Saturday, February 21, 2015

The Generous Life

Whether positive or negative, our actions have consequences. Yesterday’s bad choices cause us to spend today repairing the messes we’ve made, whereas the wise choices of the past position us to take advantage of today’s opportunities. (Note the choice equation: Bad choices = equal smaller world and less freedom. Wise choices = equals larger world and more freedom)

Success is based on the seeds you sow, not the harvest you reap. If you sow wisely and diligently, the harvest is automatic. Sow daily in the lives of others, by encouraging and serving and helping, and your investment will compound over time.

This is what most of us think:

Success makes you happy. Happiness permits you to be generous.

In fact, it actually works like this:

Generosity makes you happy. Happy people are more likely to be successful.

It is absolutely clear that God has called you to a free life. Just make sure that you don’t use this freedom as an excuse to do whatever you want to do and destroy your freedom. Rather, use your freedom to serve one another in love; that’s how freedom grows. Galatians 5:13 (The Message)

sources: John Maxwell “Are you busy building sandcastles”, Seth Godin “The Generosity Boomerang”, photo source;

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Go beyond....

Why should any phenomenon be deemed impossible? The universe begins to look more like a great thought than a great machine. -  Physicist, Sir James Jean

I believe we are a "great thought", a great thought of God, created in His image.  We have been given the ability to do great things to go beyond what we can think or imagine…..but there is this voice…..a voice inside telling us to be careful, take it slow, to compromise.

Do you hear it?….this voice saying to focus on the easy things first, do the Twitter update, the Facebook post, another spreadsheet, do another email before you create something valuable.

This voice in our head is responsible for lengthy meetings, mediocre products, the constant rationalization of everything we professionally or personally produce.

Where does this voice come from? It is likely created from a combination of things...teachers, friends, family, books and other things we've consumed.

Our task today (and everyday)…. quiet the voice. Focus on the things we really believe in.

The voice wants to be heard but it’s our choice to listen to it or is time to tune it out, be who God created us to go beyond and change the world.

Stuck is a state of mind, and it’s curable. - Seth Godin

Illustration by Tara Jacoby.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

I HOPE you read this....

 I find myself using the word “hope” frequently.  “I hope you are having a great day”,”I hope your wife is feeling better" , “I hope you and your family have a great vacation”.  It caught my attention today because I was using it in emails as we start the new year, “I hope this year is a great one for you”. 

I don’t know about you but it is easy to get in the habit of using words because it seems to be the right thing to say or it is “what I always say”.  But words matter and I don’t want to gloss over “hope" because it is an easy word to use.  Hope is one of the most powerful and energizing words in the English language. It is something that gives us strength to keep going in the toughest of times. And its power energizes us with excitement and anticipation as we look toward the future.

It’s been said that a person can live forty days without food, four days without water, four minutes without air, but only four seconds without hope. If you want to help people win, then become a purveyor of hope. By John C. Maxwell

Did you get that? Not money or silver or chemicals or rubber or steel or silicon or talk  or even sugary water. What we need is hope.

The magical thing about hope is that it makes everything else work better, every day get better, every project work better, every relationship feel better.

Hope cures cynicism. Hope increases productivity. Hope needs no justification.

Also great news, our God is the God of hope….an unending supply of what we need!  Isaiah 40:31 says this:

but those who hope in the Lord
    will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
    they will run and not grow weary,
    they will walk and not be faint.

So no matter where you are or how difficult or dark it seems…..don’t give up! There is good news…..there is hope!.  It is not just a word I am using to make you or me feel better….it is what we need, powerful and life giving!

Oh! May the God of green hope fill you up with joy, fill you up with peace, so that your believing lives, filled with the life-giving energy of the Holy Spirit, will brim over with hope! Romans 15:13

references: pic:creatonomics blog, seth godin, john maxwell, the Message Bible, NIV Bible

Monday, November 24, 2014


The world of the generous gets larger and larger; the world of the stingy gets smaller and smaller.
The one who blesses others is abundantly blessed;those who help others are helped.

Proverbs 11:24-25 (The Message)

It is always encouraging to see people who have built a life used for generosity.

Why be generous?

Why go out of your way for someone who can't possibly pay you back or even think about getting something for your giving?

This kind of giving creates meaning and momentum and structure and something money, or possessions, or fame can't possibly ever give you….it is a deep satisfaction and happiness that can’t be manufactured. 

It is true wealth, the kind that only comes from connecting to others through real sacrifice

It manifests itself in different forms, sometimes it is giving of your energy, time, knowledge, experience, and yes every once in a while even possessions and money. 

But this is what I know…usually the person or people or organization you are helping are not nearly as blessed as you are for making the sacrifice. 

Wednesday, October 15, 2014


Above all and before all, do this: Get Wisdom!  Write this at the top of your list: Get Understanding! Proverbs 4:7 (The Message)
Don’t ask me why but recently I was reading an article on “analogies”. It was a good article but what really caught my attention was a remarkable story inside this article about how observation led to innovation.  An interesting and true story about the Ford motor company in its early years and how a process from another industry sparked an idea that revolutionized building car engines.

How is a Ford Model T like a dead cow?

By 1913, the Ford Motor Company had a lofty goal of producing two hundred engines per day, but its process remained inefficient, involving workers who fetched parts from multiple bins and moved them around on hand trucks.

One day, Bill Klann, a Ford employee whose colorful resume included working for a streetcar company, a blacksmith, a machine shop, and a shipbuilder, took a trip to a Chicago slaughterhouse. There, he saw a model of industrial butchering efficiency: animal carcasses moved by on overhead trolleys, while a series of butchers performed specialized tasks in sequence as the carcasses advanced. As Klann watched this bloody symphony of movement, he had an analogical epiphany: dismantling something (a carcass) was fundamentally similar to building something (an engine); therefore, adopting a moving assembly line at Ford would increase productivity and reduce costs.

“If they can kill pigs and cows that way, we can build cars that way,” Klann told his boss upon his return.

His boss protested. The differences seemed too pronounced: what could be more different than flesh and machinery? “Here you’ve got something else. You’ve got this and that and pistons and rods,” said his boss.

“It’s the same thing,” insisted Klann.

Klann prevailed, and the moving assembly line wound up a signature of Model T production, exploding productivity and enabling the company to cut the price of the car from $575 to $280. Ford doubled its market share in mere years.

Klann saw through the superficial differences between slaughtering animals and assembling cars. There, at the heart of both processes, lay an underlying structural analogy waiting to be exploited. Seeing Ford’s success, it took little time for almost every other industry to imitate, creating what is estimated to be “trillions of dollars of growth in virtually every industry.

As I have contemplated this story I have thought about how innovation occurs and believe this story highlights one of the keys.  In our human nature we tend to analyze problems with filters that are familiar to us (our work, family, education, region of the world, etc…) but as the story of Bill Klann emphasizes we need to be open to being observant and curious enough to seek solutions outside our normal “box”. 

Here is something I am going to challenge myself and our team to do;  Take time once a month to observe other companies, people, and strategies outside of our industry to see if we can apply and adapt ideas observed to what we do.

Who knows maybe we will come up with a revolutionary idea or simply solve some of our challenging issues.  Either way I think we will broaden our knowledge, gain wisdom, and expand the possibilities for what we do next.

Reference article by David Zax: