Are you ready for spring?

“Always remember, your focus determines your reality.”

George Lucas

There is something so powerful about the spring season’s coming, maybe this year more than any in recent memory. New growth, fresh opportunities, new people to serve, and distinct experiences to create are just some of the promises brought to life in the season of growth.  

Our ability to embrace the hope of the new season is dependent on our ability to discern and focus on what is truly valuable. Are you focused on the things that matter this spring? 

Who are your “best” friends?

“I don’t need a friend who changes when I change and who nods when I nod; my shadow does that much better.”


The best friends are those who will tell you the truth, even when you don’t want to hear it. Do you have friends like this? Are you this type of friend for others?  

Who is your “customer?”

“Don’t ever quit. You’ll succeed if you have delighted customers. Don’t settle for satisfied.”

Warren Buffet

Perhaps customers aren’t just those who are paying you for goods and services. Maybe, just maybe, a “customer” is anyone that you serve.  How would your world look if you didn’t seek to satisfy but instead delighted all of your customers? How would their world be changed?

Avoid becoming “overcopied…”

“Success is dangerous. One begins to copy oneself, and to copy oneself is more dangerous than to copy others.”

Pablo Picasso

The minute you begin to “believe your own press” you are choosing to surrender the edge that helped you build any advantage you might have previously created. Suddenly every problem begins to look like something you have tackled before, and previous solutions or thought processes are applied based on historical efficacy, not on current understanding.  

Some questions to consider:

  1. Is the answer I am choosing “right” or easy?
  2. Have I done the hard work to understand the situation entirely?
  3. Is the challenge worthy of genuine effort and not just a pale facsimile?

The old saying, “when the only tool you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail,” seems particularly appropriate here. Never settle for a copy of previous success. Much like a paper that has been copied far too many times, you begin to lose your clarity.

Surrender to your purpose…

“Surrender to what is, let go of what was, have faith in what will be.”

Sonia Ricotti

Which of these three hurdles are the most challenging for you? Accepting what is? Letting go of what was? Having faith in what will be? Sometimes all three of these at the same time?

Whenever I find myself wrapped up in any one of these mental and emotional barriers, I find it clarifying to meditate on this verse:

‘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 

It is amazing how simply stepping back and recognizing that there is a bigger and broader purpose can help recenter everything in life. That’s when surrender is truly possible…

Redefine “winning…”

“Keep strong, if possible. In any case, keep cool. Have unlimited patience. Never corner an opponent, and always assist him to save face. Put yourself in his shoes – so as to see things through his eyes. Avoid self-righteousness like the devil – nothing is so blinding.”

B. H. Liddell Hart

How many of the statements above meet your current definition of “winning?”

So often we view winning as “making someone else lose.” What if, instead, we were able to apply the statements above as rules for wining? How would it look and feel if we did all of these things every time we “won?”

Challenge = Growth = Opportunities to Serve…

“Challenges are what make life interesting, and overcoming them is what makes life meaningful.”

Joshua J. Marine

If everything was easy, why would you ever need to grow?   

If you don’t grow, how can you serve more?

If you can’t find more ways to serve, how can you create meaning?

What is your most important next step?

“Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.”

Martin Luther King, Jr.

I am continually amazed at how things work out for good when you step forward, serve others, and put your energy towards positive things. Taking the step of embracing a servant’s heart and putting your actions ahead of your words are two of the most important thing one can ever do in life.  

Living in this manner is what helps build the staircase…  

Is this useful?

“Mindfulness is the aware, balanced acceptance of the present experience… It is opening to or receiving the present moment, pleasant or unpleasant, just as it is, without either clinging to it or rejecting it.”

Sylvia Boorstein

If I could go back in time and tell a much younger self any particular habit to pick up and foster, it would be the practice of mindfulness. It isn’t the technique, the app, the teacher, or anything else external. It is simply the intentional curation of an ability to pause and reflect on the beauty of every moment regardless of the external context or label that I seek to apply.

Life is precious and filled with unbelievable experiences, some pleasant, some not so much. Having the capacity to pause, see, enjoy, reflect and learn, at the moment, not after, is incredibly liberating. Understanding and applying the question “is this useful?” has been quite liberating. The good news is that mindfulness is a lifelong practice, and I am merely glad that I discovered it in time.

If you are interested in getting started check out these resources. These are a tiny sample of what is out there, but I found them to be a great place to start.

Do you have time for some R&D?

“Our soul desires to be understanding, our ego is only concerned with being understood. When you are being understanding you are connected to your soul.”

Michaiel Bovenes

Make a list of the people with whom you feel the most connected. Reflect on their actions and behaviors towards you. Are they interested in YOU or in something that you can provide for THEM?

Connection, real connection happens when another person leans into you, not for their benefit, but for yours. To be on the receiving end of these behaviors feels good. There is such warmth generated by those that surrender their ego and focus on understanding others.  

Look back at the list you made and pick out a name. Now write down three things that they do behaviorally that you can learn from, emulate, and make part of your own set of behaviors. Start doing them.  

My definition of R&D is “ripoff and duplicate.” There isn’t a better place to conduct some R&D than on the behaviors of those who excel at understanding.  

Sometimes disconnecting is the best way to really connect…

“I firmly believe that nature brings solace in all troubles.”


There is something special about being outside in nature. All the problems, challenges, and obstacles we face seem to take a different meaning when we get away and disconnect. Maybe that’s it—disconnection from the temporary things that cloud our judgment and reconnection to the eternal. Nature is a reminder of the enduring aspects of life. The mountains will be here in ten, twenty, fifty years. The ocean will still be rolling and surging and the creeks will still be flowing.

Find time to get away, disengage, unplug from all the distractions. Plug into nature and see what a wonderful world we are blessed to share. 

Can you take time to see the sunrise today?

“Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come. You wait and watch and work: you don’t give up.”

Anne Lamott

There is almost nothing better than watching a sunrise over the ocean or the mountains. Every time I have allowed myself to sit and observe the dawning of a new day without rushing or focusing on getting to the next task, it inspires such peace and satisfaction with life. The rising of the sun is a harbinger of hope.  

The natural beauty is we have this EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. Nothing has yet marred the surface, and each day is ripe with potential. Why would you ever give up? No matter what happens today, the sun will rise tomorrow. It is a beautiful chance to simply begin again.  

Photo by Dusty Holcomb

Are you wiser today than yesterday?

“You should never be ashamed to admit you have been wrong. It only proves you are wiser today than yesterday.”

Jonathan Swift

A mentor of mine once gave me some very sage counsel. He said, “In all matters other than your principles and core values, think of everything you believe as a scientific hypothesis. You must constantly be seeking to have your assumptions either proven or disproven. Seek out the data that either validates or nullifies the hypothesis you have in your mind. When you live life with this framework, you will never worry about who is right, only on discovering what is right.”

I hypothesize that he was right…

Do you have foresight?

“Hindsight is the best insight to foresight.”

Irish Proverb

How much time do you devote to objectively reviewing your past actions and seeking to improve?  

Will tomorrow be better than today?

Can you learn and apply lessons from your past?  

If you don’t, are you even growing?

How do you measure your worth?

“Instead of comparing our lot with that of those who are more fortunate than we are, we should compare it with the lot of the great majority of our fellow men. It then appears that we are among the privileged.”

Helen Keller

Why do we insist on finding examples of what others have that we don’t, and thereby diminishing our estimation of worth? It has been said many times that “comparison is the thief of joy,” and this is most certainly true. Not only do we compare to others, but we fail to appreciate our blessings and gifts objectively. We, as humans, fail to appreciate the opportunities we have to empower the betterment of others.  

What if instead of focusing on our diminished “lot” we were to put effort and energy into improving others’ lot? How much impact could your life have if your energy was invested into building opportunities for others?  

How would you measure your life if, instead of focusing on what you don’t have, you concentrated on what you gave away? What would your worth be then?

Are you wasting your life?

“If you’re not making someone else’s life better, then you’re wasting your time. Your life will become better by making other lives better.”

Will Smith

People give their time away without thinking all the time. “Wasting time” is a pervasive part of our society today, whether it is through social media, ‘reality television,’ or any of the other myriad ways that people expend their most precious and finite resource. Wasting time doesn’t scare most people if they are honest about how they spend their time. In reality, “wasting time” is the thing that should scare us the most.  

Perhaps another way to state this is, “if you’re not making someone else’s life better, then you’re wasting your life.”

No one wants to “waste their life.” Nobody gets up in the morning and thinks, “well, here I go, let’s see how meaningless and wasteful I can be today with my one precious life.”

The reality is that we all have good days and bad days, days where we feel incredibly fulfilled and meaningful, and others where we wonder what happened. That’s going to happen.  

The secret is never to lose sight of the reason we exist, the reason God put us here on this earth. We are alive to serve others and make lives better. If you find a way to do that every day, you will never be wasting your time, you will never be wasting your life.

Why are you climbing the mountain?

“It’s easier to go down a hill than up it, but the view is much better at the top.”

Henry Ward Beecher

Why do you climb mountains? What is it that motivates you to put forth the effort? Are you climbing the mountain simply because it is there, or do you want to see the view? Are you taking in the sights along the way up and the way down?  

Several years ago, I had the opportunity to climb Mt. Yale, just outside Buena Vista, Colorado. Mt. Yale is one of Colorado’s legendary “14’rs” where the peak is over 14,000 feet above sea level.

The reason for the climb was to see something beautiful and take on a challenge I had never done before.  It was a grueling climb, primarily scrambling on hands and feet over the rocks for the last mile.  

But the view from the top was so worth the effort…

On the way up…
At the top of Mt. Yale

As were the sights along the way down…

And on the way down…

The views we find at the top of the mountain are the inspiration we need to climb up a higher and even more challenging peak.  

1,000 opportunities to improve…

“Discipline and constant work are the whetstones upon which the dull knife of talent is honed until it becomes sharp enough, hopefully, to cut through even the toughest meat and gristle.”

Stephen King

I wrote and published my first blog post on June 19, 2018. Writing a daily blog was something I had wanted to do for a long time but hadn’t “found” the time to make it happen. I read a great book, “Platform – By Michael Hyatt,” and realized that it wouldn’t happen if I didn’t just take the plunge and start. So, I started, and this was my very first post. It wasn’t perfect, but it was something, and it was a start. Getting going was the critical part.  

My purpose for sending a daily quote and now writing the blog hasn’t changed over the three and a half years since that first post. If you are interested, you can find the genesis at this link, “Why I Started This Journey”.   

My personal purpose for writing the blog was to create a regular discipline to build my writing skills and force me to practice intense critical thinking and self-reflection every day. I love to journal, but it is easy to skip a day or two here and there. I knew that if I made a public commitment, I would be accountable at a much higher level, which has undoubtedly been the case.  

Today’s post is # 1,000.  For one thousand days in a row, I have made an effort to practice thinking and write creatively. Not all of the posts have been good; I would say there has been a lot more chaff than wheat over the years. But, I can say beyond the shadow of a doubt that my ability to construct and convey my written form thoughts has improved. I am confident that writing the hardest thing I have ever written, my post on my brother Grayson’s passing, would never have been possible without developing these skills over the years.  

My purpose for writing hasn’t changed.  I want to positively impact others’ lives by leveraging the time, talent, and treasures that God has given to me.  I have no idea if anyone reads what I write here, but I know that my ability to leverage God’s gifts has improved by embracing this daily discipline. Coincidently, these verses were part of my devotional time this morning: 

“Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.”1 Peter‬ ‭4:10‬ ‭NIV‬‬. 

“So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God.” Romans‬ ‭14:12‬ ‭NIV‬

Discipline and hard work are the only ways to take the raw material God blesses us with and turn it into something useful. I am nowhere near where I need to be, and I apologize to those that read my blog and have to sort through some of the junk I have written. I know this if the next 1,000 posts are as much fun and educational for me as the first 1,000, I will be a better leader, husband, father, and man than I am today. Thanks for taking the journey with me.  

Start today!

“You have it easily in your power to increase the sum total of this world’s happiness now. How? By giving a few words of sincere appreciation to someone who is lonely or discouraged. Perhaps you will forget tomorrow the kind words you say today, but the recipient may cherish them over a lifetime.”

Dale Carnegie

The truth is that you might not know who is lonely or discouraged. So give sincere appreciation to everyone with whom you come in contact. The ripple effect of your efforts could last far beyond your lifetime…

Are you pushing hard enough?

“I’ve always found that anything worth achieving will always have obstacles in the way, and you’ve got to have that drive and determination to overcome those obstacles en route to whatever it is that you want to accomplish.”

Chuck Norris

Is it worth achieving if you don’t have obstacles? If it is easy, anyone will do it. Anyone could do it. So perhaps the real question is this. Are you pushing hard enough to find the obstacles? If not, push harder…

The three “H’s” of success…

“I’m always asked, ‘What’s the secret to success?’ But there are no secrets. Be humble. Be hungry. And always be the hardest worker in the room.”

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson

I love this quote. These three “H’s” serve to put a fine point on what it takes to create success. Here’s how I interpret them.  

Be Humble: Willing to learn. Willing to serve. Willing to admit when you’re wrong. Never believe that you are better than someone else.

Be Hungry: Always seeking, striving, and ready to grow and change. Take on anything and everything you can to improve.

Hardest Worker: Whatever it takes to get the job done. No excuses, no quit. Put forth the effort that others can’t or won’t.  

What is your soul’s resolve?

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

Ella Wheeler Wilcox

What are the things you believe in so fervently that nothing could slow you down or prevent you from making every possible effort to achieve success? Do you have this same fervent belief in yourself, in your capabilities? In your potential?  

If you believe in yourself and know that you can learn, and grow, and improve, then you will never settle for “good enough.”  

Resolve to be better, to grow, to improve, to change. Then there will be no chance, no destiny, no fate that will get in your way or slow you down. 

Do you have goals that scare you a little bit?

“I think goals should never be easy; they should force you to work, even if they are uncomfortable at the time.”

Michael Phelps

Manageable goals are just tasks, things that you are going to do. You write them down, and then you do them.  

The real goals are the ones that scare you a little bit. These are the ones that make you get out of bed a little earlier and push a little harder. Success isn’t guaranteed, and the discomfort is equally motivating and frightening.  

Anyone can settle for easy. Exceptionally few choose to challenge themselves, and even fewer still are willing to get genuinely uncomfortable. But when you do, this is where the magic happens; this is where the person you were born to become comes to life. Don’t rob the world of that person.

Push yourself just a bit harder. Set goals that aren’t guaranteed. Be more, do more, push more. You’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish. 

Don’t do less than your best…

“Put your heart, mind, intellect and soul even to your smallest acts. This is the secret of success.”

Swami Sivananda

What act is so inconsequential that it isn’t worth your best effort?  

The better question is, what acts are you performing at a sub-excellent level?  

If they aren’t worth your best effort, why do them at all?

How do you increase excellence?

“Excellence is the gradual result of always striving to do better.”

Pat Riley

I am continually amazed in life as the more I learn, the more I realize how little I know. Excellence then isn’t a result of the accumulation of more knowledge and wisdom but instead is a greater and more pointed focus on only those things that truly matter.

So excellence is focusing your “do better” efforts on the things that are meaningful, serve others, and positively impact the world. Otherwise, it just isn’t excellence…

Turn down the noise…

“Follow your heart, but be quiet for a while first. Ask questions, then feel the answer. Learn to trust your heart.”


“But be quiet a while first…”  This is often the most challenging part of discerning answers and enabling a journey to trust our own hearts. There is nothing in our world today that facilitates quiet time of any real significance.  

Disconnecting and giving yourself the space necessary to hear the answers in your heart requires highly intentional and disciplined practices. It is far too easy to numb ourselves with all manner of distractions and, in the process, destroy our ability to hear anything our heart might be trying to tell us.  

It’s quite simple. If you want to hear, you have to turn off all the noise…

Dreaming is all about the “what if…”

“Without leaps of imagination, or dreaming, we lose the excitement of possibilities. Dreaming, after all, is a form of planning.”

Gloria Steinem

When combined, the two most impactful words in the English language are, “what and if…”

What if this were possible?

What if it works? 

What if my dream comes true?

What if they are all wrong…

Do you view the world through a lens of “to you” or “for you?”

“The best men are not those who have waited for chances but who have taken them; besieged chance, conquered the chance, and made chance the servitor.”

E. H. Chapin

Things happen. Some we can control, most we can’t. The only thing we can do beyond any doubt is control how we react to whatever happens.  

Real magic can only happen when you view all things through the lens of “for you.” Chance happens for you. The work you do today creates the opportunities that happen “for you” years or even decades from now.  

If you want to make chance your “servitor”, you have to view the world through the lens of all things happening “for you” not “to you.” Otherwise, you will forever be a victim of fate…

Are you willing to begin again?

“The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life.”

Steve Jobs

There is such joy that comes from learning something new. There are no expectations of perfection or mastery, merely the beauty of starting something without a preconceived condition of success.  

What prevents us from embracing this joy regularly throughout life? Is it the burden of responsibilities or the expectations of others? Do we allow ourselves to take a less risky and less exciting path simply because we need the “sure thing.”  

Fear, doubt, and worry about things that MIGHT happen is the harbinger of death for finding joy in a new beginning. Where is your worry? How can you remove it and enable yourself to experience the freedom of a new beginning?

Why are you waiting to begin?

“All endings are also beginnings; we just don’t know it at the time.”

Mitch Albom

If you could wave a magic wand and begin something new and special today, what would it be? More importantly, what would you have to END to make that dream a reality?  

What are you waiting for? Tomorrow, next week, next month, next year won’t make for a more opportune time; it’s just an unnecessary delay. Stop waiting; figure out the end so that you can begin. 

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