Over the last month or so I have been sporadic about writing and posting to this blog. I explained a bit about that the other day. As of today I have posted each day this week. A funny thing happened as I watched this play out.
I didn’t have many ideas for writing over the last month. I managed to find something to write about, but I didn’t have a strong flow of ideas that I write about.
That changed this week. I’ve written every day. It is almost like a faucet was turned on and the ideas began flowing again. I captured several ideas yesterday and plan to write about those ideas in the coming days.
Why did this happen?
I think it’s like a campfire and a knife. If you sit around the campfire it will burn nicely for a while. It will keep you warm. It’s comfortable. Eventually, though, it will go out. You have to add wood to it. You have to stoke the fire to keep it going. It’s the same thing with ideas for blogging. You have to do things to keep the ideas coming. You have to read. You have to look at the world differently.
My son has been out of school over the last few weeks due to Christmas and inclement weather. He has spent a lot of time with his grandfather. One of the things they have done is sharpen their knives. A dull knife is of little use. They sharpened the knives to the point they would shave the hair off their knives. It’s same with this blogging thing. You have to keep the knife sharp. You have keep yourself in working order so that when the opportunity comes you are read to write.
What’s the common denominator? You. You have to work at it. You have to grab another log. You have to poke the fire a little. You have consistently hone the knife to keep it sharp.
You have to do this for yourself to continue writing and blogging. You really need to do this in every area of your life as well. You need to do this in your spiritual life. You need to do this for your family. Your career. Your finances. Your friendships. Your health and wellness. Your mind. You have to keep stoking the fire and sharpen the knives in all areas of your life.
What are you doing to stoke the fire and sharpen the knives in your life?
One of the things I love to study and look at is vision. I want a great vision for my life. I have been challenged to develop a vision for my work. So, I am, like George H.W. Bush, working on the “vision thing.”
One place I am looking at is in the Bible. Visions are common there and I’m not just talking about the kind of visions that we would most associate with mystical encounters with God. No, I am talking about the kind of vision where someone who someone has to do something great in the Lord’s name.
What amazes and surprises me is one thing that all of these visions have in common.
They are simple.
God gave Noah a vision to do one thing. Build an ark to save himself and his family.
God gave Abraham simple visions. Leave the land where you’re from and I’ll show you where to go. I will make a great nation out of you.
God gave Moses a simple vision. Take my people out of Egypt to the Promised Land.
God gave David a simple vision. I will make you king and your throne will never end.
These visions were clear and simple. That is not to say that they were easy.
Noah had to deal with naysayers for about one hundred years, people laughing at him and ignoring him.
Abraham hit a few bumps in the road. He first started heading to that land God would show him and he stopped for while. Once he got there he and Sarah decided that they were too old to have children for God to begin a nation with.
Moses? He had to deal with a Pharaoh and a few million Israelites that didn’t want to cooperate.
David had to wait and be chased around by another king before he could ascend the throne.
Just because God gives you a vision doesn’t mean that it’s going to easy. In fact, it may get harder before it gets better. The thing is that if we persevere, we will realize the vision.
Vision isn’t easy. Vision can be hard. But it’s worth it to achieve it.
I ran into a friend of mine in the cafeteria at work yesterday. Even though he is in a much higher position me, we tend to commiserate with each other. I told him something that I’m not really sure I was aware of until recently.
“I like my job more than I have in a long time now.”
The problem is that I went through a period where I didn’t like my job much at all. In fact, from about December 2014 until a month or so ago, I really didn’t like it at all.
It would be easy to place the blame on others. My team. My boss. The real reason I didn’t like my job much anymore is because of one person.
I had really been coasting for a while. I thought that all I had done to get where I was would keep me there. I had made it and I was all that. Oh, I didn’t think this consciously, but I exhibited it with my behavior. And it wasn’t going to cut it anymore.
My boss finally really let me know about it in my review. The next several months were rough. The definitely weren’t much fun. Finally something changed and work is fun again. What happened?
A switch went off in my brain. Or maybe deep in my soul. I started putting the effort back into my job. The passion was back.
The question has to be asked. What does one do to reignite passion back into a job when you have lost it? Here’s what I did?
First, I examined who I was working for. It can’t just be about me. I had to remember that I work for the Lord. Sure, I work for a company, but my work has to reflect the One who owns me.
Second, I had to examine my motives. What was I working for personally? What is my vision for my job? My leadership? What is my mission?
Third, who else is affected by my job? My family, sure. My team. My peers. My boss. My customers.
Finally, I had to make sure that I really wanted to continue doing what I do. Was I done? Or was there more to do?
Once I had answered those questions, I found a hunger and passion returning for my job. I was excited to go to work again.
How about you? Do you love your job? What are you doing about it if you don’t? If you do, what are you doing to keep it?
My friend, Bill, wrote a post about envy yesterday. I imagine that we all fall into the trap of envying someone from time to time. Not saying it’s a good or innocent thing. Just saying it happens.
When you prowl around the blogosphere like I do, you can find plenty to envy. It happens especially when I read some the “successful” bloggers out there. Insert your own definition of success, of course.
The problem is that too often these bloggers, whether intentional or not, can make others feel like losers. Well, maybe loser is a strong word, but they can definitely make some feel like they aren’t successful.
There are plenty of blog posts and articles out there that talk about how you can build your platform or your tribe, start your business, and make your fortune. All you have to do is follow the formula from their book or their course. Then you can work from home for the rest of your life free from the confines of Corporate America.
Except for the one thing that these posts and bloggers don’t take into account.
What if you should stay in your corporate job? What if you are wired for that particular lifestyle?
Don’t get me wrong. I learn a lot from these folks. I just think they go a step too far in the direction they are fleeing from. They create these scenarios that seem to indicate people should flee cookie cutter jobs for the freedom they espouse. Yet, they then create the cookie cutter of following their plans.
How do I know this? Because I’ve been guilty of it. I’ve gotten to the point where I dreamed of what they were selling that I wasn’t focused on what I should have been doing in my career. I’ve coasted thinking that writing these posts would somehow lead me to being something else. The problem is that I didn’t stop to question if that what I wanted or even should do.
You look in the Bible at what people did and there was a variety. You had shepherds, prime ministers, government officials, fishermen, tax collectors, tent makers, preachers and everything in-between.
The problem I faced, and what many of these well-meaning people missed, is what does God want me to do? Or you. Or anyone else.
So, yes, I have a love-hate relationship with these type of blog posts. There has to be another way.
I say seek the Lord first. Not just what the Lord wants you to do, but the Lord himself.
Then ask Him what He wants you to do. Does He want you to work a day job? Does He want your day job to be your dream job? Or does He want you to strike out on your own? Ask Him. He will let you know.
Then do it. Do it with all your heart and soul and mind and strength. Do it with everything you’ve got.
You’ll be happy if do that. Whichever way you
I’m not sure why you show up and read this blog. I really don’t. I have been wildly inconsistent of late. I’ve made all sorts of excuses over the last year, but I think I’ve finally really nailed it down to what the problem has been.
First, there has been a technological issue. For nearly eight years I have lived in a location where I cannot get good quality internet. I have had to use some sort of cellular device to provide our connection to the Interwebs. For the past several months it has truly been a chore to get connected. In fact, I cannot remember the last time I wrote a post on my laptop. Almost every post I have written for a while has been on my iPhone. While this has worked, I don’t type well just using my thumbs and it had become a chore. I truly didn’t enjoy writing this any longer. I have just been going through the motions because I simply didn’t want to quit.
This changed last week. We bit the bullet and got satellite internet. While not the best, it is the best available to me. And it changes everything.
This is the first post that I have actually been able to write with a good connection in months. I’m also writing it well ahead of time. Finally, I can work ahead of schedule with decent tools.
So, what do I expect? And what should you expect?
Deuceology back on a regular schedule.
Hopefully the fun and joy of doing this thing back.
There is some good that came out of not really being able to write like I want. I have had time to think about what I really want this blog to be.
There was a time that it was just a place to dump all of my random thoughts.
Then it morphed into a forum for me to grind my ax on whatever issue I was upset about.
I wanted to be a professional and mimicked whatever writer I wanted to be like on any given day.
Now, it’s time to write about what I truly care about. So, here it is.
I’m going to focus on what I learn from the Bible. No agenda. Just someone who is a fellow learner like, really, all of us.
I’m going to write on leadership, vision and that sort of thing. Not from the perspective of an expert, but of one who is still learning.
I want to throw in some book reviews along the way, because I want to read some books along the way.
I also won’t abandon my movie and TV show reviews. I may even combine some and do a series of leadership lessons from The Walking Dead.
Hang on folks. It’s going to get fun around here again.
The past few days have been frustrating.
Our heat pump didn’t kick on all day Saturday. The house was getting cool when I realized it. Our heat and air guy came out and fixed a short it had and we were warm before you know it.
I took our truck to have some work done on it. It sat at the shop all day only for me to be told that the parts didn’t get there in time to fix it. I had to take it back the next day to get it fixed.
Last Friday someone was supposed to install Internet to my house. I live in an area where I cannot get cable or DSL Internet. I have lived here for eight years without having decent connection to the World Wide Web.
My new option? Satellite. It’s more expensive and doesn’t offer the same speed or unlimited data. But it’s better than what I had.
The guy could not install it due to the weather. The next day he was sick. Finally ,yesterday, I was connected.
I paused and realized that I was frustrated over First World problems. Most of the world doesn’t have heat and air. Much of the world doesn’t have a vehicle to drive. What percentage of the world is connected to the Internet?
I praised the Lord that the short was found in my heat and air unit. I praised the Lord that we have three vehicles. I praised the Lord that I have Internet.
I praised the Lord I have First World problems.
My son, Andrew, has received the first two seasons of The Walking Dead this past year. I’m not sure why we didn’t watch it before, but we managed to miss it.
I didn’t intend to catch up so quickly, but AMC broadcast a marathon of the show around New Year, so I set the DVR. I thought we would catch up so that we could watch the new season next fall. That wasn’t nearly ambitious enough.
As I wake up this morning, we have five episodes left. We will be caught up with time to spare when Season 6 resumes on Valentine’s Day.
The question one might ask is if I have learned anything? You bet I have.
There are numerous leadership lessons you can learn from watching Rick lead his ragtag band of survivors. You can learn all sorts of things about human relationships. However, there is one thing above all others that I have learned.
You can do anything you put your mind to.
By the time this week is over, Andrew and I will have powered through 73 episodes of The Walking Dead. Since just after Christmas.
Going forward I can’t use the excuse that I don’t have time to do something. I have plenty of time to do exactly what I want to do.
Do I want to read a certain amount of books in a year? I’ve got time.
Do I want to run so many miles this year? I’ve got time.
Do I want to work on my relationships? I’ve got time.
I just have have to decide I want to.
Don’t let excuses stand in the way of what you want to do. You have plenty of time if you really want to do it. You just have to decide what it is.