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! 

 

 

INDUSTRIOUS…Am I getting things done?

INDUSTRIOUS PEOPLE GET THINGS DONE
INDUSTRIOUS PEOPLE GET THINGS DONE

Someone once told me “Brad, you get out of something what you put into it.” Now that I’m 41, I can’t say I agree 100%. Sometimes, I actually can’t control “what I get out of something”.

In our fallen world, everything’s broken. Nothing works right, at least not for very long. My car stalls out. My heater breaks. My microwave fizzles. 1+1 doesn’t always = 2. Does that make sense?

For example, If you’re a person who works in the sales industry, you can usually control what you personally “put in” to a relationship with a new client, in terms of caring, time, expertise and helpfulness. But you can’t control whether that client will “buy” from you or your company in a way that “equals” your sacrificial input. Sometimes, 4+1= 2. It can be frustrating to say the least.

But while we can’t always control what we get out of something, we can always control what we put into it. Here’s the good news: although we can’t always directly control outcomes, there are three elements of our work that we can control. You can decide to be industrious no matter what. For example, YOU CAN CONTROL…

1. Your Work Ethic…How you view and feel about the work you do.

You can “take this job and love it” or you can “take this job and shove it”! It’s up to you! And your boss, eventually:) How do you feel about your work? Do you like it? Loathe it? What?

Your work ethic is what you believe about work itself. An “ethic” is another word for your basic philosophy or belief system. Your view of “work” will determine your behavior in relation to it. For example, is work a blessing or a curse to you? Is it something you avoid at all costs or dive into as often as possible? A second element you can control is…

2. Your Work Habits…When and how you discipline yourself to do your work.

I’m always fascinated to learn the daily routines and schedules of famous people. The book Daily Rituals by Mason Currey, for example, examines the daily work habits of 161 of history’s most famous creatives: men like Mark Twain, Ernest Hemingway, Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Edison; along with women such as Gertrude Stein, Georgia O’Keefe and Sylvia Plath. In this book he writes about their work habits. He asks and answers questions such as: What time did they get up in the morning? Where did they do their work? When did they sleep? How many breaks did they take?

What we learn is that different people had different levels of discipline. “Discipline” says Bob Proctor, “is the ability to give yourself a command and then follow it.” Each of us has daily rituals that constitute our work habits. For the most part, these are under our control. We also have a certain level of self-discipline with which we carry out our tasks. We decide these things. We get to choose. And each of us can choose to be industrious every day. You can also choose to control…

3. Your Work Rate…How much effort you give to doing your work.

We’ve all heard the cliché’, “Work smarter not harder”. It’s catchy, but not totally accurate. No matter how “smart” you work, effort is still required of you to accomplish goals and plans. It may or may not be “manual labor” but it’s almost always “mental labor”.

Dr. Joel Fuhrman, NY Times best-selling author of Eat To Live and Super Immunity reminds us: “Things that have huge value require effort…great success means a significant effort is usually required.” 

Unfortunately, the word “effort” itself gets a bad rap. For many, it connotes “blood, tears, toil and sweat”, all things unpleasant to give at times. Gandhi saw it another way: “Satisfaction” he wrote“lies in the effort, not in the attainment. Full effort is full victory.” 

“Never let effort be the issue” says former NY Jets coach, Herman Edwards. Exert yourself. Leave a piece of yourself in your work. Even if you are afraid of failing, remember these words from philosopher Francis Bacon:

“There is no comparison between that which is lost by not succeeding and that which is lost by not trying.”

IMPRESSIONS…What is God saying to me?”

What is God saying to me?
What is God saying to me?

When the devil gives us an idea it’s called temptation. When God gives us an idea we call it an impression. An impression is not a feeling, but more like an inner sensing, an inward urging or pressure, an internal breeze of wind rustling the leaves of your spirit, emotions and will, inviting you to listen with your heart to God’s still small voice.  How do you know when it’s God speaking to you?

Like gravity, I can’t see God but I experience the results of His actions. I confess this makes it hard sometimes. I wish I could see God like I see other people. How can we get to a place where we become sensitive enough to know when its God speaking to us? Here’s the reality…

YOU HAVE TO FIGURE IT OUT

Figure it out means think it out. Thankfully, not by yourself. God knew that we humans would struggle with the subjective nature of our relationship with Him. So, not only did God come to earth in human form in Jesus, but He also gave us a book, The Bible, to be an objective source of authority where we can go to find true information about Him.

Figuring it out means going to God’s Word, the Bible, and reading and studying what it says. God will never contradict His Word. God will never tell you to do something that goes against what He’s already told us in The Bible. One way of figuring out if it’s God’s voice I’m hearing is to check my impressions (what I’m sensing on the inside) with the truths of God’s Word. As you do this…

YOU HAVE TO WORK IT OUT

Very often, when Jesus Christ would teach and preach, people failed to understand His message. The Gospel of John records this insight: “Jesus gave this illustration, but they did not understand what He was telling them.” Jesus was teaching and even using stories to make clear the meaning of his message…and still people didn’t get it.

Knowing what Jesus said and what He meant are two different things. What He said is easy enough, but knowing what He meant is the part where we work it out. Paul, the Apostle, instructed first century Christians: “So then, my dear friends, just as you have always obeyed, not only in my presence, but now even more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.”

Thankfully, God has given Christ-followers His very own Spirit to live within us and to teach us the truth. Working out your own salvation with fear and trembling means working with God’s Holy Spirit to understand truth. The Apostle John explains this when he says, However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He (God’s Spirit) will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. – John 16:13 (NKJV)

Once we begin figuring it out and working it out…the natural progression of this process means…

YOU HAVE TO LIVE IT OUT

John also connects these spiritual dots for us in his book 1 John 2:27 (NLT):

“But you have received the Holy Spirit, and he lives within you, so you don’t need anyone to teach you what is true. For the Spirit teaches you everything you need to know, and what he teaches is true—it is not a lie. So just as he has taught you, remain in fellowship with Christ.”

The third person of the Holy Trinity, The Holy Spirit, lives and dwells inside every true believer empowering us to figure out our own inner impressions, working out our own understanding of what God is saying to us and to live out the faith we possess.

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

52 MUST-HAVE SKILLS FOR LEADERS…A CHECKLIST

BALANCED LEADERSHIP
LEADERSHIP IS A BALANCING ACT

Leadership is a balancing act! You’re constantly juggling, working on multiple tracks at the same time. How do we stay balanced with so many people, projects and processes to juggle?

BLESSED ARE THE BALANCED!

It all starts with you; where you’re focusing your attention. What’s got your attention ? What are you focusing on?

“What you focus on expands. So focus on what you want, not on what you don’t want.” – Esther Jno-Charles

I offer you a checklist to focus on. Ask yourself these 52 questions and reflect on your current skill level in each. Really go deep inside yourself as a leader while you seek the answers to these 52 questions. You may even want to record your thoughts in a Self-Leadership Journal. From one leader to another…

INNER-SELF CHECKLIST

  1. INTAKE – What images/words/substances am I taking into my mind, spirit and body?
  2. IMPRESSIONS – What is Jesus saying to me?
  3. INSIGHTS – What principles am I observing and learning?
  4. INTENT – What is motivating my feelings and choices at this moment?
  5. INTENTIONALITY – Am I choosing to be proactive or passive?
  6. INSISTENCE – Am I summoning the will to follow through?
  7. IMAGINATION – Am I visualizing success or failure?
  8. INTERNAL COMMITMENTS – What unspoken agreements have I made with myself?
  9. INFORMATION – What’s my system for collecting and managing information?
  10. INJURIES – Am I harboring any resentments? 
  11. INCOMPLETES – What open loops are pulling at my attention?
  12. INTENSITY – Am I balancing the serious with the hilarious?
  13. INTELLECT – Am I challenging my mind?
  14. INTEGRITY – Am I congruent in what I think, feel, say and do?
  15. INTANGIBLES – Am I paying attention to morale?
  16. IMPLICATIONS – Am I asking and answering the “So, what?” question?
  17. IMMATURITY – Am I being defensive or teachable?
  18. IMBALANCE – Are my emotions under control?
  19. INSECURITIES – Am I healing wounds and overcoming fears?
  20. INITIATIVE – Am I making the first move, taking the first step accepting appropriate risk?
  21. INDUSTRIOUS – Have I decided to be productive today?
  22. INFERENCES – Is my “if-then” thinking accurate?
  23. INTERPRETATIONS – What is my paradigm for filtering my experience of reality?
  24. IMPULSES – Am I directing my desires to healthy ends?
  25. IDEALS – What values guide my actions?
  26. IDOLS – Am I putting God first?
  27. INSTINCTS – Is my sense of timing improving?
  28. INTUITION – Am I working from my strengths?
  29. INTERNALIZATIONS – What beliefs am I allowing to take root in my head and heart?
  30. INSPIRATION – How am I keeping my fire burning?
  31. ILLUSTRATIONS – Am I turning today’s experiences into stories I can tell?

OUTER-SELF CHECKLIST

  1. IMAGE – What image am I projecting to the world?
  2. INFLUENCE – What effect am I have on those around me?
  3. INTERACTIONS – Am I reacting to others with grace and truth?
  4. INNER CIRCLE – Am I surrounding myself with loyal, trustworthy, high-caliber people?
  5. INCOME – Am I telling my money where to go or wondering where it went?
  6. INTERCEDING – Am I praying for others’ needs?
  7. INTERESTS – Am I pursuing and enjoying hobbies? 
  8. INNOVATION – Am I finding better ways to do things?
  9. IMPLEMENTATION – What changes am I putting into place?
  10. INTIMACY – Am I emotionally available for my family and friends?
  11. ISOLATION – Am I moving toward relationships or away from them?
  12. INTRODUCTIONS – Who am I meeting and networking with?
  13. INVESTMENT – Who am I mentoring?
  14. INTERRUPTIONS – Am I limiting distractions and focusing on priorities?
  15. INPUT – Am I asking for feedback?
  16. INTERDEPENDENCE – Am I building my team or trying to do it all myself?
  17. INTERVENTIONS – With whom do I need to have a courageous conversation?
  18. INSTRUCTION – What am I teaching my children?
  19. IMPROVISATION – Am I learning to think on my feet?
  20. ISSUES – What challenges am I facing in my life right now?
  21. INTERSECTIONS – What crossroads have I reached and decisions do I need to make?

18 PRACTICAL WAYS TO DEVELOP MORE INTEGRITY

HOW TO PRACTICE WHAT YOU PREACH
HOW TO PRACTICE WHAT YOU PREACH

What does it mean to have integrity? To have integrity means ‘to be in reality what I appear to be’. It means that my core beliefs are congruent with my common practice. It means my walk matches my talk and my behavior mirrors my true beliefs.

Integrity implies more than just being honest, but certainly no less. Integrity means I’m honest AND whole. Integrity is having the courage and honesty to handle the demands of life with grace and truth. To better lead myself I like to ask myself this Growth Question: INTEGRITY…Am I practicing what I teach?

Allow me to share with you 18 PRACTICAL WAYS TO DEVELOP MORE INTEGRITY.

What can we do to develop integrity? Do the following…
1. Tell myself that integrity is important…Value it.
2. Talk to God asking Him to give me integrity…Pray for it.
3. Make someone a promise and keep it…Work at it.
4. Ask a friend to hold me accountable to have integrity…Submit to it.
5. Read what God says about integrity in the Bible…Study it.
6. Explain to myself why integrity matters…Understand it.
7. Spend time with people who have integrity…Catch it.
8. Teach on it to others…Model it.
9. Listen to my conscience…Sense it.
10. Condition my mind with self-talk for integrity…Program it.
11. Create a document outlining what it would look like for me to have integrity…Script it.
12. Collect quotes on integrity…Seek it.
13. Read books about integrity…Read about it.
14. Listen to sermons/talks on the subject of integrity…Absorb it.
15. Dialogue with My spouse and friends about it…Discuss it.
16. Study lives of men and women who succeeded and failed at integrity…Learn it.
17. Analyze and evaluate choices where I choose not to act with integrity…Change for it.
18. Write a document describing what would happen and what life would be like if I don’t choose integrity…Contextualize it.

 

LEADERSHIP AND THE LAW OF INSISTENCE

THE LAW OF INSISTENCE
THE LAW OF INSISTENCE

Warren Bennis states:“Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality.” But what does it take to bridge that gap; the gap between the ideal and the real? I believe it requires leaders to memorize and repeat often two vital words: I INSIST!

It’s a principle I call THE LAW OF INSISTENCE. The Law of Insistence says:

“A Leader Must Insist On What He Wants To Exist.”

Whatever it is that you want to bring into existence, will only be brought  into existence at the leader’s insistence. As a result, there are three times when every leader must use insistence as a tool of his or her leadership.

1. Leaders Must Insist When They Want Something To Exist!

Jesus, the greatest leader and spiritual teacher who ever lived, was destined to fulfill His vision. What was his vision? Matthew 16:21-23 tells us:

“From that time Jesus began to show His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised the third day.” – Matthew 16:21 (NKJV)

Jesus’ purpose was to die for the sins of all people and then to resurrect from the dead to reign as the one true God.  Jesus insisted on this vision! How do we know? Because Matthew tells us, “Jesus began to show His disciples that He must…”. That word ‘must’ is a word of insistence. I MUST do this! I HAVE to do this! THIS MATTERS!

As a leader of people, if you want a certain something to exist, then you’re going to have to insist on it, strengthen your resolve, and make it happen.

2. Leaders Must Insist Even When Followers Resist!

Notice what happens after Jesus declares His purpose and vision.

“Then Peter took Him (Jesus) aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, ‘Far be it from You, Lord; this shall not happen to You’!” – Matthew 16:22 (NKJV)

Peter meant well. But Peter was wrong. He had good intentions but he didn’t know he was resisting the plan of God. Jesus loved Peter. Jesus knew Peter meant well. But Jesus also knew that He Himself “must” fulfill His God-given vision. So, what does Jesus do? He insists! Watch Jesus’ passion…

“But He (Jesus) turned and said to Peter, ‘Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men.” – Matthew 16:23 (NKJV)

Whoa! Strong words, wouldn’t you say? But Jesus wasn’t angry at Peter, He was passionate about His purpose and vision. Jesus insisted like the leader He is; with compassion for Peter’s misunderstanding and passion for God’s plan for His life.  Sometimes, as a leader, you’ve just got to insist on it!

I’m not talking about being rude or acting like a bully, but about the fine art of insisting kindly but firmly.

“The challenge of leadership is to be strong, but not rude; be kind, but not weak; be bold, but not bully; be thoughtful, but not lazy; be humble, but not timid; be proud, but not arrogant; have humor, but without folly.” — Jim Rohn

3. Leaders Must Insist Until People Assist

“Then Jesus said to His disciples, ‘If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.” – Matthew 16:24 (NKJV)

You may have to stand by yourself for a while, at least until someone decides to roll up their sleeves and start helping you accomplish your vision. Great leaders are always willing to stand alone if that’s what it takes!

“A true leader has the confidence to stand alone.” – General Douglas MacArthur

To sum it up: As a leader you’ve got to insist, even when people resist, and persist so your vision will exist:) It’s just that simple. Are you willing?