Peace of Mind

Mindfulness is the fancy term for living in the moment.

Peace of MindThis narrative is quite different from the experience of hearing an antagonist exclaim, “Let me give you a piece of my mind!”

In fact, this is the greatest gift we can give ourselves – peace of mind.

The funny thing about this gift is that it comes as a result of what we don’t think about.

If our thoughts are about the Past, we’ll find regrets there. If we let our minds sneak into the Future, we’ll meet anxiety of the unknown. Right here, right now – in the Present – it’s great to be alive.

If someone asks us to not think about pink elephants, what do we do? We think about pink elephants. So, let’s eliminate the negatives. We can, simply, remove the word “not” — and, its contractions from our vocabulary.

Mother Nature hates a vacuum. Plant good seeds — or, weeds will grow. We remove the habit of dwelling on the regrets of the Past and stressing about the anxieties of the Future, by focusing on the Present.

Mindfulness is the fancy term for living in the moment.

Seems kind of silly to, even, state the obvious — in the blink of an eye, this moment will be history and there are no guarantees that we will take the next breath.

There is a guarantee, though, that we can enjoy each and every moment, if we embrace a Code.

Say what?! You know, in the words of John Wayne, “A man’s got to have a code, a creed to live by, no matter his job.”

Whatever the Code, it keeps us focused on living up to those standards. Every thought, every decision, and every action is measured against the Code. Our mind is fully engaged, in each and every moment, to living in the Present (truly, it is a Gift).

Since our minds are optimized to remember Three, here are three examples of Codes — which, are important to these individuals:

Code of the West (James P. Owen)

1. Live each day with courage.
2. Take pride in your work.
3. Always finish what you start.
4. Do what has to be done.
5. Be tough, but fair.
6. When you make a promise, keep it.
7. Ride for the brand.
8. Talk less and say more.
9. Remember that some things aren’t for sale.
10. Know where to draw the line.

Two Sets of Three (John Wooden)

1. Never lie.
2. Never cheat.
3. Never steal.

1. Don’t whine.
2. Don’t complain.
3. Don’t make excuses.

Decisions for Success (Andy Andrews)

1. The buck stops here. I am responsible for my past and my future.
2. I will seek wisdom. I will be a servant to others.
3. I am a person of action. I seize this moment. I choose now.
4. I have a decided heart. My destiny is assured.
5. Today I will choose to be happy. I am the possessor of a grateful spirit.
6. I will greet this day with a forgiving spirit. I will forgive myself.
7. I will persist without exception. I am a person of great faith.

We can admire the Codes, above, for their inherent qualities of character. Yet, knowing something and doing it are two, very, different engagements. To move from understanding to belief requires insight — literally, a look inside of who we are, individually — and, all alone.

A daily practice of the ABC’s (Attitude, Boundaries, and Commitment) can enlighten, empower, and encourage each of us to develop and implement our own, personal, Code.

Attitude ~ Which attributes of Character are most important to me?

All we do begins with a thought. To build, we need a blueprint – a plan – to guide our actions. A positive approach to each step will result in positive creations.

Boundaries ~ How can I ensure dynamic Communication?

As soon as we define who we are and what we believe, our friends will encourage and our enemies will challenge. “Yes, please.” and “No, thanks.” are effective gatekeepers.

Commitment ~ What is the passion at the core of my Commitments?

Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love. Heaven on earth is possible — if, we are determined to take the next step, forward.

By choosing a mindfulness to live with purpose and create a legacy built on a foundation of principle, the result is goodness for all and peace of mind for each one of us.

kimfoard.com

Able and Willing

Growth is a result of positive answers to these two questions: Can I do IT? Is IT worth it?

Able and Willing

We want what we don’t have.

If we have it, we don’t want it.

Granted, there are a few individuals, who purport that they have risen to a higher level of existence, by not wanting anything. They claim to be perfectly happy with nothing.

Making the best of whatever the situation — in which we find ourselves — is different than doing nothing. Those who do nothing are stuck in a rut, regardless of the rationalization for their inactivity. And, you do know the definition of a rut: A grave with the ends kicked out.

To lead ourselves and others to higher levels of awareness and success, we must grow.

We grow and become of greater value in service only as much as we choose.

Each and every day, each and every decision, our choices are determined by the answers to these two questions:

  • Can I do IT?
  • Is IT worth it?

In other words:

  • Am I Able?
  • Am I Willing?

Am I Able ~

All we do begins with a thought. Change nothing and nothing changes. The easiest thing in the world is to find reasons why something can’t be done, which results in no leadership and no growth. Simply, by believing IT can be done, our minds begin finding ways to achieve.

Am I Willing ~

Where there’s a will, there is a way. Our willingness is governed by two raw emotions — Pain and Pleasure. Given enough pain, our will becomes stronger. Offered enough pleasure, our will finds a way. The beauty of will is that IT resides within our sphere of influence.

A mind changed against its will,
Will be of the same opinion still.

How do we persuade our minds to choose the greater motivator of pleasure?

One way is to tempt it with Riches. The better way is to feed it with Purpose.

Oh, I know, that money trick is a quick-and-dirty way to get our attention. To hold it, though, requires the intrinsic higher rewards, which originate from doing the right thing.

Sometimes, we know what that Right Thing is. Other times, we struggle to DO IT — right. That’s when we remember the Three-E Formula — Enlightenment, Empowerment, and Encouragement.

Enlightenment is the catalyst for believing we can do IT.

Empowerment is the motivation for choosing to do IT.

And, from time to time, our confidence is bolstered by the Encouragement — of family and friends — for us to be Able and Willing.

www.kimfoard.com

Shepherd Heart

Dreams, Goals, and our Purpose in life must include a dimension beyond the Stuff.

Shepherd HeartThe surest way to enjoy the Future we want is to create it.

Otherwise, we’ll be living the dream of someone else.

Since we, individually, are as unique and temporary as snowflakes, it is impossible for the dream of one person to be the passionate desire of anyone else.

How powerful is passionate desire?

Recently, a story was published in the Billings Gazette of a devastating barn fire. The loss of possessions is always sad; the loss of life is tragic. The barn was full of ewe sheep and their lambs. The night of the fire, Sam and Nellie (the sheepdogs) were diligently doing their patrols outside the barn.

The next day, Sam looked all over for his sheep. He looked all over the place and cried and howled. You couldn’t believe the mournful way he howled that day. It broke our hearts. And in the middle of the afternoon, he laid down and died.

There’s a moral within this Story for each of us: Dreams, Goals, and our Purpose in life must include a dimension beyond the Stuff. Otherwise, if our possessions are lost, we’ll tip over and die, too. Animals operate on instinct. Humans are the only creatures of thought.

Whatever we Think about is, eventually, what we will Do.

The common belief is, “We came into this world with nothing and we’ll leave with nothing.”

That statement is partially correct; insomuch, that, there are no luggage-racks on hearses. Yet, we arrive naked and crying into this existence with the most valuable asset and greatest potential for building a legacy: A Mind.

Start with Nothing, Build Something

There are two ways to do that:

1.) Focus all of your early efforts on your own Business. Start with one Customer and carefully manage those early earnings by minimizing expenses and maximizing savings, until the Business can provide (extra) Time and Money for Personal pursuits.

2.) Establish yourself as a Get-‘er-Done person with a quality Company, which pays for performance, while you Learn and Save. Then, the path of Success might be to continue that Journey (of more Time and Money for Personal pursuits), or the Seed Money will be available to Start your own Company.

Either way, there is only one person responsible for your life: YOU.

I struggled with that for a long time, too. I thought if I worked hard and played by all of the rules, someday, somehow, somebody would notice and make me rich and famous. Doesn’t work that way. Individually: The world is what we make of it. Stated differently, in the first-person tense: If It Is To Be, It Is Up To Me.

Recommendations:

1.) Write down, exactly, what you want your Future to be.

2.) Prepare your Mind and make Plans for your Future. When possible, grab your SmartPhone and Search on topics of interest. In other words, do the Research & Development required to move you one step closer to your Dream.

3.) When appropriate, share the image of your Future with others. That can only be done after you Commit to the Future of your choice. By sharing, you empower others to make choices which dovetail with yours. Those who care about you will hold you accountable to your Vision.

Money is important; those who say it isn’t will lie about other things, too. Financial resources are necessary to provide opportunities. In the same way that tools provide the opportunity for a craftsman to create, money is the leverage to build something special.

As mortals working within the physical realm, we can be proactive in asking this question of all within our sphere of influence, “How can I help you achieve your goals?” After carefully listening to their answer, we have the opportunity to respond with these very bold statements.

“I can do that. By serving your interests, I expect this to be a mutually rewarding long-term relationship.”

Beyond the monetary negotiations is the real reward, which waits, for those with the heart of a shepherd.

www.kimfoard.com

Mind Propulsion

Why do we have a Jet Propulsion Laboratory (with a Map to get there); yet, not a single Google search result for Mind Propulsion Laboratory?

Mind PropulsionEvery time a jet leaves the gravitational pull of earth, those below stand in awe and those aboard marvel at the miracle. The miracle is our Human ability to harness Universal principles.

Why, then, do we have a Jet Propulsion Laboratory (with a Map to get there); yet, not a single Google search result for Mind Propulsion Laboratory?

Which is greater: The creation or the creator; the jet engine or the mind that imagined it?

We readily acknowledge that, individually, we are one-of-a-kind. As unique and temporary as snowflakes, each of us has a short time to make an indelible mark on this world. The best way to do that is to use our mind, for the benefit of many.

Jet engines do not miraculously appear. They are built. The same is true of our mind. Piece by piece and neuron by neuron, our minds become the engine of what we accomplish.

We have a choice in the direction of our lives. It’s a simple matter of programming. Today, we are the cumulative result of every choice to this point in time. We go where we look. The future will find us arriving at the destination of our, individual, choice.

As simplistic as it sounds, the reality is certain: Choose no direction; go in circles.

My recommendation: Choose a worthy pursuit.

Whoever pursues righteousness and love
finds life, prosperity, and honor.

Pursue indicates a passionate desire to achieve.

Here is the point of no return; the fork in the road; the real choice to be made. Will we be a Go-Getter, or a Go-Giver? Achievement for the sake of ego is less than noble. Accomplishing mutually beneficial results is a worthy goal.

Speaking of which, success can be defined in a myriad of ways.

Here are two:

Success is the progressive realization of a worthy ideal. ~ Earl Nightingale

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. ~ John Wooden

To arrive, we must begin. To reach a destination, we must have one. To navigate, we must be able to measure our progress.

Remember, our mind is the engine of our craft. The manner in which we fuel it will determine its performance.

Let me ask a very simple question: If we (You and I) are strapped into the nose of a rocket, what quality of fuel do we want in the tank? Great minds do think alike. We want the very Best; Premium; Grade-A; Number-1; Super-duper; Fill-‘er-up-to-the-top!

Same thing for our minds: Let’s pour in the Good-Stuff.

Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

There are few guarantees in the pursuit of righteousness and love. This is one: By training our minds to Think this way, the odds of success increase astronomically.

How can we remember this daily propellant for our minds?

I’ll guide us into a flight pattern.

Think: Three-P’s. (Philippians)

Think: Two sets of Four equal Eight (4 and 8); begin with True, take a LEAP.

True (4)
Noble (5)
Right (5)
Pure (4)

Lovely (6)
Excellent (9)
Admirable (9)
Praise (6)

Think: What’s up with the Numbers?! Add ‘em up (the number of letters in each word); the sum is 48 (4 and 8). Separate the digits and that’s Chapter and Verse. (Philippians 4:8)

Then, our minds begin processing other relationships between the Letters, Words, and Numbers. For instance … look at the P’s (middle two of the Three-P’s) at the bottom of the Two sets of Four: Pure and Praise. And … since N comes before R, the two-5’s are in sequence: Noble and Right. Flashes of thought are igniting in minds, everywhere!

What was difficult to remember a few minutes ago is now etched into our minds.

All We Do Begins With A Thought

If we, daily, step into the Mind Propulsion Laboratory, for the express purpose of Research and Development, our orbits of influence will increase exponentially!

www.kimfoard.com

King Ranch

For as he thinks in his heart, so is he. Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.

King RanchThe question was a simple one: How does a guy get ahead?

It was expressed with emotion and a twinge of frustration.

His eyes and body language were communicating the same, legitimate, curiosity about life. I realized he was serious and I was at a loss for words.

Sitting in front of me was a young man of twenty-three, who had accomplished more in the last two years than many get done in a lifetime.

Far beyond the six-figure salary that society uses to measure success, this young man is responsible for the lives of two dozen men, many who are more than twice his age. He manages millions of dollars of trucks and equipment for the production of billions of dollars of revenue.

Even more important, than the money and resources for which he is held accountable, is the character at his core. And, I guess that’s where words fell short of providing the best answer possible. All I could say in the moment, “Just keep on doing what you’re doing. You’re doing it right.”

We both knew that wasn’t the best response either one of us ever heard and, in time, there was apt to be more to the story. Two weeks later, I had a few more thoughts to share. This is the Rest of the Story.

At age twenty-three, empires are enticing. Courageous young men are determined to build one. And, that’s a good thing for them and all in their sphere of influence. The secret that awaits our crusaders is that the process of building is much more fun than the empire, itself.

The young empire builder and I have common knowledge of individuals sitting in the middle of wealth they did not earn. In this newly tuned conversation, I asked that we mentally separate those men from their inheritances. Then, we examined the individual ability to produce: those who appear to have it made vs. those who actually get-‘er-done.

The list is pretty dang long of the things this young man of twenty-three can do. Because of his humility, he was reluctant to begin taking inventory of his attributes. I gently reminded him, “It’s not bragging, if you can do it.”

Then, we considered what the “Born on third-base ~ Thought they hit a home-run” types can do. That didn’t take long: very, short list.

For a couple years now, I’ve been on this kick: All We Do Begins With A Thought. So, with time to think about his excellent question, I knew a better answer was possible. In fact, the answer was in the question, “How does a guy get ahead?!”


There it was: “A Head”: a noggin which is constantly thinking about splendid dreams. Thoughts without character are as dangerous as ships without rudders. And, that my friends, is when it dawned on me, that as much as my first response was adequate, the best answer recognizes the power of mind and heart.

For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.

Guard your heart above all else,
for it determines the course of your life.

We are a combination of our heredity and environment. Undeniably, we slip into this world hard-wired a certain way and, then, parents bend our little twigs.

Communication is what the listener does. Stories provide food for thought.

As we were sitting in Red Robin, munching on our hamburgers and fries, I began a story about Volkswagens, Road-trips, and Ford Pickups that I had been rehearsing in my mind for two weeks.

My dad worked on ranches owned by others. He made $200, per month, cash wages, the equivalent of $2,000 in today’s dollars. Half a century ago, the tradition was for Moms to be homemakers. So, one household income provided funds for the daily necessities and a two-week trip in the fall to exotic destinations.

Well … for a kid who lived twelve miles from the nearest semblance of civilization the other fifty weeks of the year, places like Squaw Valley and Lake Tahoe, California, seemed like another world. From the prairies of Montana to the wonders of the Sierra Nevada, and beyond, miles of road stretched before us like ribbons around the best surprise.

The year was 1965 and my parents had just purchased a brand new VW Bug. Not the Super Beetle introduced in the mid-1970s, or the Daisy Mae sedan sporting a flower vase; this was the original bug: Pregnant Roller Skate in the vernacular. I was 10 and my little sister was 3.

Looking around Red Robin for a way to describe the cabin size of that classic automobile, my eyes measured the four-person booth at which we sat. Perfect; the size of the table top was approximately the same amount of space in that VW Bug for two little kids and luggage for a Family of four.

My dad had an eye for packing and a creative mind. By removing the backrest from the rear seat, he could stack suitcases and travel totes to create a wall of luggage and a replacement backrest for his passengers. Our little bottoms, somehow, fit on the eight inches of seat visible and available.

Off we went on our adventure. As an experienced truck driver, Dad knew to adjust his speed according to road conditions and the weight of his cargo. In September, the highways are absolutely perfect. Yet, we were heavy. I remember leaning over to peek between the front seats to see the speedometer needle stuck on 45.

With four on the floor (manual stick-shift transmission) and four in the rear (cylinders in the air-cooled engine) maybe that was top speed. I don’t know. What I do know is that it was an era before audio books and iPods. Lucky for us, though, we had the real deal and an iMom. She read books, lots of books, to us.

The first Interstate Highways were being constructed. They were wonderfully straight and smooth. Cars and trucks passed us as if we were standing still. On the narrow, two-lane, roads, we backed up traffic for miles. Two little kids, with noses pressed to side windows that didn’t open, witnessed many middle-finger salutes.

I closed my eyes and dreamed about fast cars.

Fast-forward to 1971 and we were living in the foreign country of East Texas. I was 16 and running a tractor and brush-cutter for a farmer. He let me use his newer model Ford pickup to haul diesel fuel out to the field for that little John Deere tractor. For some reason, I imagined him giving me that pickup.

I closed my eyes and dreamed about fast pickups.

Then, in the spring of 1972, Dad decided he missed the open country of the North. We were headed home to Montana, kind of. A job was available on a ranch near New Underwood, South Dakota. For the month that we lived there, I rode to school with the kids of the family who owned the ranch. They all drove newer model Ford pickups.

I closed my eyes and dreamed about a fancy Ford pickup of my own, someday.

For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.

Guard your heart above all else,
for it determines the course of your life.

From the dream of many years ago to the reality of what I drive, now, a 2011 Ford Lariat King Ranch pickup, I told the story for the merit of the journey, not the destination. The value of the Builder is much more important than any Empire.

Rocky Mountain High

As I looked into the eyes of my lunch partner, he seemed to understand the moral of the story: To get ahead, the mind and heart are our greatest resources. Of all the men I know, if push came to shove, the one I want watching my back is this young man with great questions.

He has dreams of a ranch, cows, and horses.

His grandfather and I came down from setting roof trusses on the day this young dreamer brightened our world. As a Leo, he is a King and I believe a Ranch will be his, someday.

www.kimfoard.com

Loyalty and Kindness

A ripple and a wake emanate from every action we take. The journey to frolicking in the companionship of accomplishment requires patience, kindness and loyalty.

Loyalty and Kindness“When two men 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 — let’s 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.

At that moment, the time has come to 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

Between the Ears

All we do begins with a thought. “R U Thinking?!” The secret to pleasant relationships and successful adventures is discovered between our ears.

Palomino HorseClose your eyes and imagine a beautiful horse. Before you do, though, prepare your mind for this action: Imagine yourself walking up to that horse.

OK, now, do it.

Whenever you choose to rejoin us, you will have a story to tell about the trip that you just took:  Color of horse; stallion, gelding, or mare; how many hands high; location of the stables; and, season of the year. Priceless!

With the image and story in your mind, please, tell me: To which part of the horse did you approach?

The odds are good that you walked up to its head. You wanted to feel the warm breath from the nostrils and tickle of the whiskers, as you received a nuzzle and a nip from the lips of your horse expressing its affection for you. Then, you might have returned the love by reaching up to rub and scratch between its ears. The session probably ended with a head pressed against your chest and arms wrapped around a neck, in hugs.

More than a love story, this one is headed for destiny.

As a Certified Public Accountant and builder of bright financial futures, any planning for success involves a consideration for income taxes. Some people become so obsessed with them (Taxes), an appropriate encouragement is: “Never let the tax tail wag the dog!”

The reason you didn’t walk up to the rear of your dream horse is because of the same thought process used when I tease Clients into re-focusing their attention, from the tail, to the body of the dog: Rear-ends are dangerous.

Think about these two scenarios: The best relationship and the greatest professional success. I guarantee that both of them required planning, preparation, rich conversation, time investment and a dynamic commitment to flexibility; all done on the front side, with no “end” in sight.

The choice is ours: We can either manage from the front; or, clean up the mess at the rear.

Consider this: When driving, what are the odds of success if we focus on the rear-view mirror? Isn’t the trip much more fun looking, forward, through the front windows?

One letter is the difference between “ears” and “rears”: R

To honor the simplicity of the Text Generation: “R U Thinking?!”

Or, do you only see the “R U T” and believe that you’re stuck, in a rut?

Seriously, that’s the difference between leaders and lemmings: Thinking. Trailblazers are always dreaming and focusing on what is ahead (pardon the pun). Crowds are always content to follow behind. Unless you’re lead dog, the view never changes.

Lest there are some who believe Lead Dog is out of their reach, please, (R U Thinking?) consider that there is only one of you. YOU are unique in all of the specimens of humanity. Your special gifts of insight and ability do make a difference in the lives of all you touch.

Good, better, best.
Never let it rest;
Until, our good is better,
And, our better, best!

All we do begins with a thought.

The secret to pleasant relationships and successful adventures is discovered between our ears!

www.kimfoard.com