Category Archives: Maturity

My #1’s for 2016

I find these few days just before and after New Year’s Eve slightly stressful.  So much internal self imposed pressure to get my goals nailed down.  I actually dread the process.

Don’t get me wrong. Setting goals you want to pursue and attain is a great exercise, but, ‘should’ing’ on yourself to do goals because you SHOULD is killing to one’s psyche.  I do enjoy getting a cup of tea, sitting on my couch with my friend called Moleskin and writing away as I did today.

The feeling of ‘should’ing’ was alleviated by enlisting Brian Tracy’s “identify your #1 thing exercise’ exercise.  This is something I enjoy.  For me it’s always about the journey not just the result.  I need to ‘enjoy’ goal setting, or ‘start and stop’ process. I can’t dread it or my creativity shuts down.

So here goes…..

  1. What’s the #1 thing I could start doing today, that if I did it consistently, would have the most positive impact in my life? (Then do it.)
  2. What’s the #1 thing I could stop doing right now, that, if I stopped doing would have the greatest positive impact on my life? (Then quit doing it.)

My # 1’s to start doing:

  • Minimum 15 minute ‘chair time’ alone with God, reflecting, meditating, journaling, praying.
  • Daily check in time with my best friend Rosetta, my wife.
  • Be a positive influence on my adult kids and their kids on their terms.
  • Keep sharpening my coaching capacity and competence with my mentor coach and joining CAM.
  • Coach men to be life givers in their relational and work world’s.
  • Keep focused on being an above average encourager and people builder.
  • Keep growing margin financially, emotionally, and physically.
  • Be ruthless with managing my weight and getting to 192Ibs

My # 1’s to stop doing include:

  • Stop complaining and stop speaking critically of others when they aren’t around.
  • Stop eating ‘fatty, crappy’ food and avoid starch like the plaque.
  • Stop focusing on what I can’t do and focus on what I CAN do in regards to advancing my coaching practice.

And that’s it for now.

I plan to take football coach Jim Harbaugh to heart–to attack each day with enthusiasm unknown to mankind.

God helping me, I will!!

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Summer Time and the Livin’ is Supposed to Be Easy

When I wrote this, I was on the eve of leaving for our annual family vacation.

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While getting ready my wife asked me, “So, are you going to be working while we’re in Southampton or are you going to be able to rest?”  She went on to add, “You won’t have any coach appointments next week, will you? I hope not.”

Ouch!!

Actually, I did have a couple of things I had planned to respond to while away.  Yet, after reflecting on her question, I called those people and rescheduled.

I don’t know about you, but I find it hard to totally disconnect from work-mode.  Mind you, when I do finally disconnect, I love it.   However, it takes me awhile.

The ancient Greeks had a saying that I remember when I am resisting rest…

“You will break the bow if you keep it always bent.”

We all need time away from work to relax and recover.

The late Tim Hansel wrote in his classic “When I Relax I Feel Guilty,”

“When work becomes a person’s all consuming interest, even if the work is good and necessary, it is idolatry.”

Strong words, but words worth taking to heart.

How can we keep our work from becoming a form of idolatry in our lives?

I suspect that as part of our Mavericks’ community, you are not a slouch!  I also suspect that while you work hard, you also know that you are to “rest” – really rest.   You know that honouring the Sabbath is to be part of who you are as a leader.  You desire that to be the case, and yet, if you are like many I know, this may feel far from reality.

Here are a few thoughts to help inspire you to give yourself permission to do some deliberate leisure – to find some rest!.

The word ‘leisure’, from its Latin roots is ‘licere’ – which means ‘to be permitted’. If we are ever going to install leisure into the hard drives of our lives, we must give ourselves permission to do so.

For me, it includes taking care of myself in what I call my RPMS

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I have 3 practices that help me ensure my RPMS is in a solid place:

  1. Divert daily
  2. Withdraw weekly
  3. Abandon annually

Everyone achieves relaxation and leisure in different ways. What relaxes me might give you a tension headache and visa versa!

For me it involves regular downtimes—releasing the bent bow – putting limits on my work schedule and getting away for regular weekends.

Whether you consider yourself a spiritual person or not, it’s informative to look at the Hebrew idea of Sabbath. The way the Hebrews understood the concept of ‘Sabbath’ was that the Creator had built into our physical makeup a need—even a requirement—for a day each week for rest, play, reflection, worship, and change of pace.

Taking care of your body is as much a spiritual discipline as is prayer, singing and Bible study. God wants you to rest. Rest your body and, in the process, recharge your mind, spirit and relationships.

The Apostle Paul says:

“God helping you, take your everyday, ordinary life — your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life — and place it before God as an offering”  Romans 12:1 (MSG).

When you take care of your body, you worship God. It’s never too late to begin this important journey in your life.

If you need permission, look to our Saviour Jesus. He knew about the rhythms of rest and work.  He invites us, as He did His disciples, to come away with Him and rest.  In essence He was saying,

“If you don’t come apart, you will come apart”.

“The apostles then rendezvoused with Jesus and reported on all that they had done and taught. Jesus said, “Come off by yourselves; let’s take a break and get a little rest.” For there was constant coming and going. They didn’t even have time to eat.  Mark 6:30-31 (MSG)

The iPhone Effect Research and Negative Impact on us All

In his book, “Are You Fully Charged?”, author Tom Rath calls the constant use of our smartphone technology a ‘digital pacifier’. No doubt these ‘tools’ are useful when used appropriately but they have become a source of constant distraction.

To me they are usually an indication that someone isn’t living a purposeful life. It can sometimes appear that one’s purpose is to answer their phone or other device. I have fallen into this trap and this book and research has kicked me out of the stupor of being pacified by my device.

In fact, a 2015 study titled “The iPhone Effect”, shows how the mere presence of smartphone can ruin a conversation. (from the book)

I would add it not only ruins a conversation but can also be the source of ruining any relationship, even a marriage, or child parent relationship.

An experiment with 200 participants revealed that simply placing a mobile device on the table resulted in detrimental conversations. While the device was present, the quality of the conversation was rated as less than fulfilling when compared with conversations that took place in the absence of mobile devices.

People reported having higher levels of empathetic concern when phones were not visible.

If you want to know more about this, purchase Rath’s Are You Fully Charged?

As well, you can explore further this ‘hot topic’ by exploring the research called The iPhone Effect.

The one thing I have decided to do as a result of reading Rath’s book and this research is to leave my phone in my car when I go to a meeting, and to remove my phone from any group interactions I have with clients, family or one to one relationships.

I want to be sure that the person or persons in front of me know that I ‘see’ them and that they matter to me more than any device, even if it’s a ‘smart device’.

http://journalistsresource.org/studies/society/internet/iphone-effect-social-interaction-quality-mobile-device-presence

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Waking Up Your Marriage with Relational Vitamin C’s

I first heard the concept of Vitamin C’s for couples by therapist Luke De Sadeleer.  His list included the following Vitamin C’s-67106680

-Caring, Change, Communication, Connection, Conflict, Creativity and Commitment.

Then I read another list of C’s from Pastor Rick Warren, that included a spiritual emphasis as well as psychological.

In June my wife and I celebrate 39 years of marriage. A wedding anniversary wakes us up to the past and also helps us to reflect on what we’re becoming as a couple.

In my marriage and marriage coaching I have discovered the importance of encouraging couples to daily take their daily dose of the 6 “Vitamin C’s” for a healthy and thriving marriage. I take these every day.

Wake up your marriage through communication.

Every day make time to talk with each other not to each other.

“It’s impossible to overemphasize the immense needs that humans have to be really listened to, taken seriously, and understood.” Paul Tournier

Wake up your marriage through consideration.

St Paul advises us to “Show your love by being helpful to each other.”

Consideration energizes a marriage. Consideration means paying attention to what your partner says, being thoughtful and showing common courtesies.

Wake up your marriage through compromise.

St Paul wrote, ‘Love does not demand its own way.”

Consider these facts of life:

1) You will have conflict in your marriage.

2) There are some issues you will never agree on.

3) Compromise is the evidence of real love.

Wake up your marriage through courtship.

Be each other’s best friends. It’s easy to leave your spouse, but it’s really hard to leave your best friend, so work hard at being best friends for the rest of your life. Date frequently.

Wake up your marriage through commitment.

Commitment says you are all in. Commitment says you will work through the problems and not seek solace from anyone else. God spoke concerning the vows of marriage through the prophet Malachi 2:16 “Make sure that you do not break your promise to be faithful to your mate.”

Wake up your marriage through an ongoing encounter with Jesus Christ.

I believe the most powerful C is a relationship with Christ as a couple.

As you make Christ the centre of your life together you will have the ability to accomplish the other five. It’s your individual relationship with Jesus that will give you the power and wisdom to practice the other Cs.

I have discovered after 39 years of marriage to the same woman that the grass is not greener on the other side, the grass is greenest where you water it.

So to wake up your marriage, start watering it.

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Fr Ronald Rolheiser’s 10 Commandments for Daily Life

i am an avid reader of everything Father Ronald Rolheiser writes. These commandments are excerpted from his book Sacred Fire, a phenomenal read on the various stages we pass through on our way to maturity in spirit, soul, mind, body and relationships.

COMMANDMENTS FOR DAILY LIFE–Fr Ronald Rolheiser

Almost thirty years ago, Daniel Berrigan wrote a little book that he entitled, Ten Commandments for the Long Haul. It was, in effect, a handbook of sorts on how to be a prophet in today’s world. It was Berrigan at his best, explaining how a prophet must make a vow of love and not of alienation. Anyone who is trying to be prophetic, from the right or from the left, might profitably read this book.

He ends with a number of Commandments, not ten but forty-seven of them. Here’s a sample of them (paraphrased), just to give you a taste of his insight, language, and wit:

1) Call on Jesus when all else fails. Call on Him when all else succeeds (except that never happens).
2) Don’t be afraid to be afraid or appalled to be appalled. How do you think the trees feel these days, or the whales, or, for that matter, most humans?
3) Keep your soul to yourself. Soul is a possession worth paying for, they’re growing rarer. Learn from monks, they have secrets worth knowing.
4) About practically everything in the world, there’s nothing you can do. This is Socratic wisdom. However, about of few things you can do something. Do it, with a good heart.
5) On a long drive, there’s bound to be a dull stretch or two. Don’t go anywhere with someone who expects you to be interesting all the time. And don’t be hard on your fellow travelers. Try to smile after a coffee stop.
6) Practically no one has the stomach to love you, if you don’t love yourself. They just endure. So do you.
7) About healing: The gospels tell us that this was Jesus’ specialty and he was heard to say: “Take up your couch and walk!”
8) When traveling on an airplane, watch the movie, but don’t use the earphones. Then you’ll be able to see what’s going on, but not understand what’s happening, and so you’ll feel right at home, little different then you do on the ground.
9) Know that sometimes the only writing material you have is your own blood.
10) Start with the impossible. Proceed calmly towards the improbable. No worry, there are at least five exits.

Alongside these commandments, I’d like to share a Decalogue for Daily Living that Pope John XXIII wrote for himself, his own Commandments for daily life. They reflect his depth, his simplicity, and his humility:

1) “Only for today, I will seek to live the livelong day positively without wishing to solve the problems of my life all at once.
2) Only for today, I will take the greatest care of my appearance: I will dress modestly; I will not raise my voice; I will be courteous in my behaviour; I will not criticize anyone; I will not claim to improve or to discipline anyone except myself.
3) Only for today, I will be happy in the certainty that I was created to be happy, not only in the other world buy also in this one.
4) Only for today, I will adapt to circumstances, without requiring all circumstances to be adapted to my own wishes.
5) Only for today, I will devote 10 minutes of my time to some good reading, remembering that just as food is necessary to the life of the body, so good reading is necessary to the life of the soul.
6) Only for today, I will do one good deed and not tell anyone about it.
7) Only for today, I will do at least one thing I do not like doing; and if my feelings are hurt, I will make sure that no one notices.
8) Only for today, I will make a plan for myself: I may not follow it to the letter, but I will make it. And I will be on guard against two evils: hastiness and indecision.
9) Only for today, I will firmly believe, despite appearances, that the good Providence of God cares for me as no one else who exists in this world
10) Only for today, I will have no fears. In particular, I will not be afraid to enjoy what is beautiful and to believe in goodness. Indeed, for 12 hours, I can certainly do what might cause me consternation were I to believe I had to do it all my life.”