Monday, November 18, 2013

Much to be thankful for...

My son Luke just returned from a missions trip to Haiti.  For anyone who has served in this way, you get the sense that you are going to do this work for the people.  You are going to fix roads, build fences and encourage the local missionaries.  But that is not how God sees it. 
Luke and his friends during the work in Haiti

He always does much more IN YOU than He does through you.  Luke is a great kid.  But he, like all of us, takes for granted the amazing life that we enjoy in the US. 

After spending a week in Haiti, he fell in love with the people.  Even though they had almost nothing, they had joy.  He played duck, duck, goose with some of the orphans and now wants to sponsor them.  He saw how the other 95% of the world live.  Very sobering, very humbling.

He cannot stand social media now as the kids his age complain about the stupidest things.  For example, they don't have to get their water from a polluted river.  His friends will likely not have to beg for their meals today. 

I am proud of my son.  But convicted as well.  How can I let the problems of my day in any way get me down?  Traffic, aches and pains, business setbacks... hey I have a God who loves me, a wife who is my best friend, amazing kids, and I love my job. 

Thanks for the reminder Luke!

Monday, November 11, 2013

What are the Keys to being in the Zone?

Recently I read a book called The Element.  It has already inspired one of my recent blog posts.   The idea of the book is that for us to be all that we are going to be, we have to be in our element.  And your element is kind of like your sweet spot.  Another way he describes it is these following words:
  • aptitude
  • passion
  • attitude
  • opportunity

These words lead you to learning what your element is. 

First you need to have the aptitude at it.  For example, you might think you want to be an engineer, but if you fail your math and physics courses in high school, you might not have the aptitude to pursue that career.  For me, I took an accounting class in high school and it totally clicked.  It just made sense.  Many of my friends thought it was hard.  I could not understand how they couldn't get it!  

In college, I took my first music class, piano.  I could slowly but surely learn how to apply the keys to make different notes.  But when we put it together to make a tune, I fell far behind all of the other students in class.  I think my teacher quickly assessed I should not make music my career!  Zero aptitude.

Second, do you have a passion for that which you are gifted?  Ideally, the things you are good at you love.  You love it so much that you don't consider it work to spend time doing that activity.  You think about it when you are not doing it.  You talk to people everywhere you go about this passion.

Next, the aptitude and passion should produce an attitude.  This attitude should be of perseverance, self-belief, optimism and ambition.  Sadly, many of us don't have this attitude because of the life we grew up within.  Perhaps your home wasn't very encouraging.  You may have been one of those who wasn't "intelligent" as the world might judge it (standardize testing and traditional school).  These sorts of things will definitely get in the way of your success.  It is impossible to succeed without the attitude that believes you CAN!

And finally opportunity plays a role in being in our element.  The example he uses in the book about the cowboy who grows up in Antarctica.  He may have the first 3 but in that he is not in a place to succeed, it doesn't happen.  I would also say that if you are middle class or above, you likely have a much better opportunity to be in your element, discover your element.

Putting these all these together allows those to succeed.  These are generally the people that you meet who say they don't think of work as work.  Rather they LOVE what they do for a living.  This is a great joy!  I feel that is where I have been.  I started my own business then worked for a family business.  And now I run a makeup company.  I have always loved the chance to set my own path.  I have enjoyed the risks and rewards of setting that path.  I have certainly not always succeeded, but regardless, I have an aptitude for business.  I have a passion for it.  I was raised in an environment where everything seemed possible giving me the right attitude.  And finally, I was raised in a family business.  I had the opportunity to learn about business every day at dinner.  We had the means to send me to college.  All this has allowed me to be in my element.  I have always LOVED what I have done! 

I trust this is you as well!  Work takes up way too much of our time to NOT love it!

Monday, November 4, 2013

TED Talks Rock!

I love TED.  TED is an organization that has speakers present for no more than 18 minutes on the subjects of T-technology, E-entertainment, and D-design.  Spend an hour watching TED talks and you will realize our world is filled with people who are AMAZING!  Watch these talks regularly and you will likely become more positive about the world we live in.  And they just might make you want to become more yourself!

I also love the search feature.  It is very unique.  You can select the amount of time you want to watch, then chose inspirational, funny, amazing, educational, etc.  TED chooses talks for you.

And it is all FREE!