Truth about marriage

Not many images have captured marriage as this one.

Marriage is not perfect. It never once functions inside of perfection. God never said it would, so why do we base its success on an image of perfection? Marriage means I will love my wife, protect my wife, no matter how mad, angry, upset, disappointed, or how badly she has missed one of my expectations. It’s unconditional it is not based on her performance. It’s based on the love Jesus gave us as our example.

Don’t get me wrong this is applied to both husband and wife. We both need that same attitude. I’m just speaking from my male point of view here.

Seeing her heart instead of the failure. Seeing who God gave me and who I chose to marry based on His will and guidance in our lives. None of that is dependent on her or him acting and speaking exactly how I expect or want. Loving through disappointment is a huge thing we have go to learn to do. The reason why is because it’s going to happen. I’m 100% accurate on that and I’ll never say 100% right on anything else lol. But on this I know because I know I have failed a lot personally. We are human, we fail it’s a fact. Now the question is, how are you going to choose to respond? Choose to respond? Get it? It’s a choice. Choose love over anger, remember anger is not the sin the action in anger is what is the sin.

Feelings of inadequacy

Inadequacy is something we have all felt at some point in our lives.

New job, new family, moving locations with new surroundings, anything that makes you have those butterflies in your stomachs, wondering if you can do what your getting ready to go into.

I have felt this a lot and honestly the fears that come with it are sometimes overwhelming and can lock you up so tight in life that you feel panic when challenged to reach beyond the routine.

Here is a clue into this. Nothing you try that is new to you will come without feeling some form of apprehension. Can I do this? Am I capable? What if I can’t? This is so much responsibility on me what if I can’t handle it? Well, we never go anywhere in life having all of the answers. If we knew it all we would feel no fear and have no need for prayer or God.

Don’t let the feelings of inadequacy steer you off your path and into the same rut. Let God show you that if you feel inadequate, that God is adequate, where you are not. And that His strength is what gets us through those weak moments. Look at David, Gideon, Moses and many others. All were not sure they could do what God had laid in front of them. They didn’t have a blue print of their life. They didn’t wait for God to say “here is the path I need you on, just follow the green arrow.” these uncomfortable emotions or situations that fill us with fear and are full of feelings of insecurity or inadequacy are in fact very common and God already knows.

We need to look realistically at it these situations and realize God can make me adequate and capable. I just need to be His tool and to move, take the first step and Get your mind out of His way. The truth of the matter is that no matter how inadequate we feel about something, with repeated experience we gain confidence and that feeling of fear or inadequacy fades with real experience.

Taking things for granted?

Don’t take things for granted.

It’s something we all know and even say, but how often do we listen to our own advice?

I was reading an article about a widow and the journey God took her through. The one line that really got me was this. “I kissed my husband good bye, and he never came back.” That single sentence hit me really hard. We truly never know if we walk out the door if we will make it back. Many people don’t even want to talk about it or mention it, out of some kind of omen or bad luck. The fact is we need to keep it in our mind, not so much in fear but to keep our perspective on life and just how precious it is. Stop giving the quick kiss good bye, the quick I love you with no meaning. I don’t mean we should be in tears at every parting. I’m taking about the little things we let get between us, the annoyances the little habits the small things that can grow into more, that get in the way of really appreciating someone you love.

I read another article from a widow that said she had been a horrible wife, she had complained about his shoes left in the wrong spot, the dishes put in the dish washer wrong, the dirty clothes not quite making it to the hamper. She was now a widow and in tears said she wished she had the problems to picking up his socks or shoes. She would have given anything to take the harsh words back and be glad to rearrange the dishwasher. What it comes down to is our thoughts and how far we let the negative things take us. I don’t mean to say we ignore bad behavior or let an abusive situation just slide. But we have to ask ourselves. Is this going to matter 20 minutes from now? Does this really have any kind of long lasting impact on us?

I am a firm believer in saying what I feel. I am sure my wife wonders why she gets random texts that just say I love you so often. If I’m going about my day and she comes to mind for any length of time

(usually does) I always think of her smile and how her face lights up and it hits those deep places in my heart that really matter. I used to over think sending them. I wondered what she would think, does she think I’m being needy or clingy, does she think I’m throwing it out there just to get one back because I am needing it at that time. And at times through out our past I think I probably did but not anymore. If I feel it I say it. I bet I tell my wife I love you 5+ times a day. She probably gets tired of hearing it but its just how I feel and I always want her to know it. She will even be working with the boys on school and ill walk past kiss her head and whisper an I love you. I don’t need to hear one back. It means so many things to me. Thank you, I’m thinking of you and I appreciate you and I adore you. I don’t ever want to get to a place I take any thing she does for granted.

So what I’m saying to you is this. Stop fussing over the little stuff. Don’t let them get to you. Choose to look at the good things, look at their heart and embrace those things, we can nit pick all day long. We all have stuff, every single one of us has our annoying habits. It doesn’t mean we can’t or shouldn’t work to do things better but it means don’t stay hung up on them. Don’t make those little things mountains when they are really not even a bump in the road. Trust me, life has a way of helping you put things into perspective. Value your partner for who they are. Yes she has to have her nicknacks in order, yes she may have to have all 15 pillows on a perfectly made bed each morning. And Guys… MAKE THE BED!!! There is no excuse not to. Its little things like that, that in the large scheme don’t matter at all but are still things we can improve on. So lets get over ourselves here and learn to love in a giving kind of way. Don’t keep score of any negatives. Let them go like bubbles on a breeze. If your going to keep score then keep the good qualities, the good things, the generous things and try to even that score. If he gets you flowers out of the blue, get him his fav drink or diner on your way home. If she goes out of her way to pick up something for you that’s out of her way. Then go wash her car, clean the inside or fill up the tank for her. What this does is it keeps us looking for good nice things to do and not focused on the sock that didn’t make it to the hamper or what ever it might be.

Love is such an amazing thing to experience, yet one of the most frustrating at the same time. I truly believe the Bible and how God speaks of love and how it should be lived out in our lives. Its giving not taking, it overcomes many sins, it is forgiving and grace giving. But the fact is it is up to us. When I say that I mean where our minds wonder or focus, this is the direction our marriage will go. If you stay focused on all the reasons your wife is failing, then that’s where you will stay. If your focused on all the ways your husband isn’t meeting your expectations then that is the mind set you will stay in. Don’t be that wife/husband. You married this person, you loved them. Now at like adults and figure out how to honor them.

(Side note. There are abusive people that this does not work with. This will only feed them to be more abusive and destructive against you. That is a different set of problems that are not touched on here in this article. I by no means would diminish the struggle someone in an abusive relationship is going through. Never allow others to force you back, never allow anyone make you feel guilty for getting out.)

Loss of leadership in today’s world

Good leaders should be a magnet to those around them.
Good leaders should be a magnet to those around them.

 

The loss of effective leaders in today’s society.

I was at a seminar a while ago that gave a statistic that shocked me, 80% of the work force would forgo a pay raise in place of having a good quality leader as a boss.

That speaks volumes about where we are today. People have replaced leadership with positions of authority. They are not the same, not even close. Far too many positions are filled by people in positions of authority, but have no leadership skills. This translates to a work force or family that is distrustful. Leadership has to promote trust, it just has to. If there is no trust with in an organization then it becomes selfish from the top down. It can happen at work and at home. When there is no trust in either it will erode everything else around it.

So what is the answer? How do we get our country and society back to a place of trust with good quality leadership?  Hard work and starting at the core of what makes a great organization.  You read about it in the news. When a company goes out and rewards their workers with stocks and time off or they do something to put back into the work force for no other reason than its the right thing to do. We hear about these companies that do it right, and are the top 10 places to work and people are in a long line to be hired there. Why? Because they give back to those that work for them. They see the needs of those they lead and are willing to forgo the highest profit margins so they can give back to create a more solid work force.  It’s celebrated by the news because it’s rare….  That’s sad to me, that should be the norm, that should be the thing that is expected from a business.

As a life coach and leadership coach. This is were we can really make some positive impact in the lives around us.

Producing leaders that are compassionate and caring about those they lead is vital.  A good leader will pull the best out of those around them. They will ignite a fire in those around them, not out of fear but out of respect and a desire to imulate them. A good leader is like a magnet to those around them. They will lift them up directly with encouragment of indirectly just from their presence alone.

Business’s need to see this change, we need to get back to employee loyalty and company loyalty again. People that work for companies for years, why? Because they know that company has a vested interest in them and not just the postion they hold.

The thing we have forgotten is that leadership is not about dictating instructions or yelling orders. Leadership is about relationship and making good connections with people.

The people that you lead are in fact your eyes, your ears and your hands. They are the front line to your clients, they are your representative and they are one of the most important cogs in the wheel that turns your business.

 

 

The ugly truth about Marriage

It’s a bold statement that goes against all of the things you see about relationships on Pinterest or Facebook.

So many things I see are perfectionists statements. “If its true love there will never be hurt or pain or tears.” True love never hurts it heals.” You can search Pinterest for 2 seconds and you will find literally thousands of these. They sound great don’t they. They sound like if you just found this perfect person that God sent to you everything would be perfect. Keep reading that view is going to change.

The facts are this, the closer you let someone into your life the more ugly you see from them (and them in you too), more annoying habits, more reactions, more of that person that will make you wonder who they are and what happened to the person you knew before you got married. The fact is the closer you get to someone, you see them in all of their greatness and all of their ugly. You see parts you could not have seen before living in the same house. Then add in if it’s a second marriage with kids and several years of singleness under both of your belts. You begin to see why so many second marriages fail. It is hard, plain and simple, but does this mean God didn’t bring you together? Does this mean that God made a mistake or that you made a mistake? I believe that anytime God brings two people together under His covenant prepare for an attack. The enemy will use one or all of these annoyances or even your past and make you second guess yourself. Make you second guess God even. He will try to drive a wedge to grow bitter roots. This is where the a proper God view of marriage will overcome all of those things.

The bitter truth about marriage is that the closer you get to each other the more vulnerable you become. For a marriage to truly grow, both people must be dangerously vulnerable. What I mean by that is with this example. It’s like you are opening up your soul to someone knowing they can take a knife and do more damage than anyone or anything in the world, but trusting them not too. The facts of the matter are,  as husband and wife, we will hurt each other, we will say things (knowing or unknowing) that hurt and dig very deep. I don’t want anyone to get down about marriage, it’s truly is one of the biggest blessings that God gave us as humans. But in today’s society we have it mixed up. Gods best for us is not painless, it’s not easy and its not without difficulty. So when you face those things in marriage don’t write off your partner, don’t let the devil drive a wedge. The difference in a marriage and a Godly marriage is one of connection, not just between each other but a connection with God to guide us. We feed the connection in the relationship with each other and with God, not so much because we want to but because we are driving to honor God. We do that by honoring the one we are married too.

We do it not because we like our spouse all the time, but the fact that we know their heart, we know them behind the heated remark, we know them beyond the stress they are going through. We overlook the annoyances not because it’s the godly christian thing to do but because we know the person at a heart level and not just the circumstances that can influence our attitude some times.

1 Peter 4:8 Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sins.

This is what it comes down too. We can focus on the reactions or we can allow true Godly love to overcome the things the devil tries to throw at us. Don’t get me wrong, it takes a willingness to apologize followed by true repentance, and lots of forgiveness.

We must fight for our marriages, we must fight to overcome all of our self driven feelings or emotions. They are not always accurate. We must choose love over everything else. Assume the best from your spouse. Anytime you have a choice in your mind about what did they mean by something, before you assume the worst, just ask what they meant by it. It’s that simple, don’t create your own dialogue for them.

You see, marriage is not found on Pinterest memes. It’s not found on Facebook. Its found in the covenant between the two of you and God. Both of you not just one. (I will state that when there is abuse that covenant is broken, when one is out to hurt and control the other, with abuse be it physical, emotion or even financial. The Godly covenant has been broken. You must protect yourself and your kids. I am talking about two Godly people who struggle with normal human differences not abuse.)

So after reading this far, have I shattered your hopes for marriage? I hope not, it truly is a huge blessing and a wonderful gift from God. But the blessings don’t come from perfection. They come from us learning to overcome our selfish needs and wants. It comes from choosing to see your spouse for the good they bring and to not focus on the little annoyances. Having someone in your corner is huge. Having a wife that you know believes in you more than you believe in yourself is huge for a man. Having a husband that you know sees you as the most beautiful woman in his world, even if you don’t feel like it means a lot. So I encourage you to embrace marriage for the reality it is and the struggles you will face. Your spouse will never EVER meet all of your needs, he/she can try, but they will fail 100%, only Christ can do that. So keep both of you driving to stay in that close connection with God, because this will naturally bring you closer to each other.

Don’t fall for the perfection that society says marriage is or will be. Embrace the imperfections, learn from them and grow in your relationship with your husband/wife and with God. Keep this cord of three close and tight and you can not go wrong.

 

Men, use your boxes…

Using our ability to compartmentalize for good.

God made men exactly how He planned. I know it seems like a stupid statement but I have heard many women stating how stupid men are and yes even their own husbands. I’m sure there are some that are just brain dead, but most of the issue isn’t that we are stupid its that we don’t think like her. The things important to her are not always to him. So guys…. What can we do to better our relationships and start stepping into more leadership areas?

If you have never read the book Men are like Waffles Women are like Spaghetti by Bill and Pam Farrel. You need to asap. In a nut shell, it like looking down at a waffle is how a man thinks. Everything has a box and none of them touch. We can open the “kids” box without touching the finances box. To us they are separate, the maybe related, but are still separate issues. We do this with everything in our lives. Wife, car, insurance, work, everything has a box and a place, we pull one out, we talk about that one then put it away and get another. When our wives come in, before long she has 20 boxes open rummaging through them and to us this is too much and we check out. We can’t focus on that many separate issues at once. This does not mean we are stupid. This means we process things different. We are made to be focused, to hunt and reach for goals. That’s why we miss many things that are at our periphery, because our goal and main focus is on one thing, at the moment that’s the most important thing.

My question is why can’t we use that natural tendency to box things up, to better our role as a husband? The answer is we can, and we should. I love my wife to pieces, I mean seriously love her beyond words, but she can move through topics and switch idea streams faster than a politician scrambling for votes. I have learned also that her mind never shuts off or slows down. Its continually thinking of possible things that are based on a countless number of variables.

This is where leadership and our ability to put things in boxes can be a huge asset.

Ok as a husband we are to lead the family right? Imagine, an argument starts, doesn’t matter who started it, why its happening or who is even right. Its here and you’re in it. We all have weak moments and say things we wish never would have left our mouths right? Yes your wife says them too, because honestly they usually have much more success in arguments than we do as a whole. Its usually something said that cuts us down as a man or is a very disrespectful statement that cuts us the deepest. These are the ones that make us react and usually in a bad way. After that the argument is fruitless because neither of you are hearing the other. Guys, use your boxes. Put this stuff in a box and put it away. You know she was mad, heated or was feeling some emotion that came out at us legitimate or not, it doesn’t matter. Now pull out the box of your wife’s heart. Pull out those memories when you will see a look in her eyes for the rest of your life, one that melts your heart even 10 years later. I’m not saying gloss over bad behavior. I’m saying use these boxes to control your reactions to keep truth at the forefront and not let anger or hurt or disrespect get your goat so to speak. God gave us this ability to compartmentalize. So lets use it to the betterment of our marriage. Its far too easy to lash back out when you have been hurt. That’s the devil constantly stirring hate and anger, bitterness and resentment in your mind. Do not feed those even a little. Use the tools God gave you as a man to lead. Lead you ask? This isn’t leadership. Oh but it is. You lead by taking the heat out of the situation. You lead by being the first to step up and take the hits to get the relationship back to a conversation rather than 5 days of silence. Guys it’s a big deal. I wish I could say I learned this early on and put it into practice every time I need to, but I don’t and haven’t. I have said some very hurtful things to my wife because she had said some very hurtful things to me, but that most defiantly does not excuse y actions or my response. When I think about those, tears come to my eyes because that’s not me and that’s not her either. To know I caused a level of hurt in my wife because of some stupid thing I said in the heat of an argument is very condemning to me. I never want to be the source of pain for my wife, She has lived with enough of that, she doesn’t need anymore especially from me. So even if I fail. I will come to her with my apology. Sometimes I really have to make sure my boxes are put away to do it, but when I open the one that has her smile and I see her heart. It makes that apology much easier and honestly that’s where the truth of it all rests.

So when I talk about using your boxes. Put the argument in one, put the mean words in one, put the disrespect in one (this does not mean to dismiss unhealthy treatment or abuse. Never ignore that) Remember who your wife is, she is an emotional being. Every thought she has comes from a place of emotion and they can get very heated. Put each grievance you might have in a box and put it away. Pull out the “love your wife” box and embrace that one. You may have to do it over and over because those other boxes can justify your feelings to strike back. Don’t do it. You love her like Christ loved the church! You sacrifice your need to be right in that moment and box those things up. If need be, deal with them later when things can be talked about in a calm manner. Just remember. Don’t hold onto the wrong box just to justify a feeling. It will never end well for you. Be the man, suck it up and use the tools God gave us.

Feeding the face of your business

Loyalty in business

What modern day businesses have forgotten is that loyalty works both ways. Something we have lost in todays business world is loyalty. There used to be a time someone was hired and stayed until retirement. While both employee and employer maintained a loyalty to each other. Now if someone is in the same place of employment for 5 years, that’s seen as a long time.

Many coaches we see are people that have had successful businesses. They look back and see how they did and share what they learned, using that to guide others to success in their businesses. Here is what I bring. I come from the bottom, at the worker level and I know why your employees do what they do and what they want to see in their management teams. Not just to complain, but so they can feel heard and that their thoughts matter. One of the biggest issues with the people on the ground is they feel no one wants to hear their opinions. Even more so they feel that if they give their opinion, they will be punished for it if it isn’t a positive one. So whats happened here to get this level of distrust in the work force? When the focus has been lost by management. What I mean by that is they begin focusing on the bottom dollar, how to save it, how to grow it and how to use it to make sure the business is growing. Don’t get me wrong you cant ignore those things. My question is, who is the one that’s the face of your business? Who is setting the mood and personality of your business? That would be your on the ground employees. They are the face of your business, I don’t care what industry or type of business it is. Your employees are the cog on the gear that makes it run. If they are not happy and loyal to what you do and why your doing it, they will not represent you the way you would want. It will become just a job they go to everyday with no real life it in.

So what does it take to have a loyal employee base? Trust. Hands down trust is the one thing they have to feel before you can take any other steps forward. Look at some of the biggest most successful businesses. Google, Apple, Microsoft to name a few. What makes them be consistently listed as the most desired places to work. At one time I remember reading an article that said for one opening at Google there were 10’s of thousands of applicants all dreaming of working there. Why would that be?

Go look at a list of benefits that Google employees get. Here is an article from Forbes that its pretty interesting. Google article

You will see a trend of making employees feel needed and important and that administration really cares about them. They want the best people working for them and they compensate them accordingly. I know most businesses are not capable of this level of care but what can you do?

You build trust in your employees by being willing to sacrifice yourself for the betterment of them. When they see your willing to give up something so they gain something or save them from something, you immediately begin to build loyalty. Too many company’s today look to make cuts in staff as a first resort to cut costs. On paper that may seem ok but it will have a devastating effect on your staff, not only in moral but in loyalty and trust. I watch a video with Simon Sinek about a company with a few hundred employees that hit on hard times. The first suggesting was a lay off to cut costs. The owner wouldn’t have it. They found a different alternative. They instated a mandatory 1 week day off with out pay but you had a year to pick your days and it was to begin with all of the upper end management. What ended up happening was the people that had the extra time and money to take more days off without pay took other peoples time so they wouldn’t have to lose their pay for that week. It caused a kindness to spread from those that had extra to give to those that didn’t. It lifted spirits and trust in the leadership and it grew by leaps and bounds. After the year was up they were out of the hard time and got back to normal with no lay offs and a huge benefit to the company as a whole. This is the attitude we need back in business these days.

Too many look to the successful business man to get things figured out and I think they can to a point but if you want to know whats going on in your business get on the ground and talk to the people that are meeting your customer. If you keep a large part of your focus on meeting the needs of your employees so you keep them happy, motivated and they understand you really care about them, then you have an opportunity to grow your business in a very positive way.

The end user of your product or service will look at the on the ground employee as your representative in your business. He is the eyes ears and face of you. Treat them like trash and you will have a hard time keeping good people and have large turn over rates. If your kind and reasonable and work to build honest trust in them they will work harder and more willing then you would believe.

I know most places can’t offer what Google does to their employees and I’m not suggesting you go broke giving everything to them. It’s a balance and a long term vision for growth. Not the short term fix to grab a buck at the sacrifice of the betterment of your business and detriment to your employees.

Your business is the people you have hired to work for you and that’s a fact. You work hard to build trust and belief in the Why behind your business and if its something they can believe and get on board with. Then take the effort to honestly support them in as many ways as possible. Never forget what it was like to be on the ground. Stay humble and be looking for ways you can connect with your people in ways they need, not just ways that the next best business model is telling you. Trust me they can see through fake effort faster than you would ever know.

Doubt me? Why are shows like “Undercover Boss” so popular? The leader gets on the ground. They get on their level to understand what they go through every day and the struggles they may face that management may not have heard about. One of the business worlds largest and mostly ignored sources of information is their own employees but there has to be trust or they will never talk honestly to you. You will have a large group of people sitting silent in a meeting room all afraid to speak the truth. No leader wants that. You want the truth from your employees? You better be ready to do what it takes to earn their trust. It starts with leadership and a single step.