A Bodey in Motion

Building momentum, one step at a time

Where’s Your Energy Going, and Why It Matters

An organization has only 100 percent of its resources and energies to spend. I have no idea what is meant when a manager says, “Let’s give it 110 percent!” There is a finite amount of energy, and the question is simple: is it directed toward internal, political issues, or toward external, client issues?

In the best companies I’ve worked with (or observed), the ratio is about 10/90. That is, 10 percent of the energy is abraded away internally, but 90 percent of it is directed toward sales, service, retention, market share, and so forth.

Alan Weiss, Million Dollar Coaching

There are times I have to leave the house and socialize with other people. As an introvert, that isn’t my natural state. Occasionally, it happens that I have to engage a group of people that I don’t really know (aka “strangers”), adding a level of emotional awkwardness. If I’m physically uncomfortable on top of that (i.e. my chair is at a weird angle, or personal space is limited, or I have a headache, etc.) where do you think the vast majority of my personal energy is focused?

energy

Obviously, in those circumstances, most of my energy is going to go into coping with the situation. Very little will be reserved for making new acquaintances, smiling, or being friendly. I’ll want to use my wife and kids as a shelter, rather than be aware of how they’re feeling, and I’d be filling my time by checking the clock and eyeing the door.

And that’s just one event in a lifetime filled with thousands upon thousands of various such twists and turns. In each of those moments, I’ll only have a limited amount of resources to fall back on. Each day – each hour – each second only has so much energy to expend. That time I spend at work, or at church, or at home, or volunteering – how will I use it? Where will it be focused?

It’s important to understand that. It really does matter.

See, organizational energy is a byproduct of individual energy. We each contribute a portion of the greater whole when it comes to directing the energy of our places of business, or service, or worship. Whether you’re in a family of five, a church of fifty, or a company of twelve thousand, your focus makes a difference on the internal to external ratio of that organization.

Do an audit of the energy being spent by that sleepy church in the Midwest with a slowly shrinking membership. Are they busy trying to keep the people within the walls happy, or are they zealously focused on serving their neighbors and beyond? How have their members affected their ratio? It might be helpful to do an audit of each of them.

And when we’re criticizing the organizations we’re a part of,  maybe we need to do an audit on ourselves.

Just a thought.

June 12, 2013 Posted by | Christ and Church, Marriage and Family, Politics and Other Insects, Work and Money | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Where’s Your Energy Going, and Why It Matters

Do One Thing at a Time

Let’s cut to the chase. I’m an experienced software engineer, I’ve been doing it for over a decade now. Once I’ve got a good idea of what I’ll be writing, I can put on the headphones and listen to podcasts, music, whatever and still crank out a large amount of high quality source code. Most of the time.

Some people would call that multitasking. I wouldn’t. I don’t really believe in multitasking. I can listen to that stuff while going for a walk, or eating breakfast, too. That’s not multitasking, either. While designing software takes a lot of thought, writing lines of code doesn’t.

Besides, what happens when I’m typing away at this relatively mindless task, and I hit a snag? I suddenly realize my design missed something, or a re-used piece of code won’t work as planned. What is the first thing I do? I stop the noise. I shut off the distractions and give my brain the room it needs to work on solving the unforeseen problem. I focus.

Here’s the point: Money works the same way.

Money doesn’t really multitask. It can perform automatic mindless tasks every month, but if you have a bunch of financial goals that you’re trying to accomplish, it’s best to focus on them each one at a time.

We don’t want that to be true, though. We want to be able to chip away at a whole bunch of things. We toss nickels and dimes at every thing, instead of dropping dollars on just one. We disperse our intensity and lose our focus. It looks nice and busy, but it’s really just a waste of time. Motion doesn’t always equal progress.

If you really want to see something happen with your money, pick just one goal and do it. Do you want to stockpile some money in the bank? Or pay off a nagging debt? Throw every spare dollar you can at it. Cut out the nonsense expenses and get intense about it.

By giving your money the room to work on your financial goals, you’ll get more of them accomplished. You’ll reach each goal sooner. You’ll see real progress instead of just looking busy.

July 2, 2012 Posted by | Work and Money | , , , | Comments Off on Do One Thing at a Time

Changing For the Better Isn’t D.I.Y.

I can be pretty hard on myself.

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I like to use Zig Ziglar’s Wheel of Life as a reference for how to divide up the key areas of life. It helps to cement the need for balance in the way that I live. While I’ve been kicking butt in a couple of those key areas lately, it wouldn’t take a lot of effort for me to list one or more ways that I should improve in all of them.

There’s nothing wrong with pushing yourself to improve, but many of us get the idea in our heads that attempting to make a positive change is a private matter. We tell ourselves that the only way a change is valid is if we can do it alone. That’s foolishness, and it often leads to isolation and frustration, because true change doesn’t work that way.

Real improvement comes when we surround ourselves and put our trust in others who are pointed in the same direction that we want to go.

It’s better to hang out with people better than you. Pick out associates whose behavior is better than yours and you’ll drift in that direction.

– Warren Buffett

Whatever your current goal is, you need to be spending time with, and seeking the counsel of, two groups of people. Those who are passionately working towards a similar goal, and those who have achieved it. Associating with others who share your struggle allows you to hear voices of experience, and learn from their wisdom. It introduces accountability to your efforts, and motivates you. You gain focus and fellowship.

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Ben Franklin understood the power of a group. He pulled twelve of his friends together to create “a club of mutual improvement,” which they called the Junto, when he was only twenty-one years old. They met for more than forty years, guided by a set of discussion questions, exploring the myriad topics of the day. Franklin became the Founding Father we know today because of the investment he made with that small group of men.

You and I have to stop thinking that self-improvement is a do-it-yourself project. If we really want to improve, we need experts to tell us how to get where we want to be, and extra sets of hands for the heavy lifting. We need to build a trusted community around us that will challenge us to grow.

I’m challenged to start formally putting together a mastermind group like Franklin’s Junto. I’m already involved with an accountability group, but I’m thinking about grabbing Dan Miller’s 1+1=3 as a guide to assembling people who are interested in growing in all the key areas of their life. What do you think? Any suggestions?

March 5, 2012 Posted by | Past and Future, Work and Money | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Changing For the Better Isn’t D.I.Y.