Tips on How to Prepare for the New Year. 


Happy New Year! 

2016 was probably filled with epic memories. Now that 2017 is here, it’s time to make more. To reach new milestones, one has to make dreams come to reality. Here’s a simple process I suggest: Dream, Plan, Budget, Execute, and Review. Sounds like something you do only in the office. Well, I have news for you: This process will probably prove vital even in your personal life. So read on and I hope that this inspires you to as I share my thoughts on these principles. 

DREAM

When I say dream, what I mean is ask yourself what your goal for the year is. When setting personal goals, do your self a favor by being very clear with what you want. Don’t drown yourself with the many things that you think you have to do. Choose one major goal then break it down to sub-goals that serve that one goal. So a good question to ask yourself is, “What’s my one thing for 2017?” Once you have that one thing, you can proceed to the next step.

PLAN
And the LORD answered me: “Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it. – Habakuk 2:2
We all plan one way or the other, but only some people document their plans. The verse above shows the importance of having plans documented. If your plans are put in writing, then and only then will they be clear to you. And when you get sidetracked along the way, you can always go back to the plan.

BUDGET
Some (if not all) of those plans will have a budget to it. My wife and I agreed that this year our goal is to give more. So, we set aside a budget for that. How about you? If your goal is to lose weight, start putting a budget to it. Find a gym that suits your budget or allocate funds for a nice pair of running shoes. Whatever it is, put your money on it. It doesn’t matter how much money you allocate. The point is that you put value into your plans by actually spending for them. 
Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it? – Luke 14:28

EXECUTE
Plans remain cute if you don’t execute. Some people have a bias to planning, and it just so happens I’m one of those who have a bias for action. Of course, we’re all afraid of being ur plans failing, but isn’t it much better to execute, fail, then learn? So it’s important that even as early as the planning stage, you make plans that are attainable. And after planning, JUST DO IT!

REVIEW
Designate a time within the year to take a look back at your dreams and where you are with the plans. Honestly asses if you need to stop, continue, or improve the strategy. This will help you reach your goals quicker. I believe in “the speed of humility,” which enables you to be aware of the plans that you should keep, adjust, or simply do away with. Self pity and stubbornness will slow you down and prevent you from achieving your goals. 
But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.” – James 4:6 

Most importantly, commit time in doing these five steps. For you to have motivation, commit them to the Lord. Ask yourself, “How will these plans honor God?” This brings you a greater sense of purpose. 

Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans. – Proverbs 16:3

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It’s time to plan your holiday vacation. 

This is the season to be jolly and to be busy. For some, work load has lessened, but all of a sudden, most people have added either party animal or party planner to their resume. Since the over all load of activities has increased, you need to intentionally rest during this vacation season. 

Here are some tips for those staying in or traveling (locally and abroad).  

Staycation 

The awesome thing about staycationing is the fact that the usually congested Manila has less traffic. Last time we did a staycation, it was so easy to go mall hopping. Travel time from Century City mall in Makati to the busy Megamall took only 25 minutes! While driving the unusually clear roads, I found myself so relaxed and started praying for a time when Manila’s streets would have better and more efficient traffic flow. Another way to enjoy a staycation is, if you’ve got the cash, to check in a hotel and enjoy its amenities.

Travel locally 

Do you realize how beautiful our nation is? Foreigners flock to our beaches and spend so much to be here. That in itself is your clue about how our country is truly beautiful. Now the usual suspects, such as Boracay and Palawan, will always be top of mind, but if you’re on a budget, you might want to checkout nearby destinations such as La Union. We now have the TPLEX (tarlac, pangasinan, launion express way), which cuts travel time to La Union to 3-4 hours. 


A good combo would be to check in on one of those beaches in La Union and take a trip to Baguio which is only 30-45 minutes away by car. La Union boasts of good waves to surf on and tranquil beaches at Agoo, Caba, Bauang, and San Juan. Click here for a good list of resorts to try.

Travel Abroad 

Go abroad and learn and appreciate other cultures. When my wife and I go out on a trip, we look forward to the food the most. I heard from a friend that Taipei’s tourism has gone to the next level.


 And what’s great is, it’s much cheaper than a trip to Hong Kong, but you get almost the same experience.

Last and most definitely not least, whether you’re doing a staycation or traveling, don’t forget your Bible. Be excited for those quiet moments of being intimate with God in a relaxed setting. 

Everyone needs a break. Let’s face it, activities and parties, can burn you out. If you go straight back to the office after all this, you start your year exhausted already. Remember, rest is just as important as your work. Go plan out your vacation and be sure to include relaxation and seeking God in the itinerary. 

How to deal with gossip at the workplace. 

 
Gossip in the office is as common as coffee in the pantry, especially in our culture. But it doesn’t mean that we can just accept this fact and engage in it simply because everyone else is doing it anyway. It doesn’t just destroy personal relationships, but also working relationships.

Starting gossip is obviously wrong, but entertaining it is equally as harmful to your peers and most especially to you. 

So what do you do when gossip draws you in? 

1. Know your involvement – When someone starts volunteering information, here’s a simple way of qualifying: Ask yourself, “Am I a part of the problem and/or part of the solution?” If you don’t fall under either category, then politely excuse yourself from hearing the “juicy details” further. Stories just get juicer as the plot thickens, so cutting it at the bud protects you from the temptation to know more. But if you are either part of the problem and/or solution, and this is something you must know then…

2. Qualify the source – When getting information, what matters to me first is the source. A good question to ask before hearing further details is, “Where did you hear this?” Now the source may be credible, but again if you’re not part of the problem or solution, keep away from this. 

3. Do something – Information remains gossip if there are no actionable items laid out. The real intention of discussing problematic scenarios is always for the purpose of figuring out what needs to be done. In this case there should always be a bias to action rather than a bias for discussion. Too much talk on a certain issue without the intention to find solutions is gossip. 

4. Don’t pass the message – Some do this especially if it gets really emotional. Choose those you discuss and vent out to. And if people go to you to inquire about the issue, this is where a “Need to know” basis applies. Do those who approach you really need to know? Or do their ears itch with the prospect of acquiring juicy information. Protecting the controversial information protects your integrity, even to those who just want to be in the know. 

Gossip creates division, confusion, and distraction. It is completely unproductive and unprofessional, but more than that, it does not honor God. 

He who goes about as a talebearer reveals secrets, But he who is trustworthy conceals a matter. Proverbs 11:13

He who goes about as a slanderer reveals secrets, Therefore do not associate with a gossip. Proverbs 20:19 

Keep your tongue from evil And your lips from speaking deceit. Proverbs 34:13

Do yourself a favor. If you’re not involved, listen to other things that can add value to you. And if you’re a part of the problem and solution, apply wisdom to resolve this for the sake of unity, clarity, and productivity.

Overwhelmed? Focus! 


We’re nearing the end of the year and in the world of work, one word best describes the overall environment in the city — busy! And need I mention the obvious preoccupation: shopping for gifts? 

If you’re experiencing difficulty and distress caused by deadlines and deliverables, know that you have entered into the season of the year-end. The result could lead us to be overwhelmed, leaving us paralyzed and unproductive. But here’s a way to overcome: FOCUS. Easier said than done yet it’s got to be done. 

How does one stay focused? 

DECIDE WHAT TO DO. It is said that “if you fail to plan, you plan to fail” Some say that the best time to plan your day is the night before, some recommend you do it first thing in the morning. I say, it doesn’t matter. Just plan. Going through this may feel boring, but everyone reaps the rewards of being decisive in advance.  

DISTRACTION EXPECTATION. The problem with us is that we get caught off guard when distraction comes. Nowadays, distraction must be anticipated. Know that it will come so you can have a resolve to be committed and focused with what you’ve decided to zero in on.

DEAL WITH THE UNEXPECTED. Not everything is predictable because a million possibilities await you in a day. A good practice I learned is to make room for “free time.” You do need to roll with the punches and be flexible. Another tip is to schedule appointments or tasks for another day if possible. 

DELEGATE. When the unexpected becomes urgent, it doesn’t always mean that you need to do it all. Have a pool of competent colleagues in mind whom you can tap. Delegation not only helps you, it gives an opportunity for others to grow. The key is to position them for success by delegating tasks to the right people. 

DO THE TO DO’s. It’s one thing to plan; it’s another thing to execute. Focus on finishing up your tasks. If you design your day right, this is highly achievable. 

Focus gives you the stability this season, and every other season of your life demands. It helps you overcome the paralyzing state of being overwhelmed. So be calm, pray, and ask God for grace and wisdom and just focus.

Is it okay to be discontented with my salary?


You probably think the answer is obvious. “Discontent” has a negative connotation, so you’re most likely to conclude that the answer to that question is “Of course not!”

Well, it actually depends…
It’s not ok if you’re discontented because you can’t seem to afford the iPhone 7, even if you currently have the iPhone 6s Plus, and especially if your discontent comes from envy because your colleague happens to have it. This is where discontentment becomes harmful: When you tend to spend unwisely because of your desire to acquire, causing you to being broke, in debt, and all the more discontented with your situation. 

Being content with what you have is a blessing. And we only find this in a relationship with Jesus. In this relationship you find all you need and desire. First find your contentment in the presence of God.

Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” – Hebrews 13:5

But you can have a discontent for your salary if it comes from a desire to give more, to bless your loved ones and others. A healthy discontent is one that is never contented in his or her service or generosity toward others. It’s not the kind that keeps you up all night, but the kind that gets your day going and keeps you working with all your might. It’s doing your best for a greater purpose – to give more, to bless more. 

So what should you do? 

Work hard! Do your best. If you have this mindset, then you start working for that increase in your salary with a renewed purpose. True success is found in how much more you contribute, not in how much more you consume. 

In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” – Acts 20:35

Influence and Intentionality

Many think that it takes a job title, a specialization or a certain charisma to lead. While all that does enhance your leadership, it isn’t the main ingredient. 

Leadership is influence.

According to Ken Blanchard:

​“Leadership is a process of influence. Anytime you seek to influence the thinking, behavior, or development of people toward accomplishing a goal in their personal or professional lives, you are taking on the role of a leader.”

​​- Ken Blanchard & Phil Hodges, Lead Like Jesus

This is so true of leadership. Many who aspire higher leadership roles work to influence their bosses, peers, and subordinates. But for some, this seems too heavy a responsibility. This is why there are people who actually would rather stay in jobs that don’t have leadership titles or roles. They would rather not be promoted for fear of responsibility. 

But the truth of the matter is, even without the title, everyone is influencing, and therefore everyone is leading.  

John Maxwell wrote:

​“Sociologists tell us that even the most introverted person will influence ten thousand other people during his or her lifetime. Each of us is influencing others and being influenced by others.”


 We are all influencing, and consequently, we all lead. The question is, however, “Are we influencing others for the good?”

My friend, many watch the way you do life. And since you have the power to influence, use it right. Be a leader that leads intentionally for the service of others and for the glory and honor of God. 

Wanted: Promotion 


Everyone wants to be promoted. But not everyone is willing to do the activities that lead to the promotion either out of fear or laziness. 

We can be inspired to overcome these as we observe the life of…

David the “Shepherd Boy”

David was a young man who’s job was to take care of sheep. At this point, David’s nation had a problem: they felt like they were going to loose the war because they had no answer to the Philistine’s champion named Goliath.

In the midst of this, David was given a menial task – to deliver food for his brothers who were soldiers. Nevertheless, he faithfully did it.
 

Now, because he was at the right place at the right time, David saw a job opening, “Wanted Giant slayer”. He checked out the job description, and with confidence declared that he would like to take this job. His brothers and the King thought that this kid was way too ambitious.

But these facts persuaded the King.

David’s faithfulness 
His current job may have seemed unimpressive. But David impressed the King with how he treated it.

But David said to Saul, “Your servant used to keep sheep for his father. And when there came a lion, or a bear, and took a lamb from the flock, I went after him and struck him and delivered it out of his mouth. And if he arose against me, I caught him by his beard and struck him and killed him
.- 1 Samuel 17:34-35

David was an excellent worker. He may not have had the military experience, but he didn’t need the title to fight like a soldier to defend his flock. 

Be faithful with the task that you have by going the extra mile. The experience you get from giving your best will give you the competency and confidence you’ll need when the opportunity for a promotion comes.

God’s faithfulness 
David had guts, but more than that He had God.
And David said, “The LORD who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine…
– 1 Samuel 17:37

If you acknowledge that every success you had in the past came from God, then you don’t have a reason not to trust Him. David had this quality of trust because he knew and experienced God personally. 

Now because of these, King Saul gave David the promotion, and David did not fail the King and his nation. 


Do not underestimate your humble beginnings.
Don’t look down on the repetitive, seemingly insignificant tasks. Being faithful means executing the activities of your current role with passion, and with a sense of purpose. 
If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones…Luke 16:10

The most important of all is faith in God. Remember all the good He has done for you and you’ll remember that He is a God who will reward your faithfulness with His.