Recently there has been a trend in my life, where people I meet have one basic problem – they think “the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.” Whether they are affluent or not, they feel trapped in their life and look with envy at those who are successful, fulfilled and inspired in their lives.
Is there a gap for you? Between where you are and where you want to be? Is your income and personal success lacking?
The solution may not be in changing jobs, going back to school, or in winning the lottery, but simply in “seeing” with new eyes what you already have. I didn’t come from a wealthy family, don’t have a lot of post-secondary education nor have ever, or wish to, win the lottery. I saw opportunity all around me and went after it. Opportunities in business and in a supportive family that were unearned, unmerited favor; I attribute to gifts from God.
How does perspective on your side of the fence and the opportunities you have been given affect you?
A thought from the Bible on this:
Be transformed by the renewing of your mind
Most people in the world operate with a 1 to 1 approach to life. One hour work equals one-hour pay. Productivity is limited by the number of hours in a week. Productivity isn’t always focused and without a life plan priorities are often missed.
Successful entrepreneurs are not like most people. Never content to settle for a 1 to 1 relationship between efforts and results they achieve far higher levels of productivity. We all know someone whose productivity is outstanding.
The problem is if you’re already working as hard as you can, you’ve hit a limit on what you can produce. So how do they do it? How can you learn to increase your productivity?
Jesus provides the answer. In his first and most famous teaching metaphor, the Parable Of The Sower (Mathew 13:1-23) Jesus describes four different scenarios in which an investment, in this case seed, produced significantly different levels of productivity.
It’s time to get personal and share with you some of my journey to redirecting my own story. Wondering about how to make a difference? Want to redirect your journey?
In Finding Your Purpose, by Regi Campbell, an eBook on his blog Radical Mentoring there is a simple analogy; “if your life is a dollar bill, what are you spending it on?’ The average person meets over 10,000 people during their lifetime. That’s 10,000 opportunities! It’s often small things that are done that accumulate to a big difference. Don’t overlook the little things!
Young or old, we all wonder if our life is going to make a difference? We all want to find purpose in life and make our lives count for something. But how do we find out where to invest our time and our money? It’s not enough for us to do our best. We need to figure out God’s plan for our lives and THEN do our best. But where do you turn to for insight?
God through the apostle Paul provides illumination
We are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works.
Did you know as Canadians we spend 99.6% of our income on ourselves? The average donation in 2010 was $260 on the average family income of $69,860. Worse only 23% of Canadians claim a charitable donation. That means 77% claim zero. Until 11 years ago I was one of them. I’d give a $20 at church here or there. Even a $100 thinking I was generous. But until you look at your tax return you have no objective means of analyzing generosity. It’s like learning how to be rich. Learning how to be generous takes thought.
This is thin ice I’m stepping on; after all as Canadians we pride ourselves in helping around the world. But I really want you to wrestle with this for yourself. Don’t think about an image that we project and protect. Think about reality!
How are you going to make a difference.?
The Bible speaks about training in this area of our lives as the apostle Paul wrote to his apprentice Timothy:
It is required of a steward (property and money manager) that he be found faithful.
1 Corinthians 4:2
“Faithful” – What does that mean?
If you are making a presentation to 5 or 500 – you are speaking in public. You have an audience and a message. What if your fear is crippling and hinders your success? You will fail to make an emotional connection with your audience and the important message you want to share will be lost.
Studies show people fear public speaking more than death. World class presenters like Nancy Duarte used a resource before her TED talk Uncovering Common Structures Of Greatest Communicators. The book version of this resource helped me overcome my fear of public speaking. I needed some new skills for the task of building up people instead of homes.
Recently when I was asked to rewrite half my speech the night before, told I wouldn’t have the comfort of a podium to rest my notes on and hide behind – these strategies made a big difference. Understand and use this approach and you will make a big difference!
Paul who used to hate Christians, until he had an encounter with the risen Jesus provides illumination about fear.
For God has not given us a spirit of fear but of power and love and of a sound mind.
2 Timothy 1:7 NKJV
Why is making money so important? Who is good at making money? If you read the Forbes 400, the definitive list of wealth in America, you will find out whom – but if you read Thou Shall Prosper: Ten Commandments For Making Money – you will find out how! Ever wonder why so many Jewish businesses are so profitable? Did you know that Jews make up only 2% of the American population yet in any given year make up to 25% of the Forbes 400 list? Similar data for the average population reveals that the percentage of Jewish households with income greater than $75,000 is double that of non-Jews. Why?
King Solomon the richest and wisest man who ever lived said,
The crown of the wise is their wealth
If you are willing to read just one book that will add value to your understanding of making money, let it be Rabbi Daniel Lapin’s book Thou Shall Prosper: Ten Commandments For Making Money.
Wondering and wandering, I’ve done both. Why am I here? What am I here for? Where am I going? Often feeling spiritually empty, I questioned my meaning and purpose in life.
Nobel laureate economist Robert William Fogel says, “Spiritual inequality is now as great a problem as material inequality, perhaps even greater.”
Spiritual emptiness is a universal chronic disease. King Solomon, the wisest and richest man who ever lived, warned us over 3,000 years ago in the book of Ecclesiastes about the futility of life “under the sun”. However, he also told us that God has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart and our existence is beyond living “under the sun”.
Then in concluding the whole matter of life, Solomon said,
“Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter; Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.”
You can listen to a full message on meaning and purpose by Andy Stanley called Under The Sun.
Are you amazed by transformation? Most of us marvel at how things can change over time and the pace of change is increasing. If we are going to be next generation leaders then we need to learn how to embrace change and we need to create successful lasting change for ourselves and others.
Why is successful change in our families, workplace and lives so hard?
We start out with great and admirable goals and fall short – OFTEN!
90% of people who lose weight gain it back.
Only 1 in 4 people who have a heart attack, stroke change habits.
Only 8% of people who make New Years resolutions keep them.
The majority of people, 76% live paycheck to paycheck.
Habits, discipline and results all begin with motivation. It’s widely accepted as the key ingredient for both positive and negative outcomes. Think about an elite athlete or a terrorist, they each have motivation. One for good the other for evil! How to motivate people is often the deciding factor for your success. As a parent, teacher, manager or politician you need to know how to motivate others, otherwise you’ll never experience success. Theories on human behavior and what motivation really is and how it works are unfolding based on new research and science.
Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Daniel Pink answers the motivation question!
“When it comes to motivation, there’s a gap between what science knows and what business does. Our current business operating system–which is built around external, carrot-and-stick motivators–doesn’t work and often does harm. We need an upgrade. And the science shows the way. This new approach has three essential elements:
Success in business is not vague or abstract. It is measurable and absolute. What’s the process then? I’ve experienced and seen three things hold people back from starting and succeeding in business; fear, money, and lack of knowledge. We have discovered how to overcome fear and lack of money. Let’s move forward and understand the knowledge component of how to succeed in business.
Of the three obstacles, lack of knowledge is the hardest. In my own experience and in the process of coaching others, I am certain that stumbling into creative non-traditional or innovative skills is impossible. In my specialty of homebuilding, it was essential for me to gain mastery of dealing in real estate, evaluating business opportunities, managing employees and investing. So, how do you gain knowledge?