Peace of Mind

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.

Since our minds are optimized to remember Three, here are three examples of Codes 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.

www.kimfoardcpa.com

Tight Fences

Six Wire FenceIn Montana, we have an expression and a tradition: “Good fences make for good neighbors.”

Those individuals intent upon building a ranch empire will jest, “I don’t want to own the entire state; just what my neighbor has.”

Much more than keeping those types out, the focus of this article is about fencing ourselves in.

Fence me in?!

Literally, I can hear and feel the push-back. The idea of taking personal responsibility for ourselves is a novel thought. For several generations, we’ve had exposure to the 24/7 propaganda: “If it feels good, do it.”

As a result, our “fences” are in disarray; the wires are loose, staples are missing, posts are rotted, and we find ourselves trampling on each other.

There is a better way. It begins with us, individually, from the inside, out. We discover and define ourselves. Then, we build dynamic relationships with others. Regardless of the enterprise, life is all about the people.

Think about the best six-strand, barb-wire, fence you have ever seen. That was a “stretch.” Wasn’t it? There aren’t many six-wire fences. Many ranch managers will build five-wire fences. The hobby-farmers settle for four. And, the rhinestone-cowboys cheat with three. A six-wire fence is a little bit higher, with spaces between the wires narrower, and the boundaries a whole lot tighter!

Nothing goes over, through, or under a six-wire fence. Permission to pass is offered at the gates. With good braces at the corners and every opening, the gates are designed for ease of operation. In our great state of Montana, neighbors are few and far between. When they’re in the mood to visit, we want to graciously provide the way. We know they will respectfully close the gates upon passing through.

Pretty simple.

Yet, some might be wondering, “What do tight Montana fences have to do with life?”

Everything.

Forget about the neighbors for a minute. Let’s focus on ourselves. Harder to do; I know. It’s so much easier to see what others are doing “wrong” and mettle in their business. Since their affairs are beyond our control, let’s re-focus on what is within our sphere of influence. We will find that at the tips of our fingers and looking back at us from our favorite mirror.

Yep, there we are.

Now, ask these questions:

Who am I?

What do I believe?

Where am I going?

Why do I think the way I do?

When will I commit to the future I want?

How many of my friends will help me grow?

The answers to those questions will define YOU and your current condition. Capture that image vividly in your mind’s eye. Close your eyes and save it to the hard-disk of your mind. Open your eyes. Now, go, quickly, to build a six-wire fence around the wonderful creation of YOU.

Barb WireWipe the sweat from your brow, clean the blood from the cuts on your arms, and dab the tears from your eyes as you look (maybe, for the very first time) at YOU. For everyone who makes the effort to build that tight fence, we all see the same thing: Gardens of goodness and Patches of weeds.

After we tidy up the areas of neglect, we feel a sense of peace and tranquility. We thoroughly enjoy what is ours and we generously offer our best to others. In time, we realize that to serve more people in a better way, we must continue to grow.

Fenced PasturesThe best way to do that is to close our eyes, again, and dream: Big dreams, vivid dreams in full color, even those beyond our wildest imagination.

Anything is possible.

Forget the past; it doesn’t matter. Ignore the nagging worry about the future; right here, right now, it’s great to be alive. Position yourself in the center of that marvelous territory (the one protected by the new six-wire fenced boundary) of YOU — and, dream!

Are you there, yet? If so, write down what you just imagined. It’s much more than a fantasy, or a dream. If you can sketch the rough outline and, then, draw a detailed blueprint of that place to which you just went, it can be built.

By standing in the image of that new country of YOU, you will be able to see the steps to take ~ from where you are, to where you want to be!

www.kimfoard.com

Three Little Words

Listen to your Heart

When my twenty-four year old daughter takes time to draft an email reply for the sole purpose of teasing me, I know my efforts to tickle the keyboard in hopes of reaching her funny-bone have been successful.

Hey Dad!  Thanks for the note. My first question would have to be: What’s this about me being in a cylinder practicing the “3×5” with a Roman soldier?!  LOL!  …Sorry! Couldn’t resist!!!  haha..!  The vines were kinda swingin’ and swayin’ there for a while, but I’m pretty sure I read between em! 🙂 Thanks, Dad. Love you too!

My daughter has grown up in an era where “equality” has been the mantra.

A quote attributed to William Wrigley, Jr. gives pause to this notion of equality of the sexes: “When two men in business always agree, one of them is unnecessary.”

If we have come so far in our “evolution” that there is no difference between men and women, “Which gender will volunteer to disappear?” Or, “Which gender thinks the other is unnecessary?”

The introduction of the email to my daughter contained this observation from, and about, me:

For some crazy reason, tough guys struggle with expressing their love. Words don’t seem to do it. So, we swing through the jungle to show you how much we care.

As a student of relationship strategies, I’ve discovered many models present theorems based on quadrants. The DISC profile uses descriptors of Dominance, Influence, Steadiness and Conscientious. The KWML profile uses descriptors of King, Warrior, Magician and Lover.

In the course of “doing the parent thing” to my daughter, and her twenty-one year old brother, they have both been exposed to KWML, as an introduction to the notion that we are, all, unique and different – hard-wired at birth into one of the four quadrants. The fun is growing towards the other three and maturing to the point where we are “centered” and balanced.

Since I’ve incorporated the spectrum opposites of logic and emotion into my “Cowboy Poet & Philadelphia Lawyer” shtick, the stage was set for the email communication to my “little girl.” Rather than do the parent thing to her, one more time, the presentation was as if she had joined a conversation that I was having with a friend:

The Poet speaks of the feelings of an ever expanding heart, purpose and fate. The Warrior thinks in terms of logistics.

Remember that sea of umbrella toting singles? If you look closely, you will also see two other groups. There are those waifs, who have no umbrella and wait to be rescued from the consequences of their choices. And, there are those poor souls, who are hermetically sealed inside their bubble of bitterness. If you look even closer, what at first glance appeared to be umbrellas are actually shields held by the Warriors.

They are fully equipped to Serve, Share and Smile (The 3×5). Their gear includes the belt of truth, breastplate of righteousness, shoes ready to pursue peace, shield of faith, helmet of insight, and the light saber of the Spirit. Giving the lead role to Kings, the stage to Magicians, and the sanctuary to Poets, these Warriors can be found on the fringes of the crowd thinking, “You are all safe on my watch.”

This one does it all believing, someday, a woman will choose to fold her umbrella, step close, wrap feminine arms around her man and express from the bottom of her soul, “Oh, my hero!”

My daughter will turn 24 in September. Her moniker is Foard Tuff, a word play on the original Ford Tough displayed at the Dealership where she works. In fact, the local community refers to her as the Ford Girl. Little do they know that she is a one-of-a-kind Foard Girl. She thinks it’s funnier than heck.

Dads have been known to be prejudicial. This one confesses in full. I’m very proud of my daughter. As her high school math teacher gushed in a Parent-Teacher Conference, “Your daughter is the perfect student. She does everything asked of her and does some things just for herself.” From high school and the extra-curricular activities within the community, she worked her way through college and a couple of relationships, enjoyed a bidding war for her talents in December of her senior year of college between the Ford Dealership (where she had worked for the last two years of college) and a Website Design firm (where she had worked the year before that) until she finally said, “Dad, it’s not about the money. I love my job!”

Gifted in all things creative, her umbrella is quite colorful. She holds it with a strong arm and a gracious spirit. Do I want some beast of a fellow to “trample her bloom”? We, both, know the answer to that silly question.

What I believe, and hope, is that someday there will be a gentle bear of a man dressed in his Roman Soldier finest, who is ready to practice the “3×5” with my daughter. At that time she can fold her umbrella and join him in the cylinder of protection he offers.

Should she pretend her umbrella no longer exists, destroy it, or have it locked away to atrophy? Again, the answer is, “No.”; “No, thanks and no way …”; to the definitive, “Heck, no!”

As much as that hero of hers will become a better man with her arms around him, he is only human. There will be times when his arms become tired and, as hard as it is for a guy to do, he will need to ask for her help in shielding them. Other times, the wind of fate will rip his shield to pieces and enemies will slash it to ribbons. While he repairs the damage, it will be my daughter’s umbrella protecting them.

On a daily basis, she will need her umbrella to journey through the day, just as he will need his shield in the daily course of battle. The secret to all of this is that as he drags home the trophy dragon at the end of his day, his life has purpose and that shield has real meaning because of a woman who chooses to fold her umbrella at the end of her day and wrap her arms around him – one more time.

The moral of this story:

Men are invigorated by knowing they are Respected. They need to hear and experience the actions that flow from these three little words,

“Oh, my hero!”

Women are nourished by knowing they are Cherished. They need to hear and experience the actions that flow from these three little words,

“I love you!”

www.kimfoard.com