Using Pain to Focus and Improve

My Mentor, Tim Marks, says “Pain is weakness leaving the body.”   When I was twelve I rode one morning on my bike down my street, wearing only shorts.   It was a warm southern california summer day and I in my joy rode without my hands on the handle bars.   You can guess what’s next, I hit a rock and fell end over end, skidding 20 plus feet.   Skinned up, bleeding and out of breath I arose and walked home.   I sat unmoving at home for five hours, in pain and thinking until my mom came home.   It was the first time I remember pain focusing my thinking.   It was not the last.

Fast forward a few decades to, one of my daughters is out of control.   I am in more pain, emotionally, than ever before and I know it’s my fault.   I had a choice, ignore it and hope someday she would figure it out.   Or do something about it and give her a chance to have a life.   Or do whatever it takes to change and help her have a life now!   Thanks to the influence of a Tim Marks and the books and scriptures he led me to, I was able to take courage, face my doing, and change with prayer, study and accountability.


Today that daughter is a beautiful, kind, self sufficient young lady and I couldn’t be prouder of who she has chosen to be.   Going through pain isn’t fun, even though The Bible says “take joy in your long suffering”, it still hurts.   If we can remember God is really Sovereign life is a lot easier because the outcome longterm will be good.   This verse has helped me many times, I hope it brings you peace too.

“And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.” – ‭‭1 Peter‬ ‭5:10‬ ‭ESV‬

Whatever circumstances you’re in, remember they are only temporary and God plans good for you not harm.   So lean into Him, pray, read, get counsel, reframe, get better and overcome.

Focus there is more to see. – Chris Mattis<><

From V town to New York

I have a very good friend, Tedd Romero who grew up in Vallejo California.   Not a well know town, other than the birth place of pro athletes, rappers and high crime rates.   Affectionately called “V town”, Vallejo sits on water in the north east corner on the San Francisco Bay Area.   Tedd started his culinary career at Taco Bell.   Today he is the Executive Pastry Chef at Lucy Restaurant at the Bardessono Hotel in the Napa Valley.   Tedd’s  journey in life started as so many do, with a single mom trying to raise a son while working all the time to provide.   He wrestled in school, got into trouble, met his future wife, Alesha, and had a son all by the time he was eighteen.   When I met Tedd and Alesha and their son Daniel, Tedd was already a gifted Pastry Chef working atop the financial district in San Francisco at the famous Mandarin Oriental Hotel.   What I didn’t know was that he was sleeping on the couch and living out of a box while his wife was getting their divorce papers together.   They were introduced to me by a good friend and business partner, Victor Scargle, a very famous and very good Executive Chef, and Tedd’s former boss.

Victor wanted to work with Tedd again and Tedd saw the opportunity.   Tedd and Alesha immediately started to listen to and read to the personal development materials.   Then I got a call from Tedd asking for some counsel, “I got laid off today.   The last time this happened I got so depressed it took me nine months to get another job.   I don’t want that to happen again.   How do I fix that?”   He explained to me that in the cooking world when an Executive Chef is fired it’s standard operating procedure to lay off everyone that chef hired, due to loyalty and sabotage issues.   After explaining the difference between looking for a job and wanting work (there is always work for those that want it) we set out a two piece game plan.

First – You get whatever you focus on, so focus on creating.   If you want to be hired read good books and start with The Magic of Thinking Big, two hours everyday until hired.   Listen to audio talks & seminars, eight per day, everyday until hired.   This will guarantee you have a positive attitude and put you in action creating.

Second – People are hired because they are the most persistent, not because they are the most qualified.   Dress as if if you were going to be interviewed and go into as many places each day as you can and meet the person in charge—the owner if possible—but at minimum the person who does the hiring.   Shake their hand, look them in the eye, ask their name, how long they have been with the company, and what they are looking for in their staff.   Give them a resume (after getting help putting it together; it shocks me what people leave out that is valuable!).   Ask when they are interviewing next, tell them why you want to work there and what you bring to the table.   A work ethic, a willingness and ability to learn, and a great attitude should be the bare minimum.   Smart managers and leaders hire attitude first, because you can always teach technically ability.   It’s a waste of time to drag a negative complainer into your company.   Two days later call and talk with whoever you gave your resume and application to and ask if they have scheduled any interviews or have an idea of when they might be.   Remind them why you want to work there and thank them for the time and consideration.   Two days after that, stop in again and see the same person, this time with a letter of recommendation.   Many places will tell You they don’t take them, but leave it with them anyway, most will give you a higher ranking because of it.   Call again two days later and ask what else you can do to work for them.   Persistence and Massive Action always Win!

My Beautiful God Daughter

My Beautiful God Daughter

Tedd worked the game plan and ten days later had four job offers.   An interesting note both: he and Alesha made growing on purpose a new habit, reading and listening daily, attending seminars monthly and getting counsel regularly from then on.   Some of the byproducts of their new learning curve were promotions, a better marriage, and a new daughter, Leticia my God-Daughter.   Eighteen months later Tedd had a very different experience with that next employer.   He came into work to find the Executive Chef that hired him had been fired that day, but something very unexpected followed.   The General Manager sat down with him and explained that they would normally let him go at this point, but they were hoping he would be willing to stay on without her, his former Executive Chef, citing the reason that, “You have become such an important part of the Leadership here.”   Tedd has never been laid off since.

Pan seared salmon green garlic pea soup Creme Fraiche sherbet

Pan seared salmon green garlic pea soup Creme Fraiche sherbet

This year Tedd’s current Executive Chef and close friend Victor Scargle encouraged him to compete in a prestigious fish competition.   It is funny to me because Tedd doesn’t like to eat fish, yet he not only won the Northern California competition he also placed high enough on the West Coast to be given an all expense paid trip for him and his wife to New York for a week coming up in December.

Where does a young guy from V town become a famous Chef and win free trips to New York?   In the world of rags-to-riches stories, like a Tim & Amy Marks.   Better information leads to better thinking and better thinking leads to better results, every time!

The Whole Family

The Whole Family

Significance vs Importance

Truly few people ever change lives so radically and with good purpose as a Tim Marks.

Many people tell me they want to make a big difference in the world, but very few actually leave a legacy.   There seems to be some sort of disconnect between wanting to change lives and a willingness to actually roll up your sleeves and jump in the muck and help somebody through it.   What I mean is we have to care enough about someone to help them through struggles, by loving them unconditionally until they are ready to face truth and then when they are, lead them to it.

There are huge differences between writing an opinion online in a blog, being a motivational speaker and seeing somebody one time, coaching or therapizing someone by telling them what they are doing wrong and what they should be doing, versus actually caring enough to be somebody’s friend and to walk them through the steps over time to change their life for the better, on purpose.   As well there are big differences between telling someone your opinion or a theory that you learned that you haven’t lived out in your own life successfully, coaching someone to do something you’ve seen work in others lives, maybe without being privy to all the details versus helping someone through something you have personally overcome.

The difference it would seem between wanting to be important and actually making a significant impact in someone’s life for the better is, intention.   Are we doing it to feel good about ourselves or because we care more about them than we do about what we get out of it?   Am I trying to be a “Big Shot” or serve them?

I’m always excited when someone wants to make a difference, when he or she wants to make a real impact.   The confusion comes in understanding the dangers of coaching or mentoring someone when you don’t have a result in your own life that they can see as an example and not having developed the humility to get our own pride out of the way.

So how do we discern whether we should be someone’s encourager and sounding board or their counselor, offering truly correct advise?

1st – We must judge our own intentions!

Am I willing to be rejected while serving this person?   Will I still be their friend if they don’t return friendship to me or listen to my advice?   If they don’t change quickly enough will I become frustrated with them or give up on the process?   Do I refer them to other people for counsel, encouragement and support?   Am I reading, getting mentoring and trying to be better, so that I can serve them more effectively?   Do I point out their gifts and abilities that exceed my own?

– Negative responses to any of these questions would tell me my intention (my heart) is not in the right place.

I’ve heard if you don’t love someone, you can’t mentor them.   We cannot in good conscience counsel another if we don’t care about them and their future.   This would be pretending we are God.   It would be like experimenting on someone you don’t care about and if they died saying, “oh well, next.”   And yet I’ve seen trained professionals do just that.   We have to remember we are dealing with people’s live, relationships, livelihoods and futures.   What we say to them can change everything.   Will it be for the better or worse?   Even well meaning is not enough.

2nd – We must ask ourselves what am I getting out of it and what do I have to offer?

Do I care about this person and their future?   Do I hurt for them in what they are struggling with?   Do I have results in the area that are working on?   Do I have resources I can expose and refer them too?   Can I give them grace for the things they have done to others or to me?   Am I willing to learn, be wrong and apologize in this process.

– Negative answers to these questions would make me aware, I am not equipped to help them navigate through this struggle.

In DNA of Relationships, Gary Smalley talks about the difference between wanting to help someone and actually being their friend when they can’t return that same level of friendship.   This is work, it’s many times messy and usually takes time.

3rd – Do I access a Mentor for outside perspective and insights?

If I’m not being mentored how can I really mentor someone else?   I’ve heard best selling author Tim Marks say, “Judge a tree by the fruit it bears, not the fruit it talks about.”   Meaning learn from someone with results.   Without proven results to teach from it is easy to give advise without being able to give the correct thinking that goes with the actions.   Everyone has opinions, that doesn’t make them correct.   Learn to look for results in those you surround yourself with.

When I worked in the psych world I was amazed how many people confuse having a degree being licensed or even board-certified with competence.   It doesn’t take a formal education to lead people, it takes a caring heart, a valuing of people, unconditional love and the courage to lead them to truth.   Many people want to Learn, then teach, or just Teach what they think they know.

We Learn, then Do, then we can Teach!

There is no such thing as “efficient” in relationships.   Care enough to pay the “Full Price” to have Great Relationships.

Invest Wisely – Chris Mattis

Friendship: What it Is and Isn’t!

“Good Friends help You move, Great Friends help You move a body” – Anonymous.   A ridiculous example of Friendship and Loyalty, but I does bring up a point.   Namely “Friends” do not sit in judgment of or speak ill of each other and fiercely defend the character of the other.   Why do friends defend each other? – They know each other’s hearts, their intentions and the purposes to which they are dedicated.

Grace and patiencs are other great attributes of Friendship.   Seriously, are we someone’s friend if we take offense to them being busy, short or just plain living life?   One of my “Best” Friends in the world, he and I have know each other since the “Play Pen”, have wondered in and out of each other lives for decades now.   Yet each time we talk or do something, even if it’s been years, it was as if we saw each other yesterday.   This is a guy I trust with my kids, house, cars, money and to give me honest feedback.

I have watched some of my heroes, Danaé Mattis (my wife), Steve Mattis  (my Dad) and Tim Marks (my Mentor), befriend those that judge them, use them and malign them.   Yet they keep aiding them in the pursuit of their goals and loving them in their mistakes.   This is so uncommon in our world.

A common confusion in our current media driven society is that an acquaintance (someone you are around or hang around) is a friend.   Friendship has nothing to do with hanging out, sharing non-creating experiences, making “you’re not doing what I think you should be doing” judgments or thinking “what can I get from you”.   I hear a lot of “I want you to be my friend” whining in our world.   “Serve me”, “take care of me”, “make me feel special”, guilt inducing actions and words followed by “but I’m not interested in serving you!” self-centeredness.   When did popularity replace significance?

This reminds me of  a situation that a very close friend of mine went through.   One of his college buddies was giving him grief because his new family was getting in the way of “Guy Time” (Drinking & Hanging Out).   Then the “frat brother” started to pick at him for starting a side business he didn’t believe in.   Finally after attacking my soft hearted friend with critical emails asking, “what happened to my friend, my hang buddy?”, he shot back, “I have a family to take care of, debt to pay, a wife to provide for and a future to build!   I grew up!   I recommend you do the same!”

Two great measuring sticks of who is my friend (not who likes me):   1 – Who would pick you up at 3am two hours from home?   2 – Who encourages you and believes in you, regardless of whether or not they understand the dream you are chasing?   A friend will either join you or encourage you in pursuing your God-given dreams!

Clearly by these definitions I have eliminated most people, even my family, from the “True Friend” list.   This was epitomized in a conversation I had a few years ago with an older relative.   It occurred at a family event where I was asked what I had been doing the last several years.   I responded by giving the general details and the hoped-for outcome of my efforts.   In response this family member began to verbally vomit warnings, fears and doubts on me.   I placed my hand in front of his face and said, “STOP!   We are only limited by our own thinking and I cannot afford to be limited by yours.”   He pointed out that he had wisdom (none, of course in the areas in which I work).   Then he tried to justify his actions by saying that he was playing “Devil’s advocate” (I have plenty of devils in my life and I don’t need to be related to one!).   Then he sarcastically asked if he should be a “cheerleader”, to which I pointed out I could ALWAYS use another encourager!

We have to decide to BE someone’s friend.   This would mean serving and ministering to them.   I remember the day I chose to be Tim Marks’ friend.   This was not required to get his counsel (acting on that counsel would be key), to have him help me through struggles (if I worked at fixing them) or being around him in business.   I have seen Tim serve many people who don’t like him, take him for granted or even don’t respect him.   My wife Danaé listens and counsels ladies every month that don’t respect her time and ofter her wisdom. Yet people get upset when they can’t interrupt their lives for them at will.   Or worse, they whine and make excuses because they didn’t want to grow up in an area, so it must someone else’s fault.   Let’s blame “Mommy and Daddy” or the closest likeness.   Danaé, Dad and Tim are Impressive examples of Friends.

Two-way friendships are a matter of Heart, not Time.   Sadly most friendships are not two-way.   this is not a big deal if, you believe that “it is better to Give than to Receive.”   So we need to check our motives, serve without expectation of return, forgive false friends and thank God for the real ones.

I hope this finds You well – Chris Mattis

Friendship what is it?

When I was younger I though everyone was my friend.   In reality ,”hoped” would be a more accurate word.   As I grew and wanted people to like me, I had many disillusionments around friendship.   Many times thinking, if only I were a better friend others would treat me well.

It is strange to me now how blind I was to the differences between being liked and being trusted.   As well as being someones friend vs being friends with someone.   Why I say blind is that I was trained for and worked in psychiatric nursing, I was a follower of Christ and I had been studying leadership, all for many years and still I could not see the differences.

It wasn’t until I got around  Tim Marks that I became aware of the principals and qualities that make up a “Friend”, “Friendship” and “Being a Friend” to others.   I watched him serve leaders, stand by people as they struggled through something, let people hold him accountable, give others grace, and love enough to give correction, not criticize, tear down or destroy.   It was great evidence of what true Leaders are, and made me painfully aware the world was sorely lacking men that really Lead.

The more I was around men like Tim and their amazing wives, through their writings, books and articles, through talks and videos, watching them seminars and online and finally getting to know and work with men of this caliber, the more I became clear they are different.   In reality “better” would be a more accurate word.

I believe today we are called to be a friend to others regardless of it being returned.   Serving others in times of need, helping people back up, encouraging people to do and become their very best, seeing the best in them and pointing it out, holding their feet to the fire around actions, words and choices – these are just a few of the facets of real friendship.   “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.” – Proverbs 17:17 ESV, “Faithful are the wounds of a friend; profuse are the kisses of an enemy.” – Proverbs 27:6 ESV.

If you find yourself taking care of others more than is returned to you, take heart and be glad YOU are a Friend.   And if you find others asking for you to “be their Friend” rejoice but do not be fooled thinking they want to take care of you as well.   And if you find yourself being cared for by another be Grateful for You have found a True Friend and You are Blessed indeed!

– Chris Mattis