Construction Projects (Like Life) Don’t Have to Be Overwhelming and Daunting

Both Are Within Our Control, But It’s Up to Us to Exercise the Superpower of Choice

Overwhelming and daunting is one thing that construction projects and life have in common. Both are big and full of opportunities to make mistakes. This fear of mistakes causes us to drag our feet and not make decisions.

Hesitance to make decisions is the stumbling block that prevent people from doing great things.

I had a conversation with a friend from a mastermind that is struggling with working through both a construction project and life change. We discussed how to figure out how best to move forward.

Every big decision we’re faced with in life is made up of little pieces.

Our responsibility is to sort through those little pieces and make a decision. The difficult part is when the decisions that need to be made are in an area of life that is out of our comfort zone.

This is when we have to decide if we’re going to explore, learn and implement this new knowledge or employ the help of an expert. This is one of the hardest decisions.

In Andy Andrews book, The Traveler’s Gift, David Ponder is given the Responsible Decision from President Harry Truman. In this decision President Truman writes, “When faced with the opportunity to make a decision, I will make one. I understand that God did not put in me the ability to always make right decisions. He did, however, put in me the ability to make a decision and then make it right.

The rise and fall of my emotional tide will not deter me from my course. When I make a decision, I will stand behind it. My energy will go into making the decision. I will waste none on second thoughts. My life will not be an apology. It will be a statement.

The buck stops here. I control my thoughts. I control my emotions. In the future when I am tempted to ask the question “Why me?” I will immediately counter with the answer: “Why not me?”

Challenges are gifts, opportunities to learn. Problems are the common thread running through the lives of great men and women. In times of adversity, I will not have a problem to deal with; I will have a choice to make. My thoughts will be clear. I will make the right choice. Adversity is preparation for greatness. I will accept this preparation.

Why me? Why not me? I will be prepared for something great!

I accept responsibility for my past. I control my thoughts. I control my emotions. I am responsible for my success.

Andrews, Andy. The Traveler’s Gift (pp. 33-34). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.

I will not have a problem to deal with; I will have a choice to make.

Choosing to look at situations as problems it’s more likely that procrastination will set in. Making a choice and moving forward is a more productive way to deal with things.

The main thing to remember is that we have control. We can choose…but choosing requires action.

Life is One Continuous Choice After Another…Choose Wisely

Somethings In Life Are Out of Our Control, But We Choose How We React

Everything we do comes down to a choice. Every choice we make leads to another choice and another and so on.

Just like I chose what to write about today. This choice came from a series of other choices that started days ago, that will lead to future choices days from now.

Life is choices.

Choices are something that, too often are left to others to make for us. This might seem easier in the moment, but leads to living a life controlled by others. We have the power to make choices. This power was given to us by our Creator…use it and use it wisely

This most recent series of choices led to me writing this post.

As always, I had more things on my “to do” list yesterday than I could get done. This is also a choice. I know myself well enough to know that I get more done when I over-schedule than when I don’t.

The things that get done first are the things that I’ve chosen to give the highest priority to at that moment.

Here’s an example of how continuous choices can affect us.

Back to my schedule yesterday. A great nephew was having a birthday party at 6:30. I was working in my office when my floor installer came by around 5:00. Our work discussion led to him sharing about some bigger life issues.

I could have cut him off and got back to work or I could listen. I choose to listen. I could have stayed at the office and worked, or I could go to the birthday part. I choose the party.

After getting home from the birthday party I was watching some TV before going to bed. I kept falling asleep and it wasn’t like it was late (10:00). I’ve been a little tired lately, so I decided to sleep in this morning. (It’s been a long time sense I did this.) Another choice.

This choice meant less time today.

And there’s a niece having a wedding this evening. These darn nieces and nephews are playing havoc with my schedule. 😊

Some of you know that I’m a NASCAR fan and today is a two-race day. More choices.

I can work from home or go to the office. I’m more productive at the office, but going to the office means an hour on the road.

There’s work to be done. Am I going to write a post or do some proposals? Am I going to watch races or follow up with production schedules? Am I going to work on next week’s schedule or do paperwork?

Choices…life is choices.

Every second of everyday is a choice. The key is awareness of this amazing power and the importance of using it wisely.

Now I choose to go watch a race. 😉

Did You Know That It Really Wasn’t Curiosity That Killed the Cat?

It Was Worry, Not Curiosity, That Did the Poor Cat In

Last week I wrote about the why question and it not being asked enough. It seems to me, that as a society we’ve quit asking why. To much of the time we just drift through life accepting things at face value.

What happened to our curiosity?

Could it be that the phrase ‘Curiosity Killed the Cat’ is partly responsible for this loss? This saying makes curiosity sound pretty scary. Like, being curious could be life threating. Not asking questions leads to our blindly following along like a herd of sheep.

This zombie like meandering through life may seem easier, but it leads to nowhere in particular. If we’re not careful we might blindly walk off the edge of a cliff.

After a little research I found out that the saying ‘Curiosity Killed the Cat’ started out with a completely different meaning. It started out ‘care killed the cat’ in the late 1500’s in a Ben Jonson play. In this case ‘care’ means ‘worry’ or ‘sorrow’. Now were getting somewhere. Worrying rather than curiosity is certainly something that doesn’t add anything to life. The Bible is full of scriptures showing us to not worrying.

Learning leads to less worry.

Early in life I had big plans, when they didn’t work out…I became zombie like…just drifting through life. I gave up and gave in. That’s when God got my attention with a board upside the head. I woke up and realized it was up to me and I could do something about it.

I have control over my choices and decisions.

Since then, I’ve been reinvigorated in my curiosity. I ask why, I read, I learn, I think, I’ve surrounded myself with other curious people wanting more out of life than just floating along.

One of the ways that I’m learning is going through the Enneagram course of Donald Miller’s, Business Made Simple online learning. The Enneagram is an in-depth personality typing system. There are nine basic personality types.

  1. Perfectionist
  2. Helper
  3. Performer
  4. Romantic
  5. Investigator
  6. Loyalist
  7. Enthusiast
  8. Challenger
  9. Peacemaker

This system helps us to become more aware of who we are and why we naturally do things the way we do. Like the BMSU Mission Statement course my friend Shep and I are going through the Enneagram course together. We’re a few weeks in and I’m curious about what personality type I am. (I think I already know)

Remember it wasn’t curiosity that killed the cat…it was worry

What Makes One Rock More Important Than Another?

This is the Real Question When It Comes to Prioritization

Last week I wrote about deciding what your big rocks are. The process of putting the big rocks in the jar first works great but, most of us are trying to squeeze in too big rocks. There is a limit to the number of rocks that will fit.

So how do we decide which rock is more important than another?

Deciding what is most important and focusing on that is critical to productivity. As I researched for last week’s post, I came across an article about priorities by Mark Nevin’s. He points out the word “priority” has no plural.

The word “priority” entered the English language, via Old French, sometime in the 14th Century. Deriving from the mediaeval Latin word prioritas (“fact or condition of being prior”), the word meant “the most important thing”—the “prior” thing or the thing with precedence.  When it was first coined, the word “priority” had no plural.  You could only have one priority

Sometime in the middle of the 20th Century, almost certainly related to the rise of corporate and office culture, the word “priorities” began to appear. Now people began to claim that they had more than one “most important thing.”  They could have three or five or 14 priorities.  A client once shared with me a deck laying out his business’s “Top 30 Strategic Priorities.”  Sadly, if you have 30 priorities, you really have no priorities: no organization can even remember 30 things, never mind focus on them all.

So how do we decide which thing is the priority?

I think this is where the real battle takes place. What makes one thing more important than another? In last week’s solution I referred to Steven Covey’s book, Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. In this book he shares a time management quadrant consisting of – urgent and important / not urgent but important / urgent but not important / neither urgent nor important.

We use these options for prioritizing everything we do…whether we know it or not. It’s up to us to be intentional about what goes in which quadrant.

All tasks can be categorized based on their urgency and importance: An activity can be one, both, or neither. Urgent matters are time sensitive, and they tend to grab your attention; this can be something as simple as a ringing phone. Important matters contribute toward your goals, values, and personal mission statement. We react to urgent matters, while important tasks that are not urgent require us to be proactive.

Picture a square divided into four Quadrants: One axis measures whether or not something is urgent, and the other measures whether or not it’s important. In the 7 Habits, Quadrants means four different classifications. Stephen Covey’s Quadrants 1, 2, 3, and 4 break down like this:

Quadrant 1 is urgent and important. Crises and problems live here, and life inevitably throws some Quadrant 1 tasks at all of us. However, some people seem to spend all their time constantly putting out fires and feeling like they never have time or energy to tackle anything that’s not urgent; in need of respite, they occasionally escape to the more leisurely Quadrant 4, where things are neither urgent nor important. The catch is that the more time you spend in Quadrant 1, the more you will be stuck there, because you don’t have time to do the maintenance and preventive measures that help avoid crises. 

Quadrant 3 is urgent, but not important. These kinds of activities can eat up your precious time and energy, without giving much value back to your life.  Some people don’t even realize that these matters are not important, assuming that urgency implies importance; but the urgency is often dictated by other people’s priorities and expectations — what other people tell you must get done — rather than your own goals and values. 

Quadrant 4 is neither urgent nor important. These are things you may do purely for enjoyment, or out of confusion about what’s truly important. Quadrants 3 and 4 are irresponsible uses of your time, because they contribute nothing toward your life, and effective people tend to avoid these activities. 

Quadrant 2 is not urgent, but important. This is where effective people focus their time and energy, and the discipline to prioritize these tasks is key to self-management and achieving your personal mission. Quadrant 2 includes activities that could easily be put off for their lack of apparent urgency, but which will greatly benefit your life in the long term if you invest the time in them; they include developing relationships, defining your personal mission statement, exercising, and performing preventive maintenance (e.g. oil changes for your car, health check-ups, flossing, or home maintenance). These Quadrants all help you understand and prioritize, but Quadrant 2 is where you want to spend most of your time.

Steven Covey’s 4 Quadrants: The Secret to Productivity

The things in these quadrants will be different for each of us. Ultimately it is your choice what things you decide to do and which quadrant you put them in.

This is where planning and looking forward to the end of your life and working backward helps. It gives you a clearer vision of what things should be the most important and which ones aren’t.

Look for the Blessings in All Things

We Get to Choose How We Look at Things

Another year has come and gone. Many are happy about this, considering this past year. There is no doubt that it had it’s share of difficulties.

Why does God allow suffering?

Who knows? What we do know is that can’t always understand God’s plans.

Suffering is nothing new, ask Joseph. His brothers sold him to slave traders who sold him to Potiphar. Then Potiphar’s wife falsely accused him, and he was sent to prison. Gen. 37:18-36 Years later the king had Joseph interpret the dreams. He then was put in charge of everything the king owned. Gen. 39:1-47:57

Joseph wasn’t around to witness some of the long-term outcomes made possible by his actions. Each and every action we take or don’t take effects the future.

Regardless of the difficulties Joseph continued to focus on the positive.

History is full of examples of people who choose to look at things from a ‘blessing perspective’. In Andy Andrews book, The Traveler’s Gift, he shares about the Joyful Decision and how Anne Frank, even in the situation she found herself in…choose to look at the blessings.

“Complaining is an activity just like jumping rope or listening to the radio is an activity. One may choose to turn on the radio, and one may choose not to turn on the radio. One may choose to complain, and one may choose not to complain. I choose not to complain.”

“Our very lives are fashioned by choice. First, we make choices. Then our choices make us.”

Life is better when we look at things from a positive perspective. God gives us hope…it’s up to us to accept it. Will you accept the gift of hope or not?

Look for the blessings!

The Internal Battle Between Right and Wrong

Are You Conscious of Your Conscience?

Each of us has an ongoing internal battle of right and wrong. To make this internal conflict even more difficult, we’re bombarded by external forces pulling us in different directions.

How do we determine who’s going to win this battle?

What makes one thing right and another wrong? How do we know which is which? Ultimately, it comes down to what you use to measure right and wrong.

This battle is difficult, but no one said it was going to be easy.

As a Christian, I use the Scripture, the whole Scripture, for this. If I’m going to base my rights and wrongs in the Bible, I need to be careful to not pick and choose only small pieces but use the whole thing.

Just like a blueprint for building, if I don’t use the whole plan the building won’t be what it was designed to be.

The Bible is the blueprint for building my life.

We also have a built in right and wrong meter called a conscience. This meter is a sense of moral goodness for one’s own conduct, intentions or character together with a feeling of right or good. We can choose to listen to it or not.

Someone was asked if they knew the difference between conscience and conscious. They answered, CONSCIENCE is being aware of what’s right and wrong, CONSCIOUS is wishing you didn’t.

The battle of right and wrong doesn’t begin where we think it does…IT BEGINS WHERE WE THINK.

If decisions are choices…and our thinking determines our decisions, then we do what we do because of our thinking. It’s up to us to make the choices wisely. I would recommend following the blueprint.

Deciding What Should Be First on The List

 

 

 

 

 

It’s Amazing How Things Become Clear with A Limited Amount of Time

 

There are so many things trying to get on the “to do” list and each one competing for the top position. Deciding which one should get that spot is tough. There are so many great and important things that we need or want to do.


It’s easy to say that we have limited time, but hard to actually schedule that way.


My computer’s battery is not lasting as long as it did when it was new. Recently while working out of the office, without the power cord, I had 2-3 things that I wanted to get done before the computer shut down. This limited time forced me to sort and prioritize them.


How do we decide what to say yes to


Emergency situations often require triage. This is the process of prioritizing patients’ treatments based on the severity of their condition and the resources available. In these situations, victims are divided into three categories.

 

  • Those who are likely to live, regardless of what care they receive;
  • Those who are unlikely to live, regardless of what care they receive:
  • Those for whom immediate care might make a positive difference in outcome.

 

These choices aren’t easy and often require a quick “gut decision”. A pre-determined system, training and experience aid in the process and provide for the greatest number of survivors.


Another life and death choice is deciding who gets a transplant when there are a limited number of organ donations available. Take for example a set of twins who both need a liver transplant and their father has one liver to give. Which little girl gets it? The early thoughts of a father would be to give half to each. The problem with this, half would help neither. The final decision will be determined by which one needs it most or which one is most likely to survive.

 


Most of the choices that we make in business aren’t this critical…or are they? The decisions we make can mean life or death for our business.

 

In medical life or death situations there is a system and plan in place before hand. This same type of system should be implemented in our business. We should predetermine how we are going to choose the most important thing to the life of our business. This is where things get hard.

 


What makes one thing more important than another?


 

What should be the highest priority? Should it be production or proposals, record keeping or customer service, marketing or staff? We’re faced with tough decisions in business every day.

 


I can’t answer this question for you, but I’m tired of struggling with this dilemma and plan to design and implement a “business triage” system going forward.


What will give my business the highest chance for survival?

What Are the Rules That You Live By?

 

 

 

They Will Be the Building Blocks in Your Life’s Foundation

 

 

 

We all make choices everyday about how we will live our lives and how we will treat those around us.


Often, we adults make things more complicated than they need to be and it’s really pretty simple. All we really need to know we learned in kindergarten, just ask Robert Fulghum.

 


Here’s a partial list:

  • Share everything.
  • Play fair.
  • Don’t hit people.
  • Put things back where you found them.
  • CLEAN UP YOUR OWN MESS.
  • Don’t take things that aren’t yours.
  • Say you’re SORRY when you HURT somebody.
  • Wash your hands before you eat.
  • Flush.
  • Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you.

 


These are just good common-sense things that will be great foundation blocks for building a better world.

 


We can make a big difference by doing small things, even though at the time it might not seem like it. The story of the young boy and the starfish is a good parable that makes this point.

 


“One day, an old man was walking along a beach that was littered with thousands of starfish that had been washed ashore by the high tide. As he walked, he came upon a young boy who was eagerly throwing the starfish back into the ocean, one by one.
Puzzled, the man looked at the boy and asked what he was doing. Without looking up from his task, the boy simply replied, “I’m saving these starfish, Sir”.
The old man chuckled aloud, “Son, there are thousands of starfish and only one of you. What difference can you make?”
The boy picked up a starfish, gently tossed it into the water and turning to the man, said, “I made a difference to that one!”

 

 

Use good blocks for building your life.