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Patterns

That’s a 3-year-old me on the left, with my younger sister – both wearing cardigans knitted by my mum.
Throughout her life, mum used knitting patterns to create woollen wonders.
As a child I recall watching my mum knitting hats, socks, gloves, scarves, shawls, cardigans, jumpers and so forth! As she settled down to watch the television, she would inevitably pull out her latest knitting project – and off she went.
On a few occasions Iโ€™ve tried my hand at knitting.

Knitting

Mum gave me some pointers on casting on, and the appropriate techniques – but then I had to learn the pattern!
Have you ever tried reading a knitting pattern?
To the uninitiated, they can look like a foreign language, cast on 140 sts, knit 1, purl 1 repeat etc!
But to those who know – they are a sure pattern, followed precisely, will lead to success, each and every time. Indeed, their beauty is in their simplicity, if you understand the direction. Each pattern doesn’t just suddenly appear, it needs to be carefully considered, written and practised.
As we stand on the shoulders of those giants who have preceded us, who have lived by these patterns before, we soon realise that we can replicate success or failure depending upon the patterns of life we choose to live by.
Just as there are many thousands of well used knitting patterns, in a like manner, there are tried and tested “patterns for life” that once understood and emulated will always lead you to higher ground.
In fact, followed with exactness these patterns will always lead to success.
So what are these patterns and how do we follow them in our lives?
And by following them, what will we become?
Regarding the fundamental nature of our characters, Gordon B. Hinckley stated that; “The course of our lives is not determined by great, awesome decisions…….our direction is set by the little day-to-day choices which chart the track on which we run.
If we apply that maxim to our lives, we could say that we are the result of many small decisions.
In effect, we are the product of our choices. We must develop the capacity to recall the past, to evaluate the present, and to look into the future in order to accomplish in our lives.

Patterns for Life

Likewise I believe that we can succeed in life by following simple patterns.
1. ๐ƒ๐จ ๐ฌ๐จ๐ฆ๐ž๐ญ๐ก๐ข๐ง๐  ๐ฒ๐จ๐ฎ ๐‹๐จ๐ฏ๐ž. In your work and career choices, its a simple fact that if you do something that you love – then you will never work one day in your life. If you are currently following the wrong pattern – then perhaps you need a new one?
2. ๐…๐ข๐ง๐ ๐ฒ๐จ๐ฎ๐ซ ๐๐ฎ๐ซ๐ฉ๐จ๐ฌ๐ž. Take it one step at a time, for some it may take a lifetime to discover. But most importantly along the way, you need to apply pattern #1 – do something you love! That will help you to find your purpose and meaning in life and your work. Are you currently using the wrong-coloured wool and need a new yarn?
3. ๐’๐ž๐ซ๐ฏ๐ž ๐Ž๐ญ๐ก๐ž๐ซ๐ฌ. Find out exactly who you can help and serve along the way. Follow the promptings of your heart and apply pattern #1 – give service through doing something you love! This will help you find even more joy in the journey. Perhaps you are using the wrong sized needles and you need some larger ones?
4. ๐“๐š๐ค๐ž ๐€๐œ๐ญ๐ข๐จ๐ง. Choose to Act, and not be acted upon.
I know that our daily actions will determine our character. Take ownership of your own personal journey. What’s holding you back, is it perhaps that you have got stuck with a complicated part of your pattern? Why not seek out a personal coach to help you along the way? In turn they can help you to interpret the pattern for your life.
For me, I have witnessed a lifetime of beautiful woollen wonders created by mum and many others who can read the patterns.
In a like manner as we form our patterns for life, our life will be formed by those patterns.
Get yourself organised!!
Why not follow a new pattern, get some new yarn, some different needles for yourself, home and career today by knitting together some life changing habits – you won’t regret it!
๐–๐ก๐š๐ญ ๐ซ๐ž๐ฉ๐ž๐š๐ญ๐ž๐ ๐ฉ๐š๐ญ๐ญ๐ž๐ซ๐ง๐ฌ ๐š๐ซ๐ž ๐ฒ๐จ๐ฎ ๐ค๐ง๐ข๐ญ๐ญ๐ข๐ง๐  ๐ข๐ง๐ญ๐จ ๐ญ๐ก๐ž ๐Ÿ๐š๐›๐ซ๐ข๐œ ๐จ๐Ÿ ๐ฒ๐จ๐ฎ๐ซ ๐ฅ๐ข๐Ÿ๐ž?

Why not religion?

Why not Religion?
As Rabbi Jonathan Sacks taught: โ€œ[Religion] remains the most powerful community builder the world has known. โ€ฆ Religion is the best antidote to the individualism of the consumer age. The idea that society can do without it flies in the face of history.โ€
Nearly 2 years ago, we received an unexpected call from church headquarters in Salt Lake City.
Subsequently, we were asked to preside over one of the 411 missions of the church.
In time we were assigned to the Belgium Netherlands Mission, serving here June 2021 โ€“ July 2024.
Our lifeโ€™s have changed.
It is a voluntary assignment.
So โ€“ why did we accept the call?
It was a moment that really mattered โ€“ it was a day of determination.
Simply stated, Jesus Christ is the reason.
Itโ€™s also because of a strong conviction of the truth of this work and I choose to let my faith show.
That said, the subject of religion can be touchy, especially where we live now!
Religious views are a deeply personal and even sacred thing.

Religion should be three things:

Firstly, it should provide answers to basic questions that the sincerest human beings ultimately come around to, namely what is our purpose in life…?
โ€ข Where did we come from?
โ€ข Why are we here?
โ€ข Where are we going after this life is over.
True religion should offer answers to our minds that our hearts can respond to.
Secondly, it should provide a way for us to live and find happiness not only here on earth but also in the life to come.
Thirdly, it must provide a way to provide a confirming witness that the religion is true, which in turn motivates and encourages you to live that way.
Like millions of others, Iโ€™ve found that through the Book of Mormon.
As Neal A. Maxwell once said, โ€œDo not dare to read the Book of Mormon seriously, or you may suddenly realize that it is inlaid with incredibly important insights from a millennium of sacred history.โ€
Answering those three things and choosing to live my religion, motivates me every day.
If you are serious – it will answer all your questions too.
How can faith & religion help you in your life?

Words Matter

Do you listen to your heart?

Words matter.

All week long one word has played continually into my thoughts.

Iโ€™ve felt as if it has been etched not only upon, but also into my heart and mind.

No matter where I went, or what I did, it would always return.

Itโ€™s an unusual word.

Indefatigabilityโ€ฆ! (Dutch โ€“ onvermoeibaarheid)

I wasnโ€™t even too certain what it meant, so I looked up the dictionary definition.

โ€œTireless determination, incapable of being tired out; not yielding to fatigue; untiring.โ€

I reflected upon the definition for a while.

I questioned myself and asked “What does this word mean for me?”

After a while, I began to understand.

Day in, day out, week in, week out, I am surrounded by young missionaries who possess the most remarkable indefatigable spirit.

I am with them, constantly.

Being with them one by one, in group training sessions and large conferences, I am reminded of the desire of their hearts to share their witness and testimony of Jesus Christ.

They all take several knocks โ€“ daily.

GRIT

Yet, each of them possesses grit!

True grit!ย  And Iโ€™m not talking about John Wayne!

A toughness, an indefatigable resilient courage, to bounce back, again and again and again.

As defined by Angela Duckworth, grit is โ€œOur passion and perseverance to reach long term goals.โ€

I am so grateful for my association with each and every one of them.

They have been called from many different countries and cultures all across the world to bring a message of hope and peace to a world that is in constant peril and commotion. (2 Timothy 3:3/D&C 45:26)

Through my personal interactions with each of them, I am a witness to the fact, that they possess an indefatigable zeal and testimony of the message they share.

It is a message of great hope, peace and centred in their love of Jesus Christ.

I know that when the focus of our lives is on Jesus Christ and His gospel, we can feel joy, regardless of what is happeningโ€”or not happeningโ€”in the world or in our lives.

As President Russell M. Nelson has said โ€œthe joy we feel has little to do with the circumstances of our lives and everything to do with the focus of our lives.โ€

If you want to find real joy, peace, purpose and meaning in life, then I suggest you listen to your heart.

Reach out to one of these indefatigable young men or young women today. They will help refocus your life.

#HearHim

Do, Feel, Learn….

I have listened to hundreds, if not thousands of workshops, talks and conferences throughout my life.

At the end, frequently I’ll ask myself the following….

  1. What did I feel as a result of this experience?
  2. What am I going to do as a result of this lesson?
  3. What did I learn as a result of this teaching?

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou

Through inspired teaching, feelings motivate us into action.

Signatures

โ€œThat simply cannot beโ€ฆโ€ I thought puzzlingly to myself โ€“ โ€œanother ๐’„๐’๐’Š๐’๐’„๐’Š๐’…๐’†๐’๐’„๐’†?โ€
Let me explainโ€ฆโ€ฆ
Coincidence โ€“ โ€œan occasion when two or more similar things happen at the same time, especially in a way that is unlikely and surprisingโ€
Last Sunday, both Monic and I spoke in the Apeldoorn Stake Conference. I chose to speak on a question that is regularly posed to our missionaries, โ€œDuring the past month, how have you seen the hand of the Lord in your work?โ€
In my talk, I shared a few quotes from a number of different missionaries in response to that question.
Regularly, in my daily journal writing I also record experiences that are simply beyond mere coincidence.
Quite frankly, in recent months I have seen this manifestโ€ฆ. constantly.
President Thomas S. Monson said, โ€œWhen we are on the Lordโ€™s errand, we are entitled to the Lordโ€™s help.โ€

Signatures

In my personal library of good books, one of my favourites is โ€œDivine Signatures.โ€
Author Gerald N. Lund learned that with the Lord, there are no coincidences, only sacred autographs.
“Sometimes the Lord sends his blessings in such a highly unusual way, dramatic or precisely timed manner, that it might be likened to a ‘divine signature,'” Lund writes. “It is as though the Lord ‘signs’ the blessing personally so that we will know with certainty that it comes from him. In doing so, God not only gives his blessing, but at the same time he strengthens our faith and deepens our testimony of him.”
I want to share my testimony of that (and I am choosing my words carefully) – ๐Ÿ๐š๐œ๐ญ.
I am now a witness to the fact that, day in, day out, week in, week out, I see tender mercies of the Lord Jesus Christ and His divine signature manifest in the details of our missionary service, it is His confirming hand.
The Lordโ€™s signature is in the details.
Yesterday, I had a personal testimony of another one to add to the list of a multitude of others.
A faith filled conversation in the morning, a faith filled action in the afternoon, manifest a remarkable coincidence or in essence a divine signature of the Lord only a few hours later in the evening.
And the result?
Another sure witness that The Lord is in the details of each of our lives.
I hope that we can all recognise the hand of the Lord in our lives and in everything around us.
Exercise your faith in Him, stop, pause and reflect, then ask yourself โ€œhow have I seen the Lordโ€™s hand in my life today?โ€

Speak up

“Do any of you attend church?” asked my English teacher in my first year at high school.
In a packed classroom of my new peers (around 30 others), from somewhere came the courage to timidly raise my hand.
Looking around, I was only one in the room with my hand up! The teacher looked at me and said “Great! You can be our religious correspondent this year.”
Speaking up isn’t easy.
Somehow, that day as a 12 year old, I choose to raise my hand. Subsequently, I was given the opportunity on many occasions to stand and speak on any religious matter that arose in our English classroom discussions. In those moments I was able to articulate what I knew and believed.
And so it is in life, we need to stand and to speak up!

Speak Up!

Have you been scared to death to raise your voice in a difficult situation, or to face a courageous conversation?
It is not easy to stand up and speak up for truth – especially when it isn’t popular.
I recall another experience from many years ago when I was faced with a challenging work situation that had troubled me for far too long. It was also having an impact upon my team. Speaking truth to power is never easy, especially when the outcome may be a career change.
When the moment arrived for me to speak up, I sat in my seat thinking very carefully about what I’d say. Somehow I managed to articulate my position forcefully and clearly, yet thoughtfully and with respect. Even though I thought I was the lone voice in that meeting, it turned out I was not alone.
In our homes, our families, our communities and the organisations we choose to work for, frequently we know what the right thing to do is, yet, we may have trouble doing it.
Challenges, trials and opportunities will arise – they always do.
Remember who you are and who your best self is. Your words can have the power to influence for good.
James E. Faust said – “Honesty is more than not lying. It is truth telling, truth speaking, truth living, and truth loving.”
How will you react when an opportunity arises for you to raise your hand or stand and speak up?

Asking Questions

What will you do differently because of what you learned today?

Asked any good questions lately?

Questions can be extremely powerful. They help us to think, feel and do things differently.

We all need to learn how to ask great questions!

Some professionals like doctors, lawyers and journalists are taught how to ask great questions as part of their training.

In my own professional career through sales and coaching, I have found it equally important to be able to formulate and ask the right question.

Questions aid performance, close sales, help provide inspiration and direction, they even help to build trust and rapport.

“Management teams aren’t good at asking questions. In business school, we train them to be good at giving answers.” – Clayton Christensen.

Itโ€™s time to be a little more curious. Asking questions is an important part of life and learning.

As a coach, I am constantly asking questions to help clients move forward.

– What do you really want?
– What do you need most right now?
– So what?
– Why now?
– How can you be truer to yourself?
– Can you tell me more?

What question can you use today to unlock your own potential?

Barnacles

“What is holding me back from success?” asked a coachee. “Many things can” I responded.

I love this story, shared by Thomas S. Monson.

โ€œShip Captains like to tie up at Portland, Oregon. They know that as their ships travel the seas, a little saltwater shellfish called a barnacle fastens itself to the hull and stays there for the rest of its life, surrounding itself with a rocklike shell. As more and more barnacles attach themselves, they increase the shipโ€™s drag, slow its progress, decrease its efficiency. Periodically, the ship must go into dry dock, where with great effort the barnacles are chiselled or scraped off. Itโ€™s a difficult, expensive process that ties up the ship for days. But not if the captain can get his ship to Portland. Barnacles canโ€™t live in fresh water. There, in the sweet, fresh waters of the Willamette or Columbia, the barnacles die and some fall away, while those that remain are easily removed. Thus, the ship returns to its task lightened and renewed.โ€

Barnacles increase drag, slow progress and decrease efficiency. Building up one on another, eventually they could sink a ship.

What โ€œbarnaclesโ€ are holding you back from success?ย  What is slowing you down?

Do you need to head for some fresh waters?

What action needs to be taken to move forward?

Thinking!

“What do I want to do from here?” said the small voice in my head – then the wacky thoughts started to explode!

In preparation for a virtual creative thinking session with a work colleague (thanksย Paulย – it was fun!) – I worked my way through some of Edward de Bono’s six creative thinking hats.

I started to think about the thinking – Blue
Next, I considered the facts of what I knew – White
I was mindful of my feelings and hunches – Red
The wacky, pie in the sky ideas surfaced – Green
Lots of useful positivity emerged – Yellow
Together, later in the day, Paul and I would discuss the risks – Black

My thinking complete, I emailed Paul with a number of my zany ideas. I carefully couched the descriptive language of my nutty thoughts, followed by some more traditional models and rational group exercises.

I was a little apprehensive, but curious too, as to what he’d make of my thinking! For over an hour, we bounced around a whole range of ideas together and what emerged, was a smorgasbord of creative concepts that were extremely satisfying to digest! It was great fun!

Working together – we created more in a balanced way. We both know that all of the thinking isn’t complete, but we are well on our way.

How do you brainstorm new ideas?

Therefore, what?

Puzzled, quizzical or completely lost by the keynote address?

Frequently I listen to talks, read journal articles, books galore and sit through lots of presentations as well as attend many meetings. Do I understand what the key message was for me? What does all this mean? Was it just a lot of hot air? (sometimes it is!) Subsequently, at the close of the address, the meeting or the book, oftentimes a thought will enter my mind….”Therefore, what?” It was a favourite call to action for Boyd K. Packer.

By implication, after all that has been shared, after all that has been said, what is the call to action, what does all this mean for me – “Therefore, what?”

The words of encouragement, the purposeful direction, the inspiring motivational speaker’s counsel will not make one jot of a difference in our lives if we choose not to change. Have you been inspired by someone or something?

โ€œTherefore, what?โ€ Its my experience that there are many who have not made the connection between what they say they believe and how they actually live their lives. There is a disconnect between words and actions.

Does this apply to you? Why not consider this question at the end of your next meeting, next presentation or next book.

I know I can do better. How will you choose to act?

#actions