TFJ034: D answers the 13 most common questions Christians ask themselves Pt 2

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8) How does free will affect my faith? 9) How can you believe in something that can’t be scientifically proven? 10) What makes Christianity different than any other religion? 11) How has my faith been influenced?  And more…

Leading Oneself in the Face of Adversary

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My 1st event

I’ve been preparing for months. And now the time has come. I showed up the day before to get everything just right. The seats will hold the 21 people in just such a way that they will be captivated to action during my seminar! The sound system is at the perfect level.

I know where I am going to stand. Everything is just right.

Now it’s the day of. I am at work and scheduled for a gold outing with my colleagues the 2nd half of the day. But golf won’t end till about 4:30, and my event is an hour away and starts at 6:00. It’s too risky.

I cancel my attendance in the golf scramble.

It isn’t unusual for people to be late nowadays. So when only one shows up at the start time, I’m not too worried.

Five minutes later two more have shown up. I am here ready to go!

It’s now 15 minutes after the scheduled start time and these 3 are the only ones showing up. 21 seats, 3 people. At least they can sprawl out.

This is my inaugural seminar for TFJ and I have been anticipating this weekend for months. A lot of work and study has gone into event. Months of prep work.

 

The decision to go on

 

As I stood at the front of the auditorium before my faithful 3 attendees I felt the panic. No one else is showing up.

I am pretty sure a single bead of sweat dropped from my brow. Right then I had a decision to make.

I have heard many stories about people who did great things that sprung from humble beginnings. Could this be my story of greatness that sprouts from the seeds of obscurity?

Those who showed up all didn’t want to be there… but they did come because they wanted to support me. Those who showed were my Pastor, a friend from my mastermind group, and the one guy who literally shows up to everything I’ve put on over the past 13 years.

I chose to move forward.

I delivered the Friday evening presentation with all the vim and vinegar I could muster. Most of it DID NOT LAND. Why would it? I built this thing for people between 20-40 who are spiritual but lack guiding direction. Each of these mature men have been saved for decades and are already following their calling.  “

The parts that were supposed to induce extreme “SO THAT’S HOW IT WORKS?!” moments fell flatter than a flap jack stomped on by Paul Bunyan himself.

I ended the session on time and went home. I told my wife about my massive turn out. She questioned why I went one with it?

You know what? It would have been too easy to quit. I could have canceled the whole thing. I followed up with people and they still didn’t show. There was a guy I asked to help with lights and sound, he didn’t even show. I had to do all the dimming and sound control myself.

But I would have truly experiences a failure if I walked away. Resistance isn’t evidence you’re doing something wrong. Its evidence you are alive and moving against the inertia of the status quo.

 

Most would have given up

I am willing to admit my heart wanted to give up. But I know this is something God has called me to do and so I pushed onward. I had a few trick to help me I want to share with you.

I teach the concept that you should have a handful of guiding attributes/virtues. Things that are going to make you, uniquely you. My personal list of virtues:

  • Courage
  • Wisdom
  • Compassion

This is how I want my life to be reflected in the minds of everyone else. But for that to happen it has to be cemented into my own mind first. It won’t happen by accident.

Here is the tip. When you really want to live a certain way, but you aren’t quite Feeling that way at the moment, put your body in an anchoring positon.

What does that mean?

An anchor is something that you can go back to over and over again to relive something. Smells are among the most powerful emotional anchors in life. The smell of playdough still brings adults back to childhood. But popping a canister of playdough isn’t always economical.

Instead, we can leverage the fact that body positioning can also trigger anchors. My 3 virtues have a physical posture to them. I have developed the following physical anchors:

  1. Courage: Chest out, head forward, big breath in (about to be the first to charge in)
  2. Wisdom: Enlighten and epiphany applied, Pushing up my glasses and squinting eyes (Concentration)
  3. Compassion: a slight smile, and tilt of head, turning up palms (I am here for you, I understand)

The great thing about this is that no one but me knows I am doing it. When my body goes into this routine it triggers the feelings I anchored them to. When I was courageous I did this, and since I am doing it now those familiar feelings flood back. These emotions give me the fuel to go on.

 

The result: 33% bad

At the end of the Saturday portion of the seminar I solicited feedback from my abundant quantity of guests.

33% of the feedback was terrible! Now granted, this is only one person. The music was too loud, there was too much writing. This guy is 76… like I said… not the target audience I was after of 20-40.

As I drive home from the venue I reflected on what had just taken place, lets list it out:

  • Months of planning
  • Close to 100 hrs of research
  • Hours preparing presentation materials and handouts
  • No less than (4) in person sales pitched to groups of more than 50 people
  • Just about no one showed up
  • A third of the feedback was negative
My Reflection

When you hear my reflection on this situation you might be surprised. I was thrilled.

How can you say that D?! It was a disaster!

Yes, yes it was. It blew up in my face. But I also learned a wonderful lesson about life and people. You see I have been struggling with the concept of charging for my services. I have shared this with my mastermind group.

At first I was going to charge $35 per ticket for this event. Less than a month from the event I DROPPED the price to $0. I didn’t want to leave anyone out.

But people spend their limited time on things that are valuable to them. The attendance of my seminar was not a reflection of my work nor my ability to invest into someone’s life. It was a reflection of my market worldview.

You see, I thought by making the event free, it would lower the barrier to entry so everyone could attend. In reality, it told the world this event is cheap and of the 21 people who signed up and when through the rigmarole to register 18 didn’t show. And the 3 that did show DID NOT want to be there but felt compulsion to support me in my first event.

Requiring the attachment of monetary fees, you help people deposit mental value on something. Free is ok in certain circumstances. Life changing coaching is not an appropriate place for Free.  Lessons heard, loud and clear!

Setting Mental Boundaries in New Jobs

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I recently accepted a promotion at work. I had the opportunity, while walking between campuses, to chat with the “elder” of my new group. He is the all-knowing, wise one who has spent more than my life time in this position. Therefor I listened intently to his sagely words.

He knows his stuff. So naturally I was like a dog to peanut butter when we took the chance to stroll with me.

I am conflicted

During his talk he explained how the Ford group, the one to which I will soon belong, is the best and brightest for a reason, they take it seriously.

What did he mean by this?

They come in early, they stay late

And I get it. Hard work is wonderful. I am no stranger to it. However, as my career has progressed I have fancied myself as one who works smarter not harder in the long game. I’ve got a thriving life that isn’t open to being choked out by an overbearing work schedule. I truly believe the rate I negotiated with my employer is respective of a 40 hr work week… not a 60 hr work week.

  • salary is based on average 40 hr work week
  • too much work causes personal life distrubances
  • taking on too much too soon sets the tenor for the future

While I have the utmost respect for this cornerstone of the group, I found myself distancing myself from some of his advice. I want to take as little work home as possible. Honestly, I want to be so efficiency that I never have to spend an additional minute on work except on emergency occasions (which are rare if your definition of an emergency is correct).

I have worked the crazy hours and taken calls at all hours of the night. I remember taking work home with me and stressing about it. I am over that.

People tell me the further up you go on the ladder the less personal freedom you experience. Why is this the case? I reject the notion that greater responsibility at work automatically assumes you need to work more hours. Perhaps the quality of work needs to increase so as to refrain from doing it more than once. Maybe better planning on the front end to limit the mistake correction later on.

How this relates to Self-Leadership

I suppose this lends itself to the topic of Self-Leadership in the fact that your mindset can create the expectation that is placed upon you. If, early on in the role I demarcate clear boundaries about what is and is not acceptable, then I should be able to eat of that fruit for the entirety of my tenure in this position.

In the end, you are the one who accepts your mindset. If you roll over and accept that something is going to take a huge chunk out of you… then it will. But if you put up the fisticuffs and provide resistance to the status quo, you can move the mundane drudgery of everyday into new realms of amazingness.

  1. Mindsets are usually generated by accident
  2. Your mindset is a collection of your experiences and their attached meaning
  3. Your free will is the tool to wipe out old, nasty mindset for new ones

Don’t let work monsters eat up your boundaries just because this job pays more. Stand tall in the face of overtime and fight back. Do it right the first time. Make people get the job done when you aren’t there. Empower others to work without you.

Its your life and its a limited one… spend your hours wisely.

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My morning started with an obnoxious alarm cracking through my Nyquil induced coma. My unwelcome summer cold produced yet another dreamless foray into the realm of unaccomplished rest. I pulled myself out of bed and fell down the stairs to record a podcast.

After some coffee taken intravenously and a strong chug of ice-cold water, I was functioning at the bare minimum.

I skipped my cherished routine of sitting in my chair slowly being enveloped in the infant morning light as I plan out my day in my journal.

No time for that today.

Sneakers donned, computer bag firmly in my right hand I collected my keys and was out the driveway onward to another day at work. The check engine light is on, my rear passenger tire is going flat and my dashboard tells me it’s time to schedule an oil change. Perfect.

My drive to work

Despite the less-than-ideal inauguration of a new day, I made a significant discovery on my way to work. Trying to dig myself out of an ever mounting burden of performance, I had slid to an extreme end of an unrealized continuum. Having spent too much time at one extreme is resulting in frustration in my inability to maintain it.

The breakthrough came from challenging an unspoken assumption that I needed to live in the extreme.

The Forward Journey (Vision, Basecamp, Mission, Resistance, The Climb) is a principal based methodology to overcome the obstacles that keep you from being all God has meant for you to be. Turns out a continuum exists on how you apply the TFJ method. On the far left, where I have been living is uberstructure. A strictly defined and detailed way of getting ahead.

I, being the originator of this formula, felt it necessary to prove out its benefits through disciplined pursuit of the process.

My result? Fantastic at first! I made some great gains in my professional life and spiritual connections. After about 6 months of strict acolyte servitude, I am finding myself barely able to keep up with my own creation!

How did such a simplistic concept of Forward Movement grow into this hideous beast beating me senseless and heaping guilt by the pitchfork with every day missed?

Until this morning, I had thought the way I was going about TFJ was the only way there was to do it.

The thought alighted on me as my Heavenly Father gently patted the head my toddler sized ambition.

“You strive too hard Darren. It’s not about top speed, it’s about being.” The idea dropped into my heart and tentacle out like food coloring in a clear glass of water.

My breakthrough is a much needed inhale of buffer space away from regimented overwork. There is a right side of the continuum! And I never recognized it till now. We are free to slip-n-slide from one end to the other and everywhere in-between without condemnation nor guilt.

The Left side is organized. The Right side is organic. The Right side ebbs and flows with the pace of life. Fast at times and slows to a crawl at others.

Because I am mildly schizophrenic at times, my brain immediately defaulted to the extreme and asinine assumption that the left end of the continuum is the only thing that works.

The Forward Journey is a principal based system that works best on a sliding scale from regimented organization to organic flow. Drill instructor on the left when you need it. An excellent journey of discovery on the right when you want it.

The TFJ Continuum

Regimented Organization

This take a lot of focus and effort to maintain. Here is what I was trying to keep up. Every day I review my Mission, review my #1 piece of resistance keeping my from my mission state. Then I plan out 30 min of dedicated activity to solving that problem using root cause analysis.

If you want BIG results fast, this is the best way to use TFJ to obtain massive breakthrough. The important question that is going to come up is whether you have the margin to accommodate this.

I found it is easy to say I have 30 min every day to dedicate to my success. Fulfilling that dedication became nearly impossible on an everyday occurrence. Kids get sick, plans interrupt your intention to be intentional. You get a summer cold.

You get lost. That’s life. If you are like me, don’t beat yourself up because you are unable to perform at world class level every minute of every day. I think there is a reason the Olympics are only every four years!

 

Organic Flow

This a more natural approach. You keep your mission, vision and resistance in mind at all times. Yet, instead of manufacturing the change on a tight schedule, you simply live your life with a wary eye for the opportunity to grow.

Rather than seeking out and killing the problems, you encounter them naturally as a result of living your life. When the problem comes up, you solve it then in the direction of your mission.

Your energy is conserved so you can take the kids out for ice-cream and finish that project for work. When the door cracks open to step forward in your vision, you take full advantage of it.

 

Balance

In writing this I am reminded of the story of Mary and Martha. Jesus came by and wanted some grub. Martha’s default mode slides to the left side of the continuum. She got busy prepping the best darn rack of lamb anyone had ever tasted. After all, Jesus deserves the best!

Mary took a right side approach. She grabbed the bean bag and plopped down next to Jesus’ feet. She dropped in on his conversion with his buddies. She laughed with the group. She marveled at his insights to even the simplest question.

Martha, breaking out about the asparagus that was burning and the pot about to boil over, yelled out of her overload for her sister to pitch in.

What was Jesus’ response? Martha, quit freaking out. I am here for a little time and then I will be gone and you will have plenty of time to be busy cooking then. For now, enjoy time hanging out with me.

 

Do you need Quantity or Quality?

While the left-sided regimented organization is able to bring about a greater quantity of wins, the organic flow results in higher quality wins. The kind that stays with you for years to come.

Life unfolds in unpredictable ways. When you surf along the surface, taking teach turn as it comes you are present. You are in the here and now. Capitalization on naturally occurring phenomenon results in a better story.

Having received this morning route heavenly download into my soul, I am going to slip on down the continuum to the a central position. I can’t go all the way to the right, Ill drive myself nuts. But I can take the occasional dip not the mindfulness present and simply enjoy being in the center of the God’s creation.

The time may come to crank the effort to 11. When that time comes I have no problem plugging in and rocking out 18 hr days.

And the time will also come when I take a whole week away from forward movement in pursuit of being present in the here and now of peace, joy and life.

I suppose in the end it is all about balance. Too far to the left and you burn out. Too far to the right and you never really get ahead.

Life ebbs rises in successive rhythmic clocking. When the pace quickens, dig in and put forth the extra effort. When the pace slackens, catch your breath.

Strike the balance well my friend. Live onward and upward.

TFJ030: Destiny… Fact or Crap? Is it mystical mumbo-jumbo or a real force that guides us, you decide!

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I am seriously behind this week! Its 8:00PM and I am just now getting this podcast out. Was it destiny? Was this lateness always meant to be? Let’s chat about the space that God carved out for your life and whether you are ready to move forward in your journey.

TFJ029: D’s 4+1 ingredients to a more mature life (Downward, Inward, Outward, Upward + Direction)

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This week DM explore the two facets of maturity: Growth and Direction. See yourself as your personality is today in all areas of growth: Worldview, Influence, Response and Relationship with God.

Downward: how compact is your foundation? Does the slightest pressure in life cause you to crumble? Your worldview is only as strong as the questions you vet it with.

Inward: Master the GAP! There is a space, no matter how minute, between stimulus and response. Most of us only react in a nonthinking way. Don’t react, respond.

Outward: Influencing others. The best was to influence  is to shut up and let people talk. They will think you are a conversational wizard! Learn to ask powerful questions that help people to see their own point of view. then let them make the decision on what how to go forward. Do that and gain influence with them.

Upward: Your connection to God. Is the top of your personality tethered to the divine? You need this lifeline to keep your personality standing up high lest the winds of life blow you down with a great crash.

Directional: Your true north. Where are you going in life? What is your vision?

Become mindful about these things and upgrade your personality from a smart car puttering down the road of life to a Boeing 747 where Jesus is your pilot and you serve a massive amount of people at 500mph @ 40,000 ft!!!

Icon TFJ Podcast Artwork

TFJ028: The 4 pillars that cement my faith in the idea of God and Launched my success in life

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DM walks through the 4 big arguments he learned in seminary that built a bullet proof foundation for acting out loud for God. This knowledge has the power to transform even the most timid believer into a lean mean action hero! Here are the links from the show

Cosmological Argument: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6CulBuMCLg0

Teleological Argument: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qSa7cq3QOwU

Anthropic Principal: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KtRcAuunEMg

The Moral Argument: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OxiAikEk2vU

Debate between William Lane Craig and Alex Rosenberg: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0ZmFptNGnFs

TFJ027: Those who wait for the stars to align often stub their toe on reality, don’t be that guy!

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Sometimes we find ourselves waiting on someone or something to happen before we move down our path. This is possibly the worst decision ever. Opportunities happen when you move down the journey of life… not while you sit on the couch. Take action this week to get closer toward your big win!

TFJ026: D’s top 5 ways to overcome the fear that holds you back

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The insidious thing about fear is it works its way into your life from just a small opening. You have heard the term, don’t give the devil a foothold? Letting in fear, even in just one territory of your life, is like loose a fox in a hen house. He won’t stay in the corner you let him in. I’ll give you my 5 best tips for overcoming fear in any area of life.

TFJ025: What to do after you crush your #1 Resistance

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You have your vision from God, you understand your launching point, you have a well crafted mission statement, you identified your #1 point of resistance keeping you from achieving your mission and you overcame it…. now what? Find out in Episode 25 of The Forward Journey Podcast!

Life Design: the secret mixture for total control over your happiness

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After reading this article, think about how much better your life will look if you implement the suggested tactics for designing a life worth living.

Life Design

Design is all about shaping base materials into a greater whole.

A designer is someone who collects raw materials, and puts them together in such a way that it adds value. To design is to discriminate between what serves the purpose of value. If there is no end value in a thing, that thing won’t make it into the project. Good designers cut out junk.

Here is a truth you need to grab: You can become the designer of your own life.

Roughly half the people reading this will answer with a strong Amen. Just short of half will sneer and give me the bird. A small percentage fall somewhere in-between. This group either hasn’t thought much about it, or hasn’t come to a clear conclusion if someone can actually shape their own life.

My friend, you can look ahead into the future and determine what kind of value you want to deliver via your life. The degree to which you succeed in designing your life depends on how well your footing straddles the way the world really works.

Free will vs Destiny

Is it arrogant to posit a person can shape the trajectory of their life? The spectrum seems pretty wide on this one.

In one instance, we have the destiny camp. The people who believe our ends are determined before we begin.

Additionally, we have the Freewill camp. The people who say you have the ability to bifurcate outcomes with decisions utilizing a Yes or No.

What do you think? Which camp has the corner on truth?

Maybe you think no matter what you do, it’s all going to end up in the wash regardless your opinion. Or, maybe you agree with the free will concept that you do, in fact, make decisions every day that crown in consequence. Good or bad… consequences stem from your actions.

Me? I have thought about this for the past 15 years.

My thinking has led me to believe something seemingly paradoxical. My 32-year-old brain has come to hold the opposing philosophies in the same package of mental agreement.

Yes, I believe in destiny. I think we are right to believe there is a divine way out in front of us outlining a course of action. Yes, I believe in human agency (free will). I think we are right to believe our yes’ and no’s truly direct the flow of outcome in the world.

I think both sides contain equal quantities of reality based truth… just different ends of the same spectrum.

To me, debating between predestination and agency (free will) is like arguing if light is made up of red or blue waves.

The answer is both. It has both.

The problem, as I see it, in choosing only a partial corner of truth, is you lose the ability to gain sure footing over the whole surface. Instead of steadying yourself in the whole spectrum of what reality is, you try to tip toe around an edge.

Precarious Worldview Tip Toe

If you are sick of feeling like life just doesn’t work for you, keep reading. I use to have this feeling too. But I searched and studied and uncovered anything I though could help. After 15 years of contemplation, I stand strong. You can too.

Helplessness is the sadistic outcome of a worldview in which you have no power. It teaches you to sit down and zip your lip because nothing you try would improve it.

You are not helpless!!! You have a capacity for power.

While the capacity for power within a person is limited… it’s certainly not zero.

If you are not helpless, but have some measure of power to change the world… which theory is right on how you get this power and how to best use it?

My initial research into this philosophical conundrum returned a plethora of exotic theories. Yin and Yang. Nirvana and oneness with the ether. Basically a bunch of humanistic ethereal bull crap. They can keep their imaginary access to the stellar luminaries of purpose. Dude, just give me Jesus.

Jesus is the one historically verified basis of reality. The guy died. Then God brought him back. This is the single most attested miracle in the history of mankind. Sure there are plenty of haters who sneer at the evidence, but they have an emotional problem… not a logical one. Simply put, the evidence leads to Jesus as the Son of God.

Why do you have power in your life? It’s because God has given it to you.

You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. Galatians 5:13

You have the power of choice. You were called to be free and to use that freedom, not for yourself, but for the greater good of love.

Precarious Worldview stable

I encourage you to expand your worldview to incorporate the two seemingly antithetical concepts that you have freedom at the same time God has determined how the world will work. The greatest benefit of expanding your worldview on how reality works is a strong stance. This widening of your stability will allow you to stand in the face of adversity. The bigger your worldview overlaps with reality the more stable you will be.

Which idea do you have the greater difficulty adopting? That fact that you have Free Will or that Destiny is real?

Guard Rails

At first glance, putting up boundaries of these two ideas seems limiting:

o   God has a plan for your life and you can’t change it

o   You are the ultimate decision maker whether you fulfill your destiny

Yet, those who understand this unleash complete and total freedom in their life.

How does this work?

It’s the debilitation of choice. Science has proved that an overwhelming array of choices usually end with a person choosing nothing.

In 2006 The Harvard Business review, published an article, “More isn’t always better”  marketers had a table with just 6 flavors of jam. Hoping to increase sales, they increased the variety to 24 different flavors and had a coupon for $1 off any jar if you sampled it.

The result?

Oddly the table with 6 jars outsold jam 10 to 1 compared with the 24 jar table. When faced with too great a variety of flavored jams… you are most likely to walk out of the store with no jam at all.

Think about it. You have the capacity to be a doctor, architect, Wal-Mart greeter, international spy, truck driver, professional pool player, bowling ball polisher… the list is pretty much endless. Hesitation about which path to take leaves you frozen in the barren winter lands of indecision.

As odd as it sounds, by fencing in your life between knowing God’s singular calling on your life and the fact that you are responsible to do those things, ultimate freedom is unleashed.

All those erroneous flavored ideas fall away and you are able to truly focus your limited time, talent, thoughts and treasure on the one flavor that really matters.

Understand that I realize this is an inexpressibly complex subject. Passions stir at the mere mention of predestination and election. I think a clear benefit from understanding that All scripture has been given to us to edify and instruct us in righteousness.

But we speak God’s wisdom in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God predestined before the ages to our glory; Romans 8:28- 30

He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will… also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will, 1 Cor 2:7

Simply put, the God of the universe has predestined you to do certain things within your lifetime.

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Ephesians 2:10

You cannot run from this. But these things will not be done for you either. It is possible to disappoint God!

I think the concept of mutually agreeing agency and destiny acts like a sort of safety system as you travel down your forward journey.

The mind of man plans his way, But the LORD directs his steps. Proverbs 16:9

Your vision provides True North direction. The objective direction in which your conscious points. This is the direction you should be steering your life.

Destiny is your right hand guard rail. It keeps you from falling overboard into thinking you somehow need to shoulder the entire weight of life performance. Loads too heavy to carry result in unhappiness and depression.

Destiny catches you before you careen over the edge trying to do it all yourself. Simply put, you can’t do it all yourself!

And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. Prov 16:4

On the left hand side of the road you have free will. It keeps you on the straight and narrow path. It keeps you from drifting into the idea that God is going to live your life for you. Just because he is strong enough to do it doesn’t mean He will.

“Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.” Joshua 24:15

With these two guards in place, you can systematically eliminate 99.9% of all the endless esoteric jam flavors in which you can fill your life with meaning.

Stop kicking against God’s plan for your life. Stop waiting on someone else to make it happen.

Find what God wants you to do! Begin to work toward the goal as you see it opening. How do we do this? Two simple words you use in completely the wrong way! It’s how you use these two words that your life unfolds.

Intentionality’s Twins

Having an attention, free from distraction, allows you to apply your energies into a laser pin point able to pierce even the staunchest of obstacles.

To harness the power of making intentional decisions, you need only two sister tools: Yes and No. The difference between a life of significance and one dripped away into the wind is where one uses these words. Powerful words when mixed with intentionality.

These are the twin tools used by people who care able to constrict amazing lives.

Dull tools are about as useful as fur coat in an Olympic swim meet. They make every stroke forward more lumbering than the last. Increase your personal power by sharpening your tools.

Opening doors using “YES”

The power of Yes is the engagement of all you are. Never commit to a halfhearted endeavor. If you are going to do it, do it the best.

Giving a yes is a loan against your soul.

Fail to pay down that debt and kiss significance good bye. Are you feeling a sense of fracture in your life? How many times have you defaulted on your Yes?

Allow your True North direction to guide you in choosing what to say yes to. I something called the <90=0 rule. If an opportunity does not overlap at least 90% of my true north direction, it gets a no. I have too little time and resources to apply to small things that won’t build my life.

Read the Book Essentialism by Greg McKeown for more on this.

Applying Control using “NO”

No is a different animal altogether. No is crucial for 90% of the stuff that makes it across your mind. When you apply no to an opportunity, see it less of a negative response to that current request. Instead begin to see it for what it is. You are carving out room for your Yes to mean something. You are holding back the flood waters so you can sow the seeds that bring meaning into your life.

Use no liberally, it’s your friend. Many no’s makes a Yes all the more powerful.

Your life is the way it is, not because of all the external forces forcing you into a mold, because of the design approach you have taken thus far. By all means, if you intend to continue to get what you’ve already got, keep doing the same things.

I am sure many at this point would like to interject some thought akin to, “But I can’t say no to the things I have no control over!”

This is true.

Destiny hands you circumstance far beyond your ability to reject it. However, you do have ultimate control over how you view these circumstances. You can see your current state as a curse or an opportunity.

Happiness never results in a reliable way from circumstances magically aligning for your benefit. Happiness is built through the decision to see problems as opportunities for improvement.

If you want to increase your zeal for life. If you want to wake up hours earlier in the morning refreshed and revitalized for a new start. If you want to build a life that impacts others for the good, it is imperative you use yes and no appropriately. The way successful people use them.

Yes and No with follow through is your secret weapon to impose your will and change your world.

Impose Your Will

Those who win, seek to impose their will on the world. This happens in varying degrees. Both evil and good alike can impose will. From Stalin to Mandela, the consistent application of will can result in massive change. In the case of Stalin the result was the death of tens of millions of Russians. In the case of Mandela the result was reconciliation for South Africa.

More on each here (one paragraph contrasting the fact that imposing your will works only if you are committed to it.)

Can I impose my will on the world?

Yes, Yes you can. But the degree to which your traction propels you into the direction of rightness is directly proportional to your mixture of destiny and free will.

Remember, holding both the reality of freewill and the reality of destiny in your mind expands your worldview overlap with the way things really are. They act as a guard rail as you travel down your path toward true north.

 This day I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Choose life. Deuteronomy 30:19-20

Your decision today, tomorrow and the day after to choose life is the crux of your joy. By choosing to live within the reality of God’s purpose for your life, and choosing to apply yes to His opportunities and no to everything else, you will live happily.

 

 

 

 

TFJ024: Phase 5 of The Forward Journey: The Climb

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We have come to the final phase, The Climb. Learn the single most important rule in accomplishing your goals- Root Cause Analysis. This one tactic will result in more forward movement than anything else you try combined and multiplied by 10! It is the one thing that drive momentum. Find out more!

5 Parts of Life Icon

Life falling apart?

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Maybe you have square wheels tumbling down the road of life, quit doing that!

The paths of life often find a way to shake rattle and dislodge your comfort. The unfortunate thing is many of these disturbances to your peace is self-inflicted. Sometimes others are to blame, but right now I would like to focus on the times when you are the direct cause of the unfortunate circumstances in life.

I believe a majority of life’s bumps and breakdowns can be avoided. Challenges met in everyday progress of life needn’t result in feeling stalled. I believe and teach it’s the challenges faced in life that provide the fuel to keep going. Without challenges, life isn’t worth getting out of bed in the morning.

I once saw a Mythbuster’s episode where Jamie had a bright idea to put square tries on a truck and see how fast they could go. With a premise like that how could you not watch? Needless to explain why, the truck with square tires tore itself apart. It shook so bad, parts began to fly off!

Someone figured out a long time ago that round tires provide a smoother ride. The invention of the wheel was a basic requirement for an advanced civilization to grow. So too, a well-rounded character is a must for you to achieve the loftier goals in life.

If you have found yourself always having to stop and pick up the pieces falling off your life as you travel down life’s road… you may need to check how well rounded your character is. A lop sided character makes for one destructive ride.

The disadvantage of being lopsided

When you give into the concept of, “This is just the way I am,” you have believe a lie about yourself. This lie, I call “Give it up” Syndrome, is administers a Dramamine effect lowering your sensitivity of a rough life. The fact that things often fall apart instead of getting stronger and faster become normal. The fact is you were born for honor and glory. A life of giving up is perhaps the greatest sin of all.

When you normalize lopsided character your likelihood of increasing in status with God and men is basically akin to an ant fart in a hurricane. Normalize your failures and you lose at life.

Becoming a well-rounded person is a lifetime activity that provides an ever widening circle of mastery and satisfaction. It promotes charity and hospitality and endears you to just about everyone.

The rising tide

The great truth about your life is that a focus on improvement of one area results in a splash effect on the others. A friend once told me his wife finally got down to her pre-pregnancy weight (a multiyear effort). Because she finally attained a threshold of physical achievement, their sex life went from twice a month to three times a week!

Every guy reading this just purchased a gym subscription for his wife.

A significant win in the physical area of life can have positive effects in the social area (increased intimacy due to increased self-confidence). A significant win in the mental area of life can have positive health benefits in the body. Everything is intertwined in your life. A rising tide lifts all ships.

You can leverage this fact by alternating your focus. Be sure to give proper attention to all five areas in which you have experiences.

The 5 territories of your human experience: Lands to be conquered

As you set out on the journey of building your life, accomplishing something worthwhile, you will encounter the five territories of human experience. These territories host a vast number of paths that will lead you to your desired state.

The five are as follows:

  • Mental: Your mind will and emotions, also known as the immaterial soul
  • Physical: Your body which is used to experience this world and others
  • Spiritual: Your connection to eternal truth and substance
  • Social: Interactions with other people made up of Mental, Physical and Spiritual substances
  • Economic: The value produced through the interaction of the above four territories

The simple trick is not to ignore any one territory as all five as absolutely essential to having a well-balanced life. Figure out how to travel down the paths of these five territories and you will increase in wealth, health and favor with God and people.

Allow fear to keep you from setting out into the wilderness of these territories and watch your life shrivel faster than your best guy in a cold lake. Not a pretty picture but the message is clear, don’t let your life look like that!

Yikes, moving on…

Venturing into the great unknown

3 zones of life

Venturing off into the great unknown is both exciting and scary. This mix is intended to act as a sort of fuel and indicator you are doing the right things. In my years of coaching and explaining these principals I have finally settled into the following picture to help explain the process of personal growth.

  • Safety Zone

The inner most zone is called the Safety Zone. This is your everyday comfort. The place you retreat to when you feel stressed out. Its your default setting.

  • Scary Zone

Just beyond the Safety Zone is the next area, the area in which all growth comes. This is the Scary Zone. There is a fine line that is a threshold between the two in your life. That threshold is referred to as fear. Once you pass beyond it, you are in a place that is unfamiliar and scary.

It’s like rooting around in the dark. Your imagination runs wild with all the thing that could happen to you in the darkness. But this is where all the great stuff in your life is found. To build a life that is meaningful, all your materials will come from this zone. To gather what you need to be great, you must repeatedly enter the Scary Zone.

  • Crazy Zone

The final outer zone is called the Crazy Zone. All of us have our limits. No one can do everything. The point beyond which we are able to successfully cope is where you turn from fearful to an anxiety laden nervous wreck.

The threshold you pass from Scary to Crazy is called Anxiety. While fear is something that indicates an opportunity to move forward, anxiety represents the fact that you are drowning and are over your head. Stay out of the Crazy zone! It’s not helpful and it’s not healthy.

Flipping the paradigm

In order to design a successful life you need to redefine what fear means to you. Remember there is a difference between fear and anxiety. Fear is good, anxiety is bad.

Fear keeps your self-interest intact. It keeps you from placing your hand on a hot stove or initiating a wrestling match with a silverback gorilla. Fear is an indicator that something up ahead or around you is different from your Safety Zone.

This is a wonderful tool to have! Fear tells you that you have passed beyond your Safety Threshold and are into uncharted territory. When fear abounds look up and survey what opportunities exist. There is a door open to a new area for potential mastery.

If you can flip the paradigm and begin to utilize fear as fuel you will reliably enlarge your territory. You will gain new mastery of areas of yoru mind, spirit, body, friends and work. God is beckoning you to take the opportunity fear provides by stepping through the threshold and trying your hand at life on a higher level. If you do you will begin to resemble to image below.

This kind of person has a strong foundation in security. This type of person has traveled through the valley of the shadow of death and come through the other side better for it. Notice how small the Crazy zone becomes as you enlarge your Safety Zone. The more you gain in personal security the more you can gain in the future.

Unfortunately the corollary is also true. The longer you hide in your hobbit hole of a personal shell, the more difficult it becomes to break out of the shell. It is certainly always possible, with God all things are possible! Consistent and early withdrawal from the threshold of fear results in a recidivist withdrawal of your security foundation. You begin to look like this.

Bad Zones

This kind of person is sees the world as hostile. Fear is a bully and not a opportunity. The way to get through is just to hold on and grit through. They are pessimistic and generally unpleasant.

The crazy thing is you are in control of which outlook you adopt. Your decisions to advance or withdraw from the threshold of fear shapes your destiny.

Works prepared for you before the world began

The reason I have written this article to you is this: Our world needs you to quit cowering in the face of fear and instead own it!

Before God spoke the first word of creation, He knew everything that would happen in your life. He saw every win and every failure for every person. And as He spoke those words, “Let there be…” a plan unfolded that has brought us to today.

Way back then, before the foundations of the world were formed and the physics of reality were settled, God carved out a space for you in time. A void, stretched apart for the short time in which you walk on this earth. Then He gave you the freewill to choose whether or not to fill that void with the things He prepared for you to do.

If there is one thing that nature hates it is a vacuum. Any void where something does not exist is quickly swallowed up by everything else around it. Your opportunity to live a life worthy of honor will not last indefinitely.

As we speak the walls are closing in around on the time you have left in your little niche of the world. The time to act is now. The time to say “Yes” to God’s plan is now.

Here is the kicker. If you ever wondered why the world is filled with so much evil, corruption and malice, it is simply this:

If you do not fill in the void that God has created for you, the world will sink down to the measure that you were intended to lift it up.

And when you compound the naked reality that person after person is not heeding the call of God on their life, then it is no wonder the world continues to sink deeper and deeper into insanity.

You have a part to play, do you know your position?

How well rounded are you designing your life? Do you feel lopsided? Does life feel like you have square tires?

The take away for today is to honestly evaluate how you value fear. Is it an enemy from which you must instantly retreat? Or a friend indicating you have passed from the Safe to the Scary and golden opportunities to round out your character are ahead. The choice is yours. Choose well.

TFJ021: Phase 2 of The Forward Journey: Reality Base Camp

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After drafting out your vision, it is a mistake to jump into action. Before we begin to make our vision a reality, we must first press pause and take a look around. We must understand precisely where we stand in relation to our vision for any work to hit its mark. I call it, Reality Base Camp.

Real Winners Love a Loss: The Undeniable Truth why You should Love it too

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Our primrose, fanciful culture would like you to believe what you see on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter is real. We are presented with story after story of someone’s success. We see the pictures of their amazing win.

  • The family is closer knit than ever before.
  • The job is leading to yet another promotion.
  • They’ve got seventy trillion likes on their life.

This is what we see. This is not what is.

The things which lead up to the closer family, promotions and likes come from a place where losing happens far more quickly than success.

It’s simply a facet of human nature to extol our positive experiences and minimize the bumps along the way. We think we are providing a better experience for people by talking only about the end result.

Do I Measure up?

You may be tempted to think you won’t ever measure up to what others are doing.

The secret is… the road to prestige was paved with many, many losses. It’s a misrepresentation to believe any big win came from an unbroken string of successive wins behind it.

Big wins come from falling repeatedly in the right direction. DM Murphy

We call it learning. We think cause and effect will turn out a certain way… and it doesn’t. We lost that round. And now you’ve learned a valuable lesson about what doesn’t move the needle in the right direction.

From that small loss, you try again with a slightly different approach. In this way, we inch our way toward the landslide of success. Everyone from the outside only sees the avalanche overtaking our lives for the better. But you know it was all those trudging steps falling through the snow that came before.

How does winning work?

It starts with the courage to lose a few battles in order to stand victorious in the war.

“The greatest test of courage on earth is to bear defeat without losing heart.” – Robert Green Ingersoll

Experiencing a loss is a prerequisite for becoming a legend. Legends understand the successive faltering of misinformed ideas lead to the truth. To win big you need to align with reality. Your misconceptions about how reality works is the reason for your downfall. A loss is proof positive reality isn’t working the way you thought. At least not in this particular circumstance. You are now more aware of the way the world really works when you experience a loss. Embrace it.

When a legend attains the winning status, a legacy is born that beacons others to come behind and follow the trail they blazed.

Do you want to help other people in the way that means the most to them? Be willing to suffer a few losses in order to uncover the truth of the matter. Then, founded upon the truth, you can build a life that will withstand any form of resistance. Built on the truth, the bedrock of reality which nothing can dislodge.

Where do we go wrong?

Contrary to pop psychology, pain doesn’t come from a loss. Pain results from a failure.

The difference between a loss and failure depends on the adoption of one of two words.

“Lead” vs “Stop”

A loser becomes a legend by leading himself/herself into the challenge and continuing until the goal is reached.

A failure becomes a flop when the pressure of not winning when expected causes them to stop short of the goal.

Losing is only a momentary point along a timeline which reaches from launch to landing. Failure, is the abandonment of the ship anywhere in-between the start and end.

This is why winners love the loss. Not because it feels good. It certainly doesn’t bolster their reputation. Because wisdom is gained through trials and a loss provides 10x more knowledge that a win. Knowledge, when applied in the right circumstance, evolves into wisdom; wisdom is the bedfellow of success.

Life Design

It may be surprising for you to learn that within your control is the ability to design your own life experience.

It goes without saying that one may not choose which experiences are foisted on them. However, it seems obvious to me that one has the freedom to choose how to respond to nearly every experience. It is the appropriate placement of “Yes” and “No” that determines a life well lived from a miserable catastrophe.

The mindset of those who win places a heavy focus on the buffer space in-between stimulus and response. It’s this time in-between a loss and how you choose to perceive its effect will determine your future outcome.

Notice what I said there. The loss will never determine your future, only your perception of it. If you continue to expend your Time, Talent, Thought and Treasure toward you goal in spite of the loss, you will attain legend status in the eyes of the onlookers.

Most people I coach are adverse to the embrace of loss. I will tell you the same I tell them: The prestige of the loser is becoming a legend because they lead through the difficulty. The pain of the failure results from accepting a flop and they simply stop.

Don’t stop. Move forward. This is your journey, no one else will walk it. I’ll leave you with a cute story.

The Question of the Baby Camel

One day a little camel asked her momma a few questions that had been rattling around for a few days.

“Momma, why do we have these big humps on our backs?” she asked inquisitively.

“Our humps help us make it through long periods in the desert without water.”

That seemed to make sense. “Why are my legs so long and skinny with rounded feet?”

“Legs and feet like your’s help you walk across the dunes found all over the desert.”

Again, momma seemed to make sense. “What about my long eye lashes? Why are they so big?”

“We need our long lashes to keep blowing sand out of our eyes whenever a dust storm rises in the desert.” Momma said knowing full well she could answer any question her daughter came up with.

Having satisfied her questions of the past few days, there was just one last thing to ask momma, “If my hump helps me stay in the desert, and my legs help me walk across the desert, and my eye lashes protect me from the desert…”

“Yes dear?” Momma camel said sensing another question coming.

“Then why do I live in a zoo?”

So often we find ourselves stuck in an environment that doesn’t fit our design. God made you to work a certain way. If you don’t know what that is, find out. If you know what that is, what is your next action step to make it reality? Don;t fear the loss, it will only serve to grind your edge into a precision instrument. Embrace the loss and abandon failure.

The Pivot Inevitability

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After much prayer and reflection I have decided to make a major change to this blog.

You may have noticed each blog beginning with a countdown of xxxdays left… this is a count down until I quit my job. The reason for this was my attempt to show how you too can replace your income with a side business and go full time.

When I started The Forward Journey, I listened to advice from many people all saying the same thing. Pick a super specific niche. Drill down really deep.

My chosen area were Christians who wanted to start their own businesses. This provided the needed direction on how to focus my efforts. Yet, over the past 5 months, I have feel more like I am wondering around than blazing a trail. Simply put: this is not where my passion resides nor my expertise.

I didn’t know this at the outset. However, after 15 podcasts, and more than 50 blog posts, I have uncovered more about my purpose here on the earth. My surprising revelation is resulting in a pivot.

No longer will I be posting 3 blogs a week based on how to make you a business owner. Instead I will be posting 1 time per week on a new topic. Self-Leadership.

I am not abandoning this blog as much as I am refining its cutting edge. Sometimes we just need to jump in with both feet and figure it out as we go. This is me figuring it out. Move away from business and over to providing tools so you can govern your soul more effectively.

I believe this is what The Forward Journey was all about the whole time. I was trying to follow advice about a laser focus. But TFJ is not a laser focus, its something that applies to everyone in every instance of life. It is a general topic.

Even though this means it will be more difficult for me to popularize with this broader subject, I am ready for the challenge.

You will also note a change in The Forward journey Podcast as well. If you have any questions let me know by email at d@theforwardjourney.com

Keep moving forward!

D

 

TFJ017: 4 Verses to get You through this Week

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Lets stroll through a handful of powerhouse verse to set your mind in the right direction this week. I know there is more inside of you than what others can see. This episode is an encouragement for those who want to be more but need a nudge in the right direction.

466 days left… Wait a tick… I am in charge here

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It Could be Different

 

Last night I was looking forward to having a bit of down time in my morning. I was going to take things slow and do some catching up. After all, my work event didn’t start till 1:00PM right?

Then, just to be sure, I checked my calendar on my work iPhone. Crap.

I scheduled the meeting to begin at 8:00AM. My wife said, “Good thing you checked.”

I agreed with her sentiment. I promptly went to bed so I was well rested for this early event.

I woke up tired. A drug myself down stairs to put on my jacket and shoes. As I zipped up I realized something.

“Wait just a sec… I am in charge here.” The light bulb illuminated the dark room.

I set the meeting time. I could reset the meeting time back to whenever I wanted! And I did. I saved my morning in the process and got a lot done that needed to get done.

Maybe you are not in charge at work. But I am willing to bet there is a lot of things you do control but are not exerting your will onto.

Rather than simply surrendering your fate to the way things are. Go ahead and see if there is another way. Often times there are multiple solutions to any given problem which result in a win-win scenario.

I find most times the reason you don’t impose your will on a situation isn’t because you are not in charge. It’s because you simply don’t see this as an opportunity for change. It’s just the way it is.

Let me tell you something, there is no giant government agency looking over your situation, crafting legal decrees that it must be this way. Chances are things are the way they are, for this particular instance, because someone set things in motion to get them here.

If it isn’t working for you, be the one who changes it.

My morning situation was a small thing. It was easy for me to change. But it has got me thinking.

How many mornings before now have I trudged on with the set schedule without popping my hand in the air and asking why?

You Got This

Does this make sense? It really made my morning great. It was worth the small effort it took to change it. I suppose I am wondering how many things in your life could be just like that. Maybe your life can be better in little ways with simple changes.

You just have to challenge the status quo. Just because that’s the way it is, does not mean it SHOULD be that way.

Am I right or am I right?

Your challenge after reading this little win of mine is to go out and do the same today. Yes, today. Look for something that isn’t working for you. It doesn’t have to be big, it can just be annoying.

Once identified, impose your will on this problem and change it for a win-win.

 

468 days left… When the going gets tough, are you doing it wrong?

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468 days left… When the going gets tough, are you doing it wrong?

Rough times will come. For many of us they stay far too long. As I coach people through problems I see a similar vein of hopelessness running through just about everyone.

There is a lesson I learned long ago from a wise old man. He was a curmudgeon, elderly vet who could still lick me at arm wrestling. He use to tell me something over and over again.

“No pain, no gain.” He would quip.

I didn’t like that saying. Now that I have a family, a career and a deep relationship with my God, I can say he was right. I have learned.

Growth comes through pain not pleasure.

As a culture, we have accepted the concept that anything that bends, pushes or strains us is bad. It’s an enemy against which we must unleash prosaic. We call it stress.

Stress: a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or very demanding circumstances.

What we fail to ascertain is a beautiful line of delineation exists within the realm of stress. To the left of this line is what we call distress.

Distress: extreme anxiety, sorrow, or pain.

Yet there is also a whole other world to the right of this line. It’s a world of stress which is beneficial. A type of stress which leaves you better off.

Eustress: moderate or normal psychological stress interpreted as being beneficial for the experiencer.

This is where the “no pain, no gain” concept comes from. My old friend just didn’t have a term for it.

 

Beneficial Opposition

This is the secret to understanding if the direction you are heading is the right one. Opposition is not an indicator of correctness. Saints all throughout history experience intense opposition to what their lives were constructing.

They kept going and you should too. When experiencing eustress, you can take it as a sign you are doing things correctly.

Pushing through the folds of change produces friction. This world wants you to stand still so it can consume you. A target moving forward is difficult to swallow.

Forward movement will produce an uncomfortable heat in life. You feel the burn when you work out. The same is true on a meta-level when your life pushes past comfort into eustress.

Keep moving forward. God has designed the world this way. You are not perfect. In God’s world, for you to be perfected, you must sharpen your dull senses to know and do what is good.

The friction you feel produces a honing effect on your soul. It sharpens your character. It’s God’s method of removing burs from your surface. And all the rubbing, while very uncomfortable, produces a lot of heat.

This heat treatment is tempering your soul. It is steeling your character. You become strong after surviving the heat of eustress.

If you feel the honing, keep moving forward. Lean into it. It will sharpen your resolve.

If you feel the heat, keep onward. It will stiffen your perseverance to see things done.

Woeful Opposition

Another possibility exists. It may be that your chosen path is not produce the beneficial eustress, but harmful distress.

Moments of distress are not a reason to turn back. However, prolonged bouts of distress, the intense pain or anxiety, may be a sign that you are traveling the wrong way down a one way road.

It may never get easier on this path. With the guidance of a coach, it may be wise to reassess your missional direction.

Excessive distress can be a cause for changing course.

 

Be careful to examine your situation and correctly determine if the resistance you are feeling is eustress or distress. Just because it isn’t easy doesn’t mean you are doing it wrong.

471 days left… How Can I know my Calling

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471 days left… How Can I know my Calling

 

Culture teaches us a calling comes from outside… we are chosen. Not unlike Harry Potter, or King Arthur.

I both agree and disagree with this concept. In a sense, we are chosen. God does seek us out and bring us to a place that is different than where we see ourselves. But, it never happens automagically. We aren’t inducted into a special school to equip us. We aren’t bequeathed a sword which gives us the right to rule.

Instead, we must follow our feet toward the call we hear. It is up to us to truly make it happen. And answer the call you can my friend. Answer the call you must; that is, if you ever want to find true happiness.

Today I want to share with you my 4 big tips on how you can discover what God is calling you to do with your life.

How can I position myself to discover my calling?

1) Submit to a Mentor

I know this is a difficult one. Getting someone’s time is more difficult than ever today! However, if you want to know your calling and know for sure the destiny road ahead, this is a must.

Mentors provide an over watch. They see things from a higher perspective than you do. While you battle in the thick of the mire, they can stand back and survey the whole scene. This gives them a perch from which they can ascertain your likely opportunities.

Submission is almost worse than the F word today. That’s because we are a rebellious society. Rebellion is just fine if you want to stay poor and lost. If you want to have firm direction, drop the inner rebel and find someone you can follow.

And when you find them, see if you can trust them. And if you can trust them, listen to them.

 

2) Wait patiently, watch, listen

Another way you can position yourself to discover your life’s calling is to engage your patience drive. Yes patience is an active endeavor. You must actively reject the temptation to move before it is time.

I get the fact your engine is warm and ready to race. I realize you are ready to go.

But go where?

What use is all your horsepower for getting things done if you don’t know the road you should be traveling down? It is much better to wait for direction than rip down lonely roads and empty your energy. The answer will come.

Watch for it. Be active in your seeking for direction. Constantly be testing the waters to see if it is finally right to dive into your calling. Use your mentor as a sounding board on what you see happening in your life.

Listen for your inner knowing. Know what your heart is saying on the matter. It’s amazing how much you will learn about yourself if you simply keep still and listen. This is an all but lost art in our culture.

 

3) Test the waters, get a mentee

Is this finally it? Your mentor is urging you to go forward with a direction on your calling. You are waiting, watching and listening and this seems right.

What do I do now?

I have a suggestion. Something that has helped me in the past. Get someone you can mentor and try the idea out.

You learn fastest by teaching. If you think you know your calling, and you have some idea where to start, go ahead and do a sample run. Take a small step and practice it on someone. A Guinea pig as it were.

Of course you will feel silly and scared. But it’s better to feel silly and scared with a small sample of what you will be doing rather than an overwhelming leap. You will learn if this is right with a small sample and it will feed your desire to get more traction on this road.

Start small. Start fast. Learn fast.

4) Confirm thrice

My last piece of advice for you in discovering your calling from God is to utilize multiple streams of knowledge when making the final determination if a certain path is the right one.

It is a disgrace to put yourself all in… to scream to the whole world “THIS IS ME!”… only to find a few months later you were wrong and need to go back to the drawing board. Humility up front will pay security dividends later on. Here is how the humble confirm a calling.

Chiefly- inner knowing

Does this make sense to your heart? It may not answer all the questions, but does it answer the big ones!

Secondly- mentor acknowledgement

Does your mentor agree with you? Be wary if they are not fully on board with your direction. It’s not to say mentors don’t sometimes get it wrong. They do. Let them ask their questions and test your idea.

Thirdly- other means

If your heart is confirming your course, and your mentor is behind you ready to help shove you off into those waters, still seek one more sign. A 3rd confirmation.

It could be anything. A sign from up above that this is right.

I have seen confirmation take form as a billboard, a well-timed movie quote, a stranger asking a specific question or a parent calling out of the blue with a confirming word.

God is able to send you a message if this is what He wants you to do. And if you get this third piece of the puzzle, move forward confidently in your calling.

Hope this helps!

473 days left… Theme Scheduling

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473 days left… Theme Scheduling

I’m trying out a new Idea this week. I figured you might be interested in it as it may hold a key to increasing efficiency on a personal and professional level.

Has this ever Happened to You?

You plan on being productive. And for the first 15 minutes its going great. Then you get the first task done.

And for the next 30 minutes you stand around trying to figure out what to do next? Maybe you check Facebook, make a tweet. Before you know it you are on your 4th YouTube video and have completely lost track of what you set out to do.

Sure there are plenty of things you “could” do. But which of those things “should” you do next to avoid the pitfalls of low productivity? There you stand, caught in a web of not-sure-what-to-do-next.

This happens to me all the time. My intention is to get some crap off my plate and the reality is I lose a bunch of time because I am constantly wondering what to do next with my free time.

If you are like me, your free time is limited. The time we spend picking our nose really should be spent creating value.

But how?

 

Work Effort Strategy

Here is an idea that can solve this problem for us…. potentially.

We schedule our week days with consistent themes. Each day represents a certain type of work you need to accomplish. Instead of working on a timeline, doing certain tasks according to a schedule, you begin to work on a routine.

Mondays you do one type of work- say writing

Tuesdays you do a different kind of work- say meetings

Each day is a certain kind of work. The reason this might actually be effectious is the way our minds gravitate to habits rather than random processes.

Let’s face it, you will be working on different types of projects throughout your life. It’s going to change and be different. All this upheaval is difficult for your brain to latch onto rote processing.

It’s kind of like driving the same route over and over again becomes second nature. You arrive at your destination and think, “How did I get here… I can’t remember the drive.” This is because your brain knows the journey. It’s seen it many times and can zone out on autopilot.

Been there done that.

We can leverage the same familiarity by building a habit. Connect a certain day of the week with a certain work type.

 

Here is my initial plan to leverage the power of theme scheduling.

Themed Days

·        MON- Prep (Buy supplies, Schedule ToDo lists, unbox any staging, and creating checklists for the week)

·        TUE- Content Creation (Writing)

·        WED- People Day (Calls, emails, social media, planning and meetings)

·        TH- Loose Ends (Get done anything missed on Tue/Wed)

·        FRI- VAC/ Ketchup

·        SAT- Content Creation (Multimedia)

·        SUN- Reflection (Honing, planning, strategy and review)

 

 

The Benefit of Efficiency

To this point I have given you the “What” and “How.” The “What” is theme scheduling on a weekly basis. I showed you “How” I am planning to do it.

But we need to talk about the “Why”. Why take the time to learn this new tool?

The normal way of working on a project is to work on the project. Following it from start to finish. Your work scheme looks like this.

Week1: Project 1: A, B, C

Week 2: Project 2: A, B, C

This seems fairly logical right? Work on A, complete it. Move on to B, complete it. When you finish C on project 1 go ahead and move to project 2.

Simple.

The problem with this is reality never works this way. In between A and B is a mental gear shift of work. And there is a loss of momentum with any shift. Human brain activity is kind of like Newtonian physics. A brain in motion like to stay in motion on that direction.

In order to change directions requires you to slow that momentum down and pivot. It’s a huge loss of energy for your focus.

For example, my creative work projects consists of writing a book and creating a video course. Two very different projects.  Yet there are similarities in work elements between a book and video course. They both require writing.

Instead of working on the writing of one project, then on another day trying to write on the other, why not do both while I am in the writing mode?

I can effortlessly lift from one writing project to the other. Same program, same space, same mindset. And this is where the magic is supposed to really help you and I. This is why I am testing this puppy out.

It saves on set up of environment. Saves on mental shifts. All my business meetings/calls are funneled to a single day where I focus on my human contact tasks. I think it’s a great idea.

 

Final Thoughts

The concept of theme scheduling makes sense to me. I am going to implement this into my life over a 4 week period. That should be enough time to get past the initial frustration of forgetting about that day’s theme. After a month, if it is going to be smooth sailing it should be running fine.

Just a quick note. I know there are a billion tools out there. Don’t try to do them all. Diving your efforts results in little gain. Pick just a few and try it. If it sticks, really learn that tool before adopting another.

TFJ016: Mastermind Groups are Going to Change Your Life

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I’ve been doing some research on the topic of mastermind groups. In this episode I share what’s on the top of my brain bank. Loads of people are saying great things about mastermind groups. Many are saying a large bulk of their success is attributable to them. This need to be a topic of discussion. Let’s discuss it.

475 days left… The Differences: Job vs Career vs Calling

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475 days left… The Differences: Job vs Career vs Calling

 

Job: A means to gain money

Career: A method of utilizing personal skill

Calling: Fulfillment of a predetermined legacy

 

The Purpose of a Job

Jobs are great. They are easy to get (usually) and provide a fantastic service to the culture. One of the benefits of having a job is learning to serve someone else’s vision.

When you go to work at a job you usually fill a position that is very well defined. You have work instructions on how to get your job done correctly. In completing these steps you bring about the realization of the business owner.

You create the products, you deliver the service. And for this you get paid. Usually not that much. Jobs usually pay up to about $18 for day to day work. Granted a job is not a career. But it is where we all start. And for good reason.

When we enter the work force we have no marketable skills. We may have a degree but that is never an appropriate substitution for real world experience. Personally, I think it’s unconscionable we expect high school graduates to pick out their career.

Having some jobs under your belt allows you to discover what you like and what you hate. Diving into the field is the only real way to know if it’s right for you. Anything else is akin to consulting a magic 8 ball.

Working a job builds character. It teaches the elementary disciplines of social work life. How to show up on time. How to take a tongue lashing while keeping your trap shut. How to handle the little money you make. Working diligently and innovatively to move up.

All these skills are the seeds which grow to a flourishing career. It teaches patience and deference to the astute job holder. And when the time is ready, the lessons are learned and the pay isn’t enough. It’s time to graduate from the job to a career.

The Blessing of a Career

Jobs can be mindless. Great for someone uninterested in challenging themselves at a higher level. For those who wish to excel in work a career is the most fortuitous route.

The market pays for skills which are in demand. Take me for instance, I have skills that increase business production efficiency. I have developed this ability over the past decade and am paid well for it. Others hone their crafts and find the same phenomenon.

The more you gain, the more you can charge. This is due to the mastery paradigm. Malcolm Gladwell is a well-known author who loves to study and report. One such report was his findings on people who get really good at what they do. They are not just experts, but masters!

They get there because they have put in the time. Around 10,000 hours, Gladwell says, is required to gain mastery in any niche area of skill. That’s a lot of hours!!! Especially when you consider a full time work year is only just over 2,000 hours.

I believe you and I were created to become masters of our craft. There is a famous misquote by Benjamin Franklin. Most quote him by saying, “Jack of all trades, master of none.” It’s used to describe someone who is pretty good at lot.

The real quote goes like this, “Jack of all trades, master of one.” The original concept what that one should know how to dip their toe into everything to a degree, but have one single skill which is truly world class.

Big difference right?

Our society flourishes when you have people who inhabit careers. We have better systems, and a better infrastructure. Imagine if doctors saw their craft as just a job instead of a career. Forgive my political incorrectness but I am darn glad a surgeon takes more pride in his work than a McDonald’s worker. I am also glad the MD is paid better!

 

The Career Curse

The problem you are going to have, or already have had, is many people stop writing the article right here. They think a career is the end all be all.

If one were to follow the career track to its end, an all too familiar warning sign begins to become visible. I am talking about the midlife crisis.

Johnny and Susie went to college, working odd jobs until they graduated. Each got entry level jobs in their fields. They worked hard and gained mastery in their 9-5 careers. After 20 years of dedicated work toward the career they start to see warning sings.

Johnny wakes up one morning wondering how he got grey on his beard and never became the man he thought we would have. Susie freaks out because she thought her new position would result in happiness. Both of them have an awakening that their course, to this point, has not resulted in the happiness they sought.

Its cliché that the guy goes out and buys a sports car. That’s a marginalization of a very real problem. Sports cars for Johnny and Tattoos for Susie do not spell happiness. It’s more of a knee jerk reaction.

The real issue is the realization of Legacy.

People finally ask themselves, “What has my life been building?” The resulting crisis is the inevitable conclusion to a poor answer.

This is where the career fails us, when we see it as the end-all be-all of our working life. There is another progression into which you must step foot to truly accomplish what everyone seeks- true happiness.

 

Your Calling

You’ve had a job. You learned a lot about the basics of human society. You are growing your career because that’s what the counselors told you to do. But it’s not enough.

You can’t shake the feeling there should be more… and for good reason.

There is more.

A regular 9-5 isn’t going to satisfy the deepest longings of your soul. This is by design. God has made you this way. It’s not a bad thing, it’s a good thing!

A calling moves beyond your work and defines who you are. It’s popular today to try and “find yourself.” People look everywhere from jobs to gender reassignment surgeries. Our culture is in a calling famine. Everyone wants to know but no one knows where to look.

Look to God, the author and perfecter of your faith.

A Calling consumes you. There is no 9-5 on your calling. You sleep it and eat it for breakfast. It is who you are. When people think of you, they associate you with your calling. It is your calling card. Its how you build a legacy that matters.

Anyone can work a job, anyone can enter the career field of their choice. It just takes time and effort. But so many are missing out on the epitome of their work efforts by neglecting to discover their call from God. The reason for which they were born.

Were as a job is about means, and a career is about success; a calling is about significance. It’s the true win in life.

There is loads more to say on this subject, that’s enough to get your mind reeling for today. Do you know your calling? Is it cemented in your heart which way your life should go?

If not, you must act today. Start looking, listening and knocking right now. Need more help? Email me your question and let’s discuss it D@theforwardjourney.com

478 days left… How Not to Strangle Your Coworkers

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478 days left… How Not to Strangle Your Coworkers

We’ve all been there. In the same room with the one person who knows which buttons to push to careen an otherwise perfectly good day into the verge of insanity.

Those people we wish we could avoid… but can’t. Destiny has cruelly dictated we must share space with them.

Here are my five steps in turning any hostile situation into a peaceful armistice in the workplace.

Step 1: Calm Down

You won’t do anyone a favor by acting out of high emotions. Do what needs to be done. Bite your tongue, count to 4 billion, and imagine everyone in their underwear… just chill out.

The Bible is replete with admonitions to be a person of peace and not quick temper.

Proverbs 15:1 A gentle answer turns away wrath, But a harsh word stirs up anger.

2 Timothy 2:24 The Lord’s bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged,

Proverbs 14:17 A quick-tempered man acts foolishly, and a man of evil devices is hated.

Psalm 37:8 Cease from anger and forsake wrath; do not fret; it leads only to evildoing.

Proverbs 19:11 A man’s discretion makes him slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook a transgression.

How can you calm down? Paul gives you a hint:

Philippians 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.

Fill your immediate mental vision of something that brings you a sense of peace and not quarrelsomeness. If you can’t transcend beyond the immediate issue, you will be doomed to get stuck in the mire of craziness.

My personal trick is to imagine myself as the one carrying on. Then I think of how God response to me when I act that way.

 

Step 2: Engage the Empathy Drive

Since we are in a clam place, we can now utilize one of the highest tools of civilization: Empathy. Looking at a situation from another perceptive.

This single tool has helped me excel in nearly all facets of life. I call it playing the devil’s advocate. Some people don’t like that terminology but it never bothered me. I am a professional at it.

You must shift into the empathy drive you have within. Stop worrying about your own need to be right. Instead, while you are clam and they are acting like a baboon passing a kidney stone, take a half second to see the issue from their point of view.

They are all hot and bothered for some reason… be it logical or not. The point is the circumstance is affecting them negatively and you need to understand it the way they do. Then talk with them to see whether you actually understand how they see it.

If you do this without guile or sarcasm, you will break down the walls of anger, rage and obtrusiveness. If they know you see the situation from their point of view, you are now ready to pass onto the next step.

 

Step 3: Seek Their Highest Good

Yes, yes I know. It feels SOOOOO good to be right.

I realize your argument is better for a myriad of reasons. Of course all the evidence is on your side. Without question you are in the right.

Who cares?!

Since when did the world revolve around you feeling good about yourself? That’s another human being in there losing their cool and acting like an idiot.

You shouldn’t be worried about being seen as superior. You should be worried about that person making it through.

Everyone to your right just wants to step back and watch the whole situation burn to the ground. They think it’s funny.

Everyone to your left is too scared to move, fearing they might receive some of the problem if they bat an eyelash.

But not you.

You are going to seek the offenders highest good. When they cajole in anger, you are going to respond with kindness. When they throw even more accusations, you will not defend yourself.

And when the tornado has fallen to a whimper, you will be there to hear their side and be understanding. You will NEVER say, I told you so. You will only listen and nod, telling them you understand how they feel.

Don’t condone stupidity as a right way of acting. But also don’t condemn for the actions they just took.

 

Step 4: Leave Before its Awkward

Great job. You resisted the cure to blow up right back at them.

Then you actually took the emotional energy to see things from their point of view.

You put death to your own self-righteousness and actually dared to care about this fellow person. Even when everyone else sneers and gossips.

You have done what is right. Now you need to let them be. Things can get weird when you overstay.

This is because humans hate long silences. You are going to continue to talk, give advice and blab on an on. This is not what they need.

Silence is what they need. They need to think and meditate now their anger is dispersed. Let them have that time. Leave them alone. God is much better to speak through their conscious at this point.

 

Step 5: The 30 Minute Rule

Before the day is done, get back with them and follow up with the fact that you don’t hate them or think less of them. This is how you win people to yourself.

After the cool down, cleared heads prevail.

By following up either with a note, call, or chat you will cement into their consciousness that you care. And people can’t help but like those who care about them. Soon enough you will have walked away from the whole thing without the slightest desire to strangle them. Becuase when you look at it properly… there are times you act exactly like that.

 

Follow these 5 steps you will make a friend out of any enemy. The biggest resolution is you will truly overcome your own inner desire to see them stuck on a spit and roasted over their own debacle. And Jesus will have won another part of your heart.

1 Corinthians 10:24 No one should seek their own good, but the good of others.

Matthew 16:24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me.”

480 days left… and I am setting my Priority

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480 days left… and I am setting my Priority

So much to do, and so little time to get it all done. Which gets done first? What takes priority in life?

Today I want to share with you how I prioritize my life. I have a clear set of rules I live by. These rules have served me well. Though I do not always get everything done I want to accomplish, my life thus far has been focused on the things which I believe matter.

Do you feel the same?

You don’t have to adopt my ideology. Perhaps you can be informed/confirmed/surprised by my prioritization of life.

 

1)      My Relationship with God

This gets the crowning placement atop all my to-do’s. I believe that all of life is simply an opportunity to learn to grow in love with God. And I do mean ALL of life. The good the bad and the ugly.

There is nothing I hold more valuable than my personal relationship with God which is made possible through the work of Jesus Christ.

Because He is, I can be.

2)      My Personal Character

I know what you are thinking. D, how on earth could you put YOURSELF above your FAMILY? Are you some pagan?

Have I turned into some hedonist? A self-serving, selfish, ambitious a-hole only looking to get ahead?

Just the opposite.

My mentors have instilled into me the FACT that, in order to be of any help to anyone, I must contain within me the ability to help. Simply put… we cannot give what we do not have.

For this reason it is imperative for my family, friends and everyone else that I dedicate significant quantities of energy into building my character. Notice here, I am not talking about my wants. Not my hobbies or personal interest.

My character. The thing which distinguishes the type of man I am when no one else is watching my behavior.

I put my character development as chief concern above my family because without it, I am not able to fully provide the way in which God has commanded me to provide.

 

3)      My Family

My wife and kids get my very best. I don’t have a best friend, save my bride. Maybe that sounds ridiculous to you. She is the one I confide in. She knows all my secrets. No one on earth knows me like she does. Not even close.

I don’t go to bars. I’m not part of a touring band (but that would be cool). I am not at the casino or strip club. I am home- a lot!

I come straight home from work every single day. I play with my kids. I listen to their day. I look at their drawings, review their Lego creation and kiss their banged up knee.

I try to survive as they crawl, jump, hang and cling to every part of me. They are better than improving my golf game. They are worth not going to the bar. They deserve their Fathers time. I try my very best to give it to them.

 

4)      Building God’s Kingdom

In this I include what I perceive to be my personal mission from God (I am channeling my inner Blues Brother here). This includes all the relationships I am building either through teaching, serving or encouraging.

Church falls in here, but to a lesser extent to the overall work of a Christian. This comes right after my kids. In a sense, I view the people I teach, serve and encourage as my spiritual kids. This is eternal work and the things I invest into others will last beyond a lifetime. It will last for eternity. This is ranking above my career.

 

5)      Work

Yes… this is very far down the list for a “business guy” right? And here is the secret. I am a great business guy because it is 5th on the list and not 1st.

I have proven trustworthy. I am innovative. I am caring and congenial to all my coworkers. I show compassion and strong resolve.

All these traits have developed simply because I have prioritized 1-4 all above work. They feed into my work and make it grow.

I am not a workaholic, yet I get everything done.

But there is another telltale sign here…. The fact that work is so low.

I am not in love with my work. And deep down I believe that is why I am on this crazy 18 month challenge to quit my 9-5 and become self-employed. Why be a solopreneur instead of a stud muffin manager?

Because when I go on my own, my work will be directly fused with the priority above. My new career with actually be building the kingdom of God. That will be my ministry as it were. Teaching others, serving those who cannot repay, lending a hand of encouragement. This will be my full time job.

 

6)      Friends and Acquaintances

And here we arrive at depressing last place. The way I live my life, I just don’t have a lot of time for friends. I do imagine this will change once my kids get out of their elementary years.

Don’t get me wrong. It’s not that I am antisocial or anything. I like friendship. But I value fatherhood so importantly for my 5 kiddos in their formative years, it takes the time away from others who want to be my BFF.

It’s my sacrifice for raising strong, principled adults who embody self-control and govern themselves equitably. Once I have accomplished that, I see my schedule opening up for much more time in dialogue and coffee with you!

 

How much effort have you put into consciously prioritizing your values? What does your life reflect?

 

Want to be great at business and life in general? Learn when to say no according to your priority.

TFJ015: Am I Promotable? 6 Tip to making ANYONE more promotable

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Not all of us are ready to own a business. Heck, I am giving myself another 16 months before I try to go full time. In between you being your own boss and now, let’s improve the situation by getting that promotion! Here are 6 tips to make you more promotable in your organization RIGHT NOW!

482 days left… And I’ve got me an idear

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482 days left… And I’ve got me an idear

I have been thinking a ton about mastermind groups as of late. It’s not something I have just recently stumbled upon, i think the first time I ever heard the term was a year and a half ago. But it isn’t till recently that I have been making plans to act on the concept.

What is a Mastermind Group?

Napoleon Hill wrote about this concept a long time ago. He suggested people use them in leverage of the principle as: “The coordination of knowledge and effort of two or more people, who work toward a definite purpose, in the spirit of harmony.”

How am I looking to use a mastermind group?

The concept is two-fold. Chiefly I want to start a mastermind group to further my own exploits while, simultaneously, feeding into the exploits of others.

I think a weekly meeting of the mind will help sharpen my acumen by provided a strong sounding board for my ideas and plans. So far my business work has remained in my mind until it find its way out into a product or service.

The smart way forward is to vet those ideas to a group of trusted individuals who I know have my back. If i build around mean alliance of advisors who see things from various perspectives I will find safety and strength. Together we achieve more.

The second concept I am toying with right now is the idea of an affordable membership site. A place where Christians can come together in privacy and seclusion to help and be helped in their efforts to better the world.

When I say affordable what do I mean? Well… the most popular, or at least most heavily marketed, resource I found was C12. A christian group that offers mastermind group memberships. This is taken directly from their website at https://www.c12group.com/blog/faq/much-will-cost-start-scratch/

How much will it cost to get a C12 practice started?
Oct.07.2014

Initial investment in a basic C12 territory is $30,000.
Are you money grubbing kidding me?!!!!! Ain’t nobody got time for that. That’s crazy.

Here is what I am thinking. I build a membership site nested inside TheForwardJourney.com that is FREE to try. You get 30 or 60 days to see if it’s right for you. Do you make a connection with anyone? Do you fit in?

If so, there is a marginal fee, I don’t know, say $20-$40 per month. Something cheap enough where literally anyone can join and benefit. But also something enough to make you actually show up to each meeting since you have skin in the game.

Maybe this will be a kickstarter early 2018 for me. I am sure the programming and site design will be around the 25k price tag if not more.

I believe the Benefits are there

Read Forbes, Entrepreneur magazine, wall street Journal… so on and so on. They all testify that mastermind groups are giving a considerable edge to its members.

What about you? Want to join a mastermind group with me? I am giving this very serious consideration. I will be sending out some invites to my tribe sometime in April. Want to get the invite? Just join the Forward Nation with your name and email and you will get notified. Go ahead and youtube mastermind groups. There is a ton of info out there. This is going to be great. I am stoked.

485 Days Left…And I am cleaning up Glass Shards

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485 Days Left…And I am cleaning up Glass Shards

 

I had great plans for today. I was going to get some gains on my video course outline.

Yeah…

That was right after I finished installing some shelving in a closet. I needed a flat head screw driver and yelled for my 10 year old to grab one from the garage.

It took a while.

Finally he stood at the top of the stairs with screwdriver in hand.

“I broke the sliding glass door.”

Yep, I thought. It’s going to be that kind of day.

Sure enough when I walked out to the breezeway, the whole panel of glass was shattered into billions of crystal shards. It’s February in Michigan. Not good.

As I stood in the door way assessing the situation I was thinking less about the door and more about my son. As the Dad, I have the right to scold, belittle and berate for this unacceptable behavior. After all this is going to cost me another $1,000 dollars.

But something unique happened on the way home today. Instead of listening to podcasts, I listened to my book on tape from Dale Carnegie called “How to Win Friends and Influence People.”

It’s a classic I have already listened all the way through. But today I wanted a change. The part I scrolled to was where he talks about putting yourself in others’ shoes. So this was on my mind.

It’s what was running though my consciousness as I stood in the doorway. And I decided there to show compassion.

He didn’t mean to break the door. He was stabbing a cardboard box sitting next to the door on his way to hand me my screwdriver. He didn’t intend for it to poke through and shatter the door. But it did.

All I could think, in that moment, was very much how this particular instance patterns how we must look to God.

He stand there, head down in shame, knowing full well a beating is on the way. We broke the law and must pay. Sure we didn’t mean to… we just, all of a sudden, find the world crashing around us shattering into a billion pieces.

So I chose to do what God does. I commanded my son to come over to me.

He knew what was coming to him and was preparing himself for the imminent punishment.

I stretching out my hand under his chin to raise his eyes to mine but they were glues to the ground. I actually had to force his face up so he would look me in the eye.

Tears began to well up in his eyes. Then I did the last thing he expected. I pulled him close and gave him the kind of hug only a dad can give. Then I whispered in his ear, “I love you.”

 

So often we are overly concerned what’s right and wrong. Since when did the worth of person mean less than anything else? God isn’t mad at you. He knows the end of everything and still, with that knowledge sent Jesus to make things right.

 

It is the highest honor for a business to communicate these types of principals. Understanding that employees and customers are more than just means to profit. We forgive late payments and tardy attendance. We treat people like they were worth the price Jesus paid for them. We give second chances when the world screams for crucifixion.

Love triumphs over judgement in the end. Why shouldn’t it in the middle as well?

 

February Review

Posted on Posted in Blog, Monthly Review

February Review

The past two months of 2017 have flown by. Half of the month I was down in Chattanooga. I got some great family time as they all came with, but it really took away from my side hustle. A good exchange for sure, but costly nonetheless.

I noticed something new last month. I seem to have grown beyond the awkward stage of answering questions about my new venture. Before, when people asked, I sort of looked at my feet and kicked the ground whilst explaining my aspirations.

Now I can look you in the eye and explain in vague detail what I am doing. I chalk this new found assertiveness up to living with the idea out in the open. At first, the freshness of the idea makes it gentle and unable to hold much shape. But now that it’s lived out in the world for a little while it’s a little weathers. Not as sensitive as it were.

The ideas is that I am now a business owner. I own a service company called The Forward Journey. Right now, instead of selling products and services, I am purchasing attention. A needed step in producing longevity.

I think the same will be true for you as well. As you begin to form your own ideas there is a certain comfort level while everything resides inside your head. But when you crack the idea box and let it out for others to play with… it’s weird for a little bit.

But with enough interactions you get more and more comfortable with it. Fielding the same questions over and over you begin to really understand your idea from various perspectives. This circumspective sight begins to build confidence that it could actually work… so bring on the questions, I am ready!

Break up the Lump

It occurred to me throughout February that my initial idea was just too big to swallow in one sitting. It’s a great idea for sure- Engineer a springboard for Christian to jump into the deep end of business.

Trying to do all of this in one solution is simply too big. So I broke it down. From 1 big mountain to 3 smaller hills. The size of which I can actually climb!

Initially I was going to have 1 video course to cover EVERYTHING from creating your idea from your calling from God to monetizing it all the way to the bank. That’s just a stretch of road too long to travel in one day. So I designed in some overnight hotel stops along the journey for everyone.

Discovery Course

A 6 part video series that helps someone understand the Forward Journey Method. This is a precursor to my book that I am writing currently. It’s pretty easy- here are the parts of book/course

Vision – Base Camp – Mission- Resistance – The Climb

Core ID

A tool for Christians to help identify what type of business they should start. One that ties together their passion, calling, skills and interests. This way, anyone can start a business they actually care about.

Originally I was jamming this into the Vision module and it was just too big! So rather than cram away, I decided to cut it out and make it its own standalone resource. This makes sense because digging deep inside and understanding who God has made you to be is helpful far beyond the horizon of business tools. Its a life tool I think will help any Christian.

The Tree of Business

If the Core ID course is helping to understand yourself better and the direction you want to travel, and the Discovery course is the drivers training on how to operate your vehicle… then this 3rd piece is the road-map to help you get to your desired direction.

I don’t have a good name for it but it’s basically a tree analogy that starts with the roots of your identity and grows up from there. Its an easy 5 part analogy to help anyone get a firm grasp on what they needed to get right in order to succeed in business.

These 3 resources cover the milestones in setting up and running a successful business. Its business 101 for those who never went to business school. I am very happy with the concept of breaking it up into smaller pieces. I think you will be too.

 

Blog

I hit 40 page views in one day, highest yet. But that was an anomaly. The rest of the month was substantially lower than January numbers. This is reflective of my personal lack of driving traffic. This shows me I don’t have much organic/natural traffic coming to the site. It happens when I push it on Facebook.

Feb Page Views

Another thing I have done is disabling comments on my site. I was getting way too many SPAM comments. In the future, when there is more traffic perhaps I will reinstate this. On a positive note I did get 1 comment from someone out in the world I didnt already have a personal relationship with. So it is getting out there!

Podcast

I now have almost 15 episodes under my belt. Not bad since the average podcast that dies early only lasts till 7.

I am having a lot of fun and I have a small but dedicated audience. It isn’t growing much but right now I am working on quality not quantity. Do the first and the rest will come.

The same phenomena can be seen with a drop is listens as a result of not pushing to Facebook. But hey. I had 75 individual listens to my voice over the month. That is awesome! 4 months ago I didn’t have any anyone listening to me from their pocket and now I have 253 downloads from TFJ Podcast. Cool.

Podcast Listens

Here is a quick shot of the podcasts I am listening to. I had 2 others on that I was trialing out but ended up kicking. The Solopreneuer hour with Michael Oneal just wasn’t my cup-o-tea and building your tribe with Chalene Johnson just wasn’t all that interesting.

I have added and will be keeping Internet Business Mastery and Social Media Marketing. I added Youpreneuer with Chris Ducker last month and really am loving his content. I suggest this podcast to anyone wanting to build a business centered around their personal brand. Much like I am doing with TFJ. Good stuff!

Podcasts

Getting ready for video

The next big task is to get my ugly mug on the internet. I am working on video hardware set up. I have pretty much everything I need to start recording the video parts. If anyone is interested in how I am doing this email me at D@theforwardjourney.com and maybe I will document it so you know how to do it as well.

I recently purchase a few items to make this a reality. Here is a list of what I bought and how much it cost me.

 

Purchases

Spent some more money on the following for the business.

Ebay Purchases

One of the things that has fallen off the radar is my recording studio. It took me 6 months to get it to where it stands now. There is a door missing, and I have no acoustic treatments. To combat this I have used a blanket to kill the reverb for the podcast audio quality.

I really need to finish these panels and buy a door. Once I do that the room is pretty much finished.

 

Lots of demands from my 9-5, Feb was not as productive as January. I lost my way a bit.

As you may have read in last month’s review I started a 3 month calendar system. Well that hasn’t exactly panned out the way I originally intended. I thought this would be a daily go to.

But its usefulness has transmogrified into more of a long term planning tool used to fit in the big things. My daily planning has reverted to my planner which I carry everywhere. I sync the two up on a weekly basis.

The biggest change

I made a major shift in my business strategy in February. And it happened because of 1 podcast episode.

I had targeted 5 people to reach out and try to joint venture launch my eBook with. One of those people has a podcast I listen to who went on a 45 minute discourse about how many offers he was getting to help others launch their stuff and how sick he was of it.

It was like a sign.

After that episode I truly sat down and rethought my strategy. My motives were MONEY and pretty much nothing else. IS that how I want to start this? A money grubbing little whore monster?

After raking my motives through a cheese grater I decided not to move forward with a paid resource yet. So the book launch date is backed up at this point. I need to first get this course out into the world as a FREE resource to build good will and pay my dues.

I also decided to only target 2 people to target a strategic relationship with. One is the guy who went on the rant about people contacting him for launch “friendship” and the other is my hero in the area of theology. I figure if I can sew into these 2 people’s lives and create a real friendship based on nothing but mutual trust and likeability, then I will know I have beaten the greed for material gains.

Nope. I won’t ask them for anything other than how I can help THEM. And not the other way around.

How you ask? I’ll tell ya in next month’s review.

 

To end this month’s review I want to unveil a secret pet project. I can’t give the full skinny… basically since I haven’t hammered out all the details as of yet. But I am starting a mastermind group. Its invite only, and the only way to get an invite is to be a part of Forward Nation. Much more to come next month on this topic but I am really excited about it!

489 days left… and I am learning about Fair Exchange

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489 days left… and I am learning about Fair Exchange

Perhaps you are like me and have a bit of trouble imagining other people paying you for your services. They take out their wallet and give you a chunk of their hard earned money. Money that otherwise could have went to funding their children’s education, buying their spouse a night out, or else something they needed for themselves.

But no. My greedy little finger snatch it out of their hand before they even know what happened!

At least… that’s how the idea feels. Selling.

In my heart I am a teacher. Outside, I am a businessman sure. Inside, I give knowledge to help people grow. I’ve been doing that for a while and the concept of making money off it makes me begin to sweat just a little.

And I use to be in Sales

I am moving past my inhibitions though. The reason why is called fair exchange. It works like this.

Those who give more than they charge can sleep easy at night. Their conscious can be clear because they over delivered on their purported value.

In applying this to me, it looks like this.

When I take payment from someone for one of my products or services, I will exchange more than what the price tag suggests. In this way the customer, who is parting with a contribution to a date night, hobby or education fund, receives back a larger portion of value than they parted with.

Fair Value Exchange

The thing I have sewn into them is bigger than the price and therefore I have actually left them better off. My input into their life will actually make their date nights, college funds and hobbies better! And this is how I assuage my misgivings about being a salesman.

In applying this to you, it looks like this.

You work hard on something and it truly does help someone with a problem they have. That problem is limiting the full expression of joy in their life. So, by solving it, you free up that energy and their resources to be applied to something else in their life. Date night, education fund, personal need…

You can feel great about taking people’s money because you know you are a problem solver leaving people in a better position having known you! This is why you must start your business. The world is riddled with problems like Swiss cheese.

The world is waiting on you to patent your personal plug to stop up the hole for them. Do that, and they will love you. Do that, and they will gladly pay you for it.

No one wants to have a leaky life. So identify one of those holes, develop a solution and get out to as many people as possible so we all might contain more blessings in everyday life.

This is a fair value exchange. One in which you can hold your head up high when you stand before God. You charged a fair price, you over-delivered on your promises, and you fixed real problems. This is the essence of business and the reason you need to jump in with both feet.

I’ll see you in the deep end.

492 days left… My Grand Plan

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492 days left… My Grand Plan

 

I’ve been doing a lot of brain dumps. I’ve been leafing through old papers and looking up old mind maps. The result of this is a settling determination on the direction I need to sojourn.

So the idea, is to make some moolah right? Get money in, quit your day job. Awesome! Sign me up.

Now how do I do that?

As we have said before, you start out with the free stuff. And not the crappy stuff like those who give junk free puke buckets most people got out there hanging in the windows of drive by internet shops. The good stuff. The stuff you get for free and think… holy cow, why wasn’t this like $200?!

You have to pay your dues. This is what everyone is telling me. I believe ‘em.

So before I rake in all this cash…. I’ve got to pave the path with some awesome free content. The fertilizer of greatness.

My Grand Plan

A while back, before my site got nuked, I talked about a men’s conference I spoke at. I handed out a survey to the 300+ men in attendance wondering what they thought about entrepreneurship.

Some were interested. Some were disinterested.

Of the ones who indicated interest, I was about to extrapolate through statistical analysis that there were 3 main problem people purported when thinking about starting their own business.

  1. I am not sure where to start
  2. I don’t have enough money
  3. I don’t have enough time

I also had women take the same survey. They had the same 3 issues as the men. I was on to something. And just now I am off to the races with a cockamamie plan to solve this problem for them. For you!

I am starting at the beginning. Before you need startup capital, before you need to manage your personal time you need to begin. How does one do this?

I have read literally hundreds of books on development (Personal and Business) over the past decade. I have been schooled in it and I have practiced it. I have learned from mentors and kept a keen ear to the ground on all thoughts pertaining to growth.

The result?

I have uncovered the principals espoused by myriads of books from hundreds of authors. I have thrown all their ideas into a giant mind blender and broken down the fabric of each concept into its most basic building blocks.

After sifting through the pulp of ideas for enough time you start to see patterns emerge. I’ve collected these patterns into a coherent method for growth.

Growth of what you ask? Of anything relating to a human. Relationships, businesses, money, health… you name it. I didn’t invent it, I just found it.

Make it FREE

SO my first totally awesome contribution to the FREE society is The Forward Journey Discovery Course. A 6 part video series that will guide you through the maze of life’s meaning and unlocking your legacy- the reason you are here.

This is how I answer the first half of problem #1 from above. You start from a vision, one that you can follow all your life. This honestly has little to do with business. It has everything to do with YOU. From this vantage point you can then launch into a business that stems from YOU that is sure to result in a life time of sustained growth into the person God is calling you to be.

And if you are one of the 3 people who actually read this blog, I need your help. I have trialed this out on 5 brave Guinea pigs and am ready to take it to the next level.

I am going to be hosting a series of webinars where I teach The Forward Journey method. I have fine-tuned the method. I need to prefect the presentation. If you are a part of the Forward Nation you will soon be getting an email detailing this in the coming weeks.

Just in case you haven’t already signed up to be on the list click here and you will be the first to know when these webinar trainings become available. Years from now we will both look back and remember how small it all started and marvel at how many people are fulfilling their callings from God because you and I worked together to produce this tool.

Remember to join the tribe and get on the leading edge of moving forward.

 

494 Days left… and I just got a REALITY Kick in the Butt!

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494 Days left… and I just got a REALITY Kick in the Butt!

Man.. sometimes you just get on a streak. I’ve been on a streak walking down easy street. 3 weeks of greatness.
Yeah… now it’s all come crashing down.
That happens ya know. But I think this is a good thing. This week I have been faced with some real  challenges at my 9-5. Last night I was pretty distraught over it. Through prayer and contemplation I decided not to act out of emotion but to face this difficult person with understanding and kindness.
Know what?
It went swimmingly! My kindness engendered their kindness and we were able to reach an amicable decision on the matter which had me pacing the floors.
It all ended well today.
But I think there is a take from this. The lessons I needed at this point in time was that I was falling back into the mindset that work is going well. The past 3 weeks I have not been motivated much to work on my side hustle.
If I am going to maintain my course of goal accomplishment in just 18 months, I can’t afford to take any weeks off! I need to me moving forward consistently and at a steady pace.

This disruption in my normal happiness has caused me to understand I was hitting a plateau! I need to keep on with the climb and not stop.
Thankfully I am gung-ho back on developing my online course. And I have even received some greater clarity about it as a result of this personal disruption.
All things work together for the good right? Can you finish the verse?

TFJ013: Flirting the Line Between Complacency and Contentment

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TFJ013: Flirting the Line Between Complacency and Contentment

In episode 13 we take a gander at why you should always be content but never complacent. If you have a fire inside driving you forward, that’s a good thing! But be sure not to leave the other half undone. Find out more inside.

496 days left… Some Great Quotes

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496 days left… Some Great Quotes

 

Sometimes it’s cool just to peruse through the greatest one liners people have to offer.

 

“Courage is rightly esteemed the first of human qualities… because it is the quality which guarantees all others.”

Winston Churchill

I like this quote because it put things in perspective for me. I need to be able to walk out in the front lines and take whatever may come. No valor can take place if I am cowering behind something providing cover.

But why step out if it is only for yourself. You must put other above yourself, right? This is how happiness is found. It’s only when you look outside of yourself that you truly find something that deposits the gold you are searching for.

 

“Grief can be the garden of compassion. If you keep your heart open through everything, your pain can become your greatest ally in your life’s search for love and wisdom.”

Rumi

 

So often we spend our time trying to avoid pain. We seek out comfort. But those difficult things are the very catalysts which cause our growth as people. Instead of looking at the climb with disdain, perhaps we should flip the perspective and embrace the challenges as they arrive.

 

“A lack of available alternatives does not necessitate truth.”

DM Murphy

 

Ok, it’s weird I have my own quote on this list. I came up with this in 8th grade. I wrote it on my school notebook cover. I saw it all the time. At the time I wrote it I just like the way it sounded. But after rehearsal for a few months, it began to stick with me.

Just because you can’t explain something at the time… as in you don’t have an available alternative explanation, doesn’t mean what you are feeling or thinking is false. Just because someone has an answer doesn’t make that the right answer.

Often you will be left standing alone in the ring of battling ideas. Your conscious is a powerful ally in the search for truth. Just because someone is more education, more forceful or uses a lot of words doesn’t make their ideas right. You shouldn’t adopt their point of view just because you are unable to articulate your stance.

Stand strong in what you believe in even if you can’t describe it in words yet. Feelings are how you understand the state of your soul. Don’t take them for granted. We shouldn’t live by our feelings, but they should inform decisions as they reveal our orientation toward any subject.

 

499 days left… I have made $0

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499 days left… I have made $0

I’ve been at this thing hitting it hard nearly every day. And what have I got to show for it?

$0

But that’s ok because that’s the plan. I plan to start this thing for much longer without any sort of remuneration coming my way. That’s simply the principal of reciprocity.

Reciprocity

You have heard it said what goes around comes around. I often hear the fruits of this law punted to some ethereal, cosmic mystery. Call it Karma, come-up-ins, goes-around-comes-around, sewing and reaping… it has many names.

It’s the simple truth that if you invest into others and tend it well, you will inevitably receive recompense if you stand ready. So that’s what I am doing… 500 days out and I am paying my dues.

But I will have to admit there are times when I snap out of faith and think to myself, “What the heck are you doing?!”

You can’t be working for free… aint nobody got time for that!

Then, again and again I am reminded of a better way.

“Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.” Jesus of Nazareth

In the end, the reason I am trying to build my own business is to build the Kingdom of God. Plain and simple. With motives like that I have no worries that the expenses will not be covered… even if they look like this:

Total Spent so far: $4,400

Total Earned: Good Will

Profit so far: $(4,400)

 

Let’s keep on keepin on! Be in it for the long term game not short term gain.

501 days left… The Impact of Unintentional Messages

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501 days left… The Impact of Unintentional Messages

We have now frequented a Mexican restaurant for the 3rd time in 2 weeks. It is good. The staff is friendly and responsive to every whim and request my group can generate.

The pricing is fair and competitive for the sleepy little town we are in. There is a great sense of authenticity amongst the relics darting the walls here and there.

All in all this business has hit the mark. All except for this one thing on the wall. It’s a drawing in a Mexicana/Aztec style. Here it is.

 

This thing is looking at me as I sit trying to enjoy my burrito. But I can’t… I just can’t. I can’t help what I see.

Follow this with me

Rumbly Tummy Spiral- man that just looks painful. You’ve experienced this before. Your stomach is doing somersaults because you thought, “Hey, it tastes good!” but didn’t think about the delicate balance of your digestive tract.

This is not the sort of imagery food patrons should be ingesting during the course of a meal. But it gets worse.

It seems the stomach ache has given birth to an explosive exit! Look at that thing. That bird looks like a rocket lifting off from Cape Canaveral. Ouch! Is this my future from eating your food?

Pooping Bird

Just in case you missed the whole concept there is a “Stool” right there. I mean com’on, we get it already. You are poisoning my meal you dirty rotten chefs! I’m out of here.

Moral of this story- be mindful of the unintentional messages you send out to other people. The impact can be diametrically opposed to your intent. I wonder what sort of unintentional messages I have been giving off… hmmm.

503 days left… there are still French Fries in the Bag

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503 days left… there are still French Fries in the Bag

We went out to 5 Guys for the first time. The guy behind the counter sported an awesome handlebar mustache that stretched out nearly to the ends of his cheeks.

We ordered food and sat down. It was a cool hipster vibe on the corner street in downtown. Having 5 kids we always get double looks… people make sure they aren’t seeing in duplicate. The same looks came from the staff.

Too often our world is sterile and packed up too neatly in single serve packages. Crud, even cookies today come individually wrapped.

Our number was called and I peeked inside the bag.

Fries… all fries.

I couldn’t see burgers, just a heap of fresh fries.

I’m not sure if they always do that, but we only ordered one large fry. Down in the bottom of the bag was our cup… also full of fries. I dug through the hot greasy mess of potato straws and eventually, after rooting around a while found our burgers.

As we all sat busily munching, what I am sure was the poster child of health food, I began to think.

I liked the fact they just dropped a fry bomb in my basket. I like the fact they weren’t each in induvial servings sizes. Just a whole mess of goodness, enough for the family.

Oddly enough it was refreshing to see a chain restaurant just go full in one a concept without the health nuts and legal departments cutting out all the fun. Just dump a family worth of fries in the basket! They’ll love it… and we did!

And now it’s got me thinking again.

How often are we more concerned with our packaging than what’s inside?

How much time do we take crafting something to look good, and not quite as much time on making sure that it actually is good?

Maybe we need to go full in… just dump all the stupid fries in the basket. Let the quality speak for itself. Can’t a business take a cue from 5 guys and just be real? Drop the pretentious single serve, individually wrapped piece of pony crap?

Instead hire a dude with a handlebar mustache and make the customers happy. I like it. I’m going to do just that. Perhaps minus the mustache employee part- but who knows?!

TFJ012: 5 Tips to Avoid Unnecessarily Stupid Risks in Your Business

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Happy Valentine’s day, this week in episode 12, D gives you 5 techniques (Ooch, Pivoting, Sunken Cost Fallacy, Critical eye, Avoid Opportunity Costs) that successful business owners have modeled for you to avoid STUPID risks. It’s all about the calculated risk that brings success- NOT BLIND FAITH!

506 days left… 13 Exits

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506 days left… 13 Exits

 

32 miles, that’s how far away I drive to the plant from Chattanooga. 32 miles there and 32 miles back.

I suppose I take it for granted that I always arrive at my destination on time. This morning I was thinking about this. Something as simple as knowing where you are going and then getting there. It’s easy.

The reason nits easy is because I know exactly where I am going. Even if I am driving somewhere new to me, I have GPS turned on with the address loaded. I won’t miss a turn, I will get there on time.

But that’s in a car. Life, on the other hand, that’s quite a different experience. We have no GPS to give us turn by turn directions. Heck we don’t even have an Atlas to reference (Remember those?). Driving is easy, living is difficult.

I counted the possible exits I could have taken on my trip into the plant this morning. 13 exits are open and available to lead me away from my destination all along my route.

At any time I have the freedom to turn away and follow one of these rabbit trails to who knows where it would end up. But my mind is on my work so I forestall any inclination to go exploring and keep my sights 32 miles down the road to my end goal.

And that’s where I think so many of us get it wrong in life. We have no end goal, no destination on which we affix our gaze. Lacking a specific point on the horizon, your ship is likely to steer off course at any moment… and you would never even know it.

We take those exits and travel those rabbit trails which inevitably lead to nothing but frustration and disillusionment. Problem is, we don’t recognize them as off cutes since we don’t recognize the main path. We think this is how life works. And endless cycle of frustrating disillusionment; one after the other.

Do you know what your end goal is? Your final destination the point all your travels are pointing toward?

508 days left… The Homeless Lady and the Anonymous Pizza

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508 days left… The Homeless Lady and the Anonymous Pizza

Today is Wednesday and something great happened. I had a good day at work and I came back to the hotel room in a good mood. My kids all hid behind the elevators doors and scared the crap out of me as I exited the elevator to the 3rd floor. Thanks guys.

But we were all hungry. I had been wanting to try this pizza place just around the corner. The past year it’s been under renovation (well it seemed like a year) and now it is finally done. It’s called the Mellow Mushroom.

We all walked over in a hurried pace because the weather channel is calling for rain any moment. On our way, a homeless lady came up and asked us for change. I wasn’t lying when I told her we had no cash. I never carry cash when traveling… especially in a bigger city.

She walked away, I am sure having heard the same line from countless others that day.

We walked into the newly remodeled restaurant and were pleasantly surprised by how good the pretzels with beer cheese was! We ordered some pizzas and talked together as a family. But Isaac was a little glum. He padded over to Kate and whispered something in her ear then turned and sat back down with a wry little smile.

Kate leaned over the table and told me Isaac told her he had been praying for that homeless lady.

Isn’t that great? I had just told the kids we would be doing some family Bible reading after dinner. And here is my 8-year-old praying for the least of us. Awesome.

We ate our food. We all were stuffed with an entire pizza left over. We boxed it up, I paid the bill and as we started to walk out, Isaac made a petition.

“Would it be ok if we gave our pizza to the homeless lady?” He asked in such innocent love the only answer was, “Of course we can.”

We walked back to where we first encountered her. She wasn’t there. Her upturned crate was where she had left it with her ripped paper sack continuing her only other change of clothes hadn’t budged. The storm was looming ahead and we needed to walk back to the hotel or get drenched.

So Aidan gently slid the pizza box containing $27 of gourmet Pizza onto the overturned crate where she sits and we walked away. Isaac was beaming from ear to ear the whole walk home.

I think our Bible reading had extra special significance for the kids tonight as we didn’t just read about Jesus, we lived it. And that thought brings me back to a decision made to donate 11% of all revenue made from my business venture to charity. Last week I came across this verse in my devotions

 

Luke 14:14, “Then at the resurrection of the righteous, God will reward you for inviting those who could not repay.”

That’s real. Helping those who have no ability to repay you and our little charity tonight has got me stoked for spending that 11% on some others who cannot ever hope to repay!

510 days left… Why am I Leaving this Job Again?

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510 days left… Why am I Leaving this Job Again?

 

Yesterday was a great day. It started off with a great worship service. One year ago a friend died quite unexpectedly on Super Bowl Sunday. To remember him and encourage his surviving family our church family all sported Superman shirts… a long time favorite of his.

Right after this picture was taken the family loaded up in the rental van and headed south. I need to work in Chattanooga for 2 weeks straight. My employer is awesome. They encouraged me to bring the fam along. So we are all going together.

They get a 2 week vacation (Badly needed in the midst of a Michigan Winter) in a sunny mountainous region of the country. Yay… of course I still get to work every day. But that’s ok.

Kate and I were talking in the car on the ride down, and somewhere around Indianapolis she turned and said to me

“So pretty much your company is paying for our hotel room for 2 weeks, our food for 2 weeks and this car for 2 weeks… right?” (That amounts to about $4,000)

“Yep.” I confirmed.

“So why do you want to quit? Isn’t this most people’s dream job?”

She’s got a point. I set my own hours, I get to travel, I am always on a new challenge every week on cutting edge technology… who would want to leave all that when you add on the fact the salary is generous?

Well, I guess I do. It’s not that I am unhappy with this job. Actually, I really love it! I never dread Monday. I get excited when I think about work, I’m never depressed about it.

So why am I on this 18 month journey (down to 17 months now) to change it all up?

 

Being Honest

I suppose the reason is this still feels like a job. And I don’t want a job. I want a legacy! I want to do something that touches down to the very depths of my purpose. Auto parts just don’t fulfill that inner need.

I’m not ungrateful. I am forever thankful to God that He has provided so well for my family. Yet, how many times have my favorite Bible characters been in a good place in life, a comfortable place, and yet God called them out of comfort into greatness.

That’s how I see it. I am trading in good for Great. There is a fine line between compliance and content. I think we all need to be content without being complacent.

Just like Paul, we are happy with much or little, but we keep pressing on toward the prize. And the prize of my life is not to make auto parts chapter and last longer, it is to advance the Kingdom of God. That’s why. It’s like getting called from the comfortable land of Ur to an unknown but Promised Land of Canaan.

It’s a Forward Journey.

TFJ011: A 2-Part Divine Prescription to Cure Common Business pitfalls

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This week in episode 11 we take a look at the flip side of entrepreneurship, the potential pitfalls awaiting you as you head out your door into the unknown. Fear not, you can navigate these waters with a little help from your friend D.

513 Days Left and I am glad to be an American

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513 Days Left and I am glad to be an American

 

This week I led an event designing a new dual air induction system for the dual turbo Cadillac ATS. We had a new program manager join the event. Getting to know him has been educational in the comforts I enjoy as a native born of ‘Merica.

Laszlo

He is an unassuming gentleman, always with a smile. Today asked him about his background as his accent is not one I could pin point. I asked him about it and he told me he is in fact, no joking here, from Transylvania.

He is Hungarian. After we made a few dumb jokes about being Hungry and eating, I asked him about his background.

His grandparent lived in the Hungarian area which is now a part of Romania. After WWII, the axis of evil divided up the land. His grandparents were wealthy land owners and now found themselves on the wrong side of the ethnic divide.

He related a childhood memory to me. He remembered packing up only a fraction of what they owned into the car, which was a luxury in Eastern Europe at that time, and driving off. They would never see their family home again, something they had settled in for generations.

Getting to America

Australia, Canada and America were all possibilities, if only one would accept them. Australia closed their doors and Canada refused to take them as refugees. The USA were the only ones to respond favorably to the family.

But they needed to get to the USA somehow.

Getting through the cluster of European countries to an international flight was difficult. His father forged some passports and took a blunted needle which he heated over a candle to painstakingly mimic the official seal imprinted on each family member’s fake passport.

It Worked

A church in Kalamazoo Michigan sponsored the family. When Laszlo landed in America for the first time they greeted him with a teddy bear and a soccer ball. A family let them stay in their home until they could find a more permanent solution.

Now he married a local woman and they have 2 kids. His family soon got back in their feet and all are successful professionals in the land of opportunity!

If you have been born in America, like I was, we have been gifted something miraculous. Yes, we may hate our president and our media sucks the big one… but overall we are still blessed!!! Awe have opportunities to freely build our lives where the only limit is our heart and determination.

Today just be thankful you are where you are. I am.

515 Days left and my Finger is Bleeding

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515 Days left and my Finger is Bleeding

 

Who says salary folks won’t get their hands dirty? Mine are bleeding and blistered. Yet it turns out its all for not. Ever had a day like that?

 

I am leading a group at work for a new design of sound tubes for the Ford Mustang. What’s a sound tube you ask?

Back in the 1960’s America gave birth to the Muscle Car. American Muscle was defined by high horsepower, aggressive styling and roaring sounds. These cars growled when you hit the gas. The sound is what turned heads and demanded the respect of all the home mechanics on the block.

Today we don’t have many home mechanics. Everything is controlled by a computer not a carburetor. The average person can’t monkey around under the hood anymore. It’s all gone state-of-the-art.

Among the changes of American muscle cars is the improved efficiency of the engine. They put out way more power and consume less gas. Cool. But they have also gotten a good bit quieter than the old versions.

Today, the Mustang’s engine purrs instead of roars. Baby Boomers and the Gen Xer’s want that old feeling they got from those original cars when they were young. Sitting in the cockpit of a mustang is more comfortable than race inducing.

So we tried to fix that.

We port engine sounds from under the hood directly into the cabin. We do this through a sound tube. Now a driver can hear the engine rev when the gas is floored. It’s a better user experience.

 

We built a 130 parts yesterday trying to make the thing work. We met mild success and don’t have enough parts to rerun a sample today. So we are breaking down the parts to reuse each component to build.

This is why I am bleeding. The different lengths of plastic and rubber tubes banded together with what’s called an Oetiker clamp. It’s a solid metal band that gets pinched tight under very high pressure. We do this so people won’t money around and undo the connections. It’s a non-serviceable joint. You can’t take a screwdriver to it and pop it off.

But pop it off is just what me and the team needed to do. So here we are at 8:00AM all standing in a large circle working on cutting, bending and cursing these metal bands to come off. They do their job really well. They don’t come off.

Bloody Finger

As I wrench on it hard, my Hand slips and my knuckle crashes into the table… and now I am bleeding. By the time I clean it up and come back another one of the guys has done the same thing and is also bleeding.

Within about 20 minutes another guy already has blisters on his hands. We are gripping the metal with nippers and bending it by sheer force until it eventually comes undone. It is taking forever.

Then a guy named Ron walks over to see what we are doing. As the group leader, I hand him a nipper and part and ask him to join us.

This guy.

He takes the nippers, positioning them just so, flexes his forward squeezing down on a specific spot on the clamp and the thing pops right off.

Ron is not bleeding like me.

He hasn’t got blisters like Steve.

Steve actually just walked into the conference room and says, “Man my hand hurts!”

Good timing Steve. Now I have just responded to him, “Where was Ron when we started ay?”

“Exactly”, Steve just nodded back. So here we sit, nursing our wounds knowing full well with just that little bit of education we could have saved ourselves from the annoyance of bloody knuckles and blistered palms.

 

What in your life is producing those bloody knuckles and blistered palms? Are you working harder instead of smarter? Seek out the Ron in your situation. It’s worth it!

January Review: 17 Months Left

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It’s the end of the first official month of my New Year’s Resolution to kick my 9-5 career to the curb in just 18 months. January went fast! Here are the high points of the month that I think you can learn from.

What have we Learned so far?

Step one in this journey was to put my goal out into the world for all to see. That was scary. I literally plastered it all over the home page of my website. Anyone can see it up there. Even my boss’ can take a gander.

If one is to truly commit to an endeavor there must be no reservation. I overcame those reservations by letting the world in on my challenge. Come what may, I am playing or keeps.

I truly think putting yourself out on the line is the best way to grow. Yes, I might fail. Everyone might laugh. That’s ok. I will certainly learn some valuable life lessons from this 18-month challenge. Even if I don’t get out of debt and replace my income, I will be further along down the road than when I started 2017.

 

The Online Space is Intimidating

My wheelhouse is product manufacturing. Moving into the online business space is weird. Most of my training is outdated up here. I can’t afford the $2000 price tag of a professionally designed website. I am doing it all myself.

To bootstrap represents but one-half of the coin. Flip it over and I am going to learn how it all works. I don’t want to be a web designer. I want to know what it takes to start your own website. How else can I help others if I haven’t gone through it first hand? Side A: Bootstrap makes it affordable for anyone. Side B: Learning how to help others do the same is worth it.

From what I can tell the successful websites get TRAFFIC. As you can see in the report below, there are 13 days in January where no one visited the site. The best day was 27 visitors. This isn’t a bad start. It’s also not a stellar start either.

It is what it is. The site hasn’t been my main focus this month my book is. But still, the website is my central hub for all thing TFJ! You too can use your own website as a sovereign piece of virtual real estate where anyone can knock on your door and engage with you.

Google Dashboard Jan

This is my Google Analytics for January. 19 people googled The Forward Journey and I had 90 visitors.

Convert Kit Progress

This is my report from Convert Kit, the company I use to manage my customer relations. I haven’t really been engaging much with this either as all efforts are focused on the book. I added 2 people to the Forward Nation in January so we are up to 70 in total. It’s not 100 but it’s better than 0!

As far as subscribers to the Forward Nation we added 2.

Libsyn jan Report

Podcasting launched in December. I’ve got 9 episodes to date with 173 listens. I didn’t make Itunes new and noteworthy and that’s ok. In 18 months I am going to look back at these first 20 episodes and shutter on how bad they are. Hey, we have to begin somewhere!

 

I Bought a $500 Course

I started an MBA online training course for business. I am doing this mostly for your benefit as #1, I already have my MBA so I can #2 report back to you the value of such a course.

Basically, I want to answer if this is this worth your time or should you be

Basically, I want to answer if this is this worth your time or should you be wary of these types of offerings online?

Realize, this is not any affiliated higher education training. This is a private site offering business training online. I have always been skeptical of these types of businesses. But hey, never know till you try.

In January I tried.

And for the first few classes, I was very unimpressed. When you enter the Masters level coursework you have a heightened sense of precision and depth. Neither of these attributes describe the coursework.

I won’t want to judge too early on this program. It seems to me they are using the “MBA” title loosely as a catch-all for business concepts. From the onset of the instruction I would call it:
Introduction to business, or business 101.

 

Trip to Mexico

Mexican Restataunt
Also in January, I took a trip to Mexico. Business, not pleasure. Yet I did find ample quantities of pleasure on my trip. Just not around any taxis.

My trip was successful from a business perspective. We lowered the part price from $64 to $51. A huge feat. In addition, we were able to lower our capital expenditures by $780,000!

My trip was also successful from a social perspective. I met a guy named Marco who made me think about how much I live inside a shell. He showed me introverts can be just as effective in social settings as extroverts if we but try.

Living out Parkinson’s Law

Getting organized with my new system to stay on track

Getting organized with my new system to stay on track. I’ve been trying to do too much! As J.R.R Tolkien put in, I feel I am like butter scraped over too much bread. So I simplified. I cut out Twitter and the idea of producing teaching videos. I am focusing on the Podcast, these posts, and my book.

And that is enough for me right now. Is it making me any money at the moment? Nope.

Is that ok? Yep. Set realistic spaces for work to be accomplished. Just as Parkinson’s Law says, a task will fill up the allotted time. By doing too many things I am forced to push the timing out and they just slog down in muddy wheel spinning.

In this case, less is more and more is great.

Podcasts
Podcasts I am listening to Chris Ducker now and kicked off Mike Sweet. Still loving the Cliff Ravenscraft Show and Smart Passive Income Podcast.

Jan Podcast list

So that’s my very first Month Review of my Journey to kick my 9-5 off the boat and on to bluer seas. Is bluer a word? It sounds like it should be a word.

520 Days Left and I am Organized

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520 Days Left and I am Organized

 

After the life lesson shared in my last post, I want to tell you about my new Organizational effort. It’s directly related to that piece of advice.

In life, it can be a mighty struggle to retain one’s focus on a single object for a prolonged period of time. It takes a trained mind to engage with a single struggle and not lose its grip.

I am finding myself, just one month into you entrepreneurial adventure, already slipping away from my focus point. I need help.

So I did something about it

There is this vagueness that has been misting up my windshield as I try to drive forward in my new venture. I have these moments of clarity but the pass just as soon as they erupt.

My response is to pull out the big guns and set them to fully automatic.

That’s right people. I have created the mother of all to-do lists… ok, maybe that’s a little overly sensational. But I’m making a big effort to be intentional about each and every day in a strategic way.

Here is how I am getting Organized

A while back I read an in-depth scholarly article on the brain’s ability to process paper-based task systems compared to electronic alternatives. The researcher’s conclusions? Writing with pen and paper is superior in your brain’s opinion. Your brain simply remembers and does more when you use the archaic quill and parchment of the days of yore.

Hey, I didn’t write the paper.

The past few years I have been relying on my smartphone to handle my calendar work. And know what? When I think about it… I have really been slipping on my discipline of my daily one thing to do.

Baby, I am coming home. Pen and paper, welcome back into my life. I’ve got a system and here it is.

The Calendar System

I have a rolling 3-month calendar of daily to do’s. But there is only one task per day. This is my uber-task. My #1 priority for the day which I will strive to complete with all my anti-procrastination muscles.

3 Mo Calendar

The Daily Planner

I have a daily planner I carry around everywhere now. I take the big task for the day and break it down into smaller chunks which I can actually complete and move me toward task completion. I can also stand back and think about what needs to be done when.

Seeing information this way allows my brain to calibrate my upcoming workload. I can adjust my “holy Crap” settings to accommodate the craziness I am forcing on myself.

 

Notice i have left quite a few holes. I am going into the future and placing the really big tasks which need to be worked around. Each week I can fill in the next weeks daily tasks which support the upcoming milestones, but only if there is an open slot! See how that works?

522 Days Left and I am Prioritized

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522 Days Left and I am Prioritized

 

My new system of solopreneur productivity awesomeness.

How it works

This whole system cost me $3 to create. It’s just (3) 11×17 sheets with a grid from excel and a bunch of colored, small, post-it notes. That’s it.

I’ll post some pics on Fridays post to show you how it all works. But for today I am thinking about an important lesson I learned many years ago and the importance of priority.

One day sitting in a car next to my Pastor’s Pastor, I was keenly listening for advice. I was about 22 or so at the time and really looked up to this man. He was speaking to me about some language studies he had been doing… yes, there are people out there who enjoy studying words. And also yes, there are people out there like me who like to listen to such people.

Get over it. You will benefit from my nerdiness I promise.

I learned something great that day in the car. He turns to me and says, “I’ve just realized the fact that it’s grammatically incorrect to pluralize the word priority.”

You Can’t Pluralize Priority

I asked him what he meant by that.

“Think about it.” He replied. “A priority is something you put at the very top. It’s the thing that goes straight to the front of the line. By its very nature, you can’t have more than one. So making the word priority plural into ‘priorities’ is technically incoherent.”

That piece of small talk has always stuck with me. Human were only ever meant to have one main thing. And as I once heard Steven Covey say, the main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.

We go astray when we try to focus on two things at the same time. It’s almost like God was trying to tell us something when you gave us binocular vision. You can only focus on one small area in the vast array of your perspective. Trying to look at more than one focal point results in blurry and double vision.

This is true for your eyes. It’s also true in your mental focus. Try to have priorities at your own peril. Keep a priority subject and let that guide you all the way to success.

Part of getting organized is to clear out the jumble of priorities and to settle on just the one thing that will become your main thing.

It won’t always have to be your main thing. You can move on to the next after you either fix it or fail it. Either way, you learn and go into the next main thing a wiser person. You’ll be more apt to land upon success with each passing main thing.

Cut the Field to Just One Focus

I have had too many main things competing for my focus. So I’ve cut some out.

Twitter is going bye-bye for a period. So it the idea of producing weekly teaching videos. It’s simply too many things. Right now my #1 thing is to finish my book. Then, after that is complete and finished, I will move on to the next main thing!

How many things are competing for your #1 spot? How will you make a priority goal that rises above all others? Having a single focus at a time is going to pay off. I promise.

524 Days left and My head is overcapacity

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524 Days left and My head is overcapacity… my brains are spilling out!

 

Excuse me as I try and pick up my gray matter and shove it back in my cranium. I’m going nuts. I am super stressed out that I have all these plans and just not enough me to go around to get it all done.

Breathe… Chillax…

Ok. 2017 has started. I have a plan to quit my day job and be a successful entrepreneur in 18 months. To do that I need a few things done:

  • Pay off my Car
  • Buy the Wife a New Car
  • Pay off my Student Loan
  • Pay off my House
  • Have a Security Blanket for the Wife (Huge Emergency Fund)

2 Birds 1 Stone

The idea is that paying off those big ticket items will not only get me out of debt in total, but also provide the framework for reoccurring income. Income generated in 18 months to pay all that off will sustain my family thereafter.

That’s great. Debt- bird 1, self-generated income- bird 2.

The stone? A whole bunch of projects designed to provide the world value and myself fair compensation.

It’s the “whole bunch” that’s got me freaking out.

There are few ways I could tackle this right? I could get one really really big idea and hope and pray it works. But with the whole bird analogy it’s got me thinking I shouldn’t be putting all my eggs in one basket.

The other end of the spectrum is just as bleak. Getting a thousand teeny tiny bits to all add up to a big amount seem lifeless and void of passionate pursuit. I want to enjoy this 18 month journey.

Few but Important

Ok. So I break it up across multiple projects. Each smaller but significant. If one fails, well there are others that can pick up the slack. This sounds right to me. So I’m going with it.

I’ve generated a list of what I think will crack my threshold for earnings. I’ve aligned it to marry with my mission which is to provide the best content to Christians who feel the entrepreneurial itch. Some of it is free… well most of it is free. But the big cornerstone items are going to be paid resources. This is how I will accomplish my goal.

Among the ideas are books, video courses, small group curriculum and toolkits.

The thing about me is I am a slob… except when it comes to work. At work I am a perfectionist. It drives my wife bonkers.

“DARREN!” she yells, “How can you keep an immaculate office at work and not even pick up your socks at home?!”

The woman has a point. I am an organization Nazi at work. At home, not so much. Since TFJ falls under the category of work it is taking on the perfectionist side of my personality. Which means I obsess over every detail.

Obsession = More Time Required

I am being tempted to lump these project together. But I keep reminding myself of previous training.

Multitasking is sin.

If you want quality output, you must use the ingredients of focus and effort. Anything else like multitasking is like pouring vinegar in a batch of cookie dough. Not good, simply not good.

I say all that to say this. I’ve come up with a solution to keep my neurons firing appropriately. I think it could help you if and when you start your own projects. I can’t claim patents on this solution. It’s more an amalgamation of previous solutions I’ve worked with.

I am using a 3 calendar system. Current month, next month and 2 months out. Every day I have 1 task to complete.

I’ll use colors to indicate of which section of the mission they belong to. I know myself. I need rewards to keep going. I have built in daily satisfaction nuggets. Pulling off a completed post it and throwing it away is going to provide just the oxytocin boost needed to keep on. Seeing a calendar go from a rainbow to clean and clear white is going to be gratifying to me.

3 weeks in on the 18 month challenge and I think this tool is going to be instrumental in my success! What are you doing to keep yourself on track?

Pictures to come next time.

529 Days left and I almost died in a taxi!

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529 Days left and I almost died in a taxi!

 

Just breathe… you made it.

Right now I am safely in my hotel room in a very nice part of town. But getting here from landing in the plane. Start from the beginning.

First of all, it was a beautiful fly in. 50° and sunny in January? Yes please.

Then we landed. Queretaro had about a million people so it’s a good size city. There was to Jet Bridge to exit from. Ah, no big deal I enjoyed the sun on my face walking from the plane to the terminal.

I went through customs hoping I wouldn’t get the red light indicating random body cavity search. I got the green light. Someone up there likes me.

There is a single taxi service to get to work. I’m not going to the hotel because my plane in Houston as on the runway for half an hour and I missed my connection to Mexico. I needed to make up for that lost time.

I try to explain where I need to go to the seemingly 13 yr old taxi receptionist. Her English is about as bad as my Spanish. I pull up the address of the factor in my iPhone. She scribbles something down on a yellow card and suddenly someone is taking my luggage to a white taxi.

I thought they were supposed to be yellow? Anyway.

I driver asks me something in Spanish. I look at him with a look that expresses….”no idea buddy”. He laughs and I get in the back.

I’ve heard stories of the taxis in Mexico. So I’m following his route compared to what Google says on my phone.

(This is one of the nicer areas I cold find on the ride… it got much worse)

They are not the same. Ok, he turns the wrong direction here and my hand is on the door handle ready to bail. I’m coming home with both my kidneys thank you.

45 minutes later he stopped the car. Between this I almost died a few times from oncoming traffic…. Are there no traffic laws in this country?! But ill skip that part. He turns around and asks me where I need to go…

Where do I need to go? Are you kidding me? He’s the driver not me. I tell him my company.

He’s never heard of it.

He asks me if I have directions on my phone. So I call up Google Maps and I am giving him the turn by turn directions to get there. We are about 5 miles away from the building.

I guide him through a stretch of treacherous roads that make Michigan roads looked like they are paved in gold.

Google tells us we have arrived. I’m not kidding you it’s an empty dust lot bookended with used tire huts made from old cement pieces and stucco. This is not where I want to be.

Ok, I’m not freaking out. I’m sure this is normal for everyone their first time in Mexico.

I called someone from the factory and they had to give him directions on how to get there. 20 minutes later and I was dropped off at the beautiful factory! Yay!

So yeah that was fun…

531 Days left and I’m in Mexico

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531 Days left and I’m in Mexico

Aloha… wait, no that’s not right. Hola! There we go.

Greetings from sunny Mexico. I’m here on business. Oddly enough I’m leading a group of predominantly Germans deep in the heart of Mexico.

Day 1

Hey D, welcome to Mexico. Thanks for agreeing to lead our event. Your goal, should you choose to accept it, is to whittle down a $2,000,000 budget for this program so it only costs us $1,000,000.

Oh, that’s all? Sheesh why didn’t you ask for something at least a little difficult?

So I’m a little unnerved. No idea how I am going to do this.

Obviously I can’t go into specifics but we are trying to cut into new technology for an induction system. It’s nothing I’ve ever heard of before. Today is going to be interesting for sure.

Last week when they told me the expectations of the event, there was a twinge of regret for taking the challenge on sight unseen. What if I fail? What if we lose the contract?

What if

But I know the “what if” game. I also know how to beat it. I call it the 180 rule. When doubt creeps in and spews its venom, “What if _________ happens?!”

I just spin it around 180° and look at it from that perspective instead. How this works.

What if you FAIL? Vs What if I SUCCEED?

What if it all goes wrong? Vs What if something goes really right?

What if you get kidnapped, tortured and killed? vs What if I gain valuable experience that allows me to quit my job, spend more time with my kids and I live my legacy?

It’s scary when someone expects you to come up with $1,000,000 in a weeks’ time. Most people want to run from that kind of responsibility. But not me. I say bring it on. If I fail at least I’ll learn a few ways I can’t save $1,000,000 in one week.

 

Here is the challenge: when you are presented with a challenge, take it! Even if you don’t win you will learn and learning produces far more wealth than winning because learning informs your strategy which enables the repeatable win. Don’t back down, step up and try. If you fail you won’t be any worse than me. At least I’ll be in good company!

But what If you try and you win?

534 days left and I am dealing with Parkinson’s Law

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534 days left and I am dealing with Parkinson’s Law

Have you ever heard of Parkinson’s Law? No, it doesn’t have anything to do with a disease.

Here’s the official definition: “work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.”

Have you ever heard of this before? I had not until just a few months ago. It struck true with instant certainty.

Take Control

One of the reasons I want to kick my 9-5 job in 534 days, is to enjoy the freedom of building my schedule with activities that really matter to ME! Case in point- MEETINGS.

Now I don’t know about you, but I think meetings are one of the biggest wastes of time. To me, it’s a slumber fest on all but the rarest of occasions.

When is the last time you left a business meeting thinking… wow, I am so glad that just happened! The reason meetings are so terrible is because of Parkinson’s Law. Humans are going to fill up the allotted time.

If I give myself 3 years to write my first book, the project is going to use every bit of that time. Conversely, if I give myself just 3 months to finish the same book, I am still going to use every bit of that time… just in a more thorough way.

In fact, having learned about Parkinson’s Law has helped me craft a 3-month deadline for writing my book. A deadline which is here at the end of January! Know what? I am right on schedule.

Meetings are the same length time after time. But why? They last an hour. But if we made them last only 15 minutes and still demanded the same outcomes, we would make it work. People would prepare because there would be no down time.

Knowing the people in the business industry, if I lobby to shrink meetings by ¼ of the time, they would simply schedule 4X more of them.

Sponge it Up

This phenomenon is much like one of those sponges you get in the $.25 machine. They are all dried out and squished in a little plastic egg.

You toss em in the bath tub and they expand into this huge dinosaur, or shark or whatever. But know what, throw em in a 5 gallon pale and the same sponge will expand to the size of the pale. SAME SPONGE.

Throw it in a mixing bowl and it will expand only that big. Toss it in a coffee cup and blamo it only gets that big. Projects and task fill up the space given to them.

You and I need to do ourselves a favor and quit building giant terrariums for our tasks. Let’s just get stuff done. Plop your task in a coffee cup and get moving. Use the extra time not eaten up by excess taskitis to rest, relax or recuperate.

I’ve incorporated this idea already into The Forward Journey, I just didn’t have a good name for it. Now I do. Parkinson’s law.

Today’s challenge: What types of tasks are swelling up to fit the container you’ve cut out for them? Cut the allotted time in half on one such task and see what happens. I bet its not as horrible as you think.

536 days left and the Third Try does the Trick

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536 days left and the Third Try does the Trick

 

This week I’ve had 2 separate fortunate events happen. Both of which came through on the 3rd try.

My First Fortunate Event

 

The first is a hotel booking. I had learned I could get a discount on my hotel room. When I booked I had no code. Now I have one. Yay.

 

Just have to get it applied right?

 

Tougher than one might imagine. I called the travel booking company and am on hold. Then a voice greets me and says if your trip isn’t within 48 hr please call back later… gee thanks.

 

So I do the next best thing, I call the hotel. Only that’s a dead end too. They lady who promised to help me can’t. She offer plenty of apologies but can’t get my room rate down from $170/night. I’m staying 2 weeks at this hotel so that a good chunk of change. Almost $2,500 when you add in taxes and fees.

 

Two strikes. I’ll give it one last go and ask to speak to someone else. Bingo! This lady has the same problem as the first. But she goes a step further and researches why it’s not working. She can’t figure it out either. But she gives me the discount anyway for my troubles.

 

The room dropped from $170/night to $128/night. That’s a savings of $588! Screw Geico, that didn’t even take 15 minutes!

 

Sometimes you just need to keep at it, even when the first attempt is an endless hold and the second is fluttered with incompetence.

 

My Second Fortunate Event

 

Part of my mission this quarter is to build a reputation of authority in the area of Business development. I figure having a lecture under my belt at a university would help me achieve that end.

 

It took me three avenues to finally get at the Dean of the Business School. But I got there. In the end, I was successful by contacting the recruiter who got me interested in the school.

I know, not your first thought. But she proved to be the key to unlock the whole thing. She remembered me and upon hearing my pitch of what I wanted to do not only presented all my info to the Dean, but also has unofficially signed me up for some recruitment meetings.

The whole thing almost hit a snafu. In my introductory letter I mention a word that would almost unwind all my efforts.

I had been spinning the idea as a free, no strings attached lecture at no cost to the University or students. Good. That’s what I want.

But in my letter I mentioned the idea that I had a course. Being a university they immediately took that to mean I wanted my Curriculum to be taught at the University!!!

The word course almost killed the project. Thankfully I got it amended with the term “expert talk” before it got to the Dean.

The point

 

Don’t be too bowled over by resistance. The winds and waves of opposition come against you. That’s life. It’s just going to happen. Don’t be afraid to get back up to the plate for a third swing. Never know, just might get a hit.

TFJ007

Posted on Posted in Podcast

TFJ 007: 4 Reasons Why the World Needs You as a Christian Business Leader

I give you 4 compelling reasons why you need to engage your best ideas into productive business ventures. They are:

1)The overwhelming quantity of pointless crap in the marketplace.

2) Many people are not involved where they need to be.

3) Some types of people will only respond to your unique voice.

4) Where the hand of God rests, destruction and prosperity follow

538 days left I just purchased a $500 MBA course

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538 days left I just purchased a $500 MBA course- will it be worth it?

Ok, you’ve seen all the advertisements for continuing your education. At the very least you’ve seen the University of Phoenix ads. Get your degree online they say. Well, how great is online education?

My guess is the online offerings from traditional schools is going to generate traditional results. After all, it is the same teachers right? The world is moving online it is the way of things.

But what about the non-traditional outlets promising great things? I know we are all exposed to these opportunities to trade our cash for knowledge. The real question most of us ask ourselves, “Is it worth it?”

 

My Drive for Authenticity

Perhaps the biggest thing I look for in business dealings is authenticity. There is no limit to the vast array of initiate tweaks, changes and spins on every imaginable product out there.

“BUY MY ORANGE JUICE!!! Yes you’ve seen organize juice before, but ours comes with a miniature rainbow packed inside every gulp”… please. Quit blowing sunshine up my rear end. Your OJ is just like everyone else’s.

That’s not authentic.

If you want to charge me more money, don’t tell me about butterfly kisses and sunshine drops. Tell me about your sustainable harvesting techniques. How you employ a certain undervalued work force who otherwise wouldn’t have a job. Tell me something that makes me believe spending the extra $1 on your jug is worth it.

Quit with the spin and just give it to me plain. No one does that anymore and I hate it. This is why I feel such a strong need to not sound like everyone else. You shouldn’t either. The world is craving authenticity it’s just today’s institutions aren’t equipped to teach you how to be you… only how to be like someone else.

How does one achieve the badge of authenticity?

Transparency + Honesty = Authenticity

Being real can be a frightful proposition. If you put on a face, then it’s that façade which receives the criticism. But if we show our true heart, that criticism and rejection feels all too real.

This is the risk of the thoughtful business person. They put themselves on the line. They hold out their reputation for the world to see. They don’t hide behind corporate speak or press releases. They are real.

Transparency is critical for TRUE success. For people to want to follow you they want to know your heart. Bearing it all is difficult for most to accept. It’s not about having a big account, it’s about making a big impact. Impact requires trust.

Trust is forged through multiple iterations of demonstrated honesty. Just call it like it is my friend. Lose the deception and you are well on your way to being above all the clamor of modern business.

If you make money off something- be honest. If you completely failed at a project, be honest. Maybe your clientele will learn something from it and thank you for it. This way your failure recoups into a success for others… what NOT to do.

In the end, if you want authenticity with your peeps, you must blend transparency with honesty. Tis the only way.

I feel gipped!

But its just the beginning. Perhaps this course will surprise me! It would be a mistake for me to pack up and ask for my money back already. You can hear the conversation already can’t you..

“Excuse me sir, I’ve just taken your MBA course online.”

“Oh great, how did you like it?”

“I feel gipped. I have a MBA and your classes weren’t anything like it.”

“I’m sorry to hear that, it seems you’ve uncovered my wicked plan of deception. Would you like your money back?”

“Yes… yes I would.”

Too often we make snap judgments. Sometimes we just need to let things ride and see what results pop out of the experience. I am going to finish the course all the way through, should take a few weeks.

I will probably power through it next week while I am in Mexico. I look forward to giving you the whole report and whether I suggest you also sign up for this training or take a pass on it.

Till then keep your feet beneath you and a slight tilt toward the door. No idea what that means… it sounded clever in my head- can you make sense of it?

541 Days Left: The world is online, you should be too

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541 Days Left: The world is online, you should be too

In order to succeed in my mission I will need to gather as many people around me as possible. A tribe of likeminded people. There has always been power in numbers.

Have you noticed the neighborhood cook out just doesn’t draw the crowd it did back in the day? Why is that?

It’s because of the advancement of information. Back in the day, information was limited, so we all got along since there were only a few things to gripe over.

Enter the internet. Now information is blasted all over the place. With more information comes more opinions on that data. Where there are opinions there will be disagreements.

Now we don’t just have the presidency to gripe over, now we can bicker about African oil pricing concerns for European air traffic. It’s crazy.

The good ol’ days just aren’t coming back. We must make the best of where we find ourselves. On the flip side of the griping coin we can now find other, likeminded individuals, with greater ease.

It is the intent of connecting with these kindred minds that having an online presence is advantageous. They need to be able to find you and your own website is how!

“A website is the first essential of any profitable passive income business done online.” Pat Flynn

Check out the whole article here

Everyone I was listening to told me to go with wordpress.org, which is different from wordpress.com since you host your own site. This means you can do with it whatever you want.
I knew I wanted to blog but I honestly feel like I am pretty inexperienced at it. My readership in the past 2 months is not that great. I will need to look into some ways to boost this if I am to gather a tribe around me.

Other than the fact that everyone told me a blog was the way to go, I found that the best way to build search engine rankings is thru a blog. I am already on the first page of Google for the search term “The Forward Journey” after just a few weeks of podcasting and blogging.

TFJ Search Rank 4

Ok sure, The Forward Journey is hardly a competitive search term, but it’s a start.

So how much did I pay to get my site up and running? Let’s talk turkey about that a bit later when we discuss how much I’ve invest into TFJ so far.

For now, begin to think about the types of people you would like to build a tribe with! I bet the best way to get them in touch is through your own website.

543 Days Left: The Forward Journey Mind Map Process

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543 Days Left: Mind Mapping The Forward Journey

I am going to take you through the mind map iterations that landed me where I am today. After this post, we will be up to date with where I am currently taking The Forward Journey. You can use this same method to dream up your future.

Forward Leadership

My first attempt at thinking of this business venture was called Forward Leadership. I wanted to broadcast my accumulated teachings on the timeless principals of leadership. I liked the idea of forward so I started.

Forward Leadership Mind map

In this mind map, I outline what actions I would perform that would provide value (podcast, book, and blog) and how I would earn money in the business (Sponsorships and sales).

As I look back on it now it’s quite crude but it was a start. Never despise humble beginnings. It is the step in the right direction that is important. It’s the small steps that accumulate into something great.

As time passed my proficiency with mind mapping increased. Yours will too. Practice, practice, practice. Currently I make about 3 mind maps per week. I use it for everything which requires planning or strategy.

I continued to think about what this business would be and I kept developing new ideas. The one that landed me on The Forward Journey was this map.

TFJ Mind Map

I like how it took a person down the path of solving an issue. Moving forward from point A to B was exciting to me. So I googled whether or not www.theforwardjourney.com was available and it was! I purchased it immediately. It’s ok if this map doesn’t spell out much to you. I doubt it will. Here I am speaking my inner brain language. Your maps will speak your own jargon and that’s good. It facilitates immediate recall when you walk away from a map for a while. You’ll pick it up again and instantly remember where you were and what you were thinking.

Here is one of my most recent mind maps generated in my makeshift studio (Until I get the real studio finished).

This is the first few bubbles of the map. It’s about my discovery course I am creating to help people work through their forward journey. It’s a video-based curriculum and this is how I figured out what to include in video 1

Partial Mind Map

I knew I had 2 major elements of this map, the Problem and the Vision. So those went down 1st. Then I started on a path to logically connect those two ideas. I wanted the problem to be something big. I also wanted to base it in scripture as you can see below.

Partial Mind Map

I decided the scripture part was a bunny trail, but a good one, and I branched off from the Big problem to the idea of “missing it”. Then I thought about the stories I’ve heard about deathbed regrets. Those stories really hit me hard and I thought we all could benefit from hearing the last words of elderly people.

The death bed idea was also a bunny trail. So I went back to the idea of missing it and branched off to include some statistics on people missing it in life. Of course, I’m not sure what “it” is at this moment. That’s ok, I just roll with it.

You don’t have to have it all figured out because this is the process of how you get to your answer. Nothing is wrong! and if you use a white board like me it is super easy to erase and put down something else.

My next thought is that every action has a consequence. Some in our favor and others not so much. So I diverge my mind map into 2 more branches. Those who miss it and those who find it… all the while not really knowing what “it” is but that’s still ok.

Finished Mind Map

Then I finished the map by decided to commit finding out what “it” really is. But notice I didn’t worry about that until it was necessary for my story to make sense of that part. Defining the “it” was the Vision. That’s how I connected the problem to the vision. I think my brain knew the whole time how it connected together, I just had to get there and mapping it helped me do that.

From there is just filled out my 6 steps from Phase I of TFJ. And this will become my outline for the first video of the Discovery Course. This is going to be my flagship resource offered on www.theforwardjourney.com so it needs to hit the mark. I’m hoping to have it done in about a month so watch out for that!

The outline would look like this

Video 1

The Problem

Something BIG

Scriptures to use

Recognizing Truth

You might miss your Purpose for Living

Stories of Death Bed Regrets

Stats on current state of legacy achievement

Consequences of Making it

Success

Fuel for everyday gains

Consequences of Not making it

Failure

Feeling lost in life

Problem Solution: Vision

CORE iD

Step 1- Attributes

Step 2- Definitions

Step 3- Blends

Step 4- CORE iD

Step 5- Figuring out the Why (TRIBE)

Step 6- Share it

Hook to next video (Vision is only part of the story)

 

See how easy it was to make a simple outlined for a video product all produced from an easy to create mind map. You can do it too. Maybe someday I’ll have a big fancy TV with a touchscreen so I can make digital maps right on my wall and share it to all my devices.

For today I’ll stick with a whiteboard and marker. You might start with a paper and pencil. Just draw a circle in the middle of the page, write in a topic and see where the path leads. Feeling stuck? Email me and let’s get you unstuck! D@TheForwardJourney.com

Or maybe I’ll just make a video on my process and post it? What would work best for you?

For today just make a map following the previous post’s videos as a guide. You can do it… so go ahead and do it already!

Icon TFJ Podcast Artwork

TFJ 006: The Divine Exchange and Why Need to Learn Your Position on the Team

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2017 is a fresh start and a great time to think about the upcoming year. Come learn why its not enough to just be saved… that is only the start, you need to make the next move to find fulfillment! This year can be the year of Forward Movement!!!

545 Days Left: How to Get a Legacy Started

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545 Days Left: Mind Mapping

Happy first Monday of the fresh 2017 year. This is going to be the best year of my life… and probably the most difficult. I’ve got 545 days to get my butt in gear and pave some serious road in my path to being the best version of me.
In just 545 days I am envisioning myself walking up to my boss and handing in my months’ notice. I can do it because I have successfully matched my income with a side business I’ve started. It will provide me the time, motivation and resources to launch from my cubicle into the crucible of legacy building.
All my debt is gone- paid off in full! Now my income goes a lot further than it ever did before.
I’ll be working out of my house. I’ll be stalking invisible ninjas with my sons and sipping tea with my daughters.
By the time 545 days are up I will have successfully kicked my workaholism to the curb and will be living a life I’ve only dreamed about up to that point.

Now lets rewind

That’s a great day dream ay? Work from home, making lots of money and spending your time however you see fit. Am I speaking your language?
Imagine if you weren’t a slave to your alarm clock. What if you woke up naturally every morning when your body was done resting? What if you became the complete master of your own schedule?

Sounds great, but it’s a pipe dream, right?Screen Shot of a Mind Map

I am putting it to the test. And the way I got all this started was stumbling on a new tool called Mind Mapping. It’s a way of dumping everything in your brain you didn’t know was there. You get all your great ideas onto a map that is easy to expand and connect ideas together. It’s very powerful once you get the hang of it.

It took me about 5 tries before I really started to benefit from the power of this technique. I started with a whiteboard but soon moved to a digital solution so I could carry it with me wherever I was. I didn’t want to miss a great idea.

I use a free app you can get here for android or iPhone. I like it because I can quickly map out an idea right on my phone and it will save to the cloud for future use. It also generates an outline with headings and sub points automatically.
Learn more about mind mapping with these 2 videos on the subject. The first is the guy who made it famous and is only 5:38 long. The second video is how to do it with old fashioned pen and paper and is 4:39 long.
Notice how differently the second person approaches her mind map from the “Official guy” in the first video. Mind mapping is completely flexible to your way of thinking. It works the way you do it. And that’s why I fell in love with this technique.
It feels clunky at first. But this tool is responsible for clearing out my jumbled mind into an actionable plan for achievement. It’s where my 18 months goal came from and how I developed the Forward Journey concept.
In the next post, I will show exactly how I went about creating my mind map for the Forward Journey. This tool is going to help you a ton! Remember to check out the videos here and here to learn more!

On the Edge of Greatness and Failure

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My 18 Month Journey is about to Ignite!!!

I’m a bit freaked out. Just being honest.

Am I being stupid? People at work have already seen my challenge on my homepage. I display for all the world to see… including my employer… that I plan to quit my job in 18 months.

July, 2018 I plan to be fully self-employed. And I’m living this plan out loud. And I’m a bit freaked.

What if it doesn’t work

I’ve been thinking a lot, “what if this whole enterprise is a miserable failure.” What if I crash and burn? The absolute worst is probably the time comes and I am not ready. My boss thinks I’m a loser, fires me and I need to find a new job since I sucked at being an online entrepreneur.

Even so, with 18 months of dedicated focus, I would have made some headway toward my goal. That means I would have paid off some debt and been better off than if I never started.

And I would have learned a fist full of valuable lessons. And if I failed so miserably, my own boss could not stand to see me at the office and fires me. I could probably sum up all those lessons and launch another business which would have a better chance at success. Because I would avoid all the pitfalls I uncovered in the first attempt.

What if it does work

If it does work this is what my life will look like in exactly 540 days:

My house will be paid off.

My school loan will be paid off.

My wife will have a reliable family car.

I will have helped literally thousands of believers find their calling from God and on toward their own journeys.

I’ll have the support of a tribe to hand in my month notice without trembling. Knowing that I am leaving something good for something great. I will have successfully uncovered my calling from God with evidence of Gideon’s fleece ensuring my departure from the 9-5 world.

Is it worth the risk

So leaning over the edge of an old 2016 looking ahead into a fresh start, I wonder if the benefits outweigh the risks. And I answer in a resounding, “YES!”

It’s worth the sacrifice of perceived stability for a chance at true meaning. I can be part of people’s story.

It’s worth it if, in the end of my life, people say about me, “Without him I never would have started. D made me believe the impossible was possible for me.”

That spells success for me. If I am part of your chain that links you to an impact on your world… isn’t that worth the risk?

What to expect in the days to come from this Blog

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Hey there!

What to Expect from The Forward Journey Blog moving forward

After much deliberation I have come to the decision on how best to serve you. I have committed to showing you a way to live the life you greatly desire. In order to do this I must do that for myself which includes quitting my 9-5 job.

As you probably have heard by now I plan to quit my cubicle career by July 2018. That’s just 18 months away. To help you out I will be posting 3x per week on what I am learning and doing to fulfill the tag line of TFJ: Uncover Your Calling, Jettison Your Job, Live Your Legacy. To keep perspective each post is going to start with how many days remain until D-Day when I hand in my notice and start to work for myself.

Remember, before I do that my family needs security so I’m paying off the house, cars and student loans within that 18 month period.

Think I can do it?

You will have to come back to the blog to see how I am progressing and feel free to pick and choose which tactics you might want to incorporate into your own journey. I am going to share and bare it all. At the time of this post there is only 550 days left!!! I better get busy!

Shoot me an email with whatever is on your mind D@TheForwardJourney.com

Tootles.

 

3 Things I’ve Learned about the Power of Purity in Business

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3 Things I’ve Learned about the Power of Purity in Business

In life, we tend to dilute things to make them palatable to others. Think of how often you hold back that 10% of what you really want to say. I do it all the time. Businesses do as well.

Business are afraid if they really go after what they want they will risk too much. So they choose dilution and pander to the masses in hopes of more money. But the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil the good book says. What happens when we divorce the love of money and purely concern ourselves with being pure in a world of sell outs?

The Power of Niching Down

Simply put you are not called to save the world. It’s just not part of your deal. So why try to wrap your arms around something so huge you will never possibly get it off the ground?

Dig in and find the sweet spot. That fine cross section where you personality, skills and relationships converge.

In my case, my journey is leading me toward Christian’s who believe their life has something more but aren’t sure what it is. My role is to help those with an entrepreneurial bent discover their calling, make that their job and leave a mark on this world so it will never forget them.

That won’t happen if I go after everybody.

The Power of Transparency

I am also learning the lessons that purity means you can see right inside the thing. There is no veil trying to misdirect sensitive parts. Think of how pure Adam and Eve’s relationship was in the Garden. They were both naked unashamed. Imagine if that happened today… ok yes, you are right, there are nudist colonies but you get my point.

The reveal of our innermost parts results in shame and the urge to hide.

But there is power in being naked in business. We do this by opening our books for the world to see. This is the tact I’ve opted for in The Forward Journey. You will be able to see all my income and expenses as I try to jettison my job in 18 months.

How else will you know if I’m full of crap?

The Power of Honest Belief

Purity isn’t mingled with doubt… otherwise it wouldn’t be pure right? If you can be honest in you beliefs you will live a more potent life. We think we believe one thing, but then circumstances turn our beliefs and reveal the opposite.

Has this happened to you? You walk along the road of life quite content in your beliefs. Then the world turns upside down and the belief you had all of a sudden seems pretty far away? Why would a circumstance change the way you believe?

I see this challenge all the time. Christian’s belief in the healing power of God wobbles when they are the ones diagnosed. Christian’s belief in God’s provision wavers when they get laid off.  Christian’s belief in God might wafts when our hopes come up empty.

Maybe that is in some part the reason those things came into your life. May there is a purpose behind a bad diagnosis, getting laid off or unanswered prayers. Maybe they show you where you are not being honest in your beliefs. Perhaps the wobbles, wavering and wafting are meant to show you where you need to strengthen things up a bit?

If you can’t stand on your beliefs in life, how will you manage to stand when you own your own business and are supporting others?

Just a thought. Those are the things running through my mind this week. On a brighter note Happy CHRISTmas!!!!

4 Ways to Avoid Slimy Salesmanship

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When We weren’t Born a Natural Salesperson

Money is a sticky topic with a lot of people. We like money, we wish we had more of it. When it comes to offering a solution int he marketplace somehow we don’t feel qualified to receive payment. We don’t want to be like that overweight, balding, greasy used car salesman.

Good news. You and I can sell without being icky. As I’ve been reading lately about selling online products, I’ve pieced together 4 ways to escape the greasy salesperson problem.

My personal obstacles

I’m really having a difficult time coming to grips with the idea of asking for remuneration. All my life I have earned money from my employer and given everything else. However, in order for me to quit my day job, I’ll need to replace that income. There’s only one way to do that: SELL.

When I think of selling I feel uncomfortable. I don’t want to ask people for money! I wish I could just get by living my life giving everything away for free. But I can’t. And you can’t either.

I am changing my paradigm and you should too. Sales can be fun and mutually beneficial. You can actually become the type of person people thank for selling to them! How about that idea ay?

Here are 4 simple ways to cut the grease and lay on the blessing for others when it comes to selling in your business.

1)      Leverage Reciprocity

Imagine you hear a knock at the door this Christmas season. You walk over, open it up and its your neighbor. Quite unexpected she has made her way over to your place with a gift in hand. She smiles, hands you the gift and says, “Merry Christmas.”

What are you feeling right now? You’re saying to yourself, “Crap, I haven’t gotten anything for you.” So you begin to look around the room wondering if she would enjoy your curtains.

Bottom line, when we receive something we feel a deep urge to give something back. This is called reciprocity. We want to repay kindness with kindness, a gift with a gift. You can go a long way by being the first to strike up the conversation that will benefit your client. Then, when it comes time for a payment later in the relationship, they will feel relieved to fill their perceived debt.

It can make people feel better to pay you for the value you’ve provided. But only if you’re not a jerk and really care about them. This leads in to the second method for overcoming slimy sales.

2)      Start with Value

Never ever come to a potential client with your hand out. Isn’t that what all advertising does to us? It yells in our face: BUY FROM ME, BUY HERE, BUY NOW. BUY BUY BUY!

This is why we tune out the 15,000 ads we see per day. All we see if people wanting our money.

So do just the opposite. Start with value not a request for purchase.

Give them something they really need or want for FREE. You can do this all sorts of ways on the cheap. The idea is to make it cost effective for you but anything but cheap for them. This can be with a report, checklist, how to instructional… your creativity can go crazy here. Keep them in mind and help a brother out with no sales pitch attached.

3)      Allow the No and be honest

When it comes time to ask for the sale, allow your potential client the right of refusal without a guilt trip. If what you are provided really is the Bee’s Knee’s they will come around eventually. I hate the kind of salesman that won’t take no for an answers. Sorry just not me.

If you are making money off a deal be honest about it. It’s not until you try to divert attention from your gain that the slime begins to build.

Make your best offer, and if they refuse hey that’s ok, we can still be buds. Right? Is that possible to do? I think so. I think it’s better than hounding someone who just wants to be left alone.

4)      Under Promise and Over Deliver

You can assuage your misgivings about selling when you have it firmly fixed in your mind that your customer will get more than they paid for. This is something you can feel good about. Sure, they might have purchased a $350 course from you, but you are going to deliver a $1000 course. They are tickled purple from the outstanding content and you feel good about selling.

Remember “The worker deserves his wages.” 1 Timothy 5:18.

If you are providing value to someone else it’s perfectly ok to ask for a fair price in exchange.

How does the idea of sales strike you? Better get used to it if you’re going to make it.

TFJ 004: The Forward Nation and how you can change the future

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Let’s talk a bit about what is needed in our future. It’s ok if we aren’t sure how our life should look… what’s not ok is to stay in the same place. I’m going to start walking in the right direction and I encourage you to come along for the ride. You just might learn something amazing!

Easily Generate Maximum Income: Passive Streams

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Easily Generate Maximum Income: Passive Streams

I realize that not everyone in the world is going to like my message. Not everyone really is cut out to own their own business. But if you feel the entrepreneurial call, then Forward Nation is for you. We are a group who is fed up with mediocrity and ready to take life to the next level.

Sound good?

Let’s talk about setting the groundwork for not only supporting your own call but also lending a generous hand to those who need monetary support.

Being Transparent: I have not yet realized the benefits of passive income, this post is reporting what I have learned so far only. But I’m still excited to share it with you!

Income Streams

A business is an enterprise seeking to exchange a product or service to solve a need for a price. What you charge for is considered an income stream. This can be giving a massage, fixing HTML code or trucking an RV across country.

Traditional business structures have you a develop product or service, set up shop and market your wares to a target audience. These are the building blocks of a business.

There are two types of income streams. One is the traditional method which takes a lot of money to start, takes a lot of time to build and takes a lot of energy to grow. The other is a new model which costs almost nothing to start, frees up your time and leverages finished work to perpetuate and grow.

Active Income

This is the first type of income stream. It’s the hard one. Think of it as trading time for dollars. You need to be there for the money to be made. If it’s a construction job you need to show up at the site to get paid. If it’s an Avon job you need to meet with the client to make a sale. If it’s a realtor job you need to meet the buyers at the home.

You must be there!

This sucks. If you are there, by definition you cannot be some other place earning even more money. You’re stuck.

Does your job have you feeling like you are stuck? I know that feeling. In fact, just this week I went out to lunch with 3 colleagues. All highly paid professionals. All degreed individuals. All smart, competent well-rounded human beings.

In conversation it came up I started a website. As I explained what I was doing I asked this question.

“If you won $10,000,000 tonight, would you keep doing what you’re doing right now?”

Not one of them had to think. The restaurant rang out with a resounding, “No Way” “Pshhhh” and “F**k No.” Sorry, one colleague has a bit of a mouth.

How would you answer my question?

Often we feel trapped in our jobs. It’s all we know to do. But someone chopped down the door to a better way for me. And I’m about to do the same for you.

Passive Income

Make money without being in the picture. What? Popycock!

Really. Make money while you sleep, visit a foreign country with your family or visit an old friend. Passive income is awesome and a real option for you because of the internet!

Imagine this. You work hard on a piece of information that will help someone with a specific problem. Rather than going door to door, which will only result in a need for therapy afterward, you can drive traffic to your website where people can follow a prescribed course resulting in their “yes” to your offer.

See, I told you that you need a website. People can log on to your site, check out your content and choose to buy. Their money goes right into your bank account while you are sky diving in Antwerp or SCUBA diving in Hawaii.

The passive income concept has revolutionized the way I see business. It will revolutionize your life if you buy in. Want to learn even more right now and don’t want to wait for another post? Check out Pat Flynn’s site Smart Passive Income. http://www.smartpassiveincome.com/passive-income-101/

Ok, ok I know what you’re thinking. I’m not a sales person. Besides, aren’t internet sales icky?

Well… yes, yes they are… for the most part. But you don’t have to be. Let’s pick that idea up next time.

The Power of True North

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The Power of True North: Arrive at Your Destination

Last post I encouraged you to think about launching your own website. Having an online presence is going to help you bank roll your Calling from God.

This leads to an obvious question.

What is my Calling from God?

Unfortunately I’ve no crystal ball that can produce the answer. Discovering your call is something you must do alone. It’s an intensely personal journey all High Achievers have gone through. Finding your call is like establishing North on a compass.

No matter where you find yourself in life, finding True North puts everything else in right perspective. Once you find it, you can determine how to get back on track wherever your destination happens to be. True North is your personal call from God.

If you are ever feeling lost in the shuffle, a quick check on the compass to remind yourself of the True North direction God is beckoning you will put all demands into perspective. In short, knowing your calling makes saying “Yes” and “No” in the appropriate places much easier.

I remember once hearing someone say, “The difference between someone who is successful and someone who has lost is putting Yes and No in their proper places.”

Just like a being lost without a compass, missing this direction from your creator will result in endless circles of unproductive wandering.  People don’t become successful by accident.

You will become successful after your direction is known.

I’m currently working very diligently on producing a resource to help you discover your calling. I’d say I’m about 75% of the way there. Actually, in a few weeks I am going to need a few Guinea Pigs to trial these ideas and prove the concept. If interested email me at D@TheForwardJourney.com

A great find this week

This week I found a great of way describing the principle of focus. In his book Essentialism, Greg McKeown provides a picture of what focus can accomplish.

Focused Energy Graph

See how unproductive it is to follow after too many paths? Ultimately you get nowhere. Now use the EXACT same amount of energy but focus it on one True North direction and you will get a lot further.

Before you start your website

Before you blog, podcast, produce infomercials and become the next chair member of the Shark Tank you need to do this first: Discover your calling!!!

This cannot be overstated. You need a download from Heaven before applying your finite time, energy and skills.

If you can’t articulate your personal calling from God that’s ok. Most people can’t. Before you do anything else you need to write down a goal to figure this out. It might take a few months but wouldn’t that pay dividends throughout the rest of your life? You need to FOCUS:

Follow One Course Until Success

As soon as I wrap up The Forward Journey Discovery Course I’ll let you know- but only if you are part of Forward Nation. If you haven’t yet, sign up here to get in line for this free tool.

Today your challenge is to write down your goal to discover your call from God. Post it on your bathroom mirror or somewhere where you will be reminded daily to seek after God.

“You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” The Prophet Jeremiah 625 BC

Next post I’ll share the different way I’ve discovered you and make money online in a totally non-slimy way.

Websites are better than Facebook

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Why You Need a Self-Hosted Website

You want to have a life worth living. As we’ve discussed before that’s going to require some resources. The best way to acquire resources is becoming a business owner. Today let’s discuss why owning your own self-hosted website is the right path to take in your entrepreneurial endeavor.

I don’t suggest after reading this article you go out and start a website. I spent 6 months thinking about it before I pulled the trigger. And I had a good sense of direction BEFORE I started a site. For now, just get use to the ideas I am presenting. Let is settle in your stomach for a while.

You have Facebook. That’s the internet, won’t that count? Besides a lot of people are doing it.

No and here is what I have learned in the past month.

Control of your own destiny

When you are talking about the internet, you are talking about a massive networks of billions of websites and people. It changes faster than you would believe. In that ocean of stuff, you need a boat you know you have the ability to steer.

But Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Google+ and the like all have giant cruise ships I could be on! You mean I should opt for a dingy? Yes!

When they change the rules

Those cruise ships of online connections can and will change course without notice. Just this year Facebook changed the way that businesses were allowed to interact with their customers. This completely wiped out a lot of peoples strategy for making money.

All the people I listen to who live and breathe this world tell me it’s going to happen again. They need to do what’s best for their specific business. That may or may not align with what you find is good for you business.

Growth opportunities

In order to start small and grow large you need to take advantage of the opportunities as they present themselves. The best way you can position yourself to do this is owning your own website. This puts you in control. Everything that comes through your site you can benefit from.

I’m haven’t benefited from this yet, but literally EVERYONE is telling me the #1 most important thing in online business is your email list! If one person said it, I might dismiss it as hype. But literally everyone is saying this to me. Cliff Ravenscraft, Pat Flynn, Ramit Sethi, Amy Portefield, Chris Ducker, John Lee Dumas and more. All internet millionaires and each lamenting the fact they didn’t begin by building their list.

You may notice at the top and bottom of my home page on www.theforwardjourney.com is a green button beckoning you to join the Forward Nation.

What is the Forward Nation? It’s my email list. At the time of this writing I’ve got 73 people on board. I know what you’re thinking. That’s a pitiful number. You’ve been at this a whole month already and only have 73 sign ups?

I choose to look at it this way. A month ago I had 0 subscribers and now I have 73,000% more! How many email subscribers do you have right now? That can go up by having your own website!

Here is why email lists are reported to be so important (again I have not actually found this out for myself YET).

It is the #1 way to get in contact with people. When you launch your book, develop your product, need feedback, give a free resource- email is the most effective way to get a massive amount of people on board in a short amount of time with as little effort as possible. It’s better than text, better than FB messaging and way better than an pay per click ad.

Email is still the king of personal connection for business owners. Face-to-face is laborious and time consuming. Emails can be sent to tens of thousands in a matter of minutes.

You don’t need a Website just yet

Before you do that you need a direction. And we will talk about that next time.  For now just get it in your brain that you have what it takes to launch your own website. There are thousands of FREE resources to help you do it step by step.

Have you signed up to be a member of the Forward Nation? Why not it’s free and I’m going to offer some great stuff in the coming months. But im only going to make it available to those subscribed to Forward Nation! Don’t miss out sign up now.

TFJ 003: Will I Pass Your Psycho Test?

Posted on Posted in Podcast

I know you are wondering a bit about the guy behind the mic. So far I have been dubbed the “Spiritual Mr. Rogers.” Well I don’t wear cardigans but I do want to be your neighbor!

Also, I suck at Spanish- see if you can catch my linguistic error within the first 30 seconds! Remember, no editing, just raw Mr. Rogersness.

Start a Business with No Extra Money?!

Posted on Posted in Blog

How I started The Forward Journey with no extra money

If your legacy includes doing something of significance, then that effort is probably going to require monetary resources. One of the very best ways to gather resources is to own a business.

“But remember the LORD your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth…” Deuteronomy 8:18a

Scary thought I know, but it doesn’t need to be. I started an online business for practically nothing. Today I’ll share how I did it.

It began about 2 months ago. The reason I started was to fund my calling through allowing me to jettison my 9-5 chain. I want to be self-sustaining.

This is important because you want to the type of person who funds the efforts of the Kingdom of God. You don’t want to be the type who is always sucking the funds. Am I right?

As a small business owner you can earn anywhere from 1k per month all the way past 100k per month. Don’t believe me? Check out this guy who started an online business after getting laid off. He started all by himself but has grown to expand to only a small team making this kind of revenue.

Pat Flynn's income report

If you’re like me, at first glance you are tempted to think, “I can never do that!”

But this guy didn’t start making that much… he started making nothing just like me, just like you. And over time he built trust and people began to join his crowd. That trust has generated what you see above.

All this with almost no investment up front!

From the information I gleaned listening to podcasts, I learned that the online space was super easy to get into. Competitive sure, but the barriers to entry are low.

Think about a normal business producing products or offering services. You’ve got the following costs to figure out:

$1,000- Rent of work space

$2,000- Staff payroll

$750- Utilities like heat, A/C, electricity, water/sewer

$350- Insurance

$1,500- Taxes

All this can add up to a lot for just one person. The big boys of business are bank rolled. This means someone funds them as they get their feet wet. I leaned in my studies that it takes, on average, about 7 years to become profitable. 7 years?!

Aint nobody got time for that!

I doubt you have someone to bank roll you. I didn’t.

This is why I chose the online arena. Instead of brick and mortar you have a website. A place people come to meet with you and interact. There is no need to heat a website or employ a janitor to make sure its toilets stay clean.

You can do it all yourself with a little ambition and some free help from people on the web who have already done it. Just check out YouTube- TONS of stuff guiding you step by step on how to get started. I got a lot of my help from Pat Flynn, the guy whose income report I showed above.

If you’re interested in knowing the steps I went through to get my business online let me know by emailing D@TheForwardJourney.com because for now I’m just going to talk about the costs.

How I did it with no extra money

I had been a 2 year subscriber to DISH network. This cost me $100.34 per month. I got a gazillion channels and watched 2. When the contract came due in November last month I canceled service.

Know what? Through an HD antenna to catch local channels and Sling, I still get my 2 shows and I’m happy. I can even watch Football on ESPN.

Sling costs me $25 a month so my net saving is $75.34 per month. With that savings I purchased the following subscriptions to facilitate my personal business plan.

Libsyn: $5/mo (Podcast Hosting) I got a deal from Cliff Ravenscraft

Blue Host: $12/mo (Website Hosting + extras) I got a deal from Pat Flynn

ConvertKit: $30/mo (Customer relationship Management) I got a deal from Pat Flynn

Webinar Ninja: $27/mo (online meetings) I got a deal on Black Friday from another guy (I forget)

That’s a grand total of $74/mo!!! I’m still saving $1.34 per month- woo hoo, in a couple of months I’ll treat myself to a Starbucks.

This is what we in the biz call a win-win scenario. I still get my shows and I get my personal business plan up and running.

I’m sure you can find at least $75 a month if you dig hard enough. Maybe you can do what I did and come up with that amount for free. The moral of the story is you don’t need thousands of dollars to start. You don’t need to go into debt to get your legacy rolling.

That is IF you choose to go the online route. I chose it because, for one, it offered small startup costs, but also it gives me a global reach. I’ve already got people in Russia, China and Australia checking out my website. That’s COOL!

Here is the take away. Get use to the idea of having an online presence. You already do on Social media but that’s not a good place to start- I’ll share what I learned why in the next article.

Starting Your Future with No Money and No Time

Posted on Posted in Blog

How to start with NO money and NO time

Survey Results Pic

Today I want to begin to tackle two of the problems described to me by over 350 men. No money and no time. This came as part of my analysis which you can get more on soon.

No Money

You are strapped for cash. If you’re like the majority of Americans you are only a few paychecks away from complete financial ruin. And now you want to build a legacy of some sort…

Where do I get the start-up cash?

Pretend debt isn’t an option. How do you proceed?

Begin with information. When it does come time to start spending money, and only a little at first, you want to ensure it is well invested. How does one do this? Building a repository of information on what works.

Luckily for you and I, there is a ton of free information on how to go about what you want to do. We can figuratively spend other people’s money by learning from their failed attempts. The best way I ‘ve found to access this kind of free information is through a podcast.

Use iTunes or Stictcher to search for podcasts related to your interest. There is going to be something out there that at least tangentially touches on your topic.

Personally, I use an app on my phone called Podcast Addict. I like this one because it automatically downloads all my shows at a time each morning and automatically deletes them after listening. But the real reason I love this player is it lets me set the speed. Depending on the average rate of speech of the host I’ll set playback speed anywhere from 1.7 – 2.3 times.

Ok yes, they sound like chipmunks, but I can listen to 2 podcasts in the time it takes for a normal person to listen to one. Don’t worry, your brain and more than handle that speed!

I’ve got a library of FREE information all in my phone that automatically updates each morning. Right now on my subscription list I have the following- just in case you’re interested.

Phone Podcast Screenshot

AskPat with Pat Flynn, Answering online business question0, about 10 mins subscribe here.

Currently evaluating Influence Psychology Persuasion with Mike Sweet, about 10 min subscribe here

Read to Lead with Jeff Brown, Interviews with authors, about 40 min subscribe here

The Cliff Ravenscraft Show, All about Podcasting and more, about 1 hr subscribe here

Smart Passive Income with Pat Flynn, Make money while you sleep, about 45 min subscribe here

This is Your Life with Michael Hyatt, Building your Platform, about 30 min subscribe here

That’s 3 hours and 15 min every week of high quality training for FREE. Annualize that and you’ve got 5 full 40 hr work weeks’ of content at no cost. Of course you can increase that based on your ability to handle new info.

 

There more out there too

There is a lot of free information out there to be had. Perhaps someday I’ll make a list of all the free stuff I find and where you can get it. For now just google search what you’re into and include the word “FREE”. You’re bound to come up with something.

The main thrust of good business men and women out there is to provide you valuable free content to get you into what they are doing. Then, if you really get what they are offering, you are likely to buy from them.

It’s good for you since you get something you want for free. It’s good for them because they get to contact you. Now, there exists the possibility to build a relationship. It only works if the match is right. And that’s a good thing.

Contrast this approach to the commercial approach. It interrupts your regularly scheduled programing with a loud, annoying offer you have no interest in. Relational building is best.

No Time

Now let’s hit the time crunch we are all under. If you were to tell me that you had ZERO down time in your day I’d say your pants are on fire. We all have some portion of our day where our mind is numbly paused as we try to move from one thing to another.

One of the most insidious wastes in life is transportation. How much time do you spend in the car? This is where I found my solace from the “Full Plate Syndrome.”

I have a 45 min drive to work in the morning and then back again on the evening totaling 90 minutes of idle time where I can literally do nothing else productive. No writing, no podcasting… just sitting and steering.

So I use this time to consume my podcasts (remember they are on hyper drive!) But they don’t last the whole week. so I have audiobooks loaded on a USB I listen to when the podcasts have run out.

Where is your idle time? Drive to work, running, laundry, kids nap time, lunch, there has got be something!

I never listen to the radio and I never watch the news. I use those times to feed myself uplifting information from people I trust. You can do the same.

There you go

A free avenue to begin to start your legacy using Podcast subscriptions.

Capitalize on idle time in your normal routine.

Next I’m going to show you how I got started in my online business spending no extra money!

Until then get a Podcast player you like and search for no less than 3 shows + my podcast of course here.

Blog 0

Posted on Posted in Blog

Blog 0

“All things work together for the good for those who love God and are called according to His purpose.” The Apostle Paul, 58 AD

Change

So much wound up into one compact, little word. Change can spell disaster or fortune. One thing change will never spell out is the same old thing.

About 1 year ago I started listening to a new podcast. Through a chain of successive events that podcast caused me to start the ball rolling to quit my 9-5 corporate job… here’s the story how.

I was in Dunlap, TN were my work has a manufacturing location. Me being the lead for engineering continuous improvement, I was down there leading a 1 week launch event. As I drove onto the little highway that would whisk me back to Chattanooga for the night, I fired up my first new podcast in forever.

Up till this point in my life the only podcasts I listened to were about Christian theology. The reasonable Faith podcast, Cross Examined and Stand to Reason. Every week I consumed about 5 hours of instruction in apologetics.

Then I tried something new

I stumbled upon Jeff Brown’s Read to Lead Podcast. A show that interviews bestselling business authors about their newly published books. I loved it. Jeff has an awesome radio voice that makes mine sound like Pee Wee Herman.

In the time span of about a month, 3 separate successful authors had referenced the same person. Some guy named Pat Flynn. This would change my life.

I began to wonder, who is this “Pat” guy and why these published authors were referencing him. The 3rd reference I heard that day on the highway to Chattanooga was, “Yeah, at a conference we all want to be Pat Flynn, but we can’t. So we need to find something else we can do.”

So I did what any red blooded American would do… I googled Pat Flynn.

Long story short, I found out Pat Flynn was once an architect, got laid off and started an online business. And then he started helping others invest their time in what he calls Smart Passive Income. I was hooked.

Pat Flynn, then referenced some guy named Michael Hyatt, so I checked him out. Again, I was hooked. And one by one each of these new people started introducing me to new people. And I learned something different from all of them.

This brings the story up to about 6 months ago. I started analyzing what I was hearing and I found common themes linking all these successful people together.

Somewhere around 90% of everything they give away was FREE! And that made an impact on me. We need FREE when we are starting out.

Then, for those who are ready for next level stuff, these guys make millions selling advanced products to a fraction of their audience.  It’s a genius strategy. I caught on and wanted in! So I bought more books, listened to more podcasts and widened my search for more intel.

I found out Pat Flynn basically copied Tim Ferris’s idea in the Four Hour Work Week. He tweaked a few things and made it his own. Nothing malicious here, Pat actually credits Ferris for helping him start.

This super successful person that everyone was referring to didn’t invent something new. He took what he read from someone else, change it to be his own and ran with it. So follow on down the line with the progression. Tim Ferris doesn’t have any truly original ideas either. It’s all been done before.

There is nothing new under the sun

And I started to look at the core business strategies of all these people making millions of dollars online living dream lives. They all were sharing the same philosophy. They each tweaked it a little to suit their individuality.

Boil it all down and it’s pretty much the same formula.

The Formula

Provide value to someone else and build trust. When the time is right offer them a product that solves a painful problem at a competitive price, make it an evergreen offer though automation and go do whatever you want while you make money without continuing to working for it.

That’s it.

This isn’t a new idea. Landlords have been doing this for centuries! They work hard to gain a piece of land either through purchase or duel and then reap the rent rewards for ages just because they own the land.

So if all these people are doing it, and sharing with me how… maybe, just maybe I could too.

Fast Forward to October 2016

I started a blog. It was a jumble of articles with no unifying theme. I think they were great. But there was no mission driving them, just my random thoughts about things I’m passionate about.

Here what I was doing. I was taking the expert stance. I was informing you of how things work in the world of efficiency and effectiveness. While that is cool n’ all it wasn’t exactly right.

The bomb of December 2016

I was dealing with this issue of aimlessness. I had 38 blog posts and 2 Podcasts recorded. Then my site got hacked and I lost everything- EVERYTHING. The lady from my hosting company said they ended to “nuke” my site. A complete wipe down of everything. It was the only way to ensure the virus was gone.

Since my site got Hiroshima’d, I’m seeing a different path I need to take.

Rather than stand up on the improvement pedestal and preach to you, I’m going to step down so we are shoulder to shoulder. I’m going to learn-out-loud for you to see. I’m not new to business, but I am new to owning an online business. I’m new to service products. I’m starting from the same place you are. A blank slate.

I think that’s way cooler than trying to be the expert. I’ll learn and share as I go along. Then you can check it out. Reading my blog takes 5 minutes. What took me a week you can learn in minutes! Now that is efficiency my friend.

The rebuilding effort

In the wake of the bomb, all future blog posts are going to take you along my journey. If you still want the exert talks about efficiency, effectiveness and influence then The Forward Journey Podcast is where you want to go. But the blog will chronicle my 18 month challenge to quit my 9-5 and live my dream life with the following conditions:

My plate is already full as it is

I’ve got no real money to dump into this

I’m not exactly sure where to begin

Sound familiar? I don’t know the answers to the above problems. But dang it, I’m going to discover them. I won’t invent them- that would be cheesy. Someone else out there is already living their calling with no debts except to love their fellow man. I will find them. I will learn from them. I will try their advice. I will keep only what works and I’ll share it all with you! Of course for FREE.

Let’s do it. Let’s discover the path that leads to a legacy of meaning. I can’t tell you where we will end up, but I know if we at least try we are going to be better off in the end than where we started from in the beginning.

I’m scared. And that’s ok. I’m not going to let fear keep me back anymore. I’ll risk looking like an idiot if its helps you avoid it. I’ll risk losing some money if it helps you keep it. I’ll risk the chance at greatness if it helps inspire you to reach for the same.

I’m stopping myself here… I’m going to need some material for Wednesday’s post. For now make an internal decision to join me. Join the Forward Nation and let’s kill mediocrity.