The Goal of My New Book

I have been pondering ideas for my next book project for some time.  I found the process of working on my first book to be very exciting and rewarding.

Instead of a technology-based book, I plan to share on the topic of Embracing Inconvenience.

We live in a society that is all about QUICK and EASY.  If something requires too much work, we tend to avoid it.  If it takes too much of our time, we shy away from it.

Just think about it.  It's much easier to order around the back and pick your food up on the side of the building….but is this the healthiest option?  Does it add any of your own personality to the meal?  Do you miss out on opportunities to teach your kids in the process of meal preparation?

The idea that my book will present is maybe we shouldn't be so quick to avoid the inconveniences that we face each day.  These inconveniences may be the opportunities that develop positive character traits in us.

I haven't finished my outline for the book, but I plan to write over the course of the next 3 or 4 months.  Be sure to sign up for my email list so you'll be notified when I make progress. 

 

A Thankful Thursday

This morning at 3:40 a.m., my third son was born.

It happened pretty quickly and, since we didn’t know the gender, we had a surprise.

Every time we have had a baby, I have been thankful that they are healthy and being such a blessing to us.

Once again, I am thankful for another child that we can pass on our legacy to. Thank God for the gift of children!

Are You Chicken?

 

If you've watched any newscast on television in the past week, you have surely seen lots of coverage on the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, and you've most likely  seen stories about the controversy over comments made by Chic-Fil-A President and COO, Dan Cathy.  

Cathy stated his beliefs supporting the biblical definition of marriage (duh, they close on Sunday so employees can go to church), and there was outrage.  As a way to offer support for Chic-Fil-A and their founders, many have dubbed today as "Chic-Fil-A Appreciation Day".

Regardless of your stance on the issue (I happen to agree with him), I'd like to pose three BIG questions:

1)  Do you have strong enough convictions about certain issues that you're willing to take lots of heat or ridicule over them?

I must say that my wife and I have already experienced lots in this area.  We are expecting our fifth child.  Not exactly the results of going with the status quo.  You wouldn't believe some of the things people say (we can hear you…lol) and the stares that we get.  Beyond the ridicule, our focus is on the reward.  I believe Mr. Cathy has the same idea.

2)  Do you know "why" you believe what you believe?

One thing that frustrates me as I see people arguing about politics, religion, Chic-Fil-A, etc, is when people are not clearly able to articulate why they believe in a particular thing.  

My wife and I homeschool our children and the number one question is always "why?" Usually, after answering, the response we get is one of respect whether the person agrees with our decision or not.

3)  Does the possibility of suffering some sort of loss (job, income, friends, Twitter followers, email subscribers) change your beliefs when you're in different settings?

I'm not suggesting that we should all parade around forcing our beliefs on people while we're at work.  That's not the point.  

What I have seen is pastors, business owners, and other leaders who may be interviewed on television and can't give a clear answer about scripture or an issue as boldly as Mr. Cathy did because they fear losing their influence or their TV viewers.  To say the least, it's just weak to me.  

I have had to forego several income opportunities because of a conflict of values and beliefs.  As a business owner, and especially as a Christian, I want my words and deeds to line up with my values and that will allow me to sleep in peace at night.   

This post is meant to spark more self-reflection, but I definitely would not mind if people would like to have civilized discussion around the issues here.  

If you have a few moments, I'd love to get your feedback in the comments section.  Feel free to comment on the Chic-Fil-A issue or anything else related to the post if you'd like.   

Lastly, don't forget to subscribe to my blog using the signup box on the right side of this page.

The Difference in Having the Right Tools

Yesterday was quite a day at my job.  As someone who serves as an administrator for a door access system, part of my job is to do network wiring from time to time.

With two new buildings being prepared to open in a few weeks, it is my responsibility to make sure door access is functional for 66 new doors.  When I started on the first building, which included 35 locations, I had the screwdrivers I needed, but not the right size wire strippers.  

Because I lacked the right tools, I had to use scissors and wire cutters.  I probably snapped more wires off than I actually connected successfully.

I finally went to the store before starting on the final 31 sets of wires and bought two sets of wire strippers.  I probably finished those wires in a fourth the time it took to complete the first group.

As I was heading out to check on one of our buildings, I saw one of our locksmiths adjusting the hinges on a door.  I headed into the building just as he was getting started.  I came out several minutes later and he was already done.

I looked over at him and said, "That was quick".  He responded, "It's easy when you have the right tools".  

All I could think about was the truth that his statement referenced.  It doesn't matter if it is your professional life, your health, your ministry, your family, or any other area, if you have the right tools, you can have great success.

Question:  What significant tools have made a difference in the way you work, live, or interact?

Do You Know Why?

Some decisions we make in life are very easy and they are understood by most people.  Other decisions involve deeper thought and we tend to focus on "what" we actually plan to do or "what" we need to do.

The usual step after deciding what we want to do is to give thought to "how" we will actually pull it off.  

Instead of placing so much attention on "how" we should do things, I believe greater focus should be placed on "why" we do things.

My wife and I have strong convictions regarding our family life and several other areas. Because this is the case, we are often asked "why" we decided to take those steps and "why" we continue, even in opposition.

The truth is, if you stand for anything, you should have solid answers why you do it.  It's not that you have to answer to anyone, but you should have confidence in the reasons you have chosen your actions.

When people find that you have strong beliefs about anything, such as marriage, children, spirituality, politics, or education they will inevitably want to know why.

If you are able to articulate your "why" to them, you may not convince them to believe or think similarly, but you may earn their respect for at least knowing "why" and lining up your actions with your beliefs.

Question:  What is something that you believe very strongly about?  Do you have a response for when someone asks you why?

If It Is Important, Write It Down

Nearly every day, I make some sort of checklist.  I make a list of goals.  I make to-do lists.

There is just something about writing down the things I need to do and checking them off the list.

I have discovered that if I forget to write things down, I usually forget about them or I remember them much later than I would like to.

When I refer to writing lists, I am referring to writing them down on actual pen and paper, using email tools, creating mindmaps, or using software programs such as Google Drive and Evernote.  

Here are some of the items that I write down and maybe you should consider writing down:

1)  Names of people I need to call

2)  Names of people I need to email

3)  Financial tasks

4)  Grocery lists

5)  Errands

6)  Goals for the day

7)  Notes from/about meetings and important conversations (like talking to my wife)

I guarantee if you use one or some of these methods to write down important items, you'll forget less and accomplish more.

I'm still not the expert on it, but I'm making an effort to improve.  

 

Question:  What are some ways you remember important information?

The Importance of Breaks

I am writing this post on the last day of a brief family vacation. 

On my wife's side of the family, we have spent three days enjoying food, family, and fellowship. 

Since the location was about an hour and a half from our home, we were able to get the most out of our trip without having much travel exhaustion.

Our kids were able to participate in the Friday night gathering by singing their 50 States song and we also spent time enjoying relatives that we don't often have an opportunity to see.

I got the most enjoyment during this time by taking a break from many of my daily activities. 

I enjoyed being away from work.  I enjoyed very limited use of social media and email.  I also enjoyed being away from home for a few days and following our normal routine.

Sometimes, you have to get away from it all.  It helps you to focus on what is really important and it helps your body to rest from the daily grind.

I look forward to many more times of relaxation and rest in the future.  I find that I am able to focus better and perform better after a short time of rest. 

Question:  What are some of the ways you take a break?

Saying I’m Sorry

Never ruin an apology with an excuse.

Benjamin Franklin

I've done it many times.  I found this quote to be fitting as I thought about mistakes I have made in marriage.

Here's how you say I'm sorry the WRONG way:

"I'm very sorry I did/said _____ BUT it was because _______"

Here’s how you say I’m sorry the RIGHT way:

"I'm very sorry I did/said _____ and I will do my best to make sure it doesn't happen again"

Keep it simple and remember what Ben said!

Planning for Tomorrow

I'm a firm believer that we shouldn't just float along in life and avoid making plans for the future.   The word that comes to mind when I think about this is "intentional".  

We can't completely predict everything in our lives, but we can prepare for necessities.

As a father, I know that my children will one day be adults.  I plan to equip them spiritually, emotionally, and financially to be great assets to their family and community.  It all starts now in their youth.

As a husband, I desire to have a marriage that blesses others and is full of joy and peace for many years to come.  The decisions we make together now will have a lot to do with the results years from now.

I have begun a practice of planning for the next day before I go to sleep.  It makes a world of difference when you see what is coming up and make an action plan to move forward the next day.

Planning for tomorrow involves setting goals and committing to taking the steps to reach them.  As you take action, you will develop better habits and pick up momentum in the process.

Question:  What are some ways that you are planning for tomorrow?

5 Reasons To Turn Off The TV and Read a Book

Watching television can be very entertaining, but I believe reading books can be an even better use of time.

My wife and I have one television in our home and we got rid of cable years ago, but we still enjoy watching certain shows and events when we want to.

We all have the same amount of time to spend each week.  What you do with your 168 hours can affect your intellect, your health, and even your relationships.

Here are 5 Reasons I Believe You Would Benefit From Turning off the TV more and reading books:

1)  You Can Become a Better Leader – the more I have followed successful people, the more I have heard the phrase, "leaders are readers".  I believe reading the works from and about leaders helps you understand how to better handle situations.  This applies as a parent, a businessperson, or even as a church volunteer or worker.

2)  You Can Stimulate Your Brain – watching television shows that have no educational value can really be a waste of time.  Instead, watch programs that use sophisticated speech and try to teach something of value.

3)  You Can Learn More about Something That Interests You – There are millions of books in existence and hundreds of thousands of them are being written each year.  There are probably enough books on any subject you want to learn than you could read and fully comprehend in a lifetime.  Instead of spending hours in from of a television, taking just 30 minutes a day to read about a subject can position you as an expert on the topic.

4)  You Can Discover Better Ways of Communicating – As you read the works of others, you learn different ways people communicate.  You can learn better sentence structure, new words to add to your vocabulary, and how to speak and write more influentially.

5)  You Can Be Inspired – Sometimes programs on television, such as the nightly news, can be depressing to watch.  The stories are mostly negative and can drain your hope in a better world.  If you read books, your perspective on success or how the world really is can change.  It is common to think that mostly negative things happen in the world, but the truth is that many inspirational things happen every day and through reading about them in books, we can be inspired.

Question:  What are some reasons you would benefit from turning off the TV more and reading some books?