Work-Life Balance Brilliance by Denise R. Green: book summary

Have you ever thought of hiring a life coach? Have you ever wondered what you could achieve if you had an accountability partner? Maybe you’ve tried the novel approach to creating different results than the trajectory you are on right now. If you are self-motivated at all, this book could be the recipe for positive momentum in finding what works for you. One glance at the book cover should clue you in to what the author thinks of work-life balance. In fact, the title of the book is, Work-Life Balance Brilliance and isn’t that really what we want from our lives and from our work?

I usually don’t copy chapter titles into a book summary, but in this case, the chapter titles are like opening the doors and giving you a full spectrum view of why this book functions like a personal coach. Burnout versus Brilliance, Tame Your Thoughts, Reinvent Your Outer Self, Nurture Brilliant Relationships, Manage Your Relationship with “Stuff”, Brilliant Sleep., How Not to Change, How to Choose the Right Goal, How to Change for Good, How to Say No with Grace, Not Guilt. Now you can see why I wanted to reveal the chapter titles before mentioning what is so fascinating and magnetic about this book.  From the outset, I had a feeling there was a meaningful purpose behind the writing of this book that I could identify with and Denise Green described it. “I’m on a mission to help people light the spark within them that may feel like it’s been nearly snuffed out due to the demands of life.” Does that sound anything like your dilemma? Here’s your next book.    Work-Life Balance Brilliance  

This book, with the chapters listed above, can best be described as a tool for knowing yourself and understanding inspirations and aspirations within and how your relationships and interactions are key in creating brilliance. The author identifies the four realms of Whole Life Integrations which she calls Brillance. Then through stories and instructive dialog, she coaches you through the steps to create that work-like brilliance.

I am a huge advocate of being careful with thoughts because thoughts drive actions. I was impressed with the content of the chapter, Tame Your Thoughts. Green doesn’t just rely on dialog to teach the methods of controlling thought. She offers a 6-step upgrade tool that I would call guided self-reflection. Then she offers advice on how to make your release from negative thoughts really stick.

Some strong points of this book are in the toolkits integrated with each chapter. Story is interesting, and case studies are evidence that somewhere along the line the principles taught in the book worked for someone. All you have to do is read through some of the action items to know that, if put into practice, many of your niggling aspirations could become your reality. By implementing some of the basic ideas suggested could bolster your confidence and give you an edge toward balance which you will redefine as brilliance. You don’t have to change everything. The changes will be dictated by what you discover about yourself and about relationships as you work through the pages of the book and guidance received by using the focus-inciting questions.

When I read a book like this one, I have a tendency to choose a favorite chapter. Manage Your Relationship With “Stuff” was a surprise. It is a powerful game-changer. Rarely have I read a book like this one that so aptly presents the tethers that hold us back like our ‘stuff’. Denise Green points out that we have two limitations that are huge. Time – we get 24 hours every day. Period. Physical – we operate with imperfect bodies that need to be taken care of – sleep is one thing most of us need more of. Note: we get 24 hours every day. Period. The author remarks that “This Brilliance realm (relationship with stuff) includes our relationship to our spaces, possessions, technology, and time.”  Certainly, every reader can identify with the components we all deal with every day and how we allow them to affect our world makes this book invaluable to creating a brilliant life. Do you need ideas for managing your time, designing a winning pattern for your day, working productively in your environment, managing technology? How about reducing your exposure to toxic energy? The toolkit consists of worksheets to help you replace those components that are not serving you.

Remember sleep? Some of us are more familiar with the lack of it. The chapter titled Brilliant Sleep is – well – brilliant. Whether you suffer from legitimate insomnia or sleep deprivation brought on by environmental or physical or activity conditions, the best practices for sleep hygiene in this chapter are priceless. Yes, we all know the trick of going to bed at the same time every night and getting up at the same time every day. We know to restrict caffeine in the afternoon. We might, on the advice of a physician, take melatonin. We might invest in a book that sends us to sleep because it provides absolutely no spark of interest. If you want to sleep and have forgotten what it feels like to get adequate sleep, you aren’t alone. The tips in this book are plentiful.

The final chapters of the book are based on putting legs on what you learned in the first part of the book. What do you want to change? What goals do you have? Are they the right goals for how you envision your work-life brilliance future? I remember hearing someone say that we invest ten months planning a two-week vacation and about ten minutes planning our future existence. That’s probably not truly accurate, but isn’t it true that we have goals, but may not know if they are the right goals until we get there and realize they aren’t?

This book, like a life coach, walks through the realms of life and helps you create a vision for your best life, set the right goals, determine how you will get there, and make wise choices of what you will do and what you will not. The author concludes with what I think of as the magic three. I mean if there was a bit of magic in all this.  Green says in her final address to readers, “If I were forced to describe achieving work-life brilliance in a few steps, those steps would include Assess, Choose, Change.”

There is no magic, but if you’re looking for help in reinventing your life, this book can bring magical results.

This book summary was first published at BizCatalyst360.com.  https://www.bizcatalyst360.com/work-life-brilliance/ 

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Finishing Well, or Just Finishing

Happy Birthday, Billy Graham. A hero of the Christian faith turned 98 on November 7th. Billy Graham has lived in the public eye since he was in his twenties, stayed true to his faith in Jesus Christ and has never been involved in immorality or been the object of scandal. When I was 11 years old my friends who had TV talked about watching Billy Graham Crusades and 40 years later I was still watching him talk about the object of his faith. In honor of Billy Graham’s birthday and his impeccable testimony, I’m writing this after reading his touching and gentle book, Nearing Home, but it’s also about Finishing Well. A lot has changed since Billy Graham began his evangelistic ministry, but one thing has not changed.  Psalm 73:26 “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the phases of life. If you know me personally, you will know that I’m basically retired, but am trying to live as though I am not. I have nothing against retirement if it’s right for your life, but that isn’t the path for me. Someone told me once that retirement is OK as long as you ‘retire to’ not just ‘retire from’. I get that, and when I get far past the age of 80, I will ‘retire to’ rock crying babies in a hospital somewhere. I hope I still have a voice to sing to them too.  That’s all on my 20 year strategic plan. Go ahead do the math, I don’t mind. finishing-well

While wrestling with some decisions I was lead to the latest book by Billy Graham, Nearing Home.  I was drawn to it because of the sub-title “Life, Faith, and Finishing Well” and was caught from the second sentence of  his introduction. “All my life I was taught how to die as a Christian, but no one ever taught me how to live in the years before I die”. He goes on to say, “The Bible doesn’t picture us spending our latter years as useless and ineffective, spending our lives in endless boredom or meaningless activity……God has a purpose for us no matter what our age, young or old, the best way to meet challenges is to prepare for them now, align ourselves with God’s plan so we grow older with grace and find the guidance to finish well.”  OK, so if you happen to have the book you will realize that I took great liberty in paraphrasing, but in essence – those are his thoughts.  And I share them, because that is my prayer for all of us – that we find God’s purpose for our lives so we continually are living out a life aligned with God’s plan, inside His blueprint that’s uniquely our own.

That might mean we keep on doing the same things we’ve been doing because we’re on the right path and in the proper grid on the blueprint.  It might mean taking a slight bend in the road and modifying our course, just a little; a small incremental change.  Or it could mean a 90 degree angle or 180 degree turn. Where should I be today to be assured of finishing well tomorrow?  Today is all I have and tomorrow is the result of how I live it.  Maybe start hereDeuteronomy 6:5 Love the Lord your God with all your heart, strength, and mind.   Then speed read over to 1 John 5:3 This is love for God; to obey his commands. And if I start to waiver and fear that I can’t do what God has put in my heart to do, there is always the wisdom of Isaiah 41:13 I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.  Seriously, friends – what are we afraid of? God has made us unique because He has a purpose for each of us, He created us with certain interests, abilities, and yes, even our personalities.  He will be our guide if we are committed to follow His lead. Get that – His lead.

How many times do we fall into the trap of thinking this is all there is? Life isn’t the party I signed up for. Let’s encourage each other in our walk today. I know myself well enough now to recognize that my passion to learn and share what I’ve learned through writing, mentoring, and teaching is who I am. The nearly obsessive desire to be a helper and support others so they don’t have to do it all themselves – that’s part of me. Scott Steiner, a true faithful servant of God recently when home to live in heaven with Jesus. A few years ago he taught a class at my church on spiritual gifts and, me, always eager for insight into what God’ purpose was for me, couldn’t wait to put action into my purpose. God spoke to me through those lessons in discovery and purpose. I’m still discovering and will continue – well, until God says it’s a wrap for my life on earth.

We are all going to someday reach the finish line. All our days, like sand, will collect at the bottom of the hourglass, our time on Earth expended. Finishing well, or just finishing?

At age 98,of course Billy Graham has retired from daily work, but he still has confidence that until his next breath is celestial air, his purpose on Earth is not over.  So back to that retirement topic – there are many versions of retirement as there are many seasons of life! I’m looking forward to branching out, spreading joy, learning more, sharing more, being more tomorrow than I am today, because it’s in God’s plan for us to be what he created us to be until we no longer are.  Ephesians 5:16 Make the most of every opportunity. For some, that’s their version of retirement. For me, it’s “Show me the mountain, Lord, then grab my hand and pull me up it”.   Are you struggling today? Do you have obstacles to overcome? Are you seeking the right path? You don’t have to do this alone.   Isaiah 41:14 Do not be afraid … for I, myself will help you declares the Lord.  2 Thessalonians 3:3 & 5 The Lord is faithful, He will strengthen and protect you …. May the Lord direct your hearts into God’s love and Christ’s perseverance.

From Crisis to Calling: Finding Your Moral Center in the Toughest Decisions – Book Summary

As I sat down to write about this book, From Crisis to Calling: Finding your Moral Center in the Toughest Decisions by Sasha Chanoff and David Chanoff, an online article in the Huff Post grabbed my attention proclaiming Afghan Refugee Crisis Worsens. It seems the news is dominated by more and more crises related to refugees who are suffering greatly in violence–torn regions. This book would have been much more uncomfortable to read had it not been for the authors’ presentation of the storyline through the moral compass of each person involved in the refugee evacuation. In the second half of the book, the five principles of moral decision making are conveyed through stories about corporate heroes of today.

Here are the 5-steps to moral decision making which are in the book called The Five Principles – building blocks to making moral decisions.

  1. Be prepared
  2. Open your eyes
  3. Confront yourself
  4. Know yourself
  5. Take courage

The subject of this book, From Crisis to Calling is about developing authentic leaders who make decisions based on deep personal values that positively affect their lives and the lives of their organizations. Leaders of this deep moral character will build cultures of trust, fairness, equitability, and ethical leadership. One final thought from the authors, “Empathy is the essential need of great leaders who are intentional about building their organizations and communities.” Whether leaders or lay people, life’s tough choices need to be infused with moral sense – empathy, compassion, altruism.

CSLews - Book Cover - From Crisis to Calling

 

 

Read the full book summary published on the BizCatalyst360 network.

http://bizcatalyst360.com/from-crisis-to-calling-finding-your-moral-center-in-the-toughest-decisions/

The Serving Leader by Kenneth R. Jennings, John Stahl-Wert – Book Summary

Have you ever read a book that so overwhelmingly captured your heart you didn’t want it to end? That’s how I felt when I came to the end of The Serving Leader. Written in the style of a novel, this book teaches like a textbook that’s so interesting you can’t put it down. Each chapter adds precept upon precept, like building blocks which perfectly define and illustrate the Serving Leader.
Condensing the indispensable content of The Serving Leader is a challenge.

The Serving Leader is more than theory. It’s action. Each chapter title, in fact, starts with the directive, Action. This is because “Serving Leaders are in the trenches with their teams, businesses, and neighborhoods doing what others are just writing about.”

serving leader book coverAction: Upend the Pyramid
You qualify to be first by putting other people first.
You’re in charge principally to charge up others.

Action: Raise the Bar
To serve the many, you first serve the few.
The best reach-down is a challenging reach-up.

Action: Blaze the Trail
To protect your value, you must give it all away.
Your biggest obstacle is the one that hinders someone else.

Action: Build on Strength
To address your weaknesses, focus on your strengths.
You can’t become the best unless others do too.

Action: Run to Create Purpose
We all need to be assured of our purpose. If we are going to give our life to something, we want to know it has meaning and that our actions will make a difference. It’s how we are wired.

Read a full book summary here. http://bizcatalyst360.com/the-serving...

The Serving Leader was first written in 2003 when the idea of leadership from a servant’s heart was still a new concept, maybe even considered unlikely. Today, 2016, the authors have updated the text to provide broader insight and acute vision for the future of Serving Leaders

If you are searching for a way to up your game as a leader, become a Serving Leader. This book will inspire you to be a Trailblazer. You can serve a greater purpose. You can make a difference.

The 3 Gaps by Hyrum Smith – Book Summary

When I picked up this book and began reading, I learned, within two pages, something I had never thought of before. Ask anyone what their long term goals are and, almost always, one of them will be, to make a difference. What I found out in the first few pages of this book, is that we make a difference by not giving up; by refusing to quit. Regardless of current conditions, tragedies of the past, or skepticism of the future, Hyrum Smith writes with convincing clarity, that we can have a positive impact in our world and be a catalyst to make a difference. We can’t quit. We must not give up. A summary of the entire book can be read at: http://bizcatalyst360.com/the-3-gaps/

Where do the gaps come in? Beliefs, Values, and Time.the 3 Gaps book cover

The Beliefs Gap: What we believe to be true and what is actually true

The Values Gap:  What we say we value, but what we truly value shows up in how we spend our time

The Time Gap: What we plan to do in a day and what we actually get done in a day

Read the book summary here:  http://bizcatalyst360.com/the-3-gaps/

Do you want to make a difference? This book might be the foundation you need to make it happen.

You can buy this book now at Barnes & Noble.

Competing to Win: Lessons Learned for Reaching the Next Level of Organizational Performance

Competing to Win: Lessons Learned for Reaching the Next Level of Organizational Performance by Dr. Ted Marra competing to win book cover

Setting the tone for this book and deriving the major theme is clearly articulated in the forward by Philip Sadler. He says a global business operating in today’s world has many more balls in the air than a juggling act. In fact it is no longer a few standard variety balls in the air but multiples of two kinds. One set of balls is leadership, developing a vision, and creating culture while the second set is the essentials of management, strategic planning and execution. Writing from the depths of his own experience and using case studies, examples, and diagrams from research, Dr. Marra’s book facilitates actions that will lead to organizational agility and strength. He invites leaders into the experience of making a difference by recognizing that success comes from getting a small number of critical things right. The book itself contains a penetrating series of questions that augment what is learned in each chapter. Answering the questions is to enable the application of principles derived from reading.

Read the book survey here: http://bizcatalyst360.com/competing-to-win-lessons-learned-for-reaching-the-next-level-of-organizational-performance/

Well that didn’t work! What was I thinking? Planning so that doesn’t happen.

Have you heard the latest? We are already two days into the New Year and some of us are still thinking through what we plan to accomplish in 2015. I said some of us. If you are one of those other ones who has their list written, posted, and are already in hot pursuit of making it happen – I’m proud of you. You probably don’t need to read the rest of this saga on dreaming dreams, planning plans, and somehow merging the two to create a vision for this year and maybe even beyond.

A few years ago someone handed me a page of notes from a meeting they had attended. “Here, she said. I have no use for this, but I thought of you. You’re the information junkie.” She was right, of course. The handout from the meeting described setting goals that are SMART. I’m not the master goal setter, but I can read a prescription. I also know that there is no chance for hitting a target if I don’t aim, and no chance to achieve a goal if I don’t set one. So here’s my take on S.M.A.R.T. goals. Let me know what you think.Scheduling A Meeting In A Diary

S          Specific: This sounds pretty easy. Right? To be specific means knowing exactly what you want as a result of your effort. Get a job. Read more books. Eat better. Stay warm. Not very specific are they? Well, maybe the stay warm one. To be specific what kind of job do you really want? Do you have your heart set on a certain company? Eat better could mean a lot of things, but to be specific, choose an eating plan, write a menu, and maybe keep track for a while till you see progress. Read more books is one of my goals. I have titles of books on my list that I will read and places to add more once I have read all of them. This might surprise you, but one of the books on my list is 1100 Words You Need to Know. Any guesses on why that’s on my list? Just curious.

Something to think about.  Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. – Philippians 4:8

 M         Measurable: This is seriously a tough one for me. Numbers are not my thing, but how hard can it be to add a few digits to a goal to make it a ‘valid’ goal? (at least according to the SMART rule) Let’s use my goal of reading more books. My brother-in-law set a goal to read 1 book for every year of his age plus 1 every year. I’m no mathematics genius, but even I can figure out that he is reading two additional books every year. My goal is not that admirable. First, I will read one book every 2 weeks. That’s a goal, but some goals should be stretch goals, so along with that goal, I have committed to writing a book review every two weeks. Feel free to challenge me in a few weeks to see how I’m doing.

Something to think about.  But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. – Matthew 6:33

A          Achievable: Ten years ago, one of my goals was to run 3 times a week for not less than one hour. That was a good goal for me at the time, but if I were to temper that goal for what is achievable today it would look vastly different. Walking for an hour, three times a week is an achievable goal. Let’s talk about my book goal. I don’t have 24 books listed because the year is young and I don’t know every single book I will read. However, I have ‘write-in’ space to decide later. Twenty-four books in one year is achievable.

Something to think about.  Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. –
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

R          Realistic: With enough coffee, I can rule the world. Probably not going to happen. That would not be realistic. file9091310183759That goal would not even be sane. Who would want to rule the world even with the best dark roast coffee in the world? Realistic goals require that you do some deep soul searching and decide what you really want. See that root word ‘Real’ly want? One way to test it out is to invest time in mapping it out step by step. If you can’t do that, maybe a different goal would be better.

Something to think about.  Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’ – Matthew 4:10

T          Time: Even though we all talk about goals for the year, don’t get all caught up in that notion of time begins on January 1 and ends on January 31. Remember I said I’m not the master goal setter? I’ll let you in on a little secret. You can set a goal anytime. If you’re driving down the road and think of something you really (really) want to do, you can decide right then to make it happen. A strong word of advice here…please wait till you get home to map it all out, or at least pull into a parking lot somewhere. It would not be at all SMART to write and drive.

Something to think about.  Every day I will praise you and extol your name for ever and ever. – Psalm 145:2

           For this God is our God for ever and ever; he will be our guide even to the end. – Psalm 48:14

Artist paint and brushesReady team? What are your goals? Sometimes just getting through a day is a good goal, but as soon as you can, write out some things you want to see in your life? Maybe in one week or one month. If you’re brave, go ahead. Envision your life months down the road or a year down the road. What does it look like? Paint me a picture. Let’s get out there.