Sunday, March 17, 2013

Be strong and very courageous.

That's Joshua 1:7. 

Joshua 1:7-8
"Be strong and very courageous.  Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go.  Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it.  Then you will be prosperous and successful."

I'm drawn to this, because there is no mention of smiting or crushing.  No threats of what will happen if you don't obey all the law.  There is just the promise that, if you obey the law, "you may be successful wherever you go."  "Then you will be prosperous and successful."  Isn't that interesting?

What's that mean, really?  I'm not entirely sure, but I think I'm grasping that working toward a life based on spiritual principles will enable me to prosper and have success.  How fortunate that someone has already put these principles down in writing, that I only have to ask for them and they are available.

How does this strike you?  What experience do you have with this?  I'm learning, and would very much appreciate your thoughts.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

YOU are your highest priority.

No, really.

Here's an excerpt from Arnie Warren's book The Great Connection which illustrates my point:

"You can never fully express yourself, never truly explore the outer edges of your talents, until you know what holds you back and what propels you forward." --pg. 162

I'm the project.  When I know about me and what I am, as well as what I am not, then I'm able to reach out and help others.

Have you ever seen a building under construction?  I mean where you drive past it regularly enough to pay attention to the progress.  At first, it's an empty pit in the ground.  Then some framework and structure is added, but it still isn't much use.  The inspector shows up and has a look, checks for structural integrity.  A lot of work has been done, but it ain't done.  After some time, walls and a roof are added.  The inspector tests the walls and goes up into the attic.  At this point, at least it provides shelter.  It isn't what it's going to be, but it is better than what it was.  As building continues, things like water and power and windows are added, and it becomes habitable.  Things like flooring and furnishings are added.  The inspector crawls through the entire building and finally signs off on the project.  Offices are populated by people who are now able to be productive inside the building.

The building was the project first.  After time and effort and money were put into getting the building ready, it could be put to use for the purpose for which it was designed: it provides a safe environment in which productivity can take place.  What used to be the project now makes other projects possible.

Find your building site, dig your foundation, put your structures in place, have the inspector visit regularly to ensure that progress is being made correctly in a way that won't be damaging later, and when you're ready, you're much more valuable than you were before.  You can't finish what you don't start, so get your priorities straight: YOU are the highest priority!

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Valid information and adapting it to yourself

We live in a world which is information-rich and wisdom-poor, I've heard it said.  It seems obvious, once someone else puts it in words.  We can somehow feel that this is true.  I've also recently been reminded that there is a pattern: results are based on habits, which are based on actions, which are based thinking, which is based on information.  In short, when you want different results, you need to change the information.  That's true, but you also have to participate in the rest of the chain in order to see the process provide the fruits you're looking for.

I've been learning, over the last several months, a concept I already knew but hadn't applied to my life as a new business owner, which is, "find someone who has what you want, find out what they did, and do that, and you can have results like theirs."  It makes sense, right?  It isn't as easy as these few words make out.

An illustration:
  • My mom makes the best pesto.  I've raved over it for years, and she makes it for me when we visit because she knows that it makes me happy. 
  • I wanted to "wow" the other couples at our Friday night Bible Study with my culinary skills.  I was bringing a salad with my Aunt's garlic-lemon dressing, and wanted to use the "under promise and over deliver" concept and also bring pesto.
  • I texted my mom to ask for the recipe.
Mom responded with a set of directions which were a bit vague, but made enough sense that I bought ingredients and made a start.  I'd learned to make the garlic-lemon dressing this way, so I knew I could make this work.  As I alternated between adding things to my food processor and squinting at the tiny characters on my phone, I realized that my result didn't quite match my expectation.  I had the information and was trying to apply it.  My wife suggested that I consult this publicly searchable global database that I have at my command for better directions.  Why didn't I?  Because I knew I had the right information from the right source.  I just needed to adjust how I was applying it in order to get the results I desired.  I knew I needed to take the information and change both my thinking and my actions.  That's exactly what I did, and now that I've gotten the results I want this first time, I know, based on my experience with the salad dressing, that next time I will be able to do this much more quickly, without as much mess in the kitchen, and that my result will eventually be exactly what I want without need for any stumbling.  I'll have created a habit which will always lead to those results.

The other couples at Bible Study made the appropriate sounds of appreciation, which are nice to hear.  What proved the thing, though, is when they went back for more.  This was the end result of success I'd been looking for.  Not only was it good, it was good enough for a second helping.

Next time, I'll bring French Silk Pie.  THAT one I've got dialed in like you can't even imagine.