Independence Is a Good Thing…If it Isn’t the Only Thing

Finding Our Balance as We Walk This Tightrope Called Business

As we celebrate our country’s independence on this coming Monday, we need to stop and give thought to what this day means.

John Adams wrote this to his wife,

“This will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more.”

We need to remember that this is so much more than just fireworks, parades and barbecues.

One thing to remember is, this independence wasn’t achieved by one person. There were multiple people involved in getting this accomplished. This fine line of separation and collaboration is a tough thing to stay balanced on.

This independent perspective is important, but not the only one.

We are all part of something bigger than just ourselves.

In 1 Corinthians 12:12-27, we are told that our bodies are made up of many parts. “A body isn’t really a body, unless there is more than one part. It takes many parts to make a single body. That’s why the eyes cannot say they don’t need the hands. That’s also why the head cannot say it doesn’t need the feet. God put our bodies together in such a way that even the parts that seem the least important are valuable. He did this to make all parts of the body work together smoothly, with each part caring about the others.” 

The same thing is true in business.

As we approach different situations, we usually consider them from our own perspective. This is only natural because we’re all made in our own specific, separate way.

It’s important to know who we are, where our strengths lie, what we’re good at doing. This is how we’re made and what we’re made to do.

I know that I have a pretty strong opinion about how I want things done in my business. More times than not, this leads to my “get out of my way and I’ll do it myself” attitude.

Trust me…this isn’t the way God designed things to work.

This is not a very good business plan. I need to work on balancing my skills with the skills of others to build a stronger and more productive business.

Balancing independence and delegation is a fine line, but if I don’t, I’m likely to lose my balance and fall off the tightrope.

Remember the reason we’re celebrating and the cost to our independence as you watch the fireworks.

It’s Okay to Embrace the Busy, it’s Part of God’s Plan

“Work” Isn’t a Bad Word, and it Shouldn’t be Used That Way

Last week I wrote about the topic of being busy and it’s current prevalence in conversations. This frequency was confirmed in a recent Ray Edwards podcast, “5 Reasons Why You Need to Take More Time Off”. My intent is not to throw Ray under the bus, on the contrary, he starts off by saying, “Make hay while the sun shines.” Having grown up on a farm, I can totally identify with this.

Growing up on the farm explains a lot about my work philosophy.

I think the issue of being busy, working too much, or taking time off, comes down to a couple of things. First is a societal push to have life goals of long weekends, vacations and retirement. Second is the meaning of words and how we use them.

It seems the subject of working less is being pushed more and more. I’ve heard Michael Hyatt speak of taking long sabbaticals. The internet, books and social media are full of ideas for working less and less, some say the goal should be 4 hours per day.

I don’t know but this just seems crazy to me.

I think the key to this issue is in understanding ourselves and finding the balance in what we do. This will be different for everyone. Balance doesn’t mean resting the same amount of time that working. It means resting proportionately to working.

I base my work/rest balance on God’s 6-1 ratio. He worked six days and then rested one. He completed His work and then rested. His focus wasn’t on resting, it was on accomplishing His goals. When that was done then He rested. And He loved what He was doing.

We definitely need rest…the question is what is rest and how much is needed?

I remember when people would say they were bored, I never understood that. How can someone be bored when there is so much important work to do. I think boredom is rooted in not having found a purpose. That or they were just lazy.

God’s Word makes it very clear that we are instructed to work hard and put our best effort forward. The Bible, especially in the wisdom-filled book of Proverbs, speaks often of the cause and effect relationship of hard work and rewards as well as laziness and ruin. Bible Study Tools, Bible verses about laziness, Knowing Jesus, Open Bible.

Part of the problem is in the misuse of words.

Like the word “work” for example. People use this word as if it were a punishment. It’s as if they’ve been bad so now, they have to go to “work” rather than being able to play. The definition of work is activity involving mental or physical effort done in order to achieve a purpose or result.

Sign me up…this sounds like something I would like to do.

Work becomes a problem when it causes us to become so focused on one thing that we lose sight of other things in life. (Take it from a recovering workaholic.) Work hard on all the different areas that make up a well-balanced life not just a job.

  • Build my relationship with God (Spiritual)
  • Build a family legacy (Family)
  • Help people build their dreams (Vocation)
  • Build wealth (Financial)
  • Build the best me (Personal Well-being)
  • Help others build a better them (Ministry)
  • Help build a better world (Social and Community)

The key is to find the work that you love and do it. This is where the real problem lies. Most people have settled for a mondain existence rather than finding their God given purpose.

Get clear on what God wants you to do and get BUSY, WORKING on that!

How to Decide Where Your Time Is Best Spent

It Comes Down to Knowing Who You Want to Be

Last week I wrote about the importance of spending time wisely. I shared how I was working to clear the fog to determine what things I should focus on. What should I do and not do? So, like budgeting money I decided to work on a plan for budgeting my time…enter the spread sheet.

Like money, we can choose what to spend our time on.

The difference is that with money there’s the possibility to make more, not with time. This makes spending time wisely, even more critical.

So, what did I find out about budgeting time using a spreadsheet?

What I’ve found so far is that I’ve overspent my time budget by 175 hours (2%) and I still haven’t got everything entered. It is making it very clear that I can’t do everything that I want.

This spreadsheet is allowing me to look at the big picture and see where I can move things around and/or remove things completely to fit into the limited time available.

I listened to a podcast recently that pointed out how important time is due to kids doing school at home and people working remotely. This got me to thinking about how I’ve never really separated my work and personal time. My time is all just…my life.

I think this is because growing up on a farm there wasn’t a ‘clock punching’ separation of time. In addition to that, I’ve spent most of my life self-employed which is the same. I may be doing family, community or church things throughout the day or, I may be doing work things late in the evening or on weekends.

Using the spreadsheet, it is allowing me to see the amount of time being spent rather than the specific time of the day or night. It allows me to be better at living a well-balanced life.

Ultimately the spending of our time comes down to a personal choice.

It’s all about who we want to be.

We can spend our time where we want. So…to that point…today I want to spend my time with my family having a movie marathon weekend.

That’s who I want to be.

How to Watch the Clock

Finding a Balance of Looking to the Future and Being in the Present

Time is the most valuable commodity we have at our discretion. You’ve heard the saying “time is money”. I would argue that time is MORE than money. Money is a form of exchange for a service or product. We have some control over how fast our money goes…not so with time.

There is no limit to money. I know this sounds a little over the top, but as long as money can be printed there’s no limit. Even if we ran out of the resources needed to make money, we could find something to trade or barter with.

There is a limited amount of time.

Time is continually moving. There is no stopping or slowing it to get more done. If we spend a dollar, we can go make two more. Once time is spent…there’s no getting any more.

I never wanted to be a clock watcher.

When I was younger and saw people looking at their watch, I felt they were being selfish. They appeared more concerned about their time than the person(s) they were engaging with. This bothered me.

I then took this perspective too far. I often ran behind because I didn’t want to cut off a person that I was visiting with. (It didn’t help that by nature I’m a talker.) I wanted my customers to feel that they were more than just time blocked out on the calendar or a dollar in the bank.

Watching the clock made me feel selfish.

It made me feel that my schedule was more important than finding out what the customer hoped to accomplish with their project. It put my needs above theirs.

High quality, attention to detail and not being satisfied with mediocrity all take time. By nature, these are a part of who I am. Watching the clock is counter to that. My best work is never accomplished when I cut corners.

The flip side of this is…when I’m late to my next appointment or don’t get that thing done that I promised it is no different. I’m saying to someone else, you’re not as important as what I was doing.

There is a balance to be achieved.

How do we accomplish the things we need/want to? Too often we let others make these decisions for us. It starts with a clear understanding of what our priorities are. What is our purpose? What has God put us here to accomplish? From this we can align our actions with these priorities.

Next comes figuring out how to get control of these actions. This is where action lists, scheduling and calendaring come in. It’s up to you to be intentional with how you spend that limited amount of time that you have. (For more information and tools for scheduling and planning see the list at the end of this post)

As this year comes to an end I’m beginning to think about planning for the new year. What should I do? Where should I spend my time?

It has been said, “You can do anything you want; you just can’t do everything you want.” This perspective is critical to our spending of time. What are we going to spend our time doing? Plan wisely and don’t be afraid to watch the clock.

Align your desires with God’s and be your most productive self.

Finding the Balance of Confidence and Fear

Balanced scale



Don’t Let Fear Be the Boss



While at a school dance a young woman found herself in an awkward situation. Across the room she spotted a young man whom she was attracted to. While talking about him with her girlfriends, she knew exactly what she was going to say. Once she finally mustered up the courage, she went up to him to introduce herself. It was at this point that she became totally tongue tied and everything she wanted to say refused to cooperate. We’ve all found ourselves in similar situations, but it doesn’t have to be this way.

God did not give us a spirit that makes us afraid but a spirit of power and love and self-control.

2 Timothy 1:7


An example of being on the other side of the confidence scale is the business card of Chen Guangbiao, a wealthy Chinese businessman who tried to buy the New York Times in 2014. It’s uncertain where all the titles he claims came from, but there certainly doesn’t appear to be any lack of confidence.


Being overconfident isn’t a good plan either. It comes across as arrogant and overbearing and usually pushes other people away. If you are good at what you do others will see that without you tooting your own horn.

If you understand your purpose you can be confident without patting yourself on the back.

A young man was out walking around late one night, when he spotted a police car heading his way. Even though he wasn’t doing anything but walking around, he took off running. The police officers saw him run and pursued. The young man went down an alley and hid behind a dumpster burying himself under some trash. The police officers saw him and shinned the spotlight on him. Scarred for his life the young man stepped out covered in trash and said he hadn’t done anything wrong. The police officer said, “I’m not here to punish you; I’m here to protect you.

We often find ourselves covered in trash saying that we didn’t do anything wrong.

It’s difficult balancing confidence and fear. Self-awareness and understanding are where balance starts. Once we know who we are and what we do, we can move toward balance. Sometimes we need some guidance and inspiration to get us moving though.

Earlier this week I listened to a Ray Edwards podcast, in which he introduced me to the amazing Jennifer Allwood. If you want some motivation, just listen to this podcast. Jennifer’s book, Fear is Not the Boss of You, How to Get Out of Your Head and Live the Life You Were Made For, will be released in April. You can count on me getting a copy.



How to Live A Well-Balanced Life

Finding and Maintaining the Balance in Everything


I initially wrote about Using Core Values as My Life Filter last year. The focus of that post was the importance these CORE VALUES have in providing me with insight to who I am and more importantly, who I aspire to be. In that post I listed these twelve core values and said I would write about each in later posts.

Currently have written about:

Honoring God in all that I do
Paying attention to detail
Spending time wisely
Never being satisfied with mediocrity
Taking off the blinders and being more aware
Intentional action and again


I listened to a Story Brand podcast recently in which Tim Arnold’s point was that tension was a better description of this value than balance. He points out that “we tend to be binary thinkers. We assume things have to be one way or the other”. This was his point about the term balance when used in this context. Often the word balance creates the picture of an instrument with two sides used for weighing.

Sometimes there are only two choices. When choosing between right and wrong or good and evil, I believe this is the case. I agree with Tim that too often we tend to stop our thinking at only two choices and miss all of the out of the box opportunities that are out there.

I see balance as something that involves a lot more than two things.

The Merriam-Webster definition of balance is extensive and covers a variety of different areas including people, weight, stability, accounting, mental and emotional. This is more the way I think of balance.

I see BALANCE as large platform sitting centered on top of a small point. Without anything on the platform, it sits level. When one thing is placed on top of the platform near the center, things go pretty well, and it stays relatively level. As more things are put on the platform and things begin to be crowded from the center it starts to get heavier at different areas. This causes the platform to lean. If one heavy thing or too many things are moved too far from the center the platform will tip far enough that things falls off. Keeping things setting on the platform is all about weight and location.

Our lives are like this platform. God has set our platform balance perfectly on this point and given us the responsibility of keeping it there. The difficult part of this obligation is the number of things we get to choose from to put on our platform. The choices are endless. There is spiritual, family, work, friends, fun, community, etc. and each of these areas are full of an endless number of specific things that we can put on our platform. Some things carry more weight than others. As we go through life the things we have setting on our platform will and should change.

FINDING AND MAINTAINING THE BALANCE of our platform is the responsibility given us. Will we be perfect at it…no. Can we learn and get better at it…YES!

Whether you use the word balance, tension or something else to describe this endeavor is less important than being aware of it and actively keeping your platform as level as you can.

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.


Be Careful About Short Table Legs

Supporting and balancing your business.

Have you ever felt like your business and/or your life were out of balance? It’s a little like a three legged table with a short leg, it can get wobbly.

I know I have felt this way and sometimes still do. You have probably heard the saying ‘feast or famine’ when talking about the building industry. This refers to the common problem of either having way too much to do. Or worrying about how you are going to pay the bills if you don’t get some work soon. Sometimes this is caused by situations beyond our control. The economy, the weather or some other external force. I think more often than not this ‘out of balance business’ is like a table with a short leg.

Most of us that are self-employed, started out by learning our trade as an apprentice while working for someone else. I know that is how I started. The problem with this is that while I learned how to build a building I wasn’t taught how to build a company. After years of struggling and learning things the hard way and paying the expensive tuition to the ‘school of hard knocks’, I am getting closer to graduating.

One thing that I learned is that my business is a lot like a three legged table. When each of the legs are the same length, it helps provide a level sturdy platform for my company to sit on. When any one or two of them is short the table starts leaning and begins to tip over. If it tips too far the company will slid off. It’s not good when the company slides onto the floor.

My three table legs are:

1 – Sales/marketing – Searching for and finding customers that you can help by providing your service and/or product through word of mouth, advertising and awareness. Meeting with potential customers, determining what they want/need and preparation of estimates, proposals and contracts.

2 – Production – Organizing, scheduling and maintaining the project or product. Determining who and what the specific people and parts that are needed and making sure they fit. Maintaining communication between all parties involved.

3 – Administration/finance – The preparation documents needed to communicate, track and record all aspects of the business. The filling out and filing of income, expense, banking and tax papers. This leg is one of the easiest to get short and when it does can really cause the table to lean.

The table top is the big picture planning and organizing. It’s what connects the three separate legs. It’s easy to give too much attention to one or two legs and forget the others. To get so focused on the production of a project that we forget to follow up on a new customer. To get so into preparing proposals that we forget to invoice. To work so diligently on tracking expenses that we don’t leave enough time for working on the project.

There is no perfect answer to keep the table from ever leaning. The most important thing is to realize that it can happen and work to keep the table balanced.