Friday, July 30, 2010

A New Start... Fueled By Hope

Some of you know I’m a Dave Ramsey junkie. Today I got his monthly email newsletter, and one section of it reminded me of our fight against ordinary health and our pursuit of optimal health. Read the excerpt below:

Have you ever had a bad day and just wished that it would end? We've all experienced that. And not just a bad day. It could be weeks or months where the breaks all seem to go against you. As much as stuff may stink, every day you wake up, you have a chance to start fresh and get things moving in the right direction.

A single mom in the My Total Money Makeover community forums had this to say about a rough month, and what she's doing about it:

I've had a rough start. I received another hospital bill for my daughter in the amount of $3,970. I also am expecting another bill for $800, plus an ultrasound bill; who knows how much that will be?

I've been working more hours the past couple of weeks, plus I'm doing a lot of work for a client on the side, so the income has still been pretty decent. I hope things will continue for a while longer until I have a chance to get some things caught up.

Rather than throw in the towel, she's choosing to start from where she is and move forward. The past is in the past. You can't go back. But don't let rough spots that you've hit drag you so far down that you don't take advantage of the road ahead. If you hit a pothole as you drive down the street, you don't pull the car over and cry. You made it past that one rough spot. Keep going!

Each month brings with it its own successes and challenges. You have a new budget, new expenses, a new pace at work, new celebrations and so on. There is something about a clean slate that gives you a sense of hope. You can make up your mind to be positive about whatever comes up. We admit that it's not easy, but it's either that or sit in the muck.

You've got too much potential to sit in the muck. Fight through it and fulfill that potential. The greatest stories and accomplishments come from who had lots of obtacles to overcome, Even if you have a lot of past mistakes (and who doesn't?), there are plenty of opportunities to make things right.

And each time you take advantage of one, you get a new start.

This message rings true for all of us. In the pursuit of optimal health, you will hit some potholes. When the rough spots come, you have a choice to make. Will you sit in the muck or clean the slate and make a new start?

My road to health has not been all straight and narrow. I’ve had some detours. I know you have too. But don’t give up hope. Every day is filled with new mercies and is an opportunity for a new start! If you focus on your unsuccessful past, you'll be filled with shame and never experience a better future.

Dave Ramsey has often said something to this effect, “I don’t sell financial advice. I sell HOPE. But my vehicle is financial advice.” Dave sells the same thing that we sell… HOPE. Our vehicles differ slightly, our roads are a bit unique, and our destination may not be exactly the same. But the fuel that gets us there is.

Cling to hope! Your dreams become a reality when you develop an action plan and live it out, and hope is what keeps us moving.

Get well! Stay well!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Leading with Vision in a Challenging Economy

As organizations everywhere deal with the changes demanded by a challenging economy, I find myself extremely focused on business strategy. This is especially true for me during budget development season! To live out its mission as an organization, it is clear that now more than ever its leadership must be disciplined and sensible. It is of utmost importance to identify a course and do everything to stay on that path.

While a wise business plan is essential, a potential side effect of that mentality is the tendency to become so calculated about our plan, so myopic as we pore over the details, that we forget about our ultimate mission. As I’ve been contemplating this, I came across an excerpt from Michael Hyatt, CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishers in an eBook by Seth Godin. Michael Hyatt says this about vision:

Vision is the lifeblood of any organization. It is what keeps it moving forward. It provides meaning to the day-to-day challenges and setbacks that make up the rumble and tumble of real life.

In a down economy—particularly one that has taken most of us by surprise—things get very tactical. We are just trying to survive. What worked yesterday does not necessarily work today. What works today may not necessarily work tomorrow. Decisions become pragmatic.

But after a while this wears on people. They don’t know why their efforts matter. They cannot connect their actions to a larger story. Their work becomes a matter of just going through the motions, living from weekend to weekend, paycheck to paycheck.

This is where great leadership makes all the difference. Leadership is more than influence. It is about reminding people of what it is we are trying to build—and why it matters. It is about painting a picture of a better future. It comes down to pointing the way and saying, “C’mon. We can do this!”

When times are tough, vision is the first causality. Before conditions can improve, it is the first thing we must recover.

Michael Hyatt is the CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishers. He blogs on “Leading with Purpose” at and also Twitters @MichaelHyatt.

So, I guess it’s a good time to remind ourselves, and myself, about our corporate vision. So, here's Work Systems’ mission, vision, and promise:

MISSION – Empowering individuals with health solutions that enable them to get well and stay well.
VISION – Healthy people... body, mind, and spirit.
OUR PROMISE – Work Systems will consistently demonstrate dependability, trustworthiness, respect as we empower individuals with functional health solutions.

Here’s to a successful and healthy 2010! My prayer is that you will recognize the larger story that you’re writing by your daily efforts. I pray that you live out that vision, both individually and collectively. And I pray that you understand just how much you matter. To realize the mission, your organization needs you.

Get well! Stay well!

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Benevolent or Malevolent?

I’ve recently just been introduced to a Brian Tracy's website. Brian Tracy is Chairman and CEO of Brian Tracy International, a company specializing in the training and development of individuals and organizations. His goal is to help individuals achieve personal and business goals faster and easier than they’ve ever imagined. While I don’t know him or his philosophies well, something he wrote resonated with me today:

“There are two ways to look at the world: the benevolent way or the malevolent way. People with a malevolent or negative worldview take a victim stance, seeing life as a continuous succession of problems and a process of unfairness and oppression. They don't expect a lot and they don't get much. When things go wrong, they shrug their shoulders and passively accept that this is the way life is and there isn't anything they can do to make it better.

On the other hand, people with a benevolent or positive worldview see the world around them as filled with opportunities and possibilities. They believe that everything happens as part of a great process designed to make them successful and happy. They approach their lives, their work, and their relationships with optimism, cheerfulness, and a general attitude of positive expectations. They expect a lot and they are seldom disappointed.”

I don't believe that the primary goal of all that happens is to make a person successful and happy. That is a pretty egocentric point of view. There are certainly many definitions of the words “successful” and “happy.” However, I do believe his statement is true in general. People that are benevolent are optimistic, cheerful, and positive.

I have been making a conscious effort to focus on being benevolent recently. Unfortunately, some days that requires more effort than others for me. However, when I can achieve a benevolent attitude, my days generally do go better.

As an organization, Work Systems is setting big one-year and three-year goals. At times, I find it easy to fall into the temptation of thinking (and believing) that, despite good intentions, things will not change. And to truly expect big changes by simply changing an attitude, by being benevolent, is foolish.

Changing the future from the trends of the present or recent past requires solutions, creativity in problem-solving. But to effectively implement these plans, an attitude of benevolence is critical.

I invite you to pursue benevolence. Will you shrug your shoulders and accept the status quo as inevitable? Are you prone to believe that the current situation is unchangeable? Do you have a victim mentality?

Or are you making yourself aware of the opportunities and possibilities that lie ahead? Are you viewing today as a stepping-stone for a brighter tomorrow?

Join me in expecting a lot, and you will not be disappointed.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Is Happiness Contentment?

Stolen directly from Dave Ramsey's newsletter ( on his website, Dave reminds me, once again, that happiness and contentment are not synonymous.


Back to the Basics of Christmas

No matter what your budget is this Christmas, remember to be thankful. Take a deep breath in the middle of all this craziness.

You might have a lot. You might have a little. If you are driving a beater, be thankful for that beater. You would rather drive that than walk, wouldn't you? There is always something to be thankful for.

That's what contentment is all about. When you understand and really grasp contentment, it becomes easier to save money and invest. Stress slowly disappears. Budgeting is easier. Relationships improve.

Be happy with what you have. More than three billion people, almost half the world, live on $2.50 a day. Sometimes we need a little perspective to become content with our current situation.

Without contentment, it's easy to be bitter and apathetic. Happiness is sold to us, especially during this time of year. We think if we can just get one more piece of stuff that "true" happiness will be right around the corner.

We say things like, "I'll be happy when I get that house!" or "I'll be happy when I get that new car!" But happiness cannot be bought. Sure fun—in the form of a house, a car, a new LCD television—can be bought, but fun is temporary. True happiness, or contentment, is lasting.

You can get out of debt, save money, and get on a budget, but until you realize that stuff doesn’t bring contentment, you will always feel stressed and unhappy. Contentment brings peace. And isn’t this time of year about bringing "peace on earth and good will toward men"?

Remember what this deal is all about. It's not about trees, lights, gifts, baked hams, and shopping malls. It’s about a little child who was born in a manger and grew up to die on a cross. It’s about peace on earth and good will toward men.

So if the Christmas frenzy is wearing you out, you've missed the point of Christmas. Make a plan with your money, and make a plan to get back in touch with the true meaning of this special day.

You are invited to Dave's Give Like No One Else Christmas at Daily giveaways and great articles will make you want to check back every day to see what's new.


Peace and blessings to you as you prepare yourself for a contented Christmas!

Get well! Stay well!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Free eBook Giveaway: Exercising with Diabetes

As many of you have already heard, WSR&F is giving away free copies of our original eBook on "Exercising with Diabetes."

Most of you already know that diabetes is a serious disease that leads to potentially life threatening complications such as heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, blindness, and amputation. It is a silent, progressive illness that sneaks up on individuals over the years, and is a leading cause of death across the world. Chances are that someone you know and love is suffering from diabetes.

It's time to take massive action to combat diabetes. It is our responsibility to take a bold, preventive approach, and that's exactly what WSR&F is doing. In recent years, the American Diabetes Association reports that:
  • 24 million children and adults in the United States live with diabetes
  • 57 million Americans are at risk for type 2 diabetes
  • 1 out of every 3 children born today will face a future with diabetes if current trends continue.
Let's face it, there's much to be done.

Like the child on the beach saving starfishes one at a time, WSR&F is reaching out to it's friends to help make a dent in this preventable disease. So, we're going all out over the next few weeks.

To get your free eBook with lots of critical information on preventing and managing diabetes through simple exercise, just follow these four simple steps:

1. Leave a comment on this post!

2. Add a comment on the WSR&F Facebook Group page!

Visit the WSR&F Facebook Group Page and leave a comment on the main thread I started specifically for the giveaway. It’s the one that starts with “I’m giving away a FREE copy of…” .

3. Tweet out the giveaway on Twitter!

Simply tweet out (copy and paste into Twitter) the following message:

Work Systems is giving away FREE copy of “Exercising with Diabetes” eBook over on @tvmolen –

4) Enlist in our Newsletter Updates!

Last, but certainly not least, just click on our latest newsletter link and click on the "Join Our Mailing List!" link.

There... that's all. Not only will you get important exercise information, but I've recently updated the eBook to include some excellent information on some simple nutritional changes that can also help prevent and manage this disease.

Get well! Stay well!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Growing Roots... Being a Peacemaker

Today I was again challenged by Pastor Kevin's series on Growing Roots. His emphasis today was on the Beatitudes and, in particular, being a peacemaker.

Be honest. When you think of peacemaking, what comes to mind? Over the past several decades, our cultural evolution has gradually turned the idea of peace into something passive. The pursuit of peace is now fundamentally equated with acceptance and tolerance with the goal of living in harmony. As a result, it is not as politically correct to use assertive means to pursue peace.

Ultimately, the root cause of this issue is the slippery slope that has been made out of absolute truth. Without absolute truth, no one can claim to have a better way, and, therefore, all ways are equal and deserving of respect.

On a more personal level, I have seen this play out in my relationships. In my younger years, I was a conflict avoider. When I experienced an interpersonal conflict, I found it easier and less stressful to ignore differences in opinion and personality. I played a passive role in my attempt to maintain the peace. Unfortunately, this strategy did not bring about peace and my relationships remained broken. And my end goal - harmony - was impossible to attain.

As I've matured, I have come to understand that peacemaking is an active process. I realize that unresolved conflict sabotages relationships, and broken relationships affect teamwork and unity. I recognize that it is impossible to foster peace by remaining passive when conflict arises, and it inevitably will arise! Relationships require work, and peace is an active process.

My encouragement to you when you experience conflict is this: Don't take the "easy" way out and passively avoid it. When you experience conflict, acknowledge it. Be intentional to voice its presence and vigilant in your efforts to alleviate it. That is the truly the only way to bring about harmony.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Aristotle and the Pursuit of Excellence

Back when Mark and I were making designs to build our fitness facility in Pella and dreaming about what that space would become, I ran across a quote that has stuck with me over the years. I believe I was onsite at Clow Valve when I read a statement about excellence from Aristotle:

“Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.”

It had such an impact on me that one of my visions was to paint motivational quotes on the walls of the fitness floor. This quote was at the top of my list. It has implications for all spheres of life – the physical, mental, emotional, financial, and spiritual.

Growing a business gives me ample opportunity to put this truth to practice. However, that’s easier said than done. Certainly there is no shortage of things to do. I have an extreme passion for excellence, but I haven’t always been successful at marking my course. It's been said that a goal without a plan is only a wish. Developing excellence while attempting to manage what seems like a million tasks seems an impossible task at times. It’s easy to get lost in the forest of responsibilities. I find it easy to think big and see the big picture, but determining my individual, daily steps to get there can be a challenge. I wish...

To provide the structure I need, I have found that it is essential to make a map for each day. Sometimes mentally, sometime physically I jot down a priority list of things that must be accomplished today. I guess you could call this my “act rightly” list. If I want to achieve excellence and demonstrate virtue today, I must habituate myself – train myself – to accomplish these most important tasks.

You’ve heard it said that “the harder you work the, the luckier you are.” The gist of that adage is that luck really isn’t luck at all. Excellence is the same way. It’s not an accident or a coincidence that a person or an organization is successful. One fortunate break does not breed excellence. No, it’s all about acting rightly, training yourself (habituation) to repeatedly do what must be done.

Yes, it’s necessary to act rightly to achieve my desired outcome – excellence. My successes and yours – past, present, and future – are not at all a result of luck. Our healthy habits will bring about a predictable and desirable response – EXCELLENCE. Have you developed a plan to reach your goal, or are you only wishing? Have you prepared your map for today?

Fighting (and Winning) the Battle

As many of you know, I've been on the Take Shape For Life plan for two months now. While I've enjoyed great success so far, it has been a battle in many ways. Understanding my ultimate physical goal - optimal health - and continuously confirming that pursuit as my fundamental aim has been critical.

I was reminded of strategies for fighting the battle at church (Third, Pella, IA) yesteday when Pastor Kevin spoke on spiritual warfare. He emphasized that culture today is taken by the supernatural in part because we have ignored the reality of the spiritual world in our everday lives for so long.

The fact that we contrast the natural with the supernatural reveals that we have bought into a false dualism, that we consider these two worlds as entirely separate of each other. However, the reality of the supernatural in everyday life is obvious. Do you see evidence of sin? Do you battle temptation? Do you understand the daily war that is raging between the worlds of good and evil?

In a spiritual sense, Pastor Kevin encouraged us to "take out the garbage", "take daily showers", and "put on the armor of God." In essence, he was emphasizing how important it is in the material world to understand the temptations and deal with them in a strategic way.

As a Christian, it is my fundamental goal to be transformed more and more into the likeness of Christ. I guess you could call that my pursuit for optimal spiritual health. If I do not make that a daily priority, I become complacent to the attacks against me that are counter to that fundamental goal. But if I continuously remind myself of that fundamental goal, I will be prepared to capture my thoughts and make them subservient to my fundamental goal. My daily actions will support my fundamental spiritual goal.

The same is true in my pursuit of optimal physical health. Every day I am faced with new temptations. If I allow myself to forget my fundamental goal, I create a foothold for my desire for instant gratification to get the best of me. I can easily rationalize one little piece of this or that until I've sabotaged my fundamental goal of optimal health.

For those of you who've surrounded my on this journey with me, thanks for your support. For those of you who've been battling similar battles, let this be an encouragement to you. When faced with tempation, you have 10 seconds to win the battle in your mind. Make it a habit to remind yourself of your fundamental goal, and you're one step closer to winning the battle.

Do you have any garbage you need to take out? Get rid of the temptations! Have you taken your shower today? Don't let that past failure define you and continue to wreak havoc! Have you donned your armor? Keep developing strategies that allow you to fight the battle well!

Get well! Stay well!