How Can We Be Prepared for Unexpected Situations?

We Can’t Know Everything That’s Going to Happen, But We Can Still Be Prepared

Getting ready for things that we weren’t expecting or wanting can be hard.

Like a kid that’s told to get ready. What they hear when they’re told, “We’ll be leaving in five minutes.” is… Get undressed, start a finger painting and lose at least one shoe.

It’s reasonable that young kids don’t fully understand the concept of getting ready. It’s less tolerable when we’re adults.  

In Luke 12:32-40 Jesus is trying to prepare His disciples for their mission going forward after His death. He’s trying to help them see the bigger picture.

He tells them to get ready for eternity and not get sidetracked with things of this world. He tells them to be ready like a servant waiting for his master to come home. We don’t know when our lives will end, so we need to get ready now, so that we will be ready when the time comes.

Being prepared is making a decision and taking action before you need to. If you wait until it’s time…it’s too late.

Being prepared requires work. It’s not something that just happens. This is why a lot of people don’t want to be prepared for things. It requires study and training to get prepared for anything.

If it’s worth doing, it’s worth the effort.

We can’t just show up and expect to perform at our best.

Preparation is the difference between success and failure. People who are good at what they do, don’t perform at that level without putting in time and energy to get that way. Preparation is an advantage.

Being prepared requires willingness to put others ahead of ourselves.

At Texas A&M they have a tradition of the 12th Man. This dates back to 1922 when the Aggies were facing a top-ranked team in a football game.

An Aggie by the name of E. King Gill, a squad player for Texas A&M’s football team, was up in the press box helping reporters identify players on the field below — and what was happening on the field wasn’t pretty.

The Aggies found themselves plagued by injuries, with their reserves seemingly dwindling with every play. As Texas A&M Coach Dana X. Bible looked across his rapidly emptying bench, he suddenly remembered Gill’s presence in the stands. Bible waved Gill down to the sideline and told him to suit up. Gill ran under the bleachers and put on the uniform of injured running back Heine Weir, who had been knocked out of the game in the first quarter.

Gill returned to the sideline, where he stood ready to play for the entirety of the game. When the last play was run, the Aggies found that they had pulled off one of the greatest upsets in college football history, winning the game 22-14.

And Gill remained standing, the only player left on the team’s bench.

Gill’s willingness to serve his team in 1922 has passed down from generation to generation of Aggies for nearly one hundred years, as Texas A&M’s student section stands together during entire football and basketball games, a symbol of the 12th Man on the team.

The power of the 12th Man is echoed in the unity, the loyalty, and the willingness of Aggies to serve when called to do so.

And it is the reason that Texas A&M has earned a name that embraces Gill’s simple gesture of service: Home of the 12th Man.

Preparation is a choice. It requires willingness, sacrifice, learning and training. Are you prepared?

A Successful Life Is More Than Just a Big Pile of Stuff

Where Your Heart is…That’s Where You’ll Find Your Treasure

Success looks different to each of us. We need to remember that success is so much more than just accumulating things. Not that there is anything wrong with having nice stuff.

Real success comes from where our focus is. Is it on the stuff or fulfilling our God given purpose?

We need to be careful to not get sucked into the commercialism of the world.

If we’re honest with ourselves we’re spoiled. Things that we call problems, really aren’t problems…they’re inconveniences. Things like:

  • I have company coming over and my house is a mess
  • My walk-in closet isn’t big enough
  • I can’t get my Wi-Fi to reach everywhere in my house
  • My air conditioning in my truck quit and its hot outside

Compared to a hundred years ago or someone living in a 3rd world country…these aren’t problems, they’re inconveniences.

We live in an overwhelmingly marketed to world. Advertising is all about creating the want of stuff. Desire is contagious. We need to be careful to not be sucked into desiring the wrong things.

Stuff in and of itself isn’t bad. It’s about where your focus is.

In Matthew 6:19-21 we’re told to be careful where we’re storing up treasures. Earthly treasures don’t last forever while heavenly ones do.

Jesus tells us in Luke 12:13-21 about a man whose farm produced such a big crop that he didn’t have enough room to store it all. The man decided to tear down his barns and build bigger ones. This would allow him to eat, drink and enjoy himself for years to come. This didn’t work so well…that night the man died.

This is what happens when people store up everything for themselves, but are poor in the sight of God.

I used to struggle with this Scripture. It seemed to me to be saying that we shouldn’t work hard or be productive or save for the future.

This isn’t what it’s saying. It is sayingit’s not all about me.

If we focus our energy into fulfilling our God given mission, we will be successful…whatever that looks like for each of us.

What is it About TOOLS That Building Contractors Love So Much?

Wielding a Power Tool Gives Us a Sense of Control and Respect

Those of you who build, know what I mean. Feeling that power in our hands. We are in control, but the machine can never be tamed. We have to respect it, or we will regret it. We pretend to be in charge of the “power tool beast” but know better.

Power and control

  • Power tools have the power to create. When the power tools come out, we have no idea what is about to happen. Every time we connect with that much electricity, a child-like excitement oozes from our pores.
  • Power tools have an untamed spirit that screams: “Anything can happen.” Turning on a generator makes you feel like you are The Generator. For a few minutes, you’re off the grid and in-charge. You have the power and can decide who you will bestow it upon.
  • Power tools let us pretend that we can do anything. Don’t fool yourself, your power tool is in charge! Just look at the sticker on your SAWZALL: “Warning this device is powerful and is capable of doing serious harm to your home, your person or your entire way of life.

Meditate on the raw power, the Amps and the Volts. Be in awe and imagine where your power tools may take you.

This fascination with tools is very similar to the reason most guys would take almost any ridiculous “man challenge” for the promise of a gold sticker on their forehead and “buddy cred”.

“Hey, I bet you can’t crush that can with your head!” Sound familiar?

Hopefully most of us are smarter than this.

As builders we love the rush we get from building something. That sense of accomplishment that comes from creating a dream home out of that stack of boards. Tools give us the power and control to do this.

A tool that is even more powerful than the biggest meanest saw, is the Blueprint for Building a Better Proposal.

I know it doesn’t make as much noise or make your arm numb after using it all afternoon, but it’s a tool that will allow you to build your business into a skyscraper of success.

The hardest thing you will ever build is a business. The tools used for this kind of building are different than what we normally think of when thinking tools.

During my thirty-five plus years of building my business I’ve continually worked to achieve and maintain a sense of control over my profit and respect for the power of business.

Just like any other building project, it’s important to know what tool to use for specific applications. You wouldn’t use a cordless screw gun to saw a board, or a reciprocating saw to nail down a shingle.

You can saw a board with a hand saw or you can use a circular saw. We both know which is faster, easier and makes more sense.

The same thing is true for preparing a proposal.

You can use the old school “guesstimation” method or you could use the new and improved power tool. It’s important to have the right tool for the job.

We are going to be offering a Holiday special for the Building a Better Proposal system starting on Black Friday complete with a weekly tool drawing starting on Black Friday.

If you or someone you know would like to feel the power of a tool that gives them control over building a successful construction business while respecting that power without regret…stay tuned for upcoming details or contact us in the comments below.

The Most Important Question Always Seems to be the Last One Asked

That’s Because the Answer to the “How Question” is Going to Require Work

Last week I listened to a Belay, One Next Step podcast interview with David Horsager. David is the CEO of Trust Edge Leadership Institute and best-selling author of The Trusted Leader, The 8 Pillars of Trust. In this interview they discussed these 8 pillars and how to become a more trustworthy leader.

Everything of value is built on trust. You’ll pay more for a trusted brand, to follow a trusted leader or buy from a trusted salesperson.

Trust is the single most important trait of great leaders, organizations and brands.

These 8 foundational pillars of genuine success are:

1. Clarity: People trust the clear and mistrust the ambiguous.

2. Compassion: People put faith in those who care beyond themselves.

3. Character: People notice those who do what is right over what is easy.

4. Competency: People have confidence in those who stay fresh, relevant, and capable.

5. Commitment: People believe in those who stand through adversity.

6. Connection: People want to follow, buy from, and be around friends.

7. Contribution: People immediately respond to results.

8. Consistency: People love to see the little things done consistently.

As they went through these pillars David pointed out a simple three question process for putting these pillars into action. These questions are what helped David to lose 52 lbs. in five months and keep it off.

Here are the three most important questions to ask:

“Number one. “Okay. We want that thing.” How, how? Okay. Second question, way more important. It is, how? The third is the most important of all. It is, how?”

I’ve written several times about the importance of asking questions and the lack them being asked. I believe all questions are important and that they all work together to point to the desired results.

  • Who is that thing going to be done for?
  • What is that thing that I want or need to do?
  • When does that thing need to be done?
  • Where is that thing going to be done?
  • Why should that thing be done?
  • How am I going to do that thing?

Without answering the how question it won’t get done.

The how question needs to be actionable and one that we can be held accountable to.

Here is what David said about it,

My weight, everybody told me, “All you got to do is eat less, exercise more.” That was not clear enough. Okay. So I said, “Okay, how am I going to take in less calories?” Okay. Boom, boom, boom, boom. How, how, how, how. Until one of them was, “I’m not going to drink a calorie on a plane.” I can look at it. “Okay. Fresca instead of Coke.” I was drinking Cokes, bad. So now you sit next to me. I never, almost never have a calorie on a plane, unless I put a little cream in my coffee. So the how is something you can act on today or tomorrow. “I want to sell more.” “Okay. How are you going to do that?” “I’m going to call more people.” “Okay, great. How are you going to do that?” Basically, I’m just going to call more people.” “No, you’re not. You had that opportunity yesterday. How are you going to call more people?” “Well, I got to get a list.” “Okay. Now, how are you going to get a list?” “Okay. I’m going to do this.” Okay. “By tomorrow at 10:00 AM.”

It’s time from me to answer my how questions.

How will you answer yours?

Why Do I Not Do the Things I Want To?

And on Top of That, Do the Things That I Don’t Want to

This is a mystery as old as time. We all find ourselves doing those things that we tell ourselves we won’t do. And then, turn around and don’t do the things we said we would. Paul discusses this very thing, in Romans 7:14-25.

We are often tempted to do things that may not be the smartest or wisest.

Fishing for Bluefin Tuna is one of these things. These fish can reach weights of almost 1500 lbs. and grow to nearly 13 ft. long. There are stories of these huge fish tipping over and sinking boats. In addition to the lure of catching these big trophies is the enticement of money.

While most Bluefin Tuna sell for $20 – $40 per pound in your local grocery store, there are cases of them selling for hundreds of thousands of dollars for one fish. The most expensive one sold for 3.1 million dollars in 2019. It was purchased by Japanese sushi restaurant owner Kiyoshi Kimura.

Temptation is like this. The desire to catch the big one can pull us under.

Temptation is a battle we fight continuously. We know when we’re tempted to do things that we shouldn’t. It comes down to a battle of our desires. It’s up to us to choose to do the right thing or not.

For a man to conquer himself is the greatest of all virtues.

We have the power to control our desires and actions. Let’s look at this using the example of a phone call. We have all experienced two people in an argument yelling at each other when the phone rings. Like the flip of a switch the person answering the phone is as calm and polite as can be. We have the control; we just have to decide if we’ll use it.

It is possible to accomplish what we want if we have a clear plan to achieve it. This includes developing habits and routines that move us toward where we want to go, not way from it. We need to have established habits that become our default response.

Willpower is more important to success than talent.

Habits, routines and willpower all sound great, but can be hard. The best model I’ve found for teaching me these things is my Chief Executive Officer. His name is God. He is the most senior administrative officer in charge of managing my life. I have a Divine Ally in God. You can too if you will just add Him to your team.

Alone we will continue to do the things we don’t want to and not do the things we do. Doing the right things can seem heavy but the alternative weighs more.

Discipline weighs ounces…regret weighs tons.

What Does It Mean to Be Successful?

It’s Not What People Normally Think

Success, true success is anything but normal. Dave Ramsey says, “If You want to succeed, you’ve got to be weird.” It is hard to be different. Standing out and being different opens us up to criticism and ridicule. It’s much easier and safer to blend in and go with the flow. To just be normal.

God doesn’t want us to be normal. He made each of us different and unique (Psalm 139:14) and put each of us here for a specific purpose (Romans 8:28). It is up to us to search out and learn what our individual purpose is.

Discovering our true purpose is success.

Normally success is seen as fortune and fame. Even the definition of success includes, “The attainment of fame, wealth, or social status.” If we see these things as success and don’t accomplish them, we see ourselves as failures. We are only failures when we stop seeking our true purpose. So, we’ve got to hang in there.

The world’s idea of success is short sighted and selfish. It’s about what’s in it for me. God’s idea of success is different. It’s about using the skills and abilities I’ve been given to help others. Specifically, in my case, to help others build their dreams.

So, how do we figure out what our purpose is? First, ask that very question. What is my purpose? And then we ask it again and again… Asking the question is the first step to success. The question is more important than the answer. Asking this question is necessary to start. Then we can dig deeper with more questions. If we don’t ask questions we will stay stuck in the mundane routine of doing the same thing over and over hoping for a different outcome.

These questions start with the most common question asked by kids…WHY.

Why am I here?

Somewhere along the way, in an effort to be normal, we quit asking why. As children we are naturally curious. If we want to be successful, we need to get back to that childlike curiosity.

The why question is where we dig down deep to find the solid foundation that our success will be built on.

After asking why, comes what, how, when, who, where. Asking these questions is hard. Almost as hard as reading the 5Ws out of their normal order. But then we are trying to be successful, not normal. The order I have them in is more appropriate when it has to do with success. The most important thing is to be intentional about asking questions in whatever order works. Asking questions opens our mind up to new ideas.

The answers to these questions won’t magically appear once they’ve been asked. Being successful and finding our purpose is not an end unto itself. Both are a process of seeking answers and should continue as long as we’re alive. There is not some point in life when we arrive at our final destination (like retirement). Success is the process of seeking our purpose and as long as we’re breathing, we should be asking questions.

DON’T BE NORMAL – BE SUCCESSFUL!

Hang In There!

It is hard to “Hang In There”. Holding on for dear life with the weight of the world on our shoulders. It’s lonely hanging there all by ourselves as our arms get more and more tired. We just want to let go. DON’T LET GO!

We forget or are unaware that we don’t have to do it alone. There are others around who will help us and who we can help (“Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:2). Not to mention God’s willingness to help carry the load (“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Matthew 11:28).

Success isn’t the absence of failure, it’s the perseverance to continue moving forward in spite of it. Successful people fail consistently, over and over. A few examples are Walt Disney, JK Rowling and Steve King, all who were told that they couldn’t do what they ultimately did. They “hung in there”. Even Jesus had failures, i.e. when the people of His home town didn’t believe Him and took Him to a cliff at the edge of town with intentions of throwing Him over, Luke 4:14-30. Consequently Jesus did very few miracles in His home town. Do we put these same restrictions on miracles God would do for us?

Popularity is often how success is judged, but it’s a poor way to rate success. If we don’t feel popular or are passed over for a job we feel like failures. Rejection is hard to take, but Jesus was rejected. Just look at how His hometown treated Him. One of the tools in the Devils arsenal is rejection. If we get down and stay down we will never succeed.

 Persistence is the key that unlocks the door to success so “Hang In There”!