Peace of Mind

Peace of MindThis narrative is quite different from the experience of hearing an antagonist exclaim, “Let me give you a piece of my mind!”

In fact, this is the greatest gift we can give ourselves – peace of mind.

The funny thing about this gift is that it comes as a result of what we don’t think about.

If our thoughts are about the Past, we’ll find regrets there. If we let our minds sneak into the Future, we’ll meet anxiety of the unknown. Right here, right now – in the Present – it’s great to be alive.

If someone asks us to not think about pink elephants, what do we do? We think about pink elephants. So, let’s eliminate the negatives. We can, simply, remove the word “not” and its contractions from our vocabulary.

Mother Nature hates a vacuum. Plant good seeds or weeds will grow. We remove the habit of dwelling on the regrets of the Past and stressing about the anxieties of the Future, by focusing on the Present.

Mindfulness is the fancy term for living in the moment.

Seems kind of silly to, even, state the obvious – in the blink of an eye, this moment will be history and there are no guarantees that we will take the next breath.

There is a guarantee, though, that we can enjoy each and every moment, if we embrace a Code.

Say what?! You know, in the words of John Wayne, “A man’s got to have a code, a creed to live by, no matter his job.”

Whatever the Code, it keeps us focused on living up to those standards. Every thought, every decision, and every action is measured against the Code. Our mind is fully engaged, in each and every moment, to living in the Present.

Since our minds are optimized to remember Three, here are three examples of Codes important to these individuals:

Code of the West (James P. Owen)

1. Live each day with courage.
2. Take pride in your work.
3. Always finish what you start.
4. Do what has to be done.
5. Be tough, but fair.
6. When you make a promise, keep it.
7. Ride for the brand.
8. Talk less and say more.
9. Remember that some things aren’t for sale.
10. Know where to draw the line.

Two Sets of Three (John Wooden)

1. Never lie.
2. Never cheat.
3. Never steal.

1. Don’t whine.
2. Don’t complain.
3. Don’t make excuses.

Decisions for Success (Andy Andrews)

1. The buck stops here. I am responsible for my past and my future.
2. I will seek wisdom. I will be a servant to others.
3. I am a person of action. I seize this moment. I choose now.
4. I have a decided heart. My destiny is assured.
5. Today I will choose to be happy. I am the possessor of a grateful spirit.
6. I will greet this day with a forgiving spirit. I will forgive myself.
7. I will persist without exception. I am a person of great faith.

We can admire the Codes, above, for their inherent qualities of character. Yet, knowing something and doing it are two, very, different engagements. To move from understanding to belief requires insight – literally, a look inside of who we are, individually, and all alone.

A daily practice of the ABC’s (Attitude, Boundaries, and Commitment) can enlighten, empower, and encourage each of us to develop and implement our own, personal, Code.

Attitude ~ Which attributes of Character are most important to me?

All we do begins with a thought. To build, we need a blueprint – a plan – to guide our actions. A positive approach to each step will result in positive creations.

Boundaries ~ How can I ensure dynamic Communication?

As soon as we define who we are and what we believe, our friends will encourage and our enemies will challenge. “Yes, please.” and “No, thanks.” are effective gatekeepers.

Commitment ~ What is the passion at the core of my Commitments?

Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love. Heaven on earth is possible, if we are determined to take the next step, forward.

By choosing a mindfulness to live with purpose and create a legacy built on a foundation of principle, the result is goodness for all and peace of mind for each one of us.

www.kimfoardcpa.com

Conduits of Goodness

Conduits of GoodnessIf you’re ever in need of a conversation starter, just look right into the eyes of another person and ask this question, “What is the passion at the core of everything you do?”

One of two things is guaranteed to happen: Immediate animation, as the person begins to share that passion with you. Or, a deer-in-the-headlights look, with a really long, awkward, pause, as the individual painfully looks for a way of escape.

Escape from what — their own life?! All we want is to understand what makes them tick — that which empowers them to take a licking and keep on ticking.

Last week, I was the beneficiary of these questions from a fine young man:

  • How do you set boundaries?
  • How do you keep your boundaries from being a box that you live in and one that keeps you from fulfilling your potential?

His questions came several days after our conversation, which included the question, “What is the passion at the core of everything you do?” In addition to his questions, above, he had provided an answer to my original question, by responding with, “I do not know.”

Do you, know?

Can each of us answer these questions?

Why do I exist?

How can I make a difference in the lives of others?

What is the appropriate way for delivering the very best to the world?

For those who know (and, those who don’t) the answer is, “Become wonderful conduits — for the goodness from above, to flow through us, for the benefit of others.”

You know — conduit: a hollow tube for the transference and protection of something valuable.

Those without a connection to the source of goodness and void of a desire to share are, simply, an empty tube. In other words, they have no purpose and worthless boundaries. Tap on them and they ring hollow. Squeeze them and they collapse into a wrinkled mess.

Yet, imagine conduit connected to streams of living waters — bubbling, high-pressured, and dynamic at the source. At the destination are beneficiaries eagerly waiting to be served.

Service — now, that’s a novel idea — Bended knee, Caring attitude, Humble heart, Patient spirit, Kind mind, Generous soul, and Helping hands. Yes, please.

So, it’s really quite simple to discover the Passion at the core.

Hint: It comes from the Source above.

As for boundaries, the secret is to say, “Yes, please,” to everything that makes us better conduits — and, “No, thanks,” to everything else.

In fact, we have complete freedom to manage our boundaries. Boundaries are, simply, the outside diameter dimensions of our conduit. Individually, we have the right and responsibility to expand them for the benefit of those in our sphere of influence.

In the physical realm of steel conduit, expansion requires cutting, grinding, torching, bending, and welding new pieces into what already exists, to make the core larger. In the emotional, mental, and spiritual realms, the process will feel about the same.

If we have a passion for what flows through us, we are constantly pushing at the boundaries of the Why, How, and What of our existence. In fact, we will be busily learning and growing to become, better, “Conduits — for the goodness from above, to flow through us, for the benefit of others.”

www.kimfoard.com

IIITB, IIUTM

If It Is To BeIf It Is To Be,
It Is Up To Me

I’m amazed at the whining that goes on, because one person is waiting for other people to change. Change, as in: who they are, what they do, and how they think. Good luck with that!

Wherever we go there we are. It has taken a lifetime to arrive at this moment in time. We have made every, single, choice along the way to be, exactly, where we are. Why, then, is it such a stretch to believe that everyone else has done the same?!

If we nurture a belief that we, individually, are a child of God, do we extend the same courtesy to others? When we see, experience, or are otherwise affected by another person, different in belief from ours, do we accept them, or judge them?

Judging is so much easier and more fun to do. In fact, it comes naturally to find fault with others. There they are, right in front of us, behaving stupidly. Do we ever consider that they are looking at us and thinking the very same thing?

Accepting others is a daily challenge. Embracing the explicit independence of another is entirely different than being a punching bag for their dysfunction. There is a fine line between respect and folly. Discretion is the better part of valor, in regards to boundaries.

Speaking of boundaries, do we know where we end and another person begins? Have we done the hard work to define ourselves to the point of an “elevator speech” introduction to the rest of the world? Are we willing to listen, and accept, the eight seconds offered by others?

If the narrative, above, has yet to make sense and you are struggling with anything in your life, please, go look in the mirror. The individual staring back at you is the one responsible for how you feel and what you think. Change that individual and the whole world will change!

Not enough time to do the things you want? Change your priorities.

Not enough money to do the things you need? Change your patterns.

All of us have 24 hours in a 7 day week and the same 52 weeks in 1 year. We are all given the same opportunity. Are you jealous of those who successfully manage their time and money well?

The secret: Different choices; different results.

Begin with the end in mind. A crystal clear vision of the future encourages us to make choices, which move us forward in that direction. As we advance, other exciting opportunities along the way broaden our horizons of awareness.

The more we think and do, the more we learn and grow. As we stretch through the pain of change, we find even higher peaks of adventure, just, waiting for us. Those who have chosen to remain stuck in their rut are no longer of concern to us.

We have discovered that the fun is in the doing!

If It Is To Be,
It Is Up To Me

www.kimfoard.com

School of Thought

Creative BrainAsking the right Question is much more important than having all of the right Answers.

At one time in the recent past, the Question: “What is found at the end of freight trains?” was deserving of the Answer: “Caboose”.

For one generation, that fond memory is now an antique safely archived in Railroad museums.

For our current, high-tech, digital generation, the Text message of curiosity to their friends to ask for an explanation might be in the form of “Cab—what???”

Question: Why, then, do our formal programs of education test for a finite answer to a limited set of questions?

Answer: It is big business to sell the dysfunctional idea that one person has the answer to another’s question.

As a result, we have several generations of gifted and talented individuals waiting to receive guidance for their lives from a clueless academia. No one has the right answers for anyone, else. At best, our educators might be brave enough to explore what is right for one person, themselves.

It is the height of arrogance for anyone to believe they have all of the answers. The most important facets of life cannot be explained by mere mortals. The answers discovered, today, for yesterday’s questions are guaranteed to be wrong for the new opportunities of tomorrow.

Since we learn by doing and the fun is in the doing, let’s focus on having fun as we learn. The journey to the choice of our individual destinations begins, right here, right now.

In fact, the secret to asking Questions is inherent in the discipline to practice the ABC‘s.

Attitude:  Whether we think we can, or can’t, we’re right. As a creative genius with an 8th Grade formal education, my Dad believed: “If a man made it, I can fix it.” And, he did. Time, after time, he accomplished the impossible.

Boundaries: Those are the fine lines defining our growth, to date. They are the demarcation between where we end and another begins. Self-respect runs unabated within; Respect is generously offered to those without. Mutually beneficial transactions occur at the border.

Commitment: Choosing one and foregoing all others is the first step to moving forward. Forsaking the un-chosen focuses all energy on the, one, most important, choice. Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it.

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In our human condition, we will make MISTAKEs. This is the ultimate Question: aM I Seeking To Ask (and) Knock Effectively? Intelligent people are always ready to learn; their ears are open for Knowledge. To acquire Wisdom is to love oneself; people who cherish Understanding will prosper.

Life is simply an exercise in practice techniques: Amateurs practice until they get it right; Masters practice until they can’t get it wrong.

All we do begins with a, creative, thought!

www.kimfoard.com

Tight Fences

Six Wire FenceIn Montana, we have an expression and a tradition: “Good fences make for good neighbors.”

Those individuals intent upon building a ranch empire will jest, “I don’t want to own the entire state; just what my neighbor has.”

Much more than keeping those types out, the focus of this article is about fencing ourselves in.

Fence me in?!

Literally, I can hear and feel the push-back. The idea of taking personal responsibility for ourselves is a novel thought. For several generations, we’ve had exposure to the 24/7 propaganda: “If it feels good, do it.”

As a result, our “fences” are in disarray; the wires are loose, staples are missing, posts are rotted, and we find ourselves trampling on each other.

There is a better way. It begins with us, individually, from the inside, out. We discover and define ourselves. Then, we build dynamic relationships with others. Regardless of the enterprise, life is all about the people.

Think about the best six-strand, barb-wire, fence you have ever seen. That was a “stretch.” Wasn’t it? There aren’t many six-wire fences. Many ranch managers will build five-wire fences. The hobby-farmers settle for four. And, the rhinestone-cowboys cheat with three. A six-wire fence is a little bit higher, with spaces between the wires narrower, and the boundaries a whole lot tighter!

Nothing goes over, through, or under a six-wire fence. Permission to pass is offered at the gates. With good braces at the corners and every opening, the gates are designed for ease of operation. In our great state of Montana, neighbors are few and far between. When they’re in the mood to visit, we want to graciously provide the way. We know they will respectfully close the gates upon passing through.

Pretty simple.

Yet, some might be wondering, “What do tight Montana fences have to do with life?”

Everything.

Forget about the neighbors for a minute. Let’s focus on ourselves. Harder to do; I know. It’s so much easier to see what others are doing “wrong” and mettle in their business. Since their affairs are beyond our control, let’s re-focus on what is within our sphere of influence. We will find that at the tips of our fingers and looking back at us from our favorite mirror.

Yep, there we are.

Now, ask these questions:

Who am I?

What do I believe?

Where am I going?

Why do I think the way I do?

When will I commit to the future I want?

How many of my friends will help me grow?

The answers to those questions will define YOU and your current condition. Capture that image vividly in your mind’s eye. Close your eyes and save it to the hard-disk of your mind. Open your eyes. Now, go, quickly, to build a six-wire fence around the wonderful creation of YOU.

Barb WireWipe the sweat from your brow, clean the blood from the cuts on your arms, and dab the tears from your eyes as you look (maybe, for the very first time) at YOU. For everyone who makes the effort to build that tight fence, we all see the same thing: Gardens of goodness and Patches of weeds.

After we tidy up the areas of neglect, we feel a sense of peace and tranquility. We thoroughly enjoy what is ours and we generously offer our best to others. In time, we realize that to serve more people in a better way, we must continue to grow.

Fenced PasturesThe best way to do that is to close our eyes, again, and dream: Big dreams, vivid dreams in full color, even those beyond our wildest imagination.

Anything is possible.

Forget the past; it doesn’t matter. Ignore the nagging worry about the future; right here, right now, it’s great to be alive. Position yourself in the center of that marvelous territory (the one protected by the new six-wire fenced boundary) of YOU — and, dream!

Are you there, yet? If so, write down what you just imagined. It’s much more than a fantasy, or a dream. If you can sketch the rough outline and, then, draw a detailed blueprint of that place to which you just went, it can be built.

By standing in the image of that new country of YOU, you will be able to see the steps to take ~ from where you are, to where you want to be!

www.kimfoard.com

Distinguished

Distinguished

Last week, a woman said to me, “I’m open to anything.”

The week before, a woman commented, “I’m all caved up.”

As a man and subject to the impulses of the visual creatures that we are, naturally, the image of Open messed with my mind more so than Closed. As a gentleman and wanting to maintain the PG-rating of this forum, that runaway thought was quickly corralled into the larger issue: Sieves and Stones.

Questions: How far will someone go who is open to anything? How captive is someone who is all caved up?

Answer: Only, they know.

The common thread between the two is that neither has taken the time and energy to discover who they, really, are, or what they want for their lives. It’s so much easier to let someone else make the decisions for them and then be disappointed when things don’t go as fantasized.

Although the phrases were spoken by different women at different times, they are actually the spectrum of dysfunction. Let’s take a look at the combined effect and (unspoken) reality: “I’m open to anything (as long as you keep me happy). (If you misbehave and hurt me) I’m all caved up.”

On one side of the spectrum is an individual with Sieves for boundaries; everything pours through. On the other side of that stormy rainbow is an individual with solid Stones for boundaries; nothing can penetrate their defenses.

One word explains the essence of their craziness: Immaturity.

Children are open to anything and everything, because they lack the perspective, which comes from the knowledge, wisdom, and understanding, of education and experience. Those same little kids get their feelings hurt when another person tells them, “No.” Then, they go on to react as either: Rage-ers, by throwing a tantrum; or, Stuff-ers, by pouting.

Mature individuals accept responsibility for their own learning, growing, and doing. Daily, they make a purposeful effort to work on the things within their control and to consciously forgive the rest. They fully understand the importance of the boundaries which define where they end and another person begins. In the simplest of terms, they are: Distinguished.

Definitions:

Characterized by excellence or distinction; eminent.
Dignified in conduct or appearance.
Noble or dignified in appearance or behavior.
Eminent; famous; celebrated.
Advanced in character, attainment or reputation.
Of great significance or value.

Synonyms:

Eminent, great, important, noted, famous, celebrated, well-known, prominent, esteemed, acclaimed, notable, renowned, prestigious, elevated, big-time, famed, conspicuous, illustrious, major league.

Let two distinguished individuals come together and the odds of a mutually rewarding, healthy, and growing relationship skyrocket. One word and two people is the secret to building dynamic relationships and taking our society to new heights of discovery!

www.kimfoard.com

Offer & Acceptance

Offer & Acceptance

A friend remarked, “Ninety-plus percent of intimate personal relationships are based on nothing more than business transactions.”

At the time, I found her comment distasteful. Since then, I have taken off the rose-colored glasses and actually seen how couples behave in their relationships. Increasingly, I have noticed more of the quid pro quo inherent within what many fantasize to be a loving relationship.

As I listen closely to their words, the intent of their heart is expressed, “Yes, he is the leader of our family, because I say so.”

What?!

Recently, I have been able to weave the last few years of observation into a theorem, which proves my friend wrong in prognosis. The vast majority of personal relationships aren’t based on business principles. In fact, they don’t, even, rise to that level of common courtesies.

For those desirous of building dynamic relationships, consider this:

Give our Best
Pause to Rest

Guaranteed, this article is multifaceted. It will thoroughly thrill and consciously chill, you, with a wonderful blend of logic and emotion.

From the annals of history comes an accepted parable of wisdom, “Can two walk together unless they are agreed?”

The simple answer is: No.

By default, then, for two people to walk together, or do anything together, they must be in agreement.

The de minimis requirement for a valid business contract is agreement.

Contract law is based on the principle expressed in the Latin phrase pacta sunt servanda, which is usually translated “agreements to be kept” but more literally means “pacts must be kept”.

As a means of economic ordering, contract relies on the notion of consensual exchange and has been extensively discussed in broader economic, sociological, and anthropological terms. In American English, the term extends beyond the legal meaning to encompass a broader category of agreements.

Common Law jurisdictions recognize a high degree of freedom to contract, with the parties largely at liberty to set their own terms. In other words: Freedom of will to choose what is right for the individual. There is, only, one person who knows what that is: the individual.

The elements of a contract are mutual assent and consideration.

Mutual Assent

Mutual assent is typically reached through offer and acceptance; in other words, when an offer is met with an acceptance that is unqualified and does not change any of the terms. The result is a concurrence of wills or ad idem (meeting of the minds).

Consideration

Consideration is something of value given by a promissor to a promisee in exchange for something of value given by a promisee to a promissor. Typically, the thing of value is an act, or a forbearance to act when one is privileged to do so. The purpose of consideration is to ensure that there is a present bargain, that the promises of the parties are reciprocally induced.

In most systems of law, parties have freedom to choose whether or not they wish to enter into a contract, absent superseding duties. In American law, one early case exemplifying this proposition is Hurley v. Eddingfield (1901), in which the Supreme Court of Indiana ruled in favor of a physician who voluntarily decided not to help a patient whom the physician had treated on past occasions, despite the lack of other available medical assistance and the patient’s subsequent death.

Such a simple concept: Freedom to Choose.

We think nothing of claiming the right for ourselves. Do we graciously extend the same right to others? Or, do we make an offer and accept it for them? Laughable?!

Consider the last time you did something nice for another person and they rejected it. What was your reaction? Offended? Thinking, “How dare they?!” Here is the issue: Your definition of nice may not be the same as theirs.

The root of dysfunction in any relationship is the bad belief that we know what is best for another person. It is Our Bad to believe another person could, should, would (all of the ‘ould words denote an aura of judgment) accept what we are offering. That belief is bad, not the individual who says, “No, thanks.”

Give our Best
Pause to Rest

Let’s take a look at the ABC’s of building dynamic relationships.

Attitude

The foundation for success is an attitude of service to others.

Offer to fulfill a need, satisfy a desire, or fix a problem and a relationship is possible. This initial effort to give value begins the circular motion for acceptance to be received.

The sphere of benefit and influence will grow relative to the effectiveness of our communication. Crystal clear transmissions, static free receptions and a dedicated channel of feedback produce a synergy of unlimited potential.

Knowledge, wisdom and understanding are required as a prerequisite to valuable exchanges. We learn, grow and dream by focusing on Facts of the Past, Choices in the Present, and Vision for the Future.

Purpose in life is discovered by acknowledging a power greater than ourselves; delivery of value is possible by being a conduit for timeless and priceless gifts.

The greatest gift is a chosen, purposeful effort, often done in the face of fear, to nurture our own growth and the growth of others!

Boundaries

The walls of success are plumb and square because of a clear definition of ourselves and an understanding of others.

Until we clearly define and communicate what we want for the present and future, it is futile and even dangerous to pursue long-term relationships. Our individual commitment to a course of action is necessary before others can offer to help.

Definitive expectations allow another individual to make a judgment for themselves if they are able and willing to be a complement. We each have the right to say no to anyone, anytime, anyplace and for any reason.

Respect is only possible with clearly defined boundaries. The sovereignty of a country is defined by its border. As individuals, we are citizens of one.

Self-respect is everything that goes on within our boundaries. Respect for others happens at the border and according to mutually acceptable customs.

Profitable interactions occur through doors of opportunity that swing on the hinges of “No, thanks.” and “Yes, please!”

Commitment

The crowning glory of success is the courage to always do the right thing.

Until one is committed
There is hesitancy, the chance to draw back,
Always ineffectiveness.
Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation),
There is one elementary truth,
The ignorance of which kills countless ideas
And splendid plans:
That the moment one definitely commits oneself,
Then Providence moves too.
All sorts of things occur to help one
That would never otherwise have occurred.
A whole stream of events issues from the decision
Raising in one’s favor all manner
Of unforeseen incidents and meetings
And material assistance,
Which no person could have dreamt
Would have come their way.

I have learned a deep respect for one of Goethe’s couplets:
Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it.
Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it.

In the great state of Montana, we have an expression and tradition: “Good fences make for good neighbors.”

Those fences mark the boundary edges of ownership. They are the fine lines of distinction between what is mine and what is yours.

Now, consider the title of this article: Offer & Acceptance.

That little “&” sign is the difference between a healthy, vibrant, dynamic relationship and one that is dysfunctional. It is representative of a Montana fence and the fine lines we walk in life.

On the one side is my right to Offer; on the other is your right to Accept, or not. Depending on what I’m offering, your answer will be, either: “No, thanks.” Or, “Yes, please!”

One, or the other. Moment by moment; step by step; offer by acceptance: we choose to walk together, or not. One is not better than the other. What is important, though, is that we have an honest relationship.

Two mature individuals deciding what is best for ourselves, communicating that boldly and clearly, while mutually giving our best, and the freedom to choose, to our partner.

Give our Best
Pause to Rest

www.kimfoard.com

To the Nth Power

Yes and No

This is a story about a Hen, a Pig, a Cat and a Rat. Neighbors with very different world views. Unique in their approach, they became aware of the consequences of their choices at an individual pace.

Before we begin, I must confess. The catalyst for these thoughts came from a question asked of me by one of my favorite young adults, “Why did you choose accounting as your work?”

My first response was, “Well, there was this teacher, back when I was a junior in high school …” Then, a thirty year story about jobs, college, doing, learning and growing. Until, a Rest of the Story moment of, “And, I wanted to provide financial opportunities for my family.” Later, that day, as we were comparing leadership qualities, I experienced a flash-back to childhood and the story of The Little Red Hen.

Now, to many people, the little word “No” is perceived as a “Negative”. Maybe, it’s because both words begin with the letter “N“. Maybe, it’s because “Communication is what the listener does” and the listener has had their twig bent from childhood experiences modeled on scarcity, derision, intimidation, inferiority, or just plain, old-fashioned, generic, meanness.

This morning, the thought occurred that NO written on a piece of paper and held up to a mirror might morph into ON. With thought into action, the result was close. With failure, comes new opportunity. Then, I remembered the sign in the window of a store I drive by each day to work. Early in the morning, I see NOPE. If I pass by later in the day it displays OPEN.

More than the power of “N”, we will discover the degree of opportunity in “NO”.

When the little red Hen asks her barnyard friends, “Who will plant, harvest, thresh, carry and bake?” the answer is the same every time. “Not I,” says the Pig. “Not I,” says the Cat. “Not I,” says the Rat.

“Well, then,” said the Little Red Hen, “I will.”

And, she did.

Then, probably because she had acquired the habit, the Red Hen called, “Who will eat the Bread?”

All the animals in the barnyard were watching hungrily and smacking their lips in anticipation. The Pig said, “I will.” The Cat said, “I will.” The Rat said, “I will.”

But, the Little Red Hen said, “No, you won’t. I will.”

And, she did.

The flip of a coin is used to determine choice at the beginning of every football game. On one side is Heads and on the other side is Tails. One coin; Two possible answers. Of the results, one is not “better” than the other, before the question.

Why do some people say No to everything? Why do others say Yes to everything? Both groups, will then, struggle to understand “Why” someone will tell them, “No. No, thank you. Heck, No! What part of “NO” don’t you understand?!”

The secret to understanding is: Boundaries.

Those with solid walls for boundaries keep everything, and everybody, out. Those with porous sieves for boundaries let everything, and everybody, in. Both are dysfunctional.

Profitable interactions occur through doors of opportunity that swing on the hinges of “No, thanks.” and “Yes, please!”

Look carefully at the word NO. Now, focus on the O. What do you see? I see the beginning of Opportunity!

Just like the Little Red Hen, I see an opportunity to say, “I will.”

In fact, there is an opportunity to remember and practice, once again, the “2×10” mantra: If It Is To Be, It Is Up To Me.

The most important part of the “2×10” is the first “2×5”: If It Is To Be.

“To the Nth Power” is a reminder to move the N from NO to where it belongs: ON. And, to move the N from NOPE to where it belongs: OPEN.

From there, let’s toss the P and center the N: ONE. By doing so, we leverage the power of N to the Nth Degree and enjoy a reality bigger than we ever imagined!

www.kimfoard.com

Steel and Velvet

Steel and VelvetIt Takes Both

Life is experienced on a tightrope.

Fine lines of distinction separate This from That.

As an example, the short riddle below, comprised of two sentences, is deserving of being solved.

It will be our segue into the Thought Du Jour.

Each sentence is accurate.

Together, they become powerful in thought and deed!

Don’t answer the foolish arguments of fools, or you will become as foolish as they are.

Be sure to answer the foolish arguments of fools, or they will become wise in their own estimation.

While appearing contradictory, the Secret is within each of us, at our core. If we know who we are and are generous of spirit, the “answer” becomes obvious:

We refuse to follow a foolish person down rabbit trails and we boldly share our beliefs with them.

By now, you might ask, “What does this have to do with a man of Steel and Velvet?”

The answer: They can be firm and soft, at the same time.

In fact, they are who they are; yet, they generously share of themselves. The perceived differences are inherent within the individuals who approach. For example: these men of Steel and Velvet have the patience of a Saint. Some will recognize the character trait as a virtue; others will perceive the same trait as weakness.

The first group will experience the softness that flows from mutual respect; the second group will experience the firmness that results from the rude awakening to reality. While giving the benefit of doubt, these men of Steel and Velvet will defend their boundaries, for the benefit of those who seek protection there.

Boundaries are simply “fine lines of distinction”. One of these fine lines separates forgiveness from flaccidity. Forgiveness is hard (to do); flaccidity is (by its very definition) soft. Forgiveness lets us enjoy the present moment, while moving forward into a future of opportunities. Flaccidity is for those who allow themselves to be a doormat, for the feet of their enemies, while remaining tethered to the past.

Lambs

Is it possible for lambs to move through a pack of wolves? What is the Secret to that?! Answer: We are to be as wise as snakes and as innocent as doves.

Wisdom is the forerunner to success. In fact, a four letter word is the pun intended to create a new beginning in our lives: Fore.

Yes, that which comes before. Have you ever wondered how generous people got to be that way? They give here, there, and everywhere. What came first? What is at the very beginning of their current efforts? Answer: Fore-give; in the vernacular, Forgive.

One of the best definitions of forgiveness was received in a place far removed from a religious setting. Yet, it dovetails with a belief in a Higher Power and summarizes the distinct black and white choice we will each make in our, individual, lives.

Forgiveness: Let go of the notion that there can be a better, or different, yesterday.

Simple enough. Yet, check your thoughts. Where are they? Dwelling on an episode, conversation, mistake, hurt, offense, etc. of the Past? If so, look again at the definition above. “But”, you might say, “I have tried to forgive and that person does not deserve it, will not accept it, continues to do it, etc.” (the excuses continue on ad infinitum, and ad nauseam)

DovesFore-giving is not about anyone else. It is about us and totally within our control.

Does it mean we condone the actions of another? No. Does it mean we continue to allow another to hurt us? Heck, no! Does it mean we forget, for now, with hopes of revenge, later? Again, the answer is: No.

We “simply”: Let go of the notion that there can be a better, or different, yesterday.

Then, we assure ourselves with, “Right here, right now, it’s great to be alive!”

Many will choose to be offended. They will be envious of the peace and tranquility in our lives. The pathologically challenged will remain tethered to their past, while we move forward. Each new day will bring the tightropes for us to walk boldly and in balance. Through it all, we retain our innocence by being able and willing to, quickly, ask for forgiveness when we are wrong and offering it freely to erase the foibles of others.

By doing so: We ignore the foolish arguments, while sharing our core beliefs. We wisely chart our course through danger, while being careful to remain harmless. We forgive ourselves and others, while receiving a ticket to the future. We learn the inherent principle of Steel and Velvet: easy is hard; hard is easy.

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