As I sit here waiting to meet a friend for breakfast, I’m putting my mind on overload with all that I have to do, what needs my attention today, and what has transpired so quickly in the last week. Usually, we use words like productivity, time management, and buzzworthy tags, hashtags, and SEO catchphrases. I’m just going to say I’m not that good at it and certainly not all the time. None of us are that consistent no matter how hard we try.
With that in mind, I want to share what I’ve learned in the last week:
1) Family comes first. This last week, I have been in the hospital off and on to visit my dad. You only have one family, so take care of it. I’m thankful for my parents, my brothers, my wife and daughter, and so much of my family. They are always there for me.
2) Pressure pushes you. In the midst of work and family, there are additional stressful situations that creep on you and me. Selling a house, buying a house, working, hospital visits, family time, and even quiet time can push you emotionally, physically, mentally, and socially. Leadership gurus say that it’s all about how you react or handle stress. I agree, but when does anyone have it all together 24/7? The answer is no one. Most of the time, people are pretending their way through life. We have struggles, so let’s admit it. What have I learned (and continuously learn) about pressure? Pressure pushes us to the brink, so don’t handle it alone. Ask for help. No one can handle it by themselves. If someone shoots back ridiculous drivel to you about “not being able to handle pressure” or “real leaders know how to handle stress,” tell them politely to shut up because they don’t know what they are talking about. Then, go tell that leadership guru to fill in the blanks between his or her successes and to come talk to you when they aren’t so full of delusion. Real life isn’t all sunshine and roses (Thanks, Rocky Balboa), and we all need help. Just face the facts and stop pretending everything is better when it’s not. It’s nitty gritty time, people.
3. Social media is both positive and negative. First, I am a big advocate for social media. I consult about it and recommend it constantly. On a personal level, I like seeing positive comments and posts, inspirational quotes, and biblical scripture. On the other hand, social media portrays so many of us inaccurately. We all know this but the question is: are we conscious of it? Filters, backspaces, and re-writes consume social media pictures and posts, and I believe it sets people up for failure subconsciously. One person’s highlight reel can send another into the trap of comparison then depression and on and on. What have I learned? I have learned to not check social media in stressful or dark times. Ignore and avoid the social media noise until you’re mentally and emotionally ready to take it in.
4. Friends are encouraging and helpful.
I have a few friends that I am indebted to. Great friends are a rarity it seems. Sadly, one of them is about to move, but I’m happy for him and his family. God is opening a new chapter in his life as He is my own. I’m so thankful for this friend and so many others.
5. Email isn’t clear so wait to reply.
I received an email that came at a bad time. Amidst stress and pressure, I read an email at the wrong place and the wrong time. Honestly, I was furious. After hanging up the phone (I foolishly read the email during a call. Two strikes against me…), I vented aloud for 30 seconds. Then, I stopped, listened, thought, and then sung a children’s praise song. I sang for the next 10 minutes until I got home. Immediately, I opened up my email and re-read the message. Two things were clear: the message was still somewhat hostile and that I made a small mistake that was easily fixable. I carefully replied after 30-40 minutes of thinking about every word I replied with to guarantee that no animosity or frustration was in the email. Again, that children’s praise song about the Fruit of the Spirit flooded my brain like an audible virus. After careful examination of my reply, I sent the email at peace. I’m glad I sang and waited to reply.
That’s what I learned from this last week. It’s honest and that could mean no one will read it, and I’m okay with that. At the end of the day, none of this matters. I’m going back to see my dad.