The Downside of Success

Missing the TargetIn my last post, I told all of you about my weight loss and exercise program as part of Oakland Christian School‘s Biggest Loser competition.  Well today’s is to give you a little update!

On Wednesday, I received an email from Merianne telling us that we are in for a “surprise weigh in” on Friday.  Well, much to my delight, my initial thought was “Nice! I can’t wait to see if I maintained or maybe even lost another pound or 2!”

So this morning, I stepped on that scale and I actually GAINED almost 4 pounds!  Not the news I was hoping to get!  What happened?

I think a few things could contribute to this…those “few things” being the number of Christmas parties and pot lucks I’ve attended over the last couple of weeks!  More importantly though, I think I experienced the downside of success…complacency.  I took my eyes off the target of maintaining my weight and healthy eating habits and thought that I could now just coast.  Thankfully, the scale can be a painful reminder that in order to have continued success, you need to stay focused on your goal which for me was staying and eating healthy.  It’s time to refocus and not let this small setback derail all the work I’ve done up to this point!

As I look forward to 2013, this little year end lesson made me think about other areas in my life where I’ve enjoyed some success and maybe have given in to some complacency:

  • MY FAITH – my relationship with God is stronger than ever but still requires full commitment from me to live it out every day
  • MY MARRIAGE – Julianne and I will celebrate 14 years in August next year.  We’ve had our ups and downs but our relationship is the glue that holds our family together and I want make sure that she knows how much I love her and admire her
  • MY KIDS – These 4 little ones always bring a smile to my face and I take being their father seriously.  There are things I can (and will) do better next year.  In addition to spending more time with them individually, I want to provide them with their own targets / goals to achieve and hold them accountable.
  • MY JOBMRM Detroit has been great to me and it really is hard to believe I’ve been here for over 2 years now.  The leadership here has been very supportive especially when the account I came here for was closed.  They reassured me they would find a place for me, they did and now I have a reason to be even more appreciative with the recent promotion I received

So there you have it.  Along with my health, the 4 things I listed above need my continued focus and that means staying true to the goals I’ve laid out for myself in each of them.

Don’t take your eyes off the target or you might get stuck with an extra 4 pounds you don’t want.

Merry Christmas everyone!

Friendship Redefined

I’m a huge advocate of social media (as you know) and how it has impacted the way brands market.  I love the connections that I’ve made from using Facebook and Twitter.  This blog has given me a platform to share my thoughts on faith, fatherhood and marketing.  Social has expanded our reach to across the country and in some cases around the globe.  I’m sure you’ve also seen the ability to reconnect with people you once thought you may have never been able to again.

However, with all of the positives I just mentioned, social has redefined the word “friend” hasn’t it?  Think about this…I have 1,177 friends on Facebook.  I don’t tell you that to brag, but as I look at that number, what real relationship do I have with all of those people?  Yes, there are a select few that I can say I have a deep friendship with but most of the others are people that I’ve come to know professionally, people I’ve come to know through Kensington, others are childhood friends and others are those from Michigan State.  Regardless, each group of people was significant for a certain period of my life but I can’t honestly say the friendship is nothing more than a casual friendship.

What I’ve learned and was reinforced this past weekend at Kensington Orion was that social media does a great job of expanding our friendships horizontally but often times causes the vertical depth of friendships to suffer.  Don’t get me wrong, I have been able to establish deep and meaningful friendships with some…Gini Dietrich and Justin Brackett are 2 great examples but those were able to grow because of the personal investment we made to get to know each other not only through our online interactions but also through in person visits and conversations.

As I’ve continued to think about this over the last few days I began to look at the friendships I have with other guys around me…or lack thereof.  I hope I’m not in the minority on this, but in conversations I’ve had with other guys in my circles (not a Google+ reference), many of us can only name maybe 1 guy that we feel comfortable enough sharing more than the surface level stuff with.  It must be a guy thing because I know this comes much easier for women.

Why is this important?
I mention all of this because of the message from Kensington Orion this week.  This past Sunday we talked about the 3 men in David’s life that…

…were committed
…were Christ like
…carried burdens

This group of men battled for each other and supported each other.  I want that in my life.  I also want that for the life of my sons.  I want other men, other than me, to pour into my boys and teach them what having strong male figures in their lives will do for them as they grow up to become men.  For me, I want a select few guys to be able to hold me accountable to my faith, to my marriage and be able to help me when I’m struggling.  This verse from Proverbs states it perfectly:

As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another. ~ Proverbs 27:17

Having these close relationships sharpens us, makes us better men, better husbands and better fathers.

What is my action step?  To invest in the relationships around me and pray that God reveals to me the open doors of friendships that will sharpen me and to make the vertical investment.

What about you?

I’m A Christian and I’m Sorry

Many of you who have read my blog know that my faith is a HUGE part of my life.  I base everything that I am on my relationship with Jesus Christ.  I try to treat people how I think Jesus Christ would have treated them when He was here.  My life verse is 1 Peter 3:15…

“But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect”

Gentleness and respect.  How often do we see Christians forget that?  I’ll let you answer that because I’m sure you’ll be able to give many examples.  Today’s post is an apology to those that have been offended by Christians.  I’m sorry for how you’ve been treated.  I’m sorry if you’ve been disrespected.  Yes, there is a hint of frustration in my words today because I’ve personally been affected by behavior that embarrasses me as a Christ follower and I want to apologize to everyone out there if you’ve been treated poorly by someone that believes in God.

More than anything, what I’ve recently been witnessing has motivated me to be more outspoken in my faith…not to those that don’t believe in God…but to those that do.  I understand that we as believers are called to “witness” to those that don’t know Him, but you’re not going to be successful if you can’t get your own house in order.  I plead with other Christians out there…BE UNIFIED.  God is the common thread we all have.  Trust your faith and don’t let pride get in the way.  Yes, we are human and WILL make mistakes.  When that happens, be humble and apologize!

There was motivation behind this post today and if the people that I’m speaking to happen to read this, I hope they stop talking and start listening.  Bryan Willmert recommended a great movie to watch…Lord Save Us From Your Followers.  I watched it last night and I couldn’t help but smile because it was the thing that I needed to see.  I know that I’m going to be more mindful in how I treat people because I am passionate about sharing why I believe what I believe and sincerely hope that everyone I meet can get a taste of it and decide for themselves if it’s something they want to believe.

Thanks for stopping by and if I’ve offended you in the past…I’m sorry.

Launch and Leave

There was a term that was often mentioned when I worked on brand new vehicles at General Motors…launch and leave.  This was mainly used by the dealers when GM would “launch” a brand new vehicle with a lot of media and invest millions of dollars launching a car to increase awareness and consideration.  The “leave” part came in when the media plan and money was spent and the selling and awareness of the brand new vehicle would then be left to the dealers.  It generally wasn’t a good thing and we often heard about it from the dealers especially when sales of the brand new vehicle were slow.

I was thinking about this idea as it relates to my kids.  I’ve written posts before that talked about leaving a legacy and being involved in our kids’ lives.  This post just seemed like the next natural thought in my head as it related to my thoughts on being a dad.  Parents, think about your daily interactions with your kids.  Are you being overprotective?  Are you letting your kids make mistakes as they grow up so they can discover for themselves what is right and wrong?

This is hard for me as I’m sure it is for other parents.  You want to protect your kids from pain, both physical and emotional.  You go back to the day when your kid(s) were born and you remember it like it was yesterday.  For me, I have 4 distinct memories like that and with each of them, I knew that I had a tremendous responsibility to teach and lead them.  No pressure, right?  As my kids get older, the teaching opportunities come at you in every different direction.  How can I use disagreements between siblings as a teaching moment?  What about sports?  There are quite a few there.  You can also imagine the stories that come back from pre-school, kindergarten and 2nd grade.

My point is this.  If you’re paying attention to what is going on in your kids lives, you’ll see the opportunities where you need to let your kids figure out the problems for themselves.  You as the adult, should be able to see when the appropriate time is to step in and provide guidance.  Your goal should be to equip your kids enough so that as they get older and life’s problems get more difficult, they are able to deal with them in a manner that allows for learning.  Notice I didn’t say success because we as adults know that life isn’t always filled with success!  Failing forward isn’t a bad thing either!

What are you doing to “launch” your kids?  Julianne and I have grounded our marriage and our parenting in a strong belief in God.  We use the Bible as our guidebook of life.  It is our hope that because of this, our kids will have a solid foundation to navigate through life so that when we do “leave” them, or rather, when they leave us, they can experience life with the purpose God intended them to and pass that along to their kids down the road.

It seems easy, doesn’t it?  However, I’m willing to bet some of us still aren’t launching and leaving.

Thoughts?

INVITATION: The Once and Future King

Christmas is nearly hear!  Can you believe it?

Like many of you, I’m sure you traditionally attended some type of church service to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ.  Well this year, if you don’t have that “place” to go to, I’d like to invite you to a unique Christmas experience from Kensington Community Church!  This week, Kensington will be streaming live one of its Christmas services ONLINE!

The birth of Jesus Christ is a celebration…one that can and should grow into a more than once a year event.  So if you haven’t been to church in a while, why not take this opportunity to reacquaint yourself with God and see what you’ve been missing!  For a sneak peak at what’s in store for you, check out the trailer below.

Here are the details:

We’d love to have you join us online!  If you have friends and family that would like to join you, then help spread the word!  RSVP to the Facebook event HERE and invite others!  If you’re on Twitter and chatting online, use #kccbackstage so you can see what other people are saying!

OK.  Why would you want to do this?

  1. You used to go to Kensington and you miss it so much!
  2. You don’t want your friends to know you went to church…this is a good way to hide it!
  3. No pressure from us!  Kensington is providing you with an opportunity to experience Christmas and Jesus Christ in a unique way.  I pray that you accept the invitation.

I think those are 3 pretty good reasons!  And honestly, why wouldn’t you want to watch?  Seriously though, if you don’t go to church, don’t believe in God, are skeptical…whatever the reason, I encourage you to just check this out this week.  It’s a worthwhile 90 minutes that could potentially impact you for a lifetime.

Merry Christmas everyone!  I’ll see you online!