Archive for June 2013

Tree of Life Provides Life Balance

I’ve been looking for the right way to visually display my thoughts about life balance and how what I’ve called five dimensions of life play such an important role in helping us keep that balance right. Over the last few weeks, I’ve coached a few folks with this approach and confirmed its value. The central thought came from some study I was doing on the Tree of Life in the Garden of Eden. As I put the my thoughts together about the Tree of Life and the five dimensions of life seen elsewhere in this site, it was easy to build the model below with the five dimensions represented by the five roots of the tree. Each of the roots has a corresponding branch that creates a well balance, enriching, fulfilled life as long as each of the five roots are nourished and nurtured properly.

tree of life

Tree of Life

Like a tree, branches sometimes need pruning to create the best fruit. Change in some areas of life may take some painful work to transform some old, bad habits and bring about the best you for the future you desire. Each branch has tips, techniques, and tools available to help with areas of life in which many others found the need to exercise constraint or focus for improvement. You’ll probably find nothing new or exciting in these areas, but often a coach can point out things in us we do not see in ourselves, or hold us accountable when we find it hard to hold ourselves accountable in some of our weakest moments.

In the next few weeks, you will see some changes on my home page as I change the approach from dimensions to roots and use this model to better explain how these five roots or pillars collectively determine who we are every day.

Write back and let me know what you think of it.


The Importance of Relationships

planeLosing a friend this week reminded me again of the importance of relationships and nurturing the roots of our life. My friend, August was 84 and died of cancer he didn’t know he had. His suffering at the end was quick, going into the hospital on Tuesday, losing consciousness on Wednesday, and passing into eternity on Saturday morning. I knew he and his wife for fourteen years. They were married ten years ago, she lost her first husband in 1988 and he lost his wife not many years after that.

August was a sailor, a Navy Warrant Officer, proud of the uniform, proud of his country, proud to have served his nation. We shared war stories often. He honored those in uniform whenever given the chance. Every Memorial Day, every Flag Day, every 4th of July, every Veterans’ Day, whenever an opportunity came for special recognition of veterans in church or public events, he humbly stood with the crowd of veterans, but looked around and applauded the young men and women who stood with him, the volunteers who are protecting our nation today.

August was a father. He made mistakes along the way as we all do. In getting to know August over the last few years, especially as his prayer partner the last three years, he reflected on “redo” he’d like to have with his children. But growing up in an abusive home, never seeing how love and discipline should be expressed, he did what he thought was right, even knowing there was a gnawing feeling that it wasn’t. Regrets and long past memories are difficult to overcome without nurturing the spiritual root. Over the last three years in focused discipling, August did that. He found peace with himself, his God, and longed to share the same peace and joy with his children.

August was a husband. He loved his wife. At our weekly breakfasts together he spoke most often about her. He shared about their trips together and the joy they found in those. He share about her painting and the drive she has. He share about her faith and the way she manages to weather every storm that come into life. He shared so many stories and events that showed how much he cared for her. Sometimes he talked about the work he did for her in the flower beds, in the house, in the art gallery, in other places. He found it hard to keep up with her sometimes, but he worked hard to do it because he wanted to be where she was and aid her in whatever way he could.

August was a friend. He took time for people. He didn’t get in a hurry. He talked to anyone who wanted to talk. He would share time with the waitresses at the restaurant where we ate each Wednesday. He stopped to talk at the register. He talked in the grocery store or in the lobby at the church. Wherever he went, he was ready to spend time with people. He understood that people need relationships and was just ready to be there to lend whatever hand he could, even at 84.

We will miss August, but because he nurture the five roots of his life – physical, family, spiritual, emotional, social – in the end, I think he felt fulfilled. I think his last years were filled with joy and a peace that comes from knowing who you are and living life to the best you can each and every day. He did that. He couldn’t do much about the past except ask forgiveness and forgive himself. He had taken those steps and found peace. Now, in his faith belief and mine, he is at rest with his Lord.

Enjoy your celebration, my friend!

be the best w. arrow


Priorities and promotions

I reveled in the promotion of two friends to general officer today. I worked with both of them in my past and knew they were destined for greatness. Partly because of skill and talent, partly because of the fate of assignments being at the right place at the right time, partly because of the mentoring of the people they worked with and worked for in the past. If that were the only reason for their promotions, though, they would be poor leaders. Both will be great leaders, not because of those things, but because they genuinely care about people and know how to balance their priorities.

They learned a long time ago not to let the urgent take the place of the important. They learned to think strategically. What does that mean in practical terms? It means they don’t let the calendar run them, they run the calendar. Important things like time for planning, time for family, time for themselves, time for vacation, time for staff, time for education, time for spiritual renewal, all get put on the calendar before they can get crowded out by the mundane activities of life. Generals’ calendars are unbelievably packed. They have little or no white space which is why these two women learned early to schedule the big things first. Put the important stuff on the calendar so it doesn’t get lost.

Another thing these two women understand is the importance of their network. They know hundreds of people, but more important, they know the circle of professionals they can count on in areas where they have weaknesses. All of us have a unique set of skills and all of us have weaknesses. When we know what they are, we can bring the right talent around us to partner with us to create an unstoppable team. That’s exactly what these two do so well. They know their strengths and weaknesses. They know how to build the right teams to take advantage of their strengths and partner with the right people to take advantage of others’ strengths. The important part of the partnership, though, is giving them credit. And they ALWAYS give credit to the team.

So as you see, their promotion to general officer is not an accident. Barb and Jimmie nurtured the five dimensions of their life throughout their careers. Congratulations are in order for what they have done in the past, for their bright futures, and for what the Army will gain because of their leadership in the future. They will coach a lot more young officers, non-commissioned officers, soldiers, and civilians over the next several years. Hopefully, many will learn the lessons of balance, setting the right priorities, and thinking strategically from them.

Congrats again to the AMEDD’s newest generals.


I Want Desert First!

Over the weekend, my grandson reminded me of how we can sometimes get our lives so out of kilter until we just seem overwhelmed by it all. He’s a great kid. I love him to death. Sometimes he just doesn’t want to eat his dinner, though. What do we do? Like good baby-sitting grandparents, we bribed him with an ice cream sandwich if he would eat all his dinner! Bad thing to do. Now the three year-old wants desert first! 800px-IceCreamSandwich

It’s great being a grandparent. Now I can give sugary stuff to my grand kids and be the hero, give them back to their mom and dad when they’re all wired up, and go home laughing at what I know they will face. Fun stuff! As a side note, he did eat his dinner. But he also ate his ice cream sandwich.

So the point of the story – too many of us “grown ups” scream and throw tantrums (maybe not out loud, but at least internally) to get ice cream first. We satisfy the little kid inside us instead of doing the adult, mature thing with just a little self-discipline and put of the desert until we’ve finished the healthy stuff. We let our lives get out of balance instead of focusing appropriately on nurturing the four dimensions of life allow us to balance life and bring us ultimate fulfillment and joy – physical, family, spiritual, emotional, and social dimensions.

Often our problem lies not just in lacking the self-discipline, but in setting goals for ourselves and understanding the dimensions operate to help us meet them in the first place. When we know the goals we desire, we can set a plan in place to reach those goals. We can use the dimensions of life to map out the plan so as to balance our life in a way that brings fulfillment and joy. We can see how all of the parts fit together as a whole to make us who we were created to be.

If you want to learn more about the dimensions of life and how they can make a difference in helping you meet your life goals, contact me.

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Spiritual Dimension Is the Core of Who We Are

The spiritual dimension of life reflects who we are deep inside. When we ignore the development of our spiritual dimension, we risk floating the latest fad, poll, and survey on the street and never stand for anything. We never understand our purpose in life and float aimlessly, unfulfilled, and probably very unhappy with who we are and what we accomplish. The spiritual dimension presents us with our moral compass, our values, a sense of purpose greater than ourselves. It gives us hope and helps us realize there is always something we can do in the face of adversity.

Spiritual Dimension and purposepurpose of life, spiritual dimension

One of the more interesting things about each of us resides in the genetic code that makes us unique. Although we are similar in so many ways, no two of us are exactly alike. If you think about the combinations and permutations of genes that exist in us, you begin to realize it’s the virtually impossible odds of two people being alike. If that is true, and forensic science bases itself on that fact, consider the likelihood that two people have the exact combination of skills, talents, intelligence, experience, and so forth. Again, the odds are virtually impossible. If for no other reason, the physiological differences between us make us respond to environmental factors with slight differences.

If we are all different, then we all fit different roles and responsibilities better. As a Christian the spiritual dimension is where I think we find purpose in life. I believe we were created with a purpose in mind. When we figure out what that purpose is and pursue that purpose we will feel fulfilled in life. We will be happy in our chosen profession and know that we are doing what we were made to do. For those not of the Christian faith, the same argument still holds. If you know what your skills, talents, experience, desires are, not necessarily what makes the most money, using those attributes to the fullest brings exceptional satisfaction and fulfillment in life. Most often fulfillment comes from using those talents for the good of others because we are relational people.

How do you find your purpose?

So if finding your purpose is so important? Just how do you go about doing it?

There are some simple steps.

  • take an inventory of your skills and talents
  • ask yourself how you help people
  • list the resources you have available to help others
  • think about who you help

Put these lists where you can stare at them for a few days. Let some close friends, your spouse, and family members pick them apart, add to them, and change them around. Add a list of who help you help others. These will be your weaknesses, things you either don’t do well, or don’t like to do. Don’t limit your lists to your job site, make sure you think holistically. What do you do for your neighbors, your family, your church?

Figure out who you are and what excites you. You’ll probably see in the list of how you help and who you help a clear purpose for your life. You’ll see what really makes you happy in doing things for others. It may be in your current job, or it may be that your current job provides the means by which you’re able to do what you love. This simple exercise can work some wonders for you if you’ve never tried it before.

The spiritual dimension of life is all about finding your purpose and direction. If you’d like more information or more help in discovering your purpose in life, give me a call or email me. You can find out more about the packages available by clicking below.

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be the best w. arrow

 

richard@ageesconsulting.com

(210) 854-3978