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?

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!

 

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?

THE SOURCE OF YOUR CONFUSION…

DO YOU EVER FEEL CONFUSED?
DO YOU EVER FEEL CONFUSED?

Sometimes I get confused. Mental fog, I think experts call it. I feel a whirling of emotions flying around inside me that won’t seem to land on anything solid. Did I mention I sometimes feel confused:) Do you ever feel that way? Like you’re distracted, unfocused, not centered emotionally?

Where does confusion come from? I think there are several sources of confusion in our world today.

COMPLEXITY

The sheer volume of options offered within our global society today is staggering…and confusing. Consumers are confused: how are we to choose given so many products to choose from? Parents are confused: how can I protect my children when there is so much more today that can corrupt them? Americans are confused: where’s America headed and what’s happening in our nation? Technology experts are confused: WHAT WILL BECOME OF US NOW THAT STEVE JOBS IS GONE?  We add layers and layers to our lives complicating them in ways that cause mental and emotional confusion.

EVIL

There is a verse in the Bible that states, “God is not the author of confusion, but of peace…” God is not the source of confusion, but the dark side is. There is a dark side, you know? George Lucas said so:) Okay, I”m kidding, but not about there being real evil in the world. I believe in dark forces, spirits, that are “fallen angels” who seek to do harm to mankind. Don’t commit me just yet:)  Satan, the Devil, is their leader and he is a real person. You think I’m confused?  That’s okay:) I’ve seen the damage evil can do in this world. I have no doubt that you have, too. And I think this confuses us. I also think the dark forces themeselves seek to confuse us. Jesus said, “If you continue in my word, then you are my disciples indeed and you shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.”

MULTI-TASKING

My wife and I have a standing argument that never seems to get resolved. She multi-tasks, I don’t…or can’t very well. In fact, I tell her that it’s impossible for the mind to actually do two tasks simultaneously. She disagrees. And in her mind, proves she’s right, every time she answers the phone, puts a casserole in the oven and tells our kids to quit arguing all at the same time. Or so it seems…

I watch all of this unfold but stick to my guns because I still see a linear sequence in each of those events. Any way, I think confusion is brought on by trying to do too many things at once. The reason I know I’m right (famous last words) is because there’s an expert on thinking who agrees with me:

“The main difficulty of thinking is confusion. We try to do too much at once. Emotions, information, logic, hope, and creativity all crowd in on us. It is like juggling with too many balls”. – Edward de Bono

SOOOOOO, HOW DO WE CLEAR AWAY CONFUSION?

PRAY…It does the body good!

SIMPLIFY…It reduces mental stress!

EXERCISE…It re-sets your brain and stabilizes emotions!

CONFIDE IN A FRIEND…It gives you perspective!

DO YOU ‘BUY’ THIS LIE?

 

Are You 'Buying' This Lie?
Are You ‘Buying’ This Lie?

There is a lie many people buy…and it’s defeating them! They die under the weight of this lie:  Here’s the lie…

WORTHINESS = USEFULNESS

In other words, this lie says that how much you’re worth depends on how useful you are to somebody. You’re only as valuable as you are useful. Have you ever heard that? Do you ever feel…that you’re only as good as your last performance?

I believe this is pragmatism at its worst! What is pragmatism? Pragmatism has been called America’s philosophical contribution to the world. Pragmatism is the belief that everything should be viewed in terms of its practical uses and successes. If you’re useful, then you’re valuable…If you’re not useful then, according to some pragmatists, you’re not worth much.

In this kind of twisted thinking human life is reduced to the measure of its usefulness. The less useful you are the less valuable you are. The recent V.A. scandal is evidence. “Useful” people make it to the top of medical waiting lists. Unborn babies are treated as commodities to be discarded through abortion. And the elderly are viewed as dispensable and mainly ignored or worse, made to feel irrelevant.

Another branch stemming from this lie is the equally undignified baloney which says, “You’re only as valuable as you are beautiful.”In this mentality, your worth = your girth (I like rhyming:) Put another way, “If they don’t like your waist, they think you’re a waste.” It’s sad but this attitude is everywhere.

A third consequence of this line of thinking is the often believed logic which implies, “You’re only valuable if you’re likable.” We’re back to usefulness again. If a person likes you, then you become worth something in their eyes; useful. But what if you’re not everything they expect you to be? What then? The sad reality is that you’re deemed less valuable.

An equally pervasive consequence of ‘buying’ this lie is that people confuse NET WORTH = SELF WORTH. In this kind of thinking, self-worth is something to be earned. You must justify your existence and prove you’re worthy “to take up space and breathe in air.” If you don’t produce? Well, then you’re out!

I’ve described one way to live. Allow me to suggest another. I am choosing to live in God’s World not the Pragmatists World. I believe God’s world is more realistic! In God’s world, my worth is not earned but bestowed. My value is based on my relationship with the Lord not on what I can afford. My worth draws its breath from my creator not my behavior.

Personally I believe that it’s not what you do that makes you valuable, it’s what you are: God’s Creation. God doesn’t love you because you’re useful, He loves you because you’re His! God loves you because you’re wonderful…Did you know that? You’re wonderful because you were wonderfully made! David said in Psalm 139:13-14(HCSB):

For it was You (God) who created my inward parts; You knit me together in my mother’s womb. I will praise You because I have been remarkably and wonderfully made.”

 
David said he was wonderfully made. So was I. So are you! This means you’re more than your usefulness, beauty or personality. You’re more than your productivity. You’re more than your “To-Do” list. You’re more than your paycheck. Your worth, your value is not conditional. Romans 8 tells us:

“I am convinced that nothing can separate us from God’s love which Christ Jesus our Lord shows us. We can’t be separated by death or life, by angels or rulers, by anything in this present or anything in the future, by forces or powers in the world above or in the world below, or by anything else in creation.”

Romans 8 says nothing can separate us from God’s love. Why? Because God’s love isn’t contingent on your being useful or beautiful or likeable; but on His being faithful! The reason nothing can separate us from God’s love is because God separates our worth from our behavior. Do you? Can you? You can and here’s why:

You are not what you do. You are who God says you are!

Wow! This changes my life! As I reject this lie I can go to work and do my job without the pressure of feeling like I have to EARN God’s acceptance by my performance. If I fail today, I am just as valuable as if I’d succeeded. If I succeed today, I’m no more valuable than if I’d failed.   

Here’s my conclusion.  Bottom line: Never base your worth on anything from earth. If you are a Christ-Worshipper then your citizenship is in heaven!

OVERWORKED OR OVER-WORRIED? (Thanks to Rick Warren for this title)

OVERWORKED OR OVER-WORRIED?
Overworked or Over-worried?

Work is inevitable. Worry is optional. Feeling overwhelmed, overloaded, and overcome with burdens may not mean you’re overworked but over-worried. Being overly-worried about your work or world, not the actual workload itself, is often the cause of intense feelings of pressure, distress, or anxiety.

Belief = Grief OR   Belief = Relief

Our beliefs are powerful. They determine how we feel. Grief or relief can come from a belief. For example, if you believe that you’re going to fail at the task you’re working on no matter how hard you try, then you are naturally going to feel grief or a sense of dread or anxiety about what you have to do. However, if you believe that you’re best effort will be good enough, then you will experience a sense of relief emotionally. It’s all about the belief you’re believing.

So, often people live with a vague sense of suppressed anxiousness but without a clear notion of what is causing their negative feelings. We feel low energy, so we think we’re working too hard. We feel low emotionally, so we assume we need to slow our schedule down a bit. However, I’m learning that sometimes, the problem is not the amount of activity, but the amount of anxiety. It’s not that you’re working too hard, it’s that you’re worrying too hard. How can we overcome anxiety? The scriptures teach us a 5 STEP PROCESS FOR RELIEVING ANXIETY based on Philippians 4:5-9. 

1. REMEMBER JESUS IS COMING SOON…IT’S TEMPORARY!

Let everyone see that you are unselfish and considerate in all you do. Remember that the Lord is coming soon.

Whatever situation is causing you anxiety, it is only temporary. Tell yourself that truth! And then BELIEVE IT! This will give you hope to cope. No matter what you’re going through Jesus is coming to rescue His children.

2. PRAY ABOUT YOUR SITUATION…GOD IS IN CONTROL! 

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything; tell God your needs, and don’t forget to thank him for his answers. 

You don’t need a manual on how to pray. Just open up your heart to the invisible God and talk to Him. Tell Him what’s bothering you. Tell Him what you want, what you think you need and leave your burdens at His feet.

3. RECEIVE GOD’S PEACE…LET GO AND LET GOD:)

If you do this, you will experience God’s peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peace will keep your thoughts and your hearts quiet and at rest as you trust in Christ Jesus.

This ‘peace’ spoken of in this verse actually means that “the peace God Himself lives with every moment will be given to you as well”. Let God give you His peace. Don’t pray and then stray. Pray and then stay…in an attitude of prayer so that this spiritual transfusion of “peace” can flow.

4. THINK THE RIGHT THOUGHTS…RULE YOUR MIND!

And now, brothers, as I close this letter, let me say this one more thing: Fix your thoughts on what is true and good and right. Think about things that are pure and lovely, and dwell on the fine, good things in others. Think about all you can praise God for and be glad about.

Our thoughts create our feelings. You can either have a thought or a thought can have you! You must stay in control of your mind.  As Horace quipped, “Rule your mind or it will rule you.” 

5. FOLLOW PAUL’S EXAMPLE…TAKE ACTION OUT OF FAITH!

Keep putting into practice all you learned from me and saw me doing, and the God of peace will be with you.

God is not opposed to EFFORT, He’s opposed to EARNING! We can’t earn God’s love or approval, but we can make an effort to obey Him.  His grace means He will give you the power to practice your faith in Him.

Paul says do these things “and the God of peace will be with you”. May the peace of Christ be yours today!