It Doesn’t Take Much…

I like to leave my sweet wife little notes in her office when she’s not looking.  She then finds them when she returns to the office after I’ve left.  They are usually little notes of encouragement and affection that take me about 30 seconds to write.  The last time I was in her office, I looked above her desk and was suprised to find that she’s kept all of those little notes.  I asked her why she has not thrown any of them away and she said she likes to have them to remind her how much she’s loved.  She said she would never dream of throwing them away.  I then thought to myself, “What if I didn’t take the time to write those little notes?”  What is just a little gesture on my part goes a long way.  I get a much bigger return in how those notes make her feel than my time invested in writing them.

What if we all did that?  What if you did little things each week for your family and close friends to let them know how much they mean to you?  How much stronger could those relationships be?   If a fundamental need for us as humans is to know we’re loved and appreciated (especially our kids), how can we fulfill that need for others?  For me, I was suprised to find out how little time and effort it takes to make a lasting impact.

So, over the next few days, try doing something small for someone special to let them know you’re thinking of them.  If you get a chance, let me know how it worked for you.   I think you’ll be glad you did…

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Fence Building and Patience…

I saw something this weekend that made me think a lot about how I handle patience. For the past six months or so, a neighbor of mine has been buiding a wooden post and rail fence around part of his property. It’s been quite a bit of work for him. He started by first digging the post holes. Next came the setting the posts in the ground. Now he’s working on attaching the rails. This hasn’t been a simple job. It’s taken six months to get to this point because he’s building it by himself. Oh, and it’s about 1000 feet long…

This weekend, I saw he had finished a small section of the fence line. I gotta tell you, it looks great. I can now picture in my mind what the whole thing is going to look like when he’s done. It’s going to really serve to dress up his property. He’s done as good a job as any crew from a fencing company could have. He should be proud…

This gentleman has worked a little each week on this fence for the past six months or so. He’s getting closer and closer to finishing. When he’s done, probably in about another month, he will have a functional and attractive fence that he built with his own two hands. Also, I’m sure he saved quite a bit of money doing the job himself. This project has taken a lot of planning, work and patience to get it where it is today. He’s come a long way from digging that first post hole.

What could have messed this project up? Without the proper planning, he could have built a crooked, ugly fence. If he had skipped corners in the work, he might have a fence that wouldn’t stand up to the elements very long. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, a lack of patience could have derailed (no pun intended) the whole project.

So many self-improvement projects require the same three elements to complete: planning, work and patience. Have you ever lost patience trying to lose weight and quit your program? Have you ever stopped exercising because it seemed like too much work? Have you ever come up short with money at the end of the month because of lack of planning in the budget? These situations are pretty common. But, if we work on these elements, like my neighbor has with his fence, each time we try something new to improve our lives, we drastically increase our odds of success.

Are there any projects you’re working on right now that could use a little more patience? Could you use a little more with your kids? What about your spouse? What about in your job or with that new exercise program? With more patience, there’s no telling what great things you can build in your own life!