One of the things that I am really focusing on this year is reading over 30 books so that I can continue to grow as a leader, a husband, a father, and as a follower of Jesus. One of those books that I have been able to read this year is “The Power of Habit: Why we do what we do in life and in business.” The main theme through out of this book is seeing how you can learn to develop new habits in your life and business by knowing the cue that leads to a routine that leads you to a reward. This is called the “The Habit Loop” and the reason that we develop the habit loop is because our brains are always trying to find ways that will save time and energy. Here is a quote from the book, “Habits, scientists say emerge because the brain is constantly looking for ways to save effort. Left to its own devices, the brain will try to make almost any routine into a habit, because habits allow our minds to ramp down more often.”
So for me I have taken to getting up early and working out first thing in the morning. This is definitely something that I have to use the habit loop for because I HATE mornings, I have always been the late night person. I also am making sure that working out is a focus so that I can stay healthy for my wife and my family. What are some areas that you could use the habit loop to grow in your life this year?
I was not ready to be a father. (Not like anyone really is. . .) So when we had a daughter then a son and another daughter I knew that I was in the deep end of the pool. So I started doing all that I could to learn about what it meant to be the best father that I possibly could be. I read books, I watched videos, I talked with other fathers with grown children and usually I would ask, “Do you have any children that are in prison?” If they answered no then I would spend time asking them questions about how and what they did as a father. Ultimately it lead me to the parenting statement that my wife and I would use as our goal for our kids, “We wanted them to leave well.” That would mean that when we were going to make decisions about different areas of life. We would ask ourselves, “Is this going to prepare them to leave well?” Now I know some of you might be thinking that this sounds like a horrible statement. Where is the love in this statement? Where is the faith in this statement? Where is . . . you name it! For us we felt like that there was nothing more faithful or loving then to prepare our children to leave the safety of the home well. We made tough decisions that we hoped and prayed that would prepare them. We challenged them in areas that we hoped and prayed would prepare them. We disciplined them in ways that we hoped and prayed that would prepare them. But most of all we loved and cared for them enough to prepare them to leave well. So what are you doing as a father or as a parent that is preparing your children to leave well?
And just so that you know that I am not talking out of turn. I am proud to say that our oldest is graduating from college this May with a degree in elementary education and seeking to attend possibly for her masters, our son is playing college football where he walked on and earned a scholarship and is pursuing a degree in exercise science, and our youngest plans to run cross country and track at the same college as her older sister and brother where she plans to get a degree in exercise science with an emphasis in physical therapy. (There were bumps along the way, but we are seeing them leave well.)
I know that in many places that leadership and leadership development can be an area of conflict. I know that especially when it comes to the church people can really get touchy about it. But over the last 4 years as we have been starting a church I have learned that if you don’t feed the leader then things go bad quickly. Especially when you are the one that everyone expects to be the leader. So I am really challenging myself to be a leader that is focused on feeding myself when it comes to becoming a better leader.
“Everyone wins when a leader gets better.” Bill Hybels
I want to be a leader that is getting better so that people around me are getting better. So there are some things that I am doing intentionally to get better:
- Reading the bible from the perspective of how will this make me better as a husband, father, and leader.
- Listening to leaders from different areas of leadership. Business, art, marketing so that I can start to think as a leader differently.
- Reading books that influence my ability to grow others around me. I recently read the book “Protégé” by Steve Saccone and it rocked my world.
- Meeting with leaders that are better then me and that are steps ahead of me when it comes to being a better husband, father, and church leader.
What I want to remind you is that, “Everyone is a leader somewhere”. So what are you doing to feed yourself to be a better leader? Because everyone wins when a leader gets better!
Ever have one of those days where you just wish some one would acknowledge that you are doing a good job at whatever it is your doing that day? I mean maybe if you are a stay at home mom, that your husband or kids would just tell you that you are doing awesome and that they love their home. Wouldn’t that be nice? I mean how about husbands that work away from home and are gone for a couple of days, that when you get home you hear from your wife and kids that they missed you and want to be with you. Instead, you get the list of broken things in the home and dad you promised to take me to the store. Don’t you want to be encouraged? How about for those high school and middle school students that are taking on the world in school. That when you get home you hear that you were missed and that is there anything that your parents could do for you while you do the 12 million hours of home work. But instead you hear about the chores that aren’t done or about how you missed one thing on the project and it wasn’t the grade that your parents had hoped for in that class. Don’t you want more encouragement?
I recently was sitting and working away and was kind of having one of those days, where I just wanted to hear I was doing a good job. That things were going well and that even though my emotions were getting the better of me, that God is the one in charge I am not, and today was better than I thought. When I looked up at the huge wipe board in my office and saw this:
There she left me a little note just telling me she loved me. What a great reminder and an encouragement to me. It made the rest of my day just hinking about how my “favorite youngest daughter” loved me. Maybe that is what you need to hear too? Maybe you need to know that from not just the people around you but from God himself. You see God being the great dad that He is even knew that was important. Look at what he said to His son:
Matthew 3:17 (NLT) “And a voice from heaven said, “This is my dearly loved son, who brings me great joy.”
Guess what you are His kid and you too bring Him joy. So even if you can’t see it on the wipe board in your office know that God loves you and He wants you to lean into Him and hear I Love you, your doing a good job.
Hope that you are encouraged! Maybe this is something you need to share with someone else? Go encourage someone, maybe on their wipe board.
One of the things that I have always had to work at overcoming is that “I can’t finish”. I don’t know about you but there are those certain places in my life that have challenged me to the point where I just feel weak and beat up. I have had the privilege in my life to be involved in sports since I was six years old and I have experienced many times where I just wanted to quit. It was almost four years ago that I was able to run in the PF Chang’s Half Marathon. During that race at about mile eleven I just did not want to go on, my legs hurt, my chest hurt, my feet hurt, and all I wanted to do was stop. But I knew that at the finish line was my family and friends, I knew that at the end of the line I was going to be able to rest.
Hebrews 12:12-13 (NLT) So take a new grip with your tired hands and stand firm on your shaky legs.  Mark out a straight path for your feet. Then those who follow you, though they are weak and lame, will not stumble and fall but will become strong.
Over the weekend at Newspring Church in Anderson, South Carolina they shared a video about a man, a family, and cancer. As I watched this video I was extremely moved. Check it out and then read some more afterward . . .
I want to thank Zac Smith for sharing his story with us and the rest of the world. As I watched this I was deeply moved as a husband and a father but most of all as a follower of Jesus. There are so many times that I am so concerned with what is going on in my life that I allow it to take away the heavenly perspective that I am supposed to have. Whether it is money, parenting, marriage or starting a church I can allow myself to lost the real focus of my life, to honor God with all that I am. To hear a man say “Cancer is the best thing that has happened to me” truly challenges my faith and my own personal focus. Would I be able to respond the way that Zac has?
Today I ask you to first pray for a healing Zac’s body. Then I ask you to pray that you and I both will have a focus like Zac.
Michelle and I love to listen to Diana Krall when the kids are in bed and we are able to relax and enjoy our time. This is has been one of those areas that we truly knew was important for us to keep for us to be able to be the husband and wife we needed to be. I also believe that it is because we were able to make sure that we had this time that we were able to be better parents. We had time for us to be unified in heart and mind when it came to life and the kids. This may not be your kind of music but I encourage you to find whatever music you and your spouse enjoy turn the music on and then just spend time with the two of you. No matter how many kids you have no matter what ages they are, you need your time together. Because if you don’t have your time together now when your kids are grown up and gone you will have tons of time together and you may not know who you are spending time with.
What kind of music do you and your spouse enjoy listening to while you relax? If you can’t answer that question then you need to find out.