TEN BEST THINGS OF 2009

31 12 2009

As a new decade is set to descend upon us in a few hours, I thought it would be a good idea to reflect on the “Ten Best Things” that happened to me in 2009 (in the order that they occurred).

  1. MacWorld Conference in January. This is simply a guilty pleasure. I love the MacWorld Expo and the best thing about it this year was that I won a free registration from Sheridan Jones over at Microsoft (via Twitter). She not only hooked me up with the free registration, she also made sure that I got a personally autographed copy of Guy Kawasaki’s new book “Reality Check,” and hooked me up with a copy Microsoft Office 2008 (BIG ups to you Sher Jones!!!)
  2. My ACN phone call from Rich Secchiaroli. Right around Valentine’s Day I got a phone call from a friend and mentor who I had not heard from in a couple of years. He called to tell me that he had gotten involved with ACN. Soon thereafter? So did I. I’m now full-time in ACN and loving the time freedom that I have back.
  3. Spring Training in Arizona in March. I’m a baseball junkie and I’m not ashamed to admit it. This was the first year that the Dodgers moved into their new facility in Glendale, AZ and my wife and I spent a good part of March in Arizona watching baseball under the sun. Ahhhh THAT’S the life!
  4. Launching my daughter Bekah’s ACN business. If you are confident enough to get your own kids involved in your business, that’s saying something. Bekah was just getting ready to start her final semester at LSU so I was able to take several trips to Baton Rouge (love that Cajun cooking) to get her started and meet so many of her friends.
  5. New Car in July. July was when I was able to leave my job and start working ACN full-time. That month I also bought a Mazda CX-7. It had been a while since I had purchased a car. This is a modest acquisition, but God is good. I’ve never been a big “car” guy, so this will do for now.
  6. Celebrating my daughter Bekah’s 21st birthday in Las Vegas. She had five friends join her there for four days and three nights at the Mandalay Bay resort. It was great to be able to host a celebration like that for her.
  7. Taking my daughter Hannah to her Freshman Orientation at UC Santa Barbara. I spent the first two years of my college career in at UCSB. To be able to escort her to her orientation there was just such a treat. I hadn’t set foot on the campus in over 25 years. I was amazed at how it had changed. But more importantly, it was great to spend the time with my daughter over the weekend. I miss her so much when she is gone now. I treasure every minute that I see her.
  8. Bekah’s Graduation from LSU in December. Her mother (we are divorced) and I spent several days with her in Baton Rouge before and after her graduation ceremony. It was the first time that Bekah’s Mom and I had spent significant time together in the twelve years that have passed since we separated. We even had a two-hour dinner alone together where we were able to trade notes and observations about the kids and life. At one point, Bekah was walking with us in the French Quarter and she exclaimed “I feel like I’m five again.” I just smiled and was glad that for five days in December, her Mom and I were able to be on the same page together in celebration of our daughter’s accomplishment (did I mention that she completed her B.S. in Psychology in just three and a half years?).
  9. Sending my son Aaron to the Urbana ’09 Conference in St. Louis this week. I am so proud of the man that my 19 year-old son is becoming. I always say that I hope that some day my daughters are fortunate enough to meet a man with a heart just like my Aaron. He is involved with the Inter-Varsity Leadership team on campus at Cal State, San Marcos. Earlier this year he asked me if I could help him go to the Urbana Conference (it only happens every three years). I told him if his grades were up to par, I would do so. He did his part and God allowed me to do mine. He is still in St. Louis and is scheduled to return home tomorrow night. In the conversations that I have had with him, it sounds like God has been laying some interesting things on Aaron’s heart. I can’t wait to see what God has in store for him.
  10. My repentance. This has been an on-going thing. I wish I could say that it only took a day. But the truth is that there were several events that took place over the course of the year (from January thru December) that have led to me reversing the direction of my life. Without going into the gory details, suffice to say that my head and heart are in the right place. I can’t wait to see what God has in store for 2010.

So now I ask you. What are the Ten Best Things that happened to you in 2009? New Years Eve is a great time to reflect on what we have to be thankful for.

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O HOLY NIGHT

24 12 2009

O holy night!

The stars are brightly shining.
It is the night of the dear Savior’s birth.
Long lay the world, in sin and error pining,
Til He appeared, and the soul felt its worth…

Tonight is Christmas Eve. I find myself sitting and pondering the above lyrics to my favorite Christmas song. I’ve known what it is like to lay in “sin and error pining.” And I have had the good fortune of knowing what it is like for my soul to “feel its worth.”

There is a stark difference between “laying in sin and error pining” and having your soul “feel its worth.” It’s the difference between feeling lost and being found. It’s the difference between wandering aimlessly and having purpose.

As I stop and think about the bigger picture of my career with ACN, I can’t help but think about how “helping souls feel their worth” has become a bit of a mission statement for me. The world is filled with people who are hurting, souls who are pining to know their own worth. Not being able to keep a roof over your kids head can make you doubt your own worth. Not being able to put food on the table can do that too. Not being able to provide your loved ones with Christmas gifts can dampen that feeling of worth as well.

There are a few things that I have learned full well in this life. First, the verse in “O Holy Night” has it right. A soul can only know its worth after “He” appears. “He” is, after all, the creator of life and the universe.

The second thing that I have come to grips with, is that “He” often appears and manifests himself thru other people. An old mentor of mine was fond of saying that “we are often the only Jesus that some people will ever see.”

If this is so, then it follows that “He” can appear to others thru us. By extension, we can be used as vessels for helping the souls of others “feel their worth.”

A third observation that I have made, is that in every interaction that Jesus has with people in the Bible, He always looks to meet the physical needs of people He encounters before He deals with their spiritual needs. EVERY SINGLE INTERACTION!

  • The woman who was hemorrhaging? He stopped her bleeding.
  • The blind man? He restored his sight.
  • The paralyzed man who could not get down to the healing pool? He made him walk.

That’s where the power of ACN comes into focus. We have the power to meet people where they are at, and to help meet their “physical” needs. There’s an old adage that “people don’t care what you know, until they know that you care.” I can’t think of a better way to show someone I care for them, than by helping them meet their physical needs.

In meeting those needs, we have the opportunity to demonstrate the love of Jesus as He so often did in the Bible. We may be “the only Jesus that some people will ever see.” A lot of people “talk the talk” about their faith. ACN provides us with an opportunity to “walk” that talk.

On this holiest of nights, I am thankful for the mission to which I have been called. I hope that as you read this post, that you will consider the ways that you might be used in 2010 to help souls feel their worth. I can assure you, there is no more noble calling.

Merry Christmas to all. He has appeared. May your soul feel its worth.





MEAT AND POTATOES

8 12 2009

For those of you who were in Anaheim this past weekend for the ACN International Training event, you no doubt came away with tons of great information. This was my third event this time around in ACN. They’ve come a long way from the first one that took place in 1994. That one was held in Las Vegas at the Flamingo Hilton in a conference room that held about 300 people. This past weekend over 15,000 people were in attendance at the Anaheim Convention Center. I’m going to venture a guess that this will end up being the last International event ever to be held in a convention center.

  • Darren Hardy, Publisher of Success magazine,  delivered a great keynote address on Sunday morning.
  • Pastor Kevin Boyd was spot on during the Sunday morning worship service with his message on “The Road to Prosperity.”
  • SVP Darin Dowd provided everyone with a visual illustration of the recruiting process that will forever have us looking at gum ball machines differently.

But one of the most significant “aha” moments came for me during newly-promoted SVP Debbie Davis‘s talk on Sunday morning. In her training on “Timing and Leading by Example” she said,

“Personal development is the meat and potatoes of ACN. The money is the gravy!”

WOW!

Debbie could not have made this point anymore clear. ACN is a personal development company with a compensation plan attached. First comes the personal development, THEN comes the money. You can’t have the gravy without first making the turkey.

So what does this all mean? It means that if you want to succeed on a major scale in ACN, then you need to work on yourself first.

So many people focus on what they want to HAVE. What we need to focus on first is who we ARE. That’s the essence of personal development. Working on yourself and the person that you are.

This has been one of the great life lessons that I have had to learn the hard way. Success in life is not so much dependent on my external circumstances as it is on the person I am becoming in the process. “Being” is more important than “having.” In a materialistic world, what a revolutionary concept!

No one exemplifies this more than Debbie Davis. I was there in 1993. I remember what Debbie was like. She has always been one of the “gosh darn” nicest people you will ever encounter in your life. In fact, back then she kind of became the unofficial ACN Mom to every rep in the company. Debbie was the person you ran to when you needed encouragement. Debbie was the person you went to when you needed a hug.

Watching Debbie Davis get promoted to SVP on Saturday night and then train on Sunday made me realize just how far Debbie Davis has come on her 17 year journey with ACN. She has worked on herself as much as anyone else I have ever seen. Debbie Davis is a leader’s leader.

There’s a saying that goes, “if you wanna have what successful people have, you have to do what successful people do.” What Debbie Davis has done over the past seventeen years (and I suspect over her lifetime) is focus her own personal character and development.

First comes the meat and potatoes, then comes the gravy





ACN INTL FEB 19-21 SAN JOSE, CA

4 12 2009

For those of you who have not checked in at Anaheim yet, the next ACN International Training event will be in San Jose, CA. The event is scheduled for the weekend of February 19-21 at the HP Pavilion (home of the NHL Sharks).

Have a great weekend in Anaheim this weekend!





WHERE’S WALDO?

3 12 2009

I have five kids. The youngest is in the 7th grade, one is in the 10th grade and three are in college. While they are all old enough to read for themselves now, there was a time where they loved to be read to.

One of the books that most kids love to look thru are among the famous “Where’s Waldo?” collection. Each page has a collection of characters painted into a scene. Waldo creator Martin Handford assures us that Waldo can be found on each page. You just have to be persistent in your search.

I was thinking about this concept the other day, and I began to realize that ACN is a lot like the Waldo concept. When we launch a new rep and ask them to put together their list of a hundred contacts, there are Team Coordinators and RVPs (Waldos) on every page. We just have to be persistent in our search.

The next time you go thru a bookstore, take a minute to flip thru a Waldo book. You’ll see that on the first few pages, Waldo may be relatively easy to find. As you advance thru the book however, Waldo becomes increasingly more difficult to find. He’s there alright. You just have to be persistent and thorough.

Anaheim is tomorrow. Off to pick up my name badge in a minute.





FOR GOD’S PURPOSE

2 12 2009

One of the great works of art is on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican. The piece is typically referred to as “The Creation of Adam.” In his book, God is Closer Than You Think, author John Ortberg sets the scene brilliantly:

“Before Michelangelo, art scholars say, that standard paintings of creation showed God standing on the ground, in effect helping Adam to his feet. Not here. This God is rushing towards Adam on a cloud, one of the “chariots of heaven,” propelled by angels…It is as if even in the midst of the splendor of all creation, God’s entire being is wrapped up in his impatient desire to close the gap between himself and this man. He can’t wait. His hand comes within a hairbreadth of the man’s hand.”

…God is as close as he can be. But having come that close, he allows just a little space, so that Adam can choose. He waits for Adam to make his move.

Adam is more difficult to interpret. His arm is partially extended toward God, but his body reclines in a lazy pose, leaning backward as if he has no interest at all in making a connection. Maybe he assumes that God, having come this far, will close the gap. Maybe he is indifferent to the possibility of touching his creator. Maybe he lacks the strength. All he would have to do is lift a finger.

Ortberg goes on to make the point that “All it takes is the barest effort, the lift of a finger.”

The lift of a finger.

All at once the concept strikes me as absurd and yet painstaking close to home.

The Anaheim International is two days away. I feel like I have let not only the last 80 days slip thru my fingers, I have let the last 120 expire without doing what is necessary to redeem them.

I have spoken to dozens of people in the last 80 days. I have done one-on-ones, two-on-ones, PBRs and Saturday Trainings. I have double digits of people coming to the International, but they are all in two legs. I have a third leg that is completely non-productive. I won’t promote to Team Coordinator until that leg gets to 200 customer points.

I am a man of faith.

I am also a man who has lost his way on more than one occasion.

When things are going well, I work hard to have daily “quiet times” with God. I may sit down and read a little scripture and reflect on that in a journal. Other times, I’ll read a book on faith and journal about that reading. I did that for the first time in two months yesterday (and again this morning). When I looked at my journal, I realized that when I journaled in September? It was only one day that month. It was only two days in August. Before that? I sat down for my quiet time TWENTY-ONE times in July.

Wanna guess when I had my greatest momentum in ACN ? For those of you who guessed, July, give yourself a hand.

I often am shy about talking about my faith. Partly because I fear turning people away who might otherwise be uncomfortable with the subject. Partly because it’s just easier to live my life in my own selfish and undisciplined ways if people don’t think to hold me accountable for my own values.

But there is no escaping the subject of “faith” if you are in ACN. There is a large worship service on Sunday morning at 7 a.m. at every International Training. And it seems that every single Four-Star RVP and SVP who gets promoted, attributes their success to their faith (except those who are French Canadien LOL for REAL have you noticed? Or is it just me?).

One of the most uplifting and inspiring SVP promotion speeches I have ever heard was delivered by Jennifer Dowd. She makes a few poignant references to being like Noah and needing to build your own ark. She points out that Noah was an amateur and had no idea what he was doing. She then contrasts that with the building of the Titanic, which was built by professionals (and we all know how THAT turned out)! Jennifer then points out that the difference is that God was in the equation with Noah and the ark. Noah built the ark for God’s purpose.

Which brings me to the last 120 days. I’ve been going about things all wrong. I’ve been building things for MY purpose. My paychecks have suffered for it, and those of my downline have as well.

I can be an incredibly selfish, self-serving man at times. It is hard for me to admit that. In fact, I do so right now with great shame and embarrassment. Coincidentally, this morning Tiger Woods issued a statement essentially admitting to some shameful and embarrassing behavior himself. Maybe it was seeing Tiger “man up” that has prompted me to sober up and get my head back on straight. Maybe it’s the fact that Christmas is three weeks away and we won’t be able to celebrate it with presents the way that I had hoped. Maybe it’s a concession that doing things “my way” has not helped me get any closer to establishing that third leg that I need to get to Team Coordinator.

But I’m taking a stand. I am committing my work here in ACN to God’s purpose. It really doesn’t make any sense to me to do it just for “myself.”  That’s not the way I’m wired. That’s not the way God made me. I know that God can and will turn things around for our business. All I have to do is “lift a finger.”

Two days until Anaheim.