Monday, April 23, 2018

Designing Your Life

Chapter 9

1. Every great design was made great because there was a design team that brought that project, product, or building to life. Designers believe in radical collaboration because true genius is a collaborative process. We design our lives in collaboration and connection with others, because weis always stronger than I- it’s as simple as that.

- Why is this true?  Why is this hard at times?

2. Everyone participating in your life design effort in one way or another should be thought of as being a part of your team, but there are different roles to be played, and it’s useful to name them.

            Supporters -
            Players -
            Intimates -
            The Team -

- Briefly review the role of each, along with examples in your life.
3. That last part - the conversation - is the most important. As far as rules go, we use just four in our Stanford teams. Keep it: 

1. Respectful 
2. Confidential 
3. Participative (no holding back) 
4. Generative (constructive, not skeptical or judging)

- Again, provide examples demonstrating the value of each.

4. Your life design effort will be greatly enhanced if you’ve got a few mentors participating with you. We make a clear distinction between counsel and advice. “Counsel” is when someone is trying to help you figure out what you think. “Advice” is when someone is telling you what he or she thinks.

- Provide a situation where each has worked well; and has backfired.

5. Mentors can make a particularly valuable contribution to your discernment process when it’s time to make choices. Important decisions are seldom easy, and there are lots of competing issues and trade-off considerations that conspire to make it awfully noisy in your head. The mentor can listen to you dump out all the stuff going on inside you and help you to make sense of it all, sorting it into the big stuff, the small stuff, and the irrelevant stuff.

- Who serves as this type of mentor for you?  Why is it effective?

6. Now, you’re probably wondering where you are going to find all these great mentors. We suggest that there are many more people capable of giving good mentoring than there are good mentors...all you really need are mentor-capable people from whom you can extract a mentor contribution. You just have to be the initiator. Specifically, ask him not so much to tell you what he’d do as to use his insights and experience to try to help you sort out your own thinking.

- Where has this approach proved useful to you as a mentee?
- Where have you served as a mentor in this capacity?

7. To find a “community” as we intend it, you’re looking for a group of people that shares most of the following attributes:

            Kindred purpose -
            Meets regularly -
            Shared ground -
            To know and be known -

- Review these attributes and share how each has benefitted you.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Designing Your Life

Chapter 9

1. In life design, being happy means you choose happiness. The secret to happiness in life design isn’t making the right choice; it’s learning to choose well.

- Over the years, what have you learned from poor vs. good choosing?
- What examples can you offer of each?

2. In life design, the choosing process has four steps….

Step 1: Gather and Create Options
We won’t spend any more time on option generation here, other than to tell you (again) to write your Workview and Lifeview, to create mind maps, do your three Odyssey Plan alternatives, and prototype conversations and experiences.

- What have you learned about yourself from this first step?

Step 2: Narrow Down the List
So, what exactly do you do with too many options? Simple. Get rid of some. First, if it turns out that a lot of your options group together into categories, you can break your list down into smaller sub lists. That may help you get to your top contender for each option type. But eventually you’ll be in that overwhelmed-by-too-many-options place and have to get rid of a bunch of those jams. How? Just cross them off your list. If you’ve got a list of twelve options, cross out seven, then rewrite your list with just the remaining five on it and go to step three.

- Where do you encounter too many options?  How do you downsize?

Step 3: Choose Discerningly
Now, once you’ve done the preliminary work of gathering and narrowing down, the hard part starts: actually choosing. The key to step three is to make discerning decisions by applying more than one way of knowing, and in particular not applying just cognitive judgment by itself, which is informed but not reliable on its own. We aren’t suggesting making only emotional decisions, either. We’re inviting you to integrate all your decision-making faculties, and to be sure you make space so your emotional and intuitive ways of knowing can surface in the process.

- Where have you found it necessary “to listen to your knee or your gut or your heart” as part of your choosing wisely?

When you finally get down to making a choice from your narrowed-down list of alternatives, and you’ve cognitively evaluated the issues, and emotionally and meditatively contemplated the alternatives, it may be time to grok it. To grok a choice, you don’t think about it - you become it.

- Now you have a new word to add to your vocabulary!  Examples?

Step 4: Let Go and Move On
The perception that there are gazillions of possibilities that may have been great but that we never got to is a powerful force against being at peace with our choice making; even if we don’t know what it was, there must have been a better option out there, and we missed it. The key is to remember that imagined choices don’t actually exist, because they’re not actionable. We revel in exploring a few possibilities, then taking action by starting with a choice. Only by taking action can we build our way forward. So, let’s get better and better at building by getting better and better at letting go of the options we don’t need any longer. This is key to choosing happiness and being happy with our choices. When in doubt… let go and move on. It really is that simple.

- What is your experience with letting go of too many options?

3. Designers don’t agonize. They don’t dream about what could have been. They don’t spin their wheels. And they don’t waste their futures by hoping for a better past. Life designers see the adventure in whatever life they are currently building and living into. This is how you choose happiness. And, really, is there any other choice?

- How does this summary speak to your present & future goals?

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Designing Your Life

Chapter 7 

1. How many of you are currently looking for a new job?  None?  I thought so!

- Over the years what specific process did you utilize to get hired, either in a paid or volunteer position?
- How was that process different or similar to the advice from this chapter?

2. Imagine that you are 30-something again…

- What would you have to do differently to get hired today?

3. Lutheran clergy participate in an ELCA-wide call process.
(Pr. Mark now explains the process in mind-numbing detail.)

- How is the call process for clergy unique and beneficial to the church?

4. Expanding the scope of this chapter, many “seekers” today “shop” for potential church homes in similar fashion to their seeking the right job, using the internet as a key tool for exploration.

- What does St. Mark offer to “seekers” looking for a church home?

- How would you, as one of the “owners tasked with hiring,” persuade seekers to consider joining our congregation?

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Designing Your Life

Chapter 5 - Do an Odyssey Plan

In preparation for our morning meeting on February 22, please do the following in advance.  Then bring your worksheet with you to Panera for discussion.

1. Create three alternative five-year plans, using the worksheet provided.

2. Give each alternative a descriptive six-word title and write down three questions that arise out of each version of you.

3. Complete each gauge on the dashboard — ranking each alternative for resources, likability, confidence, and coherence.

4. Present your plan to a small group at our Panera meeting.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Designing Your Life

Chapter 3

1. Wayfinding is the ancient art of figuring out where you are going when you don’t actually know your destination. For wayfinding, you need a compass and you need a direction. Not a map - a direction. Think of the American explorers Lewis and Clark. Wayfinding your life is similar. What you can do is pay attention to the clues in front of you, and make your best way forward with the tools you have at hand.

- Where has “wayfinding” proven useful in your life?
- Where has it proven unsuccessful?

2. Flow is engagement on steroids. Flow is that state of being in which time stands still, you’re totally engaged in an activity, and the challenge of that particular activity matches up with your skill— so you’re neither bored because it’s too easy nor anxious because it’s too hard. People describe this state of engagement as “euphoric,” “in the zone,” and “freakin’ awesome.”

- When are you most apt to find yourself in the flow?  Why?

3. After engagement, the second wayfinding clue to look for is energy. Human beings, like all living things, need energy to live and to thrive. Men and women used to spend most of their daily energy on physical tasks. Nowadays, many of us are knowledge workers, and we use our brains to do the heavy lifting. The brain is a very energy-hungry organ. Of the roughly two thousand calories we consume a day, five hundred go to running our brains.

- What ratio of daily energy is physical vs. mental for you? 
- How do you prepare for both of these energy demands?

4. Here’s another key element when you’re wayfinding in life: follow the joy; follow what engages and excites you, what brings you alive. Most people are taught that work is always hard and that we have to suffer through it. If it’s not fun, a lot of your life is going to suck. Now, what makes work fun? It’s not what you might think. It’s not one unending office party. It’s not getting paid a lot of money. It’s not having multiple weeks of paid vacations. Work is fun when you are actually leaning into your strengths and are deeply engaged and energized by what you’re doing.

- Please offer an example of when you’ve experienced such joy.

5. There are two elements to the Good Time Journal:
* Activity Log (where I record where I’m engaged and energized)
* Reflections (where I discover what I am learning)
The Activity Log simply lists your primary activities and how engaged & energized you were by those activities. We recommend that you make Activity Log entries daily, to be sure to capture lots of good information.

- How might this exercise benefit you in surprising ways?

6. After a week or two, when you’ve got a decent body of entries in your Good Time Journal and you’re starting to notice some interesting things, it’s time to zoom in and take the exercise to the next level. Typically, after you start to get the hang of paying more detailed attention to your days, you notice that some of your log entries could be more specific: you need to zoom in to see more clearly. The idea is to try to become as precise as possible; the clearer you are on what is and isn’t working for you, the better you can set your wayfinding direction.

- What will it take for you to look at your life more closely?

7. Your past is waiting to be mined for insights, too— especially your mountaintop moments, or “peak experiences.” Peak experiences in our past— even our long-ago past— can be telling. Take some time to reflect on your memories of past peak work-related experiences and do a Good Time Journal Activity Log and reflection on them to see what you find. Those memories have stuck with you for good reason. You can make a list of those peak experiences, or write them out as a narrative or story.

- What is one major peak experience you can share with others?

Monday, January 15, 2018

Designing Your Life

Chapter 1

1. Usually, we define our problem by what’s missing, but not always. And the bottom line is this: We’ve all got problems. Sometimes those problems relate to our job, sometimes to family, or health, or love, or money, or any combination of these things. Sometimes our problems can feel so overwhelming that we don’t even try to solve them. We just live with them - like an irritating roommate we constantly complain about but never get around to evicting. Our problems become our story, and we can all get stuck in our stories. Deciding which problems to work on may be one of the most important decisions you make, because people can lose years (or a lifetime) working on the wrong problem.

- How have you tended to define the problems in your life thus far?

2. These are all gravity problems, meaning they are not real problems. Why? Because in life design, if it’s not actionable, it’s not a problem. Let’s repeat that. If it’s not actionable, it’s not a problem. It’s a situation, a circumstance, a fact of life. It may be a drag, but, like gravity, it’s not a problem that can be solved.

- Give examples of what distinguish problems from situations.

3. The key is not to get stuck on something that you have effectively no chance of succeeding at.  The only response to a gravity problem is acceptance. And this is where all good designers begin. This is the “You Are Here” or “Accept” phase of design thinking. Acceptance. That’s why you start where you are. Not where you wish you were. Not where you hope you are. Not where you think you should be. But right where you are.

- Why is this such a difficult recognition for us? 
- What is required?

(For the remaining questions, please discuss in pairs.)

4. Your Health Gauge - As we said, healthy to us means being well in more than just your body; you might want to take into account your mind and spirit, too. The relative importance of each area is entirely up to you.

- Make a quick assessment of your health and then fill in your gauge. Are you a quarter full, half, three-quarters, or really full?

5. Your Work Gauge - Make a list of all the ways you “work,” and then “gauge” your working life as a whole. We are assuming that there are things on your list that you are getting paid to do. This will include your nine-to-five job, and your second job if the first isn’t enough, and any consulting or advising you do, etc. If you are a regular volunteer in any organization, figure that in, too. If you are a homemaker, like Debbie, make sure you remember that raising children, providing meals for your family, taking care of aging parents, and doing housework are all forms of “work.”

- Make a quick assessment of your health and then fill in your gauge. Are you a quarter full, half, three-quarters, or really full?

6. Your Play Gauge - Play is about activity that brings joy just for the pure sake of the doing of it. It can include organized activity or productive endeavors, but only if they are done for fun and not merit. We contend that all lives need some play, and that making sure there is some play in our day is a critical life design step.

- Make a quick list of how you play and then fill in your gauge.
Are you a quarter full, half, three-quarters, or really full?

7. Your Love Gauge - We do think that love makes the world go around, and when we don’t have any, our world isn’t as bright and alive as it could be. We also know that we have to pay attention to love, and that it arrives in a wide range of forms. Our primary relationship is where we go first for love, children typically come next, and then it’s a flood of people and pets and community and anything else that is an object of affection. And it is as critical to feel loved by others as it is to love— it has to go both ways.

- Where is the love flowing in your life, from you and from others? 
- Make a list. How full is your gauge?

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

The Cost of Discipleship, by Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Chapter 31-32

1. On pages 273-4, Bonhoeffer writes, “Hence, the ultimate purpose of God, which is to establish a holy community, is at last fulfilled in the Body of Christ.  God dwells in it with the Holy Spirit.  How does all this come to pass?  How does God create a community of saints out of sinful men and women?  The answer is that God justifies himself by appearing as his own advocate in defense of his own righteousness.  And it is in the cross of Christ that this supreme miracle happens.”

- Yes, we are wading into deep theological waters here.  How would you describe this miracle of redemption through the cross?

2. On pages 276-7, “The proclamation of the death of Christ for us is the preaching of justification.  The means whereby we are incorporated into the Body of Christ, that is, into his death and resurrection is baptism.  Just as Christ died once and for all, so we are baptized and justified once and for all.  Both events are in the strictest sense unrepeatable.  Only repeatable is the recollection of the event that happened for our sake once and for all, and it needs to be repeated daily.”

-  Explain how Jesus’s death & resurrection are directly linked to God’s gracious act of baptism on our behalf.  What do they share?

3. On page 279, “Sanctification means that the Christians have been judged already, and that they are being preserved until the coming of Christ and are ever advancing towards it.  All this has a threefold significance for the community of the saints.  First, their sanctification will be maintained by their being clearly separated from the world.  Secondly, it will be maintained thorough their walking in a way which is worthy of the holiness of God.  Thirdly, their sanctification will be hidden, and they must wait for the day of Jesus Christ.  Sanctification is therefore possible only within the visible Church.”

- How do you experience sanctification through acts of separation from the world, walking worthy, and waiting for Jesus’ return?

4. On page 287, “The community of the saints is not an ‘ideal’ community consisting of perfect and sinless men and women, where there is no need of further repentance.  No, it is a community which proves that it is worthy of the gospel of forgiveness by constantly and sincerely proclaiming God’s forgiveness (which has nothing to do with self-forgiveness).  It is a community of men and women who have genuinely encountered the precious grace of God, and who walk worthily of the gospel by not casting that grace recklessly away.”

- How has being a part of this grace community shaped your understanding and claiming of God’s forgiveness.

5. On page 296, “We cling in faith to Christ and his works alone.  For we have the promise that those who are in Christ Jesus will be enabled to do good works, which will testify for them in the day of judgement. They will be preserved and sanctified until the last day. All we can do is to believe in God’s Word, rely on his promise, and walk in the good works which he has prepared for us.”

- “Believe, rely, walk”… these are the good works that carry us forward in faith.  How do they define your “life journey” today?

6. On pages 302-3, “If we are confirmed to his image in his Incarnation and crucifixion, we shall also share the glory of his resurrection.  We shall be drawn into his image, and identified with his form, and become a reflection of him.  That reflection of his glory will shine forth in us even in this life, even as we share his agony and bear his cross.  Our life will then be a progress from knowledge to knowledge, from glory to glory, to an ever-closer conformity with the image of the son of God.”

- As you look at your life in its entirety, where has Christ’s reflection in you shone most brightly?
- Where are you experiencing “progress” toward conformity with Christ?