Posts tagged ‘tools’
How can two days back to back feel so different?
8:30 am – 2-hour meeting with two colleagues in a different department and a consultant I had hired.
10:30 am – Stop in for tail end of quarterly staff chapel and chat with staff I don’t see very often
11:30 am– Rush off to a 2-hour awards luncheon where I did not know anyone
Afternoon – back-to-back meetings with no time to even check email
4:30 pm – crash
7:15 am — 3.5-hour breakfast and presentations for a leadership program I’m in where I have gotten to know some of the people who were at the event (and I got to get on stage for 5 minutes to talk)
11:30 am – lunch with someone trying to figure out what to do with his life
Afternoon – working back and forth with my staff on projects
5:30 pm – catch up on emails
7 pm – leave work with energy to go to dinner with a friend
How is it that I worked a longer day Friday and left feeling good? If you looked at my calendar on Outlook, the schedules would not appear that different. When we think about working in our strengths, it’s the nuances that really matter.
On both Thursday and Friday, I went to a long breakfast/lunch. The difference was that I knew people at one and that I got to be up on stage, which I love!
On Thursday, I was in meetings all day. As a slight introvert, that drained me. (For a colleague of mine, this would have been her dream day!) On Friday, I was around people all day, but it was people close to me like my staff (I didn’t have to “be on”).
How can you shift your schedule just slightly to make sure you are not ready to crash at the end of the day? Look closely at how you book your calendar, and book some slots for things that make you feel strong and energized every day. Don’t book the draining activities back to back in one day. It’s pretty simple, but easy to overlook if you are not paying attention.
I am pulled in too many directions at work. Maybe you can relate. One minute I’m in a meeting about fundraising appeals, the next minute it’s a brochure for the MBA program, and then there is the alumni magazine, science building campaign, campus signage (ick!), website, the latest video production, and 100 other jobs our office is working on. And don’t get me started on the barrage of emails.
I was bemoaning my dilemma to my boss the other day, and he asked a simple question: “What can you do to get out of the way and let your staff step into some of the roles you are filling?”
I must admit that I tend to have a strong sense of self-importance – if I’m not involved, something is bound to be missed. I am the one with the “big picture.” I can protect my staff from the mean people. If I give up CONTROL, everything might just implode.
You don’t have to tell me twice – well, ok, maybe you do.
One of my staff members recently kindly let me know that my helpfulness was impeding her ability to be effective and efficient. I typically serve as the go-between between my graphic designers and our internal clients. I thought I was saving her from the headaches of the back and forth. In the end, she had to interpret my interpretation of the client meetings. She had to wait for me to call the clients with questions. I had taken away her ability to manage her own projects.
Training up of the 12 disciples
We don’t have to look too far to see a model for how to handle this sort of leadership challenge. Consider how Jesus went about training his disciples. For the first several months, the disciples followed Jesus around and observed him. Through their observations, they learned about priorities (prayer and time with the Father); they learned how to have boundaries (not healing everyone); they learned how to respond with compassion to sinful people and to question the status quo of the religiosity of the day. They were with Jesus, sitting at his feet and learning best practices, so to speak.
When the time came, Jesus took off the training wheels and gave the disciples all of the authority they needed to do their work. They had the power to cast out demons and to heal the sick. Their first assignments were local, and Jesus was still nearby to help if they needed Him. They had all the tools, guidance, and vision necessary to take on their leadership roles. In the end, they were fully equipped to act on their own after Jesus had been crucified.
Training up your team
In this same way, I need to make sure my team is equipped. They need time to observe me and get a sense of what they will be doing on their own. They need a vision. They need me to get out of the way and let them act on their own with full authority for the work to be done. Only then will they gain the confidence they need to take on more and more responsibility. This is the only way to know their real capacity for leadership.
Yes, some people might not step into their new roles with grace. They may stumble. They may actually realize that they really don’t have the capacity to do more than what they are doing. But others might surprise you and step up in ways that you would have never imagined. It’s not until you get out of the way that you will ever really know.
If you left your organization, would everything fall apart because you have not prepared your team members to succeed you? Are there people you are holding back because you are a control freak? Are there higher order things you could be doing if you just got out of the way and let others step up to the task?
The latest industry prayer we prayed during our church service:
Father in heaven, we offer thanksgiving for our military, police, and fire fighters. Those in these fields fight crime and fires here… and enemies abroad. From the desk to the front lines—logistics and communications, military doctors and lawyers, administrative support and strategy planning—thank you for these men and women. They serve and protect us, maintaining peace in our communities and around the world. Lord, you are our ultimate protector, and these men and women are blessed to partner with you. Your protection often comes through those you have placed in these roles.
We are humbled by the sacrifices made by these men and women and their families—sacrifices sometimes beyond what any of us could imagine. What an amazing picture of your sacrifice to save and protect us all, Lord! Please protect them as they serve—emotionally, mentally and physically. Strengthen their marriages and their relationships with their children. Grant peace amidst the uncertainty of where and what their next orders or call will be. Help them find a community of Christian support wherever they go. Comfort them when they are lonely.
Lord, when the tasks feel mundane, help them remember the honor in their work. Help them resist mediocrity and strive to work with excellence. Inspire them to take initiative despite inefficiencies—and let their initiative be recognized and rewarded. Open to them opportunities to serve in ways that use their talents and passions.
For those in command, we pray that they would be wise and just. For those lower on the chain, help them model Christ’s humility. Help all to remember that ultimately they are serving you.
And we pray for our veterans, many who suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder from seeing unthinkable things. Others have severe physical and mental injuries. Give them an extra measure of your grace and hope.
Remind us all to express gratitude to the men and women who serve so faithfully. Thank you, Lord, for your protection and your unfailing love. May we be inspired to love and fight for justice in our own areas of influence because we have seen the love you and these folks have shown us.
We pray these things in Jesus’ name.
My church is praying during the service for different industries. The latest was science, engineering and technology. Here it is. I encourage you to do this in your church. It’s been really powerful!
Lord Jesus, in prayer we lift up the industries of science, engineering, and technology and all the people who work in these fields. Those working in these industries work in fields that reflect your very nature: from the administrative assistant keeping the office or finances in order, to the scientist in the lab, to the repair person who maintains the equipment.
You were the original creator of this complex and beautiful world, and you provide healing and restoring solution to problems. We are following in your footsteps. You gave us the raw materials for discovery, and you gifted us with the skill to make scientific and technological advances that contribute to the betterment of humanity.
We pray that those working in these fields would connect their work with your desire for your Kingdom to grow. May their work serve others and bring redemption – not lead to the destruction that sometimes comes with so-called “advances” in society. Guide us to find more and better ways to use technology and discovery to connect, guide, heal, and help people. Grant solutions to problems for which we still have no answers.
Encourage those in these fields when a solution they have been working toward does not work. Sustain them when work becomes tedious. Inspire them when there does not seem to be a way through a complex problem. Help them to respond with love when faced with frustrated and demanding clients, bosses, and coworkers. Guide them to make ethical decisions when confronted with unbridled possibilities.
Lord, we pray that those who have multiplied your wonders by use of their skills will not fall in love with their own glory, not compromise your values or misrepresent your truths. Let them seek advancement and progress not for riches but for your glory. Forgive them for lacking humility. Save them from making knowledge and discovery an idol. Let their growing knowledge grow their knowledge of YOU, pointing them and those around them to their need of salvation, and resulting in viewing their coworkers, neighbors and society with compassion. Focus their hearts on you, the author and perfecter of our faith.
Lord, we have all benefited from the discovery, inventiveness, and creativity of science, engineering and technology. Inspire us all by the vision of a better future that is revealed by the very nature of their work. Let these industries fill us with hope and joy because they remind us of your promise that one day this world will be made perfect. Remind us that our earthly lives have great significance in your Kingdom.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Today, my pastor prayed for people in the legal field during the church services. It’s the beginning of a new tradition we are starting to support our attendees. There are so many needs and challenges at work that often get overlooked in a Sunday service. We learn on Sunday some nice Christian principles, but how do we apply them?
So often, we pray over missionaries as they are sent out to serve. What about everyone else? They are being sent, too. This new tradition sends workers into the marketplace to be transformational and redemptive in the city.
Below is the prayer for people in the legal profession. I will post the others as they are done. Feel free to share with people in the legal field and encourage your pastor to consider this type of commissioning. There was quite a buzz about it after the service. People felt validated and loved. They knew that the church cared about their lives Monday through Friday.
Prayer for the legal profession
Our Heavenly Father, we approach your throne today to pray for those of us who have been chosen by You to work in the legal field. You are the true defender of the oppressed and the defenseless, and you are the one who brings truth and justice to bear in all of life, so we pray that you will comfort the lawyers and those in the legal field as they are faced with difficult situations. Help them to imitate you to seek true justice for all.
In Isaiah 58, you called upon each of us to break the chains of injustice,
get rid of exploitation in the workplace, and to be generous.
If [we] get rid of unfair practices,
quit blaming victims, quit gossiping about other people’s sins,
and give ourselves to the down-and-out…
our lives will begin to shine in the darkness,
our workplaces will be bathed in the light of your Son, Jesus.
Help those in the legal field to work with local law enforcers to promote peace and to advocate on behalf of their clients.
Help them to be willing to identify improper conduct—in their own lives first, and then in their workplace—and give them the wisdom and courage to confront it and seek change. Help them to have the courage to remain independent, guided by Your value system and not turn away in order to generate additional fees or protect their jobs. Let your word be their unyielding moral compass.
Use them to decrease corruption and greed in both public and private sectors. Let their faith bless their clients and encourage them to trust You through the times of trial or difficulty.
Help them to understand that they reflect you, and that excellence in their work reflects on you. Day to day hard work, diligence to detail, creative thinking, intellectual energy, and an unwavering moral compass are essential. Help each of them to be such a person.
Keep them from the temptation to only seek their personal gain or status. Free them from slavery to money and power.
And, as a church, we ask that You provide renewal for them every day. And help us provide support, understanding, and hope to those standing today as they do this honorable work.
As they reflect you, Father, inspire us all to bring your justice and integrity into our workplaces and into our homes and neighborhoods.
In Jesus name,
Our Faith and Work Ministry just held a big event on work/life balance (I cringe at the idea of “work/life balance” because it implies that work is not part of life, but it’s a phrase with which people resonate. My sinister plan was to get people in the door and then hopefully debunk the divide).
There was so much good stuff that I wanted to share some key take-aways with my online community.
Our lives are full of good and honorable activities. From cheering at your kid’s soccer game, to running the meeting at the office, to going for a jog, to volunteering down at the rescue mission, to attending a church community group, to dining out with friends, it’s easy to fill our calendars to the brim. I’m always wishing I had the physical capacity to match the endless possibilities in front of me. But alas, there is only so much time in a day. So how do we manage all of the competing demands? Again, all good and honorable.
Know Your Purpose. What is the main, overarching theme of your life? Go up to that 30,000-foot view and consider your life as a whole – don’t have a separate work mission and life mission as they will always compete. Instead, think big picture. Your purpose should unify all aspects of your life. The issue with time management is often rooted in misaligned priorities. Once you get your purpose straight, priorities will begin to align.
A side note on this, people often ask me how to know their purpose. To derive a sense of purpose that drives my decisions, I took time to think about my life over a period of time – and then it just hit me like a ton of bricks when I wasn’t even thinking about anything in particular (honestly, I was in the shower!). I had gone to many seminars, including an exclusive, all-day workshop with the author of The Path, Laurie Beth Jones. All of the worksheets and word tricks fell flat. I encourage you to start by considering the needs in the world that touch your heart, the activities that bring you great joy, and the special gifts and talents that God placed in you. But there is really no magic formula. If you ask God for answers and seek to follow him, you will begin a journey of uncovering answers that may take an entire lifetime to refine. Don’t worry about landing on some perfect mission statement – just start somewhere and go from there.
Challenge Traditions. We can’t do the same things over and over again and expect a different result. Take some risks. Allow for failure. What are the patterns in your life that are so ingrained that you don’t feel like you can do it any other way? Even something as simple as sitting at a different end of the boardroom table can help us begin to change our perspective. So go and get out of your comfort zone, and start developing new ways of thinking and doing. You might just find a more effective way to approach all the demands on your life.
Find Others Who Support Your Passion. By building a network of support, you have structure and accountability. Otherwise, it’s easy to flounder – flittering from one activity to the next without much thought. I have found that meeting people at highcallingblogs.com has really given me the structure I need to keep blogging. I would not have kept going had I not found this community, especially people like Bradley and Sam who have provided words of encouragement along the way.
Recognize That We Are Biological Beings. We need sleep and food. Go back to good ole’ Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. At our most basic level, we must meet our physiological needs. It’s so easy to let go of sleep, exercise, and healthy food when we start getting busy. This is the worst thing we can do. We have to be honest about our limitations and be ok with the cracks.
Say No at Least Twice as Much as You Say Yes. I love this one! When people start to hear about your awesome-ness, you are going to get more and more requests. Can you join our board of directors? Can you coach the soccer team? Can you speak at our event? Can you lead a Bible study? Again, all good and honorable. But if you can make it a habit to say no whenever something does not align with your strategy for living your purpose, you will be a lot less resentful of everything that sucks you dry. This doesn’t mean that you don’t help a friend in need or serve in some capacity that doesn’t bring you deep joy. But watch out that you don’t get pulled so far down a path in life that you can’t understand how you got there. Be intentional.
Recognize Your Season in Life. It’s a myth to think that we can achieve some sort of perfect balance. When you slice your life up like a pie (emotional, spiritual, intellectual, physical, family, relationships, vocation, etc.), the pieces are not going to be equal. If you are a single mom who works full time and goes to grad school in order to pursue a dream like my friend Leslie, you can’t possibly be pouring yourself into friends as much as you’d like. If you are single like me, maybe the occupation piece of the pie is gigantic. We all have seasons in our lives.
The challenge is to recognize when a temporary season becomes a permanent lifestyle. If you are going full throttle in some areas of your life while other areas whither for too long, you might want to reassess priorities. Or maybe you are completely at peace spending more energy in one area over another. That’s great. Don’t let people bully you into thinking there is something wrong with you. The key is to recognize that you are making a choice and to take responsibility for your decisions.
Focus On What is in Your Control. Most things in our lives we can predict and control. I know that if I stay up late watching TV, I will be exhausted in the morning. The problem is that we spend a disproportionate amount of time fretting about the things we can’t predict or control. For example, I can’t control other people’s actions, but I can control my response to their actions. I can control the level of interaction I have with a difficult person. I can control my emotional response and develop boundaries. What I can’t control is the other person. It’s easy to pour ourselves into trying to fix things we can’t fix. It’s a heck of a lot more effective to focus on things within our control and to rely on God in all things in and out of our control.
Keep Your Tank Full. Every summer, my girlfriends from college get together for girls’ weekend. I can go for weeks with the energy I gain from spending time with the people who know me best. Know the activities that give you energy and the ones that drain you, and make sure you keep filling your tank before all of your reserves are depleted. Do you need solitude? Are you energized by reading a good book or having a stimulating conversation with friends? It seems like the only solution sometimes is to run on empty. We can’t live this way forever. Remember, we are at our core biological beings.
Be Realistic. One statement during the event really stood out to me: “We tend to overestimate what we can do in a day and underestimate what we can do in a year.” That was a convicting observation. I overload each of my days, but to what end? When I look back on a year, what did I really accomplish? It’s comes back to being strategic about our tactics – not having tactics for the sake of having tactics.
As for creating more margin in my life, I ultimately want to fall back on the words of Jesus in Matthew 11: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Ah, there is comfort in those words.
If you are in San Diego, consider joining our upcoming small group on this topic. We will be going through the workbook “Restoring Margin to Overloaded Lives.” The 6-week study begins March 2 at 7 p.m. in Kensington. I personally can’t wait! R.S.V.P. online.
Also, speaker Joon Han has generously provided additional lessons that go beyond what we learned in the seminar. Visit www.magicbizbox.com/fw.
Watch the video of the event for the full experience. Go to:
John Wheeler, Executive Consultant to CEO’s and business owners and San Diego Convene Chair, John’s extensive experience includes organizational and key leader development.
Caye Barton Smith, Psy.D., Vice President for Student Development, Point Loma Nazarene University. Caye has an impressive background leading health and wellness initiatives as well as personal insights as a busy working mom.
Joon Han, Founder Better San Diego, Joon has been challenging and inspiring groups for over 20 years seeing leaders grow from very busy to very effective.