What do you see when you reflect ahead?

[fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”]

My daughter Anna captured this photo of me in deep reflection, peering into the majestic ravine at Prairie Oaks Institute, Belle Plaine, Minnesota. My son Ben is the caretaker.

Most of us are working longer and harder than we imagined. Only time will tell if that’s a good thing or not. I’m so fortunate I love my work. And my life.

Today is January 1, 2013. The new year is a precious 1-day old infant, filled with promise and joy. Are you making the time to reflect ahead?

My kids often hear me joke about planning to live until I’m 98 years old…at 49, I’m half way home. (Melinda will have to live to 100 to get any respite from me.) If my life was a college football game, I’m resting at half time. And reflecting. I’m taking stock of the decisions that led me to where I sit in the game right now. At least one great decision. Lots of risks: some good, others not-so-good. But I’m happy and still eager.

Reflection in our hurry-up lifestyle is almost a lost art: we’re so fully ‘wired.’ One of my favorite things about sitting in church is the hour all to myself. I wrote my first book on the little white ‘note cards’ in the pew. One of my role models, Kevin Cashman, recently published his new book for leaders called the Pause Principle. The title alone proves my point: so many people are yearning for reflection that this book is already rocketing toward Best Seller.

[/fusion_builder_column][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”]

Our dogs Lola (top, age 3) and Max (13) are my blogging partners: each providing a unique point of view.

On this New Year’s morning, I’m basking in the glow of time off with my family and savoring the pregnant promise of a new year. In some ways, more of the same would be nice. In other ways, less would be much, much better. Personally, I’m in slow and steady recovery from severe idiopathic angioedema: a fancy way to say “mysterious swelling of the sensitive soft tissues.” I’ve missed a lot of work and this causes me to think really deep. The culprit seems to be a common pharmaceutical which produces adverse side-effects in “one in a million” patients. Normally, it feels special to be one-in-a-million. In my case it was frightening, but also spiritually rejuvenating. In 2013, less time in the ER would be nice.

[/fusion_builder_column][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”]

Mid-August reflection about about my personal and professional life; up at the lake with our team.

Why does it take a health scare to force a pause for personal and professional reflection? I’m learning yoga, meditation and prayer at a deeper level. I like it. And I like the person I’m growing up to be. Why didn’t I learn this 25 years ago?

Good leaders make a habit of creating time to reflect, pray and listen to the world around them.  And they use the quiet promise of a new day to be calm, confident and strong in their endeavors — personally and professionally.

Drop me a note: what reflections are you carrying forward into the New Year?[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

12 Comments

  1. ghotierman on January 1, 2013 at 4:11 pm

    You’ve appeased my appetite for food for thought this morning, Paul! As I was reading your post, I could not help but think of the philosopher Epicurus.  He’s become one of the favorites for the students in my Intro to Philosophy course.  I am sure he would be a subscriber to the “Seven F’s” as well.  His prescription for happiness had three basic tenets, and two start with F!  For Epicurus, happiness resulted from having enough Food, Friends, and Self Reflection.  You highlighted the importance of his third element in you post today. Taking time to reflect and listen becomes a key to happiness when we realize it is not material things that create happiness.  We create our own happiness. When we take time to reflect on our current situation, we can evaluate how we feel and make the change to improve ourselves. I think it is a fundamental aspect of human philosophy and is echoed in almost every tradition.  Epicurus of course, but also Stephen Covey, who put for the suggestion that we choose how we react to situations. The choice can only be made upon reflection. Christian traditions hold the same.  Jesus’ sermons in the book of Matthew tell us to consider the lilies of field or the birds of the air: they neither toil nor spin, but are taken care of. They have what they need, what is given. Musical artist Bobby McFerin summed it up well too: ‘don’t worry, be happy’.  Seems a rather simplistic approach to mental health and well being, but when you stop and think about it, when you “create time to reflect, pray and listen to the world” you find where you can adjust your attitude, turn a frown upside down, see how you relate to others.  Emotions are contagious.  When you’re happy, up beat, energetic…those around you reflect that energy. So of course, when you’re a gloomy gus, it comes back on you as well. 
    You’ve inspired me again, Mr. Batz. Your prose is timely, welcomed, and reflects the thoughts I have heading into the New Year. “Happy New Year” is not just a wish, it is a directive. And I am responsible for my lot. As Captain Picard would say: “Make it so!”



  2. ghotierman on January 1, 2013 at 10:11 am

    You’ve appeased my appetite for food for thought this morning, Paul! As I was reading your post, I could not help but think of the philosopher Epicurus.  He’s become one of the favorites for the students in my Intro to Philosophy course.  I am sure he would be a subscriber to the “Seven F’s” as well.  His prescription for happiness had three basic tenets, and two start with F!  For Epicurus, happiness resulted from having enough Food, Friends, and Self Reflection.  You highlighted the importance of his third element in you post today. Taking time to reflect and listen becomes a key to happiness when we realize it is not material things that create happiness.  We create our own happiness. When we take time to reflect on our current situation, we can evaluate how we feel and make the change to improve ourselves. I think it is a fundamental aspect of human philosophy and is echoed in almost every tradition.  Epicurus of course, but also Stephen Covey, who put for the suggestion that we choose how we react to situations. The choice can only be made upon reflection. Christian traditions hold the same.  Jesus’ sermons in the book of Matthew tell us to consider the lilies of field or the birds of the air: they neither toil nor spin, but are taken care of. They have what they need, what is given. Musical artist Bobby McFerin summed it up well too: ‘don’t worry, be happy’.  Seems a rather simplistic approach to mental health and well being, but when you stop and think about it, when you “create time to reflect, pray and listen to the world” you find where you can adjust your attitude, turn a frown upside down, see how you relate to others.  Emotions are contagious.  When you’re happy, up beat, energetic…those around you reflect that energy. So of course, when you’re a gloomy gus, it comes back on you as well. 
    You’ve inspired me again, Mr. Batz. Your prose is timely, welcomed, and reflects the thoughts I have heading into the New Year. “Happy New Year” is not just a wish, it is a directive. And I am responsible for my lot. As Captain Picard would say: “Make it so!”



  3. Anonymous on January 2, 2013 at 3:48 pm

    My husband and I spent the day yesterday in “pause”, looking both forward and back to the previous year.  It was a quiet day, a restful day filled with calm and yet excitement about what is yet to come.   We both created our “2013 bucket list”, and made a plan to meet each Saturday morning on the porch for coffee to review our previous weeks accomplishments and set our upcoming weeks goals.   Some items on the lists are task oriented and project based, but some are about serving one another, others and improving our character in baby steps from the previous week.  I’m excited to see what 2013 has to offer.    Blessings!



  4. yoyaatlarge on January 2, 2013 at 9:48 am

    My husband and I spent the day yesterday in “pause”, looking both forward and back to the previous year.  It was a quiet day, a restful day filled with calm and yet excitement about what is yet to come.   We both created our “2013 bucket list”, and made a plan to meet each Saturday morning on the porch for coffee to review our previous weeks accomplishments and set our upcoming weeks goals.   Some items on the lists are task oriented and project based, but some are about serving one another, others and improving our character in baby steps from the previous week.  I’m excited to see what 2013 has to offer.    Blessings!



  5. katelynj on January 2, 2013 at 7:30 pm

    One of my new year’s resolutions is to be a student – not to go back to school but to continue learning. I want to exercise my mind, absorbing articles instead of Facebook statuses. I’m excited to be a sponge this year!



  6. katelynj on January 2, 2013 at 1:30 pm

    One of my new year’s resolutions is to be a student – not to go back to school but to continue learning. I want to exercise my mind, absorbing articles instead of Facebook statuses. I’m excited to be a sponge this year!



  7. Paul on January 7, 2013 at 6:10 pm

     Jay: your insights inspired me in college…and that still rings true today.  I look forward to a time when you and I can work on a book project together.  That would make Bill Robertz proud, no?



  8. Paul on January 7, 2013 at 12:10 pm

     Jay: your insights inspired me in college…and that still rings true today.  I look forward to a time when you and I can work on a book project together.  That would make Bill Robertz proud, no?



  9. Paul on January 7, 2013 at 6:58 pm

     Hey Katelyn, that sounds exciting. I recommend The Optimist Magazine.  Check it out online first.  Carpe Diem.



  10. Paul on January 7, 2013 at 12:58 pm

     Hey Katelyn, that sounds exciting. I recommend The Optimist Magazine.  Check it out online first.  Carpe Diem.



  11. Paul on January 7, 2013 at 7:00 pm

    Ah…Good idea…a 2013 Bucket List.  We are doing something similar for how we want our business to blend into our personal lives this year.  Case in point: Melinda is going to accompany me to Los Angeles next week on a business trip, and we are going to see some friends in Orange County over the weekend.  Its one of two ‘partner’ trips we take as owners of the business.  I’ll ask her to work in the 2013 Bucket List with me.  Cheers!



  12. Paul on January 7, 2013 at 1:00 pm

    Ah…Good idea…a 2013 Bucket List.  We are doing something similar for how we want our business to blend into our personal lives this year.  Case in point: Melinda is going to accompany me to Los Angeles next week on a business trip, and we are going to see some friends in Orange County over the weekend.  Its one of two ‘partner’ trips we take as owners of the business.  I’ll ask her to work in the 2013 Bucket List with me.  Cheers!



Leave a Comment