The Best of Intentions

What to do when you fall off your bicycle.

What does falling off your bicycle have to do with the best of intentions? When you’re learning to ride a bicycle for the first time, you’re going to fall off. You keep at it until you learn to ride without falling off. I don’t think anyone sets out to not learn how to ride a bicycle. So it would seem that the best of intentions doesn’t really have anything to do with falling off of a bicycle. That is until you realize that the best of intentions is to a project as learning to ride is to the bicycle. We begin a project with the best of intentions, and we fall. Somehow we fail to apply the lesson of the bicycle to this, and the best of intentions lead to inaction, and the failure of the project.

That’s just it. We keep on working at riding a bicycle. We don’t give up because of a setback. We don’t give up even if we skin our knees, or hands, or elbows. Some of us don’t give up even if we break bones. But somehow the best of intentions becomes more than learning to ride, and instead of pulling ourselves together to go at the project again, it either takes on a life of its own and becomes bigger than it actually is, or we give up thinking we simply can’t do the project.

That’s where I am right now in many places. I have projects that I’ve undertaken with the best of intentions, and things haven’t gone as planned. Writing posts like this on a regular weekly basis is just the tip of the iceberg. Other projects seem to be more pressing than my own contribution to the sea of information on the Internet. The excuses mount, and before you know it what was a skinned elbow is now a broken arm. And it is so much harder to do everything with one of those. So now I have an excuse. Do you see where this is going? My thinking is ultimately what is broken. I need to get back to work on the projects, instead of letting the projects mount. I need to stop fabricating excuses, as if that was my job. And most importantly I need to push through the pain of admitting that I’m learning how to ride a bicycle. No, wait, I already know how to ride a bicycle. And, I already know how to get things done. That must mean that the pain is admitting that I have the best of intentions, and I have to stop letting those become my focus, because that makes about as much sense as dwelling on learning to ride a bicycle. The end goal is being able to ride a bicycle. The end goal of a project is its completion, not the best of intentions.

Stop making excuses when a project gets off track. Stop dwelling on intentions, and instead simply ask, “What’s next?” Then, do what’s next.

If you’re looking for help in this area, there are several good resources that have helped me. Follow the book links for “Getting Things Done” or “Essentialism” for starters. Read them. Then live them.

Enduring Friendship

What Does a Baseball Glove Have to do with it?

These days when we keep up with what’s happing in each other’s lives more by reading Facebook, or on Instagram, the meaning of deep enduring friendship can seem to be completely lost. That is until a family of “wayfarers” decides to bless you by being the first place they visit outside of their immediate family. The honor is not lost, nor is the intention of their journey missed.

On their blog, they talk about roots. Our roots in large part determine the direction of our future. And we share similar roots with our friends who are now camping in our driveway.

Today, I learned more about what’s growing in my yard than I’ve known in the nearly two decades that we’ve lived here. And I’ve had the opportunity in the process to share life up close and personal with some long-time friends as if we’d been living life together all these years. That’s where the connection to a baseball glove comes in. I haven’t worn my baseball glove in years, yet the other day when I put it on, it still felt just right, well worn, broken in, natural. I’ve put on a few pounds that wearing and using the glove would take care of if I would just do it more often. In the same way Michael, Bethany, Douglas & Fynn have shown us just how much fun living on the edge and challenging the status quo can be!

While I learned that we have Mulberry trees and wild grapes growing in our yard, I also was reminded that with pruning and better care, we could have a better crop, and better bunches of grapes. As if that wasn’t enough, I realized that both of our families have done quite a bit of pruning on the branches that have grown out of those family roots. And, while much of that pruning has been met with a skeptical eye by our families in the past, that at long last our families have come to realize that we have not abandoned the faith of our forebears. The reality is that we’ve embraced that faith for what it really is. It’s a gift, not from those who have come before us, but rather from the only One who could give the gift in the first place.

That’s not to say we didn’t get anything from those who have come before. They planted those roots by streams of water thereby giving the tree the ability to “yield its fruit in its season.”

They came to bless us, and bless us they have whether a single project we set out to accomplish, actually was completed or not. The bigger challenge for me is how to continue to bless them as they embark on this journey.

Always Learning Lessons

At the beginning of lawn mowing season, I was not looking forward to doing that job myself. Oh, I needed the exercise, and that part is good for me. What I wasn’t looking forward to was the time it would take coupled with what it would do with my allergies. I’ve been fine on the allergy front so far, and I’ve gotten to the point where I actually look forward to the hour that it takes me to mow our lawn. I’ve used it to listen to podcasts which I’ve recently discovered.

Yesterday while mowing the lawn, I listened to one of Michael Hyatt’s early podcasts. The gist of what he was talking about is a concept I was very much familiar with. That concept is under promise and over deliver. What jumped out at me as I was walking in monotonous rows back and forth in my yard was his take on letting people know about your goals. I immediately thought of telling all of you what my intentions were for May, and what I intended to do in June. He used Apple as an example. Sure there are leaks about upcoming products, but for the most part, you don’t find out what the product, or software is until they announce it to the public, and then it is usually available that day. Michael said that it is fine to share goals with key people to keep you accountable, but sharing the goal with the world can have two unwanted outcomes. The first being that you fall short of the goal, and the second is that you are not as driven to complete the goal, or it becomes too monumental.

Both of these outcomes are not desirable because the result is the same. “Hope deferred makes the heart sick”, and if your heart is sick, you might say your heart isn’t in it.

That’s exactly what happened to me. In May, we had a major glitch in our server infrastructure that hosts this site. That wouldn’t be a distraction if we were not responsible for hosting the site, as well as the sites of several clients. Instead our focus shifted from creativity to problem solving. We don’t like to just fix a problem without making it less likely that the problem will reoccur, so that meant our focus was now on understanding the cause of the problem and eliminating that.

As if that wasn’t enough, the company where we host our server had infrastructure problems of their own in June. A major switch upgrade didn’t go as planned. So we continue to step up our efforts at finding a long term solution. We have that, and now we are working on a transition of our own.

However, in light of this post, we’re not going to get into more details until after this is all done. We’re going to take a page out of Apple’s book, and make the announcements once everything is in place.

Look for more information coming soon!

More About The Coming Changes

We wouldn't have butterflies without change.

We wouldn’t have butterflies without change.

If you saw how many pithy comments about change I typed and then deleted, you might be impressed. Then again, we’ve all heard so many of them over the years, that I wonder if the original truth behind them has gotten lost. I realized as I typed each one that I had already strayed from the purpose of writing this blog post. You might even say what I have typed thus far has also missed the mark. But all of this makes an important point. We tend to resist the changes we know we need to make. Here’s my list. How many of them do you share? And what would you add? I look forward to your comments.

  • Maintain a consistent devotional time
  • Eliminate distractions
  • Loose weight
  • Get more exercise
  • Watch less TV
  • Spend more time with my family
  • Stop trying to solve every problem singlehandedly
  • Be intentional about:
    • E-mail
    • Facebook
    • Twitter
    • Web based “research”
  • Dedicated time to:
    • Write blog posts
    • Create Podcasts to go along with blog posts for people who have more time to listen, than read a website
  • What are yours?

 

Change is Coming…

We’ve all heard the phrase, “April Showers bring May Flowers” and the application for my blog is that changes are coming! For many years, my blog was the place I went and got things off my chest. I published roughly two out of every three posts I wrote. I didn’t try to make money with my blog, and that would have been hard, given how sporadically I posted content.

That’s what’s changing. I have a plan, and I have help. Eventually, I may even have blog readers that are paying me to write my blog. Imagine that! As I sit here behind my monitor, with my fingers poised over my keyboard, and thoughts streaming though my head, and making the trip through nerves to the muscles in my fingers to type (a process which is amazing in its own right) I find it hard to believe that one day that could be a reality. Yet at the same time, if you told me when I was in elementary school, what my life would be like today, I would have thought you were crazy. A blog wasn’t even on the radar back then. In fact, radar was still a new technology then, now your new car is likely to have it.

I’m looking forward to the changes, and I’ll be writing some more about the coming changes soon.