Friday, September 8, 2017

The 5 Crucial Relationships You Need

You are the average of the people you spend the most time with.  There are some relationships you’ll need to cultivate, some you’ll need to pull away from and some you’ll need to create.  Whatever your current situation, you cannot attain God’s dream for you alone.  Here are five crucial relationships you’ll need in place to see your dream take flight.

1.  Experts.  These are people working and living out a dream similar to the dream you are called to.  We all need models and mentors and you may need to do some research to find who some of these experts are.  Remember, you don’t have to reinvent the wheel.  Most of us will need to see and even learn a model before we can adapt it.  As you begin to research who some of these experts are, reach out to them and see how you can learn from afar and even close.  You may be surprised how accessible some people will be if you just ask.  Overall, chemistry is key.  Look for experts and then lean into the relationships with those you feel you click with best.
2.  Supporters.  These are people who believe in you, who encourage you and would pray for you if you asked.  Supporters are like a spider web.  The tensile strength of a spider’s silk is greater than that of the same weight of steel.  Further, it has greater elasticity, because of its many points of connection.  Who are the people who will hold you up as you move God’s dream forward for your life?
3.  Challengers.  These are the ones who typically tell it like it is.  They are very direct and straightforward.  We all need these people who will challenge and push us to reach higher and get better.  They will challenge you both by the example of their lives and by the words they speak.  They may not know much about your dream, but they are for you and could play this role if asked.  Caution, these people may threaten you.  You may need some thick skin to gain the valuable perspective a challenger will bring to you.
4.  Resourcers.  These will share and sponsor you into their networks and relationships.  Supporters will help you with your dream by providing knowledge, experiences and even financial resources.  Again, chemistry is key, but can you think of some people who deeply care about you and might want to help you pursue your dream by being resourcers?  A word of caution.  These won’t always be the people you would expect most.  Just because they’ve been a supporter does not mean they will become a resourcer.
5.  Balancers.  These are the ones who will help you live a healthy and balanced life.  Once you discover God’s dream for your life, it’s easy to pursue it full-throttle, often to the detriment of other vital aspects and people in your life.  We all know people who have burned out doing too much of what they love or have neglected some priorities and have lost valuable parts of their life along the way.  Hear this and hear it well.  You can’t afford to lose your health or relationships that matter most.  Think of people you know that model emotional, physical, relational, intellectual and spiritual health.  Who would push you to take time for leisure activities or hobbies?  You may not know one person who will bring all those traits, but you know some people who can bring some of them.

I hope this list is helpful to you as you pursue God’s dream for your life and try and decide which relationships you need in your life.  You can't do it alone.  There is no such thing as a self-made man (or woman).

Friday, September 1, 2017

Time Management Fundamentals

Years ago, I had a young guy working on a team of mine who just was not cutting it.  His excuse for all his missed deadlines?  I didn’t have time.  I remember telling him, “Everyone in this world, from the President of the United States to a homeless guy on the street, has the exact same amount of time in the day and decides how to use that time.”  He didn’t get it.  And he didn’t make it on my team.

It’s one of the biggest lies we tell ourselves.  “I didn’t have time.”  If you believe it, you’ve sold yourself a bill of goods.  If you catch yourself saying it, stop immediately!  There is a fundamental problem that has worked its way into our culture and you have the responsibility to keep it from taking hold of you.  The problem.  You feel busier than you ever have while accomplishing less and feeling less satisfied by all you’re doing.  The solution.  That’s what we’ll talk about here.  Here are 3 questions you can answer to help you manage that time well.

1.    When am I most energized?  All hours of the day are not created equal.  Have you noticed that sometimes you get incredible work accomplished and sometimes it’s like you’re pushing against a brick wall?  What’s the difference?  Well, it may have some to do with the type of work you’re doing, but considering you’re doing work you’re suited to, it probably has much more to do with when you’re doing it.  Are you taking advantage of your natural rhythms or fighting against them?  Are you a morning person?  Are you an evening person?  Does the afternoon feel like a burst of energy or a crash?  You should figure these types of questions out for yourself.  If you know you have a time of day that you know is going to be ultra-productive, why not schedule your most important tasks then?  If you have a time that you know is going to be sluggish, why not do the mindless or menial tasks then?  Don’t just plug tasks into any old time of the day.  Know your rhythms and plan accordingly.
2.    What am I doing with my downtime?  First lesson.  You have way more natural downtime than you think.  What do you do during the two hours before work?  Is sleep the answer?  What about the four hours after work?  Is that your “veg-out” time?  That’s great if your goal is to be a vegetable.  But, if your goal is to live out your God-given potential and dreams, you must look at your downtime as opportunity time.  We’re talking about hours each day that you’re just giving up because you’ve told yourself you need all that downtime.  The truth is that you need some, but probably not as much as you’re taking.  Examine your patterns and make some changes.  Plug in productive work into some of that excess downtime.  There are many people who have started profitable businesses in their downtime.  It’s not a myth.  It’s about intentional discipline.
3.    How might I be wasting time every week?  How much television do you watch?  How much time do you spend on social media?  How many YouTube videos do you watch each week?  These questions could go on and on and the answers, for most of us, are embarrassing.  The point is that you are wasting a tremendous amount of time during any given week.  What if you got intentional with 30% of that wasted time?  Identify it and schedule it.  You won’t believe the results.

You manage your money carefully.  Your time is a more valuable commodity.  Why not manage it too?