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Posts tagged ‘Personal’

Why You Should Meet with Yourself

img_0191.jpgI know this will sound strange, but one of the best things we can do as leaders is to have a regularly scheduled meeting with ourselves.  Yes, that’s right,  a meeting in our calendar where we’re the only attendee, and in the Subject line of the appointment it reads “Reflection and Planning”.

We all know we need to do this – we need regular moments of quiet time, with no distractions, where we can reflect, look back, look ahead and plan what the next move or moves need to be.  Yet so often, actually way too often,  we don’t do it?

Why?

Because we don’t put it into our calendars.  We don’t create a meeting with ourselves.

I know this is another strange thought but the reality is when we write down or type something, in this case, into our calendar, we’re saying it’s important.  You see our brains work this way – when we think about something, speak it out loud and then write it down, we’re significantly more likely to remember and then follow through on it.

Now, at the risk of seeming even more strange, I need to say this as well – when we set meetings with ourselves, we need to create and write down an agenda.  It may be a simple, repeatable agenda but, like all other meetings, a thoughtful, intentional agenda leads to a meaningful, productive meeting, even with ourself.

So the next question is – how often should we meet with ourselves and what do we talk about? We should meet every day, even if it’s for just a few minutes.  And we should answer questions like those below.   I have a rhythm of meetings I try to stick too – they follow the same pattern as our organizational meeting rhythm –

Meeting and Agenda (questions to answer):                                                

Daily (10 min):      

  • What’s the most important thing I can do today?
  • When will I do it?

Weekly (15 min):

  • What’s the 3 most important priorities I need to accomplish this week?
  •  Do I have time in my calendar blocked out to do them?

Monthly (30 min):

  • What are my top 3 to 5 priorities for the month?
  • Do I have time in my calendar blocked out to do them?

Quarterly (30 min):  

  • What are my top 3 to 5 priorities for the quarter?

 Annual (2 hours):  

  • What are my 5 to 7 goals for the year?
  • Is my life aligned with my purpose, values and dreams?
  • What’s my unifying theme for the year?

So here’s the challenge – starting next week, try meeting daily with yourself.  Put these meetings into your calendar and simply ask the questions above.  See if you don’t become more focused, more effective and less stressed than you’ve ever been.

Whose Filling Up Your Calendar?

fullsizerender-3Do you take the time to plan your day, your week, your month, your life?  Do you have clearly stated personal core values and purpose statement?  Do you have a map that guides you to the places you want to go and a plan for becoming the person God’s called you to be?

If you answer to these questions is a “no” or “not to often” – here’s the harsh reality – someone else, by default, will create answers to these questions for you.  They’ll plan your time, set your priorities, fill up your calendar and make sure their priorities and goals are being achieved before yours.  Not because people are manipulative or malicious but simply because they can, because you let them, because you’re not doing it yourself.

You see our days and weeks, represented by our calendars, have their own magnetic pull. They will draw in the nearest activities, tasks, projects, and appointments into every available time slot of your life.  And trust me, if you’re a leader, there’s always somebody’s priorities close by.  The question is which priorities will be closest and fill up your calendar? Yours or others?

So what can you do to assure that your life is filled with your plans, goals, priorities, and the people you want and need to see?  It’s simple, with discipline, diligence and tenacity, fill in your calendar before others do so for you.  And this starts by having a planning rhythm for your life. This rhythm should include five separate personal planning sessions, or as my friend Jack McQueeney calls them – meetings with yourself.   These meetings are:

Annual Planning – where you set you goals  and priorities for the year, then schedule these, along with other major events, into your calendar for the year. I do this in November or December of each year with my wife Denise. Typically it takes an afternoon to accomplish.

Seasonal or Quarterly Meeting – check your progress on your annual plan, map out in more detail your calendar, and move things around that have unintentionally crept into your life.  This meeting should only be a couple hours at the most.

Monthly Review – adjust your Seasonal/Quarterly plan and fill in open times with your priorities.  At this step be much more detailed in filling in your calendar. I spend about an hour during the last week of each month planning the next month.

Weekly Meeting – the most important meeting of your life.  This is where you set weekly goals then build time into your calendar to accomplish them. You do this by doggedly moving the less important things out and making time for the most important work to be done  Though it’s the most important meeting, once you’ve done it a number of times it doesn’t take long – 30 minutes is my typical time needed.  I usually do it on Sunday morning.

Daily Plan – everyday it’s important to look at your weekly plan and calendar and make sure you’re on track to accomplish your goals and key work. Early every morning I identify my top 1 to 3 priorities for that day.  This takes about 5 or 10 minutes.

Now if this all seems to require to much time, let me ask you one final question – if you don’t have time to plan,  how do you have time to do everyone’s else’s priorities and yours as well?  So make 2017 your best, most fruitful year yet by filling your calendar up before someone does it for you.

 

 

 

 

 

“You Need to Feed Them and Love Them Before You can Lead Them”

2013-06-21 11.57.45I recently heard again a pastor’s old maxim – “you need to feed them and love them before you can lead them”. This got me thinking, this isn’t just a helpful maxim for pastors but for every leader.

So I asked myself, “how does this old maxim apply to other kinds of leaders, ones who are not pastors?”

So here’s my take on it.

First, “Feed them” implies giving people the tools, time, encouragement, and clarity of expectations, training, and coaching they need to successfully do their work now and into the future. It means providing both challenging and meaningful work while assuring people have what they need to meet every challenge and, at the end of the day, be successful. Feeding people is building into them professionally and personally.

Then the second requirement of leadership is to “Love them“. How can we love those entrust to our leadership? We start with treating them as people created in the image of God. We can do this simply by knowing and using people’s names. People love and need to be known. We make sure we understand what people do in their work and the contributions they make to the team. Then we should never stop thanking them. We get to know people on a personal level so we can lead them in a way that brings out their best. We also show an interest in them beyond what they can do for the team. This means being committed to well-being of their professional lives (goals, fears, desires, calling, development, etc.) as well as their personal lives (family, hobbies, spiritual).

If, as leaders, we can effectively feed and love people, then, and only then, will we earn the right to lead them, to be granted the privilege to be their leaders. Without earning this right, by definition, we’re not leaders because we simply will have no lasting followers, just people stuck till they can find another leaders and team.

So challenge yourself by answering the following questions about the people entrusted to you. Then earn the right to lead by actually do what you’ve said you will do in each answer.

  1. What will I do this week to feed them?
  2. How will I tangibly express my love for them this week?
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