Dream Bigger, Live Better

You are Created to do More...

Welcome to the opportunity to Create Success Today in your life. Your success is going to be different from your parents, from your friends, from your mentors. These are some ideas, thoughts, and stories to keep you moving forward, but the journey is between you and the Man Upstairs. Believe that by reaching out and reaching up, "You are able to do infinitely more than you can ask or imagine."


What makes You

What makes us the people we are to the rest of the world?  What shapes, molds, and defines us as we grow older and move through life?  Does who we are change based on who we’re interacting with, and do they change again when we’re alone?  These are challenging questions that face us every day, and daily we answer them whether we know it or not.

Compared  To Others:  We behave and make choices based on who we respect-a boss or mentor or friend.  Maybe it’s based on their material assets, their relationships with their family, or their level of influence over others.  Take note-do your actions around them carry over when they aren’t there?  Do these actions improve your attitude and help those around you?  Or do you feel drained trying to keep up with their standards and life-style?

Compared To Yourself:  We’re rarely completely free of outside influence…but try to make space to understand yourself apart from others.  Have a day (once a month?) where you are running on your own time-clock, you have no obligations, no pressure.  What activities do you gravitate towards?  What music do you listen to?  Who do you think about, and why are they on your mind?

Following someone else’s desires creates a lot of unhappiness in this world.  Trying to fit into something you’re not created for builds false relationships which eventually leads to disappointment.

This is Encouraging:  Every day is an opportunity to make New choices.  We can choose to be content with what we have rather than spending what we don’t.  We can choose to get off the couch for some fresh air and exercise.  We can choose to spend time with someone different, and use that time to encourage each other to work towards your personal dreams.


Too Safe for a Miracle?

“Many people want to see a Miracle, yet few are willing to be in the circumstances which would require one.”     When I heard this assertion, I felt it required further examination.  In order to see improbable or even impossible things happen, we must find ourselves in a situation that we can’t control.  Then, we have to be open to the help of an outside authority who is admittedly greater than ourselves.  Wait…isn’t that un-American?

Do you take risks?  I had several conversations with friends this week about their future goals.  I was surprised to hear that most of them seemed to be waiting,  “to get this figured out first, then I’ll go after that.”  Yes  prioritize and have boundaries that keep you physically and emotionally healthy.  However, is our individualistic “I must be in control” mindset holding us back from making the leap that could take us to our ultimate dream and greatest joy?

Do you avoid the unknown at all costs?  Some people find it more comfortable to slog through their daily grind of cranky boss, ungrateful family, and loads of laundry than to try something different.   What if you took a leap, and then found yourself sitting precariously rooted in trusting that each day you had made the right decision, and that the promised future was worth it?

I’ll leave you with this story that explains it better than I ever could.

A woman from Wall street visited a Texas prison, and found something unexpected.  “I saw a tremendous opportunity in these men to leverage their strength, to build them up to be leaders in their community.” She proceeded to explain how she helped these prisoners discover their “business plan.”

The obstacles were many. Her friends in New York thought she was crazy. The prison officials agreed. “These guys need help writing a letter to their mothers. How are you going to teach them to write a business plan?”  But she and her husband decided to empty their 401(k) and pour everything they had into this new cause. It wasn’t long before they were loading up the U-Haul and moving from Manhattan to Texas.

Ironically, their first night in Houston, their U-Haul was broken into and thieves made off with everything but the clothes on their back.  “At that point, I became a professional beggar on behalf of the organization.” 

This is the point in the story where most of us would have high-tailed it back to Wall Street and begged for our old job. But…

“The first week, we raised over $40,000. First year, over $230,000. Second year, $680,000. Third year, $1.7 million. This year, we’re on track to raise $3 million. That was the birth of the Prison Entrepreneurship Program.” 

Total graduates: 600
Recidivism rate: about 10%
Employment rate: 90%+ within 90 days of release
Average number of days to gain employment: 27
Average starting wage: $10.75/hour
Number of businesses started: 75
PEP network: 8,900+
MBA volunteers: 570 from 40 MBA programs

So I ask you…Do you want to see a miracle?

Confidence can Change the World

Do you consider yourself a confident person?  It may not be an easy question to answear.   Confidence can fluxuate with the seasons of our life.  It can be tied to a person, situation, what we’re doing, and how we take care of ourselves.  Where ever we happen to be on the scale of self-assurance at the moment, it is important to consider how we got there.

What kills it?  Other un-confident people!  Have you noticed the people who sometimes bring down your enthusiasm about your own life, often don’t have a lot going on in theirs?  I have found that the people who encourage me the most are those who have worked hard and are happy with where they are in life.  The people who are quick to critizize often seem to be making themselves feel better by putting us down.

Solution?  Root yourself in the truth!  Learn who you are, and where you’re going in life.  Lean into your God-given gifts and passions.  If each of us focused on loving our lives and the people in them, we could change the world.  Can you imagine all those people who were free from comparing themselves to others, not trying to live up to their parents expectaions, or chasing after what society considers acceptable?  We could accomplish so much more!  We could love so much better.

You Are Not a Stereotype

Ever feel like you are just another number? I think all of us, including myself have felt marginalized to the title of “warm body” at some point in life.  It could be at work, your boss forgets your name and it doesn’t matter if you or the guy next to you completes that project as long as it gets done.  Maybe it’s at school, at a party, or even at church-you just feel like one of the masses.  Why does our society not not know how to celebrate you?

Have you noticed that movies and sit-coms are fairly predictable?  That is because Hollywood likes to fit us into stero-types.  Why do we feel the need to watch every new reality show that comes out?  Becasue those characters are raw, unique.  Just when you think you have them figured out, they do something unpredictable.  This is YOU.  You are unique, you have traveled your own journey, and you will respond to situations in a way that is all your own.

Can you buy that? Do you believe that no one else has the same history; the same family, the same achievements, the same mistakes, the same “drama” as you?  Then you are unique!  You are an individual who has a perspective that runs a slightly different slant from everyone else you will ever meet.  However, we also have something in common with all the other unique idividuals in the world:  we all feel the same things.  The emotions may be caused by different situations, but they all wash over us the same way…Intense Joy, Throbbing Pain, Unforgettable Love, Stinging Betrayal, Explosive Pride!  Every human experiences and disires similarly, yet through different people and places that make no two experiences just alike.

What have you learned through your particular journey> How can God use that to grow you into the best version of yourself?  Will you allow this experiences to be used to benefit others?  Remember, we are all creatures of influence, and whenever we interact, we Impact.  Be inspired when people don’t get you!  That means you’re embracing the most special part of you, the you that has been shaped by your individual journey.  As you discover that part of yourself, now you get to share that with others.  Relationships become real when we allow ourselves to be known by others, and accept their story in return.

Nothing new would ever be created if we all just tried to “fit in”. Nothing memorable comes out of mediocrity.  You must live through one extreme to fully experience the other.  I thank God for the process, for the extremes, for the earth-shaking, world-changing uniqueness of your life.

Words that Hold us Back

Words have power. They are how we communicate with others, and with ourselves.

We are the only species on Earth who has a multi-layered language to translate our feelings about situations and relationships into something that others can understand,  and then respond to in kind.

“Too Late.” Regaurdless of what if references, there are few phrases that bring more saddness and dismay.  “You’re too late….they’re closed.”  How many times have we been frusterated to hear that?  “You’re too late, he’s gone.”  A missed oportunity.  It could have been a business deal, a blossoming relationship, or a random encounter but now you’ll never know.  “It’s too late, I can’t forgive…”.   Sometimes we are the ones who utter that crushing line.  We feel too much time is passed, and it’s too late for a second chance.

What are you telling yourself? Do you believe that it is too late in your life to take that step you’ve been contemplating?  How you talk to yourself is important, becasue of all the other voices in the world, the one we hear the most comes from within ourselves.  If we let ourselves believe we are too old, that too much time has passed, that we’ve gone too far down a path we don’t like...we underestimate the power which has been entrusted to us. We have the capacity to change our thoughts, by which we can change our actions.

Start now! Say to yourself, “While there is Breath, there is Hope.”  Make a phone call, send an email, find a new route towards your goal.  If someone says it’s too late, they are the one missing an opportunity-you don’t have to.  Remember, “Every moment is a chance to start over.”

Power of the Team

We’re all just one bad influence away from making a bad decision. Haven’t you found this to be true?  We can be moving along in life, our goal is in sight, we are advancing towards it with excitement, and then someone or something steps into our path and suggests a detour.  Suddenly, we’ve stepped off the road and we can no longer see that finish-line.

Why the detour? The unfortunate fact of the matter is that people don’t want you to pass them on the road to success.  If they see you flying by the spot they’re stuck in, you are making them question their lifestyle.  Maybe you make them feel insecure, or perhaps they wish they had your motivation and regret some of their own decisions.  Don’t let these people distract you!  You can do more good for others by continuing to better yourself.  Blaze the trail that will make it easier for them to follow your forward rather than trying to hold you back.

Who’s on your Team? Regardless of where you are trying to go in life, however you may be trying to improve self or situation, the people who surround you matter.  Who do you call when you’re trying to make a decision?  Who listens to your stories and understands where you are?  Who is further along the path you’re taking who can help guide and pull you along when you need it?

We are not made to travel alone. There is power in a community of people all moving towards a common goal.  Your circle of friends can range far and wide…but who in that circle is influencing you?  Choose your team with care, because you’re going to cross the finish together.

Obsessing Over What?

Is obsession ever a good thing?  To have something completely possess your thoughts at the exclusion of all else?  The knee jerk reaction is, “No!  That can’t be healthy!” 

But if we pause, and consider for just a moment the essence of obsession…and how it can perhaps be used for us, rather than us being used by it, we may have a different view after all.
Not so great: People obsess of every type of thing imaginable.  Teenage girls obsess over vampire movie-stars.  Mothers obsess over their children.  Men obsess over their new car or their golf game.  Sometimes its our work that we obsess over, or our weight.
    If we are so possessed by the idea or desire for something, that we are not able to notice or appreciate anything outside of it, this is un-healthy.  Life is broad and vast and diverse, and our experience of it should be multifaceted.
On the other hand…   Having laser focus on an idea, project, or person can lead to a tremendous payoff!  Whenever we are intentional in our pursuit of something (or someone), we get results.  How we go about the pursuit will affect what type of results we are returned.  By making our significant other feel cared about, they often return the favor.  By carefully developing a new technology and throughly testing it’s performance, we bring a successful product to market.  If we want to get in shape and change our lifestyle, we can feel healthier and have more energy to obsess over something else!

What’s at the root?  Here is what I feel we need to examine.  What is at the heart of our obsession?  Is it from a place of love, or from a place of insecurity?  This can be tricky, we may think we have great intentions, but sometimes we are just obsessing over something because we want it to fill a void in our lives.  No movie-star, pay-raise, or trophy is ever going to make us feel fulfilled the way a balanced life and healthy relationships will satisfy.
Look at your week,
and asses where you spend your time, energy and focus.   What is this work driving you towards?  Look at your week, and asses where you spend your time, energy and focus.  Why do you want that thing?  What is all your effort driving you towards?  Are you happy today-during the pursuit?  Are you happy today-during the pursuit? 
“Happiness is not something you postpone for the future; it is something you design for the present.” – Jim Rohn
Enjoy today 🙂

Expectations: A Double Edged Sword

Do Expectations help us or hurt us?   This is a question I have been pondering lately, not with any preconceived notion of right, but out of pure curiosity.

On the one hand, we want to have plans and hopes and dreams…if you don’t what is the point?  We want to have direction in our lives, to expect that we are headed towards great things, to know that the treasure at the end is worth the fight.  It is a generally accepted principle of the universe that you need to expect positive things to receive positive things. 

 “Glass Half Full” concept.  I’ve found that in any given day, a number of positive and negative situations present themselves.  At the end of the day, when you’re summing things up for your friend over drinks, you can either say, ” I had the best day!  Here’s what happened…” or you can choose the opposite, “You’ll never believe the horrible day I had!”   So is it really just a matter of opinion?  By whose standards to we decide if our day was good or bad?

On the other hand, we don’t want to be disappointed….  Expectations can also set us up for mental defeat.  When it comes to relationships people, women especially, are often told, “don’t expect too much!”  But why not?  If we expect to much of our friends or significant others, does this scare them away?  Is it better to be in a relationship that is mediocre where no one has expectations, or to set your sights high and have just a few amazing relationships?

What about this:  Not having expectations allows you to be pleasantly surprised!Expectations can limit the way we experience things. When we view something through the narrow lens of what we can imagine it should look like, we can’t fully appreciate what may actually occur.

Especially with other people. We set ourselves and them up for failure when we put them into the box of our expectations. What if they behave or respond in a way that is completely different…and we could not picture it because they are a different person than we are-they don’t think the way we do. Can we then appreciate what they say, do, or bring to the situation? Or are we too busy calculating all the ways they didn’t behave as we wanted them to?

What do you think?  I don’t have the answers, right now I just have the questions.  But I do feel this is a concept worth exploring-if we can learn to manage our expectations in a healthy way, we can manage our attitude and outlook on life.  Perhaps the key to enjoying our life is in how we perceive our life.

Where Does Love Come From?

It’s an interesting question that was raised at the group-discussion I was facilitating last evening.  Whether it is becasue of religious beliefes, celebrity trends, or just basic human instinct, most of us feel that we should love others, treat them with compassion, and give out of our abundance.  So then if we feel that we are meant to pour out to others…where do we get filled up?

Looking for love: Cars, gadgets, vacations, parties, food, degrees of education…these are all things that we fill our lives with, usually not because we Need them so much as because they make us feel good.  We are using them to help us feel that we are doing well, that we matter, that we are “enough”.  All are Good things, they all allow us to live a full and balanced life-style when appropriated in moderation.  The problem begins when we make this kind of achievement the end, rather than the means to an end.  What is the point of adding to our own lives, when we know eventually they will end? Is it not infinately better to grow yourself in order to be able to grow others?

Realize: Often our quest for achievement comes from trying to prove that we are worthy.  Worthy of what?  The most basic human need and desire-love.  There are villages and entire countries that survive with a smile and can dance with joy becuase there is more love in their families then we find in many American house-holds.  I don’t have the answers, I’m just posing the questions so that maybe we can figure this out together.  How do we fill ourselves with love and then shower that love on others?

Let your legacy live beyond you….your legacy isn’t a name, it’s not a plaque, it’s the unsung, unknown impact that you’ve had on others. It starts by allowing yourself to feel loved.  Love yourself well, the very essence of you, then allow yourself to accept love from others.  Love multiplies every time it is given. Are you willing to take a risk?  Will you let love in freely and then just as willingly let it out?  When the people you meet go on and reflect a little bit of you, that is when you’ve left your mark on this world.   We must love well in order to live well.

To Make a Change

The Physics of Change:  Call them habits, call them ruts, however you label your lifestyle, realize this-it moves along in inertia unless you do something about it!   “Inertia is the name for the tendency of an object in motion to remain in motion, or an object at rest to remain at rest, unless acted upon by a force. This concept was quantified in Newton’s First Law of Motion.”  Now you might be thinking, what does this have to do with my daily routine?  I left Physics behind in high school!   The reality is that all of life is intertwined, and the forces of nature are reflected in every facet of creation, including us working humans.

How do we create that force?  Disruption of inertia can be caused by many things-sometimes within our control, sometimes not.  Example, if your boss decides to move the company to London, that’s his decision to make a change, and your inertia is being impacted.  You ask someone to marry you-you are initiating change, yet the other person must respond in kind to move you both in the same direction.

Action starts with thought-then comes the follow through!  Success means, you must get out of bed!   Do something differently than you normally do!  Start today by making a list of the areas in your life, (career, family, health, friends, philanthropy, etc.), where would you like to see change? 

Think Positive:  The idea that you can choose your goal and move forward towards that goal is the energy that is going to move you out of monotony and into that exciting new life-style you imagine.  It all starts with a thought.

Gandhi said, “You must be the change you want to see in the world.”  Remember that you must also be the change you want to see in You.