Archive for the ‘What About You?’ Category
I still like a good magazine. The iPad is great, but there’s still something about an actual, physical magazine that the iPad can’t quite replace. Here are my current monthly reads/skims.
What are your favorites?
FACT #0: The above photo has nothing to do with this post. I just like it.
FACT #1: We all believe we have something(s) important to communicate.
FACT #2: Most of what we communicate isn’t heard. Or if it is heard, it isn’t remembered. Or it doesn’t stick. It seldom moves people to action.
FACT #3: That sucks. Especially if we passionately believe in whatever it is we’re trying to communicate!
So here are three principles that are helping guide us at The Orchard Community when it comes to what/how we communicate.
INFORM (What is it?)
People need to be creatively educated and informed. I’m realizing that we ASSume way too much when it comes to what we *think* people know. Creatively informing people answers the question: What is it? But that’s not enough.
INSPIRE (Why is it important?)
This is the “why” behind the “what”. This is the part that connects with people’s hearts and imaginations. You want to inspire people to take action? Tell stories of those who have! Let them share how their lives (and the lives of those impacted on the other end) have been changed as a result. Storytelling, vision casting, celebrating, dreaming…are just a few ways to accomplish this.
INVITE (How do I sign up?)
Critical. Yet SO OFTEN overlooked. If you are going to go through the hard work of creatively informing and inspiring hearts…..yet fail to give people a clear next step or way to learn more, sign up, join, etc…..than all of the previous was a waste of time.
Now it’s your turn. What principles guide how you communicate?
First of all, let me officially say, “Happy New Year!” I truly hope this is a great year for you and yours.
One of the most valuable things I do each year is to take time on the first day or two of January reflecting back on the previous year. It’s something I’ve been doing now for about four or five years and although it is a bit time consuming, slowing down and being intentional about this has been one of the most beneficial things I do all year. Here’s what it looks like for me.
SPACE & TIME - I set aside about 5-6 hours (preferably uninterrupted) in a quiet space. This year, I ended up having to break the time up over three days, which was not ideal.
RECORDS – I put in front of me: my journals from the year, my blog, and my personal calendar.
DOCUMENTING – The next thing I do is open up a fresh journal and record key moments and events that I felt had any sort of meaningful impact on me over that year. I begin with January and browse through my records – creating bullet points and a brief description of key “earmarks”. Sometimes they will be quotes from my journal, a mention of a trip taken, a key conversation that impacted my thinking, things I prayed about, felt God speaking to me about, etc…
THEMES/BIG IDEAS – After documenting the entire year, I begin to go back through to start looking for and identifying themes, key ideas, patterns, changes in thinking, answers to prayer, areas that have improved, and in some cases areas that haven’t…
POSITIVES/NEGATIVES – This year I started doing something I’ve never done before. As I went through and looked at the major themes and ideas, I put a “+” or “-” symbol next to each one, indicating which of those seemed to have had an overall negative or positive impact on my soul at the time. (Ultimately, there is no real way to judge this since over time we often end up seeing negatives as positives and vice versa… But it does help me see and understand why there may have been seasons I felt depleted, depressed, or discouraged….or others where I felt energized and strengthened. Identifying patterns or rhythms is important!)
GRATITUDE – Through this process, there almost always comes a point where my heart swells with an immense amount of gratitude and thanksgiving for what God has done in my life and in the lives of those I love and lead. So I take time in the midst of this reflection to offer thanksgiving and gratitude to God.
QUESTIONS – At the very end, I’ll take some time to journal and write my response to a handful of questions that I’ve borrowed from Michael Hyatt:
If the last year were a movie of your life, what would the genre be?
What were the two or three major themes that kept recurring?
What did you accomplish this past year that you are the most proud of?
What disappointments or regrets did you experience this past year?
What was missing from last year as you look back?
What were the major life-lessons you learned this past year?
LOOKING AHEAD – By the time I’m done with all of the above, I’m usually pretty overwhelmed and just need time to digest and process it all. So my first week or two of January is spent praying, thinking, and setting goals for the year ahead. Then comes the personal adjustments and changes that are needed to help me move towards those goals.
That’s pretty much it! Tweaking and improving on this process seems to be on-going, so this is certainly not a formula. It’s just what seems to work for me at this juncture.
What about you? Do you take time to reflect back on each year? If so, I’d love to hear what your process currently looks like. Please share!
Just read an interesting article on the correlation between getting up early and productivity. I don’t know about you, but overall, I am way more productive on days when I’m up early than on days I’m not.
Here’s a few things I’ve learned about myself in regards to staying up late and waking early:
- For the most part, staying up late is unproductive and a waste of time.
- It took me a long time to admit that.
- It’s also the time of greatest temptation and negative thinking for me – especially when I’m tired or exhausted.
- I am very cautious about trusting my emotions or thought processes when I’m tired.
- Getting up early sucks. But only until I’m a few minutes into my shower.
- Sleeping in sucks even more. I hardly ever feel good after sleeping in. I feel groggy, tired, and out of it for several hours.
- Having time to get quiet, read, journal, write, and spend time in solitude is one of the most important parts of my day. If I try to have that time without getting up early it seldom works.
- My ideal amount of sleep is 5-6 hours.
- I’m not a “natural” early riser.
- I use my iPhone as my alarm clock and keep it plugged in far away from my bed so that I’m forced to get up and shut it off. Otherwise, snooze will win.
Here are some interesting snippets from the 99% article:
- Early risers tend to have a more proactive – and thus productive – mindset…
- If you’re getting up early, you probably already have a good idea of what you want to accomplish that day – otherwise it would be hard to motivate to get up in the first place.
- Being an early riser also indicates a natural affinity for ritual and discipline – both key traits of especially productive people.
- You accomplish tons of meaningful work before most people even get started – allowing you to coast through the rest of your day with a sense of achievement and significantly less anxiety.
How about you? Are you an early riser? If so, is it natural for you? If not, how did you develop the discipline to do it?
Read some good tips on rising early in the 99% article here.