A message from one Baptist to another
A message from one Baptist to another
Trying two new things: vlogging posts and mile intervals
Finished this book today. (Is there an unworthy read by Gladwell?)
If nothing else, I like the orderliness of his books. In this one, the nine chapters are divided into three parts driving home this theory: The powerful are not as powerful as they seem-nor the weak as weak. Each chapter is entitled by the person’s name, the “David,” whose story Gladwell unfolds supporting his theory. These people include students, doctors, activists, coaches, educators, lawyers, pastors, Irish Catholics, and parents of murdered daughters. (Saw some glimpses of myself in Wyatt Walker, chapter 6. You’ll have to read to decide if you agree or to see in which person you see your own glimpse.)
The final chapter tells the story of Andre Trocme, a Huguenot pastor that lived in the French town Le Chambon-sur-Lignon during World War II. He led the town to become a haven for Jews, despite being imprisoned for it. Gladwell argues that one reason why Trocme and his town could stand up for the Jews was because of their own history of persecution. They didn’t view protecting Jews as a dangerous thing like the rest of France. Trocme’s wife Magda said this about her thoughts when the first refugee appeared at their door: “I did not know that it would be dangerous. Nobody thought of that….There was no decision to make. The issue was, Do you think we are all brothers or not? Do you think it is unjust to turn in Jews or not? Then let us try to help!”
Magda did what few of us do. She dug beneath the surface question to answer the deeper question. And the question she answered is critical to all our foundations. After reading these nine stories, I’d say one of the most clear differences between Davids and Goliaths is their foundations. Most likely, we’d all like to think our foundations are David-ish. If you’d like to test yours, you should read this book.
Five weeks ago I self diagnosed a need. I had a need for a day unlike any day I’ve experienced before. This need was driven by various things. Did I need rest? Yes and no. Did I need time with God? More yes than no. What did I most need was my question. I took this to my coach and what I came up with was this: I needed realignment.
I’ve never heard of a realignment day, but it resonated with me. Since it was self diagnosed, that meant I had to come up with the “treatment plan.” I went into the day with some structure, but very loosely held. I knew prayer and reading would play a major role, but how long and with what content I wanted to be fluid and hopefully spirit led. I’ll share some of how the day went and give you something to consider for your own realignment day.
Not everyone requires the same type of realignment, but I’m convinced we all need it occasionally.
A few weeks ago I saw Howard Schultz, Starbucks’ CEO, interviewed about his book Onward. He and his book’s message intrigued me, so I downloaded a copy. Plus, I needed to check off a book on leadership in my 2018 reading self-made requirements.
Onward did not disappoint. It was even more than I expected. A bottom line summary is the book tells the story of the transformation of the company in 2008-2009. This transformation involved many things which required excellent leadership by Schultz and the partners he empowered to lead at various levels in the company.
The writing is strongly narrative without too much direct leadership application. However, here are a few leadership principle highlights:
Besides the narrative of the New Orleans conference, worth the purchase of the book alone, this is the quote I most liked:
Wherever the location, the best beans – the ones with enchantingly complex flavors and compelling characters, known as arabica – grow under some degree of stress, like high altitudes, intense heat, or long dry periods.
This truth exemplifies the story of Onward. We can all learn from these beans. We can all be on the mission of moving onward.
My guess is most readers of my blog have not read Susan Cain’s book Quiet. My encouragement is that you should.
Her book first came on my radar in 2012 when I heard her interviewed briefly about it at a Catalyst conference. I was intrigued but didn’t reach for it until now. Too bad I didn’t read it earlier.
Why? Because she helps you get it-the differences between extroverts and introverts. She helps you embrace your introversion, if you are one. And she helps the extrovert understand you. Yes, that’s possible. She even gives you insights into those people who appear to be one but are really the other. You’re intrigued now, aren’t you?
So who should read this book?
Whoever you are, bear in mind that appearance is not reality. Some people act like extroverts, but the effort costs them in energy, authenticity, and even physical health. Others seem aloof or self-contained, but their inner landscapes are rich and full of drama. So the next time you see a person with a composed face and a soft voice, remember that inside her mind she might be solving an equation, composing a sonnet, designing a hat. She might, that is, be deploying the powers of quiet. P266
This is one of those books to not only read but add to your library. Power Up!
(A final thought from No One Gets There Alone)
In giving helps for mental toughness, Dr. Bell says that consistency is the key.
Remember, we first create habits, then our habits create us.
Whatever we want to get better at, we must consistently do. Don’t mistake action for achievement. If we want to get better at swimming, then swim; if we want to get better at public speaking, speak. If we want to improve our sales, get a coach. Period.
Whenever I’ve led discussions about spiritual disciplines like prayer or taught on following the leading of the Holy Spirit, comments are always made about not feeling confident on how to do either of these. Let me suggest that Dr. Bell’s encouragement to swimmers and public speakers applies here. Create habits. Be consistent. Just Keep Doing It.
What could some habits be that would create you into a confident disciple?
Here’s a personal example from a different life arena. By nature, I’m not a morning person. I hated my teenage years when my mother would come in my room every morning turning on the lights and declaring it was breakfast time. But you might say, since I began running over ten years ago, I’ve been recreated by developing new habits. The discipline needed to properly train for races has slightly altered me. I now have little problem getting out the door to run by 6am several times a week. I can even meet people at 6am for a group run and actually enjoy it, occasionally. Let’s not push it.
Who do you want to be? Who is God prompting you to be? What are the habits of that kind of person? Work to establish the habits of that person and let the creating begin.
What a nice surprise this book by Dr. Rob Bell was. While checking out a recommended book on Amazon, his book popped up also. Not familiar with him, I was intrigued by the title. Knowing I have a commitment to reading a few coaching books this year, I went ahead and purchased it. Here are some quotes to illustrate why you could consider doing the same:
- Everyone is an athlete; our office is just different. Some of us are corporate athletes, sales athletes, or entrepreneur athletes. Being an athlete is an attitude and awareness. It means looking through our own lens of life as an athlete.
- True competition is me vs. me.
- Comparison is the thief of joy.
- When we focus on the differences between us, we are in comparison mode, believing we are better than or less than someone else.
- Talk about all stressful situations in non-stressful environments.
- When we are not all-in, we are just in the way.
- The chicken is invested in breakfast by supplying the eggs, but the pig is fully committed by providing the ham or bacon.
- Complaining is the first small sign of giving up.
- There are two types of pain, the pain of discipline or the pain of regret.
You can read this book because you are a coach. You could read this book because you need a coach. Or you could read this book to explore why you should consider being coached.
For example, Dr. Bell’s section on faith may help you explore yours in a new way. And his approach to mental toughness is encouraging and tool-giving to all readers, regardless of your reading agenda. My personal best takeaway of the entire book was the section entitled “Focus on the Similarities, not the Differences.”
You’ll have takeaways from this easily digestible book. Give it a look and improve how you are getting there.
We in fact NEED others at their best because it is the way we make ourselves better. All historic rivalries were based on two greats performing at their best. Ali had Frazier, Nicklaus had Palmer, Magic had Bird, Federer had Nadal, Navratilova had Evert and so on.
Funny. On the Wimbledon coverage this morning, they talked about this very idea because of the ongoing success of Federer and Nadal. But when I read this, my mind wasn’t thinking of rivalries. I was thinking about teams and Dr. Bell’s theme of no one getting anywhere alone.
All team members should strive to be at their best. When they do, the team can’t help but experience improvement and hopefully unity. When they don’t, all sorts of dysfunction is possible.
Being at your best means working at all areas of your life, by the way. Working at having a great home life won’t necessarily equal having a great work life, and vice versa. And neither of these will be at their best if spiritual life is ignored. To be at our best, we must avoid compartmentalizing and work from a full life perspective.
In our Thursday morning men’s group this week, we discussed Micah 6:8. Consider this verse. Consider how God has already made it plain how to be at our best:
But he’s already made it plain how to live, what to do, what God is looking for in men and women. It’s quite simple: do what is fair and just to your neighbor, be compassionate and loyal in your love, and don’t take yourself too seriously – take God seriously. (MSG)
Occasionally people inquire about what training plan I follow before a race. If you’re reading this post as a result of a Google search, then you have no doubt found many other plans to consider. The race distance you are preparing for certainly determines the plan you should follow. However, this plan pictured below (taken from Runner’s World) is the plan I like most and the one I modify based on the race distance.
This plan is for full marathon preparation, but I modify it for preparing for my half marathons. As you look over it, there may be reasons that this plan looks overwhelming, too much, or maybe undoable. Maybe this is your first half, like my friend who signed up to run with me in September. Maybe you don’t want to run six days a week. Maybe you’re trying to work in cross training. In order to help you modify it, here are some things I’m currently doing that is working for my prep for two halves this fall.
These are ideas that you can consider and also modify to fit your level. Feel free to message me with any thoughts or questions. I’d also encourage you to consult a running coach to get a full plan in place to reach your race goals.
Following a plan will benefit you tremendously. Figure yours out. Tweak it as needed. Enjoy the training. Celebrate your results.