April 23, 2012

What Matters Is The Set Of The Sail

Taken, in part, from Jim Rohn...

"The same wind blows on us all...what matters is the set of the sail."

Do you like where you are right now in life? Do you like where you are headed? Do you know where you are headed? Is what you are doing right now going to lead you to where you want to be in a reasonable amount of time? Ever?

These can be hard questions. Or they can be freeing questions. They can be meaningless or mean everything, depending on the person. Like the wind, the same questions are put to us all...and like the sail, it's how we view the questions and what we do in response to them that really defines us -- not only defines our present life situation, but, more importantly, our future. 

The sail sets the direction. Setting the sail says everything about us. And because we can set the sail and because the same wind blows on us all, we can't complain. There are no excuses. Some might sail choppier seas, but we can all go in the direction of our dreams and we can all realize them. 

There are calmer waters to the right and to the left. There is familiarity behind us. The unknown sits far out in front of us. Scary. Risky. Probably rough. Few victories and lots of defeat initially. One thing I ask: if you set your sails to take you right or left, don't complain every year for the rest of your life that you never got to live your dreams. Also, don't tell other people "that's just the way it is" regarding life. That's just the way it is for you. Some people choose to sail into the unknown...and never turn back. They find the lost city. They get to see with their own eyes the land that doesn't exist. They get to live their dreams. 

We all have the wind. Sometimes -- often -- it encourages us to sail towards the calmer or more familiar waters, and so we do. And truth be told, some who sail into the wind lose their ship and some even lose their lives. But I'd rather lose either of those than give up pursuing my biggest dreams. 

So set your sail in the direction you want to go -- in the direction you want to take your family. Don't second guess it. Don't look back. And certainly don't turn back. What separates those who arrive at their dreams from those who don't is simply that once the former set their sail, they never waver. So sail into the unknown. Sail into the storm; I'll see you on the other side! 

April 16, 2012

The Parable of the Sower

Two facts about the story from Matthew 13:
  1. The sower was an ambitious, hard-working person
  2. The seeds were excellent seeds
Three out of four seeds did not grow! The birds stole them, the thorns choked them, and the dry ground wouldn't receive them. 

One out of four seeds did grow! And they produced a hundredfold, some sixty and some thirty. Even for the seeds that did grow, they did not all produce the same amount.

According to Jim Rohn, the secret is that the sower kept on sowing. There aren't enough birds and thorns to steal and choke all of the seeds. On your journey, you are going to have dream stealers and chokers. You are going to have people who are just like the dry ground -- they refuse to listen. But don't go chasing the birds away -- when you do that, then you are just leaving the field! Stay focused. Keep sowing. The harvest will come!

April 9, 2012

The Mountain

Our family spent last week in the mountains of Highlands, NC. One of our favorite things to do is "climb" mountains -- we walk up paths that have been traveled by many before us. 

As I was walking up, sometimes carrying Tallulah, I thought about the many feet that had traveled over the same ground. I wondered what they were thinking when they climbed the same mountain the day before, a year before, 10 years before and even 100 years prior. What worries filled their hearts and minds? What joys? Who did they invite to climb the mountain with them? Maybe they didn't think at all during their climb; maybe they left all of that at the base of the mountain and just climbed -- enjoying the clean air, the colorful leaves, the sound of the creek, and the smell of a fresh new day.

A mountain is a great place to take whatever you have been carrying. Take it to the top of the mountain and set it down as you watch the sun rise over the mountain range. And leave it there. 

It's also a great place to go with those you love most. Not a word needs to be spoken in order to experience something magical. Walking with Annabelle -- my oldest daughter -- we had a number of instances in which we were just holding hands while walking along. 

And it's a great place to be alone. As I was carrying Tallulah going up one of the higher mountains in the region, she was asleep on my shoulder and Yen Ling/other girls were way behind us. I just took a step at a time. I literally watched my foot be placed on each newly covered piece of mountain -- making sure my step was sure since I was carrying my baby girl. I thought: "This is life right here. One step at a time. No second thoughts about what is behind. No concern for what is far ahead. One of my loves in my arms, taking one step at a time." 

And that's what I think life should be about -- that's what my focus should be. One step at a time with what matters most closest to me.