The Size of the Fight

You have probably heard of the saying ‘It’s not the size of the dog in the fight but the size of the fight in the dog that matters’. What does it mean and is it important? What many think it means is that in a fight, the one with the most determination, drive, the hungriest will win over the one that has physical size if he is not as committed to winning. We see this in athletics where the underdogs, or Cinderella team, defeats the favored team. We know individuals who have overcome great adversity, sickness, loss of a loved one or financial ruin and bounce back accomplishing more that those who have not experienced these tragedies. What makes someone have that “fight” to beat the odds, succeed in life, decide to fight to make our country great again? I have learned from George Guzzardo that it is recognizing that there is a problem, evaluating the importance in your life and deciding it is worth your time and effort to fight for. Here is an exert from a recent article by George explaining what it takes to be a worthy opponent in your fights: ‘Hunger is the key because it provides the motivation to do what it takes to get you what you want? Best selling authors Orrin Woodward and Chris Brady write in ‘Launching a Leadership Revolution’, about the three levels of motivation that drive hunger. Energy is derived from material achievement, recognition, respect, purpose, and legacy.’. Most fights are intellectual, ideological not physical so it is imporant to know what you stand for as you choose your fights.

The size of the fight is important in achieving success in our lives as it keeps us focused on what our priorities are. Individually, we have to evaluate which things in our life are worth fighting for, pouring our time and energy into. Our founding fathers did this. They physically were no different than tens of thousands of other men, however when measured by will, courage and action they understood more and acheived more than than those tens of thousands combined. How does it relate to today? How did our citizens become so disengaged in the important matters of our Country? I like what George Guzzardo posted ‘The freedoms of our country are at risk in a nation that has no regard for its foundation. R.C. Sproul said, “We live in the most unintellectual time in history.” Today, the forces that oppose freedom will be fought with ideas. The development of leadership qualities like courage is needed today. As Theodore Roosevelt said, “The things that will destroy us are prosperity – at – any – price, peace –at – any – price, safety first instead of duty first, the love of soft living, and the get –rich – quick theory of life.’ Isn’t that true? Soft living could be seen as being comfortable with our own life so we choose to ignore, remain ignorant, of the demise happening around us. We know longer see the importance of the bills being passed, the financial irresponsibility of those leading our country because we do not believe it will affect us directly or if it does it won’t be signifcant. We can see soft living or complacency in ourselves, our neighbors, U.S. citizens who have been “showing up” each day, to work or at home, and focus more on being entertained than being active or engaged. Many have seem to lost their fight, or just don’t know that it is time to fight to regain what we have lost.

In addition to looking at the size of the fight in us, it is important to be in the right fight.Being a strong fighter for the sake of fighting is not the best use of time or energy. Fighting for a policy that helps a few and hurts many is more destructive than productive and not what our founding fathers would do. Participating in several committees that take you away from home when your family is falling apart maybe the wrong fight. We get more energy when we are engaged in activites tied to our LIFE purpose. Passion ignites when we believe the fight is worthy of our time. The size of the fight in us is important in determining if we will persevere in the causes we choose. Choose to fight with courage, remembering those who have fought before us for us. God Bless

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Rights and Responsibilities

Which do we hear more about: rights or responsibilities? Which do we talk and think more about: our rights or our responsibilities? The answer varies depending on who I am associating with and by associating I mean listening to, live or recorded, reading from or interacting with. Like-minded people tend to hangout together and think very similar choosing to focus on either their rights or their responsibilities. A right is something people feel they are entitled to or can demand, something that is owed them passively without any required action on their part. We may think of the Declaration of Independence where it is stated “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among them are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness” when talking of rights. Liberty is a right. In reading about our fore fathers and the framers of the constitution, it is evident they were very concerned about the individuals rights. They put checks and balances in place to protect the common man so their rights would not be oppressed by a governing or an outside force. They deliberated carefully how to perserve the peoples rights, their freedoms, afraid they could be lost if the reasons as to why they were declared were ever forgotten. So who is responsible for making sure they are not forgotten?

If we are to ask who is responsible for the rights of the people it might be well to compare rights and responsibilities. Does one come before the other? A right may give me an equal chance for success with the next guy or gal, however success will come only from my accepting responsibility for making something happen. For example, I have the right to start a business but for it to be profitable and provide for my family I have the responsibility of planning, doing, checking and adjusting based on the results. I cannot expect someone else to do the work for me or prop up my profits. As a parent, I have the right to name my child however I have the responsibility to feed, clothe, love, encourage and provide safety for him. When I act on my right to become a mother, my responsibilities increase and are more important than my personal pleasures. If I have a driver license, I have the right to drive a car but only if I drive responsibly otherwise my driving privilege will be revoked. Is it fair that my right to drive can be taken away? This is where our responsibility trumps our rights.

It is said that we should have a Statue of Responsibility on our west coast to balance the Statue of Liberty on our east coast. Responsibility usually includes being an active participant, not necessarily by a lot of physical work but being involved to make sure things get done. Would you agree that if we work hard or put in much effort for our money that we tend to value it more and spend it more wisely than if it is given to us? I heard someone say that the value of our currency does not come from the number they put on it but instead from the time we put into earning it. There is a book in our LIFE business “The Ultimate Gift” by James Stovall in which he tells the story of learning the value of responsibility for ourselves and caring for others. Responsibility brings so many more benefits to us than our rights or entitlements ever can. When we take ownership or responsibility for our actions and results there is a sense of accomplishment, value, and the belief that we can improve our future. When I look at those I know who have accepted more responsiblity for their lives they are much happier than those who voluntarily give up their responsibility to have a certain level of handouts given to them. Those who take responsibility have more choices in life and a more positive impact on others. George Guzzardo relates the leadership quality of responsibility to the health our communities in a recent article by writing ‘Leadership qualities are necessary to restore communication in our community today. Qualities like trust, responsibility and accountability will help restore the social bonds that bring the community together’. He continues ‘The responsibility of restoring community begins with ourselves. We can learn to stop being checked by central government power and take responsibility. We are finding that well funded government efforts DO NOT WORK! We can choose to come together and create a sense of aliveness and wholeness instead of alienation. The title of Orrin Woodward’s new book ‘Leadershift’ says, “It’s a call for men and women to stand up and lead.”. When we give up our responsibility and allow others to make decisions for us, they cannot do as good a job as we can. They do not have the vested interest in our lives, for our children and our homes that we have.

Rights and responsibilities will impact our lives in a more positive way when we are aware of who is attempting to control them. Are they people with the same values as I? I encourage you to be more aware who is making decisions for you and whose best interest do they have in mind. We as individuals know our situations and needs better than an outside party. Accept responsiblity and improve your future. God Bless

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Is There a Possibility That…?

Is there a possibility that we can do more than we think? Accomplish more than we have before? I recently read on possibility thinking in a book titled ‘Community: The Structure of Belonging’ which I received through a LIFE subscription. It is certainly a switch for how myself and companies I have worked for have looked at things in the past. A switch from a problem solving lense to a possiblity lense. Can you imagine how alive we would feel if whenever we saw someone or something we saw the possibilites versus issues or problems? I feel more energetic just writing about it. Why is that? With possiblity thinking there is hope, an open road to pursue or create. When problem focused, it brings limited thinking confining our view to what is already there, what has been tried, and what hasn’t worked. A person must want things in their life to be different to embark on the journey of possibility thinking. Our country became great because of possiblity thinking.

We can use the question “Is there a possibility that” and examine all areas of our life and improve on them if desired. Just like we have learned other skills in our lives, we can learn to change our vision, how we interpret what we see and even what we have not yet physically seen. Just think of when you were a child and how you pictured, or envisioned, things would look in your future: Where you would travel? Where you would live? How you would be recognized? If you thought you might be a singer or in a band you probably saw the stage and the lights, heard and felt the music, and bowed and threw kisses to the fans. You saw possibility not the problems you would have come your way to get there. So when did things change from looking at life with possibilities to accepting it as it is or being problem focused?

On any journey in life there will be countless possibilities and where we end up will be determined by how we see and respond to each along the way.If I focus on what I am going through it is difficult to see where I am going to. I can only see what I choose to focus on at that time. To get to a desired destination I must choose to lead myself along the right path to get there. I will need to learn new skills, consider new ideas (as the old have not gotten me to where I want to go) and be willing to take action. George Guzzardo in a recent article said ‘Vision, purpose, responsibility and accountability are just a few skills that come to mind that a leader can learn. Energy comes from purpose and this is a result of growing these skills.’ and George is certainly full of energy because he knows his purpose. This is why possibility thinking is so inspiring. We are challenged to pursue something new, something purposeful. We are challenged to look through a new lense and see incredible options instead of walls. Don’t we always encourage our children to ‘find another way’ instead of quitting. We can live that same more enjoyable way.

Where do we go from here in pursuing possibilites? First, look at areas in our lives we want to improve such as family relationships, finances, our freedoms. Then check to see who may be interested players in making this happen. In order for the work to be done, for others to become engaged, they must feel there is enough value or merit for their time and energy. The conversation must be on possibility thinking which will bring an aliveness to the project. The LIFE business has many resources to help in achieving the necessary skills and belief. The answer to the question in the title is yes, there is a possibility that …you finish your way.

God Bless, Renee

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The Serving Leader

I just finished reading the book “The Serving Leader” for the second time in a couple months.  It is told in a story format and brings out many paradoxes on leadership.  Being involved in a leadership community it has been fascinating to watch people develop, really flourish, into effective, humble leaders.  I have been mentored by one such person, George Guzzardo, and enjoy reading and learning from his blog. George has incredible influence with tens of thousands of people because of his LIFE results, he walks the walk.  He is people oriented and elevates those around him on a daily basis. Here is a part from his blog addressing  success and happiness in a person’s life:

In the best selling book ‘How to Have Confidence and Power in Dealing with People’,Les Giblin says profoundly, “Every normal human being wants success and happiness.” Testimony after testimony from those involved in the LIFE business describe what they have learned. One comment that constantly surfaces is getting along with other people. The art of human relations comes to the top of the list when it goes to measuring success and happiness. Giblin sites a study by the Carnegie Institute of Technology where they analyzed the records of 10,000 people. They arrived at the conclusion that 85% of success is due to the ability to deal with other people successfully. Last but not least, Giblin writes that our Declaration of Independence places the real worth of an individual as a gift of God, rather than what individuals have made themselves. Our Creator has endowed people with innate worth. What if we could identify those special qualities in people and then provide an opportunity to appreciate  (develop a greater value) themselves?  Author Greg Ogden writes, “A servant leader finds joy in empowering and equipping others so they can experience the fulfillment of their God – given contribution.” To those who think that motives originating from giving sound foolish, perhaps they don’t understand it because their own motives don’t come from giving.

Wow!  These principle go hand in hand with the ones in the book I mentioned to start.  In analyzing what brings the most joy and feeling of accomplishment , success, to a person I realized it truly is from giving and helping others.  When I have had an isolated victory, not part of a team, it is a short lived, lonely victory.  However, the experience of a team victory, several people working and running to hit an important goal, that is exhilarating and builds many fond memories.  Why is the team victory so much more uplifting?  For me it is because I am able to contribute to the well being on someone else.  As I read the book The Serving Leader the characters in the book felt the same way.  They choose to do the hard work for a bigger cause.  They choose to develop teams because they knew to be truly successful it would take many working together.  They were humble leaders who focused on each others strengths and would give away recognition without feeling as less of a participant.  Through encouragement many people will rise up and do more, become more productive.  I am grateful to work with George, who continually does this.  He sets a bar to shoot for and encourages us along the way knowing it is possible for us to achieve more than we know or believe at that time.

I pray you are able to belong to a special group that lifts others up and fights the daily battles with you to make a difference in our world.

God Bless,  Renee

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Better relationships through improved communication

We are already two weeks into the new year and already I am thinking it is going fast.  Did anyone set a New Year resolution?  If so, was it important enough to still be pursuing?  I know one area of my life that is always important enough to be working on and also know it is an area I can always get better at:  relationships.  It seems when one relationship seems to be improving, another not so much.  What has been a saving grace for me is a couple books I have recently read, one for the first time and the other maybe the fifth time or more (and I am still learning much as if the first time reading it).  I recently had the privilege of speaking to a group of over two hundred people at a training seminar in Wausau on the topic of relationships.  It was incredible to see the number of people, students and leaders most both, eager to improve their lives by taking responsibility in improving themselves.  As a speaker, I could not have been more warmly encouraged and thanked.  What a blessing for me.

The topic of the talk was better relationships through improved communication.  Why?  Because I see so many miscommunications lead to hurting relationships.  If we can increase our effectiveness in communication we can mend many damaged relationships and prevent even more from the hurt.  We know people are our most valuable asset.  They are what give us the most joy and meaning in life especially close family.  Many times husbands and wives think the other is from another planet when it comes to what is meant by their communication,  as it can also be with parents and teens.  However there is hope, much hope, for improved understanding and relationships.

Some things I found very helpful came from the books “How to Win Friends & Influence People” by Dale Carnegie and “For Parents Only” by Shaunti Fledhahn and Lisa Rice, both incredible reads. First, listening is a priority any time we want communication to go well.  How many of us are interrupters or know one?  Annoying isn’t it.  I found that by really listening, and I must be truly interested in the person I am in conversation with to really want to listen, I must forget about what I want to say and focus on the other’s words, tone, eyes and posture.  When I focus with this intensity I can hear way more than words alone can tell.  I hear feeling, emotion.  With teens a lot of their LIFE is about emotions and if I want a good relationship with them I must understand this.  I must be more concerned about understanding their feelings than dealing with issues or solving problems and I can achieve this best through listening intently.  I must also be aware of what my tone, eyes, and posture are saying to them.

The second area of importance in communication which improves relationships is showing unconditional love, the heart connection.  In  “For Parents Only’ kids felt secure and safe to share with their parents when they felt they would be loved no matter how much they messed up.  They expected to be disciplined and were fine with that as long as they knew they were important, their relationship was important.  Isn’t that true for us all? We want to know someone is always in our corner, have a safe zone.  What I learned here was the importance of choosing words carefully, which to say and whether to say at all, at least at that moment.  In the past I have usually said to much, however I am learning (even without duct tape).  Sometimes a hug with a ‘we will talk more later’ allows emotions to settle and reassurance of the value of the relationship to increase.  Parents keeping their voice calm helps the teen regain control and feel safer.

These are just two areas of improving communication that have helped immensely in many relationships in my life.  The books I referenced are available through the LIFE company and I am grateful the founders have taken the time to find such helpful information. I know many lives have been changed for the positive.  In closing,  I encourage everyone who wants to improve relationships this new year to pick up these books and put what you learn into action.  You will be pleased with the results.

God Bless,  Renee

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Living on Purpose is the Path to Peace

Recently I  had the privilege of meeting with a small group of people, watch a short video on purpose and then discuss purpose directed questions.  IT WAS AMAZING!   All knew the importance of purpose however there seemed to be confusion or maybe frustration on how to figure out your purpose.  Orrin Woodward in his book “Resolved:  13 Resolutions for LIFE” has the first chapter on purpose because if its importance in our lives.  Purpose is the foundation upon which we build our life.  It is what gives our lives meaning.  We need to ask ourselves why we were created, why we are here on earth.  I know I was created and given resources for a reason greater than myself, to serve God.  Knowing our purpose helps us to determine our priorities, where we should be focusing our time and effort.  Most importantly, in trying to discover our purpose, is to know that it cannot be self-centered.  Our purpose is bigger than us, than our family, than our career.  It is given to us by our creator as part of his plan.  Know that your are worthy.  That great things are in store if you pursue and have faith in things bigger than us.  To be hopeful we must have meaning; and to have meaning requires living on purpose.  Living your live on purpose brings joy and peace, knowing you are doing what you are created to do.  Read the Resolved book by Orrin Woodward and maybe the Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren.  Ask yourself “What am I passionate about?”  Life is not meant to be an aimless distraction taken you from here to there and nowhere.   I am so blessed to be associated with TEAM Leadership and know it has been through this vehicle I have discovered  my purpose. I encourage to dive into good information to help you discover your purpose.  Be an example by living on purpose.  God Bless

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Orrin is right on with “Give our best”.

I read a blog article from Orrin Woodward on how we frequently tell our children to “do their best” however as parents we lower the bar on ourselves.  I believe this happens when we fail to be passionate or purposeful in our lives or have given up the hope that we can feel different or achieve more.  I know there have been times when I have coasted through my job duties, my learning and in my relationships, definitely not “doing my best”.  It makes me sad to realize how much further ahead certain areas in my life would be, faith, family, following, my understanding of freedom, friendships, had I put more effort, more deliberate focus on these areas.  What I have learned through my LIFE subscriptions and now the Mental Fitness Challenge, just digging in the first Resolution:  Discover your God-given purpose, is it is possible to start anytime.  Now is a great time to figure out our purpose and be passionate about it, to push ourselves to “do our best” and to experience how good it feels to have challenged ourselves to grow, to become what we are suppose to.  Finding our purpose builds hope in ourselves, hope in our future, which I believe has been missing for so many so they quit on themselves, their family and on life.  I encourage you to read Orrin’s post and think about challenging yourself in becoming purposeful with your LIFE.  Start today.  You are worth it.  God Bless  Renee

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