Tuesday, February 11, 2014



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If someone asked you how your heart is, what would you say?
I know, it’s a weird question
But what I told you that the answer to that question would determine:
How long you’ll last in leadership.
How effective you’ll be in leadership.
Your ultimate capacity as a leader.
I believe the condition of your heart determines all that, and much more.
So how is your heart? And how do you make it healthy?

It’s Not Your Competency, It’s Your Character

One of my favourite scripture verses is Proverbs 4:23 which says “Above all else, guard your heart,  for everything you do flows from it.” Another translation says “Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.”
When I was a young leader, I thought skill determined your capacity. Just become competent and the world’s your oyster.
But that’s not really true. No matter how talented you are, your character can sink your ship.
Just ask athletes who aren’t allowed to play anymore.
Politicians who will never get re-elected.
Celebrities whose careers have been marred by constant scandal.
I have come to believe that character, not competency, determines your capacity as a leader (I wrote a full post about that here.)
And the state of your heart determines the shape of your character.

10 Habits That Will Help You Guard Your Heart

So how do you guard your heart as a leader?
If you want to effectively guard your heart:

1. Separate your personal walk from your professional work.

If you’re in ministry, never confuse your work with your walk.
Your work is what you get paid (or volunteer) to do. Your walk is what you do because you are a child of God in a relationship with him through Jesus.
Your walk is life long. Your work is what you do in a season or because you’re called.
A strong walk fuels strong work. The two best ways I know of to fuel a personal walk are to read the bible and pray daily.
And, if you’re in ministry, keep asking yourself this annoying question: If you couldn’t do ministry tomorrow, what would be left of your personal walk with Christ?
That will tell you a ton about the state of your heart.

2. Establish effective guardrails.

They might sound like ‘a bunch of rules’, but leaders who guard their hearts set up healthy guardrails in their lives. A guardrail protects you from danger before you hit danger (that jagged cliff with the 300 foot drop).
Some of my guardrails include not meeting with a member of the opposite sex alone, not riding in a car alone with a member of the opposite sex who isn’t part of my family, and even automating savings and givings.
The best series on guardrails is one by Andy Stanley called (not surprisingly) Guardrails. You can watch it for free here.

3. Acknowledge that you have the capacity for good and evil.

Before you complain that “those guardrails outlined above are for paranoid, legalistic people”, just think it through.
Do you believe you have the capacity for good and evil? I do.
I think when you’re really in touch with your heart, you realize that in it live both good and evil. When you begin to think ‘that could never happen to me’, you are probably closer to having it happen than you realize.
Knowing that the capacity for evil lies in every heart makes us more reliant on God’s grace, more humble, and more aware that we need a strength from God to withstand temptation than we naturally possess.

4. Pursue Quiet

When my heart wasn’t as guarded as it ought to be, I used to hate sitting in silence.
I’ll tell you why. Because as soon as I sat down I would begin to sense things weren’t quite right. Why? Because they weren’t.
Over the last decade I have pursued silence, and even begin almost every day with an hour of silent reading and prayer.
Here’s what I’ve learned. The quiet reveals the quiet, or the disquiet, within.

5. Cultivate a circle of wise counsel

The more I know myself, the more I realize I need wise counsel around me.
Effective leaders surround themselves with wise people who are smarter than they are. If you’re the wisest person in the room, you need a new room.
In this post, I wrote about how to cultivate an inner circle in your life that will help you find health.

6. Assume that you are responsible.

If you’re in leadership, not everything’s your fault, but everything is your responsibility. I am not at fault for everything that goes wrong under my leadership, but I am responsible.
Weak leaders assign blame. Effective leaders accept responsibility. If you’re always thinking a problem is someone else’s fault, you have heart work to do. You’re too defensive. Too insecure. And too sensitive. I wrote about how to overcome defensiveness here.

7. Put your marriage before your parenting and friendships.

People with weak marriages will often prioritize their kids over their spouses. Big mistake. Or they’ll turn to a friend for the kind of emotional support that really only a spouse should give.
Your marriage will suffer, your kids will grow up insecure or co-dependent and your marriage will stay underdeveloped.
Leaders who guard their hearts realize that a healthy marriage will produce healthier relationships all around. They drill down on their issues. They go to counseling. They pursue intimacy with the only legitimate source of romance in their lives. And when they do, they are less tempted to inappropriate emotional satisfaction elsewhere.
And by the way, having an effective circle of wise counsel around you (Point 5) will also take pressure off your marriage because you won’t be relying on your spouse to solve all the problems that hit you at work. You’ll be able to be there for your spouse as well as confide in your spouse.

8. Prioritize Rest.

There is a difference between time off and rest. A lot of time off can easily fill up with mindless distractions, meaningless errands and trivial pursuits.
If you really want to guard your heart, you need to pursue rest. Sleep intentionally. Wake up rested. Take a nap. Be still. Know that God is God.

9. Think.

Socrates put it this way: “The unexamined life is not worth living.”
I agree. If you want to guard your heart, take time to think, reflect and revise. Read some great books. Watch some documentaries. Have actual conversations with friends about issues, not just people and events.
Process life. Think.

10. Get the help you need.

Guarding your heart effectively is something that needs the care and attention of others. Go to a counselor. Hire a coach. Ask someone to mentor you. Seek the counsel of friends. Get help for your problem.
It takes a brave person to do that, but you’re brave, right?
The help you need changes the life you lead.
These are ten habits I see in people who guard their heart.
What do you see? What would you add to this list?

- See more at: http://careynieuwhof.com/2014/01/top-10-habits-of-leaders-who-effectively-guard-their-hearts/#sthash.TxxgkJOs.dpuf

3 Unattractive Labels Unchurched People Place on Church Leaders

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Before ministry, I was in law. And in my brief time in law, I realized that every time I told someone I was a lawyer, I had a deficit to overcome.
People who don’t work in law make assumptions about lawyers that are rarely flattering (in fact, some of you are thinking struggling to keep reading this because you know I have a background in law.)
Knowing it is half the battle. And usually after somewhere between 5 minutes and 5 weeks, I would be able to turn the label around and earn a client’s trust.
Then I switched from law to ministry, only to discover the same thing is true in ministry.
In fact, there are at least 3 unattractive labels every church leader has to overcome.
Hello, my name is

Have You Felt the Shift?

A generation ago, clergy and church work were well respected members of the community. And I’m sure in some (very small) circles they still are.
According to Gallup, only 47% of the population has a high or very high estimation of the honesty and integrity of church leaders. That’s right. Less than half the population thinks church leaders are honest or very honest.
As recently as 1985 that figure was 67%.  
Today church leaders rank ahead of lawyers, TV reporters and members of Congress, but behind nurses, doctors, pharmacists and police officers in terms of trust and integrity.
That means to some extent, in every conversation, you’re digging out of a medium sized trust hole before someone shows confidence in you.

3 Unattractive Labels Unchurched People Place on Church Leaders

When it comes to church leaders, I think there are at least 3 frustrating labels every one of us has to overcome in order to gain people’s trust.
These aren’t pulled from Gallup or any science, but these are the labels I sense as I interact with people who aren’t attending church:


People who aren’t in church often don’t have a seething hatred against the church. Some do for sure. But most don’t.
They just rarely think about church. 
It’s not like they wake up every Sunday and decide not to go. They just wake up every Sunday and think what you and I think every Saturday morning: Day off! What am I going to do today? 
You’re perceived as irrelevant.
So how do you demonstrate relevance?
Well, you could try wearing a worship-leader-scarf and skinny jeans, but that tends to really look awkward on a 45 year old lead pastor. Far too many church leaders think cool=relevance when really it just makes you look like you think way too much about your hair and your clothes. I’m all for dressing in a way that recognizes it’s 2014, not 1994, but let’s leave it at that.
I think the best way you can demonstrate relevance as a leader is to show people how the Christian faith and the scripture is applicable to our daily lives. Not as information-to-be-learned but as knowledge-to-be-applied and as a relationship to be lived.
If you want to see how surprisingly relevant we are to the culture as Christians, I wrote about 8 ways the Christian faith can speak into current culture here.


This one stings a little more.
Maybe it’s just me, but I’ve always suspected that more than a few people think that church leaders got into work because they couldn’t find a ‘real job’ doing anything else.
And sadly, I think once in a while that’s probably true.
Church should not be a shelter for people who don’t want to work or haven’t got much to contribute.
It should pull from the best and brightest talent around and demand our best efforts.
If this mission really is as important as the scripture says it is, we should apply our best academic, organizational and relational skills and thinking to the mission at hand.
The church should be seen as a community leader when it comes to organizations poised to make a difference and transform cities, not as an also-ran.
So what do you do to respond to an incompetence label? Quite simply: develop every gift God has given you to its fullest potential and put it to work in the Kingdom.


 This is probably the least surprising, but it’s a label I run into all the time. It’s also a conversation I have with many, many unchurched people (and some church people).
The headlines fill up regularly with new scandals of high profile leaders who have compromised their integrity.
How do you counter this label?
Here’s what has helped me as I’ve tries to offset that label:
1. Acknowledge it happens.  Everyone knows it does, why pretend it doesn’t?
2. Empathize with their frustration. I get frustrated too when leaders lead people astray and compromise the reputation of the church.
3. Acknowledge that we might also let them down. I often tell people our church isn’t perfect and we will probably let them down. However, what distinguishes the Christian church from others is not that we make mistakes. Everyone does. What should distinguish us is how we handle those mistakes. Openly. Honestly. Directly. With sorrow and with a desire to right what we have made wrong. I tell them to judge us not by whether we make mistakes, but by how we handle them.
4. Establish very tight personal and organizational standards.  I recently wrote a post outlining 10 habits of leaders who effectively guard their hearts. When you have high personal standards you try to walk by, the likelihood of you falling into the pitfalls that claim so many leaders drops.
When it comes to hypocrisy, leaders who develop strong personal integrity survive longer and make a deeper impact than leaders who don’t. Here, by the way, are 5 signs your personal integrity might need a check up.
So what do you see? Any other labels you’ve sensed or confronted? And how have you handled them?
- See more at: http://careynieuwhof.com/2014/02/3-unattractive-labels-unchurched-people-place-on-church-leaders/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=3-unattractive-labels-unchurched-people-place-on-church-leaders#sthash.6VXpsNKy.dpuf

Easy ways to supercharge your friendships

Stuck moment: It’s Valentine’s Day again, and it seems like everyone’s off on a rendezvous for two — except moi. Is there something wrong me? 
When Valentine’s Day comes around, it’s all too easy to shift our focus from what we have to what we don’t. That’s when it helps to remember that a romantic relationship is only one of many important connections in our lives. Our friends, our family — people who’ve been there, understand us, and respect us — are just as vital. Maybe even more so: research shows that social isolation is as bad for your health as obesity, alcoholism or a chain-smoking habit.
Besides cutting in half our mortality risk, our pals are also there to comfort us, inspire us, support us, engage us. They nurture our goals and our sense of self. And when we nurture them in return, when we put the emphasis on being truly giving by sharing the best of ourselves in a steady supply, our lives feel richer and more meaningful.
So when you really think about it, friends are basically a magic elixir with the potential to make everything in life better. Consider these year-round life-enhancing benefits: 
• Great relationships supply confidence, moral support, and drive. They help bring dreams into bloom — just ask anyone who’s made an Academy Award acceptance speech.
• Friends also challenge you, which sharpens your mind, sparks creativity, and expands horizons.
• And your dear ones can improve your health. A strong social circle helps you fight cancer, beat depression and anxiety, maintain good habits, and lengthen your life. Neuroscience proves it, and so does psychology
We don’t need a lot of friends — just a quality few who really get us. Here’s how to keep them even closer and show we care: 
Flex your friendship musclesIt all comes down to everyday habits that make the people you care about feel valued. Here are some examples of big and small actions that reinforce bonds.
• Be the friend you’d want someone to be to you. Yes, it’s the golden rule we learned in childhood, but as busy adults, it’s easy to overlook. In short, be someone to count on. Be on time. Keep your promises. Keep secrets. Don’t gossip. Be loyal.
• Great relationships are built on listening. Focus your body language to show that you’re paying attention (make eye contact, nod occasionally, put your phone down, turn toward your friend and lean forward a bit). Listen actively by asking questions, or repeating key phrases or ideas back. And, if someone’s venting, ask, “Do you want advice or do you want support?”
• Be a cheerleader, but not a Pollyanna who simply agrees. Being supportive means keeping your friends grounded as well as offering encouraging words.
• Create special rituals. Could be a monthly poker game, a fantasy football club, a weekly phone call, or a standing date to check out the newest restaurant.
• Introduce people in your life to each other, but be thoughtful about how you mix and match. Just because two people are close to you, doesn’t mean they’ll be crazy about each other.
• Stay in touch just because. We’re all prone to forgetting to reach out except in times of crisis or to arrange plans. But there’s nothing so lovely as an email or phone call just to say hello and ask what’s up.
• Be generous — with your time, bar tabs, a sympathetic ear — but in a way that’s reasonable and sensitive. No one likes to feel like a charity case.
• Say you’re sorry when you really mean it. If you don’t feel sorry about something that happened, talk it out.
• Admit mixed feelings. For example, if your best friend’s engagement is triggering insecurities about the state of your own love life, share that. Someone who truly cares about you will be sympathetic and sensitive, and you’ll prevent invisible barriers you might otherwise build to self-protect.
• Be mindful of triggers, blind spots, and potential minefields. When we know people well, we know what works their nerves — and how to avoid it.
• Sometimes we forget to tell people how much they mean to us. Use a birthday or a trip together as an excuse to put into words the feelings in your heart.
• Remember that people don’t express themselves in the same ways. Your sister may show she cares by loading you with advice. An old friend might do it best by always being available when you get an itch for an adventure. Take the people who matter to you for who they are, and don’t ask them to be someone they’re not.
Sometimes, it’s complicatedWe all have relationships that are difficult but still meaningful. You may have grown apart from a person you were once super close to, but still care for dearly. Then, there are friends or family who are wonderful in so many ways, but your totally different takes on religion or politics can be tinder to a fire. Positivity is the trick to keeping these relationships healthy.
• Reserve judgment, even in your head. When you give someone a negative label — “he’s a snob,” “she’s a drama queen” — it colors your conversations, your body language, and your sense of empathy. Focus on the good stuff that made you friends in the first place.
• Steer your interactions to common ground and values you both share.
• Know when not to take it personally. As human beings with minds of our own, we’re bound to come at cross-purposes sometimes. So unless someone’s words and actions were aimed to wound, it helps to shrug off the small stuff.
• On the flip side, know and respect each others’ boundaries. If a boundary gets crossed, step up and have a conversation. Otherwise, your hurt will fester.
• Sometimes a great relationship becomes difficult when someone’s going through a rough patch — but it’s worth it to try to stick it through. Accentuate the good times, and try to recapture them. Rekindle old rituals. Offer mood and confidence boosters like compliments or a funny story. And, if you can, offer resources to help get past it. 
The online/offline balancing actSo much of our social interaction these days happens online. Think of it as a way to reinforce, not replace, human interactions and you’ll be golden.
• When as much as 93% of communication is non-verbal (body language, vocal tone, gestures), a lot can be lost in cold hard text. Add an emoticon or exclamation point to make sure your words are taken in the right spirit.
• Tailor your Facebook feed by following the friends whose updates are most important to you. And if you’re sick of political rants or endless vacation photos from someone, you don’t have to unfriend. Just unfollow.
• Don’t assume that someone sees your posts or tweets about events in your life. If it’s important, reach out the old-fashioned way.
• Sending a thoughtful or funny e-card tells friends that they’re a priority in your life. Try these Unstuck Gratitude Cards. Some E-Cards or Koco E-Cards also have wonderful options, or you can make your own at Card Karma
• Don’t let replies linger. You know those emails that you’ve been meaning to respond to when you have the time to write a proper update. Often enough, that turns out to be, um, never. So send a quick, immediate response, and then your friends won’t be left wondering if you’ve forgotten them.
• Remember that you can respond offline. A good friend you don’t often see posted news she had a baby? Your old college roommate sounds depressed in his tweets? Or a cousin just quit her day job to found a start-up? Pick up the phone to share your excitement, your moral support, or advice. The conversation will keep your connection strong and give both of you a positive buzz.
Source: http://unstuckcommunity.tumblr.com/

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Greg Laurie: 4 Dangerous Church Growth Myths

Greg Laurie: 4 Dangerous Church Growth Myths
A ministry might appear to be thriving, but the inside reality might tell another story.
Once I had a friend—I’ll call him Bill—who worked out every day at the gym. When we got together, he liked to flex his bicep and say, “Greg, feel this!” Bill’s muscles were rock hard.
Then one day, I heard terrible news: Bill had died of a heart attack. Even though he appeared robust and powerful, his heart was diseased. Inwardly, as it turned out, Bill was a weakling.

I keep Bill in mind when I think about the church today. Outwardly, everything can look promising. A ministry may appear to be going very well.
Yet the inside reality can be another story. What makes a church body grow big doesn’t necessarily make it grow healthy.

The past two decades have witnessed a dramatic increase in the number of large churches, including “megachurches” (congregations of 1,000 or more), around the country. As a result of pastoring a large congregation, I’m frequently asked about our success at Harvest Christian Fellowship. What kind of church growth formula do we follow? Can what we do at Harvest be applied to any church, anywhere, with similar results?

I understand these questions and the motivations behind them. Pastors would rather preach to people than to open spaces. And let’s face it, something would be terribly wrong if Christians weren’t interested in seeing churches grow. But it’s time to take a hard look at what church growth means.

In an article titled “The Myth of Church Growth” featured in Current Thoughts and Trends, David Dunlap cites some troubling statistics.

For example, during the very time megachurches have sprouted across the landscape, the proportion of Americans who claim to be “born again” has remained a constant 32 percent. According to Dunlap, growth isn’t coming from conversions but from transfers—up to 80 percent of all growth taking place today.

He goes on to quote C. Peter Wagner, one of the leading spokesmen for the church growth movement, who admits, “I don’t think there is anything intrinsically wrong with the church growth principles we’ve developed … yet somehow they don’t seem to work.”

I would suggest one reason they don’t work is because they tend to approach church as if it were a business.

For example, some church growth experts are telling pastors their “customers” no longer attend to commune with God but to “consume” a personal or family service.

In a recent survey of 1,000 church attenders, respondents were asked, “Why does the church exist?” According to 89 percent, the church’s purpose was “to take care of my family’s and my spiritual needs.” Only 11 percent said the purpose of the church is “to win the world for Jesus Christ.”

These attitudes concern me and many other observers deeply. A business-driven response may only make things worse. In the long run, if we train consumers instead of communers, we’ll end up with customers instead of disciples.

It might fill up an auditorium, but it will never turn the world upside down for Christ.

Next Page »

Source: churchleaders.com

Monday, February 3, 2014

What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast

Mornings are an underutilized tool to aid productivity.
Let me explain.
We’re often at our peak in the mornings. This is why Mark McGuinness suggests the single most important change you can make to your workday is to move your creative time to mornings. We’re more mentally alert and our mental batteries are charged.
Where do we spend all of this energy? Email. Meetings. We fragment our time. This, however, isn’t the path to success. There is another way.
“Before the rest of the world is eating breakfast,” writes Laura Vanderkam in What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast “the most successful people have already scored daily victories that are advancing them toward the lives they want.”
Vanderkam studied successful people and she discovered that early mornings were when they had the most control over their own schedules. They used this time to work on their priorities.
Taking control of your mornings is very much like investing in yourself. This is how Billionaire Charlie Munger got so smart: he set aside an hour in the mornings every day just to learn.
While there are 168 hours in the week not all of them are created equally. Vanderkam writes:
People who were serious about exercise did it in the mornings. At that point, emergencies had yet to form, and they would only have to shower once. As Gordo Byrn, a triathlon coach, once told me, “There’s always a reason to skip a four o’clock workout, and it’s going to be a good reason, too.”
Most people find doing anything that requires self-discipline easier to do in the morning. The same can be said for focus.
Roy Baumeister, author of Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength, has spent more time studying willpower and self-discipline than most. In his book he highlights one famous experiment where students were asked to fast before coming into the lab. They were then put into a room with food. Specifically, radishes, chocolate chip cookies, and candy. Some of the students could eat whatever they wanted while others could only eat the radishes. After the food, they were supposed to work on “unsolvable” geometry puzzles.
The students who’d been allowed to eat chocolate chip cookies and candy typically worked on the puzzles for about twenty minutes, as did a control group of students who were also hungry but hadn’t been offered food of any kind. The sorely tempted radish eaters, though, gave up in just eight minutes— a huge difference by the standards of laboratory experiments. They’d successfully resisted the temptation of the cookies and the chocolates, but the effort left them with less energy to tackle the puzzles.
“Willpower,” Baumeister and co-author John Tierney write, “like a muscle, becomes fatigued from overuse.”
This is a problem because you don’t just have one willpower battery for work and another one for home. They are the same battery. And this bucket is used to control your thought processes and emotions. As Baumeister said in an interview:
You have one energy resource that is used for all kinds of acts (of) self-control. That includes not just resisting food temptations, but also controlling your thought processes, controlling your emotions, all forms of impulse control, and trying to perform well at your job or other tasks. Even more surprisingly, it is used for decision making, so when you make choices you are (temporarily) using up some of what you need for self-control. Hard thinking, like logical reasoning, also uses it.
Most self-control failures happen in the evening after a long day of traffic, bickering kids, pointless meetings, and other things that zap our self-control.
Baumeister continues:
“Diets are broken in the evening, not the morning. The majority of impulsive crimes are committed after 11: 00 p.m. Lapses in drug use, alcohol abuse, sexual misbehavior, gambling excesses, and the like tend to come about late in the day.”
After a good night’s sleep your battery is charged and ready to go.
In these early hours, we have enough willpower and energy to tackle things that require internal motivation, things the outside world does not immediately demand or reward.…
That’s the argument for scheduling important priorities first. But there’s more to the muscle metaphor. Muscles can be strengthened over time. A bodybuilder must work hard to develop huge biceps, but then he can go into maintenance mode and still look pretty buff. Paradoxically, with willpower, research has found that people who score high on measures of self-discipline tend not to employ this discipline when they do regular activities that would seem to require it, such as homework or getting to class or work on time. For successful people, these are no longer choices but habits.
“Getting things down to routines and habits takes willpower at first but in the long run conserves willpower,” says Baumeister. “Once things become habitual, they operate as automatic processes, which consume less willpower.”
If we learned anything from Mason Currey’s book, Daily Rituals: How Artists Work, it was that routines and habits played an important role in success.
Any sequence of mental action which has been frequently repeated tends to perpetuate itself; so that we find ourselves automatically prompted to think, feel, or do what we have been before accustomed to think, feel, or do, under like circumstances, without any consciously formed purpose, or anticipation of results. … The great thing, then, in all education, is to make automatic and habitual, as early as possible, as many useful actions as we can, and to guard against the growing into ways that are likely to be disadvantageous to us, as we should guard against the plague.
As Tierney and Baumeister write in Willpower, “Ultimately, self-control lets you relax because it removes stress and enables you to conserve willpower for the important challenges.”
So what are the best morning habits?
The best morning rituals are activities that don’t have to happen and certainly don’t have to happen at a specific hour. These are activities that require internal motivation. The payoff isn’t as immediate as the easy pleasure of watching television or answering an email that doesn’t require an immediate response, but there are still payoffs. The best morning rituals are activities that, when practiced regularly, result in long-term benefits. The most successful people use their mornings for these things:
1. Nurturing their careers—strategizing and focused work
2. Nurturing their relationships—giving their families and friends their best
3. Nurturing themselves—exercise and spiritual and creative practices
Nurturing careers
The reason people do work requiring focus early in the day is the lack of interruptions. Once the day gets going, everyone wants a slice of your time.
You can crank things out; novelist Anthony Trollope famously wrote, without fail, for a few hours each morning. Charlotte Walker-Said, a history postdoc at the University of Chicago, uses the hours between 6: 00 and 9: 00 a.m. each day to work on a book on the history of religious politics in West Africa. She can read journal articles and write pages before dealing with her teaching responsibilities. “Once you start looking at email, the whole day cascades into email responses and replying back and forth,” she says. These early-morning hours are key to managing her stress in a suboptimal academic job market. “Every day I have a job,” she says. But “in the morning, I think I have a career.” She’s on to something; one study of young professors found that those who wrote a little bit every day were more likely to make tenure than those who wrote in bursts of intense energy (and put it off the rest of the time).
Nurturing relationships
One of the secrets to happy families is that mealtime with family matters.
This idea of using mornings as positive family time really stuck with me as I looked at my own life. While my kids tend to get up later, many small children wake up at the crack of dawn. So if you work outside the home and don’t see your kids during the day, why not take advantage of this? You can keep your eyes constantly focused on the clock, as I have a tendency to do, or you can set an alarm to give yourself a fifteen -minute warning, and then just relax. People always pontificate about how important family dinner is, but this is just not a reality in families with young kids who want to eat at 5: 30 or 6: 00 p.m., especially if one or both parents works later hours. But there’s nothing magical about dinner. Indeed, if the research on willpower is to be believed, we’re more crabby at dinner than we are at breakfast. Family breakfasts —when treated as relaxed, fun affairs— are a great substitute for the evening meal.
Nurturing yourself
The general sentiment here is that everyone else is sleeping so you’re not missing out on something important and you can spend time taking care of yourself, which generally leads to a positive impact on your productivity throughout the day.
In What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast Vanderkam suggests making over your mornings by tracking your time, picturing the perfect morning, thinking through the logistics, building a habit, developing a feedback loop and tuning up as necessary.
Shawn Achor, author of The Happiness Advantage and a self-proclaimed night owl, taught himself to appreciate mornings by thinking about the positive.
“The reason we stay in bed in the morning is because our brains get fatigued by thinking about all the things we have to do that day. We’re thinking about tasks rather than things that are making us happy,” he says. But the reverse of that is also true. “If you’re thinking about things you’re looking forward to, that makes it easy to get out of bed. What your brain focuses on becomes your reality.”
Source: farnamstreetblog.com