Lifelong Coachability

Dallas Football Crop

In a recent article titled Are You Coachable? in The Deseret News, Timothy R. Clark says about the term coachability:

As a term, coachability has not officially entered the lexicon of American usage. But it should and perhaps it will at some point, because coachability is not just teachability. It’s not just a willingness to learn. It’s a willingness to unlearn and change. Coachability is a moral capacity that allows a person to accept feedback, acknowledge faults, limitations and deficiencies, and act on the new information. Coachability is a relevant concept everywhere — at home, in the workplace and even on the battlefield.

I love this word. I want lifelong coachability. It’s better than lifelong learning. I don’t just have a willingness to learn, but a willingness to unlearn and change for the better. I don’t just want knowledge, but I want to transform it to information and act on it to improve the quality of life for myself and others.

I realize that achieving this goal is not possible if I’m proud. Rather, I need to be humble. Humility and pride are opposing forces and cannot coexist. Grace is given to the humble. Opposition is shown to the proud.

And I realize my coachability must be retained through the good and the bad in life. I must learn, unlearn and change for the better no matter what happens because every experience is an opportunity to grow and make another version of myself. Marc, version 4 is much better than Marc, version 1.

If my ax is dull and it’s edge unsharpened, I’ll need more strength to chop wood. If I keep it razor-sharp, I can be more productive. The same is true for any skill. If I keep my mind and heart sharp, I will have success.

When I’m disciplined, punished or hurt, I can not be vengeful or bitter. I will let myself mourn for a day and then move on. I will be fordriven™. I will look for a silver lining. If I use it as a training tool, it will produce a harvest of goodness and peace later on in my life. I only need to be patient. I will give thanks in all things because all things will eventually work for my benefit.

Do you want lifelong coachability too? Your life and the lives of others will be better if you do.

Fordriven

We are born pure. Then our lot in life contaminates us. Our parents, environment, experiences, friends, family, communities, and cultures introduce impurities into our being. These impurities prevent us from seeing our life’s purpose. They distort our vision. If not dealt with, we never become the person we were intended to be.

All the fires we go through, i.e. tests, trials, pain, bad things we do and that happen to us, serve to purify us back to our original state. As with precious metals, when we are subject to high heat, impurities are released and what’s left is 100% pure.

The key, however, is to let the fire serve in this manner. The alternative is to let it destroy us. It’s our choice.

You can not control what fires you’re subject to. They are a product of the world in which we live. People hurt people. Bad things happen.

However, you can control how you handle them. Let them refine your character for the good. Don’t become bitter, vengeful, hateful, envious, jealous or proud. Rather, aim to possess the qualities of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness gentleness, faithfulness and self-control.

Remember this word. It will give you the ability to do it … Fordriven™.

Here’s what it means:

  • Everyone needs to be forgiven. Forgive yourself. Learn from your mistakes.
  • Everyone needs to forgive. Forgive others. Let it go. Don’t let the offense control you. Rather, let it refine you.
  • Everyone needs to drive forward. The past is in the rear view mirror. It can not be altered. The future is a blank canvas awaiting your masterpiece.

Everyone needs to be fordriven. Everyone needs to live a fordriven life.

Choosing Grace

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I will always choose grace. Whenever someone wrongs me, I will always pardon them. That is, I will never seek revenge. I will let it go.

This is the most powerful thing I’ve learned so far in 48-years on earth. It started in my mind and ended in my heart. I chose to operate this way. It was not easy, but over time it transformed my heart. And I’m grateful for being taught its power. Despite my stubbornness, I’ve mastered it. It only took me 48 years. Ha. Better late than never.

This is not to say I don’t have feelings about getting even. I do. However, I entrust that to a higher-power. Some call it the universe. Some call it karma. Some call it God. I will let “it” settle the score in “its” own way and on “its” own schedule. I’ll move on and trust that the score will be settled. After all, I have to get on with my life’s work. I don’t have time to get distracted.

Do you believe this choice could work for you? No?

Look at those situations in your life where you sought revenge or relief of your pain. Even if you got what you wanted, my guess it was a short-term “escape”. How long did it feel good? What were the negative consequences? What did you miss out on? What were the opportunity costs? If you had chosen the alternative, i.e. grace, would your life be better or worse?

Next, examine friends and family. Look for similar examples. Do you see any trends?

For me, I’ve concluded choosing grace is the better decision. It’s liberating. I am free to experience true joy. I have awareness of where I am going. I form good habits. I’ve awakened to my life’s purpose. I am focused and driven to do the right thing. I like the person I’ve become.

I hope you choose grace too. If you’re committed to it, but want help, then I’d be happy to hold your hand.

Wolf with a Better Cave

You may have a nice house, but someone might have a better house than you. They might brag or think they are better than you. Your friend might have more money than you too. Good for them, but don’t brag.

And if you have a nicer cave, share it. Don’t show it off. Be nice. Be the wise wolf. Feed your good wolf.

You could be the one to stop someone else from bragging. They could be hurting so try to  cheer them up. Be the leader of the pack.

Steep Your Mind for Aha Moments

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Contrary to popular opinion, aha moments happen intentionally. They are not accidental. They are born by the relentless pursuit of an idea. They become possible by mastering habitual creativity. And yes, anybody can learn it. Even you.

To excel at it, you must steep your mind in knowledge and information. As with tea leaves, the longer you immerse your mind in creative thinking, the stronger the likelihood you’ll have an idea you’re passionate about. An idea happens when a person takes knowledge and information that exists and combines it in a new way.

And remember, your mind does not care what you feed it, but it will return what you feed it. It’s like fertile soil so be careful what you plant. We become what we think about.

Therefore, the key to having aha moments, i.e. ideas that matter, is to be authentic and committed to doing consistent emotional labor, day in and day out. Show up as a pro and keep promises when no one is looking, especially when you don’t feel like it.

I Cannot Transform if I Conform

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This is slime. Making it is messy, but fun. Parents hate it. 10 year old girls love it.

We went against the grain for our daughter’s 10th birthday party. Normally, most birthday parties these days are held off-site in some controlled environment with boundaries. Kids’ creative energies aren’t permitted to be unleashed. They are cold parties, not warm and inviting. They’re just a another checkbox. Birthday party, check.

Back in the day, all birthday parties were held at my house. In addition to cake and ice cream, we played outside, walked in the woods and came up with ideas to entertain ourselves. I remember them fondly.

What used to be the norm is now an anomaly. As a society, I’m not sure how we segued to the new normal, but I prefer being different and evidently so does my daughter and her friends. They’ll never forget this party. It was fun, meaningful and strengthened their friendships. It was everything we hoped it would be, as it was purposefully designed to be unique.

Repeat after me. “I cannot transform if I conform.”

To transform is to change. To conform is to become similar. They are mutually exclusive. You can’t do both.

Examine how you spend your time, your days. What percentage is spent conforming to the prevailing societal norms? How much of what you think is dictated by pop culture? How much of what you do is influenced by what others are doing?

Here’s a secret. The majority is often wrong. They just have momentum that feels like it’s the right thing to do. If you’re directionless, it’s easy to get caught up in that feeling. This is the reason why so many people live empty lives today. It explains how someone can have 500+ Facebook “friends”, yet be lonely and depressed.

Deep down, we all crave meaning in life. In fact, it’s in our DNA. We were designed to be unique. We were created with a purpose in mind.

Therefore, to find meaning, you cannot let conformity seize your thinking or your habits. You must break the hold that the majority’s momentum has on you. Be a contrarian. Be independent.

By rejecting the majority’s control, you free your mind to critically think about who you are or want to become and base your opinions and decisions on that. This is what permits true transformation of mind, character, habits and life. You define what you want and where you are going and consequently aren’t blown off course by the winds of the masses.

Write this down. Keep it somewhere for easy access. Read it often.

“I cannot transform if I conform.”

Friction. Choices, Choices?

Friction

Friction is everywhere. If it wasn’t, life would be easy. There’d be no resistance to anything you try to do. Choices would be a breeze.

One type of friction is good. It’s feedback telling you you’re on the wrong path and should adjust course.

Another type of friction is bad. It’s a test trying to derail you from the proper path you’re on.

How do you discern the good from the bad? How do you make the right choice? You need to do the following:

  1. Slow life down. Your busyness is creating noise, which is distorting the signal. Slowing down is like watching a video in slow motion. You see things you don’t notice in real-time.
  2. Calm your mind. Your mind is like a computer that never shuts down. Multitasking is overrated. It prevents us from seeing the big picture. Use breathing exercises like the one described here to calm your mind.
  3. Make quiet time a habit. Every morning and evening, set aside 5-10 minutes to reflect on your day. Ask yourself key questions and write down the answers. Be honest and open with yourself. Here’s what I ask:
    • Morning ritual:
      • For what and whom am I grateful today?
      • What am I excited about and look forward to doing today?
      • What is my purpose? Do my plans today connect me to it?
      • How can I move the dial toward my goals today? Are my goals aligned with my purpose?
      • To whom can I reach out to serve or thank today?
    • Evening ritual:
      • Was I “on” and in the zone today or “off” and unbalanced? What contributed to this feeling?
      • What were the top three positive things today? What did I learn from them?
      • What went wrong today? What is the silver lining?
      • Are there unsolved challenges I would like my subconscious mind to help me solve tonight?

If you commit to mastering the art of discerning good friction from bad friction, then you’re on your way to a more levelheaded life.

And a happier, more confident, calm, assertive you making better choices.

Fear. Fret. Faith.

Romans 8-28

Do you fear anything? Do you fret about anything? Do you live by faith?

I can honestly answer: no, no and yes.

Can you?

It took me 46 years to really understand what it meant to live life by faith. I’m 47 now. I thought I understood, but I didn’t. That is, living secure in the fact that all things work for my benefit, as long as my priorities are aligned properly, and I place my trust in the right person. Through the good and the bad, I’m consistent and confident because my heart and mind are genuinely transformed and in balance.

All things aren’t good, but all things work for the good. In all things I give thanks, but I am not thankful for all things. It’s subtle, but there’s a difference.

I am not immune from life’s storms. However, I am equipped to withstand them. I am able to remain calm and peaceful even in the middle of a storm. I have self-control even when tempted to do the wrong thing: lie, cheat, take a short cut, etc.

I also experience many of life’s successes, and I am able to humbly accept, enjoy and appreciate them. I understand that I receive these gifts not for my glory. Pride, envy, greed and wrath have been sifted from my character.

I want the same for you.

No fear. No worry.

Only joy, peace and success.

You Are Essential

Essential

It’s a snowy winter morning, and you’re commuting into town listening to the radio. The news reports that “Only essential government personnel need to report to work. All nonessential employees are to stay home.” What goes through your mind?

If you’re like me, you say to yourself, “Well, if someone is nonessential, then why would they need to report on any day of the week?” This makes me chuckle, but it also makes me sad. Sad about all those nonessential folks who are just getting by in life. Conforming to what society has conditioned them to think they should do. Punching in and punching out of the daily time clock of life. There’s no meaning behind what they are doing. There’s no purpose other than to go to work and get paid.

That’s such waste of life because we are all designed to be essential. You are meant to be indispensable.

However to become essential, you need to choose to spend your life doing things that only you can do. Trim out the stuff that isn’t going to matter in the end. There is something you can do that will make an eternal difference.

And it’s linked to your character-based purpose in life. The person you want to be, the one you crave to become. Discover it and you’ll be spiritually alive. You’ll feel and be essential.

Here’s a hint to finding it. It involves your ability to positively impact the lives of others. There is something in you that is uniquely you. Something that you’re passionate about because it’s part of your core design. And you can use this passion to do good works.

Imagine at the end of your life someone coming up to you saying “I’m here because of you.” That’s using your life in a meaningful way.

To someone out there, you are essential.

 

Small Things

Bolt 1

What do you do with the small things in life? Do you handle them with care? Are you a good steward of them even when no one is looking? Do you think of them as incremental building blocks of the future? The answers to these questions reveal your character.

Bolt 2

Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.

Whether you realize it or not, someone is watching.

And listening.

To everything you say and do.

And each small thing is a building block that you are either putting up or tearing down.

If you don’t like something about your character, you can change it. One small step at a time, you can alter your mind and behavior. It won’t happen overnight, but it’s possible with desire, persistence and resilience. Block by block.

Why is resilience important? Because you’ll have set backs, and you’ll need to press on. These set backs will require you to forgive others or yourself and drive forward. Everyone needs to forgive. Everyone needs to be forgiven.

So what are some examples of the small things?

  • Daily decisions where you have to chose between right and wrong
    • You notice that when buying lunch, you were given more change than you should have received. There’s an extra $20. Do you keep it?
    • When doing your expense report for work, you could fabricate an item and get away with it because you feel the “company” owes you and can absorb it. Do you do it?
    • On your commute home after a long day at work, you get cut off by someone driving aggressively and distracted by their cell phone. Do you get angry, cuss and flip them the bird?
    • You have the opportunity to connect with a woman on Facebook. Your trusting wife doesn’t know her and would not suspect anything inappropriate. You just met the woman through a vendor’s social event at work and find her attractive. Do you do it? Do you tell your wife?
  • Daily moments where you can be thoughtful and serve others
    • After a lunch meeting, pack up the left overs to give to a homeless person on the walk back to your office.
    • Upon witnessing someone dropping all of their papers, which are now blowing in the wind, help them recover everything.
    • When walking by a piece of trash on the ground, pick it up and throw it away.
    • Slow down and help the senior citizen cross the road.
    • When you see a veteran of our armed forces, thank them for their service.

If you want to be entrusted with more in life, then demonstrate you can do the right thing with the small things. Behave like someone is always watching and listening.

Because someone is.

 

 

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