Plan To Do Good

Loyalty and Kindness

All we do begins with a thought.

The gift of thought raises the human condition above the animal kingdom.

Without the ability to think, we would react as all animals do — with instinct.

With the freedom to choose, we are able to be the Captain of our own destiny.

Although able to choose, the question remains,
Will we?”

Able and Willing are two entirely different concepts. The first is an inherent gift. The second is, literally, a moment to moment decision. Often, the next step is taken with furrowed brow and gritted teeth. By sheer determination and courageous will, action follows thought.

In other words, the ability to think and talk must be followed by the willingness to wink and walk. Thought without action is simply a fleeting fantasy of imagination.

The bridge between thought and action is a plan — a blueprint — if you will. Great plans result in great results.

If you plan to do good, you will receive unfailing love and faithfulness.

A certain amount of brick-and-mortar is necessary for a comfortable life. Food, clothing, and shelter are the basics to survive. What is required, if we want to thrive?

The surprising answer is not something we accumulate for our own comfort. Yet, we benefit the most by giving them to another: Loyalty and Kindness.

Never let loyalty and kindness leave you!
Tie them around your neck as a reminder.
Write them deep within your heart.

We must choose to believe in the merit of these two words and all they can produce. Constant in our thoughts, they are of value only when practiced. Knowing and Doing are as different as Able and Willing. Education and Experience are required to draft the next great plan of action.

If you search for good, you will find favor.

Mother Nature abhors a vacuum. The only way to displace the unpleasant is to fill the vessel with goodness. That requires a conscious thought, a plan of action — and, a commitment to do so.

Your kindness will reward you.

As the uncertainty of current events swirls around us in a torrent of conditions beyond our control, let’s focus on the jewels around our neck and the journals of our heart.

Two words can be a constant reminder of our life’s purpose: Loyalty and Kindness.

Let’s plan to do good!

www.kimfoard.com

Long Rein

Long ReinThere are a plethora of benefits from a childhood spent horseback in a sea of cowhides.

On the open prairies under the big skies of Montana, one thing is quickly learned:

You are expected to come prepared and ready to work.

The most known about the daily adventure is the Time and Place.

In late spring and early summer — that’s Branding Season — a neighbor will call to ask for cowboys. The conversation is short, sweet, and to the point: Time and Place.

In the dark of night, long before breakfast, horses are saddled and equipped for the rendezvous.

As the first glimmer of dawn is visible on the horizon, the cowboys clink their way into a semi-circle around the ranch owner. Eyes follow the sweep of the herdsman’s hand to understand the sections (640 acres, each) to be gathered into the corrals where they stand.

Little is given in the way of instruction. Beginning with the end in mind is all that is required. From the hills to the corrals is the simple plan. Upon swinging into the saddle, each cowboy begins an individual effort for the benefit of many.

The unspoken is the language of the Buckaroos. If the corrals are in the North, the first of several cowboys to mount might head to the South-West — the rest will know to cover the South-East area of the pasture. As the far corners are discerned, the groups will silently disperse into individuals surveying the Southern border for signs of livestock.

Eventually, the Cowboys turn North and find themselves all alone, with a job to do. Horse and rider will be depending on each other — one with the brawn, the other with the brains. Thinking out in front of a cow and her calf is one thing — convincing her of a new idea is quite another.

Somewhere in the middle of the whole dang show will be an occasion for pause don’t you know. The ignorance of a single cow will be the catalyst for the cowboy to rethink and retool.

By drawing his horse to a stop, inhaling a long deep breath of that sage-saturated air and raising eyes to the horizon, that cowboy gains a fresh perspective on the task at hand. In fact, he realizes that’s been the problem — a rein too short.

Wiggling himself down into the well-oiled leather of a saddle worn comfortable from many trips before, winking into the eyes of a horse thankful for the rest, and measuring a long rein to reach just the right balance, that cow is about to experience the Rest of the Story.

You see, the cowboy had lost touch with reality. He had let the natural instincts of a brute bovine beast get him off balance. The more unbalanced he became, the more he shortened his rein. The shorter his rein, the more off balance he became.

So, if you’re feeling a little off balance, the secret to arriving at the corrals with the herd in hand is to — take a deep breath and a long rein to — enjoy the moment and a prosperous reign.

www.kimfoard.com

Build Something — Special

Build SomethingThis is more than another B.S. musing. A bright financial future is waiting – if, you will accept this encouragement to Build Something Special (B.S.S.).

Let’s begin with that extra “S”: the Special one. Yes — that is YOU. You are one-of-a-kind, broke-the-mold, and a special creation with a unique set of gifts. You are of great value and have much to offer others. The world is anxiously waiting for you to Build Something Special, for our mutual benefit.

You’ve heard the expression: Preparation plus Opportunity equals Success.

This is, even, more powerful: Preparation is guaranteed to produce Opportunities resulting in Success.

There is absolutely no need to wait around for an opportunity. The encouragement to Build Something Special is really an encouragement for us to focus on what is within our, individual, control. Answer the Why, How, and What of YOU — and, the world is your oyster.

Why do you exist?

How can you make a difference in the lives of others?

What is the very best way to deliver your value to the world?

By thinking about the Value inherent in YOU, a choice manifests for you to become a Master Craftsman and Build Something Special.

Lift your dominant hand up and forward. Carefully, look at the thumb and fingers. Those five digits are the number of steps necessary to Build Something Special. There is a matched set of tools on your other hand. That, my friends, is the extent to which we are in control. Plenty to keep us busy, though. Let’s begin.

Step 1 ~ Establish a Fair Price

A fair price is one which is good for You — and, your Customer. The question begging to be answered is, “Price of what?!” Glad you asked because the question provides the opportunity for YOU to answer it. The secret to finding your way out of this Riddle is to answer the Why, How, and What questions, above.

Define your passion for life and the Why will be obvious. Inventory your abilities and the How becomes evident. Then, you will know, exactly, What you need to do to Build Something Special. You will fully understand whether you will be offering a Service — or, a Product — to the marketplace.

YOU have the responsibility to establish a Fair Price for your offering. As long as the Customer perceives Value greater than Price, they will believe the price is fair. Naturally, the Customer’s perception can be enhanced, by offering Value many times greater than Price — which, is also mutually beneficial in achieving a Fair Price for You.

In the simplest of definitions, a Fair Price for You is one, which — enables You to provide for your Family.

(For a complete narrative and solution to fair pricing, see the detailed examples in the articles Price We Pay and A Better Business Plan.)

Step 2 ~ Ask for Acceptance

Unless the Customer wants what is being offered, the price is irrelevant. We, all, want what we don’t have. The secret to acceptance, then, is to provide options which satisfy what the Customer wants. The only way to know that is to carefully listen. Yes — listen, with care, to discover what is of Value, to the Customer.

By beginning with the end in mind, we can negotiate mutually acceptable terms and expectations. Simply ~ Who is going to do What by When.

Step 3 ~ Plan the Work

An old Proverb best communicates this powerful principle: Do your planning and prepare your fields before building your house. In other words, every successful venture requires planning — and, bountiful harvests are necessary for nurturing our families.

The purpose of Blueprints is to Build Something Special on paper, first. By doing so, we consider the required resources of Time and Money. The best use of resources is to proceed from Start to Finish, without interruption.

Step 4 ~ Deliver on Promises

This is the time for action. We have a quality offering — the Customer has a want in need of fulfillment — terms have been agreed upon — and, resources allocated. Preparation has generated Opportunity. Get-er-done is our mantra as we push forward to Success.

Step 5 ~ Enjoy the Celebration

As with any party, Ribbons and Bows showcase the gifts. You have exceeded the Customer’s expectations. They are all kinds of excited. It’s appropriate to celebrate with them. Do a walk-around. Let them express their Appreciation for spectacular Results. Listen for the Opportunity to provide even more to them in the Future. Accept their willingness to Pay in full for Value beyond Price.

Experienced builders know the secret to success is to Begin — and, Begin Again. Five digits at the end of a strong arm. Five steps to Build Something Special.

The sweetest surprise for YOU: Discovery of the passion for the Why of your existence — an understanding of How to touch lives — and, the What of your gifts.

Preparation has created Opportunity and Success.

You did it once.

You can do it again.

Build Something — Special

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