Be The Person Everyone Wants To Know

An acquaintance of mine passed away recently and his community subsequently celebrated his life. I cannot help but reflect on the celebration service and his life.

I wrestled with sharing in this case because I don’t want anyone invading the family’s privacy, but I think we can all learn from this man’s example. Those in the community will know who I am writing about, but I won’t identify.

This man was referred to as the type of person everyone wants to know…a rare person indeed. Beautiful and beneficial themes surfaced that point toward why he will (and should) be remembered so fondly.

Don’t wait to:

Show kindness

Care

Show love

Have fun

Be spontaneous

He was a role model for this…

In remembering our mortality we are reminded to embrace each day.

Be in community

We all engage in activities with people, but are we truly in community?

Are we kind to everyone? Are we getting to know the people around us? Are we allowing others to know us? Are we role modeling, teaching, and learning? Are we waiting for those we have beaten at the finish line to celebrate the race and congratulating those who beat us to the line? Are we helping others improve even when it might mean they could surpass us in the future? Are we helping up those who have fallen?

Put simply, are we for and with those around us?

He was!

Don’t judge people based on their worst moment(s)

We all make mistakes…some are quite harmful to others, sometimes even to people we love. We must not judge people based on their worst moments. Jesus doesn’t. He sees us as people he loves and died for…

Grace abounds!

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A Chat With Two Inspiring Leaders: Kate and Sandy Dodge

Want to listen in on a conversation with people who built a remarkable company and changed a city?

Kate and Sandy Dodge (The NP Dodge Company) are two of the most amazing people with whom I have ever conversed.

The above will link you directly with the audio, but it is also available on Apple, Spotify, Stitcher, Google, etc.

Sandy is a quiet and thoughtful man so he can be a little tough to hear at times, but the little bit of extra attention required is worth it to glean his wisdom. Kate is brilliant and has a voice that resonates so she is pretty easy to hear.

Together they offer an extraordinary amount of virtual mentoring to anyone interested in growing as a leader…and quite frankly, as a human.

Give this podcast a listen and check out the rest of the season.

As always, please subscribe to the blog and/or connect on Facebook.

Four Steps To Seeing God In Your Driveway

No, I am not talking about seeing Jesus’ face in the cracks of the concrete or the tracks of the snow blower like the people who see his face in their food.

I saw God in my driveway yesterday, because a man was Jesus to me. A neighbor sacrificed his time and energy for me in snowblowing my driveway out of the kindness of his heart.

God’s love was on display through God’s creation. A free gift was given to me that I did not earn and am not asked to repay…although I plan to buy him a 12 pack.

I could certainly write about being Jesus to those around us and probably will at some point, but for now I think it is best to start at seeing God and helping others see God.

I think there are four basic steps. We need to:

Open Our Eyes To The World Around Us

If you are like me you spend plenty of time looking at a device of some sort. That is fine, but we all need to remember that what you see on there is not hard and fast reality. Too much device time creates an individualistic mindset…it has the potential to create a world view that says to us “this world is curated just for you” and embellishes the importance of what gets us excited/worked up.

We need to break out of that for the good of ourselves and those we love.

We need to see the people all around us. The world is in better shape than Twitter might suggest. Good people made in the image of God are all around you.

Remember That God Created People In God’s Image

Because God made humans in his image
        reflecting God’s very nature.”

Genesis 9:6 – The Message

When we remember this fact we are more likely to appreciate the people around us for what they are vs. what clickbait wants us to see.

Of course, our human resemblance to God’s image is most often the equivalent of a disfigured Picasso impressionist portrait…but God created us and remembering this is crucial.

Enter Each Day Looking For Blessings

Start each day expecting to see God in your fellow humans.

If we expect to see pain, suffering, and evil…we will struggle to see good. Your worldview drives your perceptions. Choose a positive worldview that reflects that God created and you will see the beauty in God’s creations…his people.

Use confirmation bias to your advantage and choose to see good.

Tell Stories

Humans love stories! Tell your family members, co-workers, friends, and acquaintances about the good you see in the world. You will shape their worldview so that they can see God too.

The more we notice good in the world the less we will dwell on the negatives constantly fed to us via our devices/social media.

Train your brain to see good and help those you care about to do the same.

They will thank you for it!

If this resonates with you follow the blog, connect on Facebook, and share this post.

Thanks and God bless!

We Were Made For More

It is time to feature the fact that I am a Jesus follower. I don’t believe I have ever hidden or downplayed my faith, but I haven’t featured it because I really want to be inclusive.

I believe what I have to say can help people regardless of their faith…maybe that is naive or arrogant…but I believe it. This belief has led me away from featuring Jesus followership in my writing.

Time to be bold!

I believe that a life of Christ followership is the ultimate “more”!

I still want to be inclusive and I hope people who don’t consider themselves Jesus followers will still benefit from my work, but I need to point toward Jesus more explicitly.

I believe I am called to write more about matters of faith and followership, as well as how those topics relate to our lives… particularly our “work” lives.

This does not mean that everything I post will be explicitly about faith, but I pray that Jesus will be clearly present in my work.

I have felt pulled in this direction for at least three months, but during a visit to Des Moines two weeks ago the Holy Spirit was pushing me hard toward the edge so I decided to jump.

 

The Holy Spirit was using two forces.

1st, Lutheran Church of Hope

With all do respect to my pastor at Papio Creek Church and my father who are both wonderful teachers, the message in the video above is probably my favorite “sermon” ever.

In my humble opinion, this discussion of the life in Christ is dead on. Please give it a watch (check out the hilarious fake political ads toward the end).

Key themes that really hit home for me:

Harmony > Disharmony

Inclusion > Exclusion

Hospitality > Rivalry

Jesus Followership > Superficiality

Jesus Followership > Politics

Jesus > Than How You Vote

Jesus > Fitting In

Jesus had time for all people, so should we.

Don’t waste time worshiping false gods.

Jesus wants you to live a meaningful life in Him!!!

Give over your “work” to God!

You were made for more!

Please give this video a watch.

2nd, A Good Friend

My family met up with my friend Alan and his family at church. They then came out in the bitter cold to watch my son play soccer…they brought me coffee…good friends indeed.

We were chatting on the sideline during the match and he mentioned to me that I was an important character in the story of his faith journey. He was wrestling with faith questions in college and we had some amazing talks about faith in Jesus in our dorm rooms.

Our conversation reminded me that my “work”, in the most broad sense, is to point toward Jesus.

Jesus will do far more to help people live more purposeful lives than I ever will.

There are points in every person’s journey where they get to decide who to point toward, I am going to do my best to point toward Jesus.

How about you?

If this message is compelling to you please share it.

If you want to learn more about my journey and philosophy please watch my Tedx talk.

If you want to connect please join the Facebook community and subscribe to this blog.

God bless!

 

 

 

7 Leadership Lessons From ICAN 7x7x7

Last night I was honored to be a part of the Omaha 7x7x7 Leadership Exchange in partnership with ICAN. This is one of my favorite events of the year.

I love it because it is rapid fire. Seven speakers, seven minutes each, seven unique leadership focused subjects.

I thought it would be helpful to share some of my take aways from this powerful evening. My take aways are not specifically attributable to any one speaker, they are themes that emerged across speakers.

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Terry Lee, Sr. Trainer and OD Consultant at Securities America

1. Context Matters

A theme that emerged across nearly every speaker was that context matters. First, you as a leader need to find or create a context for yourself where you can utilize your strengths…you need to find fit. If not, finding success will be especially difficult. It is already difficult enough to lead (a bonus theme/take away).

Second, you need to create a context for your people where they can find success. They need to understand what winning means for your organization (e.g. business, not-for-profit, family, team) and need to know how to help the organization win.

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Chief Todd Schmaderer, Omaha Police Department

2. How You Communicate Matters

It appears to me that many people believe that simply sharing information equals communicating well…not so.

You need to communicate for effect. What is the outcome you desire from your communication? What do you want people to take away? What is the headline you would want to read in the morning regarding your situation?

You need to communicate with the proper tone. Sometimes you need to be dead serious, sometimes humor is appropriate. However, when you use humor you must be thoughtful about it. What is the goal of the humor? Will humor help or harm?

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Dr. Beverly Kracher, Business Ethics Alliance & Creighton Heider College of Business

3. Authenticity Matters

Be authentic and allow your people to do the same.

“Covering” at work is very harmful to self and to employees! The act of covering up your true self is exhausting and will lead to under performance and burnout. You need to hire great people and let them bring their whole self to work. You as a leader need to do the same. If not, you will suffer and eventually your people will see through the act.

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Judy Ricketts, Managing Director at TD Ameritrade

4. A Learning Orientation Matters

Learning occurs in many ways, the key is that you strive to learn.

You learn through research. You dig until you understand the truth of the matter and the root cause. In doing so you can fix the true problem and avoid reoccurrence.

You learn through experience. Be ambitious, take risks, don’t be afraid to try new things so you can learn and grow.

You learn by seeking and listening to feedback. You need to utilize your strengths, but you also need to understand your areas for future growth. What news tools do you need to acquire?

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Paul Mass, CEO of The Scoular Company

5. Connections Matter

Leaders need to see and create connections.

You need to understand how the work gets done through your people. Who works with whom to create value. You need to help those folks set aside their self interests so that your organization can flourish.

You also need to understand who should be connected in order to create or seize new opportunity. Understand the people in your world so you can introduce those who will work well together.

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Mindy Millward, Founder and Managing Partner at Navalent

6. Nurturing Talent Matters

Great leaders nurture talent.

You need to understand how to best pour into your people. You need to help them develop skills that will benefit the organization, but you also need to enable people to develop and live out their passions (family, community, hobbies) beyond your organization.

That said, you must also fill your own cup. What do you need to grow? What interest do you need to pursue? Which loved one do you need to spend time with? Your cup must remain full in order to be able to pour into other’s cups.

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Arun Agarwal, Founder of White Lotus Group

7. Community Matters Can Be Organizational Matters

You need not sacrifice organizational outcomes to help the community. Find the intersection of interests. How can you meet an organizational goal while also meeting a community need?

Understanding the needs of those around you is the key. When you understand people’s true needs you will know how to effectively help and can determine how to align organizational interests.

In the end, by connecting community and organization both those you lead and the community will benefit.

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ICAN Breakout Circles

It was a fantastic event and I hope this post conveys a bit of the wisdom that was shared. Make sure to check it out in person next year!

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Why We All Need Summer Break and Back To School

I find that back to school season is a great time to reflect. Mostly because I can’t think until my kids are back in school. Heading into this particular summer break I felt particularly fried. I was busy all summer, but didn’t feel productive. Maybe you can relate.

When the kids headed back to school I reflected on the summer. I tried to make sense of my lack of measurable output. I barely wrote at all. I kept the balls in the air at work, but didn’t really score many goals.

I truly came to terms with the fact that my progress stalled. I bet you have felt this way a time or two.

I realized I never really took a summer break this year. We took some long weekends that were sandwiched between work travel, the daily grind, and youth sports, but I never really took the time I needed to relax, refresh, recharge, and refocus.

That was a big mistake!

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“I need a break”

I came to realize that the sprint I made in the spring left me empty in many ways. I was submitting manuscripts, recording a podcast, trying serve my team, teaching a new course, and delivering a TEDx talk. In many ways last spring culminated in a mountain top moment for me. But we all know the problem with being on a mountain top…

My metaphorical finals week left me drained despite earning good grades.

For those of us who are parents, teachers, coaches, etc we can all see this in the children and young adults around us. They lose focus, their tempers get shorter, they make more mistakes…just like all of us when we run out of juice. If you can’t relate, congratulations, you are super human.

I needed a summer vacation to relax, refresh, recharge, and refocus.

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Sometimes you just need to eat ice cream with your friends.

At the beginning of any good summer vacation – whether it is a week, a month, or the whole summer – you just need to relax. Kids need to swim, run through sprinklers, play games, watch movies, and eat ice cream with their friends.

I personally need some serious kayak time, preferably with fishing involved. I need a few good camp fires with my wife and friends…and of course a few beverages help the cause.

What do you need to relax?

Unless you give yourself some time to decompress you won’t release the pressure that has built up. This will eventually lead to an explosion!

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We all need nutrition

However, summer break cannot just be about decompressing if we are going to use it as a time of growth and refreshment. We can’t live on ice cream alone…some of you might debate me on this point.

As we begin to release pressure we need to take time to strengthen ourselves through nutrition and exercise in order to thrive in our next. Many of us, myself included, can get into some bad eating habits when we are stretched too thin. Don’t even get me started on my exercise routine when I am in the worst phases of the grind.

Kids eat and exercise naturally as long as we provide a conducive environment. The key for them and us is the conducive environment.

Breaks allow us the opportunity to focus on what we need to strengthen our bodies and to reclaim healthy habits.

What habit do you need to reclaim/start to strengthen your body? What needs to change in your environment to keep your body strong?

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Feed your mind

Physical nourishment isn’t all we need refresh, recharge, and refocus.

At the end of my last sprint my mind was a pile of goo suited for little more than Candy Crush and running errands…

Fortunately breaks allow us time to feed our minds what they need to grow. Our brains are especially receptive when not cluttered with the day to day.

What do you need to learn? Do you need inspiration? Do you need to dream?

Books, documentaries, the theatre, lectures, podcasts, and conversations with thought partners can all provide what we need. We must use our breaks to learn and grow as thinkers and dreamers.

I find that campfires are catalysts for great conversations.

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Connect to refresh your soul

As a Jesus follower I also need breaks to help me get back in touch with my creator and God’s creation. I need time to reconnect with Jesus and to reflect on what he wants for my life.

I often neglect prayer, study, and reflection when I get busy. Although busyness is not an excuse, once I am out of the habit I need time to get refocused. Without reconnecting, refreshing, and refocusing spiritually I don’t feel well directed to move forward.

What do you need to do to reconnect and refresh your soul?

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Refreshed, recharged, refocused…time to go back to school.

We all need breaks to relax, refresh, recharge, and refocus, but then we need to return.

Refueling is a waste if you aren’t going to burn that fuel. By the end of summer I can always tell that it is time for my kids to go back to school. They are stir crazy, bouncing off the walls, focusing their energy poorly…it is time for them to get back to work.

The same is true for us. I believe we are all called to work while on this earth. We should refresh, recharge, and refocus with the aim of returning to serve our people.

I believe we will be at our best if we return purposefully. Accordingly, the end of our breaks might be a great time to review and revise our purpose and to set goals to achieve that purpose.

What is your plan for your “Back To School”? What do you want to accomplish? Who do you want to serve?

I pray that you find a time to take a break to relax, refresh, recharge, and refocus. That said, I also pray that you return so that you can make a difference for the people you love and serve.

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TEDx Talk: The Minimalist Manager Mindset

If you want to understand Minimalist Management living and leading, this blog, and to a large degree…me… give this a quick watch. I hope it is helpful to you. The key themes are purpose, mentorship, self-reflection, faith, gratitude, wisdom, leadership and of course minimalism. I am honored to have shared the TEDx stage with so many amazing people. Check out tedxcreightonu.com!

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Three Lessons on Living and Dying From a Man Who Lives Well

Father Hauser has long been a favorite of mine, but recently I elevated him to hero status.

He strives daily to see God in all things. He lives with great purpose. He is a blessing.

Whether you are Catholic or not (and I am not big C catholic)…this is worth a watch.

Amazing honesty from a human who happens to be a Jesuit priest and religious scholar.

Click “Fr.Hauser_Homily”

Fr.Hauser_Homily from Don Doll SJ on Vimeo

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Courtesy of Creighton.edu

Three Lessons I Have Taken From Father Hauser

Be Human

Don’t pretend you have it all together. Others will learn from your humanity. Be open to letting others learn from your weaknesses. Let people learn along with you.

People who know Father well, myself included, were astonished and blessed by his openness in this video. We grew.

This is what elevated him to hero status for me. I have many heroes and he is now among the people who have shown me God in a way that sets them apart.

Recognize God’s Presence In Daily Life

See God in all things…and all people. Treat all things and people as God’s creations. When you live this way you can’t help but strive to love other people for who they are and you can’t help but strive to treat God’s earth and its creatures with respect.

You catch a glimpse in this video, but I, and thousands of others, are blessed to see him live this out daily.

Live Like You Won’t Die, But Knowing You Will

Live life in love for one another and don’t worry about the afterlife. Love this life and live it to its fullest in service to God. Do this by finding your purpose and striving to live it out.

But remember, while service to God in this life is how we are called to live…it is only the beginning. The fullness of the gospel is living well on earth and remembering our eternity in Christ.

Thank you God for letting me live for a while around Father Hauser. I know you will enjoy your time with him when he arrives home.

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Father with Father Hendrickson and St. Ignatius. Courtesy of Creighton.edu

 

 

 

 

 

 

You Failed Yourself, Now What?

It hurts bad when you let yourself down! Especially when it affects people you value.

I was in a meeting with organizational leaders…a common situation. It seemed like it went fine. I knew that I had misspoken a couple times…I wasn’t flawless by any means. I read enough body language to know that I had missed the mark on one particular comment, but I was assured that it wasn’t a big deal and that everything had gone well.

Through informal back channels I learned that my mistakes were bigger than I perceived. To most people the mistakes were innocuous, but they were mistakes and they were MY mistakes. A few people were appropriately bothered.

I didn’t live up to my values and I certainly didn’t live out my purpose.

So, how do I learn and grow?

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Reflection

What went wrong?

Why?

Who was harmed?

What is the impact?

What should I do now?

What should I do differently in the future?

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Action

Reflection helped me understand what went wrong, who was harmed, and why.

I apologized for my mistakes to the people affected, now it’s time learn and grow.

Why?

I didn’t adequately prep. I was too casual. Some people like that I am casual, with preparation I believe I can maintain that feel while making sure that my word choice and anecdotes/examples are more appropriate.

Only through careful preparation can we uncover the unconscious biases that might emerge in our language. While I believe certain things, from time to time I contradict those beliefs through the examples and words I choose. I can avoid these missteps through preparation.

What’s Next?

I generally know when these situations are coming. I need to make sure I carve out adequate preparation time. I need to make sure I give my thoughts/plans enough time to bake so that I can refine them…fully bake them. I find that when I do this I realize things that I have missed. The cake gets better to stick with that analogy.

We all need to be willing to take feedback/criticism, reflect, learn, and grow.

None of us are above this if we want to maximize our potential and fulfill our purpose.

I am grateful for this lesson and I pray that I will be better in the future.

The foundation of both growth and leadership is self-awareness…not coincidentally. I am now more self-aware and am better prepared to pursue my purpose moving forward.

How about you?