IF YOU DON’T LIKE HOW THINGS ARE, CHANGE IT!

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IF YOU DON’T LIKE HOW THINGS ARE, CHANGE IT!     Jim Rohn, one of America’s most insightful writers, business leaders and inspirational voices, wrote these words.  He finished his His statement with these words: “You’re not a tree.”

No, a tree does not get to become a flower, a bird, a fox.  But, you? me? we?  What is so extraordinary about human consciousness is that it has the ability to continuously express, to re-create, and re-state.  If you think about it, there is nothing truer to a person’s life book than the capacity to:  create a chapter; live a chapter; close a chapter.  Our  capacity to pursue conscious change is a gift we give ourselves.

I witnessed an inspiring case in point this weekend.  John and his new bride, Emily, shared their vows of commitment before 200 guests at Laguna Beach Presbyterian Church.  My wife and I have known John for 20+ years dating back to his entry into his teen years with our son and his group of friends.

Looking at John stand with Emily brought a flood of memories to my mind about that kid of long ago and the man he has now become.  John spent many years, not unlike many teens, facing lots of challenges.  Our family was part of the network who came alongside him when his life was in free fall…much of which was not in his control at all.

But, now here he was…a day  symbolizing  monumental changes and choices over the last dozen years. He has created good health.  He has healed his relationships with family members and they with him.  He is a Pastor involved in a dynamic church ministry at a Presbyterian Church in Seattle. He is studying to get his Doctorate. He is over the moon in love with his new bride.  And, as a funny aside to this man who has made life change the currency of his life,  he has tenaciously and tightly held onto one love from his past that doesn’t seem to bring him any trouble whatsoever.  John is a hardcore Laker fan.  Emily is now being indoctrinated to this part of John’s old life chapters.

John’s  story is intended for Monday Morning motivation.  My question is:  Are you the person who can choose to make changes you seek?  John’s new chapter is a watershed change.  It’s big, bold and full of life discovery  He now pursues.  Saturday was a declaration day for John and for Emily

Is it possible you are working on change?   Is a new chapter now emerging and being defined by new choices you now consider?  Invite yourself to step onto the doormat of such change firmly grounded:

  • Keep track of your self-dialogue concerning the change, particularly if it is a major one.
  • Investigate the steps that may be involved with the change.
  • Discuss the change with trusted advisors.

Let me conclude with a final word on change from Mr. Rohn: “Don’t say, ‘If I could, I would.’  Say, ‘If I can, I will.”

Let’s leap into this Monday’s Magic shaping the good.!

GOOD OL’ SUMMERTIME WITH MARK TWAIN

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GOOD OL’ SUMMERTIME WITH  MARK TWAIN   Our family was in Twain Hart recently to play our annual round of miniature golf at the best 18 holes I know.  As you will remember from your school days, Twain Hart was made famous by Mark Twain, America’s great humorist, author, novelist and world renown lecturer of his day.

So, I wanted to bring you a bit of Monday inspiration in the form of some witty, timeless, and pithy statements that Twain made.   Twain’s insight into the human condition is fully on display. Today’s cultural social media scene has no voice like this man did in his day.   And, likewise, I would venture the bold belief that no one today could use Twitter regularly and deliver the genius mind that Twain delivered to the America of his day.  The closest we have  to experiencing  a mind like Twain’s is Garrison Keillor.

So, I invite you to enjoy a small slice of the deep reservoir that IS Samuel Clemens, just as I did in selecting a sampling of quotable quotes from this 19th century extraordinary voice of the American storybook.

“It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt.”

“When I was younger I could remember anything whether it happened or not.”

“It is not the size of the dog in the fight. It is the size of the fight in the dog.”

“Do the right thing.  It will gratify most people and astonish the rest.”

“Be careful reading health books. You may die of a misprint.”

“The best way to cheer your self up is to try to cheer someone else up.”

“When you fish to love, bait with your heart, not your brain.”

“When in doubt, tell the truth.”

“Man was made at the end of the week when God was tired.”

“Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.”

“Patriotism is supporting your country all the time and your government when it deserves it.”

“My mother had a great deal of trouble with me, but I think she enjoyed it.”

“It is better to take what does not belong to you than to let it be around neglected.”

“Go to heaven for the climate; hell for the company.”

“Get your facts first, then you can distort them as you please.”

“Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.”

“Denial ain’t just a river in Egypt.”  “Never put off ’til tomorrow what you can do the day after tomorrow.”

“The more you explain it, the more I don’t understand it.

“The human race has one really effective weapon, and that is laughter.”

Well, my Inspiration Impulse friend, did you find one or more that really perked you up and put a smile on your face to greet another busy week of you doing YOU?  Let me leave you with my favorite Twain quote as I sign off with this Monday morning vitamin of motivational lightheartedness:  “Never put off ’til tomorrow what you can do the day after tomorrow.”

CHOOSE,RESPOND,CHANGE

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Choose,Repond,Change      “Every human has four endowments: self awareness, conscience,independent will, and creative imagination.  These give us the power to ultimate human freedom…the power to choose, to respond, to change.”  Stephen Covey

Three thumbnail stories highlight my last five days.  After I share these mini-life vignettes, I have a question to ask you that just may ceatively energize your week in ways you cannot imagine.

Story #1. Last Thursday evening we were invited to have dinner with our neighborhood friends of thirty years, Reg and Joan Jones.It was our last night as residents of Mission Viejo. Our conversation was light and full of fun.  We spent a bit of time kicking the can down the road about our Friday move day.  In the midst of the banter, Reg blurted out, “Change is a good thing. It grows your interest in discovering something new.”

Reg was speaking from his experience of the last seven years since he turned in his tool belt as an Executive, grabbed a “walking stick” andwith his wife at his side has hiked some of the most beautiful trails throughout the world.

Story #2 On Saturday evening, my wife and I attended a Diving exhibition at Fullerton Jr. College.  Reese, our second oldest grandchild, is a member of SoCal, a diving team.  Reese took up diving at age 10. She wanted to do something different.  She and her teammates put on quite a show, demonstrating a wide spectrum of skill and experience.  At the conclusion of the event, the So Cal swim coach invited 5 divers to do a dive they had never successfully completed.  Each diver was putting himself/ herself out on the edge of their abilities. It was amazing to watch these divers go for it…including one diver who attempt a  4 1/2 somersault dive from a 3 meter board… This dive is one of the most difficult dives at the Olympic level of competition.  This young man hopes to compete in the Olympics.

Story #3 On Sunday morning, I made a weekly phone call to a woman on the East Coast who I have recently reconnected with from my days as a Pastor in Santa Rosa, CA back in the late 70’s to mid 80’s.

My friend, who has dealt with significant painful life issues, is seeking to make changes in her life.   She wants change and she is now taking beginning steps to carefully and safely nurture her new beginnings.   From my experience, of coming alongside people in the reworking of hopefulness, I know how challenging it is to make the choices that she is now exploring.  I honor her for her courage and  clarity to invite God’s renewing grace into the midst of this renewal project she has committed her energies to pursue.

Three stories. Each one is distinctly different. Yet the skeletal structure of change is as Covey described…self awareness,conscience, independent will, and creative imagination…which has been distinctly energized with the power to choose,respond and change.

My question of provocation on this Monday in mid-July,2017: What focus of positive, powerful, purposeful, productive change is coming at you toexplore? Where are you sensing a readiness to take on the challenge to embrace?

Have a great day. I will be thinking about how many of you, my Inspiration Impulse Readers, will be having important self dialogue this week about the question.

ROBUST STANISLAUS RIVER AT NIGHT

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ROBUST STANISLAUS RIVER AT NIGHT   The Middle Fork of the Stanislaus River was strutting its stuff this week as I had never before seen in the 36 years that our family has been frequenting Strawberry, a little bend in the road on Highway 108, that takes you over the Sonora Pass to the east side of the Sierras and Hwy 395.

The large cabin we have been using for over 30 years at the Rivers Resort has finally been outgrown by our clan of 17.  The reason we have loved this particular cabin is its proximity to the river.  This year we immediately could see the impact of the 2017 record-breaking winter storms.  What has been for many years a tranquilly flowing summer river that was safe to wade across or fish a hole, was a raging torrent of water cascading over and through hollowed out granite and pounding large tree trunks that had fallen into its torrid path.

And the sound. Oh, my gosh.  At night, what had in past years been the tranquil flow of a steady current that lulled you to sleep, was this year a crushing current that boldly shouted its presence and power.

I have always been fascinated by the movement of rivers.   For me, rivers are a metaphor. They draw forth from within me visitations of reflection.  This year was no different.  Unlike prior years I did not go down to my favorite rock as I usually do several times during my Strawberry week to look up stream at Nature’s gorgeous palette.   Instead, my reflections were nightly as I wandered off to sleep to the torrent of water speaking its powerful story to a man in transition.

The power of the river’s voice was not painful.  Surely, it was convincing.  It was making a statement with its forceful voice proclaiming…I am carving out your new, unfamiliar future; Move boldly with the purposeful, powerful flow that is now present in your life.

What is that purposeful, powerful flow?  It’s carving out a statement of new life.   This week we move into a new home in Fullerton.  My wife and I have “right-sized” our living environment!   This is a big, bold change and we are excited about it.   We are moving into a neighborhood where we envision ourselves being the block Grandparents…there are young families everywhere on the street where we will live.  New relationships are going to be found; new ways of making community are going to be created.  My wife is thrilled to be creating a whole new living space for us and for our family that will visit us often.

I am finding the currents of my professional engagement now in the process of unwinding.  Interestingly, I do not see this change as stepping away as much as stepping into a different and increasingly welcoming opportunity to deepen my relational life journey with the timeless voice of the Creator.  I do believe that the Creator’s voice can speak to us as we live in the waters of His constant movement that never tires and never ceases to move.  For me, this movement of discovery is about  life beyond the fulfillment of a 40+ professional career that has brought me countless people blessings.

Yes, it was good to listen to the robust Stanislaus in the darkness of night. Its voice was vibrant and clear saying, Move with Me. I Am steady, strong.  My currents will carry you where you need to go.

FAILURE: Predictor or Prelude?

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FAILURE: Predictor or Prelude?    “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”  Winston Churchill.   To predict is to use information to support probable future events.   Predicting failure as our future is holding to a tight belief that past performance will very likely be repeated.   Again, Churchill says, Stop…re-think the belief that past failure is a predictor  Again, Churchill states, ” Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.”

Henry Ford also understood failure as Prelude, which means he understood failure as continuous opening, discovering, learning, encountering.   Ford spoke of failure this way:  “The only real mistake is the one from which we learn nothing.”

What about J.K Rowling, the most prolific and successful writer of the late 20th, early 21st century?  What has she discovered about past failure as predictor or prelude?  She states, ” Failure is so important.  We speak about success all the time.  It is the ability to resist failure or use failure that often leads to greater success. I’ve met people who don’t want to try for fear of failing.”

So, I ask you, my Inspiration Impulse Reader, how do you weigh in?  Is failure-to-success a function of keeping on, keeping on as a risk-taker with life’s opportunities to be a continuous, optimistic learn at home, at work and in the community?   I believe so.   I am not familiar with  Eloise Ristad, but I do love what she writes about failing into success:  “When we give ourselves permission to fail, we, at the same time, give ourselves permission to excel.”

Over the past month, I have had the opportunity to come alongside a professional who has been grappling with the issue of failure as predictor.   As I have listened with an intuitive mind to this professional talk about the fear of being defined by past failures, I have noticed that failure always seeks a final verdict.   Failure always wants a tombstone.  Failure always says, ‘Let’s settle up.’  Failure declares, “Game Over; Go Home. You’re Done.”

When the predictive mental habit of failure speaks like a hammer hitting your head, it feels like a nightmare you are waking up to daily.   Ultimately, this nagging nightmare can become what we carry into each day and accept as the Truth.

The fact is that the nightmare of permanent, unending failure is a nightmare of a mind  denying the hopefulness of becoming a Forever Learner.   When we transform failure from Constant Nightmare to a Forever Learner, we stop beating our head against a closed door called Success and, instead, we put our hand on the doorknob of the Success door and turn it, ever so gently, with our mental/emotional/spiritual intention to purposefully step forward  into  a new room of learning.

Many people have come my way over my lifetime to tell me how they have beat their on a door of failure they can’t open.  My counsel has  always the same.  Beating your head against failure’s door  will not heal you. Get your hand on the doorknob of Today, and turn that doorknob, knowing your past is never intended to predict anything.  Your Past is life learning leading you forward.  Open the door named Now.  Walk forward with your Past.  It predicts nothing. Simply walk forward knowing you are creating anew.  C.S Lewis understood failure as  Prelude.  He wrote, “Failures are finger posts on the road to achievement.”

A good week awaits you!  Embrace it.  Pursue it.  See it. Feel it.  Invite your Past to move purposefully with you.

KEN BLANCHARD: MONDAY MOTIVATORS

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KEN BLANCHARD: MONDAY MOTIVATORS   He stands in the Pantheon of Leadership Development.   During my professional career I have had the opportunity to listen and learn from this Marketplace Sage who blends brilliant, down-home substance and style to help leaders understand the fundamentals of positive influence for good.

So on this Monday, I want to provide a bit of Ken Blanchard Wisdom to help guide our day, our week and our understanding of what causes people to become fantastic motivators who shape the good at home, at work and in the communities of their influence.

So, with that brief introduction, let’s experience Blanchard at his best with a sampling from 100 Quotes by Ken Blanchard.   I begin with: The key to successful leadership today is influence, not authority.  In the past a leaders was a boss. Today’s leaders must be partners with their people.

These three sentences capture the heart of influential leadership in every field.   I have been influenced to produce good work by having mentors work their magic of accompanying and teaching me to step boldly.  Leadership walks with.  Leadership accompanies. Leadership challenges.

None of us is as smart as all of us.  I am always amazed at the power of Group Think.   The synergy of conceiving, birthing, nurturing and finally delivering an idea toward an outcome is so exciting when the genesis of great outcomes is built on the bedrock of shared collaboration.  Let’s hear Blanchard comment, again, on this subject: Leadership is not something you do to people. It’s something you do with people.

If you want your people to be responsible, be responsive to their needs.  Journey back into your professional life  and mentally revisit one or two individuals who were major players shaping you as a professional.  Every Inspiration Impulse Reader who takes a moment will experience the same common thread: Leaders are responsive to the needs of the individual…you and me.  Great Leaders operate with the DNA of caring about the needs of another.

Why is accompanying with care  a vital focus of great leadership? Blanchard delivers another gem with these words:  People who feel good about themselves produce good results.   Feeling good about ourselves! Wow, that requires daily exercise, not just in our thought world but in our relationship world.  Feeling good about ourselves  often has a story-line of  mutually share experiences.   Watch any athletic team win a big game and you will always see the feel good story  is rooted in the contributions of many.  WE thrive on accomplishing together.  WE excel pursuing goals together.

This leads me to a final gem from Blanchard:  You have the power to help people become winners.  WE love to win together.   That is the genius of today’s leadership mission, winning together.   In a world that often isolates and separates itself by Us vs. Them,  great leaders pursue the opposite…uniting, bringing together, including and empowering the many to move in the rhythm of One…individualized by the efforts of many.

Our understanding of leadership, as found in the contributions on this subject by Ken Blanchard, rests on a rock-solid foundation.  Leadership stands with others, not above.

Let’s make a week of it, in whatever arena of life with we can exercise our leadership role, to find our way to stand with others, lift up others, and celebrate our shared successes with others.

D.C. MY KIND OF TOWN

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D.C.  MY KIND OF TOWN   No, not the politics of 2017, but the history that oozes out of everywhere.  As a college kid, American History was my major.  Over the years when I have had the opportunity to visit this vibrant hub of our democracy, I know it has always revealed more of its stories to me.   So, here are a handful of incidental discoveries I made on this 2 Day D.C. DiscoveryTour.  Just know that if you were writing about such a visit, you would  have a completely different list of D.C. TakeAways.

At Martin’s Tavern, we had dinner adjacent to the booth where John F. Kennedy wrote the draft of his Inaugural Address in 1961. All Presidents since Harry Truman have dined at Martin’s.

The Pentagon was built with primarily concrete and mortar in sixteen months.

The city’s grid has four quadrants, NorthWest,SouthWest, NorthEast, and SouthEast. The quadrants imminate from the basement of the Capitol Building.

425,000 individuals are now buried in Arlington Cemetery.  10-12 burials are conducted Monday through Saturday. It is anticipated that by 2025, the cemetery will be full.

At night, you can see the Eternal Flame burning at the JFK memorial when looking from the backside of the Lincoln Memorial.

There are now three memorials to the Vietnam War on the National Mall.  A fourth is now in planning. It will be a visitor welcome center adjacent to the Lincoln Memorial and the major feature of the 4th memorial will be a constantly changing display of memorabilia that has been left at The Wall by loved ones and friends…including a Harley Davidson motorcycle that was left at the wall in honor of one of the 58,000+ soldiers who died or remain missing in action.

Oprah Winfrey donated 13 million dollars to help complete the newest building on the Mall, the Museum of African American History, just recently opened to the public.

The Tidal Basin that reaches down to the Thomas Jefferson Memorial averages 10 feet in depth. If you mess with the cherry blossom trees that surround the Tidal Basin, beware! You will be fined big time.

When Ronald Reagan temporarily awoke from sedation in 1981 while being operated on for a bullet wound, he looked at the surgeon and asked, ” Are you a Republican?”  The surgeon replied, “We’re all Republicans today, Mr. President.”

Martin Luther King Jr.’s original name was Michael Luther King Jr. His father was inspired to change both his name and his son’s name as a result of a European visit where he became inspired by the leader of the Reformation, Martin Luther.

Finally, these words which captures the majesty, the mystique, the memories that make D.C. My Kind of Town: “The price for freedom is not free.”