“Have To” or “Get To”

(Adapted from Jon Gordon article)

Who knew that two simple words could change one’s mindset, perspective and approach to work and life? Just two words have the potential to enhance joy, productivity, performance and change a complaining voice to an appreciative heart.

So often we say things like, “I have to take the kids to practice.” “I have to go to this meeting.” “I have to finish this project.” “I have to have the conversation to clear things up with them.” “I have to go to work today.” “I have to take care of this customer.” “I have to share these new ideas of change with my team.”

We act as if we don’t have a choice. As if we are imprisoned by life, maybe a paycheck and the expectations of a world that forces us to do things we don’t want to do. But in reality we do have a choice. We can choose our attitude and our actions. We can choose how we view our life and work. We can realize that every day is a gift. It’s not about what we have to do. It’s about what we get to do.

We get to live this life, right now, today, while so many have left this world seemingly far too early. We get to drive in traffic while so many do not own or are too sick to drive a car. We get to go to a job while so many are unemployed. We get to raise our children even if they drive us nuts at times.

We get to breathe the oxygen which has been provided for us and we get to experience the sustaining, life-giving qualities of the sun that never forgets to shine and keeps everything alive.

We get to interact with our employees and customers and make a difference in their lives. We get to use our gifts and talents to make a product or provide a service. We get to eat three meals (or more) a day while millions of people are striving to eat just one meal a day. We get to work on projects, answer phone calls, serve customers and work together as a team. We get to participate in meetings, design, create, share, sell, lead and suit up every day for the game of life.

Yes there will be challenges and life isn’t easy but each day we wake up we get another opportunity to make today better than yesterday and tomorrow better than today. We get to uplift, inspire, encourage, and impact others. This life is a privilege. Let’s make the most of it by remembering that life is a gift, not an obligation…and that we actually “get to” live it!

List several things you “get to” do today and let it change your perspective.                                                   

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Bouncing Back from a Failure

Many of us are afraid to fail which can hinder our growth and even paralyze us in making decisions. But take into account these words of wisdom from psychologist, Dr. Ryan Dunn.

Everybody fails…. With things big or small, sooner or later, in private or (embarrassing) in public, with projects or relationships, we all fail. So the skill of bouncing back from a failure is one that is important to develop, to help us get back on track over and over and over….

A recent study in the journal Anxiety, Stress & Coping, found the most effective ways of bouncing back are positive reframing, acceptance, and humor. These helped people recover the fastest and still feel most satisfied at the end of the day.

Positive reframing is thinking about a situation differently – this may include deliberately thinking about what you can learn from the failure, estimating the tangible cost of the failure (“how does this actually change my life?”) rather than how you feel about it, and what positive things might come from the experience.

Acceptance is deliberately seeing the failure as a normal part of life, something to be gone through without being a reflection of your value, reminding yourself that everyone fails at things, and that you have failed before and will again as a normal part of life, but still survived.

Humor is deliberately finding any funny or ridiculous aspects of the situation. One of my favorite techniques is magnification, where I deliberately exaggerate my negative view of my failure until it becomes ridiculous and usually humorous, which helps me change perspective and feel better. For example, “Yes, that was terrible. Reporters are probably rushing to print headlines about it now, my wife will divorce me, and the mobs will be gathering soon to stone me. People will shun me in public, and Walmart will probably tell me I can’t come back.”

Using these techniques can greatly help deal with failure. Interestingly, coping techniques that made people feel worse were talking with others about it, denial, venting, behavioral disengagement (shutting down and not doing anything), and self-blame. Try and avoid these!

Remember, failure is a part of learning, growing, and developing new skills and abilities. The only people who don’t fail are already dead. So get out there and fail at something! Then bounce back well and keep growing.
Ryan Dunn, Ph.D.

Perspective Changes Everything

084In order to go forward in life, in situations, in emotions, in relationships, in forgiveness, in health, many times we need to change our current perspective. Our mind is one of the greatest weapons we possess. Our thoughts can fuel victory or defeat in every situation. Victory doesn’t always look like obtaining the results we want. Victory is being able to shift perspective, lean into Christ and trust Him in the results.

Changing perspective comes when we slow down emotionally and step back to take in the entire picture. It means to reframe our situation, come at it from a different angle, and think outside the box. It means asking myself, “What can I learn from this situation?” It means stepping back, identifying lies, detecting our typical patterns of thinking (negativity, doubt, skepticism, rejection, etc) and changing our thinking. It means making new pathways in our brain with new thoughts, replacing lies with truth, the negative with the positive, mistrust with trust, assuming the best rather than expecting the worst. It means building our strengths rather than focusing on our weaknesses, wearing names that fit rather than destroy. It means pointing out what others do right rather than what they do wrong. It means looking through somebody else’s lens in order to understand rather than judge. It means focusing on our blessings rather than our lack. It means looking at each ordinary thing or moment and seeing the extraordinary. It means enjoying the scenery along the path of life — each season of life, each day we have, each scene right in front of us. Problems become opportunities and failure isn’t seen as the arch enemy but a teacher in life. The chains of perfectionism fall to the ground when we realize there can be more than one right answer. As we shift perspective, a whole other picture emerges. If frees us to move forward, teaches us lessons about life, gives us direction and grows our faith and character. It frees us up to move forward in becoming the person God has called us to be.

Changing perspective keeps us moving forward, enabling us to move out of the “ruts” in which we have become “stuck.” It doesn’t deny the present or our weaknesses. It doesn’t negate our necessary grieving or processing, but enables us to manage our emotions, walk with steadiness and exude peace and stability. It takes our focus off of ourselves and onto others- serving and encouraging them, all the while keeping our hearts fixed on Christ.

What I look for, I will see. If I look for the same old things I always have and resort to my old patterns of thinking, I will continue to get the same results. If I look for the positive and plant new seeds of thinking I will find something very different and rewarding. Changing perspective is being intentional. It’s a choice. I’m choosing to move forward or backward. I’m choosing freedom or captivity. Perspective changes everything.

Philippians 4:6-9, Romans 12:2, Ephesians 4:22-24

 

Different Paths, Same Direction

Our third leg of the walk from Clinton to Navarre was quite different than what we anticipated when we left home that morning. One week prior, the surrounding area had experienced intense rain and storms leading to some serious flooding. However, we had no idea that the trail would be under water. Looking at the “lake” before us, we sat in our car and considered our options. Do we postpone our walk and head for home or do we walk the twenty-one mile trek via roads for the next seven hours? How many miles will we walk off course if we follow the roads? How wide is the berm and how dangerous is this going to be with traffic? And most importantly, how often will we see an available rest room? After several minutes and a silent prayer, we decided to try it and crawled out of our car… right in front of a small white church. I smiled when I saw their sign, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and He will direct your paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6). Ok. Let’s do it.

And we did. We walked past Northwest High School, through quaint Canal Fulton to bustling downtown Massillon. We went from strolling on the heights of a peaceful grassy knoll through a flock of geese to hunkering down and hiking on highway 21. Now that was an experience. God kept us on course, kept us safe and even provided restrooms when there was a need.

Just like our hike, we often attempt to chart the course of our lives. But it turns out God may have a different plan. We may set out pursuing a dream and working hard but then an unexpected “flooding” occurs and we’re left asking questions. We may begin our “hike” and end up where we’d hoped, but God took us on a different route and through experiences we never planned. We may end up at a completely different destination altogether. Whatever the case, as we fix our eyes and hearts on Him we know we can trust Him. Because whatever the trail He has us hiking, it’s not in vain. He has lessons to teach us, sights to show us, and a faith to grow us. He’s leading us toward Himself.

 

 

Don’t Look Back

IMG950118Our family was hiking the Chimney Tops Trail in the Smokey Mountain National Park. This trail requires a two mile arduous ascent to reach the mountaintop. Because of the intensity of the climb, hikers stop and rest along the way. As we passed one couple who had stopped, I overheard one of them instructing the other raising his hands above his head to demonstrate some type of exercise recovery technique. My interest peaked, and thinking I too could learn something, I wanted to turn around and see what they were doing. But there was no way I could. To take my eyes off of the trail ahead of me would have been dangerous and only inviting injury. The trail was steep with IMG950115sharp rocks jutting up and outward. Exposed tree roots, uneven terrain, and overgrown vegetation all required focus and energy with each step. As it dawned on me that I couldn’t turn around, Philippians 3:13-14 flew through my mind, “Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”

At that moment, I realized how many times we “turn around” in life and endanger ourselves. I wondered how many times we lose focus and waste precious energy on things that are meaningless, things that may distract and destroy. Whether it be in our thinking — rehashing failures, second guessing decisions, closed-mindedness to new ways of doing things – our inability to let go, or we let pride, control, or temptation distract us from staying focused and moving forward on the trail. It is wisdom to learn from our mistakes and take those lessons with us as we continue moving toward growth and deeper relationship with Christ. ”But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him” (2 Corinthians 2:14). With Christ living in us, He’s leading us forward in triumphal procession- it’s the only way He’s going.

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Mile by Mile, Step by Step

From the city....

From the city….

....to the country...

….to the country…

Walking the twenty-four miles from Akron to Clinton was a great experience. We walked through the city, past Canal Park (the Akron Aero’s baseball stadium) and crossed beautiful Summit Lake on the floating bridge. The weather was much hotter than our first twenty-six miles making the walk more intense physically, so we were thankful for the shade of the canal’s tree-canopied trail.  After the first sixteen miles, to think about finishing the last eight was a little discouraging. Instead we chose to focus on the next trailhead which was two miles ahead. Once reaching that point, we then focused on the next trailhead, only one mile ahead, and then the next and the next until we completed that last mile. In order to persevere to the finish, we had to break down the bigger vision into very small goals.

Once again I have to ask myself what I can learn about life from this walk. We may have things we want to do in life and goals we want to accomplish. In order to achieve them, we may simply need to break them down into smaller actions we can implement. More importantly, we may have a vision for our lives, not necessarily what we can do but who we want to become. With God leading and working in us, we can be intentional about applying what He’s teaching us, one lesson at a time.

...enjoying God's creation along the way.

…enjoying God’s creation along the way.

 

 

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Living Your Legacy

Heart of peopleThe choices we make today will impact the legacy we live and leave to those coming behind us. What is truly important and long-lasting? Are we living what we say is priority? This three part series for women can be shared as a mini-retreat in three different sessions or as stand alone sessions.

Busyness or Balance?

Busyness is the cultural norm today but there is a difference between being busy and being effective. Jocelyn invites participants to examine the activity of their own lives and offers various ways in implementing change to achieve healthy balance.

Called to Mentor

One of the most important things we can do in life is to invest in people, especially in those younger than us. But we can’t give what we don’t have. This session reveals a higher calling extended to each one of us and a look inward to our own character and heart in sharing our lives with others.

Made for Relationship 

We were made for relationship with God and others, and loving Him means loving His people. In walking alongside others, we think we need to have all the answers, where God calls us to simply be available. He can use our life’s joys, failures and lessons to teach and encourage others. Participants are invited to explore how to intentionally invest in others.

 

 

The Encouraging Environment

So much of who we become and how we behave as persons has to do with the environment we’re raised in. Over the years, we’ve observed that our first 10-12 years of life consistently serve as the foundation upon which the rest of our lives are built and established. In “The Encouraging Environment,” Bruce talks about how to intentionally create a climate in our home, life and workplace which builds, lifts up and provides the best conditions for healthy growth to occur.