IDEALS Moment from March 2016
The Nail and The Wood
Jack Williams, March 2016
I recently read a story written by Michael Josephson that shares a great message on the impact of the words we say.
When one of my daughters was confronted with the fact that she had really hurt another child with a mean comment, she cried and immediately wanted to apologize. That was a good thing, but I wanted her to know an apology can’t always make things better. So I told her the story of Will, an angry nine-year-old whose father abandoned his mom two years earlier.
Will would often lash out at others with mean and hurtful words. After a particularly hostile outburst where Will told his mom, “I see why Dad left you!,” his mother, desperate and damaged, sent Will to spend the summer with his grandparents who lived on a small farm.
The first evening on the farm, Will made nasty comments to his grandmother about her cooking and the size of the house. His grandfather took him to a tool shed and told him he could not come back into the house until he pounded a two inch nail into a 4 x 4 board. He said
the nail had to be pounded all the way in and that he would have to do so every time he said a mean and hurtful thing. For a small boy, this was a major task. After about ten trips to the shed, Will began to be more cautious about his words. Eventually, he apologized to his grandmother for all the bad things he’d said.
His grandmother didn’t respond directly but asked him to bring in the board filled with nails. Then she gave him the hammer and asked him to pull out all the nails. This was even harder than pounding them in, but after a huge struggle, he did it.
His grandmother hugged him and said, “I appreciate your apology and, of course, I forgive you because I love you, but I want you to know an apology is like pulling out one of those nails. Look at the board. The holes are still there. The board will never be the same. I know your dad put a hole in you when he left and that’s unfair, but it doesn’t give you the right to put holes in other people especially those who love you. Will, you are better than that.”
- Did you put any nails in your board today?
- Are you ready to take them out?
- What does your board look like?
When you feel like saying something that is going to be hurtful or inappropriate to someone – think of the board and the nail hole you’re about to make.
Remember – You’re better than that!
IDEALS Moment from April 2015
Jack Williams, April 2015
Think about how our society has driven us to try to multi-task throughout most of our days. It may start with something simple like checking your phone for texts or emails while eating breakfast.
Ever noticed how many people you see walking around with their face glued down looking at what’s on their phone?
What about while we’re listening / talking on the phone, we type away at our computers to keep working on whatever we were doing when the phone rang? How do you feel when you’re on the other end of a conversation and you can hear the other person’s key board just a humming?
How about husbands watching TV / reading the paper while their wife is trying to talk to them. This writer is guilty as charged!
What about having four folders of “work” in front of you going back and forth during the day from one to another?
I had breakfast with an executive of a very successful dental supply firm and he told me a couple of days earlier they had two people in the
office actually run into each other while walking in the office because they were looking at their phones. Good news – no major injuries!
What about walking into a restaurant or better yet a sports bar and realize they have wall to wall TV’s with games on so you can watch 6 different games at the same time. TVs in your home now have the capability of split screen viewing.
Employees are constantly being asked to handle multiple jobs at one time and brag about their ability to multi-task.
Okay so what’s your point?
While we are all beating our chests about how many things we can do at one time, just ask yourself – how effective are you really? Are you completing multiple tasks to get them done and in the process generating less than desired results? How many times did you have to go back and re-do something that just didn’t turn out the way you needed it or worse the way someone else wanted it?
Okay, I know the world’s not going to slow down for you but I strongly recommend you do! Being able to put a concentrated focus on a task is a lost art. Because of that fact, the quality of our work, the effectiveness of many of our activities and even the depth of many of our relationships have probably suffered more than we’d like to admit.
Take the “Let’s focus for a month challenge”. Decide what’s most important right now and give it your undivided attention and focus. When finished with that activity, repeat the process. What a novel idea!
IDEALS Moment from March 2015
You or Them?
Jack Williams, March 2015.
It’s pretty common knowledge that the favorite topic of conversation with most people centers on what’s happening in their life.
To be fair, some people’s lives are more interesting than others but even with those people, there’s a limit of how much you want to hear about them. Many people also have a tendency to share how much they know and one way to do that is to dominate conversations.
Then there’s another group. This group consists of people who are great listeners and ask sincere questions. They constantly are trying to focus their attention on the people they meet or spend time with. Think for a minute. Who would you want to hang out with? I know what my choice would be!
Too often at a social gathering or a meeting, I’ll leave and realize I really didn’t learn much at all about the others in attendance but they sure heard a lot about me – from me! Ever been there? Not a good feeling.
Take the time to think about a list of questions in advance that might be appropriate when you’re going to meet with someone or attend a social event that is designed for conversations to occur. Have a “learning mindset” for the meeting. I’m not talking about a business meeting where you have to obtain business data etc. I’m talking about really getting to know the people you meet.
A great way to help drive conversations to a deeper level is to interject the comment “that’s interesting – tell me more about…” Another great transition comment when you either don’t agree with what they said or don’t understand is to say – “that’s interesting – help me understand…”
The last time I checked, I believe I have a pretty good handle on all that’s gone on in my life. I’m not going to grow as a person always “educating” others about me but I can grow by learning more about those people I interact with and it’s a lot more enjoyable for all involved.
Want to have some fun? Watch how people will be drawn to you when you start focusing your conversations on the other person rather than yourself. Remember, have a game plan of things you’d like to learn about who you’re going to be with in advance then open up a “can of – I want to know about you questions” and enjoy the time together. I guarantee you the people you interact will!
IDEALS Moment from February 2015
Words of Wisdom
Various Authors, February 2015.
He that is good at making excuses is seldom good at anything else – Ben Franklin
What you do speaks so loudly that I cannot hear what you say – Ralph Waldo Emerson
It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt – Unknown
Success is a ladder that cannot be climbed with your hands in your pockets – Unknown
Even a mosquito doesn’t get a slap on the back till it starts working – Unknown
Not everything that is faced can be changed. But nothing can be changed until it is faced – Unknown
Opportunities are never lost. The other fellow takes those you miss – Unknown
We probably wouldn’t worry about what people think of us if we could know how seldom they actually do – Olin Miller
If what you did yesterday still looks big to you, you obviously haven’t done much today – Unknown
The only difference between stumbling blocks and stepping stones is the way you use them – Unknown
We give advice by the bucket but take it by the grain – William Alger
Some people are umpires at heart; they like to call balls and strikes on others – Unknown
There is no comparison between that which is lost by not succeeding and that which is lost by not trying – Francis Bacon
IDEALS Moment from January 2015
Power in the Spoken Word
Written by Jack Williams, January 2015.
I was reading recently in a devotional written by Ed McMinn where he said “your words are perhaps the most powerful force you possess for good or bad.”
That got me to thinking. We’ve all heard people referred to as an “energy vampire” because every time they enter the room they suck the energy out of everyone because of their negativity, attitude and self- focused conversations. Then there are others that everyone wants to be around because they are so positive and always have great energy.
Let’s take a minute and do a self – assessment about the impact of our words. When you are with people do your words –
Discourage, belittle, attack, hurt, focus on the negative side of things, keep things stirred up, focus on you rather than others, bemoan about what you don’t have instead of what you do have or try to point out faults in others?
Or the other hand, do your words –
Lift up, encourage, accentuate the good in others, inspire, heal, focus on opportunities, unite, challenge in a good way and make people want to be in your company?
The tongue can be a powerful tool or it can be a dangerous weapon. Watch what comes out of your mouth because you can be sure others will be!
Choose your words carefully – because once they are said, they can’t be captured and retracted. They are out there and they will make an impact in the lives of others either for good or bad.
IDEALS Moment from December 2014
Written by Jack Williams, December 2014.
I heard someone say one time that 90% of life is just about “showing up”! I’m not sure where they came up with the exact percentage but I have to agree with his point. Life is all about just being willing to “show up”.
Let me share a personal example. I believe in taking care of myself physically. I try to work out between 5-6 times a week at 5:30 AM with a specific workout based on what day it is. That’s the good news. The bad news is the majority of the time it’s a battle every morning to force myself up to get out of the bed and go to the gym. I rationalize – I could go later in the day (which I won’t), it’s okay to miss a day, etc. But in most cases, I finally just get up and “show up” at the gym. And every day after working out, I’m always glad I forced myself to “show up”.
When we “show up” good things normally happen.
- When we “show up” at class after a late night
- When we “show up” at the off-season workout when we really don’t want to be there
- When we “show up” to study with a friend for a test or work on a project
- When we “show up” to support a friend who’s going through a rough time
- When we “show up” to help a friend who needs another set of hands when we really wanted to kick back that day
- When we “show up” at a “dumb” family function that we really don’t want to attend because we had something else planned
- When we “show up” at a family member’s game, concert, recital, play etc to show support
- When we “show up” at church when we really wanted to sleep in like our friends were doing
I want to take a minute and focus your thoughts on one of the “show up” examples mentioned above – being there for a friend.
Every one of you knows someone who’s struggling with something or going through a rough time in their life. It could be a friend, classmate, teammate, family member. It doesn’t matter who it is. What matters is you are aware there is an issue. Now is a great time to “show up”.
Just taking time to let them know you care about them, were thinking of them and thought enough of them to forego everything else at that moment to be with them, can be just what they need right then.
It’s not about what you say when you’re there. It’s all about caring enough to “show up”.
Who do you know that needs you to “show up”? Just do it!
IDEALS Moment from November 2014
The Value Of A “Good” Name
Written by Jack Williams, November 2014.
It’s been said that besides your faith, the most important thing you have is the value of your name.
I agree with that statement. To have a name that is respected and valued we first need to understand – what does that mean. In order to have a good “dish” you have to have the right ingredients. The same is true in either developing or maintaining a “good” name”. There are a number of “ingredients” that go into the recipe in creating a “good” name. Sometimes the good name is handed down from a previous generation and our responsibility is to maintain it. In other cases, the previous generation’s behavior, decision making and values destroyed a “good” name and now the next generation must “stop the bleeding” and recreate a new “name”. Either way, the responsibility falls in our hands.
Some of the key “ingredients” that we must have to create a “good” name are:
- Doing what you say you’re going to do
- Decision Making
These “ingredients” probably didn’t come as a surprise to any of you but before you take them for granted and say – “I’m in good shape”, let’s deal with reality. You might rate yourself in the range of 7-9 in some or many of these areas. That’s great if you are truly being objective. How you feel you are doing in each of them is important but it’s more important how others see you. I suggest you get a few of your close friends who will be objective and ask them – how would you rate me in these areas. Tell them you’re sincere and want their honest opinion.
Finally, it’s paramount you understand it may have taken generations to build up your “good” name but it only takes one generation to tear it down. That can easily happen when you put it in neutral, let your guard down, coast and begin to live off of someone else’s “ingredients”. A “name” is built or maintained one day at a time. A series of poor decisions or feelings of being “invisible” where you think no one can see or is aware of your actions can bring down a family name and destroy the efforts of all of those who fought hard to pass forward a name of great respect and virtue.
What “name” will you pass on to your children?
IDEALS Moment from October 2014
After All Is Said And Done – More Is Usually Said Than Done!
Written by Jack Williams, October 2014.
Have you ever been around someone who seems to always be “talking a good game” but never really delivering?
It doesn’t really make any difference what subject the “talk” is about. There are always going to be people out there that spend most of their life talking about “what they’re going to do” but never doing it.
In Texas they have a pretty good saying about these kinds of people – “Big hat – no cattle”! I like to say these people are “more hooey than dooey”. Whatever phrase you use to describe them, the key is not to be one of them!!!
There’s a fine line between pride or arrogance and self-confidence. Pride and arrogance causes people to make statements or bold commitments based on ego or guilt or wanting to get approval or recognition. On the other hand, self-confidence is the confident assurance of your God given abilities, skills you’ve developed and the experience you’ve gained. You know what you’re capable of doing and that’s what’s important.
I’ve found most people who are constantly bragging about their so-called accomplishments or future potential are not really bragging at all. In reality, what they’re doing is trying to convince themselves that they have worth. They are trying to convince themselves that they can actually do the things they are so boldly proclaiming.
Have you ever been around someone who seems to always be “talking a good game” but never really delivering?
Having aggressive goals is both healthy and important. Just let your actions not your “plans” do your talking.
Finally, when you’re in the company of someone who is constantly talking about what he or she is going to do, take a minute and ask yourself – what’s really driving these comments and is there any way you can help this person understand the danger of their actions. Usually these people are desperately seeking acceptance and letting them know you accept them as they are may be just what they need to hear.
IDEALS Moment from September 2014
Written by Jack Williams, September 2014.
Aristotle said – “Excellence is not an act…it’s a habit!”
Have you thought about the different habits you have?
Which leg do you cross over when you cross your leg?
Which arm is on top when you fold your arms?
What shoe / sock do you put on first?
What position do you usually sleep in?
When you carry something, do you normally carry it in your right or left hand / arm?
What is your pre-game routine?
When you want to hang out – where do you normally go?
These are some examples of simple habits that we have. We may have had some for a long time. Others for a shorter time but we do them often enough to become habitual in our behavior.
Habits are what we make them. They can become good habits like study habits, training habits and how we treat people habits. They can also become bad as well in those examples above. Our habits are what we make them and in return are habits help make us!
I recently saw this in a book written by Mac Anderson called “The Essence of Leadership”.
- I am your constant companion
- I am your greatest asset or heaviest burden
- I will push you up to success or down to disappointment
- I am at your command
- Half the things you do you might as well turn over to me
- I am easily managed – just be firm with me
- Those who are great, I made great
- Those who are failures, I have made failures
- Show me how you want it done. Educate me. Train me. Reward me.
- I will then do it automatically
- I am your servant. Who am I?
- I am a habit!
What kind of habits are you creating?
Which ones do you need to continue?
Which ones do you need to discard?
IDEALS Moment from August 2014
Follow Through – How’s Yours?
Written by Jack Williams, August 2014.
One of my favorite sayings is – “After all is said and done – more is usually said than done”.
Life’s full of people who talk a good game but then don’t do what they say they’re going to do. They may have good intentions but for whatever reasons they don’t follow through with their actions. In Texas they have a saying – “Big hat but no cattle”.
If you haven’t noticed, our world is all about delivering results, not promises, wishes, hopes, great ideas etc. Results only come when we follow through with our intentions or what we are asked to do. People like to be associated with people who deliver results (the right way). They are dependable and trustworthy.
SOME THINGS TO THINK ABOUT:
- Under promise and over deliver.
- Don’t tell someone you’re going to do this or that unless you actually have a plan to do so and are committed to execute that plan.
- Don’t overcommit to too many things. Be selective in what you commit to.
- It’s okay to tell someone “no” or I can’t do that right now on the front end rather than disappoint them by not delivering on the back end.
- Your reputation is built on what you DO, not what you SAY you’re going to do!
- Be known as someone who delivers results the right way and follows through on their commitments and you’ll always be in demand.
IDEALS Moment from April 2014
WHAT’S YOUR “SHORE”?
Article by Randy Alcorn, April 2014
In 1952 Florence Chadwick stepped into the waters of the Pacific Ocean off Catalina Island, determined to swim to the shore of mainland California. She’d already been the first woman to swim the English Channel both ways.
The weather was foggy and chilly; she could hardly see the boats accompanying her. Still she swam for fifteen hours. When she begged to be taken out of the water along the way, her mother in a boat alongside, told her she was close and that she could make it. Finally, physically and emotionally exhausted, she stopped swimming and was pulled out. It wasn’t till she was on the boat that she discovered the shore was less than a half mile away!
What’s your “Shore”?
What’s your “Fog”?
Don’t give up! Make it through the Fog!!!
IDEALS Moment from March 2014
Written by Jack Williams, March 2014.
If you’ve ever traveled on a highway that was on a hilly or mountainous terrain you probably noticed guardrails on the sides of the road. Obviously, they are there to keep cars from veering off the highway and tumbling down the hill and being involved in a serious accident. They are a safety device.
When we’re driving we don’t seem to notice those guardrails until we start drifting toward them or maybe even brush up against one. As soon as that happens, we quickly redirect the car to get the car back on the right path or if we don’t properly react, we suffer the consequences.
As a leader and role model, we all need to establish certain guardrails in our lives. They’ll serve the same purpose as when we’re driving. If we get too close to the guardrail (edge), it should be a reminder to get back on the right path or we too will suffer the consequences.
- Relationships with the opposite sex
- Taking care of your body
- Study habits
- What you allow to go into your mind
- Spring break activities
- Preparing for and taking tests
- Demonstrating proper respect for others
- Responsibilities of being a Role Model
- Time management
- Social activities
Obviously, there are numerous other areas that you’ll think of but these will get you started. Take the time to sit down and really think through other areas of your life that you may want to create some guardrails. I encourage you to share this concept with others and see if you can’t together come up with a list that can serve to protect you from “falling off those cliffs” in your life. I can assure you they’re out there and you need protection to keep you safe. It will be time well spent.
Don’t go through your life without some personal guardrails in place to keep you on a safe and productive path!