Posts Tagged ‘pause’

Living in Anticipation or Living in Frustration

December 15, 2016

Wherever I go, there I am.

Are you totally present right now? Just focused on reading this post?

Or, are you looking at this post while your mind races off in many directions?

That ancient phrase I quoted packs a lot of meaning.

This time of year is flooded with anticipation. But it is often the anticipation that leads to frustration.

We anticipate giving just the right gift that elicits exclamations of joy. We anticipate joyful family gatherings.


The picture of the good, old-fashioned, Griswold family Christmas (from the movie Christmas Vacation) spring into our minds. All the old family bickering comes out as everyone is frustrated by being together. Nothing goes right. The turkey is over cooked.

They are all living in future expectations.

But just to be in the moment. Yes, we have anticipation, but we are present in the now. We experience the lights, the trees, the songs, the one time in the year when people are nice to each other.

As we rush from crowded store to crowded store, frustrated at the inability to be inspired by any gift suggestion.

It’s time to stop, children, what’s that sound….

We stop. Take a deep breath. Actually notice what is around us. Experience the sights, sounds, smells.

Tomorrow will take care of itself. Today I am present.

Sometimes Slowing Down Pays

August 1, 2016

Sometimes we pick up the Bible or another book that requires thought as we read. But we read through quickly, as if it were a cheap romance novel.

We heard someone say, it’s a short book. Read it through a couple of times a day for a week. In order to do that, we feel we must read quickly–perhaps even skimming.

I’ve noticed in small groups that often we’ll read through a passage–especially from a letter from Paul–and put the book down, sigh, and go “that was certainly  confusing.”

The writer of the introduction to the letter to the Ephesians in the Renovare “Life With God” Bible that I use, brought us into the study through the story of the archeologists who uncovered the South Stairs up to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. It seems that the steps are an engineering mess. Totally irregular. Varying heights. Varying pitches.

“Could they not find a competent engineer to lay these out?” they thought. Or, perhaps they actually were engineered very carefully. You must approach the Temple slowly, with intention, with perseverance. One cannot just rush up to the Temple and declare, “Ta Da!”

Approaching thoughtful literature requires just such care.

There are 11 verses in the first chapter of Ephesians that are one long sentence in Greek.

We could read that through, think “Wow, that was complex,” and then keep on reading.

Or, we could pause and consider each phrase realizing that Paul was logically building an argument (proposition) a phrase at a time. As we slow down and break it down, we begin to see a pattern of thought.

Or the last half of the second chapter (Ephesians 2:11-22). We read that yesterday. “That was confusing” many said (probably voicing what we all were thinking). But I said, let’s just pause and look at the passage slowly. Who is Paul talking to? Who is he talking about? What was his message before? Oh, he’s telling us about how the death and resurrection of Jesus brought together all the different races of people into unity. “He broke down the dividing wall” between us.

There is a great lesson for us today. Think about that today. For a while. And consider your friends or those you know whose work seems to be to divide people. Perhaps our work should be to continue what Jesus began–let people know about how we all are brought together in unity through Jesus. That has  already happened. It’s just up to us to let people know.

Some Days You’re Just Tired

April 28, 2016

I’ve had very little time to sit and think this week. Shortly, I’ll have many hours to sit and think.

Some days you’re just tired. Physically. And you need a break. I’m at breakfast in Hannover, Germany. It’s midnight in Ohio. Weirdest thing is I’ll have dinner in Ohio in 18 hours. I’ll take the train to the airport in 45 minutes, 1 hour flight to Munich, then almost 10 hours to Chicago. Then an hour to Dayton.

This week I’ve walked an average 5 miles a day for four days. That doesn’t count standing while interviewing people and taking notes. But being around all those people is energizing. There are many ideas. Many people working on the advancement of manufacturing technology.

I’ve learned over many years of this type of work. Appreciate your downtime. While I have energy, I’ll write all my notes from the show and post to my business blog, The Manufacturing Connection. Then, I’ll put some music on and relax and sleep for a few hours of the flight.

I have protein bars in the backpack. Never eat the airline food. It’s too full of fat and sugar. Drink water, not soda or alcohol (well, maybe one glass of red wine–for my health of course). Unfortunately, I’ll get home too late for Yoga class (I have come directly from Germany to Yoga–a great way to wind down the week).

By the way, this trade show is so huge that I walked that much and only really covered 3 buildings out of 20 or so that comprise the entire “Hannover Fair”. Perhaps 100,000 people here. Nothing in the US comes close to this scale. And the variety of languages you hear walking around.

There are rhythms. Energy and effort. Pause and reflect. I’m looking forward to the pause and reflect thing.

Leaders Are Known By The Questions They Ask

May 8, 2015

If someone asks me a question, I’ll answer it. 
That’s not bad, except that sometimes I then neglect to ask a question in return. People think you are a fascinating conversationalist if you ask questions. Not so much if you just spout off with what you know.
Even more, leaders are known by the questions they ask. Or if they don’t ask, just tell.
It is said that leaders are readers. They are also askers.
You show your interest by asking questions. In a work or other leadership situation, people will know what is important to you by the questions you ask.
My early work in manufacturing was with a company that made products. Every day the president of the company would call the production manager and ask, “How many did you get?” 
Guess what. Sometimes products were pushed out before they were completely ready. But, the production manager could say that x products were out. What wasn’t said was the products had to be finished outside of the normal production area.
But, the president was answered.
Even as a “kid” I thought that the president wasn’t asking the right question.
I’ve heard that Bill Hybels has said that great leaders pause before a decision and ask of themselves, “What would a great leader do?”
That is a great question. You could also substitute dad, mom, grandparent, coach, teacher, brother, sister, pastor….
I like the idea of pausing. Too often, I don’t. 
But the question has great value. The old phrase (and wristband) WWJD—what would Jesus do—comes to mind.
It’s good to pause and think. Then act. And act like a great leader.