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One of the biggest challenges every leader faces is how to continue developing and growing as a leader while still getting things done and moving things forward.

With the ever-increasing demands on our time and energy, often the first thing that goes is investing in ourselves. We know that isn’t wise; it’s really very short-term thinking, but under the pressure of the moment we often make that choice.

One reason we do that is that we don’t see immediate consequences. The consequences of not investing in ourselves now often show up later—a year or more later, when the challenges are even bigger and we aren’t ready for them.

One way to address that is to change our reading habits. We have all heard that “readers are leaders” and that “growing churches are led by growing leaders.” But the average reader takes 4-6 hours to read one book. It can be a challenge to find that time on a regular basis! Most of us end up with a bunch of unfinished (or unstarted) books that we know we should read but just don’t have time to get to.

Maybe it’s time for you to check out Leaders Book Summaries. They summarize books for busy leaders. They condense books down to 12-15 pages, and then also provide a 2-page summary of the summary. An average reader can go through a whole summary in just 15-20 minutes. That’s a lot more efficient than 4-6 hours!

You’ll get summaries of the titles you should be reading. Leaders Book Summaries was started by pastors, for pastors. They are practitioners, not just theorists. They know what it’s like to be in the trenches, and they pick and summarize books that will help you make a difference.

They issue thirty (30) summaries of leadership books each year. The books are written by both secular and religious authors. Recent examples include…

  • Leading Congregational Change, by Herrington, Bonem, and Furr.
  • The Leadership Playbook, by Nathan Jamail
  • Amplified Leadership, by Dan Reiland
  • Be The Best Bad Presenter Ever, by Karen Hough
  • Supersurvivors, by David Feldman and Lee Daniel Kravetz.

In addition, titles by Andy Stanley, John Maxwell, Henry Cloud, and other well-known leaders fill their library.

A subscription is normally about $7 a month, or $119/year if you want the archives (over 150 titles). Leaders Book Summaries is currently offering a special discount to our blog readers. Instead of paying the full rate, you can get the monthly rate for just $5.95/month, or the Premium subscription, giving you access to their whole library, for just $99/year. And that covers all the new summaries coming out in 2016 as well!

This is a win-win-win. You can save time, save money, and invest in your own leadership development. You can’t do much better than that!

Click here to get the discounted rate. (It isn’t being offered anywhere else!)

By the way, besides providing summaries to those who subscribe, the folks at Leaders Book Summaries go a step further to support God’s leaders. A tithe of the profits is given to church planting efforts in the U.S. and Mozambique. Additionally, they give free subscriptions to third world pastors, who often can’t afford to buy books. When you subscribe to their service, you are also investing in other leaders around the world.

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I met a pastor this past week at a conference for church planters. He told me he was searching for a worship pastor. I told him I would help. What I have found over the years through consulting and numerous conversations with senior pastors and executive pastors is that they simply don’t know what to ask when hiring a worship pastor (when it comes to music and if he or she can do the job).

Of course you will have your basic questions on theology, your particular church denominational beliefs and basic things we all look for like the 5 C’s: Character, Competency, Chemistry, Collaboration and Catalytic. Every leader should embody the 5 C’s.

Why do I feel qualified to write these questions? I think I offer a unique perspective as a boss, Campus Pastor and friend to numerous worship pastors. I’ve spent the last 22 years in worship ministry, producing worship experiences, serving as a Worship Pastor, Creative Arts Pastor, Tech Pastor, Director of WorshipHouse Media and consultant to some of the largest and fastest-growing churches in the country.

I’ve had the privilege and honor to consult with some amazing churches, including some of Outreach Magazine’s Fastest Growing Churches in the Country. I’ve also consulted and helped churches where Lincoln Brewster, Shane and Shane, Desperation Band/Jon Egan and the lead singer for Building 429 were leading worship. So, I know and have seen worship and the arts done on a high level and I have a true appreciation for what a worship pastor does, as well as a heart for worship.

So, for the rest of you that will be hiring a worship pastor and don’t have a background in music and worship, what questions do you ask when hiring a Worship Pastor? I have some thoughts, such as:

  1. What is your definition of worship?
  2. Describe what worship looks like and why it’s more that music.
  3. What does it mean to live a lifestyle of worship?
  4. Do you have a theology of worship?
  5. Do you have a personal mission statement?
  6. Explain your call to ministry.
  7. Explain your specific call to be a lead worshiper.
  8. Have you studied at a Bible college or seminary? (this can be both good and bad – as far as seminary)
  9. Do you have a good grasp of the Bible, theology and consider yourself to be of sound doctrine?
  10. Do you agree with our Statement of Faith?
  11. Do you agree with our denominational beliefs?
  12. Do you play an instrument?
  13. Do you lead from an instrument?
  14. The Bible instructs us to “play skillfully.” Do you work hard at your craft?
  15. Do you exercise your voice and practice your instrument daily?
  16. How often do you introduce a new song?
  17. Do you write any of your own songs?
  18. Do you arrange songs?
  19. Do you arrange old hymns and breathe new life into them occasionally?
  20. Do you even like and know hymns?
  21. Can you chart out music for your band? Can you listen to a song on the radio or iTunes and chart it out by ear?
  22. What are some of your musical influences?
  23. What are you listening to in your car, office and iPod?
  24. Can you coach a worship band and get the most out of them?
  25. Can you coach vocalists?
  26. Can you harmonize?
  27. Can you teach others to sing harmony?
  28. Do you know how to give professional musicians direction?
  29. Do you know how to give weak or poor musicians direction?
  30. What are some of your core or favorite songs these days?
  31. Who are some of your favorite Christian songwriters?
  32. Who are some of your favorite non-Christian songwriters?
  33. How familiar are you with media, tech (sound, video and lights)?
  34. Are you comfortable and competent recruiting and building a team of musicians?
  35. Are you comfortable and competent recruiting and building a tech team? (Some churches will have staff over tech, some will need the worship pastor to oversee this)
  36. Flat out: Are you a team builder?
  37. Are you an equipper or a doer?
  38. Can you work hard and play hard?
  39. What are your hobbies?
  40. Do you have a sense of humor?
  41. Can you handle pranks?
  42. Are you engaging in worship and do you connect well with people from the stage?
  43. Do you engage and connect well with people off the stage?
  44. Can you administrate and schedule musicians and tech team members weekly?
  45. Are you comfortable using software like Planning Center Online?
  46. How far out do you plan?
  47. How would you describe your abilities when it comes to creative worship planning and brainstorming?
  48. Do you plan worship in solo or are you a part of a creative planning team?
  49. Are you more creative or administrative?
  50. Are you a people person?
  51. Are you in a small group?
  52. Could you lead a small group?
  53. Would you disciple your worship team and volunteers?
  54. Are you comfortable in a multi-site environment (if your church is multisite)?
  55. If your church is multisite, can you collaborate with the worship leaders at the other campuses?
  56. Have you taken the StrengthsFinder2.0 test? If so, what are your top 5 strengths?
  57. What are you top 3 Spiritual Gifts?
  58. Where are you on the DISC profile?
  59. Are you looking to settle down and invest in a community for a long time?
  60. Are you passionate about reaching the lost?
  61. Are you comfortable with an externally-focused church?
  62. Read through the 3 Lost Parables in Luke 15 and share with me what you think God was trying to get across about His heart for the lost.
  63. Will you do whatever it takes to reach people for Christ?
  64. Are you a team player?
  65. Do you have a strong work ethic?
  66. Are you driven? What drives you?
  67. Are you an intentional and strategic leader? Explain.
  68. Do you have a mentor?
  69. Do you mentor anyone else?
  70. How long have you been leading worship?
  71. Do you get pure joy in leading people into the Presence of God?
  72. Are you a Mac or PC person?
  73. Do you use tracks?
  74. Are you comfortable playing with a click?
  75. Explain your struggle with pride. I ask because I’ve yet to meet a pastor (worship pastor or senior pastor) that doesn’t struggle at least a little at some point with pride.
  76. Do you struggle with porn?
  77. What are your greatest strengths?
  78. What are your weaknesses?
  79. What would your wife say is a weakness for you?
  80. What are the last 3 books you read?
  81. Who are some of your favorite authors?
  82. Do you know who A.W. Tozer is? Have you read any of his work?
  83. What is your favorite book of the Bible?
  84. What is your favorite leadership book?
  85. What is your favorite book on music and worship?
  86. Who are some of your favorite preachers?
  87. What’s your favorite movie?
  88. What’s your favorite sport?
  89. What makes you laugh?
  90. Who is the greatest boss you’ve ever had and why?
  91. What conferences do you go to?
  92. Who do you think are the leaders in design today (name companies that have a strong brand)?
  93. Who is your personal favorite worship leader?
  94. What is your current favorite worship song?
  95. Tell me about your family.
  96. Tell me about your friends. Are they all the same ethnicity?
  97. Tell me about your childhood?
  98. Tell me about your testimony. How did you come to faith in Christ?
  99. Why are you looking for a new church?
Don’t let the first few questions intimidate the candidate – just ask them for their honest answers.
These are just the first questions that popped into my head. What are some questions you’d add? What did I miss? Help me out, friends.

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Today, September 22nd, I turn 40 years old, and this past year God has been wrecking me and leading me to what Henry Blackaby calls a “crisis of belief.” One of Blackaby’s “Seven Realities” in Experiencing God is:

“God’s invitation for you to work with Him always leads you to a crisis of belief that requires faith and action.”

For the past year, I’ve been listening to and sitting under the teaching of my pastor and friend Derwin Gray. One of Pastor Derwin’s key themes that he weaves into most of his teaching is justification. Justification is the action of declaring or making righteous in the sight of God. Because of what Christ has done, we are justified, we are forgiven, we are free, we are as righteous as Jesus Himself.

This may not be news to you, but over the last year, this has taken its toll on me. God has used this message to open my eyes to pride in my life and the sin of self-righteousness. If you’ve ever heard Derwin preach, you may see him cry or get emotional. Once, when traveling with him, I asked him, “What do you do to keep your heart so tender?” He replied, “I think of what Jesus has done for me.”

Again, this may not seem like much to you, but it was revelational to me. You see, I grew up in a strong Christian family (which I’ve taken for granted) and I thought because I became a follower of Christ at a young age (before I had gotten into too much trouble) that I didn’t have a good testimony. This, too, is self-righteousness and pride – and it is a sin.

Hear me: EVERY salvation is a miracle.

This past Sunday, Pastor Derwin preached what I believe is the most powerful sermon I’ve ever heard. You can view or listen to it HERE. There was a strong call to repent in this sermon and I found myself repenting all throughout it. Repenting for pride, repenting for self-righteousness, repenting for thinking I didn’t have a testimony.

At one point in the sermon, Derwin said something about not understanding Christ-followers that don’t wake up every day in awe and amazement of what God has done in their life. THIS, my friends, is my midlife crisis. This is what has to change in my life going forward for the second-half of my life.

May I never take for granted again what Jesus has done for me. May I daily reflect on His love, His grace, His mercy, His sacrifice, His forgiveness, His justification. May I go forward from this day in awe and wonder of Christ and all that He’s done in my life. The truth is, friends, I DO have a testimony! I have experienced amazing grace. I just need to remember it and let it lead me to worship.

So, on my 40th birthday, I proclaim my love for Christ and my gratefulness that He would rescue a sinner like me. I pray God would lead you to a place of repentance and thankfulness, too. Be blessed today, friends.

STUCK Book Graphic

Today’s blog post is a guest post from my friend and fellow Rainer Publishing author: Mark Riggins. Check this out:

I’m embarrassed every time I admit this but I’m a pastor who carried a grudge for three years.

My best friend (and fellow pastor) and I had ended our friendship over a significant disagreement. I needed to move on. I needed to forgive. But I couldn’t.

Being a pastor who can’t forgive is a little tricky.

A Christian who doesn’t forgive is a like a gifted violinist who refuses to play. Musicians play. Christians forgive.

As a Christian pastor who couldn’t forgive, I felt like a conductor who suddenly couldn’t read music. I was standing in front of the orchestra waving my arms hoping no one would notice I was off the beat.

I desperately wanted to lay it down at Jesus’ feet. I knew that would honor Jesus, His Kingdom, and would free me too. But I couldn’t let it go.

Eventually, I got honest. I got desperate.

I no longer wanted to be right, repaid, or vindicated. I just wanted to let it go.

I approached God with naked surrender. I had nothing left and was desperate.

That’s when God spoke. Slowly, he revealed steps for me to take. That’s when I began to experience refreshing relief. Over time, I discovered the freedom of total forgiveness.

Nothing feels better than a heart freed from a gigantic grudge!

I felt called to write a short book outlining the steps that freed me. If you want to forgive but don’t know how, this book is for you.

Pick up a copy of STUCK When You Want to Forgive but Don’t Know How on Amazon. Click HERE to learn how you can receive a bunch of additional FREE resources to help you completely forgive.

 

*** Mark Riggins is the Community Life Pastor at ENCOUNTER | Bible Fellowship Church in Ventura, CA. His new book STUCK When You Want to Forgive but Don’t Know How is available now on Amazon. Sign-up HERE for a FREE 30-Day Online Forgiveness Devotional. You can follow Mark on his blog: www.markriggins.org.

 

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Sunday, I watched and pulled for my beloved Dallas Cowboys. Maybe you’ve heard of the way the game ended. If you missed it, let me catch you up to speed. The Dallas Cowboys played the Green Bay Packers (in Green Bay) for a chance to go to the NFC Championship. It was a tough and close game all the way to the very end.

Near the end of the fourth quarter, with Dallas needing a touchdown to take the lead and win the game, the Cowboys did something unthinkable. It was 4th Down and 2 yards to go, and instead of running the ball or throwing a quick pass to get the short 2 yards, the Cowboys instead opted to throw a deep ball down the sideline from Tony Romo to Dez Bryant for a game-winning touchdown. Now keep in mind, they only needed 2 yards and then they could have continued to drive down the field.

Here’s where risk comes into play and as I state in my book Strange Leadership, risk is an essential part of innovation. The Cowboys did something unpredictable and unprecedented. They weren’t just going for the first down as everyone expected. They were going for the kill – the nail in the coffin you might say. Did Dez make the catch? Some say yes. Some say no. It was ruled an incomplete pass though it was a tremendous effort on the part of Romo and Bryant. The Cowboys turned the ball over on downs and ended up losing the game.

However, had the catch been ruled a catch (as it was originally called on the field), the Cowboys would have probably won the game and would be headed to Seattle to play in the NFC Championship. Am I upset with my Cowboys? Absolutely not! They made a gutsy call and played to win. I couldn’t be more proud.

That’s life and that’s part of innovation and leadership. In my book, I have a chapter on Exploration and Experimentation. Sometimes you have to try and try again. You fail and get back up. I have a whole chapter titled Progression that covers that concept. The key is to keep playing to win, keep pressing the boundaries and never, EVER give up.

So as you lead, serve, invest, plan and pray, don’t be afraid to risk it all when God prompts you to. And when you fail in life and leadership (because you will), get back up, brush yourself off and get ready for the next thing God calls you to. The Cowboys will be back next year. I pray that you will keep pressing on, too.

Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I PRESS ON toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. – Philippians 3:13-14 (NIV)

When was the last time you took a huge risk? What was the result? When was the last time you failed and how did you respond?

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“I have not failed. I’ve just found ten thousand ways that won’t work.” – Thomas Edison

“Sometimes when you innovate, you make mistakes. It is best to admit them quickly, and get on with improving your other innovations.” – Steve Jobs

“Success is getting up one more time than you fall down.” – Rev. Darrell W. Boswell

“The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.” – Nelson Mandela

“A ship is safe in harbor, but that’s not what ships are for.” – William Shedd

“I would rather fail in an attempt at something new and uncharted than safely succeed in a repeat of something I have done.” – A. E. Hotchner

 

First Sunday in Rock Hill

This past weekend, I officially started on staff at Transformation Church in South Carolina. I can’t begin to tell you how excited I am and how God has orchestrated this entire move and my calling to this church. I am blessed to sit under the weekly teaching now of Derwin Gray, who is speaking hope, grace, love, truth and lots of JESUS into my life. I’m grateful to God for this opportunity to serve and be a part of a God-movement. More to come soon!

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This is the week! The movers come today and pack us up. We move back to my home state of South Carolina this week and will be in our new home this Friday. I’m looking forward to joining the staff of Transformation Church on November 15. Please pray that we have a smooth move and safe travel. I’ll post again after the craziness. God bless.

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I’m taking a break today to finish writing my next book. Today’s blog post is a guest post from Tom Harper. Tom is president of Networld Media Group, a publisher of online trade journals and events for the banking, retail, restaurant and church leadership markets (including the blog www.ChurchCentral.com). He is the author of Leading from the Lions’ Den: Leadership Principles from Every Book of the Bible (B&H). Here’s his post:

“‘Who is left among you who saw this house in its former glory? How does it look to you now? Doesn’t it seem like nothing to you? Even so, be strong…’” – Haggai 2:15

It turns out there is an association dedicated to saving companies from the edge of death: the Turnaround Management Association.

TMA’s Web site describes their purpose: “Executives who run into corporate troubles often go through the same processes that dying people do: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and then finally acceptance. The last stage is when corporations hire turnaround professionals….”

The prophet Haggai faced his own turnaround challenge. The temple’s foundation had been built with great fanfare sixteen years earlier, yet the excitement had fizzled and construction had waned.

To get things moving again, Haggai cleared off the temple’s original foundation and admonished the people for living in “paneled houses while God’s house remains unfinished” (Hag. 1:4). Disgusted at their luxurious living, he commanded them to rebuild. The glorious temple would only stand once again if they shook off their lethargy and grabbed their tools.

In one of TMA’s case studies, Oldfields, a £25 million London-based chilled foods manufacturer, suffered a sudden downturn in 2003. Its largest customer, representing 55% of its revenue, threatened to terminate its contract.

The turnaround hero, Joe Considine, quickly diagnosed the owner’s dictatorial style and lack of vision and relieved him. Then Considine did the following:

  • He generated cash through slower bill payment and speedier collections
  • He cut most of the company’s products, unprofitable customers, and salespeople
  • He remained only in markets in which the company could beat the competition
  • He communicated his plans openly and honestly with stakeholders
  • He installed a new CEO and CFO
  • He clearly identified each employee’s role and responsibilities

Oldfields went from losing £1.9 million in 2004 to a profit of £1.5million in 2006. It was soon acquired for £12.7 million. Perhaps Considine and his team’s greatest achievement was the preservation of 480 jobs.

Most of TMA’s success stories are similar, and they reflect Haggai’s own wisdom when faced with a massively lethargic entity. The overarching lesson is simple: People are reignited when a determined leader motivates them to clear away the rubble and rebuild from the foundation up.

— This post is from Leading from the Lions’ Den: Leadership Principles from Every Book of the Bible (B&H)

 

Stadium Lights

Sunday night I, like many of you, watched Peyton Manning (Quarterback of the Denver Broncos) set an all-time record for most touchdowns in NFL history. As I celebrated his achievement and performance, I reflected on what makes Peyton so special and what we, as pastors, can learn from him.

    1. Passion: Peyton Manning’s passion for the game of football is evident. He loves to play and though he may look serious (with his game face on), he’s having a blast on the field. We, as leaders in the Church, should have passion as well.
      Danger: When being a pastor becomes your identity and you are, as Craig Groeschel once said, “A full-time pastor and a part-time disciple.”
    2. Commitment: Who knows the countless hours Peyton Manning has spent studying film, practicing with his offensive line and receivers, working out and strengthening his arm and body? Peyton is committed to the game of football. He doesn’t do anything halfway. He’s all-in. If you pastor a congregation, you should be committed to that church and to the Great Commission and the Great Commandment.
      Danger: When you don’t have a life outside the church. You need to be an engaged and committed husband and father. You need to have hobbies. You need to learn to laugh. Don’t take yourself too seriously (read this).
    3. Driven: Any fan of the game can see that Peyton is a driven athlete. He’s extremely competitive and can’t stand to lose. For Peyton, his goal every year is a Super Bowl championship. It’s Super Bowl champs or bust. We, as pastors, need to be driven by the mission of the Church, specifically the Great Commission. We should always be looking to reach more people with the gospel.
      Danger: When we make attendance, budgets and baptism numbers the end all, be all. We have to see people as precious in God’s sight and not targets. Build relationships with people. Don’t use them to increase your metrics. Also be on the alert of becoming or enabling a work-a-holic atmosphere. Keep manageable office hours and don’t neglect your family.
    4. Excellence: Peyton Manning is the poster-child for excellence in the NFL. He holds too many records to list. He excels at everything he does. As leaders, we need to lead with excellence (that’s what my next book is about). We need to show we care about our calling, our career and our churches. Lead courageously. Lead well.
      Danger: When we confuse excellence with perfection. There is no such thing as a perfect church.
    5. Didn’t quit: Peyton injured his neck and could have retired from the game and would have been a first ballot Hall of Famer. He didn’t need to ever play again and he could have gone on to other things, but instead he had multiple neck surgeries, went through extensive physical therapy and rehab and worked hard to get back to the game he so desperately loves. He didn’t give up when most would have, like when his team, the Indianapolis Colts, released him and doubted his ability to play at an elite level post-surgery. Too many pastors quit right before a major breakthrough in their ministry. As I have stated in both of my books, I’m a big believer in longterm ministry. I think you need to plant roots in a community and give your life to something significant.
      Danger: When you don’t know when to step down. Too many pastors don’t have a plan for a successful succession. Dr. Gene Getz modeled this for me years ago and has been a hero of mine for a long time. I also encourage you to check out my friend William Vanderbloemen’s new book Next: Pastoral Succession That Works.
    6. High Standards: Peyton expects greatness from himself and his team. For two decades of ministry leadership, I have expected a lot from myself and from others (my staff and volunteers). I don’t think it’s wrong to ask for commitment and excellence from your team.
      Danger: We must be people of grace. We must have grace for ourselves when we fail. We must have grace for others when they let us down.
    7. Character: Peyton Manning is known for being a class-act. He’s a good person on the field and off. He’s not involved in scandals, suspensions or problems with the law (like many other athletes.) As leaders, we need to be men and women of character.
      Danger: When the public self and the private self don’t line up. If you’re an amazing preacher at church, but a horrible husband and father and/or addict at home – you need to repent and seek help. Go to counseling and confide in another pastor that you trust. Pastors need friends they can be real with.

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord… – Colossians 3:23 (NIV)

What lessons do you think you can learn from an athlete like Peyton Manning?

 

 

Imagine book

I’m taking a break to write my next book this month. Today’s blog post is a guest post from Tom Harper. Tom is president of Networld Media Group, a publisher of online trade journals and events for the banking, retail, restaurant and church leadership markets (including the mega-blog www.ChurchCentral.com). He is the author of Leading from the Lions’ Den: Leadership Principles from Every Book of the Bible (B&H). Here’s his post:

How do people like Bob Dylan cultivate their creative genius? They do it in part through dry spells.

“The act of being stumped is an essential part of the creative process,” says Lehrer, author of Imagine: How Creativity Works. “Before we can find the answer—before we probably even know the question—we must be immersed in disappointment, convinced that a solution is beyond our reach.”

After ascending to the pinnacle of his music career, Dylan withdrew to a remote cabin to escape the pressures of writing and performing. An emotional block had descended into his brain, and he decided to quit altogether.

But sitting in that cabin, he found breakthrough.

“Before Bob Dylan could reinvent himself, writing the best music of his career, he needed to believe that he had nothing left to say.” While Lehrer’s conclusion certainly doesn’t inspire creativity in itself, there are much easier ways we can stimulate our own breakthroughs.

Relax to Awaken Insight

The rest of us non-rock stars can’t rely on hopelessness to produce our work. That’s why I love Lehrer’s advice on how to buzz our brains with positive, creative waves.

Researchers have discovered that alpha waves in the brain result from a relaxed state. (Maybe this better explains Dylan’s breakthrough.) When our minds are at ease, we’re more likely to direct our attention inward, connecting with the brain’s right hemisphere, which churns out new associations between unrelated ideas.

But when we focus on a problem by analyzing its details and force ourselves to reason our way to a solution in left-brain fashion, we actually prevent the right-brained alpha-powered connections that lead to insights.

Ever had a great idea in the shower? The relaxed feeling stimulates alpha waves, even when we’re tired. Many people feel creative in a coffee shop because the relaxed ambience makes waves in their right hemispheres.

Go Blue to Awaken Insight

Another way to alpha-charge the brain is with color.

According to researchers, people associate red with danger, which makes them more alert and aware. If you’ve got a red environment, you’ll be better at activities that require accuracy and attention to detail, because the brain will be more alert.

Blue, on the other hand, generates much more creative output. The color automatically triggers associations with the sky and ocean.  “We think about expansive horizons and diffuse light, sandy beaches and lazy summers days; alpha waves instantly increase,” says Lehrer.

So when you daydream, pay attention to your insights, and let your imagination roam. You just might be able to convince your boss you’re working while you’re staring out the window.

Go to the Kitchen to Awaken Insight

When Steve Jobs ran Pixar, he forced people to have random conversations.

He did this by locating the kitchen and bathrooms in the middle of the building, creating chance encounters in the hallway and around the coffee pot.

“Office conversations are so powerful that simply increasing their quantity can dramatically increase creative production,” says Lehrer. “People have more new ideas when they talk with more people.”

Pixar’s producers would mingle with its animators, and what started as small talk often blossomed into an exchange of ideas and breakthroughs that ultimately led Pixar to its award-winning Toy Story franchise.

Got a problem that needs a creative solution? Forget brainstorming with a group. Take in the sky, go to the kitchen, linger in the shower.

And let the waves flow over you.