Category : Leadership

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Two Mantra’s I Live By

Someone recently asked me a great question:

“Brandon, what is a phrase you live by?”

What they wanted to know was if I had a personal mission statement or could I sum up my focus into one phrase.

That’s actually a great question. I know too many people who get up every morning without any idea of how they plan to “WIN” that day.

I told this young leader I have two:

PRAY FIRST

and

THE SPEED OF THE LEADER, THE SPEED OF THE PACK

The first one is the way I attack every situation. Before I do anything, I pray. Before I send that text message, I pray first.

Before I book that meeting, I pray first.

Before I tell my wife if I liked her cooking, I pray-pray-pray first. (It’s always excellent, by the way.)

It reminds me that our true strength only comes from above so I want His blessing and wisdom in every action of the day.

The second one is what keeps me motivated to do the RIGHT things.

It’s important to realize as a leader you cannot take anyone where you have not been. So, as a leader we must constantly be growing, expanding, and reaching higher. I don’t read veraciously because I always enjoy it. I do it because I’M THE PACK LEADER.

When I don’t feel like working any more, I do it anyway. Why? Because I’M THE PACK LEADER.

These are the two phrases that give me focus and determination. They also help me prioritize what’s important. They guide me in almost everything I do.

Question for you:

Do you have a personal mission statement or phrase that you live by?

Do you have a plan for how you are going to WIN today?

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9 Inspirational Lessons from Steve Jobs

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Forgiveness Signs

Unforgiveness is a sickness.
Unforgiveness acts like a cancer.
Unforgiveness is so powerful that it can spread from our emotions to everything other part of who we are, eventually poisoning our very spirit.

That’s why we don’t hide from this topic at Real Life Church. We don’t want anyone else to come down with the sickness of unforgiveness.

Below is a powerful video about this topic. I cannot wait to tackle this with you this Sunday at RLC.

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Why Good Leaders Make You Feel Safe

This is simply a MUST WATCH.

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I’d Rather Live With Failure Than With Regrets

Putting it on the line day in/day out in order to create a better life is always hard. However, it’s not as hard as it would be to one day look back over your life and say, “What if?”

I’d rather live with failure than with regrets.

Below is a quote from a man who dared to go against the grain and become something great. I think of this quote often when what I aspire to seems too tough. Enjoy.

“It’s not the critic who counts, not the one who points out how the strong man stumbled or how the doer of deeds might have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena. Whose face is marred with sweat and dust and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes short again and again and again, who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions—and spends himself in a worthy cause. Who, if he wins, knows the triumph of high achievement, and who, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory or defeat!”

– Teddy Roosevelt

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5 Questions to Ask Yourself Before January 1st

Right after Christmas is a big reflection time for me. I usually plan for it weeks in advance. It’s a time to take stock of all that’s been done over the past year. I celebrate accomplishments. I repent of failures. I make plans to increase my WINS and cut out my biggest weaknesses. Since beginning this discipline, December 26th through 31st has become something very special. Here are some of the question I ask at the end of every year. How would you answer them?

1. What was my biggest success in 2014?

What was the biggest touchdown for this past year? Maybe it was a promotion you’ve been hoping you would receive. Maybe it was the birth of a child or a friendship gained. Whatever it is, celebrate it as much as possible. You did it! You earned it! You gained it! If we never celebrate our accomplishments we soon forget why we work so hard to achieve them.

2. What was my greatest challenge in 2014?

Where did you miss it? What went wrong? What about this past year still makes you cringe a little? It’s important to give those things proper time and thought as well because you cannot change what you haven’t identified. The first step to becoming better is realizing where you are. Be honest with yourself. Where do you need need the most growth?

3. What do I need to do more of in 2015?

It’s been said many times over that we all need to “work in our strengths and staff our weaknesses”. What did you do well in 2014 that you should really focus on in 2015? Maybe you starting blogging and really enjoyed it. Maybe you began exercising, spending more time with friends, or started a weekly family night. What WINS do you need to carry into 2015?

4. What do I need to do less of in 2015?

Working overtime. Procrastinating. Skipping important events. Neglecting your faith. Wasting too much time on social media. (ouch). Whatever it is, what do you need to put the brakes on in 2015?

5. What would make 2015 a success?

I’m one of these people who still believe New Year’s Resolutions can work. However, not according to the old methods. Many people set out with a list of things they are going to start on January 1. This year they are going to do 10 things… and… here we go. No preparation. No thought went into it. Just somehow plan to make it happen.
One year I said I was going to go on a crash diet and lose 20 pounds in two months starting January 1. All the way up to midnight of December 31st I ate like a monster. It was awesome… sort of. I ended up so sick I couldn’t eat until January 3rd. Then, all those sugar cravings came back with a vengeance and before lunch, it was over. The next year I made the same goal. However, this time I made a plan which started a week before and had been well thought out. The result was shedding 60 pounds by the end of the year.

Make a goal for 2015. No more than 3 though. Then take time to systematically figure out how you can make it happen.

Here’s an example:

YEARLY GOAL: Loosing 30 pounds

SUB-GOAL ONE: Develop a new eating lifestyle you can stick with. (There are a lot of plans so this will take a while to find out what works for you.)
SUB-GOAL TWO: Journal about my journey everyday.
SUB-GOAL THREE: Re-search what a healthy average amount of weight loss looks like for someone like me. (Most experts say that you should really try not to loose over 2 pounds a week. You’re age, sex, and boy type all play into that as well.)
SUB-GOAL FOUR: Figure out what type of exercise regimen works for your lifestyle.
SUB-GOAL FIVE: Do monthly inventories.
SUB-GOAL SIX: Chart your progress.
SUB-GOAL SEVEN: Find accountability. (hang up a shirt you want to fit into and try it on each week. Tell your friends to ask you tough questions often. Start a blog and tell the world what you are doing. etc)

… I could keep going but you get the idea. Real life-change doesn’t usually happen with one decision. It’s usually happens with one decision followed by a lot more decisions that keep you on track.

 

So above are some questions I ask at the end of every year to keep myself honest and moving forward. What do you do? I’d love to hear about it.

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Top Five Apps for 2014

I admit being an app junkie. I don’t really get into games but I love apps. It’s amazing that there are apps for just about everything. With technology moving at such a fast pace there’s no telling what’s just over the horizon.

For this year, here are my most used apps…

1. EVERNOTE

I think you have one of those days when you loose all your files before you can truly grasp the awesomeness of Evernote. Evernote is cloud based that help me keep things out of my mind and written/filed somewhere.

As it says on it’s website:
“As one workspace that lives across your phone, tablet, and computer, Evernote is the place you write free from distraction, collect information, find what you need, and present your ideas to the world. Whatever you’re working toward, Evernote’s job is to make sure you get there.”

I almost always have a note open on my phone so that during the week, while thinking about the upcoming Sunday Talk, I can write down any ideas that come to me. It makes putting everything together at the end of the week much easier. I can also share meeting notes and ideas with other people for collaboration. Just fits into so many areas of my life.

2. 2DO

I am a productivity app junkie. I spend a lot of time and money  constantly looking for that perfect app that’s going to keep my life scheduled and organized like never before. Sadly, that app probably doesn’t exist. However, 2Do is a close second. It fits all my needs as far as task management is concerned. The main thing for me is its sub-task capability. The more they update, they more I like it. Now if they could only do the tasks for me…

3. DAY ONE

Journal freak… right here. I love some journaling. This app is where it’s at. Completely cross platform compatible. No matter where you find yourself when your journal time comes around, it’s ready. Syncs perfectly and you can even take pictures. The only thing it lacks is the ability to do video entries. It’s coming though… ahem… are you listening app developers?

4. THE BIBLE APP

Hands Down! Best App ever. It can be a little glitchy sometimes but it’s worth it. Tons of translations. Tons of features. Tons of reading Plans. Audio Versions. It has everything. We even like to use it on Sunday’s at church for LIVE message notes. Great stuff. Highly recommend.

5. AUDIBLE

As you can tell from earlier posts, this guy is a book worm. Today’s reader is tomorrow’s leader. You use today what you learned yesterday. All that being said, the pace of my life doesn’t give me the opportunity to sit in a coffee shop and read all day. Audible has helped a lot. It’s an audiobook site with very reasonable price plans. Now I can listen to my next book on the way to the office or while running down the road. It will even play books that are in iTunes so you can play books not bought through their company. Sweet.

6. NEWS360 / NEWSY

I’m not the guy who gets up early in the morning just to catch the local news. I usually catch it while waiting for my email to load or in line waiting for my coffee. Therefore, I need apps that can let me quickly scan headlines. I want to quickly get past what celebrity just had a baby and go right to what’s going on with ISIS. Both these apps get it done.

Well these are six of my most used apps but not all of them.

What are your most used apps?

Maybe you have discovered something I need to be using.

Don’t forget to like and share this video. It lets me know what content people like to ready.

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TOP 10 Books I Enjoyed Reading in 2014

I am a self-admitted veracious reader. John Maxwell always says:

Readers are Leaders and Leaders are Readers.

After first hearing that quote a few years ago, I made it a goal to read about 40 books a year. I don’t always hit that goal but it’s always good to have one.

The books I read are not limited to non-fiction, self help books. Some of my favorite genres would have to be leadership books, mystery fiction, and historical biographies of great leaders.  My reading taste is really all over the place as you will be able to tell below.

Here we go. My TOP TEN favorite books this year in NO PARTICULAR ODER:

 

41BOOK ONE: 41: A Portrait of My Father

BY: George W. Bush

LINK: http://goo.gl/n9phLp

Info: I’ve always been a George Bush fan. He’s probably the best foreign policy president we’ve had in a long time. One of the things I admired about him the most is how he led by cultivating great relationships with people before asking them to follow. The world went too long without his memoire. While this isn’t that it is a great book about his life from the view of his son and former president George W. Bush. I especially loved all the little humorous comments and anecdotes Bush Jr put in the book about his mother’s famous bluntness and sense of humor. Barbara Bush deserves a book all by herself but for now, this will do.


allegiantBOOK TWO: Allegiant (Divergent Series)

BY: Veronica Roth

LINK: http://goo.gl/7DvXGc

Info: I had to finish the series. Don’t judge me. This book was probably my favorite of the trilogy mainly because it was finally over. Any series like this will be compared to the Hunger Games books and still a flash back to the Harry Potter series. People are always looking for the next big thing to get on board with. To me, this series wasn’t ‘all that’ even though the idea behind it was great. In the end, Allegiant served it’s purpose of keeping me distracted during those long training runs while I prepared for my first marathon. Hated the ending though… all I’ll say..


unbrokenBOOK THREE: Unbroken

BY: Laura Hillenbrand

LINK: http://goo.gl/YfE5TE

Info: This book needs it’s on blog post. Loved it. Loved it. Loved it. First, I’m a sucker for good biographies. Second, I love a good story. Third, I love my faith and enjoy hearing about others who embrace faith in their lives. This book had all that and more. The author did a masterful job painting an early picture of a troubled Kid-Louie. Then, after everything he went through, the story ends with him investing back into troubled kids… awesome full circle. That’s just the beginning. There’s so many layers to this story.  What’s not in the book is that Louie tried for years to get his story out to the world. It wasn’t till the end of his life that everyone began to take notice. So, the only sad thing is he wasn’t able to receive the accolades he deserved.  Can’t wait for the movie to come out.


killing.lincolnBOOK FOUR: Killing Lincoln: The Shocking Assassination that Changed America Forever

BY: Bill O’Reilly

LINK: http://goo.gl/I1yw3q

Info: It’s a shame that many people will not read this book because Bill O’Reilly wrote it. Abraham Lincoln is my favorite president so when I heard Bill had combined well documented facts and new discoveries into one book written with the feel of a reporter telling the story as if it just happened… I’m in. I enjoyed the way he crafted the telling of all the events leading up to the assassination of Lincoln. There were several facts about Mary Todd Lincoln, Lincoln’s cabinet, his generals, etc. that really gave extra color to the story.


unleashBOOK FIVE: Unleash: Breaking Free From Normalcy

BY: Perry Noble

LINK: http://goo.gl/zLMii7

Info: Love him or hate him you have to admit… Perry Noble is real! He’s a breath of fresh air in a world that always tries to be so politically correct. His common sense approach to faith and life is probably what I love about him the most. When you hear him talk it’s not hard to understand how he pastors a church that’s probably going to become the largest church in America at some point. His passion for the things that matter is amazing. This book is probably going to become an annual read for me. Loved his challenge to take the leap into what’s possible.


crashthechatterboxBOOK SIX: Crash the Chatterbox: Hearing God’s Voice Above All Others

BY: Steven Furtick

LINK: http://goo.gl/VIc9dG

Info: I’ll admit… I’ll always have a soft spot for Steven Furtick. I’ll probably read everything he ever writes. It goes back to his first book “Sun Stand Still”. At the time, I was thinking about doing the craziest thing ever with my life and was scared to death. (planting a church) “Sun Stand Still” taught me about the audacity of ‘all in faith’ and ‘going for it’ in life. Furtick’s book became my playbook for and new vocabulary for audacious faith and I still use the quote “If you’re dreams don’t scare you, they insult God.” (paraphrase) As much as I loved “Sun Stand Still”, “Crash the Chatterbox” might come close to surpassing it for me. I’ve never read an author who was so honest about his personal struggles and mental battles. Instead of making me think less of Steven it actually made me think “me too”. Loved it so much. Probably the most thought-provoking book on this list.


outliersBOOK SEVEN: Outliers: The Story of Success

BY: Malcolm Gladwell

LINK: http://goo.gl/wZhK2O

Info: This book made so much sense on so many levels. It both challenged me and helped me take a relaxing breath at the same time. No matter what you pursue with your life there are always those people who stand out as uncommonly successful. They are Outliers. People with uncommon opportunities and experiences at just the right time to make a big difference in their field of expertise. On one side it helped me say, “So it’s okay if I’m not as successful as they are. They are social oddities.” However, the question also arose, “Am I an Outlier in some way?” Loved the stories in this book.

Favorite takeaway has to be that in order to become a world class expert at something you have to apply 10,000 hours of your time working on your craft.


next.gen.leaderBOOK EIGHT: Next Generation Leader

BY: Andy Stanely

LINK: http://goo.gl/asJ7pj

Info: This will never be known as his best work but it’s one of my favorites. The main reason is because you get this sense of sitting across a table at a coffeeshop hearing Andy say these leadership ideas. He writes it as though he is pouring out practical experiences from years of leadership. Almost like he’s giving you his inside scoop on leadership life. I loved hearing him write out of personal experience and give his personal steps and guidelines. It’s a quick read and a lot of doable applications.


four.obsessionsBOOK NINE: The Four Obsessions of an Executive: A Leadership Fable

BY: Patrick M. Lencioni

LINK: http://goo.gl/pLxzni

Info: Patrick Lencioni has changed leadership writing forever. I love his approach of writing a story and drawing out leadership principles. That’s exactly what so many leadership books have been missing. There are many, many great leadership books with great theories but Patrick has helped flesh them out. By the time I finished this book, I felt as though I had been challenged and grown with the young executive. It made me want to be the kind of leader and coach the senior executive is. Great stuff.


21.laws.of.leadershipBOOK TEN: 21 Irrefultable Laws of Leadership

BY: John Maxwell

LINK: http://goo.gl/Bv9N5B

Info: I question anyone who claims to be a leader is not well read in the John Maxwell universe. If you don’t have at least 3 Maxwell books, you’re not really interested in leading. This book is now my favorite. This book and it’s companion book “21 Indispensable Laws of Leadership” make for a great foundation in anyone’s leadership life.

The most eye-opening leadership book to me is the LAW OF THE LID. If people stop growing it’s only because they’ve put a lid on their life.

 

Okay, so I took the time to give you some of my favorite books of 2014.

What do you think? Is there a book I should read next year that you enjoyed?

Tell me what you think. Also, don’t forget to share this blog on Facebook and Twitter so we can get more people’s opinions and get our 2015 reading list together.

 

 

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Best Message on Personal Growth EVER!

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Music to This Pastor’s Ears…

During this renovation/expansion process at RLC there have been so many things to be thankful for. It seems like everyday a new and different hurdle arises and God has given us the grace to overcome every one of them. In the middle of all this there has been one thing which has especially been a blessing. More and more I’ve been hearing people use the phrase “MY CHURCH”.

You know, you don’t really hear that very often these days. People will say my team, my job, my family, my spouse, or my kids. However, you seldom hear people say “my church” unless they are referring to a church they use to attend and say “my old church”.

When we first launched RLC over two years ago, most people would say “Your church” as if they were just guests even if they had attended for months.  That’s fine but as a pastor I long for people to not just be attenders but VISION CARRIERS in what God has called RLC to do. It’s been such a blessing to hear more and more people ascribe RLC as not simply a church they attend but THEIR CHURCH. A place where they have decided to invest their lives and see the Kingdom of God grow. That is a huge blessing.

Just wanted to share my thankfulness today. Thank you everyone. It’s an honor to be your pastor.

I-love-my-church-2

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3 Movies that Changed My Perception on Leadership

If love movies and are a visual learner like me, this post is for you. Leadership ‘Easter Eggs’ can pop up anywhere if you are looking. Here are a few I found in some of my favorite movies.

lincoln1. Lincoln

Leadership is consistency.
This movie is about Abraham Lincoln’s last days as he tries to finish winning the Civil War and emancipate the southern slaves. I really liked this movie and not just because Lincoln is my favorite president. The resolve and single-minded focus in the face of relentless pressure that Lincoln possessed was mesmerizing.
Throughout this movie, people try to convince Lincoln that passing his bill through congress is impossible. Many times it did seem possible. However, Lincoln’s hard work, political genius, and consistency won in the end.

No matter who we lead whether it is a company, church, or our families; consistency is the key to so many things.
If you are constantly changing your strategy, marketing plan, or house rules, how will those you lead know when they’ve won?  How will they know what they are suppose to do?
Consistency is the key to unity, communication, and a step toward excellence.

braveheart2. Braveheart

People follow your passion not your program.
Let’s start this one with a warning. I watched this movie in an ‘edited version’ format. I’ve been told there are some parts that are unsuitable and should be scrubbed over quickly. Viewer be warned.
What I want to talk about is the journey William Wallace takes from a farmer looking to start a family to a man who shakes the most powerful nation in the world at the time.
In the movie, Wallace makes several memorable statements. One of those is when he’s talking to the future king of Scotland. He said, “People don’t follow titles. They follow courage.”
My way of saying that is, “People don’t follow programs. They follow passion.”

If you are passionate about something you don’t have to tell anyone, they know.
If you want to be an effective leader, make sure you leading with passion. If you do this, you’ll never have to beg people to follow you.

lord.of.the.rings3. The Lord of the Rings

The journey is always better together.
J.R.R. Tolkien’s masterpiece would have been lost to most of this generation if Peter Jackson and company had not made the amazing three part movie series. Whether it’s with Sam and Frodo or with the other half of the ‘fellowship of the Ring’ there is an overarching theme, “The journey is better together.”
The same is true with leadership.
If you choose to do life alone you will never become everything you could have been. The truth is other people can have amazing value in your life.
A better way to say that would be the “right kind of people” can have amazing value in your life.
If you want to be wise, hang out with wise people.
If you want to become good at leadership, hang out with other leaders who are winning. They can teach you and maybe you’ll even be able to teach them a thing or two as well.

These were some of my favorite ‘leadership in training’ movies.
What are some of yours? Let me know in the comments below.

Also, if you found this article intriguing, don’t forget to share it on Facebook and Twitter.

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3 Books to Jump Start Your Leadership Growth

Leadership Growth is a lifelong pursuit. You never stop growing.

One of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever received about leadership was to learn that becoming a great leader is a lifelong pursuit. It takes a long time. That helped me a lot because I hoped maybe this whole ‘leadership thing’ could be conquered in a weekend.
Yeah, I had a lot to learn and still do.

If leadership growth is your goal, it’s very important to have a working foundation of what leadership is and where you are in your journey. Here are three books to help you set up the proper leadership foundation. These are not by far the only great leadership books. They are just some of my favorites and some of the books I frequently refer back to.

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