Relationship Atomic Bombs

If there was one thing you could eliminate about the way people around you interact and relate, what would it be? Would you get rid of the way some people criticize others? How about when some people are rude or inconsiderate? In your mind, what is the one thing that is the worst for relationships?

In my experience, the single thing that is the most damaging, the most harmful to most relationships is gossip. It is a relationship atomic bomb, unparalleled in its incredible destructive power.

Gossip is defined as “idle talk or rumor, especially about personal or private affairs of others.” It’s sticking our noses into the business of others. It’s poking into someone’s dirt. It’s being an inquiring mind, when it’s quite possibly (and often likely) none of our business to know. And worst of all, it’s sharing what we didn’t need to know in the first place.

In the classic book The Magic of Thinking Big, author David J. Schwartz, PhD has several thoughts about gossip, calling it “thought poison.”

Thought poison is subtle, but it accomplishes “big” things. It reduces the size of our thinking by forcing us to concentrate on petty, unimportant things.

In another place, Dr. Schwartz defines gossip, writing,

Gossip is just negative conversation about people, and the victim of thought poison begins to think he enjoys it. He seems to get a form of poisoned joy from talking negatively about others, not knowing that to successful people he is becoming increasingly unlikable, and unreliable.

Regarding leadership and gossip, best-selling author, award-winning blogger and LIFE founder Orrin Woodward recently tweeted,

Never met a leader who made a habit of gossiping & I’ve never met a gossiper who made a habit of leading. #success

And best-selling author, award-winning blogger and LIFE CEO Chris Brady recently tweeted,

A person who gossips spreads poison and blames others for the fallout. #gossip #rumors #relationships

The fallout of gossip can be as broad as the number of people involved. It damages and even breaks relationships, causes multitudes of hurt feelings and untold numbers of misunderstandings.

I remember as a schoolgirl, there was some gossip about another person and myself. The rumors were I had said something about my friend that was cruel and mean. They were completely untrue! But my friend, and our group of friends, believed them. No matter how insistent my denials, how strong my protests, they didn’t believe me, and I spent the rest of my senior year of high school ostracized from my former friends. I never reconciled with them, and now cannot with some, as they have since died. Gossip caused my friendships to be shattered beyond repair forever.

Since gossip is so damaging, how do we avoid it? One rule my grandmother and mother both taught me as a girl seems appropriate here. When tempted to gossip, they taught me to ask myself, “Would I say it if that person were present?

Let’s go back to see what David J. Schwartz, PhD has to say for a personal gossip test from The Magic of Thinking Big:

  1. Do I spread rumors about other people?
  2. Do I always have good things to say about others?
  3. Do I like to hear reports of a scandal?
  4. Do I judge others only on the basis of facts?
  5. Do I encourage others to bring their rumors to me?
  6. Do I precede my conversations with, “Don’t tell anybody”?
  7. Do I keep confidential information confidential?
  8. Do I feel guilty about what I have to say concerning other people?

Dr. Schwartz follows this list with his Golden Rule of human behavior, “Go First Class.” We all have an innate knowledge of what First Class means. It’s the best of everything money can buy. In relationships, Go First Class means to be a person of trust, honor, integrity, character and class. It means to be able to answer the questions of the gossip test with a resounding “NO” because that would be against everything you believe in and practice. To Go First Class in our relationships means we are trustworthy friends, loyal and faithful.

When our friends know the relationship atomic bomb of gossip won’t be dropped on them, it gives them security in our relationships. It means our friends know they can count on us to hear deep intimacies, knowing their secrets won’t go anywhere else.

If you struggle with gossip, I urge you to take my words to heart, and apply Dr. Schwartz’s test to your conversations. Don’t forget, it’s not just a matter of not saying it. It’s also a matter of what you will accept being told. Let us walk together, speaking truthfully, in love, and without the thought poison of gossip.

 

Success 101 – Long Term Thinking

In my previous post, I discussed the idea the secrets of success are available to all of us, and not just the fortunate few in life. I mentioned best-selling author Robert Kiyosaki and his Cash Flow book series, and the clues he shares in it. In this post, we’ll discuss clue #1, Long Term Thinking.

What is Long Term Thinking? If you ask some people, they will suggest it means starting planning your next weekend on Monday morning. Others might start talking about the vacation they are planning for next summer.

When I was a kid, Long Term Thinking meant I was considering how long it was until summer vacation, or Christmas, or my birthday. Do you remember being a kid, and summer vacation seemed like it was 10 years long, and sometimes schooldays felt like they were each 2 days long? Many children feel that way. Unfortunately, while we all grow up, some of us don’t grow out of this way of thinking.

In his blog post Exertion, best-selling author and leadership expert Chris Brady talks about Long Term Thinking and its effects on people’s lives.

Exertion –→ over time -→ massive results

It is the concept of “over time” in which Chris Brady emphasizes the value of Long Term Thinking for us. He emphasized the “over time” factor is a critical key to success.

What does “over time” mean? In his post, Chris tells the story of football superstar Jerry Rice, considered by many to be one of the best players in the game of all time. His rise to fame was less than meteoric. He went from a unheard of high school to tiny college, to a seventh round NFL draft pick, to the San Francisco Forty-Niners, where he mastered his craft over twenty years of hard work. Jerry Rice’s story is a true study in Long Term Thinking.

In his book The Slight Edge, Jeff Olson talks about the growth of water lilies. It is another case study in Long Term Thinking. In a pond, lilies spread unseen under the surface over time until they take it over. Once the pond is taken over by the lilies, they pop up seemingly miraculously overnight, blooms and lily pads covering the surface with beauty.

In his book Good To Great. author Jim Collins discusses what makes people successful. He studied people from many walks of life, and discovered they all had one thing in common. Each one of these people used Long Term Thinking and practiced whatever the thing that was their passion no less than 10,000 hours each to obtain the mastery levels the world pays great prices to see.

In our microwave culture, Long Term Thinking is often a foreign concept. Long Term Thinking is not considering about what will happen this month or this year, though that’s helpful. It’s about seeing the future you want for yourself, looking 5, 10 or more years ahead of where you are now. It’s using that picture of the future and starting to work toward it now. Long Term Thinking is what Henry David Thoreau meant when he said,

If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.

You can turn any castles of your dreams into reality by starting with the critical key of Long Term Thinking.

LIFE Leadership Logo

The Committee of They

How often are we ruled by the opinions of others? How often do we allow what we believe other people “might think” to dominate our own thoughts, attitudes, choices and actions?

When our kids were younger, they often tried a classic child persuasion ploy on my husband and myself for things they wanted. “But everyone’s doing it!” was their plaintive cry, usually after a parental “NO” had been already been heard. Upon closer questioning, it was usually found “everyone” was not doing it. Some were, and some were not, and we almost always remained firm in our resolve our kids would be in the “not” group. When told  due to budgetary restrictions to wear a style that was last year’s, or banned from an activity that was either against our beliefs or we couldn’t afford (or we didn’t have time to do), I was told “they” didn’t wear such dorky things, “they” had cool Moms and “they” got to do all the best stuff.

One day, I got sick of it. I looked at my young teenagers, interrupted one mid-rant and firmly informed them, “The Committee of ‘THEY’ don’t live here any more!” The non-ranting sibling quietly asked in the shocked silence what I’d meant. Stunned by the simplicity and profound truth of what I’d said, I told them we would make our decisions as we always did, with discussion between my husband and I, based on our values and lifestyle needs, and not based on what “everyone” else was saying or doing. “They” were not to be used as an arguing point any more, because I’d just decided “their” opinions and behavior never had any influence on us before, and therefore didn’t deserve to have any now. The kids were thunderstruck.

When told of the conversation, my peace-loving husband (bless him!) said simply, “I love it!,” backed me completely and eventually began using it himself. It took some time to get the kids to understand a “they” argument meant an almost sure automatic “NO” from us, but they eventually got the point.

As time went on, we saw how this rule applied in other areas of our lives. When faced with opposition after we started our own non-traditional business, the Committee of They chimed in with a nearly unanimously negative response. My husband and I considered “their” response, and promptly ignored it. “They” didn’t provide for our family; we did. When Committee of They told us we were not raising our children properly, we considered “their” response, consulted trusted counselors (who were also successful parents themselves), and ignored “them.” We decided we were the parents, the ones to whom God gave the responsibility to raise the kids, not “them.”

As I look deeper at life, I realize the voices of the Committee of They are persistent, pervasive and proliferating. They are persistent because we hear it constantly, no matter what we do. They are pervasive because we hear them everywhere, from our friends, family and the news media. And they are proliferating because like critics, who go nowhere and do nothing yet tear down those who do, “they” are everywhere, criticizing everything.

And “they” are growing. Think about it with me for a minute. When was the last time you had an idea you didn’t follow through on because of what “they” might think, say or do? Come on, be honest with yourself, because we’ve all had them. The incredible irony of it is we never realize others think and speak about us way less than we believe they are, just because, like us, they are too busy thinking and speaking of themselves and what “they” might think of them!  (Did I confuse you yet?) Recently, best-selling author, successful entrepreneur and leadership expert Orrin Woodward said on Twitter,

If you poll the crowd for your success advice, expect the success of the crowd.

Orrin’s partner, best-selling author, successful entrepreneur and leadership expert Chris Brady quoted recently on Twitter,

When you don’t march to the same beat as everybody else, then you have to be able to stand up for what you believe in. — Gary Major

It takes inner toughness to stand up to the Committee of They. It takes willingness to listen to trusted voices of counsel and reason, come up with a decision together and stick to it in the face of opposition. Critical bombs will be lobbed your way by The Committee of They who disagree with you. Heck, at times you’ll think it’s a war zone with all the shots “They” are taking at you!

But if you stand firm, stick to your convictions and what you believe to be your best course, you will find an inner satisfaction no outside approval from The Committee of They can offer.  And sometimes, you even get the immense personal satisfaction of showing the world (sometimes in a public arena) you were right and “they” were wrong, without ever finding a need to rub it in. The rest of the time, just knowing it for yourself is plenty good enough . . .

The Courage To Stay (Part 2) – Historical Examples and Lessons

Hernán Cortés

In 1504, explorer Hernan Cortes left the island of Cuba and landed on the mainland of Central America. He and his 500 men were sent to explore and conquer the territory they found.

When the men learned they were severely out numbered, they tried to return to Cuba. Cortes stopped them with threats and promises of treasure. He then sent his most trusted officers to sink the ships they came in, to cut off their means of escape. The tactic was initially unsuccessful, and attempted again the following night. By this time, the men knew what Cortes was doing, and there was an angry confrontation. Cortes convinced his men this was a war they could win. They agreed to burn the remaining ship, cutting off their last hope of retreat. History records they conquered the Aztecs, taking back much wealth and treasure of many kinds to Spain in colonial glory.

In 1849, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, along with his fellow members of the Petrashevsky Circle, was sentenced to death for what the Russian courts considered

Photo of F. Dostoevsky Русский: Фёдор Михайлов...

subversive activities. At the last moment, his sentence was commuted with a note from Tsar Nicholas I, and changed to 4 years of hard labor in Siberia. Raised in wealth and opulence, the imprisonment was hard on Dostoyevsky’s health, and he suffered life-long consequences. He took out of it a firm resolve to make his writings count, and write each as if it were his last. By facing death so clearly, Dostoyevsky allowed it to rise himself above the trivialities of his life. Initially a journalist, he became one of the most beloved classic Russian authors.

Baden Panorama

Baden Panorama

In the stories of King Arthur and his Round Table, there are tales of the battle of Baden Hill. Arthur and his knights were surrounded, and hopelessly out numbered by their foes. (Who their foes were differs from story to story.) Using the stones of the hill, it is told they built a fort, where they took a small time to regroup and rest. Then, using what they had with horses, men, arrows and spears, they engaged their enemies. They had a great victory, with almost total defeat for their enemies, and some injury but almost no loss of life for them.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Like the parable in my earlier post, in these historical examples,I have explored with you, dear reader, aspects of the courage it takes to stay when others are running away. I know, there is a proverbial saying, “He who fights and runs away may live to fight another day.” But oftentimes, he (or she) who runs away might not get their chance to fight another day.

Sometimes, standing and fighting, even in the face of what looks to be insurmountable odds, is the thing you have to do, because you know it’s the right thing to do. It’s often been said the toughest fights are not seen out of people (or creatures) until their back is against a wall, whether the wall be physical or proverbial.

Strategists call this place “death ground.” When a person or group is on death ground, they will fight as if their very lives depend on it, because they do. Sure, running away evades and avoids a conflict that might end in death ground. But staying, even if it means risking a conflict on a death ground, leads to a greater potential of reward, even if the reward is in honor and personal satisfaction, and not treasure or riches.

So, what can we do if we find ourselves on death ground, or with a good possibility of being there?

  1. Take that one and only chance approach. If you’re not already on death ground but it’s close, sincerely consider its risks and rewards. 
  2. Act as if it’s you, or you and your companions, against the world. There is almost nothing more exhilarating than a death ground fought with a good and trusted company of warriors. King Arthur’s Round Table was just such a group.
  3. Do not wait to be ready. Act sooner. “He who hesitates is lost” is a proverb more often than not true.
  4. Stay restless. Don’t seek comfort. As New York Times best-selling author and award-winning blogger Chris Brady says, It’s not a comfort zone. It’s a familiar zone.”

What if you are the aggressor, and your opponent is on death ground? Be aware that opponent has nothing to lose. Death ground works for them, and against you.

The wise understand death ground will come at times, whether they look for it or not, and meet it with courage and strength. Fools run around looking for it, even when they don’t need to, and will even make it happen, for the thrill it brings. Cowards avoid it, fearing its losses and not seeing its potential rewards. Those who have the courage to stay and wisely face the death ground they are given are the ones who rise, rewarded by the love of their followers and the wealth of their experiences there.

Applications Now Being Accepted

Every time we hunt for a job, we see it:

Applications now being accepted for the position of . . .

It doesn’t matter what the position is; while the wording may change, the intent remains. There is an open position for which qualified people may apply.

Life has open positions, too. Only life doesn’t advertise its positions. It simply has them open for anyone with the eyes to see and courage to accept what life has to offer. The position life most often offers, the one that most often goes wanting to be filled, is that of leader.

What is leadership? Entire libraries of books have been written on the topic!

Orrin Woodward

Orrin Woodward

I have read some of them, including the best-selling Launching A Leadership Revolution by Orrin Woodward and Chris Brady, as well as the latest best-seller, LeaderShift, by Orrin Woodward and Oliver DeMille.

Chris Brady

Chris Brady

In Launching A Leadership Revolution, a leader is characterized by being hungry, hone-able or teachable and honorable. The leader seeks mastery in their craft through the Trilateral Leadership Ledger of Character, Tasks and Relationships. In LeaderShift, a leader is further characterized by having a vision. The leader applies the vision to the Trilateral Leadership Ledger for the desired results. According to both Launching A Leadership Revolution and LeaderShift, a leader sees not just the problem at hand, but the root causes and the steps required for solving it. In LeaderShift, these root causes are reflected in the 5 Laws of Decline.

We live in a world of terrorist bombings, attempted poisonings of our public officials

Oliver DeMille

Oliver DeMille

through the mail, assassination attempts, slander, politics from both sides of the spectrum being malicious and dirty, free-falling economics, wars and rumors of wars, natural disasters, eroding relationships, emotional distancing, societal decay and family disintegration. We are attacked from without, and attack one another from within. Our world as we know it is in chaos.

It is into this chaos void leaders walk. Leaders bring solutions, not more problems. Often, the solutions may look like more problems, but they aren’t. These are challenges needed to solve the underlying difficulties causing the problems in the first place. These challenges are also hard because most people find change of any kind hard, and leaders are catalysts for change.

Launching A Leadership Revolution

Launching A Leadership Revolution

Leaders polarize people into groups for and against their leadership vision. That’s because as Orrin Woodward recently said on Twitter, “In leadership, the cause always comes before the applause.” Also on Twitter, Chris Brady said, quoting Mark Driscoll, “The more people you influence, the more people who hate you.” It is the actions and expected behaviors of leaders that polarize. As Orrin Woodward recently said on Twitter, “Some people say they have to see it to believe it, but leaders have to believe it to see it.” It is this belief in the vision which polarizes others.

I believe in the vision Orrin Woodward and Oliver DeMille set forth in LeaderShiftI am striving to be one of the leaders, one of the 10% who will step forward and change the world around me for the better. It’s a call open to anyone who will hear it and respond. Because if people don’t respond, things will get worse. The 5 Laws of Decline, as described in LeaderShift, clearly point that

LeaderShift

LeaderShift

out.

So, if not now, then when? And if not us, then who?

Our Endless Pursuit of Perfection

English: A pair of reading glasses with LaCost...

I recently ordered a pair of glasses from my ophthalmology office. I have some specific needs in any pair of glasses I wear regularly. It makes for a tricky order.

They came in. And went back, because they weren’t right. The office said the prescription for one of the lenses didn’t quite match mine. It needed to be right before they’d release them to me.

I went through this several years ago, with another office, a national chain. It took them 6 tries for the lab to get my glasses right, over 3 months! The store manager was so frustrated after the 4th attempt, he called his boss’s boss, and informed him the company was reimbursing every bit of my costs, to make up for my delay and inconvenience. After the 5th attempt, corporate gave in.

I am not telling you this so you can feel sorry for me, with my challenges in ordering glasses. It is an effort to think about where the search for perfection might be a positive thing to have working, and where it might not.

A medicine icon.

The search for perfection in things like health care is a good thing. We want our prescriptions perfect, whether they be glasses or medicine. We want our doctors to diagnose us right, the first time, and prescribe the right course of treatment. We want to be having correct billing, and not pay more than our insurance company says we have to, assuming we have insurance.

We want things as close to perfect as possible when we deal with food,

Tasty Food Abundance in Healthy Europe

whether buying it or ordering it. We want to know it’s fresh and good for us. We want to know it’s not contaminated, or handled by someone who’s ill. If we’re eating out, we want it to taste good.

Most of us seek for perfection in our work. We want to do a good job for our employers, to give an honest effort for the wage they pay, whether we feel we deserve a larger one or not.

How many other areas can you think of where people seek perfection? I can think of dozens, right off the top of my head. Society gives us the message we should want perfection in our life partners, our bodies, our families (though I am beginning to think it is now pushing dysfunctional as “the new normal”), our extended relationships and so on.

English: Mid drive fluid motion quantum ellipt...

What is the result of all this search for perfection? Health clubs have booming memberships. Diet plans are everywhere you turn. A new career has sprung up and gained popularity, the Life Coach. (Not that I am knocking it, since Life Coaches with LIFE know what they’re talking about and have the fruit on the tree of experience to prove it!)

And everyone keeps searching for the elusive butterfly of perfection. never realizing it will ever remain just out of reach. Modern society tells us we want to be married to super models, be super models ourselves, have homes out of decorating magazines, kids who win all the awards and get all A’s, have perfect greeting card holidays, own the latest and greatest whatever, never have problems, never get sick or be stressed or tired . . . The list is as unrealistic as it is endless!

Even God never demanded perfection of us after the Garden of Eden. What He

English: The Garden of Earthly Delights [detai...

said as recorded in Leviticus 11:44 was,

I am the Lord, who brought you up out of Egypt to be your God; therefore be holy, because I am holy.

The expectation God Himself has on humans is holiness, not perfection. A standard of excellence, not something He knew we’d find impossible to reach. God didn’t make it easy, but He did make it worthwhile.

Perfect poise

When I demand perfection of myself, or demand it of those around me, I childishly insist on  something God never expected me to do. When I insist life must be in perfect balance at all times for me to be happy, I set myself up for disappointment on a daily, even hourly, basis. If I were to insist everything I did were perfect, you would never read a single post from me! I’m careful in my editing, to say all I want to say (hopefully without offending anyone too badly!), but if I demanded perfection, I’d be editing every entry forever, and never get one of them posted! (Maybe one or two of you are saying, “Good, that means she’d shut up!”, but I hope not!)

So, how do we solve this problem? The Apostle Paul addressed it in Romans

Rembrandt - Apostle Paul - WGA19120

16:19b when he said,

I want you to be excellent in what is good and to avoid what is evil.

So our goal is excellence, not perfection. Like God’s own standard of holiness over perfection, excellence is attainable. It’s not easy. It’s hard, very hard. But it is something we can do. And perhaps, should do.

The world makes room for those who seek excellence. Excellence opens doors mere talent may only crack. Those who seek excellence in whatever they attempt eventually rise above their competition. The landmark book Talent Is Overrated by Geoff Calvin speaks to this. In it, he cites several case studies in which those who practiced their craft attained higher levels of achievement than those who relied on mere talent alone, without the discipline of continued practice applied over time.

Chris Brady

Chris Brady

Leadership guru, best-selling author, business leader, and award-winning blogger Chris Brady discussed excellence in his post, A High-Def Life. In it he said,

There is no substitute for hard work. Tim Tebow said, “It’s not hard to beat talent when talent won’t work hard.” The most successful people in life are not the ones with the most talent, but rather those who have the ability to push themselves to excellence. Remember: You won’t reach high if you won’t push on.

The secret to excellence, then, is in pursuing it. It’s a goal, not a destination. It’s one I’m headed toward,and I am one of many in the pursuit. If you’re not already, why not come and join us?

Is Orrin Woodward REALLY All He’s Cracked Up To Be?

I am often asked, “Is Orrin Woodward REALLY all he’s cracked up to be??

Orrin Woodward

Orrin and Laurie Woodward

Please allow me answer that, once and for all, with the following (true) story,  names unchanged to protect neither the guilty, nor the innocent.

I will start by saying I got an iPhone late last summer. I read the manual and became rapidly proficient in its use. Or at least, I thought I was.

Recently, a group of ladies had the privilege to attend a retirement dinner to honor Pat Tefel, the delightful and grace-filled lady leader of our TEAM LIFE business team. It was a wonderful evening, highlighted by the presence of leader, blogger, home schooling mom and all-around lovely woman,

Chris and Terri Brady

Chris and Terri Brady

Terri Brady.

Terri’s husband Chris recently had a birthday, so when I briefly spoke to her at the start of the evening, she suggested I go on FaceBook and give greetings to his partner Orrin Woodward, since it was his birthday that day. After getting a photo with Terri and my husband, I went to my table and linked into the wifi where the event was being held. I found Orrin’s page on FaceBook, and thought I left him a message on his wall.

The next morning, on my break at work, I went on FaceBook to check up on things, and see if anyone had posted photos of the party. The first thing I found was a private message from Orrin Woodward!! I had posted my birthday wishes to him privately!!! Oh, my goodness!!!

Orrin’s was the message of a gracious gentleman, honorable and kind in all his dealings, as he said,

Thank YOU Cathy! I hope you are having a blessed day.

To understand the importance of this exchange, think about having the CEO of a multi-national corporation, who has thousands of people who look to him for leadership, combined with the public acclaim of a best-selling author like Steven King, all rolled into one incredible package, on your FaceBook friend list. You are a tiny, insignificant speck in his radar, and are pleased just being acknowledged as his friend, and with a blanket group thanks to everyone who wished him birthday greetings on his wall. That is how big a deal it is to me!

When I realized the size of my blunder, and the graciousness of Orrin’s response, I posted the following, being very careful to do it to his wall:

Thank you so much for your gracious and lovely response to my accidental private message birthday greetings last night! I meant to post that on your wall!! Clearly I have more to learn about FaceBook for iPhone . . . (Color me red-faced.)

That evening at the party, I had told Terri I was a high-end tech user, and promptly proved it. I even had the boldness to call myself “the app queen!” Horrors!! In my bragging, I totally forgot Proverbs 16:18, which says

Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.

I fell, alright! The Law of Unintended Consequences (and Murphy’s Law) were very busy with me that night. It is only the kindness, graciousness, humility, character and gentle spirit of Orrin Woodward that saved me from total embarrassment and utter shame.

I am telling you this (and making public my foolishness) for one reason: We all look for leaders to follow, to emulate, to seek to become what they represent. Leaders who show such humility and character as Orrin Woodward did with me are worth following anywhere, and for any reason.

Taming The Money Monster – TEAM LIFE Leader Tells All

Why do so many people have a hard time with managing money? 

Chris Brady

TEAM LIFE leader Chris Brady offers a unique perspective in the recent article Money View.

“World View” is a term recently popularized by philosophers and media pundits who debate spiritual and political matters.  It refers to the lens through which people see (and therefore interpret) the world around them.  All information and observations must pass through this lens and be colored by one’s World View.

Similarly, there is another “View” I would like to propose for consideration, and I’m calling this the “Money View.”  In my nearly two decades of dealing with people and their finances I have slowly awakened to the fact that how people are doing financially is often a direct result of their “Money View.” Just as with World Views, there are several very different Money Views, each with its own ramifications. These include, but are probably not limited to, the following:

1.  Money as a Mystery – in which people seem to have no clue how money is made (or retained) and therefore think that others who are successful financially are somehow “lucky”

2. Money as a Master– in which one’s entire life is lived out

Money

in bondage to the need for more money, or at least the drudgery of scraping by. This is often accompanied by terms such as, “I have to go to work,” or “Another day, another dollar.”

3. Money as a Monster – this is the condition whereby financial pressures become so large they dominate a person’s thoughts and affect him emotionally. Often at this stage relationships are damaged and health is compromised.

4. Money as a Major – in which a person applies most of his focus and fascination on how to acquire more. In this situation money is an idol.

5. Money as a Motivator – this is the condition whereby money is used to push one to higher achievement and greater contribution. This can be for both selfish or selfless reasons. Beware.

6. Money as a Manipulator – whereby a person uses his or her money to get what he or she wants out of other people. It is here where phrases such as “Money is Power” apply.

With a little help from my friends...

7. Money as a Minimizer – the condition in which the presence of money diminishes one’s ambition. This is where complacency and mediocrity reside.

8. Money as a Maximizer – where one is driven to utilize his or her money to make a greater contribution and maximize his or her potential. This is usually much more selfless and altruistic than #5 above.

9. Money as a Monument – where money is used as a status symbol, to build a reputation, or as an attempt to establish an immortal family legacy.

10. Money as a Menace – wherein the money one has is a destructive force in one’s life, either by feeding addictions or by causing fights or by dominating one’s time and energy with the care and maintenance required to sustain it.

Svenska: Forex's lilla kasse som man kan förva...

In considering this list, it may be helpful to ask yourself some questions, such as:

1. Which “Money View” best represents where you are right now?

2. Which of these “Money Views” have you encountered previoulsy in your life?

3. Notice that several of these “Money Views” are quite negative. What are you doing to make sure you are living under a positive and productive one? Which one would you choose?

4. What are you doing to grow in your financial understanding and education?

In each of the above views we see that money is always used as a Means. The key question in money matters is therefore, “As a means for what?” This is why the Bible again and again treats money as a heart issue. Money in itself is not evil, but the heart is desperately wicked, who can know it? Money becomes a dangerous or productive tool, depending upon the heart that wields it.

Make sure you choose your “Money View” deliberately and intentionally, don’t simply let it choose you. Pursue some financial education to enable you to be in charge of money instead of it being in charge of you. And guard your heart when it comes to money, in plenty or in want.

That’s my view.

Why I Write This Blog

Why do we do what we do?  How often do we look at our motivations for doing things?

I was asked by someone today what I did in 2011 to make the world a better place to live in.  This blog, and what I post in it, was part of my answer.

I write here to inform, educate, challenge presuppositions and entertain.  I look at things through the perspective of my worldview, and try to give you a small view of what I see and feel.  Sometimes, I put a microscope on a subject and look closely.  Other times, I work for a telescopic, big picture view.  And I will admit there are occasional times when my view feels to me more like the confusion of a kaleidoscope!

I write because for me, words are my passion, my reason for living.  They are, as some would say, my thing.  It wasn’t until this year that I finally realized what I wanted to be when I grew up — I wanted to be a writer.  To me, that is the coolest and most awesome job on the planet!

This discovery did not come to someone in their early adulthood years.  If you have read any number of my posts, you know I am a mother of 2 adult kids, and a grandmother of 2 1/3 young children.  (Yes, that was an announcement.  Our daughter told us at Christmas she is again pregnant, due in June.)  As someone well past my younger years, you would expect I would have had a clue sooner.  But life has a funny way of happening to people, and my early paths were not always smooth ones.

Chris Brady

I was urged write, to blog, this year by people who supported my efforts and encouraged me to do it.  I owe mentor Tony Tefel and fellow blogger, leadership guru and TEAM LIFE  co-founder Chris Brady a debt I cannot hope to ever repay.

I had one other answer to that question posed to me today about how I made the world a better place in 2011.  I made the world a better place by making me better.  Through what I learn from the books, CD’s and training events of TEAM LIFE, I become better. I do it because of a quote that has become my favorite.

When I was young and free my imagination had no limits, I dreamed of changing the world. As I grew older and wiser, I discovered the world would not change, so I shortened my sights somewhat and decided to change only my country. But it, too, seemed immovable. As I grew in my twilight years, in one desperate last attempt, I settled for changing only my family, those closest to me, but alas, they would have none of it. And now as I lay on my deathbed, I suddenly realized: If I had only changed myself first, then by example I would have changed my family. From their inspiration and encouragement, I would then have been able to better my country and, who knows, I may have even changed the world.~~ Found on the tomb of an 11th

Westminster Abbey

Westminster Abbey

century Anglican Bishop in Westminster Abbey

I invite you to join me in the journey of changing the world by changing ourselves.

Cathy