Where I stand now – Organization

This is an area where I see a huge need for improvement, and I can tell that I’m holding out. From mapping out my “ideal week” or day to planning each day before the previous day is done, I am consistently NOT doing what I believe I should. I’m doing better in some areas, yes, but I’ve fallen short on doing what I know I must do to make my days work for me, instead of the other way around.

Mark Sturgell, my business coach, has told me several times that successful peoples PRIORITIZE THEIR SCHEDULE, as opposed to SCHEDULING THEIR PRIORITIES. (crap – or is it the other way around?) The point is that you don’t just throw something important on a calendar and that’s it; it will get done. You must know each day what’s important to get done, and THEN go about planning your day around that. That may mean some things get done first before anything else, or it may mean that the day can’t end until I finish what I set out to do.

Right now, that’s not happening as it should. I want it to, but it’s not. My schedule is so haphazard right now that it’s quite apparent that what my days look like right now is not what they looked like 3 months ago and is not what they’ll look 3 months from now. Change is definitely occurring, and I am in a better place than I was before – I at least know what IS important to do – so now we’re coming upon matters of choice, of habit development, and of true character development. Do the things I do match the person I claim to be? I want the answer to that to be YES, every time.

There are some specific things I want to work on here. Here’s a few:

  • Develop an ideal week for my work day. I say “week” instead of “day” because my schedule DOES vary day by day right now, both because of the variety of hats I wear in the business and the nature of my schedule – 3 days in town, and 2 at home office, for instance.
  • Develop a method of tracking what I do each day. I don’t feel the need to capture this detail every 15 minutes or so, but really, is that THAT hard? That’s only 30-40 times of taking note of what I’m doing during the work day, and that’s not too bad. There are other ways to keep track of it as well. The new time tracking software I’m using is a much need help in this area.
  • Develop a good contact management system that works for both existing customers and tracking sales. I need something that helps me VISUALIZE my sales funnel and the state of potential customers. Reports and sheets of paper stacked on top of each other don’t work for me.
  • Develop a method of prioritizing goals, and relating the small goals to the bigger ones that truly keep me motivated. Again – a stack of Goal Planning Sheets doesn’t work for me. I’ve thought of an outline of sorts, but don’t know how to make that work yet, because I’m not really sure of the deep motivators that are at the top of the chain.
  • Fit other areas into my “work day” rather than just time spent serving customers of the business. Bookkeeping, Sales, Business Planning, Networking, all that stuff is pretty easy. But what about exercise, motivational reading or listening, use of commuting time, etc. This stuff relates to my business life in less tangible ways, but I want a way to work it ALL into an ideal week, including the personal time I have with myself and family (although possibly not as specific here).

So those are some organizational things I want to work on. I’ve identified several and they are doable. They need to be done. They MUST be done. It’s easy to say life doesn’t depend on it, but the life I want to live DOES, which makes them worth pursuing and achieving.

Where I stand now – Ability to Crystallize Your Thinking

Just what does it mean to crystallize my thoughts? To me, the picture is of a solution that is mainly water, but you know that dissolved in that water are all sorts of minerals, some of them common, some of then valuable… but all of them, naturally, invisible. The water has claimed them, dissolved them so they are invisible to the naked eye, and unless something is done, they will remain that way indefinitely. So that’s the “process” of crystallization I guess as I see it… so how does that relate to my thought process?

To me, this ability is akin to being able to look at the world as I see it, everything in it, and pull out that information, knowledge, and wisdom that is useful to me… and then to DO something with it. It’s not enough to know that wisdom is “out there,” or that solutions are “out there.” We must get them out of the solution that is the world for us to be their master. It’s not even enough to know what’s IN the solution. For a crystal to become useful, it must be taken out of the solution.

The most obvious way I can think of to do this is to boil away the water. Maybe that’s the ONLY way… I kind of doubt it, but that’s what I see. And for me, that involves getting things WRITTEN DOWN and ORGANIZED. Whether it’s a goal planning sheet that helps me take a specific and attainable goal and break it down into steps or a blog entry that simply forces me to slow down enough to pick the words I’m going to choose, writing is what CRYSTALLIZES my thoughts.

I love to journal. I love to blog. I love to create plans for myself, and for others. Lately I’ve had the opportunity to start incorporating this into my sales process as I recap with potential customers the needs I can help them fulfill, and it has been met with great reviews. It’s actually led me to some new services I hope to offer, making my business more and more of a consultant, value-adding business than just a fire-truck business where we’re constantly dealing with the latest emergency.

At this point, writing almost has to happen for me to get a thought thoroughly developed. Whether it’s a lack of ability to keep the ideas sorted out in my head or just running too fast, I seem to have a rather verbose way of crystallizing thoughts. But then again, you don’t boil all the water out of a pot in a matter of minutes. It is a matter of temperature, pressure, and volume, I suppose.

So I’m making progress here. I’m definitely learning what works for me, and also what adds value to what I provide my customers. I’m learning a few of my weaknesses (too longwinded in words sometimes) and my strengths (ability to think on my feet, review and recap a conversation, and make a plan on paper). I’ve written more over the past several months than ever before, and it’s a joy to go back and watch my journey unfold.

Where I stand now – Attitude Development

I like this one.

My attitude is definitely under development… under construction. So many things have been identified that need to be torn down, and many things that need to be built in their place have become clear. I’ve severed some relationship ties, cut some ties that have held me back or added nothing to my life except stress and aggravation. I’ve set aside some habits and established some new ones. I’ve begun to recognize failure as not something to be feared, but to be accepted, embraced as part of the plan, and used as a powerful motivator toward success.

It’s still at an awkward stage, because much of this is theoretical for me and not all that practical. That or it’s so practical that I haven’t always made room for the flexibility that must be built in. But it’s developing.

My attitude of myself is changing much. I believe in me. I believe in my potential. I believe that I have something to offer, and that what I have to offer has value.

I believe in others, but the fact that they must reciprocate is not a necessity. There are many in my life that I can pour into but cannot expect to receive “what matters” back from them. I do need that, but I don’t need to get it from every possible source.

I understand I need to develop habits. I hope and pray that action follows attitude, but I believe that attitude will often follow action. I must put my beliefs into action to get them deep in my heart instead of just to the point where I “believe in them.” If I truly do believe in them, I’ll be able to get past feelings and into the realm where I’m willing to do that which I’m not totally comfortable with, because I know it’s right.

So yeah, this one is definitely under development and changing, and I enjoy it.

Where I Stand Now – Understanding My Needs

Understanding my needs?

Nope. Not there. Just look at one of the posts from earlier tonight. The question “what does it take to motivate me?” is all over the place. I see what I want, but I don’t see what it’s going to take to get there. I’m the kind of guy who has been comfortable only with knowing the whole plan from the beginning, and it was always nice if that plan was short, sweet, easy, and even didn’t totally depend on my “sticking with it.”

You know, now that I think about it, maybe I do understand my needs.

  • I need something / someone to motivate me.
  • I need something to get me through the “post-hump-day” that comes after you see the light but before you walk out of the dark. The part where you’re working you’re ass off, where you’re tired, where you fight the occasional day of failure or boredom or rabbit trails and feel like throwing in the towel. (this goes back to the first one, I guess)
  • I need someone(s) to believe in me. Someone(s) who’s opinion matter and who are willing to step into my life and take a risk on me.
  • I need to believe in myself.
  • I need to know these needs are being met.
  • I need to know this every day.

Affirmations have helped me much, but I don’t have many, and they aren’t written down as they should/could be. The same goes for goal planning. It works, but it’s scary to know that you’ve made a plan, and that now the only thing holding you back… is you… I want to “let the plan rule” instead of just winging it every day. I really want that.

I think a part I’m missing is that going ther with someone. Yes, my wife is there. She’s huge. She’s a bigger part than she’s ever been before. I can bounce anything off her, and even get great advice from her. But it’s not her role to walk this role with me right now. We have a family, that’s much of what takes up her life. It’s not her life’s dream to be consulting with companies, to be mentoring youth, to be doing all these things that are “my things.” She fits into many of them in her own way. So that brings me to these questions:

  • Do I need someone with the same desires and passions?
  • Do I need someone who will share my dreams and goals, or that has similar ones?
  • Do I need someone who will build into me, even if that also means I must also build into them?
  • WHO IS IT that I need?

DUH! Ugh. I hate it when these things hit me upside the head. If you go back to my tournament of wants championship round, you’ll see this “establish a mentor relationship with Steve Pierce” thing right there in big black letters. Look at this:

  • The man is full of wisdom. He is a pastor I admire.
  • He has a doctorate in leadership
  • He has experience in business ventures.
  • The guy has answered YES when I asked him to mentor me.
  • He’s offered to share business insights with me.

Start here Chet. Just do it.

You know what’s holding me back? I do. I know  exactly what it is. It involves a piece of paper, a few words, a signature, and a delivery. That will release me from the bond I’ve tied myself up with. It honestly probably doesn’t even need to be holding me back, but I’m letting it, and I’ve told myself I’m not pursuing this till I take care of this “deal” that needs to be dealt with. Ugh.

Ok fine. I’ll get it delivered this week. It’s going on the calendar for Tuesday.


Where I stand now – Leadership

Leadership. I’ve learned so much about this, both from the things I’ve been taught, the things I’ve observed in others, or the things I’ve learned by teaching others.

I taught a lesson to the youth at my church a couple months back where we watched a YouTube video called “The First Follower.” Looking back, that was one of those teaching moments that probably means much more to the teacher than the students.

I have taken leadership roles in the past for a number of reasons, sometimes because no one else will, sometimes because I felt the need to be in charge, and sometimes just because I really wanted to see a mission succeed and saw an opportunity for myself to help achieve it. More often than not, though, my attempts at “leading,” especially when it’s a position when I’m “in charge” have been met with a bit of frustration.

I’m finding more and more that I long to be that “first follower.” I long to not just find something and go achieve it, but to find a cause that not only I, but someone else, wants to achieve, and then to go do it together. Teams. Partnerships. I love that. I love not going alone.

It’s becoming central to a lot of my wants and dreams. One of the ones I remember the most was when I thought up, “to share my story with a room full of people.” That was shortly followed by, “To help someone else share their story with a room full of people.” In reality, the second one excites me more. It’s not that my story doesn’t have value, but if my story can reach a room full of people, what would it be like if my story could affect a few people who then have the courage to share their story with a room full of people… EACH!? That’s what I want. That’s how I want to lead.

In my business, that’s become clear to me as a part of my consulting work is to help companies do what they do best… better. To use technology, and even other areas I have understanding in, or have connections in, to help organizations excel. To see them succeed is to see me succeed.

Is that leadership? I guess so. Developing plans for others, developing goals for others, and listening are on this list of top strengths of mine from a survey I took awhile back. Lots of focus on others, very little on myself. Perhaps that’s why I don’t get that “much” out of what is really true success for myself. I probably should get more. But I have also learned that if I can find what makes me come alive, and go do that, I will be doing what I need to do.

I love to lead others to explore their ability to lead. Whether their “leading” is getting up front and taking a team to the championship, sharing one’s faith, or just being comfortable in one’s skin, that’s what I long to do. It applies to what I do at work, what I do with youth, what I want to do in my family, and where I really want to serve in places all around my life – church, community, school, business… it’s all over the place.

Anyways, that’s where I’m at here. Vague, yet much clearer than before. Even to the point that I’m not far from finding it as part of my purpose. Actually, I know it is. I just don’t have a nice sentance for it yet.

Where I stand now – Level of Motivation

This is a tough one. I see so much potential. I have several specific goals, both for my business/professional life and for my personal life. Some of them even cross that imaginary line and affect all of my life. A few of them I’ve put into goal planning sheets, and some others I’ve just stepped up and done because I knew they needed to just be stood up to and done. But then there’s the ones I know will take a lot of work, a lot of planning, and a good plan that could very well fail. I’m much more comfortable dreaming and even prioritizing dreams than I am turning them into actionable plans.

I want so much more right now. I see the way to get there. But I often feel I’m going at it alone. I know I have friends, I have a coach, I even have customers that will sit down and give me advice. I have a God that has plans and a future for me, and that also sets steps before to take that lead to that plan and that future. But the question that gets me still seems to be, how to I get from here to there?

Much of it is busyness. I’m still busy doing things to keep myself busy and bring in immediate income.

But beyond business, I think there’s something bigger. I think there is still fear of letting the plan be in control. Obviously not above God’s plan, but accepting the responsibility that even He wants me to step up and get from here to there. He wants me to trust him, to throw it all in, to risk much more than having to work extra hard to pay the bills.

I guess one thing I want is someone to walk this journey with. I’ve opened up much more to my wife, and even to a few friends, about ideas and plans, but that just seems to be sharing on the personal side. I don’t know if I want a partner, an investor, a what… but I want someone I can develop this plan with, someone else who has an investment. As I look at that, though… I have to ask…

Why do I feel I need that? And do I? Truly? Is that “part of the plan?”

If it is part of the plan, then I should make plans to make it happen. It could also just be fear, wanting someone else to pony up to the risk, to risk failure and success alongside of me.

So that’s where I’m at. It’s not where I want to be, but it’s further than I was. As I said at the start, this is a tough one.

Some questions I want to answer…

  • What does motivate me?
  • Who motivates me?
  • What kind of motivation lasts for me, both short term and long?
  • Can I make it a goal to find motivation that works for me?
  • Do I want to be motivated? Really?

So anyways, enough about that for now.

Today's near death experience…

On the way home with the family today when the truck next to us desides to start coming over into our lane. We’re right probably 20 feet up from his rear end, and the same from the front, so there was no where to go. So we honk at him… and he keeps on coming. Ran me all the way off the road into the median and almost into the “fence” made of massive steel cable that does the nice job of keeping cars from running headlong into oncoming traffic… or help keep an SUV smashed against the side of an oblivious semi. Still honking (and I think Erin was yelling at him?), and he keeps on coming. We’re running over trash, flying through the grass, not quite bottoming out or scraping the cables. Finally get slowed down a bit without losing control and get behind him.

Yeah, he never saw us. Didn’t have a CLUE. So I get in front of him, arm out, and wave him over to the shoulder. Get out, and go over to see what the hell the guy was trying to do. “Did you see the family of four you just about killed,” I ask him? Totally oblivious. “Yeah, right back there, about half a mile, you drove me totally off the left side of the road all the way into the grass and didn’t even slow down.” He literally starts shaking. I don’t know if he didn’t check his mirror, I don’t know if he was busy yacking on his CB or texting, but he definitely “got it.” I didn’t feel the need to yell at him, partly cause that’s not me, but also because he totally got it. Yeah, that was our closest to death experience in a while, but we’re safe, and accidents happen. He won’t go there now. Too struck by what he about did, running a car loaded with a family, a 4 month old girl, and a 4 year old boy, into the median going 70+ miles an hour.

So I got his info. And his company info. Shook his hand, told him to drive safe, and got back in the car. Had Erin get his license plate. Started talking about calling his company and just “letting them know” about the wonderful drivers they hire. And that’s when Erin reminded me, “he’ll probably lose his job.”

That’s when it hit me. I don’t need to file a complaint. I didn’t get mad there, I don’t need a sense of fulfillment by complaining (which is all it would really get ME). The guy was sincerely terrified. So instead…

…I’m going to write him a letter. Don’t kinow what about yet exactly, but something about a near death experience, and about how I’m glad I didn’t die, but I’m also confident if I did, all would be well. And that I saw that fear in his eyes, and that I forgive him. He doesn’t know me from anyone, and I may never see him again (although I did find him on Facebook). But I’ll let it go. And if he’s got stuff in his life, there’s a God who will not only forgive him, but also accept him, love him, and give him a life worth much more than we can ever earn.

I don’t have a clue what I’ll write. It probably won’t be much. Maybe I’ll just include a tract or something. But I’m going to show a little grace. Because I’ve been shown plenty.