Posted by Joseph on Oct 17, 2010 in Leadership | 246 comments
Cooking shows are the best. The chefs on the show are cooking in these clean, picturesque kitchens that never get messy. The equipment is newly polished, bright and gleaming. The ingredients are fresh and untouched, brightly colored fruits and bottles beautifully accenting the picture as if they were placed just for that purpose.
Then the chef walks in. His/her knives look new. (I wish I had PA’s to sharpen and polish my knives before I cooked.) He chops quickly and effortlessly, explaining his actions all the while. The dish comes together quickly without any piece being overcooked. When it’s done, it’s elegantly presented in clean dishes with no water stains. Then they dig in and enjoy.
Now, the people on cooking shows have the best equipment, most expensive ingredients, and years of training and skill development. But there’s a trick they have that good chefs and restaurants employ that we can all apply. The technique is
MISE EN PLACE
Mise en place simply means putting everything in place. Before a chef starts cooking, they prepare the necessary ingredients – washing, slicing, chopping, dicing – so that when they start cooking, everything is ready in nice little bowls.
That’s what lets the people on cooking shows get things done so quickly. All of the stuff they need to get done is finished before the camera rolls. All that remains is to throw everything together.
We also can practice our own version of mise en place wherever we work. All it involves is thinking ahead of time of what we’ll need and preparing them so they’re handy. As a campus missionary, I can’t imagine that there would ever be a time where one could be bored. There’s always something else we could be working on. We could be reading and improving our skills. We could be meeting with people and developing deeper relationships. We can definitely pray and gain strength from our relationship with God.
When I observe people that I respect and admire – leaders in their field, excellent both at work and at home, whose lives have made an impact for the better – one sees that much of what we admire is only the tip of the iceberg. What lies beneath the surface are years of preparation – mise en place, if you will. They prepare relentlessly and the world gets to watch and marvel as they throw everything together.
So don’t be wasting time. Bring out your knife and chopping board and so that you can have things mise en place.
Posted by Joseph on Oct 11, 2010 in Thoughts | 39 comments
While driving last week I got a text from a good friend that could be seen as an invasion of privacy. It said in Tagalog, “Who are you with? She doesn’t look like your wife.” I laughed and showed it to my niece beside me who I was taking to get enrolled for the 2nd semester. I then called my friend, Pastor Marc Constantino, and explained who she was to him.
On Monday, I was cooking dinner (sautéed broccoli, mashed potaoes, and spicy tuna and egg scramble) and I got a call from my good friend and colleague, LA Mumar. LA wanted to talk with me about somethings I’d said and how they might be misunderstood. He advised me to be wiser in the way I communicate, saying that our words carry weight and can go far. I admitted my fault to him and we then began talking about other work stuff.
Both these men meddled in my business. They stuck their nose into things that really weren’t within their scope or responsibility. In both of those times, the temptation to respond defensively was there. “Who are they to ask or say such things? Sino ba sila para sabihin yon? My life is none of their business. Who gave them any right to do that?” But I’m glad they did. I’m thankful for friends, brothers really, like those men who took the time to talk to me straight about something they saw and needed for me to hear.
This is what true accountability is. It requires the cooperation of two sides. One side that invites people to speak into their life and another that loves their friend more than themselves, enough to move them to action when he/she needs help. It’s a voluntary invitation for trusted people to invade your privacy. On our own, I have so many blind spots, areas of weakness, and shortcomings. But with people like them watching my back, I won’t fall as easily. Even when I do, it won’t be for long. I am thankful for friends like them, and I always pray to be a friend like that to others as well.
Who have you invited to invade your privacy?
Posted by Joseph on Oct 9, 2010 in Leadership | 81 comments
…is to shut up. (Not always, but a surprising amount of times) Many times we kill the point we’re making by doing it too strongly. I often find myself diluting the potency of what I’m trying to say because I mix in too much of myself – my anger, my wounded pride, my desires, my preferences, etc. I’ve learned that when I let issues go instead of pursuing my own self-righteous crusade, the results often work themselves out for the best. Whether it’s arguments with my wife, challenges with coworkers, or dealing with staff and employees, I find myself learning (often painfully) that there are many things I should just let slide. And the few times that I do, I am amazed by the outcome. I find things fixing themselves with no stress with it. Next time you want to shoot your mouth off, think again. It might be better to shut up.
27 The one who has knowledge uses words with restraint, and whoever has understanding is even-tempered.
28 Even fools are thought wise if they keep silent, and discerning if they hold their tongues.
Here’s something I’ve been thinking to myself:
Just cause you have a chance, doesn’t mean you have to take it.
Just cause you have a point, doesn’t mean you have to make it.
Posted by Joseph on Oct 5, 2010 in Thoughts | 15 comments
Did you ever meet someone whose mind you wanted to pick? Ever catch yourself wanting to slice off even a tiny portion of someone’s brain in the hopes of enhancing your own? Maybe it’s your classmate who’s so brilliant at Math and every time you ask her for help she says, “But that’s so easy!” Or maybe it’s a great author, artist, leader, or teacher who just captures you with everything they say and do. You wonder where they get their ideas and wish you could do the same thing.
I find myself thinking this often. In college I had two profs in particular whose minds I really wanted to clone and bring around with me. Having immediate access to their immense wealth of knowledge, wisdom, and experience would greatly improve the way I work and live. It would be like all those movies and cartoons where the power of two people or more people are united in a single body! Like the mental version of The One!
Even classier, now in French!
I used to think such musings were better suited for science fiction. I mean, that’s never gonna happen right? Then I read this passage in the Bible the other day that threw a whole new light on it. 1 Corinthians 2:14-16 says,
The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned. The spiritual man makes judgments about all things, but he himself is not subject to any man’s judgment:
“For who has known the mind of the Lord
that he may instruct him?”
But we have the mind of Christ.
Did you get that ending?! Basically, he’s talking about how people without the Spirit of God cannot, try as they might (though they probably really aren’t trying, because even the impetus to try is from God, but that’s another story), know the thoughts of God. On the other hand, people with the Holy Spirit of God CAN KNOW the thoughts of God! (at least some of them) Acts 2:38 says that people who put their trust in Jesus as their Lord and Saviour receive the Holy Spirit. So all believers have access to the mind of Christ!
To paraphrase the passage above, people who don’t know Jesus can’t get the thoughts of God because they’re on a totally different wavelength, the level of the spirit. But people who do know Jesus and have a relationship with Him, can pick up on those signals because they know Him. We would never ever be able to think like God does on our own, but with the Spirit in us, we will.
The thought is exciting! Think of how much better you would be in life if you could access the thoughts of God before making every decision. I know of hundreds of moments where I clearly made the wrong decision because I didn’t bother to tune in to the Spirit by spending time alone in prayer and reading the Bible. I used to think it was a hit-or-miss thing.
It’s available to all who know Jesus and put their trust in Him. The only question now is will we tap into His wisdom?