Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Defeating Your Dragons

There are a lot of things that make being a entrepreneur difficult. The main challenge that I want to discuss today, is our dragons (our personal terrors), and how we can turn them from this:

To this:

What are our dragons? Quite simply, they are anything within our natures that hold us back. For some it's greed, for others it's pride. We all have little things that we need to improve. 

And if you think you can get away with just ignoring this fearsome beast here's a little quote for you. "If you refuse to face this dragon, it will keep turning up in the oddest of places, at the worst of times" (A Field Guide for the Hero's Journey, Jeff Sandefer). You know that old pair of jeans you love? And you just can't get rid of them? Well compare them to this little "problem" you have. Now say these jeans have gotten pretty worn, and you've realized that along the seam it's starting to wear. But you keep wearing the jeans. You know it's there, you know it's a weakness. But you love those jeans! Then one fateful day something happens (you eat one too many eclairs, try to jump a fence, raid a jail. etc,) and they rip, right down the seams, and if that's not bad enough, with your luck you finally got that date with Jimmy Breaker like you wanted. Talk about the worst of times...

So before we get to that date we need to get rid of the jeans. And that means we need to go through the closet. 

There are three steps:

1. Take some quality think time for yourself. If you aren't comfortable sitting without yourself in the silence, it's probably about time for you to have a chat with yourself. Be kind but firm, bring paper and pen. While it may be rough initially, you'll feel relieved once it's done. 

2. Create a plan. Write out goals. Your plans should be specific and meaningful. You want these to work, so create them with that end in mind (so you're going to have to be honest with yourself). 

3. Keep going. We need to keep going and working at it. There's nothing that we can do perfectly from the get go. So you're going to fall down on your face a couple times, and you're going to have to stand back up. But you will win when you stand up one more time than you've fallen down. 

Keep up your hard work, and don't give up! Turn your Smaugs into Puffs, and your ratty jeans into Liz Claibornes. You've got this.  

- Shayla

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Trust in God, not Hubris

Talk about a crazy week! This whole business thing is proving to be fulfilling and stretching...but the good kind of stretch (the one that makes you realize that you've been slouching your whole life and you're really 5'6'' and not 5'5''). It's been a semester for learning and growth that's for sure. I love it. It's empowering to put your mind to something and then watch it happen. But there's a downside, sometimes when a lot of things go right, you feel like you can do no wrong, that any opportunity (no matter how shady it might be) should be taken. But beware!

We are risk takers yes, but honest ones. I have only gotten this far because of God, because He has (often unbeknownst to me) guided every step I take. If I want help from Him I need to qualify for it, and the best way to lose that help is to start acting like I don't need Him. Pride does that. You start to trust yourself more than you've trusted God. If you're me, a lot of things have gone right, and you assume it's because of your own supposed brilliance things are the way they are. Wrong.

When a man resorts to cheating, to lying, to stealing, they are in effect saying "Lord, it was fun while it lasted, but I've found a better, more effective, way. A way where I'm in control". We may not realize it, but that's what we say when we turn away from Him. But God blesses those who are honest, who have true integrity, and in the end, those are the ones that He can help.

We cannot make it in this life without God. We cannot reach our full potential without God. We cannot overcome the trials of life without God. We are nothing without God. It's hard, it hurts, but that's the hubris talking, and the sooner we admit that the better. We want to pick up and take our lives in our own hands, thinking that if it's all our idea that it's the best. But God has lived a lot longer than we have, seen a lot more lives than we have, and honestly done more than we have. I mean, when was the last time you created a planet? How about a human heart?

Trust Him, He knows what He's doing. There is no better being to have on your side than the Lord, no better help. Turn to Him and He will help you overcome it all. So be honest, be true, be a person of integrity and let God help you do it.


Wednesday, January 14, 2015

All, My Trials Lord...

One of the things that I really, really love about studying to be an entrepreneur, is the huge emphasis that is put on the importance of failing, of going through hard times, and following your gut.

As I was thinking about this, a song I grew listening to came to mind. My favorite version is sung by Peter, Paul, and Mary. The chorus opens up with "All, my trials Lord, soon be over." That's the day to day prayer of every college student I think; yet, the Lord has His own timing.

Patience is a well earned gift, and He really, really wants us to have that gift. So sometimes these trials may seem to go on for ages, but remember, who's the Master? Not you. Who sees the beginning from the end? Not you either.

Sometimes we are put through the refiner's fire, and we don't know why, we don't understand, but in the end, we see our real potential. We see what God would have us be. And the whole time He has us in His hands.

So here's a suggestion, take some time each day and pray to the Father asking to know Him better, to know His Son better. Strive daily to develop a relationship with them, and you'll find two things:
Faith and Patience.  And these will get you to the end of what the Lord would have you learn, and you'll see what He'd have you be.


Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Here's Some Dream Juice

So I know life is hard, that sometimes it's easy to want to curl up in the corner and sleep like Rip Van Winkle and only wake up after all the hard work is finished...but the thing is, if you don't do it, no one will. Your dreams are yours, no one can dream them for you, so if they're going to happen then it's your job, your responsibility to make it happen. But don't sweat. I truly believe that those inner desires we're given to be great, to be successful come from God. That as long as our endeavors are righteous and noble, He will help us get there.

So here's a clip by Ryan Shupe and the RubberBand to help you shake off the shackles of self doubt and disbelief.                        

You got this! 


Wednesday, January 7, 2015

The Beginning

This is supposed to be professional, and that is my goal in writing this journal, but forgive me if I get a little personal (or a lot) as I write down my thoughts and impressions. Learning what you want to do with your life is a big thing, but learning who you want to be is even bigger. 

As I was studying for my class Introduction to Entrepreneurship I was very impressed by the first chapter of the book A Field Guide for the Hero’s Journey, by Jeff Sandefer and Rev. Robert A. Sirico. To be frank, all I knew at this point was that I wanted to do something, to make something. But I hadn't committed fully to the idea of going big or going home. But as I was reading this sentence stuck out to me "Just about anyone can do great things, can live a life that's remarkable, purposeful, excellent, and yes, even heroic. If you want to be a hero, you can be" (emphasis added). I could be a hero. Wow. 

I continued with the assigned readings and just kept being blown away by the power and conviction of the writers, how their drive and determination kept them going on even when things got hard. I became more and more impressed that I can do something big if I wasn't too afraid to fail, if I wasn't too afraid to try. By the end of my readings, and after class I asked myself "am I too afraid to live?"

I realized that for much of my short life I had been too afraid. Hanging onto the things that I was naturally inclined to do, not pushing myself out. I haven't always been that way, I'm a pianist and pushed myself to perform and compete, but I'd hold back from poring everything I had into my pieces, afraid that if I were to give my whole heart to something and fail, that it'd break me. 

But as I was reading it occurred to me that was choosing between a failed moment(s) or a failed life. Well, I ask you, which would you prefer?

If there’s a single boiled down lesson that I could pick from my readings this week, it’s that I can do it. I’ll fail, a lot, but I can do it and I will. I’ll succeed eventually and find joy in that, and help others along the way. I want to dream, and then look up one day and see that dream change another person’s life.

So, did I learn something this week? You decide.