Reality is always your friend

I am currently reading the book Integrity by Dr. Henry Cloud for an online leadership course, and in it he makes an observation that makes so much sense in the workplace: in order to get results in the real world, we have to focus on the way the world is, not the way we think it ought to be. In other words, in assessing our current performance, we have to measure it against real expectations (reality), not the way we wish it was (fantasy).

Over the years I’ve had many employees tell me things like “if only my goals were different I’d be a star,” or “the reason my numbers are low is that I’m focusing on service,” or “I’m generating millions in revenue for the company, I can’t believe you’re hung up on my attendance.” In each of those cases the employee is trying to turn their job into something it’s not, imposing their ideas about what the job ought to be onto the way it actually is. And the problem in each case is that real issues never get taken seriously by the employees because they want to pretend those issues shouldn’t matter. This undoubtedly frustrates both them and their supervisors as they each spin their wheels trying to fix two different problems.

Don’t be afraid to splash a little cold water on someone who might need it.

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Simple Wisdom

Fools have no interest in understanding;
they only want to air their own opinions. (Proverbs 18:2 NLT)

I am usually quick to want to explain the “why” behind a decision or policy, sometimes at the expense of seeking to understand a person’s concern about it. I am grateful for the short, profound wisdom of Proverbs, which can save me from many headaches if I will internalize it.

Writing Requires Discipline

After a very lengthy absence I’m back in the blogging arena. I wish I could say that I stopped for a good reason, but the reality is that 1) I lack the discipline to write every day, and 2) I came to believe that it didn’t matter whether or not I had anything to say. That’s not very inspiring but it’s true.

I was originally going to title this post “Blogging is Hard,” then changed it to “Blogging is Easy,” then decided that neither really captured the essence of what I was feeling. For me, writing is a blessing and a curse. I have a strong desire to express myself, and I think that I’m good at it, but I tend to find myself focusing on editing what I’ve already written, rather than finishing the present narrative, and so writing often feels more like running on a treadmill than running towards a destination.

In college I would sit down to write something, get mad that it wasn’t as good as Hemingway and give up after a paragraph or two. Today I begin to formulate an idea and hear a voice whisper “you’re kidding yourself by thinking that anyone cares what you have to say about anything, why even bother?” And so not only does writing require the discipline to physically sit down and do it, but it requires that we are disciplined in our belief in our calling, as well as the One who calls us.

We may never know that, at just the right time, someone needed to read something we wrote. That possibility alone is worth the risk of putting ourselves out there…if we’re disciplined enough to do it.