For regular readers, I wanted to tell you about two exciting things:
- Our adopted daughter, who is blind, has a chance to win a bicycle that would allow her to ride with her family. Please visit her site, and either register with Facebook or your email. Your vote matters – thank you for your support!
- A review I wrote about The Culture Engine, by S. Chris Edmonds is in People Development Magazine. You can read it here. This was the best book I read in 2014, and I believe there is tremendous value for any reader.
For visitors from People Development Magazine, welcome! This blog is devoted to helping people. You can check out a few of our favorite posts below, and while you’re here, sign-up for updates (posting about once a week).
- Audacious Dreams: The Project Prayer Post with Ngina Otiende
- Life Lessons Unleash Greatness
- 3 Must Have Podcasts to Change Your Life
- Quickest Way to Change Your Perspective
- Act, Influence, Mold – Trusting God to do Amazing Things
Thank you for stopping by and enjoy!
We all have to acknowledge where we are. We could be in a great department or, as the character in FISH, the department that is the punch-line of jokes. Wherever we find ourselves we make a conscientious choice regarding our attitude.
“There is always a choice about the way you do your work, even if there is not a choice about the work itself.” Your job could be watching paint dry, picking up trash, being a “hole-watch”, or any other task that feels repetitive, boring, or uninteresting. However, you can choose to make it better, with your attitude. This is “simple to understand, but more difficult to do.”
Your background, your life story, and your current life situation can impact the attitude you bring to work every day. Realizing that may be the case, may require you to do some “soul searching” according to the character Lonnie who described himself as having a “chip on his shoulder” and having “too much invested in being a victim”.
Some folks may view personal development as a waste of time. Yet when faced with a challenging environment we can either have a help or hinder mind frame. Ask yourself, “Which one would I prefer to work with?” Imagine this: a person who always puts up roadblocks, makes excuses, and refuses to accept responsibility. Now picture a person looking to offer helpful solutions, a person willing to accept responsibility, and who makes a pathway. Which sounds more inviting to you?
When reflecting on the needs of organizations and people consider the following: “The needs of the organization and our needs are the same. Creativity, passion, flexibility, wholeheartedness…”
Reflect on how much time you spend in your workplace. Do you want to spend half of your life in a place you hate? Do you prefer to show up every day to an energy zapper? Would you be excited to wake up every day feeling like you are in a prison? The obvious answer is no one wants to live life or work in a place that makes us feel this way.
When you find yourself in a bad place what do you do? Typically there are two answers – do nothing, or do something. “The fact is that the risk of doing nothing is probably greater than the risk of acting.” This applies to a toxic workplace, or a place of not meeting expectations. Don’t be afraid to try something, even if it doesn’t work out the way you would hope.
As you reflect on yourself, your environment, and those you interact with think about learning and growth. Chances are that you will notice some have stopped learning and growing (perhaps you too!). Reasons for a growth and learning stoppage are many. We shouldn’t judge as to why a person has stopped choosing to learn and grow. We should try to find out how to learn and grow ourselves. By choosing our attitude we can choose to be an example. Demonstrate what it looks like enjoy learning and growing. Make it infectious!
Key Message #1, CHOOSE YOUR ATTITUDE.
Who wants 30 years of misery? Who wants to have regretted every moment of life? NO ONE! “Life is too precious just to be passing through to retirement.” Regardless of how you define your life, you have the ability to choose how you react to your circumstances. You are never forced to react in a specific way. You choose how to respond to the good and bad. “Feeling like a victim is not going to solve the problem.” Situations and circumstances may not be fair. Those are things we cannot change. We CAN change how we respond to them.
Key Message #2, PLAY.
Others may say that, “This work is so boring and all we hear are complaints. We feel like we are always under attack.” It’s hard to absorb that kind of onslaught of negativity. So what do we do?
The characters in the book discovered they “could be serious about business, and still have fun with the way we conducted business”. Do you have fun in your workplace? Is it acceptable to have fun?
Key Message #3, MAKE THEIR DAY.
Look for as many opportunities as possible to make great memories. “The playful way we do our work allows us to find creative ways to engage our customers”. Often times, doing things for others helps remove the focus off of ourselves and generates positive feelings.
Key Message #4, BE PRESENT.
Just because you learn something new and exciting – doesn’t mean you can effectively make others learn or appreciate your same experience. You, as a leader, will need to have or create a learning experience for them to have it on their own and allow time to internalize that experience.
When reflecting on an experience at a business recently, a customer noticed how much fun the employees were having. The only problem was, they were having fun with each other, and not me the customer. If I had been involved in the experience, it would have been a different experience.
How do you help people discover it (FISH!) for themselves?
When everything else is going on all around you, and you totally focus in on another person and what they’re communicating to you, you demonstrate what being present is.
Also, consider ways to help others be present. One way is to ask, “Is now a good time?”
Books for choosing your attitude: Personal Accountability: Path to a Rewarding Worklife, Raving Fans, & Gung-Ho.
Imagine traveling 17,000 miles and not being able to take your children with you for an entire month.
Think about your spouse spending a month overseas, you working full-time, one child starting school for the first time, and another child who is a toddler.
Now think about returning from a trip like that and needing surgery.
This is where our family found ourselves in 2014. To say we needed help from others would be an understatement. We relied on family, friends, and our church in ways we had never done before. In the process, we learned a ton!
We learned that people care. We learned people were on our team. We learned that as much as we prefer to handle things on our own – we needed help. With where we were and what we had to do it was impossible to do “on our own”.
Adoption has forced us to lean on others, and not rely on ourselves. Adoption has reinforced the power of prayer. Adoption has uniquely challenged us, and those who we come into contact with. Through all of it we have been blessed, and are stronger as a result. We keep growing.
What experience have you had that made you change your behavior or pushed you out of your comfort zone? Have you ever experienced something in life that has required your growth whether you were prepared for it or not?
In junior high, high school, and college, I admit that I was not an avid reader. My whole life to that point was spent reading books I was told to read. I had no choice, and quite honestly, was bored by what I read. During the times I got something out of what I read, I was told that what I learned was not what the author intended for me to learn.
Since then I have learned that there are an unlimited amount of books available to read. They fit all tastes, and interests. Now my problem is narrowing down my reading list, and actually getting to read all of the books I want to. It has taught me how to be aware of what I really like, and how to say ‘no’ to things that are wasting my time. If I have to “labor” through a book, and force myself to read it – then I reject the book. I’m done forcing myself to read something uninteresting, not inspiring, and that feels painful while reading.
With all of that said, I’m excited to share my reading list for 2015, 26 books. I’m sure at least one will be cast off. I’m also a little curious, because it requires that I average two books a month, and three of them are very long.
I’d love to hear if you’ve read any of these books, and your perspective on them. Also, what’s on your reading list for 2015? Anything I should consider for this year, or next? Please leave a comment at the end of this post, and if you feel like it’s a good list, share it :)
We all know that a lot goes into leadership – relationships, communication, vision, influence, etc. As you work to improve yourself, make sure you help your body be prepared.
While reading an article called, “The Care and Feeding of the Leader’s Brain”, by Sharon McDowell-Larsen, Ph.D. I took the following notes that I believe are beneficial to anyone looking to improve their life. The focus presented here is three-fold: exercise, food, and sleep.
- It appears the greatest benefits occur when exercise sessions are greater than 30 minutes in duration. One study showed higher gray matter volume in late adulthood among those who walked more than six miles per week. The benefits also appear to be associated primarily with aerobic exercise.
- For overall good health 2011 recommendations from the American College of Sports Medicine include: 30 minutes or more of cardio exercise five or more times per week, or 20 minutes three times per week if the activity is vigorous.
- Limit sedentary behaviors and intersperse them with short bouts of physical activity and standing, irrespective of exercise habits.
Exercise also enhances several neurotransmitters in the brain, including circulating dopamine, serotonin, norepinephrine, and acetylcholine.
- This could be one reason why exercise Is such a powerful antidote to depression.
Tips and Suggestions
- Take frequent movement breaks during the day.
- The brain craves novelty. Studies show improved endorphin responses when the exercise is varied.
- There is something about being in nature that revitalizes the brain beyond the exercise itself.
Food as medicine
- Free radicals are formed during the aerobic conversion of food into energy, and they can damage DNA, proteins, fats, and produce changes in gene expression.
- Our brain is a fatty organ, so it is particularly susceptible to the damaging ravages of these free radicals.
- Some of the plant foods studied most for their effect on brain function are blueberries, strawberries, grapes, blackberries, walnuts, greens, green tea and the spices turmeric and saffron. All have been shown to have beneficial effects, such as improving working memory, starving off or reversing cognitive decline, neurogenesis and the ability to manage complex learning tasks to name a few.
- A study from Norway looking at fruit and vegetable consumption and cognitive performance in healthy older adults demonstrated the benefits increased as consumption of these food went up.
- The effect was most notable in fruits, vegetables (in particular cruciferous vegetables), high-fiber bread and mushrooms.
- Recent recommendations are to eat eight to 12 servings of fruits and vegetables per day to maximize their health benefits.
- Interestingly, a child’s brain consumes twice the glucose per unit of weight as that of an adult, which might explain why poorer performances at school are seen when breakfast is insufficient.
- Caldwell Esselstyn has worked with hundreds of heart disease patients. When he switched them to a whole-foods, plant-based diet – free of animal products and processed foods like oils, white flour and sugar – none suffered a subsequent cardiac event.
- If your vitamin supplement contains copper, throw it out. Here’s why – diets high in fat combined with copper are linked to cognitive decline.
- Lack of sleep inhibits learning. Sleep helps consolidate memory, improve judgment, promote learning and concentration, boost mood, speed reaction time and sharpen problem solving and accuracy.
- Go to bed at the same time every day.
- Sleep in a dark room
- Have good light exposure when you wake up.
- Have a clear “winding down” period before bed.
- Engage in moderate to vigorous exercise daily.
- Limit or avoid alcohol or caffeine.
- Keep dinner light and starch-based and eat at least one to two hours before going to bed.
- Drink plenty of fluids during the day, but stop drinking one to two hours before bed.
How has a lack of physical activity, poor eating habits, sleep deprivation impacted you in the past? Have you considered changing the way you physically prepare your body so that you can be the best you can?
Post after post after post writers are admonishing people to set goals this New Years. Jeff Walker, Michael Hyatt, Jeff Goins, and Michael Nichols are all using their platforms to chip away at goal setting.
My question is why do we limit ourselves to goal setting just at the beginning of each year? Is it possible to have another time to create goals?
Businesses use fiscal years, as does Congress. Schools are in session from August to June. Despite these realities I feel limited to merely fitting into the box of the last week of December and first week of January are goals week.
For something everyone deems a key to success, why is it only spoken of at this time of year and seemingly forgotten? Where is the conversation in March, June, and September? Our goals, and the leaders of goal setting don’t disappear…do they?
Since everyone is hyper-focused on goals in January, it’s likely the best time to learn about goal setting and goal making tools. Please don’t limit it to this time of year.
According to Drs. Les and Leslie Parrott in their book Making Happy, “people who write their goals down are 33% more likely to achieve them than those who don’t”.
What is your favorite goal setting system and periodic review?
During our visit to Ukraine we observed very ornate buildings. The striking element was their beauty on the outside, the artwork, and other elements telling stories from the Bible. As we observed worship and other activities, it made my wife and wonder about ourselves.
Are we only worried about appearance, or are we really concerned about what pleases God?
What can we do to help ourselves stay focused on what really mattes?