In business and in life, there are significant moments when you’ll inevitably face a challenge of epic proportions. It’s simply a part of the journey, and often the greatest nuggests of wisdom come from the struggle.
I recall sitting with the CEO of Dial, as he talked about a major challenge they’d overcome. I’ve sat with entrepreneurs facing major decisions about their businesses. I’ve held the hands of children in the moments following an airplane crash, knowing that they’ve lost their parents, forever. Managing a crisis is not easy. Sometimes there are no easy solutions, no words.
The peaks and valleys of life and business, will shape and mold you into the human you are today.
Nevertheless, no one wants to face obstacles, and when you’re in the mire, it seems neverending.
CS Lewis wrote something to the effect that grief sometimes feels like a neverending circular valley. Recently at a booksigning at Barnes n Noble, a beautiful girl sat in the crowd, silent. I fielded questions from readers, and tried to search for her in the back of my mind. Who was she? Had I seen her before?
After it was over she waited for the last person in line to leave. ‘I have a personal question,” she said, her eyes filled with tears.
She handed me a long letter, typewritten, that she had prepared just for me. As we talked privately between a stack of books, my heart was filled with compassion for her. She’d lost her corporate job, her car, her apartment, and was at the edge of herself. She’d lost so much, yet here she was this gorgeous healthy woman standing before me, in tears, struggling to see the light. I love what I do and it seems the only way I can be more effective is to write more, to reach a hurting world.
Grief is so individual for each one of us. Can you recognize it in others?
Sometimes I walk by someone and it seems as if they are covered in a blanket of grief. These are the times when a simple touch, or word, can help turn a life in a positive direction. And then there are times when we must endure and offer hope.
In my past role as a crisis manager I worked a commercial airplane crash in Cali Colombia in which everyone on board died except for four passengers. Working there on the ground with the families in search of their loved ones is a crisis you never forget. It was a tragedy in which many lives were changed.
Thankfully, most of life is not like that. But it’s the obstacles large and small that strengthen.
At times we have a crisis that feels like a 10 on the richter scale, and at others they are small cracks in the foundation of our lives. In all of it, God has a plan to sharpen you. God’s got your back.
How do you handle the crisis in your life? Reach out, as a first step. Take an outstretched hand. Chances are someone around you has been through a valley, to the other side.
My brother was in town recently and he told an amusing and poignant story about a time in his life when he chased material things. “I was young,” he explained, “and I was riding a bike through traffic. But my sunglasses fell off, and I slid across the pavement unconcerned with my life, safety, or being crushed by a car. I was reaching out, trying to get the new Oakleys I had purchased. I didn’t want to scratch them!”
His story was funny but also a metaphor for the lives we lead.
How many times do we find ourselves ignoring the risk, and chasing the
Of course, it doesn’t have to be about money.
It could be pride, arrogance, a position, a person, or something else we are harboring or idolizing.
I had an encounter recently that reminded me, that it’s not okay just to talk about things. We think, talk, and do. Yet sometimes we just think, talk, preach our beliefs, and forget the doing.
A good tree, bears good fruit.
I love to see those who use their God given talents and gifts to help change the world. Or perhaps a little part of it. Giving a word of love, offering hope. Changing lives, and making an intentional effort to do it each and every day.
My life’s work, is about changing lives.
I am humbled and weak and unfinished, but I know that a continual work is being done in me. A good tree, bears good fruit and I know the fruit of my thoughts, labor, and work is good, and sometimes even great.
There have been other times in my life when the fruit was rotten, thoughts toxic, and relationships circling like vultures to nowhere. Times years back, when I stepped off of the path, into the ditch.
A bad tree has fruit that is rotten. It falls to the ground, and stinks everything up.
What is it we are planting, and sowing? The good fruit, is love, joy and peace, and it’s evident for all to see.
This is one of the messages within the book The Compass. If you’re in the Dallas area Friday June 26th, please stop by the Barnes N Noble at 615p to heckle me, cheer me, or simply be amused, at the Book signing for The Compass.
Be blessed today! Thanks for tuning in…
Are you happy?
WIth all the reports about world violence, strife, stress, the economy woes, brokenness, divorce, and foreclosures, it’s nice to see that even those without nothing can find happiness in the small things.
This video is a typical Sunday morning in downtown Dallas, with a few of my homeless friends. We talk, eat, and dance. The things families do. Only this is a complex family of fragmented hopes and dreams knitted together for a moment, in one parking lot. Some of them I love like my own brothers. I’ll see them tonight. One, I call my son. He was the first to wish me a happy mother’s day (2am, via text) and I worry about him when I’m halfway across the world, and when I’m here. I know he’s reading this now, and that I’ll see him, God willing, later this week.
This is the core of my work, my life, my writing. Understanding the complexity of humanity, and finding joy in who we are at this moment in the journey.
Although you may have a season of brokenness, find joy. Push through and follow the plan of your life. There can be joy in ordinary things. Dance, laugh, celebrate.
Stop pursuing prosperity and pursue peace and love, instead. That’s the real secret. The best things in life aren’t things.