People Over Process

People over Process

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Yes, and No.

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

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

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

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

www.kimfoardcpa.com

Fancy Footwork

West Coast Swing

Much more amusing than a CPA Blogger is a CPA Dancer.

Each week, fingers tickle this keyboard in hopes of reaching your funny-bone.

A recent sashay into the world of West Coast Swing has been enlightening, empowering and encouraging.

The most entertaining element of the experience is how Life follows Dance.

From the dance floor to the canvas of life, these are the Bold and artful lessons that were either reinforced, or learned for the very first time!

Be Open to Opportunities

This saga begins at a community fundraiser event with a live band and a plywood dance floor in a horse barn. Now, really, what are the odds of anything out of the ordinary occurring?!

As I’m standing there enjoying Billy Waldo and the Flying Grizzlies, an older lady taps me on the shoulder and says something to the effect, “I want you to save me a dance tonight. Sometimes, you are hogged by the other women and I don’t get a turn.”

All I could do was blush and say, “You’re sweet!” and “OK.”

Now, the truth of the matter is: Yes, I love music. As a result, I have decent rhythm. My dancing skills are limited to self-taught moves practiced a couple times any given evening when attending an event.

Yet, sure enough, we danced what I knew: a Jitterbug and my “modified” Box-step. She called it a Three-step. Once we had a better name for it, we danced it some more. Then, it got shortened to a Two-step, which usually isn’t my favorite. My favorite, though, is the Waltz; the music changed to three-four time and we danced it, too.

Right in the middle of the whole dang show was a little conversation, wouldn’t you know!

“There’s a workshop in Denver next weekend called Swingtime in the Rockies,” she said.

Always clever with my responses, I said, “Really!?”

The Want To

There is one rule of the Universe that refuses to acquiesce: Change will be met with Resistance. Ruts are graves with the ends kicked out; yet, we are comfortable in them. Decide to do something about the situation and all of creation will test our resolve. The little negative voices in our heads will catch a gear and do double-time in their efforts to talk us out of a new idea. They know, for a fact, “All We Do Begins With A Thought.”

Start At the Beginning

As part of the opening activities of Swingtime in the Rockies, a workshop was offered that first evening. I went; big mistake! Thinking that it might be for beginners, I took the dance floor. A few minutes into the lesson taught by a nationally acclaimed dancer and instructor, I left the dance floor. Sitting there, all alone, on the fringe while everyone else danced, it felt right to leave the ballroom. And, I must confess, the temptation was strong to leave the hotel and go back …

Wait! Go back?! Quit? Never!

Skin in the Game

Some refer to it as Commitment. That night, and the next three nights, of my hotel room were already paid; part of the deal for making reservations at the last moment during tourist season. Maybe it was the Scotch-Irish of my ancestry, or my accountant training, the realization was vivid that I needed to look for the dividends from my investment. And, I wanted to learn how to dance the West Coast Swing, too!

Ugly Mistakes

There are no words to describe the sensation of screwing up on the dance floor. Right there, in front of God and the whole wide world, with video cameras everywhere, a partner is left standing, wondering, “What was that?!”

Laughter

Humor covers a multitude of sins. Plain and simple, when the ego has been beaten to a bloody pulp, the only saving grace is to acknowledge the beauty in a second chance. With a quick apology, wink, and a smile, that opportunity was given every single time over the course of four days!

Communication

Evidently, the instructors of the workshops had previous life experiences of first-hand embarrassments, or being the object of them. They graciously and generously had us dance with different partners throughout the hour of each workshop. One of the social graces of dance is to make an introduction to the new partner. Feeling obliged to give fair warning to the unsuspecting, mine morphed into, “Hi. I’m Dangerous!”

Beauty on the Inside

Since the natural principle is Like attracts Like, seldom in nature do we see Beauty and the Beast. On the dance floor, I got lucky. Or, so I thought; lucky to dance with beautiful women. Quickly, I was reminded of another ageless principle, “Never judge a book by the cover.” The most memorable and insightful encounters of the weekend were with the women of radiant inner beauty.

Thank You

Two simple little words. Regardless of my performance, or lack thereof, all was well at the end of the dance movement by acknowledging the bravado of my partner. Body language is a wonderful medium for expressing feelings of the heart. The fear inherent in keeping sandaled bare toes out of the way of my cowboy boots displayed itself on many faces. An expressive, “Thank you,” always garnered a smile!

Right Here, Right Now

Mindfulness, or living in the present moment, is a given on the workshop dance floor. There is no time to have regrets about the last Ugly Mistake, or to be worried about the next requested Uncertain Movement. Daily growth occurred by focusing on, “Right here, right now, it’s great to be alive,” or if the pain of the current lesson made that thought borderline untruthful, to accept that “This too shall pass!”

My Steps to Leadership

In the moments of learning to lead, there were absolutely no thoughts about what my partner “should” be doing to follow. The point was well made by an experienced dancer, who was enduring my deer-in-the-headlights look and feet-in-the-quicksand hook, in her comment, “I don’t know what you’re supposed to do. I just follow!” (Note to Self: “Oh, darlin’, just wait until next year!”)

Understanding and Appreciation

One, Two, Three and Four, Five and Six. That’s the count. The question for me was: Is all of that done in a four-beat measure, or what?! Sure enough, I finally found the count and the beat. Then, the evenings of watching the Social Dances went from: “Sure is pretty; wonder what they’re doing.” To: “That’s a Sugar-Push. There’s an Inside-Turn. That’s a Right-Side-Pass. Wow; there’s a Whip!”

Step by Step

Day by day, the pieces to the dance puzzle fell into place until the whole picture made more sense. That first beat and step back for the guys was (and continues to be) the hardest thing to remember. Then, there is the issue of arm height and appropriate moments of elasticity with a partner. Add to that the basic moves, musicality, and interpretation, until many steps were taken over four days on the journey of learning West Coast Swing.

Show Up

Each day had scheduled times for the workshops. Good thing, too! Because, without those appointments to keep, the natural inclination was to find something easier and more comfortable to do than stepping onto that dance floor, one more time.

Courage

It is a three-letter word: YES. Our greatest fears are related to the preservation of who we are. Sticks and stones can break our bones; and, words can injure even more severely. It’s a fine line: to grow, we must change; yet, it must be our choice. To preserve the best of who we are as unique creations, while stretching to become better individuals, requires strength of will and fortitude of disposition.

Up to Me

If it is to be, it is up to me. Partners can be wonderful cheerleaders, of our efforts. If I want to dance, it is up to me, to learn. My thoughts, my feelings, and my feet must all engage together to accomplish what is important, to me. Doesn’t matter what others think, feel, or do, about my efforts to dance. All that matters is my love of music and movement!

Ask

In those moments, when I was out of my league in a workshop and totally confused as to the next step to take, a simple request of a partner, “Please, show me,” always took us beyond frustration to a successful result. Maybe, it wasn’t a perfect performance on my part; yet, it was a movement beyond inertia.

Profound Desire to Share

This is the inherent beauty of humans: we all want and need to offer the best of who we are to another. Some of us have earned the reputation as ministers, because we are full of it and freely offer to any and all. Others are more subdued in approach; yet, when asked, are equally able and willing to share their inherent gifts.

Higher Levels

From novice, to intermediate, to advanced, to all-stars, there is a progression of accomplishment and confidence. Each level provides opportunities to see even greater challenges. At the beginning, we don’t know what we don’t know. As we advance, we come to fully understand that we will never achieve a full understanding of what is possible!

Inconsistency creates Consistency

“Say, what?!” I thought, when the instructor first said it. Then, he reminded us of the imperfect human condition: we can never do the same thing, the same way, every time, perfectly. Variety is the spice of life. Our choice: Be frustrated; or, Wrap our minds and arms around the excitement of something new and different, every time. Our ability and willingness to be flexible in our response will provide a sense of stability.

Connection and Release

It takes both. In the realm of West Coast Swing, connection is strongest just before the release. It is the tension of the connection which produces the pleasure of the release. All tight, all the time, is no better than all loose, all the time. It is the ebb and flow, the up and down, the yin and yang, which creates the harmony of the universe and enhances our interactions with another person.

Partnerships

Every wonderful experience happens because of a connection with another person. In dance, the connection is real: Physical, Emotional, Mental, and Spiritual. Our being is flooded with the sensation of connection. Yet, even with the separation of time and distance, our relationships motivate us into uncharted waters of discovery, all because of the influence of another person.

Smile

Each partner brings something good and something less than. For four days, I was the beneficiary of a new experience. Smiles were offered when the answer was, “Yes!” Smiles were freely given when the answer was, “No.” Smiles were everywhere! The most moving experience was the emotion flowing from the expression of a cancer survivor, when she said, with a smile, “Always say yes when asked to dance. It might just be your last one.”

More Action

The most appropriate mantra for a student of dance just might be, “A little less talk and a lot more action!” Books are good, videos are insightful, explanations are fine, and the Fun is in the Doing. The only way to learn anything is to do it!

In much the same vein as “The Mind Remembers What The Hands Learn” is “The Soul Experiences What The Feet Teach”. In other words, actions speak louder than words.  In fact, Thoughts become our Words, Words become our Actions, Actions become our Habits, Habits become our Character, and Character becomes our Destiny.

Let’s dance!

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