26Jul

Why I Choose to Blog

Recently I have been asking myself, “why do you take the time to write a blog?”  As many of you know, it obviously has not taken too much of my time since I have not updated in over a month.  Nonetheless, recently this question has been in my mind a lot because I do not claim to be a writer, nor do I ever aspire to be a writer.

The truth is, although not a writer, I do love to write.  For me thinking through an idea, fleshing it out, and writing a post is challenging, fun, and engaging.   The hard part is actually posting and making it public.

When I post a blog and tweet a link or post it on Facebook, I send my ideas to my sphere of influence.  In the simple press of a button, something I have poured hours into and put much thought into has been placed on the chopping block for others to develop an opinion about.  When I press publish on WordPress, I send my ideas to a group of people whose opinion I care about.  Then it is left for them to criticize, critique, and challenge my ideas.

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26Jul

Why I Choose to Blog

Recently I have been asking myself, “why do you take the time to write a blog?”  As many of you know, it obviously has not taken too much of my time since I have not updated in over a month.  Nonetheless, recently this question has been in my mind a lot because I do not claim to be a writer, nor do I ever aspire to be a writer.

The truth is, although not a writer, I do love to write.  For me thinking through an idea, fleshing it out, and writing a post is challenging, fun, and engaging.   The hard part is actually posting and making it public.

When I post a blog and tweet a link or post it on Facebook, I send my ideas to my sphere of influence.  In the simple press of a button, something I have poured hours into and put much thought into has been placed on the chopping block for others to develop an opinion about.  When I press publish on WordPress, I send my ideas to a group of people whose opinion I care about.  Then it is left for them to criticize, critique, and challenge my ideas.

Read More »

22Jun

Wealth, is it worth it? A New Book from Truett Cathy

One thing many people tell you when you choose to marry a person is you not only marry them but their family as well. I am blessed beyond belief to have married into my wife’s family, as they consistently teach me how to live a life that loves the Lord first and foremost. Not only do they value marriage and support our marriage fully, but they have also taught us how to steward our influence in a way that will make a positive impact on the people in our lives.

One of the great men in my wife’s family is someone who is not only known for his business and entrepreneurial skills, but also for his passion for people and his unwavering commitment to his faith. I am thankful that I know him as a man who has poured into his family over the years, who sets an example of what it really means to love one another and who teaches us to be excellent in all we do. Today he has come out with a new book called, “Wealth, is it Worth it?“.

In this book, Truett Cathy talks about his hardships growing up in the depression, the hard work it took to create a restaurant that grew into a successful company and addresses the question about wealth and its worth.

The book serves as a reminder of the good things a person can do with money, but also how destructive money can be. The book offers several stories about people who came into a large amount of money but failed to steward it wisely. However, the book also looks at people who are generous and use wealth to be a blessing to others.

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20Jun

4 Steps When Setting Goals – A Lesson from “Never Say Never”

Last week, my wife Angela and I decided to have an at-home date night.  It was a little impromptu and really was spurred on by the fact that I wanted to just be lazy for a night.  With this in mind, we decided to watch a movie.  We are not big movie watchers, yet sometimes it is nice to wrap up in a blanket, pop some popcorn, and download a movie to watch on AppleTV.

As we scrolled through the new releases on AppleTV we did not find anything we really wanted to watch, but I did keep coming across the movie “Never Say Never.”  Now, I will admit that I have downloaded the My World 2.0 album on iTunes, but I have never ventured to say I am a Justin Bieber fan and to be 100% honest, I knew nothing of his story.  With little options for Angela and I to watch, we pressed “rent” for Justin Bieber’s movie, “Never Say Never.”

As the movie started, I found myself strangely intrigued by the story.  If you are like me then you probably know nothing of Justin Bieber, so let me fill you in in 3 sentences:

Justin Bieber was always interested in music and honestly had an unreal talent at an early age.  In his early teenage years, Justin started performing all over town and recording self-made videos on Youtube and attracted hundreds of thousands of fans.  A music producer found Justin on Youtube, took a huge risk in making Justin famous, got Justin networked with the right people, and the rest will be forever history.

What really impressed me most about the movie is that Justin is a lot wiser than most people will ever give him credit for.  The main storyline of the movie is telling how Justin became famous mixed in with his journey to playing at the nation’s (and possibly the world’s) most famous venue in New Youk City, Madison Square Gardens.  The whole movie, Justin and his team are striving to get things perfect for what would be the biggest performance of his life.  What I learned from Justin within the mix of “Never Say Never” is a lot about setting goals.

From Justin’s goal to sell out and play at Madison Square Gardens, I learned 4 important lessons: Read More »

17May

Get Up and Do Something – A Lesson Learned from DefiantMissions

Over a billion people in the world live off less than $1.00 a day and another billion people in the world live off of less than $2.00 a day.  Many of these people live in areas of extreme poverty, in harsh conditions, and in a place without basic human needs like clean water, sanitation, and basic nutrition.  Many people have worked to try to find solutions to these problems and have all pitched in to make a dent on the issues, but the truth of the matter is that the problems are going to take all of us working on a solution.

Two guys that Angela and I have gotten to know a little over the past two years have decided to help to take some of these issues head-on by creating an organization called DefiantMissions.   The two guys are Matt Turner and Stephen Dupuis, who started an organization right out of college in hopes to address some of the injustice they saw in the world.  With a little knowledge on the science of water filtration and a whole lot of passion, they launched the first component of DefiantMissions, which is DefyThirst.

What has impressed me about Matt and Stephen is not their ability to change the world (which they can do) or even the success stories that we have been able to hear about achievements they have made in the first steps of their total community intervention projects (which are plenty for a infant organization).  Though all they have accomplished is impressive, what has impressed me most about the 2 founders is that they started with a dream and a passion and followed it up with the most important step: they did something about it. Read More »

13May

Consistency is Key

Last weekend I got to go to my favorite city in the southeast, a city that I think is very underrated by most people.  I was able to go to college at a small private school in a suburb of Birmingham, Alabama and while I was there I fell in love with the city of Birmingham and its surrounding areas.  I have tried to figure out why I love Birmingham so much and one of the main reasons is the attention and priority that the community takes towards local business.  Everywhere you turn there is a local restaurant, a small coffee shop, a specialty retail store, or a local bank or business.

One local restaurant that we all love is Davenports Pizza Palace.  Davenports is located in the Mountain Book community and has been around for a long time.  When my in-laws, John and Trudy were at Samford 25 years ago they ate at Davenports Pizza which is how I heard about it in the first place – and the one thing I have learned from Davenports is that Consistency is Important… Read More »

28Apr

Getting on the Same Page

For our organization, an event like today only happens a few times a year, and it is something that I have really grown to love and appreciate.  Today is a day when everyone who works within our organization  is able to come together, get caught up on things that are going on and ensure we are all on the same page.

I get to work for an organization that in its biggest form is organized  into 2 divisions – the division that I serve with is a part of a collaborative which has over 8 different ministries operating from it and is comprised of at least 4 different partnering organizations.  Although we would still be considered a small organization, we have a lot of moving pieces, a lot of different people, and a lot of potential to all be moving to the beat of a different drum.

I think it is important to be able to have events as we are doing today; to carve our intentional time to help make sure that our vision is aligned.  A great leader knows that he or she is always communicating vision – where by action or words, the leader is setting the pace for where an organization is going and getting others sold in on that vision.  Read More »

27Apr

Being a Grateful Leader

I once heard of an executive of a large company, who kept a small notepad on the corner of his desk.  All day long, we would write down the names of people he met with that day, people he had long discussions with on the phone, or anyone who went out of their way to help him.  The executive then carved out the last 30 minutes of every day he was at the office to stop the activities of the day and write a thank you note to everyone on that list.

I am willing to bet that any recipient of these letters felt extremely valued and appreciated for the time and efforts they had given to the executive – and possibly more prone to help him again in the future!  It is amazing how such a small thing can mean so much to people – the simple task of saying Thank You.

I think we do not say “thank you” enough in our day to day life.  What I am talking about is more than me signing “thanks, BMF” at the end of my emails, but more so going out of your way to say “Thank You” in a meaningful way – taking a few minutes to really say thank you and to appreciate the work of others.

To me, being grateful is one of the greatest things that a leader can do.  When we think about being a servant leader, we realize that this must be someone who is humble and looking out for the needs of others.  I am also thinking that a servant leader must be thankful and grateful to those around him.

You have an opportunity each and everyday to let people know you appreciate them and what they do for you or for your organization.  I think that when you become a grateful leader, people will want to follow you.  They will be willing to commit more efforts to you because they will know that you value and appreciate them, they will feel good about their work, and they will be motivated because they know you care not only about what they do, but also who they are.

My challenge to you is to say “Thank You” today.  Take a few minutes today to sit down and write a thank you note to someone and actually snail-mail it, send an email that will let someone know how much you appreciate them, or have a one-on-one conversation explaining your gratefulness to someone.

I believe if we become grateful leaders we not only will  be doing what we are called to do as servant leaders, but we will motivate others to greatness, let others know we value them, and see the benefits of a much healthier team in the future.

How do you express gratitude best?

26Apr

Don’t Miss It…

One of the things I have really been challenged with recently is something that I feel is all to common among my friends, co-workers, and most people I run into.  It is an idea that has been engrained into our culture and has really dictated our way of life over the past decade or so, but for me it has become all to real in the past few months.

What I am talking about is us becoming so busy in life, looking towards the next event or activity too much, and filling up our agenda with so much that we miss the moment all too often.

For me, I just started to realize this when I sat down at a table about 2 months ago.  I had been working with a team for over 6 months to plan and conduct our third WinShape Camps International Project – It was the day before our team left to go to Brazil and we were having our last leader-huddle to make sure things we in-line.  When we started talking and thinking about what all was about to happen in the next 48 hours, I found myself realizing that I had not even really processed the idea that we were taking a team to Brazil within the next day.  To  be really honest, I was not excited at that moment, no real joy came from the idea that we were doing something that I love so much –this really bothered me. Read More »

25Apr

Finding a Pacer

During my time at Samford University, I found a love for something that I never thought I would enjoy.  Daily, I would put on some shorts, a dri-fit shirt, lace up my Brooks running shoes, queue the iPod and hit the Lakeshore trail to go running.  I started my time not even being able to run a mile, but with some determination, I began to run daily – I got in the best shape of my life (so far) and started to look for ways to compete.

Shortly after I knew I could physically run 3 miles, I ran my first 5k and loved it. Running races made me realize there is a community who participates in events and they made running much more fun.  Also at a race, I could find people to push me – people who became my pacers.  Though the community is a blast, one of the greatest parts is that there will typically be people better than you, faster than you, and willing to push you to work harder.

For me, how I do in a race is all about the person I am pacing with.  I need someone who is a little faster than me so I can try my hardest to keep up with them for the duration of the race.

One of the bigger lessons that I have learned though is that in a race, I cannot pick my pacer until I have completed the first mile.  See, when a race starts you always have 3 types of Runners: Read More »

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