Category Archives: Life

Bruised Ego or Wrecked Moped?

A slightly bruised ego might be better than a fully wrecked moped! I was probably 12 or 13 years old at the time. My dad’s side of the family had all gathered at our house – grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. My cousin had brought her new moped over and all my cousins were riding around our front yard and having fun doing so. Inwardly, I was nervous to ride it since I had never been around dirtbikes, four-wheelers or that kind of thing a whole lot. Outwardly, I didn’t want my cousins to know I was nervous. Inevitably, my turn came and I had no choice but to ride that moped fearlessly! And that I did. At first, no problems. Then as I turned around at one end of the yard and headed back toward our driveway, I got a little confused about the gas and the brake. And remember that all of the family was over so the driveway was full of cars. I was in trouble as I was accelerating toward those cars. Well, I can’t run into their cars and I’m not going to be able to stop so I need to turn right or left. One direction was favorable and the other not favorable. If I turned right, I would miss the cars and would have a little more room to stop before getting to the road. Sure, I might run into the large evergreen there, but that wouldn’t be so bad. Well, I didn’t make the best choice – right. As I turned left, the real problem presented itself – a 4 ft. deep flowerbed and then the house with a large picture window in the living room area directly aligned with the driveway. Fumbling for the brake but still failing to execute I goosed the engine and sped toward the house! I did manage to miss the cars to my right and a fence to my left. That would be a great accomplishment except for what happened next. All of my bystander family was trying to help by yelling, “no” and some other directions I couldn’t understand. Inevitably, in the next moment, my front tire hit the railroad tie separating the driveway and flowerbed. The moped and I went airborne then came to an abrupt stop as the front headlight and handle bars smashed into the bottom framing of the window. Because I maintained my grip on the handles, the bike momentum stopped but I literally pivoted upside down almost like someone intentionally does in gymnastics on the high bar – only this was obviously quite unintentional. Maintaining my grip still, I fell back down onto the bike and then slumped to the ground. Those in the front yard came running to me. Also, those who witnessed the event through the picture window in the living came as well. I don’t recall their reaction as much as my utter embarrassment as I laid on the ground beside the moped. In that moment, as I laid there I realized I had a bruised ego, a battered body, and a broken moped! If I had made another choice, I would have only had one of those! Proverbs 11:2 says, “pride comes before a fall.” According to Oxford Dictionary, pride can be defined as, “the quality of having an excessively high opinion of oneself or one’s importance.” Pride comes in other forms other than just the outrageous arrogance we often think about. Anytime we place higher value on ourselves, our needs, or our ego at the expense of others, we’re walking in pride. It can look like being silent to avoid an awkward but appropriate conversation. It can be not going to someone to ask forgiveness for the way you offended them. It can be having the ability and opportunity to help someone but not doing so because it would be inconvenient. All of those years ago, I valued my ego above my cousin or her moped. Moving forward, let’s choose a bruised ego over a wrecked moped!

God Invested in Us Before We were Renovated!

The bulk of my growing up years were spent on State Route 511 in Wellington, Ohio. When I was just about to turn 5, my parents bought a lousy appearing ranch in the country. We moved from town (which wasn’t too big itself) about 5 miles to the west and I spent the next 12 years of my life there. The house was worn out; it’s roofline looking more like a ski slope from all the years of settling. The layout of the house was average and predictable. The finishes were dated and exhausted. My father being a carpenter together with my mother being very responsible with money was the right combination to see the potential in that old house. They could see an addition off the back that would add square footage and solve that sloping roofline issue. They could see the remodeling of the living room and other dated spaces, moving the kitchen to a new part of the house, and creating a large master suite. They executed just what they saw in their mind; they put money and work into that place over the years and it paid off. Their investment appreciated handsomely over time and they were able to sell that house and pay cash for their next home. I think that’s what they call, “sweat equity.”

That made such an impact on me that I have now bought, fixed up, and sold nearly 30 homes! As I reflect back on that story and its impact on me, I’m reminded of how lousy we looked when God intervened. We were wrecked, dated, and lifeless. He saw restored, refreshed, and gave abundant life. In fact, the scripture describes it this way. “As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins … but because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions.” Ephesians 2:1,4-5

He made the investment in us before we were renovated!

Don’t Miss God Because You Don’t Understand

Generally, I think it’s safe to say that we are quite convinced of our opinions and perspectives on life. When we think about it, we know that we don’t know it all. The challenge is when we don’t think about it, we forget. As leaders, you and I will benefit the people in our organizations we lead, whether they be in our companies, nonprofits, volunteer groups, or families, by recognizing this common limiting bias within ourselves and make every attempt to keep in under wraps. Let’s open ourselves up to how big God is and how big his ideas are for our assignments and that of those we lead. Take a look at this scripture with me.

“Brothers, you know that some time ago God made a choice among you that the Gentiles might hear from my lips the message of the gospel and believe. God, who knows the heart, showed that he accepted them by giving the Holy Spirit to them, just as he did to us. He did not discriminate between us and them, for he purified their hearts by faith. Now then, why do you try to test God by putting on the necks of Gentiles a yoke that neither we nor our ancestors have been able to bear? No! We believe it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved, just as they are.” Acts 15:7-11

I was listening to a message by a pastor yesterday morning. He pointed out several times throughout recent and ancient church history where God moved in ways that the established church didn’t quite accept. He pointed out the Jesus People movement where hippies, sometimes right in the middle of LSD trips, were encountering Jesus, and coming by the droves into churches. They didn’t look, talk, or smell like the other church goers but they definitely had encountered Jesus and were willing to worship together with people very different from them. The established church goers were not quite as accommodating in many cases. Another example was the Catholic Charismatic Renewal. At that time protestant churches taught rather vehemently that the catholic church was purporting heresies and no one from that tradition could possibly have a genuine relationship with Christ and Holy Spirit. Well, they did – even in the midst of all that misunderstanding and misapplication of scripture. And then the pastor went to the book of Acts where the Jewish followers of Jesus were having real issues with these gentile believers not following the closely-held traditions of the Jewish faith. In fact, these believers were pretty confused about a lot having come from totally polytheistic cultures.

I chuckled at these examples then stopped chuckling when I recognized I can be just like these others.

I realized in that moment that when I pray to God for a fresh move and transformation in a church, business, and organization, I have in mind that everyone will come to see my side of things. They will see and understand like I do. They will see that the organization should be governed and directed how I think it should be governed and directed. It will be glorious when everyone comes around to see things correctly! Admittedly, it sounds absurd as I write this blog – I know!

The idea that God’s move may require me to grow to where others are rather than them grow to where I am, was absolutely not on my radar. It’s a little embarrassing how egotistical this looks – but it’s just the truth. I need a mindset shift here – and maybe you do to.

So, let’s open our hearts just a little bit more to how big God is and how big he moves. We’ve all had those moments where God worked in something but did it in a way that we did not expect. Let’s just recognize that a little sooner; let’s cooperate earlier in the process! When we see someone’s walk with God and it doesn’t seem quite like what we have experienced, let’s open our hearts a little bit wider to allow Holy Spirit to lead both us and them! When someone suggests passionately that the organization head in a different direction than we would lead, let’s not immediately write it off as wrong. Let’s grow by appreciating what God is doing in and through others just as much as what He’s doing in and through us. Maybe this is just a slightly different aspect of the “love your neighbor as yourself” bedrock principle.

One thing I am confident of – when we can see a bigger picture than the one we have painted on our own canvass, great growth is ahead!

Do you think 41 cents could change the world?

41 Cents … a quarter, dime, nickel, and penny

I do. You might wonder what in the world I could be talking about. You might even think I’m crazy but I genuinely believe that 41 cents could bring shift in our world. A few years ago I stumbled onto an idea to find a penny, nickel, dime, and quarter and place those in one pocket before I left to go about the day. During the day, I would look for opportunities to do two things – express appreciation and appreciate expression. In expressing appreciation, I wanted to be intentional in sharing my appreciation for something someone had done. I wanted them to know that I noticed and they made a difference by doing what they did. It was about noticing what others were doing. In appreciating expression, I wanted to be intentional in sharing my appreciation for who someone is. I wanted them to know that though we may be different, I genuinely appreciated the strength they contributed by being different than me. It might be their choice in music, mode of problem-solving, communication style, sense of fashion. It could literally be anything that reminded me that the world is a much more interesting place with such diversity in people. Today, these two perspectives remind me that I’m not unimportant nor more important than anyone else. We’re very similar and very different all by design. That’s what those different denominations of coins represented in my pocket. Every time I shared with someone appreciation for what they had done or who they were, I would transfer a coin to the other pocket. My goal was to transfer all coins to the other pocket by the end of the day. As a result of this habit (and there’s many days I miss) I genuinely can see a shift in my perspective. I would like to invite you to give it a try. It’s really quite enjoyable to be a little expression of appreciation in people’s day. I think our world needs a little more of that!

Influencer – Part 2

The realization hit me … I am not very deep! I have somehow thought for a long time that I will have to have tons of depth to make the difference in the world that I born to make. So, therefore, real influence is quite a ways off. But, I need to be real. Yes, I will continue on my quest to grow my depth, but the perspective needs to be tweeked just a little.

With ideas, I love to think up the idea, incubate the idea, connect it with other ideas, devise the strategy for the idea, then hand it off to someone else.

In my friendships, I love to have meaningful relationships with a lot of people in a lot of countries doing a lot of different things and coming from a lot of different perspectives. Some of those relationships are deeper while others are more surface – but all are meaningful to me. In fact, I love to meet people then connect them with other people or organizations with whom they share commonalities.

In my work, I love to become part of an organization, observe the strengths and weaknesses in that organization, identify the opportunities, devise processes to seize those opportunities, develop people to develop people within that organization, then move on or at least move into different areas.

As for habitat, I have lived in 22 different houses, 3 apartments, and a 5th wheel trailer travelling around a fair piece of the U.S. I have lived in 10 states and have traveled somewhat extensively around the world – with more of that to come!

In regard to knowledge, I love to master the skeleton ideas of a discipline to be able to speak with some semblance of intelligence … and be able to do that across a diversity of subjects. But if the conversation moves on to deeper matters within a subject, I’m not bringing much more to the table save maybe some humor here or there.

I could go on and on but I will spare you the details. The fact of the matter is … I discovered something about myself tonight that will forever change my perspective. It’s how I’m wired! And I’m more than OK with that. God has wired me to be an influencer. I can now strategize a little more specifically what that is to look like.

You’ll see what I’m talking about it … I’ll keep you posted – quite literally!

In the meantime, please tell me … how are you wired? What have you discovered about yourself that has shifted the trajectory of your life? I would love to hear your story.

Fit Trumps Size

You’ve got the quarter, dime, nickel, and penny in your pocket.  They are consistent reminders of the importance of expressing appreciation and appreciating expression (individuality) in your team.  As you go to transfer one of the coins after a meaningful exchange with one of your team members, you reach into your pocket and grab the quarter.  Take a look at that quarter and consider this …

The quarter is just 13.5% larger than the nickel but is a whopping 500% more valuable!  And what about comparison to that penny? It is only 21.5% larger than the penny but a staggering 2500% more valuable.  People’s “size” of value to the organization may be quite similar.  People may have a similar position, similar educational backgrounds, even similar career histories.  But one may be an exponentially better “fit” than the other for a particular task, project, or role – that person may, like the quarter as compared to the nickel or penny, bring the organization considerably more productivity.

I will explore this principle further in future postings, but FIT trumps SIZE all day long in our organizations!  Get to know the people around you and how they are wired.  Move them into the best fit possible so they can do what they do best everyday!  The organization will benefit exponentially!

What are your thoughts?  I would love to hear some examples of how you’ve seen this principle play out!  Thanks much for checking in.