Have we lost our manners? I blame the Mobile Phone !

So this  blog may cause some fireworks !

In the last few years  I have noticed an alarming decline in old-fashioned manners . Now maybe its just my friends or the Northern Beaches of Sydney – perhaps too much time in the ocean has water-logged our brains. I fear its wider spread than that though , I blame the mobile (cell) phone !

Here are a few examples of things that have happened to me or people I know, that show the state of affairs I am talking about . (I may have no friends after this post – however the people who think they are the culprits never are )

  • A friend was cooking dinner for 40 people and some people who had RSVP’d – YES – didn’t come – no text, no call , nothing !
  • Texting to say you are leaving the house at the time when you had agreed to meet, when the place you had agreed to meet is 40 minutes from your house !
  • Not RSVPing at all – I blame FaceBook for this one. Who invented the Maybe button on an Event – really !!!
  • Getting a  better offer!! Now single friends know that a date with Mr or Mrs Dreamboat means we can all be flicked – but apart from that or meeting the Queen/Prince William and Kate/ Brad Pitt/ George Clooney / or Free Coldplay tickets  – is it really a better offer when you hurt a friend ?
  • Texting a regrets on dinner an hour before – yes we all love left-overs – but this can be an expensive one!

You get the drift. Why do I blame the mobile phone ?

I blame the mobile  phone because it enables us to text when before we would have had to call and speak to a person and hear their disappointment or anger that we were not coming to an event. We also had to show up where and when we said we would because otherwise people would be waiting with no clue about what was going on, feeling anxious and stressed about our well-being.

Am I blameless in this – of course I am not. I have done some of these things too. (Sorry Zack Evans if you are reading this)

It is still not right.

As many of you who read my blog are pursuing leadership of some kind or another – this will really undermine people’s respect for you .

We need to be people who let our yes be yes and our no be no. We need to stick to our commitments even when they require sacrifice. We need to learn how to say no up front as well so we don’t end up in situations where we are pulling out of many things last-minute because we have overcommited  and are exhausted.

There are always circumstances we can’t avoid –  illness, emergencies etc etc – which cause us to legitimately have to pull out of things. I recently had to say no to a funeral of a dear friend’s father because my Mum needed to go to the doctor urgently.

However very rarely are the circumstances so bad we can’t at least send a text or make a call !

Let be people of our word, who respect other people enough to communicate!

Lets also keep having grace for people who do these things – we can only work on ourselves !

(If you would like to get content like this  in your email regularly and never have to look for it on social media again – just put your email address in  the subscribe section . My goal is to help you avoid some of the mistakes I have made and to encourage you on your journey, to be real and to be helpful!)

 

Reducing Stress in 2017

So another year begins and many of us love a fresh start to reset and hopefully do things a bit better than we did in 2016.

If I am honest I realised that I didn’t deal that well with the normal end of year stress in 2016 for a variety of reasons. (Hence the absence of my blog !)

If you are like me, you want to find a way to live with less stress and every year you come up with a new strategy – often for me  which involves sitting on a beautiful beach for hours, great plan but not always achievable.

I have just returned from a few weeks holiday (vacation) and I did just that – lots of chilling , on beaches or by the harbour. While I was relaxing one of the books I was reading was the  The Broken Way by Ann Voskamp . I can’t remember the last time I cried as much in a non fiction book . This book has much to say – and much that is challenging me . However as I process the challenges there is one thing that stands out to me right now .

Its Chapter Nine called the Miracle in Your Pocket that Breaks Stress.

In this Chapter, the Yale and UCLA study on Acts of Kindness is unpacked.

Turns out one way to reduce your stress is to do  a small act of generosity for some-one else ! Apparently overall we do one or two acts of kindness a day as a matter of course but when we increase this at all,  we see a tangible benefit to our well-being . Helping behaviours seem to lower stress. ( CBS Report of UCLA/ Yale study )

I love that science is showing us what the Bible has told us for centuries in so many verses –  here is a favourite “A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.” Prov 11.25.

I know we still need to exercise, eat well. delegate better, turn off emails at night etc etc to reduce stress  – but it turns out we can also just do a simple act of kindness to another person, once more than usual, in a day and we will feel better. I love it ! What a classic win/win.

Before we get too sincere and want to only give to others without benefit to ourselves lets consider our design.

What if we are created in the image of the God who IS love – and that love is expressed in giving?

What if the God of the Universe created us to be giving beings?

What if the only way we really function in a healthy way is when we are being kind and giving?

What if giving to some-one else takes our eyes off our own problems long enough for us to see a solution, hear the still small voice or reconnect with the Prince of Peace?

Imagine a world where everyone just did one more act of generosity a day, a world with reduced stress and increased kindness (little John Lennon I know but bear with me), sounds to me like a world where the Kingdom of God is increasing.

Its simple and basic I know – but isn’t it the loveliest way of reducing stress in 2017?

(If you would like to get content like this  in your email regularly and never have to look for it on social media again – just put your email address in  the subscribe section . My goal is to help you avoid some of the mistakes I have made and to encourage you on your journey, to be real and to be helpful!)

Leading Yourself 5 – Decisions

I have been pondering lately hard and soft decisions. We have to know the difference and have the ability to lead ourselves in the area of decision making.

Hard decisions are those we will hold too no matter what. They are the decisions we make that are set in stone.

Soft decisions are those that are more fluid and we will mostly likely uphold them but our commitment level is much lower.

Hard decisions are predetermined and they guide our lives.

Soft decisions should be the ones that are the optional extras.

So often we make the things that should be hard decisions soft,  and the things that should be soft decisions hard.

Hey before you click back onto FaceBook let me explain from an example in my life.

For a long time exercise was a set decision for me – I knew it was important and notionally I decided I needed to do it, however the decision was soft. It depended on what finances I had available, weather, energy levels and some days whether the planets were all a lined correctly. I went in spurts.

However now I have made it a hard decision in my life. I have determined that I am going to be 80 and still swimming laps. I may slow down and have to helped out of the pool but I will still be swimming. . Currently I am committed to swimming 30-40  laps 3 times a week. It has become a hard decision.

I now budget time and money towards it and as it is a hard decision, this guides me to do it. On my swim days I don’t wake up in the morning and decide whether to swim . I just wake up , walk the dog and pray , eat breakfast and go for a swim.

The same goes for a bunch of decisions in my life. I don’t wake up and wonder if I should go to work during the week or church on a Sunday – it is a hard decision I go.

Conversely there are some decisions that I have determined are soft. How I spend leisure time is a soft decision, I have found when I create a hard decision in this area I box myself in and that doesn’t work for my personality. I know people who always go out on a Friday night, or always rent a movie on a Sunday night. I have tried to be like that but it doesn’t work for me.

When I make the decisions that should soft into hard decisions, it feels like bondage.

When I make the decision that should hard into soft decisions my life goes off track and get a little aimless.

Lets lead ourselves by making the right decisions hard and the right decisions soft.  Apart from anything else it’s exhausting to keep remaking decisions that need to be hard decisions that are  made once !

(If you would like to get content like this  in your email regularly and never have to look for it on social media again – just put your email address in  the subscribe section . My goal is to help you avoid some of the mistakes I have made and to encourage you on your journey!)

 

Leading Yourself 2 – Your Money

As leaders I don’t think we necessarily have to have investment and property portfolios, I do believe however there are some areas of our finances that we need to lead.

1.Giving

We have to have the giving/tithing/ offering questions resolved in our minds and be regularly giving. We need to be giving to our local churches, and to our friends on mission fields, to building funds, to charities and disaster relief . We need to do it within our budgets but it has to be a regular part of our lives. We can’t ask people to give if we are not doing it.  It is part of being Christ like- he gave his everything and if we are like him we give.

2. Generosity 

We have to be generous people – yes with our time and property but also with money. We can’t be the people who are known for skimping out on our part of the dinner bill or never contributing to group gifts. God has been so generous to us, we need to have a generous heart.

3. Pay Bills 

Leaders are people who, except in dire, unforeseen circumstances,  pay bills on time. We are good stewards so we avoid late fees. We also avoid the stress of creditors chasing us down. Leaders who never have any credit on their phone because they haven’t paid the bill are hamstrung in the 21st century.

4. Live within a Budget 

Leaders live within what their current circumstances are. I once ran up a large credit card debt and I will never do it again. It took me way too long to get out of debt and that sucked the  joy out of those purchases. It also meant I paid ay too much in interest and I could have done something useful with that money. The only area I have large debt these days is my home – and unfortunately that is just part of life in Sydney.

I know this is all really basic – but unfortunately some of this took me too long to get. I also see grown people in their middle age thinking spirituality is praying and coming to lots of church meetings, and their finances are a mess. They wonder why people don’t respect them and God doesn’t use them. We don’t need to be wealthy – but we do need to be wise.

A real relationship with God brings a generous heart. I am off to have a glass of wine now- because I have a generous flat mate who buys and shares NZ Sav Blanc !!

(If you would like to get content like this  in your email regularly and never have to look for it on social media again – just put your email address in  the subscribe section . My goal is to help you avoid some of the mistakes I have made and to encourage you on your journey!)

5 Tips to Juggling

One of the things I was asked in my recent survey is how I do the juggle. The juggle that many of us do – balancing family, friends, work, second jobs, church commitments  and looking after ourselves.

To be honest this week I have failed badly at it. I almost missed a dear friends engagement, I messed up some dates that I booked people for and I tried to pray for new students for 2014 !! I blame it on a migraine, a move and inhaling too many cleaning products last week.

Normally I do manage to juggle quite a few things and enjoy it – so here is a few things I have learned about doing the juggle

  1. It takes planning – I spend time at the beginning of each week figuring out where all the pieces are going to fit in. I use my outlook calendar to put everything into – find a calendar tool you like and use it.
  2. I pretty much do what I have planned to do – no matter how I feel. Too much rescheduling causes lots of stress.
  3. You have to be in the moment – if you have a full life you have to enjoy right where you are at that time. I try to be totally present and enjoy right where I am. (The photo above is from the College Ministry Trip. Had a week with these crazy kids and loved being with them – enjoying too many great moments)
  4. I make sure that there are certain things that I don’t juggle – they are fixed and don’t move e.g. I walk and pray in the mornings, no matter what else is going on in a day. I always have one day off work a week no matter what. (If you have read my blog before you know I am passionate about the Sabbath -I wrote about it here 7 Tips to keeping a Sabbath)
  5. I allow margin where ever I can. Deliberate gaps in the schedule which allow for unforeseen interruptions. These interruptions are always people and people are always more important than any tasks, and worth the interruption.

I am not perfect at the juggle by any means and I don’t juggle as many things as many of you do – but I do have a full life and these are some tips that have helped me. Please comment if you have any great tips that could help us all

(If you would like to get my blog in your email and never have to look for it on social media again – just subscribe on the side. I can’t guarantee it will always be brilliant, I can promise it will always be real – my aim is that it would always be helpful)

So I guess It’s Not All About Me !

This week I want to do something very different – I want to find out about you . I want to know about the people who read my blog.

I don’t want to keep putting out my thoughts without getting some back from you all !

So I decided it would be fun this week to do a little survey – to get your opinions and feedback.

I want your help in making my blog better. To be honest I don’t have a clue what I am doing. I just started to write because I felt compelled to.

So now two years later – I want to hear from you guys.

So here is a an anonymous survey that will honestly take you 2 minutes to do – it is all on one page.

You would help me so much if you could fill it in.

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/PamBorrowBlog

Thanks in advance. I really value the incredible people who take the time to go on this journey with me.

Here is a picture of a gorgeous beach in Margaret River, WA to show my appreciation !

Margaret River

 

 

5 Surprising Benefits of Travel for Leaders

This week I am in the US and Canada for work. Most years I get to do some work travel which is amazing. I have also personally done a decent amount of travel on holidays -not as much as many people, but travel is definitely high on my list of the joys in life. To be honest I have probably spent more money on travel than I have on shoes – and I love shoes !

We al know about the normal benefits of travel ; expanding your understanding of the people’s lives, experiencing other cultures and enriching your soul with the beauty of the planet.

However for leaders there are some surprising benefits.

1. Loss of Control

When you are travelling you are frequently at the mercy of many other people. Whether it is an airplane pilot or some-one picking you up from an airport, you have to rely on people. For people who are use to calling the shots this can be un-nerving. It is good to feel this again and realise we are never really in control. We need to stay in a place of dependence on God, good to be reminded of this as we travel so we are prepared for life’s challenges

2. Keeps us Flexible.

No matter how you travel, even if you can do first class five star all the way (and that is certainly not me -yet !!) you have to stay flexible when you travel. Planes are delayed, baggage gets lost, host families eat dinner at 9pm, instead of 7pm. In your normal life you can get quite stuck in your ways – flexibility means we can flow with these experiences. This ability to be flexible makes us better leaders and ministers because we can learn to flow with the Spirit

3. Teaches us Patience

If you live on the bottom of the world like I do, most places I travel to require a LONG flight. Even short flights require early check-ins and long lines to go through security checks. These places give us a good gauge of how the fruit of the Spirit is operating in our lives.

4. Creates a Strength in our Walk with God

Of course we all prefer to sit or walk in our special place to meet with God. Routines are good for us. However I have had some amazing revelations at 12,000 feet up. We need to have strength in our walk with God that allows us to connect with him wherever we are.

5. Creates a Character Check

Yes we all can behave well in our spheres of influence where our roles are defined. How do we behave in a city where no-one knows us. How do we treat people when we are tired and lost. Will we rip off local people when travelling alone ?

If you can possibly do it, build some travel into your life. It doesn’t have to be expensive, get on a train and go to the next state, stay in a backpackers for a night. Have an adventure – it will do you a surprising amount of good !

(If you would like to get my blog in your email and never have to look for it on social media again – just subscribe on the side. I can’t guarantee it will always be brilliant, I can promise it will always be real – my aim is that it would always be helpful)