Check It Out: Recent Musings

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Well, this week is just going to be a little different altogether.

On Tuesday, I posted about my oldest daughter turning 11.

Today, I would like to share a few posts whose concepts and ideas have crossed my mind this week, so get ready for a few links.

But before the links, I know the majority of you have been faithful readers, joining my journey somewhere along the way, and for that I am so grateful. But, can I ask a favor? Would you mind taking a moment today and sharing one of the posts I’ve written that has been beneficial to you? Share on your social platform of choice, or even just emailing a link to someone you think might be encouraged by something I’ve written. Thank you for walking this journey with me.

Now, on to a few links.

Don’t Let Someone’s Character Surprise You – I constantly have to remind myself of this principle, that people will consistently behave within their character. Check it out.

The Horizon of Possibility – This is one of my favorites. A leader looks at what’s ahead and sees what the future could become.

Be Careful Who Speaks Into Your Life – The people around us who have influence over us make a significant difference. Guard whose advice you are taking to heart.

Lessons from the Farm┬ápart 1 and part 2 – I enjoy my Lessons from the Farm series the most (and the traffic for those posts show that other people do too!). These two posts deal with the difference between someone who is an owner and someone who is a hired hand.

Once again, thank you for spending time caring about your own leadership journey. I hope you’ll click over to one or two of these, even if you think you know what they say, and be refreshed by one or two of the thoughts.

11 Years and Counting

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Today, let’s take a break from our normal flow, if there is such a thing.

11 years ago on August 27, I went to sleep in a terribly uncomfortable chair/bed at Hendrick Medical Center in Abilene, Texas. As I drifted off to sleep I knew my life was never going to be the same.

The next day, my first child was born. August 28, 2007 we welcomed Anna Elizabeth into the world, and boy was I right.

Now, I honestly do not know of any person ever who the night before the birth of their child said “I’m not gonna let this kid change me,” so I probably don’t deserve credit for my (what felt like at the time) profound insight.

But there is something about parenting that changes the way you view the world. I could not be more proud of my precious 11 year old. She is sweet, a book worm, nerdy to the core, and just as snarky as me (that could come back to bite me in a few years). She has a heart of gold, and is generally willing to do whatever possible to help.

Earlier this summer, I let her sit in the room as I taught a group of teenagers the 3 questions. On our way home she was excited and told me how she was going to start asking herself those questions. It was cute, and timely.

The bottom line is this: I would not trade being her daddy for anything. And just in case she reads this one day: Anna, I love you. I pray you will always love God first, and allow His love to flow through you to those around you. Continue to smile and impact the world around you. You have a loving heart, and never be afraid to let that shine.

Here’s to many more years on the adventure of parenthood.

Accomplish a Little Today

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Earlier this month I ran across an Evernote file I made in January titled “2018 Goals”. In the note, I set out a few goals I wanted to accomplish this year. For example, I wanted to read 24 books this year.

The problem was that I had forgotten about the goals. I failed to keep them in front of me, so I made the goals in January and stumbled onto the file in August.

So, those 24 books I want to read? I have completed 4 (with 2 being finished on vacation, after finding the note). So, yeah, I still have a ways to go.

Then I started thinking: I don’t have to read 20 books in the next week. All I really need to do is to pick up one book and read a little bit today. If I can establish a routine and work reading into one of my habits, then the end result will be something entirely different than the first 7 months of the year.

Accomplishing my goal does not mean reading a bunch tomorrow, it starts with reading a little today.

The same is true for you and your leadership. Whatever goal you are staring in the face is not as large as it may seem.

Maybe you want to grow your organization (or ministry), but it seems like such a daunting task. Accomplishing your goal does not mean growing a bunch tomorrow, it means growing a little today. Start making relational investments now.

Maybe you want to make family a higher priority in your life. Accomplishing your goal doesn’t mean binging time with your family tomorrow, it means making the most of the time you have today.

Maybe you want to a leading voice in your field. Accomplishing your goal does not mean getting a bunch of recognition tomorrow, it means doing the little things right today.

Then, in all these things, as you make the commitment to accomplish little by little every day, the goal quickly shrinks.

The Refresh of Time Away

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Last week, as you likely read, I flew home from vacation. As I have been diving in with both feet this week (short week last week, and starting the new school year this week), I have done a little post-vacation reflection. Here are a few thoughts I have had as I think about my time off:

  1. Unplug, hard. I love listening to podcasts. The topics of said podcasts vary greatly–business/entrepreneurship, leadership, ministry, and sports are my main topics of listening. On vacation, however, I made a point to limit my podcast intake. Whereas in a normal week I will listen to 15-20 hours of podcasts, on vacation, I limited myself to maybe 3. I wanted a shift in my routine, which brings me to my next point.
  2. Shift in routine. During the middle of June I had a conversation with one of my girls. She was said that either she was leaving or I was leaving, and I told her I knew our summer was crazy, but if we could make it to vacation, we were going to have a blast. While I’m not winning any Father of the Year awards for my summer scheduling (something I’ll definitely tweak before next year), we got on vacation and shifted our routine. We spent an incredible amount of time together, and honestly it didn’t matter to me what we did as long as we did it together. Unless it was a manicure/pedicure, I ducked out for that one.
  3. Relax. Midway through our time away, I realized we were running pretty fast, even in vacation mode. We were, after all, in a very sight-seeing rich part of Virginia. So, the next day, we hit the brakes and hit them hard. We slept in, swam, read, snacked, watched a movie, and just enjoyed time together without an agenda for the day.

I’m very grateful for the leaders in my life who respected my time away and with my family. It means the world to me that the key people above me value my time with my family.

Finally, let me say this: I handled frustrations at the beginning and end of vacation in two very different ways. The end is what I posted about last week. The beginning? Well, let’s just say I am not proud of the things I did, and upon reflecting, I was in dire need of vacation.

When was the last time you got away? What were you able to successfully do to unplug and refresh on your vacation?


The Rest of the Story

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“Regardless of what you were told at Richmond, your delay was weather related and therefore we will not hand out hotel vouchers, but even if we were going to do so, we have exhausted our vouchers for today.”

What a great announcement to hear over the speaker at 2am.

After waiting in the Richmond terminal for almost 7 hours (click here for more on that), our flight finally left. We arrived at DFW expecting to get some relief, only to hear the announcement, and so the adventure began.

To say our return home from vacation was a memorable experience is an understatement. We ended up renting the only vehicle available at any of the rental counters that were open at 3am–a 12 passenger van. The movie Home Alone flashed through my head at one point, thinking of John Candy and his polka band riding in the back of a moving van. We were not far away from that, minus the accordion.

Honestly, I do not know what to add about leadership from my experience Monday night/Tuesday morning, other than to say your attitude makes the difference. I am very grateful my wife and daughters (and myself) were able to roll with the punches on everything that went wrong without getting angry. Remaining calm disarmed what could have been a very explosive situation.

So, mind your response. How you respond in the moment will determine how you handle the situation. Remain calm and navigate the choppy waters, regardless of how big the waves may seem.

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