The Walking Dead – gueSTARtist Michael

Michael Wright is a fellow member of Free Agent Academy and also one of my dearly important Accountability Partners. He kicks my butt and keeps me on track!

I wish you could hear this post as a spoken-word presentation. Just imagine the friendly honesty and slightly bashful politeness in the drawl of this Southern Gentleman as you read. Universal and self-reflective, this gueSTARtist post by Michael Wright, speaks to my heart. I think its a Must-Read. Please remember to comment, and show some appreciation for Michael’s open sharing of himself, with us, here at weirdforgood!! Enjoy!

The Walking Dead

 “There’s a lot of things that can kill a man
There’s a lot of ways to die
Yes, and some already dead that walk beside me…
Ray Lamontagne, song “Empty

I’ve loved the soulful voice of Ray Lamontagne since the first time I heard him sing “Trouble”.  This guy consistently busts out some amazing lyrics that really speak to me.   The line above from “Empty” really hit me as something so true, so valid – that there are so many “walking dead” that have given up on life.  I don’t mean they are depressed, suicidal or any of the like, but they have lost heart, are going through the motions, following the masses and walking a path that they unknowingly chose or was decided for them.  Their thought is that life is hard and thus are satisfied with working a job that only pays the bills, having a little fun on the weekend and never looking deeper into why they were put on this earth to start with.  And so, my question to myself has been – Am I one of them?

Growing up in a small, rural Georgia town, there was never any talk of your “calling” or purpose or anything of the like, much less the idea of following your passions.   Many from my town would follow the career path of their father or work in one of the local textile mills or car lots because they paid a decent wage for an decent day’s work.   Because my father thought all of his children should go to college, that’s what I did right out of high school.   However, there was no career counsel from him (he didn’t go to college) except to tell me that “computers are the future”.  I was 18 years old and on my own to choose a career that would set my work life in place for many years to come.  Pretty scary decision when you think about it for such a young naive guy.

In fact, my career path as an engineer was ultimately put in my head by a well meaning older man of our community who, unlike anyone else, actually gave me some career advice.  “Young man, you should be an electrical engineer.  My son’s one and he does really well.  That’s the way to go.” or something to that effect.   Unbeknownst to this gentleman, I was great at math, problem solving and science so getting into an engineering school and “making the grade” was not a problem.  But was that where my heart pounded with excitement, where I flourished and stayed up late wanting to know more about the latest developments at NASA or getting an Amateur Radio license and learning more about electromagnetics?  No, it wasn’t.

I loved music.  I’ve always loved it and flourished at it.   I was my school’s lead trombone player pretty much every day I sat in that class and I wasn’t even trying my hardest to do that.  I was always finding myself beating my desk or knee with a rhythm of a song I was thinking of or creating.  I still find myself doing it almost every day.  But my thought at age eighteen was that a degree in music turned you into a music teacher – and they for sure didn’t make good money.  So…Hello to not one, but two Engineering degrees!

So now, some 20 years later I find myself searching, longing for something more than the 9 to 5 paycheck that I was told back in college was the goal for all my hard study and efforts.   I believe firmly in the eternal life, but did I have to wait for heaven to find joy throughout my entire day?  Was being “alive” at work even possible on this Earth?  I mean – didn’t God curse the ground back in the Garden of Eden so all work from then on would be burdensome?  Well, not exactly…

I began to hear of people that actually got excited in their professions, those who enjoyed getting up in the morning in order to see what opportunities the day offered them, and what they could offer the world in return.   I saw people who searched and found the calling and driving forces that made them come alive.  What made these people so ALIVE?   Well, first and foremost, I discovered that they KNOW WHO THEY ARE.  In short, they have looked inside and thought deeply about how God wired them, what they excelled at and what kinds of environments they enjoyed the most.  Then, they took a step of faith and walked on the path that was made just for them.  Not that they had all the answers, but they knew enough and wanted to live in freedom at work enough that they kept on asking, seeking and knocking while the walked.   I envied these folks and I wanted what they had – a life of joy in my work!

But I knew if I tried this alone I couldn’t make; I’d done that before.  I needed a gathering of like minded folks and that is where Free Agent Academy ( is changing things for me.  It was here I found seasoned experts in the areas of Calling, Wired-styles and Business Ideas that were in such a progression that it is helping me understand myself FIRST, before I just try to go “make some money”.  It really focuses on helping a person find their “why” first instead of looking for “what”.  It is here I have found support and encouragement for my current work life and career calling that is spurring me onwards to a deeper level of awareness of why I’m here to begin with.

I ran across a passage from Psalms 89:17 today that I’d never noticed before and it reinforced that God is in our work and we are not alone – I hope you meditate upon it and know that every part of our life (work included) is ordained by God as part of his beautiful plan for us as we journey together.

“May the favor of the Lord our God rest upon us;
establish the work of our hands for us-
yes, establish the work of our hands.”

 – Sincerely,

Michael Wright

Not a sermon, simply good information…

******** AMENDMENT ********

Ha!! This is a little embarrassing 🙂 Because I was so touched by this article, I was moving quickly to the point of getting it reposted on this blog. I made a mistake in attributing the writing to Uncle Stan 🙂 Actually this piece is called “Seven Things You Must Give to Others if You Want to Achieve Success!” and written By 

I will leave the post in place, as I initially posted, and I apologize for the misunderstanding!

Thanks for being here at!

******** AMENDMENT ********

My uncle Stan took a moment to email out philosophies on life last week (see Amendment above)… Hmmm, guess I know of one place I get it from! He’s allowed me to post it up here 🙂 Are you willing to share your inner thoughts with the world?? Does that seem weird to you? Well that’s exactly what we do here! Enjoy!! And THANKS to William Stanley Nichols – I love YA!!!

Not a sermon, simply good information………..

A major part of the process of achieving success and living the kind of life that you dream of is to give. Many people think that to get what you want you have to take it. There is a universal truth though that the true path to get what you want is to give. When you give, you get. What you sow, you shall reap. If this is true, then what is it we must give?

Give Others Your Honesty. The world we live in has a simple rule that most follow: Lie when you have to. Unfortunately, this may make some people wealthy but it make us humans poor. To achieve success is to become wealthy not only in money, but in character. To be successful, truly successful, is to be able to attain your goals and keep your character at the same time!…

How about you? Are you honest in all things? The problem with little lies is they become big ones. Lies spin out of control. You get caught in one lie and you lie to get out of it etc. In all things and at all times, give others your honesty.

Give Others Your Respect. Most of the time we give people respect based on what they have done or what they have accomplished. We gauge whether or not they are “worthy” of it based on what we know of what they have achieved or who they know or are related to.
But I believe we should have a higher standard: We respect people not for what they have done or for who they are related to or for what they can do for us. Instead, we respect people for simply being.…

Give Others Your Vulnerability. We are taught to “be strong.” And yes, we should be strong. But we have also embraced something that I think keeps us from having the kind of life that we long for. It is an idea that keeps us from experiencing the kind of relationships that would bring deep meaning to us. It is the idea of vulnerability.…

“But, make yourself vulnerable and people will step all over you!” It is true that this will happen. But we have also seen that most people will be drawn to you. They will help you. They will open up to you. You see, we are all broken people inside. We all have secrets. Yet everyone plays the poser. When one let’s down their veil, others soon follow—and we all win.

Give Others Your Care. Too many people are running around this old earth not caring about others. The days of “Look Out for Number One” and “Winning Through Intimidation” are over! Let’s bring about a new day when we can care about others and succeed!

Take the time to show people you care. Listen to them. Empathize with them. Love them. Now, I don’t mean that you have to go around hugging everyone—that probably wouldn’t fly in corporate America anyway—but we can take some time to step back from business and be human! And I have found that when we do so, our business succeeds as well!

Give Others Your Passion. There is nothing this world needs more than passionate people. And people need passionate people. Living in this day and age can be tiring. The hustle and bustle of it all can wear you down and tire you out. Give your passion to others and fire them up.

Don’t just be humdrum—be excited. Give people all the energy you can muster up. And you will find that energy reciprocal. They will get energized and passionate. This in turn will fire you up more when you are already charged and get you going altogether when you don’t feel like moving at all!

Give Others Your Experience. We all have areas that we excel in and they are usually areas that we have experience in. One of the things we can do to make our lives more meaningful and be of utmost help to others is to show them the way through the experiences we have.

Sometimes it will be what they should do: Shortcuts to take, people to meet etc. Sometimes it will be what they should not do: Shortcuts not to take and people to stay away from! Whatever it is, we can be of service to others by giving them our experience and ultimately it will make us all better!

Give Others Your Help. All in all, what we want to do is to help others. Zig Ziglar says that if we will “help others get what they want, we will in turn get what we want.” If we want to be successful, we should consider ourselves servants of other people. What can we do to help them and make them better? This is the true path to greatness and success, not only in business but in life!

written By 

Single Mom Quits Using “No” – Kids Quit Misbehaving; Get to Live

Welcome to the very first “gueSTARtist” post on!!

I met Lisa in the summer of 2010 at a luau-style barbeque in Denver, Co. The sun was shining, the burgers were sizzling, and with tons of families around, you can imagine the loud laughter of a gang of kids cavorting around the back yard. Just as the running, jumping and shrieking of the children reached the annoyance level, this amazing mother quietly mentioned a few words to her kiddos and they transformed in front of my eyes into a slower-motioned, quieted and yes, still happy couple of angels! I was Stunned. Here’s the story of how she made “the Turn” into a strong and loving single-parent… Read her post and please leave her your comments on a fantastically honest and open sharing of her innermost experiences. Thanks for being here at weirdforgood!

– Aaron

My name is Lisa.  I am a 28 year old full-time single mom of one boy (5yr) and one girl (7yr).  Today, I’ll tell you they are the loves of my life and they’re what keeps me going every day.  Four years ago, it was a different story.  I adore my kids, and always have, but there was a time in my family where things were so out of control, I wasn’t sure we were going to make it.

I grew up with both my parents, but through TV and some of my friends, I saw what life was like for the typical single mom.   It meant always struggling to make ends meet; being pitied for your situation and going without dinner most nights so there’d be enough for the kids to eat.  When I found myself in the life of a single mom, I lived that way for a while too, buying into the “normal” pitfalls of a single mom.  I struggled financially, with finding the balance between work and home and trying to keeping my patience with my kids.  I was at a loss for how to handle my children and this new lifestyle. Sadly, it was my son and daughter who felt the short end of my exhausted patience.

All this newfound stress and my decision, made early on in my life, not to spank, led me to becoming a yeller.  I would yell at my kids for everything they did and didn’t do. From putting or not putting on jammies to yelling because they were laughing too loud in the car. Taking them out in public was worse.  It was out of control. The kids would be running around and I would be hollering at them to knock it off. Or they were sitting in the cart crying because I’d yelled and put them there to contain them.  I hated being a yeller, but I was lost and had no clue what else to do.  Now, I do love my children and even as I was yelling, I would be thinking to myself “This is not okay. This is not how you treat your children!”  I needed help, but was too ashamed to tell anyone.

People were always saying how strong I was, and what a great mom I was, though I knew better. I knew what went on when no one was looking; what I didn’t want anyone to know.  To me, admitting I was failing in private as a parent, would mean admitting I’d failed at motherhood altogether.  Each time I yelled or snapped or got angry at my kids, I could see the pain I was causing, and it devastated me.  I spent many, many nights crying myself to sleep, hating who I was and what I was doing to my kids.  Little did I know it was all going to change…

My daughter is incredibly strong-willed and opinionated; traits I would admit she got from me.  By the age of 3, she had mastered the skills of pushing my buttons, to suck me into an argument, where she could battle tenaciously.  Arguments with my daughter almost always ended up in screaming matches and tears between her and I. Neither of us were willing to give in to the other.  Because of these arguments, I was scared to death of taking my kids out in public.  I feared I may even lose them if someone witnessed a meltdown in a store or restaurant, because they would finally see the terrible mom I thought I was. So, we hardly ever went out, and when we did, I always gave in to her to avoid a yelling match.

One night, a dear friend of mine witnessed what I had been able to successfully hide for some time.  He watched in disbelief as my daughter and I reduced each other to tears in a screaming match in the living room.  I don’t even remember what we were arguing about, but I remember hearing my voice in my head saying “you suck!  What kind of mom screams at her child?  Who teaches their kid that it is okay to treat people this way?”  I also remember my 1-year-old son standing around the corner behind my daughter, watching her and I screaming and arguing.  In that instant, my mind flooded with memories of an ex-boyfriend.  He was an abuser and a yeller.  I thought back to how his parents treated each other, and realized behavior like that is learned.  I thought about my ex-husband (their father), and his parents, how he treated me the same way.  My heart shattered as I realized I was teaching my son to be just like those men.  I collapsed to the floor, heaving and sobbing, and all I could think was “I’m done, no more.”  I was exhausted physically, mentally and spiritually.

It was at that point my friend, who had been standing there in silence, stepped in.  He calmed my daughter and son while putting both to bed.  I sat in the living room, trying to understand my racing thoughts.  I was being selfish, that’s what I finally decided; my children deserved someone far better than I would ever be and it was plain selfishness that I was keeping them with me.  When my friend came back out, I told him everything I was thinking: I was unfit to be a mother.  I was teaching my children awful behavior and I couldn’t even find a balance to enjoy being around them.  I was certain the best thing I could do for them was have Social Services find them a home with a great mom like they deserved, and I was tragically serious.

His response was not what I expected at all… he agreed with me, and that I was having issues! But then he challenged me; telling me about a parenting class called Love and Logic that had changed his life.  I’d taken a court-mandated class for my divorce before, “been there, done that, SOOO not helpful” was all I could say.  He laughed and explained that if I would agree to take the full six weeks of class and really truly try it at home, he’d go back through the class with me.  I was certain I’d be ruining my children’s lives for another six weeks, but I wanted nothing more than to keep them in my life and be what they deserved.  In a desperate attempt to salvage my family, I agreed to go.

Over the next month and a half, I learned all about Parenting with Love and Logic and it “Turned” out to be the salvation of our family. The first task assigned to me was to pick just one technique and master it.  The first skill they taught was about giving choices rather than commands.  It was an interesting concept, but I wasn’t ready to buy into something so foreign yet.  It was the second week that turned my world upside down; each time one of my kids argued with me I was to repeat one phrase over and over until they quit…

“Love you too much to argue with you sweetie!”

Read those words again.

“Love you too much to argue with you sweetie!”

It was that response that hit me to my core, brought tears to my eyes in the middle of class, because I finally got it.  I truly did love my kids too much to want to waste our time together yelling and arguing!  In practice with the kids, I started out great. Like a broken record, I kept repeating the same phrase over and over. By the end of the second week, I began to feel like a failure. I was ALWAYS saying it.  Then one night, when I thought all was lost and I couldn’t keep my composure anymore, my world shifted…

I was standing in the kitchen preparing dinner…  My daughter walks in…

Daughter (peering up over the counter edge): “Whatcha doin?”

Me: “I’m making dinner.  It’ll be ready and we’ll eat in just a few minutes.”

Daughter (whining): “but I’m hungry right now!”

Me (takes a big breath to ready myself for another battle): “Oh, love you too much to argue with you honey”

I was dreading having to repeat that phrase until I thought I might throw up! As I finished my response, I saw her anger boiling up… Those little fists clenched to the point of turning her knuckles white… Her nose and eyes were scrunched as her face turned red…  Then, she picked up her small little foot, stomped it down with all her might, shouted “DANGIT!!” and stormed off.

I stood in stunned SILENCE… there was No Argument!  She was looking for one and I squashed it on the first try!   It worked! This little phrase that I was sure would make me vomit the next time I had to say it, really worked!  There was no yelling, there was no more me being the bad guy who always says no; it was one phrase and we were finished!

Throughout the remaining four weeks I learned how to interact with my kids better. I implemented effective techniques that replaced the futile and painful wars of yelling. More importantly, I was learning how to properly teach my kids to be strong and confident adults.  I was no longer saying “No” all the time; and when I stopped saying “no” they started to behave!   Now, when we go out to dinner or shopping (events I used to dread and avoid) people comment on how well-mannered my children are.  I find myself laughing and enjoying their company as we grow together as a family.  Looking at where we are today, it is worth every awkward and new step I took to get here.  Each time I apply a L&L counter-intuitive technique, the normal me says its wrong and I should just take control of my children but I don’t want to be normal any more.

I have now applied this realization to my whole life.  I will not be told what I am capable of doing simply because I am a single mom.  After my “Turn”, I started saying “watch me” when normal said I couldn’t do it.  Normal said “you’ll always be living paycheck to paycheck.”  I said “watch me” as I paid off all my debt.  Normal said “you’ll never get out of that tiny apartment.” I said “watch me” as I closed on my first home.  Normal said “you’ll never be a great mom, you’ll always struggle and they’re going to be problem children.”  I said “watch me” and became a Love and Logic Facilitator; to share the gift I’d been given.  I want other moms, single or not, to know they aren’t failures, and we all face challenges as a parent; the first step is admitting it, then getting outside of what we think we know is right and trying something new.

I am no longer ashamed people know I struggle sometimes.  Normal says it’s shameful to admit you need help…I said “watch me” and have been facing and embracing my imperfections ever since.   I am no longer embarrassed to be a single mom.  I do not shy away when people pity me but instead tell them I am not a victim and there is no shame in who I am and how my family is.  This is me and I will continue to live my life making “the Turn” whenever it presents itself.  I will live my life telling normal to “watch me” as I continue being weird for good!