Living a joyful life requires the passionate pursuit of the things most important to us. In this podcast, David and Donna talk about structuring your life to fulfill your passions. We can’t get caught up in strategy, because strategies should simply serve our passions; rather, we should joyfully pursue building into our lives the things necessary to fulfill what is in our hearts.

Continue reading for time stamped episode notes, calibration tools, and coaching tips to help in calibrating your life and lifting those you love and lead.

“The only plan I have is the one that unfolds in His Presence. I must be careful to not add or take away. It is my vocation of listening.” [1:10]

Strategy has to be divinely motivated. [2:15]

I am NOT about strategy, strategy, strategy. I am about taking time to listen and reflect upon what life is supposed to be… what MY life is supposed to be. I. Do. Not. Care. About. Strategies. Structures. Or processes. Not one bit. What I care about is living the joyful life, the one I want to live, the one I am passionate about. Strategies, structures, and processes serve my passion, not the other way around.

The structure serves the passion within me, but the passion is important because it moves life forward. [3:00]

I am a rules guy. I like to know where I’m going and how I’m going to get there. I like having a plan. Much of the time I’d rather be the free-flowing spirit that floats through life and just lives it as it unfolds. That is a romantic idea, but that seldom gets you anywhere. The free-flowing people I know get traction in life because they have a framework. It might not look like a framework, but it is. [4:38]

Rules are about making decisions before a situation arises. Laws are a series of parameters that pre-define acceptable behavior. I need a framework, a series of processes and decisions, to  set some basic parameters for my life.  [4:45]

Many have a guiding philosophy that provides a life framework. For us, the revelation of God through the scriptures provides the overarching framework for our lives. It shapes our worldview, it gives us parameters and metrics for decision making, and it provides a life philosophy. Some are critical of those who anchor in a biblical worldview, but everyone has a worldview. Your worldview may have been shaped by parents, friends, media, environment, university professions, authors, or personalities, but you have formed a worldview based upon some philosophical framework. [5:05]

What does this have to do with leadership and with life calibration? [6:08]

Like it or not, or realize it or not, we operate out of a framework made up of philosophies, rules, truths, values, etc. When we strengthen our framework we live, lead, and love more decisively and with greater focus, intent, and purpose.

What contributes to your life and leadership framework?

Core Values [6:29]

Core values are a topic so important that I need to really dig down into this multiple times, but for now, suffice it to say that we need to understand the non-negotiable directives that guide our lives and organizations. Core values are a set of non-negotiable principles by which we live our lives. Whether we articulate them or not, they are present in everyone of our lives. They are the predetermination we will not bend and that we will vigorously defend. Core values are the things we will argue about and even offend others with our tenacity.

Core Value Questions [8:34]

  • What are your actual core values?
  • What are the big 4 to 7 things that guide your actions?
  • What are your aspired values, the things you think should be guiding factors in your life, but they are not?
  • What decisions and determinations do you need to make to align the things you think should be your values that you are not acting upon?

A framework predetermines decision-making before we face circumstances. [10:45]

Why is a framework important? [11:15]

Life “Rules” [12:31]

Life rules do not rise to the level of core values, but they, as is everything else, have root in our core values. It seems a little silly at times, but I have some mental rules that guide me in day-to-day living. Really, they are pre-made decisions I try to stick with because I feel they reinforce my heart, who I am. [13:30]

I don’t have a list. There are no penalties for transgressing the rules. The rules are flexible to every situation, but for the most part, they are simply ways I’ve chosen to behave and live my life. Here are some examples: [13:58]

  • If someone is within 20 feet behind me when I am entering a building, be they man or woman, old or young, I will hold the door for them, at least partially. This means that sometimes my name gets put on a seating list behind theirs, but I’ve decided that it demonstrates civility and values the individual as a human being. A side benefit: it reminds me to humbly serve others. [14:34]
  • Some of them have to do with the marriage relationship (these are just a few for the sake of example) [16:00]
  • I will open doors and car doors for my wife, always. If I have to choose between holding the door for a stranger and opening a second door for my wife, the preference goes to my wife. It is a small way to value and serve her.
  • We will go to bed at the same time. Night person, morning person, whatever, one of us needs to adjust and the greater responsibility is upon the person making the decision.
  • We will do as much together as we can.
  • I make the bed every morning before I leave the bedroom.

I could go on, and I would benefit if I had more “rules”, but what’s the point? These are simply decisions I’ve pre-made to make life more productive, more civil, more joyful, etc. I don’t want anyone to get the feeling that my life is one big ball of rules, because it isn’t. I live a joyful pace. But when I come across something that I feel will make me a better person and will more accurately reflect who I am with minimal effort, I try to make a mental note of it and add it to the framework of my life. [18:00]

What does this have to do with leadership calibration and framework?  [18:19]

  • We need to predetermine paths so we can effectively move toward our goals and strategies.
  • The parameters we set in our lives help us become who we want to be. [18:50]
  • The framework we establish sets the pattern for the way we will live our lives. [19:00]
  • Our framework helps us intentionally act out who we want to be and the way we want to be. [19:55]

[callout]Our leadership framework is like guard rails on the highway of life that keeps us within our predetermined boundaries. [21:15][/callout]

Life “Policies” [21:50]

Policies are formalized rules written down and to which we consistently adhere. Policies are relational, and they are things to which we have mutually agreed. Policies prevent misunderstanding and inequitable application of procedure. Since I am writing about life calibration and not organizational calibration, I want to give mention to the informal policies that contribute to our framework.

Informal policies that contribute to our framework [22:35]

  • Family policies. These create a life framework for the family to function together in harmony. They might include made beds, no dishes in the sink, pick up after yourself, etc.
  • Relational policies. These are the expectations we have of one another. They are usually informal, but they do require communication for the mutual meeting of expectations. Rather than framing it as, “Whose job is it to…?”, it is better stated as, “Who has the greater responsibility to see that…?” [25:00]

Processes, Structures, and Systems  [25:20]

I’ve found that the things in my heart, my vision, just does not get forward movement unless I incorporate it into a framework. All of this sounds so incredibly complex, it sounds as though I am suggesting that we live our lives out of a playbook. You might be inclined to think that I am suggesting that everything comes down to a formula, a strategy, or a plan. I don’t live my life like that, and I don’t intend to, but I have found that when I have a decision to make, a goal to accomplish, or a vision to move forward, I must build a process, a system, or a structure or it simply never gets done.

[callout]The more complex your vision the more important it is to have a structure that everyone understands. [26:35][/callout]

  • I write it down first. I am a voracious journalist; writing is how I process through things and define what is actually floating around in my spirit and in my head.
  • Clarify the vision. What is it you really want to do? What’s important to you? Know and understand what you feel you are to accomplish.
  •  Set goals. What actions must you take to move forward what you really want to do.

This is a simple process, a simple example of how to move forward. In the weeks ahead we are going to drill down on a few of these things to bring greater clarity and more precise tools for your toolbox.

My Passion Point in All of This  [27:00]

“The only plan I have is the one that unfolds in His Presence. I must be careful to not add or take away. It is my vocation of listening.”

The strategy, the structure, and the frameworks come alongside our passions to help us fulfill what is in our hearts. The structures we build serve our passions, not the other way around. [27:20]

I’ve got to have the right framework or my outcomes will not be the right outcomes. Your framework is important because it gives bones to the life you are called to live.  [28:30]

I occasionally run across a leader who thinks it is spiritual or cool to fly by the seat of their pants. I grieve in my heart for them, because they could see the fulfillment of the dream breathed into them if they would just be passionate enough about it to give it just a wee bit of thought as to action and implementation.

Tools for the Coaching Leader’s Toolbox  [29:00]

Okay then, to summarize, what are the tools we need to calibrate our lives, and how can we effectively coach and mentor those we love and lead to build an intentional framework for their lives?

#1 Don’t make it too difficult, but let it be organic.

  • What’s in your heart? What are your passions?
  • What do YOU want to accomplish?
  • Review the answers to those questions, and make a list of just five things you want to incorporate into your life to act out the things you are ALREADY passionate about.  [29:39]

#2 In an upcoming episode we will walk through some processes for discovering our core values, but for now…

  • What are a few non-negotiable values in your life?
  • What are the top three non-negotiable values in your life?
  • Write them down, and then line them up with your life.
  • Where do you see areas of incongruence?
  • What adjustments do you need to make to truly live out your values?
  • Who do you want to BE, and what is one thing you need to start doing today to move in that direction. [30:31]

Remember, a leadership framework is pre-determined decisions you are going to make when you come to cross roads in your life to keep things on track.

# 3 What are a couple of “life rules” that you feel prompted to establish in your life to create habits and routines to automate the actions that you want to define you. [31:36]

Your framework is important because it gives bones to the live you are called to live. When we talk about life calibration, we are going after the things we need to calibrate in our lives to be fine-tuned to live, lead, and love out of who we know we are to be. Life is too important to live haphazardly. Leadership is about providing a framework for yourself and those you lead and love to help them realize the divine passions that arise within them… to me, that is JOYFUL living.