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Pet Dragons

The Stuff of Fairy Tales

Well, I did it again.

After listening to the fears, concerns, and apprehensions of a woman whining about the dangers before her, I rode in on my white horse – with sword in hand – and stuck that fire-breathing beast. He tipped right over into a heap of problem solved.

And, then, oh, wow! — the ship hit the sand.

Come to find out, that was her Pet Dragon.

Once upon a time…

My Proposal

I’ve been thinking.

Rather than I charge you a Price for Value — how ’bout we just exchange Value.

On the horizon, I can see opportunities requiring more of a Process focus: QuickBooks, Bill.com, TSheets, Applications (etc.) — worthy Projects for which I do not want the responsibility.

And, if you have opportunities for People coaching, consulting, etc. for whom you might want help — I am interested in assisting YOU. (Because my new focus and purpose is: POP)

So, as Time marches forward, maybe, we can be available Resources — for each other.

In the interim, we can connect remotely and set the parameters for a mutually beneficial professional relationship.

What are your Thoughts?

Her Response (Word-for-Word, I Kid You Not)

Hey Kim

I think I would like to pay you for your services – at least initially until we get better acquainted with our skill sets and what we desire to do. I am just getting my feet back under me this week – having been out all week last week. But I’ve been thinking about our conversation and how we might work together. I feel like I don’t have many answers in that regard. Would a standing Thursday 9 a.m., 1-2 hour meeting work for you? I’m thinking every other week as opposed to every week and if that were the case, probably 2 hours would be better than one. That being said, I could do this Thursday but not next. Then if I just get it on the calendar, I should be able to make that work.

Do you think you could guide me through working on value pricing/niche development within my business and learning to focus on the types of things you focus on, i.e., helping people get what they want, POP, value as opposed to compliance work? I’m asking if you feel this is skill set you have an could help me work on modeling my business more appropriately. If you feel this is a conflict – as we’re trying to “work in the same space” – I totally can understand that. However, I think there is enough work to go around – but appreciate your thoughts as well.

I have expertise on the QuickBooks side and integrations, etc., for sure and don’t know that I want to give that up. Maybe that’s where my niche is to focus. Maybe Carla Caldwell – gal I told you about who does what I’m asking you to do – is my coach, but you help guide me through organizing all this. I’m sort of lost when I think about all of it.

You asked me to price the service you’d provide. I will be brave and throw out a number. I was thinking $200 for a 2 hour session is too low and $400 seems to high. Maybe we’re in the middle at $300 for each 1-2 hour session? Not committing to 2 full hours – just what we need that time to get our work done?

Thanks Kim. Talk to you soon!

Silly Me

Excellent!

Yes — I accept your Proposal.

This is my Understanding:
• You will pay for my Coaching and Consulting Services.
• We will connect every-other Thursday, at 9:00 AM, for no more than 2 Hours.
• We will begin each remote Coaching and Consulting Session with your Thoughts and Questions.
• My focus will be on sharing concepts relative to Value Pricing, Psychology of Coaching, and Practical Application to Your Niche.
• We are not Competitors — We will Complement one another.
• After all, it is impossible to be competitors — because, we are unique Artists and one-of-a-kind Value Creators.
• For those individuals seeking QuickBooks type processes, with accompanying App integrations, I will provide an introduction to You.
• I will establish a Google Drive portal for the sharing of Resources — which will assist in keeping us Organized.
• I will prepare — and, submit for your approval — a Contract for Coaching and Consulting Services.
• Acceptance of the Coaching and Consulting Contract will be accomplished by the payment of a $100 ‘Commitment’ Fee.
• The fee for my Coaching and Consulting Services will be $300 per Session.

To prepare for our first remote Session, tomorrow, Thursday, August 9th, at 9:00 AM, I suggest the following:
• Read the article: I AM — do the exercise of finishing the I am… Statement — and, be ready to Share with me.
• From your Thoughts and Questions list, pick one item of greatest importance to You — and, be ready to Share with me.
• To select that first item, You might find it beneficial to choose an issue, which you know will ‘feel good’ — as you take the First Step toward your desired Goals.

Acceptance of the Coaching and Consulting Contract will be accomplished by making an Online Payment from the QBO Invoice that I will transmit to You.

If any questions, or concerns, please, contact me immediately.

Seen One — Seen ’em All

We’ve all seen a Contract. Every professional has their boilerplate version. I had to revamp my four pages to fit the parameters of a $300 Coaching Session. I will confess, this whole episode was beginning to feel odd. I was going along to get along. Yet, the intent was pure — this was a ‘friend’ whom I wanted to help.

As the reader of this comedic drama, all of your warning bells, sirens, and whistles are probably going off right about now. Me, at this point, I’m still clueless.

Except, I took great care to make the money part of the Contact crystal clear.

YOU are committing to pay SAGETALK

a one time non-refundable sum of $100 + payments of $300
per 2-Hour Sessions for access to – and use of – the SAGETALK Program.
The first $300 payment will be due upon receipt by YOU of a QBO Invoice.

Yes, I know, “Communication is what the listener does.” But, I had given this my best effort.

Session Number 1

We had fun!

Two hours of non-stop banter, questions, stories, teasing — and, otherwise good-natured fun. Or, anyways, as much FUN as two CPAs can muster.

And, yes, we did a LOT of great work, too.

Confusion

Prior to our first session, the Contract and Invoice for $100 (the Commitment fee) had been emailed and Payment received. As promised, after the Session, I emailed a QuickBooks Online invoice for $300.

This was her response (Word-for-Word, I Kid You Not):

Hi Kim
I paid this. I didn’t realize that the $100 was over and above the $300 per session. I thought the $100 was just an I’m serious about this and want to get started. I thought this invoice might be for $200. Thoughts are appreciated. Thank you. (Maybe I didn’t read well enough!)

Maybe

Those people, who refuse to make a decision, end up high-centering on the fork-in-the-road. Look at the word closer: ma-Y-be.

See the fork-in-the-road? The people who are fond of maybe are reluctant to choose — left, or right, at Oak Street.

To encourage us, always, to make a decision, look at ma-Y-be, again.

Ma = Cry Baby
Be = A Creator
Y = Choose to Be

Lesson Learned

My original mistake was giving up on my sincere premise of giving to a Friend. At the moment money was involved — Price for Services — there was a business transaction and professional relationship.

Because of my first mistake, clearly defined expectations were impossible. As a result, there was no possibility, or probability, of success.

What begins twisted ends twisted.

I wanted to share with a Friend —and, a Client simply wanted a business transaction and professional relationship.

So, thank goodness for the Termination Clause:

SAGETALK may terminate this Agreement at any time in its discretion, upon notice to YOU. Paragraph 3.1. below shall survive termination of this Agreement, binding YOU to Confidentiality in perpetuity.

I immediately initiated an online transaction with Wells Fargo for the $400 to be refunded by Paper Check. I had failed to meet her expectations.

Our two hour Tango high-centered on the fork-in-the-road with my acquiescence to follow the lead of someone who does not understand Value Pricing. That’s why she suggested a relationship at the very beginning.

Value Pricing Model

She asked for an understanding of Value Pricing. For two hours I told her about the concept — yet, I have a process to show, anyone, how it’s done.

• My goal is to provide Value that exceeds your Expectations by (at least) a factor of 3.
• Because I offer a money-back Guarantee, negotiation on Price is irrelevant.
• I will deliver Value (x 3) to the level – and beyond – of whatever the chosen Price.
• YOU choose the Price, clearly define the Objectives, and set expectations for Results.
• I will choose the period of Time – during which we will work – Together.

Silly me, I more than bent my own rules — I broke them. There is a better way. I have designed three Steps to prequalify anyone wanting to do Business with me.

Pet Dragon Resolution

There are Questions in each of the three Steps (each more intense than the preceding) testing for Commitment (the exact opposite of her Pet Dragon: NO Commitment).

Why didn’t I lead her through these Steps?

Come to find out, I had a rascally Pet Dragon hiding in my own dang forest: People PLEASER.

He has been dispatched to Dragon heaven.

… and, everyone else lived happily forever, after.

Pearls and Pigs

Attacked, Condemned, and Trampled

Have you ever been attacked for offering goodness?

Have you ever been condemned for doing right?

Has another person ever trampled you into wondering, “What’s up with that?!”

A Better Way

There must be a better Way.

In the realm of human nature, there is nothing new under the sun. Things today are about like they have always been. Amazingly, though, when it’s our pain, the hurt is real.

When managing our emotions, this one encouragement is a reminder of the power that is ours.

We get what we allow.

In other words: If we do what we have always done, we will get what we have always got.

This Is The Way

Tired of being attacked? Sick to death of being condemned? Crawled out of the mud, for the very last time?

Do you want to know about a better Way?

Don’t waste what is holy on people who are unholy.
Don’t throw your pearls to pigs!
They will trample the pearls, then turn and attack you.

Pigs

Who are PIGS?

People
Intently
Glorifying
Self

Pearls

What are PEARLS?

Precious
Exquisite
Arrangements
Reflecting
Life’s
Secrets

The precious gem of your multifaceted life Story deserves to be shared with the world. Because a few ugly creatures are ungrateful, does not diminish the value of YOU.

Please, accept the responsibility for never again offering your gifts to the wrong people, move beyond the pen of PIGS, and boldly share your PEARLS of wisdom — Your Life Story — with those patiently waiting for the one and only, unique, courageous, and priceless creation of YOU.

The CARE Credential

Alphabet Soup

At one time, I was quite proud of all the initials behind my name —

  • CPA ~ Certified Public Accountant
  • CITP ~ Certified Information Technology Professional
  • CGMA ~ Chartered Global Management Accountant
  • AMM ~ And Many More…

Yes, they demonstrated the discipline and commitment to play the game of achieving recognition in the eyes of academia.

Yet, no one other than I knew, fully, the extent to which sacrifice was made to achieve these designations.

And, the humorous point of this whole exercise, in bragging rights, is how times have changed. Now, another meaning for the acronym of CPA — in the realm of Digital Marketing — is Cost Per Acquisition.

Student, or Trailblazer?

When we play the game of Credentials, we are simply going where others have gone, before. Or, we seek the approval and acceptance of those in authority — with the power to grant acknowledgment or dash the dreams of the inspired.

For those who have matured beyond being overly concerned about what others think, they are the Trailblazers going where no one has dared go before — sometimes, to places where even angels fear to tread. However, they will make the discoveries crucial to the progress of humankind.

People don’t care about what we know, until they know how much we care.

CARE Defined

This is one Credential for which the world begs to be in front of every thought.

Compassionate
Aware
Responsive
Empathetic

Compassionate

The contrarians among us might find the use of a C-word — like Compassionate — too sissified, for their taste. In that case, I challenge them to choose from one of these: Cooperative, Competent, Committed, and Confident. Pardon the pun, but, Contrarians must care about someone other than themselves — the focus is outward, not inward. This is a Spiritual endeavor.

Aware

In the busyness of business, how often do we purposefully pause to breathe — to stop and smell the roses — to be Aware of the opportunities for service? The funny thing about offering assistance is how much we benefit from the effort. Whatever we choose to give is returned many times over — probably not from the beneficiary in receipt of the goodness we share. But — Karma is 100% accurate in delivering what is earned. This is a Mental endeavor.

Responsive

There is an ancient Proverb, “Faith without works is dead.” We may believe we are compassionate and aware of the needs of others — yet, only with Responsive action is the benefit delivered. All we Do begins with a Thought. There is intrinsic magic in the thinking — there is discernable value in the doing. Maybe, IT has never been done before — and, maybe the world will laugh in the beginning. Yet, the reward is worth the effort. This is a Physical endeavor.

Empathetic

My friends are quite familiar with the Three-E Formula defined as: Enlighten, Empower, and Encourage. You probably have a similar mantra, which is your Empathetic cry. We are, after all, engaged in a Crusade to ensure that the goodness from above flows through us for the benefit of the whole wide world. As conduits of goodness — similar to lighthouses for the protection of vessels — we can silently do our work. This is an Emotional endeavor.

Our Choice

We can place alphabet soup Credentials behind our names — or, we can anchor CARE in front of our thoughts.

I hope you will join with me in leaving behind the Three Evil E’s of Ego, Expectations, and Emotions, which are attached to limiting Credentials — and, that we boldly state our belief in The CARE Credential, as we courageously lift up those in our sphere of influence.

Seeds of Opportunity

When adversity, failure, and heartache are part of my day, the first reaction is not, “Oh, great! What a wonderful opportunity to learn and grow.”

Yet, the definition of opportunity is:

When the situation is right for you to do something you’re interested in doing, you have the opportunity to do it. The word comes from the Latin phrase, ob portum veniens “coming toward a port” which refers to a favorable wind blowing ships into the harbor. Think of an opportunity as something a good wind blew your way.

When problems raise their ugly, fire-breathing, dragon heads, I’d much rather gather up the black balloons, invite some whiners, crawl off into a cave to lick my wounds, and throw a grand ‘Pity Party’ — all for me.

Timeless Principles

Recently, however, I fumbled into an old audiobook download in my Audible library, by Napoleon Hill, of Think and Grow Rich fame. When I use ‘old‘ as an adjective, it’s because the season of his major thoughts and famous books was from the late 1920’s through the late 1930’s.

Although, in keeping with the principle of, “There’s nothing new under the sun,” I’ll mention that the concepts presented by Napoleon Hill are timeless. Read through his biography and notice how many times he, in the eyes of the bystander ‘failed.’ Yet, he — like Thomas Edison — simply, believed he had found one more way that doesn’t work and had discovered a stepping stone to future success.

All of the great Thinkers share this one noble premise, “Success is a State of Mind.”

Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve.

Two Very Different Worldviews

I know you’ve heard the story about the two boys on Christmas morning. One boy is taken to the barn by his Dad and surprised with a pony. The young fellow is upset — because, he wanted a motorcycle. The other boy, when the stable door is opened, is greeted by a large pile of sh!t. Excitedly, he jumps right in and announces to his Dad, “Somewhere in this large pile of manure must be a big horse!”

Or, in the words of Napoleon Hill,

Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed of an equal or greater benefit.

Odds are good our young entrepreneur didn’t find a horse in the dung heap. Yet, his Dad probably commended him for his attitude and effort. And, then, introduced him to a steed beyond the boy’s imagination.

All We Do Begins With A Thought

When we’re confronted by a Problem, can we immediately turn our minds from thinking, “Oh, darn!” — to believing there is a hidden Opportunity?

If we’re struggling a little, we can listen to this encouragement.

Regardless of what you think about Garth Brooks — or, his lifestyle choices — there is undeniably a resonance with the lyrics of that song for each of us.

There have been times in each of our lives when we thought we knew best. Other times, when we asked, “Why me Lord?” And, many times when we endured the laughter of the judgemental enjoying the pain of our mistakes.

One Man’s Mistake Is Another Man’s Harvest

Were they, really, mistakes, or seeds of opportunity?

Think about it. If you’re a gardener, you know seeds are necessary to grow anything. To have a harvest, seeds must be planted and nurtured. It’s a small leap of faith to see that we are given seeds — for our personal growth. What we do with them is our choice.

Speaking of gifts, here’s another thought. If flesh and blood, imperfect specimens of earthly Fathers have an aching desire to give the best to their children, it’s pretty easy to imagine a Higher Power having our best interests at heart.

The Man In The Arena

Speaking of heart, here are the words of a hero, Teddy Roosevelt.

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

Cold and timid souls will delight when we stumble. They will envy our success — and, the galactically stupid of them will, literally, swear at us, as we offer to help them in their journey.

At the very best, 50% of the world will love us — and, the other 50% not so much. If we boldly share our beliefs and courageously defend them, guaranteed, we will make enemies of those with different beliefs. Because — birds of a feather do flock together.

It is not the end of the world when we face adversity, failure, and heartache. It is, simply, the end of one, very long, bad day.

Framing Is What Builders Do

Because success is a state (or, frame) of mind, all we need to do is ‘re-state‘ — or ‘re-frame‘ — the situation from a Problem to an Opportunity.

And, “No,” this Story is not about defining Success by how much Money can be accumulated in a bank account. Remember, you are a unique creation — and, quite capable of defining Success in your way and on your terms.

Later in the life of Napoleon Hill, he had this to say,

Only by working harmoniously in co-operation with other individuals or groups of individuals and thus creating value and benefit for them will one create sustainable achievement for oneself.

We do that by planting the seeds of opportunity harvested from adversity, failure, and heartache. Then, we tend them with the greatest gift (love), which is a chosen, purposeful effort — often done in the face of fear — to nurture our own growth and the growth of others.

Magic of Three

“The definition of genius is taking the complex and making it simple.”
― Albert Einstein

And… the best way to do that is by using the Magic of Three.

The blue hyperlink, above, is an excellent explanation of why this is true.

Automobile Univesity

On a road trip this weekend, the concept was reinforced in my mind. For many years, I’ve been enrolled in AU (Automobile University). Through the curriculum offered by Audible, extensive course selection is available on audiobooks.

As a business coach and consultant, I’m always interested in what thought leaders have to offer. So, I dutifully paid for the course Million Dollar Consulting, by Alan Weiss.

Magic of Three

What is the magic of 3?

Take a look at the left side of the number — 3 points, which form a pattern, which our mind can process and remember, easily. Two feels lacking, and four feels tedious. Test for yourself — choose three of anything and see how comfortable the relationship is.

As a CPA (Certified Public Accountant) for 35+ years, I’ve been guilty of sharing too much, too fast, and scaring the living bejeezus out of People. I’m still in the process of breaking that bad habit. However, I know for a fact, “Less is More.”

Complex To Simple

So, as I’m cruising the deserts of Wyoming this weekend, in my Rudy Red Ford F-150, the magic of three enchants me, once again. I discovered that a 6-hour and 21-minute audiobook can be condensed into three words.

Objective
Measure
Value

Now, to be clear, the rest of the book explains the importance of those three words. One of the reasons this book can be of value to anyone is that it demonstrates the steps in motivating ourselves and others to grow.

To move from where we are to where we want to be, we must begin with the end in mind (Objective). To maintain our enthusiasm in the middle of a desert journey, we must nurture hope by managing our progress (Measure). We are able and willing to reach our destination, because of the benefit to ourselves and others (Value).

Another Worldview

These 3 words encapsulate another way to think of this concept.

Why
How
What

Why are you thinking about doing something? Does it complement your purpose in life? Will it provide happiness and joy? (People)

How will you accomplish your goal? Are you able to make the sacrifices necessary to let go of the old habits and develop new ways? (Process)

What will be the benefit to you and others in your sphere of influence? Is this legacy adequate for your mark on the world? (Results)

Just like all Universal Principles, it is impossible to describe the logic of magic with words. But, I’ll bet you have felt the power of it.

By reading this article once, you’ll always remember the concepts presented, above — thanks to the Magic of Three.

Catch A Gear

Generally, I write at a PG-13 level — for minds of an impressionable age.

However, this article is intended, only, for mature audiences.

My definition of that, for this conversation, is anything north of 30 years old. By the age of thirty, we have gained a wealth of education and experience. We have been suckered into believing things that, simply, were not true — by people who intentionally wanted to cause harm. And, we have, probably, been betrayed at least once.

Searching and Speeding

As a result, we have searched for that fine line, between — wanting to believe the best about everyone and protecting the integrity of our soul. For each of us, that fine line of distinction will be different. So, our search for answers will have been unique.

During that search for answers, odds are good that we read a few books. One of them might have been Speed of Trust, by Stephen M. R. Covey.

Catch a gear is my euphemism for —

grab a gear
turnin’ and burnin’
runnin’ full stack
mashin’ and a gassin’

All of which are Trucker terms of endearment for — going faster.

Marbles In The Jar

As twenty-somethings, we were invincible — with no thought for tomorrow. In fact, we didn’t even think about the end of days, because we were consumed with squeezing every last drop of fun out of each day.

The idea of going faster was a joke — because, we were already running around with our hair on fire, billowing black smoke, and going in big circles. Yet, past that doorway threshold of thirty into a bit of dimness in energy, the light came on.

As thirty-somethings, using the math of Threescore and More (score is twenty), we felt a sense of urgency and discovered a jar half empty — or, half full. Either way, time became a more precious resource and priority in our thinking.

Imagine A World

Think about what our world could, should, and would be like if, only, the truth was spoken, there was adherence to moral principles, and sincerity of belief accompanied every action. In other words, rather than some individuals striving to be characters, everyone became self-disciplined in nurturing righteous character.

Just imagine the new frontiers…

Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve.

Let’s catch a gear. 🙂

Real Deal

When I hear someone use the word try in a sentence, I cringe. Because I know, for a fact, they are more interested in the talk than they are living the walk.

Accordingly, it’s another humor Kim moment. In support of the above statement, take a pen into your hand. Now, try to drop it. See my point? You’re either going to hang onto it — or, you’re going to drop it.

There’s no “try” to it.

Here’s another example — the word maybe. Those people, who refuse to make a decision, end up high-centering on the fork-in-the-road. Look at the word closer: ma-Y-be. See the fork-in-the-road? The people who are fond of maybe are reluctant to choose — left, or right, at Oak Street.

To encourage us to, always, make a decision, look at ma-Y-be, again.

Ma = Cry Baby
Be = A Creator
Y = Choose to Be

Just one more — how many times have you been promised something, someday? And, someday never came. Builders know this as the secret to accomplishment, “You must begin — and, begin again.” Because — they live by this creed.

Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it.
Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it.

Begin it, now.

If we put all of this silliness together, we have, “Someday, maybe I’ll try.

There Is A Better Way

Much more than an audition for the opening night of the Broadway playbill, Life — this is the Real Deal.

So real, in fact, I want to share insight from my children. To be precise, they are young adults, who are taking Relationship Strategies to increasingly higher levels for the benefit of all.

Lindsey and Ryan are priceless gifts. Yet, at times, they will also purchase tangible expressions of reminders for me. On a Father’s Day, Ryan presented “Easy 88“, a bronze of a cowboy making a great ride on a bull. On another day, a beautiful bouquet of flowers arrived from Lindsey, in acknowledgment of birthday “Fifty-Five“.

Also, she has given me Words — inspiring words:

Family ~ Forever, For Always and No Matter What

Tomorrow is the most important thing in life. Comes to us at midnight all clean and perfect and puts itself in our hands. And hopes we’ve learned something from yesterday.

In regards to ‘Lessons Learned’ from yesterday, the most important one can be expressed by a single word:

Forgiveness ~ Let go of the notion that there can be a better, or different, yesterday.

The purest definition of a ‘Rut’ — a grave, with the ends kicked out.

When we replay the past in our minds, over and over, a rut forms — a pattern of thinking. Really, those familiar grooves are the equivalent of a broken record — ’round and ’round the same track, while expecting new music. Does insanity come to mind?!

Music

A common theme in my Family is music — always has been, always will be.

It is the best way to convey messages for us to remember.

Better Get To Livin’ (Video)
Artist: Dolly Parton

People always comin’ up to me and askin’
“Dolly, what’s your secret?
With all you do, your attitude
Just seems to be so good
How do you keep it?”
Well I’m not the Dalai Lama, but I’ll try
To offer up a few words of advice

Chorus:

You better get to livin’, givin’
Don’t forget to throw in a little forgivin’
And lovin’ on the way
You better get to knowin’, showin’
A little bit more concerned about where you’re goin’
Just a word unto the wise
You better get to livin’

A girlfriend came to my house
Started cryin’ on my shoulder Sunday evening
She was spinnin’ such a sad tale
I could not believe the yarn that she was weavin’
So negative the words she had to say
I said if I had a violin I’d play

I said you’d better get to livin’, givin’
Be willing and forgivin’
Cause all healing has to start with you
You better stop whining, pining
Get your dreams in line
And then just shine, design, refine
Until they come true
And you better get to livin’

Your life’s a wreck, your house is mess
And your wardrobe way outdated
All your plans just keep on falling through
Overweight and under paid, under appreciated
I’m no guru, but I’ll tell you
This I know is true

You better get to livin’, givin’
A little more thought about bein’
A little more willin’ to make a better way
Don’t sweat the small stuff
Keep your chin up
Just hang tough
And if it gets too rough
Fall on your knees and pray
And do that every day
Then you’ll get to livin’

The day we’re born we start to die
Don’t waste one minute of this life
Get to livin’
Share your dreams and share your laughter
Make some points for the great hereafter

Better start carin’
Better start sharin’
Better start tryin’
Better start smiling
And you better get to livin’

When we do it right, the livin’ that Dolly encourages is more like playing, than working. Although, as with all things in Life, there is a fine line. On the one hand, we must acknowledge this is serious business. Because, at the end of our Play, all of the props go back in the box. On the other hand, we learn the most when we are playing and having fun.

The Point

And, that, my friend, is the point — We are to learn, grow, care, share, and love.

There’s a story about a southern farmer who goes out into his field early one morning to catch his mule for the day’s work ahead. To his dismay that mule was nowhere in sight. As the farmer headed back to the house, he passed an old, abandoned, hand-dug well. Sure enough. At the bottom of that well was Clyde.

Since the farmer was poor, he had no money to hire the necessary equipment to lift that much weight, from that far down. He was rich in friends, though. So he asked his neighbors to bring their shovels. As sad as it was to lose Clyde, the right thing to do was to fill in that deathtrap.

From the mounds of dirt excavated when the well was originally dug, the farmers began the serious business of burying Clyde and making sure nothing else was ever harmed by the long ignored danger of a pit.

Making the best of a bad situation, they shoveled quickly. As they were finishing up their work and upon hearing something, they paused to look up. To their amazement, they watched Clyde jump out of the well.

You see, while they were shoveling dirt down the hole onto Clyde’s back, he simply shook it off and stepped up.

The gifts from Ryan and Lindsey are much more than plaques and bronzes, They are the evidence of their success in ‘shaking it off and stepping up‘. Through no fault of theirs, they have experienced The Pit and the Bad Hands of cards dealt to them.

With courage, poise, determination, and grace, they have chosen to shake it off and step up — time and time, again. Consequently, the bull and bouquet speak volumes about their character.

A Chosen Effort

From the mouths of babes and the examples of our young people, we learn to — Preserve a childlike sweetness and innocence, while growing out of our childishness.

When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known. And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

One thing I have, always, understood — Family and Work are the two legs carrying me across the stages of life.

I believe purpose in life is discovered by acknowledging a power greater than ourselves. As a result, accomplishment is possible by being a conduit for timeless and priceless gifts.

The greatest gift – LOVE – is a chosen, purposeful effort, often done in the face of fear, to nurture our own growth and the growth of others.

Let’s get to livin’!

Why and How

The secret to getting things done is to ask, “Who is going to do What by When?”

An even greater mystery to doing the right things is to know, “Why and How!”

There’s a story about a Montana rancher that goes something like this —

A country doctor is suturing a cut on the hand of a Montana rancher.Post Turtle

Rancher: “At least this hurt comes from building something. Just imagine the pain of a post turtle.”

Doctor: “Oh? What is a post turtle?”

Rancher: “Well, when you’re driving down a country road and you come across a fence post with a turtle balanced on top. That’s a post turtle. You know he didn’t get there by himself; he doesn’t belong there; he can’t get anything done while he’s up there; and, without help to get down, he’s stranded!”

How often do we get stuck?

Pedestals, Ivory Towers, and White Horses

Do we ever consider: “Why?” Is it because we allowed someone to place us on a pedestal, in an ivory tower, or on a white horse? It’s one thing to work hard to earn our place in the world — it’s quite another to be placed somewhere. Even more dangerous than the physical geography is the mental fantasy. It can be our mind playing tricks on us — or, the imaginations of another person projected onto us.

From our earliest memories we are indoctrinated with the propaganda that, to be somebody, we must rise above. Movies, novels and childhood stories revolve around the themes of a princess in an ivory tower attracting the knight in shining armor who gallops in on his trusty white steed.

Joy Is In The Doing

What goes up must come down. Down to the reality that the greatest joys in life are found by serving — not swooning. Life is all about attitude — not altitude. Love is defined as giving — not getting. Let’s all get down, to the business and pleasure of accepting others for who they, really, are — not who we want them to be.

While the grandeur of heights is intoxicating, the grounded efforts of servants produce harvests of abundance. Those who are the greatest, purposefully, take the lowest rank. They are recognized as true leaders by their efforts to serve.

They are the ones who know Why they are here; How they got here; What they are doing here; and, Who have absolutely no fear of falling down. When they stumble, it is to learn a new lesson on their way to another opportunity — of service.

Radical Acceptance

From Upset To Ecstatic

Is anything bothering you – right now?

Are you uptight about any event, thing, or individual — who has caused you grief?

For most of us, the answer is, “Oh, let me count the ways!”

Yet — there is a secret to calming ourselves.

For the sake of conversation, pick an item, above. Odds are good that, if it’s: 1) an Event, you’re replaying the video in your mind of some action, or inaction, that might have gone better, 2) a Thing, you’re reminded of the expression, “We don’t own things — things own us,” and 3) an Individual, you’re either plotting revenge, or impatient for Karma to deliver their just desserts.

In other words, we feel trapped in a world beyond our choosing.

But… what if, I can guarantee to change that feeling — immediately?

The Secret

Radical Acceptance

That’s right — simply, unconditionally, accept what is – iiWii – It Is What It Is.

That event you’re replaying over and over in your mind. Stop it! Wrap your mind around this, “Forgiveness is letting go of the notion that there can be a different, or better, yesterday.” The event is done, over, and in the Past — where it belongs. Move forward into the Present and set your mind on a dream of the Future.

That thing you’re obsessing about. Fix it, give it to someone less fortunate, or be as happy with it as the day you bought it. And, if none of that works, absorb the lesson of, “Beware the impulse shopping purchase and sleep on any major decision requiring resources of time and money.”

That individual you’re imagining in Hades. Let them go. They have made their choices — now, make yours. Decide that you can’t fix Stupid. Take back the power you have given them over your Thoughts. Change their role in your life and think this, “When I give, I’m all in — but, when I’m done there’s no looking back.”

Forgoing All Others

There is something magical about making a choice. Notice the adjective “a” — singular. While there are multiple options, we are stressed — uncertain about which one to choose. At the moment we pick one, we forgo all other choices.

Again, it’s radical acceptance of that one option.

Doesn’t it feel good?

It is our Independence Day.

We have found freedom from the outside influence of anything or anybody.

Foundations

I’ll bet some pretty good money it’s been a while since you thought about the foundation of your home.

Yet, of all the parts and pieces of your beautiful home, the foundation is the most important.

Our Structure

The same can be said about the structure of YOU.

Each of us has a foundation. The majority of it was formed in childhood and as young adults. There are some people who obsess about their foundation. They want to regale us with the stories of abuse — because they had ‘bad’ parents.

Granted, there are evil people who engender children — and, those children have bragging rights. For the rest of us older kids, we can acknowledge we had regular parents — imperfect ones. And, as a parent, I fit right in that category.

Our Foundation

Let’s take a look at the similarity of our foundation and the one designed for a beautiful home. In fact, we might start with the home, itself — and, see that the home fits the foundation.

In other words, if you live in a McMansion, the foundation is massive and somewhat of an architectural wonder — with all of its various depths and offsets. For the more humble of abodes, the foundation will be much more plain and straightforward.

In the olden days, most log cabins were built on a foundation of four large stones — one at each corner of a four-sided structure. The old-timers did their best with what they had. For the skyscrapers of today, months – and, sometimes years – are invested to provide the necessary support for what rises above.

Our Choice

Here is another of those ‘humor Kim moments” — examine the structure of YOU. Are you a Cabin? A new-fangled Modular? Or, maybe you are an honest-to-goodness Mansion. There’s no right, or wrong, to this mental exercise.

However, I can guarantee the structure each of us has built fits and matches our foundation. And, to be clear, I’m not talking about the physical manifestation of who we are. I’m making reference to the emotional, mental, and spiritual components of the real individuals underneath our personas.

I’ll bet some more money that those individuals who experienced hardship in childhood and as young adults have the strongest foundations. Those hardships are the rebar and aggregate (rock, sand, and gravel) binding with cement to support the multi-story complex of these individuals.

Magnificent

The good news for all of us is that we can continue to build. For those with a massive foundation, they will keep on adding stories.* For those with a structure they have grown to dislike, there is the option to remodel — which, generally, requires new foundations.

I hope each of us examines our foundations, revisits our blueprints, and, then, sets our hands to the construction of somebody magnificent.

* Stories — and, Chapters to the Book of their Life. 🙂