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Who is your idol?

Have you ever stopped to think about your idol(s)?  I am a Christian and need to refocus on this question each day.  It comes easy for me to look around at people and get down on myself because I don’t make the kind of money they make, I don’t drive the nicer car like they drive, I don’t have the disposable money to get manicures and massages on a regular basis, like they seem to have, I can’t afford to go out to restaurants to eat each week like they do, and on and on.  After thinking about these things for too long, I start to feel like I need to hurry up and do something so that I can do more of those things. Surely if I could do those things in the same measure as other people, I would ‘measure’ up. Right?

This thinking only leads to stress and makes me feel defeated.  A better way is to turn to God and see what he says about all this.

  • 1 Samuel 16:7  – “…The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”   I don’t have to ‘look’ like others. God sees my heart, not the car I drive or the house I live in.
  • Matthew 16:26 – “What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul?”  I don’t have to chase a job or money at the cost of sacrificing personal relationships and moral character.  I see people  lie and cheat just to make more money.  If I use the skills, abilities, and personality God gave me, I can achieve and earn exactly what I am supposed to.

After a good dose of God’s word, I get grounded again and remember. I have goals.  I don’t have a nicer car because I’m saving to pay cash for my next car so that I can stay out of debt.  I don’t go out to restaurants more frequently, because I enjoy cooking at home, and  in doing so I save more money to put into my retirement savings.  Same goes for all the other luxury items such as manicures and massages, etc.  After looking even deeper into some of those other people’s lives, more often than not, they are living paycheck to paycheck, and up to their eyeballs in debt. That is not the stressful life I want to lead.

Take time today and ask yourself, who is your idol.


“Breathe in Life, Breathe out Love”, were the words gently uttered to me by a stranger I met two days ago.  I was in a very relaxed state of mind when I heard these words, which is why perhaps they caught my attention.  On any other day, they may have passed over me like so many comments people make while I am too busy focusing on my errands and missions to accomplish.  Do you know what I mean? We have brushes with people each day and never know the impact they could have on our lives, good or bad.

If you are like me, you may always be on guard in anticipation of people who may not have the best intentions towards you or your family.  We see it on the news every day, stories of people being taken advantage of or harmed when they are caught off guard.  We don’t want to think that this is the type of world we live in, but it is the unfortunate reality.  Two days ago I heard the calming words, “Breathe in life, breathe out love”, and yesterday the shocking news rang out across our country about the horror and tragedy of the  elementary school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut.  Even small, seemingly secure communities, are not exempt from harm.

I imagine you are wondering what these two things have to do with each other. I heard the words, “Breathe in life, breathe out love”,  from my massage therapist who was coaching me to keep breathing, while I was  grimacing from the pain he was erupting in my back.  As I reflected on those words, and did my best to obey them, I realized that we have to breathe to live.  We breathe in life, all of it, the good and the bad, whether we want to or not.  It just happens to us.  Invited or uninvited. As long as we live, we don’t have a choice, but to breathe in life.  However, we do have a choice to breathe out love.  We can breathe out anger, bitterness, envy, and hate if we choose.  But with God’s help we can breathe out love.

We have to take all of life in, but how much more beautiful and peaceful would society and this world be if in spite of everything we have to take in and endure, we choose to run it through our faith filter, and breathe out love?

Do you want your life to be different in the new year? In what way? What should you change? How?

Well, its time to make those changes happen. Its time to set goals for 2013.  Start by thinking about your life from the grand vision perspective of all six areas of your life.

How do you want your life to be one year from now? In three, ten, and 20 years from now?

What do you want your health to be like? How financially stable and successful do you want to be? What kind of career do you want to be thriving in?  How spiritually connected and grounded do you want to be?  What kinds of relationships do you want to be involved in?  How much do you want to grow intellectually?

During a recent conversation with my friend Lori Williams, who was catching me up on all of the exciting activities going on in her life – she is an Author (“Business Simply Put”), a Professor of Entrepreneurship at USC, a business owner, and an accomplished rock and ice climber; she told me a fellow rock climber summed her up by stating, “Lori, you are either a now, or not now person.”  What does that mean?

As a self-proclaimed planner and decision maker, I knew exactly what that meant!  Peter F. Drucker articulates it this way, “Long-range planning does not deal with future decisions. It deals with the future of present decisions.”

When climbing extreme rock formations and literally hanging on by her fingertips, she can’t be thinking about ‘not now’ (…What am I going to have for dinner tonight? Which new smart phone am I going to buy?…Will Obamacare be repealed?…).  Thinking about the ‘not now’ stuff will surly keep her from succeeding today.  She has to be thinking about ‘now’ in order to survive today (…Where is my next safe toe hold? I must have the right momentum to hoist my body to the next spot, and hope it sticks. Do I trust the skills and abilities of the people around me?…).  These concentrated, strategic thoughts will produce the right actions today (‘now’) to ensure her success in the future (‘not now’).

Conversely, when she is working for one of her business clients, teaching in the university classroom, or working on a book, she is focused on the goal for that day (‘now’), and not thinking about where her next climb will be (‘not now’).

Having a well thought-out vision for the future (‘not now’) is important, but being disciplined in how we get there each day (‘now’) will determine if, and how fast, we reach our dreams.

The thrust of my new book, Your Ultimate Life Vision, is about these exact points. It encourages readers to have a long-term vision (‘not now’) and provides visual tools and interactive exercises to assist in keeping that vision balanced and in the forefront of the mind.  The long-term vision (‘not now’) however, cannot be successfully achieved if the focus is purely long-term.  The long-term vision (‘not now’) can only be mastered, through the decisions we make today and every day (‘now’).  Our behavior and choices are the vehicle and fuel that will carry us to victory.

Have you set goals to change your life for the better in 2012, or are you trying to keep your head above the hustle and bustle shopping waters of the Christmas season?  I’m not talkig about new years’ resolutions, but real tangible goals you have given serious thought to, have written down, and will review every week until you reach them.

What is your most important goal? Why?

Society tells us we will be happy if we look and live a certain way, however some where in the process of grasping at all of the things society offers, in an effort to be happy and make others happy, we end up unsatisfied, empty, and living paycheck to paycheck.   My vision for your life is to help you re-frame your life from the inside out, so that you can create a new life vision for yourself.  A life vision that is healthy, filled with purpose and love, and gaining a more secure financial footing.  Who wouldn’t want a better life they can see, feel and experience?

“By pulling off the world’s artificial layers and lies, let the masterpiece that is you come out” – Pastor Drew Sams

By using the tools I’ve created, accompanied by common-sense and the desire to live a better life than ever before, you will experience a more enjoyable and fulfilling life.  Remember, a good life is not about reaching a destination, rather how we enjoy the experience of creating it one day at a time.  That said, we need to visualize a destination in order to stay on the right track.  In other words, if you don’t have a map, you are destined to wander in the desert aimlessly; then one day looking back and saying, “Wow, look how close I was to that beautiful oasis, and didn’t even know it!”

I have identified six life categories which encompass the various aspects of our lives.  Spiritual Connectedness, Relationships, Career Growth, Financial Stability, Healthy & Fit, and Intellectual Stimulation.  By first reviewing the six life category pages, you will begin to understand why they are so important to us, why we should take care of each of them, how they intercept with each other, and that when they are handled with care, they form a strong foundation for an amazingly rewarding life.

Your formula for success starts with creating your personal Mind Map and then your Vision Board.

But first, in order to get where you are going, you have to decide where you are going, and get your destination in sight.   Review the Mind Map tool (see Mind Map page), and think about how your life would be better if your six categories were operating at their best.

I would enjoy the opportunity to address any questions you have and to help you through the process, and to hear your success stories.  I look forward to hearing from you!


Art by CPCoastal©. All rights reserved.

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