The Bold & Courageous Leader Podcast: Episode 5
Welcome to the Bold & Courageous leader podcast from rhondapeterson.com. This is Rhonda Peterson your Bold & Courageous leader coach. Andee, I am so grateful to you that you were willing to be our guinea pig and go through the process of the free assessment that is now available on the rhondapeterson.com website that is called “Where Are You Investing Your Life.”
Andee: Thank you, Rhonda. Thanks for giving me the opportunity. I enjoyed it. I thought it was fun.
Rhonda: I'm glad. I'm glad you enjoyed it. I'm glad you enjoyed it. This is true. You've done a lot of them over our time.
Andee: That's true we have and they almost always bring something, some point to the fore that I need to pay attention to, so it's a good thing.
Rhonda: As I looked at your results, it was really interesting to see on the assessment how you did the part about a day-in-your-life, which is how it all starts. We ask folks to basically do a diary of their typical day and you're a great person to kind of be the guinea pig on this because you don't just have one job, you have two jobs. And you also are managing your mother's affairs and you also have grandchildren that you have responsibility for.
Andee: I have 8 of them.
Rhonda: Yes, see, so you have a lot going on in your life. Oh and you have a husband. We will even put David in there.
Andee: We probably should do that.
Rhonda: But when you did your assessment, I saw nothing on there about managing your mother's affairs or about any of the other family related things there. That's a whole component of your life that's not reflected here and when we think about how we are investing our life we might want to put that on there. Even though when I looked at how many things you had on your activities. It was plenty full without any of that on there.
Andee: And you know that's probably a very important thing to note. Honestly when I filled out the assessment I was just thinking about it in terms of the work day. I didn't read the instructions very carefully. But I think anybody who is completing this assessment needs to take a step back and look at the whole picture because the managing my mother's affairs and interacting and spending time with my husband and my grandchildren, that really is a big part of my life.
Rhonda: And that is a priority.
Andee: Yes. Yes.
Rhonda: It's just an interesting aside and there are many people who might not necessarily put that into this kind of an assessment. I don't think you are alone in that response. But I would just like to encourage people to include that. Just as you said, because that is a big part of your life. So what did you observe? The first question after you go through the process of thinking about your typical day is “what did you observe?” So tell me, what did you observe?
Andee: Even without adding my family responsibilities it really is full, my days are really full. I'm blessed because most of the time they accounted for in the assessment is time spent using my strengths. That's just a real blessing for me. It would be for anybody. I think where we can live in our strengths and operate out of those, life is much more fulfilling. Relationships are what energize me the most. My relationship with God. My relationship with our parishioners as I am a Vocational Deacon in my church. Those relationships really do energize me and that's where I enjoy spending the bulk of my energy. And of course relationships, that speaks to my grandchildren and my husband. Those are the things that bring me the most joy in life. I think the time that I spend in study and learning and preparations to preach or teach, that's a close second. And again, part of that is because it's investing in relationships. In my relationship with God and learning more about God and then in pouring out and building relationships with my parishioners through peaching and teaching.
Rhonda: And that investment leads to the relationship with other people so it's kind of the precursor so to speak.
Andee: It is. It gives me a platform.
Rhonda: To use Michael Hyatt’s terminology.
Andee: Exactly. I like Michael Hyatt.
Rhonda: I know you do. Me too.
Andee: The other big aha, I really should be calling it an aha, it was just getting it in print. You know actually looking at it. One aspect of my other job which is office manager for a psychologist is that I am at times called to entertain children while the psychologist meets with the parents. And a lot of these kids obviously, they are there because they have emotional issues or they are ADD or ADHD. I'm not really a kid person. I absolutely adore my grandchildren and I enjoy spending time with them but I don't teach children Sunday school. If I'm going to help out with Vacation Bible School, I do the behind-the-scenes stuff. I'll fix the food and I'll do that kind of stuff. I don't interact with the kids because I'm just not a kid person. When I completed my assessment I realized that really is a big drain for me honestly. There have been days, and you know, when you have talked with me and I have to go take care of a child while their parent is talking to the psychologist that I work for and it just bums me out. If I do that, sometimes at the end of the day my whole day is just blown.
Rhonda: It's not that you don't care about the children. It's just that it sucks the life out of you.
Andee: It sucks the life out of me. I hope that I'm always gracious and sweet with the kids. I think that I am, but when that part of it is done, I'm done. And the other thing that, which is no surprise, I worked in a bank for a few years and realized that I really don’t like banking. I don't like accounting. And so part of my responsibility and managing the office is to manage the QuickBooks and so every month when I have to reconcile the bank statement, that's not my favorite thing to do either. It's a stressful thing and tends to drain me as well.
Rhonda: Yes, that's why I am never the treasurer of an organization. Because I know better than to do that. That I have to do those things in my own personal finances is bad enough. I do not want to do that. There are people who are good at those things and they enjoy them. And we should allow them the privilege of doing those things.
Andee: You know, that's a good bit of what I have been teaching and preaching over the last twenty years, is to free people to serve out of their giftedness and according to their calling. And there are as you said, so many people who are really gifted at bookkeeping and accounting. I'm not. I don't even do it in my personal, my husband, God love the man, takes care of our finances. He learned that it was better that way from experience. So, for me to be doing that, and it’s ok. It’s not a big deal. It’s a small practice, but here’s something I did learn from that. I’ve recently been asked if I would do the book keeping for the condominium association that my boss is a part of. She doesn’t like when I call her my boss. That’s why I keep stumbling over that. She prefers that we are co-workers, which is a blessing. But anyway, I’ve been asked if I would do the books for the condo association. And you know, it’s not a big deal. There’s not a lot to it. I can do this. I already have to do QuickBooks for the office. What’s one more. And I was really thinking that I would go ahead and do it. And after I did this assessment I thought why would I do one more thing that sucks the energy out of me. So, I’m not going to do it. They need to find somebody else that would really, they can do it in a fraction of the time that it would take me to do it and they would enjoy it. And I don’t.
Rhonda: I love the way that you just made the statement, “They can do it in a fraction of the time that it would take me to do it and they would enjoy it.” Because that is one of the things that we don’t necessarily think of when we’re struggling with something that’s a weakness. If we are doing something that is not in our strengths, it does take us longer to do it.
Andee: Yes. It does.
Rhonda: It’s like building my website. I could do it myself but it will take me fifteen times as long as it takes someone who knows what they’re doing and they enjoy doing it. I’m not saying that we have to have enjoyment as the measure of every single thing we do in our life. There are times when we have to do the thing that we don’t enjoy. It is a blessing that you are willing to take care of those children when their parents are in meeting with the psychologist. That is a good thing that you do that, but it is a challenge and you have to acknowledge that. Because awareness is half the battle in dealing with the frustration of those kinds of things.
Andee: Yes it is.
Rhonda: So, you talked about what are the strengths and what are the weaknesses and you really have done a good job of taking those observations and translating them into what are the things that are your strengths and what are the things that tend to drain your energy. And in the assessment you identify things, whether they are strengths or weaknesses and whether they energize or drain you. Generally speaking, the things that drain your energy, tend to be the things that are your weaknesses. We talk about ways to manage these things and one of them is to delegate them to other people. And the other is to try to manage them in ways that you spend the minimum amount of time in your weaknesses and things that drain your energy. And I noticed when you did your assessment, and there was the question, is it possible to delegate the actions, your response was, “There is no one to delegate this to.”
Andee: If I remember this correctly, that was my only response.
Rhonda: That would be correct. That was your only response and there were several exclamation points after that so clearly you feel pretty strongly about that. And this is real life. It is real life that there are going to be times that we have to do things that are not in our strengths.
Andee: I didn’t mention this in doing the assessment but it’s one of the things that I come up against on a regular basis, and that’s managing my mother’s affairs. As you know, my mother had an accident last year and broke her hip and while she had already begun this decline into dementia, that just exacerbated it exponentially. So now she is in an assisted living facility and while, again, I am so blessed that my husband takes care of her financial affairs, I take care of the medical and the daily care affairs that need to be attended to. And there really isn’t anybody else to delegate that to. Now, you can argue that I do delegate some of it because she is in an assisted living facility and there are people there who tend to her needs on a daily basis or an hourly basis but overseeing that is my responsibility. I don’t have any siblings and so there is nobody else for me to delegate that part of it to. On the days when my mother is particularly confused and disgruntled and just downright angry about where she is, there isn’t anybody else to handle that but me. So sometimes it is what it is and you’ve just got to suck it up and do it.
Rhonda: That’s very true. That’s part of being a grownup and sometimes we don’t want to be the grownup. I’m just telling the truth here. But it is part of being a grownup and when it’s time to suck it up and be the grownup, it kind of just can balance against the fact that there are the things that are the strengths and there are the things that energize me that I know I will also be able to do, besides these things that drain my energy. So, even if there isn’t somebody, you’re taking care of your mother’s affairs and there is no one else to take care of these things because you are an only child, and there are no siblings there. There just is not anyone else. That is dealing with the reality and making the best of the situation. So, have you found some ways of managing the things like taking care of your mother’s affairs, like having to do the QuickBooks, that have helped you deal with it?
Andee: Yes. Going back to the office activity, one of the things that I enjoy about my work as an Office Manager is that I interact with parents of kids and that part I really enjoy. The opportunities to listen them even if it’s just nothing more than offering them a cup of hot tea or a cup of coffee and just sitting there and letting them vent for a little bit. I’m not a therapist and so I’m not offering to counsel them, but just giving them a place to just rest and to unburden themselves a little bit is a blessing. So I tend to focus on that and on those times and not think about how I’m drained when I have to take care of their children when they go and actually get some therapy. So, you know. The other thing too, my co-worker is very generous, in terms of what I do with my time when she is working with clients. And so I am able to work on other things that have nothing to do with that office management. So if I’m preparing for a sermon or needing to write a post for my blog or preparing to teach a class or prepare for a conference, I am able to work on that there. I have a lot of freedom and flexibility there. So you see it kind of balances out. Some of the work that I do there may drain me but I also have the opportunity to do things that I really do enjoy doing. It’s not a perfect deal. I tend to want to, if I’m writing a sermon or preparing a lesson, I’d like to have peace and quiet and be uninterrupted while I’m doing that in a perfect world. But the phone rings or somebody walks in the door that needs to be taken care of at the office, that kind of tends to throw me off track. But again, overall, I look at the blessing. I think that’s part of, part of it is that I’m naturally wired that way, to think about the blessings instead of the pitfalls, but I also think that’s something, a strength that people can cultivate. Because it’s a discipline. I choose to look at the good and let that influence me more than the bad.
Rhonda: And that is a powerful statement. It’s looking at what you are choosing to do to look, where you’re choosing to put your focus.
Rhonda: So, what you just said, kind of reflects what you found to be the insights from the assessment. The insight section of this, this is a five step process, you complete the assessment by listing the activities that you do in your life and then make some observations. Then you look at the activities that energize you, that’s number two. Number three is looking at the activities that drain you. And number four is insights. So, talk a little bit about the insights that you had out of this assessment.
Andee: One of the insights that came, or that I received is that sometimes I do feel drained after doing what I enjoy. But it’s not an empty, not an empty, I don’t know, a fruitless feeling. It’s more that I’m just poured out. I’m spent. And so there’s a real sense of satisfaction as opposed to feeling drained when I get done balancing the QuickBooks at the end of the month.
Rhonda: I can relate to that.
Andee: You know, if I can just go take a nap someplace and just forget until next month. Another insight was that whatever I’m doing, if it relates to people, if I can apply it to developing relationships, to building relationships, then it encourages me and it energizes me. So, you know, whenever I’m, the most satisfying areas of my life have to do with my work at the church and the opportunities that I get to pour into my kids and my grandkids. Helping them to get a glimpse of Jesus in some fresh, new ways. Those are the things that really energize me and encourage me to keep on going. I don’t really enjoy the memorizing specific content, that kind of thing, but I think my strengths leans to grasping and applying concepts and that really energizes me and excites me. So, while I enjoy studying the Bible and theological concepts, I don’t really enjoy debating those things because really what I just want to do is just grasp them and figure out, how does this apply to my daily interactions with people. If it has to do with relationship building, I’m good. If it has to do with that more technical component of anything, I'm probably less energized and interested and focused.
Rhonda: But the beautiful thing is, that there are people who would rather be in that technical world. So, it's a good thing that we have people who have all kinds of different vents, as some people call them. Obviously God created us with all different kinds of strengths and skill sets for a reason.
Andee: And if you look at 1 Corinthians 12, which is one of my favorite chapters in scripture, because it really focuses in on what does, what does the body of Christ look like? You know the body of Christ, what does that look like? Well it's not rocket science to read that and see that different people have different strengths, different gifts, that we're supposed to work together and become interdependent. We complement each other. When we don't try and do what were not created to do, but focus on what God has called us into and let the person beside us compensate for our, for the things that we are not good at because they are, everything works together so much better, so much more effectively. The interdependence is what we are created for. Our culture, of course, tells us differently. But scripture is very clear that the body of Christ is to be interdependent and we are to depend on each other to fill the gaps in our own abilities.
Rhonda: I do wish that everyone could have seen you as you were expressing that Andee because your hands were up. People I'm telling you, she couldn't have said this if we would have tied her hands behind her back because her fingers are interlaced and then they were not. And they were interlaced again and then they were not. And then they were interlaced again. It was really fun to watch. I really wish you could have seen it. So, the assessment contains one more step and that is an action step, and you had a great one.
Andee: Oh, you want us to do something with all of this?
Rhonda: Well quite honestly, you can do all the assessments in the world but if you don't take an action step, they really do not carry the amount of value that they could in a person's life. Would you share with us the action steps that you decided you were going to take, so that you could live more in your strengths?
Andee: I have to say that the day that I did this, we had 10 inches of snow, so it was a snow day. I was really excited because I was going to read and write and enjoy my solitude. I did realize that I need to make the most of my non-office time, my non-office manager time, is a better way to put that. So, I need to have a plan and I need to work that plan. I'm not, this is not my strong suit at all. I do need to focus my attention and discipline myself to do that. I need to think strategically about my calendar. One of the things I learned early on is that if I just kind of assumed that I will make time to read my Bible, it probably won't happen. But if I write it in on my calendar, then there is a little bit of accountability there. Now years down the road, I don't need to write that on my calendar but I do think I need to be more intentional about that. In A, finding a calendar that really does work for me, which is a conversation for another day. And then intentionally scheduling time when I am doing that which energizes me the most. Whether that is just sitting down and reading a book whatever, some of the books that we've been reading together as we've prepared for these podcasts have been just absolutely life-changing. And so to spend some time just really focusing on that and thinking about it instead of just, as we said earlier, do the assessment just for the sake of it and not doing anything with it.
Rhonda: Stick it in the drawer.
Andee: So, I need to do that and I need to set aside, intentionally set aside, times during the day or during the week or whatever, when I'm going to pick up the phone and call one of my grandkids if I don't have time to go by and see them. And invest in them a little bit more intentionally than what, then just waiting for it to come to me haphazardly. So in a nutshell, thinking strategically about my calendar and to do something that benefits the Kingdom.
Rhonda: Wow that's a pretty powerful way to do it and may I encourage you, as you said that planning is not something that you would naturally lean toward, that if you look at that planning as being a way to get more relationship time, that maybe that can be a motivator to slog through the planning process and find that planning process that works for you. Because there are a ton of them out there and that whole process can be a pain, in and of itself, to find the right thing, but if you can find what is meaningful for you, I would say it's going to have to be something that's heavy on where are the relationships involved in it? But that will be what takes that action step and makes it reality for you, as opposed to just one more thing that you've got to get done.
Andee: And you saying that, just made me realize that one of the things that I probably need to do as I am, as I am actually writing things in my calendar, is maybe what I need to do is just right beside it, make a note about which relationship that's going to benefit. There's something about writing. I'm not good with the electronic calendar. I use that all the time because that's what we're supposed to do. It's on my phone, it's on our computer, it's wherever we go, but I really prefer something that I write.
Rhonda: Too bad Google doesn’t have a way that you can write the event in, and I’m picking Google because that’s the latest one that I’m using. But to be able to write onto your phone to write in whatever is that you’re putting in there, that would be awesome.
Andee: Well you know, I remember when we first met, I don’t know what phone you had but you had the little stylist and you were writing stuff in. I think what you really were doing is you would use that to type, you weren’t actually writing.
Rhonda: Because I wasn’t sophisticated enough to learn to write.
Andee: Well, I’m not sure that that technology had evolved that far at that point. You and I have known one another a long time. We won’t go there. Tablets now, you can get a stylist, so you can actually write. I just don’t, there is a pencil and paper, there’s something about that, that just works for me.
Rhonda: I understand that. I can’t tell you every detail about it but I know that there is research out there that says that when we write, it makes a difference.
Andee: And I will say this too and then I’ll be quiet. Anyone who is in the same boat as I am and trying to find a calendar or a planning system that works for them, there’s so much pressure, culturally, to do it electronically. I’ve been fighting this for years. And I really think we need to get to the place where we can just say, “You know what, this just isn’t for me.” It’s great for the people that it really does work for but if it doesn’t work for you, let go of it. There are all sorts of websites out there that will help you design a planner that actually does work for your life and you can print the sheets out. I was on one the other day and I don’t remember the web address or I would share that, but you can print the sheets out and make your own planner.
Rhonda: So Andee, that is an awesome thing and I’m going to charge you with finding the name of that website so that we can put it in the show notes. Do you think you can do that?
Andee: I can find it.
Rhonda: We will put the name of that website in the show notes so if you are someone who wants to design and print out your own sheets, you can find that. So, Andee, thank you so much for going through this process with the assessment. For being willing to share and be vulnerable about what you found and for actually taking the time to do this. I would like to invite everyone who is here on the podcast to go to the show notes, we’ll put a link in there, that you can take the assessment yourself. All we’re going to do is ask you for your email address and if you share your email address, you get a copy of this assessment to figure out where you are investing your life because where you’re investing your life, it shows what actually is most important to you or where your time reflects that and if there is a disconnect there, that will be an indicator to find where are the action steps that you need to make to have that all match up better. It’s been great learning more about how that went for you, Andee. Is there anything else you would like to say about the assessment and what you found out from it before we close today.
Andee: Actually I was just thinking, as you were talking, that there’s a lot of freedom in doing this assessment and so I would just really encourage people to take the time, do it thoughtfully. Don’t do it in a hurry. I printed it out. I don’t know if you can do it online or not, because it’s a PDF.
Rhonda: It is.
Andee: If you’ve got the necessary software you can do that. I don’t. So, I printed it out so it would give me more time.
Rhonda: Besides that, then you had a paper and pencil.
Andee: That’s right. Exactly, because that’s the way I like to do it. So, don’t breeze through it and remember to include all of your day, not just the 8-5 part of it. Include all of your family. What you do from the time you get out of bed, oh and let’s include our time that we sleep as well, because that may be very revealing that you may not be getting enough rest to do what God has called you to do. So, there’s a lot of freedom that comes out of this. Do it! Do it! Do it!
To find out more about today’s topic, get downloads of our previous podcasts or to learn more about how you too can become a Bold & Courageous leader, visit rhondapeterson.com. Our ever-growing community is waiting for you. If you liked today’s show, there are three things you can do. You can subscribe to the podcasts on iTunes or Stitcher. You can give us a rating or a review on iTunes. The subscriptions and ratings help others to find us more easily. And you can help us get the word out by sharing the podcast with your friends. This is Rhonda Peterson, your Bold & Courageous Leader Coach. Thank you for listening. We’ll see you for the next Bold & Courageous Leader Podcast.
Websites discussed in the podcast:
Where Are You Investing Your Life Free Offer
Calendar Sheets: Scatteredsquirrel.com