Thursday, October 27, 2011

Becoming Your Own Champion

What makes a champion a champion? We’ve all seen the sports world with the winning person/team. The winning Olympic Champion(s) stand on the podium and receive their medal and see their nation’s flag and hear their national anthem. Race drivers drink milk. Football teams hold up a trophy. Baseball teams run out on the mound and pound each other on the back.

Olympic Medal Stand
Michael Steele/Allsport/Getty Images

That one moment in many instances takes a life time to achieve. It is no accident they are standing on that podium. Pick your favorite winner. What did they do to get their? There is a common thread through all of these champions.

Dedication and hard work. And the main ingredient? A vision, a goal.
Goals are the tools of champions. I’ve also heard it said that champions are willing to do those things others are not willing to do.

So there are big goals and smaller goals. Long range goals need short term goals. Goals are the tools you need to master your life.

Alan Lakein put it this way, “Time = Life. Therefore, waste your time and waste your life, or master your time and master your life.”

I’ll state the obvious: writers want to publish a book. A runner wants to win a marathon. A business owner wants to grow during an economic downturn. How is it done?

By looking at where you want to be and taking stock of where you are. You can’t publish a book, if it isn’t written. You can’t in a marathon if you sit on the sofa eating potato chips while watching TV. The business does not run itself; the owner has to have a vision and a good work ethic.

So goals look like this.

I have a published book (October 2013) – The goal.

I have an agent (October 2012) – Mid range goal.

I have a winning query letter (June 2012)

I have a fantastic synopsis (June 2012)

I have a final draft (May 2012)

I will write x of words today – daily goal.

I have a fantastic outline, or a great idea, I know my characters. Etc.
It is a long process, but one many writers have taken, and have agreed was well worth pursuing.

Writing is a slow process. A solo process. A lonely process. Once the book is out there and is selling you’ve won. However, unlike the sports folks, you won’t stand on a podium and receive a medal amongst all the fanfare. But the feeling will be the same.

So manage your time. Set goals and work towards them. When that happens this formula will work for you: Time = Life. Therefore, waste your time and waste your life, or master your time and master your life. Become the champion you wish to become.

What goals do you need to set? Where are you in your publishing journey? What are you doing daily to reach your goal?

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Chapter One: Silverflame

I've thought about this for some time. I've decided that I will post my first chapter. The book is in the midst of another rewrite, but I want to share.

So here is chapter one. The current title is Seven Silver Swords: Heirs to the Throne. That may change as I work through all of this, but for now that is what I am using.

So here is my first chapter. Comments welcome.




Sparks flew as the hammer struck the glowing metal. The hammer rang again. Torches flickered on the cavern wall casting dancing shadows in the dim light. The forge’s fire crackled and roared. Steel glowed red.

The hammer sang. The smith’s strong arm raised the hammer yet again, perspiration dripped from his bulging muscles. His bald head glistened with sweat. His bare chest and back gleamed in the red light of the forging fires and the heat they generated. He swung mightily and again the metal clanked as it was wrought in the smoke filled cavern.

Kroft stood against a wall watching the Mastersmith work. The figure leaned on his staff, his interest riveted on the workings of the sword. The fate of the kingdom rested this sword. He was waiting for the moment in the reforging when his talents would be melded with those of the Mastersmith. But there was to be a third member here, someone who also had a part in this. The question that was on the cloaked figure’s mind was – where is Prince Edwind?

# # #

Edwind rode to where Kroft had instructed him to come and dismounted. He could hear the sounds of hammer strokes from the cave. What was being forged in the middle of the night? He wondered why Kroft wanted him at the Mastersmith’s cavern at such an unusual hour.

The cave opening was not overly large, but he didn’t need to stoop to enter. His slight frame allowed for that. The aroma of the pines was replaced with the odor of wood smoke and hot metal. The slight breeze as it whispered in the pines was drowned out with the sounds of the crackling forger’s fire and the pounding of the hammer. The fire’s glow illuminated the Mastersmith as he raised his hammer. Edwind watched as the hammer came down and struck the glowing metal. The dull clank of the blow filled the chamber. It was hot. Edwind almost turned around and went back outside where the night air was cooler. Already beads of perspiration were forming on his forehead, and he could feel sweat begin to trickle down the small of his back. Edwind saw Kroft standing by the torches. How could the wizard tolerate the hot cavern? Shaking his head in disbelief, Edwind crossed the dirt floor stirring up soot as he went. Kroft nodded a silent greeting and returned his gaze to the Mastersmith. Edwind turned to regard what the smith was doing. A silver blade shone in the lights from the torches and forging fire.

Edwind turned to wizard Kroft and asked, “Isn’t that Silverflame?”

Kroft nodded as he leaned heavily on his staff. He looked tired to Edwind. Kroft watched the smith intently. Edwind returned his attention to the Mastersmith and watched as the craftsman poured his very being into the weapon. Clad only in loincloth, he was sweating from both the heat of the fire and his own exertions. The Mastersmith stopped swinging the hammer, picked up the sword, and inspected his work. The dim torch light reflected off the silver blade.

“Why is he doing that?” Edwind whispered to the wizard.

“I’m adding a spell to the blade,” Kroft replied. “I need the double full moons for that.”

Kroft was the master of magic, and if he needed the blade reforged on a night of double full moons then Edwind couldn’t question that either. What he did want to question was why.

“Doesn’t Silverflame already have spells?” he ventured.

Together they watched as the smith placed the sword on his anvil again and took up his hammer to work the edge of the blade.

“Silverflame already has a powerful arsenal of spells woven into it, such as a spell to strengthen the wielder’s arms and thus deliver a more powerful sword thrust or blow.

“There is also a spell to help the wielder be aware of the location of danger, a sixth sense if you will. You hear a sound and know from which direction the sound comes. Silverflame works the same way. In a sense the sword ‘hears danger’ and warns its wielder.”

“What other magic does the sword need then? It sounds as if Silverflame already enhances the talents of the wielder,” Edwind wondered aloud.

The Mastersmith stopped pounding on the metal. The red glow was gone, and he made no move to return the weapon to the forging fires. He was closely inspecting his craftsmanship. Satisfied with the result of his night’s labor, he motioned for Kroft to inspect the sword.

“Excuse me a moment.”

Before Edwind could reply, Kroft began to walk away. His footfalls were muffled by the slag and soot on the blackened dirt floor. Small dust clouds puffed as he stepped towards the Mastersmith. Now that the hammer strokes had ceased, Edwind could hear the gurgle and babble of a brook as it flowed over pebbles as it followed its bed across the cavern before joining with the stream outside.

Kroft didn’t reach for the proffered sword. Instead, he motioned for the Smith and Edwind to follow him outside. Together they walked towards the cave opening. The burly smith had to duck as he exited the cave. Edwind eagerly stepped to the opening, anxious to be out of the suffocating, sulfurous heat of the cave and out in the cool night air.

Once outside, Kroft lead them towards the pine trees. The layers of pine needles on the ground muffled their footsteps. The murmur of the brook faded as they walked deeper into the trees. Edwind glanced up and saw Bidol directly overhead and Neada, the smaller of the two moons, lining up to be directly under the larger moon. Kroft strode into a stone ringed clearing and stopped in the center of the moonlit area. The smith handed the mighty sword to the wizard hilt first. Kroft grasped the jeweled hilt of the great two-handed broadsword with both hands, raised the sword over his head, and pointed the tip at the moons.

Edwind tried to recall if double full moons were supposed to increase magical properties. He watched as Kroft tilted his face towards the moons his dark hair a contrast to the pale light of the moons. Edwind strained to hear the words, but all he could hear was the rhythm of Kroft’s chant. Kroft begin to weave the words of his spell like a tapestry on a loom. The pines whispered in the breeze adding a counterpoint to the rhythm of the wizard’s words. The wizard’s spell rose to a crescendo as he intoned, “Silverflame, sword of the Just King!”

It was finished.

The clearing was silent. No sounds of scurrying small rodents in the underbrush. The sentinel pines stood silently watching the trio. A cloud skirted across the face of Neada. Edwind felt a chill run up his spine.

Kroft turned and handed the sword back to the Mastersmith. As the sword passed from the wizard back to the muscled smith a blue arc jumped from both pairs of hands to the hilt of the sword. The larger callused hands grasped the hilt of the sword below the smooth hands of the wizard. Before Kroft relinquished the sword back to the smith, a fire swept down the sword's blade – a silver fire that lit the entire night sky with its intensity.

Just as suddenly as the fire appeared, it flashed out. Edwind blinked and waited for his eyes to readjust to the darkness. As the afterimage faded, he noticed a silver tint on the blade which did not dim in its intensity nor leave the fine edges. Kroft’s spell must have added the edge to the new blade since the smith couldn’t have honed the blade just yet.

Silverflame was ready to do its task – to root out an evil that was growing all too strong in the land. The spell was now a part of the mighty blade.

Kroft and the Mastersmith both turned to face Edwind. Wordlessly the smith presented the blade to Edwind. Reverently, Edwind grasped the hilt and lifted the sword from the gnarled hands of the powerful smith. Looking at the smith, then at the wizard Edwind asked, “What is going on? Why have you done this to Silverflame?”

“The Pretender has had a spell woven around him to protect him from all weapons. Silverflame has just been imbued to nullify that spell,” Kroft explained. “All spells can be countered. Silverflame has a counter spell to allow Peregrine to kill Taun, the Pretender, when they fight.”

“When will they fight?” Edwind asked.

“Just as soon as you take the sword to him. Peregrine is waiting for you near Whisper Lake. He will then challenge the Pretender to a duel.”

“Will the Pretender fight Peregrine?” Edwind questioned.

“Pride is a strange thing,” Kroft explained, “The thought that the King’s champion is willing to fight him combined with his arrogant assumption that the spell woven around him will protect him should cause him to fall. The Pretender is also massing his troops near Whisper Lake. Now is the time to end this.”

Edwind pondered that for a moment and smiled at the idea of riding with Silverflame strapped to his back. He nodded in anticipation and placed the great sword in the sheath designed to keep the edge on the blade. He strapped the large sword to his back, fighting with it for a moment to ride comfortably, and turned to go.

“Go directly to Whisper Lake. Don’t go anywhere else. Peregrine is waiting for you there. Taun wants this sword; he is afraid of it. You ride in secret, no one knows what you have and what you are doing. You are the prince, no one here will notice you riding out, you ride a lot, so this won’t draw any attention.”

“So Peregrine is expecting me?” The prince asked.

Kroft nodded, “Take care, and may the wind be with you on all your journeys.”
“It is time to put an end to the Pretender’s bid for the throne of Rea. I’ll deliver the sword to Peregrine at Whisper Lake.” With Silverflame on his back, he felt as if nothing could stop him. He walked carefully through the trees as footing was treacherous. Double full moons casting double shadows made it hard to tell where low spots were in the ground.

Edwind mounted his horse and nodded to Kroft and the smith and turned his horse and rode away. He rode over the rise and saw Rachel sitting astride her horse. Edwind rode up and stopped a few paces from her.

“What are you doing here?” He questioned.

“Your excuse for not being in the castle was lame, you don’t lie very convincingly.”
“That still doesn’t answer my question,” Edwind persisted.

“We’ve done a lot together, so sneaking off in the middle of the night made me curious, so I followed you. What is going on?” She countered.

“I’m to take Silverflame to Peregrine.”

“We are leaving tonight?” She asked.

“I’m leaving tonight. I’m riding in secret.”

“No, you are not. I noticed, others will too.”

“I ride often,” Edwind pointed out.

“We ride often; with us both gone suspicions of your departure will be lessened.”

Edwind knew she had a valid point. He also knew he would enjoy her company. He always enjoyed her company so he capitulated the point saying, “Your father won’t approve.”

“That hasn’t stopped us before.”

“Yes, but,” Edwind began.

“But what?”

“But we’ve never gone anywhere dangerous. We will be riding to Whisper Lake, the part of the kingdom that the Pretender claims to be his kingdom. If we are caught –”

“We won’t be caught,” she interrupted. “Besides, riding the horses together will be fun. I want to help, and I can take care of myself, Your Highness,” Rachel argued back.

“Well, I wouldn’t want to go anywhere without you anyway,” he said. “Shall we ride?”

“I thought this you’d never ask.”

“This trip will be dangerous, but danger is best met with a friend at your side.”
Rachel thought about that for a moment and nodded. “Life is best met with a friend
at your side. Let’s ride!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Business of Writing

This is a new aspect of my blog. As a writer I’ve a lot to learn. I’m busy rewriting my story, making the 1st book in my trilogy a standalone story. I see so many talented writers out here, and the friends I’ve made on Twitter, AQC and in the blog sphere have taught me how much I don’t know about writing. So I’ve hesitated on blogging about writing.

I can however give pointers about business. I am a business man. I have a BS in business. I’ve written many business proposals, and have dealt with bottom line for years. So I think I can give some business advice and blog about those points from time to time. I’m not going to put it in my blog schedule as to every Tuesday will be business things, but I will post at least once a month on some aspect of the business end of writing. So here is the debut blog post:

The Business of Writing

Writing is an interesting world. There is so much to write about. The only thing stopping anyone is their imagination.

Writing is an art. Writing is…

This last spring there was a meme out. Writing is NOT like a box of chocolate. Those who were tagged on the meme were asked to compare writing to something. There were a lot of great blog posts on that. So writing is like, and run with it. They are all correct. Writing is freedom. Writing is sharing.

Writing is aggravating.

Bottom line writing is a business. Publishers want to make money. Editors, and agents are looking for the next great story. We writers all feel that our story is the next great American novel. But, alas, most of the time that is not the case.

We may have a great book. But the editor/publisher/agent wants to make changes. Word count is too low/big. The book needs a rewrite, or that scene needs to be cut, or beefed up. All these people interfering with our vision!

Right side of the brain is so creative. Business is on the left side. All practical and number crunching. I’ve heard so many writers bemoan having to write a query. In fact there are a lot of places to go for the query help. It seems so unfair that such a great story has to be pitched with 300 words or less. That is the business aspect of selling you manuscript.

So deal with it. Creative is great. Being an artist is fantastic. Once the art and creative is complete, it has to be submitted to the cold cruel world of business and marketing. The story has to sell. Bottom line is the bottom line. Will it make money? It may be a great story, but if it won’t appeal to the masses and won’t sell, an agent/editor/publisher will not pick it up.

Unfortunately we as writers have to deal with a lot of rejections. Research and understanding the market forces will go a long way in helping to cut down on some of those rejections.

What do you need to research and understand to make yourself more marketable?

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Thursday’s Time Tip –Sometimes you need to say no.

Priority lists, calendars, multitasking, timers, routines. The lists go on, and the ideas are many. Lots and lots of advice on how to be more productive, get more done, do more with less time.

People trying to get so much done with all their new gadgets and tools available to them, everyone trying to squeeze out just a little more productivity. I know I do. I have a lot of demands on my time and there just doesn’t seem to be enough hours in the day to get everything done that I want to do.

My dad once said that I was trying to get 10 lbs of potatoes in a five pound bag.
There is a very simple solution to all of this. Say no.

Yep, that’s it. Sometimes you just have to say no to some things. I took a project to my secretary one day; I asked her if she could get it done for me. She asked me what project I didn’t want her to do. She laid out all the things we had going on and where she was on each of them. Was this project I was bringing to her more important than what she had on her plate?

No. It wasn’t. So I didn’t give it to her. But she taught me a lesson. Keep track of what is important. You cannot do it all. Sometimes you have to stop and take stock of what is going on and sometimes something that is good, and you would love to do it has to be turned down. It isn’t always easy, but to salvage your sanity, you need to learn to say no once in a while.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Dr. Alan Zimmerman's Tuesday's Tip on Happiness

I'm going to share something here, it is from Dr Alan Zimmerman, and it is re-posted here with his permission.

"Happiness is a present attitude -- not a future condition."

Hugh Prather, author

It's a fairly common practice to survey employees and survey the general population. Employees are asked what they want from their companies. And the general population is asked what they want out of life. In both cases, the vast majority says they just want to be "happy."

Now "happy" sounds like a simple-enough demand, but in both cases, there's a flaw in the survey question. The question tends to imply that it's the company's job to "make" their employees happy, and everybody has a right to expect life to "make" them happy.

Unfortunately, no company can ever do that, and neither can life itself. Happiness is not something somebody else can give you. It's the result of the choices YOU make.

If you want to be happy, you need to make these choices.

Choice #1: Discover what interests you.

John D. Rockefeller, industrialist and philanthropist, said, "The road to happiness lies in two simple principles." The first one, he went on to say, was to "find out what it is that interests you and that you can do well."

And some people never take the time to figure that out. They spend their whole life whining, "I'm not sure what I like" or "I don't know what I want to do when I grow up." They're the ones who finish life in a state of bitterness.

Take time to discover what interests you.

Choice #2: Pursue excellence.

You could choose to do "just enough to get by." You could choose to do the "bare minimum." And you could choose to do work that is "good enough." But you'll never find happiness in those choices.

You must choose to live with passion and work with passion. You must choose to pursue excellence. As Rockefeller said, "The road to happiness lies in two simple principles." The first one was discovering what interests you. And once you've discovered that, the second principle, according to Rockefeller, is to "put your whole soul into it -- every bit of energy and ambition and natural ability you have."

Pearl S. Buck, the American author and missionary, echoed his conclusion. She wrote, "The secret of joy in work is contained in one word -- excellence. To know how to do something well is to enjoy it."

Unfortunately, some misguided fools think happiness is found in leisure or is found in doing nothing. They'll even say, "When I retire, I'm just going to sit back and do nothing. No more work for me."

Years ago, Napoleon Hill, the leading researcher on success, debunked that myth. He said "Happiness is found in doing." It is not found in layed-back laziness.

And most recently, Dr. Dan Baker spent several years poring over hundreds of studies on happiness. In his book, "What Happy People Know," Baker concluded, "Leisure is one of those luxuries that's best in small portions. When it's all there is to life, it's as boring as being locked in jail."

Choice #3: Take pleasure in the little things.

One of the most fascinating studies done on achieving wealth without work was a study of lottery winners by Dr. Ronnie Janoff-Bulman and her colleagues. They compared 22 winners of major lotteries to 22 average people and 29 victims of sudden paralysis. The lottery winners had a temporary high but soon found themselves NO happier than the control group of average people. In fact, they even lost the joy that came from the small pleasures in life.

They also found that the paralysis victims ... once they got over the shock of their illness or injury ... were not as unhappy as might be expected. They had a greater capacity for enjoying the little things in life than the lottery winners. And the real shocker ... the paralyzed victims were more optimistic about their future happiness than the lottery winners.

As I say in my program on "Take This Job and Love It! Managing Stress, Preventing Burnout, and Balancing Life ... On and Off the Job," count your blessings. Don't measure wealth by the things you have, but by the things you have for which you would not take money.

That statement became especially real for me this summer. I hiked to the top of a mountain in Utah, fell off, and slid 200 yards down a glacier at lightning speed. I could have died. But the whole ordeal taught me that happiness is not always found on the mountaintops of life. Happiness is more often found in the little things of life.

Choice #4: Focus on the positive.

As Anonymous wrote, "Every life has its dark and cheerful hours. Happiness comes from choosing which to remember."

Along similar lines, in my "Journey to the Extraordinary" program, I teach the participants how to use the "positive but" to ensure their happiness. I ask them to take a piece of paper, draw a line down the middle, write the word "Problems" across the top of the left column, and write the word "Blessings" across the top of the right column. I ask them to list all their problems, but for each problem they list they must write down a counteracting blessing.

One participant wrote this: "I lost my husband recently, BUT I still have my children. I lost a lot of money when my stocks dropped drastically, BUT I have my house which is paid for. I lost a lot of my hearing, BUT I can still see very well to read. My son moved out of town, BUT he still calls me three times every week."

Do you see the point? She could have focused on the left-hand side of her paper. She could have focused on her problems and could have been miserable. By choosing to focus on the right-hand side of her paper, by choosing to focus on her blessings, she was intensely happy. You need to make the same choice if you want to be happy.

Choice #5: Explore the wonders around you ... without neglecting the things closest to you.

It's the lesson Paul Coelho wrote about in "Ode" magazine when he wrote "All The Marvels of the World." He wrote about a boy who set off on a quest to discover the meaning of happiness. He trekked 40 days through a forest until he reached the mountain fortress of a wise man. When he entered the compound, he saw the wise man sitting on a throne in a great hall offering counsel to many visitors. After waiting several hours, the boy finally stood at the wise man's feet and pronounced, "I am here to learn the secret of happiness."

"Unfortunately," said the wise man, "I cannot explain that to you at this moment. But do this for me: Take a tour of my palace. Do not hurry yourself." The wise man then handed the boy a teaspoon and placed two drops of oil in it. "And take this with you, but don't spill any of it."

The boy obeyed and began to tour the rooms and grounds of the estate. He walked slowly and focused all his concentration on the oil in the spoon. After two hours, he returned to the grand hall.

This time the wise man approached him. "So, did you explore my library? What did you think of the tapestries hanging in the dining hall? Were the fragrances and textures of the garden to your liking? It took 10 years to complete, you know."

The boy shook his head. He admitted that he had been so preoccupied with the spoon, he'd overlooked the palace treasures. "Then you must go off again and have a better look at all the wonderful features of my home," said the wise man.

And so the boy did. This time he focused more of his attention on the objects in the house and less on the spoon. After many hours, he returned to the wise man and told him about the many things he'd experienced while touring the estate. But the wise man interrupted, "Where are the two drops of oil that I gave you?"

The boy looked at the empty spoon and reddened in embarrassment.

The wise man placed a firm hand on the boy's shoulder. "You want to know the secret of happiness?"

"Yes," said the boy.

"It is simple," said the wise man. "Happiness is being able to explore and appreciate the many wonders of the world without forgetting or neglecting the things that are nearest to you."

Take a moment to apply this choice to yourself. Are you noticing, enjoying and appreciating the wonders of the world around you? Or are you too busy to stop and smell the roses? And are you taking time to savor the things and people closest to you? Or do you wait until you get around to it?

Choice #6: Make somebody else happy.

You see ... unhappy people focus on themselves. They think happiness is all about me, me, me ... doing what I want and getting what I want. But every religion and every spiritual philosophy teaches just the opposite. You find happiness by helping somebody else find it.

As the 20th century military general Peyton Conway March put it, "There is a wonderful law of nature that the three things we crave most in life ... happiness, freedom, and peace of mind ... are always attained by giving them to someone else."

You can be happy ... IF you make these six choices. The results will be good for you, good for your relationships, good for your company, and good for your customers. As Google co-founder Larry Page points out, "It's common sense: Happy people are more productive."

One final caution: Happiness is great, but there's nothing wrong with a little unhappiness. In a survey reported in "Business Week" magazine, survey participants rated themselves 1-10 in life satisfaction, with 10 being the most satisfied. Those giving themselves 10's generally achieved and earned less than those who gave themselves 8's. The researchers concluded that a little discontent can give you an edge when it comes to recognizing problems and overcoming them.


How will you CHOOSE to be happy? Which of these 6 choices are you willing to make ... starting today?

©2011 Reprinted with permission from Dr. Alan Zimmerman, a full-time professional speaker who specializes in attitude, motivation, and leadership programs that pay off.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Guest post

Pop over to Joyce Alton's blog: Yesternight's Voyage for my guest post on friendship.

Joyce asked me to do a guest blog, and of course I told her yes. Check it out.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Finding Balance

One of my favorite movies is The Karate Kid, the 1984 original with Pat Morita as Mr. Miyagi. The part that I really liked and hit a resonance with me was near the end when Daniel Larusso is hurt and asks his sansei to “do that thing” with his hands to help him get back into the competition. Mr. Miyagi tells Daniel there is no need, but Daniel tells him he needs to get his balance.

Balance in life. That is a tough one. I struggle with balance right now. My current employment demands a lot of my time and attention. I have children at home, a married son, a wife, and a lot of things I want to do. Work/Life balance is a challenge. So as I build the schedule for the week, and look at what homelife demands are I ask myself this one question: What matters most?

By looking at what matters most it helps me to make decisions on where I need to be. By looking at my priorities, my values the decisions on where I need to be and when become clearer. I do my job. I will be doing the job. Yet I can delegate things to some subordinates and be able to be with the family when that is the most important event.

Next week we’ll look at setting priorities in your life. Looking at what your values are it helps to set priorities and helps you to be able to get that balance in your life. I’ve been out of balance for some time, but I am slowly working at training my assistance to be better, working on my crew to be better. By empowering them, it frees my attention for other things. Then when it is time to go home, I can be home both physically and mentally. Dad at home is so important. Then I can be home when I am home. I can plan my personal time to complete other projects that are important to me.

Balance. Finding balance takes effort, but so worth it in the end. What are the barriers in your life that are keeping you from finding your balance? What steps do you need to take to remove those barriers? What can you start doing today to start down the path to gaining in your balance?

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Thrusday's Time Tip: Organization vs. Spur of the Moment

It is now football season. Friday night high school football, Saturday Collage Games, Sunday NFL football, are all in full swing. Locker rooms are telling. One coach noted that the offensive line players, their lockers are neat and very tidy. The defensive players lockers are … chaotic, almost without fail. Interesting phenomenon. When you stop and look at things it does make some sense. The defense is reacting to what the offense does. The offense has a plan, a strategy, a way of doing things. Thus the players tend to have places for things and order. The defense reacts to what the offense is doing; their life is a bit more chaotic.

Up to now I’ve been blogging about the best use of time, values, and management tips. All of these are very important. Especially if you are trying to get organized, be efficient, or attempting to accomplish goals. We are planning our offense.

I want to throw something else out there for you to mull around. Don’t be so ridged that you can’t take an opportunity to stop and smell the flowers, to use an old metaphor. This is almost a complete contradiction to what we’ve been working towards. Chaotic elements, but that is what life always does: life is what happens when you are making other plans.

A few weeks ago I posted about a labor day weekend, The Snapshot. If you haven’t read it, please take a moment to follow the link and read, and leave a message. Sometimes we are so busy and working so hard to get things done that life passes us by. We find we miss out on some of the really important things.

So you may want to add some flexibility into all of your planning and managing. Someday the wind will be just right to go and fly a kite. Take a look at what you’ve got, rearrange things and take the moment to fly that kite. You’ll take some time to build memories. I am so grateful my wife and I decided to take a day and go to the beach. It was a wonderful day, and even more wonderful because of the tragic events that happened a week later. I am grateful that we took the time to go and have some fun. So if the urge strikes to fly a kite, run to the beach, go out for lunch, stop in and visit an old friend, or do anything else that “isn’t in the plans” let the plans go, rearrange, reschedule, take the time to do a spur of the moment whim.

Yes, make plans, manage, but be prepared to make changes, but try to focus on what matters most. When life is all said and done, I don’t think anyone will wish they spent more time at work, or more time on their projects. Family and friends are why we spend the hours at work and on projects. To earn the income to live life. Take the opportunities to make great memories.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Guest Blogging tomorrow

I'll have two posts tomorrow. One right here on Organization vs. Spur of the Moment and another post over at Words from the Woods. So after reading my post and leaving a great comment pop over to Cat's blog and see what I'm sharing over there!