One to Five

Five by Five

Let’s start in the middle.

What is the most powerful three letter word in the English language?

YES ran a close second. Yet, it can also be the most dangerous word — if not accompanied by NO.

So, again – standing on its own – what is the most powerful three letter word?

ASK

See how powerful it is? If we need, or want, to know something, we simply ask. By asking, now, you know my opinion.

While you are certainly entitled to your opinion, please, let me share the reason for my belief.

The three letters of ASK are actually an acronym for Ask, Seek, and Knock. If we Ask, we will receive answers. If we Seek, we will find opportunity. If we Knock, doors will swing wide open.

Now, let’s count down, from three, to one.

DO is the most powerful two letter word. In fact, knowing and doing are two entirely different concepts. We can ask to know, which empowers us to act for the benefit of others. Yet, until we do, our knowledge is worthless.

I is the most powerful one letter word. It is the only Individual over which we have absolute control. Beyond our fingertips, any semblance of control ends. For the narcissists among us, this isn’t all about you — there’s the rest of the story.

WORK is the most powerful four letter word. Taking personal responsibility for ourselves is the greatest gift we can offer. Because, only, then, can we share the excess bounty from our efforts with those less fortunate.

SERVE is the most powerful five letter word. Want to be happy? Simply, focus on taking care of the wants and needs of one other person. Want to be, really, happy? Passionately, help enough other people get what they want and we can have everything in life we want.

It Is What It Is —But, It will become what you make It.

I
DO
ASK
WORK
SERVE

From top to bottom, life really is that simple.

By bending a knee in service to all, we will receive everything our heart desires.

www.kimfoardcpa.com

Do the Work

Do the Work

I’m always amused by those, who have done nothing — yet, they presume to know everything.

Evidently, the one thing which has escaped the cauldron of their arrogance and ignorance is an understanding about the Buckets of Knowledge.

Bucket 1 — Those things we know that we know.

Bucket 2 — Those things we know that we don’t know.

Bucket 3 — Those things we don’t know that we don’t know.

If we’re totally honest with ourselves, there’s a little bit of “ac-knowledge-ment” about what’s in Buckets 1 and 2. We’re clueless about that big Bucket 3.

Simply, “We don’t know what we don’t know.”

A closed mind is a dangerous thing to encounter. The dark, swampy, stewed mixture of arrogance and ignorance emits a stench from which to flee.

All we do begins with a thought.

Until we choose to believe that we have much to learn, actual learning is impossible.

After adopting new thoughts, we must embrace a new habit,

Say what we are going to Do and Do what we Say.

Since we learn by doing and the fun is in the doing, let’s have fun learning, together.

In fact, if our minds wander back to the regrets of the Past, or if they race ahead to the anxieties of the Future, we can calm them by focusing on the task “at hand” in this Present moment.

Yes — simply, by putting our hands into doing something, our minds engage in helping our hands be successful in this new adventure. Any “mistakes” are simply acknowledged as measurements on this Journey of Progress.

From the Sage of the Ages,

Whatever your hands find to do, do it with all of your strength.

From the One of the Word,

My Father is always working — and, so am I.

By doing the work, we learn. We are also humbled — to be honored — in more fully understanding how little we know.

At that moment, we join true Leaders in the chorus,

What you learn — after you’ve learned it all — counts most of all.

In other words, let’s forget about the Buckets of Knowledge and open our minds to learning, more — by doing the work.

www.kimfoardcpa.com

Long Rein

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

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

You are expected to come prepared and ready to work.

Generally, the most that is known about the daily adventure is the Time and Place.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

www.kimfoard.com

Sexy Math

Sexy MathAs I was walking down the sidewalk on my way to lunch, two women passed by.

Subject of their conversation:
Men and Money

A man had misbehaved over $45 worth of flowers.

When people say money is not important, they will lie about other things, too.

My grandfather was right when he opined, “Figures can lie and liars can figure.” For the last couple of decades, we’ve experienced that in spades. Speaking of cards and the games people play, let’s take a look at the strategy of playing our hand with grace and poise.

There is another four-letter word on the minds of many — Jobs. The debate rages on and on about who creates them and why they disappear. While fingers are pointed and waved at the other guy, the real solution is left waiting for someone to do the Sexy Math of discovery for the answer — Work.

We don’t need Jobs. We simply need people to take their gifts to the marketplace, in the old-fashioned way of providing value. In the vernacular, that delivery process is known as Work.

And — here begins the Sexy Math of the Entrepreneur.

For the sake of conversation, let’s say you need $40,000 for your Family. 40 hours per week for 50 weeks, with a 2 week Family vacation, is a bank of 2,000 productive hours (40 hours times 50 weeks). You’re a talented individual, quite gifted, and extremely intelligent. There is something you can do that has value to others at a minimum rate of $20 per hour ($40,000 divided by 2,000 hours).

Wait ~ There’s more to know about this — before you launch your first business. There is Overhead, which is the price to be paid for the joy of having your very own Company. Again, for the sake of continuing our conversation, let’s acknowledge this amount to be $60,000 — everything from Advertising, Dues, Fees, Insurance, Rent, and Utilities, to the multitude of other costs necessary for your Company.

You still need $40,000 for your Family and this Sexy Math example still has 2,000 Productive hours in a year. What is your minimum target rate to Customers, now, in consideration of Overhead? Answer: $50. Wow — from $20 to $50 in the blink of an eye.

We better pause for a moment to check for any dishonesty in our figures, or presentation. $40,000 (for Family) plus $60,000 (for Overhead) equals $100,000, which, when divided by 2,000 (Productive hours), equals a minimum target rate per hour of $50.

Taxes ~ As model Citizens, we believe in supporting the greater good of all Society. Through the ages, a tithe — 10% — was acknowledged to be adequate for the support of orphans and widows. For the modern builder of dreams into reality (YOU the Entrepreneur) the rates are quite different.

We have a 15.3% Self-employment Tax, a 15% Federal Income Tax, and at least a 5% State Income Tax. That’s a total Tax Rate north of 30%. (Does anyone else see the irony? God asks for 10% and Government demands a minimum of 30%.)

We still need $40,000 for our Families and $60,000 to keep the lights on. Now, what?! How do we do the Sexy Math to determine our Price in the marketplace? CPAs are professionals — trained to do these calculations in a controlled and regulated environment — yet, I want you to practice this at home.

The $40,000 needed for our Families is, now — at best — a 70% slice of the whole pie, because Government helped themselves to a 30% chunk. $40,000 divided by 70% equals $57,143, which, when added to the $60,000 equals $117,143. This is the amount Customers must pay. For those who think by the hour, $58.57 is the new target rate.

Once more, we will pause to check the veracity of our facts and calculations. $117,143 (Customer Price) minus $60,000 (Overhead) equals $57,143, which when multiplied by 30% equals $17,143 (Taxes). This leaves $40,000 for our Family — and, the minimum Rate per Hour for us to provide Value to our Customers has gone from $20 to near $60.

Is anyone brave enough to do the Math (sexy is long gone at this point) for a total Tax Rate above 30%? Even under current law, the unwary Entrepreneur will pay close to 55%. This is comprised of the 15.3% Self-employment Tax (a combination of Social Security and Medicare tax rates) plus 33% Federal Income Tax, plus 7% State Income Tax.

Solution: $40,000 divided by 45% (Our percentage remaining after Government takes 55%) equals $88,888 (Yes, we’re really behind the 8 Ball, now.) which, when added to the $60,000 of support from Vendors equals $148,888. This is the new price, which Customers must pay, to keep us in business and provide for our Families.

For the benefit of any Doubting Thomas (and, my late Grandfather) here’s the Proof: $148,888 (Customer Price) minus $60,000 (Overhead) equals $88,888, which, when multiplied by 55% equals $48,888 (Taxes). This leaves $40,000 for our Family — and, the minimum Rate per Hour for us to provide Value to our Customers has gone from near $60 to about $75 ($148,888 divided by 2,000 Productive Hours).

Every household budget will be different — $40,000 will be adequate for some, not enough for others. The point, though, is that the needs for every Family are real. You pick the amount for yours. It is factual and a fixed amount in the calculations, above. Productive Units (hours in the examples, above) are also relatively fixed. In a stable economy, the amount of Overhead will be relatively fixed, too.

The variable in all of this are Tax Rates. As they increase, so do the Prices on everything. The result of higher prices is that we need a greater amount of money for our Families — and, Vendors need an increasingly larger amount to stay in business. Ultimately, the Price for everything goes Up.

As Pogo so eloquently expresses, “We have seen the enemy and it is US.” Companies don’t pay Taxes. People do. You and I — as Customers — we all pay more for the “free” lunches so generously offered by our Government to those who refuse to Work.

Now, that we’ve done the Math, we can focus on the Sexy part of this equation:

S ~ Success is the most powerful of aphrodisiacs. Much more than the opportunities that money can buy, it is the sense of accomplishment and the desire to share sustenance with another person.

E ~ Enlightenment, Empowerment, and Encouragement can move us to Excellence in all that we do. In the marketplace of Life, those in pursuit of creativity and innovation will always offer a boutique display.

X ~ Marks the spot of opportunity in every direction. Go ahead — do it — mark an X on the ground . Stand right in the center of the intersecting lines and tell me how far you can see in the direction of each line.

Y ~ We’re at the fork in the road. Indecision is not an option. There is no Maybe, or Try, to it. Left — or, Right — is the choice. The decisions we make today will determine the brightness of our tomorrows.

Now that you’ve done the Sexy Math necessary to provide for your Family, please, share this novel idea with others. A category in desperate need of this information is the one of our Politicians. If true that we get the Government we deserve, then, we need to start asking for real Leadership to inspire every one of us to offer our, very, best to others.

The time has come for all of us to — just — do it!

Sexy Math, that is.

www.kimfoard.com

Rich Conversation

Imago ShuttleThe world is our stage and we travel across it on the two legs of Family and Work. When each leg is strong and healthy, we stride; when one is weak, we gimp; and when both are weak, we crawl.

The secret to healthy and strong legs of Family and Work: Relationships. The magic elixir for dynamic and vibrant relationships: Rich Conversation.

All we do begins with a thought.

Many think a conversation is defined as, “I’ll talk; you listen.” A few know that conversation is an art form of creative reciprocity.

Narcissists in the first group are infatuated with themselves and their Role Power. Expressionists in the second group are focused on service to others through the synergy of Relationship Power.

Those caught up in the stratosphere of their Role Power operate from the premise that they have all the answers. As a result, they feel quite justified in doing things to others. Their approach is the “easy” one of Process, since they do what they want, when they want and how they want. It is measurable, quantifiable and miserable.

The purveyors of Relationship Power practice in the realm of intangibles. Because they believe People are more important than Process, each day is a new adventure of doing for others. Their journey is the “hard” one of accepting the reality that the only constant in life is change. People change. What they want changes; How they want it changes; and, “Why?” is an oft asked question.

Are we courageous enough to say “Yes!” to the discovery of another person? Do we have the strength to leave our comfort zone of the well-known rut and routine to accept the uncertainty of a new adventure? Can we imagine ourselves strapped into the Captain’s chair of a space shuttle with our hand on the throttle calmly announcing, “I’m-A-Go.”

Imago Relationships

Partners cross a bridge into each other’s worlds, motivated not only by the Receiver’s desire to “hear and understand” but also to meet the Sender’s need to be “heard and understood”; with a commitment to slow down our lives and devote specific uninterrupted time to our relationships. Ultimately saying to the other, “I respect your otherness; I want to learn from it. And, I want to share mine with you.”

Discovering two distinct worlds: Whenever two people are involved, there are always two realities. These realities will always be different in small and large ways, no matter what. And, the reality of the other person can be understood, accepted, valued, and even loved; yet, it cannot be made identical to our own.

Clear communication is a window into the world of your partner; truly being heard is a powerful aphrodisiac.

Without change, there is no growth; we are confined to the fate of remaining stuck in our unhappiness.

Change is the catalyst for healing.

Finally, we learn to see our partners for themselves, with their own private world of personal meaning, their own ideas and dreams, and not merely as extensions of ourselves, or as we wish they were. Our approach becomes, “I want to know how you think.”

A conscious relationship is a spiritual path which leads us home again, to joy and aliveness, to the feeling of oneness we started out with. We learn to express love as a behavior daily, in large and small ways: in other words, in stretching to give our partner what they need, we learn to love. The transformation of our relationships may not be accomplished easily or quickly; we are setting off on a lifelong journey.

As we pack our mental suitcase, let’s celebrate in leaving the limitations of “process” behind and lift our eyes to an unlimited future of “people” exploration, which is just waiting to be discovered in a shuttle christened “Rich Conversation“!

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

To the Nth Power

Yes and No

This is a story about a Hen, a Pig, a Cat and a Rat. Neighbors with very different world views. Unique in their approach, they became aware of the consequences of their choices at an individual pace.

Before we begin, I must confess. The catalyst for these thoughts came from a question asked of me by one of my favorite young adults, “Why did you choose accounting as your work?”

My first response was, “Well, there was this teacher, back when I was a junior in high school …” Then, a thirty year story about jobs, college, doing, learning and growing. Until, a Rest of the Story moment of, “And, I wanted to provide financial opportunities for my family.” Later, that day, as we were comparing leadership qualities, I experienced a flash-back to childhood and the story of The Little Red Hen.

Now, to many people, the little word “No” is perceived as a “Negative”. Maybe, it’s because both words begin with the letter “N“. Maybe, it’s because “Communication is what the listener does” and the listener has had their twig bent from childhood experiences modeled on scarcity, derision, intimidation, inferiority, or just plain, old-fashioned, generic, meanness.

This morning, the thought occurred that NO written on a piece of paper and held up to a mirror might morph into ON. With thought into action, the result was close. With failure, comes new opportunity. Then, I remembered the sign in the window of a store I drive by each day to work. Early in the morning, I see NOPE. If I pass by later in the day it displays OPEN.

More than the power of “N”, we will discover the degree of opportunity in “NO”.

When the little red Hen asks her barnyard friends, “Who will plant, harvest, thresh, carry and bake?” the answer is the same every time. “Not I,” says the Pig. “Not I,” says the Cat. “Not I,” says the Rat.

“Well, then,” said the Little Red Hen, “I will.”

And, she did.

Then, probably because she had acquired the habit, the Red Hen called, “Who will eat the Bread?”

All the animals in the barnyard were watching hungrily and smacking their lips in anticipation. The Pig said, “I will.” The Cat said, “I will.” The Rat said, “I will.”

But, the Little Red Hen said, “No, you won’t. I will.”

And, she did.

The flip of a coin is used to determine choice at the beginning of every football game. On one side is Heads and on the other side is Tails. One coin; Two possible answers. Of the results, one is not “better” than the other, before the question.

Why do some people say No to everything? Why do others say Yes to everything? Both groups, will then, struggle to understand “Why” someone will tell them, “No. No, thank you. Heck, No! What part of “NO” don’t you understand?!”

The secret to understanding is: Boundaries.

Those with solid walls for boundaries keep everything, and everybody, out. Those with porous sieves for boundaries let everything, and everybody, in. Both are dysfunctional.

Profitable interactions occur through doors of opportunity that swing on the hinges of “No, thanks.” and “Yes, please!”

Look carefully at the word NO. Now, focus on the O. What do you see? I see the beginning of Opportunity!

Just like the Little Red Hen, I see an opportunity to say, “I will.”

In fact, there is an opportunity to remember and practice, once again, the “2×10” mantra: If It Is To Be, It Is Up To Me.

The most important part of the “2×10” is the first “2×5”: If It Is To Be.

“To the Nth Power” is a reminder to move the N from NO to where it belongs: ON. And, to move the N from NOPE to where it belongs: OPEN.

From there, let’s toss the P and center the N: ONE. By doing so, we leverage the power of N to the Nth Degree and enjoy a reality bigger than we ever imagined!

www.kimfoard.com

Two Farmers

Harvest

In the fertile valleys of Montana, harvest is almost complete. Malt barley is headed for the breweries, hard winter wheat is destined for the flourmills, soggy steer calves are trucked from the Red Lodge mountains to feedlots on the plains, sugar beets provide a poignant aroma to the air of Billings as they are processed into sweets for treats, and ear corn waits on the stalk to be picked.

The secrets to life can be found in the sixty miles from Red Lodge to Billings, Montana. This is a story of two farmers, Tom and Fred.

Their farms sit side-by-side, with a fence between them. Fred is a man of few words, while Tom likes to talk. Early morning, finds Fred at the kitchen table with a cup of dark, rich, coffee, as he plans his day. As dawn gives way to the first light, Fred is preparing his tractors for the circles they will make. Here comes Tom, with a little hair of the dog that bit him from the night before, to lean on the fence and begin his stories of high adventure.

Fred understands the benefit of crop rotation. If he wants to grow corn in one of his fields, he plants corn seed. For the sugar beet fields, he plants those little sugar beet seeds. In his wheat fields, he plants kernels of wheat.

As the spring rains stop, Fred is ready to start his irrigation to provide water for the crops. In early summer, the weeds are in competition with his crops; so, he cultivates. When the calves sneak through a hole in the pasture fence, he cowboys them back home and fixes the fence.

Tom watches Fred work. While continuing to lean on the fence day after day, Tom has all kinds of advice for how Fred should do his work. Fred just nods. In fact, Fred nods and waves as he puts his grain in the bin, steers on the truck, beets in the pile, and corn in the crib.

Then, one fall day while surveying his barren fields, Tom is in, especially, fine form. He walks up to his favorite leaning post and waves Fred over to the edge of the field. As Fred idles his new tractor down to a gentle purr and steps from the cab to learn what is on his neighbor’s mind, Tom says, “You’re sure lucky!” Fred just nods and says, “Yep.”

We harvest what we plant.

The shorter version of the story is the proverb: “Some sow their wild oats and then hope for a crop failure.” Those are the lucky ones. Lucky in the sense that less bad seed is blowing in the wind to cause harm for the neighbors. Un-lucky, since the real joys of life are discovered by doing, learning, and growing.

In this era of fantasy, when: work is spelled l-u-c-k; wrong is thought to be right; and, black and white are old-fashioned; how can we know good people from the bad ones?

Again, from agrarian principles, comes the answer.

You can identify them by their fruit, that is, by the way they act. Can you pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? A good tree produces good fruit, and a bad tree produces bad fruit. A good tree can’t produce bad fruit, and a bad tree can’t produce good fruit. So every tree that does not produce good fruit is chopped down and thrown into the fire. Yes, just as you can identify a tree by its fruit, so you can identify people by their actions.

Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock. Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won’t collapse because it is built on bedrock. But anyone who hears my teaching and doesn’t obey it is foolish, like a person who builds a house on sand. When the rains and floods come and the winds beat against that house, it will collapse with a mighty crash.

… He taught with real authority—quite unlike their teachers…

In returning to the story of our two neighbors, Tom is a Talker and Fred is the Farmer. Talk is easy. Work is hard. Or, is it?

Maybe, the moral of the story is: Easy is hard — and, Hard is easy.

As for me, I enjoy full bins!

www.kimfoardcpa.com

Post Turtles

Post Turtle

Pedestals, Ivory Towers, and White Horses

A country doctor is suturing a laceration on the hand of an old Montana rancher.

Rancher: “At least this hurt comes from building something. Just imagine the pain of a post turtle.” 

Doctor: “Oh? What is a post turtle?” 

Rancher: “Well, when you’re driving down a country road and you come across a fence post with a turtle balanced on top. That’s a post turtle. You know he didn’t get there by himself; he doesn’t belong there; he can’t get anything done while he’s up there; and, without help to get down, he’s stranded!”

How often do we get stuck?

Do we ever consider: “Why?” Is it because we allowed someone to place us on a pedestal, in an ivory tower, or on a white horse? It is one thing to work hard to earn our place in the world; it is quite another to be placed somewhere. Even more dangerous than the physical geography is the mental fantasy. It can be our mind playing tricks on us; or, the imaginations of another.

From our earliest memories we are indoctrinated with the propaganda that, to be somebody, we must rise above. Movies, novels and childhood stories revolve around the themes of a princess in an ivory tower attracting the knight in shining armor who gallops in on his white stallion.

What goes up must come down. Down to the reality that the greatest joys in life are found by serving; not swooning. Life is all about attitude; not altitude. Love is defined by giving; not getting. Let’s all get down, to the business and pleasure of accepting others for who they, really, are; not who we want them to be.

While the grandeur of heights is intoxicating, the grounded efforts of servants produce harvests of abundance. Those who are the greatest, purposefully, take the lowest rank. They are recognized as true leaders by their efforts to serve.

They are the ones who know where they are; how they got there; why they are there; what they are doing there; and, who have absolutely no fear of falling down. When they stumble, it is to learn a new lesson on their way to another opportunity, of service!

www.kimfoard.com

ASK

ASK Ask, Seek, Knock

Courage is a three letter word — ASK.

In fact, the acronym comes with built-in promises.

Ask and it will be given to you; Seek and you will find; Knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; those who seek find; and, to those who knock, the door will be opened.

Within the last week, I have been reminded of how powerful one, little, word can be. As a parent, words are inadequate to describe the appreciation for two young adults, who are boldly making the world a better place. More than words, these two young people are living the principles — and, that takes courage.

Two children with different approaches. Yet, they are using the same Universal tool to receive goodness into their lives, discover new paths of growth, and have doors of opportunity swing wide open. All because they show up each day and do their part, to ASK.

One has been enrolled in the School of Hard Knocks (pardon the pun) for the last two years. The education and experience ranges from building log homes, pouring concrete foundations, driving beet truck, guiding dudes on hunting trips into — and, back out of — the wilderness, creating barbwire works of art, managing a crew of rednecks, tending bar in a cowboy saloon, busting broncs and spurring hair off of bulls.

Upon deciding to begin work on his graduate degree in finance, he went to where new wealth is being extracted and asked to be part of the action. By the time he made it back home, a Company wanted to know more — about him. After one five minute interview and a week’s worth of passing tests, this young man is across the threshold into a new adventure.

His older sister, while more conventional in approach, is just as non-traditional in her own way. A high school math teacher once described this marvelous combination of logic and emotion, straight-line thinker, and creative genius, with this statement, “She does everything asked of her and some things just for herself.”

Directly out of high school, she marched into college. At the beginning of her junior year, she doubled down by starting a full-time job, and adding another facet to her degree program. Towards the end of four years, a few credits were standing between her and graduation. With a faculty open to negotiation, the delivery of a little extra work earned the equivalent of a five year degree in four.

For the last two years, the education has continued with a Master Certification in customer service — and, the experience has broadened to managing technicians into productive roles, for the benefit of all. Wanting to be closer, geographically, to a Special Someone, she is carefully considering a variety of new opportunities.

A dad’s response to their effort — to ASK — “Wow!”

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