Archive for February, 2009

In-Between Time

wheatWhat do you do with in-between time?   The time between the creation and idea of a dream and it’s completion?  It can be confusing and disruptive when we are living out the dream or plan in front of us and it’s suddenly derailed.   The questions and confusion hit immediately.   Did I…?  Should I have…?   What might have…?

Walter Brueggemann wrote that the Psalms could be divided into three types:

  • Orientation
  • Disorientation
  • Reorientation

I’ll share a story from my own life of this process.

1. Move to Bend, OR feeling and hearing that God is going to take care of a piece of real estate I owned, knowing that if it’s not sold it could sink us financially.   ORIENTATION:  God’s given the clear green light to go – we go.

2. House doesn’t sell, job doesn’t cover bills, wife doesn’t get teaching position we were counting on, moving to a new home after 35 years in one place is NOT easy…  DISORIENTATION: God isn’t paying attention, I didn’t hear him right, He’s not there, I need to fix it, God sucks.

It’s in the Disorientation that we grow. In fact, thank God for these times.   I read a quote in the book I’m reading right now that states “the most important time is between the dreams, not the dreams themselves.”

3. So disorientation gives way to REORIENTATION: We’re okay, things are as we expected but we’re more aware of the need for daily surrender and trust in what God is giving, we’re communicating more about finances and living with more discipline and through it all, learning to be more generous.

Thanks God.   Sorry for all the mean stuff I said about you last year.

How bout you?  What do you do in the in-between time?

We all have these times.  Try to look for the opportunity and grow.    Know that DISORIENTATION is a natural part of maturing.  Embrace it as best you can.

Ancient Wisdom

balance-rock“Let anyone who thinks he stands take heed, lest he fall.”

I’ve been reflecting this past couple days on thoughts that seem to be summed up in this statement.  I’m working through a book called the Emotional Healthy Church by Pete Scazzero.

The main takeaway for me has been the incredible need that all leaders have to make sure they’ve taken a good look at their emotional health.

I would say in my limited experience that we give very little attention to this area of health.   Really.  I believe in leadership circles, both in and out of  “the church” we give it lip service but there is a sense that really focusing on emotional health is a weakness, or it’s too touchy-feely, or it’s simply not for us.    There’s a underlying current that people who would focus on anything having to do with serious emotional introspection need counseling and somehow have “problems.”

Like the rest of us don’t.   I guess maybe that’s the point.   Take a good hard look on your emotional state of being.   Do some reflection.   Take a day or a morning to fast and pray and find out if there’s some areas to shore up here.   I would say I’m a fairly stable emotional person but after reading this and spending some time in prayer, I’m “readjusting” my perspective.  🙂

When compared with the emotional health of Jesus, I’d have to say, I’ve got some growing to do.  Here’s a list for Scazzero’s book.

  • Jesus was greatly disturbed in spirt and deeply moved
  • Jesus wept at the gravesite of Lazarus and over teh city of jerusalem
  • Jesus was angry with his disciples
  • Jesus was furious at the crass commercialism in the temple
  • Jesus showed astonishment
  • Jesus had an emotional longing to be with the twelve apostles
  • Jesus had compassion for widows, lepers and blind men

More to come on this topic as I finish the book.  I have a feeling that I’ll be parked on some of this material for a while and I sense that personally I will be doing some introspection on it for sure.

I’d be curious of how this idea of “Emotional Health” stacks up with thoughts from Daniel Goleman’s book Emotional Intelligence.  I’ve not had a chance to read that yet, but will as soon as I can get my hands on a copy.  Our local library doesn’t have it!  Lame.

Keep Focused

Focus

Focus

No matter what you do, right now, in this day, in this place, in this economy you already know what you need to be doing.

I have found myself lately getting the “circle the wagon” mentality, something  Tim Sanders calls the “scarcity” mindset.

Have you?

Then yesterday I was listening to a podcast on my run and what I heard was so SIMPLE that I was ashamed I hadn’t just intuitively thought about it.   And I fancy myself a pretty smart guy, so if I didn’t intuitively figure it out, maybe, just maybe there are others out there who would be encouraged by this.

Here it is.

The things you need to do to be successful (however that is defined for you) in this current market are exactly the same things you should be doing in a good market.

There it is.   Pretty simple.  No snake oil, no get rich scheme hidden in those words.   There are no quick fixes.  Focus on doing what you should be doing in a good market, do it better than anyone else and then when the market turns, and it will, you’ll be better positioned for growth.

“A rising tide raises all boats.”

Turning Them Over

leaf-on-water1What’s your normal go to response to difficult relationship situations?

Ever think about it?  Count to 10…hide…react…respond?  I’m sure if we think about it we all realize that in most situations we do have a default that is more often than not how we act or behave when faced with a frustrating person or situation.

I was challenged today by the thought that our first reaction should be to give them to the Lord.   Huh?  Give them to the Lord?    That’s certainly not the first thing that comes to my mind when I’m either hurt by someone or frustrated or simply unsure of how to get my point across in a debate.   But it makes sense.

Give them to the Lord.    What does this mean?  To me, it means that the solution is not mine to force.   The individual is not our responsibility, nor do we need to feel the responsibility to bring them over to the “right” side.   There is no side.    There’s certainly a balance with this so please don’t go crazy with this thought.

There are times when as a coach or a leader or an employee or a friend that I find myself frustrated in some way by another person’s behavior or actions.    That frustration is fundamentally my issue not theirs.    Give them to the Lord, love on em, care for em, and ultimately trust God with the outcome.

Simply said but hard to do.

What’s your go to response?

CAN’T WE ALL PLAY NICE IN THE SANDBOX?

This is one of my favorite expressions.    We use it all the time in our business in Albuquerque and from time to time here at work.  It’s a pretty simple metaphor, when you watch children playing together they are able to live and create and imagine some of the most incredible stuff.   There’s a freedom and exuberance in their play that is refreshing.

In life, this gets more complicated but no less important a goal of interpersonal relationships.   Can’t we all play nice in the sandbox?

I’m reading through the book of Romans in the New Testament of the Bible right now.   For me, it’s one of the hardest books to read, it’s the most confusing in terms of content and causes me the most question and wrestling.   It’s just a very weighty book.  I’ve been pushing through and emerged in chapter 12 this morning with a small epiphany.   Paul is trying to get the early church to play nice in the sandbox. Even 2000 years ago, the church needed to hear that message.
Something in Paul’s message unfortunately isn’t sticky enough to actually change our behavior, actions and opinions.    It might be that it’s just a really complicated deep delivery, or that it’s argued using vernacular and examples that had more connection then.   There has got to be an analogy or a metaphor or a story, a way of explaining what it means to live with unity and oneness in Christ in a way that will actually change how we act?   Maybe it has to start with a sandbox.  What do you think?

If given the opportunity to talk to all the church leaders in America for 10 minutes, what would you put before them to get them to play nice in the sandbox?

By the way, just so you know, my worst injuries always came in the sandbox.   My middle brother bashed me on the head with a trowel and sent me to the hospital for stitches, so you do have to have people willing to play nice too.

COMMUNICATION

This will be short.   I’ve been thinking of a few very simple, easy to implement communication tools.    These are NOT gadgets and widgets for your computer, they are however good ole’ fashioned skills that you teach your brain, your mouth and your ears.

PRACTICE ACTIVE LISTENING

We all need to learn how to actively listen better.  It seems hokey and feels weird but once you get the hang of it, you really do see tremendous results immediately.   I for one, need to do this more and am working hard to practice this alongside NOT interrupting people.   A shout out to my coworker, David Makela, who does this extremely well.   Even though I think it’s hokey.

Here’s how it works in a simple but straightforward example.

Person 1 “I can’t decide if the brown shoes go with this outfit or if I should try the black ones.”

Person 2:  “So what I hear you saying is, that you’re just not quite sure which pair of shoes is going to go best with your outfit?   Did I hear you correct?”

Person 1: ” Yeah…actually, I’m not even sure that I like this outfit. ”

Person 2: “You’re not sure you like it?   What is it about it that you don’t like…?

See how simple that is…and it’s a great segue way into my second point:

ASK CLARIFYING QUESTIONS

Questions like: Why do you feel that way?  What is it about…?   What do you think?  Are there options I’m not seeing?  Etc… And if you ask clarifying questions, don’t forget to practice active listening right back!

SEEK FIRST TO UNDERSTAND, THEN TO BE UNDERSTOOD

gapingvoid.com

I think GapingVoid is a great site.   Check out some of Hugh‘s other work.  This one says it all.   Communication is not about ME, it’s not about YOU, it’s about US.

What’s your GUIDEPOST on communication?