Margin Matters: 5 Ways to Create Space in Your Life

Margin Matters: 5 Ways to Create Space in Your Life

Stephen Covey writes, “The key is not spending time but investing it.”

In my experience, some of the most popular phrases I here are: “I’m too busy!” and “I wish I had time for that…” “I wish I had the time.” We all come from different places, but the most common thing we all have is time. It is extremely limited, moves to fast, and we will never get it back. I am no different! I am a husband, father of two, I work two jobs, volunteer in my church, visit my extended family, and somehow am finishing my Master’s Degree. People ask me how can I balance my work load and personal life. I am not perfect, but I have found some ways to create margin in my life. I found 5 ways to create space in my life to be effective:

  1. Prioritize: We give our time, talent, and treasure towards what/whom we desire. Many of us are busy, and we are busy just to be busy! Prioritizing by importance, deadline, and value can create margin in your life by simply eliminating distraction. We can prioritize things in every area of life.

 

  1. Scheduling: This is probably preaching to the choir to my Type A people, but there is truth to scheduling your time. We create space by being intentional and honoring our commitments. Do not think scheduling is limited to meetings, events, or trips. Schedule quiet time, critical thinking time, and time to learn. Leaders are learners, and scheduling time to learn and think critically can greatly impact your work. Scheduling time to rest might sound odd, but it promotes the discipline of scheduling and intentional time to rest.

 

  1. Learn to Say No, so You Can Say Yes: I don’t know about you, but I often have a hard time saying no. I have been taught that when we agree to something, we are also saying no to other things. For example, If I say yes to a good business opportunity I am saying no to family or a greater business opportunity. In terms of margin, it is good to learn to say no when you can so you have the margin or freedom to yes to greater things. It is not always easy to make this decision, but overtime you have more and more opportunities to say no.

 

  1. Focus on What Matters: We all have things we have to do, and after we learn how to prioritize, we can focus on the work that matters and get it done. Whether this is work, relationships, your faith, or relaxation, we must focus on what matters most in life. There are times in my life where I turn down career opportunities to spend more time with family. Many of my friends in the military made sacrifices to serve their country. No matter what type of job you have, we all have the ability to creatively find ways to focus our time, energy, and attention on what or who matters most.

 

  1. Empower Others: Delegate, delegate, delegate. You will be surprised how equipping and empowering others will help create margin in your life. The more you can train, lead, and delegate to others can create space in your schedule to focus on what matters. There are some duties you might not want to delegate, but learn how to go farther and faster together.

 

Margin matters. We need rest, time for creative and effective work, and the freedom to say no so we can say yes. We never get time back. Our investment of our time is probably the most valuable thing we have. Don’t waste it!

 

Written by Jonathan Rector

Executive Leadership & Life Coach

 

Stop Complaining and Just Do It!

Stop Complaining and Just Do It!

This saying has been used over time by parents including mine, myself as a parent, coaches, teachers, and bosses. The scripture I would quote to my children on a routine bases can be found in the New Testament book of Philippians 2:14-15 (NLT) that states “14 Do everything without complaining and arguing, 15 so that no one can criticize you. Live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people.” Complaining is one thing I can do well. I sometimes find myself making excuses and complaining about all sorts of issues. It creeps up in me and I go back to the verse I quoted my children to check myself.

 One of the main complaints I hear is from friends who complain about the complaining on Facebook. I have hidden people from my profile so I would not have to see their constant negative post. Everywhere I find myself from online, in my community, television, online media and yes even family seems to be baptized with a complaining culture. It creeps back into my spirit. So, my goal is to stop complaining and just do it. 

How Was My Mind and Spirit Changed?

 

 

My friend Lance gave me a great reason to reexamine my mind and spirit. Let me introduce you to this amazing man. He lives daily with the reality of being in a wheelchair. He was born with spina bifida. Spina bifida is a condition that is from birth which the Mayo clinic states, “occurs when the spine and spinal cord don’t form properly.” Lance at a young age used crutches to get around as well as a wheelchair. He was bullied, harassed and told all his life by others he could not be “normal” in society. Lance proves them all wrong to this day. The picture is Lance in his first marathon. He wanted to be in the race but did not own a racing chair. He raced in his normal, daily chair. Race officials told him it had never been done. He finished the race. He did it! Lance did not complain about the racing officials or his lack of proper equipment, he just did it. It is what he does to this day.

Changing the Way I Think

I want to be like Lance. Stop looking for the reasons I can’t do something or complain about why it is hard. I want to just do it with a determination and drive that proves I can overcome and succeed. Lance is a bright light of inspiration in a very dark world. Coaching has helped me view my life in a more intentional way. Questions I ask myself might be:

  • Why am I complaining about this issue?
  • Does complaining change anything about it?
  • Do I have a right to complain?
  • What if I change the way I looked at what I was complaining about?

When I ask myself these questions, I focus beyond the circumstances, and look at the possible success that I can take advantage of. Instead of living among the everyday darkness of complaining, whining, and arguing; I choose to think about being an over comer, a bright light of inspiration and motivation. I choose to just do it and go against the grain. Coaching brings clarity and focus to the issues we might be complaining about and helps plan to overcome and succeed. Complaining is traded in for success. Nike chose the slogan for a reason, Just do it!

 

Written by Mary Rector

Master Coach, Life Coach

What is Executive Leadership Coaching?

What is Executive Leadership Coaching?

You don’t overcome challenges by making them smaller but by making yourself bigger.” – John Maxwell

 

The road to mastery in any subject consists of three things: Knowledge, experience, and coaching. Think about it. How did you get a driver’s license? You had to take a written test (knowledge), log so many miles and time (experience), and had a parent or adult driver ride with you (coaching). Executive Leadership Coaching is collection of ongoing education in your field (knowledge), inspirational and experienced coaches (experience), and updated exercises and content for development (coaching).

 Certified Executive Leadership Coaching focuses on 5 areas of the leader: Soft Core Business Skills, Hard Core Business Skills, People Skills, Exemplary Leadership Behaviors, Exemplary Leadership Actions.

 

 

  1. Soft Core Business Skills:

Soft core business skills would include items such as being approachable, enthusiastic, having clear core values, etc. Executive leaders have a tremendous amount of responsibility, and the soft core business skills matter to be an exemplary leader.

  1. Hard Core Business Skills:

Hard core business skills include being a strong communicator, good at time-management, being a good steward, etc. The leaders that struggle with this the most are often nonprofit leaders, pastors of small to mid-size churches, and entrepreneurs in start-ups. These leaders are usually forced to carry a majority of the administrative work on top of their passion to serve in their respected fields. They may not have the resources to hire administrative assistants or lack the proper base-line education; but, many of these skills can be caught or taught through experience and education. Coaching provides a systematic approach to developing leaders to be efficient in hard core business skills.

 

  1. People Skills

General Montgomery defines leadership as, “The capacity and the will to rally men and women to a common purpose and the character which inspires confidence.” Leadership is about people. Our people skills matter. People skills include empathy, people development, being helpful to others, trusting others to do their job, etc. Leaders might be really good with business, but struggle working and influencing others. A leader exists to invest, influence, and inspire others into action.

 

  1. Exemplary Leadership Behaviors

What qualities or behaviors do great leaders have in common? Exemplary leadership behaviors include: courage, integrity, humility, vision, etc. These are the type of qualities and behaviors we see written in core values. Great leaders start with their character. How can we expect these behaviors from others if we are not willing, or unable, to live them out ourselves? Executive Leadership Coaching will equip, empower, and encourage you to lead to your greatest potential.

 

  1. Exemplary Leadership Actions

Vince Lombardi Said, “Leaders aren’t born they are made. And they are made just like anything else, through hard work. And that’s the price we’ll have to pay to achieve that goal, or any goal.” Our actions speak louder than words. I am a Christian, and the Bible says a similar message that faith without works (action) is dead (James 2:17). Great leaders are those who are made, developed, and act. Exemplary Leadership Actions include problem-solving, delegation, empowering others, being a learner, etc. We all have blind-spots, but great coaches help us prioritize and execute our goals.

 

Executive Leadership Coaching will tap into your greatest resource-YOU and your team. Coaching provides a collection of ongoing education in your field (knowledge), inspirational and experienced coaches (experience), and updated exercises and content for development (coaching). Leadership development is a journey, and our team of coaches are dedicated to equip, empower, and encourage you to live, lead, and succeed to your fullest potential. Contact us today to book a free session. Do not wait to invest in your leadership.

 

Written by Jonathan Rector

Executive Leadership Coach

Overcoming Fear: Discovering Your New Normal

Overcoming Fear: Discovering Your New Normal

J. Oswald Sanders in his book Spiritual Leadership writes,The person who sees the difficulties so clearly that he does not discern the possibilities cannot inspire a vision in others.

Do you see difficulties as possibilities? Most of the time I don’t! Fear is a powerful feeling, so I think it’s important to ask, “Why am I afraid?” Is it the fear of failure? Shame? Fear of not having control? Great leaders discover ways to push past fear, discover new possibilities, and inspire a vision in others!

I would lie if I told you I have found the secret to overcoming fear. I still get afraid. Taking risks is a major part of life and business, but we often fail taking the daring next step. There are a few ways that have helped me overcome my fear.

1. Faith. I am a Christian, and my faith gives me confidence and my identity. I believe faith plays a crucial role in our lives. I could not overcome my fears without the person and work of Jesus Christ in my life. You may not be a Christian or a person of faith, but in my experience, faith drives me to confidence in my decisions.

2. Mind Change. I had to (and still do) shift the way I see risks and challenges. I started to realize I was afraid of losing control (or the perception of control). I started to transform my thinking from failure to freedom. I created spaces in my environment to fail. I love what Michael Jordan said, “I don’t remember every win I had, but I do remember every loss.” I had to see my losses as opportunities to get better.

 

 

3. Accountability Team. This is so important. I have a team of people I do NOT work with that holds me accountable and motivates me. Fear is crippling, but when you have a small intentional community of people motivating you-you will move forward. This is why people hire coaches! They want someone who can directly invest in them, and motivate them to move forward.

4. Developing & Empowering Others. The greatest calling for the leader is to develop and empower others. One of the greatest ways to reduce fear in my life is to develop and empower others to lead. By developing and empowering others, I am naturally instilling trust to take new risks. Leadership is influence, and being a genuine leader means being vulnerable. It is okay to take risks, and moving past fear is often a team effort.

We all face fear in different ways, but it can leave us crippled. Don’t let fear control you. Find the root of your fear, and push forward! I continue to be stretched by my faith, creating mind change, having a strong accountability team, and developing and empowering others. Overcome your fear by seeing difficulties as possibilities. Give yourself space to fail, and grow from those challenges. Find your new normal by inspiring vision in others by leading past fear.

 

Written by Jonathan Rector

Executive Leadership Coach

Jon@coachrector.com

6 Signs of a Toxic Work Culture

What is a toxic work culture? Since I was fifteen years old, I have worked in a variety of environments with a variety of leaders and cultures. I believe there are varying degrees of toxic work cultures and leaders, but I wrote down six signs you might be in a toxic culture. There are more than these signs, but these I have experienced these first-hand.

  1. Poor Vision and Values.

I have worked in fast-food, sales, nonprofits and churches, and this has happened across the board. When the leader or the organization fails to cast vision, or build strong values, the team suffers. You cannot lead someone somewhere if you don’t know where you are going. There is an old church saying, “If there is a mist in the pulpit, then there’s a fog in the pews.” If the leadership and organization poorly communicate the vision and values then you will fail.

  1. Bad Communication.

Everyone is good at communicating poorly. Good communication takes intentionality and strong systems. One of the biggest frustrations on all levels in an organization is when they are on different pages. Over communicate! Internal and external communication takes strong systems. When, how, and to whom am I responsible for communicating with? I have worked in toxic work cultures that became worse because of the frustration of bad communication.

  1. Unrealistic and False Expectations.

I have been on the giving and receiving end of unrealistic and false expectations. Here is an example. I was twenty-two when I became a sales manager at a Christian bookstore. I was tasked with equipping and developing the staff to sell, or at least that is what they said. The job description and what the leadership said that is what they wanted, but in reality, I spent most of my time on tasks and stocking shelves. When I tried to develop and encourage our team to sell, I was asked to get back on task. There is nothing wrong with tasks, but the job description and expectations were not what they really wanted. Maybe they desired for me to sell; but in reality, they wanted me to be a task master. In the end, I was frustrated because I felt like I was failing. There were unrealistic and false expectations on both sides.

  1. Passive and Insecure Leaders or Co-workers.

Insecurity and passivity lead to a toxic work culture. A passive leader will fail to correct poor habits and behaviors out of fear or laziness. The passive leader either doesn’t care about the situation, or they are afraid of conflict. Experience teaches me that it is usually fear of conflict. The Insecure leader usually makes it about them. They have to be the best. They have to be right. They have to dominate out of fear or pride. Insecurity and passivity will create a toxic work culture and lead to turnover or stalled productivity.

 

  1. Poor Systems and Structures.

One of the biggest frustrations I have experienced has been poor organizational systems and structures. How is this toxic? Poor systems and structures lead to a toxic work culture because it leads to confusion, frustration, and turnover. This will affect you as a leader, your team, your customers, and your bottom line (or goals, impact, etc.). This is notorious in the church and nonprofit realm. With small budgets, high demand of time and energy, and depending on volunteers, churches and nonprofits get overwhelmed and struggle to create good systems and structures. As leaders we need systems and structures to help the flow of communication, assignments/tasks, and development. When I worked in sales, I needed a clear and easy system to connect customers to products, and ways to follow up with them. One of the ways I succeeded in sales was by having a good system and structure to make them happy. By doing this, I created a loyal long-term customer. Systems and structures matter.

 

  1. No Voice or Value.

As a worker and as a leader, I love when I feel I have a voice that is heard. There is nothing worse than sitting in a meeting and feeling no value. Your team, customers, and co-workers have value and their voice matters. Even if you don’t use their ideas, make them feel heard. As a leader, your people bring value and have great ideas. When we suppress their ideas and voice, you are communicating to them that they do not matter. This will create a toxic work culture of bitterness, frustration, resentment, and they will leave.

 

There are plenty of other signs and indicators of toxic work cultures, but I have witnessed these six first-hand. We all go through rough seasons in life, and perhaps you are in one of those seasons. The hardest decision to make is when should I leave. I cannot answer that for you, but ask yourself tough questions like, “Do I see myself here in a few years if it doesn’t change?” “Are these issues small enough for me to accept and move past?” No one is perfect, but I have worked in some great work cultures. I love what author Craig Groeschel says in every podcast he does, “When the leader gets better, everyone gets better.”