Today has been erratic, my heart was not at ease, and my behaviors and thoughts with each interaction have not been grace and mercy, but rather frustration and contempt. That all changed when I saw a post in a Christian group in Yammer. It was nothing grandiose, just asking to consider donating to a young woman’s fight to go back to school in the fall. I see many requests like this all the time. There is always some cause, the pursuit of something greater, or even just a random kind act popping up on your radar frequently. But today I was convicted to help and here is why:
- The cups of coffee I have in the morning can pay for my donation.
- This group of 50+ individuals can probably all afford a small donation, why not start the ball rolling.
- I needed to change my mental state for the day.
- 5 minutes is all it took to invest in a future
Is there someone you don’t even know you can invest in. It doesn’t have to be money, it can be:
- Time. Find a way to give a person more time, they will be blessed by that in the end.
- Knowledge. Be a mentor. Share your experiences
- Attitude. This can go a long ways to giving hope, charity, and grace to others.
The apostle Paul couldn’t have said it better:
Php 2:3-5 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. (4) Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. (5) Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus
I am convinced that my interactions every day could use some TLC when it comes to thinking about others. Try as I might, I struggle to place others in front of me. When I do achieve that feat great things happen, relationships are built, and trust is gained. When I catch myself being more self-centered instead of others focused I do the following:
Many times, work becomes overwhelming. The computer is no longer my friend and staring at the screen at the inflammatory email I am about to send is way overboard. I get up from my desk and take a walk around the halls. I may just close my eyes for five minutes. I may focus on a task that is totally unrelated to the one I am engrossed in. All of these help me to refocus and realign my thinking.
Being Present With Others
I am in a lot of meetings. It is hard for me to be present each and every time I am around people where I “feel” there may be a lack of competency or disengagement to the process. One of the core questions I have started asking myself when someone speaks is “What can I learn from them?”. This helps me grow, stay focused, and even engage fully. I don’t bring my laptop to the meeting and try to only take notes when the meeting is virtual. It is so easy to tune out otherwise. Lastly, but most importantly, I am becoming more aware of how much I speak versus others. I am starting to eliminate my speaking in exchange for others. Awkward silence has become ok for me in meetings as I know everyone processes differently.
Asking Myself The Smart Questions
Andy Stanley has identified amazing questions we should ask ourselves before we make decisions.
- What is the wise thing to do?
- What would a great leader (replace leader with the person relevant) do?
If I truly take the time to be mindful on these questions before making decisions, I am blessed by the outcome.
To make something easier to do or to understand.
For the last 10 days I have been doing a study on Simplify. The intro starts out with Overscheduled, Exhausted, Overwhelmed? Sound Familiar? At that point, I just knew I had to dig in and see what insights I could gleam off of the study. As each day progressed, I shared my notes with my wife, who in turn shared her wisdom about the study also. Here are some of the highlights I took away.
My thirty days of intentional living posts are finished! I wouldn’t have been able to do this at all without the support of my readers, my friends, and most of all my family. To make these posts easier to locate, I am consolidating them in this list. If there is one that you missed take the time to read it. If there is one that is your personal favorite let me know. I have taken some time to loosely categorize each post based upon an area of life to be intentional about.
Investing In Yourself
We need to continuously invest in ourselves to keep us from going stale or insignificant. There are so many ways that we can do this. I have found key components in the investment are discipline to move forward, grace to fail, and love to cover everything.
- Commitment Is It’s Own Reward
- Define Success in Everything
- Write, Write, and Then Write Some More
- Procrastination Is The Antidote
- An Abundant Mindset
- Choose Necessary Over Uncomfortable
- Change Happens Constantly
- Stop Calendar Abuse
- Finding Purpose With 3 Questions
- Think Before Acting
- Listen Intently, Listen Deeply
- A More Personalized Greeting
Investing in Others
This is such a rewarding experience. The purest reward is seeing the fruits of your labor of love in others. There are so many that have poured their time and effort into making me a better person, how could I not do the same for others.
- Trust and a Haricut
- Kindness Shouldn’t Be Seasonal
- Always Be Thankful
- Create Memories For Others
- Who Will You Invest in Today?
- Success For Others Is In You Control
- Encouragement is Contagious
Your Life Story
It is so amazing to think that the story of your life will be crafted by you. It has taken me over 40 years to realize this truth. I have started to deliberately demand significance for my life. Let’s see what amazing work will be accomplished through me as I intentionally focus outward to make a difference.
- Narrate Your Story With Choices
- Move Toward Your Dream
- What Do You Want To Accomplish?
- Doors of Opportunity Await
- Pursuit is the True Reward
- Your Life is an Artistic Masterpiece
- Intentional Living, A New Way Of Life
Living intentionally would be remiss if it didn’t include how we are fundamentally part of teams. No one person can scale to accomplish greatness. It takes an army, small precision teams, a life-long partnership, and an incredible support system to slay dragons and win kingdoms.
- Network Traits I Am Building
- Attracting a Team to Achieve a Dream
- Taking Credit is Really Stealing
- To Cooperate or Compete
I hope this set of writings will be inspirational for you. It has caused me to pause and realize that in order to be significant, I need to grow, explore, inspire, laugh, and cry. I am writing the story of my life and it would be pretty unsatisfying without you as part of it.
Thirty days of writing a blog post series ends with the topic of commitment. I am truly humbled to make it to the finish line. There were a lot of obstacles such as weekends, Thanksgiving break, not feeling well, and mental blocks on what to write about. On a couple of occasions, I had this nagging voice saying “you gave it your best shot, so what if you miss a day.” I am glad that I didn’t listen to that advice.
I am very committed to living a life that takes care of my family.
They say it takes 30 days to form a habit. I am not looking to write a blog post every day as that habit, but I am looking to be consistently writing going forward. I couldn’t have made it through without the commitment of others helping me out. My wife was instrumental in coming along side in another 30 day commitment that was the catalyst for my writing. I got an outline of what I wanted to write about from John Maxwell’s living intentional journey. Without that I surely would have struggled mightily. Also, there was encouragement from my family, friends, and peers, which is who I have written these posts for.
This is the season I like best, as it tends to bring out the best in everyone. Little random acts of kindness are being done everywhere and by everyone, and I don’t think it is an accident. Why would this time of year be any different? It is because we intentionally recognize thankfulness and have a giving heart toward the holidays.
My daughter was kind enough to share Dippin Dots with her brother on a great zoo outing.
Every day is full of opportunities for you to make a difference in others, even if it seems small. Yesterday, I opened a door for a lady with a box of books and helped a couple find hooks for their Christmas tree. They returned smiles and said thank you. However, the value I got out of it far outweighed the effort. I am not saying the only reason to be kind is so that you will get a benefit, but it just naturally happens.
Don’t put kindness in a box for most of the year.
Celebrate when you have defined success. First shot at taking pictures of fireworks, which was a satisfactory outcome!
Over the last two months I have been working on an initiative to bring prioritization and clarity across an organization. I wish I could say I had success defined for this endeavor. Sadly, I didn’t crystalize what that would look like. However, all is not lost and it is never too late to take the step back and write down what success will look like.
The most successful people I have been around are clear on the end outcomes. They envisioned what success looks like and focused intently on the journey to get to the outcome. Distractions were put aside, the noise was muffled, and momentum toward the goal escalated.
This morning my son and I tried out a barbershop in the neighborhood. From the barber pole outside the door to the old time radio show playing in the background, it truly was authentic. While getting our haircuts, the barber greeted one of his customer’s by name and asked how his Thanksgiving was. Customer service was a top priority.
An authentic barber pole and everything. Complete with customer service.
When it came time to pay for the haircut, I got out my wallet and started to hand him my debit card. He kindly stated that they don’t accept cards and were a cash only shop. I didn’t have any money on me so I told him I would need to run to the ATM. He smiled, handed me his business card and told me just to bring in the money next time I visited. He trusted me to do the right thing and I did. Five minutes later, I had cash in hand and a good tip to boot. In addition he just got two new customers.
Today for many people in the US will be about spending time with family, friends, and loved ones. It will be time of food, festivities, and football. It will be about love, gratitude and thankfulness. Traditions are being formed and we actually have a holiday that calls out being thankful.
It is not uncommon to see turkeys in Red Lodge, Montana. This was actually taken on Thanksgiving day a couple of years ago.
Today may have special significance, but all throughout our days we have so much to be thankful for. True thankfulness is a heart action, it evolves from your Spirit and manifests in forms of a smile, gratitude, encouragement, and an amazing attitude.
How I have a thankful attitude
- It starts with thanking God each and every morning that I am breathing. His mercies are new every day.
- I Focus on the positive. There is no better way than to tally up all the good things that are happening and being thankful for them
- I help others. By giving of myself, I find that I receive such a blessing from their smiles and uplifted countenance. I like to do this in abundance.
- When I feel it is hard to be thankful, I take a step back to think about all sides of a situation and am thankful for the opposite point of view.
- I reflect on my current situation. It is never the worst it can be. I am thankful for that.
This Thanksgiving, I want to say thanks to everyone who makes me the person I am today.
- I am especially grateful that my family is intentional about loving me and investing their time to make our family awesome.
- I am thankful for those I work with, as they are molding me to be the co-worker and leader that is pleasing to God.
- I am blessed to know friends who spread thanksgiving freely.
- I am calling out my wife in particular, who I am eternally thankful for being part of my life.
It is never to young to start writing. Capturing a memory and ideas is priceless.
As the years add up, the ability to remember has diminished. I didn’t think I needed to writing anything down. For me, the ability to retain knowledge, recall facts of a conversation, or remember tidbits of trivia are quickly becoming memories themselves. I used to scoff at the argument that memory fades and items become harder to remember. Now maybe I am just a little bit wiser and realize that I am having to change my processes to get information the way I need it.
“If you have a thought but don’t write it down, by the next morning it may be gone forever – Richard Branson