Action is Required if You’re Going to Accomplish Anything

A Plan is a Great Place to Start, But Won’t Build the House

I don’t know about you, but I find it easier to plan than to do. Last week we discussed how overthinking things slows down our plans. The thinking part is important, but it alone isn’t going to accomplish our goals.

The week before we examined how learning can keep us stuck and prevent us from moving forward. Like thinking, learning is also essential to moving forward toward our dreams.

It became evident that while both of these are great, neither will work without action.

We must “do” if we’re going to succeed.

On the other hand, just doing has issues as well. If you don’t know what you want to accomplish how will you know if what you’re doing is the right thing.

If you want to build a new home, you need a plan before you start. Granted, it doesn’t have to be a full blown super detailed set of blueprints. It could even be just in your mind, but there’s still a plan.

The problem is that it’s hard to clearly share plans when they’re only in your head.

So, if there are any others you plan to share the home with…it might be a good idea to find a clear way to communicate your plans.

The key to accomplishing the things you want is in understanding how planning and doing work together. Napoleon Hill summarizes this well with his quote…

“Plan your work and work your plan.”

Building a house is a great example for building anything, whether that’s a building, a business or a life. You need to start with the end in mind. What is it’s purpose? What will it look like when it’s finished? What needs to be done to achieve that outcome? In what order do these things need to be done? This is the planning part.

The doing part comes with some questions as well. Are you going to do it by yourself or hire professionals? Do you know how to do it or are you going to need to learn how? How long is it going to take if you do it yourself? Do you have that much time?

The bottom line is that you need to be clear on what it is that you want to accomplish and then determine the best way to get there. Once you’ve figured this out get started building.

If you don’t get started, you’ll never get finished!

There Are a Limited Number of Ideas

So, What Makes One Better Than Another?

It’s less than two weeks until this year will be over. The end of one year and the start of another is often a time used for reflecting on the past and looking to the future. In last week’s post I referred to my working on goal setting and planning.

I made the process of reviewing and setting goals a part of my annual routine.

It’s on the calendar and done intentionally.

Another thing that coincides with this time of the year is inboxes being flooded with new and better ideas for goal setting and life planning. I currently know of 6-8 of these that have been bombarding my emails regularly and repeatedly. Most of them I have used or are familiar with.

One such plan is a course in Donald Miller’s Business Made Simple University called Hero on a Mission. This is a course that I went through years ago, before BMSU even existed. I still use parts of it in my current life planning system.

My friend and accountability partner Shep and I are going through the Hero on a Mission course together. Over the past several months we have gone through a variety of different types of courses and workshops. One discussion that continually comes up, regardless of the topic, is how they all seem to be the same thing.

So, what makes one better than another?

Why are there so many options if they are all so similar. And how can so many similar options be needed?

I think there are two basic reasons for all the different, yet similar options.

First, I compare it to reading the Bible. If you’ve ever read the Bible more than once, or even if you’ve just read select scriptures more than once, you probably experienced those same exact words having different meanings at different times.

I think this is just a matter of where we are in our lives when we read it. Different circumstances, problems, celebrations or experiences all contribute to seeing things from different perspectives.

This is one of the greatest things about the Bible and what makes it so timeless. It is always relevant yesterday, today and tomorrow.

I think goal setting and life planning is similar. It’s the same content over and over yet for whatever reason today it makes perfect sense. It has to do with where we are in our life journey.

The second thing is that we all connect differently. We could have heard something ten times before and then like magic it makes sense. We will not understand it when one person says it and then when heard from someone else…poof…it’s clear as can be. It comes down to who is presenting it.

There is a limited number of ideas.

When it comes to goal setting and life planning the most important part is to do something.

The Hero on a Mission would be a great place to start, but if this isn’t the right one for you, try something different. Or mix and match, using different parts from different plans, like I have.

Don’t just drift through life letting it happen to you. Knowing where you’re headed and what you want to accomplish. Take intentional action and have a great 2021

Life is Like Removing a Clothesline Pole

You Never Know How Big the Hole Will be Until You Start Digging

Have you ever had a vision for something that you weren’t sure what needed to be done or how to do it? If you’re not careful planning and analyzing can lead to overthinking and overthinking is just another word for procrastination.

Overthinking has kept me from accomplishing things too many times.

My assistant Cathleen had a vision for creating a safe place in the small back yard for her young daughter to play. This vision included a trampoline and swing set. The problem was two clothesline poles in the way. Compounding the problem…they were set in concrete.

She started digging around the first one. She had no way of knowing how much concrete was around the pipe or how deep in the ground it went. After a few days of digging and more concrete than expected, the hole was getting pretty big.

She did not let overthinking stop her from moving forward with her vision. 

Some people would say that in her youth and lack of experience she bit off more than she could chew. She could have done more research and procrastinated over this for a while. She could have saved up some money and hired a professional. She did neither…she started digging.

The importance of getting this play area ready for Luna was the determination she needed to push toward the vision. After digging for a while, she could have quit, but she didn’t. She had an objective, she knew what it was, and nothing was going to stop her.

Determination and action kept her moving forward.

There was a point in the process where it was evident that she wasn’t physically going to get the pipe and concrete out of the hole. After some re-evaluation and research, it was decided to cut the pipes off. She needed some help with this, and I happened to have a cutting torch. After this was done the dirt was put back in the hole burying the concrete and a trampoline was set up.

Cathleen’s project is no different than any other endeavor we face. It may turn out to be bigger and more time consuming than expected. There may be unanticipated circumstances that raise questions and create doubt. We may need to incorporate some help to achieve our goal.

Moving forward and not overthinking is critical to getting things done.

By nature, I’m a thinker and planner. Too often I procrastinate by overthinking everything. This is compounded by a long list of things to think about and plan for. There are so many people to help and things that need done. It’s easy to be overwhelmed when standing in the shadow of a huge mountain that needs moved.

What makes the mountain ominous is trying to figure out every detail that we’re going to encounter before we start. Are we going to run into rock, how much, what will we do with it when we do…and on and on? Thinking keeps us from moving anything and the mountain just stands there.

When Cathleen saw her vision of Luna’s place to play, she started digging. She didn’t let the size of the mountain stop her. We need to take a lesson from Cathleen.

This isn’t to say that planning isn’t important, because it is. If we don’t have a plan the vision gets stuck as a dream. Like building any construction project, you need to have a plan, but nothing gets built until we move some dirt.

If you’re going to achieve your goals and accomplish your vision, you need to do some shoveling today.

I Say That I Believe…But Do I Really?

It’s Easy to Say, But Hard to Do

What does it mean to believe? The words believe, trust, and faith are thrown around a lot. They’re used in all forms of motivational situations. You may have seen the Geico commercial in which Pinocchio is portrayed as a bad motivational speaker. (use a picture from the commercial)

In the commercial Pinocchio’s nose begins to grow when he tells people that they have potential. This commercial shows us the real problem with believing…we don’t. It presumes that Pinocchio is lying when he tells people that they have potential. The lie is in what Pinocchio is telling himself. He doesn’t believe that he or anyone has potential.

Every one of us has potential!

The words, believe, trust, and faith are often used synonymously but have subtle differences. Faith is a noun only. Trust is both a noun and verb. Believe is only a verb. We know from English class that a noun is a person, place or thing. A verb is used to describe an action.

We use these words as nouns. As a treasure that is out there for us to find. The problem is that two of the three are verbs, and we should be taking action. This means that we need to do something.

If I believe that I’m doing what God wants me to do…why doesn’t it appear to be working?

A few days ago, as part of my morning Scripture reading, I read Mark 11:20-24. In this message Peter asks Jesus about a fig tree that the day before Jesus said to the tree, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again.” And now, “it is dry and dead.” Jesus replied to Peter, “Have faith in God. I tell you the truth, you can say to this mountain, ‘Go, fall into the sea.’ And if you have no doubts in your mind and believe that what you say will happen, God will do it for you. So, I tell you to believe that you have received the things you ask for in prayer, and God will give them to you.”

As I contemplated this Scripture as it related to my question, I realized a few things.

When the scripture says, “…say to this mountain, ‘Go fall into the sea.’ And if you have no doubts…it will happen”. That sounds great, but really, do I think the mountain is going to just move. Think of the chaos that would ensue if we all did this. I would move the mountain over there and somebody else would move it somewhere else. Maybe my believing is about doing. I could move the mountain with a bucket, by developing a machine, by designing a system, or by employing a team. The scripture isn’t about magic, it’s about believing that I can do it.

“God will do it for you.” I don’t doubt for a minute that if He chooses to move a mountain from here to there in one big piece He can. But more likely, His way of doing it for me is through ideas, plans, methods, help, etc. We are made in His image…we’re not Him.

As I pointed out earlier, believe is a verb. This means that if I believe, then I will need to do something. I can’t just say that I believe and wait for the miracles. I need to do my part. My belief needs to be accompanied by action.

I can say I believe, but if I don’t act then I don’t really believe.

My problem is that I’m looking forward to the mountain being moved and getting distracted by the enormity of it. I need to trust that God will show me what each next step is. Pastor Lee shared about Bill Irwin, (use picture from this link) a blind man that in 1990 hiked the Appalachian Trail alone. God didn’t magically take Bill from Springer Mountain in Georgia to Mt. Katahdin in north central Maine. Instead Bill walked 2,168 miles over nine months without maps or GPS or assistance one step at a time.

Bill believed and with God’s help, moved his mountain. It’s up to us to believe and move ours.

There Are Miracles Waiting at The Edge of Our Faith

 

 

 

 

That Faith Only Needs to Be as Big as a Mustard Seed

 

We really don’t believe in miracles, we say that we do, but not really. Our faith is almost nonexistent. We sell ourselves and God short. It’s no wonder that we live lives of mediocrity.


Even the apostles, who had witnessed Jesus perform miracles doubted. He told them, “If your faith were the size of a mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘Dig yourself up and plant yourself in the sea.,” and it would obey you.” Luke 17:5-6 I don’t know if you’ve ever seen a mustard seed, but they’re tiny.


Faith requires action.


Imagine yourself at a circus watching all the amazing trapeze artists and high wire acts. After the tight rope walker goes across the high wire the ring master asks the crowd if they would like to see him ride a bicycle across. Everyone applauds and says yes. Next the ring master asks if they would like to see him go across with someone riding on his shoulders. The applause and screams are louder than before. Then the ringmaster asks…who will volunteer to be that person? The crowd instantly is quiet. Oh, ye of little faith.


We’ve been put here for a purpose. To live out that purpose to its fullest requires faith and action.


Faith starts with forgiveness.


Anger stops the flow of miracles. Forgiveness releases them. We think holding back forgiveness is punishment to those who have wronged us…it isn’t, forgiveness benefits the forgiver as much as the forgiven. It clears the blockage and opens a clear path for miracles to flow through.


Faith is all about believing.


We only need to believe a mustard seed amount for miracles to happen. It’s sad how many people don’t even have this much faith. God will never expect us to do more than we can. The problem is that we don’t believe. There are examples of amazing things all around us if we will just look. The more we believe in God and ourselves the bigger the miracles will be.


Faith concludes with serving.


Serving is the result of putting our faith into action. Our specific purpose is to serve God and others using our gifts and talents. Serving others is not demeaning, it is the fulfillment of our purpose. Small acts of service ripple through out time and space ending in huge miracles.


We are made in God’s image but live in a fallen world. It is hard to see through the haze of the fallen world to the miracles that happen. In the story of the mulberry tree above, it says, if you have faith, it will obey you…it doesn’t say anything about seeing it.


We witness miracles every day that were started by someone else’s faith and action.

 

How Do You Make Your Dream Become A Reality?

It’s A Choice You Make…Or Not!

It doesn’t matter if you’re dreaming about building a new home, a successful business or a great life, you have to choose to make them a reality. The importance of intentionality to dreams is critical to the outcome.

This week I’ve been working on finalizing the proposal for my niece Hannah’s out of the box home. This is the dream house that is going to be built using salvaged grain bins and some conventional construction. We began discussing this project a year ago. Some will think that’s taking too long. It’s important to realize that dreams don’t magically become a reality overnight. Dream building is a process that requires time.

There are 5 things needed when choosing to turn a dream into a reality:

1st you need to realize that it’s your responsibility. You’re responsible for your dreams becoming a reality. This doesn’t mean that crazy unrealistic dreams will happen (see needs 2 and 3). On the other hand too often we let our own limiting beliefs keep our dreams from becoming a reality. You are the only one who can control your own thoughts. Our thinking dictates our decisions and we are where we are because of those decisions…good or bad.

2nd you need clarity of purpose. I believe our dreams are one of the ways God tells us what His plans are for our lives. If we believe what it says in Jeremiah 29:11, “I have good plans for you, not plans to hurt you. I will give you hope and a good future.” If our dreams are in alignment with God’s plans, then there is no reason they shouldn’t become a reality. God will move mountains to make our dreams real. It’s up to us to be ready to move ourselves.

           

3rd you need guidance. Often when building dreams, we are going into unfamiliar territory. Whether it’s building your first home or starting a new business, you probably won’t have the experience or knowledge needed. Dream building can be a lot safer and more fun if you have an experienced guide. I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t go climb a mountain with out a guide that had been there and done that.

4th you need to act. A dream won’t just build itself, it requires action. This is one of the scariest things about turning dreams into reality. People generally approach action in one of two ways. Either they jump right in without thinking or they don’t do anything while over thinking it. Experienced guidance can help balance these opposing positions and help you to move forward with your dream while minimizing disasters. When faced with doing nothing or doing something you better choose to act if you ever want your dream to become a reality.

5th you need to persist. I think this is the most important one. If you ever hope to get your dream built you will need persistence. There will be disappointments that will cause you to want to quit. There will be times when you are so tired you don’t think you can do one more thing. You can begin to convince yourself that it wasn’t real…it was just a dream. This is the point where most dreams die. Somehow successful people continue moving forward when others quit. Sometimes God see’s fit to give us a wakeup call.

As Hannah and I work together to build this project it will be the building of two dreams, both hers and mine. We will each take RESPONSIBILITY for our part. We will continue sorting things out and finding the CLARITY for the dream. We will accept and give GUIDANCE when and where needed. We will intentionally ACT to keep moving closer to the completion of those dreams. Above all we choose to PERSIST and never quit until our dreams become reality.

If you or someone you know needs help finding solutions for building dreams, contact us in the comment section below.

Why Me…Why Not Me?

 

What Can I Do to Improve My Self-confidence?

 

Why is it that so many people struggle with low self-esteem or the lack of self-confidence? I know that different people deal with it in varying degrees, but I think everyone deals with it. People who appear confident have just figured out how to deal with it better.

The huge amount of self-help books, speeches, programs, etc., speak to this struggle. I have been battling with this feeling regarding these blogs. Why is it that so few people are reading them? Then my inner evaluation begins. The content isn’t any good. The writing stinks. It doesn’t make any sense. The topics aren’t relevant. Am I wasting my time…and on and on.

 

Our book club just finished reading Cara Brookins’ book “Rise: How A House Built A Family”. The club collectively thought I might struggle reading this book (part of the reason it was picked 😊). You know, me being a professional builder reading about a woman and her four kids building a house using “how to” videos. I just want to say; this book is now in my top ten. Cara and her family really impressed and inspired me! Inspired me so much so that I gathered up the courage to email her (way out of my comfort zone).

And you know what.

She replied…to me…to little ole’ me and not only that, we had the opportunity to have a Skype conversation with her during our review of her book during book club. How cool is that! If she can build a house…I can write a blog.

Her current projects are based on her “firm belief that everyone who wants to can build themselves a bigger, better life. And the feeling…of being stuck and frustrated is exactly what most people are feeling. It’s a sign you’re on the right path, because feeling discontent creates action.”

Helping people build a bigger better life is exactly what I plan to do with my coaching, consulting and constructing here at Solution Building.

Her building of this house is proof that what is required to get past self-doubt is choice and action. We must decide to do something, something big, something as big as a house and then do it. It doesn’t matter how good the information in the self-help program is, it’s not going to do any good if it isn’t put into action.

God did not put us here to fail. Satan on the other hand is a master of using our weakness to keep us from doing the great things that God wants for us. Like our low self-esteem to keep us stuck. We must decide if we trust and believe. If we do, then it is up to us to start building.

Another one of my top ten books is Andy Andrews’ book, “The Traveler’s Gift”. It was turned down by fifty-one publishers before it was accepted.

Fifty-one.

Okay if Cara can push through the months and months of building her own home and Andy can go through fifty-one rejections I can keep blogging. Nobody said that persistence was easy, but it’s the thing that separates quitters from successful people.

I can persist – I can succeed – WHY NOT ME!

If you have any feedback on my blogs or if there is some specific topics you would like for me to write about let me know in the comments below.

The First Next Thing to Building A Better Business

 

 

Action Is Required for Building Anything

 

It doesn’t matter if we are building a home, a business or a life…they all require physical action. Planning is critical but not enough.

At a lunch meeting with my financial assistant (my sister) earlier this week we were discussing what is needed to move closer to achieving the company’s goals. This conversation confirmed what I already knew. By nature, I am a planner, a dreamer and a recovering perfectionist. I have lots of ideas and plans, all great ones too, no doubt. 😊 But it takes more than just plans.

The necessary thing needed to build the business, just like a building, is action. You can’t live in a blueprint. The same is true for a business. You have to move beyond planning. You have to do the first next thing.

When doing a construction project, I understand the order of the process – to start, proceed and finish. I asked myself why the physical construction comes naturally but I struggle with building a business. I have come up with a few reasons for this:

  • It’s hard for me to delegate – I know that I suck at it. People who know me know that I suck at it. This leaves me with two options; do everything myself and do less or share the shovels. I listened to a Story Brand podcast a few days ago that pointed out that successful entrepreneurs don’t try to do everything by themselves.

  • I have a broken people meter – I was thinking about the discussion with my sister and came to the realization that part of the delegation problem is that my people meter is broke or maybe I just don’t have one. So, I need to incorporate the help of people who have good people meters into the process of finding the right people to delegate to.

 

  • My “to do list” is too long and I like lists – When the list of things that need to be done is too long we become overwhelmed. Being pulled in so many different directions leads to confusion and causes a lack of clarity. Trying to spin too many plates doesn’t move things forward it just makes us dizzy. Trying to do too many things causes chaos. I don’t have the time to do everything on my list. We need a plan for this but if things are going to change there needs to be some action.
 
  • Recovering perfectionist – Finding the separation between perfection and excellence is tricky. This is a very fine line. Having been a perfectionist for years it is difficult to not cross back into perfection. Perfection causes inaction. It slows down all the processes and makes it difficult to leave the planning and start the doing.

 

Moving forward with the first next step I must narrowly clarify excellent delegation.

 

Just like I can’t drive more than one nail at a time when doing physical construction, the same is true when building a business or a life. If I don’t quit trying to perfect the plans and start swinging the hammer I will never get anything built.

Taking Off the Blinders Helps You See the Big Picture

Without A Vision…You Run into Things

One of my core values is, “take off the blinders, be more observant”. I told you in a previously post that I would go into each of them in more detail later, so here’s the third one.

Core values are foundational for the life that God designed for each of us. They are critical for building our best life.

We all have core values, whether intentional or not. You may not have given much thought to yours, but they are there regardless. It is important to think about the ones you’re building your life with and choose the right ones.

I decided to write about this core value while reading “The Seventh Most Important Thing”, by Shelley Pearsall. In the story Mr. Hampton leaves a hand-written message for Arthur on a piece of cardboard, “where there is no vision, the people parish”. Arthur is a teenage boy struggling through adolescence and the death of his father. He has no idea what this saying means. At this point Arthur can’t see past all the bad things happening in his life. He has blinders on.

I think there are a lot of people like Arthur. They just show up to life each day without any vision or plan for what their life could should be. Trudging through life focused on a narrow image. Neglecting or are unable to see the bigger picture. It is like they have blinders on that allow them to only see the slim view of what is directly in front of them.

I chose this as one of my core values because I certainly can be too focused on my work and neglect other areas of my life. My core values serve two different purposes. One is to confirm my natural strengths. The other is to remind me of my weaknesses. I need to keep both of these in sight to help me “find and maintain the balance” (another core value for a later post).

I want to work toward building the dream life that the Master Architect designed specifically for me and “honor God in all that I do”. If I am going to do this I need to take “intentional action” in the construction of that life. I also need to be open to new and different ideas and input from other people and places. I need to “take off my blinders and be more observant”.

It has been my experience when building a building that people have a dream of what they envision the finished project to look like. The problem is, they don’t know how to get that dream from their head to a physical structure. This is where vision comes in. The vision is the process of taking the imagined and turning it into reality. This provides a clear and intentional plan for building the dream.

It is helpful to have experienced professionals (architects, engineers, contractors, etc.) guide the construction process. The same is true in building a business or life.

If you have questions about turning your dreams into reality contact us below.

 

Getting Back to the Core

Ideas Without Actions Don’t Do Anybody Any Good

 

“I AM A PERSON OF ACTION.”

“My future is immediate. I will grasp it with both hands and carry it with running feet. When I am faced with the choice of doing nothing or doing something, I will always choose to act!”

Colonel Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain

From the book “The Travelers Gift” by Andy Andrews

We are already almost a month into the new year. It is crazy how fast time goes and there are so many things that I want to do this year. It seems like it was just yesterday that we were celebrating Christmas and beginning the process of looking forward to the new year. I have some big plans for this year so we have to get to work.

I was a dreamer at an early age. I had big ideas and plans for my life. Then there was a portion of my life where I became disillusioned and accepted that my dreams were just that…dreams that couldn’t and wouldn’t come true. I decided that I was just kidding myself the whole time. Then in 2012 I had “A Life Changing Wakeup Call” and realized that I had gotten sucked into the world of doubt. I had given up and quit dreaming. I was just accepting what life was giving me and that was just the way it was. Since the accident I have become reenergized about dreaming and about life. It’s great to be excited about life again!

One of the conclusions that I came to after this accident was that dreams are just dreams if there isn’t any action taken. It can be hard for those of us that are dreamers to move things from ideas to doing. This is where the ‘rubber meets the road’ or in builder lingo where the nail meets the board. I told you in a previous blog, “Using Core Values as My Life Filter”, that I would come back to the ‘Core Values’ and here we are. One of those core values is “Intentional Action”. This is a simple, straight forward value, but it requires me to move things from the dream to the action. This part is critical to the outcome. It is like seeing a beautiful picture of a dream home, but never being able to live in it if you don’t start nailing boards together.

Another self-realization that I discovered was my tendency toward planning. I like to plan. I can plan things to death if I’m not careful. It’s good to have a plan to avoid as many problems as possible, but finding a balance in planning and doing is important. Planning is like dreaming, nothing is built until you physically move some boards and swing the hammer. Like dreaming, planning requires action to get things accomplished.

As I was recovering from the accident I had time to reflect. I discovered things about myself that I naturally knew, but hadn’t slowed down long enough to evaluate. This time of self-discovery was a big help to me and was one of the Intentional Actions that I then began to implement regularly. I know that everyone of us is different and we all have our own individual strengths and weaknesses. This is why it is important to give some time to knowing yourself. It is easy to get sucked into the daily routines of living our lives, but if we hope to achieve our purpose in life we need to be Intentional in our Actions. In the next Life blog, we will discuss “Finding and Maintaining the Balance in Everything”.