“The world is what we think it is. If we can change our thoughts we can change the world” H.M. Tomlison
I have often found myself in a circle of negativity fully participating in the downtrodden conversation about how terrible this or that or him or she is. Soon thereafter upon reflection, I often end up feeling a genuine sense of shame that I chose to take part and more importantly chose to enable.
How great it would be if we could all see our lives this way? What if we could just jump out of bed every morning praising God for the new opportunity to honor Him through our actions and our thoughts? What if we could just move forward with positive passion through every challenge? How different life be as a result of a change as simple as how we look at the world.
As far as birthdays go there are few more memorable than sixteen. It is more than just a number as it represents a new freedom to roam and a giant step to independence thanks to the all-important driver’s license and access to a vehicle.
His excitement level reminded me somewhat sadly of those giddy days of old when a $3 Star Wars toy or a pirate birthday party would bring boundless energy of anticipation. I made a point to be home for that moment when with the new freedom card in hand he drove off alone for the first time.
Certainly a big part of his childhood was left behind in the driveway as he cruised away music cranked and smile wide. Meanwhile back at home his mother and I shared a hug as we too acknowledged that our lives had at the same time had just changed into a new stage of parenting and of being with each other.
Drive on Conner. (oh and drive slow with no texting) : )
― John Maxwell
Fourteen years ago today I completed my final radiation treatment after a whirlwind 9 months of lumps, surgeries, lost hope, chemo and finally healing. Yes it was many years ago but at this time of year it seems like yesterday.
There are a lot of crazy things going on in the world today and it can get so easy to be discouraged. I do not understand the whys behind sadness and tragedy. I think if you spend too much time on it the only result is to become bleak and bitter. Who really wants to live that way?
I thank the Lord for every new day. May we all be worthy of whatever lot in life we have been given and do our best to live in a way that truly honors Him.
|With Lance in 1999|
Finally I have come to openly accept that Lance Armstrong cheated during his reign as the Tour De France champion and as the allegations spread over the years he engaged in a fierce campaign of denial to protect his reputation, his legacy and his foundation. Whew that hurts to write yet at the same time also feels good to face the truth openly.
I have been working hard this summer to improve my fitness and loose a few pounds. My routine is to alternate between running and cycling. Saturday is my long ride day and I hit the street as soon as there is enough light to ride.
For several weeks the riding did not go so well. My frustrations about this difficulty became so great that I was growing concerned about my health. Was something wrong with me? Why so hard? I thought that my fitness was improving! I bonked so hard on one Saturday ride that I had to give up early and head back to the house with a completion of only 35 miles for the day.
Then one day while passing by my bike in the garage I suddenly for some strange reason gave the back wheel a little spin.
It moved maybe an inch. OOPS!
Turns out that for who knows how long the back brake had been pressed against the wheel. I had been in essence riding with the brake on for weeks.
You can imagine how that next ride went for me after fixing the break. Suddenly I was blazing down the road (well not exactly Lance Armstrong blazing but certainly faster than I had been previously).
It seems like my life is like those rides more often than I would like to admit. I get so frustrated about going slow, not figuring things out or feeling beaten down. Then it turns out more often than not the fix is actually something simple.
A day off
A conversation with an old friend
A change in priorities
An unexpected thank you
Some time alone
A hug from the wife
Time with God
My hope is that during this summer season you can also find that simple solution the release the brake and get your mojo back. See you out there!
As promised, here is my Value, Purpose and Compelling Vision. I have it posted at my desk along with the photo. The picture serves as a nice reminder that my wife and son are looking up to me as a leader for our family. I can never forget this and must strive to always be a Godly example.
Hopefully you have taken some time to go through this exercise as well. If not, I encourage you to do so soon.
My value list
Closeness to God
To serve God, serve my family and serve those around me.
My compelling vision statement:
I shall live a life grounded with a sense of integrity and of closeness with my God.
My values along with the Oath, Law and Motto will guide my choices along the way.
In my personal life I shall seek first to be a Godly husband and father and I will value those around me.
In my work life, I am committed to helping others experience success so they in turn will help others succeed.
I indeed understand that this life is but a breath in time and the impact I will have on others in service of Him is the most important impact of all.
Psalm 39:4-5 (New Living Translation)
4 “LORD, remind me how brief my time on earth will be.
Remind me that my days are numbered—
how fleeting my life is.
5 You have made my life no longer than the width of my hand.
My entire lifetime is just a moment to you;
at best, each of us is but a breath.”
Your purpose and vision statements are the next step in your walk to define who you are and what your life will stand for. My statements have changed many times over the years as my life circumstances have changed and as I have learned more about the world in general. Don’t worry about the wording or how it may be interpreted by others. These statements are for you.
Steven Covey has been recognized as the personal development pioneer in this area. In his book First Things First, he offers the following three basic elements that must be present in a meaningful personal vision (mission) statement. The first is what you want to be—what character strengths you want to have, what qualities you want to develop. The second is what you want to do—what you want to accomplish, what contributions you want to make. The third is what you want to have—what possessions, money and so forth you wish to have.
My statements are simple and easy to remember. Also, I am not much of “what you want to have” kind of person. Instead, I focus more on who I want to be. What you write is up to you.
Use the following exercise to help you write your statement:
Who you want to be—Imagine it is many years from now. You are walking into a large auditorium filled with excitement. You can tell from the crowd that this must be a ceremony to recognize some young people who are soon to graduate college and begin the great journey of life. At the podium a person appears and gives the introduction to her speech. It goes a little like this; “Ladies and gentleman. I am excited to be with you here today to tell the story of a life. Not just any life. This is story of a life that was lived to its fullest potential.
Today I am not here to tell you my story. Instead, I want to spend the next few minutes telling you the story of my good friend ___________________. To me he/she was a true example of someone who created a life of joy and fulfillment.
What would this speaker say about you?
“I am grateful to have known this person because…”
“My friend’s purpose in life was to…”
“In his personal life, my friend….”
“At work, my friend was known for…”
This exercise is personal by nature and there are many ways to approach it. My best suggestion is to just find a quiet place to be alone with your thoughts and truly reflect on the life you want to live. Share the results with a close friend when you are done and post your value list, purpose statement and vision statement somewhere close by.
I wish you the best and hope you found something about yourself that you may not have known.
Do you know what you value? If you took a few moments yesterday to brainstorm your thoughts you do. Congratulations! Before we move on to writing a purpose statement and a compelling vision statement I thought I would share my own value list.
My value list
Closeness to God
Articulation of values leads to accountability. Each day I must ask myself, “Are my actions in alignment with my values as well as my Purpose and my Vision?” I often fall short but at least I know what I am striving for.
Share your list today! Post where you can see it! No accountability leads to no action.
What were some of your values? Did they align with your actions?