Overcoming the Challenges of Teamwork

Overcoming the Challenges of Teamwork

One thing that I have noticed since entering college is that the level of competition between classmates has drastically increased since high school. Grades seem to matter more and therefore choosing the right team members is crucial for getting good grades and more importantly a great career.

Similar to high school, people still fall into certain student categories (i.e. slacker, hard worker, etc.). Sometimes you don’t have the option of choosing your team-mates and this can make getting a good GPA challenging. But as the scriptures state, nothing is impossible. This is why I ask myself what God would do in each of these situations:

Person A – The Slacker – This person shows up to most team meetings but is never actively involved. Generally, this person is there to get passing grades but not willing to put in effort needed to get a good grade. The Lord says, “The soul of the sluggard desireth,and hath nothing: but the soul of the diligent shall be made fat.” (Proverbs 13:4) Even the Lord says hard work pays off. If you can motivate others to recognize this, then they may become more willing to work hard. Giving smaller parts to this team member is also a great solution.

Person B – The Person Who Never Shows Up – Showing up to every team meeting is sometimes unrealistic as schedules are not perfectly aligned. However, this team member generally doesn’t show up to group meetings and the only way they get their work completed is through assigning a specific task to them. Remember what God would do “Be ye angry, and sin not: let the sun go down upon your wrath.” (Ephesians 4:26) If you know the person has a tendency of not showing up to team meetings arrange other ways of communication (i.e. Skype, email, etc.). Make sure everyone knows their part and set earlier deadlines to ensure everything is completed and in good quality.

Person C – The Hard Worker- The hard worker generally takes on a large role of the project. If someone doesn’t come through with their part, this person usually takes it upon themselves to complete the required sections. God says, “For thou shalt eat the labour of thine hands: happy shalt thou be, and it shall be well with thee.” (Psalm 128:2) To ensure this does not happen, make sure the work is divided evenly and that each team member understands what they are doing. If one is unable to complete their work effectively, divide that specific task among the remaining team members so the hard worker does not become overwhelmed.

Person D – The Overachiever-This person is generally difficult to work with. It takes a long time to come to an agreement as most ideas are not good enough. Standards are typically set high and this can cause stress to the remainder of the team. The overachiever needs to remember “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding” (Proverbs 3:5) Overachievers tend to do more work than is actually expected of them. A way to overcome this is constantly bringing them back to the assignment guidelines. Trust God and do what is right.

No matter which team members you are working with, always remember to pray for guidance. Find ways to work around these different characteristics. But most importantly, keep peace between each of the members. Your actions have consequences and your choices impact the outcome.

What types of people have you worked with in your life? How have you overcome difficult situations?

Stepping Back and Viewing Life Transitions Differently

Stepping Back and Viewing Life Transitions Differently

My first year of college was probably the most difficult time I have ever faced. Going from four classes a semester (sometimes three) in high school to seven courses a semester in college really took its toll on me. I was barely passing courses and at the end of the day being away from my family and friends, and more importantly, not being surrounded by people who loved the Lord as much as I did was unbearable. I am now in my third year of school and I believe the only reason I made it this far has been through the support of my family and by lots, and I mean lots, of praying!

Growing up in a Christian home, I was always encouraged to never give up. So when facing the challenges of my first year of college the following three Bible verses helped me guide my actions:

a)   Persistence – “I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13) Quitting is always an option but I try to remember that God gives you the strength to carry on and that He never gives one too much to handle.

b)  Take a vacation/rest – And Jesus said unto them, “Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while: for there were many coming and going and they had no leisure so much as to eat.” (Mark 6:31) Rest is important because it allows us to reflect on difficult situations. You should always take a step back and go into the situation with an open/positive mindset.

c)  Change the situation –“Be not conformed to this world: but ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable and perfect, will of God.” (Romans 12:2) Don’t do things as the world deems acceptable. Follow the word of God and change you perceptions on a given situation.  If you know something is going to be challenging prepare in advance. Worst case scenario – you can always ask for help!

I guess the biggest tip for overcoming difficult challenges is to always bring your problems to the Lord. Endeavour to do your best and at a pace you can handle.

What are some challenges that you have faced, and how did you overcome them?

Kingdom Thinking

Kingdom Thinking

~Jana~

As I sat with a close friend today during a play date, I realized that the “life” we live is created by us and us alone.

The words that come out of our mouth, the things we believe and the way we act will dictate the way our day, week, month … life will go.  I caught myself saying things like “we can’t afford”, “I will never” or “I am not good at”.  Who told me that??

For sure it wasn’t my Comforter, my Healer, my Provider…He says the very opposite.  So why do these things come out of my mouth?? Why would I, one who carries the living God inside of me allow negative and untruthful sayings to fill my mouth? Do I want negative in my life? NO! Do I want a life full of lies? NO!

I left our play date today feeling defeated until I came home, opened my Bible and there it was … the very scripture The Lord wanted me to see:

But He answered and said, “It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.” (Matthew 4:4 NKJV)

I will live by what my Father says about me … I am loved. I have a destiny. I am chosen by God. He will supply ALL my needs. I have wisdom. He accepts me as I am.

I am free. I am a child of the KING!!!!

These truths I go to bed with in my heart and these things I will speak tomorrow.

 

 

What’s Love Got to do With it? The Answer is EVERYTHING!

What’s Love Got To Do With It? The Answer Is Everything!

~Jana~

Ephesians 5:1-2 “Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”

We must carry ourselves with such confidence that we are highly loved with no sign of rejection, hurt, and disappointment. We are what the Word says … LOVED.

Just as Jesus Christ died on the cross and gave up His life for us – so that we can be completely free — is how we are to love and care for others.

We must love them into the Kingdom.

Love them when they are hurt. Love them when they are broken. Love them when they are angry. Love them when they are proud. Love them when they feel rejected.

If we, as children of the King, were set free the day we accepted Christ as our Lord and Saviour, shouldn’t we love others just like Christ did — and follow His example. If we don’t, then who will?

A broken person can’t lead the broken. An angry individual can’t lead someone else suffering from equally anger issues. The rejected can’t lead others who personally know rejection into a secure place of freedom.

Only those whose heart in child-like faith surrendered their heart to Jesus, now desiring to walk like their Saviour in love.

Indeed, what has love got to do with it? Everything.

“Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children and walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given Himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling savour.” (Ephesians 5:1-2)

Being An Entrepreneur

Being an Entrepreneur

~Beth~

As an entrepreneur, the cliché — “Don’t let the past define who you are today. Rather, use it to create who you want to be tomorrow!” – always made perfect sense to me.

That is, until today when, in the midst of catering chaos, I was forced to deal with an angry employee. It was definitely a “sigh” moment, one that I had been dreading for almost a year. But this was not just any employee – this employee just happened to be my family relative. Therefore, regardless of my approach – personal or professional – it was possible that the outcome could include long-term negative repercussions. Perhaps, this is why mixing work and family does not always go so well. It also explains why seemingly ideal clichés should inevitably come with a disclaimer that includes the possibility of a downside.

Still, I knew in my heart that my relative was a good employee – at least most of the time. The problem, however, became complicated by the notice she gave a month ago. I was prepared for the notice but totally unprepared by the decision to hang around until she was “officially” replaced. The issue? She did not approve of the way I ran my business. In her mind, I had always helped others too much, leaving my own cash flow short far too often.

Unfortunately, in formulating her rationale for moving on, she had forgotten that I had also helped her out in tough times. Another sigh! But my dilemma was not in the past. It was in keeping my business running in the future. This is what made today’s situation critical. Herein, she had taken the kitchen recipes, adamantly deciding not to share them with kitchen staff in order to keep production going. Moreover, other staff members close to her began to hand in their notice too, meaning that recruitment and training new staff in the midst of my busiest season had to become my new priority – not the business contracts that paid the bills.

Then, as if this was not quite enough, I found out that my relative was secretly trying to open her own catering business. Honestly, from my perspective, I wanted to wish her the best of luck. After all, she had been a diligent worker in my business for a lot of years. But how could I? It seemed that in her desire to move forward, she wanted to leave destruction of my business in its wake.

The question was how to handle it? I did what I know best. I prayed. I prayed for wisdom and knowledge. I prayed for understanding. I prayed for compassion and mercy. I prayed that my heart would not be hardened because of these latest actions. Most of all, I prayed for strength through Christ who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:13)

Today? I have a new cliché to carry me through the trials and tribulations that come my way. That is, “And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” (Ephesians 4:32)

And my family relative? She is still an asset and integral part of my catering business.

And all this — why? Because on that particular day when I knew something had to change – my Lord God and Saviour in His infinite wisdom decidedly changed me 🙂

The Answer is Not Far Away

The Answer Is Not Far Away

~Beth~

“That is why we labor and strive, because we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all people, and especially of those who believe.” (I Timothy 4:10)

I enjoy working. Most of all, I enjoy operating my own business. Over the years, I have found the catering business to be fulfilling. I also know from past experience that personnel issues can be a cause of great frustration. Today is one of those days. Thankfully, the Bible puts it all into perspective. “Honest toil, done in a joyful spirit, is like a prayer to God.” (Deuteronomy 15:10)

 

Lately, however, it has been hard at work. I have had three key people quit in the last couple of weeks. Two employees left because they wanted to move forward and open a similar business. The third employee didn’t like the other two and had already found another job before she got the news that these two employees were leaving. Of course, for me losing three employees all at once translated into panic. Indeed, anxiety took over every part of my body. I can’t stop working, I thought. But finding suitable replacements was not so easy. Three weeks of interviews and still no luck. Clients started to mention that employees had left which didn’t help. I prayed everyday for the business to run smoothly again but the hiccups just kept on coming. In fact, not only was I running out of steam but I was running out of options too.

I knew however, that throughout this ordeal, I had my faith. I knew that when we give generously to others and do so without a grudging heart, the Lord our God blesses us in all our work and in everything we put our hand to. (Ecclesiastes 3:22) That all hard work brings a profit, and those that work will eat the fruit of their labour and “blessings and prosperity will be yours.” (Proverbs 14:23 and Proverbs 12:11) But it is difficult to believe when everything around us is seemingly falling apart.

Then I recalled another verse that John wrote in the book of John. It states, “Labour not for the meat which perishes but for that meat which endures unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you, for Him hath God the Father sealed.” And then later in I Corinthians 15:58, “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.”  In other words, stand firm in the faith. In spite of the challenges, don’t be tossed to and fro in the wind.

What I began to realize is that my faith was misplaced. Rather than trusting Jesus for my future, I was frantically trying to do everything on my own. Making business decisions without praying first. Working overtime to compensate for the lack of employees. Spending money unnecessarily on ready prepared foods because of contract constraints. Once I humbled myself to realize that without Jesus, all was for naught, my life changed. So did my business prospects.

Last week, I reached into my past and called up some of my co-workers and peers from 20 years ago. They spread the word to everyone they knew. The very next day, I received a phone call from a very talented chef, willing to take on the job. He could only dedicate certain hours to my workplace each day but his talent and keen understanding of the business complexities made it work.

But the Lord’s blessings did not end there. Soon after, I was asked to quote on a contract worth 3/4 million dollars. I was speechless except to say, “Thank you Jesus!” He has never failed me yet.

Blessed Beyond Relief

Blessed Beyond Belief

By Guest: Beth

I am so blessed. Tomorrow, I am attending an Awards Recognition Chamber of Commerce event. My company and staff have been nominated for four achievement awards. These include: Best Customer Service; Business Excellence; Best Business under Ten Employees; and Woman of the Year. Yikes! That last one is hard to take. I have a difficult time patting myself on the back when I know that it takes a dedicated team to make any business endeavour successful in today’s economic climate.

I also know that my business isn’t just successful because of human input. This business is where it is today because I do a lot of praying.  Yes, admittedly, I work hard, often seven days a week. And no, I haven’t taken time off from my business commitments in over a year. But the success I enjoy today is because I have asked the Lord to be my partner. My backer in times of strife and struggle. I look to Him for the strength, wisdom and knowledge to make the right decisions.

 

James in the Bible wrote: If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God that gives to all men liberally, and upbraides not, and it shall be given him.” (James 1:5)

 

“For wisdom [is] a defence, [and] money [is] a defence, but the excellency of knowledge [is, that] wisdom gives life to them that have it.” (Ecclesiastes 7:12)

 

Admittedly, I have a hard time glorifying myself, when all the glory for everything we do should go to our Lord God and Saviour. Still, within these nominations, I see His handiwork. Therefore, I will push forward because the business that I have spent years growing will get a lot of free publicity. It will also make the business look more favourable when I am ready to sell it. And should I win and have a chance to say something positive, my last words will be thanking Jesus for all the wonderful things that He has blessed me with.

Thou Shalt Not Steal….

Thou Shalt Not Steal…

Contributed by a regular writer Lori

Simple, yet strong! Out of the ten commandments given to man in the old covenant, this is the one instruction that I see many people scoffing at, especially in these difficult, financial times. Crime, even on this little red rock, is abundant.  It’s all you hear in the news these days, even though most are petty crimes. Some of these include breaking into vehicles to gather whatever monetary value they can find. Others go so far sd holding up a convenience store at knifepoint.  It’s not a simple world we live in these days.

But some theft is much closer to home and therefore much harder to spot. Personally, I am of the mind that stealing is stealing and there is no difference between victims, whether the victim is rich, poor, well-known or less popular on the status pole.  To steal is to steal. But the act of stealing — at least for me — does not just end here. I also see a ripple effect occurring within the social fabric.  The dictionary’s definition for “stealing” is to take another person’s property without permission or legal right — without intent to return the property.  Pretty straightforward!??!

I admit growing up, I had the mindset (when out on adventures with my friends and we were getting into mischief) that taking ‘minor’ things was no big deal.  I blame it on being 16 and thinking we were invincible teenagers that believed (wrongly) that we were above all else in the world. Looking back, we were pretty tame. The worst we did was head to the beach after hours to have a late night bonfire.  On the way to the beach, however, we would break into the public washrooms and take rolls of toilet paper for our fun on the sand.  😉

Never once at that age, (and admittedly even into my twenties) did I ever think what we were doing mattered.  It was just few rolls of insignificant toilet paper every year. Thankfully, the Lord has helped my conscience to mature so that now I realize that every misdeed I commit — has a consequence. And although a consequence might not be seen immediately, eventually it does all add up.

I think becoming a mother has helped me view morals and good values differently.  I also believe that getting to know Jesus better has influenced my worldview. Would I be happy to hear if my kids were stealing paper towels or cutlery from a local restaurant?  Would I laugh with them if they came home with rolls of toilet paper from the gas station down the road?  NO. Absolutely NOT!  In fact, I would be appalled.

Looking back on my own escapades, I am appalled at my teenage self for being so brazen about taking what was NOT rightfully mine. Thankfully, I have since asked for God’s forgiveness. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us [our] sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (I John 1:9)

Fast forward to the present where I spend most of my days with little ones. Periodically, I chat with adults and I would like to think that since we are all mothers, most of us see eye to eye on the Ten Commandments, regardless of our respective religious beliefs. But this is not necessarily the case.

A recent example comes to mind. A good friend of mine was inquiring about a product that is hard to find in retail stores as it’s mostly available in bulk quantities for large institutes to use.  Someone mentioned that she should just steal some from one of these institutions.  The comment was not made in jest.  They were quite serious. I knew my good friend would never take this advice but there might be others willing to listen.

So, I approached the supervisor responsible.  After sharing my concerns — that even a little bit will have an impact on the bottom line — which in turn could negatively affect the minimum wage worker who may get a cut in hours, I was told “Whatever, it’s the government who pays for it and we pay our taxes — so why not?”  I left because there is no point arguing with that type of entrenched logic. My point in raising the issue was that others might see how the “snowball effect” could have a negative impact on the workforce overall. But sadly, to no avail.

Still, stealing to me is not a grey area that allows people to pick and choose what can be taken, and what cannot. The act of stealing is black and white and it is wrong!  The Ten Commandments reiterate this point. “Thou shall not steal.”  (Exodus 20:15)

Then I read a scripture that made me think twice. The passage is found in the new testament book of James. It states” “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. Of His own will begat He us with the Word of truth that we should be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures.” (James 1:16-17)

What a wonderful message! It was then that I realized that people need to know that there is a better way for them to live. That peace and joy can only be found in seeking our Lord God and Saviour who loved us enough to shed His precious blood on a cross for you and me. That knowing Jesus as our greatest friend brings hope. And that when we are tempted, the Lord wants us to look into the perfect law of liberty and continue therein, He being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work — and in so doing, “this man shall be blessed in his deed.” (James 1:25-26)

“Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded – James 4:8