Feeds:
Posts
Comments

I’m currently reading a great book on keeping your life simple.  One of the chapters that struck me talked about your job.  He used 4 key alignments to look for in your work life.  He used a job as a template but I wanted to add a business as well, as I believe strongly in business ownership here in America (a very important part of freedom).  I’ll mostly be writing from the viewpoint of being a part of LIFE Leadership, the company I work with.  Feel free to add your work place to this list though or your own business and see if they line up.  If not, what can you do to change that and get your workplace in line with these areas.

Alignment 1-Passion

Passion according to this author is identifying our God-given passions and finding jobs (or a business) that align with them as closely as possible, we can put ourselves in position for great satisfaction.  How many of us or people you know seem to be just living life without any passion or excitement?  Most seem to never really find any great satisfaction with their life’s work.  Most of the conversations I’ve had with people in this position are from people who followed what everyone told them to do, just find a good safe secure job and you’ll be fine.  After a few years most of these people find themselves unhappy, mostly due to not being passionate about what they are doing.  It’s ok to take some steps back and maybe even take less pay (use a financial fitness guide to help you live on less) so that you can be in an area where you’re excited to wake up everyday and work.  It also helps to find people who are passionate about what they do and ask them questions.  Those would be the ones who are always alive, you know the type, cause most of us growl and grumble at them.  Two books that have helped me and could offer insight to passion and purpose would be Resolved by Orrin Woodward and PAiLS by Chris Brady.

Alignment 2-Culture

The author asked how does the culture intersect with your passion, personality, priorities, and relationship style?  Is this a place where you can thrive?  Two extremely good questions.  How many of us get into jobs that go against our priorities?  Or workplaces that say one thing, yet mean another.  My wife for example works in a place that preaches family, yet if she were to actually spend her off time with family or make family a bigger priority than work she would basically get passed by for any promotions even if she was the best qualified (one of many reasons why corporate America is no longer for us).  Ask yourself, is the environment I’m in on a regular basis helping me grow personally and professionally?  Does the culture really stand for what they believe?  Very important questions.  If you don’t get the answers you’re looking for, then it’s time to move on.  Don’t stick around for 30 years, find a culture that is already created or help to create one that matches your passion, priorities and values.  A book that could be of help here is Launching a Leadership Revolution by Orrin Woodward and Chris Brady, specifically the section on Tri-Lateral Leadership Ledger (TLL) and the 5 Levels of Influence.  Also our LIFE Live seminars.  We have created a culture of growth and trust within an organization.  I can leave a $100 bill on my seat with my notebook and it will still be there when I get back.  Also in our environment or culture we have less than a 1% divorce rate, really good seeing the rest of our country is almost to 60%.  I would consider culture to be one of the most important of the four, we are a product of our association.  Remember when mom and dad wondered who you were hanging out with, it shouldn’t be any different as adults.

Alignment 3-Challenge

The author goes through different levels of challenge, from being not challenged at all to being overly challenged and stressed out.  He makes a good point that our work should be challenging.  We have all been in workplaces where maybe we were not challenged, not really where you wanna be, work is boring at that point and you just can’t wait to leave.  Others are way over challenged and forget other priorities, like home and simply things like rest.  The author recommended finding a place where you are AC+ (Appropriately Challenged Plus).  He says that in this level of challenge you feel an excitement, a need for God, a need to work as a team.  You’re in just enough over your head that you must swim hard and fast, but you’re not drowning.  This is up for you to decide where you’re at.  With finding your AC+ you also have to make sure you’re keeping your priorities in line.  Know sometimes you may have to work longer and harder for a season but that’s where communication comes in with your family.  Keeping everyone updated and on the same page and knowing when those long hours will be over.  For those reading that work with me in LIFE our challenge comes with Power Player, it does give us that excitement, need for God and a need to work as a team.  It’s just enough of a challenge to get you out the door and working with people, but it won’t drown you.  For everyone else who owns a business or works at a job, think about challenge and what it looks like in your life.  Are you not being challenged at all?  Are you in over your head challenged?  What does AC+ look like for you?

Alignment 4-Compensation

It’s a beautiful thing when passion and pay align, allowing you to do something you love and be well paid.  If this is your situation, thank God on your knees every day, because you are living the dream.  Very few people ever experience the perfect balance between passion and pay.  It is one of life’s rare and precious blessings-Hybels

He covers a great topic here because as we are living our purpose and passions it does help to make an income, after all most of us enjoy eating, clothes to wear and a roof over our heads.  So don’t act like compensation isn’t important, because it is.  It’s not the most important so it helps to make sure we have our priorities in line and living responsibly with the money that God has blessed us with (which most of us as American’s are doing a poor job).  But the author was right, when you can make a good living doing what you’re fully passionate about what a blessing.  Not everyone though has that blessing, but he offers two formulas that help us live our passions while also providing a living.

Low Pay+High Passion=Supplement Your Income

There are countless ways to build an extra income here in America.  You can start a small business.  You can join a networking company, in today’s age this is becoming more and more popular.  I would encourage you to look at the LIFE Leadership IDS and CAB brochure.  Also read The Leadership Train by Orrin Woodward and The Business of the 21st Century by Robert Kiyosaki.  Either way find something, it doesn’t take much to make a few extra bucks that will allow us to move closer to our passions.

High Pay+Low Passion=Supplement Your Passion

There’s a lot of people who have high paying jobs they can’t leave because they provide well, or a business that supports their family.  What this author recommends is that if you can’t make a living working your passion then find a way to fill your passion outside of work.  A lot of times this can come through volunteering or starting small group studies.  One of the things I love about LIFE is that even if you didn’t make a living you can still be passionate about what it allows you to do.  I’ve had two friends pay off over $20,000 worth of debt in less than a couple years just applying the information from our Financial Fitness pack.  I have a handful of other friends who have better marriages today from applying our Marriage pack into their lives, some of those friends were tossing the word divorce around.  Most people I know would be passionate about that and be happy doing it for free.

My prayer for you is that you would take these concepts and match them up with your life.  Look them over and study.  What can you do to align your life with your priorities, your passions.  It will take some changes and sometimes a few steps backwards, but I believe it would be worth it if it led you to where you truly wanted to be.

Advertisements

4 things

I recently had a couple of conversations with some newly graduated young men.  Through these conversations I learned just how much my generation is miseducated in small areas of our lives that could have huge impacts.  The compound effect from this bad thinking is leading our next generation is even further behind.  I titled this blog 4 things because these are areas in which I’ve had to learn and after talking with today’s high school graduates I realize just how misinformed they are on these say things.

1.) Smart phones-You absolutely don’t need one to survive.  I was trying to help one young man financially.  I learned he was paying about $80 a month on his iphone.  When I told him to go to a basic phone he looked me dead in the eye and said I could never go backwards like that, after all I have to keep up with social media.  If Facebook is your idea of cool let me go ahead and warn you, being broke and being on Facebook is not cool.  Your friends will not pay your bills so getting yourself in a financial fit situation shouldn’t make you go backwards in popularity, if it does you need a new circle of friends.    Another teen I had the pleasure of talking to has an old school junk phone, he buys 250 minutes a month.  He’s 19 years old and lives on his own.  He was listening to other co-workers brag about their smart phones when he laughed, he was the only one not living at home and was by far the youngest.  Are smart phones great, yes, but are they worth going backwards every month over, no.  If you are not able to save money or you are falling back financially, ditch the phone.  Pay for something that’s more practical to your financial situation.  I promise you life won’t end.

2.)College-Your parents will hate me for writing this but read carefully…..you DO NOT need a college education to be successful.  Let me repeat, you DO NOT need a college education to be successful.  I meet with a lot of people who have earned these college degrees.  A huge percent are highly in debt, thousands of dollars, some hundreds of thousands.  I’m not sure where in the definition of success that fits.  Also I believe that currently over 70% of college grads do not even get a job in the field they studied.  So obviously a degree doesn’t always make sense.  Now for some reading this a college degree does make sense.  First define what you want.  Then start interviewing people who are doing what you defined.  If college is the route then go.  For the rest of us it might make more sense to climb a company ladder or start a business.  Two of the most successful people I know outside of what I do own their own business.  They make more than most people I went to high school with, have no college degree, and have a lower amount of stress in their lives.  They get to choose what they do and are in charge of their schedule.  So if a degree is for you great, if not then pursue what you love.

3.) New cars-This one is killing America as a whole.  We are obsessed with looking better than what we actually are.  The same kid who can’t get rid of his iphone just also financed a pick up truck.  He can hardly make ends meet as it is and bought what I would call a money pit, needless to say it already broke down and he just got it the other day.  Meanwhile the world is telling him he’s doing just fine.  The other kid, who pays by the minute, has a sweet beater that doesn’t even have reverse.  If he parks in the wrong spot he’s pushing his car, but he doesn’t care.  What he knows is that car is paid off and he’s not in financial bondage over it.  He’s free to leave a job if he wants and not worry because he has no debt and a savings built up because of it.  He may not look cool driving down the road, but he’s also not stressing to make sure there’s enough money in the account to make payment.  Even adults my age get caught up in this game, it’s crazy.  I see a lot of couples with brand new cars, lease cars or something equally as crazy.  My wife and I make a great income and could afford to probably own 3 cars.  We have 1, it’s paid off and extremely small for a family of 3.  But we make it work because we value our freedom more than we value looking cool.  It’s decisions like this that have allowed us both to be home since the birth of our son to enjoy all the time as a family, instead of worrying about going back to work to make money for payments.

4.) Media-I am amazed at the amount of people who know what’s happening on every sport team, dancing with stars, American Idol or any other source of media entertainment, yet they have no clue what’s going on in their own life or the lives of those they love.  We have 1 TV in our home with no cable.  People freak out and wonder what we do for entertainment.  Well we talk to each other, we play games, we read, we do silly things with our son.  If something is going to occupy my time I would rather it be memories with my friends, not memories watching Friends.  We as a society have been dumbed down 1 remote control at a time.  If you wonder if you have to much media time in your life compare these 2 things…1-how much time is your TV running in your home, whether you’re sitting in front of it or not and 2-how much actual time are you spending focused conversation (no distractions) with your spouse and kids.  If the TV is winning then you’re doing it wrong.  Go 3 months without a TV.  I promise you there will be enough folks out there who will update you on everything they think you’re missing.  You can go ahead and update them on what they are missing instead.

I hope that some of this will help the 3 who are reading.  I know these have been huge learning areas in my life and I pray it can offer some insight into yours.

Chelsea and I officially met around 14 years ago at of all place McDonald’s.  We both worked there, Chelsea being in high school and me being in college.  I probably would have tried to date her then had it not been for the whole illegal thing!  But I always remembered her as cute, fun and full of life (like some of you already know her).

Nothing really came out of those early years though, just the fact that we met.  Fast forward some time and MySpace enters our world and we somehow reconnect, but only for a moment as in 2007 we ran a small race in Flint together.  Had my brain been with me at the time I would have scooped up on her then, but God was still molding me into the man I needed to be in order to marry such an amazing woman.

When I turned 30 I felt God telling me it was time for some changes.  In my personal life as well as professional life.  I set out for a decade of personal growth and change so that I could become everything He was calling me to be.  A third of the way through that journey God re-enters Chelsea into my life, but only for a moment.  I had a habit of going to Tim Hortons everyday to write, read and check on my progress.  One of those days she happened to be in town (she was living in Macomb) and we reconnected.  We caught up for a second and I guess you can say a seed was planted.  We found we were both involved in leadership development and exchanged some information (we both love to read).

Well enter 2013 and I go on a reading challenge (96 books in a year), so naturally I kept her updated on what I was reading.  Not to mention I always tried to see how she was doing (she always ignored me 😉 ).  This leads us to late August and she was coming into town and wanted to get a book from me that I was reading, Mentoring Matters, as she was getting ready to train new managers at Delta.  We met for coffee, sadly to say we never discussed that book (she still hasn’t read it), but the important thing is she fell in love with me 😉

I remember having one of the most amazing conversations in the world.  We didn’t talk careers, college education or TV shows.  We talked dreams, desires and things that bring happiness into our lives.  I fell in love that day, as she was different than the mold.  She since reminded me that she talked about dreams to become a wife and a mom but had put that behind her as she thought maybe those dreams were no longer for her.  I encouraged her to never give up on a dream without realize one day she would become my wife and also carry my child.

She kissed me on the cheek that night (she can’t remember it…..but take one look at her and you’ll understand why I do!)  I wrote in my journal that night that I would pursue her and see where it led, and it led to the craziest story we could never tell in this blog.  How this all worked out is nothing short of His amazing touch and guidance in our lives (even if we didn’t do everything correctly).

Things moved fast as I realized how truly amazing she was.  That beautiful girl from back in the days of McDonald’s was now a beautiful woman.  She continues to bring so much joy into my life everyday.  She believes in me and expresses that belief everyday (ladies lift your man).  She puts trust in me to lead our home (men please lead).  And the thing that amazes me most is that she knows me, and I mean knows.  She knows the inner desires of my heart, my passions, my dreams, my goals.  To this point in my life there was only one other person who took the time to know me so deeply, my sister.  We figured out fast that marriage was in our future, so on October 26th (crazy story as well) I asked her to be my wife and thankfully she agreed!

So we started planning a wedding to be on May 31st, she originally wanted October but I’m not a big believer in long engagements and we settled on May.  Well fast forward to almost December and we find out we are also going to be parents…..oops!  So here we are February 15th getting hitched!  We are truly feeling blessed right now and extremely excited for both life events happening in 2014.  Wasn’t exactly how we planned but we couldn’t be any more excited to be moving forward with our lives together.  Putting a wedding together in a blink of an eye can bring many challenges, but it’s all coming together beautifully (special thanks to my creative mother in law who is doing so much behind the scenes, it’s truly a blessing to watch a mother/daughter get prepared for such a special day).

I’m going to end this crazy story by letting you know that I am more blessed than I could ever deserve.  I’m looking forward to everything marriage brings as well as parenting.  I’ll never be as prepared as I wanna be but His Guidance I know will lead me all the days of my life.  We are both thankful for the work God continues to do in our life and we pray that our love and marriage will all point back to Him and bring glory to Christ.

Our story is really just beginning, and I love writing and look forward to continuing this story. I hope that you as well will continue to write your story, may your ink never dry.

Surrender

So my 33rd year of life is officially coming to a close and I’ve been searching, praying and thinking about what this last year has been for me, or what have I learned that I could pass on to others.  I would say my biggest lesson this year is surrender.

Now I don’t mean surrender as in just give up or toss in the towel…..well maybe.  This year I have waved a white flag once, twice, 3 times…..ok a lot!  I’m waving this white flag at my Father in Heaven.  I’m the type of personality that loves control, give it to me and I’ll show you how it’s done (which usually leads to more trouble than was there in the first place).  Although sometimes that has a place, in my hopefully Christ centered lens I must surrender all things to Him.  My finances, my business, my weightlifting, my relationships, my Sunday school class, my men’s group, my family and I could go on and on and on and on….well you get the point.

This has really come into view more over the last 2 months as I have surrendered areas I was holding on to for awhile now.  I’m learning that my life is truly for His Glory, not mine.  And that the things I do should all point to His greatness, not mine.  And truth be told I’m enjoying it.  I have seen so many of His blessings since surrendering control of my life over to Him. 

It’s hard to explain the peace that comes to your heart when surrendering to Him, knowing that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28).  And the lesson I had to learn was His purpose, not mine.  His will, not mine.  Knowing that God will use you for His purpose, to bring glory to His Son is amazing.  It’s such a deeper feeling of love and peace than I ever had living without Him.

If there was a closing thought I could give to anyone who is reading this, it’s find the joy in your life (Christ) and surrender everything to living for that joy.  It is so neat to see the lives that will be touched through this type of living.

Submit yourselves, then, to God.  Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.  Come near to God and he will come near to you-James 4:7-8

This blog came to mind as I’m here at having a text conversation with an old childhood friend (well I’m old, he’s still young) and we are talking about what’s ahead for us in business and life.  Through this conversation I just simply laughed as it was a phone call from him just over 12 years ago that completely altered the course of my life.

Aaron gave me a call back in April of 2001 to see a business idea.  Little did I know I was about to meet Chris Brady in a small living room in Flint, MI.  Of course with Aaron being my best friend I went along for the ride and oh what a ride it has been.

A month after getting started I went to my first leadership conference which is where I first heard Tim Marks (if you look at past blogs you’ll see why that’s important).  Through all the struggles of my youth this made a jump start for some great things in my early 20’s.  Starting to make some personal changes including pursuing the Lord.  But trouble struck mid way through those 20’s and I walked away from just about everything, even Him.

Fast forward to 30 (when I decided to start living up to my potential) and I knew exactly where I was supposed to be.  Team has been an amazing blessing in my life and learning.  But what led from this that I didn’t quite see when I first started making those changes was watching my sister come to Christ as well.  Then watching her husband grow and develop his own personal relationship with his Savior.  I could actually go on and on of all the fruit that has come over the last 3 years…….all because one man and the guts to call….he forever changed the course of my life….one call.

Now don’t let me fool ya, still struggles and many more changes….and many more changes.  Oh the life of a growing leader, forever learning and forever growing.  In all honesty, I couldn’t imagine it any other way.

And it all started with a simple phone call……..

I recently viewed a great DVD from Dan Hawkins where at the end he covers 5 things we want others to do for us, taken from a John Maxwell book.  I really enjoyed these and wanted to cover all 5 of them…..not all at once in this blog though 😉

The first one mentioned was that we want others to encourage us.  I find this to be absolutely true.  I find in all areas of my life, business, spiritual, weightlifting and any other areas being truly encouraged feels great.  Which also gets me wondering, am I encouraging others?

I sometimes forget in my “me” world that my example is important, which means I need to focus on encouraging others if I’m going to want any encouragement in return.  Which also means there are some key things to keep in mind.

One, am I observant of others?  Which to me means, am I watching what my friends or others are doing?  Do I really care about the things that are happening in their life, or am I worried about me all the time?  Focusing on others is far from easy, but I’m slowly finding it to be a lot of fun.  It’s wonderful to encourage others on their journey through life as they set goals and set out to accomplish.  It’s only a matter of time before they start encouraging you towards yours as well.

Am I sincere in my encouragement?  Lets face it, most of us know when someone is giving us fake encouragement.  A level of belief for some reason is always felt.  A number of times I’ve had a family member or friend seem to give me encouragement, but I could always tell whether they truly believed it or not.  

If we really wanna encourage people, ask them questions about what they are looking to do.  The more I talk to people about their goals the more I get excited for them, which makes it easier for me to encourage them.  Something to help with that would be in Dale Carnegie’s great book, How to Win Friends and Influence People, is to praise the slightest improvement, praise every improvement.  

Let’s face it setting out to do something is never easy (whether it’s running a marathon, getting married, having kids or building a ministry) enough discouragement will come with it naturally.  Do our friends really need us to be one more in that group, or would they benefit if you found the one thing to praise them on and build them up from there?  Think about anything you have accomplished in life, who was that one person that encouraged you?  How did it make you feel?  Shouldn’t we pass that on to others?

As you go about your week, look for that one person that you can truly encourage in their life.  It only takes a small amount of belief to set them on fire in the right direction.  As Dale says in his book, If you and I will inspire the people with whom we come in contact to a realization to their hidden treasure they possess, we can do far more than change people.  We can literally transform them.

This personal journey of change has been an unreal journey.  I’m amazed on a regular basis on how much life changes when you choose to be intentional.  This new year, 2013, has brought some new visions to my notepads.  

I feel blessed beyond belief what God has done in my life over the last 3 years.  So this year I set out to find some blind spots and to make the personal changes necessary to conquer those blind spots.  First I had to be willing to submit to the Lord to show me those blind spots, and then not be afraid to tackle them.  I won’t be specific about all the blind spots, just the one that leads to this title….Who are you living for?  Or more specific to me, Who am I living for?

This ultimately leads to one answer, and that is Jesus Christ.  So when I truly come to believe that and understand it, it means everything I do, everything I have belongs to Him.  My life is to be lived in a way to glorify Him in all that I do.  1 Corinthians 10:31 tells me, Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

This realization has given me new focus to my business, my Sunday school class, even my weightlifting.  

Now this isn’t all easy, it does lead to some uncomfortable truths and some uncomfortable conversations.  But I’m finding the reward is far outweighing the uncomfortable part of my blind spots.

This last weekend was another gift as I could see the fruits of this journey.  When you start to do the right things, other can’t help but notice.  It’s in those opportunities He gives us where we have some lasting impact (legacy).  Watching another man ask questions and truly getting him to seek Christ and understand the importance of that relationship is inspiring and will keep me going out to reach the next man.

So who am I living for?  I’m living for the man that saved my life.  I’m living to let His light shine through me.  Who are you living for?