How To Diagnose An Attitude

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Good and EvilHave you diagnosed the quality of the attitudes around you recently?  You probably do so intuitively and don’t realize, but consider these recent studies around the affect of Bad Attitudes:

  • People with bad attitudes have an 800% higher incident rate of being diagnosed with clinical depression.
  • People who possess a negative outlook on life are four times more likely to suffer a stroke, heart attack, or be diagnosed with cancer.
  • People who have bad attitudes have more career turnover.
  • People with bad attitudes have a 50% higher divorce rate.
  • People with bad attitudes are ten times more likely to have poor relationships with their children.

How can you really diagnose an attitude?  It’s all about behaviors.   Just look at others’ behaviors.  That will tell you all you need.

Here are five questions to ask that will diagnose your own attitude and that of others:

  • Are like-ability and respect ratings low? While being a great person is not a popularity contest, the fact is that people who desire to excel are both well liked and respected.  What do you reflect, and what do people see in you? If you are not well liked and respected then you will have consistent, self-imposed obstacles placed in your path that inhibit your ability to be an effective leader.
  • Is there a pessimistic outlook on things? If you aren’t excited about the start of each day, display a “same junk…different day” attitude, or have a “glass is half empty” perspective on things, then you likely have a bad attitude.
  • Do people seek input, advice, and counsel? If people see you coming and quickly run the other way, you have an attitude problem. Great leaders are magnets that attract the attention of others. If people shy away from you versus clamor for your attention, you likely have an attitude problem.
  • Is there frustration that others don’t see it their way? Everyone can have a bad day, and while it’s okay to have a pity-party every once in a while, it is not the kind of party you want to throw very often, and never publicly. If the majority of your conversations and interactions are negative or confrontational you likely have an attitude problem.
  • Is there difficulty attracting and retaining top people? The simple truth is that people strongly desire to work with and for great leaders. The best leaders I have observed are talent magnets…people want to be led by those who have much to offer. If you struggle with recruiting, team building, and leadership development you likely have a bad attitude.

Fact:  It’s easier to notice a Bad Attitude in others far sooner than our own.

If your attitude is impeding your relationships, your talent, or your health, it might be time to consider making some changes…


These Four Prove Someone Has “Potential”

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fish-bowl-backgrounds-wallpapersI’ve always loved the phrase “a diamond in the rough” referring to the young hero in Disney’s “Aladdin”.

He had talent – it just needed refining by experience.

We all know high-potentials who are “diamonds in the rough” who are currently proving a positive example.

But they have the capacity to handle greater responsibility in the future.

They are all around us.


The following four key identifiers reveal who they are:

They Demonstrate Integrity.   This is the absolute bottom-line requirement of any influence. It means a consistent display in thoughts and actions of a strong ethical code of conduct that is “focused on the welfare of everyone.” Their consistent adherence to their beliefs makes them predictable and therefore dependable. They have the courage to do the right thing even when it is difficult.

They Lead Through Relationships. Leading through relationships is the basis of leadership. They get along with others and value others. They “lead and inspire because of who they are and how they interact with others.” They don’t depend on their position or lack of it to influence the actions of others.

They Focus on Results.   This is someone who maintains a wide perspective and acts with independent initiative. They use the end to define the means, which can mean working outside of strict processes to achieve the end result.   They aim for the end they are supposed to produce so they feel responsible and accountable, not just for the demands of their jobs but also for successful outcomes for stakeholders involved.

They Remain Service Focused. This is different than customer service; it is an “awareness of how an action in a specific job affects someone else.” It is a big-picture focus and a value all at the same time.

For some ‘high-potentials’, one characteristic may dominate and others may need to be developed more fully.

If you know someone like that, then get to work helping them grow and develop.

Because they are about to make a HUGE difference in others’ lives.




10 Rock Star Behaviors of a Servant Leader

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imagesWhen I reflect on the high-capacity team I serve with in my organization (and others I have served with on previous teams), specific dynamic behaviors are evident.

These behaviors reflect tireless servant-leadership, and drive me to say “thank you.”  If you were on my team, here are 10 things I would say to you which reflect our values:

Way To Go!

  • You Do Not Whine Or Complain – You refuse to be a victim. Life is too short. When you encounter a problem, you help figure out how to solve it.
  • You Are A Continuous Learner – Every time we talk, you tell me about an experience that taught you a new lesson. You are an avid reader, sharing what you learn with others. When you make a mistake or the business results aren’t what they should be, you are only interested in figuring out why so that you will learn what to do the next time.
  • You Don’t Ask For More Money You ask for more responsibility. You understand that money comes with responsibility and you’re willing to do more.
  • Excellence Is Important To You –  You are not perfect, but you want to do great work. You ask for defined expectations so that you can meet them. You ask for feedback so that you know where you stand. You ask how you can improve the next time.
  • You Are Never Bored – Long before boredom sets in, you are looking for the next project or to learn. You are alert to the possibilities. You volunteer for the next assignment.
  • You Build Strong Relationships With People – You genuinely care about others. You take time to get to know them. You are there for them when they need help.
  • You Have Amazing Positive Energy– Your first response is can do. You are willing to help until the work is done. Your energy is contagious and people want to work on your team and your project.
  • You Listen Well – You do not need to do all the talking. You know others have skills and experiences you don’t yet have, and you want to access them. You do not need to always have the answer. You know that others on the team have much to offer.
  • You Bring Values To Your Work – They are not just words that you talk about; they are alive and active in the way you work. People know you by your actions of integrity, honesty, and accountability.
  • You Know Your Work Matters – It is not just a way to fill the hours in the day or get a paycheck. It is a place where you can touch lives and make a difference.



The Yes Manifesto

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imagesThe answer is Yes.

Yes, chasing a dream is scary.

Yes, leadership is scary.

Yes, working with people is risky.

Yes, there will be fear.  Yes, there will be doubt.  Yes, other people won’t understand it.

Yes, sometimes you won’t either.

Yes, the odds will be stacked against you.  Yes, you will want to quit. A lot.

Yes, you will fail sometimes.

Yes, you will feel like someone more talented has already done exactly what you want to do.

Yes, you will not know exactly where you are going.

Yes, you will feel unqualified.

Yes, there will be awkwardness.

The answer is yes for all of these things.

 But yes is also the answer to all these questions too:

Does the world need your dream? Yes.

Do you need to chase it? Yes.

Is today a better day to begin than tomorrow? Yes.

Does working on a vision a little always beat not working on it at all? Yes.

Are you capable of more than you think? Yes.

If you don’t try will you regret it? Yes.

Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes.

If you’re going to do anything meaningful, get ready to say that little word a big amount of times.

Because for those who dare to be more than ordinary, the answer is yes.


(My thanks to Jon Acuff for these thoughts)

How To Move from Average To Exceptional

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average-menIf you just wanted to be average,  you probably wouldn’t be reading this post.

In fact, your fear of mediocrity, combined with your ambition to be faster, stronger, and smarter than mere mortals, are all part of what keep you growing personally and professionally.

Be that all as it may, however, the possibility still exists that you may be — dare I say it — average. Or — even worse! — less than average.

A man named Dr. Ericsson is considered the world’s leading expert on expertise. In several studies, he discovered that it usually takes around 10,000 hours of time for someone to become an expert at something.

10,000 hours of writing to be an expert writer.

10,000 hours of yoga to be an expert yogi.

An expert in Leadership?  Lead a team successfully for at least 10,000 hours, and do it the right way.

A subject matter expert in your area of passion?  Yep- 10,000 hours

10,000 hours of anything equals expertise.

So why aren’t more people experts?  Because of stats like this:

“By age twenty-one, the typical American has spent ten thousand hours playing computer games.”

I read that sentence from the book Willpower, and it surprised me.

Now I don’t hate video games. I think they can be fun part of an awesome life.  But if you play 10,000 hours by the time you’re 21, do you know where you are headed?

And you were meant for something more.

Go be an expert. Go work on 10,000 hours. Just make sure that you don’t end up at typical along the way.



Increase Your Performance With This 7 Day Challenge

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complainingHow often do you complain about others to others? How often do you complain to yourself about your day, your life or your circumstances? Probably way more often than you realize.

I want to offer you a 7 day challenge that can boost your performance, build a healthier team (and family) and create a healthy perspective on everything in your life.

It’s called the No Complaining 7 Day Challenge.

I want you to consciously avoid complaining for a whole week. It will be both the hardest thing you’ve ever done and the most rewarding.

I recently challenged myself to a “no complaining week” and the results were phenomenal. Here are a few lessons I learned:

 I had better conversations with others

One of the main reasons I started this challenge was because of an inner dialogue I was having. I was driving home and thinking “I can’t want till I get home so I can relay something negative…”

Have you ever done that? Have you ever thought I can’t wait till I can tell someone about someone? I stopped myself and decide I simply wasn’t going to do it. I was going to keep my thoughts to myself.

I stopped coming up with excuses

We also complain to ourselves a bunch too. We rationalize in our own minds why today is a bad day to mow the lawn, go for a jog, or work on that project. I used to have a Post-it note by my computer that read: “Excuses are just lies you tell yourself.” What would happen if your stopped listening to your own excuses for an entire week?

I intentional chose to see the best in others

Another benefit of taking on the No Complaining Challenge is you will begin to see the best in others. You won’t allow yourself to go down the slippery slope of bashing others through complaining. It’s so easy for us to see faults in others while rationalizing our own weaknesses.

I was surprisingly more productive

Complaining zaps more energy and willpower than we realize. When you operate from a place of positivity you will naturally be more productive. Excuses hold us back. Complaining about others takes energy and effort.

My attitude and energy was much higher

Your overall outlook in life will change. When excuses and complaining our removed from your agenda, it will be replaced with more energy and effort.

Your positive mindset and attitude just might surprise you.

The 9 People You Can’t Lead

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frustrated-woman-facial-expressionThe fact that you’re reading this tells me you desire to grow  – and be the best leader you can be.

Likely, you are a very good leader.  But, there are people whom the BEST leaders (including yourself) can’t lead.

I have a desire to help everyone. But, I have learned the hard way that I cannot help or support everyone who comes to me for input.

The following are 9 kinds of people that are so entrenched in certain habit patterns that you and I cannot help them advance to the next level unless they make the necessary shift in their attitude or behavior.

1. Those who do not take responsibility for themselves.

The first step toward self-improvement is to remove all excuses for mediocrity or failure. Those that continually blame other people for their failures will never go to the next level.

Leaders can complain about their spouses, the income level of their congregations, the lack of staff, etc., but I have learned that within every challenge is the seed of opportunity for success, which requires the creativity of problem solving.

2. Those who create distance so they are not accountable.

There are certain people I have met in various organizations who only let others get so close before cutting off the relationship. Many can go from one mentor to the next because they fear becoming too close to a leader who will hold them accountable.

Whether it is fear or rebellion, those who live like this have put a low ceiling on their lives and will not grow past the infant stage concerning their potential in life.

3. Those who insist on having a negative outlook on life.

There are some have a propensity to expect the worst in life so they are never disappointed by anyone or anything!

This is a weird way some folks attempt to shield their emotions from the pain of disappointment; it is a very common practice with many people.

Neither you or I can empower a person who refuses to think positive thoughts about themselves and about life.

4. Those who refuse to have a vision for their future.

There are many very talented and anointed people I have been in relationship with who live their lives without any strategic plan or vision for their future. They are just living from day to day to prepare for their retirement.

Those who are successful have a compelling vision that drives them daily and that feeds their souls even more than the desire to make money.

5. Those who live in self-deception.

There are many people who are living lives of denial regarding their relationships with their family, colleagues and the people they serve (including God).

The sad thing is that denial is the first step to outright deception, in which a person concocts an alternate, false reality that continually feeds their mind and emotions the things they want to hear about themselves and their key relationships.

When you confront people like this, they become upset and blame you for not understanding them or for wrongfully accusing them of something. Only they can removed the blinders from their own eyes- you cannot do it for them.

6. Those who do not want to pay the price for success.

There are many that want the perks of success but don’t want to pay the price for success.

Whatever we do in life, we are called to sacrifice our time, invest our talents and be committed to a long, grueling process with many setbacks until we reach our peak performance. This kind of sacrifice is needed in every area we desire success in, including our marriages, relationships with our children, leading a company or a church, etc.

Consequently, I have found that I am not able to empower a person to the fullness of their destiny if they don’t want to work hard at self-improvement.

7. Those whose primary agenda is individualistic and not others-oriented.

There are some people whose only agenda in life is to advance their own agenda.

They don’t want to work with a team or flow in the context of a local church. They want others to pour their lives into them, but they are rarely ever willing to pour back into others.

Those who only want to use other high-capacity people to advance their own agenda (even if it is ministry related) have greatly limited their own lives. Thus, I back away from these people until they change.

8. Those who refuse to keep their word.

I have been with very talented individuals with a strong sense of calling on their lives but who find it difficult (for whatever reason) to remain faithful to their obligations. Or they broke confidence by continually talking behind other people’s backs.

Some things can be trained – but you cannot train character.

9. Those who lack transparency, humility and integrity.

When someone gets to the place where their humble enough to admit their faults and confess areas of personal growth, they are ready for the type of leader that can be a powerful coach in their lives.



Avoid These 8 Ego Traps

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EgoI recently read a book excerpt from Jen Shirkani called “Ego vs EQ”, and in it she shares eight ego traps we can easily fall into as leaders.

Ego Trap One: Ignoring Feedback You Don’t Like

It can be hard to hear honest feedback—especially when the feedback is not what we think or want to believe about ourselves. But the consequences of ignoring that feedback can be even more damaging.

 Ego Trap Two: Believing Your Technical Skills Trump Your Leadership Skills

Brilliant intellect and strong technical expertise mean very little if we cannot collaborate with others to leverage that knowledge to move our team forward.

Ego Trap Three: Surrounding Yourself with More of You

When it comes to the challenges of building a high-performing team, leaders who shortcut a thorough interview and hire someone they “click with” because they share their same strengths, values, and ways of thinking—end up with exactly the people least likely to challenge their decisions.

Ego Trap Four: Not Letting Go of Control

At the heart of micromanagement is an ego-based failure to let go of control.

Ego Trap Five: Being Blind to Your Downstream Impact

It’s easy for leaders across organizations to have a blind spot regarding their downstream impact: They may not have any advisors to give them feedback, and their direct reports may silently defer to them.

Ego Trap Six: Underestimating How Much You’re Being Watched

Everyone watches what the leader does. That isn’t an ego trip; it’s a fact. As leader of the organization, their behavior—for good or for ill—is the primary example by which everyone else acts.

Ego Trap Seven: Losing Touch with the Front Line Experience

As a person of influence, it is all too easy to become disconnected from the troops.

Ego Trap Eight: Relapsing Back to Your Old Ways

Unfortunately, there is only one “sin” greater than falling into any of the Ego Traps — it’s called an ego relapse—the damaging descent from newfound emotional intelligence skills, right back into an ego pitfall.  If perception and loyalty were on the line before changing, there are even more important things at stake for sustaining it.

Be watchful of these traps.  We don’t know we’ve been trapped until good people stop risking telling us the truth and then leave. Or we have a credibility lapse.

The solution?   Humility.

We aren’t the smartest person in the room, truth be told.

I’ve Learned to Believe

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al-inspiring-quote-on-self-beliefI believe in the power of belief. It’s a perspective that can dramatically impact the quality of your life. I’m not just talking about belief as it relates to religion, although that’s extremely significant too. What I’m talking about here is a mindset.

As Henry Ford said, “Think you Can or think you Can’t, either way… you’re right”.

Belief is a choice.

It’s like two stories, one about a hero and one about a victim. You get to choose your role. The story you tell about yourself is a result of your beliefs and it will determine how your overall story unfolds.

It’s about a belief in yourself, in developing a level of confidence and an inner voice that says, “you CAN do it” and “you CAN be a success despite the challenges behind you or ahead of you.” Your past does not necessarily determine your future (unless you let it). If you’ve failed before, rise up and use it to help you overcome today. Don’t let fear immobilize you. Believe in yourself and who you were made to be.

It’s also about a belief in an outcome, seeing what COULD be and believing that it’s possible to achieve it. Not just saying you believe it’s possible, but really believing it! You can’t fake it here. If you want to create something great, you fist have to see it (in your own mind) and believe in it before it will ever be. Don’t let the first sign of a pot hole in the road throw you off course either, find a detour and continue on to your desired destination. Don’t give up. Don’t lose focus. If it’s worth believing in, it’s worth pursuing.

In any case it’s about vision and confidently stepping forward to turn that vision into a reality. It could be a vision of becoming a better parent, a better boss, going for that job you want or it could be creating a product, a nonprofit initiative or simply accomplishing a goal you’ve always wanted to pursue.

It doesn’t mean you’ll succeed every time, it just means that your belief in your God-given purpose and abilities becomes greater than your doubt.

Is it time for a belief check?

Be encouraged today to know that you can. You have gifts and abilities to share and you were given them for a purpose. Use them to fulfill your potential. Choose to step forward, despite your doubt, and believe in what can be

5 Times When You need to Say “No”

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Saying-NoTo say “no” to others, we must first learn to say no to ourselves.  Undoubtedly some of the regrets you had about this past year are rooted in moments where you sat in silent agreement with a bad decision, an unwise direction taken, or a personal value broken.

Here are 5 Times When You Need to Say No to Yourself:

  1. When It Doesn’t Make Sense – Sometimes all it takes is a little common sense. Say no when the task at hand is counter-productive (or even self-destructive.) Take a moment to step back and consider whether you need to “just say no.”
  2. When You Are Stressed – Much of stress is self-inflicted. You take on too much or agree to do things that you shouldn’t. When you are tired or running ragged is the time to hold your ground and say no to yourself.
  3. When You Are Overloaded – You can’t do it all. When there is simply too much on your list, you need to be able to say no to some of your tasks.
  4. When It’s Not a Priority – It’s easy to do the easy things. The ones that really don’t matter. It’s harder to do what you should be doing. You have to be able to choose between what you want to do and what you need to do.
  5. When It’s the Wrong Thing to Do – Never compromise yourself or values, even when you are under pressure. Don’t take the easy route when it goes against what is correct. Always do the right thing even if you have to say no to your inner voice.

Your inner voice may be telling you that you can “do it all.”

However, that can be a recipe for disaster.

You can’t do everything, so be realistic.

Sometimes you need to say no, even to yourself.