Constancy vs. Consistency

Yes readers (all 5 of you who actually read my blog) it is time for another download of what I have been learning... and today's chapter will focus on two attributes that have emerged in my life in place of one.

For the past year or so, I have really tried to strive for CONSISTENCY in areas of my life. Recently, (even just in the past couple of weeks) I have started to become aware of a very similar trait of character, which is CONSTANCY.

First, I rarely if ever bother to define a word, but for today's blog, I will.

Consistency - steadfast adherence to the same principles, course, form, etc.: There is consistency in his pattern of behavior.

Constancy -
the quality of being unchanging or unwavering, as in purpose, love, or loyalty; firmness of mind; faithfulness.

1. resolution, steadfastness, fidelity, fealty, loyalty, devotion. 2. permanence, regularity, dependability.

Allow me to share some of the differences I have discovered, and a little insight as to how the distinction came into my consciousness:

First... when I started this blog, decided to walking 50 miles, and really began striving to be the type of person I am supposed to, consistency is one of the character traits I wanted to develop more than any other. Check out my blog post from last year about the importance of Repitition... which is similar to Consistency.

It seems to me that Consistency is all about doing things. It is WHAT WE DO, consistently. A person who chooses to use foul language may do so with consistency, just as a person who consistently wakes up early to go to the gym. Allow me to express a tremendous amount of gratitude for this principle. It is not easy for most people (myself included) to truly be consistent... and it is in striving for CONSISTENCY in my life that I have discovered the power, hope and freedom of CONSTANCY.

Consistency is the cousin to the principle of Constancy. Instead of a focus on consistently doing certain things, Constancy is focused instead on Being and Doing certain things ALWAYS. This constancy in every moment is a greater principle, and demands a higher commitment of self... of consecration to things more important than ourselves.

There are things that each of us IS in every moment... and other things we are striving to do or be. I am always a father by virtue of the fact that I have 4 children, but it is in the deep devotion to them, to who they are, to who they will become, and to being the father they need and deserve with every breath I take that awakens the principle of Constancy in Fatherhood. While I may choose to pray with my children each night I put them to bed (consistency) it is my own commitment to personal prayer that changes and deepens the commitment to them (constancy).

While I may go to work every day to earn some money (consistency) it is the deepest desire of my heart to provide my wife and children with comforts and safety in financial security (this has been rough over the past while ;) but choosing to keep going is easy when the desire is so big) that provides me with unique insights and answers to complex and seemingly unsolvable business challenges that comes with constancy in purpose.

My wife is as good of an example of constancy as I know, and while I may have mentioned her on Mothers Day, her constancy in Motherhood is one of the most remarkable examples of constancy I have personally witnessed. This is far different from that of a person who is by virtue of biological fact a mother, but who consistently chooses to place the needs of her children second behind her own.

There are many things I can DO almost constantly, on the quest to accomplish constancy; as we do these things, the fabric of WHO we are is changed:
1. Remember and give gratitude to God
2. Love others unconditionally with all we have.
3. Be honest and charitable
4. Be concerned about the well being of those we love.
5. Hold on to Hope and Faith
6. Pray

There are thousands of things that we can DO consistently, and as we do fabric of our character changes too, as does the power of our constancy. A few simple examples are:
1. Read good books
2. Excersize
3. Eat Right
4. Work Hard

I am sure by now the point has been made. It has been powerful to recognize that in many aspects of my life, constancy is not only a positive, but a REQUIREMENT. Consistency is not enough when it relates to my wife and children... these are relationships in which constancy is required. It is a comfort to know that in areas I am weak, I can accomplish constancy by being consistent... and that the two go together.

In other areas... like training for a marathon, consistency is important to accomplish a goal, but it can be very temporary. The conclusion: The power of consistency is wasted if we do not harness it to awaken within ourselves constancy in principles of sound character.

So if you like the blog, the good news is - I WILL BE BACK CONSISTENTLY to report on my quest for CONSTANCY in the most important facets of my life!


On Mothers

What a gift that we have a day dedicated to reflecting about Mothers.

What a shame that we don't take the chance to do so more often!

Anyone who knows my own mother can attest that she is a very special woman. She loves God, and every one of her 9 children. She approaches life in a very unique way, and is not the typical mother. My brother Dave, a comedian jokes that my Mom taught him that noone would want to be his friend so that when they did, he could be pleasantly surprised. In high school I told my Mom I was going to a party. She asked me "who are you going with". I responded that I would be attending the party with the leaders of the school. Good kids, the student body officers, and members of student council, other good kids. Then my Mom asked, "well why would they want to hang out with you?"

Perhaps that question is more relevant today than back then. When I was seventeen or so, my parents and I really struggled. As many young people do, I promised myself I would never do things the way my parents did.

Then I met the woman who would be the future mother of my children... my wife. My posts are too long as it stands, and for me to write the whole story with Amanda would take a lifetime... in fact in many ways, I pray the story is still being written!

Anyone who is lucky enough to know Amanda would also attest that she is a very incredible woman. She is strong, she is soft, patient, and filled with charity and compassion. She loves our four children in a way I could believe anyone could love someone that much - I am learning! Amanda brings a smile to everyone that knows her, and her smile and her laugh are probably her two most contagious characteristics.

Amanda is similar, but different from my own Mother, and both are wonderful woman. Both have a strong commitment to being good, and to principles of truth. Both love their children with everything they have. Both woman are worthy of celebrating on Mothers Day.

How grateful I am for both woman. I would not be who I am without my Mother, and her love. I don't know if I would ever have been able to feel such a degree of love for Dad, my Mother, myself, or anyone without the influence of Amanda for the past years.

Mothers Day is a day where we get to celebrate and embrace the Mothers in our lives. I can say with certainty that I have never witnessed any person in any capacity of business, law, friendship, ecclesiastical duty, even fatherhood - that is so completely devoted to a singular cause than these Mothers. While the two Mothers I'm speaking of (my wife, and my own Mom) approach their roles differently, I am truly grateful for both.

They both deserve to be honored forever, and I am thankful to have had a chance to try in a very small way to do that today. May we honor the Mothers in our lives with our actions every day.


A New Name For The Blog -

When I started this Blog, this was a blog about my quest to be GREAT.


I hoped and dreamed that my energy and effort to be Great would become an inspiration to millions... the original name I selected was "CLIMBING EVEREST"... a story of my quest to climb the tallest mountain on earth, and conquer!

While I continue to strive harder to accomplish great things in my life, it is exactly this quest - that has meant so much to me - that has taught me I may have been "CLIMBING EVEREST", when God intended for me to climb a different mountain.

There are lots of classic stories in literature about this type of discovery.

One of my favorite movies is STARDUST, and if you have not seen it, I recommend it highly. Stardust is the story about a boy who goes on a journey to retrieve a fallen star to prove his love to a girl from his hometown.

As he goes on his journey, he finds the star - a woman - and begins to drag her along with him so that he can get the thing he really wants: the love of the girl back home.

The trouble is that the harder he tries, the more trouble he gets into until he realizes that it the star itself is the very thing he wants, and his life and heart is changed forever... and he becomes a man and a king. As you might imagine, he and his star live happily ever after!

In many ways my quest to become GREAT has been similar. I have spent so much time, energy, effort, and focus trying to prove to myself and everyone I know that I am, or can be GREAT. The journey has been long, and mostly about me dragging everyone I know along with me, because I would not yield.

It has been a long a difficult journey, and makes me so sad to realize I failed to see the stars in my life all along... and perhaps to them I was GREAT to begin with... but I didn't feel great.

Sometimes, I suppose, there are courses worth abandoning... and for me "CLIMBING EVEREST" is no longer the goal.

So what is the goal?

To just put down on this blog what is happening for me, and record my life...

The goal is to be a GOOD person, and to trust that as I do what is right, I will find joy in myself and my family and friends, instead of only finding joy in being a guy who would stop at nothing to accomplish more than other people around me, and trample on my life and those I love in the process.

I don't know who I am going to be when this (my life) is done... or when that day will come. What I do know is that right now, today I am a DAD... I am a HUSBAND, a SON, a FRIEND, and so many other things, and I have ignored today for so long, and made so many grandiose plans to conquer the world, I have failed in many of these other areas.

In many ways I feel so much gratitude for the lessons... and for the hope I feel in the change in course. I hope anyone reading this can have similar peace in directing your life where it should go.


Worth The Wait

I don't have a clue who first coined the phrase "Anything worth having is worth waiting for"... but they were right.

If you have ever been ridiculously hungry, you know exactly what I am talking about. Somehow food that you waited for, and anticipated always tastes better than running to Taco Bell because it is time to eat.

Last week, I was blessed and fortunate to close a business deal that I have been working on for literally 18 months. Frankly speaking, every other person associated with this deal had given up all hope about 6 months ago (right before Christmas) and totally abandoned the project... and millions of dollars along with it.

The fascinating thing is that I have felt so defeated by this project, after having worked on it, believed in it, and struggled to find a way to make it work on my own for so long. Finally, I surrendered. My surrender was not a giving up of hope - but a decision just to keep trying my best, and keep trying even though I may get burned by the outcome. The other interesting point is that it seemed like everyone else gave up... and somehow, with some divine help, I kept working.

We have been working for 18 months in a gridlock between my partners, the bank, the original seller, attorneys, the city, engineers, architects, and a contractor. It has been tough and seemed that every time we would make progress in one area, another area would blow up, and halt any hopes of getting something done.

3 months ago, something happened with the deal. I had continued to communicate with the parties, despite a lot of negativity from some in the deal... and one day one of the groups said, "Jake - you are still working at this. We are not really sure why. If you could wave a magic wand, what is it that needs to happen that we are not seeing that will make this work?"

Somehow, one party came back to the table... and then another, and another. Kind words were spoken to me by some of these gentlemen for the first time in more than a year... "thanks for sticking with it", or "your efforts have been commendable". They don't even necessarily give me credit for the deal happening, but it is gratifying to be know we are moving forward with an outcome that is the best solution for everyone...

Even after the parties got back together, it has taken 3 long months of work to finally structure something that everyone can live with... and Friday May 1st, 2009... we all signed the deal.

While I feel great about the outcome so far, the deal still requires a lot of work and could still fall apart. What has been done so far to get it going again is just the starting point, and has only been the beginning.

In many ways, being a part of the success of this deal will be far more rewarding to me than the participation I had in the easy real estate deals from 2 or 3 years ago, and I won't even be able to take credit for making it happen. I just kept going. Those old deals came easy, and are gone as easy as they came. Learning from those deals put me in a position to appreciate the value of the wait.

No matter what happens with this project, I have grown tremendously as a person learning the lessons from my life and applying them here.

This lesson seems to be showing itself in many other areas of my life.

I started a garden with my kids. I read books, mixed and prepared soil, bought seeds, and have watered it consistently... and there is little to any visible signs of progress in any way! To be honest, it can be very frustrating. I have had a lot of self doubt: Maybe I am just a lousy gardener. Maybe I mixed the soil wrong. Maybe I don't have what it takes.

The very reason I started the garden (other than that I wanted a cost effective, teaching, bonding, and meaningful experience to share with my children) was that too often in life I have been all about INSTANT RESULTS... getting what I want when I want it. Somehow, the people who know gardening have shared that it just doesn't work that way with a garden.

It requires work, and waiting. It requires PATIENCE, and planning, and consistency. (Having to water it, take care of it, etc.) I suppose that each year I garden, I would get a little better at it, and learn a little more...

In life, things worth doing are worth waiting for... and I believe that in some cases, the longer we are willing to wait, to sacrifice, and the more time we are willing to put in with little reward, the sweeter the reward we can receive.

My hope is to be able to have the strength to keep my eye focused on the things of the most value - and invest everything I have into those goals... and I have to hold on to that hope, or that faith that in the end, it can be Worth the Wait.