I love the underlying concept of work-life balance, but I don’t love the practicality of it. The word “balance” implies an even distribution over the course of time. So if you work too much one week, you will have to spend more time with the family the next, and vice-versa. You never arrive at your goal because this is an uncertain finish line. Luckily, there is a better way.

For years I have coached and trained others to live a more intentional life, and I am also on the same journey.  I have found that most people have a desire to change but become incredibly frustrated with the results they’re getting. Even worse, they look at those who seem to have it all together and have limiting beliefs that they can’t do the same.  I know how they feel as I have been there as well.

One of the greatest trades you can make when it comes to productivity is trading balance for healthy rhythms. While balance is unclear, rhythms are defined through a series of habits.

Almost forty percent of your actions are simply your habits according to the best selling book The Power of Habits. So if you change your habits, you will change your life. In order to create healthy rhythms, you will need to follow these five steps.

1. Decide on your goals.

The first step in the process of creating health in your life and business is deciding your desired destination, or goals. You need to clearly define what is your most important goal for the main areas of your life. We have our clients fill out a life and business plan.

Your goal should be in the form of x to y by z. For instance, your work goal may be to bring up sales revenue from one million dollars in quarter one to one million two hundred thousand dollars by the end of quarter 2. You may have a personal goal of losing fifteen pounds in the next 60 days.

2. Define your habits.

Once you have clarity on what your most important goal is for an area of life, you need to add the specific habit(s) that will help you to achieve it. Keep in mind that there are some habits, called keystone habits,  that set off a chain reaction for others to happen.

If you are a business owner, one of your habits could be to spend four hours a week working on the business instead of just in the business. Your keystone habit for your sales goal may be to contact ten loyal customers a week to see how they are doing and if they need any further assistance. Your habit to lose weight may be to write down your caloric intake every day and not to exceed so many calories.

Choose one or two habits that when done either on a daily, weekly or monthly basis, that will ensure that you will hit your goal.

3. Disrupt your schedule.

If the way you are currently spending your time is not giving you your desired results, then it’s time for a schedule change. You will most likely need to change your schedule to thrive in your key areas such as self-development, relationships, and business.

Some of your current fruitless activities will change and its place will be slotted for your new habits.

We look at the schedule a week at a time and call it our weekly rhythm. Inside your weekly rhythm is time to accomplish your habits and ultimately ensure reaching your goals.

4. Draw lines in the sand.

You can do anything, but you can’t do everything. In order to accomplish your goals, you are going to have to set some healthy boundaries in your life. There will be times when you say “no” to the good so you can say “yes” to the great.

Since you already have your time slots full of your new habits, you can say no to things since you have a prior commitment. This part will make or break your ability to grow your business or personal life.

5. Dig your heels in.

I would love to say that everything will magically fall into place once you start, but there will be resistance. That resistance will come from the fact you’re already predisposed to your current habits and life itself.

How long does it take to form a new habit? Though it varies, research shows it more likely to take two months or so. This is one of the benefits of our year-long leadership coaching program, the opportunity to solidify many new habits. Here is the good news–once something becomes a habit, it does not require much effort to keep it going.

Take some time and clarify your goals and follow the steps in order. Plan today for the business or life you want to live tomorrow.

While planning may not be the most exciting thing, it can bring amazing results.

Recently, I have asked a few leaders if they have planned for the first quarter of next year. So far, all of them have not been able to step away to do so. Just like us, their lives are incredibly busy.

Like you, these leaders want to thrive in the New Year. However, a plan helps us bridge the gap between where we are, to where we want to be. It lays out the necessary steps to reach our desired goals.

At the time of this writing, we are approaching the New Year, and there are unlimited possibilities. This can be the year that you chase your dreams, but you need to know how to get there. There are three plans that if you have and follow will help you succeed in the New Year. I was introduced to all these plans when I used the coaching services of Building Champions.

1. Life Plan:

I learned about life planning, and the rest of the plans, years ago and the results I have experienced have been amazing. I call a life plan a personal life blueprint because that is exactly what it is. It is a blueprint for the life you desire to live.

In a life plan, you decide what your most important priorities are. You then decide how you want that key area of your life to look like if it was exactly the way you want. Then you create a plan to get you from where you are, to where you want to be. I wrote a more detailed post here.

2. Business plan:

You don’t have to own a business in order to create a business plan. If you are leading a team, department, or want to start a business, then creating a business plan is for you.

In a business plan, you decide what you want to accomplish over the next year. Once you have your year goals in mind, you can then create a plan for each quarter that will help you reach your desired outcomes for the year. I wrote more about creating a business plan here.

3. Time plan:

I am not sure of a bigger productivity hack than to maximize your most valuable asset through creating a blueprint for your time. Time has a way of getting away from us because we have not laid out a concise plan for how you want to spend it.

In a time plan, you decide ahead of time how you will spend your week. Although this will not always work out perfectly, it will get you much closer than if you just winged it.

The time plan is set up to help you accomplish your predetermined goals in your life and business plan. I wrote more about this here.

These three plans have had a huge impact on my life and have become part of the framework I use to coach others. This next month, quarter or year can be amazing, but you need to decide what amazing looks like.

Take some time and create a plan for your life, business, and time; you will be glad you did.

Why We Is Better Than Me

Most leaders want to see their business or cause reach more people, especially if they strongly believe in its purpose and vision. We get frustrated when we don’t see the expected results and are left wondering why. Much of the time, it’s not because of a lack of desire, skill, or passion. There is something else that may be holding you back in your desire to reach the next level for your organization.

I was in my late twenties when I became the lead pastor of a church. To be honest, the ministry had been through a challenging season before I started to lead. To make matters worse, I didn’t know what I was doing.

There came a point, while I was leading, that it was “Make it or Break it” time. I knew that change needed to happen. Our organization decided to take some time to evaluate every person and every program, to make the necessary changes in order to re-launch the church.

During the evaluation process, I believe I was the one who changed the most. I realized that I could not get us to where God wanted us alone, but that it would take a team.

Looking at the life of Moses, there was a time when he was trying to complete everything himself. His father-in-law, Jethro, noticed this fallacy as we see in Exodus:

When Moses’ father-in-law saw all that Moses was doing for the people, he asked, ‘What are you really accomplishing here? Why are you trying to do all this alone while everyone stands around you from morning till evening?’ Moses replied, ‘Because the people come to me to get a ruling from God.’ Exodus 18:14-15

Moses couldn’t see his mistakes because he was too busy. He was wearing himself and others out—therefore, he was unknowingly holding back progress. Moses was encouraged to find a team.

“Now listen to me, and let me give you a word of advice, and may God be with you. You should continue to be the people’s representative before God, bringing their disputes to Him. Teach them God’s decrees, and give them His instructions. Show them how to conduct their lives. But select from all the people some capable, honest men who fear God and hate bribes. Appoint them as leaders over groups of one thousand, one hundred, fifty, and ten. They should always be available to solve the people’s common disputes, but have them bring the major cases to you. Let the leaders decide the smaller matters themselves. They will help you carry the load, making the task easier for you.” Exodus 18:19-22

We have a hard time letting go because of these three things:

1. We don’t think others will do as good a job. Moses probably thought he was the only one who could make rulings since he was the one to whom God spoke. He was wrong, and so are we, when we believe we are the only one who can do a decent job.

2. We are insecure. Many don’t hand over responsibility because they are afraid of others getting some of the attention. You will never attract high-capacity people if it always has to be about you.

3. We haven’t successfully delegated. The key word here is “successfully.” We may have delegated tasks creating followers, but we have not done the right thing by delegating authority, which creates leaders.

You cannot attain a breakthrough because you need help from a team. One of the first things I did was to appoint key people who could lead areas of the ministry. Now, this is still a work in progress, but much headway has been made. God brought in great leaders, and subsequently, our mission is being achieved.

I encourage you to read Exodus 18:13-27 and go over the reasons listed below that can help bring your desired breakthrough.

1. You can handle more collectively than you can individually.

2. There are many areas where others are stronger than you.

3. More people will be taken care of (i.e. more can be accomplished).

You alone may not be able to bring the breakthrough you desire, but a team working together can go further than you could imagine. If you need help in the area of delegation check out my free ebook.

Question: What do you need to delegate and who do you need to empower to accomplish that?

Do you ever get the feeling you need to start or stop doing something? I believe we all have experienced this.

I recently met with a key leader. During our bi-weekly meeting, we discussed our normal three evaluation questions:

  1.  What has been your biggest win(s)?
  2.  What has been your biggest obstacle(s)?
  3.  What hot topics do we need to discuss?

During this talk, the conversation shifted. We discussed the effectiveness of the different areas he led. The shift went from simply talking to evaluating an area.

This was when I introduced him to three words that would help him in his evaluation process. In fact, these three words can help you improve not only at work but at home as well.

1. Keep. What do I/we need to keep doing?

These are the areas of your life or business you need to keep doing. These areas are important to your future success.

For your business, this may include staff meetings, one-on-one’s, dynamic customer experience, etc.

For your personal life, this may include personal devotional time, exercising, consistent date nights, etc.

2. Start. What do I/we need to start doing?

There may be things you or your team are not doing but should be doing. These are the new things that will energize you/your team to reach your desired outcomes.

For instance, if you want to have a culture of leadership development at your organization, but there is no defined plan to make that a reality, that would be something that needs to start.

The things you start should help connect where you are today to where you want to go.

3. Stop. What do I/we need to stop doing?

This can be the hardest, but most important, question to ask. Are there negative habits you or members of your organization must stop doing?

For your personal life, this may include activities that negate your most important relationships. You may have gotten into a habit of bringing your work home with you, and it has affected your family life. That may need to stop.

For your business, this could include you stop allowing employees to bypass their department heads, and go straight to the top when they have questions or concerns.

The keep/start/stop process has effectively been used by countless individuals and organizations. The process was designed to be used for feedback and is, therefore, very effective when used with a team, whether that is your family, department, or volunteer team.

I would love to hear from you, “What is something you need to keep, start, or stop doing.” Leave a comment below and begin the conversation.

Creating a business plan can seem to be a huge task, but it doesn’t have to be. With a few simple steps, you can create a business plan.

Early in my career I always felt as if I was spinning my wheels. I would put in countless hours of hard work, but at the end of the year, I would not see the gains I desired. I would look back at the year and realize we had not progressed, but simply maintained. In these seasons I did a gut check and wondered what was going on. Sometimes I questioned whether I was the right person to lead.

While most leaders have visions of grandeur, they often don’t have a plan to get from where they are to where they envision their organization to be. What is needed is a business plan. Creating a business plan may seem like a huge task, but it doesn’t have to be. With a few simple steps, you can create the successful business you desire.

I was introduced to the idea of drafting a business plan by Building Champions, an executive coaching company. The ideas in this post come from what I have learned through them.

Your plan does not need to be twenty pages thick; in fact, it may fit on a single sheet or two. It does not have to be comprehensive, but does need to answer the following questions:

1. What is your primary focus for this year?

Many components are necessary to get to your desired finish line, but what is the one thing you want to focus on this year? The rest of your business plan rests on how you answer this question.

The focus can be on one of two things:

  •  Something you measure. I work in the non-profit arena, so the figure important to me is the number of lives being changed.  For your business, it may be customer retention, leads, sales growth, or location expansion.
  •  Principle. While the things you measure are important, sometimes it is a principle that needs the most focus this year. This could include improving internal communication, creating and implementing a plan for leadership development, improving team collaboration, and so forth. Improving in these areas will ultimately have a positive impact on the numbers you measure.

2. What are your desired outcomes?

You need to know when you reach your goal, so the desired outcomes should be measurable. Businesses may measure in terms of revenue, new hires, new clients, money spent on new initiatives, etc. For churches it could mean baptisms, members cared for in groups, salvation, new leaders trained, money given to missions, etc.

3. What consistent behaviors are necessary to get to the stated focus and desired outcomes?

These are the activities you do frequently that will inevitably help you reach your goals. These behaviors should be written succinctly. If I want to improve team collaboration, saying I will have meetings with my team is not clear or inspiring. However, stating I will hold a strategic meeting the first Monday of every month with my leadership team is.

4. What projects or improvements need to be done to make this possible?

Unlike the previous steps, this is not an ongoing discipline, but rather an improvement that can be checked off when complete. Technological upgrades such as new Customer Management Software, a new website, or a needed server expansion can fall under this category. It also may be a facility expansion or other building improvement necessary to accomplish your outcomes.
I believe that a plan works when you work the plan. This may the very thing you are missing to take your organization or cause to the next level. Once you have your document finished, you may want to reveal it to your team members to get their input and buy-in. I encourage you to review it once a week to see if you are hitting your marks and to adjust your course as necessary.

Creating a business plan, life plan, and weekly rhythm are a few of the key elements I work on with my one-on-one coaching clients.

What is the next step you are going to take to make a business plan? What else would you add to this list that could be helpful to readers?

 

A bounce house is a bit like an organization. When you remove one component- the air blower in the case of the bounce house- it crashes to the ground, potentially injuring those along for the ride.

I have been part of organizations that seemed to collapse out of nowhere, and it left me wondering what went wrong. Many organizations have not created the right structure or foundation for consistent stability. If one component or key person is removed from the organization, the rest of it comes crashing down.

What does it take for an organization to survive a massive blow? How can you recover and eventually thrive? Here are four steps to building an organization that lasts:

1. Be clear on your convictions. Whether you call them convictions or values, you have to be clear on what they are. This will help you avoid the future regret of ending up in a place you never wanted to be. The people within your organization need clarity to keep you going in the right direction. You have to know what you stand for so you won’t chase after everything that comes your way.

2. Make the right partnerships and avoid the wrong ones. As an organization becomes more successful, opportunities grow. Jumping at every opportunity can be the downfall of an organization. Companies can lose focus on the things that made them successful in the first place if they don’t critically think through potential partnerships. Ask yourself if the opportunity aligns with your purpose, convictions, and vision. Greg McKeown, author of Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less, says, “When it isn’t a clear yes, then it’s a clear no.” Good partnerships are built on relationships over time. When you have close relationships with others, it is easier to tell who would make a good partner.

3. Develop your team. We need to get away from the messiah complex. One person alone can never accomplish what a competent and dedicated team can. Craig Groeschel, the pastor of Life Church, said, “The potential of your organization rests in the strength of its people.”

There should be an intentional plan for developing all the people in your organization. As they grow, they make the organization better. For ways to develop leaders, read this post.

4. When possible, promote from within. If you are developing your team properly and your organization is healthy, promoting from within should be a frequent course of action. Those who are already in your organization understand your culture and can be more loyal. There is a chance that someone from the outside may look like the right fit on paper but not have the chemistry or ability to adapt to your culture. There are times when it is not possible to promote from within, especially if you are in a turnaround situation or growing faster than your people are developing. For more information on what to look for in a leader, check out this post.

Over the last few years, my team and I have implemented these four things. Even though we recently lost a key person, the team stepped right up and filled the void. Losing a vital person in our organization could have spelled disaster, but because we have focused on building an organization that lasts we are stronger than we have ever been before.

Which one of these do you need to start working on today? What else could be added to this list?