People Are More Important Than Money.

Choosing money over people will only bring you loneliness

Let’s be honest. We live in a crazy and disconnected world. It’s a world where money trumps everything. There’s something messed up about it. Something not quite right. Our need for relationships is broken! People don’t matter! Community is irrelevant! We need finances to live a certain quality of life. But when we sabotage people because of the pursuit of the bottom line, we’re sabotaging everything. So what if we took a different approach? What if we put our relationships ahead of money? What if we invested in our greatest resource, the people around us?

people

For me the investment in people took an international perspective over 6 years ago when I traveled to Ethiopia with a vision team and got connected with a young man named Alula Yohannes. We had met briefly on a previous trip, but there was something about him that drew me to him. Perhaps it was his sweet, gentle and servant heart. Or perhaps it was his desire to go for it when it came to business and his relationship with Jesus. In any case, we became deep friends. We became brothers. I (and my family) wanted to help him succeed in any way that I could. Today Alula is an ever increasingly successful entrepreneur and business man. I don’t have any credit in his success. What I am proud of is that I saw someone that I wanted to be in a lifelong friendship with. Someone in whom I was proud to call my brother and friend.

Here are 3 things that I’ve learned in my friendship with Alula.

1. People need strong friendships more than money.

When we met Alula, he wanted to help us in his city, Addis Ababa. He wanted to introduce us to people that mattered to him. He never asked for anything for himself during our 8 days in the country. And, because of his heart, when he did show me his vision for a new business idea, I was eager to help.

2. People connect people.

Without people we would be isolated and alone. Without people we wouldn’t get very far in life. In my faith journey I have come to 100% believe that we were never, ever created to be alone. Our relationships with others inspire us to try something new. To be more daring. To be more tender. Loving. Kind. Generous. Our relationships with others create other relationships. Because of Alula, I have made new friendships that will also be lifelong. People with whom I have learned many, many things that have made me a better man, husband, father and…friend.

Lastly.

3. People will push us off the island.

I lean towards being an introvert. I like being alone. I like my quiet times. But if I stayed in those times, I would never meet people like Alula. If I allowed myself to stay on my little Ken Island, I would never have traveled half way around the world and met someone as dear and close to me, like Alula. My life would not be as full or complete. If I would have listened to Simon & Garfunkel, I would never grown deeper in love with the country of Ethiopia.

So. Here’s the deal. What will you do today to make a new friendship? What will you sacrifice in order to make sure that people matter more than your bottom line? At the end of your life what do you want to be known for? How much money you had, or how many people’s lives you impacted?

Embracing The Mess Leads To A More Peaceful Life.

Messiness is how were wired, so get messy.

Sorry to say that it’s been a few weeks since my last blog post. A lot has happened. And needless to say it hasn’t been overly easy. In fact, it’s been a mess. In my desire to pursue blogging and connecting with people, I’ve also been working on getting my real estate license so that I can work with my wife. Well, that just put a wrench into things. It put a snag in my well laid out plans to be someone of influence. It really was a downright mess. I was frustrated. Annoyed. Mostly cause it was taking way too long to complete. Well, I’m done! I’ve passed the exams. I’ve got my license. Now it’s time to get moving. It’s time to move past the mess.

mess

Then I went for a run today and listened to a podcast from Andy Stanley. It was all about this idea. It was all about being messy. About moving towards the mess, rather than away from it. For most of us, life revolves around people. Our lives, day in and day out involves others. And, let’s be honest. Many of those people are not very neat and tidy (like we are). So, when they enter into our little circles. When they enter into our tidy and organized little worlds, they tend to reek havoc. And…everything in us wants to run in the other direction. Right?

Running is the desire. But is it really the correct course of action? For me, being someone who wants to encourage and inspire others to a life of living, loving and leading, this would be the wrong direction. And, I want to suggest it’s the wrong direction for you too. We are supposed to be engaged. We were meant to be engaged. It’s what we were created for. None of us were designed to be alone. We were, in fact, meant to be fully, 100% in community.

So, as I was running, some things jumped out at me from the podcast. There are 3. Let me give them to you now. You can back later and listen for yourself (here’s the link).

1. Moving Towards The Mess Isn’t Convenient

All of us are busy. Right? Too busy probably. But here’s the deal, being busy isn’t a problem in and of itself. But when we are so busy that we no longer have any margin in our lives for the mess of others, something is wrong. When we cease to have room for others, something is broken. Remember? We were not made to be alone. The mess of others isn’t convenient. It isn’t even all that much fun. But it is vital to who we are.

Here’s a gut check statment:

You’ll know you’re too busy when you see messy people
as inconveniences rather than opportunities

2. We Will Never Meet The Best Version Of Ourselves In Our Comfort Zones.

Let’s be honest. You’re totally squirming right now, right? We all have our comfort zones. And they’re really comfortable!!! Hence the name. But, when we move outside of those boundaries and towards the mess of others, it’s there when our best selves are revealed. Truly!

If we insist on comfortable, boredom is inevitable ~ John Hambrick

3. People Aren’t Projects

This comes down to control. We want what we want, when we want it. You want help? Fine? On my terms! Sound familiar? The people in our lives are NOT projects. They’re people. They’re people who have pain. Flaws. Brokenness. And it’s up to us to enter into their mess and embrace it with them.

Will you be available? Will you be open to embrace the mess around you?

Stop The Voices, Change Your Story

5 Steps to changing your story.

Do you hear voices? It’s ok if you do. I do too. All the time. Are your voices positive or negative? Honestly? Mine tend to be mostly negative. “You’re not good enough.” “You’re not a good husband or father.” “You’re fat.” “You can’t do that job.” Sound familiar? I’m going to suggest that 100% of humanity struggles with IVS or Internal Voice Syndrome (my own label). It sucks. Really. But it’s part of our reality and either we fight the voices or give in to them.

Voices

My thoughts? Fight the voices.

As I was running on the treadmill today I watched a podcast with Michael Hyatt around this subject and it connected with me in a serious way. So, let me flesh out some of what Michael talked about (I’ll also put a link to Michael’s podcast at the end of this post).

So let’s go. What do we do about the voices? What do we do about the negative internal monologue that we all wrestle with? Let me give you 5 steps.

  1. Acknowledge the voice(s) – the sooner we recognize that there are competing voices speaking/shouting at us regarding who we are, the sooner we will be able to fight back. What are the voices saying? See if any of these sound familiar. “I’m a terrible parent.” “I can’t be a single parent.” “Who will ever marry me?” “I’m not smart enough for the this job or promotion.” “I’m fat.” “I’m not pretty.” “I’m not good at tests.” “I’m stupid.” Anything sound familiar?
  2. Journal what the voice(s) are saying. Keeping a record of what’s being said can help us in fighting the negative narration. When we write them down and then acknowledge them, we can then reject them. Reject them for the lies that they truly are. Did you read that? Whatever is negative. Whatever is against who you truly are are simply lies. So reject them with every fiber of your being.
  3. Evaluate the stories. Is it life-giving or not. Is is empowering or not? Bottom line? If the narration isn’t FOR you, don’t listen to it. DON’T. LISTEN. TO. IT.
  4. Write down a different story. What do you want your story to be? What are your dreams and aspirations? What do you want to be different? What do you want for your family? Grab a journal. Write those things down. Flesh them out. Share them with someone closest to you. This is key. You need a new story. I need a new story. One that makes sense. One that breathes life. And honestly,  you deserve a new, great story. You were created to have one. So go for it!
  5. Listen to the new story. Believe the new narrative. Repeat it to yourself. When the “bad” narration starts, speak the new one. Use the new narrative as a defense against the bad one.

Your life matters! You were made to be extraordinary! You were made to have a purpose. Today is the day to take a step toward that life.

Here’s the link to the Michael Hyatt podcast. Michael Hyatt

Question: What voices have you been listening to? Are you tired of the lies yet?

Saw this video on FB the other day and it really impacted me. Thought I would share it on my site too. No matter what you’re going through right now, know that you’re loved deeply.