Crush It – Gary Vaynerchuk

Crush It! by Gary Vaynerchuk

I recently finished Gary’s book Crush It.  Stick with me on this review because despite my feelings toward it as a business book, it has a lot of value that I want to talk about.

It’s a short business book that I would say is just above average benefit to me as it focused on technologies that I’m already well familiar with and it at points appears to be a bit dated at times, but I realize it was written a few years back which is ages ago in the fast moving world of social media.  So just as a pure business book, I can recommend it if you want a quick read, but nothing revolutionary here.

However, my real point in writing this review is not the material it presents, but how it got me thinking about my life.  I talked about this a few days ago indirectly and as I was finishing the book, I kept thinking back to the main point….find your passion and live it.  Life is too short not too.  I’ve struggled with that a bit.  There are a lot of things I enjoy doing, from hobbies, to work, to family activities.  But what is my passion?

Will that passion become my lively hood?  Not sure, but I think that if something is my passion, something that I would do for free, it would be almost difficult to not be able to make a living from it.  This is something that we should all seriously think about and evaluate in our own lives, what is our passion.  Leo from ZenHabits gives us a nice little guide to finding your passion that is worth reading and following.

I’m looking forward to the journey of finding my passion, I may already be living it without recognizing it, but the end result will be so rewarding and life so fulfilling, that I’ll have no choice but to crush it!!

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Be forgiving on Thanksgiving

13° on Thanksgiving morning 2013
13° on Thanksgiving morning 2013

As my family gathers around the dinner table today with family and friends, I tend to be thankful for those friends of mine, for those people that touch my life everyday that bring happiness and joy to my life.  I am thankful for those that love me, support me and live life with me.  I feel this is important enough that we should really do it every day.  God provides so much we should be thankful for the good things and people that He puts into our lives.

Love your enemies!  Do good to them! Lend to them!  And don’t be concerned that they may not repay.  Then your reward from heaven will be very great, and you will truly be acting as children of the Most High, for he is kind to the unthankful and to those who are wicked.  You must be compassionate, just as your Father is compassionate.  -Luke 6:35-36

Jesus says we should love our enemies as well…..What???  Why would I want to do that?

It’s easy for us to love those who love us, but God calls us to love those who don’t as well.  God love and forgave each and every one of us, even though we are still sinners and don’t deserve his love.

Here’s what I’ll be trying to do:

  1. Be difficult to offend.  This thought comes from Joyce Meyer’s book Power Thoughts, that I’ve been reading through recently.  Being a person that is difficult to offend will make my life much more pleasant.  I never know what people may say or do, but why give the control of your day to other people?  Being hurt and offended does not change the other people, it changes us!

  2. Look at family first.  Is there family that have harmed us in some way by their words or actions?  I’ve been a firm believer that family comes at the top of the list of priorities in life (right behind God).  I hate to see families that have split over some argument that often after many years, no one really remembers what the argument was (or if they do it was really pretty petty), they just remember the hurt that was given…that’s something they never forget.  I want to look at family members and bring them back together.  Life is too short to not forgive those people that should be easy to love.
  3. Look outwardly at your circle of influence.  Perhaps look at people you work with, go to school or church with, or who are in your social media circles.  I want to look at those that have offended me in the past and be forgiving of them.  I also will look at my own actions and be cautious that I don’t give anyone a reason to be offended.  Not that I should back down and be passive or not share my opinions….but I will realize that others have different opinions than mine and that’s ok.  I need to be also careful with those that I hold a position of power over in some way, as they may not even express their offense, which would cause it to fester within them.
  4. Be giving and forgiving to those on the margins of society.  This should just be an extension of my being.  It could be as simple as giving to the local food cupboard, or perhaps saying a kind word to someone in need, or helping someone who struggles to provide for their family.  There are so many ways to be giving, that this should be the easiest of all to do, but I find sometimes it’s the last we want to do.   I want to put this in the forefront of my mind moving forward so that it is not an ‘exceptional’ act of kindness, but a ‘normal’ one.

God bless you all on this Thanksgiving Day and enjoy and be thankful for all that God has given us.

Snow on Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving-SnowThis is the first year I can remember for some time that we’re going to have some snow for Thanksgiving here in northeast Ohio.  As some of you may know, I’m not a fan of winter.  I don’t like the cold, I don’t like driving in the snow, I don’t like being cooped up inside, but too cold to go outside.  I really just don’t care for it.  But what can I do, short of moving south.

What I can appreciate is the beauty that God has created.  He can turn something less than pleasant into something beautiful.  Despite not liking the season, I can see that it is good.

God called the dry ground “land,” and the gathered waters he called “seas.” And God saw that it was good. – Genesis 1:10

As I snapped this photo, I started to think about those things that I don’t like, but God sees as good.  What things do we see through human eyes as less than pleasant, but if we look from God’s point of view, we can appreciate them?  What can we be thankful for this Thanksgiving that on the surface, may not appear to be worth being thankful for.

  • The cold and snow – As I said, I’m not a fan…but who can deny the beauty of snow clinging to the tree, the quiet tranquility in the heart of a heavy snow.  The chance to stay inside with family spending quality time together.  Yes, it can be deadly, but beauty abounds in the midst of winter.
  • Aches and pains – As I get older, I’m finding more and more aches that weren’t there the day before.  But when I wake up and feel a pain, I can rejoice that I’m alive.  I can rejoice that my body has given me another day to enjoy life.
  • Finances – Financial issues are never fun….but they can cause one to reflect on their lifestyle and see where they have to cut back.  I’ve found that a simple life, is often a more enjoyable life.  Financial problems can show you what is truly important in life.  It can also open opportunities that you may not have seen before, a new job, a new business, a new enthusiasm for a path that God has put in front of you.

There are so many things that can go wrong in life, that dwelling on them can lead to a life of fear that diminishes the joyful life that God wants you to have.

So you should not be like cowering, fearful slaves.  You should behave instead like God’s very own children, adopted into his family — calling him “Father, dear Father.”  -Romans 8:15

What situation in your life that while not pleasant, can you try to look at from God’s view and see the beauty of God’s creation and plan through your trials?

Happy Thanksgiving!  God has blessed us all beyond belief.

What is your Passion?

What is your passion?  What is it that you love to do and could spend all your time doing without getting paid if that was possible?  That’s a tougher question to answer than you may think.  I’m reading through a book now called Crush It by Gary Vaynerchuk and in the first few pages I come across this quote:

Live your passion.  What does that mean, anyway?  It means that when you get up for work every morning, every single morning, you are pumped because you get to talk about or work with or do the thing that interests you the most in the world.  You don’t live for vacations because you don’t need a break from what you’re doing — working, playing and relaxing are one and the same.  You don’t even pay attention to how many hours you’re working because to you, it’s not really work.  You’re making money, but you’d do whatever it is you’re doing for free.

Wow…there’s not much more I can add to that.  What a powerful statement.  He goes on a few sentences later to say something else that struck home with me.

You spend so much time at work, why waste it doing anything other than what you love most?  Life is too short for that.

So that is up through page 3.  Can’t wait to finish the rest of the book to see what other nuggets I can find.

Homework for the night….sit back and honestly think…what is your passion?  Be honest with yourself, what get’s you excited when you talk about it with others?  What can’t you wait to share with others?  If you can’t say that about what you’re doing, you have to question whether that is your passion.

Nothing is too difficult….

….for you if God is leading you to do it.

For I can do everything with the help of Christ who gives me the strength I need.  -Philippians 4:13

As I’m sitting here going through my late Sunday reading (as an aside, I must say I’ve become much more diligent in reading my Bible.  I’ve struggled with that over the years, but the last few weeks I’ve been pretty consistent and I’ve noticed a difference in me even in that short time), I came across the verse above from Philippians 4, that I bet has been misconstrued greatly over time.  It’s interesting to note that this verse does not say anything about doing anything we want through our own power, in fact it leaves no room for human effort at all.  We only can do it through Christ, who gives us strength.  Nothing is too difficult if God is leading you to do it.

I was reading through some more of Joyce Meyer’s book Power Thoughts again and this verse is the focal point of her first power thought.  She suggests that when challenges arise, immediately say to yourself, “I can do whatever I need to do through Christ who is my strength.”  I suspect that if I keep those thoughts in the forefront of my mind, I won’t be as easily overwhelmed when difficult situations arise.

One important point to make, this verse does not mean that difficult situations won’t occur or that they will resolve quickly, but that God will give us the strength and endurance we need, when we need it.

Freedom to Live

For you have been called to live in freedom — not freedom to satisfy your sinful nature, but freedom to serve one another in love. -Galatians 5:13

I came across this verse this morning and it really struck a chord with me.  I’ve talked to a lot of people over the years that thought becoming a Christian would be boring and full of rules and full of restrictions.  I grew up in a church that was very old-fashioned.  We stopped attending regularly when I was a young teen so my memory may not be completely accurate, but I don’t recall a bunch of joy.  I felt that there were too many rules and regulations to being a good Christ follower, that it would cut into my fun.  And to a large degree, the church seemed to encourage that thought.

As I grew older and began a family of my own, I was hesitant to bring that stuffiness into my family.  But as a new parent, a new joy came over me.  A new love for my new young son, a love for my wife as I saw her grow in role of mommy.   I felt what it was like to serve not myself, but to serve the needs of my family.  A new responsibility grew in my very soul.  One that finally made me begin to grow up.

It didn’t happen overnight.  In fact, until my daughter was born two years later, I really struggled with my sinful nature.  When she was born, something switched in me…..I didn’t have time to satisfy my sins….I had no choice but to serve my family.  I also realized the joy that comes from service to my family because of my love for them, was so much stronger and long lasting than the false joy that came when I gave into my own desires.

About this time, I also was becoming a changed man….going from an angry young man, to one that actually began to think beyond my own little world.  I began to care for others…and not just my own family, but others in general.

We joined a church that didn’t emphasize the rules and how our lives would need to change to follow Christ, but instead I learned that by finding the joy of Christ, my life changed and the desires for my sinful ways went away.  Am I perfect, no way….I still struggle with sins, but now instead of seeing my walk with Christ as a detriment to my joy, it is the primary reason for my joy.

God wants us to be joyful.  Knowing Him gives us the freedom to be joyful all the time, not as a slave to our sinful nature, but as the joyfulness of our very being.

I am overwhelmed with joy in the Lord my God!  For he has dressed me with the clothing of salvation and draped me in a robe of righteousness.  -Isaiah 61:10

Renewing Your Mind

Renewing Your Mind

One of the more challenging verses in the Bible I think is Romans 12:2.

Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think.  Then you will know what God wants you to do, and you will know how good and pleasing and perfect his will really is.

Reading through Joyce Meyer’s Power Thoughts I came across her section talking about this verse and her comment that I want to share verbatim.

An unrenewed mind is one that is never changed after receiving Jesus Christ as Savior.  The spirit is regenerated but the mind remains the same.  This condition furnishes fertile ground for the devil to operate.  It is for this reason that Christians often have a reputation as being hypocritical.  They say they believe something but their behavior does not match their so-called beliefs.

And then we see one of the consequences of this:

Many people who need Christ in their life are hindered from accepting Him due to the poor witness of others they know who say they are Christians.

That’s some powerful stuff there.