Posts Tagged: work


24
Jul 12

Get up and go!

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Hi… I’m glad you’re visiting.

I have started and stopped this blog several times.  It was my goal to have it posted yesterday morning but here it is mid-morning the day after.

For whatever reason this blog entry has been hard work.

I believe in the importance of work but today I am not in the mood for hard work.  I read a quote like the one below and I feel pretty good about my view of hard work.

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If hard work were such a wonderful thing, surely the rich would have kept it all to themselves.

- Joseph Kirkland (1830 – 1894)

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But as we all know there are two sides of any coin.  I ran across another quote that made me feel pretty crappy.

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Hard work spotlights the character of people: some turn up their sleeves, some turn up their noses, and some don’t turn up at all.
- Sam Ewing

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Oh thanks… way to poke me in my soft spot – Character.  Issues regarding my Character always get my attention.

Well, actually I guess I’m doing sort of ok because I’m not blowing off the blog.  I have rolled up my sleeves (my nose is turned up a little) and I’m actually writing it, albeit late.

As you can see I am in a pooty mood today.  I don’t know why… just am.  I’m pushing through it.

I find that if I give in to the mood it gets worse and drags my whole day down.  There are times when the phrase “push through it” is exactly what we need to do.

I work hard at not being the type of person who needs someone to carry them.  Yes, we all need encouragement but some will suck the life out of you if you let them.

I ran across this poem which I found to be hilarious.  We have all read the poem Footprint in the Sand.  This is a little different take on the topic.

“Butt-Prints in the Sand”

One night I had a wondrous dream.

One set of footprints there was seen.

The footprints of my precious Lord,

but mine were not along the shore.

But then some stranger prints appeared.

I asked the Lord, “What have we here

Those prints are large and round and neat.

But lord they’re too big to be my feet.”

“My child,” He said in somber tones,

“for miles I carried you alone.

I challenged you to walk in faith.

But you refused and you made me wait.

You disobeyed and you would not grow.

The walk of faith you would not know.

So I got tired, I got fed up.

And I dropped you on your butt.

Because in life there come a time,

when one must fight and one must climb,

when one must rise and take a stand,

or leave their butt-prints in the sand.”

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No butt prints for me.  I may need to be dragged for a while but eventually I get going.

Hopefully this speaks to you today to not leave butt-prints.

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Have a productive day.

Ciao.


14
Jul 11

Strength in the Struggle

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Wow, as I poke at this word resistance, it continues to take on a variety of shapes and meanings.

In the last blog entry I talked about having resistance to forces that are trying to shape and mold us.  Today we take a look at resistance from the opposite direction.  The resistance we are faced with and feel when we are trying to advance or move forward.

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. . I was introduced to a book called The War of Art by Steven Pressfield.   It is a very interesting read.

Although this book initially targeted creative types who struggle with the blocks that hinder the creative process, the simple universal truths apply to every aspect of our lives.

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Pressfield spends a significant portion of the book on the reality of and the struggles we face in life with the constant force of resistance.

The reality is, life has a natural headwind.  Any meaningful movement faces opposition.  Pressfield writes…

“Resistance cannot be seen, touched, heard, or smelled.  But it can be felt.  It’s a repelling force.  It’s negative.  Its aim is to shove us away, distract us, prevent us from doing our work.” (page 7)

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How true.  I feel resistance every time I write this blog.

I have come to accept that resistance is the nature of life.  I heard someone say one time that the only trouble with life is that it is so constant.

The more powerful reality is that the resistance is felt when moving forward … especially anything noble or good.  It is nice to have this belief validated in The War of Art.

Pressfield says that resistance comes when…

“…any act that rejects immediate gratification in favor of long-term growth, health, or integrity.  Or, expressed another way, any act that derives from our higher nature instead of our lower.  Any  of these will elicit resistance.” (page 6)

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“Resistance obstructs movement only from a lower sphere to a higher.  It kicks in when we seek to pursue a calling in the arts, launch an innovative enterprise, or evolve to a higher station morally, ethically, or spiritually.” (page 17)

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Yes, moving forward can be tiring.  But oh the amazing things you see and experience.

This blog was started on the premise that we are made to move… journey.  We are not made to sit, atrophy and rust.  Yes, that is the easier path.  It is downhill and you have tailwinds to make it even more effortless.

I started this blog journey by talking about hearing a voice (no, not the kind of voice you need medications for). A voice beyond where I was, started calling me to more.  I scaled the comfortable walls I had built… peeked over the top … and saw things to do and territory to take.

Nope, it hasn’t been easy.  But when you begin to move, something is released that makes it all worth while.

I don’t know where you currently feel resistance, but you can be assured the resistance is a signal that you’re moving in the right direction.

On Monday I plan on talking about the other alternative… taking the path of least resistance.

Later.


16
Jun 11

Bound or Free

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Welcome back.

Today we are continuing the tattoo saga that we started last Thursday.  As I told the readers in Monday’s blog, much of what I say today won’t have the same impact unless you have read the blog titled More Than Meets the Eye.  If you haven’t already, I hope you check it out.

OK, here we go, jumping into the deep end of the pool.

Messages, we are bombarded with messages.  On Monday we talked about the multitude of messages that are center to our development as a person, especially as a young child.

These early messages (positive or negative) create the framework for who we are, what we do, and what we believe about ourselves.

Dissecting the Arm Quote:

“Being told you are a worthless piece of shit…

Brutal huh?  It felt yucky just typing it.  At first I thought of toning it down by writing s#!@.  But writing it that way robbed the raw impetus of the message.

Can you imagine being impaled with a message like this throughout your life?  Unfortunately, I’m sure many of you know what it feels like.  It may not be this exact message but one just as vile… and damaging.

As you think about your life, think about the messages that have seeped through the walls of your subconscious that have impacted who you are today.

A good way to decode the blur of messages is to look at your self talk… what you say about yourself in your head.  Or examine your behaviors.  Behaviors are the physical manifestations of your beliefs.

There are two phrases I have used that capture the essence of what I am saying.

“Actions follow beliefs.”

“We look for evidence to validate our beliefs.”

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You may not have been targeted with a piercing message as brutal as the one above.  But we all have had negative messages that keep us from experiencing the fullness of life.

These negative beliefs may be subtle, but toxic none-the-less.

Messages may be things like…

-         you’re not capable

-         not lovable

-         inadequate

-         weak

-         your opinion or ideas aren’t worth much

-         not likable

-         add your own

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Negative messages we have received, and believed, become a reality that entombs us.   This trap keeps us from a full vibrant life.

But here’s the good news.  We are not doomed to live a life that is forever encapsulated in a straitjacket that restricts freedom.

To be honest, freedom does require some work on our part because most likely our actions have become aligned with the negative messages received.

Now we get to the tricky part.

There are some messages we need to ignore and release… put them in their place.  But there are some messages we need to hear.  These messages are those that provide direction on how to wiggle our way free from the confines that trap.

We will poke at this a bit more on Monday.

See you then.

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12
May 11

Men at Work

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Hello, good to see you again.

As most of you know I frequently press in on the amazing reality that our life is a journey.  I even kicked the tires on the topic again in the last blog entry and said I would poke at it some more.

As soon as I start talking about this life journey thing I know that some of you are immediately turned off.  You probably think this kind of premise is a fluffy, feel good, inspirational pep talk about life and tapping into some personal inner power to reach your full potential.

Nope, not at all.  I wouldn’t do that to you.  I am definitely not a hold hands, get in touch with the inner you, pink wearing, kumbaya kind of guy.

Well, on second thought I do like a tasteful shade of pink… the manly shade of course.

In reality this premise is about as raw and rugged as it gets.  Nothing takes more courage than to look life square on and face reality.  This is the “Men at Work” zone.

Side Note: Ok ladies, don’t get your panties in a wad.  I am using this phrasing in a purely gender neutral metaphorical sort of way.

I am fully aware that you are fully capable (probably more so) of facing life square on.

Anyway, I kind of like messin with people at times… and those who tend to lean a bit too heavily on the feminist issue are particularly fun to tweak.

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I admire people who are willing to address the hard issues, look for ways to better themselves and the world around them, enjoy the amazing blessings available and be willing to search for the hidden treasures that are sprinkled along the way.

Making the most of this journey of life requires work… hard work.

The work is not so much in charting the course and making things happen the way you want them to in life, but the work is on yourself.  It is the hard work of unlocking the invisible shackles that keeps us from where we can be.

I tend to see people gravitate to the two ends of the continuum of life.

There are some people who seem to just let life happen and then all of a sudden one day they wake up and wonder how they got where they are.

Side Note: In the spirit of full disclosure I leaned toward this end of the continuum when I was younger.  I don’t know if it was youth or the fact I didn’t know any better.

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Then there are those at the other end of the continuum that are so buttoned down they try to force life through the narrow hole of their plans and timetable.  The very life of life is sucked dry.

I don’t know all the reasons we approach life the way we do.  But I do know that life, like most things, is a combination of art and science.

We must be intentional and plan.  Yet, we must fully grasp that life has the mysterious beauty of unpredictability and serendipity.

Although we may lean toward one end of the continuum or the other, I believe the people who have learned to float effectively on the currents between the two seem to enjoy life the most and be the most fulfilled.

I do know with certainty… I do not want to wake up five years from now and be where I am.  Here’s the interesting thing, where I am now is terrific, really terrific.

But I also know in the core of my being that there is a whole lot of life beyond my sight and knowledge for me to grow and experience.

“I will go anywhere, provided it be forward.”

-          David Livingstone

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So I move forward with a sense of excited expectation.

You just never know what is around that next bend… how exciting is that?

See you Monday.


25
Apr 11

The Grind

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Hi there.

I have started this blog about fifteen times… seriously.  My mind is active and my fingers are moving but nothing worthwhile is being produced.  At least not yet.

The process has been going something like this – peck away on the keyboard, get some words on the page, read, grimace, delete, pause, repeat process.

I’m not giving up.  I’ll keep pecking away and I feel good about it… a bit frustrated but feeling good.

I believe that life rewards those who stick with something.

Sticking with something doesn’t guarantee success but it does guarantee (for me) satisfaction.  It is the satisfaction that only comes from pressing forward when things are NOT pleasant or fun.

It’s easy to keep going with things are going well and the energy of success is oozing out all over the place.  It doesn’t take any courage or sacrifice during those times when things are  fun, exciting and success is dancing in your hands.

Another thing that heightens the satisfaction level for me is that I can see where I have grown.  Historically I would have blown off the responsibility and moved on to something more enjoyable, more fun and less challenging… embarrassing, but true.

A personal ah ha for me is the realization that there is a difference between success and progress.

“All change is not growth; all movement is not forward.”

- Ellen Glasgow

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I would like to add to this quote… all success is not progress.

Success can be very deceptive.  The world we live in primarily focuses on success and measures one by those standards.

Now don’t get me wrong, I am not slamming success.  I want to be successful and I admire successful people.

The bigger questions in life are: Are we moving forward?  Are we making progress?

The points of forward motion are where the stress, friction, difficulty and challenges lie.  These are the areas that require resolve and commitment.

I heard a coach say one time that every player likes the day of the game.  The excitement, cheers of the crowds, the attention.

But few are the players  who are willing to put in the time and energy on a hot field to improve their skills.  There is no roar of the crowd or success dancing on the finger tips – just the hard grind.

So bottom line is, I am feeling pretty good.  I feel I am accomplishing something and I am moving forward.  I like that feeling, its fulfilling.

Success has its rewards, and I want them.

But grinding along, putting one foot in front of another, moving forward and making progress has its reward too – fulfillment.  What a joy.

“I will go anywhere, provided it be forward.”

David Livingstone

So I am glad I kept pecking away.  I don’t know if the blog helped you but it sure helped me.

See you Thursday.


18
Nov 10

Truth Hurts

Hi all.  I am sure some of you may be getting tired of the verbal rampage I have been on the last couple of weeks.

Today is going to be it for the topic (for the time being).  I have no illusions that I have even come close to addressing the topic little lone make an impact.  I can only hope that I am a bit more open and sensitive.  Hopefully I have made you think as we muddled through the issue also.

Ok, are you ready to do some deep wading?  Put on your high waters and let’s go.  Also, you don’t need to worry about any emotional outbursts from me today.  I am over my crisis.

In the last blog entry I shared that I thought everyone on all sides to the race issue have been bombarded with lies or misinformation.  How do people that have been conditioned with lies or misinformation find common ground to bridge a gap?  Especially a gap as volatile as race.  It will not just happen on its own, it must be intentional.

First there has to be the desire to bridge the gap and secondly we need to be willing to find truth.  We begin to discover truth by identifying the lies and points of misinformation we have been fed.

I think there are lots of people who have the “want to” in bridging the gap but few are willing or able to step into the murky dangerous waters of discovering truth.  It is not the place for the casual or faint of heart.  As mentioned in an earlier blog… one needs to have skin of armor to thwart the painful darts of ignorance.

So where is truth?  I am reminded of the movie A Few Good Men… “I want the TRUTH!”,  ”You can’t handle the truth!”

Maybe that’s reality.  Maybe we can’t handle the real truth.  Searching for truth means that I have to be willing to be wrong.  And… I don’t like being wrong.

Okay, enough of the philosophizing.  What are the beliefs that I have that may be in error?  The first thing is to discover what I really believe.  That is not as easy as one thinks.  Then and only then can one begin to invite truth into the picture.

The complexity is this: set beliefs are usually based on some measure of truth.  That’s why blanket statements will get you in trouble pronto.

A couple of examples (this is where I get in trouble):

  1. Some blacks may believe that whites are determined to keep them from progressing. Yes, there are some whites that want (and will always want) to keep blacks from progressing.  This is a truth that someone can legitimately build a belief on.
  2. Some whites may believe that blacks use the “race card” for everything and are not willing to look at their individual responsibility. Yes, there are some blacks (in my opinion) that readily use race to avoid personal responsibility for actions.  This too is a truth that someone can build a belief on.

So here you have an example of two beliefs that widen the racial gap and each have a kernel of truth to them.  The interesting thing is that although these beliefs are on opposite ends of the continuum, the path to truth is the same.  The same questions and assumptions apply to both sets of beliefs.

The first step of finding truth is being willing to ask yourself some hard questions.

Personal Questions

  • Can I accept that my perspective may be skewed?
  • Am I willing to momentarily set aside my default assumptions?
  • Am I open to data that may impact my assumptions?
  • Am I willing to assume the positive side of the belief if the information leads me there?
  • Am I willing to look honestly at both sides of the issue

There are two sides to each issue that need honest scrutiny.  For example, those of us that are white need to honestly be open to the fact that the percentage of whites who are locked on keeping blacks from progressing may be higher than we believe.  Conversely we need to believe that fewer blacks may have that belief than we think.

Now if you are black the challenge may be the opposite scenario.

The point is each of us individually must push against the gravity of society that forces us into beliefs that widen the gap.  The fringe groups in their emotional hysteria give the impression that the majority of people believe the way they do.   They are vocal bullies promoting their position.

Making an impact on social gravity requires intentional effort and I really believe we can make progress.

Hopefully one of these days when I see a young crying girl I will feel more comfortable reaching out to the hurting child.

I really appreciate you tolerating my discourse of the past few days.

See you Monday.  We’ll tackle some truths that are more upbeat.


23
Aug 10

Hard Headed and Hard Work

I’ve come to the conclusion that it is easy to write if you have something to say.

Now that the reunion topic has run its course I have to come up with something worthwhile to talk about… assuming what I talked about before was worthwhile. 

Coming up with something twice a week to write about requires me to exert some mental and emotional effort.   But I knew this was all part of making the commitment to write this blog.

Side Note:  I hate to be redundant, but for those who are new to my blog journey you need to know that I am not and must not write these entries for anyone but myself. 

The commitment to write is my journey of stepping beyond the comfortable world I was living and explore.  Take a look at my first blog in January (archives on the right side of your screen toward the bottom).

 

As most of you know (those who have been traveling along with me in this blog) I am pretty lazy.  I hate to admit it – but I am. 

Now for argument sake, lazy is relative.  By some people’s standards I may be considered fairly industrious.  I’m not a compete slug. 

I guess the real issue regarding laziness is how much one does or doesn’t do in regards to their capability.  I think of the kid that has natural intellect and gets straight “A’s” without really trying in comparison to the youngster that has average intellect and works hard for a “B”.  For me my admiration goes to the average kid.

I would contend that the “B” student is learning more about getting the most out of life than the kid getting “A’s”.  Life requires effort… constant effort.   I tend to believe more and more that effort is learned.  I heard someone say recently that many kids today are not taught how to work hard.  This may seem odd, but it’s true.

This is why I started my journey.  I knew that there was so much more to experience in life and that to experience it I needed to step out.  Sadly, like most things that are good, you wonder why you didn’t make the decision sooner.  I don’t know for sure why I didn’t start sooner but that is not the place to spend any energy.

“You must not let the past corrupt the future.”

                                                – Oswald Chambers

 

Although my journey isn’t perfect… it’s good.  Remember, progress not perfection.

So here I sit typing away at 6:00 a.m. Monday morning.  (As you can see, what I lack in hard work I make up for in procrastination.) 

See you Thursday.


29
Jul 10

Deeper or Higher?

I just started writing this blog entry today and I am already confused.  Now I’m sure this is not too surprising to those of you who have been strolling along with me on this blog journey for any length of time.

From the very first blog I have been referring to this blog adventure as a journey of out and up; out from behind the walls of our safe little world and up a mountain.

Now I am talking about digging a well.  Am I going up or down?

I think the reality of this dilemma is that to successfully go higher one must go deeper.

Principle I Believe: Higher and broader demands deeper

I believe this is true in all aspects of life – nature, personal, emotional, relational, business, families, organizations, etc.

Height and breadth needs depth for strength and stabilization.

An Example: (Alright stick with me; this may seem a bit boring at first but it does have relevance to both you and me.)

I happen to have the privilege to work with a lot of different kinds of companies.   One of the patterns I have seen is that many companies are very successful while they are small but struggle as they get bigger.  The first symptom of shallowness is the systems and organizational structure is inadequate to support the demands of the business.  This is a relatively simple (albeit painful) matter to solve.

If growth continues the new processes and systems can sustain the company for only a short while.

Now the heavy lifting takes place.  This is where the most difficult challenges occur and organizational character tested.  The bigger the company grows the greater the need for a defined corporate identity, clarity of organizational strategies, succinctness of priorities, simplicity of goals and commitment to values.  These are the roots that support the whole.

The big question is, so what?  What does that have to do with me?  Everything!

Think about it.  The greater the challenges in our lives the more critical it is to know who we are, what’s important, where we are going, and what we believe.

When things are going well in life we have no conscious sense of need to draw from anything beyond the moment.  But how stabile are we in the storms of life?  My guess is that most of us stand the tests of life pretty well.

But then there are times when we are shaken to the core.  It is in these times where we really learn who we are, what’s important, where we are going, and what we believe.  Not only does it tests our roots but strengthens out roots.

“The greater the complexity the simpler we need to be.”

Take off your walking shoes and put on your gloves.  It looks like we will be digging instead of walking for a few days.

See you bright and early Monday.


19
Jul 10

Fun or Fruit

In Thursday’s blog I talked about how easy it is to forget important things in our lives.  I’m not talking about important things with a small ”i” such as brushing your teeth, recycling and absolutely making sure you don’t miss the last episode of Survivor.

Oddly, it’s the little “i” things we don’t tend to forget.  They are part of our daily routine and are tangible in nature.  The big “I” things are more foundational and abstract.  The big “I” stuff are things such as our core values, our philosophy of life, life priorities and relationships.

Side Note: Although abstract in nature these are revealed in very tangible behaviors.  What’s on the inside comes out in the details of our lives.

I talked about having tangible symbols to remind us of the IMPORTANT things in our lives.  Taking care of the big “I” things strengthens us and breaths life into us because these are the roots of our being.

Just as large trees begin to slowly die when the roots are neglected we to begin to wither when our roots are left unattended.  Tending the roots must become part of our routine.  Activities must be built into our schedule to do things that feed and strengthen the roots.

There are two things that endanger the roots.  The first danger is the most heinous, frightening and common.  Neglect.  We destroy ourselves by neglect.  We are the culprits of our own demise.  We do this by the slow erosion and deterioration of our core by neglecting the disciplines of self care.

Side Note: Unfortunately there is another sad reality.  This to me is almost as scary and frankly just as sad as destroying one’s self.  It is the person who only does just enough tending of the ground to keep themselves functioning.  They function but never know the joy of bearing abundant fruit.

Joy is sacrificed on the alter of ease.

The other dangers are the attacks of things from the outside that invade and destroy.  I live in a small community that is known in our area for our magnificent trees.  The community takes pride in their trees and has in place an ongoing disciplined plan that actively nurtures and cares for them.

But we are having tree problems, not for lack of care but because we are under attack.  There is a very small innocent looking worm that is causing unbelievable carnage to Ash trees.  The Emerald Ash Borer has been on a rampage in our area of the country and these magnificent trees are in jeopardy.

This is in essence the same types of challenges we face in our lives.  There are small innocent looking things in this world that are our equivalent to the Emerald Ash Borer.

And the weird thing about it is that what may be something that endangers me may not be the thing that endangers you.  These are little things that penetrate the protective surface because we have allowed them to bore into our life.

I don’t know what your Emerald Ash Bore is but if you have been reading my blog for any length of time you know a couple of mine… worrying what people think and lack of self discipline.

So to be successful on this journey I must constantly nurture and feed my core and to guard against the small critters that want to destroy.

Honestly it takes work…  and I have a choice… to experience the joy of bearing more fruit or take it easy and wither away.

Humm, I choose JOY.

See you Thursday.


25
May 10

Water from a Dry Well

Hi, good to see you again.

The title pretty much describes me today.  Have you ever felt empty?   I am not talking about emptiness of the heart.

Emptiness of the heart:  The dull ache that comes from an inner void. 

This is the intuitive knowledge that something is missing or incomplete.  No matter how hard one tries to push it back into its place it seems to seep out the cracks when alone or at night.

 

I am full in heart but empty in being today.  I’m drained and feel I have nothing to give.  But that is the time I must step out.  Historically I would have blown off the blog.  But I am reminded of an amazing principle… absolutely amazing.

BIBLE ALERT!

For my non-Christian friends this story is from the Bible.  Now don’t go discounting what I’m about to say until I have finished.

This is a principle that applies to anyone regardless of their beliefs.  But for Christians it will have broader implications.

 

There is a story in the Bible about a poor widow who gave her last few pennies at the Temple.    Christ was observing and told his friends that this poor widow gave more than all the others who gave huge amounts of money.

Side Note:  Let me stop here for a moment.  I have heard this story my entire life and it was always told in relation to money and giving.  I now believe that money is by far the lesser point.

 

He observed all the giving and said that she gave out of her poverty while the others gave out of their abundance.

This story provided one of the most amazing ah ha’s of my life.  God has a marvelous way of smacking us in a way that really gets our attention.  I am not talking about a smack that is negative but a “Wow, I could have had a V8” smack.

People tend to give things that they have the most of.  It’s human nature.  Giving of any sort with the right motive is good and honorable.  But there is a giving that transcends the realms of known and makes a very ordinary act sacred… even Holy. 

I am talking about those acts where people are giving (albeit little) the last they have.

  • The single mom who is tired to the bone and their child needs attention and she musters her last ounce of energy to provide extra tenderness to a needy child.
  • The man at work who holds his tongue when every fiber of his being is yelling for fairness.
  • The parent who will forgo the badly needed pair of shoes to provide the fee for the elementary school outing.
  • The teenager that risks their fragile reputation because they dare to defend someone needing a friend.

I in no way believe that the writing of this blog today merits anything special.  All I know is that I am tired and I feel dry.  I thought of the poor widow and was inspired.  I knew I was suppose to write.  So I did.

Later.