Thursday, January 26, 2017

Killing Nigel

I must make a confession.  I have committed murder.  Shock and awe. 
I have killed Nigel, otherwise known as Negative Nigel.

He is mean and cruel.  He is a no-good, low-life, louse.  He robs.  He steals.  He profanes.  He derails plans.  He is no good I tell you … no good at all.

And to top it all off, Negative Nigel has about ninety-nine lives.  In my years of living I have probably already killed Nigel at least a dozen times, yet every time he comes back from the dead to do his dastardly deeds.

Perhaps you’ve met your own version of Negative Nigel.  His voice sounds something like this …

“You can’t do that.”
“Nobody will buy it or like it.”
“Are you crazy.  It will never work.”
“That’s gonna cost a fortune.”  
“But you’re just a small person, a small thinker, a nobody.”
“They will laugh you out of town.”
“They will throw stones at your work.”
“That kind of book won’t sell.”
“You’re not made to do that kind of work.”
“You’ll lose your shirt.”
“You’ll cut your fingers off with that saw.”
“But you’ve had so many failures before.  Why fail one more time?”

You see what I mean.  I’ve got to kill Nigel before he kills me.

Every good idea I’ve ever had, Nigel comes along and tries to talk me out of it.  He continually whispers in my ear that I can’t do something.  He throws up roadblocks and tries to keep me from certain roads.

Well, Nigel. Your days are numbered once
again.   I’ve got ideas, plans, dreams, hopes, ambitions.  I can see my future clearly and I’m far from over the hill.  I’m not near death.  I’m not even sick, except maybe sick of your sniveling remarks.  Nigel, you are a whiner, a complainer, a negative ninny, and a no-good louse.

For all of us who have struggled with a nemesis like Nigel, there is hope.  There is relief.  There is an answer.

And the answer is … belief, faith, hope, courage, determination.

You, like me, may have to do battle with your Nigel every day, or at least every week, and the good news is … the Nigel’s of this world can be conquered. 

Do you believe?
~Do you believe in your dreams enough to do them in spite of the negative thoughts that plague you?
~Do you believe in YOU enough to overcome the voices that say ‘don’t try, don’t go there, don’t do that, it’s already been done before’?

Belief is the only antidote to overcoming the Negative Nigel’s in this world. 
~Belief that YOU are capable.
~Belief that YOU are worthy.
~Belief that YOUR dreams matter.

Go ahead … take a shot at Nigel. 

Words of Hope
Encouragement Inspiration
One Word at a Time

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Time to Give a Damn

Well good morning!  Now that I have your attention, let’s talk for a while about ‘giving a damn’.

It is a seriously underrated commodity in today’s economy, after all.  Frankly, I’m attracted to people and businesses who demonstrate that they do, indeed, give a damn. 

When we give a damn, we …              

~Go out of our way to help someone
~Do the unusual and unexpected just because we can and we care
~Put on some extra touches just to make sure the job is done right
~Pay attention to the individual, not the pocketbook they carry

Meet Ryan.  He is 69 and feeble.  He walks with a slow gait; the right side of his face is caved in from some unknown illness.  He curses and swears, he finds fault with a lot of things in life, yet he has a friend to whom he goes for advice and help.  And this friend welcomes him every time without judgment, without embarrassment, for this businessman friend of Ryan’s gives a damn.  He looks beyond the old and frail frame of a man and sees a human being who deserves good care and good treatment just because he is.

He helps Ryan with a monthly check that must be written for his cab fare.  He answers questions for Ryan about bills that are due, or about some phone scam Ryan was talked into and now needs help getting out of.

Ryan’s friend gives a damn about him. 

Meet Larry.  Larry is a forty-nine-year-old ex-con.  He spent eight years in San Quentin prison.  To say Larry has had a rough life is to put it mildly.  He is a stranger to his own father, and rarely sees his mother. 

Larry may not mean much to his neighbors, or to the “system” in Seattle.  To them, he is nothing more than a name and number on the welfare benefits role, but to one businessman in Seattle, Larry matters. 

Larry has had to borrow $10 or $20 or even $40 dollars on occasion from his business friend.  Would you loan money to an ex-con from San Quentin?  Guess what – every time, EVERY TIME Larry has come back around and paid the man the money owed. 

This business person gives a damn.  He cares for this simple man on the streets and sees a soul in need of a hand of help.

He gives a damn!

Now listen up.  I don’t want you to rush out and throw money at the next down-and-out person you meet, unless you really feel in your heart that is the thing to do.  You see, if you did that, then you would be responding from a point of guilt. 

Moving forward, maybe we choose to adopt the attitude of “care” and “validation” and “honor” and “respect” for our fellow travelers.  Every person has a story and a past.

This is, perhaps, the best way to show that we really do ‘give a damn’.

Words of Hope
Encouragement Inspiration
One Word at a Time

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Stop the Voices in Your Head

Meet Jake.  He is a freshman in college.  And he is a bit scared.  He is taking an English class.  The assignment last week was to read a certain book and then write a report on that book.  Jake hates reading, and he is anything but a writer. 

But he tackled the project anyway.

He read, and then he wrote. 

Except he read the wrong book.  HE READ THE WRONG BOOK. 

Jake was devastated.  He felt horrible, and the voices in his head were the worst.

   I’m a loser.
      I’m a dumb kid.
         I am a nobody.

What is worse than hearing voices like that?

Believing what those voices say.  That is worse.

We’ve all been there.  I have.  You probably have too. 

A personal moment … that happened to me this past Christmas.  I looked at the Apple watch for several months before Christmas, and every time I looked I heard … “You’re not worthy of a watch like that.  You’re a poor boy from Tennessee.  You used to wear black tennis shoes that were torn and dirty.  Your jeans had holes in them.  Who do you think you are wanting a watch of that quality?”

My wife … my loving and kind and grace-filled wife came alongside of me and said the right words, the healing words, the esteeming words and today, on my left wrist I am wearing a lovely, quality time piece called the Apple watch.

Those damn voices are destructive.  They are killers.  They maim, they stifle, they stop you in your tracks.

They get in the way of the great job.
They get in the way of the dream home.
They get in the way of goals and dreams.


You are not your past.

You are not your mistakes.
You are not whatever bad deeds, bad thoughts, or lousy failures you may have experienced in the past.

You are YOU.  You are a worthwhile individual.  You are not your mistakes.

Did you get that?


Thank God for some individuals who have come along beside you and me in life.  They are people who have believed in us.  People who cared for us.  People who looked beyond our dirty shoes, torn jeans, and bad manners. 

They looked beyond all that and saw a worthwhile young man or young woman.  They saw someone with a future standing there, and made it a point to add to what they saw.  Not take away … no, no.  They added to you and me.

You see the point here …

We are not what others say about us.
Our circumstances don’t define us.
Our past failures don’t define us.

Say it with me …

I am somebody.
I am a worthwhile human being.
I am worthy of love.
I like myself.  I really do like myself.
I am capable of surpassing the worst days of my life and I look forward to the best days of my life.  


Now, repeat those last words about one-hundred times a day.  And when doubts set in, double that dose.

Do you believe in YOU?

Words of Hope
Encouragement Inspiration
One Word at a Time