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Where Do You Think Best?

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Reading Time: 2 minutes

Some background on this post, I was on Medium reading articles about becoming a better writer ( I’m trying to get better, ok?) and an article about Where to Think Big Like a CEO popped up. I’m always striving to get better with strategic thinking, and part of me still misses building businesses (I’m sure I’ll have another startup someday) so I read the article.

The article was pretty cool as it shows some top CEO’s and where they think best for big/new ideas. A couple of the CEO’s though mentioned it’s not always a place that helps them think big, but a time. I know from personal expereince thinking up a big idea at 4 AM isn’t all that strange to startup owners who struggle sleeping.

After I read the part of the article discussing having big ideas during a time and not necessarily a place it got me thinking to where/when I think big best. As I thought through places that I feel inspired and times of the day that work best for my big thinking I realized it’s neither of those things, it’s a cultural attitude that helps me think big.

I started a new position around the end of September and was excited to expand my creativity and ability to think bigger in this role. While I’m doing just, that I’ve noticed I’m not very happy. After reading the Medium article above it hit me like turning on a light bulb, I’m not happy because I can’t do the things that help me think big. So how do I think big? I discuss the pros/cons of decisions with people, get ideas from others through discussion, and read between the lines of stakeholders and customers. I’ve had a hard time lately because the important people don’t have a lot of time for me in my new role. We’ve been missing a level of vital leadership (open positions) and everyone has been picking up the slack. This has made it very hard to get answers, let alone actually have meaningful and deep conversations that I’m use to that enables me to think big.

We’ve filled some of the leadership positions we were missing, and I’m hopefully as we continue to fill these roles and solidify our teams I’ll be able to spend the time I want/need to think big without feeling like I have to pull teeth. So for me, thinking big requires time with people to have actual dialogue, not just get directives and assume I know vital context and proprietary thoughts in people’s head they didn’t share.

What about you Mr. or Mrs. reader? What place, time, or thing helps you think big?

Life Isn’t That Bad

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#NewYearNewYou – Let’s make an effort this year to focus on the positive in life, instead of all the negative.

If you’re reading this post I implore you to find ways to disengage from traditional media and Social Media from time to time and realize how good your life really is. I know, I know, bad things happen to everyone in life, but can we all just unplug for a bit and realize the blessings we have in life?

Don’t fear, the bad people, horrible events, and sad news will always be available if/when you return to watching the news or start following people again on Social Media!

Just think, instead of comparing yourself to others on Social Media you enjoyed your life. If bad things happen in your life, deal with them. Instead of reading/watching the same sad news stories, imagine having fun in your life and realizing most of the news doesn’t affect your day to day much anyway.

Do you really fear missing out on all the bad things you’ll miss by not following the news? Why do you want to follow the news so that they can ‘pee in your cereal’ and put you in a bad mood? #IChooseToEnjoyLife What about you?

I’ve Been Kicking the Can Down the Road for a Year

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On January 10th 2018 I finally made the push to ….. stop drinking soda (or pop if you incorrectly call it that). It was a tough journey to build up enough confidence in myself to drop the empty calorie habit, but worthwhile.

My friend Jason ultimately helped the most in discussing with me that it’s not so hard to drop soda if you can get past the first few weeks. In my health journey I’ve found that doing lots of dieting, cutting out everything at once doesn’t work for me. It’s been easier to drop something for a month or two, then I can move onto dropping another item from my diet when I’m ready to take on that additional challenge.

So I’ll continue to kick the soda can down the road for another year and enjoy shielding myself from riding the sugary energy roller coaster.

Writing Inspiration

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In the past I’ve been hesitant to write blog posts, as I thought people would roll their eyes, give mean feedback, or not care what I had to say. While all the above still apply, I’ve changed my stance on writing posts. No longer should I care about the negative outcomes, but focus on the positives:

  • Who might benefit from my posts?
  • What discussions can be started by my ideas?
  • How can I push for positive change by writing?

The final straw of my encouragement to write more was the conviction that hit me yesterday while reading the Bible. The Bible is God’s word, but he didn’t write any of it. Normal human-beings wrote the Bible detailing what they experienced Jesus do, documenting facts, or sharing prophecies under God’s direction.

If God trusted human beings to write His Word in the Bible, then by all means I can trust myself to write posts to encourage, nudge, and educate others. Here’s to a great year!

2019 Is My Jesus Year

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Celebrating a birthday is something we cherish in our day and age. You’ve gained another year of experiences, lessons, heartache, and progress. It’s human nature for many of us to look back after our birthdays and measure the growth we’ve made in the last year and evaluate what we want to change for the next year.

As I look back at my thirty second year on earth I hesitate to deeply analyze the last year as it was a year of personal growth, pain, and journeys. While I could pat myself on the back for my accomplishments, I could also beat myself up for my pitfalls and health issues. Through the last year I treasure my continued faith walk and how God has shaped me during my weaknesses.

As i look ahead to my thirty third year on earth I realize that I’m in my ‘Jesus Year’. Jesus was thirty three years old when he was crucified for the sin of man, and he did mighty works while he walked the earth. While I’ll never live up to Jesus’s greatness while on earth (no one can), it’s humbling to make comparisons between what Jesus did during his last year on earth and what I may be able to do during the next year.

In my Jesus Year I intend to continually measure myself against Jesus. I have no confidence I’ll ever match Jesus’s grace, love, or mercy in my lifetime or my Jesus Year, but I have hope. I have hope that continuing to compare myself to Jesus will remind me of how far short I fall of his example and help me to regularly live by his standard.

Finish The Year Strong

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I’ve been getting a lot of emails asking for end of year donations so that organizations can finish strong in 2018. It made me start thinking about all the people/groups that need to finish strong at the end of each year:

  • Nonprofits with donations
  • Salespeople and others on commission plans
  • Those working over-time to pay off their Christmas debt
  • Businesses that close their books at the end of December
  • Pastors that are trying to reach visitors during the Christmas season

Thinking about people who need to finish strong to end the year put me in a reflective mood. “How did my 2018 go?” “How can I finish strong to end the year?” “How can I set myself up for success going into 2019?”

As I get ready to end 2018 I’ve decided to finish reading 3 books, read a magazine I got in the mail last week, and hopefully launch a new website I’ve been working on. If you’re interested in what I’m reading to prep for 2019, here’s links:

The website isn’t live yet, but here’s what I’ll be working on for 2019: thechangingheart.com

I hope by finishing up my reading and launching the website I’ll finish 2018 strong and be prepared to make 2019 a good year for my personal growth by reading 52 or more books (one a week), growing others through the website, and blogging more on this site.

Thankful For All The Things

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Reading Time: 1 minuteI don’t have the words for a normal blog post
So I present a poem, thankful for the Holy Ghost
This year has been different, not the same
Seems like past years have just been a game

I’m thankful for my faith, growing everyday
Without troubles my walk would be delayed
I love the Lord with all my heart and soul
Everyday he leads me on where to go

I’m thankful for my health coming back to me
Helping me relax and set my anxiety free
It’s been a struggle to be patient and heal
I know many people know how I feel

I’m thankful for love, coming from everyone
From my wife, daughters, dog, and son
Also, all the love from other family and friends
Helps me to continue on as my path bends

I’m thankful for my job that provides for my needs
They support me while I heal and my body feeds
Living on salad and prescriptions slims me down
I’ve got Jesus on my side so I won’t frown

I’m thankful for all the above and more
I know God has more for me in store
I’m ready to continue down the road
Helping others carry their heavy load

What Stuff Matters?

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Reading Time: 3 minutesI’ve grown accustomed to being made fun of at work for how I keep my work space. Back when I owned my business I shared space with another business. The space was plenty big enough for two business and both of our businesses did professional services where being out at a client site was the norm, so sharing office space worked great for us. Our employees got along well, but having a back office in this environment meant I’d get visits from my own employees, people from the other business, friends, and other business folks through out the day.

As people would visit me in my office quite often they’d look around and remark something to the effect of “Do you even work here, there’s nothing here but a computer and some stacks of paper!” I’d usually laugh and continue listening as they’d go on about the lack of personal effects in my office, nothing on the walls, no decorations to be found. As a motivated owner of a growing IT company what made me money was my laptop. I needed to work on technical systems, answer emails, send out quotes, and market my business online. To me, I was focused on building a company and having a bunch of personal effects or other items decorating my office didn’t help my mission of succeeding.

To me, having things in my office to remind me of my family seemed stupid. Why not drive ten minutes to my house and see them at the end of the day instead of staying in the office for 12 hours a day like some crazy business owners do? Why put motivational posters all over the office, instead of doing activities that motivated me to actually progress and get work done? Even today with my corporate job I’d rather leave my cube pretty bare because I’m there to get my work done and leave, not sit around all day and look at my “stuff”.

Now when it comes to my personal life, I’ll embrace “stuff” all day long. Let’s buy that new Smart TV, new Xbox, more clothes, better vehicles, nicer house, and on and on. For the last few years I’ve felt it wasn’t right to desire material things as much as I do, but couldn’t stop myself. Within the last few weeks I’ve felt convicted to move to more of the mindset I have at work when it comes to “stuff” in my personal life.

My wife and I have been going through the Financial Peace University courses to better our financial selves. We want to live more intentionally so that we can give more sacrificially to our church and others in need. To do so means we need to lower debt, so as we become less controlled by our debtors we can bless others.

As we’ve been working through the Financial Peace University courses I’ve been doing extra reading online (as I’m a nerd) to further impart the material into my subconscious. Tonight as I was reading an article about living intentionally I came across The Minimalists website. Josh and Ryan were two 20/30 somethings that were burnt out climbing the corporate ladder and felt their lives were missing something. They wondered why they should continue to buy “stuff” and feel empty. As I read some of their articles I saw they had a documentary on Netflix, and I had to watch it!

As I watched the movie on Netflix some lightbulbs and a-ha moments went off in my head. While Financial Peace University teaches getting and staying out of debt, Minimalism teaches owning only what’s needed in life, so you can be free to focus on the things that matter. While the two teachings may seem unrelated, they are forging ahead into one big movement in my life. Thou shalt not covet is one of the Ten Commandments I’ve struggled with immensely since I’ve starting working as a sixteen year old. I see someone with something cool and I want it, right meow! Or I see marketing on a cool new tech product and have to figure out how to buy it, finance it, or work extra hours to get it.

One of my worst mantras while owning my business was, “We don’t need to cut expenses, we just need to make more income so we can afford more things.” Lately as I’m pursuing God more in my life and becoming more like him, I’m being challenged in this area of my life. Coveting things is where I need to focus my attention and grow; I need to quit buying everything I want, quit insisting on going out to eat whenever I want, or buying the exact meal I want every time I’m hungry. I need to practice humility and discipline to purchase only what I need, not what I want. I need to pay with cash and remove my chains from debtors. I need to focus on doing the really important things, instead of focusing on buying “stuff” that just clutters up the office walls of my life and doesn’t fulfill me.

 

Three Years Without You

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Reading Time: 1 minuteI feel sad like I left you in the child drop box at the fire station.

I feel mad that I didn’t dig deeper to make things work out between us.

I feel depressed that I had to move on with my life without you.

I feel relieved that I don’t have to care for you anymore.

I feel happy that you’re in better hands now.

I feel bored without the challenge of making you better.

I feel blessed knowing that my relationship with God defines me, not you.

I feel pride knowing how much I’ve grown since I let you go.

#3YearsFree

#FormerBusinessOwner

#PersonalGrowth

Religion at the Polling Place

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Reading Time: 2 minutesI added another first to my life list this past weekend as I participated in the local primary elections by being an Inspector. It was interesting to see firsthand how local voting really happens. In Howard County, Indiana we had around five early voting locations for our Primaries this year. It was required to have two Democrats and two Republicans serve at each location to ensure fairness of the voting process.

For those that don’t know how it works (I didn’t until I participated) you have two poll clerks (one Republican and one Democrat) that check people’s id’s that want to vote and provide the Republican or Democrat primary ballot. There is also a Judge and Inspector that in a nutshell can assist with voting issues, ensure the polling location is running correctly, and open and close the polls. There has to be a Republican and Democrat between those two roles, again to ensure fairness in the voting process.

In our highly politicalized world it was refreshing to observe that regardless of the party affiliation of the four people running the polling place we were all able to have discussions about community issues, different life experiences, and God.

I thought assisting with the voting process would be a good way to learn more about our right to vote and the background on how it happens. Once I was involved I did get to learn all about the process and how it functions, but God revealed more to my heart than that. Both sides of the political parties are passionate about issues and opportunities that shape our world, and while we may disagree on the best ways to solve problems and encourage growth in our community God is the one truth we all can agree on.

On this Primary Election Day my prayer is that regardless of what party, candidate, or issue you strongly believe in that you consider what your Heavenly Father asks of you not only in how you vote, but also in how you treat people in favor of your thoughts or against. Voting for our representatives is a very special right we have in this country and I pray that we as a people respect and cherish EVERYONE’s vote to better their communities regardless of the party they affiliate with.