Archive for the 'encouragement' Category

Belated as it may be, here are a couple of hip pointers to leadersHIP.

Keepin’ it real

I’m preaching to the choir on this one. I suffer from OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) when it comes to organization. I often over organize and miss out on giving others and myself the opportunity to sit back and soak in the effects our action. Often times after I’ve organized a task or event myself and those who work with me are on to the next thing and do not take the time to enjoy the fruits of our labor. That’s not too hip.

For all the arrows that are shot toward the present and next generation, one attribute these generations share cannot be overlooked and that attribute is get-in-your-grill, John Wayne type honesty. People of these generations can spot a fake 20 miles away. They want us to be real and often times that means not over organizing. It means we have to ditch the daily walkthrough meet and greet.

I know this will seem too simple, but to put the HIP in leadership with these generations we must seek and take advantage of those opportunities when we are one on one people. Group recognition is great, but with these generations it’s more about being genuine and the best way to be genuine is to get in their grill with true and open leadership. Encourage them face-to-face, correct them face-to-face. If we’re too organized it dulls the shine of genuine leadership.

HIP action: Utilize the 30 second rule made famous by leadership expert John Maxwell. Folks, I know this works! Make it a habit to engage those whom you meet for the first time of any given day for at least 30 seconds. Ask them how their evening went, ask them about their game, family and upcoming weekend. 30 seconds isn’t along time especially when you’re asking from them 8 or more hours of personal sacrifice.

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When you face trials, run toward the roar

Over the past few days I’ve received several e-mails and phone calls from friends and relatives who are facing some pretty tough situations. The problems they are facing are familiar to us all…family, medical and financial. I certainly would not call myself an expert on how to deal with tough times as I often fail to do the right thing. But as with everything I attempt to fail forward. As I’ve told those with whom I’ve communicated, I have a great friend who shared the following story with me during a time I faced some pretty tough trials.

Run toward the roar

We all know that the Lion is king of the jungle. Every creature that graces the jungle floor must surrender to the power of the lion. Every bird that thinks of flying through the jungle must get runway clearance from the lion. Yet, as the Lion rules the jungle he has his detractors. Imagine that, animals like humans, have their detractors. Each and every day the lion wakes up he must defend his right to rule. As he grows older more and more attack animals the throne of the lion. Even his closest relatives, the young and vivacious lion cubs begin an attempt to overthrow the Lion. The entire jungle is against the lion, yet he is able to hold onto his reign of the jungle. How? He continues to roar. As he gets older and older, as his mange begins to tatter and become worn, the lion roars and his attackers retreat. As he continues to rule through his old age, the very teeth that once killed the gazelle are now gone. With his mange gone, his ability to run and stalk behind him and his teeth on the floor of the very jungle he rules, the lion has only one form of protection left, his roar. As the younger lions prepare to attack, he roars and they retreat. As the gazelle near, he roars and they retreat. You see, what the lion cubs, gazelle and other animals don’t realize is that the Lion has lost everything he once used to rule the jungle. His great mange gone, his swift speed gone, his teeth gone, all that’s left is the roar.

Often times when we’re facing trials all we can he is the roar. We make initial attempts to combat the problem but we fail because once we hear the roar, we turn away. Like the young lion cubs and gazelle we don’t realize that the trials we’re facing have lost their ability to destroy and rule. The teeth of trials we face are lying at our feet. Though the roar of what we’re facing may become louder and louder, we can be encouraged to run toward the roar knowing that its ability to attack, destroy and conquer us is a thing of the past. For Christians, we must accept even more encouragement in the fact that over 2,000 years ago, Christ ripped the teeth from our trials and tribulations. Folks the teeth of your trials are beneath the very feet that will take you to overcoming your trials. Though the roar may become overbearing, run toward the roar! And, when you do…you’ll find a toothless warrior that you can easily overcome.

The next time you’re faced with trials and tribulation begin to tap a foot knowing that you’re driving the teeth of the situation into the ground.

Run toward the roar!

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.

Making a deposit into another’s account

I’ve blogged about this in the past and I think it’s a topic that needs to be revisited from time to time, and that’s the topic of making a deposit in the life of another.

I’ve read several articles recently discussing this topic and am amazed at the wide ranging opinions of leadership and management experts. Some say that the simple task of asking someone about their day is making a deposit into their life. Another group of experts say sending an encouraging e-mail is making a deposit.

These actions are certainly positive and well meaning however it’s my belief that they fall short of making a deposit into the life of another. To deposit something you must first sacrifice something. When you deposit a check, you have sacrificed it to the bank for later use. When you deposit those overdue DVD’s in the drop-off bin, you’ve sacrificed your viewing of that movie.
When I sit out on the daily mission of making a deposit into the life another a few important factors come to mind.

1. What am I sacrificing on their behalf? Is it time, money or self-satisfaction? If I’m not sacrificing something then is it truly a deposit?
2. Will the person who receives the deposit be able to make a withdrawal in the future? What good would a deposit in the life of another be without continual compounding interest?

When you ask someone how their day is going are you truly sacrificing and more importantly, can they continue to withdraw from this type of deposit? When you send an encouraging e-mail is the sacrifice of bandwidth and e-mail storage a true sacrifice?

Attend your own funeral

Ok, some of you are probably sitting at your desk saying, “Wow, the rumors are true Jim did lose his marbles. He’s telling us to go to our own funeral. Duh?” Please read on…

I was asked recently to assist a friend in developing a personal mission statement that would be included in his portfolio for grad school. Of course I was honored and eager to help so we began with some tough questions. After all, what are answers without questions?

It was during this question and answer period with my friend that I was reminded of the chapter in Stephen Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People that encouraged the reader to visualize their own funeral. Visualize how each friend and family member would view your death, visualize what your friends and family would say at the funeral services.

After reading Covey’s book a couple of years ago I went through this funeral visualization process and have never been the same. It was through this that I developed my own personal mission statement and answered the question, “What would I want my family and friends to say at my funeral?” When you answer this simple yet penetrating question you will quickly find what matters most to you. You may even be like me and realize you need some fine tuning to align the core of your focus with the mission of your life.

If you haven’t already, I want to encourage you to develop a personal mission statement by answering the simple question,

“What would I want my friends and family to say at my funeral?”

Once you’ve got that answered living your mission becomes much easier.

It’s not lost if you know where it is

It’s never easy to let go of loved ones when they die. My wife’s grandmother passed away last Friday evening due to kidney failure. Thankfully, the doctors told us earlier in the week that Mamaw wouldn’t make it too much longer. It gave us all plenty of time to tell her how much she meant to us and remind her of how much her loving hands impacted our lives. While were blessed to have one last time to say our good byes, it was still hard to let her go.

Mamaw was the glue of the family. Despite disagreements she could always someway bridge differences and pull off the most peaceful and enjoyable holiday dinners. This was a lady who could barely walk due to degenerative arthritis in both ankles. Every step she took was filled with pain. However, you would never know her pain by the look on her face. For the 15 years I knew her, I never once saw her without a smile. She had a gift of making you feel better about yourself and your circumstances. She was an eternal optimist. She led by influence.

As we buried Mamaw yesterday I couldn’t help but thinking how proud she would be. Not that people of all ages showed up to give their fond farewells but proud that people she came in contact with were a little better because of her influence.
I sincerely hope and pray that when I take my last breathe there are many who can say that they were made better by knowing me. As I told some family members, we didn’t lose Mamaw because something isn’t lost if you know where it is. And there’s no doubt Mamaw is enjoying some pain free and peaceful days now.