Unplugging in 2016

This one little tip can change your life

Have you ever felt like you were up to your eyeballs in media?  I have.  Then a twenty-something year old friend brought me back to reality.  Lets face it, the NET is here to stay.  However, if we’re  going to succeed in not only our personal lives, but our business lives as well, something’s got to change.


You’re not the only one fed up with phones and computers.  Then why is it, we try to reach people with the very tools we hate to use ourselves.  No, you don’t have to do a media detox, but it might help.  While you’re at it, start looking for opportunities to have more REAL FaceTime in the form of face to face conversations.  “Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend”.  Proverbs 27:17.  Is it any wonder we’ve grown dull?  There is still nothing like a heart to heart talk with a friend we’ve known for a long time.  While you’re at it, why not make a new one?

What if in 2016 your goal became ‘I want to meet new and interesting people’, instead of ‘I want to make $100,000.00″?  Does that mean you would have to abandon Social Media or blow up your phone?  No.  But a good place to start might be where actual people congregate.  You might even ask some of your friends to introduce you to someone who shares your common interests.  After all, who better to make a recommendation than someone you’ve known for a long time?

Business wise, the same principle applies.  Look for opportunities to meet new people and don’t be afraid to tell them what you do for a living….especially if you’re self-employed.  If you’re feeling real brave, why not ask for a referral?  If you’re a pastor, you might say something like.  “Jean, as you know, a large part of my occupation depends on meeting and connecting with new people.  Do you know of anyone who might be interested in what our church has to offer?”  You’re not being pushy when you ask questions like this, you’re being proactive.  If your product or offering is life changing, why keep it to yourself?

In most cases, people are not going to just come and knock on your door.  You have to get outside the box.  You can spend 60 hours a week in your office working on your social media platform, tweaking your website and cleaning your building and people still won’t show up.  You can read every book under the sun.  But something amazing happens when you go to where they are.  That’s what Jesus did and it still works today.

While you’re meeting new people or potential customers, why not give them a sample of your product?  If you’re in the life changing business, why not help them solve one of their most taxing problems over a cup of coffee?  Give them opportunities to ask questions?  You’d like that, right?

And while you’re at it, don’t look for quick results.  You may have some immediate response, but plan on being in it for the long haul.  Look at it like your planting a field, not popping something in the microwave.  Good things take times.  New friendships and prospects take a bit of cultivation.  Trust has to be built.  God may work, but sometimes his methods take time.  Seeds don’t pop up overnight, unless of course they’re weeds.

But something even more amazing will happen other than an increase in friends and prospects.  You’ll get your life back.  You’ll find yourself doing something other than sitting in front of your computer wishing there was someone to talk to.  With any amount of grace, you won’t be wondering how you’re going to pay the mortgage or keep your business going.

So look for changes to come in 2016!  But most importantly, initiate the change yourself.  Decide today that while you may not abandon your computer or phone, you’re going to start being more intentional about keeping it real with real people.  If you’re an introvert, that’s o.k.  Many others have achieved these types of goals.  You don’t have to know what you’re going to say to people.  Most times they’re just looking for someone to listen.  Now get off the computer and get going!

Guess What: You Can Still Have A Great Christmas!

why failure isn't final and you can still face everything and rise

Weeds! Nobody likes them, but a lot of people tolerate them indefinitely. It’s just easier than buying some weed killer and taking the time to apply it. Let’s face it, WORK is a four letter word these days! The problem is the presence of something unhealthy takes up the space of something healthy. Get rid of the weed and a blade of grass can grow. Today, you’ll learn how to recognize when it’s time to make a difficult change and how to go about doing it.

There are people who are aware of this principle and how it applies to their life. Rather than allowing things to persist in an unhealthy state, they take action and get rid of the things between them and their preferred future. Sometimes the things they get rid of can even be healthy. It’s not that good is a bad thing, good’s just good. But why stay with good if you can replace it with better?

Unhealthy people do just the opposite. They may pull a weed or two in their life that is unpainful, but cringe at the thought of hurting someone elses feelings or being misunderstood.

A principle in the bible, no the other hand has better advice. “A prudent man sees danger and takes refuge, but the simple keep going and suffer for it” according to Solomon in Proverbs 22:3. And by the way, he was said to be one of the wisest men who ever lived.

When most people think about creating boundaries in their lives they believe it involves cutting ties with MGR’s (Much Grace Required ) people. If you do that, you may end up divorced and bereft of all friends and relatives. After all, relationships can be hard work! Rather than ‘cutting bait’ you may do better to evaluate the relationship and determine if it’s reparable or beyond repair. Sometimes the only way to find out is to get busy trying to fix it. If you determine it’s beyond repair, then you have to dump it. Sounds harsh right? The problem is that if you don’t, it will come back to haunt you at the least opportune time!

For example, you don’t replace a bald tire on your car. It will hold up perfectly fine until you’re on the way to your job interview.

Or, you don’t pull the bad tooth. Again, it doesn’t break on Monday morning when the Dentist is open, it fractures at 6:00 p.m on Friday and you have to suffer all weekend.

Or, you have a heart attack the night before your daughter’s wedding after decades of putting off physical exercise and a healthy diet.

So how do you know when it’s time for a healthy ending? After working on something and finding out it’s unfixable, you have to decide if the job, relationship, habit, hobby, situation, addiction is taking you in the right direction of your preferred future. The choice to hang on when all other signs, evidence and experience dictates otherwise is just plain crazy! Here are some weeds and possible ways of responding to them.

Not giving an alcoholic spouse an ultimatum is crazy! Look, I love you, but I can’t live this way. I’m moving in with my sister until you get some help. I don’t want our children exposed to this any more.

Allowing someone to put you down after repeatedly asking them not to, is crazy! Please don’t call me anymore. I appreciate our friendship, but I don’t appreciate being the butt of all your jokes. I’ve asked you in the past, so lets just take a break until you decide to make a change.

Lying for your co-worker for the four hundred and ninetieth time because you want to keep them happy is crazy! (Tweetable) Joe, the boss was looking for you again yesterday afternoon while you stepped out for two hours and I found myself making up another story. As you know, this goes totally against everything I stand for and I can’t do it any longer.

How do you know when something isn’t quite right? You’ll know! Listen to warnings and nudges from your inside in the form of inner dialogue. You’ll hear things like:

Something’s not quite right here.

I feel like this happened before and I don’t want it to happen again.

I told myself I’d never do this again, what am I doing here?

I’m going to regret this tomorrow.

This feels just like last time.

You get the idea….

Too often, people ‘put up’ with nonsense when they could be making the changes that will take them forward. Using Poison Ivy as toilet paper once happens, but why make the same mistake twice? Is it time to hit the ‘stop’ button on something in particular in your life that is unhealthy, maybe even good, that is taking up space for something that is healthy and life giving? Pull the weeds, and plant a seed.



The Key To Unlocking Your Dreams in 2016

How to change anything

Have you ever wondered why some people seem to have all of the luck? I’ve been there. It’s so easy to take a look around and see people finding success in areas that you are failing in. Social media only exacerbates the problem. Rarely do people post about their failures, all we get to see are their highlight reels.


So how do you change anything?

When it comes to change, we don’t lack willpower, we are just blind in certain areas of our lives. This is important to understand because willpower can only take you so far. More than willpower, you need to have a plan and educate yourself if you’re going to reach your goals.

More than a plan and personal education, you need social support. You need to be around people who know your dream and are cheering for you. Likewise, you may have to disassociate with people who want to sabotage your plan. These people are easy to recognize because they say things like: “You’ve changed” or “You never cared before”, not to mention the classic jab: “What, are you, too good for us?”

Once you examine your own weaknesses and temptations, you are are ready to map out a plan. Write down the necessary steps that have to be taken. Come up with more than one way you are going to counter the things that tend to make you deviate from making a bee line to your goal. For example, you may set up alarms on your cell phone to remind you of your vulnerable times. Or, you might wear a rubber band on your wrist and snap it every time you find yourself thinking self- defeating thoughts.
While you’re at it, make plans to reward yourself when you reach incremental goals. Promise to buy yourself that new book on Friday if you’ve reached your goal for the week. Rewarding and punishing yourself along the way will help you stay on track.

Sooner or later, despite your best efforts, you will fall. Get back up again and keep on going. Learn from your mistakes. Take the information you’ve learned from your failure and use it to better refine your plan.

Change is hard work. If you don’t roll up your sleeves and get to work on your plan, you’ll get rolled up in the motions of just getting by. Don’t depend on the things that have helped others, customize a plan that is going to work for you. You don’t have to run 5 miles a day like your neighbor, maybe a brisk walk every other day is a better fit.

Studies have shown that most plans work: the problem is most people never work their plan. You don’t have to be one of the 98% who make a New Years resolution and blow it by February 1st. Find a plan that works for you and stick to it.

You don’t have to go it alone; I’ve written a book to help you begin your journey called “Life Coaching: 7 Myths Keeping You From Your Best Year Yet.”  The book is available in Kindle and print on Amazon.com.

In the meantime, I’d love to hear any thoughts you might have on this topic.

Facts Are Your Friends

How to avoid virtual unreality

The lure of making money on the internet has never been stronger.  You can write a book and have virtually unlimited supplies in a virtual warehouse.  You can start a blog and add check out widgets.  Post unlimited photos.  Craft marketing campaigns.  Cha-Ching!  The sky’s the limit.  Or so it seems….


If you’ve spent any amount of time taking any of these approaches, you’ve learned they aren’t always effective.

What ends up happening is you invest a lot of time and energy and see very few results.  Sure you may sell some books and you may have 500 followers.  But there always seems to be something missing, right?

The payoff never seems to match the investment.  If you were to be honest, it makes your soul ache a little bit, right?  You find yourself wondering why everyone else is successful except for you.  You start getting up a little bit later each morning.  You know the drill.  It begins to feel like everything is dying.

The problem is there’s a difference between real relationships and virtual ones.  It’s wonderful to interact with people online, but there’s still nothing like genuine, personal, up- close interactions.  Some older folks realize this and avoid the net with tooth and nail.  But believe it or not, it’s not only senior citizens and the technically challenged!  This entire post was birthed after talking with twenty and thirty- somethings.

Lets illustrate.  Imagine your bank account for a moment.  It’s a collection of debits and credits, right?  Every time you make a transaction it’s altered.  It goes up and down based on your saving or spending.  It helps to monitor it, right?  But if you’re not careful, you can get to the point where you have no idea where it stands.  If you just make withdrawls and deposits every once in a while and hope everything is going to pan out, there will be deficits.  Major deficits.

Why?  Because facts are your friends.  Numbers never lie.  They help us keep score.  You can have the greatest strategy in the world, but if the bottom line isn’t increasing, something’s drastically wrong.  And we’re not just talking money or Facebook followers.  If you want to FEEL happy or relaxed or artistic or generous….and you don’t, chances are something needs to change.  If you’re working on your goals and your core feelings are out of whack, maybe it’s time to start feeling good again.  Then start working on your project.  Better yet, feel good while you’re working on your project.

If you’ve determined to be successful and happy, but you feel like your life has become a living hell, do something about it.


And if you’re making everyone else’s life a living hell in the pursuit of your dreams and goals, do something about it.  Look at the facts.  Adjust your course.  Cancel an account or two.  Cut back on some hours.  Carve out some YOU time….some FAMILY time….some COFFEE WITH FRIENDS TIME.  Life is too short to spend in a virtual nightmare.

So here it is in a nutshell.  In your pursuit of a life on the beach where money just automatically trickles into your bank account online….while you get a tan, make plenty of time to connect with REAL people.  As a pastor, I can’t tell you how many times someone reaches out online to say ‘Hi’ and I find out what they really want is some help!  After the initial pleasantries, I ask something like ‘So what’s on your heart’ or ‘Is everything o.k?’  Then I find out they’re going through a really tough patch and need someone to talk with.  Why?  Obviously all of the articles online aren’t enough….or videos….or ebooks.  People want connection.  They want to talk with another human being, not a virtual one.

Real people with real problems and dreams are looking for real people to talk with.

Does this mean we should abandon all attempts to connect online.  Not at all.  On the contrary.  The net can be a powerful way to meet and interact with people.  But….in your pursuit of meeting and connecting with people online, don’t forget to keep talking face to face with real people.  In fact, if your going to build a relationship with someone, it’s going to mean spending lots of time with them.  The good news is there are a ton of people out there looking for real relationships.  The bad news is many of them aren’t finding them because of the advent of cell phones and computers.

Maybe today you would do well to evaluate the results you’re getting in life.  Are you reaching your goals in every area?  Maybe it’s been awhile since you actually measured your results.  Has all of your activity online resulted in increased revenues and customers?  Are you happier than you were a year ago?  More at peace?  Have you grown like you intended?

Don’t get so focused on the pie in the sky that you forget to eat the one on your table.  Happy Holidays!