Jun 192014
 
The confluence of social capital, servant & replicative leadership, and systems.

Social Capital.

Servant leadership ( upside down pyramid being the most apt visual )

Replicative leadership ( Level 4 )

Systems thinking ( a la, Senge, Kiyosaki, Gerber, Woodward, Brady, & others less well known. )

They do intersect, and confluence exists in a metaphorical “river” – this spark that connected them together for me came while reading a page in a remarkable book by H.W. Crocker III.

The author is summing up the Battle of Chancellorsville, talking about Robert E. Lee & Stonewall Jackson and the aftermath of the tragedy which prematurely took the latter General’s life in a ‘friendly fire’ incident on the battlefield.

The quote is powerful :

“People matter, individuals matter; no system, however well-oiled, and no leader, however omnicompetent, can afford to ignore the importance of personnel and having the right people in the right posts.”

So so true. Major league level truth in a matter of a short paragraph!

Mr. Crocker then quotes General Lee …

(speaking to one of the Army of Northern Virginia’s chaplains) “He [ Jackson ] has lost his left arm, but I have lost my right.”

To Lee, Jackson was far more than a subordinate officer. He was supremely trusted to handle the fires of war and the enormous task of leading a tired, under nourished, out-manned & gunned, and strongly individualistic group of men. Clearly, he was the right man in the right post; so to borrow a portion of the quote, “people matter, individuals matter …”

What came to be after this decisive Confederate victory quite likely would have been different if Stonewall Jackson, the “great and good” leader in his own right, had lived. Lee had replicated his impeccable leadership traits, skills, and courage in those within his inner circle – he was by definition, a mentor, a teacher, and a Level 4 leader. Yet, while the system in place within the South’s military was pulling victories from the jaws of defeat and causing President Lincoln much angst and soul searching, the system could not by itself replace Jackson. The personnel mattered too much, empowered as they were to take action and lead from the front.

Think about this. Live it out. Build strong social capital -those wide & deep relationships which are cultivated like that of the farmer in his field. Be the example. Live for those whom you serve. Align your personnel to their strengths, and build an iron clad inner circle. Yet, never lose sight of how valuable one person can be to the whole.

Jun 152014
 
(Father's Day edition) - 'Courageous' - 2014 Rascal's Guide to + Movies Series - Two

Just in time for Father’s Day …

… it’s my privilege to post a review, and a very strong recommendation, to watch the movie ‘Courageous‘.

Courageous is a terrific movie filled to the brim with truths in it’s moving, insightful, & heartfelt script. It will tug at your metaphysical heartstrings, and make you really reconsider if you are doing all you can as a man in serving your family.

It is very much the case that not all males are men; a man is created from the crucible of living for far more than a paycheck. He is molded by his culture/society, his local community, his friends, his pastor/spiritual leader, and his family unit. Some men run from their multi-pronged duties, some blame shift, some never mature … and then, there are some that fight back the ‘FLD’ (Five Laws of Decline), and serve their families with honour, with courage, with character, and with a determination to never quit on them.

This latter group is what we see emerge as the movie eventually reaches its plateaus of raw emotion & decision point(s). Without spoilers, the four lead characters each have to come face to face with situations which test their faith (or lack thereof), and put them square in the middle of a moral battlefield. Will each of them make the right decision(s)? Will they buckle under pressure? Will they put the lure of lesser things ahead of the greatness and glory of God?

This movie earns an A+ from this reviewer for multiple reasons – it rings like a tuning fork in the quiet room, for starters. It also is very real; we know these characters don’t exist in real life, yet you can surely see them in the faces & voices of your neighbors. Additionally, the movie doesn’t shy away from tackling difficult issues that may be considered “off limits” by those who don’t understand that one should have thick skin & a soft heart, rather than the reverse.

Who would’ve thought that an independent studio could cobble together the funds to put out such a quality film, one may ask? These folks in Georgia did. This movie doesn’t cut corners and it shows in the high level of acting skill, scenery, and quality of script-writing.

As we celebrate Father’s Day in our land, this is the best way I could show support for all the men in my life who are fathers (and for those who read this blog whom I don’t know!): put up a review of a movie which is a must-see (and must own) to sharpen their saw ( Habit 7 ) and use this movie as a sterling example of what a father should be.

All best!

Nov 042013
 
Why aren't you doing (or have quit doing) something worthy? ...

… There’s a strong likelihood that the reasons are deeply seated, below the surface of your life, and in need of being brought out so you can dedicate your days to something that will leave a mark in our dark world. Being a candle in such a world isn’t the easiest thing you’ll ever embark on doing, however, it will have the most worth — by far.  ( I am living testament to this truth. )

From a fantastic audio recorded from a talk that I had the utmost pleasure to hear and experience in person,  below I’ve recapped the Top 10 reasons ##.  The reasons are fully from the speaker’s vast experiences in working with people for years upon years; the commentary below them is mostly my own, tying to my own ongoing journey taking the road less traveled.

**

10 > Pride

Prideful-ness is a major contributor to many negative traits and decisions. Often, it is connected to crowd-satisfying peer pressure, or negativity of some type. Study ways in which you can learn how to remove pride from your life to the greatest extent.

9 > Besetting sin(s)

In most anyone’s closet, there are skeletons from the past. After all, man is not by nature “good”, he (she) is a fallen sinner. We all have done, or perhaps are still doing, things which are sinful. Many quit something of value to avoid conflict, or to avoid having to confront thing(s) which are unpleasant.

8 > Lack of character

Resolution 2 from the highly regarded book, ‘Resolved’ includes an equation:  Integrity x courage = character. Do you know someone who quit before the finish line?  Perhaps he/she simply lacked the former, integrity itself. Or, on the other hand, maybe there was a shortage of courage at the root. Either way, character counts, as Os Guinness taught us in his short, and profound book of that name.

7 > Distractions

Broken focus. Ah, what was that you said again?!.  Yes, your focus was just broken. Maybe it was the lure of “lesser things” ( good > great , reversing the order ); or, was it a lack of sorting out your priorities from your urgencies and obligations?  Regardless: Distractions hurt the pursuit of the worth (-y).

6 > Comfort.

Odysseus fell prey to a siren song, did he not?  Have far too many modern day Americans, let alone most of the ‘First World’ citizens done the same as this well known Greek legend? Yes, I say — the verdict is in. Entitlements?  You’re entitled to very very little, except which is transmuted to you via natural laws. Comfort comes in many forms – if you want to join the 2-20% of society that is far ahead of the rest, avoid it! Have lots of fun, and restore yourself — self-care, so to speak, but don’t get comfortable!

5 > Dream is too small

The cure for this at the very root?  Three fantastic books:  ‘The Magic of Thinking Big”, “The Dream Giver”, & “Visioneering”.

You have to dream. And dream often & consistently. Please, though, do not confuse this with fantasy, or wishes, or the ‘SFN’ (Something for Nothing) club. Dreaming is a discipline, a requirement to be successful, and very invigorating to the soul, spirit, and mind. Be sure yours are B-I-G. !

4 > Relational challenges

We all have them, or had them, including me. It’s part of life in many ways – people are … people! And, since the 80-98% don’t study, learn, and practice human relations/people skills as a matter of due course, chances are, they have these challenges more often. To fix this instead of quitting something valuable to your legacy, study conflict resolution first. Best books in this area?  “Courage” & “The Anatomy of Peace”

3 > Personal responsibility

You’re the project. Simple as that. You cannot change others, and never, ever should you blame another person, let alone something inanimate, such as a golf club, for what you alone control. Personal responsibility is a brother to personal growth/change; it is the antithesis to dependence. Jump over independence, and move into the interdependent level of action & thinking to really learn how to get better on this point.

2 > Selfdoubt / low belief

Belief, and its companion faith, are imperative in everyone’s life. Quitting, being the opposite of success, easily can tie into missing the ‘belief’ coin. Let alone letting self-doubt, or being in a valley reflect your day to day living. Doubt is cured by plugging into better information — stopping listening to yourself — and, finding better association. One’s ‘tribe’, community, or platoon/foxhole should be shared with only those who are going to edify, uplift, encourage, and coach/mentor you to greater things. Get your hands on the new in 2013 book, “Confidence of a Champion” as a key add-on. It is stellar!

1 > Lack of mental toughness

A leader armours him/herself – tough skin required. Toughness is an ingredient in large quantities. The best read to counter-act this reason for joining the ‘quitter’s contingent’?  “Toughen Up!” — Mr. Hamilton pushes all the right buttons in this 2013 tome. In a world of correctors, cynics, discouragers, and unhealthy skeptics – many of whom do not read, or grow themselves in any other discerning way, adding layers of toughness, while keeping a soft heart, is the right way to prevent quitting due to this reason.

**

My hope is that this list & the books/tidbits tied to them, added a large measure of value. As always, comments & shares are deeply appreciated & welcomed. Gratitude in abundance is how I live.

**

## – that talk was from Mr. Chris Brady. You’ll find his blog in my blogroll, and numerous books that he authored, or co-authored, reviewed and recommended on my second (Tumblr) blog, also linked in the corner of the main splash page.  All the best to him & his family at all times, as his example is one that I wish to emulate as a lifelong self-directed student.

May 032013
 
Service > self

Service.

Self.

Two distinct words.

Yet, how often do we put them in order of what we want vs. what others could benefit by?

Far too often — especially if you live your days in the mass media/consumerist culture.

Changing this at its roots requires heart, mind, and will, all fused together. Can it be done? Absolutely; I am living proof that it can transform a life.

How did I do it?  Or, better phrased: How am I continuing to get better at it?

The answer is that I am purposeful in what I allow to enter my mind. Your thinking is the lever of your life; if you let your thinking go south, let alone take your own advice, or the advice/opinions of those who don’t have the results/success which you strive for, you’ve lost a battle. Does this mean that the war is lost too?  Not in the least!  Just go back to your “trip point“, which is the information. Information changes lives. Undoubtedly.

Service can be defined so many ways; one way that it can be framed is in the context of servant leadership. When you understand leadership as equaling influence, you know that by being a servant, and putting service ahead of self, you’ve blessed someone else. Ego must be subservient to excellence, just in the same way as service > self.

Self -focus is caused by a society/culture which glorifies success in a mis-defined manner:  By the love of money ( as money is not the root of all evil; the love of it is); by characterizing success as financial (“being rich“) only; by what the celebrities & sports stars are doing; or even by encouraging competition ahead of community/interdependent ( ‘Law of the Inner Circle‘ , ‘Level 4‘ thinking.)

Going back to the information as the root source leading to the lever going up (service) or down (self) — it does require humility/humble-ness, hone-ability, a lack of self-deception, and courage to want to take steps to change the information flow. Here in the connected/internet/info age, information is beyond plentiful; it is all encompassing!  It surrounds us like a cocoon, and if we aren’t perceptive, it can impact our thinking in mere seconds. Think of how your mood changes by listening to a negative source, such as the TV news; why would you constantly shovel snow ONTO your grass when you could use your snow blower to REMOVE it?  This is analagous to letting bad/un-edifying/uplifting info into your head when you could turn it off.

Be a blessing to others by serving them. Think of how you felt when you volunteered at a charitable event, or when you donated monies, or when you helped at your church , or when you stepped up to help a neighbor in need. That’s obviously putting service before self, and doing this consistently can be encouraged by starting at the information ‘step’, and observing the changes in your thinking over time.

Thank you for reading, and all the very best in the days ahead!

Apr 102013
 
Making a difference starts with ...

… better quality information.

Contention of the day:   Information changes lives.

Better yet to sharpen that & say:   World class information changes lives, so long as one has the courage to grow, to be honeable, and humble enough to confront his/her thinking head-on.

Personal testimonial. This is what I did starting just about three years ago. The information I had in my life up to that point had produced the results that I had, which, far from bad, were just … mediocre; additionally, my happiness was nearer to low tide than to flood tide level.

So, thanks to finding a mentor, associating positively with those who cared about my happiness and wanted to build a long lasting trusted friendship/relationship with me, things started to change, step by step:  days, then weeks, months, and now, into the years.

Now, rather than spending so much time worrying about things due to a bad attitude (especially on Mondays; now, all 7 days are equal in how much I look forward to them!), and a focus on self, rather than service, I live a far richer, blessed, and fruitful life in all areas measured through the 8 F’s and the 13 resolutions. I used to make ‘resolutions’ ( not really: they were ‘preferences’ and not decisions), and not live up to them; I used to spend a lot of valuable time sleeping in, or watching television, or reading books that just made me angry about current events, but offered no depth based solutions to fix things. Now, each of these time wasters and productivity drainers have been replaced by far more effectives uses of time, which allow me to make a difference and build a legacy; things such as:

Reading world class books – have built up a library and always am happy to recommend titles ( see my second blog for the write ups ) and also loan out books to those who are hungry to change

Listen to audio recordings which make me think, which challenge me to grow more, and which contain voices of those whose results I desire to have.

Watch various webinars, DVDs, and vid clips (You Tube) that contain information which leads me to be able to write up quotes to help stretch my thinking, push me out of my familiar zone, and bless others by being part of the 20% of society which “vibrates” to a positive frequency.

Association with other climbers, encouragers, and dreamers who have put serving others through servant, replacement driven leadership far ahead of their personal affluence, whims, pleasure, comfort, and entertainment.

And, am able to describe to others just how I did it and am able to pay it forward – Level 3 motivation is the capstone of a life well lived. Being a creator and part of a huge sea change in the West (esp America) which stresses putting the entrepreneurial/freedom values like tenacity, creativity, long term vision, and numerous others in one’s day to day lives.

Unquestionably, it is those who challenge their own thinking through the doorway of better information that can lead the way to an even brighter tomorrow. America’s best days are ahead, and so are the West’s, so long as we recognize the golden value of time far, far ahead of the silver value of money, and as we see the actions and habits we perform & take blaze a new pathway to far better results which will make a difference in our life, our immediate families, friends, community, and even, the nations in which we live.

May your days be filled with gratitude & all the best!

Feb 282013
 
How much are you reading?  How much are you growing?

“The keys to life are running and reading. When you’re running, there’s a little person that talks to you and says, “Oh I’m tired. My lung’s about to pop. I’m so hurt. There’s no way I can possibly continue.” You want to quit. If you learn how to defeat that person when you’re running. You will how to not quit when things get hard in your life. For reading: there have been gazillions of people that have lived before all of us. There’s no new problem you could have–with your parents, with school, with a bully. There’s no new problem that someone hasn’t already had and written about it in a book.

Will Smith

 

********
Reading. Such an imperative activity for making one’s life better, yet why aren’t more in the West making it a habit?   There are many reasons, although I’d posit that the vast majority of them are dressed up excuses which are actually reasons to read, once unraveled and consider in depth.
So many of us know Will Smith by his many many successful movies, perhaps his old TV show, or even his time as a music mogul, rapping with DJ Jazzy Jeff 😀  However, were you aware of his love of reading, and how much he values it?   The quote is powerful in its own right, and its shines as a truth beacon.
How often have we spoken with, heard, observed, or been pulled into an unfamiliar or tense situation in any area – say with a friend, a manager, your kids, even a perfect stranger, and not been able to handle it well?  Would not having read some world class books on people skills, leadership, faith, or history have given you the tools to learn from those who had those same situations in their own lives?    Undoubtedly!
I strongly urge all readers to think about this – please don’t react; think. Self-improvement, personal change, and lifelong growth don’t just happen:  They require intentionality, determination, focus, humility, and courage. None of these are talents, though, they are skills, learnable skills. The question that you have to ask yourself tonight is:  Am I willing to make a difference in the lives of everyone I encounter, and in my own mirror, and start to read from quality books?
I hope the answer is ‘Yes!’.
May you be blessed in your days ahead.
Thank you for reading.
Nov 232012
 
Monthly Movie Recommendation for Eagles & Climbers – IV

Today’s blog post is the fourth in a monthly series that I plan to post for the rest of 2012.  I hope all the readers of this blog find as much inspiration, value, & encouragement in these as I intend there to be :)

October’s ** movie recommendation from the vault for eagles ( those who soar! ) & rascals ( those climbers who strive to be part of the 5-10% riding the success curve of LIFE ) is 1982’s  ‘Rocky III‘, written by the star of the series himself, Sylvester Stallone.

As with the previous posts, my perspective with this review/recommendation is to tie the script in with the 13 resolutions for LIFE and/or the 8 cornerstone F’s, along with a short take on the movie itself. Due to the movie having been released nearly a quarter century ago, there’s nothing original to be said in the latter 😉

In this 2nd sequel to the ground-breaking original from 1976, we find Rocky at the top of his game. He has won the Heavyweight Championship from Apollo, and he and Mickey, his original and current manager, are seen in the opening montage, along with Adrian, while Rocky is on a domestic and international tour, defending the title and remaining undefeated throughout. Survivor’s iconic song, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VgSMxY6asoE is playing in the background 🙂

Fast forward from here to Rocky’s first in person encounter with his nemesis in this film, Clubber Lang, played by, a debuting to the big screen/celluloid star in the making, Mr. T. Clubber is clearly the guy with hunger and passion, and his purpose is clear:  He wants the title, and he will go through whatever it takes to get it. Rocky, on the flip side, is basking in the peace and affluence of being on the peak of the mountain-top.

We see what happens when there’s a clash of hunger v. satisfaction “as is” – Rocky is pounded mercilessly, and loses – badly. Along the way, as the narrative advances, Rocky is re-introduced to his former adversary/foe, Apollo Creed, and he and Apollo build a relationship and bound together as friends with aim at common goals: to regain the title and rediscover Rocky’s hunger and original passion, his courage, and raw determination. And, with this movie being as popular and long-lasting as it is, we all know the end result:  Rocky, against all the odds having been stacked up against him by the critics, cynics, and even his own subconscious mind for a time, wins, and wins going away. The final 5-10 minutes are stand up and cheer all the way!  😀

How does Rocky’s dream, struggle, and victory storyline tie in with the 8 F’s of LIFE?   Let’s look closer:

Family – Rocky & Adrian had their first child, a boy, in the first sequel a few years hence. He is now growing up, and Rocky feels a pull on himself that did not exist before:  He now has two very important cornerstones in his life that transcend boxing, and his mentoring/coaching relationship with Mickey (and later Apollo).

Faith – Rocky always says a prayer in the corner before his bouts. Like with many athletes, including much more recently, Tim Tebow, this grounds him properly before he goes off to make his living in the center of the ring.

Friends – Mickey, while a tough nosed trainer, has become a trusted friend to Rocky. Rocky grew up under his tutelage, after all. Rocky also forms a concrete bond with Apollo Creed as the film moves forward after Clubber won their title bout.

Finances – Rocky started in the original movie with very little money, and by the time of this second sequel, his success in the ring had brought him riches that seemed to have no end: endorsement deals from all corners, title bout monies from promoters worldwide, and merchandise sales from his public training! ( the latter thanks to the entrepreneurial Paulie 😉 )  However, it is clear that the money took the edge off of his hunger, determination, and willingness to be a student. This cost him far more, at least for a good chunk of the film, than what he had gained.

Fitness – The training montages from the Rocky films are legendary. This sequel did not disappoint one bit!  After Adrian reached Rocky’s soul with her admonition on the beach, it was like the ‘Italian Stallion’ was reborn!  His heart (EQ) reconnected with his mind (IQ), and the will to win returned (WQ).

Fun – Rocky knows how to have fun. The initial training at the gym before his title loss was hilarious in many ways; not to Mickey, mind you, but to the fans who came to see the champ up close.

Following – Leadership is character in motion; Rocky’s character is battle tested throughout the series, and in a special way in this sequel. Having lost his original fire in the belly (hunger), not to mention his humility, he had to rediscover them both after experiencing failure. Failure is simply an event; every leader knows this. However, until Apollo came along, let alone his wife’s from the heart (to heart) talk, Rocky identified his loss to Clubber as a failure = he as a man, and as a father/husband. His success that won him the title originally was based on failure after failure, including mistakes!

Freedom – The financial windfall after defeating Apollo in the sequel gave him plenty of freedom through wealth:  wealth is composed of time and money. However, it came at a steep price – he paid it in spades, and once he found his purpose ( the convergence of potential, passion, and profits = hedgehog concept, all credit to Jim Collins ), this type of freedom was grounded not on a foundation of mud and sand, but rather on concrete.

The 13 Resolutions apply rather neatly to the narrative as well –

Purpose has been mentioned numerous times; Rocky’s character ( integrity x courage ) was put through the furnace of struggle. His attitude needed a lot of work, and his friend and wife helped him immensely to fix it at the core. He struggled with vision, due to issues that too few of us understand:  the subconscious mind is so much more powerful than the conscious, and for Rocky, the former was in a war with the latter, and when this happens, the person almost always doesn’t get what he wants. He needed to understand the immense value of PDCA’ing, including grasping that his scoreboard/card was missing some key elements.  Along the way, he built a deep seated friendship with Apollo, and grew closer to his wife, who clearly is his friend and confidante as well as his spouse. Undoubtedly, his finances improved markedly by being a champion, however, he let the affluence get to his head & heart, which whittled away at his will to win. Leadership includes so many features, inc. the willingness to change, to have priorities in line, and to be interdependent, and practicing team-work. Along the way, Rocky learned how crucial each of these are to being a winner both in and out of the ring. He also had to learn how to be a better man, which often comes by truly grasping conflict resolution skills; triangulation, avoidance, and silence are each poor substitutes for truly getting to the heart of what’s dividing one person from another. His thinking was also lacking both before his startling defeat at the hands of Clubber Lang, but also after during the initial training with Apollo. Systems thinking shows that circular reasoning, such as knowing something needs to be different (behavior/understanding) to face a new foe (a threat, competitor, et al.) and responding defensively will simply not work. Unquestionably, we saw that Rocky’s adversity quotient was lower than one might expect from having a World Championship belt around his waist; so it took a crushing defeat, a return to basics, bonding with his wife, and a new friend to bring his equation of IQ + EQ + WQ up to the standards required to again be victorious. Last of all, Rocky’s legacy was put in serious doubt due to his response-ability after winning the belt. He didn’t realize that Mickey was accommodating his protege, which dulled his passion and iron will. Of course, this led to failure and defeat, and in some measure, took Rocky back to his roots through the eyes of Creed, his new mentor. In the end game, though, his legacy was restored to its former glory, and his fans went wild after he took Clubber and pounded him into the mat 🙂

While some see this movie as simply a sports flick, there is so much more below the surface. As usual, a sensus plenior / metaphorical perspective produces so much more lessons than a sensus solum / surface level one.  Thank you so very much for reading, and as always, shares & comments are most especially welcomed.  Namaste!  🙂

Sep 262012
 

A few months ago, I was fortunate to be watching, listening, and taking notes from a live stream webinar where the topic of “momentum” as applied to one’s mental fitness, was the cornerstone of the speaker’s talk. He surely hit a grand slam with his research findings!  I do have to agree with him; he said that he didnt know of much discussion in leadership/self-help/personal growth/life coaching circles on this topic, and I haven’t seen anything to contradict his take.  So, with that in mind, and in the interests of paying great information forward in the blogosphere, here’s what I took away from the webinar on my trusty iPad 3  🙂

Feel free to comment & share, and regardless, thank you for taking some time to visit my blog!

___________________________

Physical momentum is preceded by your psychology. You must get a positive current in the pool ( i.e., with your finances, job/career, thoughts/thinking, family )

Mass & motion = two big factors.  How many are moving forward in life?

 

Jim Taylor –  Momentum Chain  – 5 steps

1. Precipating or game changing event
2. This game changing event causes a change in attitude for those involved –>  increase hope, energy, & confidence
3. The change in attitude = leads to change in behavior
4. The subsequent change in behavior will lead to a change in performance  ( an offensive / thriving mindset takes hold. )
5. Lastly, the change in performance drives a change in Results

 

Even a person who is, in all respects, a fish floating downstream (no purpose, lack of vision, just looking to the next day or next weekend) – can & does come upon a game changing event once in a while;  i.e., an unexpected shift in his/her financial outlook, a promotion, a chance to open a new business.  Therefore, he/she must create & capitalize on it.

 

Two Key / Different Ways :

1. Be the Example  ( Leaders lead from the front )
– with purpose , attitude , strong adversity quotient –

 

2. Law of Buy-In  ( getting the big ‘mo )
– get others bought in to what we’re doing –

a.  Excitement
b.  Encouragement – exhorting others
c.  Edification – be a ‘good finder’ in those whom you encounter

 

What’s your purpose?  Living just for the upcoming weekend?  What’s your goal(s) in life?

What do you want?  What’s the price?   PAY it.   ( Resolution 5 )

Developing the right attitude ( Resolution 3 )

– Must constantly crank down the volume on the negative  voice(s)

– Are there bugs on the windshield or are you looking in rearview mirror , be sure to you are cleaning your ‘glass’

– Have to re-frame & get a different perspective all the time.

 

3 Choices :   Give up, give in, or give it all you got.

 

Action – Starts w/ Courage : always a choice there. What holds us back ?   Could be the …

 

Fear of Man
Fear of Loss ( hunker down.; chase freedom, will get security )
Fear of Failure ( only way we learn! )

 

In sum, don’t be a captive of your fear, say no excuses, & have no regrets.  🙂
Making it a romantic battle beats the alternative = going thru the motions / getting into a rut !

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Deepest appreciation to well regarded business owner/entrepreneur and devoted family man, Kirk Birtles, for taking the time to put together such an inspired, educational, and informative talk!  The content is his from his research & is mixed in with my note taking / added verbiage; it is my privilege and desire to share it here in the blogosphere – if we, combined, can help touch even a single life and make it better, the mission is accomplished.

Sep 112012
 

Todd Beamer answered the call.  So did the other courageous men on Flight 93.  Leadership is so often mis-defined, even with the volumes of books explaining what true leadership is and must be.  Please be a life student, always be ready to answer the siren call of leadership in your day to day life. Do not outsource your thinking, your education, or your freedom to anyone:   Be ready.

 

Aug 312012
 

Today’s blog post is the second in a monthly series that I plan to post for the rest of 2012.  I hope all the readers of this blog find as much inspiration, value, & encouragement in these as I intend there to be :)

 

August’s movie recommendation from the vault for eagles ( eagles soar = leaders ) & rascals ( those climbers who strive to be part of the 5-10% riding the success curve of LIFE ) is 2004’s re-imagining of the classic tale,  ‘King Arthur‘.

 

 

 

 

 

 

As I am the fortunate & blessed owner of a business that gives me the privilege of serving others and blessings their lives by helping them grow in 8 ‘F’ categories – this review will focus on how King Arthur’s script ties into numerous of these, including Following (leadership), Faith, Friends, Fun, Family, & most especially, Freedom.

The movie begins in the mid 5th century, A.D., and swings from the Black Sea up to Hadrian’s Wall, which was built three centuries earlier, during the reign of Emperor Hadrian, to separate Romano-occupied Britain from the natives ( Picts; in the movie, known as ‘Woads’ ) who were very tribal and considered the Brits their enemy. At this historical point, during antiquity, the Roman Empire was essentially a dead letter, as swaths of what is now Italy were being over-run by barbarian invaders from southern & north-central Europe. However, in a time long before the information age’s 24x7x365 communication, up in Britain, only a small select few, inc. Bishop Germanus ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Germanus_of_Auxerre ) were keenly aware. In fact, it is the Bishop who informs Artorius ( at this point, he is now the commander of a group of Sarmatian knights ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sarmatians ) ) that the Romans were planning to withdraw from Britain, and leave the Picts (Woads) to deal with the invading Saxons, who were coming from what is now Germany, and pillaging the countryside north of Hadrian’s Wall.

Suffice to say, the Sarmatians were not free; earlier on, it was established that when the Roman legions beat the Sarmatians on the battlefield, in order to avoid death, they (and their sons) had to serve 15 years under a Roman commander, without the ability to negotiate terms, and at threat of death far away from their homeland near the Black Sea.  Artorius, however, had been a benevolent commander who put these men ahead of himself, and had shown himself to be a character (integrity x courage) based servant leader.

Advancing the narrative forward, Artorius/Arthur had to lead his men on a final mission before they received their Roman paperwork which said they were free.  This mission required amazing levels of courage – testing everyone to their breaking point and putting them in mortal danger from both the Saxons & the Picts/Woads. During this time, it is established that there is a family based tie between one of the Picts & a woman that Artorius rescues, and the relationship with his knights is established with broad brush strokes – you really get to know what makes each of these men ‘tick.

Without spoiling the rest of the script for those readers whom might not have seen this movie and/or haven’t in a while, I will move on  🙂

So, from my perspective, what does this movie teach us about the “F’s” mentioned above?   a LOT.

1. Family

– Artorius/Arthur’s family life is shown in flashbacks & during scenes as he reflects back & looks forward to a day when he doesn’t have to spend most of his waking time fighting simply to survive to return to Rome as a conquering hero (all the while putting his knights’ lives ahead of his own.  Thick skin = soft heart. )    Family is simply the cornerstone of every age there ever has been —  from Antiquity/Iron Age, to the agricultural, industrial, corporate industrial, and presently, the information/tribal/connected age.

2. Fun

– These men certainly have their fun times!  Even in such a rough & tumble era with very little of what we all now take for granted, they have a grand time when they aren’t on the next battlefield.  Fun, when had in the right dosage, for the right reasons, is crucial as part of a personal growth journey.

3.  Faith

– Arthur is unquestionably a Christian. This is shown very early, when he says a prayer to God on behalf of his men before this final mission. You also see the contrast to Germanus, who is more ‘religious’ than a Christian, and to Arthur’s best friend, Lancelot., who has no faith – he having been apart from his family for 15 years, and not converting from being a pagan to his commander’s faith.

4. Friends

– These Sarmatian knights, with little choice but to migrate to Romano Britain and be held captive, lacking in many of the eight meanings of freedom, and being apart from their birth families and friends thousands of miles east-bound, learned, over time, to place their trust ( character x competence ) in Artorius.  This trust led to bonds of friendship being created that kept these men from turning on each other even when the pressures of losing & certain death awaited them at most any turn, esp. north of Hadrian’s Wall.

5. Following { Leadership }

– Leadership is influence ( http://www.moneymatters101.com/books/launch.asp ) and beyond …

One of the best, by far, definitions was coined by leadership experts, Chris Brady & Orrin Woodward, in their landmark book, ‘Launching a Leadership Revolution‘ :

Leadership is the influence of others in a productive, vision-driven direction and is done through the example, conviction, and character of the leader

Arthur is a true and unquestioned servant leader. He exemplifies this above definition; his life was productive — having grown to be a Roman commander through the define/learn/do process by modeling his father’s example before him, it was visionary, in that he knew how to win, how to be successful, and how to put service to others ( his knights ) ahead of his own self-serving (ego) needs. And, his character and conviction were a sterling example to his fellow Romans ( including Germanus ), his men, and numerous others – even one of the Saxons!

6. Freedom

The capstone of this review = freedom. Freedom is NEVER free. Never was this more true than in this era!  See above re: the Sarmatians, let alone the peoples who had to slave away daily just to survive behind Hadrian’s Wall, or those Romans were were over-run by the barbarian invaders to the south — although this latter group surrendered their freedom in trade for complacency, false security, comfort, and hand-outs.  ( read this classic :   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_History_of_the_Decline_and_Fall_of_the_Roman_Empire for much more )

Freedom is so well defined by Oliver DeMille. I consider him to be the most renowned expert on this “F” alive today;  his books and audio recordings, available through my business, are must reads and must listen-to’s.  He would likely concur that Arthur was a true patriot, and lover of freedom; again, without giving away too much of the plot/script, let’s say that as the movie reaches its crescendo, Arthur realizes his purpose, and puts his life on the life for his legacy and destiny to be written!

To wrap up this review, even considering the number of likely historical inaccuracies, I can unequivocally recommend this movie to anyone who is interested in personal growth/change, leadership, freedom, & success.  I find that spending time around eagles, and climbing with them is the only way to live a purpose-ful life.  I pray that you found this blog to be interesting, inspirational, and infomative!    Many regards, blessings, & well wishes on your own personal success trail!