Saturday, June 23, 2007

Getting Things Done... Divine Direction

by Dale Shumaker

Getting Things Done, the art of stress-free productivity, has been a David Allen classic for the new productive person. In the 21st Century, it has been the go-to book on being a productive, and effective person. His goal is to show you how to get more done with less effort, more of life you want and less stress getting there.

The Goal:
Capturing all things you need to do out of your brain, off your mind. Creating a personal discipline to make decisions and move to the next step. Whatever causes you to under-react or over-react is controlling you.

Managing internal commitments requires clearing your mind of unfinished business
--be clear on commitments and what you must do.
--review your need actions daily and do them daily....
Getting things done!

We all have a conscience. Our minds keep reminding us of what we commit to or feel a commitment to follow through until we do them. When we don't, our conscience brain keeps reminding us we need to do this. When we have several things undone, the brain starts to get cluttered with these messages. This then adds up to that overwhelming feeling. The good news is it happens because you are a conscientious person, the bad news is it creates stress. The good news is you can manage this for less stress and greater fulfillment in life.

Getting Things Done is a book you really should study to get the greatest benefit. Allen is thorough in explaining how to make his personal productivity system work for you. Like exercise, it's not necessarily fun while doing it, but the benefits make it all worthwhile.

The 5 stages of Work flow
1. Collect what demands your attention.
2. Process meaning and value to the immediate, long-term, overall.
3. Organize results so they have value and you can use them.
4. Review options to choose from and consider best value to you.
5. Do what needs to be done, where it's most important.

Relaxed control is having clearly defined projects and actions that move them to closure. Put reminders in a trusted system you can review later.

Getting "In" to empty.
--trash what you don't need.
--hand off to others what can be delegated.
--sort out the reminders that take more than 2 minutes.
--identify larger commitment projects you have.

7 primary types of things you need to track.
1. Project lists
2. Project support materials
3. Calendared actions and information
4. Next Actions list
5. Waiting for the lists
6. Reference materials
7. "Someday/maybe" lists; How to do it?

Define strategic, systematic actions.
1. Send email
2. Write a note
3. Leave a voice mail
4. Add to agenda for next meeting
5. Talk directly either face to face, phone

The David Allen Formula (flow charted in the book)

"Stuff" to
"in" basket
What is it?
Is it actionable?

If No, then,
Someday/maybe (tickler file, hold for review)
Reference (retrievable, when required)

If Yes, then,
What's the Next Action?
Multi-step projects Projects (planning) or
Project plans (review for actions)
Then what's the next Step.

If "What's the Next Action" will take less than 2 minutes

If Yes,
Do it!

If No,
Delegate it
Waiting for some else to do

Defer it
Calendar(to do it at specific times)
Next Actions (to do it as soon as I can)

It's worth having the book just for the flow chart. Put it in front of you where you work for constant reference.

Allen does a thorough job of helping you develop his key areas.
He also elaborates on the Power of Collection, the Next Action and Outcome Focusing.

He summarizes with these words:
--Get your personal organization hardware set up, work station organized, get in-baskets, create a personal filing system, get a good list management organizer.
--Set aside some time to tackle one area of your work space.
--Share what you gleaned from his principles that would help you.
--Review Getting Things Done every 3-6 months.
--visit his website where there's lots of free stuff.

Brian Tracy is a national leader in time management strategies. One key principle he has learned that is highly effective is to constantly ask yourself,

“What is the best use of my time right Now?”

Your subconscious is your slave (a sophisticated system, even more sophisticated than the most advanced computers). It will work a solution for you when you ask. Your subconscious keeps you focused in your purpose, goals, and mission in life. If you pre-plan, constantly program your thinking, it will keep you on a “purposeful” track.

His insights to time management are revealed in his book, Time Power. Here’s an outline.
Time Power by Brian Tracy…
the Essence of Good Time Management Getting Yourself Organized.
"Before you do anything, you have to do something first."

Plan Everything in Advance
Top 3%… persistent, continuous planners constantly writing and re-writing their goals and priorities

Each minute in "planning"
Saves 10 min. in "execution"
Planning gives 1000% return
Most failures come from "poorly planned" actions

Think through.
Plan out.
Then act.

Personal Organization
1.Make neatness a habit
2.Stand back (look at how you work)
3.Refuse to make excuses
4.Work from a clean desk

Organize Your Workspace
Begin by
1.Clearing your desk
2.Assemble everything you need
Have all you need at your fingertips
3.Handle each piece of paper only once

How to handle paperwork
1.Throw it away. Your waste basket is your best time management tool.
Discard; get out of sight material not relevant.

Practice the 3 D's
Don't dilly-dally around
Decide--make a decision quickly
Do it-- do it now, then move on

2. Delegate
Get info to the right person
Use other people to get things.
3. Personal Action folders done
Keep a folder that requires your personal action.
Put your greatest priority personal action items there.
4. File it for future reference.
Remember 80% of papers filed are never needed.
Most things you throw away you never miss again.
Put things away
When finished, put all related to it away.
Then organize for your next project.

Time Management Tools and Techniques
1. Use a time planner system (Note book system, Outlook, PDA)
(Take the company's course on how to use time better.)
2. Always work from a list
3. Organize your list by priorities
(hint: number high pay off or priority with an "A" beside it.
"Must do soon" with a "B"
"Get to when you can" with a "C".
Then every day "make sure you do all your A's.)
4. Revise list constantly... good time managers are constantly reviewing and revising their lists. Resetting priorities Daily.

Tools for personal organization
1. Prepare the night before and end of work day.
2. Schedule your time....include tasks, returning phone calls, running errands, etc.
3. Get an early start.
Have quiet think time before you begin the day or before you come to work.
4. Use and organized filing system...take time to develop a system for yourself.
5. Do important work at prime time... when you are most productive.
6. Make drive time productive... return phone calls, listen to educational tapes.

How do we plan a day.
God has the perfect plan for each day.
He said He would guide our steps, when we walk with Him and He walks with us. The Spirit tells us exactly what to do. The Bible has several examples of where God gave specific instructions. He guided Elijah specifically.

"Then the Lord said to Elijah, 'Go to the east and hide by Kerith Brook, near where it enters the Jordan River. Drink from the brook and eat what the ravens bring you, for I have commanded them to bring you food.' So Elijah did as the Lord told him and camped beside Kerith Brook, east of the Jordan. The ravens brought him bread and meat each morning and evening, and he drank from the brook."
(1 Kings 17: 2-6, NLT)

Then, when he got there, the Lord directed him again.
“Then the LORD said to Elijah, 'Go and live in the village of Zarephath, near the city of Sidon. I have instructed a widow there to feed you.'”
(1 Kings 17: 8, 9, NLT)

Joshua was told to follow these instructions carefully.
"Be careful to obey all the instructions Moses gave you.
Do not deviate from them, turning either to the right or to the left.
Then you will be successful in everything you do.
Study this Book of Instruction continually.
Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it.
Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do."
(Joshua 1:7-8, NLT)

Jesus gave specific instructions for His disciplines to follow when He sent them out into the marketplace.
"Jesus sent out the twelve apostles with these instructions:
'Don't go to the Gentiles or the Samaritans, but only to the people of Israel—God's lost sheep.Go and announce to them that the Kingdom of Heaven is near. Heal the sick, raise the dead, cure those with leprosy, and cast out demons. Give as freely as you have received!"
(Matthew 10:5-8. NLT)

The results were so outstanding, they were amazed. When they returned, "they joyfully reported to him, "Lord, even the demons obey us when we use your name!"
(Luke 10:17, NLT)

Peter was given special direction in what to do next, and who to trust.
"Meanwhile, as Peter was puzzling over the vision, the Holy Spirit said to him,"Three men have come looking for you. Get up, go downstairs, and go with them without hesitation. Don't worry, for I have sent them."
(Acts 10:9, NLT)

When you ask, God Himself tells you His secret plans.
"Ask me and I will tell you remarkable secrets you do not know about things to come."
(Jeremiah 33:3, NLT)

He knows everything and can very precisely direct your path.
"Oh, that my people would listen to me!
Oh, that my people would follow me, walking in my paths!
(Psalm 81:13, NLT)

It is important to write them down and follow precisely, in a timely manner and persistently.
"Write down everything God gives you
and make it plain on tablets
so that whoever hears it may run with it.
For these divine instructions wait for just the right time;
it speaks of the end
and will not prove false.
Though it linger, seems to take a while, wait for it;
it will certainly come and so persevere in your pursuit of it."
(Habakkuk 2:2-3)

He ask us to walk in the ways He sets out for us. God spoke in detail. When you follow in detail, Great things will happen. What God has spoken has been recorded in detail, to be reviewed throughout the Centuries.

Detailed instructions, directions are important.
The Spirit gives us details, when we ask. It will many times come in a whisper.
“And after the earthquake there was a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire there was the sound of a gentle whisper.”
(1 Kings 19:12, NLT)

We need quiet times to hear,
then write it down.
And respond exactly, precisely as directed.
Ask Him, listen, then follow.

And confidently expect Great Things !

Saturday, June 16, 2007

The Exceptional Presenter...becoming Super-Exceptional

By Dale Shumaker

The Exceptional Presenter by Timothy J. Koegel is another "need to have on your biz bookshelf" book. Everyone is called upon to present to a group, big and small. Those who do it well get the nod for more business.

The Exceptional Presenter is organized and presented well. The regular biz guy can make it work. Even if you are really good at this, it will keep you sharp at doing your best. A great quick reference guide for your next presentation.

"A proven formula to Open Up! and own the room."
The Open communication style will endow you with confidence, professionalism, audience connection and understanding of your message.

"Every time you open your mouth to speak in public,
you are a public speaker."

Be Organized
Be Passionate
Be Engaging
Be Natural
Understand your audience

Organized: Structure your Story
Create a structure that stays relevant and transitions smoothly from topic to topic. Lack of organized flow makes you look sloppy, hinders your credibility.
Keep it short. Keep it focused. Keep it relevant.
(People forget 95% of what you say in minutes. Organize short segments through out. Move from one to another and tie them together.)

Five components of your presentation
1. Begin with a Purpose.
The more defined your purpose, the easier your listener can frame your message and stick with it.
2. Objectives/Purpose/Mission/Goal
“My objective... purpose... mission... goal... today is to....”
3. Position/Situation/Issues
Outline issues, concerns, problems, fears and provide verification they exist.
4. End Results/Benefits/Consequences
Why acting on this is beneficial; the results we will see, and the consequences if we don't do it.
5. Next Step/Action Plan/Time Line
This is a call for action. "Let's meet next Wednesday and develop a plan for..."
"We need this done by... or this will happen..."

Simplify your presentation.
Progressively... identify the purpose... objective... what you want to accomplish... current position, where we are now... how to do it another way, the potential results... how it will be better... and the next step, what we must do to get started, carry this on.

Follow the 60/20 rule.
Arrive 60 minutes early to set up the room, visuals, projection system, table arrangements, handouts, etc. So you have 20 minutes before the meeting time to meet people as they arrive. This is an important part of the connecting process before you present.

Passion is expressed through posture, gestures and movement, voice command. Eliminate hesitation and verbal graffiti. Sit straight, stand straight and face audience. Hands to the side and open is the best posture. When sitting it is better to have hands on the table and open for gesturing. (Koegel has loads of visuals which demonstrate this.)

Five Tips:
1. Stand Tall... don't sway, rock, lean.
2. Keep head, eyes, up and in contact with the audience.
3. Smile... sincere, warm.
4. Never retreat... move toward audience, not away from.
5. Move with purpose, energy, enthusiasm.

The Dynamics of Voice
Volume--speak up, vary your volume for deliberate emphasis.
Inflection--vary range from highs to lows.
Pacing/tempo--be natural in flow... speak, pause, breathe, speak.
Do all these in concert with your message and it will be music to the audience ears.

Eliminate Verbal Graffiti
Eliminate the filler sounds we make between phrases...."ums, ahhs, you know."
Instead of these "graffiti sounds" say nothing. Silent pauses by design work the best. Sounds between your thoughts you use as fillers like "to be honest, I guess, frankly" actually disrupt listening. To eliminate them, be aware you are using them, recognize your pattern, anticipate when you use them, pause, and state the next word (easy to explain, but these are voice habits that require specific attention to eliminate.)

To earn respect, you must first connect.
1. Speak to the interests of your audience
2. Use stories, examples and anecdotes
3. Eye contact is an essential engagement tool. For large groups look to one person, lock in, then move to another. Be generous. Share eye contact with all. Don't just look to the friendly face.
4. Talk to your audience, not your screen or wipe board and keep shoulders square to your audience... use hands only to gesture toward your screen, wipe board info.
5. Smile... be relaxed, confident, approachable
6. Use names early and often, early and after
7. Get to your feet. Standing gives you more visual authority
8. Use current events, periodicals for freshness.
9. Humor... use books on comedy, famous anecdote books.
10. Read your audience. Observe facial expressions, body postures.
11. Get your audience involved.

Be prepared. Know your content. Then be yourself.
Use a style that is conversational, open, engaging, spontaneous, off-the-cuff, quick witted. Smile and laugh.

Understand Your Audience
Talk to those who know your audience, ask questions about them and listen, read about what they do.

Practice doing the right things in this process that you can do to be better. Practice is most important... before a presentation and by doing as many presentations as possible. Take every opportunity to speak, present where you can.

Don't be average when you can practice and be exceptional.
Select areas you can improve and practice them.

Koegel also covers how to handle question and answer sessions. Learn to look at questioner, pause, then answer. This buys time to gather your thoughts and shows respect that you are contemplating the question. Ask a question when needed to clarify a question.

Use your nerves to your benefit. Everyone gets nervous. Focus on your message and helping your audience understand. Keeping your focus on them keeps the nerves off you.

The more prepared you are, the more confidence you have, more organized you look, passionate you are, engaging you become, and natural you can be... then you are the Exceptional Presenter.

Koegel has many presentation outlines you can use in the book. Also note:

The best presenters that ever lived had an unusual system for their great skill. It is reported that they were regular folks but had personal intense encounters in the Holy Spirit. As leaders of their day observed:
"The members of the council were amazed when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, for they could see that they were ordinary men with no special training in the Scriptures. They also recognized them as men who had been with Jesus. "
(Acts 4:13, NLT)

Their secret formula was their intense times in the Spirit. Again reported:
"After this prayer, the meeting place shook, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit. Then they preached the word of God with boldness."
(Acts 4:31, NLT)

Their secret was it was always back to pray as a group,
intense prayer.
It was so intense the place where they met began vibrating like an earthquake.

Now, That’s a Power Focus!

They met constantly and reviewed the power of the Spirit on their lives and constantly encouraged each other. They helped each other where their gifts complemented someone else… becoming an unprecedented powerful social system engineered by the Holy Spirit.

Spirit Himself empowered it, directed it. So unique, it struck the intrigue of everyone. Living and flowing in the Spirit had this distinguishing characteristic…They spent time in the Presence of Spirit, and leaned on and operated in the very Spirit of God.
"And all the believers were meeting regularly..."
(Acts 5:12, NLT)

Here, these common men, with the Spirit of God on them where described as having boldness... walking with an inherent authority in their presence, because their presence consisted of frequent times in the Presence of God. They had knowledge beyond their training or experience.They spoke in a language everyone could understand which was obviously Supernatural.

"They were bewildered to hear their own languages being spoken by the believers."
"And we all hear these people speaking in our own languages about the wonderful things God has done! They stood there amazed and perplexed."
"…The apostles were performing many miraculous signs and wonders among the people.... more and more people believed and were brought to the Lord—crowds of both men and women.
(Acts 2:5,11,12; 5:12, NLT)

People were amazed of where this all come from. The Believers were courageous and talked to leaders of their day with confidence and assuredness. They spoke with a power that everyone, in their own dialect, understood. They performed miracles for many and many watched in wonder at their normal day at the "office." And many, in large numbers, were converted to their ideals.

"All the believers were united in heart and mind.
And they felt that what they owned was not their own,
so they shared everything they had."
"There were no needy people among them,
because those who owned land or houses would sell them
and bring the money to the apostles to give to those in need."
(Acts 4:23, 34 NLT)

There was power, miracles and an internally strong social system.
Is this at all possible for today?
Can a social system in a business, and among businesses be built with strength, miracles, and social responsibility as this?

Here's the key principles:
All believers met regularly, were of one mind, and heart. They shared all things in common in that they saw ownership as a community of individuals and they went out boldly because the Spirit of God was on them. When meeting in Jesus Name, the Holy Spirit comes to join you.
“For where two or three gather together as my followers, I am there among them,”
Jesus said. (Matthew 18:20, NLT)

Social connection as one heart, brought the authentic Presence of Jesus Spirit.
With the new message of Jesus as Us,
we as a group represent Jesus,
that Power of God in all its greatness released in man.
We now walk in the same Power Of God.
We share in the unlimited resources of God with each other
.... WOW...!!!
What an idea!
What Possibilities!

Is This Possible today?
I believer it is.
And it will happen in the day to day occurrences in the marketplace…if we practice what they practiced on a day to day basis. If we live like this, if we live in Spirit-driven Power, we too will be Super-Exceptional Presenters.

We can add this to our lives as well. Seek the Spirit above all things, before you do all things and live in this when you do all things.

There is power in Spirit and you can tap in it daily, if you choose to go there and just do it. Spirit says, "Seek Me with all your Heart...and you will not be disappointed in what I will do for you." Isaiah says,
"For the mountains may move
and the hills disappear,
but even then my faithful love for you will remain.
My covenant of blessing will never be broken,"
says the L ORD, who has mercy on you.
I will teach all your children... "
(Isaiah 54:10, 13, NLT)

Spirit will teach you. When in Spirit, He teaches you.
When we meet in love and generosity, Spirit will
give Supernatural power to everything He guides us to say and do.

Your presentation skills will be Super-exceptional.
You will have exceptional influence
and it will be simply amazing.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

The Dip...steps to Paradise

By Dale Shumaker

The Dip... the little book that teaches you when to quit (and when to stick) by Seth Godin.

It is a short book, but like these book summaries, right to the point. As Seth says, "Write less is better." It seems more books carry a proverbial style like the Dip.

Quitting is wise when you quit when you should. Winners never quit is simply not true explains Godin. "They just quit the wrong stuff at the right time."
"Quit the wrong stuff."
"Stick with the right stuff."
"Have the guts to do one or the other."

Target doing one thing.
Be the best in the world at something.
Find that something that's you.
Godin points out the difference of being #1 compared to 2, 3, 4.... is at least double in most cases. "Pick the right thing and do it all the way." In a free market, the exceptional gets much more.

Strategic quitting is the secret of successful organizations. First, understand situations that should cause you to quit. This decision comes to head in the dip.

Curve 1, the dip is the long slog between starting (when things go well, or are going). Successful people who know what they are doing is right "lean into the dip, push harder, change the rules."

Curve 2 is the cul-de-sac.
This is a dead end so the decision to get out is obvious, but obviously many don't see how obvious it is. When in it, don't embrace it. Get out fast.

Curve 3 is the cliff.
Some things start off smoking, climb to great heights, that fall off like falling off a cliff. Like smoking cigarettes. You can't quit until you fall off... and die from it. If it's worth doing, there's probably a time you face a decision to get out or move over.

Cul-de-sacs are boring, cliffs are exciting but neither gets through the dip... they lead to failure.

The remedy... know about the dip before you start. If you know it's right, the brave thing is to press through. If it's not right, don't even start. "Simply put, if you can't make it through the Dip, don't start."

When you are doing what's right, being the best in the world, capturing the market you target, you run away from your competition. Why? In the dip, most quit, so your competition dwindles. Then guess what... you're so far ahead, no one can catch you. "The goal of any competitor is to create a Dip so long and so deep that the nascent competition can't catch up."

So quit dead ends in pursuits, avoid heading to cliffs and merge from the dip. Embrace the drip and treat it as the opportunity it really is. The Dip makes the project worthwhile.

Why might you fail to be the best in the world... run out of time, money, get scared, not serious about it, lose interest, focus on short-term, pick the wrong thing you can be the best in the world... and quit.

Eight Dip Curves: (See the Dip coming.)
Manufacturing Dip... your garage is not big enough for the large scale production equipment and processes.
Sales Dip... sales needs to be professional caliber.
Education Dip... must hone new business skills to compete at greater levels.
Risk Dip... must rent the bigger building, get more sophisticated investment injection.
Relationship Dip... building relationships all along the way. Old toes stomped on will come back to kick you in the rear.
Conceptual Dip... reinvention is necessary.
Ego Dip... must have control over everything. Need to relinquish control to others to handle developing areas.
Distribution Dip... getting connected with powerful distributors is harder.
The moral of the Dip story is... before you start know your Dips. They come with growth. If you don't want to face it, press through, be the best in the world, don't start.

Dips can be a "go up opportunity." Quit what you don't care about, are mediocre at. Otherwise buckle your seat belt and enjoy the bumpy ride of the dip for a while.

Serial quitting is also bad. It's jumping line to get in another line that looks faster. Serial quitters jump lines quickly thinking they will have a faster line to success. As serial quitters drop out as soon as they hit another dip, you begin gaining and leaving them farther behind. They then become less a threat as serious competition. Those who face the Dip end up being the winners.

When you get through the dip the others are too far behind to catch up. The market rewards dip travelers.

The opposite of quitting is "re-dedication... an invigorating new strategy to break the problems apart."

When should you quit.
Quitting at the right time for the right reason is good. Quit when you are in a cul-de-sac, approaching a cliff, when the rewards are not worth it, when your time, passion, resources can't make you reach being the best in the world. So quitting is a recommended, admirable strategy.

Why quit?
It frees you to put full energy into something else. Don't let pride of "I'm not a quitter!" keep you from quitting.
Ask these questions:
1. Am I panicking? Decide in advance when you will quit, so it's not the stress of the dip or emotions that make you quit.
2. Who am I trying to influence? If it's a person you must influence, and there is no way to change that... then quit. But if it's a market, then a constant effort gets the "right people" talking and you eventually find them.
"Different people in the market are seeking different things. Sergey Brin, co-founder of Google, told me."
"We knew that Google was going to get better every single day we worked on it.... The later you tried it, the better for us.... So we were never in a big hurry to get you to use it today. Tomorrow would be better."
3. What sort of measurable progress am I making? Continuing without any sign of forward progress is a waste. Quitting is then good. But, if you have a few happy customers, they can eventually lead you to more. Are conditions still favorable? If you see progress in new, or redirected areas, the rewards are worth it, then continue maneuvering through the dip.

The major point... know the dip before you get there, and be prepared to navigate creatively, strategically through it.

Godin's final word,
"If it scares you, it might be a good thing to try."
If you have a Dip story, Seth Godin invites you to post it at

The dip is when it seems things aren't right, going as planned, or going as we hoped. When Jesus was killed by his adversaries, many lost hope. Because what they hoped for had been lost... They thought.

Paul the Apostle, felt that when he was put in prison, beaten. But he also knew there was more... to hope for.

Os Hillman shared an experience of his dip. Where he saw himself as a total failure. After his marriage broke up, his business collapsed, lost everything, he felt totally lost.
From a chapter in his book, The Upside of Adversity, Os Hillman shared a meeting he had with Gunnar Olson.
"I recognized his voice from the tape. J. Gunnar Olson—founder and president of the International Christian Chamber of Commerce(ICCC)—was a busy man. He was making final preparations for an international conference of the ICCC that very night."

"To be candid, Mr. Olson, I'm not even sure why the Lord has led me here today. I only know that I feel like a complete failure. I've failed as a businessman, as a husband, as a father, and as a Christian."
(Os Hillman tells Mr. Oslon his story.)
"Oh, you're hardly alone, my friend. In fact, your story fits a pattern so common that I have a name for it: the Joseph Calling. Os, you're not a failure. God has placed a Joseph Calling upon your life." "What's a Joseph Calling?"
"Put simply, this is what it means: Like Joseph, God calls some leaders to experience extraordinary levels of adversity in order to accomplish extraordinary things through them. Why? Because He knows that adversity builds character and produces wisdom in the life of a leader. God will use this adversity for good in your life and in the lives of others. That's the principle of the Joseph Calling."
To read the whole chapter note:

This is so characteristic of the Spiritual way. The Bible relates numerous stories where when the rewards are the greatest, the sacrifices leading to it are equally great. Suffering, as we may see it, is Spiritual training ground for even greater works of the Spirit in us, and especially for the benefit of many others... in a revolutionary way.

The Passion of Christ movie portrays the earnestness of Jesus to go through with the cross. He knew the extraordinary benefits this would bring to whole mankind... the extravagant rewards. He endured for the sake of this Glory.

Paul the Apostle was a well respected religious leader of his day, but after converting to the message of Jesus he had horrible experiences as he reflected...

"Five different times the Jewish leaders gave me thirty-nine lashes.Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked. Once I spent a whole night and a day adrift at sea. I have traveled on many long journeys. I have faced danger from rivers and from robbers. I have faced danger from my own people, the Jews, as well as from the Gentiles. I have faced danger in the cities, in the deserts, and on the seas. And I have faced danger from men who claim to be believers but are not. I have worked hard and long, enduring many sleepless nights. I have been hungry and thirsty and have often gone without food. I have shivered in the cold, without enough clothing to keep me warm."
(2 Corinthians 11:24-27, NLT)

Why would any sane person live like this?
Why did the Apostle Paul go through all this?
He saw Paradise!

This Paradise was his goal, his reward. To Paul, the effort was worth it.
"I was caught up to the third heaven fourteen years ago.
I was caught up to paradise
and heard things so astounding that
they cannot be expressed in words,

things no human is allowed to tell."
(2 Corinthians 12:2,4, NLT)

This was so astoundingly marvelous, spectacular, Paul could not even talk about it. When we have a vision so strong that we see the unquestionable rewards of it, the dip experiences are worth it.

Jesus referred to Paradise on the cross. He told the one criminal beside him that he would share with Him in Paradise... a real-life Utopian civilization beyond earth we will too experience. With "astounding" rewards for those who press through to complete their assignments while on earth.

Is your vision this strong.
Is your life on a mission about the kingdom of Heaven,
that it is worth whatever you must go through to see it fulfilled.
Is the reward for what you are working toward worth it.

Jesus knew of paradise and even the cross would not stop Him. Paul saw paradise and going from notoriety to suffering in life, could not stop him.

When in Spirit we can taste the Kingdom of Heaven.
Live, dream and be ecstatic in this Paradise.

When we spend time there before our duties of the day, nothing that comes up during the day keeps us from pressing on. It brings gratitude into our hearts, when we have great victories during the day. God will get you through the dips.

"Wait patiently for the Lord.
Be brave and have courage!
Yes, wait patiently for the Lord."
(Psalm 27:14, NLT)

It will drive you through any obstacle, defy setbacks and move you constantly to climb to the mountain top of your vision and dreams Spirit puts on your heart.

As Paul says, "your attitude should be the same as Jesus."

The reward is being raised up to the heights of Heaven
and have the greatest Life Style in the universe along with Jesus.

Is the reward worth it?
Is there any reward greater than living in this Paradise forever!