Take your radio to work day!

Old beige vintage retro style radio receiver isolated on white bWe make assumptions about how and to whom we matter in the world. Those will stem from our own beliefs and perspective of the contributions we make.

And yet, sometimes what is most impacting about our life isn’t readily visible to us. We will not always know where we are making the most profound difference.

You see each of us is a miracle. Each of us comes into this life with our own soul print and we make a difference everyday. Even when we aren’t really conscious of it.

Let me tell you a story that brings this vividly to life. In the 1950’s, there were two men that worked in a factory in northern Ohio. One of them worked the afternoon shift and the other the night shift. They did not know each other. Yet their lives would intersect and create profound change.

The young man working second shift had just finished his tour of duty as a Marine during the Korean War. He and his bride had moved from West Virginia to Ohio in search of better opportunities. He often worked the night shift in addition to his regular hours for extra income. One night he was doing just that when he was assigned to a machine next to the other man in our story. Bear in mind that this was not mentally taxing work. In fact boredom was something they continuously contended with, each in their own way.

That night, over the humming of the machines our young Marine heard a very distinctive voice talking about all of his possibilities and how to reach all of those goals he had set for himself simply by changing his thoughts. It was as if this man was speaking directly to him. And so he went in search of the source and found the other man listening to a portable radio. The man speaking on the radio was Earl Nightingale. It was a life changing moment.

Immediately our young Marine was determined! He decided to take on an extra job instead of just extra shifts in order to earn enough money to buy his own portable radio. He had discovered his mentor even before he knew what a mentor was and did not want to miss a single opportunity to hear more! That encounter changed his life. That extra job? It was working as an attendant and mechanic at a local gas station. What happened? Ultimately, he didn’t just show up because he worked there as a mechanic. In time, he showed up because he owned the business.

I doubt that the other man in the story if asked would tell us that the most important thing he did that day was take his radio to work. He wouldn’t say that he changed lives just listening to his radio. But for that young Marine, undoubtedly that was the case. It set his life on a different course. And as a result, it did the same for mine. That young marine was my Dad.

Throughout my life what I learned most from him beyond the values of faith and family was the miracle of personal leadership and development. He defied all of the odds. He surpassed every expectation. A deeply spiritual man, he did it all with a quiet grace and humility that remains a part of his legacy. There was never a time that he was not reading or later listening to recordings and tapes. In fact, I still have his books and some of those early recordings! From that late night shift in the factory until his death, my Dad continued to live a life that celebrated learning and growth each and every day.

My Dad. He never lost sight of who he was. He never lost his vision of who he could become. And he never stopped growing into that man. He lived that legacy every day of his life. As a result, other lives were changed. And his legacy lives on in those lives. Including mine.

Thank you, Dad for always showing us not only who you were but who we could be. Thank you for being a living example of how to become that person more every day. And thank you to the gentleman that was part of God’s plan for our lives and brought his radio to work so all of this would begin!

In memory and honor of my Dad, Happy Father’s Day to all my readers! Always remember, as Earl Nightingale taught my Dad and he ultimately taught me:

“Learn to enjoy every minute of your life. Be happy now. Don’t wait for something outside of yourself to make you happy in the future. Think how really precious is the time you have to spend, whether it’s at work or with your family. Every minute should be enjoyed and savored.”

Live today like you want tomorrow to be.

Live well.

Do you have what it takes?

It’s a question that in some form we often ask.

What will it take to do something, have something, be something?

What will it take to have more of something, less of something or be done with it altogether?

What will it take? Do I have it?

 

When I stopped to really consider where I have succeeded in attaining a goal and where it has alluded me, I found that there were five things that have made a significant difference. A few of them surprised me but as they say, success leaves clues and these have proven themselves by their presence many times over. It is less about what it takes in terms of what we do, and more of what it takes for who we need to be.

#1 – Be comfortable being a beginner

Quite often when we have already achieved success in some area of our life we tend to get comfortable being in that “attainment” mode. But that holds us back.  To move on to what is next, we must be willing to once again be that beginner. What does that mean? It means recognizing there is still so much to take in. It means staying curious. It means recognizing that to be valued as a teacher, we must continuously seek deeper value as a student.

#2 – Embrace being yourself

It is quite possible, perhaps even advisable to follow a prescribed path to get somewhere. But it would be invalid to think that it would be the only way to get there. The path we choose is just that, a choice. There is only one way to fully embrace our individuality and value and that is by taking responsibility for ourselves and determining the value we want to create. Those that go far beyond success and attain significance in their impact and influence are those that take responsibility for their part of the story. We must first embrace ourselves before we can truly embrace the world and influence others. What determines if you have what it takes? It isn’t  a what, it’s a who. And the who is you.

#3- Relish making a choice

Those able to continuously move into their best place for success have this as a distinctive part of their modus operandi. They choose. And they choose timely. Because no choice is still a choice. Not saying yes is the equivalent of no. Indecision is indeed a myth.

The most critical insight for me was recognizing that how we handle the seemingly small choices in life is the best predictor of how we will manage the more significant opportunities. If we aren’t making good choices within our day, ultimately that shows up as ineffective choices for our lives.

#4- Crave mastery

Competition is not something that drives me. In fact, I tend to reject any situations that have a highly competitive energy. It just doesn’t resonate with me. But I am highly driven. Gaining an understanding of that distinction was invaluable for me. What drives me? Mastering my craft. Learning something well and finding even greater depths and capacity within myself. Good can be the enemy of great when greatness is the real goal. Regardless of what we choose as our form of measurement, the desired result is the same: Mastery – Being the absolute best we can be.

#5- Live from a place of gratitude

This has been the most significant constant throughout the best experiences in my life. Gratitude is not just being appreciative of what someone does for us. Gratitude is a recognition of everything that has made good possible. It is a constant seeking of the good in order to show our appreciation for it, celebrate it. In his program MindHack, David Bayer teaches that gratitude in its basic form is energy. That was such a profound image to soak in. Living from a state of gratitude, a state of grace is living from the purest form of energy available to us.

Imagine these thoughts as a mantra, a manifesto for your life. That’s what I’m working toward in mine just now. Since our true legacy will be determined by how we live rather than what we leave, I am seeking qualities that are worthy.

It’s interesting to me as well that the same things that are true for ourselves as individuals for making a difference are also true as a foundation for bringing together those that we lead.

Imagine a group that is committed to constant curiosity and growth, willing to stake their uniqueness in the world, take the risks that will propel them into greatness, do the work that will sustain that position and ultimately celebrate everything and everyone that made it all possible.

My bet would be that they would indeed have what it takes.

A bad day, a car wash and a lady bug: There are no small choices!

Inspiration can show up any time, and from unlikely sources! That is certainly true for the message I have adopted as my mantra for some time:

Live today like you want tomorrow to be. Live well.

It was a personal breakthrough when I recognized the power of that statement. When I first read the words, they were an invitation (and inspiration!) to stop waiting.

Chasing the proverbial carrot and never quite able to catch it. Always telling myself to keep pushing and striving and the pay-off would come. Sound familiar? Paying your dues, doing the work, climbing, always climbing. And perhaps feeling as I did at times that the summit we were working to reach was moving at the same pace we were! That carrot on a string! So the initial inspiration was to stop waiting. Start doing today what I wanted for my future. Heady stuff when you think about it.

When we ask ourselves what we are working toward it also reveals to us what we truly want to be experiencing now. Even if on a different scale, the genesis of that realization must be here and now. What is it you wish you had time for? Recognize you have time for it now if you choose to make time for it. What I have come to realize is that if I do not want it badly enough to make time for it now, there is very little chance I will make time for it later. We choose our future now.

What was the source of that inspiration? A bad day, a car wash and a lady bug. I was having a very frustrating day. My car needed detailed for an upcoming road trip and so I was sitting outside the car wash, working to try and keep all the plates in the air. A new grand-girl had arrived! I would be visiting her soon and I was tap-dancing through my must-do-list to be able to get on the road. I had been looking for a special memento for my daughter with a lady bug on it since that was already becoming her newest daughter’s nick name. When I went inside to pay for the service, a silver mirror bangle charm caught my eye because it had both a butterfly (Lauren’s favorite) and a lady bug on it. Perfect!

When I got home and looked at it closely, there was an inscription on it: Live today like you want tomorrow to be. Live well. The precise message I needed at that moment. We have to choose to live our priorities today. Don’t wait.  That became my mantra. And the mirror charm became a gift I gave myself.

Fast forward now several years and the phrase still stands but today it’s taken on a different meaning.

Every goal I have for myself this year requires one thing: Daily discipline!

Not my greatest skill. But it is my greatest need. A significant health goal, an aggressive financial goal and an important creative life goal. Each of them require that I honor my commitment to them every day.

What does that mean? It means I must LIVE TODAY like I want TOMORROW to be. It’s now a mantra of living tomorrow today. That’s the essence of personal leadership. Jim Rohn taught that when the promise is clear, the price is easy. What I think is important to recognize is that when the promise is clear, the price isn’t just easy, it is part of the privilege. It’s part of the miracle.

There are no small choices. It may seem like something we ignore or decide we’ll get to later isn’t of consequence, but it is. Taking a “day off” from the plan may seem like a reward but it’s anything but that. Those thoughts rob us of the true reward and achieving what we want for and from our lives. There are no small choices. Every choice matters.  Every day matters.

We are living our tomorrows today. Let’s pay attention and create tomorrows that honor our promise as well as our promises.

Live today like you want tomorrow to be. Live well.

The Legacy of John Chapman

Legacy has come up as a topic in several conversations of late. It’s a subject that I think about quite a bit, especially as I’m aging and looking at how our values evolve and grow over the years. Legacy to me used to be about what I left behind and how I would be remembered in terms of accomplishment and contribution. I see it differently now. Now I see it as being about what I live more than what I leave – what I begin more than what I finish.

The impact of our lives is most valuable when we see it from the perspective of how we influence the lives of others. As a life coach, I recognize that my role is being a catalyst. It isn’t my role to create personal change. That is up to the client. I can plant the seeds but they must be the ones to take on the job of gardener and bring them to life.

This thought brought me to the idea of a tree. I still believe that trees are the best example possible of what legacy really means. When a tree is planted, we know that it’s fullness will only be realized over time, in fact over many years. My brother and I planted trees in our first backyard with my Dad. We lived there 15 years and they were still not at their peak. We visited another 10 years later, 25 years after they were planted and we were in awe of them. But our connection to them came from the fact that we had been there when they were just a seedling. It was such a privilege to go back and see them after all that time and appreciate what had come from our effort.

That’s the thing about legacies, it’s not common for us to be able to witness their full value and impact because what we plant with our lives continues to grow long after we’ve moved on. We want to KNOW what we’re leaving. But in truth, what we leave is so much more than we can ever imagine.

One legendary figure that’s specific to trees that bears mention is John Chapman. You know him best as Johnny Appleseed.

The most popular stories about him have him spreading apple seeds randomly everywhere he traveled. That’s not really what happened. The true story is that he traveled, extensively. And he did plant apple trees. But with absolute intention. He planted nurseries. He even built fences around them to protect them.

Once they were established, he would leave them in the care of someone local and they would care for them and sell shares of their produce for their mutual benefit.

Each year or two, John would return to check the health of his nurseries and quite often expand them. He was without question a dedicated conservationist but he was also a sound businessman and even then, knew the value of passive income and wealth building from the earth. When he died, he left over 1200 acres of orchards to his sister.

He was considered somewhat eccentric, hence the folklore, but his real legacy was in those trees and what they represented.

It’s not enough to just plant the seed. We must take care for the growing of it and then entrust it to others so that we can move on to plant again. As the Greek proverb teaches:

We must be willing to plant trees

whose shade we will never sit in.

It’s such a powerful metaphor for how to live a meaningful life. Those powerful words from Albert Einstein come to mind again: “Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value.” Isn’t that the ultimate legacy? The creation of value that continues to grow beyond us?

Live today like you want tomorrow to be. Live well.

 

 

Why I save this magazine….

What do you save? I’m not typically a saver of magazines outside of Success Magazine. But there is one magazine that is different. I have now saved it for almost ten years.

A lot has happened in my life since the fall of 2007. Some of those events brought changes that were significant, in fact life changing.

I’ve settled into my empty nest and welcomed two more grand-girls into my life; faced a daunting personal health scare and won; lost a job I loved and started my own company; contributed to 5 best-selling books and helped launch numerous others for other authors; gone back to college and earned a degree; completed a life coach training program and received certification from the International Coaching Federation; met some life mentors such as Darren Hardy, Brian Tracy, Les Brown, Mark Victor Hanson and Kyle Wilson to name a few; joined an insanely talented group of people in Kyle’s inaugural Inner Circle Master Mind; was a featured writer in two women’s magazines; launched this blog; got my first pet (Bre!); joined some life mentors and helped successfully launch another supply chain company; and, helped hundreds of folks in their own journeys decide what they wanted and create effective plans to achieve it – as just a few of the things that are on the highlight reel for the decade between 50 and 60 for me.

Yes- I’ve been busy. But nothing on that list is anything that I would have predicted in 2007. At times it felt like I was on the scariest or most thrilling of roller coasters and at others the experience was more akin to a bumper car ride. This way – no that way – hey where did you come from?!

Why share all of this? And what does it have to do with my magazine treasure? It’ is that recently I’ve been reminded anew that things that are seemingly small can and do have a larger impact.

Here’s an example. Through all of this has been this particular magazine from the fall of 2007 (yes! almost 10 years ago!) that has been guarded as a treasured possession.

What magazine? This one comes from Better Homes and Gardens. It is their Fall 2007 edition of Beautiful Homes – Architecture That Endures. There are pictures and images of blueprints in this edition of what has come to be my dream home. A lot has changed since then but that vision has held steady. Over the years I have gone through the pages and even after almost ten years, there isn’t anything about this home that doesn’t appeal to me. That tells me that this is more than just a few photographs. It means something. I saw something in this home that spoke to me.

Like you, given what a new year brings, I’ve been giving thought to my current vision for the future.  I went back this week to those treasured pages but this time I asked myself what it was in each image that spoke to me and why. I began to realize that although I don’t own that specific property, a number of things I love about it I have created in my life right here in my current spot on planet earth. What we hold in our mind we really do begin to create. I have no doubt that my future holds everything that my vision holds. It may not look exactly the same, but the idea, concept and emotion will align. This magazine from 2007 has proven that for me yet again. That’s why our vision for our life is so crucial.

I cannot remember the last time I looked forward to a new year more. My life is blessed beyond measure. The possibilities are endless. I am surrounded with people that I love and admire and are working to make our world better one day and one person at a time.  I am not just living toward my future, I am living it now each day and it is good. And a few more things about that house will get created.

Live today like you want tomorrow to be. Live well.