Keep Pedaling

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As I was on my morning bike ride, I came across this sign. I’ve seen it thousands of times during my lifetime, but today it was speaking to my heart. As I was training for my next triathlon, I was praying about getting through a current rough patch of life. Nothing serious, but aggravating none the less.

As I saw this sign God reminded me that any trouble we experience has a limited lifespan. In short, it will eventually end. Like the road project in your city that may seem like it will never end, it will eventually end. The question God asked me within my heart was this “What will you do during that portion of “Road Work”? “Complain, Doubt, Quit? Or will you keep pedaling”?

I answered that I would keep pedaling because it would eventually end, and I want to enter the “Good Section” of road right on time and not a minute behind. No matter what you are going through today, Keep Pedaling. Happy 4th everyone.

Is writing a book one of the dreams you have for your life?

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According to a survey in the USA Today, 82% of adults dream of writing a book one day. I know that statistic may seem high, but just ask yourself if you have ever desired of becoming an author? If the answer is yes, then you’re just like me and millions of others with the same common dream.

While millions may dream of becoming an author, only a small percentage of those dreamers actually attempt to write and actually have a book published. What is it that blocks most people who dream of becoming an author from actually doing it? There are five roadblocks to why people find a reason not to pursue their dream of becoming a published author. Some never start while others quit before they finish. Here are the five……

  • I don’t have time. Personally this has always been my biggest issue. Everytime I try to schedule time, something takes its place and I go another week without writing. I was starting to think I would just have to wait until I was retired and had nothing else to do. The issue of time is best solved by a simple commitment to a planned writing schedule, a writing schedule you can really keep. You may say that you only have 10 to 15 minutes every day during the week. And you may ask “What can you do actually do in 10 to 15 minutes every day for five days a week?” Think of it this way, if you can just write one page a day during that time, during that 15 minutes, then you would have written over 40,000 words in just over 4 to 5 months. Thats plenty enough for your first book! How do you eat an Elephant? One bite at a time.

 

  • I don’t know if the idea for my book is worthy. You struggle with the idea that no one will want to buy or read your book when its finished. Do you know how many authors struggled with the same idea when they began? Do you know how many famous authors struggled with the same idea? That’s not to say that every book is going to be a Best Seller or will become the next great “Summer Novel”, but you will never know for sure until you try. Talk to someone you trust, someone that knows a thing or two about writing or books. Ask them to give you an honest opinion about your book idea. “In short I would rather live with disappointment than die with regret. You can guarantee that no one will buy or read your book, or you can take a chance that someone might actually want to read it and find out for sure.” 

 

  • I don’t know if someone else has already written this book before. While I can almost guarantee you that someone, somewhere at some other time has written a book that is similar to yours, I can tell you that there is no other book around just exactly like the one you are going to write. Books are like Snowflakes, and while they all can look alike, when you get down to the details, they are all very different. Just look at the last book you read and really loved. Open it and find the line or paragraph you highlighted and underlined. You know, the one place in that book that made it worth buying and reading. I bet that story, statement or illustration is not found in any other book in the world. Only if it was a quote or if it was restating something that had been written before, that’s the only time you would see it again in another book. Plus, maybe no one from this generation or from your own regional location has written a book like yours. “Only reprints are copies, yours will be an original!”

 

  • I only want to write and publish a book that is perfect. While all artist are particular, authors and writers can be very hard on their own writing. There are no perfect books in the World! I believe that while there are no perfect books in the world, outside of the Bible, there are actually a lot of good or great books that have found their way to the audience that enjoys them the most. While the statement above does not suggest that there are no bad or poorly written books in the world, the idea of the perfect book is really nonexistent except for the Bible. While everyone should work hard to write the best book they can, including good editing, they should not let the fear of their book not being perfect keep them from writing it and releasing it. “There is a big difference between an imperfect book that is read and a perfect book that is never written.”

 

  • I don’t know where to start at. Today more than ever there are tools and services where people can get help to move their idea into a form and outline that makes sense. With a great starting point and a great map to guide you along the way, you can find the road to becoming a published author easier than you think. There are even editors that can help you through the entire writing process. I know at Xulon Press, where I have worked for the past several years as the Acquisitions Director, we have built in a system that can help almost anyone find where to start. We like to say “It’s our calling to help you get the book that is inside of you out!”

No matter what you do or how you do it, don’t let these roadblocks stop you from moving forward on your dream to become a published author. You can become a published author and no one knows who is waiting to read what you have to say, what you have to write!

Keep Dreaming

Coach Don

Are You A Stalled Dreamer? How you can overcome the trap of unfinished goals!

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Have you ever planned out your week by setting goals to eventually see those goals stall out or get derailed? If that sounds familiar to you then you may be part of the group that I like to call Stalled Dreamers”. To be fully honest with you, I find myself in that group more often then I would like to be.

Many times It just seems that I start each month or week out with a list of clearly written goals that looks somewhat like a list of directions on how to bake a boxed cake mix. They seem simple, clear and obtainable but somewhere I find my goals end up as a half baked cake that is missing some key ingredients. On paper it should work but something gets missed or left out along the way.

The difficulty with setting and missing goals over and over again is that you can get “Goal Fatigued”. When your journal or notepad starts looking like the same list repeated over and over again with little result you can get discouraged. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think we should resign from goal setting just because we have failed or fallen short of meeting our own expectations. I just think there might be a better way of seeing our goals become reality.

To really understand what is happening to our well planned goals and why they may stall out, let’s look at the places most goal setters fail.

  1. They Set Too Many Goals. Have you ever listed everything you currently wanted to change or do in your life, to only find in the end that you made very little progress except for the list? This is common for most goal setters as they have to learn which goal or goals they should concentrate on first. They miss the power of finishing one goal and that slowly eats away at the excitement of making progress. I am really bad at this that as I find myself trying to do too many things at once. In fact I am trying to read two or three books at this very moment. If you add to that the issue that when I get bored with one goal, then I am going to bounce to another goal. The more I bounce, the less I finish.
  2. Their Goals Are Too Big. You have done it again, you have gone and set your sights on the goal of trying to climb Mt Everest once again. The last time you set this goal you spent hours researching it and even marked a date on your calendar. All that work just to wake up to the knowledge that you didn’t do it. But this time will be different! You are inspired and ready to focus one of the biggest things on your lifelong bucket list. While that is probably not you, are their goals you have set that are just a little extreme or hard? The problem that we all have in goal setting is that we want to set the goal on what inspires us the most. We do that when many times what we need to do is set simpler goals that can ultimately move us closer to those bigger goals. Everyone started working out after the movie “Rocky” came out in the Seventies, but only a few continued to live the dream of being in the shape that Rocky Balboa was in. Have the big goals in mind, but plan with smaller goals that will move you closer and closer to where you want to be. “Momentum is built by one small movement repeated over and over again”. Also “Little wins can really add up into big victories”. 
  3. Their Goals Get Interrupted. Simply put this is what derails most of my personal goal setting ventures. Life is going to happen and what we do when life happens will really determine what we will eventually do with the plan we’ve made. The car breaks down and the next thing you know you have missed a week of workouts. You get the flu and now it’s been two weeks since you worked on writing your book. Clearly you must give room for the interruptions that are unavoidable and for those that really matter, like going to your daughter’s dance recital. But there are those interruptions, like looking at facebook every ten minutes or surfing the internet, that are not always necessary. You must decide which ones count and which ones don’t. Lastly if you want to get to your goal despite the interruptions you can’t or don’t want to avoid, then you must do something! Even if you only workout at home for fifteen minutes or write for only ten minutes in your book, the action will keep you from stalling out.

Happy Goal Setting

Coach Don Newman

A great reason to write and publish a book!

Have you ever considered the impact that your own writing or journaling would have upon your own family and your future generations? I often think about the impact of my own writing and the future impact of the book that I am working to complete now. in fact, while working on my book recently, I looked over at my young granddaughter and began to wonder. What will she think about my book when she’s older? Will she pass it to her grandchildren to read? Will future generations talk about what I have written the same way I love talking about my ancestors book?

The book my ancestor, Dr. Charles Wesley Pope, wrote is a family treasure that reminds me to keep pressing forward on my book. As I think about his book and its impact on me, I realize the books that each of us are writing will create eternal ripples destined to effect generations to come.

1. Our books and writings will let our future family know who we are through what we have written. Think of the people you have come to know only through the books or music they wrote.

2. Our books and writings will pass our faith and what we hold dear to those we will never meet in this lifetime. A book gives us the chance to pass the baton of our experience well beyond our years.

3. Our books and writings will inspire our grandchildren, and even great grandchildren, perhaps causing them to dream a little bigger. Some will even dream of being just like us, another author passing on their faith to the world and continued generations.

I encourage you to consider writing something and for you that are brave enough to take the challenge, I encourage you to write and publish your own book. What has God done for you or showed you that you really want your descendants to know about. You are the only one that can write it. Maybe your own book will be on the shelves of descendants all over the world. I know John Wesley’s is, what about yours?

What speed are you going?

Speed Limit1Every road has a speed limit! Do you know what yours is?

In life everyone is traveling down one road or another on their way to what they want to become one day. These roads and bridges are more than just pathways to get us to where we want to go, they are the very brush strokes and pigments that make us who we ultimately are. Too many times we are on the right road but we are missing the journey that really takes us to where we want to go.

“The problem is that many times we are in such a hurry to get somewhere that we never really become who we are meant to become, we only change locations.”

Dallas Willard is quoted by in John Ortberg’s newest book SOUL KEEPING with this powerful statement Hurry is the great enemy of spiritual life in our day. You must ruthlessly eliminate hurry from your life.” As I read that statement my eyes teared up and my heart seemed to almost stop for a moment. It was as if I had just read the answer to the question that my soul had been asking of God for months. “What am I missing?” “Why am I having difficulty finding the center of my life, and of my soul?” Hurry! The enemy of my life hurry! The hurry I am talking about is best pictured by this word picture below.

Have you ever drove home from work with so much on your mind that you didn’t even remember how you even got home?  What road did you take? Did you run any read lights or stop signs? God doesn’t want us to just arrive at the next location, He wants us to remember the drive.

Think of the things that you have seen while driving down a scenic roadway. I know I have seen everything from a double rainbow that was at the tail end of an awe inspiring storm,  to multiple falling stars crossing the sky right at twilight. There is so much to miss if you are not present or open to it at the time it happens. Thats why hurry or busyness can dry up our soul.

Three ways to slow down in a crazy fast world.

1. Permit life to interrupt you from time to time.

One Sunday I was working at home, trying to get caught up on paperwork, when my granddaughter Paislee came into my office and asked if I would play “Let it go” from the movie Frozen. Well that request went on to the request to go to Disney World and yes I took her and the whole family. Having annual passes makes it that easy to go. In short It was one of the best days ever and my daughter Brittnee took the picture below. My quote for the day was “I got nothing done today, except was most important”.

Me and Paislee

2. Look for the small details in the journey

Have you every just looked at your wife’s hair or took in the way someone laughs? Have you ever just looked at a heat lighting storm in the distance and allowed yourself a moment to be filled with awe and wonder? Have you ever forced yourself to hold your own brilliant idea to just let the person with the ok idea that will never work finish his or her explanation? What makes a diamond great and worth much value is all of the tiny facets and colors that make up its brilliance. I have missed more of the small moments than I care to remember on my way to becoming something. We have to look at the small details if we want to slow down. If a small child is asking you a silly question on the way to your big daunting business meeting. Stop and notice the seemingly small or insignificant details. They are God’s gifts in tiny packages!

3. Walk with God!

Have you ever noticed that God is never in a hurry. He has more responsibility than any of us will ever fully know, but He is never impatient or impulsive. If the creator of the universe and everything we can’t even imagine has time to spend with us in the early morning than He must know something that we don’t know. He must know that life was created for the tiny moments and the journey is all about becoming, becoming like Him! In fact it is only in the journey that we truly learn and become his follower, to become his friend.

Today, do something you have never done before and take in every single sight along the path that leads to your next destination. You never know, sometimes you can be going so fast that you might miss the turn you need to make to ultimately get to where you want to go!

 

“What bridge are you wanting to cross this summer?”

Bridge Crossing

As this weekend begins the pathway through what we call Summer, I have been thinking how this time presents a great time to make some changes in my own life. It seems that as some things slow down and we take time to spend with our families on vacation or holiday, its important to pick at least one thing that I want to accomplish this summer before the rhythm of Fall begins.

For me, I have decided that in keeping with my goals before I turn 51, I have three goals to accomplish this summer. I consider these three goals one in the same as they are the core desire that God has placed within me to change my life. If you have been following my blog for very lone you will know that it has always been about losing weight and writing my first book. Because I will never quit seeking that end, I will keep crossing these bridges on my way to achieving it. Here are my three goals that make up the bridge I am going to cross this Summer.

  • READ at least three books over June, July and August
  • RIDE my bike at least 3 days a week over June, July and August
  • WRITE at least a third of my book by September

Here are three things to think about when you consider what bridge you should cross this summer.

Decide what bridge you want to cross

There are so many things you could focus on this summer. In fact, Summer can become so busy with so many activities that it just becomes a blur of motion and activity. The way you find what bridge you should cross this summer is by asking yourself the following questions

At the end of Summer where do I want to be? 

Do you want to have a summer full of great memories with your family? Then you want to cross the bridge that leads to “A full Summer with endless and wonderful memories”. Do you want to have a summer where you finish a project at your house? Then you want to cross the bridge that leads to “A successful Summer project finished”. 

After you have decided where you want to be in September, its important that you know where you don’t want to be. Ask yourself this question.

At the end of Summer where do I not want to be?

Have you had a Summer before where you failed to spend quality time with your family and you regretted that Summer? Have you had a Summer where at the end of it, you didn’t finish the one project that you had planed to finish? Just decide where you do not want to be come September and let that emotion help you make a plan.

As strange as it sounds, crossing a bridge requires two desires. The desire to enter a new destination or season and the desire to leave one or to avoid one. Without both desires clearly in mind it is easy to just hang out on the bridge.

Hanging out on the bridge is having just enough desire to move a little but not enough to cross all the way over.

Focus on where you want to go and where you don’t want to end up. Defining those things together will help you to be able to pay the toll that is required for crossing the bridge you really want to cross.

Have a great bridge crossing Summer!

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.