Category Archives: Advice

Loyalty + Kindness = Good Reputation (Proverbs 3)

“Never let loyalty and kindness leave you! … Write them deep within your heart. Then you will find favor … and earn a good reputation.” Proverbs 3:3-4

Coach John Wooden said, “It takes a lifetime to build a reputation and a second to lose it.” I love John Wooden. His wisdom is legendary. He has delivered many a “wall hanger” when it comes to quotes. This is another one. I have personally used it dozens of times as a coach and parent.

Coach Wooden was absolutely right; well, almost absolutely.

Rarely does a single instantaneous decision lead to utter ruin of reputation, of finances, of relationships, of life. Almost always a series of decisions led to the final decision which destroys a reputation or any of the other things.

An upstanding businessperson rarely goes from trustworthy accounting practices to embezzling funds or robbing from shareholders in a day. A happily married woman rarely leaves the house one day and ends up in the arms of another man moments later. A vivacious, engaged young person rarely decides in an instant that life is no longer worth living and makes a one last fatal decision.

Given that reality one could actually say, “It takes daily decisions to be loyal and kind over a lifetime build a good reputation…”

If you want to be respected and build influence, choose daily to find ways to share loyalty and kindness. We control whether we are building or destroying our reputation. We exercise that control through our decisions.

What is one choice toward loyalty and kindness you can make today that will change your trajectory in the area of building your  reputation?


One Decision, Amazing Results (Proverbs 2)

“My child, listen to what I say…” Proverbs 2:1

 As a parent of three little girls (7, 5, almost 3) listening is a pivotal activity. When I truly listen to my girls I hear amazing things flowing out of their hearts of innocence and minds of wonder. When they listen to me they learn new skills, are protected from danger and stretch their understanding of what is possible.

As a husband when I listen to my wife about the schedule for the day or the errands I need run before I come home from work, our home functions more smoothly. When I listen to her posture, her face, her eyes, I hear the meaning in her words and our hearts are connected.

As a child of God when I listen to what He says I will:

  • gain knowledge of Him
  • understand an appropriate awe of Him
  • receive wisdom
  • understand what is right, just and fair
  • find the right way to go
  • be filled with joy
  • learn discernment in relationships
  • guard my heart

The choice to listen is a choice to live a life full of meaningful relationships. How can you listen better today, in the next hour? How will that choice change the trajectory of your day?

Clear and Present Need

Simple, courageous decisions are the only road ahead for the people of Japan and the rest of us trying to support them in their nearly unbelievable circumstances. No matter who we are if we have a bed to sleep in tonight, a roof over our heads, and food on our table, we have it better than thousands in Japan (and millions around the world for that matter). Take some time and think hard about a place you can help in some way. There is no “small help” when life hangs in the balance.

Here are a few links if you need a little direction:

Japan Relief

World Vision (this was my means of choice)

Clean Water for Africa and India

There are dozens of other places you can give from the excess you have – time, money, attention, love, a hug. Do it today. Do it right now. Don’t wait.

Make a simple choice to make a real difference in the life of someone who needs your help. Change your trajectory and the trajectory for someone else today.

Dictators Rise and Fall Through Social Media… Really

Talk about the power of simple decisions. Our world is experiencing an unprecedented, incredible, and very recently, with the violent attacks on protestors in Libya, a tragic time. National governments in the Middle East are being toppled, literally toppled on the back of the internet. (The hope is this ends up being a good thing. Into a vacuum commonly races chaos, so we’ll have to hold our breath and support the people of these countries in whatever way we can.) Twitter, Facebook, and other social media outlets helped bring down Egypt’s government as the up-to-the-second activities of protesters and Egyptian military played out on the screens of laptops and hand-held devices around the globe.

Now Libya’s government led by the infamous tyrant, Muammar Gaddafi, is teetering. More than 230 have been reported killed in their attempts to secure more freedom and a more democratic process. Freedom always comes with a price. Many who are already “free” take that entirely for granted. For those in Libya, the current cost of even the hope of freedom is senseless, escalating human casualties.

All the while social media is telling the story, the real human story. As gatekeepers around the world scramble to order, arrange, interpret, appropriately slant to their personal political bent, and distribute the information back to the average citizen, reality plays out before our very eyes. If you want to follow a live blog of the events you can – here – (this page will lead you to the next days link, etc, etc, to catch up to the current day) of course, this is Al Jazeera’s take on the events. You see what they decide to show. But it is still, a raw, unprecedented way to watch the events unfold. Very different from the closely controlled “Assault on Baghdad” that played out on televisions around the world in the early stages of the Iraq war. This is a very different time, a very different perspective for the whole world to see.

Social media tools are giving a voice to those who until recently had none. If you have a cell phone and a Twitter account or Facebook page your voice can inspire a revolution. It is happening before our eyes. Never in history have individuals wielded so much power. It is an incredible time, one that will be talked about in human history for as long as their is recorded history of humankind.

The question for you is this: “What decision can you make today regarding your use of social media that will change the world for the better?” You will likely not be asked to give up you life in your struggle for freedom, for the right to pursue a brighter future. Be very grateful for that. At the same time, do something. Choose to use the influence you possess to make an impact today. Use your social media tools to advance the human cause, not just tell someone what you had for breakfast or you’re hangin’ out a Starbucks sippin’ a latte.

Choosing to Make a Difference Now and In the Future

I’ve got to take my hat off to those movers and shakers, leaders in colleges and universities in the fields of Computer Science, Engineering and Digital Design. They truly “get it.” They get what the future is going to look like and how to prepare the youth of today for making both a contribution to global society and securing a future career.

Those private Christian colleges and universities which warrant recognition from the ICPC – “Battle of Brains” regional competitions are –

  • Northwestern College, IA (International Qualifiers in 2009 and 2010)
  • Wheaton College, IL
  • Whitworth College, WA
  • Hendrix College, AR
  • Pacific Lutheran University, WA
  • Cedarville University, OH
  • Bob Jones University, SC
  • Abilene Chrisitan University, TX
  • Bethel University, MN
  • George Fox University, OR
  • LeTourneau University, TX
  • Messiah College, PA
  • Dordt College, IA
  • Southwest Baptist University, MO

Congratulations to these fine academic institutions and their students who will be leading influencers in tomorrow’s world.

Here’s Forbes’ Ranking of the top Christian Colleges from 2010-11 – the ranking number listed is their overall rank among the greater rankings of 615 colleges and universities.

Top U.S. Christian Colleges and Universities (Forbes) –
59. Wheaton College
81.  Westmont College
134.  George Fox University
142.  Pepperdine University
160.  Gordon College
179.  Covenant College
209.  Whitworth University
213.  Houghton College
233.  Oklahoma Baptist University
235.  College of the Ozarks
258.  Calvin College
268.  Goshen College
280.  Northwestern College
286.  Mississippi College
287.  Union University
289.  Huntington University
304.  Cedarville University
316.  Vanguard University of Southern California
324. Biola University
333.  John Brown University
335.  Asbury University
340.  Dordt College
365.  North Greenville University
389.  Seattle Pacific University
390.  Carson-Newman College
424. Bethel University
428.  Azusa Pacific University
435.  Trinity International University
444.  Messiah College
483.  Corban University
484. Abilene Christian University
489.  Erskine College
525.  Oral Roberts University

Greatest American Leader of All-Time?

Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed
is more important than any other.
~ Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln failed more times than he succeeded. His list of failures could almost fill an entire page, single spaced. His obvious successes would likely not fill a decent length paragraph. However, his successes still shape this world 150 years later.

The month which honors his birthday seems a fitting time to bring his triumphs back to the forefront of our minds. While his life was senselessly ended by narrow-minded racism, being gunned down likely immortalized the man and all the good he stood for. Long-term, his legacy would not have been the same without his assassination. No person is without blemish, but those whose lives are taken too soon are often remembered that way.

Abraham Lincoln served as president during the darkest hours of American history – a time which saw brothers killing brothers and fathers killing sons, families being torn apart in unimaginable ways. His resolve to do the right thing, simply because it was the right thing had an enormous cost. Millions of American lives ended violently during the Civil War. Personally, it cost his life. His decision to stand where so many men had withered makes him likely the greatest American leader of all-time.

His decisions were small – freedom for all men, means freedom for all men. Their impact – eternal. What decision can you make today that will leave a similar lasting effect? Make it. Act on it. Change your trajectory today.

Lombardi – Success a matter of…

The difference between a successful person and others
is not a lack of strength;
not a lack of knowledge, but rather in a lack of will.
~ Vincent T. Lombardi

As the Packers prepare to play in the Super Bowl in just over a week I thought it would be fun to think about one of the many great quotes regarding success spoken by the legendary, Hall-of-Fame coach of the Packers. Vince Lombardi by all accounts was one of the greatest “winners” in the modern day. He was not a huge man. He did not coach in an era of multi-million dollar contracts for professional coaches. He came from ordinary roots, but he was no ordinary man.

His wisdom came from a combination of practical life experience, a very strong faith, and time spent at West Point as an assistant coach. When he became the head coach in Green Bay he was determined to make a difference in the face of cultural norms he saw as wrong – namely Jim Crow laws which discriminated on a basis of race and heritage. His strong will to see injustice righted in any area he had influence over made a tangible difference in the lives of his players and in an entire city.

He was a man of incredibly strong will and discipline. Yet, it wasn’t doing the remarkable which made him a success, it was doing the ordinary, extraordinarily well. Ordinary discipline to execute a play on the football field. Ordinary common decency to another human off the field. He was successful because he made the decision to positively influence situations where ever he could. Worldly success followed, but Lombardi was a success even without all the trophies and accolades.

You can be too. It is not about what you don’t have – strength, knowledge, wealth, etc. Success is about what you do have – a will to do the right thing simply because it is the right thing. What decision can you make today that will move you one step further down the road to success? Change your trajectory today.