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 blink 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.

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

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

King Ranch

King RanchThe question was a simple one: How does a guy get ahead?

It was expressed with emotion and a twinge of frustration.

His eyes and body language were communicating the same, legitimate, curiosity about life. I realized he was serious and I was at a loss for words.

Sitting in front of me was a young man of twenty-three, who had accomplished more in the last two years than many get done in a lifetime.

Far beyond the six-figure salary that society uses to measure success, this young man is responsible for the lives of two dozen men, many who are more than twice his age. He manages millions of dollars of trucks and equipment for the production of billions of dollars of revenue.

Even more important, than the money and resources for which he is held accountable, is the character at his core. And, I guess that’s where words fell short of providing the best answer possible. All I could say in the moment, “Just keep on doing what you’re doing. You’re doing it right.”

We both knew that wasn’t the best response either one of us ever heard and, in time, there was apt to be more to the story. Two weeks later, I had a few more thoughts to share. This is the Rest of the Story.

At age twenty-three, empires are enticing. Courageous young men are determined to build one. And, that’s a good thing for them and all in their sphere of influence. The secret that awaits our crusaders is that the process of building is much more fun than the empire, itself.

The young empire builder and I have common knowledge of individuals sitting in the middle of wealth they did not earn. In this newly tuned conversation, I asked that we mentally separate those men from their inheritances. Then, we examined the individual ability to produce: those who appear to have it made vs. those who actually get-‘er-done.

The list is pretty dang long of the things this young man of twenty-three can do. Because of his humility, he was reluctant to begin taking inventory of his attributes. I gently reminded him, “It’s not bragging, if you can do it.”

Then, we considered what the “Born on third-base ~ Thought they hit a home-run” types can do. That didn’t take long: very, short list.

For a couple years now, I’ve been on this kick: All We Do Begins With A Thought. So, with time to think about his excellent question, I knew a better answer was possible. In fact, the answer was in the question, “How does a guy get ahead?!”


There it was: “A Head”: a noggin which is constantly thinking about splendid dreams. Thoughts without character are as dangerous as ships without rudders. And, that my friends, is when it dawned on me, that as much as my first response was adequate, the best answer recognizes the power of mind and heart.

For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.

Guard your heart above all else,
for it determines the course of your life.

We are a combination of our heredity and environment. Undeniably, we slip into this world hard-wired a certain way and, then, parents bend our little twigs.

Communication is what the listener does. Stories provide food for thought.

As we were sitting in Red Robin, munching on our hamburgers and fries, I began a story about Volkswagens, Road-trips, and Ford Pickups that I had been rehearsing in my mind for two weeks.

My dad worked on ranches owned by others. He made $200, per month, cash wages, the equivalent of $2,000 in today’s dollars. Half a century ago, the tradition was for Moms to be homemakers. So, one household income provided funds for the daily necessities and a two-week trip in the fall to exotic destinations.

Well … for a kid who lived twelve miles from the nearest semblance of civilization the other fifty weeks of the year, places like Squaw Valley and Lake Tahoe, California, seemed like another world. From the prairies of Montana to the wonders of the Sierra Nevada, and beyond, miles of road stretched before us like ribbons around the best surprise.

The year was 1965 and my parents had just purchased a brand new VW Bug. Not the Super Beetle introduced in the mid-1970s, or the Daisy Mae sedan sporting a flower vase; this was the original bug: Pregnant Roller Skate in the vernacular. I was 10 and my little sister was 3.

Looking around Red Robin for a way to describe the cabin size of that classic automobile, my eyes measured the four-person booth at which we sat. Perfect; the size of the table top was approximately the same amount of space in that VW Bug for two little kids and luggage for a Family of four.

My dad had an eye for packing and a creative mind. By removing the backrest from the rear seat, he could stack suitcases and travel totes to create a wall of luggage and a replacement backrest for his passengers. Our little bottoms, somehow, fit on the eight inches of seat visible and available.

Off we went on our adventure. As an experienced truck driver, Dad knew to adjust his speed according to road conditions and the weight of his cargo. In September, the highways are absolutely perfect. Yet, we were heavy. I remember leaning over to peek between the front seats to see the speedometer needle stuck on 45.

With four on the floor (manual stick-shift transmission) and four in the rear (cylinders in the air-cooled engine) maybe that was top speed. I don’t know. What I do know is that it was an era before audio books and iPods. Lucky for us, though, we had the real deal and an iMom. She read books, lots of books, to us.

The first Interstate Highways were being constructed. They were wonderfully straight and smooth. Cars and trucks passed us as if we were standing still. On the narrow, two-lane, roads, we backed up traffic for miles. Two little kids, with noses pressed to side windows that didn’t open, witnessed many middle-finger salutes.

I closed my eyes and dreamed about fast cars.

Fast-forward to 1971 and we were living in the foreign country of East Texas. I was 16 and running a tractor and brush-cutter for a farmer. He let me use his newer model Ford pickup to haul diesel fuel out to the field for that little John Deere tractor. For some reason, I imagined him giving me that pickup.

I closed my eyes and dreamed about fast pickups.

Then, in the spring of 1972, Dad decided he missed the open country of the North. We were headed home to Montana, kind of. A job was available on a ranch near New Underwood, South Dakota. For the month that we lived there, I rode to school with the kids of the family who owned the ranch. They all drove newer model Ford pickups.

I closed my eyes and dreamed about a fancy Ford pickup of my own, someday.

For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.

Guard your heart above all else,
for it determines the course of your life.

From the dream of many years ago to the reality of what I drive, now, a 2011 Ford Lariat King Ranch pickup, I told the story for the merit of the journey, not the destination. The value of the Builder is much more important than any Empire.

Rocky Mountain High

As I looked into the eyes of my lunch partner, he seemed to understand the moral of the story: To get ahead, the mind and heart are our greatest resources. Of all the men I know, if push came to shove, the one I want watching my back is this young man with great questions.

He has dreams of a ranch, cows, and horses.

His grandfather and I came down from setting roof trusses on the day this young dreamer brightened our world. As a Leo, he is a King and I believe a Ranch will be his, someday.

www.kimfoard.com

Good Directions

Good DirectionsImagine your favorite action movie. The ground is crumbling behind our heroes and heroines as they run toward the only escape available to them. Our heart is in our throat, as we encourage them to go, quickly, forward.

Life is just like that. There is no standing still; there is no going back. The only direction to safety is forward.

This last week, I lost a dear friend of twenty-plus years because he has made a choice to be comfortable in a rut. The definition of a rut is: grave with the ends kicked out. Yes, it’s dark, damp, and depressing down there. My friend exploded upon being reminded of the only two choices we have: Grow, or Die.

He assured me in no uncertain terms that he was not depressed. (The fellow doth protest too much, methinks.)

As recently as five years ago, November 15, 2006, this is the complete text of the Testimonial he offered when asked to document our business relationship of Client and Certified Public Accountant.

While reflecting on the past years of business growth … the ups and downs; the trials and tests; the hard work; and, never ending commitment to push forward … I come to realize that you have been a vital part of that growth. You have been with us all the way.

The accounting profession has truly been honored by your steadfast commitment to serve, to advise … to help direct my thoughts in the financial decisions of our company. It has made my job as CEO much easier.

We are in our 15th year and looking forward to working with you in the years to come.

Fast forward to September 14, 2011, and this is my goodbye to a business relationship, which was enjoyed with that friend, who (at one time) was closer than any brother.

The purpose of this letter is to document the essence of our phone conversation, yesterday.

At the end of that conversation, you wondered if your message was adequately communicated by asking, “Is that clear?!” My response, “Perfectly.”

It is crystal clear that there is a difference in core philosophies.

You believe and have stated quite clearly, numerous times over the last few months, that you and your Company are at the mercy of the Hand of Fate. In essence, you are tethered to a fixed set of practices, which have brought you success in the Past, and are frustrated that the Present is less than accepting.

I believe life is what we make of it, friend; if it doesn’t fit, make alterations. My purpose in business is summarized in four words: Building Bright Financial Futures. I have gone to great lengths to promote this idea to the world via every digital means possible. I have clearly communicated this core belief to you via an email conversation thread from May 17th to July 20th.

My last email request of you was for one hour of your time to discern how we might build a dynamic business relationship. Having heard absolutely nothing from you, I called yesterday with an offer for year-end planning. In the past, you welcomed the opportunity for us to talk about your Company.

You chose to refuse my offer. You have that right. I also have the right to choose.

As of today, we no longer have a business relationship. You are encouraged to engage other professionals to provide services for your financial fiscal year (and, payroll calendar quarter) ended September 30th. Documents in your Client File Portal will be available to you and your representatives until December 31st.

What happened between November 15, 2006, and September 14, 2011?

We will never know. To be judgmental toward my friend and all he has experienced in the last five years is the wrong thing to do. I can, though, tell my story. In the past, I have first-hand knowledge and experience of what it’s like to be stuck in a rut. It is dark, damp and depressing.

This is my story and I’ll tell it my way.

The darkest times in my life began, at the moment, when I started to think that I had arrived. Thinking that I had reached my destination and could quit; or, coast; or, savor the rewards; or, otherwise think I had, really, become somebody. You see, the focus had shifted to thinking, believing, and acting as if, the world revolved around me.

In the simplest of analogies, my life had gone off a cliff. The ground was, literally, crumbling beneath my feet as I tumbled into the chasm of darkness.

Recovery from the pit was only possible by acknowledging, “There but for the grace of God go I” … further down into the abyss. At that moment, there was a Rock on which to cling and a view of the hard work necessary to climb from the rubble into the brightness of opportunity, once again.

There is nothing new under the sun.

There’s a story of a guy walking on water. His name was Peter and he was a cocky fellow, with relatives from Missouri (the Show Me state). He enjoyed the companionship of a friend, who cared deeply about the growth of others.

So, one day Peter challenged his friend with, “If you’re really as good as you claim, ask me to walk on water.” Guys being guys, the friend accepted the challenge and said, “Come ahead.”

Jumping out of the boat, Peter walked on the water. But, when he looked down at the waves churning beneath his feet, he lost his nerve and started to sink.

Moral of this story: Don’t look down.

In fact, don’t look back, either. The ground is crumbling behind us. There is only one safe path: Forward.

There’s another story of a guy pondering the progression of life. His name was Paul and one of his many attributes was that of a Philosopher. He observed, “When I was a child, I talked like a child. I thought like a child. I had the understanding of a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me.”

Moral of this story: Children grow up.

At this point in my story, there is at least one person just aching to challenge this thesis of: Forward motion being the best direction and Growth being a prerequisite to a rich life. They will posit that “going back” has its merits.

As in:

We miss a turn at the intersection and need to go back.

We forget something when leaving on vacation and need to go back.

We neglect to learn a lesson and need to go back (for another dose).

We ignore an opportunity, which is good for us, and need to go back.

I agree. There are legitimate times for us to go back and recover from frailties of the human condition. “Thank God for Good Directions and turnip greens!” (by Billy Currington and his album Doin’ Somethin’ Right) Turn up your speakers and enjoy this tune.

For the astute scholars among us, I will acknowledge their point that we are encouraged by the Good Book to go back. As we examine this riddle to the very essence of life, the answer is simple. We are encouraged to be childlike, not childish. There is a difference.

So… at the moment, when there is the temptation to think we have arrived and can stop growing: Look up, think forward, and really focus on the hard work to take the next step.

Go ahead; do it. Now, that we are big kids, older and wiser, with all of our education and experience, hurts and betrayals, safely archived in the memory banks, do it. Be innocent, be sweet, be open, be humble, be accepting, be trusting, and believe that we can experience heaven, here on earth.

All we need to do is to take that next step, often into the unknown, forward, to grow.

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

Success in a Can

Success in a CanThere is a, guaranteed, way to success and happiness.

In fact, we already have all of the ingredients necessary to make the lives of which we dream. The secret is in the mixing, baking, and serving.

We begin with a Can.

“Can of what?!” you may ask.

There is one four-letter word uglier than all others: Can’t. It paralyzes, taints, marginalizes, and prevents richness of life. By eliminating the “apostrophe t”, we Can. In fact, by choosing to see that T as a positive; we can transform it into a powerful catalyst: Think.

We Can Think.

All we do begins with a thought.

Maybe that’s why we are instructed to, “Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.

It, literally, is impossible to guard an absence, a void, a lack, or a negative. Mother Nature hates a vacuum. We either plant good seeds to produce crops of value, or weeds will grow. Once seeds of good character are planted, we have something to nurture and guard.

From the core of who we are, what we want, how we give, why we care, and where we direct our efforts, flows the essence of Can.

This is my Can: I can offer a disciplined commitment to Enlighten, Empower, and Encourage entrepreneurs to: consider options, set goals, and continuously innovate.

The contents of your Can will be different.

Why is my Can important to success and happiness?

Because, regardless of any attack on my heart, I can respond positively to the threat by choosing to apply the Three-E Formula: “Enlighten, Empower and Encourage.” By giving that, I receive the same back. My heart is safe.

~ Enlighten

We always have options. Even if physical resources are limited, we still have the emotional, mental, and spiritual sources of inspiration, to choose our response to any situation. A choice to say, “I can!” will enable us to continue forward progress.

~ Empower

We arrive at a destination by choosing one. To move from here to there, we need a There: a destination, a target, a goal. Some goals are tangible; others are intangible. They are unique to the individual. Pick one.

~ Encourage

We grow by pushing at the edge of the artificial boundary of who we were, yesterday. Right here, right now, it’s great to be alive. The greatest gift is a chosen, purposeful effort, often done in the face of fear, to nurture our own growth and the growth of others.

As we are “mixing” in the blender of life, remember to remain enlightened; we always have options. As we are “baking” in the oven of trials-by-fire, remember to stay empowered; we can focus on the end result. As we are “serving” in the delivery of goodness to the world, remember to be encouraged; growth is possible by giving our efforts to make the best of any situation.

It all begins with a Can.

I think I can!

www.kimfoard.com

Sacrifice

Giving and ReceivingThe answer to the human condition, literally, leaped from the screen into my consciousness. Last week, a Fellow vented his frustration at me by announcing, “I never sacrifice, even for friends because: a) if they are true friends they would not want me to sacrifice, or b) I would be willing to do it and therefore was not a sacrifice.”

First, let me share the rest of the story. As you read through the conversation thread, below, which was the catalyst for the Fellow’s remark, remember to always listen carefully to what people say and you can, vividly, see into the core of who they are.

The topic of discussion on this professional forum for the exchange of ideas was about which word is best: Customer, or Client.

(Kim Foard) Much more than a matter of semantics and the focus on our “professional” command of the English language, the concept is to build a relationship and produce positive results. From experience, I have found some (of those for whom I work) like the word Client, others like the word Customer, and everyone (who pays me) loves to believe they are my Friend. Let’s raise the bar and think of those we serve as Friends!

(Fellow) Friendship can happen, but the vast majority are business relationships and not friendship, IMHO.

(Kim Foard) One thing I have noticed: My “enemies” respect me; they don’t do business with me as Customer, Client, or any other label.

(Fellow) True, but being friendly is not the same as being a friend.

(Kim Foard) Again, it is a matter of semantics. Included in my definition are these parameters: “Friends” deserve the best in everything. No sacrifice is too big, or task too small, when friendship is being nurtured.

(Fellow) I never sacrifice, even for friends because a) if they are true friends they would not want me to sacrifice, or b) I would be willing to do it and therefore was not a sacrifice.

(Kim Foard) You’re right! It is a spectrum of thought. You and I have clearly identified the “Pots of Gold” on each side. The real secret is to be passionate about our beliefs, because we will attract those of like mind.

In my humble opinion (IMHO), he is “right”, only, in the context of being entitled to his opinion. What is your belief? As you can see, the conversation morphed from a matter of semantics into one of foundational issues at the core of any relationship. The label choice between Customer vs. Client pales into insignificance when measured against the word: Sacrifice.

Is sacrifice important? Is it old-fashioned? Is it taken, or given? What do you believe?

Let’s set the stage for our thoughts by considering two simple Proverbs:

When people’s lives please the Lord, even their enemies are at peace with them.

Calloused climbers betray their very own friends; they’d stab their own grandmothers in the back.

Thoughts of the vernacular, which might come to mind: “With friends like those who needs enemies.” And, “The enemy of my enemy is my friend.”

Yet, we are encouraged to move our thoughts, words, deeds and character to a higher level.

You’re familiar with the old written law, ‘Love your friend,’ and its unwritten companion, ‘Hate your enemy.’ I’m challenging that. I’m telling you to love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer, for then you are working out of your true selves, your God-created selves. This is what God does. He gives his best—the sun to warm and the rain to nourish—to everyone, regardless: the good and bad, the nice and nasty. If all you do is love the lovable, do you expect a bonus? Anybody can do that. If you simply say hello to those who greet you, do you expect a medal? Any run-of-the-mill sinner does that.

“In a word, what I’m saying is, Grow up. You’re kingdom subjects. Now live like it. Live out your God-created identity. Live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward you.”

Right about now is when we, all, start squirming and looking for the semantic Exit Strategies. With thoughts running wild: Great idea, cute concept, life changing; we accept the realization that Knowing and Doing are very different. Yet, we remind ourselves and move, forward, through the pain: Hard is easy; Easy is hard.

And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.

Because of the privilege and authority God has given me, I give each of you this warning: Don’t think you are better than you really are. Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves, measuring yourselves by the faith God has given us.

The idea that one person can define what sacrifice is to another individual reeks of arrogance and ignorance.

When we ask for anything from another person (as simple as a glass of water; or, as complex as the price for an exchange of goods and services), they make a choice between Yes and No. If the request is beyond a boundary of theirs, they will choose: No. If the request is within their will to deliver, they will choose: Yes.

To fulfill our request, another individual might offer a sacrifice.

What is a sacrifice?

Forfeiture of something highly valued for the sake of one considered to have a greater value or claim.

To forfeit (one thing) for another thing considered to be of greater value.

Surrender of something of value as a means of gaining something more desirable or of preventing some evil.

Something of value given away or up in order to gain something more important or to benefit another person.

One word, sacrifice, is the thesis of “Giving to Receive.” It is an individual choice executed by the internal will of that person. No managing by committee. No having it all. No maybe in approach. Sacrifice is a committed decision to offer. What another person does with the offering is their choice.

In my closing remarks in the conversation with the Fellow above, the “Pots of Gold” on either side of the rainbow are Time and Money. In business, the focus is generally on Money and the opportunities it can buy. Of the two, Time is more precious, because of the priceless relationships it can build.

When my Friends offer money in exchange for the value of my time, plain and simple, they are making a sacrifice. From the blood, sweat, and tears of their effort, they produce value in the marketplace. The money earned, by the sacrifice of their time, has great value to them. They exchange it for something perceived to be of greater value. I acknowledge and appreciate their sacrifice.

As their Friend, I believe in: Going far beyond the call of duty, Doing more than others expect, Striving after and maintaining the highest standards, Looking after the smallest detail, and Traveling the extra mile. Sacrifice means giving my best, in everything and every way.

Beyond the realm of business, the gift of Time is a daily sacrifice that we all make. The question becomes: At which altar do we place it?

On the altar of Narcissism, humility is sacrificed by those who believe they are the center of the universe.

On the altar of Friendship, pride is sacrificed by those who believe they are, simply, conduits of goodness for the benefit of others.

“There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”

www.kimfoard.com

IIITB, IIUTM

If It Is To BeIf It Is To Be,
It Is Up To Me

I’m amazed at the whining that goes on, because one person is waiting for other people to change. Change, as in: who they are, what they do, and how they think. Good luck with that!

Wherever we go there we are. It has taken a lifetime to arrive at this moment in time. We have made every, single, choice along the way to be, exactly, where we are. Why, then, is it such a stretch to believe that everyone else has done the same?!

If we nurture a belief that we, individually, are a child of God, do we extend the same courtesy to others? When we see, experience, or are otherwise affected by another person, different in belief from ours, do we accept them, or judge them?

Judging is so much easier and more fun to do. In fact, it comes naturally to find fault with others. There they are, right in front of us, behaving stupidly. Do we ever consider that they are looking at us and thinking the very same thing?

Accepting others is a daily challenge. Embracing the explicit independence of another is entirely different than being a punching bag for their dysfunction. There is a fine line between respect and folly. Discretion is the better part of valor, in regards to boundaries.

Speaking of boundaries, do we know where we end and another person begins? Have we done the hard work to define ourselves to the point of an “elevator speech” introduction to the rest of the world? Are we willing to listen, and accept, the eight seconds offered by others?

If the narrative, above, has yet to make sense and you are struggling with anything in your life, please, go look in the mirror. The individual staring back at you is the one responsible for how you feel and what you think. Change that individual and the whole world will change!

Not enough time to do the things you want? Change your priorities.

Not enough money to do the things you need? Change your patterns.

All of us have 24 hours in a 7 day week and the same 52 weeks in 1 year. We are all given the same opportunity. Are you jealous of those who successfully manage their time and money well?

The secret: Different choices; different results.

Begin with the end in mind. A crystal clear vision of the future encourages us to make choices, which move us forward in that direction. As we advance, other exciting opportunities along the way broaden our horizons of awareness.

The more we think and do, the more we learn and grow. As we stretch through the pain of change, we find even higher peaks of adventure, just, waiting for us. Those who have chosen to remain stuck in their rut are no longer of concern to us.

We have discovered that the fun is in the doing!

If It Is To Be,
It Is Up To Me

www.kimfoard.com

Help Yourself

Banquet Table of Life

After a short pause for an expression of thanksgiving, Dad would raise his head to look at us and say, “Help yourself!” We would survey the table for the serving dish to our right, make a choice of portion, and then pass it to the left. As our hands offered one, we prepared to receive another.

That was in the day when families gathered at home for the evening meal; a meal that was prepared by Mom with loving effort. In fact, the abundance on the table was a portion of the wealth produced that day: Roast beef, potatoes, salad, vegetable du jour, warm bread, cold milk and a cookie for dessert.

We were connected to the land and understood the importance of working, if we wanted to eat that evening!

Advance forward a couple of generations, and we find a society of fast food and slow thoughts. Diminished are the thrill of the hunt and the sport of accomplishment. Instead, we find whiners with an attitude of entitlement. Unless everything magically appears on a silver platter, they are clueless about their survival. Instead of wanting a hand up, they want a hand out.

The real joy in life is discovered when we understand, “Help yourself!”

Of all creatures, humans are the most helpless at birth. Choices are made for us, and care is provided to us, by parents. Before we can talk, though, we are reaching for that spoon to do it ourselves. For the next five years, we fear little and do everything. We delight in our accomplishments and learn the most from our mistakes. We help ourselves.

Then, we start school. We are taught that there is a right way and a wrong way: Our way is wrong and the right way is only known by those with the answer key. Funny thing, though; that key only works for one set of questions.

Life is different!

After twelve, sixteen, or more years, young adults tip from the conveyor belt of modern education into a world with more pop-quizzes and test-questions than they have answers.

One of two things happen: Either, they realize the extent to which they don’t know what they don’t know and begin to “help themselves” learn it. Or, they point fingers of blame and expect someone else to compensate for their lack of resourcefulness.

I admire the first group and, thoroughly, tease the second about their “Stinkin’ Thinkin’!”

All we do begins with a thought. The most important thought of all is: “I think I can.”

At that moment, we tap into the childhood belief that the world is our oyster; just waiting for us to pry into it for the pearl discovery. We don’t want anyone else messing with our project. In time, we might discover that we need a little coaching on technique. If so, we ask for it; or, we struggle through to re-invent the wheel. Either way, the prize will be ours.

As we sit at the banquet table of life, only we can know what is best for ourselves.

The only way to discover That is to “Help Yourself!”

www.kimfoard.com

Thoughts to Destiny

Thoughts to Destiny

One of the principles of success is to, always: Begin with the End in mind. The meaning of life is discovered in the same fashion.

In other words: How do we live until we live no more?

In the dead of winter, we adopt customs to celebrate birth, new life, and the goodness of a fresh start. With that new beginning, we have the opportunity to choose a new ending.

From beginning to end, the “dash” in the middle is the most important. It is representative of what we do and how, effectively, we do it. There is an inherent urgency to our race.

Last week, a close Friend and loyal Client asked this of me:

Kim

First, I appreciate all your support on the financial side of the business and with the internet services, etc. and also, anticipate a continued long-term partnership in this regard as we have enjoyed in the past.

We have learned through experience, here at Our Company, that cross-training our men in the event of their absence, keeps production up and things continue to run smoothly. So it occurred to me the other day that as our relationship continues we naturally become more dependent upon your services.

So I’m confident that you do not mind me asking the question: do you have a back-up plan to protect our interests in case something, God forbid, should happen to you?—or in the event you are absent for any extended period?

Friend

An excellent question is deserving of an appropriate response. This one required a good night’s rest and an early morning shower, of thought.

Friend,

Evidently, great minds think alike!

Although a serious subject and deserving of a professional answer, I must admit the “gallows humor” element tickled my funny-bone. In fact, I miss our early morning breakfast meetings of the past. Since I believe life is all about the People, the opportunity to discuss this in greater detail is something which might be of mutual benefit.

In the Internet search engines of Bing and Google, type this query: cpa citp quickbooks montana

The exercise and results are for the purpose of making this point: There is only one with those credentials, who is passionate about serving you and Your Company.

In the past, I have made a royal Boy Scout effort to do my work through the hands of others. Finally, it dawned on me the reality: The great artists are only able to create their masterpieces when they put brush to canvas. For the last eight years, that’s been my approach to life, and business. One day at a time, one project at a time, and one person at a time; giving the best of me to enlighten, empower, and encourage others.

This last October was birthday number 55. For the last five years, a greater effort has been made to boldly share the education and experience of half a century. Just this last Sunday, I decided to document the path to my legacy. It is attached as a PDF, titled: Thoughts to Destiny.

Specifically, the steps which I have taken to protect the interests of your Company:

1.) Creation of a File Portal, which contains historical documents for the last three years and will continue to archive all important financial documents created by me. The documents are detailed, neat, and organized for the benefit of any successor accountant, or professional advisor.

2.) Active mentoring of your Staff to accept a greater responsibility for those functions within their control. For example, Trusted Employee will be preparing Quarterly Payroll Reports from within QuickBooks for the year beginning January 1, 2011.

3.) Weekly articles published to the Web for the benefit of us all. Some of the stories are accounting specific, such as 5 Minute Business Plan; others are for the benefit of effective communication, like Feedback Three-Step. All of the thoughts are for the benefit of learning, growing and doing!

For the last couple of years, I’ve been a Proverbs-A-Day guy. This morning, I thought this was apropos to our discussion:

Proverbs 21:30-31 (New Living Translation)

30 No human wisdom or understanding or plan
can stand against the Lord.

31 The horse is prepared for the day of battle,
but the victory belongs to the Lord.

I am looking forward to discussing all of this with you in greater detail.

Best regards,

Kim

All we do begins with a thought. Much more than a story about the beginning, or the ending, this is about the journey of discovery: Who we are; What we do; and, How we touch the lives of others.

Thoughts evoke words; Words produce actions; Actions form habits; Habits crystallize character; and, Character manifests our Destiny.

Thoughts

With a formal education of a Bachelor of Science degree and daily tutoring as a Student of Life, my thoughts are a wonderful blend of the accomplishments of the past and the possibilities for the future. They are intellectual, compassionate, focused, determined, kind and gentle.

Words

I love them. They are the tools of communication. We can say them, read them, write them, and sing them. They are the anchors of yesterday, the stories of today and the goals of tomorrow. Google the phrase: SageTalk ~ Building Dynamic Relationships for a taste.

Actions

All of mine are for the express purpose of Building; as in building-up People. Beginning with the work on me to be a better man each day, the effort extends to all in my sphere of influence. The effort is offered to, not shoved upon, others: Give our Best; Pause to Rest.

Habits

An early morning ritual of shower, shave, bold coffee, and Proverbs, sets the stage for a day of work and play. Regardless of the activity, the focus is on learning, growing, and doing. The goal is to dance my way into the hearts and souls of Family and Friends.

Character

To have it (rather than be one) is only possible by making the right choices each day. Only, I know what is right and best for me. Knowing what to do is a good first step; Doing it is a giant leap for the benefit of all. I have learned: Easy is hard; Hard is easy.

Destiny

Mine is one of leaving a legacy. It will not be measured in sticks and stones; it will be remembered by those whose lives were changed for the better. One thing I have always understood: Family and Work are the two legs carrying me across the stages of life.

Thoughts evoke words; Words produce actions; Actions form habits; Habits crystallize character; and, Character manifests our Destiny.

www.kimfoard.com