Take the Next Step

Take the Next Step

How many metaphors are there, for Life?

Life is a journey.
Life is a dance.
Life is like riding a bike.

Yes, and, many, many more. Yet, these three offer food for thought. Each of them involve choice and movement.

Pedal, or tip over.
Shift balance, or fall down.
Take the next step, or stay stuck.

In other words, the mantra for successful living is, “Up to, and through.”

Yep. The secret is to step right up to the edge of fear and push through to the other side. Oh, does that ever feel so, very, good! And, then, if we bask in the glory too long, regrets of the Past and anxieties of the Future sneak up on us.

This is the magic elixir to replace fear with courage.

Take ~

Life is what we make of it. Grab the bull by the horns and the tiger by the tail. Hop aboard the carousel and reach for the brass ring. The best way to receive all we want and need is to take the time to serve the wants and needs of others.

The ~

This is it folks. This moment will never happen, again. Right here, right now, it’s great to be alive. Those who hesitate are lost. The early bird gets the worm. The victory goes to the quick. There is no time like the Present.

Next ~

Forget the Past. It’s gone. Ignore the Future. It will be there patiently waiting. Ask any bull rider their secret and you’ll hear, “I just ride ‘em jump for jump.” Their mind is centered on that one jump, which follows the last and comes right before the next.

Step ~

Action is the catalyst to move from Here to There. Increase the action and results increase, too. For every cause, there is an effect. Want warmth? Throw wood on the fire. Want friends? Act friendly. Want to be happy? Smile.

At some point in the journey of life, many of us have been guilty of wanting to arrive. You know, “Set a goal, work hard, get there, and, then, desire to camp out, rest, coast, play, and otherwise goof off.” Then IT happens, regrets of the Past and anxieties of the Future sneak up on us.

Or, there are those who can’t make up their mind. They take forever to make a decision and, then, are quick to change direction. Whatever direction the wind is blowing, they drift with it. In contrast, are the achievers, who are quick to decide and slow to change course.

In setting a course, peaks trump plateaus. To reach any peak requires a climb from the valley below. The view from the top is an opportunity to see higher vistas. Then, down we go, coasting into another valley, to begin the ascent to higher levels of accomplishment.

Whatever the mind can Conceive and Believe, it can Achieve.

Let’s boldly take the next step.

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

Dare

DareRecently, I enjoyed the opportunity to ask a young man the secret to his success.

He continues to thrive while others failed to survive.

His three responses lock into, and rhyme with, one word: Dare.

To have the courage; To challenge someone to do something requiring boldness; To confront or oppose boldly; To be courageous or bold enough to do something; A challenge.

Two years ago, as he accepted the challenge to give his life in service to many, he quickly observed and shared this pearl of wisdom, “In school, the attitude is that no one can fail. In our business, failure is deadly. If we make a mistake, people die.”

From the abstract of academia to the fantasies of the political realm, false propaganda is postulated as, “Too big to fail.” Pride does go before a fall. Arrogance mixed with ignorance is a volatile combination.

Those clamoring for national leadership positions have much to learn from those on the front lines of life. These are the lessons the wannabes can learn from a young man who dares to be responsible for himself and those in his sphere of influence.

This young leader of men and producer of wealth has a story to share, encapsulated in these three words:

Aware

Prepare

Care

Those three words rhyming with Dare are mine. Yet, this is his story. When asked about the top three lessons gleaned and what might keep others safe, this is what I learned from him.

Aware

“Don’t believe what anyone says, until you check it for yourself.”

The world is what we make of it; if it doesn’t fit, make alterations. In other words: if it is to be, it is up to me. Talking about something, or what might be tried someday, is a worthless substitution for getting it done.

Prepare

“Don’t become complacent in what is working; imagine it all coming apart.”

Those who are builders put it together one piece at a time. They understand what it takes to make it hum; while it does, they’re less than bum. In their minds, they break down the systems; to build them again, until they’re glistening gems.

Care

“Don’t think there are any unimportant details; pay attention to absolutely everything.”

Every small cog is of importance. Fix it before it breaks. Measure it to manage it effectively. Tools in the hands of those who know how to use them receive tender loving care. The hands of those hard workers have earned their compensation. Much more important than the money is the compassion for people.

In watching his eyes and body language, I was reminded of earlier days. Always, his heart has been generous, attitude respectful, and spirit strong. From the very beginning, I’ve heard, “Dad, I’m a hands-on kind of guy.”

Much more than hands on, he dares to be Aware, Prepare and Care.

For that, we’re all thankful.

www.kimfoard.com

Game of Life

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Or, do we? Have YOU?

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

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

Passion drives YOU forward.

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

Let the games begin!

www.kimfoard.com

Three-E Formula

Do ItGreater than a Magic Wand to wave at the hand of fate, this is E-ven better.

This is E times 3.

Enlighten

Empower

Encourage

The prefix forming verbs of “En” and “Em” are expressions of action and doing, defined as:

To put into;
To go into;
To cover with;
To provide with;
To cause to be;
Thoroughly

In the simplest of terms — Just Do It.

Some may ask, “Do, what?”

Let’s examine the Three E words above — Enlighten, Empower, and Encourage.

Do ~ Light
Do ~ Power
Do ~ Courage

The smallest speck of light destroys darkness. To clearly see the next step on our journey of life, we focus to Do what is right, just and fair.

Whether we think we can, or can’t, we’re right. We have the freedom to choose whether, or not, we use willpower to Do what is right, just, and fair.

The strength to change the things we can and to forgive impossible people requires the fortitude — always — to Do what is right, just, and fair.

Some might ask, “Where’s the magic in that?”

To quote:

Their purpose is to teach people wisdom and discipline,

To help them understand the insights of the wise.

Their purpose is to teach people to live disciplined and successful lives,

To help them do what is right, just, and fair.

The catalyst for being of service requires the components of Wisdom, Discipline, and Understanding. The result is a successful life of Doing what is Right, Just, and Fair.

Knowing + Doing = Building Dynamic Relationships

www.kimfoard.com

Let Go & Hold On

Let Go & Hold On

To some, letting go is synonymous with giving up. It is not! In fact, letting go is the only way to leave the Old and embrace the New.

The O at the end of Let Go is a reminder of the Old. The N at the end of Hold On is the focus of efforts to achieve the New.

The best definition of forgiveness was received in a place far removed from a religious setting. Yet, it personifies the journey of sacrifice and redemption: “Let go of the notion that there can be a better, or different, yesterday.”

Human nature is comfortable in the ruts worn deep by habit. So many times, the dysfunction of the known is chosen over the uncertainty of the unknown. When the realized pain of the Present exceeds the imagined discomfort of the Future, we change.

The purest definition of insanity is: “Doing the old habit and expecting a new result.” Change is, only, possible when we purposefully leave the Old actions and warmly embrace the New thoughts. Why is it, then, that so many want to drag the Past along, like a ball and chain?

For the sake of discussion, consider the dynamics of walking. To take the next step forward, we must lose our balance from where we have been and catch our balance at the present spot, while focusing on where we want to go. We learned to do that before our earliest memories. Now, that we are older, we tend to forget that simple philosophy.

Balance in our stride is achieved by understanding: “Discretion is the better part of valor.”

While commitment is necessary to Let Go, courage is required to Hold On. The lessons learned are important; the uniqueness of who we are is irreplaceable; and, the value that we offer to the world is priceless. Individually, we have the responsibility to preserve our integrity and defend the core of our character.

To move from where we are, we must know why we are leaving and what we want for the future. Many are those who are running away from their past. Problem is: they have no idea of a destination for the future. They are easy to spot and best to avoid; because, they are going in circles. Join them and dizziness awaits.

In summary, imagine your favorite Road Trip. Do you enjoy it by staring in the rearview mirror? Or, do you soak up the goodness of what is filling the windshield, each and every moment? Rhetorical questions, I know. We focus our eyes forward, with a glance behind.

We enjoy the trip because we Let Go of the miles behind and, as the Captain of our ship, we are happy to Hold On to the possibilities of what might be around the next curve!

www.kimfoard.com

ASK

ASK Ask, Seek, Knock

Courage is a three letter word — ASK.

In fact, the acronym comes with built-in promises.

Ask and it will be given to you; Seek and you will find; Knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; those who seek find; and, to those who knock, the door will be opened.

Within the last week, I have been reminded of how powerful one, little, word can be. As a parent, words are inadequate to describe the appreciation for two young adults, who are boldly making the world a better place. More than words, these two young people are living the principles — and, that takes courage.

Two children with different approaches. Yet, they are using the same Universal tool to receive goodness into their lives, discover new paths of growth, and have doors of opportunity swing wide open. All because they show up each day and do their part, to ASK.

One has been enrolled in the School of Hard Knocks (pardon the pun) for the last two years. The education and experience ranges from building log homes, pouring concrete foundations, driving beet truck, guiding dudes on hunting trips into — and, back out of — the wilderness, creating barbwire works of art, managing a crew of rednecks, tending bar in a cowboy saloon, busting broncs and spurring hair off of bulls.

Upon deciding to begin work on his graduate degree in finance, he went to where new wealth is being extracted and asked to be part of the action. By the time he made it back home, a Company wanted to know more — about him. After one five minute interview and a week’s worth of passing tests, this young man is across the threshold into a new adventure.

His older sister, while more conventional in approach, is just as non-traditional in her own way. A high school math teacher once described this marvelous combination of logic and emotion, straight-line thinker, and creative genius, with this statement, “She does everything asked of her and some things just for herself.”

Directly out of high school, she marched into college. At the beginning of her junior year, she doubled down by starting a full-time job, and adding another facet to her degree program. Towards the end of four years, a few credits were standing between her and graduation. With a faculty open to negotiation, the delivery of a little extra work earned the equivalent of a five year degree in four.

For the last two years, the education has continued with a Master Certification in customer service — and, the experience has broadened to managing technicians into productive roles, for the benefit of all. Wanting to be closer, geographically, to a Special Someone, she is carefully considering a variety of new opportunities.

A dad’s response to their effort — to ASK — “Wow!”

www.kimfoard.com

Good Finders

Good Finders“And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing: Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.”

While beginning with the ending is acknowledged to be an odd way to tell a story, truth is stranger than fiction. For instance, some people are fond of putting carts in front of horses, trying to collect dividends before making investments, and, generally, letting bad beliefs thwart good ideas.

Human nature thrives on the gossip fueled by jealousy. Many choose to believe the purveyors of hidden secrets, who have specialized in being Fault Finders. Their mutual immaturity is provided a respite by dwelling on the foibles of others. With a warped sense of reality, they believe that tearing down another provides stature to the destroyer.

Let’s resist the craziness, by focusing our thoughts on being Good Finders.

We begin by applying a principle of farming: Either plant quality seeds and produce a crop of value, or weeds will grow.

All we do begins with a thought.

Each of our lives is unique because of different education and experience. Yet, we can, all, “Fix our thoughts.” Yes, two important facets to the word: Fix. First, let’s acknowledge the importance of fixing our broken thought patterns, the Stinkin’ Thinkin’. Next, let’s do the fixin’ by focusing on what is true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and worthy of praise.

Please, this is cause for pause. Stop and Begin; stop reading and begin listing: all of the goodness in your life. Take one word at a time. What is true? What is honorable? What is right? And, so forth. If you have yet to experience an attribute of goodness from another person, how do you offer it? Have you ever considered how one, simple, act of kindness and loyalty can change a life, forever?

Of all the prayers offered in the course of a day, this one is guaranteed to make a difference:

God, grant me the Serenity
To accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And, Wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time,
Enjoying one moment at a time,
Accepting hardship as the pathway to peace.
Taking, as He did, this sinful world as it is,
Not as I would have it.

Trusting that He will make all things right,
If I surrender to His will.
That I may be reasonably happy in this life,
And, supremely happy with Him forever in the next.

Amen.

Attributed to Reinhold Neibuhr

Because kindness and loyalty are the cornerstones of our peace of mind and the keys to opening the minds of others, we are encouraged to, “Never let loyalty and kindness leave you! Tie them around your neck as a reminder. Write them deep within your heart.”

By being Good Finders, we are offered one of the few guarantees in life. “Whoever pursues righteousness and love: finds life, prosperity and honor.”

That, my friends, is the ending worthy of a new beginning!

www.kimfoard.com