Archive for the ‘Choices’ Tag

Rudderless Ship   2 comments

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Image provided by

For those of you who are leaders, let me tell you how vitally important your role is in whatever organization that you lead.  There are many times leaders feel that they work goes unnoticed.  I would say that this does occur at times.  A leader can easily become discouraged when it appears that they are not able to make much of a difference.  So let me start this post by saying to you, do not feel you are not having a positive impact.  An organization without leadership is an organization which is bound to fail.

I have recently become acutely aware of this reality.  I am observing an organization which is currently without a central leader.  This organization is going through challenges which is somewhat normal when a leader is not present.  Whenever this occurs, there are a few ways the organization can go.  The key to the future success of the organization is which choice the members make.  Right choices will allow sustainability until a new leader is identified.  Wrong choices can easily spell doom for the organization.

One of the choices in responses could be that there is a division of leadership and people carry through on their commitments.  This choice can be successful in the interim.  The key to this choice is clear division of responsibilities, consistent communication, and trust.  Those who take on the various leadership roles must be given the freedom to exercise their judgment.  The members must be willing to follow a variety of leaders and honor their leadership in their specific areas.  The benefit to this approach is a sharing of responsibility and an effort to lighten the load.

Another choice which can be made is for one leader to emerge as a temporary leader until a more permanent leader is identified.  The benefit to this approach is that one person is guiding the organization and all members know who to turn to with suggestions, concerns, and problems.  The key to this choice is trust.  The members must trust that the temporary leader will use wisdom in her/his guidance.  The members must then follow that guidance.

A third choice of response would be for no defined leadership to be empowered but instead everyone does what he/she thinks is best.  This often leads to confusion, bickering and power-struggles.  In the vacuum of leadership, various individuals try to assume control and yet no one follows.  There is no one to work toward compromise.  Disagreements and resentful feelings become the order of the day.  Continued fracturing will lead to the ultimate demise of the organization.  The organization truly becomes a rudderless ship.

So leaders, realize what a very important role you play in an organization.  Members, think carefully about how you choose to respond when you are in a period without central leadership.


Should It Stay or Should It Go   Leave a comment

My recent move has given me the opportunity to sort through many boxes, files, and possessions.  I can say that while I do not find this type of work enjoyable, I am somewhat grateful for the push to do something which I should do on a much more regular basis.  My task as I go about this work is to determine one of the following:  should I keep it, should I store it, or should I throw it away.  (Hence, the reason for the title of today’s post.)  For some items, this is a very easy sort but for others it becomes much more difficult.

This process has led to a variety of discoveries….

  1. I need to do a purging of items on a much more regular basis
  2. I need to do a better job of discerning what is important and what is not.
  3. I need to move toward electronic storage of more items at much quicker pace.
  4. There are treasures which I forgot I even had.
  5. My shredder is older than I thought.
  6. I am more sentimental than I care to admit.
  7. I may suffer from a mild case of OCD.
  8. The item you take to storage suddenly becomes the item you wish you had at the house.
  9. This process takes much longer than is desirable.
  10. You sometimes have to create a mess to clean up a mess.
  11. There will be light at the end of the tunnel and if you get through more boxes, there will no longer be a tunnel.

Like many things in life, this type of work can teach you a lot.  I would like to hear from you, my readers, about your experiences in a process like this.  Also, if you have any tips on how to reduce possessions, please feel free to pass those along.

Last, I want to share the song with you that is now running through my head because of this post.

Life changes   13 comments

Image provided by

Image provided by

Well, it is time for me to get back on track.  The move is completed, many of the boxes are unpacked, and I am starting to develop a new daily routine.  So it is time for me to get back to writing on a regular basis.  For those who have missed my blog posts, you will be glad to see my return.  For those who have not realized that it has been over two weeks since I posted, hopefully you will become more regular in reading my posts.  For those who read but do not comment, I hope that you start commenting because my goal is to create a dialogue on here.

What a roller coaster ride the last few weeks and months have been.  Some of you know that I have gone through (and continue to go through) significant life changes.  There have been some very positive moments, some very challenging moments, and some very confusing moments.  I have received support through these changes and am very grateful for all those who have given words of encouragement, hugs, and on-going support.  I have also received negative comments and had to deal with rumors and lies.  Throughout all of this however is the reality that I continue to move forward day-to-day and my faith provides a undergirding that carries me throughout.

Whenever a person experiences significant changes in their lives, the person is faced with a few choices of how to manage those changes.  One choice is to feel defeated and retreat within themselves, a giving up on life.  Another choice is to recognize the sources of support that are available and use that support to make it through each positive and negative change.  Still another choice is to ignore the true impacts of change so that you can fake your way through each day.  As I mentioned before, I have the honor of having a strong support system.  So the choice that I have made during this time of transition is to recognize the sources of support available to me and use that support to handle the impacts of change.

Changes may appear to be drastic and sudden.  However, change is something which is ongoing and the seeds of change are planted long before the actual change takes place.  When we witness change in someone’s life, we can often wrongly assume that it was drastic and sudden.  In reality, outside of catastrophic events, most change has been an ongoing process.  People respond to change in other people’s lives in very differing ways.  Each of us have to determine what to share with others and when to share it when change is occurring in our own lives.  What I have found is that unfortunately other people can sometimes want to know all the details of change in a another person’s life and when they do not receive those details, they create their own theories which they can believe to be the truth.  When this occurs, rumors, false statements, and judgment soon follow.  This can be very hurtful and often times very inaccurate.  So my suggestion to all who read this blog is to realize that individuals make decisions regarding what to share and to whom to share information about their own lives with others.  Respect those decisions.  Do not spend time guessing at or creating your own rationales for changes in other individuals’ lives.  Even if you do choose to create scenarios or rationales for change, keep those to yourself.  This is how we respect one another.

So, a rather long first post after a hiatus.  What I want to communicate the most to you today is that I am grateful for the support and love that has been expressed to me through my transition.  I want to thank the Lord for always being there and helping me to face each day not with a sense of defeat but a sense of acceptance for what the day may hold.  I want to remind us all that respecting one another and supporting one another even when we do not know the details is paramount and I believe honors the second greatest commandment that the Lord has given to us, “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

Proper Priorities   Leave a comment

Calgón... Llévame

Calgón… Llévame (Photo credit: Daquella manera)

I’m back!  Sorry that I did not post last week but some family needs required my time and effort last week.  I made the decision to focus on those needs and the urgent needs of work.  This meant something had to take a back seat and I chose to let my blog posts take that back seat.  This was not due to my perception that my regular posts are not of value but instead a decision that some aspects of life had a higher priority last week.

This has led me to think about the difficulty some of us have in setting priorities.  We can all agree that there is never enough time or energy to meet all the demands we have in life.  Leaders know this reality all too well.  In fact, most of us would agree that there are times when these demands overwhelm us.  We all want to scream the phrase that was made popular in a television advertisement many years ago, “Calgon, take me away!”  So setting priorities is a must for almost every individuals, whether you are a leader or not.

It has been said that you can determine what is important in a person’s life by knowing how she/he spends her/his resources of time and money.  It is true that there is never going to be “enough” in most of our views but it is also true that there is definitely “enough” for what we find to be important.  So how we choose our priorities should be based upon what we find important in our lives.

I think that one of the issues that we have in society is that people have not been taught the value of setting priorities.  There are so many options in the world and so many opportunities.  Some individuals try to do it all.  The truth is that we are not able to do it all.  So we have to determine what our priorities for this time in our lives are going to be.  We have to keep those priorities always at the forefront of our minds.  They should guide us continually.  This way when we are overwhelmed with demands and opportunities, we are able to make appropriate decisions.  One of my mentors continually encourage me to make sure that I am including in my priorities those things which give me energy.  The reason is that there may be items in our priority list that are necessary but do not give us energy.  If all of our priorities are in that category, we will not have the energy to accomplish any of them.

So, I again apologize for not posting last week.  However, I do not apologize for setting what I view as proper priorities for my life at this time.

Amid the Blessings   Leave a comment

Garden with some tulips and narcissus

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.

Brand Loyalty   3 comments

English: Hostess Twinkies. Yellow snack cake w...

English: Hostess Twinkies. Yellow snack cake with cream filling. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There is much talk about how brand loyalty no longer exists in our society.  If you watch the behavior patterns of individuals, you can easily come to this conclusion.  Perhaps a rare exception recently is in regard to Hostess and the demise of the Twinkie.  However, I am sure that the concern was not so much about losing the Hostess brand but more about losing a piece of our childhood.  But we all move on and the tragedy of the Twinkie will not remain in our thoughts very long down the road of life.  So I was thinking this morning about what it means that brand loyalty seems to have lessened, or maybe gone away completely.

I think that the reduction of brand loyalty is connected to two chief realities.  The first is the reality of an increase in readily obtainable choices.  There was a time when you walked into a store and you had two or maybe three choices for a certain product.  This is no longer the case.  Now you can choose from five or six choices in the store or hundreds of choices on-line.  So you can choose based on your personal preferences, which product has the latest “upgrades,” or whichever you see advertised the most.  The choices are endless and sometimes overwhelming.  So you can try something and if it does not meet your expectations, you can choose another brand.  You have limited investment in either so it relies solely upon your taste.

The second impact on brand loyalty is our disposable existence.  We live in a world where everything is viewed as disposable.  I have noticed in many people’s lives how they have much less concern on how they use a product because they know they can throw it away and buy a new one usually within a day.  With this approach, a person develops a view that does not focus on longevity but replaceability.  With most of life being easily replaced, there is not a sense of loyalty to much of anything.  As we see companies come and go, we do not expect any company to have longevity so we do not invest a sense of loyalty.

I believe that this lack of brand loyalty also creeps into the Christian church.  The brand of a denomination carries less and less weight in people’s lives.  There used to be a time that you were part of a certain denomination from birth to death.  While you may have changed congregations within that denomination, you did not change denominations.  This is no longer the case.  People easily switch from denomination to denomination (or non-denominational) in a very easy manner.  There are varieties of reasons for making a switch which may include:  disagreement with a denomination’s stance on a subject, disagreement with the leadership of a congregation or denomination, dislike of a worship style, marriage, ease of access, or a multitude of other excuses.  I think the ease of these transitions are due in part to the decline of brand loyalty.

So what does this mean for leaders?  Whether you are a leader in a company or a leader in the church, I think this is definitely something that warrants discussion.  The days of brand loyalty continue to fade.  How are we going to respond?  What difference does it make regarding how we approach inviting individuals to choose our product or our congregation?  How much energy do we place in maintaining the integrity of our brand?

Blowing In The Wind   2 comments

English: Dried and colored leaves on Ringstraß...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today is a fairly breezy day where I live and work.  As I looked out my office window this morning, I watched leaves blowing down the street.  Watching led me to think about how easy it appears that the leaves just move down the street with what seems to be no effort on their part.  It is almost like watching a dance or ballet as they glide and then every once in a while do a flip or tumble move.  How effortless it all appears without any cares holding them down.

Then I stopped to think that they do not have any control.  They do not control the direction which they go.  They do not control when they move and when they stop.  They cannot avoid danger, like a car that may be coming down the street.  The leaves are completely at the mercy and the action of the wind.  So while little effort is required, the trade is no decision-making power.

While I observed all of this taking place, the thought came into my mind that some people are like the leaves.  Some people choose a direction in life that will require little effort on their part but has significant consequences as a result.  These individuals let others control where they go, how they think, and what their future might be.  They relinquish significant decision-making power to others in an attempt to avoid having to put in the effort of self-determined living.

This is not how we were created.  The Creator chose to give us the abilities to think and reason through life.  The Creator gave us gifts to use in life that would help us shape our own futures and to avoid dangers.  The Creator never intended us to be controlled by others but instead to be a blessing to others.  The Creator did not even dictate that we must do exactly what was laid out for us at the point of our creation.  Instead, we choose to follow the direction of the Creator.  We choose to live our lives within the boundaries of the Creator’s design.  Now this means that life is going to take effort.  We have to put in the effort to learn, to grow, to study, to listen, to do.

So I encourage myself and all people to not be blowing in the wind like the dry leaves in the street, instead put in the effort to live life.  Put in the effort to learn and grow and make your own decisions.  Put in the effort to determine your path and who you will follow.  The end result is much more rewarding.