1) Make yourself vulnerable
2) Demonstrate grace
3) Stand apart
4) Identify with the broken people
5) Speak life
Learn from my mistakes
Use what you have
Do everything for the Lord
BY LEO BABAUTA
I have a friend who is lonely, who has such a good heart and desperately wants to find a partner who appreciates that goodness, to share a life with.
We have all felt this, I’m guessing: this desire for a deep connection, this hope that another person will just get us and want an intimate relationship with us, the idea that if we could just find this person and merge with them, we’d be fulfilled.
What if we tossed that idea out on its head?
What if everything we need for happiness and fulfillment is within us?
What if all the requirements for fulfillment were in this very moment, not in some imagined ideal future?
What if the idea of a romantic partner who is perfect (because of their imperfections!) and who fills our every need is just a fantasy that isn’t helping us?
The truth is that even those of us who have partners know that it’s not all honeymoon, and in fact a long-term relationship contains a lot of struggle. The fulfillment that we get in life ends up (mostly) not coming from the other person, but from ourselves.
What would it be like if we let go of this fantasy of a fulfilling partner, this fantasy of a better future … and instead focused on finding fulfillment in the here and now, within ourselves?
Where We Get Fulfillment
Another person isn’t going to fulfill us — at best, they’ll make us feel better about ourselves, and listen to us. The listening part is great, but we can get that from friends or family as well. The feeling better about ourselves is a function we can fulfill on our own as well. I’m not saying a partner is useless, but I am saying that a partner isn’t needed for fulfillment.
So how can we fulfill ourselves, by ourselves?
Well, what brings fulfillment? In my experience, focusing on pleasures like food, entertainment, online distractions, sex, drugs, alcohol, and thrills … these only bring temporary pleasure, but in the end you’re left wanting more.
Fulfillment comes from something deeper — finding meaning in life, finding appreciation for the fleeting beauty of every moment, being in service of others, loving.
But we don’t need a partner for those things. We can find meaning by searching within ourselves and in the world around us. We can start to appreciate the impermanence and joyful moments around us all the time. We can be in service of others in our community. We can love anyone, from those already in our lives (even if they don’t know we’re doing it) to strangers on the street, to all living beings.
Fulfillment From Within
What if we could do all these things just sitting here, doing nothing?
What if this very moment contained all we need for fulfillment?
Try looking within:
- Stop and be still. Sit and do nothing, finding stillness and just noticing the moment.
- Notice your body, your breath, emotions that happen in your body (like a tightness in your chest, or a warmth in your heart area), your thoughts.
- See that there is constant change within you, and a loving goodness as well.
- Fall in love with all that you see, from the emotions and thoughts to the body and breath, from the impermanence to the underlying goodness.
- Reflect on a desire to be in service of yourself, and others.
- Cultivate a love for yourself and all others by radiating a wish for everyone, including yourself, to be free of suffering, to be happy, to find joy.
- Reflect on your innate connection to others — reflect on how others support your life, how the food that nourishes you is brought to you by thousands of others, how you’ve been created into the person you are because of the influences of every person you’ve met and connected with. This web of connections is how you are always a part of everything and everyone around you, a deep connection that is ever-changing and everlasting.
- Reflect on your surroundings and in the constant change and beauty that is in every single thing, in the ocean of matter and energy that you are a part of.
These and more are always available, right now and in every moment, in you and all around you.
This practice can bring fulfillment, and nothing is required but attention, appreciation, gratitude and love. You have that in you.
Does your relationship pass this test?
Whether you’re entering a new relationship or hitting a significant milestone, it’s natural to question whether you’ve chosen the right partner. We talked to Elizabeth Schoenfeld, Ph.D., director of research and evaluation at LifeWorks and frequent contributor to ScienceofRelationships.com, and Marina Williams, a therapist in Boston and the author of Couples Counseling: A Step by Step Guide for Therapists, about the telltale signs you should look for.
1. THEY’RE ATTENTIVE
Small, daily gestures of romance are an important part of a supportive relationship, especially when they align with your personal needs. If you’re feeling under the weather, for example, you’ll appreciate your partner more if he or she makes you soup rather than brings home concert tickets, Schoenfeld says. “Having a partner who notices what you need or want in a given moment and responds accordingly bodes well for the long-term potential of your relationship.”
2. THEY’RE AFFECTIONATE
Whether its hugging, kissing, or cuddling before bed, regularly engaging in some form of physical affection is key to feeling connected to your partner, according to Schoenfeld. “Generally speaking, couples who are more physically affectionate with one another tend to be more satisfied with their partners and their relationships—which makes sense, as individuals tend to feel more cared for and understood when their partners show physical affection,” she says. And being affectionate is good for our personal and mental health, too.
3. THEY RESPOND WELL TO CONFLICT
How you communicate in the heat of an argument can be a telltale sign of the status of your relationship. In fact, the amount of conflict you engage in with your partner doesn’t matter nearly as much as how the argument is handled, Schoenfeld says. In healthy relationships, each partner responds to conflict in a caring and supportive manner. “If they listen to what you’re saying, respect where you’re coming from, and respond to your disclosures by sharing their own thoughts, feelings, and experiences (without making the conversation all about them), then intimacy is more likely to flourish.”
If you are communicating poorly, however, don’t give up hope. “As a couples counselor, I always love it when the problem is communication because it’s something that’s very easily fixed, granted that the couple is willing to change,” Williams says.
4. THEY SHARE YOUR VALUES AND GOALS
While it’s okay (and perfectly normal) to have different interests from your partner, it’s important to be on the same page when it comes to long-term goals. “Differences can be great for balancing out a couple and making things more interesting socially,” Williams says. “Where I think it’s important to be similar is in your values and goals for the future.” And Schoenfeld agrees: “Prioritize similarities that have long-term implications, such as a shared desire (or lack of desire) for marriage or children.”
AN EARLY START TO YOUR GOLDEN YEARS
1. LIVE TWO TO THREE TIMES BELOW YOUR MEANS
2. REDEFINE ‘COMFORTABLE RETIREMENT’
3. PAY OFF ALL YOUR DEBT
4. CONSIDER OVERLOOKED FINANCIAL RESOURCES
5. INVEST EARLY AND AGGRESSIVELY
6. MARRIED COUPLES: PLAY RETIREMENT ACCOUNT MATCHMAKER
7. PRACTICE SOUND CASH FLOW MANAGEMENT
8. JUMP ON EMPLOYER STOCK PURCHASE PLANS
9. START THAT RETIREMENT ACCOUNT TODAY
10. PLAN SMART VACATIONS AND TRAVEL — AND INVEST THE DIFFERENCE
11. DON’T LET YOUR MONEY SIT IDLE
12. HOP OFF THE HEDONIC TREADMILL
13. LOOK FOR PASSIVE SOURCES OF INCOME
14. ENLIST IN THE ARMED FORCES
15. HIT THE ROAD OR GO JUMP IN A LAKE, INDEFINITELY
by Lawrence Powell
Nestled in the ancient text of 1 John 4 is a powerful principle for contemporary kingdom living. By this principle, we should live our lives, conduct our affairs and minister in the name of Jesus. It is found in verse 4: You are of God, little children, and have overcome them because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.
This powerful verse begins with, You are of God, little children… That is emphatic: You are a child of God! It is very important that as a believer you know who you are. If you dont, then you will live far beneath your potential. Youll live like youre somebody else! When you do not know who you are in God, in Christ, Satan will try to keep you from accepting this kingdom principle. Hell work to convince you that youre weak, that youre a loser. Hell have you convinced theres no way out, that your situation is not redeemable. Hell tell you that the sickness attacking your body will be the end of you. But youre not powerless, friend — youre more than a conqueror. Youre a winner! Youre undefeatable!
The scripture goes on to say, You have overcome them. Who is them? This term actually refers to the Antichrist and the spirit of Antichrist, which is in the world. We know from words like antiperspirant that the prefix anti means that which is against, or that which is opposed to. So, antichrist means that which opposes Christ, that which is against Christ. So this spirit of Antichrist is Satan himself, the demonic realm, the demonic agenda, not just the Antichrist personified in End Times teachings.
The spirit of Antichrist will try to deceive you and lead you astray. It will invite you to accept human reason over godly reason, temporal evidence as the facts, but-Good News!-the real fact is you are an overcomer! You may have a treasure in an earthen vessel. Your outward man may be perishing, according to the Scriptures, but your inward man is being renewed day by day. Your body is not perfect: It ages (dont we know it!). But whats most important is who we are in the spirit. While you may stand bent over in pain before a mirror and shake your head at your frailty, God may look upon you as a powerhouse of prayer and faith in the midst of your storm!
John, in his epistle, makes it very clear why we are overcomers: Because greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world. Without Jesus in us, there is no overcoming. Theres nothing we can do to save ourselves. We cannot redeem the time or make things new. Theres simply no reason for us to be self-focused or think of ourselves as self-sufficient! No, wisdom declares that we need to be God-focused. God is mighty. He is the One who can save. And He is greater than anything we will ever come against.
It is important to know who you are. Its also extremely important that you know who God is. How big is your God? How great is He? If you see Him as distant or distracted, how will His greatness reach you? If you see Him as too big for your problems, how will you cry out to Him for help? Likewise, if you see Him as a spiritual shadow, how will you have confidence that He can do anything for you? If Hes just a religious figure like Buddha or Muhammad, how can He do for you what you need to be done?
The Scriptures tell us many things about God: He is a Self-revealing God. From the opening statement in the book of Genesis, He reveals His nature to man: In the beginning, God… The Hebrew word is Elohim, the Creator God, the self-existent, eternal and righteous God. If we saw God for who He is, we wouldnt get so discouraged by the evil and godlessness of our culture. If we could keep the greatness of God before our eyes, wed be gripped by His awesome reality. Like the Bible tells us in 2 Corinthians 3:18, if we saw the greatness of God, we would be changed from one degree of glory to the next.
God is omnipotent (all-powerful, almighty); He is omnipresent (everywhere present); He is omniscient (all-knowing). He is eternal, self-existent. God is self-sufficient. He doesnt need anybody else. He can actually do it all on His own!
God is transcendent, beyond our ability to describe or fully comprehend. But although He is transcendent, He is also imminent. He is God with us. God is sovereign. God is salvation. God is love. He is holy and just. He is righteous. Everything He does is pure and right. Everything He says is truth.
God is good, and His mercy endures forever. God is faithful even when we are unfaithful. God is our Helper, a very real and present help in times of trouble. He is Jehovah Rapha, the God who heals us. He is a deliverer, a miracle-worker. And He is immutable (He never changes).
God is still on the throne, my friend! The only way Satan can ever defeat you is if you become ignorant of who you are in Christ. When you know really knowthat the Greater One resides inside you, then defeat is not an option. You will laugh without fear of the future.
We are seated together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus, and everything that is under His feet is under our feet as well. When we stand in this truth, we will see victory in our battles. When we stand unified with our other brothers and sisters in the faith, well see the kingdom of darkness pushed back and the glory of God released into our communities, our businesses, our schools, our nation, and our world!
I hope you will evict the lies of the enemy from your life today: discouragement, unbelief, poverty, sicknessyouve got to go in Jesus name! Be of good courage, believer. Lift up your head and get back to doing what God has called you to do. Greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world!
My favorite product managers are quietly powerful. Every day they take small steps that move their teams and business forward in a meaningful way. But they do it without a lot of hoopla, taking a confident yet unassuming approach.
After all, product managers have a lot on their plate every day. They are responsible for the strategy, roadmap, and feature definition for their product. It is a big responsibility that requires facilitating and collaborating with many different teams — both internal and external — without the formal authority to manage those teams. It requires a unique mix of humility and strength.
However, that quiet power does not mean leading product is easy. I realized early on that the daily life of a product manager is unpredictable, hectic, and sometimes very tough.
In the late 1990s, my first product management job was helping to roll out high-speed internet nationwide when it became a viable (and highly desired) alternative to dial-up services. We went from providing 300 lines monthly to more than 3,000 — all in a window of about 60 days. I quickly learned how to balance staying on a strategic course and managing the endless minutiae that was required to get each customer up and running.
I had always been a leader, so handling the stress and responsibility was natural for me — but I had a lot to learn about focusing my efforts on what mattered most. I soon realized that with great accountability comes great autonomy. It was up to me to prioritize what needed to get done and when.
This is great news for ambitious product managers: You have more control than you might think, no matter how hectic each day feels.
Here are five things great product managers do. Used consistently, these actions can help you prioritize your work every day and thrive.
1. Align actions to goals
To succeed as a product manager it is essential to take a goal-first approach. Prioritize what must get done that day and assess and align new work against your goals. Swiftly break through the endless tasks and chatter by evaluating each request or demand through the lens of your goals. This does not mean you should shut down disruptions as “noise” to be silenced. Embrace the interruptions that align with your goals — one may be the missing idea that makes your product wildly successful in market.
2. Connect the dots
Understand how your product serves your business — the big picture of why you are building it. This may seem obvious, but without that connection, product managers are often led astray by differing opinions, demands from internal teams, and conflicting customer feedback. Identify why your product matters to your business and to customers so you can navigate with a steady mind.
3. Solve one simple problem
You may be tempted to solve every problem for your customers. But you cannot be all things to all people. You will spread yourself too thin and lose that firm direction. Instead, focus on solving one problem at a time. I like to say, “Focus on one problem, and solve the second for free.” Tackle one problem well and new opportunities will emerge.
4. Learn from others
Invest the time and effort to learn about your product team’s core work so you can set realistic deadlines. This is especially important for teams that share resources. Ask questions and get to know the full scope of their experience and tasks. It is also important to admit what you do not know. Rely on the expertise of your extended product team to help you deliver on the promise of your product.
5. Say “no” with confidence
Not every idea will be meaningful. And, in fact, most will be lousy. Great product managers understand that saying “no” is not a one-word answer. This is your chance to explain why the idea does not make sense within your strategic direction. Do not hide from these conversations or be dismissive. Take each “no” as an opportunity to recommit to your goals — and to re-evaluate whether your aim is true.
I know this advice to be effective — but hard to follow. So be kind to yourself when you feel cornered or stuck. Stick out your chest and remember that you have more control than you think and a team at your side.
You too can achieve the quiet power that separates good product managers from great ones. Never lose sight of your goals and embrace each day with humility and strength. Now go get busy.
Discover your own power as a product manager.