“Time is the wisest counselor of all.”Pericles
It’s been a minute since I’ve written anything here which means it has actually been quite a while. Life has jumped in the way which is mostly a great thing. I’ve prioritized other things over writing. And perhaps, I’ve even struggled with inspiration and motivation to write as well.
Over the past few months, I’ve celebrated my 25th wedding anniversary to my wonderful bride. We had the blessing of traveling to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico for an unforgettable getaway where we renewed our vows as the sun set over the Pacific Ocean. I went on a family vacation to the Poconos with my wife and two twenty-something kids. I went on an extended weekend “camping” trip with my buddies originally from the Mt. Holly, NJ area. And I’ve kept busy with the pressures and responsibilities of work and home life.
I’ve thought about writing, but it just hasn’t happened.
For example, today marks 1,205 days in a row with 10,000 or more steps. Clearly, I’ve prioritized my walking. It has become a non-negotiable. This was very apparent a few weeks ago when I arrived home from Mexico with some sort of bug that left me feverish, weak, and lethargic. I thought for sure my step streak might be over. Nonetheless, I found just enough energy to slowly walk around my neighborhood until I reached my daily goal. Some might say this dedication to a goal is idiotic or over the top. I say it’s what I’ve prioritized.
Over the past several months, Leanne and I have prioritized working together on our finances. We went through Ramsey’s Financial Peace University class. We now meet weekly to plan our budget, discuss our financial goals, and go over our expenditures. We have made significant progress, because we’ve made this a priority.
When I ran three marathons and several half marathons, I prioritized training to prepare for these events.
Seriously, stop for a long minute, and ponder your answers to these questions.
Now, what is it going to take to make these things happen? What are you going to do about it?
“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot….”Ecclesiastes 3:1-2 (NIV)
The discipline of daily affirmations took a major hit in the early 1990’s when Saturday Night Live aired several episodes of “Daily Affirmations with Stuart Smalley” starring former SNL regular, Al Franken. In each episode, Stuart Smalley offered self-talk in a way that came across as weird and even delusional. Since then, many have shunned the practice of daily affirmations as unnecessary and crazy.
Recently, the discipline of daily affirmations has gained traction as authors, speakers, and leaders have shared their affirmation success stories. For example, Cliff Ravenscraft, the Podcast Answerman (now Mindset Answerman), has spoken quite a bit about his own practice of daily affirmations on his weekly podcast, The Cliff Ravenscraft Show. Episode 521 provides a small glimpse into his daily affirmations specifically related to money and wealth. On his blog, leadership mentor, Michael Hyatt, alludes to his use of daily affirmations to help train his brain in an article titled “How to Beat Your Brain and Succeed.”
A couple of weeks ago at my Friday morning men’s group, the topic of daily affirmations came up. Actually, the topic came up through a YouVersion study plan we were working through together (Crash the Chatterbox). I had been thinking about incorporating daily affirmations into my morning routine, so I asked the group if any of them practice daily affirmations. One of the guys in the group shared his daily affirmations with the group. I promptly “stole” them and added my own to the list.
I printed them out and taped them into the front cover of my daily planner. I’m still working on making this a regular discipline in my life, but I can already tell the positive self-talk is actually a real good thing for crushing my doubts and encouraging me to use my gifts.
Today, I’m sharing seven of these affirmations. These are affirmations specifically written to remind me to Stretch on a daily basis. Here they are:
My daily affirmation list will continue to grow and transform as I live my life and encounter new challenges and opportunities. I’m thankful for this new discipline in my life.
Affirmation without discipline is the beginning of delusion.Jim Rohn
Jim Rohn brings up a great point about daily affirmations. Words are meaningless unless they cause real action and change in our lives. I would encourage you to share your daily affirmations with someone, and ask them to hold you accountable to taking action on the words you say to yourself everyday. Also, ask them to observe you and give you honest feedback on what’s working, what’s not working, and what needs to change when it comes to your daily affirmations.
OK! Now it’s your turn. Stretch yourself today by creating your own list of daily affirmations. When you’re creating this list, think about the things you want to keep doing, and think about the things you want to change or implement in your life. You can do it!
I’m not ignoring you. I promise.
I’ve just been doing my best to pay attention to my wife this week. We were in Vermont for the past week celebrating our 20th Anniversary (a few weeks early).
I’ll have some new posts this week.
Hope you are doing well!
Read the above verse a couple of times. What stands out to you? What words pop out when you read the verse?
Does the word “resolved” stand out to you?
What does it mean to resolve?
Google second definition says to resolve is to “decide firmly on a course of action.”
Daniel firmly decided on a course of action, and he moved forward based on his decision. Daniel committed to stay pure and to honor God with his eating and drinking.
My men’s group (DIBs – Dudes In the Basement) just started studying the book of Daniel, and we concentrated our discussion this week on this one verse.
Resolve is not passive. It’s not by accident. And it’s not half-hearted. It’s not out of guilt.
Resolve is active. It’s intentional. It’s all-in. It’s out of desire.
If you want to change the world – If you want to change your family – If you want to change you, you have to move forward with conviction – with resolve.
Take time today to ponder your purpose and to think about what you want to accomplish in your lifetime. Resolve to make the changes today in order to move closer to these goals. Finally, take action. Don’t wait until tomorrow.
We all have habits. Some habits are good, and some habits are bad.
Do you chew your fingernails? Do you chew with your mouth open? Do you tap your fingers when you are nervous? Do you smack your lips? These are bad habits.
Maybe you have a bad habit and you don’t even know it.
My guess is others probably notice when you have a bad habit.
I have a bad habit (actually I have many bad habits). I didn’t realize it until my wife and kids said something to me. Apparently, I make a noise sometimes while I’m eating. I don’t do it all the time, and I don’t think I do it most of the time, but I can see how it would be annoying (or at least amusing) to those around me. It’s like a quiet “Hum”, and it seems to especially happen when I’m eating soup. The first time my kids and wife said something to me about this bad habit, I had no idea I was making that noise while I was eating.
There are many things in our lives we don’t notice. This is why it’s important to have people in our lives who will speak truth and who will call us onto the carpet when there are things in our lives that we need to adjust. Telling other people about their bad habits is not an easy thing to do. It takes thoughtfulness. It takes tact, and it takes some courage to tell somebody they have a bad habit that needs to be addressed. To help you address the bad habits of those around you, I have some ideas to make it a little easier:
For other interesting articles on habits, check out these links below:
People talk about wanting to live a balanced life.
We all want balance in our lives, but is that really the right goal or are we really even defining a balanced life correctly? This is something I’ve been thinking about lately. I know for a fact that I am very busy. I’m on the go all the time. My calendar is full of things to do, and I’m always busy.
Sometimes, I don’t feel like I’m living a balanced life.
I’m pretty sure we often get the whole definition of balance wrong.
When I think of balance I think of chemistry class in college. In the lab portion of the class, we used to measure chemicals with a balance. We put a desired weight on one side of the balance. This weight was measured against a standard. Then we put the chemical we were measuring on the other side of the balance. We would add a little more chemical or remove a little of the chemical until we got the right amount of chemical. We knew that we were right – that we had the right amount of chemical, because the balance was balanced. One side wasn’t higher than the other. One side wasn’t lower than the other.
This seems to be what people want to do with their schedules. They want to put so many things into their life that they are well-rounded in every area, but sometimes I wonder if that’s really the correct approach. My guess is that we are measuring the balance of our lives against an incorrect standard.
We all have different priorities, and we all have things that should be higher on our priority list. If you make a list of how you spend your time and you compare it with your list of life priorities, I wonder if they would match.
I know that my work is one of my priorities. I know that my fitness is one of my priorities. I know my family is one of my priorities. I know my friends are one of my priorities. I know my writing and speaking are one of my priorities, and I know that serving others is one of my priorities. I have a lot of priorities. The question is which ones are the top ones and are they getting the attention – the time and energy – they deserve
My top priority is God and my faith, but the reality is I’m not sure I give Him the balance of time and energy that I should. If God really is a priority in my life, you would think I would spend a lot of time working on this priority. The reality is I get distracted, I get confused, and I get misdirected towards other things that are much lower on my priority list. And I’m guessing I’m not alone.
How do I go about reshaping and re-evaluating my calendar and my life in light of my desired priorities, so I really can live a balanced life? Here are some ideas:
If you want additional help in this are, be sure to check out the 7 Week Stretch Challenge. Sign up below.
More money? A bigger, better title? A more flexible schedule?
If you are a leader in your organization, this is a question you need to understand. Employee turnover leads to additional hiring and training costs for the company and typically leads to a decline in overall team enthusiasm and productivity.
Today, I will help you identify one of the key action steps you can take to positively change things. By implementing my suggestion, your team members will get the coaching they desire, they will gain a greater feeling of value, they will feel like they are better understood, and they will experience a higher level of motivation.
Today, I challenge you to implement regular one-on-one meetings with your team members. A regular one-on-one meeting will make all the difference in giving your team members just what they need to feel valued, appreciated, motivated, and excited for their future in your organization.
A few years ago, I started having monthly one-on-one meetings with my team members.
As an operations manager in the construction industry, I’m challenged to balance my time as I’m responsible to make sure my group is operating as planned. I meet with my team members monthly on an individual basis to review their projects from a financial, resource, risk, and customer perspective. These monthly meetings, which typically last about an hour, provide a pretty good snapshot of things from a business perspective, but they don’t provide a lot of time for diving deeper personally.
I’m also responsible for participating in other department and company meetings. Again, these meetings are important for certain aspects of our business success, but they typically don’t provide opportunity for connecting on a more personal level.
I’ve heard it said that “It’s business, it’s NOT personal.” Well, I disagree. As a leader in the workforce, I have a responsibility care for my team members. For me, this means our relationships in the business world are meant to be personal.
This is the question that rolled around in my head as first started considering the possibility of implementing regular one-on-one meetings. I have so many things on my plate already. One-on-one meetings just didn’t seem to fit into my already busy schedule.
And so…I took Matt’s challenge and encouragement to heart. And I started holding monthly one-on-one meetings with my team members.
We talk about business and the challenges that they are facing on a project or assignment. And we also talk about life outside of work. I’ve learned about their interests, their passions, and their families.
For the most part, these meetings have been 30-40 minutes each. I use a one-page outline to guide our discussion and to take notes which helps me capture details of our discussion. I first ask my team member for an update on how they are doing and what has them busy. After 15-20 minutes of catching up, I typically have 5-10 minutes of items I want to cover with them. We finish our meeting with an opportunity for them to ask for help. With 10 direct reports, these notes have been essential to helping me remember our conversations. And it helps with my follow through on any action items that I have taken from our meeting. (NOTE: You can download Matt McWilliam’s one-on-one meeting template here.)
It makes all the difference in the world.
The average working person spends 9-10 hours of their days at work – every day. (That’s two-thirds or more of their waking hours). Most people work over 2100 hours every year. If my math is correct, most people work about 80,000 hours in their life time. However you do the math, we spend a lot of time at work.
We are relational beings. We are made to connect with others and to be in community with others.
We are missing a huge opportunity to connect with others if we go to work, come home, get our paycheck, but fail to connect with our co-workers.
My one-on-one meetings have helped me be intentional in connecting with my team. It’s helped my team to feel more connected to me. And it’s also helped my team succeed from a business perspective.
I’m so thankful I listened to Matt and started having one-on-one meetings with my team.
Regular one-on-one meetings with our team members leads to reduced employee turnover, more satisfied employees, a better culture in your business, and greater business success. I have also discovered that one-on-one meetings provide an excellent place to discuss employee development. My team members have pursued advanced educational opportunities as a result of our discussions during our one-on-one meetings. They’ve also taken steps to advance further on the road to achieving their career goals.
Looking to STRETCH yourself? Sign-up today for the 7 Week Stretch Challenge:
I live right in the path of the major snow fall that took place along the east coast this weekend. I don’t know the exact number, but I’m fairly certain we had over 2 feet of snow fall in our area.
We have a long driveway.
How will I move all that snow?
This is the thought that went through my head when I woke up to the reality of the work ahead of me. I felt overwhelmed.
How often do you have this feeling – the feeling of being buried?
We add too many things to our responsibility list. We start out with the best intentions, but we get behind. Before we know it, we are buried by a long list of things we need to address. We quickly move to a level of paralysis that is the result of not knowing where to start.
What should we do when we get to this point – when we feel buried?
Today, I want to help you answer this question. I’ve identified seven essentials to moving ahead when you feel buried. Here they are:
Don’t forget to sign up for the 7 Week Stretch Challenge. You can sign up right here:
To late, I just did.
Learning to ask questions is the key to opening the door to countless opportunities, experiences, and relationships. Kids typically do a great job asking questions. If you have ever been with a young child, you’ve heard this question over and over again: “Why?”
Kids are curious. They want to learn. They want to grow. They want to try new things. And they seem to know that asking questions is the key to getting what they want. Kids also don’t let the fear of sounding stupid stop them from asking questions.
Somewhere between childhood and adulthood, most of us forget the power of asking questions. We lose our curiosity. We don’t want to appear like we don’t know all the answers. And we’re afraid we might be told “No” when we ask for something.
I’ve learned something recently:
This is why we must learn the discipline of asking questions.
In the writing and speaking world, there are many opportunities available to those who ask.
If I want to speak, I have to ask. If I want to write on someone’s blog or platform, I have to ask. If I want to be on someone’s podcast, I have to ask. Sure I may get an invitation from time to time without asking, but this is not the norm. In the last few weeks, I made three asks I want to share with you:
You may not be a writer or a speaker, but you still have a lot to gain by asking questions. When you practice the discipline of asking questions, many things happen.
One thing worth noting, once you’ve asked your question(s) make sure you stop to listen. The real learning happens when we listen to what others have to say in response to our questions. And if you’re asking yourself the question(s), make sure you take time to reflect and process your responses to your own questions.
“Always look on the bright side of life….” If you are a fan of Monty Python, you may remember this line from the closing song in The Life of Brian. The song is sung by Brian and several others who are hanging on crosses as they sing the song. Some may consider the movie to be sacrilegious, and they are probably right. But the song from this movie reminds me to find the bright side to the challenges that life throws are way.
Last week, we spent time talking about negative attitudes and positive attitudes. Understanding the benefits of a positive attitude and the downsides of a negative attitude is great, but it doesn’t mean much if we don’t take steps to improve our attitude. Here are several tips that will help you become more positive.
For more great tips on becoming a more positive person, check out my post – How I Maintain A Positive Attitude (When Negativity Surrounds Me).