Several years ago my Dad received a rock polisher for his birthday. We love going on long walks in the hills near Cedar City, Utah when we go visit my parents. While on our walks we look for interesting rocks to polish. Some rocks look like there is no way they could ever get polished because there are to many rough edges.
Before these rocks make a transformation they are First put in to a rock polisher container. Then put sand and water into the container put the lid on then turn on the polisher that tumbles the rocks with sand for three weeks. After the first week of rocks tumbling with sand a finer grit of sand is added to make the rocks more smooth and fresh water is added. This process is repeated for three weeks. After three weeks of polishing these rocks look wonderful, full of color and very shiny, no longer dull in color with sharp edges.
The bumps in life are like the rock with many sharp edges. With help, like a rock, that has transformed into a beautiful polished stone. We all start out like plain dull rocks getting a few sharp edges knocked off along the way. Life experiences plus the choices we make form us into the person we are today. I belief everyday every minute we are either progressing or regressing toward or away from our goals in life.
When our life gets a little muddy we need to realize that the mud is like the grit and sand that at first make the stones unattractive. Our muddy lives help turn us into beautiful people Every time we have an experience either good or bad, we need to thank God for letting us go through these experiences. We need to learn something from everyone, everything and every experience of life.
I hope in some small way your life will be a little brighter with fewer sharp edges and you will pay it forward with what you have learned from some of my life’s lessons.
One of those lessons I have learned is from successful people is that successful people take risks. Time after time when you see people that look like they have it all. Most of them got where they are in life by taking risks. Don’t take the easy road take a few risks in life. Before you do anything ask yourself what is the worst thing that will happen to me if I fail. Several people who were much older in life, many years past retirement were asked if they had any regrets in life. Most of them said they wish they had taken more risks in life.
If you like someone a lot and you ask them to spend a wonderful evening with you and they say no you are still no better or worse off than you were before you asked them. So ask them. You never know what will happen. If you are about to invest a large amount of money on a great idea determine what is the worst thing that can happen. If you can live with the outcome positive or negative, go for it.
Anytime you are in a difficult situation ask yourself, is this situation for your enjoyment, growth or both? When you think about everything you do this way it totally changes every situation you are facing.
Being the father is a huge humbling responsibility. I remember being given the assignment of speaking in church on fathers day about the importance of fathers, when I realized in five years I went from not even being married, to having a wife and five children to care for, teach and lead in a positive direction. Always be prepared you never know when you will have the opportunity to lead others. Everyone is a leader to someone so make it count.
I have thought about some ways to be a great leader. First is to inspire trust. You build relationships of trust through both your character and competence and you also extend trust to others. You show others that you believe in their ability to live up to certain expectations, to deliver on promises and to achieve clarity on key goals. You don’t inspire trust by micromanaging and second guessing every step people make.
The second is to clarify purpose. Great leaders involve their family, friends and coworkers excluding no one. Involving everyone in the communication process to create the goals to be achieved. If people are involved in the process, they psychologically own it and you are on the same page about what is really important, with the same mission, vision, values, and goals.
A great leader is one that will never ask the question, “What’s in it for me?’ When asked will say, “What’s in it for all.” A great leader never puts themselves above others on their team and is willing to do even the lowliest of tasks to benefit the team.
Many people make excuses for failure, excuses about your choices in life, excuses about what you feel you have accomplished. Excuses fuel dysfunctional thinking – and consequently, undesirable actions and behaviors. Making excuses instead of taking one hundred percent responsibility for your actions, your thoughts, and your goals is the reason people fail or succeed.
Part of the power of taking responsibility for your actions is that you silence the negative, unhelpful voice in your head. When you spend your thinking time on success, goals and accomplishments, instead of on making excuses, you free up the emotional space formerly inhabited by your negative thoughts and emotions.
The next time you catch yourself making an excuse, whether for the late project, the unmet goal, or the job you work, gently remind yourself – no excuses. Spend your thought time planning your next successful venture. Positive thinking becomes a helpful habit. Excuses fuel failure.
A lesson I learned from Skip Ross, at a youth summer camp in Michigan, was how to prioritize and set goals. What a thrill it was to learn great wisdom every morning from this wonderful man. I learned that a goal not written down is only a wish. Also, visualization helps you reach your goals. Put things you want to achieve on 3×5 cards. Read them every morning and night. Also, cut out pictures of the things you want. Put them on a poster board so you can look at them daily.
Before I went to the Circle A. Ranch I was getting a C+ average in school. The next school year, I was getting a B+ average. I was also very shy. I didn’t like this. My transformation into the person I am today started in high school as a result of setting goals.
You can become anything you want to become in this life. Skip Ross would say, “Say yes to your potential.” Anything you can conceive and believe, you can achieve.
About six years ago, I realized I had stopped dreaming and writing down goals. Life comes and goes quickly. Then, in the blink of an eye, one year turned into ten.
I have always loved listening to motivational cassette tapes and audio books. So I started listening to them again with almost an obsession. Some audio books I listen to on a regular basis. In most of these audio books they talked about the importance of first deciding exactly what you want. Be specific by writing down your goals and visualizing what you want to achieve with emotion.
I got excited with the idea of making a vision board after I heard the story of a man who wanted to live in beautiful mansion. He found a picture of a home in a magazine. He cut out the mansion from the magazine. Then he put it on his dream board. Four years later he was unpacking his dream board from one of his moving boxes. He realized the home on his dream board was the home he had just moved into. Dreams do come true. You can achieve any goal you want to achieve, if you believe.
I made a dream board putting it on my bedroom wall where I can see it every day. One of the things I put on the dream board is, “Our family loves to travel,” with pictures of fun places to travel to.
We have traveled more in the past six years then I ever dreamed of. We have been to Washington D.C, to see the monuments; Maryland to visit Cassie’s Dad; In Virginia we went to see George Washington’s home; Pennsylvania, to visit the Amish and Gettysburg, Delaware, to swim in the Atlantic Ocean. We went to California having fun visiting the Pacific Ocean and Disneyland. Later we went to Washington and Oregon to visit Cassie’s brother and go to the beach. Then we went with my parents to visit the Grand Canyon and Zion National Park over a long school holiday.
Another thing that my wife Cassie and I like to do is go to a community theatre where we have seasons tickets. We see wonderful musicals like My Fair Lady, or magical plays like A Christmas Carol. These are things we didn’t do until we put them on our dream board. I get excited just writing about our adventures.
The next thing that I do is set a deadline for my goal. I wrote on my dream board, “I am excited we have bought season tickets to the community theater. Today is August 1, 2011.” Every year, this is when we buy our tickets.
Every year we prioritize our goals, then we take action. Smaller goals don’t take as much planning. Our goal to go to the Grand Canyon was easier to achieve because we live closer to Arizona.
Our goal to go to the Oregon Coast took more planning. We knew we wanted to rent a beach house and it would be more costly, so it took action on our part by planning to save our money and reserve the beach house. It was well worth the dream when we achieved this goal. Remember to do something everyday that will move you toward your most important goal, whatever it is at the time.
Most people go through life never writing down their goals. Be one of the 5% that does, and watch your life transform before your eyes. One thing that is important is for our sons to serve a two year mission for our church at the age of 18-19. This can only happen if you are found worthy by your local church leaders, and save up enough money to finance your own mission. I put on our dream board that we were excited to have all three of our sons serve honorable missions for our church. At the time I didn’t see how our oldest son would go on a mission. He even said he wasn’t going. He ended up serving an amazing mission to France, just loving it.
I was never preachy or pushy with my second son going on a mission. The priorities of my son were not about being a missionary. If he would have told me a year prior to his mission that he was going, I would have been really surprised. I just let God be in control of the situation. A year later, our son went on a mission to Mexico City, and did a fantastic job.
Our third son has completed a mission to Paris France. He loved serving the people of France. He also did a great job.
People fit into one of three categories. Complacent, in a crisis, or have a purpose.
Complacent people: just go with the flow where ever life takes them they go. These people are like a water current finding the path of least resistance.
People in crisis: whatever is going on in these peoples life is always a crisis, with plenty of drama, and their world always seems to be turned upside down.
People with a purpose: people that always know where they are going. These are very driven individuals that are very caring and know exactly where they are going in life
What kind of a person are you? If you want to do your best and achieve your goals, be a person with a purpose.