Lead Dog

Lead DogWhy do the greatest leaders come from the humblest of beginnings? Why do they encourage others to follow them, even as they are quick to bend a knee in service to everyone else? Why is their end better than their beginning?

Unless you’re lead dog, the view never changes.

The arrogant read that simple phrase with the belief that leadership is a title bestowed. Those of humble beginnings know that leadership is a fiduciary responsibility to bring out the best in others. It is impossible to lead without first following the lead of others greater.

Leadership is a progression through levels of emotion.

At the level of peers, envy and jealously run rampant. At levels above are those who have either become comfortable and lazy, or those who have reached a level of incompetency. At levels below are those with imaginations bigger than their ability and willingness to grow into larger responsibilities.

Up, down, and sideways there is resistance to leadership.

If leadership was easy, everyone would be doing it. No pain, no gain. Resistance is, always, noisy; the detractors have plenty to say. Yet; the majority in rank above are silently encouraging, “You can do it.” Below are those desperately clinging to hope and thinking, “Please, show me the way.”

There is a reason for every season.

Strips of cloth and a barn manger is a humble beginning for The One who is King of Kings. In the same Book announcing His arrival is the story of His life and departure.

These are the experiences of leadership.

He gave them power and authority.
He promised them rejection.
He offered them a relationship.
He settled arguments among them.
He encouraged them to follow.

Why?

He walks ahead of them.
They follow him because they know his voice.
His purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.
He sacrifices his life for a higher purpose.
A relationship connects Father and Son.
Giving is the way to receive.
Life is a voluntary offering.

Unless you’re lead dog, in the harness of the Master, the view never changes.

www.kimfoard.com

Game of Life

GamesAs encouragement for those struggling with a daily frustration, I will gently offer, “Just play the hand you’ve been dealt.”

Fairly good advice for these reasons: This, too, shall pass; their cards might, actually, be better than anyone else’s at the moment; and, the fun is in the doing.

Before we launch off into the sport of the game, there is one question which has infinite possibilities: “What is the passion at the core of everything you do?”

Your response will be different from mine. Mine will be different from anyone else’s. And, therein, is the secret to the Game of Life.

Each of us has the opportunity to choose the games we play.

Since life is the hand of cards to which we awake each morning, I admire those who play theirs with grace and poise. Strength of will and courage combined with the flexibility of thoughtfulness and humility results in a creativity that trumps bitterness every time.

Does that mean we play the games chosen for us by others? The simple and definitive answer is, “No.”

We, individually, choose our game. The one we are willing and able to play. Unless we do, everyone will have an idea for us. That’s just a Universal Law of human nature.

Unless you’ve encountered a narcissist, enamored of their own visage in the mirror, each of us spends the day looking outward. As a result, it is so much easier to see the foibles of others and what they should do.

Reality check: Who is the only one within our sphere of control? (Hint: not anyone else.) Yes! The answer is a question:

“What is the passion at the core of everything you do?”

You; Me; One person at a time: We answer that.

Or, do we? Have YOU?

If so, then, you have chosen your game. You have studied the rules. You have engaged the competition. You have failed. You have succeeded. You have grown. You have learned.

You have studied even more; this time much harder. You have discovered what you didn’t know, before. More engagement, more failures, more successes, more growth, and, now, you’re ready to teach.

Passion drives YOU forward.

Each day it will always be something; some days it’s just nice to know what “IT” is. Because we thrive on the challenge, nothing can upset or frustrate us. We know and have embraced the premise, “What doesn’t kill us will make us stronger.”

Let the games begin!

www.kimfoard.com

Say Yes

Say Yes

Have you ever been around people who said “Yes” to everything?

They say “Yes” to This and That.

How can that be?

By saying “Yes” to This, aren’t they really saying “No” to That?!

Well, the simple answer is, “Yes!”

By saying “Yes” to one thing, we forego all others.

That is what Steve Jobs did. He said “Yes” to everything he believed in and “No” to everything else. Can we be so brave? I believe the answer to that is, “Yes!”

First let’s take a look at the lessons, Steve Jobs taught:

1. Enduring innovations marry art and science

2. To create the future, you do it

3. Never fear failure

4. You connect the dots of life backward

5. Listen to that voice in the back of your head

6. Expect a lot from yourself and others

7. Care about succeeding

8. Surround yourself with talented people

9. Stay hungry, stay foolish

10. Anything is possible

This is what all Rebels with a Cause have in common:

1. People matter more than things

2. Inspiration is the soul of leadership

3. Thinking differently is a way of life

4. Passion and vision make hard work fun

5. Changing the world requires action

What if every person woke up every morning to these 10 lessons and 5 beliefs?

The beginning of every worthy creation is at the moment when one person makes a choice to think and do in a way which honors their unique gifts.

Each of us has that choice to make: Will we lead? Or, will we follow?

As for me, Yes. I choose to lead.

Wisdom for Life

A good reputation is more valuable than costly perfume.
And the day you die is better than the day you are born.

Finishing is better than starting.
Patience is better than pride.

www.kimfoard.com

Good Directions

Good DirectionsImagine your favorite action movie. The ground is crumbling behind our heroes and heroines as they run toward the only escape available to them. Our heart is in our throat, as we encourage them to go, quickly, forward.

Life is just like that. There is no standing still; there is no going back. The only direction to safety is forward.

This last week, I lost a dear friend of twenty-plus years because he has made a choice to be comfortable in a rut. The definition of a rut is: grave with the ends kicked out. Yes, it’s dark, damp, and depressing down there. My friend exploded upon being reminded of the only two choices we have: Grow, or Die.

He assured me in no uncertain terms that he was not depressed. (The fellow doth protest too much, methinks.)

As recently as five years ago, November 15, 2006, this is the complete text of the Testimonial he offered when asked to document our business relationship of Client and Certified Public Accountant.

While reflecting on the past years of business growth … the ups and downs; the trials and tests; the hard work; and, never ending commitment to push forward … I come to realize that you have been a vital part of that growth. You have been with us all the way.

The accounting profession has truly been honored by your steadfast commitment to serve, to advise … to help direct my thoughts in the financial decisions of our company. It has made my job as CEO much easier.

We are in our 15th year and looking forward to working with you in the years to come.

Fast forward to September 14, 2011, and this is my goodbye to a business relationship, which was enjoyed with that friend, who (at one time) was closer than any brother.

The purpose of this letter is to document the essence of our phone conversation, yesterday.

At the end of that conversation, you wondered if your message was adequately communicated by asking, “Is that clear?!” My response, “Perfectly.”

It is crystal clear that there is a difference in core philosophies.

You believe and have stated quite clearly, numerous times over the last few months, that you and your Company are at the mercy of the Hand of Fate. In essence, you are tethered to a fixed set of practices, which have brought you success in the Past, and are frustrated that the Present is less than accepting.

I believe life is what we make of it, friend; if it doesn’t fit, make alterations. My purpose in business is summarized in four words: Building Bright Financial Futures. I have gone to great lengths to promote this idea to the world via every digital means possible. I have clearly communicated this core belief to you via an email conversation thread from May 17th to July 20th.

My last email request of you was for one hour of your time to discern how we might build a dynamic business relationship. Having heard absolutely nothing from you, I called yesterday with an offer for year-end planning. In the past, you welcomed the opportunity for us to talk about your Company.

You chose to refuse my offer. You have that right. I also have the right to choose.

As of today, we no longer have a business relationship. You are encouraged to engage other professionals to provide services for your financial fiscal year (and, payroll calendar quarter) ended September 30th. Documents in your Client File Portal will be available to you and your representatives until December 31st.

What happened between November 15, 2006, and September 14, 2011?

We will never know. To be judgmental toward my friend and all he has experienced in the last five years is the wrong thing to do. I can, though, tell my story. In the past, I have first-hand knowledge and experience of what it’s like to be stuck in a rut. It is dark, damp and depressing.

This is my story and I’ll tell it my way.

The darkest times in my life began, at the moment, when I started to think that I had arrived. Thinking that I had reached my destination and could quit; or, coast; or, savor the rewards; or, otherwise think I had, really, become somebody. You see, the focus had shifted to thinking, believing, and acting as if, the world revolved around me.

In the simplest of analogies, my life had gone off a cliff. The ground was, literally, crumbling beneath my feet as I tumbled into the chasm of darkness.

Recovery from the pit was only possible by acknowledging, “There but for the grace of God go I” … further down into the abyss. At that moment, there was a Rock on which to cling and a view of the hard work necessary to climb from the rubble into the brightness of opportunity, once again.

There is nothing new under the sun.

There’s a story of a guy walking on water. His name was Peter and he was a cocky fellow, with relatives from Missouri (the Show Me state). He enjoyed the companionship of a friend, who cared deeply about the growth of others.

So, one day Peter challenged his friend with, “If you’re really as good as you claim, ask me to walk on water.” Guys being guys, the friend accepted the challenge and said, “Come ahead.”

Jumping out of the boat, Peter walked on the water. But, when he looked down at the waves churning beneath his feet, he lost his nerve and started to sink.

Moral of this story: Don’t look down.

In fact, don’t look back, either. The ground is crumbling behind us. There is only one safe path: Forward.

There’s another story of a guy pondering the progression of life. His name was Paul and one of his many attributes was that of a Philosopher. He observed, “When I was a child, I talked like a child. I thought like a child. I had the understanding of a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me.”

Moral of this story: Children grow up.

At this point in my story, there is at least one person just aching to challenge this thesis of: Forward motion being the best direction and Growth being a prerequisite to a rich life. They will posit that “going back” has its merits.

As in:

We miss a turn at the intersection and need to go back.

We forget something when leaving on vacation and need to go back.

We neglect to learn a lesson and need to go back (for another dose).

We ignore an opportunity, which is good for us, and need to go back.

I agree. There are legitimate times for us to go back and recover from frailties of the human condition. “Thank God for Good Directions and turnip greens!” (by Billy Currington and his album Doin’ Somethin’ Right) Turn up your speakers and enjoy this tune.

For the astute scholars among us, I will acknowledge their point that we are encouraged by the Good Book to go back. As we examine this riddle to the very essence of life, the answer is simple. We are encouraged to be childlike, not childish. There is a difference.

So… at the moment, when there is the temptation to think we have arrived and can stop growing: Look up, think forward, and really focus on the hard work to take the next step.

Go ahead; do it. Now, that we are big kids, older and wiser, with all of our education and experience, hurts and betrayals, safely archived in the memory banks, do it. Be innocent, be sweet, be open, be humble, be accepting, be trusting, and believe that we can experience heaven, here on earth.

All we need to do is to take that next step, often into the unknown, forward, to grow.

www.kimfoard.com

Fancy Footwork

West Coast Swing

Much more amusing than a CPA Blogger is a CPA Dancer.

Each week, fingers tickle this keyboard in hopes of reaching your funny-bone.

A recent sashay into the world of West Coast Swing has been enlightening, empowering and encouraging.

The most entertaining element of the experience is how Life follows Dance.

From the dance floor to the canvas of life, these are the Bold and artful lessons that were either reinforced, or learned for the very first time!

Be Open to Opportunities

This saga begins at a community fundraiser event with a live band and a plywood dance floor in a horse barn. Now, really, what are the odds of anything out of the ordinary occurring?!

As I’m standing there enjoying Billy Waldo and the Flying Grizzlies, an older lady taps me on the shoulder and says something to the effect, “I want you to save me a dance tonight. Sometimes, you are hogged by the other women and I don’t get a turn.”

All I could do was blush and say, “You’re sweet!” and “OK.”

Now, the truth of the matter is: Yes, I love music. As a result, I have decent rhythm. My dancing skills are limited to self-taught moves practiced a couple times any given evening when attending an event.

Yet, sure enough, we danced what I knew: a Jitterbug and my “modified” Box-step. She called it a Three-step. Once we had a better name for it, we danced it some more. Then, it got shortened to a Two-step, which usually isn’t my favorite. My favorite, though, is the Waltz; the music changed to three-four time and we danced it, too.

Right in the middle of the whole dang show was a little conversation, wouldn’t you know!

“There’s a workshop in Denver next weekend called Swingtime in the Rockies,” she said.

Always clever with my responses, I said, “Really!?”

The Want To

There is one rule of the Universe that refuses to acquiesce: Change will be met with Resistance. Ruts are graves with the ends kicked out; yet, we are comfortable in them. Decide to do something about the situation and all of creation will test our resolve. The little negative voices in our heads will catch a gear and do double-time in their efforts to talk us out of a new idea. They know, for a fact, “All We Do Begins With A Thought.”

Start At the Beginning

As part of the opening activities of Swingtime in the Rockies, a workshop was offered that first evening. I went; big mistake! Thinking that it might be for beginners, I took the dance floor. A few minutes into the lesson taught by a nationally acclaimed dancer and instructor, I left the dance floor. Sitting there, all alone, on the fringe while everyone else danced, it felt right to leave the ballroom. And, I must confess, the temptation was strong to leave the hotel and go back …

Wait! Go back?! Quit? Never!

Skin in the Game

Some refer to it as Commitment. That night, and the next three nights, of my hotel room were already paid; part of the deal for making reservations at the last moment during tourist season. Maybe it was the Scotch-Irish of my ancestry, or my accountant training, the realization was vivid that I needed to look for the dividends from my investment. And, I wanted to learn how to dance the West Coast Swing, too!

Ugly Mistakes

There are no words to describe the sensation of screwing up on the dance floor. Right there, in front of God and the whole wide world, with video cameras everywhere, a partner is left standing, wondering, “What was that?!”

Laughter

Humor covers a multitude of sins. Plain and simple, when the ego has been beaten to a bloody pulp, the only saving grace is to acknowledge the beauty in a second chance. With a quick apology, wink, and a smile, that opportunity was given every single time over the course of four days!

Communication

Evidently, the instructors of the workshops had previous life experiences of first-hand embarrassments, or being the object of them. They graciously and generously had us dance with different partners throughout the hour of each workshop. One of the social graces of dance is to make an introduction to the new partner. Feeling obliged to give fair warning to the unsuspecting, mine morphed into, “Hi. I’m Dangerous!”

Beauty on the Inside

Since the natural principle is Like attracts Like, seldom in nature do we see Beauty and the Beast. On the dance floor, I got lucky. Or, so I thought; lucky to dance with beautiful women. Quickly, I was reminded of another ageless principle, “Never judge a book by the cover.” The most memorable and insightful encounters of the weekend were with the women of radiant inner beauty.

Thank You

Two simple little words. Regardless of my performance, or lack thereof, all was well at the end of the dance movement by acknowledging the bravado of my partner. Body language is a wonderful medium for expressing feelings of the heart. The fear inherent in keeping sandaled bare toes out of the way of my cowboy boots displayed itself on many faces. An expressive, “Thank you,” always garnered a smile!

Right Here, Right Now

Mindfulness, or living in the present moment, is a given on the workshop dance floor. There is no time to have regrets about the last Ugly Mistake, or to be worried about the next requested Uncertain Movement. Daily growth occurred by focusing on, “Right here, right now, it’s great to be alive,” or if the pain of the current lesson made that thought borderline untruthful, to accept that “This too shall pass!”

My Steps to Leadership

In the moments of learning to lead, there were absolutely no thoughts about what my partner “should” be doing to follow. The point was well made by an experienced dancer, who was enduring my deer-in-the-headlights look and feet-in-the-quicksand hook, in her comment, “I don’t know what you’re supposed to do. I just follow!” (Note to Self: “Oh, darlin’, just wait until next year!”)

Understanding and Appreciation

One, Two, Three and Four, Five and Six. That’s the count. The question for me was: Is all of that done in a four-beat measure, or what?! Sure enough, I finally found the count and the beat. Then, the evenings of watching the Social Dances went from: “Sure is pretty; wonder what they’re doing.” To: “That’s a Sugar-Push. There’s an Inside-Turn. That’s a Right-Side-Pass. Wow; there’s a Whip!”

Step by Step

Day by day, the pieces to the dance puzzle fell into place until the whole picture made more sense. That first beat and step back for the guys was (and continues to be) the hardest thing to remember. Then, there is the issue of arm height and appropriate moments of elasticity with a partner. Add to that the basic moves, musicality, and interpretation, until many steps were taken over four days on the journey of learning West Coast Swing.

Show Up

Each day had scheduled times for the workshops. Good thing, too! Because, without those appointments to keep, the natural inclination was to find something easier and more comfortable to do than stepping onto that dance floor, one more time.

Courage

It is a three-letter word: YES. Our greatest fears are related to the preservation of who we are. Sticks and stones can break our bones; and, words can injure even more severely. It’s a fine line: to grow, we must change; yet, it must be our choice. To preserve the best of who we are as unique creations, while stretching to become better individuals, requires strength of will and fortitude of disposition.

Up to Me

If it is to be, it is up to me. Partners can be wonderful cheerleaders, of our efforts. If I want to dance, it is up to me, to learn. My thoughts, my feelings, and my feet must all engage together to accomplish what is important, to me. Doesn’t matter what others think, feel, or do, about my efforts to dance. All that matters is my love of music and movement!

Ask

In those moments, when I was out of my league in a workshop and totally confused as to the next step to take, a simple request of a partner, “Please, show me,” always took us beyond frustration to a successful result. Maybe, it wasn’t a perfect performance on my part; yet, it was a movement beyond inertia.

Profound Desire to Share

This is the inherent beauty of humans: we all want and need to offer the best of who we are to another. Some of us have earned the reputation as ministers, because we are full of it and freely offer to any and all. Others are more subdued in approach; yet, when asked, are equally able and willing to share their inherent gifts.

Higher Levels

From novice, to intermediate, to advanced, to all-stars, there is a progression of accomplishment and confidence. Each level provides opportunities to see even greater challenges. At the beginning, we don’t know what we don’t know. As we advance, we come to fully understand that we will never achieve a full understanding of what is possible!

Inconsistency creates Consistency

“Say, what?!” I thought, when the instructor first said it. Then, he reminded us of the imperfect human condition: we can never do the same thing, the same way, every time, perfectly. Variety is the spice of life. Our choice: Be frustrated; or, Wrap our minds and arms around the excitement of something new and different, every time. Our ability and willingness to be flexible in our response will provide a sense of stability.

Connection and Release

It takes both. In the realm of West Coast Swing, connection is strongest just before the release. It is the tension of the connection which produces the pleasure of the release. All tight, all the time, is no better than all loose, all the time. It is the ebb and flow, the up and down, the yin and yang, which creates the harmony of the universe and enhances our interactions with another person.

Partnerships

Every wonderful experience happens because of a connection with another person. In dance, the connection is real: Physical, Emotional, Mental, and Spiritual. Our being is flooded with the sensation of connection. Yet, even with the separation of time and distance, our relationships motivate us into uncharted waters of discovery, all because of the influence of another person.

Smile

Each partner brings something good and something less than. For four days, I was the beneficiary of a new experience. Smiles were offered when the answer was, “Yes!” Smiles were freely given when the answer was, “No.” Smiles were everywhere! The most moving experience was the emotion flowing from the expression of a cancer survivor, when she said, with a smile, “Always say yes when asked to dance. It might just be your last one.”

More Action

The most appropriate mantra for a student of dance just might be, “A little less talk and a lot more action!” Books are good, videos are insightful, explanations are fine, and the Fun is in the Doing. The only way to learn anything is to do it!

In much the same vein as “The Mind Remembers What The Hands Learn” is “The Soul Experiences What The Feet Teach”. In other words, actions speak louder than words.  In fact, Thoughts become our Words, Words become our Actions, Actions become our Habits, Habits become our Character, and Character becomes our Destiny.

Let’s dance!

www.kimfoard.com

Pursuit

PursuitWe want what we don’t have. Once we have it, we don’t want it anymore. Then, we want something else.

We want what we don’t have. Verse after verse the song repeats, with the same chorus:

We want what we don’t have!

To bring into captivity the elusive, for the express purpose of making it ours, we pursue.

Since success is only possible by identifying worthy targets of acquisition, what are those?

The great minds of the individuals who framed the Declaration of Independence were bold enough to capture the imagination, hearts and souls of the citizens making choices from that era:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

Fast forward Two-hundred-thirty-five years and the questions become, “Is the pursuit of happiness, really, a worthy cause?” Or, “Is It an effect resulting from the pursuit of an even, more, noble goal?”

Ah, the ever elusive “It“. We want It; we pursue It; and, It leaves us empty. Void of fulfillment and frustrated, we wonder if we can ever catch It.

Just maybe, if we pursue the right Cause, we can generate the Effect we desire: Happiness.

Since our fore-fathers held a belief in, and made reference to, our Creator, a peek at the Proverbs from the Sages of the Ages gives greater insight into the cause and effect of our pursuit choices:

21:21 Whoever pursues righteousness and love finds life, prosperity and honor.

22:4 True humility and fear of the Lord lead to riches, honor, and long life.

The common denominators in the results (Effects) are these three: Honor, (riches) Prosperity and a (long) Life. The catalysts (Causes) are identified to be these four pursuits: Righteousness, Love, Humility and Respect for a power greater than ourselves.

Legitimate pursuits will, always, result in discoveries (finds) and a journey (lead), which ultimately results in arriving at a destination: Happiness.

The challenge for each of us is to move the Cart from in front of the Horse and position It for the greatest results. The driving force and horsepower of our pursuits must be Righteousness, Love, Humility and Respect. Bouncing along behind, merrily gathering up the results, will be the cart of Happiness!

www.kimfoard.com

Up To and Through

Up To and ThroughIn regards to four letter words, this phrase trumps all others: “When this, then …”

Social Media exchanges and Text messages are replete with a variety of abbreviations and acronyms. It seems WTF is used as frequently as LMAO to provide dramatic exclamation.

Cloaking the unpleasant behind a mask of letters to make the offensive, somehow, more acceptable seems to be the hieroglyphics of this era of time.

In the category of WMD is WTT: “When this, then …”

We’ve all heard friends say and do it; in those moments of complete honesty, we even ‘fess up and admit saying and doing it. “It” goes something like this, “When I reach this age of twenty-one, then I can enjoy the benefits of adulthood.” Or, “When I discover this gem of a special someone, then I can learn to build dynamic relationships.” Or, “When I produce this adoring child, then my life will have purpose.”

Excuse me while I string together all of the Capital Letter acronyms above to dramatically exclaim, “What a JOKE!”

Lives are wasted by waiting on the barometric pressure, alignment of planets, phase of the moon, price of computers, political parties, religious beliefs, and perfect people to all synchronize into a defining moment of wonderful splendor. It ain’t gonna happen folks!

Let me introduce the concept: Up To and Through.

As we begin, it is important to acknowledge the anticipation of events. Stated simply and eloquently, there is:

A Time for Everything

For everything there is a season,
a time for every activity under heaven.

A time to be born and a time to die.
A time to plant and a time to harvest.
A time to kill and a time to heal.
A time to tear down and a time to build up.
A time to cry and a time to laugh.
A time to grieve and a time to dance.
A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones.
A time to embrace and a time to turn away.
A time to search and a time to quit searching.
A time to keep and a time to throw away.
A time to tear and a time to mend.
A time to be quiet and a time to speak.
A time to love and a time to hate.
A time for war and a time for peace.

It is natural and right to look forward to the seasons of life. Reaching goals is important. Resting to savor the success is one thing; thinking we have “arrived” is something entirely different.

The secret key to the hidden treasures of life is: Up To and Through.

Imagine a bicycle and the activity required to enjoy it. Since life is a journey, we need a mode of transportation, right? Setting aside the option of riding on the coattails of others, let’s continue the bicycle analogy. Hop on and let’s go for a ride.

Sure, we can ride in little circles around the neighborhood. Or, we can pick a farther destination. The universal principle is that we will begin with small circles and then move on to bigger ones. Unless we choose to remain in comfortable ruts, we will continue to pursue the challenges of the unknown.

We begin our bicycle tour by picking a spot for riding “up to.” As we reach that destination, we pedal “through” to another location, for the express purpose of continuing the fun.

Life is like that. The fun is in the doing.

And, doing; and, doing; and, doing, …

You get the idea: Up To and Through!

www.kimfoard.com

To Be

To BeWhat do you say to the person struggling with the question, “To Be; or, Not To Be?”

The dark side of the human condition is eloquently captured by William Shakespeare in the Hamlet Soliloquy: “slings and arrows of an unbearable situation, sea of troubles, heartaches, thousand natural miseries, whips and scorns of time, offences of tyrants, contempt of proud men, pain of rejected love, insolence of officious authority, and the advantage that the worst people take of the best.”

I propose that we accept the darkness as necessary for us to fully appreciate the light.

Rather than fear the unknown of death, let’s celebrate life. Rather than “sweating and grunting under the burden of a weary life” as cowards trapped in paralysis by analysis, let’s consider what is necessary to enjoy rich, full, vibrant, meaningful lives.

Although unique in our melodies and verse, we share a common chorus. The best part of life comes after an event of near death. Each story will be different; yet, we will all, eventually, experience the realization, “There, but for the grace of God, go I.”

It is a defining Scene in the Act of Life.

By choosing life, we turn our back on the darkness of defeat. We set our mind to living.

These are the Seven Secret Serenades:

1.) Everyone is responsible for their own happiness.

By accepting that we are responsible for choosing our individual happiness, we acknowledge the same for everyone, else. In other words, it is not our responsibility to make and keep happy, or otherwise entertain, anyone. By offering the best of who we are to another, we have fulfilled the letter and spirit of this universal law!

2.) We must be true to ourselves.

As a unique, one-of-a-kind, original image, it is just plain silly to think that it is right to copy any other person. It is one thing to be open to advice and wise counsel; it is something entirely different to let our decisions be influenced by the opinions of others. We get what we allow; and, we teach others how to treat us!

3.) Live in the Present moment.

We can eliminate from our mind regrets of the Past and worries about the Future, by focusing all of our senses on this moment. Really see, hear, smell, taste, and touch the Right Here Right Now to experience a delightful gift. It is either a pleasurable moment to be savored; or, the valley of opportunity to climb another mountain!

4.) Accept what is.

Everything happens for a reason. At a minimum, in every situation, the reason is to remind us of our freewill. We get to choose how we respond: Resignation and Despair; or, Fascination and Curiosity. Stress is caused by the dissonance between what we want and what is. Acceptance wraps our arms around what is possible!

5.) Be a conduit for goodness.

What goes around comes around. Happiness is guaranteed by: Loving and being loved; Purposeful work; and, Anticipation of an event. These three components are within our control. By choosing to share with others, we become a vessel for delivering value. Flowing through us for the benefit of others are our gifts!

6.) Focus on the distant horizon.

Straightened shoulders, lifted views, and deep breaths facilitate our ability to keep things in perspective. Dizziness, and other forms of queasiness, can be mollified by taking a bigger, longer, and broader view of the situation. When faced with the impossible and insurmountable, remember, “This, too, shall pass!”

7.) Think about opportunities and possibilities.

All we do begins with a thought. Imagine where you want to be. Now, look back from that magnificent place to where you are. Can you see the steps from here to there? Sure you can. Whether you think you can, or can’t, you’re right. Right now, the journey begins for each of us To Do what we can and To Be who we are!

www.kimfoard.com

Help Yourself

Banquet Table of Life

After a short pause for an expression of thanksgiving, Dad would raise his head to look at us and say, “Help yourself!” We would survey the table for the serving dish to our right, make a choice of portion, and then pass it to the left. As our hands offered one, we prepared to receive another.

That was in the day when families gathered at home for the evening meal; a meal that was prepared by Mom with loving effort. In fact, the abundance on the table was a portion of the wealth produced that day: Roast beef, potatoes, salad, vegetable du jour, warm bread, cold milk and a cookie for dessert.

We were connected to the land and understood the importance of working, if we wanted to eat that evening!

Advance forward a couple of generations, and we find a society of fast food and slow thoughts. Diminished are the thrill of the hunt and the sport of accomplishment. Instead, we find whiners with an attitude of entitlement. Unless everything magically appears on a silver platter, they are clueless about their survival. Instead of wanting a hand up, they want a hand out.

The real joy in life is discovered when we understand, “Help yourself!”

Of all creatures, humans are the most helpless at birth. Choices are made for us, and care is provided to us, by parents. Before we can talk, though, we are reaching for that spoon to do it ourselves. For the next five years, we fear little and do everything. We delight in our accomplishments and learn the most from our mistakes. We help ourselves.

Then, we start school. We are taught that there is a right way and a wrong way: Our way is wrong and the right way is only known by those with the answer key. Funny thing, though; that key only works for one set of questions.

Life is different!

After twelve, sixteen, or more years, young adults tip from the conveyor belt of modern education into a world with more pop-quizzes and test-questions than they have answers.

One of two things happen: Either, they realize the extent to which they don’t know what they don’t know and begin to “help themselves” learn it. Or, they point fingers of blame and expect someone else to compensate for their lack of resourcefulness.

I admire the first group and, thoroughly, tease the second about their “Stinkin’ Thinkin’!”

All we do begins with a thought. The most important thought of all is: “I think I can.”

At that moment, we tap into the childhood belief that the world is our oyster; just waiting for us to pry into it for the pearl discovery. We don’t want anyone else messing with our project. In time, we might discover that we need a little coaching on technique. If so, we ask for it; or, we struggle through to re-invent the wheel. Either way, the prize will be ours.

As we sit at the banquet table of life, only we can know what is best for ourselves.

The only way to discover That is to “Help Yourself!”

www.kimfoard.com

Thoughts to Destiny

Thoughts to Destiny

One of the principles of success is to, always: Begin with the End in mind. The meaning of life is discovered in the same fashion.

In other words: How do we live until we live no more?

In the dead of winter, we adopt customs to celebrate birth, new life, and the goodness of a fresh start. With that new beginning, we have the opportunity to choose a new ending.

From beginning to end, the “dash” in the middle is the most important. It is representative of what we do and how, effectively, we do it. There is an inherent urgency to our race.

Last week, a close Friend and loyal Client asked this of me:

Kim

First, I appreciate all your support on the financial side of the business and with the internet services, etc. and also, anticipate a continued long-term partnership in this regard as we have enjoyed in the past.

We have learned through experience, here at Our Company, that cross-training our men in the event of their absence, keeps production up and things continue to run smoothly. So it occurred to me the other day that as our relationship continues we naturally become more dependent upon your services.

So I’m confident that you do not mind me asking the question: do you have a back-up plan to protect our interests in case something, God forbid, should happen to you?—or in the event you are absent for any extended period?

Friend

An excellent question is deserving of an appropriate response. This one required a good night’s rest and an early morning shower, of thought.

Friend,

Evidently, great minds think alike!

Although a serious subject and deserving of a professional answer, I must admit the “gallows humor” element tickled my funny-bone. In fact, I miss our early morning breakfast meetings of the past. Since I believe life is all about the People, the opportunity to discuss this in greater detail is something which might be of mutual benefit.

In the Internet search engines of Bing and Google, type this query: cpa citp quickbooks montana

The exercise and results are for the purpose of making this point: There is only one with those credentials, who is passionate about serving you and Your Company.

In the past, I have made a royal Boy Scout effort to do my work through the hands of others. Finally, it dawned on me the reality: The great artists are only able to create their masterpieces when they put brush to canvas. For the last eight years, that’s been my approach to life, and business. One day at a time, one project at a time, and one person at a time; giving the best of me to enlighten, empower, and encourage others.

This last October was birthday number 55. For the last five years, a greater effort has been made to boldly share the education and experience of half a century. Just this last Sunday, I decided to document the path to my legacy. It is attached as a PDF, titled: Thoughts to Destiny.

Specifically, the steps which I have taken to protect the interests of your Company:

1.) Creation of a File Portal, which contains historical documents for the last three years and will continue to archive all important financial documents created by me. The documents are detailed, neat, and organized for the benefit of any successor accountant, or professional advisor.

2.) Active mentoring of your Staff to accept a greater responsibility for those functions within their control. For example, Trusted Employee will be preparing Quarterly Payroll Reports from within QuickBooks for the year beginning January 1, 2011.

3.) Weekly articles published to the Web for the benefit of us all. Some of the stories are accounting specific, such as 5 Minute Business Plan; others are for the benefit of effective communication, like Feedback Three-Step. All of the thoughts are for the benefit of learning, growing and doing!

For the last couple of years, I’ve been a Proverbs-A-Day guy. This morning, I thought this was apropos to our discussion:

Proverbs 21:30-31 (New Living Translation)

30 No human wisdom or understanding or plan
can stand against the Lord.

31 The horse is prepared for the day of battle,
but the victory belongs to the Lord.

I am looking forward to discussing all of this with you in greater detail.

Best regards,

Kim

All we do begins with a thought. Much more than a story about the beginning, or the ending, this is about the journey of discovery: Who we are; What we do; and, How we touch the lives of others.

Thoughts evoke words; Words produce actions; Actions form habits; Habits crystallize character; and, Character manifests our Destiny.

Thoughts

With a formal education of a Bachelor of Science degree and daily tutoring as a Student of Life, my thoughts are a wonderful blend of the accomplishments of the past and the possibilities for the future. They are intellectual, compassionate, focused, determined, kind and gentle.

Words

I love them. They are the tools of communication. We can say them, read them, write them, and sing them. They are the anchors of yesterday, the stories of today and the goals of tomorrow. Google the phrase: SageTalk ~ Building Dynamic Relationships for a taste.

Actions

All of mine are for the express purpose of Building; as in building-up People. Beginning with the work on me to be a better man each day, the effort extends to all in my sphere of influence. The effort is offered to, not shoved upon, others: Give our Best; Pause to Rest.

Habits

An early morning ritual of shower, shave, bold coffee, and Proverbs, sets the stage for a day of work and play. Regardless of the activity, the focus is on learning, growing, and doing. The goal is to dance my way into the hearts and souls of Family and Friends.

Character

To have it (rather than be one) is only possible by making the right choices each day. Only, I know what is right and best for me. Knowing what to do is a good first step; Doing it is a giant leap for the benefit of all. I have learned: Easy is hard; Hard is easy.

Destiny

Mine is one of leaving a legacy. It will not be measured in sticks and stones; it will be remembered by those whose lives were changed for the better. One thing I have always understood: Family and Work are the two legs carrying me across the stages of life.

Thoughts evoke words; Words produce actions; Actions form habits; Habits crystallize character; and, Character manifests our Destiny.

www.kimfoard.com

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