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I’ve had some new learnings about investment this week. I usually think about investing as an external process…in people, ideas, things...for some growth benefit yet to come. In the middle of a serious decision this week it occurred to me that investing in myself was the swing gate to opportunity for success. My success required an investor, maybe more, and I had to be the start. Yes, it involved money, but also time and a whole lot more. So I pondered a while and then made a deliberate decision on my own prospectus and said --to myself-- count me in. Of course I am playing with words but really I muse that the outcome involved clever guile not guilt. I know it will pay off, and I’m glad I made the decision.
I had another insight this week that built in two different conversations. In an exchange with a parent of small children I talked about the excitement of my new book, Two-Minute Strategist. In particular I mentioned that I always wanted to write a question book not an answer book. And in part if not in full, I think I have done that. There are so many right answers to many situations if you are clear to ask the right questions. The strategy of team work in Two-Minute Strategist rests on asking the right questions. It is a matter of knowing the template, the formula, the variables to include. If you know that paradigm it can be applied to an infinite number of student situations.
Realizing the power of the concept wasn’t new but the intensity of my discussion brought it directly to the forefront of my mind. It was the next step that provided the ah ha. I had the privilege of a tour of some creative productions that are demonstrated on a big life scale. As I reflected on the experience I was struck by the fact that the steps involved on all levels of scale are esentially the same. Here were the questions: How big is the idea? How big is the belief in the value of the idea? How big is the confidence in presenting the vision to others? How big is the courage to step into an action plan that moves the vision forward? How big is the commitment to consistently do the next thing and the next thing required? Big, like boldness, is a state of mind.
I can play Chop Sticks or I can play Chopin. The same eight fingers and two thumbs get me there. I think I like classy best! And I understand better what is required for mastery.
In the last High Notes newsletter I forecast change. When my friend Sandy asked me what I meant, I suggested that I was trading uncertainty and self-doubt for bold confidence in my areas of expertise. I was teasing but it is true.
You usually expect to hear about music, spiritual peace, or kids from me. I haven’t talked about it directly before now in this context, but I am highly committed to the concept and practice of investment. The change in some ways is my explicit emphasis on process, which is my favorite focus and specialty. How do things get done in the most effective way with the highest excellence and satisfaction? This is the strategy that is reflected in the new book, Two-Minute Strategist, Parents and Teachers Coming Together to Unlock Kids’ Giftedness.
Some people think that investment is a ten letter bad word that applies only to financial risk. Or they think it is an elite word that represents having extra money, which they may not believe describes their life.
The word---investment---can certainly be applied to finance which I do like, but that isn’t its sole application.
In my realm, investment is a very powerful word and concept that applies to the dedication of resources to attain a desired outcome. Something grows such as these examples:
Investing time and affection grows a relationship.
Investing dollars for books or courses and time to read or study grows skills and knowledge.
Investing passion, energy, and talent grows good service in business.
The psychology of investment requires clarification of values. What you focus your time, energy, thoughts, heart, and dollars upon GROWS. The thought of using strategy about investment is very empowering. It means to me that life isn’t just something that happens to us. The fact of our birth is an amazing spiritual, cosmic reality. But beyond and perhaps even within our stages of development, we shape our lives by our values, visions and investments.
What messages are on recycle in your mind? How are you investing your resources of time, energy, and dollars? Because whatever we think about, care about and invest in does grow in importance and in outcome. Is your growing pumpkin patch in line with your values and desires?
Investment as a process is a journey, an adventure. An ordinary walk can be as basic as a stroll around the block after dinner. But a walk become burly hiking when you add burly challenge to the location or direction. Walking around the block is literally and psychologically miles apart from the Mt. Rainier Wonderland Trail.
The Wonderland Trail involves investment in these things:
*maps and info about the trail
*contact with resource people about current conditions
*food and supplies for the time period
*support systems like hiking partners or transportation
nvestment is about deliberate and informed choices.
I was curious about a store next to one of my favorite restaurants that appeared to sell shoes, so I stopped in to check it out. Their product was not shoes, although they had a few in stock. Their specialty was in-sole foot supports to put inside your shoes. As the clerk described all of the benefits of her product for stability, walking and body comfort, I smiled and told her that her product was really quite similar to mine. My choice to step into optimism and strategy every day also changes stability, mobility, and comfort with life. I don’t really know if she “got it” but she did ask me for my favorite choice at the restaurant next door where she had never eaten. I personally think she will enjoy the Thai food served and I think she would also find benefits to the beliefs, attitudes, and strategic tools that I step into every morning. I will have to make a choice to invest in her foot supports even as I have to make a choice to invest in the mindset that supports my life.
I don’t claim to know it all, but there are some areas that I am highly informed about. In the weeks ahead, I will say more about my favorite investments and the tools I have found or developed to help me reach success and grow benefits.
Some people look at a products page and shriek, “Oh, no, she is trying to sell me something.” At that point they choose to put on the brakes. That’s a choice. I’m not a burly mountain climber but I am burly in the ways I live my life. That’s my choice and I hope others will want to come along on some of my high level trails. I never promise I won’t tempt!
That’s another change. In my areas of expertise, I will try to be clearer about my choices and their advantages for me. Of course, I’m always willing to engage in dialog about these subjects. And I’ve been known to spout opinions even if it wasn’t my area of expertise but I’ll try to recognize the difference for both of our sakes.
Everyone has God gifts. Writing is one of mine. I don’t write through stacks of yellow notebooks just to keep me out of trouble…although it probably helps. I am committed to catching glimpses of Universal Good and writing about it. The products I create serve a purpose.
Iwill tell a story to end this lengthy introduction to an ongoing discourse on life investment.
A burrow once, sent by express,
Ate his shipping tag and his label.
He sat and sat and sat in the back room
Until he almost died.
The moral of this little tale?
Don’t keep things locked up deep inside!
Say who you are and where you are going.
Schools like to teach foreign languages by immersion. I just experienced creativity by immersion by spending time in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area. The canoes slice almost silently through the water, motored by the soft sound of splashing paddles. The call of the loons is unpredictable and almost haunting. It constantly reminded me that I was on their turf, which seems like a strange phrase considering water all around.
I was called by that loon to stop and just soak it up…complexity and simplicity. So, as I opened all of my senses to imprint the experience, I captured the smell of the pines, the sight of the clear blue water, the sound of the loons, the taste of camp food fresh from REI, the feel of the breeze on my face as well as the feel of the rocks under my feet stepping into the canoe. There was the warmth of the campfire and the warmth of caring shared among the people.
Immersion learning happens inside with integration at mysterious levels of mastery. After this weekend, I am looking forward to the moment when I surprise myself, and maybe others, by BEING creative in some new way. My senses know.
Listening to the loon at night took me to that same call used in my CD called Gentle Breeze Peace. Hearing the call on a tiny little island led me to a grand musical score. Hearing the loon call when I’m listening to the CD in my office takes me to the great outdoors. It makes sense to me.
It is quite a momentous day. All of the creative products, which have bloomed in the Genesis garden over the past years, are gathered now in electronic format stretching toward my visions. We are a global family and I have been blessed to travel the world enough to know that people are people wherever we live. Music, love, and creative thought have no language limitations. Which makes me even more excited to realize that Genesis kids can travel the world just as I like to do.
So, the first big trip is under way. It is a thrill to know that the Light of Hope Ministry for girls in Kenya will be receiving by special delivery the very first copy of the DVD, Learning About Me. Mike Ahola just animated the original book, Wings to Fly, and a new kids book, which is packaged in this DVD...., animated characters, music, voice-overs, and artistry from the books. On top of that, I was blessed to receive a testimonial from Brian Tracy, international speaker and author of many books. His comment about the new book, I Like Myself Too: "This wonderful, positive, uplifting message has changed hearts and minds all over the world."
So, it is a momentous day when a goal line is crossed. Of course, I know it is really the start not the finish of the race. I will be excited to hear the stories of the girls in Kenya watching the DVD over and over. Sandy Karanja, the co-founder of the program is making the delivery and has promised to bring back stories after her visit. There will be other stories from other kids in other places.
I have a song going through my head...The Other Side of the World. It was composed and sung by Michael Vincent, a MN native and family friendly movie producer. The lyrics describe how every boy and girl on the other side of the world also has hopes and dreams, pride in country, and smiling faces that respond to friendship.
Hello World. We are launched. You bet I'm smiling.
Today is the first day of school for students in MN and probably across most of the country. Everyone is set on a new path of learning for the year with goals and visions of mastery and moving on. This attitude is real for life long learners, not just school children. It is said that when the student is ready, the teacher appears. What are you ready to learn? Watch for your teacher! Enjoy the journey.
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