“If the path before you is clear, you’re probably on someone else’s.” – C.G. Jung

If something has never been done before, there’s a better chance that you are doing something that you were uniquely created, equipped, and called to do.

Amazing quote shared by Kevin Rose’s journal.

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Devotional: Purpose

This is part of a series called “Devotionals.”

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“But He said, ‘I must proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns also, because that is why I was sent.'” (Luke 4:43)

This reminds me of the famous quote by Mark Twain: “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.”

Since resigning from Fransmart, I’ve been feeling some confusion, loss, and frustration to finding out what my next move is as part of my purpose. A big part of who I was, was embedded in my 10-year tenure at Fransmart; which actually tells me it was a little unhealthy (not the company but my inadvertent placement of its priority in my life) and a validation of why I had to leave.

My identity should be in Christ, and that Fransmart – or any work I do – is just a vessel for exhibiting God’s Good News, love, and opportunity to have meaning and impact.

The goal isn’t to make money or to make a name for myself. The goal is to make a name for God and serve the Kingdom with the collision of my gifts, talents, passions, relationships, and assignment from Heaven. Provision always follows obedience.

I can breathe easier at the reminder that knowing and serving my purpose is a life-long journey of self-discovery; and that instead of focusing on the fact that I’m not there yet, I could focus on what I DO know about my purpose.

It’s to love the Lord; it’s to serve as many people as possible; and it’s to share my story. If I do my part, isn’t the problem of figuring “it” out actually not mine but God’s to provide? And hasn’t He always provided?

Throwback: Reframe the seeming disadvantages

This is part of a series called “Throwback” – where I revive journal entries and blog posts written/posted on this very day, years ago.

Written on May 23rd, 2014 (three years ago), after reading a passage in “The Obstacle Is The Way” by Ryan Holiday and being inspired to share it. 

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Countless stories exist where the biggest successes in people’s lives were BECAUSE of their alleged failures, difficulties, & handicaps.

No one wants to be born poor or in an abusive/nonexistent family or etc. but it doesn’t give you a free pass NOT to respond in a healthy way. Which is a beautiful thing, since that is in our control and the wild card – regardless of where you came from or what you’ve been through.

What kind of disadvantages do I think I have? And how can I recompose them for my own success?

  • Lack of detail – I can be strategic and inspire a team of detail-oriented people that I surround myself with;.
  • Lack of focus – I can jump-start many projects and give people many opportunities to execute and grow.
  • Not smart – I can easily recruit people more brilliant than I am, and inspire anyone and everyone.
  • Grew up poor – I am resourceful, content, and have drive.
  • Divorced – I can minister others who are at risk, are going through, or have already been a victim of broken relationships.
  • Impulsive – I can take risks, execute, move quickly, I only focus on things I’m passionate about.

What’s your exit strategy

I was reading Tim Ferriss’5-Bullet Friday” newsletter this week, and he briefly talked about Craig Newmark – founder of Craigslist – and referenced a quote he made:

“Death is my exit strategy.”

What a refreshing statement in a world that focuses on short-term gains and companies that are formed to get sold shortly after.

How cool would it be to find a calling that consumes so much of you and is so timeless that it’s not just a full-time job or a contract that lasts until retirement – but a lifelong mission that ends when you do, or even continues beyond you?

Just something to make you pause for a moment to check the work you’re doing right now. Hope you’re building something so valuable that the only buyout firm that can afford you is God =)

Reflection: ”What is an Essentialist?” And what I can do about it?

This is a blog post where I’m simply taking inventory of my life and brainstorming a plan to improve it. I hope it helps you in your own journey; but the main goal of this is for me to think and write out loud.

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From “The Journal” – a monthly newsletter from tech entrepreneur and investor, Kevin Rose:

“The way of the Essentialist means living by design, not by default. Instead of making choices reactively, the Essentialist deliberately distinguishes the vital few from the trivial many, eliminates the nonessentials, and then removes obstacles so the essential things have clear, smooth passage.

In other words, Essentialism is a disciplined, systematic approach for determining where our highest point of contribution lies, then making execution of those things almost effortless.”

Essentialism is not about how to get more things done; it’s about how to get the right things done. It doesn’t mean just doing less for the sake of less either. It is about making the wisest possible investment of your time and energy in order to operate at our highest point of contribution by doing only what is essential.”

~ Greg McKeown

This concept and explanation are perfectly-timed. I am doing way too many okay/good/unnecessary/negative/unhelpful/ineffective things, and not giving my meaningful work – the awesome, “hell yeah”, necessary, immensely impactful, and effective activities – a chance to breathe, thrive, and fly.

I don’t want to die by a thousand cuts (a thousand mediocre tasks), but die during a helluva ride (something worth sacrificing your life for) lol!

What are some examples of these unessential tasks in my life?

Emails continue to be an anchor that prevent my ship from sailing. It’s one of those creepers that seem small and harmless – one email that takes only 30 seconds to respond here, one email that takes 60 seconds to read there, etc. – that can suck me in and kill the rest of my day.

I aspire for an empty inbox – which isn’t a bad thing itself – but most of my means to get there are unhealthy.

Not doing the most important task first will consume the rest of my day, and make me reactive, angry, and prone to mistakes and/or poor judgment. It sucks that my passions and my loved ones suffer when this happens.

Not delegating to my team will not allow them to grow their skills and not allow me an open road to take off.

So…how do I set up a good system?

Modify the calendar so that I only can do ONE THING a day (with the exception of my Daily Routine, creativity sessions, and direct revenue-producing activities). Resist the temptation of doing a 2-3 items…and put them in the Momentum Chrome Extension for later if I’m truly done with that one most important task.

Go through my Trello list of tasks and ask myself:
* Does this generate substantial revenue or meaningful results?
* How can I handle this task to where it never bothers me again? I.e. Decline responsibility, make a call, do it right the first time
* Do I need to handle this now or this week?
* Am I the only one who can handle this? Can I delegate or automate this at all?
* What would happen if I didn’t do it?

Reorganize Trello to where it’s easy to reference for anyone. Utilize labels, colors, checklists, attachments, etc.

How do I execute my system consistently?

Every day, start with the Daily Ritual, the calendar, and the Momentum extension. I’ve spent the beginning of the week planning my activities – now I just need to trust the system and execute it with focus. Email is NOT your task management system.

Spend the first part of my day being creative. My version of art is:
* Creating a prospecting plan for Fransmart, SHAFT, and Pareto.
* Brainstorming ideas with someone (my wife, Dean, coach, investors)
* Looking for retail real estate.
* Finding a way to help someone – with my experience or not.
* Experimenting with ideas I’ve read or heard about.
* Building/Writing a newsletter to investors/customers
* Creating a new system/procedure to make life easier.

When checking emails (ONLY once or twice a day) ask myself:
* Does this generate revenue or meaningful results?
* How can I handle this message to where it never bothers me again? I.e. Creating a filter, unsubscribe, decline responsibility, make a call
* Do I need to respond to this now?
* If yes, how can I respond to it so that there is no back and forth on it again? I.e. Be complete in answer, point in other directions, make a call
* Can I delegate or automate this at all?
* What would happen if I didn’t handle it?

Afterward, just focus on executing the ONE most important thing that will help me feel successful for the day, if I do nothing else; something that will render the rest of my tasks either irrelevant, unimportant, or easier to do.

Play the rest of the day. Be present. Spend time with your loved ones. Do nothing.

When meaningful change can truly take place

The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I can change” – Carl R. Rogers

When I’m trying to enact growth or recompose myself i.e. losing body fat, gaining muscle, building a new company, changing my practices, reorganizing my priorities, etc. – I need to:

Stop beating myself up about why I keep failing to change. I fail because I am human and make mistakes – I am not God and shouldn’t expect results as if I am my Father. I fail because I have limited knowledge – which is to be expected, like a baby will falter 100% of the time when learning how to walk. I fail because sometimes, it’s not what I’m supposed to be doing.
Stop being impatient. I am causing undue stress on the process. Sometimes there are not shortcuts. I need to enjoy the journey and not just focus on the destination.

Understand that frustration is a matter of expectation. Yes – make well-thought out goals and take realistic steps toward change, but understand that sometimes your goals won’t be achieved; that sometimes, God has an even better plan for you than your limited knowledge wants. Most of your life’s greatest moments are unplanned – I guarantee it. 

So if the future is uncontrollable to a certain degree, and there is an unknown that you can never predict…why not focus on what you can control? 

Learn to really accept yourself as you are – warts and all. Be present in your circumstances – be they good or bad. And remind yourself that you are enough. 
I am far from perfect in doing these things (do as I say, not as I do lol!), but I can tell you that I can go much further when my gas tank is full =)

Love yourself. 

Things people disagree with me on

Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.” – Mark Twain, an incredible writer and thinker whom I would’ve been star-struck to meet if he were still alive.

In an effort to peel myself out of the reactive, unoriginal, brainless thinking that being busy and surrounded by tradition and comfort encourage…I’ve been trying to take inventory of my thoughts and behaviors and asking myself these questions:

  • Is this true?
  • Is this reflective of who I am and what I love?
  • Am I just thinking/doing this purely out of comfort, avoiding conflict, convenience, and safety?
  • Am I just thinking/doing this purely out of tradition and “the way it’s always been?”
  • Is there a better/different way?
  • What would happen if I did/thought the opposite?
  • How would a successful person I look to think about or do this?

Here are some of my beliefs/actions that you and/or most will argue against:

  • The current education system has – for better or worse – programmed students to become good workers – not world-changers. They are taught what to do, not how to think. Home schooling is one solution that – when done effectively – can help students find themselves and have a real-world experience that’s relevant.
  • You should put as little down on a house as possible. You can use the money you withheld to invest at better returns, will have more tax-deductible interest to write off, and/or will have a bigger cushion in case anything happens (and they will happen!). Your equity will be destroyed if the economy downswings; you will enjoy the same increase in value if the economy upswings; and when you do need equity i.e. lost a job, have debt, etc. it will be difficult-to-impossible to access.
  • It’s safer to invest in a startup franchise than a mature franchise. I may be drinking the Kool-Aid here; and of course, this requires proper thinking/research/struturing, but I’m happy to explain my perspective and share case studies in a future post.
  • Being on-trend is dangerous. You risk being buried with everyeone else swimming in the same waters and you won’t be changing the world being like everyone else.

 

I have a lot more ideas to share, but that’s for a future post. Not because I am an awesome storyteller and want to create a cliff-hanger; but because I forgot to jot them down and my memory sucks lol!

Until then, would like to know if anybody in the blogosphere would like to share beliefs/actions that they see a lot of disagreement/resistence on. Please share!