Managing Your Time Well

A time management expert was teaching a seminar for executives. He placed a large, clear open-mouthed jar in front of the group. Next, he put seven or eight large rocks into the jar until it was full. “Is the jar full?” He asked. Everyone nodded. Then he took pebbles and filled up the jar with the small rocks until they reached the rim. “Is the jar full?” By now, they didn’t answer. So, he poured fine sand in. “Is the jar full?” Some nodded. He proceeded to take a pitcher of water and filled up the jar again. “What’s the lesson about time management?” he asked. Hands shot up, and everyone agreed “No matter how busy you are you can always fit more things into your schedule.” “Wrong.” he replied. “The lesson is: unless you put the big rocks in first, they never will fit in. You must figure out what the big rocks are for you.” What are the big rocks in your life? Giving time to God? Giving time to your marriage and to your children? If you don’t put those big rocks in first, someone else will fill up your jar. Understand:

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The Pitfalls Of Leadership No One Warned You About


Regardless of why you have read, experienced or have been led to believe about leadership, it is not all it is made out to be. While leadership is essesntial to any organization and to every home, many times no one has taken the time or effort to explain the pitfalls or being a leader. You may have a phenomenal leadership team and a groundbreaking leadership paradigm in your organization, but you still can experience these pitfalls. While you want to believe and teach that leadership by pluarlity happens in your organization, the truth is there is someone who is THE leader. Think about it; if someone has to answer to a Board of Directors, it’s not going to be the team, it’s going to be the leader of that team. If the IRS audits your company, someone from you company must give an accounting and it’s not going to be a team.

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What God Has Taught Me About Being A Man

Having been a male for the last fifty-two years, I kind of thought I had it figured out what it meant to be a man. You know, go out and kill dinner and drag it home, have control of the house, etc…, etc…, etc…

I have learned that my wife was right – I am an idiot. Wait, Julie doesn’t think I am an idiot, on the contrary she thinks I am quite smart. It’s the stupid things that I do that at times that cause her to shake her head and think “idiot!” I call it the Ray Berone syndrome, if you have ever watch the sitcom named after Ray you know what I am talking about.

Before being in full time vocational ministry (an oxymoron BTW), I was in the work force in Accounting and Financial Management for a couple of Fortune 500 companies. I was making good money, had loads of responsibility and bought into that my identity was found and based on what I did for my livelihood. The scripture passage is so true in 1 Corinthians 13, “when I was a child(boy) I spoke like a child(boy), I thought like a child(boy), I acted like a child(boy). When I became a man, I put away childish(boyish) things, thoughts, and actions.”

There is still a little boy in me and in most men. That is what I call the fun side of manhood. When the boy in me controls my life, I am going to be selfish, not generous. I will think of only my self and not others. Many men need to grow up and get rid of the boy in their life. That doesn’t mean we can’t go to football games or kill some animal and drag it home for dinner. But in the context of our relationship with our wife and children, we put them and their needs and wants first – way ahead of ours.

When I was a boy, I never thought it would be so hard to be a man.

men

LeBron’s Return Is A Story of Grace And Growing Up

This week has been a series of highs for our  beloved city known as “the mistake on the lake.” First, the Republican National Convention announces their pick of Cleveland to host the 2016 RNC Convention and then LeBron announces he is coming  home. I have said all along (feel free to check my social media feeds) that I believed LeBron would come back to Cleveland based on several thoughts, (1) He does not want to be known the rest of his life and beyond for “The Decision” (2) He has accomplished what he set out to do – win NBA championships, capture MVP awards and win two Olympic gold medals and  (3) He has a love for NE Ohio that goes beyond basketball. I live, do ministry, and play here in NE Ohio and Cleveland and I am glad he is coming back.

The story of LeBron returning to Cleveland is about grace and growing up. For all the jersey burning, letter writing, and “decisions” there has been forgiveness and when forgiveness happens, it happens because of grace. LeBron in his letter has forgiven Dan Gilbert, Dan has forgiven LeBron, the fans for the most part has forgiven LeBron  and in LeBron’s essay, it is clear he has forgiven the fans. I would encourage you to read the essay published exclusively by SI.com (click the image of LBJ in this article)  and read his essay on why he is returning to Cleveland. People have not forgiven him because the odds are now in favor Cleveland having championship team. People are showing grace to LeBron because he has asked for forgiveness and he is proud to be from NE Ohio.

In his essay he makes a statement that going to Miami was like going to college for him as he went straight from high school to the NBA. While he had success in Miami he also did a lot of growing up. His role of father expanded. LeBron came to understand his place of role model to kids in NE Ohio and around the country. He still is a young man who may do things that we may not agree on, but there has been growing up that has been done and I expect that we will see much more growing up in the years to come as he mentors young players like Irving and Wiggins. LeBron is turning out to be a class act, not just because of his return, but because of how his handles himself as a pro athlete, a businessman, a philanthropist and a family man.

Dan Gilbert, LeBron James, and the people of Cleveland and NE Ohio have experienced grace in this situation. As a Christian I have to ask myself, “Am I a grace giver?” I want to challenge you to ask that same question. Maybe you are angry about LeBron coming back to Cleveland or it angers you that athletes make so much money or perhaps you really don’t care about any of this.  That’s your choice, but everyday you and I need to be asking these questions to ultimately understand what it means to be a grace giver.

Am I quick to judge people on initial impressions?
Am I quick to criticize when people make a mistake?
Am I quick to write people off due to their persistent problems?
Do I give people a chance to change?
Do I attempt to rescue and restore or reject and restrain?
Can I see past the bad to do the best for people?
You can either be a grace giver or a grace killer. Your choice.

The Danger of Electronic Miscommunication


With the advent of texting and email, I would venture to say that you have sent out or received a message where the content was taken the wrong way. When this happens, you experience all kinds of emotions ranging from hurt, anger, confusion, and frustration. The art of communication, especially face to face communication is quickly disappearing in an world driven by electronic communication.

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Questions Good Coaches Ask

A key part of the coaching process is asking questions. Avoid “courtroom” questions that require only a “yes” or “no” answer. Instead, ask open-ended questions that lead to reflection and solutions. Proper questions can enhance relationships and add value to others, especially when coupled with perceptive listening.

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What Happens When No One Is Watching The Farm?

Green Acres is the place to be, farm living is the life for me.

Remember that jingle from the TV series Green Acres? No? Google it. If you do, then you know this was cheesy sitcom about a city slicker and his wife who gave up the city to live on a farm and the results were always hilarious. Maybe you have heard the phrase this post is named after. It is pretty simple that when no one is watching the farm, the farm gets raided. The hen house will be raided by chicken hawks, weasels, and foxes. The pigs, cattle, and other livestock neglected will become starved. The crops will suffer and die. The phrase, “Who’s watching the farm,”  basically is one that points to someone has to be in charge and be the leader. When there is no leadership on the farm or in your organization, chaos breaks outs.

I want to give you six leadership keys that you need to implement to keep the farm from being unguarded. These keys assume you have a plan and the vision is defined and you know what work must be done.

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Your Core Values

Let’s be honest, everyone has different values they believe to be correct and true. What I am going to address is your core values – the things that define what we believe and hold dear to our hearts. These are the values that not only define what we believe, but also define who we are in the eyes of others. These values again, are vast in numbers and time and space does not allow for me to cover all of them. I do want to go over a few that I believe have a role in the crafting of your personal vision statement.

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When We Lose Our Passion

In America, we are passionate about sports. We are passionate about movies we watch. We are passionate about fashion, the clothes we wear. We are passionate about certain kinds of cars. We are passionate about restaurants—some of us more than others.

The amazing thing in our culture is it’s ok, even appropriate, for you to be passionate about anything as long as it’s not God. I can go to any sporting event and yell, scream my head off, jump up and down, raise my hands in the air and when we lose I can cry and when we win I can dance around and people would say, “There’s a fan!” But if I came to church and did any of that, they’d say, “There’s a fanatic!” It’s like it’s appropriate to get excited, be enthusiastic, have a passion for anything in life, as long as it’s not God. Yet Jesus said, If you’re going to follow Me, you’ve got to do it with passion. With all your heart.

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You Need To Write A Vision Statement

Title Crafting

 

When you start talking about vision statements, the majority of people tend to think that those are for businesses, churches or other organizations. The question of why does a person need to have a vision statement seems to creep into the conversation. I want to spend very brief book real estate in answering that question. Several groups of people pop into mind when thinking about that question. Perhaps you are someone who is getting into mid-life like myself (I’ll be 53 this year) or maybe you are even further down the road. Personally, I want to finish well in the last season of life, which I hope is another thirty years! In order to do that I will need to answer questions like, “Where will I focus my time, energy and money? Or most importantly, “Who will I focus my time, experiences, money, and life on?”

It could be that you are young and just getting out of college or have already started a career and family. You need to answer the question, “What am I going to do with my life that matters?” You will need a vision that will move you forward to whatever answer you come up with to that question. The reality is, regardless of age, gender, race, or income, we all need to have a vision and can have a vision that will be life changing!

The Components Of A Vision Statement

I believe there are five components of a vision statement that need to be used in this process. Just to let you know that this is a step toward the finished statement and is not the finished statement. It may be long at first, but you will continue to refine it and shorten it in order to communicate it.

These five components will focus on:

Who is the vision statement is about? Is this a personal vision statement, one for a church or other NPO, or for a business? Answers the “whom” of the vision that has been called out.

What is the vision? What is it you feel led to accomplish? This is the dreaming stage or the “what if” of vision. What if you were able to do what it is you feel called or compelled to do? This might be the lengthy part, so do not feel you need to try to cram everything into one sentence, at least not now. When you are writing, always keep in the back of your mind where you are now and where you want to be – THIS IS KEY! Answers how will the vision be fleshed out?

How will you know you have accomplished the vision? Again, the vision will be words on paper until it is happening and has been or is in the process of being fulfilled. Answers what does the vision look like in action? How will the vision be lived out?

The Five Action Step Components:

Write Out Your Life Experiences.
What have you experienced in your family, your work, your education, and your relationships. These experiences will also include your failures and your successes.

Define Your Passion And Calling
How has God crafted you in the areas of personality, abilities, and spiritual gifts? You will want to identify areas of your life you see God working. What have you done or are doing that get the “juices” flowing that puts you in your sweet spot.

List At Least Five Core Life Values
You will lean on the core values that you have built into your reputation, character, and your most importantly, your life. These areas could include things such as honesty, hard work, family, spiritual health, physical health, recreation, and the list is endless. What is that you value and you build your life around?

Identify What Motivates Me.
There are reasons you do what you do and you need to put them down on paper for the sole purpose of checking your heart. Are your motives driven by money, acceptance, or fame? We must identify “why” of your drive and make sure it aligns with God’s Word and purpose for our life.

Make It Fifty Word or Less
The shorter your vision statement, the easier it will be to remember and to communicate. It should encapsulate the four previous components.
This is where you start writing. Writing down these components on paper and re-writing them several times until it captures exactly what you feel in your heart that you are called to do. This is not a finished or polished product. It is raw and it is you!

I have had the responsibility to draft, edit, and approve many vision statements for companies I have worked for in the marketplace and probably double that in the ministry world. As I was writing this, I began to ask myself several questions such as, “What makes a great vision statement great?” “Does it make sense?” “Does it communicate my heartbeat (if personal) or does it communicated the heartbeat of the organization?”