Archives For Goals

When headed toward a dream or goal we will almost always hit a rough patch. In these times it is hard to tell whether that is a light at the end of the tunnel or a train coming to run us over. This can be so scary in the moment. The bigger the dream or goal, it seems the potential train is ginormous and the small light of hope is tiny. These 4 things help me to figure out whether to hang on to hope or jump out of the way of the train.

1. Why were you chasing the dream or goal to begin with? Has anything changed since you started chasing the dream? The last five years have changed dramatically for me. In that time my wife and I have had three kids. Just a little different life now. From two incomes and no kids to just one income and three little ones that take time and money. Don’t get me wrong, they are such a blessing but they changed our world. My goals and aspirations have changed with my life. How about you? What has changed?

“Your dream is not big enough if it does not scare you.” ~Unknown

2. What is the worse that can happen? Chase your dream! Chase your dream with wisdom. I have to go slow with anything new. Life is full and I’m sure it is full for you too. If you are the sole financial provider, probably not a good idea to quit your job and start a business you have never run before. It could go great or it could be an ugly baby. Come on now, who thinks they have an ugly baby? No one, but there are lots of them out there.

3. Are you good at it? I’m not talking about going from zero to pro. But with time, are you developing into being good at the dream? I have never sang professionally before and even with hours of practice it still wouldn’t be pretty. On the other hand, running a business is different. I am better now with nine years of experience, but I was decent out of the gate.

4. Is it too narrow? Sometimes we pick a thing instead of the why behind it. Expand your vision. I love to restore people which is my why in many different areas, however, only one is paid. I am not providing for my family with this. It is just a way to expand my vision to encompass restoration into more of my life. If I said I am going to just write and that’s final, that is a big fat train.

Hopefully this list helped you to think about the light at the end of the tunnel with a fresh view.

What are ways you figure out whether to hold on to hope or jump out of the way?

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Achieve Your Dreams!

zechariahnewman —  June 10, 2013 — 4 Comments

“You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one.” These lyrics by John Lennon described my life. Now I’m a recovering dreamer going toward a visionary. It seems as if most of us are dreamers. We go around with grand dreams saying things like, “If I win the lottery” or “if only I get a shot.” The problem is if my shot comes now I’m not ready. We see shows like American Idol and Hells Kitchen thinking how lucky they got picked and now life is great. This is not reality; the reality is it takes work and those people have put in a lot of time and effort before that brief shot. They were ready. These 3 contrasts helped me discover I was a dreamer and set my course towards visionary!

1. Victim thinking Vs. Empowerment. I didn’t even realize I was being a victim. Pretty sad yet the truth. I blamed other circumstances for different things. For example,          (1) when my pay check wasn’t what I wanted, (2) the economy, (3) those employees, (4) competition, (5) industry, (6) family, and (7) God. When we say, “Why God why, when God when?” I believe this is the heart of a victim, at least it was for me. Empowerment is different as it takes personal responsibility. If finances are bad, I’m to blame. If relationships went sideways, what can I do? If God is quite, did I do the last thing that He told me to do? It is completely focused on my part. In relationships, whether it is man or God, it focuses on my part of the partnership.

“Visionary people face the same problems everyone else faces; but rather than get paralyzed by their problems, visionaries immediately commit themselves to finding a solution.” ~Bill Hybels

2. Passive vs. Active. I was passive waiting for my fortune to turn. When you sit passively life happens to you instead of you happening to life. Reading my Bible was about as active as I got. Even waiting on God is supposed to be an active stance. What we really mean when we say this is, “I’m going to sit here and do nothing.” Active is uncomfortable; it is where do I want to be and how do I get there? It requires change in action. Change in thinking. Change in the questions we ask. Visionaries focus on what needs to change to fix the problem.

“Let your actions betray your uncertainties. Be not afraid.” ~Bob Goff

3. Not paying attention to the present vs. Realistic about present. This is what dreamers do. Someday mentality. They may say, “Someday I will have time to workout, fix my finances, eat right, be a good spouse, parent, write a blog.” Someday will never come. Today is never focused on and tomorrow the dreamer will focus on the next day. Visionaries are all about today. Focusing energy and passion into the day while still being focused on the vision yet paying attention to the steps today to create that vision. For the lives of great men and women are made up of many days.

“You have to be brutally realistic about your present circumstances and wildly unrealistic about your future circumstances.” ~Jon Acuff

So if you realize you are a dreamer instead of a visionary the first step has already happened. Your eyes are open! A choice lays before you. Do not let the sun go down without making a decision. Do you keep dreaming? Or do something now and change your today. Do what God has called you to today. Make small choices that affect your individual calling today. Be weird, become a visionary!

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Half awake driving into work mind numb going through the same motions as the day before. Is this not how most of us live? There is no passion rather a begrudging attitude about having to work to pay the bills. The excitement of the new job is gone and everything seems gray. Living for the weekend and evenings, the day is going to creep by. How do we get that passion back like when we first had the job? These 2 things will bring passion back into your work so you don’t feel like you’re on a train track doing the same thing day after day.

1. Recognize the alternative. No job. That’s the alternative; all the weekends you want. Problem is no money, may go hungry, can’t pay the mortgage or keep the lights on. Scared, but lots of free time. Talk about stress! Anything I face at work is better than the lack of work and if it’s that bad, it’s time to find a new job.

“Great minds have purposes, others have wishes.”  ~Washington Irving

2. What are you here for? What did God put you on earth for? For me it is to restore people by giving them significance in their journey. So I view the world through this lens. If I focus on those parts of my job as a Figaro’s Pizza franchise, I love it. How can I play a role in restoration or significance there you may ask? Letting my employees know they are valued. Giving customers food with service. Hearing about their day. Sometimes praying with them. If I focus on what brings me joy and passion I have no more Mondays. If I focus on rolling dough, doing books, and making pizza my job gets stale.

“I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it. And so it is with you… we are in charge of our Attitudes.” ~Charles Swindoll

These are just two quick things that bring passion and drive back to my day. In the end if this doesn’t help, as an employer I would say please find a new job. This is meant as a coconut on the head as we all need that sometimes. Would you pay yourself the wage you are making for the job you are doing? Sometimes my answer is no. If your answer is no all the time you are not going to feel fulfilled, but rather feel like a leach. No one likes to creep by in life. Stand tall, take charge of your attitude and nothing can hold you back. Choose to have passion!

Never Again

zechariahnewman —  May 22, 2013 — 6 Comments

In an uncertain world there is very little that is actually certain. Most things we love to argue about are not certainties rather opinions and stances. The thing that I can guarantee you is that unless Marty Mcfly comes along this will be the only time that 5/22/2013 will happen. We will never again get the opportunity to live this day again. This seems simple and redundant but it’s not. We spend our time so frivolously saying,  “I’m bored,” watching T.V., playing video games, killing time. These 5 things bring value back to this day.

1. Value of time. This is something that cannot be monetized. On our deathbed how much would we give for one more day with our family? One more day doing what brings us true passion. One more day saying, “I just need one more day.” I belive that the day is worth so much more when we are fully aware of our mortality. Live today like it’s your last.

“Lost time is never found again.”~ Benjamin Franklin

2. Time is finite. This goes along with value of time. There are no do-overs. Our time has an end. Some have longer than others, but your time on earth is not infinite. Don’t live as if it is. There are no “time stores” to go pick up more.

“Learn to enjoy every minute of your life. Be happy now. Don’t wait for something outside of yourself to make you happy in the future. Think how really precious is the time you have to spend, whether it’s at work or with your family. Every minute should be enjoyed and savored.”
~ Earl Nightingale

3. Attitude of anticipation. There is no magic bullet here. I’m not saying that you will automatically have good things if you expect them. You do become like a thermostat in your environment. A lot of people walk around doom and gloom thinking, “Today is going to be awful,” and surprise it ends up being bad. Or worse it ends up not being bad and we have fretted for nothing. If you walk around expecting good things and exited for the day people can feel it. You know the person I’m talking about. When he or she is around the whole room lights up. Arms wide open, let’s be this person!

Photo By: K RouzaudPhotography

4. Opportunity to serve others are everywhere.  It is not a world of scarcity but of abundance. Start viewing the world this way if you are not. Someone else’s success does not dictate that you get less. Look for opportunity to praise, encourage, support, and engage with others. This helps me to value all interactions and in turn brings value back to today.

“The time is always right to do what is right.”~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

5. See the big picture. Even remedial tasks if viewed in the right light have meaning. Understand everything we do has value. The big picture of eternity helps bring significance to our journey.

Jeremiah 29:11 11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

These are some of the ways that I conquer the feeling of killing time. As Michael Hyatt says, “Your life is a gift. Now go make it count!”

What are some things you do to focus on today?

Waves Of Life

zechariahnewman —  May 20, 2013 — 3 Comments

I’m sitting at the beach right now watching the waves come in. Wave after wave. Big and small, listening to the rhythm of the waves. Have you ever fallen down and had the waves pound on you while you try to get your breath? It can be scary and panic can come in. This reminds me of the waves of life. Sometimes the waves crash against us harmlessly and other times the waves come with such a force that it feels like we will die. The way to get through those waves is what surfers call a duck dive. You push the front of your board down, go into and under the wave. It allows you to go under the force of the top of the wave. It is the same way we should face the waves of life. Here are 4 ways to duck dive the waves of life.

Photo By: K RouzaudPhotography

“God never gives strength for tomorrow, or for the next hour, but only for the strain of the minute.”  ~ Oswald Chambers

1. Push into God. When the going gets tough the tough get on their knees. A personal growing relationship with Jesus Christ makes some waves that use to seem huge, small and harmless. He gives us the strength to push through the wave. So press into God and He will sustain you through the pounding wave.
2. Push into Family. When a big wave hits you gather around the ones you love and that love you. Draw close to them. Pray with them, cry with them and laugh with them. A lot of times your family will give you insight. You need people you trust in vulnerable times. You need to feel safe to be open and honest as this will help you get under the wave.
“Accountability breeds response-ability.” ~Stephen R. Covey
3. Push into an Accountability Partner. We all need someone outside of our family. Build a relationship with someone and get to know them. Meet at least weekly. When the wave of strife and trouble arise you may be tempted to hide. That is the last thing you should do. Have someone close enough that you can bear your soul to. That you can admit heartache, failure, or disappointment. Someone that will ask you the hard questions and give difficult answers. Not always fun, but accountability is worth the sacrifice.
“Haters never bother people who are ordinary, but the extraordinary are magnets for rocks. Keep going.” ~ Jon Acuff
4. Push away naysayers. In good times and bad it is important to push away naysayers outside of your iner-circle. We don’t need people pulling us down like an under current; making the pounding waves more ferocious, whispering in your ear that you have failed and are unworthy. I don’t have time to listen to the haters and neither do you.
So let’s take advice from surfers and press our boards down to go under waves, thus reducing the brunt force pressure on us making the waves roll over instead of crash against us. The key to most succesful things is time. Build these into your life now. The more time you put in to these four things, the smaller the waves become. 
What are ways in which you survive and thrive the waves of life?

I love road trips. It is not just the destination but the whole process. Seeing new things such as mountain peeks, rivers and strange places that I would never visit if I were not just passing through. Stopping to take pictures, what fun to take it all in. The hours go by quickly while I’m still so excited for the destination. These 4 things help me to enjoy the trip.

1. Focus on today. Life should be this way. The ride should be fun, thus enjoying the moment while you continue your personal journey toward your destination. When my wife and I were dating we thought, “Can’t wait until we can be married and start our life together.” Then it was, “Can’t wait until we have a house, a child, another child and then for them to be a little older.” Now we are wanting a bigger house. You see the wants never stop if we don’t relax and enjoy the things that today brings we will never really live.

2. List what you enjoy today; that may not be that way forever. With our house it is small so it’s easy to clean, you can see the kids everywhere they go, we are always together, and there is less to heat and cool. Lastly, a lot of people don’t own a house. How fortunate are we? These are just a few things I remember when I start to gripe.

3. Good road trip music. Put on some uplifting music. Music is part of the enjoyment in a road trip. Nothing depressing, rather songs that will lift your spirit. Play something that tells you the sun will rise in the morning.

4. Bring along friends or family. We all need relationships. Don’t be a loner when you are feeling low. Get around positive and encouraging people. Talk and enjoy fellowship with one another.

Return peace to the journey. The bumps, wrong turns, and side streets are part of the journey. We never arrive.  The destination is always changing. So we will be miserable or we can put on the shades, turn up the music, roll down the windows, and feel the sun. Road trip anyone?

Sparking A New Fire

zechariahnewman —  November 19, 2012 — 2 Comments

When I was a young boy I tried to use a magnifying glass to start a fire. The lessons I learned from this have helped me when applied to my own life. Our lives should be well-rounded, but when an area of our life is extremely deficient we need to apply these 4 rules of the magnifying glass.

1. Sunlight: When starting a fire with a magnifying glass the sun has to be out, not hidden behind the clouds. The magnifying glass simply directs and focuses some of the rays of sunshine. We should be the same way and merely reflect the Son. We are not to create the light but rather reflect the light. If we don’t reflect the Son by asking God what we should do first, we will be wasting a lot of time and energy.

2. Focus on the right objects: If the light is put on cement it will not get hot enough to start a fire. If the light is shining on dry grass it will eventually ignite. If you are trying to become debt free you need to either raise your income or lower your expenses. No amount of lowering the interest will get you the desired goal in a reasonable amount of time. Focus where you can and you will get ignition the quickest.

3. Be still: When trying to light a fire you need to keep still so that the area of light reflection heats up enough to catch the object on fire. It will then continue to burn with minimal effort. Same is true in life. Often we need to stay extremely focused to create momentum. When I was in bad physical shape I had to spend much more time exercising. Now that my physical shape is better I can take less time exercising. It now requires less of my focus.

4. Time: Not fun to hear, but the truth. The focus of the light needs to be over a period of time to ignite the fire. Creating momentum for change takes time. The bigger the life change the longer the amount of time is usually required.

So to spark a fire for change, take a lesson from the magnifying glass. Ask God for direction, be still, focus on the right change, and expect some time to go by. As John Maxwell says, “People do not decide their future; they decide their habits and their habits decide their future.” Decide today to be used in a mighty way. Change your habits and focus with intensity over time. Be blessed.

Was there a time that you had to use the rules of the magnifying glass?

Loosing weight, paying off debt, better marriage, proper parenting; all of these things are not as much information as revelation. There are books every where on any subject we can literally study anything that we want to. It is not what we know but more will we sacrifice are immediate gratification for long-term payoff? We as humans over compensate what we can do in the short-run and discount the long-term act of compounding! In Darren Hardy’s book, The Compounding Effect he says, “We’re a “rational” species at least that’s what we tell ourselves. So why are we so irrationally enslaved by so many bad habits? It’s because of our need for immediate gratification can turn us into the most reactive, non-thinking animals around.”  I’m 100% convinced that we, in the moment, don’t fully count the cost of our actions. These 5 things will help us to remember the cost.

Pause and think: I posted on this in The Art of TIVO. It’s extremely important to pause at certain points in the day. Don’t fall into the trap of rushing into a decision; life can wait. Jesus did not rush anywhere. We should take a good look at that and pause and think. Especially as Americans we tend to rush everything instead of analyzing decisions and counting the full cost. Everything costs something or it is worthless.

Pray: God will open any door that needs to be open. He will also shut any door that needs to be shut. Ask God for an eternal mindset. The creator will be faithful to do so.

Ask the right question: We often get stuck on surface questions instead of asking the correct question. The book, QBQ! by John G. Miller is a great book that discusses this in further detail. Spend the time to come up with the right question.

Get good counsel: Get good counsel from people who achieve in the area you are about to make a decision in. Don’t take advice from your broke friends about money. Find someone with good character achieving in that area and ask them. Have questions written out, ask, listen and avoid the mistake of talking too much.

Journal daily: Again I blogged on this in Life In Color. Journal the Bible. The Bible has answers to all of life’s questions. It reveals what we need when we need it. God is faithful every morning to meet me in the still and quiet and give me what I need. Transforming me from glory to glory.

These 5 things will help us to count the cost and live a life that reaches our full potential. Remember how life compounds! Few things happen quickly, but everything happens in God’s perfect timing.

What helps you to count the actual cost?

Beep! Beep! Beep! Wham! I rollover and hit snooze. It’s 6am and time to start another day. My little girl wakes up at 7:30 am and my wife and son get up around then also. It is at this moment at 6am my flesh is already fighting, “Just one more press of the snooze and then I will get up.” This moment in time will set the tone for my entire day. Will I ignore my body and get up or press snooze a million times? I would like to say I wake up every morning bright-eyed and bushy-tailed but that would be a lie. These 5 steps help me to get that peace and still every morning; a time to be alone with my thoughts and God.

1. Go to sleep: If I don’t get to sleep at a decent time, “6am me” wants to back hand “last night me.” I need 8 hours of sleep so I need to be in bed by at least 10pm. Simple, yet hard. I need boundaries like it doesn’t matter what happens on American Idol and the world does not revolve around Swamp People. Really the things I sacrifice for a good night’s sleep are pretty hilarious or sad; not sure which.

2. Have a reading program: Having a structured reading program takes the thinking out of it. I read through the Bible in a year with a Life Journal. It’s a simple 20 min. read for the day. In my Life Journal I write a scripture, observation of the scripture, application to my life, and a prayer. Knowing I have this to do gets me up. There will be men in my small group asking me if I read this week and what I got. I know if I don’t do it first thing in the morning, my chances of reading drop dramatically.

3. Coffee: I love coffee. Knowing I have a warm cup helps me get out of bed. You could put the coffee on a timer to wake you up. It does not have to be coffee, it could be breakfast, tea, a fire, etc. Have something you enjoy that brings something extra to the relaxation of being alone.

4. Note pad: I don’t do this like I should. A pad of paper by your bed will allow your mind to completely shut down. If something jumps in your mind put it on paper then let it go and deal with it in the morning. Some of my best ideas come to me when I am laying in bed at night or in the morning.

5. Heat on a timer: Wish I could do this, but we have wall heat. If you have central heating and air why wouldn’t you? Getting out of bed when it is freezing is not fun.

If you try these things, I guarantee you will have more energy for the day. Waking up before the household will make you much more productive. Spend time refueling yourself by getting alone with God. It will take you to a whole new level of freedom and productivity.

What are ways in which you carve out time to be alone with God and your thoughts?

The Art of TIVO

zechariahnewman —  October 29, 2012 — Leave a comment

We are all busy. Way too busy to connect with each other, let alone with our thoughts. I have a wife and two kids four and under with one more due in February. I’m an Elder at our church and own two pizza restraunts with about twenty employees. Now I have also started running marathons. Life gets pretty crazy. The last thing I feel like doing is stopping. “Keep up,” I think. From sunrise to sunset move and go. But inaction is actually the correct path sometimes. In John Maxwell’s book, The 15 Invaluable Laws Of Growth, he states, “Learning to pause allows growth to catch up to you”. He calls this the “Law of Reflection.” In sports it’s called a “time out.” Stop and think, “Am I traveling down the correct path or do I need to turn around?”  So press pause on life and do these 5 things to make you more productive.

1. Breath: Breath out down through your belly. Under stress we take short shallow breaths. Breath full and slow. It will return more oxygen to your brain and you will feel your whole body relax. When your body begins to relax you will be amazed at where you are holding the tension. I clinch my jaw if I’m not paying attention. When you breath big slow breaths it will allow you to think more clearly and things that were hidden will now be evident.

2. Pray: This will be in almost every step. Not stopping and asking God is silly and prideful. I don’t sometimes and regret it often. Stop and ask for direction.

3. Write it down: Write down what needs to get done. Rank these items from 1 through etc. Start with 1 and work down. Do what is important and urgent first. Those things that are not important mark off the list.

4. Delegate: Take time to think of who can do some of these things. Delegating items to your team will free you up to focus on the important things. This may take longer in the moment, but will pay dividends in the future. This is the area that I have the biggest opportunity for growth.

5. Ask why: What are you doing and why? If you can’t give a good answer, you are doing the wrong thing. Because it needs to get done is not a good answer to the question. Stop and go the other dirction if you don’t know why.

These 5 things will lead you to a more efficient productive life. Try to pause and think for 10 minutes. It could cause your whole life to change. Let’s think for once!

What things do you do to pause and think?