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

Men, we were designed for more…

Of late, I continually seem to be reminded in conversation or observation that as men we need to get a few things straight. I have been sharing with those close to me that I am burden for young men, my generation, or in some cases those my senior. We seem to missing it when it comes to work, home, church and “play”. We have all heard the statement “work hard, play hard” Most would agree that they need to work hard at work, that they know they need to engage in family and church. However,  in my observation, many get caught up in and over emphasizing the “my time” or what “I need” or “play hard”. Now before you think I am suggesting just work harder or don’t do anything for fun with your friends like golf, hunting, fishing… or personally for me racing events (now we are getting personal). Hear me clearly, that is not what I am saying. It is an important part of life, spending time with other men “iron sharpening iron”.
What I am saying is, men lets do what we were created for… serving hard at work and more importantly serve hard at home! Get involved in our children’s lives, love on Mom and go deep in their hearts! When it comes to our “play time” men we were given our families first in God’s design – not over God, but above all else here on this earth it is our families! Don’t fall for the lie that we need something else to fulfill us, only Jesus can do that when we lean on Him for the strength to do what we were designed for!
A friend posted this video and when I watched it… I was so pumped, I had to share it with Cathy right away and few others…as this is exactly what I have been concerned about! Matt Chandler kills it in this 5 minutes. Warning – this short clip is a clear punch to the gut if you are not engaged in this area.
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ejjweiF0gTk&w=560&h=315]
So, why do I know this won’t be popular?
  • Stop looking how to get out of the house, but rather how can you go deep with your wife and children!
  • Stop looking to find rest in hanging out, hobbies and stuff – find it in Jesus and what He designed you for!
  • As Matt said – go to bed exhausted because you went deep and big at home, and of course, at work.
  • Do what you were designed for – Work hard, and invest hard in what really matters and what really is fulfilling!
  • Show your family that Jesus is big by reflecting Him as you dig in with them!
  • Don’t miss out on this time – trust me as one who just watched his son go to college – it goes way to fast!
In Jesus you can do this!
What ways do you practically go deep at home?

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

Twitter_bird_favorite

Here are a few of my favorite posts from last week! You might consider following some of these leaders/writers for great resources!

Carey Nieuwhof – How to tell if you’re an insecure leader – 5 signs

  • If you are leader, make sure you read this – you don’t want to make these mistakes
    • http://careynieuwhof.com/2014/11/tell-youre-insecure-leader-5-signs/

Follow Carey on Twitter: @cnieuwhof

Jarrod Jones – Praying, or just saying Prayers

  • Learning to pray the Scriptures is so key! Great thoughts on praying God’s Word!
    • http://www.jarrodjones.com/2014/11/praying-or-just-saying-prayers/

Follow Jarrod on Twitter: @jarrodjones

Refine Us with Justin and Trish Davis – The end of yourself

  • The End of Yourself  – realizing you don’t have it all together and that is just okay! BTW – Justin and Trish will be our Marriage Retreat Speakers at the Word of Life Inn and Family Lodge – 2015 
    • http://refineus.org/the-end-of-yourself/

Follow Justin and Trish on Twitter: @refineus

Serving your team by praying!

By now you have noticed the name of my blog, it is what I often sign my letters off with and it is an action I try to live by – “serving those who serve”. I don’t always get it right, in fact often I have to adjust my attitude or actions to remind myself of it. I get the awesome joy of serving/leading a great team here at Word of Life, and everyday I have the opportunity to serve them, or when I don’t get it right make it seem like they are serving me… (that is another blog post sometime). Over the years I have been the recipient of servant leadership, seen servant leadership exampled and personally I have been given the opportunity to learn and grow in this area myself and I am continually reminded how much more I need to grow. Over the next couple of months I plan to share some of the lessons learned and practical ways to apply them concerning serving others.
First up, Prayer! 1 Thessalonians 5:17 says pray without ceasing, Yes, you can serve your team, in fact you are missing out if you are not, by praying for and with your team. We are reminded to be praying all the time, without ceasing. I am learning everyday the importance of praying for and with my team. Praying for and together builds our relationship with Jesus closer which in return grows our personal and professional relationship closer together. The more we grow together in Christ through prayer, the closer we are! Charles Finney says it best,  “Nothing tends more to cement the hearts of Christians than praying together. Never do they love one another so well as when they witness the outpouring of each other’s hearts in prayer.” For those reading this that do not work in a place that you can pray together, or maybe your co-worker is not a Jesus follower and will not pray. I assure you, if you will take time often and daily to pray for your co-worker you will find that Jesus will give you a deeper love and appreciate for that person!
With that in mind, here are some practical ways we can pray without ceasing for our team/co-workers.
  • Daily Prayer Time – Start a prayer journal with prayer requests that are personal and professional. I use the Word of Life Daily Quiet Time to keep track of prayer requests.
  • Meetings – Always start every meeting by praying with and for them.
  • Email – Pray through the names of people that have emailed you, for some they will get prayed for often:)
  • Hallway – How many times do we talk or pass someone in the hallway – when walking we can take time to pray for them… no you don’t have to close your eyes to pray – in fact I advise keeping them open when trying this practical way.
  • Driving – Instead of listen to music, or news radio or talking on the phone while driving to and from work – use that time to pray for your team and the interactions you will have together. Once again – for the safety of all – keep your eyes open:) HAHA
  • Come in early or stay late and pray for those you work with. Pray through the phone list, or even office spaces for those you serve with.
  • Phone Calls/Text Messages – Pray before you answer the phone or read the text, that you will respond in a God honoring way.
What are some practical ways you are serving your team/co-workers by praying for them?

Just who are you serving?

Have you ever had someone that you work for that it appeared and was demonstrated that the only thing that matter was production and their agenda? Always looking for more ways to get work out of you,  never pleased with the outcomes or progress? If I were to guess, if fact I believe it is safe to assume, you do not

like being treated this way, nor do you respect the person treating you this way.  I would also  imagine if you are reading this, you report to someone, probably have someone reporting to you, and at some point need the services of someone else to help you succeed.  If all of this is true, I would also guess that you would not want this to be a characteristic or testimony of your leadership, and relationship style . In fact, it would be horrible if you did want it to be, so the question then is, “How do we break the cycle”? Here are just a few things I have been working on practicing, this is not the end all of ideas, but just a few that have been helpful to me. In future posts we will explore some more!

  • Take the time to understand what you are requesting
  • Take the time to understand what they perceive to be challenges and roadblocks
  • Take the time to listen to their ideas and solutions
  • Take the time to hear everything out before you jump in and offer your advice, or so called expertise.
    • Some questions I have found effective to help in these areas!
      • How can I help you with this project?
      • What resources do you need?
      • Do you have any reservations or concerns about the project?
      • Are there any decisions that I need to make that are holding you up?
      • Do you have cooperation with other departments, do you need me to help with the coordination?
      • Would you like to add any ideas or creative solutions?
    • Some Statements that most everyone appreciates hearing before, during and after projects!
      • I trust you and appreciate your leadership.
      • I support you in this process.
      • You have my full support.
      • You are making a difference in our organization.
      • You are important to the team
      • God is really being honored by your service!
      • Thank you!

 

As stated above, there could be so much more said or not said about this topic but I wanted to share some thoughts that have been on my mind of late! Everyday you and I have the opportunity to serve people, and if you look at my tag line on my Blog header it states… Serving those who Serve… I have the privilege of serving ministry leaders everyday, and department leaders everyday. I never want to fall into a pattern of just being concerned about the project or task completion that I lose, frustrate, discourage or make mad those whom I am called to serve. If am I consumed with serving them, the outcome will be they will serve the Lord and organization all the more as they know they are being served and cared for.

 

What other questions or statements might you add to the list above!

My strength or God’s Strength?

Recently I have been spending time with some of my leadership team talking about Spiritual Leadership. It has been such a good reminder to me that I often try to lead in my own natural strength and not with the leading and empowerment of the Holy Spirit of God! I will be sharing some of the thoughts with you over the coming days and weeks.

Li Hung Chang a leader in China when asked? What is Leadership, and how is humanity divided? Li Replied – There are only three kinds of people, those who are immovable, those who are movable and those who move them!

We all have the responsibility to lead, but we need to be careful not to lead in our own strength and for our own purposes. Li, has it right when characterizing people, but we need to make sure if we are trying to move the immovable or movable that we do so not with our natural abilities but super-powered by the Holy Spirit of God.

For me, the reminder of 1 Corinthians 2:1-4 “1 And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. 2 For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. 3 And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, 4 and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power,” is very powerful! The apostle Paul wanted everyone to remember he was not trying to convince them of the Gospel in his own strength or abilities. In fact he talked about his weakness’s, not about how great he was! However, he was convinced that the Holy Spirit of God would and could make the Gospel known.

In Acts 6:3,5 the leaders were told to pick out men to serve and lead the church that would be Holy Spirit Filled… “full of the Spirit” “3 Therefore, brothers, pick out from among you seven men of good repute, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we will appoint to this duty.

In order for you and I to lead in such a way that will be effective we need to be Holy Spirit filled… and not lean on our own abilities.

Are you allowing the Holy Spirit of God to lead you, or are you operating in your own strength?