Monday, December 30, 2013

W = Wonder

(Our premise is this:  If plan A fails you still have twenty-five other options.)

Always be a wonderer.  Always.  If we ever lose our curiosity, we lose a huge chunk of desire to live a full and productive life.  And if we lose that, often the next step is to give up and let the parade pass one by.  

To be a wonderer is to ask questions.  Wonderers want to know the how and the “why” behind every gadget, every enterprise and every possibility.  
Always, always hold onto your inquisitive spirit.  

People who wonder find answers, make discoveries, and become doers in this world. 

And even, as is or premise, we have failed, that first place to start is to wonder why.  There are dozens of questions that follow when one chooses this approach.

What caused the failure?
What will I do next time?
To whom can I turn for help?

To wonder is to get out of our rut and find new venues to discover. 
To wonder speaks volumes about the wonderer.  He/she is intent on solutions.  A wonderer will turn into a doer once the solutions present themselves.  

The greatest question a wondering person can ask is this:  What next?

What next? 

I see a bend in the road and I must see what is around it.
I heard of a cure and now I must know more.
I’ve heard that person is an expert in my field and I must meet him/her and establish community.

There is profundity in the simple.

Wonder is the beginning of wisdom.

Wonder often leads to better.  Have you ever wondered at the stories your enterprise has to tell?  It could speak of your initial joys, frustrations, hardships and heartbreaks.  Just wonder and let your mind explore those passages as if a small child.  I wonder what you will discover.

The world is a wonder.  It is ever bursting with some new something.  We have but to open our inner eyes and see new wonders every moment at every turn.

For wonder to work properly, one has to be on the lookout for the new, the obscure, and the right-before-your-eyes vistas.  Sometimes I just wonder for the sake of wondering.  I ask the what, the how, the how come, the what if, and the why not,

When we wonder, almost anything can happen.  For the moment we break free from the bounds of earth and allow all possibilities to come forth.

Wonder as you wander!
P Michael Biggs
Offering Hope
Encouragement Inspiration
One Word at a Time

Thursday, December 26, 2013

V = View

(Our premise is this:  If plan A fails you still have twenty-five other options.)

When we consider any topic, any topic, it is amazing to me how many opinions surface on the subject.  Everyone has a viewpoint.  And so do you.

The only opinion that matters, however, is one’s own, especially in the realm of personal life goals and the march toward achieving our goals and dreams.

How we view ourselves matters more than how we are viewed from the outside looking in.  Do we hold lofty views of ourselves?  Do we see self from an accurate perspective? 

And especially, in our discussion of what to do after a failure, how do we view our life and the ashes of our dreams? 

That view is the critical one.  Can we still see images and reflections of that once worthy dream?  Can we find shards lurking in the ashes of our crash-and-burn dream? 

Perhaps a failure can serve to sharpen our focus.  Perhaps it can bring into clearer view the way things should have been.  And in the viewing and examining we just may discover corrective measures to try “next time”. 

The most important thing – THE MOST – is to never lose our vision – our view.  I love to relate this story for all that it teaches.  Let’s visit it once again. 

A few years ago I had the privilege of meeting Dr. David LaShana, former chancellor of three successful institutions of higher learning.  During our visit I had the chance to ask him about a time when he called on J.C. Penney.  I want to pass this story along to you.

While Dr. LaShana was President of Taylor University in Fort Wayne, Indiana he scheduled an appointment with J. C. Penney, the founder of the chain of stores that bear his name.  When he entered Mr. Penney’s office, he found Mr. Penney sitting behind his desk holding Dr. LaShana’s business card and moving it back and forth as if to bring it into better focus. 

Mr. Penney looked up at Dr. LaShana, cleared his throat and said, “You’ll have to forgive me.  I’m losing my vision.” 

Mr. Penney stopped abruptly, slammed his hand down on his desk and said in a raised voice, “No, that’s not right.  I’m losing my eyesight. I’ll never lose my vision!”

It is all about view – perspective. 

The overwhelming question is this one:  “What am I learning from my experience?”

P Michael Biggs
Offering Hope
Encouragement Inspiration
One Word at a Time

Monday, December 23, 2013

The Birth of Christ

In the sixth month, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, in Galilee, to a virgin engaged to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary.  

The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, favored one.  God is with you.”

Mary was troubled at his words and wondered. 

The angel said, “Do not be afraid Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son.  You are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”

“How will this be,” Mary asked, “since I am a virgin?”

The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come and overshadow you.  The holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.  For with God nothing is impossible.”

Mary answered, “Let it be done to me as you have said. For I am the Lord’s servant,”

Meanwhile, the local ruler, Caesar Augustus, issued a decree that a census be taken of the entire Roman world.  Everyone had to go to their own home town to register.
Joseph went from Nazareth to Bethlehem, the town of David.  He belonged to the line of David. He took Mary also, who was pledged to be married to him, and she was expecting a child.  While there, she gave birth to her firstborn son.  She wrapped him in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.

Now shepherds were nearby watching a flock of sheep on this night.  Suddenly the angel of God appeared to them, and the God’s glory shone around them.  They were terrified. 

The angel assured them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy for all the people.  Today in Bethlehem a Savior has been born to you; He is the Messiah, the Lord.  Look for this sign:  find a baby wrapped in strips of cloth and lying in a manger.”

Suddenly a great company of angels appeared praising God and saying,
“Glory to God in the highest heaven, and peace on earth to those on whom his favor rests.”

When the angels left, the shepherds said, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”
16So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger.

After seeing all of this the shepherds spread the word about what they had seen and heard.  All who heard it were amazed. 

But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.

Merry Christmas

P Michael Biggs
Offering Hope
At Christmas

Friday, December 20, 2013

Prayer of St Francis of Assisi

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where the is injury, pardon;
Where the is doubt, faith
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
Where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled, as to console;
To be understood, as to understand;
To be loved as to love.

For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

P Michael Biggs
Offering Hope
Encouragement Inspiration
At Christmas

Monday, December 16, 2013

One Solitary Life

With one week to go until Christmas, we will be doing a series of Christmas thoughts and resume our regular series on Friday, December 27.  Thank you and have a wonderfully Merry Christmas.

(Based on a Sermon by Dr. James Allen Francis)

He was born in an obscure village, the child of a peasant woman.  He grew up in another village.  He worked in a carpenter’s shop until he was thirty years old, and for three years he was an itinerant preacher.

He never owned a home. 
He never wrote a book. 
He never held an office. 
He never had a family. 
He never went to college. 
He never put his foot inside a big city. 
He never traveled more than two-hundred miles from his birthplace.
He never did any of the things that usually accompany greatness.
He had no credentials but himself.

While still a young man, the tide of popular opinion turned against him.  His friends ran away. 
One of them denied Him. 
He was turned over to His enemies. 
He went through the mockery of a trial. 
He was nailed upon a cross between two thieves. 
While he was dying His executioners gambled for the only piece of property He had on earth – His coat. 
When He was dead, He was laid in a borrowed grave through the pity of a friend.

Twenty centuries have come and gone, and today He is still the centerpiece of the human race.

I am far within the mark when I say this:

All the armies that have ever marched
All the navies that ever set sail
All the parliaments that ever sat in rule
All the kings that ever reigned

All put together have not affected the life of man upon this earth as powerfully as has this one solitary life.
Based on
~Dr. James Allan Francis
The Real Jesus an Other Sermons
© 1926 Judson Press

P Michael Biggs
Offering Hope
Encouragement Inspiration
One Word at a Time

Friday, December 13, 2013

U = Understand

Understanding is the entry point for living.  Knowledge, training, observing, and all other skills are of little use until we understand.  With understanding, we then act on the knowledge, training, etc.

Understanding self is at the front of this list of essential ingredients.  Self-knowledge requires that we ask some very tough questions.

Who am I?
What am I?
What is my best moment?
What is my worst moment?

Am I a leader?
Am I trustworthy?
Do I believe in myself?
Am I willing to do what it takes to succeed?

What extra knowledge do I need?
Who are my role models?
Who is my mentor?

Am I teachable?
What is my personality type?

These self-reflective questions guide us in some vital self-discovery steps.  They become the road signs along the way to keep us on track.

Perhaps we need the wise words of others to help us gain more understanding.

“Your vision will become clear only when you can look into your own heart.  Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.”
~C.G. Jung

“Find out who you are and do it on purpose.”
~Dolly Parton

“It takes courage … to endure the sharp pains of self-discovery rather than choose to take the dull pain of unconsciousness that would last the rest of our lives.”
~Marianne Williamson

“The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I can change.”
~Carl R. Rogers

“If you don’t go after what you want; you could spend your entire life settling for what you can get.”
~Mo Stegall

I shall end with this.

Plato often quoted the following phrase and attributed it to Socrates, who attributed it to “long established wisdom.”  Nevertheless, it stands as the ultimate maxim for self-understanding. 

“Know thyself.”

P Michael Biggs
Offering Hope
Encouragement Inspiration
One Word at a Time

Monday, December 9, 2013

T = Training

(Our premise is this:  If plan A fails you still have twenty-five other options.)

Training either is or it isn't.  That is such a simple statement, yet the truth is self-evident.

And if we have failed at something, in most cases the root cause lies in a deficit in training in some form or fashion.

Knowledge is easily acquired.  The bigger issue is this … do we have the will to acquire it?

It is the old adage – you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink.

The steps are these:

-In what area does one need more training?
-How deeply do we need to plunge in gaining training?  Do we need another college degree, or will a seminar work?  Can a book or two remedy the deficit? 

This topic is not one that is easily laid out in ten easy steps.  The beginning of the journey is found with acknowledging the problem.  The rest of the steps are as diverse as we individuals are diverse.

The will to learn – that is the essence of acquiring training. 

P Michael Biggs
Offering Hope
Encouragement Inspiration
One Word at a Time

Friday, December 6, 2013

S = Stamina

(Our premise is this:  If plan A fails you still have twenty-five other options.)

Stamina is our “S” word in this series.  There are some great synonyms for “Stamina”.

Staying power

We cannot avoid the “running a race” metaphor with this word. 

~Stamina means we hang in there longer and stronger than anyone else.
~Stamina means we have a dogged determination to see this thing through.
~Stamina means we have conviction and fortitude that we are right.

~Stamina means we are determined to conquer.
~Stamina means we have a strong desire to survive, thrive and win.

~Stamina means we will resist whatever ill winds blow against us. 
~Stamina means we will maintain our vigor till the end, and then we will tie a knot in it and hang on a little longer.

We love heroes with stamina, heroes who stand up one more time than their opponent.  In business, we love to see the underdog become the top dog. 

WE      LOVE      STAMINA!

So how do we develop stamina?

It begins with the dream. 
   -How much do you buy into your dream?
   -How many contingencies have you considered?
   -How much reserve capital do you have, and can you get more?

   -How much grit do you have?
   -How strong is your desire to win, to be successful, and to build your
   -To whom do you turn when you are losing your grip?
   -What and in whom do you find inspiration?

On a web site for developing stamina in health, I would like to borrow the gist of this article and apply these principles toward our business model.

1.  Eat healthy.  On what do you feed your mind? Who are your role models?
2.  If you need a lot of stamina for the long haul, you need plenty of reserve capital.  Enough said.
3. Get plenty of exercise.  How well-grounded is your idea.  Have you practiced enough, studied enough, had enough experience or can you hire the experience you will need?
4. Are you in love with your dream enough to see it through?
5. Gradually build up to your peak performance level.  I’m interpreting this to mean grow at a speed that you can handle. 
6. Involve others.  Who is on your team?  Who is your main counselor/mentor?  Can you trust them?
7. Visualize.  Picture your dream and the goal-line.  This is perhaps one of the most important aspects for all of us in our pursuits.  It’s the old adage promoted by Napoleon Hill and Earl Nightingale - We become what we think about.  

We MUST revisit our dream.  Picture the what, the how, and the end result.  After a great visualization session, it is amazing how our stamina can come back to life.
Follow this Link to How to Improve Stamina

In closing, allow me to borrow from Stephen Covey’s book The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.

Believe it or not, rest and reflection is just as important as driving hard every day.  Remember to “take time to sharpen the saw.”  Not only should we take days off, vacations and relaxation times, we also need to step back from the “in-your-face” view and gain a broader perspective.  From time to time we must go back and look at our blueprint to make sure we are building our dream according to the plan. 
P Michael Biggs
Offering Hope
Encouragement Inspiration
One Word at a Time

Monday, December 2, 2013

R = Resist

(Our premise is this:  If plan A fails you still have twenty-five other options.)

Even though the word “resist” might have a more negative connotation, it is nevertheless a great word in reframing our world after a failure. 

Resistance in weight training is actually a great thing.  With the proper resistance, you are able to break down the muscles, develop more capillaries to promote better blood flow and build strength.  It is a good thing. 

In the failed business model, there are a dozen facts that need to be resisted. 

First on our list is to resist the tendency to belittle self.  Okay, you failed.  Life is not over.  You are not even near the end.  You simply failed.  The put-downs of self, the self-depreciating comments do nothing but put one down further.  This is easy to say, more difficult to do, however, it remains true.  Here are some suggestions.

Accept your defeat.
Analyze the reasons.
Find a different route or better recipes or whatever metaphor works in your situation.
When you are ready, begin again.

Above all – above all, resist self-defeating conversations.

Second, fixing blame on things is okay.  Fixing blame on people never wins games or business success.  Perhaps “people” did let you down, made poor decisions or spent too much too soon.  Once you assess the situations, find redeeming solutions.  The watchword at this point becomes “okay, how do we fix this and what do we do to avoid this in the future?”

I’m reminded of a story I heard long ago.  There was a night watchman charged with the responsibility of guarding a valuable painting.  Unfortunately he fell asleep at his post.  The immediate reaction of the boss was to fire the man. 

The owner of the art gallery, a much wiser person, resisted this action. 

His reason? 

“Okay, so he fell asleep on the job.  After speaking to him and seeing his great remorse over this loss, there is no one more qualified to guard the rest of the paintings.  He now is our most watchful of employees.”

This ties in so nicely with a philosophy that I've been developing for some time – "Just because you failed at something does not mean you are a failure.”

Resist replacing an employee.  You may now have elevated that person into a position of becoming your best asset.  See the dynamic at play here?

“Resist” is a dicey word.  We have to figure out where the lines of resistance lie.  And that is not always easy, but it is necessary.

And now, some quotes to refine our focus.

“If you are paralyzed with fear it’s a good sign.  It shows you what you have to do.”
~Steven Presfield

“Resistance is a powerful motivator precisely because it enables us to fulfill our longing to achieve our goals while letting us boldly recognize and name the obstacles to those achievements.
~Derrick A. Bell

P Michael Biggs
Offering Hope
Encouragement Inspiration
One Word at a Time