Guest Post: Tim Sanders

This is a guest post by Tim Sanders, author of Today We Are Rich. Tim is a speaker, author, and change-agent. He’s making a difference for the Kingdom through his connections and his influence. I’m honored to participate in Tim’s ministry with this guest post.

April 20 has a variety of meanings leading to various celebrations – some in the moment and others for future generations.  For me, it’s a big day I’m conducting a media tour to support my new book,  Today We Are Rich.  One of the key points of the book is that you can give your way out of burnout.  In principle four, Give To Be Rich, I echo Dr. Norman Vincent Peale’s obsersvation: Generosity  is a Wonder Drug.

In the spirit of Carpe Diem, I’m claiming 4-20 as a national day of giving, observing and sharing of emotions.  Much like Scrooge, anyone can lift their spirits dramatically by giving, helping, volunteering or directly donating to those in need.  Researches have a name for the medicinal power of giving: Helper’s High.  This is the promise made in Isaiah 58: 7,8.

When you share what you have to help others, in that moment, you are worth something – and it will help you ease any pain.  Looking for a blanket to throw over your blues? Here’s what Dr. Stephen Post of the Institute For Research on Unlimited Love would deal to you:  “To rid yourself of negative emotional states, push them aside with positive emotional states and the simplest way to do that is to just go out and lend a helping hand to somebody.”

Looking for a buzz?  Volunteer.  Women participating in a study by the Institute For The Advancement Of Health reported that after volunteering time to help others, they had a physical experience similar to meditation or a vigorous workout.  In a compilation of fifty studies recently published by Case Western University’s Stephen Post, the exact phenom becomes clear:  When we perceive that we’ve helped someone, we trigger the reward center in our brain, which produces Dopamines, Endorphins and Serotonins.  These powerful chemicals give us feelings of profound joy, calmness and spiritual connection.  We get as high as a kite, or gain the internal/chemical feeling of true Richness.

We lift off, emotionally, and it lasts for days, sometimes weeks.  Researchers found that you could reinject yourself with the WonderDrug Of Helping just by thinking about it (but you need to focus your energies on recollecting all the details to generate empathy).  During my book tour stop in Franklin TN, I had a cup of coffee with Sandy Griffin, fellow author and big giver to the homeless in greater Nashville.  As she recounted how she secured some corrective shoes for one of her new friends, and the difference it would make to his quality of life – she lit up, high on the loving-giving experience.  Proof positive that this research is true!

In his research, Dr. Post also observed that when we are in Helping Mode, our body produces Oxytocin, which is known as the “bonding hormone.”  When faced with a crisis or a problem, people on Helper’s High spring into “Tend and Mend” mode, instead of the more aggressive “Fight Or Flight” mode.  In other words, Helper’s High brings out the emotion of trust and nurture.

And that’s not all, choosy drug shoppers, you also get relief from Helping too!  In a surprising study back in 1956, stay-at-home moms had less emotional stress markers than the breadwinners, because their mothering gave them natural relief.  Post explains it this way: Helper’s High (fueled by the brain’s reward center) dominate Cortisol, the stress hormone.  Help and you’ll conquer stress, and according to research in teens as well as adults: You’ll beat most depression too.

Giving, then, is a WonderDrug, the only one to take when you need a dose of Euphoria or a cure for the blues or a stressful life.  It lasts much longer, probably costs you less than substance or alcohol and more importantly – converts your selfish approach to ‘coping with life’ to a life of service and significance.  Try it out today, you’ll see.  Turn up for ‘helper’s radar’ and find an opportunity to do something helpful for someone.  The research warns that writing a check or texting a donation will NOT produce the high, you need direct contact with someone you generally care about or feel sympathy towards.  Give encouragement, a hot meal, a hand up or some volunteer time.  Keep your eyes open for the difference you make and savor the high that will come.  Make a note to reinject your psyche with the experience on May 1.  It’ll work then too!

Here’s How To Spread The Word: Retweet this post if you a Twitter-head or click the Like button is Facebook is your thing.  After you help someone today, either comment about your emotional experience (document your Helper’s High) or share your deed and feeling on Twitter with #HighOnHelping as a hashtag.  The more you talk about it, the more you are dealing a new solution to your extended network: Take Giving, It’s a WonderDrug.

Thanks to Jon Acuff, Randy Elrod, Ken Coleman, Ron Edmondson and others for joining this campaign via their blogs, podcasts and networks.  If you decide to participate, send me a note and I’ll add you to the #HighOnHelping bandwagon.

Pick up a copy of Today We Are Rich: Harnessing The Power Of Total Confidence and sharpen your ability to give, help and produce real meaning with your life.

 

Friday Discussion: Importance of Being Healthy

I’m using the LoseIt application. I’ve downloaded it on my iPhone, iPad and laptop. It keeps up with my calorie intake and my exercise each day. Some of those closest to me have picked on me for how intense I’ve been. Someone saw me recently looking to put a few M & M’s in the app. I didn’t eat a whole package.

I’m not tremendously overweight, but over the last year or so I’ve picked up an extra 8 to 10 pounds and I can feel it. It’s impacted my running, which is my way to relax. It’s made my clothes tighter.  It’s made me more conscious about what I wear. More than that, I just haven’t felt as good as I did before I gained the few extra pounds. It’s really affected the quality of my life. I’m determined to get back to my ideal weight. As busy as I am, I can’t afford anything that slows me down that I can control.

I know health is a touchy subject. Some people have medical issues that keep them from exercise. Others have dietary concerns. I don’t mean to offend anyone who may be overweight. For me, however, this is an important issue. My physical health seems to impact every other part of my life, so if I can do something about it, I feel almost an obligation to be healthy. I realize I may be in a minority among some pastors, so I am curious enough to make it a Friday discussion topic.

Consider these questions:

  • Is it important that we monitor our health?
  • Is it important for a leader to be physically healthy?
  • Does a leader’s health determine how well you listen to them or take his or her advice?
  • Do you want your doctor to be in shape when he or she tells you that you should be in shape?
  • Let me take it a step further. Would it be a sin to not take care of your body?
  • Are there any special requirements as believers to be healthy?

What do you think? Share your thoughts on the importance of being healthy. Dialogue. Discuss. Debate if you will…

Let me hear from you.

You can read a couple posts I did about this issue HERE and HERE.

Bonus points: Tell me how you maintain your health. What’s your plan?

Don’t Pray Before You Eat

It happened like this…

Cheryl and I were eating at a restaurant…

That’s happened many times before…

There was a large family gathered at a table nearby…

We’ve seen that before too….

The family prayed before their meal came….

That was nice…

We noticed…

Then their food came…

The order wasn’t right…

They were mad…

They made it known that they were made…

Numerous times…

They were just plain rude to the waitress…

We felt bad for her…

Cheryl even apologized for “their” behavior after they left…

It made me wonder….

If you’re going to be a rude customer, should you even bother to pray before you eat?

Aren’t you sending mixed signals?

Just asking…

What do you think?

Friday Discussion: What’s an Ethical Profession?

I ran across this diagram recently about a survey of people’s perceptions on the most ethical professions. I was especially interested, obviously, in my own profession. At least we aren’t at the bottom, but we’ve certainly lost ground in recent years.

Tell me what you think:

What do you think is today’s most “ethical” profession?

Can we use labels such as this for any profession these days?

What makes a whole profession “ethical”?

In a “less ethical profession, do you know people who are “ethical”?

Is my profession, listed here as clergy, getting better or worse in its perception?

How does your profession rank? Is it a fair assessment?

What makes a profession ethical or not? Is it more perception…or more reality?

What say you?

I guess I’m slightly skeptical of labels, but I’ve seen these type studies before, so examine the diagram then give me your thoughts.

Help Me Make a Mixed Tape

It’s been a while since I made a genuine “mixed tape” for Cheryl. I frequently make CD’s for her to listen to in her car, but it’s mostly with the latest Christian music. I’m thinking she needs another true “mixed tape”. You know…the mushy kind…with all the romantic love songs.

What songs should I include?

Honestly, I’m asking more because we both like songs about love, commitment, marriage…Whether country, Christian, slow rock or jazz…there are some times we just love the romantic tunes…(Please don’t tell the guys I work with!)

So, seriously, whether I make a mixed tape or not, what is your favorite love song?

If YOU were making a mixed tape, (have you ever made one?) what songs would be on it?

Do you and your special one have a “song”? What is it?

Army Values = Church Values?

I had an awesome opportunity to speak to the ROTC Leadership Program at the University of Kentucky this week. As a proud supporter of our military, and loving to invest in young leaders, this was a real honor.

As I waited outside one of the classes, I saw the posters in this picture on the wall. When I inquired about them, I was told these are the Army’s Warrior Ethos, which are “guiding principles of our profession” according to my Lieutenant Colonel host.

If you can’t read them, they are:

  • I will always place the mission first
  • I will never accept defeat
  • I will never quit
  • I will never leave a fallen comrade

Another banner asked: Are you Army strong?

I couldn’t help but wonder: Could these work for a church also?

What do you think? Should we adopt an Army Warrior Ethos?

What other similarities are there between the military and being a believer?

Laughter Yoga: Are You Doing This?

I saw a news report on this recently.  I laughed. No pun intended.

There are clubs like this around the world. Laughing yoga has become somewhat of an institution. In fact, there’s an International Laughing Yoga association. See it HERE. Go to YouTube and you’ll see all kinds of reports on laughing yoga.

Here’s an excerpt CNN did recently:

What do you think?

Do you buy into the benefits of “fake” laughter?

BTW, I’m thinking we may try this at our next staff meeting. We are laughing anyway…may as well call it something!  Ha! In fact…Ha! Ha! Ha!

Give me your thoughts on laughing yoga!

President Obama: Looking Like a President

Tonight, regardless of your support or lack of support for the President or the situation we currently face in Libya, our President looked like a president. He was strong in speech, decisive, and took personal responsibility for our country’s actions in Libya.

The line which struck me was, “When our interests and our values are at stake, we have a responsibility to act...” and, “(to not act) would be a betrayal to who we are” and “a failure to act in Libya would carry a far greater cost for America” and “there will be times when our safety is not directly threatened, but our interests and our values are“.

It seems I’ve heard similar lines before in other occasions. I believe I recall days when this same president, prior to serving as president, was critical of similar actions by another president.

I’m not trying to be political…I’m a supporter of the office of presidency…regardless of who serves in that office. I’m not commenting on this activity in Libya directly, but I do think it’s a fitting reminder than when one sits in the seat of leadership, the view is different from when you are simply eyeing the seat and hoping for an opportunity to someday sit there.

I think this is true of other positions of leadership.

  • Pastoring a church may look “easy”…until you have to do it…
  • Being a parent may seem to come natural…until you have to do it…
  • Leading in a business may at times appear to be common sense…until you have to do it…

The view changes when you actually sit in the chair of leadership.

Do you agree with my observation?

What other examples would you add to my list?