Hey, can you help me move a piano?

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Years before the digital revolution where lightweight, portable electronic keyboards are now common, many of us have had large, and very heavy pianos in our house.

There was no way they could be moved by one individual, so the plea was made to family and friends for help.

I thought about this “getting help from friends” request  because I’ve run into several people lately that have been going through some very difficult, heavy times and when I’ve talked further with them about their experiences, they’ve commented back to me that they are not really close to anyone.  In the midst of being emotionally overwhelmed, they are having to make sense of a very difficult situation on their own.   I feel for them.  Not surprising to me is that each of the people I’ve talked to have been men.  Quite typically, as guys, we just have this “isolate ourselves from others” mentality.  It’s really not a good thing

Guys, that kind of mindset might work in the short-term, actually for years.  However, eventually, there will come a time of crisis where the load is just too heavy to handle on our own.  I’m mentioning this now  in hopes that if you are reading this post and  have no one else in your life that you can be utterly transparent with, I want to strongly encourage you to take a step of faith and try to connect with some other person, of the same gender and have someone to walk through life with you.

Over this past year, I’ve mentioned to you often in posts that I’ve created an app that is meant to not only help you identify your own personal goals,  but also in this app, there is a very cool feature.  It’s a dashboard that allows you to text or e-mail  a friend in a snapshot kind of way how you are doing in all the areas of your responsibilities.

I have used this Dashboard so often with others and found it to be incredibly helpful.   And when I see a “red” area in a friend’s text, we deal with it.   That’s what friends do for each other, right!

If you have been doing life alone, or you understand that a close friend of yours has been doing the “isolate” thing, let me encourage you to try this app.  Do it with a friend.

For less than a Starbucks special coffee, I truly believe you will not regret the cost of using this resource to help you and a friend share in the heavy lifting of life.

To check out the app:

You can visit  either the App Store (for IPhones)     https://appsto.re/us/ejC7fb.I

Google Play Store- https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.FoundationsLifeCoach.Foundations&hl=en ;
www.foundationslifecoach.com

 

 

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Goal-oriented people, you are going to love this

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Those of you who are goal-oriented individuals, you know who you are, you are going to relate well to this post.  You are the type of person that will see a problem that needs attention and quickly a picture will develop in your mind so that you get a vision of bringing solutions to resolve the issue.

Once your mind sees the finish line, the bread crumbs of steps seems to materialize in your brain, so that a road map occurs that lines up what mini-goals you need to accomplish, in order to complete the end goal.   The world needs people like you to provide leadership.

In addition to receiving the vision of how to get things done, the goal-oriented individual  is energized by checking off each mini-goal along the way.  endorphins in the brain produce happy feelings.

I share this description of a goal-oriented person from personal experience. I am a goal-oriented person.   If this describes you, as well, let me give you a caution though that you will battle, as I do too, all the time.

Let me illustrate my point in all this by having you think of a couple of dancing. They are enjoying the music. They are enjoying each other. They know how to dance, so they are comfortable as they glide in unity across the dance floor.  It’s a beautiful, romantic vision of two people in the moment.

This dancing scene describes well the person bent on living with goals.  They embrace their goals.  They live with them always on their mind.  They glide through life having direction for where they will move and how they will move. Life, like the music at the dance hall has a rhythm to it and they enjoy their dance with their “having goals” partner.  Can you relate to that?  

BUT, ….. what happens when you get tapped on the shoulder, and someone says to you, “Excuse me, can I cut in with your partner for this dance?”

NOW YOUR PLANS HAVE CHANGED.  THIS IS NOT WHAT YOU EXPECTED.  WHAT WILL YOU DO NOW?  HOW SHOULD YOU FEEL ABOUT WHAT JUST HAPPENED?  DID YOU DO SOMETHING WRONG?  IS THIS A THREAT?  WHAT WILL YOU DO NOW THAT YOUR EMBRACING YOUR GOALS HAS BEEN TEMPORARILY SET ASIDE?

Can you relate to the change in the mindset of the person whose plans were just changed without his permission?

I think this is how life is.   We have our goals in how we want to live our life.  We feel comfortable being in control of our movements and our abilities, but then, as so often happens, things change in our life.  New, unexpected things happen in our circumstances that break up the way we were dancing through life.  At least for the moment, we are asked to deal with a new circumstance.

How can you deal with that?  Here are a few suggestions:

  • recognize that this is a common experience for us all. As much as we hate to admit it, we are not in control in our lives.  We can’t control the weather or how other people will respond to us, or the unexpected health situation,  etc.   However, we can control how we will react in every circumstance in our lives.
  • I don’t know of anyone who does not like to be in control, so how do you handle that feeling of insecurity that comes when life happens to you and your plans for living life get interrupted?  Understand that God is faithful. He will not allow you to be overcome by ANYTHING that He will not help you endure through.  Count on it.  Although the way of healing or calm might not be a quick fix, He will be there with you every step of the way and give you His amazing grace to help you persevere.  There is always hope!
  • recognize the opportunities that come with being stretched.  I believe over the years, regrettably, I have missed out on many opportunities for personal growth, and the chance to help someone in need around me, but because I so firmly had my “goal-focused” glasses on, all I could think of was myself. My obsession with meeting my own goals blinded me to many missed opportunities around me.  Maybe your new circumstances might just be a good thing—embrace it!
  • So, although I totally believe having goals is vital to personal and organizational success, I am also beginning to recognize that when the unexpected happens in life  (like someone wanting to cut in and dance with my partner),  I need to ask questions like, “what can I learn from this new development?” or “how can I take advantage of this new situation to enjoy and benefit from it?”  or “Lord, what are you trying to teach me through these new circumstances in my life?”

That’s it for now.    I delayed getting some things done this morning to write this post, so now I’m back to dancing with my goals partner!  🙂

 

Was this man “sleep-walking” through life?

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Picture this story:

A middle-aged man, driving in his luxury car, pulls around the corner of the street where he lives.  He looks at the houses of his neighbors and thinks to himself that at some time he should probably get to know them.  Actually, he thinks to himself that in some ways it’s surprising that after 20 years in this neighborhood, he would have by now.

Down the driveway he goes admiring his beautiful landscaping and thinks to himself that he has hired a quality service to handle this tedious work.  As he gets out of his car and make the long walk to his really large house, which he never seems to tire of gawking at, he finds himself huffing and puffing a bit more than usual.  He also notices his chest puffing out as he congratulates himself pridefully, for all the efforts he has put in: the long hours worked and the many, many business trips he has taken.

As he walks in the house, the one thing that seems the most noticeable is the silence.  His wife and two children are nowhere to be seen. “Quietness”, he thinks, “is in some ways nice, but in other ways, it’s so depressing”.

 

So, what is the point to this story?  Its this perspective about success.

After reading through this story would you say this man is successful?   Some would, actually many would. Why would we say that? It’s because he drives a luxurious house, owns a large house, and uses a landscaping service.

Outwardly, this man has some very nice things. Let me be the first to say that there is nothing wrong with owning and enjoying nice things. God has given us those things to enjoy.

My point is to question this man’s perspective on their importance and what he was willing to sacrifice to get them. It’s that perspective of success that I so desperately want to keep wrestling with for myself and I would encourage you to battle along with me.

Why? Too often, we can see someone on tv that has all the wealthy merit badges of life: the nice cars, the trophy wife, the big house, etc. and something can stir in my heart: jealousy and envy. I know I have those feelings. Too quickly, I find myself trying to justify why I’m still okay with my pauper existence compared to this wealthy person I’ve just been watching and hearing about.

The issue of jealousy and envy is my own problem no one else’s. I’m needing to deal with that on a regular basis. But the focus of this post is not really about my challenges with envy, or pride, or a critique on enjoying and striving for nice things.

It’s about striving for success in one area. Whether it’s an over-emphasis on being successful at work, or at your church, or with your family, or with your personal health, my plea with you this morning is to be careful about over-emphasizing one area of your life so much that without realizing it, you inadvertently are neglecting other areas of your life.

Life is difficult. It’s really hard. You don’t need to be reminded of that, but you may need to be reminded that there are seven areas of responsibility in your life. How are you doing in each of them?  When is the last time you took the time to evaluate how you’re doing? 

I would like to encourage you this weekend to take just a few minutes and review these seven areas of responsibility in your life and ask two questions: “How am I doing in each specific area?”   and “In what ways can I do just a little bit better?”

Oh, one last thing—you might be wondering why do this personal inventory?  The simple reason is that your life impacts others in every one of these seven areas. Do you know that?

Like a person who is a sleepwalker, taking actual steps, but not even recognizing where they are going, some times, I can be living my life (and maybe you do too) where I’m doing life in certain, dazed kind of way, not even recognizing those areas of responsibility that I am tuned out of, totally neglecting….and that will cause regrets, painful ones.  I want to help you avoid those.

As a way to further help you strive for excellence in all areas of your life so that you live a life without regrets, I’d like to encourage you to consider the content of this post, but also to consider downloading the Foundations Life Management app in I-Tunes, (Android calls it Foundations Life Coach) that has the red, yellow, green dashboard like above.   For the price of a cup of coffee (and more significant and lasting positive consequences) from it, I believe you will be pleased that you took this minimal risk:


You can visit  either the App Store (for IPhones)     https://appsto.re/us/ejC7fb.I

Google Play Store- https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.FoundationsLifeCoach.Foundations&hl=en ;
www.foundationslifecoach.com

Get ready to go to bed! —“Sleep Smarter” book review

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My apologies, in advance, for the long set up on this, but I think its really important that you “get it” as to my focus in writing today’s post—its about “being ready”.

Think about the confidence you have when you have prepared for every possible scenario you can think of  for the upcoming meeting.  How much more likely will there be a positive outcome at that meeting?

Think about the confidence you will have to face your opponent this weekend after an in-depth week of studying film and  multiple practices designed to take advantage of your team’s strengths, and your opponent’s weaknesses.  How much more likely will there be a positive outcome for your team at this weekend’s game?

Last one, this evening, you are going to have a talk with a friend over a very troubling matter that has brought tension to your relationship for many months.  Tonight will be a time for you to hopefully work through it with this person.  How much more likely will there be a positive outcome for you if you prepare your heart and mind to what you need to say, and how you should say those things?

The common issues in all these three of these scenarios is that preparing ourselves ahead of time will increase our chances of success.  Who doesn’t want success?  We all do, but how many of us are willing to do the things we need to ahead of time (I’m talking putting in hard work, establishing good habits, and making adjustments) and then follow through with those practices to experience, over time–some kind of victory?

All these thoughts come to mind after reading the book, “Sleep Smarter” by Shawn Stevenson.  There are some books that I’ll work my way through.  The read is fairly enjoyable, enough to hold my interest, but I need to labor through.  This was not one of those books.  It ranks up there with books like “Creativity, Inc.” by Ed Catmull, Patrick Lencioni books, or “Winning” by Jack Welch.  I couldn’t wait to read this book.  I was absorbed in it.

I have heard that sleep is important, just like I understand that exercise and eating fruits and vegetables are also important.  However, this book blew me away with its thoroughness on bringing up data to support sleep’s importance.  I wasn’t aware that having a better diet affected the quality of my sleep, or putting away electronic devices can help me have a better night’s rest, that good sex can help me have a better sleep, that waking up early can help me sleep better, etc.

I also appreciated Shawn’s presentation of his content.  I never felt like I was a child being scolded and admonished about getting more sleep.  Rather, I felt like I was being coached by someone who cares for me and wants me to be successful.  Making adjustments in my life to get better sleep, I’m now convinced, will help me enjoy a better life.

Without a doubt, this is a book, I would highly recommend reading.

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As a help to being your best in the area of Personal Health, please check out my Life Management App and consider using it with a friend:

You can visit either the App Store (for IPhones) Foundations Life Management app for IPhone devices

https://appsto.re/us/ejC7fb.I

or go to the Google Play Store- https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.FoundationsLifeCoach.Foundations&hl=en

 

Is there a danger in focusing on results?

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Being a goal-oriented person, I understand that performance matters.  What benefit does it bring to a situation if all that is really going on is mere talk?   In most situations where a committee is involved, my experience has shown that there is too much discussion and not enough getting things done.

However, try telling your boss, or those who follow your leadership,  or your investors when you missed your organization’s goals that results don’t really matter.  You might as well turn in your 2 – week notice at the same time.

Achieving results is about initially having a vision and then with laser-like focus working to meet that goal. It’s a destination you want to reach and work for.

But two  key questions are “Do we have the right focus in mind?”  and “What is our response when we achieve our goals?”

The context of this post today comes from my recent reading in 1 Chronicles 21 where I read that King David gave way to Satan’s temptation to carry out a census of the people.  It appears that the root of this temptation for David was pride.   After defeating many opposing nations, David seemed invincible and his wealth and fame continued to skyrocket.    This is where the problem of success happened for David.   Similar to the pride demonstrated by a foreign king, years later, King Nebuchadnezzar in the Book of Daniel, chapter 4 as he reflected on his kingdom,  (“30 As he looked out across the city, he said, ‘Look at this great city of Babylon! By my own mighty power, I have built this beautiful city as my royal residence to display my majestic splendor.’), David too, took pride in all his success.

Hear me out on this:  while David, earlier in his life,  was concentrating on the process of his obedience to God, depending on Him for all his decisions and looking to honor Him in everything he did, things went well.   However, when David paused to reflect on all his success, it was though he got off on a highway exit that  brought judgment from God.  When David camped out on thinking about all his success,  he succumbed to Satan’s deception and rather than acknowledging all of God’s favor and praising Him for it,  David patted himself on the back and thought about what a great king he was.  For David to request that a census be taken was just a further effort to puff himself up for seeing tangible numbers on how vast his kingdom had become.

We too, can do that — can’t we?

Pastor and church leader, have you ever just stopped and looked at the number of people in your congregation and patted yourself on the back for your great leadership?

Business owner, have you ever walked through your office and patted yourself on the back for how many employees you have and how successful your bottom line is?

Individual, have you ever stopped to look at your latest 401K balance and marveled at how much money you have and patted yourself on the back for what a wise investor you are?

Friends, let us be careful with this very subject of results and drive.  Again, I get it that results matter.  I am not naïve in thinking they don’t.  But what I’m getting at is that I think there is a better way to get and handle results than we see demonstrated by King David in this particular situation.   I believe this better way is for us to concentrate on our efforts, the process, if you will,  and then leave the results  and recognition to God.

For example, take an issue like getting a driver’s license–that is, the goal.  But what gets us to accomplish that result is not wishful thinking or mere talk– it’s doing certain things like reading and understanding the rules of the road.  Getting a license also requires having a certain amount of supervised  hours behind the wheel and getting actual experience.  In that process, it means being focused on doing things well.  It means reducing distractions while you are driving and completing the practice hours so you LEARN how to drive well.

After you do all these things, you should accomplish the goal of getting your license. But, at the risk of getting into a future accident, don’t ever lose sight of what helped you initially get your license in the first place; it was having an opportunity to do so in the first place,  it was getting instruction from others, it was learning to excel in the process of being a good driver.

Besides this example of getting our license, I could have also mentioned other examples, like getting a certain job position,  reaching a financial retirement number, getting to a certain weight goal, or achieving certain sales goals.   The result or goal gives us a vision for where we are needing to head, but I believe our focus should be on excelling at our responsibilities in the process of accomplishing these things.

And when that time comes when we reach a destination point, how should we handle meeting that goal?   I believe our first attitude and action should be that of being grateful to God and others for their contributions in our life.  Towards God, we should be thankful for His goodness in helping us have the opportunity to be involved in reaching this goal. We should be grateful for our health, the physical and mental abilities to work at the task.   We should also be appreciative for the help and contributions from others in supporting us in numerous ways.

With all that said, where does personal pride come in?  Displaying personal pride is a distasteful thing to others, and an offensive thing to God.  Patting our self on the back and telling our self we are great is the last place we want to go to.  As the Bible so clearly tells us: “don’t think more highly of yourself than you ought”

Meeting a goal and accomplishing a certain result is not though a destination, but merely a rest stop to see where you are, and then to chart out what more needs to be done.  As  1 Thessalonians 4:1 and verse 10 tell us, “excel still more”.  You can always learn more and do things better.   That is the process.  That should be our focus.  Let’s be faithful in doing our part, and leaving the results (and honor) to God.

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As a further help to you in striving for excellence in all your own individual areas of responsibility, please check out my Foundations Life Management app (and do it with a friend):

(If you have downloaded the app and are using it, I would so appreciate you telling a friend (s) about it.)

You can visit either the App Store (for IPhones) Foundations Life Management app for IPhone devices

https://appsto.re/us/ejC7fb.I

or go to the Google Play Store- https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.FoundationsLifeCoach.Foundations&hl=en

Too much thinking, but not enough …

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Some times, I find that I can make things too complicated.  In other words, I can over think things too much and even get into that “analysis paralysis” mindset.  When this happens internally in my mind, nothing happens externally in my actions.    How about you–can you relate?

For instance, one area that I am really being challenged these days is with a simple command given by Jesus for all of us as Christians– “go and make disciples”.

Matthew 28:18-20 esv

18 “And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

I think for the most part that’s pretty straightforward–don’t you?  But, here’s the sobering question that I must deal with (and so must you)—“how focused am I  in acting on Jesus’ command?”

Let me share with you one additional set of verses, this time from the Apostle Paul  (I think he got it).  Read what he says:

Colossians 1:28-29 esv

28 “Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ. 29 For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me.”

In this day and age when across this world, mission statements and vision statements  hang on company walls and in organizational literature, how about each of us as Christians not only embrace this vision internally for our life, but live it out with passion so that others will see it demonstrated externally?

“Are you really giving your ….?”

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One of the fascinating things I enjoy about being a reader is the common things that tend to surface.  For instance, hard work, having a “serving others first” mentality,  and perseverance are just some that come to mind.
Another great lesson that is often seen in great leadership is to emphasize focusing on the job at hand (our responsibilities), rather than on results.  Too often, whether it’s on a sports team, or a business there can be such a focus on short-term results that excellence and long term health are sacrificed, often at great peril. Do the right thing–today!
With that in mind, I love this quote from John Wooden, hall of fame coach with UCLA’s men’s basketball program:
“STRIVE to always  bring a winning  attitude and steady effort to practice and competition. Success is peace of mind, which is a direct result  of self-satisfaction in knowing  you made the effort to do your best to become the best that you are capable of becoming”.
Get the idea here?  If you are doing all you are capable of doing, what more can be expected of you?  Regardless of what others might think, you have the peaceful satisfaction of knowing you gave it your all.   The challenge for each of us though is, are we giving it our all?   Are you really giving your best to become the best you ?
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As a help to being your best, please check out my Life Management App and consider using it with a friend:

You can visit either the App Store (for IPhones) Foundations Life Management app for IPhone devices

https://appsto.re/us/ejC7fb.I

or go to the Google Play Store- https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.FoundationsLifeCoach.Foundations&hl=en