Stay Forth Designshttps://www.stayforth.com Get Healthy + Reach More ImpactMon, 18 Feb 2019 00:42:12 +0000en-UShourly1https://wordpress.org/?v=5.0.3https://www.stayforth.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/cropped-StayForthLogoFullSize-32x32.jpgStay Forth Designshttps://www.stayforth.com 3232It’s time to talk about pastors and money by Alan Briggshttps://www.stayforth.com/its-time-to-talk-about-pastors-and-money/ https://www.stayforth.com/its-time-to-talk-about-pastors-and-money/#commentsThu, 14 Feb 2019 14:10:24 +0000https://www.stayforth.com/?p=7006I hate when pastor scandals break in the news. We’ve come to expect these headlines will involve sexual sin or destructive pride, but occasionally a story breaks of a pastor who was money-hungry. These financial scandals grieve me on two levels; the damage this causes to all who are involved and the shadow this casts […]

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I hate when pastor scandals break in the news. We’ve come to expect these headlines will involve sexual sin or destructive pride, but occasionally a story breaks of a pastor who was money-hungry. These financial scandals grieve me on two levels; the damage this causes to all who are involved and the shadow this casts on other pastors. Most pastors are far from being money-hungry. A staggering majority are incredibly faithful to their families and churches, but many of them simply cannot pay their bills. 

A few years ago I noticed more pastor friends starting side hustles. As I asked them for context they weren’t bored or unfulfilled, but there simply wasn’t enough in their paycheck to sustain their growing families. I believe most pastors aren’t starting side hustles to leave ministry; they’re starting side hustles to stay in ministry.

This was our story, too. I was given the gift of three book contracts with traditional publishers. Getting paid to write books gave our family of six just enough to stay above zero. But behind the scenes we were clawing out of college and adoption debt while trying to get ahead of the financial curve. This left us living paycheck to paycheck. Our story is pretty normal. I’ve come to believe 80% of pastors make 80% of the finances they need to sustain their families.

It’s weird for pastors to talk about money. There’s an age old stigma. If we speak up about needing more money to sustain our family it feels selfish. We feel like a raise would be stealing dollars from serving our community. We fear expressing our needs will come across as ungrateful for what God has given us. We feel like we can surely cut one more expense in our family to “make it work”.

There are three forms of income pastors usually live from; church salary, fundraising and business. Our family has lived off a mix of these three for several years now. These three forms are all provision from God, but each form comes with very different challenges for pastors. Choosing to live from a church salary, fundraising or business is not more spiritual for a pastor, but it is usually more seasonal. Different seasons of life require different financial concoctions. While churches get off the ground of go through transitional seasons it might make more sense to fundraise or find business opportunities. It might also make sense to do this long-term.

Many pastors are using the word “CoVocational” to describe a braiding together of time, energy and finances to live the life God designed for them. I am encouraged by the increasing freedom pastors are beginning to feel around creative financial provision! But we have a lot of work to do. We must release the destructive stigma of pastors not being allowed to talk about money.

Here are a few things to keep in mind…

  • Pastors will have to get increasingly creative to braid their vocations together.
  • Many pastors are one emergency away from leaving their post for a better-paying opportunity.
  • Many pastors “age out of ministry salaries”. They make enough in early days of marriage, but the challenges compound with the increased financial burden of growing families.
  • This financial pressure atop the usual strain of ministry leads many pastors to increased risk of burnout.
  • We must remove shame pastors feel for getting financially creative or leaving their post to provide sustainable income for their families.

If you’re a pastor considering financial issues here are a few next steps…

  • Have an honest conversation with your spouse about finances. Are your current finances sustainable? What needs to change?
  • Work hard to get out of debt! This increases your freedom and options in life and ministry. Debt holds us back in so many ways.
  • Have an honest, proactive conversation with your boss or elder team about your family’s finances. Do this now, before you feel like it’s an emergency.
  • Create a list of potential ways your family’s financial sustainability can grow. Seek wisdom from God and a few wise friends about which options might be a good fit for you.         

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We’ve heard your cries and Right-Side up Leadership podcast is live!https://www.stayforth.com/weve-heard-your-cries-and-right-side-up-leadership-podcast-is-live/ https://www.stayforth.com/weve-heard-your-cries-and-right-side-up-leadership-podcast-is-live/#respondThu, 14 Feb 2019 14:03:58 +0000https://www.stayforth.com/?p=6457We’ve heard your suggestions for a podcast. Thanks for your persistence. Many of you have asked us to take Stay Forth Designs into your earbuds on the way to work, while you’re making dinner or while you’re at the gym.  Great news; The Right-Side up Leadership Podcast is live! David Bloom and Alan Briggs are […]

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We’ve heard your suggestions for a podcast. Thanks for your persistence. Many of you have asked us to take Stay Forth Designs into your earbuds on the way to work, while you’re making dinner or while you’re at the gym. 

Great news; The Right-Side up Leadership Podcast is live! David Bloom and Alan Briggs are shifting their roles from coaches to interviewers to chat with some amazing people. In the last few weeks since launching we’re getting great feedback about the honest and practical conversations we’re hosting. We already have seven episodes for you to check out and over 60 reviews.   

Why do we need another podcast? 

We desperately need to see who leaders are when they’re off the stage. We’ll peek behind their public life and ask questions about what they’re curious about, what their week looks like and how they stay healthy.

Also, we need practical next steps. We don’t just want to hear about their next book; we want to hear ridiculously practical ways we can shift toward a healthy life and leave a long-term impact.    

Who will be on the podcast? 

We’ll host conversations with a diverse range of leaders who taking exciting risks. We’re talking with creatives, moms, pastors, authors, couples, business leaders and other humans you need to hear from. We’ll stop along the way for conversations with our Stay Forth team also. 

What is the greatest help to the podcast?

1. Go to iTunes, the podcast app on your phone or wherever you get your podcasts and search “Right-Side up Leadership Podcast” 

2. Download the first batch of episodes. Apple users download here. Anyone can listen here.

3. Subscribe to the podcast 

4. Rate and review the podcast 

5. Take a screen shot and post it to social media

6. Tell friends who might resonate to tune in

By doing these six things iTunes will give it more access to more eyeballs and more of your friends can learn practical ways to seek health and impact. If you have questions or suggestions email david@stayforth.com 

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Failure isn’t the end; it’s initiation by Alan Briggshttps://www.stayforth.com/failure-isnt-the-end-its-initiation/ https://www.stayforth.com/failure-isnt-the-end-its-initiation/#respondTue, 29 Jan 2019 13:40:25 +0000https://www.stayforth.com/?p=6991You’re gazing across the chasm. There’s a risk you’re considering, but you’re staring failure in the face. You’re sizing it up and wondering if it’s worth it. You want to accomplish something of meaning, but you’re feeling the weight of the risk. You have a backup plan to live small and take the long way […]

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You’re gazing across the chasm. There’s a risk you’re considering, but you’re staring failure in the face. You’re sizing it up and wondering if it’s worth it. You want to accomplish something of meaning, but you’re feeling the weight of the risk. You have a backup plan to live small and take the long way around the chasm.

Whatever your risk is I promise you this; the life you’re designed to live is on the other side of fear. I get the privilege of walking with leaders and teams through risks. I get invited behind the curtain to experience what they’re actually feeling. One thing always resurfaces at the edge of gutsy decisions; our view of failure.

Fear of failure grips us for different reasons. Perhaps you grew up in a family where failure was shamed or never discussed. Perhaps you had some failure that shaped you so deeply it keeps your eyes stuck in the past. Perhaps you believe your worth comes from your work and failure would signal you can’t get the job done. Fear of failure makes you human, but it also keeps you stuck.

Remember this about failure… 

Many times the greatest risk is staying where you are. Living things move, adapt and change. Inactivity is often the biggest risk you can take.

Failure is fertile ground for learning. Failures along the path shape us into who we are. They can invite us greater wisdom if we learn from them. Self-aware leaders often look back and laugh at their early failures en route to later successes.   

Many times failure is only “perceived failure”. Often people feel they have failed, but others don’t feel that way. We can become far more critical of our own decisions than others.

Those who give permission to fail create safety around them. Giving your friends or your team permission to fail can yield freedom to risk and innovate. Many of the best leaders and organizations create intentional space for experimentation and expect many new projects won’t succeed. 

Leaders who risk after failure often win. So much of life and leadership is simple persistence. You’re going to fall down sometimes; the question is whether you’re going to get back up and keep risking.

Failure is not the end. It can become initiation into a greater story of risk and reward. You know where you truly want to go, and you know the chasm of fear standing in your way. What’s your next right step to cross that chasm?

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Get back on the Horse; A guest post from Michael Larsonhttps://www.stayforth.com/get-back-on-the-horse-a-guest-post-from-michael-larson/ https://www.stayforth.com/get-back-on-the-horse-a-guest-post-from-michael-larson/#respondWed, 23 Jan 2019 12:54:12 +0000https://www.stayforth.com/?p=6465Get back on the horse. We’ve heard it before, probably muttered it a million times. We preach it after others fail, pretending it’s a carrot of comfort, though it comes off like the threat of a stick. It’s as cliche and as true as the horse is heavy. We know the fall hurt, because we […]

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Get back on the horse.

We’ve heard it before, probably muttered it a million times. We preach it after others fail, pretending it’s a carrot of comfort, though it comes off like the threat of a stick. It’s as cliche and as true as the horse is heavy. We know the fall hurt, because we still feel the bruise on our backside. The tumble from the top of hope to the heap of failure leaves us licking our wounds. But then, something changes, because instead of time healing, it makes those hurts deeper and more painful. Our memory skews the events and sends us into a state of paralytic fear, painting the pain more deeply and the embarrassment more permanent than it was at first. This time away morphs the horse into something bigger and wilder and more difficult to climb back on. The lack of trying again what we failed doesn’t make our hearts grow fonder, but more afraid and staying away from it starves our soul and feeds the horse. The only thing to do is to get back on.

I accidentally took off six months of writing. Well mostly. I was still jotting thoughts in my notebook and making awful drafts and pushing edits around the page like a kid with his lima beans. I sort of stumbled into stopping, first with the excuse of summer and a busy schedule and a broken routine, then with conjured reasons from the voices in my head. They said that it was better this way, without the writing. There was less chance of pain here, less chance to fall off in embarrassment.

Somehow weeks turned into months out of the saddle and after so long, getting back up seemed impossible, a height that required a ladder of effort and self discipline and confidence I didn’t have and couldn’t build or borrow. The blank page became a flag I waved, closing my laptop in surrender, hanging my head in failure. Not writing again, not getting back on that horse was so much easier. There was a distant memory of the days when the ride was thrilling and the adventure was pure and the victory over fear was worth the sweat and tears. But slowly slipping off is the most lasting thing I remember. I had forgotten the good ride that ended with a grinding halt.

I have decided to stop feeding the horse my fears and excuses and just climb back on, slow and aching and uncomfortable as it may be. Because waiting just makes it worse as the thing I want to tame becomes a monster of my own making. I have vowed to stop kicking around the dirt looking for excuses and begin doing the thing I’ve avoided for too long. Because even though every sentence and word and page forces me to face that fear, as I do, I can feel the power and beauty in it and in the world it shows me as we ride together.

Climb up, hold tight, ride fast, fall off and do it all over again.

I’ll say it for you and I’ll say it for me.

Get back on the horse.

 

Check out Michael’s awesome ebook Lemonade; Squeezing the hope out of Heartbreak

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Kendall McKee- Apprenticehttps://www.stayforth.com/kendall-mckee-apprentice/ https://www.stayforth.com/kendall-mckee-apprentice/#respondTue, 22 Jan 2019 19:49:39 +0000https://www.stayforth.com/?p=6965Kendall McKee- Apprentice Discipler. Entrepreneur. Risk Taker. Life long Explorer. Loves Dogs. Kendall loves the process of restoration. He is passionate about bringing purpose out of potential and loves to have the “I see in you” conversation with people. Kendall is a passionate man to say the least and loves to have conversations that stretch […]

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Kendall McKee- Apprentice

Discipler. Entrepreneur. Risk Taker. Life long Explorer. Loves Dogs.

Kendall loves the process of restoration. He is passionate about bringing purpose out of potential and loves to have the “I see in you” conversation with people. Kendall is a passionate man to say the least and loves to have conversations that stretch him. Kendall has had the privilege to travel to many different parts of the country and about 10 different countries studying business and church planting. He desires to be able to use his success in business to turn back around and bless Churches and ministries. Kendall believes that the church and business go hand in hand and should be desired by each other. They find Evangelism purpose in one another.
Kendall was born and raised in the great state of Texas, and has since moved to Lexington, Kentucky with his wife Katy McKee to get a Masters of Divinity and Church planting. He is co-founder of The Foundry Network, a collective that has a mission of discipling and coaching people through the first steps of entrepreneurship and small business owning. As an Entrepreneur, Kendall has his hands in a few things. He is a founder of a small iPhone repair business, and is CEO of Lex Tex Hats. He is a man of many ideas and loves throwing things at the wall and see what sticks. Kendall loves to say that he is “Called to Adventure” and believes that we should live into James 1:2- 27.
Kendall joins Zach Meerkreebs (Stay Forth Coach) in planting New City Church in downtown Lexington and has a passion for college ministry and sports ministry. Kendall was a college basketball chaplain and coach for two years at Asbury University and enjoys traveling the world. Kendall and Katy are also pursuing adoption for their first child! Pray with and for them in this process of their family growing!

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One year of business lessons in five minutes by Alan Briggshttps://www.stayforth.com/one-year-of-business-lessons-in-five-minutes-by-alan-briggs/ https://www.stayforth.com/one-year-of-business-lessons-in-five-minutes-by-alan-briggs/#commentsMon, 14 Jan 2019 12:37:13 +0000https://www.stayforth.com/?p=6454Perhaps you’re side hustling right now or dreaming about launching a business. Maybe you’re feeling lost. Business pulls our insecurities to the surface like splinters after a day of woodworking.   Many of us got into transformation work to help others and make  meaning in the world. But adding price lists, invoices and spread sheets […]

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Perhaps you’re side hustling right now or dreaming about launching a business. Maybe you’re feeling lost. Business pulls our insecurities to the surface like splinters after a day of woodworking.  

Many of us got into transformation work to help others and make  meaning in the world. But adding price lists, invoices and spread sheets can be disorienting. When things don’t grow it’s hard. But when they do grow it’s a different kind of hard. 

In 2018 we worked hard, prayed a lot, devoured any content we could get our hands on and expanded from a measly team of one (yeah, that’s me) to a team of eight strewn across the country. We’re learning things the best (and hardest) way available to us; through experience. I hope you can learn from my biggest takeaways about business this year.

Clarify! Clarify! Clarify! Don Miller and the team at Story Brand have it right; “if you confuse, you’ll lose.” Simplifying is hard work, but necessary work. Peel the onion back even if you start to cry. If people don’t clearly know why you exist and what you do they’ll never follow you. 

Work ON the business, not just in it. It’s easy to sucked into the whirlwind of doing the work, especially with a side hustle. But we must be intentional to rise above the everyday tasks to focus on vision, strategy and and culture. Mondays make you anxious, Wednesdays bury you in tasks and Fridays make you forget what you set out to do in the first place. As you work in the business you can’t afford not to also work on it.   

Create a call to action. Keep leading the way with relevant content, but create frequent calls to action. Clearly ask people to take a next step. Imagine they’re hungry to do whatever you say, but they have no idea what you want them to do.  

Invest in people…always! We got into what we’re doing because we want to help people. Reciprocity is real. Whenever our team has been generous with time and money somehow it comes back to us. Generosity is one of our values. It’s also fun to watch! People share and refer others. When humans sense care and investment we want to give back. Remember, all investments are about delayed gratification, so it won’t come back to you over night or quite how you think it will. 

Persistence wins. When you work hard week after week on the right things you’re going to see growth. Period. Your passion for people will grow. Your experience will grow. Your knowledge will grow. Your wins will probably even grow too. Keep showing up and putting in the work. Most people quit far too soon. 

Be you. In relationships and business people are looking for authenticity. They want you to be uniquely you, not a crappy version of someone else. Take the risk of choosing to live and lead your relationships and business as you’re designed to. 

Team is the game-changer. You will have to possess individual work ethic, but if you want to see sustained impact invite a team in. Even if you’re starting with a few friends helping you or asking for wise counsel don’t try to do it alone. Team allows you to accomplish more things and different things than you could alone.  

Share this post and tag friends who can benefit

Journal through these questions… 

What specific changes do you need to make to how you live and lead? 

When will you do this? 

How will you do this?   

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Health, not beach muscles by Alan Briggshttps://www.stayforth.com/health-not-beach-muscles-by-alan-briggs/ https://www.stayforth.com/health-not-beach-muscles-by-alan-briggs/#respondSat, 05 Jan 2019 21:11:08 +0000http://www.stayforth.com/?p=6376The secret it out; we’re getting older. It literally happens every day. While there are some downsides to this, there are so many upsides. There’s this beautiful thing we experience if we learn from the past and stop pretending to be someone we aren’t. It’s called maturity.  Maturing is really good and really hard. We […]

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The secret it out; we’re getting older. It literally happens every day. While there are some downsides to this, there are so many upsides. There’s this beautiful thing we experience if we learn from the past and stop pretending to be someone we aren’t. It’s called maturity. 

Maturing is really good and really hard. We begin making healthier decisions and saying “no” to nonessentials. We begin to discover a beautiful reality; we are becoming new creations. But NEW can be disorienting. 

I’m not currently training for a marathon or a powerlifting competition. The role of fitness has changed drastically for me. Growing up as an athlete fitness mattered to me. It was my ticket to achieve, win, gain status and shape (too much of my) identity. Today fitness matters to me not for the sake of fitness, but for sake of effectiveness. Our aims create our habits and our habits create our results. 

These realities are shaping my fitness (and life) aims right now… 

Health is the goal, not beach muscles. I used to work out for others, now I work out for myself. It relieves stress and makes me  less distracted on myself. The energy I feel from fitness propels me into growth and more opportunities to invest in others.   

Fun keeps me coming back. I’ve played lunch hour basketball with the same guys for eight years. I love it. It’s a great escape from work. I plan and execute all morning to get a lot done before basketball. Only trips and emergencies get in the way of it. I’ve realized I’m far more likely to exercise if I’m having fun. I also jumped back into mountain biking because it’s a such a fun adrenaline rush for me!   

Scheduling makes the magic happen. It’s not going to happen unless I put it on the calendar. Scheduling it into my week make my mind recognize it as a priority and view it as a crucial part of my week.  

Preparation is crucial. If my gym bag isn’t in the car in the morning I won’t make it to the gym. I also stretch more than I used to, because it’s easier to pull a hamstring.   

Steadiness creates results. Fitness is an investment, and every investment is based on delayed gratification. I’m not likely to run seven miles or lift for two hours like I used to. I’m just looking for small incremental gains and continue making progress. 

Reps matter more than weight. I used to do fewer reps with more weight, now I do more reps with less weight. Multiple sets multiple times a week is what I’m looking for. Sometimes I get insecure for a moment when I look around in the gym. Then I remind myself I’m running my race, not theirs.   

I see how fitness connects to everything else. We are whole beings. When we see gains in one area it propels gains in another area. When we’re feeling healthy we’re creating more beautiful things and our relationships are growing as well. 

How do your fitness (or life) aims need to change?

Which one of these realities is affecting your physical health? 

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Why most people quit…and how to beat the odds by Alan Briggshttps://www.stayforth.com/why-most-people-quit-and-how-to-beat-the-odds/ https://www.stayforth.com/why-most-people-quit-and-how-to-beat-the-odds/#respondSun, 30 Dec 2018 20:18:33 +0000http://www.stayforth.com/?p=4553I’ve met thousands of people doing incredible stuff. So have you. They’re idea shapers, music makers, problem solvers, content creators, people specialists, writers, visionaries and deal makers. They see things. They come up with new realities. They shape things. If you’re taking six minutes to read this you’re probably a creative human who wants to […]

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I’ve met thousands of people doing incredible stuff. So have you. They’re idea shapers, music makers, problem solvers, content creators, people specialists, writers, visionaries and deal makers. They see things. They come up with new realities. They shape things. If you’re taking six minutes to read this you’re probably a creative human who wants to impact others. Keep reading. 

One of the most tragic things I witness are all the ideas I hear about but never see. Most ideas don’t become realities, because most people quit before they can. This quitting fad isn’t bound to one area of creativity; it’s a human issue. I discuss this in my book Everyone’s a Genius , but Steven Pressfield plumbs the depths of this topic in his classic The War of Art.  

Here are the most commons reasons I witness creatives becoming ex-creatives… 

Inflated expectations lead us to believe, “I’m not making a difference”

Choosing the urgent over the important wear us down as we resign, “Life is too busy”

Impatience for the payoff defeats us as we think, “It’ll never work”

The memory of failure stings as our ego whispers, “I don’t want to experience that again!”

The weight of success pulls on us as we anxiously believe, “I’ll have to produce THAT again”

Our lack of process makes us believe, “It’s just too hard!”

Unhealthy living wears us out as we utter, “I’m so tired”

Ceasing to dedicate creative time convinces us, “I don’t have time”  

But there’s good news. If we understand the struggle we can fight it. If we describe the monster under the bed it’s not as scary anymore. In Art and Fear Bayles and Ortlund say, “Something about making art has to do with overcoming things”. Here are some ways to fight the battle and continue creating. 

Fight inflated expectations with realistic ones.

Fight the urgent by prioritizing creative pursuits as wildly important.

Fight impatience by continuing to create weekly. 

Fight failure memory by sharing your fears with other creatives.  

Fight success fear by getting behind the curtain of successful creatives.

Fight lack of process by designing and committing to your creative process. 

Fight unhealth by pursuing health in all major areas (it trickles down!)

Fight loss of creative time by blocking time every week. 

 

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Ridiculously practical stuff I do to keep growing by Alan Briggshttps://www.stayforth.com/running-through-the-mud-in-flip-flops-by-alan-briggs/ https://www.stayforth.com/running-through-the-mud-in-flip-flops-by-alan-briggs/#respondThu, 13 Dec 2018 15:30:24 +0000http://www.stayforth.com/?p=6135It’s that time of year again; the season we have vision for growth. The holidays are over, and we want next year to be different than last year. Because you’re a human I know you want to make progress on something in your life. Finances. Body. Business. Leadership. Reading. Diet. Writing. Insert your desired growth […]

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It’s that time of year again; the season we have vision for growth. The holidays are over, and we want next year to be different than last year. Because you’re a human I know you want to make progress on something in your life. Finances. Body. Business. Leadership. Reading. Diet. Writing. Insert your desired growth here: _________.  

But most people start every day trying to run through the mud in flip flops. It’s hard to make progress in life without traction. The good news is you can start building traction today. The real news is it takes time and intention to apply it. 

Pay attention to these three traction principles…

Comfort and growth can’t coexist. If you’re chasing comfort you’re not going to grow consistently. Growth has some tough friends; fear, change, loss, insecurity and pain. Tough crowd, get to know them well. They aren’t leaving any time soon. 

Energy isn’t created; it’s transferred. I didn’t learn much in Physics, but I’ve never forgotten The law of conservation of energy. It states that energy is not created; it’s transferred from thing to thing. If you’re going to grow you’ll need to transfer energy from one area of your life to another. Borrow from areas that matter less to you so you can put energy in places that matter more. Try to create new energy in your life and you’ll eventually burn out. No, you can’t do it all.  

You already have permission. You don’t need permission to start working on your business, ministry, book, project, YouTube channel or blog. Consider this your permission. Seek wise counselors and structure for sustainability, but go ahead and take little steps to get started! 

Let’s get ridiculously practical. In order to launch and lead this new thing you might need to create a space for your work, wake up at the same time every day, watch less Netflix, stick to a weekly routine, say “no” to mediocre things, get more sleep, wake up early, turn lunch hour into creative hour, etc. 

No need to copy and paste, but here are the things I do to keep traction… 

Go to bed early and wake up early (turns out I work better on sleep)

Join or create awesome teams (solid teams have been the X factor for me)

Cultivate sabbath space every week (my best ideas arise here)

Turn needless meetings into emails

Come to meetings prepared (meetings are active, not passive)

Avoid scanning emails between meetings (sometimes I miss things, but it’s still worth the risk of a clear head for me)

Take one risk at a time (I only occasionally violate this)

Ask people ahead of me for advice (this saves me a lot of simple mistakes)

Rarely work in the evenings (so I can invest in my family)

Avoid incoming emails early in the morning (this puts me on the defensive)

Block and batch my time (I created the Weekly Planning Grid for this)

Walk closely with God (it reminds me what I do isn’t who I am)

Consume books and podcasts that stoke my thinking (even if I don’t agree)

Travel to another context monthly to add value 

Get enough sleep to enjoy coffee but not rely on it (caffeine can make us lazy)

Share my goals with other people for feedback and accountability

 

A few questions to journal about…

In which areas are you losing traction in your life? How can you fix the leaks?

What little thing brings you traction every time? How can you do that more?

What habit is helping you? What habit is hurting you? 

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The ridiculous story behind ‘Everyone’s a Genius’ by Alan Briggshttps://www.stayforth.com/the-ridiculous-story-behind-everyones-a-genius-by-alan-briggs/ https://www.stayforth.com/the-ridiculous-story-behind-everyones-a-genius-by-alan-briggs/#respondTue, 11 Dec 2018 13:47:48 +0000http://www.stayforth.com/?p=6119No one told me mornings in Southern California aren’t as special as they sound. The “marine layer” covered us with a midwestern gray. I was in for a few days attending a conference with a noisy house full of guys. I headed for the back porch to process what I was feeling.   I sat […]

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No one told me mornings in Southern California aren’t as special as they sound. The “marine layer” covered us with a midwestern gray. I was in for a few days attending a conference with a noisy house full of guys. I headed for the back porch to process what I was feeling.  

I sat terrified in a bendy plastic chair drinking a bad cup of coffee. In forty-five minutes I was walking into a meeting with a large publishing house clueless about what I was going to say.

My first book was under contract, but another book suddenly came upon me a few weeks earlier. “Book #2” was freakish. I would wake up every morning and the book would jump out of me like a run-on sentence from a five year old. Max Lucado likens the process of writing a book to “giving birth to barbed wire”. No barbed wire (yet), just surprising delight. My current publisher and I had a verbal agreement to publish book “Book #2”. 

My thoughts were racing, and my heart was pumping.

Why are we even meeting?  

What is the plan?

Should I tell them about my books, and prime the pump for the future? 

Should I scramble to come up with another idea? 

Should I just shoot the California breeze and get to know them? 

I felt like I was about to spend a hundred dollar bill on junk food. I didn’t want to squander this moment. So I pulled out my journal and wrote down a few ideas. After one page of pure garble I had an idea; a book about unrealized potential…and helping others realize it. It felt natural. I’ve learned to follow paths that feel natural. It felt like I was having a conversation with an old friend. No pretense. No posturing. No pressure. 

I scribbled down thoughts for fifteen minutes until I was rudely interrupted. It was time to leave for the meeting. I had another fifteen minutes to process my idea while crammed in the back seat of a suburban. I was walking to the meeting spot and my only plan was an idea that had never crossed my mind until thirty minutes ago. As I waited at a cafe table my thoughts fought against me, “Is this literary suicide? Don’t squander this chance, Briggs! You’re going to waste their time.” After handshakes and five minutes of small talk they asked if I had an idea to pitch. Thoughts came out in my native tongue. The words weren’t done up for a night out; they were fresh out of bed on a Saturday morning wearing yoga pants. I talked like I had nothing to lose except the last thirty minutes. They connected to it. They saw it. The “got” it.       

As they hurried off to their next meeting I walked away with a business card and a promise of an email. I didn’t know whether to shout or to laugh. The canvas was still drying when I brought it to auction, but in reality the idea had taken my whole life to germinate. God had been etching Everyone’s a Genius on my heart one leader, one apprentice, one conversation at a time.  

The best books aren’t written on paper and screens, they’re written on the canvas of time. They’re weathered by tears and laughs and boredom and struggle. They’ve survived seasons of joy and sorrow and surprise and doubt.  

Perhaps your message is too close for you to see it. Perhaps you’re accidentally living it right now. Every message has a moment. I’m just glad I had a notebook to catch it when it finally popped out of me.  

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