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2021 Writing Challenge – Reset

The phrase “The Great Rest” has been floating around over the past year. The idea is that world leaders orchestrated the Corona virus pandemic to take control of the global economy. While some hold to this view and others see it as a conspiracy theory, in June 2020 high profile individuals in business and politics did draw up a plan called “The Great Reset” at a meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF).

Whatever view one holds regarding alleged financial and political alliances of “The Great Reset” theory, the increasing reality of socialist, even totalitarian policies, in many countries around the world, limiting individual freedom, increasing environmental policies, and making free market capitalism onerous, are evident.

Whether or not the next decade will prove to be a reset globally in terms of political, financial, and social structures, only time will tell.

Nonetheless, individuals and organizations need to take time to reset regularly.

Some individuals choose to evaluate and reset at the beginning of every calendar year. My personal habit is to set annual goals, review them mid-year and at year-end, and then plan for the next year. At the start of each month, I identify the tasks necessary to accomplish the objectives.

At other times, individuals reset because of a dramatic lifestyle change. This could be due to a positive life change – marriage, birth of a child(ren), new job, especially if the position is in a new location. Other times, it feels like a “forced” reset due to a job loss or a sudden change in health.

A reset, whether personal, organizational, or global, means one re-examines three aspects of life:

It is easy to go about daily work, family life, community activities, and enjoy the routine. It’s not because a person is living without purpose, but the regular routines of daily living happen without a person checking to see if their activities are actually contributing – or hindering – accomplishing their life purpose.

For example, a person’s purpose may be to use their construction skills to help people build a home, not just a house. However, a downturn in the economy may mean fewer people are building their own homes and so the person’s construction business necessarily expands to include other forms of construction (eg. for businesses). Yet once the demand for home construction returns, the individual feels compelled to continue serving the corporate clients because they have paid the bills over recent years. Yet if one’s life purpose is to build homes for people, examining the purpose may help them say “no” to non-residential requests.

In the same was as purpose can just fade into the background, our values can also get watered down and even disregarded in the busyness of life. After weeks or months, a person “suddenly” find themselves engaging in a practice which is actually counter to their deeply held convictions. Our values shape how we accomplish our purpose, and should determine our priorities. Yet sometimes, individuals gain values contrary to their purpose, without even realizing.

For example, a person may state their purpose as “to serve with excellence in your career so that your family members have plenty of resources and opportunity.” Yet making an impact through your career – as a medical professional (eg. doctor, nurse), teacher – draws time and energy away from family. You will need to review your lifestyle to reflect the values and corresponding priorities and make necessary changes in keeping with what you truly value.

When one studies the demise of various once well-recognized companies, one common characteristic is a failure to recognize new realities necessary for continuing success and adapt the business strategy. For example, by all accounts Kodak had the people and technological expertise to for prospering in the digital photography market. Scott D. Anthony says in the Harvard Business Review article:

The right lessons from Kodak are subtle. Companies often see the disruptive forces affecting their industry. They frequently divert sufficient resources to participate in emerging markets. Their failure is usually an inability to truly embrace the new business models the disruptive change opens up. Kodak created a digital camera, invested in the technology, and even understood that photos would be shared online. Where they failed was in realizing that online photo sharing was the new business, not just a way to expand the printing business.

Kodak’s Downfall Wasn’t About Technology by Scott D Anthony

In the same way an business or non-profit may fail to see how new strategies are called for to accomplish the mission in an ever-changing world – without sacrificing their core values – individuals can also adopt new strategies for accomplishing their purpose.

For example, during the COVID-19 pandemic, although church leaders (pastors) felt helpless and constrained when they were not able to meet in a physical building each week, others took up the challenge to see how they could deliver their “Sunday message” to the same people online. Likewise, while some express consternation over not being able to visit people, especially the sick and elderly, others have found ways to care personally for parishioners whether through phone calls, personal and small group virtual meetings, or even simple text messages.

Similarly, education institutions shut down over a weekend in March 2020 found ways to finish their academic year with students through a variety of digital avenues. When unable to re-open in September, the emergency measures used to survive the spring were upgraded to various online teaching methods enabling students to receive the class content, complete individual and group assignments, and have a meaningful educational experience. Admittedly, some teachers and some schools were more successful than others, but surprisingly few ceased operations in an industry not generally known for its flexibility.

So… maybe its time for a reset – or at least a time to pause and reflect – in your personal life or as a leader in the organization? What is your mission or purpose? What values are you essential? In light of those, how do your methods and strategies need to adjust to new realities so you continue to make an impact for the future?

How & When do you “Reset”? Please share your “Reset” ideas in the comments & feedback space provided below.

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Read other posts in the #2021WritingChallenge: Intend, Grounded, Focus, Balance, Purpose, Awaken, Inquire, Simplify, Dig, Cultivate, Reflect, Grieve, Believe, Quiet, Stretch, Lean, Ignite, Journey Learn, Commune, Encourage, Comfort, Allow, Release, Surrender, Rest, & Dwell.

Other related posts you may find interesting and helpful:

Book Review – Catch 22 by Rick Vaive with Scott Morrison

Of the many great captains in the Toronto Maple Leafs history, perhaps none receive less acclaim than Rick Vaive, who wore the “C” from 1981-1986. Vaive, despite having three 50+ goal seasons playing with arguably the worst Leafs’ teams ever – not only in terms of on-ice performance and skill, but management, coaching, and organizational instability – was constantly criticized.

In Catch 22 My Battles in Hockey and Life (Random House, 2020), Vaive recounts his journey to the NHL from Charlottetown, PEI and then his days as an NHL first round draft choice with Vancouver, and years with the Maple Leafs, Chicago and Buffalo, as well as recent coaching stints. He honestly reflects on his mistakes and the role he played in various missteps, including being stripped of the Leafs’ captaincy, taking responsibility for his part and yet not sugar coating the hurts and poor treatment of various individuals throughout his life. He fully acknowledges the terrible role he allowed drinking heavily to play in his life during his growing up and playing days, and how his sobriety has been a significant factor in coming to peace with himself and aspects of his life.

For the hockey fan, especially a Leafs fan, its a worthwhile read!

If you appreciated this book review, you may also like:

  • Book Review: Calling the Shots (HarperCollins, 2017) by Kelly Hrudey
  • Book Review: Hockey Towns (HarperCollins, 2015) by Ron Maclean
  • Book Review: A Guy Like Me (HarperCollins, 2016) John Scott with Brian Caseneuve

As always, your comments & feedback below are welcome!

Book Review: I am David by Anne Holm

Without books for blog review or current interest topics, my wife suggested considering I am David (Harcourt, 1965), the story of a 12 year old boy who escapes from a concentration camp in Eastern Europe, with the help of a kind guard.

Having grown up in the camp as an orphan, he knows nothing of basic living skills or social graces, even though he can speak at least five languages. Likewise, he has learned to trust no one. As he follows the instructions given him by the prison guard, David understands the guard’s directions – from immediate escape plan to boarding a ship to Italy to traveling to Denmark – were trustworthy. In the course of his travels, he cautiously meets individuals, begins to understand who will be “nosy” and who will simply help him get farther along the road, and begins to feel positive human emotions like affection and hope.

It’s no wonder author, Anne Holm (translated from the Danish by LW Kingsland), won the 1965 Gyldendahl Prize for the Best Scandinavian literature , though it is a bit surprising it was in the children’s category. Its a great adult read, yet some children and teens would find it scary, and others too slow-moving. Although not planned, I am David witnesses powerfully to the importance of safety and security in early childhood experiences and attachment theory, areas of study and writing recently. (See below for posts on these topics)

If you like appreciate this review, you may also want to check out these book reviews:

Worship through the Pain

At times in life, the pains of sickness, disease and death seem overwhelming – in our personal lives or those of our faith community.

Our family has felt this over the last few weeks with various trials and challenges so these songs have been played repeatedly in our home.

There may be no answers to the many questions.
Yet one can still chose to praise God!

Here is a “Worship through the Pain” Playlist:

I trust you will experience God’s peace and comfort as you listen.

Feel free to leave your comments below or share this post with others who you know trying to worship through pain.

2021 Writing Challenge – Dwell

Home. “There’s no place like home.”

After another 10 day hospital stint, the power of having a safe place to dwell has been reinforced. (I thought I learned some lessons before during my 18 Day Hospital in April. Apparently, I’m a slow learner.)

While most grateful for the amazing medical care available in Alberta/Canada – 3-Star hotels compared to many “hospitals” around the world – care facilities are not designed for people to live long-term. By necessity, they are sanitary, the regular routines of daily living – from sleeping, personal hygiene, and meals – are different. While designed as spaces to restore our physical health, the “institutional” nature of even the best hospitals and staff seldom improve our mental, relational, or spiritual health in the process – and sometimes even impede upon the physical healing.

Whether a family living in a residence, a single adult living in his/her own apartment, or senior citizens in an assisted living center, research is continuing to affirm human beings are designed to dwell in a place for a time. Even more importantly, they are created for community and no matter what the configuration of the space, a consistent physical landing place creates a space of safety and security.

A home is the ideal place for children to first develop healthy attachment to adults and the world. Alternatively, some experience trauma, and lack the safety a home provides… and bear the scars for years.

Perhaps this human need for dwelling explains why homeless people experience other challenges at the same time. Unable to get a job, because the person have no address. Yet unable to locate affordable space because the person has no income. Its a vicious, repetitive cycle that is difficult to break.

This is one reason to be grateful for places like the Mustard Seed, providing a consistent place for individuals to get back on their feet. Another excellent example is the Calgary Dream Center. For pregnant women on their own, Pregnancy Care Centres provide this place to dwell and necessary community to get through the joys and pains of child bearing without being alone (eg. Central Alberta Pregnancy Care Centre).

While home is the primary place to dwell, this does not mean workplaces cannot provide a meaningful sense of dwelling and community.

Leaders, how can you help your staff feel like work is a “dwelling place” for a few hours a day?
(No, I’m not recommending expecting people to work so long they sleep at work!)

  • Encourage family photos and trinkets to decorate each person’s office space.
  • Celebrate individual accomplishments beyond work-related goals – eg marriage, birth of child(ren), staff recognition awards for years of service, etc.

Everyone needs a place to belong. Where do you dwell?

Your comments & feedback dwell, home, and belonging are welcome in the space provided below.

If you appreciate this post, “Like” it or share it with a friend on your social media channels.

If you wish to be notified when the next post appears on the Leadership & Life blog, enter your email address in the space provided and click “Subscribe.”

Read other posts in the #2021WritingChallenge: Intend, Grounded, Focus, Balance, Purpose, Awaken, Inquire, Simplify, Dig, Cultivate, Reflect, Grieve, Believe, Quiet, Stretch, Lean, Ignite, Journey Learn, Commune, Encourage, Comfort, Allow, Release, Surrender & Rest.

Other related posts you may find interesting and helpful:

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