Posts

Disappointment

After coming in contact with someone with Covid this week, we’ve been in isolation for a few days.
Yesterday, despite our great determination, because of a number of growing cases of covid in the mission, we took a difficult decision to postpone (again) a mission conference, planned for the week ahead, with a visiting general authority of the church.
Our hopes were dashed once more…
Disappointment, discouragement and being a little down were not far from our thoughts yesterday, as we knew the impact the decision would have on our missionaries. Dealing with disappointment is not easy and it brings a kind of sadness with it too.

What did we learn?

Yet, setbacks are part of our experience as human beings.
I have learned in life too, that as we deal with disappointments, we need to understand that these temporary blips in our lives are just that — temporary!
The key, however, is to boldly face disappointments and to master and control the emotions that arise.
Maybe it is required of all of us to know that through disappointments in life we may experience that which was taught in Doctrine & Covenants 29:39 “if they never should have bitter, they could not know the sweet.”
All that said, in one of my favourite scriptures we read in Doctrine and Covenants 61:36, “And now, verily I say unto you, and what I say unto one I say unto all, be of good cheer, little children; for I am in your midst, and I have not forsaken you.”
So – in the midst of our disappointment yesterday, after dealing with and sharing our emotions with one another, we chose to change and cheer ourselves up. We put things into perspective!
It was our day off after all.
We put up the table tennis table and played for a little while. Then we had a game of Sequence, we ate some warming soup, had a chocolate or two, and finally we listened and danced to some cheerful Irish folk music – all of which lifted our spirits.
What do you do to overcome disappointments?

The difference between a good and a great leader.

Recently I was asked “what is the key to becoming a leader?”
In considering a helpful reply, several thoughts came to mind.
In my experience, the first principle of leadership is 𝒍𝒐𝒗𝒆.
Yes, it is that simple, lead with love.
Love makes the difference between a good and a great leader.
As you love those whom you lead, it somehow magnifies every other principle of leadership, as you show concern for others, including building trust, serving and teaching others, creating a vision, communication, building a team and dealing with change.
When others know you will put their interests ahead of your own, they won’t hesitate to trust you.
Showing interest in others, being sensitive to their problems, and conveying compassion increases peoples’ capacities to trust in you.
I have learned that great leaders don’t set out to be leaders, they simply set out to make a difference.
I have also found that the best leaders also tend to be the best learners.
The more you are committed to learning the more successful you are at leading—and in turn, just about anything else.
What can you do to increase your love for others?

Learning – Lighting the way ahead.

I love to learn.
The older I become, the more I enjoy the words of thoughtful writers both ancient and modern.
The more we learn, the more we are in a position to learn.
Gordon B. Hinckley stated “The learning process is endless. We must read, we must observe, we must assimilate, and we must ponder that to which we expose our minds. I believe in the evolution of the mind, the heart and the soul of humanity. I believe in improvement. I believe in growth. There is nothing quite as invigorating as being able to evaluate and then solve a difficult problem, to grapple with something that seems almost unsolvable and then find a resolution.”
I am so grateful to friends, colleagues and associates who motivate and inspire us to reach higher and do better.
As a teenager, I recall cycling in the early morning delivering newspapers and at night too, with the dynamo on my front wheel, lighting the way ahead. The faster I went the brighter the light, the slower I went, the light became dimmer.
So, it is with our minds.
Through ongoing personal development, we can keep the light of our personality and character shining ever brighter by reading good literature, then through our study, apply and action the learning into our lives.
How does learning, light the way ahead for you?

Simple Symbols & Formulas

Pondering after general conference weekend, it struck me this morning of a very obvious and intentional way that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is taught around the world.
There is in fact a very simple formula, a pattern if you will.
In the Book of Mormon, Jacob 6:3, we read “I speak unto you 𝒂𝒈𝒂𝒊𝒏 (just like our conference weekends every 6 months), for I am desirous for the welfare of your souls. Yea, mine anxiety is great for you; and ye yourselves know that it ever has been. For (1) 𝑰 𝒉𝒂𝒗𝒆 𝒆𝒙𝒉𝒐𝒓𝒕𝒆𝒅 𝒚𝒐𝒖 with all diligence; and (2) 𝑰 𝒉𝒂𝒗𝒆 𝒕𝒂𝒖𝒈𝒉𝒕 𝒚𝒐𝒖 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝒘𝒐𝒓𝒅𝒔 𝒐𝒇 𝒎𝒚 𝒇𝒂𝒕𝒉𝒆𝒓; and (3) 𝑰 𝒉𝒂𝒗𝒆 𝒔𝒑𝒐𝒌𝒆𝒏 𝒖𝒏𝒕𝒐 𝒚𝒐𝒖 𝒄𝒐𝒏𝒄𝒆𝒓𝒏𝒊𝒏𝒈 𝒂𝒍𝒍 𝒕𝒉𝒊𝒏𝒈𝒔 𝒘𝒉𝒊𝒄𝒉 𝒂𝒓𝒆 𝒘𝒓𝒊𝒕𝒕𝒆𝒏, from the creation of the world”
Reflecting upon this scripture, (and others) what I witnessed over the weekend (again), has suggested strongly to my mind that there is an oft repeated simple pattern or formula that is used to teach the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Indeed it has been similarly replicated through all generations of time.

It is this….

1 – Personal Testimony
2 – Teachings of Living Prophets
3 – Teachings of Holy Scriptures
I hope that we can hearken to this simple pattern. It is a proven, powerful and potent way of teaching.
As we were reminded of again over the weekend it has been said that; “The Gospel of Jesus Christ is beautifully simple and simply beautiful.”
Formulas and symbols help us to see things 𝒄𝒐𝒓𝒓𝒆𝒄𝒕𝒍𝒚!
Look out for the pattern when the missionaries stop by to share the gospel and their testimony with you!
What other patterns have you found in the scriptures?

Baby Steps

𝑨 𝒋𝒐𝒖𝒓𝒏𝒆𝒚 𝒐𝒇 𝒂 𝒕𝒉𝒐𝒖𝒔𝒂𝒏𝒅 𝒎𝒊𝒍𝒆𝒔 𝒃𝒆𝒈𝒊𝒏𝒔 𝒘𝒊𝒕𝒉 𝒂 𝒔𝒊𝒏𝒈𝒍𝒆 𝒔𝒕𝒆𝒑 – Chinese Proverb.
Arriving in a different country, understanding a new culture and an unfamiliar language can be overwhelming at times – it certainly isn’t an instant process!
It has been over 26 years since Monic and I have lived in the Netherlands and we are already noticing how so many things have changed.
That said, one big thing that I have already learned is the value and importance of taking 𝒐𝒏𝒆 𝒔𝒎𝒂𝒍𝒍 𝒃𝒂𝒃𝒚 𝒔𝒕𝒆𝒑 𝒂𝒕 𝒂 𝒕𝒊𝒎𝒆.

The first few steps

Tentatively, we have taken our first few steps of exploration in and around our local area. It is so beautiful, with lovely scenic walks and the people are so friendly.
Meeting with each of our missionaries one by one, has been an absolute joy.
For the first time yesterday, I was able to travel from one destination to another in the car with only a little help from the GPS. Driving can be especially challenging, especially due to the high volume of traffic and the proliferation of cyclists, everywhere!
Sitting in meetings where the language is completely Dutch no longer feels quite so painful or complete gobbledygook.
Slow, but sure, steady progress.
I have found that many of the happiest and most successful people I have encountered in life have achieved their level of life and work success by taking small baby steps, and then making one positive choice after another.
Positive new habits and routines are created incrementally, one baby step at a time. Indeed, it is through the process of change, that we discover who we really are. Patiently and carefully I am learning to lengthen my stride, one little baby step at a time!
What is a small, first step you can take and implement now in the changes you are facing in life?

Asking Questions

What will you do differently because of what you learned today?

Asked any good questions lately?

Questions can be extremely powerful. They help us to think, feel and do things differently.

We all need to learn how to ask great questions!

Some professionals like doctors, lawyers and journalists are taught how to ask great questions as part of their training.

In my own professional career through sales and coaching, I have found it equally important to be able to formulate and ask the right question.

Questions aid performance, close sales, help provide inspiration and direction, they even help to build trust and rapport.

“Management teams aren’t good at asking questions. In business school, we train them to be good at giving answers.” – Clayton Christensen.

It’s time to be a little more curious. Asking questions is an important part of life and learning.

As a coach, I am constantly asking questions to help clients move forward.

– What do you really want?
– What do you need most right now?
– So what?
– Why now?
– How can you be truer to yourself?
– Can you tell me more?

What question can you use today to unlock your own potential?

Perfect Pizza!

“It’s the centrifugal force” I said, as my daughter Cristi gave me a bit of a strange look!

In attempting to make home made pizza at the weekend for the first time ever, I learned a lot about the key ingredients and the due process of making the dough. Both are essential for perfect pizza.

The Ingredients

Strong plain flour, yeast, salt, olive oil, warm water and a little warm milk mixed together create a perfect dough.

Then the fun begins.

Kneading the dough on a well floured surface for 5 minutes creates a smooth and slightly tacky texture. Then, you pop the ball of dough into a bowl, cover it with a wet cloth, leave it for 90 minutes, allowing it to rise to perfection.

Time to knock back the dough.

Gently lifting the dough out from the bowl, kneading it again, then leaving it for another 45 minutes to rest a while. The passage of time is key.

Now, roller in hand, it was time to roll out the dough.

The first two bases were impressive and I determined not to toss the dough, frightened that I’d make a mess of my perfect creation! However, on the third base, after watching a “how to throw dough” video,  I incorporated the toss into my routine. Gently balancing the rolled dough on my fingertips, I tossed it into the air, with a gentle rotating spin action at the same time and capturing it again on the back of my hand.  Performing this action three times, allowed centrifugal force to stretch out the pizza base to perfection!

Adding on the toppings, making sure the oven was on full blast, pizza trays were already hot and getting the oven timings right were crucial finishing touches.

The result.  Perfect Pizza’s!

However, it has to be said, although Pizza’s 1 & 2 were good, adding in the toss for Pizza 3, made the difference between good and great!

In my allegory filled mind, there are dozens of pictures forming about this due process.  There are multiple comparisons to be made and lessons to be learned.  Time, ingredients, process, heat, practice, that little extra toss.

What allegories come to mind for you?

To move from good to great, sometimes you just have to throw in that little extra…. (toss!)

Now to do it all again, this time Gluten Free!

Mind the Gap

In a podcast interview yesterday I was asked, “Why is personal development so important?” I shared a few ideas at the time, however….
On further reflection post interview this morning, I recalled a regular pre-lockdown experience during my travels taking me through the London Underground. The phrase “𝒎𝒊𝒏𝒅 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝒈𝒂𝒑” is both seen and heard every time you board the tube. It’s a simple a safety announcement, a caution to remind every traveller of the small gap between the platform and the tube. That small gap varies from station to station and in turn it helps us to be much more observant and self-aware of the challenges all around.
In a similar manner, personal development is all about being prompted to “mind the gap” in our own learning in life between who/where/what we are and who we really want to become.
Personal development helps to build our self-awareness by bridging the gaps in our learning. It gives you the opportunity to take a long hard honest look at the areas of your life that may be in need of some improvement. It also enables you to get to know who you really are, what motivates you, what you are passionate about, where you would like to go in life and what your true values are.
What gaps do you need to bridge in your personal development?

Swimming Lessons

Yesterday, I returned to the swimming pool. It’s been a while! Today, getting out of bed, I’ve learned another lesson…..pacing myself!

This morning, I’m aching all over. In my enthusiasm of being back in the water, it feels that I have simply stretched myself just a little too far.

Have you felt that way before?

I certainly enjoyed myself in the pool. One length after the other. There were quite a few new social distance guidelines and restrictions also in play. That said, I’ll be back again soon enough for sure.

I am a firm believer in learning, growth and development, it certainly is important to push yourself a little. However, its also important to pace yourself too. That is my lesson this morning. The aches and pains are none too pleasant. I am certainly tuning into my body today. Now I know I should have listened a little more yesterday.

Pacing means finding the right balance of activity and rest for your unique situation. In hindsight, I wished that I’d taken it just a little slower yesterday and paced myself better.

Its time today to give myself another good talking to and remind myself (again), to find the right pace for myself.  Less really is more!

How do you pace yourself when it comes to life?

 

Curiosity

“Tell me, on a scale from 1 to 10, where are you right now?” I asked curiously…

Since my earliest childhood memories, I’ve been curious about things, people, nature, places, history, travel and culture to name a few. I have always been eager to know or learn something new and understand “why?” That probably explains one of the seemingly insatiable penchant’s of mine…..reading books!

One vivid memory from my childhood involved filling a jam jar with some foliage and then capturing a bumble bee. I’d already had some help to put some holes in the lid of the jar, so that any bee’s I captured could breath. I recall observing and listening to the bee for no more than a day, studying it, feeling sad about keeping it in a jar and then setting it free again.

Curiosity is often seen as the driving force behind not only human development, but developments in science, language, and industry. I know too that it is a vital component in coaching and mentoring

My experience is that questions driven by the curiosity of a coach can be the catalyst and driving force for change. I have come to understand that curiosity is the key to learning. It can help to expand our empathy too by helping us understand life experiences different than our own.

What are you curious about?