086: How To Turn Chaos To Calm [Podcast] – Todd Stocker.com

You don’t have to look far to find that chaos is running rampant in our society and world. If you let it get to you, it will hinder your success and ruin your outlook on life. Today, I talk about one powerful key making sure you can stay calm in the midst of chaos.


ON THIS EPISODE:

“I’m so busy I don’t know whether I found a rope or lost my horse.” – Mark Schaefer

If you watch the news or stream social media, you can easily be overwhelmed by all of the chaos that floats through our society.  If you flip through the talk shows or read the news feed, Politics and conspiracies, opinions and non-factual information threaten to wreak havoc and steal the joy in which God wants you to live.  

Happiness is based on short, external bursts of happy feelings.  When you get that job promotion- it makes you happy. When you get an A on a test.  The sugar rush of a chocolate frosted donut.  It makes you happy.  But happiness is fleeting.  What you want is Joy. 

If you find joy, you find happiness.  If you find happiness, you may or may not find joy.  And the problem with society is that we spend more time looking for happiness, rather than that foundation, confident, fulfilling experience of joy.  And it doesn’t take long to have happiness sucked right out of us because the chaos of life happens.   

And you see the negativity around you – there’s plenty of it.  

The key to turning Chaos to Calm is simply this.  You chose to do it.  

I’m going to give you three choices but the overall key is to understand that you have a choice.  Feeling chaotic is still just a feeling.  And if you’ve been listening to the podcast, I’ve said this many time because it’s true.  You have the power to chose what meaning you put on your emotions.  You have the power to chose how to respond to those feelings.  Yes, feelings are strong and consistent but once you make up your mind what those feeling mean, it makes all the difference in the world.  

So here are three choices you can make to turn Chaos into Calm

  1. Choose your attitude – In our brains, we all can hear a parent or teacher right now.  ‘Attitude’ a settled way of thinking or feeling.  When I feel like all of the chaos in my world and the global world is just too much, a simple choice of saying, “It’s going to be okay” is settling your way of thinking or feeling. 
  2. Choose your focus – Bondurant speedway. “Target fixation”. Often, when the chaotic feelings happen, you need to intentionally hit pause and focus on the most important thing going on.  If your finances are in chaos, make a budget.  Dave Ramsey, Financial Peace University.  If you have 18 action items that should be accomplished in the day, slow down, organize them using my Productivity 101 cheat sheet.   Ask, at the end of the day, which one has the greatest consequence if I don’t get it done.  Regarding world events, it’s important to know what’s happening in France right now for example.  But don’t focus on it.  Don’t obsess about it.  Focus on that which you can control.
  3. Choose your response – I mentioned this earlier and it is intentionally third on the list.  Once you settle your mind and slow down to focus on that which matters, then you can choose how you are going to respond.  If you see a 10% drop in revenue from the previous quarter, don’t jump off the ledge, find out why and then chose to respond or not.  Same with world events.  If there is something you could do in local governments or in your community, get involved if it’s a wise thing for you right now.  

RESOURCES:

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082: 3 Metaphors To Help You Handle Disappointment [Podcast] – Todd Stocker.com

How do you handle disappointment? Today, I share 3 metaphors and a bonus question that give you a positive perspective on disappointment.


ON THIS EPISODE:

Disappointment comes and goes.  How you handle it makes all the difference in the world.

These metaphors can help change your perspective:

  • “Every cloud has a silver lining”

It comes from Milton’s “Comus,” – like a play performed in the courts of kings and princes. The silver lining is the light of the moon shining from behind the cloud.

“Was I deceived? or did a sable cloud
Turn forth her silver lining on the night?
I did not err, there does a sable cloud,
Turn out her silver lining on the night
And casts a gleam over this tufted grove.”

The idea is that while the cloud of defeat might rain on you, somewhere there is an opportunity.  Maybe it’s simply a learning that will help you with the next challenge.

When disappointed, ask, “Where can I find beauty in this?”

  • “Life is like a train track”

From Pastor Rick Warren.  Joy and sadness are alway present in your life.  Sometimes, the situation pushes you to lean more on the sadness side.  Sometimes, you are leaning on the joy side.  The positive perspective in this is that even when you’re disappointed, joy is just one leaning away.

  • “Make Reality your friend.”

This comes from the book, Peaks and Valleys – Making Good And Bad Times Work For You–At Work And In Life.  The emotion of disappointment clouds our logical brain and we tend to miss what reality is actually saying.  For example.  If you find out one person doesn’t like you, the emotion of disappointment tells you that EVERYONE doesn’t like you.  In that situation, ask yourself, “how many people?”  Reality puts things in perspective.

  • Bonus question:

What opportunity does this struggle create?

The overall theme is getting your mind right. Romans 12:2 – “be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Look for the positives. Don’t dwell on the negatives.


RESOURCES:

  • Audible.com – 180K audio book, right at your fingers

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5 Ways To Choose Happy – Todd Stocker.com

chosehappy(The inspiration for this post comes from a comment make by my free Facebook groupYou can request to be a part of it here).

For me, spring changes everything.  The weather warms.  The birds rehearse their symphonies.  The ground reveals its growing hidden treasures.  The season lifts my spirits and makes me happy in a way that is unique. 

As wonderful as it is, I realize the environmental changes are external to me.  They happen outside of me and I react to them — in essence, making me a slave to their movements.  But did you know that there is a way to experience ‘Happy’ –beginning on the inside?  Did you know there are some simple practices that will change your attitude almost instantly.

Here are a few:

  • Shift Your Focus.  Most of us tend to let our attention drift to the small percentage of things that are going wrong in our lives.  When you’re feeling blue, shift your focus to that which is going well.  Sometimes, I write them down on paper.

 

  • Force A Smile.  Studies show that your physiology can affect your psychology.  When you feeling down, smile and make sure you show teeth.  When you do this in public, you’ll be amazed at how many people smile back at you.

 

  • Pray.  Praying activates a part of your brain that forces negative emotions to run and hide!  Praying helps you understand that there is someone bigger than you who has way more control over your circumstances than you do. 

 

  • Eat Clean.  Processed and ‘fake food’ stimulates your system momentarily but then drops you low on the emotional scale.  Eat greens and healthy meats to cleanse your system and positively affect your emotions.  Combine eating clean and exercising and you have a winning combination!

 

  • Choose Happy.  I know.  That’s the title of this post.  But when you tell yourself, “I Choose Happy,” you are making a commitment not to be weighed down by the emotions that are attached to external events.  When you make this kind of commitment, you are able to approach difficult work less emotional and more solution based!

Comment below on how you “Choose Happy.”

Peace!

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(The inspiration for this post comes from a comment make by my free Facebook groupYou can request to be a part of it here).

What To Do When Your Lights Go Out

Superbowl 47.  Stellar performances.  Great come backs. Manly squabbles on the field.  And yes, even a “lights out” moment that changes the energy of play.  During those 34 minutes, the coaches on both sides instructed their teams to do four things while they waited in half darkness.  What the coaches told them applies you personally and if you’re leading a team.

Superbowl 2013

  1. Accept that you’re not always control – The opposing coaches (who happen to be brothers) were frantically trying to get information about what was going on but knew that there was nothing they could do to change the situation.  They accepted the reality that sometimes stuff happens but to keep their focus where it needs to be.
  2. Keep your mind straight – Much of life is mental.  The coaches told their players to keep focused on what they were there to do – win the Big Game!  Coach Jim Harbaugh was overheard going from player to player saying, “Keep your mind straight!”  His players knew what that meant and they did whatever they needed to protect their thoughts from wandering off mission.
  3. Keep moving – Both sides of the field had players laying on the turf, stretching, squatting and jogging to keep limber.  The worst thing for any team in the middle of darkness is to let laziness and status quo slip in.
  4. Stay together – They were in groups as they waiting.  Talking.  Processing.  Looking over past plays.  But each team stayed together as they huddled under a half lit dome.  They kept encouraging each other by repeating the above three actions: Accept that you’re not always in control, Keep your mind straight, Keep moving.

That is what good coaching and leadership is about.  That is what teams do.  That is what makes for success in the midst of darkness.

Peace!

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ROWING TOWARD ALIGNMENT

My kids taught me about alignment a few years ago. Jumping into a canoe for the first time, the three of them paddled out onto the lake. My son starting paddling one way, his sisters the other. What began as a leisurely float on the water turned into an epic battle of splashes and frustration. Misalignment ruled.

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The natural drift in your life is misalignment. Defined as elements not being in sync with each other, misalignment can cause a spinning in your business, organization and family.

How do you avoid misalignment?

1.Keeping setting your eyes forward. We get so bogged down in our daily details that we forget the bigger picture. Seeing where you are going gives you a north star toward which movement happens.

2. Verbalize what needs to happen. It takes constant communication of where you are headed to keep people focused.

Question: What areas in your life seem to get out of alignment quickly? Write a reply below …

Peace!

 

Reading the Book on Alignment

One of the consistent struggles about which I hear leaders talk is alignment.  More specifically, “How do I get my organization to be on the same page and moving in the same direction?”

Greater experts have a gazillion seminars, trick and tips on how to do this, but one of the main keys is to set three goals.  Unfortunately, the strategies, objectives and tactics need to be surmised by you and your team, but here is a mental picture that has helped me.

1)  When I think of aligning the organization/church, my first thought goes to my staff (or those who report directly).  The goal here is to make sure they are all on the same page and moving forward.  Daily conversations, meetings, evaluations and encouragements that focus on the movement toward the vision are essential.

2)  The second goal is to encourage the organization/church’s leaders to be on the same chapter of the page in which your staff is operating.  Whether it’s your Board of Directors or the Church Council, operational updates, stories and reviews are examples of “chapter synergy” that you need to strive for to keep your leadership moving toward the realization of the vision.

3)  The third goal is the make sure the total organization/church is in the same book!  I know this sounds weird, but so many organization/church leaders think everyone knows why the organization/church exists but are surprised when they hear comments that don’t describe the organization/church at all!  As clear and often as you can, you need to communicate to the greater constituents/congregants who we are, what we are about and how we are moving toward the vision.

Remember – Staff on the same page, Leaders on the same chapter and the Global Organization/Church in the same book!

Peace!

How to Beat Distractions

One of the greatest stories of leadership is in the Bible, the book of Nehemiah.  The story chronicles Nehemiah’s vision and mission of rebuilding the wall of Jerusalem. Deluged with enemy attacks and coercion, Nehemiah had to trust his gut and his God and keep focused on the task at hand.

One distraction came when some of Nehemiah’s enemies found out how well he was doing and tried to get him to leave his mission to meet with them.  Nehemiah told them something that all of us who call ourselves leaders should repeat daily.  He said, “I am doing a great work and I cannot come down.”

How many times a day do we get distracted and unfocused from that which we are called to do?  How many times do opportunities present themselves but they do not fit with your own personal or organizational mission?  Stay focused on that which you feel call to do and you’ll complete that for which you are wired.  When you feel distracted, remind yourself like Nehemiah did, “I am doing a great work and I cannot come down.”

Peace,

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(For a complete message on this topic go to “THIS ONE THING”)

Be QUIET!

There is a Starbucks coffee shop on the boardwalk in Kemah, TX.  If you’ve been there, you can picture it resting in the shadow of the mighty roller coaster.  When there, I loved being the first one to grab my early morning Joe and take a slow – very slow – walk around the pier and pathways that encompassed the amusement rides.  Sometimes, I’d meet my friend Sam Brown but mostly I would notice the rides.  That early, they were quiet.  No roar of the steel tracked kiddie cars.  No hum of the carousel.  No churning of the “Vominator” as I call it.  Simply the few workers who were testing, cleaning and inspecting every hinge that would keep the riders safe.

Solitude is not a luxury but a necessity.  God set up the cosmos for the ebb and flow of activity and quiet.  Yet, we fight against the value of being still.  We wield the sword of our schedules against the rejuvenating, calming and refreshing time of inspecting and fine-tuning our lives.

Why is that?

This morning, as is my custom, I woke up before my household, keuriged my coffee and spent time in prayer, calm and thought.  I am ready for the riders of my day.  I am set for the bustle of the crowds of my schedule.  And all it takes is a few extra moments in the quiet of His presence.

Peace,

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My Email Un-subscription Diet

“OK!  Here I go!  It’s a New Year and I’m going on a diet!”

I can hear this phrase singing in my head every year.  “Cut back!  Loose extra weight!  Get trim to do more!”  This year, I’m doing something different.  The “weight” I want to loose this year is hanging around my email box not my middle (albeit, there’s plenty around my midriff that needs to be shed as well). For me, I wake up to over 60 new emails per day.  Of those 60 messages, 5 are important, 15 are urgent but not important, and a full 40 are from email lists, promotions and newsletters that I end up deleting.  Here is a sample of my “extra weight” email subscriptions that daily ping the sanity out of my schedule:

amazon – mint – leadership network – Christianity today – worldwide brands – rick warren – create space – apple – Microsoft office live – 48days – regular investing – Angie’s list – Barnes and Noble – Borders – Writers Digest – Writers University – Writers Edge – Wine is it….. (I could go on, but I’ll spare you the extra weight).

Here are some questions to ask as you go on your “email un-subscription” diet:

1.  Have I read this subscription within the last 3 months? If not, UNSUBSCRIBE!

2.  If I’ve read any part of the subscription, has it added value to my life in a significant way? If not, UNSUBSCRIBE!

3.  If I’ve read the subscription, have I been able to use it to add value to others in my life? If not, UNSUBSCRIBE!

Peace!