Words: You Can’t Hide Behind Them

Words, whether spoken or written are so revealing.

There is much power in words.

In Proverbs 18:21 it tells us the strong message that, Death and life are in the power of the tongue,
And those who love it will eat its fruit.

Just as Almighty God spoke the first recorded command of, let there be light, so our words create and continue to create. He breathed into us the breath of life, so we have His breath, right?

Words I speak come from my heart. And that reveals who I am.

I am trying to communicate with words on this blog, and as soon as I open my mouth (using written words) I am very much exposing who I am.

I expose whether I know what I am writing or whether I am one big fake. There is a spirit attached to our communication. Humans are spirits and we know things we hardly know that we know about other people.

I am simply sharing this to state my realization that as I continue to write I am also revealing whether I know. Who I am and what is the purpose of my writing.

All I know: I want to be real. And the more I write and communicate the clearer it will become to me and others, whether I am real or fake.

What have you learned in your own experience about the power of words? Please comment below.

John Lee Dumas: Kickstarter on Fire

January 7 2016 - Blog PostThough I’m not a regular listener of the Entrepreneur on Fire daily podcast, what Mr. John Lee Dumas, a U.S. marine, has pulled off this week is nothing short of inspiring.

He has interviewed 1,200 guests since launching EO Fire. In the course of his interviews he noticed a commonality among his guests: Goal setting. And goal achieving.

In the course of his interviewing tenure and his own experiences, he has developed his own system for achieving, and developed the Freedom Journal to share what he’s discovered.

The Freedom Journal launched on Kickstarter on Monday, January 4, 2016. The minimum backing goal was: $25,000. The project hit $100,000 in 33 hours. Incredible or what?

In a recent interview, I heard John Lee Dumas say his strength is discipline.

I concluded that discipline equals action equals inspiration, and inspiration often produces more action.

Can one person make a difference? The answer is obvious.

Will you (or have you already) be backing the Freedom Journal and get your own copy? Why or why not? Please comment below.

Why is my Response to Criticism so Crucial?

Jan 5 2016 - Blog PostIf I am able to give constructive criticism I also need to be able to receive it. (I’m writing for me now.)

I find it easy to tell my customers where they should correct the direction they’re going. But sometimes I have a hard time receiving correction myself.
After I get over myself so that I am able to receive correction then it prepares me for real peace in my own heart.
When peace is in my own heart then I have one of the key ingredients for peace with another person. And then many persons.
It starts in here—in my own heart.
How well do you receive correction? Please comment below.

What’s the Right Way to Ask a Question?

January 4 2016 - Blog PostThere’s something almost magical about asking honest questions without apology.

Asking honestly draws stories out of a person’s life in a way nothing else does.

The very important counterpart of asking the right question is having the grace to then be quiet and listen to the answer.

If we could eliminate questions from our speech for a week or even for a day we would begin to better understand the power of the question.

The German Jewish inventor Charles Steinmetz said, “No man really becomes a fool until he stops asking questions.”

How has asking the right questions added value to your life? Please comment below.

The Seemingly Unimportant May be the Most Important

January 3 2016 - Blog PostConsistent. Daily. One word at a time. Show up daily. Do the work. Be dependable.

These words describe what seem to be the best way to make the most impact.

The scripture in Luke 16:10, states that He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much; and he who is unjust in what is least is unjust also in much.

It seems all the questions I have about what it takes to be successful and what it takes to make an impact, can really be boiled down to: keep doing it, keep marching, not only when you feel like it—just do it.

Intuitively, we know the answer, but will we do what we know to be the answer?

What do you think is the simplest way to make the biggest impact? Please comment below.

Today is the Opportunity of a Lifetime

January 2 2016 - Blog PostToday—don’t miss it

At the ending and beginning of each year the hopes are high for a knockout year—in the future—next year.

Today, I am writing to remind myself that I can never and will never live a whole year, a whole month, or even a whole hour at a time. I live in this moment.

While planning for the future and how I spend my day and my week is very important, it is the actions I take this moment that really make the difference.

Can I take action today?

Of course, I can.

Will I?

Just do it

I have set my standards so high in the past that I have failed to ‘show up and do the work’, one of the favorite choruses of Mr. Jeff Goins.

It’s easy to get caught up in the question of, Do I have what it takes?

I think Paul Evans asked a better question in his email this week. (Paul also wrote on Huffington Post this week about setting better goals.) In his email he asks the question that has gone through my head: Do I have what it takes to do… (and he lists about 25 items.) Do I have what it takes to write the book? Win the award? Lose the weight? Run the race? Pursue the goal

He concludes by answering the question: Yes. You do.

Then he asks the clincher: The bigger question: Will you?

It seems it’s that simple. Not that easy. But that simple.

Embarrassed

I confess: I am embarrassed by what I am putting out there right now. But I am forcing myself to write and learn in public to get myself to change, to take my writing seriously, and develop as a writer while the opportunity is called today.

What action have you taken today—on this second day of 2016, towards your goals? I’d love to hear from you. Please comment below.

The Squiggly Line to Success

January 1 2016 - Blog PostThe New Year Day

From the vantage of 2015 the New Year and 2016 was all posh, untainted, and the most successful time of my life.

Here I am, on the 2016 side, and what I discover is the need for faithfulness in the moment. In the day. What will I do today to reach my goals?

Yesterday, I was reading The 12 Week Year by Brian Moran.

Brian’s book helped me understand it won’t work to take the lazy route until September then try to make up for all the wasted opportunities in order to hit my goals by December 31.

Beat-Up Writer

Frankly, today I feel somewhere between beat-up, humble, and realistic.

I can put on a fake happy face and pretend I’m the newest undiscovered USA’s Got Talent writer and then sit and do nothing. Or, I can choose to put seat in the chair and bleed over the keyboard, be entirely honest and vulnerable and attempt to make authentic connections.

Shauna Niequest has probably been the most inspiration I have ever received on being vulnerable. Her interview with Michael Hyatt in Platform University is one I go back to. She promotes transparency, vulnerability, and candor. She connects as a friend and not as an expert.

After spending time yesterday on 2016 goals, I confess I left the office last night (December 31, 2015) with my heart pushing into my throat, with a slight twist in my stomach, and almost a puke taste on my tongue. All these things I want to accomplish and how in the world?

My wife and I spent our morning taking our turn cleaning a portion of the church house and then I attempted to resurrect my wife’s iPhone that finally conceded to an iCloud backup. Of course, with my wife’s yummy sauerkraut, sausage, and mashed potatoes tucked in the middle of that agenda, along with some baby squeezing of my beloved son.)

After I made it to the office I realized that the line to success is certainly not straight and linear. It’s the very first day of a brand new year, and I sure have not been making any glowing accomplishments on how I thought it should have been started.

I don’t yet understand the full meaning of Proverbs 16:9 A man’s heart plans his way, But the Lord directs his steps, but there is something in there that points to the fact that I don’t have 100% control, even though I think I might have.

Commit Your Plans to God

All in all, I see I need help.

The best I know to do is follow the instruction of Proverbs 16:3 Commit your works to the Lord, And your thoughts will be established.

This verse really seems backwards. I’d like to commit my thoughts to the Lord and then my works will come after that. But I believe the real meaning in this verse is that I need to be active and whatever actions/works I am doing I need to commit to the Lord, then He will give me the ideas and thoughts of what and how to go from there—and what to do next.

How has your 2016 been so far? If you read this blog post I really would like to hear from you. Please comment below. Thanks so much.

Three Lessons from my Thanksgiving Day Hunt

Thanks Day Hunt Post-Dec 1 2015Horizontal strokes of rosy pink brushed the pre-dawn sky. We traipsed the semi-mud, harvested soybean field and entered the forest. An occasional breeze kissed our cheeks. Leaves and fallen limbs underfoot. Bare wood towering around us. Before we entered the denser forest I made a last glimpse of the morning clouds snuggling around the low hanging moon.

My brother-in-law David and his 9-year-old son and I had broken into the pre-dawn with turkeys on our minds (wild ones, that is). It was Thanksgiving Day morning in northwestern Pennsylvania and the rest of the family was still snoozing at the house.

I’m no hunter, so the opportunity for adventure was a welcome one—and worth a lot to me.

I was provided a thick sunkist orange stocking for hunter safety and black Tingley rubbers to protect my Keen adventure shoes. Delightfully perfect.

We tried to get the attention of any nearby turkeys with a homemade handheld device that creates a sound similar to blackboard scratching. But we didn’t see any turkeys or bring any home. However, the experience taught me a few lessons.

Lesson #1  •  It’s easy to be called a hunter.

(I’ll probably get in trouble with hunters on this one.) It seems if I have the equipment  and I go to places where hunting takes place at the proper times, I can be dubbed a hunter, even if I have no harvest to show for it. I think it works for fishing also. I’ve gone fishing, but didn’t catch. (The reason this one stuck out to me was that it doesn’t seem writing operates by the same rules. If I have pad, have pencil, and announce that I will write, doesn’t really make me a writer. I really do need to write to be a writer. Just had to tuck this one in to remind myself.)

Lesson #2  •  A new environment is good for the soul.

Trees. Leaves. A smelly bog.  Mud. Fallen limbs. Buck rubs. Woodpecker slices. Crunchy soybean pods. Not my normal environment. A new and different environ works wonders deep down when I inhale the fresh air and walk the mud trails. It alters the perspective. It clears the mental palate. It’s good.

Lesson #3  •  Hunting with others is an excellent way to share an experience—and make sure it happens (Especially at 6AM).

Doing an important activity with someone creates a powerful accountability factor, for One—to get it done. And two,  so that all can benefit equally. Hunting together is not about greed and selfishness. It’s about sharing the same experience. The hunting activity mixed with the wild outdoor environment are an excellent mix for building and establishing friendship and camaraderie.

I’m not a tree hugger, but I decided the forest is a sanctuary. I also realized that there’s something intimate in a forest that’s absent in an open field.

I conclude that hunting can indeed be productive without bringing home the game. We had a turkey previously prepared for Thanksgiving Day Dinner. For which I was grateful.

What memory-making activity did you do around Thanksgiving Day this year?

Thanks to Lewis Schiff and Jeff Goins (I Took Your Advice. It Worked.)

Profit and Schiff-Goins Follow Up Blog Post - Nov 2015I am not entirely sure what motivated Jeff Goins to interview Lewis Shiff from Inc. Magazine, about a year ago, but it sure made a difference for me.

When I wrote my original post about the podcast interview last year there were eleven comments on Jeff’s post. It’s been over a year, and there are twelve. It’s pretty obvious that the podcast was for me.

The message of the podcast and the book Business Brilliant by Lewis Schiff deeply resonated. I shifted gears and began to focus on profitability in my marketing and branding business. My blog writing went onto the back burner. (FYI: I wasn’t hibernating, but I’ve come up for air.)

I wanted to report back to Jeff and Lewis: I did what you instructed and it worked. There are three key points that I took away from the podcast.

Key messages in Jeff’s podcast and in the book (that made the difference for me):

1. Imitate, don’t innovate in your business.

2. The idea that you ‘pursue your passion and the money will follow’ is false. People who Schiff has interviewed who have done well for themselves and their businesses have indeed followed their passion, but then they followed the money. (Someone might take this as greed and money hunger. Truth be told, our local grocer has no plans to hand out loaves of bread for free. He charges money for it. Neither has the coffee shop next door started giving out coffee for free. Yeah, charging for these goodies is simply good business.)

3. Having a new idea for a start-up is not that impressive. The execution of the idea is what separates the winner from the loser. (Schiff is audacious enough to title a chapter in his entrepreneurial book with this name: Mastering the Mundane. Not exactly appealing to entrepreneurs. Read it to find out how cool that really is. I’ve learned to increasingly appreciate it.)

I’ve come to somewhat disdain new ideas.

I say Amen to what John Maxwell said this week when he spoke live in Canton, Ohio: “Don’t tell me what you’re going to do—show me what you’re going to do.

The main shift

The biggest difference came in mindset. Moment of truth: I realized that it’s important, nay, essential, that my business is profitable (and that means money) and everything changed. It’s necessary to follow after the money. No, not to be greedy. But to be wise.

I was bolder when I met clients and quoted prices. I was quicker to bring up pricing and budget. (Thanks also to Sandler Training and Sales Trainer Jordan Mullet for their help on this.) I cultivated the perspective that, I have given my best on this project. It is OK for me to be profitable.

The proof is in the results

I reaped the blessings.

First quarter 2015 v. First quarter 2014: 301% increase in sales.

Second quarter 2015 v. Second quarter 2014: 101% increase in sales.

Third quarter 2015 v. Third quarter 2014: 43% increase in sales.

Yeah, that’s what I’m referring to. There’s a difference.

Thanks, Jeff and Lewis. You made a difference for me. Thanks for your help.

 

I’d be delighted to hear what you’ve done to be profitable. Please comment below.

This Interview of Lewis Schiff and Jeff Goins Turned my World Upside Down

Business Brilliant bookA few weeks ago, I listened with interest to Jeff Goins’ interview of Lewis Schiff from Inc. Magazine. I had never heard of Lewis Schiff before.

The interview was based on Schiff’s book: Business Brilliant. I used to think radio hosts and podcasters often would interview authors “just to sell a book and make a buck.”

Let me say clearly, I have a different perspective now.

The podcast

In the interview, Jeff admitted that he questioned some of the the claims Lewis made in the book. However, Jeff did say he has bought eleven copies of the book for his mastermind group. (He’s bought so many his wife shut down his buying power for that title. No more buying the book to give away.) Even others in the group questioned claims Lewis made in the book. However, the group members were willing to adjust their thinking to accommodate the claims.

I concede, in the course of the interview they knocked over some pretty important pins in my own structure. (Let me correct and restate: I thought the pins were important.)

I noticed that this particular interview has the least number of comments from all of Jeff Goins’ podcasts. Could we conclude it didn’t resonate as much with Jeff’s tribe as some other interviews he has presented? I am beginning to conclude the podcast was presented for only me.

The effect

It is hard for me to explain how paradigm-shifting and revolutionary the message of that podcast has been for me. I listened to it four times. (You might even find me listening to it again. No promises about that.)

The main thing it did for me: it gave me understanding that spurred me to action. I got it!

I had been dialoguing with a coach to help me in my graphic design and marketing business, but had not committed to a package to proceed with his services. After Lewis Schiff’s message of Business Brilliant had registered in my core I felt an urgency deep within.

I couldn’t go to bed before had I sent the email to the coach. My wife was waiting in bed while I was in the bathroom pecking out the message on my phone.

These are the main points I needed to get off my chest:

1. I’d like for you to help me be able to afford you for coaching.

2. I listened to Jeff Goins’ interview with Lewis Schiff. Kinda shook me up. I need help to be profitable. Can you help me? I need help/accountability to execute… and get it done. I’ve made excuses for too long. Lord, please grant wisdom in Jesus’ name. I need it.

I’m simply sharing these details on my blog to share my journey. It is something that has made a difference in my world. It might make a difference in yours.

Key messages in Jeff’s podcast and in the book:

1. Imitate, don’t innovate in your business.

2. The idea that you ‘pursue your passion and the money will follow’ is false. People who Schiff has interviewed who have done well for themselves and their businesses have indeed followed their passion, but then they followed the money. (Someone might take this as greed and money hunger. Truth be told, our local grocer has no plans to hand out loaves of bread for free. He charges money for it. Neither has the coffee shop next door started giving out coffee for free. Yeah, charging for these goodies is simply good business.)

3. Having a new idea for a start-up is not that impressive. The execution of the idea is what separates the winner from the loser. (Schiff is audacious enough to title a chapter in his entrepreneurial book with this name: Mastering the Mundane. Not exactly appealing to entrepreneurs. Read it to find out how cool that really is. I’m beginning to like it.)

Action steps I took:

1. Made myself accountable. I made a list of specific projects I needed to complete with finish-by dates that I gave to my coach.

2. I began doing projects instead of putting them onto my to-do list for the umpteenth time.

How my thinking changed as a result of my coach:

1. I knew I had someone in my corner, rooting for me. It motivated me. It strengthened my resolve and my purpose.

2. This specific coach’s personality, worldview, and business operation experience and success are a right fit for me. (This is the most important one.)

3. He is able to speak the truth in love and hold my feet to the fire if needed.

That’s been a few weeks now. But after I had a break in the action, I called my coach. I was ecstatic with the unfolding of events and the changes my mindset have had on my performance.

My coach said he could hear a difference in my voice.

Let me say, I have someone in my corner. My world has changed. I’m living the difference.

For so long, I’ve wanted to take all the credit myself for my success. I wanted to be the star of my own show. Guess again. (Talking to myself now.) I need help to succeed.

I have accomplished projects in these few short weeks that have been in my cache for months.

Truth is—we’re created as social beings and we function more productively in synergy with others than alone.

Coaching that is connected to specific actions in my life. That is what made the biggest difference for me.

I now understand in a fresh way: books have the power to change lives. Let’s get the word out about good books.

My adventure continues.

Do you have a coach? Why or why not? I’d be delighted to hear from you. Thanks for reading, and please leave your thoughts below.