Out of Your Comfort Zone

Out of Your Comfort Zone:

(Click for Audio Version)

We’ve heard this way too often.

It’s been personal and often directed at self, and even said to self, by self. “It’s time to get out of your comfort zone. Step up. Step out. Step forward.”

What is this nebulous Comfort Zone?

From all my research, which includes personal experience, it is essentially that place you feel the most comfort at. You know, no stress, no anxiety, no worries…and probably nothing exciting going on. It’s like sitting in that same comfortable chair at the end of your day. Relaxed into something familiar. Eating the same familiar food. Having the same non-threatening conversation. Reading the same genre of books. Watching re-runs because there’s nothing new worth watching.

How do you grow in this Comfort Zone?

You don’t. Essentially, you stagnate into a place where the world leaves you as it moves forward. Suddenly you find yourself alone and incapable of connecting with all those you once knew. Why? Everyone else kept moving along the path of life and you didn’t.

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December 29 – The Year Is About Over

It’s Thursday, December 29…

And the year is about over. Too many times we simply think of the holy trinity of days – yesterday, today and tomorrow. Agonizing about yesterday mistakes, and worrying about tomorrow’s challenges, we simply exist through the hours that are today. Present tense. You’re here. Today. So enjoy!

On this day throughout the centuries…

  • 1170 – St. Thomas à Becket, the 40th archbishop of Canterbury, was murdered in his own cathedral by four knights acting on Henry II’s orders.
  • 1812 – The USS Constitution won a battle with the British ship HMS Java about 30 miles off the coast of Brazil. Before Commodore William Bainbridge ordered the sinking of the Java he had her wheel removed to replace the one the Constitution had lost during the battle.
  • 1845 – U.S. President James Polk and signed legislation making Texas the 28th state of the United States.
  • 1848 – U.S. President James Polk turned on the first gas light at the White House.
  • 1851 – The first American Young Men’s Christian Association was organized, in Boston, MA. – The YMCA is nothing like it was originally organized!
  • 1890 – The U.S. Seventh Cavalry massacred over 400 men, women and children at Wounded Knee Creek, SD. This was the last major conflict between Indians and U.S. troops.
  • 1940 – During World War II, Germany began dropping incendiary bombs on London.
  • 1997 – Hong Kong began killing 1.25 million chickens, the entire population, for fear of the spread of ‘bird flu.’
  • 1998 – Khmer Rouge leaders apologized for the 1970s genocide in Cambodia that claimed 1 million lives.
  • 1999 – The Nasdaq composite index closed at 4,041.46. It was the first close above 4,000. (Isn’t it scary that today the number is hoovering around 20,000…?)

Facebook history for me?

  • 2015 – Your kids will be a reflection of how you behave. Show them by your example instead of just telling them. Be a leader to your kids or someone else will. @DaveRamseyLIVE
  • 2015 – I chuckle when I get dropped or blocked by someone on social media. They have just shown their true colors. And I am not surprised.
  • 2015 – “Daily Needs
  • 2014 – “Code Alert
  • 2013 – “How do you spell ‘love’?” – Piglet “You don’t spell it…you feel it.” ~Pooh via ~A.A. Milne

Nearing the end of a daily coordinated scripture reference…

And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: (Mark 12:29 KJV)

For our God is a consuming fire. (Hebrews 12:29 NKJV)

When I Was Young – Invincible!

 invincible

That’s What I Always Thought! We were invincible.

Play forever, taking chances where you never thought about the consequences of your actions. Work hard and live with every penny that comes in, you know, there’s always tomorrow to save and squirrel away for the future.

Do what you want now, because there is always a tomorrow.

It has nothing to do with procrastination, that’s simply putting things off. It had everything to do with not thinking about what the future holds, nor what it looks like.

Somewhere along the way, I listened to a voice that made this statement often enough that it started sinking in.

“If you will live like no one else, later you can live and give like no one else.” ~Dave Ramsey

Live now the way you want to be able to live tomorrow when other’s are struggling. This caught my attention and I started thinking about tomorrow. Along the way, I started changing my mind about how to live today and thought more about preparing for that nebulous tomorrow. Some invest wildly hoping for a profitable future. Me, I just plod along in the comfort of regular savings and life choices…

Back in the early 80’s I learned something in a management class… The 5 P’s of Success. My instructor would use his hand and indicate each point with the tip of his finger, rolling from his little finger to his thumb.

Concept of Hand with Electronic FingerprintsPrior Proper Planning Prevents Problems

The mantra of every step of life. Plan for a career and you will have fewer problems, or at least an idea how to address the problems. Plan for retirement, and you will have resources to live comfortably.

Why do we struggle with planning, thinking it through, preparing a pathway of action that gives a better chance of success? It takes perseverance of thought, intestinal fortitude, and continual focus on the future.

However, Jesus tells us that there is a priority of focus. God first, then other things.

“Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. (Matthew 6:31-34 NKJV)

His Kingdom. He does not say to ignore the future, only live now within His Kingdom. Now. His Kingdom has a pathway of living that includes planning for tomorrow. When we put our needs before God’s kingdom, then how can we say we are part of the His Kingdom?

“Will a man rob God? Yet you have robbed Me! But you say, ‘In what way have we robbed You?’ In tithes and offerings. You are cursed with a curse, For you have robbed Me, Even this whole nation. Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, That there may be food in My house, And try Me now in this,” Says the LORD of hosts, “If I will not open for you the windows of heaven And pour out for you such blessing That there will not be room enough to receive it. (Malachi 3:8-10 NKJV)

I’ve heard some say that there is no tithe today, or, it is only a suggestion. Did you know that Jesus taught more about finances than probably any other single subject? If it was important to him, do you think that it is not important today?

Have we not watched others living life to their view of fullness, and leave God out of their equation.

No thought about the kingdom. No offering. No tithe. No time. No harvest. No preparation. No thought of supporting God’s work or ministries. Some will even point to all of their expenses or busy life as to why they cannot support.

I’ve watched people die on the spiritual vine because they did not support. As their families fall apart you can see their focus is not clear spiritual and worldly… Even a farmer understands that a portion of the seed that can be eaten should be set aside to provide for planting so there will be a future harvest, so should we set aside the portion due to God for our future. Even the ant.

Go to the ant, you sluggard! Consider her ways and be wise, Which, having no captain, Overseer or ruler, Provides her supplies in the summer, And gathers her food in the harvest. (Proverbs 6:6-8 NKJV)

Not everything is supposed to be spent upon present life. This takes planning on your part to think about the future… Praying for you that you will put God first… That’s rightful planning!

Living on the Edge

Sometimes, our best laid plans lie crumpled at our feet.

Crumpled PlansYou know the feeling? You put together a plan for a selected time period, and then “Bamm!” something happens to change your world.

Sometimes it’s as simple as getting sick (as has happened these past 10 days), other times it’s an unplanned expense when something breaks and your checking account looks like an emergency room, and then other times it’s the simple adjustment to schedule that leaves a large portion of life undone.

Of course, Dave Ramsey has a solution for unplanned expenses!

“An emergency fund is Murphy Repellent. Ever notice when you are broke everything is an emergency?” ~Dave Ramsey

When working on the Y2K event, we asked the question with every project plan, “What happens if you get hit by a Mack truck?” In other words, what are your contingency plan if something takes a key player out of the picture?

The poetry books of the Old Testament talk a lot about plans, and this is one of my favorite scriptures from Solomon.

A man’s heart plans his way, But the LORD directs his steps. (Proverbs 16:9 NKJV)

When our life is in the directed steps of God, then our plans are merely the way we “thought” we would be doing something! You see, this goes along with one of the most quoted scriptures from Solomon’s dad, King David, and one of my most referenced scriptures when thinking about life in general.

The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD, And He delights in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down; For the LORD upholds him with His hand. I have been young, and now am old; Yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken, Nor his descendants begging bread. (Psalms 37:23-25 NKJV)

The one thing I would have you think today, there is no such thing as an emergency alternate pathway that God doesn’t have our success in mind. It’s all in how we chose to look at the situation, and how we move from the plan adjustment.

I simply leave a crumpled plan in the corner room of my mind and move on. Next!

Re-Evaluate Yourself

With each new step on this 31 day journey…

Staircase - Stairway to the Sky - CanadaYou have a fresh opportunity to evaluate yourself. Who am I? Where am I going? Best, or right, direction? Anything left undone that needs to be addressed? What’s missing in my toolbox that needs to be added? Removed? Has my destination changed? Are there any conditions that need to be re-mediated before continuing on?

If, with every step I have firm answers to these questions, then this is nothing but a momentary pause on the journey. I like what Dave Ramsey said about today, Monday.

Monday is your clean slate. If there is something in your life that you dont like, CHANGE IT! Begin taking steps today!” ~@DaveRamsey

Change may be lengthy, and it may pause your journey. But if you have no destination in mind that is firmly ensconced in your psyche, then take the moment and begin the change! I’ve written many times that it is not about the destination, rather, it’s all about the journey.

The one good thing about having these questions is that they provide a valuable set of boundaries, a framework that keeps you surrounded by your choices. They keep you corralled. Focused. They help you analyze new circumstances.

Change, or barriers that appear, require some effort to adjust to new conditions. Whether micro-adjustments or large jumps required, boundaries show you the way!

Don’t be afraid to take a big step if one is indicated. You can’t cross a chasm in two small jumps.” ~David Lloyd George

What do you want your life to look like? I want my daily walk to be pleasing and a pleasure. For me, my family, my God and my life. I want the ending of life to be a view of satisfaction about the difference I have made in another persons life.

“The steps of a man are established by the LORD, when he delights in his way; though he fall, he shall not be cast headlong, for the LORD upholds his hand.” (Psalms 37:23-24 ESV)

I want my steps to delight the Lord, while at the same time I know that God allows me to thread life with steps that are unique to my frame.

“He knows us inside and out, keeps in mind that we’re made of mud.” (Psalms 103:14 MSG)

This does not mean I leave His framework, rather I work within his law and his pleasure. Just as I work within the boundaries of my job, construct of the law, or live within the parameters of my marriage, I must also live in the frame of God’s rule.

Where are your steps leading you today?

 

Every Leader Reads

So. You want to be a leader…

EntreLeadershipWhile driving to a meeting I listened to a podcast. This is often the only time I listen because I need to concentrate on what’s being said in order to gain any value. If I am at home, then distractions are huge, so driving is the better time to listen.

Today, I listened to a recent podcast by EntreLeadership, a Dave Ramsey company. The moderator interviewed a couple of authors and business people that I enjoy following. There is value when you find something that gives you information whereby you grow. From each interview I get value, find some nuggets, and “voila!” – two new new books to read.

First, Dr Henry Cloud wrote, “Never Go Back: 10 Things You Will Never Do Again”… A book that is summed up as:

“…a life-changing book that provides ten strategies for overcoming self-defeating life patterns that will help you redirect your mistakes and make way for success—physically, personally, and spiritually.”

From his study of successful people, he noted 10 strategies for improving an approach to life. I am involved in reading his treatise and will be happy to share more later.

Second, and another book that I think will have great value is by John Miller, “QBQ” – or simply, the Question Behind the Question. Instead of complaining about what’s happening to you asking questions like “Why Me?” Better, we should be asking questions like, “What can I do to better the situation that has happened to me?” “What can I do to improve the situation?”

Regardless, of which book I start, I expect to get substantial value that would be applicable to my life – even if I am 60 years old!

When Jesus was 12 years old he traveled with his parents to Jerusalem to celebrate the feast of the Passover. After he was found to be missing, they searched for him three days and finally found him.

“After three days they found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. And all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers.” ~(Luke 2:46-47 ESV)

At the age of 12 it seemed he was already more advanced than those thought to be wiser. There was no library of books, or podcasts to help him learn more. I believe he continued learning through his experiences with the world around him.

The Apostle Paul trained at the feel of Gamaliel (Acts 22:3), one of the seven Rabbis to whom the Jews gave the highest title of “Our Rabbi”… Paul was well trained!

And then used all he knew, along with his ongoing training, to become the greatest expeditionary apostle of all time!

Oh that we would be responsible to train ourselves equal to the task of life ahead of us.

Then, on top of all the learning we do, “be” a leader!

I found this blog the other day talking about Charles Spurgeon and his leadership in the 1800’s. If you thought you were too busy to learn, or to lead, take a moment and click here to read about his busy life.

One Step At A Time

A Journey Begins with the First Step

Lewis and Clark JournalsIn the early stages of preparing for a journey there are many tasks that must be accomplished. Planning, purchasing, repairing, completing, readying. Many lists are made, and check marks path the completed items. Writing and rewriting. Planning and re-planning.

I enjoy reading about the Lewis and Clark expedition. Great plans and hopes on finding a water pathway across the North American continent. The amount of planning it took in order to be prepared to walk the wilderness for several years. I mean, how much paper do you take to accurately record the event?

It was almost like preparing for the drive to Alaska that first time in 1977… 5,000 miles!

Then the day arrives for the first step! No fear or trepidation. Let’s take that first baby step into the new year and let’s make it a great success!

Dave Ramsey posted this morning a wonderful thought for the first day of your journey into the new year:

“A new year is a fresh start. A good reminder to learn from the past, but leave it there. This clean slate is like GRACE.” ~Dave Ramsey

We all need this advice. It is true there are left overs from last year that may give us some grief, but for the most part this new year will be what you make it to be.

I was thinking about why we make a new year so important. After all, it is really only a counting mechanism to move us down the path of life. In fact there is a website you can use to determine some interesting data about various numbering systems in relation to how long you have been alive.  (Click Here)

For me, it’s a staggering concept to thing I have been alive for a little over a half a century…

Number of days alive on 1-1-15Sort of brings things into perspective. If this is a new year with no backward glance at the past, then have I wasted these past years, months, weeks, hours, minutes or seconds?

Of course not!

Yet, embedded in our past is much wasted time. I plan on improving my statistics for 2015 to not waste any more time than necessary.

So, a new year is for accounting purposes only, at least in my book. I check off another year passed, move the numbers around on the page to show the growth, and then strike off into the new years.

For some, they are already thinking that it’s only 357 days until Christmas! Or, this year holds graduations, weddings, promotions, … or whatever you have laid out on your calendar. Regardless, this is the first day to successfully reaching your future goal.

So, how about let’s just make this the best year ever!

How about you?