It’s Not Too Late

Reawakening Your Passion

The fact that you’re reading this, tells me you’re the type of person who wants to get better.  However, those who are constantly trying to move forward, eventually lose momentum.  It doesn’t have to be that way.


Last year I lost about twenty five pounds over a six month period.  It doesn’t sound like much, but it was life changing.  My wife claims it was closer to thirty.  Whatever it was, it didn’t last.  I ended up going through a tough season where I didn’t feel like doing much of anything.  Needless to say, I ended up gaining back about half of what I’d lost.  Maybe you’re there right now.

It may not be weight, but some kind of personal gain.  Maybe it was a great routine or saving money.  Perhaps you had a regular date night with your spouse.  You’re not alone, all of us get side tracked at one point or another.

Rather than thinking about what you’re going to do next to get your mojo back, why don’t you just pick up where you left off?  That’s what I did.  I went back to cutting portions, making healthier decisions between meals, eating a good breakfast, cut soda, started drinking my coffee black.  As of this writing, I’m no Adonis, but I have lost some of the weight and experienced some victory here and there.  With a little persistence, I will get back to where I was and start working toward my initial goal.

In the words of John Maxwell, “We all have uphill hopes and downhill habits”.  You’re not alone.  We’re all in the same boat.  But it’s also not too late!  The minute you start believing that, you’re all done.

It’s not too late.  It’s not too late.  It’s not too late.  That’s not a typo.  I’m here to tell you there’s still hope.  Doesn’t it seem so simple once you boil it all down?

You don’t have to give up on your dreams.  Here are some tips to help you as you transition into your next season.

Get a Partner– Rather than placing all of the weight on yourself, there are other options.  For example, you can get an accountability partner.  Did you know that 90% of people who have a partner, stick with the program?  On the flip side, only 10% of people who exercise, have a partner.  Ecclesiastes reads, “It’s better to have a partner than go it alone.  Share the work, share the wealth.  And if one falls down, the other helps.  But if there’s no one to help, tough!” Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 (The Message).  A partner will be there to pick you back up when you fall and encourage you to keep going.  Get one!  What are you waiting for?

Measure your Results– I used to be the type of person who only weighed in about once every ten years, beside Dr. appointments.  Now I weigh in daily.  There’s one thing I’ve learned- numbers don’t lie!  Monitor your progress.  When the numbers or results aren’t what you’re aiming for, make adjustments in your strategy and capitalize.  It will pay HUGE dividends.

Call a Friend– That’s right!  The importance of connection can’t be emphasized enough.  So when you call them, make an appointment to meet and catch up.  The reason we sometimes struggle is because we don’t take the time to cultivate our relationships with the people we love and care about.  Just this past week, I reconnected with a handful of relatives at the fair and it totally recharged my batteries.  Who is it that you need to get together with?  The wisest man who ever lived, Solomon, wrote, “You use steel to sharpen steel, and one friend sharpens another” Proverbs 27:17 (The Message).  If you don’t have at least one friend who brings out the best in you, find one!

Whatever you do, I want you to know it’s not too late!  Your best days are still ahead of you, not behind you.  You may not feel that way right about now, but it’s the truth.  So learn from your mistakes.  Instead of trying to continually come up with a new plan, re-work the old one.

Just this morning, while taking my daughter to a track meet, we pulled onto a major highway and the traffic was crawling.  At first, we reasoned the State was probably doing roadwork.  Inwardly, I confess my focus was on myself and how I was being inconvenienced.  Granted, it was a fleeting thought, but I admit to having it.  However, as we proceeded further, we saw the facts proved otherwise.  First we saw the red flashing lights and firemen, then a mangled can the size of a car wedged under a guard rail.  A helicopter was idling in the other oncoming lane.  The feelings of being inconvenienced were soon replaced with prayer and thoughts of thankfulness.  I thought to myself, if that person or people are still alive, they’re probably going to have a long road to recovery.

The fact is, recovery takes time.  So if you get back in the saddle, don’t just think things are going to change over night.  They will in some ways, for instance you’ll be relieved that you made the right choice.  But most likely it will take some time to recover if you’ve crashed and burned.  So the question isn’t what are you going to do tomorrow.  The question is what are you going to do right now?  What’s your next step that’s going to set you up for the success you’re looking for?

For instance, if you’ve decided you’re going to start working out again before work in the morning, prepare.  Put your clothes and running shoes out before you go to bed.  In the morning, you won’t have to waste time trying to find everything while you’re still half asleep.  It will all be there waiting for you.

Maybe you’ve decided you’re going to get out of debt.  Cutting up your credit cards may seem absurd, but it’s a partial solution and you don’t have to wait until tomorrow to do it.  While you’re at it, go to the Library and borrow a set of C.D’s on Financial Management or get a book or two.  Better yet, do both.

But whatever you do, don’t just keep waiting for a moment of inspiration to get back to the fundamentals that once helped you achieve success.  Feelings can be nice things, but successful people don’t wait for them to show up, they just get down to business and enjoy the feelings when and if they come.  I’d love to hear about some of the strategies you are using to reach your goals, so please feel free to comment below.  Remember, it’s not too late!  It’s not too late!  It’s not too late!

You Don’t Need A New Life

The Art of Appreciation

If you’ve ever been to a funeral, you know that we have a tendency to remember the positive things about people and forget their faults once they die.  The reverse is true, sometimes, while they’re still alive.  What if you started doing this?


It’s sooooo easy to focus on what’s wrong with your life.  Sometimes it seems the older you get, the more your dissatisfaction grows.  What started out as Measles becomes a full-blown case of appendicitis of the soul.  If you’re not careful, the pain is so bad, you can’t think of anything else.  It can begin with your unruly kids, or your jerk boss, or your horrible house and your insensitive spouse.  Before you know it, you meet the enemy and he is you!  That’s right.  The problem isn’t your kids, your boss, your house or your spouse.  You’re your problem.  And the problem is you’ve gotten to the point where you focus on everything that’s wrong with your world.

So, when is the last time you focused on everything that’s right in your world?  I’m not saying that there aren’t issues in some of those other areas we’ve looked at, I’m just saying that when we face difficulties, we can forget about how good of a life we really have.  For example, aren’t you glad it wasn’t your funeral I just attended today?

Call it positive thinking, call it glass half-full, call it whatever you want.  If you’re always completely focused on what’s wrong with your life and not what’s right, you’re going to be miserable.  Now, if you’re not actively seeking to provide for your family and you’re just waiting for someone else to do it, that’s another story.  But if you’re genuinely seeking what’s best for you and your family, you’ve got a lot going for you.

People say the Christian life is hard and it can be.  I get that.  Though the Christian life is all up hill, God has given us the resources to thrive.  We have Jesus himself, the Holy Spirit, God’s Word- the scriptures, prayer and friends to encourage and strengthen us.  The problem is we can get to the point where we neglect some or all of these things.  Then life gets hard indeed.  If the Christian life wasn’t hard, you’d never grow.

Speaking of the scriptures, the apostle Paul wrote, “I have learned whatsoever state I’m in, therewith to be content.” Philippians 4:11.  Talk about the art of appreciation!  Paul was writing from a Roman jail and explaining what true joy is.  Maybe just after he wrote this sentence, a rat ran under his chair!  Yet, Paul was able to say “I’m content”.  That’s not to say Paul preferred prison over the penthouse suite.  But God can turn your prison into a palace if you’ll only focus on what’s right with your life and not what’s wrong.

Right about now you may be thinking, “he just doesn’t get it, that’s not going to make my problem go away.”  Your right.  I’m not saying to think positive and all of your problems will go away.  What I’m saying is your problems aren’t going to go away unless you change.  And part of that includes your mindset.  If you just keep focusing on all of your problems, you’re going to miss out on the power.  Don’t ignore your problems, attack them.  And that begins with a heart of thanks and appreciation for what you have that’s worth saving.

If you don’t think this is a prevailing mindset, think of the last conversation you had with someone.  As you talked with them, did that person strike you as someone who was truly appreciative and thankful for the opportunity to live.  Or, did they strike you as someone who feels like they need more?  Listen, it’s o.k to want more.  But you’re not going to be more joyful with more if you’re not content with what you have right now.  Once you get more, there will always be more to get.

Likewise, chances are you’re not going to get less.  By that I mean, your best years of health may very well be behind you.  In the future, there may be more Dr.’s appointments.  More funerals.  More bills.  More grandchildren.  Chances are your life is going to get more complicated, not less.  Chances are you’ll have more problems to solve, not less.

Right about now, you may be wondering if it’s all really worth it.  I’m here to tell you, yes!  If you’re 22 or 92, you have a lot to be grateful for.  The fact that you’re even able to read the words on this page, puts you in good standing.

I just started painting with oils again after twenty years and it’s been amazing.  There are a lot of lessons.  Here’s one thing I’ve learned.  It’s frustrating but insightful.  I’ve been painting landscapes, and without fail, there are parts of my painting that come out amazing and others not so amazing.  The next painting I do, I completely flub the part I did well and perfect the part I painted poorly in the last picture.  So, what do I do?  I turn off the inner editor and think to myself, there are many people who would be happy with this, flaws and all.

Friend, your life may not be perfect, but there are plenty of people who would love to have it, flaws and all.  It may sound funny, but I pray that as you work on fixing some of the mistakes in your own life, God teaches you more about the art of appreciation.  No matter what you’re going through, and how many times you feel like giving up, you have a lot to be thankful and appreciative for.  So next time you feel like throwing in the towel, why not change your mind and focus on what you’ve got, not what you want? 

While we’re at it, would you join me?  Lets start focusing on what other people around us are doing right and encourage them.  What if we just constantly looked for opportunities to encourage people who are doing the right think and stopped policing for people who are messing up?  I don’t know about you, but I have a tendency to do a lot better when I’m loved than when I’m criticized.  Love you folks.  Have a great week!

How To Be an Olympic Leader

Why Faster isn't Always Better

Do you ever feel like life is moving too fast? With the end of summer fast approaching and the oncoming of fall, it’s easy to feel like you’re in ‘squirrel mode’. Time to hurry up and start packing things away and getting organized for you know what. But faster isn’t always the answer.


There are actually three options.  To begin thinking about them, imagine a highway.

The Fast Lane You already know what this one is for. It’s the one you get in when it’s time to cover some ground. For some it’s not fast enough, and they feel the need to go faster. The posted speed limit is just too slow. Without getting into character issues, there are some who can travel in this lane with skill without jeopardizing their own life or the lives of others.

The Slow Lane This lane if for those who are not in much of a hurry. You reach your destination in this lane, it just takes a little longer. In fact, in some cases this lane allows you to take more in on your journey. People in this lane are often referred to as ‘Sunday drivers’ in upstate N.Y. where I live.

The Middle Lane This lane isn’t just for those who are looking to go a little slower than drivers in the fast lane or a little faster than drivers in the slow lane. This lane also allows you to navigate between the fast and slow lanes.

I’ve used this simple illustration to point out a few truths about leadership and winning. Top leaders realize that none of these lanes are any better than the other. In fact, they all have equal value. What sets strong leaders apart from the pack is that they realize when it is time to accelerate and when it is time to let up on the pedal.  They’re not afraid to use every lane when necessary.

Some are not so fortunate. They learn the hard way about the value of discernment.

The problem is there isn’t always a highway to take your team from point A to point B. It’s often more like a side road with twists and turns. A great leader knows this and understands when it’s time to slow down and when it’s time to speed up.


Yes, some of you can negotiate S and hairpin turns faster than others, but in general, you’ll do well to take the time to slow down. In the long run, you and your team will be all the better for it.

I was once in Mustang 5.0 with a friend and his brother heading into a sharp turn doing about 130 miles per hour!  My friend and I begged his brother to slow down, but he wouldn’t.  We both knew the turn couldn’t be made at the speed we were traveling, yet his brother was out of his mind.  Miraculously, the car remained upright when it spun in circles as we flew off the road and came to a rest.

Sometimes as a leader, you can make the mistake of trying to impress others by how fast you drive. They won’t be so impressed if you crash and burn and injure everyone on the bus with you.

Not only do good leaders possess competency, they also possess character.  Your character is just as important as your competency. You can lose your competency and get it back. Neglect your character and you’ll never live it down. Why not slow down? Be the leader God designed you to be. You’re not going to impress him or anyone else by constantly acting outside of your giftedness and integrity.

Psalm 78 says of King David, “So he fed them (Israel) according to the integrity of his heart; and guided them by the skilfulness of his hands”. The world of leadership moves fast and it requires both character and competency. If you have to forfeit either character or competency, you’re not being the leader God made you to be. You don’t have to cut moral corners or burn yourself and others out to make a difference in this world.

Again, no lane is better than any other. Each one serves a purpose for a time. What is important is knowing which lane to use at any given time. So how do you know?

You know you’re in the wrong lane when you lack character. Loss of character doesn’t just occur in the fast lane. It can also occur in the slow lane. For example, you know it’s time to shift into a faster lane but it’s not convenient.

You also know you’re in the wrong lane if competency is an issue.  In some cases you may not be using your full competency and God is telling you it’s time to change lanes.  Or you may be trying to appear more competent than you are and God wants you to slow down and get the skills you need.

Before you go off into the mud, why not take a few minutes to reflect? What lane are you in right now? Is this the right lane for you and your family?

Again, some leaders have more character and competency and they can travel fast, but that doesn’t mean you can. When was the last time you let your heart catch up with your mind?

In the rush to reach your dreams and goals, it’s so easy to put the pedal to the metal and hope for the best. However, you need to use sound judgment. Every move you make, the people you lead are watching. More importantly, God is watching.

If you’ll start thinking of leadership as three lanes instead of just one- the fast lane- you’ll be on the road to achieving more than you could ever imagine. In no time at all, you’ll even pass the wrecks of those who thought they needed to get there faster. While nobody wants that, it’s a sobering truth. Leadership from the heart requires both competency and character. The choice is yours.

Small is the New Big

Never Stop Thinking Small

As a leader, you probably want your team to grow. By getting bigger, you automatically assume you will be able to accomplish more and see greater returns on your investment. But what if focusing on bigger numbers really isn’t the answer?


While you may see numerical growth as a worthy goal, chances are many of the people you lead may not. They envision that type of growth as something that will make you less available. Right now, they can reach you when they have to. They fear growth for many reasons and one of them is that it will create distance between you and them.  You’ll no longer be accessible.

They also have fears about becoming just a number. Right now you know them by name and make time to connect with them. If more people come along, they reason, they’ll be just another face in the crowd.  Just another number.  Nobody wants to be just another number.

So do you have to give up your dream of leading a large organization? No. In fact, many leaders of large organizations are beginning to rethink growth. Yes, they still want to grow and recognize the need to do so. However, what they are realizing is that in order to grow big, you have to think small.

More precisely, you have to think big and small. For example, you have to take care of your whole body. But if you neglect the small parts, the results can be deadly. Why? Because both big and small work together. Without properly functioning members, the whole body is less healthy. The point being, individual members need personal attention and care. The best way for them to get the care they need is in intimate settings. So it’s o.k. to think big, but in the process, don’t overlook the details.  Don’t forget people still long for opportunities to connect with others socially.

Hitting more close to home, think about your personal development for a minute. You’re to be congratulated for taking care of yourself and making healthy choices. But what I’ve seen in my own personal experience is that people can get so focused on themselves that it wreaks havoc on the people they care about most. Kudos to you for taking your health to the next level, but in your zeal to improve, don’t forget your family. Having said that, is there a particular area in your life that is in need of repair?  Is there a friend you’ve lost contact with in your flurry of activity?

When you take time to make small repairs, your whole life improves.  Sometimes it only takes a phone call, or a conversation over a cup of coffee. If you’re especially driven, these types of things may seem like a waste of time. If that’s the case, learn how to waste time. God can use what you think is a waste of time to impact people. Again, if you want to have impact, you have to have intimacy.

Model intimacy with those you lead. If you’re a Mom, this means your children and spouse. Don’t get so busy that you don’t carve out time to connect with your loved ones. Relationships thrive on both quality and quantity time. Is there a particular family right now who needs your attention?  You may have the nicest lawn in town, Dad, but your kids could care less, especially if in the process of maintaining it, you’re neglecting them.

You don’t have to wait until you’re bigger to grow.  Maybe you’re discouraged right now because you’re organization or family is not growing. You don’t have to wait until you have 1,000 people following you to be a great leader. Invest in the relationships you already have. “Do not despise the day of small things” (Zechariah 4:10). All healthy large organisms are a conglomeration of small, properly functioning units. Growth is not just about numbers and you don’t need numbers to pursue it. Invest in what you have and God will give you more.

When you study the life of Jesus you see this principle in action. Yes, he drew large crowds many times throughout his ministry. However, as influential as he was, he often made time for up-close, personal, interactions. In fact, it’s likely that his ability to impress people up close impacted his effectiveness with the crowds.  You’ll have no large fire unless you take time to kindle a small one.

Jesus not only spent time with large crowds and individuals, he also spent time with small groups. The last three to three and a half years of his life he primarily spent time with twelve individuals. They ate together, traveled together, played together, cried together and more. Talk about intimate, intentional leadership. When all was said and done, his small band of followers were equipped to turn the world upside down.

If you were honest, in your pursuit to grow more influential, have you started focusing on the big things and neglecting the small? In particular, is there a relationship that needs watering? You’re not alone. In the corporate world we live in it’s so easy to get focused on the macro at the expense of the micro. So if you want to grow, don’t just think big or small, think both.

How to Multiply your Impact Overnight

One Dirty Little Principle that Will Change your Life Forever

Would your life change as a leader if you had more help? Seven years ago, I thought you only had to go before your team and tell them you had a position to fill and you’d get instant volunteers. I was wrong.


Many inexperienced leaders make the mistake of trying to do everything themselves. Common sense tells them that if you want something done right, you have to do it yourself. This works for a while. The key phrase is a while. Eventually Lone Rangers get burned out or realize the importance of equipping others. Like someone once said, you are successful when you better yourself, but you become significant when you better others. Great leaders better others and one way they do that is by empowering them to use their God-given gifts.

But there’s a rub. Many people do not step up to fill available positions when they are asked to do so publicly. Sure someone may once in a while, especially if they’re looking for public recognition, but in most cases nobody will. Let me explain.

As a pastor, I’ve asked people from the pulpit to volunteer, only to hear crickets. There are probably a number of reasons why it happens this way. I’m not a psychology major. The reason this happens, in my opinion, is because when you do it this way, people assume the position you’re trying to fill could be filled by anyone. If it were special, they assume, you’d be looking for someone who is qualified, not just any old person.

What if there was an easier and more effective way?

Lets face it, when you need someone to do a job, you usually have a particular person in mind, don’t you? Rather than just asking anyone, talk with THAT person privately and make your proposal. The worse thing they’re going to say is No. If they do, you haven’t lost anything, in fact you’ve narrowed your search.

We could riff on this theme forever!  Did you ask a roomful of people to marry you, or did you ask one?  Do you ask all of your neighbors to borrow a tool, or only the one who has what you need?

You also don’t put an ad in the Want Ads when you need work done on your car, do you? No, you search the Net or call a friend and ask for references. To go a step further, if you needed brain surgery, I’m sure you’d do your research and find a Doctor with excellent credentials and references.

Rather than asking anyone and everyone, imagine what might happen if you gave someone a personal invitation to meet with you. Then, rather than making an impersonal request, imagine what might happen if you told them why you feel they are particularly qualified and asked them to join your team. There’s a difference between personal and impersonal invitations.

If you’ve repeatedly looked for help in performing the tasks you are faced with and had poor results recruiting people to help, imagine what might happen if this instantly changed overnight.  It’s quite possible there are some who see you trying to do it all yourself and they are just waiting for you to ask them personally.  So what do you have to lose?

The work you’re called to do is a great one, and having the right players in the right seats on the bus is of the utmost importance! Singling people out for promotion is not only important, but your responsibility as a caring leader. People are depending on your leadership.

I’m like you, I don’t know what happens when I turn my iPhone on, but I’m glad it does. The same is true of this powerful principle. You can influence people from a distance, but you have to get up close and personal if you’re going to make a lasting impact. So stop shooting at every duck in the flock and pick just one.