Year of Change

When I reflect back on 2011 (read my review from last year to see where I was at then), one thing that really jumps out at me is how much change we went through.  Life is always changing, for the better and worse as we grow older and wiser.  Change is inevitable, we as humans cannot escape change. Quickly, let me review some areas of my life and reflect on the change that 2011 has brought. 

  • Family – Yes as last year, I still have four awesome children that grow and change everyday.  I know have another driver in the family and that adds a whole other level of stress, but joy at the same time.  My daughter has blossomed into a young woman and becomes more beautiful each day.  My two younger boys are growing quickly, but they still are fun-loving, energetic and best of friends.  I thank God everyday for those kids!

    I thank God each day for my wife of almost 20 years.  We’ve been together longer than we’ve been apart in our 40 years and I wouldn’t want it any other way.  Sure we can argue and I’m sure I irritate my wife on a perhaps daily schedule but she stands by me through thick and thin.  One thing I’ve learned over the years (and my oldest son is learning the hard way unfortunately) is that in any relationship, there will be struggles.  There will be times when you want to run away, times when you just don’t like the other person much (I never feel that way towards my wife, but I’m sure there are times when she feels that towards me Smile)  However, as in any commitment, when the going gets tough, you just hunker down and work hard to solving the problem.

    One big change that occurred this year and it wasn’t pleasant at all, is the loss of my father-in-law.  My wife’s step-dad was a great father to my wife and great grand-dad to my kids.  He and I butted heads at times, mostly in politics and religion, but we were friends and he’d do anything for you.  He went in for surgery in August, seemed to be doing well but then developed an infection that is body just couldn’t fight off.  After many weeks in the hospital, he passed away.  The hardest thing I had to do this year, was comfort my 16 year old who broke down at his grandfather’s funeral.  We love you and miss you Roger!

  • Job – Well this is another area where change happened quickly and I didn’t see it coming.  If you read last years posts, you’ll see that business was slow and we were struggling to keep everything afloat, but I was energized and excited to make my business grow.  I had great plans and nothing was going to get in my way.  Well, just a few short weeks after I wrote that post, a job offer fell into my lap that I couldn’t refuse.  Needless to say, by the start of February, I had started down a new path in my career.  One that was not what I expected, but far more than I anticipated.  I’m now the Directory of Technology Services at Three30 Group.  I’m excited to see where this company is going and while there has been change there as well (some not the way it was planned I’m sorry to say) I’m looking forward to 2012 as a great year for us.
  • Finances – Well as you may remember from last year, times were tough and financially it was a struggle.  Well with the help of the above mentioned new position, we’ve got our finances back on track.  Things are still tight as we recover from the depths we were at, but things are on the positive upswing and we can see the light at the end of the tunnel.  I can’t wait until we are at a position to start paying it forward.  When we have cash left over at the end of the month that we can donate to the local food cupboard, or pay for a random person’s tank of gas, or help to fix a vehicle for someone who needs it, but can’t afford to fix it.  This is our goal to be financially free, so we can use the gifts we have been given to help others.

I could go on, but these areas of change some good and some bad are a consistent pattern throughout life.  As soon as you think everything is settled, something comes along to change that.  Things must change it seems and I’m beginning to embrace that, enjoy it and in some cases look forward to it. 

However, we can be assured that one thing never changes.  There is something that we can always count on to be consistent.  That is God and his undying love for us.

The LORD is the eternal God, Creator of the earth. He never gets weary or tired; His wisdom cannot be measured. – Isaiah 40:28

Jesus Christ never changes! He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. – Hebrews 13:8

God is not man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind. Has he said, and will he not do it? Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it?  – Numbers 23:19

There is just a few, but the entire Bible is filled with examples of how God is faithful and unchanging.  With that confidence we know that though our lives change by the hour and at times very unexpectedly, we always have an anchor that will keep us steady in the storms of life.  So in 2012, I look back and thank God that throughout all the changes we encountered, he has been there for us throughout.  And I now look forward to 2012 and though there may be a lot of change, some unpleasant, I know that He will be there watching over me always.

Hoping everyone has  a wonderful New Year and may God bless you!

Advertisements

Testing your assumptions

Assumptions, we all have them.  We assume we know what someone else is thinking, we assume that we know all the facts about something, we assume.  We make assumptions about something just about every time we speak or think.  The definition of assumption (as taken from here)

In logic an assumption is a proposition that is taken for granted, as if it were true based upon presupposition without preponderance of the facts.

Basically all that means is that all assumptions we make, every time we assume something about anything, we are taking for granted something that we don’t have facts to prove or disprove.

What are some of the assumptions we make every day.

  • “It only takes me 10 minutes to drive to work so I’ll leave exactly 10 minutes before I have to be there.” 
  • “She knows I love and appreciate her, so I don’t have to keep telling her.”
  • “My toddler knows better than to touch the hot stove.”
  • “She won’t talk to me, she’s too pretty to be attracted to me.”
  • “I’ll never find a job, so why bother.”
  • “It will be too hard to start my own business while I have a full time job.”
  • “I’m too out of shape, I’ll never be able to run a marathon.”

So many assumptions, I could go on and on, in fact I’ve made an assumption right now that you would rather not read any more assumptions (I’m probably right!)

If you look at that list above many of them are negative.  “I can’t…”, “…too hard”, “I don’t…”  Assumptions can keep us from getting the most out of our lives.  Assumptions can hurt feelings and damage relationships.  Assumptions can make our lives difficult if they prove false, but if they prove true then we’ve made a correct choice.  But how can we determine if they are true or not if we never test those assumptions.

Test those assumptions

Once I test my assumptions, I often find that I’m surprised at what I may have been missing if I had just stuck with my initial assumption.

  • When I was single and first met the woman who is now my wife, I assumed that she wouldn’t want to be with  me.  I assumed that she wouldn’t be interested as I figured most woman would be.  I tested that assumption by talking to her anyway and here we are 22 years later, happily married with 4 kids.
  • I left a job to work for a small startup about ten years ago.  Six months later, the startup faltered and I was quickly unemployed.  I assumed that I wouldn’t be able to make it on my own.  However, I was forced to test that assumption as the economy was bad and there were no more jobs to have.  I was forced to make it on my own.  Ten years later, I’m still working on my own and while the last 6 months have been a struggle, I’ve been successful otherwise.
  • I assumed that no one would read a blog that I may write, regardless of topic.  I’ve started and stopped a number of blogs over the years, but never stuck to them.  When I started this blog, I assumed the same.  Well I realize that it’s only been a month and a handful of posts, but this is the most writing I’ve done in my life (and I’m loving it and want to do more).  Still not a ton of readers, but I have an action plan to fix that.
  • I saw all those people around the web who talked about the great savings they had at stores using coupons.  I’m talking saving 75% or higher.  I assumed it was too hard and I wouldn’t achieve those results.  Well I’m happy that my wife and I tested that assumption and our recent trip to the store netted us almost $50 worth of product (that we will use), for just $6.

Unless you test your assumption, you’ll never know what you are missing out on in life.  Go up and talk to that girl, start that home business, start exercising and make that commitment to get back in shape, start trusting in God and see how that changes your life. 

How to test your assumptions

Don’t let your assumptions rule your life.  Test them and determine if they are true or not.  Only then can you make a truly informed decision.  

  1. Take a goal that you are working towards.
  2. List out the assumption or barrier that is keeping you from reaching that goal.
  3. List out tactics to test that assumption to see if it proves true.

Example:

Goal:  Find an idea that makes an extra $1000/month on the side.
Barrier:  I don’t have an idea. (Assumption is: “I’ll never come up with a good enough idea.”)
Tactic:  Write down 10 or 20 things you are good at or like to do.  Then sort them by the amount of money you think you can make from them in 10-15 hours per week.  Example:  Photography –> not much money potential perhaps because of tons of photographers in your area.  Piano lessons –> could translate into $25 or more an hour. 

There ya go, you’ve now got some ideas so that assumption is busted.  Next step is taking action on the idea, which will have it’s own set of assumptions, barriers and tactics.  Repeat this process and test your assumptions.  This will guide you on the process to reaching your goals.

Your turn.

Try it out, list a goal no matter how big or small and then try and recognize the assumptions or barriers that are the roadblocks, then get a plan to test those assumptions and take action.

I’d love to read comments on what your goals and assumptions are and how you plan to take action.