How to Refocus & Recharge – With or Without a Vacation

Several years ago I was in a role that was getting busier and busier. As the demands and distractions poured in I began to feel less energized and lose my focus.
 
And as my focus shifted, so did the focus of the entire team that I supported.  With no corporate retreats in our future we needed to figure out how to refocus and recharge. 

Create an Experience1.  Create an EXPERIENCE:  

  •  I brought some tiny matchbox cars to a meeting and asked everyone to take a car and personalize it.
  • Then I gave them a bunch of foot-long crepe paper streamers and asked them to use a streamer to list one thing that was causing them to lose focus.  (And they could use as many streamers as they needed to.)
  • There were so many that the streamers quickly covered the cars and we talked about how hard it is to drive forward when you feel so covered up that can’t see the people you are working with, let alone where you are going.
  • Then I brought out a rocket.  (The kind you buy in a toystore that you can actually launch.)  The rocket was “beautifully decorated” with each of our objectives, and we talked about how looking up and focusing on where we were going could help us prioritize the demands and distractions, decrease our confusion and stress and increase our focus and results.  

And yes – when we achieved all of our objectives we drove to a field and shot off that rocket!

What does FREEDOM mean to You?

Is there a gap between "what is" and "what could be"?

I published this post this summer just before the U.S.A. celebrated Independence Day!  

  • I am republishing now because January is Human Trafficking Awareness Month.  Human Trafficking is modern-day slavery and it is the fastest growing crime in the world.
  •  And January is also the month that we honor the life of Martin Luther King Jr. for all of the work he did to bring freedom to others.

As a U.S. Citizen, I grew up being very proud of:

  • My country – where people came to pursue life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
  • My family – who left everything behind in their countries of origin because of oppression and poverty and came to the U.S. to pursue those ideals.

And even prouder of:  My relatives and friends that served to defend the freedom of others.

Moving to the big sandbox we live in now took lots of prayer and courage because many of the freedoms I always cherished don’t exist here.  …But we came believing that we were supposed to seek to understand and to learn.

We weren’t here very long when a neighbor challenged me to consider that Americans don’t have a corner on the market on freedom.  I accepted her challenge and have been listening and experiencing for a little more than two years. And although we don’t have it all figured out yet, this is a bit of what we are learning…

Discouraged that the change you seek hasn’t happened yet?

I was recently on a call with a friend that is dealing with at situation that is impacting her family and needs to change. She’s done everything she can think of to communicate their needs, to ask for consideration, and to influence that change but nothing seems to be happening.

As we visited I thought of a story I heard years ago about two children that were teased every day at school by a bully. In spite of their pain, their families encouraged them to be courageous, to speak truth and to be kind and loving in in their responses.

After an especially challenging day at school the two children were hurting, frustrated and discouraged.

So the little girl’s father took them on a trip to a construction site. They sat at a distance and watched as a man hammered on a large boulder. Repeatedly he hit the massive stone with no apparent results.

…And then in one sudden blow the boulder crumbled into hundreds of pieces!

The children were amazed, and wondered why that one blow broke the rock and the others didn’t.

The father explained that with each blow the rock was breaking inside – even though the exterior showed no evidence of what was happening inside.


 

Martin Luther King JrToday we honor the life of a man who consistently modeled that change can be obtained with persistence, thought, discipline and love.  

Martin Luther King Jr. spoke these words AFTER his home was bombed…

We are not advocating violence. We want to love our enemies. I want you to love our enemies. Be good to them. Love them and let them know that you love them.

As we honor his life I can’t help but to think about…


No matter who you are, or where you sit…  

Or by waiting for someone else to do it.


Below are links to tools to help you be that change and prepare for the boulders you will face:

Image credits:  iStock, Historical Stock Photos

Healing the Racial Gap between The Dream & The Reality

Have you ever tried hard to change a situation?
Have you ever gotten frustrated when change doesn’t seem to be happening?
And in the midst of that frustration…  Have you ever had anyone slap a victim label on your forehead?

Years ago I was dealing with a situation like that at work.  When I shared that frustration with an executive…  He told me that I needed to stop being a victim.

beating your head against the wallI was shocked.

I thought I had spent the past three years doing everything in my power to take ownership of a reporting process that was a potential risk to the company – a risk that was growing as the organization grew.

I had involved several key-stakeholders, I had shared concerns, I had collaborated on how to handle the present situation.  

…And I consistently believed that one of them would take the necessary steps to create change before this process had to be repeated again.

 How was it possible that my efforts to be an owner were perceived as being a victim?