Tag: routine

Big Picture

Make 2019 The Best Yet

Make 2019 the Best Yet
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What was your biggest takeaway from 2017? Yes, that’s right, not 2018, but what did you learn from the effort you put forth in 2017?

Do you have a formal review process to check over at the end of a year? Do you have an informal one? Do you have a place where you right down lessons you learned and tweaks you wanted to make in 2018?

If you do, I’d love to hear from you! Comment below and let me know what you use and how you track/evaluate a year.

But if I were to be completely honest (and why wouldn’t I be honest?), I can barely remember November 2018, much less anything from 2017. Today let’s finish 2018 with a bang and kick off 2019 with some momentum.

As you look back at 2018, here are three questions to help you evaluate the year. You can go as deep and detailed as you want, or you can stick with general bullet points that can be reread in minutes come December 2019.

  1. What We Did. Again, you can spend hours filling this out, but what if you stepped back and looked at where you started in January and maybe listed out a few mileposts along the way. We’re not looking for evaluation at this level, but more just testing your memory, so include a couple of misses as well as some successes.
  2. What Worked. Once you have listed out the what, ask yourself what went well. Hopefully something you did was successful, so celebrate it! What made it work? Looking back, can you describe what made the difference? If you had a significant event or turning point in your ministry, emphasize that. For me, I was able to attend HORIZONext in April, and walked away with a great idea for Senior Recognition in 2018 and 2019. That milestone helped me make strides for the Fall, so it is definitely something I want to remember. Pick a few things, and celebrate what went well.
  3. What to Do Differently. Here, you get to dream. No year is the same, but if you could repeat 2018, what would you keep the same, and what would you do differently? Maybe back-to-back-to-back red bull themed lock ins were not a wise decision. So, what would you have done differently? Be honest, but also be a little wishful on your part. If you wished you would have spent more money on an event, that’s okay.

So, there you go. You’ve evaluated 2018, and guess what? You’re ready to set some goals for 2019 by allowing 2018 to inform your direction for 2019. You may not like resolutions, but the truth is we all feel a little surge of optimism and excitement come January 1, so capitalize on it for your ministry and get ready for a great 2019!

 

This post originally appeared on the Horizon Resources blog, but I thought it was worth posting here as well.

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Incoherent Ramblings

3 Reasons to Hand Write a Note Today

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A few weeks ago I had the honor of speaking with a group of student leaders. Their leader is someone I respect, and I was grateful for the opportunity in and of itself.

Then, I was blown out of the water. About a week later, I got a handwritten note in the mail. The note immediately went up on my bulletin board as a reminder of being appreciated.

So, this week, let’s talk about writing notes. Here are 3 reasons to hand write a note today and make someone’s life a little brighter:

Physical Mail is Special

Snail mail is the new personal touch. Think about it: who doesn’t love getting something in the mail that is not a bill or a credit card offer? I love getting mail that is hand addressed to me because it’s usually someone who took time on me!

I see this with my kids. My girls LOVE getting cards in the mail. One of them even pouts when someone else gets something and she doesn’t. And honestly, I do too!

The Recipient Feels Valued.

My handwritten thank you note went on my bulletin board not for people to see when they come in, but because it’s something I love seeing and remembering. I feel valued every time I look at it. I have thank you notes from graduates that will not get thrown away (especially ones with a personal touch), because a handwritten notes communicates value.

It Sets You Apart, Hopefully as Someone Who Cares Deeply.

A few weeks ago my oldest daughter forgot her lunch. We have a rule that if she forgets her lunch, she has to deal with the consequences, but I decided to make an exception that day. So, I wrote a note, put it in her lunch box, and dropped it off at school for her. A few days later, I put a note in my youngest’s lunch box. I don’t remember a follow up conversation with either.

Last night, however, my wife told me our youngest told her she wants notes in her lunch box, that it was special and made her feel good.

If I can take a few moments to surprise my child with a note, why wouldn’t I do that? At the same time, if you take time today to write a note of some sort, what’s the most you have to lose?

 

So, there you go. Today’s challenge is to simply hand write a note to someone. Tell them thanks, or that you’re thinking about them, or wishing them luck.

Grab a stamp and make a difference today!

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Leadership Journey

The Poor Reader’s Tools for Reading

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I have talked about this several times, but I currently do not have a strong habit of reading. I could say I’ve read more this past year than in the past, but honestly anything above 0 constitutes “more”.

So, as I have journeyed along trying to develop a habit of reading and consequently, learning, here are some tools I have found along the way.

Audible – Audiobooks have their downside, but the upside is still worth it for me. I get presented with ideas and thoughts, and it’s an easy win for an audio addict like me. The selection is incredible, and the variety is impressive–I just finished Nick Offerman’s book Good Clean Funand it was great fun for a wannabe woodworker like me. If you sign up for the Audible trial, you’ll get two free books, so at least check it out to see if it would fit you.

Kindle Unlimited – The strength here isn’t necessarily the books you have access to, which can be spotty depending on the topic. The biggest benefit for me is the summaries. I’m not spending $10 and countless hours on a full book that I will likely never finish, but instead, I’m getting a summary of the ideas, and get to process them in my mind. I know I miss a significant part of the benefit of reading a book, but I’m exposed to the ideas and they get to bounce around my head for a while. At the same time, with the Unlimited membership, I am able to stock my kindle with books worth reading without breaking the bank. You can have 10 books loaned out at any point, and I stay around 9 or 10. Click here to learn more.

Libby – This is our local library audiobook app. I have discovered it, and have been using it along the way the past couple months. The selection is low, but it’s free with a Library card! I already have a John Grisham novel picked out for Thanksgiving travel, and I’m looking forward to it!

 

The bottom line about reading is this: you have to make time for it. With apps like Audible and Libby, it fits my routine better because I listen to so much anyway. Kindle Unlimited is nice because when I hit a spurt, I have access to books that stir my curiosity. But reading is a habit, and one I think is worth investing the time and effort to make.

 

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Leadership Journey

3 Tips to Develop a Lifestyle of Learning

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I have been very fortunate in my life. School came easy to me. I rarely had to work on school work. I grew up in a small school, and was generally able to finish most of my homework before heading home for the day.

Going through college, I had to make some adjustments. I realized some of my friends could calculate the number of days they could miss class, and plan out how many times in a semester they would sleep instead of going to class, whereas I needed to be in the classroom, listening to the lecture and discussion.

Then I graduated, and was faced with a new realm of life: learning away from the structure of school.

Over the past 10ish years since finishing my masters degree, there are a few things I’m starting to pick up. Oh, who am I kidding. Most of this has developed over the last couple years as I realized I want to develop habits now that will help me continue to grow 30 years from now.

So, here are my three tips to develop a lifestyle of learning:

  1. Learn From Everything. This comes natural, and it’s something I’ve written about previously (click here to read the post). The concept is simple: in every situation, take mental notes about the systems taking place. Go to football games and watch how coaches interact with players, coaches, officials, and fans. Watch the response by leaders to a public tragedy and ask yourself how you would handle those situations. Allow children to remind and refresh you along the way–enthusiasm, excitement, and growth.
  2. Learn From Others. Surround yourself with people who are a notch (or three) above you (I have another post about this here). Be curious about what makes them tick, and take the initiative to ask good questions. Be willing to learn from them–quick to listen and slow to speak. I had one interim pastor tell me I may not have the wisdom of an 80 year old pastor, but I can always ask an 80 year old pastor for wisdom. You will be amazed at what you can pick up when you set out to learn from other people.
  3. Learn From Books. I wrestle with this on a regular basis, because I’m such an auditory learner (I think). The reality is, however, I still learn more when I actually read. I listen to podcasts at an almost nonstop rate, but if I am being honest with myself, the written word is still my greatest retention and implementation strategy. Audiobooks are simpler to finish, but several of the ones I’ve finished lately still deal with being able to see images and diagrams, requiring visual effort. On Thursday, I will share some things that have helped me as I try to make reading a regular part of my life.

 

 

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Leadership Journey

When Mistakes Are Not Mistakes, pt 3

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We’ve all been there–the frustration of leading. You pour hours into a project or event or relationship, only to experience sub-par results. Or you have to make a decision in the moment, only to realize later you made the wrong choice. Anyone who has been in a leadership role can identify.

Today, we continue looking at a few mistakes we make in leadership, that even though they feel like a colossal failure in the moment, they are actually not mistakes. (Click here for part 1 and part 2.)

Asking for Help

When you interact with leaders, you begin to see a common thread among some–I cannot ask for help because it will make me look weak. Or, for a few others, the mindset seems to be “Why ask someone else when I can do this better than they can?” Still others view asking for help as a sign of weakness, or worse, and admission of being incapable of accomplishing a task.

I have written about this idea several times, but it bears repeating. So, pay attention:

You will never grow your leadership influence if you never ask for help.

Sure, you have a specific set of skills. Sure, you are good at what you do. Sure, you enjoy what you do. But if you never allow the people around you to step up, to serve, and to grow, before long you will either have no one left, or the only people left will be people who expect everything to be done for them.

Think of it this way: if I can do something at 90% efficiency and I pass it off to a student, they might be able to do it at 75% efficiency at the beginning. But over time, if that something turns into a passion for them, they will likely move to 95% efficiency, or higher.

Just because you can do something does not mean you’re the only person who can do it. Yes, you need to find the two or three things only you can do and embrace them, but ask for help with the rest!

What are you holding onto today that needs to be let go?

 

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