New Year, New Directions

“Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”
~Albert Einstein

This quote sums up that last few years for me.

I’ve been living on auto-pilot and finding excuses not to change aspects of my life that I know need to be changed. I’ve let the unimportant take over and squeeze out many things, including joy, that I want to be important in my life. I’m not one to make New Year’s Resolutions just because I know they won’t last past the first week of the year and I don’t want to spend the year feeling guilty about not accomplishing those resolutions.

This year, however, I want to focus on changing the things that I can and re-prioritizing my commitments to make room for the things I really want to do, such as writing and taking online courses to learn new things. This will mean that I have to let go of good things to focus on better things and cleaning the clutter out of my house as well as my schedule. These changes will make both physical and mental space for me to grow and change in new ways.

I’m hopeful for the new opportunities and new directions this year can bring to me both personally and professionally. It is my prayer that I see the doors the Lord has opened for me and that I will walk boldly through those doors.

18 “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. 19 See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. (Isa 43:18-19 NIV)

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Thoughts on Leadership

I recently attended the Global Leadership Summit (GLS), for the second time, and I was amazed again by the speakers and how much of what they spoke about I needed to hear.

I wanted to share some of my take-aways from the various speakers I heard this year. Some of the quotes are not exact; I’m not a good note taker, but hopefully they are close enough that they get the points across. If any of this resonates with you readers, I recommend attending the Summit next year, downloading the GLSNext app (available for iOS and Android), and checking out some of the resources from the speakers.

Bill Hybels:

Leadership matters.

Armed with enough humility, leaders can learn from anyone.

Jim Collins:

Questions are better than answers.

How will you change the lives of others?

Ed Catmull:

Creativity is about solving problems.

Stories are going to change the world. It’s how we communicate with each other.

Adam Grant:

Givers may appear to fail in the short run, but they are most successful in the long run.

Givers are learning and building relationships.

Dr. Brené Brown:

We’re emotional people who sometimes think.

Our worthiness lives inside the stories. When you own the story, you get to write the ending.

Sallie Krawcheck:

Diverse teams outperform super smart teams.

Diversity is hard; we all have our biases.

Albert Tate:

Don’t leave it all on the field, you’ll go home with nothing.

Leave room for dumb ideas.

Dumb ideas + God’s hand = life transformation

Get out of the way! It gives you the ability to discover the awe and wonder of God’s hand.

Horst Schulze:

Caring is what service means.

Individualizing care moves customers from satisfaction to loyalty.

Sheila Heen:

When leaders become better receivers [of feedback]:

  1. They get better feedback.
  2. They become a role model of what they value and respect.
  3. Automatically become a better giver of feedback.

The interview with Brian Houston was a reminder of how important music is to me. More about this in an upcoming post.

Life is a journey, a winding path filled with many unknowns. It’s only possible to navigate because of God’s power and grace. –Brian Houston, Live Love Lead

Sam Adeyemi:

You will not find the definition of success until you help others succeed.

The object of leadership for most leaders is their own success; the object of Christ’s leadership was the success of his followers.

The Jesus kind of leadership says, “If I can do it, you can do it too!”

Following you should hold the promise of life change for those who follow you.

Liz Wiseman:

It’s not what you know, it’s how fast you learn.

Once we have knowledge, we make assumptions; sometimes bad assumptions.

Craig Groeschel:

Your brain does not comprehend what your body is capable of.

There is more inside of you than you can imagine or dream possible.

I hope these quotes inspire you to greater leadership in all areas of your lives.

Saying Goodbye to a Dead Dream

As I prepared my old Casio keyboard for sale, I felt the agony of a dead dream that I still continue to chase, in some way or another. I will never be the musician I wanted to be and though I will still write song lyrics and poems occasionally, it’s time to stop chasing that dream. I can’t play piano well enough to get the music from my head onto the keys and I will never hear any of my songs played as I imagined them. Though it’s a painful and empty feeling I’m left with, I know I need to let go and get my head out of the clouds.

Selling the keyboard and giving away a guitar I thought I’d learn to play is, in a sense, a finalization , a closing of a disappointing chapter of my life. I know I should have some kind of a God-given dream, but I have no idea what it is. I hope that with letting go of such a frivolous dream, I’ve made room for God to reveal His plan for me.

Lord, I’m ready for a new chapter, a You chapter, in my life. Please reveal Your plans for me. Amen.

How I Pick a “Winner”

Ballot

I just spent the better part of the morning pouring over the voter information guide, the sample ballot, and various web sites for the June Primary Election. I have made my choices and will be mailing out my ballot this afternoon. One of the things I started doing over the years is to first look at which candidates have accepted voluntary spending limits for their campaigns. To me, those who can stay within a specified spending limit show an ability to budget the resources available to them. With so much government spending out-of-control, I think it is important to note who can stay within a specified limit, which hopefully translates to an ability to help manage the spending they are responsible for once they take office.

Beyond spending limits, I look at candidates’ statements both in the voter guides and on their web sites to see if they are coherent and reasonable. Candidates will make many promises, but are those promises achievable or are they just political gibberish? For example, a statement saying that the candidate would abolish all gun control laws would be gibberish and likely impossible to achieve. Whereas as statement discussing the reforms needed for our schools to bring education to the 21st century and to continue to give parents a choice in what educational avenue will work best for their children is achievable and reasonable, provided there are concrete suggestions and that it is not just a blanket statement. Party affiliations have very little to do with my actual choices because I look for those who share similar beliefs to mine, regardless of party affiliation.

Hopefully, I have made good choices and if those candidates eventually get elected, I pray that they prove to be who they say they are and that they do what they promise, to the best of their ability.

What about you? How do you decide which candidates to vote for?

Talking (Wild) Turkey

Where I work there has been some wild turkeys hanging around for quite a while – one female and two males. I’ve always thought it funny they set up camp in the middle of a city. As I was leaving today, I caught a glimpse of something in the bushes. It was the female crouched down, possibly on a nest. If so, that will be exciting to see baby turkeys, at some point. There have been days when I’ve gone out for a walk at lunch and happened upon this small flock and I just sit down, someplace safe, to watch them go about their business. As a life-time city dweller, these turkeys fascinate me and and I enjoy just watching them.

 

Thankfulness and Greed of Thanksgiving

Turkey Wreath

It has amazed me these last few years how greed seems to be taking over the Thanksgiving holiday.

Many retail stores, in an attempt to get a few extra dollars, are now open on Thanksgiving to entice people to shop earlier and earlier. I’ve always felt bad for the grocery store and gas station workers that are stuck working the holiday, but now to have retail workers in the same boat seems ridiculous to me. What’s doubly ridiculous is that people will “camp out” in lines to shop on Thanksgiving, rather than spend it with their families, which only encourages the retailers to open earlier and earlier on Thanksgiving.

I do realize that money is tight and people are trying to get the best deals, but why the need to chase those deals on a day where we should be thankful for what we have and not be greedy to get more? Can’t the shopping wait, even for just a day, so that everyone can spend Thanksgiving with their families?

Maybe I’m old-fashioned, even though I’m not technically that old, but I’d rather be home enjoying my family on Thanksgiving, and not spending time in a store. The fun part of Black Friday, for me, was meeting up with my sister to go from store to store and pickup the small goodies they would pass out at the door (snow globe anyone?) and enjoy the shopping together. On this Thanksgiving day, I will choose to be thankful for all the little things: family, health, employment, and having more than enough.

I really hope that retailers will return to their senses and stay closed on Thanksgiving so that their employees can enjoy the holiday with their families. I hope shoppers will remember to be thankful on this day and not just chase the next deal.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!