According to King Solomon, little birds may very well be evesdropping on your conversations and betraying you to others. Are you ready to deal with them?
An All-Too-Familiar Scenario
Picture this scene: You have a meeting scheduled with a co-worker (your boss, your employee, a board member, a fellow colleague), and you are not looking forward to it. The truth is, you're dreading it. You’ve had several uncomfortable discussions with this person in the recent past and it’s clear you don’t share much affection. It’s important you meet but you feel anxious nonetheless.
How can you prepare for this discussion in such a way that you achieve the most favorable outcome possible?
The answer is found in Ecclesiastes 10:20, the wisdom of Solomon.
Ecclesiastes 10:20 Do not revile the king even in your thoughts, or curse the rich in your bedroom, because a bird in the sky may carry your words, and a bird on the wing may report what you say.
If I asked you to describe the purpose of this passage, what would you say? Is God telling us little birds will eves drop on our conversations and then go snitch on us? Does it reveal that there are mind-reading, flying animals looking to expose us? Of course, the answer is No! So, what is its meaning?
What we think about others will come out in our actions and behaviors, one way or another. Our own thoughts betray us.
Can you see what I mean? Solomon paints a picture where you are alone in your bedroom, thinking poorly about someone (the king in this case.) A bird mind-reads your bad thoughts about this person, and it reports these bad thoughts to the person you are thinking poorly of.
You Just Can't Hide It - Even If You Tried
The truth is that you simply cannot hide the way you feel about a person. No matter how much you try, your inner negativity will come to light. It will come out in your body language, your communications, somehow - whether it is the distance you keep, the averted looks, the crossed arms in discussions, the cold tone to your voice, curt email responses, never being available for that person, etc. It will come out eventually.
What can you do the next time you have a meeting with someone you have mixed feelings about?
By the time you have the discussion, your feelings toward this person will be brighter. You will convey the non-verbal message that you think fondly of them because you were just thinking fondly of them. That little bird will tell them, “This person wants to be in this meeting with you right now and thinks highly of you.”
Consider Others More Important
Philippians 2:3 Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves
During a time in my career where I was at constant odds with a customer, I taped Philippians 2:3 to my laptop screen. Every time I made a call to the customer, I read the passage and meditated for a few minutes on its truth. I visualized myself taking a humble stance in their presence.
Jesus teaches this same truth in his lessons on humility. It is better, by far, to humble ourselves. When we think poor thoughts of someone, we are looking down on them. This is true for co-workers, family members, our spouses and even ourselves.
Practice dedicating time before each meeting to meditate on these passages. Put into constant use these principles, and you will experience a radical change in the way you feel toward all, which will greatly improve the outcome of each discussion you otherwise dread.
Shawn Sommerkamp is a motivational speaker and Executive Coach with 20+ years of Fortune 100 leadership experience. He founded Motivationeer™ to coach Christian professionals how to use their career to glorify God and support local church growth.
Shawn Sommerkamp, speaking to the Charleston Church of Christ at the New Year's Eve church service Dec 31, 2017.
Targeted goal-setting is powerful and effective. It helps us keep clarity of outcome. Breaking big desires down into smaller, achievable goals makes success achievable. The biggest challenges are overcome as we make a series of small goals that, collectively, lead to big outcomes.
And yet, just setting a bunch of goals can often be discouraging when we don’t reach them. Ever wonder why we often fall short? It’s because the goals weren’t smart! I’m not talking about whether the goals are stupid or intelligent either. I’m talking about a simple way of thinking about an activity designed to help us achieve results. It’s called S.M.A.R.T. and it stands for the following:
It’s early January.
The Holidays are over.
It can feel like we go from the ‘The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year’ to the most challenging time of the year.
A more appropriate lyric, now that it is time to make resolutions & get back to work, could be one of the following…
‘It’s The Most:
- Crazy busy
- Cash poor
- Weight Gaining
…Time Of The Year.’`
It’s not that you are
You want to enjoy it, but
it can feel more like “I just want to get through it.”
Although your MIND knows that God’s will for you (according to 1 Th 5:16-18) is to:
“Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances…”
...your HEART can lag behind & this simple command can seem overwhelming.
Sometimes you can put your finger on what’s dragging you down & other times it’s more elusive ~ not really sure what’s keeping things from being ‘Wonderful’.
1 Thessalonians 5:18
Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus
Give thanks, no matter what is happening in your life. This is easy…right?
A national polling firm named Penn, Schoen, & Berland conducted a survey, mid-2012, evaluating American attitude toward thankfulness. They conducted more than 2,000 interviews across the US general population. I’m only going to share a few pieces of the overall report:
Where is the one place people are least likely to express gratitude? WORK
Based on this survey, that hardest circumstance to give thanks exists in and around the workplace. Isn’t that amazing? The place we spend the most waking hours (about 2,200 hours per year, about 110,000 hours in working lifespan) we aren’t thankful for. Wow!
The truth is our career is not just a way to make a living - it’s a way to transform the world. It’s the place God placed us so that we could make the biggest difference in our service to him.
Do you remember when these 3D-Hidden Object posters
came out? They were quite the RAVE…
They were not what they appeared to be at first glance… If you wanted to understand what the poster was really about, you had to stop what you were doing, get real close to it – focus on it, and back away very slowly… and then – like magic – 3D images would appear / seemingly emerge right off of the paper (3D effect). The embedded 3D images were disguised and hidden to the untrained/unfocused eyes.
Some people (me included sometimes) would get frustrated if we could not see the 3D images fast enough – some were easier than others… and missed the ‘magic’ of the poster.