Made For Love

As we head into the next month already all around us there are signs and reminders of the holiday coming up: Valentine’s Day.  Whether it’s a holiday in your world, or if you’d rather we not talk about all that romantic love, the topic of love is one we really should talk about, even if we’re not going to talk about the romantic type of love.

I believe that everyone should learn to love themselves.  If you don’t love yourself you really should work on coming to terms and making peace with who you are or taking the steps to make changes in your life to get to a point that you can love yourself.  It’s not an easy process for many people, but I believe, and everyone I’ve talked with who has worked on it says it is worth it.  Some things you will have to learn to accept, but many things you can change.  We’ll talk more about that in the coming months, and if you want to work on it personally with me, I do offer coaching.

But back to love.  The good news is that as a person of faith you should have some automatic love from the people in your faith community (something else we’ll talk about in the future), but even if you don’t have that support, you definitely have God’s love. Throughout the Bible it talks about how central God’s love is to what He does, how He interacts with people and animals and the earth and even the choices that He makes.   God’s love includes forgiveness, grace, overcoming imperfections and growing, which means you don’t have to be perfect all the time, nor does He expect you to be perfect.   God knows that life isn’t easy and sometimes we make mistakes, other times we’re tired and sometimes we just can’t summon the effort to do the thorough job that we should.  And there are even the occasional times that we poke the bear and decide to do the wrong thing, even though we know it’s wrong.

Under the belief that God knows everything, we believe that God knew exactly how things would play out in the Garden and knew exactly what it would look like in our world today way back when He created the world, and even still God chose to create each and every one of us.  God made each of us with a purpose and He made each of us with love.  The great thing about God’s love is that even if you’ve wandered from the love that you were born from God’s love is there ready for you to return to at any time.

“We’re not only made for a purpose.  We’re made for a person who loves us.” Holley Gerth
“We Exist for God.” 1 Corinthians 8:6a

Bad to the Bone Bosses

On the business and family blog today I shared about the impact that treating your employees poorly can have on your business, but here I want to talk about how it feels to be on the losing side of that battle, and what it’s like to be one of those poorly treated employees.  Honestly, I think some business owners or managers (depending on who you deal with) are clueless.  They have no understanding of what they’re doing and the impact it has on their people.  They don’t get the issues you face (and aren’t willing to hear about them), aren’t open to hearing opinions other than their own, think they know best and don’t really seem to care about anyone but themselves.  Even scarier are the business owners or managers who simply don’t care about their people or their quality of employment outside of not getting sued or having serious trouble.

If you have one of these bosses or managers, I know how you feel, I’ve dealt with bosses that treat me as brainless, a lemming, or my life and opinions as insignificant and all that matters is them and what they want done.  Yes, I get it, they’re running a business and want things done a certain way.  But I fully believe that there is a way to get that accomplished without demeaning or demoralizing people.   There are companies who have engaged and happy employees who love coming to work and are willing to put in the required effort and then some.  Companies, where people’s opinions are listened to, results appreciated and personally respected.

So what happens when you find yourself dealing with someone who sees you as a cog in a machine and you’re not in a position to speak to the manager/owner about the situation in an authoritative manner and all efforts to get things to change that you can do have been tried and failed?  You can put your head down and push through for as long as you can, or you can go get a new job, or you can start a business.  All of those are options, some better than others, and it’s unfortunate that we have to even consider those options.

If you decide to push through for at least the time being first you should know that you’re not alone.  It’s a sad reality that there are lots of miserable people working jobs that could be amazing but aren’t because of the management or leadership.  Next, do your best to get your work done in the quickest, most efficient and most complete manner so that you have to deal with your management or leadership as little as possible.  One tip I’ve learned in dealing with challenging leadership is to ask lots of questions before starting anything that could have multiple meanings or ways of being done.  Get all your facts before starting something so you don’t have to redo or repeat.  Finally, do your best to work on your attitude towards the people you work with and even towards the boss(es).  It’s not easy to have a positive or kind attitude towards those who treat you with little or no respect or dignity, but you’ll feel better about yourself at the end of the day if you do.

What are your tips for dealing with challenging bosses?

Supporting Each Other

This week I’ve been thinking again about my place in this world, and yours too. It’s challenged me to really consider who I am, what I’m good at, why I’m here and how my imperfections work into all of it.  If you can’t admit that you struggled with something this week, shame on you.  Unless you buried your head in the sand for the whole week, I know that you’ve been challenged by something this week.  I’ve really been challenged by how much I can’t do.  I’m OK with it, but at the same time, not being able to excel at everything gets to me occasionally.  If I’ve had a particularly bad day lists of my faults and failures can parade through my mind without my permission.   Maybe you’ve dealt with some of these insecurities too.

These struggles really reminded me why it’s so important that we let others in our lives, that we not try to get through this life alone, that we make the effort to build relationships and support those we come in contact with.  Often it’s those relationships and those other people that challenge us the most, but they also make life the most rewarding.  So how do we get past the challenges and let others into our lives, let others take control in areas that we’re not so strong or capable in and they are?

First, I think we have to be humble and admit that we aren’t alone in the world and need others. It’s not easy to admit that you have weaknesses, especially if you have an image with someone.  But opening up and admitting that you’re not perfect creates an opportunity for you to grow a deeper relationship with them.

Second, Galatians 5:22 says “But the fruit that the Spirit produces in a person’s life is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness.”  When we choose to enter into relationships, and sustain relationships, with the fruit of the spirit, not only will we pave the way for a satisfying relationship on our end, the other person will benefit too.

Finally, find the point of reference, point of unity, or common ground you two have.  Everyone has something in common.  It may take a while to discover it, but it’s there.  For many people, a common point of interest is faith, especially faith in Christ.

Our relationships should make us stronger because they force us to work together, make us learn how to work together, and to learn how to communicate what we need and want.  This week I encourage you to be honest with yourself and the people who matter most to you in life about what’s going on in your life, where you stand and what you need.  Most people would be thrilled to step up to the plate for you and give you a hand if you would just ask.

Reality Reflection: Past and Future

I was talking about the show “Hoarders” with a client this week.  I love organization and it’s something I work on with my clients, but it’s not a show I enjoy watching or choose to watch.  I have watched it in the past because of what I do and out of curiosity.  The premise of the show is that there are people whose houses are so crammed full of stuff that they can hardly move.  Something has happened in their lives or the lives of family members and as a result they’re finally deciding to try to do something about the clutter.  The Hoarders team is brought in and together the client and team work to not only throw out or donate a lot of stuff, they also talk about the non-visible clutter that made the visible clutter get this bad in the first place.  I saw a recent commercial for it featuring an individual who had been on the show as a client and he shared his thankfulness about the transformation that took place in his life through the show.   If you’ve seen it you know that as a result of the work the clients do experience great transformations and are given a fresh start at life.

The reason I bring it up is because of the conversation we were having around it.  Yes, the craziness of the hoarding was mentioned, and they said that they sometimes get sucked in and watch because they can’t believe it and it just amazes them.  The reason I like the show is because they achieve a great transformation with it.  I’m not a fan of news TV because often it’s just a report, nothing is done about the issue. Yes, it’s great that issues are coming to light, but just bringing them to light doesn’t really do anything. The rare exception is when someone’s experience or emotions are confirmed around a situation or person and they’re able to find some peace or freedom as a result (like hearing the story of a rape survivor or knowing a dishonest executive was sent to jail may give them some peace even if the individual that raped them or took their money wasn’t).

Yes, I take time to look at the issues with myself and my clients, I don’t believe we can really move on unless we take time to work through them and understand them at least a little and see how they fit into our life story.  But I don’t believe it’s healthy for all of us to be bringing up our history or focusing on what went wrong in our lives all of the time.  I believe there has to be a point at which we choose to move forward and start telling a new story.  I don’t know about you, but I’m ready to move on to what 2017 has for us. I’m tired of talking about 2016 and the past, and ready to start equipping myself and others to conquer all this year has to offer.  Are you?

Love Your Life

Every year we cover a ton of topics, from the tough stuff to enjoying life more.  There are lots of changes happening around the world, some faster than others and some seemingly slow and we feel like they’ll never happen.  Whether you’re talking about finances, the economy, politics, jobs/business/careers, the environment, energy, health or just plain relationships and families, things are changing whether people want them to or not, and we typically identify with one group’s perspective on a topic more than we do with another’s.  We read or hear the news about tragedies that happen around our world, and sometimes we get an up close and personal look at them when they happen in our part of the world.  I hurt when I see or hear about other people around the world getting hurt, even if they’re not people I know.  There are tons of reasons to be scared or worried or concerned or frustrated or anxious about life.  But is that really the way you want to live your life?

Personally I want to love my life.  I want life to be filled with things I love, things that make me happy, things that challenge me in a good way, things that I feel good about and people I care about.  I may not have control over everything, but in this day and age we do have a whole lot of options and the ability to control quite a bit and certainly the ability to make decisions about what and who we want in our lives.  I want to be able to look back and feel good about what I’ve done and the relationships I’ve had.

One of the things we’ll be talking about this year is having that kind of life and how to get it.  We’ll talk a little about what holds us back from getting that life, but as I recently talked about with a client, you don’t really need me to point out all the bad stuff and talk more about it.  I’d much rather go from the established fact that the issues exist and start working on getting past/through/over and beyond them.  Let’s start off the weekend with a simple question: what do you love about your life?

Will You Step Up?

Monday we celebrated the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.  Dr. King was best known for his speech at the March on Washington in 1963 and his work for the Civil Rights campaign.  What not everyone remembers is that he grew up in the church and was an American Baptist minister.  He never gave up on his faith through his short life, and spoke at his church a few months before his death.  Faith was important to him and he was very traditional in some of his beliefs and often referred to his faith during speeches.

Today I want to look at one of the more spiritual things he talked about.  He said (referring to the Good Samaritan Bible story):

“The first question which the priest and the Levite asked was: ‘If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?’ But… the good Samaritan reversed the question: ‘If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?'”

It’s a question that I think Dr. King himself asked throughout his life and work with the Civil Rights movement, and it’s a question we should all be asking ourselves.  If we choose not to get involved what will happen?  I know that sometimes it seems like we’re being asked to do everything and no one else is stepping up.  We get tired of that.  We get tired of feeling like we’re the only one doing anything.  But I think two of the reasons that many people don’t step up include that they don’t want to do it alone and don’t feel they have a personal stake in the issue.  However I believe that what affects some of us will soon affect many of us.

As Dr. King and his commitment to human rights is remembered this week I encourage you to think of others and some of the causes you can support.  Yes, you may have to put forward some effort or resources, but remember back to the last person you helped that was really grateful and you could see the benefit of what you did for them.  That’s the feeling I want you to remember the next time you’re asked to help someone or with something.

Making the New Year Matter

What’s important to you? Is it that you meet your responsibilities, hang out and have fun, see the world, have lots of friends, your job or business, your pet(s), your kids, your health?  There’s no wrong answer really, unless it’s your passion for overeating or other really bad habits.  Everyone should find things in their own lives that matter to them and they would feel less fulfilled if they were without.

What matters to you doesn’t have to matter as much to me.  We don’t have to have the same interests or ways that we spend our time.  That’s one of the reasons why the world is great, the diversity of the people of the world makes it great.  But just because you like different things than I do, it doesn’t mean that some of the same things shouldn’t be important to both of us like family, contributing to the world and supporting ourselves.

As we get into this new year I encourage you to take time to think about what’s really important to you and if the way you’re spending your days  really backs that up.  Are you really spending your time and money on the things that matter to you?  Are you making choices that support the things and people that matter to you? Are you really aware of what goes on in your life or are you just trying to make it through the day?  If you’re ready to do more than just live day to day, I encourage you to start lining up your habits and life with the things that really matter to you.