| by Justin Tobin @justintobin|
A quick scan through the business media on any given day yields a vast number of how-to guides for hiring and maintaining a staff of millennials, as if they were exotic house pets that require special care. These tips usually recommend offering perks like happy hours, flexible working hours and of course, ping pong tables. If only it were that simple. The way we work today is shifting in some dramatic ways. This is driven by a number of factors and millennials are just one of them.Each generation holds certain overarching views about hierarchy, corporate loyalty, necessary skills sets and what a good work ethic looks like. The question for managers shouldn’t be, “how do I deal with these confounding millennials,” but rather “how do I manage the stressors that occur when people of different generations are working under the same roof?” Instead of focusing on the whims of the younger generation, managers need to look at the big picture to smooth tensions and reconcile the views and approaches of both groups.Here are some common differences between millennials and boomers that today’s managers need to recognize and how to balance them against each other to get the best out of your teams.
1. Tenure vs. merit. For boomers and those who came before them, the thinking went, if you were loyal and put in your time, you’d be rewarded by the company. Tenure was what drove increases in compensation and title promotions. Millennials have had to deal with a very different employment landscape, one affected by a sharp rise in temporary and freelance staffing that doesn’t encourage, or even allow, workers to settle in for the long haul. Because of this, millennials believe that merit, not tenure should drive respect and upward mobility for workers. In their eyes, varied expertise, education, personal projects and career wins should count for more than the dates they signed their contracts. Managers should be open to taking into account the valuable experience and skill-sets one can build from working in varied industries, without dismissing the institutional knowledge and focus that comes with spending years and years at the same company.
2. The importance of hard skills.Older generations saw the education to work pipeline as relatively straight. You went to school to gain a certain set of skills that you would then hone over the course of your career. In time, this highly developed set of technical abilities or industry expertise would be your most important asset. For millennials, the view is a bit more complicated. They value intangibles such as emotional intelligence, leadership qualities, communication skills and the ability to adapt quickly to new processes and technologies just as highly, if not more, than hard skills. Perhaps this is a result of growing up in a quickly changing environment that has a tendency to render some skills obsolete as fast as you can master them, or a byproduct of the way social media has trained the younger generation to think about self-presentation. The fact of the matter is they’re both right. Mastery of hard skills is only becoming more valuable as technology advances and more jobs become automated. Meanwhile, interpersonal skills and the ability to see the big picture in real time are crucial in an increasingly complex business environment. A strong, well-balanced team takes the best components of each view.
3. The definition of stability.An increasing number of businesses are waking up to the fact that it’s often cheaper to hire freelancers or talent from the new breed of skilled “flex workers” we see emerging — designers, coders, writers, etc. that companies can hire on an as-needed basis — than hiring full-time staffers. This creates some friction between boomers who see full-time jobs with benefits as “normal” and preferable, and millennials who value the dynamism and increased knowledge that can come from working at a variety of companies on a short-term basis. It’s not that millennials don’t value stability; they view stability as gaining a diversified set of experiences and skills. They want to be able to rely on a paycheck just like everyone else, but many don’t see full-time jobs with benefits as the best approach to achieving their career goals. This generational disparity is something recruiters need to keep in mind as they seek to attract talent and balance staffing needs between freelance and full-time.In reality, millennials want the same things most workers want, including their older colleagues — to grow in their careers, to balance their work and personal lives, to make a decent wage, to work in a positive office environment. The difference is their multi-tasking, diversification approach to achieving them. So, don’t make changes to your business simply to appeal to millennials; make them to balance the ideals and work styles of all of your talent to optimize the common ground.
| Social Media Marketing Success: 5 Techniques That Are Working NOW on Twitter |
Nika Stewart @NikaStewart http://www.GhostTweeting.comAs entrepreneurs, we are all aware of the important role that social media plays in an effective marketing campaign. Why is it then, that so many business owners fail to maintain a consistent branded presence on at least one social media platform?The most common reason is lack of know-how. If it is confusing or overwhelming, we ignore it. But social media still gives the best return on investment if used effectively.The good news is… if you learn what is working, you can model it, and achieve success.So let’s start with ONE platform: Twitter. If your feed isn’t oozing with engagement, if you aren’t flooded with folks re-tweeting your genius, if you aren’t getting calls from interested followers for more information on your products and services, you simply need to make a few changes.
Here is what is working on Twitter right now to get you more engagement, more followers, more retweets, and more ideal leads.
Give to get What is better than seeing that someone has tweeted an awesome review or a glowing recommendation of your business? We all love it, and there’s no doubt that we notice the person who tweeted that delicious post.Unsolicited recommendations in the form of endorsing others’ products, sites, or services are a way to get noticed by authors, thought leaders, entrepreneurs, and even popular influencers. Networking goes both ways: you’ve got to give to get, so start recognizing others’ genius and you’ll be sure to get some recognition of your own.“The best way to get attention on Twitter is to GIVE attention on Twitter.”
Engagement: The king of the castle Build it and… they probably won’t come. Posting is passive; Engagement is active. You must be active to get the results you want from Twitter: more followers, clicks to your website, endorsements, increased visibility, expert status.More than ever, it’s about interacting with your followers, so take the time to comment, retweet, participate in Twitter chats, answer questions, and acknowledge your followers.
Consistency Which Twitter accounts have the most followers and the most engagement? The ones who post every day. You can’t expect great Twitter results by posting sporadically. Be consistent with your tweeting, and you’ll see growth very quickly.(Don’t have the time to devote every day to researching, creating, and posting to Twitter? Here is the no-brainer solution:www.ghosttweeting.com/97 )
Humor If engagement is king of the castle, humor is the court jester. To stand out from the noise – and let’s face it, you do need to stand out on Twitter in order to get results – you need to publish shareable, funny content that is on brand. Humor is a free way to move your platform forward at breakneck speeds. How often do you see something hilarious in the form of a joke, meme, photo, or video and want to share it with a friend, coworker or spouse? Yes, funny posts get attention! We are more apt to follow accounts with a sense of humor in order to break up the monotony of endless streams of blather.
Be real Okay, we know engagement is king and humor is the court jester, but who is queen of this castle anyway? YOU. Whatever platform you are on, audiences demand authenticity. You are a real person with a family, pets, kids, and a growing pile of dirty laundry. You love a good Sauvingon Blanc and you have a weekend cycling hobby. Sometimes life is not easy; sometimes it’s the best thing since Kylie Jenner released her Lip Kits. So let us know about it. Even when it comes to business posts, we want to see the human side of you. YOU need to come through loud and clear in every tweet.Twitter is still getting massive results for businesses, and you will enjoy the benefits if you use the techniques that are working
| This Hair Salon Owner Knows Something Most Entrepreneurs Have Backwards|
By Benjamin P. Hardy @BenjaminPHardy
What if you looked at your employees like a Hair Salon owner does? How would you treat your employees differently?James and Astrid Rawlinson are the owners of Salon 21 in Orem, Utah. Last week, I happened to be in Utah and needed a haircut. I was lucky enough to have James cut my hair.When I found out he was the owner, I wanted to learn more. He openly shared his business model and philosophy with me. As an organizational psychologist, what James taught me resonated deeply; and I felt it was important for any high level leader or founder to know.
1. Your Clients Are Less Important Than Your Employee“If an employee at Wal-Mart quits, that probably won’t affect Wal-Mart’s business,”James explained. “However, if one of my employees leaves, there goes a large percentage of my clientele.”When it comes to having a hair-stylist, many people find one they like and stick to that stylist. As a result, business suffers when someone quits at a hair salon. This reality has forced James to take a serious look at his company culture. He’s come to grips with the fact that his employees are far more important than his customers. Without his employees, he would have no customers. Furthermore, if his employees aren’t happy, they won’t have recurring customers. So James and Astrid have worked hard to create a culture where their employees love being there. In an industry where few stylists stick around at one salon for long, at Salon 21, the stylists choose to stay.James and Astrid have found that being supportive and generous with their employees has directly influenced their success in the market place.“Although not every industry gets impacted as heavily when an employee leaves as in the hair industry, every leader should recognize the fundamental importance of their employees,”James told me.Salon 21 is thriving in a saturated market, and is continuing to grow. James believes a primary reason for this success is that his employees are literally his number one priority.
2. Professionalism & Technique“Just as the yin-yang symbol possesses a kernel of light in the dark, and of dark in the light, creative leaps are grounded in a technical foundation.”–Josh WaitzkinThe hair industry has become like the food industry. The focus is on quantity over quality. As cheap and fast as possible. You can easily find $10, $5, and even $3 haircuts if you look for it. Hair schools are trying to get as many people in-and-out as fast as they can. The problem is, new graduates end up at jobs without much skill or technique. James told me he has to extensively train almost every new employee he gets, regardless of how many salons they’ve worked at. Quality matters at Salon 21. They want people’s hair to look amazing when they leave. I myself was surprised by the care and technique James put into my own hair cut. He did things to my hair I’ve never seen someone do, and when I got home, my wife was stoked.You can’t deny a good product. As Cal Newport explains in his book, So Good They Can’t Ignore You, when you focus on your craft, the work speaks for itself. The goal should be to produce work that is so good it can’t be ignored. With a focus on quality and craft, Salon 21 continues to succeed while other salons in the area fail.
3. Employee Freedom Lastly, James explained that many hair salons use fear-tactics to keep their employees. Most salons require their employees to sign “non-compete” agreements. James and Astrid genuinely want their employees to succeed. If a particular employee would be better-suited somewhere else, they aren’t forced to stay. At Salon 21, employees feel safe. There is no fear. There’s no compulsion. They can leave whenever they want. At that’s the very reason they choose to stay. They want to be there. They are valued.“We have complete confidence in our culture and craft here,” James told me. “There’s no need to require non-competes. We know when we hire someone that they will have a unique experience here. They will want to stay. And they will thrive financially here as a result.”
Conclusion What if you looked at your employees like a Hair Salon owner does?How would you treat your employees differently?How would your culture change?
| By Mona Lake Jones |
Squeeze the day and wring it out good
Get every drop of living you think you should
Twist each minute making sure not to lose
There must not be a single drop of joy that you neglect to use
Warm by the sun rays shining from above
Suck in all the sweet aroma sand wrap yourself in love
Dance, sing,write a line or two
Relish in the comfort of the old and be surprised by something new
Put your smile on first thing in the morning and wear it all day long
Look only for the best and find no fault or wrong
Embrace the day, hug it hard and barely let it slip away
Then rest so you will be ready for another happy day!
| By Minda Zetlin @MindaZetlin “I would be a success if only I had the right connections.” I’ve heard this complaint over and over. It’s as self-defeating as saying, “I could have had a great business, only I didn’t have any customers.” In both cases, the answer is the same: Go out and get some!There’s a lot of great advice about how to do just that in Susan Shapiro’s Only as Good as Your Word, a book devoted entirely to mentorship. Shapiro is a poet and memoirist so her mentors are literary types. But her advice about how to make the connections that matter apply just as well to anyone in any career, and especially to aspiring entrepreneurs. Wish you could enlist the kind of powerful mentors who can help you reach your loftiest goals? You can. Here’s how:|
Go where the action is.Shapiro started life in Michigan, but as soon as she was able, she relocated to New York City, the center of the publishing world. That’s where she met nearly all the mentors who helped her along the way. Admittedly, New York is expensive and Silicon Valley is worse. And even if it were affordable, it might not be feasible for you to move there.But even if you can’t or don’t want to relocate, look for opportunities to visit the places and events where potential mentors might be. Attend a conference–always a great way to meet all kinds of people–or plan a pleasure trip to a hot location and then ask for a quick meeting while you “happen to be” in town.
Don’t act entitled.“Don’t assume somebody will assist you out of benevolence or awe, or because you’re so incredibly cool and special,” Shapiro advises. Instead, as she points out, keep in mind that successful people are almost always incredibly busy. Chances are they won’t have time to bother with you unless you make them really like you. So first and foremost, be likable.
Look for personal connections.Yes, Warren Buffett would probably be a great mentor to have in your corner. But unless you have a personal connection, sending a blind email or letter to Buffett is unlikely to get you very far.The mentors who are likeliest to help you the most are those that have some personal reason to wish you success. That might be because you have friends or colleagues in common, went to the same schools, come from similar backgrounds or have some other connection. One of Susan Shapiro’s mentors was the late poet Harvey Shapiro–they weren’t related, but she used their shared last name to create a bond.When you reach out to someone based on a personal connection, make sure you put that information right up front–ideally in the subject line of your email. Start by talking about yourself and your wonderful project and the recipient may not read down to the paragraph about how you were referred by a good friend.
Do a little research.Before you ask someone for help, learn what you can about him or her. If you can refer to a pet project, book, blog post, or presentation, you’ll start out on your prospective mentor’s good side. A few minutes of searching and perusing social media may tell you that your target is especially interested in saving the rain forest, or has backed a new product, or plays the banjo. Knowing these things may help you connect as a person, and not just someone looking for a favor. And it will show that you’re serious enough to put in some time and effort.
Give before you ask.Shapiro recalls how an acquaintance called her. She had a new book out and he began by apologizing for having missed her several readings and book party. Then he proceeded to ask her for a valuable contact. She apologized herself and said she was too busy to help him just then. “He might have saved the day by simply saying, ‘I just ordered your book from Amazon. Can’t wait to read it,'” she adds.If you’re asking advice, introductions, feedback about your business idea, investment or anything else, you should always be looking for ways to give as well. Shapiro advises showing up to events–preferably with friends–bringing gifts, sending congratulations when warranted, and treating for drinks and meals. Donating to your prospective mentor’s favorite charity is always a good idea as well.
Respect your prospective mentor’s time.“I would love it if you would check out my new app.” I get this kind of email all the time. Even more often, I get a request for an introductory conversation with some executive or other. In each case, it seems like a small and completely reasonable request for my time. In the aggregate, it’s impossible to say yes to everyone, so I generally say no.This is one reason why meeting prospective mentors at a conference or other event is a great idea–they’re already there so you’re not asking for an extra investment of time. If you can’t do this, then do everything you can to use your target’s time with maximum efficiency. Mention any personal connection right up front, along with full information about your project and the help you’re seeking. If you leave a phone message (which I would never recommend as a first point of contact), include your email address and mobile number for texting. If you send an email, include your phone number in case the recipient would prefer to call.
Flattery will get you everywhere.Saying how much you liked someone’s book, blog post, or video interview will always get you more attention than if you just ask for a favor. Even from me–though it’s an old PR trick that I’ve long ago recognized to begin a pitch by saying you liked one of my stories, I always do open those emails whereas I don’t open most others. As Shapiro says, “Though I’d usually ignore a total stranger’s request…I answer nice fan letters from anybody who appears sane.”
Start with an easy request.Don’t make the mistake of asking your prospective mentor to invest/introduce you to a bigwig contact/sit on your advisory board when you first make contact. You want your initial request to be something very easy to say yes to. “Can I send you a little information about my project?” is usually a fairly safe place to start.
Share only relevant information about yourself.Don’t make the fatal mistake of going on and on about how wonderful you and/or your project are. “One executive I know says if the first lines of the cover letter contain three ‘I’s in a row, the answer is already no,” Shapiro notes. Yes, you must blow your own horn so that your target understands why spending time on you would be worthwhile. But only include information that’s likely to really matter to him or her. Y Combinator invested in your startup? Definitely mention that. You graduated Phi Beta Kappa? Unless contacting an academic, keep that to yourself.
Don’t brag about your failures.It’s surprising how many people begin their pitches by saying how many times they’ve been rejected, Shapiro says. Yes, it denotes tenacity which is a good thing. But if you tell people you’ve been rejected 50 times, they will inevitably wonder why that is. Instead, reframe your failures as near misses, or look for the small successes within them. (Maybe your product failed but you did a good job of getting it to market quickly, for instance.)
Look for chances to return the favor.Any time someone mentors you or does you a favor, keep your eyes open for chances to give back. This might mean promoting product on your blog, promoting their next event on your social media, or even investing in a pet project of theirs.Another way to pay back is to pay forward–by becoming a valued mentor yourself. No matter who you are, there are people who could benefit from your advice and assistance, whether newcomers to your industry, interns, entry-level employees, or students. So extend yourself because it’s good karma. It’s also unfair to expect to receive if you aren’t willing to give.
| By Benjamin P. Hardy @BenjaminPHardy “There are no bad teams, only bad leaders.” –Jocko WillinkLeadership is what determines how successful you and those around you are. If there is minimal success, there is minimal leadership.There are very few real leaders:Who genuinely stand for something and brightly reflect those standards.Who are willing to put everything on the line for what they believe in.Who create change and lead.Here’s what abruptly happens when you take ownership of your life and situation:|
1. Inject a winning standard of performance before you start winning.“How would your life
change if you made decisions TODAY as if you were already the person you want to become
TOMORROW? We tend to live up to our own feelings of ourselves (for better or for worse). If we plan
to become something else, what better way to do so than to step into that skin now?” — Richie
Norton It doesn’t matter what your current circumstances are. Winners act like winners before they
start winning.Your mindset is what you grow into. Mental creation always precedes physical
creation. Who you are in your head is who you eventually become.The first thing that happens when you step up as a leader is that you and everyone around you begin looking toward success. You start craving it, and believing it’s possible. In turn, your behavior starts changing.It all starts with you.
2. Constancy among chaos and success.“Consistent effort is a consistent challenge.”—Bill Walsh
Most people can’t handle failure or success. They’re on a behavioral roller coaster depending entirely on external circumstances. When things aren’t going well, they’re overwhelmed or depressed. When
things are going well, they’re overconfident and lazy.However, when you show up as a leader, your
mindset and behavior remain constant regardless of success or defeat.You are marching forward to
the beat of your own drum. Everything outside you is noise. You’re compelled forward by intrinsic
vision and values. Your consistency reflects your conversion to your cause.
3. A clear point of reference is established to keep you consistent.When you decide to lead, you
provide a clear standard of excellence. Your standard of excellence becomes your point of reference,
keeping you honest and consistent in all circumstances.It ensures you don’t have too many bad days in a row. Or get derailed by haters. Or get overconfident when successful.Your point of reference is
what you really believe in. It’s why you do it.When you’re struggling and failing, you look to your point of reference. When you’re crushing it, you look to your point of reference.What’s your point of reference?
4. Clear performance metrics are established to keep you accountable.“Where performance is measured, performance improves. Where performance is measured and reported, the rate of improvement accelerates.” – Thomas S. MonsonWhat does success look like for you, behaviorally? What is your actual job? What do you need to do?How do you determine if you’re failing or succeeding?There
should be clear metrics to measure yourself against. However, simply knowing what you should be
doing isn’t enough. Clear accountability needs to be put in place.That accountability, if possible,
should be to an actual person, not just a spreadsheet. When you are required to report your progress – especially to someone you respect – your performance will improve.
5. As the leader, you reflect the standard of excellence and recognize you are the ultimate bottleneck.You are the example of
what optimal performance looks like. You become the living and breathing standard of excellence for others to emulate. You reflect your mission and values.One thing is absolutely certain: Those
following you will mimic your performance – whether good or bad. Thus, you are the ultimate
bottleneck. Your failure to get to the next level hinders everyone relying on you. You can’t take
people beyond where you currently are, personally and professionally.Hence, Darren Hardy, author
of The Compound Effect, has said, “Never take advice from someone you wouldn’t trade places with.”
Who you follow determines where you get in life. If your leader isn’t moving forward, you’re not
moving forward, because your results are a reflection of your leader’s results.
Conclusion.The better you become, the more clearly you can help others get where they need to go, because you’ve been there yourself. The essence of true leadership is pure ownership. You’re no
longer doing it for yourself, but so you can take those you lead further.
6 Benefits of Wise Living
By Lydia Brownback
Modern women face tremendous challenges, and we need the same wisdom the book of Proverbs offered to ancient women.
As Christian women living in the twenty-first century, we aren’t likely to face many of the tricky difficulties that confronted ancient Israelite women. Just think of Queen Esther, who had to learn how to get along in a harem of women whose only calling was to please the king with their beauty. Even after Esther became queen, the cost of displeasing her king-husband was death. Other Old Testament women dealt with slavery, such as Hagar, and having to share a husband with another woman, such as Rachel and Leah.
Our problems, while less life-threatening for the most part, nevertheless pose tremendous challenges for which we need the same wisdom that ancient women needed. But we want to do more than merely minimize stress and ward off unnecessary difficulties; we also want to please God in every aspect of our lives. This is one way in which biblical wisdom differs radically from worldly wisdom. The world’s wisdom centers in how people can please themselves and maximize every pleasure. The wisdom in Proverbs isn’t unconcerned about our enjoying life as a gift from God. That’s the beauty of it—as we put into practice the wisdom of Proverbs, we find that God’s ways work at a very practical level; life does tend to run more smoothly. As this happens, God is showcased as the all-wise one, and He is glorified.
The benefits of wise living are too numerous to include here, but let’s look at a few of them.
Women who live wisely will experience security.
Wise women are confident that they rest on safe ground:
You will walk on your way securely, and your foot will not stumble. If you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet. (Proverbs 3:23-24)
Wise women have no fear. Because they trust God, they have no need for anxiety. They are confident that a kind, wise God is in control of everything. As wisdom increases, anxiety decreases. What makes you worry? Is it finances, your kids, your spouse—or the lack of one? Wise women know that God is trustworthy and that He can and will handle all these matters for our good and His glory.
Another result of wise living is guidance.
Some time ago I heard someone say that wisdom isn’t so much something that God gives to us as something he doesfor us, a truth reinforced by this passage:
For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding; he stores up sound wisdom for the upright; he is a shield to those who walk in integrity, guarding the paths of justice and watching over the way of his saints. (Proverbs 2:6-8)
The link between wisdom and guidance is also made crystal clear in this proverb:
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. (Proverbs 3:5-6)
This does not mean that God’s guidance is conditional upon our trusting; He is always actively directing the lives of human beings. Yet it is only as we actively trust God and submit to His ways that we experience His guidance as a straight path, one not filled with frustrating self-made detours, as we see with Jonah.
Another benefit of wisdom is the calm enjoyment of sanctified common sense.
There is no issue in life that Scripture doesn’t somehow address. Situations arise in all of our lives that Scripture doesn’t directly speak to—those gray areas. But the Bible does address them somehow; even if indirectly, and wisdom is what enables us to use the Word to make black-and-white application into the gray places of our lives. Wisdom enables us to better discern not only what God’s Word says explicitly but also what the Word says implicitly, and we are increasingly equipped to apply its truths to all areas of life. Sanctified common sense is the result of wisdom.
Still another result of wise living is generally good living:
My son, do not forget my teaching, but let your heart keep my commandments, for length of days and years of life and peace they will add to you. (Proverbs 3:1-2)
The book of Proverbs reveals to us how God has designed the world to work; so, in general, those who live according to God’s design prosper because of it. That being said, the proverbs aren’t a guarantee for the good life. We all experience times when things don’t go well, despite our efforts to follow God’s ways, and that’s because God has as much to teach us through suffering as He does through blessing us with the practical benefits of wisdom. That’s why it is best to view the proverbs as observations or principles rather than as promises. We must keep both things—the practical benefits of wise living and the spiritual benefits of suffering—in tension, and trust that God knows what He is doing in each case.
That being said, we tend to be suspect of this whole idea of delighting in prosperous living. It just seems so, well, worldly. But God delights to bless His children, as any good father does. When God blesses us with a season of prosperity, we can grieve God’s father heart if we bar ourselves from rejoicing in it. After years of saving money for a house, a friend of mine was blessed to be able to purchase a lovely home. But she couldn’t fully enjoy it because, she said, “I keep waiting for the ax to drop. If God has given me this, what is He preparing to take away?” Such thinking robs both God and us of taking pleasure in His gifts. If He blesses us in some material way, we are free to enjoy it. As Solomon wrote, “There is nothing better for a person than that he should eat and drink and find enjoyment in his toil. This also, I saw, is from the hand of God” (Ecclesiastes 2:24).
Another benefit of acquiring wisdom is happiness:
Blessed is the one who finds wisdom, and the one who gets understanding, for the gain from her is better than gain from silver and her profits better than gold. She is more precious than jewels, and nothing you desire can compare with her. (Proverbs 3:13-15)
Can you think of a better definition for happiness? If we are unhappy Christians, the problem isn’t our circumstances; it’s our interpretation of our circumstances, an interpretation that’s lacking in wisdom. Even unhappy occasions can be experienced with joy and peace when we remember who has ordained them and that he has done so for good reason. Wise women know that lasting and deep happiness will never be found in circumstances but only in Wisdom, which is Christ.
One more fruit of wisdom is self-knowledge.
John Calvin said that before we can know ourselves, we must first know God. Only God really knows and understand our hearts, of course, but the better we know God, the better we will know ourselves. Self-knowledge, part and parcel of which is awareness of our personal weaknesses, is vital when it comes to resisting temptations, since temptations appeal to us in areas where we tend to be weak. Women who know God are better able to recognize where they are prone to sin and are therefore better equipped to deal with it intelligently. Knowing ourselves is a benefit of wisdom.
In vain is a net spread in the sight of any bird. (Proverbs 1:17)
All of this leaves us with a problem: We can’t do it! Who among us could ever hope to achieve wisdom such as we see in Proverbs? Wisdom is indeed impossible for us, even though, after glimpsing the benefits of it, we want to become wise women. What are we to do? The realization of our impossible dilemma brings Paul’s words to life: “God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God” (1 Corinthians 1:28-30). Christ is our wisdom, in both its characteristics and benefits. We have no wisdom of our own, but if we are in Him, we have His wisdom, which means we can grow it to fullness. In Christ “are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Colossians 2:3). If we are in Christ, those treasures are ours too.
| Why You Really Need to Unplug While on Vacation|
By Kim Lachance Shandrow @LaShandrow
Sun, sand, an iPhone in your hand. If this is your idea of vacation, something’s wrong with this
picture. Sad as it is, staying plugged in — and even working — on holiday is the new norm. For most of us, whether poolside or at the beach, or tucked away in a tent or a cruise cabin, our smartphones,
laptops and tablets are always faithfully by our side or in our hands. We don’t know when to quit.
Um, hello. Wake up, not-so-happy camper.
In case you forgot, the whole point of taking time off of work is to recharge your mind, body and soul — not your godforsaken glowing gadgets. They don’t call it digital detox for nothing. By now you should know that you have to disconnect to reconnect.
When we do temporarily kick the tech addiction and unplug on holiday — c’mon, you can do it — we
return to the office refreshed, relaxed and ready to tackle, yep, more work. When we don’t, medical
and mental health professionals warn that we’re not doing a body good. And they’re right: We suffer
from poor concentration, shoddy sleep patterns, eye irritation, sloppy posture and…let’s just stop there for now. Not to mention how dorky we look zombie-ing out on our phones when we should be soaking up the sights and engaging in good, old lowercase “f” facetime with our travel mates. Before you
brave a tech-free vacation, or even a staycation, do yourself a big favor — and your clients and/or co-workers — and give them a heads up that you won’t be answering email or calls. Basically, tell them to buzz off in a nice way and then banish the guilt. You owe yourself some tech-free downtime, worker
bee, and you know it.
Facebook, Twitter and Instagram can wait, but your health and wellbeing can’t.
Focused on the presentation of success, to attain validation
- The Achiever
People of this personality type need to be validated to feel worthy; they pursue success and want to be admired. They are frequently hard-working, competitive and are highly focused in the pursuit of their goals, whether their goal is to be the most successful salesman in the company or the “sexiest” woman in their social circle. They are often “self-made” and usually find some area in which they can excel and thus find the external approbation which they so desperately need. Threes are socially competent, often extroverted, and sometimes charismatic. They know how to present themselves are self-confident, practical, and driven. Threes have a lot of energy and often seem to embody a kind of zest for life that others find contagious. They are good networkers who know how to rise through the ranks. But, while Threes do tend to succeed in whatever realm they focus their energies, they are often secretly afraid of being or becoming “losers.”
Threes can sometimes find intimacy difficult. Their need to be validated for their image often hides a deep sense of shame about who they are, a shame they unconsciously fear will be unmasked if another gets too close. Threes are often generous and likable but are challenging to know. When unhealthy, their narcissism takes an ugly turn, and they can become relentless and ruthless in the pursuit of their goals.
Because it is central to the type Three fixation to require external validation, Threes often, consciously and unconsciously, attempt to embody the image of success that is promoted by their culture. Threes get in trouble when they confuse true happiness, which depends on inner states, with the vision of joy which society has developed. If a Three has a “good” job and an “attractive” mate, she might be willing, through an act of self-deception which is also self-betrayal, to ignore the inner promptings which tell her that neither her job nor her mate is fulfilling her more profound needs. Even the most “successful” Threes, who generally appear quite happy, often hide a deeply felt sense of meaninglessness. The attainment of the image never quite satisfies.
Threes can sometimes mistype themselves when they mistake the more superficial features of their personalities as indicators of their type. So, for instance, an intellectual Three might mistype as a Five; a Three who is devoted to her role as a mother might think she is a Two; a Three in a leadership position might mistype as an Eight and so on. Regardless of the manifestation, however, the core of the type Three fixation is the deep need for external validation.
This is a pre-stage because it begins prior to language. In this stage, the seeds of trust, courage, hope, and love are fused together and help to minimize anxiety from fear of abandonment and deprivation in an infant’s environment. At this stage, trust and the relationship with parents or a primary care giver form the foundation of later faith development. Transition from this stage begins as language and thought develop.
This stage is a time of fantasy and imitation. Children are influenced by examples, actions, and stories of care giving adults. Children’s imaginative processes are uninhibited by logical thought. At this stage, the child has a first sense of self-awareness and the strong taboos families establish around death and sex. The strength of this stage is the imagination and the interest in rich stories that provide images and symbols for their feelings and story and the ultimate conditions of existence. Transition from this stage occurs as concrete thinking develops. Children begin to make a distinction between what is real and what is imaginary. Mythic-Literal Faith: At this stage children construct a more orderly and dependable world. School-aged children begin to internalize the stories, beliefs, and observances of the communities to which they belong. The source of authority moves beyond parents to teachers and friends. Beliefs are adopted literally as are moral rules and attitudes. Stories are still a prominent way of understanding, but symbols are interpreted in a literal way. At this stage, there are right and wrong ways of behaving. Transition from this stage occurs when the child (or even some adults) begin to see contradictions in the community’s stories and myths. Literalism begins to break down and paves the way to see another’s point of view that might be different.
The first of the adult stages of faith is the synthetic-conventional. It begins in adolescence and continues through young adulthood. At this stage, individuals can reflect on past experiences to better understand what they mean. A person’s identity at this stage is shaped by roles and relationships; authority resides outside the self. Much of what a person believes at this stage has been uncritically adopted from family, background, and the surrounding culture. Expectations and judgments of others play a role in shaping how people make sense of their experiences. At this stage, people have not critically examined their values and beliefs. The beginning of a transition to the next stage often occurs when a person has a conflict with the established norms, such as wondering why one’s family approves of dating only certain kinds of people, or encountering people with different values and beliefs and questioning how people come to believe what they do. Although this stage starts in adolescence, some adults remain at this stage and do not progress to the next stage. Transition from this stage may come from contradictions among valued authority figures or critical reflection on how one’s own beliefs came to be.
In this stage, there is a shift from less reliance on external authority to more reliance on one’s own authority. People begin to question the assumptions they have made about their values and beliefs and test whether or not they are still valid. In this process, they assume responsibility for what they believe. The person’s worldview is no longer defined solely by worldviews of family or friends, and the group has less influence on values and beliefs. An individual is freer to choose friends based on her values and beliefs. People may become disillusioned with what they had formerly believed. During this time of questioning, individuals who have had a strong faith tradition may leave it for another tradition or no tradition at all. If they don’t leave it, they accept it after critically reflecting on it. This stage can occur from age 20 to age 40, but like the previous stage, some people stay at this stage for the remainder of their lives. Transition from this stage often represents an upheaval in one’s life. Disillusionment with one’s beliefs and a sense of flatness or sterility signal a readiness for something new.
This stage of faith development moves outward, away from preoccupation with the self. There is an acceptance of paradox—that something can be both positive and negative, restraining and liberating. At this stage, there is more of an acceptance that life is a mystery and that values and beliefs cannot be sorted into tidy categories of good and bad. There is an understanding that there might be more than one way of understanding truth and this allows for more tolerance and acceptance of others. The limitations of faith traditions are more apparent. The desire for balance may lead to more of an interest in community and service to others. Fowler’s research suggests that it is rare for people to reach this stage before middle age; very few people transition to the next stage.
This stage of faith is so rare that Fowler was able to document only one case in his research. People at this stage live based on the principles that they have developed over their lifetime. They are highly individual and at the same time are devoted to the welfare of others and social justice. They challenge the status quo without regard for their own welfare. People like Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Mother Teresa are said to have lived out this stage of faith.