Busyness and Burnout

Week Fourteen

Liz didn’t bring any more of her Lubbock catering this week and I think she saw my disappointment – one gets used to good food quickly. I had skipped breakfast and I think Josh, the lawn care magnate, had skipped it too. We joked with her about getting us addicted to her generosity and she feigned sorrow. She deadpanned, “Is that all I am wanted for anymore?” We just hung our heads and said yes, but then quickly repented of our mourning and got to prayer. Liz mentioned that she needed specific prayer for her day – she was going to have to fire one of her leaders. I hate firing people even if they are completely malfunctioning so I led that prayer for her. She wasn’t nervous because this particular employee had failed to live up to the company mission even after repeated warnings, but she still wanted this employee to learn from this job loss and to land a good job. “He’s actually a friend,” Josh had had a similar situation with his lawn care company for one of his friends who worked for him about a year ago and he totally understood. So, we lifted that whole situation up. That was the main specific prayer – we mainly stuck to praying for one another’s families and companies. All of us reported that things were flourishing at work and we praised God for that…

A cool thing happened too. We saw another group of three sitting down a few tables away from us and they were taking my talk from last week quite seriously. I wonder if they will experience the same sort of fellowship and effectiveness as we have. I hope they do because what we have been doing has been invaluable. I stopped by their table as the other main meeting was starting and I asked how their time was – they all smiled at me and said how much they appreciated what I had to say the week previous. They also said that they were pleased with their first week of prayer and would continue.

The speaker for this week was a contractor who talked about being cautious with how much we multi-task. He talked about how busyness is not such a good thing especially when it can lead to burnout. He talked about how he had once prided himself in being the busiest contractor in town, but that it led to high levels of stress. He said that he had an internal competition going on with the other successful contractors in town and how this led to health problems and got him close to a nervous breakdown. He said that we should dump our excess multi-tasking and try to focus harder on just a few things – make those things as good as they can be. I really appreciated how honest this guy was. It’s not easy to tell others about weaknesses – past and present. This sort of vulnerability is rare and I told him that I liked how he had brought up such an important issue.

Any comments on this subject – I know I have a problem with “killing myself” and even avoiding my family for the sake of the job. Do you guys have this same issue? I’m interested to know how many of you struggle with this – so share…

Insurance Claims Adjuster 101

I have had a need to file a fire damage claim after part of my house caught on fire. I had insurance, but was unsure who I needed to contact to make sure I got the best deal. I wanted to make sure to recoup what I had lost – from the ambiance of the house to the internal décor. I asked around as to who I needed to contact and found out that having an insurance claims adjuster was key to making a fire damage claim. I looked all around for a firm that employed these types of workers and finally found one that seemed to pride itself on getting clients top-notch claims done. Anyway, it all worked out for me. I’m writing this blog because I hope it can help someone who needs help to find what sort of person they need to use when some damage occurs. So what is an insurance claims adjuster, what do they do and why are they so important? Read below for answers to these questions:

An Insurance claims adjuster or claims handler (claim handler), investigates insurance claims by interviewing the claimant and witnesses, consulting police and hospital records, and inspecting property damage to determine the extent of the company’s liability. Other claims adjusters who represent policyholders may aid in the preparation of an insurance claim.

In the United States, a claims adjuster’s duties typically extend to include the following elements:

  • Verify an insurance policy exists for the insured person and/or property. In general, these are written by the policy-holding insurance company.
  • Risk(s) of loss(es), or damages to property, culminating in the loss of property and or bodily injury.
  • After completing the above investigations, evaluate the covered injuries and/or damages that have been determined according to the coverage grants.
  • Negotiate a settlement according to the applicable law(s), and identify coverages for which the insured is covered, following best insurance practices.

So, was that helpful for you? Have you ever had a similar experience that required the services of an insurance claims adjuster? Did you end up satisfied with the experience? Let me know what damage you had done and which company you chose and even why you chose them. Thanks in advance for your comments.

Being on Time – Modeling to employees

Week Twelve

Well I am going to give a lot of credit to God for something: Liz has seen incredible growth in her Lubbock catering business and Josh also said that he has had a bunch of new clients call to hire his crew for Lubbock lawn care in the past week. I have had the same steady business as I always have, but I didn’t complain that God was not blessing me, because if I had any more business I would have to say no to it – I have as much business as I can stand as it is. Anyway, it was cool to hear that all of us were not only feeling good about the spiritual side of our prayer time, but that we were noticing growth in business. We praised God for these things and kept praying for one another’s families. We all know that we have an enemy that wants to devour any and all parts of our lives and so we encouraged each other to “put our spiritual armor” on so that the enemy would not throw us off. It was another really great meeting before the main meeting.

At the beginning of our real meeting, our main speaker did not show up for fifteen minutes – in other words they were uncomfortably late. There were grumblings and lots of watch checking as all of waited for the weekly speaker got there. But, when the main speaker got there (Luke), it all made sense. Luke’s message to us was about being leaders who model right behavior to our employees. And he began his talk with the topic of punctuality. He had been late on purpose to see how all of us would respond. He asked us how we felt when their leader of the week was not there on time. Several people admitted that they were frustrated and felt like Luke was failing them. With a room full of professionals there, it was a big moment. Luke took a chance by doing this, but it led right into his talk about being a leader who modeled proper work practices. He said that if the bosses were late or lazy or filled with complaint that the employees would tend to follow that model. He said that if we talked one way but acted in another, our employees would do the same. He encouraged all of us to not only model good work behavior, but he also said that it might be a good idea to hold a meeting with our staffs to explain what the expectations are for their employees. At this meeting the boss should ask what kind of behavior they have seen from him/her and write them down on a board. Then the boss could commit to changing their wrong behaviors as well. It was a challenging message but one that I needed to take seriously. I know that I am quite loose with my punctuality and my negative words about work. I’ll do this meeting and confess my weaknesses and tell my crews what I expect of them. I think this will help my staff regain respect for me and their jobs.

Anybody out there with comments about this “leadership modeling?” Have you ever held a meeting like this? If so, what occurred?

 

Thanks in advance for your comments.

 

 

Bullying and Sexual Harassment

Week Ten

Prayer with Josh and Liz (lawn care and catering in Lubbock respectively) went well. We all agreed that this addition of prayer time was making such a difference with our work attitudes and thus work output. I asked them if I could mention our time to the rest of the group and invite others. I wanted to get clearance from them before asking others and they seemed a bit hesitant. Josh was worried that if we had too many join us we might lose the intimacy of our smaller group. Liz suggested that I might give a talk to the whole group about the power of prayer as it regards the marketplace. She said that I could talk about our group of three and then tell the group that they might consider forming their own groups of three. That sounded good to Josh and me and so I said I would sign up for such a talk and see how the others would take it. I know it is not always politically correct to bring up “religious” things to groups that might not share the same faiths, but since we exist in the Bible belt, I decided that it might be well received. I guess we will see in a few weeks when I actually do it. I asked Josh and Liz to be praying for me as I set out to prepare my talk. I usually have no problem with public speaking, but since everyone up to this point has been so amazing, I didn’t want to break the momentum with a crappy talk. Pressure – may it not undo me. And people pleasing, may it stand far from me.

Today’s talk was from a duo – a President of a bank and a woman who heads up several corporate housing spaces (Midland short term furnished apartments is the better term as we were informed). They joined up on a talk because they were married and I guess they felt it less nerve-wracking to speak together. And their marriage was relevant because they spoke on the goods and bads of workplace relationships. It was a good talk but I didn’t get much out of it because my whole crew is made up of hardworking, macho men that I didn’t see falling in love with one another. Still, I did pay attention because who knows, I might just hire a female at some point. Their main point was that if you don’t set strong boundaries with your staff, they might start dating and this can be dangerous. They said that if you have a couple at work who dates openly, they not only bring their PDA into the office but can also bring their fights. And if the couple end up de-coupling, it can get really nasty, which is not want what you want if you are going to run a professional organization. I could see where they were coming from – I do get this at my workplace in an indirect way because my guys will battle with their wives/girlfriends and come to work with a bad attitude.

Okay – so do you agree with their point? What are your thoughts on workplace flings and relationships? Do you draw clear boundaries with your workers? Has allowing this sort of thing come back to bite you? Feel free to comment.

Business Meetings – Week Four

Week Four

This week my Lubbock lawn care friend and me got to the meeting a bit earlier so we could start praying for our businesses to grow and to be run for Kingdom purposes. We both thought that this would be a great addition to what we are learning and so we ramped it up. Even though we were both hesitant at first, we got going and it felt natural (or should I say super-natural) after about 10 minutes. We both expect to see good changes as we put this into play.

As for the meeting itself, we got to hear from a very successful businessman who specializes in Lubbock catering. Catering in Lubbock is a big deal and this guy has really done some cool stuff to become the best at it. Anyway, this businessman taught about how being extravagantly generous with giving away freebies to customers can establish long-term goodwill and thus long-term loyalty. He spoke about how his business has been generous with non-profits who are trying to raise money for their services and how this has not only made non-profit events much-needed money but has also earned a very strong community word of mouth that goes beyond just being a great catering company. He asked us to dialogue about how we might offer some of our services to various non-profits on a pro bono set-up to get the same results as they have gotten. It was a great speech and an even better discussion in the entire group. Almost everyone at the group thought that they could do similar things and most also committed themselves to implementing these ideas.

Beyond that, it was a wonderful meeting of men and women who seem to be bonding as friends as well as colleagues. I think that this group is making me a much better businessman and person. I am learning so much that I would have never thought about doing to build my business.

I wish I had been a part of a group like this since my company’s inception. I think all businesspeople would benefit from such gatherings.

Anyway, that’s my update for this week. I hope all of you are finding success in whatever you have put your hands to do. We have all been blessed with abilities not only to make money but to make a difference in our communities. Pretty exciting if you think about it…I’d love to hear your comments about this guy’s idea to be more generous and also what you think about adding prayer to the mix. Hit me up when you can –

 

Until next week…

Day 140 – Wednesday jobs and Job

Day 140 – Wednesday jobs and Job

After the rush of yesterday, I made it a point to set a double alarm so that I wouldn’t sleep in – I hate feeling rushed because it makes me doubt my calendared events and makes me think I am doing a poor job. I know that yesterday went fine, but sometimes when I am rushed I don’t connect with people as well as I need to so that improvements can be made. I don’t need to have that happen anymore no matter how comfortable my corporate housing mattress is – By the way, it is amazing to me how people don’t invest a good chunk of money on a high-quality mattress. Think about it – we spend about a third of our days in a horizontal pose – We sleep for a lot of our lives and yet we don’t think about how to make that sleep as good as possible. After getting this new mattress from my corporate housing management, I can assure that when Melissa and I move into our house, I will be purchasing a top of the line mattress. It’s more important than a cool car because a mattress affects you physiologically in so many ways. I imagined my lawn care clients who work so hard during the day and I thought, “How much better would their lives be if they had Tempur-Pedic mattresses to crash onto in the evenings?” I think they would be so much more rested and thus much more likely to enjoy their sweat-making job during the days.

How do you like that tangent? My gosh, sometimes I am amazed at my level of tangential thinking – commenting on mattress buying and Lubbock lawn care is just weird and yet it has been done – and I feel better for it. So stick that in your pipe and smoke it…

Meditation: As I said yesterday, I am studying the book of Job and I’m noticing so much more in this book than I ever have before. I used to just so caught up in the exchanges between Satan and God and I would wonder why God would allow such terror to strike this very righteous man. But, I think I am past that now – it is what it is – God’s ways are higher and He knows what He is doing. We are owned by Him and He can do with us as He wishes. These realizations have helped me get past a lot of the tough stuff in Old Testament stories. Anyway – Job – This guy lost a whole lot of things all at once and despite his difficulty, he maintained his trust and love for God. He said that God can give and that God can take away – it’s His call. I react to this by saying #1 I wouldn’t even have to go through Job’s trials because I am not the most righteous man and #2 I cannot imagine dealing with massive losses like Job did. I get frustrated when I am separated from my cell phone for one day. This makes me wonder how I would respond if I was in Job’s shoes. How much could I take of this struggle before taking myself out? How much could I praise God while being left alone to deal with such pain? I need to learn from Job’s endurance – not that I am asking for Job-sized trials, but still the New Testament calls on me to look to Job’s ability to put up with difficulty and to imitate his attitude.

That’s going to take a while for me to digest.

So, mattresses, jobs, God and Job – All in one day. Hope your day was good!

Day 139 – Tuesday late

Day 139 – Tuesday late

 I don’t have much time to journal today – I woke up late in my extra comfortable corporate housing bed and could not seem to kick the covers back. I was just given a new mattress by the head of my temporary suite because she said it was time for an upgrade. Well, this upgrade has me sleeping too good it seems. I did rush out and get half of my treadmill work in – but I was in a rush all day. I was able to enact some excellent changes to the Lubbock lawn care business I am working for and it should end up in a great place. Still, when you are flying from here to there trying to catch up from a late morning, it’s difficult to settle down and live in an atmosphere of peace.

 Melissa update – she is the same wonderful person she has been. She thought our last marriage therapy was sort of a waste of time, because we had already gone over most of it on our own. Still, she values having a third person look in on us and I do too. We started talking about the details of our upcoming marriage and it made me happy and a bit overwhelmed – I cannot believe our love is going to turn into a lifetime of companionship. I am blessed.

 As for my meditation, I tried to fit it in which is never good. I always want my meditation with God to be the most important time of the day, but today I let it slip to a five-minute rush. I am in the early parts of Job and I am humbled by what this righteous man went through. I think I will do the same verses again tomorrow so that I can get the truth of endurance into my heart and soul.

 

Well, that’s all I can say for today – Anyone else feel rushed?

 

Best –

Day 125 – Tuesday Mudslingers

Day 125 – Tuesday Mudslingers

It’s funny to me that Election Day is so close to Halloween – It always feels like there are masks galore that the candidates wear to win whatever demographic they are speaking to. I also think it is funny that people get so involved in trying to elect a particular person for president when the Executive Branch is so much weaker than the Judicial and Legislative branches. I know that people say this is a “turning point” election and a crucial election because there will be several Supreme Court Justices being appointed. I do agree with that but I don’t think my vote is going to make much of a difference – Texas is always going to go Republican and my two cents addition is not going to alter that result. I will vote anyway because I am sure there are several issues that are going to be decided as well – ones that are not as settled as for the Presidential Election. Like In California, I know they are voting on whether recreational marijuana is going to be made legal. That would be a big deal for the legalization lobby and might get the rest of the United States to move in that direction. But still I very seriously doubt that Texas would make this legal. If they did I bet my Lubbock lawn care folks would be dealing with different sorts of grass – not that they would sell it or grow it but maybe they could become consultants to those local people who want to grow a garden of the stuff.

Speaking of my clients who do landscaping in Lubbock, they are so happy with how things are going with my work that they are going to hang holiday lights on my future house for free. I thought that was quite nice of them – I hope my tenants don’t mind having people climbing around on their roofs putting cool lights on the tops of my house that they rent. This kind of generous “going above and beyond” offer makes me want to work that much harder for them (not that I work less hard for those who don’t give me free gifts – just saying…)

Melissa and me are getting along swimmingly (Yes I did also swim at my corporate housing pool this morning despite the freezing waters) – We had another pre-marital counseling session this evening and it went well. So far, the counselor has not been able to create any sort of doubt between us. The counselor says that Melissa and I seem to be much more mature in our preparation for marriage than most. Our counselor did ask us whether or not we wanted to have children early on in our marriage and we both looked at each other with blank faces. I don’t think either of us had discussed timing on that issue. We told the counselor that we would get back to them next time.

Enough for Tuesday – I’ll see you tomorrow.

Day 124 – Mondayween

Day 124 – Mondayween

I am finding it harder and harder to make myself journal about the comings and goings of my corporate housing days. Is it because I have started writing for an audience rather than for just myself? Do I think myself too boring when writing about pool visitations and my relationships with clients and with Melissa? Why am I not using this as a spiritual discipline? Why am I being so hard on myself? Maybe this is just a speed bump but if it is more than that I don’t know if I can continue writing. This just hit me this morning as I pulled on my swim trunks and went out to dive into the still filled pool. And it’s sad because it is not just the writing or not writing – it’s the life being lived day in and day out that provides the foundation for the words that is troubling. Am I hitting a bit of a seasonal depression? Am I just being tough on my life and beating myself to death for not being more exciting? I think I am mainly whining about nothing because to whine is one of my favorite hobbies.

Beyond those difficult thoughts and questions I did have a lot of fun with Melissa at the hospital Halloween party. This party wasn’t actually at the hospital – it was held at one of Melissa’s friends house, which was well decorated. Right when we walked in there were ghosts and ghouls – bowls full of spaghetti and grapes behind paper walls that we had to stick our hands into (representing brains and eyeballs – scary stuff for a kid). It brought back a lot of old childhood memories. Everyone was costumed – I was Jessie Pinkman and my girl decided to go as his partner, Walter White instead of being the blue meth. She went all out and made me nervous every time I saw her fake moustache. Would I still love her if she caught some disease that forced her to have a moustache? I don’t think I could bear it – I am a shallow man at my depths. Anyway, we danced a lot and listened to traditional ghost stories – like the one with the guy who shines bright lights into the back window of a frightened girl who was driving home and the one where a guy with a claw hand does something or another. Dry ice filled the air with the classic smoky feel as tombstones covered the walls. At the end of the night, I returned my Walter White to her doorstep and kissed her hairy lip. It wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. I guess I would keep Melissa if she had a moustache – as long as it wasn’t like a Magnum PI version.

Oh I forgot to mention that my workday was good – I really impressed those workers who are doing all of that landscaping in Lubbock. Their analytics are proving that they on the right path and they admitted to seeing good growth in their business. I also heard good reports about the Midland Corporate Housing clients. I wasn’t sure they would ever catch up with Lubbock’s high rankings, but it seems that they are nipping at their heels finally. Their point person told me that they were really glad that they had hired me. This of course made me feel very good.

Okay – that’s Mondayween. A good one to be sure. Now if I can just shake this seasonal downturn…May God restore me to a desire to write about life.

 

Day 123 – Sunday Weeds

Day 123 – Sunday Weeds

It was a calm day with the temperatures in the mid-80’s. Since tomorrow is Halloween and this is the fall season, I am a bit shocked by the weather. Maybe it is wearing “hot” as its costume. If so, that weather sure is clever. Halloween is actually one of my favorite days of the year – the pumpkins and the costumed kids and adults make me feel all excited for some reason. I recall my childhood days wearing my plastic C3PO garb and gathering candy from neighbors. It was fun and I wish I still had the guts to dress up as someone different. I have mad respect for those adults who don’t give a crap and who go nutty with their costumes all day long. The Lubbock lawn care president was one of those brave adults – he told me that he was going to wear a half Princess Leia/half Chewbacca disguise all Halloween day and into the night as they had their company party. I don’t know what a man dressing like a woman Wookie looks like, but I bet he pulls it off very well. He has a good sense of humor and he knows that he can get away with it because he leads the firm. I wonder if he will be hanging holiday lights in Lubbock in that tomorrow. If so, I bet he will get some strange looks.

I know a lot of Christians think Halloween is evil and should be avoided at all costs. And I am sure that Wiccan festivals and cat sacrifices are happening all over the place but I’ve never seen one and I’m not worried that I’m going to catch a curse. I do appreciate the churches who go ahead and have something fun for the kids – like the fall festivals that allow children to dress up and get “safe candy.” (I know my Pre-K Lubbock Christian School client has this really awesome festival for the kids – much respect for not giving up a fun thing.)

I will admit that I am sort of a punk about giving away candy on the night of Halloween because I am too lazy to buy any. If I am stuck at home, I typically just keep the lights low and the TV turned down so the kids are warded off by my darkness. One year I did feel generous and I changed out 100 bucks at the bank for one dollar bills that I gave out to kids. I gave most of them two dollars each and they were very happy – they had plenty of baby Snickers and little Kit Kats. I was the coolest because I handed out cold, hard cash. There was probably some people-pleasing mixed in with my generosity – it’s fun to see kids’ eyes light up when you hand out something surprising. This year Melissa and me will go to a hospital party where I will go as Jessie Pinkman from Breaking Bad (everyone says I look just like him) and she will go as the blue meth I make. So, we won’t be around to give anything away. But I forgot to mention that last night at church I saw a little girl dressed up as a Disney princess and I gave her five bucks. Probably made me look like some sort of weirdo, but she sure appreciated it.

Meditation: Everything that is done in the dark will be brought to light on the day of Judgement – God misses nothing. You can’t disguise your real self from God. He sees who we really are even behind the masks we tend to wear. I sure am glad He sees me behind the blood of Jesus…