Image provided by animals.nationalgeographic.com
Ever have one of those weeks when it seems that you have more to do than you can ever get done? This week seems to be one of those for me. Yesterday was especially busy with tasks that I needed to complete. There were other individuals waiting on my completion of certain tasks so I knew there would be no procrastination. When I have weeks like this one, I think about the well-known question and answer…..
Q: How do you eat an elephant?
A: One bite at a time!
That question and answer comes in very handy as a reminder that you must not be overwhelmed by the enormity of the tasks (or at least your perception of the tasks) but must instead work through them at a steady pace. It helps me to repeat this to myself so that I have a manageable perspective on my workload.
So the next time you are feeling overwhelmed at work or at home, which is highly probable during the holiday season, remember to eat the elephant one bite at a time.
One of the difficult aspects for many leaders, and people in general, is accepting that you cannot control everything. We often get a “God-like” complex or mindset. We try to manage, control and/or manipulate everything in our lives. However, there is not a one of us who has ever been able to accomplish this feat. There is a need to realize that not all things are within one person’s control. This is actually very good since all gifts, talents, knowledge, or wisdom is found residing in one person. So the first step is to acknowledge that I cannot control everything.
Once a person has made the above acknowledgement, the next step is to determine which things are truly under your control. By clearly identify the aspects of life that you have power and/or authority over, you know where you can focus your time and energy. These are the areas in which you can make an impact. Your decisions, actions, and attention will guide or change the situation. Second step is to name the areas where I have control.
After completing the second step, the goal of the leader or individual is to affect positive influence on those areas. While there are some individuals who relish in exerting negative influence, most people would want their involvement in an area of life to bring about positive results. Often any negative influence is the result of not handling steps one and two listed above. Therefore, the third step is to affect positive influence in the areas where I have control.
Most people stumble on step one so never make it effectively to step two or three. I challenge all of my readers to work on these three steps in their lives. I know for myself, this requires a daily effort.
Image provided by imgarcade.com
One of the joys of my faith is the realization that the Lord is always seeking me out. When you take a moment to think about the concept, it seems almost impossible to comprehend. This week I am spending time looking at a passage in Ezekiel. In this passage, the Lord says that God will seek out God’s sheep (people) by looking for them endlessly wherever they have scattered. This specific reference was in regards to the scattering of the Hebrews during their exile and being overthrown by many nations. Yet, it speaks to me even now. For it reminds me that when I go astray and get lost in my life, the Lord will seek me out.
What a great comfort! For this tells me that even when I do not realize how off-track and lost I have become, the Lord will always seek me out. There are many times in life when we get so caught up in the day-to-day that we can lose sight of the path we should be on. There are times when we think we are heading the right way but because our internal GPS is not working, we actually are getting lost.
I am glad that the Lord is my shepherd who comes looking for me and will bring me back.
I have been thinking lately about the value of having a dream. It doesn’t matter what age a person might be. Over time your dream may change but it is still important to have a dream. So I found this song and felt it fit for Music Friday.
Image provided by flowerthrower.wordpress.com
Well, this week it has become evident that winter is eager to arrive. Most of this week has been filled with cold winds and snow flurries. There is talk that this weekend will produce the first significant amount of snow in our area. I must confess that I like the winter weather less every year. Today as I was walking back from the local coffee shop, the wind was blowing strongly against me and the cold seemed to be penetrating every piece of clothing that I am wearing. I often say that the wind always makes the cold of winter seem so much worse.
As I sat in my warm office after returning, I spent some time thinking about the cold wind. I thought about the biting feeling of that cold wind. I pondered the way that it I struggle to move forward against that wind and the extra energy that I exert because of it. These thoughts caused me to reflect upon the “cold winds” of life; those individuals and situations that seem to bite at me and cause me to struggle. I believe that this can also be witnessed in the lives of organizations; the “cold winds” that make forward progress seem very difficult.
Whether we are talking about the cold winds of winter weather or the cold winds of life, the important thing to do is to insure that you have someone who can “warm” you up. Just as wrapping up in a blanket on a snowy and windy night can bring warmth and comfort to your body, having friends and family who can wrap around you during the cold periods of life are invaluable. Facing the cold becomes more bearable if you are assured that there is something or someone in your life that can bring you warmth.
I am grateful that the Lord has provided me warmth in life by those who have become a part of my life. I am grateful that the Lord provides me an endless source of warmth through the Lord’s love.
One of the pitfalls that many organizations and individuals encounter is that they can easily become too risk averse. What I mean by that is too often the fear of failure or a desire not to lose what has already been gained can lead organizations and individuals from avoiding taking on risk. In order for movement or change to occur, there is some level of risk which must be assumed. However, too often in the culture of today, people run the opposite direction from anything which appears to be “risky.”
Now let me be clear, taking haphazard risks is never a good idea. Yes, on rare occasions this approach may still lead to success but that is the exception, not the norm. However, taking on some level of calculated risk is frequently necessary if progress is going to occur. Progress means heading off of the status quo. Whenever a person or organization moves from status quo, there is automatically some risk which is assumed. The amount of risk being assumed and for what purposes must be measured and a decision regarding those items must be made.
Probably the greatest risk that people want to avoid is the risk of failure. We tend to have a strong aversion to failure. No one ever really likes to fail but failure can be a valuable learning tool. If we fail and learn from that failure, we will grow and it can help us to progress in the areas of success. Failure is truly only negative when we do not learn from those failures and we repeat the same actions or decisions which caused us to fail. (Unfortunately, institutions often struggle to learn this.)
This whole process of thought came about during the study of a passage from the Bible which I am doing today. So I encourage you to read Matthew 25:14-30. I also encourage you to explore being a little more risky.
One of the most difficult things to do is to write, speak, or perform without a clear sense that there is an audience. Feedback has a huge influence upon a person’s abilities. There are positive and negative forms of feedback. However, no feedback is much worse than even negative feedback. A writer, speaker, or performer has a desire that the message they are trying to communicate is being received by at least someone. Feedback gives reason for the person to continue in the communication.
As a writer of this blog, I have the advantage of a tool that allows me to see when my blog posts are viewed and by how many viewers. Each day before I begin to write my post, I look at those statistics. This is a great tool but it still lacks the level of feedback that I would enjoy so much. I intended that this blog be a way to engage in conversation. There are a few posts which have elicited some comments but those are fairly infrequent. I interpret that as either meaning I am not provided content that others wish to engage with or that not many people are actively reading my posts.
As a speaker, I have the same need to have feedback. I need to know that I am effectively communicating a message. I hope that what I am speaking about would be a catalyst for discussion. Feedback and engagement would indicate that someone is actually listening and I am communicating on a level that makes sense. Only through feedback am I able to make adjustments if my communication is missing the mark.
Every writer, speaker, or performer who is desiring to excel in their form of communication, craves feedback. At performances, the audience provides feedback through applause. Speakers receive feedback when people either engage in questions or comments during or after the speech. Writers of blogs seek feedback by comments.
So, I ask you…… is anybody out there?