Coffee & Planning

“You aspire to great things? Begin with little ones.”

– St. Augustine

I’m in the midst of a number of turning points in family, ministry, and business – my planning is running at a high octane at the moment. I bring this to the table as a reminder to always keep your planning and your coffee hot.

Well, at the very least coffee is a subjective taste. But planning is indispensable.

There are seasons for planning and depending on your field of view, it’ll vary from person to person. Here are some tips for planning that can help get your stuff done, no matter the discipline. But I dare say, Evernote is a great tool for the job;)

  1. Make Coffee – Yes, set your environment to work. Get some time on the calendar to block off for this, make a really good cup of rich coffee, remove distractions or put on some lofi and get your tools together. Set the scene for you to focus on some deep work.
  2. Define Your Goals – What are you doing? What do you want to achieve? Lay it out clearly. Start with the end in mind.
  3. Breakdown Your Tasks – Line your goals up with tasks. Who do you need to call or contact to bring on board? What needs to be booked? What money will need to be allocated?
  4. Set Deadlines and Timelines – When do you want a goal and a task done? What do you expect to happen along the way? Strive for completion but leave room for flexibility.  

Rinse and repeat. Whether it is planning a family trip (which I’m doing), or planning a new arc to a ministry (which I’m also doing), or a deeper run with business (that too). Go get it!


Adam Jarosz is bringing fuel to the productively faithful – subscribe here to get The Climb articles right in your email box, every Righteous Wednesday. You can also follow along the Righteous journey on Instagram @righteousco.

How To Build A Ministry (and more!)

“The most untutored person with passion is more persuasive than the most eloquent without.”

– Francis de La Rochefoucauld

You are probably not working in ministry full time but this might be of value for you as you lead or dream of ways of serving the Lord. I was recently helping a gentleman in Washington workshop young adult ministry at his parish. He’s new to the game and had really good questions as he was in the midst of starting this age group in one of the most hostile regions for Christianity in the country.

It won’t be easy. There is no magic button to crafting a ministry today, what works in one area might not work in another but there are a few common points I can distill down to share after twenty years of seeing and doing. This is what I had to offer him…

1. Prayer – This is the most essential element when working for the Lord. It’s true no matter the discipline but especially in ministry – you can’t give what you don’t have. If you are not steeped in your prayer life you will not bear fruit and will become susceptible to splintering spiritual attack. Your gifts and talents were provided by God for a reason, return and pray without ceasing through the day. If you’re preaching, don’t just know the Scriptures, love and apply them. Embrace the sacramental life and see the wealth of graces Jesus provides us for the spiritual journey. Repent of the sins that gum up the engine and begin again! 

A well-honed prayer warrior runs downhill! 

2. Build Relationships – As he was starting out, his connections were thin. You have to do the work and go and get them. Make the introduction to everyone. Speak at Mass, get in the bulletin, see them after church as they’re departing, and load up your schedule with coffee dates.

This will lead to your first round of leaders in joining you along the way. We call them Core Members as they make the core of the ministry. Sell them on the mission you see and onboard them (really a whole other conversation). Form them along the way but you’ll see through your conversations what their gifts and talents are. When you’re well steeped in prayer, the Lord provides. When you multiply the team, you multiply your reach and effectiveness.

Don’t just look for low-hanging fruit at church either, reach out to connections because someone always knows someone else who needs to be reached. Comb the data and phone blitz. As you accumulate people you’re engaged and hospitable with, your offerings will grow or you’re primed to start inviting to your meetings. Lastly, keep a prayer list and keep adding and praying for the people you serve, hard to reach, and haven’t even known yet. Ask how you can prayer for them, log it, pray for it right then and later.  

3. Don’t Quit When It’s Hard – You’re going to eat a lot of gravel. You’ll feel terrible about yourself at times – “I’m not good enough”, “Someone else should be doing this”, “I don’t know what I’m doing, nothing is working.”Sound familiar? When you trust in the Holy Spirit, He’s a Master Chess Player. He’s put you exactly where you need to be. You’re the guy (or the girl). The Devil wants nothing more than to make the Master Chess Player’s pieces to move themselves off the board. Double down because the Lord provides. If you need a break, take a retreat. If you need support, ask for it. If you need more skill, endure and learn. The fruit will come.

I’ve been pondering this exchange and I’ll say this formula has legs in your industry or family. Your dreams are in front of you. You’re good enough. Go get it as the Lord allows.


Adam Jarosz is bringing fuel to the productively faithful – subscribe here to get The Climb articles right in your email box, every Righteous Wednesday. You can also follow along the Righteous journey on Instagram @righteousco.

Outro

 “Only staying active will make you want to live a hundred years.”

Japanese proverb

Thanks for following along on this project to define the Righteous Way Priorities. It is important to set our priorities straight in life. Maybe you agree with what I’m proposing, maybe you disagree – either way, I’d love to hear your thoughts. How do you set your priorities? In what order would you align those I listed? Did I leave anything out that you feel should be included?

I’ve been working on this for the past seven weeks and it became really apparent early on that a blog series is insufficient. What I’ve shared with you is a seed or outline of a bigger project that I think can really be fleshed out. This will take time to accomplish but it has already been started.

A few concepts I feel need to be included but act more as an overlay than a particular priority – gratitude, friendship, and wealth. I think these three saturate each level and should be handled differently than a tier list.

Gratitude – It is so ever important to be thankful for what we are given. God’s blessings of people, challenges, victories, materials, opportunities and even failures with the lessons they bring – all deserve gratitude. An action of prayer upward and a sense of humility goes a long way in developing our character and sharing in the fruits of life.

Friendship – Friendship and fellowship are really important for us as humans. You need to interact and share in good, healthy relationships. It creates shared moments and enriches life. We can be friends with our spouses, siblings, the people we serve, and even our Lord. As Jesus said, “Greater love has no one than this, that a person will lay down his life for his friends,” (John 15:13). Each priority tier has the opportunity to build a friendship and share company. We have to balance between the number of friends we can reliably have versus how much time we can develop each relationship. Just the same, not each relationship needs to be our “best friend” but you never know who or why God puts particular people in our life until we grow in it. It’s also of note that friends may come and go with a particular season of life, and that’s ok. We can be grateful for the time we have with them.

Wealth – Fickle subject. You can do extraordinary good or ruin your soul with it. Scripture gives us much caution about it. The use of money requires wisdom on how to obtain it, put it to work, and spend it. When ordered correctly, it can strengthen each Righteous Priority by creating opportunities and giving back in the ways put on your heart. Financial guru, Dave Ramsey would say to build your house so you can give outrageously in the future. Whatever your financial situation, it will impact your priorities, direct your workflow, and give purpose to giving.

Thanks again for following along with this series. If this was fruitful for you, I’d love to know how. Send me a line!

Keep going out there. You have a great life in your hands, go make the most of it.


Adam Jarosz is bringing fuel to the productively faithful – subscribe here to get The Climb articles right in your email box, every Righteous Wednesday. You can also follow along the Righteous journey on Instagram @righteousco.

Priorities V – The Leisure

“Real recreation quickens aspiration.”

B.C. Forbes

Welcome to the fifth installation with the Righteous Way priorities, I’m walking through an alignment of priorities that the productively faithful should consider when gauging your efforts. Last week we covered the fourth of five priorities, The Labor – the work of your talent and time. All of this comes behind the highest priority with The Transcendent, your relationship with God.

Because leisure sits at the bottom of our priorities list doesn’t mean we have to be ho-hum about life. Life should be led joyfully. Joy is much deeper and more gratifying than happiness. It’s easy to resign happiness to the times we set aside for leisurely pursuits but if we do, we risk accepting joyless areas of life and do nothing to change it. This can lead to living for the weekend at work, or escapism in marriage, or even hedonism redirecting our life. Ordered correctly, leisure is important for our health. But let’s get the fun in here, this is a leisure article after all…

Adventure calls, and it is up to us to answer. We can burn ourselves out with all the dreamings and doings of life. Guilty of that myself. So with that, don’t let leisure just be wasted time in-between things to do – make the most of it. Here are four ways to consider putting this time to good use:

  1. Exploration – For many including myself, exploring new things is the spice of life. Whether it’s travel, the outdoors, music, or literature, the pursuit of exploration is a part of the adventure that calls within. Literature is filled with characters in pursuit of exploration, and it can be just as exciting in real life. By trying new things, we can broaden our horizons and discover new passions.  
  2. Play – Sports, friends, and kids. You’re never too old to play. Shoot, I was playing with little dollies yesterday (with my girls, of course:). Play is important for kids and adults, especially when done together. It’s fun, imaginative, and builds friendship. As we get older, play looks different. Sports and board games take over for tag and army guys but it still fills a spot in our life to share in fellowship. It can also be done solo if you need to get away from people and decompress. 
  3. Share – While there are times for solitude, there is always a time to share with others. Whether finding adventure or simply shooting the breeze – invite others into this. Sharing time with others is easier in some seasons of life but it’s important in every season of life. By sharing our joy with others, we can deepen our relationships and create lasting memories. 
  4. Recover – If you’ve been pushing yourself too hard and feeling burned out, it’s time to take a recovery break. Take a timeout, and write down what you need to heal from and what remedies may help. Seek feedback from a spouse, spiritual director, or trusted friend. Take a retreat, a trip, or simply turn off all work-related aspects. This recovery break may be the catalyst you need to change direction or confirm that you’re on the right path.

To wrap up, leisure time should be viewed as a valuable and essential part of our lives that brings joy and strengthens our other priorities. Let’s get intentional about our leisure time and embrace exploration, play, sharing, and recovery. It’s time to inject some adventure into our lives and live joyfully.

What’s your favorite way to spend your leisure?


Adam Jarosz is bringing fuel to the productively faithful – subscribe here to get The Climb articles right in your email box, every Righteous Wednesday. You can also follow along the Righteous journey on Instagram @righteousco.

Priorities IV – The Labor

“America was not built on fear. America was built on courage, an imagination, and unbeatable determination to do the job at hand.”

Harry Truman

Welcome to the fourth installation with the Righteous Way priorities, I’m walking through an alignment of priorities that the productively faithful should consider when gauging your efforts. Last week we covered the third of five priorities, The Vocation – your specific life’s purpose with your family or flock. All of this comes behind the highest priority with The Transcendent, your relationship with God.

We’re four parts in and now getting to our work. That isn’t to say that our other priorities don’t take work, they most certainly do. This work, our labor – becomes the means to fund everything else and a place to put our talent and skill to good use. It’s important to keep it in check from overtaking everything else.

Time for money. If you’re working full-time, you’re easily putting in forty hours or more. As a leader, you’re fifty+. Entrepreneur or ministry leader, sixty+. Some people are working two jobs just to get by, stacking hours. We put time in and someone pays us for the effort/product/service we put out. The more in demand your skill level or the more clever you can make yourself to someone, your rates will rise. It’s a fair market.

But all the time we give away towards this endeavor can cloud our priorities. It can easily become our unintended number one priority. We can move our relationship with God to the backseat or swat our spouses and kids aside because of the next thing that needs to be done after hours. We don’t take care of ourselves and watch our health disappear. I know this because I’ve been there.

For sure, there are sprints with work. We should work hard. When it’s time to focus, absolutely, put your mind where it needs to be. “There is nothing better for a man than that he should eat and drink, and make his soul enjoy good in his labor. This also I saw, that it is from the hand of God,” (Ecclesiastes 2:24). But none of it should be at the sacrifice of our other priorities. It’s good to hold ourselves accountable and check in with the outside perspective of our spouse or superior frequently.

Unless you’re blessed with the responsibility of living off of capital gains and don’t need to work to live, you’re like the rest of us who have to build our careers and generate income through time and talent. “You either work to live or live to work“, a common phrase that has some truth to it. I can’t say that one is right over the other, you’ll know the answer in your heart.

  1. Work to live – You don’t love it but it’s been good enough to stick with because it’s fueling your outside life. You’re happy to go in and do what you do well and when it’s time to go, you go – until you have to go back again. Where life takes place is outside of work. You gain your energy back with family and friends, the hobbies and travels you have in store, and the comforts and options your paycheck affords you.  
  2. Live to work – You are on a mission and can’t wait to get back to it. The sweet spot of talent and interest is at equilibrium. Time feels like nothing then you’re here, what’s another ten hours? You wake up at night with the notepad next to the bed, scribbling the next idea. You’re great at what you do and you yearn for more of it.

Your outside relationships may work, but it could also be an escape from them.

Our work can do immense good no matter our approach but it can also do immense harm if we let it. If we’re not living to our potential and feel stuck, that can also break us down. It’s good to be real with ourselves, take our labor to prayer, and pursue excellence.

Take to prayer…”Lord, am I where You want me?”, “Do I have my work balanced well with my other priorities?”, “Am I utilizing the talents you’ve given me, or have I buried them?”, “What if You’re asking me to do a new and greater work?”, “How can I give back because of what You’ve given me?”, “Thank You for what has been given to me.”

The last of the Righteous Way priorities is our Leisure…


Adam Jarosz is bringing fuel to the productively faithful – subscribe here to get The Climb articles right in your email box, every Righteous Wednesday. You can also follow along the Righteous journey on Instagram @righteousco.

Priorities III – The Vocation

 “I do not love the bright sword for its sharpness, nor the arrow for its swiftness, nor the warrior for his glory. I love only that which they defend.”

J.R.R. Tolkein

Welcome to the third installation with the Righteous Way priorities, I’m walking through an alignment of priorities that the productively faithful should consider when gauging your efforts. Last week we covered the second of five priorities, The Ore – allowing yourself to be well-formed as an instrument with purpose. All of this comes behind the highest priority with The Transcendent, your relationship with God.

What would you give your life up for?

I mean, fully live and die for? To spend your life’s journey taking on a big purpose?

Would it be your work? A job or a project? Money or fame? A sprint in leisure?

Vocation isn’t a job you transition from or climb a corporate ladder for – it’s a mission designed for you beyond labor, a calling that requires everything you have. It’s a cooperative choice that needs discernment and prayer along with dedication through the thick and thin of life’s journey. Vocation becomes your identity and is the outlet for your directed love.

Vocational living isn’t by accident, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, And before you were born I consecrated you; I have appointed you as a prophet to the nations,” (Jeremiah 1:5). You are called to do something great with your life, this is it. Your labor supports the Vocation, not the other way around.

The same character traits and skills that make you good at one, will make you good at another – love, selfless service, prayer, fun, perseverance, and dedication. It’s important to recognize the Vocation you’re in and that you are there for a reason. Whether loving your spouse and raising your family or providing spiritual guidance for your flock, you are divinely placed, right there, where you’re at.

I’d like to do a quick flyover of what the Vocations are, recognizing the inadequacy of a short block of text to cover it. There are thousands of years of writing behind each one not to mention the contemporary research and stats of where each one is today. That’s for another time. Let’s start where everyone begins…

 —

Singlehood – Our Vocational journey begins when we’re born into singlehood. It’s less of a Vocation and more of a season. We spend a good portion of it in childhood and formation but eventually, we get to the point where we feel a call to something and start to explore it. Secular society has us programmed for two things: autopilot marriage and perpetual hedonistic singlehood. Neither routes are good for us and are actually toxic to the soul and our loved ones.

The antidote is striving toward intentionality. I will run two routes through intentional singlehood…

  1. Prepare and Explore Vocations – Singlehood is a great time to get clarity on what you’re made of. This is where discernment comes in. What gifts and talents do you have? What desires do you have on your heart to do? Who do you want to serve? What do you want life to look like?  We also have a great opportunity to intentionally date. We’re conditioned societally to be married and we often feel like it’s just what needs to happen. Most people will get married and that’s great but sometimes people sleepwalk into it without kicking the tires thoroughly and seeing what other options speak to the heart. Not everyone is made to be married so what else can your heart be made for? Prayer and finding a spiritual mentor are key instruments in this process.  
  2. Perpetual and Intentional Singlehood – Marriage isn’t for everyone and that’s ok. This gets a bit nuanced because you can be dealing with a lot of factors like “I haven’t met the right one,” or “I don’t like people,” or “I’ve been wounded so much”. There is a societal price that is paid for not “fitting in” but don’t let that eat at your joy. I’ve seen the anxiety people face with this. Don’t force something that doesn’t need to be. Certainly, find the healing that needs to be done, re-write the script of dating, make a new plan – but at the end of the day, you can still love well. Love and serve others, if romance isn’t in your court, the Greek philia and storge, love of family and friends is powerful. I recommend, C.S. Lewis’s book The Four Loves.

Marriage – Matrimony is a beautiful and life-giving sacrament. Most people are called here and it makes sense, as it’s an essential building block for society to grow. If you’re blessed to share in the joys and challenges of marriage, you do it together for life. Marriage is the only Vocation that merges two individuals into one and is the only Vocation that enjoys the ordered gift of our sexuality or Eros (with the exception of the traditions in the Eastern church’s that combine priesthood and marriage). To be co-creators, Lord willing, is a powerful purpose – but for those who can’t too, there are ways to live that fully as well.

To be careful, autopilot marriage is spoon-fed to us through culture. Media and news portray marriage as easily dissolvable. “When you fall out of love, it’s time to move on,” – love is merely a feeling and when it’s gone, it’s run its course. The result is many stumble into marriage seeing the divorce rate between 40-50% and have come to expect that in the institution. Marriage requires so much love and dedication, even when it’s hard.

Marriage will require resources to provide for the family, so you generate income with a job or capital gains. Most will invest in a career that will consume a majority of their time over your life and they spend that time making choices of what comes first. Some traditions will pursue ministry or mission work and you include your family along the way, but your family will always take priority when push comes to shove no matter the mission before you.

Priesthood, Religious Life, & Consecrated Virginity – Lastly we come to the service of the Lord, by dedicating oneself fully to the sacramental and communal life. These Vocations are specialized in the Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, and Oriental traditions of Christianity. They can require vows of prayer, chastity, poverty, service, and obedience in their ministry.

There is a special call on the hearts of those called to this Vocation and while it’s important on any Vocation to discern well, it’s especially true to have guidance and wisdom to be able to get to clarity. Each lifestyle is unique and radically different than what society has to offer but your spouse becomes Jesus, dedicating your life’s actions and prayers to serving Him.

Those called to these Vocations serve flocks and communities of faithful or missions of evangelization around the world. Often, the adventure will carry them where they are needed and frequently that’s away from their family to serve other families. I’ve met and worked with a number of people who’ve dedicated their life in this way and I have to say they are some of the most joyful people I’ve met.

To wrap up, your Vocation sits above your labor. This is your life’s purpose and you’re built for it. Nourish and invest your time and energy into it. Embrace the joys and hardships that may come with it, and seek help when necessary. Pray always, you’re doing great work. The best part is you get to choose and follow your heart’s desire, the Lord knows what that is. We’re all called to something, so let’s make sure other people in our life are supported too.

Next week we’re on to our fourth priority, Labor.

Adam Jarosz is bringing fuel to the productively faithful – subscribe here to get The Climb articles right in your email box, every Righteous Wednesday. You can also follow along the Righteous journey on Instagram @righteousco.

Priorities II – The Ore

“Each time we face our fear, we gain strength, courage, and confidence in the doing.”

Theodore Roosevelt

Welcome to the second installation with the Righteous Way priorities, I’m walking through an alignment of priorities that the productively faithful should consider when gauging your efforts. Last week we covered the first of five priorities, The Transcendent – directing your highest priority above so everything below is well-ordered and designed with a purpose.

Our second stop when ordering our priorities comes to ourselves. I’ve settled this into the second tier despite the urge to place it lower in pursuit of selflessness. However, on one hand, it’s important to realize that we are instruments and that to be of service as an instrument, we must be formed. We can’t give what we don’t have. On the other, we are born into life and spend our formative years in singlehood. For the young and unsettled, singlehood can be made intentional in our preparation for our Vocational callings of serving our family, flock, or profession.

I love the imagery in Scripture of refining, “The refining pot is for silver the furnace for gold, but the Lord tests hearts,” (Proverbs 17:3), “Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction,” (Isaiah 48:10), or the familiar “Iron sharpens iron,” (Proverbs 27:17). It’s part of the love letter from our Creator who knows us too well, our Blacksmith. We will be formed one way or another, so who is doing the formation in your life?

Raw Ore – We don’t come onto life, thankfully for our mothers, fully grown. We spend our early years in formation by our families, religions, schools, communities, and various inputs. Everyone is handed an experience to start with – some better than others. No matter the starting point, that isn’t the finished race. We eventually claim ownership over our life whether we’re ready or not. When we do, we pick up the reigns and start steering. What we start to determine for ourselves is how we’re going to spend our time, effort, and love moving from ownership to death. Maybe you are recognizing a need for redirection or you can state the moments when you set your feet and began your direction.

Heat & Hammer – You’re going to be formed one way or another in life – when we hear the call on our heart from Above, life looks much different. Life isn’t just about how we can pursue the next enjoyable moment or comfort zone, a way to wish away the hard times. But suffering in life can be formative in making us a more powerful instrument of service even in the face of evil. It’s a symptom of a fallen world. When we think “God, why did this happen to me? Don’t you love me?”, the answer is, without a doubt, He does. God walks with us even in the hardest of moments, He will not abandon us. But despite whatever we get hit with, we can see the goodness that can shine on the other side. When you take a 30,000-foot view of your life, you can see how hard moments may have struck you into something different than you were before, but how can you use that for good? How have you grown through even painful hits? Where did the heat of the moment reveal cracks that need to be healed in an even greater way? Just like iron, heat and hammer can bring out the impurity to make the ore strong. We are also generally shaped into what our purpose will be in this process, what capabilities and talents are grown in this?

Whetstone – After a blacksmith has hammered the instrument into what it’s going to be used for, it’s time to hone it, a more careful sharpening. When making a sword, a blacksmith will use a whetstone to create a sharp edge. It will smooth out the roughness and create a shine. In the same way, we get greater clarity for the purpose we have been designed for – maybe this is greater professional or educational training, a seasoning of confidence in dating, or a maturing of an idea. What do you see in your life as an advancing trait, skill, opportunity, or call?

The Sword – Insert any analogy you like – Maybe you’re not a sword, maybe you’re a hammer to form others. Maybe you see yourself as sickle for harvesting. Use your imagination. I like the image of a sword. I trained and competed for twelve years in fencing, I’m familiar with its usage, I know how it’s handled offensively and defensively in conjunction with the strategy of the game. I think in the same way I’m designed for proverbial battle. I see how my formation continues, but so does my usage. The analogy can certainly be used in many different directions, in some ways, we’re never done learning or being formed but at some point, you go from formation to use. Not everyone is a sword or a hammer or a whatever – everyone is formed for their own reason. When we allow ourselves to be formed and used as an instrument of our Creator, then it becomes very clear that we’ve been made to do remarkable things big and small.  

Pray for direction and take advantage of opportunities that come your way. Don’t fret the heat and hits in your life, embrace them and grow through them. Take account of your skills and ask, “What do you want me to do with these?” Lastly, don’t be afraid of failure and take action, there’s growth there too. Because we are formed by the Creator – our love, virtues, skills, and vision become selfless and geared for the service of our next priorities…


Bringing fuel to the productively faithful – subscribe here to get The Climb articles right in your email box, every Righteous Wednesday. You can also follow along the Righteous journey on Instagram @righteousco.

The Righteous Way Priorities

“But strive for greater gifts. And I will show you a still more excellent way.”

St. Paul (1 Cor 12:31)

Whether we intend to or not, we prioritize our life with our actions. We choose to put our energy in place by way of organizing or procrastinating. We may prioritize leisure over work or instant gratification over compound interests. Priority comes in many different ways and you can hear a million ways to organize it.

The Righteous Way includes organizing not just our energy and effort but aligning it to give our life true meaning and direction. We are made for great things but not because we will it or we take cues from what the world offers us – but because of what our Creator wills for us.

When we align our will with the Father’s, life gains a clarity you can’t get anywhere else. To live a righteous life means to get our priorities straight.

First, it lies with making our relationship to the Triune God of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit paramount. Without being connected to this reality and knowing and trusting where He will take us, our work and direction can become lost. By being connected, “we can do all things in Christ who empowers us,” Philippians 4:13.

Second, and I’m having a debate on placement between two and three, is ourselves, The Ore. Not to be inward-looking and selfish but to recognize that we can’t give what we don’t have. It’s important to allow ourselves to be instruments that need to be sharpened for the love and work ahead. We need to be formed and purposed so we can figure out what is being asked of us in any given season of life. Love, discipline, and skill can wane or grow over our life by the choices we make. How are we going to let our Ore be formed along the way?

Third, The Vocation. Not to be confused with little “v” vocation as the job or career we take but big “V” vocation for what our true calling is. We’re all born single, most will be called to another state of life. A refined call of the heart, a great mission and task that requires more than the work you put down after you clock out. It’s your identity. Most are called into marriage – to love their spouse and if God willing, raise babies. Others are specialized with a unique draw – priesthood, religious life, and the refined singlehood of consecrated virginity. All of these require love, joy, commitment, service, death to self, community, perseverance, and grit.

Fourth, The Labor is the work we do – our careers that fund our life and giving. Some people are unbelievably blessed with talents and clear direction for their labor. Others have to walk a hard road to find it. Some make great money but feel desolate on the inside. Others have hearts overflowing from their labor but struggle to put food on the table. This part of our life takes up most of our clock as we trade time for money, usually 40-60 hours a week. Because of this often times, this becomes our life. Our priority. We put everything that is above on this list, below this priority. It’s easy too. I’ve done it myself. Our work is important, especially if you’re a provider but if it’s out of internal priority it will wreck your life. When it’s guided correctly, it can do immense good.

Lastly, The Leisure in your life has a unique stature – as Aristotle said, “The end of labor is leisure.” We want to enjoy life, we’re not just donkeys at a grindstone destined to slave our way to retirement, then and only then, will we truly enjoy. No, that isn’t it. Life is an adventure and it’s important to break, rest, and explore. This isn’t last on the list because it shouldn’t exist for us but because after the above, our leisure can recharge us for the above. The tale of caution should be told, a life of leisure as a top priority can lead to a life out of sorts. It can steal and rob us of fruits only the others can provide and the tricky part is, it feels great while doing it. Balance and temperance are key.

This is the way;) The next few Climbs will explore each of the five in more depth. I’d love to hear your thoughts, how would you place these?


Bringing fuel to the faithfully productive – subscribe here to get The Climb articles right in your email box, every Righteous Wednesday. You can also follow along the Righteous journey on Instagram @righteousco.

Priorities I – The Transcendent

“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind.”

St. Paul (Romans 12:2)

I realize that a quick blog of this topic is radically insufficient, but this will have to do as I work on a greater approach. The start of our priorities for the Righteous Way begins with God. There is no secret to Righteous Co., everything begins and ends here. It’s a core function of the business because it’s a core function for me. For any Christian, it’s our mission set by Christ – “to make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, teaching them to follow all that I command you, and behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age,” (Matt 28 19-20).

I work with so many different people on various roads and dreams. Faithful and secular. Catholic, Protestant, Non-denominational. Contemporary and traditional.

There is a common thread – losing sight of what lies above and in our hearts is easy. The secular world is a powerful engine that will seek to drive our attention to the things that destroy our souls and our life’s purpose. We need to set it straight and get clear that the reality of God in our life is much more potent.

I often hear, “What is the purpose of life?”

The answer is easy to say but much more difficult to live out when you boil it down. It’s simply this, get to Heaven and take as many with you as you can.

If you want to live a life where your heart is full and you feel like your life has meaning and purpose, reconnect with the most powerful Being in not only your life but in the universe. He alone will give you direction and the first step in that direction is back to Him. He will transform every step after that. This is true no matter how far you’ve gone or how far you’ve fallen.

There can be a fear of the unknown with that, a desire to hold on to a piece for yourself. It’s natural. It can take a bit of time to wrap your head around it or it can take a moment of prayer to give it all upward. Wherever you are in your relationship with God, consider handing over your heart and your direction to Him in prayer. Hand the keys over. It’s ok, you can trust Him.

The order of our priorities starts with the Lord’s blessing and direction. There are other paths you can choose for sure, but they are fraught with dissonance, anxiety, depression, complacency, and even comfort. The path with the Lord doesn’t make life easy or comfortable, He tells us to pick up our cross and follow Him – but it’s a life of love, blessing, full hearts, healing, sharp vision, and service. Each step after is filled with the proper purpose and order – our self, our Vocation, our Labor, and Leisure.

Remember, this life is only so long. It goes by quick. Eternity calls beyond and that lasts forever. As St. Aquinas said after a vision of Heaven, “All that I have written appears to be as so much straw after the things that have been revealed to me.” Even if we alone mastered our life here, there is much more ahead. We can’t take it with us.

Part II continues with The Ore, ourselves. While it’s important to live life selflessly, you can’t give what you don’t have. We let the Lord hone and sharpen us with purpose so we can be better instruments of love and labor.


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Limitless

“All the clouds that use to look like cars now look like clouds.”

Maps and Atlases

I’m cheerleading our group of guys embarking on this year’s Exodus 90 journey with the ministry. For the uninitiated, it’s a powerful ninety days of prayer, fraternity, and asceticism while walking daily through the book of Exodus. For the hungry of heart – it’s a great road map to build your faith and discipline. Going through it three years in a row, I (but no more than Ani) was ready to give it a break. Each year since we’ve had leaders step up and take the helm with a fresh and hungry crew of guys.

There is something in the air this year that is getting me to go back to the disciplines we had hardily taken on. Not all of them, but I’m reintroducing a couple I found to be the most difficult at the time – not because I’m a glutton for punishment but because I’ve learned a lot about them since.

Concurrently with my contemplation of Exodus, I started watching Limitless with Chris Hemsworth on Disney+. It’s a series where Chris pursues healthier disciplines and explores lifestyle changes to test him and help him lead a longer life. The series isn’t too long and is aesthetically pleasing but two episodes, in particular, rang my bell – cold water and fasting, the two things that have been settling into my heart as the start day drew close.

Cold Showers – All three years of going through Exodus, this particular discipline had my number. I never enjoyed it. Never saw the benefit. Wussed out in some of those Buffalo cold-pipe January/February mornings with a twist of “just a little” warm to stop the pain. They just sucked.

I was introduced to a number of articles this past summer and then a guy named Wim Hof the Ice Man, dedicated to cold training and the positive impacts it has on your health and mindset. Bringing cold showers or baths into your life has a number of benefits. I started taking cold showers again this summer for a bit, which is really easy when it’s hot out but I did notice a change in my day – I had picked up more energy and a clearer mind later in the day. I also noticed a change in my inflammation management as my joints and guts recovered faster from my poor choice of eating wheat. I cooled off when fall rolled in and the water got cold. It was a bit of an experiment I wasn’t ready to commit to.

Chris’s challenge in this episode was to swim in open thirty-degree water in Scandinavia. Yea-no for me. But the training was interesting and could be downsized for the normal person.

Fasting – Hemsworth takes a number of these disciplines to the extreme with challenges that most people won’t attempt but the point isn’t to do an extreme challenge it’s to introduce the concepts in your own life. Chris makes a four-day fast while being active. Knowing I struggle with 24-hour fasts before bloodwork, I couldn’t imagine 96. Plenty of science and benefits to it which is great but the thing the show doesn’t go into is the faithful importance of fasting as a prayer. We’re so used to having food at our disposal, we can eat and snack whenever we want. We don’t usually go hungry. It’s easy to say, “I’m starving!” and have no idea what that feels like. Knowing hunger reminds us and our souls of the hunger we should have for something greater. When you fast, you’re lifting up that discomfort and pain as an offering to God and saying no to something so natural for a time for the supernatural.  

The building block of discipline required for fasting and training yourself for cold overrides our cravings in our body and crosses a number of paths – spiritually, romantically, physically, and mentally. I haven’t done anything bigger than a 24-hour fast yet or jumped in one of the Wim ice baths, but maybe someday. But for now, I’m reclaiming a number of disciplines I had left behind with a new set of eyes and a new hunger for growth.  While you’ll have to approach Limitless with a grain of salt, it’s well worth the watch. Perhaps you’ll find some nuggets that inspire you to action as well.

What are your thoughts on the conversation?


I love sharing insights and reflections for the faithfully productive – this article is from Righteous Co.’s weekly newsletter, The Climb. If you want to see content like this and more, subscribe here to get The Climb right in your email box, every Righteous Wednesday. You can also follow along on Instagram @righteousco.