Tuesday, 24 October 2017

What areas of your life need to be revised?



At school I expected to need to revise material that I had already studied to be able to pass exams and get good marks on assessment tasks. Why do I expect life and spiritual lessons to be any different? Time and again I find myself relearning and coming back to the same truths. Why does that surprise me?

What lessons do you need to revise today? Have you previously been intentional about your yeses but let that slip? Have you guarded your down time in the past but overfilled your schedule now? Have you allowed your previously healthier eating habits to devolve? These and many more life lessons frequently need to be revised and reflected on.

This is also true in our spiritual journeys too. We think we know something and yet when it comes around again, we find we have only scratched the surface and need to go deeper. Or we find that what we previously knew, we haven’t been living out and need to revise the truths that spurred us on before.


Whatever areas of your life that seem to have slipped or been forgotten, choose today to revise those truths that you know and start to live them again.

Inspired by the Five Minute Friday prompt word: revise. It was written by Five Minute Friday guidelines- five minutes of free write without editing. Making this series achievable this week!
This post is part of a series for Write 31 Days called "For Your Encouragement." I am taking requests from readers on what they want encouragement about and responding to the best of my ability. I would love to hear from you.



You can read the rest of the posts in this series here.




Monday, 23 October 2017

What sustains you in your work?


What sustains you in your work- whether that is paid, voluntary or the work you do for your family? I was reminded of the need for both passion and perseverance this week at the Global Leadership Summit. I confess to lacking in one or other and sometimes both at different points in this year. Sometimes it was only one form of work that suffered. Sometimes it was across all of it. I have been doing some deep soul searching and reviewing. Is it a need to rekindle a passion that was there before or is it an indicator that the season for that particular area is over? Is it simply a matter of needing to persevere? Our work consumes so much of our time, energy, mental space and emotions. To sustain that level of output, there has to be a level of input to compensate.

What is it that sustains you? What is it that you are lacking in right now? Is it your passion that is low? Maybe you need to find reminders of why you do what you do and have them somewhere you can see every day. Is it perseverance? Maybe you need to assess what is draining that. Maybe you need to take better care of yourself, set better boundaries and have more replenishment in your life to be able to persevere. Or maybe it is that your season in that work has come to an end.



Inspired by the Five Minute Friday prompt word: work. It was written by Five Minute Friday guidelines- five minutes of free write without editing. Making this series achievable this week!
This post is part of a series for Write 31 Days called "For Your Encouragement." I am taking requests from readers on what they want encouragement about and responding to the best of my ability. I would love to hear from you.



You can read the rest of the posts in this series here.



Sunday, 22 October 2017

Some encouragement from Joshua


At the end of one week and the start of the next, what words do you need to hear? This week, my post prompted by the word "brave" struck a chord with some people and is the one that has stuck in my mind the most too. "Fear not" and its variants appear in the Bible 365 times. That makes me take notice. This is often the "do not be afraid" verse that comes to my mind first. I love the Amplified version here that adds in "intimidated" as further clarification. Fear often looks like being intimidated in my life. Maybe it does in yours too. Intimidated by what we think others may think of us; intimidated by the seemingly perfect lives we see on social media; intimidated by what is required of us in a position or calling; intimidated by how badly we could fail. The key is held in this verse. God is with us wherever we go, whatever we are facing, whether we tune in to His presence or not. I know that this verse was written to a very specific person and we have to be careful to look at the context of verses too. The fact that the same instructions and encouragement is given to so many others in the Bible reassures me that this was not a one-off promise. This is for me today and for you too.

This post is part of a series for Write 31 Days called "For Your Encouragement." I am taking requests from readers on what they want encouragement about and responding to the best of my ability. I would love to hear from you.



You can read the rest of the posts in this series here.




Saturday, 21 October 2017

You: the greatest gift you can give


Do you ever get frustrated by a limited bank account that stops you giving to all the things that stir your heart? I have felt that time and again. I felt that again listening to some inspiring stories this week at the Global Leadership Summit and having my heart moved by the organisations presented. Then a truth struck me from all of the stories. Each of the people didn't give money, or certainly not just out of their own bank accounts. They gave of themselves. It was who they were as a person and the connection with other people that brought about the changes and inspiration. 

Do you realise that YOU are the greatest gift you can give your family, children, friends and communities? Your passions, strengths, time, listening ears, smile and hugs are all at your disposal. Instead of feeling stifled by a lack of money, let's look for ways to have an impact locally and globally using exactly what we have. Let's give ourselves. So often we put so much energy into accumulating wealth or on our own projects and what seems urgent and important. Will those things be what leaves a legacy? 

What do have available right at this moment? Who are the people around you right now? How can those match up?

Inspired by the Five Minute Friday prompt word: give. It was written by Five Minute Friday guidelines- five minutes of free write without editing. Making this series achievable this week!
This post is part of a series for Write 31 Days called "For Your Encouragement." I am taking requests from readers on what they want encouragement about and responding to the best of my ability. I would love to hear from you.



You can read the rest of the posts in this series here.





Friday, 20 October 2017

Who is responsible for burn out?


The concept of burn out is something that I have been pondering for the past couple of years. I saw a culture of burn out in an organisation I was part of and wanted to know how to change that. When multiple leaders are burning out in one organisation, who is responsible for that? Is it the fault of the organisation or the people themselves? Who needs to work at resolving it? Maybe you have found yourself at that point where you have hit a wall and cannot keep pushing any longer. Maybe you have seen people around you reach that point.

The conclusion that I have come to is that it is both the person and the organisation who are responsible. Each has a role to play in what leads to burn out and in resolving it. The organisation has a responsibility to assess the expectations they place on their members, the culture that is set up, the support systems that are in place and what the upper levels of leadership are modelling. The person has the responsibility to be taking care of the!selves, seeking support when it is needed, speaking up when changes are needed and taking action. In general, neither party is wholly to “blame”.

I have felt the weight of the responsibility to evaluate our organisation and the way we do things. This is an ongoing process. I wanted to know if the expectations we place on our leaders was realistic and manageable. What circumstances make them less so? What are the differences that make one group of leaders thrive and another sink under the weight? I also became aware of the responsibility I have to call out signs of burn out when I see them. I naturally avoid hard conversations and confrontation but I am learning to be better in this arena in ways that still feel true to me and who I am. So often burn out is evident to others before the person recognises it and yet it isn’t discussed. Let’s be on the look out for our colleagues and fellow leaders. Be close enough with them to notice warning signs that they aren’t coping so well. Ask them how they are coping. Ask them the tough questions about how they are taking care of themselves. We all have a responsibility in this, not only the policy makers in an organisation. Culture is built with each of us doing our part.

An organisation can have all the right procedures and supports in place and yet a leader can still burn out. Each of us as individuals has a responsibility to be taking care of ourselves too. Do you make self care a priority in your life? Do you regularly reflect on and re-evaluate how you are coping, your schedule, your headspace capacity and the demands of family, work and everything else? Do you accept help and support when it is offered? Do you place unrealistic expectations on yourself that no one else is actually expecting from you? So often it is the internal dialogue and lack of healthy boundaries and even lack of self esteem that cascade into burn out situations. I speak from authority on this as these are all things I have to continually work on myself. I remember being completely devastated as a primary school student because I only got 90 something percent on a maths test and it didn’t meet up to my own standards. My parents had never once even hinted at these expectations and they worked hard at bringing some reality to those expectations. We are our own worst enemies and we often don’t see it until it is too late. Let’s become more self aware and learn that we aren’t superhuman and no one expects us to be. Let’s learn to accept help and not see it as a sign of weakness but of strength.

Giving ourselves permission to be human, to make mistakes, not to be able to do everything, gives those around us permission too. We can unconsciously have an impact on the burn out levels of others if they see the expectations we try to meet for ourselves as what they should be doing too. The little eyes in our lives are particularly susceptible to this but it is true for our fellow leaders too. You need to be imperfect so that others can be as well. It is a matter of authenticity. Let’s learn to be vulnerable with our community.

Burn out is a complex issues with so many factors. I by no means want to assign blame or shame anyone who has been or is going through it. I have been there myself. I simply want to acknowledge that we all have a role to play in preventing this. I long for the day when no one leaves our organisation because they are burnt out but only because it is the right season for them to move on. There is still work to be done at an organisational level. Part of that is encouraging all of our leaders to be doing the work they need to do themselves to be caring for themselves and developing the resilience needed to prevent burn out. Maybe one of the questions or thoughts in this post have triggered something within you. Maybe you need to find a safe person to talk it through with or carve out some time to spend reflecting and evaluating. Let’s spur one another on in love.

This post is part of a series for Write 31 Days called "For Your Encouragement." I am taking requests from readers on what they want encouragement about and responding to the best of my ability. I would love to hear from you.



You can read the rest of the posts in this series here.



Thursday, 19 October 2017

Is fear your decision maker?



Do you have this idea of being brave as being the same as not being afraid? I realise that I sometimes still have that belief deep inside. Bravery is something we talk a lot about in my house. Fear and anxiety are daily companions for my daughter and I know their companionship well myself. I know that being brave is not about how I am feeling most of the time. It is about not letting fear be the decision maker. There may be many valid reasons for a decision not to do something. I don’t ever want fear to be the deciding factor for me or my girl.

I give a talk for MOPS groups called “Do It Scared: lessons from my journey with fear”. It is in essence about bravery. Most of the seemingly brave moments and decisions in my life have been made despite fear. I have battled panic attacks and nausea to get through to what I know is a good choice and the right next step for me. If I allowed fear to make that choice, I wouldn’t be in the positions I am now, I wouldn’t ever get up in front of groups of people and speak and I certainly wouldn’t be writing for the world to see.


How is fear stopping you? Have you allowed it to be the decision maker? I pray that you will be brave and not let fear rule.


Inspired by the Five Minute Friday prompt word: brave. It was written by Five Minute Friday guidelines- five minutes of free write without editing. Making this series achievable this week!
This post is part of a series for Write 31 Days called "For Your Encouragement." I am taking requests from readers on what they want encouragement about and responding to the best of my ability. I would love to hear from you.



You can read the rest of the posts in this series here.




Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Wellness Wednesday: Get creative


What does getting creative look like in your life? When was the last time you did anything creative? I know from personal experience that it can be the first thing tossed aside when life gets busy. For much of this year, I have thought to myself and even said to others that I don't have time to write. Here I am publishing every day in October. I made the time. And what I have cut out to allow time for writing was not even important or life-giving to me! I spend less time on social media or in front of Netflix for the most part. I use those little in between moments to write.

What gets in the way of you being creative? Do you recognise the importance of it? I know so many don't consider themselves to be creative. We tend to label only a small handful of pursuits as being creative. Let's think more broadly. I loved Emily Freeman's book "A Million Little Ways" as it talks about how all of us are artists created to live art in so many different ways, many of which that we may not even see as art. 

Being creative is vital for our wellbeing- reducing stress, feeding our souls and allowing us to be more fully ourselves. Children seem to know this instinctively and spend their days creating in so many different ways. Maybe you need to find a little person who can mentor you in how to be creative without being critical. When did we forget how to do that? Are your own expectations and impossible standards keeping you from accessing the benefit of creativity in your life?

Find a way to be creative this week. I would love to hear about what you did and what the experience was like for you.



This post is part of a series for Write 31 Days called "For Your Encouragement." I am taking requests from readers on what they want encouragement about and responding to the best of my ability. I would love to hear from you.



You can read the rest of the posts in this series here.