Respect

RESPECTWhat would you do if someone screamed, “You’re a Dumb F#cker!” And, then went on to yell, “I have no respect for you!”

Yes, I know, that paragraph is missing the “?” at the end. Yet, the experience for me was more about the “!” — or, in other words, the exclamation of ignorance and arrogance.

Thankfully for both of us the proclamation in the first paragraph, above, was made in a phone conversation. Otherwise, I might have been tempted to persuade him to respect his elders. I have to say, though, this guy is Number 1 in my book. In 35+ years of serving the public as a CPA, I had never heard those words. First time for everything, I guess.

If one is an incident, two is a coincidence, and three is a pattern — then, I have a Story to share with YOU.

Three Times In Three Months

The first time was in February — when a Teenager had been asked to keep their stuff gathered into somewhat organized piles. Perfection was not the standard — simply the traditional courtesy of keeping foreign objects out of the travel paths of other inhabitants of the Family abode.

When multiple requests were ignored, I asked that teenager what he was ‘thinking’ — because, I know for a fact, “All we do begins with a Thought.” Well, he shared what was on his mind — which was to find fault with me, for asking.

The third time was in April — when a Marine sought my participation in helping him start a new business. After 26 years as a Gunnery Sergeant and 6 years as an Air Traffic Controller, this middle-age fellow seemed to be an excellent candidate for my Coaching Services.

One problem was he wanted to constantly present his resume and refused to listen to some pretty good advice. Then, the cherry-on-top was catching him in a lie — which we had wasted a large amount of Time discussing the solution to what, really, wasn’t a problem, at all.

The second time was in March — when a third-generation Millennial rancher (the one with the foul mouth at the beginning of this story) was planning a Family transition without the participation of his Parents. Yes, I briefly participated, while thinking, “Although not the best way to start, at least this might be the first step toward something good for the Family.”

Post TurtleWhat Begins Twisted, Ends Twisted

Here’s the reality:

1.) Grandpa (with the help of Grandma) built something special.

2.) Dad (with the help of Mom) was expected to maintain what Grandpa built. Maintenance men are commonly known as Janitors.

3.) Junior was born on third base and will lie to convince you that he hit a home run. Although he is the Janitor’s son, the rest of the world recognizes him for what he is — a Post Turtle. (click the hyperlink because it’s a good story)

Nothing New Under The Sun

I do believe things today are about like they have always been. In other words, I get it — sometimes misunderstandings happen because of generational differences. The educations and experiences – of each generation – create a different worldview for its participants.

However, regarding the common theme woven within the three episodes at the beginning of this presentation, disrespect is a character flaw. And, the way these Stories end is never pleasant.

Once, there was an old fellow who was on a Mission to give the inhabitants of a Country a heads-up. He had an old-fashioned name: Elijah. His successor had another old-fashioned name: Elisha.

In the vernacular, the ship hit the sand when 42 young men decided to have great sport with Elisha. They did not hurl sticks or stones. They simply used words (which, regardless of the schoolyard rhyme, do hurt more) and received immediate recompense for their disrespect.

Gaslighting Is Pure Craziness

Gaslight

Narcissists are enthusiasts of gaslighting (in an attempt) to disorient and confuse us. They do this by using denial and projection, usually under the pretense of being concerned — in order to make us feel even more perplexed.

If they succeed at this, they can then grandstand us by saying, “See, you are crazy and out of control!”

Introduction To A Narcissist

A Narcissist WeaponA narcissist’s weapon of choice is often verbal — by slander, lies, playing the victim (in flipped tales of who was the victim and who was the abuser), gossip, rage, verbal abuse, and intentional infliction of emotional pain.

Think of direct and clear communication (The Truth), especially when it is about the manipulation itself, as the psychological equivalent to holding up a cross to a vampire. Most manipulators recoil in the face of being “busted” and the air goes out of the pressure they are trying to create just as easily as it escapes a punctured balloon.

Three Chords and the Truth

Boundaries & RespectRespect is only possible with clearly defined boundaries. The sovereignty of a country is defined by its border. As individuals, we are citizens of one.

Self-respect is everything that goes on within our boundaries. Respect for others occurs at the border and according to mutually acceptable customs.

Profitable interactions occur through doors of opportunity that swing on the hinges of “No, thanks.” and “Yes, please!”

Never Accept DisrespectGrown Adults

Narcissists will capture our attention — they are the swashbucklers cutting a wide swath with their theatrics. They are manipulative and easily angered, especially when they don’t receive the attention they consider their birthright.

People with Narcissistic Personality Disorder believe they are superior or special, and often try to associate with other people they believe are unique or gifted in some way. This association enhances their self-esteem, which is typically quite fragile underneath the surface. Individuals with NPD seek excessive admiration and attention in order to know that others think highly of them.

Individuals with narcissistic personality disorder have difficulty tolerating criticism or defeat and may be left feeling humiliated or empty when they experience an “injury” in the form of criticism or rejection.

Pop Goes The Weasel

That young, ignorant, arrogant, and clueless fellow at the beginning of this Story has chosen to enroll in the School of Hard Knocks — his classes are about to begin.

Similar to the consequences in the story about Elisha, I see bears in the future of this foul-mouthed childish imp. One bear I see approaching is a Market less than bullish. Another bear, even more ferocious, is a rate of Interest greater than zero.

You see — I invested hundreds of hours for the benefit of this guy and his Family. Scattered around their little farm operation, there’s plenty of new green paint (John Deere Green) — which can never possibly be paid for with current management practices.

So, I guided him and his wife to an understanding of Balance Sheets, by using the basic Accounting Equation of Assets = Liabilities + Equity. Or, another way to state the same set of facts is Assets – Liabilities = Equity. (which can be Negative)

When the light (Truth) was shown on his misadventures (Too Much Debt), he, literally, hissed through the telephone connection, as the air from his little balloon (Ego) was punctured.

To this day, I remain amused.

Must Be A 10

10 Things to Have in an Executive Business Coach

I’ll share the website of another Coaching Enterprise — because, I want YOU to make the comparison. Y’all know I’m competitive — so, I’m hoping YOU can mark all 10 in my favor.

If not, give me a call.

Highlights from the Article

  1. Good business coaches have a proven record that they will be eager to share with you.
  2. A great business coach has experience both as a business owner and as a business coach.
  3. You’ll want to find a business coach that is relevant and specific — to your chosen area of growth.
  4. Business coaching requires custom strategies. Pass on any coach that treats their business like a coaching mill.
  5. A great business coach will challenge you outside of your comfort zone and make you look at challenges in new ways.
  6. Seek out a business coach that is well-connected, so in turn, you become equally well-connected.
  7. Your business coach should be highly motivated and focused on YOU achieving your goals and aspirations.
  8. Your mentor should love teaching because it means giving back, and it should be obvious in their approach to coaching.
  9. You don’t have to be best friends with your business coach, but you should have a friendly rapport.
  10. The most critical piece — there must be a process to be followed, a regimen. In other words, a committed and disciplined approach to Success.

Highlights from my Life

  1. Beginning in December 1981 through October 2015 this was my Mission Statement, “We Are Committed To Excellence In Providing Accounting and Financial Services To Our Friends Who Pursue Success.” For those 34 years, hundreds of Clients can attest to the fact that we built little empires, together.
  2. Now, the Mission Statement is, “My mission is to guide YOU to personal and business success, according to the vision that YOU establish for us.”
  3. I’m a Builder — so, if YOU want to Build Something Special, I can help with the foundation, deck, framing, trusses, roofing, windows, doors, sheetrock, tape, texture, and trim (figuratively speaking).
  4. There’s only one of YOU — so, by default, your learning will be according to your style and timing. Since communication is what the listener does, I will actively listen to understand what YOU want and need of me.
  5. If two people agree on everything all of the time, one of them is unnecessary. We will challenge each other and experience mutually rewarding individual growth.
  6. Thirty-five plus years of Building Dynamic Relationships by using the Three-E Formula of Enlighten, Empower, and Encourage provides plenty of opportunities for YOU to make connections with my Friends.
  7. YOU are the reason for my existence. I’m simply a chunk of conduit for the goodness from above, to flow through me, for the benefit of YOU.
  8. Coach John Wooden was a Teacher before he was a Coach. Later in life — after many National Championships — he simply wanted to be known as a Teacher. I share that Story with you — because, that’s the one I want to be told about me.
  9. Guaranteed there will be rapport — because only friends do business with each other. I have discovered, over a period of 35+ years in serving the public, that half of the world will love us — the other half, not so much.
  10. That ‘other half’ (in Number 9, above) usually left the friendship because they grew tired of the consistent disciplined determination for us to grow and move forward toward our goals.

That’s my Story — and, I’m sticking to it.

Now, the Choice is yours — stay stuck in a rut (which by definition is: a grave with the ends kicked out) or move forward into a world of your dreams.

Remember, I’m a Builder.

We can do this, together.

80/20 Crutch

80/20 CrutchExcuse to Hobble

When you hear someone quote the 80/20 Rule, brace yourself. Because — you’re about to hear an excuse for their inattention to detail.

Sometimes I’m a Slow Study when it comes to catching on to someone’s shenanigans. Maybe, it’s because I look for the best in a person and want to believe what they say.

Recently, it took two months to realize a Coach was a Hoax. Everything he said sounded, really, good. Eventually, though, his actions spoke louder than his words. So, I had a choice to make: continue to overlook the lies, deceit, and lack of attention to detail (including me and his other Scholars) — or, do the right thing.

All — or, Nothing

My dad (James Burnett Foard) was named after a fellow (Jim Burnett), who lived by this creed, “I am bound to live up to the light I have. I must stand with anyone who stands right, stand with him while he is right, and part with him when he goes wrong.”

Evidently, my Grandfather knew what he was doing — because my Dad lived by the same creed and fulfilled its intent 100%. There was no 80/20 with my Dad — or, anything he set his hand to. With him, it was All — or, Nothing.

Can You Imagine?

Think of the most important decision you’ve ever made. Maybe, it was the decision to get married. Maybe, it was that mutual decision to have children. Maybe, it was a flying leap of faith to start your own business.

Can you imagine applying the 80/20 Rule to those events?!

I don’t know of any individual who believes they can be partly married. How about a little bit pregnant? Or, an Employer providing a paycheck to someone who is no longer an Employee — but, is now, an Independent Contractor?

Those scenarios are laughable – aren’t they?

Oh, I’m having way too much fun with this. Imagine the skydiver who at 10,000 feet wants to apply the 80/20 Rule to their situation. Nope, doesn’t work. They are either in a perfectly good airplane or out of it hurtling toward the earth.

In Summary

For those lacking the moral fortitude to apply the concept of Commitment to their lives, they will forever live in mediocrity.

As for you and me, we’re going to give our all.

80/20 Rule

Recently, I was teasing a colleague about the lack of a Waiting Room when he connects with Scholars using Zoom.

His reply, “Well, I’m a believer in the 80/20 Rule — focus on the 80% that matters and get to the other 20% someday.”

Since I have teased him quite a bit in the past, I heard, “Kim, I’m getting tired of your nit-picking. But – to humor you, I’ll be polite and quote the 80/20 Rule.”

There was something about his tone that immediately had me agreeing with him.

Yet, you – who know me well – know there’s more to this Story.

With A Little Thinking

In the shower, the next morning, it dawned on me (pardon the pun) that the 80/20 Rule does not work with People. Because — we never get a second chance to make a good first impression.

And — if a Person chooses to walk with us through this Journey of Life, then, they deserve 100% of the best we have to offer. In my opinion, it’s ALL — or, NOTHING. To know I’m only worth 80% of someone’s attention and effort is hard on the psyche and soul.

People Over Process (POP)

Where does the 80/20 Rule apply – and, work just fine? Answer: Process. Yes, we People are more effective and efficient with the structure of Process. Every system from minute to massive has processes. And – that’s a good thing.

Yet – People change and grow on a daily basis.

So – Does the same old Process still work (well) if the People have changed?

Yes, it’s a Rhetorical Question. The answer is: NO.

The net result and continued productivity probably is about 80% – if, we’re lucky, on a good day. Yet, management is relatively happy — because, they have the wheels turning and tend to ignore any opportunity for improvement. The 80/20 Rule has been applied and acts as a governor (used on machinery) to keep everything and everybody between the ditches.

You know, I just can’t help myself. The definition of a ‘governor‘ is quite fitting in the scenario, above, “a device for maintaining uniform speed regardless of changes of load, as by regulating the supply of fuel or working fluid.”

Really?

Do we, really, want to be regulated and held back from our true potential? I can only speak for myself — and, again, the answer is a resounding, “No! Heck, No! What part of NO don’t you understand!”

In Summary

A picture is, always, worth at least a 1,000 Words.

No 80/20 Rule In Relationships

 

Truth and Consequence

For every cause, there is an effect.

For every pebble, there is a ripple.

For every action, there is a reaction.

For every effort, there is a result.

For every choice, there is a consequence.

The question becomes, “What is Truth?”

In the simplest of terms, “The seed planted yields a harvest in kind.”

Judgment of Others

Don’t do it. Those who do will receive the same. What is given is received. The caveat, though, is not to waste what is precious on an individual who is content with filth.

Goodness is not appreciated by those wallowing in a rut. They will attack anything and everyone representative of a better way.

Effective Requests

Persistence is the secret. To do is to ASK.

Ask to receive — Seek to find — Knock to have the door of opportunity swing wide open. Children know to ask for what they want and need. Parents joyfully respond with good gifts to those requests.

We — older kids — can do the same.

The Golden Rule

“Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you.”

Narrow Gates

No Pain–No Gain. Easy is Hard–Hard is Easy. Follow the crowd and complain about the destination — or, lead the way and discover new frontiers.

Trees and Fruit

As the twig is bent, so the tree grows. Eventually, though, mature trees are known by what they produce. Good trees produce good fruit. Worthless trees produce nothing. In the same way that trees display their value, people express their worth by what they do.

Actions trump words.

Wise Students

Talk is cheap. Only those who do the homework assignments pass the exams.

Education is the enlightenment to know what to do. Experience is the empowerment to do the right thing. The combination of the two is an encouragement to learn by doing and to have fun learning.

Solid Foundations

Storms will come. Those who listen and do are the equivalent of a home built on a rock. Those who hear and reject are the equivalent of a tent pitched on the sand.

Rock vs. Sand — it’s Obvious which will Stand.

In Summary

Truth is everywhere. It begs and pleads to be discovered. On bended knee, it offers rewards to those who will listen and receive. The journey is not one of passivity — it is one of active engagement.

This courtship requires a, daily, best effort experience in the arena of life to gain an education from the consequences of our choices.

Inspirators

We are well past the Point of No Return and headed into uncharted territory. Literally, all of the graphs and maps of the past are of little value as we navigate into this new frontier of uncertainty and opportunity.

Beyond the time for leaders — this is a time for Inspirators.

Inspirators provide a breath of fresh air while inspiring the next bold Step, forward, to Success.

Each day we have a choice

1.) Give in and give up to Resignation and Despair — or,

2.) Set a course of discovery with Fascination and Curiosity.

break down to build up

I ~ Ideas, beliefs, and thoughts are the very fuel for the engine of the Inspirator. Not just any old idea will do, either. An Inspirator will collect, process, and file the stories of others until they find one concept that can change the lives of many. They give the rest of their life to make a difference in the lives of many.

N ~ Novel approaches to old problems and new opportunities are the Trademarks of the Inspirator. They refuse to be bound by the insanity of doing the same old things to achieve the same old results. Inspirators break molds to create, heretofore, unknown beauty.

S ~ Singular focus on a target results in a laser-like power to melt away the distractions and objections standing between mediocrity and greatness. Although they are dogged in determination, Inspirators are flexible in philosophy. They adhere to the proven — right up to the moment of innovation.

P ~ Passion is at the core of every breath an Inspirator takes. They inhale the chaos contaminating their world and exhale solutions. First, they listen — then, they generously share in word and deed what is necessary to make a difference. Much more than a desire “To do and die,” theirs is a passion to “Live and guide.”

I ~ Inherent faith, hope, and love of a Power greater than themselves is the catalyst for every successful launch of new endeavors by the Inspirator. They accept the physician’s creed of primum non nocere, (first, to do no harm) as a reminder of physical limitations. Inspirators understand the Latin phrase is “a hallowed expression of hope, intention, humility, and recognition that human acts with good intentions may have unwanted consequences.”

R ~ Radiate one small speck of light and darkness is destroyed. Inspirators understand the premise — from the inside, out. They are conduits of goodness for the benefit of all. They purposefully manage their wake to ensure that the ripples from their actions lift others to the beaches of new opportunities.

A ~ A, B, C’s — always maintain an aura of excitement for the Inspirator. Those simple letters are a reminder of the importance of a strong foundation of Education. They are also the trinity for the Experience of building dynamic relationships. Attitude, Boundaries, and Commitment are the cornerstones of life — because, life is all about the people.

T ~ Teaching, coaching, and mentoring are the ways Inspirators transform the “Why” of their existence into the “How” of guiding others to “What” their students want and need. Theirs is not a one-way street of pompous dictation. Inspirators learn, grow and develop from the feedback, insight and creative challenges of other viewpoints.

O ~ Open to constructive criticism is the greatest attribute of an Inspirator. It will be one of the last character traits accepted and practiced. It is the difference between good and great. Inspirators find optimism is easy — acceptance of negatives is hard. No one enjoys receiving honest suggestions for improvement. Inspirators, eventually, accept the importance of understanding the real impact they have on others.

R ~ Releasing the past, letting go of hurts, and offering forgiveness brings the Inspirator to the present belief, “Right here, right now, it’s great to be alive.” They are enlightened, empowered, and encouraged to manage everything within their control for the express purpose of building bright futures for everyone within their sphere of influence.

S ~ Serving is a present tense — action — verb. It is what Inspirators do. While freely giving of their life in service, Inspirators are not doormats to be used and abused. They know and will defend to their last breath the Universal Principle — giving is the secret to receiving.

Fun Is In The Doing

Those claiming to be “leaders” are a dime-a-dozen. In fact, leadership has become nothing more than a synonym for narcissism. Listen to those touting themselves as leaders and you will hear a chorus of accolades about their own greatness. Pedestals are dangerous — for those on them and for those below.

In fact, life is not about the empires — empires come and go. Life is about the doing — and, the fun is in the doing. Actions speak louder than words and bright lights make, absolutely, no noise.

The difference between leaders and Inspirators is the difference between words and Deeds. Please, tune out the static shrill of self-professing leaders and follow the example of an Inspirator — to become one.

Your life and the lives of many will be positively changed to make a difference in this Universe — and, beyond!

(Originally published on April 9, 2011)

Gentle Strength

Gentle StrengthDo you want to be heard?

~ Speak softly.

Do you want to be strong?

~ Offer gentleness.

Do you want to influence?

~ Be authentic.

Imagine a mountain stream of flowing, rushing, bubbling, fresh water. In that stream is a large boulder.

Observe it and these three truths become obvious — It is silent » It is solid » and, It deftly parts the water.

The same is true of the human condition — Whoever is the most certain wins.

Competitive greatness is not an evil premise. If everyone improves through the effort of each individual to grow into a better person, there is a cumulative mutual benefit.

There Will Be Pain — To Achieve Gain

With pain comes the opportunity for offense. When hurt, how do we react? Do our emotions run wild, resulting in a primitive reaction of — Freeze, Flight, or Fight? Or, do we use that first moment, when we’re frozen in disbelief, to purposefully choose our response?

Can we speak softly to simply state our beliefs?

Can we wrap gentleness around a definitive position?

Can we be authentic and true to the passion at our core?

If

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!

Rudyard Kipling

There is a caveat to softly, gently, and authentically communicating our beliefs to others. It produces mutual benefit, only, when we are analogous to streams of living waters. An inlet and an outlet are required for living water. What about those individuals who are more analogous to a swamp?

The answer is inherent in a riddle:

Don’t answer the foolish arguments of fools,
or you will become as foolish as they are.

Be sure to answer the foolish arguments of fools,
or they will become wise in their own estimation.

What?! Yes

Don’t follow their illogical rabbit trails through the briars.

Do state positions of belief — softly, gently, and authentically.

What is the surest way to discover if someone is a fool? If the individual listens, they are wise. If they are quick to interrupt and be disrespectful of any position contrary to their own, they are a fool.

Hard is easy — Easy is hard

Regardless of the condition of others, we can only change ourselves into better individuals. It is so very easy to be shrill, brash, and wishy-washy. It is so very hard to communicate with our Butler’s voice, in our Servant apron, and from our True heart — while grounded in gentle strength.

Heard and Understood

Communication Is What The Listener Does

Upon calling Support and hearing, Press 1 for English, 2 for @#$%, we select the language of greatest comprehension. We want to hear and understand the solution to our situation.

Do we offer the same in our interpersonal communications?

Or, do we launch off into a discourse that is foreign to the ears of our partner? When they seem puzzled, do we simply ‘turn up the volume’ and give them another dose of @#$%?

Imago Relationships

When discovering the concept of Imago Relationships, my first thought was, “That’s cute. ‘I’m-A-Go’ sounds just like what the Captain of a space shuttle might say immediately before launch.”   Many of our relationships are desirous of (or, maybe, in desperate need of) going to a higher level.

These quotes from the article are a few of my favorites:

Partners cross a bridge into each other’s worlds, motivated not only by the Receiver’s desire to ‘hear and understand’ but also to meet the Sender’s need to be ‘heard and understood’ — with a commitment to slow down our lives and devote specific uninterrupted time to our relationships. Ultimately saying to the other, “I respect your otherness — I want to learn from it. And I want to share mine with you.”

Discovering two distinct worlds — whenever two people are involved, there are always two realities. These realities will always be different in small and large ways, no matter what. And, the reality of the other person can be understood, accepted, valued, and even loved — but, not made to be identical to our own.

Your conflict can be the very fuel for the fulfillment you seek.

Being aware of ourselves is the key — it changes everything.

What we need to understand and accept is that conflict is supposed to happen. This is as nature intended it. Everything in nature is in conflict. Conflict is a sign that the psyche is trying to survive, to get its needs met, and become whole. It’s only without this knowledge that conflict is destructive.

Regardless of what we may believe, relationships are not born of love — but of need. Real love is born in relationships, as a result of understanding what they are about — and doing what is necessary to have them.

A ‘conscious’ Relationship itself is the practice you need to restore your sense of aliveness.

Clear communication is a window into the world of your partner — truly being heard and understood is a powerful aphrodisiac.

Without change, there is no growth — we are confined to the fate of remaining stuck in our unhappiness.

Change is the catalyst for healing.

I call the process by which we alter our entrenched behaviors to give our partners what they need: ‘stretching’ — for it requires that we conquer our fears and do what comes unnaturally.

Finally, we learn to see our partners for themselves, with their own private world of personal meaning, their own ideas and dreams, and not merely as extensions of ourselves — or, as we wish they were. Our approach becomes, “I want to know how you think.”

A conscious relationship is a spiritual path which leads us home again — to joy and aliveness, to the feeling of oneness we started out with. We learn to express love as a behavior daily — in large and small ways. In other words, in stretching to give our partner what they need, we learn to love. The transformation of our relationships may not be accomplished easily or quickly — we are setting off on a lifelong journey.

In The Game

In the game of Football, team members ‘huddle up’ to have the opportunity to ‘hear and understand’ the next play. If it’s a passing play, it is only successful if the receiver catches the ball.

Next time we have the opportunity to quarterback a conversation, let’s call plays in a language our receiver understands. Then, as they run the route, let’s give them the opportunity to catch what is thrown.

After all, the only goal that, really, matters — to be Heard and Understood.

Able and Willing

We want what we don’t have.
If we have it, we don’t want it.

Granted, there are a few individuals, who purport that they have risen to a higher level of existence, by not wanting anything. They claim to be perfectly happy with nothing.

Making the best of whatever the situation — in which we find ourselves — is different than doing nothing. Those who do nothing are stuck in a rut, regardless of the rationalization for their inactivity. And, you do know the definition of a rut: A grave with the ends kicked out.

To lead ourselves and others to higher levels of awareness and success, we must grow.

We grow and become of greater value in service only as much as we choose.

Each and every day, each and every decision, our choices are determined by the answers to these two questions:

•  Can I do IT?
•  Is IT worth it?

In other words:

•  Am I Able?
•  Am I Willing?

Am I Able ~

All we do begins with a thought. Change nothing and nothing changes. The easiest thing in the world is to find reasons why something can’t be done, which results in no leadership and no growth. Simply, by believing IT can be done, our minds begin finding ways to achieve.

Am I Willing ~

Where there’s a will, there is a way. Our willingness is governed by two raw emotions — Pain and Pleasure. Given enough pain, our will becomes stronger. Offered enough pleasure, our will finds a way. The beauty of will is that IT resides within our sphere of influence.

A mind changed against its will,
Will be of the same opinion still.

How do we persuade our minds to choose the greater motivator of pleasure?

One way is to tempt it with Riches. The better way is to feed it with Purpose.

Oh, I know, that money trick is a quick-and-dirty way to get our attention. To hold it, though, requires the intrinsic higher rewards, which originate from doing the right thing.

Sometimes, we know what that Right Thing is. Other times, we struggle to DO IT — right. That’s when we remember the Three-E Formula — Enlightenment, Empowerment, and Encouragement.

Enlightenment is the catalyst for believing we can do IT.

Empowerment is the motivation for choosing to do IT.

And, from time to time, our confidence is bolstered by the Encouragement — of family and friends — for us to be Able and Willing.

Free Advice

Free AdviceThrough the years, I’ve given lots of free advice. I’m beginning to realize that’s been a very bad character trait.

» Advice — the wise don’t need it and the fools won’t heed it.
» Free — the perception of something worth nothing.

So, this week, when I said “No, thanks,” to an opportunity of continuing in my tradition of offering free advice, the response was enlightening. Well, I was enlightened. The person making the request was shocked. They were shocked that I would, could, should, and did say, “No.”

Engaging in a mutually beneficial relationship (two-way street of offering and receiving) is different from demanding a response (one-way street of taking).

We get what we allow. For years, my immaturity was assuaged by giving free advice. The act of giving appeared noble and it made me feel like a hero. After all, Trusted Business Advisor, at one time, was the moniker of the CPA profession.

There is a very fine line, though, between an act of commerce and codependency. Commerce recognizes “Yes and No” as the two sides of the same coin. Codependency is defined as doing for others what they could, should, and would do for themselves, if we simply said “No.”

In fact, this most recent request for free advice was related to purely business matters. The resources for the answers to this new series of questions had already been given in response to an earlier request.

While my earlier gift of free advice was taken with no expression of appreciation, my offer to provide Advisory Services for a fee was berated and ignored.

Never give Advice —
The wise don’t need it,
and the fools won’t 
heed it.

The individual asking for advice has every right to express their choice to do nothing by saying, “No, thanks.” Freely offered and freely rejected. That’s the way commerce works. Change nothing — Nothing changes.

However, a price is paid for everything. To choose This, we forego That. Every thought and every action involves some measure of time or money. Asking anything of anybody involves either an act of commerce (exchange of money) or sacrifice (offering of time).

Regardless of the relationship, giving respect to the person responding to our request is a valuable courtesy and currency.

Asking is more than OK — It is our responsibility to ASK.

The issue is — There is a price to be paid. Are we willing to participate in the payment of the price (commerce), or do we expect something for nothing (sacrifice)?

As for me, I’ll continue to engage in commerce and sacrifice.

I will choose, though, which it is.