Episode 117: The Key to a Bigger Future:  Sowing Seeds and Pulling Weeds

Do you ever dream about a future filled with success and significance? In this episode, Jimmy shares three ideas to help you realize your potential and build a bigger future.

Episode Keys:

  • The importance of gratitude in creating your bigger future.
  • Why you must “manage the clock” to maximize your return on your “involvement”.
  • How to begin your day so that you create a masterpiece in your life.
  • Who should (and should not) be in your life as you grow in your future.
  • Why you must be able to see yourself in your bigger future to realize its power.

Podcast Transcription

You know, one of the greatest things about life is you get out of it, exactly what you put in it. What are you contributing to your future today? Your world, your team, your family is going to make you either a better person or you’re going to suffer in the future. Hey, I’m not here to judge anyone. I’m just here to help you live life by design.

Hey, this is Jimmy Williams. Good morning! I recently had a great opportunity given me, and it would be one that a lot of people would say, “Oh my goodness, that’s not something you’d want to talk about.” But I want you to know, I had the opportunity to participate in a celebration of someone that had a tremendous impact on her world. This young lady was 50 years of age. She has five children, and I have known her since she was about 18 years of age.

Christy was a wonderful, wonderful woman. She was a teacher of fourth grade students until she had gotten her children here and she delivered her first two children. And then she had the unthinkable happen on her third child. She didn’t just have a third child. She had three children. So now she’s got three infants and she devoted her entire time to her family. Her husband, her career was to keep everyone moving forward so their life would be bigger in their futures.

I want to visit with you for just a moment about the dash that we see on tombstones. You know, you look at a tombstone, it has a birth date and a date of death, but there’s that small line between the numbers. You know, we’ve all heard, “Hey, it’s all about the dash.” We’ve heard the dash correlated to the shortness of time. We’ve heard the dash correlated to what do you do with the dash in terms of putting into your life?

I want to give you a principle I like use, I call sowing seeds and pulling weeds. Now that sounds a little silly, but here’s what I want you to know from that: the seeds that we sow today, give us the opportunity for our bigger future. You know, John Wooden was one of the most successful NCAA basketball coaches of division one. He had a statement that I love that I have used in my own life to have for many years. And it is make each day your masterpiece. What’s he really saying to us, you know, John was really giving us some insight as to how we can make our world better by taking the time each day to sow the seeds of greatness, not only in ourselves, but in those we come in contact our family, the people in our neighborhood, our team members at work, our congregation, the church, our social club members, wherever you go, you need to be sowing, in my opinion, the seeds of greatness for the future. You know, it’s one of those things in life where people go, “I give 110% and what do I do now?” I’m a numbers guy. I don’t want you people out there to think that I don’t understand this concept of being a little bit exuberant in the number, but you can only do 100% if you gave it all that you had. And one of the things is that basically you look at, and you say, give me a hundred percent and you can’t make up for poor effort today by giving 110% tomorrow. So what I’m saying is, every day is your masterpiece. Now, how do we get a masterpiece? We get a masterpiece by preparing our day for success. Now I can tell you that most days, 99% of the time are great days for me, but there’s going to be that one day that comes along and you know what I’m talking about. You guys have experienced this. It’s that one day where everything you touch goes wrong. I got to tell you, it’s one of those things I don’t like, but they happen. It’s called life. And so I want to share with you today, three things you can do to help give you the highest probability for success in your day. In other words, how you can make your day a masterpiece. The first one is this always be thinking about your future by living fully in your prison. Now that sounds like an oxymoron, but it really has a lot of truth in it. When I sit down with my planner every day, I think, what are the highest return items I can work on today that will give me the greatest opportunity for future success? It doesn’t mean that I’m not concerned about today. It simply means I am investing, I’m sowing those seeds, as I mentioned, that I can have an opportunity for greater success in the future than I had today.

You know what, I talked about this and the episode previously, but if I could only improve in an area of life 1% per day, just 1%, just move the needle a dash, then I will have improved 360% over three and a half times in my performance, my knowledge, my speech, the things I need to know technically, if I could just improve each of those 1% per day. Everyone thinks we have to run a marathon a day. What I suggest you think about is putting one foot in front of the other with the mindset that the path leads to success. So if you really think about making your future bigger than your past, in other words, making it bigger than today, every day is a little bigger than the day before.

But while thinking on that future, remember we live in the present. I was sitting in that large, large church where we had this celebration for Christie’s life. And I was just thinking back how we’ve all changed in our careers, how we’ve all changed in life, where we changed in hair color. Some of us have even changed with hair removal, right? So my point I’m making is we’ve all changed. But Christie did something that was unique. She saw her future being bigger than her. Now granted her future could have gone much, much longer than she was allowed on this planet, but she made it to 50 years. She would have been 51 years of age in just a couple of months, but what she sowed the end of that 50 years of life, most of us, if we had lived to be a hundred, would have accomplished only a few percent.

She lived each day, from the time she had gotten her diagnosis of cancer, as if that day was the only day that she was given. She smiled more. She loved more. She spoke more positively to people because she’d always been positive in many of the letters read that day at the ceremony… Was one that you would have thought she was walking on water. But she herself said to her husband, in his wonderful words of remembrance, that she was not a perfect woman, but she did work to help bring about joy in others because she was sewing seeds, right?

So I’m asking you today, what are some areas in your life where you could show yourself of sowing seeds for a greater future? So let’s just take one category. Are you being the best business manager, owner, employee that you can be? You know, we get into these positions in life where we just seem to get on autopilot. You know what I’m talking about now, new cars and I love this have what’s called adaptive cruise. Now adaptive cruise simply says, there’s a camera with a computer. You set the cruise at what you wish, but should something in the front of your car, get within your lane and a certain, I don’t know, several yards in front of your vehicle, the car, without your even acting on it will slow down. Matter of fact, if the object gets too close to the car, it will then halt the car nearly to a stopping position. It’s adaptive cruise, one of the new technologies of automobiles.

But we, in our life, can’t be functioning on a day of fifth cruise. We can’t be on cruise control. What we must be on is, not paved roads of life, but those roads that require our full attention to navigate between the ditches of defeat and the ditches of sorrow. You’ve got to stay on the highway where you can sow seeds on this dirt road, along the way that are going to blossom into something bigger in the future.

So think about sowing seeds of friendship. Now, if I said you sow seeds of friendship. And then I said earlier that we were sewing seeds and pulling weeds. You might gather from my implication that we are going to be pulling weeds. In other words, those things out of our life that do not add to our future. What could that be, do you think? Let me tell you what it was in my life. I had some things I had done in my life that I really thoroughly enjoy. Now you’re going to laugh. This is not just really exciting, but I enjoyed going to not Saturday auto racing, just enjoyed that as a younger person, I could get home at two or three in the morning, but what it did is it impacted my Sunday mornings.

One of my goals was to attend my church or my house of worship. And I want to do that frequently. I think it’s important. I know it’s important to me, but I was unable to feel my best in those services because I was tired and sleepy from getting home at two or three in the morning from having a good time at the race track. So I had to make some changes. So I pulled the weeds of going to these races on Saturday evenings, and now only attend perhaps three or four a year. And I do my best to get up and be as lively as I can at the 5:30 alarm clock and get down the road to church on time with my mindset right. Now, I’m not saying that’s your weed you need to pull, but let me give you another one.

Perhaps you know that there are certain people your life that’s not wanting you to realize your bigger future. Now, why are you saying that anyone that’s a friend of mine, not wish for me to be uber successful? Well, the reason is, is because no one wants to be left behind. Now think about that. I have always believed that a rising tide raises all boats. Now you’ve heard this saying, and what I mean by that is if one of my friends is uber successful. That is a challenge to me to do my best, to be successful as well. And I don’t strictly mean in terms of money or net worth. I’m talking about successful in all aspects of life. They’ve got wonderful children that you enjoy being around. They’ve got a wonderful company that they own that contributes to its society in a positive way. They’ve got a marriage that is rewarding for both individuals and excitement is still in the marriage after many decades. You see to me, success is not something I can place simply on a balance sheet and hand over to a possible banker. No, success to me is that I am doing what I wish to be doing. That gives me the highest rate of return on my mind, body, and spirit.

So let me give you some clarity here. If in fact I said to you, I’m giving 110% today to X, Y, Z, to get this done. Well, that’s not going to work. There’s only 100% I can give you. So how can I improve my odds if I’m not making the progress I need? Well, first I’ve got to do what Coach Woodson said something perfect in this area. He said, “manage the clock in basketball.” That is critical to winning close games. But if you think about it this way, what do you do all day that brings great value to your employer or to your own company, to your family, to your community? Are you using those 24 hours that we all get – the 1,440 minutes that we all get – what are you doing to bring great value? You’re not managing your clock if you look up and it’s five o’clock and you’ve not done anything to move the needle toward one of your goals, I didn’t say all of your goals, but to one of your goals. So I hope that this helps you understand, if you’re not sowing seeds, you’re going to be reaping a very poor harvest. So the future will not wait. It’s coming no matter what we do, but always think about making your future bigger than your past.

Now, the second thing I want you to think about when it comes to being a growing future for yourself, is that always make your learning greater than your experience. Now, I am telling you that there is something you can learn new every day. If you are Thomas Edison, he learned daily new ways of doing things, new techniques, new strategies, to accomplish what he accomplished in his career. The same can be said about you and me. We can learn something new. You’re never too old to grow your mindset, to grow your personality, to grow your influence for those around you. If you can do nothing more than to learn better ways to communicate with those around you, I assure you that will give you great ability for a bigger future. People enjoy working with and spending time with people who are great communicators. Ronald Reagan, one of the presidents when I’d first started voting, as a matter of fact, he was the first president I voted, being 18 years of age. He basically impressed me because he had such a command of the lector. And when he was… giving a speech, it just seemed like my eyes couldn’t be moved from the television set. Now I did not ever get the pleasure of meeting president Reagan in person, but the way he spoke on that screen, the way he showed his command of communication made me feel as if I’m sitting in the front row of wherever he was speaking. He had the ability to learn from his past experiences when he had run for the nomination for his political party years earlier and did not win the nomination. So what made him think he could improve his position now to run for president? Well, he was very, very wise. He made a very compelling story about how the lives of us citizens would be improved under his administration from that of the previous.

The president’s job is not an easy one. I get that. I’m not certain that I would ever want it, but I’m sure I do. Like I told my first grade teacher, I wanted to be president someday. But at the end of the day, I will say the learning of what you can do to grow your mindset, build your vocabulary, hone your leadership skills is something that you must be able to continue to develop no matter the age. You see, it takes a choice to learn. If you don’t choose to learn, you will become stagnant. You will not be able to grow beyond your current means of where you are in life in vocabulary and lifestyle. Friends, it does not matter, if you’re not growing, you’re regressing. You know, too many of us think that we are status quo. I’m saying to you that that is not an option. You’re either growing forward or you’re regressing backwards.

Now, the last area that I want you to think about when it comes to being a bigger future for yourself, when it comes to being someone that’s going to be an influence for those around them. I want you to think about this, make your gratitude greater than your success. Did you catch that? It is vital to our existence, that we recognize and give gratitude at times when we have been, shall we say, blessed beyond compare. The point I’m bringing a bat on that is that when I see someone has done something for me, whether it’s one of my team, whether it’s my family, whether it’s someone in our community, no matter who it was or what they’ve done, I express sincere gratitude. That thankful mindset opens doors so wide that you have a great opportunity before you literally all the time, your future will be so much bigger when you sow the seeds of gratitude, everywhere you go. It’s almost as if the opportunities are seeking you out. You know, too often, we feel like we’re out selling newspapers. You just ride along, ride along, throw something out. And hopefully you get paid when the newspaper bill goes. But at the end of the day, you have no security. I’m going to make a comment that I can assure you is bold. If you sow the seeds of gratitude with those around you in sincerity, you will become as successful as you desire in your heart. You will become so successful, it will be almost astonishing to your own mind when you look back over your life and you see what you’ve accomplished to help others, and then realize the by-product is the growth of yourself. You see, you need to sow the seeds of gratitude daily to reach that bumper crop, that harvest of opportunities in the future.

You know, let’s sum this up as simple as it can be. If you make this opportunity as a goal each day, to create this bigger future for yourself, you will actually look back in the short period of time and not even realize how far you’ve grown into that future self. This week, your challenge is very simple. I want you to take these three opportunities, manage your clock, sow the seeds of working on your goals, at least one a day, it’s your opportunity to see that goal come to fruition to be realized. The second thing I want you to do is I want you to think about pulling the weeds, get those things out of your life that are not helping you be a bigger, better, bolder you. And the last thing I want you to think about is simply this: I want you to show great gratitude. Give yourself a gratitude journal. You know, I’m a journal. I’ve talked about it all the time on this podcast. I kept a journal of gratitude for a long period of time. Now I just write mine in my daily journal, but I would write down three things every day that I am grateful for in my life. And it will frame your attitude to one that will give you the most powerful probabilities of success. So do me a favor, go out tomorrow, change someone’s life for the better. The one that may just get changed could be you. Go ahead, live your life by design.

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