People Over Process

People over Process

Do you want to be a star? Someone who is a sparkling speck of celebrity? Someone who can tip off the stage and be swept around the arena on the hands of raving fans?

Here’s the secret: Always, keep People over Process.

Think about it. Process is created for efficiency. People are created for growth. As soon as an individual grows, the process no longer fits the occasion. The rules must change to reflect the new person.

POP: How many definitions come to mind? A father figure is a POP. There’s snap, crackle, and POP. Maybe it’s the sound at the beginning of a race. Or, it might be the crack of a whip. Sweet to the taste is a soda. Pick your favorite, to remember, People over Process.

How do we build relationships with People? Let’s use just a little bit of Process to break down the word and discover the steps up to the stage of becoming a bonafide PEOPLE star.

Present ~ Be present. When given the opportunity of another person, be with them.

Enlighten ~ Think light. Be bright, lead the way, and most importantly, give warmth.

Open ~ Be vulnerable. Put a little skin in the game and get prepared to be bruised.

Powerful ~ Offer the very best in sacrifice of time and resources for the benefit of others.

Listen ~ Stories are the channels to deeply connect and experience the flow of a soul.

Enjoy ~ The talk and walk are less important than the music and dance. Feel it!

Now, the final question, “Do we need a stage on which to perform?”

Yes, and No.

No, in the sense, that we hone our gift in the garages and basements of life. We work diligently with a select few, out of sight and out of mind, until our talent is ready for presentation to the whole wide world.

Yes, in the sense, that we must be visible to offer our best to the most. We climb high to project our songs to many. Guaranteed – by choice, or fate – each of us will, eventually, tip off of that stage.

And — when we do, we will know whether we have kept People over Process.

There will be the POP of a body hitting the ground, or the POP of fingers keeping time to the chorus of voices from adoring fans, as we are carried in loving arms to a place of safety.

www.kimfoardcpa.com

Character Matters

Character MattersAt the core of who we are is our character.

It matters; it is a matter of the heart; and, it is a tangible expression of intangible beliefs.

To be precise in the “matter” ~

That which is in itself undifferentiated and formless and which, as the subject of change and development, receives form and becomes substance.

Never have I heard someone say, “I woke up this morning to realize that the needle to my moral compass is bent and, therefore, must confess: I have no character.”

Mother Nature has her rules. One of them: Birds of a feather flock together. Turkeys do not soar with Eagles; Crows do not cavort with Robins; and, Pheasants do not form a V with the Geese.

Why?

It’s a matter of character.

Look at our sphere of influence and those within it. Is it comprised of happy, contented, peaceful and successful people? Or, is it afflicted with sad, whiny, antagonistic and bitter individuals?

Either, Or; There is a reason for the birds in our nest.
Take a trip to the mirror for an answer to the quest.

We get what we allow. In fact, what goes around comes around. Our harvest matures from the seed we plant. Others are attracted to us because of our character.

What is character?

Many times we discover the positive by experiencing the negative. Good judgment comes from experience; experience comes from bad judgment.

Spectrum of Character

Negative: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that kill the innocent, a heart that plots evil, feet that race to do wrong, a false witness who pours out lies, a person who sows discord in a family.

Positive: patient, kind, rejoices with the truth, protects, trusts, hopes, perseveres.

In all of our relationships, there is only one individual within our control, whom we can change. As Pogo so eloquently observes, “I have seen the enemy and he is us.”

From the inside, out, we can, individually, change the world. 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!

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

Forwards, or Backwards?

Sunlight Basin

The inanimate objects of Things can be placed in a spot to never move; the animated creatures of human Beings are always doing, and moving towards, something.  We move towards Stuff, or we move towards Principles.  More than the destination, life is all about the journey! 

If I offer for you to take a trip with me by exclaiming, “Let’s go!”, a legitimate response might be to ask, “Where?!” 

Why, then, do so many stumble through life unaware that their discomfort in the journey is related to choice of destination?  In fact, some actually believe they can “sit on the fence” and “play both ends against the middle” by refusing to choose a direction.  Mother Nature hates a vacuum; Fate will make choices for them.

Silly them; not choosing is a choice!  By analogy, think of a “fork in the road”.  Our choices are Left, or Right.  Those who refuse to choose find themselves wedged-up, and high-centered, on the Fork in the middle, and as a result, unable to move! 

So, again, the question is: “Which way: Forwards, or Backwards? 

To be fair, there is a caveat to this “trick” question.  The best answer includes another component, which truly is a Gift

As human beings, we tend to measure life in the way it is experienced: chronologically.  We all have a Past, Present and Future.  So, we tend to “Think” in that order; One, Two and Three. 

You’ve probably seen the bumper-sticker: “Accountants Do It By The Numbers.”  Well, this one does It by the Numbers, and the Letters, too!  The result is this Cowboy Poet & Philadelphia Lawyer, who wants you to consider that “One, Two, Three” may have a more precise order.  In fact, “Two, One, Three” is what you and I are encouraged to practice. 

I am among those who start their morning with:

Give us today the food we need.

Forgive us our mistakes, as we forgive others.

Lead us in the direction best for us and deliver us from harm.

We tend to like our ruts, rotes, and routines; they are very safe and comfortable. 

Recently, I was jolted from mine, into the uncomfortable awareness that there is more to those three sentences than what I was mumbling! 

Present: Our focus is to be on, “Right here, right now, it’s great to be alive.”  Rather than consume ourselves with the insatiable desires of what we want, our awareness is to be on what we, and others, need

Past: We all make them and they are a burden to our growth, unless we forgive and forget our foibles, and, those of others.  Mistakes are simply disguised opportunities to learn important lessons. 

Future: It waits for us with bated breath.  We have the choice to approach it with resignation and despair, or fascination and curiosity.  Since it is of what dreams are made, let’s tackle it! 

A favorite quote: “The clock is running. Make the most of today. Time waits for no person. Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift. That’s why it is called the present.” 

As with so many of life’s riddles, the answer is multi-faceted: We are to focus on the opportunities of today; learn the lessons from the past; and, boldly face the future! 

www.kimfoard.com

Greatest of These

Faith, Hope, and Love

Some days we’re the windshield; some days we’re the bug. The roller-coaster of life can take its toll on our psyches. As a CPA, for the last thirty years, I’ve enjoyed the opportunity, and privilege, of guiding others toward the destinations of their choice. My focus has always been on that word in the center of Certified Public Accountant; I believe “It’s all about the people.”

The “it” is life itself; abundant, fruitful, rich and vibrant life.

Faith is “The substance of things hoped for; the evidence of things not seen.” Gravity is a prime example for us to consider. Each morning, we awake to find ourselves firmly anchored to the bed; some mornings more so than others. As we roll ourselves out, our feet touch the floor with complete confidence that we can journey successfully through the day.

Hope is “The feeling that what is wanted can be had or that events will turn out for the best.” Many tease that accountants have no feelings. While words can express logic, they are inadequate in the expression of feelings. As children, we all made wishes. Many times, adults tempered our hopes with, “If wishes were horses, we’d all have a ride.”

Love is “The greatest gift; and, is a chosen, purposeful effort, often done in the face of fear, to nurture our own growth and the growth of others.”

Since faith and hope are intangibles outside of our control, let’s focus on what is within our sphere of influence. While we can think Faith, and feel Hope; we can do Love.

Love is patient, Love is kind, Rejoices with the truth, Always protects, Always trusts, Always hopes, Always perseveres.

Question: Can we be patient, kind, happy, truthful, protective, trusting, hopeful and perseverant? Answer: Yes. Even beyond the simple affirmative, we can do that for ourselves, if all alone; and, for others, when given the opportunity. The secret is in the four-letter word: give.

When our faith is shaken and our hope is tattered, the road back to both is paved with love. We can begin immediately to offer it to ourselves, first; and, then, to others. As we do, we will find that love “Always hopes” and through that discovery, our hope is restored. Then, because of that hope, we find the substance of faith making it, all, possible!

Since perfect love casts out fear, we can boldly proclaim, “Now, these three remain: faith, hope and love; the greatest of these is Love.”

www.kimfoard.com