Archive for the ‘Strengths’ category

Don’t Be an Amateur – Be a Pro

October 3, 2010

There are many people who have interests that they call hobbies. They spend time tinkering with these interests, but it sits as a “weekend warrior” type committment. These days you can not have that kind of mentality about your life or your pursuits. In the deep recesses of your mind, you know the ideas you have, the plans you would like to make, the accomplishments you would like to achieve. Whether it is creating a piece of music, painting a masterpiece or leading a village to freedom, you have heard the echoing voice in your mind for years. At times the voice would rise in volume and your heart would race with the thought that “maybe” this could be the time.

Sadly, you shrugged off the feelings because you “had to make a living” or you needed to be “reasonable” in your aspirations. You must shake yourself free from such damning thoughts and thrust out your hand and begin. The greatest resistance and frustration you will face is when you begin your work, that thing that you know you were meant to do. In the genesis of action when the hand touches the plow, that is the moment when the pull from the opposition is at it height. It does not come from some outside place, you know that very well, it comes from within, the center of your individual universe. A cry bellows out from the caverns of your core and screams for you to stop and let things remain as they have always been. Out comes reason after reason for you to quit and go back to the “normal” life you have been living. This is indeed the moment of truth and you must face this moment alone. At this time it is just you fighting with your own ego for supremacy of the control of your Self.

Something happens in the ether when you make contact with your work, when musician touches her instrument and artist picks up the brush. When the writer grasps the pen, a surge of energetic passion envelopes him and suddenly he is no longer alone. The Source has brought to him help and supply. Once you have set you face in the direction of your inner call, all of Heaven is allied with you and your certainty grows. From seemingly nothing the seeds of inspiration begin to germinate and flourish. A once barren mindscape is now fertile with ideas and endeavors.

In the eyes of those around you, you may seem a little off – mad even. What the onlookers do not know is that you have connected with the Muse that will bring sustenance and peace. Not in the form of success or reward, but of accomplished work. To do a thing for the money is to prostitute the Divine. To do a thing for the doings sake is the work of the professional. An amateur does not understand the importance of finishing, staying late or misery; the professional understand that nothing is done without it. The diabolical nature of the Ego is to make you believe that you are all that matters – the individual. It gives you the OK to think that you are separate and what you do bleeds over into no one else’s life. This sinister lie is only emboldened by those around you who want you to maintain the equilibrium of the group by not trying to be who you were made to be. The pack wants to set the rules and punish those who break them.

You look around at your adopted pack, but find no solace as before. Your mind has been awakened and can never return to its previous state. The only way to continue to stay with the pack is to renounce your feelings – your “knowings” about yourself – and submit to the culture of the pack. Submit to the unwritten law that we will all keep the peace as long as no one tries to step out and be their real Self. The reasoning is simple. To be one’s real Self is to succeed and accomplish and achieve, and that is what we most fear. The greatest fear we have is that we will become who we know, deep inside, we are.

But that side-eyed contempt of life will not do for the professional. Perhaps the half-hearted amateur will never write the novel, or the symphony, or the play; but truth be told it was never going to be written or sung anyway. Amateurs abuse the gift, they tarnish the sacred and humiliate the holy. Amateurs are enamored by their own unrealized visions. Professionals know that the work is flowing through them from somewhere else. Professionals honor the work.

Step free from the shadow of the pack and step into your Self. Acknowledge and begin the path to be who you were meant to be. The first step is the hardest, but the result will be the upswell of inspiration and ultimately the completion of the task. Don’t wait, procrastinate, piddle, dwaddle or put off. Step up, step out, move up and press on. Do what you know you must do…now!

The Amazing “IF”

July 11, 2010

Words have extraordinary power. Each day we speak thousands and hardly give them a thought. Our mouths open and out comes a flow of words which may, or may not, make sense. The words that come forth can bring hope to another or they can crush dreams. Our words can excite unknown emotions or rekindle long forgotten feuds. In the English language, I do not believe there is any other word that carries so much weight than the word, “If”.

Think of spending a day refusing to let the small two-letter word escape your lips. Think of not hearing that word from a colleague or superior. Think of a day in which that word seemed to not exist.

What would be the resulting differences in our emotions, self-esteem and personal drive without that word?

Of course I am speaking from the perspective that “if” is used to procrastinate action and proliferate stubbornness. “If” I could do this, then I could have that; or “if” my decisions had been different, my life would be better. I could go on, but we have all spoke those words and heard them from enemies to lovers. When used in this manner, “if” should be banned and forgotten and shunned by linguists everywhere.


There are times when the unaffable “if” can bring the first glimmer of sunshine in a long time. There are moments when just one, single, positive “if” can whisk us away to a place where blue birds fly and dreams really do come true. “If” can take you somewhere over the rainbow.

The small problem with the word, “If” is that it doesn’t bring any hope on its own. It doesn’t bring any despair either. “If” is one of the most revealing words in the English language because it takes on the character and nature of whoever speaks it. When spoken by a person driven by confidence and the knowledge that life is what you make it, “If” can be so positive your fingertips begin to tingle. However, when spoken by someone who has given up on life and believes that they can do nothing to change their personal situation, “if” sounds like the pound of hammer to nail as the internment inevitability grows ever more clear.

Take “if” today and make you character bring it to life. When you have done so and do not like what you see – be aware and make the changes that are necessary for your sullen “if” to become a celebrated “if”. You need not wait on someone else to come and change your life, all you need to do is to take your life in your hands and step into the action that needs to happen.

Never Quit

October 7, 2009

In life there is and will be pain. This pain will be experienced in physical, psychological and relational ways, but we must push on.

Pain, even in its most sever, is a temporary feeling. Quitting is something entirely different. Quitting is a choice we have and it lasts forever.

What is Professional?

September 9, 2009

Most of us would consider ourselves to be professionals in our particular fields, but would others?  Are we professionals simply because we have the right degree or position or popularity? There once was a time when being a professional was a character trait and not just an addition to a title. To be a professional is really to have an “on with the show” mentality. The true professional does his best work even when he doesn’t feel like it.

How about you?


October 11, 2008

Well, tomorrow the staff will have an opportunity to share some of the ideas that they have for Lifepoint in 2009. For me, the idea of personal development is crucial. I can’t imagine being the point guy for personal development, but it is a concept that has connected with my very core. When I have talked with people over the past year, the one common thread has been a desire to understand their lives better and to make better decisions for it’s future.

In the past twelve months I have read more books than I have been able to post about. Most of those books have had to do with the idea of personal development. Now I’m not talking about Anthony Robbins – although he has made a good living doing his thing – I’m talking about the mechanics and psychological underpinnings of why we do the things we do. From Marcus Buckingham and his putting your strengths first approach, to Robert Torbert and his vision of action logics to Dee Hock and his view of chaordic organizations, I have read and digested and wanted to do something with the information. Now is the time.

In 2009, there will be many opportunities for people n the Middle Georgia area to come to events hosted by Lifepoint Church (that’s right, a church!) to help people in their personal development. From personal mission statements to strengths that will help you find the right job for you, Lifepoint will embark in a new era of facilitating personal growth for Middle Georgia and it’s citizens.

Needless to say, I can’t wait!

What a Day!

September 14, 2008

First, I have to say thanks to those who responded and brought compact fluorescent light bulbs, we still could use a few more, but we got several thanks to you! Next, I have to say that the energy and interaction was off the chain today. I love what I get to do! You guys at Lifepoint are the reason that the meetings are so memorable. What you bring with you and how you chose to get involved always is the difference maker every time we get together.

I can’t wait to see how things continue to get better as we move forward to the end of this year and the beginning of another.

BTW – please comment with your favorite country song. The next song you hear might just be the one you suggest!

When Balance isn’t really Balance

June 27, 2008

I’ve written quite a bit about the importance of being balanced. I feel that to find success in any area of life, balance must be a part of the equation. But what kind of balance? Sometimes I can sit outside or take a day off or go somewhere else and feel like I have found balance. I can begin to hear my internal dialogue and interior silence grow. I can even have  the beginnings of an enraptured feeling where I think I have it “all figured out”.

Is what I’m feeling true or not? You’ve probably experienced this before and wondered the same thing. I think that the only way we know if we are in balance is to be in balance in the regular rhythms of life.

Moments of self-discovery are essential, but can actually be detrimental if we lead a life hopping from one of those moments to another. Everything in life is balanced on the pivot of “now”. I have no control over event in the recent or far past; neither do I have any control over things yet to happen. The only place that I have any ability to “do” anything is right here, right now.

If the only way I can feel “in balance” is to escape living life in community, I have become severely off balance in both perspective and execution of life.

John Maeda is becoming a mentor-at-large. He had a conversation with a colleague about insecurity. And I think it has great significance on the idea of real balance. He said, “The thing about insecurity, is that if you are too insecure, then you don’t grow – because you’re paralyzed by fear of failure. On the other hand, if you have no insecurity, then you don’t grow either – because your head is so big you can’t recognize your failures.” The colleague replied, “Balance in all.” John continued, “If you are in the middle, however, you have to shift towards the edges and oscillate a bit in order to know if you are centered.” He responded, “You can get lost in the middle. You need mentors to give you courage.”

To this John questioned, “But all your mentors tend to go away as you age.” The answer, “Yes, because you don’t need them anymore.”

The key is to embrace the oscillation around center/balance, always checking that the pendulum doesn’t swing too far in any direction.

Tiger Woods – “Yes He (and We) Can!”

June 24, 2008

OK we’ve seen the great Tiger win and win and win. Some have said he made a mistake to play while injured, I just think he is an animal. Also, for the record, I don’t think he’ll be out the entire season.

Chip Brown went to Florida in March to take a look at the Woods phenomenon. Brown looked at the relationship between Tiger and us, and how Tigers greatness fulfills a need for greatness the many of us have deep in our hearts.

Brown writes, “You’re writing about a relationship, and you’re projecting on to him. It has to do with what we bring to the theater. If we didn’t bring that ache, that hunger to see him prevail, then we wouldn’t find it answered in Woods. It’s an equation.”

“The subject himself is actually fairly mundane, especially when he doesn’t have a golf club in his hand.” He focuses on the fascinating thing that is created between Woods and his admirers.

“The poet David Ignatow wrote about that ‘wild third thing’, that thing that two people make in concert.” Brown says that the thing that drew him was the “strange equation between the champion and those who venerate him.”

“Truthfully, it seems only a matter of time before Tiger will be known as the greatest golfer who has ever lived. We will be watching him, needing him to be exceptional so that we can feel exceptional also. Tiger is that rare champion who can ‘carry us beyond ourselves.'”

Real Success

June 10, 2008

I’m a quote guy. I love quotes. In fact, I think quotes are better than just rattling off some thought or idea because they have come out of someone else’s mouth. How many times, parents, have you told and retold your child something only to have them come back after hearing the same thing from another individual…and doing it.

Somehow hearing things from outside our normal “tribe” gives the words more meaning. David McCullough says that “real success is finding your lifework in the work that you love.”

When you have found a way to do something you love and get paid doing it, you have found true success. Look at your situation right now and ask the hard question, “Do I love, really love what I’m doing?” “Is what I’m doing something I would do even if I didn’t receive a paycheck?”

The answers to those questions will reveal the reality of your situation. It may be that you are not where you want to be. If you are young, you have time to find what really gives you joy. If you are older, you know what gives you joy, but it may not be the same thing you are employed to do.

Re-evaluation is key in all of the processes of life. Culture and time move on and we must adjust to remain relevant and able to contribute. Ask the hard questions and resolve to put action behind the answers. As Rob Schneider says in every Adam Sandler movie, “You can do it!”

How to be a Great Leader

March 15, 2008


I couldn’t resist that title. There are probably a hundred books with at least that concept in the title. Most of them I’ve read, but here is a fact I thought timely.

Next week we will start a new series called, FAQ. We will look at the relevance of having 100% of the information for making decisions. Truth is even if you waited around for a very long time you would never have 100% of the information about anything.

In the Journal of Leadership and Organizational Studies, Michael Harvey wrote that curiosity is a trait that “stimulates learning and concurrently, increases the effectiveness of decision making and quality management in the global marketplace.” It seems that leaders with a bend toward the curious succeed at problem solving by “filling in the gaps between what one knows and what one wishes to know.”

This is where the joy and mystery live. Between what we know and seek to know is where we tend to find ourselves most often anyway. The ability to fill this gap with real life and following our intuition/spirit, I believe is the cornerstone to a well-lived life.