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Podcast: Look back to live forward- #47

perspective podcast Jan 29, 2018

Life must be lived forward. But, it only makes sense when we learn the lessons of the past. 

The final week of the year is a time when a lot of people sit down, assess the previous 365 days, and make some decisions about how things went in the recent past and what they might like to do in the near future. A sense of ease pervades the week almost by default (most businesses expect the hours to be slow- unless you’re in retail and doing the mad dash of post-Christmas returns). It’s the perfect time for reflection.

But I didn’t want to pause and reflect this past year. I knew from the outset the most of the goals I’d set for myself in the previous year didn’t come close to happening. And it wasn’t because I created HUGE, untenable goals, either. I hadn’t made it 5% of the way to some of them at all… 

That’s what I thought, anyway…  

  • Some of the goals included business goals like hitting a new rank in our company. It didn’t happen.
  • Others included selling a specific number of books and online courses. Didn’t even come close.
  • Some included handling some coaching / consulting things I thought I might like to do. Never even got started. 

Of course, there were personal goals, too- things related to how I’d interact with the kids (be more present), how I’d invest time with my family (share more experiences and worry less about “stuff”).

And, yes, even spiritual growth and maturity-related things made the list… 

The truth is this: I didn’t want to assess the year, because it seemed like there wasn’t that much to assess.

Back to Cancun

Cristy and I took an end of the year trip. I’d promised to take her somewhere for our 19th anniversary back in August, and we never got to it with everything else we had to manage. The final week of the year, right after Christmas, finally seemed like a great time to go…

  • The kids were out of school.
  • Our business generally booms in October + November + early December (followed by a slow time until about the second week of January)...
  • Grandparents were available to host the kids… 

 The timing was perfect. 

Oh, yeah… we were Cancun, too. A few years ago we’d searched for a trip to take- just the two of us- and realized that we could visit an all-inclusive resort cheaper than we could drive to the beach, stay at a decent hotel, and go out to each for our meals. So, that’s how we like to roll, now… 

I learned two years ago that carrying an iPad mini onto the beach doesn’t work too well for reading. Too much glare. 

Don’t get me wrong, I love the simplicity of carrying a device like that. When we travel, we go “carry-on only” and don’t check any bags. That means less space for things like trinkets and books. Two years there was so much reflection coming off the screen I just opted to sit and listen to music… this time around, I wised up and took a few thin paperbacks I’d been wanting to read for quite some time but just hadn’t managed to get to.


The revelation on the beach

I sat on the beach one morning, book in hand, thinking about the previous year. It was January 1. We flew in on the 31st, celebrated the New Year with 800 of our closest strangers, and hit 2018 with… rest :-)

As I sat there I pondered the previous year: 2017 hadn’t started off too great. In addition to some personal things we’d been dealing with for a few years, I’d started the year off by- get this- 

Here’s the pic. Not enough to total the car. No personal injury. Just a big hassle. And, believe it or not, the police report showed me as the one culpable for the accident- they claimed I hit her (figure that one out from the photo here). 

That’s a horrible way to start the year, right? And it seemed like it was an omen of how things were going to roll… 

Now, pause

All of that said, let’s be real here- I’ve taught this stuff before- about how we choose to view reality. Most of the time we don’t just see reality, we see the reality we’re looking for. I’ve written about that at length >>> (

Furthermore, I even taught an entire online class about this- LIVE!- back in the Fall.

Here’s the link where you can access the videos + read the notes >>> 

But, alas, I wasn’t there… I was seeing what I wanted to see, not seeing what I needed to see. The truth is that I needed to see how great the past 365 years had been.


Enter The Alchemist

I’d took one of Paulo Coelho’s book The Alchemist along for one of my “beach reads” ( The story (less than 175 pages) is about a young boy who becomes a man… 

Heads up: I don’t want to ruin the book for you (no spoilers here, but you may want to skip to the next sub-heading on this post if you don’t want to know anything about the novel). 

He begins as a shepherd in a remote village in the middle of nowhere. He dreams of success and marriage. 

A prophetic word sends him on a quest to find a buried treasure- a quest that takes many turns. In the beginning the journey is easy. As it progresses, like all journeys, it becomes more difficult. 

Along the way, many times, he’s tempted to give up on his dream and “settle.” Settling doesn’t seem too bad to him, though, because he finds himself in much more favorable life situations than the one in which he began. Settling wouldn’t actually be that horrible.  

He continues pushing forward though, leaving the comforts of things he’s “settled” for (sometimes stopping the pursuit of his treasure for years!), and pressing forward to his destiny. 

By the way, the book refers to your destiny as your “personal legend.” It’s your calling. It’s the “thing” that’s inside of you… the unique path for you in this world. 

That personal legend is different for each of us. When we find it, something resonates deep within us about it, for we know it’s what we were created to do… 

It’s where we’re fulfilled. It’s where we feel empowered. It’s the place from which we bless others while living as the most enriched and fully alive version of ourselves. 

Oh, there’s a refrain throughout the story, too. It appears in different ways.

“When you find your personal legend, the universe conspires to help you.”

And, “When you move towards living your personal legend, the universe helps.”

Or, “When you begin doing the thing you’re destined to do… and leave the other things behind… the resources you need suddenly come to you.”

It’s almost like you can only receive and live something AFTER you awaken to the reality that THIS thing is yours for the experiencing…. 

In the end, the boy- now a young man- finds his treasure. Ironically, the treasure is located under the tree at which he was sitting when the story first began. The treasure was at his feet all along.


And this one is big… 

The story wouldn’t have worked if he just “waited there” for it to appear. He had to take the journey. He had to learn the lessons. He had to experience what he experienced in order to awaken to that reality. In other words, he had everything he desired yet he also needed to take that trip in order to be able to see it, access it, and enjoy it.


My personal legend

As we sat there on the beach I told Cristy about the book. I had not yet told her about my previous assessment of 2017.

“’What’s your personal legend?” she asked. 

I’d been thinking about it as I read the book, so I had a few thoughts ready to roll of my tongue.

“I want to teach people the message of grace and healing and freedom…”

Then- “I want to grow our business. I want to move it to a place of greater financial freedom for us, where we can have time freedom to do the things we want to do while helping other people achieve the same thing for their family.”

And- “I want to travel. Not just to exotic or touristy places. I like all kinds of travel. Whether it’s going to the beach, hopping on a plane to go teach one of our men’s events, traveling with the running team to go run a long relay… going on a work trip… I like exploring… for work and for pleasure…”

There it was… 

  • Teach grace + healing + empowerment
  • Build the business, empowering others to do the same- because of the time + freedom it creates
  • Travel

Something clicked as I said these things. In fact, I continued describing it to Cristy, even as the thoughts were coming to me… 

“I realize in this moment as I say all of this that I’m actually already doing all of those things. I guess in my looking for something else out there, I hadn’t noticed that I was in the middle of living that right now. And, yes, while I want those things to expand and grow and get bigger and better… I’m in the journey of doing what I really want to be doing…”

Then- “I wouldn’t say the universe is conspiring to help me, but I do see the hand of our Father, of God Himself… bringing me what I need, opening doors I didn’t know could open… opening doors I hadn’t even seen as doors…”


The reassessment about teaching

So I went back through the year, month-by-month, as I sat there on the beach… 

I realized that I was teaching that message of grace + healing + freedom.

For instance… 

  • Podcast. Every week I jump on a microphone, I skip the intro music characteristic of most podcasts (which I never listen to on other shows, anyway- I just FF through), and I talk. I explain to people who deeply they’re loved and that they’re designed for greatness. I had no intentions of starting a podcast back when 2017 began, but am sitting here with almost 50 episodes in the books. And more people listen to that online than ever listened to me in person when I was working at churches.
  • Workshops. Last week I taught another live workshop. The topic: healing + health. I’ll do the same thing next month… and the month after that…
  • Online events + courses. Last month I went online several times and taught the same information… 
  • Bigger live events. And next month I’ll head to Dallas to lead Advance 9.0- the ninth mens’ event I’ve organized with my friends Verick and Les. We’ll breathe life into a few hundred guys, and they’ll go home stronger, braver, and more alive than they’ve been in years. 


The reassessment about business

I also spent a lot of time on our business this year. In fact, our business- and Cristy’s early success in it- is what has created the opportunity for me to work from home and have the time to create and teach like I do. 

This past June we sat in the hotel restaurant while at Young Living’s annual convention. We got the idea to help 50 people reach the rank “Silver” in her organization. 

Why? Because it’s a life-changing sum of money. If we can help 50 people reach that extra income of about +/- $2,000 month their lives will be changed. Ours were. We’ve been there.

(Since I mentioned the company and the income potential, I’m legally obligated to show you the Income Disclosure Statement. See below.)

After we returned from Salt Lake City (the location of the convention), I began putting together a few classes on some of the products (i.e., supplements and nutrition), as well as organizing some online events to help people make the most of their membership in the company. 

Oh, that third one… travel… 


The month-by-month travel schedule, plus some MORE commentary about how life really went

Yeah, travel was a big one… over the past year I went to A LOT of places (remember, my final week of the year assessment was that 2017 was a downer, right?). Well, let’s be honest against: January didn’t go so great. A few hiccups (although I did get to speak to a group of business leaders, mostly women, about goals for the year!)



London (February) with Ivey (our 15yo), for a trip she earned by completing a massive, multi-year school project. The trip I involved travel and spending time with one of my girls :-)

Seattle for Advance 007 (also February), where I had the opportunity to teach some of the brightest leaders I our biz. Because it’s a private event I’m able to teach grace + empowerment + healing… (more info about the events at

By the way, that same month we released The Ladder, the online version of the men’s event (go to to stream. 

Oh… and though it has nothing to do with travel, I began teaching via Facebook Live in February- in large part after listening to several podcasts in London in which I learned that it would probably be a pretty good idea.



Cincinnati to see the Ark Encounter and the Creation Museum. We’d been to the museum before (, but wanted to add the Ark to the mix

While in Cincinnati, I taught my first online class one evening from the AirBNB we rented. You can stream that + the other live classes on this website  at

Oh, that’s a pic of Cristy with the kids. She’s an incredible mother- and, it helps that “traveling” and “kids” are her jam(s).



No travel for me in April. But I had a huge revelation. One morning I was walking down the street, four doors down, from Starbucks to Publix. The “little kids” had gone with me- as they did several times on Mondays this year. 

I found myself in a peaceful place- after struggling through much of February and March (emotional unrest after dealing with a case of spiritual abuse in a church, realizing I hadn’t made much progress on any of the goals I’d listed at the beginning of the year, etc.). As I strolled down the street, it dawned on me… 

“Today’s a great day,” I thought to myself. “I’m content. And if I never saw anything else to compare myself to… something better or faster or more successful or something outside of myself that I interpret as something telling me that I don’t measure up, I realize that I’m happy…”

I mean, how many people get to cut the grass with their boys once a week and watch the youngest push his plastic mower around while the bigger ones cut? And how many of those little kids attempt to put gas in that toy mower like they see their fathers do?

And how many guys have the ability to work from home and take a mid-day hoverboard ride with their boys…? (Which the boys bought with money they received months earlier for Christmas from extended family members AND THEN saved more and added to!)

Seeing this thing about “contentment” was revelatory for me. Yet, at the same time it’s a lesson I’ve got to revisit, because I realize now that by December I was battling the same issue again- I hadn’t quite performed like I wanted to perform…



This is Noah. In December 2016 he began plotting how to win the science fair at school. His idea: a motorized bike. 

So, we acquired the bike. And the engine. And about 20 hours of work to figure it out. 


Mission accomplished! In May 2017 this dude swept the science fair, winning first prize in every single category :-)

In May I also did some volunteer work for Crosswinds Foundation. I’ve known their director + founder, Bob Waldrep, for over a decade. 

A few years ago, his organization produced a documentary on post-traumatic stress disorder named Invisible Scars. Until May, the film was available by request as a DVD. That month, though, we began hosting the film on my website- (see

Turns out, Bob has a film-maker and editor on staff by the name of Eugene Cuevas, who’s also responsible for the follow-up film, Honoring the Code (we’ll begin streaming that one online in the next few months, as well). Eugene and Bob heard I’d written a 12-step program a few years ago (back when I was working with addiction and recovery). 

They offered to shoot + edit the entire course free of charge. So, in May that course went online, too, thanks to Eugene’s skill + quick turnaround time. You can find that class free at

I also ran a 50-K in May. My training consisted of, well… not much :-)

I ran 10 miles the weekend before the event and then estimated whether or not I thought I could do that same loop three times. 

Turns out, I could- and did. But, it was a lot harder than I thought it would be

At some point during the ordeal (on a trail, mind you- much more difficult than running the streets in my neighborhood) it hit me, “I can actually walk faster than I’m running right now!”

Cristy took the kids to Oak Mountain State Park late that morning to canoe and kayak. The thought was that they would pick me up when I was done. That worked well, but, geez… I was so sore that this pic below is the ONLY pic I remember taking of the entire day :-)

Of course, May wouldn’t be complete without some travel, right? 

Cristy decided that she didn’t want a physical gift for Mother’s Day. Rather, she wanted just one thing: the beach. Made sense. We’ve talked for years about gifting experiences rather than gifting trinkets and items that people will just stow away or toss to the side. 

So, the beach it was… 

We loaded the van, took the crew to a condo, and stayed. I planned the meals and grocery shopping, she relaxed. Mother’s Day, right? 

She even asked about staying an extra night. I had to return for a class I had scheduled, so we got her another room and I headed back with Levi (the 11yo who decided he wanted to make the run). 

My class got bumped, but Levi and I got some Q-time together. Went to the movies. Ate and Pies & Pints. Stayed up late watching another movie on iTunes. Spent the following day at the coffee shop together while I finished some writing. 

Back to that containment thing, right? These are the moments of life that it’s super-easy to forget about even though they’re super-amazing in those moments. 



In June we flew back to Salt Lake City for Young Living’s annual convention.

During the awards gala, I got to stand and receive an award from the Young Living Foundation with Les & Verick on behalf of our men’s group.  Those guys are responsible for raising $135K to replace a much-needed bus for the Young Living Academy in Ecuador. 

As well, the convention is where Cristy & I hatched the “50 Silvers” idea for our team (and, we’ve got SEVERAL members now making HUGE progress towards that goal!!!!)

Interestingly enough, we added a detour to the trip and headed to Sacramento. Due to increased hotel costs because of the convention, as well as weekend airfares, it was CHEAPER for us to fly to Sacramento for two nights, teach a class for a business builder there, and fly back to Birmingham on Monday. 

So, the trip got extended… 

It ended up being a great Father’s Day. Cristy and I took the older girls (Emma + Ivey) on this trip with us. They all slept in a bit, so I got… 

  • Long run early in the morning
  • Coffee shop time = read, study, grow

After a few hours, I met them and then we: 

  • Attempted to attend the Jesus Culture church (their website had incorrect times listed for the new “summer schedule,” so we walked in about 20 minutes into the sermon)
  • Found a local In & Out Burger for lunch (no such thing exists in Alabama)
  • Dutch Bros. coffee for afternoon “happy” (again, not available in AL)

Also, in June…

We started renovating our house. I use the word “renovate” extremely loosely. Really, we just cleaned up, painted, and shuffled some rooms around. 

We’ve been working from home for a few years, but didn’t have an actual office until June. So, we moved the boys out of the attic, created space for us to work, and bought them some new bunks… 

It’s be great on many levels- including the fact that the boys jumped in to carry some of the work load.

(That’s Judah sanding some shelves in the pic below.)



In July, more travel. We met the Burchfields for a week at 30A and had and amazing time of… nothing. The rest was exactly what we needed to reboot at the midpoint through the year. 

That month, with an actual office, I also began recording my podcast. I forgot how much I love to dive deep into the reservoir of grace and teach in until I began do so again with regularity. 



In August finished editing the Redemption ebook. It’s available online free of charge at , and will be an actual “book” someday in the near future. I’m still tinkering with it during my free time. 

I also re-worked the Advance material, something I hadn’t done since first writing the current version of it in August 2015. That was back when the event was more “business” than grace + empowerment + identity, and I’d been wanting to do it for quite some time. One day, I just decided to “hole” myself up in my attic office and get to work. I figured that working back through the material would help me prepare to teach it again, anyway.

Oh, we also took a day trip to Chattanooga, too. Rock City. It was an amazing day of just enjoying our family. 



September always marks the fall Advance- This year was the 8th, and we were given tickets to the Alabama-Vandy game. That’s me and one of our Silver leaders on our biz team, Daniel, on the 50-yard line during the Saturday break.

In September I also created my own- get this- day-timer. The reality is that every week I do the same things just about on the same day… 

  • Every Monday I post a podcast.
  • Every Sunday afternoon I review our finances.
  • Every Saturday morning I take the boys on a breakfast “sneak out.”
  • Every Wednesday night I take Cristy on a date. 

Those are only a few examples... I have literally about 20-30 things I do every single week at virtually the same time each week.

Sure, there are exceptions to these standing commitments, but I finally decided to make a day-timer that had my schedule in it, with a tool to track my progress towards my goals. 

The first version of this for public consumption will be given away at Advance 9.0 in February, as the tool was created to accompany the material we teach at that event. 

Oh, I also started tutoring Classical Conversations in September. This is a once-a-week commitment where I teach the kids everything from history to science to geography to Latin and math. It’s been fun,  a bit of a stretch (I generally talk to adults- not kids!), and I’ve been able to do it with my children. (And, without our working-from-home gig this would be impossible.)



In October I began working out at F-45. A few years ago I started my fitness journey by beach-bodying it at home, a venture that helped me lose 50 pounds. A friend of ours from church opened a gym, I went to visit, and decided to take advantage of his “free week” trial. 

After that, I was hooked. 

(Yeah, and Mini has joined me twice now- with the anticipation that I’ll take her to Starbucks after I finish. Turn out, I always do.)

I also posted my supplements class online during October, with a full explanation as to why I teach healing + health- and what I see no boundary between teaching supernatural healing and super-simple health solutions.

Here’s the class >>> 



In November I took an overnight trip with Noah (13yo) to Montgomery. He had basketball games there back-to-back days, so we traveled the first day, spent the night at the Embassy Hotel, watched a movie the second day, and then went to the next game…

Plus, our hotel turned out to be free, due to our on-demand movie not working. We didn’t complain; they just offered :-)

(This all made me thankful, again, to work from home and to have the flexibility I’ve been given.)

While we were there, I reached out to some friends. I went to see Phil’s new church building, as well as Alonzo’s house. That led to teaching some healing workshops for Phil and his gang, as well as working on a book project with / for him.

Our business gained some momentum- and a few new of those Silvers. 

And, I decided that Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. It’s not commercialized. It’s slow and easy. And it generally leads into a holiday season of celebration, lots of Christmas movies, and a time + space I love.



In December we took the kids to Gatlinburg the week before Christmas. We took a day to enjoy a local museum, as well as another to visit Ober-Gatlinburg. There was something about the unrushed enjoyment that, to me, made the season more real- instead of simply rushing through it again. 

On the way to my parents (for Christmas) from Gatlinburg, I called Verick to wish him Merry Christmas. At some point, he told me he and Crystal were headed to Mexico first of the year. 

“Where to?” I asked.

Turns out, the two of them had reservations AT THE SAME PLACE as Cristy and I for two overlapping days. 

(I forgot to tell you that the entire July trip happened because we were at the beach for Mother’s Day at the same time as the Burchfields, went to dinner, and Cristy and Crystal hatched the July plan…)

So, we were able to share dinner and some fun moments with some friends- even though we had a ton of time to ourselves….


The final verdict

That pretty much brings me back full circle, doesn’t it? Right back to where we began… reading The Alchemist on the beach and re-writing the script from last year in my mind.

And here I am like the boy in the story… realizing the treasure is already here… and realizing that there’s glory in the journey… and in the experiences along the way, not settling but gaining and growing… 

Grace + peace… 


A few of the links mentioned in the talk >>>

The Alchemist, available on Amazon:   

The Healing Workshop online- access that + other sessions free here:  

The Next Best Step: 

Invisible Scars: 

Redemption eBook: 


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