We establish patterns in our lives that help us live consistently and naturally. Patterns are important in our personal life and in leadership. We must establish life patterns and we’ve got to be willing to evaluate those patterns when we need to change or go to the next level. In this episode we take a look at our spiritual patterns, passion patterns, relationship patterns, life development patterns, and our life practices patterns.

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Establishing Life Patterns for Joyful Living

Running an excavator, depending on its configuration, involves managing two joysticks and a couple of pedals. You’ve got to acclimate yourself to the equipment controls to become efficient and experienced in operating the equipment. You’ve got to become so acclimated that you start to feel the machine as an extension of your body. When you think “scoop up that rock”, the machine responds.  Instead, as a novice, when I sit in the operator’s seat I am thinking, “right joy stick back, left joystick to the right, oops, no, left, no right.” It is a series of short moves, largely through trial and error guessing. After a few hours it starts becoming natural and the arm on the machine is like my own arm. I am just watching it move where my mind is telling it to move. To be efficient with an excavator, its operation must become a natural extension of my appendages. It’s not that I’m not “thinking” about its operation, it is that I’m using my brain in a different way.

Typing is a lot like that. I’ve heard a few stories of the origination of the “QWERTY” standard typing keyboard. One of the stories states the QWERTY was designed in an illogical configuration to facilitate early typewriters that would jam if the operator typed too fast. Even with the illogical configuration, over time typing becomes an auto response to the words forming in our mind. If you “hunt and peck” it is slow, but if you practice enough, you simply think of a word and your hands and fingers move according to the pattern in your brain for that word, you can then move lightning fast. When I type I don’t spell words in my mind, I think the words and my fingers tap them out. It is thousands of patterns that string together based upon my thinking and repetition.

Whether consciously or unconsciously, we automate a lot of our life routines. This is important because once we innovate or create a path or solution, we must “lock-in” and establish the practice. Otherwise, we wouldn’t get much done if we were constantly innovating every action we take throughout the day.

Steve Jobs, the co-founder of Apple, was well known for his attire: A black turtleneck and jeans. He stated the reason as avoidance of “decision fatigue.” He made so many creative decisions every day that he established patterns and routines to automate menial decisions. I’ll venture a guess that Jobs often started his day without a direct memory of having gotten dressed.

We establish patterns in our lives that help us live consistently and naturally. Patterns are important in our personal life and in leadership. We must establish life patterns and we’ve got to be willing to evaluate the patterns when we need to change or go to the next level.

Today, we are going to talk about establishing patterns in the 5 of the 6 calibration points.

Spiritual Life Patterns [8:53] 

God often operates according to patterns, more so than formulas. We need to consider the difference between PATTERNS and FORMULAS.

A formula (defined) is a fixed or conventional method for doing something. A set form of words used in declaring something definitively. A formula is a meticulously defined procedure that creates the same measured result.

A pattern (defined)  is a combination of qualities, acts, tendencies, etc. forming a consistent or characteristic arrangement. A pattern is an ORIGINAL model considered for imitation. Something designed to serve as a model or guide for something to be made.

Some people cook according to a formula and some cook according to a pattern. A formula is doing something in exactly the same way and expecting the same result. A pattern is taking an example and applying it to the uniqueness of a situation.

When Jesus sent his disciples out to minister they could not free a boy from affliction by a demon. Jesus took the opportunity to teach his disciples that such matters in the spiritual realm are not handily dealt with through a formula or an incantation, but rather through the patterns established in one’s life through relationship with the Father, the true source of delivering power.

When Jesus taught his disciples to pray he did not deliver to them a prayer book full of formulas or a string of beads. Instead he gave them a pattern we call “The Lord’s Prayer.”

In our spiritual life we must calibrate according to patterns.

  • What are your spiritual calibration routines?
  • What are the points of your spirituality do you do naturally (habits if you will)?

Patterns in Our Passions [18:15]

Patterns emerge through passions. As we’ve spoken of in previous episodes (030 – Focus on Your Strength Zone) we have strength zones that have been revealing and confirming themselves throughout our lives. When we pay attention to the things we are passionate about a thread emerges. When we connect the dots of our passions a story emerges giving us divine guidance and insight in the paths intended for our lives.

Our SANCTIFIED passions guide us in life. Our passions informed by the revelation of God ignite us, they motivate us. We have to look at the things that evoke passion within us. When we discover the things we are passionate about, we need to lock into those things.

One thing I wrongfully avoid is repeating myself. Listen, if you are passionate about something you are going to keep talking about it. If something stirs emotion in you, it will be your default subject. Stop being apologetic about it — don’t wear people out — but do not be apologetic about your passions.

The closer aligned your passions with your vocation, the more JOYFUL your life will be. You’ve got to connect them in some way.

Pay attention to the PATTERN of your PASSIONS.

Relational Patterns [21:09]

If you have the same problem with different people over and over, you need to take a look in the mirror because either YOU are the problem, or you are acting in some way as to create the same scenario over and over again.

Formulas do not work in relationships because of variables. This is why formulas do not work in relationships. Every person and every situation has unique attributes. You could use formulas to manage relationships if everyone were the same. The look the same, they live in the same place, they watched the same television shows and had the same friends growing up, if their emotions were always the same… not going to happen.

Patterns, however, are anchored in the example of Christ. Relational patterns are based upon examples of healthy behaviors and relationships. You cannot use formulas, but following patterns will help you live in healthy relationships and live a joyful life.

What patterns will you establish in your relationships?

Patterns keep us on track, they help us keep things in focus, they establish a foundation of meaningful routine.

Patterns in our Life Development [25:22] 

The four pillars of life are the spiritual, the intellectual, the emotional, and the physical. Every one of those areas are governed and strengthen by establishing and progressing life patterns. My core value of persistence. Small things done consistently over a long period of time will generate massive results) spiritual, intellectual, emotional, physical.

What are your life development patterns in each of those areas?

Patterns in our Life Practices [27:31]

Once we work through our life paths we have to ESTABLISH our path. We have to ESTABLISH our foundations.We have to ESTABLISH our methods and routines. We must also EVALUATE our practices.

Take the example of the excavator. What if there is a new and better excavator that will just take us to the next level in excavation and in the outcomes we’ve planned. The problem… the new excavator has different controls.

Your patterns must be flexible… this is why they are patterns and not formulas!!!!!

You have to evaluate your patterns periodically and make adjustments to them.

[31:31] Here’s an example. If I mark a 2×4 and cut it and use that one for a pattern, I cut the next one and use that one for a pattern, etc. I will get “PATTERN DRIFT”. We have to regularly evaluate our patterns to make sure they still match the MASTER pattern that will build the joyful life we desire.

Calibration is important, but the standard to which we calibrate is most important. When we compare ourselves to ourselves we are unwise, but when we measure ourselves by the standard of Christ, we experience growth, stability, and joyful living.  

Calibration Points… Calibrating Life and Lifting Those We Love and Lead. [34:42]

We are going to focus on just three of these areas in our calibration points. We encourage you to use these questions for self-reflection and for your coaching relationships.

  1. What are your spiritual life patterns? Is the pattern working for you? What new patterns do you need to establish in your spiritual life? Have you become formulaic?
  2. What are your relationship patterns? Are their negative outcomes you’ve experienced that could be mitigated by changing the patterns of how you relate and give priority to the relationship?
  3. Are you locked into any life practice patterns that are holding you back? Do you need to open yourself up to change and establishing some new patterns?
  4. Do you have a solid foundation with a master pattern that will keep you from drifting?


Pressing beyond the tough stuff and experiencing the JOY of living, leading, and loving requires anchoring in healthy patterns. Formulas are not going to anchor us in a joyful life, but staying calibrated and aligned to the master pattern will.

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