Skills for Life!

 

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My husband and I enjoyed the opportunity to train passionate leaders in the skills needed to coach people well.  We loved getting to hear their stories, experiences, and anticipation for their opportunities in the season ahead.  Some of these leaders could retire; and yet they are looking for new ways to impact lives in this fresh season, while others desired to gain greater leadership skills to strengthen their present leadership. Whatever the motivations were we knew they would benefit from the training they received.

Throughout the training I kept realizing that the tools we were passing on are actually tools for everyday life, for everyone! So, I thought I’d take a moment to pass some of them on to you!

1.  Choosing to be a person of Character~our character is displayed in our life, leadership, communication, choices, and emotional responses.  If we commit to intentionally choosing to have character when faced with life’s opportunities and obstacles we will have greater success in all we do.

2. Utilize Good Questions~ It’s so easy in our day-to-day lives to talk a lot, share our thoughts, and give our opinions.  However, the most effective way to understand those around us is to ask good questions; lots of them.  Learning to hear the thoughts, experiences, and dreams of those around us will help us to have greater success in all our relationships.  James 1:19 says; ” Let everyone be quick to hear, slow to speak…….”

3.  Learn to use Active Listening~  Active listening is simply a tool we like to use to help us to be sure we’ve listened well to those we are leading, coaching, and building relationships with.  Basically it requires a person to listen well and to be able to repeat back by simply saying ” so what I’m hearing you say is………”     The value to entering conversations with Listening in mind is that it shows respect, helps clarify what’s being shared, and it defuses emotions when the topic is challenging.   So often we move through our daily conversations without really hearing, truly understanding, or gaining good clarity.  Using this tool as a coach in invaluable, yet using it in everyday life will give all of us greater success in all our relational connections.

4.  Build accountability into your life~Whenever people are isolated they will become unhealthy in many ways. All of us were made to be in relationship; to learn from one another, grow together, challenge one another, and cheer for one another.  However, it’s easy to keep our relationships only surface deep, not allowing one or two trusting individuals in to provide rich accountability for us.   Proverbs 27:17 says “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” Having accountability built into our lives will keep us on track; will help us to live and lead well.

5.  Keep energy renewal as a regular part of your life~ Every day we expend energy and so often we can keep our nose to the grind and just “press through” our busy schedules thinking we will take a break when we can…….but this is rarely successful.  We were made to take a “sabbath”.  God knew it and dropped it right in the 10 Commandments.  When we fail to renew ourselves we do exactly what the stewardess on your airline flight directs you to do ” put the oxygen mask on YOURSELF before you attempt to help others.”  We can’t meet the needs all around us if we are without air!!  Take time to rest, exercise, spend time with the Lord, engage in a hobby, laugh, and eat well.  These regular practices will impact your life more than you can imagine. And those around you will benefit as well. 🙂

These “Coaching” tips, if applied, will affect every area of your life! So dive in during these summer months and begin to count the fresh WINS in your life!

We need one another, we really do!

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  I was reminded again this week, through the sad events in Boston, Massachusetts that we really do need one another.  Out of the rubble of lost lives and limbs arose an army of people connected by sadness and grief going above and beyond to make sure they helped and supported every person they possibly could. Strangers housing disoriented families, men carrying children to safe places, and medical professionals jumping in to help wherever they found a need. In times of crisis we really do need one another.

However, in the regular rhythm of our daily lives we really need others as well. From the website “Live your Life well” I saw that research points to the on-going benefits of good social connection:

1.  Social connection brings increased happiness. When you are offered concrete help, emotional support, fresh perspective, wanted advice, and encouraging validation you will find that your emotions will stay more hope-filled then downcast.

2.  Better health is another benefit from being connected to others.  Loneliness is associated with a higher risk of high blood pressure, sleeplessness, and depression.

3.  Connecting regularly with others helps us to remember that life isn’t all about our challenges.  When connected to others we are also able to care for their needs, focus on being supportive, and share in our common challenges.  This can help us to have a balance in our own thinking.

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When thinking about friendships, some people think that in order to be less lonely they must be liked by everyone. That’s just not true!  The person who has 4,000 friends on Facebook is not necessarily “connected in relationship”….especially if the bulk of their free time is spent maintaining their Facebook page!  Two or three amazing , trusted friends/family can be all we need to be known, heard, or validated.

Life is busy.  Perhaps this has been an especially crazy season for you and quality connections with others has been tough to find; yet with a time of reflection you would have to honestly say that you have been experiencing some of the symptoms of a disconnect: discouragement, restlessness, isolation, etc.  Perhaps a few of these steps would be helpful in moving you into a place of connectedness:

1.  Make a list of those you would like to connect with, calendar a bi-weekly/monthly  time with them that allows you to spend some quality time.

2.  When spending time with those you value the most: turn off phones and other distracting devices.  Maximize what little time you have!

3.  Listen really well and repeat back what you have heard to be sure you truly understand what is being shared!

4.  Ask for help.  Even great friends will have trouble reading your mind.

5.  Share your appreciation for those you value; you may be thinking it but bridges are built when your actually share it!

6.  Move out of unhealthy relationships to give yourself fresh emotional and time margins to begin to invite quality connections into your life.  Boundaries are a good thing!

We need one another~In our personal lives as well as in a national crisis!  If you have found yourself isolating I beseech you to reach out and invite people IN again. 🙂

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“It is impossible for us to be all we can be in isolation.”  Paula P. Brownlee