Your No. 1, Uncompromising Priority for 2018

How are you doing with the goals and plans you have set for 2018? Although we are only into the second week of January, perhaps you have already run into some challenges that are cutting into your plans.

The challenge for many of us is that we set goals without really thinking about how we can be at our best in order to give our best. We set career or ministry goals, relationship goals, and financial goals, as well as goals to improve spiritually, physically and mentally. But when the going gets tough, many times the personal goals are compromised first.

Looking Back to Move Forward

Here we are at the end of another year. For some of us it was a great year; for others, not so great; and for some, it may have been a disaster. Regardless of how 2017 may have been, at this moment you are looking at a new beginning.

As you look ahead to 2018, you may be thinking it is an opportunity for a new start. Perhaps you are anticipating a fresh start in business, family life, personal life, spiritual life or some important relationships you may have been neglecting. Whatever the possibilities, I offer a few observations that I hope will be helpful in how you approach 2018.

The Best Gift We Can Give

This is the time of year more than any other we think about giving gifts. We find ourselves caught up in the hustle and bustle of making a list and checking it twice to make sure we have covered everyone. I found myself caught in the hustle and bustle when I left the house at 10 p.m. the other night to see if I could find a gift or two.

Private Habits Translate to Public Living

In recent days we have experienced shock and disbelief at hearing news about people we know – or thought we knew. It’s difficult to wrap our heads around the shocking behavior of some of those people.

Consider another perspective. Have you ever been surprised to hear about someone you know doing something that took a great deal of courage? Perhaps they stood up to authority, or did not back down on a principle. Well, many courageous people have been coming forward lately.

We have witnessed both perspectives in recent days. We have been shocked to learn of some of the private habits that have been brought to light by a courageous few who took a stand, some at the risk of great cost to themselves.

Not by Power nor Expertise

Good leaders do not necessarily have to be an expert in the field where they are called to lead, though it helps if they are. Nevertheless, good leaders know how to surround themselves with the right people, then train and/or empower them to accomplish great things. Good leaders also know how to preserve and maintain healthy relationships.

Great leaders generally acknowledge that success is less about power or a particular vocational expertise. Rather, it derives more from skills of self-awareness, self-management and interpersonal relationships, along with mindful living.

This Is Not How It Was Meant To Be!

Tired. Burnt out. Loss of motivation. Depression. Low energy. Lack of focus.

These are some of the factors often associated with deep tiredness that comes from living life in a constant state of activity and stress. This level of tiredness cannot be fixed by one or two good nights’ sleep or even a two-week vacation. You do not feel able to relax and enjoy anything. You are up tight even when you are supposed to be having fun. You have lost the ability to laugh and the hearty laughter of others seems to irritate you.

Do You Know the Real You?

Who are you?

What comes to mind when you read that question? I imagine you are thinking about your name, age, your family background and your career. Usually when someone asks that question, those are the answers they are seeking.

The same question can be asked but with deeper meaning in mind. This time think of the question in the context of the person you are inside that affects who you are on the outside.

You Have the Power!

Most if not all of us have the tendency to allow words, actions and attitudes of others to influence our responses. At some point in life, we’ve likely blamed someone else for our response to a situation or a person. To be honest, I think most of us still do. We likely do this because it is our default response. It has been part of the human experience from the beginning.

Scripture recounts the first instance of people being held accountable for their choices, and their immediate response was to blame someone else for their choices. This story of Adam and Eve disobeying God in the garden is found in Genesis 3. The tendency to blame others for our choices is still very much a part of the human condition.

Ditch the Balancing Act!

Is work-life balance possible? If so, how does one go about achieving it?

For many years we have been hearing about the importance of work-life balance. Perhaps like many of you, for years I have tried to strike the balance and have not been able to do it.

Trying to manage your time in order to attend to all the different areas of life has been a lifelong battle for most of us. Many of us work too much and as result neglect the other areas of our lives, such as family, health, church, and/or friends. On the other hand, some of us give too much focus to our family, church or physical well-being and give the bare minimum at work.

How can we ease the guilt and frustration of trying but being unable to find that elusive work-life balance formula?

Deposits and Withdrawals: Two Essentials of Healthy Relationships

In leadership, your most important asset is the people you lead. The worth of this asset increases or decreases based on how you treat those people.

In the relationship between leader and follower the banking principle of deposit and withdrawal is always at work. When something positive is said or given to someone under your leadership, a deposit is made. When something difficult has to be said, such as talking to someone about poor job performance or consistent tardiness, a withdrawal is made. The principle is true in all healthy relationships. Things can go very wrong if the withdrawal turns out to be larger than the deposits.

For the worth of those relationships to continue to increase intentional deposits are essential.

Here are some ways you can intentionally make deposits in the relationships of those you lead.