The Secret of Success

Many people may not realize it, but there is more to success than just winning. No matter how many wins we have, all of us can be a success. Here is why.

Coach John Wooden tops the list of college basketball coaches with the most NCAA Basketball Championships. Ironically, in Wooden’s mind, being successful as a team was more important than winning.

Most of us don’t separate winning from success. In fact, we equate winning with success. Here is why success more important than winning.

We can’t all win, but we can all be successful.

The truth is we don’t all have the same abilities. Not everyone is an A student. In fact, most of us aren’t.

Not everyone has the same physical capabilities. Although all Goats are animals, not all animals are Goats.  People can win and still not be successful, especially in their own eyes.

Yes, we live in a day and age where everyone is considered equal. But the truth is we are not all equal when it comes to abilities and gifts. Some are given much and some are given little.

For example, Wooden had some great teams. He led eleven of them to NCAA championships. Yet when asked which team he felt was most successful, he named his 1959-1960 team. That team barely broke .500 for the season and ended up with a record of 14-12.

Why then would one of the winningest coaches ever consider them the most successful team he ever led? Because they played the closest to their fullest potential!

Remember, we can’t all win, but we can be successful. That 59-60 team was not championship material, however, what they lacked in ability, they made up for with heart.

To Wooden, what really mattered was not if his team won, but if they gave 100 percent on and off the court.

Success is ‘the wonderful feeling we have when we know we’ve given our all’. -John Wooden

In Wooden’s eyes, the successful players weren’t the most talented ones, successful players were the ones who gave it their all.

In fact, part of the reason his teams won so many championships is because they trained hard and fast during practice. They often made more mistakes on the court because of their speed, but they often won because other teams could not keep up with them. They were so fast, because they had been trained to give their all.

Now think about your own tribe. Imagine if you encouraged those you lead to give their all.

If you’re a Dad, imagine if you taught your children to give their best on and off the court.

Imagine if you encouraged your employees to give their best and rewarded them accordingly.

Imagine if you were the best husband you could possibly be. Yes, that might take some effort and some intentionality, but imagine the rewards.

Imagine if you inspired someone to give their best and they inspired others to do the same!

There is a catch. If we’re going to expect those we lead to give their best, we should give our best.

Specifically, you need an overall plan. You also need to write that plan down. You can’t expect your team, be it family, employees or church members, to perform well, unless they know what is expected of them.

In the words of Andy Stanley, “Every family has a game plan, the problem is nobody knows what it is.

Getting back to you as a leader. You’re not going to give a peak performance unless you take care of yourself. Whatever you do, make sure you put your own oxygen mask on before worrying about those around you.

Find out what fills your tank, and then make a point of doing it.

Find a mentor to pour into you; many of them are excited to share what they’ve learned with you.

Carve out time to pursue your hobbies and dreams.

Read, read, read. Warren Buffet averages 500 pages of reading a day! In fact, the overall consensus is that people who earn the most, read the most.

Eat right, think right, and exercise. Remember, you are a role model. Set a good example for those you lead. As you get healthier and achieve greater success, they will follow your example.

We’ve all felt the disappointment of failure at one time or another. Maybe it was a wasted weekend or a vacation. Perhaps we’ve failed in a relationship or even on the job. Sometimes we may feel like we’ve failed our children or our spouse. There are all kinds of places off the court where there is a potential to fail.  But failing doesn’t have to last forever.

The good news is that we can end the sickening feeling we get when we lose if we simply change our definition of success.

Wooden always told his players to hold their heads up after a game, regardless of the results. He believed if someone were to see one of his team members after a game, they shouldn’t be able to tell who won or lost based on the player’s attitude and body language.

How can we hold our heads up after a loss? We can hold our heads up if we know that regardless of the final score, we gave it our all.

As always, please feel free to leave your comments in the box below!


Your Mate Shouldn’t Be #1

If you’ve searched the world over and found ‘the one’, or if you’re still looking, it’s time to refine your search. There’s nobody out there who is going to fill that spot, except for one person. Today you’re going to learn about that person and why they’re the only one who can make you happy.


Between my second and third year of college, I met her. The one, that is. Or so I thought. Nine months later, or so, she was gone.

I remember sitting in the dining hall at Plattsburgh State looking at an Apple Jack floating in a spoonful of milk and not having the strength to eat it….Good times! Need I say more?

I was fortunate, my ‘one’ got away before marriage. Since then, God has given me an incredible wife.  I couldn’t have hand-picked a better one and she is an amazing mother to our children to boot.  Maybe you weren’t so fortunate. By that I mean, they were ‘the one’ but now that you’ve been married for a while, that’s no longer true.  I’m not saying marriage is easy, but it becomes even more difficult when we place demands on our spouse that they are incapable of meeting.  Although I’m not perfect and never will be, I have learned a thing or two.


Here’s the catch….If your ‘one’ is not ‘The One’, you’re going to be sorely disappointed as you go through life.


Let me explain. I’m glad my ‘one’ got away because I hadn’t meant ‘The One- Jesus’ yet. Maybe if ‘the one’ had stuck around, I wouldn’t have met ‘The One’ shortly after. I met Him and the rest is history.

The bible says, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and most important  command.” Matthew 22:37-38.

How do we keep the greatest command in the whole bible? By loving God with all of our heart, soul and mind. If we love anything more than God, that person or thing becomes an idol.

God has given us this command because he loves us more than we could ever imagine and knows we have a tendency to put other things and people before him. He also knows that idols will let us down every single time. The fact is, nobody can meet your needs and wants better than God!

So, is it possible that you’ve put your mate on such a pedestal that you’re expecting them to be perfect? Good luck with that. If I told you that your spouse is God, you’d laugh out loud and say that was the most ridiculous thing you’ve ever heard. However, as a pastor, I meet and talk with many people who expect their spouse to be perfect.


Maybe you’re not married yet. In fact, maybe you haven’t met ‘the one’ yet. That may be better news than you think! Have you met ‘The One’?


If you haven’t, why not talk with a friend or someone else who knows Jesus. Ask them to introduce you to him. (By the way, that’s also a good way to meet your future mate….wink, wink).

If are single, and you do know ‘The One’ (Jesus), are you compromising your Christian values in the pursuit of love or are you upholding them? I hope you’re not compromising and thinking you’ll come clean and pursue your relationship with ‘The One’ after you reel in ‘the one’ (a.k.a the hot, handsome, fun guy at the gym). Here’s why.

Like attracts like. While you pursue ‘the one’, it’s important that you be the kind of person you are looking for. If you want to meet someone with little or no moral values, go for it. The choice is yours. However, if you want to meet someone who is trustworthy, reliable and puts the needs of others before their own, then you need to be that kind of person. In fact, those three brief character traits pretty well sum up those of ‘The One’.


No matter where you are on your journey, it’s not too late.


– Don’t let your mate take the #1 slot in your life; only God can fill that space.
– Be the kind of person you expect your mate to be.
– Pray. If you’re married pray with your spouse. If your single, and looking to marry, pray for your spouse.

Maybe you didn’t know it, but according to some studies, only 8% percent of married Christians pray together. Out of those 8%, less than one percent of married Christians who pray together divorce.

The national divorce rate for Christians and Non-Christians is 50%. If you like those statistics and want to take a chance, go ahead, the choice is yours. However, if you want to remain married or have a marriage that stands the test of time, pray with and for your spouse!

As always, you can comment in the box below.  What is your own experience with this subject?


Get It Down

A Simple Strategy to Take Your Leadership to the Next Level

As you travel through life, you’ll find that some of the simplest strategies are most effective. Here is an example.

A plan isn’t dynamic until it’s written down. 

Let me give an example.

Most of us have a plan, the problem is we haven’t written it down on paper. For example, you may have a plan for your family, but I can almost guarantee you’ve never taken the time to write it down. The result is nobody knows the plan but you. It might be the most brilliant plan ever conceived, but you have to record it so that others have a blueprint.

This important principle occurred to me while working on post grad work. The classes I take require a final project to put in words the lessons learned throughout the semester. While the papers are very time consuming and difficult, they serve a purpose.

Here are some of the benefits:

  1. They allow you to go back and refresh your thinking.
  2. Others can study and glean what you’ve learned.
  3. They serve as a blueprint so that your team can pursue the intended goal.
  4. Your plan has the potential to out survive you! Others can read and profit from it long after you are gone.
  5. You can go back and tweak your plan without ‘reinventing the wheel’.

These are just some of the benefits. I’m sure you can come up with even better ones. If you do, please be sure to share them in the comments section.

Plans are nothing new. Jesus himself said, “For which of you, wanting to build a tower, doesn’t first sit down and calculate the cost to see if he has enough to complete it?” Jesus realized the importance of doing research before starting a project. In the words of an unknown author, “A failure to plan is a plan to fail.”

One of the things that sets great leaders apart from leaders in general is that they realize the importance of putting their thoughts on paper.

For instance, a friend I grew up with was a contractor’s daughter. There was one rule if she wanted to build something. The first thing she had to do was draw a picture of her intended project. Only after she had done so, would her father buy the materials to build. That’s a great lesson for all of us!

Rather than rehashing your thoughts everyday about your intended project, what if you took a couple of minutes or hours and put them on paper? Better yet, why not record them in a document on your computer? If you did, you would be taking a step many people never do.

One prophet in the Old Testament came to understand the power of this principle. Habakkuk writes, “The LORD answered me: write down this vision; clearly inscribe it on tablets so one may easily read it” Habakkuk 2:2.

Habakkuk, you see, was living during perilous times and the future seemed so uncertain that God told him to record the description of a better future to encourage him during the days between. Preserving a copy of your preferred future allows you to persevere when trials come. It ensures that you will be encouraged in the days to come as well as the team you lead.

Some people lamented that Walt Disney never lived to see Disney World, until someone came along and reminded them that Disney had indeed seen it despite his death.

Maybe it’s your Last Will and Testament that needs to be recorded. Imagine if you died today and there was no plan in place for spouse and/or children? I realize not many of us want to think about that, but it needs to be addressed.

One pastor friend I know wrote a book for each of his children to give to their future spouses. In it he recorded bits and pieces of their lives as well as their likes and dislikes. Unlike many others, their spouses had something a whole lot more reliable to depend on than trial and error.

How about an autobiography? It may never get published, but your future family might enjoy it. Now that I’m older, I have lots of questions I would have loved to ask my grandparents. It may even just be in the form of a personal journal.

Which leads us up to journaling? Admittedly, I’ve only dabbled with this for years, other than blogging the last two years. However, I still believe it has the potential to be life changing for some. You could even make a template on your computer or write one out to reference while you write on paper.

Questions might include

What was my biggest win yesterday?

What did I learn?

What are three things I’d like to accomplish today?

Are there any areas I’ve been neglecting?

What have I been learning from the scriptures?

Of course these are just some ideas to get you started.

Your plan and/or strategy may even become a book one day. Stranger things have happened. Personally, as a creative writer, everything I save on my computer stands to be a potential work. You never know, but the things you write today may be a seed for a larger work in the future!

With that thought in mind, always think of your initial writings and ideas as rough drafts. At first, just focus on writing the bare bones. For example, if you’re writing a blog post, just write down some of your key thoughts and flesh them out as you go along. This will alleviate writer’s block and help you overcome the inertia of staring at a blank page.

Next, file your final rough draft in the drawer for a day or two before rereading it and correcting mistakes and adding to it. In the meantime, your subconscious will go to work and make the process much easier when you write your final draft.

Beware of perfection. Everything worth developing in life takes time and effort. Your first attempts may be lack luster, but with time that will change.

In the meantime, while you’re working out the cobwebs in your thinking and writing, make time to regularly think about your future and write your thoughts down on paper. As someone once said, “The weakest ink is stronger than the strongest memory.”

Ultimately, writing is a lever that makes the hard lifting of thinking a whole lot easier for you and those you lead.

Do This To Increase Your Influence

Sooner or later, you are going to feel unloved. Here’s what to do if you ever do.

Everyone has a favorite subject and it’s not English! It’s themselves. Most people you meet are tuned into W.I.F.M FM otherwise known as ‘what’s in it for me?’

I recently talked with someone who had someone do them a ‘favor’. My friend needed a custom made detail for his new home. One of his friends volunteered to supply the lumber and do the work as long as my friend assisted him. Before the first board was even selected, his friend reminded him how much the lumber would cost to buy and even stated up front that he was expecting some kind of return in the future!

While it’s easy to laugh at this kind of story, we’re all guilty from time to time. While we may not verbalize our thoughts to the people we help, the insinuation is as clear as day.

Now to take this full circle and bring it back to feeling unloved. If you are unloving to others, don’t expect to be loved in return. Unfortunately, that’s the way it works in this world.

I promise, if you haven’t already, you’ll have a season where you expect every one to come knocking on your door. Call it a pity party or whatever else you want. But it will happen. Remember, it’s human nature. But you don’t have to be unprepared when that day comes.

Imagine if you went to work this week and did nothing but sit and wait for pay day. It might work for George Costanza on Seinfeld, but the truth is you’d probably be fired before the week is over. Why? Because you have entered a spoken or unspoken contract with your employer. You will produce a product, and in return you will receive a paycheck.

It’s not a lack of love on your employer’s part, right? It’s because of the contract. You’ve both made an agreement.

The danger of feeling unloved and expecting love is that you stop loving until your needs are met. You see it all the time.

A spouse will go out of their way to meet the needs of their spouse because their needs are being unmet.

An employee stops going the extra mile for their boss because they haven’t received a raise in two years.

Your child stops obeying because their closet door hasn’t shut properly for two years but she watches you keep up on all of your projects.

A friend never calls anymore because they haven’t heard from you in 6 months.

When relationships go South it’s usually because someone’s needs are not being met.

So how do you keep your loved ones from feeling unloved? The truth is sometimes it is very difficult. However, one way is to find out what their needs are and meet them.

Meanwhile, while loving others is a constant job and you’re not always guaranteed success, you can take control of how loved you feel.

The way you do that is to love others, especially the unloveable.

Now that doesn’t mean you should neglect your own needs. That’s not healthy and it’s a good way to destroy your mind, will and emotions.

Jesus said it this way, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself” Matthew 22:37-40.

Notice the command is simply to love without any kind of payback.

But there’s more. Earlier on, Jesus says, “Give your gifts in private, and your Father who sees everything, will reward you” Matthew 6:4. Does Jesus mean to suggest that if we do something publicly, we’ll lose out on our reward?

Jesus is revealing a simple yet profound truth. We don’t need to hang onto our rights and expect payment if God is our heavenly Father. That’s the way most people respond, especially children, but we don’t need to.

The day we realize just how loved we are, we stop expecting love and simply begin to love more. God pays particular attention to people who depend on him for their own needs and go around looking to meet unmet needs.

However, don’t go out and meet the needs of everyone and their brother if you’re not meeting the needs of those in your closest inner circles.

The people closest to you are in your life for a reason and there is never a good reason to overlook their needs, especially if they appear to be unloveable.

Imagine if everyone was a good neighbor, not just to the people next door, but to the people in the same house!

My grandmother used to always tell us kids that we’d be sorry someday for mistreating our siblings and other family members. How did she know? From her own experience.

While you’re at it, remember that the type of love talked about in the bible is not an emotion. It’s an action. Warm, fuzzy feelings sell a lot of Hallmark cards, but people can’t see how you feel about them until you show them.

So what if instead of trying to be a best friend to everyone in the world, you focused on your family?

It may be in the form of a phone call to let them know you are thinking of them the next time you are working.

It might mean finishing one of the jobs you started on the ‘honey do’ list. Or it may mean starting a job that’s been waiting.

You could start a college fund for your daughter. Don’t wait until you’ve got a lot saved, if you do, you may never start.

Bring home some flowers.

Volunteer to help your son with his homework.

The truth is we all can get so busy trying to save the world that we have no energy for the most important people in our lives. In the meantime, if every one would take care of their own, it’d be a lot nicer world. And if you’re wondering about the people in the world who have no family or friends, always remember God cares a lot more about them than you or I ever will. Should we make it a priority to help them? Absolutely, but not at the expense of those who God has entrusted to our immediate care.

“But those who won’t care for their relatives, especially those in their own household, have denied the true faith. Such people are worse than unbelievers” 1 Timothy 5:8