Stand Right

Stand for what is Right, even if you stand AloneAs a thought experiment, ask a dozen individuals this question: “Which attributes of character are most important to you?”

The people you ask can be your close friends, your worst enemies, or random transients on the street. The odds are very good that nearly every one of them will include with their answer: “Honesty.”

Why, then, do we struggle so much to be honest with ourselves, and others?

One of the greatest statesmen of all times was known by his moniker, “Honest Abe.”

“I am not bound to win, but I am bound to be true. I am not bound to succeed, but I am bound to live by the light that I have. I must stand with anybody that stands right, and stand with him while he is right, and part with him when he goes wrong.”

Abraham Lincoln
American 16th US President (1861-65)

How many times are we tempted to cheat (just a little) to win?

How many times are we tempted to take (just a little) advantage to succeed?

How many times are we tempted to go along to get along (with wrong) to fit in?

That word choice by Abe: bound. Sure feels constraining, limiting, and subservient. Doesn’t it?

Yet, Abraham Lincoln knew true winners set their mind in thought and engage their hands in action to be honest to whom they are at the core: “I am bound to be true.”

Achievers know they are wonderfully made, unique, and one-of-a-kind, with much to offer the whole wide world. They believe, “I am bound to live by the light that I have.”

Yes, I know, easier said than done.

In fact, knowing something and doing it are two, entirely, different things. One is fairly easy; the other is extremely difficult. Actions speak so much louder than words, though. Hard is easy; easy is hard.

What is Right? And, then by antithetical definition, what is Wrong?

One absolute truth is that Right and Wrong cannot be legislated. Every group, clan, civilization, and country sets forth a Code of Ethics. Yet, individuals make choices from their heart and soul.

Please, invest the time to discover the answer to this question, for yourself:
“What is my deepest innermost value?”

Once we identify our (individual) value, we can be true to ourselves and live by our light.

We must stand with anybody that stands right, and stand with them while they are right, and part with them when they go wrong.

www.kimfoard.com

Truth and Consequence

Truth and ConsequenceFor every cause, there is an effect.

For every pebble, there is a ripple.

For every action, there is an reaction.

For every effort, there is a result.

For every choice, there is a consequence.

The question becomes, “What is Truth?”

In the simplest of terms, “The seed planted yields a harvest in kind.”

Judgment of Others

Don’t do it. Those who do will receive the same. What is given is received. The caveat, though, is not to waste what is precious on an individual content with filth. Goodness is not appreciated by those wallowing in a rut. They will attack anything and everyone representative of a better way.

Effective Requests

Persistence is the secret. To do is to ASK. Ask to receive; Seek to find; Knock to have the door of opportunity swing wide open. Children know to ask for what they want and need. Parents joyfully respond with good gifts to those requests. Older kids can do the same.

The Golden Rule

“Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you.”

Narrow Gates

No pain; no gain. Easy is hard; hard is easy. Follow the crowd and complain about the destination; or, lead the way and discover new frontiers.

Trees and Fruit

As the twig is bent, so the tree grows. Eventually, though, mature trees are known by what they produce. Good trees produce good fruit. Worthless trees produce nothing. In the same way that trees display their value, people express their worth by what they do. Actions trump words.

Wise Students

Talk is cheap. Only those who do the homework assignments pass the exams. Education is the enlightenment to know what to do. Experience is the empowerment to do the right thing. The combination of the two is an encouragement to learn by doing and to have fun learning.

Solid Foundations

Storms will come. Those who listen and do are the equivalent of a home built on rock. Those who hear and reject are the equivalent of a tent pitched on sand. Rock vs. Sand: it’s obvious which will stand.

Truth is everywhere. It begs and pleads to be discovered. On bended knee, it offers rewards to those who will listen and receive. The journey is not one of passivity; it is one of active engagement. This courtship requires a, daily, best effort experience in the arena of life to gain an education from the consequences of our choices.

www.kimfoard.com

The Word

The WordAll we do begins with a thought.

Each thought is given substance with words.

Thoughts manifest in words; Words lead to actions; Actions develop into habits; Habits accumulate into character; and, Character is our Destiny.

At the beginning, from a single thought, our destiny is assured. At any point in our journey, the evidence is undeniable that the inspiration for the destiny achieved was framed within the parameters of words.

How important are Words?

They are the essence of who we are.

In the beginning the Word already existed.
The Word was with God,
And, the Word was God.
He existed in the beginning with God.
God created everything through him,
And, nothing was created except through him.
The Word gave life to everything that was created,
And, his life brought light to everyone.
The light shines in the darkness,
And, the darkness can never extinguish it.

The importance of a Word: Life and Death; Light and Darkness.

Why
One
Real
Delivers

~ Why

Mother Nature hates a vacuum. We either plants good seeds to produce a crop of value; or, weeds will grow. We discover the secrets of life and the passion at our core, by asking, “Why?”

~ One

If it is to be, it is up to me. Me and God: that’s it. Really; it’s as simple as that. Life is experienced from the inside, out. Sure, it’s fun to dance with others. The music, though, is inside each of us.

~ Real

Authenticity is the new cool. Funny thing, though, there’s nothing new under the sun. The next fad will soon pass. Enduring, as a legacy, are the gifts that only we, individually, can offer.

~ Delivers

Results are all that matter. What we do speaks so much louder than what we say. The summation of all that matters: Say what we intend to do; then, do what we say we will.

Things, today, are about like they have always been. Two thousand years ago, a fellow by the name of Paul was assuring those in his sphere of influence that his intentions were honorable. Those finding fault with him: Said that Paul’s letters were hard to understand; Claimed that Paul was fickle; and, Thought that he had a domineering attitude toward them and wanted to show who had the upper hand.

You may be asking why I changed my plan. Do you think I make my plans carelessly? Do you think I am like people of the world who say “Yes” when they really mean “No”? As surely as God is faithful, my word to you does not waver between “Yes” and “No.” For Jesus Christ, the Son of God, does not waver between “Yes” and “No.” He is the one whom Silas, Timothy, and I preached to you, and as God’s ultimate “Yes,” he always does what he says.

At that same time in antiquity, James was sharing the Farmer Philosophy and encouraging patience for those who chose to listen.

You see farmers do this all the time, waiting for their valuable crops to mature, patiently letting the rain do its slow but sure work. Be patient like that. Stay steady and strong. And since you know that he cares, let your language show it. Don’t add words like “I swear to God” to your own words. Don’t show your impatience by concocting oaths to hurry up God. Just say yes, or no. Just say what is true.

Critics use many words. Their stories go on and on, like the endless desert. Their favorite words are: Try and Maybe. After finding fault with everyone and everything, The Critics do something entirely different than what they said. Their word is no good.

We can follow the example of The Ultimate Yes by committing to, always, do what we say. By saying “Yes” to Life and Light, we can boldly say “No” to Death and Darkness.

Two little words: “Yes” and “No”. They are the two sides of the same coin. Once we understand the importance of The Right Word, we can choose the appropriate response to any question, or situation.

Let our “Yes” be Yes; and, our “No” be No.

www.kimfoard.com

The Carpenter

The CarpenterEmpires come and go; Builders last forever.

The thing built is less important than those doing the building.

In fact, the real value in anything is the individual.

Because the physical is temporal, we find comfort in measuring the creation. Less comfortable is acknowledging the intangible value of the creator.

Silver Bullets and Silver Platters are two of the greatest dangers known to humankind. The idea that Magic and Coattails can remediate anything holds us back from our true destiny. We learn by doing and the fun is in the doing!

Regardless of how we define success, there is a Secret to its acquisition: It must be built.

Happiness, peace of mind, abundant resources, ample opportunities, great relationships, and contentment are included in my definition of success. All of those attributes are a choice to be made each morning and their achievement is only possible by my conscious decision to produce. As my head touches the pillow each evening, only I can know the quality of effort for that day.

Others will judge what they can see and measure: the Empire. Regardless of what is built, it begins to decay at the moment it is finished. Within families, I see this every day. Senior builds an empire and then expects Junior to maintain it. How silly! We all want to be builders. More than what is built, the joy in is the how and why of doing the construction.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, a song is worth at least a million. For those who are builders, this song by John Conlee from his Harmony album reminds us of the value:

The Carpenter

Let us now praise the carpenter and the things that he made
And the way that he lived by the tools of the trade
I can still hear his hammer singin’ ten-penny time
Workin’ by the hour till the day that he died

[chorus]

He was tough as a crowbar; he was quick as a chisel
Fair as a plane, Lord, and true as a level
He was straight as a chalk-line; right as a rule
He was square with the world; he took good care of his tools

He worked his hands in wood from the crib to the coffin
With a care and a love that you don’t see too often
He built boats out of wood, big boats, workin’ in a shipyard
Mansions on the hill and a birdhouse in the backyard

He was tough as a crowbar…

He said anything that’s worth cuttin’ down a tree for
Is worth doin’ right; don’t the Lord love a two-by-four
If you asked him how to do somethin’, he’d say just like Noah built the ark
You got to hold your mouth right son and never miss your mark

And you’ll be tough as a crowbar…

Maybe that’s why, two thousand years ago, the Son of a carpenter encouraged others to build. At His death, the physical creations left behind began their decay. What continues to grow to this very moment, and beyond, are the relationships He formed in love.

We have the opportunity to build on that foundation. What we build is our choice. How we do it is more important. Why we make our choices will be the legacy of memories. Long after our masterpieces become relics of the past, the relationships we form, today, will be the beginning of foundations for those who are influenced by our commitment to build.

Empires come and go, because they are made of stuff.

Builders last for forever, because their actions are making the world a better place.

That, my friends is a legacy for all of eternity!

www.kimfoard.com

Loyalty and Kindness

Loyalty and Kindness“When two men in business always agree, one of them is unnecessary.”

The quote above is attributed to William Wrigley, Jr. and was, probably, used as adjusting feedback for a subordinate, who was being political rather than productive. Because we are, each, unique individuals, it is impossible to agree on everything, all of the time.

In fact, put two people in the same vicinity and there will be conflict.

Since disagreement, and the resultant creative friction, is a reality and the catalyst for change and discovery, how do we manage it?

Imagine a tranquil setting with a pond as its centerpiece. Overhead, the sun is radiant in a sea of blue and, all around this natural oasis, sounds of life saturate the freshness of the air. That’s the picture before placing two humans on opposite sides of the pond. Before long, one of them will begin throwing rocks.

Since the pond is large, there is no danger from the rock, itself. It is the ripple caused by the rock as it hits the water which becomes the annoyance. In the course of life, we all make a ripple and leave a wake, behind every action we take.

The real question: How much control do we have over another person’s wake making? Simple answer: Absolutely, none.

The only thing within our control is our ripple-making efforts: Strength of arm, size of rock, number of rocks, purpose of throw, direction of target, style of delivery and attitude of approach. We cannot stop another person from throwing rocks; yet, we can influence them by our example. Not by the words we say; but, by our actions and results.

In the imaginary pond setting created in our mind, consider the possibility of one rock-thrower watching the other until a decision is made to approach with a proposition: Share thoughts and techniques for the mutual benefit of achieving synergy of effort and joy of growth.

Before long, the rock throwing morphs into more enterprising thought and effort, until … who knows what might be possible?!

The journey from opposite sides of the pond to frolicking in the companionship of accomplishment will require the patience of a Saint. In fact, it will require a point of reference and a frame of mind:

Never let loyalty and kindness leave you!
Tie them around your neck as a reminder.
Write them deep within your heart.

Easier said than done; because, when we find ourselves in conflict with another person it is so much easier to see their faults and what they could do to improve our situation. The temptation is, even, strong to tell them what they should do.

Remember the pond: the actions of another person and the resulting ripples of their choices are out of our control. Now, focus on what, individually, we have within our control and can choose to do:

Practice loyalty and kindness.

www.kimfoard.com

Here We Are

New Year 2011

Last night, at the end of one year and the beginning of another, I was reminded of the expression: Wherever we go, there we are.

I felt a tap on the shoulder while standing in the crowded Bull & Bear Saloon of Red Lodge, Montana. Dancers were kicking up their heels to the music of Wild Bill and the Coyotes. There were only a few tables to hold drinks and conversation. The rest of us were engaged in the bump and shuffle of tight quarters.

As I turned around expecting a polite disclaimer of accidental contact, my eyes met those of someone intent on conversation. Always up for a little social banter with a complete stranger, I listened as she said, “My kids sent me over to ask you to dance.”

Assuring her that I love to dance, I asked for a first name. About the time Becky and I headed for the dance floor, the band plucked the final chords on the last song before a break. Just my luck! Oh, well, accepting that things do happen for a reason, this must be perfect timing for a little conversation before we waltzed into the New Year.

For the next ten minutes, I heard the story of two husbands, four kids (2 by 2; ages 22, 18, 11, and 7) and a pending adventure in Alaska. Yep; as Becky exclaimed, “I need to go find myself, because I don’t know what I want to be when I grow up!”

Upon hearing that oft stated phrase, I always wonder, “How can you find something for which you don’t know to look?!”

As dysfunctional as the story-line was, I did have to admire her honesty. Earlier in the evening, I had noticed this woman in a group of Twenty-somethings. She was ordering shots of Tequila and leading the way into oblivion.

How sad.

Sacrificed on the altar of Selfishness were at least two “committed” relationships, four children and all hopes of a family life. Now, I understand, there is surely more facets to the Rest of this Story. What I do know for a fact: We get what we allow.

If we don’t know what we want, that’s exactly what we get: The result of a decision by someone else. That’s what parents do for, and to, children. And, they do it for all of the right reasons. Young children are, too, immature to decide for themselves.

About the age of 12, though, is the Age of Reason; we all start to think for ourselves. Then, in the teenage years we begin turning those thoughts into words and actions (some pleasant; some less than). Sooner, or later, we learn that our actions have consequences.

Society is fairly forgiving in our young adult years. Parents and others will listen to the whining and rationalization about how the world must be picking on the poor, saintly, martyr. Eventually, though, it becomes obvious that:

Wherever we go, there we are!

It is by our individual choices that we find ourselves, exactly, where we are at this moment. No one forced us into our decisions; no one is that powerful. In fact, even God recognizes the importance of free will. We are given opportunities; it is up to us what we do with them.

Becky’s children didn’t make her push through a crowd for the purpose of asking me to dance. Becky made that choice. Her children didn’t ask to be born into a broken home. Becky made that choice. I am absolutely positive those same children don’t want their mother to seek the thrill of a new adventure in Alaska, as she leaves them behind in Montana. Becky is making that choice.

Yes, her tone was that of a teenager as she complained about the past, expressed uncertainty of the present, and looked forward to finding herself in the future.

My amusement of the immaturity surely expressed itself in facial expression, body language, tone of voice and the actual words, playfully, teasing Becky about her choices. Soon, the, real, young adults were looking for new entertainment adventure. Their leader accepted their offer as an appropriate exit strategy from our conversation and off they went, in search of the unknown, by the unknowing.

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

All We Do

ThoughtWhether we think we can, or think we can’t, we’re right.

All we do begins with a thought.

How powerful is a thought? A negative thought can bind a mind and body in ways superior to physical restraints. A positive thought can be the catalyst to propel beyond the physical into realms beyond the wildest imaginations!

At some time in our life, we have all walked into a closed door. Maybe, it was as a youngster learning about patio and screen doors. Maybe, it was in the middle of the night in navigation to the bathroom. Remember the combination of logic and feeling rushing from the experience?  Oh, wow!  That hurt.

Now, think of your last encounter with a closed mind. Same deal, right?!

If a person has arrived at their beliefs in an objective journey of discovery to discern what is best for them as an individual, that closed mind can be respected, as an honest container of beliefs. If a person has been manipulated into a belief system for the benefit of someone else, that closed mind is a danger to the individual, and others.

Let’s take a quick look at Belief Systems and Mind Control.

Why Bad Beliefs Don’t Die

Because senses and beliefs are both tools for survival, our brain considers them to be separate but equally important purveyors of survival information. The loss of either one endangers us. Without our senses we could not know about the world within our perceptual realm. Without our beliefs we could not know about the world outside our senses or about meanings, reasons, or causes.

This means that beliefs are designed to operate independent of sensory data. In fact, the whole survival value of beliefs is based on their ability to persist in the face of contradictory evidence. Beliefs are not supposed to change easily or simply in response to disconfirming evidence. If they did, they would be virtually useless as tools for survival.

As far as our brain is concerned, there is absolutely no need for data and belief to agree. They are designed to be able to disagree.

When data and belief come into conflict, the brain does not automatically give preference to data. This is why beliefs – even bad beliefs, irrational beliefs, silly beliefs, or crazy beliefs – often don’t die in the face of contradictory evidence. The brain doesn’t care whether or not the belief matches the data. It cares whether the belief is helpful for survival. Period.

Coercive Persuasion Programs

Coercion is defined as, “to restrain or constrain by force…” Legally it often implies the use of PHYSICAL FORCE or physical or legal threat. This traditional concept of coercion is far better understood than the technological concepts of “coercive persuasion” which are effective restraining, impairing, or compelling through the gradual application of PSYCHOLOGICAL FORCES.

The advances in the extreme anxiety and emotional stress production technologies found in coercive persuasion supersede old style coercion that focuses on pain, torture, drugs, or threat in that these older systems do not change attitude so that subjects follow orders “willingly.” Coercive persuasion changes both attitude AND behavior, not JUST behavior.

Programs have in common the elements of attempting to greatly modify a person’s self-concept, perceptions of reality, and interpersonal relations. When successful in inducing these changes, coercive thought reform programs also, among other things, create the potential forces necessary for exercising undue influence over a person’s independent decision-making ability.

Coercive persuasion programs are effective because individuals experiencing the deliberately planned severe stresses they generate can only reduce the pressures by accepting the system or adopting the behaviors being promulgated by the purveyors of the coercion program. The relationship between the person and the coercive persuasion tactics are DYNAMIC in that while the force of the pressures, rewards, and punishments brought to bear on the person are considerable, they do not lead to a stable, meaningfully SELF-CHOSEN reorganization of beliefs or attitudes.

Relationships come in a myriad of forms: one-on-one with another person, individual with group, spouse with spouse, and child with parent. While each combination will have unique dynamics, there are universal themes inherent to all relationships. The factors at work to mold the minds of cult members are similar to those used by men to control their wives, women to change their husbands, and parents to alienate children.

When there is a combination of Bad Beliefs and Coercive Persuasion at work in minds, the result is: FEAR and WAIT.

False
Expectations
Appearing
Real

Wielding
An
Intrinsic
Terror

In other words, Paralysis by Analysis based entirely on Lies!

While giving full consideration to the principles: Patience is a virtue and Discretion is the better part of valor, I suggest we examine the foundation of our beliefs and muster the courage to take bold steps, forward.

Are YOU afraid to make mistakes?

The “whiners” of the world are the only ones who have never made a mistake. Just listen to them. In their minds and statements, they assure themselves and everyone else that they have done everything perfectly. If, only, the world had agreed with them, placated them, understood them, and otherwise given into (and, given more to) them, they could be recognized for the Saints they believe themselves to be.

On the other hand, the truly successful men and women of the world have made many mistakes, learned from them, and grown into leaders of industry, and builders of relationships.

Are YOU, still, reluctant to change?

Consider this: We go where we look.

There’s a story about a stretch of Interstate highway in Kansas. It is straight as an arrow across the flat land of farms on either side. In the wintertime, the snow blows across the highway to form a four-lane skating rink. The only thing of danger to the cars sliding off the highway is a power-line running parallel.

Since 8 out of 10 cars were smacking poles, a Kansas state trooper took it upon himself to discover “Why“. Because, the odds were better that they missed the poles and hit open space.

As he interviewed the drivers of those cars with noses freshly pressed against a pole, he asked them, “Do you remember what you were thinking as you left the highway?” Every one of them answered, “Oh, yes sir. I was thinking that I surely didn’t want to hit one of those poles.”

All we do begins with a thought.

A negative thought about “not” doing something is as powerful as a positive thought about doing the very same thing. You see, those Kansas drivers were thinking about the poles as they looked right at them and, eventually, wrapped their cars around one.

All we do begins with a thought.

Thoughts lead to actions; Actions develop into habits; Habits accumulate into character; and, Character becomes our Destiny.

Let’s lift our heads from the drudgery of toil, raise our eyes to the broad horizon of opportunities, choose a bright path to travel, surround ourselves with cheerful people, and experience a fresh sensation of soaring spirits.

Whether you think you can, or can’t, you’re right!

www.kimfoard.com

Young Pilots

Pilots at the Controls

At The Controls

The hand of the young businessman reluctantly reached toward the mouse. After he swirled it a few times to synchronize his mind with the cursor, he looked at me for the flight coordinates. We were ready for a new adventure!

Yesterday, he was sitting behind my desk in my executive chair and I was standing beside him, to be his guide. Waiting for us was an unexplored frontier, which I wanted us to look at together. As the CFO of a family business for the last couple of years, he has done everything asked of him, plus some. Rather than more words of instruction, I wanted him to have the experience of sitting at Command Central.

Since we learn by doing and the fun is in the doing, the purpose of our mission was to have fun learning!

A conversation with a businesswoman, earlier this week, is also a facet of this Thought du Jour. Recently, she enjoyed the opportunity to experience an aerial tour of a project, on which she is working, as a passenger aboard a large corporate helicopter. Part of our conversation included a discussion of best practices for bringing the next generation into an existing, and very successful, business.

How can we expect young entrepreneurs to captain the large ships of industry, when they seldom have the opportunity to sit at the controls?! That helicopter pilot learned the basics by flying small machines and, eventually, worked his way up to mastering the big ones. Guaranteed, he did not learn artistry of his craft by someone telling him how it is done!

Classrooms are not the same as Boardrooms; Professors are not the same as seasoned Veterans; and, Talking about something is not the same as Doing.

Young pilots, in training, sit at the controls. Next to them, in the co-pilot seat, is the instructor. The primary job of this instructor is to engage in a wonderful combination of activites which will build student confidence and scare them silly. The instructor will: by their words, tell their students what they need to know; by their actions, show them how to do it. Then, the real education begins, as the student learns by doing.

Typically, as in everything, the first few attempts are ugly. Improvement is made by practice, until the student thinks they know it all. At that moment of pride, their instructor makes a new believer out of them; by introducing an element of surprise. In the world of business, that is commonly referred to as a Variable.

For instance, a “stall” in the air is similar to one in business. The first time it happens to a young pilot and the new entrepreneur, hearts stop and breathing ceases. Same reaction: “Now, What?!” Same response: “Nose down, throttle up, regain composure and let the universal laws of physics and finances be your friend.”

Speaking of which, another conversation this week yielded, yet, one more gem of wisdom related to the importance of “hands on” education and experience. As a young man, my friend worked as a horse wrangler on a large ranch, which operated primarily for the benefit of encouraging and empowering adolescents.

The young people who came as guests, all, had one thing in common: they suffered from the insecurities of never having accomplished anything on their own. For six weeks on the ranch, they had a project and a choice. The project: a horse; their very own horse. The choice: work to connect with the horse as a friend; or, endure the relationship with the horse as an enemy.

As parents, we think training wheels on bikes are helpful and cute. Believing, they are a facet of building confidence. Generally, they are a crutch. The real joy on faces, only, comes after we provide the freedom to fail. Oh, sure, there are the looks of pure terror as our young people wobble, and crash. Yet, there are no words for the exhilaration of finding that first balance, on their own, and the accomplishments, which follow!

Later, our teenage student drivers discover a similar feeling, in the course of earning a license. The foundational principles learned in the classroom are important; what is practiced behind the wheel with an instructor, even, more so.

As we transition from the stories above into the world of business and finance, these same principles have merit. For instance: Spending an allowance is different from Budgeting a net employee paycheck, or business profit. The first is analogous to training wheels given to us; the second is the reality of producing results with our own hands on the yoke, wheel, or mouse.

As my young student clicked the last window closed and leaned back in my chair, our conversation turned to his frustration with some of his peers, who fail to consider the effect of key universal financial principles. When I asked him how he learned them, his response was, “You taught me.”

What began as a routine training exercise ended with a glimpse of the heavens; my spirit soared.

Let us, always, encourage our young people to fly!

www.kimfoard.com