When God Winks On Love

when-god-winks-on-loveWhat you see here is what greeted Shari on the afternoon I proposed. Most people would say three weeks is just too short of period of time to plan a wedding.

We crammed a lot of life and so many experiences into those 21 incredible days leading up to our wedding day. Our decision to be married, despite the circumstances surrounding my cancer‘s return, was met with so many affirmations which lead us to move forward with our decision to be married in the Spring rather than later in the Fall.

Shari and I were were so grateful for the affirmation we received from family and friends who saw in us what we believed God was doing in our lives and in our courtship. We were also blessed by the God Winks which became apparent during this period and helped us to choose to become husband and wife on March 19, 2011.

The Greatest Day of My Life!

Regardless of the size wedding, planning and coordination are key when planning an event of this magnitude in one’s life . The planning should take in all the aspects which create memories which span a lifetime for you and your wife along with the special guests who attend.

Time usually is the best friend for the bride and groom in the planning as they have months to prepare for the big day. Unfortunately Shari and I didn’t have the luxury of time as circumstances dictated there were only 21 days for us to plan and celebrate our wedding day. Despite all the obstacles and the coordinating of all the logistics, somehow, everything all fell into place for us to be married.

when-god-winks-on-love-proposal

Our God Wink Story

Shari and I met in 2008 while we attended different locations (campuses) of North Point Church. We met, but for this part of our story it started and ended with this meeting.  Despite meeting then, both of us would go on our separate ways for the next two years but the meeting in 2008 would be an important footnote in our story which would come together two years later.

Random, Fate, or another God Wink

Fast-forward to the spring of 2010 where we both find ourselves in the North Point Church Singles environment called Fusion. Despite the odds Shari and I find ourselves placed same host home as opposed to the other five during this cycle. We believe the odds for us to be placed in the same host home twice in two years was astronomical and we believe this fate of our placement to be a big defining God Wink in our lives!

This time something clicked, and in our re-connection something was different; and we were different! As we came to know each other through the North Point singles ministry we also connected on another level as learned we had both battled cancer. It was through this connection we grew closer as news of my cancer spreading impacted both of our lives.

Where are the God Winks?

when God winks book 

I think most of us were taught to view life through a lens where [ cause = effect ] or in other words, your efforts usually lead to your rewards. 

Think back to school…how hard you studied was reflected in the grade you received.

Fast forward to when you’re out of school, work hard, contribute to the overall company mission, give a 110%…you make a decent living, buy a nice house, and add something to your 401k each month.

Sure the journey can be easier when blessed with gifts and talents, but even blessings bear the weight of stewardship which requires making sound choices in our use of those talents and gifts. 

If not careful our education and the culture we become a part of leads us to believe we are self-made, which if unchecked, feeds our pride and inflates our egos in such a way we begin to believe we had no Spiritual help along the way. At some point in life there comes a time when we are forced to acknowledge those circumstances and the timing that was out of our control. Some say timing is a by-product of trust, and others believe fate is the result of faith.  Life at its simpliest level comes down to a choice about what we believe and Who we believe in. 

A God Wink is …an event or experience, often identified as coincidence, so astonishing that it could only have come from God…answered prayer.

I have a hard time seeing what God is doing in my life because I’m so caught up in doing life, and as a result I miss a lot of what should be evident. But having people in my life who know me and know God in their own personal way are quick to share with me what I fail to see. Another huge factor was when my Pastor at Buckhead Church shared his thoughts on what he called “connecting the dots”, something when done with the help of those friends illustrates the picture God is painting in my life. The first thing you must do is pause, my One Word for 2011,  at specific points of time each year to review where you’ve been and where you’re going. Basically for me it comes down to a simple question, am I in sync with God in the 5 F’s of my life, Faith-Family-Friends-Finances-Fitness? Sometimes the picture is crystal clear and I can see exactly where I’m going, and at other times only part of the picture is clear and that’s where your friends come in as God uses them to highlight some of the dots.

For example, this snapshot in time Family, Friends, and Finances are as clear as any other time in my life, but test results are painting a cloudy, obscure picture in the Fitness category…which causes me to pause and remember I’m not alone and my Heavenly Father wants me to Trust Him period and to place my Faith in Him and take comfort in the promise He is with me and Shari.

60 Life Lessons in 60 Years: A Guide to Winning in Business and Thriving in Life

Winding asphalt road through low country countryside at sunrise, symbolizing the journey of life and business with 60 years of wisdom lighting the way

As someone who recently celebrated their 60th birthday, with over 40 years of business experience, 30 years as a life mentor, and a decade as an ICF certified and accredited business and life coach, I’ve learned that success in business and fulfillment in life are deeply intertwined.

Today, I’m sharing 60 invaluable lessons I’ve gathered over the years to help you win in business and thrive in life. These insights cover everything from faith and family to finances and fun, providing a holistic approach to personal and professional growth.

60 Life Lessons for Business Success and Personal Fulfillment

Faith and Spirituality in Business and Life

  1. The best decisions I’ve made in life and business have occurred after spending time on my knees in prayer.
  2. Trusting God is a lot easier when you are out of options. Spiritual maturity is learning to trust God in all things.
  3. Starting the morning in prayer with an attitude of gratitude and thanksgiving sets the stage for a great day.

Building Strong Relationships

  1. You were not created to do life on your own; building and nurturing relationships is a wise investment that pays huge dividends.
  2. Never stop dating your spouse and doing the things that won their heart.
  3. Presents are nice, but time with family and friends are the best gifts.

Personal Growth and Self-Discovery

  1. It’s ok to not yet know what your purpose in life is. It’s never ok to not be pursuing what it is.
  2. We never drift toward positive or healthy things in life.
  3. Your twenties is a time for exploration and discovery. Don’t be in a hurry to know what you’re supposed to do in life.

Leadership and Professional Development

  1. The best mentors are those who have been mentored themselves.
  2. Being five minutes early communicates you respect someone else’s time more than your own.
  3. Ego and pride provide confidence and bravado in some circumstances but they can also be barriers that prevent people from getting to know you who you truly are.

Cultivating Gratitude and Kindness

  1. A handwritten thank you note communicates far more than just your appreciation.
  2. Kindness is contagious, be known for spreading it wherever you go.
  3. A random text or call to just let someone know you’re thinking about them and have prayed for them makes them feel special and reveals you are a good friend.

Embracing Life’s Simple Pleasures

  1. Don’t be so busy that you miss God’s handiwork on display… sunrises and sunsets occur daily, not just things to take in while on vacation.
  2. A casual dinner with friends at someone’s home is far better evening out at some busy restaurant.
  3. Impromptu slow dances in the kitchen and kisses say I love you in a language of its own.

Nurturing Relationships

  1. Never let a week go by without checking in with your spouse. A great question to ask is: “Have I done or said something which left you feeling unappreciated or didn’t convey to you how much I love you?”
  2. We were not meant to do life on our own… Hebrews 10:24-25 declares this, and I profess it’s true. Find your community… and then help each other thrive.
  3. There will be a time when you just don’t have the words to share with a friend who is experiencing heartache. But in the silence your presence will speak volumes about how much you care.

Personal Development and Self-Care

  1. It’s really true, on those days when you don’t feel like exercising, if you give it five minutes, 90% of the time you will accomplish your objective for the day.
  2. Not liking what you see in the mirror just means there is some work to do. Embrace it, create a plan to change what you see, and be willing to set aside your pride if you need some assistance.
  3. When you’re trying to determine if something should be part of your life ask, “is this ‘thing‘ hindering me or helping me become the person I want to be?” Once you have the answer… act accordingly.

Financial Wisdom and Material Possessions

  1. Many of the material things you think ‘you have to have’ will one day end up being sold at a garage sale or donated to a charity.
  2. Pursuing shortcuts and attempting to fast-track results rarely work in your favor. Put forth the effort, trust the process, and embrace the journey.

Time Management and Prioritization

  1. God’s Word teaches us to number our days. Focus on the people and things that matter most in your life and don’t dwell on naysayers or sweat the small stuff.
  2. Always have something on your calendar that you are looking forward to. And it doesn’t have to be a vacation, it can be time with a good friend.
  3. Make it a priority to spend your time doing things you enjoy, with people you enjoy, and figuring out how to do very little of what you don’t like.

Pursuing Passions and Purpose

  1. The best hobbies are ones that can be shared with others. This can be giving away what you create or doing things with people you enjoy spending time with.
  2. Cody Johnson’s lyric is spot on… if you have a dream chase it, because a dream won’t chase you back. 
  3. There will come a time when making a difference in life matters more than achieving success… the sooner this occurs the happier you will be.

Overcoming Challenges and Building Resilience

  1. Setbacks are inevitable, so when one occurs apply the five ‘R’s’ – Rest, Regroup, Recalibrate, Refocus, and then Relaunch.
  2. Losing or failing at something you try is inevitable… no one succeeds 100% of the time. But failure occurs when you don’t try or don’t apply the lessons learned.
  3. Don’t say, “One day you’ll do something’ for too long, because there will come a day when you won’t physically be able to do it.”

Fostering Trust and Integrity

  1. People will come to know who you truly are not by what you say, but by what they see you do.
  2. Honor all your commitments big and small, they build a foundation of trust and confidence that is appealing to friends and business colleagues alike.
  3. Always be kind and remember to say thank you to those serving you, they deserve it and it just might make their day.

Embracing Growth and Change

  1. Fight the urge to rush becoming who you think you are supposed to be… it takes time to discover the real you and the passion that lives within.
  2. Don’t be afraid to try new things, different experiences, and explore hobbies that interest you. Life gets pretty monotonous doing the same things year after year.
  3. Spiritual growth is a journey that never ends this side of Heaven.

Cultivating Empathy and Understanding

  1. I’ve rarely regretted giving someone the benefit of doubt, but I usually regret jumping to conclusions.
  2. A high percentage of people you meet in life have a burden they’re carrying. It may be something they’re carrying themselves or something they are helping a loved one carry. Be kind and empathetic.
  3. Giving someone the benefit of the doubt before they have earned it says a lot about you and your approach to life.

Balancing Independence and Interdependence

  1. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness, it signifies self-awareness.
  2. When you are in the midst of challenges, fight the urge to go it alone. God has placed people in your life to guide and encourage you, seek their counsel.
  3. A mentor won’t find you; you must find your mentors. Don’t know where to look… start with someone who has already accomplished what you want to do. And see if they will share their story of how they did.

Cultivating a Positive Mindset

  1. You will rarely have a bad day when you make it a priority to make other people smile and feel good about themselves.
  2. For many people it is harder to forgive yourself than it is to forgive someone else. But freedom is found when we cultivate a forgiving heart.
  3. Make sure the people you love also know how much you believe in them.

Maintaining Perspective

  1. Life is short. The days go slow and years go fast, prioritize building relationships over building wealth.
  2. Every marriage is comprised of two imperfect people. And the sooner those imperfect people learn the value of grace and forgiveness the happier they’ll be.
  3. A house will never feel like a home without people to share it with.

Embracing Authenticity and Transparency

  1. If left to ourselves we can rationalize everything and justify almost anything. This is why we need people in our life who will tell us what we need to hear and not just what we want to hear.
  2. Transparency leads to transparency, but someone has to go first… be bold, share your story and watch what happens next.
  3. Collect pictures and create photo albums, especially the ones handed down to you. They are filled with stories that should be preserved and shared.

Living with Intention

  1. The more clearly defined your core values are, the easier it is to make decisions you won’t regret.
  2. Fight the urge to keep a scorecard in your marriage with regard to household tasks. Things will rarely be equal. So, do what you can do when you have the margin and then work together to tackle the rest.
  3. No one is guaranteed tomorrow; so, never leave an ‘I love you’ left unsaid!
  4. “Divine Appointments” and “God Winks” await us each day, we must make sure we are not so busy or self-absorbed that we miss them.

Applying These Lessons to Your Life and Business

These 60 life lessons offer a wealth of wisdom for both personal growth and professional success. As a business owner or corporate executive, integrating these insights into your daily life can lead to more meaningful relationships, better decision-making, improved work-life balance, and a deeper sense of purpose.

At Tom Martin Coaching and Consulting, I can help you apply these life lessons to achieve your goals and find fulfillment. Whether you’re looking to scale your business, enhance your leadership skills, or find more balance in your life, I’m here to guide you on your journey.

Remember, success is not just about achieving goals, but about becoming the best version of yourself in the process. By embracing these lessons, you’re taking a significant step towards winning in business and thriving in life.

Ready to transform your business and life?

Contact Tom Martin today for a personalized consultation: . And learn more how these timeless lessons can help you achieve the success and fulfillment you deserve.

One Word 2011 Wrap-Up

As a year comes to a close there is a natural tendency to reflect on the things we hoped to accomplish.

  • What are the commitments we want to hold onto moving forward?
  • What commitments do we need to modify because our lives changed during the year?
  • What commitments do we need to let go of because they don’t carry the importance they once did?

Typically this exercise leads most of us to start the year off with resolutions we hope to keep, only to be disappointed when we come up short. Last year I shared with everyone another approach called One Word 2011 which fellow blogger, Alece Ronzino, shared on her Grit and Glory blog.

 “I’ve never been a New Year’s resolutions girl. I just can’t bring myself to do it. I think I tried once. And a few months later when I couldn’t even remember what my resolutions were — or where my list was — I felt like a miserable failure. And I’ve never made resolutions again. But last year I decided to choose one word to focus on, my own personal non-resolution…resolution.” –Alece

I too have struggled with the resolution/disappointment cycle, which for me usually led to disappointment when my best intentions lacked the commitment necessary to achieve the outcome I desired. Based on a history with failed resolutions, I decided to try Aleces’s approach and joined the One Word team of bloggers. I spent one year not focused on resolutions but staying in tune to one single word to see how that focus might influence my year. One look at the Top 10 Posts of last year illustrate the impact “pausing” had on this past year and our outlook for the future.

10 Most Popular Leveraging Life Posts for 2011

Top 10 Posts on Leveraging Life in 2011

iStockphoto © Denis Vorob

2011 was an amazing year!

Looking back, it was a year filled with challenges beyond compare and a year filled with blessings beyond measure. One quick glance at the Top 10 list illustrates where the focus in my writing has been throughout the year.  Love, cancer, and community were the major topics, and the central theme of faith and trust in God continued to be the foundation for what was shared.  

 I’d like to take this moment to thank all of you for your prayers and encouragement throughout the year and your support of Leveraging Life! 

So what were the Top 10 posts on Leveraging Life?

I’m glad you asked!

 

7 Days 7 Influences – Be Amazed

  • Do you usually have an idea how life is supposed to play out a few weeks in advance?
  • If life veers off in a different direction from that vision do you have a contingency plan or do you just roll with making course corrections as you go hoping to get it right?

If asked, my answer to both questions would be “yes”, which makes for an adventurous way to navigate life.

In the introduction to this series, 7 Days 7 Influences, I mentioned how I found myself in the ER within 36 hours of learning my chemo regime was complete and after being told I could finally start living life on the other side of treatment. Vision and reality were drastically different places as I learned that life on the other side of treatment now included having a rod inserted into my leg to stabilize what the cancer had weakened. While I knew this surgery would produce long-term benefits, I couldn’t get past that feeling of, “when will this ever end?” 

It’s like watching a film and suddenly the film breaks with only the last image still frozen on the screen. You’ve lost sight of everything leading up to that point and can’t see anything moving forward.

Milestones

I’m not sure if I should classify today as a milestone or an anniversary? Truth be told four months ago a conversation took place which caused me to circle this date on the calendar and I hoped I would reach this milestone.

milestones-leverage-your-life-now

iStockphoto © Victor Correia

4 months, 4 years, or 40 years

I always envisioned the day my fiance and I applied for our marriage license would be a fun day. Unfortunately March 3, 2011 was anything but fun as we had to squeeze in getting our marriage license between a series of doctor’s appointments. The last two weeks were a blur of activity as Shari and I learned my cancer I not only returned but had metastasized to the point where I was now categorized with Stage 4 merkel cell cancer. Our plans for a Fall wedding were radically changed with the cancer news and we found planning for our wedding which was only 21 days away. Sadly I never allowed myself to experience fun or joy this day, I was too busy feeling sorry for myself, being angry, and I was looking for someone to blame…God!

my one word : Pause

I came across blogger Alece Ronzino suggesting on Grit and Glory blog that some of us might be better served scrapping making resolutions this year. In her eyes it was better to commit to focusing on a single word for the upcoming year.

“I’ve never been a New Year’s resolutions girl. I just can’t bring myself to do it. I think I tried once. And a few months later when I couldn’t even remember what my resolutions were — or where my list was — I felt like a miserable failure. And I’ve never resolutioned again. But last year I decided to choose one word to focus on. My own personal non-resolution resolution.” –Alece

So in the spirit of Alece’s post I spent some time thinking about what my one word for 2011 might be. I first had to look back on 2010 because 2010 stretched me in so many ways, both good and not so good. But in the midst of that reflection even my “not so good” moments were filled with “God Winks” signs I might have missed if I didn’t stop to PAUSE!

Cancer Road Trip – Part Two

Traveling to Seattle

laptop-books-apple-picture

I knew my cancer road trip to Seattle afforded me the opportunity to unplug and reflect on the last few weeks of my cancer journey. Eleven hours in the air flying from Atlanta to Seattle and then back to Atlanta, along with the customary downtime in the waiting room gave me ample time to catch up on my reading. The only question was, which books from the growing pile on my nightstand would make the cut and go with me on the trip.