Monday, January 26, 2009

I want to do THAT! I want to do EVERYTHING!

I have this problem that everything I hear about, see, read, or just look at I want to be involved. Teach in Korea: I want to do that! Save babies in Ghana: I want to do that! Become the CEO of a Fortune 500 company: I want to do that!

You name it, and I have already, and continue to, want to do that!

I watched a video last night with Timothy Ferriss (who is quickly becoming a hero of mine) who talked about some of the amazing things he has done. (Check it out here:

I was RE-inspired to focus down and get to the nitty gritty, roll up my sleeves, and make one thing happen. However, when I sat to do it, there was a major disconnection. My hands, my mind, my very being seemed to revolt to any type of commitment to focused work. I wanted to break this cycle immediately, so I thought about it and tried to understand what that problem was.

The difference between the things that Timothy Ferriss has done and what I "want to do" all the time seemed glaringly obvious. The things I throw my affections to would demand a life-time commitment and total life changes. The things he has done, and continue to do, are short, time-bound things...goals.

I have found that most of my goals are really multiple lives I wish to live! I want to live these lives of being a hero to Haitians, or a corporate consultant, or an Indiana Jones-style academic, or a military commander and warrior, or a politician. They are ongoing lifestyles with ongoing demands. They are careers.

I wince to say this out loud, but,..I...uh...gasp...hrm...I do not want a career or a set lifestyle.

How freeing it is to admit that I am not woven like that!
How freeing and inspiring it is to just say, "wow. I really do not like too many lifelong commitments."
Marriage, absolutely.
My faith, most certainly.
Lifelong learning, of course!

Now it seems clear that my inability to commit is my fear that any one thing would become a life with demands that would trap me forever.

In his talk, Ferriss then speaks of what has become to be known as The Parkinson's Principle: The perceived complexity of work will expand to consume all the alloted time given to complete it.

Blah blah blah.
Paraphrased, it states that 'Work Expands to Fill the Time Allotted." I have heard this in a multitude of other self-help materials, but for the first time the revelation of the importance of this rule struck me cold.

These "goals" with their demanding lifestyles that seem like they would take my entire existence can be deconstructed. (Another Ferriss phrase.)

First, they do not have to be lifestyles as I perceive them. I should therefore parse out what things I believe ARE my lifestyles (usually these are more like Values than anything, but they can be more tangible as well.)
Second, I should identify what about those goals I value. I should do this so that I can S.M.A.R.T. them.
Third, I should also be sure to find the provisions necessary to underwrite these goals, so I should S.M.A.R.T. creating streams of income, and this become a first priority.
Fourth, using Parkinson's Law, I should set a very short, very intensive time demand on myself (and/or my team) to accomplish the provision goals.

AH! Timothy Ferris, though you are ruefully shrewd, I cannot help but like you! (If you have read his book, The 4-Hour Work Week, you may have a better sense of what I mean.)

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Needs, Wants, and the Attainment of God

There is one final thought on Goal setting, planning, peace of mind, and the things of God.

That would be that where you are is where you are SUPPOSED to be. God has you right where you are supposed to be.

Often goals cause a desire to be somewhere other than where we are. “I am supposed to be over here.” “I was supposed to have this much money in the bank by this age.” Like “normal” people, I am supposed to have achieved, accumulated, attained thus and so.

The difference between where we think we should be and where we are causes a thing psychologists call 'cognitive dissonance.' In simple terms, it is when the thing in your head is very real and important to you, yet the thing you see in reality is very different. This cognitive dissonance causes physical ailments, high blood pressure, depression, and anxiety.


The economy is tumbling. Stocks and real estate follow. In our heads we believe that our home value should look like this, and our stock value should look like that...and we tie our sense of personal value ('Am I valued by God? Doesn't God care? Where is God now?!') to these things.

Hence people jumping out of windows or committing suicide. Hence people withdrawing from society and plugging into their work or the television, avoiding people. They think that they have less worth, (or worthless), or unloved (by God first, then by themselves, and therefore by the world around them), and have dissolving relationships. They let their goals go. They let their finances go. They let their time slip by, hoping yet not believing that things will get better.

Does that rock sit in the pit of your stomach like it does mine when you read that? I find that this trend is true in everyone. And that includes when things are really well! We are elated. We are excited when things are going well. We are walking on cloud nine.

Our identity has been tied to what is going on around us.

To master being able to set goals but not holding the results to0 close to our breast, as if they were our very heart, to disassociate from attaining goals as a means of identity, we would be better prepared mentally to BEING the person we are supposed to be.

When we are focused on ATTAINING and not BEING, we are focused on being somewhere other than we are. We are focused on being a full-time missionary, or financially independent business person, or having that pet we lost, or getting married.

That is the point that cognitive dissonance happens, anxiety builds, and faith fades.

Though none of these things are wrong, and though through goal setting I believe that each one can be attained, the need to be, do, or have these things should be cut.

If, by God's serendipitous foresight, He brought me to where I am, and brought YOU to where you are, we should to take a deep breath.

Breath in and then out.
When we breath in, we need to see a clear picture in our mind, an open air not muddied with the concerns of where we are trying to get to.

We should unwind the sense of needing to attain anything.
We should unwind and tell ourselves, “We are where we are by the divine will of God! We were chosen then, and we are chosen now. We are in perfect lockstep with where He wants me to be. I LOVE where I am. I love where I am going, too, but it does not affect who I am or how I feel.”

Now, some of us are so wound up we cannot see that, and we can talk about that. (Message me!)

But I want to encourage everyone! During these times (and any time really, but especially during these emotionally-charged days) we really could benefit from separating any sense of identity from the external world around us.

We could greatly benefit from letting our anxieties unwind by looking at our goals and asking ourselves if we think we really need to accomplish any of those things, or if we really just want to. Admitting that many of those things are things that we want is elating!

It is elating to say, “I just want to be financially free! I do not have to. I just WANT TO!” Or, “I just WANT my pet back. I miss her. I want her. I just do not NEED to have her.”

Try it!

I hope that you find some relief from any anxiety you might be having. I know that I have always loaded anxiety upon anxiety into my own life, but this is just not so, not any more!

As Christians, the only thing we NEED to do is know Him! From there will stem what we need to be focusing on. From there will come answers for our friends and families. From there will come the attainment of whatever it is He wants us to attain, and to let go of whatever it is He wants us to let go of.

Lets set our goals on Him today! Lets then see what is before us to do, and do it diligently. But let us do it with a light heart, knowing that He is accomplishing all of these things, and that the weight is on Him! God bless you all!

And you thought that we were just talking about GOAL SETTING!! :)

Friday, January 23, 2009

Planning for Peace of Mind

After speaking with my spiritual mentor, I had an extraordinary, yes, spiritual, peace come over me. It was an anointing of peace that certainly came over me.

What he said was that he no longer read the Word for what to do but to Fellowship with the Lord.

I asked if he believed that this was for all Christians at any stage of their faith; or, like most world religions (including Christianity) teach, if this was the “sage” phase of his life. He stated that every Christian at every age should walk in the peace of fellowship.

He contended further that most human suffering came from their planning and the expectations that came from planning and goal setting.

Most fear of provision in America comes when a person's source of income (the place they PLANNED on receiving income) stops suddenly. The anxiety of losing jobs, relationships that shift, having to move, dealing with a broken washer, missing the train or any other thing is intense. However, as my mentor believes, these things would not necessarily stop yet the anxiety would not exist if we didn't have our emotions staked on the plans we made around those things.

Right away I compare this to what my partner and I are building with I compare the way I feel about goal setting. I think about how this mentor and his wife used to tell me that I lacked direction.

I picture myself at 50 and wonder if I will look back at this period of my life and say to myself, 'I always felt that I had to build provisions. I had to build the ministry to Haiti. I had to build the music school. I had to find a better job.'

Though I do not feel that this is true, I DO sense a great amount of relief just thinking about that mentality. I feel that an elephant has stepped off of my chest.

Instead of taking that feeling as ammunition to point to goal setting and declare it 'Bad,' I will do something else. I will take that feeling and see if I cannot have that perspective while still carrying plans.

This discussion has given me added perspective on my previous entry about the warrior and the cherry blossom.

One can have goals as a means of direction but to wake every day and give them away.

To look at building the organization to Haiti and say, 'I do not have to do this. It is a good thing, but God does not require this of me. It was initiated by Him. It will be sustained by Him. Should it continue it will be unfolded by Him. AND, should it fail, it would have been stopped by Him. I simply wake, make the plans necessary, and walk it out.'

I could say the same for any of the businesses or ventures I am working on. 'I do not have to build these things. God brought them into my life. I am to be responsible and diligent with them. But they are God's. So, I make the proper plans. I follow through with the plans. When those plans are stopped I adjust. But when God says to go, I will leave them.'

They do not own me.
I am not defined by them.
They were simply the assignment placed before me.

This alleviates so much weight and pressure that I cannot describe it.

So, I find that God is working some things out in me about goal setting and God:

A) God IS the goal. (He is my exceeding great reward.) His fellowship is what I seek. Sailing through this life faithful to a loving relationship with Him wherever, whenever, and however I can. Come, what may.

B) Goal setting is not good OR bad. Goal setting is simply direction. (Like the quote, 'a plan is what you do until you find a better plan.') It does not own me. It does not define me.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Goal Setting Versus Serendipity

Often I feel conflicted as to whether or not goal setting, or Success Fitness at large, can gel with the serendipitous, free-flowing mode of operation that I love so much. I would venture to say that, knowing most of you, we all love that free-spirited way of life.

Setting and achieving goals have often put on weights and anxieties in my life. Some are about my ability to perform. Questions pop into my head.

"What if you don't accomplish this or that?"
"What is you end up a nobody?"
"What is you end up alone because you are so narrowly focused?"
"What if you GET SUCCESS, only to find yourself at the top alone?"
"What if you lose the ability to tap into the serendipitous and spontaneous?"
"What if people only see you for goal setting, and not for the other aspects of your life?"
"What if you miss out on Life?!"

These, and so much more, can often plague my mind.
Does that ever happen to you when it comes to living a life of goal setting?

Totally transparently, thoughts like these have had me stalled for almost a month or so now. My good friend, Chad, would say that I have stalled off and on and looped on these thoughts for almost 2 years now!! And he would be right.

But, I assure you, there is an answer. :)

First, life is not about Either/Or scenarios. As a young man, I always prided myself for believing in what I called "The Third Option." If a scantron (for those brought up in the Florida school system) gave me options A or B, I would inevitably pencil in both, or write in C. If an essay question asked me about a math sum, i would always answer by telling a story about the theoretical aspects as to why the sum was wrong. (But, to be honest, that only happened when I didn't know the answer.)

As I grew up, somewhere in the mix, I had lost this precariousness. Somehow, when it came to the spontaneous, serendipitous, or just flowing with where life was leading me, I created this bipolar view that Goal Setting was the enemy of such a way. Therefore, as I began to see the value of goal setting, planning, and strategy, I naturally put that free-spirited mindset away.

Though I cannot say certainly what The Third Option for this is, I CAN say that I believe that goal setting fits divinely well in the context of where life leads each of us.

Second, how I believe that they fit together is tricky, but here is my current attempt to describe it. Though goal setting and planning is all about setting (and, ideally, achieving) specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-bound goals, we must not hold too tightly to the results.

Phew! WHAT?! Bear with me.

A very subtle yet potent fruit of goal setting and planning is a sense of purpose; intentionality and meaning, come rushing into our otherwise meandering lives. Many people feel so lost and...purposeless.

Goal setting is about Becoming. It is not about Attaining.

The Attaining will take care of itself, IF we focus on the Becoming. This is old news for some of you, but a reminder is quite necessary. This is because in an environment of setting and achieving goals, it can quickly be assumed that the results (the job, the freedom, the new car, the perfect wife, the perfect vacation, the dream ministry) are a measure of our success.

The Success measurement is found in WHO WE ARE BECOMING in the PROCESS. We seek goals to create demands on ourselves that challenge and grow us. The Success is us stepping up to meet those demands. (Hopefully those demands (goals) are well thought out so that we are becoming a good person.)

We MUST hold the results, not as measures of success or evidence of our value as a person, but as the direction to keep our sight on; the point of focus when the obstacles rise to block us.

This is a dualistic mindset I am presenting, but let me give you an example. In the lore of the samurai warriors of ancient Japan, there was a test of sorts that would determine if a warrior had the proper flow, or presence of mind, in the midst of battle.

The warrior would carry his sword in his fighting hand and a cherry blossom in the other hand. In a battle, the goal was to fight (and win!)...without crushing the fragile flower.

This is seen in 'The Last Samurai' when Tom Cruise is caught in an alley with several ruffians.
He calms himself.
He lets his mind race forward to foresee the fight, breathing deeply.
He adjusts his weight.
He pauses and does not act just yet.
He is at peace with whatever happens.
His at once poised, aggressive, and battle ready; and calm, breathing easy, and peace with the potential of losing, even possibly his life.
He has total presence of mind.


This is the way of a warrior; to be at once receptive of the world around us, hearing and responding appropriately to the free-spirited flow of life around us, and yet pressing forward strongly and accurately toward the goal.

The only way to become this, as I see it, is to have goals and set our eyes on them but not hold them too tightly. This should cause peaceful resignation that goal will be attained and yet be void of any anxiety, pressure or fear.

We could talk here about having a mindset of nothing to lose (as is often useful in Fitness; even if you fail to finish the 10k, you stepped onto the track, etc) but I will leave that for another time.

To Summarize, I totally believe that Goal Setting and Serendipity can, and do, coexist. I believe that this coexistence can be found in knowing that serendipity will happen (life will change around us and obstacles will rise to block and sometimes stop us), and not holding onto the results as much as the goal setting process (becoming who we were intended to become).

Now, the the tough part begins; Being that!

Good luck! I hope you were able to find SOMETHING useful here. I would welcome your feedback.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Bon Joune, Ayiti! Good Journey, Haiti!

WOAH, mon amis!!!! Back from 'Ayiti' and trying to catch back up to what Haitians call "la ler blan," or 'White Time'. They call it that because of the pace.

And, BOY, I am feeling that. I feel my pulse pick back up speed as I juggle about 95 e-mails, 20 phones calls, ump-teen texts and updates from every corner of the internet universe, and try to plan my weeks as I try to fit every plan and dream into our only limited resource; time.

We arrived in Lakeland at 2 a.m., but I still could not sleep in. It was the thought of that stinking rooster crowing in my window at 4 a.m. or the mouse I showered with nibbling my toe that kept waking me up. More on that another time. Let's get to the nitty-gritty.

FITNESS: Does hiking hill after hill after our truck's brakes gave out count?? Oui!

NUTRITION: Goat, chicken, sugar cane, rice...rice...rice...and plantains!! P.S. Elna's coffee is better, thicker and sweeter than ANY Cuban coffee I have EVER had.

STUDY: I recorded interviews with local leaders to discover what they needed, what they thought the REAL problems with Haiti were, as well as read through a lot more of "Mountains Beyond Mountains," the novel about Haiti that I am reading.

PLAN: trying to put my finger on "where to start" with Haiti. WHERE DOES ONE START? My mind races with one idea, plays that idea out to a dead end like a 'Choose Your Own Adventure' novel until I am either satisfied or not satisfied with the conclusion. Then, I jump back a few pages and do the same thing with a different idea, solution, or answer to their myriad of problems.

ACTION: Restabilize. What was 3 days to you seemed like 3 months to me. I feel like I have been lost in the Amazon, losing my identity as I pick up Creole and say 'sak pase' instead of 'whats up', feeling stunned when they stare and say 'blan, blan', and mired in their world of diesel congestion and wide open pessimism about their future. I swung from being totally excited to totally depressed to totally appalled to totally hopeful to totally indignant to just relieved to be home.

I walk away knowing...nothing much more about the solution. I know very much more the discomfort of the problem, thought the problem itself is as elusive as hope. I know that so many people have already begun a thing in Haiti, leaving only ruins and dilapidated dreams.

The most common English phrase is "see how poor we are". How can anything we do change that? Only with a long-term, commitment of absolution to make change will bring it. The same level of belief that under girded our founding fathers imbued in key Haitian leadership would do it. A vision that they are pilgrims, starting from scratch, whose mission is the manifest destiny that America was, and creating a complete, civil society from woods and a harsh land.

From all of that, surprisingly, I devise that I must first create my own financial stability here. I must push harder in my own life. The relationships around me need me as much as my Haitian freres. My family and friends have had so much more added value in my heart having visited such a materially depraved land.

Second, I do know that a clear vision on how we can all partner, and spend a life helping, helping all people wasting away hopelessly is necessary. Bon Deau, I need the vision, wisdom, and strength to be able to do that!

Mesi, and bon soi. Thank you, and have a great day!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Putting it Out There

In an effort to do the Edisonian thing by putting my intentions out there, on a much smaller scale mind you, here is what my plan for the day is. After the day has transpired, for accountability, I will post as to what I did and did not do, and what were the obstacles at play!


I cannot escape the importance I am feeling about goals. I have had some serious conflict the last two weeks in being able to finish them. I do not know if it is because the document is digital, and I should write them out by hand. I do not know if it is the fact that what I have written to date no longer touches me the same, being a sanguine ever in need of a muse. Whichever the reason, I am having difficulty.

Regardless, this afternoon I commit to putting a solid hour in simply transcribing my goals from my yellow sheets of paper into my goal document.

Along with that, allow me to describe my day, serving also as a means to visualize and make real how I shall spend these melting hours in productive manners toward the accomplishment of my 5-year vision.

I will complete this document, finish eating a healthy breakfast, and make my way to work. This should allow me time to fill my head with noble, honorable thoughts by which to lead my approach to my day.

Work will come and go without problems, and after 1 p.m., when my shift is complete, will my true day begin. I will immediately drive to once of my partners' house to pick up payment that he owes my company so that I may pay out certain bills. Along with that, I will pick up any fliers or coupons he has so that I may give those to another partner when I see him.

From there I will drive over to the post office to check my mail. Immediately, so as not to lose the energy of my day, I will turn toward the north side of Lakeland once again, making my way to Panera Bread. After setting up my computer, I will make a necessary call for the music academy and get that issue settled.

I will then find a good song play list to set the mood in an energetic, determined spirit, when, upon completion, I will turn my attention for an hour on filling out the SuccessFit Goal System with instructions, layouts, and complete it to a first draft quality. I will overlay the logos I have onto the document as well, giving it a flair. The result should be several sections of information that could be easily presented in a 2-4 minute video.

After that hour, I will walk around, get a drink, use the restroom, and refocus. As an additional part of the break, I will make calls to two good friends to plan my Saturday.

After a 15 minute rest, I will return to my computer to complete an hour of emails. I will e-mail a partner regarding the notes I have from Nathan Herrera and the fact that I have a check of hers. I will e-mail the music academy team regarding my meetings with the owners. I will e-mail several personal friends in response to their e-mails. I will e-mail a mission-minded business friend regarding her ministry and whether or not she still needs help. I will e-mail my family regarding my coming trip to Haiti next week, as well as the trip in March.

Throw in another break and stretch of the legs, and I will take the next hour to work on Community Partnership International material. I will first open up a new social networking site regarding Friends of Haiti or something along those lines. I will also create a wordpress site for CPI, hopefully finding a way to transfer all of the posts from the previous one to the new one. I will also develop a logo and general corporate identity. After that, I will put my pen to writing a small, 3-5 minute presentation about Poverty and Relationships and CPI's mission, with a final call to action for one of the 3 main ways people can partner.

That should take up a full hour for certain. By this point, I should feel very accomplished. These actions and tasks are vital, and have desperately needed to be done. The only thing lacking is that very little “big picture” work has been done so far. These have been the vital work to be certain, but there remains the work of putting my goals down to paper, processing my values, reviewing and refining my 5-year vision, and planning the rest of the week, weekend, and the coming weeks.

My desire is to “complete tomorrow's work today”, and to ensure that the many tasks I put my hand to above lead me into my 5-year dream. To begin to bring clarity of these tasks and how they are the foundation of my “Big Picture” goal, both the work for SuccessFit and the work for CPI should conclude with at the very least an outline of several small talks I intend to give. These should ultimately be refined, practiced, run through once and critiqued, refined, and ultimately performed. From there, I intend to post them on YouTube (and various other places on the web) and “tagged”.

All of that labor is to refine me into a public speaker. My big picture includes me traveling frequently, earning a yet greater income from infopreneuring, having full relationships and excitement, having a world and mission and calling that I can invite my wife and family to be a part of, to provide for my family, a wife and kids, and to be making an impact through training, writing, and missions in the developing world, as well as influencing leaders in the developed world to make change. The top skills I can see are the ability to study, write, and present (public speaking and training) life-changing, inspiring material to leaders and workers who desire massive improvements in their lives. These changes should be shaking the microeconomic world as massively as the macroeconomic world (though this point is moot in that the macroeconomic world consists of millions of microeconomic components.)

This is the importance of my work today.

After those several hours are complete, I should be comfortable enough to go to the park and work out with a friend or at the gym, should I wish. Then, eating a light dinner at home, I should set down to doing big picture planning, reviewing my goals, reviewing my work, and continuing to put down and refine my goals.

I shall finish the evening by listening to more Brian Tracy on goals (which I would have done working out, were I to work out alone), planning an educational curriculum for the year, posting my day on SuccessFit and commenting there, and hopefully writing on my blog that all this has transpired just as I have written it!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Looking out toward January 2009

If success is begun with goals, the battle is won on setting and achieving little victories throughout the week.

Last week was one of those weeks. I was able to push forward small victories, which place in me a confidence for even bigger victories. MORE than those bigger victories, it instills in me a resolve to continue with the small victories!!

If "little foxes spoil the vine," then little victories guarantee it success. All great goals are simply the accumulation of many tiny accomplishments. It is our aim to help you all walk through that process. We would desire that you were totally empowered for the major victories in life by providing you the platform to accomplish daily, minor victories, with the focus of a campaigning Crusader.

Here is to a POWERFUL week.
  • Return to your major, definite purpose.
  • Then zoom down and read and ponder your dream list, as well as your Top 100 Goals (or however many of them you have completed.)
  • Then, take half an hour tonight before bed and visualize the week. Play it out in your mind. See yourself working around the demands in your life (work, family, etc.) and stealing away to knock out several key actions. (Post those actions here!) Play it out in your mind the character you wish to carry yourself with. Imagine those typical obstructions to success, and visualize how the ideal "you" faces them down. Also, imagine yourself reading your goals 1st thing in the morning and last thing at night. Imagine yourself doing the same for each day of the week.
  • And find some accountability. Again, our website,, is a great tool to begin being accountable.

Doing this will cause your mind to remember these things as you face your week, and will significantly help you to focus, and, thus, accomplish the mighty, little things you need to!