By Bob Beaudine
One of my heroes growing up was Zig Ziglar. When he’d speak to large groups, he’d always ask two great questions: First, “Is there one decision you could make today that would make tomorrow worse?” The crowd always laughed kind of sheepishly and gave a resounding “Yes!” Then he’d ask, “Is there one decision or change you could make today that’ll make tomorrow better?” This was interesting, because even though most of the crowd knew they could make better choices, they usually went silent with this question because Zig added the one word, change The idea of change makes most people squirm. But unexpected change that is a result of trouble can be overwhelming. When this occurs, you need to immediately hit the pause button in life and talk to God, remember the people He gave to assist you, see the field, and then make the necessary adjustments.
What if you sit with God tomorrow and ask Him a few Zig Ziglar-type questions like:
“God, is there one thing that You would like me to change today? What about an attitude change You’d like me to make, such as being more positive with people or more humble? Maybe it’s a matter of the heart where I’ve closed off some people or am not forgiving them?” (As you’re asking these questions, listen for what God is telling you.)
What if you went further and asked God about stopping self-destructive behaviors such as over drinking, anger, being critical of others, always being late, or maybe self-pity/bitterness? (What is He telling you?)
What if you asked Him about that one action step He wants you to take today, like learning a new skill, being a better friend, mentoring a young kid, or even starting an exercise program several times a week to feel better? (What did God say?)
What’s amazing is that when you set up 2 Chairs and start a simple dialogue with God like this, He actually speaks back. In fact, don’t do 2 Chairs if you really don’t want God to talk, because He will talk. Why? Well, for no other reason than He loves you. And He wants you to know it. You’re His son, His daughter, and there’s nothing more important to Him than spending time with you. He has so much He wants to share. I recently explained the 2 Chairs concept to my friend Bill, who was going through a really tough time. Given his unhappy state of mind, it was no surprise that he set up his 2 Chairss the very next day. He was still in shock when he described his first meeting. “It was wonderful,” he said. “It was as if God hugged me the whole time.” So many people get that same type of love fest in their first 2 Chairs meeting. Up until then, my friend had thought God was mad at him, but now he knows better. The very next day he woke up late and was rushing off to work when he looked back at his 2 Chairs and felt God saying, “Bill, don’t leave before we talk. I want to tell you something about the day ahead.” Since the idea of talking to God was new to him, he thought, Hey, am I saying that to myself? Because I just don’t have time today! That’s when he felt the nudge to go back and sit down, so he did. He told me that he’ll never forget what happened next.
As soon as he sat down, God started speaking. Now Bill wanted to make sure he told me he didn’t hear God audibly, but he could hear Him speak clearly in his mind nevertheless. When you first start doing 2 Chairs you don’t know what it will be like. Yes, He can talk audibly—He’s God! But most know how the enemy speaks clearly in their mind, so for Bill, hearing God turn this in a positive way was very comforting. God told him to prepare for some resistance on the important business proposal he was making just before lunch, and that he should make sure to stop by the big boss’s office first to review the presentation and ask him for his ideas and suggestions before the meeting. That was it. Sixty seconds. And then he felt the meeting was over.
What if you sit with God tomorrow and ask Him a few questions?
Now hearing a message from God that his proposal would be met with resistance was not what Bill was expecting, and it was bothersome since he is not someone who likes change He had been working on this project for over six months, and in addition to that, he hadn’t talked to the president for several weeks and felt stopping by un- announced might be awkward. But he did it anyway. The president was glad to see him. They talked about family, and then he asked Bill how things were going. Bill told him that his big presentation was at lunch and wondered if he could get some thoughts on it. The president said of course, and as he listened, he guided Bill toward one point that was actually the key for the upcoming year. He said not to talk about anything else but to focus on that, and to tell everyone else why it was so important. Bill thanked him and then changed his entire presentation in the next three hours to laser-focus on this one point.
When the meeting began, Bill immediately felt resistance from two of his colleagues—the two whom he had been confiding in on this project. He couldn’t believe it. He thought to himself, Holy cow! It’s true; God knew! As he started to share the new version of the presentation, the president of the company stopped in to listen. Everyone in the room noticed when he entered. When Bill shared the one point that was key to the company, from the back of the room, the president said, “That sounds like a winner, Bill!” and gave Bill’s boss a thumbs-up as he left the room. Bill’s manager then stated that it was an idea that was well thought out and that the project was a go. Bill walked out of the meeting thinking to himself, what just happened? Is it possible that God knew what was ahead for me?And if I would just stop and listen to Him at 2 Chairs, that one minute could make all the difference? He proclaimed, “God is a ninja!” And I agreed.
Some changes are much tougher than others, but from my experience at 2 Chairs, most times God will share thoughts and ideas that are easy to put into action—changes that bring almost immediate results when you make them.
My daughter Jenny’s life should have been “over-the-top great” as she was happily married, the mother of an eighteen-month-old daughter, Emma (the cutest), and she and her husband, Rob, had just bought their first home. But Jenny was miserable.
A high school teacher in journalism/yearbook, Jenny found that from their new home, it now took her over an hour to drive to and from work each day. That meant getting up extra early, getting Emma to daycare, and fighting traffic and feelings of guilt over being away from her. She also put a lot of pressure on herself to be a great wife and supermom. She tried her best to fight off the negative thoughts for a while, but slowly during her daily commutes, the frustration of it all became an obstacle in her life.
Now I have to tell you that Jenny has always been upbeat her whole life, pretty much amazing at most everything she tackled. So seeing her frustrated and depressed was alarming. She decided quickly she needed a new teaching opportunity closer to home. But teaching roles in the area of journalism weren’t easy to obtain. Most schools only have one journalism teacher, and teachers who have those jobs don’t often leave.
When the first interview opportunity arose, she wanted the teaching position badly. The only problem was that when she walked in, everyone in the room could sense all the frustration she was feeling. When you want something or someone too much, you can end up sabotaging yourself. Now this is a great tip for you to know! All people carry with them their own unique “presence” that is invisibly transmitted to everyone around them. When you walk into a room, you want to make sure you bring your best, most positively charged attitude. And it has to be genuine because people can tell the difference immediately! That day, Jenny just didn’t have it. After hearing someone else got the job, she was heartbroken. It wasn’t a week later when Jenny called and said, “Dad, I need some advice.” I told Jenny about this 2 Chairs book that I was working on and said there were two specific things from what I was writing that I thought would be invaluable for her in her crisis. The first was reminding her to go back to her 2 Chairs. Go talk to God—nothing goes before that. This was something she already knew, but the busyness of life had gotten the best of her. And anytime she could be at her 2 Chairs, there she would find wisdom, peace, and—even better—her Best Friend!
But the second thing I felt would help her was related to her words. They were uncharacteristically negative. I told her that a small change would do her good. Whatever messages she was hearing from her self-talk, television shows, or others she was associating with weren’t helping her. I had a suggestion, a remedy for this problem. But I told her it would require a couple of changes. And this isn’t always easy. I told her a tip that had worked for me over the years: when the pain of not having what you want is greater than the pain of change, you’ll take action.
I asked her if she had Sirius radio in her car, and she said yes. I told her to check out Joel Osteen’s channel, which offers positive inspiration for life. If she would just do the 2 Chairs and then listen to uplifting messages while driving to and from school every day for the next month, this small change could make a big difference. It wasn’t even two weeks later when I started hearing changes in Jenny’s voice. She was bubbling over, now talking optimistically about herself, her situation, and her future.
Wow! Just two weeks later, and out of nowhere, she was called to interview at the specific school district of her dreams, which was close to her home.
Jenny’s interview went amazingly well that day. She said it was so positive. She said, “I was so calm, so confident, Dad, that I felt there was favor in the room for me even before I entered.” She got the job! The principal re- marked after the interview, that a big reason she got the job over the many other candidates who interviewed was because of how positive she was.
Did Jenny’s circumstances change before she got the interview? No! The long drive was still there, the frustrations, the pressures of being a wife and mom—all that was still the same. What changed? Maybe, just maybe, it had to do with the change in Jenny’s attitude. And this came by choosing to fill up each morning at 2 Chairs and then using the time in her car more effectively and getting inspired by stories of God’s promises, His faithfulness, and His comeback power.
Maybe for you it’s reading inspiring books, listening to the right music, joining an exercise club, or eliminating negative television consumption. I can tell you as a dad, I was so proud of Jenny’s foresight in recognizing a problem and taking action. I can’t tell you how many times I have seen someone allow a problem to escalate over time, making the solution much more difficult and taking its toll on the person.
As you look back, you’ll see I didn’t choose to tell you tough stories about someone losing 150 pounds or getting their life back after prison. And for good reason. I have several of those stories—and they are awesome—but the stories I chose to share all have one thing in common. They started with one change that was small and doable:
•Talking/listening to God before an important business meeting.
•Filling your mind with inspiration on your commute to work.
Small, doable changes that, when made a habit, snowballed into a bigger change.
So, how do you begin? Simple. This all starts when you decide to make 2 Chairs with God a habit every morning. The world will allow problems to consume you, but God knows that change will do you good, and He’s there each morning to talk it through with you. If you will stick with the 2 Chairs meetings you’ve been having and the minor adjustments you have made, then you will begin to experience success and peace, compounded week after week, month after month, and year after year. Before you know it, and seemingly all of a sudden, you’ll realize that you have this amazing testimony of how God has brought you from where you were to where you are.
One quick warning: Since God sees the beginning and the end, He knows your opponent will not be pleased that you are spending time with Him at 2 Chairs and are trying to make some real positive changes in your life. As a result, you can expect an all-out fight to get you back to where you were. But don’t be too concerned, because God will provide the strength and courage you need just for such times as these.
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Bob Beaudine is the president and CEO of Eastman & Beaudine and recognized as the top sports/entertainment search executive in the U.S. Beaudine is a board member of the Texas Rangers. Bob and his wife, Cheryl, have been married over thirty years and have three grown daughters. They live in Plano, Texas. His latest book, 2 Chairs: The Secret That Changes Everything, can be found everywhere books are sold.