Knowledge - light

I am coming off my seven-day social media fast, and though I missed being able to share things with everyone, I did find the time away nice.

A couple weeks ago I shared five books with you that I thought would be great books for the new year. This week, I would like to share five books I am currently reading. If you do the math — it’s 10 book ideas for you this year!

1. Pivotal Praying by Tim Elmore and John Hull. As I mentioned in my previous post, I read this book at the beginning of every year. There are a lot of books on prayer, but this is full of stories and great application.

2. How to Be Rich by Andy Stanley. I love Andy Stanley books because the are so incredibly practical. This book is all about recognizing how rich you are and how rich you can be in many areas of your life.

3. The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg. I have underlined almost everything in this book. It can be a little heady — you can’t just skim it. But it’s excellent for establishing good habits and breaking bad ones.

4. Global Explorers: The Next Generation of Leaders by Stewart J. Black. I am in school, so honestly I have to put in a book that I’m reading for school. This is a great book about the essentials of Global Leadership and how the world is in desperate need of it.

5. Happy, Happy, Happy by Phil Robertson and Mark Schlabach. This is the biography I am reading now. I attempt to read at least 4 biographies per year. Many of you are familiar with Phil and Duck Dynasty. Very intriguing story of the rise to fame.

Hopefully one of these books will help you in some are of your life. Enjoy and good reading!!

Photo ©iStock.com/sansara

library of old books

As we all begin the new year, I thought I would mention 5 books I have found to be very profound and helpful for me personally. Later I will share what books I am reading now.

Great leaders are always in the process of taking advantage of opportunities and training to be better. (tweet that)

1. Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand. Incredible true story of inspiration, survival and perseverance.

2. 7 Men and the Secret of Their Greatness by Eric Metaxas. The compact stories of seven great leaders in world history and what drove them toward greatness.

3. Becoming a Strategic Leader by Richard Hughes and Katherine Beatty. This is a great book for any leader looking to increase the effectiveness of your role in your organization.

4. The Energy Bus by Jon Gordon. Great read on how to energize your life, work and organization.

5. Pivotal Praying by John Hull and Tim Elmore. I re-read this book at the beginning of every year. It helps me to get back focused on the power of prayer and it’s effectiveness in times of great need.

These are five books I believe will help you in every area of your life. Like I said earlier, I will list the books I am reading now a little later.

Enjoy!!

My Planning Process

January 6, 2014 — 2 Comments

My New Year Plan

Years ago, a good friend of mine, Tim Elmore, got me hooked on a process that has really impacted my life. Tim encouraged me to develop a strategic plan for the new year. The process included spending time looking back at the previous year, and then looking forward to the year ahead. I wanted to share the process I go through with you. I have made some modifications to what Tim does. You can follow Tim’s amazing work at www.growingleaders.com. He has his process listed on his blog. Enjoy!

Like I said, I spend about half a day looking back at the previous year. I journal a lot, so it’s easy for me to look back at the details of the year and the bigger events are pretty easy to recall. I always look at seven main areas of my life and see how I did in accomplishing the goals and dreams I had set, and where I achieved beyond my desires and where did I not do such a great job. My seven areas are:

  1. Spiritually
  2. Marriage
  3. Fatherhood
  4. Ministry
  5. School (I am getting my doctorate and it is a huge part of my life right now so I include it)
  6. Relationships
  7. Leadership

I ask the following questions:

  1. Did I grow in this area? If so, where and how?
  2. Did I benefit the growth of others in this area? If so, how?
  3. What was the one thing I am most proud of in this area?
  4. What is the one thing I am least proud of in this area?
  5. Was my strategy for each area effective? Why or why not?
  6. Did I fulfill the mission of my Life Sentence (this is essential and I will blog on this later) this past year?

Once I complete this process, I send a day looking forward and setting goals (actually, I like the term dreams better than goals). Tim Elmore calls his items “action lists” or “standard lists” which I love! This process looks like the following:

  1. What is the main dream I have in each of my seven areas? What will be needed in order to achieve this? (I use a Dream Chart that I developed in order to complete this process. A Dream Chart looks at where you are [Now] and where you want to be [Dream] and then maps out all of the steps required to get you there.)
  2. Of my 7 areas which areas do I need the most growth?
  3. What resources will I need for the required growth? (i.e., books, seminars, counseling, coaching, web sites, podcasts etc. I decide all of this at the beginning of the year and map out a schedule of when and where.)
  4. I map out my entire year. Monica and I do this together. We set date nights, family date days, vacations, major events on our calendar at the beginning of the year. These are non-negotiable!!
  5. Monica and I set family goals. What are one or two things we are really going to try and teach the kids this year? Last year it was patience and courage. We also set financial goals for the year and plan purchases for our house, what and to who we support financially, gifts, etc.
  6. I have a weekly chart that I use to account for pretty much every hour of my day Sunday – Saturday. I do have free areas where nothing is planned in order to account for surprises as well as provide me with down time.

My dream is that I continue to grow in all areas and the best way to do that is to learn from the past and plan the future. I believe just about any dream can be achieved with a good strategy, regardless if it is losing weight, changing jobs, buying a new car, building relationships, etc. My dreams are only as good as the strategies I implement. (you can tweet that)

Have a great new year!!

How Do You Plan?

April 30, 2013 — Leave a comment

Hand drawing empty diagram

I have to admit that I am a planner. In fact, it is diffcult for me to operate without a plan. One of the things that really makes my marriage to Monica work is the fact that I am a planner and she is not, so our plans never really compete against one another.

I joke when I say she is not a planner — she does plan, but she is not obsessed like I am. In fact, our nine year-old, Jaana, may be more of a planner than both of us. I have turned her into an obsessive planner, which may be deemed child abuse in some circles but I deem it as I have created a girl who is always ready.

All joking aside I do believe planning is very important and I believe it is something we don’t do a good job of, especially when it comes to our life. I am going to do a series of podcasts on planing your life and the importance of balance, so I thought I would give you a taste of what’s to come.

Why should we plan?

1. Planning prepares us for the unexpected. Many people may say that planning takes away spontaneity. I would argue that planning better prepares us for spontaneity. I know the definition of spontaneous is impulse, but I believe if we have a plan for our life then we are better able to be impulsive in a constructive way. There are impulses that can work in our plan…if we have a plan for our marriage, then we can be impulsive about a date night or writing a note to our spouse. Planning can free up the time to be impulsive.

2. Planning can prevent regrets. We have all had regrets. I think it was Elvis who said, “Regrets, I’ve had a few.” There are too many people walking around in a sea of regret. If they had only had a plan for their life, the regret could have been avoided. For example, it took me 14 years to get my undergraduate degree in college. My plan was not to take 14 years to accomplish this. If I simply had a plan I could have avoided this regret. Oh and by the way for those of you saying, “Yeah, but look what you learned and the lessons you were taught during the process” I will speak to you specifically in some upcoming blogs.

3. Planning is already a part of our life. I know some of you may say, “I don’t know how to plan.” I am going to help you in the coming weeks, but understand one thing — you already plan. I mean, most of us plan when to take in our car for service, or how long we will sleep at night. We plan what route we will take to work, what we will do at work…you get the idea. We were created to plan because our Creator planned to create us and the world. We were born to plan.

This is just the beginning of how we will plan together. Over the next few weeks I will help learn how to develop a plan for your life. Once you have a plan the execution is easy and the results are pure awesomeness!!

Are you ready?!?!

DREAM BIG

As I continue through this blog series on dreams and desires, I have found myself looking farther into the future and thus expanding my dreams. I think it would be appropriate to say here that dreaming without action is just a thought. For a dream to be a dream, it has to be something that we are willing to work toward.

Now I have gone and done it, I have said the four letter word… “work.”

Pursuing our dreams takes work. I remember the first time I watched my son, Paxton, when he was just two years old, sitting at the bottom of the stairs watching his older sister bound up the stairs. I could tell he wanted to go up those stairs so bad — for his little life, this was a big dream. Every time after this first time, after she went up again, he would climb one stair. This one stair took a lot of work but he kept trying and working. Now, at three, he climbs them with no help and he gets faster every time.

His dream took work and our dreams take work.

So I’ve have talked about why dreaming is important and why we don’t dream, so now I want to talk about how we dream big.

1. The first step to dreaming big is to identify what it is you desire. Start with identifying ONE thing you desire over anything else. This is the beginning of a dream. Maybe you desire a better marriage or a new career. Maybe you desire world peace. Whatever it is, you have to identify something. Don’t say “Well, I don’t have desires, my life is full of have to’s.” If you say that then you are not looking deep within yourself. Pick something and dream how awesome it would be to fulfill that desire.

2. Goal it! I know you have probably heard enough about writing out goals and you are sick of hearing it. Well, the odds are that if you are tired are hearing about it it’s because you have not written any goals out! We live in a visual age and most of the learning and doing we participate in is visual. Why do you think your favorite TV show has 15 minutes worth of show, and 15 minutes worth of advertising? They are hoping that if you see it, you will buy it. Goals are no different. If you write it down, the odds greatly increase that you will achieve it. Pick one goal to accomplish toward your dream and watch it happen.

3. Create a Dream Board. This may be a new concept to many of you. I have created a dream board for myself, and I also have my clients go through “life mapping” which is basically the same thing. A dream board is basically listing a starting point for where you are and listing a finishing point of where you want to be, and mapping out all of the steps and details necessary to make this happen. I have had clients use this to map out everything from their mariage to organizing their house. There are steps between where we think we are and where we dream of being. The steps are where the work lies. And therein lies the problem! If you need help mapping things, I am more than happy to help you — but YOU have to do the work.

4. Help others dream. I have never met one person who selflessly helped someone not be blessed themselves. Things happen for us when we do for others. Help others dream in their life and I promise you will begin to dream more in your own.

Start dreaming!!

DREAM BIG

This is the second of a three-part series on the importance of Dreaming Big. Last week I posted why dreaming is important. This week I want to post some reason and the repercussions for why we don’t dream big. I am sure these are not all of them, so I would love to hear some reasons why you have found yourself unable to dream big. So let’s jump right into it.

1. We see what can’t happen over what can happen. This ties in a little to our lost hope for ourselves and the world. We don’t dream big because we fail to see that things can improve. We are mostly negative by nature. This negativity dwarfs our thinking. I can remember for me not too long ago, I did not think my life would amount to much. I was uneducated, jobless, wifeless and destitute. I sat in this for a while and it caused me to see things were not as they could be. Once I started dreaming, I started believing. And once I started believing, I started doing. And once I started doing, things began to happen. I saw a future beyond the here and now… oh and I found Jesus as well. That helped a lot!

2. We failed in the past, so we stop dreaming. Listen we have all failed. The greats have failed multiple times. The important thing is what we do with failure. When we sit in the failure, guess what we define ourselves as? A failure. When we fail, we have the tendency to fall backwards and sit there kicking and screaming until someone comes along to help us up. Have you ever tried to get up when you are on your back? It’s a lot of work. The key to failing is to fail forward. (tweet that) I like the visual of falling forward on your face before the Almighty. When you are face first, He is ready to jump in with you. It’s easier to push yourself up when you are on your face. Fail forward and get back up and keep dreaming.

3. We live in a ring box. You know a box a ring comes in, usually it is a small box. (Except for the ring I bought for Monica it actually came in a crate! Kidding.) My point is we have all heard the saying “get out of the box” when you think. I like that but I think our boxes are so small we have NO vision for our life. When there is no vision there is no dreaming. We should get out of our boxes and expand our thinking and vision. Or better yet DEVELOP one. Open your eyes, think creatively, write it down, share it and GO!! That’s vision. You are anointed by God. If not, you better get some anointing, because you can’t have a vision and dream without it!! I’ll say it for you: Preach!

See where you can be, push yourself up and cast a vision for yourself!!

If you need some guidance or help I am happy to help you. Please don’t feel alone.

Next week…How Do We Dream Big?

Greg

Dreaming Big

March 27, 2013 — 2 Comments

DREAM BIG

I have recently started using a sound machine to help me sleep. I use the sound of the ocean, because I love the beach and I always seem to sleep so much better on vacations at the beach.

As a result of me sleeping better, I have noticed that I am dreaming more in my sleep. Now I can’t tell you what these dreams are because they are gone as soon as I wake up, but they are happening.

This is significant because I was just telling Monica a few months ago that I can’t remember the last time I had a dream.

Have you ever found yourself in this place? When is the last ime you had a dream? I don’t mean a sleep dream but a dream for your life. I believe dreams are the missing ingredient in many people experiencing a Big Life. I think it is so important, that I’m going to use the next few weeks blogging about dreams and desires.

So let’s begin this week with answering why dreams are important:

1. Dreaming leads to hope. I believe one of the best speeches ever given was the speech Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered in Washington, D.C. Not only was it well communicated, but it was a dream — and the dream he had lead to hope for him and others. Now there were many who doubted it could ever happen, but that did not stop him from dreaming. Dreaming brings hope, transformation and vision to us and others.

2. Dreams help us to see things we miss in life. Dreaming allows us to see beyond the here and now and gets our creative juices flowing. I believe creativity should be an important piece of our life. When we dream, it causes our mind and heart to go places it otherwise would not.This opens up untapped possibilites.

3. Dreams require us to expect the unexpected. I remember when we bought our first house. After our first year of ownership, I went to the mailbox, and found a check from our mortgage company. I was for overpaying into our escrow account for the year. This was totally unexpected. It led me to expect that check every year! It doesn’t come every year, but nevertheless, it was a lesson. Dreams allow us to recieve unexpected blessings. The more we dream the more expected these unexpected blessings will become. Wouldn’t life be awesome if life was full of realized expectations?

Next week I will write about the reasons I believe we don’t dream big.

I encourage you to listen to my weekly podcast –The Big Life — where I am providing ways for you to have the biggest year ever.