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Leaders don’t lead through fancy talk.  They lead through consistent action.  Most great leaders aren’t brilliant or the top of their class.  In fact most leaders learned how to lead in school already.  They didn’t lead in school because they had some position such as student body president.  They probably led a little tribe within the school.  As they got older they learned how to lead better and moved on to bigger things.

Leaders know that you don’t have to be great at everything.  You just need to be a lot better at a few little things than anybody else. 

People don’t wake up one day and say: “I think I am going to be a leader today.”  And then everyone starts following. 

That is not how it happens.

Leaders are people who stick their neck out on things and aren’t afraid to stand up for what they believe in.  Once they get a few wins and gain confidence with others through consistency they are on the path to being a leader.

They say it takes 10,000 hours to be an expert in a field.  Leadership is no different except it might take double to really be effective.  Why do I say that?  I think your path to leadership should be about 10,000 hours so you can figure out how to be a great leader.  And your next 10,000 hours as a leader lets you learn from failures and victories so you can truly become an effective leader.  No, you won’t be effective if you don’t look back on a regular basis and learn from your mistakes. 

Do you want to be Ordinary or Extraordinary?

The key is being CONSISTENT especially in your learning from failures and mistakes.


Most times in life adversity will make you want to ask the question “Why me?”  If you keep asking that question pretty soon you are going to be saying “poor me.” 

There is a reason challenges and adversity happens.  They happen to make you better.

My Air Conditioning has been out in my house for close to a week now (only 4 days that I knew it wasn’t working).  Today it is a blistering 95 degrees and tomorrow there is supposed to be more of the same.

I called my local plumber and told him I didn’t think it was working and on Friday he called back and said the part wouldn’t be in until Tuesday or Wednesday.  I had the choice of one of two reactions:

Reaction A: “Why in the heck don’t you have that part on hand.  You are supposed to be one of the bigger and better plumbing places and you don’t have that part.  I want this, this and this.  I want my air conditioning now.  You better express mail that.  I can’t believe the product you have would break down this soon.”

Reaction B: “Don’t worry about the problem.  I know you are doing your best and when the part comes in it will get done.  It will be a little warm but we will be alright.  Many people don’t have air conditioning and we can cope.  Thanks for checking on it right away and giving me a call back.”


To me Reaction B should be your reaction with every situation.  What good does it do to rehash something that can’t be changed.  Reaction A was the reaction of someone I explained the situation to(I exaggerated it a little bit).  None of those thoughts even came to my mind.

From every trial you should ask some questions and should cause yourself to realize some things and change them. 

What have I realized from this situation?

  • Having Air Conditioning isn’t the worst thing in the world.  Actually others people’s houses are way too cold.
  • I no longer need my AC at 70 degrees.  It is 82 in my house right now and I think 79 or 80 should be fine.
  • Not having AC makes me more in tune with the weather and causes me to spend more time getting fresh air.
  • Makes me realize how fortunate I really am for having AC.  How can such a small pleasure be so overlooked?

As a leader you should never let your team make excuses or become bitter about situations.  You should right away steer them into a direction of learning from the situation and becoming better.

Step out of your comfort zone for a while.  Stop drinking pop, eating out, or even shut off your AC for a week.  Learn from it and become a better person.

So make a promise to never ask the question “Why Me?”  Instead ask “What can I learn?”

By the way my Reaction was Reaction B.

I have been listening to a few Nickelback songs lately and “If Today was Your Last Day” struck me.  It got me thinking about how we treat life in general.  The line that really got my attention was the following one:

“Each day’s a gift and not a given right.”

It really struck home with me and with our culture in general.  We think we deserve things or we are owed things because they are rightfully ours. 

If we treated each day as a gift how much differently would our days look?

I know mine would look differently starting in the morning.  I would pop right out of bed thanking God for giving me the gift of another day, the health to walk, providing everything I need, and a beautiful wife and daughter.  So many gifts that we have we take for granted. 

What would your life look like if you viewed each day like it was your last?

I know I would spend less time doing so called “important” things of this world and doing more things for others.

So start tomorrow viewing each day like it is your last day.  Or just try it for a day or a week and see what it does.

I’ll let you know how it goes for me.

Take a moment to think about what you think about everyone around you.  Think about your friends, people who aren’t your friends, coworkers, relatives, classmates, and anyone else.

Answer the following questions of 5 to 10 people:

  1. What is your opinion of that person? Do you like them, do you find them annoying, a know it all?
  2. Why do you feel that way?  Was it one thing they said, was it repeated actions, was it what others said?
  3. What was your first encounter with that person like?
  4. What are most encounters like?


These are the questions I would like you to think about and are questions I am going to think about also. 

I was reminded this weekend that one impression of a person isn’t usually how that person is.  I was a miserable cocky kid in high school but that is not who I am now.  If people went off a first impression of what I was like in high school they would not think much of me. 

You can’t go back in time and change things but what you can do from now on is to make sure you make the right first impression yourself.

Not only that, but give others some grace.  Don’t pigeonhole them as a certain person because of 1 or 2 encounters.  What for them to do things repeatedly before you form your judgments.

How many of you have heard a true genuine apology?  You know the ones I am talking about.  The ones that don’t have a BUT on the end or any other type of excuse.

“I am sorry we were late but the traffic was bad.”

“I am sorry we didn’t do that right the first time but the guy working on your house was new.”

Take the but out of all your apologies. What if every apology you had you owned and didn’t make excuses.  Everyone around you would be shocked wouldn’t they?

Is an apology with a but really an apology?  I do not believe so.

Even if there is an excuse stop making them.  Your customers and others around don’t care about excuses they just care how it affects them.

So next time you apologize kick the apologies but(t) by leaving it out.

The other day someone asked me a question about what I liked about a church I was going to.  I gave him the answer and then kept saying more and making less and less sense the more I said. 

What should I have done instead?

Answer the question simply with 3 main reasons for the question he gave.  Then ask him THE RETURN QUESTION.  I failed in this instance of a golden opportunity to find out more about this person and what they think.  There reasoning for why they like certain things and to learn from someone older and probably wiser than me.  Instead I made my answer as long as possible and failed to ASK THE RETURN QUESTION.

There are many wise people around you.  Instead of acting like one, why don’t you try to learn from those around you. 

Take a deep breath and think about others first in all you do.  You will learn a lot more from others than you will from yourself.

June 2009
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Learn & Lead

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