Today is father’s day. But my kids never call me father. They call me Dad. I love that word. Being a dad is one of the greatest joys of my life. It’s also one of the toughest roles of leadership I’ve ever had. I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
Becoming a Dad
I remember the birth of my first son. It was one of the most amazing moments of my life. I cried with joy, as my wife and I gazed at our child for the very first time. But let’s give credit where credit is due. I couldn’t be a dad without my wife (and God's blessings). What she endured for 9 months, and then 8+ hours of labor is unfathomable. I couldn’t do it. I remember her experiencing contractions, and me writing down the times and duration. Helping her breath. She was the bravest thing in the world… and still is!
When we knew it was time for the birth, we jumped in the car in the middle of the night in the pouring rain and headed to the hospital. I had packed a video camera to...
We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.
– Romans 8:28
Here’s what I’ve learned. The disappointments, the failures, the struggles, the challenges. They are all God needs to make an impact. The irony is that God works best with broken things. The best stories in life come through trials and tribulations. Perseverance is intended for the underdog. Don’t give up!
In life, the challenge is often the opportunity. When it seems that things are messed up, or have not gone right, don’t dismiss what God can do. Like lemon turned to lemonade. He turns messes into messages. All that He asks is for you to be open to the potential and for Him to use your story.
Here's are three questions to get you back on your feet:
What's My Story?
Take time to think of how God has redeemed a situation in your life. What are the trials and tribulations that He can...
Greatest of All Time
That's an accolade that doesn't suffer from humility, does it? How can one be humble and a GOAT? Is it even possible?
If you look back at the GOATs of life, there are a few who you could lay claim as both GOAT and humble: Think Mother Theresa, Jesus ,Chadwick Boseman, and Fred Rogers to name a few. The question is, how did they pull it off?
It seems it can only pulled off if we are willing to go through the full progression -- all the phases - of leadership.
As I started thinking about those phases, and an interesting analogy came to life:
Mountain Top Experiences
If you hadn't noticed, mountain top experiences never start on top of the mountain. It starts in the valley -- from a state of humility. There is a whole progression of phases that happen that makes those experiences the Great of All Time. If those phases are what create GOAT experiences, then maybe there are some parallel aspects to what...
“Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go”
— T. S. Eliot
We just launched a new three part series on Resilience on the Breaking Average Podcast. Have you seen it? The first episode aired recently centers on the concept of Acknowledging the Threats. The next episodes take it even further. This is such a powerful principle. Resilience is a secret untapped strength each of us have, we often just don't know it.
There's an old line from the legendary Japanese Military Strategist that sets the table.
Know thyself, know thy enemy. A thousand battles, a thousand victories.
What he's saying is spot on. You can't be yourself and face your challenges until you know yourself. That's where it starts. But that's not enough. He's also saying you can't face the enemy and defeat the enemy without knowing the enemy. Both are vital.
There are some battles...
“If you were going to do it again, rebuild from scratch, what would you do different?”
That question was asked of me a few years ago -- and then resurfaced again in the midst of COVID-19. The original questions was centered on the business that I had a part in launching over a decade earlier. The follow on question asked recently was centered on how to recover after dumpster fire year. Often, when someone asks a business building question, my mind races back to the beginning. But COVID adds a whole knew wrinkle.
The first few years we passionately set up shop with great expectations, only to be frequently disappointed. The big contracts that we were fishing for, just weren’t biting. Still, we ventured out, explored, tried to turn over each stone of opportunity we could, but – on the big ones – we failed again and again. For three years it seemed we were perpetually rebuilding ourselves.
Rather than giving up, which...
A few years before the pandemic, I took a trip to London. When I arrived at Heathrow Airport, I noticed a peculiar warning sign over the moving walk way that caught my attention. It simply said, "Face direction of travel."
Immediately I considered the wisdom in its message. Like a moving walking way, life is always progressing forward. For you and me, to get to where we are want to go, we have to face the direction of travel. If we don't, we might not see what's coming. We might bump into something unexpected, or we might miss something critical and life changing. We might get derailed.
To put this into context, let me share a story. Years ago I was skiing in West Virginia as a chaperone on a youth group trip. In the middle of the day I was on a green slope, traveling as fast as I could. Now, I've skied most of my life. Green runs to me are not a challenge, and this had been no...
There is a great scene early in the movie Remember the Titans where two teammates are in a huge disagreement. Gerry Bertier, the captain and star linebacker, who is white, is arguing one point with his teammate Julius Campbell, another talented linebacker, who happens to be black. Bertier is pressuring Julius to step up his game.
Julius counters with a different perspective reflecting on the clear lack of hustle between whites and blacks on their team. Because of the dysfunction, Julius openly wonders why he should care for anybody other than himself. In response, Bertier tells Julius, "That's the worst attitude I have ever heard." It's in that moment, you wonder if Julius is going to clock Bertier, but Julius responds candidly and calmly putting the pressure back on Bertier. "Attitude Reflects Leadership, Captain." Bertier is left standing there with no words. It's as if he got hit by a...
Let's face it. Life comes at has hard. How we handle those challenges reflects our character. None of us are perfect though. They are times in our life where we feel the pressure. We struggle. It's inevitable.
The good news is that there's a way around it. There are some tricks of the trade that we can leverage to overcome the emotional hit -- at least minimize it. I call it Emotional Retelligence. It's about retelling - essentially hacking -- your emotional state realtime. It's powerful! Here it is in a nutshell.
#1 - Acknowledge the Emotion. Admit what you're feeling. Don't deny it. Let's say you are planning a big event, and that sense of overwhelm just hits you hard. In that moment, admit to yourself what you are feeling. It might be something like,
If you have a passion for personal growth or leadership, then let's stay connected. Occasionally, but not too often. I'll share helpful information and useful resources to encourage those on the breaking average journey.