Maintenance Is Important

When I was a kid, I loved playing in my turtle sandbox. It was one of those big green plastic turtles that had a removeable "shell" covering the sand. I'd spend hours playing in that sandbox, but when I was done I wouldn't always remember to put the shell back on. You can guess what happened. The day I'd leave the shell off would be the day it rained and that would mess the sand up. It's hard to play in hard, wet sand. So then, I'd get upset that I would have to wait several days for the sand to dry back out before I could play in it again or ask my parents if I could get new sand to replace the wet sand. Fortunately, my parents took that opportunity to teach me the importance of maintenance and taking care of my things, noting that if I wanted to enjoy the benefits of something I couldn't neglect it. I had to take care of it. 

This little story from my childhood applies on many levels. For most things, maintenance is important. For vehicles, it's changing the oil and checking tire pressures. For yards, it's cutting the grass and pulling the weeds. For our bodies, it's making healthy decisions and exercising. For friends and family, it's hanging out and communicating regularly. For business, it's doing a good job and taking care of your customers. The list goes on.


It's easy sometimes when we're in pursuit of our dreams to get so busy that we can lose sight of other important aspects that need our maintenance. We need to remind ourselves to take care of all the things that really matter around us. It does us little good to be so laser focused on obtaining one goal, that we let other important areas within our life fall behind. 

Keeping a good balance and all aspects of our life maintained isn't easy. It can be a real challenge. I haven't mastered it, but I'm working towards it. Because at the end of the day, maintenance is important.

*Do you have any stories or examples where you've found this to be true? Share them below in the comments.







Be Persistent

As the simple saying goes, "If at first you don't succeed, try, try again." Taking the first step can sometimes be the hardest. Unfortunately, the first step may not be the one that sets everything into motion. Oftentimes, it requires being persistent.


Whatever you do, don't sell yourself short. Don't take the first step and then be discouraged if things don't immediately start coming together. Keep pressing on.


Sometimes, you need to not take no for an answer. Sometimes, you need to be the one who keeps on keeping on. Don't be a quitter. Anyone can be a quitter. Be the person people can count on for going the extra mile. 


I've found time and time again that things don't always work on the first attempt. Sometimes, you've got to learn from past failures to create future success. Sometimes, you've got to be the person who just won't give up.


Be persistent in the small things. Be persistent in the big things. Be persistent when it's easy. Be persistent when it seems impossible, because while you're busy being persistent someone else is busy giving up.






Dream Killers (Don't Be One)

I can think back to when I first started to really have goals and aspirations for my life. There were so many people around me that said I wouldn't be able to achieve those things. They were dream killers.


I'm not sure if you attribute people shooting down others' dreams to jealousy, them lacking vision for themselves or just having a wrong mindset about things, but unfortunately people will try to discourage you.


Fortunately, I've always had family and close friends that encouraged my dreams, rather than discouraged them. People that spoke faith and belief in me as I worked towards my goals. This makes a huge difference. When you know that you have people that believe in you and your abilities, it empowers you. It pushes you to achieve them in spite of all the people that said you couldn't.


One of the best things you can do is use all of the negativity and discouragement from the dream killers as fuel for the fire of your desire. It's easy to let others' disbelief bring you down, but don't allow that to happen. Don't spend time with these people. If the only thing these discouraging people have time to do is try to bring you down, then you shouldn't have time to listen to them or hang around them. Find an inner circle of family and/or friends that do believe in you. Cultivate those relationships. Your time is better spent where you are celebrated, not tolerated.


Being exposed to others' negativity and discouragement quickly made me realize that I never want to be a dream killer. I don't want to be a discourager. I want to be someone who encourages and believes in people. I want to be someone who says "you can do it", "you can be it", "you can make it." Sure, there will be challenges along the way and there may be hurdles to overcome in the pursuit of any good thing. It will require a lot of work, but that doesn't mean it's not possible. It can be done. I want to be a dream encourager, a dream enabler.


So, if you've got a dream to be or to achieve. I believe it is possible. I believe it can be done. I challenge you to consider the same. Don't be a dream killer. Be someone who believes in your dreams and encourages others that theirs' are possible as well.


Have you had experiences similar to these? Let me know.






Have A Purpose

Every morning we wake up and go about our lives doing all sorts of things. We go to work. We run errands. We go to school. We visit with friends. We volunteer. We use our time. It can be easy to lose sight of exactly why we're doing some things, maybe without even putting much thought into it. I think it's of great importance for us to have a purpose in everything we're doing.


Zig Ziglar is notable for having a famous quote, "If you aim at nothing, you will hit it every time." This quote holds absolutely true. If we're not focused on keeping a purpose to our actions and time, we can find ourselves doing a lot of things but accomplishing nothing. We need to have a purpose for our time, a purpose for our actions, a purpose for the day and a purpose for our lives. Purpose gives life to our dreams, it provides a destination to work towards, When you've got purpose to your life and actions, you've got goals. When you've got goals, you'll have achievements, because when you aim at something you'll increase your chance to at least hit it sometimes.


I challenge you to think about what you're doing each day. Are you living with purpose? Or, are you just living in the moment with no clear direction. Don't live for the day. Be deliberate. Have a purpose.






Do You Have "It"?

Several weeks ago, I was fortunate to hear the great football coach, Bobby Bowden, speak. He talked about how the great people and players he's encountered over the years have "it". He explained how you can't really define "it" in any specific way, but when it's there everyone knows it.


I think everyone is capable of having "it" in their own way and within their own skill set. No, everyone doesn't have "it" to be a collegiate or professional football player, but I believe that having "it' starts with working hard and being willing to push yourself to succeed. I think having "it" involves going the extra mile, keeping a good attitude, not giving up and doing the right thing.


Whether it's being a teacher, farmer, customer service representative, nurse, mechanic, friend, parent or companion, we can all have "it" within our respective roles. We can maximize our skill set and make the most of our situations. We can choose to stand out, to go above and beyond. Maybe you don't know what you have "it" in yet. Maybe you're still trying to figure that out. I would encourage you to identify your skill set and your calling, then focus on making the most of it.


Do you have "it"? I know you've got "it". How will you use "it"?