Yesterday, I attended a women’s conference geared toward spiritual growth. The speaker, Pam Farrel, worked through some insightful scriptures and life applications, then left us with an outline for putting thoughts into action. One of the worksheets starts with adopting a favorite word for the year. I’ve been doing that for about six years, so that seemed to be a good starting place. My word for this year is joy. Do you have favorite words? I guess that might sound strange now that I think about it, how do you feel about the word transform…. you know what? I like that word. I’ve added it to a list of other favorite words like integrity, faith, discernment, wisdom, peace, contentment ….
Have you ever seen those kid toys that look like a vehicle and with a few twists of parts, becomes a super hero? Transforming our minds so we have a right view of the world is a lot like that – although let me tell you, it’s not so easy as just turning a wheel to become an arm, leg, or protective helmet. Transforming our mind is the first step to transforming our behavior and seeing the world through a different lens. So, while we live in the world, we don’t let it ‘squeeze us into its mold’. There are many reasons why I love the word transform, but one of them is because it gives me hope. Renewing my mind is where it starts because what is stored in my mind eventually cascades into actions which then become habits.
To form a good habit, or get rid of a bad one takes more than performing the act over and over. I’ve heard it takes 21 days to form a new habit. I’ve tried the 21 days. I must be a slow learner because on day 22, I am just as likely to fall back into an old pattern as I was on day 3! Why is that? For me, it’s because while I train myself to repeat an act over and over, I haven’t renewed my mind. Yesterday I mentioned the idea of an 11th commandment and after the conference, this verse came to mind. What if Romans 12:2 became the 11th commandment? “Do not allow this world to mold you in its own image. Instead, be transformed from the inside out by renewing your mind. As a result, you will be able to discern what God wills and whatever God finds good, pleasing, and complete.”
I don ‘t know how many habits I’ve tried to break in my past or even how many should be in process now. I know that unless I transform my thinking, any chance to stop whatever it is, will fail. Note to self: To be transformed, you’ve got to renew your mind. Only then will those repetitive acts become authentically infused into your character.
Every act was once a thought. If I am going to live the way that pleases God, which is what I am called to do (Romans 12:1) it starts with renewing my mind. This means I have to capture every thought and before it takes root in my heart, make sure it aligns with what God says is right.
I have miles to go before I get it right. But scripture gives me hope. I can live transformed because my journey is not complete until I take my last breath on Earth. While I am here, I pray as David did in Psalm 51:10 Create a pure heart in me, Lord and renew my spirit and keep me strong so I can shine for you.
Ready to transform your life? It isn’t a magic act. Presto and your life changes. It’s the little things you do day after day, the actions moment to moment that change your life. It starts with ‘the thought’ ….
You really have to respect a book that covers topics as modern as tomorrow with a Foreword that starts out. “I was born in Minnesota in 1928 …”. My curiosity was revved and I had to read this book. Besides, when there are three authors creating content for ten chapters in one book, most of them with the word ‘bias’ in the title, what would you do? Read it, of course. To give you just a little insight here, these are partial titles of each chapter. Negativity Bias, Availability Bias, The Curse of Knowledge, Status Quo Bias, Conformity Bias, Confirmation Bias, Framing – Like a Fish in Water, then my favorite chapter is titled, Confabulation – Of Course That’s Why I Did That! I guess it could be the word itself, confabulation, but more likely it’s the hint that there is an explanation for how stories from our history grow imaginary facts when processed through our memories. Are you curious yet?
Since there are only 10 chapters with pretty cool titles, you, as the reader, could dive into the chapters that interest you most, or you could start at page one and systematically read through the entire book. You could – but I bet you won’t. I didn’t because some of the chapters were just too interesting to wait to read.
Outsmart Your Instincts. That’s how you move from what is into the potential of what can be. To sum up, you will be able to apply what you learn in this book as a tool for using the Behavioral Innovation™ approach to drive your company forward. In it there is a solid instruction like this statement straight out of the book. “Combat the tenacity of Cognitive Biases. Stay humble, keep curious, and never lose the sense of play.”
Read more about this lively, penetrating, and resourceful book here on the Biz Catalyst 360 network: https://www.bizcatalyst360.com/outsmart-your-instincts-how-the-behavioral-innovation-approach-drives-your-company-forward/
I can’t believe a year has passed since a friend posted a photo of his greenhouse in progress. Absent of philosophical comment to prompt my thinking it instantly occurred to me that this visual could be a metaphor for life – at least for mine. The compartments, the vegetation, the curled hose, the tractor, the bicycles, even the walkway dusted with mulch and dirt, everything a picture of life under a glass shield.
It was the tractor that caught my attention first. It seemed out of place. What could a huge piece of machinery do inside the small space of a greenhouse? The tractor, motorized and bulky, was incompatible in its current surroundings and certainly couldn’t work effectively with such boundaries. Beyond the walls, however, it was a qualified, worthy tool of the gardener. How many times in life do we find we’ve outgrown our surroundings, not in a prideful sense, but simply because we’ve expanded our horizons or discovered knew interests outside the familiar.
It seems a lifetime ago now, but there was a time when my family planted gardens that covered 2 full acres of land. I never mastered the detection of vegetable or fruit by the shape or size of the seed, nor could I identify them by their foliage. The plants had to reach near maturity before I recognized their purpose. Inside me are grains of talent, seeds of interests, roots of abilities, and developing shoots of aspirations. As depicted in the photo, each compartment illustrates the unique traits that grow into mature plants, distinct in stature, design, color, and purpose. I’ve come to realize that I am often late to recognize opportunity and am still coming to realize what I am meant for.
The gardener plans the space, nurtures the soil, plants the seeds, and prepares to work hard to see the garden proliferate and thrive. If planted, left alone and unattended, weeds will encroach and choke out even the heartiest of plants. Much like a mentor, coach or leader, the master gardener tends the neophyte plants using tools, and his own hands to remove the pests and irritants from among the healthy plants. Things like rumors, gossip, bad attitudes, and demoralizing character cannot be allowed to fester. As debris is discovered from this scavenge, it’s cut, swept, and tossed into the trash can awaiting permanent extermination. This is also a portrayal of leadership and followship. The good leader prepares the space, provides the nutrients, and removes the obstacles, creating an environment for professional growth where followers can thrive. What can happen given the right conditions? Isaiah 32:15 “…the spirit is poured from on high and the desert becomes a fertile field.”
The gardener brings water because without it, the plants will turn back to dust. Isaiah 58:11 “The Lord will guide you always; you will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose water never fails.” The hose strung along the path is like the whole of life, isn’t it? Think of how free flowing our activities are at times. Life goes along smoothly when suddenly there’s a crimp in the flow and devastated we turn back until we regain our resolve. Then we’re off again in tenacious pursuit of our dream that compels us forward. Notice how in the photo, the hose has many curls and returns? Notice too, the solid nozzle at the end – the ornament that, when pressed by force, releases life giving water. Inside the hose, water lays dormant until the gardener grasps the hose, nozzle in hand and squeezes with just the right pressure to lightly sprinkle the plants or sufficiently soak them all the way to the roots. Leaders are like this gardener who scans conditions, matching talent with opportunity to grow team members to excellent harvest.
I love that all this takes place under a crystal dome where glorious sun shines in and all the varmints stay out. Our environment is never fully protected, there are chaotic times, optimism wanes and the economy fails us. The greenhouse, like our organizations are built to provide for livelihood and growth, but even with premium care and planning, not all things will grow. Some will stagnate, some will leave, some will turn to dust – but many will thrive in the environment. Be thankful in all circumstances. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 “Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances.”
What about the bicycles? Well – what about them? What is their meaning in this allegory? All work and no play … and now you create the rest of the story.
Photo credit: Carey Green
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dy9nwe9_xzw – My feet may fail, but I know God will never fail me.
What’s your favorite part of going to a Chinese restaurant? Right. The fortune cookie that sort of ties up the meal when the tiny paper message is pulled from its cracked shell. Whoever is gathered around the table reads their fortune and everyone gets to decide if it fits or if that cookie belonged on someone else’s table. Recently, my fortune was tailor made for me. “Treat yourself to a good book for a needed rest and escape.” I have the perfect solution, instant gratification, because I have a BKPedia subscription. This means I have hundreds or books available to read anytime, anyplace. Berrett-Koehler publishers has collections of their own publications as well as content from The Center for Creative Leadership and AMACOM available to read electronically or as a printable PDF. BKPedia is the mecca for avid readers.
The very first thing I noticed when I scrolled down the page on the website [http://bkconnection.bkpedia.com/] was the collection of authors I have already come to admire through their books. Here are just a few whose books I can rave about honestly because I read their book and liked it enough to write a book report. See if any of these names stand out: Ken Blanchard, Jesse Lyn Stoner, Peter Block, Cheryl Bachelder, Jennifer Kahnweiler, Marshall Goldsmith, Devora Zack, Fred Miller Chip Bell, and too many others to list. Believe me – this digital subscription is valuable.
Besides books there are also articles and case studies written by experts in the business, economics, and leadership communities. Here’s something you don’t see often. Along with each book, there are observations and thoughts to apply more of what the author is teaching. Many of the authors can be contacted by email to discuss subjects from their book in more detail. I’ve read books where the author provides contact information in their book and have taken advantage of that offer many times in the past. The advantages of dialog with an expert in a field I’m passionate about is something I appreciate.
If you visit BKPedia at http://bkconnection.bkpedia.com/ you can sign up for a trial subscription and if you love top selling books on leadership, organizational development, team building, and management this is an opportunity to try risk free. That’s what I did. I have access to two collections adding up to over 300 titles, Advances in Leadership and Management and Organizational Change and Innovation, so there is no way I’ll run out of excellent books to fill my quiver. The first book I laid eyes on in the very long list of titles was A Peacock in the Land of Penguins. That has been on my reading list for over a year and I was able to access the book in a matter of seconds.
Start with a free trial to see how easy it is to find books, read on your computer, tablet, or phone. I don’t know if all books are downloadable as PDFs but the ones I looked at have that feature. BKPedia is a valuable resource with instant access to feed my addiction to lifelong learning. Something for everyone who leads or follows in organizations or at home.
Here’s the link to the BKPedia website to sign up for your free trial. http://bkconnection.bkpedia.com/
The Anatomy of Peace: Resolving the Heart of Conflict by The Arbinger Institute June 2015 – Conflict in high places, conflict in low places. There is no escape from intolerance within that becomes battles without. The world needs to practice what is conveyed in this book. Fostering peace is a heart level strategy. When a friend gave me a copy of this book she told me it was life changing. I wondered what was in it that impressed her with such cogency. Through the pages of this book, I came to understand why she said with unwavering conviction that this book had undeniable truths that could make a difference in whether relationships were built or destroyed because of how conflicts were handled. Written in almost the style of a novel, this volume is packed with realism and authentic wisdom. Early in the book I caught this quote, “The secret to war is to have a heart at peace.” Read the full review of the book here. http://bizcatalyst360.com/the-anatomy-of-peace-resolving-the-heart-of-conflict/
I have have been a fan of David Greer for over a year since I started following his blog during one of his sailing adventures. I couldn’t wait for his next post. Now he has applied his passion for sailing to principles of leadership in his new book Wind In Your Sails: Vital Strategies That Accelerate Your Entrepreneurial Success. I can’t wait to read it! In the meantime, I am honored to share this guest post from David that so closely aligns with values and attitudes that I have adopted as my own. I know you will find inspiration and encouragement as you read.
In recent posts, Jane has reflected on faith, attitude, self-belief, successes, and truth. These are all great topics that impact all of us, especially entrepreneurs. In my new book Wind In Your Sails: Vital Strategies That Accelerate Your Entrepreneurial Success these topics come up over and over again for entrepreneurs who manage and grow their businesses.
While there are hundreds of thousands of entrepreneurs in the US, they are only a small percentage of the whole population of the US. It takes a special person to sense a market need, come up with a solution, and then to ask for and get money to solve the problem they see. All entrepreneurs take an enormous leap of faith when they start their business, launch a new product, or move in a new direction. One whole chapter of Wind In Your Sales is about the entrepreneur him or herself and what they need to do to keep faith in themselves and their business.
Entrepreneurs set the tone. Every day. How they show up at work is magnified 100-fold. Their every action, tone of voice, and the words they use are scrutinized for meaning. Living in a fish bowl is an entrepreneur’s lot in life. If you show up feeling down or negative, people will assume that the company is having a bad day, not just you.
We choose the attitude we come to work with. As an entrepreneur, I know that I have to choose to show up with positive energy, a smile on my face, and an attitude that no challenge is too big. Neuroscience has proven that we can rewire our brain to focus more on the positive aspects. Learn more in Jesse Lyn Stoner’s post 7 Ways to ReWire Your Brain and Become a Better Leader.
To have faith, show up with the right attitude, and have belief in yourself requires that we actively keep things in balance. I journal every morning when I first get up and every evening just before going to bed. I use my journal to note my insights during the day and to note when I am having a lot of negative thoughts. At night, I make sure that I write at least five things in my journal that I am grateful for that day.
Creating self-belief can start in one area of your life and then extend into another. As I wrote in Keeping My Edge, I challenge myself by skiing. While I sometimes fall, picking myself up and trying again on the ski hill is a great way to create the belief I’ll need to do the same in my business.
Kevin Lawrence writes in Expel the Elephants about our need to face the truth in our businesses. It is amazing how people will tip toe around the elephant in the room. It is often the entrepreneur who is unwilling to face up to the reality of the situation.
The kicker is that until the elephant gets on the table and you start talking about him it will do nothing but hold you and your business back. We fear the brutal truth, yet it is only by admitting to the reality of the situation do we have the opportunity to do something about it. Your fears are never as bad as the truth. Get you and your employees past those fears so that you can talk about the real problems that are holding everyone back.
While Jane writes about faith, attitude, self-belief, successes, and truth in the context of her life, she is a fabulous example of where we all need to focus our attention, as people and as entrepreneurs. My goal with Wind In Your Sails is to help all of us do just that.