So here I am inside of 12 hours before press deadline. Normally, I am well ahead of these articles by now. You see, I really do feel an obligation to deliver something of value in return for your time reading my posts. Therefore, topics must resonate.
On the way home from church, I mentioned to my wife that I was behind the deadline. She said “I have an idea for a topic.”
We all live lives of expectations. As we ponder the massive number of choices that are to be made every day, we usually make the final decision based on some kind of expectation.
When you hear someone has gotten pregnant, what comes to mind? The key word might be expectation. Some say a woman with child is “expecting”. Getting pregnant creates a certain set of expectations. What will it be? How is my life going to change? Will he/she be healthy? what should I name him/her? The list goes on.
Then as those months go by, expectations continue to build. Decisions get made about what will happen at birth, where the baby will sleep, what he/she will wear, and so on and so on.
Life Changing Events
For anyone going through a life changing event, there is a kind of pregnancy happening. You cannot help but start to wonder about the expectation of what is to come.
You need to grab a firm vision of the next chapter of your life. The best approach is to establish a good, solid view of the outcome you hope to achieve. Instead of letting events and circumstances swirl around you, take the time to do a little vision mapping.
Create a mental picture of the outcome you want. Then start creating some forward motion toward the expectation you desire.
At this time of year, people from many walks of life stop to celebrate what some consider the greatest of all expectations. Yes, I am talking about the original Christmas story, the birth of Jesus Christ. This story centers on a pregnancy that launches a swirl of life changing expectations for so many.
This is a story rooted in expectation. As the story goes, for centuries prophets had predicted the coming of a new King. Common people heard that news and began preparations as were customary in those days when a new king was coming.
Certain characters in the story got personal and private visits from angels proclaiming what their roles were going to be. Imagine yourself getting a visit from some other-worldly being telling you something about your immediate future. How would you handle that? What would your expectations become?
However, what makes this story so special is the chief list of expectations that told of what this new King would do for His people.
There would be peace
There would be protection
There would be healing
There would be provision
There would be love
And BEST of all there would be HOPE
Wow, talk about expectations. Being able to live in a world with those kinds of promises is truly the greatest of all expectations.
I have no way of knowing the circumstances you are facing right this moment. The year of 2015 may have been great for you or maybe it was not so great. Maybe the outlook for 2016 seems like just more of the same.
Peace and Hope
My prayer for you is that you may find peace and hope this season. Reflect upon the greatest of stories told. Take a look and see if you can relate to one of the characters in that story (there are many from which to choose). I believe you may find just the right person with whom you can relate. Then hold onto the promises that are told.
I truly believe you will find the New Year of 2016 to be a year of new expectations.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
[reminder]Share your expectations for 2016. [/reminder]
For many years I worked as a banker in real estate. My clients were hugely successful commercial developers and/or residential mortgage groups. To make a good banking loan, you have to be focused on the property that is being financed. The property becomes the primary collateral for the loan. The borrower must work to maintain the value of that property as long as the loan is in force.
In real estate there are ever-present forces, almost gravity-like, that work to decay the property and erode its value as soon as it opens. Here are just a few of the chief concerns:
The weather beats down; sun, wind, cold, heat, rain, storms
Tenants/occupants can tear up the place
Natural wear and tear, so upkeep is required
Vandalism; people stealing equipment, fixtures, and trim
Managers face a constant struggle to improve communication within their work teams. Besides being able to accurately articulate any technical aspects about the work (every industry has its key phrases, terms, and buzz words), business leaders have to be ever-mindful of some very basic principles of effective communication.
We usually think about communication as a two part/two person transaction. You speak, I speak, we hear and we act. This is the way most adults perceive the process of communication. When we need to talk to our teams, we usually just think about crafting a message as though it is being addressed to one person.
When I was a kid, we actually played with the old tin cans connected by string. By pulling the string tight between the cans, you could use them as a low grade telephone to talk to your friends. The science was that sound waves which could be transmitted down the string to the other can. Simple, cheap, and very low tech. [Ok, so yes, I am dating myself]
Recently I was reading an article about a new technology start-up called Slack Technologies. The founder and CEO, Stewart Butterfield, was inspired by this tin can model to name the company. ‘Slack’ became the ‘backronym’ (Butterfield’s words) to name a technology that can improve team collaboration and communication. Since its inception, Slack has become widely used by over 90,000 companies as their internal platform for communication. The roll call of those companies is impressive; including NASA, Intuit, HBO, and Salesforce. (See FastCompany Dec.2015 edition)
Butterfield has stated that ‘slack’, as a commodity, is necessary to alleviate the tensions in the work world. Most of us run our business days pretty tightly extended from task to task. We need periods of slack to help unwind and rejuvenate. With the tin cans, letting the string go slack meant the sound could no longer travel.
I like this concept of creating slack in our busy lives. No one can run at full tension all of the time. We have to give ourselves some ‘slack’.
[shareable cite=”Doug Thorpe”]People looking for better work-life balance actually need some slack times. [/shareable]
All of my clients define slack in their own way. Some resort to physical activity like going to the gym or riding a mountain bike. Others rely upon meditation or yoga.
I suggest to you slack needs to include a good measure of absolute quiet time. Taking the moments to stop everything, release all of the tension in the string. Just let everything drop slack for a little bit of time. You can use the quiet to silently reflect, meditate, concentrate, pray, think, or whatever your mind may need. The idea is to allow time to let all of the pressures and tensions surrounding you go silent for a brief time.
Give yourself some slack. Make slack become a part of your day to better energize you for the times when you must be fully engaged and on task.
[reminder]Share your thoughts and comments on ways you build slack into the day.[/reminder]
Here are two stories to compare about work-life balance. Both people are young, aspiring adults who are facing the usual life challenges with work, family, and personal expectations.
The first person I will introduce is Kenneth (name changed to protect the innocent). He and his wife have decided that their definition of work-life balance includes a very strict workday for William; in the office at 8:00 and out at 5:00. If the boss has an issue or the last minute request, too bad.
“I’ve got to get home” is what William will say. “Weekend work is out of the question.”