Purpose in the Pain

Today in my Bible reading time I ran once again across Jeremiah 29. There’s a verse in this chapter that is quoted time and time again as a promise to those in pain: “For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord. Plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.” The thing is, if you read this verse in light of the rest of chapters 28 and 29, the way it’s used in our Christian circles goes out the window. I wrote about this a while back after reading a book called Run with the Horses. God isn’t offering this promise just to console the people. He’s not telling them, “sit back and wait it out – I’ll rescue you soon.” In Jeremiah 28, a false prophet is PUT TO DEATH for offering a false hope that within a short while the nation would be rescued. Then, in Jeremiah 29, the direct context of this promise, God (through Jeremiah) directs the people to settle down in their exile, to go about life, to even pray for those who have taken them captive. Most if not all of the generation Jeremiah is writing to will likely not see their redemption, for it is many years in the future. But they can prepare their children for it. They can pass along the promise of the Lord, they can continue living lives set apart to Him in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation. They can pass along not only what God has promised to DO, but the very essense...

Letting go of what’s good to accept what’s best

Yesterday I sat down to a meeting with one our larger clients to talk about planning for the future. We talked for a while about some upcoming issues that we’ve been working on for awhile and needed to get on the calendar. I’ve recently been able to do some on-target work for this client as we’ve developed some unique solutions, and it’s been good. The guy I report to at this company is a V.P. of sorts, and wears many hats. He’s H.R. He’s I.T. He’s Operations. In other words, he’s always on the move. While necessary for the business, the computer systems seem to have become much more of a liability or necessary evil to this company instead of an investment, an asset. This led us a few months ago, as we were starting to look for new lines of business, to offer up services to allow this guy to step back from I.T. and hand us the reigns… basically, to outsource their I.T. We’re good at this. We’ve been doing it for years at our VERY biggest client that recently closed it’s doors. It’s “natural” for us, if natural means it’s something you do every day. But it’s not where we are wanting to go with the business. Should this opportunity come to fruition and we take over this role, it would require someone on site for at least 20-30 hours a week, an on-call structure that demands a large commitment from me and my staff, and, while it would be profitable and a nice amount of “guaranteed” income each month, it is not the kind of...

More Precious Than Life

I am continuing to read John Piper‘s book, Don’t Waste Your Life. Today I read a chapter entitled “Living to Prove He is More Precious than Life.” It just so happens that I’m also embarking on a portion of my “being coached” adventure that necessitates me setting a stopwatch for every 15 minutes and then categorizing what I have done for the previous quarter hour… every 15 minutes, All. Day. Long. And I have to do this for 5 days in a row. Want a way to self-examine yourself to see if you’re wasting your life? Write down what you do every 15 minutes from midnight to midnight for just one day in a row… let alone five! The feeling I’m getting right now is not one of wasting my life, but it’s also not one of using it to it’s fullest. As I look at my morning so far, it’s quite scattered, from taking care of myself and family to eating to returning emails and phone calls… it wasn’t until around 10:00 that I settled into doing one thing for more than 15 minutes. And it wasn’t until noon that I took a break to actually breathe and say, “where am I?” Don’t Waste Your Life. How many of us are happy with the true quality our lives? Not the amount of income reported on our taxes, not the strength of our bodies, and not even the amount of time spent with our family watching “quality TV.” How can we “know” that what we’re doing is worth living for, or better yet, worth DYING for? This chapter I...

Where I want to get to with my business

I spent the last 90 minutes out on my deck… first doing some reading, and then doing some pacing, talking out loud, and the occasional pullup as I talked through some real stuff. And I realized some things: 5 years from now, I don’t want to be doing what I’m doing right now. In fact, I’d rather not be doing what I’m doing right now, RIGHT NOW. But as I think this through, I believe this is a transition period, not just for the sake of income, but for the sake of transitioning my company to what I want it to be, and to do. It all seemed to start with some “I want to” and “I don’t want to” statements, such as: I want to care for my own products, not someone elses.  I don’t want to be fixing servers, repairing firewalls, or rebuilding spyware infected computers as part of my business. I want to create “core” solutions and customize them to different markets/niches, and then maintain them. Not administer them. Maintain them. Take care of the customers, and the product. I don’t want to be doing service calls, help desk calls, or “whatever you need IT” calls for products not related to the core of my business. My initial thought is, well, that’s changing most of what I do each week! YES! I spend so much time each week chasing problems and developing quick little fixes that I don’t have the time or the energy to focus on the solutions I can provide to solve the bigger problems I know about, but simply can’t develop effective solutions...

What Do You Do? (Part 1?)

One of the projects for my Sales Action Plan is to identify my business’ niche. What we are specifically here to do, and who we are specifically here to serve. I’m tired of answering the question, “What do you do” with the generic answer of “I do IT work,” or, “I do anything computer related.” While deep down I think I know my passions in the industry and what our company is uniquely positioned to do, I have never put that down into words. Now is the time. In this post, I want to do some writing to answer the question, “What do you do?” I want to describe our Ideal Customer. I want to crystallize our unique place in the land of business, IT, and solutions. What Do You Do? I’m going to start general, and move to specific. For several years, my business card has described our business’ offerings as “Data Driven Software and Web Development, Networking, and IT Support.” While that’s very true, and possibly even appropriate for a business card, it hardly answers the question I’m seeking to answer. Those may be the end products and services we provide, but I want to be able to tell someone what we have to offer them: what problems we can solve, what ideas we can transform into reality, and what efficiencies we can turn into profit. So here goes… I help organizations transform ideas into reality by harnessing the power of the information and technology to create unique solutions. Too Vague and too wordy. I want something that is more specific than ideas/reality and “unique solutions.” While...