So You Want To Change The World?

I believe most of us are wired with a goal of doing something really big with our lives. Write a book. Get our name on a building. Develop something new. Make a mark on the world.  Do something really big.

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Big goals are great. They stretch us. They make us see over the horizon. As I have grown older and gained more wisdom, I have learned that big is relative. Kathy and I have traveled the world on mission trips trying to help organizations make the big impact. And what we have found is that change is really about the one person that you encounter. One moment. A single soul. A single life at a time.

 

This has been our recent revelation. We don’t tend to look big anymore. The truth is you cannot place a price on a soul. A life. A legacy. It’s priceless. The value is infinite. A single soul can shake eternity.

The photo above is a group of life changers. No miracle drugs, new innovations or amazing technology solutions. No senators or mayors or CEOs. This is a group of teachers who had a profound impact on my life. I won’t pick them out or use names, but there are three of my elementary/middle school teachers in this picture.

First, my science teacher. He was well liked by me and my friends and he laid the groundwork for my leadership style. You do not need to be a tyrant to lead people. You can lead with your heart. Its ok to let your feelings show. You can truly care and its a good thing! While learning from this teacher, we were able to develop a friendship that was a positive influence on my life. This teacher even took me and two of my friends on a weekend ski trip. This was on his time. Not a school thing. Just a weekend of fun. Impact? Yes- a life changer!

Second, my geography teacher. She would give us maps to color and require that we memorize the capitals of obscure countries. At the time I thought it was a giant waste of time. But later I learned that this memorization exercise was a precurser to what was required in college and beyond. She also showed me a picture of a great big world beyond my corner of the world. She introduced me to different cultures and political structures. I have become a lifelong student of geography and this was only possible from the effort of this lady. She changed my vision of the world. Opened up my eyes and expanded my horizon.  Big impact!

Third, my english teacher. She would spend countless hours diagramming sentences, correcting poor grammar and building my writing foundation, that has been a strength for me throughout my life. (ahem- please don’t grade this!) She taught me about rules and precision. She taught me that being perfect was really hard. A small mistake counts. And if you can communicate effectively, your life will be better. I am a direct product of her work. I have often been tasked by my employers to write because it comes easy to me and I understand the power of one word. I learned this from my english teacher. She put me on a road toward excellence in communication. And for this, I am eternally grateful.

These three teachers changed my life. They had a direct impact on my skills, abilities and my attitude about learning. They were instrumental in my personal value and pursuit of life-long learning.

So you want to change the world? I say do it one person at a time. No giant programs. Just one-on-one. Soul to soul.

Change the world?  Be a teacher and be a life changer!

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Maybe A Smoke Screen?

John is a real charmer.  He is good at getting what he wants.  First it was a cookie from Mom.  Then an extension on an assignment at school.  Then a date with the homecoming queen.  A promotion at work.  You get the picture.  He was attractive and engaging.  He found it easy to win people over.  It was his “go to” when he was in a tough spot or if he really needed something.  It was John’s secret weapon.

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So are charm and good looks the keys to influence?

A big smile and just the right witty responses and we can be rewarded with instant engagement.  I have watched it over and over again.  Some people are simply masters at it.  They have a way of pulling you in.  They have a special power that you just can’t explain.

I have never been much of a charmer.  I am more of a “tell it like it is” kind of guy.  There are times that I wished I had this mysterious power over people.  I think it can be a gift.  I also think there are dangers here.

People who use charm to get what they want often abuse the power.  They begin to believe that they have the ability to get whatever they want.  They have seen it work over and over again.  They begin to feel invincible.

Leaders can fall into this trap.  The smile.  The endearing comments.  Charmers make you feel important and valuable.  Soon you find yourself doing whatever they ask.  Eventually, however, you will begin to see through the charm.  You will get a glimpse of their heart- either good or bad.  Charm can be a real smoke screen.

Just like that date who has only one thing in mind- the truth will come out.  If you truly care for your team, employees, friends…. they will figure it out.  It’s a heart issue.  You simply can’t hide it for very long.

If you are a charmer- be careful!  You may have honed your skills when you were young and the stakes were not all that important.  You were a popular kid.  Captain of the whatever team.  There is nothing inherently wrong with being charming and engaging- unless the goal is to manipulate to get what you want.  Unless the goal is not the common goal.  Maybe it’s just your goal?

Sincerity is built through action.  You will have a difficult time convincing someone of your sincerity with just talk.  The fact is- they are watching you!  They know where your treasure lies by your actions.  You are not fooling anyone.  The smoke will eventually clear- it always does.

So what do you think?  Have you been charmed and later found out the truth?  Have you seen this in action before?  Click on “leave a comment” and tell me what you think!

Your Fooling Yourself!

 

I am a noticer.  I notice the little things as I do life.  Small things of beauty as I walk.  Reactions from social interactions.  Ugly things that appear out of nowhere.  Attitudes and enthusiasm.

 

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This is really a blessing and a curse.  I often think that it would be better to approach life like a child where everything is fresh and taken completely at face value.  But you can’t go back.  You can’t brush over what you see.

Through interacting with others, I can interpret what is really important to them.  I don’t need to ask them.  They will tell me through their actions.

There is a saying that says “talk is cheap.”  I have come to understand this saying.  I hear things and they don’t always align with the actions that I see.

 

I really care for my employees!  Then you see petty rules and reactions.

I love to spend time with my kids!  Then you see golf is really more important each Saturday.

I love my wife!  Then you see that the TV is more important when you come home from work.

I love my husband!  Then you see that the kids or time with the girlfriends is the focus.

 

We just plain fool ourselves!  We say that some things are important but what we DO is actually the key to your heart.  And when you really LOOK at what you are DOING you could be quite surprised.

 

Ok- the excuses.

I need to work to support my family…

I need some time away for rest and relaxation…

I need some time with my girlfriends…

I need to help them with their problems…

I need to have rules so we can have order…

I need, I need, I need….

 

You see the issue here.  It’s really what YOU want.  You may tell yourself that you are a great friend, mother, husband, manager, brother, sister… But talk is just talk.  You may be building an illusion in your mind.  Just telling someone how much you love your “fill in the blank” doesn’t mean anything.  In fact it is just building up your own ego.  The reality is that sometimes we are telling ourselves something so we can just check the box and feel secure.  We naturally gravitate to the areas in life that make us feel better about ourselves- where we get the most approval, comfort, power, accolades…

See- it’s just talk.  If you REALLY believe in it, you will do it!

Take an inventory of what you did last week.  Did you spend quality time with your kids?  Did you help your wife with housework or running the kids?  Did you take time to interact with your employees? If you think your sliding by and getting away with it you are most likely fooling yourself.  There are other noticers out there!  They are seeing what you are doing.  A picture of where your heart really is.  Maybe it’s time to make some changes?  Maybe it’s time for some heart surgery?

 So what do you think?  Do you see a difference in words and actions in the folks you interact with?  Click on “leave a comment” and tell me what you think!

Ask the Experts!

Recently, Kathy and I were sitting on our back patio (lanai is the fancy realtor description) in the cool of the morning enjoying a hot cup of coffee and the fluorescent beauty of the morning.  The birds were wide awake.  We have a bird feeder and we keep it well stocked with a high quality seed mix that keeps them coming back.  We have generations of cardinals that are now permanent North Florida residents as well as a group of morning doves, mockingbirds, and a host of other songbirds that are regulars each morning.

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As I sat and watched the show, I began to consider the way the birds really love the morning.  I can remember times camping when the birds would start singing at 4 am.  My response- gosh guys go back to bed!  It’s way too early!  Yet the morning is a truly special time for the birds.  They wake and they sing for the morning.  It’s like they are screaming,  “You need to get up and see this amazingly beautiful day!” They are the epitome of the morning person!

The morning is their choice.  They could easily pick the afternoon or the evening.  Unlike our comfortable living, the birds live in close contact with the natural.  They experience the earth like no other creature, living outside and largely unprotected.  They are the experts.  And they choose the morning.

So what is so special about the morning?  Here are a few reasons I think that the birds choose the morning and why you should too!

The stillness and quiet of the morning.  The birds know that their song will really carry in the morning.  They know they really own the morning.  For us, the morning gives us stillness that allows us to rest, think and let our mind wander. The stillness provides insulation from the distractions and noise of the day.  We can let our minds sing- released from the bonds of obligations and schedules.  Are you singing in the morning?

The coolness of the morning is a great time to get your work done before the heat of the day.  The birds know that they can get their business done and wait out the heat in the shade of the trees.  The morning is a perfect time to plow through your work so you can shift into a lower gear as the day heats up.  If you get the heavy lifting done in the cool of the day, you will extend your energy and be more productive.  Do you run at hyper speed in the heat of the day?

The morning is a safe place.  The predators are still sleeping and the birds group together for protection.  The birds know these facts.  The morning is theirs.  The can relax a bit more than normal.  They have the numbers and they watch out for each other.  You can also own the morning.  Seems like only good things happen early in the morning.  Evil is asleep.  Do you get up early and enjoy the protection of the morning?

The morning is a time where we are refreshed and recharged.  The batteries are on full again! The birds are darting around with extra vigor.  If danger is present, they are able to make a quick get away with strength stored from the night of rest.  This rest is also powerful for us too.  The morning is the best time to exercise and do physical activity.  Your body is designed for this.  Are you taking advantage of this stored energy?

The morning screams of His perfect design.  The beauty of creation.  Diversity.  A new day and cleansing of the old.  You can see the vigor and playfulness in the birds in the morning.  They are out enjoying life and exploring the abundance of this earth.  The morning is a great time to reflect and begin anew.  Put yesterday behind and embark on a new day with discovery and adventure.  Are you taking advantage of the extravagant beauty and gift of the new day?

I love the mornings.  I always have.  My mom never worried about waking me up, I was always the first up and out the door.  I remember being mesmerized as a kid by the beauty of the morning.  I still love everything about it.   How about you?  Can you break the love affair with your pillow?  The experts know the secret.  Give it a try- you’ll see!

Do you follow the experts advice?  Do you love the mornings?  Click “Like” if you do!  If not so much- click on comments and tell me your story!

What Your Wife Really Wants For Valentines Day!

Oh, yes! It’s that time again! Time for the red cards, chocolates, and roses. Valentines Day is a special time to tell your loved one that you really care. A time to celebrate love and romance. For some men, this can be a bit frightening. Getting just the right gift is really hard. You may need to have a sixth sense when it comes to women. I think most ladies don’t think much of the traditional gifts. She wants more than a box of chocolates or pretty flowers.

An array of Valentine's Day-connotated candy d...

She wants her boyfriend back!

Somewhere in the midst of building the family and the career, being a Dad and a Husband, and providing a safe and secure environment, the knight in shining armor gets a bit tarnished. Men will slip into the leader role at work and bring it home and miss the tenderness needed to continue to grow in their relationship with their wives. Wives want more than a family leader. They want friendship.  They want closeness.  They want to go deeper. They want your heart.

Remember when you were dating? What were the things that you liked to do together? This is what she wants. This is what she needs. Can’t remember very well? Let me help you a bit.

We Would Talk For Hours…. Remember those conversations? You would share your dreams, your goals, your passions. The time would fly by. You talked about your feelings, your fears, your frustrations, what you loved, what you hated. Fast forward. Now it’s often three word sentences. “Can you pick up some milk?” A quick OK, a nod, a grunt. Is this communicating? Not even close. Guys, she needs this. It’s knit in her being. She has to hear from you. She needs to talk things out. this is how she deals with stress. This is how she will stay glued to you. Stop communicating with her and she will loose the bond. Share your deep stuff with her. She needs it. I promise.

We Did Everything Together… It didn’t matter what you were doing, you loved to do it together. Even doing dishes was fun! Remember? Guys, you need look for opportunities to spend time with your wives. It’s really about getting creative and maybe about doing something you don’t really care to do. Go to the grocery store or head to the mall and go shopping with her! If you are not intentional, it won’t happen!

We Held Hands Everywhere We Went… How long has it been since you held your wife’s hand? Are you struggling getting physical with your wife? This can really vary by the particular woman, but many are starving for physical contact. This may or may not involve “going all the way”. I know some woman would love to get the back rub at night and have it stop at that! You know what she wants. She needs to feel your touch.

We Were Out On Dates Every Weekend… Are you planning date nights with you wife? This is a super important way for you to help her get away from the house and the kids and plug back into your relationship. These date nights don’t have to be spectacular events. The only requirement is that you are alone with her. No double dates. Just the two of you spending time together. Get the babysitter. I can tell you first hand that it will be the best money that you can spend for your relationship. Plan these dates nights! They will not magically happen by themselves.

We Would Laugh For Hours… Do you have fun with your wife or is your marriage based on the family “job”? Raising a family and keeping up with all the expectations is exhausting. Having fun can leave the house along with your energy. Don’t take everything so seriously. I can tell you the exhaustion of life can leave you analyzing every word that comes from your wife. Don’t take everything to heart. Learn to lighten up the situation. Remember how you used to make her laugh? You need to reconnect with this! It may save your marriage. Saying something insensitive is not the end of the world . Truth is, it’s most likely your pride that is the problem!

We Would Take Long Walks On The Beach… We’ll if you don’t live on the ocean, a trip around the block in the evening is a great second option. Steal a few minutes away. Talk about your day. Let her talk and you listen. If she’s been with the kids all day, she’s probably just about ready to explode. She needs some adult talk! Help her out.

We Would Surprise Each Other With Little Gifts… If she likes clothes, bring some home sometimes when it’s not her birthday or other event. She will be shocked and will ask you if you got hit really hard on the head! Plan a weekend and take her away. Send the kids to the in-laws and and do a weekend at home. Do something to surprise her. She needs the change and the romance.

I’m sure there are many more that you can think of. Things that made your relationship special. The stuff that brought you together. The bottom line is this: she still needs you to pursue her. She needs to feel desired. You know the wedding cake joke? Well this is the male version! Yes, she’s yours, but she needs more than safety and security. If not, she could have stayed at home with her Dad! She needs to reconnect with you and it takes time and intentionality. If you spent time on this like you work on your golf swing, your front lawn, or your fantasy football league I’m sure there would be no issues.

Reconnect with you sweetheart! She needs you!

What do you think? Are you being intentional about you relationship with you wife? Wake up call or full of you know what? Let me know by clicking on comments and giving me your view!

Time Bandits

One of the most common recommendations of financial planners is a yearly review and rebalancing of your portfolio.  This rebalancing is very important to maintain a diversified investment mix.  What typically occurs is that some investments will grow faster than others and this will result in having too much of your resources in one area.  This skewing is often difficult to notice unless you are disciplined and review your portfolio on a regular basis.  The insidious aspect of this skewing is that your best performing investments may actually put you out of balance and you may be tempted to increase your allocations in this area.  However, this can be dangerous or even reckless as it will actually defeat the benefits of diversification.

We should also do a yearly review of where we put our time and resources in our life plans.   A review and rebalancing of your life allocations can reap big rewards.  Here are five strategies for your annual rebalance:

  • Find a Quiet Place– Seek out a place where you can think and reflect on your current allocations.  This may require that you go off by yourself and spend a day away from your family.  You must remove the distractions in order for you to do an objective life review.
  • Make a Time Line– Write out your typical schedule each week.  List each day and then list what you typically do each day.  Calculate the percentage of time for each item and make a list of the items in the order of percentage value.  You may want to actually write this out “real time” during an actual week to get an objective view of what is really consuming your time.
  • Write down Your Goals– Make a list of your goals.  Divide your goals into long, medium and short terms.  Color code and group your goals- personal goals, family goals, marriage goals, faith goals, career goals, etc.
  • Analyze Your Data– What is the data telling you?  Are you controlling your life or is your life controlling you?  Are you making progress on your goals?  Are there “time bandits” in your day?  Often we are putting too much time in areas that are really not important to us.  We are out of balance!
  • Make Changes– Strategize on areas of change and look for synergies.  For example:  Although you may be compelled to be at work for a large portion of your day, you may be able to include one of your other goals during the same time period.  You can exercise at lunch if you need more time in this area.  You can network and seek opportunities for long term, professional goals.  You can seek personal development training at your present employer to improve your skills.

Although you may feel that you are obligated to your schedule and responsibilities you can make changes.  Consider any components of time that you can exploit – early morning, late evening, drive time, etc.  Develop a plan to include components of each of your goals and track your progress.  Turn off the noise on a regular basis.  Dedicate a portion of your week to reviewing progress by turning off your phone and computer and completely unplugging to allow time for you to recharge and reflect.

Rebalancing is essential in examining how we are allocating ourselves to align with our goals.  When we get busy and obligated, our plans and goals can end up on the back burner.  It may be time to make some tough choices on your time allocation.  Can you rid yourself of some of your “time bandits” and make some real progress on your goals?

Do you have any suggestions or strategies that you have used to rebalance your life?  Please respond below!