Leave it in the dust…

“Don’t take anything personally. Even when a situation seems so personal, even if others insult you directly, it has nothing to do with you. Their point of view and opinion come from all the programming they received growing up. When you take things personally, you feel offended and your reaction is to defend your beliefs and create conflict. You make something big out of something so little because you have the need to be right and make everybody else wrong.”

Don Miguel Ruiz

The most important words above are these, you have the need to be right and make everybody else wrong.”

Imagine how much could get done if we could leave this mentality in the dust…

activity adventure boy climber
Photo by Krivec Ales on Pexels.com

Be happy… Now…

“Learn to enjoy every minute of your life. Be happy now. Don’t wait for something outside of yourself to make you happy in the future. Think how really precious is the time you have to spend, whether it’s at work or with your family. Every minute should be enjoyed and savored.”

Earl Nightingale

What exactly are you waiting for? I can make a long list of things in my life which were going to make me “happy” as soon as I achieved them. Guess what? They were replaced almost immediately by the next thing.

If you aren’t careful all of life can be spent in the pursuit of something when it should be spent reveling in the incredible gifts you already have. I’m still learning this lesson on an almost daily basis. Sometimes the most important lessons take the longest to sink in…

Go past the plateau…

“If you always put a limit on everything you do, physical or anything else. It will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them.”

Bruce Lee

How do you know when you are on a plateau? What is it that you need to do to break through?

I love this quote because it speaks to how accepting limits in one part of your life will affect your entire life. Life is too short to be self-limited in any area. Breakthrough whatever platueau you are on and find a way to overcome!

What is your treasure?

 “The key is in not spending time, but in investing it.”

Stephen R. Covey

How much of life do we spend in the pursuit of some thing without regard for the time that is exchanged in the chase? Do we view how we spend our time with the same alacrity as we do the pursuit of wealth?

Time is a much tougher investment to manage than money. There is never enough, and for many, the realization of the importance, or lack thereof, of one over the other comes too late in life to rectify.

As I think about the importance of intentionally managing time this verse from the book of Proverbs comes to mind. “The plans of the diligent lead to profit as surely as haste leads to poverty.” Proverbs 21:5 Specifically, what comes to mind here is the definition of “profit.” How do you define “profit” as it comes to the investment of your time? Is this profit a conversion into wealth, or is it something else? Something more?

Take a moment to play with the slider on the picture below. Move the slider left or right to show highlight which picture is more important to you. “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:21

Then take some time to reflect on your answer, the one that is truly important to you. How are you going to invest your time to make your dreams come true? What is it that you treasure? Where is your heart?

silver and gold coinspeople s feet near mugs

The measuring tape…

“Leaders become great, not because of their power, but because of their ability to empower others.”

John Maxwell

The greatest leaders I have ever worked with did not capture or care about gathering power. These leaders were very much focused on giving it away through empowerment. These individuals were so incredibly effective at their jobs because they knew their real job was to create more leaders who could hopefully become even better than they themselves were.

By contrast, the worst leaders I have ever known or worked with only cared about how they would be perceived by others or about how they could gain more power.

The bottom line is that the most effective leaders measure their success not by looking in a mirror, but by looking through a window onto those whom they serve.

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Which door will you choose today?

“The best men are not those who have waited for chances but who have taken them; besieged chance, conquered the chance, and made chance the servitor.”

E. H. Chapin

What are you waiting for in life? The voice in the back of your mind that whispers, “it’s the door on the left?” If you don’t hear the voice, then what do you do? Wait until the signs are obvious? Do you wait for happenstance to occur and for the moment to be “just right.”

Waiting for chance sounds far too close to surrender to me. It is letting others, and outside circumstances, or the lack of circumstance, control who you are and who you become. As I reflect on this quote I am reminded of the ‘parable of the talents’ from the book of Matthew.

‘“It’s also like a man going off on an extended trip. He called his servants together and delegated responsibilities. To one he gave five thousand dollars, to another two thousand, to a third one thousand, depending on their abilities. Then he left. Right off, the first servant went to work and doubled his master’s investment. The second did the same. But the man with the single thousand dug a hole and carefully buried his master’s money. “

‘“After a long absence, the master of those three servants came back and settled up with them. The one given five thousand dollars showed him how he had doubled his investment. His master commended him: ‘Good work! You did your job well. From now on be my partner.’

‘“The servant with the two thousand showed how he also had doubled his master’s investment. His master commended him: ‘Good work! You did your job well. From now on be my partner.’

‘“The servant given one thousand said, ‘Master, I know you have high standards and hate careless ways, that you demand the best and make no allowances for error. I was afraid I might disappoint you, so I found a good hiding place and secured your money. Here it is, safe and sound down to the last cent.’

‘“The master was furious. ‘That’s a terrible way to live! It’s criminal to live cautiously like that! If you knew I was after the best, why did you do less than the least? The least you could have done would have been to invest the sum with the bankers, where at least I would have gotten a little interest.”

‘“‘Take the thousand and give it to the one who risked the most. And get rid of this “play-it-safe” who won’t go out on a limb. Throw him out into utter darkness.’ “Matthew 25:14-30

The first two people in the story made chance the servitor. The third was a complete servant to chance. How do you want to live your life? Which door do you choose?

architecture black and white challenge chance
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Practice like it matters…

“What such a man needs is not courage but nerve control, cool-headedness.  This he can only get by practice.”

Theodore Roosevelt

Talking isn’t enough.

Learning isn’t enough.

Planning isn’t enough.

All of these things are exceptionally valuable but none of them can completely prepare you for a moment when all the plans go sideways and you have been punched in the mouth. The only way to know how one will handle this is to get in the ring and fight.

If you want to stay calm when it matters you have to practice like it matters because it does…

woman punching the hand of man wearing training gloves
Photo by Sabel Blanco on Pexels.com

So… Is this useful?

“Choose not to be harmed – and you won’t feel harmed.  Don’t feel harmed – and you haven’t been.”

Marcus Aurelius

This is such powerful wisdom. How much of our lives do we spend nursing some perceived wrong or holding a grudge about some injustice we suffered? If instead we were able to distance ourselves and choose not to be feel harmed how much better would our lives be?

What kept running through my mind when I read this quote is one of my favorite meditation phrases, “Is this useful?” I have found these three simple words have incredible power and can diffuse almost any situation when my mind is running away and creating all kinds of stories which may, or may not, be true.

When you are in a stressful circumstance try asking yourself this simple question before reacting or responding. You just might find that you have the power to choose more than just your response, your choice can redefine the entire situation…

photography of a woman meditating
Photo by Noelle Otto on Pexels.com

What gives?

“Remember, teamwork begins by building trust. And the only way to do that is to overcome our need for invulnerability.”

Patrick Lencioni

If you must have all the answers, or be right in every circumstance then vulnerability is missing. Without the ability to be vulnerable to others then cultivating trust is difficult if not impossible.

So if this is the case, why exactly do you have to be right?

The true essence of leadership…

“No leader sets out to be a leader. People set out to live their lives, expressing themselves fully. When that expression is of value, they become leaders. So the point is not to become a leader. The point is to become yourself, to use yourself completely – all your skills, gifts and energies – in order to make your vision manifest. You must withhold nothing. You must, in sum, become the person you started out to be, and to enjoy the process of becoming.”

Warren Bennis

There are so many aspects of this quote that I love. Each sentence carries weight and incredible wisdom and merit. In fact, for me, it is worth digging into each sentence and letting it roll around in the mind and over the tongue like a fine wine. Each sentence builds on the preceding sentiments until you finish with a crescendo akin to a bombastic symphonic masterpiece. (Okay, so maybe that is just a bit too much hyperbole but you get where I am going…)

“No leader sets out to be a leader.” – True leadership is about serving not about becoming served. To become a leader, as I define it, means that you cannot and must not forget that leadership is not about you. It is about those whom you serve.

People set out to live their lives, expressing themselves fully. – How rare and beautiful it is for people to get to be their true and authentic selves in every aspect of life. We all set out this way, and then along the way things change, we begin to amend ourselves to meet the expectations of the world around us. Leaders hold true to their “north star” and manage to maintain their authenticity along the way.

When that expression is of value, they become leaders. – When others see a future vision they also believe in or subscribe to, then leadership occurs. If what you believe in, and value, is valuable to others then they will see you as a leader.

So the point is not to become a leader. – A-Freaking-Men! The best leaders I have ever known or worked with were NOT leaders because of the pursuit of roles or titles, it was because they were pursuing something bigger than themselves and you just naturally found yourself wanting to be part of that thing that they were passionate about.

The point is to become yourself, to use yourself completely – all your skills, gifts and energies – in order to make your vision manifest. – If we are doing less then this, aren’t we choosing to be less than the person that God created us to be? How many people waste their lives in the pursuit of what others say is important? Instead, we should put all our energy into identifying those things we are deeply passionate about and pouring every ounce of ourselves into the pursuit of that vision.

You must withhold nothing. – Anything less than 100% commitment to that which drives and motivates you is a waste of the perfect and precious gifts you have been given.

You must, in sum, become the person you started out to be, and to enjoy the process of becoming.” – Life is a journey, not a destination. When you focus on becoming the person you were very intentionally designed to be and pour yourself totally and completely into that effort, the journey itself is all the reward you will ever need.

In the end, leadership is a journey, not a goal. It is the ability and opportunity to pursue your God-given passions and do so with people for whom it is a privilege to serve. Be true to yourself, your passions, your opportunities to give back and enjoy the journey. You just might find yourself influencing the lives of others in unique and amazing ways, and that my friends is the essence of leadership…

two people standing in forest
Photo by Magda Ehlers on Pexels.com

Accept, don’t force…

“Don’t seek for everything to happen as you wish it would, but rather wish that everything happens as it actually will – then your life will flow well.”


This is one of those quotes where you just have to sit back and let it marinate a bit. You have to chew on it and the longer you chew, the more sense it seems to make. To be honest, I almost didn’t choose this quote today because it doesn’t seem to impart an immediate and visceral meaning. But upon further reflection, the true beauty of the wisdom imparted here is that a smoothly flowing life isn’t about what you would, or could, control. Nor is an ideal life about how you could curate every moment that happens.

Life is about accepting, not wishing. Receiving, not pushing. Understanding, not forcing. True wisdom occurs when you realize that you aren’t in control, and you never were. When you recognize and understand this fact then suddenly everything seems to become simpler and more focused.

The more you try to control life, the less control you actually have. When you accept the flow, only then can you have control…

balance macro ocean pebbles
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Make it so…

“Things do not happen. Things are made to happen.”

John F. Kennedy

What are the things in your life that you would like to “make happen?” What are you doing to make those become a reality?

If you are waiting for the right moment, the right time, the right inspiration, etc. It will never happen. Take the first step, start the motion, beginning building the momentum that will carry you forward even when the going gets tough. If you want to achieve some great things, you are going to have to make them happen…

action balls black and white illustration
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Paint the picture, dang it…

“Strategy is a commodity, execution is an art.”

Peter Drucker

There isn’t a single painting, sculpture, photograph, or music composition in the world that has ever been “dreamed into existence.” Sure, the artist had to have the vision and see something that no one else could see, but then the magic has to happen.

The real magic and genius of creation is the unique ability to see the future AND have the necessary discipline to DO THE WORK...

Imagine how masterpieces have died because they could never get out of the mind of their creator. Don’t let this be you. Follow this age-old advice. “Plan your work, work your plan…” If you don’t, you aren’t an artist, you are just a fan of dreaming…

nativity painting of people inside a dome
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Clarity comes from three questions…

“My job as a leader is to make sure everybody in the company has great opportunities, and that they feel they’re having a meaningful impact.”

Larry Page

A leader has the responsibility to provide the people they serve with the necessary information and clarity so their team members can answer these three questions.

Where are we going?

Where do I fit in?

Why does what I do matter?

Without having the necessary information to answer these questions then the results of any organization will be less than optimal. I believe it is said best in the book of Proverbs, ‘Where there is no vision, the people perish.’ Proverbs 29:18

Are you doing everything in your power to help people answer these questions?

A little fear is a good thing!

“Don’t worry about being worried. You’re heading out on an adventure and you can always change your mind along the way and try something else.”

Tracy Kidder

It is amazing how much freedom comes from viewing the world with a “life is an adventure“ perspective. When you think about exploration and innovation or starting something new, there has to be a degree of fear and excitement. Frankly, you can’t have an adventure without a little bit of uncertainty and a strong underlying element of mystery and excitement.

But in order to keep from letting fear shut you down, you must understand the role fear plays in an adventure. It is supposed to be something that motivates you to go a little harder, push a little further, dig a little deeper. Fear is necessary and needed in order to grow. Fear can be a is a great motivator, especially when you keep these words from Proverbs in your mind…

“Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe.” Proverbs 29:25 NIV

Don’t spend your time endlessly worrying about what might happen on your great adventure. Channel the fear in a positive way and know that when you put your faith in the right place, you will be safe. The path will appear, and if it doesn’t, you can always find another path…

Na Pali Coast, Hawaii

Nature is the cradle of creativity…

“Nature has been for me, for as long as I remember, a source of solace, inspiration, adventure, and delight; a home, a teacher, a companion.”

Lorraine Anderson

There are those days where the only thing that feels like it can nourish and restore the soul is the simple act of being outside. Personally I want to find the space where God feels the largest and I feel the smallest. Truly this can happen anywhere in nature but for me, it is in the grandeur of the mountains or the vastness of the ocean. I love to take in a beautiful vista and wonder how many eyes have seen these same things and marveled over them as well.

I wonder how many ideas throughout all of time have been sparked in nature? How many of our great gifts and blessings have been inspired by someone out on a walk or a hike? I can only imagine that if you took all things in the world that could serve as inspiration, none of them would come close to the seeds of creativity that have been sown by the magnificence of our beautiful earth.

There is no way to measure this of course. But if you find yourself stuck in a creative rut, or caught in a place that lacks inspiration, just head outside. It doesn’t have to be in the mountains or along the shore. There is beauty and adventure to be found just about everywhere if you simply go searching for it…

‘“But ask the beasts, and they will teach you; the birds of the heavens, and they will tell you; or the bushes of the earth, and they will teach you; and the fish of the sea will declare to you. Who among all these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this? In his hand is the life of every living thing and the breath of all mankind. ‘ Job 12:7-10

Photo By Author

When in doubt, delete!

“I am thankful the most important key in history was invented. It’s not the key to your house, your car, your boat, your safety deposit box, your bike lock or your private community. It’s the key to order, sanity, and peace of mind. The key is ‘Delete.'”

Elayne Boosler

It is a sign of our age that the first image I thought of when I read this quote was the “delete” key on a computer keyboard. Though upon further reflection perhaps that is equally fitting since everything comes through some sort of digital filter nowadays!

What really strikes me when I meditate on this quote for a few minutes is while this might be the most important key in history, it is equally likely to be the least efficiently wielded. Well, I can only speak for myself of course!

Saying “no” can be a very hard thing to do at times. But without a doubt, it is the most powerful word in the English language when it comes to getting things done. Let me rephrase this, it is the most powerful word in the English language when it comes to getting the RIGHT things done…

Once a quarter I sit down and take stock of my weekly calendar and routine tasks to see what changes I need to make to ensure I am spending my time in the most productive and effective manner. Invariably I find myself looking at things I WANT to do but in reality, are preventing me from getting the things I NEED to get done done. While I struggle with saying no, the best discipline I have EVER created was the regular and recurring use of the “delete key” on all things that don’t make me more effective in the pursuit of my goals.

In all likelihood, I should wield this discipline more often than once a quarter…

Have you offered up your flame?

“Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.”


How much time and energy do you spend lighting the candles of others? If you are honest with yourself do you spend more time sharing happiness, or expecting to have it shared with you? Do you see yourself as a burning candle looking to ignite others or an extinguished candle waiting to be lit?

How you view the energy you have to share will be incredibly impactful across the course of your lifetime and even more meaningful for those who cross your path. You could literally be the person that lights thousands of candles or you could be the person that breaks the ignition chain.

Do me a favor for just a moment. (I promise this won’t get too weird…).

Read the next four sentences and then close your eyes and think of someone who has impacted your life in some meaningful and amazing way. Go with the very first person that comes to your mind. How did they make this impact? What did they do? What has it meant for you over the span of time since that moment occurred?

Do you have your answers in mind? Good. Now for the tough questions. What would your life be like if this person hadn’t leaned in and offered their candle to light yours? Would you be the person you are today without their influence?

What did it cost them to offer up their flame?

I recommend for you to do two things after you complete this exercise. First, send that person an email, a letter, a text, whatever, just let them know that you appreciate the light that they offered to you. Do it now. Don’t wait for the perfect time because that will never happen.

Second, find someone tomorrow to offer your flame to and then do it again the next day and then again every day after that. It costs nothing but could change the lives of thousands… That’s a pretty good ROI if you ask me.

tealight candle lit up
Photo by Mohammad reza Fathian on Pexels.com

Cultivate a growth mindset…

“The biggest room in the world is the room for improvement.”

Pat Boyd

How do you keep growing and learning? How can you take steps to ensure that you are always working on honing and perfecting your craft? What do you have to do nurture a growth mindset? I believe there are three key things one must do to make growing a continual process.

First, be very intentional about cultivating a feedback-seeking mindset with the key people around you. Ask them to help you grow and learn by sharing their perspectives and insights. You must enlist those you trust to help you see your blind spots.

Secondly, never allow yourself to accept the status quo or simply “good enough.” Good enough can very quickly become mediocrity and mediocrity slides into irrelevance. Complacency is death.

Third, constantly remind yourself that your skills and talents are God-given and not something you earned or deserved. Honor these gifts by nourishing them the same way you would care for a garden of flowers.

The beauty of life is that we can never do or be everything, but we can always improve ourselves and the lives of those around us. You just have to keep growing.

bloom blooming blossom blur
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Imitate the action of the tiger…

“The best feeling in the world is finally knowing you took a step in the right direction. A step towards the future where everything that you never thought possible, is possible.”

Author Unknown

One of my favorite speeches from all of Shakespeare is the one King Henry delivers to his troops during the storming of Harfleur. These words convey such passion, such emotion, and summon energy that is palpable every single time I read them. (I might be guilty of having the entire speech memorized…)

Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more;
Or close the wall up with our English dead.
In peace there’s nothing so becomes a man
As modest stillness and humility:
But when the blast of war blows in our ears,
Then imitate the action of the tiger;
Stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood,
Disguise fair nature with hard-favour’d rage;

I can only imagine the impact this speech would have had on the soldiers upon hearing this delivered by their King.

Fortunately, we aren’t charging castles much anymore but the passion and fire demonstrated in these words captures the essence of how I feel when I’ve made the decision and it is time to charge forward and turn dreams into reality. There is nothing quite like knowing you have made the call, and you know it is the right call because there is a lightness in your step and an energy that is felt in every fiber of your being.

What are you waiting on? What decisions are you wrestling with? What is holding you back? Find the actions of the tiger, stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood and spring forward. That next step might be the one that changes your world forever.

“Once more unto the breach…”

Two choices…

“Stop being afraid of what could go wrong, and start being excited about what could go right.”

Tony Robbins

Do you want to spend your precious life afraid or excited? Do you want to live fearfully or with enthusiasm?

It’s your choice. You can do one of two things. You can change your circumstances or you can change your attitude.

Fear is a choice.

Excitement is a choice.

Find something that excites you. Focus on the opportunities, not the failures. Get knocked down and then get back up. If you lean forward and choose excitement, things have a way of working out for the best…

Live the adventure!

“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing. To keep our faces toward change and behave like free spirits in the presence of fate is strength undefeatable.”

Helen Keller

If you aren’t living life in this way what exactly do you have? An existence. Simply a series of events moving you towards a point in the future which may or may not be meaningful. For most of us, present times set aside, our lives are no longer about mere survival. We have more to give, more to see, more to do, more to live.

When we become timid and choose to wait to see what the world throws at us, we lose the ability to seek out the new adventures that might be just beyond the turn in the road in front of us.

The best way to live life in the moment, and not miss out on what is truly important, is to focus on being present TODAY and thereby reducing future regrets. When the end comes, and it will come for all of us, what will you regret having NOT done? What adventures will you wish you HAD taken? Who will you wish you had spent MORE time with?

clear glass with red sand grainer
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Everything will come together…

“Patience and perseverance have a magical effect before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish.”

John Quincy Adams

Patience is knowing this too shall pass, there are lessons to be learned, and we will be better for having learned them.

Perseverance is remembering all of the things outlined above and never, ever giving up.

When you see the world with a solid grounding in patience and perseverance, anything is possible. Everything will come together. Go make it happen…

brown puzzle pieces
Photo by Dmitry Demidov on Pexels.com

Sailing away…

“I’m always tweaking, always trying to make it better, constantly moving the levers and dials.”

Steve Ells

Life is a lot like sailing. You can be headed towards a destination and the winds might shift or die down. If you aren’t paying close attention and making constant adjustments you will lose the wind and might not make it to where you are going.

Another way sailing imitates life is only rarely do you get to where you want to go via a straight line. Instead, you have to make a series of maneuvers (tacks) leveraging the winds you have in order to get to where you want to be. Additionally, the wind and sea will be different every day so rarely is the journey exactly the same. You have to be prepared to make adjustments and changes to adapt to whatever a given day on the ocean brings.

That’s just like life isn’t it? You have to plan, adjust, readjust, and change your plans constantly if you want to make it to your destination. If you don’t, you get lost when the winds shift and you don’t adjust…

sailboat during golden hour
Photo by Inge Wallumrød on Pexels.com

The competitors that truly matter…

“If you want to find the real competition, just look in the mirror. After a while you’ll see your rivals scrambling for second place.”

Criss Jami

Every morning ask yourself these two questions. Am I better today than I was yesterday? Will I be better tomorrow for what I going to do today?

If the answer to the first question is “no” then you have established your competition for the day. You have to do whatever it takes to drive yourself forward in a manner that allows you to answer the question differently tomorrow!

If the answer to the second question is “no” then that is a full-on indictment of what you have planned for the day. How are you investing your time? How are you approaching your tasks and challenges? Where do you need to reset the bar so you can push yourself to do more, learn more?

There are so many dimensions of our lives that these questions can, and should be applied to on a daily basis. They touch all of the building blocks that go into creating a successful life. Physical wellness, mental health, career/vocation, hobbies/advocation, family/friends, spiritual alignment, etc.

Each of us has a unique and special set of these dimensions based on our God-given gifts and talents, unique experiences, skills and education, etc. What good does it do to spend your energy trying to compare yourself to someone else? You don’t have their building blocks, and they don’t have yours.

It is great to use the competition as a measuring stick to establish a baseline comparison set for your performance and growth. But the real magic happens when you adopt a mental state of beating and exceeding your own limitations. Raise your bar. Don’t let someone else set that bar for you. Don’t be limited by the competition!

Am I better today than I was yesterday? Will I be better tomorrow for what I going to do today?

Don’t waste the precious gift that you have been given today. Choose to live life in a way where the competitors that truly matter, the pale shadows of an unfulfilled and incomplete self, are left far behind you.

boy running on pathway
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Exceed yourself…

“I’m not in this world to live up to your expectations and you’re not in this world to live up to mine.”

Bruce Lee

Is it more important for you to live up to your own expectations or someone else’s? Or, said another way, would you intentionally choose to miss meeting your own expectations, but achieve someone else’s?

I don’t know about you, but I have higher expectations of and for myself than anyone else could set for me. Of course, the flip side of this is that I can’t hold anyone else accountable for the standards that I set for myself. That would be unfair as we all have unique and special gifts. Hopefully, your expectations are set based on maximizing every single ounce of your potential and not a drop less.

As I reflect on this I am reminded of this verse from Matthew. ‘For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul? ‘ Matthew 16:26

Basing your measures of success on the expectations of others is a false victory. What good is it if you meet the expectations of others yet fail to be the person that you were truly created to become? Instead, turn inward and seek to maximize every possible bit of the gifts and talents you have been given. Constantly seek to exceed your expectations and you will find that there is no one else that can push you harder than you can push yourself.

photo of man doing push ups using yellow kettlebell
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Rise up!

“Today if anything is trying to hold you back, give no attention to it. Get your hopes up, get your faith up, look up, and get ready to rise up.”

Germany Kent

Can you tell when something is trying to hold you back? When something is standing in your way? How do you ignore a giant obstacle that appears in your path? How do you move past what seems insurmountable?

Like so much of the country, my family has been obsessed with “Hamilton” over the past month. Well, it’s been a lot longer than that. I’ll be we have watched it half a dozen times and I have lost count of how many times we have listened to the music over the past few years. It is simply incredible. As a musical theater buff, there is a long list of shows that I have seen over the years that I have loved, but there has been nothing like Hamilton. Every bit of this show is pure genius.

When I picked the quote for today I kept hearing the refrain from the song “My Shot,” which specifically is the latter part of the song “Rise Up.” I simply love this music and the story that is being conveyed. If you haven’t heard it, here is the refrain I am referencing. Hamilton – Rise up!

There is no reason that Alexander Hamilton should have been successful. In fact, there are a million reasons that he should have failed before he ever came to the mainland. But he prevailed. He succeeded in the face of the greatest odds. He got the job done…

There is a lesson in this simple refrain. No matter what stands in our way we have a choice. We can let it beat us. Or we can rise up. We can overcome. We can prevail. Who knows, if we do it often enough, and with enough fervor, perhaps someone will write songs about us one day…

What do you want to say about yourself ten years from today?

“The most fulfilled and effective people I know – world-famous creatives, billionaires, thought leaders, and more – look at their life’s journey as perhaps 25 percent finding themselves and 75 percent creating themselves.”

Tim Ferriss

Are you the person today that you thought you would be ten years ago? I am not talking about your job, role, place in life, money, or status. Are you a better person?

Where do you want to be ten years from now? Do you have a long-range vision and are you activating a plan to make it happen? If you are simply existing and waiting for the life you dream of to magically occur you are guaranteed to be disappointed.

I am a huge fan of the “life planning” process outlined in the book “Living Forward” by Michael Hyatt and Daniel Harkavy. If you want to build a life of influence, you have to have a plan and you have to put in the hard work necessary to make it happen. If you don’t have a plan, this is a great place to start.

How do you want to answer the question about yourself ten years from now? Will you be better or worse than you are today?

person holding compass
Photo by Valentin Antonucci on Pexels.com

Me or you?

“A boss loves power; a leader loves people.”

Amit Kalantri

Here’s a simple question for you to consider. Has the best boss you have ever had made you feel like it was your time, or their time, that was more valuable?

Which boss are you? Which one do you want to be?

photography of a person pointing on something
Photo by Lukas on Pexels.com

Look in the mirror…

“We cannot lead anyone farther than we have been ourselves.”

John C. Maxwell

The essence of leadership is influence. The ability to influence the lives of others and create a commonality of vision and purpose. The results of effective leadership are alignment, engagement, commitment, execution, etc.

What does this have to do with today’s quote? Good question. To create influence, which enables the ability to create the desired results, one must show an ability to demonstrate self-leadership and self-influence. All the vision casting and talk about the future is worthless if you can’t demonstrate through your actions and behaviors a commitment to hold yourself to a higher standard.

crowd reflection color toy
Photo by Markus Spiske on Pexels.com

I love how the picture above illustrates the importance of self-reflection as a leader. If you want to have influence you must be willing to look in the mirror and see and understand your own opportunities for growth. If you want to influence others, you have to prove that you can lead yourself first. You can’t lead anyone if you don’t walk the talk and lead by example.

This is the wisdom that I take from today’s quote. You must have self-reflection as an intentional practice in order to create true influence with others. You can’t lead anyone if you won’t lead yourself first…

Think “present past” or “future back.”

“The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist sees opportunity in every difficulty.”

Winston Churchill

Do you choose to see the world through a lens of positive or negative opportunities? Is your first inclination to look for the reasons why something won’t work? Or do you have a tendency to see the silver lining in every cloud? How you choose to answer these questions will have a profound impact on your life.

Everything that happens creates an opportunity for growth and development. One technique that I have found helpful is to reframe the current situation and think as if I were recalling it a year from now. Ask yourself this question. One year from today what is the biggest opportunity that was presented I am so glad I didn’t let slip through my fingers?

In many ways, the bigger the difficulty, the larger the opportunities that exist to change your world, and the world of those around you. Reframe your mind to think about the world from a “future back” perspective and suddenly all those challenges will present themselves as opportunities…

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