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

Spectrum of Life

Spectrum of Life

In the simplest of terms, a spectrum is the range of possibilities.

From here to there, the rainbow is a spectrum of color and a reminder of the enduring hope inherent within the human spirit.

Imagine the arc of a rainbow divided into thirds. From the left to part way up is the first third, the center portion is the second third, and the remainder to the right is the final third. If asked to discard one (or more) of the thirds, which do you choose?

Seems absurd to ask, doesn’t it?

Yet, how many people do you know who are content with the spectrum of their life?

There are always three parts to the story of each life. We have no choice to the number of Acts in this Play, which makes no provision for rehearsals, or encores. We do have choices in the script. In fact, we are the writer, director, producer, and actor of this Play of Life.

Act I ~ Honoring the Past

Act II ~ Respecting the Present

Act III ~ Trusting the Future

In listening to people for more than half a century, my discovery is that many of us get stuck in a single Act.

For those with a rich family heritage, the Past is a comfortable place from which to boast. For others, empire building is an obsession for every moment of the Present. For those poor souls enduring the hand of fate, only the Future offers solace.

The result of one-act Plays is the same as a Rainbow missing any of its parts: limited range of color and story.

Act I ~ Honoring the Past

We are social creatures designed for community. No one can be an island, or god unto themselves. In fact, we only exist because two people decided to Tango. Then, there were many others from the moment of birth to this very point in time, who bent our twig and shaped us into who we are.

Act II ~ Respecting the Present

Blink and you’ve missed it. What was is gone and what was to be is, now, this very moment. Because of its preciousness, many remark that it is a Gift. Right here, right now, it’s great to be alive. This is where we make our decisions and do our good work. We are on stage for the entire world to see and enjoy.

Act III ~ Trusting the Future

Fresh and clean, tomorrow waits patiently for us to embrace the joy of the undiscovered. To do so, we must boldly take the next step forward into the unknown. That uncertainty will separate the fearful from the faithful. Heroes are chiseled into legends through their effort to do what others say is impossible.

Now, the questions become:

“What storylines will flow through the script of your life?”

“Which directions will provide the variety of paths to your discoveries?”

“How many productions will provide the resources for financing your dreams?”

And, the most important question of all:

“Are you ready to share with the world all of YOU?”

The one who is good and bad, beautiful and ugly, precocious and cautious, the one-of-a-kind, broke-the-mold, unique creation of YOU is the only one who can present the Acts and Spectrum of your life!

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

To Be

To BeWhat do you say to the person struggling with the question, “To Be; or, Not To Be?”

The dark side of the human condition is eloquently captured by William Shakespeare in the Hamlet Soliloquy: “slings and arrows of an unbearable situation, sea of troubles, heartaches, thousand natural miseries, whips and scorns of time, offences of tyrants, contempt of proud men, pain of rejected love, insolence of officious authority, and the advantage that the worst people take of the best.”

I propose that we accept the darkness as necessary for us to fully appreciate the light.

Rather than fear the unknown of death, let’s celebrate life. Rather than “sweating and grunting under the burden of a weary life” as cowards trapped in paralysis by analysis, let’s consider what is necessary to enjoy rich, full, vibrant, meaningful lives.

Although unique in our melodies and verse, we share a common chorus. The best part of life comes after an event of near death. Each story will be different; yet, we will all, eventually, experience the realization, “There, but for the grace of God, go I.”

It is a defining Scene in the Act of Life.

By choosing life, we turn our back on the darkness of defeat. We set our mind to living.

These are the Seven Secret Serenades:

1.) Everyone is responsible for their own happiness.

By accepting that we are responsible for choosing our individual happiness, we acknowledge the same for everyone, else. In other words, it is not our responsibility to make and keep happy, or otherwise entertain, anyone. By offering the best of who we are to another, we have fulfilled the letter and spirit of this universal law!

2.) We must be true to ourselves.

As a unique, one-of-a-kind, original image, it is just plain silly to think that it is right to copy any other person. It is one thing to be open to advice and wise counsel; it is something entirely different to let our decisions be influenced by the opinions of others. We get what we allow; and, we teach others how to treat us!

3.) Live in the Present moment.

We can eliminate from our mind regrets of the Past and worries about the Future, by focusing all of our senses on this moment. Really see, hear, smell, taste, and touch the Right Here Right Now to experience a delightful gift. It is either a pleasurable moment to be savored; or, the valley of opportunity to climb another mountain!

4.) Accept what is.

Everything happens for a reason. At a minimum, in every situation, the reason is to remind us of our freewill. We get to choose how we respond: Resignation and Despair; or, Fascination and Curiosity. Stress is caused by the dissonance between what we want and what is. Acceptance wraps our arms around what is possible!

5.) Be a conduit for goodness.

What goes around comes around. Happiness is guaranteed by: Loving and being loved; Purposeful work; and, Anticipation of an event. These three components are within our control. By choosing to share with others, we become a vessel for delivering value. Flowing through us for the benefit of others are our gifts!

6.) Focus on the distant horizon.

Straightened shoulders, lifted views, and deep breaths facilitate our ability to keep things in perspective. Dizziness, and other forms of queasiness, can be mollified by taking a bigger, longer, and broader view of the situation. When faced with the impossible and insurmountable, remember, “This, too, shall pass!”

7.) Think about opportunities and possibilities.

All we do begins with a thought. Imagine where you want to be. Now, look back from that magnificent place to where you are. Can you see the steps from here to there? Sure you can. Whether you think you can, or can’t, you’re right. Right now, the journey begins for each of us To Do what we can and To Be who we are!

www.kimfoard.com

Forwards, or Backwards?

Sunlight Basin

The inanimate objects of Things can be placed in a spot to never move; the animated creatures of human Beings are always doing, and moving towards, something.  We move towards Stuff, or we move towards Principles.  More than the destination, life is all about the journey! 

If I offer for you to take a trip with me by exclaiming, “Let’s go!”, a legitimate response might be to ask, “Where?!” 

Why, then, do so many stumble through life unaware that their discomfort in the journey is related to choice of destination?  In fact, some actually believe they can “sit on the fence” and “play both ends against the middle” by refusing to choose a direction.  Mother Nature hates a vacuum; Fate will make choices for them.

Silly them; not choosing is a choice!  By analogy, think of a “fork in the road”.  Our choices are Left, or Right.  Those who refuse to choose find themselves wedged-up, and high-centered, on the Fork in the middle, and as a result, unable to move! 

So, again, the question is: “Which way: Forwards, or Backwards? 

To be fair, there is a caveat to this “trick” question.  The best answer includes another component, which truly is a Gift

As human beings, we tend to measure life in the way it is experienced: chronologically.  We all have a Past, Present and Future.  So, we tend to “Think” in that order; One, Two and Three. 

You’ve probably seen the bumper-sticker: “Accountants Do It By The Numbers.”  Well, this one does It by the Numbers, and the Letters, too!  The result is this Cowboy Poet & Philadelphia Lawyer, who wants you to consider that “One, Two, Three” may have a more precise order.  In fact, “Two, One, Three” is what you and I are encouraged to practice. 

I am among those who start their morning with:

Give us today the food we need.

Forgive us our mistakes, as we forgive others.

Lead us in the direction best for us and deliver us from harm.

We tend to like our ruts, rotes, and routines; they are very safe and comfortable. 

Recently, I was jolted from mine, into the uncomfortable awareness that there is more to those three sentences than what I was mumbling! 

Present: Our focus is to be on, “Right here, right now, it’s great to be alive.”  Rather than consume ourselves with the insatiable desires of what we want, our awareness is to be on what we, and others, need

Past: We all make them and they are a burden to our growth, unless we forgive and forget our foibles, and, those of others.  Mistakes are simply disguised opportunities to learn important lessons. 

Future: It waits for us with bated breath.  We have the choice to approach it with resignation and despair, or fascination and curiosity.  Since it is of what dreams are made, let’s tackle it! 

A favorite quote: “The clock is running. Make the most of today. Time waits for no person. Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift. That’s why it is called the present.” 

As with so many of life’s riddles, the answer is multi-faceted: We are to focus on the opportunities of today; learn the lessons from the past; and, boldly face the future! 

www.kimfoard.com