A Critical Investment Strategy

Photo by Nick Morrison on Unsplash

Investing well is important as we consider and plan for the future. Most often when we think of investing, we are thinking of our financial investments. We are planning for our children’s college plans, their marriages, hedging against unexpected expenses, and for financial security for our latter years. However, our investment plans often do not consider the non-financial aspects of our lives and when we fail to invest in these areas, the financial investing becomes a moot point.

We are relational beings who are designed for and need strong relationships. The impact of good relationships on our mental, emotional, and even physical health has been well documented. As has often been stated, at the end of our time here on earth, it is not the number of hours we spent at the office or our impressive portfolio that we think about—it is the people in our lives. So, the question is, how is our “investment strategy” when it comes to the key relationships in our lives? Are you investing time and attention into your relationship with your spouse, your children, and your key friendships? Is it a high-quality investment?

What is your investment strategy when it comes to your spiritual, emotional, intellectual, and physical health? The importance of a strong financial investment strategy diminishes quite rapidly when we have invested poorly in these other areas of our lives. Do you have an investment strategy for growing spiritually and emotionally? Are you spending time daily in quiet reflection as well as reading in a way that grows you in these areas? Are you becoming a self-managed person where you manage your emotions versus them controlling you?

How are you investing in your intellectual growth? Are you reading well and often? Do you have a plan for how often you will read and what you will read? Are you reading widely and well beyond your profession? Are you consistently challenging your own thinking and correcting it when you find that your preconceived notions are incorrect or when you realize that your thinking patterns are unhealthy?

Finally, to my favorite part (not really)! How are you investing in your physical health? Do you eat in a way that strengthens you? A friend of mine often remarks that he eats to live versus lives to eat. So, are you eating to live and live well? What about that dreaded word—exercise? Do you exercise on a regular basis? I am not talking about becoming a gym rat, but is reasonable exercise a part of your daily routine?

Investing well in our overall life, not just the financial aspect, is vitally important. It is important to those we love, those we serve, those we lead, and to ourselves. Invest well so that you leave a legacy of hope and changed lives.

BG

humility in the workplace – a self-awareness issue

What does “humility in the workplace” mean? Why is it important?

For many, the word humility has many connotations. Some are very positive and some not so positive. It seems some people equate humility to weakness and being a “doormat”. I beg to differ from that view of humility. In true humility, there is great strength.

Regarding humility in the workplace, for me it means – An objective understanding, an awareness, of the strengths a person brings to an organization as well as an objective understanding, an awareness, of their gaps – their weaknesses or gaps in knowledge – thus an understanding of their need for others to be effective.

A proper understanding of humility results in an understanding of people’s need for others to be effective in their role in the organization (and life in general). That understanding should result in someone who greatly values collaboration and understands the need to be a good teammate at work.

Humility in the workplace is not weaknesses – it is a strength and wisdom.

Do you want to be more effective – try some humility at work (works at home as well!)

Have a great day!
BG

 

a life well lived

Jack and Janis Robertson
Jack and Janis Robertson

Last week was quite a week. My last day in the office for Ambassador Enterprises (a great company filled with exceptional people!) to working with some good friends whose company is growing, to packing up my truck for me to drive South. So, not too many posts this past week.

Today (Monday, September 15, 2014) a man of God, a great husband and father, a friend, and a mentor, is being buried in east Texas. Jack Robertson has touched countless lives and many, many people (including me) are better because of his investment into their lives.

Jack’s deep faith in God and his love for his family were immediately evident to those he touched. He was a great businessman and entrepreneur, but business seemed more of a way to meet and serve others than just making a profit. Jack cared deeply about others and served others. His wisdom blessed me in so may ways. With his dry humor and east Texas drawl he would often share simple but profound observations that cut to the heart of the matter and cause you to see things in a totally different light.

I could go on and on, but my feeble words do not do justice to the life of Jack Robertson. Jack Robertson is a man who lived well and he died well. His faith and confidence in Jesus Christ enabled him to face death with calmness and dignity. Jack is now whole again and we rejoice that he is with his Lord, but we mourn the loss of a friend. Bittersweet indeed.

Today, if you would, pause for a minute and pray for his family. Then pause and reflect on your life. Is it a life well lived?

Jack – thank you and I miss you.

BG 

the realist and the idealist

realist and idealist - sinek

which wolf do you feed?

blue sky Lauren AUG 2013With what lens do you look at your life? Is life an adventure or is it something to be endured? The thing is, our attitude, the way in which we view life is our choice. Granted, with some of the terribly difficult backgrounds some have or the trying conditions in which they now live, having a spirit of adventure in life may be incredibly difficult, but it still is a choice that can be made.

I mentioned that I am going back through Gary Keller’s The One Thing Book. in the book he tells the following story:

“One evening an elder Cherokee told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside all people. He said, ‘My son, the battle is between two wolves inside us. One is Fear. It carries anxiety, concern, uncertainty, hesitancy, indecision and inaction. The other is Faith. It brings calm, conviction, confidence, enthusiasm, decisiveness, excitement and action.’ The grandson thought about it for a moment and then meekly asked his grandfather: ‘Which wolf wins?’ The old Cherokee replied, ‘The one you feed.'”

Which wolf are you “feeding” each day? Do you dwell on your fears and feed them? Or do you live life with a mindset of gratitude and faith? Do you feed your faith each day?

Stop and listen to your self-talk; that tape that is continually playing in your head. Is it a tape of faith or one of fear?

Have faith and live as God intended you to.

BG

the pursuit of personal peace

Lauren
Lauren

Today is a guest post from someone very special to me – Lauren Allen, the oldest of our two daughters. “Listen” to what she has to say about something many of us are pursuing – Peace.

Peace…the very word elicits a sense of calm and reminds us to take a deep breath. Peace as defined in Merriam-Webster is a state of tranquility or quiet.

As I write this I am sitting outside on a glorious day, 66 degrees with a slight wind, and to top it all of it’s the beginning of a 3-day weekend. All of these smack of peace.

My question for you is: how do you pursue peace in your own life? In the middle of a busy week with looming deadlines and family obligations, are you at peace? Even better-after a long week if you were to stop and sit, would you be at peace? If peace is a state of tranquility and state means a way of living, are you living at peace? Right now I am not speaking to whether or not you are at peace with people but are you at peace with yourself?

I follow a lot of blogs and at the beginning of the year many of them were picking a word for 2014. Now, I usually run the opposite way when there is a band wagon but this one resonated with me. After wracking my brain for a while I found my word….peace! The last two years of my life have been wrought with anxiety and I have worked so hard to fight the anxiety in my life; I fought it so hard that I had allowed it to control my life.

How do I practice peace? I seek peace personally by assuming all blame and deflecting all blame. Let me explain that paradox.

On most days, I have an excuse for everything, as such I can explain every bad decision or rude comment I make. This, at the base of it, allows me to not be at fault. Yet in the process I can weary people and even cause them to not trust me. In my desire for peace and my belief that people are so vastly important, I have taught myself (note: still teaching) to not come up with an excuse; I need to own my mistakes, even ones with valid explanations.

I also deflect all blame, this may be more for my sanity than actually being nice to people. If someone cuts me off in traffic I automatically think they didn’t see me or their first child is being born and need to get to the hospital. If someone is rude to me at work I try to remember their home life, maybe their kids are a rough week or maybe it’s the anniversary of their spouse’s/kid’s death. In these actions I am made aware that life is so much more encompassing than me alone. This eliminates a great deal of hurt feelings/anger/etc. that threaten the balance of peace in my life that I strive for.

Another thing I do is go on walks outside, especially when I am at work. My office is located on a beautiful property in Southwestern Michigan with many walking trails, which is perfect for exploring. For me personally, being outside calms me down immensely. The beauty of creation reminds me of the Lord’s care for me as well as reminding me that no matter what is going on in my life and the world-the grass will continue to grow, the birds and frogs will live…and life will go on.

I suggest that you do one thing today, at least, that brings you peace. Whether that is a good cup of coffee, a walk outside, a nap, a good book-whatever it may be.

The practice of peace, begets peace.

Lauren Allen  

5 regrets of the dying that could make you a better leader

purple flower - Keely 2013Good morning! Awesome morning here in NE Indiana!

Recently I came across a post online talking about Bonnie Ware’s book The Top Five Regrets of the Dying: A Life Transformed by the Dearly Departing. I can’t speak to the quality of the book as I have not yet read it, but the blog post on the five regrets was gripping.

She had worked for many years in palliative care where she was with people in their last three to twelve weeks of their lives. She spent much of her time talking with them and one subject that came up often was their regrets. Over time she noticed there were five regrets that were the most common:

1.  I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.

2. I wish I didn’t work so hard.

3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.

4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.

5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.

So as a leader, how do these apply to you and those you lead? Let’s look at that question by question:

1. Are you living a life that is authentic? Do you know your calling in life and are you living accordingly? Or are you living a life full of the “fear of man” only trying to curry the favor or approval of others? Are you helping those you lead to discover their calling and helping them to live accordingly? What kind of environment are you building – one that encourages people to grow or one that demands that they please you?

2. Do you derive your sense of value from your work? Does your work take priority over your relationship with God, your spouse, your children, and your friends? How about those you lead? Have you created a “family friendly” environment or do you try to wring every last minute you can from those you lead?

3. Are you more concerned with keeping the peace or image management so that you don’t express yourself fully? Are you too busy being nice (maintaining harmony at the expense of truth) or are you more concerned with kindness (telling people what they need to know – with the right motivation)? How about your team? Do you make it safe for them to be fully honest? Can people really talk to you or are they taking a risk expressing themselves to you?

4. Are you making friends, especially old friends, a priority? Are you allowing a crowded calendar (which is your choice) to crowd out important friendships? We need friends – people that are speaking into our lives and that really know us deeply.

5. Are you making the choice to be happy? It is a choice you know. As has often been said, we most often don’t control our circumstances, but we can choose how we react to hose circumstances. Are you choosing to be joyful;? Are you teaching those you lead how to choose joyfulness? Remember, your mindset is your choice.

Hopefully this has been of some help to you and maybe started you thinking about what is really important in life. I hope that you, and me, start living our lives in a way that reflect day-o-day what is really important.

Would it not be a shame to get to the end of our lives and our nurse hear is saying these same things?

Have a blessed Spring day!

BG

art from a barista

Ken SandeRelational Wisdom is important and Ken Sande has a great website called surprisingly – Relational Wisdom. If you desire to improve your emotional intelligence and to become more effective in working with others, you need to check out this site.

I particularly liked his blog post “Serving a Barista“. In that post he talks bout how to bless others using SERVE:

“SERVE every person you meet”

  • Smile (At home, in the office, at the store; even on the phone, a smile changes the sound of your voice and sends a message of warmth and friendliness)
  • Explore and Empathize (Observe others, ask questions, and show interest and compassion)
  • Reconcile (Be a peacemaker, always ready to reconcile others to you, one another, and to God through the gospel of Christ)
  • Value (Express appreciation and admiration for what others do)
  • Encourage (Give courage and inspire, always leaving others with more “wind under their wings”)

So, I encourage you to check out his site if you want to become more effective in your relationships.

BG

The Consequences of a Silent Lie

It is Friday! Hope you have a great weekend!

Does the following sound familiar? You are sitting in a leadership meeting and the team, led by a strong and persuasive leader, are headed down the path to a decision. It seems everybody is on board with the direction, but you keep having these doubts or “checks” about the wisdom of the decision. To you, there are some important unanswered questions or you have some deep concerns that you believe need to be addressed. Yet, everyone else seems to be on board and not asking questions and you sure don’t want to be the wet blanket on the meeting, so you simply keep quiet and nod in seeming assent as the meeting comes to a close.

You have just lied (a silent lie) and it is to the detriment of your team and organization. I have written before on the Silent Lie before and to read more on it click here.

I was recently told the story of the consequences of a silent lie by some leaders. The team was going down the path of taking an approach to an issue that was quite a new approach for them. There was excitement about the new approach and it looked like a promising answer to a particular challenge within the organization. However, one of the leaders, an important leader, had reservations about the decision and direction, but did not voice them due to the excitement of the other team members.

The result of the decision was not positive. The concerns that the one leader do not voice proved to be valid. The problem was that if he had voiced his concerns, it would have been a simple change that could have been easily worked out in the meeting. However, it later became an issue that involved people and their lives and became messy. The point is that there are very real and serious consequences to the silent lie.

Learn to speak up and voice your concerns – do not be guilty of a silent lie – other people’s live are affected.

BG

Three Things to Consider for Your Formal Communication System

Good morning! I am traveling some this week and having the pleasure of being part of a team that is coming alongside an stream Niles 2013organization that is doing good in the inner city helping them to better manage their organization. Great group of folks. I am writing this sitting on the side of a hotel bed – not the best way to write!

Communication among people is an art and a science and one that is so hard for us to master. Within an organization it gets even more complex. I have found that within an organization you can have people who have good relationships and a fairly strong informal communication process, but you still suffer because there is a weak formal system of communication.

As a leader, you need to establish a robust formal system of communication within your organization. Some things to consider are:

1. Frequency and regularity – people need to be communicated with more often that we as leaders often want to do so. They also need to know that the formal communication will be regular and reliable. If you are supposed to have some type of information meeting every Friday – do it and don’t skip a meeting. Especially don’t skip several meetings.

2. Remember that each of us don’t take in information the same way, some prefer to hear it, some read it, and so on. Therefore, you need to ensure that you are taking advantage of the many and varied mediums or channels that are available to us to communicate more effectively.

3. Say it and then repeat it at least seven times in various fashions. Just because you understand it doesn’t mean your team understands. Research shows that you need to repeat something important at least seven times for people to start geting it. So repeat yourself often and do so in various communication channels.

Be intentional and set up robust formal communication processes to keep your team informed. It is critical to the success of your organization.

Have a great Wednesday!
BG