Temperaments

Well Balanced

Silverado HeroesAll great thriller movies have this in common — there are four heroes, each with a different and extreme temperament type, who are brought together by the hand of fate to overcome impossible odds.

During the adventure, it becomes clear to us that all four of those different and extreme temperaments — combined into one powerful force — were absolutely necessary for good to triumph over evil.

For each of us, individually, the same principle holds true — we must incorporate the four temperaments into our hero persona to be well balanced and successful in our ventures.

Types of Thinkers

There are three dimensions to human Thought: Flatliners, 2-D, and 3-D.

Flatliners are just that — draw a line, from left to right, and that represents the Zombies of the world. They don’t think — they just exist. If we let that flat line represent the horizon, there is never anything on it. No ideas, no plans, and no sense of direction, or purpose.

2-D Thinkers have a horizontal and vertical axis — in addition to left and right, they have an up and a down. Now, we get a picture of who they are. Literally, as we view any work of canvas art, we have a sense of the creators’ style, taste, and intention.

3-D Thinkers have a depth to their thoughts. That flat picture image we admired for a moment, now extends backward and forward, to offer an exciting opportunity for us to engage with that individual.

Relationship Strategies

There are many variations of the Quadrant Philosophy. For the sake of this presentation, I’ll offer two — which I believe will enlighten, empower, and encourage you to invest time in your own discovery.

“Discovery of what,” you ask?

“Of you and how to connect with me,” I say.

Imagine a map of the United States. Now, draw the horizontal and vertical axis (big Plus sign) across the Map. Each of us lives in one of the four quadrants. Then, think about where your friends live. Do you, always, expect them to cross those axis lines to visit you? Or, is it more fun to go visit them?

The point: we study Relationship Strategies to understand how to get to where others are —because three-fourths of them do not live in our Quadrant.

DISC

Dominance Influence Conscientiousness Steadiness
(Click For Larger Image)

One prominent personality profiling model is DISC — which is the acronym for these four profiles — Dominance, Influence, Steadiness and Conscientiousness.

For a small fee, you too can discover your location in the Quadrants by testing here.

Please, remember, we go through this exercise not to obtain a “label” — but, instead, to increase our understanding of how to better connect with other people. I believe in leading the way to make the path easier for those who choose to follow — so, here are the results of my DISC Classic 2.0.

I’m an Objective Thinker.

DISC Simplification
DISC Circle
(Click For Larger Image)

So, let’s simplify DISC by using the analogy of target practice with a rifle, the performance of which is best achieved by: Ready, Aim, Fire.

A “High C” sharpshooter (remember, that’s your favorite SageTalk author) will do this: Ready, Aim, Aim, Aim, Aim, Aim (while considering distance to target, weight of bullet, grain of powder, composition of target, wind velocity, barometric pressure, etc). Somewhere in this sequence, probably after about the third Aim, your head is about to explode! Our bad. We — me, a “High C” — need data, lots of data. Because we intend to be precise in the result — when we, eventually, commit to squeezing the trigger.

I have many “High D” friends. Their approach to our target practice is: Fire! ~ Ready, Aim. In fact, they’re probably using their semi-automatic to blast away. “No worries, mate! Knock ’em all down. We’ll sort out the pieces, later!” Their motto is, “Just get it done and get it done, now!”

Oh, look. Here comes an I, a “High I” at that. Dressed to the nines in his sporting jacket, puffy pants, fancy cap, high-top boots — and, he has a designer shootin’ iron draped over his arm. He’s ready for the party, drinks, and conversation — after we punch a few holes.

And, yes, that’s a “High S” standing off to the side making sure all the spent cartridges are gathered and wondering if we, really, need to make this much noise.

Bill Engvall has the right idea for the galactically stupid people of the world — and, expresses it in his comedic routine — Here’s Your Sign. Yet, by considering the insight, above, the question becomes, “Are they really stupid?” Or, are they just doing the best they can with what they know and the resources available to them? And, is it possible that because their DISC sign is different from ours, they’re thinking we’re the “stupid” ones?!

KWML

King Warrior Magician Lover
(Click For Larger Image)

Now, let’s have even more fun with a different set of Quadrants — King, Warrior, Magician, and Lover.

Yes, once again, I have whacked a way through the thickets for us.

As much as I wanted to be a King — because, after all, the meaning of the name Kim is Chief. And, many of my friends, when we’re working together, affectionately use that term quite liberally.

So, my first time through the assessment was Thursday, April 19th — during that week after Tax Season, when I had time for me. As I surveyed my kingdom through the large windows of my Red Lodge home — of which, the 18th Fairway was an extension of the backyard — all was well in the Realm. Sure enough, at that moment, I was a King.

Then, the next week, it was back to work. After a few days off, evidently, the Forces-That-Be decided I was ready to be engaged in new adventures. It was a Wednesday, April 25th, when I made it back to the castle, after a busy day of slaying Dragons. I thought, “Let’s take that silly KWML test, again — because today was a typical day in my universe.” Hello Spartacus.

A force of nature, Warriors have the power and confidence to conquer any task.

Confident, competitive, and analytical, you are a fierce and steady protector of your friends, family, and all things you hold dear. You’re extremely ambitious, targeted, and determined—almost to a fault of being self-centered—and are an undeniable force of industriousness. While you’re logical, orderly, and respect the rules like the King and Queen, you’re much more assertive and always ready to dive into action or conflict. Because you prefer to be somewhat isolated, you tend to have few very good friends, but these friends definitely count on you whenever there’s a task to be done with precision.

Location on the cognitive-emotional spectrum: Located in the lower left quadrant of this spectrum, your personality reflects your strong emotional sense of confidence. Your style of thinking tends to be more left-brained — logical, sequential, rational, and objective.

“Give up the battle to win the war:” Dare to be occasionally weak to be seen as “real” to others and find that enemies can become friends if you let them have a bit of the power.

Again, the only reason I share this with you is to encourage YOU to understand where you are in relationship to other People.

SILVERADO

Released to theaters in 1985 (same year as the birth of my daughter, Lindsey), the movie Silverado is a family favorite. The heroes are Emmett, Mal, Jake, and Paden.

In thinking about sharing this Story with you, I practiced the outline with my son, Ryan, a few days ago. He helped me identify the King, Warrior, Magician, and Lover from the cast of Silverado.

• King – Emmett (Scott Glenn)
• Warrior – Mal (Danny Glover)
• Magician – Jake (Kevin Costner)
• Lover – Paden (Kevin Kline)

Now, even as I type that out for us, do you see the pattern in the types of roles each of these four actors choose and for which they are best known?!

I rest my case.

There is something special about the KWML quadrants.

Four In One (CCPT)

Often, I’m asked, “What’s the difference between a Coach and a Consultant?! The simple answer is, “One asks all the questions and the other has all the answers.”

My mom offered daily prayers that I would go to Ambassador College and be trained as a Preacher. I believe, though, I followed more in the footsteps of my dad and became a Teacher.

Coach
They ask questions with the belief that eventually you’ll tap into your inner child and find the wisdom to deal with your own dang problems.

Consultant
They show up on the scene to fix what is broken and bring with them the solutions to all of your problems.

Preacher
They are passionate in the crusade to persuade you to believe you can enjoy heaven on earth, now – if you are willing to sacrifice your ego.

Teacher
They will share with you all of the tricks and tips from their vast libraries of education and experience to assist in your journey of learning how to fish.

Cowboy Poet & Philadelphia Lawyer (CPPL)

The self-proclaimed label of Cowboy Poet is to honor the importance of heroes and the power of words. As a kid, I wore a fancy, tied-down, two-gun rig, with which to dispatch the bad guys. Now, I rely on the proverb, “Truly, the pen is mightier than the sword.”

Jim FoardI received the title of Philadelphia Lawyer from my dad when I was about ten years old. We were unloading sacks of cow salt out of the pickup into the granary one evening — and, I was doing my twenty questions routine.

Evidently, I lost track of the number — and, it must have been a long day for Dad. In exasperation and with a smile, he declared, “Kim, you ask so many questions that I’m sure you’re going to grow up to be a Philadelphia lawyer!”

He didn’t miss the mark by much. When it comes to putting together the conference room deals of our society, attorneys and CPAs are usually sitting side by side.

Fifty years after Dad’s observation, that natural curiosity has grown exponentially. The questions have become more focused and the intent is pure. I want to help YOU build something – special.

The mental image of a Cowboy Poet & Philadelphia Lawyer is one of ostensible contradiction. Yet, these four words remind me that life is best experienced on a spectrum. So, think of a sphere. Then, imagine the axis lines holding it symmetrical from the inside, out. Like the four points of a compass — as far as the East is from the West — opposite ends of the axis lines are required for balance.

Growth occurs when we push the artificial limit of where the internal axis lines end — which, are at the edge of who we currently are. As we stretch the boundaries, the result is a greater sphere of influence for the benefit of many. These spectrums of life stretch to infinity — if we have the courage to let our minds become open to the vastness of the universe and the unlimited potential of each individual.

The cornerstones of my heritage are Spurs and Books. What rowels are to spurs, vowels are to words. They are the jingle of rhythm and points of meaning.

A Cowboy (Warrior) is a man of action and defender of principle. The thoughtful approach of a Poet (Lover) casts a soft and gentle hue. Philadelphia (King) is symbolic of friendship and brotherly love. When those attributes are absent in a relationship, a Lawyer (Magician) intends to discover the facts, and just the facts, ma’am!

Compass Bearings

As we begin to summarize these different Quadrant Philosophy variations, I want the KWML to be our true North. Therefore, I’ll restate the order of DISC, CCPT, and CPPL to match King, Warrior, Magician, and Lover.

The bold words are the primary strengths I will bring to any relationship.

» King (30.7%) — Dominant — Coach — Philadelphia
» Warrior (46.2%) — Conscientious — Consultant — Cowboy
» Magician (7.7%) — Influence — Preacher — Lawyer
» Lover (15.4%) — Steadiness — Teacher — Poet

Choose Wisely

I hope these stories about the study of Relationship Strategies and the application of Quadrant Philosophy have inspired you to think about your role in meeting others where they are. To push the boundaries of who we are and to better serve those in our sphere of influence, we must be relentless in applying all four temperaments.

Ask, seek, and knock on doors of opportunity, until you discover a Master to offer their version of the Three-E’s | Enlighten, Empower, and Encourage. Otherwise, you will be left in the dark, with no tools, and a feeling of hopelessness.

Many people are simply trudging through life — enduring each day. Because they are waiting for someone to save them from their earthly troubles. They have been led astray, by wolves in sheep’s clothing, to believe they must wait for the Kingdom of Heaven.

And, that dear Friends, is the importance of little words. There is a world of difference between of and in. It is impossible for any of the scholarly ministers in their whited sepulchers to show me even one scripture reference to the exact phrase Kingdom in Heaven.

A Better Way

Saddle up and ride with me.

The four horsemen of Silverado have shown us what is possible:

A misfit bunch of friends come together to right the injustices which exist in a small town.

The only difference between them and us is scope:

We intend to make a difference in the Universe.

YOU can enjoy heaven on earth, now.

Let’s ride!

Silverado - Four Horsemen

Point of Light

The gleam in a father’s eye is waiting for each of us as we emerge from darkness into the brightness of life. In fact, the eyes of new Dads get a little misty as they witness the miracle of birth.

As days go by, the initial excitement dovetails into the responsibilities of fatherhood. Oh, how grand are the visions of being the perfect dad. Then, we encounter the reality of how messy relationships really are.

Although, literally, tongue-tied upon entry into this world, once that little member was set free, my insatiable curiosity was the driving force behind the questions in my mind. It was the beginning of my twenty-question routine, which later morphed into the Cowboy Poet & Philadelphia Lawyer shtick.

Birds and the Bees

Around ten years of age and in the 4th Grade, I started to notice girls. The one with blond hair, blue eyes and straight A’s had captured my full attention. At that age, boys will be boys, and we were learning cockiness, which naturally included the art of swearing. In the course of our classroom studies of spelling and vocabulary, we never seemed to get around to the definitions of what some of those four-letter words meant.

One word, in particular, was especially mysterious to our adolescent group. Since this was before the day of Google searches — and, the conversation around the dinner table, one evening, seemed conducive to a question — I asked my parents. Swivel-neck is the best visual I can offer to explain their response. In a millisecond, their facial expressions and body language spoke volumes. Only problem — I didn’t understand the language.

Next day, I received a book from Mom. The following weekend, during Christmas Vacation, Dad and I were on foot behind a small group of cows as they were following the pickup to a new pasture. There was a skift of snow and all the grasses were dry, with heads full of grain. Dad reached down and pulled a handful of needle-grass. As he rubbed the seed into the palm of his hand, the name was obvious — a thin strand was attached to each seed of grain, which gave it the appearance of a needle and thread.

I knew something was up, because he gave a nervous sniff and cough — before, beginning what he had to share. Since a picture is worth a thousand words, he wanted the needle-grass seeds in the palm of his hand to emphasize the point. All I remember of what he said was something about swimming, wiggling, and eggs. Then he paused, literally — we stopped walking. He turned, with relief in his face, and assured me that the only intimate relationship I was going to have to worry about, until high-school graduation, was the one with my horse.

Daddy’s Hands (Video)
Artist: Holly Dunn

Daddy’s hands were soft and kind when I was cryin’.
Daddy’s hands were hard as steel when I’d done wrong.
Daddy’s hands weren’t always gentle,
But I’ve come to understand.
There was always love in Daddy’s hands.

Old Babe

True to Dad’s word, I developed a special relationship with that horse. In fact, the very next summer found the two of us engaged in a “mind meld ” experience, as we convinced a bunch of bulls to do it our way. Dad was nowhere in sight, ours anyway. With hindsight and a son of my own, I have a sneaking suspicion Dad was on top of a hill enjoying the rodeo.

He had this crooked grin on his face, as we pushed a dozen bulls through the pasture gate — and, then he turned back, stepped off his horse, and closed the gate between us. As he stood safely on his side of the gate, his hand was gesturing towards the west — where I and the bulls were to go. Just a few miles through the hills and he would bring the stock-truck (olden days, before horse-trailers were invented) to haul my horse back home. That was the plan.

Thoughts to self, at the time — “What the heck is he thinking?! I’m just a kid. Is he serious?! The odds aren’t fair! There’s just one of me and a dozen bulls.” As he swung back up onto his horse and rode away, I had my answer.

Like Father, Like Son

Dad’s brother, my uncle John Foard, tells a story about their dad. He would line out his sons (four of them) on a project, by explaining what he wanted to be done, omitting most of the details of how to do it. Before he left, though, he would turn and ask, “Now you boys can do that, right?” In John’s words, “There was no way in hell we were going to tell him, No!”

Because of the anxiety of the journey ahead with those bulls, I have no memory of what, surely, must have been the same question of me. The answer, though, was a given. Now, all I had to do was figure out how to get from Point A to B.

Feminine and Masculine

Cows, being of the feminine gender, generally, tend to be fairly social. They stick together. Where one goes, they all go. Bulls, on the other hand, must strut their stuff, separate and apart from anyone else — twelve bulls and twelve different directions. Unless they’re on the run. Typical male approach to the world — one thing at a time.

One of me and one direction to go. So, I gathered up the corners of what seemed like a herd of cats and off we went, at a jog. Once they tired a little, the pace slowed. Then, in the middle of the whole dang show were shade trees and a waterhole, wouldn’t you know. Bogged-down is inadequate to describe the revenge taken by the bulls. As they stood belly deep in mud, peeking out from behind what had quickly become their favorite thicket, the unspoken jeers were worthy of a solution.

My horse almost put a kink in his neck turning back to look at me. We were thinking the same thing. This was ugly and it was going to get messy. There was only one way to do it, though. Pry out one bull at a time — and, make a good example of that first one. So, we picked the one giving us the dirtiest look and went to work on him.

No Easy Way

By then, I had uncoiled several loops of my lariat, to just the right length, to pop that knot on the end like a whip. That old bull winced a little and stood his ground. Just what we thought — no easy way to do this. So, into the mud, we went with my horse leaning into the bull — while, I shortened the length of the rope whip. The combination of pressure and pain resulted in the bull, grudgingly, taking a few steps.

My horse and I were of the same mind to enhance one of the laws of physics — what is in motion, stays in motion. In fact, we wanted that bull to catch a gear. Once we had him on dry ground, up and over a small knoll into some green grass was where we took him. As we headed back for bull Number 2, my choice of words to describe our frustration included several of those four-letter ones — admittedly, even some directed at Dad. After a few more trips to that spot of green, the mud-hole bulls began to wonder what they were missing and volunteered to follow their peers.

I’ll never forget the smile on his face and the twinkle in his eye as Dad stood there by the open gate as a dozen bulls paraded past. Whether he had been watching, or not, he knew what was required to pass his test. He asked how it went. I replied, “Good.”

Lessons Learned (Video)
Artist: Tracy Lawrence

I was ten years old the day I got caught,
With some dime store candy that I never bought.
I hung my head and I faced the wall,
as Daddy showed me wrong from right.
He said this hurts me more than it does you;
There’s just some things son that you just don’t do.
Is anything I’m sayin’ getting through?
Daddy I can see the light.
Oh lessons learned; man they sure run deep.
They don’t go away and they don’t come cheap.
Oh there’s no way around it,
this world turns on lessons learned.

Silly Me

A few years ago, there was an occasion for me to say to my son and daughter, “Now, I want you to watch me.” They cocked their heads and gave me the Scooby Doo, “Huh?!”

The intent was pure. Rather than listen to words, which are cheaper by the dozen — I wanted them to watch the actions and results. Recently, I’ve had to laugh at how funny ‘we‘ can be. Sure enough, they have watched me — fall down, make mistakes, be humbled by the hand of fate, admit frailties, and, generally, be a perfectly normal dad. Even funnier is the realization that they have watched all of that, from the very beginning. Why I thought they, as teenagers, needed to be reminded is still a mystery. Guess it explains the Scooby Doo response from them, though.

Silly Them

I watched my Dad give all. Late in his life, there was an occasion to defend his honor. A couple of clowns wanted to take issue with his silent 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.”

While true to his core, those other two guys needed to understand a little more about my Dad. Known to be verbose, I thought a better approach was to use a song, recently released at the time, to make my point. So, the four of us listened together.

Point of Light (Video)

Artist: Randy Travis

There is a point when you cannot walk away,
When you have to stand up straight and tall and mean the words you say.
There is a point you must decide just to do it ’cause it’s right.
That’s when you become a point of light.

There is a darkness that everyone must face.
It wants to take what’s good and fair and lay it all to waste.
And that darkness covers everything in sight
Until it meets a single point of light.

All it takes is a point of light,
A ray of hope in the darkest night.
If you see what’s wrong and you try to make it right,
You will be a point of light.

There are heroes whose names we never hear,
A dedicated army of quiet volunteers
Reaching out to feed the hungry,
Reaching out to save the land,
Reaching out to help their fellow man.

There are dreamers who are making dreams come true,
Taking time to teach the children
There’s nothing they can’t do,
Giving shelter to the homeless,
Giving hope to those without.
That is what this county’s all about.

One by one, from the mountains to the sea
Points of light are calling out to you and me.

All it takes is a point of light,
A ray of hope in the darkest night.
If you see what’s wrong and you try to make it right,
You will be a point of light.

If you see what’s wrong and you try and make it right,
you will be a point of light.

Living Up To The Light

Jim & Kim Foard

At the end of 3 minutes and 37 seconds, two heads were bowed in disgrace. Dad and I — with heads held high — were looking at each other remembering an open gate and a dozen bulls. My hope is that Lindsey and Ryan – each – have a special memory of me, to be their point of light.

Trust Fund Babies

I must confess my sin. For more than thirty-five years, as a CPA very good at what I do, I assisted in building little empires.

Having grown up poor, the intent was pure. I wanted those, for whom I served, to have the best that money can buy. What I discovered was that my Grandpa Foard was right, “Too much money will make people go crazy.”

There is never enough money. The more stuff people accumulate — the more unhappy they become. Which then fuels the fire for them chasing after even more of what is making them miserable.

Temper Tantrums

During those 35+ years of doing a great job for the Trust Fund Babies, I noticed something — those were the, only, individuals in the ranks of the thousands of clients I served, who would throw a fit. You know, a good ol’ two-year-old temper tantrum — the aisle blocking, head turning, hushed murmuring, and clerk cringing — type of hissy-fit.

Why did they do it? Because they are spoiled. Clueless to the bone, they are chock full of arrogance and ignorance. If they knew half as much about what they think they know, they’d know twice as much as they really do.

They were born on third base, thinking they hit a triple — and, then, they will lie through their teeth as they try to convince you it was a Home Run.

The Reality

The grandparents, of the Trust Fund Babies, worked hard to build something — special. Then, generally, Mom and Dad were expected to maintain what Grandma and Grandpa built. Unknown to little Junior, as he struggles to deal with what has shown up on his silver platter, he is the Janitor’s son. And, by the time we move to the fourth generation of this Family, everything has reset.

The wealth that Mom and Dad inherited from Grandma and Grandpa was slowly chiseled down in size — because they were playing not to lose, rather than working hard to build something special, of their own. Junior has no idea how the Empire was built (because Grandpa is gone and Dad has neglected to teach) — and, Junior has even less knowledge of how anything operates. If something breaks it remains broken.

So, at the end of the third generation, the Ranch (or, the main-street Business) is on the Auction Block. If by some stroke of luck the remaining wealth passes to the fourth generation, it will soon be squandered. At that moment, a Universal Principle kicks in.

If you want to eat, you must work.

What appeared to be a life of luxury to the poor kids of the world, became an affliction and a limitation for the Trust Fund Babies.

History Repeats

Fifty years ago, as a twelve-year-old kid, I thought it harsh that the mistakes of parents carried over to the children and grandchildren. Why must they suffer for the bad choices their elders made?

I believe it’s because of another one of those darn ol’ Universal Principles. For example, Gravity — it’s real, it’s unseen, and it’s hard to explain. However, it works the same way every time. We can take comfort in that Universal Principle and depend on its consistency. Or, for those who doubt the effectiveness — and, take a flying leap off a tall building — they will learn the hard way.

Personal Note

After those 35+ years of holding the hands and wiping the snotty noses of way too many Juniors, I burned out. After two years, of what I call, “My trip through the desert,” one day, my son, Ryan, had questions. In fact, I remember the day, well — January 11, 2018.

He came to the closed bedroom door, knocked lightly, and said that he had a question. So, I went with him to his office area, stood behind him, as he pulled up a QuickBooks screen and wiggled his mouse over the real estate where his Question resided. I answered that question and went back to the bedroom.

A few minutes, later, another tap on the door and another question. Same song, second verse: I went with him to his office area, stood behind him, as he pulled up a QuickBooks screen and wiggled his mouse over the real estate where his Question resided. I answered that question and went back to the bedroom.

A few minutes later, another tap on the door and another question. Well, by now, I’m thinking, “OK – Ryan has lots of questions. I might as well just stand there with him and answer them all.”

Sure enough, seven hours later, after a review of the mistakes on the two prior years of Tax Returns and detailed Depreciation Schedules prepared by the best CPA Ryan could find, the tumblers of the lock on my mind turned and I realized, “I’m the best — CPA in the Country.”

I’ve heard people talk about being Born Again — and, always, wondered what that was all about. Now, I know. I wasn’t “back” — as Arnold might say. I felt like a brand new person. Later, as I searched for something of which to compare the feeling, the best I can do is, “I feel like I’m in the fourth grade, again!”

Once — and, For All Time

So, why did I recently agree to one more Consulting engagement to provide services for the benefit of a Trust Fund Baby? Answer — Old habits, similar to bad beliefs, die hard.

This particular specimen of a Trust Fund Baby is 75 years old and is still as clueless as he was at age 25 — when Grandpa’s money was used to buy him a Ranch. He was put on the Ranch and offered an opportunity on a silver platter. Now – that I think about it – Junior is just like a Post Turtle.

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!

Junior could not articulate the specific Objectives he wanted me to resolve, he had no idea how to Measure our progress, and he offered little feedback about the Value he was receiving. What begins twisted, ends twisted.

After two months of a six-month commitment to provide services, I had grown tired of being a valet for his ego. I suggested that my “work” was done and he had no further responsibility to honor our Agreement. Junior insisted that I stay — he needed to use me, some more.

However, after four months of enduring his silliness, “Oh, Wow! — did he pop a cork when I asked him, “Why?”

Why do you want to withhold information and keep me in the dark?

The sniveling little pup did a Trump on me, too, while yelling into the phone (so loudly he was cutting out and I asked him to repeat his foul language), “You’re fired!”

What a blessing!

I think I’ve passed — in flying colors — the final exam in the high-level coursework of Trust Fund Babies.

Oh, by the way, this Consulting engagement was to assist in the transition of Junior off the Ranch. Because of the two clowns for Realtors he had chosen, I finally asked, “After their neglect of an important issue (to the tune of $150,000), why do you continue to believe their nonsense?”

Lesson Learned

Around the 25-year mark, in the 35+ years of my crusade to save the world as a CPA, I noticed something. I felt dirty. As I served the Trust Fund Babies, there was no appreciation or recognition of the Value my efforts produced for them. They were paying me and I was doing things for the money. There’s a name for those kinds of people — Hookers.

Confession without repentance is counterfeit spirituality. As you are my witness, I fully and completely give up the old way to enjoy my rebirth.

Die Broke

The scholars among us will take great offense at the concept of not leaving children and grandchildren a monetary inheritance. They will even pretend to have God on their side of the argument and quote an old Proverb.

Good people leave an inheritance to their grandchildren,
but the sinner’s wealth passes to the godly.

Well, here’s the Real Deal — I don’t see a single reference to Money in the line, before the comma, about good people. Do you?

I know – for a fact – that my Grandchildren will receive an inheritance from me. No, it will not be because my Lindsey and Ryan were anxious for me to tip over — so they might win the Lottery of wealth untold.

The inheritance that my Children will pass on to my Grandchildren will be everything they have learned from me. I have diligently provided opportunities for Lindsey and Ryan to learn everything they need, to be successful in this life — and, beyond.

Conduits of Goodness

If you’re ever in need of a conversation starter, just look right into the eyes of another person and ask this question, “What is the passion at the core of everything you do?”

One of two things is guaranteed to happen: Immediate animation, as the person begins to share that passion with you. Or, a deer-in-the-headlights look, with a really long, awkward, pause, as the individual painfully looks for a way to escape.

Escape from what — their own life?! All we want is to understand what makes them tick — that which empowers them to take a licking and keep on ticking.

Boundaries

Recently, I was the beneficiary of these questions from a young man:

How do you set boundaries?

How do you keep your boundaries from being a box that you live in and one that keeps you from fulfilling your potential?

His questions, above, came several days after a conversation, which included me asking him the question, “What is the passion at the core of everything you do?” His response, “I do not know.”

Passion At The Core

Do you, know?

Can each of us answer these questions?

Why do I exist?

How can I make a difference in the lives of others?

What is the best way for delivering my value to the world?

For those who know (and, those who don’t) the answer is, “Become wonderful chunks of conduit — for the goodness from above to flow through us for the benefit of others.”

Wonderful Chunks Of Conduit

You know — conduit: a hollow tube for the transference and protection of something valuable.

Those without a connection to the source of goodness and void of a desire to share are, simply, an empty tube. In other words, they have no purpose and worthless boundaries. Tap on them and they ring hollow. Squeeze them and they collapse into a wrinkled mess.

Yet, imagine conduit connected to streams of living waters — bubbling, high-pressured, and dynamic at the source. At the destination are beneficiaries eagerly waiting to be served.

Service

Service — now, that’s a novel idea — Bended knee, Caring attitude, Humble heart, Patient spirit, Kind mind, Generous soul, and Helping hands. Yes, please.

So, it’s really quite simple to discover the Passion at the core.

Hint: It comes from the Source above.

As for boundaries, the secret is to say, “Yes, please,” to everything that makes us better conduits — and, “No, thanks,” to everything else.

In fact, we have complete freedom to manage our boundaries. Boundaries are, simply, the outside diameter dimensions of our conduit. Individually, we have the right and responsibility to expand them for the benefit of those in our sphere of influence.

In the physical realm of steel conduit, expansion requires cutting, grinding, torching, bending, and welding new pieces into what already exists, to make the core larger. In the emotional, mental, and spiritual realms, the process will feel about the same.

Living Streams

If we have a passion for what flows through us, we are constantly pushing at the boundaries of the Why, How, and What of our existence. In fact, we will be busily learning and growing to become, better, “Conduits — for the goodness from above to flow through us for the benefit of others.”

(Originally Published ~ January 28, 2012)

Steel and Velvet

Life is experienced on a tightrope.

Fine lines of distinction separate This from That.

As an example, the short riddle below, comprised of two sentences, is deserving of being solved. It will be our segue into the Thought Du Jour.

Each sentence is accurate.

Together, they become powerful in thought and deed.

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.

While appearing contradictory, the Secret is within each of us, at our core. If we know who we are and are generous of spirit, the ‘answer’ becomes obvious:

We refuse to follow a foolish person down rabbit trails — and, we boldly share our beliefs with them.

Men of Steel and Velvet

You might ask, “What does this have to do with men of Steel and Velvet?”

The answer, “They can be firm and soft — at the same time.”

In fact, they are who they are — yet, they generously share of themselves. The perception of these differences become reality when interacting with the individuals who approach them. For example — these men of Steel and Velvet have the patience of a Saint. Some people will recognize the character trait as a virtue — others will perceive the same trait as weakness.

Two Sides of Same Coin

The first group will experience the softness flowing from mutual respect — as stories are shared. The second group will experience the hardness resulting from a rude awakening — as they are jolted from their ill-conceived perception to the harsh reality of a definitive limit. While giving the benefit of the doubt, these men of Steel and Velvet will defend their boundaries — for the benefit of those who seek protection.

Boundaries are simply ‘fine lines of distinction’. One of these fine lines separates forgiveness from flaccidity. Forgiveness is hard (to do) — flaccidity is (by its very definitionsoft. Forgiveness lets us enjoy the present moment — while moving forward into a future of opportunities. Flaccidity is for those who allow themselves to be a doormat for the feet of their enemies — while remaining tethered to the past.

Lambs to the Wolves

Lambs

Is it possible for lambs to move through a pack of wolves? What is the Secret to that?! Answer: “We are to be as wise as snakes and as innocent as doves.”

Wisdom is the forerunner to success. In fact, a four letter word is the pun intended to create a new beginning in our lives — Fore.

Yes — that which comes before. Have you ever wondered how generous people got to be that way? They give here, there, and everywhere. What came first? What is at the very beginning of their current efforts?

Answer, “Fore-give” — and, in the vernacular, Forgive.

Forgiveness

One of the best definitions of forgiveness was received in a place far removed from a religious setting. Yet, it dovetails with a belief in a Higher Power and summarizes the distinct black and white choice we will each make in our, individual, lives.

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

Simple enough. Yet, check your thoughts. Where are they? Dwelling on an episode, conversation, mistake, hurt, offense, etc. of the Past? If so, look again at the definition above.

“But”, you might say, “I have tried to forgive and that person does not deserve it, will not accept it, continues to do it, etc.” (the excuses continue on ad infinitum and ad nauseam)

DovesFore-giving is not about anyone else. It is about us and totally within our control.

Does it mean we condone the actions of another? No.

Does it mean we continue to allow another to use and abuse us? Heck, no!

Does it mean we forget, for now, with hopes of revenge, later? Again, the answer is — No.

We, simply — Let go of the notion that there can be a better, or different, yesterday.

Then, we assuage ourselves with, “Right here, right now, it’s great to be alive!”

The Offended

Many will choose to be offended. They will be envious of the peace and tranquility in our lives. The pathologically challenged will remain tethered to their past, while we move forward.

Each new day will bring the tightropes for us to walk boldly and in balance. Through it all, we retain our innocence by being able and willing to, quickly, ask for forgiveness when we are wrong and offering it freely to erase the foibles of others. By doing so we achieve —

The Reward

We ignore the foolish arguments — while sharing our core beliefs.

We wisely chart our course through danger — while being careful to remain harmless.

We forgive ourselves and others — while receiving an invitation to the future.

We, eventually, learn the inherent principle of Steel and Velvet
Easy is hard and Hard is easy.

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.

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 young fellow 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 Millenial rancher was planning a Family transition without the participation of his Parents. Yes — I participated, briefly, thinking, “Although not the best way to start, at least this might be the first step toward something good for the Family.”

What Begins Twisted, Ends TwistedPost Turtle

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 thinks 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 — 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 in its participants.

Yet — that to which I’ve been making reference — 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 County 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 than sticks and stones). They received immediate consequences for their disrespect.

Gaslighting Is Pure Craziness

Gaslight

Narcissists are big on gaslighting us 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, 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 — and, 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 on their little farm, there’s lots 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 all around the house, as the air from his little balloon (Ego) was punctured.

To this day, I remain amused.

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.

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 “I’m-A-Go” — that’s cute. It reminds me of a Space Shuttle lift-off. Many of our relationships are desirous of going go 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.

Ego Expectations Emotions

Three Evil E’s

Recently, a friend teased saying, “Now, keep your Ego, Expectations, and Emotions out of the way.”

“Profound,” I thought. For many years, I’ve been on this Crusade to — Enlighten, Empower, and Encourage. My friend just exposed me to the Yang of my Yin — the Flow of my Ebb — the Take of my Give — and, the Down of my Up.

I commonly refer to my E’s as the Three-E Formula — Enlighten, Empower, and Encourage.

To remember there is a Dark side – or, shadow – to any Light, I think I’ll refer to these as the Three Evil E’s — Ego, Expectations, and Emotions.

“Now, hold on!”, You say, “Aren’t emotions good? After all, my special someone is always encouraging me to express them.”

Well — yes. Controlled emotions are good — expectations of positive results are fine — and, even, a little bit of ego helping us march confidently through our day is great.

Ego

Yes — it is important that we boldly approach our day.
No — it is not right to think the world revolves around us.

The People interrupting our good Stories will always have (in their mind) a better Story than ours — they are Legends in their own Minds.

Expectations

Talk too slow, and People will try to finish your sentences.
Talk too fast, and People will look for other entertainment.

You see — those People have (in their mind) better things to do than listen to you share a Chapter from your Life. They expect you to fawn over them.

Emotions

Give too much to some People — they think you’re trying to manipulate.
Withhold your commentary and good advice — People will call you God.

Immature individuals are just like Toddlers — they whine, they pout, they cry, they throw things, they yell, and they make the ugliest faces. Oh, and, when we laugh at their antics, they EXPLODE.

Seeds of Opportunity

The ‘problem’ (opportunity in disguise) is when, Ego gets in the way of new learning and growth — when, Expectations taint a new adventure with an already premeditated determination of outcome — and, when, Emotions are uncontrolled and released with fury on the innocent.

Why is this an opportunity in disguise?

Because, now that my friend has helped me to recognize the dark side of my Three-E Formula, I can be cognizant of the dangers that the Three Evil E’s present.

After all, I think of my Mission and Vision for our SageTalk friends in this way:

My mission is to guide YOU to personal and business success,
according to the vision that YOU establish for us.