November Blog

Here is what we are going to discuss this month:


  1. Personal Planning for 2021
  3. Update on New Book
  4. Chesapeake Consulting News


Personal Planning for 2021


Advent is a great time of the year.  It is the time we make ready for Christmas, perhaps enjoy friends and family more and review our plans from 2020 (if you are sadistic) and map out what you want to get accomplished in 2021.  There is a lot already written on the topic and I want to offer something useful and not take 1200 pages to do it. 


What if I were to tell you that if you were successful in developing the self-control that is essential for spiritual growth that the plans for other areas of your life would evolve naturally as an effect?  That is what I am going to suggest.  Saint Paul suggested this in 1 Corinthians 9:24-27.  The Greek word askesis or asceticism is the lifelong training in self-control that is essential for spiritual growth. 


I am a dog lover and about two decades ago I got serious about training and working dogs.  It was one of the many hobbies I have oozed through in my life along with less productive things such as golf.  During my dog training fetish, I ran across the Monks of New Skete.  These Monks breed German shepherds, train dogs, drink wine, study, pray and meditate.  Sounds like fun.  They write numerous books on dog training and I have read them all.  However, they also write books on “Monk stuff” and I am re-reading “In the Spirit of Happiness” by the Monks.   In this book, Brother Marc, stated on page 79, “Asceticism is an ongoing practice of self-discipline which enables us to live life more efficiently and healthy.  It is the healing regimen, the program of training that we undertake to enable us to pursue the difficult road of spiritual growth.  We will fail to grow spiritually unless we live by a disciplined life, trimming off spiritual flab by consistent and conscientious practice.”   Again, my assumption is that as you become stronger spiritually the rest of life follows suit.  Over the years I have learned some things that have helped me in this arena so instead of trying to explain the why and the reason – I will simply try and tell you what has worked and is working for me.  Hopefully that will be of benefit.




  • A calendar/planner.  For the last two years I have used the John Maxwell group planner.  At the beginning of each month there is a calendar with blocks for days where you can write stuff.  Each week in the month (as you turn the pages) is a week – which takes up two pages side my side where you can see the entire week at one glance.  Each day of the week has the hours of the day running vertical.  If you are struggling with what to get pop me an email or give us a buzz and we can talk.  There are many excellent planners – for years I used Franklin Planner. 
  • A regular black ruled composition book – like the ones you used to use in lab.
  • A daily devotional.  Again, if you want some recommendations pop me a note.
  • A Bible.
  • Church of the Highlands Prayer Book.  This book is neat and has several standard prayers broken down in detail and devotional type format.  If you would like a copy, again let me know and I will see if I can get you one.  It is not a fancy book sort of like a brochure, paper back design. 
  • My annual plan for each year which is developed around this time each year. 




  1. After I let the dog out, feed the cat, feed the dog and get my coffee on (in that exact order or I have an animal revolt on my hands) I spend time praying normally using one of the prayer models in the Highland book or simply by writing in the black notebook. 
  2. All thoughts, ideas, feeling—anything gets written down in the black notebook.  It is sort of like a journal on steroids.  Sometimes when God speaks to you it is a good thing to write it down.  The entire latest book evolved through that black book.  As I go through the month, many of the quotes that end up in these blogs start out in the book.
  3. Each morning I send my daughter, Leigh, a scripture that I have selected a month in advance. 
  4. Then read devotional. 
  5. Next item is some sort of physical activity – walking (I am old, running days behind me unless I am being chased). 
  6. I do a 20 hour fast three days each week. 
  7. I attend morning small groups on Tuesday and Wednesday.  Being with others and discussing how God is working in your life is important.  Your faith journey is not intended to be in isolation.
  8. Saturdays normally am engaged in some sort of a service
  9. Sunday day of worship and rest
  10. I begin developing the to-do list for the next week around Thursday. 


There is some “spiritual life logic” to all of this.  There are three parts to each of us – your physical being, your soul and your spirit.  One of those three are going to call the shots at any given time.   If you do not feed the physical or your soul, they will crave demanding that they be fed.  If you do not feed the Spirit, it will simply not show up and let you deal with everything yourself.  The routine above is an example of a discipline that is intentional about feeding the spirit whereas the spirit can guide and direct other aspects of your life. 


Some may have some questions on this.  Again – feel free to pop me a note and I will try and answer them. 





  1. Dreams often come one size too big so we can grow into them.  John Maxwell
  2. The problem with a family business is the family.  Gus Whalen
  3. A monk is one who is separated from all and who is harmony with all.  Evagrius Ponticus
  4. The fast that you are on right now could affect future generations for years to come.  It could have a significant effect on the world.  Rhoda Faye Diehl
  5. Faith builds when we are determined not to give up.
  6. You have to find people before you can lead people.
  7. Aspire to be the dumbest person in the room.
  8. Each time you read a spiritual book the more the truths revealed in the book become imbedded in your soul. 
  9. It’s hard to hear the voice of God if we are always talking.  Rhoda Faye Diehl
  10. There is a monastic contemplative dimension in every human being’s life.  Monks have simply chosen to pursue this formally in a full-time, radical way.  Monks of New Skete
  11. Dogs, as we know, are generous minded and their instincts are to be trusted.  Burges Johnson
  12. Don’t complain about what you allow.  John Maxwell
  13. The greatest enemy to tomorrow’s success is sometimes today’s success.  John Maxwell
  14. If you do not like the crop you are sowing, check the seed you are sowing.  John Maxwell
  15. Be willing to sacrifice pleasure for opportunity.  John Maxwell



Update on My New Book:


Relative to other books I have written, this book is doing very well.  Internally we have already placed our third order and Amazon is showing movement.  I am currently booked on three radio shows for interviews for the book and one of the local tier one automotive suppliers are considering using the book for training. 


You can get the book from Amazon, Barns and Noble or from Chesapeake Consulting.  If you purchase it from us it is $15 and that includes shipping.  Just email me your mailing address. 


I have also constructed an author’s page on Amazon, which lists my other books.  They would make a great Christmas present for employees, friends, and family. 


I have also developed a small group study one for churches and one that would be more appropriate in a secular corporate setting.  Pop me a note and I will email you a copy.  The Church of the Highlands has approved the book’s use for small groups. 


Chesapeake Consulting News:


I would love to complain about how difficult 2020 has been but that would be a bit selfish as it has been tough on everyone.  It looks like Chick-Fil-A and folks that make masks and hand sanitizers are doing well but the rest of us are trying to be creative.  I feel so sorry for many small restaurants as they are dropping like flies and many will never reopen.  Thank heavens the manufacturing sector is making a strong recovery and hopefully the election will not have a negative effect on those jobs. 


One thing crisis situations do is make you think harder and we are no exception.  We are currently doing some work for a local sheriff’s department and it is going very well.  One of my friends who is also the most successful entrepreneur that I know suggested we focus on sheriff’s departments.  If you run a sheriff’s department in central Alabama we are headed your way. 


We have many excellent products that can add value to your employees while they are working from home.  Touch base with us.  We would love to discuss them with you. 


If you enjoyed this blog and want to check out some of the older ones go to our website (link below). 


Have a very Merry Christmas!!




John Covington