Friday, October 28, 2011

Little long today...What holds you back?

I am sicker than a dog (poor dogs - not sure why we attribute sickness to them) this week.  I don't get sick much, but when I do, I am a BIG WIMP (just ask my wife). I really just get the odd flu bug that gives me the headaches, dizziness and all those wonderful aches and pains through every joint in your body - even your teeth hurt with this one.  Truly a big pain!

Our church, like many, has an annual Anniversary Sunday to celebrate what God has done in the past year and to encourage people to get in church.  We have actually turned it into an entire week of ministry, rather than just focusing on the anniversary itself.  It's this final full week of October. 
During this week, we have huge emphasis on inviting people to our church and getting out the Gospel message of how Jesus died on the cross to save us form our sins and take us to Heaven when we die.  We have teens and adults out at bus stops in the early morning (leaving around 5:00 AM). We have over 50 nursing home services. We have old fashioned open air preaching services.  We pick up thousands of children on our buses and take them roller skating. We have a special Sunday service and several other activities during this busy week.
The goal of all these meetings is to hand out tracks and explain to children and adults how to accept Christ as their savior and ensure that they have Heaven as their home for eternity.  We clearly talk to people about their need to understand that there is an eternity and that it will be spent in either Heaven or Hell.  Feel free to contact me if you would like to understand how the Bible teaches you can know for sure that Heaven is your eternal home.
Not everyone believes like we do and we do not put others down, mock other beliefs or put high pressure sales tactics on those we speak to.  We simply ask them questions and share some verses, to help them decide what they want to do with eternity.
Everyone has passions in life, and one of mine has become sharing the Gospel message and talking to children and adults about Heaven.  This may not be your passion.  You may have a passion to encourage those in tough times, or help the needy, or work with underprivileged children, or help the sick, or make food for those who are unable, or do any number of things to be a blessing.  
My questions today is "What holds you back?" Whatever your passion is, don't let anything else get in the way. 

I had a choice this week; either I rest and get well or I just do all I can to help our church and keep involved in one of my passions.  If I chose the later, it would mean that i would be out a couple of nights and up very early every morning except one.  I don't say this in pride, but I chose to tough it out.  I honestly don't feel better, but I didn't let something as trivial as the flu get in the way of my passion. Compared to many others, in life, my flu is a joke and I should be grateful for each day I have. Sorry I am such a wimp...
Lessons Learned: There will always be something that can be used as an excuse to not do something, or start something or help someone. Don't let anything get in the way of your passions.
Thoughts: What holds you back?    

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Fail is not a four letter word...

I have had the joy of failing numerous times in my life and then looked back in regret, with pain and sorrow in my heart. I was fired from my first job, mowing yards, as a pre-teen. I was fired as an adult. I have been downsized twice. I left good jobs for other good jobs that didn't work out like I hoped. I've purchased items that I didn't need or were too expensive. I've been mean to loved ones and hurt them. I've carried a grudge. I've eaten more than I should. I've put my foot in my mouth more times than I can remember.

I've also been blessed with a lot of successes in my life, but I realize those are from the Lord, so I give Him credit for those.

What I have learned is that failure can hurt and it will try to steal your joy. It will also train you for the future and let you experience things in a different light, when you choose to let it. If you never take a risk, you will likely not fail, but you may also sit in a humdrum spot for the rest of your life. If I had not put my foot in my mouth or hurt those I love, I would never have understood forgiveness and the chance to reconnect. If I hadn't risked a job change, I wouldn't ever have learned new arenas in my life and I wouldn't have received any training in areas that were weak. I wouldn't have had the privilege of meeting new people or broadening my horizons or going to different States across the US. 

Failing has helped me in many ways!

Fail a lot. Let it hurt. Fix it. Take the risk. Fail a little more. Grow from it.

Lessons Learned: Don't fear failure. Use it to help you with your next lot in life.

Thought: What did you learn from your last failure?

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Stomping, screaming, punching and a smile...

I had to fly from Nashville to Denver yesterday and as I boarded I was able to observe two different families board with their young child.  One of the children was so excited, she jumped right up and gave the boarding passes to the gate attendant and then said "Thank you!" and "Have a nice day!" in the cute little voice only a 3 year girl could have.  Her smile could have taken over the entire plane. She was very sweet. The other child was not happy and didn't do anything but grunt, stomp, scream and then punch her Dad while entering the plane.  
The Dad of the happy child said to the other, that his little girl struggled like the other little girl on the day before and that they hoped the flight would be okay.  The other Dad was a little discouraged over his child, and said she had too much sugar a Grandma's house. They chit-chatted as they entered the plane and then sat down.
This made me think about how we can look at situations like that each day.  Many would think that the one child was well disciplined and the other was not. Some would think the fit throwing was cute in some strange way. Some would want to high five the sweet child and spank the other. Some might like the way one Dad tried to show empathy with the other's plight. There are dozens of ways to react to situations we encounter each day.  How would you react to this one?
Lessons Learned: We all have bad days and throw fits (outwardly or inwardly). You can be an encouragement to people in lots of little ways. Children and adults are not perfect and act inappropriately sometimes. Don't judge someone based on one quick snapshot of their lives.
Thought: Have you judged someone based on only a moments image on their bad day?  How would you like to be judged?

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Whiner assembly xylophone...

A couple of weeks ago, I was working with my sales team on some strategy and getting the details out to the team by email on my iPhone.  I was typing away and autocorrect saved me several times as my thumbs flew over the virtual keyboard. I had several points and ideas and, but  realized that one single word can completely blow up your message and destroy your focus on sales endeavors.

I worked on this email for several minutes and in point 8, I talked about what you need to accomplish when you arrive at "each spot" or location. I can't even remember my point anymore, because when I typed "each" I must have hit the "w" instead of the "e" because my email now stated: When you arrive at "wax spot", not "each spot" like it was supposed to state.  Autocorrect changed it to "wax" for me. Great...?!

One of my coworkers responded with the following: "Sounds like a good plan. My question is about number 8; What is a wax spot?! Do we get this done at the salon before going on sales calls?" I sat back and thought about how unprofessional my email became. Instead of giving some good details on a plan, it became just funny and out of focus. 

I decided to turn it around and responded with the following:

"Whiner assembly xylophone" - you should know that. It's a common sales philosophy.
1. Whiner - find common ground in a complaint the customer has.
2. Assembly - put together a plan of attack using the complaint.
3. Xylophone - this instrument sounds nice and most people like it so play up thee complaint in a nice way until they love the sound and move on the sale.
4. The spot is just the location where you are.
Guess I should have put the explanation I the email. Sorry."

Had to come up with something to cover my failure.

Lessons Learned: Always proof read your emails. Be sure to have a good response for questions you are asked. Also, have fun with your failures...they really don't hurt you.

Thoughts: Have you ever embarrassed yourself with the written word?

Monday, October 24, 2011

Inbound the ball...

Last June, I went to camp with a bunch of the teens from our church youth group.  If you ever want to be completely exhausted for 5 straight days and still have an absolute blast, then I highly recommend doing this.  We had a great time and several teens made decisions that will last a lifetime.  

Each year the camp has a basketball game between the teen boys and the male counselors. I am not the best basketball player, but I can shoot the rock with the best 3 year in the country (that may have been a little bold - let's make that 2 year old).  I stood on the sidelines and cheered our team on, not really expecting to play or be involved at all.  I love to win, but I also know my limitations.

As the game progressed, I was told to get in and play. I subbed in and basically acted as a body on the court, since everyone out there was more talented than I was and they were doing this crazy thing back and forth on the court - they used the term "running." I have googled it and I do not like the concept.

I did get a couple of rebounds and focused on defense (think about the running thing again). At one point the counselors scored and in a moment of confusion, I stepped out of bounds with the ball to inbound it to the…uh, teens.  This is not the correct format in basketball. If you score, then you run down the court to play defense, not inbound the ball to the other team. People laughed, yelled and my coach just shook his head. After I stepped out of bounds and realized all my team had gone to the other end, I simply passed the ball into a teen, but was extraordinarily embarrassed and subbed myself out with no plan to get back in the game. 

Quite a while later, they asked me to go back in and I declined. They asked me twice more (all the counselors were exhausted, I guess), so I finally went back in.  I decided that I would forget the past and do my best, so I went out and hustled on defense (I actually did that running thing) and one time the ball got passed to me as I posted up down low. I dribbled and backed up my defender towards the goal and sent a beautiful hook shot into the air, and…nothing but net! Sweet! I was back in the good graces of the team.  of course, I quickly subbed out to ensure I didn't blow my new claim to fame.  So glad for second chances.

Lessons Learned: Never give up, when you fail…success could be around the corner. Quitting in the middle of something, is almost never the answer.

Thoughts: Have you ever given up in the middle of a fail? Or have you waited for success in the next endeavor?

Friday, October 21, 2011

Straighten up...with humble pie...

Today's thoughts include a picture of one of my pet peeves (I have lots). This one is when someone can't park correctly in-between the lines in a parking spot. Sometimes parking spots are small, so I know it can be challenging, but in most cases a vehicle fits just fine. 

My oldest Son has had his Driver's permit for about a year (going for his license soon - I will likely have a story about that some day). As his Dad, I have been trying to train him and prepare him for driving on his own. Sometimes that has meant encouragement and sometimes screaming like a 12 year old girl. Mostly it has been about telling him what to do and pointing out mistakes. That's hard, and I can tell you I have failed a lot with his training. I am way too picky. 

One of the picky items is that I tell him he has no sense of perpendicular. He struggles with being straight between the lines. This is where the Lord sometimes hits you right in the face with your own weaknesses. You see, the car in the picture is my car (you can call me cool now - it does have a Hemi!). Some of you that know me had that figured out already, but I'll tell you it hit me hard when I saw it today. 

I walked out of a restaurant at lunch and literally stood there in shock that I had parked so poorly. I had to humble myself and show my Son the pic and eat some humble pie (pecan pie is my favorite). I asked him what was wrong and he grinned and said, "it's crooked." Not only was I crooked, but I was barely in my own space. Way to go Dad?! Sometimes we all need to just sit back, calm down and enjoy some humble pie. Glad the Lord uses little things to teach us.

Lessons Learned: Be gracious in teaching and realize you make the same mistakes as the "pet peeves" you hate. I certainly have a ton of work to do on this one still!

Thoughts: Who have you gotten on to about something you might soon do yourself?

Thursday, October 20, 2011

The great Frappe giveaway...Too Much...

Went to LaserQuest this week with some of our teens from my church.  We had a blast (get it?).  It's always fun shooting our teens, so I personally had a great time.  Actually, it's kinda fun shooting other youth workers too, so I was doubly blessed.  We played 3 games and some of our teens had not done this before, so I used them as human shields and for target practice. They had a lot of fun ganging up on me too, so it was fair - sorta…

After the shootings, we decided to go to Mickey D's before we headed back to the church.  When we got there, we noticed they had new electronic menus (flat screens) which was pretty cool (nothing to do with the story, but flat screens are always a good thing o talk about). We placed our orders. We had about 20 or so and that always overwhelms the workers creating confusion, but we try to help the workers and keep our teens aware when their order is ready. There is always some confusion, but in this case, I saw a lot.  

The employees started making Frappe's, Ice Cream cones, Shakes and other items in a flurry.  They just kept making them and putting them on the counter, calling out the order for someone to pick up the items. The teens grabbed their food and headed back to the bus.  Another youth worker and I stood there waiting on the last teens and saw an ice cream cone and 3 Frappe's siting on the counter.  We asked our teens if they got their orders and they all had except one and it wasn't on the counter.  We asked the employees if we should take them to the bus and they said take them.  No-one on the bus was missing an order, so we got several items too many.  The employees said to keep them, since they would just throw them away.  The youth workers united for that cause.

Lessons Learned: The Fail here is obvious, but it reminded me that the details are important and we miss them too much.  Employees just work, instead of focus; Church members just sit, instead of minister; children just obey, instead of transform; people just wander in life, instead of impact.  We have an opportunity to "do something" in life instead of just floating through.

Thought: Does "Too Much" describe you in the impact way or the floating way?

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Failing Big in Texas...

So, this is my first blog. 

I know there are other blogs out there with more famous names and better content, but I've had the privilege of failing in some areas of life and I came to realize that there's an awful lot of benefit in failing.  All of us fail and most don't like it, but it's gonna happen, so why not learn from it.  

I hope to share some serious stories, some funny thoughts and some spiritual, personal and practical applications.  Sometimes the ideas will talk directly about failure, but other times, it may just be something I learned that I thought could help someone else. 

The first story is this...

I was in Texas on business recently and had to drive from Houston to Galveston Island to Houston to Dallas to Irving to Bryan and back to Houston.  You already see my first failure in this one.  I drove 13 hours in a 26 hour period.  The good news is that there was a Buc-ee's (Google it to find the fun) along the way (if you end up on I-45 between Houston and Dallas, you need to stop and enjoy).  

As I planned this trip, I didn't realize that Bryan Texas was connected to College Station, TX.  I was staying in Bryan for my final night before catching a flight out of Houston back home.  College Station is the home of the Aggie's and I was literally right across the street from Aggieland (that is not an amusement park - it's their campus). 

I came into town around 6:30 PM and was zonked.  I saw a Chili's and decided to go eat there.  I walked in and got a few strange looks, but figured it was because I was an "old guy" in a college town.  Most everyone was a college student in the restaurant and had Aggie colors on.  My waitress came over, and was appropriate, but short in conversation.  I got my chips and salsa and noticed that a few people were looking my way.  Struck me strange, but figured I would just enjoy the meal.  

Then it hit me!  In my trip planning, I picked my outfit (I usually wear polos) and I chose a corporate shirt that I have in the great color of burnt orange!  I thought I would wear UT's color, since I was in their State (trying to be cool and help my customers to feel at ease).  I didn't know I was going to be in College Station.  

When my waitress returned, I told her I had never been here before and didn't wear Texas (A&M's arch rival) orange on purpose.  Her countenance changed and she told me she wouldn't hold it against me.  She was nice from that point on...she said that I wouldn't get beat up on the way out, because I didn't have a Texas logo on the shirt.  I said "Hook 'em Horns!"  Just kidding - I paid the bill with a bigger tip (protection money) and left.

Lessons learned: know where you are going, and if you are going to pick an allegiance, be prepared to stand. 

Thought: Did you realize the power of color?