mission-thinking

it is very healthy to take some time for yourself in order to evaluate your past, take a deep look at your current situation and plan for the future. this kind of  evaluation is important, because it can help you to know where you belong. many people just live with the flux of everyday questions. when you stopped evaluating your role in the society, your position in your work career, your aim for the future, i think you might be close to a burnout or you activated the autopilot mode in your life. things just happen, you just live from one day to the other. doing new things can easily insecure you, having new acquaintances unease you, dreaming of better and focusing on improvement  are missing.

what can help you getting over this phase in your life, you might ask? i propose you a small exercise, if you are willing to give a try. i named it mission-thinking.

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of course, those who know how much interested i am in theological studies, might think that now i want to make a point on some Christian techniques or a sort of convertion. well, they are wrong -maybe-
we live a time of almost total secularization of the word mission. you go to army and you are sent out to the field-work, you already have a mission to complete. or, you work in business, you have to know the mission statement of your company. the word mission has been dechristianised during the years. but the meaning and context we use this word in is the same: you have an aim, you want to reach a goal, you are willing to fight for something- you have a mission, or a vision (the way i called this in a prior blog post).

 

so, here’s my suggestion and the theoretical background of my mission-thinking conception:

when you think about the things you are doing, or you would like to do, try to see them as missions. you should reevaluate the most important aspects and parts of your life. in which things do you see a mission?
– what you learn will be only an income source, or it’s also something you really want to live for?
– your role in the society, as a volunteer, member of an organisation, church member or simply as neighbour is the way you really want to add to your fellow-beings?
– is your hobby meaningful enough to make you feel you are actively doing something, or it is just a way you say goodbye to the world and become lonesome?
if you really think what you are doing is more than getting over the everyday tasks, you need to say it’s not only a must-do thing, but it is your mission. i think this phrasing is more powerful than having a goal, reaching an aim…

so, take some time reassess things and say it out loud what is your mission.

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burn-out and what leads to it

it’s always busy around this period of the year. fully packed agenda, numerous tasks to finish, lots of traffic, many presents to be bought, people to meet and greet.
i have particularly lot’s of things to do before and during this Christmas -so will be from now on every year and it’s not that i’m complaining!- this is why the question of burn-out preoccupies me in a special way.

in the search for understanding what’s happening with overloaded people and how to prevent burn-out, i got to read Anselm Grün on burnout prevention. the benedictine states that most of the times he observes five motives that lead to burn-out.

but before reviewing the five, let me make it clear for everyone: stress and burn-out are not the same. being very busy and tired from being overcharged, having a lot of things on your schedule and not coping to finish what has to be done does not mean that you have a burnout. learn to distinguish stress, tiredness (and maybe the inability to organize yourself better) from burn-out !

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  1. perfectionism – most people try to do their best, but there are people who are not satisfied with themselves and they try to achieve 150%. be careful now, even 100% can’t be achieved – only maybe in heaven. why aiming higher, when the must-need thing is to do your job properly? you will put plus wight on your shoulders. if you try to put the standards higher than needed, you are the only one to blame for not being able to complete what you have planned. burn-out can strike when you try to do more than imaginable.
  2. being outward – people try to satisfy others, try to live up to others expectations and behave in a way others would like to see them. it’s not you living anymore, but the one others expect from you to be lives on your behalf. you need to answer expectations, but you don’t need to fulfill every each of the expectations.
  3. building wrong image of yourself – perfectionism is an inner process, being outward has to do with the surroundings. when the two of them are both present you get a mixed up stream of consciousness. you don’t work enough on your identity and for this reason you get to be changed in someone you don’t know anymore. it’s good to sit back from time to time and make it clear who you are and who you became. revert every time to the authentic self.
  4.  tiredness – this is simple. it’s biology. we all reach a point where we need to stop. don’t put too much strain on yourself. take some proper rest. have you ever heard of power naps? now you did. apply them.
  5. disappointment – this theme is very wide. it can be that you don’t get enough positive feed-back or you simply don’t take time to reflect on your activity. reflection gives you the opportunity to think through experiences, both good and bad. you have to admit yourself from time to time that you had failures, but you need to see also your successes. reflect not to be deflected.

 

instead of burning out, watch for these five causes and head forward like a fast car with a burnout.

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leadership models (II) – have a vision

the business leadership book of John P. Kotter called Leading Change inspired me especially on how to organize a group and in many other ways. but the most intriguing and original ideas for me were the ones the author wrote about leaders and ways to lead. he writes a comparison example that helps to understand the difference between a usual and a great leader. here is our case: three different groups of 10 people each are having picnic. suddenly a rainstorm is coming. so here it is how the three different leaders of the groups react.

(1) in the first group the leader says something like: get up and follow me! we need to get under cover – and expects everyone to do that. no explanation, no reasons to interpret. he uses only the authority.

(2) second group, the leader says: okay here is the plan. we will take up carefully everything we used for the picnic, everyone it’s own belongings first, than we shall help others, and after that we will try to reach a safer point, and from there we can actually see new possibilities in order to… and the whole group got wet already!

(3) the leader of the third group acts as following: it’s going to rain in a few minutes. why don’t we go under that huge apple tree. we’ll stay dry and we can eat some apples for dessert.

they say, the last leader is the best. because he has a vision. it’s not only that the group does what is necessarily to do, but also gets a reward, gets a further motivation. gets a vision. and a vision is always giving a new direction for the people, it’s easily imaginable and desirable and can be easily explained.

with the help of the book and mainly thanks to this story, i realized the importance of having a further plan, something that won’t keep me busy only for a few months, but will keep me incorporated in my everyday life.

don’t get me wrong. i’m not talking about long term plans, wishes or dreams. i’m talking about a vision.

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i have the feeling that burnout strikes in when people stop being visionaries. they might have some plans, things they want to achieve, cases they want to fight for, places they would like to visit, tasks that are engaged with, but these are things everyone can easily have -voluntarily or in a vegetative way-

having a vision means to be flowing. to be persistent. having a vision is not the type of lifestyle when you ask yourself who you want to be in 10 years and where do you imagine yourself being in 20 years. having a vision means to have a comprehensive view of your whole life, aims, dreams, spirituality, status.
having a vision means to have a panoramic view of your life.

i’m not talking about general dreams. i’m talking about visions.