IT’S HUMPDAY AND YOU’RE IN A FUNK…WHAT DO YOU DO?

IT’S HUMPDAY AND YOU’RE IN A FUNK…WHAT DO YOU DO?
Limburger Cheese Funk Smell
Life Stinks When You’re In A Funk!

                       John Maxwell writes about the grandfather who was pranked by his grandchildren in his bestseller, Developing The Leader Within You.

One afternoon, as grandpa lay napping on the couch, his 2 grandkids decided to play a joke on him. They stole into the kitchen, secretly raided the refrigerator, pulled out the item they’d been looking for, then quietly returned to the living room where grandpa lay snoring fast asleep. Quietly, the two of them tip-toed up to grandpa’s face, managing to slip a piece of Limburger cheese under his nose onto grandpa’s mustache, and ran away giggling. An hour later, when grandpa woke up, he started sniffing a pungent foul smell. He stood up, and said, “Something smells awful.” He looked around, then walked into the kitchen. “Oh, my! It smells terrible in here, too!” he muttered, as he moved back towards the bedroom. Every where grandpa went, the bad smell seemed to follow him. “Why, it even smells horrible back here!” he said bitterly. At that point, grandpa decided to go outside to try to get some fresh air. But when he swung open the front door and smelled the foul lingering odor, he exclaimed, “My goodness! The whole world stinks!”

What's fueling your funk
Ask, “What’s Causing My Funk?”

WHAT’S FUELING YOUR FUNK?

FUNKS ARE FUELED BY FEELINGS OF FAILURE…Do you feel like a FAILURE? Ask yourself, “Is the reason for my funk, because I feel that I have failed at something or failed someone, or that I will fail if I try? Am I telling myself that I’m a failure?” 

FUNKS ARE FUELED FEELINGS OF PRESSURE…Do you feel UNDER PRESSURE? Ask yourself, “Am I unclear or undecided about what I want or think I should do in a situation? Do I feel uncertain or anxious about the way something is going to turn out? Do I feel under pressure to be or do something with high stakes attached to it?” 

FUNKS ARE FUELED BY TOO MUCH LEISURE…Do you feel BORED? Ask yourself, “Am I too idle or not busy enough? Do I feel a strong sense of urgency or am I apathetic?” 

What have you found helpful in getting yourself out of funks? Personally, I recall an ancient proverb that helps me fight out of a funk. Here’s what it says:

“People ruin their lives by their own foolishness and then are angry at the LORD.” – Proverbs 19:3 (NLT)

In other words…

  • We stick a cigarette in our own mouth and then whine, “God, why did you give me cancer?”
  • We get drunk, decide to drive, then grumble, “God, why did you let me get a DUI?”
  • We choose to marry a person and then protest, “God, why isn’t my marriage better?”
  • We accept the job position and then complain, “God, why did you stick me here?”

Your funk isn’t God’s fault, your spouse’s fault, your children’s fault, your boss’s fault or your neighbor’s fault. Until we “own” our funks, our funks usually “own” us. Face your funk to fix it. Own your responsibility and get your power back. You don’t have to stay in a funk. You CAN fight out of it…if you’re willing to face it! 

 

 

FINDING HAPPINESS…WHAT REALLY WORKS AND WHAT DOESN’T

HAPPY YOU YEAR

Dr. Phil often counsels people in conflict by asking, “Do you wanna be right or do you wanna be happy?”. He’s assuming, of course, that as humans we get to choose; that our own happiness is largely under our personal control. Know what I’m learning?

Happiness isn’t so much about the position you’re in but the disposition in you!

Just like Hugh Downs once quipped, “A happy person is not a person in a certain set of circumstances, but rather a person with a certain set of attitudes.” 

Jesus once taught on how people can truly find lasting happiness. He gave 8 hints about happiness. I want to share in my next 8 blog posts what these hints are. The only question is…can you and I take the hint? Let’s see if we can…

HINT #1: “Blessed (HAPPY) are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” – Matthew 5:3

To be ‘poor in spirit’ means to be humble. Happy are the humble, Jesus says! Why? For 2 reasons:

HUMBLE PEOPLE ARE HAPPY BECAUSE OF WHAT THEY CONFESS!

Some people give testimonies, others give bragimonies! You know what I mean. They’re annoying. You know one or two, I’m sure. I’m referring to people who boast, brag and basically carry on about their life dramas and accomplishments in a “better-than-you” tone.

Humble people don’t behave this way. It’s not that humble people are losers and proud people are winners. As C.S. Lewis taught, It isn’t that humble people think less of themselves…they just think of themselves less!  Humble people don’t over-estimate their own goodness or importance.

Jesus wasn’t saying that you and I don’t have enough goodness in our lives, He was saying we don’t have any without God helping us. Humble people are happy because they’ve come to terms with the fact that they themselves are not the center of the universe and God is. That’s their happy place.

HUMBLE PEOPLE ARE HAPPY BECAUSE OF WHAT THEY POSSESS!

Jesus says that ‘the poor in spirit’ receive as their possession the ‘kingdom of heaven’, a.k.a. Eternal Salvation!

The door to God’s kingdom hangs low and stands narrow and those people whose heads get too big can’t fit through it. “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble” Saint Peter taught us.

To be happy or blessed, you have to become humble enough to admit to God that you need Him. Most people’s prayers revolve around their greeds not their needs. We may want that shiny new car…but what our soul really needs is God’s presence to fill it and give it joy.

If you can take the hint and humble yourself before Him, then you can be happy!

Will you take the hint?

HAPPY THANKSGIVING…10 Quotes That Make Me Thankful!

Thanks-Living

 

1. “If I could take one word with me into eternity, it would be ‘give’.” – Dr. Stephen Post, Why Good Things Happen To Good People

2. “In everything give thanks. For this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” – Paul, the Apostle

3. “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” – Jesus

4. “Give and it shall be given to you…” – Jesus

5. “You wish to be happy? Loved? Safe? Secure? You want to turn to others in tough times and count on them? You want the warmth of true connection? You’d like to walk into the world each day knowing that this is a place of benevolence and hope? Then I have one answer: give. Give daily, in small ways, and you will be happier. Give and you will be healthier. Give, and you will even live longer.” – Dr. Stephen Post, Why Good Things Happen To Good People

6.”Dad, so many things would be different in this world if kids were in charge!” – Ethan Kellum, 13 years-old

7. “Attitude determines altitude.” – Dr. John Maxwell

8. “Two of the greatest phrases you can ever utter are: please and thank you!” – Lots of people

9. “We’re never more like God than when we give.” – Pastor Frank Gribble, Pastor Emeritus of Gospel Baptist Church

10. “The greatest lesson you can ever learn in your Christian life is to be entirely dependent on God.” – Wayne Kellum, My Dad

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours! 

 

IMBALANCE…Am I maintaining a balanced perspective?

DO YOU HAVE A BALANCED PERSPECTIVE?
DO YOU HAVE A BALANCED PERSPECTIVE?

I’ve discovered that the greatest danger to a balanced perspective is perfectionism. You know what perfectionism is, right? It’s that little invisible cloud hovering above your head called “Never good enough”. It hides the sunshine and keeps the light from getting in. It rains on your parade and stifles your enthusiasm. Even when you earn a hard-won victory it’s negativity seems to overshadow the good things in your life.

PERFECTIONISM IS CAUSED BY EXTREMISM

Whenever I feel myself obsessing over perfectionism, I often hear words like, “Never! Always! Everything! Nothing!” As in…

  • I NEVER get it right!
  • He/She ALWAYS messes things up!
  • EVERYTHING is horrible right now!
  • NOTHING ever turns out good for me!

These are extreme words. Extremism is one of the causes of perfectionism. Extremism is “All-or-Nothing” thinking. Extremism looks at things from an unbalanced perspective. Such as, “If everything isn’t perfect, then nothing is going well.” Or, “If this doesn’t go right, then nothing else will either.” A little extreme, wouldn’t you agree?

These extreme kinds of thoughts matter. Proverbs says, “As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.” Extreme thoughts lead to extreme emotions which cause extreme (unbalanced) perspectives.

PERFECTIONISM CAN LEAD TO ESCAPISM

What is escapism? Escapism is the desire to retreat into a fantasy world of stimulation: pornography, narcotics, alcoholism, sleeping too much, staring at the t.v., endless all-night video game playing, and gambling can all be forms of escapism.

Personally, I believe that perfectionism causes much of this. If I tell myself that I must succeed or I must not fail, then if I fail, it follows that I might just stop trying altogether, give up and back-peddle into a shadow world of sensory stimulation hoping to forget about my own imperfections.

Escapism is really just the desire to stop feeling pain. Failure is painful. Even the prospects of failure can be painful. So, to avoid facing that pain, people are often tempted to do anything to numb it, even indulging in things that are at worst, harmful to them, and at the very least, counter-productive to their goals and desires.

PERFECTIONISM IS CURED BY ESSENTIALISM

Greg McKeown, in his book Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less, says that the answer to breaking through to the next level in our lives is the disciplined pursuit of less, but better.

Perfectionism can quite literally cause us to try to “be perfect” in so many areas of our lives that we experience “brain-fry”. Our emotional system gets fried and breaks down, in much the same way that a robot’s system shuts down when it’s wire-system gets overloaded.

Michael Hyatt, in his article The Paradigm Shift That Helped Me Defeat Perfectionism Once And For All, agrees:

“Perfect is the enemy of the good, but so is distraction. If you have too many irons in the fire, you’ll get burned out. It’s better to focus on what matters now and see it through. Then you can turn to the next thing.” – Michael Hyatt

He encourages us to narrow our focus in order to defeat the perfectionism trap. As you focus on “the essential”, you more easily maintain a balanced perspective; something each of us needs to stay healthy emotionally.

 

THE IDEAL LEADER…

THE IDEAL LEADER
THE IDEAL LEADER

There is no such thing as ‘The Ideal Leader’, but there are leaders with ideals! Ideals guide our lives like rudders direct ships. The captain chooses which way to turn the rudder (which ideals to live by) and then that rudder (ideal) steers the ship in the set direction. Our ideals are the rudders in our lives. We choose our values, then our values steer us.

While there is no such thing as ‘The Ideal Leader’, there are leaders with ideals. Socrates lived for his ideal of wisdom. The founder of the Protestant Reformation, Martin Luther, lived for his ideal of “justification by faith alone”. Gandhi lived for his ideal of freedom. Martin Luther King lived for his ideal of justice. President Reagan lived for his ideal of a restored America. Billy Graham lives for his ideal of salvation in Jesus for every person in the world.

“The great men and women of history were not great because of what they earned and owned, but rather for what they gave their lives to accomplish.” – Dr. John Maxwell

So, what ideals are you living for? Perhaps when you hear the word ‘ideal’ you’re tempted to blow it off as pie-in-the-sky, ivory tower, only for dreamers kind of non-sense. You’ve heard the label ‘idealist’ thrown around as a criticism against someone and you’ve concluded that ideals just aren’t practical. “There’s the ideal” you say, “and then there’s the real.”

We all have to deal with the gap between what’s real and what’s ideal; with what is and the way we wish things were. Ideals, for some, feel more like wishful thinking.

A practical way for you and I to think about ‘ideals’ is to see them in their solid form, as when water freezes and turns to ice. Ideals (liquid concepts) harden into solid substances the way water turns from liquid to ice. Ideals in liquid form are concepts. But in solid form they become our expectations. For us, the ideal becomes what’s real.

Let me explain. When I was growing up, my mom taught me to hang up my clothes in my closet in a certain way…the hanger was hung in a specific direction. When I got married, my wife hung my clothes in my closet one day in the exact opposite way my mom had showed me. When I mentioned it to her (NOT the ideal thing to do:), she said, “Well, then, you can just do it yourself!”

What happened here? The way my mother showed me how to hang clothes in my closet had morphed into a solid expectation for me. I came to see the way my mom hung clothes as ‘the ideal’. Without realizing it, I had made my mom’s method ‘ my ideal’ and it had solidified into a solid expectation. The ideal (Brad, here’s how you can hang your clothes in your closet) became my expectation (Here’s how clothes SHOULD be hung in a closet).

NOT ALL IDEALS ARE CREATED EQUAL

I’ve matured since then, and now understand that not all ideals are equally important. I choose my family over my career. I try to choose what’s right over what’s wrong. I value what’s true instead of what’s false. I prefer to honor people rather than dishonor them. I decide to be better not bitter. These are just a few of my ideals. What are some of yours?

 “Far away there in the sunshine are my highest aspirations. I may not reach them, but I can look up and see their beauty, believe in them, and try to follow where they lead.” ― Louisa May Alcott

IF-THEN THINKING…THE MOTHER OF ALL LEADERSHIP SKILLS

INFERENCES...'IF-THEN' THINKING

Just as a golfer picks which club to use based on the kind of shot he’s facing, leaders choose which type of thoughts they’ll use depending on the situation facing them. Of all the types of thinking, perhaps none are more important than ‘If-Then’ thinking.

“A man cannot directly choose his circumstances, but he can choose his thoughts, and so indirectly, yet surely, shape his circumstances.” – James Allen, As A Man Thinketh

What is ‘If-Then’ thinking? To think ‘If-Then’ is to infer.  ‘If-Then’ thinking is inferring something from something else. For example, when my young son enters the house sweating profusely, face beet-red, huffing and puffing and plops down on the couch, I infer something from what I observe. I infer that his sweating means its hot outside, that he likely ran to get here and that he needs a little rest. Brilliant, I know:)

But what happens if I’m wrong? If I mis-think, then what? I’ve listed below 15 ‘If-Then’ mental mistakes every leader should avoid.

  1. ‘If-Then’ Filtering: IF I get one B on my report card, THEN I can’t be happy.
  2. ‘If-Then’ Black or White: IF I’m not totally good, THEN I’m  totally bad.
  3. ‘If-Then’ Overgeneralization: IF this date doesn’t go well, THEN no dates in the future will go well either.
  4. ‘If-Then’ Jumping to Conclusions: If she doesn’t smile at me, THEN she’s mad at me.
  5. ‘If-Then’ Catastrophizing: IF a thief robbed my neighbor’s house, THEN they’re sure to rob mine.
  6. ‘If-Then’ Personalization: IF we arrive late to the party, THEN the hostess will overcook the meal.
  7. ‘If-Then’ Control Fallacies: IF my work is poor in quality, THEN it’s because my boss is demanding too much over time from me.
  8. ‘If-Then’ Fallacy of Fairness: IF I don’t make the basketball team, THEN I’m not being treated fairly.
  9. ‘If-Then’ Blame: IF I feel bad about myself, THEN it’s because you made fun of me.
  10. ‘If-Then’ Shoulds: IF I enter the race, THEN I should win.
  11. ‘If-Then’ Emotional Reasoning: IF I feel stupid, THEN I must really be stupid.
  12. ‘If-Then’ Fallacy of Change: IF I say the right thing, THEN that will make him give me what I want.
  13. ‘If-Then’ Labeling: IF I fail, THEN I’m a failure.
  14. ‘If-Then’ Always being right: IF I say it’s true, THEN it’s true.
  15. ‘If-Then’ Reward Fallacy: IF I pay my dues, THEN I’ll be recognized eventually.

Gauge, guard and guide your ‘If-Then’ thinking as a leader. Pay attention to it. How? Go deep inside yourself and discover what you’re telling yourself. You’ll come to better understand yourself as you practice 3 Disciplines:

1. Meditation – Go to a quiet place. Get into a comfortable sitting position. Slow your breathing. Quiet your mind…

2. Introspection – Begin to focus on how you’re feeling. Hear what you’re saying. Ask yourself questions. Have a conversation with yourself. Commune with your spirit and with God…

3. Reflection – Sense what you’re experiencing. Consider what you’re learning. Review what was revealed to you during your time of introspection. Record your insights in a journal.

The ancient proverbs reminds us, “As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.” As you think ‘If-Then’ thoughts, so you will be!

 

THE UPTAKE ON INTAKE…What are you putting into your mind, spirit and body?

What are you allowing into your mind, body and spirit?
What are you allowing into your mind, body and spirit?

The law of gravity says, “What goes up must come down.” The Law of Intake states, “What goes in must comes out.”

INTAKE IS A DISCIPLINE OF SELF-LEADERSHIP

When I say intake, I’m referring to what and who you expose yourself to; the images you see, the words and noises you hear, the tactile surfaces you touch and feel, the aromas and odors you smell, the food and objects you taste, and the people you spend time with.  Anything and everything you take in, according to the law of intake, will eventually come out.

WHAT’S AT STAKE WITH INTAKE IS WHO YOU WILL BECOME

Jim Rohn once quipped, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” He meant, of course, that we catch attitudes from people like we catch colds.  We rub off on each other. Artist Austin Kleon puts it more plainly:

“You are, in fact, a mashup of everything you choose to let into your life.”

Jesus taught, “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light.” What he meant is that what your eyes look at “goes into” your body and your being. If you’re viewing good things (light), then good things will “go into” your body and being.

GUARD WHAT YOU TAKE INTO YOUR LIFE

An ancient proverb says, “Guard your heart with all diligence for out of it flow the issues of life.” How do I apply this? A few examples…

  • Pornagraphy is a poor choice. It causes men to objectify women and women to degrade men. It ruins relationships.  Don’t take in porn.
  • Some drugs, the illegal kind, are poison. It steals your awareness and diminishes your capacities. Stop putting poison in your body.
  • Gossip magazines are less intellectually nourishing than novels. Read People less and Tolstoy more. It’s about intake; what you’re taking into your self, your being.
  • Positive thoughts feel better than negative thoughts. Take in more positive and less negative.
  • Swallow your pride and you’ll sweat humility out of your emotional pores. This is a good thing. Humble people go far with others.
  • Should kids play violent video games? Studies go both ways. It’s worth examining.
  • Does a child raised by an abuser necessarily become one, too?Intake matters to all of us, regardless of age.

INTAKE SPELLS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN PREPARING OR REPAIRING

“If you are preparing today, chances are, you will not be repairing tomorrow.” – Dr. John Maxwell

A good tomorrow starts with a good today. What I will be tomorrow I am becoming now. Therefore, I will either be spending tomorrow reaping the benefits of the good things I did today or repairing the damage from the bad things I did today.

Let me conclude by sharing what I believe healthy intake looks like. Healthy intake for leaders usually means…

  1. Serving the right God
  2. Having the right priorities
  3. Thinking the right thoughts
  4. Saying the right words
  5. Praying the right prayers
  6. Making the right choices
  7. Reading the right books
  8. Learning the right lessons
  9. Listening to the right people
  10. Attending the right events