Tag Archives: goals

How to Harness the Power of the Routine

I am a free spirit; I am spontaneous; I hate structure that locks me down to doing the same old thing in the same old way.  Therefore, I don’t always finish what I start.  Sometimes in fact, I have too many things going on at once because I am a sucker for variety and excitement.  I like the thrill of the chase but not necessarily catching what I’m chasing.  I have dreams, ideas aplenty, but when the rubber meets the road, I end up without anything to show for my efforts.  I would rather be free than tied down to a particular pattern for any length of time.  Therefore, I have discovered that freedom without discipline is a curse.  I don’t do well with mundane, routine, ritualistic activities.  That is one of the weaknesses on my personal SWOT analysis.  There you have it, I admit it.

But now since I’ve been on my personal leadership development quest, I have learned the power of harnessing the routine to ensure success in any venture.  Let me just say that routines are powerful tools to ensure you remain consistent and get continuous victory in whatever path of life you choose.  Creflo Dollar teachings it this way, “Consistency is the key to your breakthrough.”  The Bible says Be Patient which means remaining consistently the same (routine) when you’re facing hardships, troubles, or trials.  Keep doing what you know is effective even when it gets monotonous, routine, ritualistic, and difficult to focus.  Your free spirit wants to flee, but you must harness your spirit, mind, and body and stay the course.  There is victory in staying the course even when your emotions are on hiatus.

The Apostle Paul warns against those who inspire others, yet after others have been inspired you refuse to do what you taught.  You refuse to practice what you preached.  He writes in 1 Corinthians 9:24-27, “24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. 25 Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. 26 Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. 27 No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.”

There are a lot of people who can give advice but live unstructured, undisciplined lives.  They’re not bad people, they just have not learned how to harness doing things they don’t feel like doing.  They haven’t mastered the art of staying in a system, staying on a course when things aren’t glamorous.  In other words, adversity does not cause them to become more steadfast in practicing effective principles of success, adversity causes them to flee, to switch careers, switch spouses, switch banks, switch whatever they’re doing in favor of trying something new.

Trace the lives of those with free spirits and you will find people who have a track record of not finishing what they have started.  At first it seems the things they have walked away from are limited to one area, but when you look at the totality of their lives, traces of a lack of tenacity are evident wherever they have gone.  These type of people are good motivators but bad leaders.  They are good speakers but poor administrators.  They are excellent observers but incompetent doers.  They hate detail, routine, and refuse to discipline themselves to do the hard and unflattering,  things in life.  Freedom is their curse not their blessing.  Until they harness the power of doing something systematically the same day in and day out, they will always be operating under this curse which guarantees that their success will be limited, spotted, and minimal.

And so today I want to teach those free spirits like me to harness the power of the routine so that we can reach our destiny and maintain our tenacity through boring, mundane, routine, ritualistic actions necessary for us to reach our goals.  In other words, I am teaching about how those who are daydreamers and free spirits can take full advantage of the blessings contained in self-discipline, ritual and routine.  Are you ready, let’s do this.

Routine provides structure, builds good habits, negates the need for willpower and motivation.    Willpower is finite and motivation is not constant.  That is why relying on routine to accomplish tasks is a lot easier than relying on willpower and motivation. Routine saves you work on the back end, and helps you become good at things thereby increasing your efficiency.  Systems can be improved upon and made more effective.  However, spontaneity is not subject to such scrutiny.  The power in routine is its ability, flexibility, and adaptability to environments, circumstances, and conditions.  You need to learn how to create systems, routines that serve your needs and those of the ones who depend on your service.  Harnessing systems and directing them to a definite end is a powerful tool to fulfilling your destiny.

According to Ash Roy, noted blogger, in his article for Productivity, “How 12 Highly Productive People Used The Power Of Routine To Achieve Greatness”, The secret to being a high achiever is a lot simpler than you’d imagine. It’s all about routine and focus.  He writes that Steve Jobs upon discovering his cancer asked himself one question each day, “Everyday he’d ask himself “If today was the last day of my life would I want to do what I’m about to do today?” When the answer was “no” for too many days in a row he knew he had to change something.”  This simple routine produced much added value for the customers and shareholders of the Apple Brand.  Warren Buffet reads 500 pages a day; that’s his routine and it has led him to be one of the most wealthiest men and most wise investors in the world.  What is your routine.  Consistency. Routine. Habit.  That’s the key to success for so many.

I want to share five steps to mastering or harnessing the power of the routine.

First step is Brain dump time.  It is the step where you determine what you need to get done this day.  Begin by answering these questions:

  • What tasks do you need to complete each day in order to get to work?
  • Which tasks do you need to do each day to get your kids to school?
  • Which tasks do you need to do each day to eat?
  • Which errands do you need to get done daily?
  • Which tasks need to get done each done in order for you to get some exercise?
  • Which tasks do I need to get done to maintain an organized home?

Second, create a timetable by assessing your energy levels. Think about when you do your best work.  Flexibility is the key; don’t mimic anyone else; be true to your own timetable.

Third, add some flexibility for exceptions.  Your work process or schedule may not fit neatly into this, and that’s OK; the point is to harness your most productive times to use for your most challenging tasks, and your least productive times to do the more mundane tasks.

Fourth, put it all together.  Write your daily agenda.  Start with anything that has to be done at a certain time each day (like picking your kids up a school or eating lunch).  Then slot in tasks based on when you think it makes the most sense to tackle them.

Fifth, test drive your agenda.  See how it works for you and adjust where it’s not working.  Your daily agenda is your key to consistency; the key to your success.  Becoming a creature of habit is not altogether bad.  If you run a business or lead an organization, you need to have structure so people will know when to expect you to be and do certain things.  Becoming reliable is a good thing.

Developing the systems that make your routine tasks more efficient is the key to harnessing the power of the routine.  Systems create avenues and seqways to greatness; don’t delay establish routines that add value to your life and your professional career.

Advertisements

Becoming a Person of Influence Webinar

Please register for Learning to Become a Person of Influence on Apr 07, 2016 7:00 PM CDT at:

https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/8355315676922352132

Everyone influences others. You don’t have to be in a high-profile occupation to be an influencer; whenever your life connects with another person, you exert influence. Everything you do—at home, at work, or at play—has an impact on the lives around you. No matter what your goals are in life, you can achieve them faster, you can be more effective, and the contribution you make can be longer lasting if you learn to develop your influence.
People respond to one another according to their level of influence. The more influence we have, then the more people seek our advice, trust our decisions, and follow our lead. If we desire to be successful and lead the way, then we must focus on gaining influence.

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

Brought to you by GoToWebinar®
Webinars Made Easy®

When Life Throws You a Curve

Scripture:  Ezekiel 37:1-14

Introduction

My brother Dwight and I were born one year apart.  As we grew up, mother clearly recognized that we could be hellions.  Dwight and I played rough; we fought as if we had not been related.  He hit me in the back of my head with a brick and the dent still remains; I stabbed him in the foot with a knife and that gash left a prominent scar.

Yet we grew up with hopes and dreams of becoming rich and prosperous.  We longed for the day when we would enjoy life together.  When he was 15, almost 16 and I was 16 almost 17, I entered the United States Army in June 1973.  In August I was in Basic Individual Training, almost ready to graduate and go to Fort Polk, LA for Advanced Training enroute to Vietnam.  I was taking drown proofing that morning; It was the morning life threw me a curve.

My 1SG sent for me; there was an emergency at home; my beloved brother Dwight had died.  I was totally devastated; all the plans we had made were lost; I had done nothing wrong; yet my brother was gone.  I couldn’t swim; but Dwight could swim like a fish.  I tell you life had thrown me a curve.  My spirit was broken.

I wonder if there is anyone here who has been crushed by life; whose spirit has been broken; Lord, have mercy!

 Move 1

Ezekiel was born into a family of priests. He dreamed of the day when he would serve as a priest.  Solomon had built this beautiful temple to the Lord. It was magnificent. As Ezekiel grew up, each time he went passed the temple he thought inside, “one day I’m going to work there.

One day the people will come to me, and I will offer sacrifices on their behalf to God.One day I’ll start to move up the ranks of the priest and who knows I may even become one of the chief priests. Ezekiel spent his entire young life, preparing to become a priest to serve in the temple. The Jewish law provided for a man to enter into the priesthood at the age of 30. Ezekiel thought all he had to do was to make it to age 30. Ezkiel could hardly wait for his 30th birthday.

Ezekiel had a one day vision.  One day, “I’m going to be priest.  I wonder if any of you have had a one day vision; one day I’m going to be on that team.” One day I’m going to get that job. One day “I’m going to finish my education.” One day I’m going to get out of this neighborhood. One day!

Well I stop by to tell you that life is filled with interruptions, life can throw you a curve that will mess up your one day plans.

Move 2

Ezekiel was looking forward to becoming a priest, however the people of God were busy living their own lives as though God did not exist. They were far more interested in money, sex, and power than God.

God told them to repent or he would remove them from his presence. There response was “who is the Lord that we should worship Him.” They forgot He was the one who brought them out of slavery in Egypt. They forgot He was the one who put health in their bodies and light in their eyes. They forgot he was the one who got them out of bed each morning and enabled them to go to work. They forgot he was the one who really was in control of everything.

When they refused to repent and turn back to God, God sent the Babylonian army to destroy the city of Jerusalem.  Historians tell us that Ezekiel was probably about 25 years old when this happened.

Those vicious Babylonian soldiers massacred the people in the city, young and old, male and female alike. They set fire to the magnificent temple Solomon had built and had stood for 400 years and they reduced it to rubble and ashes.

Just 5 birthdays away from obtaining his goal of serving as a priest in the temple, Ezekiel watched as his dreams, his hopes, his plans for the future all went up in flames as the Babylonians set fire to the temple.

Ezekiel tells us in chapter 1 of verse 1, when he was 30 years old, he was among the captives by the river of Kebar, a canal off the Euphrates River in Babylon which is present day Iraq.

He had envisioned that at age 30 he would be in Jerusalem finally ascending to the priesthood with a grand coronation.  He had envisioned. His family and everybody would be celebrating with him. He had envisioned being at the top of his game. But it didn’t happen that way. Tell your neighbor their might be a change in plans.

Instead, he finds himself in rags, a slave with the other captives, not even having property they could call their own. Ezekiel was devastated.  His dreams of becoming a priest had been crushed.  He along with the other captives cried out “How can we sing the Lord’s song in a strange land?”

In other words, God has abandoned us; our hopes, dreams, and visions have been destroyed.  We are of all men most miserable.  What did they have to live for? His one vision of becoming a priest in the temple was over; life had thrown Ezekiel a curve.

Move 3

Early one morning, Ezekiel got a word from the Lord.  It was a word for people whose life had been devastated.  It was for a people who had lost a major battle and been slain.  It was a word for people whose hopes and dreams had been crushed and who lay lifeless on the ground.

Ezekiel was a part of that crowd.  And God visited him.  When life throws you a curve, expect God to visit you if you are one of his children.  God gave Ezekiel a new vision.  No he would no longer be a priest; but God who can transform your life from one dream to the next; our God decided to make Ezekiel a prophet.  A watchman and a voice to let his people know that their God was still on the throne with all power in his hand.

Yes, the people were devastated.  Yes, the people had been slain in battle.  But God showed up.  Imagine with me for a moment the Armies of Israel and the Armies of the Babylonians colliding with each other on the battlefield with swords and spears.

The death toll is amazing. There are far too many dead for the living to bury them all so they strip them of their clothing and valuables and they just leave them to rot in the sun. Over time, scattered all over the plains is this pile of bones in every direction. They have become bleached white in the sun. It’s an erie sight to see the skulls, the rib cages, the arm and leg bones scattered throughout the battlefield.  The Armies of Israel lay desolate in the sun; casualties of trying to fight to survive; decimated, dead, and defeated.

Yes, Israel’s hope is lost, their dreams dashed in the process of life. And it is to very place, God’s Spirit speaks to a prophet whose hopes have been crushed in the Babylonian Captivity.  I think God is telling him, look you think you and your people have it bad, what about what took place here in this place. All the hopes, the dreams, the fears, the love, the hate, the plans, they had, stopped right here on this battlefield. Look at how dry the bones are. They have been here for a long time.

And I stop by to ask somebody, even though your hopes have been crushed and your dreams have been smashed; even though life has thrown you a curve, when was the last time you visited a cemetery?  There are some people buried whose hopes were still alive and yet you sit here with the blood running warm in your veins.  Can I get a witness, here?

Then God asks the impossible. “Ezekiel, can these bones live?” What is the situation around your life today. What is it that seems to be robbing you of your life? When God’s hand is upon you and walking with you, God asks “ Can life be brought again out of this disaster.” Ezekiel responded, “Oh Sovereign Lord, You Alone Know.’ I want us to notice that Ezekiel admits, he does not know the answer as to whether those dried up bones could live again, but he does know who does know what it would take for it to make it happen.

I don’t know what bad decision you have made. I don’t know what situation you are in at home. I don’t know why getting a job has been so hard for you. I don’t know if you’re going to lose your home or lose your car. I don’t know if, how or when things might turn around for you. But I do know who has the answer to all of those questions. I do know who has the power to make you start living again. His name is Jesus. Tell your neighbor, it’s time to start living again.

God told priest now turned prophet in Ezekiel 37:4-6 (NIV) 4 Then he said to me, “Prophesy to these bones and say to them, ’Dry bones, hear the word of the LORD! 5 This is what the Sovereign LORD says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life. 6 I will attach tendons to you and make flesh come upon you and cover you with skin; I will put breath in you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the LORD.’”

I want you to notice, what God told Ezekiel to do. Notice that God’s response to the curve ball that interrupted Ezekiel’s plans was way outside the box. Some of us would have protested after all who wants to preach to a dead church, with a dead situation? Some of us would have said, I can’t do it. I need to be assigned to a church where somebody will say amen and somebody will shout when I preach the Word of God. Some of us would have thought that preaching to dead, dry bones was a waste of our time.  Lord, have mercy!

But I’m so glad that Ezekiel did what God told him to do. He began to speak the word of God over a hopeless looking situation. And I stop by to tell you that you need to start speaking the word of God over your dead situation. For the bible says that “death and life are in the power of the tongue.”  For the bible says, “For the word of God is alive and powerful.  It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow.  It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.  Nothing in all creation is hidden from God.  Everything is naked and exposed before his eyes, and he is the one to whom we are accountable.”  Can I get a witness here?

Ezekiel preached and Ezekiel saw these bones come together, and then tendons grew and held them together, the muscles grew on the bones, and the skin started covering the muscles. All of sudden he finds himself in the middle of a massive army, but nobody’s moving, and nobody is alive. God tells him to prophesy once again. Ezekiel 37:9-10 (NIV)

Just because your life may seem way out of control with pieces, scattered all over the place, just keep on speaking the word, and things will start coming back together again. Don’t get scared when you feel life coming back into your situation.  It’s just God pulling things together for you.

But God didn’t stop with just a physical restoration.  God completed the work by getting Ezekiel to call on the Holy Spirit for a spiritual restoration.  Somebody here has a broken spirit, a contrite heart, and wants you to know he’s with you.  Physically, you’re present and accounted for, but spiritually you’re broken and defeated.

God wants you to know that he has the answer for your lost passion and joy in life.  God knows that thing devastated your spirit and you are depressed and in despair.  And so God said to Ezekiel in verse 9 “Prophesy to the breath; prophesy, son of man, and say to it, ’This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe into these slain, that they may live.’” 10 So I prophesied as he commanded me, and breath entered them; they came to life and stood up on their feet–a vast army.

You see even after we get things put back together, it’s not enough for us to think we can handle it from here. We need to have the Spirit of God working on the inside us in order for us to become truly alive. It looked like God was taking Ezekiel to a cemetery. The last stop, the place where hope is buried and dreams are concealed.  But God, somebody say But God, was actually taking him to a place to discover that even when life throws you a curve, if you hear the word of the Lord, God can bring life back into your situation. Hallelujah!

I know your situation is devastating and I know you want to quit, roll over and play dead, but don’t you give up on God yet. Perhaps God has taken you to that place so that you can find out just how great your God is.  Church I tell, our God is a Wonder; our God is an awesome God and when you come out of this, you won’t look like what you been through.  Hallelujah!

God you see was not only restoring hope to those in captivity, but God was restoring hope and life to Ezekiel.  Ezekiel was at his end, but God, through his own preaching, resurrected dead dreams within him.  God by this vision allowed Ezekiel to know that the enemy may have captured you, but the enemy did not capture God.  God by this vision allowed Ezekiel to know that although he would not be a priest, he could still prophesy.  He could still be used in God’s service.  Beloved, no matter what you’ve been through God can still use you in his service.

Because that same Holy Spirit that breathe on those people; that same Holy Spirit that brought life, hope, and possibilities back to those people is the same Holy Spirit that wants to resurrect you.  For I hear Jesus declare in John 7:37-39, “Anyone who is thirsty may come to me!  Anyone who believes in me may come and drink!  For the Scriptures declare, “Rivers of living water will flow from his heart.”  (when he said “living water”, he was speaking of the Spirit who would be given to everyone believing in him.  But the Spirit had not yet been given, because Jesus had not yet entered into his glory.)

There may be people who have written you off today because of the mistakes you have made. You may have written yourself off because life threw you a curve. Your friends may have abandoned you; your enemies may have persecuted you.  Your life, your dream was stolen from you and you thought all hope was lost.

But I stop by to tell you that now you are clean, now you are washed by the water and the word of Almighty God.  And if you’ll speak God’s Word and be filled with God’s Holy Spirit, God will resurrect you.  I’m a living witness.  I have been down that road of tragedy where my vocation, my career was lost.  I’ve been thrown a curve ball or two beloved, but I found out that God is able to do what no other power can do.  He picked me up out of the trap of the enemy.  He restored my name and my soul.  He brought me out of darkness into the marvelous light, and God will do the same thing for you.

He is able to intervene; so when life throws you a curve.  Stand still and see the salvation of the Lord.  He will deliver; he will come through for you.  Hallelujah!

Confrontation

Life refuses to bend
My dreams refuse to die
Accept life’s terms
Or walk away…

Decisions amid uncertainties
Bend life bend
Give a little; negotiate in good faith
I’m willing to compromise….

Life refuses to bend
My dreams refuse to die
Accept life’s terms
Or walk away…

So much at stake
Faith, Family, Friends…
Can you do it afraid
Accept life’s terms
Or walk away..

My dreams refuse to die,
My dreams refuse to die.

Aborted Dreams

 

Dreams shattered by inactivity

they were meant to be mine

meant to bless me

aborted dreams.

 

Dreams, not yet ready to give birth

timing was all wrong, went to the clinic

dreams shattered in one instant

aborted dreams.

 

Dreams fueled by purpose

planned, examined, and broadcast

nevertheless, distracted, discouraged, detoured.

aborted dreams.

 

Predetermined, Preordained, Predestined

but my choices

Fun, leisure, undisciplined behavior

aborted dreams.

 

Written in the book

Joy, Prosperity, Peace, Success

left unattended, left on the pages

aborted dreams.

So Live Your Life; Really?

T. I. and Rihanna sang the song “So live your life” as an anthem to one of his albums. It was a song encouraging us to live life to the fullest by achieving our dreams and doing what we determine best for us. At first the song seems to provide sage advice. But I ask “Is that the appropriate way for a Disciple of Christ to live?

Paul an Apostle of Jesus Christ calls that perspective living as “an enemy of the cross.” He writes: “I have often told you, and now tell you with tears in my eyes, that many live as the enemies of the cross of Christ” (Philippians 3:18 GWT).

Living your life focused only on pleasure and materialism is both shortsighted and selfish. Pursuing happiness in this life with no regard for the next is antithetical to Christian faith. Jill Scott says that she’s “living her life like it’s golden.” And she is correct in regarding her life as a precious gift from God. However, living your life appropriately entails living your life by faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.

In other words, you choose daily to live your life from a heavenly view. You acknowledge that your life is not lived based solely on achieving your goals, fulfilling your dreams. Rather you intentionally surrender your life to Christ and seek to achieve Christ’s purposes. To do otherwise is what Paul classifies as “living as an enemy of the cross.”

Spend some time thinking about whose purpose you’re promoting and why.

Acknowledgement: The Third Responsibility of a Leader

“Leaders don’t inflict pain; they bear pain.” Max De Pree

People in this world need someone to acknowledge that they exist. Rene’ Descartes is noted for his saying, “I think therefore I am.” As true as that statement is, it is worthless without acknowledgement of another human being. We should note that Descartes used his interaction with people to develop his own unique views about life.

In terms of leadership and organizations, each employee needs to know that its leaders know they are on the job. Therefore, a leader has to find ways to acknowledge each employee. John Maxwell tells the story of an apprentice preacher in his organization. One day the preacher came into the office and although other employees and members of the church were in the foyer and mingling around the office area, this apprentice preacher, this would be leader, marched right past them without speaking or acknowledging their presence. John says he called the young preacher into his office to discuss his actions. He asked the young preacher why he had not bothered to acknowledge the people present on his way into his office. John said he told him, he was busy and had a lot of work to do and just wanted to dive right in. John remarked, “Those people you just ignored are your business.” Leaders should remember at all times that people are the most important asset in any organization.

According to Robert Slater (2003), one of Jack Welch’s leadership secrets is “Nurture employees who share the company’s values” (p.23). In other words, a leader has to ensure that those employees and managers who embrace the company’s goals and visions are acknowledged and affirmed in some way. According to Welch, “Give employees more responsibility, and they will make better decisions. By making your employees more accountable, you make your organization more productive” (Slater, 2003, p.25).

Leaders should use both spontaneous and systematic methods of acknowledgement to recognize its employees. But above all, a friendly greeting is crucial when leaders interact with employees at every level. “I think therefore I am” means little if no other person acknowledges that fact.

I urge leaders to ensure they acknowledge those who both support the team and those who do not. Each person is valuable in their skin. Even when they don’t support your efforts, you should still value their existence. Even when hard decisions are necessary regarding their position or continuance with the company, you should treat them with dignity and respect and thank them for the contributions they had made up to that point.

References:
De Pree, M. (2004). Leadership is an art. New York, NY: Doubleday.
Slater, R. (2003). 29 Leadership secrets from Jack Welch. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.
Descartes, R. (2014) Wiki “Rene’ Descartes. Retrieved from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rene’_Descartes