How do Wisdom and Selling go together?

Welcome to Wisdom Selling. So if you are like me, you are always wanting to learn more. Well here is the deal about selling. It is the desire to exchange something you have, for something of more value to you. You may have an idea, a product, a service which people will want to pay for, allowing you to make a profit. You have to seek out people who might want it, and convince them it is worth the price you are charging. Or like me, you may just have a little wisdom, and are looking for someone who values it enough to want to use it. My value received in return is the joy of your feedback. So, I am selling wisdom. The cost to you, your interest. I want to help others as well. Visit the links page and shop for some good deals. Any profits on money you spend there will be used by Wisdom Selling to support non-profit businesses in developing their strategies.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Faith or Fear? A teachable moment for Eli!

Sorry it has been a few days.  Been travelling a bit.

So today is the big day - my youngest son's first football game.  He is playing on the line both ways and loves it in practice.  He can take the physical side no problem, but is still learning how to give the big hit, though.  Last night he was quite tired, but got up after he went to bed to come ask me - Do you think I am going to do good tomorrow?  Wow.  What an opportunity for me to have a teachable moment, and I hope to spend some time on that this morning with him.  He cares alot about what I think, as I have come to every practice to support him when I could, and every time he makes a good play, he gives me a thumbs up and I do back.  When he gets hurt, I let him cry, but push him to get back in the game.  He is going to be a good football player.

Yet, here it is before the first game, and he is still wondering if I think he is going to do well.  Is he afraid?  Perhaps.  Doubting?  Perhaps.  Is there anything wrong with feeling this way? I hope not, because I felt the same way this week in other circumstances.

Eli is teetering on the faith versus fear border.  It is funny because there is not much difference between the two.  My friend Caz McCaslin put it this way: the definition of each of these words is the same - the belief that something you cannot see, is going to happen.   Eli cannot see the results of the game tomorrow.  Will he go to the game with the attitude of fear - I believe I am going to fail, or is he going to go with the attitude of faith - I believe I am going to do well?  The evidence from his practices says he will do well.  However, the things we cannot see but only imagine - these are the things that historically have been our fears, not our builders of faith - especially as children.  So as you can imagine, my goal is to have him approach the game with the faith that his hard work and natural abilities will provide him with success.  But even if he doesn't have success, the expectation of success is much more fulfilling than the expectation of failure.   Wish me luck.

It is interesting that this feeling does not go away for me after all these years.  After writing all these blog posts, I still had to deal with the feelings this week.  I had the opportunity to represent my company on capitol hill this week in Washington, DC, where I ended up rubbing elbows with congressmen, chiefs of staff, former professional athletes and directors of various agencies, in support of youth sports.

I had a 30% moment on the way.  I began to doubt myself, and my ability to communicate in a world so different than mine.  Surely this world is full of people who won't care to meet me, and who have no interest in meeting m, hearing what I have to say, or dare I say it - MIGHT NOT LIKE ME.   I began to doubt my abilities, and more importantly who I was as a person. 

I had to pull myself together, and I began to challenge myself as to whether I really believed this stuff about the 70% solution and how it can help me be a more effective friend and communicator.  I thought back over some of the things I had written, and began to commit to myself to put into practice on a new stage, what I have talked about.  So I chose,(note - a decision), to go with faith over fear.

I arrive at the first meeting which is a lunch.  I walk in to tables full of people I don't know.  I see a table with two African-American gentlemen and a Hispanic couple, all talking football.  Why not?  So I say, hey if this table is talking football, this is where I need to be.  They invite me to join them, and I end up having a great conversation with two former Washington Redskins players, and a director of a sports organization in Chicago.  Great lunch and got autographs for Eli.

To make a long story short, had a great visit, got invited to meetings with directors from two agencies in the future, chatted about child sports with a congressman from NC who may be a great advocate for us, walked around the Senate building and met assistants with the two South Carolina Senators, asked and was invited into several cool briefing rooms in the House building, walked around the capitol by myself, and just felt a peace that I did not expect to have.  Were there some 30% people who acted as if they could care less if I lived or died.  Yep, more than a few.  If I had approached the meetings with fear, these persons would have potentially robbed me of the joy of my meeting so many interesting people.

I hope I can convey this to Eli, and I hope it makes a difference in your life today.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

How a 30percenter goes bad!

As you know from previous posts, the 70% solution is all about letting your self esteem and communication values be based on the 70% of people who respond to you in a positive manner, rather than having your self worth be dictated by the 30% who aren't interested in relating to you, and may not want to communicate at all.  While there are many fine people who are not good communicators in the 30%, and we all find ourselves there on occasion, there are some in that group who just make all our lives more difficult.

Think about this phrase and whether you ever experience this feeling.   I DON'T CARE WHAT HAPPENS TO THE REST OF THE WORLD (INSERT PERSON, PLACE OR THING HERE), I AM GOING TO GET MINE!

We see this all the time in our culture - from the politicians who do whatever it takes to get reelected, to the financial people who make a fortune while destroying ours, to the people pushing to remove any semblance of Christianity from our country, to the person next door whose garbage spills in your yard and they leave it for you to clean up.

Our natural inclination is to resent these types of people who are hurting our piece of the world for their own selfish needs.  We believe that "our rights" are now somehow being taken advantage of by them, and we can fall into the trap of "getting ours".

When we are in the presence of these types of people, we have to realize that they can take us down to their level more easily than we can raise them up to our own unselfish, 70 percent attitude.  Be careful. it is so easy to become a ME person, and this world has enough of those.  Finding ways to turn the tide of selfishness is a long term solution, not something that will change overnight.  Our ability to relate to them in  way that models the unselfishness of Christ is crucial here.

We have been crucified with Christ, now it is no longer I but Christ who lives in me.  How can we be selfish after this sacrifice?

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Perils of being an Explainer

So this one might be a little long, so go get your coffee and come back...  OK now.


The challenge of trying to explain something is that you would really like to get it right most often.  Now there are exceptions, such as when your kids ask you a question about how something works and you make up an answer, and they believe you, even though you have no idea what you are saying.  I have never personally done this, but I have heard of people who have.  Or the co-worker who asks you a question about something and you know part of the answer so you go down that road while inside you are making up the rest of the answer.  Or - you may be like the umpire - often wrong but never in doubt.  That is kind of how I live my life.  Very dangerous.  Ha!

To be an effective explainer of anything, you really need to know the basics of what you are talking about.  From that point, you can bring in your own stories and opinions about a topic. But, when explaining something as a credible authority, you are really laying your reputation, as well as the future belief in what you are discussing on the line when you venture beyond your knowledge into uncharted territory.

Now, Dale Carnegie will tell you that you can talk on any subject as long as you can relate it to something you already know.  I have found this to be true time and time again, where you are asked a question about a topic, and you kind of redefine the question by personalizing your answer around what you do know.  This is a safe back up plan in a lot of circumstances.

However, the reality is, you need to know what you are talking about in many circumstances in your life.  The most significant I can think of relates to discussions about God, Jesus and the bible.  You need to know certain things so you can decide when and when not to bring them up.  For example, at the beginning of Jesus ministry in Matthew 4, he is taken into the desert where he fasts, then is tempted by the devil.  Now the devil is not going to be convinced or influenced by any arguments.  In fact, he is trying to use some compelling arguments to sway Jesus.  The bible is quick to point out that in this case, Jesus stuck exactly to the script - quoting scripture straight out of the bible that would have been available at the time, which we call the old testament.  Hey, i just noticed this - script - scripture.  Hmm.  Wonder if we have lost the significance of that because we let that become an archaic word, instead of recognizing this is a script for us.  In this case, it was for Jesus.

Another time, Jesus was being challenged by the experts in the law.  In Matthew 21, his authority is questioned.  I love his answer - he challenged them on their beliefs, and when they would not answer, neither would he.  He knew that they only wanted to try and embarrass him by out knowledging him, and he knew there was no gain by out debating them, so he took a pass.  Sometimes this is the wise choice for us as explainers.  Even though we know, we don't always win.  Pick your battles wisely.

Now, I believe that Jesus was prepared to answer any question at any time.  He spent three years with his disciples, training them by word and example, then he empowered them with the Holy Spirit, so that they would have the words to say.  Don't you wish he had done the same for us.  Hey wait a minute - we have his words and example documented for us.  We have his old testament scriptures that were the basis for many of his directions, and we have the Holy Spirit.  Wow, I guess if we have been Christians for longer than three years and we are not out there giving it a go, we are falling behind his disciples who went into the world and made us disciples.  Stop it, Chris, that hurts.  Well it hurts me, too.

Sometimes I think we won't do this because it seems so daunting to be able to learn enough to be an effective explainer.  Jesus recognized this in his disciples.  He paced his messaging to them for this reason.  He modeled over and over, and repeated the key themes.  He showed his disappointment that they did not get it faster at times, but he did not quit on them.  However, he had a point in time in sight where he know they needed to get out and do it.  He even sent them out to practice many times in his ministry.

So what does this mean to us?  You have a chance to learn before you are sent out, but if you stay in kindergarten, you are never going to reach your potential for Christ.  So, let me give you five questions to get you started on your journey to Explainer.  Finding the answers to these, as well as learning to rely on the Holy Spirit to speak through you can be very beneficial to you.

1. Why do you believe the Bible is true?  a corollary is How can you say the bible is inerrant?
2. Why do you believe that Jesus is the son of God?
3. Why is there sin in the world?  A corollary is Why do good things happen to bad people or vice versa?
4. Why do you believe there is only one way to heaven?
5. What is grace? in the biblical connotation

There are lots of bible verses, chapters, and books on these questions alone.  I will start recommending some reading you might want to investigate as well.

Here is an example of how preparing though scripture can prepare you to answer a hard question:

Why does the bible say Christians should hate homosexuals?

1. The bible does not say that.  Jesus says the second most important commandment is to love your neighbor as yourself.  If there is hate against a homosexual from a Christian, it violates this (unless of course you hate yourself, which leads to a whole other list of verses)!

2. The bible says that homosexuality is a sin.  In the old testament, punishable by death.  In the new testament, still considered a sin.  The purpose of sin in our covenant of grace through Jesus is not to condemn but to convict.  Sin shows us that we need grace - For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God!  Our sin may be different, but our need for grace is no less.  A true change from sin comes as a result of seeing clearly how it negatively affects our relationship with God, and repenting from it, not how we think others feel about it, or what we feel our rights are.

3. To be a Christian and still live a life of sin is not consistent with Scripture which says I no longer live but Christ lives in me.  Our temple of our bodies and our minds should reflect what we believe about repentance and turning to a new life.  Hey, all of us have desires that we have to control in order to be obedient.  This requires self sacrifice and self discipline.  The Holy Spirit is there for us to advise each of us, but it is an opportunity of the will to obey.

There may be more, but I am sure you are tired of reading.  I would love your feedback on this post.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Our little man made his decision

So, each of our children has made a decision to become a Christian.  It has been an interesting journey as each child has had a different way of reaching this decision.  Our youngest was the most intriguing, and it fits right in with what I have been talking about.

So he is eight years old and has been wanting to make a decision for a long time.  About a year ago, he began to show a serious interest in God and what it means to "ask Jesus into his heart".  It was an intellectual pursuit for him for a long time.  He know all the right words to say and was good at answering all the questions about what it meant to become a Christian.  He was surrounded by a wonderful group of adults and teenagers who lived lives which demonstrated what being a Christian is all about.  However, we really did not give him a chance to do anything at the time, because it was all a head thing.

He had some work to do to understand how a relationship with Christ works.  Some of the stuff that was explained to him was actually in the way, and we had to be very careful, not to let him be caught up in an act that would have been meaningless in the greater scheme of things.

Recently, we began to sense in him the maturity of thought to begin to feel what a relationship with Christ is all about.  It became more personal and less technical.  You could tell the Holy Spirit was working on him and his heart was open to receiving on faith, what he had been so anxious to receive on fact before. 

Weird, but it wasn't until the facts got out of the way that he was able to see the relationship and the value of the faith that far exceeded the knowledge.  We are so proud and excited that he made this decision, and are confident that it was all him, not something to please us or check off a box - fire insurance so to speak.

Sometimes facts can get in the way of faith.  We need to back up and let things move at God's pace.  He knows how to work though the spirit to reach those who are stuck on the details and can't feel the spirit move them.  Slow and steady wins the race sometimes.

Facts are the truth, but without faith they just make us smart.  I want to be wise, and that requires faith in what I don't know or understand.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

We lost our Matriarch

So it has been an interesting week.  My wife's grandmother passed away at the ripe old age of 95.  She was a very interesting woman, who brought us all a lot of joy throughout her life, but who for the last several years has been waiting on God to take her home.  You can tell alot about a person by the things that are written about them.  I have put two tributes below that give evidence of a life well lived.  As part of the 70%, or even as a 30percenter who strives to connect, imagine what you would like people to say about you after you have gone.


My Wife's tribute:  One of my best friends just crossed over into eternity yesterday. It thrills my soul for her that all her pain is gone and sin will have no trace near her. She longed to be there for a very long time and now she is free! Nanny, thank you for holding on to your faith through all those years. Your holding on kept me hol...ding on in many hard times of my life. Your smile, your humor, your walk with God, your love for my kids, our long conversations, sometimes laughing and sometimes crying, your "nanny sayings", your beautiful face, and spirit will always be in my heart. I feel truly blessed to have loved and been loved by you. You make me smile. There will come a day Nanny....I will see you again! I love you Nanny. I'll see you directly!

If you have never heard this song, listen to this version by Faith Hill

My wife's mother also wrote a special tribute:
The notice in the paper cannot and will not ever do justice to the woman we honor today and to the life she lived. She faced so many hardships and challenges as she reared four children. Without her not one of us would have made it. She was always so proud of each one of us and was always there for us. Even in our rebellion or when we broke her heart, she was there. She never was one to verbalize her love but in every action she told us that she loved us and accepted us just like we were and she never brought our transgressions up to us again. She was an intelligent, capable, hardworking person and she persevered under so many adversities. She achieved success in her career and was fiercely independent. She was no pushover, not for us or anyone else.

We each have different memories of her because each of us was important to her. Some are funny now that we can look back. I, for one, remember deciding that although I was an honor student, I was not going to graduate from high school without playing hooky just once. My best friend and I did just that and after bumming around all day, eating lunch at the Beacon and just feeling very smug, came home at the “regular time” to find Mom sitting on the edge of my bed asking “Where have you been?”. She caught us before we even got home!! And she had been at work all day!! My friend and I thought she not only had a mother’s “eyes in the back of her head”, we thought she was omniscient too. She took us to the school(HIGH SCHOOL) and marched us up to apologize to the principal for the lie we told to get out of school. He smiled and decided not to punish us because he knew she would handle that. Another funny memory was when Melanie and Kelly talked her into riding Space Mountain at Disney World when she was in her seventies and she was convinced they were trying to kill her so they could have the whole backseat of the car to themselves. As much as she tried when we were kids, she never learned to ride a bicycle and that’s something she always wanted to do. I can still see her as she tried to do it.

She shared our joys and fun; she loved us no matter what we did; she felt our pain and cried our tears with us but she never let us down… not ever, not once.

Proverbs 31 asks “who can find a virtuous woman” and later in the chapter these words:

25 She is clothed with strength and dignity;

she can laugh at the days to come.

26 She speaks with wisdom,

and faithful instruction is on her tongue.

27 She watches over the affairs of her household

and does not eat the bread of idleness.

28 Her children arise and call her blessed;

her husband also, and he praises her:

29 "Many women do noble things,

but you surpass them all."

30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;

but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.

31 Give her the reward she has earned,

and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.

She has been longing for her heavenly home for a long time and I know her homecoming was a joyous one. As hard as it is for those of us left behind, she is overjoyed. She is with her Lord; she is well; she’s not in pain; she’s reunited with loved ones and I bet she can even ride a bike now.

She never had the recognition she deserved for all that she was but today I rise up and call her blessed and say “ Thank You, Mama”. We love you and we will miss you. May your rewards be great!!

Monday, September 6, 2010

So I was inspired yesterday

My pastor did a sermon yesterday, and he was talking about the story of the Good Samaritan.  I got to thinking about the example Jesus showed of how to do explaining in a compelling manner.  Yes, you can talk with facts and data, but sometimes the stories can be more effective.  You use your relating skills to tell a story that makes a more compelling argument than a fact based explanation.  The problem sometimes is that the 30percenters can tie you up in a fact based argument that will take you to a point that you no longer have the facts to convince.  Then you can get on the defensive and make things worse.

Take a look at this series of verses from Luke 10.

25 One day an expert in religious law stood up to test Jesus by asking him this question: “Teacher, what should I do to inherit eternal life?”

26 Jesus replied, “What does the law of Moses say? How do you read it?”

27 The man answered, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind.’ And, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”[c]

28 “Right!” Jesus told him. “Do this and you will live!”

29 The man wanted to justify his actions, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”

Parable of the Good Samaritan

30 Jesus replied with a story: “A Jewish man was traveling on a trip from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he was attacked by bandits. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him up, and left him half dead beside the road.

31 “By chance a priest came along. But when he saw the man lying there, he crossed to the other side of the road and passed him by. 32 A Temple assistant[d] walked over and looked at him lying there, but he also passed by on the other side.

33 “Then a despised Samaritan came along, and when he saw the man, he felt compassion for him. 34 Going over to him, the Samaritan soothed his wounds with olive oil and wine and bandaged them. Then he put the man on his own donkey and took him to an inn, where he took care of him. 35 The next day he handed the innkeeper two silver coins,[e] telling him, ‘Take care of this man. If his bill runs higher than this, I’ll pay you the next time I’m here.’

36 “Now which of these three would you say was a neighbor to the man who was attacked by bandits?” Jesus asked.

37 The man replied, “The one who showed him mercy.”

Then Jesus said, “Yes, now go and do the same.”

The guy could not even say the word Samaritan, but he knew he was busted!  Think about your story telling ability.  Have you ever said, I can't tell stories?  Well you can tell stories about yourself all day long if you just practice, and commit to try.  And here is the cool part.  No one can argue your personal story, no matter how many facts they have.  Jesus knew what he was doing when he used this story!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

For communicating to the 30% and 70%, we have some models in the Bible, Jesus and others

For the next few posts I am going to take a look at the way the Bible looks at Jesus's ministry, from the eyes of several different writers who were explainers or relaters or both, as well as the writings of Paul, and some of the supporting cast.

It is my assertion that Jesus Christ was the perfect blend of explaining and relating, and that he exhibits both skills throughout his ministry to both the 30% and the 70%.

Examples to be discussed include:

How Jesus Christ related to the woman at the well, which opened up the opportunity with her entire town.

How Jesus refused to engage with hypocrites, not wasting his time explaining to those who only wanted to refute and discredit.  Yet, how he was there for Nicodemus!

How Jesus was prepared to be in full explainer mode when he was tempted by Satan in the desert.  There is no relating there.

How He used parables effectively.

The sermon on the mount and how it combines relating and explaining.

How He was so capable of having such a diverse group of followers, yet relate to each one effectively, as well as prepare them for ministry, by explaining and demonstrating at a pace they could handle.

Paul -a natural explainer, as he relates in his letters.  Especially 1 Corinthians 13.

Luke - the explainer, compared to John the relater and how that influenced their writings.

Peter, David, Abraham, Barnabas and others all show how God creates in each of us natural abilities and the capability to become more than that through effort.

This might sound a little dry, but I hope to have some fun with it and add in some personal stories as well.