Category Archives: Beginnings

Beginnings: Read More

Read More!

BookReading. We live in an age where there is more written material produced every day than existed across all history until just a few hundred years ago. Our access to reading material is amazing. Our founding fathers would be amazed at the easy access we have to written material. Alternatively, if you don’t like reading, there is an incredible wealth of information available in audio form. The resources available to us are amazing. People may spend 10, 20, 40, or more, hours a week in front of the television yet “don’t have time” to read. How sad!

Excerpt from How to Read More

Warren Buffett, the man commonly referred to as the greatest investor of the 20th century, was standing in front of 165 wide-eyed students from Columbia University.

One of the students raised his hand and asked Buffett for his thoughts on the best way to prepare for an investing career. After thinking for a moment, Buffett pulled out a stack of papers and trade reports he had brought with him and said, ?Read 500 pages like this every day. That?s how knowledge works. It builds up, like compound interest. All of you can do it, but I guarantee not many of you will do it.? [1]

Buffett estimates that 80 percent of his working hours are spent reading or thinking. It?s enough to make you ask, ?Am I reading enough books??

80%! Wow!

I read “stuff” a couple of hours a day, minimum. I’m working to be more intentional about reading quality books. Progress can be slow. How about you?


Last Updated: 11/12/2014

If you find these Beginnings posts of interest, you can find a full list here.

Beginnings: Start with Values and Purpose

Start with Values and Purpose

ValuesWordleThis is a hard one for me. I’m a process person. I way too quickly look at how to do something, not asking why. If you start with, and stick with, and often refer back to, your purpose and values, life just gets easier. Decisions are already made for you!

It’s not hard to make decisions when you know what your values are.”
— Roy E Disney

But there is a counter-thought: Culture trumps all!

Culture will eat your mission statement in a heartbeat.”
— Ike Reighard

Simple observation: culture isn’t process based either, although you might try a process to learn and clarify your culture. You might want to check out Culture Bus.

Do you have a crystal clear purpose statement? Amazing how hard it is to come up with a simple purpose statement!

Last Updated: 11/10/2014

If you find these Beginnings posts of interest, you can find a full list here.

Best Things and Worst Things

BestWorstI’ve used these phrases so often, I might as well claim that they are original with me and quote myself!

“The best things and the worst things are sometimes the same things”
— me

“Often times, we get best and worst backwards”
— me

“The best things in life and the worst things in life are often only known in the rear-view mirror”
— me

I don’t know how many times some situation or event seemed to be great, but years later I saw that it wasn’t. Or how many times some terrible event was the springboard for something amazing. Sometimes I think of Thomas Edison and his failures, or when his factory burned down. They were terrible. Or where they?

“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work”
–Thomas A. Edison

Beginnings: Embrace Paradox

Embrace Paradox

ParadoxBillboardOver and over I get slapped in the face with things that just can’t possibly co-exist. Opposites. Contradictions. Big things and small.

Scientists, engineers and mathematicians tell us things like:

  • Light is particles. And waves
  • Parallel lines, if extended to infinity, cross
  • Space is warped
  • Time and gravity impact each other
  • Time speeds up or slows down depending on how fast your are moving
  • Time doesn’t exist. (but didn’t it yesterday?) So how does it slow down?

Funny how these same scientists will use conundrums to “prove” that God isn’t real. Sure, there are many biblical and Christian paradoxes. I’ve made a list of a few.

Paradox. Conundrum. Contradiction. They are all around us. Life gets easier when you embrace them!

Last Updated: 10/18/2014

If you find these Beginnings posts of interest, you can find a full list here.


Beginnings: Begin with God

Begin with God

If God is first, nothing else matters. If God is NOT first, nothing else matters.”

“He intended us to be creatures related to Himself in a certain way. […] if you are right with Him you will inevitably be right with all your fellow-creatures …”

— C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity, from September 22, Page 290, of A Year with C. S. Lewis

It’s really simple. God isn’t somewhere in your priorities, He’s not first on your priority list, He has to be the ONLY THING on your list. Everything else is in relationship to Him. His Purpose and His power, operating through you, for the benefit of others. When that happens, stress goes away. Amazingly, sometimes it’s also when great accomplishments take place.

That is so simple and obvious. Yet I have to remind myself every day.

Last Updated: 10/13/2014

If you find these Beginnings posts of interest, you can find a full list here.


Beginnings: Delayed Gratification

Delayed Gratification

“Pay before you Play.”

You would think once would be enough, but I’ve re-learned this one (as in negative experiences) more than once.? This doesn’t have to apply only to finances but that’s a great place to start.

Save rather than buying on credit.

Larry Burkett, one of my heroes, had a basic principle for purchasing anything of more than a trivial price. It was, approximately:

  1. For any non-trivial purchase, it has to go onto a list
  2. It had to remain on the list for at least 30 days before it could be purchased
  3. The list was never allowed to have more than 3 items on it

Wow! How much different my life might be if I had always followed that advice. But wait, it’s not too late to start today!

?Pleasures are more safely postponed than virtues?greater loss is suffered by missing an opportunity of doing good, than an hour of giddy frolic and noisy merriment.”
— Samuel Johnson

Last Updated: 10/6/2014

If you find these Beginnings posts of interest, you can find a full list here.

User Enablement

Think about something you could do for your users (Staff, Employees, even friends and family). Something that is there for them when they want it. Something that is easy to interact with, without having to wait. And something where you can tell your progress instantly, without any effort. How would you like something like that as a learning model?

Well, darn, I don’t have that solution. But isn’t that the sort of thing we want to provide for others, through training and experience?

  1. Ready for you whenever you are ready
  2. Easy to engage with (what’s more frustrating that needing to be trained on how to be trained?!)
  3. Clear progress, moment by moment

EscalatorThis post is inspired by a recent post by Seth Godin titled Escalators, elevators and the ferry. Yes, I’m going way off his original topic but the application jumped out at me. We want learning to be more like escalators. And yes, I know, some people don’t like escalators. OK, it’s not a perfect analogy.

Start with Culture

CultureBusThis post is inspired by a recent conversation with Chris Rivers of Culture Bus.

If you know me, you know that I’ve long thought helping a new employee get a good start is one of the most important things an employer can do. Hence, orientation ideas that empower on day one. Clearly, orientation will go better when you’ve made a great hire, but the hiring process is not really the starting point. A key point of great hiring is to find someone who fits the organization of your culture.

Every organization has a culture. The surprise is that not all organizations know what their culture is! Sometimes culture needs to be developed. Sometimes it even needs to change! (That’s not likely easy) Understand your culture as a starting point to driving your vision. If you need some help with that, you might want to talk to Chris.


Dream Job

Had an opportunity to assist at a career ministry last night helping with a networking session. In the opening minutes, shared this excerpt from Tony Morgan with the attendees:

Dream role is the intersection of three concepts:
  1. Am I good at what I do?
  2. Do I enjoy what I do?
  3. Will someone pay me to do it?


If you?consider the responses to those three questions, not every position is the best fit. For example?

  • Hobby?? You?re good at something and you really enjoy doing it, but no one will pay you. That?s a hobby.
  • Job?? You?re good at something and someone will pay you, but you don?t enjoy it. That?s a job.
  • Unemployed?? You enjoy doing something and someone is currently paying you, but you?re not good at it. That?s when most employers fire people. (Of course, churches tend to pay people to do things they?re not good at. That?s a topic for another day.)