Fly like a bumble bee…

“Aerodynamically, the bumble bee shouldn’t be able to fly, but the bumble bee doesn’t know it so it goes on flying anyway. ”

Mary Kay Ash

As a parent there are few things better than watching your child grow and achieve things they didn’t yet know they could do. It is beautiful to watch the joy in their eyes as a child succeeds in successfully completing some new physical or mental challenge for the very first time. You can literally see their confidence in their abilities grow right before your eyes.

The beauty here is that children don’t know they “can’t” do something and when they have a cheerleader, whether that is a parent, grandparent, sibling, etc. alongside helping and teaching they can, and will, learn and accomplish things that perhaps they would never have dreamed were possible. They haven’t yet created self-imposed limits on their abilities.

When is it that we as adults begin to create beliefs governing what we can accomplish? How are these belief systems formed? Is it because we don’t have, or haven’t created, the right support system of people around us coaching and pushing us to learn new and different things? Is it because we have tried and failed and therefor have turned failure into a belief that says “I can’t?”

Every time we try and fail we can either turn that into a learning opportunity which will help us as we grow towards our next attempt OR we can choose to treat those failures as limits on our abilities. The first perspective serves as a platform for future growth. The second creates a world that is constantly shrinking as you implement a belief system based on limits and “I can’t.”

How we talk to ourselves and who we surround ourselves with as coaches and mentors will greatly influence our ability to accomplish things we don’t even know are possible. Choose wisely if you want to fly…

Six steps to change your life…

“There is no chance, no destiny, no fate, that can hinder or control the firm resolve of a determined soul.”

Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Stop everything!

Set aside 15 minutes and do this exercise. You’ll need a pad and paper. You will need your phone. You will need to hold yourself accountable.

Step 1: Quickly now. Think of the one thing that motivates you to give your best effort no matter what. Do you have it? Write it down. Stare at it. Burn it into your mind.

What you write down should be something that motivates you to ALWAYS do well and right, no matter what. Where you will ALWAYS go the second mile, no matter what. The one thing where the effort, while it may be difficult and challenging, is something that you will NEVER give less than your best.

Step 2: Take 2 minutes (yes, set a timer!) and write down all the reasons WHY what you wrote down for step #1 is important to you.

Step 3: Take 2 minutes and write all the things that you WANT to do in life which are aligned with your motivations and your why.

Step 4: Circle the one that you MUST accomplish in the next 12 months. The one you pick, if you don’t do it, will create disappointment and regret when you look at this list exactly one year from today.

Step 5: Take out your phone. Take a picture of what you have written down. Set up a free account at Follow Up Then and then email that picture to this email address: monthly@followupthen.com. You will now receive a reminder of this list every month in your email. You can’t escape from what you said that you want to do.

Step 6: Do it. You have a year. Figure it out. If there are obstacles then you will have to find a way to go over, under around or through. The clock is ticking. Make it happen.

Finding unity…

“We are only as strong as we are united, as weak as we are divided.”

J.K. Rowling

It can be very challenging to feel connected to others in this new world in which we are currently living. It is difficult to foster relationships and maintain strong connections when so often the only thing connecting us is a digital screen, or simply the sound of another persons voice on the phone.

I personally have found that it takes a lot more work and intentional effort to unite with others. There are new and different behaviors that feel uncomfortable at first, but when we lean in and embrace them, a sense of normalcy comes roaring back.

For example, this past weekend one of my closest friends called and asked if we wanted to do a “car social.” Not having heard this term yet I asked him what that meant. His exact response was “We drive up, open our doors but don’t get out. We drink beer together. Then we say good bye.”

So that is what we did. They parked in the driveway and we stayed apart and didn’t violate any of the social distancing rules. But, for an hour or so, the human relationships that truly mean so much in this world were front and center and everything else just drifted out of focus.

One of my favorite verses is from Ecclesiastes and given the current nature of our world I don’t think couldn’t be more relevant. ‘Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken. ‘ Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

We aren’t meant to be divided. Humans are meant to work and act as a tribe and, for the time being and perhaps forever, how we do that has had to change. If we want to remain united we need to find new and different ways to do so. We have to lean in and foster the relationships that truly make all the difference in the world. Whether that is via phone call, video chat, “car socials” or anything else that is socially responsible, we have to invest the time and energy into becoming more united, because that is what truly matters…

Optimism is the foundation of achievement…

“Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement.”

Helen Keller

Throughout life I have found that having an optimistic attitude and achieving long-term success are positively correlated. It is really hard to achieve anything if one has a negative attitude or perspective on how things are going to turn out.

What is your natural tendency? Do you have an optimistic view towards the future and faith that all things will progress for the better? Optimism that there is a better way and a better day is the foundation of all achievement. Without it, no one would ever try to make anything better.

Be careful, how we approach the future can become a self-fulfilling prophecy…

Unlock greatness…

“Great dancers are not great because of their technique; they’re great because of their passion.”

Martha Graham

What are those things that stir your soul and enable you to put in the countless hours of effort and energy that are required to master a craft? The beauty of doing these things is that the work, no matter how hard it is, is ALWAYS worth it, and it doesn’t feel like drudgery or a waste of time.

The key to life is to discover the things for which you have this degree of passion and find a way to do them. Everything else you might do fails in comparison to doing something you are deeply passionate about and makes your spirit soar. If you don’t know yours, then I highly recommend taking the time to do the deep soul searching that is required to discover your passion(s).

Your passion could be a hobby, a vocation, or an opportunity to serve others. Whatever it is, do it. Make it part of your intentional living in every way. Everyone has greatness inside them, we just have to put in in the effort that is required to unlock it.

Imagine a world…

“We don’t need to share the same opinions as others, but we need to be respectful.”

Taylor Swift

It really doesn’t matter if you agree with someone or not. How you treat another person should have no bearing on whether or not you happen to share the same opinions or perspective.

I have long followed a simple axiom when it comes to how I desire to treat others through my actions and behaviors. Very simply put it is to treat EVERYONE with dignity, honor and respect. I firmly believe that every person, regardless of who they are or what position they hold in life, deserves to be treated in accordance with these three simple words. If I fail to treat everyone in accordance with these principles then I fail to follow the commandment that Jesus gave in the book of Matthew. Jesus replied: “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” ‘ Matthew 22:37-40

It is worth taking a look at the definitions of these three words and think through how applying them in our interactions with every person we encounter conveys love for one’s neighbor.

Dignity: “To treat others with bearing, conduct, or speech indicative of self-respect or appreciation of the formality or gravity of an occasion or situation. To convey nobility or elevation of character; worthiness: To convey appreciation for elevated rank, office, station, etc.”

Can you imagine our world if everyone treated others with an attitude of worthiness? A simple example of this is conveyed in how one listens to another person. Do you do so with the desire to hear and understand, or a desire to defend, argue and respond? The former conveys an attitude a worthiness, the latter does not.

Honor: “to show high respect for,” “to show a high regard for,” “honesty, fairness, or integrity in one’s beliefs and actions.” “To greatly value and appreciate.”

What would it be like if everyone lived with an intention to covey an attitude of appreciation of value for the other person? How would it make you feel if others showed this to you regularly? How does this manifest in our behaviors? An example might be in how we seek out the opinions of others to gain insight and perspective. Doing this intentionally conveys an appreciation for what a person brings to the conversation based on their unique set of life experiences. We honor them by seeking them out.

Respect:To treat others with esteem for or a sense of the worth or excellence of a person, a personal quality or ability, or something considered as a manifestation of a personal quality or ability: to show regard or consideration for:

How would our conversations go if everyone brought an attitude of respect to their relationships with others? A true desire to show regard or consideration for that person and convey to them that they are valued and worthy? How does this show up in our lives? An example of this could be as simple as how we communicate appreciation for what others do that contributes to our own lives or the lives of those around us. Simply saying “thank you” with genuine appreciation can convey respect for what another person brings to the table and what they are doing to make our own lives a little better.

All people are worthy of dignity, honor and respect regardless of position, station or calling. I am reminded of the last lines from the the song “Imagine” by John Lennon.

“You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will live as one”

Living in this manner can be aspirational, and I know that I fail to adequately live up to my own standard on a daily basis, but it is the aspiration to do so that moves you closer to being able to “love your neighbor as yourself.”

Second chances…

“We all have big changes in our lives that are more or less a second chance.”

Harrison Ford

What opportunities for change, rebirth, growth are being primed because of the state of the world today? Right now massive change is being forced at the societal level. So what second chances are being created for each of us to look at all aspects of our lives and not merely adapt to the change around us, but to truly reset our minds and perspective?

It is easy to say “I just want to get back to normal.” What if “normal” wasn’t the best or optimum state to be in? If we just work hard to get back to the way things were, we miss all the opportunity for rebirth as better versions of ourselves.

Here are some questions to start the thinking process and identify the opportunities for positive change.

  • What of the changes have I really enjoyed? Despised?
  • What should I keep as we move forward?
  • What new opportunities are being created right now that I should embrace?
  • What new habits or behaviors have I developed that I want to keep? Stop?
  • What are the most important lessons I have learned through this experience?
  • What would I have done differently at various points over the past few weeks/months? How could this knowledge help me going forward?
  • What relationships have I fostered? Neglected?
  • One year from now what do I want to have accomplished based on new knowledge and experiences I have gained?
  • What is the best decision I have made in recent weeks? Worst decision?
  • What great opportunity is God presenting me with right now?

This is certainly not meant to be an exhaustive list, just a place to start. (personally I find that leveraging the Socratic method of problem solving to be incredibly insightful and thought provoking.)

We can either choose to wallow in misery by focusing on what we don’t have, or we can look for the opportunities that are being created for us. Every change is an opportunity to build something better if we choose to look forward.

Play your game…

“Do you know what my favorite part of the game is? The opportunity to play.”

Mike Singletary

What does “the game” mean to you? What is it that excites you about whatever you define your game to be? Do you have something that you do, that you enjoy to the point where you are incredibly grateful to simply have the opportunity to do it?

This doesn’t have to be your vocational output. It could be a hobby, time with family, serving others, etc. When you have a clear vision of whatever it is that brings you this degree of joy and thankfulness by simply having the opportunity to play, then everything else in life will fall in place.

Without knowing what this means for you, and having it clearly defined, then life can feel frantic and purposeless. Without being intentional in our understanding of “the game,” we can rush headlong into whatever the next thing is that attracts our attention and lose sight of why we are here and what stirs our souls in an almost indescribable way.

What we are really talking about here is the understanding of our purpose. What it is that we are called to do. One way to know and understand this is to think through the thing(s) that engender incredible feelings of gratitude simply because you have the opportunity to do them.”

As I pause and reflect on this a bit more it brings to mind this verse from Romans. ‘And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. ‘ Romans 8:28

For me it is the opportunity to make a difference. The chance to help and serve others. The opportunity to enable and empower others to find success in their lives. I absolutely love having the opportunity to do this, whether at work or in my personal life. I am incredibly grateful that I have that chance every single day.

Define your game. Play your game. Be grateful for the opportunity to play…

Without regret…

“You can never regret anything you do in life. You kind of have to learn the lesson from whatever the experience is and take it with you on your journey forward.”

Aubrey O’Day

I don’t know about you but I have made plenty of dumb decisions and mistakes in my life. Some were minor and inconsequential, completely forgettable. Others however were absolutely life-altering. If given the chance to do it over there are plenty of things that I would do differently.

But truly don’t we all have that chance each and every day? If we take the time to learn and reflect on our life experiences, and build that knowledge into wisdom that guides us on our future decisions, then we can ensure that we make better choices when presented with crucial opportunities.

A life filled with regret is a life spent ignoring the lessons learned from our past to ensure that we have a brighter future. Living in this way is truly regretful…

Today is a treasure…

“Live today. Not yesterday. Not tomorrow. Just today. Inhabit your moments. Don’t rent them out to tomorrow.”

Jerry Spinelli

Yesterday I had a great conversation with a trusted mentor and he shared with me an epiphany that he had in the last week about our desire to “get back to normal.” The realization that he shared is that we can spend all our time and energy now trying to get back to once was, without ever thinking through the more important question of “what should be?” We can also spend all our time worrying about what might happen, and comparing our tomorrow’s to the expectations of yesterday.

I really found his thinking to be both provocative and insightful. It caused me to reflect on and think about these verses from the book of Luke.

‘And he said to his disciples, “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat, nor about your body, what you will put on. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? If then you are not able to do as small a thing as that, why are you anxious about the rest? Sell your possessions, and give to the needy. Provide yourselves with moneybags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.‘ Luke 12:22-23,25-26,33-34

It is so easy to focus on what “we are missing out on RIGHT NOW” instead of reveling in the unique and special gifts of the current moment. It is also so easy to focus so forcefully on the promise of tomorrow that we see past the beauty right in front of us.

We are all experiencing a unique and challenging time, filled with uncertainty, the loss of freedom and disruptive change to almost every aspect of our lives. So many people have been affected in tremendous and tragic ways. It can be hard to see brightness and joy when so much of the conversation is dominated by the bad news and the comparison to “what was” and “what might be.”

If we all aren’t careful we could miss out on the precious gift of each moment that we are alive. We could lose the opportunity to make this current moment different and powerful. We put at risk the opportunity to make a difference and serve others. And that is a treasure that we truly don’t want to give away…

Look for the helpers…

“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’ To this day, especially in times of disaster, I remember my mother’s words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers – so many caring people in this world.”

Mister Rogers

There are always scary things on the news but today during a time of the Covid-19 pandemic the news seems especially frightening. Daily updates on infections, deaths, the impact to millions through economic fallout, and the fear and uncertainty of our unknown future.

Yet everyday people wake up, get dressed and prepare to serve others. I have always admired those in the medical fields because I view what they do as a true passion and calling. I don’t think my gratitude towards this entire profession has ever been as strong as it is today. In a Covid-19 world these individuals knowingly put themselves in harms way to serve others. What an incredible blessing and gift they give to every person they serve.

Interestingly enough during my devotional time this morning this verse was front and center and is one that I believe certainly applies to each of our health care professionals in today’s world. “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.” 1 John‬ ‭3:16‬ ‭NIV‬‬

To knowingly risk oneself in the service of others. To knowingly put your family a little closer to the front lines. To give of oneself and lay it all down. What a debt of gratitude we all owe those that serve… Thank you.

A thousand lifetimes…

“Reading is a way for me to expand my mind, open my eyes, and fill up my heart.”

Oprah Winfrey

There is almost nothing better than a good book, and a quiet time and place to read. I have been fascinated with books and reading since childhood. I read EVERYTHING I could get my hands on growing up and reading has continued to be an important throughout my entire life.

Some of the reasons that I love to read are to learn and grow but as I get a little older and perhaps wiser I have come to realize that reading is the best possible way to come close to realizing all the potential that God had in mind when he created us.

I have long felt that I could have had a hundred different careers that I would have been both good and and thoroughly enjoyed. Through reading I have found that it is possible, if only temporarily and within my own mind, to embark on different journey’s and embrace the different facets and aspects of my personality.

A couple years ago I started keeping a list of the books I read throughout the year. I desperately wish I had done this for my entire life. Not so that I can show anyone else, but simply to reflect on all richness of the world we have access to, and to remember which books are worth rereading and really marinating in. I am sure that some of the ones I have read, and now forgotten, would be a great friends to pick up again.

The beauty of reading is that it allows the soul to expand and become a little bit more of what it is truly capable of. Whether you are reading for learning, reading to understand, reading to for joy, or simply reading to entertain your mind. Each book is an opportunity to live a touch more broadly and with greater flavor.

There is more life to live than we could ever achieve in a thousand lifetimes, but we can squeeze a bit more into the one precious life we have with each great book we read. So what’s on your reading list?

Old friends…

The cascade effect…

“I’ve made my share of mistakes along the way, but if I have changed even one life for the better, I haven’t lived in vain.”

Muhammad Ali 

Have you ever made a list of all of those who have impacted you in a positive way throughout your life? We become the people we are through the sharing of experiences and and because of the influence that others have on our journey. Who are those people that have changed your life? Are they even aware of the impact they have had on you?

As I mentally run through the list of all the people that have had some type of positive directional influence in my life I am struck by how significant and powerful some of these individuals have been. The really interesting thing is that the people and events that come immediately to mind aren’t examples where someone was TRYING to change my life, or the lives of others, they were simply being themselves, and living outwardly in a manner that positively impacted and influenced the person I was to become.

I found it interesting to run through the list of people by season or stage of life. What is very intriguing is that there is a consistent theme of behaviors and attributes that stand out. Those that has the most significant impact all had similar traits and and practices that then served to help me form my own beliefs and practices.

The lesson in all this for me today is that we have a powerful opportunity to add value to others simply by showing up as our authentic and real selves. It is isn’t about TRYING to add value, it is about living life in a manner that is serving others. If you do this, and live this way consistently, you WILL change the lives of others. You might not ever know how, and the person who’s life you impact might not even realize it till years later, but the cascade effect of living your values and beliefs outwardly will change lives, starting with your own…

Bring the heat!

“I began to realize how important it was to be an enthusiast in life. He taught me that if you are interested in something, no matter what it is, go at it at full speed ahead. Embrace it with both arms, hug it, love it and above all become passionate about it. Lukewarm is no good. Hot is no good either. White hot and passionate is the only thing to be.”

Roald Dahl

How many things in life do we do with little or no energy? Why do we do them at all? I can think of many things that are just general “administrative” tasks that need to be performed as part of the whirlwind of life. Things that just have to get done. Period. End of story.

The challenge is how do we guard against an attitude of “just getting it done” and not let that creep into how we approach the rest of our lives? How do we ensure that “white hot and passionate” is how we are living as a rule instead of as an exception?

I suggest that we should be intentional and reflective on how we approach the removal of things that we aren’t fully passionate about. Make a list of how you are going to spend your time today. Mark the things that you are energized to do. Mark the things that are just ho-hum.

Ask yourself this question, “does this thing, the ho-hum just get through it thing, really NEED to be done? Can I skip it?” If the answer is yes then kill it. Why is it even on your list in the first place?

If the answer is no, then take great care not to let that attitude and perspective creep into the things that you are passionate about. Rearrange your schedule, prioritize the energizing work, use your best hours of the day on the things that excite you. Above all else, guard your time that is to be spent on things that ignite your soul with the same passion that you protect your family and those that you love. If you don’t, then you are slowly, but surely, putting out your own fire…

Define right…

“Always do right. This will gratify some people and astonish the rest. ”

Mark Twain

How much time, effort and energy do we each spending thinking on the definition of “right” versus the simple act of doing? Is the real opportunity here to first focus defining “right” in your own mind? Because once you have made that determination there really isn’t a choice anymore is there…

Questions to dream about…

“You can’t put a limit on anything. The more you dream, the farther you get.”

Michael Phelps

How much time do you spend allowing yourself to dream? How many “what if” questions do you ask yourself? How many times do you use the word “imagine” in your self queries? How many of those questions do you answer? In writing?

If you aren’t asking, and answering, these questions, you are limiting yourself. Dreaming isn’t just something you do when you sleep. It is a conscious and intentional choice. If you choose not to dream, you are choosing a life of limits…

Crack the egg…

“It may be hard for an egg to turn into a bird: it would be a jolly sight harder for it to learn to fly while remaining an egg. We are like eggs at present. And you cannot go on indefinitely being just an ordinary, decent egg. We must be hatched or go bad.”

C. S. Lewis

Everyone wants to skip right to the part in life where they soar like an eagle and they forget that each stage of life is precious and beautiful.

The time in the egg is for growth and development with a shield of safety surrounding you. But there comes a time when you have to change, to grow, to be more. And like the chick that is hatching from the egg, it is the struggle that builds the strength necessary to one day soar…

Eliminate drag…

“The less effort, the faster and more powerful you will be.”

Bruce Lee

If you want to go fast you need to remove drag, which means you must cut away anything that is taking energy away from moving you forward.

Without unnecessary drag it takes less effort to go faster, less effort to go farther. So it isn’t about going harder, it is all about getting rid of drag.

How can you focus on cutting drag instead of just working harder? What is slowing you down? Cut it…

Hope rises…

“Nothing that is worth doing can be achieved in a lifetime; therefore we must be saved by hope.”

Reinhold Niebuhr

Hope is what gives meaning to life. Hope is what gives purpose to our efforts. Hope is how we focus our actions and energy. Hope is what rises again…

Happy Easter!

Faithfully patient…

“Patience is not simply the ability to wait – it’s how we behave while we’re waiting.”

Joyce Meyer

What is the difference between waiting patiently and how one might behave when waiting impatiently?

Maybe this is a better question. What is it that others exhibit when you believe they are waiting patiently? What do you like? What do you not like? Why is it that some seem to have more patience than others?

Patience seems to me to be a result of something bigger. Faith perhaps?

A very Good Friday…

“Drag your thoughts away from your troubles… by the ears, by the heels, or any other way you can manage it.”

Mark Twain

This might seem like an odd quote to use on Good Friday but hang with me…

It can be so easy to spend all of our time thinking about what we don’t have, instead of reveling in all of the blessings that we have been gifted with. It can be so easy to manufacture problems and troubles that really aren’t there.

I personally can’t think of a better day of the year to have a broader perspective than on Good Friday. For me this is a day of reflection and appreciation. Wonder and amazement. There isn’t a trouble that I have that holds a candle to what happened on first Good Friday.

So no matter what you believe, find something that grounds you and serves as a reminder of how all our troubles pale in comparison to what truly matters.

Give it your all…

“If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as a Michaelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, ‘Here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.”

Martin Luther King Jr.

This has long been one of my favorite, and most convicting, quotes. Every time I feel like mailing it in and doing “just good enough” I can immediately hold myself accountable by remembering this quote. I have to believe that Reverend King had one of these two verses from scripture in mind when he penned this quote.

“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.”
‭‭Colossians‬ ‭3:23-24‬ ‭NIV‬‬

“So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” 1 Corinthians‬ ‭10:31‬ ‭NIV‬‬

How amazing would this world be if everyone embraced their calling, and everything that they did, with this degree of purpose and passion?


Be the street sweeper…

“When you do the common things in life in an uncommon way, you will command the attention of the world.”

George Washington Carver

Upon reading this quote this morning the first thing that rose in my mind was the famous quote from Martin Luther King, Jr. about the calling of a street sweeper.

“If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as a Michaelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, ‘Here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.” Martin Luther King Jr.

This has long been one of my favorite quotes. Strangely enough when I search my blog I see that I haven’t used it as a leadership quote, at least not since I started capturing the quotes via the blog. I will have to rectify that oversight soon!

The second thing that came to mind was the verse from Matthew where Christ said “And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles.” Matthew‬ ‭5:41‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Going the extra mile, even on the common job, is what sets one apart from 99.99% of everyone else in the world. Perhaps doing the common thing uncommonly well is even more exceptional in today’s world. In a time and place where so many just focus on the minimum expectation going the second mile is truly what sets one apart.

We should all aspire to have the attitude of the street sweeper that Reverend King references. Take that thing which you are called to be and go the second mile no matter how common you might feel that calling to be…

R.O.E.

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”

Nelson Mandela

Education is the one thing in life that NO ONE can ever take away from you. So what’s stopping you from seeking something with a guaranteed return on the investment?

Education changes you so that you can then change your world…

One day…

“If you’re not going to go all the way, why go all.”

Joe Namath

One day you’ll look back and be proud, indifferent, or disappointed in how you spent your time on this earth. Which one are you going to choose? Make that choice today.

Digital distancing…

“Disconnecting from our technology to reconnect with ourselves is absolutely essential for wisdom.”

Arianna Huffington

This weekend I had one of those all too rare experiences where I had very limited cellular and internet service. We went camping as a family on our farm so we could appropriately distance from any and everyone. I didn’t realize until we got there that we would have almost no connectivity. While I did make sure to drive out to get a message to those I work with, and also to check in a few times just to make sure I wasn’t missing any messages from work, I couldn’t read any news or receive any online news updates. That was the best part of having no service, there was no somber news and no way to get it, it was just good time spent with the family, laughter, campfires, and s’mores.

It was a great reminder that we aren’t built to be online and connected 24/7 no matter what is going on in the world. We are built to foster relationships with others, spend time outdoors and breathe fresh air. During a time like this when we are challenged to stay home and maintain a safe distance from everyone perhaps we should build in time to maintain a safe distance from constant connectivity and all that it entails…

Listening comes before learning…

“To listen is to continually give up all expectation and to give our attention, completely and freshly, to what is before us, not really knowing what we will hear or what that will mean. In the practice of our days, to listen is to lean in, softly, with a willingness to be changed by what we hear.”

Mark Nepo

You never know what you might learn when you really truly listen. I have to remind myself of this all the time. Sometimes we are all working so hard to listen only for what we want to hear that we forget that the real joy of listening is to learn. Once you have learned something, you can then be changed by it. You just have to commit to listen first. Easy to say, much harder to do…

Authentic equals vulnerable…

“The courage to be vulnerable is not about winning or losing, it’s about the courage to show up when you can’t predict or control the outcome.”

Brene Brown

The question I think of when I read this is “is being your true and authentic self and being vulnerable to expose that self to others worth it if you don’t win?”

For me the answer is an unambiguous yes. It is far better to be your true and authentic self than to be any pale shadow or imitation thereof. Living in an authentic life means to live a life of vulnerability. If you want to be authentic you have to be vulnerable.

Grateful for the gift…

“Dedicate some of your life to others. Your dedication will not be a sacrifice. It will be an exhilarating experience because it is an intense effort applied toward a meaningful end.”

Dr. Thomas Dooley

Today a dear friend called me to simply say hello and check in on me and the family. I can’t adequately convey the emotional value of this very human touch. It was an experience that totally made my day.

That this particular person reached out doesn’t surprise me at all, it is so much a part of his giving nature and true servant leader ethos. In many ways over the years I have looked to him as a tremendous mentor and the model of a person that I would very much like to be one day.

Reflecting on today’s quote with him in mind I would daresay that over the years he has dedicated a great portion of his life to others. I for one was very glad to be a recipient of that gift today.

Who are you going to give a piece of your life to?

You’re not alone…

“Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: ‘What! You too? I thought I was the only one.”

C.S. Lewis

Adversity serves to bring people together and common experiences are great equalizers and can be a catalyst for the deepening of relationships. This is such a unique time in that EVERYONE is impacted by an external event and at the same time the ability to share in those experiences and build relationships is limited by the necessity of social distance.

What could be such a transformational time in the building of friendships actually has had the opposite effect and can create loneliness and feelings of isolation. It is also easy to focus on the negative aspects and spend any and all time conversing with others about the detrimental impacts this has had on you and those that you love.

How do you both focus on the positive and build/enhance relationships with others? I suggest finding someone in your network, your circle of friends and associates and simply reaching out to say hello and let them know that they were on your mind. Create a positive tone by inserting a thought like this into your dialogue. “While there are plenty of negative things to focus on, one thing I have really enjoyed is……………. What positive experiences have you shared or observed?”

What if we all found the one thing that was positive from today and shared it with someone else? What if we all found the time to tell someone that they weren’t alone…

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