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Category Archives: Work

Stress reduction strategies

Or, in my case, take a vacation. 😉

 
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Posted by on September 17, 2019 in Culture, Shoe, Work

 

Game Plan for the Second Half

Book Review: Trade Up: How to Move from Just Making Money to Making a Difference, by Dean Niewolny

You’ve worked hard to build your career. You’ve enjoyed some success and the rewards that go with it. But you find it less satisfying than when you began. You begin to wonder if this is all there is or if it is possible to make a greater impact.

If you are wrestling with those questions, consider reading Dean Niewolny’s book, Trade Up: How to Move from Just Making Money to Making a Difference. In the first third of the book, he tells the story of his own personal journey from successful stock broker with the cars, plane, boat, and lake house to questioning his purpose to making the move to becoming CEO of the Halftime Institute, an organization dedicated to helping business professionals find greater meaning in the second half of life.

In the middle third of the book, the author describes how to chart your own journey through halftime. Once you identify where you want to end up, you then take an honest look at who you are—strengths, spiritual gifts, passion, and mission. In the final section, the author gives practical advice on the resources needed to make a successful journey—people to advise and guide you, a solid relationship with God, how to research possible options, and whether or not to continue staying where you are or whether to take the leap and change careers.

I was first introduced to the concept of Halftime in Bob Buford’s book almost 20 years ago. Niewolny has taken Buford’s work, built on it, and added his own unique insights and contributions. This is a very helpful, practical book for anyone trying to navigate the whitewater of midlife. The book also includes a study guide with best practices designed to further aid and guide you in your journey.

Disclosure: I received this book free from Baker Books through the Baker Books Bloggers www.bakerbooks.com/bakerbooksbloggers program. The opinions I have expressed are my own, and I was not required to write a positive review.

 
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Posted by on July 5, 2017 in Books, Work

 

Don’t be a NAG

In Chris Mavity’s book, Your Volunteers: From come and see to come and serve, he includes a chapter on creating positive energy within your organization.

Energy is needed to get things moving and keep things in motion … One of the primary jobs of a ministry leader is the creation, allocation, and conservation of energy. Leading volunteers requires spiritual, emotional, physical, and mental energy … and a lot of each!

The author includes ideas about how to create energy through celebrating victories, creating energy through training, adding rewards and awards, and matching the right person with the right job.

Chris also addresses the topic of how to deal with

an energy-robbing volunteer, or a NAG—someone who is continually negative, arrogant, or grumpy (or a combination of the three). Left unchecked, NAGs can consume so much energy that others will mock them, avoid them, quit the team … or worse, become NAGs themselves.

What is the solution to a NAG?

NAG them back.

No, you don’t become like them! Let me explain. The appropriate treatment of a NAG is to neutralize them, advise them, and give them specific options.

As Chris explains, you neutralize a NAG by limiting their exposure and influence on other volunteers. This may entail reassigning them or positioning them in a role where their behavior is of little to no effect upon others.

The next step is to advise a NAG through a private conversation where you are honest about their attitude and how it is affecting others.

As a last resort, you give them specific options to either comply with the ministry standards, correct the unwanted behavior, or give up their ministry role.

 
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Posted by on February 27, 2016 in Books, Leadership, Quotes, Work

 

Don’t go to your grave with your best work inside you

This past week, I skimmed through Todd Henry’s latest book, Die Empty: Unleash your best work every day. The theme of the book is summed up in the following statement.

Embrace the importance of now and refuse to allow the lull of comfort, fear, familiarity and ego to prevent you from taking action on your ambitions … The cost of inaction is vast. Don’t go to your grave with your best work inside of you. Choose to die empty.

In the opening chapter, the author tells the following story to help lay the foundation for the book and his approach to life.

In my first book, The Accidental Creative, I recounted a meeting in which a friend asked a strange and unexpected question: “What do you think is the most valuable land in the world?”

Several people threw out guesses, such as Manhattan, the oil fields of the Middle East, and the gold mines of South Africa, before our friend indicated that we were way off track. He paused for a moment, and said, “You’re all wrong. The most valuable land in the world is the graveyard. In the graveyard are buried all of the unwritten novels, never-launched businesses, unreconciled relationships, and all of the other things that people thought, ‘I’ll get around to that tomorrow.’ One day, however, their tomorrows ran out.”

That day I went back to my office and I wrote down two words in my notebook and on the wall of my office that have been my primary operating ethic for the last several years: Die Empty. I want to know that if I lay my head down tonight and don’t wake up tomorrow, I have emptied myself of whatever creativity is lingering inside, with minimal regrets about how I spent my focus, time, and energy. This doesn’t happen by accident; it takes intentional and sustained effort. But I can say with confidence from my own experience and the experiences of others I’ve worked with that the effort is well worth it.

To help clarify what he means and doesn’t mean, the author adds several bullet point definitions.

  • What Die Empty Doesn’t Mean: (1) It’s not about getting everything done today; (2) It’s not the same as “live like there’s no tomorrow; (3) It’s not about following your whims.
  • What Die Empty Does Mean: (1) Your days are numbered—finite—someday they will run out; (2) You have a unique contribution to make to the world; (3) No one can make your contribution for you; (4) Your contribution is not about you; (5) Avoid comfort—it is dangerous; (6) Take a stand—don’t shape-shift; (7) Your understanding of your “sweet spot” develops over time like film in a darkroom; (8) You must plant seeds today for a harvest later.

The rest of the book contains principles to help the reader contribute their best efforts and avoid mediocrity in their work.

  • Your body or work should reflect what’s important to you.
  • Mediocrity doesn’t just happen suddenly; it develops over time.
  • To counter aimlessness, you must define your battles wisely, and build your life around winning them.
  • To prevent boredom from dulling your senses, you must approach your work with a curious mind-set.
  • To make a valuable contribution, you have to get uncomfortable and embrace lifelong growth and skill development.
  • Knowing yourself will help you counter self-delusion and pursue the unique contribution you alone are capable of making.
  • Confidence and adaptability prevent an inflated ego from stalling progress on your most important work.
  • Find your voice and conquer the fear of failure by taking small, calculated risks each day.
  • Establishing genuine connections with others will prevent guardedness from infecting your life.
  • Establish daily checkpoints to keep yourself moving forward.

While it is by no means a Christian book, it does reflect biblical values. His principles resonated with my own convictions about the shortness of life (Psalm 90:10-12), the fact that God has entrusted certain unique gifts and talents to each of us (Matthew 25:14-30), and that we need to live with a sense of intentionality.

God does not want us to go our grave with our best work still inside us. Like the apostle Paul, we should be able to say at the end of our lives,

For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on the Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing. (2 Timothy 4:6-8)

 
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Posted by on August 12, 2014 in Books, Quotes, Scripture, Work

 

Ten Essentials to Living out a Biblical view of work

This fall, I will be launching a men’s study at First Central Baptist Church in Chicopee, MA. We will be using 33:The Series, put out by authenticmanhood.com. The following material comes from Volume 4: A man and his work. It provides one of the more helpful overviews on work that I have seen.

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1. Our primary motivation for “excelling” at work comes from the gospel.

Our primary motivation for wanting to excel at work should come from what Jesus has done for us and how He has transformed us and giving us a new mindset.

It is the gospel that changes us so that we can create and cultivate and be a life-giving presence in our work.

“So brothers and sisters, since God has shown us great mercy, I beg you to offer your lives as a living sacrifice to him … Do not be shaped by this world; instead be changed within by a new way of thinking.” Romans 12:1-2 (NCV)

The gospel frees you to view your work as worshipping and serving God.

2. Do your best and over-deliver in your work.

Many men settle for doing just “good enough” in their job.

“In all the work you are doing, work the best you can. Work as if you were doing it for the Lord, not for people … You are serving the Lord Christ.” Colossians 3:23-24 (NCV)

“If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets like Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, ‘Here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.’” – Martin Luther King Jr.

3. Become a master in your craft.

God authored every man’s life and gifted each of us with unique skills, talents, and strengths.

“Do you see a man skillful in his work? He will stand before kings; he will not stand before obscure men.” Proverbs 22:29 (ESV)

The skillful will be sought out for their expertise and will have great influence.

4. Work well with others.

An Authentic Man values “we” over “me” with his co-workers and employees. He has a heart of a servant-leader.

He is not threatened by the successes or talents of others.

Authentic Men are also responsive to the leadership of those over them.

“Trustworthy messengers refresh like snow in summer. They revive the spirit of their employer.” Proverbs 25:13 (NLT)

5. Don’t be surprised by resistance.

Resistance is a reality in our world.

“I have said these things to you, that in my you may have peace … But take heart; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 (ESV)

Authentic Men anticipate this resistance and put on their warrior face.

6. Bring integrity to the workplace.

There are multiple opportunities daily to add to your reputation of integrity or to destroy it.

“It takes a lifetime to build a reputation but you can lose it in a minute.” – quote attributed to Will Rogers

“Whoever walks in integrity walks securely, but he who makes his ways crooked will be found out.” Proverbs 10:9 (ESV)

7. Healthy ambition can be a good thing.

Every man’s heart can be tempted toward a deep, dark pride and narcissism.

Another extreme to avoid is killing ambition and resting in mediocrity.

A godly, redeemed ambition should be your goal.

“Whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” 1 Corinthians 10:31

8. Go find the information you need to excel in the workplace.

Authentic Men go get the help they need to grow in their work.

9. Pursue a job that you can enjoy, are good at and that will adequately provide.

It takes courage to pursue change and transition.

Authentic Men look for the right job fit.

10. Rest and celebrate.

“Human beings are not designed to run like computers, at high speeds, continuously for long periods of time. When we try to mimic the machines we’re meant to run, they end up running us. in fact, we’re designed to pulse. Our most basic survival need is to spend and renew energy. We’re hardwired to make waves—to be alert during the day and to sleep at night, but also to work at high intensity for limited periods of time and then rest and refuel. Instead, [most of us] lead increasingly linear lives, forever spending down our energy without fully or effectively renewing it.” Tony Schwartz.

An Authentic Man works hard but know when to turn work off.

From “A Man and his Work,” volume 4 of 33: The Series, Authentic Manhood

 
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Posted by on August 8, 2014 in Men, Quotes, Work

 

A Biblical Blueprint for Work

This fall, I will be launching a men’s study at First Central Baptist Church in Chicopee, MA. We will be using 33:The Series, put out by authenticmanhood.com. The following material comes from Volume 4: A man and his work. It provides one of the more helpful overviews on work that I have seen.

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1. What is Work? VOCATION

Work is more than just a job

It’s personal: God’s plan for your life; Personal to your talents, gifting, and season

It’s purposeful: Participating in something bigger that God is doing in the world through us; Part of our personal story within God’s story

2. What Do We Do? CREATE & CULTIVATE

God modeled work for mankind by creating and cultivating for the benefit of others

First, He created by bringing new things into existence

Second, He cultivated His work by building an environment where it could flourish and commissioned Adam, His co-worker, to care for it alongside Him

God made man in His image to create, cultivate, and develop God’s world

In the very beginning work was given to mankind as a gift, not a curse, designed to be part of every man’s story

He gave us the privilege and responsibility to care for and develop the earth for the benefit of mankind and for his glory

3. Who Are We To Be? A LIFE-GIVING PRESENCE

In addition to coming to earth to save us from our sins, He also came as an example to imitate

We are called to follow Jesus

Jesus set the example of being a “life-giving presence” in all areas of His life, including work

While Jesus was doing His work on earth, He blessed others. People experienced Him as a life-giving presence

As we follow Him, we desire to be a life-giving presence in our work

From “A Man and his Work,” volume 4 of 33: The Series, Authentic Manhood

 
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Posted by on August 7, 2014 in Men, Quotes, Work

 

Do your best work

“If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets like Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, ‘Here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.’”

Martin Luther King Jr.

 
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Posted by on August 6, 2014 in Quotes, Work