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

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

Flights of Fancy

Baby StepsI have a memory of something, which I don’t remember.

Since all we do begins with a thought, I must have been thinking, “That looks like fun. Take the next step.”

I was learning to walk. Walk at one; Talk at two: I must have been approaching one year old.

We’ve all heard the expression, “We learn to walk by falling down.” Never to do anything according to societal norms, I took that idea to a whole new level: the Basement.

Yep, I rode that baby walker down a flight of steep stairs and sailed onto the concrete floor of the basement. Don’t remember a thing; yet, I had recurring scary dreams of the event into my teen years.

All we do begins with a thought.

This last week, I had a phone conversation with a fellow, who wants to find purpose for his life by looking to others for the answer. His approach is, “I’ll know what I’m supposed to do when I feel it.”

So sorry; It doesn’t work that way. In fact, feelings flow from what we do. In other words, do the work; then, there will be the appropriate feelings.

What work?

All we do begins with a thought.

For a toddler, the thought was, “That looks like fun. Take the next step.” Unaware of the lessons waiting for me, I learned much. Among the take-a-ways, “What doesn’t kill you will make you stronger.”

As older kids, we forget that lesson and stunt our own development.

This last week, I was honored to engage in a Coaching Session of a young entrepreneur, who has asked for me to share my thirty years of business experience with him. In the course of our time together, these words captured the essence of his success, “Dan, the reason you learn so quickly is because you are willing to make the mistakes.”

That is the essence of success: Make mistakes and Learn from them, quickly.

Does that mean we become loose cannons, blasting away, hurting others in our quest to learn? Simple answer is, “No.” What it does mean is that we plan and prepare to make mistakes. “We don’t know what we don’t know.” If we want to know It, guaranteed, we will make mistakes in the discovery process.

Flights of FancyOh, and those scary dreams of bouncing the walker down the stairs, to land upright?

They became much more fun, when I let go of the fear, pulled back on the yoke, and soared into the unknown.

Go ahead, just, Do It. Strap on the knee pads, buckle on a helmet, pull on a pair of leather gloves, slip into your favorite flak jacket and take a Flight of Fancy.

www.kimfoard.com

Degrees of Leadership

Navigators Compass RoseFrom the mouths of babes comes this sage proclamation: “Today, I want to be my own boss!”

In our early development, we knew how powerful those words were.

What the heck happened?!

Why do so many people forfeit their active leadership position for a passive lemming role?

Why do they look outside for a life purpose, which can only be determined from the inside? Why do they think others have the answers to their questions?

All we do begins with a thought.

Our thoughts determine our actions.

What are we thinking?

Oh, how quickly the mighty are fallen. In the course of one month, Steve Jobs has traveled the spectrum from Saintly Genius to Villainous Extremist. Why?

He was human. As are we.

He was authentic. Are we?

Humans are either busily placing people on pedestals, or equally ambitious in tearing them down. What if that effort was invested in really making a difference in the world, in actually bringing about change?

When the student is ready the teacher will appear.

There is only one person any of us can change. I see him every morning, while shaving. Staring back at you from any mirror is your first, and only, lifetime project.

The simple Secret is to change ourselves; to learn, to grow, to teach and to share. By doing so, the world will change.

In the course of this journey (to become all that we can be) is this guarantee: half of the world will love you and the other half will hate you. Why? Because, there are 360 degrees of choice. Yes, that’s the measurement of a full circle.

We can choose to go in circles. Or, we can pick a direction. I encourage you to, please, select 1 of the 360. By doing so, you forego the other 359. Now, raise your head, fix your eyes on a destination, and take the first step. Then, another and another, until, you reach that point of no return.

Look around and you’ll find fellow travelers. Billions of people on the face of this earth divided by 360 choices is a factor of many companions for our journey.

Standing 90 degrees to our left and 90 degrees to our right are our friends. Those on the opposite hemisphere will have little use for our way of life. In fact, they view us as being upside-down in thought and deed, which is exactly our view of them, too.

Now, the ultimate question: Can I be a faithful servant to offer my inherent and unique gifts to all?

For those who answer “No,” please, find someone to follow.

The rest of us will be leading, living, laughing, loving and leaving a legacy.

www.kimfoard.com

In The Game

In The GameThere is only one way to learn anything: Hands on.

It is impossible for the mind to forget what the hands have learned.

Why, then, do we believe someone else has the answers for our questions? And, why do we defer our good judgment to others? We are unique! No one else has our combination of Heredity and Environment. Only we, individually, can encourage our growth. To do that, it is imperative that we get, and stay, in the game.

Do you know the difference between an Amateur and a Professional? Well, the Amateur practices until they can do something right; the Professional practices until it is impossible for them to do something wrong. In fact, the Professional always practices. Why?

Amateur vs. Professional

1.) Talk is cheap. Knowing something and doing it are two, entirely, different approaches. Those who can: practice; those who can’t: preach. Those who spin their stories of yesterday will be left in the dust of those who are getting it done, today. What got us here will not take us to where we need to go. The principle is: “A little less talk and a lot more action.” Amateurs will tell you how to do something; Professionals will show you.

2.) No pain; no gain. Easy is hard; hard is easy. Shortcuts are the surest way to oblivion. There is an order to the Universe. It is obvious, when we realize that every worthwhile endeavor begins with a rock-solid foundation. The beginning of every construction project is ugly; it starts with an excavation, a hole in the ground. It requires a whole lot of digging and pounding. Amateurs want the glory of a finish; Professionals seek to serve from beginning to end.

3.) Pink elephants are absurd. Any single negative in an equation forces a negative result. When told, “Don’t think about pink elephants,” what do we do? Bad habits die hard. They don’t go of their own volition; a stake must be driven through the heart of the beast. That stake is a sustained, positive, decisive, and committed action of the new desire. Mastery of the self is an artistic expression. Amateurs are tethered to the past; Professionals use that vine to swing into the future.

Those who claim to know it all, and, therefore, take it upon themselves to think that they know what is best for us, are dangerous. Arrogance and ignorance are a volatile combination. Regardless of what someone might know up to this present moment, there is always the opportunity to learn more. If… they stay in the game.

The game always changes. It is the only constant in life. Those on the sidelines are stuck, frozen in the moment of time when they step there. Those on the court continue to learn, to get better, to improve, to innovate, and to grow as individuals and teammates. They do common things in uncommon ways; they take the scientific to an art form.

All, because of their love for the game, of life!

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

Help Yourself

Banquet Table of Life

After a short pause for an expression of thanksgiving, Dad would raise his head to look at us and say, “Help yourself!” We would survey the table for the serving dish to our right, make a choice of portion, and then pass it to the left. As our hands offered one, we prepared to receive another.

That was in the day when families gathered at home for the evening meal; a meal that was prepared by Mom with loving effort. In fact, the abundance on the table was a portion of the wealth produced that day: Roast beef, potatoes, salad, vegetable du jour, warm bread, cold milk and a cookie for dessert.

We were connected to the land and understood the importance of working, if we wanted to eat that evening!

Advance forward a couple of generations, and we find a society of fast food and slow thoughts. Diminished are the thrill of the hunt and the sport of accomplishment. Instead, we find whiners with an attitude of entitlement. Unless everything magically appears on a silver platter, they are clueless about their survival. Instead of wanting a hand up, they want a hand out.

The real joy in life is discovered when we understand, “Help yourself!”

Of all creatures, humans are the most helpless at birth. Choices are made for us, and care is provided to us, by parents. Before we can talk, though, we are reaching for that spoon to do it ourselves. For the next five years, we fear little and do everything. We delight in our accomplishments and learn the most from our mistakes. We help ourselves.

Then, we start school. We are taught that there is a right way and a wrong way: Our way is wrong and the right way is only known by those with the answer key. Funny thing, though; that key only works for one set of questions.

Life is different!

After twelve, sixteen, or more years, young adults tip from the conveyor belt of modern education into a world with more pop-quizzes and test-questions than they have answers.

One of two things happen: Either, they realize the extent to which they don’t know what they don’t know and begin to “help themselves” learn it. Or, they point fingers of blame and expect someone else to compensate for their lack of resourcefulness.

I admire the first group and, thoroughly, tease the second about their “Stinkin’ Thinkin’!”

All we do begins with a thought. The most important thought of all is: “I think I can.”

At that moment, we tap into the childhood belief that the world is our oyster; just waiting for us to pry into it for the pearl discovery. We don’t want anyone else messing with our project. In time, we might discover that we need a little coaching on technique. If so, we ask for it; or, we struggle through to re-invent the wheel. Either way, the prize will be ours.

As we sit at the banquet table of life, only we can know what is best for ourselves.

The only way to discover That is to “Help Yourself!”

www.kimfoard.com

Real Deal

TomorrowMuch more than an audition for opening night of the playbill, Life, this is the Real Deal.

So real, in fact, I want to share insight from my children. To be precise, they are young adults, who are taking Relationship Strategies to increasingly higher levels for the benefit of all.

They are priceless gifts. Yet, at times, they will also purchase tangible expressions of reminders for me. This last Father’s Day, my son presented “Easy 88“, a bronze of a cowboy making a great ride on a bull. A few days ago, a beautiful bouquet of flowers arrived from my daughter in acknowledgment of birthday “Fifty-Five“.

Within the last couple of years, she has also given me Words, inspiring words:

Family ~ Forever, For Always and No Matter What

Tomorrow is the most important thing in life. Comes to us at midnight all clean and perfect and puts itself in our hands. And hopes we’ve learned something from yesterday.

In regards to Lessons Learned from yesterday, the most important one can be expressed by a single word:

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

The purest definition of a “Rut”: a grave, with the ends kicked out.

When we replay the past in our minds, over and over, a rut forms: a pattern of thinking. Really, those familiar grooves are the equivalent of a broken record: ’round and ’round the same track, while expecting new music. Does insanity come to mind?!

A common theme in my Family is music; always has been, always will be.

It is the best way to convey messages for us to remember.

Better Get To Livin’

Song Information
By: Dolly Parton & Kent Wells
Original Appearance: Backwoods Barbie

People always comin’ up to me and askin’
“Dolly, what’s your secret?
With all you do, your attitude
Just seems to be so good
How do you keep it?”
Well I’m not the Dalai Lama, but I’ll try
To offer up a few words of advice

Chorus:

You better get to livin’, givin’
Don’t forget to throw in a little forgivin’
And lovin’ on the way
You better get to knowin’, showin’
A little bit more concerned about where you’re goin’
Just a word unto the wise
You better get to livin’

A girlfriend came to my house
Started cryin’ on my shoulder Sunday evening
She was spinnin’ such a sad tale
I could not believe the yarn that she was weavin’
So negative the words she had to say
I said if I had a violin I’d play

I said you’d better get to livin’, givin’
Be willing and forgivin’
Cause all healing has to start with you
You better stop whining, pining
Get your dreams in line
And then just shine, design, refine
Until they come true
And you better get to livin’

Your life’s a wreck, your house is mess
And your wardrobe way outdated
All your plans just keep on falling through
Overweight and under paid, under appreciated
I’m no guru, but I’ll tell you
This I know is true

You better get to livin’, givin’
A little more thought about bein’
A little more willin’ to make a better way
Don’t sweat the small stuff
Keep your chin up
Just hang tough
And if it gets too rough
Fall on your knees and pray
And do that every day
Then you’ll get to livin’

The day we’re born we start to die
Don’t waste one minute of this life
Get to livin’
Share your dreams and share your laughter
Make some points for the great hereafter

Better start carin’
Better start sharin’
Better start tryin’
Better start smiling
And you better get to livin’

If we do it right, the livin’ that Dolly encourages is more like playing, than working. As with all things in Life, though, there is a fine line. On the one hand, we must acknowledge this is serious business, because at the end of our Play, all of the props go back in the box. On the other hand, we learn the most when we are playing and having fun.

And, that, my friend, is the point: We are to learn, grow, care, share, and love.

There’s a story about a southern farmer who goes out into his field early one morning to catch his mule for the day’s work ahead. To his dismay that mule was nowhere in sight. As the farmer headed back to the house, he passed an old, abandoned, hand-dug well. Sure enough. At the bottom of that well was Clyde.

Since the farmer was poor, he had no money to hire the equipment necessary to lift that much weight from that far down. He was rich in friends, though. So he asked his neighbors to bring their shovels. As sad as it was to lose Clyde, the right thing to do was to fill in that deathtrap.

From the mounds of dirt excavated when the well was originally dug, the farmers began the serious business of burying Clyde and making sure nothing else was ever harmed by the long ignored danger of a pit.

Making the best of a bad situation, they shoveled quickly. As they were finishing up their work and upon hearing something, they paused to look up. To their amazement, they watched Clyde jump out of the well.

You see, while they were shoveling dirt down the hole onto Clyde’s back, he simply shook it off and stepped up.

The gifts from my Son and Daughter are much more than plaques and bronzes, They are the evidence of their success in “shaking it off and stepping up”. Through no fault of theirs, they have experienced The Pit and the Bad Hands of cards dealt to them.

With courage, poise, determination, and grace they have chosen to shake it off and step up, time and time, again. The bull and bouquet speak volumes about their character.

From the mouths of babes and the examples of our young people, we learn to: Preserve a childlike sweetness and innocence, while growing out of our childishness.

When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known. And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

One thing I have always understood: Family and Work are the two legs carrying me across the stages of life.

I believe purpose in life is discovered by acknowledging a power greater than ourselves; accomplishment 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!

Let’s get to livin’!

www.kimfoard.com

Making A Difference

Making A DifferenceThe adverb “madly” is an intensifier.  It is used to amplify what follows. For example: “She was madly in love with her new puppy.”

What if all of us were mad, all of the time? Mad, as in MAD: Making A Difference. Not just a little bit MAD. I’m suggesting an all out, purposefully chosen, intensely driven, positively MAD!

Each day, we touch people. At every moment we have a choice to lift others up, or push them down. The truly angry of the world are, right now, scowling and muttering, “I keep my hands to myself and touch no one.”

Oh, but they do! By their facial expressions, body language, tone of voice, and choice of words, they slap, kick, hurt, and do as much damage with their covert intentions, as do the overt attackers. They are emotional terrorists.

Yet, terrorists are powerless without a hostage. If we are MAD, they are sad!

How do we make a difference? The same way we build relationships: one person at a time. Those seeking to save the whole wide world must, at some point, acknowledge how that is done. The secret is empowering others to choose a path that is right for them.

Since each of us is a unique creation, empowerment is about relationships. Relationships are, always, one-to-one. The relationship we have with an individual is completely different from the relationship that person has with anyone else. It is for this very reason that we have a fiduciary responsibility to be uniquely MAD (Making A Difference). No one else can do it!

Please, Thank You, and You’re Welcome are sure indicators of a MAD individual. They will look you in the eye and smile, every time. There is a twinkle in their eye and a greeting on their lips. Patience, kindness, honesty, protection, trust, hope and perseverance are obvious character traits.

Send the MAD practitioners a short email and receive a tome in return. Give a little; receive a lot. Test them and watch them learn; challenge them and watch them grow.

Just a little time in their presence and we are better for the experience. Much more than what they say or what they do, it’s who they are and who they are becoming. From little pebbles to larger rocks, when thrown into a crowd, they make much more than a ripple It’s an absolute wake of integrity.

From the inside, out, those who are MAD begin each day by acknowledging what they, really, are: a conduit for the goodness from above to flow through them for the benefit of others. Full of life, they are open at the top and intensely focused at the bottom. Lucky for us; they are positively MAD!

www.kimfoard.com