Motivational Soundtrack – Love Alone is Worth the Fight (Switchfoot)

Love Alone is Worth the Fight

The most pure source of why I do what I do is love! Love for my family, for my and children; love for my friends, the ones that have jumped in and helped me when needed; love for the people I’m meeting, being a source of encouragement and support even without knowing what they are going through.

The latest song from Switchfoot says it best with a simple yet true message: Love is worth it. It is worth the pain, toil and sickness.

One of my favorite verses is how it describes the finding of oneself through the open road. The path each decision carries can be scary. But the fear of the unknown can be lifted when we choose love.

The sound is nostalgic and reminds me of my own decisions…
I choose love when I denied a job opportunity for the sake of spending more time with my children.
I choose love when I took a step in faith and moved to a new country with the desire to start a family with my wife.
I choose love when during my teenage years, still in colleague and against all recommendations, I decided to propose and marry an amazing woman.
I choose love when in a youthful night I jumped in the ocean to accept Christ as my savior.

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How real change happens

Change

So I was on the road again this week and spent some time reviewing all that I’ve accomplish in my recent business trips. This week’s trip included meetings, project reviews and additional channel management ideas that will help our business grow. I spend much time on the strategy side, but I have to say, my biggest a-ha moments come when I’m connected with the people side of the business: the folks that are actually doing the selling.

I love to coach and inspire people to reach their full potential. This approach is evident in my sales training motivational efforts. My biggest advantage is that I understand life to be intertwined between work and home; for one can only achieve true success and joy when you live life as you are. This is why my message is never just about work. The process of achieving all you can be is not just an exercise to grow in knowledge but it must also include the spiritual and emotional components. These are evident at home, with family, at church, in your community. You have one life. Everything in you is connected and reflected in your multiple interactions.

With work, as with life in general, it’s easier said than done and I know that for every five employees I spend time with, there is always one that is more challenging than others. But that is why I try to really know each employee on a personal level. No, I don’t do it for the sake of knowing exactly what to bribe them with. On a deep level one cannot understand why someone reacts a specific way unless you know what is going inside; behind the mask that many of us put on day in and day out. What I do is connect with the real person and invite them to come out to play, have fun and be successful.

So you have to start with the core; the inside of a person; their belief system. When you understand why someone’s heart beats so strong (or so week) for something can you actually understand the reason for their actions. This model can be applied to any part of your life but I have seen it clearly in the workplace.

I will share the example from my work and unveil a little more of what I do. The majority of the sales channels I’m involved with are Contact Center, better know as Call Centers (mainly taking inbound calls). The majority of people think of this line of work as people that spend the whole day taking phone calls. I was one of those and I can’t tell you how incomplete that simple description can be. The reality is that it takes a special person to listen to customers who are most of the time frustrated and, in my industry, unaware of the basic information when calling. It takes a special skill to hear mixed emotions channelled through a phone line, while still keeping your cool and providing a great experience for the customer. So the role of a Customer Service Agent is more than just answering phone calls. I like to view these employees as Solutions providers.

The problem is that these same employees have fallen in this stereotypical trap; they have believed this incomplete view of what they do as the full definition of their work. Unfortunately for some it goes deeper. Some find that view as their full purpose. It can be a joy killer. So my first step is understand what is in their hearts and minds so I can grasp the reason for their performance. My approach requires them to think differently of themselves. To break the walls of their box and make them see they are free to be whoever they want to be in their life; at home and at work; everywhere. Real change happens when your paradigm shifts. Steven Convey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People was anchored first on the need to shift the way you think.

When your belief is aligned with the power you have to achieve your goals, progress happens. Corrective action happens. Doing the right things often turns into habits, which leads to change.

Aligning your beliefs accurately, helps you take the correct actions that create the habits you need to for change to happen.

Four blessings

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It’s been four weeks since the last time I blogged. Much has been on my mind as I experienced life through holidays, special family moments and time with friends. These have definitely been four weeks of much meditation that have reminded me of the importance of recognizing life’s blessings.

These life events, occurrences and simple moments in time, show us the true meaning of a successful life. The things we should be measured by but that we take for granted. A life more often fulfilled in the most simple of actions. I lived through these reminders in the last four weeks. Not just about my blessings but also my real goals in life – to be a man after God’s own heart, a husband, a father, a friend, and a hard worker that shows integrity in each action.

This will be my most personal post to date. However, I believe these reminders to be applicable for anyone. A motivational reminder on how we should at our life. From most recent to my first week, here we go…

You live a good life
I just had a family member visit me from Portugal. Her stories of a frustrating society caught in the middle of an identity crisis hurst most because of the ties I have with this country I call my own. I feel American but there is still much of me that is internally Portuguese. The beautiful beaches, the historical monuments and the always present sense of pride, all fill my memory and reoccurring thoughts from time to time.

Much like many European countries, Portugal is in the middle of an economic crisis that has impacted the majority of its population. If you’ve heard of the issues impacting Greece and Spain, just change the scenery and that is Portugal’s reality. Her stories were a constant reminder of how my reality was better. But that wasn’t the final reminder.

I also got to learn about the life changing stories of the Watoto church in Uganda. A ministry aimed at raising the next generation of African leaders in a nation affected by war, poverty and AIDS. The majority of children at the Watoto church are orphans cared by women who are being given a second chance in life. New families created in an environment of love and hope that are changing their country. Their mission is inspiring and their impact real.

So how does this link to your current situation? Are you frustrated with your job? Do you wish you had bigger home? Maybe you want a better car? How about… (you fill in the blank) You see, chances are if you are reading this blog post you belong to the 1% of the world population that can consider yourself rich and living with more resources than the majority of the world around us. It does change your attitude when you recognize the blessing of a simple resource as having access to the Internet.

For more information on Watoto, please visit their website at http://www.watoto.com

You are alive
This one sounds simple and it is – If you are breathing you are alive! That is also true for anyone currently battling a terminal illness. Like the old adage, “we’re all going to eventually die.” Well then, take advantage of every single moment to live it up. Spend time with family and friends, don’t stress about work, don’t worry about money, etc. It’s actually easier said than done, but still an undeniable truth that only the sense of death can remind us. This truth is more about life than death though. You can ask my friend Ryan Woods.

I met Ryan in 2001 as he served as a missionary to my church in Lisbon, Portugal. My memories of him were always of someone real, someone that truly cared for you no matter what others thought or said. His was a sense of truly loving people. Not for their potential or what they could achieve, but for who they were in the here and now moment.

I saw Ryan again this time last year. He was in North Carolina because of school and we got to chat and reconnect as he shared about his experience starting a new church in downtown Vancouver, Washington. What happened next has been both sad and amazing. Ryan was a month later diagnosed with a cancer on his spinal cord which has since changed his body but has not broken his spirit. This month his doctor told him he has 3-6 months to live.

The most inspiring part of his story is his ability to recognize both sadness and blessings during this time. His love for God and people remains. His acceptance of how his life story is being written is amazing. Ryan and his family have reminded of how indeed life can be frustrating, but the way you choose to live it is much more important. This blog post is a lot about how Ryan has reminded me to live life.

For more information on Ryan’s story, please visit http://www.grassrootsconspiracy.com/blog

Family matters most
Isn’t this the truth! Nothing is more relaxing to me than sharing memories of family events or looking at pictures with my bride and our children. It fills my heart to overflow. These memories were all too real when Courtney and I celebrated our 9th wedding anniversary. We spent a full day together while the grandparents took care of the children. We were reminded of our dating days in Portugal and how we’ve been blessed through the years with a beautiful family inside and out.

You see I guess I’m different than most people. Growing up my first real dream was not to actually be a professional sports star or have this amazing job in the corporate world. No. My first real dream was to have a family – a beautiful wife and amazing children by my side. Looking back at the times when I would consciencly think of the dream, it’s amazing to look around and recognize that it is here. But like many of us, we dream other dreams and our attention focuses on other things. Our weeding anniversary was a reminder of what indeed matters most.

This reality is far greater than just marriage. Whether it’s your family or friends who are closest, you know what I’m talking about. I hope you have the opportunity today to live out this truth and spend some quality time with your family and friends. Take the time to enjoy the blessing of connecting with others and do life together.

Recognizing who you are living for
I can’t separate this truth. It is just who I am. The biggest blessing is straight forward – I have a maker who loves me beyond compare and who gave his only son to die for me. This is an intrinsic part of all my posts because it’s an important part of who I am. Nothing makes it more real than Easter.

As a Christ follower I have experienced life in an amazing way. No words can express how much I’m grateful for His Salvation and the fact that he rescued me from a life of mediocrity to a life of fulfillment beyond compare. But I want more, to make a difference with my family, with my friends, at work, in my community. I want others to experience this everlasting truth of a meaningful life in Jesus.

His truth is available to all at http://www.bible.com.

If you live in Raleigh, NC I invite you to visit Hope Community Church. For more information you can visit http://www.gethope.net.

Conquering the Marathon

It’s been two weeks since the last time I posted, but my desire to live life motivated and motivate others continues. So what better way to do it than to share a story of my own.

Setting a goal and reaching it is about discipline. But it’s also about persistence and motivation!

Six months ago I had just completed my longest run in a 10k Mud Run. It was demanding, disgusting, and fun – all those adjectives in one packed day! After that run a friend of mine invited me to join him and another friend of ours for a Marathon. He said it would be a bigger challenge but that I was physically up for it. Without yet knowing the full distance (I still get confused between my Km and Miles), I said yes and never looked back. I got a training schedule that would slowly increase my running distance over a four month period, and the next time my friend and I met he was surprise to find out I had taken it serious. Fast forward to last Sunday and I can proudly say I’ve completed my first Marathon. It will go down as one of the best memories of my life. 5 hours and 20 minutes of continuous running just to complete the coveted 26.2 miles!

Looking back at all those days of training – short and long runs alike – all it took was discipline, persistence and motivation. I had set a goal and I was committed to achieving it. These three words explain my commitment to keep pressing on. They are also key to reaching other goals in life as I learned a lot from this experience.

Discipline – Once I had decided to run a marathon I recognized that I needed training. Even though I knew I couldn’t always keep up with the regimented schedule of weekday long runs (due to work and family), I still committed to exercising during the week and having long runs during the weekend. I never missed one of those weekend runs. Whether I felt good or not, rain or shine, I got out on the road and kept running. There were days that I doubted myself and my ability to run these long distances. I remember thinking that I needed to keep going and stick to the plan. It paid off on the day of the marathon! Discipline is about planning the work and working the plan.

Perseverance – Those training days were hard! Seriously, after a long work week the last thing I wanted was a physical push to my body. But I kept going. Even when other friends had better plans than to spend time running. Even when there was something interesting on TV. Even when my body preferred some lighter workout. Even when… (you fill in the blank). On the day of the marathon I remember my friends words of wisdom, “one foot in front of the other.” That is all you need to keep pushing through; to persevere and run a marathon!

Motivation – During those long weekend runs, there was one thing that kept me motivated. It was the same thing that kept me motivated during the day of the marathon – my family and friends! Running a marathon is a huge accomplishment, but I was only made aware of this when my wife and children would wait for me in anticipation during those long training runs. I remember the words of encouragement: “you did great,” “that was quick,” or “you will conquer that marathon!” Those words played in my head over and over during the day of the marathon.

Additionally, my friends and I kept encouraging each other every week. Our running was always a topic of conversation when we would meet. We were together through each of the 26.2 miles. They were there during the hardest time of the run. The last 6 miles were particularly difficult for me. I wanted to just stop and walk. I remember my friends saying “do not stop now,” “don’t walk, keep running,” or “we’re going to finish strong!” That continuous support was key for me.

Completing the marathon was a huge accomplishment. I will remember the day, but also the training and the support that helped me through each mile. A great example for other areas of my life.

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My friends Jason, Derek and myself.

Each breath

I like to think each breath is an opportunity for a new beginning. Every morning I take note of this reality by incorporating thanks in my daily prayers for each breath I breathe. Starting something new can be exciting. The adrenaline to step out and doing it can be exhilarating!

So what are you starting?

Another day is here!
It’s the first day of school!
First day of college!
Starting a new job!
Waking up for the first time in your new home!
First day as husband and wife!
First day as parents!
The first mile of a marathon!
Opening the doors of your new venture!
The first step to…(fill in)

(the exclamation marks are intended – you should be excited!)

How do you make it worthwhile, and how do you keep pressing on towards that goal (Philippians 3-14)? It’s really about re-finding that first love. That feeling you had when you first found the truth (Revelation 2-4).

This can apply to other parts of your life. When you first started a job. When you first met. When you first set that goal. There is excitement in each new beginning. The secret to success is to replicate that energy every single day.

Let each breath encourage you to start something new. Let each breath remind you of why you started it. Let each breath continuously motivate you to press on and reach what you aimed to achieve. If you are breathing, the fight is still on and the race continues. Nothing can stop you. Feel the adrenaline with each breath – you are alive!

Selling Motivation

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I once heard Zig Ziglar say “We’re all selling something!” I remember listening to that statement and thinking about the numerous applications. It made a lot of sense to me since I work in sales. But it also struck a cord with my family. My 5-year old made it clear when he explained to me his birthday wishes: “I really want a Lightning McQueen party because he is fast and cool” he said. My first thought wasn’t really on the fact he was “selling” me his idea of a perfect party, I was actually more worried on the fact that my child had been sold to the idea of marketing (thanks Disney, 20 children’s DVDs and counting).”I want to be fast like Lightning!” he said!

I think what Zig was saying is that to be successful one needs to market themselves correctly and accept the idea that no else will do it for us. And if you really want it, then you better sell it! In my work I get to partner with individuals in order to maximize their sales potential and I use this expression often. However, I take it a step further by motivating them continuously and connecting with them personally: What do you want to achieve? How does this action link up to your goals? And what is the motive behind it?

This extra step can and makes a difference. I know that it’s part of their job so that should be enough motivation, right? Wrong. There are so many people surviving and not thriving simply because they do not know their potential. And other people’s opinions aren’t helping either. The majority of the time all they need is a little push. This is where WE come in. Me and you!

I believe in a different paradigm, one that recognizes potential for both the person needing encouragement and the one giving it. It’s really our responsibility. I’m saying this while also recognizing that not all ideas will become a success. Sometimes encouragement can be given as directing someone in the right path. There should be wisdom and context with each encouragement. So can you do it? Will you do it? All it takes is acknowledging the need for encouragement, for motivation, and acting on it!

As for my 5-year old? Well, he got a Lightning McQueen party and he is getting faster and faster. He sold it to me and I’m motivating him to believe in himself and helping him see his desires with the right context and the right reasons!