Reagan, Lincoln, Washington

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I love to learn about leadership through the good and bad decisions of people throughout history.  Although we probably won’t ever be President, we still have an important role to play.  What kind of challenges is God preparing you to face?  Will your leadership qualities and skills be ready for the task?

Coincidentally, 3 of my favorite Presidents were born in February, so it is a great time to think about their leadership through incredibly challenging times.  Here is a recap of our 5 favorite posts about leadership and history.

Lincoln: The Learning Martyr

Growing up in the Land of Lincoln made me biased, but I have a lot of respect for him.  Here is one reason.

Lincoln:  Sharpened on the Anvil of Leadership

What does Servant Leadership mean to you? For Lincoln, it meant sacrificing his life for justice and unity.

Good History

Includes my favorite history DVD and  a cool timeline of the history of everything.

Monumental Thanksgiving

I also love this documentary about some of our nation’s founders!


Not a President, but influential and a good person to study.

Lincoln: The Learning Martyr

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One reason that I greatly admire Lincoln is that he grew as a man and as a leader throughout his life.  Always learning.  Always growing.  He allowed his mind to be expanded and to move towards the truth.  He was incredibly strong, and succeeded at any physical challenge.  However, feats of strength were not his purpose in life.  He was called to much greater things, and that calling required him to grow and learn.


He was academically disadvantaged, but he did not let this slow him down.  He had an internal drive, an unquenchable thirst, an irrepressible urge, a focused determination to learn.  He read everything he could get his hands on and taught himself what he needed to know so that he could do what he wanted to do. Continue Reading…

C13 Leadership: Love Works

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Leadership is hard.  And one of the most difficult aspects of leadership is finding the balance between niceness and effectiveness.  Do you struggle with avoiding the two extremes like I do?

Moms – do you keep your children in line with the fear of your wrath?  Or are you a pushover because you want them to like you and you are afraid of making them upset? 

Husbands – do you rule your home with an iron fist, never letting anyone forget who’s the boss?  Or do you check out and go passive at the first sign of conflict or problems?   

Bosses – Do your employees see you as callous, uncaring, and mean?  Or as a nice guy who never gets anything done? 

Regardless of your role, do you struggle with making the hard decisions that you know are right?

I believe this is a struggle for every person with any amount of leadership responsibility.  Most of us have a natural tendency towards one end of the spectrum or the other, depending on nature and nurture, and these deeply engrained emotions and habits are hard to change.  The ideal leader will be able to land at that perfect spot in the middle, where effectiveness and niceness overlap.  But how?  How can I achieve this superhuman feat?  What strategy could possibly work?  Continue Reading…

Columbus Day – Beware

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Strange picture, huge purpose, passionate drive

I like Christopher Columbus.  Last year I posted about Columbus and the Crocodile Hunter.  Their common trait:  Passion.  Columbus did what he was designed to do – explore and discover for the glory of God and country.

Unfortunately he left a mixed legacy.  He gets credit for ‘sailing the ocean blue’ and being at the forefront of the movement to settle the new world.  But he and his men also ended up oppressing the natives and confiscating their gold.  This year I will talk about three factors that conspired to sabotage his work, because they can torpedo the work of every leader.  They are found in this verse:

1 John 2:16 (NASB)
For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. Continue Reading…

Are You Good Soil?

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As you may know, gardening is one of my hobbies.   This is a great time of year, because we get to enjoy the harvest!  This has been an incredibly productive year!  The weather was hot, but not too hot, and there was plenty of rain.  But the most important part was – The Soil.

You see, we moved to a new home this spring, and we built some raised beds.  We then filled it with 4 tons of soil, which was a combination of topsoil, compost, peat moss, sand, and fertilizer.  It was expensive soil, but it was good soil.

When you have soil that is not ideal for growing plants, there is gardening terminology for the way that you ‘fix’ it.  You add “amendments” to the soil.  This means that you mix in good things to the soil that will turn the soil from bad to good. Continue Reading…

Verb Tense

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Words are important.  We use them to shape our future and to direct our thoughts and our actions.  We all probably know that.  But did you know that your verb tense makes a difference too?  I will always remember the lesson that the ICU attending physician gave us.  Once in a while a new resident doctor (in training) would go through a patient’s labs and say, “His potassium is low, so we are going to give him some IV potassium.”  The attending physician who was in charge would say, “You know what to do.  Why isn’t this already done? When you report to me I want the IV to be going already.”  The residents only made that mistake once!

The wiser, older doctor wanted the resident physician to use a verb that was past tense.  “His potassium is low, so we gave him 40mEq of potassium this morning.”  Ah, much better.

Here are three verb tenses for you to compare, exemplifying the way that your verb tense can make or break your effectiveness at work and in your relationships.   Continue Reading…

Your 5 Limited Resources With Unlimited Potential, Part 2


Yesterday I introduced the concept that we have 5 limited resources with unlimited potential.  That seemingly contradictory statement has helped me to keep a realistic understanding of each of the 5 areas of my life, without limiting my expectations of what is possible.  We covered Time and Focus last week, and today we will cover Energy, Money, and Relationships.

Continue Reading…

Your 5 Limited Resources With Unlimited Potential, Part 1


I don’t know if you have ever thought of it this way or not, but you have 5 very valuable and very limited resources at your disposal.  I’m not talking about the kind of natural resources you might be thinking of, like coal or gold or cadmium – the resources I’m talking about today are even more important than those.  Each person on earth is given access to these 5 ‘natural resources,’ and how you handle them will shape literally everything about your life.

I first started thinking about this concept because of Jason Womack.  Jason Womack is a public speaker, author, executive coach, and ball of energy.  I attended one of his seminars a couple years ago and have continued to learn from him ever since.  He introduced me to the idea of purposefully managing my Energy, Time, and Focus.  In his book, Your Best Just Got Better, Jason Womack lists “Tools” as the fourth limited resource, and stresses the importance of managing your relationships.  With that background, here is my list of your 5 limited resources:

Time, Focus, Energy, Money, and Relationships   Continue Reading…

Time Investment: Elizabeth Saunders


Today I have the pleasure to introduce you to Elizabeth Saunders – time management and effectiveness guru. We went to college together and stayed Facebook friends through the years, and so I was happy for her when she announced that she had written a book about time management. “Cool,” I thought, “Someone I know has written a book…and actually gotten it published!” I would have been satisfied if it was a typical time management book – a quick read that compiles a dozen helpful hints that let you save a few minutes a day. Let me tell you, friends, this is not your typical time management book! Instead, it is an incredible book that fundamentally changes the way that you think about time, effectiveness, and success itself. I won’t try to summarize the book here. For one thing, you need to read it. For another, she has already summed it in up a Teacher’s Guide and Book Club Guide.  These give you a pretty good idea of the basic outline. Continue Reading…

Time Management – Focus Through Accountability

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Last week I made the claim that time management is our modern Holy Grail, because finding it will give us life. (It was actually Benjamin Franklin’s idea.) I first pointed out that you have to know that you should and believe that you can take control of your time.

This week’s focus is, well, Focus.

The word “Focus” can have a range of meaning, but today I am particularly interested in “keeping your attention on the task at hand.”  As in, “I will stay focused on writing this blog post, even though there is a John Wayne movie playing in the other room, and I need to pick something up at Home Depot, and there are dozens of interesting books about 18 inches from my right arm, and I’m kinda hungry, and this can really wait til tomorrow, and oh, tomorrow I need to remember to…” Ok, you get the point. Continue Reading…

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