Hold on a minute. You took a factory tour of G.E and watched the assembly line “Yes, and we also went on a tour of the Hershey Plant”, she replied. Check this out!

It all began with a school project. Interview three people who are specialists in their field. Share the interview as well as some of the principles, concepts, ideas and themes you discovered. Write three to four pages for each summary.

Interview one. Check. How can this be so much fun? Interview two. Same result. Interview three. BAM!

Some of you have already discovered how enjoyable this is in the form of a podcast or vlog. But have you ever thought of conducting one yourself?

Principle 1: If you want to be interesting, be interested.

Here are 5 things I’ve learned about interviewing.

Forget about yourself- Don’t show other people how much you know, when you’re conducting an interview. It’s not the time to talk. It’s time to listen. Let them tell tell their story and don’t constantly interrupt them. When you do interrupt, aim to clarify or probe deeper. Be ready to bob, weave and tuck your head. Throw out the script if the interviewee wants to lead the show. Often they will share something you hadn’t thought about asking.
Take notes- The weakest ink is stronger than the strongest memory. I found that when I interviewed over the phone, I was able to type faster than I could write, so I did. Get the bare bones down on paper however you see fit. Don’t tell yourself you’re going to remember everything. You won’t.
Review as soon as you can after the interview is conducted– Right now you are glowing and your fire is stoked, all the more reason to rehash your interview. Your interview isn’t finished until you write and reflect. Writing creates a permanent record.

The same concepts can be applied to your daily interactions with people. I went to school with a kid who was always asking questions. Back then I just thought he was annoying. Now I believe he was curious and wanted to learn. I don’t know where he is now, but he’s probably a millionaire.

Interview the next person you meet. Give this a try today. You don’t have to tell them what you’re doing. Just ask them some questions. What are their hobbies? Any vacations planned? What are they reading? Find out a little bit about them and see what happens. I can almost guarantee you’ll make their day.
Ask them to clarify things you don’t understand- Don’t just shake your head if you don’t understand. Ask them to clarify. If they name a book or movie and you miss it because you’re not paying attention, ask them to share again.
Process what you’ve learned- This could be the last time you ever see the person or the first of many encounters. The next time you see them you’ll know more about them. Ask them how their daughter is. You may be the only person who is taking any notice of their life and showing that you care.
If you’re going to see them again, be prepared to help them- Clip out an article for them. Recommend a book that will address some of their pressure points or buy a copy and give it to them. Share some Tomatoes from your garden or a packet of seeds. Buy them a card and share some encouraging words inside.

Principle 2: When you get interested, life gets interesting.

If your life has lost its flare, someone is not going to just show up and get interested in you. You need to take initiative. Talk with people who have accomplished things you’d like to accomplish. Talk to people who have a spirit you’d like to cultivate. For example, they are more upbeat than you are or humble. I found out a long time ago that laying around my house in a fetal position doesn’t solve anything. You are Christopher Columbus and their is a whole new world out there to find and explore.

Go to your local library and check out some of the books the people you interviewed are reading. Research their interests. When you broaden the range of your reading, you broaden as a person. You can learn something from everything you read. Don’t be afraid to cross-pollinate your thinking. A new concept you learn about while studying Electrical Engineering may help you better understand something you’ve been pondering for years. O.K, I may be stretching it right there. 🙂 Nobody ever got a good idea while reading a book about how to manufacture Crack.

Principle 3: When you get interesting, other people get interested.

If you love podcasts, why not start one of your own. Start small. There are plenty of free resources out there. If you’re going to do a vlog on Youtube, use your camera phone for now. Don’t worry about all of the details. Build the plane as you’re rolling down the runway. Keep your posts short. Many people today have the attention of a Fruit Fly. They won’t even look at your video if it’s over 10 minutes long, but they will if its as short as 1-3 minutes. Even three minutes might be stretching it at first.

Don’t worry about how many viewers you have. Don’t even look at the stats. In most cases you’ll only get depressed again and find yourself on the couch eating Ho-Ho’s and Ding Dongs. Don’t worry about the money, concentrate on saving the world one life at a time. You can probably figure out the rest on your own.

So if taking a factory tour of G.E or the Hershey Plant sounds about as interesting as having your eyebrows removed, you might want to reconsider. In the words of someone smart, “Your network is your net worth”. There’s a whole world of people out there who are waiting to hear what you have to say but before they listen, they want to be heard.



What Is Your Superpower?

When I was around ten years old, I looked out the window and my grandfather was drowning! Minutes before, he’d been standing in the shallow-end and everything was fine. Now his baseball cap was floating in the deep end of our swimming pool. He was a farmer and there had always been too much work on the farm to learn how to swim.

Have you ever noticed that as we get older, we seem to reach the age where we stop believing or attempting the impossible?  In time, everything becomes routine and we begin to stop dreaming. Just like muscles that atrophy without use, our dreaming muscles get weak.

Then it happens. There is a tragedy or an accident, a set back, Cancer; something happens and we feel powerless.

As a pastor, I can’t tell you how many people have come to me with questions and broken hearts. Be it a failed marriage, bankruptcy, diseases, there are a lot unsettling circumstances in this world.

Then there are the movies, right? Most of us like a good story we just don’t want to be the main character when bad things happen.  But to be a good story, there has to be a disaster.

Here’s a short synopsis. First, there is always the setting. Second, something happens, or goes terribly wrong. The plane, for example, that was flying smoothly just moments before hits turbulence and plummets to the earth. Most are killed upon impact but nine of the passengers live.

After the crash, or set back, you begin to wonder how the story is going to end. Maybe right about now you feel like the plane crashed and there are only nine survivors. How are you, the hero, going to survive and reach safety?  What steps do you take to get off the island and back to the mainland?

Bam! We all have a Superpower. The people on the island reach the mainland again and so do we. It may be because we exercise our superpowers or someone else exercises theirs and the helicopter comes along and lifts us to safety on a stretcher made out sticks and rope.

Here are some characteristics of Super heroes.

  1. Many times, we aren’t aware of our superpower until called upon to use it. Your daughter has Cancer and you stay by the bedside day after day even when it looks like there is no hope. Or, you lose your job and have no idea how you’re going to feed your wife and kids and pay the mortgage. Or, you lose both of your parents in a car wreck. Up until these things happen, we usually feel special in no way at all, but when we’re called on to rise to the occasion, we accomplish the extraordinary. Are you with me?
  2. We often have day jobs. Clark Kent works for the Newspaper. Bill Bixby is a scientist. Although they are capable of great feats, they pass the hours in between being productive and making a  contribution to the world. You may work a job with little recognition then come home and cook supper and help the kids do homework. When your head hits the pillow at night you’re exhausted.  That’s what superheroes do.
  3. We are human. The Hulk has a temper. Clark Kent is insecure. Wolverine is torn between a desire to live peacefully and a need to defend himself against those who wish to harm him. None of us are perfect. In fact, in the words of a good friend, we are perfectly flawed. But because of this, we see ourselves in them and them in ourselves. Somehow we’re hopeful. We realize that our flaws are no excuse to sit on the sidelines and not exercise our superpower. We may not be able to save the world, but we can all do something. We all may not be able to fight, but we can at least carry bullets. We may not have a million dollars but we can give someone bus fare when they ask.
  4. We live marked lives. Despite the fact that we are trying to help the world, there are forces and people who wish to destroy us. There’s an age old world of good vs. evil and the bad guys are out to get the good guys. While it’s difficult enough to pull off the feats that we do, superheroes must always be vigilant for their enemies as well as the falling towers!
  5. We’re likable. Even when we’re gruff. People still can’t help but like us. Why? Because despite all of the challenges we face and our frailties, people love us. In some cases, they love us even more because they realize we are not going to give up despite our struggles. We find out we are a bundle of weakness and strengths. In some cases, we even grow.  Don’t ever believe it when someone tells you they never struggle.

I don’t know what you’re facing right now, but I do know this. You are capable of more than you realize. Up until now you were probably hoping to pass through this world unscathed. Unfortunately, nobody goes through life without pain and suffering, especially when you’re a superhero. But there is good news.

You may find that you are capable of more than you ever realized. Keep doing the ordinary until you’re called upon to do the extraordinary. Remember you’re human and that all kinds of opposition surfaces when you attempt anything worthwhile. You’re also not only likable, you’re loved. Breathe.  It’s o.k to be human.

By God’s gracee, I got to my grandfather in time and eased him back up into the shallow waters. Yet one day, years later, I did end up standing by his bedside as he lay there lifeless. I couldn’t help but stare at his wedding ring. Despite all of his trials and heartaches, he had been a faithful husband and transformed the lives of many people, especially mine. But what strikes me now as I look back is this. That day I jumped in the pool I learned I was capable of more than I could have ever imagined. Not just physically, although that was part of the lesson. I found out I had the power to save someone’s life. Not just anyone, but someone I loved dearly. Go save a life!


As I wrapped up my study time this morning, specifically my time of visualization, I was reminded how exciting it is to have the power to make choices! You will make many choices today and while it is important to make good choices, the attitude you choose is just as important. Let me explain.

We should not only make good choices on a daily basis, we should also be thankful that we have the privilege of choosing!

Maybe it’s because my wife and I watched Lion last night. I promise not to give away the plot, but the setting is in India. Did you know that 80,000 children go missing every year in India? Most of us, however, do not face these types of living conditions. Aren’t you grateful?

Instead, you and I will have the opportunity to make many choices today. In fact, we will most likely choose between what is good and what is best. For example, we may drive through the McDonald’s drive through and that’s o.k. Or we may eat a banana. While both choices fulfill our need to eat, they both have different nutritional value. Meanwhile, kids in India today may eat nothing or have an opportunity to eat something that is less than desirable but has nutritional value.

After we’ve eaten breakfast, you may choose to shower. Most likely you won’t shower for just a minute or two, you’ll shower until you are forced to get out of the shower to go to work or somewhere else (wherever you choose). Do you see my point?

The fact that we have choices should be pretty evident by now. So lets talk about power. If that word brings up to0 many pictures of abused power, think more along the lines of action. What actions will you take today?

First, you’ll have the ability to act and get out of bed. As I write, my son just came into the kitchen and asked me to come and look at a bird he saw outside the bathroom window. The return of our feathered friends in the Northeast after a long winter is something to really be thankful for.  Power allowed him to make that observation and share.

Again, isn’t it wonderful that we get to make so many choices on a daily basis. I don’t know about you, but that makes me feel really thankful.

I’m thankful that I will walk into any room in my house today, flick the switch, and a light will come on.I’m thankful there’s a car out in my driveway waiting to take me to work.

I’m also thankful I’ll be able to take in the scenery on the way to work and listen to some good music.

I’m thankful I’ll get to hug my children and wife today. I’m also thankful for the opportunity of looking into their eyes one more day.

I’m thankful I have a job to go to and all of the tools I need to do my job properly. Today I’ll have the pleasure of writing, reading, helping people, cleaning, etc.

I guess what I’m saying is it’s good to be alive! That may not be the deep, empowering, mind shift you were looking for today, but it sure works for me.

I don’t know about you, but in my limited experience, we have a tendency to take things for granted. Be it our families, our jobs, life itself, friends, luxuries, needs. We all need to make time and recalibrate our thinking. Here is an actionable step I’ve been taking that I think will really help you.


Many sports figures have used it for years. Tiger Woods, for example, visualizes every shot he’ll take before actually taking it. He probably needs to do that off the golf course as well, but that’s another story.

Now let me ask you a question. When you think about the day to come, what are your thoughts? Do you imagine the day being a success or a failure? Enjoyable or difficult?

I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that most people dread their day. Unless they’re going on vacation that particular day. It shouldn’t have to be that way.

Remember, we all make choices. In most cases, we have good options. And, it’s fun-even highly pleasurable- to make choices. So why not choose to not just endure your day but enjoy every facet of it?

Rather than fighting with your spouse today, why not imagine yourself responding in a loving manner regardless of what he or she does.

Do you see the difference? We could visualize all kinds of other things, but we won’t. The important thing is to face the reality of where you’re at, to choose where you want to go, and adjust accordingly.

Likewise, don’t just picture yourself achieving success. Imagine how good it’s going to feel when you….walk across the stage to receive your diploma!….Lose the twenty pounds!….know that you’ve had a date night once a week for a year straight!

The morning is the best time to make this happen. You don’t have to visualize for 10,15 or 20 minutes. Start with a minute or two, maybe 3-5 minutes. Set a timer on your phone. Do it while you’re driving or walking to work. The duration of the activity isn’t important…. building a new habit is.

While you’re at it, don’t get in the habit of doing it the same way every time. You might get some old magazines and cut out pictures of things you like, places you want to go, people you admire.

The key is variety. Often times, we need to keep doing what we’re doing, we just need to be more creative in the ways we’re doing it. Always be on the lookout for new and innovative ways to complete old tasks. In the end, you’ll be thankful and so will the people you lead.

You may love Blueberry pie, but if you ate it during every meal for the next month, I guarantee you wouldn’t be so fond of it 30 days from now! The same is true with this or any new habit. You have to commit for the long haul. If visualization and thankfulness appeal to you, don’t just try it for a day or two, commit to the next 30 days. In the meantime, what would it look like if you were to take a clean piece of paper or your devise and write down 10 different visualization exercises to use during the next 30 days?  Come to the fountain and you can be satisfied!

The Mental Clarity and Proposal App

An Easily Remembered Template For Your You And Your Team

An app by definition, according to dictionary.com is: an application, typically a small, specialized program downloaded onto mobile devices. Fancy words, for a really cool tool that can be used repeatedly to help you achieve excellent results (my own words).

Before there were digital apps, there were written ones in the form of pen and paper. This is that kind of app (for now- I’m sure it will morph into much more!).

I’m super excited about this app because it will prayerfully be the first of many! It’s an app in that it is a short, concise blog post that can be accessed and used repeatedly. At this moment, it seems there is no limit to the potential for this type of teaching.

In reality we are busier than we’ve ever been. These apps are powerful because they can be accessed and implemented quickly.

Introducing the Mental Clarity and Proposal App!

As a leader, it is important that you are clear on the direction you and those you lead are heading. As legendary teacher Howard Hendricks taught, “If theres mist in the pulpit, it will be foggy in the pew.” As a leader, it is imperative that you think and teach with clarity.

There are 5 questions you must answer if you are going to ask those you lead to commit. This idea came about as the result of a question asked by a friend who asked me to clarify a post I had made on Facebook.

The Five Questions.

Who? As you plan your work, it is important to think about who you want to join your team. This is a vital step for those who practice the art of delegation. Before others commit, they want to know who else is going to be working on the project.
What? This is pretty obvious, but it is important to know ‘what’ you plan on doing. You also need to describe your project or objective clearly! The people you lead will not be able to perform the necessary tasks unless they have a clear mental picture of your objective.
When? In the words of Andy Stanley, “Everything has a shelf-life.” When will this project start, how long will it take and when will it be completed? Until you can answer these three questions, you’re not ready to go ship. If you want to be really prepared, calendar the steps necessary to complete the project.
Where? I know what you’re thinking. Pretty obvious. Nevertheless, this is an important part of planning. Determine the where of your project before you ever discuss it.
Why? – In the words of Gail Hyatt, “People want to know the why behind the what.” You may have the greatest idea in the world, but people want to know the purpose before they are willing to fully commit.

Bonus: How? I worked in the construction business for many years under different Foreman. Each Foreman, was in charge of completing the same project. However, they each had their own formula and approach to the work. Admittedly, some were probably more productive than others. At the end of the day, each project was completed. Taking that idea a step further, be open to the ideas and strategies of those you lead when it comes to designing a project. Some of their ideas are probably going to even better than yours!

Step 2: Create Your App! Write these 5 questions in your journal or design a template on your computer. You now have a simple, yet powerful tool that will help you design and implement new and exciting ideas as they arise!