What’s Your Excuse?

Question. When something goes wrong, who or what do you blame?

Let’s be honest. We totally do this. We find “excuses“ to assign blame for our errors. We say stuff like, “sorry I’m late. Traffic was terrible.“ But the truth is, we didn’t leave in enough time, so we must develop a scapegoat to assign our blame to, in order to feel better about ourselves.

Instead of confronting the real issue(s), we hide it. We excuse it. We allow it to continue. And our excuses become our companions.

And just so you know, your excuses are like your girlfriend/boyfriend that none of your friends like. But they don’t tell you that, because they know you can’t handle that. 😁

In light of this, wouldn’t you agree that it’s best to say bye to your excuses? Wouldn’t it be better to ditch those things that hold you back from being better? Of course it would! So why do we make excuses?

The same reason sinners don’t want to repent. No one likes to be wrong. In fact, scripture weighs in with this wisdom:

Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, but the LORD weighs the heart.

Proverbs 21:2 ESV

But the counterintuitive truth is you can’t be right, until you are wrong. You have to identify and acknowledge the problem. I love this quote.

You can’t change until you change.

Grant Cardone

Do you get it? Sounds silly, but it’s true. You can’t change a single thing until you make a change, or actually acknowledge you need a change. Otherwise, you’ll stay the same, keep your excuses, and keep getting the same results, over and over again.

So what do you say!? Let’s work on ditching those excuses and start being better. Let’s commit to being responsible and watch our lives completely shift in the direction of our dreams and goals.

And if you won’t do this, I’ve got to ask the question: “What’s your excuse?” 😀

Change of Plans

If you’ve ever had a set back, or been frustrated by unexpected events, keep reading. Because I’ve been where you are. You’ve had a change of plans.

You’ve had your heart set on a particular goal or reality. But something happened, and has caused you to lose hope in ever ”arriving.”

So let me tell you this. A change of plans is not a change in destiny.

Your course of action may have been altered, but you’re end goal is still the same. And it’s reachable!

I love the following quote.

“We make plans, and God laughs.”

Unknown

We live by an omnipotence fallacy, where we think by knowing enough, we can assume full control. The truth is, you can never know enough to make plans against the unknown.

So instead of having faith in your plan, have trust in your God. And expect to get to your destination. Regardless of how you get there.

Just a little tip. Learn to embrace the change of plans. I don’t know who said this, but I live by this quote.

“Blessed are the flexible. For they shall not snap.”

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Next time you feel like you’re about to “snap,” because you had a change of plans. Remember to embrace it, be flexible, and maintain the conviction that God’s purpose for you is still intact

Don’t Complain

Life is the pursuit of purpose. Along the way are wins and losses. Great joys and heartaches.

No matter what. Don’t complain. Even if you have “the right” to complain. Don’t do it.

The moment I complain about what I have and don’t have, I’m positioning myself outside of the realm of faith and responsibility.

I have what I have for a reason. I don’t have what I don’t have for a reason.

Rather than complain. Trust God. Be grateful. Dare to dream bigger. Pray for understanding. Pursue excellence. Expect good things to happen.

But above all, don’t complain.

Encourage or Criticism?

How do you feel when someone encourages you? How about criticism? If your most people, you love encouragement, but distain criticism. So why are we so quick to give what we can’t stand?

Disclaimer

Helpful, well intended criticism is necessary, and should even be welcomed. However, when receiving criticism, it’s important to consider its validity and its source.

Back to the topic at hand

It’s of my opinion that judgement is toxic to the one that judges and all those that listen to it. Again, we’re NOT talking about discernment. This is in regard to the act of assaulting one’s actions and motives with negative assumptions.

So why do we judge?

Here’s a few reasons to consider. Though, you may “judge” me on these. 😝

  1. Envy (you judge what u wish u we’re/had)
  2. Denial (it’s easy to judge others, than yourself)
  3. Bitterness (having blind anger/hate for some one or thing)

What’s the better alternative?

Rather than find and pass judgement. Look for reasons to complement and encourage. Tell someone what you wish to hear.

Anyone can tear down a person with their critiques. But only a person of grace can truly comprehend and execute sound encouragement.

Love this verse

“Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.”

Ephesians 4:29 ESV

So what’s it going to be? Encourage or Criticize? Make that choice with the next person you encounter today! 😉

Play Your Game

In basketball, a quick way to get beat is to “play the other team’s game.” Or to let your opponent determine the pace. To allow them to establish dominance on the court.

I was reminded of this example while reflecting on the value of knowing your “purpose.” We all have unique gifts, personalities, desire, inclinations, etc., that come together in a powerful “calling” for a specific “purpose.”

Here’s the point.

Stop worrying about others and trying to replicate their calling(s). Rather, fully embrace and work on our own.

God has a distinct purpose and calling for you. Do yourself a favor and start working on it and in it. That’s where passion and certainty come from. “Playing your game.”

Forget about what others are doing. Their wins are not your wins. And their losses are not yours. They have no reflection on who and what you are suppose to be. You are merely in process towards your “perfection.”

Conclusion.

Fulfill your destiny. Simply do you. After all. There’s only one “you” for a reason. 😉

The 1% Rule

Personal development is a passion of mine. It may actually be my only true hobby. 

Weird, right!? But it’s true. I’m a personal growth junkie. I absolutely love consuming content that it helps me meet my potential.

I’ve recently been reviewing “Atomic Habits,” by James Clear. It’s a super helpful book on how to leverage habit building/breaking to create desired change in life. From overcoming addictions, to losing weight, and/achieving a goal.

A fascinating rule he came across was “The Rule of 1%.” The idea of making small consistent incremental progressions. Over time, these seemingly insignificant improvements compound on one another to yield extraordinary results.

For example:

If you were committed to improving one area of your life, everyday for a year, you would experience compounding results and see a significant 33% increase! Amazing, right!?

So it begs to ask the question. What small change/improvement can I make everyday to begin to achieve a desire outcome?

For me, this is defined as a target. I have multiple targets that are designed to help me towards progressing towards a desire achievement and or goal. As I complete these targets consistently, they begin to compound and produce greater results.

This could be for fitness, intellect, spiritual formation, finances, relationships, etc.

So here’s a personal example of some targets I have, designed to help me achieved some desired goals/behaviors.

  • Beat the sun up (4am)
  • Complete elevate training
  • Read 1 chapter of Bible
  • Read 1 chapter of a Book
  • Run 1 mile
  • Drink 2 jugs of water
  • Post a WP Thought

The purpose of these targets are to lead me towards achieving desired goals or behaviors. I want to be smart, healthy, well read, an affect communicator, etc. And these targets are what lead me to forms and grow in these areas.

So what are your targets? What small incremental changes could you do to set the pace for compounding results?

Health, Wealth, Relationships, and Time

Every person has distinct areas, or categories, in which they plan, structure, and/or organize their life around.

Whether it’s an achievement goal, or a responsibility to manage, My theory is it will, in essence, be in the one of these four areas:

  1. Health
  2. Wealth
  3. Relationships
  4. Time

In fact, your life can be formulated, as follows:

L = H x W x R x T

Life Theory Formula

Health

Health is defined as: “the state of being free from illness or injury.” In fact, it has its origins in the idea of being “whole.”

I think we all would agree that health is a desired state of being. But what about the entire you? What about the invisible you? The spiritual you? How about your intellect? I believe these are important aspects of health to be improved.

My focus on health is becoming a complete person. The person who God has purposed me to become. Experiencing my full potential, through His grace.

To do that, I look at health in four specific areas:

  1. Physical Health
  2. Emotional Health
  3. Mental Health
  4. Spiritual Health

To clarify, this is not merely another self help model; it’s actually a model for worship. Dedicating one’s entire self to to service and and glory of God. Let me explain.

Jesus, addressing the question of eternal life, quotes what’s known as the Shema.

“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind…”

Luke 10:27a ESV

Why is this important? Because God want ALL of me to love Him. So I look at my entire, whole self, and optimize it for God’s glory; not mine. This is key!

PHYSICAL HEALTH

This is concerning my body’s health. Am I eating good things? Am I exercising daily? Do I have healthy hygiene practices?

EMOTIONAL HEALTH

This is concerning my mood, or attitude. Am I in control of my feelings, or do they control me? Am I optimistic? Am I grateful? Do I forgive well?

MENTAL HEALTH

This is concerning my ability to think and understand. Am I able to think critically and cogently? Am I learning something new everyday? Can I process ideas quickly and creatively?

SPIRITUAL HEALTH

This is who I actually am. I am a spirit who possess a soul and occupies a body. It’s my Spirit that is in desperate need of regeneration by the Holy Spirit, in order to serve God.

That said, am I demonstrating reborn characteristics? Am I seeking Jesus’ will? Am I connected in prayer and fasting? Am I a servant? Am I feeding from God’s Word?

Wealth

Wealth is defined as “an abundance of valuable possessions or money; well-being; prosperity.” Interesting enough, it finds its origin in well and weal, which is to mean, “what’s good, better, or best for someone/something.”

But let take poetic license and relate it to a well. A well is a constructed source of water. Water is necessary for life. A well has ability to consistently provides for the one who dug the well, and all those who have access to it. When you go to a well, you have an expectation of being sustained. When someone is in need of water, you can draw from the well, and sustain them.

That’s what wealth is like. Its a well that provides and sustains you. It’s constructed with much labor and planning. But once it’s in place, you can count on it. And many around you are blessed because of it.

Whoever brings blessing will be enriched, and one who waters will himself be watered.

Proverbs 11:25 ESV

Here are four keys principles to wealth building.

  1. Income
  2. Budgeting
  3. Investing
  4. Giving

INCOME

This is all about making money. Simple. Ethical. Necessary. How can you create enough value, that someone will exchange their money for your product/services? Have you made investments, or built business(s) that are paying you passively?

BUDGETING

This is about keeping your hard earn money. Saving. Do you account for everything you are spending? Do you spend less than you make? Are you saving that money for a purpose? Are you staying out of debt?

INVESTING

This is all about taking the money you saved, and putting it to work. Multiply. Are you someone who wants to buy/sell businesses? Stocks and bonds? Do you invest in a mutual fund? How about 401(k)? Own any real estate?

GIVING

This is all about generosity. Blessing. Are you faithful in giving your first fruits (tithes)? Do you give towards needs? To you give towards the needy? Are you a source of financial stability for charities? Do you help your family with sincere needs?

Relationships

Relationship are defined as “the way in which two or more concepts, objects, or people are connected, or the state of being connected.” Though this can be a variety of connotations, I want to focus on love. Specifically, the love of God.

Remember Jesus talking about loving God with your entire self? The verse actually has more to say.

“…and your neighbor as yourself.”

Luke 10:27b ESV

Part of loving God is loving others. Because it is love that creates and keeps connections. For instance, my wife and I are happily connected. Why? Love. Everything boils down to love.

But love is appropriate. It matches the relationship. For instance, it’s appropriate for me to kiss my wife and buy her flowers. But if I did that to a customer at work, that would not be appropriate.

Love isn’t just a feeling. But rather it is an action. On that note, love becomes an action when it is expressed. Through words, gifts, or deeds. And like anything else. If it doesn’t get scheduled; it doesn’t get done. Relationships must be managed.

Here’s my breakdown on relationships:

  1. Family
  2. Church
  3. Business
  4. Ministry

FAMILY

The most important relationship I have to to my family. Depending on your season of life, this can be different. If you’re single, its your parents, siblings, grandparents, etc. If you’re married, its your wife, children (if applicable), parents, siblings, grandparents, etc.

CHURCH

Being in The Body of Christ should be lived in the context of local church community. Unity and Witness comes from us loving and serving “one another.” Pastor Rick Warren reminds us that these are the people we will spend with in eternity. Might as well get to know them now.

BUSINESS

These are all the people you encounter on your journey to provide and build wealth. This may be partners, employers, employees, coworkers, customers, venders, etc.

We should be known for conducting business respectfully and with integrity. Keeping all our promises to the best of our ability. And treating everyone with grace and dignity.

MINISTRY

These are people you are distinctly, and perhaps uniquely ministering to. A lost soul, a new disciple, a people group, the needy, etc. These are people who are served in the Name of the Lord Jesus.

This could also include those of the other relationship categories. For instance, it may be a family member, or a coworker, or a church member that you are ministering to. The intention is leading to Christ and building up in Christ.

Time

Time is defined as “the indefinite continued progress of existence and events in the past, present, and future regarded as a whole.” It finds its origin in a word derived from “tide.”

In case you aren’t familiar, tides are

“the are the rise and fall of sea levels caused by the combined effects of the gravitational forces exerted by the Moon, and the Sun, and the rotation of the Earth.”

Wikipedia

Interesting enough, it was Day 4 of Creation that God established these “lights” to mark seasons, days, and years (Gen 1:14).

So why is this important?

“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:”

Ecclesiastes 3:1 ESV

Time is constant and it is always fleeing. It’s in rhythm and revealing of God’s divine plan. Our job is to simple be aware of time and use it to the best of our ability to serve God.

I manage time in the following ways.

  1. Daily
  2. Seasonally
  3. Quarterly
  4. Eternally

DAILY

There are 24 hours in a day. I try to live each day to its entirety. I’ve got to sleep at least 6-8 hours. That leaves be 16-18 hours to live. I mean really live.

So it’s my focus to max out every second of everyday, achieving, behaving, and managing all the God has for me to be and do.

SEASONALLY

This isn’t necessarily about solstice & equinox (spring, fall, summer, winter). Though they do play a part. I’m talking about identify your season of life and living in that season fully. Are you a child? An adult? Are you married? With kids? Empty Nesters? Grandparents? How about spiritual seasons? Are you on the mountain, or in the valley?

The point is to live appropriately in the season. Don’t try to fit things in a season that don’t belong. Be aware of your time, and be patient.

QUARTERLY

Business is measured in four 13 weeks known as quarters. They use these cycles to measure progress of their goals. What can you achieve in 13 weeks? What will you measure daily for 91 days? How will you feel about the results?

The concept here is to use Tom to force you into making progress. Any goal without a timeline is not a goal. It’s a wish. Time constraints force you to Take appropriate action towards your desired

ETERNALLY

The Bible tells us we will live somewhere for eternity. The where is determined by who/what we believe in this life. Will I trust Jesus? Will I serve Him by loving people well and sharing His Gospel with others? What purpose am I looking to fulfill?

The discipline here is to keep heavenly perspective. This life is “but a vapor” (James 4:14). No matter what happens here on earth, I must keep eternity in mind.

Goals, Targets, and Responsabilities

[metadata element=”date,author,comments,sticky,views,custom_fields” ]If you like to be organized, chances are you prefer to put everything in some type of category and order. I do this personally to gain a sense of control.

Notice the subtle, yet important distinction. It’s merely a sense of control. Not actual control. Actual control is an illusion.

Life comes at us fast and unexpectedly. And let’s face it. We can’t predict the future. We can only prepare for it.

So to be prepared, we must get organized. But how do you get organized? And when do actually become organized? Is it something to be achieved? Or is it a state of being? And can you quantify your level of organized?

Getting Organized

Now, everyone does organization a little differently. For me, I typically put everything in my life into one of three buckets. They are:

  • Goals
  • Targets
  • Responsibilities

Goals

I personally define a goal as “a desired achievement or behavior.”

Or simply, A goal is something I have not done, or I have not yet become. But it is distinctly in the direction of improvement. It’s where I plan on going in life.

TIP: to keep goals top of mind, I suggest writing your goals down everyday.

Targets

For me, targets are “strategic daily activities that leads me to my goal.”

Super important distinctions.

  1. Strategic, meaning it’s specific and well thought out to lead me to my goal
  2. Daily, meaning it’s EVERY DAY. Period.
  3. Activity, because it must be an action. No more thinking, wishing, or planning. It’s doing.

TIP: to stay committed to your targets, make a todo list of your targets every day

Responsibilities

A responsibility is “anything I am responsible for.”

I know. Sounds basic. But what may be overlooked is responsibilities are not to be achieved; they are to be managed. Regardless the level of importance.

In fact, much of life’s stresses and emergencies are caused by responsibilities that have not been properly managed.

TIP: to properly manage and organize your responsibilities, use a task management tool.

Conclusion

Organization is not an achievement. It’s a discipline. It’s not to be completed. It’s to be practiced.

Organization isn’t something to be compared. It’s something to be embraced.

For each of us, we should be organized to the degree that we experience the empowering sense of control.

But remember, your not in control. God is. So trust Him. Honors Him with your life and develop plans to do so.

 

“Commit your work to the LORD, and your plans will be established.“ (Proverbs 16:3)

 

First Things, First

The most important things I can do each day is to prioritize the first thing(s) I do each day.

@jasoncpotter

I am convinced that the way I start my day significantly impacts the quality of my day. I love the following quote:

Beat the sun up everyday

@GrantCardone

Start Out Winning

If I can get up before the sun rises (or several hours before I must), I’ve already started with an accomplishment that very few achieve regularly.

And, I set myself up to achieve the things that matter most to me. Before the world is able to make it’s demands of me.

My Ideal Morning

I’ve taken a moment to write out my ideal morning ritual. Ideal, because its what I strive for (but don’t always accomplish) and what has set the my pace for my best days.

  • Wake up early (target is 4am ⏰)
  • Start Coffee (Caffeination ☕️)
  • Feed my cat, Shadow (like he gives me a choice 🐱)
  • Chores (spot clean for the Mrs. ✨)
  • Listen to the Bible (with coffee 😎 )
  • Pray (fervently 🔥)
  • Read/Study The Bible (for devotion ❤️)
  • Running/Exercise (with praise/worship 📱)
  • Stretch (good time to rehydrate💧)
  • Protein Shake (get fit 💪)
  • Shower & Hygiene (get fresh 🚿)
  • Get Dressed (get confident 👔)
  • Commute (go to battle 🚗)

When I do this, in a timely manner, the rest of my day is 💯.

It’s Never Perfect

Does this mean I do this everyday? I wish! But unfortunately, no. I do have to account for being a finite imperfect being. 😝

But this is my target. This is what I strive for. This is what is ideal for me. This is my “First Things, First.”

What’s yours?