What Does It Mean to Have Clarity?

Really, I Just Want to Know!

What is “the thing” that I’m supposed to be doing? How do I know if that’s “the thing”? Maybe I should be doing “that other thing” instead? Where should I go from here? How do I know if that’s the right way? Am I the only one who feels this lost? What’s wrong with me?

So many questions, this is making my head hurt!

When I was growing up, I knew exactly what I was going to do for the rest of my life. I was going to farm with my Dad, just like he was farming with his. This was a great plan and it was going well until those plans got changed. When I was in my early thirties my Dad died, at fifty, of cancer.

We were farming together, he owned some of the equipment and I, using borrowed money, owned some. The problem at this point was, I couldn’t afford to buy his part so…I got out of farming.

In addition to farming I had been doing construction for most of the previous ten years as well. I liked doing it, was good at it, so this seemed like the logical thing to do, and it was.  

As life went on, I again began to give up on dreams, those unachievable fantasies. Who was I kidding? I wasn’t ever going to achieve anything more than mediocrity. It’s not that life wasn’t good; it was just…unfulfilled.

Then God got my attention with a board upside my head.

I survived an accident and was still alive…God wasn’t done with me yet. It was at this point I began dreaming again and believing anything was possible. I had new dreams and plans. I was excited about the possibilities…but now seven years later, I’m still trying to figure out how to turn those dreams into reality. Maybe there isn’t anything more.

I better be careful; God may do something to get my attention again.

Over the past seven years I’ve been searching for clarity and direction. I’ve prayed, read, studied, researched, listened, watched, multiple different things from a lot of different people. All good advice and very inspiring. Why is nothing changing? What am I doing wrong?

It’s been said that a rut is just a grave with both ends kicked out and here I am stuck in a rut of my own making. Walking back and forth looking for a way out isn’t working; it’s just making the rut deeper.

If I want to get out of this rut, I need to stop doing the same things hoping for different results.

God has big plans for us, and He will move mountains to create opportunities for us to achieve them. It’s up to us to move ourselves. I believe it’s Satan that causes us to stop short of those big God plans. It’s much better for him if we don’t achieve those successes. He’s the one who plants the doubt and fear. Telling us that we don’t have what it takes to do that big thing…who are we kidding.

Over the last seven years I knew my purpose and what I was supposed to be doing. This website and these weekly solutions are all part of that. At the same time, I felt as though I was just pretending…It really wasn’t going to happen. Look at the small number of follower’s that I have. No one cares about what I have to say.

Stop this, you’re being ridiculous.

In an effort to get different results, over the last few months I’ve done some “different”, some really big “different”. Big commitments of both time and money. Doing things that are way outside of my comfort zone. One of these things was joining Ray Edward’s Kingdom Builder mastermind group. This involves a weekly virtual meeting with a group of twelve specifically chosen people from around the country.

We’re just getting started and in our second meeting this past week, I was feeling overwhelmed. Once again, I asked myself, who am I kidding? I don’t belong in this group. I don’t have what it takes. These people are much better at what they’re doing than I am. I can’t afford this.

It’s happening again…Satan just shut up!

After the meeting…and wallowing a little…I remembered something that Ray said during a podcast, “Clarity starts with making a decision”. Most of us are waiting for clarity to be a simple light bulb moment. We expect it to be a bright shining mansion in the distance with a perfectly clear and straight path to get there and a chauffeur driven limousine to take us. This isn’t the way it works; clarity happens after we decide and do.

In Ray’s podcast, 7 Steps to Getting Clarity he pointed out things that if we decide and do, clarity will follow:

  1. Calling – Our purpose, the thing we are called to do.
  2. Commitment – We need to be all in.
  3. Credibility – Others see our ability in the area.
  4. Congruent – It’s something we love doing, it comes naturally.
  5. Connection – We naturally connect with those we serve.
  6. Competence – We have God given skills in this area.
  7. Consistency – We keep doing it regularly and don’t quit.

As part of my daily journaling I read Proverbs 3:5-6 every morning. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek His will in all that you do, and He will show you which path to take.”, New Living Translation.

The day after the meeting last week when I read this, for the first time I realized something that confirmed what Ray was saying. It doesn’t say, trust in the Lord, seek His will and He’ll give you everything that you dreamed. It says trust in Him, seek His will in all that I DO, and He’ll show me the path.

He will show me the path…He’s not going to DO He’s going to SHOW. It’s up to me to DO. It’s good to pray, read, study, research, listen and watch, but none of this is going to DO me any good if I don’t DO something.

Clarity’s not in here…it’s out there. If I want it, I have to decide and then go get it.

I’m Stuck God, Please Help Me

 

 

 

 

 

Remember to Say Thank You for The Tow Truck

 

We pray when we need or want something. Even non-believers do this. There are countless examples of people saying things like, “When the plane was going down, I prayed, even though I didn’t believe in God.”

 

Prayer is a natural “God given” reaction. As long as we’re traveling smoothly down the center of the road, we ‘think’ we have it all under control. But when we find ourselves stuck in a ditch; we ask God for a tow truck.


After we’re pulled out, we forget to say thank You, just like the lepers in Luke 17:11-19 did. Ten were healed and only one returned to say thank You. This is a pretty low percentage of thanks.

Everything big and small should be discussed with God. He’s not only interested in the big problems.


If our request is loud, our thanks should be louder.


It is easy to get pulled down by the daily grind of the world. We have our head down working through the day’s problems and forget to look up. By not looking up we miss the miracles happening all around us. We think we have everything under control, but…not so much.


Regardless of man’s plans, God’s plans are bigger.


It’s easy to let the negative outweigh the positive. We need to be intentional about looking at the positive. When Robinson Crusoe was shipwrecked on the island, he made a list of the negatives and positives of his situation. Making this list allowed him to see that things weren’t as bad as they first appeared.


When we find ourselves stranded on an island, we need to make a list.


Finally, we need to share these answered prayers with others. This sharing is an example of God’s involvement in the world. Seeing this routine involvement in the small as well as the big, let’s people witness God’s relationship firsthand.

 


Visit with God while traveling down the middle of the road. Don’t wait until you’re stuck in a ditch.

Are You Getting What You Pray For?

 

 

 

 

If Not, Maybe the Problem Lies in Your Expectation

 

We’ve all had times when we prayed for something only to be disappointed. Whether the outcome we prayed for happened only to make things worse. Or, maybe we prayed and prayed and never got the answer we wanted.

 


What’s the problem with our praying?


We need to align our praying with God’s plans.


Pastor Lee told a story about a church that was struggling financially. They needed $10,000 to meet their year-end obligations. The church began a prayer campaign to this end and soon they were given some stocks worth $5,000. The leadership of the church met and decided to go ahead and sell the stock and continue to pray for the remaining $5,000.

 


The next day when the pastor was planning to go sell the stocks there was a snowstorm that kept him from going. After a few days the storm was over and the roads had cleared, he went to complete the sale of the stocks. In the few days he was unable to go, the stock price had doubled. Prayer answered.


Why is it when we pray for peace or healing or some other worthy cause we don’t receive it?


We need to align our praying with God’s plans.


Maybe we need to alter our expectations, but not our faith. In Luke 11:1-13, Jesus teaches us how to pray. Most of us are familiar with the Lord’s Prayer, Verses 1-4, and many can recite it from memory. We’re less familiar with Verses 5-13. Here He tells us to continue asking and you will get what you ask for. The problem is that often what we ask for is not the thing WE SHOULD ASK FOR.


If we break down praying, there are six main points:

  1. – Remember that God is God. He made everything and can do anything He wants. We need to align our wants with His.
  2. –  We’re given just what we need each day. God wants us to have blessings overflowing, but to not be wasteful.
  3. – Forgive us because we continually mess up. Jesus has already paid the price for our failures…we just need accept the payment and mess up less tomorrow.
  4. – Forgive others. This is paying forgiveness forward. If we’ve been forgiven, it only makes sense to forgive others.
  5. – Protection from being tempted. Put on and wear the Armor of God, Ephesians 6:10-16. This protection is ours to use, but we have to put it on and wear it every day.
  6. – Be relentless in your asking. Ask…ask…ask…ask…and ask again, just be careful what it is that you’re asking for. Once you get it, it might not be what you thought.


When we align our praying with God’s plans for our lives, things go a lot smoother and the outcome is much better.


A lady was shopping for an anniversary card for her husband and found the perfect card to give him. On the front of the card it said, “Well it’s not what you prayed for…” On the inside it said, “but apparently it’s the answer.”

 

 


We need to align our praying with God’s plans and then we’ll get what we pray for.

 

How to Achieve Your Desired Life Results

 

Not to be Confused with Goal Setting

 

 

I think most of the time goal setting is seen the same way as budgeting – restricting, confining, controlling, restraining, and limiting. This is the opposite of how either should be seen.

 


Both should serve as a plan for intentionally building the life of your dreams.


Do you have a plan for what you want your dream life to be? I bet you do, we all do. Sometimes, for whatever reason, we choose to ignore these dreams, to push them down and forget them. Maybe it’s because we’ve had our dreams shattered or after years of waiting, we just gave up. Whatever the reason, you can decide to make that dream a reality or give up on it.

 


I remember years ago, before I knew about Dave Ramsey and Financial Peace University, I didn’t like the idea of budgeting. I thought it would keep me from being free to spend money or have fun. Then after going through the class and beginning to budget, I found it to be the opposite. I then had a plan for spending, it gave me more freedom than I had before. Budgeting actually gave me more control of my money.


Goal setting can give you more control of your life.


Our perception of words is part of the problem. We connect our own experiences with words which creates our own individual perspective. Goals is one of those words. Like budgeting, goals can feel constraining. Like budgeting, the opposite is the case.

 

 


Look at the negative, comedic way New Year’s resolutions are viewed. This is a good example of how the lack of intentionality is misleading. When we get caught up in the rhetoric we will just float through life without a plan. If we don’t bother to dig down and build our lives on a solid foundation, we will be blown in whatever direction the wind blows us.

 


A goal is a desired result. A desired result sounds good.


I don’t know of anyone who doesn’t want to achieve their desired results. If we are to live this life we have been given to the fullest, we need to be intentional to do all that we can to achieve the results God has planned for us.


 

Another problem with goal setting is that it can become overwhelming. Most of us have way more dreams and goals than we can ever get done. We built this mountain of things that we want to do. We’re the ones who let it get this big and we’re the ones who can make it smaller. To keep it from feeling so daunting we need to focus on one shovel full at a time rather than the whole thing.


We can’t blame anyone but ourselves for the size of our mountain.

 

It’s also important to remember that if we always set our goals small, we will never grow. We need to be growing and learning all the time. If your goals are always reached, then they aren’t big enough.

 


God has put a life dream in each of us. If we want to achieve it, we need to plan it. It doesn’t matter what you call it, what matters is that you do it. The mountain can be moved, it isn’t too big.


What matters is to align our plan with God’s and start shoveling.

The Most Important Week in History

Its Importance Was Overlooked Then and Now

Last Sunday was Palm Sunday, the beginning of Holy Week. When this week occurred for the first time, what started out as a celebration quickly turned into a dark time for Jesus’ followers.

They were expecting something completely different than what happened. They thought that Jesus was going to over turn the Roman Empire and become a worldly king. They misunderstood Jesus’ message and purpose.

This is like the story Pastor Lee told about a woman that became distraught when she saw a sign in her bank’s window. She went into the bank and asked what was going to happen to her money? The teller asked her what she meant. The lady said the sign in the front window read, “Closed for Good Friday”. When she read it, she saw, “Closed for good, Friday”. We need to be careful to not misunderstand the Message.

It is easy for us to put our perspective on things that in turn lead to misunderstanding. We invite Jesus into our lives and ask Him to make a few changes and freshen things up a bit…you know a little remodeling project. The problem develops when we haven’t really looked at the blueprint, or maybe we don’t know how to read one. God’s plan for our lives more resembles a full-blown renovation, rather than a little remodel.

He plans to turn us into a mansion, if we’ll just let Him.

Usually when we hear the word passion we think of an emotion. We put it in our worldly view. Historically though this word meant to suffer for something cared deeply about, to the point of martyrdom. Jesus cared so deeply for us that He was willing to give His life for us. His passion to for us lead to His death. This is the Passion of Christ.

As humans no matter how high we reach or how long of a ladder we climb on. we can never reach God. He on the other hand can reach us, if we will let Him.

Remember the importance of this Holy Week and let the Master Architect design your dream mansion.

What Does It Take to Be A Builder?

There’s So Much More to This Building Thing Than Just Construction

I regularly go back through my life plans, especially at this time of the year, reviewing and revising them as needed to build the best life. Just like a construction project needs reviewed and revised in different phases of the project. Whether a building or a life, this process shouldn’t stop once the initial construction is complete. It is an on-going process until the end.

It is amazing to me the correlations between building a business, a life or doing construction. Building terminology is used everywhere. As a part of my life plan review, I was going back through some Michael Hyatt’s Platform University training. One of the things that caught my attention were the words that were used. In the first two sentences of the instructions I found this; “…building your website…”, “…lay an important foundation….” and “…platform-building…”.

The use of this construction terminology is a great analogy with life building as is evident in the more than eighty times it’s used in Scripture. You can find some examples here. In Luke 6:48 (NCV) it says, “…everyone who comes to me and hears my words and obeys. That person is like a man building a house who dug deep and laid the foundation on rock. When the floods came, the water tried to wash the house away, but it could not shake it, because the house was built well.” This sounds like a pretty good plan for building a life to me.

If you have read more than a few “Weekly Solutions” posts, you will have noticed the connections with building in many of them. Here are just a few – Building the Life of Your Dreams, Building the Best Life, Means It’s Always Under Construction, The Importance of Intentionality for Building Your Dream Life and Building Your Business Is Critical to The Survival of the Business. This really is the underlying theme for Solution Building. The central purpose is to “help people find solutions for building their dream business and life through improved communication, better business systems, quality construction projects and life lessons.

Most importantly any kind of building, whether it’s a construction project, a life or a business, needs to start with a solid foundation. My foundation is my CORE VALUES built on the SOLID ROCK of Jesus. 1 Cor. 3:11

As we move forward into this new year, we will be sharing more specific examples and systems to help you build your dream business and life. If there are areas in your business or life where you need a solution, let me know in the comment section below.

Trying to Spin Too Many Plates at The Same Time Can Make You Dizzy

The Same Thing Happens When You Try to Run a Business Without a Plan

 

Most of us have seen plate spinning acts done in some form or another. When I was growing up I remember seeing Erich Brenn performing his plate spinning act http://www.edsullivan.com/artists/erich-brenn-plate-spinner on the popular Ed Sullivan Show https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Ed_Sullivan_Show. I remember the running back and forth, trying to keep all the different plates spinning at the same time. It was really pretty amazing.

I’ve concluded that most businesses are being operated in a way that feels a lot like trying to keep all those plates spinning at the same time. Just like the performer who keeps putting more and more spinning plates up on the end of sticks, we keep trying to do more and more.

There is a limit to how much a single individual can do. We can only run back and forth keeping the plates spinning for so long before they start falling and breaking. This means there is a maximum number of people that I can provide my services to by myself.

As I have been looking to serve more people, I have been adding more help in the form of assistants and subcontractors. The difficulty with this is that my business system has been developed and stored in my head for forty years. It’s hard to present a clear plan to others when it’s in my subconscious.

This is why I’ve started the process of sorting through the system in my head and putting it on paper (and in there is a scary place to work). Just like constructing a building can be done with a plan in someone’s head, it’s much easier to share the plan and the work when it’s drawn out for others to see.

 

Most business systems are going to be very similar. They are going to consist of the same basic areas of operation.

Sales/Marketing:

  • Prospecting for customers
  • Follow up on leads
  • Meet with prospective customers
  • Pricing and Proposals
  • Sales Reports
  • Advertising/Promotions
  • Marketing and Sales Planning
  • Customer Relations
  • Market Research
  • Public Relations
  • Product Development

 

Production/Operations:

  • Project Management
  • Project Assignments and Scheduling
  • Productivity Monitoring and Control
  • Quality Control and Documentation
  • Production Team Prep. & Development
  • Communicate with Team Members
  • Project Troubleshooting
  • Inventory Planning and Control
  • Purchasing and Vendor Relations
  • Customer Service
  • Equipment Maintenance and Repair
  • Facilities Maintenance & Repair

 

Administration/Finance:

  • Computer Systems
  • Team Member Records
  • Team Member Policies and Benefits
  • Office Support
  • Office Maintenance
  • Information Archiving and Distribution
  • Data Processing
  • Communications
  • Contract Preparation
  • Budgeting
  • Invoicing
  • Cash Flow Forecasting
  • Financial Reports
  • General Bookkeeping
  • Accounts Payable
  • Taxes
  • Banking

As you can see here, even just the basics are a lot of plates to keep spinning and there are a lot more to spin than just these. All of those plates going around and around are making my head spin.

I plan to share my adventure as I get this system out of my head and on to paper, so that I can get those spinning plate neatly organized.

Keep following along if you would like to know how to organize your plates.

 

Flexibly Rigid

 

 

 

The Importance of an Action Plan with Some Margin

 

 

I am an organizer and planner by nature. I like having a clear direction. A system in place to expedite those wonderfully crafted plans. But you know what happens…’life happens’. Once you’ve begun executing those plans, something that you hadn’t included in that masterfully 12140602074_d97538a8fe_odesigned, already fully packed day comes along and just messes up the whole thing.

There are so many things that I want to get done. I struggle through the process of what to do first, what’s most important today, which thing should be at the top of the list.

Just because I’m a planner doesn’t mean that I can’t be flexible, because I can, sometimes maybe too much. It has always been pretty easy for me to make adjustments when something unexpected happens. The problem with this is, getting derailed by distractions makes it hard to stay on task. Then of course that plan, that wonderfully crafted plan, is all messed up. For years I have worked to be better at balancing the plan and flexibility.

You may be on the other side of this coin and have the gift of doing. The ability to make a decision and move on it. You find it frustrating when the unexpected happens and you struggle to deal with it.

The important thing is to understand yourself. What character, personality and gifts you have so you can be prepared in your own way to handle the unexpected.

drain stopper too smal

Recently I had a day that provides a good example of this. I had scheduled to finish the punch list of one project so that I could move the tool trailer from this project to the next. This next project involved another contractor so the plan was also coordinated with his schedule. Before I even got started doing any work, while backing up to hook up the trailer, I noticed a brake hose on my truck leaking. Of course this was a Friday so my mechanic wouldn’t be available to work on it tomorrow. I called him and he said that if I could get it to him now he could fix it today. So I consider my options…get the truck to the mechanic and not move the trailer or borrow a truck and go ahead with the punch list and move the trailer. I decided to take the truck to get fixed. As it worked out I had already scheduled the truck to go to the mechanic on Monday to have some other things done, so while the truck was at the mechanics he went ahead and did the work that was scheduled for Monday. This allowed me to do the work Monday that I had planned for Friday.

 

I think that there is a Master Planner at work and it is important for our plans to fit with His; to determine what our priorities are before that scheduling fiasco happens; to figure out who we are and what we want, so we are ready when the unexpected happens. This doesn’t mean that everything will go perfectly, but as we search for clarity and work through each schedule disruption we will get a little closer to being who we were designed to be.