I was recently interviewed for a podcast and was asked about some of the “memorable moments of my career.” One that quickly came to mind was my first time at a megachurch’s leadership conference where I had been asked to teach a workshop on “leading change.” Almost 25 years later, I still have vivid memories of that moment.
Those are precisely the kinds of memories that Dan and Chip Heath describe in their new book, The Power of Moments. But they do much more than describe – they make the case that “moments” can change the trajectory of a person’s life, and that we can be intentional in creating moments more frequently for ourselves and for others.
The Heath’s explain that much of our time is spent in bland, unmemorable activities but it’s the moments that make a difference. Just as in their other outstanding books (Made to Stick, Switch, and Decisive), the Heath brothers do a great job of weaving current research on human behavior with memorable illustrations in a concise framework. Their stories are from all different arenas – business, education, personal, and even religion.
One of my favorite stories is “Senior Signing Day” at YES Prep, a charter school in Houston. The inspiration for this event came from ESPN’s “National Signing Day” that unveils the college choices of the country’s top high school football players. YES Prep’s Senior Signing Day has become a highly anticipated, school-wide event in which the seniors, many of whom will be the first in their generation to attend college, announce where they will be going after graduation. It’s a huge day for the entire school, memorable not just for the seniors but for all the younger students who are inspired to work toward their own “signing day.”
The YES Prep story highlights one of the Heath’s key points – moments don’t just happen, they can be created. Those are the times when “the prose of life needs punctuation.” Great things can happen when we’re intentional about creating moments. The mindset of creating moments has applications for how we live our own lives, how we supervise and mentor others, and how we lead our organizations.
In my case, that moment at a megachurch leadership conference helped me see how my business experience could be used to help churches. It was a catalyst that led to my first book, my first consulting project with a church, and eventually to my switch to vocational ministry (as an executive pastor and consultant/coach). What could happen in your life, or in the church or ministry that you lead, if you paid more attention to “the power of moments”?
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