August 28, 2015 Tom Williams Be Inspired
I went to Cedar Point last week with my sister who had just broken her foot. She had to wear a boot on her foot to help her get around. Because of this we were able to wait for a ride without getting in line. All we had to do was go to where the line started, get them to sign a paper letting us know what time to return, and then go do whatever we wanted. When we came back, we got to go through the exit and get on the ride without having to wait like everyone else. It was awesome!!
Actually, it was awesome at first, but as the day wore on, I realized it wasn’t as great as I thought it would be. Don’t get me wrong, I did enjoy being able to get on a ride without waiting, but after a while I realized there was something missing in our experience that day. I actually started to miss waiting in line. I realized there is a better build up when you have to wait in line before getting on a ride than there is when you can just walk up and ride it. I also realized I missed being in line around other people and experiencing the excitement of getting closer and closer to actually being on the ride. There were multiple other things I missed as well, by not having to wait in line, that I realized all contribute to my total experience at Cedar Point.
As I was thinking about this towards the end of the day, I realized this is similar to how life is. There are so many things we want to do and accomplish and we think that if we can just get there quicker, we will enjoy it all the more. The reality is, though, that just like my experience at Cedar Point, when we arrive at our destination too quickly, there are things we actually miss in the process. It is the things we miss that actually are what help us grow and bring us the greatest joy in reaching our destination.
Think about how many times you have heard about a lottery winner who is now bankrupt. Why did that happen? I think it is because the person arrived at their destination before they were ready to get there. They found a shortcut to reach their goal, but it actually didn’t help them because they missed out on who they would have become in the process of reaching their goals. Who we become in the process of reaching our goals is just as important as reaching the goals themselves.
This made me think about my own life and all of the dreams and aspirations I have. So often I beat myself up and get discouraged because things aren’t happening as quickly as I want them to. I want to reach my goals right now! As I thought about this, I realized I need to enjoy the process I am going through to reach my goals because without it I will never become the person I want to become.
So think about your life for a minute. Are there areas of your life where you are frustrated because it is taking too long to reach your goals? Have you been looking for shortcuts to help get you to your goals quicker? What if you did reach your goals quicker, but just like the lottery winner who goes bankrupt, you didn’t become the person you needed to be because you missed out on the process?
Let me encourage you today by reminding you that it is the person you become in the process of reaching your dreams and goals that is actually more important than the goals themselves. Instead of trying to reach your destination quicker, take time to enjoy the experience of getting there. Instead of looking at what you haven’t done yet, look back at how far you have come. Focus on taking the next step forward instead of trying to take 100 steps at once. Life is a marathon and who you become during the race is just as important as finishing the race itself.
August 4, 2015 Tom Williams Be Inspired
It has been 36 days since I made it a goal to walk 10,000 steps per day. I am happy to say that I have successfully achieved that goal every day since I started. A big part of what has allowed me to be successful is the 30-45 minutes I take every morning and go out for a walk, a jog, or sometimes a mix of both.
As I was jogging the other day, I realized that if my goal would have been to run 10,000 steps every day, I would have quit after just a couple days. Running takes so much energy out of you and is too hard to keep up for an extended period of time. Jogging, however, is much easier to maintain for long distances. If you mix walking and jogging together, you can go even greater distances without killing yourself.
As I thought about this, I realized that I had been trying to run in other areas of my life and I was getting tired and worn out. It hit me that, if I try to keep up the pace I am currently at, there is a good chance I will just give up and stop working to improve those areas of my life.
I think this is true for most of us. We examine our lives, decide there are things we want to change, and try to run as fast as we can to improve them. The problem with this is that most of us give up long before we ever reach our goals. We start out quickly and then fizzle out not long after. Ultimately, running towards our goals kills our long-term progress and leaves us feeling defeated.
Think about your own life for a minute. What are some areas of your life you tried to improve, but have failed to achieve success? Did you start out great, but quickly lose your motivation and desire? Did you get worn out because you chose to run towards your goal? The things we want to improve in our lives didn’t happen overnight, but somehow we think we can fix them that way.
Until last week, I used to consider myself a runner, but now I am proudly claiming the title of jogger. As a jogger I can achieve success instead of giving up. As a jogger, I will eventually catch up to the people who start out running and did give up. As a jogger, I am able to keep working towards my goal without wearing myself out.
In Proverbs we are told that steady plodding brings prosperity. We don’t have to sprint, but we do need to plan and keep moving forward if we are going to reach our goal. So here is my challenge to you today. Think of those areas in your life where you have tried to make a change but have been unsuccessful. Now pick just one and choose to jog towards your goal.
I have created a worksheet with a sample included to help you achieve success.The small amount of time it takes to complete the worksheet compared to the improvement in your life is well worth the effort. I know you can do it! Just remember it’s the small steps you take each day that lead to great accomplishments in your life.
Don’t let society tell you that you need to reach your goal tomorrow. If it is something you want to change for good, choose to be a jogger and don’t let running kill you.
July 27, 2015 Tom Williams Be Inspired
I have a goal of walking 10,000 steps each day. The other day I had to work extra hard in order to accomplish the goal. My day started off rough and I got behind right from the start. As the day progressed, I had some interruptions that kept me from working towards the goal which got me even further behind. By the end of the day I reached my goal, but it took more effort than usual.
As I was thinking about this (while I was walking, of course), I realized it is the same way with the important things you want to accomplish in life. If you have clearly defined goals, you may start off poorly, get interrupted along the way, or distracted by a zillion other things, but in the end, you still know exactly what you are working towards. By knowing what you are working towards, it helps you actually get there.
Think about grocery shopping for a minute. Have you ever gone to the grocery store without a list and got so distracted that you ended up forgetting to buy the item you originally intended to get? I know I sure have. Now think about the times you have gone grocery shopping with a list. Did you forget to purchase the items you came to buy that time? My guess is that, even if you bought a dozen items not on your list, you still came away with everything that was on your list.
This is the reason that you need to take time to define the goals you have for life. If you don’t take time to define and write down your goals, it is easy to get distracted and let other things and people take you in a direction you may not want to go. However, if you have your goals written down, you can work through the distractions and still reach your destination.
It wasn’t until this past year that I clearly defined the goals for my life. Through all the challenges and distractions I have encountered over the last nine months, I have continued to work towards my goals and have already reached most of them. I keep thinking what took me so long to actually do this?
The challenge most people face is that they feel overwhelmed when they sit down in an attempt to write out their goals. I know that was one of my major road blocks. There were multiple times I tried to write down my goals and I failed every time.
It wasn’t that I didn’t have the tools to help me write them down, it was that I always got lost in the process. I finally realized that I needed someone who already knew how to write down their goals to take the time to guide me through the process. Once I found that person, I was finally able to define and write down my goals and it has been one of the most life changing things I have ever done.
Think about riding a bike. How successful would you have been if your parents just handed you a bike and told you to figure out how to ride it on your own? Some of you would have eventually have figured it out, but would have gotten pretty beaten up in the process. For most of you, though, you would have given up before you ever mastered the skill. This is exactly the same when it comes to defining and writing down your goals.
So here is my challenge for you today:
If you have never written down your goals, make a choice today to make it happen. Maybe you already have the tools, or maybe you have no idea where to begin. Either way, I encourage you to reach out to someone you know who will help guide you to define and write down your goals. If you can’t think of someone, I have great news for you!
As I thought about sharing this topic, I didn’t want to discourage people who may not have someone to help them. If this is you and you would like help, I am willing to put together a workshop to help you define and write down your goals. I promise you it will be one of the best things you ever do in your life. If you are interested in the workshop, just reply to this email or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will send you more details.
We all can achieve greater things if we are just willing to help each other get there. It would be my honor and privilege to help you master the skill of defining, writing down, and reaching your goals.
July 17, 2015 Tom Williams Be Inspired
In discovering Ben Franklin’s thirteen virtues, I also discovered his daily routine. Since I was already working towards mastering the virtues, I figured I would give his daily routine a try too. As I adopted his schedule, there is a part of the routine I have found to be extremely helpful to me.
In the middle of the day, from Noon – 2pm, Ben would “read or overlook his accounts, and dine.” Taking time to eat in the middle of the day was a given, but taking to time to read was something I had never previously considered. By taking time to read each day, however, it not only helps me work on my personal improvement and development, but I also feel renewed and energized to complete my work in the afternoon.
This brings me to the question, “Are you an 8-track tape?” I heard an analogy once that went something like this. Music used to be only on records which was good. Then, they invented the 8-track tape which was even better. You could now take your music with you. It was only a few songs and there were other limitations, so the inventors didn’t stop there. Next was the cassette tape. Even more songs and better then the 8-track, but still had flaws. After that came CD’s which was a significant improvement, but, it too, was still not perfect. As of now, there are digital audio files that allow you to have thousands of songs right in your pocket and the quality as good or better than any previous format.
But, what if they would have stopped working towards improvement after the 8-track tape? Sounds crazy, but the reality is most adults do this with their lives. We grow up in school and read in order to learn new things. We continue through high school and into college. After college though, most of us no longer take time to work on improving ourselves. We allow work, family, and recreation to fill up our time and personal development gets put on the back burner. If that is true in your life, then you are an 8-track tape. Who wants to be an 8-track tape?
What if you planned a trip to an unfamiliar destination and the only time you looked at the map was when you first started the trip? What is the likelihood that you will end up at the destination you were aiming for? Not very good. It’s no different in life. If you have dreams and aspirations for greater things, you need to add time to your schedule to work on improving yourself. Otherwise, the likelihood you’ll reach your planned destination isn’t very good either.
So, how do you go about finding time to work on improving yourself? Before I answer that question, let me ask you this. How you do you find time in your day to eat lunch? Maybe you don’t eat lunch, then how about breakfast? I bet I can guess your answer. You plan for it.
In living out Ben Franklin’s schedule, I realized that he planned for time each day to work on self-improvement. Just like lunch, there are some days when things pop up and that time gets lost. But, on most days, you can actually take the time to work onimproving yourself which ultimately means a better life for you and the people you love.
In Proverbs, we are told “To acquire wisdom is to love yourself; people who cherish understanding will prosper.” I have seen this truth at work in my life. Until a couple years ago, I was an 8-track tape. Since then, I started reading and working on improving myself, and my quality of life has vastly improved and I have started to experience true prosperity.
So, let me encourage you today to consider scheduling time in your life to work on your personal development. We give ourselves to so many different things, but if we would work on ourselves first, everything else we do would be better because of it.
I challenge you to schedule time each week for your own improvement, just like you do breakfast or lunch. Read something that motivates you; listen to something that inspires you. Find something that you will help you grow as a person. Stick with it long enough and you’ll never regret no longer being an 8-track tape.
July 13, 2015 Tom Williams Be Inspired
I discovered that Benjamin Franklin had started on a journey when he was 20 years old to master thirteen virtues. In order to achieve his goal, he developed a system to track his growth. I was intrigued by the idea and decided to follow his system in my own life.
This week I have been working towards mastering the second virtue he listed which is as follows: “Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself, avoid trifling conversation.” Actually, this is something I have been aware of in my life, but focusing on it this week reminded me just how significant it is.
In Proverbs, we are told that the words we speak actually have the power of life or death. I believe this is completely accurate and have seen it at work in my own life.
Think about your life and how it builds you up when someone takes a moment to show you appreciation or pass some words of encouragement your way. It leaves you feeling inspired, uplifted, and encouraged. In contrast, think about when someone speaks negatively towards you. How does that make you feel?
I know that it is easy to forget about how powerful our words are, especially when we get caught up in the daily routines of our lives. Maybe there’s a coworker that continues to frustrate you, or a spouse that upsets you, or a child that doesn’t listen to you. At this point, you find it hard to say anything positive to them.
Now think about yourself. Maybe you are that frustrating coworker or spouse. How different might your reaction be if those people who are frustrated with you took time to speak words of encouragement instead of always speaking words of negativity?
The Bible tells us, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” I think if we all took this advice, not only would our workplace and homes be more enjoyable, but the world would be a much better place to live.
Let me encourage you today to think about the words you choose to speak. Are you speaking life or death into the people who are around you? You have the power to build others up with words of life or tear others down with words of death.
Sometimes it takes a little longer to think of a way to address a situation with words of life, but the results are well worth the effort. I hope that you will choose to speak life!
July 2, 2015 Tom Williams Be Inspired
What if you could make one choice today that could change your life forever? What if the choice would allow you to reach all the goals and dreams you have for your life? I believe we all can achieve and experience greater things than we ever thought possible and it all starts with one choice!
As I reflect over my own life, I think one choice that has allowed me to achieve greater things in my life was my choice to stop drinking soda a couple years ago. It seems like a small choice to make, but I can tell you this one choice has allowed me to make a dozen other positive choices I never could have made. By successfully giving up soda, it has given me confidence to change other things in my life and to keep improving who I am.
In The Compound Effect, Darren Hardy states “the Compound Effect is the principle of reaping huge rewards from a series of small, smart choices.” He continues to say that “your only path to success is through a continuum of mundane, unsexy, unexciting, and sometimes difficult daily disciplines compounded over time.”
I have seen this principle at work in my life and I know it can work in your life as well. The latest choice I have made is to walk 10,000 steps everyday. I chose this because I want to take better care of my body. It doesn’t seem like much, but I know that if I continue to make that choice ever day, my life will be richer because of it.
To help me reach such goals and to add these new habits to my life, I created a worksheet I called “Steps of Faithfulness.” The Bible tells us “whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much.” This is the idea behind making small, smart choices each day. If you want to be given greater things in life, you first have to be faithful with the smaller things you currently have in your life.
My challenge to you today is to pick one thing in your life that you want to change. Create a goal for yourself that is measurable (Ex. 10,000 steps per day). Put it into practice over the next 45 days. To help you get there, you can download the “Steps of Faithfulness” worksheet here. Every day that you are faithful, color in another footprint. You will be amazed at how rewarding it is to color in a footprint as a reminder of your success.
Remember, this is about making just one choice. You may feel like there are dozens of things you need to change. Today, I challenge you to choose onle one. If you want a better life, take the first step towards getting there. This one choice could be the catalyst in your life that will allow to reach all of your dreams and goals!
June 26, 2015 Tom Williams Be Inspired
It is so easy for us to become entangled in our daily routines that we forget just how valuable we are as individuals.
Maybe you’re stuck in a rut right now and are tired or bored with your everyday routine and you feel like what you do just isn’t important. Or maybe you feel like no one appreciates the work you do and that your talents and abilities go unnoticed and don’t really make a difference. Ultimately, there are tons of reasons we can feel unimportant and forget just how truly important we are in the world.
But think about it for a moment. There has never been and will never be another person just like you in the world. The unique gifts, talents, and abilities you have belong only to you. There is only one you in the world and you have a chance to make a positive difference in the lives of those around you.
You have a sphere of influence that you enter into everyday which gives you the opportunity to impact dozens, if not hundreds of lives. It is up to you to decide what type of impact you will make in the lives you touch today. Not only do you impact the lives of those you directly come in contact with, there are studies that show we are influenced by people as many as four generations away. This means your life will impact the lives of people you will most likely never even meet.
So no matter what is happening in your life right now, I encourage you to take a moment and reflect on all the people who count on you, value you, and need you. Whether it be your coworkers, family, or friends, remember there are many people in the world that need you and your unique set of gifts, talents, and abilities to help them in their lives.
You are important… You are one-of-a-kind…
You are valuable!!!
P.S. This also means that the person who gets on your nerves is valuable too!
June 19, 2015 Tom Williams Be Inspired
The reality is that we all want our life to have meaning. The challenge is that most of us get caught up in our daily routines and forget to look for meaning in what we do each day.
I have been reading Are You Fully Charged?: The 3 Keys to Energizing Your Work and Life by Tom Rath. Here are some suggestions that he gives to add meaning to your life.
First, you need to understand that the way you add meaning to your life is by doing something that benefits another person. It is this pursuit of meaning which makes life worthwhile and actually brings you happiness. There is research that shows that the more you focus on your own happiness, the more lonely you will actually feel. Researcher Roy Baumeister concluded that “Happiness without meaning characterizes a relatively shallow, self-absorbed or even selfish life.” In contrast, co-author Kathleen Vohs states, “People leading meaningful lives get a lot of joy from giving to others.”
Next, you need to be intentional if you are going to find meaning in your life. You do not just stumble across meaning in your life, you have to search for it and create it. One of the best ways to do this is to attach the things you do each day to a broader mission. If you are able to see how the things you do each day make the world a better place and improve people’s lives, you will be able to find more passion in your work.
Finally, you need to understand that the best way to add meaning to your life is to take small, meaningful actions each day. It is through little actions each day that eventually you are able to look back and see how significant the impact of those little actions were. If you will take time each day to do little things to improve the quality of life for those who are around you, not only will their lives improve but you will find more joy in your life as well.
Let me challenge you today to think about the people in your life that you regularly interact with and to consider what small thing you can do to make their lives better. This is something that you need to act on right away. The longer you put it off, the less likely you will do it.
I hope you will find meaning in your life and experience the joy and happiness that comes along with it.