Life is a Revelation…be encouraged

Archive for the month “February, 2012”

Wolves & the TruePath

    I want you to tell about a woman and her husband who have found their TruePath. Kathy and Terry Baudendistel are not your average early retirees.  They own 23 acres which they have converted into a wolf habitat. They have constructed enclosures with places for wolves to hide, sleep, jump, crawl, establish their hierarchy and overall just be wolves. Susie and I spent several hours with them, listening as they enthusiastically explained how they had started with 5 little cubs and nurtured them to their current stable of 30 full-grown, growling, rambunctious, howling adult wolves.

     While walking around their property interviewing them about their life’s work they casually mentioned we would be entering into the enclosures with the wolves to interact with them. Now these wolves aren’t wild and running across the frozen tundra of the northern Rockies, but nor are they exactly domesticated. They are more than just big dogs. The frequent signs that warn parents to NEVER leave their children unattended was enough to keep me on edge. Kathy says humans have been “imprinted” on them. I just didn’t want them to “imprint” their teeth into any part of my body.  As we entered the enclosure containing five full-grown grey wolves I could feel my nerves coming to attention. As I gazed at them they stared back. Actually their eyes never leave you. They do not bounce around like puppies wagging their tails. In fact, wagging their tails is not a good sign. When their tails begin to wag it signals they are about to attack. My eyes were riveted to the movement of their tails.

     Let me interject here that Kathy and Terry repeatedly assured us of one immutable factabout wolves. They DO NOT attack humans. Now if you threaten their young that might be an entirely different situation, but wolves WILL NOT simply attack a human at random. But I will tell you it is sometimes difficult to remember that when you are looking eyeball to eyeball with them.

     However, after they gave us a few sniffs and circled  around us a couple of times they became comfortable with our presence. They began to lick and rub against us as they would another wolf in their pack. It is the way the alpha wolf marks you to let others in the pack know, you have been given his seal of approval.

     They are truly wonderful animals and you quickly learn to appreciate how special they are. They are absolutely, unbelievably beautiful. Their muscles ripple with a quiet majesty as they lope around their enclosures. When they lift their heads skyward and begin to howl their haunting melody it is something you will NEVER forget. The lonely sound penetrates into your being as it ebbs and flows from them. It is difficult to explain exactly how deeply they effect you. Susie and I would encourage everyone to visit the Baudendistel’s wolves. It is an experience you will carry with you and like us be just as excited to share with others.

     Susie who is an incredibly great photographer will be posting some photos in the next couple of days. I invite you back to check them out. The ones I’ve seen so far are truly incredible.

     I always make it a point to ask how an individual uncovered their passion for whatever they are dedicating their life to. So as the interview was winding down I routinely asked Kathy how she discovered her passion. Her reply stopped me in my tracks and opened up a whole new way of looking at life. She said, “Oh it’s not my passion it is my path.”

     “It is my path.” Those words rocked me. Being with the wolves was an experience I’ll never forget, but hearing Kathy’s words is something that will exceed it. After we left their grounds I could think of nothing else. “It is my path.” Those words have the ability to transform your life.

     It was a path she clearly and rationally embraced. It was the way of her going. It is what directed her footsteps. It mandated her actions from the time she arose in the morning to when she crawled into bed at night. It dictated how she lived her life.  It directed her thought processes. This path set the tone for everything. While she may do other things along the way…this is her life.

     Kathy and Terry Baudendistel have found their TruePath.

     Let’s look at it this way. We all know how in the business of motivation or self-help we are always hearing about finding your passion. The Merriam-Webster online defines passion as, “intense, driving, overmastering feeling, or conviction.” I define it as an “inflamed ache” probably because as a former ultra-distance runner I feel a deep connection to those words. Every book I’ve ever read that seeks to motivate has proclaimed the importance of finding your “passion” as the absolute bedrock to build upon.

     But I want to show you a different way. Or maybe I should say a different path. The Baudendistel’s have found a much more profound and I believe essential way of anchoring themselves. They have found their TruePath. This TruePath is not found by spending hours upon hours gazing into your navel. Nor is it discovered by searching out any other type of mystical experience, either inside or outside the body, with or without outside stimulates. This is already within you. A part of you already knows. Now while I could spend hours writing about the different avenues of discovering your TruePath, in the interest of time and space, I’m going to keep it simple. In fact, I am currently developing a powerful one-day seminar that will enable everyone to define their TruePath, develop their InflamedAche, and hold fast to their SustainedMotivation. But more about all of that later. Right now though, lets just keep it simple as possible.

     Lets call it the 50/360 + 1 formula.

     Pretend (because there is no way I’m doing this in real life) I give you $50,000,000. Now unless you are Kim Kardashian or Donald Trump, or Warren Buffet (and by the way, if you are any one of those three please leave me your contact info…I would LOVE to talk to you), $50,000,000 is probably going to enable you to do whatever it is you want to do in life.

     Now assuming you’ve $50,000,000 in your checking account, I want you to stop, set down, and think. Inside your mind go around 360 degrees and think of everything that kind of money would allow you to do. If you are like most folks, they are several things that come to mind. so many in fact that it is hard to keep track of them all. Which, of course leads us right into the next step.

     Narrow it down. Instead of  the dozens, narrow it down to a few. From there, begin narrow it down to just one. Just the one thing that given unlimited resources you would want to do.

     Most folks can think of the one thing in life they really want to do. But life, in the form of significant others, children, education, death, divorce, bad planning, missed opportunities, no opportunities, buying a home, getting a job, have kept you from doing the one thing that has always been in the back of your mind, but you assumed it was always going to be impossible to do.

     Now the first time I tried this exercise it was with my wife and we immediately ran into a snag. She couldn’t reduce her wants to one single item. There were several things she wanted to do. Compose and play music, sing, paint, and sculpt. However, when we began to analyze each of these things I was able to lead her to see all these threads were actually just one rope. The rope was the arts. If my wife had $50,000,000 in her checking account she would pursue the arts in all their various forms.

     Sometimes the TruePath make take the form of a single mountain trail with only the occasional deer path intersecting it. Like a retail merchant who only wants to sell musical instruments. Other times the TruePath may be more like an eight lane super-highway with many diverse and interesting entrance and exit ramps, but they still all arrive at the same destination. Like an explorer who has a bucket list that includes climbing Everest, rowing solo across the Atlantic, and running 135 miles across Death Valley.

     As I said earlier there are multiple ways to uncover your TruePath. That is because there are multiple types of people. What works for one will not work for everyone. If you try the 50/360 + 1 and don’t feel exactly satisfied with the results then try something else. Try reading books or magazines that you’ve never read before. Ask your significant other what they believe you were put on this planet for. Search the Web for whatever pops in to your mind. Travel to someplace you’ve never been. Strike up conversations with people you don’t know (Ido this all the time, which is how I found out about the Baudendistels.)

     The important thing is to discover your TruePath. Remember, in this case, it really IS all about you.

     As a footnote; the Baudendistels are the owners and caregivers of  Wolf Creek Habitat & Rescue, Inc. at 14099 Wolf Creek Rd, Brookville, IN 47012. Their phone number is 513-312-9143. Their email address is Their Website is



Be encouraged.

Off the site of Salahuddin Abdullah…

 I thought this did an excellent job of imparting a simple truth:
Be encouraged.

Making Performance Matter Workshop

Yesterday morning I attended a workshop put on by two incredible, high energy, professional women. Cindy Allen-Stuckey presented a well informed, concise, and powerful two hour seminar on Coaching Skills. Her business partner Karen Brockmyre imparted extremely effective how-to Methods of Strategic Thinking for another two hours. They are two highly-skilled facilitators who know, not only how to create excellence in an organization, but are also amazingly insightful in creating community and cohesion among the attendees. Their company is named Making Performance Matter, which by the way is an INSANELY great name.  

Later in the day I had the plesure of being able to sit down informally with them to discuss various aspects of their business. I can assure you they are just as impactful in a one-on-one situation as they are when delivering content to a packed room. Our hour and a half simply flew by as we laughed and talked about life and the way we have approached it. They are women who have taken control of their lives and decided to use their combined experience, knowledge, and wisdom to help people in business reach their maximum potential.

Sometime later I hope to interview them and post it here. Until then let me encourage you to check out their website .

If you ever get the opportunity to attend one of their workshops please do so. I can guarantee you will benefit in ways you never imagined.

As always…be encouraged.

Changing jobs

I recently left a position with a manufacturing company where I had it made.  I had been promoted frequently with sizable pay increases at every step. I had outstanding benefits with company contributions to a 401K and pension. It was a job that I could have stayed with until my retirement…but I didn’t. Not only did I walk away from a company where I could have been employed the rest of my working life, but I did so in the midst of the worst economy this country has seen since the Great Depression of the 1930s.

So why did I do it? Looking at it from afar it was non-sensical. In the present financial climate jobs are to be cherished and hung on to. Not discarded and given up on. Yet as drove home I was more satisfied than I had been for years. I literally had a smile on face that couldn’t be knocked off with a sledgehammer. I felt great.

So, again, why did I do it? The answer is actually quite simple (although I’ve been trying to develop a sense of drama). I simply did not enjoy working there anymore.

Not the, I-got-up-and-didn’t-want-to-go-to-work kind of day. This was more like a deeply rooted dissatisfaction with the type of person I had become after working there for six and a half years. The stress had been eating me alive. On the right side of my neck, where it meets my back, I had developed a lump the size of your fist. When I went to Med-Check to have it looked at, the doctor asked me how much stress I was under. Then she made several suggestions how I might try process it better. Additionally, as I climbed the managerial ladder I was becoming increasing unsettled with the disconnect between the public face of the company and what was standard operating procedure on the shop floor. The bald face lies I was required to tell the rank file was in direct opposition, to not only what the company professed, but also what I personally believed. I could no longer look in the mirror and be proud of the individual who was looking back at me.

So I quit.

Now my wife and do not have large sums of money lying in a bank vault. We don’t have large sums of money anywhere. We are not the type of people who have many letters after their last name and thus in high demand. In fact, neither my wife nor I have graduated from college. We are, what was once called in this country, common folk.  We do not live extravagantly. However, what we do have is a core, foundational belief that a person should be able to put food on the table, clothe himself and his mate,  and provide shelter, without having to endure a job that often reduces him to tears because he doesn’t know how he is going to make it through another day.

I had been gone from the manufacturing job for about a week and a half when I decided to visit a neighbor who is a dear friend to make him aware of my recent resignation. He attends the same church as my wife and I, and over the years he and I have discovered we share a lot of the same interests. I drove over to his house (we live in the sticks, so the neighbor is about a quarter of a mile away) and knocked on the door. When he opened the door, and before I could say a word, he exclaimed, “Wow! You must have found another job!” I was stunned, but I finally stammered out, “Yeah, but how did you know?” His reply was, “Easy, this is the first time in over six years that I have looked into your face and you don’t look like a hunted, scared animal.”

Shortly thereafter I had a chance encounter with a former co-worker who told me (after much prompting from his wife) how he broke down in tears every Sunday evening before returning to work on Monday morning.

It shouldn’t be this way. This is crazy!

That is why you are reading this now. I am living some of the changes I advocate. I am taking my mind and deciding how I’m going to believe. Not that I’m ignoring the facts. I’m just deciding how I’m going to interpret them.

So there you have it. Is change easy? No. Is it worth it to stay employed at a place (or in an abusive marriage/relationship, or cling to beliefs) that is/are literally killing you? No!

In the coming days, weeks, months, and hopefully years I am going to share with you many of the concepts, ideas, principles, and techniques that I have found invaluable. But this isn’t just me writing and you reading, and me writing, and you reading, ad nauseam.

I want to hear from you. Tell me what is going on in your life. Eventually we will add a chat room where we can talk about what works and what doesn’t.

Here is the bottom line…I don’t have all the answers. Nobody has ALL the answers. I hope that isn’t too big a shock to anyone. What I do have I am willing to share and I hope you are too. I think if we collectively put our heads together we might just be amazed at what can happen. One of Steve Jobs’ operating mantras was, “How can we do this better.” That is what I want to know. How can we do this thing called life better and then share that knowledge with the human race.

Let’s do it.

Be encouraged.

You have a big but

I would like to but… Along time ago I heard a pastor explain the excuses several members of his congregation would use for not changing their lives. He said they always started with, “Yeah but.” Finally, after hearing this one-too-many times he informed the person, “It is your BUT, that is getting in the way.”

It is your BUT that is keeping you from changing your life. There has always been not enough time, financial issues, a difficult non-supportive spouse, errant children, mean people, horrible stress filled jobs, alcohol, drugs, and attractive members of the opposite or same-sex. If I haven’t hit your particular BUT please insert it here _______.

Gee Steve it isn’t that simple. Is it? Afterall, there are many different pulls on my time and you don’t really understand what I’m going through. You are absolutely correct. I’m sure there are huge influences on your time and I don’t know exactly what your individual situation is. Perhaps you are a single mother who works a 8 -10 hour job. Yet you still have to feed, bathe, and love on one (or maybe two or three) little ones. All of whom are still trying to master the whole potty concept. You could be a father with assorted demands on your time (not to mention finances) from your four teenage, sports loving and participating children. Not to mention, your wife who would like some well deserved snuggle time. You could be a single person with a full social schedule and classes taught by demented professors whose only enjoyment in life is to require their students to learn mountains of arcane facts which you will promptly forget.

You could also be a person struggling with drug or alcohol addiction. Or an individual pinned down in an abusive relationship. You might be asking, “Why was I ever born?” or “Why can’t I just fit in?” or Will my true love ever show up?” or “Why do I have endure all this pain in my heart?” or “Why do I have cancer?”

Those are all really big BUTS.

And yet it is your BUT that is getting in the way of you changing your life. In each one of those life situations I mentioned above the only one controlling your mind is you. Now I’m not trying to be flippant. If you ever get the chance to meet me you will know I’m not the type to make light of another person’s burdens and pains. What I’m trying to do is get you to see that YOU control your mind. YOU make the final decision on what you think. Let me tell you a story:

Several years ago I was married to another woman and she had a son by her first husband. He was only five years old and it was our first Christmas together as a married family. We wanted to make it special. So there we were, working feverishly to get all the toys assembled. Finally shortly before dawn we were finished and exhausted. We stumbled to bed to grab a few hours of sleep before the greatly anticipated morning when he would open all of his really cool presents. We fell into one those mind numbing, deep sleeps. The type that wouldn’t be interrupted even if a Boeing 787 crashed in the front lawn. After a few way short hours we awoke, grabbed the video camera, and tiptoed downstairs to capture the morning excitement.  Except there was a problem. A very severe problem. There sat her son on the living room floor surrounded by all his unwrapped gifts. The cat was out of the bag, so to speak, and there was nothing we could do to get kitty back in the bag. We couldn’t rewrap all of the gifts and have him reopen them. He was only five years old and we didn’t want his first Christmas with his new family to be a weird one. In a nanosecond I realized our next step was going to set the tone for the rest of the day. We had a choice. We could do what came natural, which was to strongly display our disappointment. Or we could act as if nothing was out of the ordinary, put the camera away, and begin to play with him and his new toys. We chose the latter. We decided what the outcome was going to be. Did it hurt? Well yeah. Was it easy? Not by a long shot. Was it the best thing to do? Absolutely!

Now hear me out on this. I’m not suggesting for one moment that a five-year old child prematurely unwrapping his Christmas gifts is in any way on par with someone battling cancer, or one who is trying to survive an abusive marriage, or trying to forgive an adulterous spouse.  What I am trying to show is that we make choices. We are the ones who can decide how something is going to affect us. Take control. We control what we think.

I want to thank you for reading this post in its entirety. I realize it is long and I do value your time. If you have any comments please don’t hesitate to write. I am not trying to be a one size fits all, back slapping, it’s all going to be all right kind of motivational guru. What I am trying to do is help people to look at how they look at life. I firmly believe all of life is a revelation. I certainly don’t know it all, nor do I think I ever will.

Lets talk.

Be encouraged.


If you don’t change your beliefs,

you will be like this forever.

Is that good news?

                                                              – W. Somerset Maugham

When I first read those words I was immediately struck by the Truth they contained. I use the word Truth, instead of truth, because there are some ideas which have such a commanding dominance that they literally have the power to set you off in a new direction. Amazing that something so simple, in this case only sixteen words, can possess such a powerful impact. Because we do what we believe, our outcomes are the direct result of what we think. So if we changed those deeply held core assumptions about life, love, the people around us, the way things are, we could/would have an entirely new being. The simplest reduction would be; change our beliefs, change us. As a result our lives would be entirely different.

I personally believe those words uttered so many years ago by Mr. Maugham. I believe them because I am living proof of their Truth.

Be encouraged.

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