Archives For Excellence

The Morning Hustle

Zechariah Newman —  October 22, 2013 — 9 Comments

Are you waiting to get chosen? Waiting to get picked? I don’t know who we are waiting on like there will be a ray of light that shines down, angels sing and we step out. The crowd goes wild and we have been chosen. This is not the reality. It is not called a choosing rather a calling. I have been up writing posts, working on my e-book called, Finding Your Path, writing Facebook posts, and getting my tweets set. All of this has been done in the dark by myself, just me, worship music, and my coffee. There is no glamor and crowd. It is really lonely and can be frustrating. Dream chasing looks a lot like work. Your calling and dream will look a lot like work too. It takes a lot of practice, focus, and patience.  It takes a deep-rooted abiding trust in God that He has a plan for you. Are you sitting in the bleachers or have you stood up and stepped out? Stop waiting. It is not going to happen until you put footsteps toward your dream. My dream and I believe your dream starts in the morning.

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Whether it is a new career direction, working out, reading more, praying, Bible reading, etc., you need to start it in the morning. When you start something new often times it will end up on the back burner. I have not been a morning person, but I have continued to force myself to get up and work on my dream. You can too.

1. Excuses. If you wait until later this huge bag of excuses has been gathering up all day waiting for a chance to be unleashed. “I need to clean the house.” “It has been a long day.” “I’m too tired.” “I need to check my emails.” “There is a big game on tonight.” These are some of the excuses I build into my day that stop me from working at and practicing my dream.

2. Distractions. There are so many fewer distractions at 5 am. No one is going to call you. Not many people are on Facebook. Everyone in your house is likely asleep. The only thing that is hard for me is staying awake till the caffeine or the excitement of writing kicks in. It will be the same way for you. If you get up and go, more will be accomplished in less time. Distractions are best avoided in the margins of our lives.

3. Energy for the day. When I wake up and work at my dream I have so much more energy for the day. I feel alive. I feel this way because I’m getting traction and am headed in a way that I am proud of. It will be the same way for you. Putting footsteps toward something gives you that sense of accomplishment and pride.

I hope this gives you the energy and encouragement to rise early and change your life. Big dreams happen over time with focused energy multiplied by God. Be blessed on your journey.
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Your Calling

Zechariah Newman —  October 17, 2013 — 13 Comments

Why do we care so much about what others think? I talked about this with the fear of rejection. It is natural to care what others think to a degree. Here is the problem though. I want you, yes you, the one that has taken the time to read this to chase the dream that God has placed within you. This is impossible unless you make up in your mind and heart that what God says about you is what matters. Otherwise you will live someone else’s dream. You have a “calling.” We refer to pastors as having a calling, which they do. Pastors have a very important role for the kingdom of God. Here is what we fail to remember; we all have a calling. Here is what I would like you to ask yourself: Regardless of the opinions of other people, what do I enjoy doing?

ray of light

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1. Your dream has to be bigger than the opinions of other people. Your dream has to be so much greater than that or it will never happen. I have a co-worker that was going to enroll in college to be a teacher. In the three years I have known her all she talks about is doing hair and how much she loves it. She was so close to enrolling in school and going into debt for being a teacher because she thought people don’t respect someone who goes to cosmetology school. I love her honesty. I pray she goes in the direction that makes her heart sing.

2. Your dream has to be rooted in God. This is an important step that I believe a lot of people miss, including me at times. You need to look inside to figure out what brings you alive. You need that point in time where it shifts to an outward focus because your dream in the end isn’t about you. Your dream and purpose has to be rooted in Christ or it will feel empty and void at the pinnacle of your success. Do not leave God on the sideline. He wants to be involved in your whole life. This includes the work of our hands.

Start today figuring out what you want to do and not what others tell you to do. Life will be so much sweeter because no matter how much our loved ones love us, this is your journey not theirs. You will be the one putting in over forty hours a week. Bring it all back to God and He will bless the work of your hand. Be blessed on your journey.

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Motivation to Start

Zechariah Newman —  October 3, 2013 — 6 Comments

Heidi had a great question on the last post. Here it is, “I’m curious though, what do you do, or what can we do, to get ourselves to take that small step towards our goal?” Here is my answer Heidi. There are many things that keep us from our goals. Two huge and obvious ones are to start and to keep going through the long hall. So today’s post is answering the first question, starting. Anthony Robbins says, “Change happens when the pain of staying the same is greater than the pain of change.” I believe this is dead on. The premise is that human’s seek pleasure and try to avoid pain. The greater driving force is the avoidance of pain. Here is a four-part exercise that has helped me to start.

smoky sunset

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1. State your goal on paper. Don’t think it, give specifics. It has to be measurable and it has to have a deadline. Writing it down pulls the goal or dream out of the clouds and puts meat on its bone. If it is not written, it is a wish not a goal. My example from the last post was I wanted to lose ten pounds in two months.

2. Why? This is often skipped and it is what puts bullets in the gun. The why behind it all is what will get you to step from no movement to running downhill. You need to have a strong why, otherwise you will sit and not move. My example: I need to lose ten pounds to lower my blood pressure, live longer, and feel better about myself.

3. What pain would happen if you don’t accomplish this? Remember we avoid pain and seek pleasure. Really think through this. What pain will occur if you don’t accomplish this? Write it down. Really think and don’t just give surface answers. Five years from now you have not moved. How do you feel? My example: My health would get worse, less energy, my life would be shorter, lower confidence, and health care costs would be higher, etc.

4. What pleasure will you receive from hitting the mark? This goes back to the why. There is a reason you want the goal or dream. Name what you will receive. Even with selfless things there is a payoff in this life or the next. This is uncomfortable because it is seen as selfish, but it really is not. It can be we feel good when we give things. There is nothing that brings me greater pleasure than playing a part of leading someone to the Lord. My example: I would be fit, enjoy the outdoors more, confident, lower health costs.

To repeat myself from the first post it starts and finishes with God. Otherwise we are merely changing external behavior. This has helped me to change some things. I hope it helps you, Heidi and many others.  I can say now I enjoy running. Something I had to force is now missed when I don’t. Be blessed on your journey.

What helps you to start?

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Motivation To Change

Zechariah Newman —  October 1, 2013 — 4 Comments

Two and a half years ago I went to run for the first time in a long time. I had the goal to run a mile. I went off and made it a long half mile before I stopped and felt like my lungs would explode and I was going to die. I was torn between being disgusted with myself and motivated to change my current state. I’m sure you have been there too. Not sure whether massive eye-opening things motivate me or make me feel like a failure. This time and most times it is a combination. I pushed past and set a huge stretch goal to run a marathon which I did last fall. Now my goal is to run a marathon in every state. In the beginning when we are out of shape, in financial ruin, bad relationships, or any other thing that is hard to turn around, what is it that causes us to push back against the feeling of self loathing and change? These 3 things help me to push through to another level.

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1. God. None of us can overcome our sins, failures, and shortcomings without the help of God. Even if we can do this on our own we are only altering our actions. Only God can change our hearts. We must understand what it means to be “led by the Spirit.” God’s Spirit doesn’t drag us around, it leads us. It will not prevent us from sinning, and it won’t force us to do what is right. It leads us, but we must be willing to follow if we are to allow God to work within us through His Spirit. To learn more about plugging into God click. True lasting change comes from the inside out.

2. Small goals. I didn’t start running to run a marathon. I had this as a “that would be cool” goal. My first goal was to lose ten pounds. Then it progressed to ten miles and then to run a marathon. Now it is to run one in every state. If I had started with the goal I have now, I would have seen no hope to achieve that big harry goal. My mind would have said, “You can’t run a half mile. How are you going to come close to that?” Once training starts and going over ten miles, the long distance change happens pretty quickly. Set small goals within the context of someday goals. I wanted to run a marathon someday, but I didn’t sign up until I ran 13 miles in training. Big changes happen slowly. Small goal completion will give you the motivation to keep going.

3. Small step. Small steps should be the focus. They did a study that is pretty cool. If people say, “I’m going to floss every night,” most people will rarely floss. If people say, “I’m going to floss one tooth,” they will floss way more often. Starting is always that hardest part and once people floss one tooth they floss the whole mouth. Same with anything we do. Opening my Bible is the hard part, but once I start I get something. Everything starts with one small step.

Plug into God and break goals and steps down into small things. Remember anything worth something takes time. Hold onto hope that you can change. Small changes over time are huge changes. There are many more things that help me to change, but these are my top three. You can do it one moment at a time. Be blessed on your journey.

What things help you to push through to another level?

 

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Remove the Pebble

Zechariah Newman —  September 26, 2013 — Leave a comment

I was running the other day when a tiny pebble about the size of a grape nut kicked up and landed in the heel of my shoe. At first this was barely noticeable so I kept going. Then it began to be more and more noticeable and started hurting bad until eventually the pain subsided and my heel was numb. When I got home my heel was bleeding and it took a while for my foot to recover. In fact for the next few weeks when I ran it reopened. If I would have stopped and taken the pebble out right away, this would not have happened. How often do we do this with our lives? Something that seems to not be a big deal we let stay. Then it becomes bigger and bigger, brings pain and causes problems down through time even after the thing is removed. These three things help me avoid more pain.

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1. Stop. The first thing we need to do when we realize there is a pebble is to stop. We are all busy. Stopping can feel like such a huge task at times. If we stop people may realize something is wrong. We get in a rhythm of life and don’t want to slow down. Before big failures, sin, and total uncharacteristic actions there is a build up. Stop and take the time to know yourself. I feel worn out and out of balance before I do something stupid. My wife and mentors know this so they ask how I am doing. So stop and look for triggers in your own life.

2. Remove. After stopping, now we need to remove the pebble. We do this as an evangelical Christian through confession. I John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” Confess and repent to God. In James 5:16 it states, “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” So have someone you can talk and pray with. I have built into my life many guys that call, text, and check in with me. This is so healthy and needed. You and I are going to fall. Remove the pebble before it festers into something bigger.

3. Continue on. This has become my biggest struggle in the progression. Once you have stopped and confessed, it is done. Continue on your path. You are not earning kudos from God by beating yourself up. Wallowing in your misery because you are a wretched sinner will not get you anywhere. The Bible says that Jesus died for our sin. It is finished. He knew what you were going to do before you did it, and died for it. You screwed up don’t fixate on it. Continue on without the pebble.

The scariest part about sin is just like the pebble; there becomes a point at which we don’t feel it anymore. It is there and causing damage, but we don’t feel it. Our heart has been calised to God’s touch. I pray two things for you today. That you would feel God’s full love for you and that He would soften your heart. Be blessed on your journey.

Need hope and peace? Learn more about accepting Christ.

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Recognition is something we don’t talk about enough. It takes intentional living to often tell people in your life how much you mean to them. A sincere heart-felt compliment is so unusual that it can totally switch the direction of someone’s life. I still remember many compliments I had in my youth that continued me on the path I was going or made me rise to a new level. Remember that our words are so powerful; they bring life and death. Here are three things that will help you to tell those in your life what they mean to you.

“Leaders are brokers of hope.”~ Napoleon

1. Constructive criticism. Our society is so focused on constructive criticism that we fail to help people excel in their strengths. Be careful here. Most people don’t have a problem letting you know when something is wrong. When something is right we barely here about it. The best example I think of is as a parent. If your child brought home a report card full of A’s and one D, what would you focus on? It is natural to focus on the bad grade. We want them to come up higher. The problem with this is that we are reinforcing the child that if you just try harder you will be good enough. Obviously we need to correct, but let’s spend more time praising the A’s. Take more time to tell loved ones how awesome they are.

“People say motivation doesn’t last, well neither does bathing, that is why we recommend both daily.” ~ Zig Ziglar

2. Be specific. A general praise is great as it is much better than saying nothing. If you want to get the most out of praising people be specific in the action or personality trait that you want to encourage. We are specific with correction so let’s be specific with our praise. Here is a quick example. My wife partners with me to chase my dreams. She talks highly of me to others and is a great mom because she is patient and loving to our kids. These are just the first four things that came into my mind this morning even though there is so much more that I appreciate about her. The point is I could say, “I love you.”, which I do many times a day. However, I also need to praise that which is so cool about her. I know I married up so I need to let her know. Let’s make a goal to let those we care about know it.

ray of light

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3. Be intentional. Praising and recognition is not something that happens naturally so we need to be intentional about it. Look for things daily. A compliment has to be real. Look for opportunities to give honor to people. I talked about perspective here, but it bares reminding that we will delete things so if you are looking for good things you will see them. If you are looking for things to correct you will see those too. Catch someone doing something that you admire today and encourage it. Otherwise they could stop doing the things you admire.

These are just some quick things to think about. Let’s speak life and hope into those around us. You will see them walk a little bit taller today. Make the world a better place one word at a time. I will leave you with this. I appreciate that you have chosen to take the time to read my post. Thank you for taking what I am doing seriously. Be blessed, restoring those around you.

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This last weekend I went away for two nights fishing on the upper Deschutes with my dad, brother, and his friends for my brother’s bachelor party. It had been far too long for me to get in the woods away from it all for a few days. How times have changed. At one point there where many people including myself around the campfire with our smart phones out. Someone made a comment and I thought, “What am I doing?” I put my phone away the rest of the trip. It is so easy to get in the habit of checking twitter, Facebook, email, texts, and calls. In this ADD culture it is more and more difficult to unplug. I did and lived to tell about it.  Unplug and get into nature for these 3 reasons.

fly fishing deschutes

1. Slow down: I love hunting, fishing, and camping because everything slows down. Everything in our society is getting faster and faster. It makes it even more important to get into nature and unplug yourself. When the sun sets and you sit around the campfire feeling the warmth of the flame on your sunburned cheeks is so relaxing. Telling stories and connecting as human being is something that is hard to do yet is so important.

2. Focus: I have found that when my phone is off and I’m in nature, I focus a lot more on what others are saying. The connection level that happens when you are in the wilderness is amazing. Doing activities together and just hanging out focuses you on relationships. Waiting for that fish to bite the fly or the deer to walk out in the open. Being focused on one thing is so good for us to do whether it is relationships or nature itself. In a normal day I usually have multiple technologies on at the same time. This was a great reminder to focus.

3. Admire: Nature is so beautiful. I see God’s handy work in it all. From the waves lapping against the shore, to tall Douglas firs, mountain tops, birds in the air, and all the other wildlife.  I love to sit and admire everything. In Oregon we are lucky enough to have the ocean, forest, and high desert. If we don’t unplug we will miss the majesty of nature. We need to remember what it is like to be alone with our thoughts. There is a certain clarity that happens when we sit and just look at what God has blessed us with.

So slow down, focus on one thing, and admire the beauty around you. Unplug and remind yourself that you need more moments of margin. It will change your perspectives and your decision-making.  Every major influencer throughout time, including Jesus, went off into nature and got away. You and I are no better. Don’t fool yourself into thinking you don’t need to get away. Make it apart of your life. Unplug and live your life.

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There is such a miss conception about our circumstances. It is so easy to think that life would be different if ___ changed. To even utter in this time of depression that our outlook on life is what affects our moods is so obnoxious. Unfortunately or fortunately however you look at it is true. Our attitude determines more of our direction in life then we want to admit. The battlefield that rages in the mind is a fierce one and often times it is one step forward two steps back. Thoughts translate into words which breed life.

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This week I want you to try something that I heard while listening to Zig Zigler. I’m going to focus on your job, but it translates into any area of your life.

Step one is to write down things you like about your job. No matter how much you hate your job, if I made you write down your likes what would you say? Here is a list of mine:

  1. I like my job because I get to run my own business.
  2. I like my job because I affect other people’s lives.
  3. I like my job because I work with fun people.
  4. I like my job because I get to meet neat people.
  5. I like my job because I lead people.
  6. I like my job because I get to serve people.
  7. I like my job because I make money.

Step two is to look into a mirror so you can look into your eyes and say with feeling this list except change “like” to “love.” I know this sounds cheesy but just try it. See if your attitude does not change over time. Our attitude determines whether we rise or shrink back.

Let’s use our words for good. Focusing on the life around us instead of the death. If we are not faithful in the season we are in, we are not going to enjoy the next season. So take control of the battlefield now. Move past hate and fall in love. Change your surroundings by changing your mind. He who is faithful with little will be given much.

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When there is a bend in the road we need to slow down. The only way the road ends is if we don’t turn with it. I love country drives when I don’t know where the road goes. Simple turns take the road in a direction that I never imagined. Jon Acuff refers to these moments as “hinge moments.” When we look for huge changes in life we miss the small things that will really change our world. Most of us want to believe that we run along and jump onto another road. This is not how effective change usually happens. The only way to be able to see these hinges is if we are not rushing through life. I need to slow down. Do you? I get into the doing in life instead of the being. I can be extremely task oriented, pushing harder and faster until I run off the road. These 4 things help me to slow down so I see the “hinge moments” in my life.

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1. Be still. It is hard for me to sit at the feet of God with no agenda. No praying or music. The amount of time is not as significant as just some time. If you are like me two minutes feels like two hours. Just sit and listen. If God brings something up, put it at the foot of the cross and go back to listening. He is the still small voice. We need to plan in time to just listen. Most of the time we give Him our requests and praise instead of listening. Maybe He wants to say something?

  “Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!”~ Psalm 46:10

2. Turn off technology. It is sad how hard this is for me and many others. No computer, phone, and t.v. Schedule it in if you have to. The world will get along just fine without you for an hour. Be present with your kids, spouse, friends. Nothing is more obnoxious than pouring your heart out to someone and they look at their phone.

3. Exercise. Sometimes you need to do some intensive cardio to free up your mind. If you exercise regularly it will change you mentally more than physically. This decompresses my mind so I can relax. I look at the world more confidently and see things I didn’t see before.

“Leave all the afternoon for exercise and recreation, which are as necessary as reading. I will rather say more necessary because health is worth more than learning.”~ Thomas Jefferson

4. Margin. We need to plan margin into our day. Some days I’m rushing from the moment I wake up to the second I go to bed at night. How are we going to hear or see any whispers from our heavenly Father or turns in the road with no space in our schedule? Plan time of space into your day.

Slow down and enjoy your life. Stop doing and start being. If you don’t find healthy ways to slow down, your body will eventually make you slow down. Life changes too fast so we need to be in the moment. We need to flex and turn with life by adding stillness and margin. Caution: there are curves ahead.

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When did we start caring so much about what other people think? I love watching my kids and think, “I love that they’re unashamed.” They tell me what they want when they want it. They also have no problem telling me how they feel. When they holler that they have to poop or stick their finger up their nose to get a booger makes me laugh. Don’t get me wrong, we are teaching them manners, but it is the spirit in them that is awesome. The world has not laughed at them and has not told them to be ashamed. These 4 things help me to be authentic like my kids.

You are unique. Play the music of your life loudly and proudly be unashamed. (tweet it)

Photo: Having fun editing  :)

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1. Know who we are in Christ. Do we really know who we are? Sometimes I forget, do you? We are made righteous through the shed blood of Jesus. Yes, we still screw up. God sees us as perfect. Jesus stood in the gap and said give me that sin. It’s mine! Give it to me! We need to recognize and know that we are a new man or woman. The old is dead. Live like it.

2 Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!”

2. Be you. I’m not like you and you are not like me. We need to be comfortable in our own skin. When I’m not free to be me I feel phony because I am being phony. When do we forget this simple thing? Don’t attempt to be different like some do. Just be you.

“Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.” ~Dr. Seuss

3. Hang around the right people. I say this a lot because it affects so many things. You will be who you hang around with. Hang around people who challenge you to be better, but love the core of who you are. It’s the spirit man who should remain the same and the fleshly man who should change. The more we die to the flesh, the more we will change and be a light to the world.

“It’s difficult to soar with the eagles when you’re scratching with the turkeys!” ~Unknown

4. Focus on your strengths. Manage your weaknesses and put everything in you into your strengths. Don’t be like Rudy, instead be like Michael Jordan. The difference is, one didn’t have the natural gifts to play the sport so played for 2 seconds in college and the other was a sports super star.

“My success, part of it certainly, is that I have focused in on a few things.” ~Bill Gates

So walk with your head high. Don’t be embarrassed when you fall. Just say, “I bonked” like my kids say. They fall, get up and keep going. Focus on your strengths, on who God made you to be, and surround yourself with people who believe in your awesomeness! Be authentic!

What are some ways that help you to be authentic?

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