Tag Archives: busyness

Three Little Words This Christmas

Christmas is such a wonderful time – the opportunity to see family, to celebrate the holiday and to enjoy musicals, parades, movies and an ever-present cup of hot cocoa. However, far too often we are sucked in by the hustle and bustle and find ourselves running from one activity to the next without the opportunity to truly enjoy any of the experiences.

Crazy singing Christmas House

This year, may I encourage you to employ three little words with great regularity? “No, thank you” can be so empowering, so freeing, so liberating for you and your family this month. You don’t need to stand in every retail line for that one item that will most likely be broken or lost by January. You don’t need to attend every version of the living Nativity, nor does every street filled with Christmas lights need to be seen.

It is really not crucial to say yes to every opportunity presented to you in celebrating Christmas. Saying “no, thank you” allows you to drink cocoa with your kids – to sit on the couch and watch Charlie Brown and his Christmas tree. It allows for story time and Christmas dreams and family game night.

The pressure is enormous and I completely understand. However, I believe that practicing “no, thank you” more than “yes, absolutely” will provide for a much better family Christmas experience. Relationships and memories that last will happen better in the moments of serenity than in the craziness of retail shopping.

Have a merry Christmas season and no, thank you, I am not able to attend your seasonal party!

~ Mike

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5 Ways to Accomplish Your Goals

Most of us have somewhere to go – on a daily basis, we are crazy busy. Wake up, eat, exercise, get ready, journal, get the kids ready, school, work, homework, dinner, activities, bedtime craziness, fall asleep and do it all over again!! Wow, it can be tiring just thinking about how full our days are. But what are we actually doing? Is there any purpose to the routine or is it more survival than thriving? What is the motivation and goal for all of the activities?

Death_to_stock_communicate_hands_9

We won’t ever know where we are going or what we are doing unless we have goals to accomplish. We need goals personally, for our family, for work and even for recreation. But it’s one thing to have goals and quite another to accomplish. So, here are five thoughts about how to see the completion of the goals in your life.

1.Write them down – it is very challenging to accomplish goals that are not written down and kept in front of us. It doesn’t really matter how you write them down, but make sure they are kept in a place that is easily accessible and visible. Post-it notes on the mirror, whiteboard at work, notes app on your phone…the possibilities are endless. No matter the style, taking time to write down your goals will put you ahead of the crowd.

2. Make them clear, measurable and memorable – have you ever written down a reminder and been so vague that you couldn’t remember what the reminder was about? Not a good plan for goals. Make sure they are clearly written and you can measure them. Saying you will exercise is a dream…saying you will exercise by running for thirty minutes every morning is a measurable goal. And some added advice…make them memorable. Use rhymes or other word tricks to remember the goals you have.

3. Plan little steps to get there – news flash…you won’t accomplish your goals tomorrow! This might seem unnecessary, but often we become fixated on the goals and become discouraged when they don’t happen soon enough. It might take a thousand steps to see the completion of a goal, but each little step has its place and is important. See the steps, plan the steps and enjoy each step while you are there. Don’t become so fixated on the big goal that you forget to enjoy the moment of the little steps!

4. Start today – so you’ve thought of your goals, written them down and even discovered the many little steps needed along the way. Now just go for it! Don’t wait until tomorrow or next week or next year. Take one step tomorrow and begin moving forward towards your goals. The longer you wait to begin, the easier it will become to discard the goal and go back to a busy but unproductive life. If you are anything like me, you don’t want to actually go there!

5. Don’t give up! This is the area that I struggle the most with. I become distracted or discouraged or disheartened and walk away from goals. Then, months later, I rediscover where I wrote them down and realize that I need to start all over again. There is a much easier way – just don’t give up in the first place. Take little steps and keep moving forward. Will you experience setbacks and forget to move forward at times?!? Absolutely, but when this happens just head back to step #4 and start again.

So, how are you with goals? Do you have some written down? Are you making progress or do you need to discover some little steps to get closer to accomplishment? Wherever you are in the journey, it’s well worth the extra work to write down your goals…as a great leader once said to me, if you aim for nothing, you will hit it every time!

~ Mike

4 Keys to Being a Great Leader

Audacious, I know! I mean really…how can I claim to know the secret to great leadership? What I know personally is more about how to not lead with greatness. Allowing things such as busyness and control and lack of confidence and minimal discipline to waylay the greatest of plans and dreams.

abstract office space

It is far too easy to have our lives begin to look like this desk – cluttered and scattered and non-productive. Instead of remaining here, I have spent years studying other leadership greats…both personally and through books and conferences. There seem to be some common traits of the great leaders, so let me share four of them with you here.

  1. It actually is all about the little things! Great leaders, even if this is not natural, understand that details matter. Details allow for follow through to happen, details provide the momentum for big projects to finish, details show value to the people involved. Consider the leader who knows and acknowledges your birthday versus the leader who forgets your name…which one has greater influence on your life in a positive way?
  2. Great leaders carry a compelling vision with them that nothing can minimize. Often, those around the leader think they must be crazy or delusional or so busy dreaming that nothing good will come of it. Instead, it is this driving vision that compels leaders to greatness because they can envision accomplishing something that nobody else can see…and then they are able to both share the vision and gain buy in with those they lead.
  3. Play and rest are important to great leaders. Rarely does an effective leader not have downtime. I define great leadership as not only influential but sustainable as well. Leaders without margin who have forgotten how to rest and have fun will burn out and greatly tarnish their influence. Leaders who play and sleep and eat well and value quiet time will remain healthy which allows them to lead longer which results in greater legacy.
  4. Relationships are the most valuable investment for great leaders. It must be more about the people in their lives than the task to be accomplished. Leaders who trample followers in order to win eventually are standing on the podium by themselves, if they even made it there. In stark contrast are leaders who are surrounded  by followers that have been loved and valued and appreciated and encouraged every step of the way. These leaders fill arenas and auditoriums and sanctuaries when they die because everybody felt that they were vitally important to the leader.

So, I have two questions for you to consider today:

First, who are the great leaders in your life that you can learn from and what traits do they exemplify that you desire to mimic in your life?

Second, what kind of a leader are you? Do you find yourself consumed with the task, living unhealthily and hurting people around you…or do you value relationships and seek ways to help those around you shine?

potted plant

With a little bit of practice, you can experience growth and health in whatever environment you are privileged to lead in.

Happy leading!

~Mike

The Necessity of P.E.A.C.E.

I don’t know about you, but it seems far too easy to stress, to worry, to be busy and to finish each day not completely sure what I accomplished but feeling exhausted and worn out. Then, there are the times that my brokenness is revealed and I am angry, irritated, short-tempered or other not so nice emotions.

busy train station

Humanity unchecked seems to embrace the hectic and stressful lifestyle. This can’t be healthy, definitely isn’t ideal, and I couldn’t even describe life like this as fun! So, how in the world should we deal with this propensity to worry?

We all could use a little more peace in our lives – both internally and externally. Maybe less noise, more open calendar space, and even some time to enjoy nature and rediscover who we are.

reading on a couch

So, here are my elements to have PEACE in my life.

PRAY – First, I need to Pray. This involves every aspect of my faith – personal prayer, Bible study, devotions and meditation, engage in church, etc. Without faith, there seems to be a lack of purpose in life. This causes us to join the rat race, battle for every crumb, and lack eternal perspective.

EXPERIENCE GRACE – My life is a wreck, if I am honest. I am mean to people, talk lots of smack on the freeway, have sinful thoughts and in no way am close to perfection. Thankfully, I have a God, family members, and close friends who know all of my flaws but extend grace into my life regardless. I need to experience this grace and I have learned that best happens by extending grace to others. This is typically challenging for me, but I hope I am better at it today than I was yesterday.

ACTIVATE LOVE – So many people talk about love. Love is often minimized to feelings, emotions, or just carnal lust. This completely cheapens the true definition of love. Love activated compels me to look out for others, prefer them, serve them and generally find ways to help others around me get ahead. I need to learn where they want to be and see what I might contribute to their journey. It seems very counterintuitive to advance my own dreams, but that is what true love is all about.

CELEBRATE OTHERS – Jealousy is a complete thief when it comes to peace. If my energy is spent on being envious of others, then I will never be at peace. I will be stressed about the promotion of others, their well-being, and their good fortune. Peace comes as I intentionally choose to celebrate the life of those around me. Whether this is a co-worker, a family member or even somebody I might not know well, everybody knows that a good celebration is a great recipe to experience peace.

EMBRACE LIFE – We all spend far too much time with broken dreams, “what ifs”, and ponderings about what might have been. While I am not a proponent of a lifestyle that has no concern for the future, I do believe more peace will come on the other side of living life to the full. Take a risk, have some fun, laugh more often and live a life that has more adventure than regret. Enjoy family and health and blessing and friends – focus on what you have more than what you might lack and peace will soon enter the scene.

This is not a fool-proof formula and I cannot say that I live each day in perfect peace. However, I have learned that these different components all contribute differently to the daily peace that I so desperately desire.  Hopefully, at least one of them will help you to experience peace on a more regular basis.

~ Mike

Take Time to Eat Donuts

If you are anything like me, it is all too easy to fill up the calendar and to live a life of busyness and distraction. Smartphones chirp all day long and we have bought into the lie that everything is urgent and important. However, if everything is urgent, then actually nothing is urgent, right?

One of my greatest disciplines is the ability to say no, to not jump at every opportunity and to spend quality time with the people who truly matter. Work and church and ministry are all important and I am blessed to be in several places where my influence matters. However, if that is my focus and family comes in last place, then where am I really?

cass donuts        donuts

 

Several months ago, I was heading to softball with one of my girls and we decided that donuts sounded better than cereal! So, we stopped and laughed and told stories and ate donuts. I don’t remember if her team won that day, but I do remember eating donuts together.

Eating Donuts Reminds Me To:

  • Slow down and enjoy the little things
  • Take time with my kids ‘cuz they are growing up fast
  • Enjoy family because family matters
  • Focus on the important things of life and forget the rest
  • Say no to the unimportant so I have time for “yes”

So, how are you doing?

Are you saying “no” in order to say “yes” to what truly matters?            Where does family rank in your priorities?

Maybe it’s time to slow down, look around and eat some donuts…