For the last several years I have been running and exercising on a regular basis. I ran half marathons, ran the Warrior Dash (a 5k with obstacles) and ate healthy food while maintaining my weight and general fitness. Then I stopped back in December around Christmas. I decided to take a break and it led to a prolonged time of no exercise. I gained 15 pounds and regressed physically. I also lost my motivation to restart, for some reason I couldn’t get back into the habit of running and working out. I even made some bad choices in my eating habits and didn’t care.
The reason I share that is because that is what happens to lot’s of people with habits that are helpful. We can drift, stop and get out of sink. It is very difficult to start up again even though we know we should. We know we should read our Bible, we know we should eat better, we know we should exercise, we know we should date our spouse, yet the reality is we don’t do it consistently. So how do we get restarted with the healthy good habits that help us grow spiritually, emotionally and physically?
First you need to make a decision that you will start. Don’t underestimate the power of choosing to start doing something. You will never get healthy spiritually, physically or emotionally without choosing to start. Five years ago I chose to get healthy and started working toward that.
Next you need to develop a plan. For me I joined a local fitness club to get back into working out. I made a commitment and paid some money to help keep me on track. I also talked with some of my friends about what I was trying to do and asked them to hold me accountable.
Lastly you have to actually do something. I not only joined the gym, but the next day I drove there and worked out. Now I am planning my weeks and including times that I can stop and workout. You can choose, plan and learn all you want, but if you don’t do something you will never change.
Once I did that first workout my motivation came back and now I am excited about getting back into shape and am already starting to look for a race I can sign up for to give me something to shoot for.
If you have an area of your life that you want to change or get back on track, make the choice to change, talk to some people that can help you and hold you accountable and put a plan together and then go start. Choose, Plan, Do it.
We all have things that set us off. I like to refer to them as our buttons, and when pushed we respond. Our response tends to be some sort of a defense mechanism. Think about the last time you really got tee’d off. You could feel the blood rushing to your head and that weird feeling in your stomach. Then you either said something sarcastic, funny or hurtful, or maybe you raised your voice. Others may have calmly explained how wrong the other person was or defend our actions and some go silent.
All of those behaviors are unhealthy and lead to increased conflict. As we grow up, we learn how to handle things that hurt us or make us mad. Nearly all of us have learned the wrong way of doing this. Unfortunately we all had bad examples growing up and of course we have a sinful nature.
So where do these button come from? Why do I get so mad at some things and other things don’t seem to bother me? Again we have to look back in order to understand. We all have core fears that have been ingrained in us from past life experience. Things like rejection, failure, being ignored, being misunderstood, being abused, being humiliated or neglected. All of those things shape the fears inside us.
When we experience a situation that brings up a similar emotion or feeling that fear button gets tapped and we are off to the races. By the time we realize it, it is often too late, we have turned around and pushed the other persons button as well and we are in the midst of full blown conflict.
So how do we overcome this all too familiar pattern? Here are a few ideas:
* First you need to find out what your core fear is. I highly recommend the book called the DNA of Relationships by Gary Smalley. He has a test in the back of the book to help you discover your core fears.
* Once you have identified what sets you off, start praying for God to help you in that area. Ask for courage to see it coming and to respond in a better way. Also talk to a trusted friend or mentor about it and ask them to pray as well, and ask you how you are progressing in changing.
* Start asking yourself why am I so mad about this? A simple question like that can help to think more rationally and not emotionally.
* Awareness and accountability are important, yet without some action not much will change. Learning new behaviors takes hard work and practice. having the humility to go get help is very important when making big shifts in behavior. Go see a counselor, life coach or pastor to help work through these changes.
So here is the bottom line. If you want to have healthy, thriving relationships in your life you will need to understand your buttons and learn how to respond in a healthy way when they are pushed.
Whether you are a leader in the business world, non-profit world or church world, if you are a follower of Jesus Christ you have three main roles. These roles are each important, but you can’t be effective as a leader unless you are doing all three.
The three roles I am talking about are Shepherding, Equipping and Developing. First lets look at shepherding. This may not be a term you use much in the business world but it is a great description of a leader that cares for the people he is leading. You see a shepherd is responsible for the flock of sheep entrusted to him. He knows each sheep and makes sure they have what they need and pay attention when one gets hurt. He leads them to where they need to go and develops a trusting relationship with the sheep.
So what does that look like in today’s world. Here are some things a leader can do to shepherd his team:
- Care – people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.
- Guide – In this role you will need to guide people in the direction you want them to go. Sometimes a gentle nudge or sometimes a more direct push. This can get messy as people are messy. It’s knowing when to nudge and when to push.
- Pay attention to immediate needs – If one of your team is having a personal crisis be sure to pay attention and listen to see how you can help them through it. It can also be simply making sure your team members have what they need to get their work done.
- Need-oriented – When you are in shepherding mode you are making sure that basic needs are being taken care of and that vital resources are made available.
- Listen – Take time to get to know the people you lead. Listen, ask questions about their family and show them you are concerned.
- Listen some more – This is all about establishing trust with your team. When you take the time to get to know them personally people start to trust you more
- Be vulnerable – this takes courage as a leader, but your team needs to know you and what is going on in your life as well. If you are real with them, they will be real with you.
Another important role of a leader is to equip the people on their team. Here are some thoughts on equipping people:
- Training – this is about making sure they are learning the skills needed to do the job.
- Direct – In this role you will need to tell people what to do. You will need to give them their objectives and maybe even help with the strategies on how to accomplish the objectives.
- Task focused – to equip someone you need to assign some tasks to them to see how they handle it. This is a great way to test them to see what their capacity is.
- Skill-oriented – In this role the leader is focusing on skill sets that are needed to be effective in their area of work.
- Coaching – this is when you are working on fundamentals and keep bringing them back to those basics that make a difference. Explaining the why behind what we are doing.
- Instruction – often the leader is in teaching mode or is making sure that someone on the team is teaching the others how to do something.
- Demonstration – The leader needs to model what he wants done.
- Experience – Here you need to allow people some room to grow, stretch and make mistakes. Then evaluate those experiences with them to make sure they are learning from that experience.
- Assessment – You need to debrief often with people so that they are clear on the objectives and expectations you have. This should be done one-on-one and in teams.
The last role is that of development. This is the hardest of the three roles because it takes the most time. However, this is the most powerful role a leader has and brings the biggest results in the long run.
- Training for personal growth – Here your time with them has a different focus, it’s more on their personal growth and having a plan for them in that area.
- Influence – In this role you are more a presence and the people you lead will set their own objectives and strategies with your oversight. They will take initiative on their own and you are more their cheerleader.
- Personal Focus – You should have a plan for each team member based on where they are at in their development.
- Character-oriented – Here is where you dig a little deeper and talk about character qualities and work on developing stronger character and healthier relationships
- Few – You usually can’t do this with everyone on your team. This should be your high potentials.
- Empowering – Here is when you can allow them to lead and get out of their way
- Mentoring – Your role is more of a mentor, sharing your life experience with them and answering the questions they have.
These roles are all vital and you will have to play each role every day based on personal and work situations. At times you will need to shepherd and care for even your most talented people. It takes some time and practice to be able to switch gears based on the situation and the person, but the results will be worth it.
I finished reading Dwight Mason’s book Only God – Change your Story, Change the World. I happen to know Dwight and have worked with him over the last 15 years. I loved reading about the stories of his early years as a pastor and the many challenges he faced. I remember some of those difficult times and some of the big break throughs along the way in building NewPointe Community Church.
Dwight is both humble and persistent and that came through in this book. The leadership principles he shares are vital to any leader that wants to make a difference in this world.
The book is about how important our story is and how it fits into God’s bigger story. We are all writing a story and have some control over how that story reads moving forward.
I particularly liked the way he talked about embracing change and the enemies of change. Life is filled with changes and challenges and how we handle those changes determines much of our story. There is a lot of action steps after each chapter that helps you put into action what you just read.
Every parent should read the chapter on Helping Your Children Write A Great Story. It is packed with practical wisdom on how to raise children in a healthy way.
This is a leadership book and yet it is much more than that. It’s a book about life and living it with an eternal perspective. Invest in your future by reading this book. To order your copy today click here