Backstory

Beauty, Success, Winning & Achievements – these are all the outcomes of various important & significant backstories. And knowing the backstory can make the outcomes all the more amazing & incredible. While I️ totally love all the cool results, I️ find myself even more interested in the backstories because these experiences help me grow, learn & apply some massively essential lessons & disciplines.
Don’t belittle nor shortchange the process or backstory that facilitates your desired outcomes!

Planning to Succeed!

I had an interesting chat with one of my children this morning about the importance of planning. In our conversation, they told me that they didn’t want to make a plan for the summer to achieve a particular goal. I replied, as I’ve learned from my husband, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” As much as this quote rankles me, it’s nonetheless true, across a variety of platforms, including prayer!
Watch this quick video for an idea to help you with prayer!

 

Keys to Being Productive

I have teenage kids at home for Summer break. While I enjoy their company, I’m in their lives to help them be successful & time management is part of the drill. Here are some coaching points I’m giving them, that might be helpful reminders for you (and PLEASE GIVE ME YOUR IDEAS, as well):

  • Outcome Engineering: looking down the road, what are the big things that need to be achieved? Then develop steps & the timeline that will produce that achievement so it’s doesn’t become overwhelming or impossible by its size or urgency.
  • Incentives: do the work & save the fun as a reward rather than the reverse
  • Daily plan: create a daily routine that integrates the steps for the big projects, as well as the habits you want to foster.
  • Accountability: give someone or a few people permission to ask about your daily plan & progress on the big projects

What are some other things you’ve learned to help you be productive? Thanks for sharing!!

A Little Extra!

I’ve been around lots of high achievers throughout my life & these great people have inspired me in various ways. I’ve met individuals who’ve overcome educational deficiencies, social disparities, financial impossibilities & physical disabilities. Regardless of these obstacles, these individuals have accomplished seeming impossibilities. Here are a few common things I’ve observed from these individuals:

  • Faith – not so much in themselves but moreso in God’s presence & power working through them
  • Persistence – it’s hard to find “quit” in high achievers
  • A little more – even if it’s s smidgen, iota, millimeter or micro-speck more, high achievers give that extra push.

Whatever the challenges that lay in your path, be sure to see them as opportunities for God to grow you to be bigger than

Do You Like To Succeed?

I’ve been doing some new projects: trying my hand at making bread & working on getting my YouTube channel up & running! With my attempts, I’ve had lots of bumps along the road. For example, I forgot to turn on the mic & focus the lens for the video stuff & my bread stuff last week wasn’t tasty. But I keep trying & more importantly, I keep improving!
The principle of gradual improvement is a good thing to embrace because it helps us avoid the failure trap. This trap says that the failing as an action becomes failure, the noun. Just because you fail doesn’t make you a failure. Let’s be aware that failing is an integral part of the process for succeeding, when we stay in a state of continual learning. Succeeding is the consequence of learning from both failures & mistakes. So let’s celebrate the bumps along the road because they inch us closer & closer to success!!

I Want MORE!!!!

Friday, I had a glorious day of snowboarding!! The sun was out, snow was good, runs were empty & there was no wind. Needless to say, I could’ve ridden for endless hours & enjoyed a unique bliss that’s not easily acquired. But alas, I stopped when I could’ve gone for heaps more.
I think it’s very human to want more – more dessert, more sleep, more success, more adrenaline, more chocolate, more vacation, etc. But alas, there’s such a thing as overdose & it’s not just for drugs. We would be wise to quit while we still want more. This principle is a healthy guideline across the entirety of our lives with one exception: Jesus.
We are designed to crave our Creator & our lives will remain unsatisfied until we appreciate that ultimately, we’re only fulfilled through a rich, vibrant & continuous relationship with Jesus!

Hot Topic: Successful Outcomes!!

” . . . . and the Lord brought about a great victory.” 2Samuel 23:12
I read this morning about some dude, Shammah, defending a field of lentils. Initially, a lentil field doesn’t sound like something to get really upset about, let alone turn into a major military engagement. But alas, Shammah picked the lentil field & that was his “line in the sand.” This verse also says that Shammah took his stand in the field, defended it & struck down the Philistines. After Shammah’s three actions, taking his stand, defending the field & striking the Philistines, God gave him a great victory.
It seems like we often want to know that God will give us a great victory before we make the commitment to a lentil field or put out the effort to fight for something.
Sometimes I think that God waits for us to be fully engaged & committed before giving us a great victory.
Might there be a few areas in your life to which you could increase your commitment so that God would provide a great victory? This is something worth considering today!

Hurray for Practice!

My family made the Thanksgiving meal yesterday & it was a smashing success! I’m not saying this to brag, but rather to acknowledge years of practice that have finally culminated in success – YAHOOOO!! In any given year in the past, I was practicing on how to cook a turkey that wasn’t dry or under-done. I was also practicing a few other dishes to make them not only edible but also tasty! And this year, I’m celebrating success!!!

We all want to be successful, but we don’t often celebrate the practice required to be successful – so let’s take a moment to applaud attempts & failures more than victories 🙂

Here are some things that help us to be successful:

Teamwork: yesterday, my whole family pitched in to make various parts of the meal & no one was unraveled by too much work!
Practice: keep trying!!
Testing: the guests that came to our meal were the testers. It helps immensely to have objective input on our journey to success

Win the Race!!!

I’m a very competitive person and that can be really bad.  For example, I used to play in our church’s an annual flag football tournament.  After a few years, I decided to remove myself from playing because I couldn’t find a way to compete with a friendly demeanor.  So when Paul says in 1 Cor 9:24, “. . . , run in such as way as to win the prize, ” I would use this phrase to justify my poor behavior.  Of course I took the verse out of context and this verse can often be misappropriated & rationalized to accommodate personal success rather than transformed redemption.  But as followers of Jesus, winning the prize doesn’t align with the world’s definition of victory & success.  Indeed, consider the recent Olympic illustration of “winning the prize”:  running to win

Let’s enedeavor to be successful by the definition of following Jesus rather than letting our flesh or the world define success for us!

What Is Success?

I can’t think of a person who wants to fail or be unsuccessful, but I think we need to be careful about how we define success. If success is our bank account, then we might be letting money be an idol. If success is our achievements, then we might be in danger of becoming self-absorbed. If success is how we look, then we run the risk of worshipping the image idol. 
There are lots of ways to frame or define success, but if we use the Bible to define success then let’s consider Jer 9:23-24. These verses say that success isn’t based on our wealth, our strength or our intelligence. Instead, success is based on the life pursuit of knowing God. 

May everything we do spring from this definition of success: that we live to know God better day after day, with the help of the Holy Spirit!

failure goes with training

Don’t be afraid to fail, but do be afraid to stop trying.

Sometimes, I think we don’t try to do things because we don’t want to fail or we’re afraid we won’t do well.  I’ve come to conclusion that failure is an essential ingredient for training and ultimately for success.  It’s seems to me that the road to success is littered with a fair amount of both failure and persistence.

I say this thinking about Joseph in the book of Genesis & his success in keeping nations from literally starving to death.  When you consider his leadership work in Egypt during an epic famine, it’s more than just a little impressive.  But consider that Joseph had lots of practice & failure along the journey to get him to a place where he could be so outrageously successful.  I would suggest that he was training and practicing in leadership with his family during the dreams and many colored coat thing.  Furthermore, he was training with his administrative & leadership skills in Potipher’s house & prison.  And all of this was for the ultimate purpose of rescuing thousands & possibly millions from starving when he became second in command in Egypt under Pharaoh.

So when we fail, let’s replace any potential shame with applause, that we tried to do something new or different and we can only get better from here!  The other side of failure could mean life for lots of people around you!  Be sure to let the Holy Spirit continue to help you practice and get better 🙂

Avoiding Disaster

Cooking a turkey has the potential to be a dance with disaster. I know this to be true, based in years of practice & research. But this year is likely to be different, probably. I say this because of not only years of practice & failures but also because of preparation. 
I’m learning that I can avoid lots of disasters with a little bit of preparation. For example, Gideon in the book of Judges, avoided various disasters because he walked a path of preparation with God. Seems to me that God primed Gideon for his massive victory over the Midianites through extensive preparation: angel visitation, tearing down an altar to idolatry, fleece adventures, people screening & even eavesdropping. 

I may not always enjoy the preparation process but I certainly like the outcomes better than the results of poor preparation. Let’s be careful not to belittle the process of preparation 🙂

Be Good at You

  
One of my favorite Bible stories is David & Goliath so I always find myself cheering for the underdog. I’m also deeply inspired by David’s courage & confidence in God. There have been innumerable occasions in my life when I’ve encouraged myself with David, a mere shepherd, defeating a giant seasoned warrior. 
These points can help all of us when we confront various giants in our lives:

  • David’s confidence was in God & no one else
  • David didn’t fight as a warrior but rather from who he was – a shepherd (Saul’s armor didn’t fit & he used a sling for his weapon)
  • David had to stand against his brother’s derision & insults – sometimes families aren’t the supportive people we desire
  • David had to speak up & assert himself rather than be a meek & docile wallflower – he let himself be recognized & known
  • David recognized that previous struggles were practice for Goliath (lion & bear)

Lets allow God to help us be good at who we are rather than pretending or projecting to be someone we are not!

Success Secret Sauce

  
This is a page of my handwriting, which is possibly the most illegible you’ll ever see in your entire life. But I keep writing – not to make my handwriting better (that might be hopeless) but for a different reason, maybe a little bit like Peter, one of Jesus’ disciples.

Consider that Peter was one of the crowning examples of success on the Day of Pentecost when he stood up to share about Jesus to a massive crowd of curious Jews. From Peter’s message, 3,000 became followers of Jesus & the Christian church was birthed with the power of the Holy Spirit. But if one looks into Peter’s years preceding Pentecost, I wouldn’t really throw him in the “successful category.” From my perspective, he was kind of a loose lipped, impulsive wannabe, not unlike me from time to time. 
But here’s an essential ingredient for the success secret sauce: practice. 

Peter kept practicing even though he had frequent failures, shortfalls & general stupidity. But he kept practicing. Even when Jesus corrected Peter, he didn’t quit practicing. Sometimes Peter got it right, “Jesus, you’re the Son Of God.” Sometimes he needed to keep practicing, like when he tried to forbid Jesus from dying for the sins of the world, whoops. 

Rather than framing our mistakes in the failure or quitting filter, let’s keep the practice mindset & know that the more we practice the more we grow & the better people we become. What are some areas in your life that need more practice?

It’s Important to be Successful

In contrast to success, I don’t think any of us purposefully set out to fail or enjoy defeat. Indeed, the word, “defeat” causes me to recoil & evokes a gagging reflex in me. Truth be known, I’d rather not try & avoid defeat than to try & feel defeated – operative word, “feel”. 

How we feel & what we think about success is really important to consider because our thinking & feeling affect what we do & even how we organize our priorities. Let me suggest to you that we humans tend to frame success in the terms of results but maybe God frames success in different terms. Perhaps obedience is more important to God than results. Is it possible that God defines success as obedience more than results?  

Just some food for thought 🙂

Help to Succeed

 I don’t like to fail. Actually, I LOATH failing so much that I sometimes refuse to try something altogether to avoid the failure experience & feeling, but that’s a different blog. Here are a few things that help me with success:

*eliminate distractions: as I type this, I’m in an airport with my husband with as river of people, noise & activities flowing by me. I’m focused because I’ve got my headphones in & I’m actively disciplining my attention to write something that will help both of us 🙂
*maintain routines in whatever area you want success: writing, exercise, cooking, friendships, Bible time, church, etc; routines are fertilizers for success 😉
*frame failures, weaknesses, flaws & shortfalls in the grid of practice lest you be tempted to quit altogether
*pray & play – asking for God’s help & add some balance with a little bit of “play”
*dont quit, ’nuff said on that ,)
What are some different pointers that have helped you with success?  Feel free to share your constructive thoughts 🙂
 

do you want to be successful?

How’s that for a stupid question!?!!  I don’t start anything with the intent to fail & I most certainly do not like to fail, full stop.  But some of my thinking about success has been changing & I’m becoming more aware that many of my ideas about success have been more influenced by my American culture rather than the Bible.  My culture says that success is all about being bigger, better, more, power, stronger, wealthy, popular, image driven, new, hip, trendy & all things glitz & glam.  In the American culture, success isn’t about being broken, serving, homely, unpopular or tarnished, some of the things that Jesus personified & taught.  The more I think about success from a cultural versus a biblical perspective, I have to conclude that my culture and the Bible don’t always agree.  The important part of the disagreement is the side on which I chose to live.  If I have to chose between being successful based on the Bible or on my culture, I’m going to side with the biblical definition of success 🙂

How about you?

a requirement to succeed

I was in 5th grade when I first tried to play basketball & I was 100% horrible.  Neither of my parents are particularly athletic nor did they have alot of athletic background or experience.  Furthermore, we didn’t have lots of sports stuff when I was growing up so my recess basketball games at school were the extent of getting some initial experience.  For whatever reason, I wanted to be good at basketball so I decided to keep trying even though I was awful.  I didn’t have much success at the beginning of my efforts, but I kept trying.  I had horrible shooting form because I wasn’t strong enough to get the ball to the hoop.  I couldn’t dribble to save my life & I was more uncoordinated than  any 5th grade girl in my class, but I kept trying.  When I entered 6th grade, I joined a school that had a girls basketball team & I shockingly made the Varisty squad, but was soon demoted to JV, but I kept trying.  Throughout my middle school years, I continued to play basketball & because I kept trying, I began to improve.  When I was in 8th grade, we had a freethrow competition to see who could make the most free throws out of 50 attempts.  I tried really hard & came in 2nd on my team.  I went on to play basketball in high school and kept trying to get better.  I continued to improve and was privileged to be on a team that went on to win the state championship 🙂

Moral of the story:  long-term success requires that we keep trying

practice :)

Failure is merely the evidence that more practice is needed.  I have a fun list of things that I’m pretty good at:  languages, cooking, basketball, travel, etc.  But the only reason I’m good at these things is because I’ve had alot of practice with them that has included boatloads of failures.  I don’t think I could even begin to list all of the burned or raw chickens I’ve made, the traveling bloopers I’ve done – especially with Saving Moses, baskets I’ve missed and comical mistakes I’ve made trying to learn various languages.  Failure is nothing more than an investment for success as long as we don’t quit 🙂

keep practicing!

gearing up

Whenever I go snowboarding, I’ve learned to check the weather forecast so I can be appropriately dressed.  If it’s snowing, it helps to wear water repellant gear.  If it’s cloudy, I try to remember to bring my flat light goggles.  While you may find this to be boring, the principle remains that we need to prepare in advance for things that we know could be challenging or difficult.  Sometimes if we know that we’re going to be in some tricky family situations (with Christmas around the corner), it helps to do some mental coaching ahead of time about the things we should or should not discuss.  It helps to coach ourselves about our attitudes and some of our thinking so that when we get in some potential hotspots, we have done some preparation work ahead of time to help us with our words, actions and attitudes.  Gear up my friends, in constructive ways, there could be some hotspots on the horizon in the next few weeks 🙂