"Will 2018 be smooth sailing for your family or will the seas be rough and choppy?" We pose this open-ended question to highlight the importance of distinguishing between what we intend to do, what we believe we are doing and, what we are actually doing. What is the big deal? Why demand nit-picking details? Memory alone cannot provide accurate information to distinguish between intention, assumption and reality. Wishing things are the way we want them to be-regardless of how earnestly we hope-- does not make them true. To know what is actually occurring requires factual information.

Before you compile your actual data, pause and predict how well your intention matched your actual expenditure of time. Write down your estimate. Remind yourself of the purpose of this exercise: to help your family. There is no grade to be achieved, no passing or failing. This exercise will yield information that can assist in making more conscious choices. Better information allows us to make better decisions! Better information often reveals facts to which we've become blind. It can also highlight needs we've overlooked or the need need to identify and connect to resources.

As we well know, time is finite and most of us can never seem to find enough of it. The total amount we have to spend in a two-week period? Precisely 336 hours. Subtract sleep (7 hours/day = 98 hours total) and work (80 hours + 10 hours commuting.) Only 50 hours remain. Fifty precious hours to allot for all other responsibilities and priorities. That's approximately 3 ½ hours per day. Is it any wonder why time feels so scarce? Or so valuable?

Now take the accumulated data and graph it in the appropriate wheel. Do this by coloring from the hub out towards the edges. Use the graphic on the left as your sample. What do you notice? How balanced is the wheel?  If it were an actual wheel, would it roll smoothly? Which section dominated? Which was neglected? How does your completed wheel align with your priorities?

Mentally list your three Core Family Values. (These are the one on which you can never compromise.) If a stranger looked at your time wheel, what might they infer were your highest priorities? If not, what does that tell you. (Remember, information is power.)

As you study your completed wheel, what gaps between Intention and Execution does it reveal? What was your biggest time magnet? How much of your devotion of time to this category happened by intention, by accident or, by crisis? What garnered the least amount of time? Again, consider how much of your allotment of time to this category happened by intention, by accident or, by crisis? Which values are you living fully? To which ones are you giving lip service? Which ones truly guide and inspire you?

The next step in this exercise is probably the most important part. What will you do with the insight the exercise provided? First, reexamine your Core Values. How, why and when did you choose them? What has changed in your life since then? How did these Core Values serve you in the past? Now? How did they impede you. How have your beliefs changed since you originally formulated your Core Values? What "systems" do you use to remind yourself of these Values in your decision-making processes?

Make time to redefine/update your Core Values. Write them out, display them and share them as a family. This is a vital compass. Rely on it and use it consciously. We also invite parents to read GIFT's Philosophy of Adoption and then share a serious discussion with your partner. This is a part of your family life that is too important to handle on autopilot. Hash out your family's personal adoption philosophy and write it down. The process of writing it down will open reflection and discussion. It will reveal points of agreement, dissension and might expose assumptions that are inaccurate. It's important to know all of these points. It could help avert problems and will certainly help in handling problems. Plus, it is best to explore them before a crisis occurs.

Armed with your updated data, re-examined values and clarified family adoption philosophy prepares you to be intentional and more successful as a family. It identifies opportunities to change and helps spotlight leverage points for adjustment. Set a reminder for three months ahead. Then reflect on how this exercise affect your family. Re-calibrate if necessary. Time brings changes and challenges. Keep tweaking these concepts and priorities on a quarterly basis. How would this approach benefit your family the most?

Remember to make joy a family priority. Do not wait for it to be "earned". Joy, like love,  is an esental ingredient in relationship building and both are far too important to make it contingent on behavioral change. It is the conduit that invests kids in wanting to change their behavior.  Moments of joy can become idslands of hope, stepping stones to increased trust and connectedness. We are all works in progress... We cannot allow ourselves to be so focused on the destination that we forget to engage and appreciate the journey.

 

 

Actions, Words and Family Values: Disconnected or Aligned? (Redux)Because we believe in Intentional Parenting, last week we invited readers to consider a time-tracking practice to help identify the way we actually spend out time. We also revisited our Family Values to remind ourselves of their role in identifying  priorities. Actions, words and Family Values must align. Our words must reveal and reflect our values. More importantly our actions must bring both words and values to life. When a disconnect occurs between these factors, it makes family life stressed and chaotic. This is why a tracking exercise offers an excellent window into our reality.

One week has now passed. Perhaps you "intended" to take on the practice but then forgot. You still have time. Do it this week. You will still accumulate useful data. (Visit this blog for details on what and how to track.)

Sally Ankerfelt, another of our GIFT coaches reflected on my blog post and made a great suggestion for expanding the scope of our "practice." In addition to tracking how our family spends time, she proposed tracking how we spend money.

Think about it. For almost all of us, money is a finite quantity. We must make conscious choices on how we use it. Every "Yes" is also a "No." While we may think we manage our money thoughtfully and according to our priorities (which emanate from our Values,) a reality-based exercise like this may reveal some surprises. Download and use this graphic to get you started.

For those who did begin the exercise,  what have you noticed? (We'll explore those observations in detail next week.)

For those of you who are hesitant, examine what is really behind your reluctance? Some emotions that might block us are: self-doubt; resistance to change that comes from more informed awareness; feeling like your plate is already overfull.

Actions, Words and Family Values: Disconnected or Aligned?What if you're correct? Wouldn't it make sense then, to identify what can be deleted? When we are too busy, things always fall off our radar, get forgotten or shunted to I'll-do-it-later status. Often this leads to more crises. We then face a barrage of family "fires" that drain us emotionally, financially and consume too much time and energy.

So ... take a breath, start tracking time and money and prepare for some surprises. Most likely you'll find some positive and some negative data. Armed with this information, you can outline a better plan that is more aligned with your Values, dreams and intentions for your family.

Imagine how that might shift the mood of your family. Imagine and then begin! Will you be pleasantly surprised or shocked into Intentional change?

Money Talks: What Is Yours Saying?Americans have a cultural belief: Money Talks. What is yours saying? How strong is the connection between our spending and our values?

After tracking your spending for a week--or more--what useful information emerged? Dissect the information with a Learning Eye. instead of a critical or judgmental one. Using this neutral approach reminds us to look for leverage points for change and to step away from any inclination to fault-find or judge. (Information is power--and our friend--when we allow it to be so.)

In today's post we will consider several questions. We'll examine the data that shows how our cash was actually spent versus how we'd assumed and/or intended. Get ready to discover "golden nuggets" to which we've been previously blind. (Imagine that.) So ...

What did your spending over the last two weeks say? First, the appearance of a disparity between expectation and reality is neither a good or bad thing. It is simply information. So, if your chart reveals this kind of gap, the next step is to identify what drove the financial decision. Was it a response to an immediate but unexpected financial priority to which you intentionally appropriated money? Or, was it an impulse expenditure.

If the latter, dig deeper to identify what drove the choice: stress, hunger, time constraints, loneliness, pressure from family, friends or co-workers, community or world issues, etc. By identifying the reason, the leverage point for creating better decisions in the future becomes clear.

Money Talks: What Is Yours Saying?How well did it embody your Core Values? This can be a more challenging inference to accept. Has habit led us to spend money in a way that does not reflect our Core Values? Which spending choices revealed an abandonment or weakening of our values compass? Examine each choice separately. Get as clear a mental picture of the factors that occurred at the time you spent the money. List who was present. Recall your emotional state as well as any other details that you can. How did that group of factors make it easy to veer away from your values?

When the chart indicated that an expenditure aligned well with your values, ask the same questions as above. This will help identify the thoughts, circumstances and systems that help keep you aligned with your values.

What role did impulsivity play?  Let's face it. Modern life is BUSY. We never seem to have sufficient time, energy or money. Sometimes it is easier to spend spontaneously without first calculating if it is prudent or not. Once we've noted the factors that led to spontaneous (un-Intentional) spending, we can use that awareness to decide with more Intention in the future. Revealing the specific influence opens the door to new strategies.

For example, daily stops at Starbucks can add up quickly. What is this expense accomplishing for you? Perhaps it a dash of needed self-indulgence. How else might that be accomplished in a less costly way that also aligns with your values? Or it might be a way of denying that money is tight because "It's only a few bucks" so of course it's okay. It could be a reflection of many possible factors, e.g. poor time management, unhealthy eating habits, hunger, or a behavior that is part of a group-identity. Whatever the reasons, they provide valuable insight. What opportunities for change did it highlight?

Money Talks: What Is Yours Saying?

To what extent did Intentionality govern your spending? Again, look at the factors and circumstances that supported your decision-making. Identify how you can create those factors more often. Note which relationships and circumstances support your values-based living as well as those which divert you. What can you do to moderate any negative influences in a way that honors your Core Values, yourself and your family? How can you avoid or limit the occasions that draw you off from your commitment to your values?

What will be your first action step in response to this exercise ?  How will it benefit your family? How will you involve the entire family in raising awareness of the connection between your Core Values and your spending habits?
Money Talks: What Is Yours Saying?

Two weeks ago we asked, "Will 2017 be smooth sailing for your family or will the seas be rough and choppy?" We posed this open-ended question to highlight the importance of distinguishing between what we intend to do, what we believe we are doing and, what we are actually doing. What is the big deal? Why demand nit-picking details? Memory alone cannot provide accurate information to distinguish between intention, assumption and reality. Wishing things are the way we want them to be-regardless of how earnestly we hope-- does not make them true. To know what is actually occurring requires factual information.

Before you examine your actual data, pause and predict how well your intention matched your actual expenditure of time. Write down your estimate. Remind yourself of the purpose of this exercise: to help your family. There is no grade to be achieved, no passing or failing. This exercise will yield information that can assist in making more conscious choices. Better information allows us to make better decisions! Better information often reveals facts to which we've become blind. It can also highlight needs we've overlooked or the need need to identify and connect to resources.

As we well know, time is finite and most of us can never seem to find enough of it. The total amount we have to spend in a two-week period? Precisely 336 hours. Subtract sleep (7 hours/day = 98 hours total) and work (80 hours + 10 hours commuting.) Only 50 hours remain. Fifty precious hours to allot for all other responsibilities and priorities. That's approximately 3 ½ hours per day. Is it any wonder why time feels so scarce? Or so valuable?

Now take the accumulated data and graph it in the appropriate wheel. Do this by coloring from the hub out towards the edges. Use the graphic on the left as your sample. What do you notice? How balanced is the wheel?  If it were an actual wheel, would it roll smoothly? Which section dominated? Which was neglected? How does your completed wheel align with your priorities?

Mentally list your three Core Family Values. (These are the one on which you can never compromise.) If a stranger looked at your time wheel, what might they infer were your highest priorities? If not, what does that tell you. (Remember, information is power.)

As you study your completed wheel, what gaps between Intention and Execution does it reveal? What was your biggest time magnet? How much of your devotion of time to this category happened by intention, by accident or, by crisis? What garnered the least amount of time? Again, consider how much of your allotment of time to this category happened by intention, by accident or, by crisis? Which values are you living fully? To which ones are you giving lip service? Which ones truly guide and inspire you?

The next step in this exercise is probably the most important part. What will you do with the insight the exercise provided? First, reexamine your Core Values. How, why and when did you choose them? What has changed in your life since then? How did these Core Values serve you in the past? Now? How did they impede you. How have your beliefs changed since you originally formulated your Core Values? What "systems" do you use to remind yourself of these Values in your decision-making processes?

Make time to redefine/update your Core Values. Write them out, display them and share them as a family. This is a vital compass. Rely on it and use it consciously. We also invite parents to read GIFT's Philosophy of Adoption and then share a serious discussion with your partner. This is a part of your family life that is too important to handle on autopilot. Hash out your family's personal adoption philosophy and write it down. The process of writing it down will open reflection and discussion. It will reveal points of agreement, dissension and might expose assumptions that are inaccurate. It's important to know all of these points. It could help avert problems and will certainly help in handling problems. Plus, it is best to explore them before a crisis occurs.

Armed with your updated data, re-examined values and clarified family adoption philosophy prepares you to be intentional and more successful as a family. It identifies opportunities to change and helps spotlight leverage points for adjustment. Set a reminder for three months ahead. Then reflect on how this exercise affect your family. Re-calibrate if necessary. Time brings changes and challenges. Keep tweaking these concepts and priorities on a quarterly basis. How would this approach benefit your family the most?

Next week we'll look at the data you accumulated regarding money.

By the way, if you haven't yet taken on this Time/Priority exercise, it is not too late. If you  don't want to commit to two weeks of tracking, try it for one.  Imagine what benefits you and your family could reap...

 

Call today!

1-800-653-9445


GIFT, Growing Intentional Families Together, adoption

SUBSCRIBE TO THE GIFT NEWSLETTER