What Might Stop You in 2017?

Asking some questions in this period between Christmas and the New Year. Questions of reflection and questions to help us to look ahead. So far there has been one about what we were thankful for and another about what we would do if we knew it would succeed.

Today’s is a follow on question to yesterday: what could stop you in 2017?

My answers: I am a serial procrastinator, what’s your excuse. I’m working hard at not letting this get in the way of accomplishing some big dreams in 2017.

I say maybe and perhaps too often, like I doubt I believe what I am saying or I’m really trying too hard to not hurt anyones feelings, when I need to just be confident in what I’m saying.

Fear. Pride. Laziness. Lack of focus. Distractions. Good things. Whatever. All will have their shot at stopping me, I’m sure.

But if we knew what we could do would succeed – what is going to stop us?

How are you liking the questions? Any thoughts as we head into 2017?

Leading Well in Life: Celebrate

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How are we doing today?

Are we making any progress on the goals we set when there was just 80 days until 2017? This is what I wrote back then about leading well in life…

Here’s what’s coming…

…a new site, with posts focused on what I know and what I see – leading well in life, making a difference, building local church, walking with God and other stuff too.

…a place of encouragement, answered questions, resources and some challenge along the way too

…giveaways, book reviews and more interaction with those who happen to pass by these pages.

I’ve even managed to finish a one month devotional which I aim to launch as soon as I can and the Leadership book is almost completed too. This is not to boast, more to make myself accountable to you.

Wherever we have got to it is important that along the way we celebrate the journey. I can look at these statements and be frustrated but I can also see that I have managed to get a little further with them too which puts a smile on my face.

The books are out for editorial suggestions. I surprised myself and asked some well-known church leaders to contribute to the book, and have even had some replies. What they have written will add a different aspect to the book and I am really happy with that.

The publishing journey never moves as fast as you would like but the aim is to send the leadership book ’19’ to the publisher in January 2017. Some kind of crowd funding project may come soon to help bring this dream to reality.

So how is your journey shaping out? Let’s not just look at what we haven’t managed to accomplish but rather notice where we have made progress. It will never be as much as may have wanted but hopefully it’s something.

Keep plugging away. Check out the previous posts in this series too.

Breakthrough moments

Setbacks

The Right People

Be Determined

Don’t Break the Chain

 

Breakthrough Moments Will Come

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I recently read ‘Love Does’ by Bob Goff. I was amazed at all the incredible stories he told. You read the adventures that he and his family have been on and realise that they have happened mostly because they had just learned to say ‘yes’ to opportunity and go on the journey.

I wrote a review which you can read here. My observation was easy – ‘If I want to have stories like Bob then I have to put myself in the right place for them. Or at least be prepared to go with whatever happens’.

This journey recommenced when there was 80 days to go until 2017. That was my way of putting myself in the right place for a more adventurous journey. Or perhaps it was to at least give those goals a good go. It was my way of getting back on track (again) and the desire to see some kind of breakthrough moment.

Here’s what I have discovered…which maybe 5 ways of saying the same thing…

BREAKTHROUGH MOMENTS come to those who are willing to start the journey. They can ‘happen’ but only if we have ‘happened’ to do something.

It can seem like BREAKTHROUGH MOMENTS won’t happen, they just take time.

BREAKTHROUGH MOMENTS come more often to this who are willing to take a risk.

Because they involve taking risks, BREAKTHROUGH MOMENTS can be scary.

However, this is what makes those BREAKTHROUGH MOMENTS so exciting.

Look for the green shoots of progress. It might not seem like much for all the effort but it could just be the beginning of a BREAKTHROUGH MOMENT you have been waiting for.

What BREAKTHROUGH MOMENTS have you enjoyed since writing your goals down?

Get Past the Setbacks

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With 80 days until the new year we made the decision to go for our goals. Maybe we wrote something down. Perhaps we imagined what the future could look like if everything worked in our favour.

We started off with great levels of energy, we laid out the plan, made some progress and then, for a whole bunch of different reasons, it all just grinds to a halt. Lack of time. Slow progress. Distractions. General procrastination on our part. People not helping. Perhaps it’s all a little bit harder work than we thought it would be.

When these inevitable times come along, we can think on 3 things…

Perspective. We are never as good as our best day. We are never as bad as our worst day either. Keep the perspective right. Keep looking ahead. Keep doing the right things. Be consistent. Be determined. It doesn’t mean it is over. It’s just something that needs to be overcome and worked out.

Big Picture. Rome wasn’t built in a day. Keep the bigger view in front of us will remind us that this is a journey and journeys take time. There will be twists, turns, obstacles and set backs. Once we accept this inevitability we will better placed to not lose hope and just keep on doing what we can.

One Step at a Time. We are excited about the end game, yet in reality it’s the next step which is the most important. Concentrate on the one step. We are so busy painting the final detail we often miss out on what needs out attention right now.

Keep being brave. Keep going. Ask the hard questions. Take some time to think things through.

What is the one thing I can do to keep things moving forward? What one thing can I give my attention to right now?

5 Ways to Be Determined

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Leading well in life doesn’t come by default, it only comes by design, through a determined effort on our part to actually make something happen. I can pray like it depends on God but I must still work like it depends on me.

In Mark 5:25-34 the story is told of a woman who had been ill for years who reached through the crowds, touched the cloak of Jesus and received her healing. Her determination to live differently in life and lead well can remind us of a few thing:

Have a clear picture of what you want to accomplish. Write it down. Paint a clear image. Put that preferred future in front of you as often as possible. In my imagination I see her having on the wall somewhere, maybe on the equivalent of the fridge a little message, ‘If Jesus comes through town make sure you get out there and touch His cloak.’

Push through the crowd of normalness. A post-it on the fridge is one thing, acting on it is something else altogether. Lots of people want change but are unwilling to put the effort in. The same power was available to everyone yet she was the only one who saw the change because she was the only one willing to ‘reach out from the crowd’.

Be willing to have some awkward moments. The spotlight may well come on you. ‘Who touched me?’ An awkward moment for her. However, it was the acceptance of this awkward moment which brought about the healing. When you go after what you believe God is calling you to do, the eyes may be on you and that’s alright. In such a moment, just like this woman, we experience the power of God in our lives

Stay in faith. Don’t back off, keeping leaning in. Keep praying and keep working. There were plenty of opportunities for her to back away and not follow through with this crazy idea, yet she stayed in faith. Never lose hope that the breakthrough, the success, that thing you desire to see happen will happen.

Remember, nothing changes unless something changes. When you have been stuck for 12 years it can be easy to just accept this as the way things will always be. The change we want can come miraculously but more often than not it is attached to some change we have to do ourselves. Weight doesn’t fall off in a miracle, we play our part. Debt doesn’t disappear with a prayer, there is some change needed from us too.

Be a person who leads well in life. Keep pushing forward on your 80 day goals. Be determined, don’t give up.

How is your sense of determination? What gets in the way of you seeing your preferred future actually happen?

 

Don’t Break the Chain

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When I wrote last week there were 80 days until 2017. Did you make the decision to focus on anything of meaning and purpose. I hope so. If not, why not? What’s stopping you? I’m sure that if I can do this, then anyone can.

Whatever ‘IT’ is, just choose to start. It doesn’t matter when. Make it today. Then once you have started, be bold, be courageous, keep going and make sure you do one thing…

Don’t break the chain.

This is not an original thought. This technique was made famous by Jerry Seinfeld, who said that he wrote a joke every single day. No matter how he felt or whether he had anything to say, he wrote at least one joke every day.

Why not get a calendar put up on the wall and mark it with a great big X in the first square when you complete your ‘IT’ for the first time. Then repeat every day. Or whatever timescale you decide.

Now there are just 73 days until the New Year to accomplish something of purpose, something of value. Let’s do this!

What is the ‘chain’ you would like to make? Why not share what you will commit to make progress on?

 

Leadership Admin ~ 5 Things Which Help Me [When I Remember]

We all have unique gifts and personalities. Some of us love a good ‘system’ more than another but if we desire to be people of influence in any avenue of life then there are probably a few ‘admin’ skills which we should give our attention to.

Keep the Big Picture in View – I have the vision up on the wall. It reminds me every day what we are doing.

Remove Distractions – maybe give your phone to someone else and stop checking emails all the time. Even a good old-fashioned ‘Do Not Disturb’ on the door can help in getting that one thing completed. 

Know What’s Going On – good leaders have an awareness of what’s going. Capture thoughts, comments, ideas all the time. Be ahead of the game. Know what’s happening and what needs to happen too. 

Know What To Work On – occasionally the mother of all ‘to do lists’ will be written out and then attacked. Do what only you can do and work at trying to delegate the rest. 

Take Notes, Answer Emails & Ask Questions – always amazed at people turning up to meetings with no method of capturing what’s being talked about. Don’t rely on others for this. Great leaders note stuff down. They input when requested either by email or in person and they can think of questions too. 

Be a better leader and get some administration into your world. Whatever works for you, just work that out and increase your leadership leverage. 

What do you already use to help ‘admin’ you as a leader?

Leadership Focus

I wonder what helps you to focus or do you just find that really easy. I have moments of laser like purpose and then other days there just seems to be an endless amount of distractions – some genuine, others just me. 

Leaders get things done, so leaders need to know how to focus. After all, if your name is next to it, then the responsibility for seeing it finished is on you. 

Again, not always the best at this. Sometimes just knowing it needs to be done is enough but these other things help me too…

  1. Take a few minutes to write down what you have to do. 
  2. Make appointments with yourself to get them done
  3. Use ‘do not disturb’ – on the door, on the phone
  4. Hide your phone away, turn it off or give it to someone else
  5. Just work on one thing for a set period of time to get it finished or for progress to be made
  6. Go through your list and mark the things that only you can do and then look to delegate to others what they could do on your behalf. Always give clear instructions and expectations as part of that process
  7. Set some deadlines – they really help me
  8. Think about what needs to be done first – not necessarily from a speed of ease point of view but from an importance point of view
  9. Take a break. It is important to get up, walk around, close the laptop down, get some fresh air, have a drink to refresh you, go have a conversation with someone
  10. Enjoy what you do, even the parts of what we do that are less enjoyable

What would you add to this list? I would love to hear from you about how you remain focused on a task and what helps you.