Tournament of Wants – Physical

Tournament of Wants – Physical

Purpose

The purpose of this exercise is to look through all the wants, desires, and dreams I have listed related to Physical Development and find out “Which one is most important to me now?” That is the ONLY question I am to consider. Not “I have to do this first” or “I’ll want this in 10 years…” “Which one is most important to me now?” That’s it. Each round will take two wants and get a winner, and then those winners will face off, and so on until there is only one thing. Let’s see where this goes.

Round 1

1.    Be able to see my abdominal muscles (8/3/10)
2.    Be satisfied with my body composition. (Physical Development)
Be satisfied with my body composition
3.    Build an obstacle course. (9/9/10)
4.    Build endurance without fatigue (Physical Development)
Build endurance without fatigue
5.    Build flexibility. (Physical Development)
6.    Climb (or ride a horse) down and back up the Grand Canyon (7/23/10)
Build flexibility
7.    Cut pop out of my life (8/3/10)
8.    Cut, rake, and bale a field of hay (8/17/10)
Cut pop out of my life
9.    Do a yearly walk/run event with my wife (8/16/10)
10.    Find a personal sport or individual achievement to accomplish. (Physical Development)
Find a personal sport or individual achievement to accomplish
11.    Get exercise with my family on a regular basis (Physical Development)
12.    Get my yard and landscaping under  control (8/18/10)
Get exercise with my family on a regular basis
13.    Hike the Appalachian Trail (7/18/10)
14.    Hit a home run at a softball game (8/7/10)
Hit a home run at a softball game
15.    Increase my weight training abilities. (Physical Development)
(BYE) Increase my weight training abilities
16.    Lose weight and gain muscle so that I am no longer categorized as obese or even overweight. (7/23/10)
17.    Move out of the obese and overweight sections of the BMI (8/16/10)
Move out of the obese and overweight sections of the BMI
18.    Participate in a team-based competitive activity that includes training and competition/goal that I can work towards. (Physical Development)
19.    Participate in an offroad triathalon (8/16/10)
Participate in a team-based competitive activity that includes training and competition and a goal that I can work towards.
20.    Plan a monthly family outing based on the weather for that time of year. (Physical Development)
21.    Plan a weekly family outing around the home for exercise. (Physical Development)
Plan a monthly family outing based on the weather for that time of year.
22.    Put on a full football uniform, including gear, and do something in it. (7/16/10)
23.    Raise a horse from a baby, including doing or helping with the initial training. (8/3/10)
Put on a full football uniform, including gear, and do something in it.
24.    Ride a bull (8/17/10)
25.    Ride in a NASCAR racecar (9/9/10)
Ride in a NASCAR racecar.
26.    Train and compete in an athletic event such as a triathalon or mountain bike race. (7/16/10)
27.    Work out 3-4 times around the house on my own or with my wife. (Physical Development)
Work out 3-4 times around the house on my own or with my wife.

So there’s round one. That was actually pretty easy. Kind of like picking out family pictures. Give me two things side by side, and I’ll give you an opinion. Let’s see how this keeps on going…

Round 2

1.    Be satisfied with my body composition
2.    Build endurance without fatigue
Build endurance without fatigue
3.    Build flexibility
4.    Cut pop out of my life
Cut pop out of my life
5.    Find a personal sport or individual achievement to accomplish
6.    Get exercise with my family on a regular basis
Get exercise with my family on a regular basis
7.    Hit a home run at a softball game
8.    (BYE) Increase my weight training abilities
Increase my weight training abilities
9.    Move out of the obese and overweight sections of the BMI
10.    Participate in a team-based competitive activity that includes training and competition and a goal that I can work towards.
Move out of the obese and overweight sections of the BMI
11.    Plan a monthly family outing based on the weather for that time of year.
12.    Put on a full football uniform, including gear, and do something in it.
Plan a monthly family outing based on the weather for that time of year.
13.    Ride in a NASCAR racecar.
14.    Work out 3-4 times around the house on my own or with my wife.
Work out 3-4 times around the house or on my own with my wife.

Wow. That was easy, too… and this is really starting to get narrowed down…

Round 3

1.    Build endurance without fatigue
2.    Cut pop out of my life
Cut pop out of my life.
3.    Get exercise with my family on a regular basis
4.    Increase my weight training abilities
Get exercise with my family on a regular basis.
5.    Move out of the obese and overweight sections of the BMI
(BYE) Move out of the obese and overweight sections of the BMI
6.    Plan a monthly family outing based on the weather for that time of year.
7.    Work out 3-4 times around the house or on my own with my wife.
Work out 3-4 times around the house or on my own with my wife.

Ok, now this is starting to get tough. It’s still easy to make a “quick decision” in each bout of statements, but it’s much hard to look at them without glancing down the other options to see what will no longer be in my list if I take this out. I’m not sure I’m satisfied with these rankings… but I think they’re accurate… at least right now.

Round 4

1.    Cut pop out of my life.
2.    Get exercise with my family on a regular basis.
Get pop out of my life
3.    (BYE) Move out of the obese and overweight sections of the BMI
4.    Work out 3-4 times around the house or on my own with my wife.
Work out 3-4 times around the house or on my own with my wife.

It’s interesting now. All four things in this round are actually pretty similar. And, believe it or not, they’re actually a bit doable. Some are results, while others are “do it right now” things. But the do it right now things I chose are not chosen just because of where they lead, but because of the way they will ADD VALUE to my daily life, right here, right now.
On to the final round!

Final Round

1.    Get pop out of my life
2.    Work out 3-4 times around the house or on my own with my wife.
Get pop out of my life.

And there we go! My #1 Physical Development Goal, the thing that is most important to me right now, is to get pop out of my life. And low and behold, I am 2 ½ weeks into the No Pop Pact with my friend, Adam Hilliard. Our goal is to cheer each other on through the end of 2011 to keep pop out of our lives. And here we go, that winds up being the most important thing to me right here and right now? Is that OK? Did it mean that I’m already doing what I should be, or did I just pick that because I was already doing it? Maybe I’m living up to my affirmation:

I am a success. I set goals that are important to me and do what is necessary to achieve them.

So, if that’s nothing else, it’s confirmation to keep walking this path. As I achieve that goal (which is very measurable, attainable, meaningful, and whatever else should be in a goal), I can clearly accomplish something important to me and move on to something else that is important to me!

My first "napkin" of new directions

I’ve spent the last several weeks doing some research over some new avenues I’d like to explore with my company. Well travelled roads that I’ve travelled with some long term clients, that I have long believed have a place in “the market.” I’ve been encouraged as I’ve done so, because not only have I heard “I think that idea would work” from every person I’ve spoken to, I’ve also seen the “buy in” in their eyes as they start dreaming along with me. Niches it could fit into. Opportunities it could create. Small changes here or there that would make a huge difference in it the value of the product we have to offer.

So today I sat down with a whiteboard and started compiling my notes. Started dreaming “on paper.” It’s both enjoyable and invigorating to see an idea beginning to develop, a plan beginning to emerge, and “the next step” beginning to make itself known.

I have much to owe to the men who have taken time over the last month to sit down with me and work through both details and big ideas of this concept. They’ve helped me see that now is the time to get moving, and that this is something that I don’t necessarily have to “perfect” before I take it to market. In fact, perfecting it in the market is going to be a huge piece of what we have to offer because it will allow our customers to have a big say in the final product, even though the core components already in place, either in code or in concept.

So what is that “next step?” I think it’s a few more days of doodling, whiteboarding, and connecting some dots to the design of the system. To start drawing out some core components and identifying places of value, based on the conversations I have had with industry insiders such as Jerry H., Bryan H., and even John H. (Funny, they all have the same last initial.) I’ve got some people interested in helping with this project, both in the design, the initial development, and possibly, even the monetary investment / funding. There is much to do, much to learn, and much to risk. But the rewards – by no means primarily simply “money” – are great. Doing what I love. Working for people and organizations that I can truly enhance. Building a future that is both exciting, flexible, and somewhat stable.

Did I mention doing what I love? Achieving things I dream about, big and small?

The sales things I’ve been learning about over the past 2-3 months are hitting home in big ways, giving me confidence that “I can do this.” While I’m sure I’m nervous, I am not afraid. Even though I may fail, I will succeed. The battle, if I can call it that, is long. But I am committed to fighting it through the end, enlisting others to fight it with me (and for me in some cases), and coming out… champions.

 

Goal setting as a way of life

One of my affirmations that I see every day is this: I am a success. I set goals that are important to me and do what is necessary to achieve them.

I am seeing more and more the value of goals. So many things that have got me “stuck” in the past could be attributed to the fact that I didn’t have a true goal in mind. I might have thought that losing some weight was a good goal, for instance, but in fact, it’s so vague and even quite meaningless to me in the long run that it has no motivational power. As I begin to find goals that are important to me, though, I see that losing 20 pounds, for instance, may be a necessary step to accomplishing something very meaningful to me. This heightens my resolve and helps me live life in light of things that are truly important to me, rather than bouncing back and forth between things that really don’t matter much to me.

I’m starting to see this affect areas all over my life. From the goal I set with a friend to cut pop out of our lives and be completely free from it by December 31 to a goal I’m considering of limiting myself to one desert a day, I’m seeing that these are both doable and meaningful. They’ll help me accomplish things I want to do. They’ll lead me down the path I want to go.

These same habits apply to much bigger things in life as well. Whether it’s setting a goal to bring in a quarter million dollars of business revenue in a year, or move my business into a new niche that we could excel in, these are much more complex situations I’m going to have to deal with. But they are achievable. They are also meaningful. And as I further develop the skills to set, plan for, and achieve these goals, I believe I will see them come to pass at a much higher frequency than before in my life (and frankly, a much higher percentage then most people I know).

I had a great coaching experience again today with Mark Sturgell. If you’re in a rut, if you see some changes that need to be made but can’t get from here to there, or can’t even get past go, why don’t you consider giving him a call? He’s been a life-changer for me when it comes to looking ahead to a bright future and beginning to see that It. Is. Possible. And it may even be what God’s wanted me to do with my life all along.

Core Values

I’ve been on a search for some core values in my life lately, and also for my business. Priorities, Goals, and Values. They all seem similar, yet also different. Goals most certainly change over time, and Priorities seem to be my interpretation of what’s most important in life. But Values? Those seem to be things that I don’t determine as important. They’re already there, it’s my job to recognize them, identify them, and then align my goals and priorities with them. But what are those values?

I have a client who has their values clearly listed on about every piece of advertising they put out, and I like that. JDH Contracting‘s values are:

  • Honesty and Integrity
  • Do What Is Right For Our Customers
  • Treat each other with Kindness, Dignity and Respect
  • Never Compromise Safety in the Workplace
  • Support our Community
  • Protect our Environment

I like that. Very much. But I need my own. That’s why I was stopped in my tracks during my Bible reading this morning from 2 Timothy 2:22 and the following verses:

Fleet from youthful passions, and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart. But reject foolish and ignorant disputes, knowing that they breed quarrels. The Lord’s slave must not quarrel, but must be gentle to everyone, able to teach, and patient, instructing his opponents with gentleness.”

These are some of Paul’s last words to his protege, his son in the faith. Pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace. There we go. Values Paul espoused and encouraged Timothy to do the same with. So if I’m looking for core values that are out there that I want to adopt as my own, why not start here? I think I will, although I’d like to adopt them to myself, and also to my business, with a little more specificity and focus that seems to “fit” me.

So here we go. My core personal values, as nice little sentence fragments:

  • Making right choices in every situation into which I am placed.
  • Believing that I am not the one ultimately in control; trusting God, and then working my tail off to what He’s called me to do.
  • Pursuing true relationships with those who build into my life, and into whose lives I have something to offer.
  • Conducting my life with integrity, honesty, openness, and compassion.

And here are some core values for my business, subject to rewording or tweaking:

  • Being up front, honest and fair with every customer or potential customer, and seeking to help them make decisions that bring true value to their organization.
  • Conducting business in a way that provides my company room to grow and be profitable, but at the same time leaves room for the unexpected, and allows us to serve some clients that simply cannot afford our services.
  • Developing long term, personal relationships with every client. Seeking win-win situations in every deal, and being willing to give and take for the benefit of the long term relationship.
  • Building trust with clients through accountability and clear communication with my clients.

So if I were to boil those down to even shorter bits, for both myself and my business, what what I wind up with? Maybe something like this.

  • Honesty and Integrity
  • Relationships and Communication
  • Trust and Fairness
  • Accountability
  • Generosity and Compassion
  • Flexibility and Reliability

Well that’s a start. Probably a start worth using, revisiting, and adjusting over time. But I’ve never done this before, and now I have. I’m proud of me. 🙂

Casting Cares and Unloading Burdens

Today I had to take Jesus serious on His offer to give me rest by casting my cares on Him and taking His yoke upon myself. I seem to be in a phase of life where I’ve got a lot of things weighing down on me over the course of a week. You know the drill, probably:

  • People I wish I could change but I can’t.
  • Circumstances I wish I could change but I can’t.
  • People I know need change in their lives but refuse to pursue it.
  • Circumstances I know need to change but my time to act has not yet come.
  • Changes in my own life I know need to happen but are hard, slow, and painful.
  • Things about my own life I wish I could change but frankly… can’t.

So that stuff builds up over time. It used to be over much longer periods of time… I’ve made a lot of progress in my life in this area, I think, but it still builds up; even if it’s just over the course of a week, a few days, or even a few crazy hours.

So today I unloaded on my Savior. I took Peter seriously when he said we should “cast all our cares on Him (Jesus), because He cares for you (me).” As I was sitting in church, I grabbed the nearest blank sheet of paper, and just started writing down names, circumstances, and stuff that came to mind that was either plain stressing me out of weighing me down. I let it kind of sit there on my lap throughout the service, adding something here, writing down a promise from God there. At the end of the service, which was not at all related to the subject of worry, I don’t think, I wadded it up, and put it in my pocket.

Two hours later it was still there. A wadded up piece of paper with my cares on it, not yet fully released from my life. Even after identifying the stuff getting me down and recognizing I couldn’t deal with it on my own, it’s still hard to let go.

I finally did. Tossed it in a trash can at Cracker Barrel.

The “stuff” isn’t all gone. The circumstances are still there. The people are too. The issues with self haven’t gone away. But they’ve once again been dealt with. I let them go. Cast them aside, reminded myself that I don’t have to carry them alone.

Peace is strange sometimes. It’s like you know the battle is still waging, and you may even take another beating, but you know you’ll live you. You will survive. You will even gain ground and conquer over time.

Another pile of rocks.

1 Peter 5:6-7: Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

Matthew 11:28-30: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

 

My Wants and Dreams

I’m sure this will be an ever changing list, but it is good to get it down. How many times in my life have I taken 3 months to write down all the things I’d like to accomplish, and then categorize them? How many times? NONE. Well, one… now.

This list is sure to be ever-changing. I’ll add things to it. I’ll probably tweak some things already on it. I’ll accomplish some of these (some already have been!), and I’ll probably write some off as “that just isn’t going to happen, and I’m ok with that.” But in the end (or is this the beginning), I know what I’d like.  Perhaps now I can develop some plans on how to get there.

So here we go… 9 pages (at this writing in Microsoft Word) of Chet Cromer’s wants and dreams.  The six categories are kind of ranked right now, but the items within them are not… Yet. This one is definately “for me,” but as I’ve shared this experience of being coached and walking this life of starting to set goals and do what I do because it relates to what is important to me, I’ve noticed some people like to hop on the bus and go with me. So here we go.

#1: Mental Development

  1. Write a book (7/18/10)
  2. Write a 1 Year Devotional Book (7/18/10)
  3. Get a Master’s Degree (7/18/10)
  4. Teach a college level class (7/18/10)
  5. Learn to remember people’s names quickly. (7/23/10)
  6. Learn a new programming language (7/26/20)
  7. Read one book a week (8/3/10)
  8. Be known as a convincing person who can get others to act on their beliefs (8/3/10)
  9. Learn how to fly an R/C airplane (8/3/10)
  10. Develop a professional and regularly updated personal blog (8/9/10)
  11. Share my story / testimony in an auditorium full of people. (8/17/10) *
  12. Become a regular contributor to a magazine (8/17/10)
  13. Get training to be a counselor / mentor. (9/9/10)
  14. Get up early every day (5:00?) to make the most of the early morning hours (9/22/10)
  15. Identify and implement a project-based method of finishing tasks that works for both personal and business areas of my life (Mental Development)
  16. Spend one hour a day, Monday – Friday, on my sales action plan or self improvement. Listen and read to self improvement books / audio at least 5-6 times a week. (Mental Development)
  17. Getting from Start to Finish: Spend 30 minutes every day reading. Develop a place to keep 2-3 books on different subjects so they are accessible to me when I have time. Block off time to read  (Mental Development)
  18. Proactive Self-Improvement: Make time each week to have an adult conversation with my wife and talk about what is important to us. (Mental Development)
  19. Intentional Reading Plan:  Learn how to set goals with my wife. (Mental Development)
  20. Quality Family Time:  Read with/to my children every day. (Mental Development)
  21. Develop Writing Skills: Create a blog or journal entry each day on something relevant to my day. (Mental Development)
  22. Develop and exercise speaking / teaching skills: Find an opportunity to teach a group on a regular basis. (Mental Development)
  23. Teach/Mentor/Train Individuals: Develop relationships with 1-2 specific men in my life, and reach out to 2-3 specific youth as well. Make a point to add something to their lives each week. (Mental Development)
  24. Retain what I’ve learned: Blog or journal a small summary from each day, before the day is gone forever.

#2: Financial / Career Development

  1. Develop a software application from the ground up and a client base for it as a large part of the business. (, 7/16/10)
  2. Help my wife open a restaurant (, 7/16/10)
  3. Leave work behind for a 2 week vacation (7/17/10) *
  4. Continue working hard, but don’t feel or be bound to a 9-5 “schedule” that dictates what I do each day. (7/17/10)
  5. Buy a working farm (7/17/10)
  6. Buy someone else a house (7/18/10)
  7. Have a real office. Not just a corner of the spare bedroom. (7/18/10)
  8. Be completely debt free (7/21/10)
  9. Define my company’s purpose and what we do in a specific, measurable statement. (7/23/10)
  10. Patent something (7/23/10)
  11. Learn a new programming language (7/26/10) *
  12. Sell a piece of software to a larger company
  13. Find an investor with an idea, and develop their product, start to finish. (7/31/10)
  14. Describe what I do in 1-2 sentences in a manner that is interesting and inspires followup. Do so in a manner that applies both to interested businesses and to individuals who just want to know what I do. (8/3/10) 
  15. Get a new customer originating from a cold call (8/3/10)
  16. Give a seminar or teach a class on communicating with clients and finding solutions WITH them, not just FOR them. (8/3/10)
  17. Develop a catchy logo for my business (8/3/10)
  18. Go back to St. John USVI with the family. Pay for some friends to go with us. (8/3/10) *
  19. Remove myself from responsibilities that are superficial to what I want to focus on and that could be better handled by someone else (8/7/10)
  20. Develop a reputation within my local area as a business where honesty, results, and solution finding are important. (8/9/10)
  21. Become influential in my area of business focus (8/9/10)
  22. Develop a professional website for my company (8/9/10)
  23. Build an organized and useful contact list (8/10/10)
  24. Provide counsel as a regular part of my day – teens, men, couples. Perhaps even as a professional “side job.” (9/9/10) *
  25. Buy a new tractor, complete with attachments (9/9/10)
  26. Buy lower level season tickets to the Indianapolis Colts (9/9/10)
  27. Find someone to invest money, time, and commitment in one of MY ideas. (9/22/10)
  28. Make it through this time of business transition and come out stronger, leaner, more profitable, and happier (9/22/10)
  29. Give away an increasing proportion of my income: Find out what percentage we are currently giving away (instead of a set $) and increase it by 1% over two months. From that point forward, treat it as a specific % of income and increase it incrementally (Financial /Career Development)
  30. Prepare for unknown long-term future: Write My Will (Financial /Career Development)
  31. Become debt free: Create an amortization schedule for my last credit card and pay it off in 2 years. (Financial /Career Development)
  32. Open my eyes to alternate careers: Find a good book about the career of Christian counseling. (Financial /Career Development)
  33. Plan ahead for business finances: Create a “dream” and “bare minimum” budget for C2IT starting from the point I’m at right now for the next 12 months. (Financial /Career Development)
  34. Build residual income: Start a NING site for home-service and fleet-based businesses with the expectation of building them a custom ticket / dispatch management solution. (Financial /Career Development)
  35. Give away an increasing proportion of my income: Read the biography of R.G. LeTourneau (Financial /Career Development)

#3: Family Life Development

  1. Help my wife open a restaurant (7/16/10)
  2. Go horseback riding for a week out west (7/16/10)
  3. Leave work behind for a 2 week vacation (7/17/10)
  4. See each of my children come to know Jesus. (7/17/10) *
  5. Participate in my children’s baptisms (7/17/10) *
  6. Buy a working farm (7/17/10) *
  7. Have a family that grows stronger with time, even after my children leave home. (7/23/10)
  8. Teach my son that he has what it takes, so that he believes it, not just because I tell him. (7/23/10)
  9. Teach my daughter that her worth is far beyond anything a person can assign to her, and that she will always be beautiful (7/23/10)
  10. Explore with my wife our pasts, fears, and dreams. Write them down, and accomplish them together (7/23/10)
  11. Develop a yearly family vacation that we do each year as a tradition, such as a camping trip. (7/23/10)
  12. Host an exchange student (7/23/10)
  13. Develop a family crest that we can hand down when our children grow (7/23/10)
  14. Self-fund my retirement plan (8/3/10)
  15. Max out my IRA contributions by the time I’m 40. (8/3/10)
  16. Pay cash for a car (8/3/10)
  17. See my wife develop confidence in herself (8/3/10)
  18. Go back to St. John USVI with the family. Pay for some friends to go with us. (8/3/10)
  19. Make my wife proud of what I do (8/7/10)
  20. Go to Hawaii (9/22/10)
  21. Cruise the Mediterannean (9/22/10)
  22. Cruise Alaska (9/22/10)
  23. Reach out to kids without a stable home environment through love and hope (Family Life Development)
  24. Develop an intentional use of time together each day so that I recognize its value (Family Life Development)
  25. Take a two week vacation to a place far, far away. (Family Life Development)
  26. Develop better methods to “leave work at work,” both during the week and on vacation. (Family Life Development)
  27. Plan our future together with my family – short and long term. (Family Life Development)
  28. Become a couple known for listening, understanding, and even giving counsel to other couples and teens. (Family Life Development)
  29. Spend more planned one-on-one time with my wife. (Family Life Development)
  30. See my children come to know (and be known by), love (and be loved by), and serve their Creator. (Family Life Development)
  31. Develop regular one-on-one activities with my children. (Family Life Development)
  32. Encourage my children to find and pursue their dreams, even at an early age. (Family Life Development)
  33. Encourage and help my wife find/rediscover/pursue her dreams, no matter how far-fetched they may seem (to her or to me) (Family Life Development)
  34. Understand my own need for personal discovery, and recotnize that each of us will have to make some journeys on our own. (Family Life Development)
  35. Turn Thursdays into a father-son day including breakfast, dropoff and pickup from preschool, and an activity after school. (Family Life Development)
  36. Establish a monthly meeting with my wife to set up our budget, our calendar, and monthly goals. (Family Life Development)
  37. Plan a week in 2011 to go somewhere new. Put in the calendar, and plan for it as a goal. (Family Life Development)
  38. Establish a monthly date night with my wife. Look ahead 2-3 months. (Family Life Development)
  39. Get out once a quarter for a personal-discovery outing (camping, long walk, etc.) (Family Life Development)

#4: Ethics and Beliefs

  1. Open an after-school coffee shop to serve teens and provide adults a place to mentor them. (, 7/16/10)
  2. Lead an event for teens “into the wild” with horses, camping, life lessons, and spiritual discovery (, 7/16/10)
  3. Lead an overseas missions trip (7/17/10)
  4. Give an ever-increasing percentage of my income to church, ministries, and charities. (7/17/10)
  5. See each of my children come to know Jesus. (7/17/10)
  6. Participate in my children’s baptisms (7/17/10)
  7. Write a 1 year devotional book (7/18/10) *
  8. Lead 100 people to know Jesus (7/17/10)
  9. Pray with 1000 people (7/19/10)
  10. Be known as a man of honesty, integrity, and confidentiality to a point that I am sought out by and approachable to others. (7/23/10)
  11. Never look at pornography again, and develop a habit of bouncing my eyes and impure thoughts (7/23/10)
  12. Develop a solution for a ministry that is core to their operation. (8/3/10)
  13. Be invited to the leadership or board of an influential ministry (8/3/10)
  14. Start a not-for-profit company to mentor and care for rural and suburban teens (8/9/10)
  15. Help someone else share THEIR story in front of an auditorium full of people (8/17/10)
  16. Provide counsel as a regular part of my day – teens, men, couples. Perhaps even as a professional “side job.” (9/9/10)
  17. Create a once or twice ayear youth outing / retreat with reflection, teambuilding, and the “big picture” story (9/9/10)
  18. Plant a church (9/9/10)
  19. Help someone else plant a church (9/9/10)
  20. Lead and serve in an area I am passionate about (Ethics and Beliefs Development)
  21. Become a youth pastor or leader in a local church. (Ethics and Beliefs Development)
  22. Start, or find and participate in, a mentoring ministry for kids at my church and in local schools. (Ethics and Beliefs Development)
  23. Become effective at developing leadership teams (Ethics and Beliefs Development)
  24. After becoming leader of a large area in a church or organization, develop a leadership team that does the work of leading… TOGETHER. (Ethics and Beliefs Development)
  25. Serve in non-spiritual areas outside of my church: Expand mentoring ministry from local church to local school. (Ethics and Beliefs Development)
  26. Develop leadership skills: Continue coaching experience past initial sales / personal life focus. (Ethics and Beliefs Development)
  27. Develop lists of core beliefs and understandings: Make a list of personal beliefs that are non-negotiable, and develop a written understanding of each. Develop into a list of personal and business values. (Ethics and Beliefs Development)
  28. Read a book on leadership of some sense each quarter. (Ethics and Beliefs Development)
  29. Let someone develop ME. (Ethics and Beliefs Development)
  30. Establish a mentor relationship with Steve Pierce and meet with him on regular basis for prayer, advice, and simple sharing. (Ethics and Beliefs Development)

#5: Social Development

  1. Be invited to play a participating role in someone else’s wedding (7/17/10)
  2. Lead 100 people to know Jesus (7/18/10) *
  3. Pray with 1000 people (7/19/10) *
  4. Maintain a strong friendship with another man throughout life, regardless of circumstances (7/23/10)
  5. Become influential in my area of community focus (8/9/10)
  6. Share my story / testimony in an auditorium full of people. (8/17/10)
  7. Help someone else share THEIR story in front of an auditorium full of people (8/17/10) *
  8. Run for public office (9/9/10)
  9. Obtain a position in public service, either through election or appointment (9/9/10)
  10. Become comfortable with incomplete thoughts (Social Development)
  11. Gain confidence in unfamiliar group social settings. (Social Development)
  12. Place myself in unfamiliar social settings. Go into the event with a good answer to the question “what do you do” and be prepared to meet new people with specific personal questions. (Social Development)
  13. Keep / Guide / Place conversations on the intended / relevant topic. (Social Development)
  14. When leading a discussion, have an outline and guide of where the discussion is going. Review the outline following the discussion and make notes on successes and areas where improvement is needed. (Social Development)
  15. Become more familiar with relevant current events: Find a relevant source for news – local and national – and review it on a regular (but not obsessive) basis. (Social Development)
  16. Become familiar with events in my clients’ industries. (Social Development)
  17. Pay attention in conversations with clients about THEIR customers, industry happenings, and set up Google Alerts for these items. Review them regularly (but not obsessively) and forward interesting information to clients. (Social Development)
  18. Develop conversational skills that incite responses.
  19. Intentionally ask questions that do not have a Yes/No  or other one-word easy-answer. For close friends, develop a question more than “how are you.”
  20. Develop my own personal response to “how are you,” that while genuine, is not as shallow as “fine.” Possibly even consider the answer to this question each morning, affirming how I am, who I am, and what I am here for.

#6: Physical Development

  1. Put on a full football uniform, including gear, and do something in it. (, 7/16/10)
  2. Train and compete in an athletic event such as a triathalon or mountain bike race. (, 7/16/10)
  3. Hike the Appalachian Trail (7/18/10)
  4. Lose weight and gain muscle so that I am no longer categorized as obese or even overweight. (7/23/10)
  5. Climb (or ride a horse) down and back up the Grand Canyon (7/23/10)
  6. Raise a horse from a baby, including doing or helping with the initial training. (8/3/10)
  7. Be able to see my abdominal muscles (8/3/10)
  8. Cut pop out of my life (8/3/10)
  9. Hit a home run at a softball game (8/7/10)
  10. Participate in an offroad triathalon (8/16/10)
  11. Do a yearly walk/run event with my wife (8/16/10)
  12. Move out of the obese and overweight sections of the BMI (8/16/10)
  13. Ride a bull (8/17/10)
  14. Cut, rake, and bale a field of hay (8/17/10)
  15. Get my yard and landscaping under  control (8/18/10)
  16. Ride in a NASCAR racecar (9/9/10)
  17. Build an obstacle course. (9/9/10)
  18. Get exercise with my family on a regular basis (Physical Development)
  19. Participate in a team-based competitive activity that includes training and competition/goal that I can work towards. (Physical Development)
  20. Build endurance without fatigue (Physical Development)
  21. Increase my weight training abilities. (Physical Development)
  22. Find a personal sport or individual achievement to accomplish. (Physical Development)
  23. Be satisfied with my body composition. (Physical Development)
  24. Build flexibility. (Physical Development)
  25. Plan a monthly family outing based on the weather for that time of year. (Physical Development)
  26. Plan a weekly family outing around the home for exercise. (Physical Development)
  27. Work out 3-4 times around the house on my own or with my wife. (Physical Development)

GPS: Discover Motivating Wants And Needs

I am currently learning about techniques and ways to listen to prospective clients and ascertain what the underlying wants and needs are that may drive them to utilize my services. Instead of “convincing” them to buy my product or service, I want them to be able to recognize how it will provide a solution to something they already know they want, even if they haven’t put it into words yet. My initial goal here is to gain an understanding of the underlying wants and needs that drove an existing client to contract with me to develop a proprietary ticketing system, which I hope to redevelop, “nichify,” and market to other on-site service companies around central Indiana and beyond.

One of the rewards for gaining this understanding will be the knowledge of what drove the company to invest several thousand dollars in two different versions of this product. Once I gain that knowledge, I can record it and use it as a reference as I speak with decision makers of similarly organized companies. I will also be able to look past the “needs” to the underlying “wants” that emotionalized the decision, making it more than just one of logic, but rather one of “we’ve GOT to have this.” I will also practice my questioning skills as I “go back in time” with 2-3 individuals I already have a good relationship with to investigate what drove them to (1) choose me, (2) choose my version of a solution to their problem, and (3) stick with it to completely redevelop it from the ground up at least once.

If I do not pursue and accomplish this goal, I will lose an important opportunity to practice my questioning skills. The men I will be speaking with know me well, and have already stated their willingness to help me in this endeavor and discovery process. Should I still have skills to develop (and I do), being able to use them on someone with the grace to allow me to mess up and start over, or miss the target a few times, is a valuable asset. I do not want to “waste” that on a prospective client that may be turned off if I don’t focus on what’s truly important. Another consequense of not accomplishing this goal is that when I DO go to discover the wants and needs of similar organizations, I will have no place to start other than my own interpretations of what I “think” they want. Speaking with someone who has already benefitted from the product will help me see both things they were looking for ahead of time, as well as benefits that it provided that they may not have thought of initially.

It is important to remind myself of the quality of my product, my discovery skills (even though they are developing), and the way I seek to provide my customers with creative, reliable, and produtivity-increasing solutions. I have developed a product that not only helped a business solve “paperwork” problems, but also increased the efficiency of both office staff and on-site-service staff dramatically. Their business would not be the same without the solution I provided. Throughout the years, I have developed a great relationship with the people at this business. I have the ability to not only provide a solution to a known problem, but to get to know those involved to the point that I can discover motives behind questions, wants behind needs, and priorities behind things seemingly urgent, necessary, and important.

What are some obstacles here? The first is quite clear… I might not set up meetings with the people I need to. There are 2 management staff (1 no longer with the company) and 2-3 on-site service staff that I would like to meet with. My solution is to set up meetings with both of the management staff, and at least 1 of the on-site service staff who has expressed an interest in helping me develop, market, and increase the value of the product for other companies. I have already contacted the management staff and set up meetings for next week. Following those meetings, and possibly even before, I will seek to set up the meeting with the on-site tech who uses the system in a much more “hands on” method.

Another obstacle is that I might fumble with questions and give up. This is one reason I am seeking to accomplish this goal with “friends,” with some people that I already know and that can give me honest answers, and also allow me to tweak my questioning skills. The literature I have also has some key questions, which I will copy down, prioritize, and take with me, ensuring to answer the questions I set out with, and adding additional questions or insights as well.

Another obstacle is that I might get lost in the details of the specific application. The originally designed product was for a specific niche of business that may not be wide open for selling to. I have a larger target in my sights, and while the application my client used it for may be relevant, it may not necessarily match the same things as other clients. Therefore, I believe that as a closing part of each of my meetings, I should prioritize the wants and needs we’ve identified and also highlight differences between the organization I’ve already served and other industries I may be pursuing.

That obstacle brings to light another: I may not know what niche to go after next. This product could fit anything from “call-before-you-dig” companies (it’s original usage) to HVAC service companies to delivery companies. I need to identify the core components of the companies I want to pursue, and then develop a list of initial companies to seek out through introductions via the client, my networking group, contacts I already have, and cold calls to businesses that I truly think could use the product.

Another obstacle I’d like to be prepared to answer in the future is how the value of the product outweighs it’s cost. One of my goals in the development of this product is to produce a sort of residual income, be it through hosting, maintenance, or a combination of the two. I also want the product to be much more than an out of the box solution that does one thing well, and has to be “hijacked” to fit specific businesses. A key component to the software I seek to develop is that it is developed on core components, which can then be customized to particular companies’ business processes. This will increase the cost to potential clients, because every piece of software will be unique. Especially, possibly, to initial customers, unless I decide to “take a hit” in hopes of making the money up later. I need to identify the value of the product I have already identified so that I can make it’s ROI quickly evident to potential customers. To do this, I can directly ask those who I work with… where has this saved you time? And how much? Where has this saved you money? And how much? What would be different if you didn’t have this product? Those types of questions will be key for me as I either bring in initial customers or seek out an investor to buy in to the idea.

I think that’s about it. I need to write all of my results down, organize them, and prioritize my findings. From that point, I can continue to develop a plan to develop and sell the product. I expect to gain an understanding of whether or not I need to have a bare-bones system designed initially to cut down on development time and cost for customers, or if a version “from the ground up” has an ROI worth selling.

One last obstacle I’d like to overcome is to not only use my own words to sell myself, my company, and my product. I will develop some followup questions for each person I meet with and ask them to write a few sentances honestly reviewing or recommending what I have provided them, from product, to service, to relationship. This will give me further details to share as success stories with potential customers.

Well, I think that’s about it. I just took that elephant and broke him down into bite size pieces that I think I can manage over the next week and a half. I am going to set out to achieve this goal within the next 2 weeks, which means Tuesday, October 19, 2010.