Monthly Archives: April 2015

4 Surefire Ways To Get Ahead

There are many paths to success but the only way to achieve it and – that is to get ahead.  While there are many elements to getting ahead presented below is a summary of 4 surefire things that will bring you success.

  1. Commit to becoming a Become a lifelong learner

ThinkerIn our busy world, it can often be hard to fit in time to learn anything that isn’t essential. However, the real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new lands, but in seeing with new eyes.  Commit yourself to a lifetime of learning and you will always be ahead.

Some Tips  

  • Invest in your own career advancement: Don’t make the mistake of depending solely on your job provide career development. Take the initiative find the right class and training for you.

  • Strengthen your Strengths: We all have innate talents and abilities, strengths if you will. However, they go undeveloped or, worse, unnoticed because we focus too much on eliminating our e weaknesses rather than perfecting our strengths.

  • Become the go to person: Being the “Go To Person” increases your employability while helping establish you as a reliable resource of knowledge and assistance.

  1. Develop A Fantastic Network

Networking5Effective networking is more than just personal marketing. A fantastic network is driven by a strategy to be of service to others first and foremost.

Some Tips  

  • Upgrade Your Social Media Profile

All kinds of people use all kinds of ways to learn about you. Your updated social media profile puts you in control of what people discover about you.

  • Join A Professional Organization

Given the number of responsibilities that you juggle on a daily basis, joining a professional organization may not be one of your top priorities.  Whether you join an industry-specific group, a special-focus group membership in a professional organization will allow you to make valuable professional contacts and gain access a wealth of useful information.

  • Seek Out Reliable Mentoring

Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Group considers mentoring as the   single most important thing we can do to advance our careers.  Formal or informal the value of getting solid advice on our career and life is something that cannot be overlooked.

  1. Exercise, Sleep and Think

exerciseRegular physical activity is one of the most important things you can do for your health.  Exercising along with regular sleep is the mental kick start needed to keep your mind sharp so you can do your best thinking.

Some Tips  

  • Exercise Improves Everything

From boosting your mood to revving up your sex life, exercise improves everything.   All of these advantages and more are available to you with as little as 30 minutes per day.

  • Give Yourself The Gift of Sleep

The data is overwhelming predictable and restorative sleep can help you cope better with psychological stress.  A good night’s sleep is also a key part in helping you ward off physical problems including high blood pressure and heart conditions.

  • Find The Time to Think

Our lives are busy with few moments of real reflection therefore the words than “I have no time to think” is perhaps the most universal feeling of workers across the income spectrum.

Forbs Magazine recently posted 11 Ways To Create More Time To Think The post features brilliant yet simple ways to generate more thinking time.

  1. Create a Nest of Accountability

Accountability is like rain everyone knows they need it, but no oneNest wants to get wet.  Get ahead by creating the attitude, systems, and practices that will keep you accountable.

Some Tips  

  • Stay On Top of Your To-Dos

There’s absolutely no reason why any task should fall through the cracks in this modern age of digital calendars and smartphones. Yet many of us miss deadlines or opportunities. Here’s advice from accountability expert Nellie Akalp:  “The second you discover a task you need to take care of — even if it’s just following up on an email you sent — make a note on your digital calendar. Set it as an alarm and forget about it…until your calendar reminds you.”

  • Delegate

You don’t have to be responsible for doing every action that you are accountable for.   Truly accountable people are willing to hand over some of the work to others.  Decide what is absolutely imperative for you to do, then hand other tasks to someone more qualified to take them on. Set deadlines and stay in touch to ensure those tasks get done successfully.

Set Goals and Work Towards Them

When you set goals, be super-specific: How much do you want to increase sales? What revenue number will you aim for next year? Then, detail out how you will achieve those goals. Who needs to be involved? What steps do you need to take to accomplish them? The more you plan out your goals and steps to reaching them, the more you will actually succeed.

Getting Ahead Day By Day

workOvernight successes are few and far between however, success is still possible if we are willing to work on getting ahead day by day.

©2015 Marben Bland

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Living An Accountable Life

As humans we find ourselves accountable to many things:
Our families
Our jobs
Our money
Our civil duties
Our hobbies

As Christians we find ourselves accountable to even more:
The church
The ministers that we are in
The image of us as a Christian
The pastor

Despite all of these accountabilities there is only one accountability that is truly important.  That is our accountability to God.

God is so accountable to us:

With His actions and His Word, The Lord has proven over and over again to be accountable to us.  Let’s examine a few of God’s many “accountability statements in scripture:

“But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8

“See what kind of love the Father has given to us that we should be called children of God; and so we are.”  1 John 3:1

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”  John 3:16

 The advantages of being accountable to God:

When we live a life of accountability we are living out God’s purpose for our lives.  Living an accountable life to God is full of advantages here are a few of them:

1. The Pleasure of God

“The Lord takes pleasure in those who honor him. In those who trust in his constant love.” 

Psalms 147:11

2. The Peace of God

“God will keep you in perfect peace when your mind is stayed on Him because He has trust in you” Isaiah 26:3   

3. The Blessings of God

“And if you faithfully obey the voice of the Lord your God, being careful to do all his commandments that I command you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth. And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, if you obey the voice of the Lord your God. Blessed shall you be in the city, and blessed shall you be in the field. Blessed shall be the fruit of your womb and the fruit of your ground and the fruit of your cattle, the increase of your herds and the young of your flock.”   Deuteronomy 28:6-8

How accountable are we to God?

Without question God is accountable to us, and the advantages are endless when we are accountable to God. So how accountable are we to God?  

Jesus in Matthew 22:37-40 gives us a perfect roadmap for living an accountable life:

“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” 

God wants us to live an accountable life so that He give us an exceptional life.  

“For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. They are plans for good and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”  Jeremiah 29:11

Our lives are not accidental, God values us, He loves us and He only wants the best for us. It simple we live our best lives when we live a life of accountability to God.

How To Build A Great Relationship With God

God wants you to have a great relationship with him.

God reveals His desire for relationship many times in scripture. Christ on behalf of God calls us to relationship in Revelation 3:20 when He says “Look! I have been standing at the door, and I am constantly knocking. If anyone hears me calling him and opens the door, I will come in and fellowship with him and he with me.” (Living Bible)

If we have answered God’s knock and He has come in to fellowship with us. Then how are we to build a great relationship with Him?

Let me suggest five scripturally base ways that we can to build a great relationship with God:

1. Praise:



Praise the Lord! Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens! Praise him for his mighty deeds; praise him according to his excellent greatness!” Psalm 150:1-6 English Standard Version

Praising God is all about understanding the power, honor and glory of the Lord.  We need to look no further than Genesis 1:1-3                      In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.  The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.  And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.

We can praise God for so many things:

  • We praise Him for our lives
  • We praise Him for our families
  • We praise Him for this wonderful country

When we consistently praise God we are building a great relationship with our Lord.

2. Worship:


Oh come, let us worship and bow down;let uskneel before the Lord, our Maker! For he is our God, and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand. Psalm 95:6-7

While we may praise many things both earthly and Godly, as we are told in Luke 4:8 worship should be reserved for God alone.  “Worship the Lord your God and serve only him.’” 

Worship is the art of losing self in the adoration of another. Praise can be a part of worship, but worship goes beyond praise.  To truly worship God, we must let go of our self-worship.

We must be willing to humble ourselves before God, surrender every part of our lives to His control, and adore Him for who He is, not just what He has done. Worship is a lifestyle, not just an occasional activity. Jesus said the Father is seeking those who will worship Him “in spirit and in truth” (John 4:23).

3. Studying His World:



This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.” Joshua 1:8 English Standard Version

Raul Ries the Senior Pastor of Calvary Chapel Church has written a wonderful blog post 5 Reasons Why We Should Study God’s Word.  I am pleased to present part of Pastor Riles’ post as reasons for studying the word in our quest to build a great relationship with God.

  1. Word of God is infallible.
  2. The Word of God is complete.
  3. The Word of God is totally authoritative.
  4. God’s Word is totally sufficient for all of our needs.
  5. The Word of God will accomplish what it promises.

 4. Prayer:



If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14

Prayer is the vehicle for daily dialog with God.  Prayer gives us an opportunity to share all aspects of our lives with God. In prayer we can worship, praise and confess our sins to God. Daily prayer helps us builds a great relationship with God as we acknowledge who is really in control of our lives.

5 .Loving God:

pointing to the cross

“And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” Luke 10:27 English Standard Version

It’s interesting that our all-powerful God does not use his power to make us love Him.  Instead God gives us free will to make the decision for ourselves.  I assert that when we love God we will freely resolve to:

  • Praise Him
  • Worship Him
  • Study His Word
  • Pray to Him

Yes this familiar list are the elements that go into building a great relationship with God.

A Great Relationship Takes Great Work


I can attest from personal experience that my relationship with God takes great work.  While it may seem counterintuitive the “work” of the relationship is my total surrender to the Lord.

The greatness of the relationship is the “peace” that has come into my life. This “peace” is with me even in the hardest of times because of my great relationship with God. Which is my total surrender to the Lord.

For Jesus in His Word said. “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”  Matthew 11:28-29 

God wants you to have a great relationship with him.  It is my prayer that we will do everything possible to have it.

© 2015 Marben Bland

The McWonderful World of All Day Breakfast at McDonald’s

mcdonalds-breakfast2“McWonderful”, is what the Washington Post calls it.  HuffPost termed it as “a dream come true,” Charlie Thomas in Pittsburgh remarked “it was about time.”   All of this in reaction to McDonald’s testing of making breakfast available all day.

The pending change in Mickey D’s long standing policy that breakfast ends at 10:30 A.M. is not only a huge shift for the fast food giant, but an acknowledgement of the changing desires of its customers.

Understanding our customers and adjusting our processes to their needs is key to a vibrant business.  This month McDonald’s will test the all-day breakfast concept at select San Diego area restaurants.  The results will provide answers to three fundamental questions McDonald’s and all of us must know to remain vibrant.

  1. Is The Market Real?

How often have you arrived at the Golden Archers at 10:35 A.M. Egg McMuffinwilling to do almost anything to get an Egg McMuffin?   When that happens you have fallen for part of the charm of the McDonald’s breakfast.  That is it can be sometime difficult to get it.

With the 10:30 A.M shackles removed will you still crave an Egg McMuffin, at 10:35 A.M. or 12:35 P.M. or 8:35 P.M.?

Like your business McDonald’s can’t depend on the sentimentality of the occasional customer who may want a McGriddles after the 10:30 cut-off.   You must know if the market is real. The San Diego test will provide the hard data needed to make the all-day breakfast decision.

Question: What data guarantees that your market is real?

 2, Do We Have The Right Systems and People?

Crew MemberCan the griddle at McDonald’s serve two masters? McDonald’s famed 10:30 AM breakfast cut off exist largely because of the limited capacity of its kitchen equipment. The same toasters and grills that crank out Sausage Burritos must be ready to handle other menu favorites, like chicken nuggets and burgers during the all-important lunch hour.

With high customer traffic during breakfast McDonald’s doesn’t offer a made-to-order option.  Eggs, sausage and hotcakes are pre-cooked and held for breakfast item assembly.   The all-day breakfast will not provide the luxury for McDonald’s to pre-stage these items.

For the all-day breakfast to work McDonald’s will have to rework systems and retrain staff so the griddle can effectively perform double duty.

Question: What is your capacity to change with a shifting market?     

  1. Can We Bet The Other Guy?


While sales of burgers, chicken nuggets and other dinner items are falling.  Sales of biscuits, bagels and other breakfast items are on the rise.

The battle for supremacy in the fast food breakfast wars are underway.  Taco Bell has engaged the batter with a new weapon:

The California A.M. Crunchwrap which contain just about every Taco-Bell-California-AM-Crunchwrapitem one could want in a breakfast sandwich.   The arsenals of other fast food combatants will improve.  As they all take aim on the Golden Arches of the breakfast leader.

Will the internal disruption of ramping up to serve breakfast all day jeopardize the battle to beat the other guy?

Question: What are you doing to stay ahead of the other guy?

 Critical Questions / Critical Decisions

McSignThese are not ordinary times for McDonald’s.  Sales are down, stores have closed, and the company is looking for a new CEO.   The critical all-day breakfast decision will forever change the basic way the company does business.    How ironic that a company built on beef and lunch will perhaps now depend on eggs and breakfast for its future.  Welcome to the McWonderful world of the all-day breakfast at McDonald’s.

 © 2015 Marben Bland

What are your thoughts about the McWonderful world of the all-day breakfast at McDonald’s?

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Social Media Lessons From The Masters Golf Tournament

“A Traditional Unlike Any Other” is the tagline used to describe the Masters Golf Tournament.  Tradition abounds at The Augusta National, home of the Masters since the tournament began in 1934.   Some of the many traditions of Augusta include:

The Green Jacket – Since 1949 a green jacket has been awarded to the champion, who must return it to the clubhouse one year after his victory.

The Champions Dinner – Inaugurated in 1952 the dinner held on the Tuesday before each tournament, and is open only to past champions (attired in the Green Jacket) and certain board members of the Augusta National Golf Club.

The Pimento Cheese Sandwich – Still only $1.50 part of the cheapest concession prices in sports.

Tradition abounds at the Masters including a ban on cell phones and cameras by patrons (Note another tradition people attending the Masters are called patrons not fans.)  However, when it comes to social media the folks who run the tradition bound tournament have another tagline: “Tradition be dammed”

Those “old fogies” have taught us a valuable lesson protect the traditions but embrace the social media.   Just look at the leading edge social media things brought to you by the Masters.

Twitter – The Masters Twitter feed provides real time scoring updates and links to exclusive video content.

Facebook – The Masters Facebook page designed for “online patrons” to interact with officials on the course.

Instagram – The Augusta National Golf Course is famed for its views. The Masters Instagram account is the perfect platform for distribution of official pictures from the hollowed grounds.

Masters.Com – Is the hub for entire suite of social media activity for the tournament. Housing exclusive live streams, vintage video, blogs and behind the ropes access.

The board of directors of the Masters has proven that “A Traditional Unlike Any Other” is great for a golf tournament but for a billion dollar business social media is a tradition that cannot be disregarded.

What social media “traditions” are holding your business back?

@2015 Marben Bland


My 2015 MLB Predictions

Spring is finally here and with its bloom comes the crack of the bat.  Our national pastime, baseball is back.  Today, marks the first day of a full slate of regular season games and along with it comes my annual predictions; or if you prefer, my “wild ass speculations” about the outcome of the April to October marathon which is Major League Baseball.

If you had a Kanas City – San Francisco World Series at the end of the 2014 season, I will meet you in Vegas ready to place a bet on your 2015 picks!  Now, my annual predictions are presented for “entertainment” purposes only.  Therefore, if you have any notion on using my baseball insights to win a pot of gold, take a gander at my 2014 picks; read them and see how impressively far off I was with my picks.

Now, I proudly present my Baseball Predictions for 2015.

MLB Divisions2

For the first time, I have produced a power ranking of all 30 MLB teams.   If you are a real baseball junkie like me, please take a look at my 2015 Power Rankings.

Baseball is one of the 8 passions of my life, I am so pleased to share this passion with the readers of this blog.


©2015 Marben Bland

It Is Finished and It Has Begun

When Jesus said “It was finished” we know that the pain of His beating at the hands of the Roman soldiers was over.

The humiliation of being mocked by many of the same people who cheered Him in triumph just days earlier had come to an end.

The sting of his death, on the cross had been vanquished.

When Jesus said “It was finished” we know, it also meant that the way had been made for us to have a new beginning.

It was a new beginning for us when darkness fell on the land from the noon day hour until three o’clock.

It was a new beginning for us when the curtain in the Temple was torn from top to bottom.

It was a new beginning for us when the Roman officer overseeing the crucifixion, worshiped God and said “surely this man was innocent.”

We got that new beginning, which is forgiveness from sin; because Jesus gave His life and died a criminal’s death on the cross. He arose from the dead with all the glory, authority and God almighty power!

Jesus is sitting today on the right hand side of the Father; living as the Prince of Peace, the Bright in the Morning Star. Jesus is our real and living sacrifice for the sins of the entire world.

Therefore, it is finished and it has begun!

Yet, the question for all of us on this Easter weekend is this:    What have we done with this new beginning, paid for us by Jesus’ suffering on the cross?

  • Have we taken advantage of our new beginning by living our lives loving the Lord and obeying His commands?
  • Have we taken advantage of our new beginning by loving our neighbor as ourselves?
  • Have we taken advantage of our new beginning by making disciples and proclaiming God’s word?

I know that I have not always taken advantage of the fresh new beginning given to me by Jesus.

Nevertheless, Jesus is always there to give us another opportunity for His goodness; His salvation and mostly importantly, His love.

There is no better time than this Easter weekend to embrace the fresh new beginning provided to us by the death and resurrection of Jesus.

We can obtain that fresh beginning by simply coming to the Father in prayer.

Please, take a moment and pray with me:    

“Father I come to you as a sinner in search of a fresh beginning.  I believe that you sent your son Jesus to die for my sins.  I am sorry for not loving you, for not following you and for not obeying your commands.  I ask for you to come into my heart, not only to save me today; but, to guide me for the rest of my life.  Beginning now!  It is finished!  My old ways are over.  But, thanks to Jesus, my life has started again… and this time with you!”   It’s in your son Jesus name I pray. Amen   

Today Jesus wants us to know that:  It Is Finished and It Has Begun