Category Archives: Living Life

The past 12 months

The past 12 months

Wow a lot has happened in the past 12 months. Some good, some bad, and some of it ok. We scheduled on a routine removal of a 4 centimeter polyp October 29th, 2013. The night before was a typical and predictable night before surgery no food or drink after 12:00 midnight. I was a smoker and I smoked my last cigarette that night. We went to bed thinking that it would be a quick in and out and life would return to normal.

On our way to the hospital for the surgery roughly 5:30 AM Suzy and I chatted. We had no idea what was around the corner. All I can say is Suzy is one of the strongest women I have ever known and will ever know and I am ecstatic that she is in my corner and in my world. After the surgery we discovered that they found cancer in my colon. They removed 22 lymph nodes and 21 of them were cancerous. There was more left inside the colon. However we still had no idea concerning how severe and impacted our lives would become.

The next 5 days in the hospital recovering from colon surgery the surgeon kept on saying; we did not catch it in time? I kept asking what that means. The surgeon would repeat himself saying we did not catch it in time. No one could tell me what that meant. Every time I have an appointment with him, he repeats that phrase and every time I ask what that means. During the hospital stay I did not know if I would be coming home from the hospital and I still do not know today what we did not catch it in time means. All I know is here am I today.

After being released from the hospital we were advised to meet with an oncologist. We were extremely lucky with the person we chose. The choice was random. We met with a local oncologist that we really liked. However every place we visited suggested that we get a second opinion. There is a cancer help facility that has volunteers and they pushed hard for us to visit a cancer institute in Tampa to receive a 2nd opinion. Finally after a few months of this particular place pushing for a 2nd opinion I said ok. Suzy and I set the appointment and sat with an oncologist from this center. This fellow sat in the middle of the room slouched in a chair and asked: what do you know. We told him, he said WRONG. He said you have a 5% chance of survival. He also made it perfectly clear that the oncologist was not doing what she should have been doing. He told us his diagnostics and what he would be doing differently than our present oncologist and if I expected to live I would be with him.

Obviously we had many questions and many more that could not be answered. Tic toc, tic toc, time ticking and slipping away. There was and is so many things that we want to do, know, and now we discovered there is not enough time for us to complete the bucket list. If you get anything out of this forget the bucket list for the future. Start fulfilling your bucket list now your future is now. When your decision is to wait the wait may never mature into the right choice.

We drove home that long lonely Thursday night, the hour and half seemed like an eternity. It was the longest drive I think we have ever made. Both Suzy and I cried most of the way home. We were not sure what we were going to do or how we would break this to our adult children. Then we decided to wait until the following Monday when we would be visiting with our original oncologist. Sometimes the best thing is to sit and relax before making decisions that you believe are life changing .

Friday afternoon while walking I had an epiphany that hit me square in the jaw. I started to analyze the original oncologist statements and this new person we visited on Thursday. When you are in that situation you reach for whatever is available to change the circumstances. However the circumstances did not need changed. My direction and beliefs went back to the original oncologist’s remarks and diagnostics. When I arrived home Suzy had the same idea. How could we possibly allow someone that did not know, understand, or was vested in our wellbeing adjust our thought process.

Finally Monday arrived, our tears were dry by now and emotionally we were spent. Our emotional stance dressed our bodies. I dislike when a customer seeks a second opinion from me. I can only imagine how a Doctor feels. I explained what I had done by getting second opinion. We have a fantastic oncologist. She looked at us and said I work for you. If I missed something I am more than happy to get you in a treatment that is better for you. We love her spirit, her professionalism, and her caring attitude. Her name is Janice Eakles and we trust her explicitly. Better yet we have entrusted her with my life which should explain everything that you may want to know about her ability.

Here is what we found: The second oncologist from Tampa was making a diagnostic on 3 month old data. Second he recommended a treatment that destroyed cells that were rebuilding the area of my colon that had undergone surgery. His prescribed treatment would have destroyed my colon and not allowed it to heal. Who knows what he meant by a 5% chance of living? This man tried to convince us that our world had stopped spinning and it was time for me to step off.

We have consumed a full year brawling all the way with aggressive treatments. Having a year under our belts is huge especially when I did not know if I would be coming home from the hospital. I did not know if I would be there for my granddaughter’s birthday in February, or Valentine’s Day, our kid’s birthday. It has been an extremely tough year for Suzy and me. You know what, we made it and now are looking forward to next year. We forgot a major force in our lives and that is God. When it is our time it is our time decided by God and no man has control over our destination and will not determine time. Through faith our strength and resolve became so strong and has led us to where we stand today. We are now so much better prepared for the future. We have discovered that we and more specifically myself am ready and ok with the end. However at this time I am not ready and have more to do.

Over the past 12 months I have noticed my tolerance of people and their stupid remarks has dropped considerably. I cannot believe how many people try to reduce things to the ridiculous which helps no one and is of no value. What each person requires are people that surround them that add value and are valuable to the growth and wisdom that is necessary to live each day. I am no longer interested in how a person reacts when they should sit back and respond. I no longer am tolerant of people who see the same results yet they continue to repeat the same activates then deny that another idea or concept will not work in their circumstance. Stop being afraid to accept change especially when change is the exact answer to your circumstances. The problem is whether you change or not is your choice and it is amazing how badly some people choose.

What is amazing is we do not know when the end is near. We can speculate but then again why would you want to know? There is too much to share especially the events that have happened in everyone’s life to date is more exciting than discussing the things you may or may not have the ability to experience. Decide to live each day as if it were your last. Express gratitude by professing your faith in God, articulating how valuable and important your family is to you and the unconditional love that surrounds the family. Then lastly to have continued gratefulness for the people that encircle you. It is extremely important to remove all obstacles and negative people from immediate environment. There is absolutely no reason or rhyme why you should endure people that are not happy or joyful.

Richard Hilliard
Practice Better Business



What Makes you Happy?

What Makes you Happy?

Over the past few years I have had the pleasure and opportunity to meet so many really cool and nice people in the construction service industry. At times I wonder what stipulates happy for many people. Happy means something different to each person. This screams injustice, happy should be unconditional. Happy is a way to live. Happy is a choice. It is extremely elusive for many people.

Frequently happy is fleeting and temporary. Could this be a byproduct of our time and conditions we live in and choose. Why do so many people allow happy to arrive with materialistic things that are easily forgotten or broken? Do we spend too much time with meaningless stuff and not enough time with the things in life that bring real happiness and joy? Can this be applied to our professional life? Who said work cannot be filled with joy? What is stopping you? Do you take it for granted and let it slip away?

Have you ever met a person that just has it? Out of the corner of their eye is a sparkle that shines like a bright star. There laugh brings laughter to you. They live a life of positive actions. They live a life of purpose. Their job is not their purpose. Bringing joy to others is their purpose. Living a life that is not centered on the individual but centered on faith is the driving force of joyfulness. This life is driven to try and live a life that is Christ centered. They bring this way of life to their professional life.

Living a life that is Christ centered leads you to serving others. It is living a life of grace that means giving multiple chances. This means living a life where others are important. It is more than doing good deeds. It is doing the right things for the right reasons while serving. This trades happy for something greater than just happy. The tradeoff for you is you receive JOY. I prefer to call it the pay off.

How can you work this into your professional life? A better question is how you can work this into your professional life when you have people biting at your ankles telling you not to bring this to your customers. Why take a chance to offend your customer. Not everyone believes in your God or Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. Don’t bring that stuff around here. It is time to stop denying your faith or spirituality.

A wise man controls his temper. He knows anger can make mistakes. This tells us to remain calm and in control despite what a customer states. Frequently customers say things that may seem irresponsible and over the top. Relax and understand why it was stated. Look at it from a different point of view.

Teach a wise man and he will become wiser; teach a good man, and he will learn more. This can be you learning to do your job at a much higher level. Apply this to your professional life and your customer and soon you will discover amazing and remarkable things will start to happen for you..

Determination is the first step towards becoming wise. And with your wisdom, develop common sense and good judgment. You must commit to setting goals that will drive you to use the wisdom you have gained by learning new practices that leads to good judgment with your choices. Appling this to your customers will create a day that you will not forget. Your customers will have the ability to make decisions that best fits this budget and life style.

Truth stands the test of time, lies are soon exposed. Your words and actions must be aligned with each other. When they are not you are standing exposed and primed for failure. At all times you must stand with the highest integrity where ethics and honesty are your driving force that will give you astonishing results.

The intelligent man is always open to new ideas. In fact, he looks for them. With an open mind you have now opened an uncontrollable realm open for discovery. With this open mind you must commit to an action to implement the wealth of information you have received.

By allowing God into your daily life all of the above is possible. The first sentences in the past 5 paragraphs are scriptures that you can apply for very successful business practices. The wonderful thing is it does not matter if you are religious or not they are still fantastic ideas for a successful life of JOY. Stop being damaged goods and decide today to start to get all the advice you can and be wise the rest of your life.
These things will help you achieve true joy in your life. Joy lasts; where happiness is fleeting and typically is measured by monetary things in life. True joy drives you’re your actions that in turn can be spread to others by just a smile, kind act, or the service you provide to and for others. Joy frequently will bring you many moments in your lifetime versus waiting for a few moments in your life.

How can you achieve joyfulness? How can you achieve explosive joyfulness? Would you rather be happy or have explosive joyfulness? When will you accept the opportunity to discover and grab explosive joyfulness? How can you and will you apply this simple concept to your daily life? How can you add this to your professional life? How can you include your customers, co-workers, or associates?
It is time to stop being afraid of things that are not fearful. Open the door and allow these wonderful things in your life that will create a greater chance t make the right choices in your life and professional careers.

Good Intentions are not always good.

Good intentions

It never ceases to amaze me the main issue with sales in the construction industry it is affected by a lack of communication. The service technician has this awesome feeling that they are communicating effectively when in fact they are speaking a totally different language than the customer is speaking.

I do believe they are in America speaking English however the version is way different and is several meanings dissimilar than expected. The sales service technician has this belief that they are on the same page and just cannot understand why the customer is having a difficult time understanding.

As an example; in our area we must pull permits for water heater installs. This includes new or replacement gas or electric water heaters. With the install it is required that an electrical upgrade is necessary and a licensed electrician is required to do the work. A sub- contractor form is required and it is extra and above the cost of the plumbing permit and install.

Customers may hear they need an electrical upgrade. This does not mean they understand what that means and is extra which means it is not included with the plumbing install or costs. The plumbing service technician (Plumber) mentions it as a matter of fact due to it not being their concern or included in their work scope. However it is a huge concern as it impacts the cost and sale of the water heater plus your reputation.

After the customer and you have come to agreement the main concern is how we get this started. The customer must sign on the dotted line and your plumbing total is on the bottom of the paperwork. The customer somehow has the belief that is the total amount. Again this does not include the cost of the electrical upgrade.

Without clear and concise communication the customer will always and I do imply always think you are adding to the invoice or paperwork. They believe that you are misleading them, the customer. They believe that you are cheating them and forcing them to do things that are not necessary. Why, because they were not crystal clear with your communication that left ambiguity and doubt with the work scope and bottom line.

This is not done on purpose however there is a subliminal message why this happens. The subliminal message is; the service technician (Plumber) is afraid the extra money may impede the sale and prevent it from moving along. Hence the need and urgency to install the heater and then deal with repercussions that is misunderstood. In most cases this is not done on purpose. The service technician (Plumber) really believes the customer understands the extra work scope that is above and beyond the plumbing work.

It is essential that the plumber or any construction Industry sales service technician communicate properly all costs associated with their work. It should appear on the paperwork as work that is not included on their quote or paperwork. In the case of the electrical upgrade on a water heater should appear like this on the paperwork; All electrical upgrade work to be completed by a licensed electrician and investment to (name of the owner). This quote includes the plumbing work only. No ambiguity in that statement.

Many service technicians in HVAC, electrical, plumbing, painting, windows, flooring, or any other construction service industry business have great difficulty deciphering the affects of extras that can or will influence customer decisions. Sometimes the service technicians experience level affects the knowledge and ability to look 3 dimensional and locate all the different stages of the install and sale. Once again it is not done on purpose and it is an honest mistake unless it begins to become habitual.

Every day you get 86,400 seconds a day. You cannot carry these seconds from one day to the next. You cannot save any of this time nor can you add it to today. You can decide to be a difference maker and I like to call that a moment maker or you can wait for moments to happen. Remember you have 86,400 seconds in day. It is time to become a moment maker and make a difference in your customer’s life.

Your words and actions determine your character that will influence other people’s actions and reactions. You must distinguish right from wrong, how to find the right decision every time and increase the customer’s confidence that you will do what is right for him or her.

The above is called wisdom. Wisdom will make hours of your day more profitable and the years of your life more fruitful. Wisdom is its own reward, and if you scorn her, you hurt yourself. When you do what is right and just your customer will benefit from your wisdom, knowledge, and have trust in your ability to influence decisions. Communicate effective with words that influence and call the customer to action.

Practice Better Business

Surrender your Past for a New Present

Don't give up

Surrender your Past for a New Present

As some of you by now understand during the past few months our lives have been life changing. At times it has been exhausting, challenging, and tedious stretches that could become a distraction towards normal life and at other times exceedingly emotional. To date we have been able to place a handle on the change with great effort. I am extremely happy and grateful that we have not had to do this on our own.

The supporting cast we have is immense. They have helped in ways that we cannot express. With all of the close support it is extremely important to have strangers in our lives that have become part of the supporting system. I know from experience that we would have never been able to diagnose an issue without a stranger among the supporting cast. People that are close to a situation sometimes have a difficult time separating what is real from what looks like it is real. Once it became a reality for us and me it became easier to contain and defeat.

There are a lot of terrific places such as Center for Building Hope located in Lakewood Ranch, Florida. This is an all-volunteer facility that is specifically for cancer patients and victims. They give aid to care givers to help them on this journey. The volunteers are special people that have generous and caring ways that spread mercy to every individual that walks through their doors. The Center for Building Hope can only do so much and they do so very much. Sometimes more is necessary.

I went in search of Christian Faith based support system in Sarasota, Florida. My faith is what has propelled me to where I am now. I could not locate a Christian Faith Based source via the local community or an on line presence. Next I started to contact local churches to discover what they were doing or could do. Many churches do not have the facilities to offer this kind of support. Still many others do not have the experience and ability to work or communicate with people that have or are living in a situation where they may be terminal or having problems that affects every day living. There are so little resources for these churches to educate themselves or discover just how to speak to people that are sick, in a huge depression, or a disease that they will always carry for the rest of their lives, which could possibly end up being the death of that individual.

I cannot express in words how important our faith has been for and to us. Without our faith each of us individually would not be as strong collectively. We were able to gain strength by asking for help from Jesus. We were able to gain guidance by asking for it and calmness quickly overcame us in times of deep questions and during the emotional out bursts. It is impossible to understand how comforting the word of God is until your faith is tested and grows stronger.

I have learned so much over the past few months and am grateful for the opportunity to have learned what I have in such a short time. In the past I allowed others to convince me that my faith should be hidden from others so they would not be offended. What a huge mistake. When you allow business and greed to determine your faith there are more issues than faith being placed in a closet? I understand that our actions and words should align with one another and that should show people our faith. That is not enough; this does not mean you must preach to another person about your faith. Your faith is not a wall to hide behind. When people have a problem with your faith it is not you that has the problem it is them and they must learn to deal with their problem. You can help, however it is not your job to hide your faith so you do not offend him or her. I found I need my faith and it did not abandon me when I needed it the most.
John 4.14 But the water I give them, he said, “becomes a perpetual spring within them, watering them forever with eternal life”.

I have a passion to organize a support system for people in need. At times I understood I wanted to speak to someone and just talk, other times I just needed a hug, and still at times I just needed someone to listen. I also understand we are affected by our past with what we have seen, what we have heard and what we have done. With this knowledge we can help you discover spiritual joy and healing. What I did receive from quite few of my friends were scriptures that were sources of inspiration that I could relate to in those scriptures. With the grace of God guiding us we will have success and inspiration.

1 Corinthians 3.22-23: They lifted me up and placed me on top versus on the side of the road. He has given you all of the present and all of the future. All are yours, and you belong to Christ, and Christ is God’s.

Something that is of great importance to me, this is Christian Faith Based and it is not my problem if you are opposed to religion or you are not a Christian. Opposing Christian beliefs and core values is your issue. You are welcomed to attend and participate in a positive manner. However if you would like to have spiritual support this is where you will have the opportunity to discuss Christian events that are relevant and important to your spiritual wellbeing. Let us get involved. It is essential to get involved and help others who have discovered themselves in the same kind of situation I found myself involved in the past to modify the future.

If you find yourself in a situation where you are no longer in control, your life has changed drastically and you find yourself not adapting to the change and you need to talk. Please do not hesitate to reach out and connect with me. I want to share my Christian Faith and if I cannot guide you there are 2 ministers that are graciously willing to help. Together we can ask God to help and if we listen we will know where to go. When you need to speak you can contact me through my web page email, phone, or Skype with me. I would love to have the ability to start a local community support group. We have a place to start. Soon we will have a Facebook page.

Please feel free to share this with your blog, Facebook page, LinkedIn account or any other account to reach as many people as we can reach. Thank you so very much for reaching out and supporting those in need.

show this world that mercy is alive

Now’s the time for us to rise
and carry hope and let love shine
and show this world that mercy is alive

Now’s the time for us to rise
and carry hope to hopeless eyes
and show this world that mercy is alive
I like this lyric in a song called The Church that holds a lot of meaning and speaks to me. It told me with this disease that I have that I cannot look at things I will not have. What I have to look at are the things that I have or that I’ve experienced. When I look at the things that I have experienced I am joyful. When you waste your time looking at things, you may miss; life becomes hard and very disenchanting.

I am extremely grateful, thankful, and lucky I have had the opportunity to spend the past 33 years with Suzy. I am going to be a little, no, a lot selfish that I have Suzy to help travel this new road. I am grateful and extremely proud of Allison, Ashley, and James our children. How each of them have grown in their own way while starting their lives moving forward with positive decisions that reflect on their past. Allison and Barney gave Suzy and I an amazing gift and that gift is Harper Ann our beautiful brown eyed granddaughter. Having the amazing opportunity to watch her run to us, start speaking in complete sentences, and her uncontrollable smile that turns any storm into a peaceful easy feeling is a blessing.

And now is the time for us to rise and proclaim our faith. It is left up to us to show others that there is more to life and hope is major. Without hope you cannot see past tomorrow when you need to live for today. We must show this world, our neighborhood, our community with faith mercy is alive.

We have had our share of battles that is for sure. The trials and tribulations that each family has the opportunity to cruise in and out of have come and gone and we have survived. The same with each and every family they must decide where they will spend their time. We decided many years ago to spend our time not worrying about regret but live rejoicing the hard times learning to side step some wrong steps and in some cases the choice was perfect.

We thank our family, friends, and extended friends that have shown their love, support and prayers. It is truly overwhelming to know we have a wonderful support system to lean on from time to time. We have a very optimistic approach at this time we are going in the right direction. Each day we get stronger in all ways with our love, faith, and physical abilities. Thank you so very much for your strength and May God bless and watch over you.

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