Stressed Out?

Feeling Out of Control?

The period from Thanksgiving to Christmas is nuts. There are so many things to do, from Christmas parties and shopping, to wrapping up the end of year personally and professionally, to celebrating the advent season, the birth of King Jesus.  With so much going on, it’s easy to spiral out of control and become completely overwhelmed.  I know I often do, and I bet you do, too.

In the midst of the madness, however, ministry teams must remain focused on their purpose and the tasks before them. However, the way we talk often increases rather than decreases our stress and feelings of overwhelm.

So, to help your team stay focused on what you can control – and avoid being overwhelmed by all the things you can’t control – here’s a simple meeting strategy* you can employ.

  • First, identify your team’s major tasks for the next month.
  • Second, make two columns on a whiteboard or on two sheets of flip chart paper.   Label one column “What We CAN’T Control”, and the other “What We CAN Control”.  Hand each member of your team a marker.
  • Third, considering your team’s major tasks for the next month, invite team members to identify as many things as they can think of that will affect the outcome of those tasks.
  • Fourth, have them write those things on the board or flip chart paper in the appropriate column, differentiating the things they can control and those they can’t control.
  • Fifth, talk for just a few minutes (no more than 15) about the things you can’t control, and then spend the remainder of your meeting talking about the things you can affect.
  • Sixth, make some plans to positively impact those things that are in your control.
  • Seventh, get to work!

This season, as you accomplish all sorts of things in your teams and as an individual, I pray Reinhold Niebuhr’s Serenity Prayer for you:

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

Reflection Moment:

What do you do in your meetings to maintain focus and avoid becoming overwhelmed?

P.S. My new ebook BURST is now available on Amazon Kindle.  Of course, it’s also available for free when you sign up for email updates. But, if you don’t want to give that to me, you can buy it now and read it on your Kindle (or Kindle app on other devices).

P.P.S. If you’ve read BURST but not yet let me know what you thought of it, would you mind doing so?  Simply leave a comment here.   Also, I want to get the message to as many people as possible, would you mind sharing the link with others, via Twitter, Facebook, or by forwarding this email?

*Henry Cloud shares a similar process in his book Necessary Endings.

photo by: Helga Weber