Opinionated Feedback

The last step in the Journey to build sterling Character is to welcome and accept Constructive Feedback.

Constructive Feedback is the other side of the coin from Reinforcing Feedback. We all love the feedback that sings our praises of a job well done, that acknowledges a situation handled nicely, or that recognizes the dent we’re making in the world.

So, those are the two kinds of feedback — between two people with knowledge of facts, situations, and measurable observations.

What about the third kind of feedback — which comes out of the blue from a third wheel, loose cannon, if you will — from someone with a badge that reads, Sidewalk Superintendent?

Opinionated Feedback (or, OF)

Tiny, little, powerful, two-letter words — aren’t they something? One of my favorite expressions, “If It Is To Be, It Is Up To Me.”

of
to indicate a point of reckoning
to indicate origin or derivation
to indicate the cause, motive, or reason
to indicate the component material, parts, or elements
to indicate the whole that includes the part
to indicate belonging or a possessive relationship
to indicate the relationship between a result and function
to indicate something from which a person is delivered
to indicate a particular example belonging to a class
to indicate apposition
to indicate the object of an action
to indicate the application of a verb
to indicate a characteristic or distinctive quality
to indicate the position in time of an action

So — if the last step in the Journey to build sterling Character is to welcome and accept Constructive Feedback, what about the Sainthood effort required to accept Opinionated Feedback?!

And — when I say, “Accept,” I define that as, “Accept it for what it is, glean the kernels of truth, and let the chaff blow away on the winds of fickleness.”

Feedback That Never Was

This story, so far, has been framed around the beneficiary of feedback. But, what about the individual offering the feedback? If you’ve ever been in a role which required formal feedback to be given, you know how difficult it is — To Do.

Now, imagine the poor fellow who is sharing his thoughts with a couple of new friends and is, then, accosted for asking a few simple questions.

Remember the Story about me and the two women — the cute one and the other one? We’ve already discussed how I responded to the challenge from the other one, who asked me to be her Accountability Partner (after, I clearly communicated on a public forum that my partner must be a “brave soul.”)

What is it that YOU want from this email? To point out? To challenge? To encourage the why + what do I want thinking?

For the students of communication theory, all of their mental bells, whistles, and alarms have been triggered. “Email?! Doesn’t he know that only 7% of communication can be accomplished with words?” Yep, I knew it going in — but, that’s my modus operandi — going where even the angels fear to tread.

The cute one is a very successful Life Coach, with a variety of programs that she offers for the benefit of those individuals wanting to expand their horizons, improve levels of accomplishment, and grow into better Citizens. My kind of gal — so, since I was invited to her game (Program), I signed up.

When I zinged my serve over the net, the other one caught the ball to examine it for defects. Life Coach patiently waited through the other one’s challenge of my intent and then offered this.

I value feedback from people I know, I am always looking to improve in my life and my work, and I am also a huge proponent of done being better than perfect. The Program is what it is and serves its purpose for most people. It is not meant to be the answer to everyone’s problems, nor is it meant to be a spiritual based program.

Say what?!

So, I went back and read, again — very slowly — my original email to see if I had used the word Feedback, or made any reference to the Trinity. Nope, not even once.

Communication Is What The Listener Does

Although, in my email, I had asked this question, “What is the passion at the core of everything you do?

During those 35+ years serving the public as a CPA, I learned to ask this question of every prospective Client. Those who were animated in their response enjoyed working with me. Those with a deer-in-the-headlights response were graciously ushered back to the door from which they came.

So, I fully understand the responses I received from the Life Coach and the other one. One was scared silly because I dared to ask such a question — the Life Coach felt threatened.

For most of my life, I have been overly concerned about everyone’s feelings. Recently, however, the light came on, “Other people’s feelings are beyond my control. Unless, I’m rude, or crude, they have the responsibility to manage their own dang feelings.”

And, it’s true — no one can make us mad, sad, happy, or glad. It’s our individual right and responsibility to create the emotions pleasing to us.

It’s perfectly fine that the Life Coach wants no part in my philosophy, or efforts, to be a Conduit of Goodness.

What Did You Learn?

Because — she did offer this.

You’re kind enough to offer feedback to others, my feedback to you might be to include a bit of framing when you give that feedback so others better understand what your intention and expectation is – especially when they don’t know you well.

As a builder, I know exactly what she’s suggesting. After establishing a solid foundation, framing is the next phase to Build Something — Special. And, with no apologies to the Life Coach, or anyone else, my way of preparing a foundation on bedrock is to ask questions. The one question about “the passion at the core” is the first of thirteen initial steps to a foundation.

In visiting with a long-time loyal friend, on the phone last night, she asked, “So, what did you learn?”

Oh, we laughed! Because — I’ve lost track of the number of verses to this same old song. She gently teased that maybe the time has come for me to learn the lesson. 🙂

The beauty of Opinionated Feedback is that it comes from an outsider, who is not encumbered by the “Curse of Knowledge.” Reinforcing Feedback and Constructive Feedback happens between two individuals, who know all the “facts.” The outsider is not burdened with any preconceived notions about the Ego, Expectations, or Emotions. They can be honest in offering their opinion.

I did not offer feedback to the Life Coach — I did, however, share my thoughts which were perceived by her to be feedback.

Her feedback to me is spot on correct. I know it, and I’m working on getting better at it. It defined as — stop scaring the living bejeezus out of timid souls, with too much, too soon.

I’ve had people suggest that I wear darkened eyeglasses — because my gaze is too intense. It’s true — I’m intensely passionate about my purpose in life. And — I thoroughly enjoy that far-left lane, designated Speed of Trust.

Remember, when we were first learning to drive, how we had to keep staring at all the gauges to make sure our speed was right, the engine had oil pressure, and the coolant was staying cool. Now, we seldom think about it — we glance, every now and then.

Same song, second verse — I’m operating at the Speed of Trust — not by sight, but — by feel. Because of the Curse of Knowledge, I assume (yes, I know, makes an ass out of u and me) everyone else is comfortable with their hair blown back. (As a side-bar, that’s why I wear my hair in a crew-cut.)

What We Learn, Together

Coach John Wooden — in Pyramid of Success — has this encouragement, “What a leader learns after you’ve learned it all counts most of all.

As a believer in the ASK Principle — Ask, Seek, and Knock — I hope you will help me: Ask, so love can be given; Seek, so wisdom can be found; and, Knock, so doors of opportunity swing wide open.

I’ve noticed that my friends are reluctant to give Feedback of any kind. Yet, my enemies, are eager to bury me in Opinionated Feedback — and, I appreciate it very much.

Please, share with me in the Comment section, below — your Thoughts.

Or, better yet, give me a call — 406.855.8384 🙂

Slap It Back

If you think the World is out to get you, you’ll make that come true.

If you believe in making a dent in the World, that’s what you will achieve.

Same YOU and same World. What’s the difference?

Attitude

Whether you think you can, or think you can’t, you’re right.
~ Henry Ford

It all begins with The Want To.

What do “Y-O-U” want?

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.

Can YOU answer the questions, above, quickly, boldly, and confidently?

The Match

Recently, I was invited to participate in an open-court event. Rarely do I get invited by a beautiful woman to play games, so, naturally, I accepted. As I showed up to play, there were two women on the other side of the net. So, being a guy, I thought, “Double the fun!”

We volleyed back and forth to warm up. Everything was grins and giggles. Then, it’s time to begin. So, naturally, being a guy, I zinged one over the net.

And, that’s when the ship hit the sand…

What is it that YOU want from this email? To point out? To challenge? To encourage the why + what do I want thinking?

Now, my idea of tennis is, “When the ball comes to you, slap it back over.”

Nope, the beautiful one watched her friend catch the ball, study it for defects, and then cheered her for questioning my “intent” behind the serve.

I thought the idea was for us to have fun and improve our game.

Silly me!

My Response

Dumbfounded, I stared at that email wondering, “What the H-E-Double-Toothpicks just happened?” Then, I remembered, “This is just a game. Let’s have some fun with this. So, I grabbed another ball and slapped it on over.

I want nothing — from you. I was “sharing” my thoughts. After clicking Send on the email below, I discovered your recent Upload into our portal, Rohn Guide To Goal Setting. So, I downloaded a Copy, highlighted areas important to me, and uploaded my Copy back into the Portal.

I am pointing out that the theme of Jim is consistent with the diction of Kim.

I am challenging nothing, and nobody, (to a duel, or otherwise). I am stating my beliefs — boldly and confidently.

I am passionately offering my Three-E Formula — Enlighten, Empower, and Encourage — to the whole wide world. You are a beneficiary of that. I know for a fact: Some people will love it — and, others will hate it. That choice is theirs. Either way, I’ll continue to give — my Best.

Because I loved this graphic when I first saw it, I shared it with them, too.

When I Give

Three Types Of Players

There are those who take up space, rigid as a post, frozen in time, and watch the ball dribble right on by. There are others, like the two above, who catch the ball and stop the fun. And, finally, there are those who are determined to improve — themselves, their game, and the other participants.

There’s another way to state (in reverse) the available Options, above.

1.) Do it right ~ Have fun and slap the ball back over the net.
2.) Do it wrong ~ Catch the ball and examine it for defects.
3.) Do nothing ~ Absolute Void – Mother Nature hates that.

So, you see, my experience with the two women could have been worse.

With time to feel their way through the logic of my response, each of them replied graciously — and, the Game continues.

 

These Three

Success – Happiness – and, Love

What do these three concepts — Success, Happiness, and Love — have in common?

Yes, I agree — we want all three.

What else?

They can’t be bought with money, they can’t be chased down, they won’t magically waltz into our lives — and, if found, they can’t be captured and bound.

Yet, what is the most important facet of these three gems?

The Answer

We must create them.

Yep, it’s that simple — to say; much harder To Do.

The secret, though, is just that — We Must Do.

You ask, “Where do we begin?”

I say, “Let’s take a flying leap of faith into the future we desire.”

Eyes Wide Open

I was going to say, “Now, close your eyes…” but, wait, don’t do that, not quite yet. Keep reading, first.

When you do close your eyes, imagine the world of your dreams. It’s your dream — paint it your way — in vivid colors for some and in more subtle hues for others. Once the Background is in place, set all of the Things where they belong — and, then, for the most important feature of your dream, invite the People with whom you want to share your life.

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

Baby Steps

Do you believe?

You conceived it.

If you believe, how can  “IT” be achieved?

The secret is to focus on small steps.

Mile by Mile it’s a Trial
Yard by Yard it’s Hard
Inch by Inch it’s a Cinch

A month ago, I got tired of my Wranglers® being tight. So I made an appointment to visit a Nutritionist. She explained away some long-held mysteries about food and “we” formulated a Plan. My next session with her was scheduled for a month away.

Silly me, for the first three weeks, I cleaned the cupboards of unhealthy food — but, pretty much kept doing what I’ve always done. And, I got the same results that I always have. Purest definition of Insanity, right?

Doing the same things over and over again, expecting a different result.

I thought, “How hard can this be? I’m a smart guy (more thinking). Surely my mind can bend the rules of physics into submission!” Nope, didn’t work. So, I went to Target and bought a Digital Scale.

To manage, we must measure.

So, now, I’m making the pounds come off ounces at a time.

Baby steps, my dear.

These Three

For the scholars among us, they have rushed ahead and spoiled my conclusion — because, the Good Book talks about these three — Faith, Hope, and Charity.

Same song, second verse.

We must create — and, then live — them.

These three — and, the greatest of them is Love.

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.

Seeds of Opportunity

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

Yet, the definition of opportunity is:

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

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

Timeless Principles

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

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

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

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

Two Very Different Worldviews

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

Or, in the words of Napoleon Hill,

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

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

All We Do Begins With A Thought

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

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

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

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

One Man’s Mistake Is Another Man’s Harvest

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

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

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

The Man In The Arena

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

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

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

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

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

Framing Is What Builders Do

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

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

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

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

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

Real Deal

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

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

There’s no “try” to it.

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

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

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

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

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

Begin it, now.

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

There Is A Better Way

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

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

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

Also, she has given me Words — inspiring words:

Family ~ Forever, For Always and No Matter What

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

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

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

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

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

Music

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

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

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

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

Chorus:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Point

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Chosen Effort

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

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

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

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

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

Let’s get to livin’!

Why and How

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

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

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

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

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

Doctor: “Oh? What is a post turtle?”

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

How often do we get stuck?

Pedestals, Ivory Towers, and White Horses

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

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

Joy Is In The Doing

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

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

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

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)