Monthly Archives: May 2013

taking a couple days off…

Hey guys, I had a small hiking accident and I’m going to take a couple days to recoup. Please excuse me for a couple of days. If you want to read up on what happened, please check out my hiking website. Thanks for your understanding.

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Leaders Are Not the Most Important Catalyst for Movement…

…and now I’m going to shut up and ask you to watch this insightful 3 minute clip.

Agree or disagree?

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Filed under business, leadership, motivation, observation, videos

How to See Into Your Future – NOW


We all choose role models. I also believe that we can choose reverse-role models, people we do not want to be like… or people with specific characteristics that we do not want to inherit.

I can recall – a couple years back when I played music in different bands – meeting Dan, another musician who lit up the room when he walked in. He happily engaged with and signed autographs for anyone around him. I instantaneously decided that I wanted to also have that charisma and sense of intrigue that drew people to Dan.

Conversely, I can also recall meeting a drummer (we’ll call him Donnie) who exhibited a characteristic I absolutely did not want to inherit. After the show, I heard a kid ask Donnie how much his drums cost. Donnie replied, “Wayyyy more than your parents’ car.” Wow, not cool. I made a note of this and still recall the event 10 years later.

Here’s the point, folks: We meet people every day who exhibit characteristics that we can choose to admire or not admire. However, we can use these people as live examples of who we want to be and who we do not want to be.

Who are some people around you with features that you would love to have? What features do you see in people around you that do not go along with who you want to become?

The very people around us can, will, and do serve as guides to our future selves if we can simply open our eyes.

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5 Questions with Matt Sharpe


Every week, we ask 5 questions to a different person. The questions remain the same but the people change. Some people are leaders, some are followers, but all have valuable input. This week we meet Matt Sharpe, a former youth and care pastor in a church.

Name: Matt Sharpe

Position: Leader in Transition (Former: Pastor of Youth and Care)

Place: Frankfort, IL

1. Think back to when you were extremely motivated by a boss, leader, or teammate. What did they say or do that motivated you so much and why did it work?

The person who has motivated me the most has been a friend and mentor of mine name Dave Kolb. Dave is a missionary pastor and until his retirement, he trained pastors in Mexico and other places. He was the first person who spoke into my life in a significant way to affirm my call into pastoral leadership.

As I look back, his words were so effective because of who he is and our relationship. He trains pastors both in the US and abroad and, as a result, he has a thorough working knowledge of the skills and character that it takes to be a lead pastor. He also knows me well as a friend and mentor. Thus he knows my strengths and my weaknesses. So for him to share that he believes I am called to pastoral leadership is a huge motivator.

Its interesting that he has never used pep talks or a lot of hype to get me motivated. He really just spoke the truth and, even to this day, gives me opportunities to lead in ministry. This has been more motivating than any sort of “Let’s win one for the Gipper” kind of speeches.

2. When have you been very unmotivated by a boss, leader, or teammate? Why did it create a feeling of un-motivation to do your job better?

Conversely, I look at a former boss who had the exact opposite effect in my life. This boss had no interest in relating to me as a person or even as a colleague. While, on the one hand, I know that being a personal friend or buddy to a subordinate is not in a senior pastor’s job description, on the other hand, I have had supervisors in other industries (like manufacturing) that made it a point to have a personal connection with me.

The result of this highly impersonal connection is that 1) our relationship is limited to policies and procedures and 2) I find that I was more interested in pursuing my own goals and objectives for the organization than I was his. This lack of personal connection definitely had a negative impact on motivation.

3. What is one characteristic you look for in an effective leader?

I would say that the one characteristic I look for in a leader is “Incarnational Passion.” I want to follow a leader who knows me and who also lives the mission that he or she is calling me to live. In short, I want to follow a person I respect who points to a mountain and says “we are going to take that mountain or die trying” and then we climb the mountain together.

4. When have you motivated another person to better themselves or to be more productive in their job?

I was told once by one of my volunteer leaders that he saw how I ministered to young people and it made him want to do better in how he cared for them too. To me, this was a huge affirmation of my leadership. This person had seen how I live and function in ministry and, because of our connection, he was inspired to do better in his own personal ministry.

Whats even more exciting is that he followed through with that desire. He committed himself to pursue additional training and went out of his way to build relationships outside of the normal times of ministry. The additional piece of information that brings clarity to this story is that this volunteer has a full time job and a family and yet he felt inspired to move forward in ministry.

5. What is one piece of advice you’d give towards aspiring leaders?

One piece of advice for aspiring leaders. . . Fail Forward.


Filed under 5 questions, leadership, motivation

Leading Yourself First (from


Our friend Greg Richardson of Strategic Monk recently posted this article on his excellent site, It rings so useful, true, and spot-on – and it deserves a re-post. Enjoy!

Leading is personal.

Yes, leadership is about bringing out the best in people and helping them work together to achieve common goals. But leading is even more personal than that.

Leading is personal to the leader. Each person leads uniquely. You cannot become a leader by reading a book or just doing what someone else tells you to do. Everyone leads by example; leadership is do it yourself.

The first person you ever lead is yourself.

The leaders who inspire me know themselves. They lead me by sharing their deepest selves with me. We connect around the values we share, and their leadership is deeper than titles and positions. They have done the hard work it takes to overcome obstacles and distractions, and I trust the wisdom and judgment they have gained. Their leadership is centered much more on Why? than on How? or When?

The work and time it takes us to know ourselves are not indulgent, and not superflous. We do not necessarily become stronger, better leaders by spending time leading other people. We become the leaders we have the potential to be by learning to lead ourselves.

We learn to lead ourselves by coming to recognize and appreciate who we are. We get to know our abilities and when we need some help. We become aware of how we can bring out the best in ourselves, even when we are tired or afraid.

I am not a very easy person to lead. I am very good at convincing people I am following them, especially when I am not. I can be stubborn, impatient, and reluctant to trust. When I learn how to lead myself well, I am learning lessons that help me lead others as well.

How are you leading yourself today?

What lessons do you have for yourself?

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What Leaders Can Learn From Zach Sobiech

If you are like most others in the U.S., you’ve probably at least heard about Zach Sobiech. Zach was a terminally ill 18 year old who spent his documented last days loving the people around him and living life the way it is supposed to be lived. A viral video about Zach can be seen here:

As leaders, it is also important to remember that our time in our positions of influence can be limited. Given the reality of this, we need to constantly align ourselves with the expectation that we’re investing every second of our time and every calorie of energy on what matters.

So what matters to you? How are you showing this passion? Are you?

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“Be a yardstick of excellence. Some people aren’t used to an environment where excellence is expected.” – Steve Jobs

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