Interrupted by God:   By Alison Loyd

Interrupted by God:  By Alison Loyd

It was my Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. I was awakened and rattled by weird dreams, then I felt anxious all day. This was compounded by issues that come up when I have had non-stop family time without alone time, due to helping them move into their new home. Add to that a mental battle with body image, and you have a Triple Trifecta of Terror. I was nearly crying or beginning to cry most of the day. Have you ever had days like that? I just needed that day to be over, and began looking forward to a day by myself the next day.

The next day! Left on my own with a free day, I probably would have done a lot of little things. I would’ve enjoyed having the TV to myself because it was just hooked up. I would’ve had it on in the background, done some chores, looked at Facebook, and made some phone calls. I probably would’ve exercised and gone down to the lake. All fine things to do – right? Fine, but not what I needed.

Before my family left me for my personal day, my Mom said she felt led by the Holy Spirit to encourage me to take a day away from TV, Facebook, and my phone and make it a silent retreat. A day for just me and Jesus. She interrupted my plans, but I knew in my heart she was right.

In The Journey Training, participants and the team each pick a word or phrase they want to claim, or get out of the training weekend. To get what you want, you have to know what you want. As I started my day, I too claimed a word for my day. It was TRUTH. With everything I did, from reading and praying, to just listening and looking at the lake, even resting, I did it with the purpose of obtaining truth. I knew what I wanted, I went after it, and I got it! All because The Lord used my Mom to interrupt my plans.

We are faced with interruptions all the time. As much as I like Facebook for the positive interaction, it can also be a bombardment of negativity. As much as TV in moderation is ok, it can also be a constant noise. As wonderful as it is to catch up with friends, sometimes I need to turn my attention solely to my friend, Jesus.

Thankfully, my Mom just sat across from me and interrupted me verbally. Jesus had to knock Saul (later known as the Apostle Paul) off his donkey to interrupt him (Acts 9).

Do you feel weighed down by spiraling anxiety, fear, shame, or other junk? Do you need something to knock you off your donkey or just interrupt your To-Do List with something positive for you? The Journey Training is all about that! No, they won’t knock you off your donkey, but they will help you claim what you truly want and deserve!

Balance. It Was Not on the List! By:  Joanne Reuss-Kirtley

Balance. It Was Not on the List! By: Joanne Reuss-Kirtley

Life can be overwhelming and exhausting. There, I said it. I’m sure anyone reading this has thought the same at least once or twice. If you are like me, you might even think it hourly. The list of things to do and focus on in my brain is so long I need lists to remember the lists:  categorized, bulleted, sub-categorized, color coded, and in order of importance – thorough lists. Those lists will make it better, right? Those lists will make me feel safe and secure, won’t they? Those super lists will make all of this exhaustion go away and make my universe super productive. I just know it.

Ahahahahaha.  Wrong.

Every night before I go to bed I look at my lists. Every day I wake up and look at my lists.

  • I add to the lists.
  • Re-arrange the lists.
  • I make lists for others and then another list to keep track of the lists I delegated.
  • Chore lists with corresponding days and rotations.
  • Shared calendar lists.
  • Lists for the present.
  • Lists for the future.
  • Lists for each family member broken down by health, finance, fun and relaxation.
  • Lists for employees.
  • Lists for both businesses.
  • Lists of what color “ewws” were in my children’s diapers.

You’d think my world was the picture of efficiency. Yet in the past week we’ve missed 3 doctor appointments, 2 jobs, run out of diapers and my house looks like 7 tornadoes hit it.

On my fridge is this beautiful grocery list. I designed it to be aesthetically pleasing to encourage my family members to use it. It’s there for anyone in the family to write down what we need. When anyone uses the last of anything in the kitchen, all they have to do is walk right over to the fridge grab the attached velcro’d pencil (in case they need to erase) and write the item on the list. Those items are then transferred to my master grocery list on my iPad. I take the iPad list shopping with me once a week and gleefully cross off each item.

Yesterday morning I woke up and we were out of coffee. I panicked; full-fledged perspiring panic. I ran straight to the list on the fridge to see how I could make such an error. Coffee was not on the list on the fridge. Therefore coffee did not make it to the list on the iPad. Thus coffee did not get purchased at the store. This was an epic fail in my list system. I must re-calibrate.

Immediately, I called everyone into the kitchen for a review on how to use the “fridge list system.”  “Whew”! Crisis averted. I felt better. I can now move on to my day.  “Where did I put the fire engine red to-do list?”  “Wait, it’s 2pm and I haven’t made any of my 9-11am phone calls or sent any of the emails I was supposed to send. I haven’t eaten breakfast. Wow, nor have I eaten lunch. Where are my children? How is this possible?” Consulting the lists. Combing the lists.   – It’s all ON THE LIST!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Time to kick it into high gear.  “Stop being a slacker, Joanne. I need a cup of coffee. Oh wait. It wasn’t on the list.”

DING DING DING DING!!!!!  “Stop, Joanne. Just stop.”

In the narrative above I have all of these important things on the lists. I also have something I “need” that never made it to any of the lists. I don’t understand. How did I fail at so much when I had such amazing lists?  I wasted an entire day being unproductive. I felt defeated and overwhelmed and exhausted. Aren’t the lists designed to make me more efficient and productive? Life is exhausting. There, I said it again.

In my efforts to achieve productivity, keep up, do the right thing, better myself, be giving, loving, supportive, a good employee, a good spouse, a good parent, good pet owner, good driver, good cook, good example, good friend, good aunt, good steward, good citizen, healthy, intelligent, educated, funny, creative, inspiring, well-rounded, joyful spirited, I’ve become unbalanced and miserable.  ***I*** did this.  Me.  Great, no coffee, no productivity AND an “aha” moment.  This is spectacular.

I’m way out of balance. DING DING DING DING!!!!! “Stop, Joanne. Just stop.”

Drawing from the knowledge I received in The Journey Training I am able to identify the lack of balance. How do I get back into balance? Back to basics: I have the tools. I have the knowledge. I need to put it to use.

It’s probably obvious that my default personality loves details – lots of details and information. For the next week though, I will focus on one item from each of the “other” personalities.

I will:

  1. Take Action –  Making lists does not produce forward momentum.
  2. Have fun –  This rejuvenates my spirit and gets me out of my head.
  3. Be thankful – It’s perspective.  An attitude of gratitude can work wonders.

Back to basics. I’m a free and fierce woman. I’m hopeful I will be able to write another piece on the progress I’ve made.  Wish me luck!



“Who is your mentor, who is your Yoda?”

“Who is your mentor, who is your Yoda?”

Starting with Chick-fil-A in 1988 as a team member at Woodland Hills Mall and owning a franchise was not something I had aspirations to do at that time. I was an art major with no business skills other than a desire to succeed. After 25 years with Chick-fil-A, one of the most valuable lessons I teach young entrepreneurs is the art of having a mentor. I speak to thousands of people per year and I always ask the question, “Who is your mentor, who is your Yoda?”

Why do we need a mentor? As a father of six and employer of over 100 employees at Chick-fil-A, I see mentorship opportunities daily. Whether it’s someone who wants to move up within my company or with aspirations to start their own business, a mentor will help guide them in the right direction and give invaluable advice. I still look to my mentors daily for guidance on running my business or advice on being a husband and father.

What does a mentor look like?

Depending on where you are in your journey, it could look a number of different ways.

For me, one of my first mentors was a gardener at an apartment complex who I met when I was growing up. As a kid, life was hard for me. I grew up with extreme scoliosis, my mother was an alcoholic and, due to a complicated divorce, my father was out of my life when I was 13 years old. He invested time in me. He took us on hikes into waterfalls spent time with us when my parents did not have the time, or they were too drunk to take us out.

When I started as a cashier at Chick-fil-A, I was not savvy in business and had no clue how to get from where I was to where I wanted to be. I shared some of my concerns with someone I respected and he suggested that I read “Dressing for Success” written in 1975 by John Malloy. I read this book and it literally changed my outlook overnight. By simply implementing the action steps found within this book, I found myself overflowing with the confidence that comes with looking your best.

I even have mentors in my life, they probably don’t even realize their mentors. I watch them from afar, admire how they do business, and move forward similar to how they do it. They would know me well enough to greet me when I walk up, but not necessarily someone that I hang out with on a regular basis. Of those, Mart Green of Hobby Lobby and Chet Cadieux of QuikTrip, and Dr. Z (Dr. Robert Zoellner) are at the top of my list.

What kind of mentor do people need in their life?

We all need a mentor who has actually achieved success in the area of life in which we are seeking wisdom. Stay away from obese trainers and disheveled-looking style consultants. Just take a moment to ask yourself, “Who is currently doing what I am wanting to do?” or “Who has already achieved what I want to achieve?”

How do I find a mentor?

It’s not as hard as you would think. A successful mentor’s time is extremely valuable; so do not waste their time. I am a true believer that if you share your dreams, opportunities will show themselves. My system for connecting with mentors is fairly simple.

  • Try to connect with someone and tell them you are available to meet any time, anywhere
  • Ask for a meeting and make sure that you are focused on creating a sustainable and mutually beneficial “win-win” relationship with your mentor.
  • Maybe you do need a mentor or coach. You may feel like an accountability partner will help. Clients take bigger actions, set bigger goals and think bigger when they work with a professional coach or accountability partner and The Journey Training can help you start that process.


“Who will be your Yoda?”



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The last few months have been crazy!  I had reroutes! Since winning The Biggest Loser in 2009, I have made my living primarily from motivational speaking which requires a lot of travel. Last year I made the decision that my speaking wasn’t going to be enough, and now I’ve gone back to work as a Professional Licensed Land Surveyor. Being a Land Surveyor is a noble profession. After all, 3 of the 4 faces on Mount Rushmore were Land Surveyors. But at this point in my life, I was perceiving it as a defeat.

I love to speak. I still speak! In fact, this year I have spoken for multi-billion dollar corporations in several states. But deciding to go back to Land Surveying felt like going back to something before my victories on The Biggest Loser, and that seems like failure to me. Why can’t speaking be all I do? I don’t know the answer to that question, but I know there is a purpose in whatever I do. That was made clear to me last week while overseeing the project of a 26-mile long pipeline in Southern Oklahoma. Let me explain.

I have been a Land Surveyor since I was 9 years old. My father took me to the shoe store in 1979, and I thought I was going to get a new pair of sneakers. When we ended up in the work boots section I began wondering what was going on. We tried on boots, and my father said, “Well son, here’s your first pair of work boots.” I replied, “What are these for?” He answered, “You’ll find out soon enough.” And boy did I find out! Since then I have surveyed – for 36 years – and I thought when I won The Biggest Loser that part of my life was over. Yet now I find myself working for Lemke Land Surveying, a division of EnviroClean – a larger company that I had ever worked for. For some reason, Land Surveying isn’t done with me yet!

I’ve done every kind of surveying you can think of: Boundary, civil, commercial real estate, highway, as-built surveys, subdivisions…You name it. Every kind except one: Oil and Gas Services. What am I doing right now? Oil & Gas Services. During the oil pipeline project I am managing right now, I’ve had to do several reroutes.

You see, laying 26 miles of pipe underground is intense and complicated! We first make a set of plans for the route the pipeline will take. There are roads and ponds we have to do horizontal drilling bores underneath, property owners to deal with, and all kinds of obstacles along the way. We have a beginning point, an ending point, and a planned route, but along the way we often hit some obstacles – just like in life – that cause us to have to do a reroute.

Last week alone, I had to perform 4 pipeline reroutes, or changes to the originally planned route, because of a problems with a horizontal drill, a newly found pipeline that we have to avoid, or an upset owner that wanted us to avoid their property altogether. Sure, it’s a pain to have to divert from the planned route. This causes delays, station-equations (where a reroute causes more or less feet of pipe than originally planned), and more work for our crews. But in the end, the pipeline goes through and ends up exactly where it was intended to end up. The route might have changed, but the pre-determined destination is still reached.

So you might be saying, “Danny – what the heck does this have to do with me or my life?” Well, going back to Land Surveying wasn’t exactly what I had planned, but my dream and destination are still the same! This is simply a reroute of my life. And I have to believe it is for a reason that I may not understand or see right now. According to my plans, I was supposed to ride off in the sunset, inspiring individuals to overcome their adversities, realize the dreams they had lost, and coach them along the way! What in the world does Land Surveying have to do with that?

I can honestly say that I don’t know the whole answer now. But one thing I do know is that every reroute I have had in my life that I didn’t understand at the time inevitably became crystal clear in hindsight. Now I can look back at that time my first girlfriend broke up with me, and then look at my wife and children, and I completely understand! I couldn’t possibly understand back then, but now, as I write this blog, my first child is sleeping in a bed across the room from me in a hotel in Missouri after we caught our limit of trout and spent the day pondering our roles in life together over a Mexican lunch. Ah-hah! Now I see a reason! My focus on my family is more important right now than any dreams or plans I might have for myself. And those dreams and plans are still there; my course has just been altered a bit.

Don’t constantly question your reroutes in life. Know that there is a purpose; a purpose that you probably can’t see right now. But in time, with your diligent steps forward, you’ll be able to look back and see every reason why things happened the way they did. It might not be exactly the route you planned, but it will be the way God planned it for you. There is a lesson to be learned, or a purposeful delay to avoid a pain we may not see. In the end we must trust that we do have a destiny. And we must trust that we will reach that very destiny in time – and probably with a few reroutes along the way.

Every month in The Journey Training, we see people questioning their reroutes. We see people in the middle of one, or possibly just getting back on track, realizing the reasons why things happened the way they did. Wouldn’t you like to know that your destiny is still within your reach? Wouldn’t you like to dream again and know that it may not happen tomorrow, but with your purposeful pursuit of your destiny, it can and will happen? I’d like to suggest that you sign up for the very next Threshold class at and begin to identify your reroutes – and possibly the reasons for them!

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Wanted:  1969 Shelby – What Is Your Motivation?

Wanted: 1969 Shelby – What Is Your Motivation?

Wanted:  1969 Shelby- What Is Your Motivation?  My dream became a reality directly due to my motivation and goals and I can tell you exactly how I made that happen.

Statistics show that people who write down their goals have over an 80% higher success rate of achieving them than those that don’t.

I have often told people that, regardless of what your overall plan is, step one should be to write down your goals, your motivations. However, people often write down a goal or two, stick the piece of paper in their pocket, and never see it again. Sometimes I even hear people say that they simply don’t have the time to write down their goals. If you don’t have enough time to write them down, how in the world will you have enough time to achieve them?

Write it down, and make it visible!

Ever since I was a teenager I wanted a Ford Mustang. Not just any mustang, but a 1969 fastback. I loved the sleek design, the rumble of the muscle, and the smell of gasoline when you revved it. This was the car that, when you mention it, people have that far away look and their eyes glaze over. I also loved the fact that it was a car of distinction, not one of money. It was a car with character, just like me.

Now that I am older, I still want to get one. My wife, the amazing woman that she is, bought me one. It was 40 years old and every time I started it I could feel how old it was. I ended up repairing a window latch here, and a fuel line there. A few more repairs in, and I realized that I did’t have the time to invest in this beauty like she deserved.

So, I set my sights on a different one. I wanted it all to be new, state of the art, something that looked nostalgic, but ran like a dream. I found a picture of it and posted it on my wall. I did not know how, or when, but this would be my car. I would look at that picture regularly.

Here is where it gets good.


Step 1

I shared my goals with others.
I shared it with others, I took action and shared my desires. It was posted in a place where anyone that is in my office could see it. It always struck up conversation where I could share what specifically I wanted to have. Meanwhile I saved.

Step 2

Take some action.
I saved for it. Seems odd, I did not even know it existed, but it was an idea I wanted. The best of both worlds I called it. Either way, I saved. It was not much, it started as $150 per month. Then it grew a little here, a little there, and I think it ended up being about $250 per month.

Step 3

When the opportunity came up, I took it.
A friend came to me one day and told me he found my car. I asked him what he meant, and he shared with me about a company that he knew of that builds exactly what I wanted. I took a trip, and sure enough, I got to build exactly what I wanted.

There were still things I had to do to get it, so it took another few months, but If I did not share my goal with others I would not have found it. If I had not started saving, I would not have had any resources to get it.

Our dreams and goals may be huge, but if you fold it up and put in your pocket with no call to action, it does no good.

Wanted:  1969 Shelby- What Is Your Motivation?  My dream to a reality.

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