Tag Archives: Feedback

5 Friday Faves – Joni’s 50 Years of Quadriplegia, Lord of the Rings Guitar Cover, a Low-Carb Surprise, Blindspots, and Taking Responsibility

Friday! This time of year, it’s squeezing out those last vacation days before school starts again (after Labor Day in Virginia). Many of our friends in other states have already shut down their summer as kids  returned to school this week. Can’t you just smell the fragrance of new school supplies? For us here, it’s still making hot August day memories with little guys.

While you finish your cup of coffee or break from work, let’s get down to this week’s Friday Faves.

1) Joni’s 50 Years of Quadriplegia – A woman who has taught me much about living through hardship with grace is Joni Eareckson Tada. She is a writer, speaker, artist and advocate for persons with disabilities. More central than all of that is her deep faith and dependence on God…especially in the 50 years since a diving accident, at 17 years old, put her in a wheelchair for life. I discovered her through an old feature film and her autobiography – Joni: An Unforgettable Story. The testament of her life points always to a God who gave her the grace to “count quadriplegia joy“. She is an amazing woman empowered with His love and that of those by her side, especially her husband, Ken Tada.Photo Credit: Joni and Friends

In Awe of Her God – Joni’s Fifty Years of Counting Quadriplegia Joy

Reflections on the 50th Anniversary of My Diving Accident – Joni Eareckson Tada

Joni and Friends

2) Lord of the Rings Guitar Cover – One of the feature films with the greatest impact on our family is The Lord of the Rings Trilogy. The stories are gripping; the heroes are the stuff of legend; the villains are loathsome; the music is spectacular. Nathan Mills, Beyond the Guitar, has finally given us an arrangement of one of the great themes: Riders of Rohan from The Two Towers (second film of the trilogy). You can hear the theme in context with the story here (music rises after minute 5).

Nathan’s arrangement is here…and all us LOTR fans loved it (126,000 views and counting).

3) A Low-Carb Surprise – Earlier this week, we had a big supper with friends. A regular event where we take turns bringing food to share. This amazing cook in the bunch made loaded mashed potatoes. Having just finished a sugar detox, I have minimized carbs in my diet for over a month. Those mashed potatoes were so yummy. Not really ready to dive into unrestricted carb eating, I’ve been doing something very different (and appalling for me). Substituting cauliflower for potatoes and rice. Here’s the surprise. I’m shocked to confess that cauliflower is actually good…enough. With a lighter carb load and other nutritious qualities as well. Last night I made Shepherd’s Pie with a cauliflower topping. I don’t food-process the cauliflower; just steam it and then either mash it or crush it a bit with a fork (to use as rice).Cauliflower takes on the flavors added to it. Just as with mashed potatoes, butter and a bit of milk completed the substitution. Cheese on top and…hello!

Still…the next time it’s my friend’s turn to cook, that mashed-potato queen, I will not be slow to take my serving. Low carbs, not no carbs.

YouTube Video – This Is Why Eating Healthy Is So Hard (Time Travel Dietician)

4) Blind Spots – Life coach and writer Martha Beck defines blind spots as psychological “aspects of our personality that are obvious to everyone but ourselves“. She even prescribes a way to discover them.

“I know how valuable honest feedback can be, how much precious time it can save in my struggle to awaken. I still have to force myself to go looking for it, but when I do I almost always benefit.

Try this: For a week, ask for blind-spot feedback from one person a day, never asking the same person twice. Just say it: “Is there anything about me that I don’t seem to see but is obvious to you?” You’ll probably want to start with your nearest and dearest, but don’t stop there. Surprisingly, a group of relative strangers is often the best mirror you can find. I’ve worked with many groups of people who, just minutes after meeting, could offer one another powerful insights. Like the emperor in his new clothes, we often believe that our illusions are confirmed by the silence of people who are simply too polite to mention the obvious. Breaking the courtesy barrier by asking for the truth can change your life faster than anything else I’ve ever experienced.”Martha Beck

As hard as negative feedback is to stomach, it is a great help to avoid continued odd responses from people or the distancing that can happen when our blind spots get in the way of intimacy and care in relationships.Photo Credit: Vimeo

Now blind spots and “buttons” are different and yet connected. Buttons – those things people do that make us crazy – actually point to some of our blind spots in the way we respond to people pushing those buttons.

For instance, one of my buttons is when someone treats me like I’m stupid, or gullible. Like when a person tries to help me understand a decision he/she has made as if it’s a good thing when I know, and he/she knows, it’s not necessarily a good thing for me. This sort of thing makes me really burn (standing in the need of prayer here). OK…that’s a button, but my response reveals a blind spot. My blind spot is that if I take a stand in some area then it means that I am totally right in that stand. Sort of the same as the button but from a different direction, you know what I’m saying? It’s helpful to know our blind spots and our buttons so we can work out ways of being more honest and honoring in our communications.

What do you think?

Seeing Your Emotional Blind Spots – Martha Beck

What’s Your Blind Spot – Jane Taylor

6 Career Derailing Blind Spots and How to Overcome Them

How Successful People Cure Their Blind Spots – Kevin Kruse

How to Watch Out for Blind Spots in Your Leadership – Lolly Daskal

5) Taking Responsibility – You may be starting to expect in pretty much every Friday Faves that you’ll see a guitar arrangement by Beyond the Guitar and a life hack by Benjamin Hardy. You could be right. This week, Hardy posted an article on taking responsibility – What Happens When You Take Full Responsibility of Your LifePhoto Credit: Lakenheath

He talks about the hazards of indecision. Taking responsibility for our lives means to make decisions based on where you are and where you want to be at some future time. Life isn’t meant to happen haphazardly. Yet, because of our fear of failure or insecurity about making good decisions, we default to not making the decision. Then we languish in our current situation, losing ground even…rather than taking hold of our life and moving it in the direction we believe it’s meant to go.

Commitments are important to make and to keep. When we commit to something publicly, we have even more impetus to do what we’ve said we will do. This isn’t shaming or guilting…this is operating as a mature and responsible individual. These kinds of commitments also grease the tracks for success in that expressed decision.

Making a commitment means you’re seeing it through to the end. It means you’re leaving yourself no escape routes. You’re burning any bridges that might lead to lesser paths of distraction. Your decision has been made. There’s no going back. You’ve passed your point of no return.

Where decisions are made in a single moment, commitment is seeing those decisions into the future. Especially when life gets difficult. – Benjamin Hardy

A friend made the statement “You fake it until you make it.” I’ve heard that spoken before but never by her. “Faking it” is something that doesn’t fit this incredibly wise and reasoned woman. What she further explained though brought the meaning. So what if we aren’t sure of ourselves in the decision. What if our desire is to commit to something but we aren’t sure we can actually follow-through. Then we “fake it”, or really, in her further explanation – “You walk the talk until the talk becomes your walk”.  Make the decision; execute the decision.

Make the decision you want to. Eventually, you grow into that decision through your commitment and personal resolve. Your goals are something you grow into.

This isn’t faking anything.

It’s living with intention.

It’s living with definiteness of purpose.

So what’s the challenge?

Publicly commit to something to TODAY.Benjamin Hardy

Thanks again, Benjamin Hardy…and Nathan Mills…and all of you have a safe and restful weekend. Live with intentionality, and be kind to yourselves. That kindness will splash out on others.

5 Friday Faves – On Studying Your Spouse, Aging, Taking Criticism, Daily Routines, & Black History Month

Blog - Friday Faves

Hello, Friday. I don’t know about you but this has been a week of highs and lows in this world of mine. Hard news in some situations washed over by exquisite answers to prayer in other situations. As happens often with God, in the quiet of this morning, a favorite, heart-lifting passage in the Bible came up in my reading.

“You will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You. Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord God is an everlasting rock.”Isaiah 26:3-4

Even the Bible verses atop my facing journal pages this morning were like an anthem from God that all will be well. “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give you.”John 14:27 and “My times are in Your hands, Lord.”Psalm 31:15

With that intro to welcoming Friday this week, here are five of my favorite finds – all from the internet this week, although I did have a lot of sweetness in the real, as well.

1) Studying Your Spouse – Michael Hyatt welcomed Jackie Bledsoe as guest blogger on his website this week. Bledsoe writes very winsomely about how he learned to study his wife. He talks about how we, too often, think we know enough (relating to any field of study and work, ministry, marriage and family). Regarding his marriage, he observed: “We were both growing, just not together. My interests were changing and my wife, Stephana, didn’t always notice. Stephana’s needs were changing, but I was oblivious to them. Finally, we reached a point where we felt we didn’t really know each other. That was a scary discovery, one that you may be able to relate to. You may know the ins and outs of your business or ministry like nobody else. But maybe you don’t know the ins and outs of your spouse like nobody else. It may be time for you to enroll in the continuing education about your spouse.” Bledsoe lists 3 ways to get an advanced degree in your spouse: 1) Do new things together; 2) Take notes: and 3) Use your calendar. Read more here.Blog - Friday Faves - Marriage - DaddyshangoutPhoto Credit: Daddy’s Hangout

2) Aging – a Video – I came across a video this week that really got me thinking about how I view aging. It is entitled The Wall. It is the work of Aroha Philanthropies, an organization “devoted to the transformative power of the arts and creativity, inspiring vitality in those over 55, joy in children and youth, and humanity in adults with mental illness”. Blog - Aging - ioagingPhoto Credit: IoAging.org

The video begins with two elderly persons looking at the imposing face of a wall filled with the words that terrify most of us about getting older. Then as the video progresses, the images change to  more engaging and lovely words that depict what can be part of our experience moving from youth to mid-life to older life. Through creativity and the arts from childhood throughout our years, we might see a very different future, with growing older being our “encore years”. Something to think about for all of us…and especially for our young creatives – to see these “old ones” as valuable peers…just a bit farther down the same road.

3) Taking Criticism – Dan Cumberland, writer and photographer in Seattle, Washington, writes about responding to a scathing comment he received once on one of his blogs. Complete with foul offensive language. In his article This Guy Really Hates Me (How to Take Criticism). In his post, he lists 5 guidelines of how to handle criticism:

1) Is there truth in it?; 2) Is it affirmed by others?; 3) Is the source credible?; 4) What are the source’s motives?; and 5) What can I learn here? Then Dan talked about how he dealt with his critic.

We all receive criticism and also, if we’re honest, dole it out ourselves. Hear Dan’s counsel: “When you receive criticism and negative feedback there’s a needed balance. Don’t write it off, but also be careful not to let it bring you down too much. Work to find the truth. When you don’t understand, ask for clarification.”

When we are offered criticism, take it – as a gift. Do with it what is helpful. Don’t fall into the trap of returning harm for what you perceived as harmful. You want to be better than that.Blog - Taking Criticism - Feedback - quotesgramPhoto Credit: Quotesgram

4) Daily Routines Maria Popova, of Brain Pickings, wrote a fascinating post on Mozart’s Daily Routine – How a day is composed in the hours between sleep o’clock and symphony o’clock. Routines are a great help for me to organize life and truly accomplish what I hope to accomplish. I’ve written on routines, habit change, and productivity previously. Popova’s article (and others she linked in her post) offers a glimpse into the daily life of greatness. It was inspiring and refreshing. Early in Mozart’s life, he went without employment but maintained deep discipline in his composing of music. Later, as his popularity rose, he compromised his sleep in order to continue writing. Mozart’s life was legend for unhealthy choices, and he struggled at times with deep depression. The lesson for us is in a daily routine that helped him, whether poor or privileged, to produce magnificent music that continues timeless in its beauty.

Blog - Daily Routines Photo Credit: Tito Goldstein

5) Black History Month – Phillip Holmes wrote a great piece, on Black History Month, for Desiring God. It is entitled More Tough Skin and Tender Hearts – How to Prepare for Conversations on Ethnic Harmony. He talks in a frank and loving manner about evangelicalism and ethnic harmony. Holmes urges us to have real conversations across races and ideologies, rather than white-with-white (or black-with-black) discussion with those already in agreement with us. If we wrestle with the struggle, across racial, religious, and political lines, we might actually come to a place of true reconciliation.

I want to have the kinds of conversations he encourages: “As we engage in complicated conversations about racism, be sober-minded rather than drunk with hatred, frustration, and annoyance. Embrace humility and love those you disagree with. But continue to pursue truth and justice as these two are defined in the Holy Scriptures. The Bible must remain the basis for why we believe what we believe and a careful study of it reveals that it has much to say about ethnicity and injustice…These conversations are complex but necessary and we need men and women who can sit down and have hard conversations considering the other more significant.”

Read his full post. I do want to quote one more vital point Holmes covered beautifully: “As a church, whether we as individuals are white, black, brown, red, or yellow, Christians have to constantly remind ourselves of our primary allegiance. If you are a child of the king, adopted into the household of faith, you are Christian first. I am one million times more Christian than I am black. My brown skin may be what you first notice about me, but by God’s grace, my Christian faith is what you will remember… I count it a privilege to be physically dressed by my creator in such a beautiful skin tone…but I will forever check others and myself when I notice our ethnicity is taking precedent over our heavenly citizenship.”

Also read Kimberly Davis’ Black History Month and the Common Language of Christ.

Vector Illustration for black history month including names, time periods and what each person did. See others in this series. Makes a great poster large print.

Photo Credit: Teach Hub

What were some of your finds or favorite things of this week? I would love to hear about them. Have a safe and joyful weekend!

Global Leadership Summit – 6 Take-Aways from Day 2 of #GLS15

Blog - Global Leadership Summit - thecrossingchurchnj.orgPhoto Credit: thecrossingchurchnj.org

Below are my take-aways from Day 2 of the Global Leadership Summit. Register now for 2016. Life-transforming.

Horst Schulze (Chairman/CEO, Capella Hotel Group; Founding President & Former COO, The Ritz-Carlton Group):

Mr. Schulze gave the Summit audience a primer on how to create and lead in world class service.  Foundational to his philosophy is that people matter – ” we are to care about people (our employees and our customers) and we work with excellence”.

He has a canon and  24 Standards of service* that all the Capella Hotel Group employees are expected to execute.  Not just as part of the function of their job, but because they matter – the people and the service.

In terms of service, we want 3 things:

  • No defect – You want the product to be defect-free (subconscious expectation).
  • Timeliness – You want timeliness. [In old days, check-in was 4 minutes to be good; today it’s 20 seconds.]
  • Caring – You want the people who give you the product to be nice to you (that’s why we call it service).

“The #1 driver of service and therefore customer loyalty is being nice.”

Service starts at the first contact.

Welcome

Comply with caring [give the customer what he wants]

Farewell

You can move a customer very quickly from satisfaction to loyalty.Blog - Global Leadership Summit -2 - Horst Schulze - liberty.eduPhoto Credit: liberty.edu

Sheila Heen (Founder, Triad Consulting Group; Faculty, Harvard Law School; Co-Author with Douglas Stone of Thanks for the Feedback: The Science & Art of Receiving Feedback Well):

Ms. Heen talked about feedback and the skill of receiving feedback well. A Harvard Law School professor, she also speaks/consults internationally on negotiation and conflict resolution. With this background, she gave the Summit audience helps on how important feedback is and not to miss it, even in the tension of a difficult or unfair situation.Blog - Global Leadership Summit - Sheila Heen

Photo Credit: triadconsultinggroup.com

“Feedback is my relationship with the world and the world’s relationship with me. Part of the problem with feedback is that it sits at the junction of two core human needs. On the one hand, we do want to learn to grow. On the other hand, we need to feel accepted, respected and loved the way we are now.”

“3 Different Kinds of Feedback with Very Different Purposes (we need all three kinds to learn and grow).

Evaluation – rates or ranks you against a set of criteria or against your peers. Defining the relationship. Cholesterol. Performance review.

Coaching – Anything that helps you get better or learn. Mentoring. Advice. Suggestions. Correction.

Appreciation – says ‘I see you.’ ‘I get you.’ ‘You matter around here.’”

“The [feedback] model for us is Jesus Christ. He accepts us just the way we are right now, in all our brokenness, and at the same time, he challenges us to learn and grow.”

Brian Houston (Founder & Global Senior Pastor, Hillsong Church; Author of Live, Love, Lead: Your Best Is Yet to Come):

Pastor Houston was my biggest surprise of the day. As a mega-church pastor with campuses not just all across Australia but all across the world, I thought he would be a polished, fine-tuned speaking machine. [Forgive me that, Brother Brian.] There was a gentleness and humility in him birthed out of hard times, struggle, and loss…filled in by God’s matchless grace. He shared some of his life story through a Q & A with Bill Hybels. It was a beautiful tribute to the love and power of God reflected in a life fully surrendered to Him. We will be buying his book Live, Love, Lead.

“I love what I do. I love the Lord and I love the church. I love people ultimately. That motivation has never left me. Even on the darkest days. In the biggest challenges. If you keep showing up, even when you get knocked down, God will be with you. Longevity is the greatest thing you can have for the glory of the Lord.

Sam Adeyemi (Founder & Senior Pastor, Daystar Christian Centre in Nigeria):

Pastor Adeyemi talked about growing up in a culture of leaders and followers where a hierarchical (or power) distance was common. Then He spoke of Jesus’ leadership and how God means for us to lead, including closing the gap between people.

“You will not find the definition of success for your ministry or organization until you help the people [God] sent to you to succeed. The object of leadership for many leaders is their own success, but the object of Christ’s leadership was the success of His followers.”

“Following you, [as a leader], should hold the promise of life change for those who follow you.”

“God calls us to create new power structures where power is used appropriately. Jesus gave his disciples authority and power. He gave power away.”BLog - Global Leadership Summit - Sam AdeyemiPhoto Credit: preachit.com.ng

Liz Wiseman (President, The Wiseman Group; Author of Rookie Smarts: Why Learning Beats Knowing in the New Game of Work):

Liz talked about the upside of being a rookie in the workplace.

“As Rookies – We operate in simple, small, gritty and powerful ways.

With experience comes knowledge, responsibility. Once we have knowledge, we tend to make assumptions, and we can make bad assumptions. Our minds sometimes fill in what is not actually there.”

“Leaders who master the art of pivot – as leader and learner (regaining your rookie smarts). Experiment – Throw away your notes. Ask the Questions (shift from knowing and operate from a place of inquiry). Operate from a mode of curiosity. Admit what you don’t know. Let someone else lead. Disqualify yourself (put yourself at the bottom of a new learning curve). Lead your team into the unknown. Set the stretch. As you grow as a leader, don’t forget to be a learner.”

Craig Groeschel (Founder & Senior Pastor, LifeChurch.tv):

Late on a Friday afternoon, full of words from all these other great leaders, Craig Groeschel powerfully and graciously took the stage. He encouraged us on how to build capacity. [This is actually a recent favorite topic of mine with the Lord and those I love.] Taking his text from Ephesians 3:20-21, Pastor Groeschel spoke from experience of how God will work in lives available to Him in ways we can’t even imagine. With that introduction, he dug into some exquisitely practical counsel on how to increase our leadership capacity.

5 Different C’s to Expand Your Leadership Capacity – Choose one to work on.

  1. Build your confidence.
  2. Expand your connections.
  3. Improve your competence.
  4. Strengthen your character.
  5. Increase your commitment.

Groeschel gave plenty of examples from his own life of what these might look like, and honestly, his teaching was so clear, we knew right away which one’s we would be working on, in the days ahead.

The Global Leadership Summit was also punctuated with videos of “Grander Vision” stories – people from all over the world who took seriously what they’d learned at previous Summits and went out and changed their worlds. We also enjoyed stirring worship moments, including a song set that Bill Hybels introduced as music soothing to our leader souls. Sometimes when nothing else seems to help, Hybels said, music can remind us of the nearness of God. Blog - Global Leadership Summit - SongSetListPhoto Credit: Twitter.com/wcagls

All this….and Michael Jr.

Thank you, Bill Hybels, and the Willow Creek Association, and all those leaders – who help make the many host sites possible and who demonstrate how possibilities can become realities when we lead well.

Blog - Global Leadership Summit - Carl & Bill HybelsPhoto Credit: twitter.com/michaeljrcomedy

*Capella Hotel Group’s Canon & 24 Service Standards – established by the founder and chairman Horst Schulze

Slideshare – How to Give and Receive Feedback – The Triad Consulting Group – Sheila Heen & Douglas Stone (authors of Thanks for the Feedback)

Global Leadership Summit – Register for 2016

Grander Vision Stories & Videos – Follow the GLS – Willow Creek Association

Twitter Account for Willow Creek Association – for #GLS15 comments and quotes and links to videos, articles, resources