Let me ask you something this fine Monday morning. Do you feel a sense of fulfillment and contentment right now? Are you excited that it’s Monday and you get to dive into your work?
Or, do you feel a bit overwhelmed, distracted, stressed, and wondering why in the world you are doing what you are doing? Or is that also a perplexing question? Wondering exactly what you it is that you are doing, why you are doing it, and to what good purpose? Is a full night sleep (7-8 hours) a luxury that seldom occurs except maybe – just maybe – on the weekend? Do you feel healthy – soul, mind, emotions, and body? If not, have you stopped to consider why?
Another question – do you have a hard time saying “no”? I do and it has cost me in many ways. As I have been studying this, I have come across many who are dealing with the subject from different angles. People like The Minimalists – Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus, and Greg McKeown, author of Essentialism, Gary Keller, author of The One Thing, and of course many more. Although they come at the issue(s) from different angles, it seems that they are all saying that you can’t have and do it all. You really can’t, but for some reason we think we must – or at least try.
It’s hard saying no to the boss when asked to do one more thing that will keep you at work after hours, it’s hard saying no when asked to be involved in a local charity, and on and on – it’s just hard saying no. In my opinion there are a couple of reasons that seem to stand out above the many other reasons. One is called the Fear of Man – we fear what others will think of us, we fear causing emotional discomfort, we fear being different, and we really fear rejection. Another reason, it’s hard to say no is that we don’t know what it is that we should be about doing with our lives. We haven’t spent time reflecting on our purpose in life and what that looks like in a practical, concrete manner. So it’s hard saying no to something, when we don’t know what it is that we should be saying yes to!
If you really would like a life that is fulfilling, that is content, and that is purposeful – maybe it is time you stopped a bit and reflected on what is your purpose for being on this earth and what is your particular mission in life that fulfills that purpose. A suggestion – take a three day weekend somewhere that allows you to think and not be distracted. Take with you a journal and a couple of good books that you think will help, and then focus on why toy are here and what you are to do.
For me, I find my purpose in the One who created me and in His Word – the Bible. So for me, my overall purpose is to glorify God. My mission is coming alongside leaders who are impacting this world for good, and helping them to become more effective so that they, and the organizations they lead, have an even greater impact on their communities. That’s me – what is your purpose and what is your mission?
Discover those two things and then focus on them like a laser beam. Learn to say no to the things that distract you from your purpose and mission. In doing so, make space for caring for your soul, your mind, your emotions, your body, and especially make time for caring for those you love.
Today you have some choices to make:
1. What attitude/mindset will you choose today?
2. How will you choose to view and treat others around you?
3. What will you work on today? Meaningful but difficult projects or the easier (and plentiful) tasks on your to-do-list?
4. Will you choose to focus solely on tasks or will you choose to spend some time today building and strengthening relationships?
5. Will you choose to help someone today that can’t help you?
5. How will you choose to react to difficult circumstances?
7. Will you choose to grow today?
How today goes is your choice. As my wife tells our daughters, “Make good choices.”
Have a great weekend!
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!
Now is a time for us all to stop and to reflect on what is really important. Tomorrow is Good Friday and then Sunday is Easter or Resurrection Day. For those who profess and follow Jesus, it is the most significant of times.
This is a time to stop and reflect on what is really important and to examine your life in light of this outrageous act of love done for us by our Lord. A great price was paid for you and me. A gift beyond comprehension has been given to you and me.
So, how should we respond? Are you living as someone who is deeply loved by the King of kings? Are you living as someone who is so valuable that the Lamb of God paid such a price for you? Are you showing the love He showed to us to others? Even when they are not lovable?
What we commemorate over these next few days changed the course of history. Has it changed your life?
He is risen! He is risen indeed!
Alarm clock goes off, hit the snooze button, alarm clock goes off, snooze button again.
Rush to get dressed and then, maybe, grab a quick high carb (and sugar) breakfast as you head into the office.
As soon as arrive, you power up your computer and immediately begin checking your email and reacting to them. (OK, you also might have checked Facebook as well).
Then you check your calendar and look at when you will be hopping onto the meeting carousel. In between the meetings are rechecking email, sending email, scheduling more meetings, and making a stab at your to-do list.
In fact, you may even look at your calendar with some pride! Look at how it is full of meetings! My input is needed (and is vital!) to so many people. Why, look at my overflowing inbox, surely that is an indicator of my value to the organization. In fact, I am so busy and vital to the organization that I need to do some (actually a lot) of this at home at night and on the weekend. My family understands because they know how important I am to the organization.
My busyness is surely a testimony to my importance. Right?
One thing seems to be missing – reflection. When did you take time to reflect on what you are doing and why you are doing it? When did you take the time to reflect on your priorities (in all areas of your life) and consider ordering your life around those priorities?
If you don’t take time to truly reflect on what is most important in your life and in your vocation, who is? Are you spending your life merely reacting to the various stimuli in the world around you?
Do you realize that most people spend more time planning their vacation than they do their own lives?
Why not stop long enough to spend some time reflecting on what is most important (at home and at work) and then start acting in a proactive manner that is consistent with well thought out priorities?
It is your choice as to whether you live in a state of reaction to the world around you running frantically to catch up or if you live a life of intentionality based upon well thought out priorities.
Have a blessed week!
What a week it has been. We traveled South to attend my nephew’s wedding, then to visit my parents, and now to attend Life Action Ministries board of directors’ meeting today and tomorrow.
I am sitting here enjoying balmy weather while NE Indiana is struggling through some more winter weather – that I don’t mind!
It seems I am a bit of a slow learner, but I have learned more this week. It started with a long drive (14 hours) with all my family to Mississippi to just make the rehearsal dinner for my nephew and his soon to be bride. It was a great time of connecting with my wife and two daughters. The next morning we then had breakfast with two friends and had a great time of reconnecting with them. Then that afternoon we celebrated a simple, fun, Christ-centered wedding. We witnessed the beginning of a new family.
We then traveled to Louisiana where my parents now live next to my sister and her husband. There we were preparing my parents to move into an assisted living facility. There we were witnessing the twilight of a marriage – of two lives that have blessed their children and grandchildren. We spent time looking at pictures of them in their youth that now seems so far away. My father, who once was a Class A Repairman on huge motors that stand taller than a house, now has to be helped doing even the basic things. My mother whom I admired for her sharp mind is now in the beginnings of Alzheimer’s and is frustrated because she can’t remember certain things or repeats herself and knows she is doing so. Quite a contrast to what we had witnessed the day before.
What struck me is how their eyes lit up when they saw their children and (especially!) grandchildren. The things that they talked about and treasured were not memories of their vocation, but of their families and friends. Despite the pain they were dealing with and their challenges, the memories of and delight in family shone through all of it.
Then, I had to leave to come to the board meeting while the rest of my family drives back to Indiana. I flew through the Atlanta airport which was swarming with people in so much of a hurry. So many on their technology oblivious to others and their surroundings. They were moving at “warp speed”.
I wondered how much they are missing. I thought about how much I have missed because I treasured the wrong things, because I lived my life to wrong priorities. Seeing my parents only one or two times a year over the last decade. When my children were young and I was working hard, I would often leave before they were up and not be home until after they were asleep in bed. Then when I was home, my mind often wasn’t – it was still working on problems, so I wasn’t really “home”.
Fortunately I have a forgiving family that loves me and lets me know it. I just grieve at the things I missed and cannot go back and retrieve. In some things in life you don’t get a do-over. You do receive forgiveness and grace, but some things – once you miss them – they are gone.
The question I have is are you living your life according to what is really important? Or are you missing out on things because of what someone else told you was important? Is your work, your boss, actually an idol in your life? Are you sacrificing time with those who love you most for people and institutions who will barely remember you when you are gone? Are you doing that in your relationship with Christ?
Determine what is important in your life and live accordingly. Be courageous and change.