What Tracy morgan and I have in common.

There is a scene in the movie “cop out” where Tracy Morgan is pretending to be “the falsely accused victim” in order to get information out of the bad guy, he even goes so far as to quote every action movie he can possibly think of. His character  isn’t a very good “victim” in this scene and resorts to playing other people and personalities that are not his own.  this scene is absolutely hilarious but strikes a nerve for me today. Earlier today I was called out by a close mentor, he said that sometimes I play into the “victim mentality.” Sometimes I feel that I don’t know what else to do so I start quoting and saying what everyone else who is frustrated and upset about their job is saying. I too don’t play the “victim” very well.

Sometimes the job we are working, bosses, pay, etc… suck, but does it give us the excuse to complain and whine about it? Sometimes we need to be humbled, and other times we simply need to stop complaining and do something about it. At this point I have played the “victim” long enough. I haven’t decided how to handle frustrations at work, I’m not sure if I should try to find a different career right now, or if I should stick it out for a few months. Sometimes the best thing to do is take a deep breath, sit back, and remember it’s not all about me….I am gonna pray, I hope you’ll pray with me for wisdom and guidance in my career choices.

Leave the window blinds shut!

Warning: This post is extremely honest!

I have a dirty little secret. I love the new “Love the way you lie” song by eminem. Inside the lyrics there is a concept that pain is addicting.

When I was a freshman in college I found myself completely depressed I would call friends and family in tears, completely broken. I ended up going to talk to the campus counselor seeking help. Through our discussions, she made a statement that to this day rocks my world. She explained to me that “Pain and suffering can become addicting.”

Depression, pain and suffering can become such an addicting companion that we have trouble letting them go. There is almost this sick pleasure of embracing them at some points. Really it seems crazy, but put simply put, it becomes an addiction. One way to combat depression is exercise, another is simply letting light into dark rooms. Sometimes you embrace depression so much that you find yourself purposely leaving the blinds shut to embrace the pain and agony, because  it fills voids and gaps inside of you and it kind of feels good.

  1. Here are two quick observations, honestly I could probably manage to write a book someday, but this will have to do. One: we embrace pain and suffering because ultimately it gives us control. Sometimes when all feels lost and hopeless, circumstances become treacherous (abuse, disappointments, break-ups) there is no way to control what is happening, so we use our pain and our suffering as a means of power. Some pain and suffering is voluntary, and for the most part it is in our hands how we react to some situations. By embracing the pain and suffering and acting as though it is just a normal part of us and that we  shouldn’t change, we take “false power” over the situation. It’s kind of like the kid who always gets told what to do, so he starts holding his bowel movements because it gives him a sense of control and power, after all he is the only one who has control over his bathroom habits.
  2. We embrace pain and suffering because it feeds our ego. My counselor gave me the book “It’s not about me” and after reading through it I finally understand what she was trying to tell me. Sometimes we embrace pain and suffering because it makes the world revolve around us. When I was depressed and hurt, my life became about how everyone was against me, everyone should be concerned and worried about me.

There is a lot more I want to discuss on this topic, but I think I will break it down into segments. I welcome and encourage feedback. Thank you for reading!

Spring to fall or is it fell and sprung?

First of all I am not “sprung” easy my “big butt” lovers. Just as the season is changing, my life has taken a similar path. A month ago I had an apartment lined up in Florida, now I live in Tennessee and am scrambling to find an apartment in Nashville. My future bride and I prayed, talked and struggled through a difficult question….”do we want better?” Ash and I decided to take a huge risk and lay it all on the line and move to a completely different state.

If you want better……pray, YES…..work hard, YES…..but……make the effort…..give God something to work with….not only have faith move out on it.

do yourself a favor and take that leap of faith.

Leadership series: Bill Hybels

“Critique of Bill Hybels”

This critique is on Bill Hybels who spoke on March 12, 2010 at the Southeastern University Leadership Forum.

  • The speaker’s main purpose in this presentation was to help the audience understand that often God speaks in a whisper, and we have to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit to hear it.

Bill Hybels presented two ideas that really captivated me. The first was his story of how he started Willow Creek Community Church. He talked about how they used a small local theatre and they would clean it in the mornings and get it ready for the church service. The shocking part of the story was that on Saturday evenings they would show horror films and those in the theatre would often vomit, then the workers of the theatre would leave it knowing that Bill and his volunteers would clean it in the morning because they had to if they wanted to have a clean environment for church. Mr. Hybels told us how he felt some mornings at six a.m. cleaning vomit off the floor, wondering how he had found himself in this position. What most people don’t know is that Bill hybels’ father was extremely successful and wealthy, he had offered the business to Bill, but Bill turned it down in order that he might pursue the ministry. So Bill was cleaning vomit with this taunting memory of himself turning down the family business haunting him in the back of his mind. It was at this point that Bill shared how listening to the “whisper” of God is sometimes painful and doesn’t make sense to us at our present moment. I was not aware of how Will Creek Church had started, and I was definitely not aware that Bill had turned down such an amazing offer, simply to follow a whisper. Needless to say that whisper has led him on an amazing and very successful journey.

  • The most helpful part of the presentation given by Bill Hybels, was his sincerity. He was very calm and collected as he shared his journey, you could see the passion, pain, joy and so many emotions in his eyes throughout the entire conversation. It was inspiring to sit under a leader and hear him share his story with such joy despite all the troubles and hardships he has faced. Following a whisper is not always easy, it is often costly and difficult, but following that whisper can change your life and make you into a great servant leader.

“ Sometimes God calls people to hard things, that takes someone with strong shoulders to bear it.” This is a beautiful quote from Bill Hybels, it is full of such inspiration and challenge. He wanted the audience to understand that leadership is very difficult and sometimes God will call us to bear something quite heavy and extremely challenging, but the reward for doing so is always worth it and is always life changing. Bill Hybels had so many stories and each one was filled with passion and thanksgiving, because it was clear that everything Bill Hybels has achieved, he gives God all the glory and honor for it. This was a true example of servant leadership.

Leadership series: John Kotter

“Critique of John Kotter”

This critique is on John Kotter who spoke on March 12, 2010 at the Southeastern University Leadership Forum.

The speaker’s main purpose in this presentation was to discuss the issues surrounding “Leadership and Change.” With the economy failing and leaders all offering new ideas of hope and change, it seemed quite appropriate for John Kotter to discuss these ideas through life examples and also business principles.

  • John Kotter presented two ideas that really captivated me. The first was idea came in the form of the story of how Mark Kay was created. He discussed how when this organization had started, he rushed down to one of the local business meetings that was being held by the owner and founder of Mary Kay. He described her as a very sweet southern girl and how the people were just captivated by her. He pointed out that she had what seemed to be a “board” of people that handled different aspects of the company. He ended up meeting one of the women that works on the business end of the company and asked her to answer some questions as to how the company runs. She answered his questions brilliantly and broke the company down into four or five main people showing where they would all be on a business chart. This story was extremely intriguing and I never knew that the company was so well organized and strategically planned out. The idea was that through delegation, Mary Kay has become a huge success and a model of a true American dream of starting something from scratch.
  • The second idea he shared was the story about a Japanese leader who grew up poor and founded many companies that we ourselves use probably daily. He told the struggle that this leader went through and how he had to overcome hardships and struggles. Through all of it, he was always the first to throw himself on the chopping block, he always took the brunt of the “blows” that his company and workers faced. His companies still stand to this day and are huge monuments and models of how an origination has to change with the times, and how it can be made up of honesty and loyalty and still succeed.

The presentation was very inspiring to me, I was given the opportunity to sit under a Harvard professor and learn from him for just over an hour. He is truly a brilliant man and creatively showed us what leadership looks like, and how those leaders must change to constantly advance. It was an inspiring presentation.

“People come to work everyday determined to exploit real opportunities and avoid real hazards.” This was taken from the notes given in his lecture; he was discussing what false and true urgency look like. He was discussing the issue of complacency; many people become complacent and don’t chase after the extraordinary because they are afraid. When true leaders step up to the plate, they must be willing to do things differently, and explore the unknown regions. Over all John Kotter was extremely interesting and his style quite different from the other speakers, it was an privilege to sit and hear him speak.

Leadership series: Marcus Buckingham

“Critique of Marcus Buckingham

This critique is on Marcus Buckingham who spoke on March 11, 2010 at the Southeastern University Leadership Forum.

The speaker’s main purpose in this presentation was to explain the differences between strengths and weaknesses. Often leaders become very frustrated with themselves because they can’t seem to perform at their best, Buckingham went into great detail, of why this is.

  • Marcus Buckingham presented two ideas that really captivated me. The first was this question of “why do we focus on trying to do or be better at weaknesses?” This question came as a shocking revelation; most everyone spends huge amounts of time trying to improve in areas that they are not good at. Buckingham was challenging the leaders in the audience to re-evaluate this way of thinking; he wanted the audience to consider the possibility that improving weaknesses are actually counter-productive.
  • Another great point that came out his discussion was closely related to the first, “we think that our weaknesses have the most opportunity for growth.” This is in fact completely the opposite of the truth, but most people look at their weaknesses and see tons of opportunity, when in fact it is actually wasted energy. The flip side is that in our areas of strength lies true opportunity for growth. In someone’s strengths/giftings, there is a multitude of opportunities and successes waiting to be had. This is a complete contradiction of society, where there are books on every subject for “dummies,” there are tons of programs and television ads that encourage you to improve in this area or that area, but maybe in fact the things you want to improve are truly areas you should work around. Great time spent in strengths equals great victories. This of course isn’t saying that people shouldn’t work on some areas of their life where they struggle against moral issues and such, but it actually applies and makes sense even in those areas too. If you struggle with certain “sins,” it would be better to find ways to avoid acting upon those urges, opposed to trying to face those sins and failing, it would be better to admit weakness and avoid being caught in those distresses.
  • I told Marcus Buckingham that this was one of the best presentations on this subject that I had ever heard. It is hard to pick one or even two things that truly inspired me from this presentation, but I will attempt to choose one regardless. I would say for me the most helpful part of this presentation was Buckingham’s points on “weaknesses.” I have spent countless hours and years trying to improve on areas that I am just not good at, and realizing that I am not good at them and accepting that is a truly liberating feeling. I have yet to reach this point but because of Buckingham’s inspiring words I feel that I am one step closer to lean on my strengths instead of my weaknesses.

“Your strengths aren’t what your good at and your weaknesses aren’t whatever your bad at.” This statement was incredible. At this point in the presentation Buckingham showed us how to break down a list of strengths and weaknesses and then create statements to live our life by. Often you can be great at something, but if you hate doing it, then it is actually a weakness. There are things in my own life that I am good at doing, but I don’t like doing them, therefore when I do them with a motivation of “have to,” then I am actually being counter-productive. Many leaders would greatly benefit from engaging in this practice of evaluation,  I can’t imagine how many leaders spend years of their lives attempting to be great at things they were never meant to be great at. How much more effective would each person in this world be if they simply did what God created them to do and stopped trying to be “great” at something that is truly a weakness.

Check out this great book by Marcus Buckingham:

Leadership series: Brian Houston

Critique of Brian Houston

Brian Houston’s main purpose for this presentation was to convince a group of current leaders, that as they move forward, they must continue to respect and honor their previous leaders and the foundations they laid.     He presented the idea with a simple sentence, “servant leaders think generational.”

  • Brian Houston presented two ideas within his presentation, to which I was unfamiliar with. The first one seems so simple upon reflection, but is often overlooked and not put into action. “Influence doesn’t come from doing things the way they have always been done.” This statement could change a lot of leadership styles within the church if it would simply be accepted and put into action. More often than not, many leaders especially in the church are afraid to think outside the box because they don’t want to fail, or they don’t want to upset people within the church. If a leader is truly going to be great, they are going to have to do things differently from how they are always done, otherwise they will simply become a copy of someone else.
  • Another great idea that Houston presented, to which I had not thought of, was that “books hold the danger of pointing back to what’s already been done.” This is completely opposite of what most leaders are taught through their educational years. It is a dangerous way of thinking, but in context it actually holds a lot of value. What Houston was saying, was that books are a great thing, but often we never look within for creativity, God has given each person an ability to create. When leaders rely simply on books and other people’s ideas, they are not creating anything new or unique.

Brian Houston was very passionate about emphasizing the idea that to be truly great, means that you must honor the leaders before you, but lead in a new and fresh way in the present. This to me was the most helpful thing that I pulled out of the presentation. Often it becomes so easy to rely on other leaders’ ideas and concepts and not be faced with the pressure of being original. This way of thinking will not make for the catalyst of change that people desire. Leaders have to be original and one of a kind, it is here that people following them will lean how to find their own identity.

  • “Culture makes a great servant, but a terrible master.” A lot of people fall victim to what is expected of them by their culture, family, history, etc… If these fears and doubts were overcome, than more leaders would be free to explore what is out there and to strive to be great. As mentioned before, Houston mentions that even your heritage does not define hold you back; a perfect example would be Martin Luther King Jr. He was able to use his heritage to become a great leader; it did not use or control him. To truly become a great leader, you must be willing to go where no other leader has gone before, while still honoring and respecting those that have gone before you.