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!

Mar 282014
 
Praise - human relations skill box - Praise

Praise is powerful food for the human soul.

Why don’t we capture the vibrancy of this truth in our dealings with others far more often?

Consider these words from Mr. Charles Fillmore:

Words of praise, gratitude, or thanksgiving expand, set free, and in every way radiate energy … You can praise a weak body into strength, a fearful heart into peace and trust; shattered nerves into poise and power; a failing business into prosperity and success; want and insufficiency into support and support.

Wow. Tell me that doesn’t hit home with you!  Then again, perhaps it doesn’t … yet. Why could that be?  Our common culture disconnects our heart and soul from our mind and actions, let alone dampens our spirit and desire to be more than average.

Fillmore went on to say:

The whole of creation responds to praise and is glad. Animal trainers pet and reward their charges with delicacies for acts of obedience; children glow with joy and gladness when they are praised. Even vegetation grows better for those who love it.

Two books that stand out on this theme that I highly recommend reading and applying their truth nuggets are here and here.

Make it a great day, evening, or week, wherever you happen to be reading this post. Thank you for investing time in doing so & God Bless.

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.

Aug 242013
 
Mentorship - Heroes past & present

This terrific anecdote was part of a chapter in a book that I’m reading with tremendous interest and passion —  the topic is Mentorship & how much it truly matters.

Here it is —

‘The most unlikely of nobodies comes from a small town in the middle of nowhere. Strange circumstances take him from his home and throw him into some conflict that has the future of the world hanging in the balance. Somehow, it is up to him to save us all.’

‘He meets many friends along his path, and they each have something special to teach him about himself, life, or the world. In the end, when the conflict comes to its peak, he finds that he is uniquely qualified ( because of who he is, where he comes from, and what he’s been through ) to come up with a crazy solution that will make everything right in the universe. So, with God’s help, he does.’

” … hero stories … have been among the most influential movers of society.”

Have you been a hero in someone’s narrative?

Can you cite a hero-mentor from one of the books you’ve recently read who impacted you through his/her words, long since written down, with him/her long since gone?

There is so much knowledge in our world that lies fallow in an open field, or buried under rocks, or perhaps a level or two below the waves on the surface of the water. Go after it! Be a life student, then mentor the next generation and lead them to the same transformational lessons which shaped your life.

It is a honour and a privilege to be a mentor, and I plan to accelerate my game plan and mentor many more men & women, of all ages, in parallel as I grow myself personally.

Have a fantastic day!

Aug 112013
 
What you do MATTERS -- Serve. Pay forward. Give. Bless Others.

Ripples in the still water…

They are caused by something which breaks the stillness; something which serves as the cause, while the effect is palpable to the naked eye …

Who among us, likely while with your parents on a hike, a camping trip, or at a retreat, hasn’t tossed a rock into a pond, a lake, and watched with glee as your act caused something so obvious?  Raising my hand, I am one of them 😀

So, why would we, as adults, not apply this same principle to your life?

What you do MATTERS.

Here’s the principle I speak of. This is not a new idea, yet I wished to cover it today, as earlier this summer, I was privilved to hear a moving talk from an accomplished business owner ** ( w/ her husband ) who re-told the story that I’ve linked back to at the bottom of this post. The story is a core of the ‘Butterfly Effect’ , and is synonomous with ripples from a smooth stone tossed as a young child. Rather than re-tell that story, let’s use it as inspiration – print it off, and refer to it often …

Let’s apply this to our lives today. Stop spending so much time on obligations that only benefit ourselves and which have limited value to our families, trusted friends, and our society. Our families are the cornerstone of our culture – thus, the butterfly effect, the ripples, matter – and our culture is in dire need of an infusion of leadership that rises from organic growth of our own thinking. Our friends are valuable, so why would we not spend time and effort cultivating those relationships?  That will ripple.

And, social capital can only be rebuilt by conscious focus on restoring values which will bring satisfaction in our business ownership (or our careers/jobs), our faith/spiritual development, our marriages/parenting, and in our time spent community building (anything from the YMCA, PTA, church youth groups/VBS, et al.)

Yes, what you do MATTERS. Focus on priorities! Match your calendar to them at all times. No excuses, please. If you rank something as #1 in your life, it should be #1 on your calendar in terms of the time you spent on it, as often as possible. Sure, urgencies will arise; so long as you remember Covey’s ‘Big Rocks’ vid clip, the visual should stick with you  to guide you back onto the path in case you are knocked off of it.

It is a privilege of mine to serve others, paying forward world class/gold medal information which has the highest potential to lead to the butterfly effect in others’ lives. Help one person/family/entrepreneur fix an issue and grow their servant leadership?  Define their purpose? Sharpen their vision?  Up their adversity quotient?  Fix their finances at the deepest roots?  Those are ripples. They are priorities for those folks, right?  So, the stone and rock tossed is the information, that which, once learned & applied, will effect the change.

How amazing a feeling to shake hands, hugs, fist bumps, and pats on the back with the people whose lives you bless!  Up your count. Give of yourself & pay forward transformational info that has benefited you/your family/your business. And, you will have  your own opportunity to be the Moses, the George W. Carver, the Henry Wallace, and the Norman Borlaug in your own ways.

+ + +

** Thank you so very much, Laurie Woodward, for your ability to inspire through stories! The story that she cited can be found elsewhere; however, here’s a great source that is found easily online > http://lifetoday.org/connect/words-of-life/the-butterfly-effect/  <

Jul 242013
 
The Three Most Important Q's you will ever ask yourself

Who am I?

+ Do you know what drives your economic engine?  Your faith/spiritual walk?  Do you embrace liberty & know the meanings of freedom?  Do you have a family that means the world to you?  What is your WHY? +

Where did I come from?

+ What are your roots & even more to the point, do you know WHY you believe WHAT you believe?  Be an independent thinker at all times; let no media, PR/advertising, or other outside influence sway you without heart, spirit, and mind being engaged through your own research. +

Where am I going?

+ Do you see your future clearly, whether over present day obstacles/challenges, or clear as the blue sky above?  Do you have a 1,3,5, 10 year vision?  Is your subconscious mind pulling your conscious mind along for the ride to your dreams?  Do not plan more for your wedding, vacation, or your ‘weekend’ more so than your life. The latter is far too important to drift through w/o focus, hard/smart work, & chasing something far bigger than your present reality. +

 

Jul 112013
 
Offense, Defense, & 'Playing' Field ... for Finances / Economics

Economics. Finances. Government budgets. Money. Investing. Spending. Bills.

What emotion(s), thought(s), or image(s) spring to mind when you heard these words?

Fear?

Confusion?

Uncertainty?

Confidence?

I hope that you can answer in a very positive way, however, with the way our culture and society have been so heavily commercialized, flooded with PR/marketing/advertising, and political mumbo-jumbo ( to put it mildly ), I would suspect that the emotion, thoughts, or otherwise would veer rather strongly to the negative, or perhaps just indifference.

Then, let’s introduce an equation which is far from original, yet can help dispel many many myths, confusion, and other maladies which are preventing the mass of our great republic from being able to earn their freedom  – financially ( from being a slave to debt & time ), spiritually ( to be able to donate freely to charities and church/faith organizations, if desired ), socially ( to be able to share wealth with those less fortunate, inc. struggling families , single parents, et al. ), and personally ( becoming educated and empowered, instead of programmed & trained to borrow, spend, and not invest in ‘You, Inc.’

 

INFORMATION  ~~~>  THINKING ~~~> ACTIONS/HABITS ~~~> RESULTS

 

May I take the liberty to recommend digging into some world class, gold medal information which is a compilation of nearly two decades of wisdom gained, education earned, and lessons learned through the vehicle of PDCA? (plan/do/check/adjust-act)?

Please watch this short vid clip

& click through the various options (workbook, forms, full package/set)

It would be a privilege to share with anyone how much this information has changed my economic & financial thinking from the inside-out. I will never look at money, budgets, investment, or spending/expense the same again. For the better. Way better. Immeasureably better.

Have a terrific evening & enjoy every minute of your day. Its a blessing to be alive & well!

Jul 082013
 
On a peak (of life)? in a valley (also of life)?

I recently put a cap on a terrific book called ‘Peaks and Valleys‘ by Spencer Johnson, M.D. What a truly inspired read! I compare it to the ‘Great Connnection‘ , ‘Leadershift‘ , and ‘The Ant and the Elephant‘ in terms of how much it impacted me through the lens of a business parable writing style. This post will not serve as a recommendation / review of the book ( please visit my other blog for that in near future ), but rather, I will sum up some immediate thoughts that I had about the book; it’s core themes can easily be applied to anyone’s life.

Five Major Themes

1 + ‘To Manage Your Good and Bad Times:’ > ‘Make Reality Your Friend’

What an on point, to the heart question Mr. Johnson poses! “What is the truth in this situation?”

How often do we allow ourselves to think independently, or use our self-talk as a positive, rather than a huge lead weight?  Let alone bringing the word ‘truth’ into the solution to a problem, however small or vexing, or seemingly unsolveable?

2 + ‘To Get Out of a Valley Sooner:’ > ‘Find and Use the Good Hidden in a Bad Time’

Fantastic perspective! How often have we heard that there’s a silver lining in every dark cloud?  This is a corollary of that metaphor. Yes, but it sounds so corny?! You may say..

Sure, you may respond that way, and it may even be the case, however, being able to laugh at yourself and have fun, even in bad times, brings levity and is like dropping some of the bricks from the bag which you filled yourself.

3 + ‘To Stay on a Peak Longer:’ > ‘Appreciate and Manage Your Good Times’

Absolutely. Comparing this to what I’ve heard on an audio multiple, multiple times — you should not eat your seed corn or wheat. These crops are akin to good times; one may also be familiar with the metaphor, ‘every good time must come to an end’

Don’t use these in any way but to be a good steward of your resources — financially, do not spend every penny that you make; ignore the incessant calls to borrow more money which will keep you in debt in perpetuity — relationally, always be humble, do what you have done to get to your peak. Turn the spotlight off of yourself, and onto others.

4 + ‘To Get to Your Next Peak:’ > ‘Follow Your Sensible Vision’

Mr. Johnson describes it well – “Imagine yourself enjoying a better future in such specific, believable detail, that you soon enjoy doing what takes you there

You cannot merely fantasize, wish, or pretend; you have to use the immense power of vision ( Resolution 4 ) combined with planning, doing, checking, and adjusting ( Resolutions 5 & 6 ) to make what you have dreamed about real!

Bastiat’s Law, one of the FLD, will tug you away from doing any of these last four action steps, making you want to play the lottery, or wait for someone to leave you inheritance monies, however, to scale a peak require real work and effort.

Lastly, 5 + ‘To Help People:’ > ‘Share It with Others!’

Simple, yes? However, don’t fall into a trap of human-ness, and want to hold these lessons close to you like a blanket in the winter; be grateful you heard them, and turn around and pay them forward. Resolution 13 is a clarion call to thinking well beyond you, and planting the seeds that will become great trees, or stalks of corn, or fruit in others’ lives; those whom you may barely know, or will never meet.

Whether you give this book out as a gift, loan your personal copy to someone, practice these lessons and be the example in front of everyone, or something else not listed, just be sure to get “outside of yourself”, and put service before self.

~~~~

Have a wonderful week~!

~~~~

Jun 292013
 
Earl Nightingale's timeless wisdom ... on criticism

Earl Nightingale was a terrific inspiration to many before my time, however, his wisdom lives on ad infinitum due to the power of the internet, through those who are still alive from his generation, and via various sources of ‘off’line media ( books, audios ).

It is from the middle of these that I heard this information, and it was so valuable, it is forming the fundamental core of this post.

To preface:  Critics are everywhere, most especially when you are doing something that makes him/her/them uncomfortable, something they do not understand (or wish to), or due to some base negative emotion – jealousy, envy, fear, greed, or revenge.  Now, why would you, as someone who is striking out on a journey to do something un-average, something that blesses lives, something that is significant in its impact on your family, friends, culture, or the nation in which you live, ever listen to a critic?   Quite likely, its due to the concept of ‘peer pressure’ — there’s something inside of each of us that wants to drive us to conform, to gain or curry favor from those whom we know, to “fit in” with the crowd. Herein lies the problem at its root; those who do the greatest acts often are criticized, sometimes completely without provocation, with very little merit. Many historical examples spring to mind: Rosa Parks, Gandhi, Lincoln, Washington, Mother Teresa, Jesus Christ, Pythagoras, Mandela, … the list goes on and on.

So, you’re not nearly as well known as those men & women?  Neither were they at one point or many points in their lives. They stepped out. They became public figures. They strived to effect change and be part of the solution(s) to problems. How many critics do you know who have done great and lasting things?  Exactly. I bet you said ‘none’.  🙂

Let’s now dive into Mr. Nightingale’s list of nine/9 traits of a critic.  See which one(s) strike the most as you are on your journey; if you are on one, or are considering stepping out from the herd, you’ll quite likely experience one or more of these. Here’s hoping they help you reframe, and re-set your mindset. Never let a critic infilitrate your subsconscious mind- those four billion neurons per second are far too valuable real estate to sell to someone(s) who do not have your best interests at heart, in mind, and in spirit.

— . — . —

No. 1 – A critic only thinks of him/herself.

No. 2 – Critics only talk of themselves.

No. 3 – Critics sulk if people aren’t grateful for what they’ve done.

No. 4 – Critics never forget a service that’s been rendered by them.

No. 5 – A critic expects to be appreciated.

No. 6 – Critics are suspicious of everyone.

No. 7 – Critics are sensitive to slight(s).

No. 8 – Critics are jealous and envious.

No. 9 – Critics don’t trust anyone but themselves.

— . — . —

He also added that these all make a critic’s life miserable, so they tend towards being loveless, and can often be non-providers.

After letting the above sink in, think long, hard, and in depth:  Do you really want someone with even one of these traits helping you make a decision of any size?  Offering you an opinion?

Always positively associate with those who have vision, defined/detected purpose, anchored to their priorities, and whom have your back in all situations.

Hope this helps you. As always, feedback is welcomed & encouraged. Many blessings & well wishes!