Great Starts - Personal Development - Focus - Mission Statement - Overcoming Obstacles
I am proof that loss of focus will derail your visions and dreams. My vision was to help people have peace and joy in their lives. Here is why I lost focus. I was lazy. I didn’t complete the vision.
I didn’t finish it. I didn’t know where to go with that vision.
In order to start something it has to be finished. I worked in manufacturing for years as a manufacturing engineer. I worked closely with designers and other engineers. Engineers would come up with an idea and start to put ideas together. How big should it be? What is the purpose of this new product? Do we need more power? Do we need lighter weight? Should it cost less? Should it be more reliable? How can it best accomplish these goals?
Then all the ideas go to a draftsman and a product was designed. Each part is designed and each part has a specific purpose. Then I would get the prints and take that and create a program that would make the part. It was my responsibility to choose tooling, how many operations and programs would it take. What machine was best suited to make the part .
Before anything was actually produced it was finished on paper or in a computer somewhere. The idea was thought about, potential sticking points where overcome, goals were accomplished. The design challenge met the functionality challenge.
It is important to note that it was finished in thought before it was finished in the physical world. The thought was change and became more detailed and every bolt and nut and screw and hole and surface were detailed before we ever started to make a thing.
When we create our lives we have to finalize everything before we start to build it. We need a desire and a dream – a big idea – so big that it is scary. Then we need to get detailed about our idea.
You Are Responsible
Bob Proctor would say something to the effect “I am responsible for my life but I don’t have to do it alone.” We need help.
God created a few things to help us. One is prayer to make sure we are on the right track. Next He created an economy where we are to share our skills talents and abilities with others who can benefit by them. Sometimes we exchange money for goods and services and sometimes we give to others with no conditions or expectations.
Many people have built successful business on being a servant to others. James Malinchak from the TV show Secret Millionare said his key to success was to be a servant. Jesus the King of Kings said He came to serve others. When was the last time you heard of a king serving others? The result is a following will gather around you because they trust you and look to you as an authority figure.
Back to the big idea and the detailed plan. In your minds eye you should see what success looks like. The house you live in, the car you drive, the relationship you have with your spouse and children, the business you work in or at. Everyday should be short term goals of calling 5 people or writing 1000 words of a book, meditating on Matthew 1 for the day, creating part A of the big product, how you can serve 5 or 500 or 5000 people today in some way.
When you read this there is no chronological order. It is just one thought and incident that relates to another thought.
Half A Degree
I looked at something else to help me with the vision and I got off track. Just a half a degree off course can make a big difference 100 or 200 miles down the road.
I have it heard it said that you need some kind of success in two weeks or you will lose focus. While, how do I know what a small success looks like? I started down this journey a couple of years ago.
You see if something is successful how do you know if it is successful. What is the smallest unit of success? I might say if I get 5 visitors a day to my website or store that is success. Next success might be I need 100 visitors a day or 100 customers. Success might be I will tell my spouse or children I love them 3 times today and even better might be to show them or do tell and show them.
My success for this website was not clearly defined. The vision wasn’t clearly defined or how it would impact others and how it would impact me and my family. I have a Facebook page. There I tested some ads and some posts to see what got the most response. I have a Pinterest board where I share ideas as well. I thought maybe one of these social networks would work better and how do I build a better following.
I am back to the website using social media to bring people to the blog.
It is Who not What
Now what do I talk about and would you be interested. When I went to some of these seminars on success and personal development, they would talk about certain principles. I agreed with most of the principles but I didn’t agree with who or what they credited for the principle.
I know that nothing can’t make something. I know that if I am walking in the woods and find a bright shiny polished object that moves and is not living it didn’t just grow from the ground. It was made by someone. Here is an example – if I am walking through the woods and see a watch lying on the forest floor among green vegetation and saplings and tall oak trees – that watch didn’t grow from the ground. It was made by someone and it was lost or put there. We can get even more fundamental than that. What if I saw a stone that was fashioned with a point and it had the same thickness and straight and got bigger at the opposite end of the point. This stone was lying among the wild blackberry bushes and the wild flowers of the forest. Would I conclude that wind and water and friction and erosion made this stone? No - I would think that an Indian had lost an arrow head.
The same way if I could travel through space and see all the solar systems and galaxies and have no knowledge of Earth or the Sun. Suddenly I was in earth’s orbit and transported around the continents and saw cats and dogs and bears and elephants and houses and roads and cars and humans. Why would I think that cars and roads were created and not the Earth and humans and the animals. What is more difficult to create the universe and the Sun and the Earth or cars and roads? Have we ever created a Sun or Earth? We can’t even create a small one in a laboratory with any success.
That is why I believe in a Creator. He has given us wisdom to see His marvelous works and to explore them and learn about them and Him together.
Get Ready For The Fight
I was in a place where I wanted to and maybe even compelled to change my path. I had a great steady income that most people would die for. However, I just couldn’t keep it going due to personal reasons I will let you know about it later and my heart (my mind, my soul, my emotions, my intuition) were just screaming at me. I fought it for a couple of years and prepared for this eventual decision.
I pared down my expenses and my mortgage payment. I don’t like debt and made sure not to get any more. I saved some extra money. I tried out a business that I made money at and thought if I could do this more and find the best location then I would be able to make enough money to follow my calling. Years before I made a special “hot dog cart” . It was loaded with fryers and a grill. You can see the picture of it on the right. Before this I had a concession trailer that was hot and I was going to put fryers in it and make even hotter. If anyone knows me when it gets over 80, I start to suffer. So I designed this special cart which I call the fryer cart – you can see one at my website.
Let me get back to my story. I made the fryer cart
and I had worked it Fridays and Saturdays only and didn’t go to festivals and fairs. I would take a vacation day on Friday. I had those vacation days stored up. I had made a good income from just working Friday and Saturday afternoons till about dinner time. I took that extra income and invested in marketing to see if I could increase sales. Some things worked and some things didn’t.
Before I tried this Friday and Saturday gig - I worked festivals and fairs which occupied all the Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays and not getting home to midnight or 2 in the morning. Plus that personal thing I talked about. You see my wife Michele has MS. Her condition has been getting worse over the years and now she needed someone to watch her and couldn’t be left alone for long periods of time.
It was difficult enough to find someone to help Michele Monday thru Friday but to get reliable help Friday night and Saturday night and Sunday night was almost an impossible task.
Now back to the Friday and Saturday gig. It was just a mile away from me and there was no problem getting there or back. I thought I maxed out the income and that location and wanted a better location for a Monday through Friday gig. I ended up in the county seat after fighting much politics and it was starting to improve. Then one day the fryer cart was in an accident. The weld broke loose on the trailer and it flipped and rolled over and was demolished. You can see a picture on the right.
This leads to the now what do I do. Well I couldn’t get a cart made soon enough and the insurance company was not sure what to do since it was a special and had to get estimates for everything. And by the time I rebuilt it, winter would be knocking at the door.
Decide and Do It
I looked at what skills I had and what I wanted to do. I know I didn’t want to get back into the IT field. Maybe a year before that I was reading the Bible and listening to Bob Proctor and reading Think and Grow Rich and listening to Joseph Prince and other preachers.
Before I went into the cart business full time I wrote a short book about my marriage. How it went from bad to great even with all the problems we faced. I tried making it a book about me and Michele. That didn’t work. Because at every turn, I saw the hand of God and all the principles of God in our marriage. Our marriage was saved before Michele and I were saved.
I am not a marriage counselor or a know any principles about how a guy’s brain works and how a women’s brain works. I was saved and read the Bible and still didn’t know anything about marriage. That is until I started to write the book. Then I saw the hand of God in our marriage. You can get a copy of the book here.
Now back to the after the cart accident. I am trying to define success and make it a scientific undertaking. I am trying to develop a plan and start to learn new skills. I have to admit I have SOS (Shiny Object Syndrome). I spent thousands, tens of thousands on products and courses. My ROI (Return On Investment) was not 2 but .002. I wanted to get a few clients and I did.
The Shiny Object was SEO (Search Engine Optimization). SEO is getting a Internet Asset ranked on the first page of Google, Yahoo or Bing. Internet Assets are your website, a YouTube video, a Facebook page, a Yelp listing or a YP listing among other assets. I did work for a design firm in Houston for $29. I must have put in a hundred hours for $0.29 an hour to deliver what I promised.
Then I learned most people don’t know what SEO is and if they do - they know because they’ve been ripped off by someone. I still wanted to do SEO because I could do it at home and I could do it whenever I had time. So I do it at midnight now and I do it at 7 AM. I am able to take Michele to the doctors when needed and not have to ask for permission. I can take the dog for a walk at noon and not have to worry about being back past my lunch break. It really fits my personal situation.
To be honest it doesn’t fit my income needs at this time.
I still don’t know what success looks like at this time for me. I have some ideas about success.
Success to me is having peace and joy and the absence of fear. Success is about having all parts of the life working in harmony and supporting one another. I am not there yet.
I have peace and joy because I know that Jesus paid for my sins and I was made perfect in God’s sight. Not by anything I did but by what Jesus did. Fear and worry are not a part of my life. When I do get the thought of fear or worry, I just have to remind myself that God is in control. “His faithfulness is a shield and bulwark. You will not be afraid of the terror by night, Or of the arrow that flies by day; Of the pestilence that stalks in darkness, Or of the destruction that lays waste at noon. A thousand may fall at your side and ten thousand at your right hand. But it shall not approach you … No evil will befall you, Nor any plague come near your tent. For He will give His angels charge concerning you. To guard you in all your ways.”
That is from Psalm 91 you can read the complete Psalm.
Keep Learning Everyday
I don’t understand it all. I am still learning. We should grow and learn everyday of our life. We were not meant to stop learning or developing. Our minds need refreshed everyday with truth and the power that comes with the truth.
I still struggle in the financial area but I trust God that He will supply all of my needs.
To get back to business, I think mentors are very important. They can give guidance and direction. They can give advice based on past experiences and some of the wisdom they have gained. Maybe there should be more than one mentor in your life. Not everybody is at the top of the game in all areas of life. You might have one for physical and nutritional part, there may be a financial one and there may be a spiritual advisor.
All that being said, the best advisor is the Holy Spirit. When the Holy Spirit talks to you or God talks to you listen. For me this is a personal struggle. Because sometimes I am not sure if it is God or the Holy Spirit. Other times I don’t understand what is being said. The obvious solution is to ask what is meant. Sometimes I just want to hurry through it. I just need to slow down.
The same goes with your mentors. When they talk about things and something is not understood then slow down and ask.
Pastor Tim has said you need a Paul, a Barnabas and a Timothy in your life. Another words one to push you, one to encourage you and one to mentor.
None of us live up to our potential. Think of the most successful athlete or the most successful business person. They have all left something behind because of fear.
Norman Vincent Peale wrote in the “The Power of Positive Thinking”
“A famous Canadian athletic coach, Ace Percival, says that
most people, athletes as well as non-athletes, are "holdouts,"
that is to say, they are always keeping something in reserve.
They do not invest themselves 100 percent in competition.
Because of that fact they never achieve the highest of which
they are capable.
Red Barber, famous baseball announcer, told me that he had
known few athletes who completely give themselves.
Don't be a "holdout." Go all out. Do this, and life will not
hold out on you.
A famous trapeze artist was instructing his students how to
perform on the high trapeze bar. Finally, having given full
explanations and instruction in this skill, he told them to
demonstrate their ability.
One student, looking up at the insecure perch upon which he
must perform, was suddenly filled with fear. He froze
completely. He had a terrifying vision of himself falling to
the ground. He couldn't move a muscle, so deep was his
fright. "I can't do it! I can't do it!" he gasped.
The instructor put his arm around the boy's shoulder and
said, "Son, you can do it, and I will tell you how." Then he
made a statement which is of inestimable importance. It is
one of the wisest remarks I have ever heard. He said, "Throw
your heart over the bar and your body will follow." “
I know that is easier said than done. And no one has done it yet. But everyday sell out for your dreams. Pursue them like a lion chasing after a gazelle. Have you seen a video of a lion in a hunt. There are many gazelles and they are running every which way. But the lion focuses on just one gazelle no matter what is happening to the left or the right or in any other direction. They have focus, drive and determination. The gazelle has the same focus and determination to get away. Sometimes the lion gets the gazelle and sometimes the gazelle get to keep life.
Get A Mission Statement For Your Life
I make an important distinction between lust and desires. Lust are from the flesh and they are a temporary feel good fix. Desires are from the Spirit. They are good and last. A desire is an appropriate and correct emotion or a compelling force. Lust is an inappropriate compelling force. That is the way I see the difference between lusts and desires.
You may regret your lusts later but you will have peace and joy with your desires.
Our desires are given to us by God.
I have a workbook on a mission statement and how to create it. A mission statement is not just for business. It is for your life. Take every area of your life and make them work together and not against each other and you will accomplish more by doing less. I have a desire to own a company and lead a company to build cars. Cars that are fast. Cars that are luxurious. Cars and trucks that are tough. But I don’t have a desire to go and work in a factory and be responsible for thousands of livelihoods and work crazy hours and travel for business. I don’t want to put in the energy and time of making that desire come true.
Sometimes one desire can conflict with another desire. Maybe the desire is a lust. Even though it is not evil or wrong – it is just wrong for the person.
So a mission statement will take all of this into account. The process when done correctly will find out what is important to you – what are your priorities – what were you meant to do. When a personal mission statement is created it will take into account your physical wellbeing, your bent, your desires and your family and your mental wellbeing as well as your spiritual growth.
There are always compromises in life. I would like to spend more time with my children and grandchildren. I would also like to create a successful business that could be sold or transferred to my children and I would like to take better care of my wife. I would like to talk to God more.
The mission statement is a powerful way to appropriate your resources. If I could make more money I can take better care of my wife. If I make more money I can spend more time with my children. And if all I did was pray and didn’t work didn’t go out into the world then I wouldn’t produce fruit and honor God.
Maybe one day all I do is build the business. Maybe another day I take Michele to the doctors and watch the grandchildren and do a little business. Maybe a couple of days in a week there is some serious Bible meditation where a chapter might get read over and over and over again and words are looked up in the dictionary and see what the original Greek or Hebrew words mean.
The thing is to do what God tells us to do. The mission statement should clarify that. It should be done in prayer and listening for what God has to say about your life. Circumstance may change and opportunities may come along that can drastically change life. Those opportunities have to be weighed against the mission statement. Maybe the mission statement has to change because of the opportunity.
Opporutinty vs. Mission
The point here is find out if the opportunity fits the mission statement, or if the mission statement has to change or if the opportunity has to be passed up. The opportunity may present itself to make 3x more than currently. But it would require 4 days of travel a week. However the mission statement may be to spend more time with the children. Now are the children in college or are they around 10 years old.
I have known couples who were well compensated and then had children and cut the salary by ½ or more. They were still well paid but not what they were used to being paid and they didn’t work as long and didn’t travel.
Then there is my personal situation where I quit a good career that paid well to take a chance on taking better care of my wife and on building a business that could fit a new lifestyle.
The Mind - The Words You Say To Yourself - The Thoughts You Make
Funny thing is I started to write this article about how Think and Grow Rich and The Bible has helped me to be successful.
Let’s talk about mindset.
Think and Grow Rich talks about it, Bob Proctor talks about it and Joyce Meyers talks about it as well as Joseph Prince and Norman Vincent Peale and The Bible. Every success guru out there talks about it.
With mindset, the thing has to be finished before it can be built. Seems like a crazy statement. First it has to be imagined. The Wright brothers didn’t build a plane and say what is that. First they imagined flight. Then they designed a plane and built it and tested it or more like crashed it. Then they designed and built and crashed. Eventually it was design build and fly.
Even after the building part which was physical action something else had to happen. It had to be used. It proved that people could fly. They unlocked secrets that were hidden or not available to man because of the mindset.
The important lesson here is that thoughts are things. Thoughts have energy. Let’s go back to the first and second chapters of the Bible. The first day light is created. There is nothing said about a light source. There were no stars created until the fourth day. Light is energy - it is vibrations and sometimes acts as if it has mass. From Wikipedia “In physics, the term light sometimes refers to electromagnetic radiation of any wavelength, whether visible or not. In this sense, gamma rays, X-rays, microwaves and radio waves are also light. Like all types of light, visible light is emitted and absorbed in tiny "packets" called photons and exhibits properties of both waves and particles. This property is referred to as the wave–particle duality. The study of light, known as optics, is an important research area in modern physics.”
Thoughts have a frequency.
Different thoughts have different frequencies.
Thoughts lead to actions. Hold a thought in your mind with belief and integrity and determination it will lead to action. That thought can be a good one or an evil one. If the thought is ruminated on long enough it will be acted upon.
For the next few days think about what you think about. Listen to yourself talk to yourself. What do you say about yourself? Do your thoughts include regret, condemnation, blame, gluttony, greed, revenge or hate? Do your thoughts include encouragement, love, forgiveness, goodwill, and peace.
Thanks for sticking with this long post. There will be more later.