The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps. (Proverbs 16:9 ESV)
I’ve struggled with the paradox of my life’s role and God’s providence, the understanding that he wisely and purposefully governs our world and engineers all circumstances. With a fatherly hand, he sees to it that his will is done. I also struggle with the tension between my planning, making decisions, acting, and knowing that God controls everything. Does my work really matter? Can I be a positive influence on my business, community, and church?
I’ve always been wary of these phrases:
- “If you don’t like the circumstances you’re in, go make new ones.”
- “If it’s meant to be, it’s up to me.”
Many leadership experts espouse the belief that we can take control, make changes, and grow, and that the results are up to us. That’s the tension within me. Maybe it’s within you as well. I believe people can do all these things, but the Bible teaches that God is responsible for the outcomes.
So, what are the alternatives?
I may think that, if God controls everything, one option is to sit back and passively observe. Let things play out on their own. Stick my head in the sand and not get involved. What happens then?
Entropy sets in—the natural tendency toward chaos, disorganization, randomness, degradation, deterioration, disorder, and erosion. Things move toward disorder without our involvement. It’s like watching someone drown although you have the means to save them yet choosing to look away and leaving the rescue up to God.
Another option is to take matters into your own hands and make things happen. Just do it. But when you race ahead of God, you’ll find that your choices, actions, and results end up being suboptimal. Often, you’ll crash and burn.
The best option is to actively participate in God’s purposes. Collaborate with him. Wait on him, gain his insight, understand what he wants to accomplish, seek his direction, and then move when prompted.
As you surrender your heart to God and seek his guidance, you will begin to act as a catalyst to transform, innovate, and positively influence the world around you. God will work in you and through you to:
- bring chaos into order
- empower you to lead in times of crisis
- solve impossible problems
- make wise decisions
- move people and resources toward reaching their potential.
If you seek God and place him at the center of your decisions and plans, he will guide you and establish the work of your hands.
Consider: Are you actively participating in God’s purposes? If not, why not?
AND NOW, A WORD FROM OUR SPONSOR. . .
Do you feel like one person in your personal life and another in your professional life?
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Honestly, it took me a long time to figure out that it’s not about changing your leadership style. While learning how to be a better leader is necessary, and many excellent books have been written to that end, changing your style will not change who you are.
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Your calling toward better leadership is a calling toward deeper discipleship.
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Visit https://prestonpoore.com/discipled-leader/ to learn more> Read More
This is an excerpt from my book, 21 Days to Sound Decision Making: How to Grow Your Credibility and Influence through Making Better Decisions
Getting wisdom is the wisest thing you can do! And whatever else you do, develop good judgment — Proverbs 4:7 NLT
Imagine: in utter despair, you’re sitting beside a judge in a courtroom.
The prosecuting attorney approaches you and asks, “Miss, will you please recount the events that have led us here?”
Through tears, you tell the tragic story: “A few weeks after I gave birth, I went to sleep holding my newborn one night. All was well. The next morning, I awoke and immediately felt that something was terribly wrong. My son wasn’t breathing.”
The courtroom falls silent.
“I tried to revive him. I tried CPR.” Through a convulsive sob, you barely say, “Nothing worked.”
A juror begins to cry.
You continue: “As I wiped away my tears, I noticed something extraordinary: my son’s hair, mouth, eyes—none of them seemed familiar. Then I realize, this isn’t my child.”
“I didn’t know what to do, so I fled next door to see my friend. We were pregnant around the same time, both still recuperating from childbirth. Although it was early, I crashed through her front door. I saw her gently rocking her son—and I heard oddly familiar crying.”
No one is moving in the courtroom.
“My friend covers her son’s head with a blanket.”
The prosecuting attorney interjects: “Ma’am, is this friend you speak of in this room?”
Trembling, you point to a sobbing woman in a far corner of the courtroom, an infant boy in her arms. “She’s the one. She’s the one I screamed at, ‘That’s my baby! What have you done? You’ve stolen my child and given me your dead son! Give my son back to me!’ I tried to wrestle my child out of her arms, but she pushed me down and called the police. I was taken to jail. I told my story just as I’m telling you now. But she—” You glare at your friend. “She told a different story.”
A pregnant pause fills the courtroom.
Suddenly, the judge announces that he’s come to a decision. “This is a conundrum. Bring me a knife and give that baby to me. I will cut the baby in half so you can both have a part.”
You shriek, “No! Let the baby live. Give her the whole child. I beg of you, please don’t kill him.”
The other woman coldly says, “Cut away. If I can’t have him, you can’t either.”
Immediately, the judge renders his verdict. The child is yours. He determines that you are the real mother because you wanted no harm to come to the child.
The judge wisely deduces reality. His unreasonable decision to split the baby has uncovered the truth.
How do you become wise?
As you may have guessed, this adapted story is from 1 Kings 3:16–28. The judge was Solomon, the wisest king who ever lived.
Before rendering this well-known verdict, Solomon had been asked by God what he needed to effectively rule his kingdom. Solomon didn’t ask for power, fortune, or fame. He asked for wisdom: a God-listening heart, the ability to lead well, and discernment between good and evil.
Because Solomon asked for wisdom, God was pleased and granted him riches and honor as well. And Solomon’s God-given wisdom enabled him to render justice in the case of the stolen baby.
Wisdom is the combination of experience, knowledge, and careful judgment. Wisdom goes beyond knowledge; it’s the knack of knowing what to do. It’s the art of being successful: developing the correct plan to achieve desired results. It’s about making decisions that lead to optimal outcomes. It’s learning the practical skills required to live and lead well.
How do you become wise? It starts with having a deep respect for God and obeying his commands. He is the source of all wisdom.
Then, ask for it and the Holy Spirit will cheerfully and liberally provide it.
Lastly, pursue godly wisdom. Give everything you’ve got to acquire and cultivate it. Search the Scriptures. Pray.
If you develop wisdom, God will show you how to live effectively in a secular world. You’ll avoid the pitfalls or obstacles that others encounter. He’ll work in you and through you to inspire moral behavior and foster well-being. Wisdom will open the path to life, security, and prosperity. You’ll be equipped for leadership and make sound decisions.
You might even crack conundrums like Solomon.
Priceless is wisdom. Get it.
- Have you asked God for wisdom?
- What will you do to acquire and cultivate it?
- When will you start?
Lord, please grant me wisdom: a God-listening heart, the ability to lead well, and discernment between good and evil. May I honor you in all the decisions I make. In Jesus’ name, amen.
- Proverbs 1:7
- Proverbs 8:22
- Matthew 13:44
Want to learn more about 21 Days to Sound Decision Making: How to Grow Your Credibility and Influence through Making Better Decisions? Visit: https://prestonpoore.com/21-days/
Preston> Read More
Hi – The below excerpt from my daily devotional, 21 Days to Sound Decision Making: How to Grow Your Credibility and Influence Through Making Better Decisions. The book explores how to make decisions from a Biblical perspective.
If you’re a believer, I hope the content encourages you. If you’re not a believer, no worries. You can still benefit. If you choose to read the article, please do so with an open mind. If not, feel free to move on. Either way, my hope, and prayer are that something resonates with you and that you find the principles valuable. Thanks, take care, and good reading!.
Refuse good advice and watch your plans fail; take good counsel, and watch them succeed.
—Proverbs 15:22 MSG
I was once under the gun to hire an associate to work with our business partners. I needed to recruit, interview, and fill the open position within two weeks or I wouldn’t be able to hire anyone for that position. And an empty role meant that the work and relationship management would fall on my plate.
Steve seemed like a great candidate. However, a couple of key leaders warned me: “Don’t hire him. He’s not a good fit. If you do, it will be a mistake.” And yet, a trusted peer highly recommended Steve: “He has the right experience and transferable skills. With a little coaching, he’ll be great.”
I moved swiftly and selfishly to hire Steve.
Fast-forward one year.
While Steve was hired into a harsh work environment and we believed he could break through, he never gained traction with his assigned business partners or market. The business partners demanded more than Steve could deliver. When Steve stumbled, I had to compensate.
Even though I had ten other team members and was accountable for eighteen markets, I spent 80 percent of my time with Steve and his specific territory. I didn’t want Steve to fail. I saw his success as my responsibility since I’d decided against others’ counsel. I wanted to prove that I could help Steve reach his potential.
Over time, his key stakeholders rejected him because of a perceived lack of credibility. Steve was no longer invited to meetings or trade rides and lost his ability to influence or add value. I shared the business partners’ feedback with Steve along the way. Trying to support him, I continually spent time helping him solve problems and discuss his concerns. I always encouraged him. And I was genuine with him. We built a plan to improve his performance and connection with the business partner. But Steve didn’t follow through. He’d lost heart.
I realized that I couldn’t develop Steve as I’d thought. His skillset and motivational fit weren’t right for the role. I also realized I’d made a mistake. I’d listened to advice that validated my predetermined choice and immediately discounted differing opinions.
Why? Because I saw potential, or so I told myself. I’d heard what I’d wanted to hear and ignored the ultimately correct guidance provided by others. Acting out of arrogance, I believed that I could single-handedly develop Steve’s analytical, relationship-building, and leadership skills—and that proved not to be the case.
A change needed to happen for Steve’s benefit, for my team, for our business partners, for the company—and for me. Ultimately, Steve was placed on a performance improvement plan and eventually exited from the organization.
Looking back, here’s what I learned about advice:
Seek many opinions
This Latin phrase is right: vident oculi quam oculus—many eyes see more than one. When you face a difficult decision, consult multiple advisors. Seek the opinions of those with diverse backgrounds, experiences, and thinking styles.
These counselors should have integrity and trustworthiness. They should listen well, think deeply, possess an optimistic outlook, be strategic, and be grounded in reality. When you receive advice, ask: Is this advice honest, actionable, and timely?
John C. Maxwell says, “If you combine the thoughts you have and the thoughts that others have, you will come up with thoughts you’ve never had!”[i]
Be an unselective listener
Even though I sought wise counsel from others, I selectively listened to what they said. I sought validation, not guidance. I pieced together what I wanted to hear and rationalized my decision.
Admittedly, I had my own agenda, I was stubborn, and I acted out of arrogance. The Bible says, “Fools are headstrong and do what they like; wise people take advice” (Proverbs 12:15 MSG). If I’d listened early on, Steve and I wouldn’t have suffered through tough circumstances. When seeking counsel, objectively listen to others and don’t filter your thoughts with predetermined bias.
I didn’t pray about my decision to hire Steve and moved without consulting God. It became a mess. But I did pray amid the mess and God was faithful.
For believers, we need to lift everything in prayer, and it should become a lifestyle for us. The Bible says, “Pray without ceasing” (1 Thes. 5:17 ESV). Take every moment and opportunity to pray. Pursue God’s divine understanding, discernment, and wisdom. Make it a continual conversation with God and a way of life. If you do, God will guide you, your decisions, and your circumstances.
- Do you have trusted, integrous advisers who will provide diverse points of view?
- When you pursue their counsel, are you looking for guidance or validation?
- Are you willing to listen and suspend judgment?
- Will you pray about the advice you receive and the decision you will make?
Lord, please help me to surround myself with wise, godly advisors. Open my heart to listen to their counsel and seek you every step of the way. In Jesus’ name, amen.
- Proverbs 11:14
- Proverbs 24:6
- 1 Kings 1:12
Are you interested to learn more about the 21 Days to Sound Decision Making devotional? Check it out: https://prestonpoore.com/21-days/ and order your eBook today!
[i] John C. Maxwell, Thinking for a Change: 11 Ways Highly Successful People Approach Life and Work (Center Street, 2005).> Read More
Everyone that hasn’t suffered a brain injury or mental illness is capable of empathy. Some of us are in touch with this ability, while others could use a little practice.
What is empathy?
Empathy is a concern for the welfare of others. It’s the ability to detect or predict the emotions and thoughts of others.
It’s easy to see why this would be a handy skill to master. Empathy has an impact on your relationships. This is true for both your personal and professional relationships. Empathy can make your life easier and more fulfilling at home and at work!
Try these tips to increase your empathy for those around you:
- Avoid making assumptions. Your view of the world is limited. Your experiences are just your own. Others have lived a different reality. If you’re from a well-off and intact family from the United States, you don’t have a clue what it’s like to deal with the weight of growing up in an orphanage in Ukraine. If you’ve never lost a job, avoid assuming that you know exactly what that experience feels like. Making assumptions only gets in the way of developing empathy. When you catch yourself making assumptions, question them. Prove your assumptions to be true or false before making any decisions.
- Ask questions. One way to understand others is to ask questions. Develop a genuine interest in them. Enhancing your communication skills assists your ability to connect with, and to understand, other people. Ask open-ended questions.
- Listen. Listening intently is related to asking questions and avoiding assumptions. Seek to understand the emotions that the other person is feeling. Asking questions and then listening to the answers is a pivotal part of creating empathy within yourself.
- Try to understand a group of people outside of your experience. Suppose you’re a young, Christian male. You might decide to learn about Hasidic Jews. Or if you’ve never been poor, you might learn about the homeless. Read books and talk to people. Strive to understand what it would be like to be born a part of a particular group.
- Put yourself in the other person’s shoes. One way to relate better to others is to imagine yourself in the same situation. This can be painful. It’s not enjoyable to imagine that your spouse has died or that you’re entirely out of money. Ask yourself, “What would I be thinking and feeling if I were in this situation?” Just asking yourself this question is the most significant step you can take toward being empathetic.
- Be present. Give your undivided attention to others. You can’t be empathetic if you’re thinking about something else while someone is speaking to you. You’re not as good at hiding your disinterest as you think! You miss most of the information, verbal and non-verbal, communicated to you if you’re not paying attention.
- Practice having more meaningful conversations. Talking about sports is fine, but it’s not a deep and personal topic. One way to get the ball rolling is to talk about something important to you. The more you share, the more you’re going to receive in return. Be open, and others will be more open with you.
Empathy is an important skill. It can greatly increase your ability to communicate and connect with others. Being able to understand their feelings and thoughts will boost your rapport with them. Enhance your personal and work relationships with empathy, and you’ll benefit in many ways.
If you found this article helpful, please subscribe to my blog www.prestonpoore.com/blog, where I explore leadership, communication and human relations skills that will help you become the best version of yourself. Thanks for reading. Cheers!
Preston> Read More
Each decision you make reduces your ability to make good decisions. It can quickly reach the point that you’ll actually avoid making decisions once a certain threshold is reached. There are only so many good decisions you can make each day.
Decision fatigue also leads to impulse spending. Self-regulation also suffers during decision fatigue. There’s a reason you’re more likely to eat unhealthy food or do something else detrimental to your well-being at night.
Have you ever noticed that many influential and successful people tend to make inadequate decisions at night? These self-destructive decisions often come after a long day of making important decisions at work.
Use these strategies to avoid decision fatigue and make wise decisions:
- Make important decisions early in the day and during times of low stress. When you’re relaxed and in your safe space, you can kick back and make decisions without any pressure or distractions.
- Choose your clothes the night before. It’s mentally exhausting to search around for clothes that match when it’s time for work.
- You can also limit the scope of your wardrobe and achieve the same effect. Steve Jobs and Barack Obama were famous for their limited wardrobes. Both felt that the fewer decisions they had to make each day, the better.
- You can also limit the scope of your wardrobe and achieve the same effect. Steve Jobs and Barack Obama were famous for their limited wardrobes. Both felt that the fewer decisions they had to make each day, the better.
- Plan your day the night before. Then, you just need to put your head down and get to work. You’ve already made the basic choices of how you’re going to spend your day. All that’s left to do is perform the necessary actions.
- For example, know what you’re having for lunch, breakfast, and dinner before going to bed.
- What are the most important things you have to do tomorrow? When will you do them?
- This will leave you with a more exceptional ability to make good decisions the next day.
- For example, know what you’re having for lunch, breakfast, and dinner before going to bed.
- Keep your life simple. A complicated life is fatiguing. The fatigue extends to your ability to make decisions. Our brains weren’t designed to handle ongoing complexity. A simple life is easier on your mind and will allow you to make better decisions.
- Delegate decisions. Not all decisions have to be made by you. Let someone else pick the restaurant and the movie. Allow one of your employees to make the less-critical decisions. Let your kids decide what you’re going to do this weekend. Avoid decision fatigue by requiring others to make some decisions.
- Take a nap. A nap is a great way to rejuvenate your mental faculties. Sleeping for just 10-30 minutes will recharge your decision-making capacity. Make a daily nap part of your day, if possible.
- Know your priorities. When you know what is important to you, decisions become easier to make. Quick decisions don’t induce a lot of decision fatigue. You’ll avoid torturing yourself over all of your choices if you understand which decisions matter and which don’t.
The quality of your decisions influences the quality of your career, health, relationships, and overall success. Inadequate choices lead to personal challenges. These challenges include financial issues, work and school difficulties, health problems, and other personal and social issues.
Each decision you make has a biological cost. After making too many decisions, you’re more likely to argue with your partner, make unnecessary purchases, and eat junk food.
As your brain fatigues, it searches for shortcuts. One of these shortcuts is to make decisions quickly and recklessly. After all, thinking takes energy. The other alternative is to refuse to make a decision at all.
Decision fatigue is something everyone should be aware of. The consequences of inadequate decision-making can be severe.
*** Stop wasting time in the aftermath of bad choices when you can make decisions that deliver extraordinary results. Get the “Nine Point Sound-Decision Making Check List” sent straight to your inbox and start seeing exceptional results today. Visit: https://prestonpoore.com
Thanks, and take care,
My heart breaks for our nation and the great city of Atlanta. We must unite and create positive change. The time is now. It’s time to love. It’s time to lead. But how? Where do we start? I’m going to make a bold statement. Maybe even provocative. You may not want to hear it. But here it goes.
Want to listen to the blog? Click here: Transforming Culture through a Transformed Life
The solution doesn’t begin with what we do, it begins with who we know.
The world will not change unless your heart changes first. The only person that can change the human heart, bring it from death to life is Jesus. If I’ve piqued your interest at all, I recommend you keep listening or reading. If not, I get it. You can tune me out or turn me off. But if I’ve got your attention and you want to learn how a transformed life can transform the culture, stay with me. . .
If you’re a believer and disciple of Christ, your mandate is to make more disciples and influence the culture. A discipled leader’s conversion to follow Jesus must be demonstrated in your daily life and not be kept private. Through your transformed life, you must impact your world. Discipled leaders transform cultures through their own transformed lives
Jesus said, “You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet. You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:13–16 ESV).
To be salt means to preserve the culture. To be light means to show the way. To be both means to influence your entire world. As J. I. Packer wrote, “Christians are to involve themselves in all forms of lawful human activity . . . . As Christians thus fulfill their vocation, Christianity becomes a transforming cultural force.”
Can something so large and complex as a culture—even your work culture—be transformed? Yes! But it starts with you. In How Now Shall We Live?, Charles Colson, former special counsel to President Richard Nixon and founder of Prison Fellowship and Breakpoint, wrote:
“Cultures can be renewed—even those typically considered the most corrupt and intractable. But if we are to restore our world, we first have to shake off the comfortable notion that Christianity is merely a personal experience, applying only to one’s private life. No man is an island, wrote the Christian poet John Donne. One of the great myths of our day is that we are islands—that our decisions are personal and that no one has a right to tell us what to do in our private lives. We easily forget that every private decision contributes to the moral and cultural climate in which we live, rippling out in ever-widening circles—first in our personal and family lives, and then in the broader society.”
In other words, a discipled leader ought to be the same person on Sunday morning as he or she is on a Monday afternoon. There’s no sacred-secular divide. There’s only being a disciple and leading others toward Christ and discipleship—every day.
It is a discipled leader’s job to take Christ’s message to the world and, through that message and the power of the Holy Spirit, to change lives and change the culture. When you became a disciple of Christ, you became his ambassador and change agent through Christ. “A Christian is a mind through which Christ thinks; a heart through which Christ loves; a voice through which Christ speaks; a hand through which Christ helps.” Through Christ, you can make a difference in the world.
It’s not about a cause; it’s about Christ. Be bold, vocal, and stand for Jesus. Will you join Jesus in the Great Commission of making disciples and transforming the culture?
 Packer, J. I. Concise Theology.
 Colson, C. How Now Shall We Live?. Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale, 1999.
 Tan, P. L. Encyclopedia of 7700 Illustrations: Signs of the Times. Garland, TX: Bible Communications, Inc, 1996, p. 336.> Read More
View Video Version: https://youtu.be/vwGnFVvK_i4
My no-nonsense manager surveyed the roomful of team leaders and commanded us, “Bring your three-year plans. Have them complete and on my desk in two weeks.”
We were supposed to nod our heads in silent assent. But I had to say something. If I didn’t, I knew my team would suffer.
“Catherine, we have so many priorities, and the team is under a lot of pressure to deliver on time. Can we delay the planning for a few weeks and allow them to remain focused on work that matters?”
I think it was those last three words that made her face turn red. Noticeably agitated, she turned toward the other managers in the room, my peers, and rhetorically asked, “Do any of you have the same concerns?”
When all she received were shaking heads, she went around the horn and asked for verbal confirmation. Every manager said they’d be able to deliver on her request.
I couldn’t believe what I was seeing and hearing. In the days leading up to that meeting, every manager there had shared with me how much pressure they were under and how challenged they felt because of Catherine’s demands. Yet there they were, throwing me under the bus.
Catherine turned toward me. “There you have it. No one else has a concern, and neither should you. Just go fill out one of your priority grids, and you’ll figure it out.” Her words dripped with sarcasm.
As I let the silence sit, my mind flashed back to a year earlier, when I’d been reluctant even to take this position.
During my interview, I was warned, “In the world of racks and point-of-sale material, everyone has an opinion on the merchandising elements: design, construction, cost, and deployment. You’ll have multiple masters and need to serve them all. It will be a tough role. Extremely stressful, demanding, and political.” Fearing I didn’t know what I was getting myself into, the interviewer asked, “Do you think you’ve got what it takes?”
Everything I knew about that division flashed to mind: their team was dysfunctional, the supply chain was impotent, and, just as my interviewer had said, there were too many chiefs. Any amount of success appeared impossible.
“I have what it takes, but I’m not interested in the role. Could you remove my name from consideration?”
She nodded her head, but I could tell she was shocked by my reply.
However, in the coming days, other leaders kept suggesting I was the right fit. Some even hinted that for me to turn down this role could have future career implications. Hesitantly—and knowing what predicaments likely awaited me—I accepted the offer.
Throughout my first year in that new position, each of my fears came true. The team was overworked. They had low morale from feeling undervalued. Our suppliers always seemed to miss project deadlines. Designs weren’t relevant. The procurement team seemed to have more control over our projects than our marketing team. Our internal key stakeholders, our customers, and our bottlers weren’t satisfied with my team’s performance. Each of those entities offered suggestions for how we—I—could do things differently.
Our work environment was chaos. Extreme stress was the norm.
I felt anxious all the time, always worrying about what would go wrong every day. When inevitable mistakes were made, I feared whiplash. I couldn’t sleep. I stopped exercising regularly because I had no time for it. On the rare moments when I was home, I was distant and easily aggravated. I was running scared, running on empty, and ready to burn out. I never felt like I was making a difference—anywhere.
I told my manager that I felt like I was failing on a daily basis. She was unsympathetic to my plight. I don’t know why I thought that would help. She’d seldom listened to my concerns before. If she had, I rarely saw the result.
So her singling me out during that managers meeting shouldn’t have surprised me. Her quick dismissal of my earnest request was status-quo leadership to her. It was nearly the last straw for me.
Being called out like that in front of my peers made me feel embarrassed, stunned, and flustered. Yet I knew I had an immediate decision as to how I could respond. I didn’t want to give up, but something had to change. I needed to raise my team’s morale. I needed to empower them. I needed to increase our productivity. I needed to become a better leader. Rather than choose discouragement, I opted for perseverance.
If I couldn’t accomplish any of those tasks, anyone on my team could be out of a job. And if I couldn’t save my team—and complete my three-year plan—I wouldn’t be the one under the bus.
I’d be driving it at my next job.
After that demeaning meeting and after praying on a regular basis, I developed a vision of becoming our key stakeholders’ most valuable partner and winning industry recognition. Then, I identified significant projects that would influence the company’s performance. With these priorities in place, I intentionally began instilling confidence in my employees. I knew that if I believed in them, they’d believe in themselves. I empowered the team to make decisions and enabled them to say no to irrelevant, unproductive work.
The team began to gel and became more productive. They remained focused on priorities and ignored distractions. Their morale improved, and their stress levels lessened. So did mine. Our internal and external customers moved from doubting our ability to trusting us to deliver. Together, we made a lot of progress. The tables were turning.
Nowhere was this more evident than during my annual review. Though she used few words, the words she used mattered greatly to me. My manager simply said, “You are a difference-maker, and thank you for all of your hard work.” Her affirmation was gratifying and validating. My team members received the highest annual rating: exceeds performance, which, for our team, was unprecedented.
Looking back, I’m so thankful for the experience, even in having a bus driven over me. Through all of the stress, emotions, and obstacles, I learned and grew more than I imagined. I was stretched to the limit and increased my work capacity
With help from above, I stayed true to my original goals, persevered with the team, and helped transform the business.
After “Prioritizing the Priorities,” my charge to you is to do empower your team. People feel more committed to working if they know they can make decisions and have an impact on projects. They will help you accomplish common goals and objectives with vigor. Do this, and you’ll reduce anxiety because people will feel like they have more control and can take ownership. If you don’t, people will become disengaged because of their perceived lack of influence.
Empowerment Mindset – A Self Evaluation
Empowerment is the transfer of your authority to individuals to help them reach their potential. Effective empowerment begins with the right attitude. Before you empower someone, ask yourself the below questions to see if you have an “Empowerment Mindset.” I recommend rating yourself on a scale of 1 to 10 on each question, 10 being perfect.Do I believe in people and feel that they are my organization’s most appreciable asset?
#1 Do I believe that empowering others can accomplish more than individual achievement?
#2 Do I actively search for potential leaders to empower?
#3 Would I be willing to raise others to a level higher than my own level of leadership?
#4 Would I be willing to invest time
#5 Would I be willing to let others get credit for what I taught them?
#6 Do I allow others freedom of personality and process, or do I have to be in control?
#7 Would I be willing to give my authority and influence to potential leaders publicly?
#8 Would I be willing to let others work me out of a job?
#9 Would I be willing to hand the leadership baton to the people I empower and genuinely root for them?
Now that you’ve rated yourself, what are your top three areas where you can improve your Empowerment Mindset? Now, what’s your number one area? Put an action plan in place to improve the identified area, determine when you want to accomplish your action plan, and ask someone who will hold you accountable. If you do, you’ll improve your attitude toward empowering others and become an effective leader.
 Excerpt From: John C. Maxwell & Jim Dornan. “Becoming a Person of Influence.” Apple Books. https://books.apple.com/us/book/becoming-a-person-of-influence/id607555354> Read More
Recently at Colorado State University, I delivered the Sigma Chi Beta Tau Chapter 100 Year Anniversary Keynote Address to ~250 of my fraternity brothers and friends . . . I shared how to move from a success mindset to a “Significance Mindset”.
I encourage you to read the message because what I share may be game-changing for you as I provide some keys to living a meaningful, purposeful, significant life. . . The message may transform the way you interact with people and how you influence your world. You’ll learn how the power of generosity, making waves, and enlarging others can make a positive difference. Now, “Developing a Significance Mindset” . . .
Good evening. It’s an honor to be with you, my Sigma Chi Brothers, and friends. Thank you for inviting me to share some thoughts with you. I want to introduce my beautiful bride, Carla – University of Alabama grad, Chi Omega member and wonderful mother of our two children, Caroline and Benton.
Tonight, I want to talk about something that may be a game-changer for you. It may transform your life, the way you interact with people, and how you influence your world.
If you’re experiencing a successful career but seem empty on the inside and wonder if there’s something more, this message may be for you.
If you’re struggling to determine life’s purpose and what truly matters, this message may be for you.
If you’re a student, early in life’s journey and or an alumnus enjoying retirement and want to learn about how to make a positive difference in the world, this message may be for you.
I encourage you to listen to what I share. It may be the most important 15 minutes of tonight, this month, this year or your life.
Tonight, I want to share with you my thoughts on our need to mentally shift from success to significance. Meaning, how we think about things, the way we approach life, developing a “Significance Mindset”.
What does it mean to have a “Significance Mindset”? It means to move away from a self-focus to an others-focus; from using your time, talents and resources for your own good to using them for the good of others; to swap adding value to yourself for adding value to others; to transition from spending time on things that don’t matter to investing time in things that do; things that have meaning and purpose. Serving others rather than serving self.
John C. Maxwell, the most prolific leadership author and speaker of our times, said, “A lot of people believe they are successful because they have everything they want. They have added value to themselves. But I believe significance comes when you add value to others, and you can’t have true success without significance.”
Does any of this resonate with you? Do you want to grow beyond success and develop a Significance Mindset? What would your family, community, business, school, or place of worship look like if you did? What would happen? How would you be able to influence your culture and change your world?
Let me share a simple story where I began to learn about developing a Significance Mindset, shifting to a life that matters. . .
I met Juan in a dump, a city dump. Juan was a “pepenador,” a scavenger. He made his living by rummaging through trash in the Tijuana City Dump and reselling what he recovered to local merchants. Everything that he owned came from the dump – clothes, and food – one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.
Juan and 200 families that live in the landfill are among the poorest of the poor in Tijuana. Homes were created with tarps, pallets, tin scraps and old garage doors – whatever residents could find and use to build a roof over their heads. The rancid odor that rose in the summer’s heat overwhelmed me but was barely noticeable to the dump’s residents.
Why was I in the Tijuana City Dump? I volunteered to go on a mission trip with my church to serve the people that lived in the landfill. We aimed to help those who couldn’t help themselves, to shine light into a dark place and invest our time, talents, and resources to bring hope to the hopeless.
Once we arrived in the dump, we spread out across the canyon, knocking on doors, giving them a gift of rice & beans and inviting them to a Vacation Bible School. We shared that the School would include games, music, and food. We also mentioned that we’d be providing personal hygiene supplies and services at the event. Why? As you might imagine, water was a scarce resource in the dump. The place was pretty much a third world country. Showering, washing hair, and brushing teeth were all considered a luxury. But, it provided us an opportunity to show extravagant generosity, love in action, to the dump residents by providing the hygiene supplies and services.
After making the rounds and inviting folks to join us, we set up the School location, including a long line of hair washing stations. Each station included a chair, buckets of water and shampoo.
What was missing? Volunteers to wash hair. . .
A mission trip leader asked, “Who’d like to wash hair today?”
(pause) Okay, I have to admit, this is where I got a little uncomfortable, put my head down and stepped back, not wanting to make eye contact with the leader.
The leader explained that women volunteers would wash women’s hair, and men would wash men’s. I grew a little more uncomfortable but remembered that the best way to grow is to move out of one’s comfort zone and into the awkward zone.
I raised my hand and said, “I’ll do it.”
Soon after, the Vacation Bible School started. I was amazed at the large number of adults and children that came. We connected with people through translators, sang songs, watched skits, and broke bread together. Considering their living conditions, I found the dump residents a kind, warm-hearted, and gracious bunch.
Then came the hair washing. Ladies first. A long line developed and the pampering began. Next, the men lined up, and it was my turn to step up. I went to my assigned station and saw a middle-aged man being urged by his significant other to have his hair washed. He was hesitant at first but slowly shuffled in my direction. I smiled and introduced myself to Juan as he sat down in the chair. He didn’t look me in the eye. I could tell this was a very humbling experience for him.
I slowly poured the water on his head, applied the shampoo, and washed his lice-infested, thick black hair. It only took a few minutes, and when we were done, Juan offered no gratuity for washing his hair other than a bright smile and saying “gracias” as he looked me in the eye, man to man. He waved goodbye and left with his family.
I’m not sure I will ever see Juan again or know how his life turned out. I do know that he experienced a moment of happiness and refreshment, and that I played a small role in it.
What may seem like a trite experience to you was huge for me. It was the genesis of my shift from a success mindset to a Significance Mindset. It was a moment that mattered; one where I took the focus off of myself and placed it on others, to help someone who couldn’t help themselves.
This led me to ask the question: How does one develop a Significance Mindset? Here’s what I discovered:
Be Generous – “The greater the giving, the greater the living.” Invest your time, talents, and resources to benefit others. Instead of spending hours on social media, invest time serving your family, community, school, or place of worship. Leverage your strengths and talents to help build something that lasts, that matters. Lastly, give money to people, churches, and charities. You’ll care more about to whom or what you give money – The good book says, “Where your treasure is, there your heart will also be.” King Solomon wrote, “The world of the generous gets larger and larger; the world of the stingy gets smaller and smaller. The one who blesses others is abundantly blessed; those who help others are helped.” Even industrial magnet Andrew Carnegie got it. He said, “No man becomes rich unless he enriches others.” Be generous.
Create Waves – Mother Teresa said, “I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.” Cast stones in the water to make a positive difference. What do I mean? Do you see injustice at work? Speak up. Is someone being bullied? Stick up for them. Is someone you know feeling down? Encourage them. Is someone lacking resources? Meet their need. Shift the focus off yourself and onto others. Look for opportunities to make a positive difference in your sphere of influence and change your world. Do things that matter. Help the helpless. Be a light in our often dark and chaotic world. Create Waves.
Enlarge Others – Help people reach their potential though coaching and mentoring them. Invest in them. Think for a moment about who’s had an impact on your life. Play along with me for a minute. Close your eyes for just a moment. Picture the individual. Can you see them? (pause) Was it a teacher, coach, manager, friend or family member that inspired you to grow? Did they believe in you? Did they bring out the best in you? Looking back, how did they help you? Now, tell someone next to you the name of the individual. Let’s turn it around. How do you take what you were given and pour into others? Imagine someone you can build up, enlarge. Share the name with someone. I encourage you to intentionally build your identified person up. Invest your time, talents and resources in them. Help them reach their potential. What if you don’t invest in people and enlarge them? “Composer Gian Carlo Menotti forcefully stated, ‘Hell begins on that day when God grants us a clear vision of all that we might have achieved, of all the gifts we wasted, of all that we might have done that we did not do.’ Unrealized potential is a tragic waste. And as an enlarger, you have the privilege of helping others discover and then develop their potential.” Enlarge others.
I want to drive home one more point. You don’t need to be a president, CEO, famous actor, or billionaire to live a meaningful life. Why? Did you know that sociologists say that even the most introverted individual will influence up to 10,000 people during his or her lifetime? That’s right. 10,000 people. Whether you know it or not, you have incredible influence. If you develop a Significance Mindset by being generous, creating waves and enlarging others, you’ll be a positive influence and change your world.
I want to end tonight with a piece by Michael Josephson titled What Will Matter
“Ready or not, someday it will all come to an end.
There will be no more sunrises, no minutes, hours, or days.
All the things you collected, whether treasured or forgotten, will pass to someone else.
Your wealth, fame, and temporal power will shrivel to irrelevance.
It will not matter what you owned or what you were owed.
Your grudges, resentments, frustrations, and jealousies will finally disappear.
So, too, your hopes, ambitions, plans, and to-do lists will expire.
The wins and losses that once seemed so important will fade away.
It won’t matter where you came from or what side of the tracks you lived on at the end.
It won’t matter whether you were beautiful or brilliant.
Even your gender and skin color will be irrelevant.
So, what will matter? How will the value of your days be measured?
What will matter is not what you bought but what you built; not what you got but what you gave.
What will matter is not your success but your significance.
What will matter is not what you learned but what you taught.
What will matter is every act of integrity, compassion, courage,
or sacrifice that enriched, empowered, or encouraged others to emulate your example.
What will matter is not your competence but your character.
What will matter is not how many people you knew but how many will feel a lasting loss when you’re gone.
What will matter is not your memories but the memories of those who loved you.
What will matter is how long you will be remembered, by whom, and for what
Living a life that matters doesn’t happen by accident.
It’s not a matter of circumstance but of choice.
Choose to live a life that matters.”
In closing, may I get personal with you for a moment and ask a few provocative questions?:
- Do you have a desire to live a significant life, one that matters? If so, why?
- What do you need to do to shift from a success mindset to a “Significance Mindset”? What actions will you take?
- When will you do it? – don’t hesitate – do it now. Why wait?
- Who will you share your plan with? Who will hold you accountable? Tell someone who you can trust and will help you make the mindset shift.
- Lastly, if you are interested or curious in matters of faith, in whom do you find your significance? I find mine in God.
If any of tonight’s message resonated with you or the questions I just asked inspired you to think or behave differently, I’d love to hear from you and learn how I may be able to help you along your journey.
May you choose a life that matters, develop a Significance Mindset, and make a positive difference in your world. God bless, In Hoc and thank you.
Thanks for reading today. If you found today’s content encouraging, would you mind sharing it with a friend on social media? Also, I’d love to know your thoughts. Please connect with me on Facebook, Instagram or LinkedIn and let me hear from you.
Take care and talk soon.
 John C. Maxwell Today Matters
 Peterson, E. H. (2005). The Message: the Bible in contemporary language (Pr 11:24–25). Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress.
 Excerpt From: John C. Maxwell & Jim Dornan. “Becoming a Person of Influence.” Apple Books. https://books.apple.com/us/book/becoming-a-person-of-influence/id607555354
 Excerpt From: John C. Maxwell & Jim Dornan. “Becoming a Person of Influence.” Apple Books. https://books.apple.com/us/book/becoming-a-person-of-influence/id607555354
 https://whatwillmatter.com/2011/10/what-will-matter-745-3/> Read More
Evan, my co-worker at our multi-billion-dollar consumer products company, stopped me in the parking lot. “Have you noticed how execution’s gotten sloppy over the past year?”
He looked down. “Not too long ago, this was one of the best-executing markets. I’m very disappointed. What’s happened?”
I paused. I did know what had happened, but if I told Evan the truth, I knew there’d be consequences. Maybe even for Evan himself. But integrity is a word that means something to me, so I mustered up my courage and told him what I knew. “Did you know the local management team is running a side business out of the office?”
Shocked, he just said, “No.”
“The local team is focused on building their side business, and they’re using company assets for personal gain. They’re violating our Code of Business Conduct, and they’ve lost focus on their primary job responsibilities. That’s the reason execution is so sloppy.”
I could tell that Evan didn’t quite believe me, so I walked him over to a manager’s company vehicle in the parking lot.
“See that?” I pointed to a window decal on the manager’s windshield. “That’s the logo for their side business.”
He shook his head.
“That’s just the tip of the iceberg, too. If you poke around, you’ll probably find out what’s going on.”
“I will, Preston. I will.”
True to his word, Evan poked. He discovered that the local management team had invented a new sports gadget and were leveraging the company’s people, tools, and supplies to build their side business. Over time, they’d become so consumed with growing their business that they neglected their primary responsibility: marketplace execution.
If questioned about negative business results, the team deflected the inquiries and pointed to factors “outside of their control.” They disguised their side interest by saying all of the right things to upper management. Consequently, the team was left alone to work on their own business on our company’s dime. Eventually, their audio and video didn’t match. Without accountability, the team had abandoned their integrity and slowly moved into corruption.
After my conversation with Evan, I knew that the circumstances and potential consequences would escalate. I called my manager and told him about the conversation. My manager told Human Resources and other leaders about the potential Code of Business Conduct violation.
Following an investigation, several local market leaders were fired for leveraging company assets and personally gaining from their efforts.
Looking back, I’m glad I made the right decision even though it was tough and even though I was saddened that a number of employees lost their jobs. But the experience reminded me of the necessity of integrity—with others and with myself.
I learned that when you become a person of integrity, you can become a leader, others will follow because of your honesty.
Unfortunately, one more potential consequence came to pass as a result of that side-business hustle operation going on right under my nose. The investigation also revealed that Evan might have seen the signals but had turned his head and ignored them. Regardless, he was found to be complicit and was forced to retire.
It was a bittersweet moment. I’d worked with the team for years and didn’t want any harm to come to them. At the same time, I knew I needed to expose the wrong I saw. For years after these displacements, I worked in fear of retribution, thinking that someone would take revenge for my standing up for what was right.
Gratefully, that never happened, and I remained true to my value of integrity. Now, anytime I’m tempted to skirt the truth in my words or actions, I think about that side-business logo that ultimately cost multiple people their jobs.
It doesn’t take much for a house of cards to fall.
That’s why it’s essential for leaders to lead with integrity. If you’re the one responsible for building a strong team or a strong company, your peers and employees need to know they can trust you.
Being integrous is hard but worth the cost because it will be your best friend and help you achieve your goals. So, how does one measure his or her integrity? In John C. Maxwell’s book, Becoming a Person of Influence, he offers ten questions to evaluate your integrity[i]. As you read the questions, rate yourself from 1 to 10, with ten being fully integrous and 1 with no integrity:
#1 How well do I treat people from whom I can gain nothing?
#2 Am I transparent with others?
#3 Do I role-play based on the person(s) I’m with?
#4 Am I the same person when I’m in the spotlight as I am when I’m alone?
#5 Do I quickly admit wrongdoing without being pressed to do so?
#6 Do I put other people ahead of my personal agenda?
#7 Do I have an unchanging standard for moral decisions, or do circumstances determine my choices?
#8 Do I make difficult decisions, even when they have a personal cost attached to them?
#9 When I have something to say about people, do I talk to them or about them?
#10 Am I accountable to at least one other person for what I think, say, and do?
Did any of those hit home? Take some time to reflect and choose your three areas that need the most improvement. Then, pick your top area of needed improvement. Ask yourself, why is it essential for me to improve in this area? How will I become a better person and a better leader? Why will it be important to others? What actions will I take to grow, when will I start and who will hold me accountable?
Take time to write down your answers to the above questions. Let the words from my lips move to your fingertips. If you do, you’ll know what you think by reading what you write. Also, share what you’ve written down with someone you trust and ask them to hold you accountable. Real change begins when you are vulnerable and transparent with someone and ask for their support.
I’ll end with a quote from Thomas Jefferson, “God grant that men (and women) of principle be our principal men (and women).”[ii]May you be integrous in all of your ways and be a man or woman of principle.
[i]Excerpt From: John C. Maxwell & Jim Dornan. “Becoming a Person of Influence.” Apple Books. https://books.apple.com/us/book/becoming-a-person-of-influence/id607555354
[ii]Excerpt From: John C. Maxwell & Jim Dornan. “Becoming a Person of Influence.” Apple Books. https://books.apple.com/us/book/becoming-a-person-of-influence/id607555354
My dad is a rocket scientist—seriously.
In 1996, he started a technology business because he and a small team of people had developed a way to track and shoot down missiles. As the company grew, my dad hired someone to handle the business side, allowing my dad to focus on the many technological aspects of what his team was accomplishing. My father empowered this new partner to build the business as he saw fit.
Their partnership flourished. Revenue skyrocketed and their number of employees boomed. My father’s expectations were exceeded. He was thrilled with his hire—until he wasn’t.
Growth tends to come with growing pains. My dad and his business partner began to have differing perspectives on the company’s direction. Constantly in conflict, they fought for managerial control. So great were their arguments that they even considered dissolving the well- performing business.
Since I was a minority owner, I had a vested interest in keeping the company afloat. And since my father and his business partner believed I could be an impartial judge between them, they asked me to step in and help resolve their issues. Their request made sense: I’d heard both of their arguments for months on end. Reluctantly, I accepted their invitation to help, but I knew that reconciling these two strong-willed men would be challenging. They were similar in many ways—and similarly stubborn.
I can still remember our first official meeting where they aired their grievances against each other to me. As the founder and most-senior member in the room, I ceded the floor to my dad first. He laid out everything I’d already heard: where he thought the company needed to go, what they needed to be focusing on, and how wrong his business partner’s ideas were.
After my father finished, I didn’t say anything. I let a pregnant pause hang in the air, then I turned to his business partner and asked, “Well, brother, what do you think about what Dad just said?”
That’s when my dad’s business partner—his son, my younger brother—let me know just how wrong our dad was.
Why Motive Matters
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that working with family can present unique challenges. (Maybe that’s why they brought me in.)
Sure, I wanted to keep the company together, but that wasn’t remotely close to my primary motivation for helping. One of my core values is family. I love my family, and whenever conflict arises, I desire restoration, healing, and peace. I helped my father and brother because I wanted to keep our family together.
Still, the businessman in me also wanted to figure out how to allow the business to grow and simultaneously protect Dad’s interests. So, I prayed. I asked God to heal their relationship and that I might honor the Lord in my engagement. I also played mediator by talking to them individually or together on conference calls. I listened to both sides intently, worked hard not to take sides, and focused on solutions.
Then, things got really difficult. My dad and brother couldn’t agree on anything. My dad began to feel like he was being forced out of the company. He offered to retire but wanted a huge “parachute,” which would put the company at financial risk. Dad also demanded rights to some of the intellectual property. My brother wouldn’t budge and didn’t want to provide Dad anything. Both demanded board meetings to discuss the issues.
When we met, our interactions were contentious. Shocking the organization, my dad sent a letter of resignation to the company. Then, my brother offered to leave. I knew that the company couldn’t survive without either one, dad being the technical genius and my brother being the business brains.
I was stuck in the middle, and the issue began distracting my attention away from my full-time job. I was absolutely heartbroken. I wrote in my journal, “I have no solutions. I can only seek God’s wisdom.” Then, I wrote a future headline capturing what I hoped would happen: “Our company posts record earnings, continues to lead innovative solutions and has the most talented team in the industry. The Poore family, while it went through a rough patch, is whole.” I continued, “I beg God that the opposite headline does not come true. Failure, collapse and demise. God, please moderate hearts, soften them toward one another and help my family come to an amicable resolution. Reconcile my family and give us peace.”
After much prayer, I felt the Lord leading me to disengage from the conflict as mediator and encourage my dad and brother to resolve things. I told them they needed to work out their issues and I needed to focus on my primary job.
Then something amazing happened: an olive branch appeared. Dad sent my brother an email expressing the desire to keep the company whole and ensure it prospered and maintained its strong talent. They’d worked too hard over the years to build the company and didn’t want to see it fall apart. After reading the conciliatory email, my brother went to my dad’s office. They began to talk. Dad also called me and said sorry for putting me in the middle of the conflict. He realized it wasn’t fair asking me to take sides and the potential long-term damage it would do to the family if I did.
To make a long and arduous story short, Dad and my brother reconciled. Their relationship was rocky for a while after the ceasefire, but now they are supportive business partners. More importantly, their personal relationship healed as well. Because of the reconciliation, the company is now thriving.
I recorded in my journal, “God answered my prayer. I didn’t come up with the solution through some type of masterful negotiation. God intervened. Thank you, Lord.” With God’s help, I put our family first. We got the business thrown in. If I’d been selfish or partial or had put the business first, we could have lost both.
During the entire process, I learned how important motive is to leading others. Motives matter. Motives are why we do what we do. When I helped my father and brother, my motivation was pure: I desired to keep my family together. That untethered motivation helped me lean into the conflict with integrity and selfless ambition, which ultimately aided the company’s success. That motivation also helped me navigate conflicts and, with God’s help, restore the relationship between my dad and my brother.
In fact, my motivation wasn’t so much family as something much deeper, something essential to the notion of family.
I was motivated by love.
Remember, love is defined as self-giving and self- sacrifice as described in 1 Corinthians 13:3–8:
“Love never gives up. Love cares more for others than for self. Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have. Love doesn’t strut, doesn’t have a swelled head, doesn’t force itself on others, isn’t always ‘me first,’ doesn’t fly off the handle, doesn’t keep score of the sins of others, doesn’t revel when others grovel, takes pleasure in the flowering of truth, puts up with anything, trusts God always, always looks for the best, never looks back, but keeps going to the end. Love never dies” (1 Corinthians 13:3–8 MSG).
When leading others, my charge to you is to:
#1 – Know your motive – Understand the why behind what you do
#2 – Examine your motive – Determine if your motive is anything different than selfless and a desire to add value to others. Is your motive genuine and authentic? If not, you may want to check it.
#3 – Act on your motive – Serve others and look out for their interests. Help people achieve their goals and reach their potential
#4 – Reflect on your motive – After acting, determine the results and recalibrate your motive if necessary.
If you trust God, make love your motivation and follow the steps of knowing, examining, acting and reflecting on your motive, you’ll become a well-motivated leader.> Read More
I’m a disciple of Christ and an executive at a Fortune 500 Company. In my blog, The Discipled Leader, I draw on my diverse business experience to help Christians connect their secular and spiritual lives at work.
As a certified coach, speaker, and trainer with the John Maxwell Team, I help others grow their relationship with Christ, develop their leadership skills, and understand how they can make a positive difference in today’s chaotic world.
Let me help you reach your potential.
I draw on my diverse business experience to help Christians connect their secular and spiritual lives at work. I invite you to subscribe to my blog and learn how to develop Christlike character, influence your culture and change your world.