Archive for the 'dreams' Category

Thursday Quick Hits

• I received an interesting question yesterday from a new reader of the blog. Apparently, they disagree with my (and leading experts) opinions that leaders are made not born. Folks, I am personal proof that you are not born with leadership abilities. If I had been born with the leadership gene I don’t think I would have made and continue make mistakes in leadership. I am a firm believer that leadership is a journey, a process.

• While conversing with a friend I felt the need to encourage him to get out of his comfort zone and realize he was a leader at his place of employment. He had the typical response, “I’m not in management, I can’t lead.” Unfortunately that’s exactly what we’ve been brainwashed into believing…if you’re not at the top of the chain then you’re not a leader. Mark Sanborn in his book “You Don’t Need a Title to be a Leader,” discusses this topic in detail and explains that leadership is influence and not merely your position. If you positively influence others, if you inspire others, if you work to achieve goals by working with or coordinating the efforts of others, then you’re a leader. Don’t know about you but I think that pretty much takes care of everyone, from the middle school drama student all the way to Grandma’s bridge club. If you haven’t read Sanborn’s book PLEASE do so immediately…it should be required reading for anyone with a pulse.

• It always amazes me how seasons come and go in our lives. For the past few years I have poured my heart and soul into the leadership development of others. I found out long ago that the best way for me to learn is to teach. But for whatever reason, over the past few months more people who are going through some pretty tough situations have crossed my path. It’s becoming more apparent to me that I’m entering a season that will have me assist them in restoring their dreams, their finances, and their life. I’m pretty juiced about it too!

• College football season is upon us. Living in the south I can’t help but be biased toward the SEC and its 12 teams. So, I’m definitely pumped that tonight’s LSU/Mississippi State game marks the commencement of another season. Let’s just hope the bullies have some bite for the Bengal Tigers.

• I’m currently involved in a pretty radical project to assist in energizing and equipping members of a church to become small group leaders. Over the past few weeks we’ve tweaked the game plan and have what I believe will be the tools for a successful project. However, in order for us to win this game we actually need to kick it off. Good ideas are just that as long as we wait and twiddle our thumbs waiting for the right time to kick this thing off. Success requires action and I’ve about had it with the inaction of not getting this party started. The inaction of the churches leader’s is so loud I can’t hear a darn word their saying!

• May all of you have a tremendous and safe Labor Day Weekend.

Advertisements

A few quickies…

It’s great to be back and for those who have been keeping me in your thoughts and prayers I appreciate it and please keep it up.

QUICKIES
1. A little taste of Hell? 102 yesterday wasn’t bad. Yesterday marked the sixth consecutive day we had temperatures in Alabama reach or surpass the century mark. Most of the time 90 seems unbearable when you factor in the humidity. But I must admit, yesterday’s 102 with low humidity wasn’t intolerable. Or maybe my tolerance has improved after a week filled of hell-like temperatures.

2. I’m diggin’ me some College Football Live. Ok, for those of you that know me it will not surprise when I say that ESPN’s new daily College Football Live show is now my favorite. How can you get too much college pigskin? My buddy and fellow Alabamian Rece Davis does a great job with the show and really gets us some inside information. This show is the best remedy for college football addiction.

3. Where does Rupert get these girls? Watching Fox News this morning got me to wondering…where in the world does Rupert Murdoch and/or Roger Elles, head of Fox News continue to get these beautiful women? Let me just say the weather reports keep getting better. Before you churchy people e-mail me…my wife knows I love Fox News and realizes my feelings of who puts the fox in Fox News, I’m not condoning the sin of lust however I am saying you should thank God for Fox News. 😉

4. Your actions are so loud I can’t hear what you’re saying. In my county today we’re voting on two major issues. One is for the city to continue alcohol sales and the other for a one cent sales tax increase to improve schools. There are very passionate people on both sides of the fence however, none can compitently explain their cause. The city has given three different figures on how much they’ve received since alcohol sales were legalized 4 years ago. The school superintendent has been way over the top on his presentations of the tax hike by labeling everyone who is against a tax hike as being against children. No sir, I’m not against a tax hike however I am against what seems an inability to correctly account for funding.

5. Podcasts are coming. The podcasts are coming and will include myself and some friends who are way better at this than I. More coming…

6. A must read… Since I have a short memory God gave me short books. Just finished “The Gift for All People” by Max Lucado. It’s a Christian book that gives thoughts on God’s grace. I believe in God, I believe in livin’ it and not thumpin’ it. Which is why I think this a great read for the Christian or non-Christian. The Gift is for all of us!

7. I have been reminded recently how we must look at the valley’s of our life as God does. God looks down out our problems from the mountain top and that’s exactly where we should be. Problems that fill the valley’s of our lives seem so large until we go to the mountain and look down, that’s where the valley actually displays it beautiful qualities. Something I always try to remember when facing trials, “Fruit doesn’t grow on the mountaintop it grows in the valley’s.”

8. Been breaking down the 07 schedule of my beloved Alabama Crimson Tide and I will continue to voice my opinion that Bama shouldn’t play Georgia. Why you ask? It puts me in a tough position…I have what my friends say is a man crush (?) on UGA head coach Mark Richt. I think this guy is one of the great leaders of our time. While I do admire Coach Richt my love for the Tide runs deeper. However, UGA doesn’t walk into Tuscaloosa with the hatred all other opponents will. You can thank Coach Richt for that!

9. Starbuck’s Venti-Yukon, no room for cream or sugar. ‘Nuff said.

10. Do teachers really get it? I’m amazed at some teachers who I come into contact with who do not realize the influence they have on a child’s life. They think all they should do is throw the subject content at the kid and that’s all. “The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.” ~William Arthur Ward

You have to expect more to obtain more

As I meet new people and get a better understanding for what makes them tick and for what they dream it continues to amaze me how little some people expect out of life. Some will say, “I would really like to get my degree and establish my own company but no one from my family has ever went to college. I could never do that.” Someone else said, “Since I was born in rural Alabama God must have meant for me to be a line worker like my dad. But if I had a choice I would go to school and become a doctor.”

These are just a few examples of how placing invisible barriers between you and your expectations can keep you from obtaining your dreams. The government, their family, friends or education is keeping them from expecting and obtaining their dreams in life. The only barrier keeping them from obtaining their dreams is self.

There are very few circumstances beyond our control that keep us from expecting and obtaining more from life. When we fail to expect and obtain more out of life it’s more often than not because we placed invisible barriers between ourselves and our expectations. Be the first person in your family to obtain a degree and own a business. Be the doctor you dream to be and use those teachings from rural Alabama to better care for your patients.

Remove those barriers that keep you from expecting and getting the best out of life. Look at obstacles as opportunities; use that wall as a stepping stone. When you expect the best and you don’t obtain it’s still good. But when you expect the best and receive the best, it’s great.

It’s all a process

I’ve been visiting a friend in Phoenix for the past few days and while there had the opportunity to discuss the subject of leadership. My friends leadership journey is in it infancy stages and is in its most fragile state. His area and level of influence has grown tremendously, however with each spurt of growth comes a defector. As a new leader, my friend is devastated when one defects and does not become a leader themselves.

One thing to remember when you become disappointed along your journey is that leadership development is a process. Leadership expert John Maxwell says it perfectly, “It’s not the dream of a lifetime, it’s the dream that takes a lifetime.” Leadership and successful living doesn’t come to us overnight, it takes time to grow. And probably the most important thing that happens along our leadership journey is the fact that trials help us grow as leaders. Trials refine us as leaders; they serve to knock the gray, dirty rock from around our golden nugget of leadership.

The next time you feel disappointed in your leadership progress remembers these three things:
1. “It’s not the dream of a lifetime; it’s the dream that takes a lifetime.”
2. It takes time to grow as a person and as a leader.
3. It takes trials to make us successful leaders. Learn to appreciate trials for their ability to refine and find the gold within a dirty rock.

Oprah proves giving is contagious

I hope many of you had the chance to view the ABC special last night about the leadership academy Oprah Winfrey founded in South Africa. Oprah has spent millions of dollars to open this academy for aspiring young girls who are under difficult circumstances and have the dream to become leaders. The personal heartaches and triumphs these young ladies have endured are unimaginable. One girl walks to school and back each day under the constant threat of being kidnapped, raped or murdered. Another girl and her sister watched as their dad shot and killed their mother then turned the gun on himself.

Several things came to mind while viewing the show. One was the myth that your societal status determines our leadership ability. Several of these girls were orphans, poor, homes had no running water, and they were at the bottom of society’s ladder. They had every excuse not to become leaders.

Another was the fact that although these girls were broken by the situations affecting their lives, they refused to let what some would call failures become the last chapter of the book. These girls applied to Oprah’s school, Oprah didn’t go out recruiting them. In their brokenness these girls saw an opportunity to stop the cycle of poverty and crime that had impacted their lives. They reminded me that perseverance leads to prosperity. It also reminded me of what Coach John Wooden says, “Things turn out best for the people who make the best of the way things turn out.”

At the end of the show Oprah told the girls that she came to South Africa to give them a school but she felt they had given her so much more. Giving is contagious, especially when you receive far more than you give. Oprah is a living testimony that giving leads to gaining. I firmly believe that you can’t out give God and that may be the most formidable reason Oprah’s empire continues to grow.

What’s keeping you from achieving your dreams?

For a few years of my life I roamed around looking for the next disaster to happen. I had defeated cancer once and just when my life was getting back to normal the disease returned. During those first couple of years after my second battle with cancer I walked through life with a hard hat on expecting something bad to happen. Outwardly, I was very optimistic and positive with family and friends but inwardly I was expecting the worst. I believed that my dreams would never come to pass. My inwardly attitude cemented my life into a period of status quo. I didn’t grow personally, spiritually or professionally during this time.

Thankfully, I read an article from Pat Williams in which he asked, “What’s keeping you from your dreams?” In the article Pat asked the reader to identify any obstacles that are currently keeping us from the life we dream of. For me it was no problem in identifying the obstacle. All I had to do was look in the mirror. The only thing that was keeping me back was my negative, gloom and doom attitude. It took some time but as I developed the new me something extraordinary began to take shape. No longer did I see obstacles, I saw opportunities. No longer did I see trouble, I saw testing. No longer did I see failure, I saw faith. When I began to see my obstacles from above as God sees them they no longer kept me from achieving my goals. When I understood that failure is a process that refines the gold within each of us I began to see my dreams come to fruition.

I’m still a work in progress. I’m not where I need to be personally, spiritually or professionally. I haven’t achieved all my dreams yet but I’m working on them. In order to accomplish those dreams I must constantly identify obstacles or opportunities for achievement.

So, what’s keeping you from achieving your dreams? Take the time today to not only list the dreams for you personally, but those of your family, your professional life and most importantly, your spiritual life. After you complete your list, identify any obstacles that are keeping you from those dreams and look for ways to turn them into opportunity.