A few months ago I attended a professional networking event for coaches and human resources managers. The last speaker was the only one who got my attention. To start with, he did not look like an HR manager especially as compared to the others. Once introduced he took the mic and stepped down from the stage to the level of the rest of us and he had my attention.
Once off the stage he asked everyone to reach under their seat and pull out the card that was taped there. Everyone did so. We all had the same card. His directions were “you have 30 seconds to memorize the back of the card.
Most everyone in the room was studying the back of the card. At the end of the 30 seconds he called out and we focused on him. He then said, “Please count all the letter F’s on the card.” After several minutes he asked everyone who found 4 or less to stand up. That was about one quarter of the audience. Next was who found 5 or 6 F’s on the card. Those who stood appeared to be about half of the audience. About one quarter of the audience had not stood. Then who got 7 F’s. I stood in this group. Still some had not stood up. Finally, who found 8 F’s on the card. I was surprised and double checked the card. I still only found 7 F’s. The rest stood up. I was perplexed.
The back of the card that we had been asked to memorize read:
FINISHED FILES ARE THE
RESULT OF YEARS OF
SCIENTIFIC STUDY COMBINED
WITH THE EXPERIENCE OF
MANY YEARS OF EXPERTS
And there are only 7 F’s in that phrase that was on the back of the card. So where was the 8th F? It was on the other side of the card in the word “software”. You see memorizing the back of the card was the dis-tractor. It limited the vision of most of us. The directions to count the F’s were to count the F’s on the card. Not just the back of the card that we had originally focused on. The exercise was about thinking outside the box regardless of the directions or the dis-tractor.
Those who counted 4 or less F’s left out most of the F’s in the 4 of’s. This group focused on the F’s in the big words not the little words. Those who only found 2 F’s found the 2 in the first 2 words that started with F. Going up the count 4, 5, 6 just missed an F or 2. Usually they missed one of the F’s or the F in scientific. Those who got 7 only counted the back of the card which we had been asked to memorize. Those who got 8 heard the final direction to count the F’s on the card.
Are you limiting your thinking by only looking at one side of the card, box, issue?
Are you only counting the big things while looking past the seemingly unimportant ones?
What could change for you by seeking a new or different view of the situation?
What breakthroughs, opportunities could “magically” appear with a shift in vision?
“My presentation did not come off today.”
“Where was I today?”
“Why am I not showing up?”
“Man, I did not feel like I was in the room.”
“I was not my best today.”
“Worsts phone call I have ever made.”
Ever hear yourself say something like that. Sure you have. We all do at some point but what do you with that statement later on? Some people are able to let it go. No effect on them at all. You are already shaking your head, no. You wish that were you. You hang on to it. Sweat it out some. Maybe dwell on it. Beat yourself up with it for added measure. In the end you make it mean you were wrong. You let it tarnish or wipe out all of the ground taken that got you this far.
Consider that whether it went right or wrong, that is only your perception filtered through a cloudy lens. Your interpretation, based on feelings. Even if someone told you it was the worst presentation they have ever seen, that was only their perception. You still walked in the room. You still did the best you could at that time. You stood there regardless of how you were feeling about it. Remember there is no such thing as a perfect day. Give yourself some credit. You deserve it.
You can look back at ground taken that got you to this place in time. Look back and see how far you have come to arrive at this place. No matter what today held that ground taken is good ground and cannot be taken away from you. When you make yourself wrong, you disqualify that ground. The universe conspired with you to claim it. There is no value in attempting to give it back. You cannot give it back. It is yours forever. Give yourself credit. You deserve it.
You followed a path and made many steps to come this far. On this path there were big steps, little steps, rough steps, smooth steps, even steps that tripped you up. Still you took the steps. Whatever occurred today was another step. Maybe not a smooth one but it was a step forward. Now what. Take another step. It’s not the size of the step, the strength of the step that counts. The step itself is what counts. Take that next step. Give yourself credit. You deserve it.
Do you believe in angels? We do.
This occurred on Easter Sunday morning, 1994. I was the pastor of a small church in rural Missouri between Grain Valley and Oak Grove. As the tradition I was going to lead a Sunrise Service on the hillside behind the church followed by a church breakfast. This was also the time we were in the adoption process for our daughters who were 8 and 9. The girls could not stay overnight yet with us but they could come for day visits. They lived at a group foster home in Lamont, MO, near Warrensburg about an hour from our house.
Tammy and I had made the decision that that morning while I conducted the Sunrise Service that she and our son would make the 2-hour round trip to pick up the girls to spend Easter Sunday with us and be back in time for church. Tammy and our son left about 7:00 am just before the service started. All was fine on the way. They made it to the group home and picked up the girls who were totally excited about the Easter adventure with their future mom, dad and big brother. They were about half-way back on highway 50 when the minivan got the ominous sound of a flat tire. Tammy pulled over to change the flat. She and our son worked hard at it but could not get the lug nuts loose. Thankfully we still a CB radio in the van. She powered up the CB, keyed the mic, and called out “breaker 1-9 for roadside assistance.” Just as she did an east-bound 18-wheeler came over the rise in the highway. The driver’s eyes met Tammy’s eyes as she spoke on the radio. He never replied. He just went to the turn-around in the highway, looped around and came to the rescue. Tammy explained the situation. He assured her all would be ok and went to work changing the flat.
As a side note I was 30 miles away from Tammy and kids but at the exact time that Tammy got the flat I knew something happened. I also knew all would be well.
The truck driver did not say much. He just changed the flat, loaded the flat in the back of the van, and packed up the jack. When he was done Tammy offered him one of the breakfast sandwiches in the van. He politely turned it down. She apologized for not having any cash to offer him for his assistance. He said that was ok and headed back to his truck. While Tammy got everyone back in the van the truck pulled off. He would have to go down to the next turn around to loop back East, his original direction. Tammy was about to pull back onto the highway when the truck made his loop to head East. Their eyes met as he passed them on the opposite side of the highway. Tammy, thinking about this nice truck driver, then looked in her side-view mirror to watch the truck drive down the highway only there was no truck. It had vanished.
When Tammy and kids made it back to the church I walked up to her and asked what had happened. The event above is story she told me. We compared times on my weird feeling and the time of the flat. They were the same. She and I have never forgotten that Sunday morning. We never will. As I typed this out I still get the same chills and tears I got in 1994, 21 years ago.
Was the truck driver an angel? Tammy and I give a resounding yes! Do we believe in angels? Yes.
I have several friends who write poetry. I have thought about trying it but never made the attempt. Well maybe I did back in high school for an English assignment that I faked my way through. So this morning while I was doing a Facebook post and attaching a sunrise picture I started thinking. I love sunrises and the start of the new day and as I work on reinventing myself, I am working on new things, new being, new me. With the those thoughts in mind I decided to go for it so out came my poem. What did the attempt cost me? Absolutely nothing. So what’s the purpose? Just to do something new. To try something outside my comfort zone. So then I did even more outside my comfort zone. I shared it. Now I am doing it again. Will I ever write another poem. It doesn’t even matter. I did and I am better for it. A question for you. When’s the last time you tried something new just to do it? What’s stopping you now? No one but you. Find something simple and go for it then sit back and enjoy the thrill and excitement. Now you are are different. You have changed. You are new.
A new sunrise
A new sunrise
A new sunrise
A new sunrise
A new sunrise