Sunday, March 31, 2013

Families Are for Talking

Just talking together as a family is probably what gives me the best of feelings. Just talking is not just talking. It's when I feel our family is a family.

I consider myself privileged having had a family throughout my life. I know wonderful people who do not have a family and who wish they had. My prayer is that they may one day have one.

I also believe I know families who sometimes take family members for granted. This is just as sad as the former group. Maybe I sometimes am guilty of this myself, but I try not to be.

How do we not take our family for granted? In my opinion, the best way to be a family is to speak with one another. Conversation is priceless. Families are for talking.

I have precious memories from family dialogue. With today's hectic lifestyle we might lose track of what really matters. Let's savour those special moments when sharing thoughts and feelings take place.

Caught reading with the kids and I'm glad this picture was taken.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Humility Makes All the Difference

Humility is of the essence. Why? When failure persists, failure fails. But when failure is acknowledged and made up for, failure is success.

So this morning I had a thought I'd like to share...

People love someone who cares, right? At least I do. If my leader is anxiously engaged in me and my welfare, I very much appreciate that. Complacent or indifferent leaders are simply so NOT what we want.

I'm not saying that we need a leader who's "all over us". All I'm saying is, we need leaders who are emotionally invested in our success. Of course, how to passionately lead is highly unique from person to person.

Now, here's the thing. Everyone makes mistakes - leaders included. Except for Jesus, no one is perfect, right? That leads me to my conclusion about what kind of a leader (or person) I want to be:

The Humble Leader Matrix

Consider the matrix above...

Given that everyone sometimes make mistakes - we don't want to, but we do - what really makes the difference must be humility. Why? Because the worst thing must be the fear of doing something wrong and not do anything (or abstain from needed action).

Of course, what we strive to achieve is excellence, which could be for instance a) asking a lot of questions before we execute, b) learn and stick to best practice or 3) double check with a better partner or colleague to assure quality etc. But the sumum bonum of all this is: "Mistakes happen!" And when they do, what is required is a leader that has the heart to invest his or her strength to say "I'm sorry".

Saying "sorry" for real hurts! That's why true leadership implies regular pain. I commit to feel more of that pain. Ya think..!?

Monday, March 18, 2013

Clear Moments

Moments of clarity are valuable stepping stones. The question is: What do you do when you experience them?

Clear moments come to each of us. To some of us more than others. There's much you can do to increase clarity, but that's a different subject, right now.

What do you do when you get a glimpse of the big picture? It may be a project, an important problem at work, a family issue or even a reflection of life itself. The best ideas disappear as quickly as they come.

I'd say, write it down or make a drawing and retain the good stuff as you go. To do so, everyone who's serious about this should have a system to take notes and put it into a smart structure. Not only should we take care of good ideas, we also need to organize them so they're readily available when we need them. And possibly most important of all, that they come back to us when we've forgotten all about them.

This could be the introduction to a lengthy article, but here's what I'll do instead, and it's probably much better than offering specific advice: Make your own system. Decide now how you will be a worthy custodian of inspiration and significant change in your life.

Why? Because it's easy to spot the difference in someone who does and someone who does not. Maybe not for everyone, but the people that can lift you to higher levels; trust me, they know. They know!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

How to Live with My Flaws?

The longer I live the easier I see my flaws. I guess that's life, right?!

By flaws I mean "the stuff I probably won't be able to change", ever. It's the annoying trying traits of me and my person I'll struggle with for the rest of my life. The kind of price my wife, family and friends have to pay just to be around me.

But somehow I've picked up another valuable lesson. Want to hear it..?

When I engage myself in selfless service for others my flaws are almost as it were hidden somewhere in the background. The way I see it, this must be one of life's secrets; focusing on being good to others and losing our ego. That's one of many reasons why I will keep seeking those opportunities to be good to someone - today.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Self Esteem is the Greatest Gift to Children

If life has taught me anything, one valuable lesson must be this: "The greatest gift parents and teachers can give children is a powerful self esteem.

When I see how individuals perform, their productivity levels, the ability to creatively solve problems and the degree to which someone takes initiative when initiative is needed, it almost always comes down to that person's self esteem. Would you agree?

If this is important, the question that really matters could be:
"What behavior has the greatest influence on how we instill self confidence in others?"
I feel deeply sorry for children who grow up in an environment where parents or teachers hurt them for life. What is that one type of behavior that we possibly could change over night that profoundly affects self esteem in others?

The Sum of Small Words ang Signals
What is the sum of what we are saying to our children? Is it "I'm proud of you", "you have valuable talent" and "so happy to be in your presence"? What do we communicate between the lines? In any family, school, company or social setting we can...
...move from negative criticism to positive affirmations
Let's switch from catching people doing something wrong to highlighting the good. Quit criticizing. Stop it! And if we must provide guidance, let's do it lovingly one-on-one.

If the change from negative to positive is hard to make, you know what that means, right? It may be the first indicator of our own suffering self esteem.

Today I'm adding my own mother, Catharina Maria Top, to my List of Great People, because she offered lots of positive affirmation during my upbringing, for which I'll forever be grateful!