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Archive for June, 2010

You Really Can Go Home…

I have just completed a weeklong visit to my city of birth, Peoria, Illinois. Having been a resident of California for the past 32 years, and always feeing the sense of pride for being a product of a proud Midwestern city, I usually stay only a few days before heading back to the west coast.

If you have ever spent a week in your hometown, you know how it feels to see childhood friends, fellow high school classmates, even a long lost love…but it was the time I spent with my family that brought so much joy to my heart. My best friend and his family had a cookout where so many of them and their children, and grandchildren were introduced. Outside of the stifling 95 degree heat, the time reminiscing about our childhood pranks and foibles, I was emotionally satisfied. However, it was the time with my daughter, grand and great-granddaughter that had my heart singing.

Imagine now, as we are moving towards a time in our lives when there are more days behind us than in front of us, and knowing that there is a legacy of your family in place. Sharing family lineage and life history with my granddaughter brought joy to us both as she found many things both funny and interesting. I even brought a letter along with me that she had written to me over 10 years ago…when she was smitten by the Hello Kitty craze. She was surprised that I had kept it and got a real kick out of that. Looking into the eyes of my great granddaughter, knowing she will see things in her world that I can’t even imagine, humbled me as to the evolution of life and honor the fact that we are all here for just a few short years..

For my online friends and former Peoria residents who now live around the country, I captured photos and videos of various cityscapes…creating a trivia game of name-that-place. Sadly, my video blog pursuit of a childhood eatery, Velvet Freeze, famous for their Wonder dogs and chili, came up empty as they all have been closed in a sad example of the economic times we live in.

As I prepare to board my plane later today I do so with a smile on my face and a song in my heart. This trip to my hometown has been cathartic and special. I am reminded once again that we can go home and feel that sense of connectedness to people and a place that can never be undone. Time to now click my heels, board a 727 airliner and head back to my new home….without the need of any Wizard. Peace.

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The Time versus Money Trade-off

Many of us have heard for a number of years that when we accept a job description we are essentially trading our time for dollars. Whether that is at a rate similar to an entry-level position or one that reflects veteran status, it is still a trade-off. We put in the amount of hours that an employer determines will require to get the job done.

As an entrepreneur, the ratio and scope is a bit different. We see that there is a specific task that is necessary to be accomplished, and we determine its level of importance to the larger goal. How we spend time each day is in direct proportion to the task-to-goal-accomplishment blueprint we have established.

How do you spend that time? What small steps can you take today that REALLY moves you closer to getting the task completed? Are you trying to do this all by yourself? Might there be a way to outsource a task or two, thus freeing you up for more important work?

Today, take some time to evaluate this concept. It could make all the difference in your feeling like you still have a JOB versus truly being an entrepreneur.

Peace.

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Many of you know how much I love basketball. I had played for many years and now for the past 20 years served as a high school official. As we are in the midst of the NBA finals, and witnessing a competitive series between Boston and Los Angeles, the teams of players and even the referees always look forward to halftime.

The break for halftime serves as an opportunity to assess the situations that have played out in the first half of the game. The coaches discuss with their players what must be modified for a better outcome for the next two quarters. Even the officials are mindful that the intensity of the final half of play must keep them focused and poised to prevent potential problems from dictating the outcome for the remainder of the contest.

Here we are in the middle of June…pretty much halftime of the year 2010. Many of you made commitments to living a healthier lifestyle…losing weight, quitting smoking, reducing stress. Making an honest assessment is not easy. We are too lenient, or some are too harsh on ourselves. Remember the NBA coaches are not playing, thus they have an objective viewpoint.

Are you still reviewing and staying true to your goals for 2010? One of the easiest actions that you can incorporate into your daily regimen is walking. And now that the days are longer and weather is pleasant, walking for health is much easier than ever. People ask why I workout three times a week, it is because it’s easier to stay in shape, at my age, than to get into shape. I know that November is coming and my ability to run the floor with those high school athletes must be a priority today. Procrastination today will get me in trouble during a game later.

So, I challenge you today to recommit to doing that thing that you know will make a positive impact in your health. And consider getting an accountability partner to encourage you. Working as a team is how either the Lakers or Celtics will hoist the championship trophy by next Sunday.

Peace.

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We all have heard that children’s story where the witch daily asks her enchanted mirror, “Who is the fairest beauty in the land?” And to her dismay it is not she. Which is disturbing on a couple of fronts, but mostly because she can look in that mirror and see what is facing her. Not a looker to say the least. Unwilling to face the truth.

How similar it is in our daily lives where we see something that is staring us in the face, yet we choose to ignore/imagine it to be something other than what it is. The easy thing to see is something physical…our sliding-south midsections, receding hairlines, and wrinkles that will not vanish despite using the newest miracle creams.

Sadly, it is the unseen mirror images that do us more harm. The negative comments that an envious friend/colleague/parent spoke to you far too many years ago. Which has echoed in your head ever since, and held you hostage from becoming what God had intended for you.

I have asked friends and family from time to time, when they state a negativism, oftentimes without thinking, by holding up my hand as if holding an imaginary mirror, “What do you see?” And it regularly ignites a hearty debate about how unconsciously we say things that are not what we believe about ourselves. Yet, those comments flow out so smoothly, as if they are a part of our very DNA.

So, do it for yourself. Look into your own mental mirror. Honestly look at what it is that keeps you from doing/having/being more…today. It is when we honestly face that will we shed those ghosts and truly live in the light of our higher selves. And there will be no need to send a toxic piece of fruit to anyone either…Peace.

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I thought it would be refreshing to share a guest submission today. One that I feel represents the essence of my renewed commitment to “being” a new and improved person this year. I think you will enjoy this as well. Maybe you will see a bit of yourself in this piece…and get busy focusing on the new path you wish to create.

Peace.

6 Months and Counting…

I came into the new year proclaiming all of the great things I would do in 2010. Of course, I said I would lose weight, make more money etc. (You did too :). Remember, I retired from pastoring and only serve as a guest evangelist at different churches. I get to sleep late, read the paper and drink coffee at my leisure — like retired people. Well, it all sounded great on paper until my bank account started reflecting that of someone who had a drastic drop in income. Thus, I had to come into 2010 with some specific goals around finances and still keep up my “retirement” lifestyle. LOL

My oldest brother has always been my personal barometer regarding my goals and accomplishments – he gets on my last nerve! However, this year, we both made plans to make our lives better than they’ve ever been. For the first time, I can truly say it was not just another one of those New Year’s Resolutions that got lost somewhere between January and February. I have actually accomplished more in the past six months than I’ve done in the past six years. I’m having a blast working with children and youth. I’m working on the weight – but more importantly – my health, and turned my finances around.

Was it his nagging? No! He didn’t have to nag and push this time. It was focus and determination. Were there obstacles? God knows there were plenty. In fact, the harder I worked, the bigger the obstacle — but that’s another blog!

Many religious people criticized the book and DVD, “The Secret,” but I truly believe in its basic concept along with my own biblical interpretations and put them into practice. Thus, I have reviewed my life in 2010, in increments of great success. When we completed the first 90 days, I was ecstatic because I had not given in to procrastination, laziness or the same old excuses. Here we are 6 months and counting and I have a renewed passion for life, love and whatever comes my way.

It’s taken me a long time, but I’m really living my dreams wide awake! I totally understand that our lives are a blank canvas waiting for us to paint a beautiful picture. What have you been doing for the past six months? What will you do with the rest of the year? Go ahead and pick up YOUR brush and allow the artist in you to come alive.

Blessings,

Cheryl

Cheryl Ward Ministries
www.cherylwardministries.com

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Perfect Practice Precedes Perfection

Recently I attended a seminar where we were discussing the benefits of properly “working the room” at a networking event. Many of us knew that it was important to have plenty of business cards, which hand to carry one’s beverage of choice, and how to disengage from a conversation that was going on too long. Then the presenter asked the question, “So, practice makes perfect, yes?” And like obedient students who think we already know the answer, unanimously agreed.

That is when she drops the bomb on us. Simply practicing something does not guarantee perfection. One look at the golf swing of NBA legend Charles Barkley let’s us know that even if you play golf three days a week for over 20 years, you could still have a terrible game.

And so it is painfully true, that if one is to develop new habits in healthy living, finances, building a business, etc., one must practice what really works, not just what we understand.

So, as we now enter the summer months, I am, like Mother Nature, going to turn up the heat. When the new year rolled in many of us were passionate about having a better year in a number of areas of our lives. After five months, I ask the question, “How are you doing with your new ways of living? What imperfect practices are you perfecting?”

Only after an honest assessment will we be able to determine whether or not we are becoming better at our chosen endeavor, or are just rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. The need to be objective and honest is crucial.

So, take time this first week of Summer 2010 and evaluate your practices. Then do me a favor and let me know if you are on the right path, or have creatively found a new way to do the same old thing….

Peace.

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