Learning

9Apr
What_To_Do

5 things to do, when you don’t know what to do

As many of you know, Angela and I have been through a lot of change lately and we are currently living in a constant state of transition.

In December, I left my 10-year journey of serving with an incredible non-profit organization, the WinShape Foundation.  I loved the work I did through the foundation, but at the same time had another internal passion to serve in the business world by opening my own business.  So, I left WinShape to pursue my role owning and operating a Chick-fil-A restaurant.  I am on course to open a new Chick-fil-A in the Birmingham, Alabama area in January 2015.

This was not an easy decision for me.  In fact, I would argue that the decision to leave my work at the WinShape Foundation to pursue my new role as a Chick-fil-A Operator was possibly the hardest decision I have had to make in my lifetime.  There were days that I did not know what to do – I did not know what decision to make, who to talk to, what to pursue, and so on.  I went back and forth on the decision before making my decision late in the summer of 2013.

During this time, I kept going back to one comment that I have heard many times over the past few years:

When you don’t know what to do, do what you know to do.

Read More »

3Apr
04.02.14-OneStep

One Step at a Time

Not long after Angela and I were married, I signed up for a racing event with my new brother-in-law.  The event consisted of a team 3-mile canoe, followed by either both of us completing a run and mountain bike trail or we could choose to tag-team the last two events.  Our plan was to tag-team; Trent would compete in the mountain biking portion and I would compete in the trail running portion.

However, I thought it would be fun to do both.  So, one day after work, I decided I should go ride the mountain biking course to see how hard it would really be to pull them both off.  Angela and I left work early one day and we decided to drive to the park where the race would be and do a trial run.

We didn’t know the course – all I knew was that it eventually came back full circle.  We didn’t know anything about maintain biking – all we both knew was riding bikes on our streets growing up.  But we thought it couldn’t be that bad; I mean, you don’t ever forget how to ride a bike, right?

As we rode, the sun began to set for the evening.  As it got darker, we had to get off the bike and pull our bikes through the woods because it was too dark to see.  We walked for miles, lost in the woods in the middle of a small town in Tennessee; it was dark, we heard animals in the woods, and we had no clue where we were going.

All we had for light was my Motorola Razor flip-phone (which was very cool for the time).  We had to use the little light that we had to see our next steps.  We could not see far in front of us, but we could see the next steps (an particularly see if we were stepping on a snake).  We had to have full faith that the path did indeed go full-circle like the map showed and that we would eventually end up where we wanted to be.  Angela, who was walking behind me had to have full confidence that I would lead her to our destination.

It was not easy, in fact it was one of the hardest physical events Angela and I have done in marriage.  We were scrapped up because of briers, our muscles were sore, and our emotions were tired.  But in the end, we made it back to our car and that is the last time Angela and I have ever tried to go mountain biking.

I have thought about this story so much over the past five years.  How often is this our story as leaders?  How many times are we leading people down the path that we think is right, yet we can only see just a small step in front of us?  How often are we leading when all we can see is a few steps in front of us? Read More »

1Apr
You can do better - 04.1

You Can Do Better…

In college I had one of the hardest accounting professors you could imagine.  He was a young guy, probably only a few years removed from the classroom.  He had great rapport with students, but his class was hard.

He was one of those professors that you sweated bullets going into his class if you were not fully prepared, because if you were not, he would find a way to point it out.  He was the only professor that I had who scheduled his exams for 7:00 at night, because the allotted class time was not enough to work through the problems.  And he was the professor that everyone loved, but everyone dreaded his class.

However, let me be clear; people dreaded his class because it was challenging; it was possibly the hardest class in the school.  Yet at the same time this professor was a great teacher and he genuinely cared about the students who walked through his door.

A few weeks into the new school year, I was in class and received my first graded exam back.  On it was a grade, and in red ink it stated “come see me in my office this week.”  I stared, a little paralyzed, and wondered what in the world he would say.  I had made a “C” on the exam, so I was thinking, “surely someone else has done worse than me…” Read More »

9Aug
post2

A Little Time Made a Huge Difference

“So, what do you want to do when you grow up?”

One of the most influential relationships of my teenage years started with that simple question.

I was staying after school one day, working on a project in a class and the teacher simply asked that question.  I know now that he was asking much more than that question – he was asking to hear my heart.

My response was driven by what was at my core at the time.  I told him that I wanted to be a businessman.  I continued by saying that I wanted to drive a Mercedes SLK hardtop convertible, work downtown, arrive to a high-rise every day, carry by briefcase up the elevator in my coat and tie and get paid a lot of money.  The translation that he heard was simple:  this guy (me) cares about money, prestige, and chasing after status.

What was great about the conversation is that it ended with me realizing how wrong my view of the world was.  My teacher went on, hinting around about how there are more important things to chase after in life than big jobs and fancy cars, but we were called to live with passion and with meaning.

Now, I have been a Christian most of my life (becoming a follower of Christ at a young age) and raised in a Christian home, so I do understand that my faith leads me to live a life for a grater purpose than myself.  However, at the time when my teacher started this dialogue with me, I was not focused on my faith-relationship and what it called me to in life; I was focused on what I wanted.  But with my background and knowing where this teacher stood in his faith, I knew where he was going with the conversation and gave him permission to talk to me more.

That day started a relationship that lasted for about a year and a half as I completed high school.  Read More »

7Aug
bmfpost3

Out of Time

I just do not have the time….

It’s a story we hear so often – I am busy, I do not have time, I am just so swamped.

I can say that I am one of the worst when it comes to the  “I have no time” excuse.  I talk about how I want to train to run a half-marathon, how I want to read more books, how I want to get more done around the house or at work, but I often cop out to the excuse that “I just do not seem to have the time.”

When I was thinking about this recently, I thought of one of the most revealing moments I have had in the past few years.

I, like most everyone I know, gets slight addictions to certain iPhone games for short periods of time.  I was guilty of this when it came to Angry Birds.  I was a late adopter for the game, but once I got ahold of it, I could not put it down for a while.

One day, I received a notification through Angry Birds on my iPhone congratulating me on completing 8-hours of playtime…. 8 hours!  I looked at my phone and then became very convicted about my “lack of time” excuses.  8 hours is an entire work day that I have spent sliding my finger across a screen to launch cartoon birds through the air to knock down blocks.  Seriously? Read More »

19Jun
bmfpost4

Get Good at Being You

Something that continues to pop up everywhere around me is the idea that I can only be good at being me.  Let me explain a little more.

I’ve heard it recently said  like this: You are the best version of you there is.

It sounds simple, but it is so hard.  Think back through your life and you begin to realize that you have tried to be someone else at all different points.  I mean, nothing gets worse than middle school and high school –

For me, I wanted to be a surfer (although I had never surfed) and started to dress that way.  I wore a lot of hemp and shells, dressed in all Hollister and worked hard at looking like a surfer.  I also had a really brief time period that I wanted to be a little more Goth.  I decided to wear all black.  It was funny, because I had hardly anything black in my closet and it was really hard to dress in dark colors when you have none.  I think the Goth thing lasted all of one day in the 7th grade.

I went through a lot of phases; I tried to be sporty and then artsy, dressed preppy and slouchy, listened to rap and then country.  I have been all over the map, and I bet you have too.

It takes us so long to be okay with who we are and for many of us it is a life-long journey.  But over the past year, this has been a theme that has popped up in my face over and over and has had me really thinking about who am I verses who am I trying to be.  It’s so important for us to realize that God made us wired a certain way.  We are interested in certain things, crazy with certain passions, and gifted with certain skills.  As leaders we have to find this and get really comfortable in who we are.

One conversation about this has really stood out in my mind for the past year.  It was a conversation I will not forget.  Read More »

15Jun
bmfpost5

Build a Solid Foundation

This week I had the fun experience to spend another day on a Vision and Values tour with Dan Cathy.  About 5 or 6 times a year, Dan takes new Chick-fil-A employees and other vendors and contractors on a tour to re-live the Chick-fil-A story from the beginning and to walk through some of the important values of Chick-fil-A that build our vision of the future.

The day is filled with great stories of Dan, Bubba, and Trudy growing up at the original Dwarf Grill, Truett working tirelessly 6 days a week, the growth of the company, the value of partnerships, and some of the philanthropic values of our company.

One of my favorite stops on the tour is a rare tour to the 26th floor of the Coca-Cola corporate office in Atlanta, GA.  If you have never been to this area and you ever get the chance, I would strongly recommend going – it’s absolutely amazing.  When you get off the elevator on the 26th floor, you step out on to white plush carpet.  As you walk out of the elevator bay, you realize the 3 executive floors are a closed off area of the building connected by a floating, suspended staircase.  It is quiet; the area is filled with oil paintings of past board members, CEOs, and the current Coca-Cola Board of Directors.  As you turn the corner you step into an impressive boardroom – one that looks like it came straight off the set of The Apprentice.  Everything about the experience is amazing.  Think of the people who have walked through the boardroom of the number one brand in the world! Read More »

7May

Have FUN!

I had something I have been thinking about that would be really “deep and profound” to write about today – however as I sat down to write this blog, I received an email from a co-worker that was much more real-life and a much better lesson than what I had in my mind.

As you or your team approach a big deadline it is so easy to get caught up into to-do lists and action items and forget about the simple things in life.  This is where my team is now.  I serve with a ministry whose main focus is summer camping experiences.  The summer is our show time.  Our team works countless hours to provide a once in a lifetime experience for kids at WinShape Camps during the summer.  This time of year there is a mood of tension over the air as we all approach our final deadlines and it is good to remember to have some fun in the busy moments.

I received a great email a few minutes ago that reminded me to remember to have a little humor in your life.  I will offer no background, as it is not needed.  Here is the email: Read More »

30Apr

Be True to Who You Are

Lester Everyone needs a hero in life and I would dare say that we all have one. When you look on your life, I am willing to bet you can think of someone who is larger than life to you. For me that person is my grandfather. My grandfather has always been an incredible man of God, he has loved people and he has always been willing to do anything for anyone. Not only that but he has also been physically strong, very active, and in top notch shape his whole life.

Today I had the chance and made the time to go have lunch with him. Over lunch we had a lot of great conversations of our time growing up, his service days in the military, his work life, and family memories from years past. It made me long to make this a much more normal part of my life.

About half way through our time, I was able to ask him for some advise – some good life-advise for me and my brother. We are both young, fairly newly married, and me a new father. It is easy to see we can use some good, wise advise at anytime.

When I asked him for advise, this is what he simply said: “Be true to who you are.”

From a man who has lived an admirable and fulfilled life, I loved that of all he could say, this is what he chose. I have not been able to stop thinking about this quote all day. It focuses around a core value that our organization chooses to live by and one that I choose to live by: integrity. The idea of integrity is that I am who I say I am no matter where I am. I believe that this is what my grandfather means.

For him, being true to who he is is first and foremost being a follower of Christ. He has truly lived his life in a way that honors his heavenly father. It also means being the husband and father that God has called him to be. For 37 years it was being a hard worker at the same company until retirement. For 7 years it was who working hard to serve our country in the US Coast Guard. Through all of this though it has been his character and relationship with God that has kept him true to who he is – a man of integrity.

The challenge for me is to be a man of integrity like he continues to be. As leaders we have to be able to be true to who we are and to live with integrity. I am thankful that I have incredible examples on all sides of my family to learn integrity from. The challenge is definitely to put the leanings into practice in every moment in life.

Today’s lunch so much fun and it serves as a great reminder to cherish the moments we have with friends and family. I am thankful for the time and look forward to the next.

Who in your life have you been able to learn integrity from?

26Apr

Great Leaders are Great Learners | Confession and Challenge

This post is a bit of a confession and a game plan that maybe we can all use to move forward. 

I have heard so many people say the quote that “great leaders are great learners” and I feel like I used to live and die by this quote.  I need to start this blog though by confessing that I have been a really horrible learner recently.  I used to soak up any moment to develop myself – I would attend conferences, read books and blogs, and spend time with great leaders to learn from them.   The sad part is that recently if I do these things it has simply been to check something off a list or to just get a break from the day-to-day.

Over the past year, I have made the unconscious decision to let the day-to-day of life become so engulfing that I have not taken the time to develop myself personally and it has finally caught up to me.  So, the question is how do we move forward?

If great leaders are great learners (which I believe whole-heartedly), then we have a problem on our hands if we do not stop in the craziness of life to learn.  We need to be learning from those around us, learning from content that is everywhere, and learning by being intentional with some developmental experiences.

We tend to use the excuse that there is simply not enough time, but the truth is that we all get 24 hours each – no more and no less.  The question is how to prioritize to get done what we really want done.  The greatest things in life are typically not urgent so we have to be intentional to make it happen.

So as we move forward here is my plan to reenergize my learning and it’s something that I believe we can do together: Read More »

© Copyright 2013, All Rights Reserved