Vision – Glimpses of the path

Back in college at Cedarville University I had this vision of my life taking the Bible to places it’s never been in ways it’s never gone before. In that glimpse, I figured it would be with a group like Wycliffe Bible Translators USA or JAARS or something like that. For years that dream lay dormant, even after I started listening and helping out at the Daily Audio Bible.

It wasn’t until last year, when the DAB began broadcasting in Arabic, that I realized I was right smack dab in the middle of all I was meant to be. I thought my dream had gone dormant, had been a tangent, or simply something I might support with my other resources. But there I was, part of an organization that’s taking the spoken word of God, anywhere in the world, to anyone that will listen…. even in ARABIC. That’s fresh ground, and I’m helping till it.

Today, I as reviewed some of the stats with Brian Hardin about how far this podcast has come in terms of terabytes, server counts, and all those other techy things, I’m reminded of how great my God is, how He loves to use my gifts and talents in a way that far surpasses what “I” would choose to do with them, and even how His sense of humor drives me to that place of knowing, without a doubt, that this journey I’m on is not a blind wandering but a trail worth following, a path laid before me, if I will only step up and follow it.

2012 Dream List

I’ve got a list of life-long dreams around here somewhere, and it’s about time I get it out and look it over again, but today I spent some time thinking through some of the things I really want to accomplish this year. The list below is preliminary and probably needs to be whittled down or refined for the 10.5 months that remain of 2012, but it’s a starting point – which, by the way, was an action step toward the goal of developing key goals to accomplish this year… STA

  1. Run an obstacle course, probably the Warrior Dash.
  2. Launch the me2u website
  3. Give myself a raise.
  4. Organize and help lead a youth retreat.
  5. Bring in someone – hire or contract – to do a good bit of our programming / coding work.
  6. Go for a whole weekend camping / horse trip.
  7. Remodel a room in our home.
  8. Hit a home run at softball, as in a home run where the ball goes over the fence.
  9. Lead someone to jesus.
  10. Take each of my kids on an overnight trip, just the 2 of us.
  11. Take my wife on a trip, just the 2 of us.
  12. Take a step towards learning becoming a counselor for families and teens.
  13. Find a training partner with similar goals (at least on the physical side, but who knows, others as well)
You know, maybe that really ISN’T that bad of a list. It covers a very broad spectrum of my life – most of the “pieces of the pie” if you can all it that, and none of them are all that “pie in the sky” dreamy, either. Drat. Now I have pie on the brain. It’s a good thing I’m settled on limiting myself to a bowl of cereal for the rest of the night.
So yeah, I’m putting this out there. If you’d like to share life with me by helping me develop these, by holding me to my goals, or even by coming along side me and achieving them together WITH me, I’d love to have you along for the ride.

 

Tournament of Wants – Family

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Tournament of Wants – Family

November 9, 2010

Purpose

The purpose of this exercise is to look through all the wants, desires, and dreams I have listed related to FAMILY 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.       Become a couple known for listening, understanding, and even giving counsel to other couples and teens. (Family Life Development)

2.       Cruise Alaska (9/22/10)

Become a couple known for listening, understanding, and even giving counsel to other couples and teens.

3.       Cruise the Mediterannean (9/22/10)

4.       Develop a family crest that we can hand down when our children grow (7/23/10)

Develop a family crest that we can hand down when our children grow

5.       Develop a yearly family vacation that we do each year as a tradition, such as a camping trip. (7/23/10)

6.       Develop an intentional use of time together each day so that I recognize its value (Family Life Development)

Develop a yearly family vacation that we do each year as a tradition, such as a camping trip.

7.       Develop regular one-on-one activities with my children. (Family Life Development)

8.       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)

Develop regular one-on-one activities with my children.

9.       Encourage my children to find and pursue their dreams, even at an early age. (Family Life Development)

10.   Establish a monthly date night with my wife. Look ahead 2-3 months. (Family Life Development)

Establish a monthly date night with my wife. Look ahead 2-3 months.

11.   Explore with my wife our pasts, fears, and dreams. Write them down, and accomplish them together (7/23/10)

12.   Get out once a quarter for a personal-discovery outing (camping, long walk, etc.) (Family Life Development)

Get out once a quarter for a personal-discovery outing

13.   Go back to St. John USVI with the family. Pay for some friends to go with us. (8/3/10)

14.   Go horseback riding for a week out west (7/16/10)

Go back to St. John USVI with the family. Pay for some friends to go with us.

15.   Go to Hawaii (9/22/10)

16.   Have a family that grows stronger with time, even after my children leave home. (7/23/10)

Go to Hawaii

17.   Help my wife open a restaurant (7/16/10)

Help my wife open a restaurant (BYE)

18.   Host an exchange student (7/23/10)

19.   Leave work behind for a 2 week vacation (7/17/10)

Leave work behind for a 2 week vacation

20.   Make my wife proud of what I do (8/7/10)

21.   Max out my IRA contributions by the time I’m 40. (8/3/10)

Max out my IRA contributions by the time I’m 40.

22.   Pay cash for a car (8/3/10)

23.   Plan a week in 2011 to go somewhere new. Put in the calendar, and plan for it as a goal. (Family Life Development)

Plan a week in 2011 to go somewhere new. Put in the calendar, and plan for it as a goal.

24.   Reach out to kids without a stable home environment through love and hope (Family Life Development)

25.   See my children come to know (and be known by), love (and be loved by), and serve their Creator. (Family Life Development)

See my children come to know (and be known by), love (and be loved by), and serve their Creator.

26.   See my wife develop confidence in herself (8/3/10)

27.   Self-fund my retirement plan (8/3/10)

See my wife develop confidence in herself

28.   Spend more planned one-on-one time with my wife. (Family Life Development)

29.   Take a two week vacation to a place far, far away. (Family Life Development)

Spend more planned one-on-one time with my wife.

30.   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)

31.   Teach my son that he has what it takes, so that he believes it, not just because I tell him. (7/23/10)

Teach my son that he has what it takes, so that he believes it, not just because I tell him.

32.   Turn Thursdays into a father-son day including breakfast, drop-off and pickup from preschool, and an activity after school. (Family Life Development)

33.   Understand my own need for personal discovery, and recognize that each of us will have to make some journeys on our own. (Family Life Development)

Understand my own need for personal discovery, and recognize that each of us will have to make some journeys on our own.

Round 2

1.       Become a couple known for listening, understanding, and even giving counsel to other couples and teens.

2.       Develop a family crest that we can hand down when our children grow

Develop a family crest that we can hand down when our children grow

3.       Develop a yearly family vacation that we do each year as a tradition, such as a camping trip.

4.       Develop regular one-on-one activities with my children.

Develop regular one-on-one activities with my children

5.       Establish a monthly date night with my wife. Look ahead 2-3 months.

6.       Get out once a quarter for a personal-discovery outing

Establish a monthly date night with my wife. Look ahead 2-3 months

7.       Go back to St. John USVI with the family. Pay for some friends to go with us.

8.       Go to Hawaii

Go back to St. John USVI with the family. Pay for some friends to go with us

9.       Help my wife open a restaurant

10.   Leave work behind for a 2 week vacation

Leave work behind for a 2 week vacation

11.   Max out my IRA contributions by the time I’m 40.

Max out my IRA contributions by the time I’m 40 (BYE)

12.   Plan a week in 2011 to go somewhere new. Put in the calendar, and plan for it as a goal.

13.   See my children come to know (and be known by), love (and be loved by), and serve their Creator.

Plan a week in 2011 to go somewhere new. Put in the calendar, and plan for it as a goal

14.   See my wife develop confidence in herself

15.   Spend more planned one-on-one time with my wife.

Spend more planned one-on-one time with my wife

16.   Teach my son that he has what it takes, so that he believes it, not just because I tell him.

17.   Understand my own need for personal discovery, and recognize that each of us will have to make some journeys on our own.

Understand my own need for personal discovery, and recognize that each of us will have to make some journeys on our own

Round 3

1.       Develop a family crest that we can hand down when our children grow

2.       Develop regular one-on-one activities with my children

Develop a family crest that we can hand down when our children grow

3.       Establish a monthly date night with my wife. Look ahead 2-3 months

4.       Go back to St. John USVI with the family. Pay for some friends to go with us

Establish a monthly date night with my wife. Look ahead 2-3 months

5.       Leave work behind for a 2 week vacation

Leave work behind for a 2 week vacation (BYE)

6.       Max out my IRA contributions by the time I’m 40

7.       Plan a week in 2011 to go somewhere new. Put in the calendar, and plan for it as a goal

Plan a week in 2011 to go somewhere new. Put in the calendar, and plan for it as a goal

8.       Spend more planned one-on-one time with my wife

9.       Understand my own need for personal discovery, and recognize that each of us will have to make some journeys on our own

Spend more planned one-on-one time with my wife

Round 4

1.       Develop a family crest that we can hand down when our children grow

2.       Establish a monthly date night with my wife. Look ahead 2-3 months

Establish a monthly date night with my wife. Look ahead 2-3 months

3.       Leave work behind for a 2 week vacation

4.       Plan a week in 2011 to go somewhere new. Put in the calendar, and plan for it as a goal

Plan a week in 2011 to go somewhere new. Put in the calendar, and plan for it as a goal

5.       Spend more planned one-on-one time with my wife

Spend more planned one-on-one time with my wife (BYE)

Round 5

6.       Establish a monthly date night with my wife. Look ahead 2-3 months

Establish a monthly date night with my wife. Look ahead 2-3 months

7.       Plan a week in 2011 to go somewhere new. Put in the calendar, and plan for it as a goal

8.       Spend more planned one-on-one time with my wife (BYE)

Plan a week in 2011 to go somewhere new. Put in the calendar, and plan for it as a goal

Final Round

1.       Establish a monthly date night with my wife. Look ahead 2-3 months

2.       Plan a week in 2011 to go somewhere new. Put in the calendar, and plan for it as a goal

Plan a week in 2011 to go somewhere new. Put in the calendar, and plan for it as a goal

It’s interesting how “quickly” these tournaments work out to show me what’s most important to me at this particular moment in time. It’s like it weeds through the forest and finds the one tree that you’re ready to climb at this moment in time.

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.

 

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)

Dream #61 – Hit A Home Run

Part of my business / life coaching experience is looking inside myself for what I really want to do. As I develop an inventory of 100+ dreams, I am searching inside myself for what motivates me. I believe that a big part of this experience is to explore the unknowns of my heart, but I also think it’s a practical search of the things that can be driving forces behind the changes I need to make, regardless of what “side” of my life it’s on.

Dream #61: Hit a home run at a softball game.

Why would something as “trivial” as that make my list? Well, apparently it’s not trivial to me, because it has been on my mind for several weeks as we wrapped up our softball season without any home runs. I wondered, should I make a Goal Planning Sheet for this? Can I simply create the motivation, identify the obstacles and solutions, and then pursue them one at a time, with the end result of hitting a home run at just the right time?

Bottom of the last inning. Game is tied. Bases loaded. 2 Outs. I step up to the plate. “This would be a nice time,” I think. … a nice time to pop out. I laugh that one off, because even now I can see that it wasn’t “pressure” that caused me to fly out. It wasn’t worrying about the home run dream. It was a pitch, a hit, and a catch. You just can’t force some of these things. You can do as much as you can to prepare for them, but in the end, the timing may not always be up to me. But that does not mean I need to give up. There’s always next year, right?

That was the message I was thinking I’d be taking into the fall. Hit the batting cage, work on flexibility… if hitting a home run is really that important, there are probably some practical steps I can do to “make it happen,” or at least prepare myself for the moment so that I’m ready…. right?

All this got me thinking… why in the world does this really even matter to me? Why does something that will take perhaps maybe 60 seconds of my life, and then be forgotten by everyone but myself, mean so much? There’s a quote by Christopher McCandless‘s journal that rings true to me:

It is important not just to be strong, but to feel strong.

That’s where this hits home. I don’t have many feats of physical strength in my life. I can point to a few. They’re nothing to write home about, but to me, they mean something. And hitting a home run was the one that made it to my dream inventory during this 2010 season of softball.

Yesterday, I. Hit. A. Home. Run.

It’s our softball tourney. The last day of the season. I don’t think I’d “given up” on my dream for this year, but it was to the point that I felt it wasn’t something to focus on – it never really was, for that matter. When I go to hit, I want just that, a good hit. But anyways, I come up to bat for the second time in the day, and smash one over the outfielder’s head. As it leaves the bat, I’m thinking, “That’s a nice double, for sure.” And then it goes over the guys head, and he’s chasing it, and my team is yelling for me to keep going, and as I round third headed home free and clear, it hits me… I GOT IT! Not in the way I thought it would come – practice, seeing if I had the range, playing on a shorter field… I got it by hitting a good hit. An in-the-ballpark home run. With no errors involved at that! How great is that. I not only feel strong for getting a decent hit, I got the opportunity to run all the way around the bases as fast as I could because I was going to earn this one. When you hit one out of the park, they let you go to first and then stop to keep the game moving. But I got to round the bases. I got to cross home plate at full speed.

Loved it. Loved it. Loved it.

So this one will go down on the list of fulfilled dreams and goals. Dream #61 has been achieved, and I don’t think I’ll forget it. It’s something small, yet it’s a moment in time I can go back to any time I want and say, “That was important to me. That made me feel strong. Because I was strong.” So many other parts of life are driven by something small. Some accomplishment that brings us satisfaction that we have what it takes. This is one of those moments for me. To keep dreaming. To keep looking for where those dreams might come to pass. And to keep praising God for His creativity, and his humor, in showing me that it’s not just the accomplishment of the dream that means so much, but the dreaming itself.

Productivity – Plenty of Room for Improvement!

“The journey IS the destination.”

Thank GOD that’s true.

As I venture through my coaching experience, there are areas that both excite me for the “simplicity” of what really needs to be done. There are also areas that could easily overwhelm me if I didn’t keep that quote from my friend Brian of the Daily Audio Bible in front of me on a regular basis. While life is full of deadlines, to-do lists, and hectic months of business transitions, babies, and coaching homework, it’s good to remember that this is not all just about “fixing” tomorrow. It is about realizing my potential for LIFE, both for my own fulfillment, and even more than that, what I can offer to others and glorify my Creator with.

Today I took a survey and came up with goals related to Productivity. As I ventured through this section, it pointed out many areas of my weekly habits that are quite lacking, and also pointed out WHY they are so. It’s not so much that I don’t know what I should be focusing on, it’s often that I let things get in the way that shouldn’t, or don’t make priorities “must do’s.” Instead, they become “should do’s,” and the urgent things that pop up each day somehow take precedence until the end of the day when I look back and say, “I didn’t do what I set out to do.”

So here are some thoughts from my journey through the Productivity section of my coaching experience:

DEFINITION OF PRODUCTIVITY:

Define what it means for you to personally be “productive” in your job. What is it essentially that you get paid for?

Just what is it i do to earn my keep? I definitely provide the go-to solutions for servers, databases, and software development. I also help design solutions for many other areas that my company supports. I do almost anything, and am able to turn parts of it over to others after establishing what needs to be done. But do I ever let go from the get-go of some responsibilities? Is there anything I’ve completely “relinquished” to the point that I may supervise, but not manage and head up? For instance, when it comes to support and hardware, areas I should and can delegate out, I am still on the front lines to determien what “needs to be done” and pick up / order anything we need to get it done. I do the bookkeeping. I do the sales. I find new clients and come up with new ideas and opportunities. I am the one in meetings. I know well the addage: “a man of many hats.” Is this good? Is it productive?

Wher is my greatest contributionb to C2IT Consulting? Where do I find the best return on investment for the time I spend working for the business? The more I think of it, it is in two areas: planning / growing the business and working with special technologies such as servers, database, and development. Just what does that mean? Why do I do everything (or at least initiate everything) when I specialize and provide the most value in specific areas? Sure, part of it is because I’m a 3 person (well, kinda… really just 2 at the moment) business. Are these things I need to let go? How would I do so? What steps do I need to take to do so?

So my definition of productivity… Doing what I am made to do. Doing what I am uniquely assigned with. It involves identifying those areas of my job that I should focus on and finding ways to either let go of other responsibilities, limit my involvement in them, or delegate them to those that work for and with me. As the business owner and president, I need to decide what I want to (and can) entrust to employees, what I must do myself, and what I can do in-house or farm out.

I believe productivity also involves setting asside specific times for tasks and responsibilities, especially those that are not in my realm of expertice, responsibility, or that bring value to the company. Things like bookkeeping, prospecting, and returning emails/phone calls… while these are necessary, key to growth, and even part of my day to day life, I find them often dictating my schedule and priorities each day. I cannot let them dominate or take over my days.

GOAL CATEGORIES FOR PRODUCTIVITY

After taking a survey looking at areas that I am involved in and whether or not those areas are, are not, or should be in my realm of responsibility, I came up with some categories for setting goals to grow and improve myself and the business:

  • FOCUS on areas of the business where I bring unique value to our clients and our company.
  • LIMIT my involvement and time in areas of the business that, while I am responsible for and must accomplish, do not bring as much value to the company.
  • REDUCE OR REMOVE my involvement in areas of the business that draw me from my responsibilities.
  • DEVELOP GOALS (specific, attainable, positive, etc.) for tracking what is needed to bring in an appropriate and growing client base.
  • Recognize my importance as the FACE OF THE COMPANY in sales, networking, and solution providing.
  • Compare C2IT’s offerings with local and non-local competition or comparable companies to DISCOVER VALUE AND ADJUST FOR WEAKNESSES.
  • Limit my time “at work” so that it does not dominate my personal life.

PRODUCTIVITY GOALS

CATEORY GOAL PRIORITY
Focus where I bring value Set aside a MINIMUM amount of time each day (will vary by day based on schedule / location) to work on business planning, proposal and presentation preparation, opportunity exploring, and custom development (as needed). Also examine “spec” projects and decide the amount of time to give them each week. Only go below this minimum if specific criteria is met (define that criteria). 2
Limit time spent on other responsibilities Set aside a MAXIMUM amount of time each day (varies by day) to work on regular responsibilities such as support, bookkeeping, phone calls and email, prospecting, and sales calls. Only go above this maximum if specific criteria or emergencies arise, and if they do, compensate elsewhere. 1
Reduce or Remove time spent on areas that draw me from my focus Create job descriptions for all positions, even if multiple job descriptions are held by a single person. 4
Develop goals and baselines for bringing in clients to maintain and grow company Implement the “4 point” sales system to maintain steady work on sales-related tasks, and record information so as to track information about suspects, prospects, and turning them into clients. Develop goals for revenue from new clients, how many clients / how much work is needed to meet that revenue, and determine the work necessary to attain that. 3
Increase my value as the face of the company Write a monthly newsletter to key clients, vendors, and decision makers with information about C2IT happenings, usability tips, IT happenings, specials, new opportunities, new clients, etc. 5
Compare to competition to find value and fix problems Find 3 comparable local businesses and one non-local and compare their offerings and pricing via their websites or phone calls. Local: one smaller, one similar, and one relatively bigger. See how we compare, what we offer that is unique, and where we might improve. 6
Limit time “at work” Develop an “on call” schedule and routine for handing emergencies. Work this into job descriptions. 4

FINAL THOUGHTS

My exploration of productivity shows me several things. One that really shows up is something that I think leads to some dissatisfaction with days when I work hard but “accomplish” little, or when I just can’t decide what it is I need to work on that day. I don’t fully know what I should be doing, don’t have it planned until the moment hits, and don’t see how it fits into the bigger picture… not just of “growing the business,” but meeting my personal and professional goals so that I can attain the dreams that TRULY motivate me. I need to get specific about how these goals and time spent working on them fits into those bigger pictures, and then keep that motivating information in front of me on a daily basis so as to consistently be reminded that what I am doing each moment matters.