Thursday, June 24, 2010

If You Don't Think Highly of Yourself, Who Will?

Occasionally I come across a question or comment that just begs to be written about. Such is the case with this question that a friend of mine in Waco, Texas sent. Carla sent me a list of fifteen questions, and this was the last one on the list, and the most profound one.

The question is: If you don’t think highly of yourself, who will?

What opinions do you hold of yourself? When you hold up a mirror to your mind, what do you hear/see? When your mind is in idle and you think about the sum total of you, what do you see and feel?

Brian Tracy, motivational speaker and writer, is fond of having his listeners and readings repeat the phrase “I like myself. I really like myself.”

The more I read and understand human nature, the more I come to understand that many of us carry around memories from our growing up years that are less than esteeming. Often, we replay these tapes in our minds on auto pilot without realizing what we are thinking and telling ourselves. Our subconscious is listening all the while and absorbing everything our stream of consciousness is spilling into our minds.

How do we change this habit? These thoughts are comfortable, for we have believed them for so many years, and no one has come along side us to counteract them, so they must be true, right?  I mean, look at my life. I’m a nobody. I’m lost in myself.

My friend, let me walk beside you and whisper some important concepts into your ears.
You are smarter than you think.
You are more capable than you ever imagined you are.
You have just as much opportunity for achievement as anyone else you know.
You are a loveable person.
You’ve got talent.
There is a God who has you in His sights and he never sleeps and you are never out of his care.

If you are feeling down on yourself I want to give you an assignment. Og Mandino, one of the great inspirational writers of all time, wrote a book called The Greatest Miracle in the World. In this little gem, Og includes a passage called The God Memorandum. Follow the link below and read it every night for one hundred nights. Consider this nightly reading as a prescription for what ails you. You’ll gain a new appreciation for your uniqueness and the divinity that flows within you.

The God Memorandum link:

Above all, believe in you! As someone long forgotten once said, “God don’t make junk!”

Thursday, June 17, 2010

What Am I Born to Do?

I want to teach you a new word. I learned this word from my new friend and author Kevin Hall in his book Aspire. The word is:

“Namaste: I salute the Divine within you. I salute what you do best. I salute your natural gifts. I honor your uniqueness and your specialness.”

So, what do you do best? What are your natural gifts?

John Maxwell says, in his book Dare to Dream: “When you discover what you were made for, your heart sings. It says, there’s no place like this place anywhere near this place, so this must be the place.”

I love finding my place. It’s like coming home. I love knowing what I do best. There is no feeling like that in the whole world.

Kevin continues with this thought from Aspire: “Recognizing your natural gifts is like meeting an old friend. It feels like coming home. And you are coming home; you are coming home to your authentic, genuine self. The feeling is blissful, natural, and unmistakable.”

And he continues: “You will know because it will flow.”

Don’t you love it when you are in the flow and in the groove? I’ve had moments as a worship leader and as a writer when I knew without a shadow of doubt that I was in the ‘moment’. Everything was right and appropriate and people were responding. What a thrilling experience that is.  

There is a question that I’ve been asked numerous times in my life by wise friends of mine. The question is this: "If you knew you could not fail, what would you do?"

At various stages of my life I would have answered that question in different ways. Today, my answer would be “I would write five or six days a week, with the intent of speaking to someone’s heart, offering hope, encouragement and inspiration one word at a time.” To me that would be my bliss.

What would you do if you knew you could not fail?

What are your innate gifts? What activity makes your heart sing like no other?

Do you recognize your gifts?

There are numerous books and materials on this subject and a quick search on the web will reveal more than you can possibly use. One source is the Johnson O’Connor Research Foundation. They give aptitude tests to clients in a variety of areas, all with the intent of discovering what a person is best suited to do and become. I believe this is one resource that would be beneficial to anyone seriously wanting to discover their true aptitude for a more productive, wholesome, fulfilling life.

By completing a battery of testing such as the Johnson O’Connor Research Foundation offers, it will enable one to recognize and pursue their personal areas of strength and natural inclinations and abilities. As Kevin says in Aspire, “If we don’t recognize our gifts, we can’t use them. How can you appreciate a gift that you don’t open?”

So, what are you born to do? Have you discovered the work which makes your heart sing?

“If you want to really fly in your life, if you want to soar higher than you ever thought humanly possible, then feel free to be yourself. Feel free to follow your nature.” Aspire, Kevin Hall.

“I commit to stop doing what I am good at and start doing what I am great at. That is Namaste at its very essence.” Aspire, Kevin Hall.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Oh, to Dream Again

Martin Luther King had a dream that all men would dwell together as equals.
John F. Kennedy dreamed that man would one day explore the moon and beyond.
Bill Gates had a dream of blanketing the earth with his software.
Henry Ford dreamed of encircling the globe with his automobiles.
My dream is to offer hope, encouragement and inspiration one word at a time to over ten-million people.

Everyone, at one time or another has had a dream in some form or fashion. But what became of those dreams? What about your dreams? Are they still beating vibrantly in your heart? Or are they now a faint memory of a once-held dream that died for lack of perseverance or a plan?

The loss of a dream is a great tragedy. Norman Cousins once said, “Death is not the greatest loss in life. The greatest loss is what dies inside of us while we live.”

Most elderly people, when asked what they would do if they could live their life over, responded, “I would have taken more chances.”

They are saying they dreamed, they envisioned, and they saw what might be possible, but they stopped short of the realization of those dreams and their dream died somewhere along the way. They failed to act on their vision of what could have been.

I have always been a dreamer, but I’ve not always known what to do with my dreams. Maybe a better way of saying this is that I never took the time to completely flesh them out and give them feet and wings. Can you relate?

Can I walk along with you for a bit and offer you some words of encouragement? Would you like to try one more time to renew your dream, whatever it is or was? There is still time. There’s always time as long as breath flows through your lungs.

I know a lady who longed for a college degree, yet chose to put raising a family first and foremost. Finally, in 2006, she decided that it was her time to pursue this dream and she went for it with passion.

And now, four years later and she is graduating from the University of Washington with her successfully completed degree in Sociology. It hasn’t been easy for her. She struggled with college algebra and had to do a re-do or two, and she wrote endless research papers on a multitude of topics, and then there was that class on French movies and whatever the objective of that class was. But she persevered.

She stayed up until 1:30 many nights writing, reading, studying and memorizing, and she arose at 6:00 A.M. more times than is reasonable so that she could study some more. And now on Saturday, June 12, she is graduating from the University of Washington and I am so proud of her, for she is my wife, Carolyn. She made it!!!

See what a little perseverance will bring about in one’s life?

It all starts with a dream, mixed with desire, a touch of schedule-adjustment and several bags of determination.

Can you pick up your dreams, dust them off, and start again? I believe you can. Just remember to surround yourself with some dream-boosters and avoid the dream busters.

Seek the challenge.
Go forward toward your destiny. It awaits you with open arms.
Dream the impossible dream.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

How Is My Serve?

I once had the reputation of being one of the better ping pong players in my home town. Every summer I would hang out at Little Park on the lower grounds of the county library next to Little Pool and play endless ping pong games. There were only two or three kids and one adult, Coach Shelton, who could usually beat me at my game.

Somewhere along the way I learned how to serve a great dancing curve ball that only the experienced players could handle. At times, I could predict with great accuracy exactly where their return shot would land on the table, if it landed on the table at all. What fun that was.

When one of the better players came along who could handle my serve, I would then change my tactics with short shots, right hand corner, left hand corner, inside spin and anything else I could think of to give me the advantage.

But it always came back down to the serve.

So, how is your serve? How is my serve?

Here’s the application.

The question is not “what can you do for me?” It is “What can I do for you?” I constantly ask myself: “How can I serve others better? What can I possibly write about that will encourage and inspire and offer someone hope today?”

Do I value people? Do I cherish and guard the divine within each person I meet? Do I hold out the possibility for greatness to exist in every individual?

Everyone is great at something. Sometimes we have to dig a little to discover exactly what that greatness looks like.

How is my serve?

Am I serving you in a way that betters your life, encourages you, and lifts your spirits? Do I cause you to see your own uniqueness and the possibilities that are inside of you? Do I act in a way to lift you up and cause you to like yourself, or do I point out your faults, your short comings and your inadequacies?

How is my serve?

Do I communicate clearly with you?

Do I speak to you as an equal or do I use a tone and demeanor that puts you down, causes you to feel less than respected or small and inadequate?

Do I look you in the eye when we talk? Do I allow you an equal share in our conversation, or do I over-talk you?

How is my serve?

Do I respect you enough to show up on time for our set appointments? Do I return your phone calls? Do I send notes of thanks and appreciation just because? Do I honor you by recognizing you as a fellow human being with wants, desires and needs as well? Do I see that you simply want to be recognized and made to feel important?

Do I nurture your nature? Do I esteem you? Do I allow your uniqueness to come out, or do I try to make you conform to my way of thinking, acting and living?

John C. Maxwell offers a quote in The 21 Indispensible Laws of Leadership that I really love.

John’s original quote is: “You’ve got to love your people more than your position.” My revision is “You’ve got to love your people more than yourself and more than your idea of what they should be, do, or become.”

John goes on to say, “The truth is that the best leaders desire to serve others, not themselves.”

There is a Bible verse in Mark 9:35 that states, “he who would be great must be like the least and the servant of all.”

Wow! What a nice serve.

Now, let’s go grab a cup of coffee and mull some of this over?

By the way, I’ll buy.