Showing posts from August, 2020

Rest, Recovery and Rejuvenation

When we told my 7 year old we would be going home the next day from our vacation, she didn't want to go. She just wanted to stay longer. It is fun to get away, take time to visit somewhere new, learn new things, see interesting sights, and learn some history. But few of us can afford to be on vacation our entire lives. We need time to rest and step away from our normal lives to rejuvenate. But the vacation comes to an end and it is time to get back to work.
A day of rest now and then is a good thing. The Bible was clear in explaining that you should work for 6 days and rest on the 7th. There is a lot of wisdom in allowing our body and mind to recuperate. It is something we don't often do. Sure most of us only work 5 days a week, but we are running kids all weekend to activities, have house work and yard work to do, pay bills, and countless other errands and tasks needed. In our fast paced world we go all the time, and don't stop. We wonder why we burn out, have high stress …

Enjoying The Black Hills, Though They Were Stolen

My family recently took a vacation to the Black Hills in South Dakota. It is an area with lots to see and do, beautiful scenery and a rich history. Of course there is Mount Rushmore, which is an inspiring place if you are interested in the founding fathers of our country. Then there is Deadwood, where Wild Bill Hickok was killed and is burred. The real history which ties these two things together, what nobody wants to talk about, is how we stole this land from the Native Americans for whom the Black Hills are sacred. There was a treaty signed by the US Government that defined the borders and gave the Black Hills to the Sioux tribe in 1868. However the discovery of gold less than 10 years later caused the US to break the treaty and push them from their land. Around 50 years later, an idea was formed to carve a statue into a mountain to promote tourism in the area. It worked, as I spend my money to support these elements. I can't help but wonder what our nation would look like if we…

Extreme Listening

Listened to a great podcast recently on Simon Sinek's A Bit of Optimism. Sinek interviewed filmmaker Deeyah Kahn. The topic of conversation was Extreme Listening, which sounds like an unusual term, but when you hear Deeyah tell her stories it makes sense. Deeyah is a Muslim and made a film called White Right: Meeting the Enemy. The documentary is about her spending time with white supremacists. Her work is all centered around people most of us would consider horrible human beings that you would never want to come into contact with. But listening to her tell the stories and how she got to know these people, it really made me think about how much we don't like to listen to others. It is where Sinek came up with such a great concept as extreme listening. We argue and debate by trying to convince everyone why I am right and my opponent is wrong. It puts all of the focus on me, my opinion, why my way is better. That isn't how you change peoples opinion. Deeyah Kahn was able to …

Why Does A Vacation Not Feel Like A Vacation?

I am taking a vacation soon. It has been two years since I took an actual vacation. I take time off, but it is a day here and there, extended weekends, dance competitions, dance competition recovery days, the basics. But not a real full week off going somewhere. I'm excited.I'm also stressed about it. Why is taking a longer vacation so hard? You have your normal work and craziness you deal with all of the time, then you add on top of it the planning and prepping you have to do with work to make sure everything is set for the week you will be out. We won't talk about the flood of emails and chaos you will come back to. Then you also have the planning, packing and checklists to make sure you have everything you need for the vacation itself. I think I need a new goal of always being prepared to take a week off. What does that look like to not have things so piled up you can step away for a few days and not have anything miss a beat? For most businesses that would indicate you…

Do You Want To Solve Your Problem Or Figure Out How To Live With It?

When it comes to problem solving, the challenge is we generally start from a place of what we know. Perhaps we have been doing something in our company for a long time but now growth or some other change has increased the demand on the old way of doing it. Or maybe you've been able to deal with your kid in a certain way but then they get older and their friends change and they have different ideas that has to change how you interact with them. We deal with problems and most of the time problems come about from some sort of change. If things happened the same way it would be easy to figure out how to manage your problems, find solutions that fix them and get things humming. The hard part is just when you think you have a problem solved something else changes and a new problem comes along. My wife and I have joked for years how every time we start to feel like we have this parenting thing down our kids grow out of one stage and into another. I mean you can try to parent a teenager t…

The Number One Task Of A Leader Is To Provide Clarity

We all know that some times leaders don't have all of the answers. Each of us have been in situations where you basically feel like you are making it up as you go. You might be in one of those situations now, especially with how crazy and constantly changing this year is.With the health in our country the way it is we are probably dealing with a lot more work absences this year. Maybe you are a manager or a small business owner and you have an employee who you don't know when, or even if they are going to return. You have customers and co-workers that are relying on that person. You can't be certain of how things are going to transpire, but you have to make an effort to provide some clarity. If you don't that is when the rumors get started and frustrations come out as people talk and try to make sense of it. When people have no information from leaders it creates a vacuum which is quickly filled with whatever people can conjure up.I think one of the main qualities of a…

Making An Impact By Observing

With my job there are at times late night calls to execute a change to minimize the impact if something goes wrong. One of the benefits of this is you can learn some new and interesting things as you are talking with people outside of normal hours. This week I learned about something called the Observer Effect which is my new favorite concept.
The Observer Effect is a theory in physics that by simply observing a phenomenon you are impacting the phenomenon. A great example of this is checking the air pressure in your tires. When you check the air pressure you let some of the air out in the process to get the reading of the air pressure. It is a miniscule amount but it is there none the less. 
If you want to see this effect in real life, pick a friend or spouse and observe them. Don't say anything, just sit down with a pen and paper and take notes about what you observe. I guarantee that you you will have an impact on them, simply from your observation. 
The reason I love this concept …

There Are Times The Smart Thing To Do Is Work Harder

The old saying telling us we should work smarter not harder is great, and we all want to do so whenever we can. Sometimes it just doesn't make sense to.
For instance, I've been doing some landscaping, and that has required a lot of digging and hauling of decorative rock. Now, that whole process would have gone a lot faster if I had a skid loader. But if you look at the time it would take to be proficient to dig up what I wanted to and not hit what I didn't, it might not have actually saved that much time overall. Plus there is the cost to rent the machine and the risk of actually hitting something by accident and causing more work. 
So sometimes you just have to pick up a shovel and start scooping. 
There are lots of tasks that require hard work to get done. There are better and smarter ways, but we don't always have the luxury of being able to develop the skills needed to operate at a more efficient level. So we do the work, learn our lessons and prepare ourselves for th…