It’s Important to be Intentional and Choose Your Situations Wisely

It’s Amazing…He Looks Just Like You

Pastor Lee shared a story this week about a missionary couple that had small children. When the couple left for a short overseas mission trip, they left the children with family. While in this foreign country war broke out and the couple was unable to get home…for eight years. When they came home the oldest son, now a young man, met them at the train station. After the mother hugged her son, she stepped back, looked at him and said, “He looks just like you.”

We’ve all experienced the resemblance of families. This is something much more than just DNA. This includes the habits, actions, expressions, mannerisms, etc. of those we spend the most time with.

You will become what you surround yourself with.

You will become what you read, what you listen to, what you watch. You will speak the language, wear the clothes, develop the habits and live the lifestyle of those you hang out with. If you associate with chickens, you will scratch the ground squabbling over crumbs. If you associate with eagles you will learn to soar to great heights. (2nd Decision I will seek wisdom, from The Travelers Gift by Andy Andrews)

This is why it’s critically important to make your choices wisely.

 A missionary in Africa tells a story about woman that faithfully came to church. Each time she came her dog came with her. She would set at the end of the same row each week and the dog sat beside her in the isle. Then at the end of service the dog followed her to the altar where she knelt and prayed.

This women’s husband was mean and abusive to her. Then in one of his abusive episodes he killed her. Because they lived in a small village there was no repercussions for his actions. He and the dog just continued like nothing had changed.

One day the husband noticed that the dog was leaving and gone for a couple of hours at the same time each week. After a while he became curious and followed the dog.

The dog was going to the church service and setting at the same place it always had and then going to the altar. The people of the church knew what the man had done and even so, they still welcomed him in Christian love.

The man was so moved that he repented of his sins and accepted Jesus into his life.

When we hear the Good News about God saving us and believe in the message of Christ, God puts His special mark on us. This mark being the Holy Spirit. Then we can enjoy the complete freedom that comes from belonging to Him. (Ephesians 1:3-14)

God can do amazing things if we will trust Him and obey His instructions. Just like in the song, Trust and Obey, there’s no other way. This is how we can be happy and enjoy the favor that He gives.

The more time we spend with Jesus, the more we will be like Him.

No One Can Make Me Accountable but Me…So Why Aren’t I?

Well, that is the Ten Million Dollar Question, isn’t it?

God has a way of persistently putting things in front of us until we do something about it. That thing that continually shows up everywhere we turn, or that nagging voice in our head.

Accountability is that thing currently.

Just this past week accountability came up in a several different places.

In a mastermind that I’m in, there’s a weekly accountability and for several weeks my accountability hasn’t gotten done. This is unacceptable!

Another was in a digital marketing group that I’m part of. One of the participants suggested that I spend some money on social media marketing, because when she made that financial commitment, she got her webinar done.

What about the subcontractor who installed some ceiling tile several years ago? This past week some of the tiles were starting to come loose. It had been long enough that they could have refused to do anything about it. They didn’t bat an eye…they simply came and fixed it.

Or there’s the situation with, J&J Contracting, a painting subcontractor that is working on staining and finishing nine wood doors. He had the doors stained and sprayed the clear finish with a new spray gun. After the first coat was on, he noticed there were runs. He worked to sand them out…to no avail. He could have made excuses that it was the new spray guns fault, but he didn’t. He is going to spend a sizable amount of money to buy new doors to replace them.

This is what accountability looks like.

My proposal system needs the training that goes with it prepared before it’s ready to be marketed. This project has been dragging out for far too long. This is the mastermind accountability that I referred to earlier.

Why do we let ourselves avoid doing things we know we should do?

For me there are a few different reasons, all of which are in my control to do something about.

There’s fear – being afraid that we’re going to fail, we aren’t good enough, or it might cost too much. What about busy – I don’t have time to do that, it takes too long, and I already have these other things to do. Don’t forget uncertainty – I don’t know how to do that thing; it’s going to require me learning something new.

Now I’m going to start preaching to myself.

Several years ago, I wrote about filtering my life using my core values. There are a total of twelve different ones. I’ve written about all but three…one of those is being accountable. Guess what this post is about. 😊

Ultimately, my accountability is up to me. It is a choice.

It’s easy to put others ahead of myself. This makes my proposal system less important than construction projects…or does it? The question is, how many more contractors and customers could benefit from having my proposal system to use?

Just like in last week’s post about what my time is worth, I applied that new motivation to being more accountable. I ran the numbers and determined my time is currently worth $2.23 per minute or $133.80 per hour.

Looking forward my goal in seven years is to be grossing ten figures, that’s $10,000,000.00. Let’s play with some more math –

  • 224,640 work minutes each year
  • $10,000,000.00 divided by 224640 minutes means that each minute of the workday would be worth $44.52

This is going to get scary…

  • $44.52 x 5 minutes = $222.60
  • $44.52 x 15 minutes = $667.80
  • $44.52 x 30 minutes = $1,335.60
  • $44.52 x 60 minutes = $2,671.20

I told you it was going to be scary!

What does this mean? This means, for me to reach this goal – it’s up to me to get this proposal system out into the world, and this means…to get it out there, I have to get the training ready, this means…it’s up to me!

God has given me a specific purpose.

Bridge the gap between construction companies and customers by providing:

  • Businesses with systems and training to make their companies more efficient and profitable
  • Educating customers in what to expect throughout the entire construction process

Ultimately, it comes down to this…

I’m accountable to God.

What am I going to do about it?

P.S. I got the first draft of the Building a Better Proposal Workshop intro was done yesterday.

Here are the previous core value posts –

Happiness is Contagious, Much Like a Virus

Our Subconscious Can Have a Huge Impact on Either

I am a big believer in the power of our mind and the effect the choices we make have on our reality. There is a lot of evidence to this power for either positive or negative thinking. Countless placebo study results have shown the effect the mind can have.

Your mind is a powerful tool…use it wisely.

There are realities that we can’t to ignore, like gravity. But, given the facts of gravity, before there were airplanes people would have said human flight was impossible. I still wouldn’t advise jumping off a cliff, I don’t care how much you believe you won’t hit the ground.

Happiness is a choice. We can choose to be happy even in difficult situations. 

Isolation hurts happiness and mental wellness. I’m thankful for the technology that we have available to allow us to stay connected virtually, but it is not the same as physical connection. The lack of physical connection is a greater detriment to physical health than obesity, smoking or high blood pressure.

Happiness is contagious and is spread through physical interaction.

Happiness comes from within, not from things. It is a superpower available to all of us, but it doesn’t work if we don’t use it. People spend a lot of time and energy looking for happiness from the accumulation of stuff. This kind of happiness will never work for the long term.

Our internal happiness comes from God. In John 14:1-14 Jesus is reassuring his followers. They have been going through some pretty rough times up to this point and things are going to get worse for them before they get better. Jesus tells them in verse 1, to “not be troubled”. He goes on, in verse 6, “I am the way, the truth and the life. The way to the Father is through me.” Philip responds, “show us the Father. That is all we need.” Jesus then tells them, “whoever believes in me knows the Father and will do the same things that I do. If you ask for anything in my name, I will do it.”

We can have a Jesus size happiness if we ask and believe.

Happiness Is…A Choice

"Choose Happiness"

 

 

 

Choose to Be Happy

 

As the new year begins, we start filling up our already busy lives with more things to do. I think reviewing the past and looking to the future is a great plan and the new year is a fitting time for this. What we need to be clear about is what we’re going to spend our time doing and what makes us happiest.


We can choose to be happy or not.


“…happiness is not an emotional phantom floating in and out of my life. Happiness is a choice. Happiness is the end result of certain thoughts and activities, which actually bring about a chemical reaction in my body. This reaction results in euphoria, which, while elusive to some, is totally under my control.” Andy Andrews, The Traveler’s Gift.

 

 

“This is the day that the LORD has made. Let us rejoice and be glad today!” Psalms 118:24. Everyday is a day that we’ve been given, we have the power to choose if we’re going to be happy or not.


Happy is a much better way to spend our time and energy.


Not only is being happy a benefit to us, it also spreads to those around us. It’s contagious. Surrounding ourselves with happy people is much more enjoyable and productive.

 


Make choosing to be happy one of your goals for this new year and spread it around.

 

Being Thankful Is A State of Mind

 

 

 

 

We Have So Much to Be Thankful For

 

Over the last several weeks our Sunday School discussion has continued to find its way back to a statement made by a journalist, that we don’t really have much to be thankful for. Thanksgiving is just a commercial excuse to eat too much and watch football.


I think eating and football are a couple of pretty good things to be thankful for.


This is like Lucy in the Peanuts comic strip when she’s whining about her life. Linus tells her that she should count her blessings. She goes on to say that she could count all her blessings on one finger. What does she have to be thankful for? Linus tells her, “…for one thing. You have a little brother who loves you…”

 


We don’t have to wallow, it’s a choice.


Negative things are a part of life, but we control how we are going to respond to them. We can choose to be thankful for the positive or we can wallow in the negative.


It’s sad that some people’s default perspective is feeling sorry for themselves. Sure, we all have times of feeling down and depressed. When feeling that way, we need to list the things that we have to be thankful for. Even if, like Lucy, it’s only one thing.


Earlier this week while listening to Andy Andrew’s weekly Professional Noticer episode, he read a Thanksgiving story, from his book, Return to Sawyerton Springs. Wade was feeling sorry for himself, until he listed ten things in his life that he had to be thankful for. The list consisted of everyday things that we take for granted too many times. Read or listen to the story and see the list here

 


Have a wonderful Thanksgiving and

CHOOSE to be THANKFUL.

 

 

There Are Two Ways to Look at Things

 

 

 

 

 

I Choose to Believe in Miracles

 

 

“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” Albert Einstein


We have become spoiled and forget to be grateful for the miracles that surround us every day. We can be grateful or not, this is a choice. Being grateful requires an intentional decision.


Gratitude is how we show love. Being grateful and acting upon that gratefulness can be as simple as a spoken thank you or as big as how we live our lives every day.


Gratitude is a perspective. It’s how we see things. We can see only the negative or we can see the positive. It sounds cliché but it’s real and it makes a difference on how you treat life and how life treats you.


Gratitude is a choice. We can choose to be grateful or not but being grateful is a much better way to approach life. We have been given so much. Shouldn’t we be thankful for all that we have?


A young man was driven to college in an old car by his dad. Several of the students saw the car and began to tease the young man. The young man looked at them and said, “That old car is the reason I’m Here”. He went on to explain that his father decided to save money for his college education rather than spending it on a new car.


This son was grateful for his father’s love and the choice he made. This changed his perspective. If this son could be grateful for what his father did for him, shouldn’t we be exponentially more grateful to our Heavenly Father for all the miracles He’s given us.

 

Every Minute of Every Day We Make One Decision After Another

 

It’s Like Playing A Non-Stop Game of Would You Rather

Most everyone is familiar with the game “Would You Rather.” This is a game in which the players are asked questions that compare two different scenarios and are asked to choose which of the two they would rather do. These questions can vary from simple to the complicated.


Would you rather…

  • Spend a day in the Sahara Desert or Spend a day at the North Pole

 

  • Have the ability to fly or Be invisible
  • End hunger or End hatred

 

This game isn’t any different than everyday life. We are faced with choices every minute of every day. Some of these choices are small and simple, some are important and carry major consequences.


Would I rather…

  • Eat this or Eat that
  • Wear this or Wear that
  • Drive this route or Drive that route
  • Go in debt to buy a new car or Save my money and drive something older
  • Take this job that pays well but requires me to sacrifice my morals or Take that job that pays considerably less but allows me to be true to my principles


This past week an either-or situation was in the forefront of my decision making and was a part of multiple conversations.


I was faced with a situation of needing to keep a construction project moving forward or doing proposals that customers were eagerly waiting for. Not to mention all the other everyday business responsibilities of running a company.


The construction project was behind schedule due to weather delays and next week’s forecast showed the possibility of more rain. The subcontractor was behind on other projects of his own due to the weather. The sub said he could get there but was going to be shorthanded.

 

The “would you rather” question arose for me when he jokingly suggested I come on site and help. I could dust off my tool belt and go spend a couple of days swinging a hammer or I could work on the things I had already scheduled to do.


The sub was surprised when I showed up with my tool belt on.


Was it the right decision? I think so, other than being a little sore after framing for a couple of days, we moved the project forward and this was important.

 

Every day we are confronted with hundreds of these choices some big and some small. It’s easy for some of us to spend more time than we should when making decisions, we want to make the best ones. Sometimes when spending too much time trying to make the right one, we have inadvertently made the wrong one.


Little decisions shouldn’t require too much contemplation. Bigger more important ones are a different story. The important thing is to know yourself. Know what you need to make the best decision possible and have those tools in place when you make that next big decision.


One of the best toolboxes I have found for being prepared to make decisions is Andy Andrews’ book “The Traveler’s Gift. In this book Andy gives seven life principles that successful people throughout history implemented at times when they were making crucial decisions.


Would you rather…
Know how to make better decisions? or Guess at making decisions and take a chance?

 

The Worst Thing We Can Do Is Nothing

We Are Living in The Grace Period

According to Wikipedia, a grace period is a period where a penalty or other action is waived after a deadline or an obligation has passed. This can apply to the starting of a new job, paying a bill, a rental agreement or the meeting of a legal requirement. All of us have experienced the benefits of a grace period.

In Luke 13:6-9 Jesus tells a story about a man who planted a fig tree. After three years the tree had not produced any fruit. The man told his gardener to cut it down. The gardener asked the owner to give the tree one more year. He would work the soil around tree and fertilize it. Then if in another year it still isn’t producing any fruit it will be cut down. This was the tree’s grace period.

Many of us go through life, just like this fig tree, doing nothing and wasting our talents. Too many times we don’t believe that we have what it takes. We think that for something to be valuable, it has to be fabulous and incredible. This isn’t the case. If we all would do the little things that we have the chance to do, the accumulated result will be amazing.

We need to do what we can, where we can, whenever we can.

Too often we hide our gifts afraid that we might make a mistake. Jesus shows us how wrong it is to waste our talents in the story of the three servants, Matthew 25:14-30. In this scripture a wealthy man gives three servants varying amounts of gold (some versions refer to this as talents) to care for and use while he is gone. When he returns two of the three have used their gold (talents) wisely. They are rewarded for this. The third hid his, so the wealthy man took it away and threw the man out into the street. There is a price for not using the gifts we have been given.

Every day is full of opportunities to use our gifts to help others by:

  • Providing a service or product through our vocation
  • Listening to others
  • Getting involved in ministries
  • Treating people with respect
  • Loving our family and friends
  • Smiling at someone
  • Teaching and leading
  • Saying a kind word
  • Donating goods, services and money
  • Opening a door
  • Saying thank you
  • Saying you’re welcome

God has given each of us a purpose. He expects us to use the talents we have been given to fulfill this purpose. As long as we are alive, we should work to accomplish His plans. Each of us is living in the grace period.

Choosing to do nothing with our gifts is the worst thing we can do.

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.

Living Life Well Is All About Perspective

What Ever Your Situation – Attitude Makes All the Difference

Perspective is “a particular way of viewing things that depends on one’s experience and personality”. Our individual perspective effects every part of our lives. It’s up to us to decide how we are going to view things.

As a part of preparing for the new year, I reviewed the past one. In many aspects this past year was a dismal failure. Revenue was considerably less than our target. It was even less than the previous several years. We didn’t get anywhere near the blog traffic that we planned to. It would be easy to focus on those negative things and let them become my perspective.

At the same time there were several positive things that happened during the past year. While the financial numbers were down, we paid off more debt than any previous year. My goal was to write and post at least one solution each week and I did.

Years ago, I would have fixated on the negative and not seen the positive. This disappointment would have been the way I viewed things. This unproductive attitude would have been blocking my moving forward to bigger and better things. This was not any way to live life well.

At a point nine or ten years ago, I decided I was tired of living in this negative funk. There was no one specific thing that caused this shift, but rather a collection of small things. They consisted of reading, learning, journaling, praying and believing. Over those years I didn’t realize the difference that was happening but now looking back I can see and feel a major difference.

We have the power to choose what our attitude is going to be. With this power we can change our perspective. The 5th Decision in The Traveler’s Gift is, “Today I Will Choose to be Happy”. In this Joyful Decision, Anne Frank says, “Our very lives are fashioned by our choice. First we make choices. Then our choices make us.”

I’m not saying that it’s some easy flip a switch kind of magic. It’s hard work, but worth it. If you fall down, you get back up. When you fall down the next time you get back up again. We’ve all seen kids learning to walk. They don’t try it once, fall down, and never try again. They’re persistence is what makes it happen. They keep trying over and over, one small step at a time, until they succeed. They don’t give up.

With it being the New Year many of the blogs and podcasts that I follow have focused on planning and goal setting. One of those was Ray Edwards interviewing Cliff Ravenscraft about how to make our resolutions stick. In the interview they talk about how we may not have control over the circumstances, but we always have control over how we will choose to respond or what actions we will take. To make this point they use Nick Vujicic as an example of perseverance. He was born with no arms or legs and has achieved and accomplished more things than most people. If you feel that you had a rough year and things didn’t go like you had planned, you need to quit whining and watch these videos.

If we keep moving forward and continue getting back up after we’re knocked down anything is possible…just ask Nick.

I will persist without exception.