Stand Right

Which attributes of character are most important to you?

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

Straight Talk

Honesty in thought and action is a perquisite for building trust and respect.

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. Because, if we desire a pleasant diversion from reality, we’ll attend the theatre, or go to a movie.

Honesty in thought and action is a prerequisite for building trust and respect.

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

www.kimfoard.com

View From The Top

If we climb with the intent to bring along others, we will find ourselves in the company of kindred spirits. A worthy endeavor, indeed, for all of us to enjoy the view from the top!

View From The TopEarly in the treacherous course of managing my fledgling business as a twenty-something CPA entrepreneur, the counsel of an older client friend cut short my whining as he said, “Kim, your problem is not that you were born poor. Your problem is that you were born with ambition. Many are born poor and stay that way. You want something else.”

About that same time, the message was being broadcast in stereo. Zig Ziglar pierced my consciousness with, “You can have everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want.” It was the era of cassette tapes and I was enamored with his stories. They all contained this consistent theme of inherent goodness. Then, I discovered Zig had captured his encouragements into a book titled, See You At The Top.

Thirty years after reading that book, I can still picture the Stairway to Tomorrow in my mind. To give honor where credit is due, I just now purchased the Kindle 25th Anniversary Edition to properly reference one of the greatest motivational books of all time. Those six Steps on the staircase are defined as: Image of Self, Relationship with Others, Goals, Attitude, Work, and Desire.

In Zig’s words:

As you start on your stairway to the top, your first step will be the development of a healthy self-image. The second step is the recognition of the worth and ability of other people, as well as the necessity of effectively living and working with them. The third step is a strong goal orientation. You need a plan to build a house. To build a life, it is even more important to have a plan or goal. The fourth and fifth steps are that you must have the right mental attitude and be willing to work. The sixth step is that you must also have a burning desire to excel.

If possible to summarize a book into one sentence, the Mission and Value might be captured in this statement from Zig Ziglar, “The foundation stones of honesty, character, faith, integrity, love, and loyalty are necessary for a balanced success that includes health, wealth, and happiness.

In other words, the Intangibles matter far more than the Tangibles. In fact, the latter flow from the former. Success is, simply, the abundant harvest enjoyed as a result of planting and nurturing little seeds of goodness, daily.

The day was August 1, 1981, when I stopped at the little Post Office at Lavina, Montana, and received the letter announcing that I had, finally, passed the CPA exam.

The day was August 1, 2011, when I was driving in the desert north of Cheyenne, Wyoming, and received a phone call from a new client, with an old problem.

The tumblers of a lock had not, yet, fallen into place to open the door in his mind to an understanding of what it takes to “Wow!” customers. Sitting there on a wide spot in the road, under an itty bitty shade tree, 5 Steps to Success poured from my heart into the microphone of the Motorola Droid to encourage my friend to Build Something, special.

After thirty years of preaching and practicing the individual Universal Principles, that was a first to capture them all in one place, at the same time, for the benefit of another person. Even more surprising was the realization that each and every Step is important. They must be done in order: Step 1 ~ Establish a Fair Price; Step 2 ~ Ask for Acceptance; Step 3 ~ Plan the Work; Step 4 ~ Deliver on the Promises; and, Step 5 ~ Enjoy the Celebration.  All of them are necessary for a successful journey!

Last week, as I was enjoying a favorite salad at a favorite place for lunch, a Blast from the Past pushed into my life, once again.

He was a young Entrepreneur and I was the young CPA with the ambition problem. Regardless of the semantics, I was a young man on a mission, to serve. My intent was to help others get everything they wanted so I could get what was important to me. (Note to Everyone: many mistakes have been made and lessons learned!)

At one time, the young Entrepreneur and I held a similar worldview: Implement the Intangibles for the benefit of receiving the Tangibles of health, wealth, and happiness. In essence, we each understood the need to take all of the steps on Zig’s Stairway to Tomorrow. After a few years, the Entrepreneur arrived.

He won a national award from the Small Business Administration. Politicians wanted their picture taken with him. In fact, he became a media darling and the poster boy for minority businesses.

Through the years, I always celebrated each of his successes and felt honored to believe that I was an integral part of his team. At the pinnacle of his newly anointed recognition, this old accountant wasn’t good enough to associate with his new crowd of friends. He wanted a real CPA firm worthy of his eminence.

After a few years of that and upon hearing about the misfortune of my divorce, he approached with an idea: I could be his Chief Financial Officer. Because of my funky attitude at the time and (as Zig teases) “Stinkin’ Thinkin’, rumors were rampant that I was considering a departure from the service of Public accounting, for something else.

The “something else” idea and offer was interesting; so, we negotiated mutually beneficial terms for a hired-gun CFO position and I accepted. That lasted about a month and we both knew I needed to go, away. Our worldviews were different and, as a result, the paths of our journeys were diverging. Two can walk together, only, if they agree.

In the course of making pleasantries, the (now) older Entrepreneur sat down at his lunch table a few feet away from mine. Sincerely interested, I asked about him and his Company. He proudly announced the expanding influence of his business activities in Montana and the projects they were doing in multiple other States. Once again, I congratulated him and celebrated his largess.

To return the favor, I shared information about the new location of my office in the heart of the Wall Street of the Rockies. Since that bit of news was received without notice, or response, I went on to mention, “It’s true what they say. The view is better from the top!”

Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks. This is what I heard in retort, “Well, watch out, because there will be someone trying to knock you off!”

The eyes are the window to the soul. Ours were speaking volumes to the other about the core of our beliefs. After a few moments of this silent conversation, I just smiled, bowed my head, and resumed the enjoyment of my salad.

My belief is that The Top is a spiritual level, physically unobtainable, encapsulated in the exhortation, “You are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.” Great idea. Ain’t gonna happen in this life, folks!

Yet, the joy of Life is discovered within the journey, not the destination. When we actually arrive, friends and family will be digging a hole to plant our physical remains. The ripple from the wake of our deeds and how we touched others will be our legacy.

Some people are willing to scratch and claw their way to the top of the heap, using the dead and injured for their next step. It is true; once they arrive, there will be a bigger, meaner, and tougher gorilla coming along behind to use them as the next step in becoming the new king of the hill.

This difference in worldviews can be fully understood by imagining a finite and very small pointed space at the top of a pyramid and then comparing that to an infinite mountain of opportunity.

At the top of a pyramid is room for one. The rugged face of the mountain before us, which ascends into the clouds of heaven, provides many routes of accession. The Tops visible to us, as mere mortals, are really just plateaus for many to rest before beginning the next climb.

If we will climb with the intent to bring along others, we will find ourselves in the company of kindred spirits. We will enjoy lifting them past the seemingly insurmountable obstacles. When we slip and are dangling in the nothingness of our despair, our climbing friends will be there to shout words of encouragement and pull us back to the face of our Rock.

Indeed, I believe it is a worthy endeavor, for all of us, to enjoy the view from the top!

www.kimfoard.com

Pleasant Conversation

The pleasant conversation of a friend can nudge us from the ruts of our repetitive thought patterns to enlighten, empower, and encourage us to more positive actions.

Pleasant ConversationThere is a way to know what is at the core of a person: Listen, carefully, to what they say.

The adage is true, “What we say flows from what is in our heart.”

We guard our hearts by fixing our thoughts on what is true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, and admirable.

A choice is made to, only, think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.

Anyone professing to espouse LOVE will sound like a bubbling stream of these seven attributes.

Patient: The accomplished Masters of patience know that communication is what the listener does. There is a silence between our last words and their reply. They listen to every bit of what we have to say, before sharing their thoughts.

Kind: A four letter word brought to life by those who “Know Inherently Nice Delights”. Small demonstrations of generosity and loyalty bring smiles to all. These practitioners believe in the physician’s creed of “Cause No Harm.”

Rejoices with the Truth: Happiness added to Honesty, literally, makes us want to dance!

Protects: The purveyors of protection understand the importance of preserving confidence. Secrets are safe with them; Solutions are discovered in their embrace; and, they are a Sanctuary from the storms of life.

Trusts: When push comes to shove, those who have our back are worth their weight in gold. In fact, because they believe in the Golden Rule, we can trust that they will do everything, exactly, as they said. Their word is our bond, priceless in value and peace of mind.

Hopes: In the center between Faith and Charity, this is the anchor for our soul. With an abundance of hope, all things are possible. Lessons from the Past are acknowledged; each moment of the Present is enjoyed; and, the Future is anticipated with fascination and curiosity.

Perseveres: Much more than never giving up, this is a chosen purposeful effort, often done in the face of fear, to nurture our own growth, and the growth of others. It is demonstrated as the steadfast determination of willpower to, always, do what is right.

Why is Pleasant Conversation so, very, important? Because, all we do begins with a thought. Whether we think we can, or can’t, we’re right. The pleasant conversation of a friend can nudge the needle past the broken-record groove of our repetitive thought patterns to enlighten, empower, and encourage us to more positive actions.

That same friend can lead a conversation to new horizons of discovery, which provide opportunities for growth in thought and deed. As iron sharpens iron, friends sharpen friends; until, we find ourselves on the cutting-edge of Love and the leading-edge of Pleasant Conversation!

www.kimfoard.com