I should be ‘Committed!’

I must be committed to this silly blog. Because here I sit. Here I clack these keys. Here I make a an idea materialize onto the big 30″ blank white screen in front of me.

Sometimes I think I should be ‘committed’, for the things I type out and reveal and share to the publicly accessible world wide interweb.

Truly it takes more than these few moments of writing, crammed into the last hour and a half before, I must move on to bigger commitments for the day. As I go about my normal life (ha!) I think about what the blog for the week will be. I probably go through several concepts, forgetting most of them. I play with sentences in these little daydreams. I feel the itch, or the burn or the twinkle or the calm of an expression, and wonder if it will fit well into the context of these pair-a-giraffes on my blog.

Why do I do that all week long? Why spend this time right now, doing this thing called blogging? I don’t know. Really. I don’t.

BUT, I do know this.

I am committed to it!

I am committed to this thing because I’m doing it right now. That is the test of commitment: Am I doing it right now? The funny thing is, that when I am committed to something, I am moving everything else around for it. I am prioritizing it as numero uno. I am not making excuses or putting it off, I’m just simply doing the required action it takes right now to make it happen. Like typing on this old grimy keyboard, on a too cluttered desktop, wondering how I’ll finish it up, but still typing along anyway.

Now. Funny thing is that a man from Piper, Kansas taught me these simple but profound truths about commitment a couple years ago. Dusan Djukich, worked with me by phone on several occasions and would make statements about commitment that seemed too bold and black/white to really fit into my ‘real-world’ life.

But he was so right. I am just living it now. Involved daily with the workload of the restaurant, the stack of art jobs piling up at Front Row Sports, and the little bit of extra time I have to be a husband and friend to my wife, these truths about commitment are playing out for real, each and every day. What I am doing, is what is getting done. What I am doing, is what I am committed to. What I am not doing, I am not committed to… but these are just my own versions of ideas planted by Dusan. I do want to share with you some of his, and direct you to find out more in his book or his website.

Truly to Me, Aaron Nichols, you are noticing commitment levels right now. And for the first time in maybe forever, you are okay with saying ‘no’ to things you are not committed to. Bravo, my friend. This could be a significant step forward in development for you. And, to be fair, it was more than just Dusan who helped plant these seeds 🙂 Melissa, Megan, and Steve showed me this over and over again too 🙂

(See, there are only a couple concepts I use to write these posts. One is ‘what would I say if I wasn’t afraid?’, the other is ‘I’ll write a note to myself’, and this is one of those)

I don’t need to give you more of my examples, I’ll just share Dusan’s. If they don’t hit home with you today, that’s fine. It didn’t strike me as truth until the seed had been planted and germinated for awhile. Now, in the many tasks and communications it takes to help this restaurant and our lives run, It is clearer now than ever, that Commitment is the keyword, showing me how, I’m showing up, everyday in this little ole life o’ mine.


Aaron Nichols

PS: This is a partial version of a document written by Dusan Djukich, all ownership belongs to him. THANKS DUSAN!!!





A commitment is a particular type of declaration by which you move yourself forth in the world. It is a move that announces to the world what it is you intend to accomplish. What a commitment looks like is that you alter yourself and your actions to match “what is required” to get the intended result that you are after.

Action begins when you make the declaration, “I am committed to….”

What you are committed to reveals what you have produced or have failed to produce.


Why you don’t have what you say you want is normally due to your attachment to looking good, being right and playing it safe.

A commitment is not a product of the mind (obviously). A real commitment is a powerful declaration that functions to alter behavior.

You can be committed to things that both empower and disempower you.

We are living in a new world and in this new world, performance is what matters.

Commitment = is demonstrated in “doing what’s required” to get the results you intend.

Many people fail to see the DISTINCTION between doing everything you know to get the desired outcome and “doing what’s required.”

Failing to make a commitment will dissipate your energies rather than focusing them.

True commitment is nothing less than 100%.

Commitment isn’t about how much time you spend doing things – it’s a line you cross with yourself.

The question to consider is not “Am I committed?” It is “What am I committed to?” There is no such thing as a life without commitment. You are already living a host of commitments, whether or not you are aware of it.

Commitment begins with the linguistic move of declaration, but it doesn’t stop there. It must also live in the realm of action.

Commitment means doing whatever it takes to achieve your outcome, not just what you know how to do, but whatever it takes.

Commitment occurs the moment you shut all of your back doors and devote your entire being to whatever it is that you have committed to.

If you are 90% committed, then the remaining 10% serves as a breeding ground for excuses and for non-performance.

There is an all-or-nothing nature of commitment.

What matters is that you drive yourself to be aware of where in your life you have just been “going through the motions” and confronting if you are really committed to doing something about the items in those areas of your life. Also you must define the “necessary required actions” to be engaged and the timelines for completion.

Commitment is the only thing that separates you from your intended results.

big time crappy-butt failure, RIGHT HERE!!

I get a lot of junk email, and it’s work to find something of value within many bold black subject lines stacked in my inbox. But rarely is something from Steve Chandler ‘junk’.

Today, in his E-Motivator, he talked about writer’s block. About waiting to start. About the voice in our heads that says, ‘I don’t have anything good enough yet, to begin writing about’,  or ‘I’m not inspired,’ or ‘I’m stuck.’ He unpacks the myth of writer’s block, and shows us that we just need to start, somewhere, anywhere and do it badly.

He quotes Anne Lamott “The key to writing, she says, is to just start typing anything – it can be the worst thing you’ve ever written, it doesn’t matter.”

BUT, he points out this is the key to motivation in any endeavor, not just writing. And that ‘clicks’ with me! Ha! Starting badly? Screwing up? Trying in a crappy way? Failing? I’ve done that!

Yay! and Yeah!

I do get this idea that starting somewhere, and even badly can be really good for us. And here’s the part you’ve been waiting to hear… My failures and mistakes!

In the spring of 2010, I left my job of 10 years to set out and begin my own business. I had become completely debt-free through using Dave Ramsey’s Baby Steps. I had been to train with his team in Nashville, and I wanted to help others do the same. I would be a personal financial coach! Cool!!

Except… Except, I failed at that. I screwed it all up. I pushed away friends and even family in my exuberance to ‘help’. I gave this ‘business’ a shot, in the fact that I kinda sorta told some people, what I could help them with, in a kinda sorta crappy way. I didn’t present things the best. I didn’t really love certain parts of it all. The numbers aren’t my expertise, it was more about the ideas of change, and a bunch of blah-blah-blah, that I didn’t do a good job of communicating… Because ultimately, I didn’t want to. I know this, because I quit, before I’d mastered it. That means I chose the outcome of failure… And yeah, that sucked.

Oooh, Oooh, Oooh!! BUT, Then I had a new idea! Instead of being a personal financial coach, and helping people in the sensitive area of money, which is uncomfortable for most to discuss, I’ll switch it up, drop the ‘financial’ part and just be a life coach! Yeah! That would be much better! You know without the numbers to deal with, and just the changes. I would love that! It would be amazing to help people change and transform in exciting ways that could open up their world and express their talents in satisfying and even lucrative ways! Yeah!! Cool!!

So again, I trained with the world’s best. I flew around the country and spent time and money and energy soaking up the wisdom of bestselling authors and seven-figure coaches of world famous people! Cool! NOW, I’ll come back to our little spot in the world, right here and help people the same way! Cool!

Except… Except, I failed at that too. I didn’t do all the things I could have, to really grind out the fears in me, to really share openly with others, what could be possible for them. I was spending more time, working on myself, than actually being open to those individuals who do want someone else to join them on the journey self development and discovery. I sorta gave up on that too. I did have success with those people I worked with. A couple have gone on, to expand and explore further. They’ve had career improvement and have had a chance to see themselves from a new perspective, that only comes from this kind of relationship…. BUT, overall, as it comes down to the bottom line, I’ve failed at this too…

Yeah, big time crappy-butt failure, RIGHT HERE!!

But no, really, it’s true….


Today, I’m headed off to work this morning, to help run this family restaurant, The Brand’N Iron. By helping to run, I mean that I am involved in almost every aspect of the business. Front to back, top to bottom, almost all the daily stuff, is handled by myself or my brother-in-law Chad, or both of us. Thank God, I had a chance to fail at those other businesses opportunities before I got to this one. I hope this endeavor doesn’t end up like the other two… or more…

Did I also mention that in the last couple years, I started working as a social media guru for an online motorcycle parts house, started a marketing and design firm, started the idea of writing books, including my life story, a book about a baby bristlecone pine tree, and other children’s adventures too… Yeah, I failed at those too…

This restaurant business is all of this stuff rolled up into one. We’ve got financial questions coming up everyday. We have life-coaching opportunities almost continuously. I help market and advertise and design the brand of our Brand’N Iron all the time too. I write, super shorty sentences on our roadside sign too.

All of this stuff up for me as challenges, I can handle, because I’ve been practicing now for years. I still screw up all the time too. I still fall on my face and have to backtrack. I still know that I will not perfect this ‘job’ anytime soon. It’s all a work in progress.

As hard as it was, for me to take, the reality of my own personal failures, I have to thank God for them. Truly, it has been devastating and depressing and tough, for me to handle over the last couple years. I have always loved the approval of others, I have sought to have and say things that show myself in a positive light. With all these screw-ups, it’s been difficult to pleasantly answer questions like “How are you doing?”, “Where are you working now?” and stuff like that. OUCH, it really has been hard. And, I know that all those things were my choosing, my own prerogatives. I gave up and I failed. Thank God.

Now, I have scrubbed that fear of failure with the 80-grit sandpaper of experience. It’s not gone, but it is worn down, smoothed out, not as splintery and dangerous anymore. I will fail today. I will be okay with that. I will fail tomorrow. Someday, I will really get that diving in, and failing fast is the best way to learn, and grow and succeed. It’s been several years into this process for me so far. I don’t expect the lesson to be over anytime soon.

My wife is a teacher now. We’ve discussed seeing kids struggle with the fear of failure. Seeing them afraid to mess up. The culture has taught us backwards. Outreaching our grasp and falling is a wonderful thing. It’s the only way to find out anything about our true mettle. When we stay in our little safe world, where we always get A’s, and everyone is happy with us, we’re only tapping into a fraction of our true possibility.

For me, to have continued this far, down this path, there must be something to it. There must be something invigorating and satisfying about the struggle, or I would have given up and failed at this too… long ago.


Aaron Nichols

PS: If you’re right now enjoying the kind of life, that has no stresses from trying new things or stretching to grow yourself, disregard this whole post. You may not really want to open this Pandora’s Box, like I have. Click away, and go back to ‘normal life’.

A funeral, A fight, A Prayer

What do you really really really think? What do you feel and notice? What is the true answer to the question ‘How are You?’…

Well for this morning, and for this blog in general, I intend to bring the Reality and put words on this screen, that are a level deeper, a level truer and more real, than you’re used to reading. But if you’re used to reading my blog… you already knew that 🙂

A thunderstorm and gentle soothing rain came last week, and lots of things in between.A transition, from this life to the next, for Nathalee (my grandmother). A fight. A funeral. Lots of things to notice and to learn from. Here are a few, in order of how I experienced them.

• Our mind is powerful enough to kill us, luckily. We discussed last week, the deep power of our thoughts and beliefs. I feel that Nathalee, through the decline in her health, believed that her world wasn’t what she really wanted anymore. She wanted to go home, and when she realized it probably wasn’t possible, she found a way. When we are truly ready to let go, ready to move on, we will. God bless you Nae, what a wonderful generous spirit. A laugh no one could forget. I miss you, and will see you again, to make a plate of holiday food and bring it to you. I hope I finally get it right someday 🙂

• There is a conflict in my life. Seems that some days it fades away, the sun shines and birds chirp. Some days it clouds over, and dulls any spark of a smile, before it begins. Some of my coach friends would point out, that these are chosen feelings, chosen thoughts, and there are ways to eliminate them. I believe that some days, and those days can be good. The conflict or the grief, or the cloud comes and goes. Luckily it does go.

• I’m a fighter. Always have been. Sometimes fight in my dreams. Sometimes awake. Last week was a doozie. Real honest-to-goodness brawl. Not physical, but just as emotionally draining and exhausting. What I learned was that there is refusal in me. Always has been. For some reason, I just don’t always go with the flow. I don’t have deep peaceful grace and forgiveness and the flexibility of a sapling to blow with the breeze. I fight it. I struggle against it. The lesson though is this: Words are meaningless. Words are birds here for a moment on the line, the next fluttered away. Words can create agreements between people, but actions are real truth. In action we break, or keep agreements. In our mind, words swirling, the storm rages. In action, we step in, we step out, we move, or we stay.

• My egg plate in the morning is gooey. I like them over-medium. If I finish breakfast, then rinse my plate, the yolk is easy to remove. Water, the world’s best solvent, (Thanks Dr. Cain) makes it a simple process to clean. If I wait however, the yellow gunk dries. It sticks hard and adheres. It’s much more difficult to get clean again. I have to scrub, and take more time. I wish I would have done it sooner, like right after breakfast… In this restaurant business, with lots of eggs being broken all the time, it’s easier to clean it up quickly. It’s not eggs I’m really speaking of here, it’s the conflicts in my day. The broken egg-reements (ha!) that need quick attention. Talking and then acting quickly after a conflict, is helping me all the time. Deal with it now. Deal with it fast. Do something small now, rather than something big later. Don’t wait. Make things clean while it’s as easy as it will ever be. Waiting only makes it harder.

• Obituaries are short. A quarter folded sheet of paper, may be all there is to explain and detail my life someday. As a writer, as a graphic designer, this appalls me. One little picture, one quarter of a page. You’ll hear about when I was born, who I married, what kids I had, who is living, who’s dead. That’s about it. Maybe a job thrown in if there’s room. Probably church membership, possibly a community organization. Nothing else.

• God’s world is a mess. A beautiful mess, however. Looking at the names of Nathalee’s grandchildren, and their spouses, and the group of us, sitting off to the side, at the funeral home, behind the curtain, we were a mess. Out of 6 grandchildren that Nae loved like her own, only 2 really were. Only a third of ‘us’ were your standard definition of grandchildren. Your kids’s kids. The rest were somebody else’s kids, and then step-kids. Through divorce, through death, through life. The family gathered to love and cry and honor Nathalee, were a real hodgepodge mess of folks. She loved us all the same. That’s special 🙂 I appreciated her, and didn’t even really see that truth, until right then.

• Context is everything. The context, the fabric, the boundaries and constants that I choose to hold in my life, my struggling relationship with God, is everything. It shapes the action. It flows the energy through me, through channels unknown. The context, the lens, through which I experience these pivotal moments (every moment) shows me what I see. Lord, allow my flexibility, and my forgiveness to flourish. Lord, let the wind blow away, the weak twigs of negativity and anger and pettiness. Lord, may your truth guide me, may your ways be my ways too. May this struggle, may this conflict, bear fruit in season, for You, for others, for my family, for me. This I pray, after the weeks in which you carried me through, in the name of your Son, Jesus Christ, Amen.


Aaron Nichols

The Golden Key, if I choose to use it…

Off with their heads! Or at least off with mine anyway.

It is the head that is the source of so many troubles. Can I really see that, right now, in this very moment?

The thing is too powerful, it’s dangerous even. It can shape our lives apart from the possibilities inherent in the creation around us. Do you ever ‘think’ about your thoughts?

I do. Too often. This morning, my thoughts have consumed precious moments that could have been restorative sleep. Thoughts blowing through garbage disposal of my mind have clogged up and stopped progress too.

My mind is so powerful, that things I repeatedly think, become real. True for you too?

How about thoughts like:

  • I am really ticked-off right now! (the ticked-off-ness builds)
  • This situation is hopeless! (the hope fades further away)
  • I am stuck and really freaking angry! (the possibility disappears and my blood boils)
  • I don’t know how I’m going to fix this or move on! (the ‘don’t know-ness’ increases)

Yeah, so when these things flood my brain, I’m challenged and stretched and it’s hard to see any light. It’s when I believe that these thoughts exist as truths, that I cement the failure in place, maybe forever.

I’ve chosen to believe thoughts. I’ve given them lots of power, and I have made big life changes based on such things.

This morning I grabbed a little pamphlet called the ‘The Golden Key’, by Emmet Fox. It’s a 6 (small) page reminder, that when we put our mind on thoughts of difficulty, the difficulty continues. His suggestion, as simple as it sounds, is to purposely, intentionally, switch our mental focus to thoughts of God.

Not like, “What would God do in this situation right now., ” Or “God would probably forgive me for killing this person I’m mad at right now!” or “God doesn’t have to deal with all this worldly crap, and he gets heaven all the time, why can’t I!!”

No, not like that.

The suggestion is to just think about the things you know about God. Anything and everything about the nature of God. Just to think those thoughts, replacing the focus on the trouble with a focus on the divine. Thinking God is wisdom, truth, the creator, infinitly powerful and present, are thoughts that open the mind. This actually feels free-er and relaxing and unclogs the ‘stopped-up-ness’ of a frustrated brain.

I’m using this technique right now. It’s slightly helping. I will take any slight improvement I can get. 🙂 Thinking of God, as a little exercise this morning is much better than the alternative. My thoughts are really extra powerful today, they could cause big changes, they have before. Sometimes it’s good, but thoughts of God, would have to be better than these.

I know that thoughts can ignite new life, spark adventure and inventions. They can become beautiful gardens ripe with fruit. But not all of them. Many are the opposite. They bring darkness and fear. They are wrapped tight in barbed-wire of anxiety and pain. They can show me all the things wrong in my world and slice apart my will to succeed… if I let them.

Golden Key today for me please. I must use this opportunity, or it may take me down. I am in charge here, not these thoughts. Actually God is in charge, and my misunderstanding, that it’s all up to me, may be my most fatal thought of all.

Giving it up to God. Giving over the reins of control to the almighty, and releasing my own grip on the outcome, the work, the struggle of untying a knotted ball of worries, is the lesson God is showing me this moment.

I have a quote framed on my desk, “It’s okay to really enjoy life, right now, under these exact circumstances.”  I need these words today. Apparently, at one point in the last couple weeks, Lindsay did too. She texted me this quote, after seeing it on my desk.

Funny thing is, those words, I wrote. Here on the blog many months ago. This stuff doesn’t come from me, it comes through me. I am only the means, the motor, that pushes these keys. That message, was from a higher consciousness than my own. It didn’t come from my angry little pea brain.

When I put my mind on the nature of God, the channels are open wider, truth can flow. Possibility abounds. It is okay to really enjoy life, right now, under these exact circumstances, as hard as my mind may want to fight that idea, it is true.

When I think of the expansive ocean of God’s love, it feels more and more real. Drop me in the middle of that ocean today, My Lord. I want to be drenched and immersed and bouyant in the very calmness of mercy and grace and power… I am just a broken man, that wants to be held like a baby.


Aaron Nichols