Some thoughts I’ve put into words so you can put them into action.

A Motto That’s On Mission

If you’ve been in ministry for a while you’ve probably heard the importance of a good mission statement. Guy Kawasaki in his book The Art of the Start says you’re wrong. You don’t need a good mission statement – you just need a motto. He suggests we replace “highfalutin, all-encompassing” mission statements with short, easily digestible, right-to-the-point mottos, what he calls a “mantra.”

Kawasaki gives a few examples from the business world:

Nike – Authentic athletic performance

Disney – Fun family entertainment

Starbucks – Rewarding everyday moments

These mottos are usually employed internally to direct the day-to-day vision of the company. But it’s not hard to see how they would translate to the general public in a pretty easy way.

Mottos are not only catchy, they also help the audience know – right away! – what they’re in for. So how does this work in the church?

Craft Mottos, not Mission Statements

Chances are your church already has a mission statement. I’m not telling you to scrap it. It’s probably pretty important for driving vision. But you can substitute it for a motto. Maybe take a snippet of the mission statement and turn it into a motto. Or start with something fresh that you’ll advertise to everyone.

The church I attend, NorthPoint Church in Springfield, MO, has as its mission statement: “NorthPoint exists to create a safe place for people to find and follow Jesus.” That’s pretty short, it’s definitely to the point, and it’s not difficult to remember. But it’s still not a motto. Sometimes our mission statement is shortened to just: “Find and follow Jesus.” In the end, that’s what the church is all about.

You can also look at your values and decide what’s important enough to advertise to the world. Another way to think of a motto is this: “If I only had a few seconds, how would I describe my church?” I know a lot of churches that use the “Real, Relevant, Relational” tag as a motto. Or maybe it’s “Love God, Love People.” There’s really an endless supply of good mottos when it comes to the list of values your church has adopted.

Once you’ve crafted a motto, get it out there! Start putting it on fliers, on handouts and bulletins, on signs and walls all over your church. Start advertising it on business cards and mailers, splash it across billboards, and repeat it on the radio or TV. Get your motto out there!

This is really about turning your church inside out. For those who have never visited, how can you – in just a couple of seconds – explain what your church is all about? They may already have an idea, and that idea could be wrong. But with a motto, you shatter their preconceived notions and invite them to experience it for themselves.

How can you use a motto to increase your audience’s engagement? How can you incorporate mottos in your weekly teachings?

The Best Part of Getting Lost

I love road trip! Probably because I love having long conversations with someone else, and that usually happens on a road trip. You’re stuck in a car for ten, twelve hours. What else are you going to do? And that’s what was going on a few years ago when we got lost. Here’s how it went down.

We’re heading north, out of Florida and right into Alabama, on our way back home from a great beach vacation. My wife is handling the navigating while I’m handling the wheel. And we’re talking. About what? I have no idea. But the conversation is really great and neither of us is really paying attention to the road until all of a sudden my wife says, “Wait! We’re lost!”

“What? What do you mean we’re lost?”

“We were supposed to turn left back there. Now we’re lost in Alabama!”

Well, we’re not so lost as much as off track. But no worries, just a quick reroute up ahead and we’ll be right back on track. So my wife plots a course and yells out, “Turn here!” So I veer our trusty Ford Escape off the highway and onto a dusty dirt road. Up and down a couple of hills and we’re right back on track. But then I looked up. And then I hit the brakes.

“What are you doing?” my wife yells, and rightly so. But I just had to stop.

I get out of the car and walk over to a little intersection on this back road of Alabama. Before me is a beautiful scene – a little farm house, rolling green hills, cows grazing lazily, and a pure blue pond. But I wasn’t looking at the farm scene. I was pointing at a road sign.

“Look!” I shout to her, still in the trusty Ford Escape. This road is an off-the-track, out-of-the-way, oh-no-we’re-lost road. This road is really just 150 yards of dirt leading to a stranger’s driveway, and there’s no way in the world that we would ever know about it. Unless we got off track. But we did, and so we saw it.

The road? Well of course it was called “Colvin Road.”

Was it fate? Was it coincidence? It doesn’t matter! It was Colvin Road!!! And Colvin isn’t the most popular of last names, trust me. It was meant to be, no matter what you think.

Sometimes we get off track. We get distracted, confused, or maybe just lazy. But we get our eyes off the map and before we know it we’re heading down a dirt road to try to catch up.

But in those times, if we don’t take time we may miss something amazing. Something you would only see if you get off track.

In life, you’re bound to get off track. It happens. You lose your job. You get robbed. Your boyfriend breaks up with you. Your spouse dies. God forbid any of those things ever happen! But if they do, and while you’re getting back on track, don’t miss what’s right around you. Use this time of being off track to find something beautiful, amazing, perplexing, astonishing – something you would have never seen, known, or experienced if you had stayed on track.

Look, I’m not saying that God is responsible for getting you lost. But I am saying that if you don’t stop and look around when you do get lost, you may miss something he’s trying to show you. About yourself. About your world. About something you’re really passionate about but don’t think about when you’re lost.

When have you gotten off track and thought you couldn’t get back on track? What have you seen that you wouldn’t have seen if you hadn’t gotten off track?

Like a Fast Food Menu

America is the land of opportunity. It’s a place where any man, woman, or child has the chance to choose from a nearly endless selection of options. Want proof? Just go into one of your local fast food restaurants and you’ll be overwhelmed by the amount of options and opportunities are available. Fries or onion rings? Would you like to add bacon? Ketchup, mustard, or special sauce? In fact, you can have extra special sauce if you know the right words to say. And don’t get me started on that giant Coke soft drink dispensary that has up to 300,000 flavor combinations.

But just like the calorie intake from your fast food lunch, you need to beware of opportunities. Sometimes they’re just distractions masquerading as good ideas.

When an opportunity pops up, you need wisdom to decide whether or not to take it. And I’m talking real opportunities here – a new job, buying that house on the corner, switching your kids’ school, or purchasing a boat. Sure it may look good. And it may be something you’ve wanted for a very long time. But if following the opportunity gets you off-track, it’s just a distraction from what you should be doing in the first place.

So, how do we know the difference between an opportunity and a distraction? Here are three quick things to keep in mind when you weigh a life-changing opportunity.

1. Does this line up with my passion and ability?

To be in your zone, you have to line up your abilities, passions, and opportunities. What are you good at? What gets you excited? Those God-given traits work as a barometer for your purpose in life.

And you might have thought through those ideas years ago, but now you’ve changed. It may be time to revisit those questions and make sure this new venture puts you in the zone.

2. Does this hinder or help my personal mission statement?

If you have never written a personal mission statement, what’s stopping you? This is a simple phrase or sentence that tells you what your purpose in life is all about. In deciding which steps to take in life, it’s always important to have this mission statement on your mind.

For instance, maybe your personal mission statement is to help bring out the best in those who don’t always feel their best. But if this new job opportunity takes you away from those you’ve been helping, you may have a distraction on your hands. Choose wisely.

3. Does this ultimately glorify God?

This is probably the easiest question to answer. But that answer has a huge impact on your decision. This is the type of question that turns it all around, from being self-focused to God-honoring. If the answer is “no,” then stop whatever you’re doing and drop that opportunity like a hot rock. It’s a distraction! Guaranteed.

But if it does glorify God, guess what? Now you’ve moved into a new zone – the zone of freedom. Now you get to make a wise decision about this new opportunity. Now you get to do the heavy lifting of prayer and meditation, strategizing and engineering until you come to a good decision. And the coolest part is sometimes you’ve got several opportunities and God is allowing you to choose. Not some perfect, secret will, but exactly what you want – door #1 or door #2. You decide!

What will it be? Life’s like a fast food menu – full of opportunities. But you can get easily distracted too. So, are you going to do it? Will this be an opportunity or a distraction? It’s up to you and no one else can answer that question for you.

Digging Up the Seed

Let me tell you a story.

Two farmers went out to plant crops. They both painstakingly prepared the ground, removing rocks and debris or weeds that could hinder growth. Then they carefully arranged the seed, making sure to plant them in the most productive patterns. The sun shined down on the ground and the rain fell to water the soil.

Then the two farmers went to bed.

As time went on, the first farmer diligently went about his business, making sure the ground was free of rocks and debris or weeds, watering the seedbeds daily, and going to bed each night. The second farmer did the same, but every night he would go out to his seedbeds and dig up the earth. He pulled the seeds out and examined them in the moonlight, gauging their growth from the previous night, before returning them to the soil.

After a few months, the first farmer’s crops were growing and would soon give him great abundance at harvest times. His silos would be full and his family fed. However, the second farmer’s crops never grew. Because he was digging up the seeds every night they never had a chance to firmly establish in the soil. The farmer had no crops at harvest time. His silos were empty and his family starved.

Now, let me tell you about that story.

Any long term goals take patience and perseverance. When you’re doing what it takes to reach those goals, you often wonder “Am I doing this right? Is it going to work out?” But just like the first farmer, you have no idea what is happening below the surface. You have no idea how your seed is doing – how it’s growing or maturing.

If your long term goals involve networking, you have no idea what others are saying about you when you’re not there. You’ve done all you can to make the right contacts – planting seed as you go – now it’s up to the soil of good intention to do the rest. You may go weeks without a contact, but the seed is still there, working its way through the earth.

If your goals are long term, then you can’t stare at the short term.

If your long term goals involve getting into shape, you can’t measure the success on a day-to-day basis. It’s what happens over the long haul that counts. If your long term goals involve education, you can’t complete that degree in one day. If your long term goals involve writing a book, learning a craft, or moving up the ladder at work, you have no idea what your short term patience and perseverance will gain you since you can’t see the future.

About a month ago I was frustrated. I felt like the wheels were moving a lot slower than I had hoped. Then God whispered to me one short sentence that made all the difference – “You don’t know the size of the seed you’ve planted.” You and I have no way of knowing the future, just like those farmers. They both prepared the soil, arranged the seed, and kept watering. But one was anxious while the other was patient. One worried while the other trusted.

When you’re in the middle, it’s impossible to see where in the middle you are. You may be a lot closer than you think but a lot farther away than you want. But you’ll never know the size of the seed until harvest time. Any worrying between now and then will only lead to disappointment.

What are you trying to accomplish right now that seems to be taking forever? What can you be doing now – through patience and perseverance – while you wait for the harvest?

Between Fear and Freedom

What are you afraid of? I’m afraid of heights.

Well, it’s not really heights I’m afraid of, it’s falling from heights. And in fact, the falling isn’t too bad. Falling can be fun, especially if it’s into something soft. It’s falling onto something hard that I don’t like.

Yeah, so I’m afraid of landing. And really, it’s not landing either. It’s the pain. I’m afraid of the pain of landing on something hard. I don’t want the pain.

And so, because I’m afraid of pain, I’m also afraid of heights.

Recently we bought our kids a trampoline. Jumping on that trampoline with my sweaty kids brought back an old memory of mine from when I was a youngster. I used to have this reoccurring dream about jumping on a trampoline. I was bouncing and getting higher and higher – ten feet, twenty feet, thirty, forty, fifty feet! And then…on one particular bounce that shot me super high…I started to drift over a bit and I could tell I wasn’t going to land on the trampoline. I was going to land on the hard ground. And right then, at the apex of the bounce right before my body went into a terrible freefall, I awoke in a cold sweat.

I forgot that memory, but I kept its fear. It manifested in my aversion to trust. I’m afraid of taking steps of faith, moving out into new heights because those new heights may include pain. The same swell of joy in a bouncing high risks a crashing low. I’m content to keep two feet planted on the ground and move straight ahead. But that’s a response to fear and it’s certainly not freedom.

Freedom is like the feeling you get as you go straight up in the air and then feel that freefall back to earth where you land and get ready for another bounce. Freedom is the feeling of being weightless and letting the earth pull you, push you, move you. Freedom is ultimately about letting God move you.

I’ve moved in freedom before. I’ve stepped out in faith and got run over. I mistakenly took those moments as cues to get back on the ground where it’s safe. I neglected to follow up each fall with faith instead of fear.

But here’s what I’m learning lately – Trust is the bridge between fear and freedom. Fear is a place of chains and shackles, of cement shoes that won’t move. Fear will keep you frozen in place and remove all hope. But freedom will set you free, let you soar on every bounce, a move as far ahead as you want. If you find yourself in a place called “Fear” and you want to get to the other side called “Freedom,” the only way across is trust. You have step out again and trust that God is going to be there.

Trust, for me, is like wearing a blindfold and walking across a floor of Legos barefoot. I imagine that I’ll be stepping on them even before I take a step. I can feel the pain and the pinch! I don’t want to trust if it means that I may have pain.

But the only way to guarantee you will be pain-free is to not move. Stand completely still. Don’t make a twitch. Not an inch! Right here. Trapped.

But if you want freedom – freedom to grow, to feel and experience life – then you’ll have to move. And when you move, if you move in trust, and even if you move blindfolded, you can move into great things.

Have you ever had trust issues? How do you deal with fear of trust in your life?

Shame and the Art of Lawn Maintenance

I love taking care of my lawn. The mowing, the fertilizing, the seeding – all of it. I get great gratification in making my grass shorter, my edges sharper. My lawn fills me with a sense of pride.

I probably can’t say the same for my neighbors. They don’t seem to care much about their lawn. Perhaps they accomplish that sense of pride in another way. Whatever. I know it’s not from mowing. It can’t be! Because they never mow.

One day I decided to “motivate” my neighbors into mowing their lawn, seeing as it had been weeks since they had done anything in the yard. So when I got to the front yard, the side that butts up against their property, I lowered the mower extra low and cut my grass extra short to show how extra tall their grass had gotten. I was hoping they’d see how bad their lawn really looked in comparison to my immaculately cared for landscaping and actually do something about it – like mow.

Guess what? It worked!

The very next day I heard the unmistakable whir of a lawn mower. I ran to the window and peaked out. There was my neighbor, sweating in the mid-August sun and cutting their lawn! Success!

What was I really doing? I was using shame to get what I wanted. I was shaming my neighbor into mowing their lawn according to my own desires and expectations. So let’s face it, I’m a horrible neighbor. But I’m now a neighbor who doesn’t have to look at an unsightly lawn.

We use shame all the time to motivate people. Those before/after photos on the P90X commercials are all about shame. Talk shows like Dr. Phil are all about shame. Pinterest! Pinterest is all about shame. You’re not a real mom unless you macramé the DIY picture frame to put your kids first-day-of-school pictures in.

But if shame is such a great motivator, why doesn’t God use it? You may think he does because you hear about shame a lot at church or in Christian blogs online. But when I read the Bible, I don’t see God using shame. He uses something else all together. And you can’t get out of the first story in the Bible before you see it.

In Genesis 3 Adam and Eve mess up big time. They do the one thing God told them not to do. And their response? They feel shame. They go and hide from God. But what does God do? He comes looking for them! Instead of shame, God uses love – the love of a father looking for his children. They felt shame and it drove them away from their creator. But when people feel shame, God comes looking for them.

When we play the shame game, no one wins. But we play it anyway, don’t we? We play it because of one solid fact: It Works! It worked with my neighbor, it usually works with our kids, and it definitely works with our employees. But just because it works doesn’t mean it’s actually good. Take a look at how God thinks about shame:

“Instead of your shame
you will receive a double portion,
and instead of disgrace
you will rejoice in your inheritance.
And so you will inherit a double portion in your land,
and everlasting joy will be yours.”

Isaiah 61:7

Instead of shame, God uses love – loving us through his grace and accepting us into his family! And it’s a double portion! Not just a little or one helping of grace. He piles on the grace and tells us to come back for seconds!

When we finally see that God’s love has released us from shame, maybe we can stop using shame on others. Maybe we can start leading with grace because it works too. But it works double time. When you’re shamed, you may start to behave better. But you behave better when you receive grace too. The difference is shame drives us away but grace draws us near. Shame terminates a relationship but grace increases our capacity to love and be loved.

When have you felt shame recently? Did you deserve it? How about the last time you shamed someone else. What could you have done differently?

How To Tell Great Stories: 3 Ingredients

If you’re going to talk, please tell us something interesting. The best way to make your talk interesting is to tell a story. Since we were cavemen scratching lines on the walls of caves, we have been storytellers. And the best messages are those that include great stories.

Storytelling is vital to any message. And if it’s important, then we have to ask “What makes a great story?” How do we tell compelling stories so that our audience knows what we’re thinking, hears what we’re saying, and follows through with action? Here are three ingredients that every story must have in order to be a great story.

1. It’s Relatable

Each story should be instantly relatable to your audience so they can pick it up and make it their own. If they can’t see themselves in the story, then they’ll likely check out.

The most relatable stories are those from everyday life. A story about dropping the kids off at school, going grocery shopping, paying your taxes, or even mowing the lawn. Most people in your audience will be able to relate to these stories almost automatically. The mundane can seem boring, but when told from the right angle these stories are very compelling.

Even if the subject of the story is unfamiliar to your audience – like the story of a professional athlete, a noble prize winning scientist, or an ancient ruler – it can still be relatable if you tell it from the standpoint of the person. A great story is one that gets into the life of the audience and walks around a bit.

2. It’s Relevant

What is relevance? It’s a connection to a greater truth. You might have had a very interesting experience while on vacation. Okay, you can tell the story…but why? What’s the purpose? What greater truth did you learn in the experience that you want to share with us?

And great truths aren’t always learned through great experiences. Sometimes the most mundane of stories can have a huge impact when it’s relevant to your audience’s life. Maybe you learned something about God’s love while coaching your son’s t-ball game. Or perhaps you found a new angle on grace while walking to your car in a busy parking lot. Those stories work because they are relevant, and they are relevant because they connect your audience to that greater truth.

3. It’s Remembered

I’ve read my fair share of police reports in my day. That’s because once upon a time I was an insurance adjuster. It always struck me how boring police reports were. They contain just the facts, ma’am. But when I would speak to someone involved in the accident, that’s when it got good! I got all the juicy details. And that’s when a mundane story turned into a memorable one.

If you want your story to be remember, you have to include details. Just giving us a list of facts about an event isn’t story telling – it’s a police report. But when you add in the details – the sights and sounds, the smells that were there – people transport themselves to the scene. And those are the times they remember your story.

When using stories in your message it’s always important to not lose sight of the end goal – the point of your message. But when your story is relatable, relevant, and remembered, it’s so much easier for that story to polish the point your making.

What are some to the best stories you’ve heard in a message? What made them so memorable?

The Worst Most Wonderful

My dog is the worst. This summer she dug up flowers, tomato plants, and part of a tree stump. Then, while tossing her a Frisbee, she went rogue and tore up that too! She’s the worst! She shreds her tennis balls, dumps our trash, and barks at the slightest sound from outside.

My dog is the worst…but she’s also wonderful. My kids think she’s wonderful when she cuddles with them in bed on a lazy Saturday morning. My wife thinks the way she wiggles when she greets us at the door is wonderful. And I think it’s wonderful that she’s only ever content when I’m home, faithfully at my side and confirming me as alpha male. I love her! My dog is the worst most wonderful dog in the world.

We, as people, are really the worst. I know I can be. For all my good marks, there are the bad ones too. I suffer from the lazy. I’d much rather sit on the couch with a bag of chips and an old movie on than do just about anything else around the house or outside the house. I also say things that I shouldn’t say when I shouldn’t say them. That’s just two things on a long list that make me the worst.

Kids are the worst too, aren’t they? If you’re a teacher you know this is true. There’s at least one kid in class who is the worst! He’s loud and disruptive. He’s constantly sent to the counselor’s office because of his behavior. He drops pencils in the middle of tests, writes cuss words in all the text books, and tries to poison the class hamster just for fun. And when you call his parents in to talk about it, what do they do? Nothing. Why? Because they think he’s just wonderful.

But we are wonderful. I know I’m wonderful because I’m a child of God and he tells me I’m wonderful. It’s not that my good points outweigh my bad points. It’s not that God just ignores all my bad points. It’s that I may be the worst, but I’m also wonderful and that’s what God cares about. I’m the worst most wonderful

There was a man in the Bible who was the worst most wonderful. His name was David and he was a great king. But he was pretty bad too. He was a man of warfare whose hands were so stained by blood that God said he couldn’t build the temple. He was a liar and a cheat. He slept with his good friend’s wife, then had the guy killed to cover it up! The worst!

But he was also wonderful. He wrote many of the Psalms that we still sing today, songs of praise and love to God. I always think of David as chosen, the one anointed by God to be king. And because he was anointed he was going to be accepted by God no matter what. Like that parent who won’t accept their kid is a troublemaker because he’s so wonderful around the house.

I’ve often heard that he was considered the “apple of God’s eye.” Do you know where that comes from? I always assumed that some prophet told David, “You are the apple of God’s eye!” Or maybe God himself spoke it to good King David in a dream. But then one day I found it in the Bible. It’s in Psalm 17.

6 I call on you, my God, for you will answer me;
turn your ear to me and hear my prayer.
Show me the wonders of your great love,
you who save by your right hand
those who take refuge in you from their foes.
Keep me as the apple of your eye;
hide me in the shadow of your wings

Did you catch it? He wasn’t told that he was the apple of God’s eye. He asked God to make him the apple of his eye. He was the apple of God’s eye because he asked to be. And God responded by telling him, “You’re my son and your throne will last forever!”

David wasn’t the apple of God’s eye because he met some supernatural checklist or because he was such a good person. God didn’t take all of David’s good stuff and outweigh it over his bad stuff. Nor did he ignore David’s bad stuff. God didn’t give David some special ability to follow every single commandment in Deuteronomy either. No, David was the apple of God’s eye because God loved him. And God loves you.

Whenever you feel like the worst – whether it’s from someone else trying to make you feel that way or your own emotions leading you down that path – remember that you’re wonderful too! God is like that parent of a problem child, looking at you every time you screw up, and saying, “Yeah, but you’re wonderful to me.” God loves you. He sees the wonderful in you when it’s hidden under the worst. He knows you better than he knows yourself, so he knows your potential and your promise. He knows all of it and he loves you. Because you are the worst most wonderful to God.

How have you felt rejected by people in the past, made to feel like you’re the worst? How has God made you feel wonderful?

Sweatin’ to the Small Stuff …or How I worry about worrying.

I worry about worrying. I’m anxious about my anxiety. I’m really worried that I’ll pass my anxiety complex onto my daughter. She worries a lot. There’s a lot of hand wagging when things aren’t going her way. Then she has a little freak out. Of course I wag my hands and freak out sometimes too.

A lot of the advice I hear on worry comes from Jesus’ words in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 6:25-34). “I tell you, don’t worry about a thing.” Now, that usually gets put this way: “See, Jesus commands us not to worry. It’s a commandment. So, if you worry – that’s sin!” Which makes those of us who worry just worry more. “I’m worried…now I’m worried that I’m sinning!”

Another little piece of advice that doesn’t really work is this one: Don’t sweat the small stuff, and it’s all small stuff. Here’s the thing – No. No, it’s not all small stuff. Some stuff is big stuff. Some stuff will have major ramifications in your life. You actually do have the right to worry about the big stuff.

I’ve been thinking about some friends of mine who have been going through some big stuff lately. Their son has an autoimmune disorder. It’s genetic in nature and the only real relief is a bone marrow transplant. They are equal parts thankful for the opportunity to extend his life and give him a fighting chance, and worried that the chemotherapy will be harmful. They’re literally putting poison into their son’s body to try to cure him.

Then I think about my worries. My friends have every right to sweat their stuff in comparison to mine, but they don’t. At least they don’t let us see it. They share their concerns and heartache, but every time I talk to them they have a smile in their voice and a hopeful outlook. If you ask me how I’m doing on any given day – and I’m honest – you’d think I’ve got a lot to worry about. I don’t. Not when I compare my stuff to other people’s stuff.

That’s one thing that I always try keep in mind – my stuff is small when I compare it to other people’s stuff. And no matter how big your stuff is, you can always find someone else who has bigger stuff. So, it’s not all small stuff, but your stuff is small in comparison to other people’s stuff.

I think that’s what the writer of Hebrews was getting at in chapter 12. “Consider Jesus who endured such opposition from sinners and died on the cross, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” In other words, when we compare our suffering to the Lord’s suffering, our suffering is minor. But this isn’t about a command to stop worrying. It’s about not losing heart. It’s about having hope in the face of your overwhelming circumstances.

Is hope the opposite of worry? Maybe. Or maybe it’s just the better response to worry. Instead of losing it, freaking out, and wagging our hands, we should calm down, take a breath, invite God’s Spirit to comfort us and give us hope.

When Jesus said, “Don’t worry!” he followed it up this:

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. (Matthew 6:34)

Each day you’ve got stuff. Big stuff, small stuff, medium stuff. Don’t worry about tomorrow…not because there’s nothing to worry about, but because there’s enough to worry about today! Deal with today’s issues today and then hope for tomorrow.

So, let’s rewrite that whole statement about small stuff – Don’t sweat the small stuff, because there’s plenty of big stuff to sweat about. And even when you sweat the big stuff, have hope that tomorrow will be better than today.

How do you keep from worrying? When have you sweated the small stuff when you shouldn’t have?

How To Do Almost Anything

What do you want to do? Wait – never mind, it doesn’t matter. Whatever you want to do – that big idea you’ve got – the sad truth is that it probably won’t happen. Ideas are great! But most ideas either never get off the ground because we don’t know the first thing to do with them, or they get shot down in flames when they hit the first winds of opposition.

I love big ideas, and I love people with big ideas. I love hearing what people want to do with their lives – it doesn’t matter what it is, I love seeing people make their dreams come true. So let me show you how to turn those ideas into reality. Here are 4 Steps to Do Almost Anything!

#1 – DREAM IT

Do you dream? I have some of the most vivid dreams, especially when I’m really tired. I don’t buy into the dream psychology about meanings and signs. But I do love dreams! They’re like little sparks of our subconscious poking through to our conscious brains, trying to push ideas to the forefront. And when they explode, it’s amazing!

Set aside time to dream – and dream big! Don’t hold back; let the horizon be your boundary. Think of the most incredible thing you want to accomplish and don’t worry about the details. Just dream it!

#2 – GOAL IT

Okay, now you’ve got that dream. But it’s just a dream. I’m sorry to tell you this, but dreams don’t do anything. They just sit there in your mind. And if your mind is like my mind, it often gets distracted by the next big dream. So now, next step, turn that dream into a goal.

Write down your dream, and then do some research about it. Find out who else is doing what you’re dreaming of doing and figure out how they did it. Remember when I said don’t worry about the details? Well, here’s where you worry about the details.

What’s your next step? Do you need to get more education, more funds, or even more influence before it can move along? Maybe you have to sell your house and move to make it happen. Putting those things down on paper is what goal setting is really all about.

#3 – SCHEDULE IT

Now comes the tricky part. You’ve turned your dreams into goals, but so many people stop there. They now have a goal, but it’s not much more useful than a dream. The key is to schedule time every day to make it happen.

I heard a story about John Grisham, the famous author. He was a lawyer and hated being a lawyer so he decided he wanted to be a writer (DREAM). So, he figured out he needed to sit down at his typewriter and just write, that was the best way to become an author (GOAL). But he was so busy being a lawyer, how was he going to do it?

He decided to set aside one hour every morning before work to just work on writing. No matter how much or how little got done – one hour. Every day. And soon enough he had his first manuscript. And the rest is history!

Take your goals and schedule time on your calendar to do them. And then guard that calendar space! Don’t let anything else in that little square!

#4 – DO IT

We’ve dreamed big, set some goals, and even scheduled them. But we haven’t done anything yet, right? Goals without actions are just good ideas. They don’t do anything. We are responsible for making our dreams come true.

So what’s next? Do it. That’s it, just do it. Just get up, get out of bed or off you couch and do it!

And here’s the cool thing. Are you ready? You’re now doing whatever it is you want to do. If you want to be a writer – dream about that story, set some goals for your manuscripts, schedule time to write, and then DO IT! You want to be a baseball player – dream about the big leagues, set some goals for your training, schedule time to hit the diamond, and then DO IT!

Just like that, you’re doing whatever it is you want to do. It doesn’t matter how big or small, that idea you have is going to catch wings and fly!

What are some dreams you’ve had that never got off the ground? How can you go back and give them wings?