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What's With All The Train Stuff?

“I can’t wait to hear how to make my life more meaningful, Pete, but what’s with all the train stuff?”

What’s in a name? As Shakespeare wrote, “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” And so it is with our workshop entitled “On the Right Track: Connecting the Stories of Your Life.” It’s about finding a path to the life of your dreams through the stories your life experiences, not about trains.

So why the references to train tracks, then? The construction of railroad beds seemed like a great metaphor for how the stories of your life are laid out. And it is! As long as it doesn’t confuse people so they miss out on the eye opening activities in the workshop.

The way I see it, the gravel that supports the tracks is like the mundane incidents of life – countless facts, such as what you ate for breakfast last Monday. A fact - but not very important in the grand scheme of your life. The railroad ties, when...

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Standing at the Crossroads

“Is this all there is?” If that’s what you’re thinking, let’s talk. Let’s see where you are at this moment. Okay? You say you’re at Starbucks? That’s not the answer I’m looking for! You stand at the crossroads of Life and Success. You’re tired and looking for a Starbucks? No-o-o! Behind that desire for a quick pick-me-up, you’re legitimately wondering if this road goes on forever, or if maybe there’s a change in scenery available.

There is! There’s a truth well known in the counseling circles: if you think you have it bad, look around until you find someone worse off than you and help them. As soon as you do that, you will find yourself on a new road called Significance.

The road from success to significance is a satisfying one, but not always a pleasant one. There’s triage involved. Not everybody wants to be helped regardless of your intentions. This can feel demoralizing. Fortunately, there’s...

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Opportunity - Be the Best YOU Ever!

Do you love your work? Do you enjoy the people in your life? Do you wake up in the morning looking forward to new possibilities?

Most of us wish our lives were more enjoyable, more fulfilling. Aligning your dreams with your reality isn’t as hard as you might think. I’ve discovered a way to identify both your true heart’s desire and your greatest talents by mining the hidden treasure in your life’s stories. I’ve created an online workshop so you can learn how to do this, too, right where you are.

Don’t miss this chance to turn your dreams into your reality! Registration is only open through this Sunday, August 13. Learn more on my website, https://pete-vanderpool.mykajabi.com/, or checkout my free introductory video series (complete with free, downloadable resources!):

Video 1 Connecting the Stories of Your Life
Video 2 Discovering the Treasure Within
Video 3 On the Track to Significance

Feel free to email me with any questions you...

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Nothing to Hide?

Transparency is a word that’s been showing up lately in all sorts of places. Remember that acronym, WYSIWYG? It translates to “What You See Is What You Get.” We’re realizing all too often these days that what we see is NOT what we get. Sometimes, not even close. Transparency - true WYSIWYG - has become something we crave when so many things we thought we could count on have turned out to be misconceptions or out and out lies. We want to know who we can trust, what we can believe in.

Recently, a friend was explaining to a group of us why he ultimately left the ministry. As he was giving his reasons, I thought of several other friends I know who’ve been down the same path in other careers. It goes like this: You fulfill several roles as a person. A man can be a breadwinner, a husband, a father, a son, a brother – you get the idea. Likewise, a woman can be a breadwinner, a wife, a mom, a sister, etc. The problem comes when those roles clash and you...

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Something That Truly Matters - An Invitation

My son Mark sent me an email some time ago which hangs on my office bulletin board.

“Here’s what I’ve said to the universe about my writing: I’m OK with getting rich, as long as it’s not at someone else’s expense. My goal, however, is a rich life. I want the pleasure of applying my talents to something that matters. I want to make a difference to, and with, people who appreciate it. I want to be justifiably proud of what I do and what I create. I want to be fairly compensated by the process as well as the paychecks. I also want plenty of surrounding ‘ space’ to enjoy the fruits of my labors. And… I think that’s a very fair, honorable and sustainable proposition.”

I have it hanging there where I see it every day because I have the same philosophy. He described it perfectly. I couldn’t have said it better or clearer.

I am applying it to the launch of my first digital product, a workshop examining the pathway from...

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Following an “Aha!” Story Thread

Why look back at stories, events which happened in your past, that are linked together?

As I’ve said before, there are three major benefits: Enlightenment, encouragement, and entertainment. Sometimes it’s a combination of these.

A conversation with a friend precipitated a look back at a number of the churches my wife and I had attended over the years. They covered multiple denominations and several cities around the country. Two incidents stood out at that moment of reflection.

The first was the re-affirmation of our wedding vows on our twenty-fifth anniversary. There were about sixty people present on this beautiful October afternoon. Sunlight streamed through the stained glass windows accenting the warmth of the varnished oak pews and the wood trim in the sanctuary. At the point where the minister asked us to repeat our traditional vows, we heard behind us the muffled sound of the guests repeating them to each other along with us. The minister had not suggested it, nor...

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Your Surprise Successes

And now a surprise! You are equipped to bless yourself. Yes yourself. But, you say, I know all the crap I've been through. I know all the lessons I've had to learn the hard way. I have an MBA from the School of Hard Knocks. How am I equipped to bless myself?

Well, here's an example for you. For many years, I’ve berated myself for not getting a doctorate in English and teaching at a small private college somewhere in New England. See how specific that is? Well, my co-author of the book Equipped to Bless challenged me to follow a thread leading back from my present substitute-teaching job at a local high school. So I started backing down through my life. I teach Sunday School classes for adults. I had taught teenagers for many years in several denominations. I’d been a Boy Scout leader. I had taught electricians how to program our programmable controllers. I had trained distributors to get more product to market. In Navy Boot Camp, I’d been selected Educational Petty...

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Experience and Helping Others

We are all equipped to bless. Who? Someone else, yes. What? A situation looking for an answer, yes. What equips us? Our uniqueness. Our connectedness. Our experiences.

Let's talk about experiences. Our growth is dependent upon our personal challenges. Were it not for challenges, we wouldn't learn much. You can sit in a classroom for days, listening to a teacher talk about the subject material, but you learn the most when the teacher passes out a test paper and gives you thirty minutes to answer questions about the previous lecturing!

Life itself challenges you with curves out of nowhere. You know what I'm talking about…health issues, employment issues, financial issues, family issues, etc. You don't see them coming. They just appear. And they don't necessarily go away easily or quickly. But after you’ve survived, you discover others who are struggling with those same issues. Sometimes the hardest thing is to wait for an opportunity to reveal the connection to the other...

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Enriching Connections

There are many ways that we are all connected. For instance, in casual conversation – at a party, over coffee, at lunch – the subject comes up and you find that the others in attendance have all received a speeding ticket at one time or another, (Yes, I’m still stuck on that topic. See how emotion locks in a memory?) The only uniqueness in the situation seems to be how much the damn thing cost! The conversation might lead to other facets of law enforcement, discovering more incidents of connection.

You see, connection goes way beyond clubs, churches, relatives, or jobs. Emotionally stored stories cast a thread into the world and draw in people or groups that have experienced the same or similar trials. At the time of this writing, two friends are being challenged by cancer. One's prognosis is horrific, while the other's is optimistic. Both are facing the future with hope, supported by family and friends who share love and laughs, some who share similar treatments,...

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Emotion Locks in Memories

It seems to me that the experiences I remember are touched by emotion. Factual experiences are often forgotten, or dredged up only with effort. Unless documented for some specific reason, they fall into some brain file usually labeled "Open only in case of emergency.” Emotional experiences, however, are quite different. In fact, they sometimes hang around much to the detriment of the present moment.

For instance, I can’t remember off hand what my neighbor and I talked about last week when we ran into each other in the back yard, even though we chatted for a good twenty minutes. But I still remember the last speeding ticket I got like it happened this morning. I probably deserved it, but it was still a trap. It happened thirty-five years ago, and it still makes me mad! I go off on a tangent every time it floats up in my memory.

Nothing can be done about it now. The officers are probably long since retired. They have no idea what my feelings are toward them. My thoughts...

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