finishing well

Back to the Future

I’m a big fan of the Michael J. Fox “Back to the Future” movies.  These were among the most popular movies of my teenage years.  A lot of perspective is gained as Michael’s character Marty McFly travels back in time to see his origins and possibly alter his future, and then eventually in the series, his future.

Back to the Future movie image

I’ve recently been taking part in a Facebook “Group Goal-Setting” community started by Jon Acuff called “30 Days of Hustle.”  In it, Jon is challenging every member from January 1 to January 30 to do something very specific and intentional toward a goal that we set forth on January 1.  I am SO excited about this.  With each day comes a new challenge.  I’m already behind, but will catch up.  Today’s challenge (for me anyway) is to cast the VISION for my goal.  So, I chose to describe this vision as an article written about me sometime in January… 2015.  Yes, next year!  Thought it would be fun to look back and see how my year would look when I hit these goals.  So, the following is written as an interview taking place next year.  Here we go:

January 8, 2015 – Looking back in 2014

As we sit in the office of Ken Raetz, a technology consultant living in the Nashville area, one of the things that stands out is the simplicity and neatness of his office space. No stacks of papers or books lying around. Just a clean workspace, and a notebook neatly laid out on his desk. Ken tells us this was not what life was like prior to the “Getting Things Done Revolution” that happened this past year. A self-proclaimed dreamer and tech-geek, Ken has always been fascinated by the idea of being “hyper-productive” in his personal and professional life.  He spends a lot of time reading about productivity methods.  About 2 years ago, Ken was introduced to the Getting Things Done methodology which began the transformation.  However, often he would get caught up in the mechanics of the organization and forget the “getting done” part of it. “Discipline has not been my strong suit,” says Ken. “So often, I start something in a very excited way, then drop off after a few months.  It gets too hard.” However, 2014 was to be different.  Why?  “Because I was tired of not getting the most important things done that I wanted to get done.  So, my goal in January was to put into habit a disciplined schedule that support both my personal and professional priorities,” he says.  Not surprising, 2014 brought a whole new level of discipline Ken thought would never happen.  Starting in January, Ken spent the first 30 Days putting in place the daily, weekly, and monthly schedule habits that would support him meeting the goals he had laid out for rest of the year. What has been the result?

– His personal faith in Jesus Christ is stronger than it has ever been.  He has shared the gospel with complete strangers, close friends, and family members, and has had the privilege of leading several people in a confession of faith in Christ and follow-up discipleship.

– He exercised 3-4x per week consistently, losing 10 pounds (which had not even been the goal).

– He rolled out a new service in his business in the first two months of the year, and it has proven to be the most successful work his team has done in years.  His clients love it!

– His relationship with his wife and kids has flourished, as he is spending regular time with them together and one-on-one.

 

Who is Ken most thankful to? “I have to say that God gave me a clear vision for what I was going to do in 2014, and I am very thankful for that.  And, He provided me a beautiful community of support through the Jon Acuff ’30 Days of Hustle’ Facebook group to encourage me along the way.”

What does Ken have planned for 2015? “Growing my business that I now have an ownership stake in (as of December, 2014).  And taking my wife on a wonderfully long 20th anniversary vacation.”  Now that sounds exciting!

4th Quarter Comebacks and Parenting

I am a huge Peyton Manning fan.  OK… so, Carol says I have a man-crush on him.  I’ll own that.  He’s fun to watch.  Now, opinions are pretty polarized out there about whether he is as good as people say he is.  I’ve personally followed the Manning family since I was kid growing up in Louisiana watching Archie play for the Saints.  I’m also a graduate of the University of TN, Knoxville, where Peyton played 4 solid years before coming out as the #1 pick in the NFL prior to the 1998 season.  He is just so fun to watch, calling all those audibles, engineering drives with such precision and timing.

One of his stats which just blows me away is his 4th quarter comebacks and game-winning drives.  There are a number of sites depicting various stats on this topic, but this one probably has the best detail (and I’m a numbers guy).  http://www.pro-football-reference.com/play-index/comeback.cgi?player=MannPe00

Peyton has completed 40 4th quarter comebacks and 51 game-winning drives!  The level of intensity Peyton maintains throughout the game, but especially in the 4th quarter is unbelievably inspiring.

Manning-Audible

I liken parenting (really life in general… but for this topic, parenting) to the various quarters in a football game.  We have 4 children, ages 5, 7, 11, 14.  Things seemed easier in the 1st and 2nd quarter (the younger years) of our family life.  Raising 2 boys who were close to 2 years in age that played pretty well together seemed… manageable.  In fact, during that time, I would have even declared our family to be playing at an “elite level”.  We were commended over and over for our children’s behavior and character.  So young and prideful…  Flash forward 8-10 years to the present, and well… life is very full and challenging.  I would not trade it for the world, but it is challenging.  Our approach and expectations as parents has been difficult to maintain when it is spread across 4 children with different ages, different needs, and extremely different personalities.  And our once “elite level of parenting” (Ha!) seems to have dropped like an NFL team that loses a 30-point lead and goes on to lose the game.

So, today, we are in the 4th quarter of parenting.  In fact, every day from here on out, I am in the 4th quarter.  I desire to raise my family to become people who love God, love others, are productive citizens in society, and hopefully one day, lead their own families, ministries, or whatever they are called to do in life.  To do this, I must maintain a high level of intensity and commitment to the goals we have as a family.  Because in the moment, when I’m tired or have an agenda that doesn’t match their willingness to follow that agenda, I forget it and lose it.  And those who watch football know that when a team starts to “lose their cool”, they forget who they are, and eventually kill themselves with penalties and turnovers.

But maintaining that level of intensity is not so easily done.  For me, this means every day… every moment, much like every play in a football game… every moment could be that game-winning moment.  Every moment counts.  Make the most of them.  Maybe that is what Paul meant with Ephesians 5:14-17:

14Therefore it says, “Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.” 15 Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.

Football games are won and lost in the 4th quarter.  What things do you do to “win in the 4th quarter” of your family?