Get ready to go to bed! —“Sleep Smarter” book review

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My apologies, in advance, for the long set up on this, but I think its really important that you “get it” as to my focus in writing today’s post—its about “being ready”.

Think about the confidence you have when you have prepared for every possible scenario you can think of  for the upcoming meeting.  How much more likely will there be a positive outcome at that meeting?

Think about the confidence you will have to face your opponent this weekend after an in-depth week of studying film and  multiple practices designed to take advantage of your team’s strengths, and your opponent’s weaknesses.  How much more likely will there be a positive outcome for your team at this weekend’s game?

Last one, this evening, you are going to have a talk with a friend over a very troubling matter that has brought tension to your relationship for many months.  Tonight will be a time for you to hopefully work through it with this person.  How much more likely will there be a positive outcome for you if you prepare your heart and mind to what you need to say, and how you should say those things?

The common issues in all these three of these scenarios is that preparing ourselves ahead of time will increase our chances of success.  Who doesn’t want success?  We all do, but how many of us are willing to do the things we need to ahead of time (I’m talking putting in hard work, establishing good habits, and making adjustments) and then follow through with those practices to experience, over time–some kind of victory?

All these thoughts come to mind after reading the book, “Sleep Smarter” by Shawn Stevenson.  There are some books that I’ll work my way through.  The read is fairly enjoyable, enough to hold my interest, but I need to labor through.  This was not one of those books.  It ranks up there with books like “Creativity, Inc.” by Ed Catmull, Patrick Lencioni books, or “Winning” by Jack Welch.  I couldn’t wait to read this book.  I was absorbed in it.

I have heard that sleep is important, just like I understand that exercise and eating fruits and vegetables are also important.  However, this book blew me away with its thoroughness on bringing up data to support sleep’s importance.  I wasn’t aware that having a better diet affected the quality of my sleep, or putting away electronic devices can help me have a better night’s rest, that good sex can help me have a better sleep, that waking up early can help me sleep better, etc.

I also appreciated Shawn’s presentation of his content.  I never felt like I was a child being scolded and admonished about getting more sleep.  Rather, I felt like I was being coached by someone who cares for me and wants me to be successful.  Making adjustments in my life to get better sleep, I’m now convinced, will help me enjoy a better life.

Without a doubt, this is a book, I would highly recommend reading.

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As a help to being your best in the area of Personal Health, please check out my Life Management App and consider using it with a friend:

You can visit either the App Store (for IPhones) Foundations Life Management app for IPhone devices

https://appsto.re/us/ejC7fb.I

or go to the Google Play Store- https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.FoundationsLifeCoach.Foundations&hl=en

 

“What are we going to do today?”

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“What are we going to do today?”

I’ve been asked that question by my kids on weekends, and on vacations (and you probably have as well).  It’s a great question for a number of reasons.
For one, they are looking to me to give them direction to what we’re going to do?
Another reason is that it shows they want to be with me.  They are wondering what we are going to do together.
Another reason is that there something adventurous in the question.  Its like there is something unexpected, something exciting awaits for us to discover.

“What are we going to do today?”

In kind of an interesting twist to that question, I actually found myself  being asked by the Holy Spirit that very question the other day when I woke up.
I’m aware that the Holy Spirit miraculously lives within me as a follower of Jesus Christ.
I’m aware that He wants to counsel me, comfort me, advise me, convict me, re-assure me, inspire me, and so much more.  He is there all the time doing life with me  (how awesome, right!)

I was kind of startled by that question I received from Him because it challenged me.  Was I going to be living my life that day looking to Him to be a kind of genie fulfilling every selfish desire I have (I know those requests will not get answered as I want (James 4:1-3)?

So, what did I want to do today?  Well, I think the question was a good one to lead me to the understanding that I did not want to do anything that the Holy Spirit was not directing me.  I wanted to seek to be a follower of Him, rather than me taking the lead and seeking to fulfill my desires (Romans 8:5-8, Galatians 5:16-25).

I felt very confident and contented knowing that those who come to Him must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder for those who seek Him–Hebrews 11:6.

So, “what are we going to do today?” was I turned back on God.

I want Him to give me direction.
I want to do life with Him.
I want to live my life as an adventure (believing that He is able to do far more abundantly than all I could ask for or imagine for His glory)

What are you going to do today?

Are you living like you are really looking to W.I.N.?

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The other day I took a test. It was one of those personality tests  you take when you go on a job interview (although I’m not currently  looking for a job).  One of the questions was “when you do an activity, do you always seek to win?”  I said yes.  (probably not a surprise for those who know me).

However, this post is not really about being #1 when you play a game, its more about a mindset.    When I’m talking about “winning”, I’m actually talking about an acronym, W.I.N.—what’s important now?.

I didn’t come up with it, but read it back a few months ago from some coach, and it has stayed with me, ever since.  In fact, I have it on my phone as a daily reminder to help me strive to be all there in each and every moment.  The idea is when I am doing something, I need to intentionally put aside all those other things that are screaming for my attention. I need to discipline my mind to not dwelling on the past, or worrying about the future, but living in the moment (though with a foundation based on an eternal mindset).  As the Bible says, “wisdom is in the presence of the one who has understanding”.

I believe that sheer excellence is not possible when multi-tasking key activities. I need to try doing better at being all there, one activity at a time.

At work, if I am going to give my employer my best, then I need to limit my mind from wandering with thoughts about my personal life.  I need to concentrate at the job at hand.

I know I can do much better at being all there when I’m in a conversation with someone.  I can listen better and pay more attention to what the other person is saying (and not saying) and how they are saying things.  I can also do better at trying to communicate more clearly.

Let me give you another example, driving.  Seriously, how hard is actually driving a car?  Not so much, right?  Then why are there so many accidents?  It’s because people (myself included) do not do consistently well at asking the question, “what’s important now?” and following through with it.

When you or I are driving, we should be focused on our car, the driving conditions, drivers around us, etc.  We should try not to be distracted by being on our phone, putting on our make up, reading the paper (that was the reason for one of my previous accidents), petting the dog on our lap, etc.  Yet, over and over, you and I (I know I do) fail to ask, “What’s Important Now?” and live by it.

I drive about 40 minutes each way to and from work–80 minutes a day.  Well, yesterday, I wasn’t far from home when I heard the sound of an incoming text message. For some reason, I thought it was my wife asking if I would get pizza on the way home.  To me, pizza is a high priority 🙂

So, what did I do, I picked up my phone, which was on the passenger seat to see who the text was from.  When I looked up, only 1-2 seconds later (this is out of 80 minutes a day of driving), I realized I was in a bad situation, the car in front of me was stopped.  AHHHHH!

Fortunately, I am still experiencing the consequences of a gift from my kids (driving a Lamborghini), so I slammed on the brake and swerved to avoid hitting anyone.  I was very fortunate.  Thank you God and your angels!   

“Wisdom is in the presence of the one who has understanding”.

This post was meant mostly to myself as a reminder and hopefully, there are one or two of you out there who will also benefit from it.

Be in the moment. This holiday weekend, in each and every activity you do, be all there.  Ask yourself and carry out your answers to “What’s Important Now?”

Enjoy each and every conversation you are in with someone.

Enjoy seeing and feeling all that is around you when you go for a walk.

Enjoy the indescribable gift it is to have a personal relationship with God.

Enjoy the blessing it is to have a house to live in, food on your table, clothes on your back.

Enjoy the blessing of living in this country and for those who served and gave their lives so that we can live in freedom.

Enjoy this Memorial Day weekend!

 

 

A successful team…

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“A successful team is many voices with a single heart.”    John Maxwell

Whether it’s at work, at church, or even in our family, we are a part of some kind of team.

With that in mind, and believing that we all want to be a part of something greater than just ourselves:

 

How accurately does the quote mentioned above describer our team experience?

Are the teams you are involved with “successful”?  In what ways could your team be more successful?

Are all the voices of your team members being heard?  In what ways can you encourage more engagement from those often involved?

Wise words from YODA

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I won’t embarrass or frustrate any one I personally know on this one, but there are some individuals, I can see their faces now that if they say they will do something, I know it will be done. I can just count on them. Their word is gold.

Unfortunately, I also know some others that if they tell me they will do something, I have a great uncertainty it will get done (if ever). These individuals are so frustrating because they are so unfaithful. It drives me crazy.

“Do, or do not.  There is no “try”.    a quote from Yoda to Luke Skywalker.

I love these words from the fictional character, YODA (he is fictional, right?) because they speak of resolve and commitment.  It’s an “all-in” mindset that if I say I will do something, it will get done.

How well does this describe you?

Does your word matter?

Maybe it’s because I’m a goal-oriented person, but I love this saying from Yoda because it conveys to me the idea of vision and priorities.  It challenges me to set my mind on accomplishing something to experience some desired result.

But it takes it one step further.  What Yoda’s quote suggests to me is even something more than just wanting to see a completed goal because any one can wish for good things to happen in their life.  Can’t you?  If you were to take just a few minutes to look at all the things going on in your life, can’t you just imagine improvements or desirable things to make your life better?

Of course you can.  I can too.  But what Yoda’s quote says to me is that besides seeing a vision of good things, it conveys to me the issue of setting priorities and being intentional.  It means moving beyond vision and mere talking about accomplishing some desired result one day (just “trying” in a “whatever” kind of attitude”) to the idea of commitment –I’m going to make adjustments in my life to make this happen.  I love that resolve.

So, my friend, are you willing right now to listen to the advice of a little, green person and stop saying “I’ll try….” to “I will …” ?

Are you willing to start getting very purposeful about accomplishing the things that are most dear to your heart?

“Do, or do not.  There is no “try”.

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As a further help to you in striving for excellence and being intentional about meeting your goals in life,  please check out my Foundations Life Management app (and do it with a friend):

(If you have downloaded the app and are using it, I would so appreciate you telling a friend (s) about it.)

You can visit either the App Store (for IPhones) Foundations Life Management app for IPhone devices

https://appsto.re/us/ejC7fb.I

or go to the Google Play Store- https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.FoundationsLifeCoach.Foundations&hl=en

 

Is there a danger in focusing on results?

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Being a goal-oriented person, I understand that performance matters.  What benefit does it bring to a situation if all that is really going on is mere talk?   In most situations where a committee is involved, my experience has shown that there is too much discussion and not enough getting things done.

However, try telling your boss, or those who follow your leadership,  or your investors when you missed your organization’s goals that results don’t really matter.  You might as well turn in your 2 – week notice at the same time.

Achieving results is about initially having a vision and then with laser-like focus working to meet that goal. It’s a destination you want to reach and work for.

But two  key questions are “Do we have the right focus in mind?”  and “What is our response when we achieve our goals?”

The context of this post today comes from my recent reading in 1 Chronicles 21 where I read that King David gave way to Satan’s temptation to carry out a census of the people.  It appears that the root of this temptation for David was pride.   After defeating many opposing nations, David seemed invincible and his wealth and fame continued to skyrocket.    This is where the problem of success happened for David.   Similar to the pride demonstrated by a foreign king, years later, King Nebuchadnezzar in the Book of Daniel, chapter 4 as he reflected on his kingdom,  (“30 As he looked out across the city, he said, ‘Look at this great city of Babylon! By my own mighty power, I have built this beautiful city as my royal residence to display my majestic splendor.’), David too, took pride in all his success.

Hear me out on this:  while David, earlier in his life,  was concentrating on the process of his obedience to God, depending on Him for all his decisions and looking to honor Him in everything he did, things went well.   However, when David paused to reflect on all his success, it was though he got off on a highway exit that  brought judgment from God.  When David camped out on thinking about all his success,  he succumbed to Satan’s deception and rather than acknowledging all of God’s favor and praising Him for it,  David patted himself on the back and thought about what a great king he was.  For David to request that a census be taken was just a further effort to puff himself up for seeing tangible numbers on how vast his kingdom had become.

We too, can do that — can’t we?

Pastor and church leader, have you ever just stopped and looked at the number of people in your congregation and patted yourself on the back for your great leadership?

Business owner, have you ever walked through your office and patted yourself on the back for how many employees you have and how successful your bottom line is?

Individual, have you ever stopped to look at your latest 401K balance and marveled at how much money you have and patted yourself on the back for what a wise investor you are?

Friends, let us be careful with this very subject of results and drive.  Again, I get it that results matter.  I am not naïve in thinking they don’t.  But what I’m getting at is that I think there is a better way to get and handle results than we see demonstrated by King David in this particular situation.   I believe this better way is for us to concentrate on our efforts, the process, if you will,  and then leave the results  and recognition to God.

For example, take an issue like getting a driver’s license–that is, the goal.  But what gets us to accomplish that result is not wishful thinking or mere talk– it’s doing certain things like reading and understanding the rules of the road.  Getting a license also requires having a certain amount of supervised  hours behind the wheel and getting actual experience.  In that process, it means being focused on doing things well.  It means reducing distractions while you are driving and completing the practice hours so you LEARN how to drive well.

After you do all these things, you should accomplish the goal of getting your license. But, at the risk of getting into a future accident, don’t ever lose sight of what helped you initially get your license in the first place; it was having an opportunity to do so in the first place,  it was getting instruction from others, it was learning to excel in the process of being a good driver.

Besides this example of getting our license, I could have also mentioned other examples, like getting a certain job position,  reaching a financial retirement number, getting to a certain weight goal, or achieving certain sales goals.   The result or goal gives us a vision for where we are needing to head, but I believe our focus should be on excelling at our responsibilities in the process of accomplishing these things.

And when that time comes when we reach a destination point, how should we handle meeting that goal?   I believe our first attitude and action should be that of being grateful to God and others for their contributions in our life.  Towards God, we should be thankful for His goodness in helping us have the opportunity to be involved in reaching this goal. We should be grateful for our health, the physical and mental abilities to work at the task.   We should also be appreciative for the help and contributions from others in supporting us in numerous ways.

With all that said, where does personal pride come in?  Displaying personal pride is a distasteful thing to others, and an offensive thing to God.  Patting our self on the back and telling our self we are great is the last place we want to go to.  As the Bible so clearly tells us: “don’t think more highly of yourself than you ought”

Meeting a goal and accomplishing a certain result is not though a destination, but merely a rest stop to see where you are, and then to chart out what more needs to be done.  As  1 Thessalonians 4:1 and verse 10 tell us, “excel still more”.  You can always learn more and do things better.   That is the process.  That should be our focus.  Let’s be faithful in doing our part, and leaving the results (and honor) to God.

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As a further help to you in striving for excellence in all your own individual areas of responsibility, please check out my Foundations Life Management app (and do it with a friend):

(If you have downloaded the app and are using it, I would so appreciate you telling a friend (s) about it.)

You can visit either the App Store (for IPhones) Foundations Life Management app for IPhone devices

https://appsto.re/us/ejC7fb.I

or go to the Google Play Store- https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.FoundationsLifeCoach.Foundations&hl=en

Too much thinking, but not enough …

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Some times, I find that I can make things too complicated.  In other words, I can over think things too much and even get into that “analysis paralysis” mindset.  When this happens internally in my mind, nothing happens externally in my actions.    How about you–can you relate?

For instance, one area that I am really being challenged these days is with a simple command given by Jesus for all of us as Christians– “go and make disciples”.

Matthew 28:18-20 esv

18 “And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

I think for the most part that’s pretty straightforward–don’t you?  But, here’s the sobering question that I must deal with (and so must you)—“how focused am I  in acting on Jesus’ command?”

Let me share with you one additional set of verses, this time from the Apostle Paul  (I think he got it).  Read what he says:

Colossians 1:28-29 esv

28 “Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ. 29 For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me.”

In this day and age when across this world, mission statements and vision statements  hang on company walls and in organizational literature, how about each of us as Christians not only embrace this vision internally for our life, but live it out with passion so that others will see it demonstrated externally?