Monday, December 6, 2010

Risk Taking - Necessary for Growth and Achievement

Think about any great acheivement or influence accomplished by someone you know. Was risk involved? Most likely, in almost all of your examples, risk at some level was involved. Risk can be defined as undertaking some task to accomplish a goal with some level of uncertainty existing with the outcome. Or, risk taking can be defined as the attempt to accomplish something while a fear of failure exists. Risk taking may be the key ingredient that moves leaders from thought to action, comfort to new confidence, influence to impact and goal to accomplishment.
Why does risk taking exist? Fear arises when uncertainty enters our vision. Uncertainty arises when we consider attempting something never before attempted. Fear exists because of a lack of confidence, experience or solid advise to move forward. Simply put, risk creates fear because we simply cannot predict the future. However, without risk, our feet stay on the shore and we simply wonder what undiscovered oceans of dreams may contain.
It's not the venture of our dream that creates the risk but the personal belief of each of us trying to achieve it. In other words, the risk has more to do with what lies within us rather than the task at hand. What enables us to take risk?
We must have a perspective that failure is not a bad experience but a growing experience. Failure can be good! We must learn more about ourselves, our abilities and our skills from failure so we are better equipped to take on the next risk taking opportunity! It's only when we risk going too far that we might discover just how far we can go.
Leadership involves making difficult decisions to truly impact and influence the world. Will you take the risk? The benefits of the accomplishment far outweigh the possible consequences of failure as long as we live with the perspective that failure only helps us. Take the risk!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Succesful Teen Leadership

Having been around teens in education and ministry these last fifteen years, I have observed a few things that make for effective leadership in the world of teenagers. Here are a few:

1. Respect - This seems to arise often when teens speak of their elected leaders or team captains. I would rank this as the most important quality teens look for in other leaders and mentors in their lives. People in general deep down inside desire to be respected. When people, particularly teens, respect EVERYONE with no strings attached, they find themselves surrounded with support and loyalty. Learn to respect EVERYONE.

2. Humility - While respect is the number one desired quality in teen leaders, in contrast, teens despise a leader who is arrogant. This quality applies for all leaders. As soon as leaders become arrogant or prideful in any manner, they start losing sight of those who have helped them become successful in the positions they hold. In other words, keeping a balance between confidence and humility helps a motivated leader keep his or her feet on the ground.

3. Energy - I often get the impression watching student sections at high school events that teens are waiting for someone to exercise some leadership to demonstrate energy and spirit. Often I find people desire a leader to have a high level of energy. Why? Energy is cyclical. If a leader has energy and shows enthusiasm, this energy motivates others.

Aspire to be a leader that others are motivated to follow. What other qualities do teens look for a leader to possess?

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

What Makes for Effective Problem Solving?

Leaders are looked to has having the ability to solve problems and provide solution ideas when people need them. Rising to this challenge requires skills and character that enable the leader to continue forward progress for his or her team. Furthermore, problems are inevitable; they will happen!
Problems arise for there are always things out of our control such as people and circumstances. When one of these two variables intereferes with our plans, a problem occurs. The leader must demonstrate the following characteristics to be good problem solvers.
1. Outlook- Leaders must live with the attitude that problems will arise. Problems are necessary for our forward progress and personal development. A leader who does not act surprised when problems arise builds security in those trusting his or her leadership. The proper outlook eliminates a lof of the negative emotions that come from being caught off guard.
2. Honesty - Leaders cannot hide their face in the sand and expect to move their team forward. Leaders must be willing to be honest and face the reality and truth about situations. Leaders must have the character to be honest and humble to own up to the truth. This also builds security and trust in those following his or her leadership.
3. Perspective - Leaders must keep the big picture and remember the goals. Author Alfred A. Montapert wrote, "The majority see the obstacles; the few see the objectives; history records the success of the latter, while oblivion is the reward of the former." Leaders cannot let themselves get buried in the details and forget their mission.
Most importantly, don't let obstacles become brakes. Leaders must not let obstacles and problems become the means by which progress stops and the team doesn't continue. Leaders must see obstacles as opportunities and part of the process necessary for future success.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Choose Your Future by Choosing Your Influence

"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.


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Failure and Decisive Leadership

Watch the video on Failures developing Success:

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 Brings Break Through

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

Leading by Following

You'll find mass followers and you'll find the leader who initiates but another role of leadership is needed and that is the first follower. When you see someone passionately step out and take the lead on some worthy initiative, a few brave followers will be the first to follow this lead. This initial group of followers are leaders! They are creating a movement that encourages others to listen to the message or influence of the movement. All great leaders have first followers. Every presidential candidate has a loyal cabinet. Every great organization has a leadership team. Every successful team has a leadership team with a successful coaching staff.

What do these first followers do for leadership? The following outlines the benefits the first followers provide the leader:
1. Gives credibility. Those who initially step out and follow a new initiative communicate to others this new mission is worth following. The first followers are inviting others to follow their lead by following a worthy mission.

2. Initiates movement. The first followers initiates the movement of the mission. This expands the influence of the mission and or the message of the leader. Any influence by a leader or leadership team needs others to carry the message.

3. Creates momentum. The first followers start the snowball effect. There are many who may think the movement or leaders is worth following but lack the courage or motivation to jump in. However, when the movement grows from the initiative of the first followers, others are more willing.

Identify movements in our school worth following and be the first followers. You can tell someone how to fish or you can take them fishing. There are worthy "movements, missions and messages" worth spreading. However, they need leaders. Not just those who run the show but those who are willing to first identify themselves with the mission and teach others how to follow. What are some worthy missions or movements (not organizations or teams) needing first followers in our school? What steps of action are needed by these first followers?

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Goal Setting - How?

What you desire to accomplish in life must be attached to a specific goal, not to people or circumstances. Goal setting may be the most beneficial practice in bringing your vision to reality. Discover your vision or your dream you desire to achieve and goals will define the specific steps of action you need to take to succeed. Follow these practical steps in designing goals and experiencing progress and success.
Define the finish line. Goals should clearly identify the finished task that you desire to achieve. If you do not define where you are going, how will you know if you arrive? Your vision should give direction but your goals give destinations. Mark your course in life by defining where you desire to end up and what it's going to take to get there!
Goals that are not written down are only wishes. To achieve something, you must clearly identify the finish line and what you must do to get there. Without writing down your goals, you will soon become distracted, derailed and discouraged about your progress. Writing down your goals allows you to "visually visit" them each day which is an important part of achievement.
Goals not practiced today will never get finished tomorrow. Having your goals written down to be visual reminders for your participation only if you are committed to accomplishing those goals. Each day is a new challenge to make personal decisions of what you will do with your time. Your goals should reflect what is important to you and therefore, also determines how you will use your time. Start each day with a new commitment to make progress towards your goals.
Dream big but keep your feet on the ground. Dream big! What do you want to contribute in life? What do you desire to accomplish? What good can you do this week? As you dream, be sure to keep your feet on the ground. In other words, be realistic. Your goals should stretch and challenge you but they should also be attainable! Don't set the finish line so far away you become weary and discouraged from your race.
Finally, as the popular Nike slogan would say, "Just do it!" Satisfaction and confidence develops as you practice and acheive goal setting.
Research and discover other tips for goal setting and include them in your comments.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Values of Leadership: Resiliency

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

Finding Inspiration

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

Progressing Daily

"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

Influence Beyond Existence

Imagine what is occurring in the mind of this little girl. If one truly stopped and realized all that could be captured in this monument, one could not walk away influenced by the legacy of President Abraham Lincoln. Put yourself in this little girl's shoes for a moment...

Imagine running a small department store to meet the physical needs of your local townspeople. You just realized you short changed a customer a couple of pennies but the hour is late. Your temptation is to either justify this small mistake, forget about it, wait until tomorrow or find some way to move the small burden on your conscience. Instead, following the closing of the store, you walk to this customer's house (probably at least a mile) to humble yourself, confess your mistake and return the extra change. Your conscience is clear and you can rest peacefully knowing you did the right thing. This is one of many similar testimonies you might read about Abraham Lincoln.

Little did he know that moments like these were the shaping of his future character and leadership. Who better to unit a divided country and begin the end to a bitter, evil war over racism and slavery than Abraham Lincoln? His character, resolutions and leadership had powerful influence in his day and continue to influence all those wishing to be taught by this great leader today.

What "lessons" do teens pass up right now that could be the shaping of their future influence? How can living by principles and resolutions aid in this progress?

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:
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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:
a. observations
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

Does Leadership Change?

Is leadership just a position? Is it a role? Or, is it an act? As our technology and society change at alarming rates, is our society redefining leadership for the 21st century? Should it be?

Mitch McCrimmon, a freelance writer, states, "The meaning of leadership has always entailed occupying a static position at the head of a group. Today, we need to see that leadership is an occasional act, not a role."

(Read more at Suite101: 21st Century Leadership: The Changing Meaning of Leadership

In addition, Melissa Vokoun states, " Leaders can no longer rely on historic values and judgments. We have evolved into a day where individuals are valued and appreciated for the characteristics that are intrinsic to them and their uniqueness. An effective leader has to embrace these differences and find creative ways to build an organization from a group of individuals." (Read more at

Do you agree with these statements?

Using authors you respect, find one or two quotes, post them and then argue if leadership is changing or if it should change. Focus on if there are leadership principles that stand the test of time or if leadership all together will be an evolving entity, changing with the changing times. Use a quote or two to help defend your position.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Decisive Leadership

On average, we are making thousands of decisions every day! Effective leadership involves making the right decision for the right reasons. Benefits of making the right decisions include:
  • 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

A Mission Statement Clarifies Purpose

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:

"Our Roadmap starts with our mission, which is enduring. It declares our purpose as a company and serves as the standard against which we weigh our actions and decisions.
To refresh the world...
To inspire moments of optimism and happiness...
To create value and make a difference."
Go to the following website and fill out the questionnaire that will help you get started on developing your mission statement.
Once you have your list of answers to the questions, create your own mission statement and post it as a comment.
"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover." -Mark Twain

Monday, February 15, 2010

Modern Values in Today's Leadership

Examine the picture and read the following before posting comments.
Author and Speaker Stephen Covey stated, "Personal leadership is the process of keeping your vision and your values before you and aligning your life to be congruent with them."
Integrity can be defined as the consistency of our character, especially when no one is looking over our shoulder. The Law of Core Values states that what is really important to us, our values, drives our leadership and determines our actions. What does this cartoon reveal about this man's values? How does he justify his decisions?
What principle what you share with this leader/employee to motivate him to change his values and therefore, his productivity? WHY SHOULD HE CHANGE?

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Developing a Personal Plan For Growth

NOTE: This is an article by John Maxwell copied and pasted from his website.

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

21st Century Values Experiencing Change

(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?

Sunday, January 31, 2010

How Truthful Is My Honesty?

What made Abraham Lincoln such an honest person, an influential leader and the reputation of "Honest Abe?"

At the age of 22, owner and manager of a country store, Abe found himself walking over two miles to repay 6 cents to Mrs. Duncan. Why the inconvenience? He was sincere in making sure Mrs. Duncan knew the 6 cents overcharge was not intended and with apology he would repay immediately.

Maybe it was a similar time when Abe in haste weighed tea bags for an elderly woman and realized he made a similar mistake and incorrectly gave her a quarter pound of tea rather than a half a pound. Like before, when closing that evening, he made haste to deliver to this woman her other quarter pound of tea.

While these may seem like such little instances and many would argue that the convenience of overlooking the matters would be better, Abe was wise in going the extra mile to make things right. He obviously understood the great life principle of making the right decisions in the little matters develops the ability to make right decisions in life's larger matters.

In 1860, the integrity of Abe's honesty was needed by a torn and divided nation. His leadership to our country abolished slavery and united millions of people towards a more patriotic and unified nation fighting for liberty for all citizens.

Discuss how honesty or the principle of making right decisions in little matters develops the ability to make right decisions in life's bigger matters are so needed in today's leadership. What areas of a teen leader could these great truths be applied?