Getting back in the swing of things

I just wrapped up a podcast interview with Jennifer Ford Berry from the 29 Minute Mom.

We had a great talk about ladies, marriage, parenting, and exercise… and we did it in 29 minutes!

At the end of the podcast she pointed people to my blog! As soon as she did that I said (in my head), “OH CRAP! I haven’t posted in forever!!! I need to…

swing-of-things

So here I am… posting a blog to say “Hi” and “Welcome to my blog!”

I’ve been meaning to get back in the swing of things for a while now… but I’ve been distracted by other good things.

Today was a good time to kick this back off… so here we go!

For those of you who don’t know, you can track with me on various social media platforms:

Thanks Jennifer for inviting me on your show!

When you’re the best man in the room… go to another room.

gym-etiquette_2101068c1This morning I had a conversation with someone about the value of setting goals.

This person is trying to figure out what goals to set. For all intents and purposes this person is doing well: physically attractive, financially set, intellectually sharp, relationally fulfilled. What else could someone want? Right?

We talked for a while and I began to ask some questions… questions that have me thinking and might be helpful for you to process as well:

  • What happens when you’re the strongest person in the gym?
  • What happens when you’re smartest person in the room?
  • What happens when you’re the best… or at least better than those around you?

Not always, but often, you will begin to stagnate. You will be tempted to settle… because you’re already at the top (as least as far as you can tell).

You may be tempted to pride… after all, you’re stronger, smarter, richer, prettier, funnier, etc. than the rest of your friends so what else is there to do but keep doing what got you there?!

That’s a dangerous place to be!

John Maxwell teaches a principle that goes something like this:

If you’re always the biggest guy in the room, you’re in the wrong room.

I’ve found that when I am surrounded by people who are better than I am, it makes me want to be better! It makes me think deeper, dream bigger, work harder, and stick with it longer!

The gym where I train is filled with strong people! Heck, the women in our gym are stronger than the men in most gyms! There are multiple men who are deadlifting over 600 pounds and squatting well over 500 pounds. Benching 300 pounds at our gym won’t even get you on the “strongest lifters in the gym” board.

In most gyms I’d be considered a pretty strong dude. In Brutal Iron Gym, when I do a heavy lift my buddies look at me and say, “Are you done warming up yet?” (Then they celebrate my lift… because that’s how we roll at BIG).

I like that… I like it because it drives me to work harder and be better!

Being surrounded by people who are better than I am makes me want to be better… and it shows me HOW to be better!

The same is true in every other area of life:

  • I want to be a great husband… so I need to spend time around awesome husbands.
  • I want to handle my money well… so I need to spend time around people who handle their money well.
  • I want to represent Jesus well… so I need to hang out around people who live out their faith consistently and well.
  • I want to be a great dad…
  • I want to be a great leader…
  • I want to be a great communicator…

You get the point.

If you want to be better you can’t always be the best in the room! You’ve got to put yourself in environments where you are surrounded by people who are better than you.

Now here’s an important caveat:

This is not a call for us to self-denigrate! This is not the time to begin private messaging yourself saying “You’re no good” or “You’re never going to be that good”… etc. NOPE! This is the time and place to be inspired… to ask questions… to take notes… to see how those better than you are performing so that you can perform that way too!

So, if you’re not sure what goals to set or how to get unstuck… get around people who are better than you! I think you might just like what happens when you’re not the best person in the room!

I’m getting pretty good at responding to e-mail

Now there’s something I’ve not ever been able to say with a straight face!

Anyone who knows me knows that it’s not unheard of to have an e-mail note get lost in the swampland called “Paul’s Inbox.”

That was until recently…

When I realized that FOR THE SECOND TIME I had neglected to contact a couple who had asked me to marry them!

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After contacting them… asking forgiveness… and buying them Starbucks (that always helps)…

I swore to myself that this would not happen again. So I created a system.

Now my system won’t work for everyone, but it is working for me… so I thought I’d share.

  • I set two alarms on my phone. One for 11:00 a.m. and the other for 2:30 p.m.
  • When the alarm goes off I know it’s time to check and respond to e-mail.
  • I carve out 30 minutes for each segment. Though it is not taking that long, I know I have that time reserved.
  • If, for some reason, I miss the 11:00 then I know I have one more chance that day… 2:30. And if I miss the 2:30, then that response will have to wait until 11:00 the next day!

So far those who are in regular contact with me via e-mail are impressed. Seriously.

I feel great, and I am demonstrating respect to those who reach out to me.

Now, here’s the thing…

this has everything to do with my learning edge right now… it has to do with  quote from John Maxwell:

“You can’t change your life until you change something you do daily.”

I’m finding that the more I pay attention to the details of my daily life, the better my life is becoming!

No joke! Even the lovely and talented Mrs. Peterson said to me the other day, “I see you changing.”

I like that!

So you see, this is so much more than e-mail! It has to do with paying attention to what happens in my day, being proactive, and staying on top of my game.

So here’s to all of us who are working hard to get better as we get older!

Let’s be like wine… not milk! #betterwithage

Why I’m on Facebook

Last week I got this note from a “friend” on Facebook:

I just want to thank you for accidently adding me on here. You have so much faith, that it gives me faith. So, thank you 🙂

Crazy story here… I was trying to add a friend from Pennsylvania and accidentally misspelled her name. The result? I befriended another person. Someone I didn’t know. Now I get this note from her… someone I don’t even know.

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I love Facebook for the following reasons:

  • It allows me to interact with all kinds of people. I have friends who drive trucks. I have friends who are gay (one is a trapeze artist in Las Vegas). I have friends who are fundamentalist Christians. I have friends who are not Christians. I have friends who are old. I have friends who are young. I have friends who are black. I have friends who are white. I have friends who travel around the world. I have friends who work in fast food joints.
  • It allows my friends to interact with each other. Often times my friends have pretty vigorous debates about something I’ve said. I love it.
  • It allows me to be a pastor to people I’ve never met. Just last week I spent some time talking with a lady who’s husband has violated her trust in a very significant way.
  • It allows me to see how other people live.
  • It allows other people to see how I live.

So I really like Facebook. It’s an online community that I’m proud to be part of for these reasons.

How about you? Are you on Facebook? If so, send me a friend request.

I’d also love to hear what you love about Facebook.

Helpful Resources

Hey guys!

For the last couple of months I’ve been putting together a newsletter with helpful resources, articles, etc. for local pastors.

I’d love to share it with you too.

If you’re interested in receiving this monthly newsletter send me your e-mail address and I’ll add you to the list.You can e-mail me @ thepaulpeterson at gmail dot com.

Here’s what was in this month’s content:

Hi Pastor!

I’ve found some great resources that I want to share with you!

The December edition of the Barna Newsletter stated that the economic downturn is going to significantly affect churches (read the article here). But I’m guessing you didn’t need Barna to realize this trend! I’ve found a couple of resources that may prove to be helpful for you as you look to successfully navigate these crazy days!

9 ideas for fundraising in difficult times
2 words that make me want to give again!
Be intentional – a stewardship system
A great article from the Stanford Social Innovation that discusses “How to survive in a challenging economy”, and shares 9 ideas for minimizing the impact and maximizing the income! (Read it here) Most charities are coming off as ungrateful. You can be (and should be) different! (Learn how here.) We have established a “stewardship system” that may be of service to you as you create your own system. The point of this system is to “turn first-time givers” into “systematic, proportional givers.” (See it here)

Should you blog?

Recently a couple of guys have been thinking through why or why not to blog. If you’re thinking about starting up a blog, or if you are blogging and have lost focus, check out these blogposts:

You might also be interested in Carlos Whittaker’s story over at RagamuffinSoul.com. He was a prolific blogger with an incredible following who recently shut down his blog. You can check out his story here.

Why do I blog? Three reasons:

  • It’s a journal for me
  • It’s a resource of learning and encouragement for you
  • It’s a networking tool for you and me

Go and make it a great day!

Networking

I am becoming more and more aware of the need to network with other people.

This morning I read an article from Inc.com entitled “The 10 Secrets of a Master Networker.” I’ll give you the “secrets” and then a link to the whole story:

  1. Don’t network just to network. What’s the point of your networking? What do you want/need to accomplish?
  2. Take names. Create lists of people you know and want to know (i.e. “aspirational contacts”).
  3. Build it before you need it. When you’re desperate it’s probably too late to build a meaningful relationship (Problogger has an article on this subject here).
  4. Never eat alone. “Invisibility is a fate worse than failure. Above all, never, ever disappear.” Stay connected to people! What you’re doing is too important for you to become a recluse!
  5. Be interesting. Have something of value to offer. “Being known is one thing, but being known for content is something else entirely — and much better.”
  6. Manage the gatekeeper. Artfully. Remember this, if you annoy the secretary, you’ll not get to the CEO.
  7. Always ask. If you don’t ask you will not receive! This applies to requests for a meeting as well as for favors. Make the ask.
  8. Don’t keep score. “Successful networking is never about simply getting what you want. It’s about getting what you want and making sure that people who are important to you get what they want, too. Often, that means fixing up people with one another.”
  9. Ping constantly. Once you’ve made a connection, maintain it regularly (e.g. a birthday card, an e-mail, a connection they might want to know about, etc.)
  10. Find anchor tenants. Feed them. “You, me, every one of us — we have our peer set, and we can always have dinner parties with our peer set, but if you keep having dinner parties with your peer set, why would somebody two levels above your peer set ever come to your dinner parties?” he asks. “The point is, you don’t randomly invite somebody two levels above your peer set to your dinner and expect them to come, because they won’t. They want to hang around people of their peer set or higher. This is a crass way of talking about it, but this is the formula.”

You can read the entire article here.