Archives For September 2013

The Sky Painter

September 20, 2013 — Leave a comment

Image September Sunrise

Sometimes the boldest messages are so easily ignored. Consider the largest billboard of our day. The Sky Painter seeks to inspire, encourage and communicate with his palette of hues and diversity of brush-strokes.

Early risers are often rewarded with a brilliant masterpiece hung in the eastern sky. Every second, the canvas changes with new expressions of light and color. It’s as if the Sky Painter longs to infuse color, beauty and wonder into our day – to remind us that we can echo, that we can propagate this beauty in and through our own work as the day unfolds.

I believe he wants to be among the first impressions on our often busy days. The morning message is clear, but brief – the sky quickly fades – it is as if he is saying, “It’s your turn now – what beauty will you create today?”

And then, as each day closes, the Sky Painter begins again. Sometimes the colors are more pastel – to gently remind us of his presence. As the magnum opus develops in the western sky, it is his best work for that day – never to be repeated. It beckons us to become centered – to release the troubles and challenges of the day. If we look, if we listen, he speaks through his waning canvas to whisper order and transcendent beauty into our soul.

This rhythm of the skies quietly frames our days with bold strokes of color and silver lined edges. We can easily let the tyranny of the urgent arrest our attention. On those days, we trudge and tromp and stomp through the day, unaware of our potential. The Sky Painter offers show-stopping beauty to woo us back from the grind, from the busyness of life, and toward a greater awareness of what is and what could be.

GarminOnBikeBlur

I climbed on my bike this weekend and cranked out a hot, sweaty ride. About six miles out, I looked down at my Garmin bike computer, noted my average miles-per-hour and was pleasantly surprised. I’m having a great day, I thought to myself. A few pedal strokes later, I realized that my performance was not the result of the Cliff bar that I had for breakfast, rather, it was built upon the workouts from earlier in the week, and a pretty consistent month of riding.

Today’s success is always preceded by yesterday’s work.

Tomorrow’s success comes only through today’s efforts.

The principle is thousands of years old.
Line upon line…
Precept upon precept…

This is the essence of John Maxwell’s Law of Process.

Start this week knowing that the success to which you aspire will be built upon the solid foundation of today’s work.

Here’s to a great Monday!

Only at High Altitude

September 12, 2013 — Leave a comment

I stood at the base of the steep hill near our house. I had planned to end my early morning walk with three sprints up the hill. Now, standing at the ‘start line’ I waffled a bit. Then I remembered the flowers. On my hike up Pikes Peak this summer, I was struck with the beauty of some tiny flowers that grew beside the trail as we traversed the last barren couple of miles above tree line. (see photo below)

IMG 2008

We didn’t see this particular type of flowers at the lower elevations. Although we started the hike higher than a mile above sea level, it was not until we were over two miles above sea level that nature offered the beauty of these little flowers. I’m no botanist, but there must be something about the thin, oxygen-depleted air at 11,000 feet and beyond that coaxes these brilliant flowers from the hard, rocky soil.

Had we not reached this altitude, we would have missed these tenacious little flowers. Had we not been intentional about our goal to summit this great peak, and planned accordingly, we would have never reached this altitude.

The parallels to our life in the lowlands are clear. There are delightful experiences and rewards for those who focus on a goal, then design and implement the processes to take them there. The high altitude of the Rockies is not for the faint of heart, and neither is the rigor that leads to success in business and life.

Both have their challenges, and both have their rewards. When you struggle today in your life or work, remember that your intentional efforts to create, build and grow something meaningful will, in time, yield results that are extraordinary.

Neither success nor significance are achieved in the valleys of the ordinary. Ahhhh, but the heights reached through the intentional pursuit of our dreams yield splashes of color. It is only through focused effort that we encounter the unexpected rewards of doing something well and tapping our potential.

Back to the hill – I remembered the unanticipated blessings of reaching the top of Pikes Peak and knew my next move; I sprinted up the hill, and again, and again. Our intentional investment in today will pay dividends in the future.

Establish a goal, plan your route to success, take one step at a time. You’ll be glad you did.

Clowns and Questions

September 5, 2013 — Leave a comment

Bigstock Circus Clown 2572340

Years ago when we lived in Dallas, we took our kids to the circus. We loaded up the car and headed to Reunion Arena, where we had a great time watching “The Greatest Show on Earth”. At certain times during the show, my wife and I noticed that our third-born, Zach, was not enjoying the experience as much as the other children. He seemed particularly focused on the clowns.

After the circus ended, we were walking back to the car when we caught a whiff of some pretty potent elephant dung. We were all talking about the smell when Zach asked a question that will forever live on in Beshear family history. He turned to me and asked “Dad, do clowns poop?” After we stopped laughing and caught our breath, we explained that clowns were simply people dressed up in costumes and painted faces. The question was hilarious, but I think it provides some insight into the area of asking questions.

Asking Questions Requires Courage.

We must become vulnerable in order to ask the best questions. Imagine if my son had simply asked me “Dad, are you afraid of clowns?” I would have waxed eloquent about how clowns are nice and I am not afraid of them. But, such an alternate question and answer exchange would have missed the root cause of Zach’s misunderstanding about the strange fellows called clowns. Likewise, we must exemplify courage to sometimes ask the most basic of questions in order to fully understand a topic or point of view.

Asking questions unlocks the door that is currently prohibiting our growth.

Zach was not going to ever have the correct perspective on clowns if he persisted to believe that they were some sort of other-worldly creatures. Likewise, particular things that we don’t know about our surroundings, work or relationships can effectively keep us locked in a room of misinformation. There are even things that we need to discover about ourselves through self-directed questions that, when answered, will escort us out of our current situation and into the next, more meaningful and rich experience.

Asking questions takes us to a new place of understanding.

Asking questions helps to eliminate fear.

Asking questions requires humility, which is a great position from-which to learn, grow and excel.

The number of questions asked in a group, company or family is directly proportional to the health of the organization. As a leader, are you fostering an atmosphere that encourages questions?

What questions will you ask today?