A new start for 2016!

Another attempt to make another start with my blog!
When I get busy it gets neglected!
Plus its a discipline which I find a challenge!

So instead of new years resolutions I have decided to try new year “renewals”
What in my life needs to be renewed?
Am I satisfied with the level of balance in my life?
I discovered the “Wheel of Life” concept which I am using to renew the areas in my life that need to be improved!
I love to grow so I am hoping this will be something I stay committed to!
Maybe it will help you too?
It will be in my next post following immediately after this!

Penguins & Leadership by Michael Hyatt

What do penguins have to do with leadership and changing your toxic team culture? More than you realize.

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/mlenny

The power of a few can influence the behavior of many. Leadership, as John Maxwell suggests, is really nothing more than influence.


Margaret Mead wrote that we should “never believe that a few caring people can’t change the world. Indeed, that’s all who ever have.”

But when handed the reins of leadership and asked to turn around an organization that has been suffering from toxic team culture, it becomes difficult to keep Mead’s words in mind.

Whether you are a coach taking over a perennial loser, a new principal at a troubled school, or a manager promoted to a new position over a group with low sales numbers, there really is hope!

While I could point to another dry study or survey as evidence, the best illustration of how to change your team culture can be found at the San Francisco Zoo. A few years ago, something remarkable happened there that carries a leadership lesson for all of us.

It involved the behavior of forty-six birds that had been long-time residents of the zoo and the impact that a few transplanted birds had on the original group after they arrived. It happened in 2003, and the birds were penguins.

Penguins are supposed to swim. In fact, those original forty-six penguins had been taking regular leisurely dips in the pool to cool off occasionally and make sure their feathers remained sleek. Life was easy and un-challenging.

Imagine the forty-six of them lying around, eating, swimming, resting, and then repeating the process at a comfortable pace every day of their existence. Perhaps, it sounds much like some of the people in the organization you are intent on turning around. But things changed dramatically when six new penguins moved in from Ohio.

The newcomers, upon their arrival, jumped into the pool and swam. And they swam. And swam some more. In fact, the six penguins from Ohio kept swimming laps all day long. Day after day.

The zookeeper didn’t notice them squawking at or fighting with or nagging the original residents to join them or change their attitudes—they just went about their business of swimming around the pool.

The newcomers started early each morning and kept swimming in circles until they would stagger out of the pool, exhausted, at dusk. What was most amazing, though, is that those six penguins soon convinced the original forty-six to change their leisurely lifestyle and join them.

Before the Ohio penguins arrived, the San Francisco penguins had been lazy and comfortable. Soon, they were busy swimming the whole day long. What was the secret to the impact the Ohio penguins had?

Sometimes, the shock of a new idea or way of doing things inspires people to live up to others’ expectations and levels of performance. Given the chance, all penguins want to show their abilities, leadership skills, and penguin-hood.

Those six penguins from Ohio changed the lifestyle habits of the other forty-six entirely. The zookeeper was even quoted as telling reporters, “We’ve completely lost control.”

The impressive point was not that the forty-six penguins learned to swim, which they had always done as a pastime, but that they so quickly would change and go into aquatic terminator mode. The Ohio penguins motivated them to change their toxic team culture—and left us a few lessons:

  1. Be willing to try new ideas. This can shake up how people have done things in the past and lead to change.
  2. Changing others’ behavior is more about showing than telling.Penguins (and people) are less open to advice and suggestions than you would like to think. They need to see it and be given a challenge to live up to in order to change.
  3. Don’t give up. If six little penguins can turn a group of 46 lazy home-bodies into workout monsters, just imagine how you might influence the group that you have been assigned.

    Leadership truly is influence, and sometimes the most influential thing we can do is roll up our sleeves and work as hard as we want others to. Spend time sharing your vision, building relationships, and “swimming your laps in the pool” at your zoo. Pretty soon others will rise to the challenge and join you.

One of the best ways to forge better relationships, clarify your team vision, and build leadership or communication skills is with a team-building event where your people have the time and opportunity to grow together and experience challenges that prepare them to collaborate and learn from each other.

If you are looking to change the toxic team culture in your organization, or if you just need to give your people a chance to turn address a teamwork issue, the answer is often found in taking responsibility for what you can control: your own effort end example.

Team motivation is often the result of one person being bold enough to shake up the status quo with an extraordinary work ethic or enthusiasm that spreads to the entire group.

Andrew Jackson, our seventh president, is credited with saying, “One man, with courage, is a majority.” He became a national hero for his courage in the War of 1812, winning the battle of New Orleans despite being outnumbered and earning the nickname “Old Hickory” for his toughness.

Sometimes a country, team, or even a group of penguins find themselves in need of leadership that is willing to show the way instead of making demands.

By taking action and setting an example for others to emulate, you improve your culture, and give others permission to join the crusade, as well.

 Follow Michael Hyatts blog here http://www.michaelhyatt.com 

I gave up worry for Lent! by Johannah Reardon

I Gave Up Worry for Lent
Consider taking 40 days to give up a deep-seated sin.

JoHannah Reardon | posted 2/22/2012

I am not part of a church that regularly practices Lent, but the last few years I thought it would be good for me to give up something for 40 days, helping me to see my addictions and dependencies. In our indulgent, instant-gratification society, I saw the value of voluntarily depriving myself of something in order to focus more on who God is and how much I need him.

When I first started practicing Lent, I followed everyone else’s suggestions and gave up a certain food or media. Those experiences were fairly useful in showing me deep-seated habits and thus made me more aware of my need for my Savior as a result.

But last year I took time to pray about what I should give up for Lent. I asked God to show me a dependency that truly was hindering my relationship with him. I thought about foods, but I’m a fairly disciplined eater, so that didn’t seem to be a problem area for me. I’m also not a big media junky, so I didn’t feel compelled to go that route again. As I continued to ponder it before God, I had the strong impression that I was to give up worry for 40 days.

When I told my husband my decision, he looked at me skeptically. “Aren’t you supposed to give up something you enjoy for Lent?” He had a good point, but since I wasn’t tied to any church tradition anyway, I felt I could practice Lent any way I wanted. And once the idea of giving up worry for 40 days began to take hold, I felt stronger and stronger that was the course for me.

The funny thing was that if you’d asked me if I was a worrier, I would have said no. I have a pretty laissez faire attitude toward difficulties. I’ve usually faced the big things in life with trust rather than panic. So I could understand my husband’s attitude about me giving up worry. What’s the big deal about that? But I felt the nudge as strongly as I’ve felt anything, so I went with it.

Although I felt this conviction pretty strongly, nothing prepared me for the next 40 days, which turned out to be some of the most amazing, faith-filled days of my life. And to my surprise, I found out that worry has been one of my most deep-seated, tenacious sins.

My fear of violent men consumed me.
Although I faced the big things with courage and trust, I didn’t realize how I carried the burden of all the little things with constant fear and uncertainty. And many of them were wrapped up in fear of violent men. For example, within the first week of giving up worry I took a walk in a park near our house. As I was walking along the path, I came to a section that followed a road. Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed a man in a truck was slowly keeping pace with me. Now, let me reassure you that this is a very safe park in a very safe community and that there were other people around. Nevertheless, noticing something like this would usually have put me in an all-out panic and I would have taken off running the opposite way. All my natural instincts were screaming at me to do this. But the first thing that came to mind was, I gave up worry for Lent. I do not need to worry about this. My body began to relax. While I was still aware and certainly not trying to be naÏve, I refused to allow the worry of what-if to consume me and take away the joy of my walk. When I turned the corner, the truck went on. I realized in that moment that my almost daily fears of men were mostly unfounded.

A few days later, my husband left on a two-week mission trip. Being alone in my house at night has been a long-time, deep-seated terror for me. For years whenever my husband left overnight, I’d double check that all doors and windows were locked and even stacked things at the door at night. I never wanted to go to bed when he was gone, so I’d stay up way later than I should and watch mindless TV or surf the computer until the wee hours so I didn’t have to turn out all the lights and go to sleep. I’d finally drop to sleep when I simply couldn’t stay up any longer. I knew this wasn’t healthy, but I simply didn’t know how to get over it.

This time when the anxiety began to build toward the evening, I recalled that I’d given up worry. I put my night in God’s hands and refused to think about it anymore. I locked my doors and didn’t give them another thought. I went to bed at my normal time and slept soundly. I cannot tell you the victory I felt. I realized I’d been trapped in a ridiculous web of fear for years. That lifetime habit of worry and terror was broken in one night and hasn’t returned. Although I’d tried giving this fear over to God before, until I’d identified it as a deep-seated sin of worry, I wasn’t able to find relief.

I really can trust God.
In hindsight, I see how Holy-Spirit inspired my giving up worry was for those 40 days. There were so many little things that would have driven me crazy. For example, my husband and I went to London to celebrate a milestone anniversary. While there, we took a ferry downstream from London to a tourist site. After we arrived, we decided we wanted to see two different things so we agreed to meet back at a little outdoor café we passed as we came in.

Within about 20 minutes, I lost interest in the attraction I’d gone to see and decided to head back to the café, but it wasn’t there. I was sure it was in a certain direction, but I couldn’t find it anywhere. I began to stop each passerby to ask if they knew of an outdoor café with orange umbrellas. No one did. The panic was rising, compounded by the fact that our cell phones didn’t work in London so we had no way of contacting each other. Finally, I remembered I’d given up worry and prayed, Lord, you know where this café is. I trust you to show me. I relaxed and noticed a group of college students singing Christian songs across the street. I meandered over and listened to them awhile. As they sang, all residual panic washed away. I began looking around and saw orange umbrellas in the distance. I would never have been able to see them if I hadn’t stopped to listen to the students sing. And I would never have relaxed enough to listen to them sing if I hadn’t given up my panic. Most of all, I basked in the glow that God had known those college students would be on the corner just when I needed them.

From London, my husband flew to Africa for his mission trip. Normally, those two weeks would have been excruciating for me. I would have worried about every little thing concerning his safety. His prayer requests would have sent me into anxiety as I worried about each of those things. But as fears assaulted me during those two weeks, I let them drift away into God’s hands. It was an amazingly relaxed and peaceful two weeks.

Worry was my thinly veiled attempt to control my circumstances.
What my 40 days without worry also taught me is that I’m an overly responsible person. I try to be so responsible that I take on everyone else’s worries too. I somehow feel that if I can think my way through every difficulty and challenge I’ll be able to meet them with courage. I try to imagine everything that can go wrong so I can prevent that from happening. And in the process, I’ve taken on the weight of the world that only God can handle. Since I’ve realized that about me, though, I’ve been able to consciously let it go and have felt amazing peace and relief.

When the 40 days were over, I didn’t forget the lessons I learned. Many of the patterns and the reasons behind them are broken. I don’t imagine that I’ll ever have to face them as relentlessly as I did during that period of time.

Perhaps worry isn’t your problem. Maybe it’s something else. Take time to ask God what deep-seated pattern he wants you to give up. Concentrating on letting it go for 40 days may break the stranglehold it has on you for good.

JoHannah Reardon is the managing editor of ChristianBibleStudies.com and is a contributing editor for Kyria.com. She is also the author of seven fictional e-books and a family devotional guide. http://www.johannahreardon.com.