Maybe Your Flaws Are Not Flaws After All

The other day at our cafe a customer came over to me and commented on how beautiful our tables are. Hardly a day goes by that someone doesn’t mention them so they come up in conversation a lot. Richard, a friend of ours graciously made them from black walnut before we opened in 2015. They look awesome and add so much to our space.

On this occasion, the man was referring to a particular 4-seat table that sits in the front window and so I proceeded to tell him the story of how this table almost never came to be.

As it was being sanded it split. And at first we weren’t sure how to fix it or even if it could be. But Richard came up with a plan that included adding epoxy to fill in the gaps which in the end, helped turn it into a beautiful, unique piece of furniture.

Of all the tables, it’s my favorite. Like a signature hole on a golf course, this table stands out among the rest of the beautiful tables.

The customer was taken by it as well. Then he said something to me I took notice of…he said, “This table is perfection.”

What a great perspective.

Instead of seeing the split wood and the epoxy-filled hole as flaws, he saw the beauty of the piece as it now was. In fact it stands out because of it’s flaws.

Why Do We See Flaws as Failures?

I think this is easy for us to do…why?

We focus on what we don’t have

When we look at others’ strengths, personalities, abilities etc we can easily be lured into thinking that we don’t measure up, simply because we are different. We inadvertently put a greater importance on what they have rather than what we bring.

Have you ever visited someone in their home you think is nicer than your own? What do you do? You begin to see what yours is missing. Right? We all do it.

We compare ourselves to others

The act of comparison itself sets us up to feel worse about ourselves. I’m not suggesting that we should think too highly of ourselves, but comparing at all can leave us frustrated. Theodore Rosevelt is quoted as saying, “Comparison is the thief of joy.”    

We downplay our own uniqueness

Maybe it’s false modesty or true self-loathing but it can be our default to simply minimize even what others see in us. The problem with this mindset is that it’s only when we understand our uniqueness, that we can begin to understand the impact our lives can make.

What You Think Is a Flaw, Is What Makes You Unique

My wife and I are very different…no surprise, right? It’s been said that in relationships, the things that you are originally attracted to can become the very point of contention later on. But if I insisted that Kathy change those things that make her who she is, she’d stop being herself.

What I might see as a flaw is actually her unique character that makes her uniquely awesome.

As family therapy pioneer, Virginia Satir once said, “We come together in our sameness, but grow in our differences.”

Maybe it’s human nature to desire what others have; but what if your flaws are meant to highlight the unique way in which God has created you, to impact the world around you.

Maybe, what you consider to be a flaw is what makes you…you?

At my home church our current sermon series, “What’s The Point” takes a closer look at finding life’s meaning and purpose. Part of that discussion is about understanding how each of us has been designed; that we are all unique in our abilities, personalities, temperaments and passions.

Why on earth would we want to strive to be like someone else?

Your Flaws May Be Your Greatest Contribution

I did some checking and we estimate that over 10,000 people have sat at that 4-seat table since we opened the cafe in 2015. Think of it…

  • the shared family lunches
  • the double dates
  • the friends reunited
  • the birthdays celebrated
  • the numerous work projects completed (free wifi doesn’t hurt)
  • the countless conversations

Imagine if we had decided to scrap it…because of some perceived flaws…flaws that actually set it apart from every other table. In fact there is no other table like it on the planet.

What could have been deemed a flaw has actually become it’s best feature and has served so many.

Q. Are you prone to see your unique features as flaws? Why do you think that is?

Q. Are you using your unique strengths and abilities in ways that honour God and impact your world? Why or why not?

Feeling stuck? Not sure what to do next? Your life not where you want it to be? Life coaching can help. Contact me to arrange a free 45-minute discovery call. Let’s talk.

When Fear Takes Over and What To Do About It

When my son was 7 he decided he wanted to play football. I truly didn’t prompt him in any way (that I can remember) but since football is my favorite sport, I was excited for his desire to play.

His mother on the other hand wasn’t quite so enthusiastic. Her maternal instincts kicked in and she began to ask all the questions you would expect from a loving parent…

  • What if he gets hurt?
  • Will he know anyone on the team?
  • How big are the boys he’ll play with?
  • Will his coach be mean?
  • Will the boys be mean?

You know, the typical questions.

To be honest, they were good questions. After all, we didn’t want to throw our son into a smash-mouth, eat glass, take no prisoners, win at all cost kind of environment. Our son was barely 70 pounds and as we soon found out, he would play against some boys weighing more than twice what he did. But this was peewee football…had bad could it be?

We registered for the team, went to our first fitting where he was outfitted with new, top of the line equipment (I’m pretty sure it was better than what I wore for high school football). The team practiced twice a week, all summer before the season started in September and we had a blast.

The head coach was great and he allowed me to volunteer alongside him. The practices were well-run and the kids learned a lot about teamwork and the great game of football.

We were having  blast.

Then came opening day! The first game of the season and my son’s first official football game.

“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.” Nelson Mandela

As the players took to the field, I walked to our sideline and suddenly, out of nowhere my mind was flooded with questions…

  • What if he gets hurt?
  • How big are the boys he’ll play with?
  • Will his coach be mean?
  • Will the boys be mean?

Even after practicing all summer, out of nowhere, I was suddenly struck with fear…what if Alex gets hurt today? He’s one of the smallest on the team and it’s one thing to practice with your own team…it’s another to play against a real opponent.

For a brief moment, I was truly stricken with fear for my son’s safety. Not to mention my own, if his mother saw him get hurt.

Have you ever been there?

Have you suddenly been overtaken by fear?

What did you do?

“Everything you want is on the other side of fear.” Jack Canfield

Don’t Miss Out 

How many times have you decided not to do something because you were afraid? You saw an opportunity but you got nervous and backed away from it. I get it; fear has a way of warning us against doing something…like it’s looking out for us. But I think that’s a big mistake.

We could have allowed the fear that Alex could have gotten hurt, keep him from playing football…but at what cost?  Because he played…

  • he learned new skills
  • he learned to work as part of a team
  • he learned to apply instruction
  • he enjoyed competition
  • he got stronger physically and mentally
  • he learned the value of trying new things
  • and he won the “Rookie of the Year” award. (I might have been more excited than he was about that)

If Alex had stayed on the sidelines he would have missed out on so much.

When we sit on the sidelines we miss out on so much too.

Q. Is fear holding you back from doing what you ant to do? Maybe we can learn somethings form a 7 year old

  • listen to what your heart is telling you
  • get input from others
  • get all the information you need to make an informed decision
  • strap on some gear and go hit something…in other words…TAKE ACTION!

The very thing you are afraid of may be the very thing you ought to do. In fact I suggest the fear you feel is often confirmation you should do it. 

Feeling stuck? Not sure what to do next? Your life not where you want it to be? Life coaching can help. Contact me to arrange a free 45-minute discovery call. Let’s talk.

How Netflix Can Help You Discover Your Calling and Purpose

Anyone who knows me well, knows I’m a Jason Bourne fan. I love the series of movies, now at five, but I especially appreciate the first three. Sorry Jeremy Renner; part four was okay, and I enjoyed the last instalment, but the first three stand out.

I could probably recite most of the lines. I’ve watched them more than I could count (I’m not suggesting that’s a good thing but it’s true). A number of years ago I spent a day in Paris on a layover, sitting at an outdoor cafe, listening to the sounds of the city and watching for Bourne…he didn’t show up. Yes, I was disappointed.

In case you don’t know, Jason Bourne is a CIA black-op who goes missing after a botched assignment. He’s rescued from the Mediterranean Sea but as he heals from two gun shot wounds in the back, he realizes he has no memory…he has no idea who he is and how he got to where he was.

The Bourne trilogy focuses on the story of how this CIA agent, suffering from amnesia begins to learn who he is, and discover that he doesn’t like what learns about himself…essentially that he’s a trained assassin. Bourne then goes on his own mission to rediscover who he is and take back his life from the agency that has been controlling it; all while the CIA does all it can to take out the rogue agent before he can do more damage to the covert organization.

From the storyline, to the car chases to the martial arts and cinematography…(that’s how I justify watching them again and again…for the cinematography) I love these movies.

What Do Your Favorite Movies Say About You?

I believe that God has created each one of us for a specific purpose and given us all we need to carry out the things He has for us to do. But understanding our mission and our purpose is not always so simple or straightforward.

Have you ever stopped to consider what your favorite movies say about you? And do you think it’s possible to gain insights into your own calling and purpose through the movies you watch? I think it is.

I’m talking about calling and purpose as the things we do in our lives related to our work…the things we do to be productive…the things we do that we hope will make a difference to those around us.

I’m not suggesting that getting clarity about our calling is simply analyzing our entertainment viewing habits, but they can give us clues.

One of the most powerful ways to understand our calling is to consider the themes of our lives. It is linked to our experiences, both positive and negative, and the meaning we give them

Looking back over our lives and identifying themes give us clues.

Our favorite movies can give us clues too. Some of my favorite movies include “The Bourne Trilogy” and “A Few Good Men”. And while these are completely different movies, their common themes are why I like them.

Let me explain.

  • Jason Bourne didn’t like who he was and determined to change. He overcomes incredible odds…near fatal wounds, a covert CIA who wants to eliminate him, not to mention he isn’t sure who he is, to change the direction his life was going.
  • Lt. Daniel Kaffee, an inexperienced US Navy lawyer who appears to like baseball more than law, who seems to be more of a class clown than a litigator for the armed forces, was thrown into a court marshal case, expected to be a screw-up and fail, with the hopes of preserving the reputation of the Armed Forces Marine Corp. But Kaffee leads a brilliant defense, even with the deck stacked against him and gets his clients off of the most serious of charges.

The themes that I easily recognize in my favorite movies include things like:

  • overcoming obstacles due to circumstances and poor choices
  • exceeding others expectations
  • overcoming self-doubt
  • succeeding in spite of others judgment
  • moving from selfish ambition to empowering and inspiring others to face their fears and reach their potential

Those are the kind of themes that draw me in because they reflect much of my own experience. But even more than just mirroring my life, past and present, they reflect what my life is about now…I hope.

  • I’ve been the class clown
  • I’ve been the screw up.
  • I’ve been selfish
  • I’ve lacked empathy for others
  • I’ve struggled to know what my potential is
  • I’ve had to overcome poor choices to change the trajectory of my life
  • I want to inspire others to make the most of their lives.
  • I want to encourage, equip and motivate people to be all that they can be..all God has created them to be.

Those last two, reflect my purpose as I understand it. For the bulk of my adult life I have tried to inspire, encourage, motivate, challenge, support and guide people so they can experience more, live more and be more…reaching their God-given potential.

I believe that is my mission and my purpose and what gives meaning to my life. The work I’ve done reflects that…counselling, pastoring, coaching. But it’s also part of being a husband, father, friend and business owner. My purpose permeates all of those things.

You might be saying, “You get all that from Jason Bourne or Daniel Kaffee?” Well, yes, I guess I am saying that. The themes of my favorite movies connect with the themes of my life and they point me towards why I am here and what I am to do.

Does It Matter?

We want our lives to matter. We want our lives to have an impact. We want to make a difference. At least the majority of individuals I come in contact want those things.

But is that the reality of most people? Is that your experience? If you’re stuck, perhaps taking time to reflect on your favorite movies will give you the clues you need to understand your purpose.

You are uniquely equipped to carry out your God-given purpose. Don’t give up discovering what it is.

Watch your favorite movie, maybe it will help.

Feeling stuck? Not sure what to do next? Your life not where you want it to be? Life coaching can help. Contact me to arrange a free 45-minute discovery call. Let’s talk.

 

What Can You Learn From a 12-Year-Old? Quite a Lot Actually.

6 Life-Lessons From A Ventriloquist

I’m not a big fan of TV shows like “The Voice” or “The World of Dance” (I’m sorry to all of you who are) but I have become a fan of one in particular.

Actually, I’ve never seen the show, at least not on TV but I have seen enough clips to become interested. I’ve seen excerpts from “America’s Got Talent” and some of the performers are quite incredible. Most recently I came across a 12-year-old named Darci Lynne. If you haven’t seen her yet, you can check out her audition here…

Darci Lynne on America’s Got Talent

I’ve watched this audition a few times now and I’m impressed with so many things about Darci and I think we can all learn some valuable lessons from her too. Here are some of my takeaways…

Our Struggles Can Be a Point of Contribution

Darci admitted to being extremely shy and struggled to make eye contact with others. But instead of resigning herself to being “that way” she took action. She asked for a puppet and got to work. Her struggle became motivation for change but also for impact. If Darci gave in to her shyness the world would never know her and she would have missed out on the impact she is now having.

Is your deepest pain a current struggle or a past experience you just can’t shake? Is it something that defines you (according to you). What difference would it make if you saw your pain or deepest wound as an opportunity? What have you learned from it and how can it help someone else?

“The place of our deepest pain, can be the point of our greatest contribution”

Success Takes Time & Commitment

The judges were impressed with how far Darci had come in two years of practice. It does seem like a short time to hone her skills, but it still was significant. She actually had spent almost 20% of her life to ventriloquism. That’s a huge chunk of her 12 years. I wonder how many of us have committed 20% of our lives to something important to us?

What do you think would happen if have if you gave 20% of your life to something important to you? Or even 10 or 5? What kind of positive changes could you make…to your health, your closest relationships, your career, your hidden talent or your secret dream? Do you think it might make a difference in someone’s else’s life?

“Successful people and unsuccessful people do not vary greatly in their abilities, but in their desire to reach their potential.” John Maxwell

When Something “Clicks” Respond

Darci saw a ventriloquist at her church and “something clicked”. Have you ever experienced a moment like that? That “aha moment” when your interest and focus went in a particular direction. Maybe a spiritual awakening of sorts? Has God lead you, spoke to you or encouraged you (maybe by using others to do so) to do something specifically?

I think for many, the tendency is to think about all the reasons we can’t do something or why it won’t work rather than to embrace the challenge and take the next steps to making it happen.

The Bible tells us God has things  for us to do…do you know what they are? What’s stopping you from doing them?

Our Greatest Accomplishments Are On the Other Side of Fear

Fear is without a doubt one of the most debilitating emotions we experience. It can keep us from so many things. But in my experience, fear is not an indicator to avoid something but the motivation to do it.

If you knew you couldn’t fail, what would you do that you’re not doing now?

Humility Is Attractive

For me, the most enjoyable auditions on America’s Got Talent (or Britain’s Got Talent) are the people who don’t even know how good they are. They may perform with the hopes of being accepted and affirmed but they do so with humility.

No one really likes a cocky, arrogant person do they? I think this type of attitude can sabotage so many areas of our lives.

But Darci seems like such a sweet girl who had no idea the response she would garner that night. It made her performance all the more inspiring and compelling and you just couldn’t help but celebrate what she did.

“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourself.” Phil 2:3

We All Need a Support System

Darci didn’t get to the stage and eventually the “live show” alone…she had a lot of support. Her parents purchased the puppet, the family encouraged her and they were there back stage and in the crowd rooting for her. Who do you think was more nervous?

We are not designed to do life alone. Whether single, married, a student or grandparent, we were made for relationships that provide love, encouragement, direction, accountability and strength and they give us opportunity to do the same in return.

Who in your life could use some encouragement? What are the opportunities right around you?

I’ll keep watching clips from America’s Got Talent but I won’t soon forget Darci…and all she has taught us.

Feeling stuck? Not sure what to do next? Your life not where you want it to be? Life coaching can help. Contact me to arrange a free 45-minute discovery call. Let’s talk.

 

Are You a Spectator Or a Player?

Super Bowl LI is in the books and whether you’re a fan or not, it probably got some of your attention. Even if you hate sports, maybe you made a snack for a family member or friend group; or you just couldn’t get away from the office pool and the accompanying trash talk from raving fans. Or your social media feed was littered with predictions leading up to the game.

According to Fortune.com almost 112 million people watched the game, in the US alone. Add an additional 50-75 million viewers from another 170 countries and you’ve got yourself a show.

Viewers consumed a lot more than 4 hours of TV too. Do you know how much food was consumed during the game? I did some digging and found these numbers. These are conservative and only reflect consumption in the United States:

1.25 billion chicken wings…yes that’s a b

11 million lbs of chips

1 in 7 households (48 million) will order take out food…60% being pizza

8 million lbs of guacamole

55 million cases of beer…cases…I don’t know what 55 million x 24 is but, wow. The tab? 10.8 billion dollars.

Those are staggering numbers…all for a football game.

Hey, I watched the game and ate my share of wings that night too, so who am I to judge?

But now that the game is over, maybe it’s time to think about something more important than a football game (I can hardly believe I just wrote that line). But hear me out.

It’s one thing to watch a football game. There’s nothing wrong with watching great athletes compete and it’s a great excuse to get together with friends and family too. For a few hours it can be a lot of fun.

But are you living your life as a spectator or a player? I might be touching on a sensitive area, especially if you have a spouse who is glued to the TV all weekend, every weekend, to watch a sport you have no interest in.

Question: How much time do you spend watching the lives of other people rather than focusing on your own life?

How much time are you watching ESPN or reading the sports page (does anyone do that anymore?). Or how much time do you listen to sports talk radio?

Again, there is nothing wrong with any of those things. And just in case you think I’m picking on sports fans, I’m not. There are others who couldn’t care less about sports and don’t see the point at all. But that doesn’t prevent some people from watching TMZ or reading People magazine or obsessing on Facebook…watching others live their lives.

Are we more interest in the lives of other people than our own?

Darren Hardy suggests that the difference between successful people and those who are not, is there E2E ratio…entertainment to education ratio. While 95% of people spend their extra time on ease & entertainment, the successful 5% spend more time investing in themselves…their learning and growing, rather than being distracted by the lives of others. Instead of excessive amounts of time and energy spent on the lives of athletes and hollywood stars, they strive to improve themselves.

What would it mean to you, to focus on living your own goals and dreams rather than watching other people live out theirs?

I’m not saying we shouldn’t ever enjoy the distraction of a game or  TV show but there might be a few things we can do to enhance our lives too.

Instead of sports radio…a podcast

Instead of ESPN…an online seminar

Instead of ETalk Daily…a book or instructional media

Instead of talking about the lives of other people…talk about your own goals and dreams; or encouraging someone with theirs.

Q. Is there an area of your life that has been neglected? Have you been on the sidelines rather than playing? Maybe your marriage needs attention or relationship with a child? Maybe your own health has suffered while watching athletes enjoy theirs? Maybe that “thing” you’ve always wanted to start is still waiting for you to take the first step?

Stop watching and start living. It’s time to get back into the game. Stop being a spectator and start playing!

Q. What one area of your life is in need of attention? Where can you start today?

Q. What’s stopping you?

Feeling stuck? Not sure what to do next? Your life not where you want it to be?

Life coaching can help. Contact me to arrange a free 30-minute discovery call. Lets talk.

If Anyone Can Do What You’re Doing, You’re Doing It Wrong

As a teenager I really frustrated my dad…my mom too but I think my dad was more obvious about it. There is so much that I wish I could take back from that season in my life. But you can’t rewrite history.

There were numerous reasons for his frustrations…my lack of interest in school (grade 10 was mostly spent at the pool hall) and my extra-curricular activities that flew in the face of the values I was raised on.

It was tough on my dad…watching me coast through life with no ambition other than taking the path of least resistance every chance I could. It took it’s toll on him. It was a slap in the face and a deep disappointment.

One night, I came home late as usual, and my dad came to me and said, “Son, anyone can do what you’re doing.” At first I was confused, then just annoyed. He would go on to repeat this to me over and over.

Are you kidding me? I thought. I didn’t know too many kids my age doing the things I was doing. To me I was not following the crowd, but doing my own thing. Every kid should be good at something right? I was good at not being good. I was good at thumbing my nose at authority and going my own way.

But my dad never gave in and  would continue to remind me that, “Anyone can do what I was doing.”

What I failed to understand back then is that I wasn’t living up to who I could be. I wasn’t reaching my potential or even trying. I was essentially taking the easy road, even though I was convinced I was wasn’t.

My dad was trying to tell me that I was falling short…that I was not reaching my potential.

While that was true of me back then, it’s true for many people today too. Hey, it could be true of me too.

Do you know someone like that? Maybe you’re feeling this way.

Most of us do similar things that don’t really set us apart…we sleep, we get up, go to work, we eat, we watch TV, we meet with friends.

But what sets us apart? What sets you apart from everyone else? How do you know?

Here are some clues that you may not be living up to your own potential:

  • You’re not striving for anything
  • You’re bored with your life
  • You don’t know what your strengths are
  • You compare your life to others around you
  • Your life looks the same today, as it did last year at this time
  • You dream about doing something but never commit to an action plan
  • You haven’t failed in a while

Would any of those statements describe you? Which ones and why? Consider some of these ideas to jumpstart the changes you really want to make:

  • What have you been putting off, knowing all along it’s something you want to pursue? Say it out loud…write it down…tell someone. 
  • Take a personality test…learn more about yourself. Who are you…really? 
  • Get input from those you trust. Ask them to tell you what they see in you. (I’m not suggesting you make a FaceBook post searching for responses from people you hardly know) but have a conversation with a few who know you well. Get a fresh perspective. 
  • Instead of comparing your life to someone else’s, just to beat yourself up about where you’ve fallen short, connect with someone you respect and learn from them.  
  • Stop thinking and start doing. In many cases, you already know what to do…it’s time to do it.
  • Embrace failure as a path to success.  

“Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure… than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.”

Theodore Roosevelt

“I can accept failure, everyone fails at something. But I can’t accept not trying.”

Michael Jordan

If my dad was alive today, I hope that he would see something very different in me than he did back then…some of the fruit from his parental labour. 

I do remember one special day. I was graduating from Seminary. A high school dropout had finally made it through college then graduate school to complete a Masters degree. I will never forget when I returned to my seat after receiving my degree, seeing my dad…giving me a standing ovation.

I guess he got a glimpse that day and maybe his words “Anyone can do what you’re doing” finally did not apply.

If you knew you couldn’t fail (even though it’s okay to) what would you do that you’re not doing now?

Feeling stuck? Not sure what to do next? Your life not where you want it to be? Life coaching can help. Contact me to arrange a free 30-minute discovery call. Lets talk.

So You Have Goals for 2017. Now What?

I hope you have goals for the coming year or at least are working at identifying them. I have three. Not thirteen, not thirty…three. How many do you have?

Whether you have one, three, five or more goals for 2017, there is one thing that you need to do to give yourself the best chance of accomplishing them.

Stop focusing on your goals!

That’s right. If you want to accomplish a significant goal this year, stop focusing on it. Simply writing something down on a piece of paper isn’t going to change a thing. Six months from now you’ll still be overweight, in debt, and in a bad relationship. I’m sorry to sound so pessimistic, but it’s true…someone has to say it.

Actually others have. Nick Saban, coach of the Alabama Crimson Tide is famous for saying, “It’s the discipline of the process.” when asked about the success of his program.

It’s the discipline of the process!

Monday night was the College Football National Championship game, Alabama vs Clemson. A rematch of last years championship. This year Clemson came out on top. It was a great game and even though Alabama lost, Saban’s comments still ring true.

The Crimson Tide football program is successful because of processes in place; the routines and the systems they practice every day. Sure even before the season started back in September every player on the team wanted to win another championship. But their focus as a team is always the day to day habits and routines that they believe will give them the best chance to reach the goal.

You can’t control every outcome but you can control the process. 

Sometimes there are outside forces that can influence outcomes. In football, teams deal with injuries, weather and of course the other team. But daily routines are basically ours to make and to follow.

Our lives are made up of daily habits and choices.

Think about it. From sunrise to bedtime your life is a series of choices. You might as well be intentional about them. It’s been said that our future is made up of our daily habits. How you look and feel next year will be a reflection of what you do today, tomorrow and so on. How much money you have saved will be as a result of your regular spending and saving habits now.

You have more control than you think

If your life is a collection of daily habits, then you get to choose what they will be. You have control. You can choose to make changes. This may take away any excuses you want to hang on to, but the good news is positive changes are within your reach.

A clear process with consistent habits give you the best chance for success

Have you ever been part of a team that worked on a project where the outcome was okay but the process stunk? You know, like it was disorganized, or constantly changing or one or two individuals made it almost unbearable to work with them? I have. Most of us have at some point I suppose.

But even if the goal was reached, the event went off or the project was completed on time, you’ll never know how much better the outcome could have been. That’s because a clear plan, with regular habits will set you up for success.

Do the math

When I was in private practice, I met with a lot of struggling couples. They usually wanted to give me a history lesson on why their marriage was bad. But instead, I would simply ask them to tell me what the previous day looked like. I’d have them walk me through it, moment by moment, hour by hour. More times than not, it became clear that their daily habits were sabotaging their relationship.

I never did well in math, but I know this much. Either your current process will move you closer to your goals or they will move you farther away. Does your current process equal a better chance of achieving your goals this year or not?

What do you think? Agree or disagree? I’d love to hear from you.

Q. Where are your current daily habits taking you? 

Q. Are you confident that your current process will help you reach your goals? Why or why not? 

Q. What is one change that you need to make, starting today? 

Feeling stuck? Not sure what to do next? Your life not where you want it to be? Life coaching can help. Contact me to arrange a free 30-minute discovery call. Lets talk.

Is it “Unspiritual” to Pursue Your Dreams?

I recently watched one of my favorite movies, “The Rookie.” It’s a good family movie and even if you don’t like baseball, it’s a great story. As with most “based on real life” movies, there are a number of inconsistencies from the real life story, but it’s still good.

The film tells the story of  Jim Morris, who as a boy dreamed of being big league baseball pitcher. He moved around a lot being the son of a Navy man, and eventually landed in Big Lake; a small Texas town. Jim eventually was drafted but injured his throwing shoulder which ended his lifelong dream.

Years later Mr. Morris, now married with three children, is a high school science teacher, as well as the baseball coach. To make a long story short, his high school team was not very good, at least they weren’t playing up to their potential and to motivate his players, he agreed to attend a minor league tryout…if the team made it to the district championship. Of course the team goes on a winning streak and makes state. So Jim reluctantly travels to the nearest tryout to show his stuff. It turns out that he is throwing faster than he thought he could, in fact faster than he did in college, 15 years earlier.

Jim gets a call from the Tampa Bay Devil Rays to join their minor league team. It was a rough ride but eventually he is called up to the big leagues…around age 35.

Before he commits to playing baseball again, Jim stops by his dad’s home and awkwardly asks for his opinion. His dad who never encouraged him to ever play baseball or follow his dreams, responds with one of the most important lines in the movie…

“It’s OK to think about what you want to do until it’s time to start doing what you were meant to do.”

It’s OK to think about what you want to do, until it’s time to start doing what you are meant to do. In the movie, the implication was that these would be very different things. Sure we may have dreams and aspirations but eventually the reality of life would set in and we would need to forgo our dreams for the something practical. 

But is that true? What if what we want to do is what we were meant to do?

God has created us and uniquely designed us with our personalities, passions, skills & abilities, personal experiences, preferences, and aspirations. As we gain clarity around those things I think we have an obligation or better, the opportunity to pursue them. Pursuing your dreams is not “unspiritual” but rather being who God has made me to be.

Following your dreams may be the most spiritual thing you do…why?

Our desires come from God (at least they can)

Psalm 37:4 says, “Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.” When I was young I thought this verse meant that God would simply give me what I wanted. But it means so much more than that. If we want to discover our passions, our dreams and purpose in life, then we must begin with a relationship with God. As we experience Him, the things we begin to want to do, the things that excite us, the things that we feel drawn to and the things we want to accomplish are actually things God plants in our hearts. They come from Him. What do you dream about?

If you could do anything at all with your life, what would it be?

Where do you think the answers to those questions come from?

“The more we delight in a relationship with God, the clearer we will become on discovering our purpose.”

     God has stuff for us to do

In Ephesians 4:10, the writer says ,“We are God’s masterpiece. He has created us new in Christ Jesus so we can do good things He has planned for us long ago.” 

How cool is that? Imagine this for a moment. God decided way before you were ever born, specific things for you to do. Good things. Things that matter. If that is true, then wouldn’t be important for us to discover what they are?

“The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you discover why.” Mark Twain

     The world needs you

Our desires, passions and purpose are not things to be kept quiet. They are meant to be lived out; to impact others. Maybe not the entire world, but certainly in your world.

Love is the driving force. Love for God and love for others.

The Bible tells us that what matters most is to love God and love others. When we love God, we discover our desires. When we love others, we impact them with our personalities, talents and particular bent. After all, isn’t love, doing what’s in the best interest of another person? Well, what’s in the best interest of others is you being the person God has created, designed and planned for you to be.

Here’s the thing; it’s not about getting more or making more…it’s about being more. It’s about being the best version of who God created us to be. That may be a lifelong pursuit but for me it’s a most worthwhile one.

  • You are unique
  • Your life is meant to impact others
  • Clarity about who you are, will impact who you become
  • Others need you
  • Your life is not your own, but meant to be lived for the sake of others.
  • Striving to reach your potential is a never-ending journey that honours the One who made you.

No one else has the job of being you. 

What are your desires today? Where do they come from?

If there was 1 area in your life (relationship, career, health etc) you’d like to change, what would it be?

If you couldn’t fail, what new goals would you pursue?

How can your personality, talents, desires and passions impact others? Your family, your friends, your co-workers?

Maybe…just maybe, pursuing your dreams is the most spiritual thing you can choose to do.

Feeling stuck? Not sure what to do next? Your life not where you want it to be? Life coaching can help. Contact me to arrange a free 30-minute discovery call. Lets talk.

 

 

 

Our Hope Is Not in Presidents & Prime Ministers

If you’re like me, you’re probably grateful that the US presidential election is history. For Americans and even Canadians this seems to have been a more hotly debated process than any other that I can remember.

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It seems that through media, social and television, the election has been front and center for years not just months leading up to the events of last Tuesday.

I don’t typically spend a lot of time focused on politics but even I stayed up past 2am to watch the election unfold. I wasn’t rooting for either candidate but I was intrigued by the process itself.

I understand that many people are actively involved in politics and have very strong ideas and opinions. People from both sides of the aisle have been very vocal about “their” candidate and about their opponent. This election seemed to focus more on character than policies and from an outsider looking in, it appeared that neither party candidate was ideal. I do wonder what it means when only half of registered voters actually voted.

But what really stood out to me has been seeing how disagreement lead to hatred. The disdain that people expressed toward the other side was severe. And I just have to wonder, to what end.

From my vantage point the election process looked more like a civil war than a political process. And the result will be a lot of pain and carnage. The level of name calling, labelling groups of people, divisive positions, fear mongering and outright hate was unprecedented, at least in my life time.

Now we are hearing things like, “It’s time to unite and come together as a nation.” But how realistic is that given the level of the divisive, hatred expressed…not just toward the candidates but toward anyone who followed the candidate. It seems that the social, racial, economic and political lines have become walls.

It’s hard to go out for a coffee and have a civil conversation with someone you just punched in the face.

My fear is that the harmful effects of the election process will only serve to entrench political positions and make bridging social, economic, racial and political differences virtually impossible.

But what has concerned me even more than how the opposing sides have engaged in this election, is seeing how Christians have jumped on board.

You may not be a Christian…but for those of us who are, I think we have been called to be different. Or as Darren Hardy says,

betheexception

Jesus’ own disciples were hoping he would introduce a new political system; one where the Jewish nation would thrive and not be under Roman rule. Instead, Jesus introduced a new movement; one that was open to anyone who wanted to be a part of it. One that was rooted in love; love for God and love one another.

In fact, the first-century Church was under the rule of Nero, a brutal dictator. But nowhere in scripture are we encouraged to level such a political system; instead we are commanded to share the good news, that Jesus loves them…everyone.

How can Christians hate anyone? I don’t know…but much of what I read and heard over the past months has been troubling. We are called to be different…to be the exception.

This past Sunday at my church, we were reminded of the story of Jesus calling Matthew to “follow him”; Matthew a tax collector and one who would have been despised by society was being invited into a relationship with the son of God.

What did Jesus do? He went to Matthew’s home for dinner. Imagine that. While the religious leaders looked down their noses and slammed Jesus for eating with “sinners and the scum of society” he got closer to them.

Of course Jesus routinely “broke the cultural rules of the day” by breaking down the barriers that prevented people from seeing the love and life that God was offering.

Isn’t that what we are called to do to as well?

I appreciate that people have passionate political positions but it has been disheartening to see Christians embrace the hurtful, harmful and hateful rhetoric of this election. We had an opportunity and still do, to stand and offer an alternative.

Whether you’re a republican or democrat, conservative, or liberal…maybe we can be defined by something even more profound, more powerful. 

We’re called to love our neighbors, not hate them. Even the ones we don’t agree with.

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen…Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Ephesians 4:29,31-32

We’re called to honour authority

Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. Romans 13:1-2

We don’t need to fear authority
For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. Romans 13:3
Respect for authority is in our best interest
Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience. Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor. Romans 13:5,7
 Jesus didn’t usher in a political kingdom, even though that is what people wanted. He ushered in a new way to live. A life rooted in a relationship with God through Jesus and one that we are to invite others into.

Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord. Psalm 31:24

After all, our hope will never be found in a president or prime minister.

Don’t Avoid the F – Word

Even if you’re not a football fan, you’ve probably heard of Tim Tebow. He has been a polarizing figure for some reason. People seem to love him or hate him. I don’t really understand why. You’d think he was a politician. Perhaps because he was never shy about his faith and he prayed publicly. But he was never goofy about it. Kneeling on the sideline of football field to pray just before you go get your brain knocked around isn’t the craziest thing to do, is it?

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Tebow is a former Heisman winner (the award for top college football player) and played quarterback in the NFL and by all accounts was a great guy; a good teammate and someone who was caring and generous.

Personally, I’ve never been a fan of Tim Tebow but only because he quarterbacked the Florida Gators in college, a rival team to my favorite Alabama Crimson Tide, and worse than that, in Denver he threw the winning touchdown pass to Demaryius Thomas in overtime against my Pittsburgh Steelers in the 2012 NFL Wild Card game. Just thinking about that is getting my heart rate up.

Since then, he’s been pretty quiet as his NFL career stalled out. Recently though, he announced that he was going to give baseball a shot. So in August of this year, in front of media and scouts from 28 major league baseball clubs Tim Tebow worked out and tried to display his baseball skills…a game he hadn’t played competitively since high school over 10 years earlier.

The reviews were mixed and some say he failed. He failed to impress the scouts and failed to demonstrate that he could play at a big league level.

I wonder how many people took Tim aside before this day and said something like, “Tim, why are you doing this? You’re almost 30 years old, maybe you shouldn’t bother. You’re going to embarrass yourself. You’ll look foolish.”

I’m guessing there were some. And if they didn’t say it to him directly they were probably thinking it.

But when asked after the tryout, why he went ahead with it, knowing that it was a longshot to have any success at all, this is what Tim said…

“I’d rather fail, than regret not trying.” 

I’d rather fail than regret not trying. I don’t know about you but maybe he’s on to something.

A while ago, someone asked how our business was going. Kathy and I opened a cafe in 2015 and this person was inquiring. I told him that it was going well, even beyond our expectations. His response was “Really?” He looked surprised.  

Hey, the stats don’t lie. Most small businesses do fail. And we’re only in year two, so maybe he’ll be right some day, I don’t know.

I’ve failed before. I failed a course in school…heck, I even failed the 10th grade! It turns out, you have to go to class if you hope to pass the course.

None of us wants to fail. Whether we are trying out for the team, pitching a new project at work, starting a new relationship, or a new business.

We’ll do almost anything not to fail. But what if failing isn’t the worse case scenario? What if failure is not the thing we should be most concerned about?

Maybe there is something way worse than failing…Not trying at all.

Often times, the very thing we’re afraid of, is what we should pursue.

“Everything you want is on the other side of fear.”  – Jack Canfield

Failure leads to new opportunities.

“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” – Thomas A. Edison

Failure is the inevitable part of successfully reaching our goals.

“Failures are finger posts on the road to achievement.” – C.S. Lewis

Failure is not the end of something.

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” – Winston Churchill

Will Tim Tebow play professional baseball? Most say no. Time will tell. But does playing matter more than trying? He would rather live with trying and failing than not trying at all.

“I’d rather fail, than regret not trying.” 

What are you avoiding to do in your life because of fear? The fear that you may fail?

If you knew you could not fail, what would you do that you’re not doing now?

How does a different perspective on failure make trying something possible?

Feeling stuck? Not sure what to do next? Life coaching can help. Contact me to arrange a free 30-minute discovery call. Lets talk.