A Chat With Two Inspiring Leaders: Kate and Sandy Dodge

Want to listen in on a conversation with people who built a remarkable company and changed a city?

Kate and Sandy Dodge (The NP Dodge Company) are two of the most amazing people with whom I have ever conversed.

The above will link you directly with the audio, but it is also available on Apple, Spotify, Stitcher, Google, etc.

Sandy is a quiet and thoughtful man so he can be a little tough to hear at times, but the little bit of extra attention required is worth it to glean his wisdom. Kate is brilliant and has a voice that resonates so she is pretty easy to hear.

Together they offer an extraordinary amount of virtual mentoring to anyone interested in growing as a leader…and quite frankly, as a human.

Give this podcast a listen and check out the rest of the season.

As always, please subscribe to the blog and/or connect on Facebook.

Week Ender – Personal Strategic Question

A quick thought to help your week end and to provide stimulation for weekend reflection.

Will It Make The Boat Go Faster

We Were Made For More

It is time to feature the fact that I am a Jesus follower. I don’t believe I have ever hidden or downplayed my faith, but I haven’t featured it because I really want to be inclusive.

I believe what I have to say can help people regardless of their faith…maybe that is naive or arrogant…but I believe it. This belief has led me away from featuring Jesus followership in my writing.

Time to be bold!

I believe that a life of Christ followership is the ultimate “more”!

I still want to be inclusive and I hope people who don’t consider themselves Jesus followers will still benefit from my work, but I need to point toward Jesus more explicitly.

I believe I am called to write more about matters of faith and followership, as well as how those topics relate to our lives… particularly our “work” lives.

This does not mean that everything I post will be explicitly about faith, but I pray that Jesus will be clearly present in my work.

I have felt pulled in this direction for at least three months, but during a visit to Des Moines two weeks ago the Holy Spirit was pushing me hard toward the edge so I decided to jump.

 

The Holy Spirit was using two forces.

1st, Lutheran Church of Hope

With all do respect to my pastor at Papio Creek Church and my father who are both wonderful teachers, the message in the video above is probably my favorite “sermon” ever.

In my humble opinion, this discussion of the life in Christ is dead on. Please give it a watch (check out the hilarious fake political ads toward the end).

Key themes that really hit home for me:

Harmony > Disharmony

Inclusion > Exclusion

Hospitality > Rivalry

Jesus Followership > Superficiality

Jesus Followership > Politics

Jesus > Than How You Vote

Jesus > Fitting In

Jesus had time for all people, so should we.

Don’t waste time worshiping false gods.

Jesus wants you to live a meaningful life in Him!!!

Give over your “work” to God!

You were made for more!

Please give this video a watch.

2nd, A Good Friend

My family met up with my friend Alan and his family at church. They then came out in the bitter cold to watch my son play soccer…they brought me coffee…good friends indeed.

We were chatting on the sideline during the match and he mentioned to me that I was an important character in the story of his faith journey. He was wrestling with faith questions in college and we had some amazing talks about faith in Jesus in our dorm rooms.

Our conversation reminded me that my “work”, in the most broad sense, is to point toward Jesus.

Jesus will do far more to help people live more purposeful lives than I ever will.

There are points in every person’s journey where they get to decide who to point toward, I am going to do my best to point toward Jesus.

How about you?

If this message is compelling to you please share it.

If you want to learn more about my journey and philosophy please watch my Tedx talk.

If you want to connect please join the Facebook community and subscribe to this blog.

God bless!

 

 

 

How I Applied New Tactics to Declutter My Mind & Surroundings

Stuff … stuff … and more stuff … I am amazed at how much stuff comes through my front door.

Junk mail, papers, tchotchkes, candies, toys … the clutter keeps piling up.  And this stockpiling of stuff doesn’t come only in the physical form – there’s also the mental stuff. The emails, the priorities, the inner dialogue, the to-do lists… this type of mental clutter can be just as taxing as the physical.

That’s why, earlier this year, I set a goal to get rid of the mental and physical clutter that prevented me from achieving the goals I had set for myself — the clutter that had been staring me in the eyes for years, daring me to go toe-to-toe with it.

While this goal was certainly nothing new to me, the time and intention I was willing to invest in it was.

You see, I seem to go through a cycle of decluttering every few months or so, only to find myself back in the very same place I started.  The cycle goes something like this …

Yes_No_Maybe

Stage 1: The Overzealous Purge

Nothing is safe or sacred at this point!  I’m determined to get rid of all the items I haven’t touched in months and to clear my agenda of any activity that doesn’t help me achieve my goals.

Stage 2: The Rational Purge

Ok… let’s be reasonable.  I can’t be irresponsible by getting rid of things that would cost money to replace.  I bet I’ll use these in the future, or even better… maybe I’ll save them for a garage sale.

Stage 3: There’s No Time to Purge

Sigh!  I’ve run completely out of time, and now all my items and thoughts are scattered.  I’ll quickly put them back in their place and get rid of them next weekend.

Sound familiar?

So, this year … I was (and still am) in the process of doing this differently.  How?

Enlisting the help of my husband and children.

Typically, my decluttering activities are a solo sport.  But this time, I thought it was important for us to participate in it together.  Because we all have different reasons for keeping particular items or doing particular activities, I wanted to ensure I wasn’t placing judgment on things they valued.

Now… some of you might be thinking, “How in the world does Bike Trailyour whole family have time to declutter life together?  We can hardly find time to eat together.”  Well, we had to get creative.

While I had increased my time commitment to this activity, not everyone in the house had that same luxury.  So, I made sure to actively involve them when I could, and I set key items and questions aside for them to review when they had the time.

Being more intentional about ‘how I decided’ to get rid of stuff.

I was never good at getting rid of items I haven’t used in a year; after all, we don’t always keep possessions because of their practical use.  We keep them for deeper reasons, as well.  So, rather than repeating the same old thought process, I decided to apply the five purposeful questions shared in a previous Minimalist Manager article.

I asked myself …

  1. Does this bring me joy?
  2. Does this help me live out my values?
  3. Does this help me employ my strengths or mitigate my weaknesses?
  4. Does this help me fulfill my purpose?
  5. Does this help me execute my strategy?

Asking these questions made the world of difference!  Especially when it came to items that I saw as ‘junk’, but my husband saw as ‘joy’ (or vice versa).  Or activities that some thought were a ‘waste of time’ and others thought were ‘helping them employ their strengths.’

By understanding each other’s perspectives, we stopped complaining about the things ‘we needed to get rid of, but never did’.  Instead, we saw their value for what it was… meaningful in its own way.

Prioritizing the most important and realistic areas to declutter. 

In the past, I’ve been guilty of taking on too much at once (a common theme you’ll notice in future posts).  Because of this massive undertaking, I tend to move the ball slightly forward on a lot of things rather than fully forward on a few.

Having recognized and acknowledged this personal tendency, I decided to prioritize the most important areas of my life that I needed to declutter.  I achieved this by noting the way particular rooms, activities, surroundings and people made me feel.

Hard Work_Kitchen
Tackling the kitchen … one of those rooms that kept taunting me!

Then I asked myself … “can you realistically improve this?”  If the answer was ‘yes’, it made the list.  If the answer was ‘no’, I moved it down the priority list until something changes.

I also used the five questions above to guide which activities were most important.  While I might want to clean out my fridge, clearing out junk in my office is more likely to impact the success of my goals.

Where are you?

We are all on separate paths to decluttering our lives.  Whether it is the physical junk that has been sitting in the corner of our room, mental clutter that blocks our creative thoughts, or activities that keep us from what is most important, we all have different ‘stuff’ we need to tackle.

Head Clutter

Whatever ‘stuff’ is holding you back from fulfilling your personal goals, I encourage you to think about what you can declutter to get yourself back on track.

Join the Minimalist Management community.

Three Minimalist Manager Tactics For Thriving In Times of Change

I spend a lot of time talking to organizational leaders about how to lead/manage organizational level change, but rarely have I been asked to talk about how individuals can flourish in times of change. One organization recently asked me to speak to this topic at a large gathering of employees.

So I wondered…How would a Minimalist Manager thrive during times of change? How can we best respond to change in order to flourish? How can a leader/manager help their people to behave in such a way that they might thrive vs. suffer?

I turned to A Bill of Rights For Work and Beyond for inspiration. I believe there are three key things that we must do to thrive in times of change. We should self-lead using these tactics and leaders/managers should make sure their people are utilizing these tactics as well.

The overarching theme for these three tactics is that change MUST be experienced through a lens of positivity if we are going to remain motivated. This can certainly be difficult sometimes, but it is crucial that we find the positive in the change.

First and foremost, in order for us to experience change POSITIVELY we need to find meaning behind change. Change must never feel like change for change sake. There is enough randomness in our lives; in order to be motivated we must understand WHY. We need to reflect until we can find a clear why that is motivating to us and to those around us. To do this we often need to think about how what we do influences the bigger picture. We often forget how faithful execution of our tasks improves our children’s return to school, our team’s performance, or our favorite not-for-profit’s big event. We need to remind ourselves, and those around us, frequently. We need to make sure we can articulate the why behind each task that we undertake for ourselves and others.

IMG_0131

Young Eagles Event

Second, we need to build a PERFORMANCE CONTEXT that facilitates success in the new activity or setting. To do this we need clarity of task and purpose. This requires that we create clearly defined tasks that lead to progress toward the new goal(s). We must step back and evaluate which behaviors truly lead to meaningful outcomes. To create a performance context it is also important that we make sure everyone has what they need to be successful. This does not mean we spend money on whatever we think might be nice to have; it means we determine what is necessary and then make sure we are equipped and trained/coached to execute. We often become quickly frustrated when we don’t clearly see how we can succeed. So whether it is helping our kids succeed in a new activity or helping ourselves master the new software package. We need to design our context for success.

ZD Guest Reader

Third, we need to PARTY LIKE IT’S 2039 (insert your own arbitrary futuristic and fun year here). As we transition to the new we need tangible reminders that what we are doing is valuable and that we are succeeding. In the context of self-leadership we need to remember to do this for ourselves. Complete a new task successfully for a week…splurge on a nice bottle of wine or scotch and say a toast to your success. Cheers! Child delivers a face melting guitar solo…Pop Rocks all around.

 

IMG_1692

If we can ensure that we are moving through times of change utilizing these tactics I believe we will experience change as positive and motivating vs. painful and fatiguing. Change is unavoidable! How do you plan to experience it?