Extreme Ownership

The leader must own everything in his or her world. They take Extreme Ownership of everything that impacts their mission.

Leaders empower team members to fulfill a mission, but sometimes they fail at the mission. The leader is ultimately responsible for the failure of the mission. Leaders take ownership of the failures and help the people under them succeed next time. Leaders cannot be mad at their members and expect them to do better next time. Failing is never bad; it is how we respond to failure that determines the next outcome of the mission. This is why it is so important for leaders to develop members through extreme ownership.

Leaders must accept total responsibility, own problems that inhibit performance and develop solutions to those problems.

I love this concept because the statement lays out how to solve problems as a leader. First, take total responsibility. Do not pass blame, accept it. Second, if the problems continue to happen then it is time to come up with a solution. Problems will continue to grow when they are only addressed but never solved. Do not have unsolved problems as a leader.

Simplifying as much as possible is crucial to success. When plans and orders are too complicated, people may not understand them.

Not everyone is on the same level as you. Speak to them at a level they understand. Do not try to make yourself look smart because that will only cause confusion. It is like the saying goes, “Keep it simple, stupid.” The same goes in leadership. Remember, you did not know everything you know now. Speak to your team like you are in their shoes because at the end of the day, you all are wearing the same shoes with the same mission.

As a leader employing Extreme Ownership, if your team isn’t doing what you need them to do, you first have to look at yourself.

Leaderships starts with you. The only person to blame in leadership is yourself. That is the concept of extreme ownership. It isn’t about what your team members are not doing, but it is about trying to get them to focus on the mission. Learn your team members before you try to lead them. You also have to know yourself because the last thing a team member wants is a lost person looking to find purpose. Leaders have to get up every morning and conquer themselves before they can conquer the world.

Extreme Ownership is a book that will challenge you. It takes you on a journey as a Navy Seal and how they operate. They do not blame but accept responsibility for every victory and failed mission. They do not focus on what did not work but focus on solutions to make sure it would never happen again. So, if you are willing to take a jump in your leadership abilities grab this book and a pen.

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Finding Your Way Back to God

IMG_7282Finding Your Way Back to God: Dave Ferguson & Jon Ferguson

This book changed my whole perspective on the prodigal story in the Bible. If you grew up in church, then you understand how many times this story has been told from the pulpit. This book takes that story and explains this statement:

“God, if you are real, make yourself real to me.”

The prodigal story is found in Luke 15, and it is about a young man that takes his inheritance early and then leaves his father’s house. He goes, spends everything, and ends up in the pits feeding and eating with the pigs. The first concept is the journey back home from our past. The son had to make the journey home, but he was full of guilt and shame. The journey home brings healing, freedom, and forgiveness, but it is up to us to make the journey home. The question on the way back home that we must ask is, “How did you forget God?” This question must be asked because somewhere along our journey of pursuing God, we have forgotten him, and then we realize that we need his grace and love to make it back home.

Another concept from the book is about a longing for love. On p. 32 of the book it states, “Sometimes human relationships add incredible richness to our lives. Sometimes they just bring sorrow. But none of these relationships can fulfill the deepest longing for love in our hearts. That’s why, in our journey to find God, we need to pay attention to whether our desire for love is distracting us or is leading us to him.” We have to ask ourselves, “Who is our true love? Are we trying to fulfill love by worldly desires or Godly desires?” We have to examine our hearts and make sure our pursuit of God is for love’s sake and not only heaven’s sake. Sometimes I think we get so caught up on trying to get to heaven that we fall in love with the concept of heaven more than God.

One of the last concepts that I would like to talk about is asking God, “Why?”

A lot of Christians or even people that have left the faith want to ask God, “Why did this happen to me?” The book goes over this “why” concept and how that can keep us away from God. Asking God why only makes us lose faith in God because we question his way. We do not understand, but we must have faith to believe that God will work all things out in his own time. It is not our job to ask why, but it is our job to say, “I will trust you, God.”

By the end of the book Jon and David explain the son’s arrival home back to the father’s house. I do not want to spoil the ending, so you will have to buy the book and read the rest of the nuggets of wisdom that they explain. Some of these thoughts are my own that I gathered from the book as I read it. So, please do not hold the authors accountable for all of the statements. I hope you buy this book! I highly recommend it. I will post a link to purchase the book from Amazon.

START

The best things that have happened to me in the last five years weren’t things I planned.

YES! Planned lives leave no room for adventure and faith. To be honest, the best things will not happen when we try to control the outcome. We miss out on opportunities when we try to plan our journey. The only one that is writing our story is God, and we have to let Him write it without our planner on his throne. His ways are always better than ours and are usually a surprise.

Forget finding a purpose. It’s a never-ending story that will leave you empty. Live with purpose instead.

I loved this perspective in the book. We spend so much time as humans finding a purpose for our lives that we miss the point. The point is never to find our purpose but realize our life is purpose. If you have a heartbeat, then your life has purpose. Don’t find it; live it. 

But money isn’t a calling. It’s a consequence.

Money does make the world go around, but it should not control your life. I remember running my nonprofit and not being paid to do it. I believed in my dream so much that I was willing to work full-time and do the nonprofit in the evening. I wasn’t called to make money, but I am called to serve people. Pursuing money will leave you empty once you realize you have everything but the dream in you. Don’t sacrifice money on the altar of your dream.

You need to spend more time practicing your dream than you do promoting your dream.

Talk about a punch in the face. Too often, we spend more time telling people about our dream than we do living our dream. Do not tell me about it; show me your dream. Practice, research, and excel at your dream. Stop waiting for your promo to make it big, and let your dream be your promo. If I wanted to watch a promo, then I would go to the movies and watch a trailer. Do not put your dream trailer on the big screen until you are living it and continuing to learn through your dream.

I read this book in two days. Jon Acuff is a great author, and he is a little funny. I am thankful for the person who bought this book at full price and gave it to McKay’s. It saved me some money. I will pay full price for Jon Acuff next book. I highly recommend this book if you feel stuck or in need of a boost to get you back on track.

 

 

10 Seconds of Insane Courage

Every successful person has faced enormous unknowns, but they found enough courage to take the leap and give their idea a shot.

This is the story of my nonprofit journey. I remember being a junior in college with a crazy idea of starting a nonprofit. I developed the idea for a class, met with my local United Way, and the journey began. I was scared to death, but I wanted to help the community. The courage I had was because of the people I was serving. I did not focus on what I did not have, but I believed after every need was posted that community would meet the need. I am not doing the nonprofit anymore, but it is still a part of me. I had to step away from it, and that took a lot of courage, but at least I gave it a shot.

 Fear says, “Play it safe. Hang on to what you’ve got.” Courage responds, “Let go. Life happens outside your comfort zone.”

 I love this statement! Nothing is safe about courage. It is true: life happens outside of the comfort zone. Comfortability traps us in the known, but courage happens in the unknown. You will grow as a person in the unknown. I grew a lot more as a person having faith in the unknown than I did in the known, running my nonprofit. One of the craziest stories was when I received a message from another ministry. It said, “We have a sprinter van that we would like to donate to you for your nonprofit. We see that you are always looking for trucks and renting vehicles.” WHAT?!?! It was one of the most surreal moments of my life. I was living outside of my comfort zone, and that is when another ministry met a huge need for the nonprofit.

If you’re not failing, you’re not growing.

Failure is the best medicine for personal growth. I failed an enormous amount of times running the nonprofit. The first mistake was not setting guidelines. I came into the office one day and had 15 yellow slips on my desk of people needing furniture. I developed a system shortly after that to reach a target audience. The second mistake was doing everything for free. The next time I do this nonprofit, I will develop a furniture bank based on income. We will setup a system where people/families can buy furniture at a huge discounted price. The nonprofit would probably still be operating today if I had done this from the beginning.

When we begin to change how we think about failure, we have far more hope for the future.

I remember doing the nonprofit and having so many challenges and failures, and I questioned if I was doing the right thing. It felt like I was doing all the right things but in the wrong place. I believe I will still develop this nonprofit idea but in a different location in the future. I have learned from my failures, and I still believe in the future of the nonprofit. I did not focus on my failures, but I chose to focus towards the future because I know it will happen.

I read this book in two days! I actually avoided my MBA work to read the book. It will give you a spark to not give up on a dream. Courage is insane, and sometimes 10 seconds can change your life. Don’t be afraid of insane courage.

Everybody Always

You do business with buyers; you do life with neighbors.

Do you know your neighbors? I just moved out of my childhood home, and I knew most of the neighbors on a surface level. I did not really know them, but we would do the wave and talk to one another when we were outside. I think this is how a lot of Christians know their neighbors. We never take time to invite our neighbors to dinner or get to know them. I know I am guilty of this, and I hope in the future- once I settle in a community to call home- that I am able to put this into practice.

I want people to meet you and me and feel like they’ve just met everyone in heaven.

WOW! This statement is hard to take in because it is hard to love people that have hurt you or taken advantage of you. I think most people expect a lot of Christians to fire back, but we as Christians have to learn to love through trials. I think social media has painted a bad picture of a lot of Christians, and unbelievers will judge a lot of Christians by what they post and how they respond to others. We have to stop beating each other down and learn to not post at all. We show more strength by not posting at all than we do by trying to be right.

God isn’t always leading us to the safest route forward but to the one where we’ll grow the most.

Embrace the journey through the uncomfortable. Loving people can be challenging, but it is people that shape us along the way. Each of us can learn important lessons from people that are different from us. Sure, people will take advantage of our love, but that is okay because we learn to forgive them through God’s love towards us. Love is not safe, and it is painful, but it is worth the journey.

People don’t follow vision; they follow availability.

I think this is a shift that is taking place. People want someone to talk to more than they want vision. I think this shift is happening because of social media. We see so much of others that we, in the end, simply want someone to talk to. Our vision has been blinded by our unavailability.

Loving people the way Jesus did either changes everything in us or it changes nothing.

Jesus loved people expecting nothing in return. Too often we make loving people a job instead of a calling. We cannot look at people as a job, but rather we should look at them through the eyes of Jesus. When we see people the way Jesus did, then we will be moved with compassion, and that changes everything in us. We have to quit using the language of “they are a piece of work” or “they suck the life out of me” because those are the very people Jesus would choose to be with. Love people to the point of being uncomfortable because that is when Jesus will change more in you as a person.

Roots

Roots

Last week, I was taking a walk around the park at lunch time, and I noticed that the concrete was not even. I started to wonder why there were so many bumps and cracks in the concrete, and then I noticed the roots. Next to the trail, there are a lot of trees, and the roots have been getting under the concrete and breaking the concrete. One place along the way you can see the roots where it has completely broken through the concrete. It is sad because most of the trail is flat until you get to the parts with the roots.

This trail reminds me a lot of our lives. We all have roots, but we try to hide them under a flat surface- hoping no one will see the bumps along the trail. This is why roots have to be dug up and cut off at the core. You can’t cut the limbs off the tree and call it dead. You have to get down to the bottom of the problem. I have been reading and writing a lot about brokenness and how brokenness has a story.

The story with the roots on the trail is that even if the trees were cut down the cracks would still be there, but the cracks would tell the story of redemption. It doesn’t mean the trail will be flat again, but at least it won’t be so bumpy. Embrace the roots that have caused damage; realize that roots are part of the journey, and along the journey repairs have to be made. Repairs aren’t meant to perfect us but to remind us of what once was.

So, what root is breaking through the surface in your life but is so hard to cut at the core? Embrace the breaking but don’t let it stop you. Journey through the roots but do not let the roots journey through you. Do not let the roots control the outcome. Remember, brokenness is a sign of strength not weakness.

SEX, JESUS, AND THE CONVERSATIONS THE CHURCH FORGOT

So often, our impurity grows out of our impatience.

Guilty as charged. This is a true statement because sometimes our desires grow so strong that we give into sin. It is hard when all your friends are getting married, and you are just in a corner singing “All By Myself”. It is easy during the impatient season to try to make something happen out of God’s will. This is when we settle for what our culture wants. I have noticed that churches that have small groups and accountability partners do not struggle with this as much. It is still hard, but find a group of people that can keep you accountable through your impatient season.

We have made love a relative term-open to anyone’s definition.

This statement could not be truer in our culture. We say we love so many things that we have lost the definition of love. We do not understand the definition, and that is why we let anyone define love because the word has lost its power in our culture. Our culture has defined love, and the church is losing the war in this topic. We watch love movies and Hallmark hoping that one movie would be my story. Love is not defined by a fiction story; it is defined by the cross. You can’t fall in love until you’ve fallen for the one that has died for you.

 “Invited Jesus into our bedroom”- In a humble and unassuming step, he became the first man in my entire life to realign God and sex into their rightful positions-intertwined with one another and braided together with our love story.

I love this point! If we are honest with ourselves, how many men have done this in their marriage? I am not married, and this point hit me in the heart because I would have never thought about inviting Jesus into the bedroom. Yes, some of you may think that Jesus is already in our hearts, but we need Jesus in the bedroom as much as we need Him in our heart. Sex in our culture is not sacred anymore. It is sad because we as men have let this get away from us. I must apologize to the women for not taking a stronger stand on this topic. We as men have to become better and realize women are a gift to us- not to be taken advantage of. We have to get better at building up worth and dignity in women. This is our job as men of the church. Stop being boys and start being men. Set a new standard.

This book is raw! I read this book from a man’s perspective, and it reminded me that men are imperfect and have a lot of work to do. The church cannot shy away from this conversation. I think the average age now of kids seeing pornography is 10 or 11. We must have these conversations at home and church. Do not let culture talk about this topic before you as parents or church leaders address this issue. Men, we have to get better. We have to set the standard and be the man of the house. I would recommend reading Kingdom Man by Tony Evans for all men. We can go longer wait; it is our time to be counterculture.