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.

Any Questions? 

Picture these scenarios.

A professor lands his day’s lesson, a marketing professional finishes his presentation of a media plan, and a CEO sums up his monthly OpCom meeting, and all three of them end with these two words: “Any questions?”  

Most of the time, in all three scenarios, there would be nothing but silence, and the opportunity to ask some very important questions would be missed.

Everyone knows that asking questions is integral in achieving clarity and understanding, but it’s not exactly second nature to most. Sometimes, we fear asking questions because we don’t want to be perceived as ignorant or divisive. Shame or pride hinders us from “mining out the gold” which can only be achieved through asking questions.  

Allow me to zero in on asking questions to those you lead, to your leaders, and to your peers.

For leaders:

Michael Hyatt, former CEO of Thomas Nelson publishing, narrates in one of his blog entries that when he started to ascend the corporate ladder, he discovered that the key to success had begun to shift from the boss having all the right answers to the boss having the right questions. 

A leader who cares to ask cares to know what’s best from his followers. In coaching, this is best exemplified. Coaches are trained to ask and actively listen 80% of the time and only 20% of the time give their recommendations. 

As a leader, asking questions shows your care and your wisdom. This will build trust in those you lead. 

Source: https://michaelhyatt.com/asking-more-powerful-questions.html

For those being led: 

I mentioned in my last blog about Mentors and Coaches that you need to be prepared with a set of questions. But here’s a good question that John Maxwell recommends you ask in these sessions: “What has failure taught you?” You don’t need to know the specifics of your leaders’ failure, but only what he or she has learned from it. 

For those working with peers:

Asking questions for clarity and understanding is where collaboration happens. And as you constantly collaborate, you develop better teamwork. So don’t be ashamed to ask about best practices or clarifying questions regarding processes, etc. 

We can learn a thing or two from Jesus Himself:

Jesus and His disciples showed this dynamic. Jesus’ first words in the book of John was in a form of a caring question: Turning around, Jesus saw them following and asked, “What do you want?”… (John 1:38)

Jesus wanted to address a need. He didn’t preach to them then. Instead, he asked a question.

… And they said to him, “Rabbi (which means Teacher), where are you staying? “He said to them, “Come and you will see.” So they came and saw where he was staying, and they stayed with him that day. (John 1:38-39)

And the disciples, because they asked a question, got more than an answer. They got an invitation to learn more from Jesus and build a relationship with Him. 

There’s no denying that there’s more to gain (and nothing to lose) from asking questions, whether from your subordinates, your leader, or your peers. So the next time you are presented with the opportunity, ask your questions, flex that muscle of inquiring, and you will find that this practice will bear so many positive fruits for you and your career.


  1. What areas in your life need clarity and understanding? 
  2. Who are the right people to go to for those questions? 

Mentors and Coaches

In the age of information, when everything you need to know is almost always a click away, it’s so easy to feel and act like subject matter experts on most topics.

While all this access to learning is a gift to us, one vital source of wisdom and direction is likely to be neglected: mentors and coaches.

While information is needed, impartation is King. And that’s what Google can’t supply no matter how many searches you do. Experience is best shared when imparted by one person to another.

And that is why it is so important to have a mentor and a coach. 

Mentors are people who have a wealth of experience and a high level of success in a particular field. The emphasis is long-term. These are your go-to guys for impartation, whose words and advice will be pivotal in shaping you as a novice in your craft.

Tips when being mentored:

1. Prepare your questions. I learned this when I sat in a class by former Del Monte CEO, Alex Castillo. He says that when you meet with your mentor, have questions written down so you can maximize your time and learning with them.

2. Mentors are not limited to those you know. There are online mentors available for you. Some suggestions are from EntreLeadership.com and michaelhyatt.com for business leadership. And for church leadership, stevemurrell.com and edstetzer.com .

Coaches, on the other hand, are those who have taken just a few steps ahead of you in experience. Their focus is primarily on how to resolve specific issues. They would tend to ask more questions to understand and help you figure out a solution. This may involve a series of meetings so the coach can see you through the details of your progress. 

Tips when being coached:

1. Be honest with your answers.

2. Be willing to be vulnerable by opening up. 

Get help!

No man is an island. As you humble yourself, the Bible promises the grace to succeed…

But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” – James 4:6

And God uses man to impart such a grace.
Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another. – Proverbs 27:17

1. What are the areas of mentoring and coaching that you need help in? 

2. Who can you ask for mentoring and coaching? 

Discover Through Dissent

In formal or informal conversations, a common pitfall is this thing called “groupthink”. 

Wikki says – Groupthink is a psychological phenomenon that occurs within a group of people in which the desire for harmony or conformity in the group results in an irrational or dysfunctional decision-making outcome. Group members try to minimize conflict and reach a consensus decision without critical evaluation of alternative viewpoints by actively suppressing dissenting viewpoints, and by isolating themselves from outside influences.

In our culture (Filipino), we are guilty of this most of the time. We don’t just hate the idea of confrontation; we do everything to avoid it. But because of the need to express our honest point of view, we either say it behind the back of the person involved (fueling intrigues, meeting after the meeting) or directly to the person on a non face-to-face setting (social media, text message, etc.) 

That’s why we need to learn how to apply and receive “dissent” in a real time, face to face scenario. 

Webster says – Dissent is to hold or express opinions that are at variance with those previously, commonly, or officially expressed.

In the workplace, practicing this opens up room for Clarity, Alignment, and Creativity. 

In any discussion, even if the room is filled with excellent communicators, there is great opportunity for misunderstanding. The challenges that contribute to misunderstanding range from a lack of comprehension to simply distraction. But when someone brings up dissent, that opens up an opportunity for clarity, and when there is clarity, misunderstandings are almost always completely eliminated.

In an organization, the vision or the main goal may be known to all, but not necessarily agreed upon internally by each and every employee. They say that vision must be caught not taught, and dissent gives the opportunity for the leader to cast the vision, to reinforce values, and steer towards the mission, and at the same time, for the dissenter to grow in unity with the rest of the team. If the dissenter is given an opportunity to speak up, raise questions, and be heard, it would be easier for the individual to buy into the team’s final agreement.  

Another side of it is, while dissent must be encouraged, cynicism must not be tolerated. The leader must address the latter and address the behavior because cynicism would only hurt rather than help the team. It is the leader’s role to create a safe environment for dissent and not for cynicism. 

Dissent offers team members an opportunity to come up with the a wide array of ideas as individuals see things from different angles. Discussions where ideas are not only exchanged but challenged pave the way for creative ways to solve issues, to market new brands, to increase revenue, and the list goes on. It’s cliche, but true: “Two heads are better than one.”

1. When you are about to disagree, say it gracefully. 
A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. – Proverbs 15:1

2. When you receive dissent, be humble.
Toward the scorners he is scornful, but to the humble he gives favor. – Proverbs 3:34

As leaders, we need to create an environment that welcomes dissent. This will bring your group to better productivity, unity, and innovation.  

1. How can you, as a leader, create an environment where it’s safe to apply dissent. 

2. As a staff member, how can you prepare for healthy dissent and protect yourself from cynicism.