Mental Post-Its

Thoughts, Notes and General Mental Mayhem

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10 Ways I Handle Stress, Anxiety and Sleep Issues

sleep mask

Me—in a nutshell

When I was younger, I never would’ve imagined that I’d become a person with ongoing stress, anxiety or sleep issues. Then I hit my 30’s, and was introduced to this terrible trio. And instead of having a steady, committed, long-term relationship with sleep, we became more casual friends, and sometimes acquaintances. We started drifting apart. I think on several occasions it even became that person that you think might be your friend, but doesn’t acknowledge you in a public place so then you’re not sure. Yeah, we have our issues.

Sure, I’d known stress and anxiety before, as part of being a perfectionist, but it wasn’t something that stuck around for very long. And to be honest, I’m not entirely sure what triggered the sleep issues. That was the first, and started happening early in my 30’s. The others were mostly results of high-pressure jobs that I’d had, I think, but probably combined with other things too. But they all started hanging around like leeches thinking that I owed them something before my chronic health issues of the past four years, that’s for sure. And they’ve certainly worsened with the decline in my health, because I can’t handle them as effectively as I would if I was healthy. Things get to me more easily. They take longer to sort through, and irritate me more . . . which, by the way, doesn’t help. #Cycle And my personality is one that just has a harder time letting go of things. We are big feelers with long memories.

However, one of the things I find most fascinating about humans is our ability to adapt. So, like any representative of my species, I’ve found a few ways to cope:

  1. The Five Minute Journal (also an App): I am not a negative person, but I am a perfectionist, so being critical is something I struggle with. I use this journal every morning and evening to take stock of moments of gratitude and highlights in my day.
  2. Essential oils: I personally love and use doTerra. I have many favorites (Breathe), but for tackling this issue, I’m all about Balance. I diffuse it or put it directly on my skin when I need it’s calming benefits. Just reaching for the bottle makes me feel better.
  3. Supplements: I get these either directly from, or recommended by, my naturopaths. I currently have one to help with anxiety and one to help me sleep that I take periodically. I think they help a little, but they’re still new to me, so I’m evaluating. But, of course, they aren’t the only things I’m doing, and I think that helps.
  4. A sleep mask: Pictured above. When I first started having sleep issues, I tried all kinds of things. I never thought I’d like a sleep mask. I always thought of them as making me kinda claustrophobic. But I was at my end, and gave it a try. And loved it! I’ve been using them for years, and also have a separate one that lives in my luggage for travel. I don’t think I could sleep without it now.
  5. Calm meditation app: I did several free trials of apps, and had it down to this one and Headspace. In the end, I liked them both, but this was cheaper. I like the sound of the waves, as well as the woman’s voice. I’m not practiced enough to do it on my own yet, so I like the guided meditations. And yes, they do have them for stress, anxiety and sleep. I’d wanted to start meditating this year already, so these blended together well. I try to do it for 10 minutes in the morning and 10 minutes at night.
  6. Walk outside: I usually love nature from a distance, but I really do love to walk outside, especially on a trail or somewhere to shield me from the city a little. We also have beautiful mountains in Georgia. I find these walks really calming. I listen to an audiobook, or podcast or pray, but usually a mix. I definitely feel a sense of restfulness and renewal, not mention accomplishment, afterward.
  7. Friends: I spend time with people who fill me up. This usually means grabbing coffee or a meal or frozen yogurt. I hate talking on the phone, so that’s usually my last resort, or if the friend lives far away. But there is just no substitute for a good conversation with an even better friend.
  8. Mentor: I never knew I needed a mentor until I had one. I sort of stumbled into it with a group of girls and two women about 10 years ago. That lasted for about two years, and was awesome, but we all moved on. Then I spent another couple of years trying to find a new one, and was introduced through a friend. My mentor Holly and I meet about once a month, and I guess it’s been about six or seven years now. She’s awesome, and advises me on all kinds of things from business to personal. I’m currently looking for a new business mentor as well. Holly has mentors for different areas of her life she wants to improve in, and I think that’s really cool.
  9. Movies: I love TV, too, but sometimes I need the “away” that a movie in a theater brings. It’s a quick escape, super enjoyable, and only takes a couple of hours. I have a deep love for movies on many levels, and this is certainly one of them. I actually just rewarded myself with the new Star Trek movie last Friday morning after a stressful work week.
  10. One to grow on! Candy Crush: This is a weird one for me. I’m not really one to play games on my phone, but somehow I started doing this one at the beginning of the year when I had a full-on anxiety attack. I play it because it helps me focus on one thing at a time. I don’t have the flood of emotions and thoughts while I play this. I’m sure other games do the same thing that take strategic thinking, but this one works for me.

I know a lot of people would add pets to this list, but I am too selfish, cheap and OCD to have my own pets. I enjoy other people’s pets from time to time and that works just fine for me.

I will also, for good measure, throw depression into the mix here as well. Though I’ve struggled with it much, much longer. I will also lump my own depression and anxiety here because they often don’t look the same as what is usually portrayed. I didn’t realize I had depression for a long time because I wasn’t sad, therefore, I didn’t know the way I lived was any different from anyone else. Depression is more of “a lack” for me. I just feel less than myself. Kinda like a dull, rather than shiny penny. And I definitely get Seasonal Affective Disorder, which is one of many reasons I’m always considering moving to Southern California. Likewise, full-fledged anxiety is new for me, and thank you God, I’ve only experienced it a couple of times after it developed this year. More often, my anxiety is very mild, mostly resulting in a flood of thoughts when my mind should be still, like sleep. It’s nothing very emotional. Usually just t0-do lists and things like that. I love lists. But, of course, these things do contribute to a larger overall picture.

Side note: I will also say that I believe these kinds of issues, especially depression and anxiety are more common to creative, feeling people. I keep asking my friends who study psychology to do papers on this! It’s nothing formal I’ve found, just my own research through my experiences and conversations with others. And the worst part, especially with depression, is that it makes you feel very isolated, like you’re the only one who’s living a less than ideal life. If that’s you, I’m so sorry, and I’m here to tell you that you aren’t alone.

And yes, I do also have a prescription for Ambien, and take it occasionally, especially when I travel. I do believe there is a time and place for traditional medicine. But I try to take the more natural road when possible to put better things in my body and have less long-term effects or dependency which I believe come from many medicines. I know I am luckier than some in that I haven’t handled these issues with stronger substances, or been consumed by them. I’m incredibly grateful for that.

And I’d like to say that these 10 things work without fail every time, but that’s not true. I started writing this blog post in my head at 5:00 a.m. this morning, practically the middle of the night for me, and finally got out of bed to start writing it a little after 6:00 a.m. So, tonight, I try again. But by in large, they’ve been very helpful and allow me to lead a more normal life.

If you deal with any of these issues, how do you handle it? I’d love to learn from you, and keep adding to my list!

PS: Dear, sleep – I thought we had a good thing going. I don’t know what I said or did, but I’m sorry. With all my heart, I’m sorry. Please come back to me.

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5 Strange Things About Working From Home (So Far)

computer-keyboardI’ve only been self-employed for a few weeks, but I’m already noticing a few unique quirks that come with this practice.

  1. I continually forget what day it is. When I don’t have to leave the house most days, there are few things to mark the time. At my old job, I worked from home on Thursdays and Fridays. So, there are a lot of mornings now when I wake up thinking it’s the end of the week. #Disappointment
  2. I’m behind on current events. I’ve never been a morning person. And with chronic health issues, I’m supposed to get between eight and 10 hours of sleep. So, that means I don’t turn on an alarm that often, and I sleep till 9:00 a.m. or so. Then it takes me a while to lay there in bed, checking my phone, doing my morning meditation, checking email, etc. So, it could easily be 10:00 a.m. before I’m actually up. That works fine for me, because I just work later if I need to. But it also means I miss my beloved TODAY Show. So, I feel very out-0f-sync with the world.
  3. I rarely wear “real” clothes or makeup. I would like to note that I do change out of my pajamas! But lounge wear is what you’ll find me in most of the time, sans makeup. In fact, if I have appointments or meetings or anything, I try to schedule them on the same days so I don’t have to actually get ready that many days in a row.:)
  4. I’ve wondered more than once if I can get “couch sores.” I don’t really do the home office thing. I’ve always just worked on the couch when at home. I know some people need the routine or normalcy that comes with working at a desk or a table or something, but that’s just not me. So, my couch is where I park. However, sometimes I sit there for hours at a time if I’m engrossed in something or writing, so then I realize that I’m a bit sore. And then I remember that people confined to beds can get bed sores…and then I wonder if there’s such a thing as “couch sores.”
  5. I’ve reached all-time lows on my fitness tracker. If experts want you to get 10,000 steps per day, I’m laughing in their faces. I’m convinced those people all live in New York where you do have to walk everywhere. My personal goal is 5,000 steps, but there has been more than one day where I’ve barely reached 500 steps. When you only have a 875 square foot apartment, and most of the time you’re only walking between the couch, kitchen and bathroom, there just isn’t a lot of movement. Plus, it’s way too hot to be outside!

But there you go. Just a few initial observations. I’m sure there will be more to come!

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The Ministry of Reconciliation

Screen Shot 2016-07-10 at 6.26.59 AM

I was excited to visit the MLK Memorial in DC last fall.

One of my favorite passages of scripture is 2 Corinthians 5:11-21, particularly the part about God giving us the “ministry of reconciliation.” To me, that is central to the work of social justice. It is a mantle I have taken up, and carry with me. And it is what comforts me when I’m weary of how people have harmed each other over and over again, but feel the need to take a step forward anyway.

I once heard someone define justice as “God’s way of putting things right,” and I liked that. It makes the word both a noun and a verb, and I believe that’s how we need to treat it to make any real progress.

11 Since, then, we know what it is to fear the Lord, we try to persuade others. What we are is plain to God, and I hope it is also plain to your conscience. 12 We are not trying to commend ourselves to you again, but are giving you an opportunity to take pride in us, so that you can answer those who take pride in what is seen rather than in what is in the heart. 13 If we are “out of our mind,” as some say, it is for God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you. 14 For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. 15 And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.

16 So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ,the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! 18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20 We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. 21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. (NIV)

These verses have rung loudly in my ears the past few days as we heard yet again about the tragic shooting of two African American men, compiled with the devastating addition of the attack on police officers in Dallas. Both are heartbreaking situations that never should have happened. But the question remains, what are we going to do about it?

I honestly think many people just don’t know what to do. It’s not that they don’t care, but they feel stuck in their response. Or maybe they feel conflicted in what to say, or how to react, or where to turn, or simply how not to offend. I’ve felt some of that myself, and I address it a bit here in this guest blog post.

So, if you can relate, I’d like to provide you with just a few resources that I hope will be helpful.

  • The first, of course and as always, is to pray. My friend Latasha started a terrific organization called Be The Bridge, which promotes racial unity and reconciliation through conversations and the Church. I suggest looking through her resources and site. But her first piece of advice for anyone is to pray. Pray for the situation. Pray for your personal response. Most of us live in our own bubbles, complete with people who look and think like us. So, pray for opportunities to make new friends or have these conversations with old friends. I think these are requests God would love to honor.
  • Another thing Latasha suggests is reading books by people who look and think different than you. Additionally, follow these kinds of people on social media, or go to the places they hang out.
  • Continuing along these lines, here is a fantastic conversation by Latasha and IF:Gathering founder, Jennie Allen, that took place on Friday. I highly recommend this 45-minutes as its just an honest sit-down between two friends.
  • This is a great article by Relevant Magazine for understanding the #BlackLivesMatter movement.
  • Check out this article by Kristen Howerton, who is white, which explains the concept of “white privilege.”
  • There are also many terrific books and movies as well. Two books I’ve read in the last year are The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander and Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson. And I gotta say, the latter is one of the hardest and most beautiful books I’ve ever read. As far as movies, there are well-known ones like Life is Beautiful and American History X. Here are a bunch more, and it wouldn’t take much research to find others, or you can ask me for more. I have lots to catch up on in this area too, and have books piling up in my Audible Wish List.
  • Pardon the bleeping, but this The Daily Show clip does make some good points while also bringing some humor to the situation. It’s always good to infuse some humor when you can.

There are lots and lots more, but if you need a starting place, hopefully this will provide you with one.

But here’s your disclaimer: I’m telling you now that this can be a messy process. I know that sounds scary, but it doesn’t have to be. If you’re getting outside your comfort zone, which you should in many aspects of life, just remind yourself that you’re doing it to become a better person and more educated. Most often, the people who don’t look like you will be really grateful that you’re making an effort to see life through their lens. And grace will be extended on both sides. Just make a new friend. You’ve done that before. You don’t have initially start with a race conversation. In fact, they might appreciate that too.:)

Sadly, I have seen bigotry in action. I have witnessed an actual segregated community south of Atlanta, complete with the literal “other side of the tracks.” I have heard friend’s stories of how they were discriminated against. And even if you missed these things, you’ve probably heard jokes that come at someone else’s expense. We cannot keep pretending these are ok. We cannot keep silent. This kind of harmful thinking often starts in small ways. And therefore, small actions can create change.

When you know these people, not just know of them, you should want to fight for them.

It’s hard work. It’s ugly work. It’s messy work. But it work that matters. And if you follow Christ, you have also been given the ministry of reconciliation. So, what are you going to do about it?

“In a real sense all life is inter-related. All men are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be, and you can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be… This is the inter-related structure of reality.”
― Martin Luther King Jr.’s Letter from Birmingham Jail 

UPDATE on 7/12/16

I’ve also just watched these two online sermons from this past Sunday, and they’re additional great examples to watch about how the Church can address the issue.

North Point Community Church

The Potter’s House

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National Leadership Forum: Notes and Quotes

FullSizeRenderLast week I had the privilege of attending the National Leadership Forum. My mentor Holly is the COO of Growing Leaders, who hosts this unique gathering, and this is the second time I’ve attended this fantastic event. It’s geared toward educators, administrators, coaches, and mentors, and even though I am none of those things, I still learned a lot with the theme of “Leaders at Every Level.”

If you fit any of those categories, I’d urge you to make your way to Atlanta next summer. But it will probably sell out, so plan early! And this would be a great excuse for those of you who have ongoing education budgets at your disposal.

Here are some of the gems I picked up during these two days:

Tim Elmore
  • The leader of the company is the crafter of the culture.
  • Why do we fail to develop leaders:
    • The busy myth. We claim we’re too busy and don’t have time.
      • You must schedule your priorities.
    • The treasure hunt myth. We hope we can just find and hire them.
    • The reproduction myth. But we’ve never been equipped ourselves.
      • We teach what we know, but reproduce who we are.
    • The maintenance myth. We’re satisfied with just plugging holes.
  • When an org or school fails to develop good leaders:
    • It’s a failure of systems.
    • It’s a failure in culture.
      • “When a flower doesn’t bloom, you fix the environment in which is grows, not the flower.” – The Vibrant Mind
  • Common org cultures:
    • Toxic culture
    • Distant culture
    • Fun culture
    • Confused culture
    • Stagnant culture
    • Blind culture
  • The truth about culture:
    • All teams have a culture, by default or design.
    • People are carriers of culture, good or bad.
      • “Let’s hire the culture we want. Gifts can be cultivated.”
    • Some teammates are more contagious than others.
    • There are as many cultures as there are managers.
    • The culture affects behavior more than anything else.
      • “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.” – ?
    • A leader’s job is to cultivate a healthy culture.
      • Build a healthy culture and it will grow.
    • They do this through their habits and attitudes.
  • The ultimate job of a leader is to create more leaders. They do this by building a system and culture.
  • Hanging on the wall isn’t necessarily what’s happening down the hall.
  • Your org is telling a story…not unlike a movie. And it has a soundtrack. You have:
    • A script (your words)
    • Acting and blocking (your behavior)
    • A sound track (your culture)
      • What’s yours? Did you write it or let it happen?
      • It can make or break the movie.
      • Like your culture, the sound track provides the feel of your story.
      • If we’re not careful, our sound track can ruin all we’re saying and doing. (ex: Ms. Doubtfire cut to be a horror.)
      • If we’re intentional, our sound track can enhance all we say and do.
  • At Growing Leaders, we’re intentional about:
    • Mission and values
    • Vision and objectives
      • 1% can change the 99% (ex: MLK)
    • Brand personality
    • Tweet flavor (social media)
    • Inside “rules” for outside “reputation”
    • Our physical environment
    • Differentiators
Dr. Meria Carstarphen – Superintendent of Atlanta Public Schools
  • Brought in after the APS cheating scandal.
  • You have no idea how good/bad the situation actually is until you’re inside the culture/org.
  • Access to quality education at every level, age and zip code changes lives.
  • Born in Selma, AL, and family still lives there.
  • There are people meant to make the changes. I am that person.
  • Culture is usually the last change we make.
  • “Where the needs of the world and your talent intersect, there your vocation lies.” – Greek philosopher?
  • Express empathy and give people a chance. Don’t live in fear.
  • She is active on social media, plays with the kids, gives parents and kids her cell phone number.
  • Tell people when they do something right, not just when they do something wrong.
  • Put a succession plan in place way before you think of leaving.
  • Leaders should bring out the strengths of those in their care.
  • You can’t let sabotage stop you from doing the right thing.
    • And as a leader, you can’t let the sabotage into your heart and head, or it will effect your culture since it starts at the top.
  • Don’t wait till your kid is in school to help shape the school. Join committees and be a part of things that will help create the school you want your kid to attend.
Gene Smith – Director of Athletics for Ohio State University
  • Create an environment for constant communication.
  • People will forget what you said or did, but never how you made them feel.
  • They have a structured development program for everyone, and know where they want to go in their job and life.
  • Stay true to your values above everything else. I own my integrity.
  • Learn to confront in a timely manner. When you have the backbone to stand up for your values, you create respect, despite any backlash.
  • Make sure your people get their rest and vacation.
  • They call their coaches “teachers.”
  • Instead of calling the people listed as references, call the people below and around them to see how they’re treated. Hire for character.
  • Their student athletes go through trainings to set them up for life and character, not just football.
  • A title doesn’t make you a leader.
  • Never forget your custodian! They make your world go.
Holly Moore – VP of Growing Leaders
  • Change fatigue is real.
  • “Emotional sickness is avoiding reality at any cost. Emotional health is facing reality at any cost.” – M. Scott Peck
  • All of us have ways we take in and evaluate information.
  • Myers-Briggs is the DNA of your personality.
  • Where do you get your energy: E or I
  • How do you process info: S or N
  • How do you make decisions: T or F
  • How do you prefer to live: J or P (greatest cause of relational disharmony)
  • Insecurity in a leader is toxic.
  • Leadership comes with a microphone.
  • Five voices: Pioneer, Connector, Creative, Guardian, Nurturer
    • Teams should have a variety of these, and respect for each other.
    • I’m a Creative! (INFJ)
    • Nurturer
      • Always cares for others, but can stuff feelings to make peace. Make sure you are heard too.
    • Guardian
      • Believes change is necessary, but can come across as overly critical. Look for ways to compromise. Share your feelings before your questions.
    • Connector
      • Whatever’s needed, you have a source. Great collaborators. Can become passive aggressive or withdrawn if you sense rejection. Become more self-aware when you sense feelings of rejections, and process them.
    • Creative
      • Never satisfied with the status quo. It can always be better. Communication and function bed when you know your contribution is valued. The word “can’t” isn’t in our vocabulary. Can fail to celebrate the 90% achieved, and focus on the 10% not done. Can be paralyzed by perfectionism. (F) When you’re stressed, you become The Hulk. (T) When you’re stressed, you’re a sniper. Speak up sooner. Don’t build up “retaliation rocks” or stuffed feelings. Feelings aren’t buried dead, but buried alive. Resist perfectionism.
    • Pioneer
      • Anything is possible! Visionary and courageous. But you can fail to hear all the voices, or have a “back me or fight me” mentality. Stop and listen before reacting. Find a safe place to process.
Judith J. Pickens – Senior Advisor, Youth Advocacy at Boys & Girls Clubs of America
  • All young people are at-risk today.
  • Five key elements to help kids thrive:
    • Safe, positive environment
    • Fun
    • Supportive relationships with caring adults and peers
    • Opportunities and high expectations
    • Recognition
  • Prioritize for a prosperous future:
    • Academic success
    • Good citizenship and character
    • Healthy lifestyles
  • Seven states have more than 20% of their high schools are considered “drop-out factories,” which graduate less than 50% of seniors: SC, FL, NV, GA, NM, NC and MS. Mississippi always comes in last on education surveys.
  • What you doing that’s life-changing, generation-changing or transformational?
  • Children often take their queues from their teachers and parents.
  • Statistics go up exponentially for the success of kids when they are connected to their world and a caring community.
  • “Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis” – book by Robert Putnam
Austin Moss – Director of Player Engagement at NFL
  • Whatever you do, do it with excellence.
  • His job is to help players transition well after the game as well. Average career of a player is three years.
  • Works with the development of high school and college student athletes.
  • All employees go through domestic violence training.
  • NFL has different service and celebration activities.
Tim Elmore
Digging Wells Before You’re Thirsty
  • The need of the hour is 1) more and better leaders, and 2) a relevant equipping process to prepare those leaders (staff and students).
  • Trains and Tracks – Tracks may look confining at first, but they’re the path that make trains go.
  • Our world needs graduates who 1) solve problems and 2) serve people.
  • What we believe about leader development:
    • It’s an inside job before it’s an outside job.
    • It’s a process more than an event.
    • It’s a right-brain function before it’s a left-brain function.
    • It’s more caught than taught.
    • It’s done in small groups more than big groups. Circles not rows.
    • It’s more about a disposition than a position.
    • It’s learned through both uploading and downloading.
    • It’s about an experience not just an explanation.
    • It’s about relationships before it’s about results.
    • It’s about service before it’s about success.
  • The top-down funnel for events and activities: (creating bridges between levels and gently push them as far as they’ll go)
    • Attraction – Had to be interesting to people
    • Involvement – Getting known by others
    • Service – Had to do something
    • Leadership – Now they get to be in charge
    • Multiplication – Leading leaders
  • The Big IDEA
    • All great training contains four thoughts.
    • I – Instruction (They need conversation.)
    • D – Demonstration (They need it observation.)
    • E – Experience (They need participation.)
    • A – Assessment (They need evaluation.)
Tim Elmore: A Leadership Cult or Culture: Cultivating an Environment of Growth and Leadership in Your School or Organization
Josh Bledsoe – FFA COO
  • By 2050, the world’s population will reach 9 billion. We need to double our food supply to feed them.
  • Career development, personal growth and advocates for agriculture – new mission
Tim Elmore:
Cult or culture:
  • Cult – Leadership is all about them. (Hansen and Karish)
    • insecure, control issues, ego
  • Culture – Work that wants to live sole for something bigger than themselves.
    • Community of shared qualities that foster change.
  • Every culture possesses shared values, shared customs and a shared language.
    • The same can be true for org culture.
  • Cultures don’t change without something to gain.
  • The two great motivators are pain and gain.
  • People on a team become carriers of the culture.
  • A leadership culture is an environment that contagiously affects people to think and act like authentic leaders.
  • If you could create a culture, what words would you use to describe it? How would you describe your current culture?
  • “Success without a successor is a failure.” – Romanian proverb
  • You can only change about 20% per year in an org, and only 20% of the people will lead the charge.
  • You’re more likely to act out the change than talk out the change.
  • “Some say it is unfair to hold disadvantaged children to rigorous standards. I say it is discrimination to require anything less–-the soft bigotry of low expectations.” – George W. Bush, campaign speech before the NAACP (2000).
Ken Blanchard – Consultant, Speaker, Author
  • “The One-Minute Manager” – his first big book
  • “The Generosity Factor” – another of his books
  • Effective leadership is all about managing people’s energy.
  • Take 30 seconds to greet people like you’re looking for someone’s energy. Take another 30 to greet people like they’re long-lost friends.
  • Your beliefs drive your behavior. Your behavior gets you results.
  • Being an effective leader:
    • Servant – It’s not about you.
    • Steward – You don’t own a thing.
    • Shepherd – Everyone is important.
  • Servant leadership gets the best results.
    • Leadership is about going somewhere.
  • Mission – What you do
  • Vision – Where you’re headed
  • Values – How you get there
  • Goals – The means to the end
  • Your job is to help the people under you win so they can help your customers win.
  • Have employees rate themselves regularly, and the manager agrees or disagrees. The manager needs to help them try to get an A.
    • The end result needs to be clear, and the manager helps them get there.
  • Transformational leadership starts with self leadership.
    • Then one-on-one.
    • Then team.
    • Then org leadership.
  • Catch people doing something right.
  • “In the end, everything goes back in the box.” – John Ortberg
  • Are your people culture builders or culture busters? If you let the latter stay, you’re not staying true to your company values.
Wayne Hammond – Resiliency Initiatives 
  • Stop looking at what’s wrong with people, and focus on what’s right with people.
  • “85% of positive change comes from being a relationship that’s meaningful to you, and talking about something that matters to.” – his friend.
  • Measure resiliency. (a strengths-based culture)
  • Help teachers learn to be coaches in the classroom.
  • Resiliency is a by-product of culture.
  • The starting point in their potential. Their strengths not weaknesses.
  • We medicate kids into the behaviors we’re looking for.
  • Girls develop fine motor skills before boys, which is what is rewarded in schools.
  • Listen to someone’s story, and you’ll find out what’s important to them.
  • Three evolving challenges: Academics, Culture, Life Skills
  • Resiliency helps kids navigate risk, not avoid it.
  • Mot kids don’t know what their strengths are.
  • The four phases of transformational change: Connect, Inspire, Build and Empower
  • When you don’t give up, you cannot fail.
  • “If you think our future will require better schools,you’re wrong. The future of education calls for entirely new learning environments.”
  • “If you think we will need better teachers, you’re wrong. Tomorrow’s learners will need guides who take on fundamentally different roles.”
  • “Start by doing what is necessary,then what is possible, and suddenly you’re doing the impossible.”
  • Onboard education –
Kyle Stark – Assistant General Manger, Pittsburg Pirates
  • Their mantra is to change the world by baseball.
  • Voted in the Top 5 for “best culture in MLB.”
  • Always try to get better.
  • Three mindsets to build a culture of leadership:
    • General
      • The top matters, from an assumption of responsibility.
      • It’s not about the position, but being intentional with their influence.
      • There’s not any one style.
    • Gatekeeper
      • The leader polices what/who comes in and out.
      • The defender of the culture.
      • Chase “fit” at the expense of “talent.” Hire for the people who say “we” over “me.” Hire difference-makers.
      • More time on the front end saves you more time on the back end.
    • Gardener
      • Help everything grow.
      • Servant leader.
      • An environment without stress/risk is stagnant.
      • It always starts and ends with relationship.
      • You’d rather see a sermon than hear one.
      • Be relentless, and be obsessed with it.
  • Education, acquisition, execution
  • The best thing about events is to inspire people to get back to the grind and do your work even better.
  • Adversity helps you clarify if you really believe your values.
  • The stronger your culture, the more risk you can take and feel confident in doing so.
Tim Elmore – Where do we go from here?
What you can do when you return home:
  • What’s in my control?
  • What’s out of my control?
  • What’s within my sphere of influence?
  • Pour into your employees and “middle management” because they are the face-to-face for your clients, students, players, etc.
How to spot a leader early:
  • Intrinsic signals: (PRIDE) perception, responsibility, initiative, dissatisfaction, energy
    • Some of these may start out negative, and need to be redirected.
  • Four common ways to begin the leadership journey:
    • Gifted to lead
      • Habitual leaders. Help them steward it well.
    • Situated to lead
      • Leaders need to help kids find their situation
    • Positioned to lead
      • It has to be handed to them. They need to be authorized.
    • Summoned to lead
      • They’re upset about something, and need to be the one to fix it. They’re problem solvers.

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The Justice Conference 2016: Notes and Quotes

Justice Conf 2016 BadgeMark Charles

  • You can’t discover lands that are already inhabited. We tend to dehumanize those who were already here.
  • The Declaration of Independence calls Native Americans savages. The Constitution also degrades women, natives and blacks. It assumes the majority has the right to say who is human.
  • What does justice look like when everything you have is stolen and your system is corrupt?
  • Check out the book, Prophetic Lament.

Mark Reddy

  • “If you have a conversation about justice, you must be prepared to be uncomfortable.”

Jim Wallis

  • You don’t change things with laws and policies.  You must change the narrative.
  • When you benefit from oppression, you are responsible for changing it.

Leroy Barber

  • Starting Hope Mob to support African American biz owners. Not a charity, an investment.
  • 7% of nonprofits are led by people of color
  • 52% of nonprofits work in areas of people of color
  • 3% of funds go to areas  of color

Nicole Baker-Fulgham

  • 6% of Beverly Hills kids are in poverty, 82% of Compton kids are in poverty, and they’re only 20 minutes apart

Harvey Carey

  • Amos 5:21 (Amos means “burden”)
  • What happens when what bothers you doesn’t bother anyone else?
  • Low income areas always have a beauty supply, liquor store, fast food and a church.
  • Quite over-analyzing and just do something.
  • God honors one’s acceptance of their burdens.
  • Justice is not a project. It is the heart of God for equity.
  • “God has put some super in my natural.”

Andy Crouch

  • The Creation Story is a story of ordering and abundance.
  • Authority + Vulnerability = Flourishing
  • The destruction of evil happens when image bearers show mercy, compassion and justice to the disenfranchised.

Marshall Hatch

  • The goodness of God is in the margins, and that’s where change will come from.
  • The reality of history is that it is never over.
  • God sides with the poor; He doesn’t stand on the sidelines. He enters the world from the margins.

Lynne Hybels

  • Love, honor and respect those who are different from you.

Jenny Yang

  • There are 60 million displaced people, refugees.
  • The refugee crisis is about the one who is seeking refuge in another country.
  • The US paid attention because it now affects us. Fear has driven our response.
  • Compassion doesn’t have to come at the expense of security.
  • The Middle East church is carrying the brunt of the refugee crisis.
  • 67% of US churches haven’t discussed refugees.
  • We are followers of a Middle Eastern refugee. If Jesus was born today, would we let Him in our borders?
  • The largest social network is the Church.
  • There’s a difference in caring about something, and caring about someone.
  • Fear will cripple us from completing the mission of God.
  • Comfort and security have become our idols.

Russell Moore

  • Story of the Rich Young Ruler (Luke 16)
    • Lazarus would’ve been invisible to this guy.
    • Who is invisible in your life?
  • Our political beliefs should not come before our Christian beliefs. Jesus was unashamed in His words.
  • We can not be people who are concerned about justice if we are embarrassed about the doctrine of Hell.
  • We must be concerned not only about the oppressed, but about the Oppressor.
  • Are we a people of justice, or just a people who protect our platforms?
  • Are we a people of justice or justification? We must carry the full weight of the Gospel, not just the parts our political party allows.

Michael Flegar and Charlie Date

  • We can end violence, that’s not the issue, but we don’t have the will. – MF
  • There is too much silence in the Church. – MF
  • The reason we don’t talk about community violence is because it’s a black/brown issue. New Hope church changed that. People need to see themselves in every life, though.
  • The Church becomes irrelevant when it doesn’t act as the conscience of the neighborhood.
  • The guilt factor makes us silent, when it should move us to do more.
  • We can’t just tell people to do better, we must give them alternatives.
  • We can’t talk to kids in churches about God-given dreams and visions, and not dismantle the systems that help kids from achieving them.
  • Make us restless until we find out rest with You. – CD

Lisa Sharon Harper

  • Genesis 1
  • The first book of the Bible was written by a group of priests  coming out of exile.
  • We are created in the image of God so we can become a marker of Him wherever we go.
    • Like Caesar was on coins
    • Subversive statement to make when the early rules were supposed to be appointed by God.
  • “Dominion” is more akin to “steward.” And we are to serve and protect whatever we are stewards of.
  • The derivation of “perfection” is actually the breathe between things. It is the connector, and it is “very good.”
  • Genesis 14 is the first mention of both “king” and “war.”
  • Think of each person as an image-bearer of God in order not to oppress them.

Tony Compolo

  • “It is the best of times. It is the worst of times.”
  • We hear so much bad news, but the Good News always reigns.
  • The Church is doing great things all over the world.
  • Free trade should be replaced with fair trade.
  • Do you love Jesus? Take Him seriously.
  • “In the poor and the oppressed is the essence of Jesus.” – St. Francis of Assisi
  • You must do whatever you can on both a micro and macro level.
  • There is a big difference between being a disciple and a believer.

Rev. Tracy Blackmon

  • Joshua 6:22-23
    • A holy obligation to take someone with you when you get free.
    • Did the sisters get left out? No, Rahab made sure they were included.
  • It’s easy to silence those with the least power.
  • The Boko Haram story – It’s been two years and only 50 girls have been located out of the 200.
  • Whenever the marginalized are not met with the grace of God, the covenant is broken.
  • We must see ourselves in not only the eyes of the Conquerer, but the casualties.
  • We’ve been arrogant at denying others that are different a seat at God’s table.
  • We must not separate our freedom from those who are bound.


Refugee Crisis Graphic


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