Posts Tagged ‘Change the World’

Image  This photo was taken in the courtyard of the Presidential Palace in Guatemala City, as we prepared for a ceremony including John Maxwell, Guatemala Prospera, and the Guatemalan President.

Exactly a year ago this week, I was in Guatemala City, one of 150 John C. Maxwell Certified Coaches teaching a Transformational Leadership process to ~19,000 leaders within the seven streams of influence. All of those leaders committed to taking a small group of people through the Transformational Leadership process over the course of 30 weeks. That’s right — 30 weeks! During that time, they would study and apply each of The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth, as described by John in his book of the same name, as well as 15 Values, as defined by the Guatemalan people based on what they thought would be crucial in changing the culture in their country.

Today, those 19,000 leaders have taught and influenced nearly ~200,000 citizens within their country, and the work continues.

Make no mistake, that trip changed thousands of lives, not the least of which were the Coaches who traveled to a far-off land to give of themselves to people they’ve never met, and may never see, again. It certainly changed mine, in ways I find it hard to articulate, even today, one year later.

I’ve learned, without question, what it means to offer something of significance to someone else; some thing that will change lives in unimaginable, possibly indescribable ways. As I sit in my office today, in West Virginia, I think fondly of my week with such amazing people doing such amazing, life-giving work. I long to be there with them, again.

The good news is, I am confident that opportunity will come again, and perhaps even sooner than I imagine. Since our time in Guatemala City last June, the John Maxwell Team has been invited to do the same work in several other countries in Central America.

To my fellow coaches, the leaders of the John Maxwell Team, the talented translators who shared their time and language, and the people of Guatemala who welcomed us into their country, offices, churches, and businesses…Thank You. I am blessed by you. I look forward to being with you all, again, soon.

If this appeals to you, watch this short video on our trip to Guatemala. And if you long to taste significance and are interested in joining this amazing team, here’s your invitation. I hope you join our tribe! Be sure to tell them I sent you!

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I read this story a while back about a young woman whose bike was stolen while she was at work. She worked full-time to put herself through school, attending only part time, and the bike was her only source of transportation. Out of frustration, she posted an angry note to the thief on a nearby lamp post, knowing the thief would likely never see it; she said it felt good to “vent.”

Someone did see the note, tweeted a photo of it, and the story ended up on the news where it attracted the attention of someone who had had a similar experience when he was in college. He replaced her bike, with a catch: She would have to buy a bike for someone in need by her 59th birthday (within 40 years)!

I firmly believe in paying it forward and do so whenever I am able…sometimes even when I feel like it’s a stretch for me financially. It feels good. And it pays off. In recent months, at a local toll bridge I cross a couple of times a month, I’ve benefitted from the person in the car in front of me paying my toll (this is a habit I practice every time I cross the bridge), so I have paid the toll for the car behind me anyway. Usually, what I see in my side mirror as I drive away is the person in the car behind me pull their hand — with their money — back into the car and drive thru. Most recently, however, the truck in front paid for me, I already had a dollar ready (the toll is 50 cents per car), so I gave it to the toll taker anyway, and pulled away, watching the car behind me. The woman behind me also handed over a dollar…I’ve been wondering how many cars went thru that day — before and after me — before someone broke the chain.

I hadn’t thought about the concept of paying it forward with a catch, until I read this story, but I like it. On the one hand, we would hope someone would do this because they genuinely had a desire to give of themselves and help someone else. The truth is, I think, that most people are so busy being busy, they simply don’t think about these kinds of opportunities. And we often discover that people who are given what they need don’t value it as much as if they have to work for it or personally invest in it themselves…So, perhaps, by paying it forward with a catch — setting the expectation that the recipient also participate in paying it forward in some way — might jar enough people out of their habit of running on auto-pilot, and start them thinking about how they can make a difference in the life of someone else.

It doesn’t have to be a grand gesture. Perhaps buying a bike for someone else is not in your budget. That’s ok. But what about a toll on the road? Or a cup of coffee? Perhaps you could spring for someone else’s lunch?

What are your thoughts on this? What stories along these lines are you reading and how have they impacted your behavior?

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Live your beliefs and you can turn the world around.  ~Henry David Thoreau*

This is so true; don’t you think? Consider this…how would your life be different today if you hadn’t believed in yourself?

How would your world be different today if other leaders hadn’t believed in their potential, their vision, their mission?

What if:

  • Abraham Lincoln hadn’t believed slaves should be freed?
  • John F. Kennedy, Jr., hadn’t believed a man could walk on the moon?
  • Martin Luther King hadn’t believed in the dream of equality for all?
  • Susan B. Anthony hadn’t believed women should vote?
  • Jonas Salk hadn’t believed polio could be cured?

These are just a few examples; given time, and putting our heads together, we could probably come up with a list that would span countless pages of how others’ (and our own) beliefs have changed our lives, our communities, and our world.

Regardless of what stage of life — and leadership — you may be in, know that the first step you must take to move forward is the believe in yourself, in your dream, and your ability to accomplish it.

Believe and act as if it were impossible to fail.  ~Charles F. Kettering

Do so, and success will surely follow.

Do so, and you will change the lives of more people than you can imagine, at levels you may not even be aware of.

Do so…we need you!


Note: This concludes this 12-month, focused Intentional Leadership journey. Thank you for accompanying me. Remember, it is a journey; even though our study together is ended, it doesn’t mean you must or should stop working through this process. This work, this guide, is archived for you on this site, and you are welcome to revisit it — even go through the whole process, or pieces of it, as the need arises — at any time in the future.

*From the Intentional Leadership booklet, by Giant Impact.

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As we are talking about Belief and how it relates to, or empowers, our mission, let’s spend some time today thinking about our personal missions.

Before we get into the mechanics of developing a personal mission statement, here’s mine:

I am on a mission to make the world a better place, one encounter at a time, by beaming rays of light (helping them to see themselves and others with greater clarity) into their lives.

To get started, ask yourself these questions:

What do I want to achieve, for myself and others?

Why do I want to do this?

Specifically, what behaviors do I need to demonstrate, or what actions do I need to take, to achieve my mission?

Here are three questions you can ask yourself, to test your mission statement:*

1. Is it connected to my most deeply-held values?

2. Does it inspire and motivate me to act?

3. Is it simple, straightforward, and easily understood by others?

If you can say yes to these three questions, you are off to a good start.

So, get started today. Don’t rush through it. Be sure it feels true to you at the heart level. Give yourself permission to refine it over time. This isn’t a one-time exercise.

I hope you’ll share your personal mission statement with me when you have it written.

*From the Intentional Leadership booklet, by Giant Impact. 

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How will you reach your vision if you don’t believe?

Belief leads to confidence and you need confidence in order to strive towards achieving any goal.

Think about the people who had such strong beliefs in what they set out to do, ignoring those who said it was a ridiculous idea or could not be done.

Jeff Bezos and Amazon. Many thought him foolish for thinking he could build a successful online bookseller.

Steve Jobs and Apple. Many thought him foolish for thinking he could get any market share against the PC sellers.

Thomas Edison and the light bulb. Many thought him foolish for continuing to try to develop the light bulb after thousands of what others considered failures.

The list could go on and on…in fact, I’m sure you could add stories of your successes and breakthroughs in the face of opposition and adversity. I’m certain you could share countless other stories of people you’ve known who have done the same.

As a leader, it’s critical that you believe in your vision and your ability to achieve it.

Today, give some thought to how that has worked for you. Have your beliefs moved you forward to success or have they held you back?

And, how does that affect your team/organization?

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As part of the growth plan I am working my way through, I have recently spent some time reflecting on my association with the John Maxwell Team and the value it’s brought to my life.
Several people have told me they wished they could do some of what I’m doing and asked me about my experience with the John Maxwell Team. After returning from Guatemala my (already great) opinion about the JMT is at a new level. What we took part of in Guatemala was “Historic.” John’s Influence and his team at Equip ( his other company) along with two other organizations ( LaRed and Guatemala Prospera) are the reason this amazing Transformation has begun in Guatemala.
Think about this: Three people trained 150 of us coaches over two-and-a-half days. We were then deployed, along with a translator, to go out and teach four-hour work shops sitting in small circles with military, city and country government officials, faculties of schools, clergy, hospital administrators, doctors and nurses, business men and women, and community leaders; we taught them how to facilitate interactive roundtable discussions on the the topics of Laws of Growth and Values, like forgiveness, listening skills, and others.
Gua Natl Civil Police June13 sm  (Me with the National Civil Police, Guatemala City, Guatemala, June 2013, at the end of our session)
In three days we reached ~19,000 people and left them trained and equipped to facilitate a 30-week follow-up using this same process in their areas of influence and with their families.
It was an amazing, life-changing experience! I don’t know if you can imagine but each one of the participants (captains & generals of armies in uniform, city mayors, doctors, clergy, etc) had to get “real” and be “transparent” rating themselves from 1-10 on how they were at, for instance, “listening” or “forgiving others. ” Then they had to say aloud what specific action steps they were going to take in the coming week to improve their performance in that area.
I’ve never seen such transparency. The stories of what happened were crazy-awesome! When people get real and want to grow, TRANSFORMATION begins.
As of mid-August, 45,000 (yes, 45,000!) others were going through this transformation process in small groups led by the people we taught in June.
I’m still on ‘cloud nine’ about the whole thing. Our own country could so benefit from this process. Third world countries don’t have the distractions we have and they want help to bring hope to their future generations. From the president down to the young people, the whole country is in pursuit of hope. Although this was not a faith-based effort per se, all the principles, laws, and values we taught come directly from the wisdom found in the pages of the Bible.
If you are looking for a personal leadership growth track (speaking, coaching, teaching, etc…), want to move toward growing a business, or be a part of a transformational, powerful organization, you can make that a reality for yourself by joining the John Maxwell Team. Give me a call. I can walk you through the process for enrolling, the investment, and the amazing benefits of joining this team.
It truly is the best thing I’ve done for myself in at least 10 years!
I look forward to hearing from you.

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I’m guessing you’ve spent a considerable amount of time, energy, and effort achieving whatever level you’ve attained in your life to-date. And while I’m certainly not suggesting you are close to being done, I do believe there is no time like the present to start thinking about, planning for, and taking action toward whatever legacy you want to leave.

What is the biggest need you see within your organization, your community, your family?

What skills, talents, experience, gifts do you possess that would be of benefit in this situation?

How could you give back in a meaningful way, in alignment with that need?

If the idea seems overwhelming, it needn’t be. Start small. Do something relatively easy for you to do, with a short-term commitment. Work your way up to taking bigger steps each time. You might be amazed at how impactful something is that you considered to be very small.

And if you’re not already a “giver,” I guarantee you will like the way you feel when you do give…selflessly.

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Spend some time today thinking about someone who has given back to you or your organization. There are lessons to be learned here, if you are open to them.

Who was the person and how were/are you connected to them?

What did he/she do for you or your organization?

What lesson did you learn from their action?

How did you show your appreciation for their contributions?

If you haven’t done anything, yet, how can you show appreciation?

What impact will your showing appreciation to the person have on you today?

What example will you be setting for others?

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As you are no doubt aware, building a legacy takes time. In fact, it takes intentionality, hard work, time, commitment, and the willingness to simply give — to be unselfish.

As we discussed yesterday, giving back is a critical component of building a legacy. Today, I encourage you to spend some time giving this idea some serious thought. Get your journal out and make two columns; the left side can be narrower than the right.

In the left column, make this list, running down the page: Time, money, ability, example, “stuff”, influence. Next to each item, leave some space for ranking.

In the right column, leave space for writing out examples of each item that you have to give.

Now for the ranking – rank each item in order of how much you are doing to build your legacy, with 1 being little or nothing and 6 being a lot. Then go back and write out what you are already doing in each area. Then, in a different colored pen, write out what you could be doing that would be more meaningful in each area. If you’re willing to really commit, put down some specific actions and deadlines, and then share your list with someone you trust, who will be willing to support you in this endeavor, and who will encourage you to hold yourself accountable.

I would love to hear what’s on your list; use the comments box below to share your thoughts!

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I don’t mean to start this week off on a depressing note, rather, more so to wake you up. Each of us has a limited time on this planet; while we don’t know exactly what it will be, each of us has a definite “end date.” I assume, because you’re reading my blog, you have some interest in growth, leadership, and discovering your purpose in life. Well, as we talk more and more about legacy this month, I would suggest that part of your purpose — part of each person’s purpose — is to give back.

To share one’s talents, one’s wealth, one’s experience, one’s wisdom…After all, you can’t take it with you when you go, so why not make the most of it while you are here? Perhaps you might consider what it means to be a river rather than a reservoir.

If you need some examples, they are more than abundant, but here are a few you can look into:

Paul Newman and the Newman’s Own brand of dressings and salsas. While the business was started as sort of a joke between Paul and a friend, it turned out to be quite successful and a boon to a number of selected charities. Clearly, Newman didn’t need the income and there were (still are) plenty in need of what he had to offer. 100 percent of the proceeds from the Newman’s Own brand goes to a list of charitable organizations, and as of 2011, the brand had donated more than $250 million. Nor did he give just money; for years, Newman spent his summers with terminally ill children at his Hole in the Wall Gang Camps.

Bill and Melinda Gates are well known for many things, not the least of which is The Giving Pledge — an effort to enlist the wealthiest to pledge to donate the majority of their wealth to philanthropy. The list of people who have made the pledge certainly reads like a “Who’s Who…” of the world’s rich and successful people: Richard Branson, Warren Buffet, Michael Bloomberg, George Lucas, Barron Hilton, and the list goes on and on and on…

This is not to suggest each of these people are perfect or performing on a higher plane. I share these thoughts only to get you thinking about legacy; clearly each of them (and numerous others not mentioned) has given it serious thought and they’ve taken action to ensure they leave a lasting legacy in some way that speaks of their passion and commitment, and desire to make a difference for someone, in some place, at some time.

My question to you today is this: How are you giving back to society?

If you aren’t already, are you thinking about it and considering a plan?

What causes speak to you?

What methods and models of giving are a good fit for you?

I discovered “anonymous acts of kindness” a few years ago, and take many opportunities to provide gifts and kindnesses to others. My recent trip to Guatemala was, in essence, a mission trip…fueled by my passion to teach leadership principles to those who yearn for change and growth. We make a number of charitable contributions throughout the year. I’d have to say, in my experience so far, that giving money is the easiest (unless you don’t have any!) but I find sharing my talents, knowledge, and experience with others far more rewarding…

I encourage you to find a need that pulls at your very soul, and find a way to feed it.

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