Category Archives: Encouragement

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?


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.

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.

Roadblock to Success – Who Gets the Credit

It is amazing what you can accomplish
if you do not care who gets the credit.
~ Harry S. Truman

Competition brings out the best in people. Competition brings out the worst in people. Both statements are equally true. In our culture which desires instantaneous gratification and longs for even 30 seconds of fame it is amazing who gets thrown under the bus in the name of personal gain. It seems that negative publicity is far greater than no publicity at all.

The desire of individuals to be acknowledged, rewarded, promoted often gets in the way of group success. No one wants to go “all in” with their ideas, energy, creativity unless in the end they will be credited for their contribution. Sadly, no one have ever succeeded alone. No matter how much one would like to claim individual accomplishment and success, we all needed help, collaboration, support, encouragement along the way.

Ironically, at each stop of “success” on our life’s journey, there is a real sense of satisfaction that comes with sharing the credit for our accomplishments. Celebrating individually is empty and lonely – kind of like ringing in the New Year by yourself in the penthouse suite. It might seem like a “sign you’ve arrived” but getting there alone is more devastating than never having arrived.

What is one decision you can make today that will expand your circle of success? What is one area where you can make clear progress into the future by not caring who gets the credit? Give someone a call. Send an email. Make that decision and begin to change your trajectory today.

Failure – Simply Steps Toward Success

Success consists of going from failure to failure
without loss of enthusiasm.
~Winston Churchill

Winston Churchill is one of the most enigmatic figures of 20th Century history in the Western World. Depending on what you read about him and who wrote it he could be portrayed as a drunken boar or a brilliant leader. Regardless of how your historical looking glass views him, the wisdom in his insight should lay a foundation for our view of both success and failure.

In the tenuous moments of the Second World War, European survival hinged on the pure guts of the British people. Churchill led that country and the rest of the world through some of the darkest days with pure courage and resolve. Each of the “darkest days” in our lives can only be overcome by the same courage and the same resolve.

Temporary failures cannot steal your enthusiasm, your zeal for life, your hope. Choose to see them as the merely the steps you climb on your journey to success.