It’s Optional

How often do you think about options? Last week I was at an event where there were tables of snack food, so many options. I was looking at my messy calendar and trying to schedule a real meeting with a friend and thought – options. I was spending an evening at home and decided to turn on the TV but had no idea what to watch so I grabbed the remote and pressed ‘guide’. So many options, I turned to my standby, Hallmark. Do options bewilder you sometimes? Options bewilder me, not because I don’t already have a calendar full of possibilities, but because I do.  I’m a list maker and a natural born planner, albeit a very flexible planner because I like to keep my options open.  I have a thick spiral notebook with beautiful floral pages that I handwrite my list of options on.  And there’s that word that got stuck in my head and refused to budge. Options!

As my mind was anticipating the weekend ahead and annotating plans to go to a school play, having Sunday dinner with my family, spending time with a friend, and enjoying fresh, dark coffee made with my Keurig brewer, I stopped.  Right there in the middle of those thoughts whirling in expectancy I realized how blessed I am to have options.  There are many who don’t have options.  They have physical limitations, they have financial restrictions, their health confines them to a small, safe space. I couldn’t turn off the thoughts of individuals suffering from serious illness, and their families who suffer with them. Weather in parts of our country have ravaged areas and left people in turmoil for weeks. What options do they have? I was watching a program on TV that showed the poverty in countries where the only drinking water comes from polluted sources.  They have no options. We love options. We’re dismayed at their absence.

I confess. I do my share of complaining. Maybe not vocally where others could hear me, but my mind has been contaminated with little grievances.  The problem with little grievances, is that they procreate and like any other living organism, they grow to the size of their nurturing environment.  Do you ever feel like this? Nobody is perfect. Everyone is allowed to complain.  It’s OK because life isn’t fair and I’m just being realistic. Good point.  But not valid. Nothing good comes out of complaining.  Complaining is a decrepit option.  Philippians 2:14 says “Do everything without grumbling or arguing,” Interesting!  Maybe I shouldn’t be complaining.  Those negative thoughts should be fleeting, not resident. I should renew my mind Romans 12:2 “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

Renewing my mind is a favorable option. Realistic is recognizing what I have instead of what I don’t have. Realistic is being aware of what I can do, instead of what I cannot. Renewing my mind, refreshing my attitude, regenerating a right spirit within me are options; options as real as the plans I’ve made for the weekend.  Sometimes I overlook the blessings in my life. I often forget that I have options. One option is to adjust my attitude so thankfulness is at the top of the list; the predominant characteristic.  If I get the inside right, the outside will take care of itself. Psalm 51:10 “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.”  Psalm 139:23-24 (the Message) “Investigate my life, O God, find out everything about me; Cross-examine and test me, get a clear picture of what I’m about; See for yourself whether I’ve done anything wrong—then guide me on the road to eternal life.”  But I need help – lots of help!  Well, there’s an app for that.  Psalm 55:16 “I call to God; God will help me. At dusk, dawn, and noon I sigh deep sighs—he hears, he rescues.”

Do you have a to do list? Do you have a plan? I do and at the top of the list is option one:  Renew my mind and generate a thankful spirit.

 

It’s the fight that counts

OK everybody up! Rise and shine! Good Morning to you!  It’s the weekend! Remember…nothing is better than this day. And you say, wait a minute, that’s what you say every day. And you’re right, of course, because it’s true! Nothing is better than this new day. I’ve been thinking a lot about that lately. Must be all the conflict going around. We need a vaccine so we don’t catch it. We need the tools and ammunition to fight off the conflicts and negative thinking. In fact, we have the tools on board; we were born with them.  They are heart and attitude. We can’t stop the anxiety from cascading around us, but we can put up a fight so it doesn’t overtake us.

Ephesians 6:10-13 (CEV) Finally, let the mighty strength of the Lord make you strong. Put on all the armor that God gives, so you can defend yourself against the devil’s tricks. We are not fighting against humans. We are fighting against forces and authorities and against rulers of darkness and powers in the spiritual world.  So put on all the armor that God gives.

It’s so easy to let our guard down and let discouragement seep in.  I think it’s that wide path of least resistance we so easily gravitate toward. We get weary and worn out trying to stay centered on the narrow path.  Well, come on …. the wider path is easier, but the narrow path is rewarding. Remember that life is a contact sport and we can get beat up if we don’t fight back. Let’s fight the good fight – the GOOD fight. It’s the fight that counts, that makes the difference.  1 Timothy 6:12 Fight a good fight for the faith and claim eternal life. God offered it to you when you clearly told about your faith, while so many people listened.

Life can make us bitter, God can make us better. Lean on God, lean on friends, lean on family and let’s get out there and rock the world till it tilts toward what’s good….
Galatians 6:9 Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.

The battle rages on . . . raise your white flag……https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N3Q5CxQ24bA

And so the saga continutes

OK! ♪♫•*¨ Everybody Up! *•.¸¸ Rise and Shine.•*¨*•♫ Good Morning ♫•**•.¸¸¸¸. Good Morning to You •*¨*•♫♪•*¨*♫•*¨*¨*♫♪

Decision made. I renewed my blog domain talkkindnesstome.com.
Another year of blogging behind me and another year ahead.

I can’t get seem to get this verse out of my head. I’m pretty sure that means I’m supposed to share it.

Jeremiah 32:17
Ah, Sovereign Lord, you have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too hard for you.

Just because I grew up in church doesn’t mean I know everything.

I read something in My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers today that I hadn’t thought about before. Jesus the Son of Man could have in those last hours turned away and not gone to Calvary. As the Son of God, he knew he came to save the world and die for our sins. But as the Son of Man he was flesh and blood and felt the same pain anyone else would feel. The Cross of Christ was a triumph for the Son of Man. I like the way Oswald says Gethsemane and Calvary represent the gateway into life for us. Because Jesus didn’t run from fulfilling his destiny as the Son of God AND the Son of Man, every person has access to God through him.

Our salvation came at a great cost and just because Jesus was God’s son doesn’t mean he wasn’t terrified, that he could shut off the pain, the he could bleed without feeling the dread of death, or could take his last breath without struggle. Jesus paid it all and it took all of his life, the shedding of his innocent blood so that not one person would ever have to spend eternity in hell. I’m expecting some pretty intense learning from this presentation tonight.  http://www.nbc.com/ad-the-bible-continues   NBC at 9:00 pm ET – if you can’t watch it, I hope you have a DVR.

Reflections – David J. Greer shares thoughts on growing your business

I have have been a fan of David Greer for over a year since I started following his blog during one of his sailing adventures. I couldn’t wait for his next post. Now he has applied his passion for sailing to principles of leadership in his new book Wind In Your Sails: Vital Strategies That Accelerate Your Entrepreneurial Success. I can’t wait to read it!  In the meantime, I am honored to share this guest post from David that so closely aligns with values and attitudes that I have adopted as my own. I know you will find inspiration and encouragement as you read.

In recent posts, Jane has reflected on faith, attitude, self-belief, successes, and truth. These are all great topics that impact all of us, especially entrepreneurs. In my new book Wind In Your Sails: Vital Strategies That Accelerate Your Entrepreneurial Success these topics come up over and over again for entrepreneurs who manage and grow their businesses.

Faith

While there are hundreds of thousands of entrepreneurs in the US, they are only a small percentage of the whole population of the US. It takes a special person to sense a market need, come up with a solution, and then to ask for and get money to solve the problem they see. All entrepreneurs take an enormous leap of faith when they start their business, launch a new product, or move in a new direction. One whole chapter of Wind In Your Sales is about the entrepreneur him or herself and what they need to do to keep faith in themselves and their business.

 

Attitude

Entrepreneurs set the tone. Every day. How they show up at work is magnified 100-fold. Their every action, tone of voice, and the words they use are scrutinized for meaning. Living in a fish bowl is an entrepreneur’s lot in life. If you show up feeling down or negative, people will assume that the company is having a bad day, not just you.

 

We choose the attitude we come to work with. As an entrepreneur, I know that I have to choose to show up with positive energy, a smile on my face, and an attitude that no challenge is too big. Neuroscience has proven that we can rewire our brain to focus more on the positive aspects. Learn more in Jesse Lyn Stoner’s post 7 Ways to ReWire Your Brain and Become a Better Leader.

 

Belief

To have faith, show up with the right attitude, and have belief in yourself requires that we actively keep things in balance. I journal every morning when I first get up and every evening just before going to bed. I use my journal to note my insights during the day and to note when I am having a lot of negative thoughts. At night, I make sure that I write at least five things in my journal that I am grateful for that day.

Creating self-belief can start in one area of your life and then extend into another. As I wrote in Keeping My Edge, I challenge myself by skiing. While I sometimes fall, picking myself up and trying again on the ski hill is a great way to create the belief I’ll need to do the same in my business.

 

Truth

Kevin Lawrence writes in Expel the Elephants about our need to face the truth in our businesses. It is amazing how people will tip toe around the elephant in the room. It is often the entrepreneur who is unwilling to face up to the reality of the situation.

 

The kicker is that until the elephant gets on the table and you start talking about him it will do nothing but hold you and your business back. We fear the brutal truth, yet it is only by admitting to the reality of the situation do we have the opportunity to do something about it. Your fears are never as bad as the truth. Get you and your employees past those fears so that you can talk about the real problems that are holding everyone back.

 

While Jane writes about faith, attitude, self-belief, successes, and truth in the context of her life, she is a fabulous example of where we all need to focus our attention, as people and as entrepreneurs. My goal with Wind In Your Sails is to help all of us do just that.

 

 

F-A-I-T-H

Yesterday I posted some thoughts on change. Not to get stuck on a topic, but change is so pervasive, so let’s visit it again – then move on to something else. Sometimes change is exciting! Anticipation of shifting what is happening now to make room for something new can be enticing and motivating. A chapter closes, a chapter with an unknown plot opens.  Or maybe change is scary! What if I this new ‘thing’ isn’t what I expected? What if it doesn’t work out? What am I going to do if I can’t find my groove? What happens when I can’t change it back? Those are not my thoughts, although the enemy of my soul is going to throw them up to me with every difficult situation guaranteed to cross my path. In case you’re going though a rough patch and you’re facing a difficult situation, let’s help each other through it by examining our attitude toward faith so we can strengthen it from the root.

When we get the inside right, the outside will take care of itself. Right? F-A-I-T-H

F         Forever – Wavering is part of our nature.  Nothing is perfect, bad things happen and we get discouraged, but life is a huge mixing bowl with an overload of good mingled in there too.  Through every situation and every decision, we have the ultimate guide.  Psalm 48:14 God is our God forever and ever; He will guide us to the end.

A         Adversity – Someone said “That which does not kill me, makes me stronger.” When we go through adversity, we will become stronger if we learn from it. Athletes know the muscle pain of overexertion. Little tears in the muscle occur but healing makes it stronger. When we struggle through adversity, what can we learn that makes us stronger? It could be a learning a new skill, discovering a solution to a problem that’s laid dormant for a long time, or maybe it’s simply finding a new coping mechanism. I like the Message interpretation of Proverbs 18:14 & 15 A healthy spirit conquers adversity, but what can you do when the spirit is crushed? Wise men and women are always learning, always listening for fresh insights.

I          Impossible – I love the word ‘impossible’. There is nothing quite so motivating as proving wrong the impression that an act or a goal is impossible. I’m sure I developed that attitude at the age of 11 when I first watched the movie Cinderella. There was a song that proclaimed very emphatically that impossible things happened every day.  And don’t they? If God is in it, the impossible becomes the Possible.  Another verse from the Message Ezekiel 36:27 I’ll put my Spirit in you and make it possible for you to do what I tell you and live by my commands.

T         Timing – How many times have I argued with God about his timing. “God, look at me here.  Time is nothing to you, but it’s everything to me . . . ” Does that sound at all familiar?  But God reminds me that it is he who is in control, he sees the tapestry in all its intricate detail where all I see is one tangled mess of threads.  Psalm 18:20-24 GOD made my life complete … he gave me a fresh start. Now I’m alert to GOD’s ways; I don’t take God for granted. Every day I review the ways he works …  GOD rewrote the text of my life when I opened the book of my heart to his eyes.

H        History – Reviewing my past proves over and over again that God is faithful.  He has been my comforter, my cheerleader, my sustainer, my helper, and my guide. I make mistakes.  Every day, I can count on me to blunder at something. There might be painful consequences from some of those mistakes, but somehow I move on; by some miracle I find my way back to the right track. All I am and all I hope to be are made possible by the creator and sustainer of all things. 1 Chronicles 29:10-13  Everything in heaven, everything on earth is God’s!  Riches and glory come from him and he is ruler over all; God holds strength and power in the palm of his hand to build up and strengthen all. And here we are, giving thanks to God because of how he always was and who he always will be. God never changes. He is God.

What have we learned about F-A-I-T-H today? This simple fact. We need faith in the God who never changes because the path of life is ever changing. We need to look toward the light of the world who shines his light on our path so we can first find it, then stay on it.  John 8:12 Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”