Have a Plan! Change is about to happen!

The problem with the statement, ‘Change is about to happen,’ is that by the time we notice it’s arrival we can do very little to affect it. We have to ride the wave of change but only if we have not prepared for it.

Change has momentum and power. Change is not evil, good, or bad. The results of and our actions towards that change, however, can be.

Since the seasons change we can assume life changes. Where we work, how we work, live, play will also change.

Some change we see coming and some we do not. Change can bring fear and often does. Peace, however, is a great combatant against fear, but only if grounded in a great foundation of truth. Hope, that is real hope, breaks the fear of change. But it takes courage …and lots of it to endure that change- especially when it is something we had not seen coming or the road before us just go so foggy you can only see inches down your path.

If peace is the great combatant against change, How do you find peace? I gained peace by surrounding myself with certain internal as well as external guards. I completed my will. Then my estate plan, then finances were gotten in order… all the while I increased my attitude upward and began a deeper relationship with my heavenly father. It spiraled upward and became very well defined once I found a little book by Michael Hyatt.

Michael Hyatt has a wonder e-book on Life Planning that you should go check out. It’s FREE, and I love FREE! Also go review his site and Dan Miller’s site about Master Mind groups…

It’s so simple to gain peace in a changing world, we just have to take those actions we know we need to take. Now more than ever, is the time to gather stability that remains stable even when everything around you is falling, shifting, moving…

Question: Would you be any worst off if you made a plan and change never came? But change is coming… If you have gotten Michael Hyatt’s Life Plan book and filled it out I’d love to hear the effects it has had in the peace of your life- Please leave your comments below!  Thanks!! 

The Size of Your Calling

As a Part 2 of last week’s posting, I felt like the canvas was left too soon and the picture had not yet fully taken on the depth I had hoped.

As a recap- we said a ‘calling’  is something we do to help others; it is us, who have, going to those, who need, and repeating this over and over again. Identify the needy, big or small, find what you already do well, and go help other people. 

From last week… When I was asked, “Who are you helping,” and after exploring memories of being helped, I was presented with a very interesting thought. Not everyone’s calling is the same size. That is, compared to my point of reference.

Yes, some folks are called to dig wells, feed the hungry, clothe the naked, etc… which are very awesome callings that meet very real needs. There are also some who are called to lead churches, grow businesses, build bridges, provide financial wisdom, and some are even called to make tons of money just to give it, in secret, to organizations which help other people. 

The point is this, your calling is yours. You might be called to grow an Urban Farm in Kentucky like the Maddocks, you might be like my friend John, who was called to be a dentist, and what about the apostle Paul on the road to Damascus? He was carrying letters authorizing the persecution of Christians that he would later be preaching to. (of note: his money-making trade was that of a Tent Maker… not a preacher… but he was not always making tents… this opens the idea that a calling may need to be worked at over time. And in due time, it may render your financial golden goose… just don’t rush it.)

Hopefully at this point you are starting to grasp the idea that your calling might look very big to you but not as big to others. Meaning, your calling might look relatively small compared with others.To this I’d only offer to you to: Stop Comparing Yourself To Others! This is YOUR calling, not theirs! 

For the Evangelical Christians (ES)- God does have a plan for you and his plan for you is far bigger than the one you have for you. His calling for you is bigger than you can think of right now.

For those non-ES’s, the principle is the same- your calling runs the potential to be huge. You just cannot take your eye off the ball.

There is a hurting world out there that needs you to be tent makers, pipe-fitters, financially independent, supporters, ditch-diggers, church builders, baby-sitters, lifeguards, doctors, and yes, even lawyers!

Anchors are Important

Anchors tend to hold things in place. For their design and overall general purpose, they do the job. From aircraft carriers to canoes, anchors provide a point of reference to stop or limit motion from a particular location.

Perhaps the earliest sea-goers or lake fisherman simply tied a rock to a long rope and dropped it in the water to stop the boat from floating away or drifting out of position.

Anchors also hold the people in place and keep them from floating and drifting from where they best called to be.

You might call a vessel that is adrift, without purpose, rhyme or reason, lost; just as you would not call a ‘drifter’ purposeful or directional.

Then why do we call ourselves purposeful when we have no real direction or moorings to anchor to? It is because we lack an anchor– That thing we hold white-knuckled tight to.

Anchors provide us with identity. Anchors provide us with security. Anchors give us the freedom to be who we truly are… our true-self. They are not a limit but an allowance. The lack of which, only reveals our false-self. We place masks over our hulls and paint them with bright and festive colors and then we cry this is our purpose– to look great and to provide a sense of happiness and success. Yet the facade of the paper mache and water-color paints melt and leak once we set sail. Showing the collapse of our false-self.

I’d rather chase after an anchor to reveal my true-self, and truly live life, than a ignore the melting of a paper hull and tragically sink.

Anchors are important. Where are yours?

Back to the Basics…

In reading on the lives of millionaires, biographies of historical icons, and listening carefully to those who are far more wise than myself, there is one common message that rings true over and over again– ‘go back to the basics.’

Getting back to the basics may be translated differently in different environments. Terms like, keep your eye on the ball, watch the ball in, and soft touches are all terms that athletes hear day in and day out from coaches who understand the importance of ‘the basics.’

Off the pitch, the court, and the turf the terms are different. These are terms frequently overlooked and forgotten because they are hard to spot at times. At times these terms mean less revenue in the short term but render millions in the long term. They are tough to see right off because they are, when in their purest form, woven into our character. The fiber of our make up. Most who possess them and have honed them stand out from the crowd in one way or another.

In The Millionaire Mind, The author Thomas Stanley looks at hundreds, if not thousands of millionaires and successful business owners. The number one word that more successful people attribute to the backbone of their success is of the basic of basics: Integrity.

Webster’s defines the word as a “firm adherence to a code of especially moral or artistic values:  incorruptibility; an unimpaired condition:  soundness; and the quality or state of being complete or undivided : completeness

Integrity does not know your family any different than it knows your business dealings. Integrity does not know about your job any different than it knows about your wife or your husband. Integrity fails to see anything different than itself; Firm, Incorruptible; Sound; Complete.

So how does your integrity stand up? Is it time to return to the basics? What would happen if you did? Would it be worth a potential short-term loss for a long-term gain? If the answer is Yes, to any of these, you are a welcomed traveller in a new journey that will yield its fruits in due time. Take courage, this road is hard, but you have what it takes, because you got back to the basics.

Year in Review, Chicago, and Brother Ray

Between August 1973 – May 1980 the music group Chicago wrote the 1985 classic “Take Me Back to Chicago.” For a near a decade they wrote and kept some of the best tracks from being heard all inside a single album until 1985. I was kid in 1985 but loved this record. By my own recall, I was an odd kid who dreamed of playing the trumpet for Chicago or for the late, the great, Ray Charles.

I never understood why they waited so long to produce this album. keeping folks waiting to hear 10 years of “Bests” is agonizing. Having already established a history of peculiarity,I heard this title track and it triggered a new post.

I started 2014 with a goal of writing 52 blog posts. Well, I failed, and in no small way. But like Chicago, I had some great hits: The goal of reading a book a month was blown away with a read of 36 for the year… The goal of dating my wife and girls and leading my son…a major hit!  Financial and Intellectual goals were made and hit. Even establishing a ‘legacy box,’ (See Dave Ramsey’s site for this amazing program) was made. I hit just over 7 of my 10 goals. My overall ‘grade’ was 75%. But wait! That’s only a C; however, my 2013 grade was 0%.

In retrospect, the price paid for 75% was nowhere near the cost of 2013’s 0%. Meaning, the sacrifices made in 2014 paid huge dividends. Family is closer; Finances better; Health stronger; Intellect sharper; Career direction, more defined; Social connections, stronger; Spiritual growth, healthier. So I failed at blogging, so what, so I did not get a new career track moving, 2015 is a new year, I did not help in the community as I would have liked, there is still promise. But my gain in 2014 laid a great foundation for a great 2015!

So, be like the group Chicago, have a hit album called, Your Life, just don’t wait to get it out there. Start somewhere and make your life count. Let others reach out and pick your album over an unknown to listen to.

Do Over!

You are allowed a DO OVER!

You are not a Robot – Stop trying to be one!

You are not a Computer – Stop trying to be one!

You are not a Machine – You have not fooled anyone!

You are not The Super Dad – You have short comings-and know it!

You are not The Super Mom – The real Super Mom is a myth! You are excellent at who you are and what you do– just the way you are!

You are not the greatest boss – You completely lack people skills and forget where you came from!

Congratulations – Welcome to Earth! You are human and as such you come flawed!

But all is not lost!

You are allowed to hit your Re-Set button and start over.

But start over with the wisdom you have today. Live your life as if today, you actually allowed yourself to start it all over. Kiss your wife, your kids, the dog (ok, skip the dog), attack that goal, project, punching bag as if today was the first day you ever encountered or experienced them. Baked in wisdom and past experience you did not have the first time, you will win, and it will be sweet!

Now have a Do Over!

 

I’d love your feed back: What is your do over?

Hurry Up and Wait!

Life simply moves too fast and too slow…at the same time!

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“Hurry Up and Wait” is a catch phase many of us first learned in the Military. It really did not matter if it was for chow or for a patrol, we would rush as if the world was ending and then wait as if it were a meditation exercise to actually watch grass grow!

Those with children, if honest, said under their breathe countless time, I wish you’d hurry and just grow up! I know I have!

But as of late I have slowed down to re-group.  There has been a great desire to set things in motion for the future. While completing and updating the wills, trusts, investment accounts, etc… I was reminded of the brevity of life. How fast time moves and how seemingly less I know. Now, Before I get too somber here, let me say that growing older with and in grace is the way to do it and most of us have many years ahead of us!

Time can be a great rewarder of excellence if we just let it! Time can yield a harvest of riches, but only if we plant the right seeds.

Seeds of peace, love, joy, trust, education…planted in the right season may take weeks, months, and sometimes, years to yield a harvest. The same is true with money, friendship, and legacy.

In my post C/T=R, I mention that Consistency over Time will always get Results. But the process demands action today and then requires you to wait for well after tomorrow.

You will not see any fruit of your labour if you rush in and out of investments, friendships, careers, or even hobbies.

Be prudent; that is, mix your wisdom with your experience and stay the course.

Take the risk and move!

But you have to hurry and wait!

I’d love to hear from you! 

When have you hurried and waited on something and it yielded something far greater than you could have imaged?

The USCIS… a Personal History

The United States Customs and Immigration Service  (USCIS) began in 1891 under the Department of the Treasury. Only a few short years later (1895) it moved in to the Bureau of Immigration; then in 1903 the Department of Labor; 1906 Naturalization Service…and the changes and confusion did not stop there.

ImageThey would change names and departments another four times prior to being called the Immigration Naturalization Service or INS in 1940.

World changes in 2001 created a new Service. In 2003 three departments were created under the Department of Homeland Security; USCIS was one of those three.

Prior to 2013, I had never had an overwhelming need to understand the inner workings of the department. I, of course, had personal views of immigration but never had to directly deal with immigration services.

During the courtship of my wife (Yes, it was a courtship. Dad’s teach your sons!) I did everything I could to learn about immigration from the USCIS website. I might as well have been learning Hebrew. This is anything but a user friendly site for Americans… much less for those who have not grown up in the US.

My wife has spent more than 200 hours in preparing documentation for a single 45 minute interview. But it gets better. The US History and Civics test is a requirement for the infamous Green Card and Citizenship authorization. Funny thing is, immigrants know more about US History and Civics than our school kids, college graduates, and professors in most universities. Don’t believe me? You take the test!!!

Where were you when you learned: the 18, 19, and 23 Amendment, how many seats are in the House? The Senate? How long terms are… and the big one; What are the THREE Branches of Government and what are their functions?

(I’ll pause for dramatic effect for that last question)

I have died at least four times while helping my wife fill out forms and read complex instructions on what to fill out and what not to fill out. There is nothing positive to say to the USCIS folks in the arena of forms nor the volume of information collected. My wife, though, is and should produce the scores of documents required. Albeit, it’s killing me!

Far too much information is collected from the US Citizen sponsor. “Proof of my Citizenship,” Really? No thanks, you get to take my word. I feel like a Roman being challenged in his home town by a sojourning peasant farmer from a far away land–a Gaul.

Look, from the beginning, immigrants are what America is about. Not illegal, but legal.

The facts are this on immigration :

  1. It’s confusing, complicated, and convoluted. It is hard and you (the sponsor) will HATE IT!
  2. It can be a good thing (or bad)
  3. You will fill out more forms than any other group of people on the planet
  4. If you do not know who represents you in congress AND have never written them, shame on you– go correct your ways… Most immigrants DO know this information and have written their future representative. You will be better for it!
  5. Love your awesome spouse in this process.  They are doing this for you.

starbucks-bw

 

A note on LJ:

My beloved wife reads, writes, and speaks, Afrikaans, Xshoa (spelling?), and English. She could brush up on her Dutch and master it again, very quickly. She is famous in her circle of influence. She has taught 1000’s kids; from the great grandson of Robert Louis Stevenson to the kids of senators and of well known rock stars. Trained and skilled on two continents as a certified Aux Pair; she is a tireless worker who loves Jesus, me, and the United States. She is clocking in her 2nd hour tonight pulling information together of our interview with the USCIS while I type away on this very long blog.

So, the next time you wonder about the Immigration topic, go read and learn about your own country… You’ll be glad you did…

LJ- You are a Rock Star and I am crazy about you!

Thanks for all the crazy hard work!

A Final Salute and Farewell

Seldom in life does one come across such a team of folks who, though very different, are so closely knit together as an effective single source of energy. Today marks the close of a chapter in the lives of 16 folks who will be sorely missed by those left behind.  An encouraging voice to nearly 300,000 associates, 2000 stores, and countless vendors across 54 states and provinces, Building Services call center associates will no longer be answering phones or providing valuable resources for the Building Services Center.

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Theirs is a testament to excellence and a commitment to our millions of customers.

One could be so lucky to have served with at least one these heroes; and to have one of these cross you path would be the similar to having found a field of 4-leaved clover and the pot of gold.

Words fail to express the depth of gratitude to have worked and served with this group.

You will be sorely missed.

The Exercise of Thank you

High Quality folks deserve high quality thanks.

Really, it’s that simple. 

It’s also not very important on how you do it… just do it. Have fun with telling someone THANKS! I promise you will get better… but don’t wait to tell your super-stud performer, “Thanks,” only when you think you have perfected its delivery.

The Exercise of Thank you

Telling someone ‘Thank you,’ when you feel awful is H-A-R-D! Got it! You are completely normal. But like anything new, this may hurt a bit. 

Practice this exercise (if you are in a CarPool while reading this, you are excused..for now):

  • Repeat out loud, “Thank You”
  • Recognized you might have actually felt better
  • Repeat it again, but this time, 25, 50 or 100 times
  • Then be bold enough to tell someone who may, or may not, have helped you – your wife, kids, parents…even your boss counts

We get good at what we practice. Read up on Bear Bryant, Vince Dooley, Bill Bowerman, Herb Brooks, Jose Mourinho…  These men got good and then they duplicated themselves.

Parents, you are coaches and your kids will duplicate you…

Team Leaders (boss’), your team will follow you… 

…and you just might feel the weights lift up a bit, and I think we all could benefit from that.

 Question: What would happen if you tried this exercise and it actually worked? How would this impact the way you do life?  Let me know if you do this exersise and the results you find! Comment below! …and THANKS!