Take the Next Step

Whatever the mind can Conceive and Believe, it can Achieve.

Take the Next Step

How many metaphors are there, for Life?

• Life is a journey.
• Life is a dance.
• Life is like riding a bike.

Yes, and, many, many more. Yet, these three offer food for thought. Because, each of them involve choice and movement.

Pedal, or tip over.
Shift balance, or fall down.
Take the next step, or stay stuck.

In other words, the mantra for successful living is, “Up to — and, through.”

Yep. The secret is to step right up to the edge of fear and push through to the other side. Oh, does that ever feel so, very, good?! And, then, if we bask in the glory too long, regrets of the Past and anxieties of the Future sneak up on us.

This is the magic elixir to replace fear with courage.

Take ~

Life is what we make of it. Grab the bull by the horns and the tiger by the tail. Hop aboard the carousel and reach for the brass ring. The best way to receive all we want and need is to take the time to serve the wants and needs of others.

The ~

This is it folks. This moment will never happen, again. Right here, right now, it’s great to be alive. Those who hesitate are lost. The early bird gets the worm. The victory goes to the quick. There is no time like the Present.

Next ~

Forget the Past – it’s gone. Ignore the Future – it will be there, patiently, waiting. Ask any bull rider their secret and you’ll hear, “I just ride ‘em jump for jump.” Their mind is centered on that one jump, which follows the last and comes right before the next.

Step ~

Action is the catalyst step to move from Here to There. Increase the action and results increase, too. For every cause, there is an effect. Want warmth? Throw wood on the fire. Want friends? Act friendly. Want to be happy? Smile.

At some point in the journey of life, many of us have been guilty of wanting to arrive. You know: Set a goal, work hard, get there — and, then, desire to camp out, rest, coast, play, and otherwise goof off. Then IT happens, regrets of the Past and anxieties of the Future sneak up on us.

Or, there are those who can’t make up their mind. They take forever to make a decision — and, then, are quick to change direction. Whatever direction the wind is blowing, they drift with it. In contrast, are the achievers, who are quick to decide and slow to change course.

In setting our course for the journey of life, peaks are much better than plateaus.

To reach any peak requires a climb from the valley below. The view from the top is an opportunity to see higher vistas. Then, down we go, coasting into another valley, to begin the ascent to higher levels of accomplishment.

Whatever the mind can Conceive and Believe, it can Achieve.

Let’s boldly take the next step.

www.kimfoard.com

Good Directions

Go ahead — do it. Take that next step, forward. Be innocent, be sweet, be open, be humble, be accepting, be trusting, and believe that we can experience heaven, here on earth.

Good DirectionsImagine your favorite action movie. The ground is crumbling behind our heroes and heroines as they run toward the only escape available to them. Our heart is in our throat, as we encourage them to go, quickly, forward.

Life is just like that. There is no standing still. There is no going back. The only direction to safety is forward.

This last week, I lost a dear friend of twenty-plus years because he has made a choice to be comfortable in a rut. The definition of a rut is a grave with the ends kicked out. Yes, it’s dark, damp, and depressing down there. My friend exploded upon being reminded of the only two choices we have: Grow or Die.

He assured me in no uncertain terms that he was not depressed. (The fellow doth protest too much, methinks.)

As recently as five years ago, November 15, 2006, this is the complete text of the Testimonial he offered when asked to document our business relationship — Client and Certified Public Accountant.

While reflecting on the past years of business growth … the ups and downs; the trials and tests; the hard work; and, never-ending commitment to push forward … I come to realize that you have been a vital part of that growth. You have been with us all the way.

The accounting profession has truly been honored by your steadfast commitment to serving, to advise … to help direct my thoughts in the financial decisions of our company. It has made my job as CEO much easier.

We are in our 15th year and looking forward to working with you in the years to come.

Fast forward to September 14, 2011, and this is my goodbye to a business relationship, which was enjoyed by that friend, who (at one time) was closer than any brother.

The purpose of this letter is to document the essence of our phone conversation, yesterday.

At the end of that conversation, you wondered if your message was adequately communicated by asking, “Is that clear?!” My response, “Perfectly.”

It is crystal clear that there is a difference in core philosophies.

You believe and have stated quite clearly, numerous times over the last few months, that you and your Company are at the mercy of the Hand of Fate. In essence, you are tethered to a fixed set of practices, which have brought you success in the Past — and, now, are frustrated that the Present is less than accepting.

I believe life is what we make of it, friend — if it doesn’t fit, make alterations. My purpose in business is summarized in four words: Building Bright Financial Futures. I have gone to great lengths to promote this idea to the world via every digital means possible. I have clearly communicated this core belief to you via an email conversation thread from May 17th to July 20th.

My last email request of you was for one hour of your time to discern how we might build a dynamic business relationship. Having heard absolutely nothing from you, I called yesterday with an offer for year-end planning. In the past, you welcomed the opportunity for us to talk about your Company.

You chose to refuse my offer. You have that right. I also have the right to choose.

As of today, we no longer have a business relationship. You are encouraged to engage other professionals to provide services for your financial fiscal year (and, payroll calendar quarter) ended September 30th. Documents in your Client File Portal will be available to you and your representatives until December 31st.

What happened between November 15, 2006, and September 14, 2011?

We will never know. To be judgmental toward my friend and all he has experienced in the last five years is the wrong thing to do. I can, though, tell my story. In the past, I have first-hand knowledge and experience of what it’s like to be stuck in a rut. It is dark, damp and depressing.

This is my story and I’ll tell it my way.

The darkest times in my life began, at the moment, when I started to think that I had arrived. Thinking that I had reached my destination and could quit — or, coast — or, savor the rewards — or, otherwise think I had, really, become somebody. You see, the focus had shifted to thinking, believing, and acting as if, the world revolved around me.

In the simplest of analogies, my life had gone off a cliff. The ground was, literally, crumbling beneath my feet as I tumbled into the chasm of darkness.

Recovery from the pit was only possible by acknowledging, “There but for the grace of God go I” … further down into the abyss. At that moment, there was a Rock on which to cling and a view of the hard work necessary to climb from the rubble into the brightness of opportunity, once again.

There is nothing new under the sun.

There’s a story of a guy walking on water. His name was Peter and he was a cocky fellow, with relatives from Missouri (the Show Me state). He enjoyed the companionship of a friend, who cared deeply about the growth of others.

So, one day Peter challenged his friend with, “If you’re really as good as you claim, ask me to walk on water.” Guys being guys, the friend accepted the challenge and said, “Come ahead.”

Jumping out of the boat, Peter walked on the water. But, when he looked down at the waves churning beneath his feet, he lost his nerve and started to sink.

Moral of this story: Don’t look down.

In fact, don’t look back, either. The ground is crumbling behind us. There is only one safe path — Forward.

There’s another story of a guy pondering the progression of life. His name was Paul and one of his many attributes was that of a Philosopher. He observed, “When I was a child, I talked like a child. I thought like a child. I had the understanding of a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me.”

Moral of this story: Children grow up.

At this point in my story, there is at least one person just aching to challenge this thesis of — Forward motion being the best direction and Growth being a prerequisite to a rich life. They will posit that “going back” has its merits.

As in:

We miss a turn at the intersection and need to go back.

We forget something when leaving on vacation and need to go back.

We neglect to learn a lesson and need to go back (for another dose).

We ignore an opportunity, which is good for us, and need to go back.

I agree. There are legitimate times for us to go back and recover from frailties of the human condition. “Thank God for Good Directions and turnip greens!” (by Billy Currington and his album Doin’ Somethin’ Right) Turn up your speakers and enjoy this tune.

For the astute scholars among us, I will acknowledge their point that we are encouraged by the Good Book to go back. As we examine this riddle to the very essence of life, the answer is simple. We are encouraged to be childlike, not childish. There is a difference.

So… at the moment, when there is the temptation to think we have arrived and can stop growing — Look up, think forward, and really focus on the hard work to take the next step.

Go ahead — do it. Now, that we are big kids — older and wiser, with all of our education and experience, hurts and betrayals, safely archived in the memory banks — do it. Be innocent, be sweet, be open, be humble, be accepting, be trusting, and believe that we can experience heaven, here on earth.

All we need to do is to take that next step — often into the unknown — forward, to grow.

www.kimfoard.com

Two Things

When does One plus One equal more than Two? A fellow from ages past asked for these Two Things which can make our present a true gift!

Two Things

In the course of a journey of fifty-five years and serving the public for thirty of them, a simple discovery has been made.

While the hand of Fate is a constant presence in our life, a variable within our control is the power to believe and choose whether we do, or don’t; will, or won’t.

Much more important than the empire built is discovering that the fun is in the doing.

For the last two years, we have all experienced a New Normal. From financial to societal, things are much different, now. On the other hand is the premise: There is nothing new under the sun; things now are about like they have always been. While the only constant in life is change; human nature changes little.

A prayer, thousands of years ago, is as timely, now, as it was then:

And then he prayed, “God, I’m asking for two things before I die; don’t refuse me—
Banish lies from my lips and liars from my presence.
Give me enough food to live on, neither too much nor too little.

If I’m too full, I might get independent, saying, ‘God? Who needs him?’
If I’m poor, I might steal and dishonor the name of my God.”

Just imagine a world without lies and liars. Every hurt, betrayal, and wrong in the universe originates from us lying to ourselves, or others; and, others lying to themselves, or us.

Then, after the lies are told, the day’s thoughts and actions, typically, revolve around the fears of scarcity, or abundance. What if there is not enough? What if the excess is stolen?

There are no luggage racks on hearses. We take nothing with us when we go. What we leave behind is important. Let’s, all, pause for a moment and look at our ripple in the pond, our wake in the lake, of life.

While impossible to ever go back and have a new beginning, we can choose, at any moment, to write a new ending to our story.

These two things are true and fulfilling:

All we do begins with a thought.
The fun is in the doing.

By focusing on these two things, the answer to the prayer above is guaranteed:

Truth will set us free.
Doing trumps the worries about too little, or too much!

www.kimfoard.com

Surf`s Up

From “Surf’s Up” (Silly Us Rabid Followers Swallowing Useless Platitudes) to “Gig’s Up” (Get Ideas Growing Splendidly Using Passion) we have an opportunity, today, for a brighter future!

Surf's UpBrace yourself; serious erosion is on the way!

Predictive models rely on probability. This is not a prediction; it’s not even rocket science. It is number relativity, with a 100% guarantee of occurrence because “SURF’S UP”: Silly Us Rabid Followers Swallowing Useless Platitudes.

Contrary to the storms of nature, we have the opportunity to push this tsunami back over the horizon; to turn the tide of human events. Since we get what we allow, it is reasonable to believe that we have the power to manage that which is within our individual control.

In fact we do it every single day: we live within the budget of a net paycheck, or net profit, from a business. Net is the secret, here; because what happens to the Gross is, well, simply, no other way to say it: ugly!

What we live on is a percentage of the whole earnings pie. If taxes take a 20% slice of the pie, we live on the remaining 80%; if taxes take a 40% chunk, then, yes, we can visually see the gaping “hole in the whole” and the, smaller, 60% share for us. What if, though, we need the 80% to feed our families?

Let’s pretend that we need $40,000 after taxes. By now, your mind is running wild with the calculation of: how big is the total pie, right?! Lucky for us, I was pretty good at 4th grade math. $40,000 divided by .80 equals $50,000; taxes are .20, or $10,000; and, we are left with $40,000. Ah, the family eats well.

Pretending further that prices never increase and our family is happy with $40,000; yet, considering the wall of taxes headed straight for us, something and somebody has to give. How much will the “gift” be? Just a little more division and we can multiple our knowledge, and that, my friends, will empower us to calm the winds of catastrophe. $40,000 divided by .60 equals $66,666; taxes are .40, or $26,666; and, we are left with $40,000, for our family.

In the mail yesterday, I received notice that my Health Insurance premium was going from $300 per month, up, to $400. Every other day for the last few months, I have been notified of other price increases on a variety of goods and services. If the question is: Why? The answer is: Families need $40,000.

Folks; Pogo was right, “I have seen the enemy and he is us.” It is true: We get the government we deserve. After all, isn’t the founding concept of our government: Of the people, By the people, and For the people? Yes; that is a question mark. Do we believe it? More importantly, are we able and willing to accept the mantle of leadership and take individual responsibility for our families?!

A simple, “YES”, in word and deed, is all that is required to make a difference in the world, today. We can turn the tide by declaring, “GIG’S UP”: Get Ideas Growing Splendidly Using Passion.

www.kimfoard.com

Three Little Words

Men are invigorated by knowing they are Respected. Women are nourished by knowing they are Cherished

Listen to your Heart

When my twenty-four year old daughter takes time to draft an email reply for the sole purpose of teasing me, I know my efforts to tickle the keyboard in hopes of reaching her funny-bone have been successful.

Hey Dad!  Thanks for the note. My first question would have to be: What’s this about me being in a cylinder practicing the “3×5” with a Roman soldier?!  LOL!  …Sorry! Couldn’t resist!!!  haha..!  The vines were kinda swingin’ and swayin’ there for a while, but I’m pretty sure I read between em! 🙂 Thanks, Dad. Love you too!

My daughter has grown up in an era where “equality” has been the mantra.

A quote attributed to William Wrigley, Jr. gives pause to this notion of equality of the sexes: “When two men in business always agree, one of them is unnecessary.”

If we have come so far in our “evolution” that there is no difference between men and women, “Which gender will volunteer to disappear?” Or, “Which gender thinks the other is unnecessary?”

The introduction of the email to my daughter contained this observation from, and about, me:

For some crazy reason, tough guys struggle with expressing their love. Words don’t seem to do it. So, we swing through the jungle to show you how much we care.

As a student of relationship strategies, I’ve discovered many models present theorems based on quadrants. The DISC profile uses descriptors of Dominance, Influence, Steadiness and Conscientious. The KWML profile uses descriptors of King, Warrior, Magician and Lover.

In the course of “doing the parent thing” to my daughter, and her twenty-one year old brother, they have both been exposed to KWML, as an introduction to the notion that we are, all, unique and different – hard-wired at birth into one of the four quadrants. The fun is growing towards the other three and maturing to the point where we are “centered” and balanced.

Since I’ve incorporated the spectrum opposites of logic and emotion into my “Cowboy Poet & Philadelphia Lawyer” shtick, the stage was set for the email communication to my “little girl.” Rather than do the parent thing to her, one more time, the presentation was as if she had joined a conversation that I was having with a friend:

The Poet speaks of the feelings of an ever expanding heart, purpose and fate. The Warrior thinks in terms of logistics.

Remember that sea of umbrella toting singles? If you look closely, you will also see two other groups. There are those waifs, who have no umbrella and wait to be rescued from the consequences of their choices. And, there are those poor souls, who are hermetically sealed inside their bubble of bitterness. If you look even closer, what at first glance appeared to be umbrellas are actually shields held by the Warriors.

They are fully equipped to Serve, Share and Smile (The 3×5). Their gear includes the belt of truth, breastplate of righteousness, shoes ready to pursue peace, shield of faith, helmet of insight, and the light saber of the Spirit. Giving the lead role to Kings, the stage to Magicians, and the sanctuary to Poets, these Warriors can be found on the fringes of the crowd thinking, “You are all safe on my watch.”

This one does it all believing, someday, a woman will choose to fold her umbrella, step close, wrap feminine arms around her man and express from the bottom of her soul, “Oh, my hero!”

My daughter will turn 24 in September. Her moniker is Foard Tuff, a word play on the original Ford Tough displayed at the Dealership where she works. In fact, the local community refers to her as the Ford Girl. Little do they know that she is a one-of-a-kind Foard Girl. She thinks it’s funnier than heck.

Dads have been known to be prejudicial. This one confesses in full. I’m very proud of my daughter. As her high school math teacher gushed in a Parent-Teacher Conference, “Your daughter is the perfect student. She does everything asked of her and does some things just for herself.” From high school and the extra-curricular activities within the community, she worked her way through college and a couple of relationships, enjoyed a bidding war for her talents in December of her senior year of college between the Ford Dealership (where she had worked for the last two years of college) and a Website Design firm (where she had worked the year before that) until she finally said, “Dad, it’s not about the money. I love my job!”

Gifted in all things creative, her umbrella is quite colorful. She holds it with a strong arm and a gracious spirit. Do I want some beast of a fellow to “trample her bloom”? We, both, know the answer to that silly question.

What I believe, and hope, is that someday there will be a gentle bear of a man dressed in his Roman Soldier finest, who is ready to practice the “3×5” with my daughter. At that time she can fold her umbrella and join him in the cylinder of protection he offers.

Should she pretend her umbrella no longer exists, destroy it, or have it locked away to atrophy? Again, the answer is, “No.”; “No, thanks and no way …”; to the definitive, “Heck, no!”

As much as that hero of hers will become a better man with her arms around him, he is only human. There will be times when his arms become tired and, as hard as it is for a guy to do, he will need to ask for her help in shielding them. Other times, the wind of fate will rip his shield to pieces and enemies will slash it to ribbons. While he repairs the damage, it will be my daughter’s umbrella protecting them.

On a daily basis, she will need her umbrella to journey through the day, just as he will need his shield in the daily course of battle. The secret to all of this is that as he drags home the trophy dragon at the end of his day, his life has purpose and that shield has real meaning because of a woman who chooses to fold her umbrella at the end of her day and wrap her arms around him – one more time.

The moral of this story:

Men are invigorated by knowing they are Respected. They need to hear and experience the actions that flow from these three little words,

“Oh, my hero!”

Women are nourished by knowing they are Cherished. They need to hear and experience the actions that flow from these three little words,

“I love you!”

www.kimfoard.com