How to Get Unstuck and Find Your Sweet Spot

Happy Friday!

I’ve been toying around with this idea to make Friday a “Resource Friday” and then post about a book, podcast, or article that would add value to you. What do you think?

Today’s resource is another podcast that I listen to. It’s called The Ken Coleman Show. Do you feel stuck where you are? This is an excellent podcast to find the direction and motivation you’ve been needing.

Ken Coleman is an expert on leading people to find fulfillment in their careers. That’s where he finds his passion; helping people get unstuck is his specialty.

Each show contains inspiring quotes and a time of him tackling a specific way for you and I to make progress in our careers. Then he hits the phones to give practical advice to struggling listeners.

His signature goal is to help others find their sweet spot, that is “where your top talents and top passions intersect.” I highly recommend this podcast if you aren’t in your dream job already. It will help you avoid the life drift that Michael Hyatt warns against in his book Living Forward.

What are you doing today to get yourself to grow for tomorrow?

Jesus’ Actions That I Don’t Understand

For many years, as I’ve read through parts of the Gospels, I’ve been confused by a certain action of Jesus’. Let’s look at Mark 7: 31-36.

Then he returned from the region of Tyre and went through Sidon to the Sea of Galilee, in the region of the Decapolis. And they brought to him a man who was deaf and had a speech impediment, and they begged him to lay his hand on him. And taking him aside from the crowd privately, he put his fingers into his ears, and after spitting touched his tongue. And looking up to heaven, he sighed and said to him, “Ephphatha,” that is, “Be opened.” And his ears were opened, his tongue was released, and he spoke plainly. And Jesus charged them to tell no one. But the more he charged them, the more zealously they proclaimed it.

My immediate reaction is

Why would Jesus command people to tell no one?

In Luke 7: 18-23, John the Baptist asks Jesus from prison if He is the Messiah. Jesus doesn’t say “What the heck, John? I thought you knew I was the Messiah!” Instead, He says to John’s followers

Go and tell John what you have seen and heard: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, the poor have good news preached to them. And blessed is the one who is not offended by me.

Why Doesn’t Jesus give a straight answer?

The ESV Study Bible suggests that Jesus’ command to not tell anyone about the miracles is because He didn’t want people to follow Him only because of the miracles he performed. That makes sense to me but I want to look at it from a slightly different angle.

Personally, I wonder if Jesus wants people to come to their own conclusion about Him.

Think back to when you were in grade school and you couldn’t remember how to spell a word (it still happens to me, dang it). To resolve the issue, you may have asked a parent how to spell it. And what did they say?

“How do you think you spell it, Caleb?”

I suspect your parents didn’t use my name unless you and I have the same name in which case, that is awesome. My point is this: If I could spell the word correctly, it was more likely I would remember how to spell it correctly in the future.

Your own conclusions

When Jesus doesn’t give straight answers in the Gospels, I wonder if He’s trying to get people to come to their own conclusions about Him (of course, within the context of the Holy Spirit’s work in their lives). I think that when people come to their own conclusions about Jesus being the Savior of the World, it gives them much more clarity and strength in their spiritual lives.

When I was growing up, I was a true believer in Christ and what He did for me on the cross. I went to church because that’s where my parents took me every week. When I hit college and spent much more time away from home, my parents, and my comfort zone, that was when I really took my faith as my own. Yes, I was a Christian before that.

However, I see that as the time when I came to my own conclusions about Jesus. 

It was when I really took my faith to be my own. It wasn’t just what my parents believed. It was my belief and I believe that was something that caused my faith to increase. I owned it and it helped solidify my faith in Christ for when I entered the real world.

Why do you think Jesus doesn’t give a straight answer?

I honestly want to hear what you think in the comments below! What conclusions have you come to about Jesus?

-Caleb

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Thank you to Wendy van Zyl from Pexels for the use of her photo! Check out her Instagram here.

Graduated and Clueless Audiobook is on it’​s Way!

Guess what! I’m working on the audio version of my book Graduated and Clueless: How to live like an adult when life is confusing. I’m excited about it!

This whole year so far has felt like it has been defined by work. I’ve been on a pretty big project since January helping to redesign our largest rock crusher (yeah, we manufacture freaking rock crushers). It’s FINALLY almost done.

Which means I get my life back.

Which means I can finally get to recording this audiobook.

Yes, that is tape across the top and bottom of my reflection shield. It’s gotta stay together somehow.

If you ask any audio professional (and many non-professionals), it’s a pretty janky setup. I’m kind of proud of it though. Right now, I’m tweaking settings so I get as good of audio as possible.

I could have had a professional do it but I chose against it.

For one, I don’t want to pay someone right now to do it for me. Even more so, I wanted it to be my voice reading it. And I can’t afford studio time.

When I listen to an audiobook (last year, I listened to over 20), I understand when an author has a professional read his or her book, but I think it’s so much more personal if the author reads it himself or herself. This book is pretty close to me and I wanted it to be in my own voice so that I can give it the emotion that I think it deserves.

The release date is temporarily set for May 1st.

That way, I can get it out and ready for the next graduating class to give it a listen.

Click here to get the print copy today!

Growth Podcast You Need to Listen to: Entreleadership

Hey all, happy Friday!

When I drive my 45 minutes to work everyday, I like to take advantage of what renowned author and speaker Zig Ziglar called “Automobile University.” Sure, music is great. However, I have so much time in the car that I want to use it to learn something. Otherwise, I might just ironically listen to Rodney Atkins’ “Take a Back Road” again while driving the highway.

Entreleadership is one of the many podcasts I listen to every week. I recommend it for you as well!

It’s a podcast for those who are entrepreneurs and seek to grow in their leadership skills. It covers topics of personal and business growth, leadership, and money. Every week there is an interview with a professional in any number of business fields.

There is a book called Entreleadership as well which I have read. Both the book and the podcast come highly recommended from me if you are interested in helping yourself grow in 2019!

If you want a good app to listen to audio books on, check out this blog post.

Till next time!

-Caleb

The Culture Code (Book Review)

Last August, my boss gave me a performance review where we went over professional goals for the coming year. One of my goals was to read two books on company culture and make four suggestions to my boss for ways we could improve our own company culture.

Based on a reading list from Entreleadership, this book, The Culture Code by Daniel Coyle, was added to my list. Here is a review of it!

Coyle begins by highlighting the foundation of “culture.” He says

We focus on what we can see — individual skills. But individual skills are not what matters. What matters is the interaction.

He then moves on to examples of company cultures and how those interactions make a difference on overall productivity.

The author lays it out into three skills that determine a company’s ability to develop a strong culture: build safety, share vulnerability, and establish purpose.

Build Safety

Coyle talks about how companies have good culture based on the fact that interactions are safe. This is not to say that people cannot give opinions. On the contrary, merely that feedback is actually welcomed by bosses and that opinions won’t be criticized in a demeaning way.

This is accomplished by members giving cues of belonging which can be split into three different qualities (p. 10 and 11).

1. Energy: They invest in the exchange that is occurring.

2. Individualization: They treat the person as unique and valued.

3. Future orientation: They signal the relationship will continue.

Coyle uses an example from a research study in which an individual was placed in a team to see how a toxic attitude would affect the culture of the team. Jonathan, the leader of the group (and unaware of the study) managed to maintain his team’s positive culture while engaging the individual doing the research. This made his team many times more effective in its projects compared to all other teams in the study.

Jonathan’s group succeeds not because its members are smarter but because they are safer. (p. 5).

Ensuring everyone has a voice is another way safety is developed in a company or a team. If a boss is known for forcing employees to do whatever he or she thinks is best without discussion, no employees will feel that it is an environment conducive to making suggestions. Which brings us to our second point of a strong culture.

Share Vulnerability

Anyone who is comfortable sharing vulnerability will increase the effectiveness of their culture. It means showing team members your lack of perfection. It means opening yourself to suggestions from your team.

In one example, Coyle talks about David Cooper, a man who helped develop the intricate and intensive training of Navy SEALs.

When Cooper gave his opinion, he was careful to attach phrases that provided a platform for someone to question him, like “Now let’s see if someone can poke holes in this” or Tell me what’s wrong with this idea.” He steered away from giving orders and instead asked a lot of questions. (p. 138)

The way Cooper shared his vulnerability was by letting his men know that his suggestions weren’t always right. And by doing that, he was building safety.

Establish Purpose

This is a constant reminder of what the shared goal is. People want to know what they are fighting for! Establishing purpose over and over is what keeps employees motivated to work with others to accomplish the end goal.

This is the way high-purpose environments work. They are about sending not so much one big signal as a handful of steady, ultra-clear signals that are aligned with a shared goal. They are less about being inspiring than about being consistent. They are found not within big speeches so much as within everyday moments when people can sense the message: This is why we work; this is what we are aiming for. (p.198)

Recommended for anyone who works with others

This is an excellent book for anyone to read who is involved in a team of any kind. You don’t have to be a leader in order to help build a productive culture!

And you can pick it up at Thriftbooks which is where I like to get all of my physical books. It’s a great way to get used books for a very reasonable price. Click the photo below to check it out!

The Culture Code

Profound Impact List: Jim Stalder

I make a habit of writing blog posts about those who have been a major influencer in my life. It’s called my Profound Impact list. It’s my tribute to those who I have looked up to in life and remember fondly in death. The first one of these would be my grandfather, Clifton Raeke, who I wrote about two years ago in a blog post.

Pastor Jim Stalder joined my list this past Friday when he went to be with the Lord.

He was my family’s pastor from when I was a baby until I was about five years old. We stayed close with their family as I grew up. He attended my parents’ Bible study and I got to witness first-hand his passion for scripture and evangelism. After I got married to Bailey, we attended the church where he used to serve and still attended. I would talk to him occasionally on Sunday mornings. 

Honestly, I didn’t even know him that well but I observed him closely. Pastor Stalder loved his wife, his family, and the Church. He loved being in fellowship with God’s people. He was a humble man with a deep conviction for peoples’ souls. He made them laugh. He added many years of wisdom to the Sunday morning Bible study. I wasn’t the only one he influenced, though. I saw his grandson, Ben, follow in his footsteps and begin seminary last summer. He impacted a lot of people.

Most importantly, however, he was a strong follower of Christ. He held onto Christ as his rock because he knew nothing else could save him from his sinful heart. He would readily admit his faults. Pastor Stalder pointed to Christ in everything he did because he had a deeply held belief in what his Savior did for him on the cross.

The reason he fits into my Profound Impact list is because he baptized me on Christmas day, 1994. He acted as a tool that God used to cleanse me of my natural sin. As Christians, we believe that baptism is a means by which God gives us grace and gives us His Holy Spirit. We are part of His family. And because of that, we don’t believe baptism is anything that we do ourselves but totally and completely God’s work in our lives. 

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

Ephesians 2:8-9

Pastor Stalder believed that. He truly believed that he was merely a tool in God’s toolbox. He didn’t believe my baptism was anything that he did but that it was completely God’s doing. That’s why he’s on my list. He’s someone I saw give God everything he had so that God could use him wherever needed. And because of that, he helped start me on a spiritual journey that is not yet finished.

That inspires me.

-Caleb

No Time to Read? Here’s How to Do it Through Your Ears for Free

I love reading ever since I graduated college. I’m a big advocate for it now as seen by my many blog posts about it (see books I read last year and my way to read my way to leadership).

I firmly believe that if you read, you’re more likely to grow personally and professionally. So far, my issue this year is that I have had a huge project at work. I’ve been putting in overtime and haven’t had much time to read, despite my love for it. That’s why I listen to audio books.

I used to avoid audio books because if I bought them, they were pretty expensive. That is, until a friend of mine told me about Libby.

Libby is an app that will allow you to login using your current library card number, then you can borrow audio books and eBooks for free! Last year alone, I listened to over 20 audio books on my way to and from work. Now that was a great way to take advantage of the opportunity cost of driving that far for work!

Libby’s a great app and I highly recommend it. Overdrive is another app that is very similar. If you want to read and learn but don’t feel like you have the time necessary for it, check out these apps. You’re missing out otherwise!

The Simple Cost of Every Decision That You Might Not Have Considered

As we work towards mastering the simple so that we can become the expert, it’s vitally important that we change the way that we think about everything, especially about our time! This is what I’m learning to do. I like to think of myself as a creative person, but it is soooo easy to get stuck in a rut. Training your mind to think differently about a problem or topic is difficult. Especially when you’re tired.

I’m tired right now and have had a heck of a time coming up with creative wording. Anyways.

So we’re going to start working on approaching life (and decisions in particular) differently.

What I want you to consider today is the cost that you likely haven’t been conciously considering in most decisions.

That is opportunity cost (I actually learned about it in Economics 1100 and remembered it —yay, college).

What is this intangible cost you speak of?

Opportunity cost is something I talked about in my recent post “Why I Don’t Live a Life of Great Faith” and my book Graduated and Clueless. Essentially, opportunity cost is the opportunity you lose when you choose one activity over another. Or when you buy one product instead of another. It applies to literally any decision you or I make.

Here’s an example from my life.

We love examples

I work 45 minutes away from where we live. Every day, there is an opportunity cost of driving that 45 minutes one way instead of finding a job closer by. That is one and a half hours of time in the car that I could spend on something else if I moved closer to work or if I got a job closer to home.

Likewise, if I only listen to music in the car on my 45-minute drive, the opportunity cost is that I didn’t use the time to learn from an audiobook.

Or when my wife, Bailey, goes grocery shopping and buys green beans. The opportunity cost is not buying donuts (because we’re on a budget people!).

Everything has an opportunity cost and I encourage you to ask yourself today what you are giving up by doing one thing over another. I struggle with spending too much time on social media. The opportunity cost is that I don’t get to grow personally by reading a book instead.

I also like drones more than most people. When I purchase a drone, I’m losing the opportunity to invest that money for retirement. But I love flying drones so much.

Alas, life is a give and take and I must take drones.

Don’t get me wrong, rest and relaxation is a necessity when it comes to time well spent! But when you spend all that time playing on your phone or watching Studio C videos on YouTube (okay, so I did binge all their videos in one semester once), what are you losing the opportunity to do?

What is the opportunity cost of what you do?

How can you change the ways you spend your time and money to positively impact your future? Personally, I can use my time in the morning before work to read my Bible instead of watch videos while I scarf down breakfast. I want to hear from you in the comments below!

-Caleb

Pay off Debt Before You Even Have It

I know what you’re thinking.

Pay off your debt before you even have it? How is that possible? 

Normal people put purchases on credit, get loans for cars, etc. Then they have to pay off that debt. Not only do they have to pay off the initial amount but all of the interest acrued as well.

However, you can avoid this. All you have to do is this:

Reverse the process.

Instead of paying for debt after you have it, just pretend that you are making payments for it before you even get it. It’s called saving and this is what will set you apart from your peers.

There was a recent study that surveyed more than 10,000 millionaires. What was found is that millionaires are intentional. Chris Hogan, the originator of the survey and author of books Retire Inspired and Everyday Millionaires, says this in his blog post:

Ninety-four percent (94%) of millionaires say they live on less than they make, compared to 55% of the general population. And, 95% of them say they plan ahead and save in advance for big expenses, compared to 67% of the general population.

Living on less than they made and paying off debt is how these people became net-worth millionaires. And that’s how you’re going to as well!

Saving is the key!

What do you think about the subject? I want to hear from you in the comments!

-Caleb

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What Should I Do When God Doesn’t Work on My Timeline?

Ever wonder why humans develop so slowly? I come from a farm where we saw animals being born in the great outdoors.

There were many early mornings our family would gather in the barn to watch the incredible (and absolutely disgusting) miracle of birth happen in our small flock of sheep. A baby lamb, all slimy and gross, would gradually acclimate to its new and much less favorable surroundings.

What’s more unbelievable is that within a couple of hours, this very lamb was walking.

Do you know how long it took me to walk? A year.

A whole, freaking year.

The worst part is that I fell down and decided I didn’t want to try again for several weeks (or so I am told). Why do we develop so much more slowly than something like sheep? My lambs could be pregnant within a year of being born for goodness sake!

Personally, I think it’s because God has far greater plans for each of us. For one, we’re made in His image. Secondly, it takes so much longer to make something absolutely great. 

Beethoven didn’t compose his ninth symphony in an afternoon. Neither did Michaelangelo complete the Sistine Chapel in a week. A masterpiece takes time to develop.

I know that God’s developing me now right now.

But gosh, sometimes I just can’t wait.

I like to think I am an individual with a lot of passion and drive. I push myself to grow personally. Just like almost everyone else I know, I want to make a difference in the world.

You may be like me and struggling with where you are at sometimes. You might want to just skip all the menial stuff and get to the big stuff. The really important things.

The parable of the Talents

In the Bible (Matthew 25:14-30), there is a story about a master who had three servants. He gave one servant five talents (a form of currency), to one he gave two, and to the last he gave one. The master left and said he would come back. While he was gone, the first servant invested his five talents and doubled it. The second servant invested his two talents and doubled it as well. The third servant took his single talent and hid it.

Upon the master’s arrival, the first servant presented his increase of five talents and the master was pleased. The second did the same.

To them both, he said

Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much.

But the third brought nothing more than his single talent and the master was disappointed.  The master said,

You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed? 27 Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest. 28 So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents. 29 For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.30 And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Here’s the deal

We’re given talents ourselves.

Maybe not the literal cash that was given to each servant to manage, but we’re given interests, skills, and resources for sure. What we do with those gifts makes a difference on what other things God entrusts us with (Oh my word, I just ended a sentence with a preposition).

Yes, I’m impatient about the future. But that’s where Mastering the Simple comes in. To Master the Simple is to be “faithful over a little.”

I may not be the servant who was given five talents to manage. I may not even be the servant given two talents. But if I’m only given one talent or even half a talent, I want to double it so that God is pleased with my management over a little.

Be faithful over a little.

Can’t wait to graduate? Be faithful in your homework and it will pay off. Want to be in management? Be faithful in your work, have a good attitude, invest in relationships and strive for providing value.

Don’t waste your time of preparation. Be faithful over the little you have. God certainly doesn’t promise fame and success if you are faithful in it.

But rest assured, He will continue to use you in significant ways. 

I need to keep plugging away in the life that He has given me. I may be in a time of preparation which is that much more reason to double what He has given me right now!

What talents do you have (maybe literally) that you can be faithful in right now?

Comment down below and give this a like if you found value in it!

-Caleb