Connecting With The Big Rocks In Your Life!

Many of us have heard the story of rocks, pebbles, and sand filling a jar.  If not I have pasted it below.  See all of us have large rocks in our lives that are extremely important to us.  The problem with the culture of the times is that the less important things (pebbles) seem to consume all of our time pushing out any room for the larger rocks, the items that we will cherish at the end.

As time goes on, sometimes larger rocks get replaced with other rocks that seem to have more meaning in your life.  At times the rocks still stand but you have not had any time due to the pebbles in your life.  I recently have had to opportunity to reconnect with a large rock in my life, music.  I have played the trumpet since I was in middle school.  A very long time…..but I digress.  I have always found some great peace in playing and practicing my horn.  While I did give it a run for a time in my life, I moved ahead to other achievements to help provide for my family.  While my time is limited, I have been able to play more over the last few months.  My son has decided to start playing so it has been another activity for us to spend time together.

This has really just rejuvenated me in my daily life to sit back and take some time to do something that I really enjoy.  Another thing that I can do with my kids and family, much like archery.  Part of the resurrection of playing has been good.  Lots have changed since I was last playing actively.  The internet is so widely ingrained in everything we have that it is so much easier now to find sheet music.  I have spent some time practicing old etudes that I just loved and some that were my complete nemesis.  Much like the Charlier No. 2 Du Style.  Love and hate this thing so much.  But with the internet, easy to find recordings of and be able to listen to how other artists play.  A great recording of this song can be heard here.

Just remember, there is more to life than the pebbles.  Don’t fill your jar with pebbles first.  You won’t have time for the rocks!

A teacher walks into a classroom and sets a glass jar on the table. He silently places 2-inch rocks in the jar until no more can fit. He asks the class if the jar is full and they agree it is. He says, “Really,” and pulls out a pile of small pebbles, adding them to the jar, shaking it slightly until they fill the spaces between the rocks. He asks again, “Is the jar full?” They agree. So next, he adds a scoop of sand to the jar, filling the space between the pebbles and asks the question again. This time, the class is divided, some feeling that the jar is obviously full, but others are wary of another trick. So he grabs a pitcher of water and fills the jar to the brim, saying, “If this jar is your life, what does this experiment show you?” A bold student replies, “No matter how busy you think you are, you can always take on more.” “That is one view,” he replies. Then he looks out at the class making eye contact with everyone, “The rocks represent the BIG things in your life – what you will value at the end of your life – your family, your partner, your health, fulfilling your hopes and dreams. The pebbles are the other things in your life that give it meaning, like your job, your house, your hobbies, your friendships. The sand and water represent the ‘small stuff’ that fills our time, like watching TV or running errands.” Looking out at the class again, he asks, “Can you see what would happen if I started with the sand or the pebbles?”

Moments of Truth. Difficult, but worth it.

I am currently reading “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team” by Patrick Lencioni.  In the story, the new CEO of a tech company is put in a position to have to confront one of her team members.  While she was put in the position she resisted the temptation to confront the team member via email and knew that it was a moment of truth for her as a leader and that it needed to be done face-to-face.  I won’t ruin the book for you but I felt her she handled this situation above reproach.

Recently, I received an email from a staff member outlining a long list of issues that needed to be addressed by our administrative team that impacted their department.  There were many of these issues that we could not address.  We simply did not have the resources to tackle all of this issues.  At the end of the day, we had to make a decision that was best for kids and preparing them for graduation and life.  One of these concerns we easily dealt with and took care of the concern.

Now when I addressed these concerns, I did so in an email.  After reading this part of the book and how the new CEO handled her particular situation, I reflected back about if I should have sent that in an email or went to them in a face-to-face conversation.  Doing so in an email did make it easier, but was it better?  I struggle with this day in and day out.  I believe the most important quality in any leader is the outgoing need to develop relationships with the people that you lead.  Did sending this email help that or hurt that?

I would love to hear your thoughts.  Please post comments below.

You will run out of tomorrows….. What will you do today, for those that need you?

I recently read a tweet (pic below) from Danny Steele (@SteeleThoughts) that had me thinking more about the power of relationships. While every leader in the world would stress the importance of relationships, some do not practice this life skill or have the passion to do so. I have been so blessed to have many good examples of relationship builders in my life.

With the recent passing of my father-in-law, I have spent more time in reflection than I normally have in the past.  Most of my reflection has been centered on the importance of relationships and how they are so crucial in all aspects of life.

My father-in-law Dave was a teacher at a small school middle in Oregon for 21 years.  During his 21-year tenure, he had many impacts on students, parents, and community members like many teachers do.

This morning I overheard my mother-in-law reading a message to my wife that she received from a lady that was connected to the school.  In her message, she said that she did not get to know Dave well other than the few interactions that she had with him during his time at the school.  She said that all of the kids that left that school to head on to high school have been hit very hard by the loss.

This is just one story of the students and parents that have been hit with this loss.  There have been hundreds of others.  Phone calls, cards, trains, planes, and cars have come from all areas of the country to be with him in his final days, and after, just because he put them first before himself.  A prime example of servant leadership.

But, did he realize the impact that relationship had on them?  Did he know that the relationship that he had with them would impact their lives forever?  Do any of us know this?  Whether we know or not, the relationships that we have with others will set their path along with ours on a different course forever.  What course do you want the relationship to go?

Today, you have a choice in each relationship that you have.  Whether at work, home, church, or the community.  How do you want that relationship to move forward?

  1. Listen twice as much as we talk.  This is why we have two ears and only one mouth.  Use them in that proportion.
  2. Let your yes be yes and your no is no.
  3. Do unto others as we would have them do unto us.
  4. Never let the sun set on our anger.  We are not guaranteed tomorrow.  We only have today to make a difference.

We were designed to be a people that crave and need relationships within our daily lives.  Without these relationships, we are nothing but an empty shell riding this rock until the end of our days.

We are all in this together.  You will run out of tomorrows, so what will you do today, for those that need you?  Dave would say “We cannot change who we are, but we can change who we are going to be.”