The past months I haven’t had much time for writing as I’ve been reading. My primary focus has been on improving my leadership skills, relationships, and gaining greater control of my tongue.
Admittedly, the whole last year has been about personal growth. Working on my “emotional intelligence”, trying to develop greater empathy for those that I work with, and finally working on “practice what you preach”. The latter being the most difficult. It’s not been easy to guard my tongue, not swear, not gossip, and empower others through what I say & do. The hardest thing is showing interest.
I have realised this year that I tend to “brush people off”, constantly. I don’t give them my complete attention. I make them feel unimportant. I have an attitude that I have to change, that what I am working on is much more important than what you need to say to me, what you are working on, or what you need my help with. I constantly try to “multi-task” (that’s my story and excuse), and read my emails while talking with another person, and obviously let them feel that what they are saying to me is not important to me.
So… I’ve been working on it. And I’ve also been working on having time that I am NOT available. Saying to everyone when I am free to deal with their issues, and also setting aside time that I can work, with full concentration and focus, on my issues. So that I can get done what I need to get finished. It’s a difficult balancing act.
In the last 3 months, I think I’ve read (or listened to) 4 or 5 books (now that I count them, that would be 8).
Thinking for a Change (John C. Maxwell)
He really should call it PNL introduction. If you want to change the results, step one is to change the way you think. The actions will follow from there.
Failing Forward (John C. Maxwell)
If you keep doing things the way you are doing them, you will keep having the same results you’ve always had. Learn from the mistakes. Do it differently next time. But take the time to analyse what went wrong with each mistake and what you have to learn from it.
Getting to Yes! (Fisher & Ury)
An oldie but a goodie. Haven’t read this since 3-rd year of law school. But if I want to be successful in my communication with my staff and really convince them to change the way that they are doing things, I need to improve my skills. And without a doubt this has some gems.
Audio-books (nothing like listening to these while you are stuck in traffic that doesn’t want to move):
Making good decisions (Marcos Witt) – this is actually a series of Sunday sermons, each about 20 minutes long. If all sermons were like this, I would go to church every Sunday. Funny (hilariously funny), to the point, doesn’t beat round the bush, challenging and moving. Makes you want to change the way you’re doing things.
The next generation leader (Andy Stanley) – five basic elements that every leader must fulfil: competence, courage, clarity, coaching, and character. And if you don’t have personal character, the other 4 are completely irrelevant. Seems like I’m back to where I started: “practice what you preach”.
So, I’ve been trying to control my tongue… less swearing, not being negative, not putting others (or myself) down, etc.
I also started going to a home-group, which was basically because I’ve started to understand the power of prayer and what I wanted was a small intimate group where you get real support from “real” people. People that are, like me, struggling with living uprightly on a day-to-day basis. I don’t really want to go to church, because I am still struggling with the values and hypocrisy you find in Churches. And I have no excuse, the home group is literally “around the corner” from my house. From 45 Masefield Drive, closer than Insoll Ave.
With all of this, one of the things that I am convinced I have to work on is getting my finances in order. No more credit card debt. No more living from payday-to-payday. No more “scraping” to get by. While it’s true that I have made and earned a lot of money, I’ve also spent a lot of money. And what do I have to show for it. There are things that I would do all over again, without thinking about the money spent (trip to India/UK, for example), but there’s so much that I have spent that I can’t even remember what I spent it on.
I realised that I have to set the example on EVERY level. I have to show my staff members how it’s done. How do you live with a budget? How do you make it really work for you? How do you achieve financial success? I have so much… but what do I really have? I am NOT living debt free. I am still living to pay off debts. And for what purpose?
So, I decided that I needed to start educating myself about financial management (personally and corporate) and really start to focus on “what am I doing?”. Remember all those books I’ve read? Thinking for a Change, Falling Forward, Making Good Decisions. Where is the real benefit of these books if I am only applying it to one part of my life? Why am I only applying it to my attitude towards people? To my leadership skills? Why am I not applying it to my financial stewardship? OUCH!
So… all these things that I have learnt about self-control, that doesn’t apply only to my anger-management or my swearing. That applies also to my spending and all of my life-style.
So… I now have 4 new books:
- 10 curses that block the blessing (have already read it, but will write a separate “book review” for you on that one)
- The essentials of Prayer
- Keys to Financial Excellence (Phil Pringle)
- Biblical Principles for Building a Successful Business
And we’ll see how that goes… putting it all into practice, and not just learning about it academically.