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One of the biggest attributes that is required to obtain any goal or dream is proper vision. If you can see where you are going it will create pull in your life, pulling you towards your dream instead of having to strain to take a step. A vision needs to be so compelling that you will push through and overcome roadblocks and setbacks. The ability to take a punch and keep on going will separate you from the pack.

“Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.” – Winston Churchill

Without vision there is death. Death of a dream and when vision is lost for your life, it can result in death of a body. It is important to unite with a vision. If you had vision and lost it, read this. The power of writing out your dream will keep your vision alive and cause it to thrive.

Proverbs 29:18 – Where [there is] no vision, the people perish: but he that keep the law, happy [is] he.

Writing out dreams was God’s idea! In Habakkuk 2:2-3 it says this, “Then the Lord answered me and said: “Write the vision and make it plain on tablets, that he may run who reads it. 3 For the vision is yet for an appointed time; but at the end it will speak, and it will not lie. Though it tarries, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry.”

Writing down your dream does these 4 things:

1. Makes it plain. We can make things more confusing than they need to be. Writing out the vision you hear from God will reduce your confusion and make choices easier. Make sure everything aligns with the picture and you will see your dream come about.

2. Speeds you up. Writing down your dream will pull you toward it. It is as if the writing helps your belief in what God has said. It is a way we agree and say, “Yes Lord.” Write out your dream and you will hit a whole new level of hustle and working your face off. Uniting with God by agreeing in writing will put rocket fuel in the chase.

3. Shows what is ahead. By writing down your dream you are agreeing and uniting with the dream giver. He gives us these dreams to give us extra motivation when things are rough. When the pain seems overwhelming and the rejection is all around us, it is the written dream that gets us back off the mat. Writing your dream will help you to carry on.

4. Gives patience. God is never late, but He isn’t early either. Man I wish He was early sometimes. When you look at your dream in writing, it will restore your faith both in God and in what He has said. What God promises, He delivers! Sometimes we have to wander through a desert and continue to trust God. At the correct appointed time He will be faithful to bring it about. Writing out your vision will give you patience when the road is long.

Write out what you feel God is speaking to you. Keep what you wrote in a place that you can look at it often. On this journey you will want a constant reminder through the highs and lows of what God said. You will be amazed at what following God’s example will do for your life. Your eyes will be opened as you trust Him and His timing. Be blessed on your journey.

Have you written out your vision?

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Busyness is something that entrepreneurs and dream chasers pride themselves on. We work hard and usually have very little space that isn’t filled throughout the day. All this talk of hustling and working our faces off can leave us highly confused and lure us into the myth that the key to our dream is to work even harder.

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photo by: KC Newman Photography

I fell into this trap of 70 hour work weeks. My dream wasn’t getting any traction so my natural response was to work even harder and as a result some weeks crept up to 90 hours. I was pushing and straining, yet going nowhere fast. I was feeling like a failure. Balancing life was not happening. I was either putting my businesses on hold, parenting, husband, church, or my health. No matter what I did guilt was my feeling that never left.

When we push this hard we can’t live a life of meaning and purpose. We are missing the very beauty of life and the very things that will catapult us to the next level.

Margin. When we remove margin it has consequences. Putting margin back into our lives gives space to make the best decisions. I have cost myself more money than I will ever recoup by living a rushed life. If you are rushing around, you are costing more money than you probably even realize.

Space allows for the next two things which is where life and momentum are found.

Presence. When we rush through life, we lose what will mean the most to our families. We lose what will catapult relationships, business, health, and our spiritual lives. We lose our complete presence. Life that is rushed is never fully alive and is focused on what’s next.  If you are trying to fit every last second with something you have, one part of your mind will always be thinking about what’s next.

A loss of presence is loss of life and true connection.

Smarter. If you return margin and presence to your life, you have the ability to work smarter instead of just harder. When I backed up and looked at my life I started thinking about what I was trying to accomplish. I built activity around my goals, not goals around all my activity. Often we get caught in the work harder cycle and spend time doing tasks that can be delegated or left undone. We end up not having time to do the things that can’t be done by someone else. Before you start any task, ask yourself if this can be delegated or dropped. It is easy to chase pennies and leave dollars. My shift in working smarter doubled my profit, gave me time to be with my family, and gave me space to train and run marathons.

Margin and rest will give you time to work smarter.

Working hard is required, but is useless if it does not have presence and intelligence. Create some silence in your life. Music without silence between notes is just a bunch of noise. It is the silence that creates the beauty. The same is true for your life. To create a beautiful symphony in your life you must have rest between activities.  Moments of working your face off must also have moments of rest and ease.

Do you have margin in your life?

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Be realistic! I have heard this so many times. Mostly in my mind, but from others as well when I dare to tell them about my dreams. This phrase kills more dreams than we can imagine. Taking them to the grave, most people never dare to utter their dreams at the risk of being perceived as unrealistic. I heard once and believe it is true, that the graveyard has more ideas and inventions than we have in this world. People scared to look silly, scared to fail so they just settled for realistic; settled for something that is a shadow of what they were meant to be.

I want to shed light on this evil doer statement, “Be realistic.” At the root, it is just plain old fear. Fear of failure, fear of man, fear of going the wrong way, fear of the tough road ahead. FEAR! The killer of goals, dreams, and plans. Fear, the thing God warns us against over and over in the Bible. We may dress it up and put lipstick on it, but really it is nothing but fear.

We need to shed light on this fear. I talk about how to do that here. Another way to reduce our fear is to give hope by showing how others who have gone before us overcame their fear. Today, I wanted to highlight a few people who beat odds to achieve their dreams. You may have heard of these stories before, however, really take in how they must have felt before they knew they would achieve what their hearts longed for. Here are some people who beat the odds!

Abraham Lincoln. If I was to meet any person in U.S. history, this would be who I would choose to talk with. He was the sixteenth president of the United States. He only had one year of formal education. He lost more elections than he ever won. He was the first president outside of the original colonies and the first president from an unknown party. What an amazing man who outsiders would have never expected to make such a stamp on my country. President Lincoln was very unrealistic.

Helen Keller. At the age of two Keller became deaf and blind. At the age of seven she learned to write, read, and communicate. She learned Greek, Latin, French, and German and graduated cumlaude from Radcliffe College. Keller became an internationally renowned author and founded the Civil Liberties Union. Helen Keller was definitely unrealistic.

Albert Einstein. Einstein didn’t speak until he was four years old. Throughout his elementary years, many teachers thought he was lazy and wouldn’t make anything of himself. He received good grades, but his head was always thinking of other things and complex questions that others couldn’t understand. This Nobel Prize winner, Einstein was definitely unrealistic.

You. Whatever limitations setbacks and failures you have had does not preclude you to something great. In fact, when we get focused on our shortcomings we are taking our eyes off God and putting them on ourselves. The Bible says that He is made strong in your weakness. So it is your very weakness that makes you qualified in Him. You are more than a conqueror through Christ.

Me. When I started writing, my wife who taught Special Education before we had kids, would have to spend twice as long correcting my work as it took me to write it. I never did great in school and dropped out of college to start my first restaurant. I have had a dream to write for Entrepreneur and recently found out I will now be a contributor to their site as well as Addicted2Success! There’s nothing realistic about that!

My friend Matt McWilliams says, “I am a world changer just like you!” So true. Together we can change this world if we say, “NO” to fear. Push through the limitations you have and cling to God. This world can be better and you and I can change it. Be blessed on your journey.

What fears have you pushed through?

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Effects of a Mask

Zechariah Newman —  December 22, 2014 — 1 Comment

My life is moving lately in ways I use to only imagine. There will be some big announcements coming. For years I hid from everyone afraid to admit my sin and failure. I was so concerned about what everyone thought that I refused to try anything. Life got stale slowly as I hid the bad and could not accept or feel the good.

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Photo by: KCNewman Photography

Masking and hiding our lives at the root is a lack of trusting God or man. In all actuality it is usually a lack of trust in both. Our relationship with man affects our relationship with God and vice versa. This leads to an inauthentic life and one that is a shell of what we are meant to live. If you are hiding and masking your life, it has these 4 ramifications. 

1. Physical. When I hid, my physical body was in the worst shape of my life. I gained weight, had high blood pressure and was told by a doctor that I needed to reduce my stress or I would be headed to an early grave. When you hide behind a mask, your stress is high because of your lack of trust. The need to control things out of your control overtakes and consumes your life. Physical apathy is a sign of a mask.

2. Scared. Hiding is exactly that; scared of everything. When trust is missing, fear can freeze you into inaction. It can cause you to settle in all areas. It is not a restful waiting, but rather a nervous uptightness settles in your life. Fear is invasive and all-consuming. It ends up being the focal point of life instead of something to push past. An overabundance of fear is a clear signal of a mask.

3. Relationships. Masking up a life causes an inability to have meaningful relationships. You can only feel love and show love to the level that you allow someone in. The thicker the mask, the less love and support you will be able to receive. The less you can receive, the less you have the ability to show. Relationships end up being more manipulation than authentic love and understanding. Masking up your life makes it impossible to reach a full-fledged overflowing relationship.

4. Spiritual. It is funny how foolish we can be, thinking we can hide things from God. Our spiritual life looks more like graveling for our sins we committed and promising to never do them again, rather than having a true relationship with God. When we come to God all masked up, we get so consumed that we don’t approach God with praise, but with a heart of a Pharisee. After all, we need to knock each other down to make ourselves look better. A masked life does not allow for a fruitful spiritual walk.

These are just four ways that wearing a mask affects us and makes it impossible to have our true needs met. Removal of masks is a life long activity. It takes risk, but it is worth it. Trust is the antidote and it is not easy, however, it is worth it to allow God and others into places of shame and unworthiness. You can do it one day and one step at a time. Be blessed on your journey.

Have you ever worn a mask? How did it affect you?

 

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An Organized Life

Zechariah Newman —  December 1, 2014 — 18 Comments

One of my biggest struggles is to stay organized. I have about ten yellow legal pads around the house with different things from to-do lists to blog ideas scribbled on them. My car is not much better. I have fishing poles laying across the seats in case I want to stop and fish and things for each of my restaurants in my trunk. My office desks have stacks of unfinished work. Embarrassing, yet true. There always becomes a point where I can’t take the strain on my brain anymore and begin to organize my mess for a while.

fall path

Photo by: KCNewman Photography

The bottom line is that an unorganized life is hurting my dream and if you are unorganized it is making your dream chasing journey unnecessarily hard as well. Today let’s turn over a new leaf and clean up our lives so we can clean up our minds. If you are an organized person I would love your input at the end! These 5 things will help you to become and stay organized.

1. Start and end. To get organized we simply need to start. Perfection is not the goal, but merely to begin and head in that direction. After we have started we always need to end with organization. This takes discipline to stay a little late at the office or clean the car when you just want to sit down. I lie to myself that I will do it later. The reality is once we leave a location, our minds shift and it is much harder to do it later. I forget because it is not a habit in my life yet. Don’t procrastinate and do it now.

2. Write it down. My memory is pretty bad. In fact, I tell my staff that if you don’t write it down, you never told me. I have so many responsibilities and daily demands swirling around in my head. I am sure your life is the same way. I have begun to write everything down on yellow pads. I carry one in my car and have several throughout my house. When thoughts, ideas, to-do lists, and prayers come in my head, they go on a pad. This is necessary as your mind is what we are trying to clear the clutter from. Write them down instead of holding them in your mind and you will feel freedom.

3. One central place. This is the next transformation of a free mind that I am working on. Once a week I believe we need to gather the yellow pads and organize them on the computer. I have searched too many times for something I know I wrote down somewhere. Use this time to delete what you have done and add to your lists. Print off your lists and carry them with you as this will help your efficiency.

4. Commitment. Are you committed? Commit to a certain amount of time to stay organized no matter what. No matter how long it takes, follow these principles. Whether it’s 30 days or 3 months, stick to a time that you commit to so that you will have a chance to see the difference. You can always go back to a messy life if it is not worth it. Every new habit and routine starts with a commitment to do it.

5. Accountability. In all things we need accountability. This needs to be built into your daily life. Who is going to hold you accountable to your commitment? Find people who love you and are bold enough to call you out. Set times that you will check in. You cannot do this life alone! Build relationships. The time is worth it.

Let’s organize to free our minds and to be fully present. It will take time, energy and pain. however, it is worth it. The time spent will be multiplied down the road. When you fall down remember that failure is temporary if you get back up. Keep on trucking my friend. Be blessed on your journey.

How do you get and stay organized?

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Restoring Joy

Zechariah Newman —  November 24, 2014 — 8 Comments

My emotions are so fickle sometimes. I wake up and everything is terrible. I frankly wallow in moments way too long, giving in to the drama in my mind. Everything becomes wrong and inadequate with thoughts like, “When God are you going to come through? When is my business going to come to new levels? When will all of my kids be potty trained?!” 🙂 It is simple when there is a constant tension on our lives from where we are and where we want to be to get dissatisfied and lose our joy. The first thing we must do when we feel like this is recognize that we lost it! After that it is easy to regain with a few practical steps.

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Photo by: KCNewman Photography

When we are missing Joy, these 5 things will restore it to our lives.

1. List. To proactively shift our moods, we need to change our thoughts. Emotions will follow good thoughts. The other day I was really struggling with my mood and I did this simple exercise and my negative heart turned to one of gratitude and joy! Spend a simple five minutes to think about what you are grateful for, then write down everything you can think of. Look at your list and notice how blessed you are!

2. Prayer. A life focused on God will be one of joy. Pray to Him and ask Him to show you how you are blessed. Ask Him to open your eyes and He will be faithful. Then it is our job to look, keep vigilant with our eyes up, and our hearts ready. Talking and listening to God will realign our thoughts with His. Focus on the Creator and joy will return.

3. A close friend’s words. One of our jobs as believers is to prophesy into each others lives. If you don’t like that word, it is simply to call out the attributes that are godly into each other. We need each other to call out godly characteristics when we don’t see it ourselves. Rather than think of yourself, how can you encourage and speak into someone else this week? Your words may be the words someone needs to hear. You may encourage them to live a life more full or your encouragement may even save a life! Speak life!

4. Be present. One common thread happens when we are depressed and angry. We are either in the past or longing for the future. We need to live lives of focus and power and the only way to be that vibrant is to be present in the second. If you feel yourself getting anxious and worried, I assure you you are not living in the present. Realign with the here and now. You have a job to do today that only you can fulfill.

5. Go through the motions. We need to live a life of transparency, so I say this cautiously. Fake it until you make it. Go through the motions and your emotions will follow. Smiling, for example, can reduce stress, lower blood pressure, change your mood and boost your immunity. It can also be contagious. Be honest with your feelings, but you may need to go through the motions to feel more joyful.

When we are feeling negative, the bottom line is we need more gratefulness. That is one of the things I love about this time of year. Today and this week, let’s return joy and hope to the journey. Happy Thanksgiving and be blessed on your journey.

What are you thankful for?!
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I hate having a meaningful conversation and watch the other person stop looking at me and look down at his or her phone. The conversation energy just completely stops. It makes me feel really important to the person. Okay, maybe not.

You see the same thing in restaurants. Couples looking down and fiddling on their phones. It is sad to me that in a connected world we have become isolated.

I am ashamed to say that I started to do the same things. I stopped being present in the moments with those I love. Looking down at my phone when it went off. Social media began to control me instead of me using it as a tool.

With a world that never stops, I began to remove all points of quiet out of my day outside of that first few hours that I didn’t have my phone. The phone would interrupt my work, writing, family time, prayer, and other things throughout the day.

I at least, felt a little powerless. I believe most people like me are a little powerless. That is why I have made a choice. I no longer have Facebook and Twitter on my phone. If this doesn’t help I will get rid of my smart phone all together.

Are you present with those physically with you? How many times a day do you check your Facebook or Twitter? Track it for one day. In 2013 ABC did a study that the average user checks 14 times a day. I was checking more than that. Yikes!

I still get on social media to post and respond, but for me, social media plays into a weakness having such easy access. Some are stronger than me and that’s okay. Know yourself; weaknesses and strengths.

The experts would say I am wrong with this and I need to be everywhere all of the time. That is why I haven’t done it until now. My dream was feeling like a nightmare. I have decided my family is more important.

A funny thing has happened. I am now getting more traction now that I am not wasting away my day being interrupted.

What stand will you make? I would encourage you to chase your dreams in a way that makes sense for you and your family. Use Hootsuite to post at certain times and only get on social media when it makes sense for you. Stop being controlled by the tool of social media and take your life back. Be blessed on your journey.

Do you have a problem with your smart phone?

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Who’s Fault Is It?

Zechariah Newman —  September 23, 2014 — 9 Comments

You don’t understand! No one will help me. They got lucky. These are all the thoughts I have had. Protecting and defending my choices and actions can be a full time job. Even my sin I can shove aside as a generational curse or wounds of another. I have no responsibility for my actions. I am a victim to the failures and sins of others.

It is so easy to blame circumstances outside of my control for my lot in life. Blame for me is not hard to find and I have played the victim more than I would like to admit.

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Photo by: KCNewman Photography

As I write this with tears in my eyes, I am amazed at how I have let my flesh and Satan distract me from God’s purpose. I have been so busy squabbling for scraps that I don’t even look at what I can do! Today no matter what circumstances arise, no matter where we are, we can do something.

If we don’t take responsibility how can we change?

If we don’t admit that we picked it up, how can we put it down?

If we don’t recognize ourselves as a sinner how can we be saved?

2 Corinthians 12:9 states, “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.'”

Failures, setbacks and challenges are real. Generational sin and wounds from others affect us, but you and I have a choice to stand and say, “Jesus I need you! Change Me!” Only when we take responsibility for failures, can we have the power through Christ to change. So this week walk in boldness. Be a warrior for Him by being weak and in need of a Savior. Do what you can and give what you can’t to Him. Be blessed on your journey.

How can you take more responsibility?

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Dream chasing feels heavy sometimes with the amount of decisions we have to make. I feel like Mel Gibson at the end of Braveheart, my favorite movie. He is being tortured by having his arms and legs stretched in different directions. The strain on his joints as horses pull causes him to experience tremendous agony. Freedom! He ends up yelling before he loses his life. That about sums up my brain at times. I think, I’m going to go this way, then someone mentions a new piece of information and then I zig-zag. Never mind, I will head this way. You and I will never reach our fullest potential acting in this manner. Momentum happens over time so we need to learn how to stop over analyzing. These 5 steps help me to forge ahead in a direction.

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1. Perfection is a myth. This is the root of all the over analyzing. The myth that decisions are perfect; that if you just make the right choice it will all be wonderful. The clouds will part, light will shine down on you and the angles will sing. Look at this man; he chose wisely.  Make the wrong choice and you will be miserable and everyone will point and laugh. This is not reality. We make the best choice with the information that we have.

2. Life of learning. This is the mindset we should have. No matter if we choose the best choice or the worst we will learn. We will be perfecting our choices. That should be our measuring stick. Perfecting, not perfection. Focus on health and you will grow in your decision-making. This will take a lot of the fear out of acting on a decision.

3. Set a deadline. Set a deadline of when you will stop thinking and choose how long you will travel in that direction. When I started writing I didn’t know if I would enjoy it. I knew I wanted to help people and I knew I liked restoring. That was all the information I had so I dedicated to write for a year no matter what. That will end in five weeks and then a new decision will be made.

4. Narrow or broaden your view. If you are a big picture person come down to earth for a minute. If you are a narrow vision person expand your horizon. We all tend to look at life one way. I look at the big picture too much. I need to come back down to earth and look at life in a different way. Which way do you naturally look at things? Change it up and it can help you make decisions.

5. Stop asking others. I am way too guilty of this. Are you? I ask so many people and surprise they all have different counsel. There comes a point when you have to shut up and stop asking other people what you should do. Make decisions that you don’t need a co-signer for. You don’t need approval except for your spouse. People will not like your decisions and that is okay. Stop asking!

These 5 things should help you make a decision, but ultimately the battle is between your ears. Your decision is not life or death. If you don’t like the decision, just make a new one. Be blessed on your journey.

What helps you make decisions?

Several years ago I was so out of shape that I could not run a half mile without stopping and this was after being an athlete in high school. My cholesterol was high and my doctor told me I needed to start making changes. “I had to reduce my stress”, he said. How could this be? I was only in my late 20’s! I was seeing success in a lot of areas of life, but like a lot of hard drivers I was ignoring my health and body. The effects on me physically were nothing compared to my mental health. Unfortunately, when life gets busy I think that exercise is the first thing we drop.

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Fortunately, I slowly but surely have gotten my health back and now run marathons. I have a stretch goal to run one in every state. You don’t need to run marathons, however, you do need to make physical exercise a part of your everyday life. I have no doubt that running has changed my life and no doubt it will change your life too!

Maybe you just need some motivation to start or a reason to keep going. When chasing your dream, exercising is a must. I believe it is a key ingredient of any serious dream chasers journey. Running will help you to chase your dream by doing these 4 things to your mind!

1. Solitude. If you have a family like I do, there are times where you just want to be alone. Running has provided that for me. It allows me time that I can hear from God. To process my life and to come up with ideas. All of this happens because of the solitude that running provides. Run to get alone time.

2. Confidence. As my runs have gotten longer and faster, my overall confidence has improved. If you start running, you will see a difference in your overall confidence. There is freedom in knowing that pain is temporary and it is a choice to stop. My confidence in knowing that I can push through discomfort has changed my life. I have a level of endurance in my brain that was not there before. Run to push through to new levels in your life. Run to raise your confidence.

3. Energy. Since beginning running, my endurance both physically and mentally has shot up dramatically. Starting things in my life is not hard for me, however, the tenacity to keep going is a weakness. Running has helped my mental energy to increase. Just like a muscle pushing through mental barriers, it will grow your mental energy and stamina.  Run to increase your energy.

4. Relieve stress. We all fight stress in different ways. Some combat it with substances like alcohol. Some people tune life out by watching television. When I was out of shape and miserable, I would sit at home and watch hours of television or play video games because I could tune out my problem. Now when I have high stress I run. Running will help you reduce and even remove some stress the healthy way. Run to reduce your stress.

If you don’t run and are physically able, I encourage you to. Start slow and increase mileage slowly as well. Try running for a month and if you don’t like it you could always find another avenue of physical exercise. Running will change your life if you give it a chance. It won’t be easy, but if you stick with it, it will be worth it. Be blessed on your journey.

What benefits do you get from running?

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