How To Reach Best You

I have used the #BestYou on my blog for some time now – more than a year. It’s time to look carefully at what my intended meaning is, and what it might mean for you.

First, My Best is not to be the measure you use for yourself.
We each have capabilities and talents.
The level I am capable of attaining in some areas may not be your Best.
And, my Best in some efforts may be paltry when compared to your achievements.

Rule: Don’t compare yourself to others.

Second, there are only two acceptable comparisons:
1. With yourself from where you started;
2. Jesus to where He wants us to be.

I realize that you probably have already accumulated many accomplishments.
But let’s work through a couple exercises.

An inventory to determine where you are starting is important.
1. What are your inherent aptitudes?
Things that you had a natural liking for and easily acquired skills in?
What skills or interests did your parents model for you?
Teachers or others that were role models to you that inspired you to learn something?

What have you done with these abilities, knowledge, and skills?
What are you doing to encourage yourself to continue developing things on this list?

2. What are your ‘dream abilities’?
Maybe you have thought or said “If only I could…”
Write a list.

What have you done to pursue these abilities, knowledge, and skills?
What are you doing to encourage yourself to pursue things on this list?

3. What are your developed abilities and achievements?

You probably read through those lines without getting paper and pen and ‘doing’ the exercise.
That’s okay.
Let me stir the soup a little more.

Focus your thoughts on one category at a time and write what comes into your mind.

Categories in which you may have skills and abilities:
Mind – mental abilities – thinking – learning
Hands – manual abilities to make things and do things – touching that soothes and heals – draw – paint – sew – cook – garden – musical
Body – exercise – balance – dance – movement – rhythms

Spiritual, Creative, Academic (Bachelor’s, Master’s, Doctoral degrees)
Physical, Recreational, Musical, Artistic

Attitudes: persistence, consistency, never quit, positive outlook, encouraging, resolution


At an early age I determined that I wanted to become a teacher.
My mother was my first teacher. I found that I learned well from her methods of instruction.
I also had two or three excellent teachers in my formal school experiences.
I applied the methods they used that were effective with me. I found that I could successfully tutor fellow students that where struggling.

I read every book on teaching that I could get my hands on. Then I applied what I had read to my classrooms.
I observed other teachers whenever possible.
I assembled ideas of my own – amalgams and hybrids of reading, listening, and trying.
I asked mentors to observe and coach me.
I built successes into my regular performances in the classroom.
On the ride home and in the quiet of working in my gardens, I reflected on the work of the day – noting successes and failures. Planning for the next time that would avoid the failure.

That is the operant word.
The key to all learning is Repetition.
Repetition is the Mother of Learning.
Mastery of the basics makes it possible for Genius to Achieve.
Whether it is manual or mental skills, they are honed through practice – Repetition.

I know that there are exceptions – savants who seem to be born with a special ability.
One of my students could tell which day of the week any date was – past or future. No practice involved.
My wife has piano lessons with a first grade boy. He is able to create original compositions. He has finger dexterity that is beyond most children his age. His musical thinking is amazing.
But he spends hours practicing in between lessons. Because he wants to do more.

Now – – –
Go back and do the 3-Part Inventory.
Put in the effort.
Be confident that you are The Best You now, and are working toward the future Best You.

Tomorrow will probably require some more effort so you can stay The Best You.
It’s an on-going effort.
Be willing to Repeat the effort daily.

Everyone has the responsibility to become their Best Self.

What To Do With The Voices In Your Head

(I draw on personal experiences in this post to establish that I understand what I’m writing about. I do NOT have any angst toward my father. He did the best he could do. The three illustrations presented here are simply history.)

I was twelve. My father had rigged up a system in our garage so that he could balance the tires without paying for it. “Come help me!” he called.

I obeyed. He gave a quick explanation of what he wanted me to do.

My first attempt to comply failed. “I told you to do this!” he exploded, and quickly demonstrated again.

My second attempt was no more successful.

“You’re useless!” he exclaimed. “You’ll never amount to anything!”

I have a voice in my head that repeats those words when the work I have to do is complex or difficult.

In December when I was twenty-five my then-wife said to me, “I have filed for divorce.” Understood in that brief statement was, “You’re no good at being a husband.”

A different voice in my head reminds me at odd times of that fact.

The principal called me into his office one afternoon. “I’m recommending to the board that you will not be re-hired for next school year.”

Another voice reminds me that it can be capriciously decided by anyone that I am less than what is needed for the job.

We all have voices in our heads that speak up for many reasons.

They tend to remind us of some failures or fears or inabilities that have happened to us.

Some may call them by other names: Thoughts, Dreams, Plans, maybe even demons.

It is my observation that it is impossible to get rid of the voices.

I have tried to drown out the voices that remind me of my poor past. Since I am able to remember enough to write this post, you can tell that drowning is not very successful.

But, we can influence them, we can train the voices to help us rather than defeat us.

A Plan

Step 1: Take Control

When one of the voices speaks about the past, I speak right back to it just like it was a real person speaking negativity to me about me.

Example dialogue.

“That happened, true. But the threat that I would never amount to anything is untrue! I successfully worked as a teacher for almost 50 years.”

“Many of my students attribute their success to my efforts in their education and training.”

“I have succeeded at several occupations in my life, with accclaimed success.”

I even quote my now-wife as she has spoken with superlatives about my husband skills.

The point here is that my present voice IRL is more powerful than the history voice that erupts from time-to-time.

Step 2: Teach It What To Say

It may sound crazy, but as Sheldon says, “I’m not crazy! My mom had me tested.”

Don’t let negative be the last word. Beat it down with current facts.

I tell the head voice to repeat my positive statements (facts) back to me. In my father’s voice, or ex-wife’s or ex-principal’s. It’s kind of satisfying to hear.

Step 3: Create Change

This is an extension of Step 2.

Teach the brain what to say in order to give you power to do.

Consistent Rejection of everything negative

Persistent Repetition of positive messages (that you create)

I have taught the voices to focus on the positives in my life – the accomplishments, the acccolades, the victories, the successes of my students.

Positivity has enabled me to take on challenges that I might never have attempted in my younger years.

>In retirement I decided to expand my photography skills repertoire and began working as a Wedding Photographer. In that arena you can’t make a mistake or miss a shot. High Pressure equals High Praise when the product is excellent.

>I wrote and published a young adult novel which is available on Amazon. I began writing when I was twelve, and dreamed for years (decades) of being a published author.

>I decided to illustrate a children’s story that I had written, so I began meeting with a master water color artist to learn that medium. My wife says I’m getting pretty good. And that satisfies me.

Most of the time in my life now I no longer hear the accusatory statements referenced above. The negative statements have been replaced with acknowledgements of a live well-lived.


Our inner voices are directly fed by what goes into our brains through our eyes, ears, and senses. Movies, TV shows, videos, games, where you go, your friends, the books and magazines you read feed our brain voices.

What you encourage your brain to spend time on, what you repeatedly send into your brain, feeds the voices for either positive or negative.

You get to decide. No one else can make the decision for you.

Change the input to change the output.

You are free to choose; you are not empowered to avoid the results of your choices.

Your choice will always result in a consequence.

Cause and Effect will happen.

Comments are welcomed.

How To Make A Difference

I had planned to become a teacher.
I felt called to teach at the high school level: History, English, Spanish.
I would leave college with seccondary certification.

During my last semester of my senior year I was hired to teach in Florida.
Dream job. Or so I thought.
May came and I was informed of the teaching position I would fill.
A one-room school in Boynton Beach. Probably 8 students.
In grades 1-8.

I think I was a rather typical 21-year-old. Rather self-absorbed.

Something happened to me early in the first semester of that first year of teaching.
I discovered that my students mattered to me.
My mother had cared for other people’s children all of my growing up years. She treated them like they were her own. Give to meet their needs with little regard for her own needs.
Something she had instilled in me through her example took root in my spirit and began to grow.

I don’t recall a growing-of-the-tree named Teacher. It was like it exploded into my self, full-grown.

Forty-eight years later I left the classroom as my daily life.


What does it take to make a difference?
To meet the needs of others as a priority in my personal needs?

What if you didn’t have a mother like my mother?
What if, like me now, you are not 20-something?
What if you are not just starting out into the world?
I am now in my 70s. With another birthday this month.

I think there are some principles of making-a-difference that can be applied no matter your age.

1. Answer this question, in writing: What do you believe in? Create a list.

2. Look for a need outside yourself.
There are so many needs around us, right in our own neighborhoods.
Right in our own churches and schools.
Finding a need may result in overload.
The problem soon becomes, which one do I choose?

3. Get involved with an already-in-place opportunity.
State Farm Insurance has a program called Neighborhood Of Good.
One of their opportunities will likely fit you.

4. Be the person you wish to see in your world.
Begin where you are: You.
Set an example.

5. One Person Cared-for.
I was walking from the Garden Shop in Home Depot to the plumbing department. I had a question for an expert.
An elderly man in a motorized cart blocked my way. He was going full speed, which was a slow walk for me. I fell in behind him. He turned, saw me, and attempted to move to the side. There was no room for that.
I laughed and said, “Don’t worry! I’m in no hurry!”
We traveled that way until we came to an open area. He stopped. I came up beside him.
(Those of you who know me understand that I am not out-going.)
He remarked that items in his basket were marked one price, but the register in the garden shop had rung them up at a higher price. He was looking for a supervisor.
“My wife always hangs two fern baskets on either side of the fountain in our front yard,” he commented. He then kind of choked up and ducked his head. “Always hung,” he corrected himself. “She died in December. I just need to continue her legacy,” he said quietly.

I stayed there and talked with him (mostly listened) for a long time. “Tommy,” he introduced himself. He was lonely. After 50+ years of marriage he was unaccustomed to the condition of lonely.

I have his name and I will call him.

6. Each One Reach One.
Someone once said to me that if each person helped just one person we could reach every person in the world in a few months.
That detail is suspect.
Start with one. Look for an opportunity to make a difference in one person’t day.
Pay It Forward at the drive-thru, or the toll booth, or the coffee shop.

7. One Person Inspired
Your action may well inspire the one that you took care of to Be a Difference, too.
At work, at church, at the grocery or department store, at the restaurant, at home.
Especially At Home. Make a difference in the day of a family member. Maybe this could become a Family Adventure.

Caution: Don’t do any of this as a way to be recognized and thanked.

An Adventure like this will result in a Settled Peace within yourself. No fireworks. No applause. No awards or recognition plaques. Peace.

Is there a better reward?



Comments are appreciated.

How to Build a Legacy

The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.”Ralph Waldo Emerson

Small things often yield big results.

The story is told of a woman whose husband had died and she had no children.

Despite the ignominy of being a widow, and barren, an apparent statement by God that she was undeserving of His bounty;

Despite the pains of hunger and being shunned by her community;

She loved God and desired to give Him a gift, the best gift she could. Only the best gift would satisfy her longing to show God how much she loved Him.

With great difficulty she went without essentials of life and over time managed to save 2 mites.

Two of the smallest coin denominations in the country. $0.02 in today’s currency.

She would take her offering to the church, she resolved. That, she had been taught, was the most direct way to give to God.

But, what could a large church possibly do with two cents?

Nothing in the services or maintenance of the church could be paid for with that pittance.

But her act of sneaking those two coins into the offering plate was noticed.

Jesus noted that “no one has given more” and made sure her legacy of devotion to God and of unselfish benevolence was preserved for all future generations.

From this story we can learn a lot about legacy. It shows us that we should:

Use what you have to quietly give joyfully, in small opportunities,

because you desire to make a difference.

The dictionary would define Legacy as a gift or a bequest, that is handed down, endowed or conveyed from one personto another. It is something that one comes into possession of that is transmitted, inherited, or received from a predecessor. It could be a memory or a family history.

Common examples of legacy are:

  • She left us a legacy of a million dollars.
  • He left his children a legacy of love and respect.
  • The war left a legacy of pain and suffering.
  • The legacy of his example shows us what is most important in life.
  • Her artistic legacy lives on through her children.

Know What Matters

To start purposefully working on your legacy, use the following questions. Think about and answer them honestly to discover a legacy that matters and endures.

1) What is the most important need that my family has right now?

2) What is the most important need that my business has right now?

3) What am I doing when I am the happiest or most content?

4) If I could snap my fingers and acquire a strength or talent, it would be ___________ because ___________ .

5) Twenty-five years after my death, what will I be remembered for? By my family? By others?

6) If I were required to give everything I own to a cause (not a person), what cause would that be?

These questions may sound simple, but each question should be given much thought. You might have to think about them for days before really knowing the answers.

Building a Positive Legacy

5 Steps to Building a Positive Legacy

1) Be Joyful in What You Can Do

2) Focus Your Efforts in Your Known Talents, Strengths

3) Drill Down to What Matters Now

4) Look for Small Opportunities to Do

5) Make a Difference Through Service

Comments on the 5 Steps

1) Joyful is contagious. Those you are serving will be positively affected just by your Joy. Since Joy is somewhat rare, you will be memorable.

2) Applying the talents and strengths that you already have means you can start now to build your legacy – or modify the one that you accidentally began. You are more likely to follow through in your efforts when doing what comes easily.

3) Be sure that your efforts are centered in What Matters Now. Your family deserves your best you. Zero in on Now, not ten years from now.

4) Small opportunities are often overlooked or considered unimportant. But small opportunities well done open the way for more and bigger.

5) Helping others builds them up, and there is no better difference you can make than that. In the eyes of those you serve you will be a hero, and your legacy will be secure.

Stumbling Blocks to a Positive Legacy

Being Unsure of what you want to accomplish scatters your efforts.

Trying to please others focusing on what matters to them.

Bitterness will overwhelm Joy.

Everyone leaves a legacy.

The important questions to ask are:

1. Will my legacy be intentional or accidental?

2. Will my legacy be positive or negative?


Comments are welcome – even invited.

Best 5 Rules for Financial Success

7 Spheres of Life – Financial

I am not a financial adviser.
But, I am more than 70 years old and I am comfortably retired. At the end of each month, my bills are paid. We have enough money that we can generally do whatever we want.
And we have not yet begun to draw from our retirement accounts. (Except for the Minimum Yearly Requirement.)

We did lose quite a bit during the 2008-2010 financial bust. Even had to file for Bankruptcy.
But we have learned financial skills from our successes and our failures.

My Best 5 Rules for Financial Comfort

Rule 1
Work within a Budget

Many opportunities are online and in print to help individuals and families work through the processes of creating a budget.

How to Create a Family Budget, Step By Step | Mint

Gather all of your facts as you begin.
All Income details. Savings amounts, investments incomes.
All Expense details: monthly bills, fixed expenses, living expenses, transportation costs, credit cards
Subtract Expenses from Income.

Rule 2
Get a Coach

This will usually cost you. Here’s one that is proven to work.

A coach will be able to look at your financial situation impartially. No emotions or dreams tagged on.
Not your spouse.
Be careful about asking a parent, unless s/he has special qualifications.
Your church may offer limited free counsel.

Rule 3
Define your Goals

These need to be in writing and agreed upon by both spouses.
Estimate the cost for each goal.
Create a timeline for achieving each goal.
From those actions, determine how much you will need to save per month to reach your goals.

Examples of Financial Goals
1. Live within a budget
2. Pay off credit card debt
3. Save an emergency fund
4. Save for retirement
5. Live below your means
6. Develop skills to improve your income
7. Save for your children’s education
8. Save a down payment for a home

Rule 4
Establish and Apply Self Discipline

Don’t buy any wish items unless you have twice the cost in your savings.
Limit the number of active credit cards you use. (1 is a good number)
Pay the Balance off each month.

Behaviors that often result in a Money Crisis
Impulse buying
Having more than one credit card in your pocket/purse
Over confidence about paying the bill later

Create new spending habits to replace the old bad habits.

4 Spending Habits We All Need to Break | › Blog

Reward yourself when you successfully apply good financial actions as you move toward good financial habits.
Rewards should be scheduled based on your behavior. After you have used a specific good habit pattern for a week, then two weeks, and so on. Spaced repetition of the rewards helps reinforce the behavior.

Rule 5
Increase your Income

Many legitimate opportunities are available through online work.
Caution! The ones that are free and as easy as falling off a log – with big $$ promised –
Are likely fake or an attempt to exploit you.

25 Online Jobs That are Legitimate, Easy, and Flexible – DollarSprout

But don’t expect to get paid without time and effort. Nobody give money away – except maybe Ellen.
If you decide to try this route, set aside specific time (and place) that you will work.


The process of moving from a casual attitude toward your finances is tough. Spend when you have it and go hungry when you don’t is tough to change.

Spending causes a sort of euphoria in the spender. It feels good. Endorphins flood through your brain. That easily prevents you from counting the future costs.

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to create the endorphin rush when you have resisted an impulse to spend.
That takes time and effort.
But, with a plan and some help (your coach), you can climb out of the debt hole and find financial security. And know that your future is also secure.

Believe me, you’ll find yourself at the age of 70 before you know it.
Seventy feels pretty good when you have the freedom to live and do comfortably.
Don’t depend on Publishers Clearing House sweepstakes or lottery winnings. Take charge of your finances and reward yourself for a job well done.

Rule 1 : Work within a Budget
Rule 2 : Get a Coach
Rule 3 : Define your Goals
Rule 4 : Establish and Apply Self Discipline
Rule 5 : Increase your Income

Go For It!

Your #BestYou is inside you waiting to be released.

Comments and suggestions are appreciated.