Stretching Your View

In our daily world, most of us have become use to seeing the same ole visual images caped in different clothing:

 

  • The same tribal office work colleagues in dressed different apparel
  • The same neighborhood that transitions in different seasons of the year
  • The same apparel of clothing we have in our closet, but we mix and match them according to the weather
  • The same usual routes we drive around our neighborhoods, yet we may drive different streets when road construction impedes our way
  • The same summer visits with family and friends
  • The same summer vacation destinations

 

Yet very few of us will desire frequent changes in life.  I heard a church sermon some years ago and the topic was “Do You want to be a Pioneer or a Settler?”  Here are some key highlights I remember from this sermon:

 

  • Pioneers are pacesetters; they pave the way for others and find themselves often exploring new territories
  • Settlers’ mission are to reach a point and stay at the place forever

 

Early in my adult life, I once had the belief that I would “settle down” and: (1) earn a formal education; (2) become satisfied with a level of wealth; (3) get married and have children; (4) work a traditional 8 to 5 job with benefits and meager vacation days.  I accomplished at least three of the above four ‘settled’ objectives.

 

But later in my life, I always wanted something much better.  I didn’t know exactly what it was specifically, but I always attempted to stretch my view….my mental view that is.

 

Stretching your mental view causes you to:

 

  • Think harder
  • React faster/often to issues stirring in your heart
  • Question or Challenge the Status Quo
  • Pray even more
  • Question the law of humanity
  • Have a sense of understanding the world a little bit better

 

Traveling around the world excites me, especially when wanting to meet new people!  Having simple conversations with others allow me to become better as a listener.  The sound waves and pitch patterns of various human voices echoing through my ear canal creates a hunger for knowledge and understanding.

 

I believe the opposite of ‘not’ wanting to stretch your mental view can lead to:

 

  • Stagnation
  • An unwillingness to learn, which can close your mind to an ever changing world
  • Isolation
  • Being Argumentative

 

Because I have such a passion for making a different in my world, I found several ways to “Stretch My View”

Local View

Global View

  Take in a new ethnic restaurant

See an independent film

Take a foreign language class

Help at a refugee crisis center

Study world history/cultures

  Travel to a different vacation spot each year

Have dinner in a home of locals

Sign up for global affairs events

Go on a short-term mission trip!

Let’s go people and do some good!

Advertisements

Pressing On!

It’s not unusual to find yourself in a conversation with someone who spends much of their time talking about past issues and then concludes the talk by say “I’m just going to press on!”  When you happened to meet that same person again, they will resurface the same ole past issue.  And as they continue to mouth off their frustration with no ending in sight, your brain neutrons are scampering to form the question – “I thought you said you’re pressing on?”

In these situations, it may be hard to resolve the ‘past’ issues before you can press on.  It is those past issues that will:

  • Prevent you from truly ‘moving forward’
  • Eventually resurface into a larger problem
  • Delay any progress in fulfilling your passion in life

How can one deal with ‘past issues?’  The answer is simple: ANSWER IT!  There is usually a word that typifies the issue.  For example, let’s say you were involved in a bad relationship and you don’t know how to get past the issue.  The goal is to remove yourself from the situation and ‘press on.’  You might say, we’ll just leave the relationship – most will do that.

However, the odds at keeping a positive new relationship will falter because of dealing with similar issues that may be that of past relationships.

I discovered a way to deal with ‘past’ issues properly, first:

  • Identify the problem within the relationship
  • Come to (self) terms of the problem
  • Learn and discover why the problem persisted
  • Embrace and utilize tools to heal from the problem
  • Develop a plan to “press on”

Identifying the problem and addressing them may take some time to complete.  But the process is one that give you satisfaction and redirection to fulfill your passion.

Your passion to help others may be found in the example of your past!

5 Reasons to S.T.A.R.T. Today!

The last five years have been turbulent for the United States.  The uncertainty of keeping or losing a job, people experiencing less wages across every work industry, and a continuous news theme of higher food prices and “pain-at-the-pump” has effected nearly everyone.  But the sign of the times are beginning to move toward better pastures.  This is the time now to gear up for a better future for you and your family!  So here are five reasons to START today!

S – Seize the Opportunity

It seems that everyone wants to develop, begin or start a personal project or new private business.  Some of my friends look to do this for the benefit to: (1) increase monetary wealth; (2) shape and empower a targeted audience; and/or (3) offer an innovative product to satisfy a group of constituents.

Here are some latest business economic trends:

1)      The number of franchise businesses in the U.S. is expected to grow this year to 757,438 from 747,359, an increase of 1.3 percent, according to the International Franchise Association’s first quarter update to its economic outlook.

2)      Trading Economic reports that Business Confidence in the United States increased from 54.20 in February 2013 from 53.10 in January of 2013.

3)      The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) Small Business Optimism Index increased 1.9 point in February to 90.8.  Still far from high indices rates of 100 in 2004/5, analysis remains hopeful that we’re moving into a positive trend.

So if you are lagging to push yourself to start that business or personal project you’ve been talking about all these years, it’s time to seize the opportunity and start now!

T – Tell Your Story

To have a successful business venture, you must tell and sale yourself to anyone who will buy into your purposeful venture.  Think about this, your box of 500 business/networking cards just arrived in the mail.  If you’re really serious about moving your new business forward, there is a great chance you’ll develop numerous business relationships within that one box!  Please remember, the business card doesn’t tell your story; that’s your role.  Passing the card to the prospect only invites the opportunity to have a scheduled meeting.

A – Activate the Brain

The brain is a multi-factorial part of the body.  Divided in two parts, the right hemisphere of your brain is more creative, emotive and non-rational or intuitive.  The left hemisphere is responsible for analytical and more logical processing.  When building your business relationships, be adventurous, creative, expressive and open-minded.  Open communication and dialogue to others are essential in developing your vision into reality.  Remember, a closed mind and mouth, is a closed business!

R – Read

As it relates to hitting the books, Founder and Chairman of ActionCOACH Brad Sugar wrote a supporting piece in his featured web article – Grow Your Business By Getting Back to Basic: “Many people discount the value of seminars, books and workshops, but there’s no better way to get ideas than to learn from those who have ‘been there’ and ‘done that’ before you.”  It’s a good practice to learn and study what other successful people are doing.

T – Thankful and appreciative

As you start your venture, it’s wise to remain humble and thankful for each and every experience!  As a courtesy, send thank you notes or small gifts to those who help map the course for your business or organization.  Stay close to positive and uplifting people while you craft and invent you passion.  It’s been said “Be thankful for what you have today!  Work hard for what you want tomorrow!

So friends, get out of that “foxhole mentality” and begin to START your journey now!

Let’s go people and do some good!

Pushing Beyond Your Limits!

Ah (sigh)!  You’ve finally reached the pinnacle of your life…a decent paying job, an affordable home to live in, the ability to plan a family vacation year-after-year, and the choice to opt for eating at a restaurant instead of cooking at home!  Yet there’s something inside you that always seem to be out of reach.  It’s that thing (or things) you really want to do.

I recently read a fascinating journey of one of our civil rights leaders, the late Hosea Williams.  Raised by his grandparents in Jim Crow south, young Hosea joined the military and fought vigorously in World War II.  While in Europe, there were many ground battles between the U.S./British-led forces and the German army.  Hosea’s 13-member combat unit tried to engage in battle with the enemy and at the end of that campaign, twelve soldiers were killed in a foxhole leaving Mr. William barley alive.  With his chest and stomach practically opened by the shrapnel of an exploded bomb, he was rescued by U.S. medical soldiers and hurriedly driven off to a nearby medical station.  Unfortunately, another mortal fire killed the driver of the ambulance that he was being transported in.  He was again picked up, sent to an army hospital, operated on, sewn up, and sent back home as an honored disabled military veteran.

Years later, Mr. Williams would tell people that he knew God had a purpose for him because he was spared twice.  Yet at the time, he didn’t know his purpose in life.

After his tour in the war, he returned to the discriminatory practices of racial segregation. The military purchased a bus fare for Mr. Williams to return home.  Before the bus was able to reach its destination – his Georgia home town of Attapulgus, it made a brief stop in Americus, Georgia to allow passengers to rest for a brief moment.  Looking for an opportunity to get a drink of water, the recuperating Mr. Williams noticed that this particular bus stop didn’t have a rest area for colored people and so he struggled to get a drink of water from a designated white-only fountain.  Little did this ribbon decorated purple-heart recipient know, a police officer saw him drinking from the white-only fountain and quickly moved toward him.  He was then beaten by the officer for not adhering to the segregated laws of Georgia.

Immediately, Mr. Williams knew his purpose in life … to fight segregation and injustices to all disenfranchised people.

Hosea Williams:

  • pushed beyond the limit to live through the oppression of Black People during the years of Jim Crow.
  • pushed beyond the limit to survive the military campaign of World War II.
  • pushed beyond the limit to beat his 13-month hospitalization in a Europe army hospital.
  • pushed beyond the limit to get a drink of water at a segregated white-only fountain.
  • pushed beyond the limit to fight for desegregation and injustices for the remaining years of his life!

Something stirred inside of Mr. Williams to push beyond his perceived limits.  Had he chose not to push himself, he could’ve easily returned to his southern home, looked for a mediocre job, married his home-town sweetheart, start a family and embraced a quiet/low-profiled life.

This ‘thing’ inside of him was forced out to do and change his world.

After successfully contributing to the civil rights movement, he founded a non-profit organization in 1971 – Hosea Williams Feed the Hungry and Homeless.  Today the Atlanta based organization, provides hot meals, clothing and other basic services for the needy on major holidays.  His committed care and love for disenfranchised people lives on through the organization, currently serving 50,000 families each year.

This week, business mogul Donald J. Trump recently tweeted this message: Passion Motivates, Passionate people don’t give up; their zeal eliminates fear.  Passion can also create business opportunities.

What about that ‘thing’ you have locked in the bowel of your soul?  Willing to carve it out and demonstrate what you want to do with it?  Think about Hosea Williams….

Let’s go people and do some good!

An Inconvenient Passion

In 1965, a Midwest housewife and mother of five decides to leave her family behind to fulfill a desire that spurned by witnessing a horrible event on the evening news.  Five hundred miles away in the south, another housewife and mother of four also decides to leave her family to fulfill a desire by watching the same tragic event on the evening news.

Two mothers with different outcomes: one loses her life and the other living on to create a legacy.  The two of them shared an inconvenient passion – and that passion was to dismantle the barrier for people to vote in our country.

Inconvenient Passion of Viola Liuzzo (April 11, 1925 – March 25, 1965)

In early spring of 1965, Viola was 39, raising five children and married to a teamsters union business agent in Detroit, Michigan.  After watching the film clips of Selma’s Bloody Sunday (March 7, 1965), she couldn’t imagine the state troopers’ brutality of attacking young marchers!  She and the nation grew furious over the treatment of protesters who wanted to conduct a peaceful march in the South.  Feeling somewhat helpless to do something, Mrs. Liuzzo eventually decided to leave her comfortable home in Detroit, drive to the South and joined the movement.  Little did she know that her involvement could lead to harsh criticism, physical harm or death – especially brought on by the KKK and other extreme “hate” organizations in the South.  Her passion may have overridden anything at the time; yet it was an inconvenient decision to those close to her.  Tragically on March 25, 1965, her life ended by the hands of race-hatred KKK men on the lonely two-lane Highway 80 between Selma and Montgomery.

Inconvenient Passion of Coretta Scott King (April 27, 1927 – January 31, 2006)

In early spring of 1965, Coretta was 38, raising four children and was married to a newly elected Nobel peace prize laureate living in Atlanta, Georgia.  Certainly going through the strife of having her home bombed in Montgomery, receiving all types of racial threats and hate mail for more than 10 years, Coretta decided to join her husband on the march from Selma to Montgomery.  She too decided to leave her comfortable home in Atlanta to support the movement.  Little did she know that her involvement could lead to harsh criticism, physical harm or death – especially brought on by the KKK or other extreme “hate” organizations in the South.  Her passion may have overridden anything at the time; yet it was an inconvenient decision to those close to her.  She went on to support her husband and the movement.  Unfortunately, her young husband’s life ended three years later by the hand of a lone assassin.

You can image the inconvenience of their passion which was not a welcome invitation for their families.  The idea of the children not having a nurturing mother around or the notion of both women with self-ambitions ignoring their duties at home were not common in those days.

Eventually, Mrs. Viola Liuzzo’s inconvenient passion, along with other martyrs connected to the Selma movement helped turn the tide of events by allowing all citizens the right to vote.  She became one of the unsung heroes in the civil right movement.

Eventually, Mrs. Coretta Scott Kings’ inconvenient passion, along with others in the movement helped turn the tide of events by expanding civil liberties for all in the years succeeding her husband’s death.  She became a worldwide leader in her own rights – pushing our country to honor a man who fought for equal justice.

Spiritual Leader Os Hillman wrote the following in his weekly article “Living for a Cause Greater Than Yourself” – God has called each of us to live for a cause greater than ourselves – a life that is dependent on His grace and power to achieve things we never thought possible through our lives.

Do you feel that you have an inconvenient passion? Are you too concerned about how it might be unfavorable to people around you or should you move toward fulfilling your passion that can benefit multitudes of people?  The opportunity awaits you…

Let’s go people and do some good!

9 Characteristics of Leadership Inner Qualities

A twenty five year old sales-marketing professional has everything going for him.  Matthew has earned top sales within his team, been awarded the employee of the year, and received a recent bonus to boot!  He also had been promised a job promotion within the next six month.  Before that could happen, Matthew was told by the executive team to present a new sale concept to the company’s Board of Directors.  From the executive team’s stand-point, the sales concept will increase the overall business profits and they are advising Matthew to promote the initiative.

Matthew’s inner being is starting to trouble him.  The sales concept offered by the executives fall short of his own confidence in taking the company to a higher level.  He’s challenged by wanting to share his own sales qualities versus having doubts in his own executive team’s concept.  Does Matthew have the courage to tell the executive team the concept lacks potential, or does he go along with this lackluster sale opportunity and pray the Board will buy into it?

We’ve all had this unsettling feeling in our everyday lives.  We tend to stay close to our own strong convictions of inner qualities versus other foreign qualities formed by others.  Other uneasy examples come in various forms:

  • A love-struck teenage girl has strong heart-felt feelings of a new boyfriend while everyone else thinks the ‘boyfriend’ is a jerk!
  • An elderly father who believes he can still drive while family members cringe with agony of their father’s stubbornness to give up his driving privileges.
  • A son who recently graduated from high-school and now has a desire to go to a community college while his parents want him to enroll into an Ivy League institution.

When you’re standing on one side with your own inner qualities and everyone else is firmly on the other side, it feels lonely.  Yet those inner qualities you chose in life really matters to you.

Self-Improvement Expert Author Connor R. Sullivan wrote the 2008 article “Four Traits of a Person Who Wants to Develop Inner Qualities as Well as Physical Attractiveness” says this – “A person who has developed inner qualities has the benefit of being greatly self-assured because he or she has chosen their priorities.  It is so freeing to be able to act on principle and have the knowledge that you are living according to your chosen value system.  It is called being ‘true to yourself’ and that knowledge carries over into every area of everyday life and influences every relationship a person has.”

I further challenge the idea by asking you the question: Beyond the ‘self-assuredness’ of your own inner qualities, are these qualities adding value to those around you?  Are you translating those qualities into others that should:

  • spark a form of passion and excitement in their life?
  • grow a stronger positive culture around you?
  • develop a pursuit of purity?
  • tailor your conversations to influence those around you?
  • establish an excellent work ethic at your job?
  • allow your friends/neighbors to become more involved in church?
  • build a long-lasting marriage?
  • foster a true-connection with your children?
  • make a better home for your family?

What kind of inner qualities you think are useful to God?  Christian Author Jim George in his book entitled “A Man After God’s own Heart” provides several qualities:

1)      Not given to drunkenness – Godliness and drunkenness are not compatible.

2)      Not violent (meekness) – this is the quality of keeping yourself under control

3)      Not quarrelsome – a Godly person will not participate in arguments.  Rather, the person’s conversation is always full of grace (Colossians 4:5)

4)      Not a lover of money – a Godly person is not pre-occupied with amassing material possessions or becoming ‘greedy’ with money

5)      Not overbearing – we should be humbled servants at all times

6)      Not quick-tempered – we avoid having a ‘short-fuse’ attitude

7)      Not pursing dishonest gain – a Godly person is careful not to get involved in anything that might appear to be dishonest or illegal

8)      Just – we are to do right and fair; a person of integrity

9)      Loving what is good – a Godly person has a passion for what is good and wholesome, whether in the books and magazine one reads, the movies and TV shows one watches, or the friendships and hobbies one cultivates

When evaluating my inner qualities, I find a comfortable downtime of space toward the last week of every December.  Normally I reflect on what has transpired over the year and ask God to show me ways to improve as I prepare for the new year.

The evaluation of your inner qualities may happen more often than mine.  Whatever the case, it’s always helpful to examine your inner qualities.  This examination process will allow you to become more passionate and purposeful to the things God has in store for you.

Let’s go people and do some good!