Posts Tagged ‘Transformation’


A couple of days ago, I checked my PO box and found this letter. At first, I was delighted to get a real letter. There was no return address, and the handwriting looked familiar…I puzzled for a moment about whom it could be from, then realized (with chagrin!) that it was my writing.

One of my coaches, Kary Oberbrunner, had finally dropped it in the mail…and now I was supposed to open it and read it. UGH!

On May 2nd, I sat on the rusted base of a “bed” (I use the term lightly) in a cell in Shawshank Prison (Ohio Reformatory in Mansfield, Ohio), and wrote myself a letter. The assignment had been given by my coach, Kary, as part of the Dream Job Bootcamp workshop weekend. I was to write to my future self to tell me what I need to know so I can move forward more successfully. I should share any advice I would give myself, any new clarity I had gained, set forth some expectations for greater accountability, or perhaps even warn myself, should I feel the need.

I have to say, the whole experience — from the prison setting to the fact I had recently escaped my day job to move into my purpose / calling full time — weighed heavily on my heart. As I put pen to paper and began to write, the tears began to stream down my face. It happens when things of great meaning come to me; while I still find it somewhat frustrating, I’m used to it.

I wrote and wrote and wrote, until someone’s alarm went off and I brought my missive to a close; we had been given several things to do while in the cell and a set amount of time in which to do them. It was time to reconvene. As instructed, I folded the letter, put it into and envelope, addressed it to myself, and sealed it. When I made it back to the prison chapel, I gave it to Kary for safe keeping; he promised to mail it to me within 12 months.

Over the past few months, I’ve thought of the letter, wondering when it would arrive and what it would say when I opened it. Make no mistake, it’s not that I expected some other letter to be in the envelope when it arrived…I simply had no idea what I wrote. Every word on those pages flowed to and thru me, but they didn’t come from me. I don’t know how else to explain it.

When I realized what the envelope was, I began to tear it open — excited and anxious to read it. Then caution took hold and I placed the envelope in my purse, wanting to consider it for a while before I opened it. I finally opened it today and read through it quickly. It was … interesting, to say the least. (oh — and the note on the back was not written by me…Thanks, Kary!!)

I won’t share the message with you; it’s personal. I will say, I have some homework now and need to connect with another Coach whose style I admire a great deal; I believe we have much in common with our down-to-earth, no BS approach to getting honest, discovering oneself, and being accountable for our behaviors. I have some questions for him.

I also have a sense of peace, on another level, as I’ve had some doubts removed about my “sweet spot,” as they call it.

It’s an exercise worth your time and attention. Take pen to paper and spend 30 minutes writing to your future self. What advice would you share? In what areas do you need to hold yourself more accountable? What warning would you offer to the you who may sometimes stray from the path of your true priorities.

Let me know what you discover.

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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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Let’s work on the negative beliefs we identified yesterday. Choose one and spend some time thinking about how to change it, and change your life in the process.*

Old belief:

Daily actions that supported that belief?

What could you believe to be true, instead?

New belief:

New daily actions in support:

Now that you’ve given this some thought, and identified how you can change the belief, change your behavior, and change your life…commit to the new actions and put them in your calendar, so you have no excuse for not following through.

If you’re willing to share what you’ve come up with, send a note in the Comments box. I’d love to hear what you’re working on.


*From the Intentional Leadership booklet, by Giant Impact.

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Have you given much thought the need to adjust your strategy to adapt to changing dynamics in your business environment? I have been, prompted by a recent call with one of my mentors who brought up Kodak.

You remember Kodak, don’t you? For a while, it was Eastman Kodak, then just Kodak, and anyone with a camera — the ones that require actual film — will remember Kodak. Back then, we had to go to the store to buy rolls of film; then, when we’d taken our pictures, we took them back to the store or a film shop and dropped off the role of film to be developed…which often took a week to 10 days! Eventually, someone invented the 1-hour photo developing system, and that revolutionized photography (for us amateurs, anyway), for a while. Then along came digital photography. No longer did you need to buy film or have it developed; now the market was all about memory cards for your camera, and the pixel capability of your camera.

Clearly, this new business model didn’t fit with Kodak’s old model — sell film, photo paper, and developing services. So, how did Kodak respond?

At one point, albeit way too late in the transformation of its industry, the former giant attempted to reposition itself as the Memories company, with print-at-home photo paper and systems…but it was too late. Kodak had missed the boat and ended up filing for Chapter 11 Reorganization.

Are you even aware of what Kodak is up to — if anything — these days? I have to admit, I wasn’t sure if the company was even in business any longer. Turns out, a simple search indicates it is. Today, “Kodak has transformed itself into a technology company focused on imaging for business.”

According to its web site,

“Kodak sharpened its focus to commercial markets as part of a 20-month Chapter 11 reorganization in which it successfully removed large legacy costs, streamlined a complex infrastructure, and exited or spun-off businesses – including its remaining consumer imaging and document imaging businesses – that were no longer core to its future. People around the world will continue to see the Kodak brand through its commercial businesses and licenses with select business partners.

As a result of its reorganization, Kodak today is leaner, financially stronger and ready to grow – poised to take advantage of the digital transition underway in packaging markets; the growing demand for graphic communications products and services in emerging markets; and dynamic growth in the market for printed electronics, sensors, fuel cells and other printed products with functions beyond visual communications.”

This is a prime example of the need to adapt one’s strategy as the dynamics of business and industry shift, and they are constantly shifting. The point: One must adapt to survive, and this is as true for you — as leaders — as it is for your organizations.

Today, spend some time reflecting on the changes you’ve experienced in your industry in the past few years. What were some of the most dramatic? And what adaptations were required for your organization to remain relevant?

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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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Today, let’s spend some time in visualization. Give some thought to where your life will be in one month, three months, six months, and one year, if you follow through on the actions you outlined yesterday. How will others be impacted if you choose a positive attitude rather than a negative one? Write out your thoughts, connected with specific people.

One Month

Three Months

Six Months

One Year

Remember, this is a journey and a process. Don’t set yourself up for frustration with the expectation you must be perfect and respond perfectly to the events that happen in your life. The idea is to experience the experiences, feel the feelings, and make a choice in how you will respond and move forward. My yoga mentor, Diamond Dallas Page, advises us to “live life at 90%,” meaning that 10% is what happens to us in life and 90% is how we choose to deal with it. He focuses on the 90% and strives to make the most and best of that…essentially, choosing one’s attitude.

What will you choose?

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This morning, the John Maxwell Team and all of the Guatemala Trip support staff (John Maxwell Company, EQUIP, Guatemala Prospera, and La Red) met in a conference room to prepare to meet our translators. All told, there were probably 170 of us in the room.

Guatemala Prospera (Prosperous Guatemala) arranged for the interpreters who will support us in our mission this week. Some of them are professional translators, some of them — many, in fact — are high school and college students studying English and translation, and they all volunteered to help us this week. We were told there would be more of them than there were of us. This make sense because our schedule is somewhat fluid, and some of them may not be available every time we need them (or for four-hour training sessions). So, they came into the room and filed past all 170 of us, to the front of the conference room we were in. They just kept coming and coming and coming…There were so many of them, it was overwhelming. And they had these expressions on their faces of anticipation and joy and gratitude. They just kept saying “Thank you for coming to help Guatemala,” “Thank you for being here,” Thank you, thank you, thank you…”

For those of you who know me, or maybe you’ve discerned this from reading my posts, you know I am RARELY at a loss for words…but I am today. I cannot adequately describe the feelings from this morning watching them come in to us…the hugs, the hand shakes, the smiles…it was an extremely emotional time for so many of us in the room.

They have been through the same training we’ve been going through this week, so they are familiar with the material. They are excited for the change to come to change their culture and improve their nation. They are familiar with John Maxwell and his teachings and seem pretty overwhelmed to see that John brought a small “army,” so to speak, to help in this endeavor. And they are filled with eagerness and some anxiety.

The woman I worked with is named Marlene. She is a professional translator, most frequently working with pharmaceutical companies, if I understood her correctly. She has two young sons. She does a radio show on Sundays that is broadcast around the country; she shares bible teachings with children and they talk about what they understood and thought of that week’s passage. She is bright and energetic, kind and open, generous with her time and spirit, and just kept thanking me for being here.

We won’t know who our interpreter will be until we get our teaching assignments. Here’s how it’s going to work: At 6 AM tomorrow morning, every one of us will be in the hotel lobby, ready for whatever the day brings. Our logistics folks will tell us where we can find breakfast and give us our assignments for the day. We won’t know, until then, if we are teaching a morning or afternoon session, where the session will be held, how many people will be at the session (average is supposed to be 40, but could be as many as 80), what interpreter we will work with, or who will be driving us to wherever we are going. What we do know is this: Tomorrow, we will be going somewhere, with someone, to teach some group, at some time…

It’s a test of how well we function in chaos, I guess! We will need to be resilient, flexible, and patient. I’ve got the first two down; looks like an opportunity to practice patience may be coming my way!

The way I see it, this whole experience/opportunity is way beyond me and what I ever imagined I might be doing…so I will happily go with the flow, be a river not a reservoir, and do my very best to prepare these people to be confident, competent facilitators of the Roundtables they will lead over the next 30 weeks to begin the transformation of this beautiful place.

Trust that if I find the words that can do the experience justice, I will share them with you.

In the meantime, have an intentional day!

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As you may be aware, I am in Guatemala City this week with John Maxwell, the John Maxwell Team (~150 coaches), La Red, Guatemala Prospera, and EQUIP. Our mission is to teach a process that will allow leaders within the seven streams of influence (government, business, media, faith community, arts & entertainment, family, and education) to facilitate growth within small groups over the course of the next 30 weeks, using content from John’s 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth, and 15 corresponding values defined thru a survey of 12,000 Guatemalans as being critical for the future of their country.

We have spent the last day and a half learning this new process and going through it ourselves, to experience the power of it first-hand. It is simple, elegant, effective…powerful. It requires intentionality and transparency.

Beginning Thursday, we will be sent out to various sites around the city to teach groups between 40-80 people how to use the process. We will actually facilitate as they experience the process by working through The Law of Modeling and The Value of Listening.

In three days, we will have taught the process to 19,000 – 20,000 people. Each of them will facilitate the process with small groups of 8-10 people each, one session per week for the next 30 weeks. That means, 150,00 – 160,000 individuals will be directly involved…and if each of them has the power to influence a minimum of another four people each day…WOW!

The foundation is that transformation begins with me; I must first change if I want the circumstances and conditions of my life to change. The idea is to get people talking about the things they need to talk about.

As individuals embrace these lessons and begin to embrace and live the values, they will bring this change to life in their country. The effects may not be seen for years, but it will happen. This place and these people will be forever changed. But think of it this way: If each person touched by this process and this content can make a 1% improvement per week — at the end of a year, they will be 52% better than when they were exposed to this material.

Taking a step back from today, I am humbled by this opportunity. I have said I am on a mission to change the world one encounter at a time — whether that be with individuals, small groups and teams, whole organizations, or even larger gatherings. I know, without a shadow of a doubt, that my purpose is to help others step confidently into their potential through increased self-awareness and intentional action. I never imagined I would have the opportunity, so soon, to be part of something this significant…fully aligned with what I believe I’m here to do. And yet, here I am tonight, writing to you from Guatemala City!

The real truth of the matter is, whatever happens with the people and the culture here, I am already forever changed by this experience. I am more deeply connected with my John Maxwell colleagues, more aware of myself (thoughts, beliefs, preferences, etc…), and I am grateful. If all I am able to accomplish this week is to leave some people with hope for a better future, I will have been successful.

More to come, to be sure, as we are just beginning. Tomorrow, we meet with and get to know our translators; spend some time fine-tuning our process and personal stories; and in the evening, we have been invited to the Presidential Palace.

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