As I work with churches, I find there are definite "seasons" in the life of the church. Of course, we have been in the Lenten Season. The other big "season" is, of course, Advent. There are also other seasons not as significant in the life and rhythm of a church. These could be the summer season, back to school season, Thanksgiving, etc. Just as in life, there most always seems to be a "season" that we are experiencing. What I ponder is the continuous need for the underlayment of each season. We seem to overlook our mission and vision in the seasons of life and our church. Do we continuously allow our core values to guide us? Or do we allow a "season" to get us off track? Even in the seasons of life, do we stay true to who we are and what we believe? Are we staying on-course or do we get derailed? Does everything get put on hold or do things continue to run in the background? When we have a firm foundation, our mission, vision and core values can almost run on autopilot especially during special "seasons." If the foundation is not laid, we can get totally derailed and have to start over after a special "season." As we move towards the "summer season" when church life slows down, how are you staying on track or getting back on track with what is next? How can you create a rhythm in your life and church that stays on track in seasons? Spend some reflection time on this. It is sure to be a good investment for your future and the next "season!"
Many times my clients come to me wanting to work towards accomplishing a dream. They can easily describe the dream and eagerly share how it will impact their life. Then the action steps of how to accomplish the dream come next. Then week by week, month by month the action steps are delayed or non-existent. What I find time and time again, is that the client's lifestyle does not support their dream. So what are the potential ways your lifestyle can support you in living into your dreams?
1. Are you taking extremely good care of yourself physically, spiritually, emotionally, mentally and relationally? Are you functioning at optimum level?
2. Who is holding you accountable? Have you told your accountability partners exactly how and what you want to be held accountable for?
3. Are you using your peak performance time of the day to do your most important work?
4. Are you scheduling and guarding the times set aside to work on the action steps for achieving your dream? Are you being very intentional about your work?
5. How bad do you really want to live into this dream? If you don't want it badly, you will probably never achieve it. You have to feel the desire in your bones and be committed to making it happen. Passion!
6. Are your time frames challenging you or are they unrealistic? Are you allowing yourself the opportunity for course corrections along the way?
7. Are you celebrating the journey? Don't wait for the destination, celebrate each step along the way.
Take some time to reflect on these questions as you start on your journey to achieve your dreams. Reflection, planning and preparation are indeed required for a meaningful and successful journey. Blessings on your journey!
It's another Monday morning. Like most weeks, I see my list of "To Do's" is longer than reasonably possible to complete. As I worked with a client this morning, I was reminded at what an important question the "urgent or important" is. We spend so much of our time and energy putting out the fires (urgent) items on our desk that we never really get to our priority (important) items. The fires burning seem to get our attention rather than not allowing ourselves to be sucked into fire fighting rather than leadership with purpose. Balcony time is so important. It is not only important for seeing the big picture and keeping it focused. But balcony time is also imperative in reflecting on progress, course correction and most importantly keeping us focused on our priorities. I often talk with my clients about their fire truck time or their helicopter (balcony) time. Then I challenge them to get in their 747 jet from time to time to get an even larger picture of their work and focus. These tactics and time with a mentor or coach remind us of the need and guide us through the process. This is a practice that is both a priceless necessity and allows spaced to become visionary, focused leaders.
When is the last time you got on your balcony? It is time?
We are a society that is bombarded with information continuously. We used to have to pick up an encyclopedia to look up information. We now simpley "Google" or "Bing" it to find out virutally anything imaginable. Information is at our fingertips 24/7/365. Yet, I wonder how we filter that information and apply it as needed. Sometimes we simply want to know something out of curiousity or trivia reasons. Yet other times we seek informaion based on a need such as a repair or purchase. Other times we surf the net or read books because we seek to transform ourselves in some way. This might be becoming better organized, more fit, time management, growing as a leader, gaining more effectiveness, etc. The interesting thing to me is the lack of application. We have become information junkies without action. We have instantaneous access to all the information we could possibley want. Yet, we don't take the time to apply what we have discovered or learned. Think of all of the books, binders and training materials on your bookshelf and stored on your computer. How have you taken your learnings to the next level and actually applied them? How are you different because of what you reached out to learn? What is the ROI (return on investment) of the time you spent learning? Who is holding you accountable for the application of your learning? Are you using the excuse of more learning to keep you from application and accountability? Maybe we need to do less learning and more applying! Take some time to reflect…. I find it very powerful to spend time on our own "balconies" of life on a regular basis to make sure we are really being and becoming all we were designed to be and become.
I write this after completing two back-to-back weekend consultations. While the hours are long and the responsibility great, the blessings are bountiful. I continue to be amazed at the faithful, courageous ministry leaders we run across at local churches. While many pastors certainly fall into this category, it is the laity that set me back on my heels. Our purpose during consultation weekends is to identify key areas of concern to help the church be healthier and more vital. Yet what amazes me is to see the Holy Spirit transforming hearts before our very eyes. That is, laity have many times not been exposed to what an externally focused church looks like and how to be a missional church. It is a beautiful thing to watch the transformation of people's hearts and minds during the consultation weekends.
Bottom Line: God continues to blow my mind. I set out on these consultation weekends to help transform a church, but many times the experience leads to transforming the participants. And that, my friends, leads to the continuous growth and transformation of my own heart and faith to watch God at work. What a splendid blessing!
Practice what you preach! As a parent, coach and consultant I find myself not practicing what I preach. And, it has happened again…
For those of you that know me, it is obvious that I am a woman of action. Don't just talk about it, let's do it! Now that does not come before careful consideration of all the facts. But, for goodness sake, do it! So this past month in the slow time of my business, I decided to "upgrade" some technology. One thing led to the next and before long I had a new laptop, new Windows 8, updated accounting software, updated MS Office, new internet provider and new land line provider. It is now more than two weeks post "updates" and I am still dealing with trouble shooting, software issues, hardware issues and service provider issues. I am turning more gray just writing about it!
So what is the lesson here? We talk about change and transformation continuously in working with pastors and churches. It is a sign of the times. It is part of the culture we live in. However, we must pace ourselves so that we don't overwhelm the people or the process during the transformation. We must be kind to ourselves and one another with our expectations and the pace of change. We must be steady on our pathway, but not too rushed.
Yes, take the action, but do it at a pace that is healthy and helpful, but not to overwhelm!
Happy New Year! As we step into a new year, most of us reflect back on the previous year and begin to plan for the new year ahead. As you reflect on 2013, what would you celebrate? What were your greatest learnings? As you look forward, what would like to accomplish? What would you like to say differently about yourself this time next year? What is the gap of your current reality and where you want to journey? Coaching is the best vehicle to fill the gap! Who will journey with you and help you arrive at your desired destination? Coaching is about forward movement in action, stretching our minds and living into our full potential. If you haven't called your coach yet, do so today. Don't let another year pass you by without working towards your heart's desires and dreams.