IS REALLY UP CLOSE
The Story Behind "The Circle"
I woke up at my normal early time this morning to get
ready for my pre-sunrise walk and a very direct thought hit me.
As I sat on the edge of the bed waiting for the midnight fog to clear
from my brain, I pondered what this very strong and clear message
meant. In the quiet of the still morning, with only a bird or two
chirping outside our window, the thoughts which I'm about to share with
you began to pour out and they continued to flow and crystallize
throughout my walk. This is the story behind "The Circle".
Many people from a variety of walks of life strive for the level of
accomplishment known as "peak performance". Most commonly this is
referred to as "being in The Zone". The baseball pitcher who
throws not only a no-hitter but a perfect game (facing only the minimum
number of players - 27 - like Kevin Costner in the movie "For Love of
The Game"), the football quarterback who can consistently guide his
team to victory week after week even when at times they're down by 2
with less than 2 minutes remaining in the game (Joe Montana of the San
Francisco 49er's), a financial advisor that consistently guides his
clients towards stable financial strength with
honesty and integrity (I'm speaking specifically of
and I believe his company strives diligently to follow in his
It takes a clearly defined personal mission, as well as a relatively
small but loyal group of people working together for one common goal,
in order to achieve peak performance. Even in a perfect game, a
pitcher still relies on his team to catch any ball a hitter might
connect with in order to get the batter out and preserve and protect
the perfect game.
This is the story about my personal, loyal group of friends and
supporters I affectionately refer to as "The Circle". Actually,
I'm grateful for the rare blessings of having not one but THREE
"Circles" in my life - the first is my wife and family, the second is
one that my close friend and favorite songwriting collaborator, James
Odle, Jr., and I
formed several years and add consistently to as we work towards our
mutual goal of becoming songwriting partners on Music Row in Nashville
(it's getting closer all the time!), and the third and final circle is
the small, but very loyal group of people behind "Change Your Stars!".
Yes, I may be the one who created and designed this website, and I'm
ultimately responsible for producing what you see, the daily "Change
Your Stars!" and the new weekly "The Quest!" messages, as well as what
appears on my website, but I couldn't and wouldn't think of doing all
of this alone. A MAJOR part of the credit goes to "The Circle",
as they're affectionately called.
"The Circle" began long before the website was even planned.
There were just three of us back then; my wife, Kathi, my friend,
James, and I. It has since grown to a total of 15. When I
first created "The Circle", Kathi and James were a given, but the
others I've added over the last 19½ months were carefully selected and invited to join
because of their contributions to "Change Your Stars" as well as their
open and honest comments they've offered when I present something new
to them that I'm considering for the site or the messages. I
trust their opinions and enjoy the open discussions they
generate. What you see and what you get with "Change Your Stars!"
is not just from me, but it's with the wonderful assistance on my
One person I'd like to offer a special thank you to before I
share their names is Ron Atchison, the creator and inspiration behind
the wonderful website, www.InspirationPeak.com.
We became friends
just over 14 months ago, have supported each other in numerous ways,
and Ron has unselfishly offered me many wonderful tips to help improve
my website as well as my email messages, even though some would say
we're competitors. Ron and I see each other as friends and
competitors, because our mission is the same ... to reach out to the
world and offer inspiration, direction, strength, encouragement, hope,
faith and support in all we do, and along the way enjoy ourselves
tremendously in this mutual labor of love. The intrinsic rewards
we receive from this endeavor cause our cups to "runneth over".
Also, another special thank you goes out to William "Bill" Marin.
We've only known each other for a short time, but his friendship and
ideas have proved invaluable! "From sea to shining sea", Bro ...
James, what can I say? Over six years of writing together and
we're just getting started! I've never met James face to face,
but 6 months into this friendship / collaboration we exchanged photos
in an email and we were both stunned! We're TWINS! Just
from different mothers! All I can say is ... NASHVILLE or BUST,
And Kathi ... you inspire me to do my best! You make we want to
be a better man, and I'm tryin'.
The Change Your Stars! Circle
Kathi Carlton (CA)
James Odle, Jr. (TX) Ron Atchison
(CA) William Marin (NY)
(CT) Susie Greathouse
(CA) Anu Ram (CA) Cassie
Jeannie Lovell (AZ)
Paula Reeves (TX) Teresa Myers
(AL) Rosemarie Huysman (CT)
Jayalatharachchi (Sri Lanka)
This close network of friends receive sneak previews of potential new
pages, asked for their opinions on new ideas, design, layout, color,
content, etc., and in general make Change Your Stars! what it is today
and what it will become in the future. There are three others
that are VERY close to receiving an invitation from me to join The
Circle, but I don't want to ... wait a minute! Let's do it right
now! In front of the whole world!
If they'd like, I'm inviting Dorian Bell (CA ... soon to be UT), Rob
Sorensen (CA) and Gail Johnson (CT) to join "The Circle"! I look
forward to hearing from you by email!
In its own special way this is a message that normally may have been
saved for sharing in November, around Thanksgiving, when we all tend to
become aware of the many people and things that we're grateful for in
our lives. But I remember so vividly a newspaper column in the
San Francisco Chronicle written many, many years ago by Charles McCabe
titled, "If you love them, tell them". He urged us all NOT to
wait to tell someone whom we love, how much they mean to us, and how
grateful we are to them and why. When the thought comes to mind
to write, call or visit someone, we must always PAY ATTENTION and DO IT!
Helpful suggestions, contributions of quotes, inspiring stories, good,
clean humor (paramount because Change Your Stars! is a family friendly
site), are always very much in need and are very much
appreciated. Who knows, because of your contributions and
support, at some point in the future YOU just might receive an
invitation to join "The Circle"! I'm ready for it ... are you?!
© 2006, Jace Carlton. All International Rights Reserved.