• Work

    How a Book Discussion Shaped Our Business Culture (Part 1)

    Leaders are readers, the saying goes. I believe that. Reading books and articles, as well as listening to podcasts, are just a few of the vital ways we expand our horizons, cultivate empathy and compassion, gain competencies, and develop personally and professionally. Basically, these are formative ways that we become better humans.  It’s also the case that most of our reading, listening, and learning has to be done on our own time. Development and personal growth is good and all, but not on company time. At least that’s how some employers might view it.  I led countless book discussions and small groups when I was a lead pastor for 10…

  • Life,  Work

    Debunking the Myths that Keep us from Self-Care

    Recently I shared a Forbes article about self-care on LinkedIn that blew up with views, likes, and comments. I’ve never shared anything on social media that got as much traffic as that post. The gist of the article was that self-care isn’t an indulgence, it’s a discipline. And perhaps this is why we sometimes struggle with self-care. It’s just really not very sexy. Instead, it’s about making intentional choices as seemingly banal and mundane as turning off the TV instead of watching another episode, going to bed at a decent time so we can get up early to greet the next day with gusto, and practicing moderation with our food…

  • Life,  Work

    Paralysis By Analysis

    Sometimes making decisions about my life is crippling. I think it stems from an idea instilled in me from early in my upbringing — but that I’ve since rejected, at least intellectually — that God has a perfect plan for our lives.  There’s God’s “perfect will” and there’s God’s “permissive will”, I was taught growing up. And all we have to do is discern God’s perfect will and plan so we can live happily ever after. No pressure. I don’t believe that anymore and I’m pretty sure that’s not how life works.  Nevertheless, it’s funny how things deeply ingrained throughout the formative years of our lives stay with us, even…

  • Faith,  Life

    Why I’ve Always Struggled with Life Verses

    I used to belong to a Christian subculture where it was popular and fairly common for people to say they had a “life verse.” And not just say they had one. But they also quoted it, shared it, talked about it, and asked others what their life verse was. If you’re unfamiliar with the concept, the basic idea of a life verse is that it’s a verse of Scripture that really resonates with you and speaks to you. It might even be something you strive to live your life by. There are actually website articles to help you determine your life verse. No kidding. See here and here, for two…

  • Work

    The Golden Rule For Providing Exceptional CS and CX

    I work in customer service development for a global manufacturer. So CS (customer service) and CX (customer experience) are constantly on my mind. I read books about it. Think about it. Develop classes and teach training modules to equip our frontline team members to flourish at it. And I notice it — both the good and not so good — pretty much everywhere I go. Some data suggest that providing exceptional CS and CX is minimal in retaining customer loyalty and creating brand ambassadors. Maybe so. However — and much more interesting to me — the same data also suggests that the surest and fastest way for customers to walk…

  • Work

    What’s Your Reset Button?

    A few weeks ago I was walking the aisles of our customer service contact center where I work in customer service development. It’s a daily practice I have that helps me check in with people and keep a pulse on how things are going. “How are you doing?” or “What’s on your mind?” I’ll often ask our frontline team members who are in-between calls or live chats. Quick yet meaningful conversations ensue. Sometimes ideas for new training modules get sparked as I hear pain points and areas of frustration that inhibit performance. Sometimes I hear about difficult personal or family challenges they’re navigating. Other times the conversation is lite. Banter…

  • Faith

    The Faith to Doubt

    I still remember the panic welling up from somewhere deep inside me. I had lingered in the classroom after all the other students had left in hopes of getting some answers from my professor. No, “answers” is the wrong word. What I wanted was something more like assurance or even certainty. I wanted to be told that all the questions reverberating in my mind about the early chapters of the Bible and the comparative Ancient Near Eastern stories we had been studying were nothing to worry about. I had been raised to believe that the Bible was God’s inspired Word, after all. These other stories were fictional myths. My professor,…

  • Life,  Work

    Reinventing Yourself

    When I was an 18-year-old college freshman back in the fall of 1996 I remember the admissions counselors telling our incoming class something that seemed extraordinary. You’ll likely change careers at least five times in your life, regardless of your major, they said. Not jobs. Which I think any reasonable person anticipates changing at least a few times. But careers. Like one day you’re a teacher in the humanities, say, and then suddenly you work as a corporate executive at a Fortune 500 company. Not exactly an obvious career pathway. And here I had thought the whole point of me going to college was so I could get the requisite…

  • Work

    Discovering and Doing More Great Work

    So I’m reading Michael Bungay Stanier’s 2010 book Do More Great Work. I know. I know. I’m behind the times. But this is totally indicative of the circuitous journey that’s been my personal and professional life. (More on that in other posts). I also tend to do things backasswards. For example, I came to this book after reading Stanier’s 2016 book The Coaching Habit a couple of weeks ago. I liked the latter so much I decided to check out the former. Both are excellent. Do More Great Work is essentially a self-coaching tool. A combination of business book and workbook, Stanier has delivered an informative and engaging resource for anyone desiring to do more…