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Rusty's Corner: 5 Things I've Learned from The Master's

Fifteen years ago, I had a small idea. I wanted to create a landscape company that people loved doing business with. I knew that there were a lot of landscape companies in town but I thought that we could make a difference in the community by being hyper-focused on our client's needs. A decade and a half later, some of those clients are still with us today! I've been blessed (and humbled) with a great deal of lessons in these past 15 years, and I thought today I'd share some of what I've learned from 15 years in business:

1. Treat your clients well
Everyone wants to know what the "secret sauce" in business is. To be honest, it's really not much of a secret! I have found that having raving fans that have loved their experience with your company help get you loyal clients, word of mouth referrals, and an overall positive name around town. When we mess up - and I assure you it's going to happen, we're all human after all - we own it and try our best to...

Rusty's Corner: Being Thankful in Hard Times

I lost my father at a young age - 16 years old to be exact. Before he passed, there was no warning or preparation time. It was sudden and unexpected. It was truthfully my first real challenge in life, and I was understandably really struggling with this. I was heartbroken and full of questions and hurt that this man who was so important to me could be taken so quickly.

Some time later I was fortunate enough to hear some words that helped me see a different perspective. In a conversation someone told me that they had struggled with some of the same frustrations and pain, not from losing a father, but because they had never gotten the chance to meet their father. They told me that Instead of being angry and focusing on that, they chose to focus on the gift of having been provided such a great mother instead. It didn't change the circumstances, but it changed their way of seeing them. And that brought some comfort and peace.

This single conversation really helped shift...

Lessons from 2018

Another year has flown by! I like to start the year reflecting on the big lessons that I need to carry with me into the new year. Here are the top 5 lessons I've learned, in my business and in my person life, that I'll try to stay mindful of in 2019.

It goes by so quickly. This is one I am even more acutely aware of as the father of a now one year old son who seems to grow by leaps and bounds. There is so much to take in and we have to stop and make sure to enjoy and appreciate it all.

Don't let failure go to your heart, or success go to your head. I've been blessed in my business and my personal life to have a lot of wins, and I've been humbled by some losses. I will try to stay focused on the middle ground where it's more slow and more steady, rather than those extremes.

Whatever you do, do it with intention. It doesn't matter as much what goals we set for ourselves, rather how intentional we are...

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Deepest Gratitude

I try my best to practice gratitude not just now, but throughout the year. I try to be mindful of the blessings in my life. I have a wonderful family including my wife and my one year old son, some wonderful friends and of course this organization. The Master's has been fortunate in 2018 to experience growth on our team and on our list of clients. We recently relocated to a new location to accommodate this growth.

I am deeply aware that this growth and success is 100% in thanks to our clients throughout the years who have chosen The Master's Lawn Care and trusted us to care for their yards. In this season of Thanksgiving I send the deepest appreciation on behalf of the entire TMLC team for your support. It is our honor to serve you and we will do our best to continue to earn your trust every day. Wishing you a holiday filled with family, peace and friendship!

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Disconnecting to Connect Better

How many times a day do you get interrupted by a text message, new e-mail, or social media message? If you're anything like me, I don't want to even imagine the number.

What about just in the time between arriving home in the evening and going to bed? For me, it's too embarrassing for me to answer and too high to actually count.

We live in a world where we are more connected and available than ever, but at what cost?

For me, the reality is that it is at the cost of my family - time with my amazing bride and son.

After realizing this (thanks to the UncomMen Bible study), I asked if our family could have a dinner without any electronics. No TV, phones, tablets, or laptops. It was the best conversation we've had in months, and it was just about the day's activities. We disconnected, and actually found our family was more connected.

What can you do this week to connect more with what's most important?

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Direction, Not Intentions, Determines Your Destination

How many times do we end up in a different area of life than where we intended to go? I know I do all the time. In my health, my relationship with my family, my business, my finances - so many areas that I intend to move one way, but I drift off the path and end up elsewhere entirely.

This quote Andy Stanley used really summed it up perfectly. "Your direction, not your intention, determines your destination." Regardless of my intentions, I have to choose the proper direction, action, or next steps to land at the destination I want. So simple, yet so true.

I intend to have an amazing marriage, but I am so impatient sometimes. I intend to be healthy, but that pizza sure does sound tasty. I intend to save money, but that new mountain bike sure looks nice. On and on it goes. Actions, what you actually do, day in and day out, is what is really going to take you where you want to go.

Simplifying is better than Optimizing

I could spend hours pouring over spending choices to make sure I'm optimizing where every penny goes, but the time invested may not always be worth the effort. For example, I just spent over an hour searching 8 different websites to save $9.32 on a hotel!

Ten minutes spent to distinguish between a bad deal and a good one is time well spent. However, hours spent to distinguish between a great deal and marginally better one deal is wasted effort. (Like my habit of searching for gas stations to save .03 per gallon!) Rather than obsessing over the optimal choice in every situation, simplify so there's more time to focus on the decisions that matter. Simplifying doesn't mean not improving. It's intentionally making the choice to decide what's good enough, focus there, and forget the rest.

Reduce stress, free more energy, and open up your time for what's most important. When I added everything up, the small savings on the hotel just wasn't worth an hour missed with my wife...

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Extending Grace to Others

A few different images might spring to mind when you hear the word "grace". For some of us it can be the grace of a ballerina as she moves with elegance and precision. For others, you may envision a family gathered before a meal saying a prayer of gratitude. Today we are using 'grace' as a verb. To give grace is to extend consideration, patience, and goodwill to someone who may not have earned it.

Life moves fast these days and I, like many of us, find patience to be a challenge at times. I struggle with the impulse to give criticism, to quietly judge, and find others' timelines not suitable to my own. I am impatient in situations where a better version of me might find patience. I write people off in situations where I would want another chance.

I am working hard to practice giving grace more often. I have found that if I stop and take the time to put myself in other people's shoes and attempt to understand what others may be going through, it becomes easier to...

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4 Ways to a Fresh Start in 2018

I have to be honest, I love the new year. A blank slate and a fresh start to set goals and make plans is invigorating to me, but I know that it isn't the same for everyone. Some may consider them trite, but even if resolutions aren't for you, how about finding a way to challenge yourself in 2018? Here are some ideas to get you started!

1. Get moving. There is never a bad time to add some physical activity to your routine! Whether that's getting up 20 minutes early for a jog, or starting a new sport with your kids.

2. Journaling. Whether it's a couple sentences about your day or daily gratitude, this is one habit that can help you feel more focused and centered. A prayer journal or a family journal are also great ways to get started. 

3. Strengthen relationships. Life gets busy. The older that we get, the easier it becomes to slip from spending time with people we cherish. Commit to a date night or visiting...

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Grow Your Community. Buy Local.

Now that Thanksgiving dinner has been eaten and 'Black Friday' has passed, I wanted to take the opportunity to remind you to buy local as much as possible this holiday season.

Sure, Amazon is easy and Wal-Mart is cheap - but at what cost is cheap and easy worth it? The reality is that if we want to have locally-owned restaurants and stores - the traditional "mom and pop" businesses - they need our support now more than ever.

Why does it matter? Because small local businesses are the heartbeat of our community. They create local jobs, they re-invest the money back into our town, and they offer personalized customer service you don't find at the big-box chains. They're run by your family members, neighbors, and friends from church.

I can't say I don't ever use Amazon or go to a big box store, but I can say I try, and I'm going to try even harder this holiday season....but not because it's cheap or easy - because it's worth it. Our community is worth it.