Able and Willing

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.

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, to be Able and Willing.

www.kimfoard.com

Family Center

Family CenterI was headed downtown to enjoy a little lunch, when one small sign on a large, windowless, commercial, brick building, stopped me in my tracks:

Center for Children and Families.

Really?!

In the olden days, that was affectionately known as a Home.

Much more than brick and mortar, love was nurtured there. Around the kitchen table, enjoyment was discovered in meals, games, and conversation. Within the sanctuary of that home, dynamic relationships flourished.

There has been a multi-generational attack on home and family.

Love grows in small homes, not McMansion laboratories.

Lessons spring to life in creative homes, not Propaganda mills.

There is a solution to the dysfunction of a society hammering square pegs into round holes.

How ‘bout we encourage men to engage in their hard-wired desire to provide and women to benefit from that purpose? The expression “barefoot and pregnant” is the jaded attack on a truly liberated woman. From the comfort and warmth of home, she enjoys the freedom to pamper her family.

Pampering is a multifaceted activity. It is not a one-way street of service to others. It is, also, the ability to bask in the purposefully provided time and resources, made available for growth and development, as decided by each woman.

Just let a man come home to the rejuvenation of that loving family environment and his life becomes one of purpose. For the benefit of his family, he is focused on becoming the best dragon-slayer, ever. As a result, the marketplace benefits from his commitment to serve.

By serving all in his sphere of influence, a man with purpose achieves a high level of success in every arena. The rewards of his effort are the resources which will provide opportunity for his family. The circle is complete, as he steps across the threshold into the loving arms anticipating his return home.

That’s the reality.

Home is the center of Children and Families.

Any other building making that claim is, simply, a Counterfeit. Yet, we know the building, itself, did not attach a sign of proclamation; an individual did. With pure intent, that individual, their compatriots, and those many Taxpayers providing the resources, are doing the next best thing.

The best thing for you, me, and all of our families, is for men and women to make every sacrifice to establish real Homes, not centers, for Children and Families.

www.kimfoard.com

Doing The Impossible

Doing The ImpossibleTwo fellows stand side by side at the Train Station.

One has just arrived to board the train.

The other has been there for quite some time.

In fact, day after day, he reiterates this belief, “Well, here comes the train, but it probably can’t get stopped.” As the train gently stops and passengers board, his comment is, “Well, somehow it got stopped, but it probably won’t be able to start, again.” Then as the train throttles down the tracks into the distance, he watches it go with a declaration of, “Well, that’s the last we’ll ever see of that train.”

Securely attached to his bad beliefs, that fellow is left behind.

The first fellow watches the same train come into view with the belief, “This is an opportunity made possible by the teamwork of many.” With confidence, he steps aboard in eager anticipation, “Those who serve me are deserving of my deepest appreciation and respect.” As the journey begins, he focuses on his purpose, “What goes around comes around. I intend to offer my best to everyone.”

It Couldn’t Be Done

By Edgar Albert Guest

Somebody said that it couldn’t be done
But he with a chuckle replied
That “maybe it couldn’t,” but he would be one
Who wouldn’t say so till he’d tried.
So he buckled right in with the trace of a grin
On his face. If he worried he hid it.
He started to sing as he tackled the thing
That couldn’t be done, and he did it!

Somebody scoffed: “Oh, you’ll never do that;
At least no one ever has done it;”
But he took off his coat and he took off his hat
And the first thing we knew he’d begun it.
With a lift of his chin and a bit of a grin,
Without any doubting or quiddit,
He started to sing as he tackled the thing
That couldn’t be done, and he did it.

There are thousands to tell you it cannot be done,
There are thousands to prophesy failure,
There are thousands to point out to you one by one,
The dangers that wait to assail you.
But just buckle in with a bit of a grin,
Just take off your coat and go to it;
Just start in to sing as you tackle the thing
That “cannot be done,” and you’ll do it.

Two fellows are given the same opportunity.

One is tethered to a distorted perception of reality.

The other is destined to make a difference in the lives of many.

All we do begins with a thought and a bit of a grin.

www.kimfoard.com

Shepherd Heart

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

Conduits of Goodness

Conduits of GoodnessIf you’re ever in need of a conversation starter, just look right into the eyes of another person and ask this question, “What is the passion at the core of everything you do?”

One of two things is guaranteed to happen: Immediate animation, as the person begins to share that passion with you. Or, a deer-in-the-headlights look, with a really long, awkward, pause, as the individual painfully looks for a way of escape.

Escape from what — their own life?! All we want is to understand what makes them tick — that which empowers them to take a licking and keep on ticking.

Last week, I was the beneficiary of these questions from a fine young man:

  • How do you set boundaries?
  • How do you keep your boundaries from being a box that you live in and one that keeps you from fulfilling your potential?

His questions came several days after our conversation, which included the question, “What is the passion at the core of everything you do?” In addition to his questions, above, he had provided an answer to my original question, by responding with, “I do not know.”

Do you, know?

Can each of us answer these questions?

Why do I exist?

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

What is the appropriate way for delivering the very best to the world?

For those who know (and, those who don’t) the answer is, “Become wonderful conduits — for the goodness from above, to flow through us, for the benefit of others.”

You know — conduit: a hollow tube for the transference and protection of something valuable.

Those without a connection to the source of goodness and void of a desire to share are, simply, an empty tube. In other words, they have no purpose and worthless boundaries. Tap on them and they ring hollow. Squeeze them and they collapse into a wrinkled mess.

Yet, imagine conduit connected to streams of living waters — bubbling, high-pressured, and dynamic at the source. At the destination are beneficiaries eagerly waiting to be served.

Service — now, that’s a novel idea — Bended knee, Caring attitude, Humble heart, Patient spirit, Kind mind, Generous soul, and Helping hands. Yes, please.

So, it’s really quite simple to discover the Passion at the core.

Hint: It comes from the Source above.

As for boundaries, the secret is to say, “Yes, please,” to everything that makes us better conduits — and, “No, thanks,” to everything else.

In fact, we have complete freedom to manage our boundaries. Boundaries are, simply, the outside diameter dimensions of our conduit. Individually, we have the right and responsibility to expand them for the benefit of those in our sphere of influence.

In the physical realm of steel conduit, expansion requires cutting, grinding, torching, bending, and welding new pieces into what already exists, to make the core larger. In the emotional, mental, and spiritual realms, the process will feel about the same.

If we have a passion for what flows through us, we are constantly pushing at the boundaries of the Why, How, and What of our existence. In fact, we will be busily learning and growing to become, better, “Conduits — for the goodness from above, to flow through us, for the benefit of others.”

www.kimfoard.com

Lead Dog

Lead DogWhy do the greatest leaders come from the humblest of beginnings? Why do they encourage others to follow them, even as they are quick to bend a knee in service to everyone else? Why is their end better than their beginning?

Unless you’re lead dog, the view never changes.

The arrogant read that simple phrase with the belief that leadership is a title bestowed. Those of humble beginnings know that leadership is a fiduciary responsibility to bring out the best in others. It is impossible to lead without first following the lead of others greater.

Leadership is a progression through levels of emotion.

At the level of peers, envy and jealously run rampant. At levels above are those who have either become comfortable and lazy, or those who have reached a level of incompetency. At levels below are those with imaginations bigger than their ability and willingness to grow into larger responsibilities.

Up, down, and sideways there is resistance to leadership.

If leadership was easy, everyone would be doing it. No pain, no gain. Resistance is, always, noisy; the detractors have plenty to say. Yet; the majority in rank above are silently encouraging, “You can do it.” Below are those desperately clinging to hope and thinking, “Please, show me the way.”

There is a reason for every season.

Strips of cloth and a barn manger is a humble beginning for The One who is King of Kings. In the same Book announcing His arrival is the story of His life and departure.

These are the experiences of leadership.

He gave them power and authority.
He promised them rejection.
He offered them a relationship.
He settled arguments among them.
He encouraged them to follow.

Why?

He walks ahead of them.
They follow him because they know his voice.
His purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.
He sacrifices his life for a higher purpose.
A relationship connects Father and Son.
Giving is the way to receive.
Life is a voluntary offering.

Unless you’re lead dog, in the harness of the Master, the view never changes.

www.kimfoard.com

Making A Difference

Making A DifferenceThe adverb “madly” is an intensifier.  It is used to amplify what follows. For example: “She was madly in love with her new puppy.”

What if all of us were mad, all of the time? Mad, as in MAD: Making A Difference. Not just a little bit MAD. I’m suggesting an all out, purposefully chosen, intensely driven, positively MAD!

Each day, we touch people. At every moment we have a choice to lift others up, or push them down. The truly angry of the world are, right now, scowling and muttering, “I keep my hands to myself and touch no one.”

Oh, but they do! By their facial expressions, body language, tone of voice, and choice of words, they slap, kick, hurt, and do as much damage with their covert intentions, as do the overt attackers. They are emotional terrorists.

Yet, terrorists are powerless without a hostage. If we are MAD, they are sad!

How do we make a difference? The same way we build relationships: one person at a time. Those seeking to save the whole wide world must, at some point, acknowledge how that is done. The secret is empowering others to choose a path that is right for them.

Since each of us is a unique creation, empowerment is about relationships. Relationships are, always, one-to-one. The relationship we have with an individual is completely different from the relationship that person has with anyone else. It is for this very reason that we have a fiduciary responsibility to be uniquely MAD (Making A Difference). No one else can do it!

Please, Thank You, and You’re Welcome are sure indicators of a MAD individual. They will look you in the eye and smile, every time. There is a twinkle in their eye and a greeting on their lips. Patience, kindness, honesty, protection, trust, hope and perseverance are obvious character traits.

Send the MAD practitioners a short email and receive a tome in return. Give a little; receive a lot. Test them and watch them learn; challenge them and watch them grow.

Just a little time in their presence and we are better for the experience. Much more than what they say or what they do, it’s who they are and who they are becoming. From little pebbles to larger rocks, when thrown into a crowd, they make much more than a ripple It’s an absolute wake of integrity.

From the inside, out, those who are MAD begin each day by acknowledging what they, really, are: a conduit for the goodness from above to flow through them for the benefit of others. Full of life, they are open at the top and intensely focused at the bottom. Lucky for us; they are positively MAD!

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