Together, we can do great things…

“You can do what I cannot do. I can do what you cannot do. Together, we can do great things.”

Mother Teresa

It take great humility and self-awareness to understand that you can’t be good at everything. Great teams are built around people with different and complimentary gifts. If everyone on the team is the same, then the team is built with inherent weakness. You need the strengths of others to accomplish the mission.

What are the gifts that you bring to the table to best serve others? What gifts do you need others to possess in order to accomplish great things?

To lead yourself change your mind…

“Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.” 

George Bernard Shaw

It is amazing how much of our leadership impact and ability is based on first being able to lead oneself. If we can’t be completely candid, open and real with ourselves on our need to change, how can we expect others to change?

What is the #1 change you need to make on and in yourself to increase your impact? What is getting in your way? How can you start the change today?

If you want to win you had better start with a good breakfast…

“Critical feedback is the breakfast of champions. Defensiveness is the dinner of losers.”

Dharmesh Shah

Why are people defensive? Is it because they don’t want to be wrong? Perhaps their own identity or self-worth is so wrapped up in something that anything that doesn’t align with their thinking is taken as a personal indictment? Regardless of why anyone might be defensive it is easy to see that there is very little positive that can come from a defensive mindset.

The best athletes are always looking for critical feedback in order to improve their game. They watch film, they solicit input from trusted coaches, they look for ways to remove flaws from their performance in order to get better. You can’t do that if you have a defensive mindset. You can’t be focused on growing and improving if you aren’t willing to see flaws as opportunities.

Some of the most impactful feedback I have ever received has come at times and places in life that it would have been easy for me to say “I don’t care what you say or think, this is who I am. I am right…” If I had taken that approach I would have missed the opportunity to learn, grow and improve. I wouldn’t have seen the “flaws in my game” and then found ways to address those flaws and hopefully improve my performance. Self-improvement is a continual and ongoing process and I know I have many more opportunities to get better by seeking out candid and critical feedback.

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Make sure that you start with a good one by embracing any critical feedback offered.

appetizer avocado bread breakfast
Photo by Foodie Factor on

Execution, not perfection…

“A good plan violently executed today is better than a perfect plan tomorrow.”

General George S. Patton

There is no such thing as a perfect plan. Trying to get it just right and waiting until it is perfect means that nothing will ever get done. I’d much rather have a good plan well executed than to wait another minute to try and get something perfect. It just isn’t going to happen. Seeking perfection is the enemy of execution.

Change starts small…

“Your life does not get better by chance. It gets better by change.”

Jim Rohn

Where does your life need to change? Are you willing to simply wait and be “lucky” in order for change to happen? To be sure we are all lucky in some form or another. But leaving life up to the vagaries of chance just isn’t an acceptable plan. To accomplish anything worth doing you have to embrace change and lean forward into change with all the gusto you have in your being.

I have found that some of the most important changes in life aren’t the biggest ones that I have embraced, but have instead been the small ones, done well and executed relentlessly, those changes have made the biggest difference.

Why is this? For me, I have found that the small changes and the willingness to embrace them, to get outside of my comfort zone, have been the catalyst for larger change. They have prepared me mentally and physically to let go of the old and embrace the new.

If you want to change something big, start with something small. Do it today…

Wish & Try

“Wishing is a form of inspiration for the lazy mind but taking Action, Persisting and finding alternative routes to your destination against all odds is the definition of a SUCCESSFUL Venture.”

Oscar Bimpong 

It is rare that I reuse quotes intentionally but this one really resonated with my as I reflected on the quote yesterday about removing “try” from my vocabulary. I think the word “wish” can fall into the same category as the word “try” if one isn’t careful. It can be an excuse if left on its own without the effort, energy and tenacity needed to turn something into action. If you combine “wish” and “try” in the same sentence you are almost guaranteed failure.

For another perspective on this quote here are the thoughts it prompted the last time I selected it.

Try nothing…

“The word try, means nothing. There’s no such thing as trying to do something. The moment you begin a task, you’re doing it. So just finish what you’re doing.”

La Tisha Honor

I love this quote. “Try” means nothing… Let that mull around in your head for a bit. How often do you use the word “try” in your vocabulary? What if you didn’t? What if you vowed never said the word again? How would that impact how you live? How you show up for the little things?

Find the good…

“Positive thinking is not about expecting the best to happen every time but accepting that whatever happens is the best for this moment.” 

Author Unknown 

I don’t think this is something that you just “know” when you are young. It is wisdom that is formed through experiences and from taking some lumps along the way in life. Frankly it is a lesson I am continually learning and relearning.

The more that I marinate on this quote the more I realize that it is not about being supper happy and focusing on the “good” things happening to me or others but is instead about finding the good in the things that do happen. It is always there, we just have to choose to seek it out…

Worthy work?

“Far and away the best prize that life offers is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.”

Theodore Roosevelt

When do you feel most alive at work? When does the work not feel like work at all but instead is energizing and motivating? I love it when the work is exceptionally hard but is so worth doing that it doesn’t feel like a sacrifice in any way. That is magical. Are you there today? What would it take to capture that feeling?

All the small things…

“Perseverance is not a long race; it is many short races one after the other.”

Walter Elliot

If you ask anyone that participates in long distance endurance events they will tell you that they aren’t at the start line thinking of the race in it’s entirety. No one starts an Ironman race thinking about the 140.6 miles that are in front of them. Instead it is broken down into much shorter segments that are easier for the mind to focus on and control. For example, it’s not a 140.6 mile race, instead it’s a 2.4 mile swim. Yet it’s not a 2.4 mile swim, it’s a swim to the first turn 800 meters out. It’s not even a swim to the first turn, it’s a swim to the next course marker buoy 200 meters away. It’s not a 200 meter swim, it’s settling in with a smooth stroke and easy breathing.

The same logic applies to the bike and to the run in an Ironman. It applies in marathon and ultra-marathon distance races. That is how one perseveres over distances and challenges that are too great for the mind to comprehend and embrace. It applies equally well in life. It’s not about the great thing you want to accomplish five years from now, it is the exact next thing that you must accomplish to become the person you want to be. To be a person of perseverance and determination doesn’t happen with the big things, it happens with all the small things that are strung together.

Kill ambiguity…

“It’s not the things you don’t know that trip you up. It’s the things you think you know, but you don’t. You fail to ask a certain question because you believe you know the answer. Separating your information from your assumptions can be very tricky business.” 

Claudia Gray

It is amazing how often the things you assume about something can in turn trip you up. Details taken for granted can be the most important ones.

There is a fine line between verifying everything and in turn sending a message that you don’t trust someone and verifying just the most important things. How do you make sure that you walk this line successfully?

One of the ways to combat this is through thorough and clear execution of “commander’s intent.”

How does this relate to today’s quote? It’s all about clarity and removing assumptions and replacing them with crystal clear facts. That means you have to ask the right questions. Thats how you kill ambiguity.

Say “no” to non-essentials…

“The wisdom of life consists in the elimination of non-essentials.”

Lin Yutang

I have been on a journey to simplify in life and focus only on the most essential and important things. It is incredibly challenging for me to do, but has been very enlightening and clarifying. Definitely not saying that I am wise, but that I can see and have great appreciation for this wisdom.

It is interesting to see how much time we spend doing things that truly aren’t essential. There are so many things in life that are competing for our attention that saying “no” can be truly liberating. I will say that doing so takes more discipline and intentional focus than I would have ever thought possible. But it is worth every tough decision.

What is the one thing you should say “no” to today?

Transparency = authenticity…

“If you are honest, truthful, and transparent, people trust you. If people trust you, you have no grounds for fear, suspicion or jealousy.”

Dalai Lama

I despise politics. Posturing and posing in order to achieve some agenda that is masked or not transparent is just something I can’t do very well and is something that I don’t have a lot of patience with. I have long believed that being transparent in your intent is the key to building strong and lasting relationships with others. If you have this type of relationship politics doesn’t enter the picture. Transparency equates to authenticity.

But with this degree of transparency comes a great burden of responsibility. As leaders we must ensure that our actions align to our words at all times and if, and when, they don’t that we own our mistakes and missteps. I like this verse when thinking about the power of honesty, truthfulness and transparency.

“For we are taking pains to do what is right, not only in the eyes of the Lord but also in the eyes of man.” 2 Corinthians 8:21 NIV

I’d much rather be known as a person that speaks the truth, conducts himself with integrity at all times, and is transparent with my intentions towards others. I love people that are like this and they are the ones that have my greatest respect and admiration. Who are the people in your life that live like this? What is their impact on you and others they come in contact with?

Choose wisely…

“Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed, is more important than any other one thing.”

Abraham Lincoln

Suffering setbacks, failures and challenges is inevitable. It is going to happen to all of us at some point or another. How we react and respond is a choice. Deciding to succeed despite the challenges is a choice. Doing whatever it takes to overcome is a choice.

But then, so is quitting… Which choice are you going to make today?

Integrity fuels trust…

“Real integrity is doing the right thing, knowing that nobody’s going to know whether you did it or not.”

Oprah Winfrey

Trust is what makes real relationships with other people work. It is the foundational platform for any relationship. Without trust nothing else works. Trust is based on integrity. Integrity is internal to a person. It is how they show up and act. It is their own personal moral or ethical code. It manifests and conveys in a myriad of ways. For example, I have known people that lie to others and I can never fully trust them because I know that if they lie to someone else, they will lie to me. They will say they are “white lies” but a mistruth is still a lie.

It can heartbreaking to find out that someone you know and respect lacks integrity. It is especially tough because without integrity there can’t be trust. Doing the right thing, means knowing and doing it, even if it has negative consequences for yourself. Frankly, that can build trust with others that share your same ethical and moral code.

Turning this thinking inward, what are the little things that you do that demonstrate your personal beliefs and ethics? How do you demonstrate that you desire to live a life of integrity? What does “doing the right thing” mean to you?

Surrender your ego…

“He who closes his ears to the views of others shows little confidence in the integrity of his own views.”

William Congreve

If you aren’t willing to listen to, and learn from others, then by default you are saying that your ideas are better, your thoughts are better, and that you are always right. That’s a pretty big gamble if you ask me.

I assume that others might know more, have a different perspective, or offer something that I haven’t considered. There is a great advantage in seeking input from others but only if you surrender your ego and truly listen to learn.

Solve the problem…

“Don’t bother people for help without first trying to solve the problem yourself.”

Colin Powell

I am sure that we all know the type of person that seems to have nothing but problems and somehow always wants to bring them to someone else to be solved. It can be exhausting to work with or be around people that are like this. They are only focused on the problem and how it is someone else’s fault or responsibility and never on the solution and how they can take ownership.

What a refreshing difference it is with someone who owns it and finds a way to solve it themselves. Giving feedback is so much easier and more valuable when working with a person that is doing their very best to solve something. They have invested the time, effort and energy into the solution instead of shifting the responsibility to someone else.

What is the difference between these two types of people? The person on one end of the spectrum wants to make sure they have an out if things don’t go well or the solution wasn’t the right one. “It’s not my fault, they told me how to do it.” At the other end the person wants to own the solution and focuses their efforts on getting things done. “It might not be perfect but I am going to own finding the solution to this problem.”

Which end of this spectrum do you live on?

The best question…

“Perhaps the very best question that you can memorize and repeat, over and over, is, ‘what is the most valuable use of my time right now?'”

Brian Tracy

How often do you ask yourself this question? How often do you answer it honestly…? What would you need to change to make the answers to the question easier to actually do? How many times does it happen where you get to the end of the day and wonder if you actually accomplished anything?

The answers to these questions might not be easy or answers that you like. But changing them to ones that you do like could change your world…

Impatiently patient…

“Patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet.”

Jean-Jacques Rousseau

Patience is not one of my virtues. Not. At All. Even when I find myself thinking that perhaps I have developed a new level of patience something will happen and I am reminded that developing patience is, and will be, a continual journey for me. Waiting is just not something I am good at. But waiting is sometimes exactly what I need.

I will fully admit that I have learned more in life when the journey has been long and I have had to sit back and understand what God is teaching me through patience. In hindsight the journey is always worth the cost and the reward is sweeter for having persevered.

What lessons have you learned through demonstrating patience that might otherwise have passed you by? Would you be the person you are today without having taken the bitter patience pill a few times?

I think I need to learn how to be impatiently patient. Never wanting to slow down and be content being patient but fully willing to embrace the lessons I can learn through patience.

Where should you focus?

“There is only one way to happiness and that is to cease worrying about things which are beyond the power of our will.”


It isn’t comfortable not being in control. If we aren’t careful we can drive ourselves crazy worrying about the things we can’t control instead of focusing our efforts and energy on those things that we can. Whenever I lose sight of this I find the following scripture both grounding and uplifting.

“Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world.” 1 Peter 5:6-9 ESV

At the end of the day I know that whatever it is that I am worrying about is far less impactful than the challenges and persecution faced by so many. When I spend my energy worrying I am putting my effort into things that don’t impact the lives of others and don’t honor my Savior and what he has blessed me with. When I remember to think and reflect on this, everything comes back into focus.

If you aren’t growing you are dying on the vine…

“The greats never stop learning. Instinct and talent without technique just makes you reckless, like a teenager driving a powerful, high-performance vehicle. Instinct is raw clay that can be shaped into a masterpiece, if you develop skills that match your talent. That can only come from learning everything there is to know about what you do.” 

Tim S. Grover

Both life and leadership are a journey of constant and continuous learning. I believe (and most sincerely hope) that I am a far better leader today than I was five years ago and yet I know that I am nowhere near where I want and need to be five or ten years from now. It has nothing to do with role or title but everything to do with impact and effectiveness. The more I learn the more that I realize how much more I need to learn and how much opportunity I have to grow and improve.

I had a conversation with a leader that I greatly respect last night on the impact and power of mindfulness and focus, especially in today’s incredibly distracted age. The time that can, and is, wasted on non-value added activity is so powerful if it can be harnessed for intentional learning and thinking. I have so much to learn about this both from a skill and knowledge perspective and have been receiving multiple nudges in this direction over the past several months.

For example, I just finished reading (through a book club I belong to) an excellent book titled “Digital Minimalism” about the power of focus in a very noisy world and I am I am in the process of reading another book (that was referenced in “Digital Minimalism”) titled (Lead Yourself First) that is really pushing me outside of my comfort zone and making me realize the power of, and need for, quiet and solitude to clarify one’s thinking.

I bring both of these up not to recommend or push others down this path but simply as an example of my own journey and realizing how much work I need to continue to do on myself as a Christian, leader, husband and father. Life is a journey. You are either growing, or you are dying on the vine…

pathway under clouds and blue sky
Photo by David on

Silence is a gift to yourself…

“Silence is a source of great strength.”

Lao Tzu

I don’t know about you but the world very rarely seems to be quiet anymore. Finding stillness and time to think and reflect seems to be so challenging with the constant availability of distractions and ways to “spend” your time. It isn’t just physical noise or busyness that gets in the way of quiet reflection. It can be the pervasive and ever-growing “digital noise” that clouds our minds and stops us from finding time to just sit alone with our thoughts.

I have been thinking about this topic a lot lately as I reflect on what I need to do to grow and improve. My favorite time of the day is the first hour when I take time to read my devotionals, pray, write this blog post, and enjoy a completely quiet and calm house. I love this quiet time yet I have not been good at all at finding ways to bake this into a normal routine beyond the first 45-60 minutes of each day. Once my day starts it is constant and complete engagement with the world until I crawl into bed night to rest and prepare to do it all again the next day.

I am very guilty of trying to add more into every single moment. It is finally (maybe I am just a slow learner) sinking in that I need to be much more intentional about being very purposeful with my time and build in space to think. To make this happen I have to be much more intentional about finding silence and not try to cram as much as possible into every second of the day. Silence is truly a gift to oneself, to give it you must design it into your life…

There are no silver bullets…

“No trainer or coach or expert can make you good or great or unstoppable if you’re not going to do the work, if you’re waiting for someone to make it happen for you. It’s on you.” 

Tim S. Grover

For me, this hits home on the point that no matter what, or how much, I read and learn I have to know how and when to apply that knowledge. I have to do the really hard work on myself. There are no silver bullets. Period. All the great input in the world doesn’t matter if you skip over the truly hard and meaningful work. I love to learn and grow but I can skip the next, and most important step, learning how and when to apply what I have learned on both myself and the world around me.

Getting advice, seeking knowledge, becoming an expert in your chosen field doesn’t mean jack if you don’t do the really hard work on yourself and figure out what you have to do to grow and improve. Ask yourself the tough questions on what you have to do to achieve your goals and not accepting any lame excuses from yourself. Accept nothing other than complete and total ownership. It is not anyone else’s responsibility to make your dreams come true. It’s no one else’s fault if they don’t…

Write for your own understanding…

“The art of writing is the art of discovering what you believe.”

Gustave Flaubert

Writing a blog post every day has been a great personal example of this quote for me. I started this journey to do something I have always wanted to do and now I find my daily writing time to be very focusing and affirming for what I believe about life and leadership.

I’ve also kept a personal journal for years and that too has been tremendously beneficial when thinking through things or really trying to put my thoughts together on some matter. For me writing makes whatever loose thoughts are gathered in my head come together in a some type of coherent form (sometimes coherent perhaps). I am often surprised that when I go back and reread something I have written that it brought out things I didn’t even know were on my mind.

All this to say I agree with this quote 100% and highly encourage writing as an act of discovery and understanding. It just takes a little and I have found it to be time very well spent, regardless of whether anyone else reads what I write.

Do you design your life for how you want it to work?

“Design is not just what it looks like and feels like.  Design is how it works.”

Steve Jobs

Design isn’t just for the technology and the things we see and use. It is how we make decisions, how we live our lives, who our friends are, etc. When you think about life through the lens of being intentional and owning the design for how it works what different decisions would you make? Why haven’t you made them?

Contented or is there something more?

“Sad will be the day for every man when he becomes absolutely contented with the life he is living, with the thoughts that he is thinking, with the deeds that he is doing, when there is not forever beating at the doors of his soul some great desire to do something larger, which he knows that he was meant and made to do.”

Phillips Brooks

What were you meant and made to do? Is it more than you are doing now? Where have you become contented in life and in your thoughts and actions?

This is heady stuff for early in the morning but it definitely stopped me in my tracks as I read this quote and reflected on the questions above. I believe there can be great danger in discontentment if it is all about yourself and what you want to do. But if you frame these questions from the perspective of what God meant and made you to do, perhaps it might change your answers.

What did God mean and make me to do? Is it more than I am doing now? Am I fulfilling all that He created me to be and accomplish?

Adjust and overcome…

“Acceptance doesn’t mean resignation; it means understanding that something is what it is and that there’s got to be a way through it.”

Michael J. Fox

Personally I have found that these types of challenges or situations have been among the most impactful and important things to have happened in my life. Recognizing something for what it is, accepting it, and then dealing with it positively is so important. If you want to create change you first have to accept whatever the reality truly is, not what you want it to be. Only then can you can adjust and overcome.

Do the good work today…

“The best preparation for good work tomorrow is to do good work today.”

Elbert Hubbard

“I don’t have time to do it right today, but I will tomorrow, I swear!” That certainly rings false doesn’t it? If we don’t have time to do the job right today, then when will we ever have time to do it right? Good work only has one definition. If we want to achieve our goals and do good work tomorrow, we have to focus on what we control today and deliver the goods.

Outside in…

“If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.”

Wayne Dyer

What challenge or opportunity in your life would be improved if you could get an outside-in perspective? There are only two ways to make this happen. Ask for help, or seek to change your own perspective. What’s preventing you from doing either one?

Paranoid is good…

“Success breeds complacency.  Complacency breeds failure.  Only the paranoid survive.”

Andy Grove

The minute you think you have arrived, that you think you can lay back and relax because you have accomplished your goal, that is the minute you start to slide towards complacency and irrelevance. Complacency scares me more than almost anything else. Complacency means that you don’t care deeply and passionately and that goes against every fiber of my being. But how do you make sure that you pause long enough to recognize success?

I know that I struggle to slow down long enough to celebrate success. When something is achieved I immediately begin thinking of the next thing, the next goal. How do you ensure that you pause long enough when achieving some level of success but not become comfortable there? What is the appropriate about of time to celebrate success before starting towards the next journey?

I follow the principle “celebrate a win for a day, then get back to work.” Numerous people have talked and written about this and it has worked for me. What works for you?

Discipline fuels success…

“Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment.”

Jim Rohn

Knowing what you want and knowing how to get it doesn’t mean anything if you don’t do the work. That is what discipline means to me. Doing the work. No. Matter. What. No complaints. No griping. Just get it done.

People will ask me, “why do you get up so early in the morning?” It is a very simple answer. Because that is what it takes to get the things done that I want to do. Do I enjoy my alarm going off at 3:50 AM? Nope. Are there days I want to sleep in? Yep. But if I do, I am making a choice not to do something that I want to do and that just isn’t acceptable to me.

To be completely honest I still don’t accomplish all the things that I want to do. I would love to get more done. I feel like I need to improve my personal discipline and focus each and every day to become the person God created me to be.

How do you demonstrate personal accountability and discipline in your life? How does extreme discipline help you achieve your goals?

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