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Real Story Of The Week...

"The Conviction, Commitment and Courage to Succeed... To Make 2013 YOUR BEST Year Ever!"

"To have his path made clear for him is the aspiration of every human being in our beclouded and tempestuous existence. " ~ Joseph Conrad

To All TQ Members...

Each year around this time, Kent and I review the thousands of the letters, emails, testimonials and just plain great stories sent to us from our Members... stories that, to one degree or another, describe the process people go through with TQ.

I am pleased to offer a letter that may just strike home — with so many people — on so many different levels.

This is a REAL person... facing incredible STRUGGLES... who took the time to reflect on his continuing journey with TQ.

We are humbled by EVERY success story we read. This letter, however, is in a class all its own.

I am sure you will agree. I begin with his brilliant ending...

"ER, I hope this is not uncomfortably personal or too 'familiar.' I am convinced that my willingness to be open about the realities of my past are tickets to new worlds. In many ways, my early startling success with TQ was predictable just as was the failure of those efforts."

"I am now committed to breaking new ceilings in my life rather than working to raise old floors; it's Pooh finding his inner Grizzly."

"Everything that follows is a conversation about what we value and how I can help. Success this way gets me up in the morning and keep me going all day long."

All I can say to anyone reading Tom's incredible testament to Hope... Faith... Inspiration... Conviction... Commitment... and Courage... THIS LETTER IS FOR YOU!

This may be the finest guide to personal and professional change we could give anyone... all brought to you from the heart of a man who has found true and lasting success through all his struggles.

I excerpted his ending table here for your consideration BEFORE you read how he arrived as this conclusion. Cross out his name and put in yours.

What is the DIFFERENCE between the OLD 2012 YOU... and the brand NEW 2013 YOU you hope to create?

Let Tom's letter guide and inspire you to become all that you are meant to be.

Happy New Year!

With Conviction, Commitment and Courage, 2013 will be your BEST year of your life!

E. R. Haas, Kent Madson and the entire Team TQ!

 
  Old Tom New Tom
Conviction I am inherently flawed and the job of life is to escape unnoticed. I am perfectible, and the gift of life is to be useful and to have made a difference.
Commitment Put up a wholesome front and find some way of living life with as little pain as possible. I will become someone that one day God might say of, as He did David, "Here is a man after my own heart."
Courage Endure the deep pain of never having discovered or experienced what is possible for my life. To live bravely with the knowledge that I have consistently let others down. Allowing to exist and be seen whatever pain or discomfort arises in the process of learning to walk the unknowable path. To honor my word with integrity and deal with the consequences.

* * *

 
Tom's Entire Unedited Letter...

 
Dear ER,

I purchased the TQ Gold system in the fall of 2007, starting with a score almost suggesting a coma.

Taking the coaching, tackling the colors you first suggested, I ran with it, hitting almost every area of my life like a kid with a Christmas toolkit.

Among other things, I designed a financial planning process that allowed wealthy real estate owners to unlock hard assets in a frozen market, and to do so at a profit. Building on this, I pulled together resources from across the country to build the framework of a company that we modestly projected to gross at least 20 million dollars in its first year. Unfortunately, the linchpin in the process was nullified in a single regulatory change before a single dollar was earned, leaving our first 20 cases stillborn in the pipeline.

Until that point, I used the daily TQ regimen religiously, devoted time attending the TQ seminars, and looked forward to an amazing future, but then stopped.

My confidence was shaken; my expectations abruptly fell.

The next few months brought a series of unexpected and serious issues... big issues, really... issues with suicide, swift cancer, caregiving, and complicated side effects that have had me preoccupied.

The TQ program and structures were always there; my practice, though, often stymied by my own sense of failure, resignation, and general imperfection was sporadic.

Along the way, my mother — for whom I am the caregiver — twice became seriously ill, recovered, and then broke her arm and fractured her pelvis. My sister, lamed from a broken femur, died suddenly while her husband was fighting the robust cancer that killed him shortly before I blew the dust from my TQ program and began again using the tools, the seminars among them.

Feeling harried, pressured, and overwhelmed, I again applied myself to the TQ regimen, this time more carefully, more rigorously. The day came when I wrote you to share a small triumph.

In the note, I announced I had crossed the 50-point mark on my TQ score — almost ashamed to admit to an experience of joy in finally achieving mediocrity. I wanted to know if, in your opinion, I ought to visit Goals, Make Plans, or Act Now for the coming month, trusting to your practiced wisdom.

Particularly with setting goals and making plans, I was troubled with the thought that my expectations arose from some very young magical thinking that I cannot seem to out grow. I hoped in practicing the Act Now structures I could get a sledgehammer to my fatigue, procrastination, etc.

I have been simply uninspired but convinced there was just something intrinsically wrong enough with me that I could just practice my way through it.

Instead, you invited me to a call that night, offering something special. It made a world of difference.

I had recently attended a Saturday morning TQ call during which I was caught by surprise in Maikel Bailey's description of The Five Fears.

I have been told by some, but have doubted, that I suffered a fear of success, reasoning that I have insufficient experience with success to have a fear of it.

Yet he perfectly described my feelings and experiences of facing change or the unknown. Facing this, and other more subtle shifts, I was open and ready to hear what was available. In my frustration, I was sick and tired of being sick and tired.

That night you spoke for the first time I could hear about values I have overlooked.

I have been fiercely tending to my family issues only aware of the time slipping past as I examined, planned, dreamed of, and wished for something different. Weeks were passing with little work done on financial goals, making my ailing and demanding family, and other circumstances wrong for interfering. I had never considered that I was simply honoring a fundamental and deeply held personal value: I am deeply devoted to these people.

It's not so much that they are family — family's important — but looking more closely at it later, I realized that I am simply not one to leave people untended... not when I have a say in the matter.

It is a loyalty of sorts that through the years I have allowed to keep me too long in jobs, relationships, even places I have outgrown, or which have deviated from my own values. I usually have ended up damaging something in my obstinacy, and now I notice there is a freedom in recognizing this passion for people. Not knowing it, I have been unable to drive it.

It's typical in men to overlook values of the heart.

It's not wrong, necessarily, but a product of a culture. I am a breadwinner, a strong man, etc., but not, in conversation, someone given by the heart. All of my values and goals, revealed in the TQ exercises, have been tangible, economic, or other material ones, even though I list Faith, Love, and other values as my greatest ones.

I have been relating to how they show up and resenting completely the current frustration with my life as it is now.

There is a small miracle at work here.

I can easily see now that I can say to prospects that one thing distinguishing me from my competitors is a complete commitment to the quality of their lives. I have evidence in my practice of this truth; but I have never felt it had communicable value.

I have a different context now that I didn't have before. I left the call inspired, spending some unusually late hours hunting pictures of my dreams for display. This had always confronted and frustrated me. Today I have a clear view that all I want is available even in light of today's circumstances.

Further, I see now that all of my actions, whether or not judged to be successful, speak of an immense capacity for commitment, real courage in standing against even what seems my better judgment, all of it predicated on a conviction that when I can make a difference, nobody should ever be abandoned, neglected, or left behind.

If what is required for success is conviction, commitment, and courage, I can now stand before a mirror knowing that I do have what it takes.

But if I want to succeed in my business, I have to find a way to integrate my values. First, though, I have to know them clearly; and I must know them well enough to be able to speak about them. I have to approach this with a severe rigor that I didn't bring when the TQ materials first arrived.

By nature I am a "big picture" kind of learner. Since September, for example, I have daily 'digested' the Wall Street Journal and other resources, spending hours on the financial topics in an effort to distill as much common truth as I could. I knew nothing useful about swaps and only knew derivatives from my calculus classes.

"Knowing" contributed to a sort of comfort level but made no difference in day to day operations; still, I have new respect for the 'grand' scope of things and a new cynicism regarding the way we tend to do battle over symptomatic issues that are only aspects of the whole.

This served me little with TQ which is elemental... treating usefully the symptomatic, and not trivially so. I have not had, until very recently, the discipline or patience with the process. It has taken a great deal of effort on my part to (get this) have faith in the process; it is the regularity of the TQ training calls, as much as anything else, that re-presences that faith.

In my case, the cure for such laziness is passion.

I had to obtain a conviction that TQ systems would produce the result.

Denied a rapid gestalt, I have come to terms with two particularly personal 'flaws,' if you will.

The 'big picture' guy is a lazy guy.

While attending, years ago, a seventh grade open house for my son's 'gifted student' program, one teacher presented the parents and students with a problem, telling us "your kids will solve it before you parents will." In the company of two other parents, one a doctor, the other an attorney (both prominent, both wealthy, each demonstrably capable), I solved it as quickly as did the students — without the attorney's legal pad or the physician's borrowed sheet of paper. All I did was to redefine the problem with the simple clue given by the teacher: your training will not serve you here.

All my life I have relied upon a potent intellect to accomplish what simple hard labor would, perhaps with more time and certainly more sweat.

I dislike sweat.

There are no shortcuts — including dishonesty.

I have an unattractive tendency to deny my own involvement with the problems requiring attention.

You observed (when I announced that my TQ score finally broke 50) that the score was arrived at honestly. In my ideal world I would 'fix' all the broken or flawed parts of me in a way that never revealed to others that I had a problem to start.

It might be a sort of dignity, but the intrinsic dishonesty will never put food on the table or money in the bank. Fooling you or anyone else is not a useful long-term strategy.

Fooling myself is a mockery of life itself.

Breakthroughs occur as a consequence of action.

There is little profit to be made in 'thinking it through.' While useful in many respects, thinking can be confused with action.

Breakthroughs — distinct from insights — are the product of action with integrity.

Just as the evidence of faith arises from my actions, the 'fruits' of my TQ training are the unknowable results of disciplined action.

I cannot accurately predict outcomes. My ability to offer predictions is limited by a large field of past results, many of which are the failures or short-comings that have me looking for a self-improvement solution to start with. If I am operating with completely new 'qualities' or tools, I can only offer my intentions with conviction, commitment, and courage. I have to be prepared for surprises beyond my experiences... perhaps beyond my imagination.

If a thing or an action feels comfortable there ought to be alarms going off. If, in any way, this or that is familiar or comfortable it is likely because I am walking a well-worn path, likely the path that got me to this point of exasperation.

You have done an amazing amount of important work in creating TQ, but owning my membership is not equivalent to success. I have a library of other books, some of which I know I bought with the illusion that owning it is the same as having read it.

While it appears to me that personal maturity is a mastery, in part, of the techniques of success, perhaps that appearance is only an impression given by the five year old still running the machinery. My relationship to expected results may be given by the way my father appeared to me five decades ago: scolding was necessary, grades of "B" or better were expected, and even a hard-won "A" drew little attention if there was a "C" somewhere else.

Personal maturity given by success with the TQ training might be evidence of a comfort level with the discomfort of the unknown. If familiar actions have only gotten me what I have, only unfamiliar actions will get me elsewhere. It requires courage.

In the same way that confession is good for the soul, I am finding it valuable to share openly with you or anyone my discomfort with the status quo, my vision of a new world, and my personal responsibility for that which got me to where I now am.

Reality might be painful; denying it is torture.

At another time in my life I might have taken one look at my initial TQ score and walked away, even after having bought the system. I would have seen the potential, but only bought the potential and not the courage to handle it.

ER, I apologize for the length of this. Often, though, when I stop to write to you or anyone else I discover gems coughed up either in the integrity of the moment, or in the intended clarity.

There is throughout this TQ process and almost any other worthy effort a common and layered cycle that you have captured with Conviction, Commitment, and Courage. To have purchased and then used this system and material required the 3C's at a personal level.

  Old Tom New Tom
Conviction I am inherently flawed and the job of life is to escape unnoticed. I am perfectible, and the gift of life is to be useful and to have made a difference.
Commitment Put up a wholesome front and find some way of living life with as little pain as possible. I will become someone that one day God might say of, as He did David, "Here is a man after my own heart."
Courage Endure the deep pain of never having discovered or experienced what is possible for my life. To live bravely with the knowledge that I have consistently let others down. Allowing to exist and be seen whatever pain or discomfort arises in the process of learning to walk the unknowable path. To honor my word with integrity and deal with the consequences.

 

I am weary of being resilient, bouncing with skill born of practice, up from whatever bottom I have reached. Perhaps this is the final victory to be had over a life once given by alcoholism. A man once told me at an AA meeting, "Son, this elevator goes all the down. What you may not know right now is that you can get off at any floor along the way."

I can build my business with Love, Faith, and Devotion, at its heart. I have strangers to call on through the balance of the week, something that I've been doing poorly and reluctantly for months.

I am looking forward to it today. I can be responsible for this 'gut level' passion in my work... not about the money, the fortune, or the dreams. Rather it's the living of a passionate moment. There is a freedom in owning now what was being resisted.

While the ultimate picture of my business is still being crafted, I can now honestly say to people, when asked about it, "I own a growing business with one simple and fundamental core conviction: Through your interaction with us, a clear difference will be made somewhere of value in your life. Whether we do business together or not. Tell me, please, what is important to you right now about your life?"

Everything that follows is a conversation about what we value and how I can help. Success this way would get me up in the morning and keep me going all day long.

ER, I hope this is not uncomfortably personal or too 'familiar.' I am convinced that my willingness to be open about the realities of my past are tickets to new worlds. In many ways, my early startling success with TQ was predictable just as was the failure of those efforts.

I am now committed to breaking new ceilings in my life rather than working to raise old floors; it's Pooh finding his inner Grizzly.

Sincerely,

Thomas Doddson

* * *

Member Comments...

Go, Grizzly! Thanks for sharing your story!
Gayle in Argentina
Wow!!! Talk about hitting home. Thank you for sharing your story.

Lisa
Very powerful admission of what is important in life. When you are a caregiver you tend to lose yourself in trying to give the persons that you are helping whatever they are missing. In the process you lose your identity, your purpose, your ambitions, your passions. Tom your story hit home, you have inspired me to regain my life and pursue my goals once again without the fear of failure. Thank you for sharing and giving us the insight to reach for the sky and to be the masters of our own destiny.
Those of us who are constantly serving others are known as Improvers, and we Improvers are always giving and serving, and feeling guilty when we take time for ourselves. As a result, we give and give and give until we are drained and no longer able to serve anyone effectively. The best way to be able to serve and give of yourself is to first, take time for self, to renew and recharge your abilities, so that you can then be in a position to give and serve more. You would not expect to run a marathon without taking time to train and build yourself up to the task. You would not expect to drive your car across country without first taking time to do maintenance, change the oil, check the brakes, make sure you have enough gas in the tank. In like manner, you cannot give and serve without taking time for self to keep yourself strong and able to keep giving. So in essence, when you are taking time for self, you are actually increasing your ability to give more to others.
Just a thought. :)
Throw out the excuses along with the other self-help books! Re-read Tom's eloquent letter until you know it by memory. Make his story YOUR story. Use TQ daily. This is what I am doing, beginning right now. Heck, I'm only 66 years old. It's time to refire, not retire. Mike Connolly
Like Tom, I realized that care-giving was my goal, it was easy. I knew instinctively how to do this, it protected me from trying anything else that might lead to my success. Death came, caregiving was over. Now, fully exposed, a decision must be made....what to do next?
Looking inward, asking myself....what do you want, what is your passion, it was caregiving and on some level will always be, but there must be more.
Loyalty, passion, and knowing, like Tom, that I will always be there for those who need me, is the core of who I am, and will always be.
I will bring those values to all that I decide to do.

Thanks Tom, your story resonated with me.

Susan K
Thanks for sharing Tom, I have also been discovering myself and taking bold steps the whole of last year and now am in a position in my field which many would envy.... 2009 looks promising and I am moving courageously towards a new me!!!
Congratulations for showing the way...
Subha
Thank you for sharing your experience. Now I feel there is a light at the end of the tunnel if I stay committed and being persistence to the program. My situation now seemed a lot more better than what you had gone thru. Congratulation and a Happy New year and a prosperous year to you, your family.
Thank you Tom for writing so openly and honestly, your letter was like reading my journal. My depression has lifted for today and I am able to think about what I want 2009 to bring to me.
I will honor the work of ER and others,by honoring my own work. I am in sales and this past year I tried meeting all of my deadlines the quick dishonest way. Total disaster and financial trouble. I now have a debt reduction plan and can get on with a great "create my dreams plan". I shall daily pay attention to my scores and bring them up by practising what I believe.
Gratefuly I have a great supportive family and friends that love me but won't enable me. I am able to start over, make a difference. The one passion I have is to allow women and men to raise their own children. We have way too many divorces, jails etc. I do feel I can make a difference by working my business daily.
Thanks Sandra
Tom,
congratulations - a beautifully written story filled with gifts for others. For me, the most inspirational thought was the notion of 'passionately living in the moment' that alone is a powerful catalyst for change.
Cheryl
Absolutely incredible! This man can write. How about a book???
I have been watching with a kind of wide-eyed wonder at the responses to my original letter to ER. In my world, the relevance of my personal experience is of dubious value; so I feel a bit like a toddler whos tipped over the living room fishbowl during a family get-together, amazed at the ensuing activity.
While I am manifestly humbled by the impact I appear to have had, I am more pleased than you can know by the difference made for me by your comments. That you paused at all to comment is extraordinary, and I thank you sincerely. It is, after all, one of the things I most long for, that I make even the smallest difference in the life of another.
This new year is witnessing a revolution of sorts extending well beyond the norm I would otherwise expect from mere resolutions. Moreover, there is much to share with you after Ive had a bit more time to compose my thoughts. As such, this note could be premature; however, I feel compelled to acknowledge my gratitude before too much time has passed.
But just a peak seems only fair.
Conscious Incompetence is an adventure, and a challenging one. Often, I am finding, if I am genuinely engaged, it can feel like unanaesthetized self-surgery. . For this alone, I am grateful that your comments have not been unsolicited scalpels.
The value of every moment is mine to claim. Each evening, another day passes from possibility to history. (I own this phrase to John Ortberg.) If I am not giving myself fully to re-creating my life, I am causing missed opportunities of incalculable value.
Whatever I am looking for in the tangible results of this work, at the very core of what I seek is the unquestionable richness of being alive. So often over the years, I have surrendered to the goals of others, or to objectives simply seeming to be valuable. Todays Wall Street Journal gives space to the suicides of five prominent figures. Clearly the disconnect from my deepest values can be devastating. It is worth the time and the strain to examine, experiment with, and re-examine my values and discard anything remotely inconsistent.
This may be sufficient as a post here. In a nod, however, to those of you suggesting I have a writing talent, I owe more to the scratching of that itch. So, there will be more; it helps me to clarify my thoughts and to lay breadcrumb trails for the frequent false directions.
Given the impact your own replies have had for me, however, I suspect it might be valuable to add more people to my community. As it is, I have few enough people with whom to converse in this journey. I anticipate with enthusiasm anything you have to say; outside observers often see what I am missing.
Please keep writing.
Sincerely,
Tom
Your letter has left me speechless (well, almost ;) and I am still taking it in as well as your post above.

This is my first visit to the TQ site and I feel blessed to have found it, along with such a letter of testimony to the process and to the courage and inner strength you have displayed over the course of your journey. Thank you.

You are a gifted writer. I appreciated one of the first posts above that cited your letter as being the first doctoral thesis on TQ. I couldn't agree more with that description!

Also, "Pooh finding his inner Grizzly." was a terrific analogy! I know that I will read your letter again to reflect upon the "pearls-of-wisdom" it offers as I move forward in my own personal growth. Thank you for taking the time to share your story!

Whether you break one new ceiling or several this year, I wish you a successful 2009 and, moreover, I hope that you absolutely enjoy the view as you journey through this year and beyond! ~Crystal
Tom, Thank you. I have been going through the same things with illness of family. I too am commited to not leave them alone. I needed to hear you this morning. Thank you.
diana Cox
I must say as tired as I am right now, this has been the best "medicine" I could have taken. I too will print your letter and read it often. Amazing how someone's true passion can come alive when it had been buried for so long.(especially when you didn't even know it was buried!) Thanks for uncovering some of my dirt. May you write many more heart felt letters.
Hello, all.
It has been some time since Ive added anything to this conversation. Truth is, its been awhile since Ive even accessed it. I want you to know in advance, though, that I am not backing away from my prior hope and optimism.
I feel rather awkward at the moment. I have come to see the past few months as a Phoenix Bird-like rise in, if nothing else, my attitude and expectations, and now I add a twist to the tale that has the unreal flavor of a dime novel. Its too much drama; its a monster too ugly to be believable; its Toms Chateau Dif  a circumstantial exile from the world of dreams and high expectations, thrown into a world of genuine and real survival. But the reality of it defines each moment by dividing them into two polar groups  those moments spent making a difference, and those not used to climb even one inch higher.
You see, almost four weeks ago, I awoke in the really dark hours to find myself in hell; my bedroom was on fire. Through the moments that followed, while I recall in clear detail some of my actions, I am certain only that getting my mother out of the house was paramount as I balanced my own efforts to extinguish the flames. I failed in the latter and led my mother to the street to watch as, moments later, the fire trucks began to arrive, a flashpoint occurred in the home, and I was thrown into an ambulance with extensive yet unfelt burns. The home, because water was too far away to be reached easily, burned completely; the accumulations of several lifetimes under one roof are gone forever.
Through the early days in the hospital I sincerely thought it would have been better had I died. I am not accustomed to, nor should anyone ever become accustomed to the chronic and gnawing pain of burns. Surviving them, though, has annealed me in some way for the difficult times ahead.
The point Id like most strongly to make in this moment relates to my surprise when, the other day, I took a few moments before a TQ call to test my TQ again. Its up by more than 10 points from the last testing.
Whats that about? Ive lost everything. Im crashing with a friend. I have no way of paying the nurses who come to the home daily to tend to my wounds. My writing hand is burned. Driving is difficult; the wounds make it painful to move and to concentrate; Ive only been able to work a few hours in the past week. How can my score improve under these conditions?
Its simple, really: giving up does not work.
My attitude score is the highest its ever been. My energy score, even when I have so little real energy, is also at its highest. For some reason my mission score simply leapt.
Faced with homelessness and disaster, Im simply as resolved not to fail as consistently successful people are resolved simply to win.
My Energy color is painted with the discipline to eat to heal. Faithfulness to unaccustomed medications requires an unfamiliar organization. Stretching healing tissue in favor of a limber future requires conscious effort and will against the pain. Working within the limitations of complicating issues leaves me aware of my energy level at every point during the day and night.
My Attitude, in spite of moments of gloom, fatigue, impatience and other, predictable and healthy emotions, runs high. The actions I take are calculated to deliver a high pay-off . Im not only willing, but am delighted to let other people contribute. Ive seen kindnesses and generosities in people that have blown me away. From the nurses who have tended to me and told me they wont quit on me, to the friends who have gathered clothing, offered rides, longer term living quarters, and more, I am learning that people feel significant, valued, and alive when allowed to give. Clients, and the families of clients have sent me get well cards, brought my mom and me to their prayer circles, visited me in the hospital, and set out a lunch when we met to conduct business. My son has visited frequently from 100 miles away, called every day, and helped in a housing search to bring me closer to him; his brilliant thoughtfulness provided simple things like toothpaste and toothbrush, deodorant, pencils and paper while in the hospital. How could an attitude sink surrounded by the abundance of such small treasures and miracles? But my attitude has not depended upon such outside influences. Im simply convinced that what it takes to simply survive is all that is required to completely win. There is no magic gene or Lucky Life Lotto. Certainly as Ive related both earlier and now, it would appear the spinner in my game of Chutes and Ladders is weighted to the Chutes. Its also easier to bounce back from trauma at 26 than at 57.
But no one ever told me this was supposed to be fair. Its not fair to millions of kids who go hungry or die young. I have no special birthright to fairness. But I do have the right to claim hope, to have faith both in God and my given talents. I do have the friendship and the love of many whose own lives and happiness are important to me. And if, in winning now, I can say to people with conviction, It CAN be done, well, Ive been given the chance to prove to others that hope is not false.
My mission color is perhaps an aberration of sorts. Certainly I live in these moments closer to my values than ever, but Ive serious decisions to make against a field spread wide open with what is possible. To be homeless is to be free anywhere. Im really asking if Ive clarified purposes, destinies, and the nature of fulfillment in my life. In the shorter time frame, Ive huge bills beyond any that insurance might cover. Very little health insurance covers home care to the extent required here. The police found my wallet on a slightly scorched bookcase. I left the hospital at 8 pm one Saturday night with a fistful of prescriptions, $118 in cash, and one debit card with a few hundred dollars available. That night I negotiated with a pharmacist to get what was needed for a week, giving me time to locate other resources and to check with other doctors. I began that night making decisions that, while almost trivial, kept me on a path, focused on the solution and the win; and it has not let up. I recently proposed to the nursing agency that we create a partnership. Our world is filled with people unprepared for illness or injury. Can we work together? And we are cobbling together a relationship that will bring me to people who can use solutions that I can provide, splitting my earnings down the middle, assigning renewals to a foundation to ongoingly deliver care where there are needs and minimal resources.
This is probably far too long a tale, and I apologize. Ive gotten carried away as I again look in surprise at the many things being done automatically well in these challenging times. But there is a final and fascinating twist Id like to leave you with.
Knowing where I had left the wallet that survived the fire, I also knew where other, also important things might have survived the carnage. Against the law, and against good common sense, I revisited the house two days ago. While hunting for unburned checks, car keys and eyeglasses that would have been near the wallet, I was surprised to see, peeking out from beneath a loose pile of scorched books and debris, my original TQ book, annotated and signed by ER Haas in his own hand  in red ink - unmarred by the fire, as clean as the day it first arrived, and still dog-eared and bookmarked from its many readings.
Im not claiming divine intervention or clamoring for ERs canonization. I mention it for a very precise reason. Having come close to my own death, and having emerged into a reshaped landscape, Ive experienced, as I noted earlier, the clear longing people have to make a difference. I was immediately impressed, when the TQ materials first arrived, that this guy I had never met had given my life personal scrutiny and attention. His comments told me he cared.
Today, I am clear that we grow and become richer as people when we give both our time and attention to others, but- and this is important- as well when we allow others to do the same. Allowing people to express their own significance with freedom and appreciation is an extraordinary gift. It is a component of synergy that Ive never seen before. We can actually cause people to make a difference in this vast and teeming world simply by inviting them to play and to care.
I hope to bring a great many thoughts to you as this ride begins its way back up to the top of the first hill; the roller coaster ride is never over so long as I breathe and have a will.
Thanks for reading.
Tom Dodd, Poohs Inner Grizzly
Feb. 7, 2009
Checking in, today is February 21, 2009. It has been almost a month following my discharge from the hospital. While I have much to say about the intervening period my primary interest is in the explosive growth in my TQ score.
In successive testing since January 24th, my score has grown, first to 60+, and just recently to 70+. Ive been asking myself how this is possible. I have difficulty walking, not to mention working for more than a handful of hours at a time; I take medications that fatigue me all the time; moving still troubles slowly healing wounds; and so forth.
With all of this difficulty, how does my Energy score almost a 10? How do any scores, given my limitations, tally up to 70?
I got real. And, I have people.
In my world of survival, many of my expectations for life have been for the first time scheduled into the future more appropriately. I quit looking around and making myself wrong for not having, not doing, or not being the things I most desire. There is something about a handicap, however temporary, that brings a focus to each moment, an expectation to each day conscious of the limitations, and a deep drive to overcome these limitations  even if only marginally. Each small victory contributes to my Attitude and my expectations. I enjoy a sense of power in seeing one more area of my body heal; expanding my workday even by an hour is cause for excitement.
Before the accident, and without noticing this, I rose each day conscious of what was missing and making myself wrong for it all. For example, I have treasured a dream for years of a Harley tour of Ireland and Scotland. There is an Altima in the driveway, not a Harley. What was not there was unconsciously as important as what was. In the background of every day was a demoralizing sense of failure. Present to the nots of life, I struggled. Today, that dream of my Wild Irish Ride has been pushed realistically into the future with an even more compelling vision: in 2012, I will take that tour, adding England to the ride, concluding it in London and a temporary job at the Olympic Summer Games. With 3 ½ years to get into shape and secure the ride, it is a realistic goal, a dream to fulfill, and I am no longer beating myself up for not having the Harley. It is coming, I know about when, and I am confident. I can now answer at least Consistently to many of the TQ questions that before earned very low marks. It has affected almost every area of my performance, AND, with this in the background instead of the low morale, I operate with an unconscious enthusiasm.
Ive played the guitar for over 40 years; however mediocre my talent might be, my hands were strong and calloused to the instrument. Today, with 2nd and 3rd degree burns on my left hand, I am healing with brand new skin  a babys skin, unaccustomed to the roughness of the world. Recently, I grabbed for something that slipped from my fingers, drawing a blister and blood from one fingertip. I was dismayed, realizing in that moment that playing on strings would begin the training process from scratch. Then I found myself watching one of the early cut airings of American Idol  a show I never watch. I saw a handful of hopefuls giving it their all, and having a magnificent time of it. There were tears in my eyes. I want that. Not American Idol, necessarily, but I want that drive and enthusiasm. I had that much fun easily as a young man playing in a band; I loved playing. I was good; people danced and had a great time; immersed in the moment, playing my heart out, it was a peak experience every time. I want that back, and Im weary of the wait. Now, I have a new starting point and a direction. Music has changed in 40 years. I have no real interest in the Oldies that were revolutionary at the time. I still have my preferences, finding now that my heart is in new Country music and Christian contemporary. Both are exploding mediums and there is a reason for it- skill, practice, and talent show through from the writing to the performing. Playing is like standing at the plate in a baseball game. Oldies have their place, like reworking Lady in Red into a Reggae piece, but the gauntlet is thrown. I am excited and prepared for the trial of refurbishing my hand, and using this beginning to acquire brand new skills and styles. The Plain Brown Wrapper Band is now a goal. Planning for it includes listening to music more: I have iTunes. I gather music from all over the internet. Im planning on watching American Idol once weekly to learn!
Im excited about life and its prospects with joy and enthusiasm. Earlier, unconscious demoralization was the norm. Simply getting real about my circumstances and looking up, life has become conscious and aware. The unconscious excellence remains  the things I do well are skills well learned and available. Unconscious Competence is a process in which I am confident and excited.
I have people.
I live in temporary digs, surrounded by contributions from friends. Much of my clothing has been donated. The home is a foreclosure owned by a friend; temporary, I pay only the utilities and watch the property. While I have to be ready to leave in a few months, its warm; it is shelter; it is big.
And it has to be big. Ive two desks, a bed, a Lazy Boy, a kitchen full of utensils, and more& all of it brought to me by people Ive known, loved, and worked with through the years. With each arrival I am present to their love for me. Being willing to accept contribution is more than mere survival. It was a chance for these people to help a friend; people want to make a difference. In a nation in which people out-perform corporations in giving by a factor of four to one, the opportunity for these folks to see first-hand the results of their magnanimity is an experience denied them but for my own needs. This is a whole new cut at Synergy for me. People do not naturally say, I want to give you stuff. It is, though, in their hearts, just as it is mine, to absorb and uplift my friends and others. Independence, while a valuable Protestant underpinning, risks dismissal of this opportunity to give others a chance to love and to care.
On leaving the hospital I had acquired some massive bills. The hospital immediately wrote the bill off and I was instantly hounded by a creditor. Bankruptcy seemed the only option. I thought for two hours of locating an attorney to begin and then abruptly quit. Picking up the phone, I called the hospital CEO with a proposal. I asked for their cooperation and six months in return for a compromise on the balance owed. I left the call with a stunned and engaged hospital. I now have two of my suppliers  insurance companies, preparing separate contracts that will send 50% of my commissions to a bank account intended to pay the bill  now $23,000 instead of $55,000. Additionally, once the bill is paid, the renewals will continue and form the foundation of a program to provide scholarships for nursing students. Synergy? I believe so, and it is far different from the way I used to relate to it. Getting others to do what I wish is the smallest part of it. Offering others the opportunity to be fulfilled in their own lives is almost a form of grace, a scalpel that cuts across resistance, red tape, and bureaucratic humdrum. People everywhere have areas of life that go begging. Given the chance to be astonishing, they will line up for a ticket. My original fear was of becoming needy. Left to itself, the fear would have prevented all of this, and Ive grown in the process. Am I on the hook for the results? You bet.
But its juicy.
I am profoundly excited about my life for the first time in several years. Reinventing who I am, where I am headed, and what I intend with my life required a fire and injury. Remaining conscious is a priority now. Living an invented and purpose driven life has the potential for a thrill in any moment  even a random one like catching an edition of American Idol.
To have come from a TQ score below 20 to one over 70 has taken only the steps needed to be watchful, and willing to toss aside my ego and my stubbornness. I dont have to be right about why life stinks.
Thank you for reading! Please write if you get the chance.
Fondly,
Tom
Tom!
Oh please!
Write MORE!
How you have inspired me!
Thank you thank you!
My sense of purpose and mission has never been lacking - but the HOW.....
like a sailing boat, strong, sleek, ready to perform, but with no rudder, the sail not set - no course chartered....

And i then read your story and tears come to my eyes - gratitude and incredible humility!

Know that you have changed this heart and mind here in sunny Queensland Australia! Thank you for touching my soul!
Hello all.
It has been quite awhile since I have updated my journey for you. I apologize. There have been some rough times when I either had no internet access, or what there was to share could only be riddled with complaints and setbacks.
Today I write from a proper home where I am able to watch a vacant property for the summer; I do some thinking from a pool deck. Along the way, I have stayed in a foreclosure property with iffy utilities and a disinterested property owner. Better than being homeless, of course, but not restful. Among the things I must now to watch is my inclination to settle in, forgetting that September will come and I must be somewhere else.
It has been a bit more than four months since my release from the hospital in January facing a life in which suddenly nothing worked. Injured, I had to work. Broke, I had to fill prescriptions. Homeless, I needed a place to heal& a base of operations from which to rebuild. At less than physical peak, I had to operate at whatever 110% I could muster.
Four weeks ago I began training in the gym again. Still concerned over heart issues that showed up in the hospital, I struggled with 20 minutes of aerobic activity and a heart rate that wasted no time climbing above 142. Today I completed 60 minutes, burned an estimated 1200 calories, and struggled to get my heart rate to 130.
Nestled in here is a miracle of sorts; in January I had six heart medications and that frightened me. Today I am down to just two, one of them optional now. It has taken something to ditch the meds, but more than anything it was my vocal determination with the doctors that counted most.
One might wonder what this has to do with the TQ training. Certainly, there are small missions embedded and goals set within the huge drive to simply survive. Primarily, it seems to me, the responsibility for the turnaround has been simple and raw conviction amplified by commitments and courage  three of the TQ 4 Cs.
As a sidebar, lest I might appear something in your minds I am not, I still have considerable weight to lose. My doctors told me to eat heartily as my burns healed. I discovered an addiction to ice cream (since broken.) Ice cream is obviously good for the skin. Eaten a half gallon at a sitting, one can create whole new acreages of skin.

Recently, I completed a three month seminar series called Living Passionately. Through the course of the seminar each of us had to confront the particles of life that do not work, the regrets we have, the things we do or do not have against our wishes or longings, and simply choose this stuff  its what has gone before. It, or I, got this way because of who I have been and nothing more. Becoming complete with all of this dissatisfaction and disappointment, it all was tossed into historys dustbin and the door sealed. Left freshly on the doorstep of our lives, looking into our hearts, resurrecting lost dreams, passions found surprising new life, or erupted with almost volcanic pressure. Aha!

Ive not deviated from my focus on TQ here. Ive often found my relationship to my Mission is an annoyingly flexible one. I want to create the perfect mission, the final mission, the killer mission, etc. My own mission has been in flux for some time, colored at times by immediate needs of survival, sometimes rendered impotent where conviction was weak or wavering, other times undermined by a slippery support for my values  it can be too easy to do the expedient thing. In valuing Adventure highly, for example, I nevertheless settled in, becoming comfortable in a foreclosing home. Shear lunacy.

Here is what got created in the seminar:

My purpose in life is to be a vibrant, bold, enthusiastic, and undauntable champion of the human spirit.

The Values that are at the heart of who I am are:

Courage
Freedom
Love
Contribution
Inspiration

What I can be counted on for is to honor my WORD, and to be an implacable stand for the transformation of life itself.

This, now, is an interesting mission, the core of a life worthy of everything I can bring to it. In part, this points to my obsession with leaving medications and finding my own health again. Warriors for anything are up for the game  the battle if you will  and in addition to skill and training, are generally well armed. My health is such an armament. Its worth taking the sword edge to the stone regularly, and thats the gym.

As to the vision for human life? There is a very real opening here.

First though, let me take you back to my first post here in which the Old Tom contrasted with the New Tom.

Conviction:
Old Tom - I am inherently flawed and the job of life is to escape unnoticed.

New Tom - I am perfectible, and the gift of life is to be useful and to have made a difference.

Commitment:
Old Tom - Put up a wholesome front and find some way of living life with as little pain as possible

New Tom - I will become someone that one day God might say of, as He did David, "Here is a man after my own heart."

Courage:
Old Tom - Endure the deep pain of never having discovered or experienced what is possible for my life. To live bravely with the knowledge that I have consistently let others down.

New Tom - Allowing to exist and be seen whatever pain or discomfort arises in the process of learning to walk the unknowable path. To honor my word with integrity and deal with the consequences.

What I find really interesting is so little difference between the Purpose statement of late and this set of declarations made last fall. The consistency with so little deviation carries a conviction.

I work in a very broad field that few people know much about. Life insurance, as distinct from property and casualty insurance, is poorly understood and often maligned. However, there are magnificent applications of life insurance contracts and structures, one of which came my way last summer and has grown. I was introduced to two individuals who separately offer something amazing at a particularly poignant time in history.
I can help college bound students and their families get everything they want in a college education and not sacrifice or mortgage all they have.
It is a genuinely astonishing and simple process with the student at the heart of the engine.

Its worth asking here& if my purpose is to see the fulfillment of human lives, is this consistent with a high quality education? If the student becomes responsible on his or her end for the resume he or she brings to the process, what barriers must be broken in the students mind to unleash the potential?

No less authority than William James said, Genius, in truth, means little more than the faculty of perceiving in an un-habitual way.

I can tell a student my own story of having been told from an early age, You can do anything! And then I was managed for my own happiness. Dont get your hopes up, I was told.

I recall the day during the Cold War years that I, with promising scientific inclinations, invented a multiple delivery system for nuclear weapons. Really little more than an orbiting Jack-in the Box launching warheads like water balloons, but with precision, I shared this idea with my father. He was a Defense Intelligence analyst who, I guess, became concerned that he had let something slip, and told me it had already been done, and then discouraged me from writing to the president. Nothing else was ever said of it. I had been trained to handle my dreams by the time I was 13.

What, I can ask a student, is in your heart? What vision do you hold for your future that you dare not speak? The question is the first step in unleashing that genius.

On the surface, my job is to manage some assets. At its heart, though, my job is to empower a generation of students to crash  not to simply break  but to shatter their own limitations and then find a school willing to give a lot to have them on campus.

And I get paid& how cool can that be?

None of it would have happened but for the, thus far, application of Synergy.

And how timely can it be to realize that Ive been served a perfect opportunity to be heard in difficult financial times? Act Now? There will be no better time.

A summary at best. I look forward to a more amazing future than I have ever imagined. As Zig Ziglar put it, You can have anything you want in life if you help enough people get what they want.

Only four months ago all I had was the cash for a weeks worth of prescriptions and I was fighting to get a county clinic to help me out. People I was staying with  bless their hearts, they opened their home to me  were coaching me on how to act, talk, and walk to obtain state aid.

I worry where their dreams went.

They just did not get it when I declined, turned to my TQ training and hiked off into a new world.

Thanks for reading.

Tom
Hello all.
It has been quite awhile since I have updated my journey for you. I apologize. There have been some rough times when I either had no internet access, or what there was to share could only be riddled with complaints and setbacks.
Today I write from a proper home where I am able to watch a vacant property for the summer; I do some thinking from a pool deck. Along the way, I have stayed in a foreclosure property with iffy utilities and a disinterested property owner. Better than being homeless, of course, but not restful. Among the things I must now to watch is my inclination to settle in, forgetting that September will come and I must be somewhere else.
It has been a bit more than four months since my release from the hospital in January facing a life in which suddenly nothing worked. Injured, I had to work. Broke, I had to fill prescriptions. Homeless, I needed a place to heal& a base of operations from which to rebuild. At less than physical peak, I had to operate at whatever 110% I could muster.
Four weeks ago I began training in the gym again. Still concerned over heart issues that showed up in the hospital, I struggled with 20 minutes of aerobic activity and a heart rate that wasted no time climbing above 142. Today I completed 60 minutes, burned an estimated 1200 calories, and struggled to get my heart rate to 130.
Nestled in here is a miracle of sorts; in January I had six heart medications and that frightened me. Today I am down to just two, one of them optional now. It has taken something to ditch the meds, but more than anything it was my vocal determination with the doctors that counted most.
One might wonder what this has to do with the TQ training. Certainly, there are small missions embedded and goals set within the huge drive to simply survive. Primarily, it seems to me, the responsibility for the turnaround has been simple and raw conviction amplified by commitments and courage  three of the TQ 4 Cs.
As a sidebar, lest I might appear something in your minds I am not, I still have considerable weight to lose. My doctors told me to eat heartily as my burns healed. I discovered an addiction to ice cream (since broken.) Ice cream is obviously good for the skin. Eaten a half gallon at a sitting, one can create whole new acreages of skin.

Recently, I completed a three month seminar series called Living Passionately. Through the course of the seminar each of us had to confront the particles of life that do not work, the regrets we have, the things we do or do not have against our wishes or longings, and simply choose this stuff  its what has gone before. It, or I, got this way because of who I have been and nothing more. Becoming complete with all of this dissatisfaction and disappointment, it all was tossed into historys dustbin and the door sealed. Left freshly on the doorstep of our lives, looking into our hearts, resurrecting lost dreams, passions found surprising new life, or erupted with almost volcanic pressure. Aha!

Ive not deviated from my focus on TQ here. Ive often found my relationship to my Mission is an annoyingly flexible one. I want to create the perfect mission, the final mission, the killer mission, etc. My own mission has been in flux for some time, colored at times by immediate needs of survival, sometimes rendered impotent where conviction was weak or wavering, other times undermined by a slippery support for my values  it can be too easy to do the expedient thing. In valuing Adventure highly, for example, I nevertheless settled in, becoming comfortable in a foreclosing home. Shear lunacy.

Here is what got created in the seminar:

My purpose in life is to be a vibrant, bold, enthusiastic, and undauntable champion of the human spirit.

The Values that are at the heart of who I am are:

Courage
Freedom
Love
Contribution
Inspiration

What I can be counted on for is to honor my WORD, and to be an implacable stand for the transformation of life itself.

This, now, is an interesting mission, the core of a life worthy of everything I can bring to it. In part, this points to my obsession with leaving medications and finding my own health again. Warriors for anything are up for the game  the battle if you will  and in addition to skill and training, are generally well armed. My health is such an armament. Its worth taking the sword edge to the stone regularly, and thats the gym.

As to the vision for human life? There is a very real opening here.

First though, let me take you back to my first post here in which the Old Tom contrasted with the New Tom.

Conviction:
Old Tom - I am inherently flawed and the job of life is to escape unnoticed.

New Tom - I am perfectible, and the gift of life is to be useful and to have made a difference.

Commitment:
Old Tom - Put up a wholesome front and find some way of living life with as little pain as possible

New Tom - I will become someone that one day God might say of, as He did David, "Here is a man after my own heart."

Courage:
Old Tom - Endure the deep pain of never having discovered or experienced what is possible for my life. To live bravely with the knowledge that I have consistently let others down.

New Tom - Allowing to exist and be seen whatever pain or discomfort arises in the process of learning to walk the unknowable path. To honor my word with integrity and deal with the consequences.

What I find really interesting is so little difference between the Purpose statement of late and this set of declarations made last fall. The consistency with so little deviation carries a conviction.

I work in a very broad field that few people know much about. Life insurance, as distinct from property and casualty insurance, is poorly understood and often maligned. However, there are magnificent applications of life insurance contracts and structures, one of which came my way last summer and has grown. I was introduced to two individuals who separately offer something amazing at a particularly poignant time in history.
I can help college bound students and their families get everything they want in a college education and not sacrifice or mortgage all they have.
It is a genuinely astonishing and simple process with the student at the heart of the engine.

Its worth asking here& if my purpose is to see the fulfillment of human lives, is this consistent with a high quality education? If the student becomes responsible on his or her end for the resume he or she brings to the process, what barriers must be broken in the students mind to unleash the potential?

No less authority than William James said, Genius, in truth, means little more than the faculty of perceiving in an un-habitual way.

I can tell a student my own story of having been told from an early age, You can do anything! And then I was managed for my own happiness. Dont get your hopes up, I was told.

I recall the day during the Cold War years that I, with promising scientific inclinations, invented a multiple delivery system for nuclear weapons. Really little more than an orbiting Jack-in the Box launching warheads like water balloons, but with precision, I shared this idea with my father. He was a Defense Intelligence analyst who, I guess, became concerned that he had let something slip, and told me it had already been done, and then discouraged me from writing to the president. Nothing else was ever said of it. I had been trained to handle my dreams by the time I was 13.

What, I can ask a student, is in your heart? What vision do you hold for your future that you dare not speak? The question is the first step in unleashing that genius.

On the surface, my job is to manage some assets. At its heart, though, my job is to empower a generation of students to crash  not to simply break  but to shatter their own limitations and then find a school willing to give a lot to have them on campus.

And I get paid& how cool can that be?

None of it would have happened but for the, thus far, application of Synergy.

And how timely can it be to realize that Ive been served a perfect opportunity to be heard in difficult financial times? Act Now? There will be no better time.

A summary at best. I look forward to a more amazing future than I have ever imagined. As Zig Ziglar put it, You can have anything you want in life if you help enough people get what they want.

Only four months ago all I had was the cash for a weeks worth of prescriptions and I was fighting to get a county clinic to help me out. People I was staying with  bless their hearts, they opened their home to me  were coaching me on how to act, talk, and walk to obtain state aid.

I worry where their dreams went.

They just did not get it when I declined, turned to my TQ training and hiked off into a new world.

Thanks for reading.

Tom

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