Able and Willing

Growth is a result of positive answers to these two questions: Can I do IT? Is IT worth it?

Able and Willing

We want what we don’t have.

If we have it, we don’t want it.

Granted, there are a few individuals, who purport that they have risen to a higher level of existence, by not wanting anything. They claim to be perfectly happy with nothing.

Making the best of whatever the situation — in which we find ourselves — is different than doing nothing. Those who do nothing are stuck in a rut, regardless of the rationalization for their inactivity. And, you do know the definition of a rut: A grave with the ends kicked out.

To lead ourselves and others to higher levels of awareness and success, we must grow.

We grow and become of greater value in service only as much as we choose.

Each and every day, each and every decision, our choices are determined by the answers to these two questions:

  • Can I do IT?
  • Is IT worth it?

In other words:

  • Am I Able?
  • Am I Willing?

Am I Able ~

All we do begins with a thought. Change nothing and nothing changes. The easiest thing in the world is to find reasons why something can’t be done, which results in no leadership and no growth. Simply, by believing IT can be done, our minds begin finding ways to achieve.

Am I Willing ~

Where there’s a will, there is a way. Our willingness is governed by two raw emotions — Pain and Pleasure. Given enough pain, our will becomes stronger. Offered enough pleasure, our will finds a way. The beauty of will is that IT resides within our sphere of influence.

A mind changed against its will,
Will be of the same opinion still.

How do we persuade our minds to choose the greater motivator of pleasure?

One way is to tempt it with Riches. The better way is to feed it with Purpose.

Oh, I know, that money trick is a quick-and-dirty way to get our attention. To hold it, though, requires the intrinsic higher rewards, which originate from doing the right thing.

Sometimes, we know what that Right Thing is. Other times, we struggle to DO IT — right. That’s when we remember the Three-E Formula — Enlightenment, Empowerment, and Encouragement.

Enlightenment is the catalyst for believing we can do IT.

Empowerment is the motivation for choosing to do IT.

And, from time to time, our confidence is bolstered by the Encouragement — of family and friends — for us to be Able and Willing.


We can be happy by, simply, enjoying who we are, in any moment, in any place.


As surely as the pendulum swings, the only constant in life is change.

From the harshness of winter comes the vitality of spring. The productivity of summer provides the harvest of autumn. Then, Nature rests once more, before the cycle begins, again.

Such is life. Why, then, are we surprised at the cycles and seasons of our emotions?

If we’re riding the natural highs and lows, there will be periods of vigor and production. There will also be times for pause and rejuvenation. One season is not better than the other. Both are important to achieve the symmetry between action and rest.

At the edges of the pendulum swing is a definitive pause, right before the change in direction. Then, the bob begins its journey to the other side. That action is guaranteed to result in a pause, before another actionable cause.

We only want what we don’t have. Once we have it, we don’t want it anymore.

By default, then, if happiness is a pursuit, it can never be achieved. Once we have the object or subject of our affection, purposeful work, and the attainment of an anticipation, what then? Naturally, we want something else!

Maybe that’s why the old-timers documented for our benefit this observation,

Human desire is never satisfied.

They went on to offer this encouragement,

Don’t wear yourself out trying to get rich. Be wise enough to know when to quit. In the blink of an eye wealth disappears, for it will sprout wings and fly away.

Danger is always at the extremes. That’s why guardrails were invented. Edges are important. They identify where we give pause and remind us to focus our actions on the safe, middle, ground of the highway.

Off in the ditch is no better than speeding toward oblivion. The secret is to keep putting one foot down in front of the other on a purposeful journey of discovery. Guaranteed, there will be Highs and there will be Lows.

Since our steps have direction, we can focus on the present moment. We peacefully accept,

Why try to understand everything along the way?

If the moment is less than pleasant, our thought is, “This too shall pass.” If the moment is an adrenalin rush, we joyfully exclaim, “Wow!”

We can be happy by, simply, enjoying who we are, in any moment, in any place.

As a hero of mine frequently encouraged, “Whatever the situation, make the best of it.”

Quick Draw

Darn it was hard to, humbly, accept the advice of someone who had been through the same frustration and was offering such a simple solution!

Quick DrawWith the flick of a wrist, the portrait emerges. In a matter of moments, a new creation takes form: first, in broad outlines; then, in stunning detail. Last week, I was the subject of a Quick Draw lesson.

Woven into the storyline, though, is another Quick Draw analogy. In the western sagas are the images of the gunslinger and frontier Marshall standing in the street. One is intent on chaos; the other with a belief in law and order. At their hips are the holstered six-shooters.

The tension builds as we wait for the Quick Draw.

Back in February, I acquired a Motorola Android X through Verizon. While some accountants refer to that time of the year (from January 1st through April 15th) as Tax Season, I prefer to think of it as the Season of Three P’s: People, Phone, and Paper. Regardless of the name, it’s a serious and dangerous game.

There is not much time for playing with new toys. So, I focused on the working aspects of my new Smart-phone. It made calls, received calls, made cute noises, and displayed the Car-Dock Application every time it was removed from the beautiful, Verizon-branded, leather holster on my left hip. Yes, I was practicing my Quick Draw.

“Problems” are simply “Opportunities” in disguise. With the new Summer Season and a little time to play, the investigation began as to “Why” my Droid thought I was a Car in need of a Dock! Rather than regale you with the serendipitous path of discovery, which wound its way through a variety of Self-Experimentation and Motorola-Technicians, let’s pick up the story with the Quick Draw episode.

With a stud in his ear, a tattoo on his hand, and a furrow between his brows, the Verizon manager thought it time to intervene in the puzzled look of his sales associate. “What’s the problem?” he asked. “We need to exchange the case,” she replied. By then, he was reaching out to take my Droid and Holster from her.

Sure enough, just as I had experienced and passionately described, the phone displayed the Car-Dock App when slipped from the leather case, with a magnet secured flip-lid.

The manger looked at me and said the “silliest” thing, “Put the phone in the case the other way.” Evidently, the deer-in-the-headlights look from me was the catalyst for him to begin speaking slowing and demonstrating how to place the phone in the leather case screen-side out, rather than in. As he started the second demonstration, my frustration had grown.

“Yes, I understand!” was my contempt laden response. “Problem is that I don’t want to do it your way. I want to slip the phone into the case my way.”

Funny thing happened in that moment: He realized that I wasn’t stupid; and, I realized that my behavior was!”

As I received the Droid and Holster from him, holding the phone in my left hand and case in the right, I quickly realized the absurdity of the situation. That phone was not going to change its response to magnetic fields and the holster was not going to change its composition. I had a choice: to change; or, continue the insanity of doing the same thing while expecting a different result.

The five “its” of Quick Draw Change:


Before a problem becomes an opportunity, reality must be accepted. Admission is the first step to crossing the threshold into a new world. Whether the price of a ticket or the vivid acknowledgment of the situation, we must admit there is the need for change.


With the realization that there must be a Better Way, comes the temptation to stay stuck. Until the pain of the present exceeds the fear of the unknown, we wallow in Stinkin’ Thinkin’. To choose a new path, we must omit the distractions of all other variables.


To bend a knee in deference is the hardest physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual task known to a human. When the student is ready, the teacher will appear. To learn and grow, we must be able and willing to submit and sacrifice our ego on the altar of humility.


Talk is cheap and options are many. The secret to accomplishment is choosing one and then doing it. All thoughts and actions become focused on that singular goal. To take the next step forward, we must commit to shifting our balance from the past to the future.


Ruts are nothing more than graves with the ends kicked out. Everything we do has been learned and practiced into a pattern of life, with which we are comfortable. No pain, no gain. Any new habit is developed over time, with a certain amount of awkwardness.

As I stood there in the local Verizon store, with Droid in one hand and Holster in the other, I had to admit that I wanted my phone to behave differently. By choosing to omit the options that didn’t work, I was left with one viable possibility.

Darn it was hard to, humbly, accept the advice of someone who had been through the same frustration and was offering such a simple solution.

Yet, I did submit to the iiWii reality (It Is What It Is). By then, I was in commit mode: the past was left behind for a more functional future. The new habit is, actually, fun to practice.

With a flick of the wrist, that Droid, literally, leaps from the Holster into the hand of a new creation.

I have become a Quick Draw artist!

Vowels of Leadership

What rowels are to spurs; vowels are to words. They are the jingle of rhythm and points of meaning. We change the world one person at a time, beginning with us!

Vowels of LeadershipWhat rowels are to spurs
— vowels are to words.

They are the jingle of rhythm
— and, points of meaning.

On a road trip when the kids were young, my son responded in exasperation to the parental coaching with his comment “Today, I want to be my own boss!”

To be successful in that desire, he became a leader of one and, eventually, many more. So must we.


All we do begins with a thought. Whether we think we can, or can’t, we’re right. The secret is not to wear rose-colored glasses. It is to wrap our arms around the reality of what Is and, then, choose to make the best of It.


Our actions speak so much louder than what we say. Words might motivate. Deeds inspire. For the naysayers who claim it can’t be done, the debate is easily won, by doing It. Courage is defined as, always, doing the right thing.


Fascination and Curiosity have discovered more new frontiers than Resignation and Despair. Asking “Why?” prompts others to answer our questions. When the answers stop is where the fun really begins!


Unless you’re lead dog the view never changes. Authenticity in Thought, Word, Deed, Habit, and Character, is where we discover our Destiny. We only get one chance to make a good first impression. To blaze new trails, we must push past the fear of the unknown.


All of the Logic in the world is of little value without an equal measure of Emotion. Beyond the basic education and experience of Knowledge and Wisdom, is Understanding. It is much more powerful than empathy, because it wants to fathom the deepest part of another person.

Add in the Consonants from the many other facets of leadership and the world changes. First, we change — then, others change in response to the new person we have become. The ripple effect improves our lives and all whom we touch.

Good, better, best.
Never let us rest;
Until our good is better,
And, our better, best!


One word, sacrifice, is the essence of ‘Giving to Receive’. It is an individual choice executed by the internal will of that person for the benefit of others.

Giving and ReceivingThe answer to the human condition, literally, leaped from the screen into my consciousness. Last week, a Fellow vented his frustration at me by announcing, “I never sacrifice, even for friends because: a) if they are true friends they would not want me to sacrifice, or b) I would be willing to do it and therefore was not a sacrifice.”

First, let me share the rest of the story. As you read through the conversation thread, below — which was the catalyst for the Fellow’s remark — remember to always listen carefully to what people say and you can, vividly, see into the core of who they are.

The topic of discussion — on this professional forum for the exchange of ideas — was about which word is best: Customer, or Client.

(Kim Foard) Much more than a matter of semantics and the focus on our ‘professional‘ command of the English language, the concept is to build a relationship and produce positive results. From experience, I have found some (of those for whom I work) like the word Client, others like the word Customer — and, everyone (who pays me) loves to believe they are my Friend. Let’s raise the bar and think of those we serve as Friends.

(Fellow) Friendship can happen, but the vast majority are business relationships and not friendship, IMHO.

(Kim Foard) One thing I have noticed — My ‘enemies’ respect me. They don’t do business with me as Customer, Client, or any other label.

(Fellow) True, but being friendly is not the same as being a friend.

(Kim Foard) Again, it’s a matter of semantics. Included in my definition are these parameters: “Friends deserve the best in everything. No sacrifice is too big — or, task too small — when friendship is being nurtured.”

(Fellow) I never sacrifice, even for friends because a) if they are true friends they would not want me to sacrifice, or b) I would be willing to do it and therefore was not a sacrifice.

(Kim Foard) You’re right. It’s a spectrum of thought. You and I have clearly identified the ‘Pots of Gold‘ on each side. The real secret is to be passionate about our beliefs — because, we will attract those of like mind.

In my humble opinion (IMHO), he is ‘right’, only, in the context of being entitled to his opinion. What is your belief? As you can see, the conversation morphed from a matter of semantics into one of foundational issues at the core of any relationship. The label choice between Customer vs. Client pales into insignificance, when measured against the word: Sacrifice.

Is sacrifice important? Is it old-fashioned? Is it taken, or given? What do you believe?

Let’s set the stage for our thoughts by considering two simple Proverbs:

When people’s lives please the Lord, even their enemies are at peace with them.

Calloused (social) climbers betray their very own friends — they’d stab their own grandmothers in the back.

Thoughts of the vernacular, which might come to our minds “With friends like those who needs enemies.” — and, “The enemy of my enemy is my friend.”

Yet, we are encouraged to move our thoughts, words, deeds and character to a higher level.

You’re familiar with the old written law, ‘Love your friend,’ and its unwritten companion, ‘Hate your enemy.’ I’m challenging that. I’m telling you to love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer, for then you are working out of your true selves, your God-created selves. This is what God does. He gives his best — the sun to warm and the rain to nourish — to everyone, regardless of the good and bad, the nice and nasty. If all you do is love the lovable, do you expect a bonus? Anybody can do that. If you simply say hello to those who greet you, do you expect a medal? Any run-of-the-mill sinner does that.

In a word, what I’m saying is, Grow up. You’re kingdom subjects. Now live like it. Live out your God-created identity. Live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward you.

Right about now is when we, all, start squirming and looking for the semantic Exit. With thoughts running wild — great idea, cute concept, life changing — we accept the realization that Knowing and Doing are very different. Yet, we remind ourselves of life’s Universal Principles and move forward through the pain. We remember we’ve been taught the battle cry: Hard is easy — Easy is hard.

And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world — but, let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.

Because of the privilege and authority God has given me, I give each of you this warning — Don’t think you are better than you really are. Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves, measuring yourselves by the faith God has given us.

The idea that one person can define what sacrifice is to another individual reeks of arrogance and ignorance.

When we ask for anything from another person (as simple as a glass of water — or, as complex as the price for an exchange of goods and services), they make a choice between ‘Yes‘ and ‘No‘. If the request is beyond a boundary of theirs, they will choose: No. If the request is within their will to deliver, they will choose: Yes.

To fulfill our request, another individual might offer a sacrifice.

What is a sacrifice?

Forfeiture of something highly valued for the sake of one considered to have a greater value or claim.

To forfeit (one thing) for another thing considered to be of greater value.

Surrender of something of value as a means of gaining something more desirable or of preventing some evil.

Something of value given away or up in order to gain something more important or to benefit another person.

One word — sacrifice — is the essence of ‘Giving to Receive‘. It is an individual choice executed by the internal will of that person. No managing by committee. No having it all. No maybe in approach. Sacrifice is a committed decision to offer. What another person does with the offering is their choice.

In my closing remarks — in the conversation with the Fellow above — the ‘Pots of Gold‘ on either side of the rainbow are Time and Money. In business, the focus is generally on Money — and, the opportunities it can buy. Of the two, Time is more precious — because, of the priceless relationships it can build.

When my Friends offer money in exchange for the value of my time — plain and simple — they are making a sacrifice. From the blood, sweat, and tears of their effort, they produce value in the marketplace. The money earned — through the sacrifice of their time — has great value to them. They exchange it for something perceived to be of greater value. I acknowledge and appreciate their sacrifice.

As their Friend, I believe in — Going far beyond the call of duty, Doing more than others expect, Striving after and maintaining the highest standards, Looking after the smallest detail, and Traveling the extra mile. Sacrifice means giving my best — in everything and every way.

Beyond the realm of business, the gift of Time is a daily sacrifice we all make. The question becomes — “At which altar do we place it?”

On the altar of Narcissism, humility is sacrificed by those who believe they are the center of the universe.

On the altar of Friendship, pride is sacrificed by those who believe they are, simply, conduits of goodness for the benefit of others.

“There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”

Character Matters

Never have I heard someone say, “I woke up this morning to realize the needle to my moral compass is bent and, therefore, must confess: I have no character.”

Character MattersAt the core of who we are is our character.

It matters.
It is a matter of the heart — and,
It is a tangible expression of intangible beliefs.

To be precise in the “matter” ~

That which is in itself undifferentiated and formless and which, as the subject of change and development, receives form and becomes substance.

Never have I heard someone say, “I woke up this morning to realize that the needle to my moral compass is bent — and, therefore, must confess: I have no character.”

Mother Nature has her rules. One of them: Birds of a feather flock together. Turkeys do not soar with Eagles — Crows do not cavort with Robins — and, Pheasants do not form a V with the Geese.


It’s a matter of character.

Look at our sphere of influence and those within it. Is it comprised of happy, contented, peaceful and successful people? Or, is it afflicted with sad, whiny, antagonistic and bitter individuals?

Either, Or — There is a reason for the birds in our nest.
Take a trip to the mirror for an answer to the quest.

We get what we allow. In fact, what goes around comes around. Our harvest matures from the seeds we plant. Others are attracted to us because of our character.

What is character?

Many times we discover the positive by experiencing the negative. Good judgment comes from experience — experience comes from bad judgment.

Spectrum of Character

Negative: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that kill the innocent, a heart that plots evil, feet that race to do wrong, a false witness who pours out lies, a person who sows discord in a family.

Positive: patient, kind, rejoices with the truth, protects, trusts, hopes, perseveres.

In all of our relationships, there is only one individual within our control — who we can change. As Pogo so eloquently observes, “I have seen the enemy and he is us.”

From the inside, out — we can, individually, change the world.

The greatest gift is a chosen, purposeful effort, often done in the face of fear, to nurture our own growth and the growth of others.


The more we think and do, the more we learn and grow. As we stretch through the pain of change, we find even higher peaks of adventure, just, waiting for us.

If It Is To BeIf It Is To Be,
It Is Up To Me

I’m amazed at the whining that goes on, because one person is waiting for other people to change. Change, as in — who they are, what they do, and how they think. Good luck with that.

Wherever we go there we are. It has taken a lifetime to arrive at this moment in time. We have made every, single, choice along the way to be, exactly, where we are. Why, then, is it such a stretch to believe that everyone else has done the same?

If we nurture a belief that we, individually, are a child of God, do we extend the same courtesy to others? When we see, experience, or are otherwise affected by another person — different in belief from ours — do we accept them, or judge them?

Judging is so much easier and more fun to do. In fact, it comes naturally to find fault with others. There they are, right in front of us, behaving stupidly. Do we ever consider that they are looking at us and thinking the very same thing?

Accepting others is a daily challenge. Embracing the explicit independence of another is entirely different than being a punching bag for their dysfunction. There is a fine line between respect and folly. In regards to boundaries, discretion is the better part of valor.

Speaking of boundaries, do we know where we end and another person begins? Have we done the hard work to define ourselves to the point of an ‘elevator speech‘ introduction to the rest of the world? Are we willing to listen — and, accept — the eight seconds offered by others?

If the narrative, above, has yet to make sense and you are struggling with anything in your life, please, go look in the mirror. The individual staring back at you is the one responsible for how you feel and what you think. Change that individual and the whole world will change.

Not enough time to do the things you want? Change your priorities.

Not enough money to do the things you need? Change your patterns.

All of us have 24 hours in a 7 day week and the same 52 weeks in 1 year. We are all given the same opportunity. Are you jealous of those who successfully manage their time and money well?

The secret: Different choices — different results.

Begin with the end in mind. A crystal clear vision of the future encourages us to make choices, which move us forward in that direction. As we advance, other exciting opportunities along the way broaden our horizons of awareness.

The more we think and do, the more we learn and grow. As we stretch through the pain of change, we find even higher peaks of adventure, just, waiting for us. Those who have chosen to remain stuck in their rut are no longer of concern to us.

We have discovered that the fun is in the doing.

If It Is To Be,
It Is Up To Me