Mistakes

Next time you’re engaged in an animated disagreement, ask this simple question: “What is more important: Process, or People?” The silence will be deafening.

OopsA recent experience with an international, multi-billion-dollar Company has been quite enlightening, as to their very broad definition of: Mistake. Is the issue merely one of semantics? Or, is there a deeper taint on our societal moral code of behavior?

Is it a “mistake” to intentionally obscure the truth and deliberately tell lies to cover up bad judgment and hurtful actions? Or, is that an unethical breach of conduct?

First of all, a quick look at the definition:

Mistake [mɪˈsteɪk]

n

1. an error or blunder in action, opinion, or judgment

2. a misconception or misunderstanding

vb -takes, -taking, -took, -taken

1. (tr) to misunderstand; misinterpret “she mistook his meaning”

2. (tr; foll by for) to take (for), interpret (as), or confuse (with) “she mistook his direct manner for honesty”

3. (tr) to choose badly or incorrectly “he mistook his path”

4. (intr) to make a mistake in action, opinion, judgment, etc.

[(meaning: to do wrong, err): from Old Norse mistaka to take erroneously]

Problems are opportunities in disguise. Mistakes are like that, too. We all have them (problems) and we all make them (mistakes). In fact, we learn by doing. So, the secret is to make lots of mistakes and embrace the opportunity to learn from them.

There is a difference, though, in the “Oh, oops” moments and the “I’m so very sorry” occasions. The first is when we make a mistake and no one else is affected by our defective actions, opinions, or judgments. The latter is when our poor choices hurt another person and we quickly ask their forgiveness, while offering to make them whole.

We learn to walk by falling down. Falling down is a mistake, if we’re desirous of walking. This kind of mistake, made in the process of learning, is of the first variety. As toddlers, we made the mistake many times, hurt no one (else), learned from it, and moved on to running.

One-on-One, as individuals, we know when the second variety of hurtful mistake is made. Generally, we recognize our folly and, immediately, apologize. Sometimes, we are unaware of the impact of our choices on another person. If that other person perceives a mistake by us, that becomes their reality and our opportunity to grow.

Relationships are built by caring about, listening to, and understanding the reality of another person. Many times, the catalyst for strengthening a relationship can be our unintentional mistakes. Mature individuals will freely communicate their perception of the impact of our choices on them. As a result, we bask in the happy moments and ask to mend the hurtful ones.

Why then does that dynamic change when an individual is an employee of a Company?

For the great sport of it, the next time you’re in an animated conversation with the representative of a Company, who is playing semantics with your emotions, and you have heard the words “mistake” and “process” one too many times, ask this simple question: “What is more important: your Company processes, or People?”

The silence will be deafening.

In that instant, a Company employee becomes an Individual, once again, and realizes that their Customer is an Individual, too!

With the situation re-framed as a relationship of One-on-One, the original “mistake” (to take erroneously) can be fixed. The stage is also set for the appropriate apologies of conduct less than ethical. If none are offered, the individual Customer will do business elsewhere; and, in time, the odds are good that the employee hiding behind the bureaucracy of Company processes will find themselves as an individual, one more time, without a Company and a Job.

Regardless of the semantics, mistakes provide the opportunities for us, individually, to grow. Mistakes will be made, guaranteed. They are the defining moments for each of us to do the right thing and build a dynamic relationship!

www.kimfoard.com

Real Deal

Life is serious business. Yet, we learn the most when we are having fun!

TomorrowMuch more than an audition for the opening night of the Broadway playbill, Life — this is the Real Deal.

So real, in fact, I want to share insight from my children. To be precise, they are young adults, who are taking Relationship Strategies to increasingly higher levels for the benefit of all.

Lindsey and Ryan are priceless gifts. Yet, at times, they will also purchase tangible expressions of reminders for me. This last Father’s Day, Ryan presented “Easy 88“, a bronze of a cowboy making a great ride on a bull. A few days ago, a beautiful bouquet of flowers arrived from Lindsey, in acknowledgment of birthday “Fifty-Five“.

Within the last couple of years, she has also given me Words — inspiring words:

Family ~ Forever, For Always and No Matter What

Tomorrow is the most important thing in life. Comes to us at midnight all clean and perfect and puts itself in our hands. And hopes we’ve learned something from yesterday.

In regards to ‘Lessons Learned’ from yesterday, the most important one can be expressed by a single word:

Forgiveness ~ Let go of the notion that there can be a better, or different, yesterday.

The purest definition of a ‘Rut’ — a grave, with the ends kicked out.

When we replay the past in our minds, over and over, a rut forms — a pattern of thinking. Really, those familiar grooves are the equivalent of a broken record — ’round and ’round the same track, while expecting new music. Does insanity come to mind?!

A common theme in my Family is music — always has been, always will be.

It is the best way to convey messages for us to remember.

Better Get To Livin’

Song Information
By: Dolly Parton & Kent Wells
Original Appearance: Backwoods Barbie

People always comin’ up to me and askin’
“Dolly, what’s your secret?
With all you do, your attitude
Just seems to be so good
How do you keep it?”
Well I’m not the Dalai Lama, but I’ll try
To offer up a few words of advice

Chorus:

You better get to livin’, givin’
Don’t forget to throw in a little forgivin’
And lovin’ on the way
You better get to knowin’, showin’
A little bit more concerned about where you’re goin’
Just a word unto the wise
You better get to livin’

A girlfriend came to my house
Started cryin’ on my shoulder Sunday evening
She was spinnin’ such a sad tale
I could not believe the yarn that she was weavin’
So negative the words she had to say
I said if I had a violin I’d play

I said you’d better get to livin’, givin’
Be willing and forgivin’
Cause all healing has to start with you
You better stop whining, pining
Get your dreams in line
And then just shine, design, refine
Until they come true
And you better get to livin’

Your life’s a wreck, your house is mess
And your wardrobe way outdated
All your plans just keep on falling through
Overweight and under paid, under appreciated
I’m no guru, but I’ll tell you
This I know is true

You better get to livin’, givin’
A little more thought about bein’
A little more willin’ to make a better way
Don’t sweat the small stuff
Keep your chin up
Just hang tough
And if it gets too rough
Fall on your knees and pray
And do that every day
Then you’ll get to livin’

The day we’re born we start to die
Don’t waste one minute of this life
Get to livin’
Share your dreams and share your laughter
Make some points for the great hereafter

Better start carin’
Better start sharin’
Better start tryin’
Better start smiling
And you better get to livin’

If we do it right, the livin’ that Dolly encourages is more like playing, than working. As with all things in Life, though, there is a fine line. On the one hand, we must acknowledge this is serious business, because at the end of our Play, all of the props go back in the box. On the other hand, we learn the most when we are playing and having fun.

And, that, my friend, is the point — We are to learn, grow, care, share, and love.

There’s a story about a southern farmer who goes out into his field early one morning to catch his mule for the day’s work ahead. To his dismay that mule was nowhere in sight. As the farmer headed back to the house, he passed an old, abandoned, hand-dug well. Sure enough. At the bottom of that well was Clyde.

Since the farmer was poor, he had no money to hire the necessary equipment to lift that much weight, from that far down. He was rich in friends, though. So he asked his neighbors to bring their shovels. As sad as it was to lose Clyde, the right thing to do was to fill in that deathtrap.

From the mounds of dirt excavated when the well was originally dug, the farmers began the serious business of burying Clyde and making sure nothing else was ever harmed by the long ignored danger of a pit.

Making the best of a bad situation, they shoveled quickly. As they were finishing up their work and upon hearing something, they paused to look up. To their amazement, they watched Clyde jump out of the well.

You see, while they were shoveling dirt down the hole onto Clyde’s back, he simply shook it off and stepped up.

The gifts from Ryan and Lindsey are much more than plaques and bronzes, They are the evidence of their success in “shaking it off and stepping up”. Through no fault of theirs, they have experienced The Pit and the Bad Hands of cards dealt to them.

With courage, poise, determination, and grace, they have chosen to shake it off and step up — time and time, again. The bull and bouquet speak volumes about their character.

From the mouths of babes and the examples of our young people, we learn to — Preserve a childlike sweetness and innocence, while growing out of our childishness.

When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known. And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

One thing I have, always, understood — Family and Work are the two legs carrying me across the stages of life.

I believe purpose in life is discovered by acknowledging a power greater than ourselves — and, accomplishment is possible by being a conduit for timeless and priceless gifts.

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

Let’s get to livin’!

www.kimfoard.com

Let Go & Hold On

Somewhere between a white-knuckle grip and a laissez-faire attitude is the secret to enjoying life’s journey!

Let Go & Hold On

To some, letting go is synonymous with giving up. It is not! In fact, letting go is the only way to leave the Old and embrace the New.

The O at the end of Let Go is a reminder of the Old. The N at the end of Hold On is the focus of efforts to achieve the New.

The best definition of forgiveness was received in a place far removed from a religious setting. Yet, it personifies the journey of sacrifice and redemption: “Let go of the notion that there can be a better, or different, yesterday.”

Human nature is comfortable in the ruts worn deep by habit. So many times, the dysfunction of the known is chosen over the uncertainty of the unknown. When the realized pain of the Present exceeds the imagined discomfort of the Future, we change.

The purest definition of insanity is: “Doing the old habit and expecting a new result.” Change is, only, possible when we purposefully leave the Old actions and warmly embrace the New thoughts. Why is it, then, that so many want to drag the Past along, like a ball and chain?

For the sake of discussion, consider the dynamics of walking. To take the next step forward, we must lose our balance from where we have been and catch our balance at the present spot, while focusing on where we want to go. We learned to do that before our earliest memories. Now, that we are older, we tend to forget that simple philosophy.

Balance in our stride is achieved by understanding: “Discretion is the better part of valor.”

While commitment is necessary to Let Go, courage is required to Hold On. The lessons learned are important; the uniqueness of who we are is irreplaceable; and, the value that we offer to the world is priceless. Individually, we have the responsibility to preserve our integrity and defend the core of our character.

To move from where we are, we must know why we are leaving and what we want for the future. Many are those who are running away from their past. Problem is: they have no idea of a destination for the future. They are easy to spot and best to avoid; because, they are going in circles. Join them and dizziness awaits.

In summary, imagine your favorite Road Trip. Do you enjoy it by staring in the rearview mirror? Or, do you soak up the goodness of what is filling the windshield, each and every moment? Rhetorical questions, I know. We focus our eyes forward, with a glance behind.

We enjoy the trip because we Let Go of the miles behind and, as the Captain of our ship, we are happy to Hold On to the possibilities of what might be around the next curve!

www.kimfoard.com

Steel and Velvet

Let go of the notion that there can be a better, or different, yesterday. That’s the inherent principle of Steel and Velvet: easy is hard; hard is easy.

Steel and VelvetTwo Sides of Same Coin

Life is experienced on a tightrope.

Fine lines of distinction separate This from That.

As an example, the short riddle below, comprised of two sentences, is deserving of being solved.

It will be our segue into the Thought Du Jour.

Each sentence is accurate.

Together, they become powerful in thought and deed.

Don’t answer the foolish arguments of fools, or you will become as foolish as they are.

Be sure to answer the foolish arguments of fools, or they will become wise in their own estimation.

While appearing contradictory, the Secret is within each of us, at our core. If we know who we are and are generous of spirit, the ‘answer’ becomes obvious:

We refuse to follow a foolish person down rabbit trails — and, we boldly share our beliefs with them.

Men of Steel and Velvet

By now, you might ask, “What does this have to do with men of Steel and Velvet?”

The answer, “They can be firm and soft — at the same time.”

In fact, they are who they are — yet, they generously share of themselves. The perceived differences become reality when interacting with the individuals who approach them. For example — these men of Steel and Velvet have the patience of a Saint. Some people will recognize the character trait as a virtue — others will perceive the same trait as weakness.

The first group will experience the softness flowing from mutual respect — the second group will experience the hardness resulting from a rude awakening — as they are jolted from their ill-conceived perception to the harsh reality of a definitive limit. While giving the benefit of the doubt, these men of Steel and Velvet will defend their boundaries — for the benefit of those who seek protection there.

Boundaries are simply ‘fine lines of distinction‘. One of these fine lines separates forgiveness from flaccidity. Forgiveness is hard (to do) — flaccidity is (by its very definition) soft. Forgiveness lets us enjoy the present moment — while moving forward into a future of opportunities. Flaccidity is for those who allow themselves to be a doormat for the feet of their enemies — while remaining tethered to the past.

Lambs to the Wolves

Lambs

Is it possible for lambs to move through a pack of wolves? What is the Secret to that?! Answer: “We are to be as wise as snakes and as innocent as doves.”

Wisdom is the forerunner to success. In fact, a four letter word is the pun intended to create a new beginning in our lives — Fore.

Yes — that which comes before. Have you ever wondered how generous people got to be that way? They give here, there, and everywhere. What came first? What is at the very beginning of their current efforts?

Answer, “Fore-give” — and, in the vernacular, Forgive.

Forgiveness

One of the best definitions of forgiveness was received in a place far removed from a religious setting. Yet, it dovetails with a belief in a Higher Power and summarizes the distinct black and white choice we will each make in our, individual, lives.

Forgiveness: Let go of the notion that there can be a better, or different, yesterday.

Simple enough. Yet, check your thoughts. Where are they? Dwelling on an episode, conversation, mistake, hurt, offense, etc. of the Past? If so, look again at the definition above.

“But”, you might say, “I have tried to forgive and that person does not deserve it, will not accept it, continues to do it, etc.” (the excuses continue on ad infinitum and ad nauseam)

DovesFore-giving is not about anyone else. It is about us and totally within our control.

Does it mean we condone the actions of another? No.

Does it mean we continue to allow another to use and abuse us? Heck, no!

Does it mean we forget, for now, with hopes of revenge, later? Again, the answer is — No.

We, simply — Let go of the notion that there can be a better, or different, yesterday.

Then, we assuage ourselves with, “Right here, right now, it’s great to be alive!”

The Offended

Many will choose to be offended. They will be envious of the peace and tranquility in our lives. The pathologically challenged will remain tethered to their past, while we move forward.

Each new day will bring the tightropes for us to walk boldly and in balance. Through it all, we retain our innocence by being able and willing to, quickly, ask for forgiveness when we are wrong and offering it freely to erase the foibles of others. By doing so we achieve —

The Reward

We ignore the foolish arguments — while sharing our core beliefs.

We wisely chart our course through danger — while being careful to remain harmless.

We forgive ourselves and others — while receiving an invitation to the future.

We, eventually, learn the inherent principle of Steel and Velvet —
Easy is hard and Hard is easy.

www.kimfoard.com