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Are you wrestling?

Are you wrestling with something or someone?
Perhaps things are a little tense at the moment?
Recently I was asked “how do you deal with conflict President?”
One of my key goals is to ensure that as mission leaders we foster a mission culture of collaboration, encouragement, and unity.
Sounds simple enough, right?
But human beings are oftentimes far from simple!
Communication is strained, there are opposing positions, emotions run high – sound familiar?
And what happens if there are disagreements that impact relationships?
There are some simple things that we can do to overcome differences.
As a leader it is important to consider the following.

Top Tips

– Start with one-on-one conversations and get the full story by listening to understand.
Help each person do the important basic initial work at hand, namely – seeing the other person’s viewpoint, discerning their own emotions, and preparing for conversations to come.
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– Ask purposeful, meaningful questions by starting a dialogue
It is helpful to ask questions that focus on the facts and also on their emotions. “What is going on for you right now?” or “What’s motivating you?”
To help foster mutual understanding , it is also useful to have each person take the other persons perspective. This in turn will help everyone to feel heard and empowered.
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– Look forward – together
Once a little bit of clarity has started to evolve for each other, encourage each party to share what they have discussed with you as their leader.
In addition, remind them that they can work out their differences and find resolutions on their own by focussing on their relationship. Once the immediate disagreements are addressed, then make a plan to get everyone back on the same page.
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Some other important things to remember.
• Use this opportunity to revisit agreed purpose and goals.
• Promote more interactions to create better cohesion.
• Don’t assume everyone knows what they’re supposed to be working on! Clarify each other’s roles so that people know exactly what is expected of them.
Compassion, empathy, finding common ground, forgiveness, kindness, being an active listener and above all, selfless service are key to build bridges to resolve any conflicts.
Finally, choosing to slow down and focus on what matters most – really helps!
How can you repair some broken bridges?

The Enos Challenge

𝐖𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐝𝐨 𝐲𝐨𝐮 𝐬𝐭𝐮𝐝𝐲?
“Studying – the act of texting, eating and watching Netflix with an open textbook nearby” – that’s one definition at least!
Growing older, I’ve discovered that I love to study, i.e., “devoting time and attention to gain knowledge” – perhaps that is a more traditional definition!
In Doctrine & Covenants 88:118, the Lords describes how to learn the gospel “…yea, seek ye out of the best books words of wisdom; seek learning, even by study and also by faith.
Reading and studying are both part of the learning process.
So – is there a difference between the two?
Another definition I found suggests that – Studying means to concentrate and devote time in completing or researching any task; while reading means to understand and grasp the meaning of any content without devoting much time to it.
In simple terms, “you’re only going to get out of this what you put into it.” – Boyd K. Packer.
Whilst listening to a podcast in our pre-mission training, we were encouraged to take the Enos challenge.
The invitation was to study the one chapter of Enos in the Book of Mormon for 30 days.
My immediate thought was “How can I study Enos for 30 days, there are only 27 verses!”
However, I accepted the challenge and learned many wonderful lessons, as I slowed down and studied those verses, one by one.
The book of Enos is like a pure journal entry and is a very personal chapter of scripture.
There was indeed much to learn.

The Process of Studying…

The process of studying the scriptures has three important parts:
1 – Understanding the background and setting of the scriptures.
2 – Identifying the principles and doctrines being taught.
3 – Applying those truths to our own lives.
I learned that studying is better when you take your time, by looking out for key words, you’ll discover that truths about Jesus Christ are everywhere.
Recently I invited all of the missionaries to complete the Enos challenge.
I love this piece of street art graffiti in Friesland.
It was a timely serendipitous find by Tess Flake upon her completion of the challenge!
Have you ever taken time to study the scriptures?
Enos may be a good place to start!

Understanding

Let me dispel the misunderstanding…
Today I will be attending church in Utrecht (again).
I first attended there over 28 years ago, on Sunday 5th September 1993.
It was my first Sunday in the Netherlands.
I had no knowledge of the language and struggled throughout to understand.
Thankfully Monic was on hand to help my understanding a little.
Consider for a moment the word 𝐮𝐧𝐝𝐞𝐫𝐬𝐭𝐚𝐧𝐝𝐢𝐧𝐠.
It is defined as – “to know how something works or to know what something means.”
As everyone knows, I am religiously active as a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
In my efforts to promote understanding, perhaps I can be a bit annoying and even unduly enthusiastic about my faith at times!
I certainly understand how easily that can happen, as the subject of religion can be a little touchy for many people.
Have you ever wondered why I am so anxious to share my views?
Like me, you may worry about the conflicts in the world, the political turmoil, the economic instability, and the pressures of living in a world where illness, or the death of a loved one may have taken their toll on you in all kinds of physical, mental, spiritual, and emotional ways.
I certainly do not understand the complexities of all of the volatility and turmoil in the world.
Through it all however – your family are probably the most important thing in the world for you.
As you look to the future, you may be anxious what it may hold for you, your partner, your children, and your grandchildren.
At times, I am.
But then I stop and remember my why.
My understanding of a much greater plan, which I believe to be immensely important for everyone.
It centres around my belief in Jesus Christ.
He always brings peace and safety.
My faith in Him it is not passive; it is very active.
Like so many others, maybe you are searching for something?
Just as Monic helped me understand Dutch a little all those years ago, our missionaries can help you come to understand a little more about the purpose of life, why you are here, the plan of salvation and even answer that question that troubles so many – is there life after death?
Perhaps it’s time, once and for all to understand these things, to let God prevail – He is no great mystery after all.
I promise – you too can 𝒖𝒏𝒅𝒆𝒓𝒔𝒕𝒂𝒏𝒅.
#HearHim

Signs of Progress

How do you measure progress?
After 9 weeks of immersion in the culture of Belgium and the Netherlands, something significant, yet very subtle happened in my head this week.
For several weeks, I hear the Dutch language and then translate what I hear into English.
In order to respond, I then translate my English thinking into Dutch.
This week though, things started to change – just a little.
I am beginning to think in Dutch… 🙂
What a difference it makes!
The result?
I am even struggling to recall some simple English words and replacing them with Dutch ones!
The transition is starting to happen!
Don’t get me wrong, I have still lots of learning, but genuinely feel after some tough weeks, that I am making some progress.
So how do you measure progress?
…One day at a time! And then recognising the change.
When I’m dreaming in Dutch – that will be a real sign!
And for our new missionary arrivals next week, remember to speak it every day – that is so crucial. There is hope!!

Tips!

The problem with the word “tip” is that it has many definitions.

At a recent CIPD event, we had a few moments of miscommunication and hilarity, as we tried to contextualise a three-letter word into a definitive description!

For example, consider the following…..

– Leaving a tip for the waiter is good practice.
– Fly tipping is a problem around the country.
– It was on the tip of my tongue to say exactly what I thought.
– Tipping the glass of water over wasn’t what I’d planned.
– The tip of the pencil needs to be sharpened.
– The goalkeeper tipped the ball over the crossbar.
– A good tip for the Grand National is Tiger Roll.

We were trying to get to a succinct definition of the word “tip”! In our case it was about a good idea or more specifically a “helpful hint”.

And so, my tip (oops) helpful hint for today is simply this one life saving daily habit – have a talk with yourself and don’t take life so seriously! “In all of living, have much fun and laughter. Life is to be enjoyed, not just endured” said Gordon B. Hinckley.

A little craziness once in a while perpetuates sanity! Learn to laugh at the little things, and life will be easier. Laughter is the best form of therapy.

Remember, life isn’t all business, it can be mixed with fun & laughter too.

Look out for some laughter today!

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?

Eye contact – connections!

Why is making eye contact so important?

Yesterday, I recorded a video for the British Heart Foundation with tips for audience engagement and presentations. I shared a few ideas, but it struck me how really valuable eye contact is!

In every instance and often unwittingly we use our eyes as a means of communication with other people. It’s a very important form of body language. In fact, when you have good eye contact with another person, it demonstrates that you are paying attention and listening.

Using your eyes is a powerful way to really connect with another person, whether with members of an audience as you scan their faces one by one, or in our virtual world by actually looking into the camera! Sharing yourself openly with an audience, builds trust and is literally the window to your soul and theirs!

As you maintain eye contact with the person you are talking to, it denotes your interest and expresses that “You are important and I am listening.” When you don’t look people in the eye, they are much less likely to engage with you. Conversely, when you look someone in the eye, they are more likely to engage with you and much more likely to listen!

Making eye contact builds rapport and always helps to connect. Give it a go today!

“How do you walk in another person’s shoes?”

“How do you walk in another person’s shoes?” asked the workshop participant…

A great question and one that I have been asked repeatedly in recent coaching workshops.

A big part of the answer is to do with 𝐞𝐦𝐩𝐚𝐭𝐡𝐲.

Empathy is understanding another person’s feelings, thoughts, and condition from their perspective, rather than our own.

In my experience empathy is being very present in any conversation, attentively listening deeply, being open minded without judgement, looking into their eyes and giving someone your undivided attention, in order to sense their emotions. Frequently a human connection is made, resulting in a peek or a fleeting impression into how or what they are really feeling. It is a momentary glimpse of their reality. That’s when I start to feel I am being empathetic.

The good news is – empathy is something that can be learned.

Active or deep listening and asking powerful questions helps us to develop an understanding of another persons situation and in turn develops empathy. As you seek to understand another person, simple responses are very often the most powerful and meaningful ways to help.

Try walking in another’s shoes today, go on give it a go!