A tall glass of the gold stuff…

alpha // whiskey // foxtrot

Each of us — trust me — has a little Light to give away…

The trick is to shine it where it’s wanted.

Thirty-four years now I’ve wandered this planet, and oh, how many days I’ve wasted, showering sunshine on those who wanted rain. Smoothing out the path for people who wanted to climb some kind of mountain, scrambling and slipping on loose stones…

Oh, friends, I’ve been such a fool.

*

So now: are you here, hungry for sun? Sit down then, and I’ll slice it wide-open for you. If you’re thirsty, I’ll squeeze it fresh into the glass.

There are places you can go, if you want to toss back a shot full of shadows. If you want to stumble home drunk in the dark. Believe me: I understand that kind of thirst, but I can’t serve it here — not today, at least. Not tomorrow, either.

But…

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Three Viable Ways To Reduce Your Liability

“Sustaining success is only possible if you’ve achieved it first.”
 
In business, personal relationships, or especially in official capacities, liability is THE single most crucial qualifier to a maintaining trust.  Sadly, it’s not so much as I what we do as much as it is how we are perceived in our pursuit of success.  This is a sad truth; a harsh reality; but a necessary consideration. 

Reducing liability is akin to being perceived as successful.  Banks do not give loans to businesses that don’t look successful on their business plan.  Suitors do not accept wedding proposals without believing their nuptials will be fruitful.  Nor should we select public officials who do not already have a successful network. 

Communication

We must be mindful of our words.  It’s very difficult to retract written statements.  It’s impossible for an associate to “unhear” a malicious or otherwise inappropriate comment. But we can think before we speak.  We can write a draft before we publish.  And we can collaborate before we put our own heads out in the chopping block.  Ensure that what you say is not harmful.   It is when we fail to do this, we are liable to damages, law suits, and substantial losses. That would be a major setback.  
 
No one is suggesting that we refrain from speaking though. However, Abraham Lincoln once said, “It’s better to be remain silent and thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.” Wise words not to be taken out of context.  Silence doesn’t not always meet our objective though.  Imagine having a question but never having the courage to ask it.  

  
Transparency 

So many entrepreneurs fail to have their ideas recognized because of their inability to develop a plan of action.  Whether it be a blueprint or a business plan, there needs to be a tangible work that can be demonstrated, displayed, and critiqued.  Put in the work!

“Faith without work is death!”   We can not wish success into existence.  To be successful we must develop our objective and convey our goal.  And then show up. 

Exposing the plan is not giving the secret away.  In fact, sharing the plan offers an opportunity for others to collaborate and offer support.  When they say that Rome was not built in a day, it must be understood that it was not built by an individual either.  Be willing to take the risk.  With hard work and tenacity, no one can steal your glory.  So show off a little!

We reduce our liability by rechecking our plan and consider the potentential for damage.  An plan that is 99% effective is still 1% likely to cause harm. Be aware!  Be careful. Plan better. 

Commitment

Commit to your goal.  Own it!  Waiver only when necessary, and avoid distractions at all cost.  There will be plenty of opportunity to abandon a goal for a better one.  And there’s nothing wrong with that.  But quitters never win.  That path that successful people take is not always the one least traveled.  But it is the one traveled by people who know where they are going. 

Do you know where you are going?  If not, revisit your plan.  Revise your plan. Ask for help.  When we fail to commit to our own plan, we are our own biggest risk.  Would you partner with someone who can’t commit to the plan?   Of course not.  Be the partner you wish to work with.  

Liability plays a huge role in achieving success because at any given moment in a business, personal, or official function we are offered an opportunity to communicate (or miscommunicate).  Transparency diminishes fear, wonder, or hostility because there are no secrets.  Not everyone will like the direction we are traveling, but atleast they will see our commitment. Our adversaries will always try to “throw shade” but that it merely evidence that we are on their minds.  When they are watching us succeed, it’s because we are in front of them.  Successful leaders, like ourselves, only look back to help others keep up.  

Success is not about meeting individual goals. It’s about collectively enriching the lives of those around us. Share these techniques with a colleague or friend. Each one CAN teach one.  

If you’d like to share a suggestion that helped you gain success by reducing your liability, leave a comment below.  Until we meet in the winners circle, thanks for reading!

Nouveau Trial Of Tears


Water, water, everywhere…

not a drop to drink

Tears running down parents’ faces

Brown water in the sink

 

From Flint, they will sprint

Politicians tried to save a buck

Colored water! Coloured faces

Did they give a fuck?

 

Switched the source, much remorse

Some think it is too late

School-aged children sure to die

Golden water, heaven’s gate

 

Urban crisis…Flint, Detroit

In our own backyard?

Children asking, “Our water too??”

Poker facing, will they see our card?

 

Clean water put out fires

Dirty politicians who we hire

How much till we tire?

Patience surely to expire!

 

That wasted water, we can’t drink

Sending fresh water, so we speak

“Mom, why are we moving?”

Tears falling, mom can’t speak

 

Mom’s packing our clothes

Dad is making calls

Those who CAN move, WILL

Those who CAN’T    F  a l  l

 

Like Katrina, government arrived late

Like Ferguson, government said WAIT

Like New Orleans, government: ” RElocate!”

Texas, here we come!!

 

Build a wall??

WE are coming from the North

Southern Belles, prepare your homes

You’ve been “Trumped” citizens coming forth!

 

 

Don’t you get it?

Don’t you care?!?

It’s not just in Flint!

It’s the American nightmare!

 

This nouveau trail of tears

Renewed death and fears

Politicians campaign smears

Victory brings no cheers…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Power To Stay, The Energy To Leave

  
When we feel that lull in our lives or that too-familiar melancholy, we know it’s time to change something. We know it’s time to move.  Whether it’s been a few years or a few months, we sometimes yearn for the next chapter to begin.  

It takes an emense level of power to stay in a situation that we’ve outgrown. Prayerfully our current setting is one that we’ve chosen.  But not always.  Prayerfully when we are ready to progress, we have the energy.  But that’s it!  We may think we are ready when we are not.  It’s rarely on our own terms.  We must be provoked.  We must be motivated.  We must be propelled by an energy greater than our own. 

And when we harness that energy, it’s amazing.  It’s mystical at first, magical in it’s delivery, and…satisfying.   

The energy that it takes to move to the next level is so much greater than the energy it takes to sustain the change.  Like a roller coaster, the force needed to get to the top is slow and building.  Click, click, click gradually running out…seemingly pushed to the limit.  But then the magic!  Predictable.  Not spontaneous.  Planned, calculated, and an outcome that possessed all the qualities that we anticipated (without an once more energy than we needed).  The climax comes a nanosecond before the drop.  

Falling sometimes wildly.  Dropping quickly,  with a force exponentially greater than anything that we imagined.  But it doesn’t last. 

It’s that energy that we are addicted to.  We will wait hours for a great thrill at an amusement park.  In life, we will wait weeks, months, years…for that thrill.  

In our careers, in our relationships, in our personal goals we can endure the wait.  But how long will we wait for the NEXT big thrill?  How much energy will it take for us to leave our current situation?  

The next chapter has probably already begun. Whether we realize it or not, life is continuing regardless of our participation.  Being still and patient requires power too. It’s called restraint.  The energy we reserve is building, building, building until…we release. 

Tomorrow is here.  We are more powerful than we were.  We’ve released, restored, re-done.  We get another chance, we do it better; and with less energy.  

Harder, better, faster, stronger!

Ladies, who cleared your snow?

  

It’s not at all sexist to suggest that the men did it. Because they didn’t!  The Blizzard of 2016 brought with it some marvelous sights.  We were all connected by the endless stream of time-lapse photography, viral Times Square snowball fights, and winter wonderlands. But what of the other fantastic marvel?  Who is shoveling the snow?

As a man with many female friends, I have to expect that everyone of them is independent.  Not one called or texted to ask if I’d come rescue them.  Could be because my friends are wonder women.  Could be because they know that I won’t.  Either way the job got done–and no one waited for a dude to help out.  

The ladies in my life either have all-wheel-drive, four wheel drive, or front wheel drive.  The state of emergency was a mere delay.  They would not be stopped!   And when the calls began to roll in, it wasn’t to request my assistance.  It was to request my company.  Alas, this dude was snowed in.  Locked in!  Tight like Fort Knox.  No one was getting in and no one was getting out.  

Not that there’s anything wrong with that…

I remember a time when the weather forecast brought about a balance of panic and comfort. The panic resulted in rushing to the grocery store.   The comfort came knowing that the family had its provisions.  

Mom cooked and baked. Dad watched the Weather Channel. And the kids played bored games (aka board games) until the snow had fallen.  And then…  Everybody went outside to play.  Everybody, but mom.  

Now mom watches enough news to know that the storm is coming.  Shopping?  Check!  Rock salt?  Check!  Shovels, snow suits, gloves, and hats!  Check, check, double check!  Dad is either playing on his phone, watching YouTube on the laptop, or consumed by the dreaded Xbox.  

Mom still cooks and bakes.  Kids still entertain themselves, except this time they are playing on their mobile devices or video games (separate from Dad). And Dad…

This year, mom didn’t wait to be rescued.  Mom didn’t even ask anyone else.  She just did it.  Women across the land dug themselves out!  And then didn’t ask for anything else. 

One of my friends suggested that if her man wanted some cookies, he’d better get there and perform his duties!  Don’t ask how that ended.  

Fellas, the ladies have stopped asking.  You are no longer needed.  If you haven’t been putting it down, she’s not waiting for your lazy ass.  

As for me?  Well, I’m single.  No complaints, no expectations, no entitlement.   And it’s cold outside…

Blessing in the Storm

  
This morning I sensed something above my head.  I heard scratching and then a rustling.  The dog barked, the cats scurried, and then I saw this squirrel fall from my roof. Out my window, I watched this seemingly confused creature of God hustle through the snow and climb the bark of a nearby tree.  

What could this mean?  What in the world?!?

The storm, no doubt, has changed our path. The months leading up to today caused more confusion than reason.  Heat in the west, floods in the south, blistering winds to the north, and here we are trapped in this debilitating snow!

 
Years ago a man gave a trial sermon that I desperately wanted to witness.  For reasons that I cannot remember, I could not attend the event.  His wife offered me a digital audio copy of the sermon days later.  I gratefully accepted and played it immediately.  I then put it aside knowing that I could appreciate it again later. 
And then I forgot about it.  Out of sight, out of mind.  

There have been trials in my life that have been a reflection of either poor decisions, failed recognition of the “signs” or a wavering faith.  Each trial or “storm” brought with it a destruction of what was.  It also brought (more than) a restoration on the other side of the storm.  

No matter how prepared we think we are, He is more powerful!  

And so as I sort through my preparations (for the next storm), I discovered this sermon amidst my emergency supplies.  When I found it a week ago, I hadn’t heard any weather predictions yet.  I did not know of the impending Blizzard.  

And yet…

He knew.  It is His storm!   He creates the devistation.  He placates the hearts that receive Him.  He restores after its done.  

Below is that sermon, prepared years ago; converted to a shareable format, and available for you on this Sunday morning that most churches are closed.  

Click the link below:

Blessings In A Storm

Do you feel me?

  

Can you see through my smile?

Can you feel the wind blister my face?

The grumble in my belly?

The tears well up in my eyes?
My pain is personal

But I fear that you feel my pain too. 

  
My misery and your company
Do not make our pain less.  

Their pity and genuine empathy…

Rage building in my chest. 

  
Anger fuels my passion. 

Angels calm me down. 

There won’t be much more smiling

Look beyond my frown

  
Dis-in-genuine concern

Mixed with patriotic patronization 
Smiles and looks of contempt…