The gift of Lent

Lent I

I have to admit that my feelings about Lent ebb and flow. I see it’s value and I have no particular reason to deny its validity as something that benefits Christ’s church. At the same time, it does become such a production for many people. In places discussions of Lenten disciplines can be as regular as discussions about New Year’s resolutions.

During our corporate confession today a member pointed us to Olympic commentators. When we watch Olympic sports, we see what’s happening but we don’t always see clearly. We might watch someone perform a move and be wowed by it. The commentators, trained as they are, often seen not only the move but the small imperfections that cause points to be deducted from a perfect score.

Just as we don’t often see sport performances with absolutely clarity, it is also quite difficult to see our own lives with any degree of clarity.  After all, where’ in the midst of the game and its hard to call timeout and climb up to the box and looking at our lives like the coaching staff of a football team.

Lent gives us the chance to make space to do just that. To stop, pause, call timeout on our lives. And to ask ourselves the question: how goes it with my soul?

Don’t miss the chance to do some soul work–take the gift of Lent and let meet Christ in it.

 

Free productivity resources

Productive Flourishing has some really great free productivity resources that I wanted to share with you.

As a marketing manager I juggle a large number of projects from recently-published books and forthcoming books to social media curation and conference management.

Several of their free productivity pages have been super helpful. You can download them here.

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One of the most helpful pages is the individual project planner sheet. I attach one of these to every project folder I have and use it to track next actions. I then review projects weekly to ensure that I’m staying current on each project.

your most valuable commodity

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I once had an evening meeting.

It started not too long after the close of business so I decided to work until the meeting, attend it, and then go home for dinner afterwards.

Bad idea.

As younger guy I might have been able to handle it. As a middle-aged guy, however, my body rebelled.

The meeting was intense. We were discussing important issues. Stress levels were up. Emotions were running high.

My energy level and my emotional reservoir was empty.

In the midst of the meeting, I momentarily lost it.

Nothing bad. No violence. No one was hurt.

I yelled at someone. Most people don’t like that. I know I don’t.

 

The truth is that I tried to manage my to do list by working late when I should have managed my energy level.

I should have had some protein.

I should have gone to the gym or for a walk.

If you succeed in doing more, but do it like a bull in a china shop…that’s not really a win.

Choose to manage your energy first–it’ll free you to make better decisions in other areas of life and work.

Suggested resources:

“Manage your energy, not your time”  in Harvard Business Review (2007).

The Power of Full Engagement (2005)

Make the change

Change requires energy.

Everything is new or close to it.

There’s a learning curve. And while that curve is steep–which isn’t forever–it takes brainpower and emotional energy to successfully get to the top.

The thing is: while change is depleting its opposite is fossilizing.

There’s nothing easier than doing the same old same old.

When the chance comes to change–whether voluntarily or through providence–take it!

 

Reject personas

One of the easiest things for writers to do is to fixate on image. We ask ourselves: what personal narrative can I attach to myself in order to be more marketable. It makes sense, that’s what politicians do all the time.

The problem is that writing isn’t like getting elected. Incidentally, getting elected isn’t like governing.

Unless you do the careful work to write from the inside out–that is to write from your deepest self rather than allowing fads, image, and trends to shape what you write–you’ll end up a washed up, burnt out sophist.

If you spend your time asking and delivering what the crowd wants, before long that’s all you’ll care about.

And when that happens, you’re doomed.