WSIR 008 | The Speed of Trust

“Fish discover water last” -Stephen M.R. Covey

Because fish are immersed, surrounded, and in constant contact with water, their perception is fundamentally changed. Covey says that humans have the same experience, but that trust is so much a part of civilization that we rarely realize it.

However, we are at a trust crisis, with each passing day illustrating our departure from basic trust in one another or the institutions of our society. It doesn’t take much thought to remember the latest juicy scandal that further reminds us that we can’t trust our leaders.

While we definitely have some bad apples in our society, this deficit of trust does nothing but damage our productivity and creativity as a civilization.

Besides being one of the most widely read books by CEOs, The Speed of Trust puts an equation forward that applies to all interactions. Here is the equation:

When Trust is High, speed is High and cost is Low.

When Trust is Low, speed is Low and cost is High.

Covey goes so far as to categorize these situations in specific economic terms, and I would refer you to the book if you are interested in how building the competency of trust can impact your organization. For the remainder of this post we will examine the central origin of trust from others: whether or not one is worthy of trust.

So now that we are aware of trust, and that it has the potential to bring concrete economic and relational results, where can we start?

Covey argues that trust acts in the same manner as a ripple on water after a drop has fallen. Each wave radiating outwards based on the action of the one before that. His five waves are as follows. Self Trust (1) leads to competence and inspires Relationship Trust (2) which permeates an organization and brings Organizational Trust(3). When Organizational Trust is apparent organizations can work together to achieve Market Trust (4). When all these are present, then Societal Trust (5) is the result.

If this ripple analogy holds true, a failure at higher levels of trust is the result of lack of trust at a more central level.

So let’s talk Self Trust.

Self trust comes from four cores, two of which have to do with Character and two of which have to do with Competence.

Again, I highly recommend you either pick up the book, The Speed of Trust, or go grab the audio presentation from Stephen M.R. Covey on audiobook to fully grasp the content because it is broad and extremely applicable.

As promised in this week’s video, we jump into the core of credibility, and the first of three behaviors to build credibility, making and keeping commitments to oneself.

If you are like me, it is easier to hit snooze in the morning, it is easier not to pick up the book you are meaning to read, or it’s easier to put off making that call. Now, there is nothing wrong with the snooze button, or not reading, or choosing to make a call at a later date. The problem comes when we told ourselves we were going to do something and then we wimped out on ourselves.

The failure to follow through on self commitments does nothing but tear down self trust and hurts our ability to experience trust at higher levels.

So what’s next? Covey says by practicing three habits in the context of self commitments we can increase our successes in this area.

His three habits are these

  1. Don’t make too many commitments.
  2. Self commitment merit the same importance as commitments to others.
  3. Don’t make impulsive commitments.

Remember, a true commitment is not a preference. Commitment comes with synonyms like obligation, responsibility, duty, or dedication. If it is a true commitment, it cannot be taken lightly. If so, it may not have been a true commitment.

  1. If we causally commit to activities without fully understanding the work involved, we are liable to be frustrated later on when we realize what is really going on.

2. Back to hitting snooze, the reason so many people have workout partners is that as humans we are far more likely to follow through if we know someone else is involved. If we can learn to treat self commitments that no one else on earth will ever know about in the same way we treat public commitments we are significantly far down the path to self trust.

3. Some personalities have more of a problem with this than others, but it can be easy, in a moment of inspiration or passion to declare, “I’ll run 5 miles every day for the rest of the year!” or “Today’s the day I’m quitting everything but water for the rest of the year!” If you truly have self trust, you have no choice but to follow through on these public commitments. So be careful what you commit to.

Some of this may be new to you, but remember, if fish really do discover water last, but are truly hurting for it when it is gone, the realization that trust does the same thing for humans should be a breath of fresh… water… That analogy breaks down 🙂

fish photo

Anyway, check out this week’s video, I almost was attacked by geese while filming. Leave a comment with a commitment you are proud you followed through on!

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WSIR 007 | The Slight Edge

How many of you honestly believe that in the next twenty four hours you could do something that would have a drastically negative effect on your life?

How many of you honestly believe that in the next twenty four hours you could do something that would have an immensely positive effect on your life?

Likely you believe that each of these things are possible but that these two paths of action are quite different.


 

What if they were nearly identical?


In this week’s video I quote from page 41 Jeff Olson’s book, The Slight Edge, 

“The difference between success and failure is not dramatic. In fact, the difference between success and failure is so subtle, most people miss it.”

The Slight Edge presents a philosophy of our actions, one that affects the choices that you and I make over the course of our lives.

This philosophy is based on the principle of compounding, the idea that one thing builds upon another and adds up over time to a logical conclusion.

Before we get into the body of this post, a story.

I hate weeding.

weed photo

I should probably frame my experiences differently in my mind but at this point in my journey of life I haven’t achieved that yet. I grew up on a farm and while the sheep were fluffy and the fruit tasted good, I could not stand being dirty, sweaty, and bending over for hours on end to pull tiny sprouts out of the dirt. One summer sticks in my mind because we had a new 4 acre field of strawberries and they all needed to be weeded. For those of you who don’t know what 4 acres look like, imagine a field that you have a hard time hearing someone on the other side who is yelling and you’re pretty close.

So myself and the other workers that summer were busy in the field from roughly 8am til 12pm 6 days a week and then we got to work on less offensive projects. During that year the worst weed was Nut Grass. I also hate Nut Grass. My description of this plant wont be written on this blog because children could read it. Anyway, as we weeded I can remember doing enough to make the field look great, but it wasn’t 100% clear. Generally there were a few small weeds left, or roots not fully unearthed and those would spring back like, well, weeds. Several weeks later, by the time we had made our way across the yell-distance field, those first small weeds had grown back and multiplied and we had to start over.

My point with this story is that had we put in that last 5-10% effort to demolish the weeds, we wouldn’t have had to weed the field multiple times. That final 5% was the difference between a summer filled with 4 hour spinal stress sessions and one that still included weeding, but only half as much.

 

That is the Slight Edge.


A cursory search of “Compound interest retirement saving” got me Business Insider article. Check it out if you want a reminder to be consistent in the things that you do, or if you like graphs and charts.

The slight edge not only applies to finances but to areas as diverse as health, relationships, skill sets, and thought patterns. It can be summed up in the following image, thanks to attackstylewrestling.com for hosting the image online and demonstrating that it also applies to wrestling!

Your daily actions matter.

They do.


So what does this mean for our original idea that our actions tomorrow on the success path or our actions tomorrow on the failure path look quite similar?

Simply put, the right actions to take are easy to do, but they are also easy not to do.

Brushing your teeth. Easy.

Buckling your seatbelt. Easy.

Writing down 3 things you’re thankful for each day. Easy.

Pulling 38 more weeds in the midst of 3200. Easy

Listening to an audiobook instead of the radio. Easy.

However each of these things are also easy not to do. 

Would you agree with me that NOT writing down three things you’re thankful for would be unlikely to mean that you are a grouch and constantly complaining tomorrow?

Would you agree that NOT buckling your seat belt on your commute on Monday would be unlikely to end in a fiery car crash?

In my opinion, one of the main ideas of the book is that our habits generally rule the actions that tie directly into the slight edge.

Your habits are what will propel you up the success curve or down the failure curve.

–J. Paul Getty

If we can structure our habits so that they feed our positive progress up the slight edge, we can use the momentum we build over time to ride our way to goals that may seem incredible at this time.

This post is not designed to be the exhaustive resource on habits, if you would like more information on the power of habits, making them stick, and a book recommendation on the subject, here are three resources:

However, I would like to encourage you to start as soon as you can to build the habits that you need to propel you towards the goal you have. Think of it in this way, could you move in that direction by 0.3% tomorrow? That’s only one third of one percent!

If you usually run 1 mile, you would run 1 mile and 15 feet.

This is a ridiculously small improvement, right?

Consider this though, if you are able to consistently improve at this rate, one year from now you will be well over 100% better!

This old Chinese proverb is worth pondering.

Be not afraid of going slowly;

be afraid only of standing still

 

So what easy thing are you going to do today?

Have you watched this week’s video?

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Why Should I Read | Confidence of a Champion

Have you ever been scrolling down Instagram and been hit with a barrage of happy couples, outfit grids, tanned legs in front of palm trees, or engagement rings?

If you’re like me, you’ve thought to yourself “Wow, they have it all together! I wish I were more ….” You fill in the blank, in shape, more handsome, wealthier, more successful. You name it. We are consistently barraged with the comparison game in our social media, social circles, or social lives.

 

This game, however, doesn’t lend itself to your success. In Tim Marks’s breakthrough book, Confidence of a Champion, section two is dedicated to stopping people from negative comparing. He chronicles our tendency to focus on our weak points in an unfair comparison with other’s fantastic successes.

This post is the follow up to the YouTube video, check out the video if you haven’t yet!

Our minds and bodies are wired for accomplishment and when we feel like we don’t measure up to others that we see around us we feel inferior. However, this becomes a never-ending quest for trophies and trinkets.

This could be why John D. Rockefeller, the founder of Standard Oil and one of the richest men in historym when asked, “How much money is enough?” responded with the ground shaking statement:

Just one more dollar

Think about that, the most financially successful individual in recent history didn’t feel as if he could be satisfied even when “beating” everyone else in the rat race.

Reality Check. You and I have a very small chance of beating John D. Rockefeller in the possessions game. 

While I certainly believe that you and I have unlimited potential and we live in a time of unparalleled opportunity for success, the fact remains that even if we “succeed” in the world’s eyes the victory will be hollow if all your satisfaction is tied to your accomplishments or accolades. As a Christian, I believe most people have a God-shaped hole in their lives that they try to fill with money or success but are ultimately unsuccessful in that endeavor.

So stop comparing your weaknesses to other’s strengths.


Stop it.


Instead rest assured that our country is founded on the self-evident truth that “all men are created equal.” You have worth regardless of your accomplishments because you are created in the image of the Creator.

 

In the video this week, there are several topics and each of them give value to individuals seeking to live confidently in their current situations and avoiding unhealthy comparison.

Our tendency to compare usually has something to do with the association we have, the stories we tell ourselves, and our understanding of the world we live in.

First of these three topics, association.

Association: The connection between people, ideas or things

Confidence of a Champion was written by Tim Marks and he was highly influenced by association through audio with Zig Ziglar. If you aren’t familiar with Zig, he was the foremost motivational speaker and teacher of the late 20th century and a highly respected authority on the topic of motivation and hope.

I have recently listened to Zig Ziglar’s audio series and then reading this book I was struck by the similarities in thought process and example types. The reason I share this observation is because of the association that both Tim and I share with Zig and it has influenced both of our views of the world. For you reading this, you may want to identify a leader in your chosen field and find ways to associate with them through audio or in person.

The power of association is apparent in the way you and I choose to view ourselves. By spending time with inspiring and healthy individuals we become more like those we are with. This has direct impact on our comparison tendency because we are reminded by inspiring stories that we can achieve our goals.

The second of these topics, Self Talk, deals directly with the inner dialogue we keep with ourselves. This topic is handled in section three of the book and one major point in that section is the idea of framing one’s circumstances in a positive light.

When I started my most recent job, I was faced with multiple areas of responsibility that needed to be addressed. These things seemed to pile up and pile up and eventually I sat down and filled a notebook page with bullet points of things that weren’t right and I needed to address. However, I stopped in that moment and took another sheet of paper and for each of those “wrong things” I wrote down a corresponding point of what was right in that area and how it could be improved on. This exercise helped me push off frustration in the moment because I could focus on the things that were going well.

The third of these topics, understanding our world, is handled in section six of the book. This section is entitled “Fight fear with faith.” Without faith, you and I tend to be down on ourselves or are ruled by fear. This is why we see such fear-mongering and the scared reaction many have to current events.

However, we are not called to a spirit of fear but of power, love, and a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7). And while we may tend towards comparing our current situation with others and become fearful, we need to remember that the end of the story is already written for those of us with faith. Tim Marks writes from a Christian perspective and encourages those with a different faith background to understand what their faith tells them about their world.

Two days ago, I had an opportunity to attend a luncheon with a favorite speaker and author of mine, John Stonestreet. One of his points was that as Christians we understand that moment in which we find ourselves, in light of the overarching story of the Bible’s four areas: Creation, Fall, Redemption, and Restoration. This gives us hope for the moment we are in (even when things seem crazy) because we understand our world in the context of the full story.

The next time you find yourself wondering why you aren’t as successful as Bill Gates, or as beautiful as Beyoncè, or as funny as Kevin Hart, remember that we are created with that self evident value and without an eternal perspective, even if you did accomplish those goals you would still desire more. Instead try associating with someone you respect, framing your situation in a positive light and getting some eternal perspective on the moment you find yourself in.

That’s my current take on confidence, I hope it helps.

See you next week for a discussion on the Slight Edge!

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WSIR 002 | How I Raised Myself From Failure to Success

Why should someone read a book on sales? I asked myself this question when this book was recommended to me the first time. I didn’t feel that anyone outside of the profession of sales should have to pick up a book entitled, How I Raised Myself From Failure to Success in Selling. I realized later, and as the title of this post points out that the title could easily have been, “How I Raised Myself from Failure to Success” and still been entirely accurate. The principles in successful salesmanship are directly tied to the principles of human interaction

Most people think sales is something like this:

184H

This book, first released in 1947, covers topics all the way from arguing for keeping detailed records to Benjamin Franklin’s program of personal improvement to even how to talk to your barber to look your best.

Three topics addressed in the video are enthusiasm, overtalking, and a correct view of failure. There are certainly more key topics in this book, especially the section on asking questions to effectively listen and on handling objections but you’ll need to go read the book to get those broken down.

1. Enthusiasm!

If there were a single thing in your life that you could change and by changing that one thing you were able to double your results, would you do it?

That switch is called enthusiasm, look at anyone who is successful and in some capacity they have used enthusiasm to help them. Without getting too political, Dr. Ben Carson has been widely criticized for lacking enthusiasm in his campaigning and it has damaged his bid for the White House in 2016.

Bettger recollects to his mindset of nervousness and how he (understandably, I’ve done this too) let nervousness translate into laziness or lack of enthusiasm. This actually got him fired from a minor league baseball team. He discovered however that he could force himself to be enthusiastic regardless of his feelings and he tried this tactic out at his next team.

Three things were a direct result.

  • His enthusiasm overcame his fear, his nervousness began to work for him!
  • Other players noticed his electric manner, and began to match his enthusiasm.
  • Rather than being tired from the heat, he was exhilarated at the end of the game.

Another thing was an indirect result, Bettger gained a reputation of enthusiasm and Frank “Pep” Bettger used that reputation all the way to becoming the third-baseman for the St. Louis Cardinals.

I urge you… to make a high and holy resolve that you will double the amount of enthusiasm that you have been putting into your work and into your life. If you carry out that resolve, you will probably double your income and double your happiness. – Dale Carnegie

2. Overtalking

We’ll keep this section short 🙂

Bettger was convinced that the biggest reason salesman lose business was their tendency to overtalk.

I work as the Director of Development for a non-profit so I have meetings with donors quite often. One of my mentors has suggested a 70/30 split on how much the other person should talk in conversation compared to how much the person presenting should talk. This is based on the idea that the more the other person talks the more they like you. You pay them a subtle compliment by listening to their ideas.

Abraham Lincoln had a knack for cutting to the core of an issue in his communication with others. Most people are familiar with the Gettysburg Address. In 272 words, our 16th president started with the founding of the country, reminded those present of the tragedy that took place before them, and cast vision for the future.

Edward Everett, who spoke for 2 hours before Lincoln that day, is quoted as saying,

I should be glad if I could flatter myself that I came as near to the center of the idea of the occasion in two hours as you did in two minutes.

Remember, “We quickly resent the person who is abrupt; but we admire the person who is brief and to the point.”

3. Failure

“Your greatest asset is is the number of strike outs you have had since your last hit.”

Most people, if asked, “what is the opposite of success?” Would immediately respond with the idea of failure. However, this mindset that failure is where someone should stop is far from what should happen in that situation.

When someone fails, the opportunity for learning is present. If you quit because of failure, you’ve in effect said, “This issue will always beat me, and I won’t attempt to win here again.”

Babe Ruth, the baseball star not the candy bar, in his day was known widely for being a man who could hit. His home runs are legendary. Most people don’t know this though but he also led the league in another area, strike outs.

That’s right, the man who is immortalized with 714 home runs, struck out at that very same home plate 1330 times!

Ruth is quoted as saying,

“I just keep going up there and swingin’ at ’em. I know the old law of averages will hold good for me the same as it does for anybody else, if I keep havin’ my healthy swings.”

We need to adopt some of that same attitude, whether in sales, customer service, or engineering. The law of averages is real, and if you have built the correct skills and implement them regularly, your efforts will pay off.

Bottom Line, If you are looking for a book that gives rock solid principles for successful every-day interaction with others, look directly at Frank Bettger’s How I Raised Myself From Failure to Success in Selling.

Have you watched the video yet? Subscribe for weekly videos on these books.

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WSIR 001: Magic of Thinking Big

Welcome to the Why Should I Read series. This is the companion site to the YouTube channel Why Should I Read That.

book-pages-657165.jpg

I’m Jon DeLange and I’ll be breaking down a concept or two from a series of books in order to answer questions I believe, most of us are asking.

Today we are going to be looking into a book entitled The Magic of Thinking Big, by Dr David J. Schwartz. This book was first published in 1959 and the things that Dr Schwartz talks about in that book are as true today as they were then. I’ll point out a couple things that I learned reading this book, but believe me there are thousands more lessons and applications to get from reading this classic.

Define success… Why?

This step is key in many personal development literature, one of the original works in the genre, Think and Grow Rich, by Napoleon Hill, lays out a process of writing down stated goals and creating a mental picture of oneself achieving that goal. This method was pulled from Hill’s interviews of 500 early 1900’s millionaires.

Dr. Schwartz also recommends this process so that by having stated goals, you automatically decide based on your end-game. If I’m driving down the freeway, any exit is the best exit until I know where my destination is. If I drive from Detroit to Chicago, unless I know I’m driving to Chicago, I won’t follow the clearly marked signs that say Chicago.

As you go through this process of defining what your goals are, a great framework can be used, I found it in Launching a Leadership Revolution by Orrin Woodward and Chris Brady. They state that material goals, recognition goals, and missional goals are the three levels of motivation. Each person is motivated differently by items in these categories. For example, I am highly motivated by recognition from those that I have respect for. If a mentor of mine tells me that I have done a good job, I generally respond more strongly to that than the thought of being rewarded with a material bonus of some kind.

Action Cures Fear

This is probably one of the biggest things I learned reading this book. Chapter 3 is entitled Build Confidence & Destroy Fear.

On Pg. 48 of Magic of Thinking Big, Dr. Schwartz states, “The traditional ‘It’s only in your mind’ treatment of fear assumes that fear doesn’t exist. But it does. Fear is real. Fear is success enemy number one.”

In the rest of the chapter, Schwartz goes on to state that there is always some sort of action to take in response to a fear reaction. This conscious exercise of the muscle of courage in the face of fear builds a habit of overcoming that one can use to conquer increasingly larger fears in life.

  • If you fear making a certain phone call, make it! And the fear dissipates.
  • If you fear being out of shape, go to the gym or do exercise and over time your fear disintegrates.
  • If you fear something totally out of your control, pray, and then put it out of your mind by taking a positive action in some other area.

 

In a personal example, when I have told some people that I am starting a youtube channel based on my book-a-week reading list, some have responded by saying “That’s a lot of work to choose to do.” I don’t know if they were trying to put fear into my thoughts of starting, but at some point I had to start this series despite never, repeat: never, filming or editing video.

Eventually, later, some point, those are all failure words. The only acceptable way to not do something now is to have a definite point by which you will do so! If I have a great idea for a blog post or video, but never post it, was it really a great idea??

Thinking Big.

If for no other reason, read this book to expand what you believe to be your potential.

If you have a goal for yourself that doesn’t stretch you or scare you, what kind of thinking are you teaching yourself? Have you ever accomplished far more than you set out to do? I’m not always about cheesy motivational quotes, but it bears repeating, “If you aim for the moon and miss, at least you’ll be among the stars.”

I see people every day that are uninspired or of my generation that give up on the dreams that they have.

If you read this book, define success for yourself, consistently take action towards that goal, check and adjust as you go, there’s no reason you cannot accomplish what you set out to do, regardless of how far it may seem at the present time.

Thank you for your attention, time is the only resource we don’t have the opportunity to reclaim and as such it is the most precious commodity… but that’s a post for another time.

If you haven’t seen the youtube video, click this line!

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Friendship: Deposits and Withdrawals

friendship

Friendship is a word in our culture that has lost much of its meaning. Now, this is not a post ranting about how “Back in my day, when you unfriended someone they had a black eye.” No, I believe that while friendship has deteriorated because of less quality interaction, it is a topic that we can do something about! So let’s dive in.

What is Friendship?

A Friend is defined on Dictionary.com as “a person known well to another and regarded with liking, affection, and loyalty.” Does that describe the people that you interact with regularly? If it is, awesome let’s learn how to keep it that way. If not, perhaps we need to examine a few true friends from history and draw an analogy.

A friend is someone who knows all about you and still loves you.

-Elbert Hubbard

In many stories from history, a friendship plays a large role. You can check out a great in-depth article on Male Friendships on this site: artofmanliness.com/malefriendship

The Bible has something to say on every subject and true friendship is no different. One of the most iconic friendships of all time was the relationship between David and Jonathan.

A good summation of their relationship can be found in 1 Samuel 18:1

Jonathan became one in spirit with David, and he loved him as himself.

You can read a full account of their adventures in 1 Samuel chapters 18-20

Another friendship that is less well known is the relationship between George Washington and Marquis de Lafayette during the Revolutionary war. Washington, a man of 45 developed a tight relationship with Lafeyette who, at 19, came to america to fight for freedom. They met soon after Lafeyette arrived and immediately bonded. They ignored their age difference because they were united towards a goal of freedom. After the Revolutionary war, they kept in contact as Lafayette returned to France to become involved in the French Revolution as the Commander of the French National Guard. His first act as Commander was to raze the Bastille. He took the key to the west portal, a key that held over 5,000 prisoners captive during French Monarchy and sent it to his friend, George Washington. That key still hangs in Washington’s historic home, Mount Vernon, to this day.

 

So what is the difference between that one person that sits on your friends list on facebook that you kind of know and the unshakeable bonds that held together great leaders of history like Washington & Lafeyette?

In each of the two examples we looked at there were a few principles.

  • Common Purpose
  • Continuing Communication
  • Shared Experience

These each could be talked about at length, but suffice it to say that without some form of commonality, a certain amount of communication, and some interaction together a friendship does not happen.

So what’s the difference? Why do so many people feel alone in the crowd, or isolated among others. One analogy that I have heard from Life Leadership leader George Guzzardo is to visualize each relationship that you have as a bank account. With common purpose, different forms of communication, and experiences that people share- they create deposits into each other’s bank accounts. Each period of time that one or all of these are missing create withdrawals in those accounts.

As a spin-off to this analogy, I would like to challenge you to think about the quality of deposits you are putting into other’s accounts. Remember, as you deposit into other’s accounts, you are creating greater potential for others to fill yours as well. There is a big difference between liking the same page on facebook and going camping together. Think of either laughing so hard you can’t breathe with friends or texting someone “LOL” or going way overboard and texting “ROTFL” You see the difference? One is real money in the account the other is Monopoly money.

So my question for you is this.

Whose account is filled with Monopoly money that you need to go fill with real deposits?

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A Study in Legacy Driven Leadership: TeenPact Leadership Schools

TeenPactLogo

Over the past few years, I have had a chance to be involved with an outstanding ministry called TeenPact Leadership Schools. Going for the first time as a student in 2010, I fell in love with the mission of TeenPact:

Our mission is to train youth to understand the political process, value their liberties, defend the Christian faith, and engage the culture at a time in their lives when, typically, they do not care about such things. 

As a student in 2010 I became aware that there were other people in my age group who were interested in having an impact in the world. Over the past four years to today, I have consistently learned more about the ministry and the true message of growth that they offer. TeenPact students come into a week ready to learn about the government and get a 100% hands-on program that teaches state government right at the state capitol. From Committee Meetings to mock legislature, to debates, to elections, to discussions on constitutionality, all the way to Christian worldview training and worshipful evening sessions each person has something to love. 

This year at the Michigan TeenPact Class, our class director was Mr Peter Martin, the CEO of TeenPact. He and I got talking about the leadership development model of TeenPact and this is what he had to say. 

When someone looks at TeenPact, they primarily see the leadership as the staff team and the Program Director. However, the leadership development model starts not when one is accepted onto a staff position but on Monday afternoon as a student when a group of 8-12 students elect a chairperson on their committee. Those that step up in debate, those that run for student elections, and those that engage others are the first steps in that Leadership Development model. 

martin_peter

With this model, those that pour into the ministry are stretched by the opportunities that they create themselves! Leadership development driven by those that choose themselves. 

This model extends to the staff teams as well, as a traveling staff member I volunteer my time a few weeks out of the year to teach on the staff team and facilitate that development process during the class. Spiritual mentorship, professional mentorship, and government teaching are my responsibilities during a week of TeenPact. 

What makes this Ministry unique is an idea called Replacement Driven Leadership. To be a successful staff member your job is to prepare others to take your job. Your success is dependent on how well you pass on your competency to others. This creates a win/win situation in which those that engage are benefitted. 

This concept is one that I have studied before, and read about in the New York Times Best Seller, Launching a Leadership Revolution by Orrin Woodward and Chris Brady. They identify Replacement Driven Leadership as Level 4 or legacy driven leadership.

When one is focused on legacy, everyday actions take on a significance that is not present when there is no lasting effect. TeenPact is directly affected by the effectiveness of the previous staff teams. When someone, like myself, is excited about the ministry, I am driven to my personal best in order that others may excel. I teach to those that will take my position in the next year and those that will be in my position next year rise to the occasion. They win by growing in leadership and spiritual capacity, and I win by seeing a ministry I care about change another life like it did mine. 

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Learning to be Heroes

You can define a society by the heroes it keeps. You can also define a person by the heroes he or she keeps. Who are your heroes? Who are you modeling yourself after?  -Jeff Olson The Slight Edge

As individuals strive to be what we are created to be there are different avenues to pursue. Specifically there are three pathways of learning: #1 Learning by study, #2 Learning by Doing and #3 Learning from a Mentor.

#1 Learning by Study (Book Smarts).

This is the kind of learning that we commonly think of. Books, CD’s, Seminars, all things that I am passionate about because of the power of learning that they have! As we invest our time listening to a positive audio, perhaps even while doing something else, our brain can process that learning. Also, like we talked about in a previous post, the small actions add up to big results. This principle works in all areas, Reading 10 pages a day and listening to 15-30 minutes of audio for information is a simple thing to do. It’s unfortunately easy not to do as well. But the results are tremendous over time! 10 pages a day turns into a book a Month. 1 hour of audio a day on a certain subject after a year means you are in the top 5% of the world educated on that subject. Simply because there is no better way to take in information than our eyes and ears, this method of Learning has been championed. Seminars bring in, hopefully, the third type of learning so we will move on to pathway #2.

#2 Learning by Doing (Street Smarts).

If you’ve ever started a new job you understand this process. Our minds function in such a way that after a time of learning by study, we have a pressure to apply what we learned. Try listening to an audio of a leader talking about the benefits of a good attitude and then you’ll be able to, as Cassie Birtles says “Catch a grump off guard with kindness.” This is a FUN way of learning too! It feels good to put into practice the values that one has in their heart. There comes a time when book learning reaches a tip-over point and that knowledge has to be put into practice.

As a valuable aside here, putting a new discipline or concept into practice means that you will fail. Yes. I said it, you will fail. And this is good! the opposite of success is not failure, the opposite of success is quitting. Failure offers an invaluable opportunity for learning.

If you want to succeed, double your failure rate.  -Thomas J. Watson

If you still don’t believe me on this one, think on this quote by Wayne Gretzky:

You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.

At my current job in a restaurant, we mention certain promotions to each customer. I’ve found that only be doubling my failure rate (by talking to more customers) can I get a higher rate of results.

#3 Learning from a Mentor

There is a lot I could say about learning from a mentor, but Jeff Olson goes into this topic pretty heavily in The Slight Edge and is very concise.

Take a look at who your heroes are- write down a list and examine it. Ask yourself, “Can I become like them? Are these people doing the kinds of things that I aspire to do and living the kinds of lives that I aspire to live? Can they really help me become who I want to become? pg 151 in The Slight Edge

You are who you associate with most. Be very aware of the philosophy, values, income, and accomplishments of those that you hang out with the most.

You can read more about The Friends Effect on Clarity.fm

Success has a lot to do with the learning that takes place before the action actually happens.

Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe. -Abe Lincoln

The Three types of Learning are all necessary to become what you aspire to accomplish. Book smarts and Street smarts are great, but they are catalyzed and accelerated by finding mentors and friends that spur you on.

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First Steps: a Story of a Life Saved.

If you have ever wondered whether or not the everyday things you do actually matter, they do.

ripple effect

Jeff Olson expands on this statement in his seminal book, the Slight Edge. If you’re facing a big problem, or a long journey to a destination read this book. Just do it.

In chapter 7 Jeff writes,

You are constantly creating a ripple effect by the way you affect your environment. It can be a positive ripple or a negative ripple. The choice is always yours.

The truth is, we don’t always know what the long-term effects of our actions are. But your thinking is what creates your habits and they make the difference. Those daily habits are The Slight Edge! Small actions, compounded over time with the right attitude are what creates your life!

So what does that look like? slight edge

The Slight Edge is the set of daily decisions that do not seem to make a big difference. The two paths are imperceptible from each other for most of the journey but turn sharply to the positive or negative near the end. Everyone is either on the upward path or the downward path. If you’re not actively choosing the positive, you are on the negative path. The good news is that anyone, at any time, can choose to switch paths. This doesn’t change situation or make things immediately different, but a consistent approach will produce results!

Remember when you learned to walk. Ok, imagine what it was like when you were learning to walk.

Grab the table leg.

Raise yourself up.

Reach out for the wall, a foot away.

Tentatively take a step, and – Crash! 

Onto the floor.

Crawl to the couch.

Hoist your little body up again.

Take a small step towards the coffee table.

It worked!

Crash!

Maybe not.

FirstStepts1

But the story doesn’t end there. If not immediately again, maybe later that day, you got up, tried again, and… fell down again. Yet you tried again. And again. Until, finally, you were walking.

The Slight Edge means that you keep making the right decision, regardless of success until you see the result. When you decided to walk, you had it. It was just a matter of time until your walking skills caught up to your mind!

Sometimes that principle of small actions to big results is the difference between life and death.

I had the chance yesterday (Wednesday, March 12) to take an hour and pray with a group of others from my Church next door to an abortion clinic in our city. Talking with the sidewalk counselor we learned of a joyous story. A story of life. 

That day, this is yesterday mind you, a young woman came to the clinic with her mother. Their intent was to “take care of a problem.” We don’t know their background, and it doesn’t matter. What we do know is that two paths intersected. This young woman was on the downside of the slight edge. And today she faced the point where the paths diverged dramatically. Sherri, the sidewalk counselor was also on the slight edge. She, uplifted by the prayers of many intercessors, comes week after week to stand near the abortion clinic and offer hope to the young mothers going into the clinic. Sherri reached out to this young lady yesterday. Somehow, (I know it was the Holy Spirit) what she said made sense to this young woman enough to take the information and stop to talk. As they spoke, the young mother began to realize the drastic implications of the slight edge path she was on. And by the grace of God, she chose to not go through with the abortion! She chose right then to step off the downward path and back onto the upward path. It can happen at anytime. Thankfully, this mom chose to switch paths right before the path banked sharply. But again, it is never too late to choose the right path.

Our prayer time was joyous when we heard that this child was saved. We don’t know what kind of person they will grow up to be. But we do know this is true about them:

For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.

-Psalm 139:13-14

That child is created by God to create their own ripples. They’ll have an effect, and it will be dictated by the daily choices that they make. That child could be an entrepreneur, a pastor, a teacher, a CEO, an inventor. We don’t know, but we do know that when that mother chose life, she got on the right path.

What path are you on?

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The Serving Leader

“What a pity that youth must be wasted on the young” -George Bernard Shaw

Ever run across a statement that at first doesn’t make sense? Jumbo Shrimp. Wise Fool. or my favorite- “Nobody goes to that restaurant, its always too crowded.”

These are all examples of paradoxes. Two words or concepts that seem to have no way to reconcile them or to coexist.

Calvin and Hobbes painting, posted on the obsessive imagist

Thankfully some paradoxes do work.

The first shall be last and the last shall be first. – Matthew 20:16

Divine Humanity- a God-Man.

That same God-Man being perfect, accepting punishment for an entire sinful world.

That is the Paradox of the Gospel, and when paradoxes line up with our Creator’s plan, they are resolved.

A focus of ours on Leaders in Motion is servant leadership. A concept that is rife with paradox.

A great book that chronicles in easy-to-read story form the paradoxes of servant leadership is The Serving Leader by John Stahl-Wert and Ken Jennings.

serving leader

In that great book the authors connect paradoxes to five pillars of Servant Leadership. All of these apparent paradoxes actually work because, of course, they align with the Creator’s plan for humanity. Our story as humans is interwoven with Love, a concept that is selfless and paradoxical in the highest degree. So when our ideas about leadership seem to be at odds with conventional wisdom, we can examine if that contradiction is based in true selfless love and if so, it will reflect the Love poured on humanity by Christ.

Here are the five pillars from The Serving Leader.

Run to great Purpose

Paradox: to do the most possible good, strive for the impossible.

Upend the Pyramid

Paradox: You qualify to be first by putting other people first.

Raise the Bar

Paradox: The best reach-down is a challenging reach-up.

Blaze the Trail

Paradox: To protect your value, you must give it all away.

Build on Strength

Paradox: To address your weaknesses, focus on your strengths.

This is merely an introduction to the paradoxes in servant leadership. At a later time we will examine these pillars of leadership more in depth. For now go in the words of the greatest servant leader of all time, Jesus Christ

“You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them. It shall not be so among you; but whoever would be great among you must be your servant and whoever would be first among you must be your slave; even as the Son of man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Matthew 20:25-28

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