Do the Work

Do the Work

I’m always amused by those, who have done nothing — yet, they presume to know everything.

Evidently, the one thing which has escaped the cauldron of their arrogance and ignorance is an understanding about the Buckets of Knowledge.

Bucket 1 — Those things we know that we know.

Bucket 2 — Those things we know that we don’t know.

Bucket 3 — Those things we don’t know that we don’t know.

If we’re totally honest with ourselves, there’s a little bit of “ac-knowledge-ment” about what’s in Buckets 1 and 2. We’re clueless about that big Bucket 3.

Simply, “We don’t know what we don’t know.”

A closed mind is a dangerous thing to encounter. The dark, swampy, stewed mixture of arrogance and ignorance emits a stench from which to flee.

All we do begins with a thought.

Until we choose to believe that we have much to learn, actual learning is impossible.

After adopting new thoughts, we must embrace a new habit,

Say what we are going to Do and Do what we Say.

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

In fact, if our minds wander back to the regrets of the Past, or if they race ahead to the anxieties of the Future, we can calm them by focusing on the task “at hand” in this Present moment.

Yes — simply, by putting our hands into doing something, our minds engage in helping our hands be successful in this new adventure. Any “mistakes” are simply acknowledged as measurements on this Journey of Progress.

From the Sage of the Ages,

Whatever your hands find to do, do it with all of your strength.

From the One of the Word,

My Father is always working — and, so am I.

By doing the work, we learn. We are also humbled — to be honored — in more fully understanding how little we know.

At that moment, we join true Leaders in the chorus,

What you learn — after you’ve learned it all — counts most of all.

In other words, let’s forget about the Buckets of Knowledge and open our minds to learning, more — by doing the work.

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

Three To Be

Three To BeFor every ending, there is a new beginning.

Leading the way into a bigger word is a little one: Be.

See it?

Be-ginning!

Shakespeare asked the questions, “To be; or, not to be?”

There, really, isn’t a question of our existence. The answer is in the exploration of what it is, “To Be.”

Sterling Character

Yes, the adjective is subjective. Nobody wakes in the morning to believe their character is bad. Yet, do we wake to the Wooden Creed? “Success is peace of mind which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you made the effort to become the best of which you are capable.”

Again, some might want to argue that “best” is subjective. It is, if we compare ourselves to others; It is not, if we judge ourselves to a higher standard. Through all of civilization, there have been Codes of Conduct. The best of them are simply a map to guide us in The Journey to the highest quality of life.

Passionate Commitment

Knowing something and doing it are two, entirely, different concepts. In fact, choosing one and forgoing the many is the purest definition of commitment. Contempt for failure and death is another measure of being, all in; Or, all out, if we consider the example of the skydiver.

At the moment of jumping from a perfectly good airplane, the skydiver is committed to reaching the ground. They have two choices: Dead, or Alive. In other words, if they have a passion for life, their entire focus is on a successful landing.

Dynamic Communication

Before babies can say a single word, they are effective communicators. By facial expression, tone of voice and body language, they command attention. They know what they want and how to ASK for it. Why are so many adults dysfunctional? They stopped learning. Literally, the answer is that simple.

We are either growing; or, we are dying. Entropy is the natural physical condition. There is a higher realm, which requires pushing beyond the resistance of what “Is”, to what can “Be.” All we do begins with a thought. We learn by doing. The fun is in the doing. Let’s have fun learning!

In the course of a lifetime, people will come and people will go. There are chance encounters, whereby strangers become friends. There are diabolical missions of deceit, whereby wolves appear to be sheep. In between, are all the other opportunities for new relationships.

There is a season for all things. Remember, though, there is only one YOU. You are a unique creation, no better than any other; yet, just as good as all the others.

As others seek a relationship, begin with the end in mind: Sterling Character, Passionate Commitment, and Dynamic Communication.

Three To Be: Free.

www.kimfoard.com

Moving Forward

Moving ForwardThere are two things which limit our enjoyment of the Present.

You know, that moment of, “Right here, right now, it’s great to be alive.”

The two Things messing with our Gift:

Thing Number 1: the Past.
Thing Number 2: the Future.

“How?” say you.

It’s like this, offer I.

We are familiar with the Past. It’s our story and we’re comfortable with it. We play the movie script over and over in our mind. There are the memories of good times and cringes of regret. And, we become obsessed with the “What ifs …” Tethered to the Past with regrets, we are unable to enjoy the Present.

We are uncertain about the Future. We imagine a fairytale ending to our story and are caught up in the fantasies of, “Happily forever, after.” Then, we begin convincing ourselves of the impossibility and worrying about the risks. Fearful of the Future with anxiety, we are unable to enjoy the Present.

There is a better way.

Let’s put the Past and Future in perspective.

Past ~ This alone is denied to God: the power to undo the past.

Future ~ Someone once asked the Spartan king Leonidas to identify the supreme warrior virtue from which all others flowed. He replied: “Contempt for death.” For us as artists, read “failure.” Contempt for failure is our cardinal virtue. By confining our attention territorially to our own thoughts and actions—in other words, to the work and its demands—we cut the earth from beneath the blue-painted, shield-banging, spear-brandishing foe.

[Pressfield, Steven (2010-10-11). The War Of Art: Winning the Inner Creative Battle. Premiere. Kindle Edition.]

If impossible for God to change the Past, why do we waste time and energy in the endeavor? If fear is standing between us and the Future of which we dream, what can empower us?

That, my friends, is the rest of the story and moving forward is the secret.

I have friends who talk a good game. They read, they study, they attend seminars, they doodle in their pocket diary, they fantasize, and they talk, a lot, about what they’re going to do, someday. And, they remain stuck in their rut, by doing the same thing over and over, and over, and over … expecting a different result.

Frustrated in their insanity, they wonder “Why?!” they can’t move forward. Oh, they can. They simply won’t. They won’t do the hard work necessary to move from here to there. In fact, they don’t know where they want to go. Thus, the Hand of Fate has her way with them, along with everyone else.

Moving forward requires that we, as individuals, answer this tough question for ourselves, “What is the passion at the core of everything I do?”

No passion? Then, guaranteed, there will be no doing, learning, growing, teaching, or moving forward.

By tapping into the passion at our core, we will know exactly where we are going, what we need to do to get there, and how to take the next step. The easy answers to hard questions become obvious and we have the courage to make the tough choices.

We see ourselves standing at where we want to be and are able to discern the path from where we are to that new place. By conceiving, believing and achieving, it will simply be a matter of time until a dream becomes the reality beyond our wildest imaginations.

www.kimfoard.com

Thoughts to Destiny

Thoughts to Destiny

One of the principles of success is to, always: Begin with the End in mind. The meaning of life is discovered in the same fashion.

In other words: How do we live until we live no more?

In the dead of winter, we adopt customs to celebrate birth, new life, and the goodness of a fresh start. With that new beginning, we have the opportunity to choose a new ending.

From beginning to end, the “dash” in the middle is the most important. It is representative of what we do and how, effectively, we do it. There is an inherent urgency to our race.

Last week, a close Friend and loyal Client asked this of me:

Kim

First, I appreciate all your support on the financial side of the business and with the internet services, etc. and also, anticipate a continued long-term partnership in this regard as we have enjoyed in the past.

We have learned through experience, here at Our Company, that cross-training our men in the event of their absence, keeps production up and things continue to run smoothly. So it occurred to me the other day that as our relationship continues we naturally become more dependent upon your services.

So I’m confident that you do not mind me asking the question: do you have a back-up plan to protect our interests in case something, God forbid, should happen to you?—or in the event you are absent for any extended period?

Friend

An excellent question is deserving of an appropriate response. This one required a good night’s rest and an early morning shower, of thought.

Friend,

Evidently, great minds think alike!

Although a serious subject and deserving of a professional answer, I must admit the “gallows humor” element tickled my funny-bone. In fact, I miss our early morning breakfast meetings of the past. Since I believe life is all about the People, the opportunity to discuss this in greater detail is something which might be of mutual benefit.

In the Internet search engines of Bing and Google, type this query: cpa citp quickbooks montana

The exercise and results are for the purpose of making this point: There is only one with those credentials, who is passionate about serving you and Your Company.

In the past, I have made a royal Boy Scout effort to do my work through the hands of others. Finally, it dawned on me the reality: The great artists are only able to create their masterpieces when they put brush to canvas. For the last eight years, that’s been my approach to life, and business. One day at a time, one project at a time, and one person at a time; giving the best of me to enlighten, empower, and encourage others.

This last October was birthday number 55. For the last five years, a greater effort has been made to boldly share the education and experience of half a century. Just this last Sunday, I decided to document the path to my legacy. It is attached as a PDF, titled: Thoughts to Destiny.

Specifically, the steps which I have taken to protect the interests of your Company:

1.) Creation of a File Portal, which contains historical documents for the last three years and will continue to archive all important financial documents created by me. The documents are detailed, neat, and organized for the benefit of any successor accountant, or professional advisor.

2.) Active mentoring of your Staff to accept a greater responsibility for those functions within their control. For example, Trusted Employee will be preparing Quarterly Payroll Reports from within QuickBooks for the year beginning January 1, 2011.

3.) Weekly articles published to the Web for the benefit of us all. Some of the stories are accounting specific, such as 5 Minute Business Plan; others are for the benefit of effective communication, like Feedback Three-Step. All of the thoughts are for the benefit of learning, growing and doing!

For the last couple of years, I’ve been a Proverbs-A-Day guy. This morning, I thought this was apropos to our discussion:

Proverbs 21:30-31 (New Living Translation)

30 No human wisdom or understanding or plan
can stand against the Lord.

31 The horse is prepared for the day of battle,
but the victory belongs to the Lord.

I am looking forward to discussing all of this with you in greater detail.

Best regards,

Kim

All we do begins with a thought. Much more than a story about the beginning, or the ending, this is about the journey of discovery: Who we are; What we do; and, How we touch the lives of others.

Thoughts evoke words; Words produce actions; Actions form habits; Habits crystallize character; and, Character manifests our Destiny.

Thoughts

With a formal education of a Bachelor of Science degree and daily tutoring as a Student of Life, my thoughts are a wonderful blend of the accomplishments of the past and the possibilities for the future. They are intellectual, compassionate, focused, determined, kind and gentle.

Words

I love them. They are the tools of communication. We can say them, read them, write them, and sing them. They are the anchors of yesterday, the stories of today and the goals of tomorrow. Google the phrase: SageTalk ~ Building Dynamic Relationships for a taste.

Actions

All of mine are for the express purpose of Building; as in building-up People. Beginning with the work on me to be a better man each day, the effort extends to all in my sphere of influence. The effort is offered to, not shoved upon, others: Give our Best; Pause to Rest.

Habits

An early morning ritual of shower, shave, bold coffee, and Proverbs, sets the stage for a day of work and play. Regardless of the activity, the focus is on learning, growing, and doing. The goal is to dance my way into the hearts and souls of Family and Friends.

Character

To have it (rather than be one) is only possible by making the right choices each day. Only, I know what is right and best for me. Knowing what to do is a good first step; Doing it is a giant leap for the benefit of all. I have learned: Easy is hard; Hard is easy.

Destiny

Mine is one of leaving a legacy. It will not be measured in sticks and stones; it will be remembered by those whose lives were changed for the better. One thing I have always understood: Family and Work are the two legs carrying me across the stages of life.

Thoughts evoke words; Words produce actions; Actions form habits; Habits crystallize character; and, Character manifests our Destiny.

www.kimfoard.com

To the Nth Power

Yes and No

This is a story about a Hen, a Pig, a Cat and a Rat. Neighbors with very different world views. Unique in their approach, they became aware of the consequences of their choices at an individual pace.

Before we begin, I must confess. The catalyst for these thoughts came from a question asked of me by one of my favorite young adults, “Why did you choose accounting as your work?”

My first response was, “Well, there was this teacher, back when I was a junior in high school …” Then, a thirty year story about jobs, college, doing, learning and growing. Until, a Rest of the Story moment of, “And, I wanted to provide financial opportunities for my family.” Later, that day, as we were comparing leadership qualities, I experienced a flash-back to childhood and the story of The Little Red Hen.

Now, to many people, the little word “No” is perceived as a “Negative”. Maybe, it’s because both words begin with the letter “N“. Maybe, it’s because “Communication is what the listener does” and the listener has had their twig bent from childhood experiences modeled on scarcity, derision, intimidation, inferiority, or just plain, old-fashioned, generic, meanness.

This morning, the thought occurred that NO written on a piece of paper and held up to a mirror might morph into ON. With thought into action, the result was close. With failure, comes new opportunity. Then, I remembered the sign in the window of a store I drive by each day to work. Early in the morning, I see NOPE. If I pass by later in the day it displays OPEN.

More than the power of “N”, we will discover the degree of opportunity in “NO”.

When the little red Hen asks her barnyard friends, “Who will plant, harvest, thresh, carry and bake?” the answer is the same every time. “Not I,” says the Pig. “Not I,” says the Cat. “Not I,” says the Rat.

“Well, then,” said the Little Red Hen, “I will.”

And, she did.

Then, probably because she had acquired the habit, the Red Hen called, “Who will eat the Bread?”

All the animals in the barnyard were watching hungrily and smacking their lips in anticipation. The Pig said, “I will.” The Cat said, “I will.” The Rat said, “I will.”

But, the Little Red Hen said, “No, you won’t. I will.”

And, she did.

The flip of a coin is used to determine choice at the beginning of every football game. On one side is Heads and on the other side is Tails. One coin; Two possible answers. Of the results, one is not “better” than the other, before the question.

Why do some people say No to everything? Why do others say Yes to everything? Both groups, will then, struggle to understand “Why” someone will tell them, “No. No, thank you. Heck, No! What part of “NO” don’t you understand?!”

The secret to understanding is: Boundaries.

Those with solid walls for boundaries keep everything, and everybody, out. Those with porous sieves for boundaries let everything, and everybody, in. Both are dysfunctional.

Profitable interactions occur through doors of opportunity that swing on the hinges of “No, thanks.” and “Yes, please!”

Look carefully at the word NO. Now, focus on the O. What do you see? I see the beginning of Opportunity!

Just like the Little Red Hen, I see an opportunity to say, “I will.”

In fact, there is an opportunity to remember and practice, once again, the “2×10” mantra: If It Is To Be, It Is Up To Me.

The most important part of the “2×10” is the first “2×5”: If It Is To Be.

“To the Nth Power” is a reminder to move the N from NO to where it belongs: ON. And, to move the N from NOPE to where it belongs: OPEN.

From there, let’s toss the P and center the N: ONE. By doing so, we leverage the power of N to the Nth Degree and enjoy a reality bigger than we ever imagined!

www.kimfoard.com

Two Farmers

Harvest

In the fertile valleys of Montana, harvest is almost complete. Malt barley is headed for the breweries, hard winter wheat is destined for the flourmills, soggy steer calves are trucked from the Red Lodge mountains to feedlots on the plains, sugar beets provide a poignant aroma to the air of Billings as they are processed into sweets for treats, and ear corn waits on the stalk to be picked.

The secrets to life can be found in the sixty miles from Red Lodge to Billings, Montana. This is a story of two farmers, Tom and Fred.

Their farms sit side-by-side, with a fence between them. Fred is a man of few words, while Tom likes to talk. Early morning, finds Fred at the kitchen table with a cup of dark, rich, coffee, as he plans his day. As dawn gives way to the first light, Fred is preparing his tractors for the circles they will make. Here comes Tom, with a little hair of the dog that bit him from the night before, to lean on the fence and begin his stories of high adventure.

Fred understands the benefit of crop rotation. If he wants to grow corn in one of his fields, he plants corn seed. For the sugar beet fields, he plants those little sugar beet seeds. In his wheat fields, he plants kernels of wheat.

As the spring rains stop, Fred is ready to start his irrigation to provide water for the crops. In early summer, the weeds are in competition with his crops; so, he cultivates. When the calves sneak through a hole in the pasture fence, he cowboys them back home and fixes the fence.

Tom watches Fred work. While continuing to lean on the fence day after day, Tom has all kinds of advice for how Fred should do his work. Fred just nods. In fact, Fred nods and waves as he puts his grain in the bin, steers on the truck, beets in the pile, and corn in the crib.

Then, one fall day while surveying his barren fields, Tom is in, especially, fine form. He walks up to his favorite leaning post and waves Fred over to the edge of the field. As Fred idles his new tractor down to a gentle purr and steps from the cab to learn what is on his neighbor’s mind, Tom says, “You’re sure lucky!” Fred just nods and says, “Yep.”

We harvest what we plant.

The shorter version of the story is the proverb: “Some sow their wild oats and then hope for a crop failure.” Those are the lucky ones. Lucky in the sense that less bad seed is blowing in the wind to cause harm for the neighbors. Un-lucky, since the real joys of life are discovered by doing, learning, and growing.

In this era of fantasy, when: work is spelled l-u-c-k; wrong is thought to be right; and, black and white are old-fashioned; how can we know good people from the bad ones?

Again, from agrarian principles, comes the answer.

You can identify them by their fruit, that is, by the way they act. Can you pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? A good tree produces good fruit, and a bad tree produces bad fruit. A good tree can’t produce bad fruit, and a bad tree can’t produce good fruit. So every tree that does not produce good fruit is chopped down and thrown into the fire. Yes, just as you can identify a tree by its fruit, so you can identify people by their actions.

Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock. Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won’t collapse because it is built on bedrock. But anyone who hears my teaching and doesn’t obey it is foolish, like a person who builds a house on sand. When the rains and floods come and the winds beat against that house, it will collapse with a mighty crash.

… He taught with real authority—quite unlike their teachers…

In returning to the story of our two neighbors, Tom is a Talker and Fred is the Farmer. Talk is easy. Work is hard. Or, is it?

Maybe, the moral of the story is: Easy is hard — and, Hard is easy.

As for me, I enjoy full bins!

www.kimfoardcpa.com

Creating to Creation

Creating to CreationSince we learn by doing and the fun is in the doing, learning is fun!

Doing is the secret path to discovering happiness. In fact, the power of “ing” brings into existence the “ion“.

All we do begins with a thought. Good judgment comes from experience; experience comes from bad judgment.

Thinking produces action, doing produces education, and creating produces creation. One is the process; the other is the result. From its Greek origin, ion is defined as something that goes.

The premise of this treatise is that any accumulation of stuff during our lifetime will go, away.

To continue this thought experiment, we will consider a two-word phrase: Building Empires. The first word, Building, is the process; the second word, Empires, is the result.

Let’s begin by experiencing the feelings, which flow through us, when thinking about an Empire. What a headache, right?! Who protects it? Who maintains it? What do the subjects need and the royalty want? Where are the borders and are they secure? How many turf wars are there between the politicians? When will enough be enough? The answer: Never.

In fact, we are encouraged to remember:

Don’t wear yourself out trying to get rich.
Be wise enough to know when to quit.
In the blink of an eye wealth disappears,
For it will sprout wings and fly away like an eagle.

Now, let’s experience the feelings from thinking about the process of Building. Oh, what excitement! There is the initial sense of adventure and discovery. Then comes the dreaming, the planning, the preparing, and drawing of blueprints. Anything is possible! Next, begins the actual construction. Messy at the beginning; yet, still exciting: the hole in the ground, the ballet of activity to pour footings and foundations. And, on it goes, until: we have a new creation.

If we focus on the doing, the learning, and the growing in our individual lives, it is guaranteed that action, education and a new creation will emerge. By engaging in the process of creating, creation will be the result.

We learn by doing; the fun is in the doing. Let’s, continue to, have fun learning!

www.kimfoard.com