We come into the world as a human being, but then once we grow up, we turn into a human doing.
There’s truth to that. We feel the truth of it because we’re living it. Seeing it. You don’t have to look very far. Maybe no further than the mirror.
Our work world easily mutates until it becomes outsized. And we risk losing touch with our human nature. We get busy. Really busy. In fact, insanely busy. Running from one thing to the next. Creating long lists of things that must be done…if only we could find the stinking list again! And while we’re at it, we’d like to find the missing Costco card and mailbox key (both currently lost in our house). (more…)
In preparing for a national radio show this summer (7/23/13 program), the host explained what he wanted to cover with me. He was curious how I went from a career in full-time church-based youth ministry to an award-winning career as a field leader in the financial services industry.
Simple. Being in ministry put us in debt.
Don’t get me wrong. Being in ministry was very rewarding…and challenging. In part, because we always made so little.
Between my eight years (full-time) and my wife’s seven years, we were financially stressed. Very stressed.
I knew people in sales, especially in financial sales, like investments and insurance. It was all too clear that they were doing better financially than we were. When I debated whether I could be successful in that industry, I recognized that sales people need “people skills” and the ability to connect with others about matters of the heart. Since that is an essential skill in ministry, I believed that it could be a 2nd career path that I’d find both successful and meaningful. In fact, it ended up feeling as much a ministry as actually working within a church building.
The Trouble With Money
As a leader in a national financial planning firm, I saw a common thread in how people interacted with their money…how they felt about it…how they reacted to it.
“Trouble with money”—whether it’s our attitude about it or our behaviors with it—causes people a lot of stress. A nearly universal experience was that people didn’t feel like they ever had enough money. This wasn’t about greed, but about fear.
When Fear Comes To Town
Kara was 85 years old and widowed for many years. Her lifestyle was very comfortable. She was in extraordinarily good health. She had more than a half-million dollars in liquid assets. And she was very worried about what would happen if her health failed. She didn’t want to be a burden to her two adult kids, even though they were very successful in their own right. But Kara wanted to be sure that even an extreme long-term care event wouldn’t derail anyone in the family, financially. So, I completed a financial plan for her and was able to definitively show her she’d be fine; they’d be fine.
Ron was a depressed 57-year old when I met him. He’d lost over 50% of his retirement assets (401k plan at a major company) during the dot.com crash of 2000-2002. Because of the drop in his net worth, Ron concluded he’d need to keep working until he was at least 70. His goal of full-time fishing at age 60 was gone. Why?
He’d come to believe that because his 401(k) had reached $750,000, that he therefore needed $750,000 to retire.
Just because that’s how big the number on his statement got to before falling. When we completed a financial plan, we discovered that—based on his desired lifestyle needs and retirement goals—he only needed that value to be about $350,000, at age 60. He still had three more years to work and save…and his “shrunken” 401(k) was more than that. This news completely changed his outlook and empowered him to move forward with his original goal for retirement.
Before taking any steps, you need to get a clear picture of where your path is going. We need to work at rejecting fear in our lives. In the next blog, we’ll look at practical steps for healthy responses to money.
Engage here. What’s your experience with money? How about those around you? If you haven’t yet, download our free guide, Reclaim Your Purpose.
Actually, it sort of is, since dance is about balance and form. The essential key to getting a handle on your business success, let alone success in life, is this:
It’s not about better “time-management”— it’s about better “me-management”
Sure, there are lots of resources out there to help you with time-management or, better and more realistic, priority-management. Really, we all get the same 168 hours in a week. But clearly, some people get way more done in those 168 hours than others. They often wind up as entrepreneurs. That’s great and all. But it is still a challenge for even many of them to find their rhythm.
Rhythm is found in simplicity…
Embrace the basics—really embrace them—to find your rhythm. As you read the list of six steps below, you might feel annoyed with me. How could I state things so plain and obvious? Because we all tend to over-complicate things. We look for gimmicks. Seek the latest technique. Purchase the newest gizmo. Even though we know, deep down, we’re deferring to someone else to help us conquer…us.
So put your judgment on a shelf for a moment and see if these steps for finding your rhythm don’t resonate as simple, true…and challenging.
Rhythm’s Form in Six Steps:
Wake-Up Water! Our bodies are made up of roughly 60% water. When we sleep we’re effectively in a desert for 6, 7, 8 hours. That’s why it’s imperative to drink 16 ounces of water when we get up. And that’s just to get you started well. If you wait to drink until you are thirsty, you waited too long. Drink more water. Your body will thank you and you will be more productive. So will your mind. Much more productive.
Beat Back Your Inner Zombie! Most of us are sleep-deprived. We wander around like zombies in the morning—or all day! It will take time to discover your optimal sleep period. Two things that will immediately help you are turning down the lights in your house an hour before bed and turning off all screens, too. Do not sleep with your phone.
Eat Less, Often! Take your typical 3 meals and break them into smaller amounts, for five or six food breaks per day. Strive for fresh. Reduce the wrappers.
More Mood Food! Increase your mental calorie intake: read (books, magazines), listen (podcasts, webinars) and engage (mastermind groups, affiliation network). Check our recommended resources for a sampler of books. A great magazine is SUCCESS, which includes an awesome bonus audio CD (2 sources of mood food in one place!).
Time-Block! Focus on one thing. Multitasking actually makes you stupid. In fact, more stupid than if you were smoking marijuana! So, it is an illusion–a closely-held-by-too-many-people-illusion–that you can seamlessly move from one interruption to another, while simultaneously making significant progress toward your primary goals for the day. A tool that I find extremely useful is the FocusBooster. It’s free and brilliant at helping me stay on task, while also making sure I take enough breaks throughout the day to remain fresh.
Cast Out Time-Demons! The worst time-demon: email. My recommendation: limit your email time-blocks to first thing in the morning and the end of the day. Next? Interruptions. Limit them as much as you can. Close the door, if you can. Limit your access. You really can’t afford not to.
These six steps will help you get better at your own personal “me-management” rhythm. I know, because they work for me and the people I currently work with, and those I have helped in the past. While the steps on the list are pretty simple, even obvious, they are not easy. Changing habits takes time. That’s OK. It’s worth every bit of effort at finding your rhythm. Don’t forget:
A hipster poseur is someone who pretends. Someone who poses. Someone who wants to fit in. We all saw them in school. Some of us were them. Or at least we wanted to be.
In youth ministry, it is not uncommon to bump into hipster poseurs. They can be fledglings just starting their ministry career. They can be old farts who know better. In either case, it’s sad and just so unneccesary.
You don’t have to be young and hip to be a good youth minister. If you are young, you will be inexperienced, though. However, it is common that someone entering into a youth ministry career is, arguably, still a youth. Makes sense, in may respects. In others, not so much.
On one hand, the fresh-faced youth minister might feel unworthy. Perhaps over his head. Even inclined to grovel (think Wayne and Garth…even Moses). But at the same time, she may be agitated that some of the people she serves don’t recognize her amazing abilities. They may even question the validity of her calling to ministry. That’s tension. Push, pull.
No Harm, No Foul, No Curse
But think about it. There’s tension for the older youth minister, too. They’re the weary veteran of days of phone calls, months worth of retreats, years of lock-ins. They’ve got mileage on their youth ministry chassis. It’s left a mark. Some rust is showing in the wheel wells, if you follow me. My dear friend, Roger, loves doing youth ministry and is SO tired of lock-ins.
What’s unique to the young and inexperienced youth minister is that they’re young and inexperienced. Not just in youth ministry, but in life. That’s usually where the sense of inadequacy and unworthiness comes from. It’s the soil in which their insecurity grows. The more experienced youth minister really has been there, done that. Like all of us, the older youth minister is every age they’ve ever been. Hopefully along the way they’ve catalogued some insights and perspective that the newbie just can’t bring to the table. Yet…
The Dilemma of Age
So, is there an optimal age for a youth minister?
The age you happen to be at this very moment.
Engage here. What are your thoughts? More importantly, what’s your experience of age within the realm of youth ministry?
Last time we looked at Balaam, a guy quite full of himself–confident, powerful, internationally famous, a big wheel [see Numbers 22].
In his sphere of influence, Balaam was “The Man.” People didn’t just come to see him from miles around, but from countries around. For his guidance and wisdom, he was a power broker in the realm of kings and rulers.
He was also arrogant, no doubt because he was so highly respected and sought after.
So when God wanted to convey His wish to Balaam, the man couldn’t get the message. Not until God empowered Balaam’s abused donkey to literally speak and confront his master.
There’s a lot we can learn from Balaam. In every sermon, speech or presentation that I’ve heard him invoked, the general gist is: Don’t be like Balaam! OK, fair enough.
Beware The Working End
But what about the ass, the real ass of the story, Balaam’s donkey? Him we don’t hear preached about, as if there are no lessons to be learned from him. Yet, how often do you, O, Youth Minister, feel as if you’re the donkey? Regrettably, I can count way more churches where the “senior” pastor(s) behaved more like Balaam than they’d ever admit. Leaving the more “junior” Youth Minister to fill in the role of Balaam’s ass.
There’s got to be a better way, but it takes humility and openness on the part of the usually older “senior” minister to hear God’s truth. Of course, if you–the junior member of the team–are called on by God to convey a critical (both in sense of timing and tone) message, then it takes courage and purposefulness. Perhaps even some well-placed umbrage, because you are certainly going to get whacked a few times in the process, just as Balaam’s ass was. Even then, there’s no guarantee that God’s message, whatever it be, will be received. But if you don’t blurt out what needs to be said, then you’ll just look for another church to move to. Or abandon ministry altogether. You must step up and into this.
Don’t sign up for it. But be prepared for it when it comes. It will come.
So, when it does…bray. Bray loud. Like an ass.
Engage here. Too strong? Offensive idea? Or something you can relate to? Is there someone in your life whose very faith was shattered by the need to play the donkey?