So Why Not?

“Doin’ the right thing is always the right thing” –Gary Vanderchuck

I love this quote, and have pondered it at length. I have tweeted it for its impact on the surface. However, I’d like to break it down a bit further and invite your thoughts and valuable insights.

“Doin’ the right thing” on the surface seems pretty easy, and basically a “duh”, if this is true, why do so many people choose not to do so? I get the whole, “we live in a fallen world”, so there is going to be bad and evil among us. That is true, but I watch good people, grounded individuals and educated folks, choose to walk on by an opportunity to “do the right thing”.

Here are some of my thoughts as to why this may be:

  • I believe many are simply lazy
  • Others don’t think their small contribution will matter in the grand scheme of things
  • People are too busy to stop and make a difference.

"Our greatest fear should not be of failure, but of succeeding at things in life that don't really matter." -Francis Chan

True, I could go on and on, but I would rather challenge you to watch carefully over the next week and attempt to accomplish 2 things:

  1. Identify where people you observe, choose to do the right thing, or not; and
  2. Do the right thing, even when you are too busy, or don’t think it will matter.

Will you take the challenge and report back? It could be the “right thing to do”.

Make A Conscious Decision

Ever experienced a particularly long week? Nothing horrible, just some frustrating moments in the workplace, maybe you haven’t particularly eaten in a healthy way causing the proof of it to show on the morning scale? “The weather is changing…”? You follow me. It can be that kind of week.

I’ve been thinking back on our pastor’s message last week, and the challenge he gave us, “For the next 7 days, be joyful, pray, and be thankful in all things.” Hmmm, I wonder to myself how successful I’ve been in that challenge. The fact that I can quote it 6 days later should give me some points. Ha!  Actually, I have drawn from that pledge all week.  One of my favorite scriptures is 1 Thessalonians 5:18 reminding us to be thankful, so all I had to do was add some  “joy”.  Honestly, it worked! It worked big time and in a real way.

I had an extraordinarily big meeting this week, lots of prep, reporting, and uncertainties as to the results of all that work.  Before the meeting I thought, “Well, I did make the pledge,” and then consciously walked through the exercise of being joyful and thankful for these meetings and the interesting times in which we live. Then I prayed.

Baby holding cat

I found myself going through that same sequence all week in various travels, meetings, etc. The result: A very good week.  Oh, I still had frustrating moments at work, I still was impatient in traffic and didn’t particularly want to do the next best thing on my list.  But, honestly, I had a much better week.

By putting everything I could before my Heavenly Father in a joyful, thankful manner, He caused me to see my daily routine in a different light.  I recommend it highly!

Will you take the challenge?

Who Needs Who?

It was such an early, cold morning, but Cindy and I were committed and
honestly looking forward to a community-wide event in Oklahoma City.
The event included 25 churches working together to provide all kinds
of services to some less privileged folks around town.  Things like
haircuts, family portraits, medical and dental advice, fun for the
whole family, and some good old-fashioned love.  The event was called

LoveOKC Event

I wasn’t sure that with it being so cold, with a slight mist in the
air, if all the planning and hope surrounding this event would be for
naught.  We got up that Saturday morning at a time I wasn’t sure existed, I know I don’t recall seeing that time before.  The cold weather had set a record for the “lowest high” in over 100 years on that date in OKC.  Ok, so enough whining, my point is I was concerned if very many volunteers would show.

This blog is about people, good people; folks that want to make a
difference in other people’s lives… Well, it happened again.
Over 1,900 volunteers arrived at an old high school campus to make a
difference!  Over 6,500 special guests were served.  Folks were
helped, educated, served, and most importantly “loved”.  It was an
incredible experience.

I once heard Amy Grant say when she was helping a group of homeless
people find their way, that she was so blessed from that experience,
that she wondered to herself, “Who needed who that day?” I now
know exactly what she meant.

If They Would Only…

My kids probably grew tired of hearing me say, “You cannot control what others say, think or do. You can only control your own thoughts, actions, and reactions”.  Well today, I’m going to give it a shot.  I will attempt to share how we can, with some focus and planned intent, potentially change the behaviors of others, maybe starting with our sphere of influence.

Jesus Sculpture

Granted, I am giving myself a little slack by using a qualifier, our “sphere of influence”.  However, in my defense, if we could truly affect that significant group of people, and they in turn might choose to operate accordingly, perhaps the difference materializes.

First, and likely most obvious … Walk the walk, be the example you wish others to be.  Easy to preach, not so easy to consistently think, say and do, the right thing.  However, if you understand that these consistent actions are being watched, and potentially imitated, the stakes rise.

Secondly, be the source of quality information. Believe in yourself and your input.  Know where to get “quality” content.  We live in a day and age, with some effort (the distinguishing factor) that great sources of good content are available at our fingertips.  Podcasts, blogs, churches, college campuses, and public libraries (I know, crazy, they are still a source of great content)…. Think Quality!

And lastly, ………..Be present.  With so many distractions available to us, when the people we care about the most are communicating, do as one of my favorite speakers, Jim Rohn, would say, “Be there”!

Go ahead, give it a shot! Be the difference.

Will You Fight?

It has been just over one month since the tragic events of July 30th, 2012 in Aurora, CO, where a young man chose to walk into a packed movie theatre and end 12 lives, wound close to 50, and change many of us forever.

Batman Logo Aurora

Photo credit: AP

To any sane individual, it must be simply unimaginable.  Yet, to a few, we sadly now have evidence that some choose to ruin lives with this kind of behavior.

As I attempt to write an entry in reference to “culture” with this as the backdrop, I don’t pretend to have any answers, only observations.  My attempt to share in and around this issue is to recognize that each of our situations are comprised of extraordinary backgrounds, both great, but also disturbed.  So, we recognize that everyone we interact with is different, that we are comprised of many experiences, and these make up how we treat people and how we react in a moment.

Be the difference.

In that moment, maybe we flee to safety, maybe we hide to preserve today and our future, maybe we fight with everything within us, or maybe we lay down our lives for someone else, someone we care for.  Of course, I’ve just described what an individual may have chosen to do on that dreadful night, July 30, 2012.  But in reality, as we determine our culture going forward, each of us may have to determine (or make that decision) on any given day.

Certainly, not one direction is necessarily right depending on all the information being provided to us in that moment.  You may be in a normal office environment, in a mall with your family, or even a movie theatre and have to choose: Am I going to flee? Am I going to hide? Am I going to fight? Or am I going to lay down my life for someone else?

May God Bless all the families touched by this horrific tragedy.

Make A Difference

I am looking forward to making this blog a strong commitment in my routine.  “Making a difference” must become my mantra, as I believe significant impact can be made in our world today, if I/we will simply “trust and act” in those situations that arise when and where we know we should.

How many times are you in a situation as a consumer and are being waited on by someone who is simply not there, mentally.  I know, … all the time.

Unhappy Bored Employee

The customer service individual then provides minimal service, or even pitiful service, and you walk away shaking your head.  Why is that the case?  Are folks so caught up in where they wish they were (a topic for another day) that they truly don’t realize how poorly they are interacting with people in their jobs?

Much of the time this poor interaction results in a Cause and Effect that leaves the consumer frustrated, or even angry.  The consumer leaves that environment and carries that to their sphere of influence and kicks the “proverbial dog”.  Have you been the “dog” before?  Have you watched the “dog” before?  It stinks.  From that point, the cycle can potentially continue downhill creating quite an explosion, much of the time unintended.

How can we change this frustrating process?  Honestly, much of the time I don’t know if we can.  However, I choose to believe that if an effort is made, the change, however small it may be, will make a difference and a “pay it forward” moment can happen changing the world forever.  I’ve heard people say that they felt “in their gut”, or “they just knew”, and then they acted, or perhaps chose not to … I am suggesting that we practice listening to that inner voice, and begin acting on it.

Maybe we start out more tentative in our actions.  Listen to the voice and respond with a small step, or comment, and see if you make a small difference.  With that, the opportunity to make bigger differences may present themselves.  I believe that God communicates with us in our daily walk, even in every single moment.  However, we can only hear if we listen.

Years of practice, and I still am not sure I hear His voice with clarity at times.  Other times, though, I am pretty certain.  Just like about anything else, it takes practice and more practice.  However, if the result is that you make a difference in someone’s life, that makes a difference in someone else’s, and your child’s child lives in a better world, I believe it’s worth the effort.

Number One Priority

As you begin to think through your day, and determine your priority list to complete, let me share what I believe should be your number 1 item on your list, and of course, the URL for my blog gives it away, but it is “culture.”

Culture Is Priority

Culture changes how people feel. When you change how someone feels, you change how they interact, when you change how a person interacts, you will impact them and ultimately, will change the world.

Culture means everything.

So, what does the term “culture” mean? ….. Ok, our trusty internet web dictionary states:

the quality in a person or society that arises from a concern for what is regarded as excellent in arts, letters, manners, scholarly pursuits, etc. ……

Really? …. Ok, let me paraphrase with Jeff Smith’s definition:

Culture is the quality of a person to understand, interpret and display authentic excellence in every aspect of their life.

I may be a bit naïve, when I ask, “is that possible”? I will boldly state that it is. For all of us that truly care about our sphere of influence, it is. Oh sure, we will mess up frequently, and slip back to old ways, but I believe beyond a shadow of a doubt, that each of us want the best from our sphere, as well as our own lives.

How do we pull it off? The answer is actually quite simple, just not easy. The answer is “culture”. As “C” level individuals, we must display, even implore, and ultimately expect from all of our employees and sphere, the culture that changes our world.

Again, culture changes how people feel. When you change how someone feels, you change how they interact, when you change how a person interacts, you will impact them and ultimately, will change the world.

I’m willing, are you?