Tag: Success

Accomplishing Your Dream: A Lesson from a Toddler Putting on Socks

Toddle Socks

One of our toddler’s obsessions is shoes, or as she calls them “pretty shews”. When I say obsession, I mean we are routinely tempted to throw them out as a means of intervention. She loves shoes. And, because she loves shoes, she learned fairly quick how to put them on all by herself. She even responds to, “wrong feet” and promptly corrects them. She is pretty much a genius. Socks on the other hand are a tad more difficult for her, so she still requires our help in that area.

A couple months ago she came into the kitchen, socks and shoes in hand, with the dream of wearing them in her heart. She walked over to us and said “Shock on. Shews.” My wife was cooking and I was doing dishes, so I responded, “Okay baby. I’ll help you in a second.” Then turned to wrap up my task. When I turned back to help her I was shocked to see that she had already put on her socks. I looked at her and celebrated, “Yay! You put your socks on!” She responded by throwing her hands in the air and declaring, “Yay shocks on!” I did need to help straighten them, but all in all, she put her socks on, with the heel mostly in the correct spot. As I stood and watched her put her shoes on, I thought about what it took for her to achieve that dream.

Okay, maybe it is a bit over the top with the dream thing, but it was something that she really wanted and she went after it. Of course there was a learning process for her, but eventually she decided she was not willing to wait for someone else in order to see her dream of shoe wearing fulfilled. The same is true for your dream. There is a point at which you have to decide that you are going to accomplish your dream, even if you do not know how.

Here are four things that I took away from my daughter putting on socks that might help in accomplishing your dream:

1. It is okay, even necessary, to watch others.

Whatever the task you want to complete, no one expects you to just know how to do it right out of the gate. My daughter watched us every time we put on hers or our socks. While we did, she talked through it, mostly just pointing and saying “Shocks on.” But, I looked at it as her asking about putting socks on and verbally walking through the process. She learned by watching someone who knew how to put on socks.

There are others who have success in the area that you want to succeed in. So watch them. Read what they write. Watch their videos. Take their courses. Email them. Ask questions. Learn from people who know what they are doing.

2. Be confident in what you have learned.

Eventually there comes a point that you have learned what you needed to. You have read all the blogs and books, watched the YouTube and Face Book videos, attended the webinars/courses and have pages of notes. But it is not enough to just know what you need to know, you also have to be confident enough in what you have learned to apply it.

There came a point in my daughter’s sock wearing journey that she had learned enough to give her the confidence to do it herself. She trusted what she had learned and applied it. In addition to transferring knowledge, a teacher should also build confidence in your ability to apply it. Stop following people who do not inspire confidence in you.

3. Do not wait for someone else.

My daughter really wanted to wear her shows, but her sockless feet stood in the way. She could have either waited and went shoeless for another five minutes, or implemented what she learned and wear her pretty shoes now. She opted for the “pretty shoes now.” She did not wait for permission or for someone else to say she was ready, and she did not wait for someone else to do it for her, she just did it. In the same way, you do not need someone else’s permission, so start.

4. Do not be afraid to accept help.

My daughter could have refused my help and instead put the shoes on over crooked socks. It would have worked, but it probably would have been a bit rough on her walking. But she did not refuse. Instead, she realized I still knew stuff about sock wearing that she did not and she accepted my offer of help.

In 2015 I launched a blog called, The Whole Man. After my first post a lady contacted me and said it was a great post, but there were some grammatical errors and she could point them out if I would like. I could have been offended, refused and went on my way, never realizing the generosity and blessing in that offer. But, I knew enough to realize that there are people that know far more about writing than I do, so I accepted her offer. Now, more than a year later, I have an amazing copy-editor and coach and my writing is so much better. And, I have gained a dear friend. People want to help, do not be afraid to accept it.

With all the technology available to us, not knowing how to do something is one of the worst excuses for not accomplishing your dream. The world is literally at your fingertips and there are people that want to help you succeed. So put on your shocks and shews and start walking toward your dream.

How to Guarantee Success

SuccessThis past weekend I had the opportunity to hear Pastor TL Rogers, from The Triumphant Church in Washington D.C., preach on the importance of being a single, whole person before getting married. It was a great message in and of itself (you can watch it HERE) and there’s a ton more that could be said about the importance of wholeness, but there’s one thing that he said that I’d like to key in on. He said, “Success is predictable.” He was talking about success in marriage, but the idea spans the whole of following Jesus and Christendom.

He pointed to Joshua 1:8 as evidence. In that verse God is commissioning Joshua to lead the Israelites after Moses death. God tells Joshua, “This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.” There it is. Follow the law then you’ll be prosperous and have good success. To be sure, God wasn’t simply talking about material success. He was telling Joshua what it would take to have success as His people and that started with following the law as He gave it to them.

If that’s true, we can extrapolate that out and apply it to the New Covenant in Jesus and use that verse as our guideline for success and prosperity. By the time Jesus hit the scene the Jews had over 600 laws that were required for “righteousness.” An impossible task, if ever there was one. When asked which is the most important, Jesus said, “And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” If all the other laws depend on those two commands, then the promise of success found in Joshua 1:8 requires our continued obedience to them. 

What that mean in a practical sense is that as followers of Jesus our success, in everything, is dependent on not letting love depart from our lips, meditating on it day and night and being careful to do all that Jesus commanded surrounding love. That means being His witness to an unbelieving world by caring for widows and orphans, being agents of healing, loving each other well, displaying grace and forgiveness and not seeking to condemn others. Success looks like the love of Christ acted out by His followers. 

Let’s be successful.

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The Best Way to Define Success

I realized the other day that, when it comes to our jobs, my wife is far more successful than I am.  It sounds funny to say out loud (or write in this case) because I’ve been doing my job for 18 ½ years and my wife has only been doing hers, professionally, for a year.  That doesn’t mean I’m not good at what I do, I am.  I’ve been doing it for almost two decades and I know it inside and out.  At this point it requires almost no thought.  To be fair, my wife has actually been doing her job for 11ish years, but only a year of that has been professionally.  In addition to my almost 20 years of experience I have a lot of training and education that punctuates the depth of that experience; I mean A LOT.  On the other end of that, my wife has very little “formal” training in her skill.  By in large, her skill is almost completely self-taught.  Yet, the fact remains that she is still far more successful than I.

What makes her more successful?  That depends on your definition of success.  If your definition is the amount of money you make, I might have her beat.  Although, in proportion to the amount of hours she puts in compared to how much she makes versus the amount I do, she probably slays me in that area too.  If your definition of success is based on how far up the promotional/leadership ladder you’ve climbed, then I might get her there.  Although, again, she’s self-employed so the minute she started her business, being that she’s the boss, she started at the top of the ladder.  What took me 15 years to achieve, she achieved by simply deciding to start a business.  Sarah – 2, Bruce – 0.  If either of those are your definition, they aren’t very solid goals to move toward.

There will always be someone that makes more money and always someone in a higher position, thus always someone that is more successful.

I used to look at success like that, but over that last few years that’s changed; largely in part due to my wife and others I’ve seen achieve “success”.  So how do I base success?  On this one question:  Do you love what you do?  So what does my wife do that makes her successful leaps and bounds beyond me?  She’s a photographer; and a stinking good one at that. And it’s not that she’s a photographer that makes her successful, it’s the fact that she LOVES it.

I get to go on photo shoots with my wife often.  When I accompany her, I get to watch as she turns a decade long passion into a job that she absolutely loves. I get to be privy to all her giggles and excited squeals as she clicks away and captures that literal “once in a life time” shot.  I also get to see the aftermath, in the editing portion, and there are equal portions of giggles and squeals. Then I go to my job.  I’m a Master Sergeant in the US Air Force (for those that don’t know, MSgt is a fairly high enlisted rank.  It’s the third of the top three highest enlisted ranks.  It’s essentially the equivalent to upper management).  Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate the career I’ve had, especially as I draw close to retirement.  Also, I’m so honored to have served my country.  But, I don’t love what I do anymore.

I work in an office, all day, managing people and programs.  I answer emails and go to meetings.  I sign things, assign tasks and coordinate with other agencies.  And I’m good at it, but it’s not what I love doing.  It hasn’t been for a long time.  There are so many other things I would love to do.

Realistically, for me success looks like teaching, speaking and writing.  I love all three.  It’s where I’m comfortable and what excites me.  So my philosophy on success goes like this:  If you can do what you love as your job, then do it. If your passionate hobby can be your dream job, it should be.  That’s success.

So like I said, my wife is a really good photographer.  She has a lot of fans, of which I am the biggest, regardless of what anyone on the internet says.  I’m her husband; I get the “Biggest Fan” title by default.  As her biggest fan I’d be remiss in not telling you to visit her website and FB Page.  Seriously, go there and see how amazing she is.

Seeking Success,

Bruce

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