My Job: Deliver the Pizza

Results“Results. Often harsh, but always fair.” This is a great quote by Brian Klemmer. In so many aspects of life this is true.
* Look at your income, your net worth, or the growth of your company. Those numbers are a result of your choices.
* Get on the scale. The number that appears is a result of your choices.
* Is your house clean or does it look like a tornado came through? However it looks is a result of your choices. (If the mess was caused by your kids, remember that you chose to have those kids and therefore the mess is a result of your choices!)

This is one side of the coin and I have measured most everything in my life according to MY choices and MY responsibilities. However, there is another side of the coin where we have no control over the results, because the choices belong to someone else.

Here are a few examples:

Pizza. When delivering pizza, my job is to get the pizza from the pizza parlor to the house that ordered the pizza. That’s it!
I am not responsible for what happens to the pizza – if it is eaten, fed to the dog, or thrown out.

Kidney. When donating a kidney, my job is to be willing and go through testing, surgery, and recovery. That’s it!
I can not control how well the recipient’s body receives the kidney, or if the body rejects the kidney one, two, or ten years down the road.

Kids. When raising kids, my job is to teach, train, and love my kids to the best of my knowledge and ability. That’s it!
I can not control the outcomes or results. My kids may reject my input and want to walk in their own rebellious ways as teenagers or adults. I am not responsible for their choices – I am only responsible for mine.

DeliverPizzaThere are plenty of choices we make in each of these scenarios. For example, if I deliver pizza. I chose to take the job, or start the business. I chose to accept the order. I chose to drive the pizza to the customer’s house. I chose to take their money and give them the pizza. I chose to drive away. There is no place for me to own (through guilt or pride or disgust) what happens with the pizza next. This sounds kind of silly, but it is so easy to own things that are not ours . . . as easy as it is to not own things that are our responsibility.

We cannot mix up our responsibilities. We must – in full ownership – accept our choices and we must also fully release the choices that belong to someone else.

I have been wrestling with guilt over someone else’s choices lately. I did my part, but instead of releasing the rest I have been holding on to it and it has made me miserable. Then my coach talked to me about pizza delivery and my pastor talked to me about kidney donation and I am reminded of where my responsibilities end. Keeping this line – or these sides of the coin – straight brings freedom. Only in freedom can we live a truly extraordinary life.

What about you? Are you holding the guilt or grief of another’s choices and making it your own? It’s time to own your choices completely and release the rest. Deliver the pizza and clock out.
Would love to hear your thoughts.

Be Extraordinary!

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The Chicken or The Egg?

chickenOReggIn 2010 my husband, Joe, began the official journey of writing his first book. He was writing for a daily devotional site and one particular week he wrote a series on the life of Joseph. The readers gave tremendous feedback and wanted to read and learn more. This was the inspiration Joe needed to get his dream of writing a book off the ground.

So, what came first – the inspiration or the writing?

Think about the question this way: What if Joe had simply been waiting for inspiration (the right thoughts, ideas, audience, a publishing company to offer him a book deal)? Would the book be written?

I venture to say that he would not have been writing for the devotional site in the first place if he was waiting for inspiration, waiting for the invite, waiting for the phone call, or waiting for the eager audience to emerge.

The writing came first.

ProjectJosephWriting daily was just the beginning. This daily habit and desire to share with others caused Joe to pursue writing for the daily devotional site. He was not invited. Well, it was a very loose invitation and it required initial action on Joe’s part. After several months of writing, the devotional series on Joseph emerged and was ultimately the catalyst for putting those initial thoughts into the pages of a book. Project Joseph is an amazing tool for dealing with past pain and gaining a new, life-changing perspective.

Are you waiting for inspiration before you take action on your dreams? What action do you need to take or what habit must become part of your daily life so that you are in a place where inspiration can appear.

When inspiration comes, will you be ready to receive and act on it? I hope so!

Be Extraordinary!

Bulbs Bulbs Bulbs

daff bulbsOne thing I learned after making it through the long Northern Michigan winter of 2012-2013 was how much I crave color come spring. “Spring” is a loose term here. We experienced snow on the ground from November until May, and my craving for color showed up sometime in early April. Perhaps it was all of the Facebook photos of blossoms and green grass from my friends in the lush Oregon valley. Or perhaps it was because white was the only “color” I had seen outside in more than five months (not even gray pavement).

When “spring” arrived in early May the snow was melting and my tulip bulbs were peeking through the snow-covered flower beds. I have about fifteen tulip bulbs that come through and ten that bloom. These tulips are here from the previous occupant of our home. I had intended to fill up the flower bed last fall but never really got around to it. In this part of the country, if you don’t get the bulbs planted by early October then it probably isn’t going to happen. That was the case for me last year, but not this year!

sm bulbI enjoyed a beautiful Sunday afternoon of bulb planting in early September. As I held the bulbs, dug the holes, and breathed in the wonderful scents of the outdoors, I thought about and envisioned what “fruit” all my labor would produce. I was dreamed about spring (while taking in as many warm days of fall as I could).

The seeds and bulbs don’t look like much – they are not beautiful – and they aren’t even colorful. The work was tedious and a little tiresome (I planted 44 bulbs!) I don’t even have anything to show for my labor except some fluffed up dirt in the flower bed. In fact, come December, February, and even April I will likely have no signs of color. I don’t even have a guarantee that they are going to emerge from the dirt or bloom into color.

BUT I have hope. I did the work. I made the investment. And, with hope, I trust that the results with come.

bulbs in handSo often (almost everyday) I want to see the results of my efforts now. Instant gratification does not usually bring about the real and lasting results I really desire. Because the results I desire don’t come fast enough, sometimes I slack on the effort and investment I make today. It doesn’t seem like it will make that big of difference, but six months from now when there are no flowers in the flowerbed, vacations taken, work promotions, or meaningful relationships, I will know why.

What about you? Is there an area of your life where some bulbs need to be planted so that in the season(s) to come you will have fruit? Please share your thoughts in the the comment box; let’s see if we can encourage each other to make the investments and plant the bulbs now that will lead to an extraordinary life. I will go first.

Be Extraordinary!

Choose Life!

ChooseLifeDaisy“Choose life! Only that and always! At whatever risk. To let life leak out, to let it wear away by the mere passage of time, to withhold giving and spending it is to choose nothing.” -Sister Helen Kelly

Wow! That is a powerful statement!

I admit, the past few months have not been months where I squeezed every ounce out of life. It has been a time of healing, some numbness, sadness (and joy), and even depression. I do believe there is a time for every season, and this was a season on the melancholy side of life. However, I also believe there is an end to every season and that without intentional action I would remain in my previous season for many more months.

I realized, while listening to some speakers at my recent business convention, that I am ready to move forward. I am ready to experience energy, passion, and the extraordinary life that I love so much. I do not want another day, week, or month to go by and have it be marked by the “mere passage of time.”

ChooseLifeI choose life! I choose to make the effort necessary to engage my life. I choose to engage my senses . . .
– breathing in the scents of fresh air and a new rain
– taking in the sights of a beautiful sunrise and clouds that look like fire
– listening to the laughter of my family
– touching the soft skin of my children as I tuck them in at night
– tasting my food and enjoying the flavor of each bite

There is so much to experience in this life.

Is your life marked by the mere passing of time or are you fully engaged?
What experiences and senses energize your life and passions?
Will you choose life right now? What step will you take today?

Be Extraordinary!

Pause the Planet

earthHave you ever felt like life is coming at you too fast?

There is a positive side of life coming fast when good, positive, adrenaline-filled momentum is surrounding you. If you haven’t experienced this kind of fast, then I suggest you put that on your bucket list. Momentum is crazy . . and fun.

So what about the other side? I was in a place recently where the challenges and difficult emotions of life seemed to be coming into my space non-stop. I wanted some space to clear my head, organize my thoughts and emotions, so I could move forward in a positive way.

Three weeks on a beach in Maui seems a reasonable amount of time and location! Ok, so that isn’t going to happen today, but it would still be nice if life had a pause button.

One of the favorite movies in our house is Megamind. When the goody two-shoes hero, MetroMan, finds himself trapped he takes time out to reflect and consider his options. He slows down all of life around him (actually he is just incredibly fast) and sees life from a new perspective. I would love to pause life. Imagine a situation unfolding – pause – step back, remember the love and compassion I have for people involved, then proceed with wise, thought-out words and actions.

I do not live in a world where I can pause everything around me, but I can still pause. There are some “pauses” I take each day that make a difference.

Pause #1: Alarm Clock

When my alarm goes off in the morning I do not jump right out of bed. Joe will gladly verify this fact! When I push the snooze button and when I sit up on the edge of the bed, these are opportunities to pause. I drink a glass of water first thing (put by my bed the night before) and this is a chance for me to be thankful for another day and center my thoughts and feelings before I greet another human being.

Pause #2: God Time

I have a pause time with God that I schedule into each day. God has so much wisdom for me and I am in desperate need of wisdom as I do business, parenting, marriage, home-management, etc. My connection with God gives me strength and courage to face the challenges of the day. If you don’t have a relationship with God, I encourage you to seek out Him and His wisdom.

Pause #3: Time Out

Sometimes I need a time-out. I will tell my kids, “Mom’s having a rough day and should probably take a time-out.” The kids are very understanding, have experienced time-outs themselves, and I often have the best power-naps during a mom time-out! This is another opportunity to use 15 minutes to change the trajectory of your day, the view of your circumstance, or your attitude.

Living the extraordinary life is not about having it all together or running through all of life Mach 1 with your hair on fire. Take some wisdom from MetroMan and pause.

Be Extraordinary!