What to do when you fall behind!

Where did the last three months go? It has already been over three months since I turned 50 in September and I feel like I am just starting today to work on my goals for this year. This in fact is what I believe is the greatest challenge of staying on track with my goals. What do I do when I have gotten off course or actually gone the other direction and fallen behind? How do I start back when I have lost momentum? Do I make excuses and figure out who’s to blame? Do I say to myself “I’ve already blown it so I might as well have some fun and I can always try again next year”. What do you say to yourself when you fall behind?

In my last posting I talked about reading the first book of 12 that I want to read this year. I am currently on my second book and I can tell that I will have to pick up the pace if I want to hit that goal of reading 12 books by my birthday.

Yes, I am currently behind but the question that I have to ask myself is this “Who am I behind?”.  “I am only behind myself and guess what I can always catch myself!  If I will just get up and start going again, I can catch myself”.

Maybe you feel behind because you failed to start something when you first intended to. Maybe you feel like you have failed so many times that you don’t want to try anymore. Whatever your circumstances currently are, you are only behind yourself and you catch that person every single time. Get back up and start chasing the person you want to become, the person you were meant to be and you will catch up. In short you might not ever be able to catch someone else who is chasing their dream, but you can still catch up to yours. The point is, you were never meant to catch up to the plan for someone else. You were only meant to catch the person you were meant to become. Peter Pan may have difficulty catching his shadow, but you are not after your shadow you are after your future you! So take some time today and start going after that person one more time. Together we can catch up to the people we were meant to become. We just can’t quit, even after falling three months behind. Come on! You and I can do this thing!

Today I am taking back the lost time and before birthday I plan to catch back up to the man I am dream of becoming. Here are my goals before I turn 51.

1.  Finish the book that I am writing by my 51st birthday.

2. Lose weight and weigh in at 205lbs by my 51st birthday.

3. Focus this entire year on choosing my words wisely everyday.

4. Read 12 good books

5. Learn to practice Silence and Solitude to reflect, pray and grow closer to God.

One book down, Eleven to go!

I have five goals for the next 365 days of my journey until I turn 51. One the five is new for me, at least as a life goal—to read 12 books in one year. I say this is a new goal, but it is really a goal revisited. I have always tried to read a certain number of books during different periods of my life. I know firsthand how much a book can change one’s life. I can look back in my life and see where I dedicated myself to reading a book, and God has used it to impact my life in a great way. Whether turning me in a new direction, to challenging me to go after something I feel called to do, a good book can do more than speak into your life; it can actually spark new life, new power and enthusiasm.

MarkBatterson

I have just completed my first book of the twelve that I will read this year. The name of the book is All In, and it is written my Mark Batterson. The book is going to go down as one of my favorites; it may be the second-most highlighted book that I have on my bookshelf at home. If you are looking for a “fresh word” from an inspired writer, who will have a heart-to-heart talk with you about giving your best for God, pick up a copy. I have always liked Mark Batterson’s work as a pastor, a leader and a writer. The book is published by Zondervan and is now available through all of your major bookstores.

Here are some of the highlights of the book that really impacted my life:

1. The subtitle, “You are one decision away from a totally different life”, says it all for me. In our complex world of a 1000 daily decisions, I love to know and be reminded that many times it’s just one decision that can make all the difference.

2. The question Mark asks his readers in Chapter 2: “Are you following Jesus? Or have you inverted the gospel by inviting Jesus to follow you?” As I was reading this book, there were many things that I shared with my sales team and friends. When I shared that statement, you could see on everyone’s face that Mark had hit a cord that all of us could understand. We all need to be called back to following the one that we call Lord!

3. The book is full of incredible stories that demonstrate the power of living “All In”, or totally dedicated to Christ. From Mark’s personal story of going from a failed church plant to risking it all to move to Washington D.C. and try again, Mark uses the power of both personal and historical stories to display the power of living “All In” for God. My favorite story is the one that he tells of a couple who goes to the mission field. This couple goes with great expectations of what they are going to do for Christ. By the end, the reader gets the impression that their journey was a total loss. However, as Mark recounts the real story, I doubt that many people will be able to read it without having a tear or two. It’s a great example of how one person’s sacrifice for Christ has a ripple effect.

If you are looking for a book to spark your relationship or your devotion to Christ, I encourage you to get this book—and if you are like me, make sure you have a box of highlighters. On to book #2!!!!

 

 

Who Is Coaching You?

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The weekend before last, I attended the Florida State vs. North Carolina State football game in Tallahassee. Being a huge FSU fan, I wanted to attend this game not as much for who we were playing, but for who we were honoring. This was the game that FSU had selected to honor legendary coach Bobby Bowden. Coach Bowden is recognized as the winningest coach in college football and the architect of Florida State’s current success. Growing up and playing football in North Florida, I have always admired Coach Bowden as a man of integrity. I never played football for Coach Bowden, but I consider him to be one of my coaches. How can someone whom I have only met a few times in my life be considered one of my coaches?

Unlike sports teams that might recruit or draft a player, we select the coaches that we want to be coached by. For this edition of 365to50, I want to talk about the importance of selecting a good coach.

First, what is coaching?

Coaching is “unlocking a person’s potential to maximize their own performance.  It is helping them to learn rather than teaching them.”  “The art of facilitating the performance, learning and development of another.”

Here are five things to do!

1. SELECT YOUR COACH:  Ask yourself this question right now: if you could select anyone to coach you in life, in marriage, or finances, who would it be? Who would you like to have in your living room once a week, or sitting across from you at a Starbucks for coffee. For me, I have at least 5 people I have selected as coaches. Always remember that even your best coach will have flaws, and at times they will let you down. Most likely, a complete change in character would eliminate them from your list, but remember that everyone is human and outside of Jesus, your #1 coach, all others will have flaws.

2. FIND THEIR VOICE: If they are living, it’s very easy to do this. You can find their voice so many different ways: from watching them on television to sitting down with them in person. Get their books, attend their meetings, listen to anything that they have recorded. You can even gather with other people who are being influenced by his or her teaching. If they have passed away you will need to acquire everything that you can, both recorded and in print.

3. ASK QUESTIONS: Start asking questions to uncover the secret that made them into the type of person you wanted to be coached by. I have had questions like, “If Charles Spurgeon was alive today and he could understand our current culture, what would he say about this?” It’s amazing how you can teach yourself and help the voices of the past coach you through questions. If the person you would like to coach you is still alive, ask them!

4. MAKE CHOICES: All the information is naught unless you actually take action! Make a plan, centered around your goals, that includes everything that you are learning and gaining from your time with your coaches.

5. PASS IT ON: If you grow and become who you are supposed to be, there will be people who will want you to coach them. Find others to whom you can pass on all the coaching secrets that were passed on to you. Write things down so that even the future generations will have somewhere to go to receive from your coaching.

Who coaches you? Or who do you coach? Comment below! Don’t forget to follow 365to50 on Facebook and me on Twitter at @DonLNewman.

 

 

365to: Round Two!

Photo credit: Tyler Neinhouse
Photo Credit: Tyler Neinhouse
Today I kickoff my next round of blogging. I took a little time off after I hit my 50th birthday to reflect and just focus on things that needed my attention. I am now focused on my next year-long journey, leading up to my 51st birthday in September of 2014! I’ve discovered that so much can get done in the span of a year when I live intentionally. 

This year I have four goals that I am focused on.
1. Finish my novel “The Family Tree” and begin my second book.
2. Continuing to work on getting healthy by losing weight and eating better.
3. Having a year where I purposefully focus on choosing my words wisely.
4. Reading 12 new books I haven’t read before. I will provide reviews on this blog.
5. Having set times of silence and solitude so that I can deepen my ability to reflect and hear God’s voice better.
I plan on sharing more about these five things, and what I learn as I focus on how to actually accomplish these goals over the next year. I encourage you to follow along, and tell me about your goals, dreams, and you how are accomplishing them as well!
What landmarks or milestones are you trying to live intentionally for? Tell me below!

 

 

 

 

0to50: What I Learned From the This Past Year!

Today, as I awake to the reality that I am now 50 years old, I am reflecting on what I have really learned this last year. It was over a year ago, as I was getting ready to turn 49 years old, that I decided to have a year fully directed at changing my life in three areas.

The first area was to lose weight. I was almost 300 lbs when I turned 49. Today I am a very healthy 248!

The second goal was to write my first book. Last year I started with an undeveloped idea in my head. Today I have a book in the making as I have defined the characters, the timeline and most of the plot lines. My book idea is alive and growing every day!

The third and last area was to deepen my relationship with God. No doubt about it, this past year has brought me closer to God. While you can’t measure being close to God like you can losing weight or writing a book, there are key signs like hunger and dependency. I am more hungry for and dependant on God than ever before.

I am so thankful for the progress that I have made this last year in not just those three areas but other areas of my life. While I learned a lot from this last year, I think the main thing I learned was the power of living life on purpose. Here are some of those insights.

  1. Living life on purpose brings lifelong change. I have lived life on purpose, and I have also let life happen to me “as it may”, and now I see the difference between the two. I started last year with three goals in mind. Defining and setting those goals helped me to direct every decision that I made this last year. In essence, my life now has a road map, a compass, and a vehicle for movement. I have changed because I had a plan to change.
  2. Living life on purpose brings wisdom and understanding. I can look back and see that during this past year, I learned more about life and myself than any other year. Living on purpose brought that. Psalm 90:12 says it best: “Teach us to number our days that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” I numbered 365 of them and it caused me to gain wisdom and understanding.
  3. Living life on purpose brings more purpose.  Living life on purpose last year has filled me with more purpose for this upcoming year. I don’t know exactly why getting control of your life fills you with more vision, but it does. I have a greater vision for my life today then I did when I started this 365 days ago. Purpose begets more purpose!

This is not the end of 365to50 but really the beginning. Next week I will post my new goals for the New Year! A very good friend of mine shared with me that today is Rosh Hashanah, the beginning of a new year according to God’s calendar. He called this “the year of open doors to new opportunities.” I believe that and I am ready to define and set my course for my next 365 days until! I encourage you to do the same and watch what happens when you live life on purpose. Meet me back here next week, and let’s do it together!

The Resume of My 40′s

As I approach my 50th birthday, just one week from today, I am reflecting on the wonderful things that occurred during the decade of my forties. A lot of life happened during this decade. In fact, I would say that I experienced some of the most important events of my life during my time from 39 through 49 years old.

Here are a few things that happened from 39 to 49!

  • Left Florida for the first time in my life as Tracee, Hunter and myself moved across country to Texas to be part of a new church.
  • Moved back to Florida 2 years later to plant a new church in Winter Springs called Crown Pointe.
  • Traveled to more places, both internationally and nationally, than all the places I had ever visited in all of the first 30 years of my life.
  • Watched my children graduate from high school and two of the three graduate from college. My youngest is getting closer to his degree every day!
  • Walked my daughter Ashlee down the aisle as she was married to Lee Kasten. The memory still warms my heart!
  • Experienced the birth of our first granddaughter, Paislee Kasten. There is nothing like having a grandchild!
  • Had one of my deepest spiritual experiences of my entire life in Wales when I was 39. Had another one, just as significant in Wales again when I was 41. Nothing compares to an encounter with God!
  • I Finally finished college for myself, earning a Bachelor of Theology degree.
  • Coached high school football at Winter Springs High School and loved every single minute of it.
  • Went to work at Chase Card Services and became one of their top national sales representatives two years in a row. By God’s grace, I literally went from worst to first.
  • Took a brand new career path in sales and publishing at Xulon Press, where I eventually became the Sales Manager.
  • Competed in my first triathlon! A year later, I would actually place second in my age group.
  • Proudly watched as my wife Tracee published her first book, The Adventures of Akeem.
  • Started working on my first book, a novel called The Family Tree.
  • Finally went to my first Garth Brooks concert in Kansas City (when he came out of retirement just for me!).
  • Traced my family history all the way back to England and actually visited the historic church that my 7th great-grandfather founded in 1771.
  • Made over 100 new friends that I know by name.
  • Laughed almost every day!
  • By the Grace of God, I matured more in this decade than any other. I feel like it was my forties that caused me to grow into a man that fully loves God, his family and his friends. I thought I knew how to be a man in my twenties and thirties, but I am now sure that it takes years to make a man and decades to make a man of God.

These are just the main highlights. While I can’t fully describe everything, I can tell you that this decade has been the most significant one so far in my entire life—both in the great things that occurred and the deep testings that we went through, this decade is like a lifetime of its own.

Are you getting ready to turn 40? If you are, don’t dread it, look forward to it! If your journey is like mine, you will experience some of the greatest things that life has to offer during the next decade. A lot of life is getting ready to happen! Make sure you take it all in and that you take a few pictures along the way. You’re going to want to remember it one day! It makes me look forward to next decade of my life. What will I do in my fifties that I have never done before?

Next week I will post my 50th post of this blog on my 50th birthday. I will share what I have learned on this incredible 365-day journey to my 50th birthday!

The Book That My Wife Dared to Write!

I have an amazing wife who I am very proud of. When I first met her over 30 years ago, it was her faith that really challenged mine and caused me to deepen my belief and relationship with God. It has been an amazing adventure with Tracee and I am very blessed to call her my partner and my best friend.

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Several years ago Tracee felt a desire to write her first book. The story was about a little boy who lived in Africa named Akeem. A fictional adventureThe Adventures of Akeem is the exciting story of a young boy growing up in the bush country of Africa who learns about God and discovers to hear God’s voice for himself. The first of three books, it begins a story that ends with Akeem becoming not only a man, but being used by God in a very special way.

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The Adventures of Akeem. (Click here to purchase on Amazon!)

Tracee would get up early every morning as she worked to create the story, and also to seek God’s voice as He directed her to write. I still remember her getting up as early as she could to work as long as possible before her day began. Once she finished writing Akeem, she then had to travel down the path of getting it edited and into the hands a few publishers. Like many new authors, she met the same disappointment that many find when they try to introduce their book to be published. It was complimented and even praised, but they were not going to publish it.

Have you ever felt like all of your work and all of your effort ends with failure? That even though you have given your best and everything you know to do, in the end it just doesn’t work out like you would have hoped it would have?

Tracee knew that she was supposed to write this book and that it was destined to help young people find God and learn how to hear His voice and discover their destiny. But it’s hard when others don’t see the same thing that you see.

What do you do when you feel like your dream is real but it’s not given any doors to go through? What do you do when you feel like your dream is trapped in a cocoon that won’t open, so that your dream can become a living reality.

Sadly, many people let their dreams die and—even sadder—they choose to never dream again. Tracee could have let that dream die and taken those first rejections as a sign of permanent rejection. The truth is that one or two or even a hundred rejections are never the sign of total rejection. The secret of success is simply: those who never quit, who never give up, usually in almost every case end up succeeding in one way or another.

Tracee never gave up and eventually, over 13 years later, her book was published by the company that I work for, Xulon Press. She never let the lack of belief by others stop her personal belief. Her dream came to life last year as she worked with a group of editors to present the final manuscript. Now, a year later, she got her first royalty check from sales that occurred last quarter. I could not be more proud or excited for her, her dream of publishing her first book, and receiving her first royalty check.

Tracee

Rejected in the beginning by publishers but accepted and desired by readers in the end. That is success! Don’t let your beginning determine your end! Don’t let the publishers of life decide if your dream is worthy or not to be read.  In the end, they are not the final judge of whether your dream is real. Never give up on the dreams that God has given you. For even if they die for a season, even if they are delayed, if those dreams are from Him, He will resurrect them and bring them to life. No publisher can stop Him from publishing your dream!

Tracee’s book, The Adventures of Akeem can be purchased on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and directly from Xulon Press. It also can be purchased in eBook format.