Leader’s are readers, I don’t remember who I first heard that from, probably John Maxwell. Over the years I have made it a point to read as much as I can. I try to read a variety of books and even include some fiction from time to time. I like to read because I like to grow, learn, and stretch my thinking and perspectives. One of the ways I like to read books is by meeting with a group of other people and read it together. I do that with my staff and different groups of men. I love the interaction and discussions and it also helps me to actually read more books and finish them.
I have an active list of books I am reading, have read and want to read, to check them out click here.
Several of these books are on my Kindle the rest I have in old fashion books. If you haven’t read a book in a while plan to start this summer
I hope you will put a list together of the books you want to read in the coming months. If you want to be a better leader at home, at work or in your community then start reading.
I enjoy getting outside and running, it keeps me in good shape physically and it is my favorite thinking time. As I was on my long run this week, a 10 miler, I thought about several life lessons related to my running. Here are my thoughts:
- When your running a long hill, keep your focus on the road right in front of you and only take quick glances up the hill. If I focus on how much further I need to go I get discouraged. In life when you are facing a tough uphill period focus on the things in front of you and take it one day at a time. Occasionally glance up and take a look at the big picture to keep a proper perspective.
- Get periodic updates on how you are doing. I use an app on my iPhone called MapMyRun. Every 5 minutes it tells me the time, how far I have gone and what my pace per mile is. In life you need periodic updates on how you are doing. Maybe it’s going to the doctor for a checkup, maybe it’s going to a counselor or a pastor for wise counsel. Or is could be meeting with someone to gauge how things are going financially. It may be checking in with your spouse on how they think your doing or asking some trusted friends that will be honest with you.
- The faster you run the more you need to focus. When I start to run faster I tend to use bad form and this can cause injury and take more energy. When I pick up the pace I need to focus on using good form and make sure I pay attention to my body. In life when you are running at a fast pace, focus becomes so important. Without disciplined focus you will tend to spin your wheels and not get things done. You start spinning plates instead of clearing the plates and putting them away.
- When you are tired and want to stop, start talking to God. When I am getting tired or want to slow down or stop I start repeating words like Strong, Powerful, Courageous, Smooth. I also will pray and ask God for strength, endurance and to help me finish the run. In life the way in which you think will determine how you finish the race. Talking to God and asking for his help is vital to overall health and perspective. God is powerful and can transform anyone, but you must plug into him in order to get that power.
- If you feel an unusual pain it’s best to slow down or stop. When I start to feel a pain in my foot or leg, I will slow down. In the past I have kept pushing and gotten injured. In life when you experience a new kind of pain, it is best to slow down and pay attention. Sometimes it can be a physical pain that warns you there is something not right. It might be an emotional pain that causes you to respond in an unhealthy way. The pain is telling you to pay attention, that something is not as it should be, and to make some changes or get some help.
- On a long run don’t start too fast. I have a tendency to start my long runs at a much faster pace than I should. What happens is I end up going much slower at the end of my run and my overall pace suffers. In life when you run too fast early, you can run out of gas and not even finish the race. Understanding the right pace of life is an important ability. It is good to push yourself, but you also need to know your limits. There are times in life that you need to sprint and there are times you need to jog. There are also times to rest and recover.
- When you are on the downhill or flat stretch enjoy the view around you. I live in the country and love to look at the countryside while I am running. I only do that when I am running a long flat stretch or on a downhill. That is the time to keep my head up and see the big picture. In life there are times when you can really enjoy the things around you and can see the big picture of where you are heading in life. These are important times because it helps you to know if your on the right path or not. This is the time to make adjustments if needed, not when your pushing up a tough hill.
In life, like on a run there are many things going on inside your head and your body. There is also a lot going on around you. The key is to pay attention, know your limitations and keep pushing yourself while keeping God at the center. The more you push yourself in a healthy way, the better you will get. Now get out there and do something.
Anger is a powerful emotion that left unchecked can destroy all your relationships. It can come on like a flood and wash away any happiness you may have. Anger leads to unhealthy conflict, it drives other people away and it eats you up inside. It’s no surprise that anger can be so destructive, because most people have felt the pain associated with anger. Either on the receiving end or giving it to people we love.
According to Dr. Gary Smalley, anger is not a primary emotion. It’s a secondary emotion caused by unresolved hurt, frustration, fear, or a combination of these. When these things stay inside a person the result is anger. It gets expressed in a variety of ways. Sometimes there is an explosion of words or even physical violence. Sometimes it’s the silent treatment and you shut people out. To deal with anger, you need to get to the root causes. Dr. Smalley suggests the single root cause is unfulfilled expectations. When our expectations are blocked or not met it causes hurt, frustration, fear and then anger.
Pent up anger can lead to emotional damage and even physical sickness. That is why it is so important to deal with it instead of ignoring it. It won’t go away until the root issues are taken care of. Dr. Smalley reveals seven steps that you can follow to empty stored up anger:
- Define the offense in writing – Write down the persons name and what they did and what it took away from you. Write down the feelings you had when it happened. Getting it out on paper helps you to see it and to feel it again. Bringing those emotions to the surface allows healing to begin.
- Allow yourself to grieve the loss – If you don’t properly grieve the losses in your life, anger is a natural byproduct. The five stages of grief are: Denial, “This can’t be happening to me” – Anger, “Why me?” – Bargaining – Depression – Acceptance.
- Try to gain a better understanding of the offender – Did they even know they hurt you? Do they treat everyone that way? Are they just immature and selfish? When asking these questions it helps you deal with old hurts. It helps you have a new perspective on what actually happened and why the other person may have done what they did. It may just confirm what you already knew as well.
- Treasure Hunt the offense – In other words look for the good that has come out of the situation. Maybe it has helped you to be more compassionate to others or motivated you to treat others differently. When we experience conflict, adversity, frustrations, or offenses they can create hidden treasures.
- Write a letter (but don’t mail it) – Let it all out in this letter, this is a powerful way to pour out the anger without hurting anyone. Writing in a journal is also a great way to deal with hurts, frustrations, fears and hangups. When you’re finished destroy the letter, I like burning it.
- Release the other person from the hurts they have inflicted and from future expectations – The Hebrew word forgiveness means “to release”. To truly forgive someone, you must release them from their responsibility for the hurt they have caused you. Forgiveness is a choice not a feeling. This releasing of the other person is also a way to release the anger in your life.
- Reach out – If it is possible reach out to the offender with kindness. Only do this if there is no threat of physical danger. This act of reaching out will take great courage, but could be the beginning of a new healthy relationship or simply a washing away of the offense for good.
Don’t let anger take over your insides. Start to drill down as to why anger keeps popping up in your life. Go get some help to navigate through the hurts, frustrations and fears from your past. Look for the good and make the necessary changes in your life, so that anger does not control you. This is not a once and done kind of exercise, this is a lifelong battle, because life is filled with hurts, frustrations, fear and unmet expectations. If you want to be healthy on the inside, work hard at forgiveness and having unrealistic expectations.