All In

If you have the passion for building something special (Attitude) and you have done the challenging work to define who YOU are (Boundaries), then, the final step to success is YOU must go All In (Commitment).

Success

Success is not going to magically waltz into our lives. It is not a destination, at which to arrive. Daily, we must create success — the unique version each of us has determined to be right — for the benefit of ourselves and the rest of the world.

The reason people join cults and gangs is that they want someone else to provide the answers to Life. In other words, they want to shirk the responsibility of making their own choices — and, of being held accountable for their own decisions and actions.

All I can say is, “Good luck with that.” I’ve seen how those stories end — and, it’s never pretty. There is a better way. We get our Attitude right and we get our Boundaries right. Then, we go All In — by sacrificing all of the other options, for a single choice — with Commitment.

Got Me Thinking

When I challenged my son, Ryan, recently as to “why” he was letting customers use him as a banker and “why” he was not asking for a deposit on larger projects, he pushed back with, “Well, you’ve always said people want to pay for results.”

As much as I love hearing my own words quoted back to me, I had to grin — because a complete response was going to require some time for thought.

Rest of the Story

Yep — it’s true — people do want to pay for Results, rather than pay by the Hour. However, there’s more to the psychology and ethical business practices than letting the customer determine the degree of our success.

People only do business with those they know, like, and trust. Ryan is a lot like his Grandpa Jim Foard — in so much both of them ooze charisma. Men and women were naturally attracted to my Dad — and, I’ve watched Ryan bask in the glory of his aficionados.

So, for those two men, the Know and Like elements are a given. Trust is a matter of character. I do not have a single memory of my Dad ever saying one thing and doing another.

If Ryan is uncertain about being trustworthy, then I can understand his reluctance in asking for money, before the work is completed. However, if he builds a reputation of being true to his word, then, in the minds of his customers there will be no concern if the project will get done. It will, only, be a matter of when — and, they will know the ETA of that will be ASAP.

In time, Ryan will learn that the very best way to test the commitment of a customer — to the engagement — is to ask them for money. The good customers will already have a check written — and, the bad ones will whine.

Old English

Generally, I steer away from the old King’s English, but because of childhood exposure to the Good Book, my memories of that are recorded in KJV. So, when I did the Google Search for “double-minded man” an authorized version was discovered.

A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.

What caught my eye is that the word “is” is italicized — as in absolutely no doubt about it.

New World

Now, I know that I can attract narcissists like moths to a flame. By definition, they are chameleons. Love bombing their victims, today — and, kicking them to the curb, tomorrow. I’m curious, though, have you, too, experienced a plethora of bad actors, lately? For me, in a single month, there was the Pet Dragon gal — and the Trust Fund Baby geezer.

Along with the multitude of other Zombies, the modus operandi of these two was identical — refuse to make up their mind and then explode, when I ask, “Why do you say one thing and do another?”

Mother Nature and Vacuums

Mother Nature hates a vacuum. No, it’s not that she has anything against a clean Earth. She refuses to allow nothing to exist. In any field, we have a choice, plant good seeds — or, weeds will grow.

Our minds are fertile beds waiting for us to tend them. Plant productive thoughts — and, success is guaranteed. Leave our minds unattended — and, vile imaginings will appear.

The choice is ours. Either go All In — or, the world will go All Out to destroy our potential. In other words, we either draft a Blueprint for our lives — or, others will have a game plan for us and our resources.

This is more important than any other “game” we will ever play. This is not a hand of cards in a Poker game — that even if we lose, it is only money. This is the real deal — the future of our Life.

Choose A Master

Each of us will serve someone, or something — either by choice, or hand of fate. If we go All In, we will achieve one, or the other, of these results: 1) a goal will be accomplished, or 2) a lesson will be learned.

Either way, we will be growing, learning, and loving the adventure of discovering who we are — and, the value of our contribution to the world.

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.

So, that we can boldly state our belief in The CARE Credential — as we courageously lift up those in our sphere of influence.

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.

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’!

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.

Must Be A 10

10 Things to Have in an Executive Business Coach

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

If not, give me a call.

Highlights from the Article

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

Highlights from my Life

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

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

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

Remember, I’m a Builder.

We can do this, together.

80/20 Crutch

80/20 CrutchExcuse to Hobble

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

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

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

All — or, Nothing

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

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

Can You Imagine?

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

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

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

Those scenarios are laughable – aren’t they?

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

In Summary

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

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

Inspirators

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

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

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

Each day we have a choice

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

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

break down to build up

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fun Is In The Doing

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

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

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

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

(Originally published on April 9, 2011)

Good Directions

Moving Forward

Imagine your favorite action movie. The ground is crumbling behind our heroes and heroines as they run toward the only escape available to them. Our heart is in our throat, as we encourage them to go, quickly, forward.

Life is like that. There is no standing still. There is no going back. The only direction to safety is forward.

The Story of a Friend

I lost a dear friend of twenty-plus years because he made a choice to be comfortable in a rut. The definition of a rut is – a grave with the ends kicked out. Yes, it’s dark, damp, and depressing down there. My friend exploded upon being reminded of the only two choices we have: Grow or Die.

He assured me in no uncertain terms that he was not depressed. (The fellow doth protest too much, methinks.)

As recently as, November 15, 2006, this is the complete text of the Testimonial he offered when asked to document our business relationship — Client and Certified Public Accountant.

While reflecting on the past years of business growth … the ups and downs; the trials and tests; the hard work; and, never-ending commitment to push forward … I come to realize that you have been a vital part of that growth. You have been with us all the way.

The accounting profession has truly been honored by your steadfast commitment to serving, to advise … to help direct my thoughts in the financial decisions of our company. It has made my job as CEO much easier.

We are in our 15th year and looking forward to working with you in the years to come.

Fast forward to September 14, 2011, and this is my goodbye to a business relationship, which was enjoyed by that friend, who (at one time) was closer than any brother.

The purpose of this letter is to document the essence of our phone conversation, yesterday.

At the end of that conversation, you wondered if your message was adequately communicated by asking, “Is that clear?!” My response, “Perfectly.”

It is crystal clear that there is a difference in core philosophies.

You believe and have stated quite clearly, numerous times over the last few months, that you and your Company are at the mercy of the Hand of Fate. In essence, you are tethered to a fixed set of practices, which have brought you success in the Past — and, now, are frustrated that the Present is less than accepting.

I believe life is what we make of it, friend — if it doesn’t fit, make alterations. My purpose in business is summarized in four words: Building Bright Financial Futures. I have gone to great lengths to promote this idea to the world via every digital means possible. I have clearly communicated this core belief to you via an email conversation thread from May 17th to July 20th.

My last email request of you was for one hour of your time to discern how we might build a dynamic business relationship. Having heard absolutely nothing from you, I called yesterday with an offer for year-end planning. In the past, you welcomed the opportunity for us to talk about your Company.

You chose to refuse my offer. You have that right. I also have the right to choose.

As of today, we no longer have a business relationship. You are encouraged to engage other professionals to provide services for your financial fiscal year (and, payroll calendar quarter) ended September 30th. Documents in your Client File Portal will be available to you and your representatives until December 31st.

What happened between November 15, 2006, and September 14, 2011?

We will never know. To be judgmental toward my friend and all he has experienced in the last five years is the wrong thing to do. I can, though, tell my story. In the past, I have first-hand knowledge and experience of what it’s like to be stuck in a rut. It is dark, damp and depressing.

Rest of the Story

Since this is my story, I’ll finish telling it my way.

The darkest times in my life began, at the moment, when I started to think that I had arrived. Thinking that I had reached my destination and could quit — or, coast — or, savor the rewards — or, otherwise think I had, really, become somebody. You see, the focus had shifted to thinking, believing, and acting as if, the world revolved around me.

In the simplest of analogies, my life had gone off a cliff. The ground was, literally, crumbling beneath my feet as I tumbled into the chasm of darkness.

Recovery from the pit was only possible by acknowledging, “There but for the grace of God go I” … further down into the abyss. At that moment, there was a Rock on which to cling and a view of the hard work necessary to climb from the rubble into the brightness of opportunity, once again.

Don’t Look Down

There is nothing new under the sun.

There’s a story of a guy walking on water. His name was Peter and he was a cocky fellow, with relatives from Missouri (the Show Me state). He enjoyed the companionship of a friend, who cared deeply about the growth of others.

So, one day Peter challenged his friend with, “If you’re really as good as you claim, ask me to walk on water.” Guys being guys, the friend accepted the challenge and said, “Come ahead.”

Jumping out of the boat, Peter walked on the water. But, when he looked down at the waves churning beneath his feet, he lost his nerve and started to sink.

Moral of this story: Don’t look down.

Children Grow Up

In fact, don’t look back, either. The ground is crumbling behind us. There is only one safe path — Forward.

There’s another story of a guy pondering the progression of life. His name was Paul and one of his many attributes was that of a Philosopher. He observed, “When I was a child, I talked like a child. I thought like a child. I had the understanding of a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me.”

Moral of this story: Children grow up.

The Challenge

At this point in my story, there is at least one person just aching to challenge this thesis of — Forward motion being the best direction and Growth being a prerequisite to a rich life. They will posit that “going back” has its merits.

As in:

We miss a turn at the intersection and need to go back.

We forget something when leaving on vacation and need to go back.

We neglect to learn a lesson and need to go back (for another dose).

We ignore an opportunity, which is good for us, and need to go back.

Going Back & Moving Forward

I agree. There are legitimate times for us to go back and recover from frailties of the human condition. “Thank God for Good Directions and turnip greens!” (by Billy Currington and his album Doin’ Somethin’ Right) Turn up your speakers and enjoy this tune.

For the astute scholars among us, I will acknowledge their point that we are encouraged by the Good Book to go back. As we examine this riddle to the very essence of life, the answer is simple. We are encouraged to be childlike, not childish. There is a difference.

So… at the moment, when there is the temptation to think we have arrived and can stop growing — Look up, think forward, and really focus on the hard work to take the next step.

Go ahead — do it. Now, that we are big kids — older and wiser, with all of our education and experience, hurts and betrayals, safely archived in the memory banks — do it. Be innocent, be sweet, be open, be humble, be accepting, be trusting, and believe that we can experience heaven, here on earth.

All we need to do is to take that next step — often into the unknown — forward, to grow.