What Do You Teach a Child to do With a Dollar?

What do you teach a child to do with a dollar?  After all, it’s only a dollar, right?  Well, there are two primary schools of thought.  The first and much more common is that it’s only a dollar, so what does it matter?  The second and much more intelligent way of thinking is to use the dollar as a teaching opportunity that can set the child up with a positive success habit for life.

dollar bill

The are endless philosophies for how to save and invest and generally handle your finances, however I personally prefer and rely on the wisdom of the Bible with an added twist from my mentor, the late great, Jim Rohn.  The Bible contains many verses on the subject of your finances and in particular tithing with the following being my favorites:

“Bring all the tithes into the storehouse,
That there may be food in My house,
And try Me now in this,”
Says the Lord of hosts,
“If I will not open for you the windows of heaven
And pour out for you such blessing
That there will not be room enough to receive it.”

Malachi 3:10

“Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.”

Luke 6:38

Jim Rohn was considered by many to be America’s Foremost Business Philosopher and he’s been influencing my life for the past twenty years.  My first exposure to Jim was through his book, “7 Strategies for Wealth and Happiness”, and I’ve been following his teachings ever since.  Jim had a unique way of thinking about handling your finances and in particular, what to teach a child to do with a dollar.

7 Strategies

As a Christian, Jim’s philosophy was largely based on the Bible and he taught a 10%, 10%, 10%, 70% plan with the first 10% going to your church or some other benevolent cause.
The point is that the first 10% goes to help others.  Ten pennies out of a dollar is easy.  Ten thousand out of a hundred thousand is a bit more challenging.  A hundred thousand out of a million could be quite difficult unless you’ve spent your life disciplined in the act of giving first.

If you’ve never been taught the principles and value of tithing and have the good fortune of working yourself into the position of earning one million a year, to think of giving away one hundred thousand, when you’ve never given a dime out of a dollar in your life, would likely prove most difficult. This is why Jim believed in starting small and in the importance of teaching a child to first give to help others.  Master a dime out of a dollar and the discipline is then established for life regardless of your income.

Jim believed the second 10% should go to long-term savings.  Nothing fancy here.  Just start a simple savings account and contribute to it like clockwork thinking for the long-term.  With age and sophistication, the investments will naturally diversify and grow in complexity, however the point is to establish the habit young and through the miracle of the compound effect, a fortune can be attained in a reasonable period of time.


Jim was an entrepreneur at heart and he believed the last 10% should go towards developing a business.  Now you might think what kind of business could a child have?
Ever hear of a Cool Aid stand?  Jim was fond of teaching children to own two bikes, one to ride, and one to rent.  Why not?  Whether two bikes or two red wagons or two skate boards, the philosophy is all the same.  Kids are sponges and they will soak up whatever you’re willing to teach them.

yellow bike

With the ever-increasing pace of today’s world driven largely by advances in technology, the idea of working a job for 40 years and retiring to live the quiet life is long gone.
There’s so much wisdom to be gained from teaching a child to be an entrepreneur. Honesty, integrity, self-reliance, street smarts, sales, negotiation, persistence, and grit are just a few of the attributes to be gained that can forever change the path of a child’s life.

The secret of Jim’s philosophy is to fiercely guard the 30% and then live on the balance of the 70%. Loyalty to the 30% will enable anyone to magnify the 70% many times over.  To cheat on the 30% to expand the 70% is like killing the goose that laid the golden eggs.

Closing thoughts for my readers:

The only limitation to a child’s learning is your role as parents to teach them.  Kids really are sponges and will largely rise to your level of expectations and modeling.  The following is one of my favorite quotes on a parent’s responsibility to “training up” their children:

“The goal is not to raise great kids. It’s to raise kids who become great adults.”

Andy Andrews

As for me, I can remember as a child filling out the tithing envelope and placing my portion in the Offertory plate when it was passed around.  Growing up in the church, it’s something I’ve always done and yet it took on a whole new meaning when I started attending Prestonwood Baptist Church back in 2003.

Pastor Graham is fond of teaching that 90% with God is light years better than 100% on your own.  Those same prophetic words were spoken by my Grandfather Coker, now in Heaven, many years ago when he was also a pastor.  And so I made the decision to start giving the first portion of all my income no matter the source or amount.  The results have been amazing and I have been blessed beyond measure.

The ultimate test came when I started my current job two years ago.  I had never made more than $X in my life and with my new job, that number more than doubled.  While I felt incredibly blessed, the true significance really set in when I received my first paycheck. My tithe from the one check would be more than I used to give for the whole month with my previous job and it felt great.  I never even hesitated to maintain the same practice I committed to back in 2003.

Would giving so much be as easy if I wouldn’t have established the habit so long ago?
Who knows?  I’m just thankful for the wisdom of my Grandfather and my Pastor and in my commitment to live by God’s word.

“Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the first fruits of all your produce”
Proverbs 3:9


Posted in Andy Andrews, Christian, Entrepreneur, Faith, Follower of Christ, how to raise kids, Jim Rohn, life path, living your dream, personal development, Prestonwood Baptist Church, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Is Proper Posture Really That Important?

According to The Back School, “Effective ergonomic design reduces fatigue, discomfort and injuries; and increases job satisfaction, productivity and quality of work.”  If a proper fit is established between the end user and their job, the musculoskeletal stresses on them are reduced, they are more comfortable, and they can do things more efficiently and effectively.

The very definition of ergonomics is the science of fitting the task to the person, not forcing the person to fit the task.

And thus we have two great challenges.

You may be working in a properly designed workspace and yet without the knowledge of proper posture, you can still subject your body to serious injury.  This issue is only compounded if you’re working in a poorly designed workspace with the same lack of knowledge.  This is a recipe for disaster and a perfect storm for the development of musculoskeletal disorders.

The average person spends more than 8 hours per day sitting, and according to the National Academy of Sports Medicine, low back pain affects 80% of all adults.  Low back pain is predominate among workers in enclosed workspaces, as well as people who sit for greater than 3 hours per day.  More than 1/3 of all work related injuries involve the trunk, and of these, more than 60% involve the low back.

Did you catch the stats above?  The average person sits more than 8 hours per day and you’re at risk if you sit for more than 3.  Now you might think that you don’t sit 8 hours per day at your job, but remember, ergonomics and the importance of good posture is not just confined to the office.

From the moment you get up in the morning until you go to bed at night, everything you do with your body is either helping or hurting…and all forms of sitting add up. This means the time at your breakfast table with your morning coffee, the drive to the office, lunch with clients, the commute home, dinner with family, and an evening in front of your flat screen…it all adds up to stress on your body.

The following will focus on the office environment, however the applications are relevant to all parts of life.  And a special note to athletes or fitness enthusiast.  You can hit the gym six days a week following a great program, using perfect form, and still end up with a wrecked body by ignoring proper posture throughout the rest of the day.

So what is good posture while keying at a desk?  I like to start at the floor and work up. Your feet should be flat on the floor with your chair adjusted low enough that you can slip your hand between your thigh and the seat cushion right behind the knee.  The insures that you’re not restricting blood flow to your lower legs.

good seated posture

Proper Seated Posture – Image compliments of CanStockPhoto

The angle from the knee to hip should be fairly level.  There are allowances for a slight forward or backward tilt depending on personal preference.  The key to the upper body is maintaining a neutral spine.  Your shoulders should be relaxed with your elbows at your sides and your forearms relatively level with the floor.  The acceptable angle of your forearms is actually 90 to 120 degrees which gives some flexibility again based on your preference.

What I described above is the least stressful way to use a keyboard while seated, however this basic posture should provide the foundation for all desk related activities.  Any deviation is creating stress your body was not meant to handle and there are three elements to consider:

  • Duration (how long?)
  • Frequency (how often?)
  • Intensity (how much?)

The total of the three is your level of risk.  Basically if you sit like the photo below for a good portion of each day, most days of the week, you’re body is going to be a wreck.

poor seated posture

Poor Posture – Compliments of CanStockPhoto

A functional workstation should adapt to you verses you having to adapt to the workstation.  ANSI BIFMA, a regulatory organization for the commercial office furniture industry, recommends at least two points of adjustment with a workstation.  So if you’re working at a fixed height desk, adding a keyboard tray and monitor arm are your best options.

If you’re fortunate enough to have an adjustable height desk, the desk itself counts for one point of adjustment with a monitor arm being the best additional component.  Even in this scenario, there are benefits to using a keyboard tray as this allows for maximum flexibility with your body whether working seated or standing.

The use of monitor arms can be a vital piece in achieving proper posture.  People using fixed height monitor stands tend to position them on the back on their desk which places the monitor potentially too far from the eyes.  Instinctively this position encourages the end user to “perch” up on the edge of their chair in an effort to see their monitor.  By using an adjustable monitor arm, the position of the monitor can easily be adjusted to the correct horizontal distance from the eyes while allowing the end user to still sit back properly in their chair.

So what’s really happening when you feel pain in your body as a result of poor posture? According to The Back School, some of the primary risk factors for work related musculoskeletal disorders are:

Awkward body postures: maintaining an unsupported static posture or performing an awkward posture such as bending, reaching, or twisting.

  • When working in a non-neutral position, joint space may be reduced and muscle length may not be optimal.
  • In static postures for greater than 20 seconds, muscles fatigue quickly because blood flow is restricted – and muscle substitutions may occur.

Repetition: doing the same motions over and over again.

  • When using the same muscle groups repeatedly, muscles & tendons don’t have enough time to rest which leads to fatigue as well as tissue damage & irritation.

Contact stress: pressure on the soft tissues of the body by tools or sharp edges.

  • This can lead to injury due to nerves & tissues being compressed.

Working on a computer is not a highly demanding activity and yet it can negatively affect smaller localized or postural muscles.  For example, the neck, shoulders, and upper back are highly engaged to support the head when positioned too far forward or when overly reaching to use a mouse.

To reiterate what I stated above, a properly designed and ergonomically correct workstation should adapt to the end user rather than the end user having to adapt to the workstation. Again from The Back School, the five most common risk of working in awkward postures are:

  • Muscles are used in lengthened or shortened positions causing them to be inefficient and resulting in possible fatigue or overexertion.
  • Holding a limb in a static position uses a sustained muscle contraction which squeezes the blood vessels and decreases blood flow.  The muscle doing the sustained contraction becomes fatigued even though there is no movement.  At the same time, the reduced blood supply to the rest of the limb accelerates fatigue in the moving muscles, making them more susceptible to injury.
  • Non-neutral postures can compress nerves leading to numbness and tingling, pain and weakness.
  • Tendons and their sheaths can rub on bone and ligaments which can lead to irritation, fraying and or swelling.
  • Contact stress occurs when part of the body rubs or compresses against a component of the workstation.  Two examples are the blood circulation being cut off by contact with the front edge of the chair or the elbow resting on an arm rest compressing the ulnar nerve.

The key point is that pain experienced from poor posture is not free.  It’s not like having a little headache from a stressful day that subsides once your body and nerves calm down. The pain you feel from poor posture is doing damage to your body that will only compound with time.

Just how much is corporate America spending on MSD’s or musculoskeletal disorders?
According to an 2015 article in Ergonomics Plus, the following is the staggering breakdown:

  • MSDs are the leading cause of pain, suffering and disability in American workplaces.
  • MSDs have a huge financial burden, but the human costs are the best motivation for prevention.
  • MSDs account for one-third of all workers compensation costs.
  • MSDs account for almost 400,000 injuries every year.
  • Direct costs of MSDs are $20 billion a year. Total costs are estimated to be between $45-54 billion.
  • Indirect costs (lost productivity, product defects, etc.) of an MSD case can be up to five times the direct costs.
  • MSD cases require 38% more lost time days than the average injury/illness.
  • Your company needs to generate over $8 million in additional sales to cover $260,000 in MSD costs.

So what’s the solution?  Prevention is the best answer and it really comes down to one critical element.  Your body is designed to MOVE.  It does not do well with static postures for extended periods of time.  If you’re working at a desk with a computer in any capacity, an adjustable height workstation is your gold standard solution when combined with a monitor arm.  Based on your needs, this will allow you to alternate standing and sitting throughout the day.


Workrite’s Sierra HX table & Poise monitor arm

If you’re not able to use an adjustable height workstation, another good solution is to utilize a stack on unit that provides for almost the same flexibility as an adjustable table. Workrite’s Solace is one of the best on the market offering ergonomic features matched by few.  For more information, I wrote this post earlier this year which explains in detail the functionality and benefits of this product.

Solace III

Workrite’s Solace Sit-to-Stand Solution

If neither of the latter options is an option and you’re using a fixed height desk, adding a keyboard platform and monitor arm still gives you the needed two points of adjustment to create an ergonomically correct workstation adaptable to your needs.  To offset the potential of extended sitting, you will need to be all the more diligent in taking breaks where you stand up and move around.

Workrite 120 Degree Table II

Workrite’s Fundamentals table, Willow arm, and Revo keyboard platform


Closing thoughts for my readers:

Einstein said the definition of insanity is “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”  This is a truth I often share with clients experiencing pain due a combination of bad posture and a poorly designed workstation.  Remember that if you’re experiencing pain, it comes with a price and will only get worse unless you’re willing to change.

If you have doubts or questions about your posture or the ergonomics of your workspace, please don’t hesitate to reach out for help. As a Certified Ergonomics Assessment Specialist level II, I do assessments for my clients on a regular basis and always welcome new opportunities to serve.



One new and great tool available from Workrite is the Lumo Lift.  It’s actually a “posture coach” that will “remind” you throughout the day whether you’re maintaining proper posture. It’s also an activity tracker for your daily steps.  The following is a screen shot from my tablet of a typical day for me with Lumo.  For more information, go to Lumo Lift:

For a free download of the following ergonomic guidelines, click on the link below:

Ergonomics at Work




Posted in adjustable height table, adjustable monitor arm, back pain, dangers of sitting, ergonomics, Health & Fitness, keyboard platform, musculoskeletal disorders, proper posture, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Treasures from Trials

My pastor’s “Daily Word” is an email devotional that he publishes Monday through Friday each week.  The message the day following my MRI reading and the scheduling of my shoulder & bicep surgery couldn’t have been more timely.  The theme was on the treasure of trials in our life.  Pastor said trials can fortify us, prove us, test us, and prepare us.

When I first read the sentence above, I immediately thought of the following which is a life verse for me:

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.
2 Corinthians 1:3-4

While I had no idea how pastor’s statement would play out, it was my goal from the beginning to live by the directive of 2 Corinthians 1:3-4.  If the only positive that would come from my surgery is my ability to help and encourage others in the future going through a similar trial, then so be it.

Reflecting back now after 23 weeks of recovery, the following is how the trial of my surgery has produced treasures in my life exactly as Pastor promised.

Trials Can Fortify Us:

It’s easy to take the little things for granted until something changes massively that shifts your perspective.  For the record, I am single, live alone, and I’m right-handed.  After my surgery, the adjustment of losing 98% of the use of my right hand and arm was challenging.

I had to wear a sling on my right arm for the first six weeks.  It was a real struggle to learn to do the following left-handed:

  • Eating & drinking
  • Brushing teeth, shaving, showering, and dressing
  • Cooking
  • Driving
  • Writing for the first week only…thank goodness
  • Typing & mousing largely for the first few weeks
  • Building & delivering my demo products as a manufacturer rep
  • Client meetings & presentations

Dropping the sling after the first six weeks was a blessing although I still had very little strength in my right arm.  The most I could lift was my phone & keys…seriously…without pain.  Drinking my morning coffee remained a left-handed activity until about the 8th week post surgery.

My boss was very supportive from the beginning.  He encouraged me to get the surgery done and then do my best to get back in the field as soon as possible.  He further gave me permission to hire labor as needed to assemble and deliver my demo products which is a big part of my job as a manufacturer rep.  While I appreciated his offer, I never took advantage of it.

My job allows me to office from home and for the first week after surgery I pretty much stayed in my office.  Starting the second week, I was back in the field calling on clients. The one highlight was delivering one of my adjustable height demo tables to a client’s office in North Dallas…left-handed.  This included loading and unloading the table from my SUV and delivering it to the 8th floor of an office building.

Demo table

Delivering a demo table to Supreme Lending in Plano, TX two weeks post surgery.

The following week included two group presentations and the installation of our new Solace at one of my client’s offices….again…left-handed.

Solace at Tarrant County College

Workrite Solace – Mounted on an Essentia Adjustable Height Table (Assembly definitely required)

As my work schedule continued forward, I never let my right arm being in a sling stop me. It may have slowed me down…but it never stopped me.

Treasure gained…finding a way despite the obstacles.

Trials Can Prove Us:

While I claimed 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 from the beginning, there were days were I struggled with my attitude.  The gym environment was hard in particular because it exposed the limitation I faced of not having the use of my right arm.  While I was able to learn to do basically everything needed in the rest of my life left-handed, there’s no substitute in the gym.  You’re either training with your right arm or you’re not.  For someone who is as passionate about training as I am, this was hard to deal with.

One morning in particular, I had finished my work with weights and was getting in a little cardio on a treadmill.  I always read either from a book or my tablet while doing cardio. That morning I received a message from Tom Ziglar regarding a story about his Dad.  It was just the shot I needed to shake me up and move me forward rather than staying stuck in the emotional low that I was feeling.

When Zig was in the twilight of his career, he suffered an accident that caused him to lose some of his short-term memory.  For a professional speaker this is a challenge.  Zig had spoken to thousands upon thousands over the decades, and now he was faced with an injury that could have ended his career.  Zig however would not be stopped still having the desire to share his life changing messages.

Zig Ziglar on Stage

Zig Ziglar at his BEST!

So with the help of his daughter Julie, Zig adopted a new style of speaking.  He and Julie would partner on stage in an interview like format where she asked questions and Zig would answer.  This new approach helped him overcome the challenge of the loss of memory as her questions were strategically planned to tap into his vast wisdom.  This interview format allowed Zig to continue speaking for a period of time sharing his messages of hope and encouragement.

The take home point is that Zig did the best he could with what he had to work with.  Zig was a strong Christian and his actions were the living embodiment of the following:

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
Philippians 4:13 

When I finished reading Tom’s story about his Dad, I literally had tears running down my face.  Here I was whining and feeling sorry for myself about the temporary set back of my shoulder surgery while Zig was so committed to following his passion for helping others, that he overcame the challenge of memory loss.  I felt humbled, ashamed, and all the more resolved to move forward and find a way to be a blessing to others through my personal trial.

Treasure gained…persistence in the fire.

Trials Can Test Us:

While a struggle in the beginning, I learned to make a mental shift in the gym and let go of the idea that I was only training 75% of my body.  My right arm may have been in a sling, however the rest of my body still worked just fine, and I trained with same intensity both emotionally and systemically as before my surgery.

Single Arm Incline Press

Doing my best with “75%”

PT at Clair Physical Therapy on the other hand was a different story.  For the first six weeks I went three days a week for about 30 minutes.  My treatment was all passive in that Jacqueline, my therapist, moved my arm in different ways working to restore my range of motion.  Of all the things I’ve done in the gym over the years that were less than pleasant, she hurt me more than anything I’ve ever experienced.

After two weeks, my doctor gave me permission to add a pulley system and do extra work at home.  From the first day I purchased the pulley to the end of the twelfth week were I started strength training, I probably did thousands of reps.  The exercises done with the pulley were a life saver and I really attribute a lot of my speedy healing & recovery to that device.

Pulley Exercise

Restoring range of motion with the “magic” pulley….for 1,000’s of reps.

As much as I wanted to lift again, it was painfully obvious that I had a lot of healing to do. In the beginning I couldn’t raise my hand out to the side from my thigh more than a few inches without experiencing extreme pain in my shoulder.  Further, when Jacqueline would stretch my arm back up and over my head, my reattached bicep tendon felt like it was coming undone.

For someone who’s been lifting now for over 30 years where I’m used to measuring progress in pounds and reps, it was quite the shift to equate progress to inches gained in terms of range of motion.  Besides the pain of PT, I had to resolve myself to the fact that it would take a good year to fully regain my strength.  For someone who is so DRIVEN…this forced rest has been hard to take.

The progress came faster in the second six weeks as the healing continued and my range of motion improved.  I still went to see Jacqueline two days a week and did an extra hour of work from home daily on progressively more challenging exercises all geared at range of motion.  After twelve weeks my doctor gave me the green light to start strength training and after fifteen weeks, he released me from PT completely.

The progression has been slow and as of writing this post, I’m somewhere between 75% and 90% of my normal strength depending on the movement.  The road has been long and yet I’m very encouraged to be lifting again after my extended break from normal training.

Treasure gained…the value of patience. (maybe still a work in progress)

Trials Can Prepare Us:

My only limitations now are in the gym and my strength is coming back slowly week to week.  Every other area of my life is totally normal which is a blessing.  Oddly enough the things I was concerned about in the beginning turned out to be non-issues.  I found a way to do everything as needed left-handed…just a bit slower.

The one thing I didn’t consider was the extra time needed to do everything immediately following my surgery.  Cooking, shaving, taking a shower, dressing, and virtually every other daily activity took longer when limited to just my left hand.  I gained massive perspective over the value of having both hands and arms to do the normal daily task that make up life.

To go from normal to not being able to wash your face with both hands or comb your hair because you literally can’t lift your right hand to do the work, will give you a change in perspective. Then again, I have to look at my trial in the proper perspective.  My trial has been nothing more than a temporary and painful inconvenience where I should fully recover.

When I see people who have lost the use of their legs and arms due to an accident or disease, it is humbling and convicting to me.  Further, the story about Zig above just drives me all the more to have a servant’s heart and to use the gifts I’ve been given to help others less fortunate.

Treasure gained…the value of perspective.

Closing thoughts for my readers:

When Dr. Burns told me that I needed surgery, I asked how long to recover.  His answer was six weeks in a sling and at least twelve weeks of physical therapy.  He also said it would take a good year to fully recover my strength.  I then asked whether I would be able to train hard again.  He said you can still train hard however you need to consider your age and start training for longevity versus trying to be “He-Man”.

Given my passion for lifting and the years I’ve devoted to training, these were not the answers I was seeking.  Fortunately I had the story of what my pastor, Dr. Jack Graham, had gone through as a source of hope, encouragement, and perspective.  A few years ago Dr. Graham faced a life threatening health challenge that took a bit of time to recover from.  During his recovery, he shared that he often asked God to just give him his old life back.

Pastor Graham

Dr. Jack Graham

God’s ultimate answer was “No, I’m not going to give your old life back…I’m going to give you a better life.”  And true to His promise, pastor will say today that he’s in a better place in every respect than before his health challenge first reared its ugly head.

“And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace who has called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.”
1 Peter 5:10

I’ve gained my “treasures” as noted above and now it’s my hope for a better life like Dr. Graham’s rather than trying to hold on to or get back to what once was.  Family, friends, and relationships are ultimately the most important things in our in life.  A wise man once told me when I first starting lifting as a teenager:

“There’s more to life than having big muscles.”

And you know, he was right.



Powerpoint Ministries (Free access to Dr. Jack Graham’s “Daily Word” devotional)

Zig Ziglar

Clair Physical Therapy

Dr. William Burns – Craig Ranch Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine










Posted in Christian, Faith, Follower of Christ, life path, recovery from injury, rotator cuff injury, shoulder injury, torn bicep tendon, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

The Game Few Are Playing

A football game in the NFL technically consist of four fifteen minute quarters and yet the average game runs over three hours due to the start and stop nature of the action.  Add in commercial breaks and the sometimes meandering nature of an NFL broadcast, and its easy to see how a sixty minute game becomes one hundred and eighty plus.

The obvious game both teams are playing is made up of unbelievable displays of athletic prowess and yet there is a second more subtle game being played by a much smaller number of participants.  According to FootballDB.com, the Bills and the Buccaneers were the most heavily penalized teams for 2015 with 143 penalties each.  The lowest ranked team was the Vikings at a mere 88.

Tampa Bay

Image compliments of http://www.zedge.net

All other things being equal, do you think the Vikings may receive preferential treatment from the officials versus the Bills or Buccaneers?  If you’re known as one of the most heavily penalized teams, wouldn’t you think there would be a certain stigma that comes along with that statistic?  To think not is to think foolishly.

There is a game behind the game that happens both during the live action and much more so between the whistles stopping the course of play.  The same players see the same officials week after week.  The smart players take the time to learn about the officials and their families. Do you think a guy who carries a good reputation, doesn’t pick up a lot of flags, and specifically talks to the referees when appropriate about their families and their interest will be treated differently?

Now as a worst case scenario, consider a player who is penalized a lot, tends to get into arguments with the officials both on and off the field…as in the “law”, and is generally not a very nice guy.  How could this player possibly be treated the same as the “good guy” above?

Michael Jordan in his prime was known for the “Jordan Effect”.  I learned about this amazing truth from my mentor Andy Andrews.  Michael Jordan played the game behind the game maybe better than anyone ever.  During a break in the action, Jordan wasn’t just catching his breath on the sidelines.  He was taking the time to build on relationships he had established with the referees.


Michael Jordan – Image compliments of http://www.youtube.com


As a result, a given referee didn’t see Jordan as just Jordan never mind his superstar status. He saw Jordan as the superstar player asking, for example, about his son just getting his start in basketball and offering an encouraging word given Jordan’s rough personal beginning.

This effort on Jordan’s part to connect with the referee’s definitely paid dividends.  Sports telecast used to make a fuss over the fact that Jordan clearly got away with traveling and other violations and yet the fouls never came.  Or at least not with the frequency as other players who had no concept of the “second game”.  Clearly the Jordan Effect was real.

Another story from Andy has to do with a restaurant which employed a simple yet powerful little strategy for taking better care of their customers.  From the manager to the chefs, to the servers & bartenders, they all collectively took on the challenge of learning their regular customer’s names.  Then when one of their regulars walked in the door, it was a team effort to welcome them by name.

Whoever recognized the customer first would be sure to shout out their welcome loud enough for everyone to hear.  The chefs would even stick their heads out of the kitchen
and shout out a warm welcome.  As a result, this restaurant exploded its business over
a short period of time simply by learning its customer’s names and making them feel more like family than just a customer.

Do you remember “Norm” from Cheers?  What was different about the bar the show was based on verses any other bar in Boston?  For Norm, it was the place where every time he walked in the door, he was greeted with…”NORM”!  It was also a place where he could forget about a job he pretty much hated and unfortunately a home life that left much to be desired.


Image compliments of Wikipedia

Whether you know it or not, you’re all in sales and have the opportunity to play this game behind the game.  You may not carry the title of salesman or saleswomen however you all sell your way through life every day.  You either sell your wife or kids or friends or coworkers or your clients on your way of thinking or they sell you on theirs.

So if you’re in a competitive situation and your product is basically an equal match for your opponent’s, who wins?  The following may say it best:

“All things being equal, people will do business with a friend; all things being unequal, people will still do business with a friend.”

Mark McCormack

So what does this mean to you?  It means do your homework.  One of the most profound and yet simple truths I’ve ever learned from leadership expert and my long time mentor John C. Maxwell is to “Figure out what is important to people and then ask them about it often.”

If you’re married, you better know what’s important to your wife.  If you need help,
The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman is great place to start.

If you’re a Dad, you better know what’s important to your kids.  Not what’s important to you about your kids but what is truly important to them.  If their likes are different from yours, you better figure out a way to learn to like their interest.  Otherwise you will never have the kind of quality relationship that could be possible.

If you’re in sales, you better know what’s important to your clients.  And I don’t mean the features and benefits of your products or services. It’s not that they’re not important in general.  The key is whether they’re important to your client.

Dale Carnegie offered wise counsel in his classic How to Win Friends and Influence People with:

“You can make more friends in two months by being interested in other people than in two years of trying to get people interested in you.”

Closing thoughts for my readers:

In closing I want to share two concepts that have shaped my life.  Zig Ziglar showed great wisdom with his philosophy of “You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help other people get what they want.”  For me personally this is a call to serve with my God-given gifts & strengths.


Zig Ziglar – Image compliments of http://www.lifesuccess.com

Napoleon Hill was famous for his teaching on The Habit of Going the Extra Mile.  Hill’s definition was to render more and better service than expected.  His formula for this was “QQMA.”  This means the quality of your service and the quantity of service and your mental attitude insures that you attract more and more success.


Napoleon Hill – Image compliments of http://www.youtube.com

I’ve combined these concepts into four questions I ask myself after every client interaction however these questions can be applied to every person to person interaction in your life.

  • What did I do right?  Most people tend to focus on where they messed up.  Focus on the positives and avoid the habit of dwelling on your mistakes.
  • What could I have done better?  Here is the positive way of seeking improvement rather than beating yourself up over your shortcomings.
  • What did I learn?  We only learn from asking good questions and then listening.
  • What can I now do extra that goes above and beyond what the individual could possibly expect?  Here is where you really have the opportunity to set yourself apart.

The key to making these questions work is taking the time to reflect over each experience and challenge yourself with each.  This practice can lead to continuous improvements in all your relationships both business and personal.

“At the end of each day, you should play back the tapes of your performance. The results should either applaud you or prod you!”
Jim Rohn

“The unexamined life is not worth living.”



Andy Andrews
John C. Maxwell
Gary Chapman
Napoleon Hill
Zig Ziglar
Jim Rohn




Posted in Jim Rohn, John Maxwell, Napoleon Hill, personal development, spiritual gifts, Uncategorized, Zig Ziglar | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ever Jump to a False Conclusion?

Every jump to a false conclusion?  People are often prone to forming opinions before having all the facts.  In our instant gratification society, I think impatience has a lot to do with this often destructive tendency.  Further, most people tend to view the world with their own narrow perspective which can often backfire on them.

“Condemnation without investigation is the highest form of ignorance.”
Albert Einstein.

Quik Trip

One day I had a few meetings in North Dallas and pulled into a Quik Trip for a pit stop.  It was close to lunch and the parking lot and gas pumps were fairly busy. There was one car just stopped in the middle of the flow of traffic…just sitting there.  My first thought was to be patient, but after a moment of them not moving, I “gently” encouraged them with a couple of honks from my horn.

The driver did not respond and then I noticed the “other” car’s break lights as it was starting to back out of one of the few handicap spaces.  The car that was “holding me up” was waiting on that one space to open up and yes, they did have a handicap sticker as well. My Grandfather Perkins used to use the term “jackass” and that would pretty much sum up how I felt at that moment.

Quik Trip

Here I was all fired up about having to wait a few extra seconds for someone who’s handicapped…maybe for life.  I felt so bad that I slunk in and out of the store trying not to make eye contact with the driver.  Needless to say my attitude and perspective changed dramatically once I had “all the facts”.


One of my best friends from college has never been really quick to commit to anything and can sometimes be a little slow to respond to voice mail or email.  We’ve known each other now since 1990 and he’s never changed.  It’s not a big deal as we all have our unique personality quirks and that’s just Mark.  Besides, I love him like a brother as we’ve been there for each other both in the good and bad times of life.


Mark and Rhonda with Allison & Haley

A few years ago, I sent an important email that should have prompted a quick reply.
The initial lack of response was nothing out of the ordinary and I thought little of it.  A week turned into two weeks and then a month and then clearly something was wrong.  Let me also say he lives in Colorado and I’m in Dallas so it’s not like we see each other on a regular basis.

In this case, I built up some negative thoughts in my mind towards him and allowed them to “fester” for a period of time before finally picking up the phone.  When Mark answered, he acted as if nothing was wrong and was excited to hear from me.  When I asked about the email, he said, “Oh, I recently changed internet providers and thus my email address and apparently forgot to give you the heads up.”

While my first thought was to blame him for not keeping me in the loop, my dominate thought was more along the lines of the Quik Trip experience above with my Grandfather’s “term” clearing echoing in my mind.  Mark is married to Rhonda with two young girls, Allison & Haley, and has TONS more on his plate of responsibilities than me.

While I clearly failed in this instance, I do believe in taking 100% responsibility for every area of my life.  If I would have lived up to this principle, I would have made that phone call much sooner rather than going through the emotional roller coaster ride of negativity due to his apparent lack of response.

Email II

Sean is one of my nephews living in East Texas some five hours away from Dallas.  We correspond by phone, text, email, and Facebook.  You would think I would have learned my lesson after the experience with Mark above, but apparently I needed another dose of humility compliments of my nephew.

This actually just happened this year where I sent another important email back around the holidays and he never responded.  I’ve heard it said that life will continue to offer you the same opportunities to learn over and over until you “get it”.  I’ve also heard that the lessons get harder if you happen to be a “slow learner”.

Sean & Dylan

Sean & Dylan

If my experience with Mark made me feel like a “jackass”, then the outcome with Sean made me feel like a “jerk”.  You see, Sean is only a teenager and didn’t change his email address.  His Mom is now single and he also has a younger brother name Dylan.  He lost the use of his phone due to a lack of finances as their little family sometimes struggles to make ends meet.  I had no idea what was going on and why he hadn’t responded until he finally did with the following apology:

Hello uncle Kelly, I’m sorry it has taken me so long to respond. We just recently turned on my phone and I’m only now reading your email.  School is going great.  I have had a couple of rough grades but I’m retesting and bringing them back up.  Football is going great.  I was on varsity for the last 3 games but this week I may be on JV.  

Lesson learned.  When in doubt, pick up the phone.  Even if his phone had been turned off, his Mom’s was working fine.  I should have acted like an adult and reached out to him rather than getting all bent out of shape over what turned out to be really nothing.

He who answers a matter before he hears it, It is folly and shame to him.
Proverbs 18:13

Losing a Father & Friend

Lauren Smith is one of my best clients who is usually quick to respond to my phone calls or emails.  I sent a request to schedule a presentation to her group and thought it odd when she didn’t reply after the first week.  Technology can be wonky at times so I sent a follow up message just to be sure and still nothing.

My first thought was that something may be going on with her health.  She had a procedure over the holidays to remove a small and benign growth however everything went great and she received a clean bill of health from her doctor.  In fact I had seen her a couple of times after returning to work, so her silence was definitely a concern based on the strength of our relationship.

After another week, I reached out to her supervisor who I also have a great relationship with.  She was receptive to my presentation and asked that I schedule with Lauren.  Now really puzzled, I sent another request and the next thing you know, I received a meeting invite for approximately four weeks away.  Finally, success, but why the delay?

Now with the assurance that she was working, and from learning from my later email experiences, I called her direct.  After thanking her for booking our meeting, and catching up on basic small talk, I asked as sincerely as possible if she had received my original messages.  Now unlike the situation with Mark and Sean, I had not developed any negative feelings towards Lauren.  I was just confused with the unusual lack of response.

Her answer absolutely floored me.  She apologized for the delay and said she had generally been running behind due to the loss of her father and best friend both within a matter of weeks.  Losing my Grandmother back in early 2012 was the hardest day of my life bar none and yet its still not the same as losing a parent.  And then for Lauren’s loss of her father to be compounded by the passing of her life long best friend, there are no appropriate words to describe the pain she must have felt.

Blue sky with white clouds - digital artwork.

“And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.” Revelation 21:4

I tried to encourage as best as I could and yet I felt that my words were feeble considering the magnitude of the circumstances.  I promised to keep her in my prayers for healing that only God can give and then we said our goodbyes.

Batting for Life

Michelle Jones is one of my best business partners.  We had been working together on a project when our client reached out to us both via email asking for a product quote.  As a manufacturer rep supporting Michelle, I would need to send my quote to her and then she would add her margin and send on to the client.

I did my part right away and forwarded the quote to Michelle.  Normally this action would have generated some sort of confirmation and thank you for my efforts.  This time…nothing. After a few days I sent a follow up message just to confirm that she received my quote okay.  I also called her cell and left a message and after several more days still nothing.

My next step was to reach back out to our client who surprisingly had not received anything from Michelle either.  Now I was really concerned.  Unfortunately my schedule took me out of town two weeks in a row and I mentally sort of pushed the situation to the back burner of my mind at least for the short run.

Then I received the phone call.  When my caller ID showed Michelle Jones, my heart seemed to skip a beat with the anticipation of finding out where she had been.  I was not prepared for her answer and was again floored.  She was calling from her company’s Houston office where she was temporarily working while receiving treatments at MD Anderson for cancer in her cervix.

MD Anderson

MD Anderson Cancer Center

Wow!  Michelle is a young lady in her mid 30’s and is for all practical purposes in good health.  To be battling such a serious and life threatening disease at her age was shocking.
Her spirits were high and she was committed to her treatments expecting only the best outcome.  I assured her that she would be in my prayers and that I would support her 100% throughout this difficult season in her life.

Battling for Life II

Julie Jones is one of my newer clients and yet we have developed a strong relationship rather quickly.  She shared with me last fall before the holidays about on ongoing struggle with Gastrointestinal Cancer.  She said is was not curable but that with regular treatments, she was able to maintain a fairly high quality of life.

We saw each other in person for the last time right after New Years and have further corresponded numerous times by phone and email.  We had been working on a little project and I was seeking feedback as to our next steps.  Normally she would respond immediately but in this case…silence.

After my recent experiences with Lauren and Michelle, my radar for serious trouble was on high alert.  Oddly enough, she had a work anniversary as noted through LinkedIn and I sent her a quick congratulations along with my standard offer to help.  She replied back thanking me for my well wishes and then explained that her health had taken a turn for the worse.

The treatment she had been following was not working any more and she had been undergoing tests to seek other alternatives.  Through this process, we stayed in touch so I was prepared for the group message that she recently sent out announcing her leave of absence due to an upcoming surgery.  She was positive enough and asked for all the love and prayers we could collectively send her way.


Baylor Cancer Center

The outcome of the surgery was essentially that they didn’t do the procedure.  The doctor went in and determined that surgery was not an option.  Apparently the risk was too great and they are seeking to treat by chemo or other similar methods.  Julie is still in good spirits and I am humbled at her strength and reliance on her faith while truly battling for her life.

Closing thoughts for my readers:

The first two stories above were examples of me jumping the gun and getting all worked up over silly situations.  The stupid thoughts I allowed to build up in my mind were so far from the truth that its still embarrassing to share the experiences with you.

My first closing thought is to do your homework and get all the facts before making a decision.  The more important the decision or conclusion you’re considering, the more critical it is to take the needed time and to potentially seek the counsel of others with more wisdom than you.

“A wise man will hear and increase learning, And a man of understanding will attain wise counsel.”  Prov 1:5

“Where there is no counsel, the people fall; But in the multitude of counselors there is safety.”  Prov 11:14

My second thought is on the idea of giving people the benefit of the doubt.  Do you give people the benefit of the doubt?  I have worked hard to make this a life principle to live by because you never know what is really going on inside someone’s heart and in their life.

Until they give me reason not to do so, I will continue in the practice.  Can this sometimes get you burned?  Yes!  However I have been blessed beyond measure as a result of treating people this way when there was some serious struggle going on that I only learned about after the fact.

If I would have failed in this practice and treated them improperly up front, I might have never learned about the underlying challenge in their life.  This has allowed me to take relationships to a whole new level and offer encouragement and support where I might have never had the opportunity otherwise.

“For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”  1 Samuel 16:7


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What’s Your Story?

As a Christian I feel an obligation to share about my faith in my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  My purpose in this post is not to address the steps to salvation.  For that topic, I specifically wrote “Do You Have An Insurance Policy For Eternity?” earlier this year.  This is just a simple story about how God has been working in my life from my earliest days as child to the present…and how incredibly blessed I’ve been.

I grew up in the church with my Dad working as a music director during my grade school and junior high years. My Mom’s Dad, Pappa Coker, was a Southern Baptist preacher and provided a solid Christian foundation and heritage for my family.  My Dad’s parents were also strong Christians and great role models in my early years.

Nanny & Pappa

My Nanny & Pappa Coker

It was my Grandmother Perkins who first talked to me about accepting Christ as my savoir when I was just a little boy.  She explained what it meant to be saved and then baptized in the church and I was eager to take the next step.  My Dad was the music minister at Tanglewood Baptist Church in Jasper, TX at the time.  He gave Pastor Buddy Reed a heads up that I was on the verge of making the decision for salvation.

Grandmother & Grand Dad

My Grandmother & Grand Dad Perkins

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.  Ephesians 2:8-9

One Sunday soon afterwards when I was finally resolved in my heart, I made my way down to the front of the church during the invitation.  Pastor Reed and I knelt and he led me in the prayer of salvation where I confessed my sins and then asked Christ to forgive me and to be the Lord of my life.  I wasn’t really paying any attention to my Dad, however I learned afterwards how while he kept the choir & congregation singing, his attention was clearly directed at me.  It was one of the proudest moments of his life.

That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.  For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.  For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.”  For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him.  For“whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”  Romans 10:9-13

I was baptized soon afterwards and started my journey of faith as a Christian. Growing up with the strong Christian influence of my parents and grandparents was truly a blessing.  I realize now that not everyone is so fortunate and count it but for God’s grace that I was given so much.  My early exposure to God’s word and teachings really set me on the right course for life and while I wavered occasionally, I’ve never strayed far from my Christian roots and foundation.


Note from Dad

Following my graduation from college, I never left the church however my attendance definitely wavered.  As an assistant golf professional for the first few years after college, I worked practically every weekend.  This was a poor excuse and yet any excuse will do when it comes to rationalizing why we don’t do things.  When I left golf to start my career in sales, I took on a more standard Monday through Friday work schedule.  This allowed me to start attending church again much more regularly.

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.  John 3:16

I credit my first wife for finding Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano, TX.  Sarah actually found Dr. Jack Graham’s PowerPoint radio program and fell in love with his daily messages.  This led us to visiting and ultimately joining the church.  While our marriage ended back in 2005, I’ve never stopped going to Prestonwood. Dr. Graham is my moral compass and my faith has grown by leaps and bounds because of my exposure to God’s word as shared by the ministry team at Prestonwood.

Pappa Graham 1

Dr. Jack Graham

Starting in late 2005, I committed to giving God the first part of my day in bible study and prayer…and this has NEVER changed.  I’ve always been a morning person and the highlight of my day is getting up and reading God’s word from my John Maxwell Leadership Bible along with a “big” cup of coffee.  In January of 2012, I started adding a second step by listening to one of Dr. Graham’s old messages.  This practice of daily “hiding” God’s word in my heart has caused my faith to consistently grow and it’s a habit I will continue for the rest of my life.

Beyond Dr. Graham, leadership expert John Maxwell has made a huge impact in my life. I’ve been reading his books for close to 20 years going back to my first purchase of “Failing Forward”.  I’ve seen John speak on numerous occasions and he is truly a gifted communicator.  He has an uncanny ability to take the complex and present it in a simple straight forward fashion.

John Maxwell 4

John C. Maxwell

While John has influenced me in many ways, the biggest would be in the desire he’s instilled in me to never stop improving…to be better able to serve and add value to others.

As a tribute to John, I want to close this with a short story about him.  I had the good fortune to see John speak at a leadership conference back in the fall of 2009 in Dallas, TX. During one of the afternoon breaks, we briefly met and he signed my copy of his Leadership Bible with his name and the following which has become a life verse for me.

John Maxwell Leadership Bible

“A Bible that’s falling apart usually belongs to someone who isn’t.” Charles Haddon Spurgeon

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report, if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

Philippians 4:8

Of all the verses he could have shared, it was with specific intent that he used the latter…for how we think determines our path in life.  From the greatest authority on leadership ever, this has turned out to be wise and life changing counsel.

Closing thoughts for my readers:

As the days in our world “darken”, I feel all the more sorry for people who don’t have the hope, assurance, and peace that can only come from a daily walk and relationship with Christ.  To have your place in eternity as nothing more than a big question mark would be a sad and lonely existence.

The Bible is full of God’s promises and the following are among my favorites.  My hope especially for those who have not secured their eternity with Christ, is that these will cause you to seriously consider your future…today…because we have no promise of tomorrow.

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:6-7

For the Lord God is a sun and shield; The Lord will give grace and glory;
No good thing will He withhold From those who walk uprightly.

Psalm 84:11

Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you,
I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’

Isaiah 41:10

And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.

Romans 8:28

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.

Jeremiah 29:11



Posted in Christian, Faith, Follower of Christ, Heaven, Prestonwood Baptist Church, Salvation in Christ, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Life Lessons From Mom

In honor of my Mom and to all the Mom’s around the world, the following is a tribute.  My Mom taught me so much as a child and many of these lessons have stayed with me for life. A few in particular have grown to become absolute fundamentals that my life is now based on.

Me & Mom

A common thread running through these lessons includes the principles of honor and respect.  In the following I will share both the original lesson and what each means to me today.

Yes Ma’am & No Ma’am…Yes Sir & No Sir

From my earliest memories I was taught the importance of saying these short and simple words.  They are such a part of me that I find myself particularly with women saying Yes Ma’am & No Ma’am even when they’re younger than me.  If they are older, male or female, the words come automatically.  It shows reverence and respect and in my humble opinion, I think it is greatly appreciated on the part of the recipient.

Saying Thank You

Learning to say “thank you” has to be one of the most critical lessons I learned from my Mom.  It was drilled into me so much that like Yes Ma’am & No Ma’am, it became an absolute automatic.  Further, I was taught from an early age to write thank you notes for any occasion where I was blessed by someone else.  Thank you notes are a lost art in today’s world and yet they are a timeless and classic expression of honor and respect.

Me and Mom White Fence

Being Happy With What You Have Rather Than Complaining About What You Don’t Have

As a child I grew up in a loving middle class family and never lacked for any material thing.  My Mom always taught me to be thankful and to never take anything for granted.
I learned early on that not everyone grew up in the same type of home as me.  Some had it better…and some had it much worse.  This early perspective taught me the value of being grateful for my blessings both material and intangible.  After all, the most valuable things in life are those which money can’t buy.

On a higher level, this lesson is an expression of gratitude and a spirit of gratitude is one of the most admirable character traits that anyone can ever develop.  According to Zig Ziglar, “Gratitude is the healthiest of all human emotions. The more you express gratitude for what you have, the more likely you will have even more to express gratitude for.”  And my mentor, Andy Andrews, teaches that “It is impossible for the seeds of depression to take root in a thankful heart.”

This lesson also teaches that happiness comes from within and is not based on some outside thing, accomplishment, or circumstance.  Always strive to improve yourself through self-directed growth but never fall into the trap of thinking that happiness is the “pot of gold” at the end of the journey.  Happiness is the journey.

Right and Wrong

In chronological terms, this may be one of the earliest lessons we all learn.  In my case, while I was always fairly well-behaved, I did receive my fair share of spankings. Proverbs 22:6 says to “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.”  I am so thankful for my Mom not sparing the “rod” when I was a child because of the lessons it taught me for life.

Most people fail to make the connection with the significance of the wisdom of Proverbs 22:6.  The higher lesson is teaching a child the discipline to do the right thing even when it’s not necessarily what they want to do because they understand the negative repercussions that will come from the wrong behavior.

This is a lesson that will bear fruit for a lifetime because as adults, we all have a choice each day in how we conduct ourselves and in the decisions we make. There will always be hard choices to make that without the backbone of discipline, the path of least resistance will likely be taken. High achievers in every area of life only get there through hard work and discipline.

Me and Mom High Red Pants

Telling the Truth

Learning to tell the truth was one of the harder lessons to learn because there is an element of trust involved.  I can remember Mom explaining that telling the truth especially when you’ve done something wrong will get you in less trouble than in telling a lie…and ultimately being caught.  It only took a few occasions where I tried to “hide” the truth with the “skin of a lie” only to be found out, that I discovered how much worse getting caught in a lie can actually be.

Now as a follower of Christ, I read and study my Bible daily and I know how much God hates lying.  The Bible is full of warnings against the danger of telling lies.  Between my loving reverence for my Mom and a healthy fear of the Lord, today I strive to live my life above reproach in every area.

A false witness will not go unpunished, and he who breathes out lies will perish.
Proverbs 19:9

For nothing is hidden that will not be made manifest, nor is anything secret that will not be known and come to light.
Luke 8:17

Finally, not telling the truth seems to only make it worse when you finally get caught.  The Bible teaches the principle of “sowing and reaping” and states that you will always reap later than you sow and greater than you sow.  I believe this explains the multiplying effect of lying today and getting caught tomorrow and that’s a price I never want to pay.

Me and Mom High Cooking

Play Nice With Your Friends

How many times did our Mom’s say to “play nice with your friends”?  Little did we know how valuable this simple direction would turn out to be.  Getting along with people is a priceless asset at any age.  Whether in business or in your personal life, we are relational beings and we must get along with others to be happy and contributing members of society.

My mentor and leadership expert, John C. Maxwell, teaches that “One is too small a number to achieve greatness.”  Anything of significance in life will require the help of others.  Being able to connect with and develop relationships is a critical skill in achieving a fulfilled and successful life.

Be Careful Who You Play With

As an extension of playing nice with your friends, the wisdom of choosing your friends wisely is some of the best advice I ever received from my Mom.  It seemed simple enough when we were kids, however the significant importance of choosing your friends and associates wisely can not be overstated.

Your associations in life will make or break you.  Jim Rohn said it best with “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”  Charlie “Tremendous” Jones was famous for saying “You will be the same person in five years as you are today except for the people you meet and the books you read.

This is one lesson from my Mom that is truly for a lifetime.  It causes me to constantly compare where I am in life relative to my moral standards and goals and to be aware of how my associations are influencing my behavior and results for better or worse.

If You Don’t Have Anything Nice to Say, Don’t Say Anything at All

This is another classic “Mom” saying that should be held on to for life.  It’s simple advice and yet the results can be profoundly positive or negative.  My mentor Jeffrey Gitomer teaches to “Say why you like things and people…not why you don’t.”  A negative statement may in fact be the truth and yet if it doesn’t bring value to the situation, then what’s the point?

I’m not suggesting that we should all run around all “Polly Anna” with our heads in the clouds never speaking a negative word.  However I prefer to ere on the side of caution especially in a mixed crowd where you really don’t know everyone.  You never know when your one negative statement may truly offend someone else.  Whether in a business setting or in your personal life, the wisdom of Philippians 4:8 is hard to beat:

“Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.”

Further, you can’t have a quality relationship with someone who you speak negatively about behind their back.  Proverbs 18:21 says “Death and life are in the power of the tongue.”  We literally speak our world into existence, and when you talk negatively about someone in their absence, you are poisoning your attitude towards that person.  It will be impossible to have a 100% positive relationship because of your negative thinking towards them.

Finally, if your negative comments ever get back to the person you were slandering, the potential negative consequences are great.  Regardless of the circumstances, this is a habit fraught with danger.

Me and Mom High School


My Mom’s primary love language is “Acts of Service” and therefore the way she shows affection to others is to do things for them.  Her daily living example of doing things for other people taught me the incredible value of always being willing to serve.  Of all the things she taught me, it was her actions that influenced me far more than her spoken words.  Abraham Lincoln said, “There is but one way to train up a child in the way he should go, and that is to travel it yourself.”

While my spiritual gifts and strengths are different from my Mom’s, I learned the valuable lesson from her that we are called to serve others.  God has given each of us a unique skill set and from my Mom’s example, it is a daily goal for me to be a good and faithful steward.


The hardest lesson of all and yet one of the most beneficial is the act of forgiving.  My Mom taught me early on the value of this often times difficult act.  It could mean forgiving someone else for some way they have wronged you.  Or it could be you asking for forgiveness where you have wronged someone.

In either case, timing is critical and I believe the sooner you address the issue the better. When I have done something where I feel an apology is due, I try to go to the person as soon as possible.  For the record, I prefer not to say “I’m sorry”.  “Sorry” is a state of being and if you say it often enough…you become it.

My preference is to offer an apology followed by asking the other person for their forgiveness.  Trust me, this is way harder than just saying “I’m sorry”.  But the relief you feel when the other person grants their forgiveness will allow you both to move forward with closure and peace of mind.

Harder still is when you’re the one granting the forgiveness.  Without going into extreme examples, this can be one of the most difficult things we are called to do in life.  And yet being will to do so can be one of the healthiest acts we can ever take for our emotional well being.

My Pastor, Dr. Jack Graham, teaches on the negative consequences of harboring a “root of bitterness” towards another person.  The offender may be guilty of a truly horrible act and yet to hold on to your negative feelings can ultimately do you more harm.  Pastor says a root of bitterness is like acid slowly eating away at the inside of its container.

The following from Ephesians 4:31-32 offers sobering wisdom from God’s word:

Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice.  And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.

Living with a general spirit of forgiveness is one of the wisest lessons you can ever learn.  It has been hard for me and yet is has paid great dividends over the years.

Unconditional Love

Closely tied to forgiveness…a Mom’s love has no equal. She knows more about you than anyone and loves you anyway.

My Mom always allowed me the freedom to pursue different things and then encouraged me every step of the way.  From golf, to bodybuilding, to a variety of business opportunities (bless her), to dating long distance which led to an engagement and relocation to Colorado….every step of the way she was my cheerleader.

This taught me the wisdom that can only come from failure when my pursuits crashed and burned.  It also taught me self-reliance and the all important quality of accepting 100% responsibility for your decisions and where you are in life.

I can never begin to repay all that she has done for me.  She holds a special place in my heart that can never be replaced by anyone else.  I love her with all my heart because she’s my Mom.

Happy Mother’s Day!



Posted in Andy Andrews, attitude, Christian, Faith, Follower of Christ, jeffrey gitomer, Jim Rohn, John Maxwell, life path, love, Prestonwood Baptist Church, spiritual gifts, the power of associations, Uncategorized, Zig Ziglar | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment