New Beginnings

Today I’m pleased to publicly announce my departure from Allied Equipment, Inc.  During the last eight years I helped grow the company’s revenue by 2350%.  That equates to tens of millions in new revenues.

It was quite an impressive and fast paced run.  The company is poised to grow further, recently starting a new field services business.  Both their field services and engineering groups are lead by outstanding individuals whom I was very proud to partner with.  I wish them all the best.

A&E’s Real Motive To Suspend Phil Robertson

The decision to suspend Phil Robertson, from the filming of his hit show Duck Dynasty, by A&E, could prove to be the best marketing move of 2013.

suspend phil robertson

What we see on the surface is that Phil Robertson stuck to his beliefs about homosexuality in an interview with  GQ Magazine (formerly Gentlemen’s Quarterly).  A&E decided that they did not agree with his stance and chose to suspend Phil Robertson from the filming of the hit reality show Duck Dynasty.  But there’s more to this story than meets the eye.

A&E didn’t mind offending atheists by showing a family prayer at the end of each episode.  They certainly didn’t mind offending animal rights activists when they showed Phil Robertson and family killing wild animals.  But apparently, the homosexual duck hunters is a demographic you don’t want to offend.

Something isn’t adding up here.  Why would A&E suspend Phil Robertson and not just cancel his contract or cancel the show all together?  My bet, is we are witnessing a very clever butt covering trick turned marketing ploy.  It’s likely the best I’ve seen all year!

I’m willing to bet that things get “sorted out” just in time for the January 15th premiere of Duck Dynasty.  In the mean time, you can learn a thing or two about viral marketing.  And you don’t even have to suspend Phil Robertson from your Tivo recordings.

Surround a Great Debate – No one will win the homosexuality debate any time soon (I’m sorry everyone on Facebook).  It has gone on since the beginning of time.  The news that A&E would suspend Phil Robertson wouldn’t last very long, people need a sub debate to keep talking about, so why not suspend Phil Robertson and wrap him into the middle of the great debate about sexual orientation?

Don’t Hurt Yourself – I seriously doubt that A&E’s decision to suspend Phil Robertson is actually hurting him.  He may not be in a few episodes this season though.  When they do that on a regular show it’s called “vacation.”

Fight Fire With Fire – GQ and A&E are owned by larger companies.  Conde Nast and Hearst Corporation respectively.  These two companies are competing for your eyes.  It would appear that GQ had a few pointed questions that they knew would get Phil Robertson into some hot water.  I don’t know if they thought this would end Duck Dynasty, but A&E sure spun this in their direction by suspending their star and creating huge buzz.  A suspension will certainly say “we don’t agree with his opinion” but still allow you “work it out so he’s back on the show” well before the season premiere.  Well before you lose any fans.

Know Your Market – I’m not sure what the demographic for Duck Dynasty is, but I they’re finding out while watching everyone on the internet debate who’s right and who’s wrong.  As such, they may even build a more loyal following from this.   People who support Phil’s view are more apt to purchase Duck Dynasty merchandise now to show their support.

Don’t offend – This is where GQ has hurt themselves.  They chose to ask questions that would insight certain answers in order to try to increase their sales.  Which I’m sure was a success.  But at what cost?  There are real people, with real feelings, who are offended by what was said.  No increase in profits can be worth offending good people.

I could be wrong about all of this.  As it stands right now, we’ll just have to wait and see.

 

What do you think: Did A&E just make the best marketing move of 2013?

Finding Peace in Struggle

Life seems to be full of difficulty at times.  Finding peace in struggle is a hard thing to do.  I’ve been struggling with this lately.

Finding Peace in Struggle

Finding a way to balance family, work, health, and personal goals seems like a never ending practice in failure.  Despite our best intentions, plans, and execution, the world finds a sneaky way to trip us up and leave us short of living up to our expectations.

Such has been my experience for a while.  Achiever is in my top 5 strengths, so I naturally feel an urge to always get everything marked off my To Do List.  But finding peace in struggle, until recently, has never been an item that needed to be marked off.

Finding peace in struggle is sometimes seen as the opposite of getting things done.  Sitting still for me seemed like a missed opportunity to accomplish my goals.  That is until my wife forced me to practice stillness.

Finding peace in struggle is the only way to regain control of the situation, nourish your soul, provide you the rest you need, and keep you mentally sharp as you try to defend your dreams for the world’s inevitable folly.

This is my short list of steps to find peace in struggle:

1. Take 5 – I have to credit my wife with this one.  When I’m fighting the day too hard, she puts me in time out.  She’s a mom and a certified counselor so she knows what she’s doing.  It’s hard to sit still for 5 minutes.  I have to actually focus on not doing anything.  After 5 minutes, I’m oddly refreshed, focused, and seeing the world with a new perspective.

2. Get Some Sun – There is something therapeutic about the sun.  I force myself to bask in it at least a few times a day.  The pink wash the sun provides in the morning is better than any coffee kick.  The bright warmth of the midday sun provides vitamin D and refreshes the soul.  The evening orange on my skin has a calming and reassuring affect.  As Matthew Mcconaughey once said “I’m solar powered.”

3.  Set Your Standards Low – IBM became a global giant by giving their salespeople low daily quotas.  Tim Ferriss’s writing goal is only two crappy pages a day.  Stephen King only aims for 2,000 words a day (about 2 hours),  These low standards also lower our natural resistance to achievement.  Once you start, you often exceed your own expectations.

4. Focus on the Important – The important things are what moves the needle in our lives, not the urgent.  For me, the important things fall into one of only four categories.  These are Faith, Family, Fitness, and Finance, in that order.  If I tend to these matters first, the rest seems to work itself out.

5. Be Present – It’s very easy to lose yourself in your to do list and busy schedule.  But to find peace in struggle you must understand that what is happening right now, is the most important thing you can be doing in that exact moment.  Clear your mind of everything else, you’ll get to it in due time.  Trust me, work will be there tomorrow, and the next day, and the next day.

6. Trust in God – One of the largest themes of the Bible is to cast your worries to God. “Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?” – Matthew 6:26.

Finding peace in struggle is an essential ability to keep you in control of your situation.  It is a daily struggle, something that require intervention by my wife at times.  But with out slowing down and harnessing the peace that comes in rest, you’ll quickly burn out.

What is happing in your life that require you to find peace in struggle?

What To Do When You’re Feeling Overwhelmed

Over the last few months life has seemed to flip upside down.  I’m essentially homeless, our company is growing, my wife is back in the workforce, and I’m an active part of 6 different companies.  On top of all that, I’m starting a fun new project.  I’m feeling overwhelmed to say the least.

Feeling Overwhelmed

The pressures of the world have forced me into a corner I can not escape without a fight.  Perhaps many of you are also feeling overwhelmed.  You have bills to pay, children to take to soccer practice, long hours at the office, and you’re feeling overwhelmed by it all.

Trust me, you’re not alone.  As Andy Andrews, author of The Noticer likes to say, “We’re all either in a crisis coming out of a crisis or headed into a crisis”.  In order to pull yourself from this mess and survive the storm with your wits intact, you have to be smart.

I’ve developed a routine that I follow every time I sense that I’m going to start feeling overwhelmed.  This routine has bailed me out time and time and again.  I guarantee it will save you as well.

Pray – Whenever I’m feeling overwhelmed, the first thing I do is pray.  I do this for several reasons.  Prayer helps you find true north again and center your thoughts where they should be. Prayer also gives you a chance to verbalize your crisis and think it through.  You’ll come out with a clear mind and a better understanding of your problems.

Seek Wisdom – I often lean toward the bible here but you can find wisdom in many places.  The odds that what you’re going through has never happened before are slim.  You’re not the first person to be feeling overwhelmed.  What does God say about this situation?  The Bible is full of wisdom and guidance. Learn to lean on it.

Go to the well – Retreat into your happy place when you’re feeling overwhelmed.  The default for any achiever is to get moving and start trying harder to fix the mess.  Unfortunately, bad situations are a lot like quick sand.  The more you toil, the quicker you sink.  Remove yourself from the situations and get a clearer picture of what is important and what is not.

Prioritize – I always apply the 4 F’s of life when I’m feeling overwhelmed.  Faith, Family, Fitness and Finance.  These are the four cornerstones of life.  Prioritize them in that exact order.  Organize the tasks you must do by these four areas.

Sleep – You’re mind doesn’t worry so much when you’re asleep.  Moreover, stress can have a huge impact on your body.  When life becomes difficult and you’re feeling overwhelmed, try to find the time to get a good night’s sleep.  You’ll be more refreshed and alert to take on the challenges before you.

Life has a knack for spinning out of control and leaving a wake of disaster.  Don’t let it take control of you.  Learn to navigate the rough waters in your life by following this simple routine when you’re feeling overwhelmed.

What in your life is leaving you feeling overwhelmed right now?

Who Are You Really Hurting?

If you believe in God, you believe he is watching over you.  You believe he is pleased and disappointed by the things you do.  You believe he is in control of what happens in your life.

Who Are You Really Hurting

Even if you don’t believe in God, you have someone, somewhere, who is depending on you.  There is always someone who is invested in you and is either pleased or disappointed.

Pleased or disappointed are the only two outcomes for everything you do.  You’ll either please those who matter most to you, or you’ll disappoint them.

Whether by God or by fate, opportunities are placed before you every day to either please or disappoint.  How about that menu before you?  Gluttony is a sin.  Your spouse and your children want a healthy and fit you, not an overweight sickly you.  The decision about what to order has nothing to do with your own selfish desire.  The decision has 100% to do with pleasing or disappointing those who matter most to you.

Get out of your own way and allow yourself the chance to please those who matter most.  When you do, the results will follow.  Better health, better relationships, better attitude, less stress, more time, all follow when you start pleasing those who matter most to you, and stop disappointing yourself with failures.

Amaze Yourself Today – The Process of Growth

I recently did something amazing, I walked.  It sounds much easier than it really is.  So many other people around the world are walking so well that it seems to be no big deal.  But when you consider just how hard the process of growth is, you will understand how amazing walking really is.

 

process of growth

 

Of course, it isn’t difficult for me to walk now, but it once was.  I struggled for months trying over and over, only to fail.  With each failure came a lesson.  Walking is easy now, I’ve been doing it for 27 years.  I was reminded nearly a year ago, however, just how hard the process of growth really is.

I had the privilege of watching my son Ryan learn to walk. It was so difficult for him to do something, that to the people around him, just seemed natural.  It was something new and he didn’t really understand the mechanics of it, until finally he’d done it.  Then it was simple.

I watched him struggle and I watched his amazement when he let go of his couch and took two steps toward me.  I watched as he’d look from the coffee table to the couch, only a few feet,  as if he were about to attempt to cross the Grand Canyon on a high-line.  This is how I feel every day going through the process of growth.

If you’re like me, you enjoy reading success stories of those in your industry.  A close customer of mine recently sold out for $600 million.  He’s done it before and to him it seemed easy.  To me, it seems like a high-line across the Grand Canyon.  But fortunately, I’ve learned to enjoy the process of growth.

  1. YDKWYDKUYKI – Try remembering that one!   You don’t know what you don’t know, until you know it.  Just like Ryan’s first steps, he couldn’t really understand walking until he walked.
  2. The Law of Process – Maxwell’s Law of Process is about the length of time and input required to succeed.  Rome wasn’t built in a day.  If you’re going to do something as simple as walk to the fridge, it will take months of practice.
  3. PerspectiveMicheal Hyatt makes blogging look so simple!  The fact of the matter is, he has put in more than 10,000 hours into his craft. You want a successful blog, it is going to take years.
  4. Embrace The Process – Everything you do each day compounds every day afterwards, if you are doing what matters.  I’ve seen businesses fail because they can’t stop dealing with the now long enough to do something that will actually lead to success.
  5. Embrace Fear – Fear is what keeps up from falling on our face.  Fear is what forces the process.  Without fear we’d skip crawling all together and go straight for walking.  Do not fear fear, instead embrace it, for it will force you through the process of growth.

The number of muscles that must work in perfect unison make walking an amazing feat!  I look around and it just seems so simple!  There are so many people performing this amazing act each day.  Every single one of them had to go through the process, but now look where they are.  If we can all learn to walk, we can learn anything.

 

How can embracing the Process of Growth benefit you in your goals?

 

The Power of Thankfulness

The busiest travel day of the year is the day before Thanksgiving.  I think the stress of traveling on this day helps to give people a new found thankfulness on Thanksgiving.  After all, they’ve survived the ride and they can just sit in a chair and watch football now.  That’s something to be Thankful for.

I’ve seen quite a few of my friends posting on Facebook the things that they are Thankful for each day this month.  I think this is great but I doubt they’re really truly reflecting and being overwhelmed with thankfulness.  I saw a lady on TV today crying because someone had done so much to help her out of a bad situation.  That, is real Thankfulness.

Being thankful, truly overwhelmingly thankful, is a powerful force.  We are all so used to the sun coming up every day that we rarely stop to consider what the world would be like if the sun didn’t rise.  I hate to even think about living in a cold, dark, world in which chaos breaks loose.  I’m thankful that the sun came up this morning.

But even that level of thankfulness isn’t enough to move my soul.  When you can find and harness a level of thankfulness that leaves you excited just to be alive, you’ll find yourself in the happiest place of your life.  Joy will spill through you and into those around you.  You’ll be contagious and inspiring.  Real thankfulness is a powerful force.  Thankfulness has the power to:

  • Shift The Soul – In Michael Hyatt’s Life Plan, he discusses asking his daughters at dinner what was the best part of their day?  Sometimes they’d respond with “nothing good happened today.”  We’ve all been here.  But Gail Hyatt would ask “what was the best thing of all the bad things?”  What a powerful question.  When you can find something to be thankful for in the midst of a bad day, you’ll find a new reason to be joyful, and you’ll instantly break through that depression that often accompanies a bad day.
  • Brighten The Day – When you stop to reflect on your life and the good you have in it, you allow a little light to shine into your heart and illuminate your soul. In The Traveler’s Gift, by Andy Andrews, David Ponder meets Anne Frank.  He is blown away by how upbeat she is amid such tragedy.  She explains that she chooses to be happy and focuses on the good rather than the bad.
  • Lower Expectation – Reading Donald Miller’s A Million Miles in a Thousand Years I was surprised to hear that the Danish are the “happiest” people in the world.  I was even more surprised to hear that this is because they have lower than normal expectations.  When we look toward what we are thankful for we are able to remember why.  If you drive a car to work every day you’d be upset if someone took your car and gave you a bicycle.  But if you ride a bike you work, you’d be thrilled if someone took your bike away and gave you a car!  Get over yourself and consider how bad things could be.
  • Regain Love – Being a leader can be hard work.  Sometimes I think life would be easier if I just had others tell me what to do for a change.  Giving up to go up can be hard.  But when I stop to think why I love leadership, I’m thankful again to be in a position of leadership and I’m jazzed to have the opportunity to influence those around me in a positive way.

Enough is never enough and more is always better.  This is the biggest lie we tell ourselves.  The truth about it, however, is that once we gain a little, we lose our thankfulness for it and just become accustomed to our gains.  We then look for more.  This is a deadly cycle.  Choose today to reflect on what you’re thankful for.  This can be through prayer, a daily journal, or a conversation at the dinner table.  To truly be thankful is to truly be happy.

What are you thankful for?

My Review of Called to Controversy: The Unlikely Story of Moishe Rosen and the Founding of Jews for Jesus by Ruth Rosen

Called to Controversy details the life of famous evangelical missionary Moishe Rosen.  Rosen was born and raised in a Jewish family.  However, after marriage Moishe finds Christ.  Upon his convert to Christianity, his heart pulls him back to his fellow Jews.  This time as a missionary whose life purpose is to save the lost souls he was once a part of.

 

 

The book chronicles his works and offers an insight into his actions as he created what would soon become the world’s largest Christian outreach to the Jewish community.  Being written by Moishe’s own daughter the book allows a behind the scenes look that only a daughter could provide.

Personally I feel that the book lacked style and tempo.  For me, great writers can craft a story in such a way that the reader is engulfed by the wonder and amazement the story has to offer.  This book reads more like a college text book.  The overtly historical tone can lose some readers and make this book a bit of a chore.  The beginning of the book is a lineage map with background about the family.  It comes off almost like the “begets” of the Old Testament.

I lost interest in the book early and put it aside for a while.  After reading through a few more entertaining books I made another, more successful, attempt to finish.  The story is an inspiring one and leaves the reader motivated to do their part to save the lost souls of the world.  The writing style just makes it a little tough.  If you’re interested in missionary, I would recommend reading this book.

I picked up this book via Thomas Nelson’s BookSneeze program.  It’s a great program that I encourage other bloggers who love to read to get involved in.  You can access the sign up page via the link below.

I review for BookSneeze®
If you’d be interested in purchasing a copy of the book, you may do so by accessing my bookshelf.

Jamie Eason’s Facebook – Why Conviction Matters

Many people believe that we are either born all good or all bad.  As a Christian I believe that we are all born in the image of Christ and therefore, are endowed by our creator to be good.  It is only after given the power of choice that we begin to corrupt and defile ourselves.  The good news is we can change our bad behavior and make good choices that lead to happiness.

Luckily, when we were born we were also endowed with the ability to know the difference between good and bad.  It is only after repeated suppression of this force that we can train ourselves to ignore it and continue in an oblivious pursuit of evil.  Such is the case with famed fitness model Jamie Eason.

On Saturday, Jamie Eason released a shocking confession of her conviction on her Facebook Page.  She also tells about the torment it has caused her in the past and still today.  To view the video please visit Jamie’s page at the link below to Jamie Eason’s Facebook:

http://www.facebook.com/OfficialJamieEason

I first noticed Jamie when I was beginning to find an interest in fitness.  She graced the covers of every major fitness magazine on the market.  In fact, you’ve probably passed by Jamie Eason’s photos in the grocery store line at least a dozen times.  Perhaps you’ve even visited Jamie Eason’s Facebook in the past.  She has worked hard to achieve her level of fitness, even beating breast cancer, and rose to the top of the fitness world.  However, the measures it took to achieve the level of notice that got her to the top has caused her much pain and anguish.

Jamie’s video is a telling tale of a good heart who falls pray to the evil desires of the world.  She is now in a good place in her life.  She is helping people to achieve their fitness goals every day.  Her contribution to society is two-fold, both good and evil.  The difference in the balance for us is often how we react to conviction.  Why does conviction matter?

  1. Reflex – Conviction is like a reflex.  When you place your hand on a hot stove, you react by pulling it away.  The same is true when you do something bad, you know it right away.
  2. Morals – Conviction is firmly grounded in your morals.  That, in which you most strongly believe, is where your conviction will be its strongest.
  3. Direction – Conviction will lead you in the right direction infallibly.  When conviction begins to rear its head, run the opposite direction!  Whatever is causing your conviction is a sure sign of evil and you should flee from that behavior as fast as you can.
  4. A Muscle – The less you use your muscles, the less you need them.  Pretty soon your body will only carry as much muscle as you need to survive, which is very little.  The same is true about conviction.  If you suppress it and ignore it every time it comes up, pretty soon you won’t have any left.

The video on Jamie Eason’s Facebook makes me stop and think.  What have I done in the past where I ignored my conviction?  Could my actions come back to haunt me?  Jamie Eason is a world class model and an inspiration to millions.  She is also a great person and I feel for her and her struggle.  I am also thankful that she would share such a story with her fans and followers so that we may learn from them.

This instance also makes me wonder, is the promoter who turned down her husband feeling any conviction?  Aren’t they a Christian?  Jesus had no problem associating with prostitutes and Jamie Eason is far, very far, from that! So why is this promoter passing so much judgment about someone else?

Do you think the actions of the promoter are justified?

How To Live Your Life Full Out

Have you ever just sat back and watched a child at play? Their energy levels are out of this world! I’ve often joked that an energy drink called “Baby Energy” would stomp Monster Energy because there is no level of energy higher than that of a 1 year old. I would know, since I have one.

I recently wrote a post about Climbing The Ladder. This post was a lesson from my one year old himself. Well you guessed it, I’ve learned another lesson from him. How to live life full out.

Toddler Boy Feet

As I sat back and watched my son run all over the house I thought to myself, “How can I harness that energy and what would happen if I could approach life as full of energy as Ryan does?” So I’ve been studying and trying to learn what he does in a day to have so much energy. This is what I’ve found:

Live Fearless – In the Book of Matthew, Chapter 14, Peter walks on water toward Jesus. But when the wind rises he becomes afraid and begins to sink. He calls out for Jesus to help him. Jesus grabs him and asks “Why did you doubt?” How much does your fear hold you back? Just have faith and it will set you free to truly experience life.

Confidence – Sure Ryan is the best looking kid in the world, or at least his daddy thinks so, but I’ve noticed he doesn’t care AT ALL what people think about him. Neither should you. God made you who you are for a reason. Don’t be embarassed about it. This is a great post by Anne-Sophie Reinhardt about this exact topic, check it out.

Harness Your Energy Sources – What really amazes me about children is how they are healthier than their parents simply because they don’t have a choice. I’ll order my son a side of fruit but myself a side of French Fries! What is wrong with me! Harnessing your energy so you can live full out is all about making the right choices all the time.

Eating – Eat healthy every morning and lunch. Why do I leave dinner out? You need to have a little fun. I recommend MyFitnessPal for everyone I know. It is the best way to ensure that you’re eating the corrrect things in the correct volume. When it comes to energy, the right foods make all the difference. .

Exercise – Work out every day. It doesn’t have to be a gym session. My son never hits the weights when he’s at the gym with his mom; he hits the blocks and puzzles pretty hard though. The real reason you should exercise is because it releases endorphins which make you feel good and energized. Without this release you’re more likely to sit around feeling sorry for yourself rather than getting out and having fun. It also doesn’t hurt your positive body image either.

Rest – It wasn’t until I read “The Power of Full Engagement” that rest became a cornerstone of my life. Until then it was an expendable resource that never needed replenishment. Boy was I wrong. Watching my son, he sleeps 12 hours a night and 2 hours per day! I agree, that’s a little excessive, I think it’s God’s way of giving his parents a break. But I will say, getting a full night’s sleep is critical for us a humans. I recommend 8 to 9 hours and a nap. If you’re skeptical of naps, check out this post by Michael Hyatt.

Rest helps you stay organized because this is the time when your mind catalogs your day. Doing this during the day lets your mind file the first half of the day’s inventory rather than having to file it all during the night. Additionally, more rest will help you think with more clarity.

If you could approach life full of energy each day, what would you dare to accomplish?