Gratitude

Quote: “I’ve never owned a dishwasher, but I’ve always had the best dish-dryer in the world.” – My Grandma 
 
Story:
My Grandma passed away on Tuesday. She lived in Pierceton, Indiana – a tiny midwestern town with one stoplight. Their home was small, but always well taken care of. They didn’t drive flashy cars or go on lavish vacations. My Grandpa worked as a truck driver and Grandma worked as a nurse for several decades. She didn’t know how to use a cell phone, a computer, or any type of Bluetooth device. And as mentioned above, she never owned a dishwasher. Instead of being resentful for not having a dishwasher, she was grateful for her dish dryer (my Grandpa). Those were their roles. Grandma hand-washed all the dishes and Grandpa hand-dried all the dishes. Maybe that was one of the keys to 60+ years of a happy marriage? I digress.
 
Superpowers:
Grandma had so many superpowers, too many to mention in a Friday email. Perhaps the most blatantly obvious gift she gave to the world was her commitment to serving. They happily opened their home to kids in the community who didn’t have a safe place to sleep. Handcrafted and hand-sewn quilts, blankets, shawls, and clothes to give to those in need. Delivering homemade meals to the community for every possible occasion. Shoveled snow for all her elderly neighbors. Served their little church in every capacity known to man. She gave generously to nearly every charity that asked. She was the salt of the earth… A doer, and a giver, and a servant. 
 
Enough:
I have a theory on how she always made the time and found the energy to serve… You see she always had enough, but never too much. Not having too much is a modern day superpower. Most of us have so much stuff (both in terms of possessions, but also items on our calendar) that we don’t have any reserve time, energy, and money. We spend our time, energy, and money on the “stuff” and we can’t take advantage of opportunities to serve people in need or give generously when unexpected opportunities arise. With Grandma, there was never a need to keep up with the Joneses. No need for the latest and greatest anything. Just grateful for what she had. In our world, especially on Black Friday, we are bombarded by thinking we need more of this and more of that. I think we would be better served if we all smashed our stupid cell phones into a million pieces and invested our energy loving our neighbors and offering a helping hand to someone in need. Today, I am especially grateful for my Grandma’s reminder that in life, less is often more. 
 
Truth: “Gratitude turns what we have into enough.” – Aesop
 
Reflection Question: What if you woke up today with only the things you expressed gratitude for yesterday? Would that be enough?
 
I sincerely appreciate you. Enjoy your weekend!

 

Neglect

If you are a parent, you know that child abuse doesn’t require physical or emotional abuse.  More commonly, abuse comes in the form of physical and emotional neglect. No good parent sits their young child in front of Netflix for hours and hours, feeds them trash (Chips, Cookies, Candy, Juice), and wonders why their child can’t self-regulate.  No need to wonder, the answer is self-evident.

The same law of neglect produces the same results for us as adults. It is not that we abuse ourselves with drugs, alcohol, and toxic relationships.  If you are reading this message, you have probably already eliminated all of that self-inflicted abuse from your daily lives… Our own self-abuse primarily comes from our own self-neglect.  

Start Neglecting: 

But neglect isn’t always a bad thing… In fact neglect, when done properly, can be one of the best things. How is that possible? Most things are better off neglected than invested in. When you give something attention, your brain interprets that as significant… But most things are insignificant, and they deserve to be neglected. Almost every major problem in life can be solved by neglecting the bad things and not neglecting the good things.

Examples: 

  • Start neglecting Netflix time and stop neglecting family time.
  • Start neglecting social media reading and stop neglecting book reading.
  • Start neglecting watching sports and stop neglecting playing sports.
  • Start neglecting the unhealthy diet and stop neglecting the nutritious diet.
  • Start neglecting spending money and stop neglecting saving money.  

Reflection Questions:

  • What do you need to start neglecting? 
  • What do you need to stop neglecting? 

Final Truth: Neglect is the problem and it is also the solution. Neglect wisely.

 

Cowardice

coward: a person who lacks the courage to do or endure dangerous or unpleasant things.

DON’T BE A COWARD!

Easier said than done when only a small minority are standing up against injustice and fighting for what they believe. Why so many cowards? Because it requires tremendous discipline and intentionality to build the fortitude necessary to do unpleasant things.  Here’s a playbook for how not to be a coward… 

Step by Step, How Not to Be a Coward:

  • Strong Relationships:  When we cultivate loving relationships, we have people worth fighting for and a team to fight with us.
  • Strong Faith: When we know who we are, why we exist, and what we value – we know which battles are worth fighting.
  • Strong Minds: When we are mentally wealthy and we know how to think, we won’t buy ideas from swindlers or listen to charlatans.
  • Strong Bodies: When we aren’t taking our physical health and wellbeing seriously, why should anyone take us seriously?
  • Strong Bank Accounts: When we are financially free, we can afford to stand against injustices. Get money, keep it, grow it. Cash is leverage.
  • Strong Resumes: When we have a track record of results, we aren’t imprisoned by anyone or anything. We can take our talent wherever we want whenever we want because we will always be in high demand. When our resumes are strong, we have options.  

The Antidote: The antidote to cowardice is strength. You know you are in a position of strength when people can’t manipulate you by using flattery, criticism, and incentives.  When we build strength in each of the above areas, we no longer need to seek validation or approval from anyone.  We will be free to do what is best. 

Reflection Question: In which area do you need to intentionally build more strength? 

 If you made time to read this, I appreciate you.

 

Balloons

A Teacher at a large school gave every student a balloon. The students then had to inflate it, write their name on it, and throw it in the hallway. The Teacher then went into the hallway and mixed all the balloons. 
 
The students were then given five minutes to go and find their own balloon. Despite a frantic search, no one found their balloon.
 
After five minutes of searching, the Teacher told the students to take the first balloon they found and hand it to the person whose name was written on it. Within five minutes, everyone had their own balloon (Source: Story told to me by Brian Willett).
 
Winning is a lot like this. When you wake up and focus on helping yourself win, you’ll probably come up empty.
 
When you wake up and focus on helping others win, you’ll win too.

Reflection Question: What are you doing daily to make sure you are focusing on helping others?


If you made time to read this, I appreciate you. 

-CK

Regrets

 

August 13, A Personal Story:
Exactly 9 years ago today (August 13, 2012) was the worst day of my life.  On the evening of the 13th, my Dad was out on a run at Strawtown Koteewi Park in Noblesville, Indiana.  He had a massive heart attack and moved quickly from this life to the next.  He was 51 years young and we were devastated.  

There are many significant lessons I learned from my Dad, and I’d like to share one that he gave to me when I was about ten years old:
“One day, you are going to grow up, get married, and have kids. Your kids are going to ask you to play with them. Your beautiful wife will ask for your time and attention. Your kids will ask you to watch them do a cartwheel, or watch them make a game winning three-pointer in the basement, or do a flip off of the diving board. Every time someone you love asks for your attention – you give it to them. You will always have excuses. There is always laundry to be done, dishes that need putting away, a yard to be mowed, or bills to be paid.  Those things are far less important than your time with your family and loved ones.  Stop whatever you are doing and give people your time and attention, you’ll never regret it.”

Regrets?
After my Dad passed, I invested quite a bit of time researching how people feel and what people say as they are approaching the end of their lives. The most interesting data I found was around regrets.  Here is a summary of the findings: If you ask those that are on the verge of death what they regret or would have done differently, they generally say that they hold onto more regrets of inaction rather than of action. In other words they say things like: I regret not starting my business, I regret not spending more time with my loved ones, I regret not traveling more with my spouse, I regret not being healthy enough to walk my daughters down the aisle…

I don’t want you to have those regrets, so here is a proactive process to help you minimize your potential future regrets:

  1. Define my potential future regrets. What are the worst scenarios I can imagine? List a few.
  2. What can I do consistently to prevent or decrease the likelihood of these things happening? 
  3. What will I do today to help prevent the problem from happening?
  4. What will it cost me if I do nothing?  If I avoid this action (and others like it), what might my life look like in one year, five years (emotionally, financially, physically, relationally, etc.)? 


Reflection Question (from Jim Rohn): “In life, we must all suffer from one of two pains: the pain of discipline or the pain of regret.  Are you choosing the right pain?”

Have a great weekend! I am thankful for you.

-CK

Inner Circles

Sharing a Milestone: This week, I rediscovered the profound value of my inner circle and I am incredibly grateful to know that some of you are part of that group… Yesterday, I had five-hundred books show up on my doorstep and when I opened the thirteen boxes, all of the books inside had my name on the front.  One of the most rewarding things when something like that happens in your life is having people that are genuinely happy for you.  Thankfully, I have a few of those people and I hope you do, too…

Choosing the right inner circle is paramount… Here’s why:

  1. Encouragement: When you make a hard choice to do something that is best for you, they provide edifying advice and support.  Example: You start on a new exercise plan and they sign up to go to the gym with you before work.
    • Accountability:  When you make a stupid decision, they ask questions to help you self-discover your own degeneracy.  Example: You start to let your unhealthy eating get out of control and they ask you if this pattern is helping you become the best version of you.
    • Mourning: When something bad happens in your life, you can tell them and they are there for you (psychological and emotional support).  Example: Your Dad dies and they call every day to listen with you, cry with you, and are physically available to be with you when needed.
    • Celebration: When you have milestones to celebrate, they celebrate with you. Example: You publish your first book and they take you out to dinner and go with you to get your favorite ice-cream for dessert.

    Questions for Reflection:

    1. Based on the criteria above, do you have the right people in your inner circle? 

    2. Based on the criteria above, are you the right person to be in someone else’s inner circle?

    Action Item:  Create an inner circle of people who truly want the best for you (the people you allow in your inner circle says a lot about the standards you set for your life).

    Please Celebrate With Me:  If you would like to celebrate this milestone with me you can help me by please visiting the Amazon Pre-Order page using the link below.  (You don’t even need to buy a copy to help (if you choose to buy one, I appreciate it). Your “visit” to the pre-order page helps with how many of my books Amazon keeps “in-stock” in the Amazon warehouses across the country.  

    If you are reading this, I appreciate you.  Have a great weekend!

    -CK