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Procrastination!

Are you putting things off – again!?
Aren’t you tired of that lame old excuse?
Have you considered and reflected upon what really matters most in your life recently?
Far too frequently do you allow distractions of the world to cloud and distort your judgement, causing you to delay making important decisions in life? Is that you perhaps?
Procrastination is a stubborn enemy for many of us.
For some it will raise its head, over and over and over again.

“Procrastination is my sin.
It brings me naught but sorrow.
I know that I should stop it.
In fact, I will — tomorrow!”

— Attributed to Gloria Pitzer

Many, many years ago, I was given a little gift – similar to the picture above.
It was a “𝐑𝐎𝐔𝐍𝐃 𝐓𝐔𝐈𝐓”
I am sure many of you will have seen one, or may have given or received one.
Today – I wish to gift a virtual one to everyone!
Now is the time. Seize the day…!
Set out to accomplish those things that need to be done.
Change your perspective – reframe.
By doing so, it will enable you to see that things that seemed so important only a moment ago, are actually of little interest.
Don’t let those unimportant things distract you from what really matters most. Your life, your happiness, your family, a career that you enjoy, an organisation that has values congruent with your own.
Step back.
Reflect.
Take action.
Apply this virtual gift today.
……What do you need to consider?

Choose to Play

“𝐁𝐮𝐭 𝐈 𝐣𝐮𝐬𝐭 𝐰𝐚𝐧𝐭 𝐭𝐨 𝐩𝐥𝐚𝐲!
“𝐍𝐨𝐭 𝐨𝐧 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐛𝐞𝐧𝐜𝐡…𝐚𝐠𝐚𝐢𝐧!? – 𝐍𝐨 𝐧𝐨𝐭 𝐦𝐞!”
Why me? Perhaps the better question is why not me?
All too frequently as a teenager – that’s where I found myself in the High School Basketball team. I just wanted to play in the game.
I wanted a jersey, I didn’t want to sit on the sidelines – I simply wanted to play!
In my youthfulness and eagerness to play, long hours of practice and effort eventually paid off, and I became a regular starter – playing constantly.
I learned too, that sometimes when you are not playing well, the coach can take you out of the game.
Similarly in life, I want to be where the action is.
Sitting on the sidelines is just not for me.
At home, at work, in the community I need to be involved, I need to play, to make a difference.
As Oliver Wendell Holmes said “It is required of a man that he share the action and the passion of his time at the peril of being judged not to have lived.”
Whatever it is that is most important in your life…
– choose to be engaged
– choose to participate
– choose to practice and expend the effort
– choose to get involved
– choose to make a difference
Decide now to get up off the bench, move from the sidelines and into the field of action – 𝒄𝒉𝒐𝒐𝒔𝒆 𝒕𝒐 𝒑𝒍𝒂𝒚!
What will you choose to do today?

Face the Fear!

“Aren’t you a little nervous?” asked the missionaries. “Not really” I said, “well maybe a tiny wee bit!”
And off we strode to stand out front of the theatre in Amsterdam yesterday.
What a hoot we had, talking to those exiting the theatre. It was fun. I really enjoyed myself as I talked with many people about their experience.
Several times I was invited to see the musical, “it is great entertainment,” said many.
Entertainment – “the action of providing or being provided with amusement or enjoyment, or diversion provided especially by performers.”
My response was “no thank you, perhaps you’d like to read the book instead.”
The official church statement about the musical reads:
“The production may attempt to entertain audiences for an evening, but the Book of Mormon as a volume of scripture will change people’s lives forever by bringing them closer to Christ.”
The Book of Mormon certainly changed my live – forever!
I met Tom, a production assistant, touring with the show. We talked for a while, and I shared a copy of the Book of Mormon with him.

Face the Fear

I was overwhelmed by the fearlessness of all the missionaries. With faith they were able to quiet their hearts in the midst of the confusion and uncertainty in the moments that followed.
It is a daunting task!
Yet, each one of them with great courage spoke to the very best of their ability, addressing complete strangers, over and over again.
To young men and women everywhere – have faith against fear, faith with great courage and conviction in Him who will not forget us or leave us alone.
All missionaries teach and testify of our Saviour – Jesus Christ.
In General Conference yesterday, President Russell M. Nelson said; “His gospel is the only answer when many in the world are stunned with fear. We have the sacred responsibility to share the power and peace of Jesus Christ with all who will listen and who will let God prevail in their lives.
The spiritual darkness in the world makes the light of Jesus Christ needed more than ever. Everyone deserves the chance to know about the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. Every person deserves to know where they can find the hope and peace that “[passes] all understanding” (Philippians 4:7).”
If you’ve seen the play, then I’d suggest you may want to read the book, as I know the Book of Mormon changes lives for the better, and it can change yours too.

Lessons that change us

𝐋𝐞𝐬𝐬𝐨𝐧𝐬 𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐝𝐨𝐧’𝐭 𝐜𝐡𝐚𝐥𝐥𝐞𝐧𝐠𝐞 𝐮𝐬 𝐫𝐚𝐫𝐞𝐥𝐲 𝐜𝐡𝐚𝐧𝐠𝐞 𝐮𝐬 – Brad Wilcox
This is a cracking photo of two young missionaries, returning home exhausted, after another long hard day. This was outside our Stowe Road apartment in Shepherd’s Bush, London – in January 1984. I’d been out only a few weeks in the England London Mission.
I had the best trainer ever in Kelley Gray
Times never to be forgotten.
Those were the days!!
Every day those lessons in the mission field challenged me.
More significantly, they changed me.
Now, as Monic and I lead the Belgium Netherlands Mission, frequently I see great power and wisdom in the phrase “𝒍𝒆𝒔𝒔𝒐𝒏𝒔 𝒕𝒉𝒂𝒕 𝒅𝒐𝒏’𝒕 𝒄𝒉𝒂𝒍𝒍𝒆𝒏𝒈𝒆 𝒖𝒔 𝒓𝒂𝒓𝒆𝒍𝒚 𝒄𝒉𝒂𝒏𝒈𝒆 𝒖𝒔.”
For all who have served or are currently serving, I am absolutely certain each of you will know exactly what I mean.
That said, these lessons don’t only take place in the mission field.
What lessons have challenged and changed you?

Improving!

“Wees niet bang om fouten te maken, iedereen die een nieuwe taal leert, maakt fouten!”

In other words, don’t be afraid to make mistakes, anyone who learns a new language makes mistakes!

After a few months in the Netherlands, words to that affect frequently run through my mind.

That said however, I had a funny experience at Schiphol Airport last week, whilst picking up the new arriving missionaries.

Whilst Monic and I, along with Elder Ornelas were waiting for the final missionary to arrive at Gate 2, I was approached by a complete stranger, looking for directions to the other arrival gates 3 & 4.

Having just come from gate 3, I gave him the directions in my best Dutch, pointing at the same time…

“Ga rechtdoor, dan rechtsaf, 100 meter rechtdoor en dan is het aan u rechterhand”

He thanked me and then headed off in that direction.

I turned back to Monic and Elder Ornelas, and it struck me that this was very similar to that moment when Elder Calhoun in the movie “The Best Two Years” directed a complete stranger at the railway station.  For those of you who have seen the movie, you will recall that precise moment.  If you haven’t see the movie – then watch it, it has to be one of the best movies about life in the mission field.

We laughed together as we talked about the movie and Elder Calhoun!

In that moment, I realised without thinking that my Dutch is improving!!

What is improving for you right now, that you may not have noticed?

Measuring Progress

How do you measure your progress?
….It’s just gone 6.50am and I am doing good!
One of my favourite Christmas presents is my water bottle.
It allows me to measure the amount of water I drink, by the hour, throughout the entire day.
No more counting glasses for me…
With this I can see the progress I am making to achieve my daily 2 litre goal.
I love it!!
It is a SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Targeted) way of setting a daily goal.
The first step to measure progress is to set a goal…
There is however little point in setting a goal if you will never know whether you were successful or not.
To determine the level of success, you must be able to measure your progress.
When you measure your progress, you see exactly how you are getting along, which in turn can act as a great motivator for you to stick with something.
In my experience, the fact that you are making progress will give you the drive and energy to stick with the goal.
How do you measure your progress with your personal goals?

Nobody is a Nobody

𝐍𝐨𝐛𝐨𝐝𝐲 𝐢𝐬 𝐚 𝐧𝐨𝐛𝐨𝐝𝐲!
Through my life, career and church service, oftentimes I’ve heard phrases like “what does it really matter, I’m nobody,” or “I’m just one of the thousands, I’m nobody really”.
Perhaps in the past you may have felt you were a nobody, or maybe you are feeling right now that you are a nobody?
“We do ourselves a great injustice when we allow ourselves, through tragedy, misfortune, challenge, discouragement, or whatever the earthly situation, to so identify ourselves. No matter how or where we find ourselves, we cannot with any justification label ourselves “nobody.”” – said Marvin J. Ashton.
Frequently life, work and family challenges can get us down and cause us to question who we really are. We doubt ourselves, we doubt our self worth and confidence may fail us. I have been in too many coaching conversations where that has been the case.
Please, please be assured – you are a somebody!!!
You are endowed with great gifts, unique capabilities, special talents all waiting to be discovered, developed and finely tuned.
Each of us are needed.
You are unique.
You are where you are supposed to be.
No one, absolutely no one can take your place.
Everybody is somebody to me.
My simple invitation today is to invite you to be somebody, nobody thought you could be.

Adapting to Change

Years ago, I worked for a company whose logo incorporated a dandelion.
Yesterday, whilst visiting Hengelo for the weekend, we met with our new friends Gert & Nicky Aalderink for a lovely dinner. During our conversation we talked about dandelions for a minute or two.
As a child I learned that blowing on dandelion puffballs can tell you if it’s time to go home, how many years it will be until you find the right person and get married, or perhaps even how many children you’ll have – and naturally, if you catch a flying dandelion seed, you can make a wish!
All of this is just plain nonsensical childish fun – of course!
Dandelions however grow and flourish almost anywhere.
Why?
Simply stated – they can adapt exceptionally well to any changing conditions.

Top Tips

Recently, I have been asked a lot about adapting to change. And so, I thought this morning, (having facilitated many learning sessions on the topic over many years,) I’d share my top ten tips on adapting to change. Here they are…..
1 – Focus on what you can control
2 – Accept and embrace change
3 – Recognise, understand and acknowledge your emotions
4 – Avoid catastrophising about the future
5 – Regulate your stress levels by slowing down
6 – Always get support from others
7 – Establish daily healthy routines and good habits
8 – Always be curious about the new experience
9 – Take one baby step at a time
10 – Seek out new opportunities that will certainly arise.
Dandelion seeds blowing in the wind, land in all kinds of different places. To survive, grow and flourish, they have to adapt to their ever changing environment.
In a like manner as each of us face an ever changing environment at home, in the workplace and most certainly in the mission field, we must adapt quickly to survive, grow and flourish!
What is one your best tips on adapting to change?

Change one Thing

Change One Thing….
Have you ever asked yourself what’s the one thing that I can change about myself that will make the biggest difference in my life?
Change happens one (baby) step at a time.
In a number of recent conversations, I have found that we tend to focus on far too many changes at once.
Then it struck me this morning that we must remember, that new habits are formed one step at a time……One By One.
By changing one thing in your daily habits and routines, no matter how great or small, I have found that just one little thing can have many big consequences in your life.
Perhaps its that one annoying habit that consumes lots of your time every day, that is really just a waste of time and effort!
You know what I mean.
So – why not do something today that will make a big difference?
Choose to change.
It may help you to soar higher.
What one thing will you change today?

Change 6 things!

Facilitating a meeting earlier this week with our Mission Leadership Council, I used one of my favourite little change activities. I paired each participant up with a buddy, had them stand back to back and then invited them to change 6 things about their appearance.
I always love running this activity as it is such a great little icebreaker. It went very well and everyone had some fun together.
There were also some great points made by the participants and some very positive in the moment learning takeaways…
Two points I want to make today about this little activity.
Firstly, I always change something about myself. It is always very difficult for them to spot. When they are all busy changing various things about themselves, I simply sneakily remove my wedding ring. Eventually, after several guesses, someone always identifies the change. I then explain how difficult it is to remove my ring. Its been there a long time – 27 years! And it has great sentimental value, which brings back many memories too.
𝐋𝐞𝐬𝐬𝐨𝐧 𝟏- Change is sometimes difficult because we have been doing things the same way, for a long time. Little things, are often BIG things!
Secondly, after the activity, everyone changed their appearance, back to how it was. I didn’t ask them to do it, yet every single one of them did!
Why did they do that?
𝐋𝐞𝐬𝐬𝐨𝐧 𝟐- Simply stated, because that was the way they were before and frequently its much more comfortable there!
Two simple reasons why change is sometimes difficult to achieve!
William Bridges Transition Model, is a great place to start to understand more about change.
What change are you facing today?