Archive for January, 2011

 There are so many good materials on time management that I have read over the past decade. As a pioneer it seems to be one of the subjects that is constantly having to be defined and then redefined because your activities of how you commit your time consistantly evolve when you are in pioneer mode.

I myself have gone through dramatic shifts every year I have pioneered and have had to constantly reset to my original boundaries and priorities. I haven’t had a good 8 hour session of video games in a long time…because I haven’t prioritized it…but I digress.

Up until the time when we came to Hollywood I had never seen time as a commodity in my life. I always seemed to be able to find time for everything before…time for family and friends, time for projects, time for every ministry appointment, time for creating….then we moved here and as I started the real purpose I was made for I began to fill up my calendar with so many things that I had no time. I constantly realized that I never had extra time or breaks unless I made them.

IF YOU DON’T MANAGE YOUR TIME SOMEONES NEED OR DESIRE WILL FOR YOU

As a pioneer you must have clear priorities on your time. You have to know what are the important things you are working on and bring every day back to that focus. If you don’t do this the great needs of the world, people’s brokenness, projects that are just one-off projects that don’t build anything but feel good, and all kinds of other things will come in and use your energy but they won’t necessarily establish the fulfillment of your priorities.

One thing our leadership counselor had us do is establish the top 3 priorities in our relationships and then our jobs and manage our time around these. It helped immensely because I realized how much I was doing that did not match my core values of what I am supposed to be doing and I was letting way too many life fillers in to my time. That is just crazy but it becomes clear when you have priorities set.

PEOPLE WILL SUCK THE LIFE OUT OF YOU IF YOU DON’T SPEND TIME WITH LIFE GIVERS

It’s so easy to feel good helping people with problems or to help them get established in life or values. Lots of leaders get a rush out of helping someone break through their problems. This is great, but do you have the same energy or more for your core life relationships.

We all have spheres of relationships we have to build. There is our core relationship (wife/husband/bestest friend in all the world) then there is 3-5 other friendships/family that we do real life with, we sacrifice for, we celebrate, we endure hardship with, etc. Then there are 5-12 others that we check in with through work and projects but they tend to transcend these projects or work in their nature and become lifers. Then there is everyone else. If you don’t have clear spheres of relationship in your mind then you begin to violate the boundaries of love that you have for one and substitute another in their place and your relationships get very out-of-order.

Most pioneers feel justified sacrificing their core few relationships from time to time for the sake of helping someone or working hard. It just feels right to put everything on the back burner because we are accomplishing the foundation of our mission and once that foundation is set we will revert back to a better normal. Maybe we will have finally be established enough financially or management structure wise so we feel great just working really hard right past the very life we are trying to build. Do you see it? You stop honoring your core relationships the same way for the sake of building something in hopes that you will bring greater honor to those very relationships later? Your main relationships don’t need you later they need you now and you need them!

I have done that especially in regards to forgetting to send birthday cards or make calls on significant days of my friends and family outside of what I am building. I even wasn’t there a few crises times of my core life friends because I was helping the whole world and my relationships got disconnected and suffered because of my messiah complex. Then in significant times during my life people who I cared about stopped celebrating me with the same enthusiasm and I also had people who were no longer there when I was going through a hard time who were always there. Why? Because I had changed my value for them by my prioritizing them out of my core. I never used words, but what I spoke through action communicated volumes. It’s hard to get these back but if your kids, your family, your best friends outside of what you are building (and sometimes inside) are getting disconnected you are not building right.

TIME IS A TICKING BOMB 

If you are setting your priorities then no matter what :you are in charge of how you get to spend your time establishing those priorities. Some of you are working under a job description someone has given you while many or most of you are probably establishing your own job description. I would encourage you to do that in the most clear way, define how many hours it takes you to do what you do each week, keep a little time journal for a month and look back on what was consuming your time and see if it lines up with your relational and work priorities. If you are your own boss, manage yourself as part of your management structure and be disciplined with your own time.

For me I have to pour into a team of 7 as my main priority in Expression58 plus build two departments with department leaders. This is like having 3 part-time jobs so they must have grace for my time schedule and I theirs. I also barely get paid for any of this, but have been doing it as a volunteer which means my itinerant job will have to take priority from time to time. We all have difficult arrangements in pioneering that will affect our priorities in time management. Maybe you work a job and run your ministry, maybe you don’t raise enough money through your budget to hire team so you have a lot of volunteers that don’t work with your enthusiasm yet, etc. There are always complications when pioneering that affect how your overall organization meets its priorities and how time is used.

I have to spend my time with my main leaders, so when I have the 300 people ask me for an appointment in LA I have made a list of them and I first look at my core relationships I am committed too and see if I have spent the right amount of time with them. I have their faces up on a graphic that I can look at every week and pray into their lives and see what kind of coaching, friendship, mentoring, love I can give them. If I feel like I am meeting those needs then I move on to my long list of people who want to meet.

IF I MET WITH EVERY AMAZING PERSON WHO CAME MY WAY THE REST OF MY LIFE WOULD SUFFER

As a pioneer leader you will always have lots of people who want to meet with you. I make a list when I get a card or contact of someone who wants to connect and ask myself a few questions: 1) Is this someone I have the time to meet with. Have they been involved with us for a while or are they just wanting a connection? 2) Can someone else on my team meet with them to bring them up to speed with who we are and how we can connect further 3) Do they have something they are offering? Do we need what they have to offer right now? Can it fit within our time priorities or would we have to slow down what God has us focused on to bring what they have to us? 4) Or are they needing something and if they are am I the right person to give it to them? 5) Are they a happily relational person who has successful time management skills so they are coming to me out of their strength or are they needing discipleship in which case I might need to point them somewhere before we connect in a more significant way so that they don’t have false expectations?

Now understand for me I know what I don’t do so I have a great filter when people are talking to me and asking me for something. I don’t do counseling appointments, I do very little personal discipleship outside of my team, I don’t do advisory boards very often, I won’t become an intercessor for someones project. I don’t marry people, I don’t do hospital visitations, I don’t visit people in jail, I don’t speak at youth groups, singles conferences, or young adult focused meetings. In other words like I said, I know what I don’t do so I can clearly tell someone when they are coming to me asking for something or wanting to connect their talent, skill, or ability to us, as one of the figure heads of who our community is it is my role to be a funnel of relationship and help them to know who can help them or where the connection lay. I have raised up people who do all the things I don’t do and you can too.

I also know what I do focus on. I do leadership consultation, I release prophetic ministry, I work on entertainment projects as an advisory, I write articles and books and stories, I do a lot of impartation and prayer ministry, I do outreach, I do team discipleship, etc. So when someone comes across my path and if I can help them in an area of my strength or expertise I am glad to if I have the time for it.

IF YOU VIOLATE YOUR RELATIONAL TIME MANAGEMENT THEN YOU WILL KEEP PAYING

The problem with relationship time management is that if I give my time to someone who has needs other than the people I have prioritized then often times I will have to follow all the way through their issue until its done. This means a marriage that breaks down becomes my responsibility to help if I allow them to start the counseling process with me instead of help them find someone who can really spend the time and energy it takes to break through in that issue. This can turn into a 20-200 hour time consumer. Now for someone who has a passion to help marriages or a counselor, this is what they want to do and what they will be good at and it will not take away from their time but is part of their time priorities do you see? 

If you begin to do the crises management of your group then you will lose most of your best energy to putting out fires. I know leaders who ten years later still find themselves putting out fires that are basically a fire started by pettiness on the team that would be better managed by doing some character building then crises management later. If you live in crises management mode your prioritized relationships will be violated. If you find yourself dealing with more than 2 crises a year that take real-time and energy I challenge you that have taken on a wrong role. Maybe I will write a blog on team or ministry crises management sometime.

BUT I HAVE TO SPEND TIME WITH THEM THEY ARE AMAZING OR THIS OPPORTUNITY IS TOO GOOD TO PASS UP!

What happens to those good things that fall through the cracks because your time management didn’t include them? Either you as a pioneer can raise someone up to take care of them through hiring an assistant, having an associate leader, raising up team, etc. or it wasn’t as important for you to take on in this stage of your life in the first place. I don’t mean the opportunity wasn’t real or important but was it for you now? When you are walking in what you are called to do you will always have a cycle of great opportunities come to you….your responsibility is not just to say yes to everything. Your responsibility is to learn out of your own value for an amazing life, what makes sense for right now. As a successful person you will say no sometimes even more than yes to opportunities. Train yourself now to protect and guard what you have said yes to so you can become excellent and successful to that even if by saying no to an opportunity that seems huge makes you feel like you are missing something. If you stay committed to your original plan out of faithfulness you will see results that taking on other projects or opportunities and cycling through them will never give you. Picture marriage…if you are married your heart is off the market to any other person so if something that seems great comes along you easily let it go because of your covenant commitment and your history to what you are committed too.

Sometimes amazing people fall through the cracks of your time management, but just because people are amazing doesn’t mean they are your relationship sphere or that you need to take time for them now. Some of my best opportunities to meet with people came when I was already committed to other things so I had to trust God and my own value in what I was building and say no. This is a really hard one for pioneers because we are dependent on building our relational sphere in order to create more opportunities, finances, etc. Its hard to get by in to what we are doing if we don’t meet with the right people at the right time but you know what? If you are relationaly successful you will keep attracting the right kind of people to what you are building. Its more important to be faithful to the relationships that you are clearly called to cultivate than to keep adding new appointments in hopes that new areas may or may not open up for your calling or purpose.

PRIORITIZE YOUR TIME BY DOING WHAT MAKES YOU HAPPY MEANS YOU WILL BE FULFILLED

When you set good boundaries to your time you actually fulfill what you are called to do. I hope that you find yourself successful in your time management!!!

That’s it for now,

Shawn Bolz

Expression58

www.expression58.org

PS:
One good time management book is called MARGINS

 PSS:
My Dating Book, The Non Religious Guide To Dating & Being Single, came out in a digital release and is soooo good! It will be out in printed release Valentines Day. If you want to preorder it you can starting next week! If you want to carry it in your resource center or bookstore contact Andrea Bocks at steam@expression58.org and she will tell you how to order bulk.

Nonreligious Guide to Dating & Being Single

I love the graphic design all through it. Dustin Bocks, an amazing designer, layed it out. We added surveys, mad libs, dating quotes, pick up lines, it was really fun to put together. I love that what started as a blog series because I was sick of giving the same advice over and over turned into this book! The web series was award winning and had over 275,000 readers which gave me the courage to rewrite this and put it together this way. A special prop to Sally Hanan who is my editor and teacher for the flow edits and restructuring because my mind does not work very linearly.

Our print release is going to be the day before Valentines day and we will have a preorder special (of course) but I felt like since it was done it would be great to get it out and into your hands through your smart phones, Ereaders, computers, and whatever else you can use to read it. Please remember when someone writes a book and you are their friend or you follow their work it helps them so much if you leave comments, write reviews or rate with stars if you buy the book from amazon or barnes and noble or ibooks, and it also helps to spread the word. You guys are my force of marketing, if you love it, the book will sell because of you.

Here is our little video promo for the book : Cheesy but fun

After this many years of rewriting and puting this together its done! I am such a happy man today!
What are you working on? When is your due date?

Pioneers #4 : Pioneering doesn’t have to be a lonely road

Album I’m listening to: sleeping at last, yearbook

When we first started our little home meetings in Hollywood I remember how much security it brought me to have about nine real friends in the room helping me to walk out a dream that was now no longer just mine but ours. We had a rocky beginning of ministry because it happened so suddenly and we felt like alls we had immediately was each other and in a new land where we had no roots we as very independent people began to depend on each other differently. We made (and still make) lots of mistakes but we cherished relationship so that the mistakes haven’t become friend breakers.

One night i remember asking our little crowd of 70 or so peops how many had the following kinds of friends for more then 3 years:
1) you do life together and share victories and weaknesses that are not task oriented but life oriented (meaning you aren’t just getting together for work) at least once every few weeks
2) you celebrate life’s critical moments together whether its doing birthday celebrations or being there in grief.
3) you rest and go on trips or vacations together or have other ways of bonding that is not career/ministry related

Only our little circle of friends raised their hands the rest of the group was pretty lonely. Some of it was because they were putting careers first. Some were news to LA and it takes time to develop this. Some just didn’t have relational life skills even though they are wonderful.

ALaying it Down At The Alter Of Duty

When you are pioneering one of the most dangerous things you can do is lose track of real friends and sacrifice relational happiness at the alter of duty because of being in start up mode. Some strain is natural just like in a new marriage there are young couples who are trying to figure out how to do their new life with all it’s new roles together, but at one point does it just become abandonment to other people or selfishness if we don’t reemerge?

When I was growing up dad was in the military so we had to move a lot….i mean a lot. I hated the instability of having to create a whole new group of friends but my mom helped impart the principles that i still live life with. I had a successful relational life at each place we went even though it took time. I remember moving to a new place in junior high and she told me a number of things that stuck with me that are so relevant today:

1) if you want friends you have to be a friend first. You have to make a lot if not all of the effort for a while and then it will become natural for the person to pursue you back. This made sense because when you move into a new group of people they have spent time together and are usually semi if not quite happy with their relationships they have built. That means they may not be looking for new friends. Relationally satisfied people have full lives of activities with their families and current friends. If you show up on the scene there is a making room period for you in their lives that is a type of courting. If you make the effort with at least 3 people you will learn a lot and probably end up with someone you will really spend life with.

2) don’t just bond with other new people. look for people who are relationally happy. People who are not happy in their friendships have a reason why they are not happy. Sometimes when you bond to just the others who are new you miss some of the benefit of those who have helped to create a relational legacy.

3) be the kind of friend you want. Celebrate the person in ways that matter. Call them when they are down, visit them when they are sick. Be the first one to congratulate their success.

4) serve them where it counts. Find out what is important to them and help them on life projects. Be there for moves, babies, marriages, funerals, etc.

5) communicate your value for them and as they reciprocate you start to get covenant.

Things that speed this up:
Anointing or the presence of God.
Life purpose crosses path
Working together
Going to school together
Doing hobbies together.

Some of these accelerators can actually substitute real relationship so you have to be careful to stay devoted past your doing things together or else the substance of relationship will rest in your roles instead of your love. Think about how many people get divorced after their kids are grown, they have run out of role and there is not enough love to sustain them.

Pioneering a relational culture in an organization:

I want a family can you give me one now?

One of my favorite stories is when a young woman moved to LA 3 years ago after having an INCREDIBLE experience in community at her church in Redding California (Bethel). She moved to our small brand new community that was so new not to mention understaffed and underpaid and was disappointed when her relational needs were not being met. She was processing with some friends about how hard it was and she began to get angry at our little ministry for not meeting this deep need of relationship on the level of what she had where she came from.

Then a light bulb of revelation came from God: “you have only been in places that have a rich relational heritage that someone else had to plow the ground and pay a price for so you inherited great family there but now in this new place You are the pioneer. You have to create the relational legacy and it’s hard work.”

Her expectations changed from wanting us to do a lot more for her then we possibly could to her taking responsibility and trained us all in an important lesson. We haven’t created relational legacy yet and it takes years and the first 5-10 years takes a lot of plowing and commitment.

Being New Means Lots and Lots Of New

When you start a new work you are connecting to many new people all the time and have to create context and purpose in the connections. We have 40-60 new visitors a week and our committed base is only around 200-300 through two services. That means if we spent all our time on new connections we wouldn’t develop the core connections so we have to give people an onramp in their visit but we need to prioritize developing safe family until the foundation is developed. This is hard for everyone because new people get excited and want to run with you but you have all kinds of people who are paying a price to be with you that you have tom figure out how to give time to. The love language of ALL people in an organization from their leaders is QUALITY TIME.

As the head of our organization I spent the last year prioritizing my main leaders, giving my team time first and if I had extra time I have a list of about 300 people who have asked for time and I prioritized my extra time by their involvement to organization, by their purpose on wanting to meet and sometimes by the connection I felt to them. This was all consuming and I had to pace myself because I not only have our start up church I have an itinerate ministry that is actually what pays my bills since I don’t take a salary from the church so I have many responsibilities outside of our structure which means I have relational time commitments outside of expression58. Each pioneer is going to have their challenges but people management is the hardest, if you become too structural and purpose driven you become neutered in your community spirit and impact. If you aren’t planning your time though then someone (usually the high needs people) will plan it for you.

Who Is Your Organizations Family?

I have heard a statistic that i can’t remember where it came from that 90% or more of people who start with you leave after the first two years for many reasons. I think one of the main reasons is that they grow weary of plowing for a relational community and culture that every new organization pays their own price for. A statistic we have in LA is that 50% of people who move here only stay for two years. They come for school or career and leave after that short of a time. That’s really hard to build a family with but we are breaking through and planting roots.

Who your leadership surround themselves with will determine what kind of family you will produce. If your recruit only broken into your family without providing counseling and life coaching somehow then you will have a highly dysfunctional family. If you attract and recruit disenfranchised from other organizations no matter how much leadership or ability they have on them then you will have some measure of division and independence spirit. If you recruit only the awesomely talented and established people you are at risk of having very little time commitment from them because they are working on their own huge projects.

It requires a balance between relational priorities to create the right family, but if you prayerfully consider what your goals are, what your relational priorities are, and who you want to love you can set yourself up for great success!

Shawn Bolz
expression58.org

Ps: my dating book comes out Monday in digital form!

 

Shawn Bolz: Nonreligious Guide to Dating & Being Single <———– Click this link to see the PDF

As I write this I am sitting in my house almost finished with THE FINAL EDITS on my new book: The Nonreligious Guide to dating and being single. I know its radically different then my other two books, (and don’t worry fans of my supernatural lifestyle books I have some in the works) but I really felt it was time for me to put my award winning blog series into a book. Its gone through several versions and really took my good friend and editor, Sally Hanan, to rearrange it in such a way that there was the right flow.

As the graphics guru is finishing layout right now, I felt the relief that one more project is finally coming to full term and it gives me a lot of hope for the next year. I am always a high dreamer but it takes so much work to achieve each project that I sometimes give up on something I am working on and move on before I push it all the way out the door. Last year I was determined not to do this again so I just dedicated to the projects I was focused on and this is one of the public first fruits.

Why a dating book? Because I am single and when I wrote the blog series that inspired this book it had hundreds of thousands of hits (I was told millions by MySpace but I can’t prove it because my blog crashed their servers in the early days of their development of blogs) and I still get Christians from all over the world who just haven’t felt the right amount of freedom in their relationship or single pursuit. In some ways I wrote it because it answers a lot of questions that come to me in emails, phone calls, and in person 

When you search in google the word Christian +1 more word, the most popular search term added to Christian is dating. That means that there are millions of people searching for information on what God thinks about relationships. There are some great books out there on relationships (I am not going to reference any here) but for the most part the market is barren. 1 book a year or so on dating when it is such a hot topic is ridiculous.

When I let several Christian publishers read my book they loved it but said it was quote : “Too Edgy” and needed to be changed a little if I was going to publish through them. Probably because in the book I make so many popular culture references, poke fun at body parts, talk candidly about sex, and call my book what I really wanted to name it : Shawn’s Kick Butt Guide to Dating.

So we didn’t want to change the content so we are self publishing this book digitally first and then a full release for Valentines Day.

I really need your help when it starts to come out to comment about it, review it wherever you bought it online, to facebook about it, and to even leave me feedback about it.

When you are releasing a project like this you hope it will do good because it is vulnerable and part of you. I think the quality of the project is superb though, so I have high expectations. 

Also if any of you have ideas on places to post about the book, if you are involved in dating forums or chat rooms, or you have websites and you would carry our banner that would be amazingly helpful. The book comes out before the end of the week so we can get you all the info by then.

So, heres to 2011 and projects coming about! I hope you get inspired to create too! We need your perspective on the Earth!

You can visit the website of the book even though its not ready for digital download: www.nonreligiousguide.com