Get going in a different direction…

November 15, 2017

Thaccess deniedis little quote from the Jack’s Winning Words blog got me to thinking about the rejections in my life and how that changed my direction.

“Sometimes rejection in life is really redirection.”  (Tavis Smiley)

Rejections in life can come in many forms. We tend to remember the bigger moments of rejection, like being turned down for a date or being passed over for a promotion; however, life is full of little moments in which something that we want to do is somehow rejected or, at least that path is blocked and we must go in a different direction.

 

 

How we react to rejections in life and what we choose to do in the new direction says a bored2lot about us. Some don’t deal with rejection very well and may slip into anger or depression every time things don’t go the way that they and planned and hoped. Some are so flighty that rejections are quickly forgotten and they flit off in a new direction, seemingly oblivious to the rejection. Do you know people who react to rejection in those ways?

For most of us rejection is just a temporary bump in life. They may stop us for a moment, as we internalize what just happened, but we go on. What few of us take the time to do is to think about that rejection as a redirection in our lives. I wonder what would happen if woman-prayingwe paused and thought to ourselves, “OK, God didn’t want that to happen to me or for me; I wonder what direction He wants to take me in now?”

By taking that moment to attribute the rejection/redirection in your life to God’s will, you remove the need to seek an answer to the question of why that just happened. You also excuse yourself of the need to find blame in yourself or others. It was God’s will, not your will or actions that brought about the rejection, so use it as a redirection and seek His will in which way to go next. Maybe start off with a little prayer like, “God I know that you have something else in mind for me; please help me see the path that you wish for me to take.” Do that, knowing that God has only the best outcome in mind for you; and you will joyfully start off in your new direction.

Dealing with rejections as redirections from God in your life will allow you to keep a positive attitude towards life, no matter how and many or what types of rejections you hit. Sometimes God may throw a rejection at you to help re-ground you on the important things in life, like family vs. possessions. A rejection may force you to realize that you had begun to value the wrong things and to pursue the wrong things. Sometimes that rejection is a wake-up call that says that you have become too complaisant and too expectant of success; that you have become full of yourself and God needed to take you down a peg and remind you of who is in charge.

man prayingMaybe you can start each day with a variation of that little prayer that I suggested earlier. “God, I don’t know what you have in mind for me today, but help me accept the things that happen and see the new directions that you have laid out for me; trusting in You and your love for me, through your Son, Jesus Christ.”

Then get out there and get going in those new directions.

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Don’t waste your time…Run to the next window

September 23, 2017

There are quotes that I happen upon that, thought totally unrelated, just seem to naturally go together. Here are two that I have collected over time from the Jack’s Winning Words blog:

“Don’t waste a minute not being happy.  If one window closes, run to the next.”  (Brooke Shields)

“You have to be able to laugh at yourself and to take it with a grain of salt.”  (Khloe Kardashian)

While life is obviously serious business, we all tend to take things too seriously, especially when we get down on ourselves. Sometimes we try things and fail. Sometimes we do bored2stupid things that we should have known better not to do. Sometimes life throws a curve ball at us and we react badly. Most of those times result in some amount of our time being spent in an unhappy state of mind. We may be sad or angry or frustrated or disappointed, but we are not happy.

Perhaps we are angry at ourselves, which can be the hardest thing to forgive; just because there is no one else to blame. In any event, we waste time not being happy. Why? Does it really do any good to be angry? Does being disappointed make anything different? Does wallowing in self-pity make you feel any better? Perhaps a good cry depression4relieves some of the pain of the sadness of a lost or a disappointment, but does it change anything? Let the moment pass. Let go of the thing that is effecting you and move on. Step back and laugh at yourself…run to the next window.

I recently got to see this philosophy in action. I good friend had her business literally snatched out from under her, due to circumstances over which she had no control. A big, direct competitor in her line of business bought the building that her business was housed in and basically shut it down by canceling her lease. There was nowhere else to go in the area and the only choice that she had was to shut down her business.

calm personThese events could have been personally devastating for her; but, she has a great attitude and is viewing it as an opportunity to do something new and different. Was she initially bummed? Yes, who wouldn’t be. But, rather than wallow in self-pity and walking around complaining about how unfair life can be; she has decided to see this as an opportunity. She has accepted it better, and probably has a better attitude about it, than the people who were her clients in the old business. She is running to the next window and is actually excited about the new adventure. What a great attitude and reaction to the things that life has thrown her way. I’m sure that everyone who knows her will support her in her new career.

I read a story not too long ago about a man who was diagnosed with a terminal condition and given less than a year to live. Rather than wallow in self-pity, he decided to live to the fullest in the time that he has and to throw a party for his family and friends so that they could all celebrate his life together, rather than waiting for some sort of wake after his death. What a great idea. It is a lot easier to deal with the inevitability of death if you have a firm belief in your faith that this is just a transition point into the next life. You need not fear death as a great the unknown, when you know God and believe in whathelping hands comes next…you can run to the next window of happiness.

So, the choice is yours. You can get down and stay down on yourself, because of what life has handed you; or, you can run to the next window of happiness. Knowing that God is with you makes the journey to that next window a lot less scary. I’ll see you at the next window.


Please Stand By…

September 9, 2017

Every now and then I’ll pause to think about the fact that I haven’t posted to my blog for a while and realize that I got consumed by life again. Things happens, life happens and we get swept along with it, spending our time reacting to the events of life rather than working against timeproactively pursuing the things that we might wish to do. That’s life.

So, when I do get a spare moment that is not already committed to some other activity or reaction to life, I savor the moment and take the time to think about the things that I want to do, the posts that I want to write and the points that I might want to make. I sometimes also reflect on the reactions that past posts have elicited.

I write a lot about dealing with life and about the role of one’s faith in life and in managing crises. That seems to resonate with a large percentage of the people who follow my blog. Perhaps it is what they hoped someone would tell them or perhaps it’s because they agree and have found strength in their own faith. For whatever reason, I have noted that if I mention God in a post it gets more “Likes” than those with no mention of Him. Imagine that.

Recently, I’ve been consumed by work that I’ve been doing to get sponsorship’s for our annual Milford Home Tour. I’m a member of the Milford Historical Society (see our web site, which I also maintain) and I’m on the board of directors of that organization. The Society is a non-profit that raises funds to run a little local museum – the Milford Historical Museum – that is dedicated to preserving and sharing the history of our local area.

The Milford Historical Society has run a tour of local historic homes for 41 years as its primary fund raiser. I go around and solicit sponsorship money from local businesses to help support the operation of the museum. That has been an all-consuming job for the last month and a half. The Home Tour is next weekend, so I’ve pretty much done all that I can on that. Hopefully, I’ll have more time to get back to blogging after that.

I’m sure that we can all identify with the ebbs and flows of life that can temporarily consume one’s time so completely that one’s normal routine is totally disrupted. In fact, I’ve started to conclude that there really isn’t any “normal routine” any more, just a few things that we seem to do more often than others. One only has to watch the nightly news (which I do as a part of my “normal routine”, when I have time) to see that “normal”clown car has taken on a new and twisted meaning under the current political environment. I guess when one lives within the theater of the absurd, one should expect surprises from the clowns who are in charge.

So, stay tuned. I will get back to a more regular routine of posting here, just as soon as I regain some level of control over the things that I choose to spend my time upon. In the meantime, if you live near Milford, Michigan; plan on going to our Home Tour on September 16 & 17. Read all about it at our web site.

Please stand by…our normal programming will resume momentarily.


The destination is worth the journey…

March 17, 2017

Recently the Jack’s Winning Words blog featured this quote from Sam Worthington – “It’s just a journey I’m on, discovering what my connection to and relationship with God is.”  

For those who may not know who Sam Worthington is (and I admit that I was among that group before I looked this up), here is a snippet from WikipediA about him.

Sam_WorthingtonSamuel Henry John “Sam” Worthington[1] (born 2 August 1976) is an Australian actor. He played the main character role of Alex Mason in the Call of Duty: Black Ops series. He portrayed the protagonist Jake Sully in the 2009 film Avatar; Marcus Wright in Terminator Salvation; and Perseus in Clash of the Titans and its sequel, Wrath of the Titans; before transitioning to more dramatic roles, in Everest (2015) and Hacksaw Ridge (2016).

To read the whole WikipediA entry on Sam click here.

It always causes somewhat of a stir when someone famous, especially one of our modern media stars, even mentions their faith, hints that they may believe in God, or goes do far as to say that they may be a Christian. Yet, the journey that Sam admits to being on is one on which many of us are fellow travelers. Some search all their lives without realizing that the God that they were seeking was standing right there with them the whole time. Some get confused and become disillusioned by the rules and requirements that many organized religious groups have created for their own purposes. Some of them are never able to look past the trappings of the church to find God in their lives. Fortunately, most who start the journey eventually find the peace and understanding of having God in their lives; although for too many it is not until the final moments of their lives.

For those who need the help there is a GPS for this journey. It is called the Bible and it provides a great road map for those seeking a relationship with God. For those who prefer,jesus-as-light or really need, a guide for the journey, God provided that centuries ago when He sent His Son Jesus to live among men. In John 14:6, Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” So we all have our GPS and our guide to help use get to God. All that might be lacking is the will to make the journey.

I think taking a little time to think about what the alternatives are may help some decide that the destination is worth the journey. Deciding not to take the journey or trying to take an alternative path in life always leads to the same thing – a dead end. Literally, all other paths end in death and then nothing else. Only the path that leads you to Jesus and on to God has no dead end; in fact, only it has no end at all, because only that path promises eternal life.

It’s comforting to know also that you may begin that journey at any time in your life, or perhaps continue the journey you were on before you got sidetracked by life. Many may start out in life being taken to church and Sunday School, without really understanding teenswhy r what it was all about. If they stick with it long enough their intellect catches up with what the Sunday School teachers were try to tell them and they begin to understand and may even begin to believe. Somewhere around high school age that same intellect is joined by a growing ego and the first tastes of freedom and many wander off from their faith, convinced at the time that they know better than to believe what they are being told. For some that loss of faith is just an extension of the rebellion against all things that can set in at that age. Eventually self-control and intellect again gain the upper hand and the adult mind begins to look for the meaning of life and wondering about what comes next. Faith provides the only reasonable answer to those questions. All other answers still lead to dead-ends. And so, the journey is taken up again.

Where are you on your journey to understanding your connections to and rhelping handselationship with God? Are you still unsure and wandering about looking for signs from God; or, have you settled into a comfortable relationship that brings you peace and assurance that everything will be alright? Remember that, wherever you are on the journey, you can find directions in your Bible and you can turn to your guide, Jesus Christ, and ask for help. You will not be turned down and you will not get lost on the journey if you just do those things. If your journey hits a few bumps along the way, don’t get discouraged; just keep in mind what the final destination is – your place in heaven that Jesus has prepared for you – and keep on keeping on. The destination is worth the journey. Maybe I’ll see you along the way.


Take a “life-selfie”…

March 10, 2017

The smartphone selfie has become the predominant way of capturing and sharing big moments in our day-to-day lives. Selfies capture where you were, who you were with and what you were doing that seemed so worthy of a picture. Still, at the heart of it, selfies are all about me. Selfies provide a way to capture those, “Hey, look at me” moments that you just feel you must share with others; even is those you share them with could care less.

Perhaps, if it were possible, you should mentally take a selfie of your life and then take a selfie 1hard look at it yourself. Are you where you want to be in life? Are you surrounded by those that you really want to be with in life? Are you doing the things that you really want to do in life? Take a good hard look at your life-selfie and ask yourself those questions and more. As Socrates said – “The unexamined life is not worth living.” A life-selfie may give you a way to examine your own life.

Oft times we get so swept up in the day-to-day activities of life that we fail to really think about why we are even engaged in them. We think it is normal to get up each day and get started again on the path that we were on yesterday. We have to work, even if we don’t particularly like our jobs, right? We have to interact with the people that we find ourselves with on a daily basis, even if we don’t particularly agree with them or even like them, right?  We have to continue our pursuit of the things that are defined as indicators of success, even though we may not really want them, correct? We just have to accept the lives that we are living and go on, yes?

new-way-forwardThe answer to all of those selfie reflections is no; we don’t have to just continue down the current path. We have been given a free will and the ability to change our direction at any time. The momentum of life may try to carry us along the old path, but we can break free and chose a different path. The key to making that decision probably starts with that life selfie and a critical evaluation of what we see in that picture of our life. That review doesn’t mean that you have to beat yourself up for past life decisions; but it does mean that you need to be brutally honest with yourself about where you are in life and where you really want to be.

Honestly deciding that you are not happy with your current path in life and then deciding that you will continue in that direction doesn’t make any sense; nor does dropping everything and making a radical change in direction all at once. The better outcome from examining an honest life-selfie would be to make a conscientious plan to make the changes that are needed as quickly as can be accommodated without total disruption inselfie 2 your life. Some things might be easy to fix immediately; perhaps stopping a bad habit or stopping your association with bad people who may lead you astray. Other things, like making a job change to find something that will both provide the necessary income and make you happier, could take a while and require careful planning. At least you will know that you have made that choice, based on your life selfie and you may start feeling better about the future right away.

One thing that a life-selfie might show you is how out of balance your life has become; how you have let certain aspects of your life take over and push out other aspects. Have the requirements of your work caused you to push aside the needs of your family? Have the requirements of your busy life caused you to push aside the time for your religion? Have the time commitments that you are pulled to make in your busy life caused you to lose having any time for yourself?

norma-nickolosonLocal life coach and author, Norma Nicholson, has published a book called Living a Balanced Life which might give you some perspective, in addition to your life selfie, on the things that you might need to consider doing to change the direction of your life and get it back in balance. You can find out more about Norma at www.wiseowlenterprises.org. Norma’s advice in her book will help you see the areas that you need to give more priority to in your life to achieve a more balanced and satisfying life. It all starts with that life-selfie and the thoughtful evaluation of what you see there.

So, let’s all get our selfie-sticks, smile for the mental camera and take that life-selfie. Then take the time to reflect on what you see and whether that is what you had in mind forselfie stick yourself. If you see things that need to be changed in your life, make a plan and start those changes. You don’t have to continue down a path that you don’t really like. Making changes, bused upon this evaluation of your life-selfie is not selfish; however, it is self-serving and that’s a good thing. The next time that you take a life-selfie, after you make those changes, I think you’ll find a different person smiling back at you.

Have a great and self-fulfilling weekend!


Is it time for you to switch gears? Can you do better?

March 3, 2017

“Life is like a 10-spreed bicycle.  Most of us have gears we never use.”  (Charles Schulz)  – from the Jack’s Winning Words blog.

Jack went on to write: An old song says, “You can be better than you are.”  We all have potential…unused abilities.  I’ll never forget a high school teacher who handed a test back to me, saying, “Jack, you can do better than this.”  He was right.  We all can do better!  In school, at work, at home, in relationships.  Is today that day when we begin to use a new gear?  I can do better!  I will do better! 

If you think back to your bicycle riding days (assuming that they are over, like for me – long over in my case) you may have used 2-3 of the 10 speeds on your bike. Sometimes youbicycle-rider-1 might have shifted down to a lower gear when you were going up a hill and pumped a little bit harder and faster; but for the most part you settled into a comfortable gear for the flat portions and just pedaled along. Life can be like that. We all hit tougher (uphill) stretches during which we must shift gears and pedal harder and faster; but for the most part we just settle into a comfortable gear and pedal along through life.

Perhaps it’s time to challenge yourself. Can you do better at work or in school? Can you do more to have a better relationship with your life partner and family? Can you do more in your community to help others? Can you do better? Maybe it’s time for you to switch gears and pedal harder and faster in life. Why? Because, in your heart, you know that you can do better.

The thing that works well in this analogy is the fact that switching gears is a conscientious effort. In times of emergencies (the uphill times in life) that switch of gears happens without giving it a lot of thought. The situation demands that you do something different, that you switch gears; and, you just do it. You may go into problem-solving mode or even life-saving mode; but, you definitely do so in a different gear than you had been in – you swing into action.

Making the conscientious decision to switch gears in your day-to-day life is more deliberate, but can be no less demanding of you to pedal harder and faster. Making the bicycle-rider-2decision to volunteer at a local charity means switching gears. Making the decision to work with special needs children or adults requires a switch in your gears. Deciding to volunteer at your church or maybe at your child’s school will require choosing a new gear. Even the decision to just try to be a better partner in your life-relationship or a better parent to your children means choosing a new gear and pedaling harder. Doing those things means raising your life to a new, higher level and requires a new, uphill gear and that you pedal faster and harder.

All of these decisions require a commitment first that you want to change and you want to do better. It would be sad, indeed, if you ended life with a bad case of the “coulda, woulda, shouldas” about gears that you never used because you wouldn’t make the effort to switch from your comfort zone and try something that required you to use a new gear and pedal harder. You don’t get extra credit at the end of life for turning in unused gears.

So, think about your life and the gears that you aren’t using. Can you do sobicycle-rider-3mething out of the ordinary to help someone else? Can you put more effort into your relationships with your family members? Can you show the world your faith in actions, rather than just talking about it? Can you do better? Can’t we all?

Have a great day – Switch gears and pedal hard!


Leveraging diversity at work and in life…

January 18, 2017

I read a good article by Sally Krawcheck recently that focused upon the question – Why are we still asking women to act like men at work?  If you don’t know who Sally Krawcheck is go read the article and follow the links from her name that are there. She has quite an impressive resume.

Krawcheck was making the point in this article that diversity in the workplace has real value to companies, by giving them a wider perspective on the needs of the market, as well as a better knowledge base from which to make business decisions. She focused in the embrace diversityarticle upon the tendency in business to recommend (even demand) that women act more like the men in the business, in order to be successful and to be taken seriously. She makes a good case that diversity of thoughts and opinions, in this case letting women be women in business, makes more sense and leads to better decision making.

The same logic can apply to life in general. There is a tendency, based upon staying in our comfort zones, for people to surround themselves with other people who are just like them. The tendency drives them to create or join organizations that are populated by arrogantpeople like themselves. Many social clubs and churches are good examples of that tendency in practice. The same stagnation and self-serving, if wrongheaded, decision making that Krawcheck says can occur in businesses because of a lack of diversity also sets in at those more or less homogeneous clubs and churches over time. Due to the changing demographics in the general population, these insular organizations eventually wither and die, due to the inability to attract enough people “just like us” to sustain the organization. More successful organizations embrace diversity and thrive because of the wider pool of potential members that comes along with diversity.

At the root of the lack of diversity at work and in our lives may well be doubts or insecurity with our own role and place in life. The different opinions or points of view about things disagreement2can be perceived as threats to our own view of things. We see the admission that someone else’s’ opinion about something being accepted as “right” must mean that our opinion is “wrong”. A more correct way to look at things is that both opinions or points of view have merit and should both be taken into account when making decisions. In business, to do any less is potentially to immediately discount an entire segment of the population and possibly to lose them as customers. In life, to do so is to ignore some solutions or answers and to limit the possible solutions to a problem. You may even discover that having the insight of another person’s point of view (especially someone not like you) will lead you to the conclusion that something that you saw as a threat or problem was not a problem at all, but rather an opportunity for you to grow as a person.

Back when I was in the corporate world (and the seems like a lifetime ago) I would, about once a month, join a group of women from the office who regularly went to lunch together. I told them that I was getting in touch with my feminine side, which they found amusing. I seldom got a word in edgewise on these luncheons, but it was fascinating and interesting to sit and listen to the conversations that went on over their lunches. The part that was most in contrast to lunches with the men in the office was the ability of the women to share their life experiences with one another, rather than just banter about work. Men’s lunches tended to be all about the business, whereas the women lunches tended to focus upon life and family and other “people-oriented” topics. Sure, there was also some sharing of office gossip, but mostly it was sharing at a level that invited empathy and shared concerns. The men’s groups were always very guarded about anything like that from their personal lives.

In her article Krawcheck used a great analogy for both business and life. She said that different-points-of-viewbuilding a good team (at work) or support group (in life) can be thought of like building a good basketball team. In her words – “it’s hard to build a national championship team if your players are all point guards.” The same is true of the teams that you might be on at work. You need different skills and different points of view in order to make good decisions. I life you need a diverse set of friends around you as a support group for your life decisions and crises.

I recall watching the TV show Queer eye for the straight guy in which a group of gay men would help with the makeover of a straight guy each week. There were experts on the gay makeover team for personal grooming, clothing, cooking and home decor. Some of the members of that show are still on TV on other shows, such as Chopped. Each week some guy would be proposed for a makeover, usually recommended by friends and family. It was the totally different point of view of the gay makeover team that drove the dramatic changes that most of the participants underwent. Most of us probably don’t need to go to that extreme, but all of us could use the advice that we can only get from having a more diverse set of friends around us. Somebody has to say “yes” when we ask, “does this outfit make me look fat?” Then maybe they can help us make better choices in clothes and in life.

diversitySo, the take-away for work and life is to encourage and embrace diversity and to understand how to leverage that diversity in order to make better decisions. After you stop being amazed that anyone would see things that way that a person “different” from you might see them; you then need to make the effort to understand why and to let that understanding help you take that wider view of the decisions that you need to make. You’ll make better decisions at work and in life.