• Leadership

    The Art of Working from Home – What I’ve learned to Survive

    Like of many of you, I’ve been forced work from home this past week and will be for at least the next few weeks.  During these days I’ve learned five lessons about surviving these new working conditions.  My hope is that they may help you as you try to survive this extraordinary moment in our history.

    1. Plan your work, work your plan:
      • Have a daily plan and make it as specific as possible. Time block (meaning block out time on your calendar) for the specific tasks you want to tackle for the day.
      • Set personal deadlines for each task – i.e. “I’m giving myself 30 minutes to get this task done”. Make it a game, a competition
      • Then follow your plan, adjust your plan and work till you get your plan done for the day
      • Plan a reward for yourself at the end of the day when you’ve completed your work – have a great meal, watch your favorite movie, eat chocolate, put extra butter on popcorn – you get the idea
    2. “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”
      • Get out, take a walk, do some prep for dinner, play a short game with your kids, call a family member or friend. Do this once an hour
      • Don’t look at your computer screen for 8 hours straight.
      • Spend a few minutes in the morning and then in the afternoon reading something inspiring – the Scriptures, a biography, a great novel. Or read something that promotes your learning, challenges your brain.
      • Start a journal – capture your experiences during this unprecedented time.
    3. Physical Distancing not Social Distancing:
      • We need each other during these moments, stay connected.
        Do as many calls as you can via video – see people’s faces.
      • Have a conversation with people outside your home, when you’re out – keep your physical distance, but don’t cut out your social interactions.
      • Make the extra effort to connect, to engage with people digitally and physically.
    4. Don’t let distractions become the main attractions:
      • Don’t look at the news or cruise the web any more than twice a day – once in the morning, once at night. If something really crazy happens you can be assured someone you know will be glued to the web and will be compelled to text you with the latest news
      • Check emails no more than once an hour and answer them twice a day, unless urgent.
      • Find a quiet place in your house to do your work, but come out of hiding regularly, it will cut down on interruptions.
    5. “Laughter is the best medicine”
      • Don’t be afraid to laugh, be lighthearted, research shows that in the most stressful and dire circumstances, people who can and do laugh do a better job coping and surviving
      • Find joy in the moment – watch the sun rise or set, listen to children play outside, look at the stars tonight, appreciate the gift of life God’s given you.

    For a laugh or two watch this video about conference calls – https://youtu.be/DYu_bGbZiiQ

    Good Luck – this too shall pass!

  • Growing as a Leader,  Living as a Leader

    The Power of Purpose

    2015-08-04 13.32.10 HDRWhere do you turn when the day runs off the tracks,  the meeting you’ve prepared so hard for goes badly, or you’re in the middle of that part of your job you dislike the most?  What do you do when you’re fatigued, worn thin, burned out with your work, with your life? How do you get back that energy you used to have, the joy that filled your work, the motivation to fight through any obstacle?

    There’s really only one place to turn, one thing you need – to know, believe and wrap your whole being around your purpose.  Your purpose answers the question – why am I here? It’s the reason you do your job, the reminder of the impact you have, the difference you and your work make, and the outcomes you strive so hard for.   It’s the reason behind what you do and why you do it.

    If you keep your purpose at the forefront of your mind, it provides the energy, joy and motivation to keep at your work, to fight through the challenges and boredom.  Once you lose your sense of purpose or worse, you work and live outside the scope of your purpose, your energy, joy and motivation will soon slip away.

    So what exactly is purpose?  It’s the goals you have, but it’s more than numbers or accomplishments.  It’s the direction you want to go,  but it’s beyond your destination. Purpose goes deeper, wider and higher. Purpose is the ultimate end you are seeking for your work, for you self, and for those you wish to impact.  It’s who God’s called you to be and the good work He’s prepared for you to do.

    So how do you discover your purpose?  You discover it when you clearly understand your highest values, acknowledge your gifts, abilities and life experiences, and know the opportunities you have to make a difference in the lives of others and in the world. The confluence of knowing yourself and the world you live in is where you discover your purpose.

    So over the next few posts we’ll take a deeper look at the steps you can take to discover your purpose. My goal is to help you find new inspiration to do your work or, if necessary, find the kind of work that better aligns with your purpose.

  • Living as a Leader

    Fishing or Golf?

    I come from a golfing family so I “played” golf for many years. But I also come from a long line of fishermen, so fishing’s always been a part of my life.

    But 15 years ago I came to the conclusion that I didn’t have the time to do both. I needed to make a Solomon like judgment – golf or fishing?

    But the truth was it really wasn’t much of a decision once I got over the fear of telling my family and golfing friends I would no longer be part of the club, both literally and figuratively.

    Why did fishing win over golf so easily?

    For starters I’ve never been very good at golf so I find playing very frustrating. Being with family and friends is always fun, playing golf isn’t.

    On the other hand I’m never frustrated when I’m fishing. If the fishing’s bad then it’s the weather, the fish or the lake’s fault, but it’s never my fault. So I’m never frustrated. When I catch fish, whether it was simple luck or my fishing skills, it’s always a bonus.

    Fishing provides the same opportunity for fellowship as golf, except you’re in a boat and not a golf cart. But the level of concentration required in fishing’s significantly less. As a result I’ve had some of the best life discussions ever while fishing.

    And as I stated in my previous post, I love being outdoors, but I prefer to always be in the “wild” versus the “manicured” outdoors. Fishing provides the opportunity to be in the “wild”.

    Finally, related to being in the wild, I love adventure and fishing’s always an adventure, or at least I tend to make it one.

    So Solomon’s wisdom proved right, yes golf’s good, but for me, fishing’s better.