30 Days of Intentional Living

Day 15: Is Your Glass Half Empty or Half Full

Intentional Living Day 15

Are you giving out of abundance, or holding back out of scarcity?  In this lesson, John Maxwell drew a contrast between those who give to others out of an abundance mindset and those who held back out of a scarcity mindset.  Which are you today?

We’ve been talking about living a life of significance.  We’ve been talking in this series about living intentionally so that we can make a difference in this world.  To use these two terms, those who make a difference and live an intentional life are those who have an abundance mindset.  Those who don’t live a life of significance are those who go through life with a scarcity mindset.

The difference between the two is simple:  do you see the glass as half full or half empty?  Half full means that the focus is on what we have left to use.  It means that when we give away a bit of our time, or something of ourselves to others, we believe that the glass can be refilled.  That is an abundance mindset – there is always more to replace what we have given away.

A scarcity mindset focuses on the fact that the glass is already half empty.  It focuses on what we’ve given away.  It makes us hold onto what we have left because we do not believe that the glass can be refilled.  We see things through the lens that what we currently have is all that we will ever have.  When the glass is seen as half full, we do not live a life of significance.  We do not live an intentional life that focuses on adding value to other people.  We simply go through life maintaining what we already have.

I have the opportunity to sit on many boards and committees and I see the abundance/scarcity mindsets play out in almost every meeting.  Those who believe that what they have can be replaced or refilled will try new things and spend their organizations money to further the goals of the organization.  Those with a scarcity mindset hold on to their money and do not try new things because they believe that they may need that money someday when they no longer have the resources coming into the organization.

A funny thing begins to happen with each of these groups.  Those organizations with a scarcity mindset somehow always seem to fade away and eventually die even though they tried to hoard their financial reserves to avoid that very thing.  Those with an abundance mindset have learned that the more they give away, the more they receive back.  The first organizations never makes an impact on this world.  The latter organizations are the ones that change the world.

Again, I ask the question on a personal level.  Which mindset do you follow in life?  Are you one who sees the glass as half empty (scarcity) and focus on keeping what you have?  Or, are you one who sees the glass as half full (abundance) and focus on what you can give away to empower others?  The answer to those questions will greatly determine the impact that you will have on this world!

 

30 Days of Intentional Living

Day 13: Significance Puts Cooperation Ahead of Competition

Intentional Living Day 13

When is winning, really losing?  Have you ever had an experience where you won at something, only to feel empty and alone in the celebration because you ran over everyone around you?  Oh, you might have come in first, but you stepped on everyone else to get there.  That is when winning is really losing.

In our desire to win and be successful, we sometimes win at the expense of others.  As church leaders, when we view the people in our church as tools to accomplish our goals, WE LOSE.  In our organizations, when we view our employees as workers to accomplish our goals, WE LOSE.  In our relationships, when we view our spouse or our friends as having the role of making our life better, WE LOSE.

Why?  Because we are living with a self-centered approach to life.  We put ourselves at the center of our world.  Then, everything and everyone else is peripheral.  They are there simply to help us achieve our goals in life.  That’s being self-centered!  Check out this quote from John Maxwell:

 “Self-centeredness and significance CANNOT peacefully coexist.”

It’s really amazing how things change when you move yourself to the peripheral of life and move others toward the center.  As church leaders, we help people grow and develop in their relationship with Jesus and in their leadership skills.  Then, we find that the goals of the church are being reached.  In our organizations, we train, encourage, and add value to our employees.  Then, we find that the companies goals are being met and our employees stay at our company longer than most because they want to be a part of that type of environment.  In our families, our relationships are strengthened when we put the needs of our spouse, our children, and our friends above ours.  Then, we find that our needs are met, as well.

While that may sound like an unusual direction to take, it really is nothing more than following the model Jesus left for us.  He exemplified agape love in all that he did.  That kind of love is characterized by being self-less, unconditional, and giving.  When we model that kind of love in all our relationships, WE WIN!

So, instead of competing for the win, empower others to succeed in your organization.  Then, together, everyone will win.  In order to live a life of significance, you really do need to put cooperation ahead of competition.

ACTION STEP:  Where in your life right now are you fighting for a personal win at the expense of others?  Write out a list of things that you could do in that situation to help the other person succeed.  Then, do those things and add value to their life.  In so doing, you will find a life of significance and you both will WIN.

 

 

30 Days of Intentional Living

Day 2: Walk Slowly Through the Crowd

According to John Maxwell, the single most important factor in living a life of significance is putting other people first. Do we slow down enough to engage people, showing an interest in them, and adding value to their lives? Or, do we just rush through our agenda for the day without making any significant impact in the lives of those we encounter?

As I listened to John’s video today, I reflected back to two days ago.  After being a husband and father, my main role in life is that of a pastor.  This past Sunday was a very busy day at GSN.  I had picked a family up for our worship service that morning and had to make arrangements for someone to take them home following the service.  We had a guest singing group during the service.  I had an 80 minute drive following the service to get to an appointment in the center of Ohio after the service AND I had to preach a message that morning.  With all that going through my mind, it was hard to “walk slowly through the crowd.”

I wonder how many times we miss the opportunities that lie right in front of us.  Erwin McManus calls these “Divine moments” – those times in our lives when God is doing something right in front of us that He wants us to be involved in.  Too often, we can miss those moments because we are rushing through the crowd.  On those days, like this past Sunday, when life is rushing by, I have found a couple of things help me “walk slowly through the crowd.”

  • Remember that people were ALWAYS Jesus’ priority.  Jesus was always being interrupted by people. As He went from place to place, He was always taking time to stop His travels/agenda to talk with people and meet their needs – both physical and spiritual.
  • Everything we do involves people.  The heartbeat of ministry is centered around discipleship and encouraging people to be everything that God created them to be.  At our places of employment, we need to be reminded that people are our company’s greatest asset.  Without customers, our business would fail.  In our families, we live and interact with people.  We need to take time to “walk slowly through the crowd.”
  • Live a life of adding value to people.  Walking slowly through the crowd shows people that they are important to you.  Take time to add value to the people that you meet today!

TAKE ACTION:  Today, walk slowly through the crowd, identify one person that you can spend time with, and add value to their life.  You might just change the world for one person today and find a new level of significance for your life.