Category Archives for "Personal Growth"

Job Satisfaction Is YOUR Job

You can enjoy your job no matter what you do. You can create, you can serve, you can inspire, in whatever line of work or circumstance you find yourself. Too many wait and say they’ll put in that extra effort, they’ll go the extra mile, after they find that perfect job or that perfect boss. The problem is that finding the perfect job is more of a mindset than a skillset, more of an attitude than an advertisement you respond to in the classifieds.

Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest. (Ecc. 9:10)

Choose to do your best where ever you are and, whatever you set your hands to, set your heart to as well.

But You Don’t Know My Boss

What NOT to Say to Get Rich

Words have power. In the Hawaiian culture we call this power mana and believe that when we speak it’s released into the world around us. Words mean something more than their meaning and if we can grasp certain principles we can change the quality of our life through the words we speak.


There’s a verse in the Bible about words having the power to build up or destroy, to bring life or death and I believe that. There’s a lot of us out there that also believe that sticks and stones can certainly break our bones but words can hurt, too—maybe more and for much longer.

Now, before we get much further into this, let me clarify something. I’m not one of those name-it-claim-it people who think that just because you say something out loud X number of times it’ll happen. I am one of those people, though, that believe our words do have power to direct our thinking and, since our thinking directs our actions, our words have power to shape our future.

I want to share three simple principles with you related to the mana in our words that can increase the mana in our lives. Continue reading

Dream Instructions From Grandma

It was the second night in a row I dreamt about my grandmother, both dreams so vivid and real it felt like she was still alive, still present, still around in my life. She’s been gone for a little over 7 months now and I can’t tell if that feels like a long or short time. I’ve had other dreams involving my grandmother; in fact, just last night I had one and a week prior another. But this one I want to talk about was different. In fact, it’s probably the only dream of its kind that I can remember.

Grandma’s Instructions

If I can categorize dreams I would call this one instructional. It was a straight out lecture and it was something I was supposed to get. She was sitting down in my dream, just sitting there looking at me; there was no introduction that I can remember. One second I’m sleeping, the next she’s talking to me.

And what she was telling me was simple and powerful: Enjoy and appreciate life.

That’s it. Over and over, sometimes in different ways (and I can’t remember precisely how she put it) but always with the same understanding that I was to get up in the morning, every morning, and recognize the amazing gift that was simply waking up.

I was to remember this throughout the day and embrace the opportunities presented to me because I was ALIVE!

She was adamant and passionate that I have a grateful attitude and recognize that I had to choose this attitude daily.

Life Gratitude List

My grandma’s message to me, and my message to you, is to put on the attitude of appreciation, of thankfulness, of gratitude every single day.

I woke up that morning in awe of the dream and the message. I lay in bed and did what I was told. I began by expressing my thankfulness to God for the sun I could see peaking through my curtains—it was a indicator of another opportunity to appreciate life. I then started listing all that I was grateful for:
* My wife and children
* The roof over our heads
* Our jobs and the great year we’re having
* Papa and Grandma Millie
* The difficulties in our lives that have strengthened us
* Our dog, Kiana

It only took a few minutes to reflect on these and by the time I was finished, swung my feet over the side of the bed, stood up and greeted the world I felt like a different person than the one that had crawled into bed the night before.

When you wake up grateful you live the day grateful.

When you wake up grateful you live the day grateful. You see things through the day that you recognize as that which you should be thankful for. You appreciate the beauty around you. You look at the challenges in the people and problems you deal with as things you will be grateful for in the future. Grateful living is a whole different mindset and it’s a game changer.

My grandmother passed away on February 13, 2012. Of anyone she has contributed the most to my view and approach to life. She’s helped me be a better me by showing me how to process and understand, work through and release, accept and forgive. I don’t doubt that she’s proud of me, I know that she is. It doesn’t stop me from trying to work harder to show her how much she means to me and how thankful I am of her.

 My grandmother is always on my list. Who and what’s on yours?

2 Four Lessons on Work-Life Balance from Stand-Up Paddle Boarding

Just back from a quick paddle on a holiday weekend! I was out in the water for only an hour but was gone for almost two because of some crazy traffic! The line of cars coming out of Lanikai Beach was as bad as I’ve ever seen it. 20 minutes to get 1/2 mile. Ugh.

Anyway, besides learning (re-learning?) why I should never go to the beach on a Labor Day holiday I also came up with a couple of lessons for us all relating to keeping our lives in alignment and balanced from my time on the water with my SUP.

Stand up paddle surfing (SUP), or in the Hawaiian language, Hoe he’e naluis one of the key components of my work-life balance portfolio. For me, there are very few other things that have all four of the elements of what I consider health in one activity. It’s of course a very physical thing with all that paddling, squatting and swimming (Everyone doesn’t get this opportunity while SUP-ing. Mostly just me when I fall off and have to chase my board). Continue reading

White Belt Mentality

My kids used to study judo just down the street from my house.  One day, as I was dropping them off, I noticed a new guy, an instructor, was there in place of the usual black belt sensei.  This guy looked like maybe he knew something about judo; he had that old, venerable, Mr. Miyagi-san thing going on, but he wasn’t even ablack belt!  I was a little disappointed that this normally really solid club would allow a person without the proper credentials to instruct the children. Humph!  What kind of school is this that has some guy, with a funny looking red/white belt, to take over the class??

If you know anything about judo you know how flat out, upside down and backwards wrong I was!  Upon siding up to one of the junior instructors and asking, casually, “Uh, who’s this red belt guy?” I was told that this “red belt guy” was the founder of the club and one of the highest ranking judokas in the state!!”Uh, that’s, ah, great that he, ah, still has time to, you know, instruct our children,” I mumbled, humbled, back.

My understanding then and now is so baby, so infantile.  I know in part and see in part because that which is perfect is not yet.  Why is it that I think that I know something when I don’t?  Continue reading

Why Ice Cube’s Day Was Good

A few weeks back I had what I considered a really good work day. It started with an exciting problem-solving meeting with a friend and client in the morning, then a cup of coffee in one of my favorite book stores skimming the new book section, and later another meeting with a potential client brainstorming how to grow their business. I drove home that afternoon feeling pretty darn positive about the whole day. I realized that there are certain elements that make up that proverbial “good day” for me, i.e.challenging assignments that I feel contribute in a meaningful way to helping people. If that happens I’m singing a pretty happy tune.

Speaking of singing, every time I hear the phrase “it was a good day” I always fill it in with Ice Cube’s “didn’t have to use my A.K.” I went and found the lyrics and now have a pretty good idea of what Ice Cube characterizes (at least back then in this rap) as a good day 🙂 Continue reading

Lessons From One of My Favorite Football Players

My youngest son has recently (every since watching Friday Night Lights) expressed a desire to play football. Specifically, his goal is to be the starting quarterback on our nearby high school team. He has been homeschooled his entire academic life but we are seriously considering this. He’s never played before and we’re not – or weren’t – even a football watching family. We didn’t even play Madden on our xbox!

My response to his goal was “Go For It!!” I always want my children to dream big dreams. Realistically, it’s going to be a big challenge but he throws a better spiral than me (granted not too difficult to do but still…) and has been consistently hitting the weights in the garage. Is that all it takes? Of course not. There’ll be other skills, both physical and mental, that he’ll have to develop and that’s good. I want the challenge for him. I want him to be able to envision a long(er) range goal, work hard for it and either make it or miss it but have no regrets about it.

One of the side benefits of his interest is a chance to talk about people that I remember influencing me as a kid. One of them was Walter Payton, a running back for the Chicago Bears during the 80’s. In looking for some articles on “Sweetness,” I found this video on Walter’s work ethic that I immediately emailed to him. Obviously, there are direct lessons for my son here regarding his approach to football and training. A little more indirectly there are the same core values transferrable to our everyday life, goals and achievements.

Thought I’d share it here. Be challenged. I am.

6 Ways To Improve Your Life Steering With Values

Our values steer our actions.  – Polynesian Voyaging Society

A year or so ago my youngest son participated in a canoe race in Waikiki that was the busiest and most fun contest all year.  There were so many people on the already crowded beaches; it was crazy.  It was a slightly different format than normal.  Usually, the canoe clubs of my son’s age (14 and under) did a quarter-mile on a flat straight course.  In this race, the annual Walter Macfarlane Regatta, they would paddle straight out into the waves, circle a buoy and race back in, hopefully timing it just right to surf a big set back in.  The waves that day were pretty a good size, definitely not for beginners.  For safety, the association substituted an experienced adult in the steers-person seat (number 6) to see the younger crews safely out and back. My son’s crew didn’t win that race but they had a great time in the surf.

He hewa i kapua ka`auwa`a panana`ole.

The fleet of canoes without a compass landed at Kapua by mistake.

The person who is steering a Hawaiian outrigger canoe is responsible for making directional choices and course changes. They use a specially shaped paddle that is weighed in ounces to adjust the direction of a 500 pound canoe.

Our lives, our choices and actions, are likewise steered by what appear to many as small, unimportant things:  our values.  I’ve seen enough people and organizations over the past 20 years as a pastor and as a consultant who either minimized the importance of their values, had no values or had mission/vision statements that were not in alignment with their values. They had no compass, no way to know where they were or where they wanted to be. Continue reading