Category Archives: Commitment

Season Finale

“To everything there is a season. . . “ so says the book of Ecclesiastes. And this blog is no different. At the beginning of ’09, I committed to several goals this year. Unfortunately, in the process of juggling all these ambitions, I have dropped some along the way. Of course, I may pick them back up but it’s not long before one drops again. I have learned in life that when you are overwhelmed with all the things you are juggling, you can do one of three things: you can keep doing what you’re doing with the hope that you eventually “get it,” you can juggle with less balls until you have mastered that level, or you can just quit juggling.

I have decided to juggle with less balls. Here’s the thought process: If I drop just one ball even periodically, and more than likely it’d be a different ball each time, I fail at juggling period. In other words, I may not reach any of my accomplishments or it will certainly take me longer to get there. On the other hand, if I juggle with less balls dropping none, I am a success, albeit I am a less accomplished juggler than if I were to hit all my targets in the first example but my odds are better. If I stop juggling all together, not only do I fail at juggling but I fail at even trying; failure is certain. Rhetorically, let me ask you this: would you rather invest in a long shot, a sure shot, or a dud?

I want to be a sure shot! And it is for that reason that I am regretfully postponing my blog posts. I have been focusing so much on ensuring a post three times a week that I have  neglected the writing of my book. Writing is my dream. And I have been accomplishing my dream through you, the readers of this blog. But at the same time, the true realization of a writer’s dream, at least this writer’s dream, is publication. Just like our life here on earth is a dress rehearsal for Heaven, this blog has been a dress rehearsal for publication of a book. I appreciate all of you for aiding and abetting me in testing and reforming my style through this medium. While I am not a perfect writer (and never will be), my heart is ready. And quite frankly, that is all that is needed for the realization of a  dream. A heart that is ready will let nothing get in its way. A heart that is ready will not quit or back down. A heart that is ready will not bargain for second best; it will not rest until it has reached its destination; it will not be denied.

This is not a series finale, it is merely the end of a season. I will live to blog again; you have not seen the last of Brian Shaw. In fact, it is quite the opposite. I am taking my series to the big screen if you will. I am taking my passion and purpose to a higher pursuit. Please keep your eyes peeled for the release of my “feature film” in the near future. This is not the end, it is just the beginning . . .

Oh, and if by remote chance there is a published author who has any great advice or contacts he or she would like to share, or better yet, a publisher with some interest in my work, feel free to comment now. (LOL)

To all of you fellow dreamers: I encourage you on your pursuit. Make sure you take time to pause from time to time to compare your map and your current location to make sure that you are still on the shortest distance to your destination. If so, pursue relentlessly. If not, make the necessary adjustments and get back on the road.

Please keep me in your prayers. I am working on writing a 30 day devotional. Pray that the Lord would give me wisdom and continual revelation. Pray that he would guide my pen to position words in a way that will speak encouragement and hope to a multitude of people, not for my own profit but for kingdom profit, that those far from God may be drawn into greater intimacy with the Father through the Son. Pray that He keep me ever so humble and grateful for any talent that He has blessed me with. Finally, pray that I keep “first things first,” not neglecting my own spiritual walk or my own family.

Thank You and May God Bless You Abundantly!

Introductory Offer

The so-called “credit crunch” hasn’t seemed to slow the number of credit card offers that come to the house. They kind of remind me of dating. Of course, the only dating I’ve done for years is with my wife but I’m referring to the courting process, when you are dating someone new.

Both parties are in their “introductory period” trying to induce the other party to commit to longer, more binding terms. Like the introductory credit card deals, each are oftentimes offering attractive, sometimes irresistible terms to lure in the other party. That’s why your little peculiarities don’t seem like that big of a deal when you’re dating. She doesn’t seem to care that you leave the toilet seat up or that your priority every weekend is 18 holes. And he doesn’t seem to mind that you’ve just spent $300 on yet another outfit or that you’re gabbing on the phone with your BFF for hours on end everyday. Or she’s impressed by the fact that you planned a romantic dinner date and he’s impressed that you not only approve of but even encourage him to have all of his buddies over for the game each Sunday.

However, let that introductory period run out, and the teeth come out. I find it bizarre that the financial industry calls it “interest rate;” who in their right mind is interested in paying 8, 12, 20 or any percent on money borrowed? In fact, that’s about the time I start to lose interest. And that’s the same with dating. When it’s time to begin paying the the full price, when the grace period is over, the terms don’t look so impressive anymore. By that time, though, they got you. A commitment has been made, personal items have accumulated, you’re carrying some of each other’s baggage, you might have even purchased property together (like a house or car), you’ve got time invested that you just don’t know is worth giving up to start the process over again.

Most people miss or overlook the fine print, the details of the terms for when the intro period expires. This is a precarious position to be in. You failed to cash out when the gettin’ was good and now you’re stuck with the charges. Don’t over-commit. Keep at a distance until his or her real character starts to show through. Be careful not to settle for a sales pitch when you can find favorable terms that are permanent. Take it slow and cautious, don’t rush into things until you know full well what the penalties might be if your mate turns out to be a ferocious wolf (like my ex-wife) instead of the friendly puppy that you see in the beginning.

23 or Bust

resolution

That is, the 23% Club, those who tend to keep their New Year’s Resolutions each year. About 35% break their resolutions by the end of January. So how are you doing? Have you already steered off course? Did you even make a resolution? Do you feel like it’s too late?

It’s not too late. Whoever said you needed a celebration to jump-start your goals anyway? Life change is time-sensitive. It is rarely done out of convenience but out of necessity, that is, when you realize you need it and your committed to fixing it. We don’t choose to lose weight [or enter own flaw here] because it’s New Years. We choose to lose because we’re plump and need to make a change. Who needs the new year to roll around to realize that your rolls make you round? You only need a mirror and a decision. Stop beating yourself up about falling off the wagon. Lord knows there are plenty of other people out there waiting to do it for you. (By the way, nobody is perfect; shouldn’t “Mr. Negativity” be on his own freakin’ wagon anyway?)

If you fell off the wagon, don’t just lay there, get back up! If you’ve already missed your wagon, don’t get discouraged. There’s another one coming whenever YOU’RE ready. And when it does, it’ll be a better one anyhow because it will be on YOUR time with YOUR commitment––it’ll be YOUR wagon, not the party bus that comes around when the bell tolls 12.

For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish men. ~1 Peter 2:15

Giving up is what makes defeat permanent. ~Stacy Allison, first American woman to climb Mt. Everest

You can’t go back and make a new beginning, but you can start today and make a new ending. ~Unknown

A bend in the road is not the end of the road. . . unless you fail to make the turn. ~Unknown

And our assignment for the day is to permit the courage of Christ to override the condemnation of the critic. ~Steven Furtick

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Practical Advice

Get the 3 C’s:

Commitment: If you don’t commit, you will quit!
Cheering Squad: To help you celebrate your victories and conquer your setbacks.
Christ: With Him, nothing is impossible! He’s the confidence you need.

Make SMART goals:

Specific
Measurable
Attainable
Realistic
Timely

Commit Yourself

When I was in management, I determined that there are basically two types of people that “succeed” at work (or at church, or on a sports team, etc.)–this could probably apply to any group of people. By success, I mean that they are able to continue in their endeavor indefinitely; it’s a rough definition. To better clarify, there are actually three types of people in a group, it’s just that the third type is functionally irrelevant. They are the ones who aren’t very good at what they do and end up fired from their job, leaving the church, quitting their team, and such. Based on my observations, I developed the following list to describe the former two types of people. See if you identify with either. Maybe you’d be able to add a few of your own? Would like to hear them if you do.

committed

Being compliant is acceptable; you’ll stay under the radar which will “get you by” until the sweet bye and bye if you so desire but your accomplishments will be mediocre at best. Being committed is exceptional; you’ll be all over the radar, elevating yourself to a higher level where your accomplishments will be masterful (that is, full of the Master). Paul knew the value of being committed when he said, “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.” (1 Corintians 9:24) Why walk when the Word says run? Commit yourself today!

The achievement of your goal is assured the moment you commit yourself to it. ~Mack R. Douglas, accomplished author

When you’re interested in something, you do it only when it’s convenient.  When you’re committed to something, you accept no excuses, only results. ~Ken Blanchard, accomplished author

So you also, when you have done everything you were told to do, should say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty.’ ~Jesus Christ, Luke 17:10

Don’t Drink the ‘T’

You’ve probably all heard the quote that “your attitude determines your altitude.” (if you haven’t, remember that you’ve heard it here first) Often, it’s words that we allow to shape that attitude, good or bad. “Can’t” is one of those words that will trip you up. Can’t we take “can’t” out of the vocabulary? I’ve compiled a few passages that will help inspire you not to drink the ‘t’ (CAN’T – ‘T’ = CAN)–it’s cheesy, I know, but that’s why I’m using the inspiration of others to help me out today . . .

It Couldn’t Be Done

Somebody said that it couldn’t be done,
But he with a chuckle replied
That maybe it couldn’t but he would be one
Who wouldn’t say so till he’d tried.
So he buckled right in with a trace of a grin
On his face; if he worried, he hid it.
He started to sing as he tackled the thing
That couldn’t be done, and he did it.

Somebody scoffed: “Oh, you’ll never do that;
At least, no one has ever done it.”
But he took off his coat and he took off his hat,
And the first thing he knew he’d begun it.
With a lift of the chin and a bit of a grin.
Without any doubting or ‘quiddit’,
He started to sing as he tackled the thing
That couldn’t be done . . . and he did it!

There are thousands to tell you it cannot be done.
There are thousands to prophesy failure;
There are thousands to point out to you, one by one,
The dangers that await to assail you.
But just buckle in with a bit of a grin,
Just take off your coat and go to it;
Just start to sing as you tackle the thing
That ‘cannot be done’ and you’ll do it.

~Edgar A. Guest

Every time a person puts an idea across, he finds ten people who thought about it before he did—but they only thought about it. ~Alfred Montapert

Do or do not . . . there is no ‘try.’ ~Jedi Master Yoda

If you think you can do a thing or think you can’t do a thing , you’re right. ~Henry Ford

What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to “the can” that lies within us. ~my paraphrase of Ralph Waldo Emerson’s famous words

What can you do?

The Bigger the Rose, The Bigger the Thorn

Nothing quite compares to the beauty of a rose. However, a rose would not be quite as beautiful if we did not have to risk some thorns. In fact, the bigger the rose, the bigger and harder the thorns. And so it goes with life . . . no great victory has ever been won without a struggle. Don’t let a good life get in the way of a great one by giving up too soon or giving in in the midst of a trial. Press in.  Persevere.  Be an overcomer. The greater the adversity, the greater the victory!

(Believe it or not, I picked up these concepts from an Amway audio tape years ago. The speaker was a survivor of several gunshot wounds from a house break-in that left him a paraplegic. It was a powerful and motivational speech. I got nowhere in Amway but its great wisdom for life nonetheless.)

Good As Gold

What would your weight in gold be worth? With gold firmly above the $800 per ounce level, a person weighing 150 pounds would be worth nearly $2,000,000 (150 pounds at 16 ounces per pound = 2,400 ounces X $800 per ounce equals $1,920,000 for those not so mathematically inclined). Yes, that is six zeros – a millionaire. WOW! So, do you feel you are worth your weight in gold? If so, congratulations! If not, read on!

It turns out that being “goaled”, that is, having goals, may be just as valuable as being gold. If you were to ask those who are worth their weight in gold, the majority would admit that their accomplishments could not have been attained without a goal in mind. After all, how could you get somewhere if you don’t know where “somewhere” is? Or as the saying goes, “if you don’t know where you are going, any road will take you there.” Setting goals are paramount to achieving success.

Consider goals as the map on your journey of success. First, you need a destination. What is it that you would like to achieve? Secondly, define that destination so that you can determine when you have reached it. For example, to just go to Las Vegas, Nevada may not be enough. Where are you going to stay when you get there? What is your final stopping point? What milestone will you have to reach to know you have met your goal? The goal has to be measurable. Next, when do you expect to get there? A goal is nothing more than a dream with a deadline. What is your deadline? By when would you like to achieve your goal? Finally, stay on course. What are your landmarks or small achievements along the way? There will be bumps in the road ahead but keep your focus on the next landmark. This will be your insurance that you have not made any wrong turns and that you are still moving in the right direction.

So, how strong should your commitment to setting goals be? Unbreakable––you should be solid “goaled.” Is it really that important? You bet! As the 20th century minister and educator, Benjamin Mays wrote, “The tragedy of life doesn’t lie in not reaching your goal. The tragedy lies in having no goals to reach.” Being “goaled” may very well be as good as gold!