The Pa Project – A Call to Action

Over the last 20 + years I have had the pleasure of watching a young quiet couple from a small town in Pennsylvania grow into one of the most dynamic and caring leaders I know. Their names to most people in Pennsylvania and across America may be unknown, but their touch and influence is profound. Their life and legacy is still in progress but has been extended through their offspring. They say an apple does not fall far from the tree, and in this case their “four apples” and their spouses have inspired an entire community of leaders at Life Leadership to action; and with that The Pa Project was born.

2016-05-16-23.14.21                                    Dean & Teresa Frey Family along with Deb and Myron Kile

Dean & Teresa Frey and their amazing children Zach, Lexi, Levi and Haley are impacting lives while creating family memories and a legacy to be proud of.

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The Power of a Mentor, Good Books, Perseverance, and Toughening Up

Over the last 30+ years I have learned the power of several key principles that have molded my life. Most of what I have learned have come from the advice of good mentors. It’s interesting, that those mentors who had more than average success, had about the same advice. One was to be careful where you got your advice. The second was to read books, books from a variety of authors on a variety of subjects. The third, I learned not only from my mentors and the examples given in the books I read, but from first-hand experience around me; those who persevered… succeeded. And to persevere, I had to toughen up.

I heard a TED Talk by Tai Lopez that mirrored what I have learned. It’s interesting that the principles I learned are practiced by others in various fields of life who aspire to excellence.

Here are some excerpts from Mr. Lopez’s talk that you will find are consistent with the principles I have come to respect and apply.

Mentors
Did you know Albert Einstein had a mentor?
Every Thursday, he would have lunch with a mentor growing up.
Jay-Z, the rapper, he had a mentor.
Oprah Winfrey said she had two mentors.
Alexander, the Great, had Aristotle.
Bill Gates had Paul Allen.
Warren Buffet had Benjamin Graham.

Reading
The modern education system has turned people off from books.
You have to rewire your brain.
See a book like a friend. You read it over and over.
You come back. And just like friends, you pick a handful of them.
I recommend you find 150 books. There’s 130 million. You can’t read that many.
But 150 you can read over and over for the rest of your life.
There’s no rule, either, at how fast you have to read them.
The average American buys 17 books a year, Maybe reads one a month.
You should read at least one book a week, because remember, everybody wants the good life ,but not everybody’s willing to read to get it.
You must read more.

Perseverance
The media has tricked us.
They only show us the success at the end, but Bill Gates started at 12.
It wasn’t until 31 years old that he was a billionaire.
He said from age 20 to 30, he never took a day off. Not even one.
You must persevere,

Toughen Up
Guess what the media wants to do.
We see on average 2,000 ads a day.
They’re trying to sell you something.
Luxury comes at the cost of killing your hopes, your dreams, your ambitions.
Be humble. Persevere. Read more. Toughen up

Listen to the full TED Talk Published on Jan 15, 2015
Why I read a book a day (and why you should too): The Law of 33% – by Tai Lopez
This TED Talk was given at a local TEDx event, produced independently of the TED Conferences.

2014 – Let’s Consider Our Legacy…..Again

2014

In a post I did on January 2nd 2013 entitled Your Legacy I challenged us all to;

  1. Be thankful
  2. Change our input
  3. Determine our Legacy

If you haven’t been able to determine what you want that legacy to be for you, perhaps I can give you a perspective you may not have thought of, or some insight into a legacy beyond yourself. That is you know what legacy’s are really all about….what we did for others or what we did for mankind.

 In this excerpt of a recent article on the Legacy of 2013  by Oliver DeMille are some facts and thoughts on where America is headed. For you maybe this article can give you some ideas as to what you want your legacy to be.

During 2013 state governments in the United States passed over 40,000 new laws.

That’s not a typo. It’s 40,000 new laws — which means five times that many regulations when all the agencies of government write these laws into agency policies. It’s even more if you add the new federal laws.

Taken together, these signal a serious period of decline for America. We are a nation being overtaken by our biggest competitor (some would say future enemy) China, and simultaneously mired in skyrocketing levels of regulation.

Governments, federal and state, now seem determined to regulate and overregulate every facet of our lives — private and business. Many entrepreneurs, who were already reeling from reams of Obamacare regulations, are now facing more government red tape from every flank.

The free enterprise economy is literally under siege. Those who think this is exaggerated should try to open a significant new business in the United States. Most of the biggest entrepreneurs and corporations who have attempted this recently have decided to build in China or some other economy instead. The U.S. government has become generally hostile to business.

This is a strange reality for the land of the free and the home of the brave. Long considered the bastion of world freedom and economic opportunity, America is consistently less appealing to many businesses and investors.

The December 31, 2013 issue of USA Today summarized this overarching trend by saying that “aristocracy” is now “in” in America.

Aristocracy, really? That’s a bold statement. Yet it is increasingly true. The lower classes are more dependent on government, and the middle classes only survive by using debt. Only the upper class, the elites, are financially flourishing — and many of them rely on international investment that is growing in foreign economies.

Anyone relying on the U.S. economy right now is concerned. What will the escalating rollout of Obamacare bring? How many more government regulations will come in 2014, and how will this further weaken the economy?

The experts are finally taking notice of sharply rising levels of regulation, even if Washington isn’t.

For example, Francis Fukuyama called our time “The Great Unravelling” (The American Interest, Jan/Feb 2014) and Steven M. Teles called it “Kludgeocracy in America” (National Affairs, Fall 2013). We have become a Kludgeocracy indeed, with more business-killing regulation every week.

In The Discovery of Freedom, Rose Wilder Lane said that,

“Men in Government who imagine that they are controlling a planned economy must prevent economic progress—as, in the past, they have always done.”

What is her definition of a planned economy? Answer: modern France, Britain, and the United States. She quoted Henry Thomas Buckle, who wrote:

“In every quarter, and at every moment, the hand of government was felt. Duties on importation, and on exportation; bounties to raise up a losing trade, and taxes to pull down a remunerative one; this branch of industry forbidden, and that branch of industry encouraged; one article of commerce must not be grown because it was grown in the colonies, another article might be grown and bought, but not sold again, while a third article might be bought and sold, but not leave the country.

“Then, too, we find laws to regulate wages; laws to regulate prices; laws to regulate the interest of money…The ports swarmed with [government officials], whose sole business was to inspect nearly every process of domestic industry, to peer into every package, and tax every article…”

This was written about France, just before it lost its place as the world’s most powerful nation, and it was published as a warning to Britain, just before it lost it’s superpower status. This quote applies perfectly to America today.

Great nations in decline need innovation and entrepreneurialism, but instead they choose anti-innovation and anti-entrepreneurial regulation. It’s amazing how every nation repeats this well-known but addictive path of self-destruction.

As Lane Kenworthy argues in Foreign Affairs, opponents of bigger government “are fighting a losing battle.” In the near future, he says,

“More Americans will work in jobs with low pay, will lose a job more than once during their careers, and will reach retirement age with little savings.”

But this will be offset, he suggests, by more vacation days, less working hours each week, and more government programs that pay for many of these people’s needs.

Many of the experts agree — he U.S. economy isn’t going to boom anytime soon, but this will be balanced for investors by significant economic successes in Mexico, South Korea, Poland, Turkey, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Thailand, among other places.

All of this adds up to an America on the verge of what Paul Kennedy called the “fall of great powers”: overreach in international affairs that spends much of the nation’s prosperity, and simultaneously too much government regulation at home — shutting down a nation’s innovative/entrepreneurial class at the same time that the government taxes and spends more and more.

This same pattern brought down the top leader status of Spain, France, Britain and the Soviet Union. Before these, it brought down Athens, Rome, and the Ottoman Empire. Unless the United States changes course, it is following this same blueprint for decline.

When historians look back on 2013, they may well see it as the tipping point to a rapid American downturn. Partisan conflicts, government spying on its own people, drastic government spending, constantly increasing regulation, the rapid rise of China — any of these could fuel real decline. Together they may be insurmountable.

But one thing stands out: In a nation desperately in need of innovation and entrepreneurial initiative, the government is handing out innovation-blocking regulations at a breakneck pace.

The good news in all this is that entrepreneurs don’t give up easily. Tenacity is part of their DNA. The future will be determined by this race between politicians (increasing regulations) and entrepreneurs (innovation and prosperity).

Whoever wins will lead the 21st Century.

Our future as a nation, as well as our children and grandchildren’s future depend on who wins. Perhaps the role you could play in helping to develop a stronger and freer America might be your legacy. So look at the last year and determine what you will do differently this year, then look beyond this year and determine when you get to the end of your life what you want your Legacy to be. Perhaps it will be one that changes the course of history for the benefit of all freedom loving people.

Be aware of the magnitude of YOUR significance and remember;

  1. Be Thankful – YOU are alive today to play a role
  2. Change YOUR Input – educate and develop yourself
  3. Determine YOUR Legacy – only YOU can

Educating the Populace

In my ongoing discussion about education and the value of college degrees I came across a video posting of Dr Ben Carson on an expanded discussion after his National Prayer Breakfast speech. In this interview he mentions that one of the most important things we can do to re-direct the course of America is that “we have to get our populace educated” Given the fact we have more college educated adults today than in the history of our country one would have to question the value of those college educations. Given Dr. Carson’s comment certainly one would assume that having a nation with so many college graduates we would not have the problems we have as a nation. It questions the validity of the many college degrees that have been granted. Listen to Dr. Ben Carson as he is interviewed by a number of guests and discusses possible solutions to America’s challenges. As Dr. Carson speaks about solutions by educating ourselves ask yourself  are we educating our populace or are we just selling degrees? The LIFE community has an objective to lead people to truth i.e. to educate the masses.

The Serving Leader

Serving Leader

Everyone loves a good story. Even better is a story that can be personal to you, where parts of the story are really parts of your story. Add to that story lessons that we can learn, that can move us to apply those lessons that are taught. That is what this book does, through a story of a father and son who have little it common or so it seems. How many of us have parents who we can’t seem to please, or who don’t recognize or acknowledge our efforts or accomplishments? This is a story of a father and son who are worlds apart but through tragedy come back together.

This book comes with some pretty powerful contributors with Forwards by Leadership experts Ken Blanchard and Orrin Woodward. Ken Blanchard best known for his book The One Minute Manager, and Whale Done is a legend in the leadership world. Orrin Woodward is the international best-selling author of Resolved and co-author of the NY Times Best Seller; Launching a Leadership Revolution. He is founder of The LIFE company and Independent Association of Business “Leader of the Year”.

The authors of The Serving Leader Ken Jennings Ph.D. and John Stahl-Wert, D. Min. both have extensive education, and a wealth of experience leading and teaching. Mr. Jennings is a past co-director of the Global Leadership in Healthcare Program at University of Michigan Business School, and has a Bachelors in Behavioral Science from the Air Force Academy, and was an adjunct professor at Columbia University Business School. John Stahl-Wert is President and CEO of Pittsburgh Leadership Foundation and on the faculty of Geneva College’s Masters of Science in Organizational Leadership.

“Five Powerful Actions that will Transform your Team, your Business and Your Community” That’s the tag line just below the title describing how this book, The Serving Leader, can impact us.

This book delivers. Read it, then give me your feedback.

I’d love to hear if this book impacted you the way it did me.

I’d love to hear your story.

Are You Living Up To Your Leadership Potential?

Have you ever wanted to do something significant with your life? Make a difference in a person’s life or make a difference with your own. Maybe you are a big dreamer and have dreamed of doing something amazing with your life. Perhaps even so bold as saying you want to play a part to change the world for good. If that is you then why haven’t you?

Maybe you have tried and fell short or are falling short right now. Do you question your leadership ability? Have you asked yourself or asked GOD “am I even the right person with all my weaknesses and  flaws”? Trust me, I know the feeling. I like anyone else who has attempted to do more than I thought possible and who has wanted to do something important with my life have questioned myself and GOD, if I am really that right person.

I’d like to share some thoughts from a book I’m reading, Exponential, by Dave and Jon Ferguson – who are challenging my questioning of myself and bring some amazing points that are helping me in my leadership growth and may help you in yours.

The Ferguson’s discuss the concept of what they call “Empowering Conversations” in discussing conversations where a coach asks a leader to take the next step in his/her leadership journey.

I would like to look at the conversations we have with ourselves in this regard. We’ve all been there, asking ourselves to commit to a higher level of leadership commitment. When the moment comes how many of us want to “think big” (not in caps intentionally), but shrink back and think to ourselves “I am not capable.”

Here is what the Ferguson’s say; when we settle for a lower level of commitment, we place the development of the leader in jeopardy in a number of ways.

–          We minimize our potential – We think we are doing ourselves a favor by at least getting us to make a small doable commitment, rather than fulfilling GOD’s dream for us to reach our greatest potential.

–          We minimize the vision – When we lower the bar on leadership we make the mission of helping people seem insignificant, hardly worthwhile. Consequently we are less likely to attract high capacity leaders.

–          We minimize GOD – Who says GOD can’t change the world through you?

So you’ve failed….. So you’ve doubted…..So others have dismissed your chance of success….

Welcome to the World of Leadership

Take a Risk – Be a Leader – Change Yourself

Our Failing Education Systems

Speaking of life and leadership, I read several interesting articles on the failure of our institutional public school systems to provide the quality education necessary to prepare our children to compete in today’s competitive environment.

An interesting article entitled The Great Debate on American Education by Oliver DeMille of The Center for Social Leadership discusses how many recognize the need to make change but cower in timidity to make the necessary changes to improve our failing system.

Former business and science reporter for the Washington Post and Best Selling author Malcolm Gladwell author of the books Tipping Point and Outliers as the DeMille’s article states, “suggests the leadership right now in many arenas — including education– is occurring outside the main stream.”

It is obvious why. Here in Pennsylvania an article in the Commonwealth Foundation states that there are “nearly 82,000 Pennsylvania children trapped within the 141 worst performing schools” “Germantown High School in Philadelphia where the school homepage touts its mission as providing all students with the academic, technological & social skills needed to be productive & contributing citizens in our society.”  The reality is quite different as the school in “2009-2010 had only 8 percent of its 11th graders reaching proficiency in math and only 17 percent reaching reading proficiency.” Rather than failing the teachers they are rewarded with tenure and a retirement program that is far above the private sector.

Main stream is not working. We can debate all day long, but it will take the courage of leadership, or a leadership revolution if not in our government then in our parents to do what is best for our children