What’s your Why?

Why? Why? Why?

Why do you work where you work? Why do you get up in the morning and drive all of those miles? Why do you sell what you sell? etc…

The ultimate question- Why do you do what you do?

For so many, understanding the why has never entered their mind. For others, it is the life blood of everything they do.

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I’ve often heard of companies requiring workers that do very boring task on an assembly line to give their employees the chance to get in a car they have built or use the products they are working on. This is an attempt at helping them understand how the boring things they are doing daily are impacting the lives of others. I certainly commend them for doing that, but I often wonder if the rest of the workforce is doing the same.

You may have a career that is more specialized, but you still must be in-tune with your “why”.

With my short attention span, I could not imagine being a dentist having to spend all day looking into the mouths of countless strangers. I can only imagine their focus would have to be on the way they impact others lives by helping them feel good about themselves when they smile. Understanding the “why” can certainly help you get out of bed in the morning, knowing you have a day filled with strangers mouths.

I could also never imagine being a car salesman, but the way a quality car can impact a family and their life for years to come would certainly be enough to make me want to stand on a car lot looking for potential clients.

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Regardless of what you do, you have to remain focused on “why” you do it, or you will lose your passion and effectiveness. Understanding the “why” of what you do will also give your clients a connection and make it easier for them to jump on board.

I’m sure you can name countless businesses who understand this principle and several who don’t. I don’t mind being marketed to, but I would rather be part of a mission and vision. I love knowing I am supporting something greater than just a simple product or service. I like making a difference.

So many companies struggle to be successful in a down economy, however, if you can shift your focus from the bottom line of making a dollar to making a difference, you will likely be more successful than you could ever dream.

Why does it matter?

Here are a few reasons to focus on the “why”.

  • Eventually, money will lose its motivation
  • Eventually, you long for purpose
  • Eventually, you long for legacy

I’ve heard stories of people making millions of dollars who traded it in to do something that had a greater impact on others.

One of our greatest needs is to have a purpose and to know that what we do matters. It is nearly impossible to stifle this and prevent it from surfacing.

Discover the “why” in what you are doing and allow that to be your focus. If you can’t find the “why”, then you may want to find something else to do that will line up with something you are passionate about. The option of doing something for years and years and not having a connection with your purpose is not worth it. You will eventually get burned out and find yourself being no more than a cog in a wheel.

This life is waiting for what only you can do.

 

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Are You a Blessing in Disguise?

custom drumsticksAre you getting bored with your life? What about your job? Are you making a difference in the lives of those around you with what you do on a daily basis?

You may not have the right answers to those questions and feel like your life is average without having an impact on others.

Each year during the Christmas season, I ship out hundreds of packages with personalized drumsticks from www.CustomStix.com. After a while it can get mundane and boring. Tube, sticks, receipt, shipping peanuts, tape, repeat, etc… It becomes like an assembly line.

I had allowed myself to fall into that trap the other day until I was pleasantly surprised by a letter I got from the contact form on this site. Talk about a renewed focus. I was brought to tears by the words of a man who was impacted by a connection made with something as simple as a pair of personalized drumsticks.

May I never forget how God uses even the small things in life to bring about His plan in the life of others.

Don’t loose heart while doing what you do. Be faithful in the little things and God will bless you in much.

Here is the letter: (personal info has been changed)

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Hi Mr. Jones!

 My name is David Wilson and I’m writing to you from Orlando, FL, on a whim of inspiration. As a drummer (former?), I came across your customstix website to purchase a pair of cool sticks for my son, Christopher, age 10 – the light of my life – who is just beginning his adventure into the world of drumming, percussion and 5th grade band. I love every second of it.

I came to your site for a pair of sticks, watched video, heard (and felt) your message, ended up here in on your personal site, read, listened and watched some more. What I have come out with may have just changed my life for the better. Not sure how yet, though. One cannot describe the sum total of life’s experiences in one email, but I discovered something too important to ignore and felt that I wanted to share it with you: it’s never too late apparently. I spent most of life in a spiritually-rich manner (trying, anyhow), but over the recent years I have become spiritually-poor, lacking faith and all but given up on there being any more meaning in life other than living for my son while my marriage gets weaker and everything else goes nowhere.

Suddenly, I’m listening to you, speaking as a drummer, and something clicked. I can’t give up, and I’ve been going about it all wrong. My faith is still inside me, and I have this beautiful boy, and opportunities are there if I tap back into my motivation, energy and go do something about it. It’s not too late. In fact, it’s time to put my faith back in God, take a new walk, and get rid of the negative thinking. I want to make my life happen again, make it even better for my son and wife if not just for these simple reasons. I want to believe again, and your life and work represented that to me.

All because of a pair of new drumsticks that I await in the mail. I guess I just wanted to say thank you for something I’m not even sure of yet, but it’s there.

Thanks again. Can’t wait till I get the new sticks, and seeing my son’s face as he opens them – and as he sees the look on my face with a spirit of renewed energy.

I can’t give up now. Look what I have in front of me.

Have a blessed Christmas,

David

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Wow! Did I mention how that made my week? I have a renewed vision for the future and it is my prayer for you as well. I pray you will realize that God is using you in the lives of those around you in ways you can never imagine. Don’t give up. Keep doing what you are doing and I pray that God will give you a glimpse of the impact of your life.

Question:

Have you ever been encouraged by someone you had no idea was watching and listening? Share your story in the comments below. I would love to hear and so would others.

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What I learned by going to gymnastics

My two little girls take gymnastics weekly and I can’t bear the thought of leaving them there of fear that I will hear the sound of an ambulance only minutes after I leave the gym to get a scoop of ice cream just down the street. So, I stay and watch them tumble and bounce around from station to station with as much composure as I can muster. It’s often hard to watch them fall down, but I know that is part of the process and they must learn how to get back up.

One thing took me by surprise as I sat on the bleachers with the other moms and dads. I was suddenly aware of how many times they performed a stunt only to immediately turn to see if I was watching. Once we made eye contact I knew they were waiting on the wink, head nod or thumbs-up sign. This happened several times during the hour long class and then hit me with a sudden burst of emotion just as we were about to leave.

As I approach my 40th birthday in a few months, I realize I’m not immune to this type of behavior with my own father. Even as recent as a few years ago I can remember playing drums with my former band Big Daddy Weave and looking into the audience to see if my father was watching me play and if he “approved” of what I was doing. Why did it matter if he approved of what I was doing and whether or not he thought I was doing a “good job”?

I believe we are all wired the same and long for acceptance from our earthly fathers. I’m a happily married grown man with a beautiful wife and two precious daughters, yet my self-confidence can appear to hang in the balance based on my father’s approval. I’m not alone in this observation because I have listened to multiple friends’ talk of how they longed for acceptance from their father and often felt as if they never got it.

I’m grateful for a father who always supported me in everything I did and was always there to offer a thumbs-up or a head nod when the time was right. I know that is not the case with everyone but I wanted to write this to encourage you to find acceptance in the One who will never let you down. You may be a single mom with little ones and wonder if your children will struggle with this. You may be an adult and have a huge gaping hole inside waiting for your father to fill it will gestures of approval.

Wherever you find yourself, please remember that an earthly father can only do so much. They are not perfect and will let you down from time to time. That’s because they are human. However, please know that our Heavenly Father will not let you down. Regardless of your situation, you can have a father that offers unconditional love and approval if you will only come to Him and receive the free gift of salvation He offers.

A few final thoughts

If you are a father, let this serve as a challenge to you as you acknowledge the influence you have on your children. Remember the words of this 40 year old man who still longs for approval though I’ve had it all my life. As a dad, you can never stop supporting your children in what they do. You should always be their #1 fan. They are counting on it!

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Men, remember this one thing…

fatherMen, remember this one thing today…Before you are a preacher, a teacher, an engineer, a volunteer, an entrepreneur, an accountant, a CEO, a President, a Vice-President, a Fireman, a Policeman, a coach, a musician, or anythings else you do, you are first a husband and a dad.

Your family won’t care what you did for others if you forsake them while pursuing your own passion. Do all you can to be the best you can possibly be, make as much money as you can so you can be a blessing to others and climb as high as you can. But don’t forget this one thing. You are first and foremost a Husband and a Dad. That is what it’s all about. That is what you will be known for when others talk about you at your funeral.

Don’t give up what you have for something that won’t last.

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How to Take Action

Here’s a short video where I talk about the struggle so many of us, including myself, have when it comes to taking action vs. talking about it.

So many times we want to share with others our intentions about the future and what we hope to achieve. The problem often is that we too easily fail to follow through with our words. We end up with another unfulfilled promise and a regret for the words we so eagerly spoke to those around us.

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How do you handle this? Leave a comment below if you have any thoughts as to how others can avoid this continual trap.

 

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I was ripped off by Meryl Streep

I realize I may be giving up my man card on this one, but I want to prove a point that can only be proven if I am completely honest in telling the whole story. Earlier this week I was sucked in, yes, sucked into watching a total chick flick while channel surfing before dinner.

I was compelled to watch “just a few minutes” of the movie “Julie & Julia” because of something I heard Meryl Streep say as she portrayed the character of Julia Child. I can’t remember exactly what it was, but I do remember that it caused me to want to watch until the end of the scene. Of course, that in turn caused me to want to finish the next scene and so on and so on. I found myself sitting on the sofa like my grandmother of years gone by watching an episode of “Days of Our Lives”.

The point of my story is to prove how completely powerless we can feel when faced with a decision to choose the best option when many are available. There were at least 5 things I should have been doing that afternoon instead of watching Meryl Streep act out the life of the late Julia Child. However, I chose to sit there like a powerless lamb on its way to slaughter.

Some of you will argue that there is nothing wrong with watching a little TV and I would agree with you to a point. However, most of us won’t stop with just a “little”. So many times we find ourselves continuing for hours doing what we know will not amount to anything of value when the day is over. I am regretful when I think about what I did NOT do during that 2 hour period. I put my children off, I put my wife off, I put my business off, and I even put dinner off. Still, I have nothing to show for it except for a few faint memories of the life of Julia Child that I could certainly do without.

So, what is the answer? That part is easy. It’s easy to speak but hard to put into action. So, I created an acronym to help me remember how to choose between the best things in life or simply settling for the good.

W.I.S.E.

It stands for = What I Sacrifice Everyday

This reminds me that in order to have the life I want I must be willing to make daily sacrifices and deny myself the things I often so easily settle for.

My greatest struggle is realizing that every single second counts. That is not to say that we must spend 100% of our time doing something productive, but we should realize that we are responsible for what we choose. If we decide to watch a mindless movie or surf Facebook for 3 hours, we have to be willing to live with the results and not blame someone else for the outcome.

Daily I set out to do better in this area and often have mixed results. However, each day I am more aware of how much power I have over the choices I make. I must remember at all times: There is no one else to blame but myself.

I am responsible.

Question: What is the greatest distraction you struggle with in achieving the goals you have in your daily life?

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You Can Predict Your Future In These Easy Steps

Predicting your future does not require a crystal ball. It only requires a few easy steps. You may think it’s impossible, but it’s as easy as putting together a puzzle. One piece at a time.

Have you ever felt like your future was a huge mystery? A never-ending continuous question mark? Understanding your role in predicting your future is vital in having the kind of life you want. Let me show you in these simple steps how you can begin predicting your own future immediately.

It begins with a picture of the finished product in plain view. After you know what you are creating, you simply put the right pieces in the right place and begin chipping away at it by putting the pieces together.

-Here’s an example that will make it clear-

Your goal is to read the latest book published on “How to (fill in the blank)”. You want to finish it by Friday. Essentially, you have 120 hours between Monday and the end of the day on Friday. So, after taking into account your other obligations, including sleeping, eating, working, etc… you realize you have 15 hours of free time that you can dedicate to your task.

If you have an average reading speed of 200 words per minute, and the average book has 50,000 words, then you should be able to read your latest book in under 5 hours. That’s a pretty low average, so you should be able to attain this goal with no problem. Even if you double it, you are still allowing for 10 hours to achieve your goal.

Now, look at your book shelf and count how many of those books are waiting to be read. Are you not capable of setting aside 5 hours this week? If you’re like me, you could gather up 5 hours this week if you would only take into account the amount of time you spend wasted on things that are pointless.

What about your home life? Do you want to add more structure to your schedule regarding meals? Exercise? Cleaning? What about your finances?

Everything we want to attain can be easily broken down into segments that are easy to process. The problem we often encounter is a little thing called “Life”.

Your ability to balance this thing called “Life” with the goals you want to achieve in life is where success is had. You have to establish your priority. This balance can be summed up in one simple phrase: You focus on what you value.

Apparently a lot of us value watching t.v. because that is what so many of us do. Remember that you are the one in charge.

  • Establish the goal
  • Set a deadline
  • Break it down into attainable task

Challenge for this week-

What goal do you want to slide over to the “accomplished” side? Leave it in the comment below and come back next week to give us an update. Remember, it’s What I Sacrifice Everyday.

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A Dad’s View From 30K Feet

view from 30K

Have you ever seen your house from 30,000 feet? I live in the path of planes leaving the airport in Mobile, AL, so I get to see my house every time I fly west in the daytime. I’ve highlighted my house to show you exactly where I live. Last year, while leaving for a show with my former band Big Daddy Weave, I suddenly realized how insignificant my place of residence was in comparison to the massive earth we live on. If we had flown about 7 miles north-east I would’ve been able to see my father’s house as well, and like mine, his is rather insignificant too.

As we continued on our journey I noticed, just 5 miles to the east, the largest house in Mobile that is approaching a massive 20,000 square feet. An incredible human achievement that many aspire to, yet still, from 30,000 feet, amazingly insignificant.

Very few moments have impacted me like that moment sitting in the window seat of a plane bound for Dallas, TX. I instantly saw the truth behind the lie that most men I know are living. We have a very limited time on earth as we struggle to do what needs to be done to become who we long to be. Most men focus so much time and energy on building their own little kingdom that they forget about what really matters, only to one day face a future of regret.

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This Father’s Day I want to focus on what I’m creating with my life and the impact it’s having on my family and those around me. When I stay “at the office” later than usual or have a “working weekend” I am sacrificing something I will never get back. I am sacrificing influence, and I have a limited number of years where I can influence my children. I’m not against working hard and being a good steward of what I’ve been given, but I want to make sure I’m focused on things that will matter 20 years from now and not on things that are temporary and insignificant.

Leaving my band was one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever made. I was gone 150 days last year and heard amazing stories nightly of how our music was being used to change peoples lives. That was a very “good” thing, but I was leaving 3 ladies at home that needed a dad and a husband to lead them and be there for them. I left the band in January and I know without a doubt I did the right thing. Bedtime, Dinner time and morning drives to school are more precious to me now because I know what it was like to not be there.

Are you filling your days with doing “good” things that have an impact on the lives of others? Great. That is a noble thing. However, don’t forget your calling as a husband and father to make an investment in their lives by physically being there. You’ve heard the old saying: Love is spelled= T.I.M.E. Well, I agree completely! I don’t want my 5 and 9 year old girls to one day have memories of a dad who gave himself completely to others while forsaking the ones closest to him.

Challenge to fathers everywhere:

Be completely there. Realize like the Reverend Billy Graham did late in life when he was questioned about having regrets. He said, “I regret that I didn’t spend more time with my family.”

What man has had more of an impact in the lives of others around the world? Yet, he too struggled and later realized what mattered most.

Addison 5, Stephanie, and Hannah 9

As men, we were created to do work that matters and allows us to provide for our family. We must maintain the proper perspective in life if we want to be able to look back and not be filled with regret because of the choices we’ve made.

It’s not an overnight transformation, it’s a daily choice. I use the acronym W.I.S.E. to help me do what I know I should. It’s “What I Sacrifice Everyday” that allows me to make the decisions I should in order to be who I was created to be.

Question:

What have you learned in life that could serve as encouragement to men everywhere to choose what matters most?

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Where do you get advice?

Earlier this week I had the pleasure of going to lunch with a mentor of mine, Andy Andrews. What an honor to sit and soak up his wisdom while he shared inspiration and encouraged me to be faithful in my journey.

I was challenged to share with you this reminder as you seek others opinions and advice in life. Keep this in mind before you share your dream. Surround yourself with those you aspire to.

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where to get advice

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How to Have a December to Remember

calenderI know, I know. We just started 2013. However, you know December will be here sooner than you think and you along with the rest of the world, will be wondering what happened to the time. As I get older I am reminded daily of how fast time goes by. It seems like just yesterday I was adjusting to writing 2012 on checks and other documents. Now I am having to adjust to writing 2013. The fact is, as we age, we become more aware of how fast time flies because we know we have less and less of it. Like anything in life, we cherish the sacred, and for most of us, our most prized possession is time. We can never get it back once it has past.

What will you feel like when December arrives? Will you feel like you accomplished what you set out to do or will you feel like you failed? Or will you not care? Most of us are compelled to achieve things in life. It’s the way we were wired. Think about how you felt the last time you mowed the lawn, or in my case, watched someone else mow your lawn. In any case, you felt a sense of accomplishment. Mowing the lawn is a relatively simple task, yet it does wonders for your sense of gratification. Wouldn’t it be great to have that experience in December, only on a much larger scale? Compare mowing the lawn to losing 50 lbs, writing a book, running a marathon, etc…You can imagine the feeling.

How do you want to feel in December? Now is the time to put the wheels in motion.

Below are a few tips for having a December to remember:

  • Create a list of things you want to accomplish this year
  • Create a list of things you need to remove from your life
  • Identify what is preventing you from achieving your goals
  • Put a plan into action broken down with the end in mind

Example:
1. Lose 42 lbs this year
There are 42 weeks left in the year
1 lb per week
2.29 ounces per day-This is a very achievable goal when viewed this way

2.  Read 21 books this year for spiritual and personal growth
Read 1 book every 2 weeks
Read 18 pages per day based on an average book having 250 pages, again, a very achievable goal.

You can do anything you want to do if you will only make a daily choice to do so. We are what stands in the way of achieving our goals.
Remember, you must be W.I.S.E.™ to achieve your goals. It’s What I Sacrifice Everyday.

Question:
What are you going to do to have a December to remember?

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