Another Christmas….

Another Christmas……some can’t wait until it comes

Some can’t wait until it’s over

But now it is here….. Christmas Day

What does it all mean and why such a Celebration?

For Christians it means something different in a more personal and meaningful way than those who just know it as another Holiday…..a day off of work or school, or a day to give and receive gifts.

For some it is a day of joy, and others a day of drama, still others a day of sadness.

For some it’s football.

Whatever this day means to you…..could you pause and read a small note, a personal message.

This personal message from a friend of mine of years past, Freedom Kongvold, might help some find a reason to consider why all the “fuss” over Christmas, a day everyone in the world knows of, and many acknowledge as one of the most important days of all mankind, could be one of the most important days of your life.

Take a read and give some thought.

http://www.freedomkongvold.com/blog/christmas-2016

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The Pa Project – A Call to Action

Over the last 20 + years I have had the pleasure of watching a young quiet couple from a small town in Pennsylvania grow into one of the most dynamic and caring leaders I know. Their names to most people in Pennsylvania and across America may be unknown, but their touch and influence is profound. Their life and legacy is still in progress but has been extended through their offspring. They say an apple does not fall far from the tree, and in this case their “four apples” and their spouses have inspired an entire community of leaders at Life Leadership to action; and with that The Pa Project was born.

2016-05-16-23.14.21                                    Dean & Teresa Frey Family along with Deb and Myron Kile

Dean & Teresa Frey and their amazing children Zach, Lexi, Levi and Haley are impacting lives while creating family memories and a legacy to be proud of.

The Power of a Mentor, Good Books, Perseverance, and Toughening Up

Over the last 30+ years I have learned the power of several key principles that have molded my life. Most of what I have learned have come from the advice of good mentors. It’s interesting, that those mentors who had more than average success, had about the same advice. One was to be careful where you got your advice. The second was to read books, books from a variety of authors on a variety of subjects. The third, I learned not only from my mentors and the examples given in the books I read, but from first-hand experience around me; those who persevered… succeeded. And to persevere, I had to toughen up.

I heard a TED Talk by Tai Lopez that mirrored what I have learned. It’s interesting that the principles I learned are practiced by others in various fields of life who aspire to excellence.

Here are some excerpts from Mr. Lopez’s talk that you will find are consistent with the principles I have come to respect and apply.

Mentors
Did you know Albert Einstein had a mentor?
Every Thursday, he would have lunch with a mentor growing up.
Jay-Z, the rapper, he had a mentor.
Oprah Winfrey said she had two mentors.
Alexander, the Great, had Aristotle.
Bill Gates had Paul Allen.
Warren Buffet had Benjamin Graham.

Reading
The modern education system has turned people off from books.
You have to rewire your brain.
See a book like a friend. You read it over and over.
You come back. And just like friends, you pick a handful of them.
I recommend you find 150 books. There’s 130 million. You can’t read that many.
But 150 you can read over and over for the rest of your life.
There’s no rule, either, at how fast you have to read them.
The average American buys 17 books a year, Maybe reads one a month.
You should read at least one book a week, because remember, everybody wants the good life ,but not everybody’s willing to read to get it.
You must read more.

Perseverance
The media has tricked us.
They only show us the success at the end, but Bill Gates started at 12.
It wasn’t until 31 years old that he was a billionaire.
He said from age 20 to 30, he never took a day off. Not even one.
You must persevere,

Toughen Up
Guess what the media wants to do.
We see on average 2,000 ads a day.
They’re trying to sell you something.
Luxury comes at the cost of killing your hopes, your dreams, your ambitions.
Be humble. Persevere. Read more. Toughen up

Listen to the full TED Talk Published on Jan 15, 2015
Why I read a book a day (and why you should too): The Law of 33% – by Tai Lopez
This TED Talk was given at a local TEDx event, produced independently of the TED Conferences.

2014 – Let’s Consider Our Legacy…..Again

2014

In a post I did on January 2nd 2013 entitled Your Legacy I challenged us all to;

  1. Be thankful
  2. Change our input
  3. Determine our Legacy

If you haven’t been able to determine what you want that legacy to be for you, perhaps I can give you a perspective you may not have thought of, or some insight into a legacy beyond yourself. That is you know what legacy’s are really all about….what we did for others or what we did for mankind.

 In this excerpt of a recent article on the Legacy of 2013  by Oliver DeMille are some facts and thoughts on where America is headed. For you maybe this article can give you some ideas as to what you want your legacy to be.

During 2013 state governments in the United States passed over 40,000 new laws.

That’s not a typo. It’s 40,000 new laws — which means five times that many regulations when all the agencies of government write these laws into agency policies. It’s even more if you add the new federal laws.

Taken together, these signal a serious period of decline for America. We are a nation being overtaken by our biggest competitor (some would say future enemy) China, and simultaneously mired in skyrocketing levels of regulation.

Governments, federal and state, now seem determined to regulate and overregulate every facet of our lives — private and business. Many entrepreneurs, who were already reeling from reams of Obamacare regulations, are now facing more government red tape from every flank.

The free enterprise economy is literally under siege. Those who think this is exaggerated should try to open a significant new business in the United States. Most of the biggest entrepreneurs and corporations who have attempted this recently have decided to build in China or some other economy instead. The U.S. government has become generally hostile to business.

This is a strange reality for the land of the free and the home of the brave. Long considered the bastion of world freedom and economic opportunity, America is consistently less appealing to many businesses and investors.

The December 31, 2013 issue of USA Today summarized this overarching trend by saying that “aristocracy” is now “in” in America.

Aristocracy, really? That’s a bold statement. Yet it is increasingly true. The lower classes are more dependent on government, and the middle classes only survive by using debt. Only the upper class, the elites, are financially flourishing — and many of them rely on international investment that is growing in foreign economies.

Anyone relying on the U.S. economy right now is concerned. What will the escalating rollout of Obamacare bring? How many more government regulations will come in 2014, and how will this further weaken the economy?

The experts are finally taking notice of sharply rising levels of regulation, even if Washington isn’t.

For example, Francis Fukuyama called our time “The Great Unravelling” (The American Interest, Jan/Feb 2014) and Steven M. Teles called it “Kludgeocracy in America” (National Affairs, Fall 2013). We have become a Kludgeocracy indeed, with more business-killing regulation every week.

In The Discovery of Freedom, Rose Wilder Lane said that,

“Men in Government who imagine that they are controlling a planned economy must prevent economic progress—as, in the past, they have always done.”

What is her definition of a planned economy? Answer: modern France, Britain, and the United States. She quoted Henry Thomas Buckle, who wrote:

“In every quarter, and at every moment, the hand of government was felt. Duties on importation, and on exportation; bounties to raise up a losing trade, and taxes to pull down a remunerative one; this branch of industry forbidden, and that branch of industry encouraged; one article of commerce must not be grown because it was grown in the colonies, another article might be grown and bought, but not sold again, while a third article might be bought and sold, but not leave the country.

“Then, too, we find laws to regulate wages; laws to regulate prices; laws to regulate the interest of money…The ports swarmed with [government officials], whose sole business was to inspect nearly every process of domestic industry, to peer into every package, and tax every article…”

This was written about France, just before it lost its place as the world’s most powerful nation, and it was published as a warning to Britain, just before it lost it’s superpower status. This quote applies perfectly to America today.

Great nations in decline need innovation and entrepreneurialism, but instead they choose anti-innovation and anti-entrepreneurial regulation. It’s amazing how every nation repeats this well-known but addictive path of self-destruction.

As Lane Kenworthy argues in Foreign Affairs, opponents of bigger government “are fighting a losing battle.” In the near future, he says,

“More Americans will work in jobs with low pay, will lose a job more than once during their careers, and will reach retirement age with little savings.”

But this will be offset, he suggests, by more vacation days, less working hours each week, and more government programs that pay for many of these people’s needs.

Many of the experts agree — he U.S. economy isn’t going to boom anytime soon, but this will be balanced for investors by significant economic successes in Mexico, South Korea, Poland, Turkey, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Thailand, among other places.

All of this adds up to an America on the verge of what Paul Kennedy called the “fall of great powers”: overreach in international affairs that spends much of the nation’s prosperity, and simultaneously too much government regulation at home — shutting down a nation’s innovative/entrepreneurial class at the same time that the government taxes and spends more and more.

This same pattern brought down the top leader status of Spain, France, Britain and the Soviet Union. Before these, it brought down Athens, Rome, and the Ottoman Empire. Unless the United States changes course, it is following this same blueprint for decline.

When historians look back on 2013, they may well see it as the tipping point to a rapid American downturn. Partisan conflicts, government spying on its own people, drastic government spending, constantly increasing regulation, the rapid rise of China — any of these could fuel real decline. Together they may be insurmountable.

But one thing stands out: In a nation desperately in need of innovation and entrepreneurial initiative, the government is handing out innovation-blocking regulations at a breakneck pace.

The good news in all this is that entrepreneurs don’t give up easily. Tenacity is part of their DNA. The future will be determined by this race between politicians (increasing regulations) and entrepreneurs (innovation and prosperity).

Whoever wins will lead the 21st Century.

Our future as a nation, as well as our children and grandchildren’s future depend on who wins. Perhaps the role you could play in helping to develop a stronger and freer America might be your legacy. So look at the last year and determine what you will do differently this year, then look beyond this year and determine when you get to the end of your life what you want your Legacy to be. Perhaps it will be one that changes the course of history for the benefit of all freedom loving people.

Be aware of the magnitude of YOUR significance and remember;

  1. Be Thankful – YOU are alive today to play a role
  2. Change YOUR Input – educate and develop yourself
  3. Determine YOUR Legacy – only YOU can

Write Your Eulogy, Then Live the Life You Want

Here is great article shared with me from a friend and fellow fly fisherman Pete Dodds. Pete found this article by Geoff Yang a Partner of Red Point Ventures on LinkedIn. Given the fact it is graduation for so many young people starting their careers and the fact there are so many still looking to make changes in their lives do to lay offs, dead end jobs or people unsatisfied with their current career path I felt this was so appropriate to share. Mr Yang explains so well what I tell others when speaking about the LIFE community and the opportunity to pursue significance and a meaningful life.

Take the time to read and think on where you are in your current journey. Breathe and give yourself a chance tolive the life you’ve always wanted”.   

There’s always so much encouragement for graduating classes. “You are the generation.” “You will change the world.” I’m sure you are and you will, but how? How will you make a difference? I’m not going to tell you how to change the world; that’s up to you.

What I am going to give you is my advice on what will help guide you to make that difference. In my 30-year post-grad career, these are the words of wisdom that helped guide me—both personally and professionally:

Life is short. As you embark on the rest of your life, consider what you want it to be like and what you want to accomplish. Pretend for a moment that rather than graduating, starting your career, and moving on toward the rest of your life, you are at the end of it. How would people remember you, as both a person and a professional? Write your eulogy now. Think about how you want to be remembered by your family, friends, and colleagues. Let this shape you.

Do something you’d do even if you didn’t get paid to do it. If you don’t, then life will end up a chore. My dad was a chemical engineer who designed large-scale process plants. I remember seeing him get up every morning and go to work, and I don’t think he passionately loved what he did. He did it because he felt it was his responsibility. Life will be more fulfilling if you do what you love.

When I was finishing my MBA, the highest paid jobs were in investment banking and consulting. They were also the jobs with the highest prestige because they tended to attract the best and the brightest. Because of this, they were alluring for many graduates—when you have been out of the job market for a couple of years racking up student loans, working for a top-tier company with a solid paycheck made sense. I knew that neither of these routes was right for me. My choice to go a different direction ended up serving me well in the long run. I’m lucky enough to have found something I love doing. Not to say that it’s not work and it’s not tiring. It is. However, I constantly think about how lucky I am to do what I do—and get paid to do it.

It’s OK to be impatient, but don’t rush things. There’s a fine line between chasing your dreams and not being willing to lay a long-term foundation for success. When I finished graduate school, I saw a few people in my class who wanted a shortcut to success. They suffered from the “get rich quick” syndrome. Early on, they took risky bets with second-rate companies in hopes of accelerating success. With very few exceptions, that strategy did not work. Unfortunately, when they wanted to return to the mainstream, they didn’t have the foundation of success upon which to build.

Take risks with smart people. It’s fine to take calculated risks with your career, but when you do, make sure you understand the risks along with the reward. Make sure you take risks with the best people you can find. It will make all the difference in the end. If you want to start a company, recognize the risks you’re taking and do a gut check about how much you believe in what you’re doing. If you passionately believe in it, then do it with your eyes wide open and surround yourself with the smartest people you can find.

There is always next year, but at some point you start running out of next years. As you move forward in your career and in life, you’ll find yourself putting things off until next year. But there are only so many next years in your life. I’ve generally never passed off an opportunity to have a great life experience—be it travel, learning how to fly or play piano, or taking courses that weren’t directly relevant to the path I was on. The more you can do to round out your life outside of work, the more fulfilled you will feel in the end.

Don’t be one-dimensional. Life is more than your career. Life is about being a responsible, interesting person, and in my opinion, one of the greatest gifts in life is having close friends. As you move forward on your journey, you’ll find good friends are few and far between. I am fond of saying that I don’t need more friends, I just need more time to spend with the friends I already have.

Best of luck in your journey—and don’t forget: The journey is its own reward.

Your Legacy

2013

Another year has passed and we are one year older, one year wiser, and have one more year to be thankful for. Thankful you say? “This has been a bad year, this went wrong and that went wrong. Things didn’t turn out the way I had imagined. Yes I am one year older but no farther ahead than when the year started. In fact I am no farther ahead than I was 5 years ago” We’ve heard people say this or we’ve made some of these comments ourselves.

It’s a New Year and that means it’s time to begin a new beginning. I had a mentor tell me years ago, “You can’t work hard enough to overcome a negative thought process” so let’s start with changing the way we think.

Let me give you some thoughts to help guide you towards your incredible future.

First…. Be thankful you are here to read this.

Second…Let’s change our input. What we tell ourselves. Maybe we need to change who we associate with. Pick up some good books, CD’s, DVD’s that challenge your thinking to improve. Attend a seminar or find a good church. Find a mentor who will be willing to coach you and to whom you will stay accountable to.

Third…Define what the rest of your life will look like……Your Legacy

Benjamin Franklin had 3 phases of his life. He was first an Entrepreneur, then an Inventor, and finally a Statesman. I could give countless examples of people who started late in their life, who started over, who failed at first and then succeeded beyond their wildest (and their in-laws) expectations.

Don’t let another year slip by. Begin your legacy today. I want to share the importance of starting on this journey today by sharing an article from a friend of mine Kristen Seidl.

I spent some time talking with a woman who was 82 years old the other day. She was in an assisted living facility where, because of some health issues, she couldn’t take care of herself on her own anymore. Her husband had already passed away and she only had one son who never married and moved away about 13 years ago. I could tell there was an emptiness inside her as her only son calls about once a month and has only visited once since she first moved in over a year ago. I began to ask some questions about her life and some of the memories she had from when she was younger. But the responses I got were completely not what I expected. I knew this was a divine appointment.

Looking back on her life, she shared some regrets. Her first regret was not having more children. In her generation, it was not uncommon for families to be 5-10 children deep. She had mentioned that in her earlier days, prior to being married, she experienced sexual abuse which scared her to the point that she never wanted to get married or have children. She said that if it wasn’t for the stigma and pressure for women to be married back then, she might have been alone her entire life. She carried that fear with her and was never able to resolve it even after having a child. She said her second regret was not having a better relationship with her son. She knew that he was her priority but because she couldn’t erase the memories from her past, she just ‘did what she had to do’ to raise her son but that was it. As he grew up, he became more and more distant to the point where he moved out at 16 years old. Her son is now in his early 50′s and he too never got married or had children. Her last regret was that she feels like she wasted most of her life by living in the past. She told me that as a child, she wanted to be an actress and travel all over the world. She loved being in the spotlight and making people happy and said she was a very lovable young lady. After the abuse, she couldn’t imagine being in the spotlight. She gave up on all her dreams and isolated herself from the world for years. After she married, she said her relationship with her husband was cold and distant and she said if it wasn’t for her commitment to God at the alter, she would have never stayed with him. “We were basically roommates” She said.

Today, looking back she wishes she would have pursued her dream of acting. She wishes she had a better relationship with her husband and son and she wishes she could go back in time and start over and live a more purposeful life. Now she lives with the pain of regret. Upon learning all this, I feared asking her about legacy because I didn’t want to hurt or offend her, but ended up asking anyways since she seemed to be very comfortable around me. I proceeded with, “Now I know I am young but I think about this all the time. I think about my actions today as a reflection of my legacy later. I don’t know how long I will be here so I want to make sure my actions count now. Have you thought about your legacy and what type of legacy you would like to leave behind?” I may be a bit naive but again her response surprised me. She told me that practically her entire life she didn’t even think about the end of her life.  She focused so much on things in the moment that the future rarely entered her subconscious. She knew that if she thought about the future, it would guilt her into changing and pursuing something bigger. She felt safe in her mediocre lifestyle and was afraid of letting go of her past. She was trapped in her own thoughts and found peace there. But now looking back she says she thinks about legacy all the time. Although now she feels it’s too late. I tried to encourage her and offer some suggestions so that she could find peace with her regrets and still leave a positive legacy. I also asked if I could share her story with others to give hope to those struggling with an addiction, abuse, trauma, divorce, neglect or any other crisis so they could hopefully overcome those struggles and still be able to live a life of significance and not look back on their life with regrets. She was so delighted by that and I could just feel the weight of regret being lifted off her shoulders. I told her I would help her leave a legacy that will impact so many lives through her story. I will also continue to visit her and help her relive the positive memories from her past and share comments from people who have been impacted by her story.

Leave a comment and share what steps YOU will take starting this New Year on building your legacy.

Winston Churchill

There is no doubt that Winston Churchill was a leader among leaders. One of the interesting characteristics of Mr. Churchill’s rise to a World Class Leader is that he often stood alone in his understanding of the needs and convictions of his leadership.

At times you too may have to stand alone in your leadership journey. By definition a leader stands out front with the crowd behind him or her. Are you willing to stand out front and have the courage of your convictions until your leadership is recognized?

This article on Winston Churchill by Orrin Woodward a World Class Leader in his own right depicts the persistence required to lead, and the importance of not listening to the committee of others. Many times it is the only way to lead.