This morning I am not content. I feel I am behind on work, blog posts, and my sleep last night was not peaceful. I am more anxious than satisfied, more restless than at peace. It is this type of morning where I focus to reflect on God’s mercies which are new every day. My lack of contentment is self imposed. All my needs are taken care of.
Contentment is easy to find
Just make a list and start with the necessities. I am content because:
- My family is in good health
- I slept in a bed
- I ate a great Thanksgiving potluck at the church last night
- I have a job
- I am loved
- The Lord never gives us too much that we cannot bear it
I am now in a better place this morning with a changed heart. I know that everything will work out for God’s will. My challenge is to seek after those things that are noble today. To look forward to a glorious day with a satisfied soul.
One activity that teaches tremendous patience is fishing. I remember in those wonderful mountain lakes in Montana, my brother would be catching fish every five minutes, while I would sit there getting frustrated and trying to adjust my line. He always caught the biggest fish.
One day after my grandma passed away, I was given some old notes that she wrote. I place high value on those writings to the point where they have been photocopied, transcribed, and saved in multiple places. To most people, those papers would be insignificant, but to me they held value. I can almost hear my grandma’s voice as I read them from time to time.
I looked through some of my archives on pictures. I really thought I knew a lot back then. So misguided in my youth.
I have asked in several interviews the following question. On a scale of 1 to 5 how would you rate your knowledge on (fill in the blank topic) and why? A couple of key themes always stand out
- Most people rate themselves generously, most at least one scale higher.
- Most people have a hard time answering the why.
A definition of authority is “the right to act in a specified way, delegated from one person or organization to another”. People are not born with this power. Delegation of authority is necessary to have credibility. I learned this lesson the hard way. I thought I deserved authority because of my position. My early leadership style was one of demands of my subordinates, nothing more than a top down command driven fiasco, which no one respected. I am glad I now understand the power of being given authority.
We all have been given authority by someone
- Jesus was given all authority in heaven and on earth by God.
- Leaders are given authority to run a company.
- The government has been given authority by the votes of the nation.
The responsibility of authority
The bottom line: If a person has authority, they also have accountability. Here is an example of how this accountability works for me:
- I ask my team do take on a large problem.
- If my team succeeds, I give them the credit. It is due to their hard work and diligence.
- If my team fails, I take the blame for the failure. I authorized the plan, the work effort, and am accountable for the outcome.
I never want to misuse authority for personal gain. Instead, I want to be faithful in what was entrusted to me. Here are some verses in the bible that speaks about authority that are humbling to me:
Ephesians 6:1-4 – Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise), “that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.” Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
Romans 13:1 – Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.
Psalm 32:8-11 – I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you. Be not like a horse or a mule, without understanding, which must be curbed with bit and bridle, or it will not stay near you.
What am I thankful for? Why am I thankful? Can I be thankful about unpleasant things in my life? How do I show my thankfulness? Here is one idea, make a list of what you are thankful for and update it every day. Here is the start of my thankfulness list:
Over the past decade, I have seen a trend for political figures not to apologize at any cost. Everyone makes mistakes. It is impossible not to offend at times. It is easy for words to be taken out of context. So why don’t our political leaders apologize when they have obviously wronged an individual or party? It isn’t just politicians, but business leaders also. The best ones admit their mistakes and work diligently to correct the wrong.
A song that starts “Joy to the world, the Lord has come” rings through the night air from carolers in the coming months. Everyone can picture joy. It is the new father and mother holding their infant. It is the feeling when one is reunited with a loved one, or the climax when a big decision is favorable. I am joyful when I hear my daughter sing or play Minecraft with my son. However, what I am describing is joy for a small time in large doses. Life happens and many tend to long for that joy they had yesterday, last year, or in their glory days.
Joy can be everyday
Psalm 118:24 sums it up best:
This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it.
Think about the ways that joy can fill every moment:
- We are alive. Isn’t that worth being joyful?
- Each day the Lord’s mercies are new. Isn’t that worth being thankful.
- For his anger is but for a moment, and his favor is for a lifetime. Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning (Psalms 30:5). Isn’t God’s comfort, empathy, and favor worth it?
- Joy is sustainable throughout our lives (Ecclesiastes 8:15). Isn’t it wonderful that joy can fill those voids in our lifetime?
Joy is around us everywhere, waiting for us to consume it, to breathe it in, and to cherish it. Every day tis the season for Joy.
When Steve Ballmer stepped out on stage for his last all company event the place was electric. He knew how to excite the crowd. Emotions were stirred up. People were yelling, stomping, quite a few were crying as he charged the stage. His goal was to tell people about the company he loved and poured his life into. People who lead well figure out how to tap into the emotional well of those that follow them. Here is one example to illustrate:
Creating excitement for a vision
Whenever a leader is casting vision, you can hear the passion in their voice. It permeates our senses to know that there is a belief behind what they are saying. It shows up in their facial expressions. They are trying to persuade others to see what they see. If they are successful they make evangelists of others about the vision. Buy-in happens, people overcome great obstacles to achieve the vision that is laid out. They are excited to pursue the vision.
Jesus give us such a great example of creating excitement as a leader.
- Multitudes followed him where ever he went
- After 2,000 years His Word is still being taught across the entire world
- The Gospel vision is shared by Christians who become evangelists for the message of hope
- Jesus was passionate, but more importantly compassionate for the world to come and know him
- His words are plain, but persuasive
I am excited that Jesus, my leader, has persuaded me to believe in the eternal vision of being with him in heaven.
I wonder how many pieces of gum are on this wall. Yes, you can measure this!
When looking up measure in the dictionary, I was struck by one of the core definitions:
reach the required or expected standard; fulfill expectations
Admittedly, most of my work has had ambiguous or ill defined measures. But as I am maturing as a leader, I have started looking for ways to measure what I am doing, either for myself, management, or the company. Here are some lessons I am learning:
Anything can be measured
Don’t believe me, then check out the book “How To Measure Anything“! This is a fantastic read that just gives plain common sense to measurement. I now use ranges and confidence levels to communicate effectively as a measure. For example, I was helping a couple of new developers come up to speed in the code base. I started by asking them how long it would take to solve a problem that they knew nothing about. After a couple of back and forth conversations, we were able to get a 90% confidence measure that it could be done between 1 and 3 days. After all estimation is a measure.
What doesn’t get measured, usually doesn’t get done
Everyone can relate to this statement who has to spend dollars and commit people, especially when planning. You may get away with measures not being set the first time, but the next time you ask for the appropriate resourcing, you probably won’t get it unless you show a measured success. This is why a lot of projects fail. The don’t start with thinking about how to measure success at the beginning and track to it. Instead, fuzzy ideas of success permeate through projects or initiatives. I have personally changed my work style to get answer to the following measure questions:
- Defining measures of success
- This also means defining the quality
- Understanding how those measures are going to be tracked
- Figuring out both Leading and Lagging indicators of success
- What will it cost to measure and is it worth it
I hope you will take time to measure.