Entertained or Engaged ?

Often I have people ask me “are you watching this Netflix series? Or that Netflix series?” My answer is usually “no I don’t have time for a series but I do like a good war or action movie once in a while.” To be clear I did enjoy the HBO series Band of Brothers. So I guess if something strikes my interests enough I would make time to waste on a good series every once in a while. This reoccurring question has caused me to think deeply about these two questions. “Am I entertained or engaged? And are we as a culture entertained or engaged?” The answer is simple. A tree is known by it’s fruit. Entertainment produces entitlement. In that culture everything is driven by numbers, ratings, reviews and ultimately pleasing people. While engagement produces growth, progress, diligence, and faithfulness and then ultimately purpose. We can be people who are engaged in things that matter and hence we use entertainment for what it is supposed to be used for. Think of entertainment like dessert. Dessert is great once in a while. However we should not live on dessert. More often than not diabetes, high blood pressure, heart problems and an early death will be the results. So it is with people who live off and for entertainment. We were created to be engaged in things that really matter, because we really matter. Which means we must not allow ourselves to be distracted by entertainment. We must not allow entertainment to keep us from meaningful engagement. The proper engagements lead to long-term commitments that lead to lasting change. We must find out what really matters and give everything to and for that. We should find out what is worth dying for and live only for that. For me it’s Jesus. What is it for you? 

The mass production of losers 

We live in a culture where people are given entitlements with almost no requirements. Now you get a trophy for participating. The mass production of entitled losers has begun. Because faithfulness and diligence are becoming more and more rare the people who have these virtues will become rare and extremely valuable commodities. In fact the faithful and the diligent will own the future. The entitled will not be able to maintain what they got for free. People don’t value handouts, they value hard work. Participants can’t value a trophy because they didn’t win. In the days to come the influencers who have longevity and lasting success will be the faithful and the diligent. The virtues that we posses are the way we add value to others. It’s important to remember that we can only give what we have.

You are the driver 

This is your life are you who you want be? – Switchfoot

Your life is a gift given to you by God. You didn’t ask to be born, but you are here. You are a unique person with a unique purpose. You have a unique DNA code and unique finger prints. There is only one you. You are the driver of your own life. Are you going in the right direction? In other words who you become is not up to God, it’s up to you. In the first parable where Jesus taught about the kingdom of God he mentioned seed and soil. If you look closely at that parable you will see that there is nothing wrong with the seed, the issue is the soil. We are the soil, our feelings, thoughts, desires and will is the soil. We determine how fruitful we will be. We must remember that problem is not with the seed, it’s with the soil. The thoughts we entertain, what we listen to and watch. Who we permit to influence us. The choices we make help to determine who we are becoming. The relationships we have help form us for better or worse. There are a lot of things in this life that we didn’t choose, but we always choose how we respond. We are not in control of what happens to us but we are in control of our response. Remember we choose to be a victim or an overcomer based on how we respond to what happens to us. 

3 keys to being an effective communicator

First let me define what an effective communicator is. An effective communicator is someone who speaks and people listen. An effective communicator maintains the attention of his or her audience and an effective communicator would be able to leave about 75% of his or her audience knowing the main points of what it was that was being communicated. If the communication leaves room for misunderstanding it was not an effective communication.

If we want to become an effective communicator there are 3 things we must do consistently. 

1. We must be slow to speak. Meaning we must think before we speak.

2. We must mean what we say.

3. We must do what we say.

(Since none of us are perfect, when we mess up we should be quick to admit it. It is better to admit it than be accused of it.)

The more we live our message the more influential our message will become. If we don’t know what we are saying, mean what we are saying or do what we are saying we have no right to influence anyone. Our integrity is what gives us the right to influence others. We must remember that our words only have as much authority as we have integrity. We must think before we speak, mean what we say and do what we say consistently if we want to become effective communicators. 

Committed beyond feelings

There is one common denominator among all successful people and it is this, they are committed beyond feelings. In other words their commitments are more important to them than their feelings. Their convictions about their commitments are stronger than their feelings of inadequacy or insecurity. Most people are more committed to their feelings than they are to their commitments. If you want to be successful at anything, if you want longevity in anything and if you want to leave a legacy to anybody you must be committed beyond your feelings. When you are tired you may feel like quitting, don’t. When you are offended you may feel like leaving, don’t. When you are unnoticed or unappreciated, don’t give up you matter. Anyone can quit, anyone can leave, anyone can complain. But you have the opportunity to be different. Faith (in Jesus) lifts us above our feelings and our circumstances. Faith allows us to live on higher and more solid ground. Faith allows us to live consistently above our feelings. So if you want to get married, stay married, raise children, pay debt, build wealth or have healthy relationships you will have to be committed beyond your feelings. Commit to being committed beyond your feelings in the end you will feel better anyway!

The difference between Leaders and Managers

Leaders and Managers are very similar in some aspects but also very different in other aspects. An effective leader and manager must be both strategic and intentional.

Leaders move things forward.

Managers keep things together.

Leaders are about momentum.

Managers are about morale. 

Leaders are pioneers.

Managers are developers.

Leaders see the big picture.

Managers see the little details that are a part of the big picture.

Leaders are about significance.

Managers are about security.

Leaders are about substance.

Managers are about structure.

Leaders and Managers are both essential for the progress and development of any entity that wants to grow and thrive.

Challenge Yourself

Comfort does not produce change or growth but challenges do. If you are not being challenged you are not growing. We need friends that pick us up when we fall, correct us when we are wrong, challenge us when we are complacent and encourage us when we are weary in well doing. While it is very true that we need others, we also need to learn how to build challenges into our every day life to assure us that we are growing. Setting goals that are just beyond where we are will build a steady flow of challenges into our life if we choose to be accountable. Kris Vallotton says it this way, “accountability means you must give an account for your ability.” Challenges + accountability = Growth. Consistent growth positions you to reach your full potential.

When you intentionally build challenges into your life it helps you better handle the challenges that just seem to find you accidentally. I will share a few of the ways I am challenging myself in hopes of inspiring you. Here are a few challenges that I have worked into my life that are helping me to grow. When I run on the treadmill my last minute is usually my fastest minute. When I go to CrossFit I am working consistently to improve my rope climbing skills. Also often but not always after my CrossFit exercise I do some extra time on the bike just to get some extra cardio in just to push myself a little bit harder. Wednesday is my day off during the day, and Wednesday night is my family night. I am challenging myself to keep my rest, health and family at the top of my priority list because my longevity and legacy depends on it. My only challenge to you is for you to give someone who is trustworthy permission to challenge you and hold you accountable so that you reach your full potential.

How trust is built

Trust is built slowly. The more consistent you are the more trustworthy you will be. Everyone wants to be loved and cared for; everyone wants to be trusted. When we speak we want people to listen to us and believe us. When we belong it means we are both loved and trusted. The Bible teaches us to love people unconditionally because God loved us unconditionally. However, the Bible does not teach that we should trust people unconditionally. The Scripture is clear that Jesus – although he loved everyone – did not trust everyone. See John 2:23-25. Personally, I will only trust someone as much as their integrity allows me to trust them.

5 ways to build trust.

  1. Admit when you are wrong. The more you do this publicly the more people identify with you.
  2. Be on time, apologize when you are late and call people back.
  3. Do what you say. Integrity is essential. He who sows integrity reaps trust. Under promise and over deliver.
  4. Say what you mean and mean what you say: Be honest and don’t flatter people.
  5. Talk to people, not about people. If you speak about people, others will hear you, and will not trust you. 

4 Ancient Business Tips

These 4 ancient business tips come from the wisest and wealthiest man to ever live. These truths have stood the test of time and are still very relevant today. If you apply these principles you are positioning yourself to prosper. These are not opinions they are truths that have been tested by time, truths that transcend culture.

  1. Be diligent to know the state of your flocks, And attend to your herds; For riches are not forever, Nor does a crown endure to all generations. (Proverbs 27:23-24 NKJV) Diligence means we are aware of what we have and steward it well. We need to know our inventory. If you don’t know what you have you don’t know what you need. If you don’t know what you have you may not see the opportunities that are before you.
  2. A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, Loving favor rather than silver and gold. (Proverbs 22:1 NKJV) Integrity is our most valuable commodity. Integrity is more valuable than money. Money is what you have, integrity is either what you are or who you are not. You either have integrity or you don’t.
  3. Where no oxen are, the trough is clean; But much increase comes by the strength of an ox. (Proverbs 14:4 NKJV) Hard word is messy, and it pays. Hard work is the only way to honest and sustainable increase.
  4. “It is good for nothing,” cries the buyer; But when he has gone his way, then he boasts. (Proverbs 20:14 NKJV) Here King Solomon is giving us a bargaining strategy. You never tell someone how bad you want something because the price is certain to go up. You can brag about your bargain after you bought what you wanted. 

4 Keys to Productivity

Highly productive people are strategic about what they do, intentional about how, why and when they do it and are relentlessly committed as they are doing it. If you want to be more and do more this blog is for you. If you believe you can do more because of the vision, passion and mission you have been given then this blog is for you.

4 Keys to Productivity 

  1. Prepare – for what you will do. A man once asked Abraham Lincoln “If you had 8 hours to cut a tree down what would you do?” Lincoln replied, “I would sharpen my axe for 6 hours.” The more prepared we are the easier it is to execute what we are actually trying to do.
  2. Plan– for how and when you will do it. “Failing to plan is planning to fail.” (John C Maxwell) If you don’t care about what you are doing you will not prepare yourself for it or plan how and when you will do it. The more you care about who you are and what you are doing the more seriously you will take planning. Just think about how much planning goes into a wedding. The wedding is a very important and expensive day; therefore a lot of planning goes into that day. Whatever we value we plan for.
  3. Focus – while you are doing it. In reality most of us are very busy and easily distracted. When we are doing something that really matters we should give that something or that someone our undivided attention. The more we focus on what we are doing, the faster and more effective we will be. We spend a lot of time and money on unnecessary things because we don’t pay close attention to details. Only when we really focus can we really put our best foot forward.
  4. Persevere– following through until you have done it. Often the only difference between failure and success is perseverance. Most people quit right before they begin to win. If you are someone who is motivated and led by feelings you will struggle with perseverance. However if you value choices over feelings you will choose perseverance and have your due reward for not quitting. Often in life we come to a breaking point right before we enter into a breakthrough. If you are doing something good for God and people, don’t quit. I have never met someone that regretted persevering when it came to doing what was right and good. However I have met many people who live with “I should have”, “I could have” but “I didn’t”. If you are that person let go of regret and go finish that good thing you started. It is not too late to do what is right. You have a choice to make today. Don’t quit!