Walking Civil War

3 08 2017

Cognitive dissonance.  “Your walk doesn’t match your talk.” Integrity vs. hypocrisy.

Part of the daily journey on this planet is learning to be one person.  Not two.  Or three.  Or six.  Integrity is related to “integer.”  A mathematical concept.  A whole number.

To live in integrity means “wholeness.”  It means our actions match our words, our values, our creeds, our codes of conduct.  You have enough to do to simply be one person.  There’s not enough energy, time or sense to construct false selves and alternate lives.

Choosing a path of duplicity and hypocrisy puts you at odds…with yourself.  You become, in effect, a walking civil war.  Fragmented.  Battling with your own heart.  Here are the takeaways of such a lousy choice:

  • Sleepless nights
  • A default tendency to look over your shoulder. “Who’s after me?  Who knows what I’ve done?”
  • The need to invent more lies to cover up your lies.
  • You medicate.  Simple—you can’t live with all these selves.  So you numb pain.  Take your pick: Drugs, booze, sex, shopping, endless busyness.  And a thousand other bypaths.

Live what you believe.  Keep your word.  Be one, not six persons.  Then sleep in peace.

 

Suggested Resources:

Who You Are When No One’s Looking: Choosing Consistency, Resisting Compromise (Bill Hybels)

Integrity: The Courage to Meet the Demands of Reality (Henry Cloud)

 

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Switchfoot “Twenty-Four”

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Sound People Investing

26 07 2017

This summer I’m learning about financial investing, the market, economics and how emotional volatility affects judgment in one’s investment strategy.  A basic investing principle is that you find companies that are undervalued, whose stocks are priced below what they’re worth, and then buy their stock—which is ownership in the business–leaving a margin of safety for market fluctuations that occur inevitably.  (Disclaimer: This is not financial advice and I am not an expert.)

Many of us are situated in life in a way that allows us to have input into the lives of others.  This may be because of our positions in the workplace, an organization, a group of people and our families.

I’ve had the privilege for quite a few years to be asked to mentor people in their personal, spiritual and professional self-development.  I don’t ask for this—it’s always a case of being invited into someone’s life and business.  I don’t take it lightly.

I’ve learned some things after doing this a while.  My recent learning about sound financial investing has stimulated my thinking about the kinds of people we do and don’t invest in with our time, talent, energy and money.

What then are indicators of strong value in another you’re seeking to mentor?

  • Strong work ethic. Two of the finest guys I ever worked with happened to be brothers raised on a farm.  During the six month time I mentored them, they both carried multiple jobs, including the farm, and each worked ninety to a hundred hours a week.  They weren’t looking to outsmart the work.
  • Bias for action. They deliver on their word and aren’t all about planning to do something.  They actual follow through.  They ship.
  • Character. They are true to their word and apologize when they fall short.  They’re not trying to live two, or three, or four, lives.
  • Intelligence. They can think on their feet, whether well-educated or not.

There are other value indicators.  Add some of your own. What kinds of qualities other than these do you find motivates you to invest in another?

Now, what are indicators of weak value in those into whom you intend to pour your life and learning?

  • Liars.  No brainer.  If they have trouble telling the truth, your investment is already at risk.  Your name is attached.  Bill Hybels, minister of a very large church in suburban Chicago, says that if you find someone on your staff who plays fast and loose with the truth, “Fire them.  Fire them immediately.  Fire them.”
  • Lack of initiative. A former colleague and I had a discussion many times over the question, “Can you really motivate someone who will not motivate themselves, is not a self-starter?”  We both concluded, having managed lots of people over the years, that you can’t.
  • Sloppy communication habits. I once lived in a region where someone in business could make a ton of money simply by answering their emails and phones and text messages promptly.  A common attitude with a lot of business people who live in the area is less than diligent about this. There are some forms of financial want that are avoidable.  This is one of them.  If people are slipshod about basic courtesy and good business sense in the matter of prompt response, move on.  Your time is too valuable.  If you’re in business with them, you’ll go broke.

There are other signs of potentially poor investments.  What are some you can name?

There is a place for charity and for giving people a second chance.  This post is not about that.  The market goes up and down and people have good days and bad.  This is about well-established habits of engagement with life.

Invest carefully.

 

Recommended Resources:

A Game Plan for Life: The Power of Mentoring (John Wooden & Don Yaeger)

Mentoring 101 (John C. Maxwell)

Tuesdays with Morrie: An Old Man, a Young Man, and Life’s Greatest Lesson (Mitch Albom)

 

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Marry Well! (You Won’t Regret It)

10 09 2013

Photo1The title for this post is not original.  It’s from Bill Hybels’ outstanding book Making Life Work.  Were someone to ask of me advice about what it takes to have a happy life, one of the first things I’d tell them is this: Marry well.  You’ve no idea the wonder and joy that follows on such a decision.  Nor the incredible sorrow that follows when you marry poorly.

(Sweetheart, if he’s a bum now, he’ll probably be a bum long after you marry him.  Dude, if she’s a diva now, chances are diva will grow into a monster.  Avoid.  Like the plague.)

I’ve made plenty of mistakes in life.  Most of the unhappiness I’ve ever experienced was a product of my own skill at doing stupid things.  But one thing I did, with God’s help and goodness, was marry well.

When writing about home and marriage years ago, Michael Card penned the memorable line “that half of your heart that somebody else treasures, the one who’s your forever friend.”  The song aptly titled “Home.”

Boy, that sums it up nicely.

When choosing someone to spend your life with, there are few things more comforting than knowing the one who cares about you at your best  and worst.  Who picks you up and puts you back together again when life crushes you.  Who is there in the dark with words of encouragement and sunshine.  And forgiveness.

In today’s sexually-charged culture, it seems that the friendship factor in choosing one’s spouse is given short shrift.  Those who’ve been married for years will tell you that feelings and romance can ebb and flow.  Eros is capricious if nothing else.  But being married to your soul mate, your best friend can carry you through things nothing else can.

Here’s to the one I love and will grow old with.  The one I dream and pal around with.  The one I’d rather be with more than any other person on Earth.

Kath….





I LIKE Bill Hybels. Here’s Why.

26 08 2012

“Leadership in church is one of the biggest challenges that the Church is facing because without strong leadership, the church rarely lives out its redemptive potentials.” (Bill Hybels)

I have been a student and disciple of Bill Hybels for many years.  There’s a reason for this.  To be sure, Bill has been the brunt of a lot of criticism for his church—Willow Creek Community Church of North Barrington, IL—and their “seeker sensitive” approach to guiding irreligious people to become fully devoted followers of Christ.  At times I criticized Bill for what I thought his approach to seeker-sensitivity meant.  I was way off mark.  I regret that now.

Here are some things I’ve learned from Bill:

  • It was Bill who turned me on to the concept of delayed gratification and the writings of M. Scott Peck, chiefly The Road Less Traveled.
  • Bill has exemplified, year in and year out, the concept of the disciplined life.  He runs religiously, now in his mid fifties.  He applies the same discipline to journaling, sermon preparation, budgeting and time management.
  • He is a man of heart.  You only have to watch or listen to him but a little to realize that, though he doesn’t take himself too seriously, he takes lost and hurting people very seriously.
  • Bill, more than any evangelical leader of his stature (his church numbers north of 20K), realizes it is not about him and really eschews the whole self-promotion toxin that comprises so much of American public life.
  • Bill is intensely practical, a man’s man and down-to-earth.  I like that.  A lot.
  • He has a summer residence in South Haven, MI–a town I lived in from 1967-69.  He has that same kinship for the eastern shore of Lake Michigan as did my family.

Check out his books.  They are down-to-earth and well-written.  Among my favorites are Courageous Leadership and Honest to God?

Don’t waste your time with the critics.  Go to the source.  Read Bill.  You’ll be all the better for it.

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Marry Well (I Was Blessed To)

20 05 2012

The title for this post is not original.  It’s from Bill Hybels’ outstanding book Making Life Work.  Were someone to ask of me advice about what it takes to have a happy life, one of the first things I’d tell them is this: Marry well.  You’ve no idea the wonder and joy that follows on such a decision.  Nor the incredible sorrow that follows when you marry poorly.

(Sweetheart, if he’s a bum now, he’ll probably be a bum long after you marry him.  Dude, if she’s a diva now, chances are diva will grow into a monster.  Avoid.  Like the plague.)

I’ve made plenty of mistakes in life.  Most of the unhappiness I’ve ever experienced was a product of my own skill at doing stupid things.  But one thing I did, with God’s help and goodness, was marry well.

When writing about home and marriage years ago, Michael Card penned the memorable line “that half of your heart that somebody else treasures, the one who’s your forever friend.”  The song aptly titled “Home.”

Boy, that sums it up nicely.

When choosing someone to spend your life with, there are few things more comforting than knowing the one who cares about you at your best  and worst.  Who picks you up and puts you back together again when life crushes you.  Who is there in the dark with words of encouragement and sunshine.  And forgiveness.

In today’s sexually-charged culture, it seems that the friendship factor in choosing one’s spouse is given short shrift.  Those who’ve been married for years will tell you that feelings and romance can ebb and flow.  Eros is capricious if nothing else.  But being married to your soul mate, your best friend can carry you through things nothing else can.

Here’s to the one I love and will grow old with.  The one I dream and pal around with.  The one I’d rather be with more than any other person on Earth.

Kath….





Hobbies

18 04 2012

Bill Hybels, pastor of Willow Creek Community Church in suburban Chicago—one of the nation’s largest, recalls a time in the late 1980’s when the church was experiencing unbelievable growth.  This growth taxed him and his staff in a big way.

Eventually Bill reached a breaking point.  Burned out.   Letting fly on his colleagues in an unprofessional and inexcusable way.  He needed help.

He’d been urged by friends to get counseling.  Ego caused him to balk at this until he could take no more.  He went to a counselor.

One of the first questions his counselor asked was, “Bill, what do you do for relaxation?”

“That’s easy.  Nothing.”

“This has to change.”

He urged Bill to find an outlet.  Recreation.

A hobby.

As a younger man, Bill loved sailing.  But, worried about the disapproval of parishioners, he didn’t pursue it.  What will people think if their pastor buys a sailboat?

He decided to let the critics think what they may and bought an old sailboat.  He remodeled it and made it seaworthy.  Then he formed a sailing team and entered regattas.

It has been a godsend for him and he’s had the time of his life.

Everyone needs a hobby.  I’m a musician and an audiophile, so mine happens to be collecting records.  33&1/3 vinyl albums.  The sound is better.  The artwork is outstanding.  And I can get treasures on the cheap.  It is quintessentially cool.

I’ve just begun a rather long vacation, the longest in years.  I plan to indulge my hobby as I hit thrift stores and some record stores as well.  I have a few in my sights (“From Genesis to Revelation” by Genesis and “The Geese and the Ghost” by Anthony Phillips).  It is an adventure.  Recent acquisitions: “Dreamboat Annie” by Heart and “The Rose” Original Soundtrack to the Motion Picture

How do you relax?  Tell us about your hobbies.

Enjoy!

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Tolle Lege (Take Up and Read)

6 11 2011

I frequently ask people I meet as well as friends, “What are you reading these days?”  Today I’m spotlighting five books that really gripped me over the past few years.  I hope you’ll enjoy these as well.

How To Think Like Leonardo da Vinci (Michael Gelb) – Easily the most fascinating book I’ve read in ten years. Da Vinci, the quintessential renaissance man, is analyzed by Michael Gelb.  Gelb has boiled down the secrets to Leonardo’s genius in seven approaches to viewing and experiencing life and the world you live in.  Full of prints from Leonardo’s journals and lots of practical exercises.  Buy this if nothing else.  Very cool.

The Road Less Traveled (M. Scott Peck) – The opening sentence of this book is “Life is difficult” which lets you know where he’s headed.  Written in the late ‘70’s, this has become something of a modern classic.  A psychotherapist, Peck forces you to ask tough questions of yourself.  His insights on delayed gratification alone are worth the price of the book and if you’ve read anything by Bill Hybels, you’ll see that Peck’s shadow looms large.  This book really changed my life.  I’ve told people I wish I’d read this thirty years ago.

Father Elijah: An Apocalypse (Michael O’Brien) – Stunning.  Not a zombie apocalypse, “we’re-all-gonna-die” work.  The plot deals with an antichrist figure.  This novel betrays a profound understanding of human nature.  The chapters dealing with Elijah’s redemptive dealings with the befouled Count Smokrev are shattering.  You will come away from this book with hope in a forgiving Creator revealed in Him who was impaled on a tree for your sins.  Visit Michael O’Brien’s website (he’s an artist first)—there’s more.  http://www.studiobrien.com/

Making Records: The Stories Behind the Music (Phil Ramone) – Grammy Award-winning producer and engineer Phil Ramone shares secrets and anecdotes from a career of making popular music.  He’s worked with everyone from Sinatra to Billy Joel to Barbra Streisand. This book is not a dish book.  You won’t find juicy, behind-the-scenes stories from the lives of those he produced.  Instead you will learn a lot about the craft of making fine records.  Loved this book.

The Little Flowers of St. Francis (translated by Raphael Brown).  This is a classic, written some seven hundred years ago.  Francis of Assisi was a remarkable, Spirit-empowered follower of Christ.  Rejecting wealth, he started a move of reform in the Church of His day.  Miracles were a regular occurrence in the lives of him and his friars.  This is a book of amazing stories from his and others lives.  My kind of saint.

Enjoy!