About Me

My photo
What do you really want out of life? Now what's stopping you?

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Measures of sucess.

How often do we mistake 'busy-ness' for productivity. I have noticed this trend in churches, where often a person's 'spirituality' is measured by the degree of their involvement; or in business where 'time is money' and if you are not continually on the go, you are not a satisfactory employee. I am not decrying hard work, but is what we are doing really productive and effective? Are we using the right tools to measure our sucess? Someone mentioned this week that sometimes what we call 25 years experience is merely 1 year experience and 24 years doing the same thing at the same level. Occasionally we need to step back and review what we are doing and if it really achieves anything in the big picture.

Earlier this year i stepped down from a position I had held for the last 7 years-mainly because I was no longer effective in what I was doing. Things had changed, and role I had been fulfilling(programme creation and development) was no longer necessary, and could be easily handled by others. After a suitable break, I am tentativly going back into the same organisation, but in a different capacity-that of an analyst-which better suites my abilities and profile. I have made my initial commitment deliberatly short-term in order to see if I can cope, but have little doubt that this will be a satisfying and productive experience.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Reviewing

The "ACTION 2006" conference is finally over. I had a good night's sleep and am ready to face what the day hands me-which includes a long list of patients. I was thinking on the things that impacted me most over the conference.

First was that we need to make sure that what we package to people is relevant to them, without being offensive. This is especially true where the gospel is concerned, but can be applied to any message or principle that you wish to communicate.

The second was seeing Pastor Gary Bryden in action. Pastor Gary used to do cabaret work, he has since then become a full time minister with a dynamic ministry. What I fantastic to see, is how he still uses all his entertainment gifts as part of his ministry. I don't know the details of his transistion, but what I can tell you is that he is entertaining, relevant and not trying to shy away from what he is naturally good at.

The third and final thing was a little more personal. Next door to the conference venue is the conference block where two young men, that I tutor periodically ,go to school. During the course of the conference I went across to them to help with a couple of aspects of their work. At one point had one of them on either side of me working on different things. It was a very fulfilling moment and reinforced the fact that I get pleasure out of helping others succeed. What do you get fulfillment and satisfaction from? If it is so fulfilling, why arn't you doing it more?

Friday, May 26, 2006

Off my feet.

Right now I am beyond tired. One of the side effects of the ACTION conference is late nights and early mornings. Despite being a bit of a physical wreck, I am better than last year. I have learnt, often the hard way, that decent meals and getting extra sleep where possible are essential during this period. Pacing myself is something I have had to learn to do to avoid burning out. Sometime next week I will lake a bit of down time, just do nothing for a day to recharge my batteries. Regular breaks are as important in my life as regular work. They allow me time to regenerate and reflect. Feeling burnt out?-When was the last time you went off and did 'nothing'?

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Ups and Downs

Yesterday morning was a bad morning! Not only did I have two flat tyres to repair (despite having checked all them during the week), but one of my long term patients passed away. I took the news rather badly.

This morning though, I am much better. I have a full day at wok, followed by the start of the annual 'ACTION' conference at church this evening. It promises to be a full week of looking beyond my circumstances to the deeper issues at play, and sitting under some sound teaching. So often, what we think are the problems are really only symptoms of a deeper root. For example, a routine lack of money may be a sign of poor financial management rather than not enough cash. Anyway, off to do the things I love to do.

Friday, May 19, 2006

T-H-E-E-N-D

Not of this blog-my book. I finally finished typing up my first draft this week. Reflecting back over the process, it has taken me the better part of a year to get it done. It was probably around this time last year that I first decided to get really serious about completing a book. Since then, much has past. So what next?

Well, I am reviewing the draft and will probably have to make some plot and grammar changes. I am circulating a few copies to friends within my target audience, as well as a few others. Then we will see about a publisher. Not thought much about that side of things yet, to be honest, but all in good time.

Have been battling flu this week. To say that I detest being ill is an understatement. I absolutely loath being unwell. It gets in the way of doing so much. I have been dosing myself with a whole regime of supplements, lemon and honey and prayer and waiting for this thing to get out of my system. Am feeling a lot better now, but still taking it easy for the day as i have a full and busy weekend ahead of me and want to be at my best for it.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

"The Right Question"

The movie ‘I-Robot’ features a holographic computer programme that repeatedly tells Will Smith that he must ask the right questions because its ‘responses are limited’. My friend Tommy Deuschle is back from the States. During one of his many ‘catch-up’ conversations this weekend he asked someone “What is the most significant thing you have learnt in the last year?” Now that’s a quality question. Thankfully, it wasn’t directed at me, but it sure got me thinking.

The implication behind the question is ‘are you learning at all?’ And if so, ‘are you applying what you’ve learnt?’ What limitations are there to us giving an answer to this question?

One is that, what you learnt has been a progressive lifestyle change and revelation and not necessarily a one off mind-blowing experience. It is only on reflection that you see the change.

Another is that you don’t know how to phrase your answer. You feel that you have ‘grown’ in an area of your life, but you don’t know how to measure your growth.

If there are many options, then you many be stuck for choice-which is the MOST significant thing I’ve learnt?

There is of course the option that you just haven’t learnt at all. Except for this last one, these limitations should not prevent you with coming up with an answer, only delay the process.

So, what was mine? Took me a while to phrase it briefly. “The major limitation to me breaking out of my current situation to a new level is the comfort I perceive at the current level.” The Israelites in the Old Testament desired to return to Egypt because, despite their slavery, they thought it was better than the temporary wilderness on the way to the Promised Land. You will never know what it is to eat healthy until you try it. Once there you won’t want to go back. However, the discomfort in getting there may prevent you trying. I have many other examples from my life, but I won’t bore you with them today.

What is your answer to the question above?

Friday, May 12, 2006

The Price of Thought

Drove out to Marondera yesterday to treat people at my old school, Peterhouse. It takes me just over an hour to do the trip there. People ask why I bother. There are a couple of reasons; one is that I get to see my parents who live nearby. Another is that it is good business and I enjoy treating teenagers, I relate well to them, and they recover fast. But, increasingly, the reason I go is that the trip there has become my thinking time. There is little traffic at the time I travel out, and I normally travel alone. This gives me an uninterrupted hour of thought where I can bend my mind to problems that beset me, or to creating ideas for my writing. Normally, I set out a bit early so I get a few minutes at the other end to jot down anything worthwhile that’s come to mind. The rest of my life tends to get too cluttered to do any meaningful reflection/meditation. Should I ever give up the trip then I will have to diarise some other ‘thinking time’. Try it.

I was reminiscing on my last post and got wondering about the price of bondage. How much time and money to we spend on things that we are addicted to? How much money does a smoker blow away in a month? I’m a chocoholic- I could easily eat a bar a day, or more. This week I decided to be healthier in my snack choices-motivated more by an increase in the price of chocolate than anything else. For a tenth of the price of my usual ‘poison’, I can get the same weight in bananas- a significant saving if you crave chocolate as much as I do. I could have easily chosen to sacrifice something else to maintain my habit- something I have been guilty of in the past, and not just in the chocolate arena. At the end of the day is it really worth it, and do we have to wait for the cost to be ‘too much’ before implementing a change.

The flip side of the coin is ‘the cost of freedom’, but more about that another day-I have to work.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Holding on

A friend of mine passed this comment lately-‘Don’t waste your time on something you will never use.’ I’m not sure if this applies to everyone in every situation- one of the reason we take so many subjects at school is to help us identify those we will excel at and will hopefully help clarify the path we are to take. Nevertheless, it got me thinking about the things I waste time on (as opposed to some people who just seemed out to waste my time, like slow till operators).

The recent episode with my gran, she is now out of hospital, has really shaken me and got me pondering over questions like-‘how do we know when one season is over and another begins’, ‘what am holding onto that is holding me back’. As gran’s memories fade, the ones that remain the most are those rooted in bitterness- either at a real or perceived hurt from someone. The vehemence and clarity of such painful moments shows that she has not let go many of these issues and instead holds on to the negative emotions. It is easy for me to point fingers, but how big are the logs in my own eyes? What areas do I need to deal with? It has been a thought provoking time.

One of the other questions with letting go is; how do you know when you are meant to hold onto something or to let it go? When is what you holding onto actually keeping you afloat or pulling you down? What do you think? The person holding onto the lift raft can only grasp the rope ladder from the rescue chopper if he lets the raft go.

Have been studying the life of Israel’s King David recently. The one thing that has struck me is that often he had good ideas, and other times he had God ideas. Conducting a census of the people may have been a great idea, but it wasn’t God’s idea and David paid the price for his disobedience. Building a temple was an idea inspired by God, he checked with Nathan the prophet and was told that although God wanted a temple built, he would not be the one to build it. Rather he was to prepare a way for his son to do so. However, because of his obedience, God would establish David’s house forever- a prophecy finally fulfilled in the Messiah. It was when David conferred with God that he had the most success, and when he didn’t that he fell the hardest.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Curve Balls

Sometimes life gives you the unexpected. I had a dreadful weekend in the main. My grandmother collapsed on Friday, had to take her to hospital and all. Looks like early stage diabetes, should be treatable. The episode tainted my whole weekend, not to mention spoilt a whole bunch of plans. However, life doesn't give you a re-run. I've had to suck it up and deal with the reality of a major shake up in my life. My natural coping mechanism is to run as far away as possible, but this isn't going to solve anything.

It's amazing how in the middle of such dispair there is always some light for you to see. Mine last night was a peculiar experience. I was walking back from locking the gate and passed a gardinia bush. Suddenly the sweetest smell from one of the fading blooms hit me. It was such a refreshing experience and brightened me up immediatly. It brought a ray of joy and hope. I would probably have never even noticed it if I wasn't so jaded. Instead I was able to pause, refresh and go on stronger.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Stepping out

Chill the champagne and start baking the cakes (chocolate please). Why the reason for this sudden party attitude. Well, I’m approaching the one-month ‘blogday’. Personally, I’m fairly impressed that I’ve lasted so long. I was a bit apprehensive at the start that I would run out of things to say within a week. Admittedly, some days I have had no idea what to write but have managed to be inspired to put something down. Other times I have known for days what I want to say and been able to think about it a bit more. I print out hard copies of everything I write for future reference and am amazed at how much I have written this month. It is definitely a case of bit-by-bit, stage by stage, with the sum of the whole being greater than the parts (now how’s that for a clich├ęd sentence). Who knows’ if I get enough material over time I might be able to use the ideas in book.

I have realised with this blog that the difference between a great concept/idea and an average project is that one exists in reality, while the other is merely stuck in your head. There is a big difference between thinking of doing something and actually doing it. How many great ideas are never acted upon and become the great realities they could be. Instead, too often, it is average ideas that are put into practice and become average projects that succeed; not because of greatness, but because someone acted on what they thought. Bit of a sobering thought really. “No one ever achieved greatness by sitting back and doing nothing.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Punctuation Pedantics

One of the scary things about writing is reading your own stuff at a later date. Glaring errors stare at you off the page in both spelling and punctuation-neither of which are my strong points. I am better than I was, mainly due to spell checker and Lynn Truss's 'Eats Shoots and Leaves'. So forgive my little mistakes, I will do my best to edit them out over time. Improving my puncutation, while important, is not really one of the main things I focus on. There is only so much time I can spend improving a weakness, and I would much rather spend it building on a strength.

Monday, May 01, 2006

A Leading Answer

When I started this blog, I set myself some guidelines on replying to comments. Firstly, I would appreciate and read every comment made on the site. However, I wouldn’t reply to each. This is mainly to avoid me becoming reactionary and writing things in the spur of the moment I might regret.

One recent comment (See Writer’s Block below for full comment) got me thinking, and I have spent a couple of days musing over my response. I decided that I warranted a full post, rather than continuing the chain.


I have paraphrased ideas from two great men, Dr John Stanko and Pastor Tom Deuschle, in this. Problems gravitate to their natural solution. The problems that you hold the key to solving will come your way, whether you like them or not. If you continually find yourself being given leadership responsibilities, then it is probably because others see this trait in you, especially if the tasks come from different sources. It is the same in working out your purpose, if the same situations/compiliments/successes come your way, then maybe your purpose is tied in with them, seek out the common thread.

Feelings of inadequacy are not uncommon in my life. These should inspire you to do things like delegate, improve yourself, and seek help from others- both human and divine. If your dreams don’t scare you, then they are not big enough.

A couple of books may help, pick one, read it and draw what you can.
“The One Thing You Need To Know” by Marcus Buckingham, “The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership” and “Developing the Leader Within You” both by John Maxwell.