How Do You Describe Your Potential?

How do you describe your potential?

Do you focus on your obstacles?

So many times I have limited myself, not because of my potential, or even my obstacles, but because of my thinking. I tell myself I can’t, without even really trying. If I try and don’t succeed the first time it doesn’t mean I failed, it just means the first effort was unsuccessful. Do I give up or try again? That is a decision. That is a decision we all have the opportunity to make. Do we, or is it too hard?

My friend George Guzzardo posted this inspiring video that caused me to examine myself.

Watch this inspiring video and be honest with yourself…..do you and I really have obstacles?

I think most of us would all be embarrassed to say we did.

Rather than watch and be embarrassed, let’s watch and be inspired into ACTION.

Trystan says; “It you don’t try you will never know what could have been”

Act until we succeed or as Trystan says; “You have to try new ways to live your fullest potential. If I can do that, you can surely do that.”

Be Thankful for who we are, but strive to be all we have been created to be!

Happy Thanksgiving!

thanksgiving

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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

How Much Intelligence Does it Take?

I, like many people love automobiles. They are amazing! They provide the ability to get so many different places so quickly and in comfort. And many look so good. There are so many awesome designs, engines with great horsepower, climate controlled, with sound systems that marvel, technology to the max. They are designed with style that is not only attractive but engineered with efficiency in mind.

I love the new Tesla S! It is an amazing car. No engine, no transmission, no need for gasoline, a full 17 inch computer screen to handle the functions of your automobile. And even with no engine or transmission it is still a car with great acceleration, 0-60mph in just over 4 seconds. It had to require a different thought process, a paradigm shift to believe you could create an automobile that is fast as most any sports car on the market and not have an engine. It had to have challenged the intelligent automotive minds of today to think and design such an automobile.

2012-tesla-model-s_100365754_m

WHERE’S THE ENGINE?

TESLA S Trunk

Then look at the smart phones of today. Small, with so much technology and apps it staggers the imagination. These people who design these things are intelligent, I mean really really smart.

To have the vision to think these concepts in the mind and the smarts to create these technologies from mind to reality took some major intelligence. Likewise I cannot imagine that to create our world it took any less intelligence or any less design. None of us will deny the fact that the products we live our lives with today, from something as simple as a fork and spoon, to complexity of the automobile or smart phone didn’t happen by accident. Someone had to think and design the fork and spoon just as they had to have the intelligence to think and create the automobile and smart phone.  How can we possibly think that complexity of the earth, with its water, oxygen, plants, animals, insects, humans, etc. all of which play an integral role in each other’s existence, happened without that same intelligence or with any sense of design that our circle of life and ecosystem would all work together.

As a person who studied the sciences we were taught to propose a hypotheses or theory and then prove or disprove it. Many theories that could not be proved were by default considered disproved….until new knowledge became available. Just because we cannot explain something and it is beyond our current level of understanding doesn’t mean it is not possible or didn’t happen. I am not the smartest person in the world, but even the most intelligent minds could not possibly design and create our planet and the life on. I also find it intellectually very hard to believe that like the fork, spoon, automobile and smart phone that they were created by the big bang theory and then evolved into the ordered life systems we know. Many things we are still learning and trying to understand, but how much intelligence would it take to design and create the universe, the planet, all living things and the human race? Could we propose that perhaps a mind much greater than a single human mind, or perhaps even greater than the mind of all of our experts combined?

So……… as an intelligent person reading this blog I want to challenge you to watch this 38 minute video. Listen intently to the questions being asked and the responses to those questions. Ask yourself some of those same questions.

Now think about this. How much time and energy did most of us spend researching our last automobile to make sure it was safe or fuel efficient? An automobile that we might keep for 3-5 years? Would it be worth spending 38 minutes watching this video and then do some research to make a decision where you and your children may spend eternity? It might require a Paradigm Shift, but be smart and do your homework. One thing for sure, the cost is greater and you will be there longer than you will keep your car.

Write Your Eulogy, Then Live the Life You Want

Here is great article shared with me from a friend and fellow fly fisherman Pete Dodds. Pete found this article by Geoff Yang a Partner of Red Point Ventures on LinkedIn. Given the fact it is graduation for so many young people starting their careers and the fact there are so many still looking to make changes in their lives do to lay offs, dead end jobs or people unsatisfied with their current career path I felt this was so appropriate to share. Mr Yang explains so well what I tell others when speaking about the LIFE community and the opportunity to pursue significance and a meaningful life.

Take the time to read and think on where you are in your current journey. Breathe and give yourself a chance tolive the life you’ve always wanted”.   

There’s always so much encouragement for graduating classes. “You are the generation.” “You will change the world.” I’m sure you are and you will, but how? How will you make a difference? I’m not going to tell you how to change the world; that’s up to you.

What I am going to give you is my advice on what will help guide you to make that difference. In my 30-year post-grad career, these are the words of wisdom that helped guide me—both personally and professionally:

Life is short. As you embark on the rest of your life, consider what you want it to be like and what you want to accomplish. Pretend for a moment that rather than graduating, starting your career, and moving on toward the rest of your life, you are at the end of it. How would people remember you, as both a person and a professional? Write your eulogy now. Think about how you want to be remembered by your family, friends, and colleagues. Let this shape you.

Do something you’d do even if you didn’t get paid to do it. If you don’t, then life will end up a chore. My dad was a chemical engineer who designed large-scale process plants. I remember seeing him get up every morning and go to work, and I don’t think he passionately loved what he did. He did it because he felt it was his responsibility. Life will be more fulfilling if you do what you love.

When I was finishing my MBA, the highest paid jobs were in investment banking and consulting. They were also the jobs with the highest prestige because they tended to attract the best and the brightest. Because of this, they were alluring for many graduates—when you have been out of the job market for a couple of years racking up student loans, working for a top-tier company with a solid paycheck made sense. I knew that neither of these routes was right for me. My choice to go a different direction ended up serving me well in the long run. I’m lucky enough to have found something I love doing. Not to say that it’s not work and it’s not tiring. It is. However, I constantly think about how lucky I am to do what I do—and get paid to do it.

It’s OK to be impatient, but don’t rush things. There’s a fine line between chasing your dreams and not being willing to lay a long-term foundation for success. When I finished graduate school, I saw a few people in my class who wanted a shortcut to success. They suffered from the “get rich quick” syndrome. Early on, they took risky bets with second-rate companies in hopes of accelerating success. With very few exceptions, that strategy did not work. Unfortunately, when they wanted to return to the mainstream, they didn’t have the foundation of success upon which to build.

Take risks with smart people. It’s fine to take calculated risks with your career, but when you do, make sure you understand the risks along with the reward. Make sure you take risks with the best people you can find. It will make all the difference in the end. If you want to start a company, recognize the risks you’re taking and do a gut check about how much you believe in what you’re doing. If you passionately believe in it, then do it with your eyes wide open and surround yourself with the smartest people you can find.

There is always next year, but at some point you start running out of next years. As you move forward in your career and in life, you’ll find yourself putting things off until next year. But there are only so many next years in your life. I’ve generally never passed off an opportunity to have a great life experience—be it travel, learning how to fly or play piano, or taking courses that weren’t directly relevant to the path I was on. The more you can do to round out your life outside of work, the more fulfilled you will feel in the end.

Don’t be one-dimensional. Life is more than your career. Life is about being a responsible, interesting person, and in my opinion, one of the greatest gifts in life is having close friends. As you move forward on your journey, you’ll find good friends are few and far between. I am fond of saying that I don’t need more friends, I just need more time to spend with the friends I already have.

Best of luck in your journey—and don’t forget: The journey is its own reward.

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

Hello World!

I write this blog as my first to thank Orrin Woodward for his leadership and vision to launch a company called LIFE, to take the purpose of an improved life and give anyone who wishes to improve their life the opportunity to do so, along with the financial incentive to pay it forward.

As some of you who have been with TEAM know these last several years HAVE been life changing….. No I would have to say life transforming. GOD has provided us with an opportunity to go from GOOD TO GREAT and we have accepted that undertaking. Not only do I feel we now have the opportunity to accomplish so much more, but because of the challenges we have faced and the wisdom of the leaders who have come together, it has brought to me a new enthusiasm and energy for the future.

I have to share with you a book you must read. In fact it would be a great book to have any of your leaders who question any challenges we might have faced or will face, and why can we move forward with such confidence and enthusiasm.

The book is called In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day” by Mark Batterson

If you have ever traveled to Africa and seen the Lion up close and personal as they say, one of the “Big Five” and “King of the Jungle”, it will give you a much greater appreciation for what I am about to share from this book;

“Normal people run away from lions. They run as far away and as fast as they possibly can. But lion chasers are wired differently. GOD always uses our past experiences to prepare us for future opportunities. But those GOD-given opportunities often come disguised as man eating lions. And how we react when we encounter those lions will determine our destiny. We can cower in fear and run away from our greatest challenges or we can chase our God-ordained destiny by seizing the God ordained opportunity.”

Many of us in this new LIFE business myself included could live a comfortable life, but life was not meant to be lived comfortably but to have meaning. What better meaning could we have than to change our lives and the lives around us to live a better, more fulfilled life? We in America are facing a culture in decline. Around the world there is struggle and uncertainty. I believe there has never been a better time to help to improve ours and the lives of those around us. You can’t change the world by yourself, but in changing your life and then another, maybe one person at a time you can eventually change enough lives to perhaps change the world. LIFE provides opportunity to change that one life at a time.

As we face this future we can live in fear or live by faith. I choose Faith. Because as Mark Batterson wrote, “as I look back on my own life I recognize this simple truth; the greatest opportunities were not the scariest lions. Part of me wanted to play it safe, but I’ve learned that taking no risks is the greatest risk of all.

Orrin Woodward, Chris Brady, the Policy Council of TEAM and LIFE Leadership, along with their leaders have a vision to impact 1 million lives in 5 years. I look forward to this meaningful journey with these courageousLion Chasers.