Let’s Start With “Why”

Time to get real. Why do you do the things you do? Take a minute to ponder that question and the responses that come to your head and heart.

Why-blue-2

Some Why Questions

Why did you get up this morning? Why are you reading this blog? Why didn’t you say “Hi” to the person you walked by in the hall? Why did you “comment” on that one Instagram Post? Why did click the “Like” button on that Tik Tok but not that other one? Why did you leave her/him on read on Snapchat for the entire day? Why did you kiss that boy/girl? Why are talking bad about that person or group of people? Why didn’t you give your best effort today? Why did you lie to your friends about what happened last weekend?

Okay, I think you get the picture, the question why should hopefully open our eyes. Depending on how we answer the questions above and many others like it each day we may or may not like what we see. So I return to the initial question I posed, Why do you do the things you do?

In short we can respond by simply saying that’s just who I am. Not a bad place to start but it is time we go a little deeper. To do this we must ask the next obvious question which is who am I and why am I this way? The answers to these questions will be as numerous as there are people in the world but there will be one common thing, our experiences are what shape our lives.

Looking BackLI_1-567x302

Sure, it is much easier for me to say that now when I have had many experiences throughout my life that have shaped me but I wish I would have realized this as a teenager. There is no doubt had I made this connection, I would have been nicer to others, more aware of those in need around me, more respectful to my parents, siblings and friends, not so caught up on who is dating who and why am I single. I would have made sure others felt included all the time. I would have ensured that no one group of students was not so influential on my own decisions. The truth is, I would have made better decisions.

I have felt very strongly that teenagers especially right now need to know that every decision they make has an impact, it will be for good or not so good. That impact will be felt by them and others either directly or indirectly. Having been closely involved with so many teens throughout my life but especially over the past 3 years I can see with all my heart that they are amazing. They have so much potential and talent. They have hearts that are caring. The problem is that many have been influenced by those who do not make the best decisions. They have allowed popularity and clout to fog their sight. For so many they would respond to the question why do I the things I do with a simple, because my friends do it.

For the parents and adults who have influence on teenagers, please let them know how much you love them, care about them and that they are amazing. Do this often.

For the teens who are reading this, you MUST take responsibility now for the decisions you make because they are influencing what you do everyday. Remember, we don’t get to pick the rewards and/or consequences of our decisions, thus we must make it a pattern in our life to make good decisions, even when others don’t.

Be a leader.

Be an example.

BE A HERO!

be a hero

Passion vs Paycheck

Given current economic conditions, it’s no surprise that many people are considering returning to college or a change in careers. AsPassion vs Paycheck some who has spent the past 13 plus years in higher education, I naturally endorse this strategy of looking to return to school or wanting to go into a career you are passionate about. The issue becomes the inability to focus on the right things to achieve ones ultimate goals, doing what they are passionate about. Here are some steps to take to help ensure you chase your Passion not just a Paycheck.

  1. The first thing to do is spend more time thinking about your interests than you do thinking about money. That sounds counter-intuitive  but returning to college or changing your job has to be about more than chasing a paycheck. It’s been said that if you love what you do, you will never work a day in your life. So finding and following your passion is time well spent.
  2. If you are not sure where your passion would take you let alone what it may be, then sit down with pen and paper and make a list: things you like to do in your free time, different talents or skills that come easily to you, people whom you admire, subject areas and classes you enjoyed while growing up, topics you relish reading about and people you prefer to be around. The answers you provide to these questions will sharpen your focus. 
  3. After you have identified a career path that not only uses some of your strengths but one that also engages you in the type of activity and thinking that you most enjoy, meet and interview people currently working in that field. In some cases, they may let you shadow someone in their office. As you evaluate your options, consider both the positive and the less attractive aspects of the desired industry. For instance, if you like helping people, you might be inclined toward healthcare; but think about how you will respond to sick or sad people on a daily basis.
  4. It’s important to determine what you are willing to sacrifice in order to do what you are passionate about. So ask yourself: can I devote the time and energy necessary to be a successful?  Will I set priorities, budget my time and money and impose discipline in my life? Once you have decided what you are willing to sacrifice, time to create your plan.
  5. Don’t let any opportunity slip away where you don’t set goals for yourself. This is especially true as you are looking to make changes in your career future. Your goals should lead you down a path where you are following your passion. The longer you chase a paycheck, the less time you have to do what you really want. Money is important and needs to always be a apart of your formula for success but don’t to get caught up making it the only focus.

As you stay focused and determined, you will achieve the success you truly dream of. It will not be easy and the reality is, it shouldn’t be. You want to feel rewarded and accomplished. This can happen with greater peace, happiness and joy as you are allowing yourself to do what you feel you can do best and are most passionate about.

Now, go make something great happen!

Finding Strength In Times of Adversity

This may be a pretty big assumption but I will make it anyway, we will have times where we will face major adversity in our lives. This adversity will come as a result of losing ones job, death of a family member, financial shortfalls, marriage problems and thousands of others ways. We have also probably all heard that we need to be strong during those times. Well guess what? It’s true.

To make a quick analogy I will put it this way because I am one who actually makes this statement quite often, “if it’s good for you it probably doesn’t test good.” Now, I know this is not 100% true but stay with me on this. Let’s say it does not taste good but it does make you healthier, it does give you energy to exercise, it does provide the right nutrients to help your muscles recover and so on. So what is actually happening is while I am “forcing” myself to eat this healthy food (adversity), I am actually providing much needed strength to my body.

So it finding strength in times of adversity is so critical, how does one go about doing it? Here are some quick ways that have helped me:

  1. Take a step back and see the bigger picture. Too many times when a challenge or trial enters our life we react in ways that can often make things worse. It is crucial to be able to try and see the challenge within a larger picture. This will help provide perspective and can even help you to see that maybe things are not as bad as they have initially appeared.
  2. Be positive. There is a difference between being positive and happy. Being positive means you are focused on seeing the good in things and pushing forward. Being positive means you refuse to sit and talk about all the bad things that led to this specific trial or adversity. Being positive means you put into action a plan to make things better.
  3. Find a go to partner. You will need to talk with someone. This person maybe different based on the type of challenge but be sure you have a trusted person you can speak with. It maybe your wife, a close friend, a past boss, a sibling or your church leaders. The key is, you need to find someone so you do not feel so alone.
  4. Note the lessons learned. Be sure and grab a pen and paper and write down your feelings. Within those writings, be sure and note what you have learned about the adversity you are facing. This can be so helpful as there will be times in the future where you will face a similar challenge or someone you know will. These writings can be key in helping you or them through the situation.

I will be the first to admit that finding strength during times of adversity is actually a lot easier to say than do. However, I have found that there is so much peace, comfort and joy that comes as I apply the four points above. There is nothing wrong when we are faced with adversity, in fact it is a sign we are normal.

As crazy as this may sound, I am thankful for those times in my life when I struggle as it brings me to my knees and reminds me that I am human. It reminds me to swallow my pride and look to others for support. I will always be thankful for those who have been there for me and hope I am someone that others can lean in their times of need. Leaders find way to turn times of challenge into learning and teaching opportunities. Most likely because this is an area where more people can relate unfortunately.

One last thought, as you learn to find strength in times of adversity, you will feel more empowered  When you feel empowered, there are no limits to what you can achieve so do all you can to find that strength so you can feel empowered.

Now, it is time to pump some adversity.

Seth