Every year at the end of February I fly to Las Vegas for the annual Awards Recognition trade show. It’s a great association full of all types of awards and sign businesses from all over the world. For the last couple of years I have had the privilege of teaching several classes on marketing, advertising and this year sales. My favorite thing to do is poll the audience. In one of my classes there were over 180 people, which represents somewhere around 90-100 award and sign shop owners. This class is a pretty good sample for a statistical poll. When I asked how many
shops were up in sales from last year, about half raised their hands. When I asked how many expect to be up in 2014, over 90% raised their hands. I believe from the bottom of my heart that optimism is an inherent human endowment. When the chips are down, we tend to believe tomorrow will bring the winds of change… positive change. I titled one of my classes “Business Growth in Spite of the Economy”. I like the title because it implies that we, (as small business owners an entrepreneurs), have the choice whether or not we succeed, especially in America. I spent and hour and a half teaching specific detailed instructions on five things we can do immediately to increase our bottom line. The sad part in all of this, next year when I poll the audience, about half will be up in 2014 (as compared to the 90% who thought they would be). The problem lies in the mindset and formidable, consistent action. In the Bible, one of the words for faith is the Greek word “pistis”. In today’s vernacular it’s better rendered “Believing”. Believing is a verb and a verb requires action.
Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe [pistis] that ye receive [them], and ye shall have [them].
God doesn’t say to just pray… He says to pray THEN take believing action!
Even so faith [pistis- believing], if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.
James 2: 17
I ended the seminar with this question: “Your mom was kidnaped and is being held hostage. They will kill her unless you make 10% more than you did in 2013. You are not aloud to tell anyone about your mom problem. Could you increase your sales by 10% if your mom’s life depended on it?” 100% of the audience said yes, there wasn’t a doubt in the room! They all admitted they could do it if they “had” to, if moms life was at stake. What I just did was take away all the excuses. So what everyone in that audience was saying is if they don’t increase business this year it’s because they choose not to. This implies that success is simply an unwavering mindset backed with massive action. How about you? What do you choose? Do you “believe”? If so, then take some action… because action is how things get done!
How do you eat an elephant?
Have you heard the term spring fever? It’s that time of year when everything is budding and blooming. Every year about this time, I always get these ideas to tackle a big project, like cleaning out the garage (which IS a big project). This year I really want to renovate our production facility here at Award Masters. This is a big project and it overwhelms me.
That’s the problem with big ideas, they often fail to launch because the implementation of the idea seems too big and too hard. That’s when we feel overwhelmed and lose our sense of power. It’s hard to take quality (or any) action when you are overwhelmed with the details.
The answer to this problem is ‘chunking’ – that is, thinking about the project in manageable steps (chunks).
For example, if you think about driving from New York to Los Angeles in the dark, it seems a bit overwhelming. Our headlights only shine 50-60 yards ahead of us, so how will we know where to go? The big picture is to map out our route we will take. Then we break it down into bite size chunks we can devour. As we travel, our headlights, (the area we can see) move ahead at the pace we choose. As new areas in the road come into view, we make adjustments and changes. We don’t worry about the road behind us.
The irony is that the first mile is often the hardest one. Think big, with small steps. If you want better results, quicker and with less stress, after you have done your brainstorming and ‘big thinking’, do some ‘small thinking’. Break the implementation of the project down into bite size chunks (baby spoonfuls if you want to), and start checking them off, one by one.
Each time you complete a task, step back and admire your handy work. You might even like to celebrate a few of your victories.
God restores a man’s life
The fact that I’m still alive has nothing to do with me at all and is truly a miracle, so all the Glory belongs to GOD. However, I hope that I can encourage you by the brief synopsis of the past 8 months and how I experienced three different miracles. In late August I started getting violent headaches. They grew to such an intense state that my wife found me at 3 a.m. one morning screaming at the top of my lungs, “make it stop, make it stop!” This time she immediately rushed me to the hospital, a CT scan and MRI determined my brain was full of infection and surgery was required. The medical prognosis was: Peptostreptococcus bacterial meningitis that had broken the blood brain barrier and additionally I had 2 brain abscesses. Bacterial meningitis can kill you in less than 24 hours. They told my wife Sandy, I had a 20% chance to live and a good possibility of brain damage. Over the next month, I also had severe reactions to some of the antibiotics leaving me with blister all over my body, and almost killed me again. I won’t share much more about the medical portion, because that is so well documented, I do however want to share what GOD has taught me through all this and how amazing His Grace is.
Every medical person who understood the severity of bacterial meningitis said the same thing, either I was lucky to be alive or if they were True Believers, It’s a Miracle, or GOD is not done with you yet or It was not your day to go to heaven. All the people who are not as familiar with meningitis say they are AMAZED at this miracle.
Before all this happened, I was one of the owners of a local telecommunications company, Business Communications & Data (BCD). Since the effects on me physically were so harsh, I relinquished my role in the company. Like many we were working hard, but not quite out of the economic decline that has hit so many here in Pensacola, but I felt we were on our way. Unfortunately I have not drawn an income since September, and I do not qualify for unemployment or disability. Until recently really have not had the strength or energy to work. (I spent 4 months on my back, 2 ½ of it in a hospital bed, and the rest rebuilding my body.)
Through all this GOD has not taken His hand off us, and continues to provide in awesome ways. In addition, GOD has done 3 separate physical miracles, in that He cured the meningitis and kept me alive without brain damage; he healed my body of blisters, and has completely dissolved the abscesses.
In addition to demonstrating His healing and provision, if I could share the most important things He has taught me through this they would be:
That you would know Him and not just about Him
“If” you wake up in the morning, because you never know, Praise GOD for He is amazing grace, and thank Him for Jesus because He is amazing love.
Thank Him for all the people around you and pray that you show them Jesus in you.
All the things that are part of your life; your job, house etc., it’s all good, but just remember it’s just STUFF.