Conduits of Goodness

Conduits of GoodnessIf 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.”

Intelligence Test

Intelligence TestDad had an 8th Grade formal education and was one of the most intelligent men I have ever known.

He was from an era of the strong, silent type — and, when teased about being so quiet, he frequently said, “I learn more by listening.”

Today, listening seems to be a lost art form — and, we have several generations of fools.

Well, yes, that is blunt. Lest I be accused of being judgemental, let me rephrase — because, People have the God-given right to be the unique creations they are. Their behavior, though, is open to analysis. In other words, “I will not judge the People — yet, I can evaluate their Behaviors.”

Test For Foolishness

My worldview is based on the Three-E Formula — Enlighten, Empower, and Encourage. Yet, there are the Three Evil E’s  — Ego, Expectations, and Emotions.

To test anyone for foolishness, just tell them a Story — it doesn’t matter the subject. Share with them something about which you are passionate. And — see how often you are interrupted.

I’ll bet good money you will get interrupted 9 times out of 10 — because, People do not have the willpower to keep their Ego, Expectations, and Emotions under control.

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 a Legend 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.

Test For Intelligence

When I asked Dad why he didn’t talk more, this was his reply, “Even fools are thought wise when they keep silent; with their mouths shut, they seem intelligent.”

My frustration with that quote is — Dad was very wise. In fact, he had accumulated much Knowledge. Every day he applied – what he knew – to gain an Understanding of many things and People. The progression of Knowledge into Understanding resulted in a Wisdom unsurpassed by the educated idiots of our day.

Yes — I include myself in that category of People who wanted to be known by their initials: CPA, CITP, CGMA and all kinds of other Certified somethings.

That was yesterday. Now, I simply want to be measured by the Value that I contribute to the Whole Wide World.

I’ll — happily — let you be the judge of that.

Inspirators

InspiratorsWe 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 to:

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

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

Let’s break down one word to build up our spirits to new heights.

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, 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. Because optimism is easy for the Inspirator, 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.

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!

Gentle Strength

Gentle StrengthDo you want to be heard?

~ Speak softly.

Do you want to be strong?

~ Offer gentleness.

Do you want to influence?

~ Be authentic.

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

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

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

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

There Will Be Pain — To Achieve Gain

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

Can we speak softly to simply state our beliefs?

Can we wrap gentleness around a definitive position?

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

If

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

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

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

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

Rudyard Kipling

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

The answer is inherent in a riddle:

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

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

What?! Yes

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

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

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

Hard is easy — Easy is hard

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