She has spent the last 8 years here in Indiana with me and rarely complained about anything. She is adaptable and is used to change. In fact, besides the Dominican Republic where she spent the first 13 years of her life, Indiana is the longest she has lived in any one location since. Needless to say, making this move was a hard decision for us both.

We thought it would be a good idea to share with everyone how and why we came to this decision. In classic David Letterman fashion, let’s take a look at the top 10 reasons why we are leaving Indiana to move to Florida. Hit it Paul!

Top 10 Reason for moving to Florida:

10A change is good – Every once and while, you need to shake things up in life. Complacency and boredom can easily become a way of life if you are not actively pursuing things that will stretch yourself. As much as I love Indiana and am grateful for all my years here, I personally want to see and do more outside of this state. Since Jess has had a taste of living Miami, FL previously, she knows what to expect. Although the winters were not nearly as bad as they were for her in New York, she is still okay with leaving them behind. Together, we both would like to be stretched in our lives and this move will be good for us in that regard.

9What do we have to lose? – Jess and I have posed the question to ourselves, “What if Florida is not all it’s cracked up to be?” What now? Well, we don’t have much to lose. If we find out after living in Florida that it’s not the place for us, we can simply move back to Indiana. We have very little to lose and much to gain.

8Adventure – Adventure is not everything, but it is fun to experience every once and awhile. We have done and seen just about everything that the midwest has to offer in terms of outdoor adventures. The last few years have left us feeling bogged down with trying to come up with new ideas for weekend plans and exciting getaways. Florida will solve this dilemma for us for a while but we realize that if we live based off of this idea that all places will eventually become old. Nonetheless, we want to have some fresh and new adventures in life and Florida is a starting point. We plan on doing the following in excess; boating, fishing, deep-sea fishing, exploring, snorkeling, island hopping, camping, swimming all year-round, etc. You get the picture.

7Exploration – Similar to adventure, exploring florida will be apart of our weekend cycle. Our plan is to visit the beautiful coastlines of Florida nearly every chance we get. From Clearwater Beach, to Naples, and Miami, we plan on exploring everything in between as time permits. Some of this exploration will be to find out where we want to settle in. In other words, where do we want to live when we grow up. Other parts of this exploration will be to just simply experience a state we really have little knowledge of. Exploration is not our main reason for moving but it will be fun for a while!

6Winter is not coming! – Sorry John Snow, you know nothing. Winter is not coming! For a guy who loves winter, it will be a strange sensation for me not to expect winter to come. I just can’t get over the idea of stupid lights on a Palm Tree or a snowless Christmas. Can you imagine watching Ralphie beat up Scut Farkus while its nice warm outside? It just doesn’t seem right to me but apparently millions of southerners do it every year and can look past it. That being said, come January and February, I think I’ll be okay with 70 degree temps. Once again, this is not our main reason for moving but it does add the the excitement for us. No more snow!

5Food – Once again, I would never suggest the someone move based on how they feel about a certain variety of foods available in that area. That’s not the point here. That being said, bring on the Cuban sandwiches, cortaditos, crab legs, lobster tails, shrimp, and anything from Miami. It’s not that you can’t get all of these items here in Indiana, it’s just that you’re in Indiana while you’re eating them. The location of eating food is just as fun to me as the actual taste of the food. Eating these foods with my family around makes it even better!

4Holidays with family – On to more serious reasons. For the last 8 years, Jess and I have spent the majority of our Holidays with many different families with whom we now call our very own family. We can only extend a humble “Thank you” to these families who have invited us into their homes during Thanksgivings, Christmases, and Birthdays. Our hearts are so overwhelmed by your thoughtfulness in inviting us to all of these events. Knowing that we haven’t had much family around during these times, it was a wonderful comfort to know that we were always welcome in your homes during the holidays. That being said, we do have a desire to be close to our families during the holidays and this is a major reason we want to move to Florida.

3Island life anyone? – The Dominican Republic is our second home. With half of Jess’s family still living in the DR, we tend to make our vacations revolve around visiting them whenever we can. With the goal of Miami being our new home, a quick flight from Miami International Airport to Santa Domingo, DR is much cheaper and quicker! Although it’s still not optimal, we will be much closer to her family in DR along with her sister Michelle in Miami.

2New life – As of 8/7/2017, Arian Djencic, Michelle’s first child was born. Needless to say, Jess and I have been anticipating this moment for the last 7 months. Jess is excited to meet her new nephew and to be apart of his life. We are very excited to be close to Michelle so we can help out where we can, babysit as he gets older, and do all the fun things Tio’s and Tia’s are supposed to do. This is a large part of why we want to be in Florida and I think that is a good reason in itself.

1Family, family, family – And the number one reason we have decided to move to Florida is to be with family. As I have mentioned above, Florida is central to most of our family. My mother and Pappa Joe live in Brooksville, FL where we will be staying for the next few months. My Grandma Fuzzy and Uncle Bob also live in Brooksville close to my Mother’s house. Pappa Joe’s son, my half brother, and his family live in Sarasota, FL. Michelle, Jess’s sister, is in Miami with her new baby. The Dominican Republic is closer and less expensive to travel to and visit her father and brothers in San Francisco de Macrois, DR. Altogether, we have much more family there and hope take full advantage to be with them every chance we get.

What’s the plan?

The plan is simple. We will be leaving for Florida in mid-September, driving a uHaul, pulling my Jeep, and Jess will be following me in her car. Our first destination is Brooksville, FL where we will live with Mom and Pappa Joe for a few months until we get settled in. We will take this time to visit Florida as much as we can to get an idea of where we will end up. The goal is to find a condo in downtown Miami or in the Miami Beach area. However, we are open to wherever the Lord directs us.

I will continue to manage my business virtually from home while Jess will be looking for a new position wherever we end up. I would love to say we have thought through every aspect of this plan and have it completely mapped out, but we don’t and we’re okay with that. Part of this new season of life is to leave some things unplanned so we can enjoy the discovery process. That’s the plan!

Where does God fit in with this plan?

Those of you who know us well may be asking how God fits into this plan? So far we have talked a lot about preferences, likes and dislikes, etc. for moving to Florida but was God’s will consider in making this decision at all? I think a better question would be, “Does our mission as Christians change as we make this move?” That answer is easy, no it does not change. We will still make it our aim to obey, love, and trust God as we do on a daily basis in any location, no matter where we are. I have come to understand that God allows us quite a bit of liberty to make decisions based on preferences and likes. However, that doesn’t mean we are free to sin, nor does it mean we are to make our lives solely focussed on our own selfish desires. 1 Corinthians 10:23 states, “All things are lawful,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful,” but not all things build up. I want to be careful not to take this out of context, but the point is that we are free to do many things but those things must be profitable. Profitable for what? Towards the end of chapter 10 Paul writes this, “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God…not seeking my own advantage, but that of many, that they may be saved.” Jess and I both have a ultimate goal in mind of being profitable for others that they may see and know the beauty of Christ. That they might be saved from eternal hell and that we might be an instrument God uses to do His will in their lives.

All this to say that our motives for moving are mixed. We desire to be around family, we would love to see and experience new things in life, all the while continuing to serve God through the local church as we seek to find a new church family awaiting us in Florida.

Conclusion

Adios Indiana

In conclusion, I think it is fitting to say that this was a hard decision for Jess and myself. We have grown so close to so many people here and we felt like this move was abandoning our friendships and church family. However, we quickly realize that we are not and this is a good thing. We will continue to have strong relationships with all of our family and friends here in Indiana as long as it is possible. We will do our part to be intentional about staying in contact and keeping up-to-date about everyone here. We will be rebuilding our community again and that takes time and effort. That being said, we saw fit to make this move at this stage in our lives for the reasons mentioned above. As we get settled in we fully expect all of our friends and family from Indiana to come and vacation in Florida with us!