Do You Drive Into Storms?

Address what needs to be addressed...

Do you drive into storms or have crucial conversations when needed?  I have talked about this concept with my friends, my family, and co-workers for a while now. I just heard it again when I was listening to a book called – Take the Stairs.  The simple fact is if there is an issue whether big or small, do you put it off or do you drive right into it?  I recently learned that Colorado is one of the few states that have buffalo and cows in it.  Well, it turns out when a storm is coming from the west over the rocky mountain range, the cows start to run from it.  The storm usually catches them and they stay in it for a long time.  The buffalo wait for the storm to hit the mountain tops and run right into it and right through it.  They minimize their time in the storm by charging right into it.

When I help other with this concept and working through issues they may have, I simply state, “let’s drive into the storm”.  It can be a hard conversation with a client, a mistake they made, or just a tough situation that needs to be addressed. It is better just to get it done vs “stewing on it”.  If you don’t address the issue, it usually consumes a lot of extra energy and can create a negative energy around you.

I recently helped my daughter sell something on Amazon and it ended up it was missing a part.  We received an email from the buyer who was rather upset and let us know that.  She got upset after reading the email and shared her feelings with me. I suggested we talk through and respond appropriately.  The facts were the buyer was right, so we took a few minutes responded politely that we would look for the part and let him know that our character and integrity are very important to us.  He replied and pseudo apologized or explained why he was upset which made sense.  It ended up we did not find the part so I offered to refund his money. He responded it was ok and he would just keep it without any kind of refund necessary.  It was a good opportunity to apply some common sense

How Self Aware Are You Today?

The Best Gift for Yourself...

The best gift you can give yourself or someone else is the gift of self-awareness. It is pretty much a fact that the highest predictor of success both personally and professionally is knowing your strengths and weaknesses. Being self-aware can be a secret advantage if you can get there. Most people don’t realize that being self-aware can advance them in their career, in their relationships, and in their home life.

I first learned of the concept of being self-aware when I read the book Emotional Intelligence. It complimented my belief that focusing on your strengths vs. your weaknesses is the best thing you can do for you. In life, very few people like to talk about their weaknesses – let alone strive to be self-aware so they know how they are being perceived and treating other people. Being self-aware allows you to recognize what you do best, where your strengths are AND allows you to understand and accept your weaknesses.

Have You Identified Your Hot Buttons?

What are you sensitive to...

We all have hot buttons. Things or actions that get on our nerves or we are hyper-sensitive to. The key is to know your hot buttons and make sure you know how you want to respond. Do you know your hot buttons?

What Are Yours:

  • People that interrupt you?
  • People that don’t listen?
  • People that ask you the same question over and over?
  • Bad or Crazy Drivers?
  • Negative people?
  • And so on…

Every person has a few behaviors they are sensitive to. Some more than others, but for sure we all have them. The key to help yourself is to remain calm and acknowledge your emotions when one of your hot buttons fire up. It is especially helpful to know your hot buttons in advance, so you have your ideal response mapped out so your muscle memory takes over and you respond how you want to. This doesn’t always happen, but you have a better

Time for a 2017 Check-Up

Whats Right, Wrong, Confused, or Missing...

Check ups on yourself, your goals, and where your headed can be a daunting or easy depending on the tools you use. To determine what you should stop, start or keep should be something you do at least annually, but semi-annually is a better plan. I do a process at year end that I learned from our life plan training. It is called the 4 Helpful List tool. It allows you to review the last year and classify the following.

  1. What is Right?
  2. What is Wrong?
  3. What is Confusing?
  4. What is Missing?

The process is to basically classify your last year activities in each category with bullet points in each section. Then to classify what today’s status currently is AND how much control you have on each bullet point. Your options for control are Full, Partial, None.

We use this tool when we do life planning and it is super eye opening. It was for me when I did my life plan, especially when I had to select how much control I had on each bullet point. This tool may help you with what you should change for 2017 and set goals to actually accomplish those changes.

Action Items

  • Download the 4 Helpful Lists excel template.
    • Fill it out for where you are today
    • State Today’s Status
    • Classify how much control you have over that item.
  • Identify what changes you want to make.
  • Fill out the Goals Sheet to document your plan and execute it.
  • Do a Life Plan


It’s your life, own it this year…

Who Are You Influencing Today?

My wife and I are conscious everyday about our influence on others and its ripple effect. Leadership in it’s simplest form is influence not control. I know a lot of people complain about lack of control in certain situations but what that translates to is if they think they had control they would be successful. This simply is not true, you cannot control anyone but yourself.

You can’t control anyone, but you can influence everyone to some degree.

We like to have a positive impact on those we come in contact with every day. Some times its minimal, sometime it can be life direction changing. If you want to be a positive leader in today’s world, there are a few things you can do.

Your Morning Routine is Your Secret Weapon

Control Your Day or It Will Control You...

I often ask the question “are you controlling your day or is it controlling you?”  It’s an interesting concept to ponder as many of us get behind to start off the day and spend the rest of it vainly trying to catch up. For many, days like this string together into weeks or even months until we feel it is impossible to get ahead, our lives are out of balance and we feel out of control. It’s not a happy place to be.

In today’s technology driven world of the Internet, email, smartphones, tablets and the demands of social media it is easy to get caught up in and lost by the 24/7 interconnectedness.  It is easy to blow valuable time on the web or Facebook, email and Twitter and have nothing to show for it but a serious gap in available hours to get the important stuff done.  Technology can be a help or a hindrance depending on how you master it.  Technology should be a tool that brings value and contributes to personal and professional goals and dreams.

As a continuous improvement guy, I am always looking for ways to improve my processes and tweak my routines so I can accomplish my goals.   Below are just a few of the things I read, listened to and did before altering my routine.

Audio Books:



I even hired a coach to help me with my faith habits.  After all this, I concluded owning your day starts in the morning — but is decided the night before.  A long time ago I read that you rarely win debates with yourself in the morning, so you must decide what you are going to do in advance.  This means if you are going to get up and workout, you decide the night before, you put out your clothes, and when the alarm clock goes off, you just go do it!

Do You and Your Spouse Have the Same Priorities?

A Simple Tool To Help...

Priorities are a funny thing, especially when it comes to your spouse and family. I must admit; I didn’t have it right for many years and still get wrong occasionally. This week is a quick “tech tip” my wife and I have been using to keep us aligned on to do lists, shopping lists, home improvement lists, etc.

We have been using a little free app called wunderlist that has made a huge difference in our life. It started when our 3 daughters were living at home and they would ask my wife to add things to the shopping list. The requests could come from all types of sources – texts, email, sticky notes and so on. That got a little frustrating for my wife.

I saw this frustration and came up with a solution which was a shared shopping list in wunderlist. It is really cool and allows you to share many lists with many people. In this case, it worked perfect. I created a list called shopping list and shared it with our family so all they had to do is add it to the list, make notes and even take a picture of the label if needed. This took a lot of stress out of our life. I like to share this little tip with as many people as I can and they always come back and let me know they love it.

I took it to the next level after I taught a retreat on Getting Things Done. The premise behind the method is to make sure you have things in the right priority bucket and in a safe place. I did this with our home improvement to do lists because I didn’t want to be working on something that we weren’t in agreement on. This could waste time, cause friction, and just not be a positive thing

Are You Waiting for the Right Time?

Do you consider yourself one of those people that wait for the right time? Are you working off of a hard timeline you set for yourself? I used to be one of those people that set hard timelines by week, month, quarter and year. I even had 5 thru 25 year ideas that I would like to accomplish.

I’m not saying that’s a bad thing because most people don’t plan enough. I have stated a quote more than I care to count or my family cares to hear “you don’t plan to fail; you fail to plan”. As my wife can confirm, I have adjusted my thinking a bit from a planning standpoint. I still plan, I still have things I would like to accomplish, I still have timelines of goals. What is different is I am ok with adjusting the plans along the way.

I know my core values, I know what I want to be from a person, husband, dad, and friend standpoint which provides me my foundation. With that understanding, it allows me to be intentional with the direction I am headed, and peace when things change. Understanding the journey is as important as the destination  which was a huge enlightenment for me.

Have You Really Defined Success?

Have you defined what success means to you? For many people it’s money. In my early years like most people money was my definition of success and like most people I didn’t have any and believed it would make me happy. Money certainly doesn’t hurt but happiness, having fun, and being financially stable should be a big part of your success equation.

It was mom’s weekend at Indiana University a few weekends ago where two of our daughters are pursuing their degrees. My wife and I went down for the weekend and our oldest daughter that lives in Nashville, TN was able to come up for a few nights. Being able to spend the weekend with all of our daughters was quite special for my wife and me.

There were a few of “those” moments that I was able to step back and appreciate seeing our daughters on their next chapter of life and what great young ladies they are becoming. My wife and I talked about what a successful family looks like early on in life. I actually have to give her the credit which I am grateful for because she was solid on this and had a solid vision for our daughters and our family. I always thought I was the visionary, but she definitely was the leader and visionary for our family.

How Do You Respond in Heated Situations?

Are You a Thermostat or Thermometer...

When you are in heated situations, you have many choices of how you respond. I have told my daughters a few times you have one pail of water in one hand and one pail of gas in the other. It is you’re your choice which one you are going to throw on the situation. I always like that visual because it boils down to choosing to respond and not reacting. As leaders of households, businesses, community circles, we have need to think of ourselves as a thermostat or a thermometer.

When in a position of influence – mom, dad, friend, manager, boss, you have the option to be a thermostat or a thermometer.

A thermometer reflects the temperature of the environment. It simply reacts to what’s happening around it. If the temperature is hot, it tells you so. If it’s cold, the thermometer reflects that reality as well. It’s a dumb instrument in the sense it doesn’t contain intelligent, multipurpose functionality. It has one purpose and one purpose only. A thermostat, on the other hand, regulates the environment. It sets the desired temperature of the room/household and actively works to maintain it within a given range. If the temperature rises above the goal, the thermostat signals the air conditioner to crank up and cool the room down. If the temperature falls below the goal, the thermostat causes the heater to turn on in order to warm the room up. The thermostat is intelligent in the sense it’s always monitoring the environment, and if the temperature gets too hot or cold, it decides what to do to correct the situation.