Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Waiting For Your Cat To Bark

My stack of library books makes me grin. Evidence that my interests are all over the place. I absolutely LOVE the library. 10-15 books in hand for a mere $5 library card fee - oh, I think I've just died and gone to heaven.

On top of my happy little stack is a marketing book. It caught my attention as I am continually looking to grow my business. However, something about the title has me reflecting more on my relationships than my business.

"Waiting For Your Cat To Bark?" - by Bryan & Jeffrey Eisenberg. Hmmm. It's about marketing. But, wow. That says volumes about some of my relationships!

That's the answer I think to some of the biggest funks I've been trying to resolve personally. I've been waiting for certain cats in my life to bark. They aren't going to, I can't make them, and they are just always going to be who and what they've always been. You can't force someone to be nice, kind, gracious and appreciative - even if you give them everything you'd think they need. Even if you become a doormat through all of the giving. You can't compel people to be compassion if they aren't. And you can't expect tact from people who don't think tender thoughts. It's just not in them.

This totally goes against everything I've ever thought about people. I've always thought you could reason people into kindness and compassion. Give them enough mercy, attention, respect, and time, and they will yearn for peace and relationship.

Therein lies the biggest waste of energy in my life. Yes, this is monumental. You cannot, I cannot, change the hearts of people who choose to be angry and miserable. It's like waiting for a cat to bark.

What you can do however, is recognize it is about THEM not YOU, and spend your energy building your life around people who choose mutual respect, kindness, and gratitude. People who share the same vision of goodness in life . . .

. . . and then realize that there are those who will be mean and nasty because they choose to be mean and nasty. And not spend your valuable life moments taking it personally or banking on that to ever change.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Supergluing Wings To My High Heels

I'm currently listening to an audio book on how to create positive change in your life. The author referred to the Greek God Hermes (pronounced 'her-meez) - an agile runner with wings on his shoes and on his cap - who, among his many roles, in lightning speed would bring important messages from mighty Zeus.

Speaking of Hermes, the author explained that as Hermes would arrive on scene to herald new tidings, IMPASS in our lives does the same thing. When we are at a dead-end in our lives it is easy to feel hopeless. IMPASS, or that dead-end feeling, therefore, is simply the forerunner to essential, mercurial change.

I would have to agree with this author. Every time I have been at an impass in my life - a point of discontent - a point of frustration where I felt stuck - somehow, that was also the precursor to everything becoming clear. Impass was the catalyst for mercurial change within myself.

Thinking about my new winged friend, Hermes, what seems essential is the skill of agility. Being able to change direction with dexterity and lightness. No baggage or hesitancy. No judgment or revenge. No second guessing, no blaming. Just change. Right change.

I've got some points of impass in my life - areas that seem stalemated and stuck. Hense, I've decided to superglue some wings to my new fuscia Payless pumps. If nothing else, just to humor myself along and remember . . . I want to be agile when I am at an impass . . . I welcome positive, insightful, essential change. It always comes at what seems a dead-end.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Don't Shoot The Lawnmower

A story came across my desk today through the AP Press. The headline read "Angry Man Shoots Lawnmower".

True story. A 56 year-old Milwaukee man was frustrated with his lawnmower and pulled out a short-barreled rifle and shot the dang thing. Taking aim at the defenseless lawnmower, combined with illegal possession of this type of rifle, could haunt this man to the tune of 6 years in prison and $11,000 in fines.

Hmm. I, myself have been frustrated with my lawnmower at times. After almost throwing my back out yanking the pull-cord twice my body length, and heaving my machine down the sloped driveway while holding the cord, hoping gravity would be on my side . . . yes, I can appreciate the man's frustration.

However . . . seems to me a better resolution (and a cheaper one) would be to fix the frustration, change the cord, replace the annoyance, restore the rust, clean the engine, borrow a neighbor's, pay a kid in the neighborhood . . . wow . . . pretty much anything that would expedite the process rather than shoot the lawnmower itself.

Are there issues in your life that you're addressing like this man did his lawnmower? Shoot the dang thing up as opposed to finding an effective solution?

Don't lose sight of the desired end result. A cut lawn. There's more than one way to get there.

To Read AP Press Article: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080726/ap_on_fe_st/odd_mower_madness;_ylt=ArGXoI0t7EQGsM4vPz82jSShOrgF

Friday, July 25, 2008

Medium Rare Thanks But No Thanks

I saw a billboard the other day which read, "Only a mediocre person is at his best all of the time". Wow.

It was refreshing to ponder that thought as I struggle to understand the ups and downs on the roller coaster of life. Some days I feel on top of things, other days I am looking up wondering how I've dropped from where I wanted to be and expect myself to be.

Here's the secret though I believe: To be a peak performer, one who excels, it must be expected that lows will come, re-evaluation must take place, and new goals must be sought. Standing in place will never be enough if I want to cross a finish line, even one of my own design.

I want to see great things in my lifetime. I want to be part of great movements, worldchanging trends, and hands on transformation in people, businesses, and youth. I believe great things are not only possible, but integral to an exceptional and fulfilling life. That also means that mediocrity is not acceptable. In fact, it is the thief of true fulfillment as it undermines one's ability to endure, push harder, sprint faster, and go the extra mile.

Striving to do better means I will have days where I fall short, dust myself off, and with a loving kick, boot myself through the next mile. It is a refusal to be mediocre.

The process is worth the rewards of having unparalleled success on days when I do break through and reach the summit - cheering for myself even when I'm the only one who sees the personal challenge overcome. Medium rare? No thanks. I'm enjoying the push to excel past myself. The view from the top is amazing.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Pick YOU Up!

Our youngest son was not yet two years old. He confused his words on a simple request. Still today his grammatical error makes me chuckle.

Looking down into his toddler eyes, as he'd stretch his arms towards us as eagerly as he could, our son would say, "Pick YOU up?" What he really meant to say was, "Pick ME up", however, repeating our question to him word for word, his request came out backwards. "Pick YOU up?" he would insist! "Pick YOU up?" chubby fingers twitching and anxious arms reaching as high up our legs as possible. (I think he would have climbed us like a tree trunk if he had been able!)

"Sweetheart, you mean 'Pick ME up?" - our parental attempts to correct his english. Frustrated he would shake his hands in the air, "No! Pick YOU up!" he would yell. He knew what he meant, we knew what he meant, so rather than exasperate the child further, we decided to let him ask how he would. For almost a year when he would ask, "Pick YOU up?" - we knew he meant he wanted to be picked up and held.

Funny. I watch adults every day ask for love, acceptance, and closeness with similarly confusing ways. We want to be taken care of, yet we act independent. We want closeness, yet we build walls that keep us isolated. We yearn for acceptance, yet we keep our weaknesses and vulnerabilities to ourselves.

Luckily, people who do love us also know that we struggle to ask for what we need directly. They humor us, look in to our childlike eyes, and reach down to pick us up.

Thank heavens, God does too.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Up In Smoke

On November 3rd, 2007 on the side of a busy Chicago freeway, Malachi Ritscher doused himself with gasoline and lit himself on fire. He wanted to make a statement to the world about his frustration with the war in Iraq. Sadly, amidst the rush hour traffic, no one saw him.

The statement he hoped to make, along with the political changes he hoped to see, went up in smoke with that decision. Interviews with his family showed only deep remorse for his choice to end his life. How much more could he have impacted the world through living a long life of leadership, influence and impact?
A life lived with fight, determination, and commitment to making radical positive change is a life of value. Don't let your best intentions go up in smoke by misguided attempts at rage, revenge, or martyrdom. Being a victim to this life is never noble - standing up for what is right and good has always been. Choose your most powerful impact on this world - choose life!

Saturday, July 5, 2008

And Now, A Word From Our Sponsors

Yesterday my friend Sheri and I ran the Freedom Festival 10K. It was a longer run than I'd done in over a year but pacing myself with Sheri (and laughing the whole way) I didn't stop once. We finished the race giggling and sweating - proud to have completed our goal.

Sheri motivated me and encouraged me to do that run - alone I don't believe I would have completed it.

Sheri has been part of most of the charity work I've been involved with, almost every business I've started, and was there cheering me on when I won Mrs. Utah. Since we met almost 7 years ago she has been one of the best components in my successes. And yet, I don't know if I tell her that often enough.

Are there people in your life that encourage you along, even almost invisibly, who make all of the difference in your success? Do you have Sheri's in your life that laugh along with you, cry alongside you, serve in good times and bad with you, and who know you so well that they also give you room to make big mistakes?

I'm going to challenge you today to reach out and tell that person in your life that they make the difference. One of my first emails this morning was to Sheri - one of the best sponsors for goodness in my life.

Who sponsors you friend?

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

The Difference A Prayer Makes

Sometimes in leadership its tough to admit you're scared. You look around at a new office, a new title, a new job description and it's a bit intimidating. Even with all of the fanfare and glory you worry. May make you feel like a 5 year old again on the first day of kindergarten.

Solomon felt like that too. In fact, he was real honest about his intrepidation about becoming king. He prayed, "I feel like a child who doesn't know his way around . . . " 1 Kings 3:7 "give me an understanding mind so I can govern your people well and know the difference between right and wrong."

That's it. He prayed a very simple prayer. "I'm in leadership now and I don't know my way around. Help me be an understanding leader AND know right from wrong."

Well, God was pretty happy about that prayer. Solomon didn't ask to be cooler than those he led, wealthier than other kings, drive a better car, or be better looking than his subjects. He was very humble and honest about his own inadequacies.

What did God do? He blessed Solomon with wisdom, wealth and legacy.

When we feel like a kid who doesn't know his way around, it's best to let God know we're a bit lost. Get humble and pray for wisdom. Then with that new title, that new office, that new project, we can be blessed with divine discernment and lead well.