How to Turn Stress into Rest

 “The absence of quiet in a man or woman’s  life leads to a state of soul insanity.” -Dan Webster

 Since integrity is doing what you say you will do, and because  my core value is faith, I believe in the value of rest and quiet.  So in our home, Sunday is a protected day of rest.  I don’t fire up the computer from work and check email or work on projects no matter how overwhelmed I may feel.  Over the course of time, I’ve learned the value of a Sabbath day.  I look forward to that day as I know I won’t be working and that I’ll be spending time with friends, family and God.

 Last week I landed a large contract and had the familiar feeling of being overwhelmed with work.   By Thursday, I was strung tight as a drum.  Thursday evening my husband and I sat on the back patio in the porch swing as the sun went down.  We watched a star as it rose in the east, as more and more stars started to twinkle in a darkening sky, and then it happened – the insects began to sing.  The pleasant music of nature had a soporific effect, washing away the stress and tension and gently wooing me to rest and relaxation.  I’m not sure how long I sat in the swing – motionless, simply listening to God’s creation.  Surrounded by insect songs,  I found soul sanity.

Diary of a Farmville Widow


I confess!  I was a farmer!  Was, you’ll note!  My son got my husband and  I started on Thanksgiving Day.  I had heard about Farmville, that it was addictive, so I decided to try it out carefully.  I set up my farm, got my first chicken, and fertilized my son’s crops.  I grew up on a farm, so I thought maybe I’d have an advantage – but no dice!  Two months later, I quit – but not before I laid awake at night worrying about my tomatoes (when did I have to harvest?) and received countless offers to buy fake Farmville dollars with real cash(the logic escapes me unless you’re the owner of Farmville).  I’d also ticked off most of my non-Farmville friends on Facebook with the continuous requests for fertilizer, rescuing baby calves, or claiming mystery eggs.

My husband is still farming – and I’ve become a Farmville widow.  Early in the morning I find him at the computer planting, upset because he’s running low on fuel, or  coming to bed later at night because his peas need to be picked.  He recently lost his dog (didn’t feed him enough kibbles) and spent an hour talking to our son figuring out how to get him back.  He even has an XL spreadsheet that shows the best ROI for each crop in terms of time and money.  He’s asked me to introduce him to my friends so he can get more neighbors and a bigger farm (I didn’t – I want to keep my friends), and he’s constantly in a race to see if he can level up faster than our daughter-in-law.  On the bright side, I have more time to tweet and to blog about integrity.

As for me, I’ve joined the Facebook group I Hate Farmville.   I also got lots of words of encouragement from friends –“We knew you could do it – way to go”.  Thanks – I like having friends.

 Share your stories about Farmville and it’s impact.

$5000 Worth of Integrity

The housecleaning industry isn’t typically known for its integrity, much less going the extra mile, so it’s refreshing when a firm becomes an example for others.  Melissa and Scott  Farrar are the owners of Molly Maid in Franklin, TN and won the Better Business Bureau’s 2009 Torch Award for integrity.  Here’s why.

 Melissa has a policy that if an employee breaks something in the home, they will repair or replace it.  While an employee was cleaning in the living room, a plate displayed in the kitchen fell and broke.  The customer blamed the employee

Melissa agreed to repair the plate, but it turned out to have been a wedding plate signed by the guests at her wedding.  One of the guests was reportedly deceased.  It wasn’t simply a matter of buying a new plate and getting it resigned.  In the end, Melissa Farrar had the plate restored to museum quality, at the cost of $5,000.

 I think I would have argued that the employee wasn’t anywhere near the plate when it broke and I know I would have swallowed hard at a $5,000 bill.  That’s what sets the Farrar’s Molly Maid business apart – they go the extra mile. They do what they say they will do. 

 What would you have done?

Can You Pass The Respect Test?

The number one way you build trust and respect as a leader is by making the hard call – choosing to match your actions with your words – leading with integrity.  Take this short test and see how you do.

Do you do what you say you will do?  No is not an option.  Failing to follow through with promises or not making your actions match your words causes a huge loss of respect and trust.

 Do your employees trust you to make the hard call? To do what’s right?  Hard calls are tough because our values are colliding, fear is present and we’re taking a risk.  Putting fear on hold and making the hard call builds trust and empowers your employees to do the same.

 Do you help your employee’s  reach their full potential? This means you want them to do well and be all they can be.  It also means you invest in them and hold them accountable to reach high standards of performance.

 Do you prove that you know the difference between a mistake and a poor choice?    A poor choice occurs when we know what not to do(or should know) and do it anyway.  A mistake is an error  – not a choice.

 Do you admit mistakes and poor choices openly and transparently?  Don’t let the fear of looking vulnerable keep you from admitting your mistakes and failures – it will actually build trust and respect.

 Do you speak words of appreciation to employees? Research indicates praise needs to happen every 7 days if you want employees to know their value to your business.

In the coming weeks, I’ll be blogging  on each of these questions.  Share your thoughts on which of these areas is most challenging for you.

Umpire Jim Joyce’s Right Call

If I admit I made a mistake, I’ll look inferior.  It’s an echo that replays in our head anytime we know  we’ve screwed up and need to fess up.  I’m sure it’s an echo that replayed in umpire Jim Joyce’s head after he made a bad call that cost Detroit Tigers pitcher Armando Galarraga a perfect game.  Yet Joyce chose to admit his mistake – he didn’t cover up, make excuses, or obfuscate.  “I cost the kid a perfect game” he said, and he apologized. 

It’s a mark of integrity when we’re willing to admit we failed, made a mistake, or chose poorly.  Yet we’ve seen officials from the White House to Massey Coal to BP Oil change their stories, make excuses, or be intentionally confusing on issues of safety, the environment, and quid pro quo.  When you hear that, what happens to your level of respect for that person or institution?  It plummets – and you question whether you can ever again trust them to be honest.  The number one way you earn respect as a leader to by making the hard call – in this case to admit failures and mistakes. 

Jim Joyce’s name will go down in history as the umpire who cost Galarraga a perfect game.  I hope he’s also remembered for his honesty.  I have respect for Jim Joyce – he made the right call for integrity.

Share other right call’s in sports.