009: Choosing Not To Quit – Todd Stocker.com

dont_quit.001Show Notes: (Audio attached at the end of the post)

I’m somewhat apologetic about the lack of energy of this podcast, but when you listen, I explain why that is.  I have a good reason.  Really.

Often times life’s tasks are difficult.  A task that you began with excitement may, all of a sudden, become very, very difficult.  You want to quit.  You want to give up.  But if you believe in what you’re doing, my advice to you is what I told myself this past Saturday — “You do not have permission to quit.”

Running a race, you constantly have to fight the urge to stop and sit down.  Life is also like that so whatever you’re in right now, tell yourself — out loud if you can — “You do not have permission to quit.”



Your Choices Have Outcomes

choose-your-pathI was standing in the store, eavesdropping on a mom and her son’s conversation.  He was trying to decide on which toy to buy his littler sister. He held in one hand some sort of over-accesorized doll and in the other, a storybook.  After several moments, of lifting up one over the other, he placed the doll back on the shelf and clutched the book to his chest stating, “I’m choosing this one because we can read it together.”

Wise choice.

You hold in your hand the incredible power of choice.  Every moment of your life, you are making decisions that affect not only your immediate moments, but your longer term future.  Your choices affect the quality and quantity of your life and of those around you.  When you make a choice, they have consequences (or outcomes) and they can have a dramatic positive or negative affect.

If we choose only that which is beneficial to us, that leads to a kind of death.  Death in relationships.  Death in our peace.  Death in our confidence. Death in our lives.   But if we choose to follow the right and wise way – that leads to life.  Life in our relationships.  Life in our world.  Life inside of you.

So ask yourself.  When I make my daily decisions, who is the beneficiary?  Are my decisions helping others?  Are they inline with my God-given life purpose? Do they add value to people in my world?

Choose well – Live well.

Don’t you realize that you become the slave of whatever you choose to obey? You can be a slave to sin, which leads to death, or you can choose to obey God, which leads to righteous living. (Romans 6:16 NLT)



The Importance of Training – “Lone Survivor”

lone_survivorI just watched the movie “Lone Survivor.”  A true story of Marcus Luttrell, it details a four man team being “inserted” into Afghanistan with a mission to take out a Taliban terrorist.  The mission went bad and the team was overrun by a militia force. Only one of the four survived – Marcus Luttrell.

Like those around me, I sat in the movie theater dumbfounded, stunned, really, at the bravery of these men.  With courage and determination, they took bullet after bullet and yet were able to outwit their enemies for hours.  At one point in the movie I thought to myself, “This really happens; day in and day out in the schedules of our deployed military.  YIKES!”

What also occurred to me, as I watched the men stumbling through the brush, was the key role their training played in what they did.  The countless hours of pushing themselves mentally and physically on the training field bore fruit in their action on the battle field.

While you can’t prepare for everything that happens to you in life, you can develop personal disciplines that will help you weather the unexpected that happens.

  • Harness your personal power of choice.  Most people succumb to the lie that they have no or very little choices in life.  While you can’t control everything, you have power to choose how you’re going to respond.  Sometimes the response is to do nothing.  Other times the response is to make a move and move fast.  But make sure your response leads you to positive outcomes.  Are you going to allow bumps in the road to defeat your attitude for today?
  • Have a mental plan.  Luttrell and his team practiced knowing when to “push left” or “push right.”  They even knew when to “fall back” when the situation crumbled.  Thinking through options, mentally visualizing next steps and taking small daily action all play into mental toughness.
  • Stick it out.  Perseverance pays dividends. I like the quote by Muhammad Ali, “I hated every minute of training, but I said, ‘Don’t quit.  Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.'”
  • Lean into God.  Even if you’re not a spiritual person, the understanding that you are part of something bigger in this life is woven into your core and is a great benefit when you are having to make decisions.  Ask Him for guidance.  He promises to give it to you as it works into His purpose and plan for life.

Train everyday and you’ll be regarded a champion.



SNOW! Keys to Changing your Perspective

Winter Snow Storm Dumps SnowYesterday, my part of the world was buried in 12 inches of snow.  People were spun out on the freeway and large tree limbs had collapsed under the weight of the frozen blanket.  Slow traffic, hard shovel-work and the threats of illness are all part of the winter experience.   It’s a burden.  It’s an inconvenience at the least.  But I choose to see the beauty in burden. This is simply a change in perspective and planning.

How to change your perspective.  “Perspective” is the way we view a situation.  If you find yourself feeling down and negative, you could have a perspective problem.  To change your perspective to a more positive one, answer these questions:

  • “Will it matter a year from now?”  We tend to get too focused on the inconveniences of the moment without a long term look on how or if the situation will affect us in the future.
  • “Is it really that bad or do I simply feel it’s that bad?”  Our emotions can lift us up or push us over the cliff.  However, emotions aren’t right or wrong, they simply are.  When you feel negative about something, simply ask “what is the reality of the situation.”  This tends to limit the emotional input and get a real view of life.

How to plan.  “Planning” is the act of anticipation.  They key is that it is an act.  I know that I’ll need to give myself a few extra minutes this morning to get into work.  I need to plan for it.  Here are some questions to answer to help in planning for a potentially frustrating situation:

  • “What potentially could cause frustrations in me tomorrow?”  This question digs into the emotion of frustration and identifies your own personal triggers.  For me, I despise being late for anything.  Because I know that that will frustrate me tomorrow, I’ll take necessary action today.
  • “What can I do right now to prepare for later?”  Life teaches that we can’t be prepared for everything but we can give it a shot.  If you can identify those people, situations or events that give you the most frustration, then you can be intentional about avoiding or emotionally revving up to encounter them.

Right now, I’ve changed my perspective about the snow – choosing to see it as a beautiful way that God gives moisture to the ground and repaints the earth.  I’m also donning my warm clothes to go “mow the driveway” with my snow blower.

Question:  What are some ways you change your perspective and plan for frustrations?



Write Your Own Script – 3 questions that make your life better

I was watching an episode of The Newsroom and in it, Jeff Daniels’ character is adamant about getting a news story on air that only told half of the truth.  In the scene, Daniels gets so frustrated that his team is demanding the whole truth be told, he storms to his office and returns with pre-written scripts of what each newscaster is going to say – half truth as it was.

Does that sound like your life?  Someone else demanding that you read lines from a script that isn’t yours!  Bill Hybels from Willow Creek Church asks,

“Are you writing your own scripts, or are you living a script that someone else has written or that isn’t even yours in the first place?”

Too many people feel they have no choice in how they live their lives.  They feel they are stuck in a J.O.B. (Just Over Broke) with no options or that they not pursuing a joy-filled life.

Here are three questions to answer to help you write your own script.

In what aspects of my life do I feel useful, confident or joyful?  In everything, there are parts that are good.  Identify those parts.  Are they enough to help me write or edit my own script?  They may be the anchor in your attitude that can help you make some changes.

What is stopping me from pulling out a fresh piece of paper and starting all over?   I’m not talking about your marriage or even your job.  It may be that the fresh piece of paper is a new attitude toward what you’re already doing.  It may be that you need a perspective adjustment to see that the problem isn’t you surroundings, it’s you!  On the other hand, you may need to begin seeking employment that fits your dreams and goals.

When was the last time I asked God for wisdom and strength to write and live my own script.  I’ve always loved Reinhold Niebuhr’s Serenity prayer;

“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, The courage to change the things I can, And the wisdom to know the difference.”

God will give you wisdom if you ask for it.  (Seriously!  It’s in the bible here).  The question now becomes, “What are you going to do with that wisdom?”

Question:  What other questions help you break-free from the tyranny of someone else’s script?