Category Archives: Life at Home-Base

Need list – Help us get ready for 2014

Photo used by Creative Commons agreement - College Degree 360

Photo used by Creative Commons agreement – College Degree 360

As we approach 2014, we are busily renovating and equipping the two flatlets for the students who will be joining us in January next year. I herewith include a detailed list of the items we are looking for. If you or anyone you know can help with anything on this list, we would really appreciate it. Thank you for your support.

FURNITURE

Kitchen

  • Fridge
  • Microwave
  • Small microwave type oven
  • Stove
  • Kitchen shelves
  • Kitchen cabinets
  • Kitchen counter tops

Bedrooms

  • Single beds and mattresses
  • Bedside tables
  • Wardrobes
  • Carpets

Lounge

  • Coffee tables
  • Bar stools
  • Dining room tables and chairs
  • Couches
  • Computers
  • Printers
  • Desks and chairs

Other

  • Washing machine – twin tub or automatic
  • Outside tables and chairs
  • Wendy house for storage

SMALLER ITEMS

Linen

  • Single duvet insides
  • Single duvet covers
  • Pillows
  • Sheets and pillow cases

Kitchen

  • Cutlery
  • Kitchen utensils
  • Plates, sideplates, bowls and dishes
  • Pots and pans
  • Kettles
  • Toasters
  • Dustbins
  • Brooms
  • Mops
  • Buckets
  • Irons
  • Toilet brushes
  • Washing lines
  • Clothes horse

Other

  • Notice boards
  • Stationery for studies
  • Books (educational reference books, dictionaries & novels)
  • Cell phones for 4 students
  • Clothes, shoes and accessories for young men and ladies aged 18 – 21

If you wish to donate any of these items, please email Nicky on homebasenicky@gmail.com (happy to collect if possible).

Exciting news – Our first four Home-Base students are confirmed

Home Base Young People 2014

Nicky and I have just returned from Swaziland where we blessed to be able to meet with our four Home-Base students who have been confirmed for 2014. They will be joining us early in January. Please pray with us over the next while that we will be able to get their study visas organized and that all of the details of preparing their accommodation will flow smoothly. God is so faithful and we are incredibly blessed to be able to share our lives with four wonderful young people.

#7 – Your mindset determines your success?

converse-fields

“The world as we have created it is a process of our thinking. It cannot be changed without changing our thinking.” (Albert Einstein)

I am more and more convinced that ones success or failure in life depends on one’s mindset – how you think. Indeed, if I look back at how I have led, I am struck by how my most effective leadership has been when my mindset has been right. If my thinking has been wrong, my leadership has not been my best. If my thinking as a father and husband has been wrong or focussed on the wrong things, then my connection with my wife and girls has suffered. The Bible makes it clear in Proverbs 23:7 that “as a man thinks in his heart, so is he.” The philosopher René Descartes echoed this sentiment in his famous quote: “Cogito ergo sum” – “I think, therefore I am.” Bruce Lee (not famous for his philosophy) made the same point, “The spirit of the individual is determined by his dominating thought habits.” What thought patterns dominate your thinking? What is shaping and influencing the way you think?

I have recently been reading an incredible book that has been the inspiration for this particular blog-post. Entitled Mindset: The New Psychology of Success and written by Carol S. Dweck, this book has challenged me incredibly in my thinking. Nicky and I have been having some arguments of late and in these arguments – being the flexible understanding guy that I am – I always decide unanimously that she is wrong and that my view or opinion is the correct one. In leadership I have found myself being too sensitive about stupid things and have taken challenges to my leadership too seriously. My thinking has impacted both my relationships and my leadership.

As I read this book, I realized with a shock as well as a good measure of embarrassment that I have been wrong. The basic premise of the book is that we either have a fixed mindset or a growth mindset. To give an example, if on a given day one gets the results of an exam back and realize that one has failed, and that on this same day a friend brushes you off. Those with a fixed mindset would take these setbacks very personally – they might decide that they cannot succeed in that particular subject and that they are failures. They would either withdraw from the friendship or fight back in a nasty way. Those with a growth mindset would look at these challenges and although perhaps they might feel distressed, they would look at the challenges and find a way to overcome them. They would not take failure personally. They are not a failure but they merely failed a test. Now to be honest, if I looked at this scenario, I have a fixed mindset. I do take things too personally and often see a challenge as a personal affront rather than as something to be overcome. This has been hard for me to realize as I so much want to be right, but I have realized that I need to grow in this area.

WHICH MINDSET DO YOU HAVE?

Read the following sentences from Dweck’s book? Which do you mostly agree with and which do you mostly disagree with?

  1. Your intelligence is something very basic about you that you can’t change very much
  2. You can learn new things, but you can’t really change how intelligent you are
  3. No matter how much intelligence you have, you can always change it quite a bit.
  4. You can always substantially change how intelligent you are.
  5. You are a certain kind of person, and there is not much that can be done to really change that.
  6. You can always change basic things about the kind of person you are.

If you tended to agree more with questions, 1, 2 and 5, then you have a fixed mindset. If you tended to agree more with questions 3, 4 and 6 then you have a growth mindset.

WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT?

Dweck demonstrates in her book that those with a growth mindset tend to be more successful in life and relationships, while those with fixed mindsets tend to not have as much success and are often stopped in their tacks by challenges. The following diagram from her book illustrates the flow of ideas from a fixed mindset and from a growth mindset and how this impacts upon life.

fixed vs growth

THE GOOD NEWS

Having seen the challenges of having a fixed mindset, I was eager to change. This road for me has not been easy, but Dweck makes it clear that moving from a fixed to a growth mindset is possible – not always comfortable – but possible. Dweck provides some great practical insight on how partners, parents, teachers and employers can make small decisions to help change their mindsets so I would encourage you to read her book to learn more. For me, the most important and helpful realization was that I had a problem and that I needed to think differently. This is a daily journey. Now, if I get into an argument or feel threatened by criticism or change, I ask myself: Which mindset am I reacting out of? Am I taking this too personally and shying away from growth? Am I stepping up to the fight and overcoming the obstacle in my way instead of just giving up or withdrawing?

I would encourage you to read the book and I would challenge you to think about the way you think. You can change your thinking, you can grow in your intelligence and your view of the world. You can overcome obstacles and can succeed. Author, Denis Avey noted: “The mind is a powerful thing. It can take you through walls.” I pray that you will think more and that you will break down some significant walls in your life.

NEXT WEEK: Profile of an educational institution

#6 – Identifying Your Interests

alejandroescamilla-white-shoes

 

“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose. You’re on your own, and you know what you know. And you are the guy who’ll decide where to go.” (Dr. Seuss)

Which direction will you choose? What choices are you going to make as you search for a career? As mentioned in my last blog post, there are thousands of possible careers, each requiring specific skills and abilities. This is both daunting and exciting. This is daunting as the variety of possibilities can be overwhelming. This is exciting as the opportunities to grow and learn are huge.

This week we start to explore your interests and passions. We all have things we love and we all have things we hate. As we go through our days, both at work and at play, there are certain things that energize us and certain things that drain us. I, for example, am energized by finding new ideas and exploring new possibilities and information that I can pass along to others. I am drained by too much social interaction, especially if I do not get the chance to step back and breathe in between social events. My wife is different, too much repetitive detail drains her, but interaction with others energizes her. We all have things that we would love to do more of while we avoid other things that just don’t grab us.

To build a sustainable and effective career, you need to ensure that you are doing something that builds you up rather than breaks you down. You need to journey in the direction of a career that interests you and energizes you rather than building a career that bores and drains you. Thinking through and narrowing down your interests (this blog-post) and your strengths (see upcoming post) helps you to ensure that as you journey towards your career, your shoes are heading in the right direction.

 

THE HOLLAND/RIASEC CODES

John L. Holland, a psychologist, attempted to help make this journey clearer by creating what have come to be called the Holland Codes. These codes are sometimes referred to as the Holland Occupational Themes (RIASEC), which is a theory of careers and vocational choice. Each letter or code stands for a particular type: Realistic (Doers), Investigative (Thinkers), Artistic (Creators), Social (Helpers), Enterprising (Persuaders), and Conventional (Organizers). These codes have been used by the US Department of Labour for more than 20 years to help people identify which careers best connect with who they are and what interests them.

The diagram below illustrates these 6 codes:

  • RIASEC

REALISTIC PEOPLE: Are often interested in mechanical activities; prefer activities that allow them to use their hands; allow them to work alone rather than with others, and use machines, tools and equipment.

INVESTIGATIVE PEOPLE: Are often interested in mathematical or scientific activities; prefer activities that involve learning about new subjects or allow them to use their knowledge to solve problems or create new things and ideas.

ARTISITIC PEOPLE: Like activities that allow them to express themselves through some type of artistic medium; like activities that allow them to be creative, do something original and work according to their own rules.

SOCIAL PEOPLE: Often prefer activities that allow them to interact with others; like activities that involve working with and helping others and that involve teaching.

ENTERPRISING PEOPLE: Tend to prefer activities that allow them to influence others; like activities that are fast paced and require them to take on a lot of responsibility or leadership.

CONVENTIONAL PEOPLE: Prefer activities that allow them to use organizational, clerical and arithmetic skills; prefer activities that require attention to detail and accuracy.

 

CAREERS LINKED TO THESE CODES:

The table below illustrates some of the key careers associated with these codes:

HOLLAND CODE

CAREERS

Realistic Farm workers, Airline Pilots, Riggers, Miners, Police officers, Plumbers, Electricians, Grounds-keeping workers, Medical technicians, Housekeepers, Firefighters, Foresters, Carpenters, Taxi drivers, Technicians, Drivers, Construction workers, Tilers, Boilermakers
Investigative Engineers, Astronomers, Biochemists, Doctors, Fire Investigators, Microbiologists, Dieticians, Chemists, Scientists, Pathologists, Market researchers, Surgeons, Urban and regional planners, Veterinarians, Zoologists, Biologists, Detectives
Artistic Actors, Architects, Choreographers, Dancers, Editors, Film editors, Graphic designers, Hairdressers, Makeup artists, Models, Animators, Music directors, Musicians, Painters, Photographers, Writers, Announcers, Reporters, Singers
Social Teachers, Health Educators, Funeral attendants, Occupational Therapists, Nannies, Nurses, Child care workers, Dental Hygienists, Pastors, Medical assistants, Massage therapists, Personal Trainers
Enterprising Food service manager, Purchasing managers, Salespeople,  Judges, Magistrates, Financial Managers, Detectives, Chefs, Flight attendants, Lawyers, Bartenders, Financial Advisors, Real Estate Agents, Travel agents, Marketers, Buyers
Conventional Accountants, Actuaries, Dispatchers, Database administrators, Cost estimators, Licensing Inspectors, Tellers, Treasurers, Clerks, Proof-readers, Editors, Bookkeepers, Human Resource assistants, Librarians, Medical Secretaries, Statisticians, Researchers, Receptionists, Web-developers, Software developers

For the complete list of jobs categorized according to the RIASEC codes, see here.

 

TAKE THE TEST:

To discover what your RIASEC score is, I would encourage you to take 15 to 20 minutes to take the following test here.

This web-resource is easy to understand and once you have completed all of the questions it will provide you with a summary of your results. You can then explore these careers further by going here.

Alternatively, you can simply search for further information on any career at this web-resource.

I would encourage you to look for connections between your findings on the personality profile and on this interest assessment. What is the combined message? What careers are these tools pointing you towards? What careers are they pointing you away from?

 

NEXT WEEK: Your mindset determines your success?

 

#5 – Making Wise Career Choices

  • Career choices (unsplash)

“Choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life.” (Confucius)

Each of us has a story that has defined our lives and made us who we are. In this blog post, my focus will be on starting to get more specific about choosing a career, whether you are a young person making these choices for the first time, or someone a little older rethinking who you are and where you would like to go.

I would like to start with a story of a young man called Nkululeko. I first met Nkululeko several years ago when he arrived for interviews we were running for applicants to a hospitality training school. Nkululeko impressed us as a panel as, although his background was difficult and although he came from rural Swaziland, he had a burning hunger to grow. We accepted him into the class and spent six months working with him and watching him grow. His enthusiasm for life was infectious, his ability to connect with guests was brilliant and his willingness to teach and grow were impressive. He graduated from the course at the top of his class and was quickly offered a job at a local hospitality establishment. There he connected with a guest and was invited to attend a butler training school in Cape Town. Again, the right attitude and his passion to grow propelled him to the top of his class. As he finished this course, he secured a job at a seven-star hotel in Dubai. His journey took him from rural Swaziland into the luxury of one of the most expensive hotels in the world. He has now been there for 30 days and seems to be enjoying the journey immensely. I am sure that he will continue to grow and prosper.

Nkululeko’s story is important as it illustrates several elements of a journey towards career choice: he was hungry to grow, he has been prepared to work hard to attain his dreams, he has fought to overcome the obstacles that have come his way and most importantly it is clear that he has found his groove, the pathway meant for him. These are all elements that we need on this career choice journey – the right attitude, a willingness to grow and work hard, perseverance through challenges and a sure knowledge that we are on the right journey. The focus of my next several blogs will be upon finding the right path.

In the past, this path seemed to be a lot easier – you were either born into a particular path (for example, if your parents were farmers, you probably grew into a farmer); you had a particular path because of your gender, your race or your social class; or you could pick from a relatively small group of potential careers – doctor, nurse, teacher, pastor, lawyer, accountant, salesperson, etc. These days, the number of career options can be overwhelming. The South African Department of Higher Education and Training has created an index of possible occupations in southern Africa called the Organising Framework for Occupations (OFO). This document highlights thousands of possible careers.

How do you then start to narrow down your options?

If you think of a soccer game, the key elements of the playing field are the field (a certain size with lines and boundaries) and two sets of goal posts. You then have the players and the referee who play the game according to certain clearly defined rules, and you have coaching staff who ensure that the team are ready to give their best when the game starts. Then you have the ball, which is kicked across the field and hopefully into the goal to win the game.

A career choice has some of these elements. The playing field is the economic and social environment of the world in which we live. This environment defines which careers have potential for the future and which careers are less relevant today, both in terms of need but also in terms of financial sustainability (I will explore this in a future post). The two goals in my analogy are your personality – I have explored this in a previous post – and your interests – see next week’s post. The coaches are those people who can help you define how best to play and how to score goals when you are on the field. These coaches may be parents or other family members, teachers, mentors, pastors or career guidance professionals. The players are all of the people who are playing the game and competing for the ball. The ball is your dream.

In order to help you narrow down your career choice, you need to understand your personality (see here) to give you an idea of which careers fit your personality. You then need to define your interests, your strengths and your passions. Combining the results of these elements will give you a good understanding of what kind of career you should explore. You then need to check that your choice will work on the playing field of 21st century life. My next blog will explore your interests by providing you with an easy assessment to help you narrow down your choices. I look forward to seeing where this journey leads us.

Resources to explore:

There are a number of great resources which provide information on possible careers and will help you in this journey:

I would encourage you to start exploring these resources.

Next week: Identifying your interests

 

 

 

#4 – Personality test

                      Photo by Hatalmas (www.flickr.com)

“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” (Ralph Waldo Emerson). 

We live in a world bombarding us with who we are supposed to be. As we watch television, read magazines, read articles on-line, watch the lives of Hollywood or sports stars, we are presented with a picture of what success looks like, what beauty is supposed to be, what happiness should sound and feel like. As much as I like things like Facebook, again there is a subtle competition to gain more friends, to get ‘liked’ more. Even with this blog, my pressure is to collect more followers. All of these elements start to define who we are.

My challenge to you this week is to understand yourself first, to truly learn how to be yourself. In my growth and development, understanding who I am has been one of my greatest gifts. As a quieter, more reserved person, I saw myself as flawed in some way compared to the noisy, extroverts out there. Only once I realized that it is normal and in fact great to be an introvert, could I make the choice to allow my introversion to work for me, rather than against me. I realized that I am not alone in needing my own space, I discovered that this gives me certain strengths that others do not. I discovered that I am not broken but simply have different things to contribute to life.

Which personality test?

There are a huge range of personality tests out there. Indeed, doing research for this post, I typed in the term “personality test” in Google and found 4 380 000 results. How do you sort out the strange from the helpful? In my career, particularly with my background in human resources and training, I have probably done 10 different personality tests. The good news is that although they all use slightly different terminology and titles, they generally painted the same picture of who I am.  Some of the more popular personality tests are DISC, Myers-Briggs, the Big Five and the Keirsey Temperament sorter. One of the original personality tests talks about four temperaments – sanguine (pleasure-seeking and sociable), choleric (ambitious and leader-like), melancholic (analytical and thoughtful) and phlegmatic (relaxed and quiet).

Which personality test should you do? There are a number of very insightful personality tests out there. Which one you complete depends a lot on the budget you have available as well as what you want to gain from the test. The most helpful personality test which I completed was the Insights Personality test (www.insights.com), which unfortunately was more costly but provided me with a detailed report (roughly 20 pages) summarizing who I am. However, I have also completed some great personality tests at only a portion of the cost. I particularly liked the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (www.myersbriggs.org) and DISC (www.thediscpersonalitytest.com). The cost with many of these tests comes in because the source material, including the research underlying the tests, are copyrighted. In addition, because personality tests can define you and frame your future, it is generally best (and often required) that feedback on these tests be given by a psychometrist, psychologist or coach. Please contact me via homebasedennis@gmail.com if you would like a recommendation to a South African practitioner.

What now?

Now, as you read this, you may be asking yourself – isn’t there an easier option? I would like to encourage you to try to complete an online version of Myers-Briggs test which is available on-line for free. Carve out 30 minutes of free time over the coming week and when you are ready, complete the following three steps:

  1. Do the online test here – http://www.16personalities.com/
  2. You will then receive a four-letter code – ENFJ, ISTJ etc. This code summarizes your personality type and distinguishes you from the 15 other kinds of personality types which the Myers-Briggs personality test focuses on.
  3. At the base of the page follow the links that provide you with further information on this personality type, such as careers, relationships etc. More information on these four letter personality profiles can be found here – http://www.personalitydesk.com/types – Click on your code to find out more.

But I don’t have time!

Alternatively, if you can’t find the time for such a long test, watch the following 7 minute video. Listen carefully to the prompts and record your four-letter code.

Go to the You Tube video here – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WQoOqQiVzwQ

Now go to the following website: http://www.personalitydesk.com/types to find out more about your personality.

Conclusion

This is the first step in finding out more about who you are, what your strengths and weaknesses are, and for those not sure of what career path to foll0w, a good indicator as to what field will suit your temperament best. Once you have the test results, then talk to others about them and ask them whether this does indeed describe you. Use the information you glean from this to understand yourself better. Happy exploring!

Do the results of this personality test describe who you are? Does it help?

NEXT WEEK: Exploring careers

 

NOTE: To all my regular followers, please accept my apologies that I did not post a blog last week as is my commitment. Nicky’s father sadly passed away so our focus was necessarily elsewhere. My commitment is to be as regular as possible with this blog and I always aim to have a new blog available by the end of day every Wednesday.

#3 – Personality 101

Biblioteca comunale di Castiglione delle Stiviere (MN), scalinata by Giulia Van Pelt (Flickr)

“Personality is the glitter that sends your little gleam across the footlights and the orchestra pit into that big black space where the audience is.” (Mae West)

As a father of four precious daughters, I get to see personality every day. Each one of my daughters, although they share elements of who my wife and I are, are unique individuals with unique personalities. They look at life, respond to issues and behave in situations in totally different ways. It would be a lot easier to parent them if they were all the same, but the fascinating thing is that they are so different. My eldest daughter is enthusiastic, dramatic and loves the company of people. My second-eldest on the other hand loves pottering with things on her own and needs one-on-one time rather than group time. Each of them has a unique way of responding to life. This unique way of being is our personality.

The word personality comes from the Latin word persona, which referred to a theatrical mask worn by performers in order to either project different roles or to disguise their identities. In terms of its modern use, personality can be defined as the characteristic patterns of thoughts, feelings and behaviours that make a person unique. Each individual has a specific personality and this personality remains fairly consistent throughout our lives. As someone once said: “Personality arises from within and makes us who we are.”

My personality is different to that of my wife. I am more introverted, preferring my own company and more comfortable listening to conversations, rather than being the centre of attention. My wife on the other hand loves social interaction, although she is shy when meeting new people. Once she gets to know people, then she is happy to be the centre of attention and can usually be found telling people stories and enthusiastically sharing life. She speaks her thoughts out loud while I tend to keep my thoughts to myself. My personality makes me unique and because it is made up of so many different elements means that I have something very different that I bring to the world than the next person.

Positive and negative personality traits

Each of us has certain actions, attitudes and behaviours that together make up our personality. We bring these elements into every situation we face, into every relationship and into our careers and world of work. Positive personality traits connect us with others, open doors to success and contribute to us taking steps forward in our lives. Positive traits can include being:

  • Adventurous
  • Dependable
  • Committed
  • Fearless
  • Encouraging
  • Reliable
  • Helpful
  • Humble
  • Meticulous
  • Trusting
  • Confident
  • Fair

Negative personality traits hold us back. They disconnect us from relationships, keep us in bondage to our past and undermine who we have the potential to be. Negative traits include being:

  • Picky
  • Sullen
  • Sarcastic
  • Arrogant
  • Self-centred
  • Impulsive
  • Quarrelsome
  • Thoughtless
  • Stingy

Personality and careers

We bring our personalities, including these personality traits, into our relationships and into our careers. Certain personality types work best in certain careers. For example, someone who is shy and introverted does not necessarily make the best salesperson who has to go out every day and face new people. On the other hand, someone who is meticulous and detailed would make a perfect architect or accountant where detail is important. Indeed, in a recent article titled How I Hire: Focus on Personality, Richard Branson noted that personality is more important than skill in determining career success.

An important step in finding the right career fit for each individual is thus to understand your personality. What makes you tick? What energizes you and what drains you? What are the unique elements of who you are that you can bring to your career and which can make you a success or a failure in what you do?

Over time, a large number of personality tests have tried to answer this question. In next week’s blog, I will point you towards some personality tests that I have found most helpful. Until then, I would encourage you to take time to notice what is unique about yourself. How are you different to the next person?

What thoughts, feelings and behaviours make you unique?

NEXT WEEK: Personality tests – discovering who you are …

#2 – Mirror, Mirror on the Wall …

 

Mirror, Mirror

“For the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: ‘If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?’ And whenever the answer has been ‘No’ for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.” (Steve Jobs)

One of the realities about the journey is that your fellow travellers change from season to season, but one thing is certain, you will be with yourself every step of the journey. As the title of this post suggests, this week we begin to turn the mirror on ourselves. Philosophers have through time highlighted the importance of us knowing ourselves. I remember walking into my first coaching session several years back, desperate for answers from the coach and eager to be ‘fixed’, to be given a solution that would sort out my issues, iron flat my insecurities and generally sort me out. I was, however, surprised by my coach’s first question: “So …” – and this is all she said. I was left to fill in the very uncomfortable silence and was challenged to take the time and find the space as well as the silence to know myself more. I soon discovered that the role of a coach is not to give advice, to mentor or to provide one with answers to life’s challenges, but to hold up a mirror so that I can see myself more clearly.

As we turn the mirror towards ourselves today and in the next couple of weeks, we will learn more about ourselves, our personalities and our interests. Several resources have been helpful to me on this journey, starting with Sir Ken Robinson’s book, Finding your Element, which provides a detailed exploration of the best questions to ask oneself to help discover one’s talents and passions. The classic book on personal discovery and career change, What Color is Your Parachute? also proved most helpful.

 

As we embark on this adventure, I would like to ask you to do the following.

 

  1. Be honest with yourself. Honesty is very liberating. I remember how freeing it was when I made the bold step to start admitting I had insecurities, to start realizing that I had blind spots and then to boldly ask people I respected for wisdom to deal with my issues.
  2. Create a journal. I have for years written a prayer journal in which I have not only written down some prayers but have detailed my learning, battles and victories. This exercise was helpful as I could differentiate the emotion from the reality; I could look at things more clearly and could see progress in my own growth and development. As I was describing my battles, I could look back days, weeks and months later and see how these battles worked out and what I could learn from these. Busyness has caused me over recent months to stop this process, but just this week I have started journaling once more and amazingly enough, I already feel more in touch with myself.
  3. Take time on your own. One of my biggest challenges is that I love distraction. I am easily distracted by the Internet, Facebook, a good book as well as the needs and issues of others. If you are going to get the most out of your journey, make sure that you take time on your own to think, to ask yourself hard questions and just to listen to your heart.
  4. Be still. Busyness is the disease of our time. Studying top leaders, I have seen that many of them take the time to be still. Fresh ideas, great innovations and amazing discoveries require that we be silent and work to still our minds. In the Bible, God challenges us to, “Be still and know that I am God”. We can only reach our full potential if we are pause long enough to hear Him and connect with our own hearts.
  5. Explore your shadow. I recently started reading an encouraging book, called The Tools, which provides some useful wisdom and good tools on dealing with the challenges of one’s own mind. In the book the authors note that we all have a shadow, part of who we are, a reflection of all that we see as wrong with ourselves. My shadow is a small painfully thin 10 year old boy. I can either accept this picture of myself or choose to look beyond this shadow to see myself as the man, father, husband and friend who God created for great things. What does your shadow look like? The amazing thing is that once you shine light on a shadow, the shadow fades away.

I would challenge you to take these next steps. You deserve the time and the space to put the focus on you.

When you look in the mirror, what and who do you see?

NEXT WEEK: Personality 101

 

 

 

 

 

 

#1 – Drawing others towards hope

Hope by Pol Sifter (http://www.flickr.com/photos/polsifter/)

Hope by Pol Sifter (http://www.flickr.com/photos/polsifter/)

“In a world filled with hate, we must still dare to hope. In a world filled with anger, we must still dare to comfort. In a world filled with despair, we must still dare to dream. And in a world filled with distrust, we must still dare to believe.” (Michael Jackson)

“We all need someone to believe in us”. These are the words of a Swedish business person I recently listened to. These words struck a chord in me. The more I thought about them, the more I felt that they rung true in my life. I have been blessed in my journey to have had parents who believed in me, a loving wife who saw more in me than even I could see and countless people along the way who have called out the best in me. As some of you may know, I studied archaeology. Whilst at university, I was in the class of a professor who, together with his wife, saw something in me. They challenged me to dig deep within who I am and importantly, they believed in me. Each one of these people in my life saw potential where I saw pitfalls. They helped me to put my fears and insecurities aside and reach for my future.

Whether you are a young person starting the career journey, a parent guiding someone on this journey or a fellow traveler like myself, my challenge to you is to make sure you surround yourself with people who believe in you, but also that you reach out and believe in others. In the Bible, Matthew 17:5 talks about Jesus going down to the river Jordan to be baptized. As He was emerging from the water, a voice (the voice of His father) spoke from heaven, declaring: “This is my beloved son, in whom I am well pleased.” God the Father was declaring to His son that he is special, that he has potential and that He is pleased with his son, even though he was only at the start of his ministry here on earth. In fact, Jesus had not as yet performed any miracles, had not overcome the temptation in the desert and had not paid the ultimate sacrifice for our lives yet.

Often in life we try to work hard to get approval, wear the right clothes, have the right brand of cell phone or drive the right car, all to make ourselves fit in and receive approval from others. Jesus, before he did the significant things He did (which were world-changing), was a son first. He was affirmed by his father for who He is, rather than for what He was going to do. Father God delighted in His son and in a similar way delights in us more for who we are than for what we do.

I believe that the Father spoke to Jesus with these words before His ministry had started in order to affirm His faith and belief in His son and what He had been called to do. The Father was recognizing the potential in His son and, in fact, calling out this potential. Again and again we see in the Bible that God called out people who in their own minds were weak – He called out Moses, David, Gideon, Esther, Ruth and the 12 disciples. He saw something in each of these individuals which the world did not see, and set them on a road to become history-changers. We all need someone in our lives who is willing to call or draw out our potential, to see more in us than we can recognize on our own.

I remember the story of Carly Fiorina, who went on to become the first woman CEO of a Fortune 500 company, Hewlett-Packard. She had started college, had dropped out and was working as a temp typist at a small company. Two businessmen visiting that company worked with her. They saw something in her and challenged her to study further. She herself says that the fact that somebody believed in her has given her the strength and the confidence to reach the top (http://carlyfiorina.com/).

We all need someone who believes in us. As a Christian, I walk a daily journey with Jesus who I know sees more in me that I do in myself. As a husband and father, my wife and girls draw out the best in me as they believe in me. I have many people in my life who I respect and cherish. They believe in me and inspire me to take bold steps forward even when the going gets tough. This is one of the reasons Nicky and I started Home-Base. We worked with orphaned and vulnerable children in Swaziland for three years and started to see these young people not as statistics but as very real people with their own dreams for the future. Our passion is to come alongside these young people, to believe in their dreams and to call out their best, God-given potential.

My daily challenge to myself is to ask myself, “What can I do today to draw out the best in someone else?” I often fail and find myself focused on myself and my own needs way too much. The thing is that it is often easier to find the worst in someone and to draw out the worst. We very easily find faults and become so focused on these that we see little of anything else. My wife has worked in the printing business and I have been amazed how many times people come to her and point out a mistake in the printing. It might be a word misspelled or a grammatical error on one page. The magazine might be brilliant in every way, but people often choose to focus on the problem, rather than that which is good. In life we are often like this. As parents we tend to look for the fault in our children and chastise them, rather than seeing the creativity and life bubbling up and working to draw this out. As managers we see the weaknesses of our teams but fail to recognize and appreciate their strengths.

Are you seeing the potential in others? Are you working to call out the best in your teenage child? Are you looking for faults or encouraging the heart of your employees? We all need someone to deliver hope – we all need someone who is willing to look beyond the wrinkles and the problems and see the potential. We are called to be hope-creators rather than soul-destroyers.

What can you do today to draw out the potential in someone?

How can you act today to inspire hope?  

NEXT WEEKS POST – Mirror, mirror on the wall

Journey

Journey to Midway (Kris Krug)

“The seeker embarks on a journey to find what he wants and discovers, along the way, what he needs.” (Wally Lamb – The Hour I First Believed)

Welcome to my blog … welcome to my journey! One year ago, sitting in church, God spoke to me clearly, reminding me that He delights in me. I was at a turning point in my journey, battling through many things internally and externally. This reminder came at the right time. I needed someone to believe in me. I needed someone to bat for me and He reminded me that I am not alone on my journey. This blog is an expression of my journey. God has put a passion in me and in my lovely wife Nicky to believe in others, to call out the passion and the destiny that God has for each person. Home-Base is the fruit of this passion, a project focused on calling out the potential and destiny of orphaned and vulnerable youth and seeing them step into their gifting and calling. A key part of this project is helping young people identify (1) who they are and (2) what career they should focus on for the future.

This blog is an outflow of that passion. In this weekly blog I hope to take you on a journey.  If you are young, need to feel young, are a parent, or like myself are on your own journey, my prayer is that you will join us for an amazing adventure. As we travel over the coming weeks, I will be exploring the following areas which are all important in this journey:

  • Personality – We will explore who you are and what makes you tick?
  • Interests – We will identify your interests. What do you love? What energizes you? How can you connect these to a career?
  • The economic environment – What does the world need? Which careers are hot and which are not?
  • Educational institutions – There are thousands of educational options out there for young people. I will review many of these and give you insight to help you make wise decisions for yourself or to help your children make the right choices.
  • Careers – I will also profile career options through interviews with people in these careers. This will give you a personal view of what these careers entail so that you can see if these grab you.

If you do want me to send my blog post to you directly, or have specific topics you would like me to discuss, please email me on homebasedennis@gmail.com

I am so excited about sharing this journey with you.