A Big Part of Our Purpose is to Cultivate Relationships

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No two people have the exact same purpose. Our DNA, family upbringing, culture, environments, and experiences make us unique. But there are some universals in our purpose.

Part of our purpose is to use our gifts to help others and to allow others to use their gifts to help us.

Often, we become so busy trying to pursue our purpose and succeed at our career that we fail to invest in our relationships.

How much effort are you putting into your relationship with your:

  • God
  • Spouse
  • Children
  • Extended family
  • Friends
  • Coworkers
  • Clients
  • Strangers

I started thinking about this because I took my oldest daughter on a college trip last weekend. It was just the two of us and we had a lot of time to talk and be together on the plane and in the car.

Sometimes we had great conversations.
Sometimes, like when we sat on the beach, we enjoyed the silence.
Sometimes we joked and laughed. Sometimes we talked about deep subjects.

It was awesome. It deepened our relationship.

I hear people say the key to a relationship is quality time. That’s true to a point. But I think people also measure how much you value them in quantity time. You have to be with someone a certain length of time so they know you really care before they will feel safe enough to let you in.

I think the key is to invest in these relationships with the goal of being there, truly listening, and looking for ways to help. If the goal is for what you can get out of it, it’s not going to work and the relationship won’t grow.

You know that person who only calls you when he needs something? When you see his name pop up on your phone your first thought is, “Oh, boy, what does he want now?” Don’t be that guy.

If you can be the guy that other people are happy to hear from and see, imagine how great your relationships will be. Imagine how much you could help others and how much happier you would be.

Let’s GO!

(I now offer one to one coaching and an online coaching program for various budgets. Click here for more details.)

What Are You Taking For Granted?

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My oldest is a senior in high school and will leave for college in a few short months. She has been on a trip with my wife over the past several days auditioning for theatre departments at different universities. I’ve missed them both and it has made me face the reality that very soon I will lose the daily contact I have with my daughter.

I will no longer get to talk to her in person about the good and bad parts of her day.
I will no longer get to hear her singing and watch her dancing each day.
I will no longer get to eat dinner with her each night.
I will no longer get to hug her and tell her how much I love her before bed each night, and so much more.

Just writing that hurts my heart…

It’s not a surprise that my daughter is going to leave soon. We’ve been planning for it since she was born. We’ve spent a lot of time together and have a great relationship. But, now that the time has almost arrived, I have this horrible feeling that I took most of our time together for granted.

How often do we do that with the important things in our lives?

What are you taking for granted right now? I have an idea to help you find out.

Action Steps:

1) List the most important things in your life.

2) One at a time, imagine how you would feel if each one was taken away.

3) The ones that would really hurt to lose, start spending more time on.

Hey, it’s not a surprise that all you have is going to be taken away one day. All of us will die. What important relationships and goals are you going to spend your time on before that happens?

Let’s GO!

(I now offer one to one coaching and an online coaching program for various budgets. Click here for more details.)

The Paradox of Serving Your Way to Success

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When you first hear it, serving your way to success sounds crazy, doesn’t it? The idea of being someone’s servant even sounds a little bit demeaning. And don’t I have to focus on me to get ahead? No one else cares about me as much as me.

“I love me some me!” — Terrell Owens, former NFL receiver

That can lead to a downhill spiral – fast. You end up feeling greedy, selfish, and desperate. And, it usually leads to financial and relational struggles.

But, when you truly understand it, serving your way to success makes perfect sense. You can track every bit of success in your life to your service of others.

  • You got promoted and made more income by serving your customers, coworkers, and boss
  • Your marriage is great because you put your spouse’s needs above yours
  • Your business is thriving because of the way you serve your clients
  • You have lots of friends because you’ve shown that you’ll help them any way you can

Sometimes I forget this. Whenever I find myself pressing in my business, or feel like I’m working too hard trying to sell, I always notice that I’ve gotten away from the focus of serving others. As soon as I start looking for ways to help and serve, things start working out again.

I start to feel happier. I begin to create better relationships and friendships. I have more fun in my work. I help more people.

As a bonus, I get more speaking engagements, coaching clients, and book and online course sales. But that isn’t my focus.

Sports demonstrate this as well. You’ve heard people say about a great player, “he’s so good, he makes everyone around him better.” That doesn’t just happen by accident. The great ones serve their teammates by helping them become better. They give them tips on how to play their position, how to study film, how to be mentally tough, and more. They lead by example and by their hard work. They never ask someone to do something they aren’t willing to do themselves.

It’s true in more than just sports. The really great parents, friends, and business people make everyone around them better. And they do it by serving.

It’s amazing how the process of helping others makes you a better person, and leads you to greater personal success than you’ve ever known. Quite often it even leads to more income. That’s not why you do it, but it sure doesn’t stink.

Let’s GO!

Questions for comments:

  • How do you switch your focus to serve others?
  • What do you do to serve others?
  • How does that change how you feel and what you achieve?

(I now offer one to one coaching and an online coaching program for various budgets. Click here for more details.)

Who Can Help You – And Who Can You Help Win?

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It’s a lot easier to pursue your Passionate Purpose when you have someone on your side, encouragins you, helping you, and holding you accountable.

Greg, is this going to be a post about having an accountability partner? That’s an old, boring idea. Come on, man.

Hang on a second. You’re right that it’s an old idea, but here’s a question for you: Do you have an accountability partner who’s helping you achieve your most important goal right now?

Don’t feel bad, most of us don’t. We all know it’s a good idea, but most of us never follow through with it. Some of us start off with an accountability partner and then over a few weeks or months, we drift until the idea fades.

 

The times I have stuck with an accountability partner have paid huge dividends for me. I used one to get serious about working out and I used one to write my first book. Anytime I felt like skipping a workout, or not working on my book, I knew I would have to answer to my partner. I also knew I’d be letting him down.

That pushed me and kept me going. Better yet, the encouragement I got from my partner for all my hard work really inspired me.

I even discovered something super cool about having an accountability partner. When you help someone else achieve their goals, that helps you, too. It makes you feel great, and it gives you extra energy and incentive to keep going after what you really want.

Ok, Greg, you’ve sold me. So, how do I get – and keep – a partner? And how do we hold each other accountable in an encouraging way?

First, you need to get 100% clear on exactly what you want and why you want it.

Write that down.

When will you do “x” by?

How will you know you’ve done it?

Write that down.

Who will you choose as your accountability partner? It should be someone who shares your desire for an extraordinary life, someone who will support you in your efforts and kick you in the butt when you need it.

Be careful not to get someone who really doesn’t think you’re going to achieve your goal. I know that sounds ridiculous, but I’ve seen people set themselves up for failure that way.

Search for someone you look up to, who has a reputation for doing what he says, and for following through.

I find the best accountability partners are people who want you to hold them accountable for goals they’re working on in their life as well. When you encourage each other and hold each other accountable, great things happen.

If you can find someone who has a goal very similar to yours, that’s even better. I have found that it’s often better to find someone who isn’t a family member or a super close friend. Sometimes, when we’re that close, we don’t feel comfortable pushing each other.

Is there someone in your circle of friends at church, work, or in the neighborhood you would feel comfortable working with?

Action Steps:

  • Get an accountability partner today or tomorrow. Don’t wait.
  • Schedule a time once a week for an accountability phone call and half way through the week exchange an accountability email.

The content of the call and the email is simple. Ask each other:

  • What did you say you would do this week?
  • What work have you done on that?
  • What adjustments do you need to make to improve your progress?
  • What can I do to help you?

Remember:

  • Encourage each other
  • Celebrate mini successes
  • Remind each other how far you’ve come
  • Support each other on the “why” behind your goals.

Let’s GO!

I now offer one to one coaching and an online coaching program. Click here for more details.

You Are Powerless…Unless

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Greg, I don’t have any power. No one listens to me. My work doesn’t matter. My vote doesn’t matter. Nothing I do really matters. I’m powerless.

Do you ever think thoughts like that? I know I do.

You’re right…unless.

I saw a great speaker at church last Sunday night. He was talking to us about parenting and he said any influence you have with your children is dependent on the relationship you have with them.

That struck a chord with me. When my dad and I were getting along well and had a good father/son relationship, I hung on his every word. I wanted to be like him. When our relationship was strained, I turned to my friends for guidance on how to live and what to do.

The speaker told us how he had a very tough time in school. At 13, he was tall and sickly thin – so thin he couldn’t even play sports. He also had horrible acne with pimples as big as nickels.

Kids can be mean and every day at school was misery. But more mornings than not, his mother would stop him at the door, as he was about to leave, look him in the eye and say, “I know it’s hard for you right now. But I want you to know that I believe in you. I love you. God loves you, and he has big things planned for you.”

Because he had a great relationship with his mother, her words had great influence on him. They carried him through the tough days. Later in life those words rang in his ears as he started to write the first of 24 books. They encouraged him as he preached to 8,000 people on the steps of our nation’s capital.

Her relationship with her son gave her great power and influence with him.

I think it’s the same for every part of our lives. Our power is derived from the relationships we have with people, not from our title or perceived power.

We’ve all seen the boss who has very little influence with his employees because he has a horrible relationship with them. He can fire them, but he can’t get them to do their best for him.

How about the politician who becomes known for corruption and lying? Who wants to continue to volunteer to help her win re-election?

But, when your family, friends, coworkers, and followers know you care about them – when you have invested in deep relationships with them – they are willing to run through brick walls for you.

You matter to them. And they matter to you.

True, caring, deep relationships give you great power and influence.

How can you grow your most important relationships to have more power for good than you’ve ever imagined?

Let’s GO!

If this post resonated with you, Please subscribe to my blog and get my free eBook — 5 Steps to Finding Your Passionate Purpose. You can also purchase my book, GO!

Nice Guys Finish…1st?

white hat

Nice guys finish last, right? It’s what we see in the movies and what society tells us. You have to be ruthless and selfish to get what you want in this world.

That can be true in the short term.

You can push in line to be first. You can sell something to someone they don’t really need to get your commission. You can lie about someone to get that promotion.

It can work…for a while.

But as my dad says, “time wounds all heels.” Mean people don’t finish first most of the time. They end up burning bridges, getting a horrible reputation and living a miserable existence.

Sounds fun, huh?

Being nice wins out in the long run.

“Kindness is a language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.”
― 
Mark Twain

Who would you rather do business with, hire, work with, or sell to? Someone you like or someone you dislike?

Wait a second, Greg, is this a trick question?

If we want to do business with, and be around, nice people, doesn’t it make sense for us to be as nice as possible in everything we do?

Nice guys finish first!

My last vacation was to NYC – the land of rude people. (Or so I’d been told.) Guess what my family found? Nice people.

Perhaps it was because we sent out kindness that we received kindness in return. I think it also had to do with the fact that we were looking for nice people.

We had nice people coming up to us explaining how to use the subway, helping us with directions and telling us about the best discounts.

We did meet a few rude employees at some of the businesses we went to and a few disgruntled people on the street, but we simply moved on until we found the next nice one. (Notice how the rude people lost our business and the nice people got it.)

And things just kept working out for us during the entire trip. My favorite was when we got the cheapest tickets available to a Broadway show simply because we were kind to the ticket agent at the box office. (I know it was a great price because of all the research we had done on it.)

Being nice “just because” will make you stand out with everyone you come in contact with. It will make people rave about you to their friends. It will get you more – and better – business. It will make you feel great. It will come back to you ten fold.

It’s the right thing to do.

And it doesn’t cost you a penny to do it.

Nice guys finish first.

Who can you be nice to today?

If this post resonated with you, Please subscribe to my blog and get my free eBook — 5 Steps to Finding Your Passionate Purpose. You can also purchase my book, GO!

What If You Were Never Born?

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Do you ever feel like you aren’t making a difference? Maybe you think you’re replaceable and anyone could do what you do. Maybe you feel like a failure. We all feel like that from time to time. For some of us it gets so bad we wish we’d never been born.

When that happens, it’s time to George Bailey your life.

Remember George Bailey from It’s a Wonderful Life? He had so many things go wrong that he actually wished he’d never been born. God gave him that wish and he found out just how many lives he had touched and just how important he was. He stopped a pharmacist from giving a boy poison instead of medicine. He saved his brother’s life in childhood and his brother later saved a couple hundred men in WWII. He helped hundreds of people afford good homes. He and his wife created a beautiful family that wouldn’t have existed without him.

It was a wonderful life.

My preacher reminded me of that last Sunday. He was using the story to wonder how the world would be different if the church had never been created.

It got me to thinking, what would be different if I had never been born? What would be different if you hadn’t been? We can’t know for sure, but we do know some things. I know my two daughters, Faith and Summer would not exist. That’s enough reason for me to be born, right there. Of course, my wife could never have found as great a husband…ok, I better stop.

But let’s go deeper. How many people would have lost a friend, coworker, mentor, brother, sister, mother, father, or child if we hadn’t been born? What would have happened to your friend you helped get a job or the elderly lady down the street whose lawn you mowed last week?

Spend just a little time thinking about this and you will begin to realize how many lives you have touched. Each life you’ve influenced created ripple effects that carry on across countless lives.

As George Bailey’s angel, Clarence, put it, “Strange, isn’t it? Each man’s life touches so many other lives. When he isn’t around he leaves an awful hole, doesn’t he?”

Ask yourself, how many lives will you make an impact on today and for the rest of your life?

You know, it really is a wonderful life.

If this post resonated with you, Please subscribe to my blog and get my free eBook — 5 Steps to Finding Your Passionate Purpose. You can also purchase my book, GO!

Trying to be Popular is All Wrong

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We all want to be popular. We want as many people as possible to like us and to love our work. But what if that desire stops us from getting the most out of our talents and turning our ordinary work into spectacular art?

Planning our work so it pleases the largest number of people possible often has us censor ourselves, and usually stops us from doing something amazing. –Greg Knapp

But, Greg, I need people to buy my work. I need to make money.

Absolutely. And you do need to make sure there’s a market for what you’re producing. But, here’s the irony. When we try to make our work popular with everybody we usually end up earning less than when we follow our passion, and do inspired work.

Sure, we’ll be less popular. But the people who love us, really love us. They keep coming back and buying what we have to offer. They tell all their friends about us.

Because we connected with them.

When you do what moves you, you move others and the money will follow. Plus, it’s a lot more fun than trying to do what you think people want!

Pablo Picasso was an excellent artist from a young age. But, did you know he was classically trained and painted landscapes early in his career? He could have stuck with that and made a good living. But he was inspired to experiment and helped create the Cubism movement.

Not everyone liked his abstract paintings. You could say they were “less popular.” But he was doing the work he really cared about and the people who did like them really liked them. In fact, at the time of his death, Picasso’s net worth was estimated to be $50 million. (He was an artist who didn’t have to wait until he died to make money!)

Not bad for being less popular, eh?

Questions for comment: Where have you been pulling back on the type of work you really want to do because you’re worried you will lose customers? Could it be that’s what’s holding you back from bigger success?

If this post resonated with you, Please subscribe to my blog and get my free eBook — 5 Steps to Finding Your Passionate Purpose. You can also purchase my book, GO!

A Sincere “Thank You,” Can Change Everything

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How do you feel when you get a real thank you? I’m not talking about a “thanks” for holding the door or passing the ketchup, or a perfunctory thanks for meeting/doing business with me. Those are all fine, but how do you feel when you get a sincere thank you? How do you feel when someone looks you in the eye with meaning, gives you a firm handshake – or even a hug – and says, “I really want to thank you for what you did. It means a lot to me and I’ll never forget it.”? How do you feel when someone hand writes you a heart felt message and a “Thank You” on personal stationary? Awesome, right?

“A sincere ‘thank you’ can change the day – even the life – of the receiver and the giver. Who do you need to thank today?” —Greg Knapp

A sincere, “thank you” creates an emotional bond between both parties. It encourages the person you’re thanking. It let’s them know they count in this world, they’re making a difference, and they touched your life. It also makes you feel better, elevates relationships, and often leads to more business (bonus!).

So why don’t we do it more?

We’re busy. We rationalize that the other person knows we appreciate them and doesn’t care if we say thank you anyway. We don’t know how to say it. It’s too much trouble.

All wrong. The effect a thank you has makes it imperative that we say it often — and with feeling.

In answer to what we tell ourselves: Everyone’s busy, The other person doesn’t know how you feel unless you tell them. They do care. Just say what you feel. It’s not too much trouble. It adds joy to life.

I think there’s one other reason we don’t say thank you enough…It can be scary.

When you admit that you needed someone’s help, or you couldn’t have done it with out them, or you care about someone you are making yourself vulnerable.

Being vulnerable does open you up to being hurt, but it also opens you up to deeper relationships and bigger opportunities.

Which will you choose?

Questions for comments: Who are you going to sincerely thank today? What happened when you did?

If this post resonated with you, Please subscribe to my blog and get my free eBook — 5 Steps to Finding Your Passionate Purpose.