Working on a Dream




Tuesday, January 27, 2015

10 habits to start today!

Here are 10 positive habits to start today:

1. I will try to live and delight in the reality of being alive. My past is forever gone, my future an uncertainty, so I will be happy and thankful for each moment. 

2. I will not allow negative input into my mind. Happiness is a choice, and I choose to be happy. 

3. I will be thankful for my health, my loved ones, my business and my country. I will also be thankful for any pain in crisis that helps me grow personally and professionally. 

4. I will take care of my body, realizing the importance of the words moderation and balance—and how much easier it will be to control my will and my actions once I’m conscious of this. 

5. I will treat everyone I meet today the way I would like to be treated. I want people to like themselves more when they’re with me. 

6. I will avoid gossip, jealousy and negative thinking. Most people don’t think about what they think about. But today I will make a conscious effort to hold positive thoughts in my mind. 

7. I will write down my priorities, thinking of my loved ones and my responsibilities. I might not get everything done, but I will do the most productive thing possible at every given moment. 

8. I will strive to humble myself around others, controlling my ego and making other people feel important. 

9. I will learn how to better serve people. I know my growth in all areas is in direct proportion to how I help, how I give back.

 10. I will not take rejection personally. I realize they can only reject my ideas and not me. I will keep on keepin’ on. 

From Success magazine.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

6 steps for improvement in 2015.

John Maxwell shares how you can give yourself a little hope in 2015.

Step 1: When you change your thinking, you change your beliefs.
Change begins with the mind. Beliefs are nothing more than a byproduct of what you have thought about long enough, something that you have bought into—always remember that. What you believe, what you think, is just a collection of continual thoughts that have formed themselves into a conviction. When you break down the process of thinking into a manageable number of steps, you reduce the perceived risk associated with change.

Step 2: When you change your beliefs, you change your expectations.
Belief is the knowledge that we can do something. It is the inner feeling that what we undertake, we can accomplish. For the most part, all of us have the ability to look at something and know whether we can do it. So in belief there is power… our eyes are opened, our opportunities become plain, our visions become realities. Our beliefs control everything we do. If we believe we can or we believe we cannot, we are correct.

Step 3: When you change your expectations, you change your attitude.
Your expectations are going to determine your attitude. Most people get used to average; they get used to second best. Nelson Boswell said, “The first and most important step toward success is the expectation that we can succeed.”

Step 4: When you change your attitude, you change your behavior.
When our attitude begins to change, when we become involved with something, our behavior begins to change. The reason that we have to make personal changes is that we cannot take our people on a trip that we have not made.

Step 5: When you change your behavior, you change your performance.
Most people would rather live with old problems than new solutions. We would rather be comfortable than correct; we would rather stay in a routine than make changes. Even when we know that the changes are going to be better for us, we often don’t make them because we feel uncomfortable or awkward about making that kind of a change. Until we get courage and get used to living with something that is not comfortable, we cannot get any better.

Step 6: When you change your performance, you change your life.
It is easier to turn failure into success than an excuse into a possibility. A person can fail, turn around and understand their failure to make it a success. But I want to tell you, a person who makes excuses for everything will never truly succeed. Don’t you know some people who just have an excuse for everything? Why they could not, should not, did not, would not, have not, will not. I promise you, when you excuse what you are doing and excuse where you are, and you allow the exceptions, you fail to reach your potential. It is impossible to turn excuses into possibilities.

Saturday, January 17, 2015


If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with triumph and disaster
And treat those two imposters just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breath a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on";

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch;
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And—which is more—you'll be a Man my son!

Rudyard Kipling

Monday, January 12, 2015

Do NOT look up!

Ever hear of the of the Skyscraper?

Neither have I. That's until I read a short article by author, Jon Gordon.  The concept is a simple one and makes a lot of sense for those wanting to make a difference. Check it out below and see if you enjoy as much as I did. 

When builders begin building a skyscraper they don't start by building up. Instead they start by digging below the ground in order to create a foundation of stability. They have to go down deep and excavate soil, sand, clay, etc. to reach the bedrock so that they can build something that will reach incredible heights.

Our lives, careers and teams work the same way. If we want to build up we have to first dig deep and develop our foundation.  It's not always easy to unearth the stuff below (the fears we have, the wounds we carry and the things that hold us back) but once we uncover them we can reach the core of our foundation and begin the building process to reach greater heights.  

Notice how the law of the skyscraper emphasizes the invisible -the foundation?  What you see is not always what you get.  Jesus, the master teacher, taught, "Everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock.  And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock. Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. 
The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and it fell—and great was its fall.”

Note how there were: Two men. Two houses. Two storms. But two very different outcomes.  
The reason was due to one man starting with a firm foundation and the other a shifty one.

If you would like to establish a firm foundation in your life, I would like to personally invite you to grow in your faith by attending a great bible study I lead at Northminster Presbyterian Church in New Castle, Pa.  We meet Thursday night's, 6:30 p.m.  Don't let your fears hold you back!

-See you Thursday. 6:30 pm
----Go & Grow!

Friday, January 9, 2015

The customer is always right ... right?

"If I’d ask my customers what they wanted, they would have said a faster horse."

Above is a quote from Henry Ford which tells us that the customer is in fact, not always right. 

His desire was to improve transportation, not just to make it better, and if he would have listened to everyone else -then you and I might look a lot like our Amish friends.  Amish are cool and all, but do you really want to get in your fancy horse and buggy when it is January 8th, 3 degrees outside, and rushing wind that will push the skin off of your cheekbones?  I don't either. 

One application from Ford's insight applies to making group decisions.  
According to Saint & Lawson, it is important to keep in mind that when utilizing the inquiry process (making a decision), that everyone in the organization does not have to agree before a decision can be made.  Consensus does not mean unanimity on everything, rather is a mutual feeling that all concerns have been addressed.

This is a good thing to keep in mind, especially when making a decision in a group setting.  As a leader, you have to get your people talking and extract their thoughts.  At the same time, some people who have more training in a specific area oftentimes will speak with more authority or knowledge because this is their field of expertise.  Good leadership recognizes this facet and allows the decision making process time to flow.  Remember the old saying, "haste makes waste?
When making decisions, that is often the case!

Decision making is a process. 

Healthy decision making includes hearing from everyone on your team.
A wise decision is usually not made when trying to appease the entire group.
Take your time when making decisions. 
Experts on a certain subjects are experts for a reason, listen to them! 
Finally, getting in horse buggies might seem like tons of fun ... until the Polar Vortex rolls around and rips your face off. 

"In the abundance of counselors there is victory"  
-Proverbs 24:6b

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Time to break free!

I heard a discussion centering on how we, as humans,develop patterns. Afterward, I did some research and stumbled upon this article by Havi Brooks. It is titled, “The science behind your habit (Or: It’s not your fault. It’s your brain!).”

Below is a summary of the article:
“There’s this semi-creepy deja vu thing that starts happening when one of your patterns kicks in.

It doesn’t really matter which pattern. Truth is, of course, we’re in pattern mode all the time. The way you stand, the way you react to certain smells, the way you breathe. It’s all patterns and patterning. But you tend to only think about it when one specific pattern is driving you batty and you just can’t find your way out of it. Before you start hating on yourself for succumbing to those irritating habits and patterns, here’s the out, and it’s legitimate, too: it’s not your fault that you repeat the same behaviors over and over again. That’s your wiring. It’s the job of your brain to follow patterns. That’s how it works, so that’s what it does.
Not that shifting all the blame to your brain is any great reassurance, but there you have it. Your zippy little neurons, bless them, like doing familiar things so they can zoom off on autopilot. No “road less traveled” stuff for them. They like the old, familiar path. Your brain is filled with neural pathways. 

They’re formed by your oldest habits and memories, and (this part is kind of crazy) are actually strengthened every time you repeat a familiar action. Or react emotionally in a similar way. Or mull over how much you can’t stand something or someone.

It’s just amazing to me the way you can sometimes almost see the neurons in your brain whizzing right past the less deeply marked pathways and following the old road that they know so well. Whoosh! It’s exactly like the way that path formed in your yard, the one from the door to wherever you go the most.”

Now, for some geeky Bible stuff:
Romans 12: 2 states: "And be not conformed to this world: but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that youmay prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God."

See that word, “transformed” in the above passage? The Greek word used is “μεταμορφόω”; it literally means, “to change into another form, to transform, to transfigure.” The message presented by the Apostle Paul is: if you have patterns that are not healthy, sinful, bad, (or whatever word you want to insert), you can change by the power of God. You can start creating new paths by intentionally setting fresh patterns in your life. It seems like Paul and Brooks are emphasizing similar points just from different perspectives.

Recently, I took my dog Charlie on a nice long walk in the woods and soon we discovered a pathway. That path did not just clear itself. It was made by men and women trotting along, beating down the grass, clearing the way. Over and over the same trail was taken and then viola, a nice clear path was formed! Now let’s say that Charlie and I were feeling adventurous and one day we decided to “go where no man has gone before” by creating a new path. That means we would have to veer off the original path and start the process all over. This is what Paul means when he says to “transform” your mind. It is the hard work of setting new patterns in your life. It is the difficult journey of drawing in and applying new thoughts into your mind.

And this is all very tough work.
This is why you find so many people still pulling from their “4 year” degree 25 years after their “4 year” degree. We become complacent with the grooves already set. And I am here to tell you that this is not acceptable for today’s leader, nor dare I say for the Christian. It is our role to endeavor a Christ-likeness in our lives and this means a continually renewing. My philosophy on renewal is simple; the only way to keep a cracked vessel from leaking is to continually fill it. (Or you could always use duck-tape … but that would ruin my analogy).

Renewal and transformation is a lifelong process of intentionality.