Excerpt From the New Book

As I get closer to finishing my second book, I wanted to share an excerpt. I’ll save the details around the concept/premise of the book. The working title is;; Stop for a Moment: 60 Seconds to Look Around and Find What Matters Most.

Look for a late summer, early fall release. Enjoy!

Children

Eileen and I had been married for over 7 years before we had our first child. As is it is with life, some of that was planned, and some was not. We weren’t entirely sold on being parents in the beginning, so we decided to wait a few years. As the years passed, we began to feel the longing. We both figured it would be an immediate thing. It was not an immediate thing. We waited 3 ½ years before Lauren arrived. The process of waiting, medical testing and feelings of doubt was tough.

I stopped giving advice on parenting after our first. Especially, since I felt so ill-equipped to be a father. Later on you realize most parents feel this way. It was tough for me. My dad was the only model for human fatherhood and he never said much to me, so I felt alone to figure it out. Fortunately, my relationship with God helped immensely. One thing was clear then, and now, there is no such thing as a perfect parent.

After my son was born in late 2001, I started realizing the power of influence. I came to understand that often your kid’s behavior and view of the world is heavily based on what they see in you. That’s one of the biggest reasons I value forgiveness. You never know how important forgiveness is until you do something that you deeply regret. I’ve had many lessons in this area.

As my kids are now in their teens, I’ve discovered the need to let them know I’m listening. I make sure to verbalize my feelings for them, and to let them know that I pray for them everyday. I may miss the boat on college planning or a homework assignment, but they will know how important they are to me in the areas that matter most.

Questions to Think About:

  1. Do your children know they are loved? Does your home echo the sound of “I love you?”
  2. Do you spend too much time trying to teach, versus listen, to discover and encourage?
  3. Are you modeling behaviors that would produce light or darkness?

 

How Fame Has Ruined the Game of Growth

“Depth of soul can never be measured by the eyes.”

– Author Unknown

Is the depth of soul important as you seek to grow a life and career?  Does fame poison the journey?  Yes, on both fronts.

Depth of soul is non-negotiable, unless you prefer to hang with the shallow crowd.  Besides, who wakes up in the morning looking forward to a day of engaging with the shallow.  Fame can be poisonous if not handled well, and keep in-mind that fame is relative.  If you work in a 3 story building, fame is attainable amongst the group.

In the media (new and old) age we live in we’ve been seduced into believing that fame is something to grasp.  Even those who won’t admit it long for the attention.  Maybe it’s the feeling of false validation that comes when people know “who you are.”  Which, by the way, is such a contradictory idea.

We forget that fame is a cost of doing business and not a barometer of how good we are in the game we play.  Not to mention the trade that occurs in the pursuit.  You can’t have it all.

Here some ways fame has ruined the game of growth:

  • In the old media days you needed to know what you were good at.  Fame in the new media world says; “everyone’s invited”
  • We bought the lie that the famous are as wonderful as an airbrush can create.  We connect without knowing anything about personhood
  • Fame made us long for comfort, which is a mortal blow to a life of growth
  • We didn’t learn from the teacher named rejection
  • Fame convinced us to seek validation from the applause
  • Fame, like money, caused us to become slaves, not masters

What Martin Taught Me

Seemed right to re-post this today, for the obvious and the not-so obvious truth that we need courage even more today.

It seems annually, I watch this You Tube clip from 1965 of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. It was taken from a segment of Meet the Press. Dr. King was being interviewed by journalists about events that had occurred in Selma, Alabama. The questions were tough and circumstances of the time even tougher.

So what did Martin teach me?

I don’t know what was going through Dr. King’s mind as he spoke on that Sunday morning news program, but it seemed like he was being carried by something greater than himself. Remember, there were more than a few people who wanted him dead.

Courage is manifested by something greater than ourselves.

Sadly, we live in a time where real courage is often refused. We now manufacture events and circumstances to show our faux-courage. We’ve found a way to manage authentic courage out of our daily lives. Our careers, our parenting, our relationships are often managed to avoid the difficult and daunting.

I find myself thankful for what Martin taught me. The reality that every human being will one day face a crossroads of courageous. It may be small or it may be large. But regardless, no one gets a pass.

The question remains, are we listening to that voice?

What John and Paul Taught Me

I Love You

All you need is love
All you need is love
All you need is love, love
Love is all you need

John Lennon

“If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.”

St. Paul 

Funny isn’t it? John and St. Paul were right, all those years ago.

So here we live. We are a world of startups, fame, fortune, sex, drugs, and so much more. All of them used to find love and fill up the vacuum left for love alone. I think God intended it to be this way. It’s our endless pursuit for the eternal. Love, nothing else can stand the test of time.

Nothing.

 

Shalom

Shalom

Shalom – is a Hebrew word meaning peace, harmony, wholeness, completeness, prosperity, welfare and tranquility

During this season it’s appropriate to desire peace. Everyone has their own idea of what it is and most everyone lives to find it. I think that’s what makes the holidays so special. We’re actually given room for the pursuit and the experience.

My wife gave me the definition of shalom a few weeks back. It struck me how appropriate and profound, regardless of the season. It describes peace beyond what the word conjures in your head. Shalom moves you to a state of being.

In my journey, the reality of the brevity of life, causes me to value what’s in front and not regret what’s behind. Shalom has made this realistic and true.

I hope this for you, now, and in 2016.

The 5 Levels of Arrogance

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This post is about arrogance. Arrogance can be very ugly, but it also can be attractive. I see it as a shape shifter in many ways.

In looking at the 5 Levels of Arrogance (professional, personal, etc.), one thing is clear:

Arrogance is rooted in deep insecurities.

My views are experiential. Your experiences may differ and could come from angle more vast. Regardless, arrogance is a killer. Anyone living in America would have to agree that arrogance is doing just that.

Here’s my experience with the 5 Levels of Arrogance:

  • Childhood-In the earliest level of arrogance, it literally is a childlike thing. A boy or girl is full of energy and opinions. In many ways it’s a calling out to the world. It’s a demand, a protest, a fight to get what is wanted. There is no other way. I guess that’s why we need parents to cool us down, help us realize that regardless of how we feel, the world does not set a course based on our whims.
  • Adolescence-I consider this the age of overreach. The time where things are coming to together mentally, such that you feel no one can tell you anything. You haven’t experienced much, but you’ve read about it or seen it on the screen. You have little patience and admitting your lack of understanding is out of the question. I found this to be a time of proving and openness to what would lie ahead. Funny, how dangerous this time was. The cement begins to be applied.
  • Youth-I define this period as the time you move into adulthood. There can be no doubt that adulthood is where arrogance settles in. The dye is not cast at this point, but roots are certainly formed. Adulthood reveals much about a person. The audience has seen you long enough to form an opinion, create opposition or applaud loudly for what you accomplish. In my case, I had something to prove (perfect son who could do anything). For others, it could be a defining defeat back in adolescence or a bad relationship with a parent in childhood. As I mentioned before, insecurities drive arrogance. Youth is the stage for bringing that out.
  • Mid-Life-This is the level where I was saved/had my uprooting. One of the most defining times, and one of the most painful. As it should be. I got humbled by circumstances and my relationships. Some were expected, some were not. Mid-life is full of crossroads. The crossroads found here range all areas of life. The decision to let the dye cast (I am who I am), willingness to change, choices for the time remaining, all confront in mid-life. No surprise to you, that the term mid-life crisis originates here. I believe this stage is where arrogance becomes fully displayed and rooted.
  • Legacy-Coming to an end always stirs something in us. Whether it’s saying goodbye (even though that happens throughout life) or wrestling with regret, typically there is pause for everyone. At the legacy stage, if arrogance has never been dealt with, regret and ugliness will reign. I’m not a person who believes that it’s impossible to change, I am a realist who knows danger. If arrogance is allowed to remain unaltered, it will be very difficult to turn around.

I was 40 when God uprooted my arrogance. It was one of the best things to ever happen to me. My hope for you is that you find the exit ramp-by force or thoughtful decision.

 

The Fears

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Many of us walk through life posing as brave. This form of brave is not found in daring acts, but in silence and distraction. Think of it as the guy or gal sitting next to you who always seems busy and doesn’t say much, even when they use many words.

America has made it easy to be controlled by our fears. We’re always in a hurry and very rarely go beyond the surface.

The fears are those foreboding events that are highly unlikely to come to pass, but in your head you’re convinced they will.

Maybe you’re fighting, or surrendering to the following:

  • Insecurities have you convinced that you are not worth the success that is rightfully yours
  • You’ve made career an idol and the prospect of failure cripples you from taking risk
  • You’re addicted to something or someone. This is not love or true need. It’s a poor substitute causes fools you into believing a lie
  • You believe every thought and emotion is worthy of your deep attention
  • Like everyone else, you’ve been hurt, so you given up

I throw out the above to let you know that fears are rooted in untruth and in many ways you lose your freedom when you give into them. I also get why we have so many fears; there is a true absence of authentic love and we know it. As I am trekking through my journey, I am focused on God’s love and truth for me. This is essential because I can’t figure out this mad world and my fears are always knocking at the door.

I also fight, and I fight hard. That’s the only proven strategy, after getting the God-part in place.Life is not designed for the timid and the victim. If you haven’t noticed lately, life is tough.

The End of Hurry

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I spent a lot of years being in a hurry. As I look back, I wonder what for. Learning is about the only thing.

I’ve found the end of hurry.

In my twenties, it felt like being a dog where your master is immaturity. I ran from, and to, thing after thing. I was full of anger, energy and arrogance. There was some tenderness and compassion. My wife was the one who brought those two things out. I honestly think she felt sorry for me in all of my storms.

In my thirties, I was still in a hurry. In this frame I saw things to be conquered and possessed. I had my eye on what was to be found over the horizon. I started to hear more friends and advisors say things like; “be here now” and “take time to reflect.” I wasn’t having any of it, at least in my behavior. I was at war, the tale of two Eric’s.

In my forties (now and coming to a close), I discovered how precious time is. Certainly, the reality of what’s left dawned on me. The more important awakening was:

  • About 20% of each day is where the gold is found. This is the stuff I put intense energy and effort into. The other 80% won’t be remembered or represent any true value in the end, and the end matters because you don’t know when it will be. Here’s the trick of it, God gives each of us something beautiful to discover (God, music, relationships, wine, a starlit night) every day. It’s not obvious to the person in a hurry and most of the time they miss it. When you find it (that 20%) the intensity of the moment lasts a lifetime. It is happiness, it is joy, it was what I was looking for. By the way, it really found me.
  • Yoga, yes yoga, grabbed me in an unexpected way. The movements and the wonderful breathes slowed me down and centered me. No exercise has meant more in my journey.
  • Wine taught me to linger. I don’t know anyone who gulps wine. As I started drinking wine for the health benefits, I found an added benefit of slowing down and enjoying my dinners and the accompanying wines. I didn’t realize what a life lesson it would bring me. Wine whispers to me to linger and slow down.

So, are you in a hurry?

Elephants in the Room

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I had the pleasure and honor to shoot a part in Elephants in the Room a few months back. The trailer is above.

I’ll let you check out the trailer to learn more, but the subject matter is so timely and relevant. I hope you’ll take the opportunity to check out the full length when it hits full release.