Monday, December 6, 2010
Sunday, November 28, 2010
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
Monday, October 25, 2010
"Show me your friends and I will show you your future." These were the words spoken by motivational speaker Keith Robinson at a recent conference I attended in Ames. These words struck me as I reflected on my own experience as a teen and college student. I found myself agreeing more as I reflected on the different periods of growth in my faith, character and leadership.
I couldn't agree more with this statement. I am a product of who I have surrounded my life with. Therefore, my present life (future) is a result of my friends in years past. This started as a teen as I sought to model my life after a Coach and Mentor in my life, Jim Probst. As I severed ties with the friends who influenced my life negatively, I found myself desiring the influence and impact of someone I esteemed as having great success. He was successful with life vision, life purpose, life relationships, faith and leadership.
I have found that our friends really influence three major aspects in our life. First, who we spend significant time with influences our ambitions. What we desire and aspire to do is strongly influenced by what our friends want to do. This is addressing what we want to accomplish in life. Our friends influence our future accomplishment. Will it be good? Worthy of true admiration of others?
Secondly, our friends strongly influence our direction. The path I walk and the life I live is greatly shaped by those whom I seek approval from. Our friends can push and pull us in directions we know may hinder our character and leadership development.
Thirdly, our friends influence our beliefs and core values. This may be the stongest caution I would give. Our friends can help shape our beliefs and core values, which ultimately determine our outlook on life. Ask yourself, "Are my friends helping me value what is really important in life?" Also, consider your influence. Is your impact helping others' grow in their character and leadership?
In short, who we surround our lives with shapes our decisions and sets us on a course. To choose your course in life, be sure to carefully choose your friends.
"LIFE IS PARTLY WHAT WE MAKE OF IT, AND PARTLY WHAT IT IS MADE BY THE FRIENDS WE CHOOSE." (American Poet Tennessee Williams)
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Watch the video a second time and jot down some notes on what must have been the influencing factors that influenced these leaders to not give up?
One of the necessary ingredients to success involves learning from failure. Many see failure as a closed door rather than another part of the journey. Our perspective must change about failures and difficulties in life. These are defining moments for leadership. Our decision to either learn and grow from these failures or simply turn and quit rest on the our perspective on failures. These leaders mentioned in this video were relying on more than just a perspective on failures though.
These leaders had a right vision or a right perspective to live for and when failure came, they made decisions to respond differently to these failures. These leaders did not let circumstances dictate their response to failure. They CHOSE to pursue their vision in life despite any set backs. WHY? Speculate on those reasons and share what criteria must we possess to decide to use failures as ingredients for success.
Thursday, October 14, 2010
Commitment is what separates "doers" from "dreamers." Many people can dream ideas but few can carry the vision to a completed, successful reality. What is the key ingredient? Commitment! Merriam-Webster defines commitment as the "act of pledging or agreeing to do something in the future." Effective leadership involves pledging to complete or fulfill a dream or vision to successful completion.
Understanding the nature of commitment will provide insight on how to practice effective commitment:
1. Commitment must start from WITHIN. Commitment always precedes achievement. To achieve, you must decide within your own heart, mind or soul to bring a dream to pass. Furthermore, commitment decides to achieve regardless of how circumstances may create ease or difficulty.
2. Measurement of commitment is found in action. Leaders must be people of action and decision, not just position. Commitment is what starts the engine of motion to practice the skills and goals to bring the dream or vision to fulfillment.
3. Commitment is the enemy of resistance. Leaders attempting to fulfill a dream or accomplish a goal WILL find obstacles in the path of accomplishment. Commitment is a resolve to work through those obstacles. When the enemy of resistance raises its voice, commitment resounds with a louder cry!
What kind of a leader will you be? A Cop-out? Holdout? Dropout? or All-out? What characteristics would you use to describe those previous four leaders (defined by John Maxwell)? In other words, how would you describe a "Cop-out? or All-out?"
Sunday, October 3, 2010
Saturday, September 25, 2010
Monday, September 20, 2010
Core values are those strongly held beliefs that define what is important to us. Dr. King stated, "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent on the things that matter." Every leader must be confident and passionate about what is important. Our values shape who we are and what we are about. It helps clarify our vision for leadership.
One particular value every leader must have is resiliency. Every leader experiences hardship and even failure. It's how leaders respond to failure that will determine the future success and improvement of his or her leadership. Resiliency is that inner quality that take determination and works through trials, hardships and failure. Resiliency is deciding to not let failure become a final destination but simply a resting spot to regain composure before moving on. Leaders must live with the perspective that failure is a part of success.
Watch the following video by Michael Jordan and comment what core values shape his perspective on failure:
Monday, September 13, 2010
To have a vision, one must be inspired to accomplish something great. There are a lot of people trying to accomplish things but to what avail? For what purpose? Wouldn't you agree there are a lot of people going through the busyness of life for no apparent reason? Be different! Be a leader who lives with a clear vision! You might be asking, "Where do I start?"
1. Become Inspired. Inspiration is the stimulated spirit that is moved to do something great with enthusiasm or passion. Experiences in life could create inspiration. Inspiration is born in those moments in time when your mind is clear of any care, thought or anxiety and your soul is blessed beyond measure. These moments create the ability to be inspired. Return to those moments to find inspiration. Inspiration shapes a motivation for your vision.
2. Discover Your Values. What is important to you? What are you willing to die for? Live for? What do you become very frustrated over? Find what is important to you and your vision will start taking on shape. For example, someone who is disgusted with the lack of good, moral leaders and mentors in our society. This individual might become inspired to start a Brothers and Sisters program in his or her community. Why? This individual realizes the importance of good role models to young people.
3. Realize Your Purpose. What can YOU accomplish with your new inspiration and your new burden or values? What are you able to do? What is your motivation? Purpose is the core of the vision. Purpose is the REASON behind your dream, vision or goal in life. The REASON is identifying your intent or motivation. Is it for self or for others? The higher calling is found in having a purpose that is others centered, not self-centered.
Don' assume that normal, ordinary people can't accomplish something great in our society. It's all that has ever been done! Ordinary people who are inspired to accomplish great things (a vision) find the resources to make the dream a reality.
Wednesday, September 8, 2010
"The great thing in the world is not so much where we stand, as in what direction we are moving.” The 19th century physician, poet, writer and Harvard Professor, Oliver Holmes, made this statement and inspires us to remember that leadership requires progress. Sometimes when we look back at success or failure, we slow our progress and then we simply "stand" as Professor Holmes stated. Leadership development requires the perspective that we continue to advance and move forward in areas of communication, planning, goal setting, relationship building, speaking, etc.
When living with the perspective that we should be advancing our leadership, it's also important to remember this is a DAILY commitment. Great leaders are not born nor developed in a day. George Washington developed his character and leadership over a lifetime before being elected as our first President with all of the electoral college votes (no other president has done this). Remember, his leadership was developed through seasons of trials, adversity, success, droughts, and stand still. His commitment towards his vision and his values enabled his perseverance.
What practical steps of action can you take on a DAILY time scale to improve your leadership?
Abe Lincoln also stated once, "If I am given six hours to chop a tree down, I will use the first four to sharpen my axe."
Sunday, August 29, 2010
Friday, August 13, 2010
This magnifying telescope empowers your ability to see and enriches your enjoyment of this elevated perspective. Likewise, your own personal vision that declares your purpose in life will magnify your ability to see life through a positive perspective. Furthermore, having your vision will enrich your enjoyment of life. As the proverb states, "Where there is no vision, the people will perish."
Vision can be defined as a declaration of purpose. This purpose could be specific for a leader and an organization or a CEO and his business. Or, a vision could mark the overall lifestyle and influence a person wants to leave on this earth. Regardless, a vision gives purpose and the following:
- An Ideal - A vision declares the end result or outcome you wish to pursue. It creates a clear understanding in one's mind of what he or she is trying to become.
- A Direction- A vision provides a clear focus and direction for each day. Stepping out the front door into reality each day is met with a clear road map on where one is trying to go.
- A Rationale - A vision gives a reason for your chosen activities. Without a vision, one might fall prey to the "going though the motions" syndrome.
- A Filter - A vision provides a framework when making difficult decisions. A vision clarifies what types of activities to take on.
All great leadership starts with a vision. The vision is what clarifies the message of influence the leader is communicating to those who follow. Without this clear direction, the leader will be leading people down a path with no expected end, possibly to the "peril" of the program.
What vision are you living by?
Saturday, March 20, 2010
Our Guest Speaker from ING the other day, John Ross, stated, "Different people viewing the same reality will normally have very different perceptions." Perceptions as defined by Merriam-Webster Online dictionary are:
b. mental images
c. an awareness of the elements of the environment through physical sensation
d. quick, acute and intuitive cognitions
I'd like to create a working definition for perceptions by combining two of those definitions. Perception is the quickly developed mental understanding or impression a person develops from an awareness of various stimuli. I use various stimuli because our perceptions can be influenced by more than what we see. For example, as the 19th century poet William Blake stated, "If the doors of perception were cleansed, everything would appear as it is - infinite."
How can this concept of perceptions influence our leadership?
Effective leadership requires the understanding that not everyone will see a vision the way you do. Not everyone will see a problem like you do. Not everyone will see change like you do. The implication then is that we as leaders must help others get around their "mental road blocks" to pursue change, goals, or success (assuming it's the right thing to do). I would like to argue that this principle of perception must be applied in two ways.
First, leaders must be perceptive. Leaders must have an acute observation of how others are receiving what is being communicated. A leader must use those observations to constructively, and gently help people move in the right direction.
Secondly, it's important for leaders to remember that our perceptions of life are shaped not just by what we see but by what we believe. Therefore, we must have accurate beliefs and perceptions about ourselves (unlike the cat in the picture), others, problems, life, change, etc.
William Blake also wrote, "The eye altering, alters all." How does this quote relate to perceptions and leadership?
Saturday, March 13, 2010
Monday, March 8, 2010
- Accomplishes goals
- Leads others to accomplish goals
- Builds effective communication
- Builds trust with others
- Gives personal confidence
- Builds on making right habits
- Creates character of decisiveness.
Leaders in positions in the public spotlight are often criticized for wrongs made in the public setting. Often these "wrongs" can be traced back to making wrong decisions in the "little" moments in life. Often these decisions are a fruit of the wrong values as well. For example, if someone values punctuality, he or she will often make the decision to be on time, if not early. However, the individual who is late for an important job appointment probably has made similiar decisions before and therefore, have a habit of being late (and likewise, not putting value on punctuality).
When I was a junior in high school running at the State Track Meet, my relay members and myself came jogging out of the warm up arena onto the track. As we jogged onto midfield, still in our warm up sweats, we could hear a third and final specific call for us as a team to report to the starting line! Not only had the first, second and third calls been made for our race, all runners were lined up on the starting line and EVERYONE was waiting on us! Why were we late? A lack of leadership - my leadership as the senior anchor. While I want to blame our coach for making us participate in a last minute run to Wal-Mart to get rain gear, honesty will tell you the four of us didn't pay attention to the clock while warming up in the warm-up arena. If the stress of panicking and undressing in front of EVERYONE wasn't enough, we had the state track officials barking down our necks!
While this is a humorous example of a poor decision, many "poor" decisions can be avoided in our days if we follow three simple ingredients to wise decision making:
- Base your decisions on right facts
- Rely on wise counsel
- Base decisions based on clearly defined goals.
Give an example of a common problem teen leaders face where they feel their heads are "splitting" and then use the three ingredients to re-shape the "poor" decision into a good decision.
"Those who avoid decision making thereby decide to let circumstances and others make the decisions for them." - Dr. Bill Gothard
Monday, February 22, 2010
Clarifying your personal mission as a developing leader will enable you to aim and hit your "target" in life! Having a personal mission statement built on personal values clarifies your purpose in living and pursuing 21st Century Leadership! How can you be an effective leader without first clarifying what it is you are trying to be and accomplish?
Here is what Coca-Cola has posted on their website for their mission:
To refresh the world...
To inspire moments of optimism and happiness...
To create value and make a difference."
Monday, February 15, 2010
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
Read the following portion of an article by John Maxwell:
Do you have a personal plan for growth?
February 8th, 2010
"Growth is does not happen by chance. If you want to be sure to grow, you need a plan—something strategic, specific, and scheduled.Motivational speaker Earl Nightingale said, “If a person will spend one hour a day on the same subject for five years, that person will be an expert on that subject.” Isn’t that incredible? It shows how far we are able to go when we have the discipline to make growth our daily practice.
So if you want to follow a plan, recommend that you start by identifying an area or two in which you desire to grow, such as leadership. Then start gathering useful resources – in print, online, on video, etc. Now your goal is to schedule learning time EVERY DAY. Here’s the rule of thumb I’ve used for years: read one book a month and digest one article/podcast per week.
As an example, this is the weekly schedule – 5 days a week, 1 hour a day – that I recommend for personal growth as a leader:
Monday: Spend one hour with a devotional to develop your spiritual life.
Tuesday: Spend one hour listening to a leadership recording.
Wednesday: Spend one hour filing* quotes and reflecting on the contents of Tuesday’s material.
Thursday: Spend one hour reading a book on leadership.
Friday: Spend half of the hour reading the book and the other half filing and reflecting.
The average American adult watches close to 30 hours of television per week, with little positive return. What do you think would happen if you devoted just five of those hours to personal growth?
Why not start acting on a plan today and find out? Then let me know if it was worth it."
Discuss why planning for growth is necessary for leadership and how you plan on planning on it? :)
Monday, February 8, 2010
(If the video does not play, watch it on youtube by typing in, "Did you know? 2.0)
Poet and Writer George Bernard once said, "Reasonable people adapt themselves to the world. Unreasonable people attempt to adapt the world to themselves. All progress, therefore, depends on unreasonable people."
What's impressive about this quote is that this influential writer lived 100 years ago! How true this principle still remains for us today!
Leadership not only involves influencing and motivating people to achieve a goal for the success of the team but it also involves personal change. Change for the 21st Century involves adapting to changing environments. Learning is changing. Technology is changing. Communication is changing. Therefore, we as leaders must change as well!
As leaders we need to be able to adapt. Our information-aged society is quickly and constantly changing. Leaders need to be able to communicate effectively in the information-technology age and maintain effective influence through our character and leadership.
Consider the thought-provoking video in commenting twice on this blog:
First, discuss what truth "impacted" you the most?
Second, discuss what values do we need to develop to be successful leaders in the 21st Century?