All is Right

Those moments when all seems right are rare, both in our families and in our businesses.  We cherish them when they come, and we yearn for them when things aren’t just right.

We’ve had those moments recently in our family.  Time together.  Time sharing.  Living and learning and enjoying that precious time with each other.

Those moments when all is right don’t happen by accident.  They take work.  They take commitment.  They take overcoming obstacles.  They take climbing hurdles.  They take recovering from setbacks.

They take a purpose filled journey to get to that desired moment when all things are right.

And then the cycle starts over again.

Ours is starting over again today as folks go back to their individual lives, and to their homes, and focus once again on their own passionate pursuits.

And each of us will yearn again for these special moments when all things seem right.

It’s tough sometimes during those long periods between those all-is-right moments. 

Here are some things to do to help (learned from personal experience):

  • Focus on each small step rather than the end game, and cherish each step that goes right; you still need to have an end in mind, but the journey is so much more enjoyable when you focus on each step and cherish each moment that entails
  • Focus on the relationships with those on the journey with you, and work hard to bring smiles to each other with each step taken on the journey
  • At frequent points in the journey to “all is right”, break away and do the unexpected, and create a moment where for that small moment, all things are right
  • Cherish every single minute with family, with friends, with teammates, with partners, with new acquaintances, and find ways to make each minute and every interaction something special
  • Journal your journey and constantly go back to remind yourself of those things that went right along the way so those things that don’t go right don’t consume you and drag you down

I love the saying on this plate:

I’d add a line though – “Moments don’t just happen; you need to create them”.

I hope you too are creating those moments where all is right.

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Because of all the traveling I do, I’ve been thinking about separation a lot lately.

I experience separation in various ways:

  • from my wife and family when I travel
  • from those I work with when I stay home or travel away from them
  • from our Creator when I focus on the things of this earth and forget or ignore the time I need to spend in His Word or at His church

As I think about all the traveling I do and the separation that occurs between my wife and I, the separation of today is very different than the separation 30 years ago.  Back then, I traveled the world and wouldn’t talk with her for weeks at a time.  It was too hard.  We didn’t have cell phones or email at home, and we certainly didn’t have the web and pretty much global access.  Today, I travel the world and the minute I land we’re on the phone together.  We could be on video together as well if so desired.  And soon, we’ll be able to be connected throughout the flight as well, thus making separation a purely physical presence thing.  Physical separation is still tough; nothing compares to being home, being active in the lives of each member of our family, and sharing together in meals, games, church, and quiet time.  Technology can’t yet replicate that, though I’m sure someone is trying.

As I think about my work place today, I’m on the road and away from my office at least 2 weeks a month right now.  That creates great strain on the communications channels and the relationships at the work place, because nothing beats face to face meetings, and all the communications in the world can’t overcome the need of most individuals to shake hands, hug each other, look each other in the eye, share a cup of coffee and work through any and all issues that may exist in the work place.  Technology is allowing much more effective interaction when separation occurs, but technology can’t yet replace the intimacy that is needed to handle cultural issues, complex relationships issues, and the bonding that only seems to come with physical presence.

As I think about my relationship with our Creator, we have this promise found in Romans 8:

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?  Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?  For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus the Lord.

Is there anything more powerful or more of a commitment than that?  God doesn’t separate Himself from us.  We separate ourselves from God though…through our priorities…through our sin…through our indifference.  It’s clear that God is with us, and His love embraces us at all times.  In this case, it’s not a technology issue; it’s a choice issue. 

When I’m separate from my family or my team at work, I have a yearning to connect, to be in contact, to share together and to be part of the forward momentum of life.  Various things require that separation, but technology has provided solutions to allow me to connect in meaningful but not yet perfect ways.  It’s certainly easier to see the growth in the family and to sense the growth in the team at work.  Once again, not perfect, but much better than before.

When I’m separate from God, in time I recognize that I caused that separation and the yearning to be connected returns.  When the yearning returns, I connect, get in contact, share with Him, and commit to the forward momentum in life that takes me closer to Him.  It’s not a technology issue, though technology allows me new and creative ways to stay focused on Him and carry His Word with me.  Instead, as I mentioned before, it’s a priority issue…a choice…a habit of seeking His path and His plan in all that I do, and in turn, responding in obedience when that path and plan are revealed.

At this point in my life, I yearn for less separation in all three of the areas above.  The first two require a priority on physical presence, if physical presence is the ultimate answer to the separation I feel.  The third requires me to bow my head, open His Word, and release myself to Him more often.  Anywhere I am.  Everywhere I am.

All three are about priorities and choices.

Two of these may or may not be within my control (though they really are).

The third is totally within my control.

How are you doing on your separation today, and what are you doing, choosing, or prioritizing to minimize that separation?

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I’ve been on a journey, a walkabout of sorts.

Writing less.

Pondering more.

Musing less.

Wondering more.

Analyzing less.

Appreciating more.

Doing less (in a good way).

Dreaming more.

Thus the silence for awhile.

It’s those moments when you disconnect that you make discoveries about yourself.

It’s those moments of introspection, facilitated by the journey, that allow you to see the things you want to change.

It’s those moments when you’re deep in the dream that you see so clearly what can be achieved.

So I’ve been disconnecting, introspecting, and dreaming.

Now it’s time to focus on doing again.

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Like Jonah

Most of us know the story of Jonah and the whale.  When God asked Jonah to go to Nineveh to deliver God’s message that they must repent, Jonah rebelled and ran.  He jumped on a ship to head a different direction, and a storm came up that put the ship in danger.  The ship determined that the storm was due to Jonah, and Jonah told them to throw him overboard.  He was swallowed up by a big fish and vomited up on dry land 3 days later, after Jonah prayed for repentance.

But the story doesn’t end there. 

In fact, the rest of the story is where many of us are just like Jonah.

After repenting, Jonah obeyed God and went through Nineveh preaching God’s mandate of redemption.  God had revealed to Jonah that if Nineveh did not repent, they would be destroyed in 40 days.

Hearing God’s message from Jonah, Nineveh repented, so God did not destroy them.

Which really irritated Jonah.

Nineveh was an enemy of Israel, and Jonah wanted to see them perish.

But God is a loving God, and since the people of Nineveh humbled themselves before God and repented, they were spared.

Jonah then pouted.

He questioned God, wondering why such evil people would be spared.

He wanted to see them punished.

God then taught Jonah a lesson through a vine that provided shade (which Jonah welcomed) and then a worm that ate the vine (which Jonah mourned).

Jonah mourned the vine, but had no sense of compassion for the people of Nineveh.

I’ve been guilty of the very same thing, despising those who need to see and directly feel God’s love and hoping that they be punished, not even considering them to be God’s children and equally as deserving of God’s grace and full redemption (or equally undeserving, which is really the case).

Imagine if all God’s children spent all of their time spreading God’s love and His desire of salvation through repentance, even to those who they felt deserved punishment rather than redemption. 

Imagine if all those who heard in turn responded and repented, and both those we love and those we struggle with all join together in eternal celebration in the end.

God showed Jonah through is actions that His mercy and His offer of salvation even extends to those who are our enemies if they repent and ask for God’s forgiveness.

Jonah obviously was frustrated with that.

I bet that each of us at times may be that way too.

So let’s quickly recap:

  • Jonah was told by God to go to Nineveh and tell them they would perish if they did not repent
  • Jonah ran
  • Jonah was swallowed by a whale
  • Jonah repent, and the whale upchucked him on a beach
  • Jonah delivered God’s message to Nineveh
  • Nineveh repented
  • God spared Nineveh
  • Jonah pouted
  • God used the vine to teach Jonah a lesson

Are you like Jonah too at times?

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Most of us get anxious for that next step…whatever it may be…wherever it may take us.

We want that promotion.

We want that highly visible leadership role.

We want that toughest of all assignments.

We want to be used in meaningful ways.

We want to do important and meaningful things.

We want to be doing things different than what we are doing today.

We believe we’re ready.

We can’t understand why others may not share our own view of our readiness.

Over the last few weeks, I’ve smiled as others received promotions or new jobs and I’ve heard critics say, “he wasn’t ready”, or “it’s too early”.

The critics had their own views of “readiness”, whatever it was (often undefined by the way, because that’s what critics do), and the individuals getting those tough jobs (according to the critics) obviously didn’t fit that criteria.

But they did.

Because readiness is not just about having the requisite experience on some checklist, but instead, it’s an alignment and a common faith in ability between one needing someone to do a job, the individual fully capable of doing that job, and the team of individuals who will need and embrace that new leader in that job.

What those flare launching critics typically don’t understand is that readiness isn’t a state achieved by an individual, but instead, it’s an ecosystem of preparedness achieved by the one hiring, the one being hired, and the team surrounding both.

When a company hires a c-level exec, the company is making a statement about their readiness for that individual and that individual’s readiness to be part of that team.

And that same statement of readiness is made when anyone is hired for any position.

As individuals, our job is to do everything we can to prepare – through relentless efforts to improve, through making ourselves available for the toughest of jobs, through doing our very best in the job we are currently in, and through being that team player that together with others takes the team to new heights. 

By doing that, we get ourselves ready.

As leaders, we need to look beyond just the technical qualifications and biased view of experience (which most critics focus on) and clearly see the aptitude and attitude of each candidate for any particular role, including c-level positions. 

By doing that, we properly assess readiness.

Are you ready?

Do others perceive you as ready?

My guess is you’re ready!

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Do you dream?

Do you have big dreams?

Do those dreams have you playing big roles and accomplishing big things?

If not, why not?

If so, are you pursuing the dreams?

If not, why not?

If so, what do you need, who do you need, and when do you need those things and people necessary to live and then succeed in that dream?

I’m dreaming big right now.  Some of those dreams have me in them, but many of them do not.  If the dream doesn’t have me in it, I spend very little time trying to get me into that dream.  Instead, I focus on those dreams where I see myself playing a big role and achieving big results.

I hope you’re dreaming too.

Big time.

With big results.

And I hope you too see yourself doing game changing things that benefit others in big ways.

If, in the off chance, your dreams are fast and furious and not tied to what you do today or who you do it for today, then it might be time to check out that road not yet travelled and see where it leads.

You might just get in that dream.

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As I waited to board my plane today, a young man in a wheel chair powered into the gate area.  Then another.  And another.  Until we had five in wheel chairs, several others with missing limbs or deformities, and all smiling big time, enjoying themselves and very confident in their abilities in spite of their handicaps.

How many of us are the same way?

None of us are perfect, and few of us reflect great confidence in all of life’s endeavors, and each of these individuals reflected great confidence AND total command of themselves in any environment.

I’m convinced that those that overcome great adversity to achieve in phenomenal ways develop a level of confidence that is beyond what most of us will ever achieve who have never had to overcome in order to achieve.

Overcoming adversity develops strength.

Achieving against overwhelming odds creates confidence.

Smiling at obstacles and laughing at barriers delivers a level of positivity that will not be defeated.

My thanks to those awe generating athletes that wowed me with their actions and stories during my travels today.

Lesson learned.

Each of you was very special.

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I spent a week in aggressive business development and partnering discussions. 

Each meeting was eerily similar, yet different. 

Similar in content and tone. 

Different in expectations and outcomes.

Filled with facts, figures, examples, and references for areas of great strength.

One thing never talked about yet vitally important to all of the discussions was weakness. 

Partnering should strengthen a solution and compensate for weakness in one or both of those in the partnership. 

But no one ever said, “We’re weak in this area and trying to shore it up”. 

More importantly, no one said, “We have a glaring weakness in our company, and we want you to know about it as we talk about our partnership”.

Can you trust if you don’t openly talk about weaknesses?

We talked trust in every meeting.

We agreed trust was key to the success of any partnership.

We said trust could be reached if we transitioned from talk to action.

Yet we didn’t talk weaknesses.

May be time to reopen the partnering discussions.

And focus on weaknesses.

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How Fast?

I’m being pushed.

By those on the outside who want me to move further, faster.

By those on the inside who need me to do things better, faster.

By those all around me who need me to focus more intensely and react faster.

The constant?

Everything needs to be faster.

Further…better…more intensely…and all faster.

How fast can I go?

When I go fast, I make an incredible number of mistakes.

When I go really fast, I miss those little things that would launch the flares or put on the brakes when something is wrong.

When I go stunningly fast, I see an obviously good outcome with absolutely no understanding of the complexity of the path or any of the risks associated with getting to that outcome.

And yet, I think I go faster than most.

And make a lot of mistakes.

And miss (or ignore) the flares.

And have no understanding of the challenge in the path to get to the desired outcome.

But it’s not fast enough.

So how fast is fast enough?

How about this…

…when you’re at peace with the plan but distressed at the pace, then that’s not fast enough.

…when you’re at peace with the pace but distressed with the plan, then that’s too fast.

…when you’re at peace with the plan and the pace, then that’s fast enough.

When you’re at peace, you’ll go further, do things better, and focus more intensely…all faster.

Can you be challenged and still find peace?


Can you be nimble in decision making and aggressive in goals and still find peace?

Most certainly.

Can you live up to the expectations and desires of others and act at the speed they demand and still find peace?

Maybe not.

And maybe that’s a really good thing.

Seek peace.

And thus go faster.

How fast?

Peacefully fast.

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We all have things that we’re working on, and one of those things is a “must get done” for any number of reasons.

For that one that has to get done, who do you need to influence in order to make sure it does indeed get done?

Do you need to influence your boss to get an answer that you want or need in order to move the issue towards that state of “done”?

Do you need to influence your peers and get their support in order to advance the cause or at least not stand in the way?

Do you need to influence your subordinates to achieve or even over-achieve in order to get them to push harder to get it done?

Do you need to influence yourself in order to overcome lethargy or complacency which may be the only thing standing in the way of pushing something through to “done”?

For those most important things, someone needs to be influenced.

Influence is getting others (or yourself) to do something, and in the case of each of these above, it’s getting others to do something needed to move a top priority to the state of “done”.

Now, go back over your list of top priorities that need to get done.

How many require you to take that initial first step?

How many are on hold right now because you believe someone else has to be influenced, which really requires you to take an action to move it forward?

If you’re like me, the list is dominated by things I need to do, and though I deflect the blame onto others, the ball’s really in my court and the needed influence is really geared towards me taking that next step.

That really sucks.

I don’t need to influence anyone else until I influence myself to take a next step.

Good grief.

Enlightenment hurts!

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