This is the starting blocks on a powerful series called 'From this Day Forward' that I just did at Phos Community Church. One of the greatest things for yourself and your future is to build a great marriage. I built this series using the framework of Craig and Amy Groeschel's book called, From This Day Forward. [ 2014 Zondervan Publishing ]
Deer are running rampant in our nehghborhood nearly all the time these days and this year they chewed the tops of nearly every plant in our garden. Some of those plants didn't produce much and yet there is a patch of volunteer cherry tomatoes in a flower bed out front that still managed to produce some amazing fruit.
There is a secret to remaining productive, joyful and bearing good fruit no matter who or what chews on you!
Check out this video to learn more!
I'd love to hear how you've learned to remain productive and positive even when negative people and circumstances try to chew the life out of you!
I'm guessing that If I asked you, 'Who's choosing your priorities and managing your to-do list' that you'd fire back instantly that 'I AM!' Hopefully that's true, but is it really?
Did you build a meaningful plan of action for your day or are you just letting your inbox, social media cravings, or feelings choose what you do next? My bet is that your inbox, feelings, text messages, and ads popping up your screen dictate most of your actions throughout the day. And, at the end of day, you may not have completed anything that is of vital importance to your life's purpose or mission.
And, I know this from too much personal experience. It's called the 'Tyranny of the Urgent' and it stalks our priorities and zaps our energy and leaves us breathless and exhausted but not fulfilled. There's a little booklet by the name of 'Tyranny of the Urgent' that helps us understand the power and the path to proper priorities. It's a quick read and I hope you'll read it soon.
Here's a quote from that booklet: "Prayerful waiting on God is indispensable to effective service. Like the time-out in a football game, it enables us to catch our breath and fix new strategy. As we wait for directions, the Lord frees us from the tyranny of the urgent. He shows us the truth about Himself, ourselves, and our tasks. He impresses on our minds the assignments He want us to undertake. The need itself is not the call; the call must come form the God who knows our limitation. “The Lord pities those who fear Him. For He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust” (Psalm 103:13-14). It is not God who loads us until we bend or crack with an ulcer, nervous breakdown, heart attack, or stroke. These come from our inner compulsions coupled with the pressure of circumstances."
"It is not God who loads us until we bend or crack with an ulcer, nervous breakdown, heart attack, or stroke. These come from our inner compulsions coupled with the pressure of circumstances."
And, although that little booklet is dated, it's still powerful and helpful in helping us prioritize our lives.
But, for today, let me suggest six simple steps to help you live on purpose and be sure that you are tackling a prioritized timely task list than gains ground on the objectives you have chosen for yourself.
1. Remember what it is that you truly want to accomplish with your life.
You only get one life and wasting your time, energy and talents- your life, is not an option. Steven Covey said it this way, 'Begin with the end in mind."
If you have trouble knowing what your priorities should be it's because you've forgotten what your main aim is or maybe you've never taken time to figure that out. You believe that you're simply too busy doing 'stuff' that you cannot afford the luxury of a well-thought out purpose statement or at least a grand dream of something you hope to accomplish with the life you've been blessed with.
2. Take a few minutes to do a 'brain dump' of everything that you have to do today.
It has to be written down or at least typed into a list on your word processor. Every single thing that you can think of goes on this list. If you don't dump it ALL out on paper your brain will remain cluttered and jumbled and unable to do anything but respond to the next squeaky wheel for jumping squirrel flitting through the nearest screen. You'll stay stuck, you'll feel unsettled and 'lost' and you'll waste another day. So, do it now, grab a sheet of paper and write every single thing down that is on your mind. EVERYTHING. Yes, 'buy toilet paper', 'walk the dog', 'call mom', 'feed the turtle' -- EVERYTHING. I'm gonna wait for you to that. When you've done it then come back to this screen.
I'm waiting ..........
I'm still waiting ........
DO IT NOW!
.......hmmmmmmmm, did you do it? If yes, proceed, if not go back and read #2 and don't pass this until you've done it! I mean it. If you pass this point without doing #2 then all the curses ever invoked for not passing on an email forward or failing to respond to needy facebook post asking if you're really a friend ... will ALL HAPPEN TO YOU AT ONCE BEFORE THE SUN SETS TODAY!
NOW, that's better. Don' you feel better now. At least you can SEE all that crappolla that your brain has been trying to sort out and you know what you've felt overwhelmed and confused about what to do next and you've just been resorting to letting others hijack your day by sending you emails and texts and calling you incessantly. So, now that you've got it all on paper -- you did do it didn't you? If you didn't you're gonna be bitten by the fleas of a thousand camels while you sleep tonight.
3. NOW that you have a list let's do this with it ...
A. Circle the items that will move you toward your ultimate purpose.
B. Underline the ones that your boss, wife or authority in your life deems important for you to do.
C. Scratch out anything that you no longer wish to do for whatever reason and as you do, say something to yourself like this, " Mr/Mrs brain I know that you've been thinking about doing this but I'm deciding today that I no longer choose to do this, so mr/mrs brain I want you to accept my wisdom on this and leave me alone about this item from now on. I simply want this item to leave my mental radar and leave me with peace and white space to work on more important/fun/vital/interesting and life giving tasks. Thank you. That is all." This is called a mental negotiation and if you don't do this your brain may think that you're not serious and then keep bugging you.
4. Now, beside each Circled and Underlined 'thing' write an A, B, or C.
A means 'this is important to me and I choose to do it today.' B means, I will do this if I have time but it's not mission critical and there is no deadline attached to it that impacts me or someone I'm responsible to. C means, I'm gonna push this one back and think on it. I may choose to move this on to another day's list, but I may also choose to toss it in the trash can and never think of it again.
[ It's vital that you develop a mind-frame of accepting responsibility for what you prioritize with A, B, or C and what you scratch out. This act of taking responsibility gives you great power in choosing how you will use this one life you've been given. The moment your brain objects with something like, 'I HAVE TO DO ........' then it's your job to shut that down and reframe it immediately. You don't 'have to do' anything. You don't even have to do stuff your boss wants you to do -- you may get fired but you don't have to do it. Until you accept responsibility for what you choose to do, when you choose to do it and how you choose to do it you will play the role of a victim and you'll continue to feel overwhelmed and helpless and victimized. And, you'll wallow in self pity and doubt and wander around in a mental fog like a zombie. And, IT'S YOUR OWN FAULT BECAUSE NOW YOU KNOW THE TRUTH. The truth only sets you free if you take action on that truth. ]
Now, pay attention to the A's and add a number beside each one like A1, A2, A3 -- this is your chosen order of action. You'll choose tackle these items in that order. There are differing opinions on whether to tackle the super easy stuff or super hard stuff first. For now, I'll leave that for another post, but I'm just glad we've gotten this far!
Now, take your A list and enter them into you calendar system. Estimate how much time you need for each and then enter them in order of priority.
5. When you're ready to roll and tackle your A list this is a vital step -- shut down every distraction yo possibly can and put your head down and WORK!
Set your timer for 50 minutes and go as hard as you can -- and, this is vital -- DO NOT CHECK YOUR EMAIL OR SOCIAL MEDIA OF ANY KIND or you'll be sucked back into that priority and life sucking vortex of OPP -- Other Peoples Priorities -- and you won't complete what you've already chosen as important. At fifty minutes take a break and do something physical, get a drink of water, walk, stretch and then come back and reset for another fifty minutes of production. If you can knock our two or three rounds like this today you're productivity and results will be way above what you've been doing sitting at a desk for eight hours surfing social media and responding to emails and texts and playing some cool game on your latest gizmo.
6. Get as many As and Bs done as you can and then call it a day. Give yourself a break. Tomorrow morning, pick up your list and build a new one and repeat.
Hope this helps. I'd love to know if it did!
Also, if you have ideas to add just let me know.
Have a super ON PURPOSE Day! You'll enjoy it a lot more and feel a sense of accomplishment because you're living life on purpose!
Here's to your highest success,
"WHEREVER YOU GO, THERE YOU ARE." Calvin Hibbard, my 7th Grade Teacher
Mr Hibbard was the perfect middle school teacher for me. He was witty, he knew his stuff, but most of all he loved his students -- including me. A saying that he used a lot was, 'Wherever you go, there you are' and for whatever reason that really stuck with me.
Mr. Hibbard's maxim is a simple yet powerful reminder that when you are with others the greatest gift you can bring to the table is you. Be all there! Be fully present. Lean in. Take notes. Ask questions. Think deeply and bring the best you've got to the table. Those who do are outstanding and they get noticed for being the solution bringers and rain makers that life giving teams need to change the world. The half present or 'not quite all in' people create drag on the mission, the team and the moment.
I'm trying to practice this more these days. Especially after reading that this is one of the traits of people who make the biggest positive impacts on their teams, their dreams, on others and on the world. I'm practicing being 'all there' [ or 'here' as the case may be!! LOL ]
A few practical things I'm doing:
1. Working on establishing a morning routine that gets me going and fully organized for the day ahead.
2. Aggressively managing my calendar, appointments, meetings and social functions so that I have enough 'white space' around them that they don't 'bleed' onto each other and make a mushy stew of everything I do.
3. Eating better so that my attention and focus are as clear as they can be. I'm experimenting with eliminating bread and sugar as much as possible and selecting a few high caliber supplements, caffeine sources and foods packed with mirocnutrients for fuel. This seems to be working....
4. Taking time to exercise daily. Julie and I walk at least 3 miles every morning usually before the sun is up and it's a great time to connect and be 'all there' with her. And, it gets my body going. In addition to walking, I'm doing a Yoga class with her weekly. [ before you 'call me out' about practicing some eastern mysticism, I don't. I do the physical aspects of yoga and tune my mind to prayer and scripture and being still with God - that is my 'meditation' during yoga class. So, I'm taking every thought captive and marching it in front of Jesus and asking Him if this is what I should be thinking about. Yep, I'm doing all that while I'm getting a really powerful, life-giving workout! ]
5. Either leaving my phone in the car or my computer bag with the ringer off. Or, at least setting it to airplane mode during face to face meetings. Nothing says, 'I'm not here and I don't really care about what we are working on together like having your phone shattering the thought train every 90 seconds." So, shut it down or put it away and silence it and be all there. That shows respect and honor to your team and to your mission. It allows you to be all there.
6. Leaning in, taking notes, asking questions -- these are called 'attending behaviors' and I 'attend' whatever meeting I'm in with all the energy I can bring so that we can get the most done possible with the least hassle possible. One of the greatest time and energy wasters I've encountered is people who are 'half way there' in a vital meeting who leave without a clear sense of what they need to accomplish and then they are looping back to those of us who got our carcass, our mind and our soul all into the same room and really leaned in to ask questions about what they should have already made notes on and taking care of. So lean in, take note and take responsibility to take care of the commitments and priorities that you and your team worked out in that meeting.
7. In social settings 'be all there' by being interested in others and asking lots of open ended questions and then listening really well. This will pay off big time in the connections and impressions made. As my son, Josh, says 'It's the hands you shake and not just the grades you make that determine your destiny." If you are half-there you'll make exactly the wrong impression and this adage will actually work against you.
So, wherever you go, there you are! Practice being 'all there' and see what a difference it will make.
I'd love to hear how this works for you or if you have stories, thoughts and ideas about the concept of 'being all there.'
Here's to YOUR Highest Success,
The larger the team that you lead and the higher the stakes the more strategic thinking time you need to carve out. Not just a few minutes here and there, but chunks of time for deep processing and to get clear about the issues that your enterprise is facing. At the end of the day the most important thing you can do for your team is to have a clear headed approach for the challenges that are coming at you faster than ever.
I know that the leadership adage, 'I won't ask my team to do anything that I wouldn't do' seems to make sense and the sentiment of that statement is spot on. That is, you're wiling to do whatever it takes to help you team win. However, most of the time the best thing you can do is to give every single thing away that anyone else on your team can do. [ And, if it's not a mission critical task then they don't even have to do it as well as you.... ] When you get down to what only you can do and carve our deep processing time you and your team win big time!
Failure to plan well or to consider new solutions will cripple your results and you could even grind your team into the ground heading down the wrong path if you aren't super clear about what your team needs to be doing now.
Deep processing may include changing locations so that you can gain new perspective. 'New places - new perspectives.'
It may include large stretches of solitude and silence. Perhaps journaling of some sort. White boards or chalk boards for visual processing. Brainstorming software like Novamind or just a good old fashion sketch pad [ this one if my favorite because it's visual, portable, easy to work with and I'm a kinesthetic learner so the touch of the paper just makes it easier for me to process. [ when I am done with a sketch pad session that I want to archive electronically I take a photo of the sheets and drop it into Evernote ]
So, leader, amp your team's results by getting out of the office and away from distractions so that you can think about what and where and how and who and when related to your life and enterprise. It will bring more results than you an imagine.
You simply cannot afford not to take time for strategic thinking.
Here's to your Highest Success,
What would you do if you knew you could not fail?
Dr Dave Martin [ http://davemartin.org/ ] hosted a Periscope last night about overcoming failure and I thought this was a brilliant statement: 'You can either learn from mentors or mistakes.' He also stated that everyone who is uber successful has a coach and that having a coach compresses your learning curve time and minimizes the pain of costly of mistakes.
Some believe that the best way to learn is by trial and error. The challenge with that thinking is that you only have so much 'gas in the tank' to run trials on your ideas until you are left on empty dragging a gas can down the highway. There's a better way. Find someone who has done what you are trying to do and learn from them. Buy their time if you must and ask tons and tons of questions. The answers you get could save you a dozen years and a million bucks or even more.
Tony Robbins [ tonyrobbins.com ] calls those little answers that change the game, 'distinctions' and those are the keys that unlock the handcuffs that could be holding you back. We can grow faster and get more done than we thought possible if we will find the right coaches and be coachable -- i.e. do what they tell you to do, how they tell you to do it, when they tell you to. No, I'm not saying that you have to be a robot but you don't always have to re-create the wheel to become successful. You can borrow success hacks from those who have gone before and duplicate their results. However, the further you 'innovate' from their original pattern of success the more you are wining it by trial and error. Your choice -- lots of time and pain to arrive at a thriving solution or platform or get lots of coaching and secure a team of wise advisors and you can minimize your learning curve and pain and amp your odds of the success you are aiming at.
When I planted a new church I spent years reading books by people who weren't church planters but who had cool ideas about how things should be done and I got our launch team to buy into those same ideas and we almost killed our new church on the jagged rocks of theory based thinking. It took some time to get our team re-directed into reading and learning from successful church planters and leaders who had done/were doing what we wanted to do. And, it took me nearly five years of blood, sweat and tears before I found a solid team of practitioners who would welcome me into their tribe and accelerate our efforts and help us become more successfully than we could have ever been without a team of mentors .
The biggest mistake that I was making was reading and taking cues from books and authors who hadn't really done what they theorized and listening too much to the volunteers on our launch team who assumed that they knew all about how to launch a church and help her succeed because we had all been in church for most our our lives. So, we assumed that we automatically knew what it would take to reach our full potential as a church. That simply wasn't true and those two things almost cost us the entire enterprise. And, that mistake, was fully mine as a leader.
The shift came when I realized what was happening and I stumbled into the coaching and experienced team of people to learn from over a lunch with the Campus Pastor of Seacoast Dream Center a few years ago. Thanks Sam Lesky! Your conversation in a Mexican restaurant in North Charleston probably saved Phos Community Church!!
The crew that I found is called the 'Association of Related Churches' that was founded by Gregg Surratt, the innovative pastor of Seacoast Church in Charleston, South Carolina. [ ARCchurches.com ] and then once I was learning from the team of other pastors affiliated with the ARC I met Matt Keller [ http://mattkelleronline.com/ ] and the crew Next Level Coaching including Darian Rains and Kyle Jackson. Learn more about Next Level Coaching here: http://nextlevelchurch.com/coaching
The coaching I have received from Matt Keller, Darian Rains, and Kyle Jackson over the past couple of years has accelerated my growth as a leader and the growth of our church in dramatic ways. To go further faster choose great coaches!
There may not be a shortcut to success but it sure feels like it when you have great coaches sharing success hacks and strategies with you and keeping you from doing 'stupid stuff' that hurts you and your organization.
Here's to YOUR Highest Success,