Last night I got my bike out and rode for the first time in a long time. I had to fill the tires with air and dust it off some but other than that, it was definitely ready to be ridden. I enjoyed the ride very much and thought to myself, why have I waited so long to take a bike ride? I used to bike a lot. While I was on the ride, I felt so much energy and so much exuberance. After the ride, I was very energized (and a little sore, LOL).
Today I was in thought about what brings me so much joy in riding my bike. I think the first reason is that there is a sense of freedom and independence. It is just you, the bike, and the road. I didn’t put my bluetooth on so I was totally disconnected from others and the stresses of the world. It was a freedom that I greatly enjoyed.
Another reason for my joy was the ability to see progress on an ongoing basis. I, like many leaders and workers, can expend a lot of time and energy on a project but see minimal progress in one day. When this happens for consecutive days (and with some projects, weeks) this can drain you of enthusiasm and energy. With a bike ride, you are on the move and while you may be expending a lot of energy and working your muscles hard, you see on-going progress throughout the entire ride.
The third reason that I experience joy on a bike ride is because I know there are a multitude of benefits personally for me. I know that it is a beneficial way to exercise. The exercise leads to a burning of calories which can lead to weight loss. The exercise also helps my cardio and pulmonary functions of my body. So in addition to the mental benefits that are contained above, there is a physical benefit.
Bike rides accomplish many different positive benefits for me. I encourage all of you to take the opportunity to hop on a bike and experience the joy of a bike ride.
One of the pitfalls that many organizations and leaders encounter is that they forget they have to speak the language of the people. It is very easy when you are part of organization to fall into using your own lingo and endless number of acronyms. If another person is part of the organization then they understand completely what you are communicating but if the person is an outsider than the communication falls apart. The connection is then lost outside the organization so if you are in business, you lose a sell; if you are a nonprofit organization, you lose a potential new member. There is nothing that is more frustrating than people talking and you cannot understand a word that is being said.
As a believer, this coming Sunday is an important Sunday in the Christian calendar. This Sunday is Pentecost, the celebration of the arrival of the Holy Spirit in the personal lives of believers and the launch of what would be come known as the Church. So I was reading this week about how that event was recorded in the Bible. The portion of the passage that stuck in my mind this morning was:
All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them. Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard their own language being spoken. Utterly amazed, they asked: “Aren’t all these who are speaking Galileans? Then how is it that each of us hears them in our native language? Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome (both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs—we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!” Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, “What does this mean?” (Acts 2:4-12, NIV)
For me, it means the Lord got what I am discussing in this post. The Lord understood that it was important for the message to be shared in the language the people understood. This is a vital lesson for leaders and organizations.
If we are not speaking in the language of the people, then our message will not be received. If people do not understand us, then they will become frustrated and ignore us. After all, don’t we all want others to speak our language?
Language (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Garden with some tulips and narcissus (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Let me first say that I am very grateful that spring has finally arrived and the weather is much more “normal.” Today will be a bit of exception to that since we will get our first taste of summer with temperatures in the 90′s. However, everything is finally green and most of the trees have fully leaved out.
However, with the arrival of spring comes the arrival of my reaction to pollen. My allergies are in full force today and it creates a bit of a miserable feeling with my eyes and nose. This is the part of spring I could definitely do without.
So once again, I am faced with a decision — how do I respond to my current situation. I could complain that my allergies are making me uncomfortable and I wish that spring had not arrived. I could become grumpy and curse this beautiful spring day. Another option for me is to see the blessings in this day. I could focus on the beauty of creation and the wonderful temperatures. I could focus on the signs of life and deep rich colors that surround me. I have a choice to make.
It seems that this is the story of life. We all have choices to make regarding our responses to the events of life. Sometimes we will make beneficial choices and sometimes we will not. Sometimes we will focus on the blessings and joys of life while other times we will choose to focus on what is wrong in life. The reality is that our attitude impacts our day and impacts others. So the choices of our responses have very significant effects.
My goal today is to focus on the blessings of spring and this day instead of focusing on the difficulties amid the blessings.
Communication (Photo credit: P Shanks)
One of the most important, yet most difficult, aspects of relationships is communication. It does not matter what kind of relationship we are talking about whether it is a work relationship, a family relationship, a neighbor relationship, or even our relationship of faith, communication is the glue that helps hold the relationship together.
There are so many aspects to communication that it can become very complicated. A person has to be mindful of the frequency of communication, the means of communication, the words used in the communication, how the hearer may receive the communication, clarity in the communication, and the timing of the communication to just name a few factors. It is no wonder that there is miscommunication, inaccurate assumptions and judgments. This may be one of the causes of communication break down because people do not want to put the time or energy into creating positive communication.
Yet, without communication, there really cannot be a relationship. So this is a skill that it is vital to develop in our lives and to continue to work upon. The receiver of the communication, whether it is verbal or written (even texts), must seek clarification if they interpret what is being said as a negative. Sometimes there is a need to communicate negative bits of information but often items are misunderstood as negative when that was not the intention. The lines of communication need to be open as much as possible. The frequency of communication between individuals must be as much as necessary to keep the relationship healthy based on the type of relationship.
Whenever a relationship is in trouble, I often find that communication has broken down in some fashion. So to keep our relationships healthy, we must master the importance of communication and the skills necessary to generate positive communication. This includes our relationship with the Lord.
- Competent Communicator (earlychildhoodexploration.wordpress.com)
- Miscommunication (sethgodin.typepad.com)
As a leader, one of the areas that I struggle with is keeping in perspective what are my life limits. I am a person that has a pretty high drive and sometimes I kick into overdrive without even realizing it. There are times as a leader that you have to do that and just need to suck it up and make it through. However, no person can do that on a consistent basis. So I have found that I need to strive to monitor this as frequently as I can. This week is one of the weeks that I have been acutely aware of the limits that I have and that I must respect.
So this morning as I reflect on what I have been active with so far this week and I ponder the next few days, I realize that this is a day I would best if I slowed down and even took some time away. God knew the importance of this so God established the sabbath. The goal of the sabbath was to give humanity the opportunity to slow down, spend time in reflection, and experience the joys of the life that God created. Unfortunately, the sabbath was misused by leaders of the God’s people and became a burden instead of what God had originally intended. Today, most people are so overly committed that they cannot find time for a sabbath. So it raises the importance of taking a sabbath whenever possible.
Today, I am going to do what I need to do to fulfill my responsibilities. Then, I am going to honor the limitations that I have and more importantly I am going to honor the intentions of the sabbath which God established. So this afternoon, I will probably be AWOL.
I hope that you are able to acknowledge your limits and take sabbath whenever possible but more importantly, whenever needed.
god (Photo credit: the|G|™)
- Limits (miketerrill.wordpress.com)
English: One of the last Aerostar International, Inc. balloons own by Guru Balloon (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I find it truly amazing how much laughter can lift my spirit. I had the privilege this morning of working with a wonderful group of individuals on a project. Throughout the morning, there was laughter. Even though there have been two very early mornings in a row because of work and I am a bit on the tired side do to activities at night that made going to bed early impossible, the laughter this morning has caused my spirit to rise tremendously.
Life can some days become a bit of burden. It is easy to find yourself so wrapped up in the serious aspects of life that you quickly lose the joy of living. God did not create us to experience life as only a drudgery. God created us to enjoy laugh as we worked along the way. I have a picture of a laughing Jesus in front of fishing boats that I assume are on the shores of the Sea of Galilee. This is an image of Jesus that I treasure because it is a reminder to me that laughter and joy should always be a part of life, even in the midst of work.
This morning was work at a very early time of the day. However, the laughter made the work easier. The laughter among those who worked side-by-side lifted my spirit. The joy of this morning will be what carries me through this day.
So get a lift, laugh a lot today!
- Laughter is the best medicine. (deaconjohn1987.wordpress.com)
- “Laughter is an… (boyerpoolsandspas.wordpress.com)
Letting go (Photo credit: against the tide)
One of the most difficult things for an organization to do is to let go of the things that have had so much meaning in the organization’s life. Sometimes organizations have events or projects that have a very storied history but are no longer relative or connect with other people and their lives. However, because of the history and the meaning that it has had in the past for the members of the organization, no one is willing to let the project or event take the normal course of life and die.
So the question is what should the leader of an organization that is struggling to let go of something that has been valued deeply within the organization in the past do, if anything. I think there are a couple important actions a leader can take in such a situation. First, it is important to collect tangible data on the project if possible. How much is being expended in financial resources and human resources to continue the project? How many people are serviced or impacted by the project? What benefits are obtained by the organization through the project?
The next important gathering of information is in regards to the history of the project. Why was the project started? What was the intention or goal of the project? What changes have occurred within the project over its life span? Who has been involved in the project throughout its history?
The leader then needs to work with group in charge of the project to discuss the information that has been gathered. The leader should ask questions regarding the value of the project (not just financial but not void of financial aspects). Questions regarding if the original goals or intentions are still part of the organizations current goals and intentions. Questions in regard to who is being served by the project and who is willing to be involved in the project. Finally, questions that help the group reflect upon the relevance of the project to the life of the organization, its members, and those who are being reached through the project.
Through reflection and responses to questions, the leader can help the organization discern if the project or event has purpose to be continued or if the history of it should be celebrated but the event or project be allowed to end.