Responsibility

The only time anybody ever accepted responsibility for their lives and future is NOW.

Responsibility isn’t planned; no one ever scheduled responsibility or added it to their to-do list.

Nor is it calculated. You don’t sequence responsibility with a series of other steps.

Responsibility doesn’t look backwards. [click to continue…]

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Broken KeyboardOne of the keys on my laptop no longer works properly.  The key gets stuck some and mostly doesn’t work at all.  The computer warranty covers the problem, but creates another one – namely the need to use other tools for about two weeks.

Ugh.

You should know, too, that the key does not belong to some random, rarely-used category of keyboardery.  No, as the alphabet goes, that key’s a major player.

The Bluetooth keyboard from my desktop helps for now, but eventually my most trusted work ally must be surrendered to the tech people somewhere far away.  But for now, you may note that the post you read comes from the faulty keyboard – mostly to see whether a whole post can be created apart from the help of that major letter.

Have you detected what letter’s AWOL yet?  No, not the Q, X or Z. That would be too easy. No doubt you’ll trace the absent letter eventually.  As you do, here are some lessons we can apply to our work and our personal selves. [click to continue…]

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Vacant Room

There’s a house in my neighborhood.  Beautiful place.  Well built and spacious.  And for the last two years, completely empty.

Not for sale.  We have some of those, too, complete with yard signs and open houses.

Not in foreclosure.  None of those stickers on the window with the bold letters NOTICE at the top.

No, this home – this beautiful home – is paid for (or being paid for).  Ready for move-in.  But for reasons I do not know, it sits completely empty.

I’ve been thinking about that house lately.  I’m sure the owner has his reasons.  But it sure seems sad that something built to provide a lot of comfort and satisfaction fails to fulfill its purpose as it sits, unoccupied.  Hey, even the mail addressed to “current occupant” has nowhere to go. [click to continue…]

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Character word cloud

Maybe it’s because I had another birthday yesterday, or maybe it’s because that birthday was also Election Day.  Maybe it’s because I work with a school whose mission reads, in part, to “cherish character.”  But lately I’ve had character on the brain.

Character in leadership.

Character development.

Character habits.

Dr. King envisioned a day when Americans would be judged “solely by the content of their character.”  Our answer to that culturally is to try and not judge anybody at all.  That is, until the tide of public opinion breaks the dam of political correctness.  Or the electorate gets a belly full of whoever the incumbent is.  Or the arrogant, narcissistic preacher or politician or boss-person overestimates their awesomeness one time too many.

In spite of our fascination with techniques, charisma, methods, or technology, people of influence still have to deal with the Character Connection.

You have to deal with it when you look in the mirror, when nobody else is looking.

You have to deal with it when you’re on the pedestal, when everybody’s cheering.

You have to do it in the outhouse, when everybody’s jeering, or they have forgotten you.

In spite of our efforts to prove otherwise (and we’ve had some pretty spectacular efforts), character earns the politician the right to legislate and pontificate.  Character earns the right for the preacher to articulate truth. Character earns the business leader the right to profit in the marketplace of both money and ideas.

And a loss of character can undermine them all.

There are lots of ideas – good ideas – about what forms and sustains character when it comes to leadership. [click to continue…]

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Are You a Rebounder or a Wallower?

by Andy Wood on October 4, 2013

in Books and Music

Rebounders-Cover-300x456I’m fascinated by people that Rick Newman calls “Rebounders.”   Maybe that’s because about once every four years, on average, I find myself punched in the gut by some sort of setback or in-my-face adversity. Sometimes they’re of my own super-talented making. At other times the setbacks come in the form of pain dished out by others, significant grief situations, or life circumstances that are beyond anyone’s immediate control.

To be clear, I’m not referring to annoyances like the allergy attack I endured this morning or the fender benders I’ve lost count of over the years. When I say setback, I mean that somewhere I’ve been body-slammed and whatever I thought progress was has come to a complete halt.

That’s why I’ve been fascinated by Newman’s book Rebounders: How Winners Pivot from Setback to SuccessRick is an award-winning journalist and has spent considerable time researching both the science and the stories of those who have suffered greatly, yet come back powerfully.

Along the way, Rick observed two kinds of people – Rebounders and Wallowers. Rebounders are those who have the skills to bounce back from adversity.  Wallowers “tend to be the people who get stuck… and don’t understand why and who remain convinced that their tribulations are somebody else’s fault.”

In setting the table for the stories he tells, Newman suggests four quick ways you can tell if you’re a Rebounder or a Wallower. I’d like to add a fifth from a spiritual perspective.  Oh… and if you don’t mind bracing for bad news, Rick says there’s a 67% chance you’re a Wallower. But the good news is that you have the power to change that.

So how ‘bout it? Are you a Rebounder or a Wallower?  Here’s where to look for answers: [click to continue…]

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American 1Of all the nations who have drawn some borders and set up shop, perhaps none has a shorter and more mixed (some would say mixed up) pedigree than the United States.  If the planet was populated by nothing but dogs, we’d be the mixed breeds – the hardy, loveable mutts who may not be able to point to a long pedigree, but will probably live the longest, love the hardest, and fight the fiercest of anybody in the pound.

To be an American is to be a delightful, maddening mix of contributions and contradictions, possibilities and problems.  We’re a living demonstration of what can happen when you let “the help” run the kingdom.

To be an American is to believe in the power of the people.  Your people, that is.  It is to believe that authority resides in the will of the majority, even though at any given time the Commander-in-Chief was elected by less than 21% of the population. Or if that doesn’t work, maybe power can reside in the rulings of some Federal judge who can see things your way until the majority gets with the program. [click to continue…]

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Rabbit and DaschundA good friend and I were talking the other day and he told me about an experience he had in Hong Kong. First I’ll tell you what he saw. Then I’ll tell you a story based on that.  Then I’ll apply it in one of many, many ways you can apply the story.

What My Friend Saw

As he and his group were traveling through the market in Hong Kong, he noticed someone selling rabbits. (Note:  I’m pretty sure they weren’t  being sold as pets.)

There was a cage full of rabbits.  Then on top of the cage there was a single rabbit, just sitting there, motionless.

My friend asked, “Why doesn’t that rabbit run away?”

The answer: Because he’s been in the cage so long he’s forgotten what life outside the cage is like. He assumes there is nowhere else to go.

My Little Rabbit Fable

Once there were two rabbits. Both were raised in captivity.  Both had only known a life within the confines of a cage or pen. But that wasn’t all bad. [click to continue…]

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“It’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future.” – Yogi Berra

Uncertain FutureHad any punked-out plans lately?  Any disappointments or unforeseen disasters?  Have you lost someone dear to you or had your dreams shoved back into your face?

Have you noticed how the news seems to report more on what may happen than what just happened?  Here’s a headline from Wednesday:  With Dow Industrials at Record Highs, When Will Gravity Take Hold?  Sheesh!  Even the good news begs for more bad news.

Or try this one:  Have you ever had something surprise you with such joy, so much delirium that you had no clue what to do next?

It was Benjamin Franklin who first said that in this world nothing is certain but death and taxes.  And yet we try, because nobody likes uncertainty.  So what do you do when you’re standing face-to-face with a completely unpredictable future?  You can offer money to people who promise to reduce your uncertainty – policemen, politicians, preachers, and “prophets.”  You can bury your head in the sand and hope tomorrow never comes.  Or you can find a way to confront your uncertainties with God’s power and courage.

Lessons from Paul’s Travel Plans

Now just to be clear, I’m not just referring to bracing for imminent disaster or catastrophic losses.  I mean even those every-day surprises and disappointments.  One source that has always been an example to me is the Apostle Paul.  At the end of his first letter to the Corinthians, he runs through a list of travel plans.  Travel plans!  In the Bible!  What’s his travel agenda doing in God’s holy book?  Check this out: [click to continue…]

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(And You Can’t Do For Somebody Else)

Commit your life to Christ.  Study your Bible.  Confess your sins and shortcomings.  Grow.  Change.  Restore broken fellowship with God.  Obey the Lord.  Learn spiritual truth.

Think.  Learn.  Set goals.  Visualize the future.  Understand people.  Pass tests.  Listen.  Focus on virtuous things.

Be happy.  Feel guilty.  Grieve.  Laugh.  Relax.  Overcome depression.  Stop being jealous.  Express love.  Calm down.  Be content.

Get up after falling down.  Get over failure.  Get out of bondage.  Overcome addictions.  Decide.  Change your mind.  Quit.  Succeed.  Make good choices.  Make bad choices.  Change your mind about the bad choices you made in the past.

Lose weight.  Eat right.  Rest.  Exercise.  Take your medicine.  Go to the doctor.  Prevent unnecessary disease.  Be healed.  Take a bath. [click to continue…]

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I got fired.  I’d like to tell you why.

Just before I started grad school, I got a sales job with a unique premise.  “Come to work for my janitorial company,” Sergio said, “and I will pay you a commission for as long as we clean the building.”

Remember that thing your mama told you about something sounding too good to be true?  Yeah, that.

Living in a city the size of Fort Worth, I could easily see the potential for making some really good money for a long time.  After all, the city was filled with office buildings, and that was the focus of Fort Worth Enterprises – particularly the big ones.

You can imagine how my eyes danced with dollar signs when I helped land the company’s first big account – no less than Hulen Mall.   [click to continue…]

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