Stand Right

Stand for what is Right, even if you stand AloneAs a thought experiment, ask a dozen individuals this question: “Which attributes of character are most important to you?”

The people you ask can be your close friends, your worst enemies, or random transients on the street. The odds are very good that nearly every one of them will include with their answer: “Honesty.”

Why, then, do we struggle so much to be honest with ourselves, and others?

One of the greatest statesmen of all times was known by his moniker, “Honest Abe.”

“I am not bound to win, but I am bound to be true. I am not bound to succeed, but I am bound to live by the light that I have. I must stand with anybody that stands right, and stand with him while he is right, and part with him when he goes wrong.”

Abraham Lincoln
American 16th US President (1861-65)

How many times are we tempted to cheat (just a little) to win?

How many times are we tempted to take (just a little) advantage to succeed?

How many times are we tempted to go along to get along (with wrong) to fit in?

That word choice by Abe: bound. Sure feels constraining, limiting, and subservient. Doesn’t it?

Yet, Abraham Lincoln knew true winners set their mind in thought and engage their hands in action to be honest to whom they are at the core: “I am bound to be true.”

Achievers know they are wonderfully made, unique, and one-of-a-kind, with much to offer the whole wide world. They believe, “I am bound to live by the light that I have.”

Yes, I know, easier said than done.

In fact, knowing something and doing it are two, entirely, different things. One is fairly easy; the other is extremely difficult. Actions speak so much louder than words, though. Hard is easy; easy is hard.

What is Right? And, then by antithetical definition, what is Wrong?

One absolute truth is that Right and Wrong cannot be legislated. Every group, clan, civilization, and country sets forth a Code of Ethics. Yet, individuals make choices from their heart and soul.

Please, invest the time to discover the answer to this question, for yourself:
“What is my deepest innermost value?”

Once we identify our (individual) value, we can be true to ourselves and live by our light.

We must stand with anybody that stands right, and stand with them while they are right, and part with them when they go wrong.

www.kimfoard.com

Successful Failures

Ask the average person if they want to fail and the answer is, generally, an emphatic, “No way!”

Please, take just a moment to grab a piece of paper and pen. On the paper draw a Dot representative of YOU. Now, write the two words Failure and Success on your paper.

Did you write Success above YOU and Failure below YOU?

Or, is your diagram more like a fork in the road, with Failure to the left and Success to the right?

Or, maybe your drawing is that of a straight-line, with YOU stuck in the middle between Failure and Success?

Many of us have experienced the frustration of paralysis analysis. Do we go up, or down? Do we go left, or right? Or, maybe we’re just stuck: not wanting to slip backwards into Failure; yet, fearful of the steps, forward, toward Success.

Query any successful individual about their journey and, inevitably, you’ll hear stories about “trips through the desert.” Only, through the obstacles, disappointments, mistakes, and (Yes!) failures did they learn the lessons resulting in, eventual, success.

There are choices, we make, about the roads we travel. Character does matter. Those who choose the high-road of service will experience the benefits of a marvelous destination. The view is better from the top.

Although … the destination matters less than the journey. In fact, when enjoying a life of abundance, we never do fully arrive. Learn, grow, stretch, and climb as far as we can and, guaranteed, there will be new vistas to explore.

Examples are everywhere of individuals failing their way to success: Thomas Edison, Abraham Lincoln, Michael Jordan, Walt Disney, Henry Ford, Bill Gates, and many, many, others. There is a common theme to their success.

Edison: One day, an assistant asked him why he didn’t give up. After all, he failed over a thousand times. Edison replied that he had not failed once. He had discovered over 1000 things that don’t work.

Jordan: I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And, that is why I succeed.

The, only, way to success is through failure.

Are people laughing at you, because of their judgment of your failure? Smile right back, because they can’t do what you will accomplish. Somewhere, beyond the lessons learned, is something important to you. Push forward, take the next step, and you will arrive.

When you do (what others claim to be impossible), then what? What is success? Is it a destination, or is it a journey? One of the better definitions, by Earl Nightingale: Success is the progressive realization of a worthy ideal.

Now, we have the secret to why so many are stuck in paralysis analysis. They’re trying to decide which way to turn, when all they really need to do is: Dream big, have belief, take the first step, and then the one after that.

Those who do sacrifice the compulsion to talk for an investment in action. One of their beliefs is that short-term pain is the price to enjoy the value of long-term pleasure.

The pleasure will not be in arriving. It will be in the progressive realization of a worthy ideal. And, when that dream morphs into reality (through the journey of many steps), a successful person lifts their eyes to the horizon of new opportunity.

They smile, again, as they take the first step toward the next failure waiting on the road to another success.

Let’s boldly run in the direction of our dreams. Between here and there will be many failures of our efforts. Beyond the failures is success. In time, we proudly wear the badge engraved with our status: Successful Failure.

Forever, we march forward in progressive realization of a worthy ideal.

www.kimfoard.com

Three Chords

Three Chords

Many times, less is more.

There is merit to the KISS principle:
Keep It Simple Sweetheart.

For music aficionados, the minors and majors add a dimension of emotion to the foundational key. Variety is the spice of life. Yet, the basics of scale and note must exist before flavor is added.

So, it is with the melodies of the heart.

We can achieve harmony with a commitment to always: Honor the Past, Respect the Present, and Trust the Future.

The Basic Functions of Harmony

At its core, all music can be considered an interplay of tension and release. The degree of tension can come from dissonance vs. consonance, orchestration, dynamics, or a hundred other musical elements. The key to using tension and release is balance. With too much tension and no release the tension can become unbearable and the music unlistenable. On the reverse side, if the music is too neutral with little to no amount of tension it can be dull and lifeless.

The Perfect Country Song

He sits with his elbows on the table, mellow and relaxed. He smiles a lot, and his deeply lined face is dominated by serene brown eyes. “A lot of country music is sad,” he notes softly. “I think most art comes out of poverty and hard times. It applies to music. Three chords and the truth — that’s what a country song is. There is a lot of heartache in the world.”

Honor

We are the beneficiaries of those who have gone before. By their sacrifice — the blood, sweat, and tears of their effort — we enjoy opportunities, otherwise impossible. Everyone has done their best, with what they have known and the resources available.

Respect

Right here, right now, it’s great to be alive. This is the only moment to boldly make our decisions. By setting aside the regrets of the past and the anxieties of the future, we can focus on the choices available at this time.

Trust

With preparation, comes opportunity and success. By doing our best to become all of which we are capable, we can confidently look forward and know that goodness waits for us. It might be in the form of lessons to be learned; or, it might be a celebration of accomplishment. Either way, it will be right, for us.

Three chords and the truth is the melody of a life to be enjoyed.

For generations to come, that song will endure.

www.kimfoard.com

Mind Propulsion

Mind PropulsionEvery time a jet leaves the gravitational pull of earth, those below stand in awe and those aboard marvel at the miracle. The miracle is our Human ability to harness Universal principles.

Why, then, do we have a Jet Propulsion Laboratory (with a Map to get there); yet, not a single Google search result for Mind Propulsion Laboratory?

Which is greater: The creation or the creator; the jet engine or the mind that imagined it?

We readily acknowledge that, individually, we are one-of-a-kind. As unique and temporary as snowflakes, each of us has a short time to make an indelible mark on this world. The best way to do that is to use our mind, for the benefit of many.

Jet engines do not miraculously appear. They are built. The same is true of our mind. Piece by piece and neuron by neuron, our minds become the engine of what we accomplish.

We have a choice in the direction of our lives. It’s a simple matter of programming. Today, we are the cumulative result of every choice to this point in time. We go where we look. The future will find us arriving at the destination of our, individual, choice.

As simplistic as it sounds, the reality is certain: Choose no direction; go in circles.

My recommendation: Choose a worthy pursuit.

Whoever pursues righteousness and love
finds life, prosperity, and honor.

Pursue indicates a passionate desire to achieve.

Here is the point of no return; the fork in the road; the real choice to be made. Will we be a Go-Getter, or a Go-Giver? Achievement for the sake of ego is less than noble. Accomplishing mutually beneficial results is a worthy goal.

Speaking of which, success can be defined in a myriad of ways.

Here are two:

Success is the progressive realization of a worthy ideal. ~ Earl Nightingale

Success is peace of mind which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you made the effort to become the best of which you are capable. ~ John Wooden

To arrive, we must begin. To reach a destination, we must have one. To navigate, we must be able to measure our progress.

Remember, our mind is the engine of our craft. The manner in which we fuel it will determine its performance.

Let me ask a very simple question: If we (You and I) are strapped into the nose of a rocket, what quality of fuel do we want in the tank? Great minds do think alike. We want the very Best; Premium; Grade-A; Number-1; Super-duper; Fill-‘er-up-to-the-top!

Same thing for our minds: Let’s pour in the Good-Stuff.

Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

There are few guarantees in the pursuit of righteousness and love. This is one: By training our minds to Think this way, the odds of success increase astronomically.

How can we remember this daily propellant for our minds?

I’ll guide us into a flight pattern.

Think: Three-P’s. (Philippians)

Think: Two sets of Four equal Eight (4 and 8); begin with True, take a LEAP.

True (4)
Noble (5)
Right (5)
Pure (4)

Lovely (6)
Excellent (9)
Admirable (9)
Praise (6)

Think: What’s up with the Numbers?! Add ‘em up (the number of letters in each word); the sum is 48 (4 and 8). Separate the digits and that’s Chapter and Verse. (Philippians 4:8)

Then, our minds begin processing other relationships between the Letters, Words, and Numbers. For instance … look at the P’s (middle two of the Three-P’s) at the bottom of the Two sets of Four: Pure and Praise. And … since N comes before R, the two-5’s are in sequence: Noble and Right. Flashes of thought are igniting in minds, everywhere!

What was difficult to remember a few minutes ago is now etched into our minds.

All We Do Begins With A Thought

If we, daily, step into the Mind Propulsion Laboratory, for the express purpose of Research and Development, our orbits of influence will increase exponentially!

www.kimfoard.com

Less is More

Less is MoreMuch more dangerous than failure is success.

With success comes loss.

There is a loss of striving to reach the goal.

After the empire is built, then what?

Last week, in the course of a three-hour conversation with an empire builder, he was most proud of one story.

It was not about the treasures of the empire; it was about the joy of doing. The story epitomizes the essence of this Universal Principle: the fun is in the doing.

As his eyes danced back to the memory of a time long ago, he spoke of a harvest. Earlier in the conversation he had briefly mentioned the juggling act of doing the seeding in and around the other duties of caring for his cows. His first love is the livestock; he farms to care for them.

He smiled as he reminisced about an accomplishment only a few can appreciate. As a member of his club, I enjoyed the verbal portrait he presented. It was one of a cowboy, a combine (without a cab and with a 14’ header), a small straight truck, 320 acres of 20 bushel wheat, and 11 days.

Just imagine hot August days, with hardly a breath of air, sitting in the open on a bouncing seat above the spinning reel of the header, as it sweeps the standing stalks into the cutting bar. The aprons catch the fallen individual stems with heads of grain and rolls them gently to the center of the combine.

This continuous river of wheat flows under the driver into the threshing cylinder at his back. More dust and more roar, as metal fingers pluck wheat kernels from heads of grain. A cowboy, a combine, and a cloud of dust creep back and forth through the field.

The field is 320 acres. That’s one mile long and half a mile wide. A mile is the equivalent of 5,280 feet. With the combine traveling at two miles per hour, two trips across the field can be made in one hour. Each swath measures 14’ across. Since the cowboy, the combine and a cloud of dust have 2,640 feet (one-half of a mile) to traverse, that’s about 200 trips back and forth across the field.

Two trips per hour, nine hours per day, for eleven days was the time required on a bouncing seat, in the heat of August, through a fog of chaff, for our cowboy to earn the right to tell his story. In addition to the time in the driver’s seat, effort was also required to grease, fuel, and repair the iron beast. That was done throughout the stops to unload each hopper of grain into the truck for transport to the bin.

Short story; long lesson: the fun is in the doing. Really?! Eleven days of slogging through the discomfort of heat, dust and itch. Fun?! Yes, because the accomplishment of a harvest is the “Ribbons and Bows” around the planning and preparation that transforms thought into action.

Actions accumulate into a manifestation of success: the treasures of an empire. The stuff will come and go; the legacy will last forever.

The legacy is, simply, to say little and do much. A little bit of verbiage can be powerful, by speaking only the truth. Actions speak so much louder than words.

By giving our best, each and every day, we honor those pioneers of long ago and encourage the beneficiaries of tomorrow, to discover their own path to destiny.

www.kimfoard.com

Three To Be

Three To BeFor every ending, there is a new beginning.

Leading the way into a bigger word is a little one: Be.

See it?

Be-ginning!

Shakespeare asked the questions, “To be; or, not to be?”

There, really, isn’t a question of our existence. The answer is in the exploration of what it is, “To Be.”

Sterling Character

Yes, the adjective is subjective. Nobody wakes in the morning to believe their character is bad. Yet, do we wake to the Wooden Creed? “Success is peace of mind which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you made the effort to become the best of which you are capable.”

Again, some might want to argue that “best” is subjective. It is, if we compare ourselves to others; It is not, if we judge ourselves to a higher standard. Through all of civilization, there have been Codes of Conduct. The best of them are simply a map to guide us in The Journey to the highest quality of life.

Passionate Commitment

Knowing something and doing it are two, entirely, different concepts. In fact, choosing one and forgoing the many is the purest definition of commitment. Contempt for failure and death is another measure of being, all in; Or, all out, if we consider the example of the skydiver.

At the moment of jumping from a perfectly good airplane, the skydiver is committed to reaching the ground. They have two choices: Dead, or Alive. In other words, if they have a passion for life, their entire focus is on a successful landing.

Dynamic Communication

Before babies can say a single word, they are effective communicators. By facial expression, tone of voice and body language, they command attention. They know what they want and how to ASK for it. Why are so many adults dysfunctional? They stopped learning. Literally, the answer is that simple.

We are either growing; or, we are dying. Entropy is the natural physical condition. There is a higher realm, which requires pushing beyond the resistance of what “Is”, to what can “Be.” All we do begins with a thought. We learn by doing. The fun is in the doing. Let’s have fun learning!

In the course of a lifetime, people will come and people will go. There are chance encounters, whereby strangers become friends. There are diabolical missions of deceit, whereby wolves appear to be sheep. In between, are all the other opportunities for new relationships.

There is a season for all things. Remember, though, there is only one YOU. You are a unique creation, no better than any other; yet, just as good as all the others.

As others seek a relationship, begin with the end in mind: Sterling Character, Passionate Commitment, and Dynamic Communication.

Three To Be: Free.

www.kimfoard.com

Dare

DareRecently, I enjoyed the opportunity to ask a young man the secret to his success.

He continues to thrive while others failed to survive.

His three responses lock into, and rhyme with, one word: Dare.

To have the courage; To challenge someone to do something requiring boldness; To confront or oppose boldly; To be courageous or bold enough to do something; A challenge.

Two years ago, as he accepted the challenge to give his life in service to many, he quickly observed and shared this pearl of wisdom, “In school, the attitude is that no one can fail. In our business, failure is deadly. If we make a mistake, people die.”

From the abstract of academia to the fantasies of the political realm, false propaganda is postulated as, “Too big to fail.” Pride does go before a fall. Arrogance mixed with ignorance is a volatile combination.

Those clamoring for national leadership positions have much to learn from those on the front lines of life. These are the lessons the wannabes can learn from a young man who dares to be responsible for himself and those in his sphere of influence.

This young leader of men and producer of wealth has a story to share, encapsulated in these three words:

Aware

Prepare

Care

Those three words rhyming with Dare are mine. Yet, this is his story. When asked about the top three lessons gleaned and what might keep others safe, this is what I learned from him.

Aware

“Don’t believe what anyone says, until you check it for yourself.”

The world is what we make of it; if it doesn’t fit, make alterations. In other words: if it is to be, it is up to me. Talking about something, or what might be tried someday, is a worthless substitution for getting it done.

Prepare

“Don’t become complacent in what is working; imagine it all coming apart.”

Those who are builders put it together one piece at a time. They understand what it takes to make it hum; while it does, they’re less than bum. In their minds, they break down the systems; to build them again, until they’re glistening gems.

Care

“Don’t think there are any unimportant details; pay attention to absolutely everything.”

Every small cog is of importance. Fix it before it breaks. Measure it to manage it effectively. Tools in the hands of those who know how to use them receive tender loving care. The hands of those hard workers have earned their compensation. Much more important than the money is the compassion for people.

In watching his eyes and body language, I was reminded of earlier days. Always, his heart has been generous, attitude respectful, and spirit strong. From the very beginning, I’ve heard, “Dad, I’m a hands-on kind of guy.”

Much more than hands on, he dares to be Aware, Prepare and Care.

For that, we’re all thankful.

www.kimfoard.com

Tops and Bottoms

Tops and BottomsDearest Friend,

Thank you for your thoughtful questions.

“How do you stay at the top?”

“Which is the hardest: Making it to the top; or, Staying there?”

“What is the secret to avoid muddled down?”

The answer to these questions arrives in the form of these Universal Principles and Proverbial Riddles:

Easy is Hard; Hard is Easy
First will be Last; the Last, First
Top is the Bottom; Bottom is the beginning of a Top

And, that, my friend, is the secret:

Good, better, best.
Never let it rest,
‘Til our good is better,
And our better, best.

As a reminder, Coach John Wooden believed: “Success is peace of mind which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you made the effort to become the best of which you are capable.”

Each one of us, individually, is capable of much more than we, originally, think we can do.

All we do begins with a thought.

At one time, I believed in the axiom:
Preparation + Opportunity = Success
That’s wrong; we don’t need to wait around for opportunity.

All we need to do is Prepare;
And, Opportunities are everywhere.

In other words, as Coach Wooden exemplified and his Players affirmed: Build It; and, They Will Come.

The fun is in the doing. And, yes, you’re right and Coach teaches: It’s easier to make it to the Top the first time, than it is to remain there. Because, once we think we have arrived, someone is digging a hole and planting us, six feet deep.

Life is like a bicycle: Pedal, or Coast, the choice is ours. When we coast, we’re headed downhill. It’s so easy, at the Top, to become lazy and complacent. Definition of Rut: a grave with the ends kicked out.

Staying on top of our game requires taking our game to new heights of performance. Coach says, “Be quick, don’t hurry.” He believed in the Fundamentals. In other words, break it down (Pyramid of Success) and build it back: better, faster, stronger, bigger, and more beautiful. Use lots of mortar: Faith and Patience.

John Wooden was a Teacher before and after he was a Coach. His encouragement for us, “Call yourself a Teacher.” In his words, “What a leader learns after you’ve learned it all counts most of all.” By taking the science of anything to an art form, we discover joy. By teaching it, we learn even more.

It’s not the arena in which we perform, or even the performance itself. It’s all about the People.

Reputation is what others think about us; Character is who we, really, are. Building character is within our control; Managing the expectations of others is not.

If we focus on: People, over Process; the Why, before What; and, the Reason for the Results; we attract those of like mind. We are known by the Company we keep.

Character can be defined as:

Respect for Self
Respect for Others
Respect for Rules

From the passion at the core of who we are, we can offer our best in service to all.

Look around and you will see your Team, comprised of: Customers, Vendors, Friends, Peers, Family, and Community. We look to you for the Value of your life Story. There’s only one of you. We want and need what you have to offer. Not everyone will be accepting. That’s OK; many will be appreciative, of YOU.

I encourage you to say, “Yes, please,” to those who choose to be on your Team; and, “No, thanks,” to those finding fault with Your Way. In fact, as Coach Wooden did, help them find another Team.

After we think there is no room for improvement in the fundamentals (Building Blocks and Mortar comprising the Pyramid of Success), we can always improve in how we manage our precious Time. Coach was a crusader for Time Management. As a leader, he accomplished more in two hours than other coaches did in two days.

We learn by doing.
The fun is in the doing.
Let’s have fun learning!

There is no Easy way; only, Hard challenges, which inspire us to new discovery of opportunity and levels of achievement.

First is, simply, a place of Ego; Last is just another word for Endure, which does produce legacies through service to others.

Reaching the Top is, simply, a fleeting moment of recognizing it as the Bottom of a foundation, from which to build, again.

Let’s keep building.

Best,

www.kimfoard.com

Coach

Pyramid of Success“Success is peace of mind which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you made the effort to become the best of which you are capable.”

John Wooden,
Legendary UCLA Basketball Coach
~

All we do begins with a thought.

To achieve success, there must be: “The Want To” — That’s the thought.
Then, there must be: “The Want To, Do” — That’s the action.

Knowing and Doing are two very different aspects of life. One is passive. The other is active. One is a state of mind. The other is the motion of body. One without the other is of little value.

Recently, a story about Coach Wooden grazed my consciousness. Then, it began to burrow deep within my soul. Now, that thought has become an action — to share my discovery with you.

From the book Great by Choice is a compelling narrative about Coach Wooden. He started each new college basketball season with the same comment, “We will begin by learning how to tie our shoes.”

Just imagine the freshman players thinking, “Why?!” The seniors eagerly participated in the lesson How to Tie Our Shoes, because they knew, “There was a way to do everything.”

In the words of one player, “By the time the games came along, they just became memorized exhibitions of brilliance.”

That high level of excellence was built block by block from the blueprint of Coach John Wooden. It was much more than a game plan. It is a philosophy of life and competition. As timely today as it was for the his century of performance, Coach aptly named it a Pyramid of Success.

At the heart of everything I know about Coach Wooden, he was respectful of Time and Tone. Practices began and ended like clockwork (Time). He opened the first moments of practice in a quiet voice (Tone). The passion at his core produced Planning, Preparation, and Progress to reach Goals.

All we do begins with a thought.

The thought was to encourage development of their best — from everyone within his sphere of influence (the Goal). The actions were focused on Planning (Pyramid of Success), Preparation (How to Tie Shoes), and Progress (National Championships).

Thought without action is worthless.
Action without thought is dangerous.

Time can be well invested by examining the Tone, at The Official Site of Coach John Wooden: http://www.coachwooden.com/

Be sure to click on Pyramid of Success, at the top of this page. Coach starts his building process at the lower left corner. Industriousness is the first cornerstone in the foundation of the Pyramid of Success. The second cornerstone is Enthusiasm.

Click on each building block for the rest of the story.

In our daily conversations, with one another, we Talk about these principles. Funny, though, isn’t it? So easy to say — yet, so, very, hard to Do.

Coach simply inspires and encourages us to remember and do.

www.kimfoardcpa.com

View From The Top

View From The TopEarly in the treacherous course of managing my fledgling business as a twenty-something CPA entrepreneur, the counsel of an older client friend cut short my whining as he said, “Kim, your problem is not that you were born poor. Your problem is that you were born with ambition. Many are born poor and stay that way. You want something else.”

About that same time, the message was being broadcast in stereo. Zig Ziglar pierced my consciousness with, “You can have everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want.” It was the era of cassette tapes and I was enamored with his stories. They all contained this consistent theme of inherent goodness. Then, I discovered Zig had captured his encouragements into a book titled, See You At The Top.

Thirty years after reading that book, I can still picture the Stairway to Tomorrow in my mind. To give honor where credit is due, I just now purchased the Kindle 25th Anniversary Edition to properly reference one of the greatest motivational books of all time. Those six Steps on the staircase are defined as: Image of Self, Relationship with Others, Goals, Attitude, Work, and Desire.

In Zig’s words:

As you start on your stairway to the top, your first step will be the development of a healthy self-image. The second step is the recognition of the worth and ability of other people, as well as the necessity of effectively living and working with them. The third step is a strong goal orientation. You need a plan to build a house. To build a life, it is even more important to have a plan or goal. The fourth and fifth steps are that you must have the right mental attitude and be willing to work. The sixth step is that you must also have a burning desire to excel.

If possible to summarize a book into one sentence, the Mission and Value might be captured in this statement from Zig Ziglar, “The foundation stones of honesty, character, faith, integrity, love, and loyalty are necessary for a balanced success that includes health, wealth, and happiness.

In other words, the Intangibles matter far more than the Tangibles. In fact, the latter flow from the former. Success is, simply, the abundant harvest enjoyed as a result of planting and nurturing little seeds of goodness, daily.

The day was August 1, 1981, when I stopped at the little Post Office at Lavina, Montana, and received the letter announcing that I had, finally, passed the CPA exam.

The day was August 1, 2011, when I was driving in the desert north of Cheyenne, Wyoming, and received a phone call from a new client, with an old problem.

The tumblers of a lock had not, yet, fallen into place to open the door in his mind to an understanding of what it takes to “Wow!” customers. Sitting there on a wide spot in the road, under an itty bitty shade tree, 5 Steps to Success poured from my heart into the microphone of the Motorola Droid to encourage my friend to Build Something, special.

After thirty years of preaching and practicing the individual Universal Principles, that was a first to capture them all in one place, at the same time, for the benefit of another person. Even more surprising was the realization that each and every Step is important. They must be done in order: Step 1 ~ Establish a Fair Price; Step 2 ~ Ask for Acceptance; Step 3 ~ Plan the Work; Step 4 ~ Deliver on the Promises; and, Step 5 ~ Enjoy the Celebration.  All of them are necessary for a successful journey!

Last week, as I was enjoying a favorite salad at a favorite place for lunch, a Blast from the Past pushed into my life, once again.

He was a young Entrepreneur and I was the young CPA with the ambition problem. Regardless of the semantics, I was a young man on a mission, to serve. My intent was to help others get everything they wanted so I could get what was important to me. (Note to Everyone: many mistakes have been made and lessons learned!)

At one time, the young Entrepreneur and I held a similar worldview: Implement the Intangibles for the benefit of receiving the Tangibles of health, wealth, and happiness. In essence, we each understood the need to take all of the steps on Zig’s Stairway to Tomorrow. After a few years, the Entrepreneur arrived.

He won a national award from the Small Business Administration. Politicians wanted their picture taken with him. In fact, he became a media darling and the poster boy for minority businesses.

Through the years, I always celebrated each of his successes and felt honored to believe that I was an integral part of his team. At the pinnacle of his newly anointed recognition, this old accountant wasn’t good enough to associate with his new crowd of friends. He wanted a real CPA firm worthy of his eminence.

After a few years of that and upon hearing about the misfortune of my divorce, he approached with an idea: I could be his Chief Financial Officer. Because of my funky attitude at the time and (as Zig teases) “Stinkin’ Thinkin’, rumors were rampant that I was considering a departure from the service of Public accounting, for something else.

The “something else” idea and offer was interesting; so, we negotiated mutually beneficial terms for a hired-gun CFO position and I accepted. That lasted about a month and we both knew I needed to go, away. Our worldviews were different and, as a result, the paths of our journeys were diverging. Two can walk together, only, if they agree.

In the course of making pleasantries, the (now) older Entrepreneur sat down at his lunch table a few feet away from mine. Sincerely interested, I asked about him and his Company. He proudly announced the expanding influence of his business activities in Montana and the projects they were doing in multiple other States. Once again, I congratulated him and celebrated his largess.

To return the favor, I shared information about the new location of my office in the heart of the Wall Street of the Rockies. Since that bit of news was received without notice, or response, I went on to mention, “It’s true what they say. The view is better from the top!”

Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks. This is what I heard in retort, “Well, watch out, because there will be someone trying to knock you off!”

The eyes are the window to the soul. Ours were speaking volumes to the other about the core of our beliefs. After a few moments of this silent conversation, I just smiled, bowed my head, and resumed the enjoyment of my salad.

My belief is that The Top is a spiritual level, physically unobtainable, encapsulated in the exhortation, “You are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.” Great idea. Ain’t gonna happen in this life, folks!

Yet, the joy of Life is discovered within the journey, not the destination. When we actually arrive, friends and family will be digging a hole to plant our physical remains. The ripple from the wake of our deeds and how we touched others will be our legacy.

Some people are willing to scratch and claw their way to the top of the heap, using the dead and injured for their next step. It is true; once they arrive, there will be a bigger, meaner, and tougher gorilla coming along behind to use them as the next step in becoming the new king of the hill.

This difference in worldviews can be fully understood by imagining a finite and very small pointed space at the top of a pyramid and then comparing that to an infinite mountain of opportunity.

At the top of a pyramid is room for one. The rugged face of the mountain before us, which ascends into the clouds of heaven, provides many routes of accession. The Tops visible to us, as mere mortals, are really just plateaus for many to rest before beginning the next climb.

If we will climb with the intent to bring along others, we will find ourselves in the company of kindred spirits. We will enjoy lifting them past the seemingly insurmountable obstacles. When we slip and are dangling in the nothingness of our despair, our climbing friends will be there to shout words of encouragement and pull us back to the face of our Rock.

Indeed, I believe it is a worthy endeavor, for all of us, to enjoy the view from the top!

www.kimfoard.com