May 29, 2012

How Do I Reach The "Tipping Point"?

On average, the "tipping point" can be defined as: the moment that I genuinely make it about helping other people instead of helping myself. 

If you aren't familiar with the concept of a "tipping point", it's the time in the life of a business/product/goal/etc. when the dam breaks and months or years of hard work start really paying off. Imagine dumping buckets of water behind a dam for years and seeing very little results. Then, one day the dam breaks and all the water you built up behind the dam crashes through and fills the river below. That's breakthrough...the tipping point.

A lot of people work really hard to reach that tipping point in whatever they are pursuing. Most never reach it. The reason is because most people stay focused on achieving their goals instead of focusing on achieving other's goals. Jesus told His disciples that the greatest must become the last and the servant of all. If we are last then that means that we think about every other person's needs before our own. And if we serve all, then that means we aren't higher than anyone, anywhere.

When we serve everyone, everywhere we go, then we'll find ourselves on the path to our "tipping point"...without fail, before you know it, you will start experiencing great success -- your biggest goals will start becoming your reality. 

For me, this is something I'm working on and learning about every day. It's been hard at times to shift my focus from driving hard toward my goal to focusing on helping other people achieve their goals. Why? Because I've always believed that if I want something bad enough and work hard enough, then I can achieve it. What I've learned is that wanting and working aren't enough; my heart -- my "why" -- also has to be in the right place. 

Here's another key I'm learning: serving others doesn't mean helping them reach the goals you want for them! You might feel like you know what someone else needs or what they would enjoy or what would be best for them, but until that becomes their goal then you aren't helping them. The first step to helping others is to listen -- learn what goals they have. 

Jesus didn't say that the greatest will be the "teacher" of all or the "motivator" of all or the "leader" of all or the "advisor" of all or the "know it all". He said the greatest will be the "servant" of all. So with that, I'm going to go put it into practice one step at a time!

May 24, 2012

I am Jennifer Holliday

I am Jennifer Holliday. 

And so are you.

Last night Jennifer Holliday sang "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going" on the American Idol finale. The YouTube video is below. The #1 thing I thought about as I watched this performance over and over was this: Jennifer Holliday's greatness. On a 1-10 scale, she's an 11. Out of the millions of singers in the world, she's at the top. And she knows it. If singing can be conquered, she's done so many times over. If singing were a mountain, then she has climbed it; and if it were an ocean, then she has gone to the deepest part and set up residence. Man walked on the moon, but that doesn't compare to Jennifer Holliday slaying this song -- reaching into her soul, pulling everything out, laying it all before us, and willing us to do the same.

Look. Look inside of yourself to the deepest place. I know what you'll find. Greatness. I know what you'll find. Jennifer Holliday's voice, soul, spirit. Who told you that you aren't an 11 on a 1-10 scale? Who told you that out of the millions, you aren't the very best? When did you start believing that there isn't much to believe in? Who told you the mountain cannot be climbed or the ocean depths cannot be explored? 

Jennifer Holliday looks at the mountain and laughs. She talks to greatness and tells it what to do. She walks onto a stage and she knows who she is and what she does. She is the tallest, most deeply, richly-colored flower you have ever seen opening her petals to release a fire of greatness that touches everyone within range with waves of emotion, belief, power, truth, and revelation. And she knows it. She knows she is breathing greatness and, in her own way, she is calling everyone who hears her to their own greatness.

When you pull greatness out of yourself, then you invariably call greatness out of others. Here's the two-part secret to your greatness:
  1. You were born with greatness inside you.
  2. It doesn't come out unless you pull it out.
There are two reasons we don't pull our greatness out of ourselves:
  1. It's a hard, long road.
  2. It scares us.
#2 is the biggest reason, by far. We don't believe we have it within ourselves. It's not that we don't want it. Don't tell me that. It's exactly what Marianne Williamson says:

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

So go climb your mountain, swim to the deepest part of your ocean, stare down the enemies inside you and pull out your greatness. Sing your song, dance your dance, LIVE YOUR LIFE.

Particularly, from 1:44 to 1:58 you can see Ms. Holliday stare greatness in the eyes and own it. 

When you listen to the song, think about the words as if they are being sung to YOUR DREAM, YOUR GREATNESS. 

"And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going"
And I am telling you
I'm not going
You're the best man I'll ever know

There's no way I can ever go
No, no, there's no way
No, no, no, no way I'm living without you
I'm not living without you
I don't wanna be free
I'm staying
I'm staying
And you, and you
You're gonna love me, oh ooh mm mm
You're gonna love me

And I am telling you
I'm not going
Even though the rough times are showing
There's just no way, there's no way
We're part of the same place
We're part of the same time
We both share the same blood
We both have the same mind

And time and time, we've had so much to see and
No, no, no, no, no, no way
I'm not waking up tomorrow morning and finding that there's nobody there

Darling there's no way
No, no, no, no way I'm living without you
I'm not living without you
You see there's just no way, there's no way

Please don't go away from me
Stay with me stay with me
Stay, stay and hold me
Stay, stay and hold me

Please stay and hold me, Mr. Man,
Try it mister, try it mister
I know, I know, I know you can

Tear down the mountains
Yell, scream and shout like you can say what you want
I'm not walking out
Stop all the rivers, push, strike and kill
I'm not gonna leave you
There's no way I will

And I am telling you
I'm not going
You're the best man I'll ever know
There's no way I could ever, ever go
No, no, no, no way
No, no, no, no way I'm living without you
Oh, I'm not living without you,
Not living without you
I don't wanna be free
I'm staying, I'm staying
And you, and you, and you
You're gonna love me

You're gonna love me, yes you are
Ooh ooh love me, ooh ooh ooh love me
Love me, love me, love me, love me

You're gonna love me

May 21, 2012

Internal Conflict Is Good

Complacency is a result of being satisfied with our current situation. If we want to achieve our dreams, we have to have crystal clear visions of our destination set in our minds that are vastly different from our current situations. When there is a significant difference between our current reality and our dream, then that creates conflict -- we aren't where we want to be. And that conflict is good because it makes us uncomfortable -- we want to do something about it. Without a significant conflict between reality and dream, then we won't make the decisions and take the actions necessary to settle that conflict. So we want to create conflict so that we will get tenacious and creative enough to get rid of the conflict. The key is how do we get rid of the conflict? We will either give up the dream for the reality or we give up the reality for the dream so that there is no longer a significant gap between dream and reality -- no longer a big yearning in us to change our current situation. In order to achieve our dreams, we have to focus on holding onto a crystal clear dream and changing the reality, instead of giving up the dream to settle for reality.

Why would we give up a dream for reality? Because moving from where we are at right now to where we want to be is uncomfortable, risky, and painful. It's not easy. 

Why would we give up reality for a dream? Because we realize that we can have the dream -- it's possible for the dream to become our reality -- if we'll just make decisions every day to push through the challenges to get there.

So a few questions to ask ourselves:
  • How is my life working?
  • Am I satisfied with where I'm at? If I never move significantly beyond this point, will I be OK with that?
  • What is my dream? How clear is my dream? Is it big enough and clear enough to cause me to act outside of my comfort zone?
  • What is the bigger fear in my life: pursuing the dream? Or living my current reality forever?
  • What do I believe? Do I believe that I can -- that I will -- achieve the dream? 
Go for it!

May 14, 2012

Dream Chaser or Dream Catcher?

Don't wish it were easier; wish you were better.

168 hours in one week. How many of those hours to we spend wishing life was easier? How many hours do we waste wondering why something didn't go the way we had hoped?  

Life is what it is. The day is what it is. You can't determine what happens to you. You can't pull the strings necessary to ensure that life meets your expectations. The ONLY thing you can do anything about is YOU. 

Don't wish it were easier; wish you were better.

Life is a game. The game is won or lost in our minds. The opposing team wants us to believe the game is won or lost outside of our minds -- in the tangible world: lose a job, can't stand the boss, dear friend gets awful disease, stock price drops significantly, don't get picked for the role, company is in chaos, marriage is on the rocks, promises broken, facing the unknown, regretting the past, harsh words, misunderstandings, bad weather, someone lies, can't find the answer, frustrated and confused. Guess what? None of those events determine the outcome of the game. Only you have the power to determine the outcome of the game.

Do those life events hurt? Yes. Do they weaken us? Often, yes, but they can also strengthen us. They certainly change us. They can mold us into better people or mold us into defeated people. You get to decide. 

The difference between a "Dream Chaser" and a "Dream Catcher" is that the Dream Catcher doesn't wish it were easier, the Dream Catcher wishes she were better. The Dream Catcher doesn't allow the challenges and pain and unmet expectations to slow her down; instead she uses them to make herself better. The Dream Catcher knows that challenges and disappointments are inevitable, and she launches off of those to move closer to her dream. All that happens in her life takes her a step closer to achieving her goals. There aren't setbacks, just opportunities to learn and be better. 

May 7, 2012

Dream Bigger Than Your Problems

Bill Johnson: Faith doesn't deny a problem's existence. It denies it a place of influence.

As we pursue our dreams, problems will come. Problems can't be avoided and they don't play favorites. 

The people who realize their dreams are people with great faith. You have to believe in what you cannot see in order to keep on going. Every day, you have to believe in the possibility that around the next corner could be the person or event or thing that you have been waiting on for so long. We have to wake up every day and say: "It could be today. It could happen to me!"

Problems have one goal = to stop us from pursuing our dreams. It's our faith that allows us to continue the pursuit even though the problem would have us believe the dream is impossible to reach. At the core, what we are believing is that the pursuit is good, that it is worth the effort. 

When our dreams are bigger than our problems, then our problems can't stop us from achieving our dreams.

Dream Catchers Are Overcomers!

I spent the weekend at Souly Business -- -- serving in the kitchen non-stop: washing dishes, cutting produce, mopping floors, pulling pork, making banana pudding, etc. My schedule:
  • Friday: Left house in Atlanta at 6:45AM. Started work at 10:30AM. Left the kitchen for the bunk in my cabin at 11PM. 
  • Saturday: Woke up at 4:30AM to make breakfast for 150 men. Worked till 4PM. One hour break. Then worked from 5 to 11PM.
  • Sunday: Woke up at 4:30AM. Worked till 12:30PM.
We've all served others and know how good it feels to do so. I share this specific experience with you because it was so intense and exhausting...and the more challenging it became, the more valuable the experience was for me. 

You might have heard the phrase "What doesn't kill you will make you stronger." That's not a fact, that's a opportunity. Difficulties can make us better. Therefore, difficulties can be the reason we succeed. 

When we are pursuing our dreams, difficulties will come. The wise dream chaser will exercise her "overcome" muscle so that when she gets punched in the face, she doesn't get knocked out. Instead, she shakes it off, gets back up, learns from the pain, and continues the chase. 

So sign up for a half marathon (running my first on December 1 of this year!), go serve at a retreat, challenge yourself in some way. Dream catchers are great overcomers!