Harvest Time

Harvest Time

Separating the Wheat from the Chaff

Because only 2% of our society works the land, we’ve become disconnected from the Farmer Philosophy.

Simply stated, “Mother Nature hates a vacuum. Plant good seeds — or, weeds will grow.”

So… for 50 plus years, I’ve been preparing, planting, tending, nurturing — and, dealing with the result. The bins were stretched to the limit and I was wondering, “Why am I so tired?”

Was I tired of the goodness? Was it, simply, too much of a good thing? Was there, even, any purpose in all this business and busyness?

The answer was discovered in violence. It came in the form of a real threshing — to beat, to flail, to separate, to thrash, to examine, and to toss.

Paradoxical Commandments

Do It Anyway

You see, there’s a maximum from the Paradoxical Commandments, “If you are successful, you will win false friends and true enemies. Succeed anyway.”

Long ago, I discovered the 50/50 Rule — Half of the world will love us and the other half will hate us.

I’ve always been amused by the true enemies. What they meant for harm has always resulted in more goodness. The weapons they formed against me silenced them. The enemies gave their best to condemn and the Master offered honor.

As an eternal optimist, with my rose-colored glasses, I’ve — now — come to realize the problem (opportunity in disguise) of my tiredness was because of my naivety and those false friends.

They knew — for a fact — they were the beneficiaries of Education and Experience freely offered. In other words, they wanted what I had. And — they expected me to listen to their whining, endure their disrespect, and do for them what they were unwilling to do for themselves.

In the simplest of farming terms, they were chaff, light-weights, shriveled, and cracked — the winnowed waste only fit for chicken feed.

Action speaks louder than words.

When People Show You Who They Are, Believe Them

Yet, for some crazy reason, I couldn’t bring myself to blow them away. What I couldn’t do was done by the One who can.

To winnow means to force air upon the good and bad — to separate. Again, we forget the process required to put quality grain in the bin. The modern combine harvesters are beautiful monsters eating their way through ripe fields of plenty. Yet, inside their bellies, the process of separating the wheat from the chaff is a violent operation of beating, flailing, shaking, thrashing — with air used as a force to blow away the final remnants of impurity.

After all of that violence, what remains is the kernel of opportunity — to be used in baking, or in planting the next crop.

So… if you feel beaten, flailed, shaken, and blown upon by the winds of fate, take cheer — there’s A Time for Everything.

A time to plant and a time to harvest.

If you have planted and enjoy a crop meriting attention, then, know a harvest is required.

As I did, you’ll discover quality at the core of your character and you’ll discover who your true Friends, really, are!

www.kimfoardcpa.com

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

Emotion Follows Motion

Emotion Follows MotionSo … there you are, wanting to feel in love, and wondering why Prince Charming is not riding in to sweep you off your feet.

For the faint of heart, stop reading, now. For the tough and tender, brace yourself and be prepared to laugh, with me.

First of all, that Prince Charming fellow is a caricature of Fairy Tales. The script is way too predictable: He gallops in on a white steed to save Damsels in distress. Now, really! Are you in distress and in need of saving?

Furthermore, pedestals and ivory towers are dangerous. Those perched high above the common folk were placed there by someone, are useless while up there, and, without help to get down, are stranded. Now, really! Does that sound like fun?

The fun is in the doing and we learn by doing. Let’s have fun learning, together.

Since I grew up in a sea of cowhides, that Prince fellow will need to tighten his cinch. While he continues the dysfunction of slaying Pet Dragons, I practice the Three-E Formula to Enlighten, Empower, and Encourage.

Enlighten ~ If you’re happy in a rut, which is simply a grave with the ends kicked out, I will frustrate the heck out of you. Since we don’t know what we don’t know, I’m constantly asking, “Why?” and, then, “Why, not?!”

Empower ~ If you’re happy being a victim, I will unceasingly tease you. The world is what we make of it; if it doesn’t fit, make alterations. By learning from the stories and experiences of others, I believe in building dreams into reality.

Encourage ~ If you’re happy taking without giving, I will show no mercy. Serving is the foundation on which all other noble traits of character are displayed. Character matters. Doing the right thing can be made easier by the catalyst of a kind word.

Speaking of which, these are the attributes of the Love that I want us to feel: Kindness, Patience, Honesty, Protection, Trust, Hope, and Perseverance. As we DO each of these, we BECOME kind, patient, truthful, courageous, vulnerable, optimistic, and willful in our desire to share Love.

Love begins with Motion and ends in Emotion.

www.kimfoard.com

Boldly Humble

Boldly Humble

In the Land of Narcissists, who is the greatest?

Who earns the respect of those within their sphere of influence?

Is it the pompous, arrogant, ignorant fool who, if they knew half as much as they pretend, would know twice as much as they really do? Or, is it the quiet, listening, thoughtful individual who learns new and better ways to serve?

Of all the many sparkling facets of greatness, there is only one foundational base within which the gem is anchored: Humility.

Humility precedes honor.

Pride ends in humiliation, while humility brings honor.

Beginning with the end in mind, distinguishing characteristics of honor are principled uprightness of character and code of integrity, which results in reputation, distinction, privilege, and special recognition.

What is required for each of us to get honor?

Quite simply, we must be willing to give ourselves in service.

There is only one way to do that: by bending a knee in humility. Humility is necessary before we can admit, “I don’t know what I don’t know.” Following that proclamation, is the simple request, “Please, teach me what I need to know.”

At that moment, the Universe goes out of its way to instruct. When the Student is ready, the Teacher will appear. The more we learn, the more we realize there is so much more to learn. As we learn, we begin to teach. In time, the Student becomes the Teacher.

Yet, the great Masters continue to humble themselves at the feet of even greater Teachers, who humbly accept the guidance of Infinite Wisdom. In other words, there is always more to learn.

One of the Natural Laws is that we harvest what we plant. Humble souls work hard to have something of value to share with others and are guaranteed to receive an abundance. As a farmer bends a knee to plant, so too can we humbly prepare our fields for rain.

How do we humbly prepare?

All we need to do is to boldly ASK.

Ask for what we need and want. We will be given.
Seek for what is important to discover. We will find what is right.
Knock on the doors of opportunity with courtesy. They will open to abundance.

Humility precedes honor.

www.kimfoard.com

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

Successful Failures

Ask the average person if they want to fail and the answer is, generally, an emphatic, “No way!”

Please, take just a moment to grab a piece of paper and pen. On the paper draw a Dot representative of YOU. Now, write the two words Failure and Success on your paper.

Did you write Success above YOU and Failure below YOU?

Or, is your diagram more like a fork in the road, with Failure to the left and Success to the right?

Or, maybe your drawing is that of a straight-line, with YOU stuck in the middle between Failure and Success?

Many of us have experienced the frustration of paralysis analysis. Do we go up, or down? Do we go left, or right? Or, maybe we’re just stuck: not wanting to slip backwards into Failure; yet, fearful of the steps, forward, toward Success.

Query any successful individual about their journey and, inevitably, you’ll hear stories about “trips through the desert.” Only, through the obstacles, disappointments, mistakes, and (Yes!) failures did they learn the lessons resulting in, eventual, success.

There are choices, we make, about the roads we travel. Character does matter. Those who choose the high-road of service will experience the benefits of a marvelous destination. The view is better from the top.

Although … the destination matters less than the journey. In fact, when enjoying a life of abundance, we never do fully arrive. Learn, grow, stretch, and climb as far as we can and, guaranteed, there will be new vistas to explore.

Examples are everywhere of individuals failing their way to success: Thomas Edison, Abraham Lincoln, Michael Jordan, Walt Disney, Henry Ford, Bill Gates, and many, many, others. There is a common theme to their success.

Edison: One day, an assistant asked him why he didn’t give up. After all, he failed over a thousand times. Edison replied that he had not failed once. He had discovered over 1000 things that don’t work.

Jordan: I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And, that is why I succeed.

The, only, way to success is through failure.

Are people laughing at you, because of their judgment of your failure? Smile right back, because they can’t do what you will accomplish. Somewhere, beyond the lessons learned, is something important to you. Push forward, take the next step, and you will arrive.

When you do (what others claim to be impossible), then what? What is success? Is it a destination, or is it a journey? One of the better definitions, by Earl Nightingale: Success is the progressive realization of a worthy ideal.

Now, we have the secret to why so many are stuck in paralysis analysis. They’re trying to decide which way to turn, when all they really need to do is: Dream big, have belief, take the first step, and then the one after that.

Those who do sacrifice the compulsion to talk for an investment in action. One of their beliefs is that short-term pain is the price to enjoy the value of long-term pleasure.

The pleasure will not be in arriving. It will be in the progressive realization of a worthy ideal. And, when that dream morphs into reality (through the journey of many steps), a successful person lifts their eyes to the horizon of new opportunity.

They smile, again, as they take the first step toward the next failure waiting on the road to another success.

Let’s boldly run in the direction of our dreams. Between here and there will be many failures of our efforts. Beyond the failures is success. In time, we proudly wear the badge engraved with our status: Successful Failure.

Forever, we march forward in progressive realization of a worthy ideal.

www.kimfoard.com

Authentic Hero

Authentic HeroFrom time in memorial, humans have been in search of a Super Hero.

You know: That omnipotent character, who can answer every question; the mighty one, who can save the day and those weaker souls among us. (Heck, even we tough guys welcome a little time off from the daily struggles.)

In a political season, there are at least a couple of candidates proclaiming to be the solution to every problem. Flip a coin, pick the winner, and what you have is an individual just like you, and me, and a few billion other people: just, another regular person.

If there are no, real-life, Super Heroes, what are we to do? Give up? Tremble in fear? Trudge through each day with resignation and despair?

The simple answer is, “No.”

You, my friend, have everything required to be an Authentic Hero. Authentic trumps Super every time, because Super is a figment of the imagination, while Authentic is the heart and soul of greatness.

Okay, I realize some are reluctant to believe. So, let’s start with the undeniable. A comes before S in the English alphabet. Unless you’re the lead dog, the view never changes. Let’s take a look at what makes an Authentic Hero.

They are big believers in the KISS Principle: Keep It Simple Sweetheart. As a result, the character attributes of the Authentic Hero are: Desire, Humility, and Courage.

Desire

Authentic Heroes have The-Want-To. They know that all we do begins with a thought. By guarding their hearts, positive thoughts are captured and nurtured into plans of action. With diligent preparation, those plans — one at a time — are implemented with precision.

Humility

Authentic Heroes, on bended knee, seek engagement to build mutually beneficial relationships. Theirs is an attitude of service for the greater good of all. They know that the joy of life is discovered in the Doing. Their purpose is to Enlighten, Empower, and Encourage.

Courage

Authentic Heroes accept the creed that there is no greater love than to give their life, so others might live more abundantly. They boldly face each day, knowing full well mistakes will be made. Criticism is accepted as a badge of honor for the lessons learned.

Long after the Super narrative of the narcissist is forgotten, the life of the hero offered in Authentic sacrifice will be remembered, forever.

www.kimfoard.com

Leadership

Money does not a leadership problem fix.

In fact, a problem is simply an opportunity in disguise.

We grow — when confronted with the impossible. It is that defining moment of decision. Many will quit. A few will do what others say can’t be done.

Leaders will accomplish what has never been attempted, before.

Those who do are the leaders among us. Those who talk are not necessarily the followers. Talk is cheap and those who blather, generally, complain about all of their problems. Unknowingly and unwittingly, they are complaining about themselves.

For the entirety of human existence, accumulation of wealth has been the measure of empires. The Golden Rule has been disenfranchised into a barbaric slogan, “Those who have the Gold make the Rules.”

Rules and regulations do not an Empire make. In fact, Empires come and go — because, their leaders abdicate the responsibility to set an example. We, the People, learn by doing.

Leadership is not a cult-like mission of forcing others into compliance. Leadership is a deep-felt passion of guiding everyone to the best individual choices.

Say what?! Doesn’t a leader, by default, need followers?

For a moment, forget about following and let’s focus on leading. Leaders believe in the power of one. They understand life is best experienced from the inside, out. They are true to themselves, by constantly improving the character at their core.

Leaders make absolutely sure they have much to give. What they offer to the whole wide world is the Three-E Formula to Enlighten, Empower, and Encourage.

Enlighten

We don’t know what we don’t know. Leaders share the best of what they have learned with all who are accepting. The story of their journey is the inspiration for broadened horizons and myriad options of choice. Leaders communicate the saga and color that vision of abundance with broad strokes and vivid detail.

Empower

Knowing what to do and doing it are two, entirely, different things. Leaders offer the tools to build something special. We all want and need something different. Leaders are the ultimate teachers through explanation and demonstration, then asking for imitation, offering correction, and expecting repetition.

Encourage

The best teachers have humbly learned from the School of Hard Knocks. They can share many lessons learned the hard way and know, for an absolute fact, their Students need a few of the same experiences. Leaders patiently wait for new lessons to be learned, all the while supporting that effort.

True leaders always have a following. Hundreds, maybe even many thousands, are watching the silent example of their heroes. Actions speak so much louder than words. A life of character, generously offered to others — through consistent choices to build mutually beneficial dynamic relationships — is the legacy of leaders.

The choice is free, for us to make.

The results are priceless, for future generations.

Let’s accept the challenge of leadership.

www.kimfoard.com

Straight Talk

Straight Talk

How many times last week did someone tell you one thing and, then, did something entirely different?

Have you ever made plans with someone, who at the last minute changed their mind and did not participate?

Why is it essential to say what we believe and believe what we say?

Reputation is what others think about us. Character is who we truly are — at the core. Sterling qualities of these attributes are nurtured into existence as a result of consistency in word and deed.

John Wooden in his book, The Wisdom of Wooden, shares with us what his father shared with him.

Two Sets of Three

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

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

Words, if inconsistent with actions, are blatantly misleading. Recipients of this deceit are cheated out of belief. The most precious of resources — Time — is stolen.

As a result, the cover-up is camouflaged with a combination of whining, complaining, and excuse making.

Take a few moments to imagine a world in which individuals are careful with their commitments.

By default, commitment is entirely void of one word: Maybe.

In fact, commitment is either: This, or That.

Just say a simple, “Yes, I will.” Or, “No, I won’t.”

Then, after giving our word, one way, or the other, just, “Do it.”

The only downside risk of doing what we say is that the Drama Kings and Queens will need to find another venue for their acting. Theatre can be a pleasant diversion from reality. Honesty in thought and action is a perquisite for building trust and respect.

Straight talk and a straight walk lead straight to dynamic relationships!

www.kimfoard.com

Initials

CPA CITP

Society has adopted as truth this funny notion that there are no differences from one person to another.

Then, it diligently goes about labeling each to differentiate the homogeneous mixture.

Recent attendance at a Scaling New Heights conference was a gentle reminder of this Universal Principle: regardless of how alike a group of people may be, the individual differences are worthy of consideration.

In fact, the uniqueness of the individuals is what creates synergy for the group. In other words, the sum of the whole is greater than its parts. Yet, the value of the group is dependent upon the integrity of the individual members.

As attendees of the Conference, we were provided an assortment of materials and a name Badge. Since the Conference was conducted in cooperation with Intuit®, the maker of QuickBooks, one early announcement was the availability of lapel Pins to note our levels of achievement.

Caught up in the pompousness of the moment, I went by the Intuit® booth and claimed my awards. In observing others with the Pins affixed to their Badges, I did the same — for about an hour.

Then, I was struck with the absurdity: we were all the same, as ProAdvisor attendees.

The real distinction was in the passion at the core of who we are, as individuals.

Our value to one another and the Customers we serve is not in the awards, certifications, or degrees accumulated in appendages to our name. Value is the reality of a perception. Reputation is what others think about us. Character is who we really are.

A couple of years ago, my character was tested by a potential new Customer. By being too eager to please, I gave the best of me to the son-in-law, who asked for help. Although purporting to have authority to purchase, son-in-law was subordinate to Father-In-Law.

Once that was understood, I took the game from my office to their place of business. Oh, the fun of beginning again with the one who controlled funding authority. All was going relatively well, until I decided to take a short-cut.

Rather than build Trust and provide the opportunity for Respect to be earned and given, I thought my credentials were pretty dang impressive and decided to share them.

Since we were standing right there next to a computer, what better way to close the deal than to have this potential new Customer see Testimonials from old Clients? As the CFO son-in-law (under my direction) wiggled the mouse and tickled the keyboard to navigate onto a Site of Distinction, CEO Father-In-Law grew increasingly amused.

Thinking that I had thoroughly impressed him, his lesson in humility haunts me to this day, “So, how much did you have to pay those people to say that?”

In defense of my honor, I assured him that those were actual Clients and they paid a Price for Value. My whining didn’t impress Father-In-Law in the least. He was a proud man, who could make his own judgment to my worth. He didn’t need my help.

So close to being a mutually beneficial relationship and I messed it up by wanting to brag.

If only I had remembered:

Let someone else praise you, not your own mouth—
a stranger, not your own lips.

The collection of Business Cards accompanying me home from the Conference was the perfect reminder of how hard we work to achieve distinction in the eyes of the governing bodies. Yet, all that really matters in life and business is the effort we make, individually, to serve those in our sphere of influence.

Initials behind our names are, simply, mile-markers on our journey of growth. The danger is in believing they are an announcement of greatness. They are not.

The dictionary definition of Initial: Of, relating to, or occurring at the beginning; first.

That’s all Initials are, the opportunity to begin a relationship with another person.

www.kimfoard.com