Our “Word” is Earned – Good or Bad

“I’ll take care of that.”

At the moment you utter those words, those to whom you have made your promise will think one of two things:

  1. No he won’t.  He never gets anything done on time, and I need to plan accordingly.
  2. That’s a huge relief.  He will get it done, and he will get it done right.

Our “word” is known to our colleagues and clients, perhaps better than it is known to us.

So, is your word your bond, or is your word empty?

Your word is your reputation – guard it… jealously.

 

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Quit

Tired of trying?  Tired of digging deeper…yet again?

Have no more tenacity of purpose, no more sticktoitiveness, no more “one more tries” left in you?

Can’t even consider another class, one more counseling session, one more revised business plan?

The answer is easy – quit.

That’s right, quit.  No more disappointments, no more frustrations, no more trying to find the right formula, the right words, the just-right solution.

Total surrender to the inevitable; mind, body, and spirit.

There is a reason we struggle with quitting and why it doesn’t settle well with us – it may be that “still small voice” reminding us we are not designed for quitting.   It goes against our very nature.

As difficult as “it,” whatever it may be, is…quitting isn’t the answer.  Quitting can be damaging and even damning to our soul.  As Douglas MacArthur said, “Age wrinkles the body.  Quitting wrinkles the soul.”

One more try…till we take our last breath.

 

 

Character

Who would have thought this kind of exceptional character from an attorney, a physician, a business owner, a salesman…

Long before we assumed our various titles…

The respectful attorney, was a respectful spouse.

The caring physician, was a caring daughter.

The honest business owner, was an honest employee.

The ethical salesman, was an ethical student.

Our titles don’t create our character, they just amplify it.

Work is Good

Long hours, dealing with adversity, overcoming challenges, the project that had everything go wrong, the project where disaster was averted because we figured “it” out.

We recall with fondness the times of hard work, perseverance and overcoming challenges.

Not so much the times when our talents were not being used.  Not so much when we were not part of the team.  Not so much when perhaps we faced a time of no work.

Work is good.  We are hard wired to be challenged and it violates our nature not to work and use our skills.

The lack of work and lack of purpose may help explain problems from inner-city crime and decay to fading focus in retirement.

The first thing God does after the creation of mankind was not to create the list of laws and rules, He said, here is a garden, tend to it.

Tend to your garden…joyfully.

Mastering Leadership

I have told them again and again to get that report to me on the 15th of each month

If I were in charge, I wouldn’t put up with her shenanigans

Do it because I’m your boss and I said so

When I’m in charge, they will do what I say, I’ll institute some discipline in this organization

 This is unacceptable, you will not do this again

Allow me to be in charge and that will never happen in the first place

What should you do now that you are in charge?

“Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power…so he got up…he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet…” (Excerpted from John 13)

You don’t have to be a disciple of Christ to get this. And you don’t have to be the boss to apply this. Given ALL POWER, Jesus’ first act is to humble himself.

We all have leadership roles, at work, at home, and in our communities, but what do we do with this little slice of authority? Put on the boss hat and wield a big stick or do we take on the attitude of a servant?

I’ll get you my little pretty…

A flying broomstick to get her anywhere she needed to be in an instant, a crystal ball to peer into her rivals’ plans, and some wicked-scary flying monkeys.  Let’s face it, on paper, the Wicked Witch of the West vs. Dorothy? No contest.

So how was she beaten by a simple Midwestern girl, a gutless lion, a dim scarecrow, an empty tinman…and a little water?  She let her guard down and forgot that even she had an Achilles heel. One mistake and…

Powerful or not, we all have buckets of water that will take us down in a heartbeat; pride, jealousy, arrogance, vanity…the key is to recognize and stay away from those buckets.

You might be a little lost, short on courage, lacking some knowledge, and feeling a little empty, but there is great wisdom in recognizing your inadequacies and planning accordingly.

No Tweaks – Massive Action!

We met. We met again. We even met again and this time developed a plan.

Why then, has nothing changed? Because we tweak, we tinker, we make some minor adjustments and expect huge results in our life or in our company.

Let’s face it, change is difficult, darn difficult. We are all creatures of habit and creatures of tendencies, and to change those habits and tendencies means we have to, not just get out of our comfort zone, we have to jolt ourselves out of our familiar world.

Those serious about an “improved” path in their life, kicking the habit (whatever the habit is), or changing a corporate culture, cannot afford to nibble on the edges of change – it’s all out commitment – it’s massive action and no turning back.

Vision

Getting dressed in the dark doesn’t work well for me – what looks like a sartorially smart shirt, tie, pants, sport coat, and socks, turns out to be (in the light of day) a mismatched outfit just shy of the polished finish for which I was aiming.

Making business decisions in the dark is not a good practice either – the light of day may reveal less than flattering results on your decisions.

How much light is there in your office? How well can your employees see your vision?  Can you clearly describe your vision?  When the light of day is cast upon your decisions, will they illuminate a wise leader with vision or one that kept everyone in the dark?

“Where there is no vision, people will perish…” (The 29th Proverb)

 

How About a Nice Shiny Apple?

One of the markets we work with in my “real job” in environmental consulting is agriculture. I also write about environmental issues affecting agriculture and have done research in grad school on ag-environmental issues.

One thing that is very apparent to me about today’s consumers (I’m one of them) is we have lost an appreciation for what it takes to get food from the farm to the plate. I often cringe when I hear ignorant and misinformed criticisms of agriculture. To see my soapbox treatise on this issue see my company blog.

We assume the apples will be fresh, crisp, and without blemish, the meat will be marbled to our taste, the milk fresh and wholesome, and the beans will be on sale to fit our budget. We are divorced from the process that brought “it” there. We don’t appreciate the effort that it takes to create abundant, safe, and nourishing food. We have lost the appreciation for the hard work, science, and dare I say; we have lost our sense of awe.

How about in the workplace, do we assume that the accountant will balance the books and transfer the money into our account on payday? Do we assume the support staff will do what is necessary to allow that project to off without a hitch? What about the work that is in the door? Have we forgotten what diligent efforts are put forth by sales and marketing folks to get that work in the door and on the books?

My point is…it’s good to take time and appreciate the work of your fellow employees as well as those who bring goods and services to the market. And before we jump to judgment about someone else’s work or feel we should offer someone our sage advice on how they should do their job, we would do well to remember what we knew in childhood, we are not a “know it all.”

Time – be careful how you spend it

The average American watches more than 4 hours of TV each day

Read any of the classic novels? No, but I can discuss who did what to whom on the reality shows.

Volunteer to help the less fortunate and those in need in my community and church? No, my life is pretty busy just keeping up with the news reports and political developments.

How about that degree that would help your career? Well, not exactly, but I can join in just about any conversation about sitcoms at the water cooler.

Laugh, play games, and spend time with family? Pretty weak here, but there are so many sports games to keep up with…

“Time is the coin of your life. It is the only coin you have, and only you can determine how it will be spent. Be careful lest you let other people spend it for you.” -Carl Sandburg