25 going on 70 – A Lesson from Jon Acuff

One thing I am always joking with people about is that sometimes I have a tendency to believe that I am 25 years old going on 70.  As a one-liner that works our pretty good on the humor scale, but there is a lot of truth to that.   I feel like a lot of times I want to accomplish the whole world, move mountains, and make huge impacts at the age of 25.  I also sometimes feel like I am going to be 70 tomorrow and if I do not do something quick then I will miss out on my opportunity.

The crazy thing is that we know that this is not true by any stretch of the imagination.  I often find myself thinking, why am I not a CEO, why and I not a politician, why have I not started my own business, and even more so, why can I not be one of the people on stage speaking at events like Catalyst.  Then soon after this comes the humbling moment – the moment where I realize the answer to all of this is that I have nothing to share on stage in front of 10,000 people, I am young and lack a lot of real-world experience, and I have a lot to learn before I am ever at these huge milestones in life.

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Managing Your P.R.

A few years ago, the only people who ever thought about Managing Public Relations would have been a celebrity, a business executive, and maybe a local politician – but not me, and not you…

One thing that I am learning more and more everyday is that “everyday Americans” are now thinking about PR all the time and never realizing the importance of it and maybe not even realizing that they are doing it. Read More »


On a Scale of 1 to 5….

Every year around this time the team that I work with at WinShape Camps does something that very few organizations do.   For one work week, we put everything on hold – The whole team puts up an away message, packs our bags, and we head to a location together to  stop, evaluate, dream, and plan for what is in store.

We call this week an “evaluation week” as we always start our time by diving into all ‘customer service data’ that we have.  We look at trends in our evaluations from parents of campers, from the campers themselves, our summer staffers, and even evaluations from ourselves.  We try to take a step back and look at what we are doing, celebrate things that have gone well, and look for areas to improve upon in the coming year. Read More »


I have an idea…

The thought of an idea is overwhelming to me sometimes… just to be honest.  The reason why is because when I have an idea, I think that I only have three options: One option makes me a procrastinator, another makes me a bad steward of the idea, and the last makes me work and sacrifice…

When you have an idea, I believe that you have 3 options:

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Disconnect to Connect

Toady,  I am reposting a blog that I wrote for the WinShape Camps Staff Blog sometime last fall….


‘Disconnect to Connect’ is a phrase that has been coined and thrown around a lot in the WinShape world – how can we use parts of the summer to disconnect with our everyday lives and connect intentionally with campers and staff around us?
Today we learned this in a new dynamic.  Today some IT technicians from Chick-fil-A came to our office in Watkinsville, GA to work on all of our computers at one time.  So let me paint the picture: 6 people in one office with no computer and only access to the web through the 3×4 window of an iPhone.  We learned really quickly what it means to disconnect!  How do you manage to work in an information-based world without the machine that gives you the information needed?

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Cutting Back to Leap Forward

I have grown to love a new hobby… For some people, when they get home from work, they love to watch sports, for some its Bill O’Reily on Fox News (well, I do love that too), for others it is running and jogging in 105 degree heat – For me it has become yard work.  I never thought that I would be one to love working in the yard – specifically picking weeds, trimming hedges, and cutting grass – but the opposite it true… I love it.

I love 2 things about it the most:

1) I love that I can see the final product in a matter of a few hours after I get started.  When I walk out in the yard, the grass maybe high, the bushed may be out of whack, and the weeds may be taking over my beds, but in a few hours I an sit with a sweet tea on the back porch and enjoy the fruits of my labor.  This is something that I do not experience daily in my work – as I work on projects that hopefully impact lives and I may never see the full fruit of the labor – so I do enjoy seeing it in the yard…Instantly.

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@BackstageLeader Lesson 2: Mike Foster

The next session that I had with @BackstageLeader, was with a guy named Mike Foster. People who were in high school and college at the same time as me will probably know Mike mostly from being the co-founder of and organization called XXXChurch. Currently Mike is working on something called, People of the Second Chance, so check out his site if you have a few minutes.

Mike works also in the field of branding and graphic through his studio called Plain Joe Studios based out of California, so a lot of what he had great isight on was project management, new ideas and creativity.

One thing that he said that really stuck with me is that

“people will never respect you for what you are about to do, only for things that you do do.”

To be really honest, ideas are a dime a dozen. You can sit at a table with 3 people and come up with a list of 10 ideas in about 5 seconds. Then when you get done and look at your list of 10 ideas, that will lead to a new list of 3o ideas that have spun off the first 10, then 90 ideas, and so on. Point is that almost anyone can come up with an idea – but how do you make your idea a reality.

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@BackstageLeader Lesson 1: Mark Batterson

Mark Batterson was the first session for the semester of @BackstageLeader and it was an incredible start to a semester of learning. I actually have already blogged briefly about the call with Batterson, so be sure to check it out but I will add to it here.

One thing that Mark said that has stuck with me almost more than anything this semester is this one quote:

“We over-estimate what we can do in a year and we under-estimate what we can do in 10.”

I can not tell you how often this plays out in my life. As a leader (young or old) we tend to put everything on our plate. We think “if I can just do this, and take that trip – if I can go to this conference, and work on that project – if I can just complete this task list and start working on a start-up ministry…” We think we can take on the world – and rightfully so – we can. We have unbelievable abilites and talents. God has wired us each with our own strengths and with those we can do amazing things…But not all at one time.

Do you ever wonder if you are doing so much today that you can not even begin to think about your sphere of influence in 10 years? Do you ever find your self so swamped in the today’s work that you could never even dream of what 5 years from now will look like?

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A Semester with @BackstageLeader

As you can tell, I am not an avid blogger- as much as I have wanted to write and tell about my experiences and how i learn from them, i just always make excuses as to why I do not. However, this past semester, I have had an incredible opportunity to be a part of a great experience called Backstage Leadership and I would hate not to take an opportunity to share with you about a few things that I have learned.

As we have gone through the semester, we have talked with some incredible leaders. We have been able to learn from them in a much more intimate setting than you normally would at a conference or any other big event, which has been fun to watch them in this setting. These leaders have been great business leaders like Dan Cathy, authors like Ken Blanchard, and pastors such as Mark Batterson.

So, over the next few blogs (and yes, i will actually commit to write 4 in a row), I will be debriefing my experiences from Backstage Leadership. I will try to keep them brief, and hopefully you will see a take-away that you can apply in what you are doing in your world right now-

Stay Tuned

For more information about Backstage Leadership and how you can be a part next semester, check out BackstageLeadership.org


You are Where you Eat – Local Leadership Lessons

I really love restaurants – I mean really love them. I recently told someone when I was standing in line for a taxi at the New York Airport, that I could easily enjoy eating my way through a town when I travel. I don’t love eating a ton of food, but I love local restaurants and seeing places that I have never been before. I think it is great to be able to walk into a place that you can see no where else in the world and get some great food and some local flavor.

I also know where I want to eat when I come to a town. For instance, when you do come to Central Florida, you should definitely eat at Charley’s Steakhouse, and when in Birmingham, AL you need to take a stop at O’Carrs for some incredible Chicken Salad. I also love to be in Atlanta and take a stop by the original Chick-fil-A in Hapeville, or stopping at the Carnegie Deli in New York City.

I think that the thing is that a lot of what makes a local restaurant so good actually has a lot of lessons that we can learn about leadership and running a great organization. I know that it may seem a bit off, but I can explain:

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