7 Free or Almost Free Things to Do as a Family

Today’s post is perhaps a sidebar to leadership development. However, work-life balance is a key factor in being able to give strong leadership to others.

Right now, we are finding our way difficult circumstances as we work to contain the virus outbreak. Schools and businesses are closed. People are working from home, or e-learning.

Maybe you’re finding yourself with more family time than you might usually experience. Here are 7 things to do as a family that have little or no cost.

  1. Catch up on your reading – take advantage of the extra daylight and free time to dig into those books you’ve been putting off reading. Make sure you add some fiction to the list.
  2. Have a movie or television binge-day – pop some popcorn, get everone in the family room, log onto your favourite streaming service and watch some movies, together. Or maybe it’s time to introduce your children to some classic television shows from your youth.
  3. Tune up your photography skills – dust off the camera(s), read some photography tips and spend some time taking pictures of everyday objects. Take a photo “walk” around the house or property.
  4. Get active – Turn off the small screen and get the whole family active. Depending on your circumstances and location, it may have to be indoor activity; dust-off Wii Sports and get playing. Maybe you’re able to get out into the yard toss a ball or play some badminton. Even raking and yard-work would do.
  5. Start a blog or a Facebook page – Blogging may be past its peak, but there are still lots of blogs out there. If you haven’t jumped on the bandwagon, why not start a family blog to keep the rest of your relatives informed as to what is going on in your life? Or, if blogs seem passé, get the family connect via Facebook.
  6. Watch online concerts or plays – In this time of closures and self-isolation, many performers and venues are streaming content online, at no charge. Pick your favourite genre of music or live performance and check out Facebook pages, or artist websites to see what’s available.
  7. Plan special family meals – skip the turkey or roast beef dinner. Now’s a great time to get everyone involved in the kitchen. Have a DIY pizza night. Spread out a variety of fixings and everyone designs there own pizza. Now’s a good time to experience variety by having family members take turns making meals.

We have great opportunity to work on building a strong family. Don’t bury yourself in all the negative media reports. Take this opportunity to grow closer as a family.

Shape Thinking with Experiences that Make You Proud

Do our thoughts shape our lives? Albert Einstein believed so. He said, “The world we have created is a product of our thinking; it cannot be changed without changing our thinking.” James Lane Allen, author of the book “As a Man Thinketh” states, “You are today where your thoughts have brought you; you will be tomorrow where your thoughts take you.”

It’s easy for us to focus on the negative parts of our lives. In doing this, we sub-consciously shape our future responses toward the negative. If you want to move in a positive direction, you have to shape your thoughts with positive thoughts. One way you can focus on the positive is to have a pride-experiences list.

List past experiences that are positive for you; things you are proud of, that energize you as you recall them. Include your earliest memories. They can be anything from building a house to drawing a picture or running a race. It only matters how you feel about it. The standard for items on this list is your own pride in feeling, “I did it myself.”

Examples of pride experiences are:
  • Coached my baseball team to a winning season
  • Created an innovative new procedure and trained staff how to use it
  • Designed a go-kart with 2 friends and won first prize in a race
  • Doubled the sales volume in my product area in a two-year period
  • Earned enough money to travel through Europe by holding three part-time jobs
  • Helped solve an important personal problem for an employee or neighbour
  • Initiated a program, product or procedure at my job
  • Learned to swim and dive at age seven
  • Organized and led weekend Girl Guide camping outings
  • Raised $1,000 organizing a raffle for my children’s school
  • Remodelled and redecorated part of my house
  • Set up and ran a summer business that earned enough profit to pay for my school tuition
  • Successfully managed a difficult project to completion
  • Taught myself how to create a web site by studying a how-to book
  • Wrote an innovative database program to help my class manage a research project

This is not merely a mental exercise; write the list on paper or in your mobile device. Refer to the list regularly. In particular, when you feel negative thoughts coming on, pull out the list and remind yourself of the things you have and can accomplish.

7 Keys to a Successful Life

7 Keys to a Successful Life

A successful life doesn’t happen by accident. A successful life is the result of deliberate focus of your time, energy and thoughts towards what you want to accomplish. Rather than accepting what comes along as unavoidable use these seven keys to create a successful life today.

Simplicity

Simplify your life. Having “too much” takes energy from productive actions. Whether it’s too many commitments, too many possessions, or too many calories, you need to trim these things back to a manageable level. The you will have more energy and time for the goals you are trying to accomplish. In order to create a successful life, you will have to make room for it first.

Excellence

Always give your best your best effort. Don’t settle for second best in your endeavours. You may have to evaluate how you spend your time or money. You might have to redirect the extra energy freed up by simplifying life.

Priorities

You can spend your days responding to the next crisis that grabs your attention or you can set priorities to using your time effectively. You need to know what is important in moving your towards your goals. Then, eliminate those things that prevent you from meeting your priorities.

Energy

A lack of energy will hold you back. Once you have simplified, build on that. For example, once you have eliminated any unnecessary tasks, see which of the remaining tasks can be delegated to someone else. Look from the most efficient ways to process all that must be completed.

Focus

Get rid of distractions. Up to 75% of your mental energy can be tied up in things that are draining and distracting you. Reading through e-mail may seem productive, but it’s not going to help if your goal is to three chapters of a book. If need be, turn off the phone, shut down the computer and throw the television in the garbage. Free up your mental energy for the things that are important to you.

Think

Eliminate negative thinking. Control your thoughts to accept the possibility that what you are working toward will happen to you. Your belief in the outcome dictates how successful you are. Highly motivated people have goals and work to achieve them. Whatever you think, you accomplish. Listen to your self-talk and, if necessary, change what is being said.

Begin

Just do it. The old adage says, “a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” You have to start. You can dream, think and plan, but if you don’t get moving, it will never happen. There’s no better time to start than today. Don’t wait for circumstances to improve or become “just right” start your journey to success today.

Plan your personal development with a “To Be” list

How many of you begin your week by writing a to-do list to track the things you want to accomplish over the next seven days?

How about writing a weekly ‘To Be’ list capturing the kinds of personal characteristics you would like to exhibit in the upcoming week?

A ‘to-be’ list does not focus on scheduled activities, but rather, focuses on discovering or developing who we are. We are often defined by what we do. When asked about our lives, we’re more likely to respond, “I’m a student,” or “I’m a graphic designer,” than, “I’m compassionate, supportive, or hard-working.”

Similarly, it is easier to write your weekly to-dos. In some way doing seems more concrete and objective than being.

I’m not saying one is better than the other. In fact, these aspects of our lives have a kind of symbiotic relationship. The things we want to accomplish work best when they are aligned with what we what our lives to be.

I recognize this subject generates considerable philosophical discussion. Rather than revisit those arguments, I’ll give you quotes from greater minds:

  • “To do is to be” – Rene Descartes.
  • “To be is to do” – Voltaire.
  • “Do be do be do” – Frank Sinatra.

Leslie M. Bosserman shares her thoughts on this practice in an article posted at Holstee.

Why not make this a life experiment for the next 8 weeks?

This week, I want to:

  • be the best husband I can be;
  • be less critical of those with whom I disagree;
  • listen more and speak less;
  • be supportive of friends going through difficult times;
  • more responsive to the requests from the people I serve.

It’s about becoming the people we would like to be.

It’s about becoming the person I would like to be!

How to get the most from your journaling habit

How to get the most from your journaling habit

I didn’t start keeping a journal until I was in my thirties. I’d grown up thinking only girls wrote in diaries. However, once I overcame that misconception and got started, I quickly discovered the benefit and pleasure that came from keeping a journal.

Journals can be effective tools in helping one get organized, in the creative process, or in developing a new habit or skill. However, keeping a journal is a habit in and of itself, and needs to be developed.

Here are 5 tips to help you keep momentum and get the most from your journaling habit:

  1. Do it your way – There is no “best way” to write in a journal. Correction: there is a best way to write in a journal and that is, what ever works for you. You are not striving for perfection, but for self-expression. Don’t worry about the spelling or the grammar. Turn off the internal editor.
  2. Be honest – This is the place to be honest with yourself. Write about the way you feel, not the way you think you should feel. This is not the place to worry about what others might think of you. Even if you have problems showing your true self to others, you owe it to yourself to be honest in your journal.
  3. Go deep – That is, let your feelings out. You can keep a journal which merely records the events of your life, and there’s nothing wrong with that, or you can add to its benefit by recording how you felt about what was going on. Your feelings can be symptoms of things not working well, which need to be corrected or adjusted. Your feelings can be celebrations of accomplishments, which motivate you forward to your next goal.
  4. Experiment – Find the format that suits you best: loose-leaf binder, cheap notebook, Moleskine (aff), leather-bound diary, all can work. Should you write first thing in the morning or last thing at night? Are you more comfortable in the quiet of your bedroom or in a public coffee shop? You can fill a page every day, or like Gretchen Rubin, in The Happiness Project (aff), keep a one-sentence journal. Experiment with the process to find what is best.
  5. Relax – Keeping a journal should not be a grim chore. If you see it that way, you’re not likely to keep it up for too long. Approach it in the spirit of creative play; an enjoyable, quiet-time gift to yourself.

Enjoy your journaling!

Quotes and Questions – Ignorance

Two quotes:

  • “Being ignorant is not so much a shame, as being unwilling to learn.” —Benjamin Franklin
  • “The recipe for perpetual ignorance is: Be satisfied with your opinions and content with your knowledge.” —Elbert Hubbard

Two questions:

  1. Are you hanging on to opinions and ideas that you haven’t tested and proved?
  2. What are you doing to open you mind to new knowledge and information?