This is a meaningless picture with some meaningless text meant to be shared in a meaningless way.
When you set out to do something important you will always face challenge. That’s a guarantee.
Before you begin decide to keep walking despite what obstacles may come your way. You may be in unfamiliar territory but don’t make excuses. Keep walking. You may feel less inspired than you did in the beginning but don’t quit. Keep walking.
If you’re doing something that matters have the resolve and the discipline to finish.
Everything in the universe has a gravitational pull. The stars, the sun, the moon, the earth, and even you. When you jump out of an airplane you fall to the ground because of the earth’s gravity. At the same time, your gravity is also pulling on the earth, and on the plane you just jumped out of, as well as everything else around you.
Gravity is like influence. Simply by being human, regardless of your age, experience, occupation, beliefs, etc, you have influence. However, in the universe of leadership it isn’t the largest mass (personality, charisma, Twitter followers) that has the greatest pull, it’s character. And the greatest character doesn’t mean the strongest pull in terms of quantity, but rather quality.
If you want to lead focus on the quality of your influence before you seek out the quantity. The thing in the universe with the greatest gravitational pull is called a black hole. Nothing lives there, or survives, not even light can escape. You don’t want to be a black hole.
In contrast the earth has an infinitely weak gravitational pull compared to the billions of stars that inhabit the universe. But at the same time it is in part responsible for the environment it creates which is ripe for spectacular beauty, wonder, and life.
This is an important question.
There are a lot of voices past, present, and future that are talking.
Who are you listening to? You may be remembering labels you were given as a child. You may be comparing yourself with others in your neighborhood or to your co-workers. You may be hearing the fearful future of social security, the housing market, or the stock exchange.
Who you listen to has major implications for how you live your life. Whoever you’re listening to make sure they are telling the truth.
Helpful Tip: Don’t listen to the voices listed above…
I know it’s easy for me to bury my head in the digital sand. If something more interesting hasn’t captured my attention my phone is lit up in my hand. What am I looking for?
This question goes beyond the surface of what app I’m using at that moment. My phone is a useful tool but it can also be an obstacle for living. A hammer is great for pounding nails and many other things, but if I never put the hammer down I’m bound to break something even if by accident.
What technology makes possible is quite remarkable. But with all that I’m getting, what am I missing?
Sure I can browse status updates of hundreds of people I know from a distance. I can watch thousands of videos that can educate, entertain, or motivate me. I can find the answer to almost any question I could ever possibly want to ask. I can play games to pass the time. I can read the news instantaneously from almost any source and with any bias I’m so inclined to hear. I can check the weather. I can avoid awkward silence, distract myself from my work, or even use my phone as a flashlight. This and thousands of other things I can do.
But what did I miss? For me it sometimes includes the funny expressions my kids make when they tell me stories. The chance to really hear how my wife’s day was. The play fight my son just tried to start with me. The beauty of a sunny afternoon. The frustration of my youngest son when I’m not watching his heroic acts in the living room. The minutes that washed away as I checked my email again and again before my kids went to bed. The joy of being present with my family.
I’m not getting rid of my phone because it’s an incredible resource. But it’s just that, a resource, unless I let it become more. I want to be more intentional about setting it down or keeping it in my pocket. I also want to be more intentional about when I pick it up. I don’t want to default to my phone when I can’t think of what else I will do. I don’t always want to be on my phone while I’m standing in line at a store, playing with my kids at the park, or walking down the hall at work.
Yes, I want to use my phone to it’s fullest potential, but I don’t want my phone to use me.
What are you getting and what are you missing?
It’s the hope of every marketer that sends an email to a potential customer that they will catch the recipients attention. Anyone who has ever marketed anything through email will certainly know what a noisy and cluttered world the inbox truly is.
But it’s not just attention that you want. You need the right attention. A few days ago I got an email that read:
And that’s as far as I got when I stopped reading and pushed delete.
I have no idea what the rest of the email said. I didn’t care. They mistyped my name. They got my attention.
It might not be attention that you need to get. The first way to get the wrong kind of attention is to mistype someone’s name. How do you get the right attention? It depends. It’s the art (not the science) of marketing to get the right kind of attention.
Last August was the first hurricane I ever experienced. For days we watched news reports on the encroaching storm. Fear started to take hold a bit as worst case scenarios surfaced. Thankfully Hurricane Irene never lived up to the apocalyptic headlines it was making, but it was a severe storm nonetheless.
We went back and forth several times about whether we should evacuate. Erring on the side of caution, since we really didn’t know what to expect, we packed up our bags . We headed out of town with some friends to their mom’s house in Richmond. Being a rookie from Michigan I didn’t fully appreciate that a hurricane racing up the East Coast was going to cover most of Virginia, therefore our 2 hour exodus northwest really didn’t make much difference. In fact the storm hit us harder in Richmond than if we would have stayed home. It’s amazing what you learn by experience.
When the storm finally made its appearance in Virginia it showed its ugly face for a straight 24 hours. The rains were heavy and the winds blew at 40 miles an hour constantly with gusts over 80 miles an hour. The howling winds that day were unforgettable. Giant trees twisted and moaned bending in ways you knew something that big shouldn’t move. It was an uncomfortable sight to behold to say the least.
The storm started the first night we were there. At first it was mild and then quickly became quite intense. All through the day it raged on. The second night of the storm we lost power early in the evening. With no electricity we only sat in the dark a short time before we all figured the best thing to do was go to bed.
My wife and I climbed into bed and talked for a while. It didn’t take too long and she was asleep. For some reason that night I felt a strong protective instinct and couldn’t sleep. I somehow thought that if the roof blew off or a tree fell through that I would be able to fall on top of my wife and shield her from the debris. Although I knew I may not be able to provide much physical safety it was a strong desire of mine to protect my family. As I lay there running these scenarios through my head the wind was still whipping and the trees were crying for mercy. The rain still pounded against the window.
Since I wasn’t sleeping I decided to quietly slip out of bed, I sat on the floor and began to pray. I didn’t know what else I was going to do. I wasn’t particularly frightened anymore but I still felt uncomfortable. As I prayed I felt the Lord quiet me. I just sat there and listened. Despite the storm raging outside of my window I heard a faint but familiar sound. I climbed to my feet and walked closer to the bedroom window. I peered outside of the glass between the leaves plastered to the window and listened some more. The sound grew a little louder. It was cricket. The more I listened the more I heard from his little friends too. Outside my window in the midst of a hurricane I was listening to a choir of crickets.
At that moment I realized the Lord was teaching me something. Outside there was a storm. A real one. The sky was grim and the landscape looked desperate. But even though the conditions around me changed something remained constant. It was through that small chirping cricket that God reminded me of his peace. God’s peace passes all understanding. It defies all circumstances. It contradicts all negative reports. And while I was focusing on the storm as my new reality, the truth was, and still is, that his peace always remains. That chirping cricket was a reminder that in the middle of a storm his peace can still be found, you just need to quiet yourself and listen.
Chances are if I had been listening for them I could have heard the crickets all night but instead my attention was on the bending trees and the pouring rain. Maybe in your life you feel like you’re in the middle of an unfamiliar storm and you’re watching the chaos swirl around you. It’s noisy. It’s ugly. It’s frightening. And even though the storm is real the Lord wants to remind you that his peace has never departed. He doesn’t fear the storm. In fact the Bible tells us of one such time when Jesus was out to sea with his disciples and a terrible storm erupted. They all thought this was it. They were going to die. They searched for Jesus in their despair and found that he was asleep. He wasn’t afraid. He woke up, rebuked the storm, and it ceased. He asked why they were so fearful. Where was their faith?
Despite the storm outside the crickets haven’t stopped singing. Their song goes on as a reminder that God hasn’t left. He is there. He is present. He is your help. He is your peace. Take your eyes off the storm because seasons and weather are ever changing, but God is constant. His peace is forever.
Listen for your crickets. Somewhere God is showing you he’s never left and never will.