Tag Archives: life perspective

The Credibility Bank & Trust

Sometimes when I balance my checkbook, I lament that money often seems to be flowing out more quickly than it flows in. I balance my checkbook almost every day; I know what bills are coming due and I try to defer as much “extra” money as I can into my savings account emergency fund. I like to think that I am rather diligent in managing my money, but always with room to improve.

There is another account that is equally as important. I call the institution that houses this important personal account The Credibility Bank & Trust, or CB&T for short.

Unlike your checking account, your CB&T account balance is not measured in dollars. It is measured in reputation. Deposits are made when you do the right thing, while your account balance is reduced every time you fail to do so. Deliver quality work when you say you’ll deliver it – there’s a deposit. On the other hand, delivering subpar or late work constitutes a withdrawal. Make a promise to a friend or coworker and deliver on it – there’s a deposit. Break that same promise – big withdrawal. Promptly return telephone calls and acknowledge emails – easy deposits. Hide behind your voice mail and ignore incoming emails – withdrawal. Properly prepare for meetings and contribute positively to the discussion – another deposit. Sit silently in meetings while periodically peeking at your cell phone – balance reduced.

Each of us has a CB&T account at home, too, and it works the same way as your on-the-job account. For example, treat your family with love and respect – consistent deposit inflow. Take them for granted and your account depletes rapidly. You get the picture.

How do you know your CB&T balance? The greatest measure of your CB&T account balance is in your reputation. Do people trust you? Do they come to you with problems? Can they trust you to keep your promises and maintain confidentiality? If the answers to these questions are yes, you can rest assured that you have built a nice surplus in your CB&T balance that will serve you well in your career and your personal life. If the answers to any of these questions is no, it’s time to audit behaviors and begin repairing the reputational damage.

As you consider these questions, know that your perceived account balance may vary between individuals at work or within your family. Think about that for a moment. What happens when you treat people at work differently from one another? One person thinks you’re great while the other – not so much. Over time, such conduct erodes your CB&T balance until you are overdrawn; at that point you become ineffective and, well, dispensable.

So what must we do to ensure our Credibility balance is in the black? Jesus offers some very succinct direction:

“And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise.” Luke 6:31 (NKJV)

The people Jesus is talking about are all around you. They serve you in stores and restaurants. They occupy the nearby cubicle. They pass you on the highway. You live with some and you work with others. They are your family, your neighbors, your coworkers, your closest friends, and the strangers you pass on the sidewalk. If you consistently seek to treat others as you would like to be treated, you run little risk of depleting your CB&T account balance.

The notion of the Credibility Bank & Trust is something I try to bear in mind at all times, and I have shared it with several coworkers and business colleagues. Give it a try; It has served me well, and I’m convinced that it will serve you well, too.

This Place is Perfect

Sometimes it takes others’ eyes to help us fully appreciate what God has given us. Such was the case with me and our house on Lake Tyler.

Built in 1964, situated on about an acre of land and measuring at about 1,400 square feet, our lake house was previously owned by my mother-in-law. Darla was a certified Master Gardener, and “back in the day” she kept the grounds and gardens immaculately groomed. She planted gardens, each with a plant type or color theme and installed brick walkways among them. When we would visit, we always spent the first hour or so walking her gardens with her as she proudly showed us her latest additions. To say that Darla had a green thumb would be a gross understatement; Darla had a gift. She enjoyed nurturing her gift and, even today, we enjoy the results.

Darla moved out of the house in 2008. With no full time resident since that time, the gardens have not been properly tended. Brick walkways that were once beautiful garden pathways are now overgrown with weeds. Garden nooks and crannies, some featuring ornamental ponds and others featuring shaded arbors and park-like benches, are obscured and overgrown. I sat on one of the benches recently and it nearly collapsed as I lowered my weight onto its rotted boards. I no longer mow the lawn, for there is no lawn – now I groom my weeds. The exterior of the house needs a paint job, but first we must power wash the cobwebs from their positions under the eaves. Succinctly stated, the place needs work, and work is what I see when I pull up the driveway. My frustration grew to the point to which my wife and I recently agreed to put the lake house on the market. That was the case, anyway, until last weekend.

Last weekend we had five college friends join us for a weekend at the lake. As the weekend approached I was nervous, and even a bit embarrassed, given the run-down condition of the gardens and the home’s exterior. I was concerned about allowing my friends to see our property in this condition, so much so that I considered moving the event to our home in Keller to spare me the stress. I’m glad I didn’t.

My friends were awestruck. They gushed over the open space and the gardens they could see. They appreciated the lake views and speculated with us how the views will be improved when the brush along the channel is cleared. One fished from the yard and remarked how this would be a desirable vacation rental.

“Really,” said I, “somebody would actually pay to rent this place for a weekend?” I was shocked.

“Of course,” he said. “There are lots of people looking for an inexpensive weekend getaway. This place is perfect.”

“This place is perfect.” That phrase hung in the air as I contemplated the magnitude of what my good friend had just told me. As he continued to fish I looked around me and began to see our house and yard from his perspective. And I was sorry – sorry that I had adopted such a negative attitude about this beautiful gift that God has given us.

Yes, the place needs work. But you know what? My friend was right: This place is perfect. And it is not for sale.

“Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever.” ~ Psalms 118:1

8.9.2014 Enjoying a delicious home-cooked Brazilian feast courtesy of the Dunn's.

8.9.2014 Enjoying a delicious home-cooked Brazilian feast courtesy of the Dunn’s.

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