Archives for the month of: July, 2012

So, do you like to meet “people of influence?”  Well, if you do…meet yourself!!  Each of us can be considered a person of influence.  Why? Because we each have spheres of influence that consist of relationships that we can call upon for the purposes of helping someone along the road of life.  It’s just a natural byproduct of weaving in and out of life’s connectivity. Now, I’m guessing if you’re like me you’ve likely heard about the role “stewardship” plays in each our lives.  Typically we’ve been told that we are called to be stewards over the time, talent and treasures of our lives.  While I believe this to be absolutely and irrefutably true it occurs to me there a couple more legs to the “stewardship stool.”  Today, let’s consider for just a moment what we might call the fourth leg of this five-legged stool, the element of Influence.

Though it doesn’t appear on our personal financial statement one can certainly argue that both the individual and cumulative impact of our time, our talent, our treasure and in this case, our influence can be enormous.  This is particularly so when we deploy these “assets” in the spirit of helping move the needle of someone’s life in a more positive direction.  A common question might be, “How might we ‘leverage’ our influence to impact the lives of others?” Maybe it’s as simple as using some of our own relational capital to connect a person in need with a person who can help.  Or perhaps we might find ourselves in a situation where we need to exert our influence over another to keep them on the narrow road between the ditches that life would have them fall in to.  In either case, whether we’re called upon to be an influence or “spend” our influence for another, it’s a high calling to manage this asset well.

So, let’s consider this in the context of Asset Management.  In their role, Asset Managers are entrusted with the role of shepherding and caring for the well being of their client’s portfolio of investments.  Aren’t we as stewards called to shepherd and care for those relationships that have been entrusted to us?  Aren’t these in fact some of the most significant investments that we could ever hope to have under our care?  Asset Managers talk about investing in precious metals.  How much more might life afford us if we invested in “precious” people.  After all, don’t we in effect shepherd and care for others well by leveraging what’s been given to us for the benefit of others?  And though we don’t look for it, the really neat thing about leveraging these assets in this manner is that this type of investing carries with it a guaranteed return.  Think about it for a moment. As we deploy our time, talent, treasure and yes, our influence, to help the people around us grow we too receive manifold blessings.  So, if you long to be a person of influence then go be one.  And if you’re looking for a good place to start you might just find that it’s simply in the being that you’ll come to realize the blessing.  Peace.

So, would you agree that the more things change the more they stay the same?  Well today is in some ways a vivid illustration of this proverb of recent history.  By now you’ve realized that there is a change to a new look and new host for the Thurman Thoughts blog.  My intent however is to keep the content and approach the same as I attempt to offer up some thoughts that might either invite you in or provoke you to a different perspective on life than you might have considered before.  As for “post frequency,” I’m hoping to stay on target to write a couple of posts each week though one could definitely note that I miss this target from time to time.  One cool thing about the WordPress site is that it will be much easier for you to make comments if you’d like.  You can also input your email to have the site notify you any time a new post is made.  (I’m still unclear if I like this feature or not.)  It feels a bit like virtual accountability.  So, thanks again for taking time to consider my thoughts. Being a verbal processor, it means a great deal to me to be able to verbally express through my writing some of the things that come across my “thought radar.”  Maybe one day I’ll start a new blog entitled, Thurman Feelings. 🙂 Peace.

So, how is your life’s “teeter-totter?”  I’m guessing there’s not one of us that hasn’t found ourselves at some point in years past on a playground enjoying the up and down effects of the good ole teeter-totter, also known in more contemporary terms as the “see saw.”  At one moment you feel safe with both feet on the ground while your playground partner is left dangling, both feet in the air on the other end.  Then before you know it your partner pushes off and you find yourself in the air unsure as to when your feet will find their way back to terra firma.  The pivotal element (no pun intended) that makes this exhilarating ride even mechanically possible is the fulcrum, that element of support in the middle of the board on which the teeter-totter pivots.  This illustration has me wondering if there’s not a lesson to be gleaned from this that we could bring to life’s playground.

Doesn’t it make perfect sense if the presence of a fulcrum is so critical to the balance of the up’s and down’s of the teeter-totter then the presence of a “life fulcrum” is even more paramount to us maintaining our balance in life?  After all, aren’t our lives chocked full of up’s and down’s?  Just like on the playground, one minute we feel safe knowing that all is well and just like that in the next moment we feel out of control, left dangling in the air of uncertainty. For most of us this feeling of being out of control doesn’t afford us the same sense of exhilaration like that found on the playground.  In fact, it tends to evoke more of a sense of fear in us.  Thus the critical need to find our life’s fulcrum.  What is that will provide us that indispensable balance?  What are those things that will enable us to navigate the up’s and down’s of our life? What is our life’s pivot point?  The mechanics of the fulcrum point us to one such answer…support.  The fulcrum provides the support point at which the teeter-totter is free to pivot up and down.  This illustrates vividly to me the need we all have to be in community one to another.  We are that indispensable element of support for each other.  Do you have the support of such a community?

Thinking on this a bit more I’ve realized there’s one more take away.  This one though is probably the one that is most often overlooked.  That is the need for a partner who will join you on the teeter-totter of life.  For many this is no less an indispensable element to finding the elusive balance in life.  The presence of someone to join you on the playground of life can be the pivot point between fear and exhilaration.  Whether it be the need for community or the need for a partner maybe part of the answer is to let the little boy or little girl in you come out and play more often. Peace.

So, are you counting on it?  You’re probably asking “counting on what?”  You know, counting on receiving monthly payments from Social Security when you reach that ever elusive “qualified retirement age.”  If you listen to the politicians or the facts, which sounds a bit like an oxymoron, there won’t be enough money in the Social Security coffers to fund the retirement needs of the coming baby boomer generation much less the generations beyond.  The unfortunate result of this will lead to the retirement age continuing to get extended, taxes going up and the younger generation having to “foot the bill” for our inabilities to get out in front of this problem years ago.  It seems by all measures the first lesson to be learned here is that we should not “count on” or look to an institution of any kind to provide for our retirement needs.  In the end the onus is on us to be diligent (and diversified) so as to plan accordingly for our sunset years.  So, all of this has me wondering if where it might lead if we simply redefined the term, “social security.”

I’m curious, is there anything that we might find in the “social” realm that could give us a sense of security?  Is there anything here that we can “count on?”  Well, I would propose that the best “social security” we can possibly strive for is to be found in “authentic friendships.”  Now I know there are those that would argue against this.  Perhaps you, like many, have experienced being let down by a “true” friend.  Given the reality that we are human beings, this sort of thing can indeed happen though I don’t believe that we should consider it a foregone characteristic of authentic friendship.  Plausible?… Yes.  Possible?…Sure.  Predictable?… Not so fast.  Perhaps then, the operative word here is “authentic.”

Let’s consider for a moment the hallmarks of an “authentic friendship.”  Where else could we possibly find a love that would be so great that would cause one to “lay down his life for his friends?”  Or where might we find a friend who would “stick closer than a brother?”  Or where else can we at last find the security and safety of being fully ourselves?  Authentic friendship!  Just like that other Social Security, this too can be elusive and really hard to find.  Considering this leads me to an even greater reality.  That is, in the end or perhaps the beginning depending on your perspective of “the end”, there is only one authentic friendship that would evidence such a love for the world that would cause the One to give up his Son so that we could have the best security of all…one that is eternal.  Come to think of it, this brings a whole new meaning (and spellingJ) to the phrase, the “Sonset” years.  Are you planning accordingly?  If so, you can count on it!!! Peace.      

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