It’s okay not to be okay….

“It’s okay not to be okay…” I heard this statement for the first time at Grace Community Church in Washingtonville, NY about 2 years ago. The Pastor of the church Jarrod Jones (challenge you to listen how he does this here and the rest of the message) is a good friend now and I remember thinking at that moment, that is easy to say but do they demonstrate it? I guess you could say I doubted it… but after sometime with them and seeing how missional they are, well let’s just say I am now longer a doubter. The key to that statement is the follow up… “It’s not okay to be okay, but we don’t want you to stay there and we love you enough to tell you the Truth”

Jarrod Jones

However, after listening online to Jarrod a few times, being there a few times… one day the Holy Spirit of God worked on me and the thought occurred… do I believe it? Do I personally love people enough to say they are “okay to not be okay” as a friend of mine, or co-worker, someone in my community or church? I am embarrassed to admit that I discovered this was not true of me all the time… but I know I don’t want to stay there:)

Maybe you are reading this and you have the same problem. I often find myself judging people that don’t think the same way, act the same way, or say what I say, or believe what I believe and I have built up a wall of some sort to say, “well, actually you are not okay to not be okay” if you I know you. This is a dangerous place to be!

Can I encourage with this?

I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, 2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love… Ephesians 4:1-2

When I live with humility, gentleness, patience and catch the last statement – bearing with each other in LOVE! I truly can understand and practice the statement “it’s okay not to be okay”.

Love will determine how I view others, how I treat others, encourage others and will determine my love for Jesus as I love the way He wants me to…

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:34-35

I must be okay with myself and others not being okay – understanding the deep love Jesus has for me who is not “okay” will allow me to love others who are not “okay”!

So, from one not okay guy to whoever might be reading this… We are deeply loved by the one has made us okay – because of what Jesus has done for us!

Defining open communication…

Information is power… you can almost guarantee if you read or listen to any leadership spokesman you will hear them talk about it. I have been in situations where I have been given information freely and information as been withheld. Honestly there are times I find information helpful and there are times I wish I knew nothing. Either way I have responsibility to deal properly with it.
Communication
We all love open communication… what does that mean? To help clarify here are a couple of interesting things to consider.
Definitions of open and communication according to “Google”
  • Open: allowing access, passage, or a view through an empty space; not closed or blocked up”
  • Communication: “the imparting or exchanging of information or news”
Roger’s combined definition of open communication:
  • “Providing all accessible information in a truthful, unbiased, timely fashion to any vested or interested parties”
 
To Share or not to share that is the question?
Share  – If you are in leadership and serving others you must share these type of things often with clarity and conviction.
  • Vision
  • Direction
  • Decisions
  • Useful Information
  • Empowering
  • Encouraging
  • Equipping
Not to Share

Continue reading “Defining open communication…”

I hear voices…

Okay, so I probably got your attention with the title… but in all seriousness in leadership and in life there are so many voices coming at you!

 

No, seriously I have numerous people throughout the day wanting to share their ideas, opinions or criticisms…  Now please if you serve with me understand I love to hear from you! If we network together I love our partnership and I love to hear from you! So who am I talking to…. No one in particular but some thoughts on dealing with the voices we hear or if we have a voice and like to share it.

 

So you like your voice:)

  • Did you pray about what your getting ready to share? Seriously – when I pray about my words it is amazing how many times I don’t say anything or change it up.
  • Do I need to say anything? Sometime the best thing to do is just be silent.
  • Is this about me? Am I focused on my agenda or about God’s Glory and how I can serve and build up the person I am speaking with.

 

You did the above and now you want to speak up…

  • Realize that the person you are getting ready to speak with has probably already heard to their full already – so be sensitive to their time.
  • Realize they are hearing numerous voices and probably numerous times about the subject you are surfacing – so come with facts and solutions, not opinion and problems.
  • Don’t expect immediate reaction or decision – some leaders or people are quick to make decisions others want to pray, process and provide feedback before rendering a decision.

If you hear voices here are a few things I do my best to practice…

  • I always try and remember their are probably two sides of the story or multiple factors to consider.
  • I don’t listen to just one voice but I have a multiple people I trust and work through when deliberating and preparing for a decision.
  • Seek the Lord and ask for wisdom – James 1 tells us to ask for wisdom.
  • When you know what the decision is – do not delay in communicating it… Delay only frustrates.
  • Do not delay hoping it will go away… It won’t so either say you need more time and set an end time or render a decision.
  • Guard against the continual negative voices – I have those in my circles who are brutally honest with me and help deliver reality, but if you are surrounded by continual negative voices… You are in trouble.
  • Guard against the continual positive voice – everything is always perfect, you could be in trouble and they are not delivering reality.
  • Use your voice to Glorify God not you!

 

If you are one who has the ear of someone, use your voice carefully – get out of balance and you could loose that ear. If you are one who hears the voices – be sure to listen carefully and when you use your voice in return use it for God’s Glory and the joy of others.

Yes it is Monday, Yes I love it and today sets the pace!

Monday… for many it is a dreaded day! Especially if you dislike what you do, but you are the only one who can change that. I am writing to the one who enjoys their job but does not enjoy or gets overwhelmed with Mondays. Experience tells me Monday needs to be your day of setting up for success.  I use Monday’s to set the pace for the rest of the week. I have a few written/understood rules about my schedule that I and my assistant keep. Mondays are for setting up the week and Friday is follow-up of the week. With my role I am in meetings continually throughout the week but you can almost guarantee it will take an act of congress (that is getting Abbi to make an exception) to book an appointment/meeting Mondays and Fridays. I made this decision about a year ago and it has changed my productivity tremendously. I remembered Michael Hyatt talking about his ideal work week – while mine does not look like his it did make me think about mine.

Monday

Here is what it looks like for me:

Monday  – Preparing for the week(s) ahead
  • Writing Meeting Agendas – if you have ever been in a meeting with me you know I believe in agendas it keeps us all focused on the goal.
  • Preparing for meetings – taking the time to make sure I understand the topics that will be discussed.
  • Working on Projects – I use Mondays to work on long-term projects
  • Vision Planning –  I find vision and strategic planning on Monday makes my week seem brighter and I get really excited about the future… making the rest of the week bright!
Tuesday – Thursday  – Meetings from 9-3 are the allotted time for scheduling and I use the bumper times in the morning and late afternoon to follow up from meetings and action steps. As I have talked about I use Nozbe to track my tasks. If I have particular projects or reports due I will have my assistant schedule time on this section of the week to be assured I have the time to get it done.
Friday – Follow up from the Week
  • Follow up on Assigned Projects/Tasks
  • Follow up on meeting notes and check in with direct reports for accountability.
  • Work on Projects – continue to work on long-term projects
  • Dreaded(Routine) Tasks – we all have them, I use Friday as my routine task list day… get the things off my plate so I can enjoy my weekend without thinking about the routine tasks I do not enjoy all weekend.
I know each person has a way they like to work, this just happens to work really well for me. If you have a hard time controlling your schedule or getting things done create a system that works for you. Be sure to stay with it for a period of time! Trying a system for a week or two is not enough time to know it works.
What are some of the things you have done to be successful in accomplish your work yet keeping a full calendar.

Just be yourself?

Life in ministry can be really interesting at times… okay most of the time. I often hear people say “just be yourself”! Okay, lets be honest for just a minute(or blog post) I don’t think anyone wants me “just being me”. Yes, they want an authentic, real, down to earth me… but trust me they don’t want the “just me”. The real me is not what God intended for me or for you, that would take a whole other post to write but I know this, it would be a scary description.
just_be_yourself_by_tietzedesign-d3j7kig
I think what people really want in the “just be yourself” is…  someone is real in his relationship with Jesus, who is real in dealing with my weaknesses and recognizing that I need Jesus to fill them in, real when it comes to how I interact with people and love them as Jesus loved them. Not a phony!
Being just yourself by yourself will result in just that, you! – when in reality since I know Jesus the “just be yourself or me” is in Jesus! I am in Him and He is in me!
I love these verses:
Colossians 3: 1-2″ If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.”
What do I pray daily for? That my life would be all about Jesus and for Jesus. I am confident these verses are true, I can seek after Jesus, set my mind on Jesus and not on this world. The real me is in Jesus and He is in me, I just have to die daily to self and live for the one who gave me life!
Don’t just be yourselff… if you know Jesus Christ as your personal Savior be the you who is in Christ and He in you!

 

Encouraging your team! Learning to express thankfulness…

You want to see someone excited about their work and have a smile while working – keep them encouraged! I know we could talk about having a clear plan, priorities, position and pay… but I want to focus on simply being a leader who encourages.
“Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.”William Arthur Ward
original_set-of-12-handmade-thank-you-note-cards
 
As a leader, manager, supervisor or anyone who works with people being thankful for them is one thing, expressing it is another! Take time to encourage those you serve with. Everyday I have to work on this personally… I am very grateful for the people I have the privilege to serve with! In fact I serve alongside some of the smartest, most creative and highly productive people you will ever meet but sometimes I get lost in the actionable steps and forget the most important actionable steps are to say “Thank-you” or what I appreciate about the team member.

Continue reading “Encouraging your team! Learning to express thankfulness…”

Just stop and listen!

We have all been there… you are in the process of sharing something and the receiver of your words cuts you off and begins to give you all the answers they think you need! Without fully listening, trying to understand, they just want to rush to sharing with you how much they know! If you are like me I have had this happen numerous times… sadly I have done this to others numerous times. Stephen R. Covey said it best  “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply” 
Listening-Quotes

The other day in the course of trying to explain something to one of my children they felt the urge to keep cutting me off and filling in what they thought I was trying to say and in that moment I blurted out… “JUST STOP AND LISTEN”!  You have probably have said those words yourself at one time or another but there is a something to be said about those four words. The next time someone is sharing a concern, a heartache, a problem they are facing, pain, fear or any other situation they might be feeling may I suggest the following…
JUST STOP and LISTEN
Just Stop
  • Stop talking and interrupting them.
  • Stop thinking of how you can respond, it might take more work and constraint to just listen.  Winston Churchill said it this way “Courage is what it takes to stand up and also speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen”
  • Stop believing they came to have you just talk over them with everything you think you know. On-line the other day I read “When you talk you are only repeating what you already know, but if you listen you may learn something new.”
Listen 
  • Listen deeply – it may take hours, maybe days!
  • Listen distraction free – put down the phone, turn off the music and just listen. Interesting little fact from Alred Bendel: “The word “listen” contains the same letters as the word “silent” 
  • Listen openly – be open to hearing all things without blinders on. It is easy to listen through filtered ears and thoughts, listen just to listen.
  • Listen with love – I have heard this statement, but do not know the original author, but I love it. “Listen in such a way that others love to speak to you, and speak in such a way that others love to listen to you” Love the person through whatever they are trying to communicate and in a loving compassionate way.
At some point today I guarantee you will have the opportunity to just listen! Can I encourage you and I… “just stop and listen”
What other practical ways do you just listen?

You don’t have to fix everything!

“It’s a  guy thing”…. we have to fix everything. In my younger days(whatever that means) I felt the urge to fix everything. If I saw a problem I had to jump right in, be the hero… save the day. Well the older I get… still pretty young in my mind but none the less, older I am getting. I realize I can’t, don’t have to, and won’t be able to fix everything. (BTW-this is still a daily battle)

These questions of late keep resurfacing.
  • Why am I  arrogant enough to believe I can fix it?
  • Who told me I had to fix everything?
  • Why do I feel like I must be the hero of the day?
  • Whats to say my fixing is what is needed?
  • Does the person or organization even want it fixed?
I am reminded daily that I have the power to change nothing… only God can change people, plans and problems. Yes, we have a responsibility to work hard, to deal with problems, serve people and to plan, those are all important items. What I am really talking about is – being self-reliant, deceived to think we are the great fixer-uppers, people solving, problem solving gurus. When in reality we have nothing to offer ourselves, but we have a God who can!
So, my “fixing” if you will must be in Jesus, through Jesus and all about Jesus!
When compelled to “fix” something take a few moments and ask these questions.
  • What am I really trying to accomplish here? Am I looking to Glorify Jesus and make it about Him… or is this about me?
  • Have I prayed about this and asked is this about me or about Jesus being Glorified?
  • Do I need to just rest in the Lord and let Him lead in the situation and lead in me?
  • If it is in my workplace, church or community involvement is this even mine to try and fix? Have I been asked to get involved? (yes, I know that sometimes it takes someone standing up and leading, but we all can admit to jumping in ahead of God)
  • Have I taken time to really listen and learn, or am I just trying to fix it?
  • Maybe, just maybe Jesus doesn’t want me to fix it, because He is working on fixing me.
I am so compelled to fix things daily, but each day Jesus is “fixing” me to the reality that He is all I need, my problems need, the people I interact with need and He holds the plans. Why, because Colossians 3:1-3 is a great reminder that I am in Jesus, my thoughts and actions should be about Jesus, and my life is hidden in Jesus! Notice it does not include me… just Jesus!
It is abundantly clear, Jesus doesn’t need me to fix anything… He has it all under control!
So, whatever you are trying to “fix”… might be time to stop.

Learning to be productive everyday!

If you are like me you are constantly having tasks/to-dos added to your daily work load. Emails, phone calls, requests, reoccurring tasks and projects can consume me. Believe it or not I am not a detail guy:) I have to work to stay focused and focused on the right things at the right time! I have tried numerous different solutions… sticky notes, notebook, Outlook Tasks, different to-do/tasks programs, but for the past 10 months I have found a program that works really well for me. It allows me to keep track of reoccurring projects, daily tasks and projects. Here are few things that makes it awesome!

  • I can share with my assistant.
  • I can set up projects and link tasks to that project.
  • I can set time needed, due dates and sub-tasks.
  • I can manage my time and priorities.
  • I can email directly to the program.
  • It is easy to use!
  • It provides apps for my iPhone and iPad, as well as a desktop version.
  • I can link to Evernote and Dropbox.

Nozbe

If you are looking for a cross-platform product that will help you get organized and it is efficient check out Nozbe!

I know you are thinking a program will not make me organized, but having a program that is organized, provides tools and helpful resources for getting organized is a great place to start… From a practical standpoint, here are a few things I do everyday.  Continue reading “Learning to be productive everyday!”

Looking out for you! – Don’t miss these great posts!

Here are some great posts – just looking out for you! I really enjoyed reading or watching these posts this past week!

Looking out for

Patience, Persistence, and Progression, Not Perfection – by Derwin L. Gray

http://www.christianitytoday.com/derwin-gray/2014/november/patience-persistence-and-progression-not-perfection.html

Video – Prayer actually changes things! – by Pete Wilson

http://www.withoutwax.tv/2014/11/17/prayer-actually-changes-things/

5 Signs of a good client agency relationship – by The A Group

http://www.agroup.com/blog/5-signs-of-a-good-clientagency-relatoinship