Thursday, January 29, 2015

Be Kind to Yourself

Some of the best advice I can offer today is this … Be Kind to Yourself.

When you are all alone, and you’re having those private conversations with yourself as you replay life, be kind to yourself.

Avoid the putdowns, the harsh names we are sometimes prone to label ourselves with, and the self-condemning judgments we like to wallow in. 

A theme that is recurring in my message is this: 

You made a mistake.  You are not your mistake.

Every “great” person you can name has had their lackluster side to life.  They’ve had those moments they will never share with another soul. 

Be gracious to YOU. 

This is a really simple thought for today.  And it is, perhaps, one of the most important.

I learned a children’s song in the church of my boyhood.  Perhaps you know it too.

Jesus loves me, this I know
For the Bible tells me so
Little ones to Him belong
They are weak, but He is strong

You see, God already saw our weak nature.  And His strength is still available and abundant.

I love what 2 Corinthians 12:9 says: 

“My grace is sufficient for you;
my power is made whole in weakness.”

God has gone ahead of us and paved the way for our short comings.  He knows we’ll do some bad stuff, make bad decisions, and get off the track more than once.  And He loves us anyway.  His shelves are stocked full of good stuff for us.  He miraculously makes miracles of our messes when we ask. 

Be kind to yourself.  He is.

P Michael Biggs
Offering Hope
Encouragement Inspiration
One Word at a Time

Thursday, January 22, 2015

On Being Great

Be warned – this is a purely inspirational and motivational message.  Hang on.

Carolyn and I are watching The Biggest Loser at the moment.  This episode features four former Olympic contenders and medal winners.  When they started this show seventeen weeks ago, each of these athletes was an enlarged version of their former self.  They once had amazing physiques, and then inactivity set in. 

There are some amazing stories being written in their lives about now and the reason is these four wanted to reclaim a dose of their former greatness.

One of the coaches was quoted just a few minutes ago.  He said.

Can you relate to that?  In January I started with a dose of seriousness by hitting LA Fitness more regularly.  If I shared with you my routine, which I will not, you would not be very impressed.  This is not a path to Olympic stardom for me, but it is a path to improved breath control, weight control, blood pressure and blood sugar control. 

Already, just a few weeks into this routine, my collar is not as tight, my breathing is easier when climbing stairs, and often, in the middle of the day, that amazing euphoric feeling, or endorphin rush, overwhelms me.

Well, enough of the personal and the “I” and “me” story. 

Another coach on this program just said this:

“The journey is long,
the journey is hard,
and the journey is worth it.”

And so it is. 

Success comes from the little steps, repeated and repeated and repeated.  And they lead to better habits, better muscle memory and better life management practices.

Do you want to be great?

You may have to put your ego away, start taking those small steps, and build slowly so that someday, you’ll look back and say – “Look where I’ve come from.” 

On Wednesdays, the community college baseball team shares the gym where I do my running.  Now, this team is full of 25 young, strong, mostly in shape athletes.  I could feel intimidated.  I could walk away and say “I’ll do this tomorrow when they are not around.” 

No.  No.  No.  Who cares if they watch me, or laugh at me – which I've never felt.  They do their thing and I do mine.

They are working on their greatness, and I’m working on mine.  We just happen to be sharing the same space one day a week.

There are other areas in which I’m pursuing greatness.  Being a top-notch banker is important.  So is writing and speaking, not to mention being the best husband in the world to Carolyn.

What is your “being great” goal?

It starts today, with the first step.


You don’t have to be great to start.  
You do have to start in order to be great.

You are dismissed.

P Michael Biggs
Offering Hope
Encouragement Inspiration
One Word at a Time

Friday, January 16, 2015

The Uncertain Pathfinder

There is no such thing as a certain pathfinder.  The very nature of an explorer is that they embrace uncertainty.  They live for the thrill of discovery.  The unknown is what propels them. 

~Uncertain pathfinders walk on the moon. 
~Uncertain pathfinders start out as bicycle makers and end up making an airplane.
~Uncertain pathfinders write books, blogs, movie scripts, and cookbooks.  

~Uncertain pathfinders build great computer companies. 
~Uncertain pathfinders make a better chocolate chip cookie. 
~Uncertain pathfinders deliver a different sermon in a different style and lives are changed.

~Uncertain pathfinders create the never-yet seen and the as-of-yet unheard musical style.
~Uncertain pathfinders are sales men and women, introducing their products or services to fellow citizens of all strips, nationalities, languages and interests.  They dare to meet and greet and present in hopes of making a connection.

Allow me a personal reflection.  When I started blogging in October 2009, I was fearful as to whether I would be able to sustain this blog site with enough worthy ideas.  What if I ran out of creativity?

Today, I own six blog sites and have four published books.  My problem now is trying to contain all of the ideas for writing that come my way.  Ideas scream out to me from my reading material, from personal conversations and from TV, sermons, news sources and the average person on the street.

Tonight, when the time came to write this blog, no strong idea had come to my mind.  I started down the now familiar uncertain path in search of an idea.  After an hour of concentrated thought and editing, here is where we end up. 

Are you a pathfinder?  The very nature of a pathfinder is one who discovers, often for the thrill of discovery. 

Pathfinders want to see what they have never before seen.  They wonder and follow the itch to faraway places and spaces.  And they write, and follow the thread of an idea just to see where it leads.  They wonder.

Where will your wonder take you?  What will you discover on your uncertain path?

P Michael Biggs
Offering Hope
Encouragement Inspiration
One Word at a Time

Thursday, January 8, 2015

On Being an Artist

If you think this post is about drawing and painting, then keep reading.  It has nothing to do with those talents per se and it has everything to do with them and more.

“Make Good Art” first came to my attention from a
writer/speaker named Neil Gaiman.  And then my current hero, Seth Godin, took up the song and promoted the basic concept of “make art and ship it”.

So what is this “make art” thing all about really?  I’m going to borrow some ideas from Seth, first, and then extrapolate some thoughts based on his phrases.  Here we go.


~Be on the hook.  Step out.  Own your craft--write, sing, make a great retail store, bake an outrageous banana pudding, encourage people – whatever your “art” might be, own it.  Claim it.  Be on the hook for it.

~Take our turn.   Only you can decide when it’s your turn.  Don’t wait to be invited.  People were not beating down my door begging for my blogs.  I made a start, and now, five year later I’m read in over 117 countries, have had over 127,000 clicks and received some really encouraging notes about how these words encourage others.  That is a pretty good paycheck. 

Maybe it’s your turn.  Step right up.  Get in the batter’s box and take a few swings.  You might hit a home-run.  Better yet – you may become an over-night success – in three to five years.

~What if it doesn't work?  Every artist faces this dilemma at one time or another.  We never know for sure if our ideas will sing or not.  I was terrified every time I pressed “PUBLISH” on my blogs during my first year.  I felt I was putting it out there and what if people laughed, or cringed, or wrote me off as a lunatic.  I did it anyway, and so should you.

~Seek a connection.  That is the essence of making art - seeking a connection.  My friend Chuck does that with his bookstore in South Carolina.  And he does a great job of connecting with his customers not only in town, but around the world, for they have an international customer base.  Chuck and his team connect. 

My Nashville engineer friend Bob makes connections in the recording studio by giving numerous musicians his unique touch as a top-notch engineer.  He is the best-of-the-best.

~Take responsibility!  Every artist takes responsibility.  I write every word of my blogs.  I borrow ideas, I quote others and hope and pray I properly honor them.  And at the end of the day, I own my words.  I am responsible for them.  Sometimes Carolyn finds mistakes after the fact.  I fix what I can, and shrug off what is unchangeable.  I DID IT.  No one else gets the blame.

~To change someone:  I create my form of art for one purpose only – to change someone.  My purpose in life is to offer hope, encouragement and inspiration with every blog and book I write.  I want you to be different, see differently, think differently or deeper.  If I can change your view, even if you cling to your ideas a bit more tenaciously, then I have changed you. 

~To Be Human:  I am fully human.  I think and write in a style that is compatible with my formation, my past experiences and my present understanding.  I hope to God that my writing appears to be from a human being and not a machine, for I am a man in search of a deeper understanding of existing on this sphere we call earth. 

I want to encourage and inspire as many individuals as I possibly can.  Actually, my life’s goal is this:  “I want to write the blog heard around the world.”  Now that would be a fine way of making art.

I borrowed these headings from Seth Godin’s newest book – What to do When It’s Your Turn.  This is a highly recommended book, by the way.  (You can find these headings on page 145.)

Okay.  Now it’s your turn.  Go be an artist today.  Start big.  Start small. It doesn't really matter.  Just start making art.

That is all.

P Michael Biggs
Offering Hope
Encouragement Inspiration
One Word at a Time

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Small Beginnings

Some people choose January 1st of every year and map out their strategies for the year to come.  I’m thinking about that as I write today.

A small reminder however:  the secret lies in beginning and in small incremental steps to do what one sets out to do.  If the goal is so far out of sight, to me, that is a de-motivator.  But if I can see some accomplishment at the end of a week, for example, then my chances are improved greatly that I can go beyond the first week, extend my horizons and continue marching toward my bigger goal.

I’m reminded of this “Peanuts” comic strip from a few years ago. 

Charlie Brown has just struck out and while sitting on the bench, he pours out his heart to Lucy.

He says:  “I’ll never be a big-league player.  I just don’t have it.  All my life I've dreamed of playing in the big league, but I know I’ll never make it.”

Lucy replies:  “You’re thinking too far ahead, Charlie Brown.  What you need to do is set yourself a more immediate goal.  Start with the next inning for example.  When you go out to pitch, see if you can walk out to the mound … without falling down.”
~Compliments of Charles Schultz and Peanuts Cartoon Strip

Now that is a small beginning. 

For me, the constant struggle is weight control and physical conditioning.  Beginning Jan. 2, what if I commit to seeing how many laps I can run around the gym floor at LA Fitness?  I don’t honestly know the answer to that right now, but we will find out tomorrow.  And next Monday, I’ll match and maybe even beat that record.  Repeat Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.

Okay, I've put it out there.  Those are small steps for me.  And now – comes the doing. 

You have your own agenda.  Is it time to make some small beginnings?

P Michael Biggs
Offering Hope
Encouragement Inspiration
One Word at a Time