084: What Voices Are You Listening To? [Podcast] – Todd Stocker.com

All of us have messages, or ‘voices’, coming at us from all different directions. Which voice you chose to listen to will directly affect your ability to move forward, your self-perception and your success. Today, I talk about the different places from which you hear ‘voices’ and how to chose which ones to listen to.


Quote of the Day:

The biggest mistake you can make is listening to people who’ve given up on their dreams telling you to give up on yours. – Umair Hague

Here’s how my work breaks down:

  • 80% of what I do is great.
  • 10% just what I have to do.
  • 10% ugh.

You’re going to hear the ugh part but I’m going to tell you how I’m working through some of the ugh.  I have to admit, I’ve been in the blues for the past few months.  There are a few reasons:

  • Key staff transitions — one rather unexpected and they will change the way we do our work.
  • On top of that, our organization is looking at the next years and doing visioning.  I’m going to have to present a pretty radical way of “doing business” that I believe is the best way we can achieve our goals.

But here’s the problem — Change creates complaints.

I’ve been feeling blue because I’m listening to the wrong voices.

Voices come from other people.
3 types of people we encounter:

  • people who are your nominalists.
  • people who are your cheerleader’s.
  • people who are your detractors – reference quote.

Who do you listen to?

Voices also come from your own head.  That voice usually comes in the form of Fear.  Fear draws from my past experiences and my own self-esteem.

How do I listen to the right voices?  I simply take a step back and ask, “Which category does this message fall under — nominalists, cheerleader, detractor or my own fear?”  I filter all but my cheerleader but cautiously use what the others are saying as guides.

When you have to do something hard to do, which voice are you going to listen to?

When you are feeling like a failure, which voice are you listening to?



079: Achievement Is Only An Intersection Away [Podcast] – Todd Stocker.com

We’re talking about a word the is normally considered a bad word, ‘Temptation.’ But what if you can be tempted to do good? What is the definition of temptation anyway? When these two parts of temptation meet, it can be horrible or it can be great, especially when it comes to achievement!

Achievement is one of the things that makes you and I feel alive.  Think about a recent goal you achieved.  How’d you feel afterward?  Or think about after you completed a project or task.  You feel like great! 

Progress and Control are the two things that make you feel like your life is moving forward.

Keep that idea in your mind cause I’m going to take a hard left but you have to stay with me.

Achievement can also be negative.  You could achieve something that is destructive or wrong or sin (spiritually).  So the temptation to achieve — either positively or negatively — actually has the same roots.  

Let me explain.

Definition of Temptation – or rather, how temptation presents itself.

Temptation happens at the intersection of opportunity and desire.

* A man cheats on his wife with the secretary.  How’s it usually happen?  The man is working closely, innocently at the office.  neither opportunity or desire are there.

* then one night they work a bit late and go out for a drink.  is the desire there?  not necessarily, but a different level of relationship is developing.  is the opportunity there?  at that point, yes!  (maybe I should call this marriage advice :)).  

* as this different level of closeness happens, not only is he putting himself in opportunistic situations, but the desire is slowly developing.  

* now the stage is set.  

* Or you have the opportunity to sleep but no desire (Joseph and Potiphar’s wife).

It could be anything.  Stealing.  You want the $20 bill on your co-worker’s desk (desire) but there are tons of people around so there’s no opportunity.  

So when you’re being tempted to do something wrong, remove either the opportunity or the desire and you are one step farther away from making a mess of your life.  

Let’s look at the positive side.  I’m not sure it’s temptation but maybe more so motivation to do something great.  

Let’s say you want to change careers.  I’m working with a few different people now who are exploring a career move.  

You’ve become bored or stuck and so you have a desire to move on.  When you identify other opportunities, it’s only a matter of timing and logistics to then, make the move to something better!  

You may have the desire to make a career move, but let’s say you like your company but there are no promotions available (no opportunity).  Then you’re stuck or you see a job posting and there’s nothing that matches your Hardwiring or passions (desires), then you won’t make a move.  

The motivation to do something happens when desire — that’s the pain or pleasure effect — meets opportunity.  

This is really where coaching comes in.  As a life-coach, it’s been a blast watching people, who have a desire to make their lives better, financially or relationally, … it’s been fun to help them see or even create the opportunities to take a next step toward achieving their goals! 

That’s what coaching is.  It’s not counseling.  Coaching is a facilitated monolog.  As a coach, I don’t give my opinion but more so help you refine what that desire is in you (what your purpose in life is) and then, identify ways to put that into practice.  

So listen.  You have some area in your life that you’d like to make better.  For me, a few years ago, was weight loss.  Maybe its to make more money, change jobs, have a better marriage, whatever.  As a coach, I can help you no matter what your situation it is.  

So go to ChristianLeadersCoaching.com and on that first page, in the text, there is a blue button that says, “Request a FREE Strategy Call Today”  and it’ll take you to a page that explains coaching and the free strategy call. 

Then, send me a request.  I’ll get back to you within 24hours and together, we can start breaking through those obstacles — that wall — that is keeping you from living the life of your dreams!  

065: 5 Beliefs That Keep You From Accomplishing Your Best [Podcast] – Todd Stocker.com


Believe it or not, your beliefs either releases you or limits you to accomplishing your best. Today, I examine 5 beliefs that you may hold that are keeping you from success.

On This Episode:

One of the core purposes of the Take Back Your Life Podcast is that I try to help you identify obstacles in your life that keep you from walking in your God-given purpose and taking your life to the next level.  

The more I talk with people, the more I’m realizing that most of us hold onto what are called “limiting beliefs:  

#61 – I talked about limiting beliefs – A limiting belief is a false belief that a person acquires as a result of making an incorrect conclusion about something in life.    

I read an article that stated that 87% of American workers were unsatisfied with their jobs and a percentage of that felt they were stuck in it.  

I know that feeling.  In my early 30’s, I worked for American Express and while it was a great company to work for – pay, bene’s and people – I felt like I was stuck in the job position I had.  I believed that this was all there is.  I actually had to quit in order to move forward.  I’m not suggesting that!  but while I believe that small changes yield big returns, i also know that sometimes it takes decisive action to make changes as well.  

5 beliefs that keep you from accomplishing your best: Before I go through these, and to be helpful for you, think of a time in your past or maybe right now, where you would describe your life as being stuck.

1. Belief That you can’t do it. 

This could come from a variety of experiences. Maybe you tried losing weight in the past, for example, and then Thanksgiving came along and you said, I’ll get back on track before Christmas. Then a few more pounds add on, Christmas hits and you end up saying I’ll get back on track the first of the year and you get to Jan. 19 (which is the typical date when people stop new years resolutions), before you know it, you’ve gained back the 15 pounds and added 5 more.

Then you tell yourself a story, “I tried that and I just couldn’t do it.”

It could be in your business. You got your real estate license and found out that you couldn’t handle the odd hours or the paperwork.

What happens is you begin to tell yourself the story that you can’t do it.

This negative story shows up when it comes to marriage. your first marriage failed and so you’ve told yourself this story that you’re ugly, no one will want you.

You need to change that story.

2. Belief That you don’t deserve it. 

This actually connects to the last illustration. If your marriage, or friendship or whatever, doesn’t work out, you begin to believe that self-deprecating story that says, “You’re not worth it.” You hear that from two sources: First, your own sinful side, which we all have, and also from the Devil.

Listen, I believe God has made you in an incredible way. Plus, he had his own son killed for you. That’s gotta tell you something about how much you’re worth.

Yes, there are people throughout your whole life that won’t be your biggest fans, but there are also people who are.

Now belief that you DO deserve to succeed has to be tempered with humility. You don’t want to be pushy or prideful, but you have to develop confidence.

(Read this article:  6 Actions You Can Take Every Day to Build Your Self-Confidence)

3. Belief That it’s already been done.

So of all the beliefs, this one could be the mostly true. But let me explain why this belief can be limiting.

The belief that if it’s already been done is like a needle popping a balloon. If you’re an entrepreneur, especially in the ‘inventing’ world, you know the thrill of coming up with a new idea, going through sketches and development and then the patent search, only to find a similar product has already been patented and maybe is even out on the market.

◦ For those of you who’ve never done this and want to look for patents, go to uspto.gov

What happens then is you give up. without doing more research. look at it as an opportunity to come up with something better. Think of the toothbrush. How many variations on the toothbrush are or now, the simple blade razor. Harry’s razors have taken the markets by storm!

So my answer to this limiting belief is, “Who cares if its already been done before.” It’s like saying, I’m not going to lose weight because my neighbor lost weight. You don’t strive for success to beat everyone else. That’s not success, that’s domination. Success is more personal.

What is is that YOU want to accomplish? Because I can tell you, the moment you begin focusing on others’ success is the moment your motivation goes from positive to negative.

4. Belief that it’s never been done.

This one is also partially true. There are accomplishments that haven’t been done yet…. colonizing the moon.

Roger Banister. In Oxford, England, 25-year-old medical student Roger Bannister cracks track and field’s most notorious barrier: the four-minute mile. Bannister, who was running for the Amateur Athletic Association against his alma mater, Oxford University, won the mile race with a time of 3 minutes and 59.4 seconds.

For years, so many athletes had tried and failed to run a mile in less than four minutes that people made it out to be a physical impossibility. The world record for a mile was 4 minutes and 1.3 seconds, set by Gunder Hagg of Sweden in 1945. Despite, or perhaps because of, the psychological mystique surrounding the four-minute barrier, several runners in the early 1950s dedicated themselves to being the first to cross into the three-minute zone.  Once Roger broke it, many have done so as a regular routine. 

Just because, so far as you know, it hasn’t been done before, does mean it isn’t worth a try!  

5. Belief that you’ll fail.

How many changes have you thought about making but you don’t simply because there is an element of potential failure in it? In other words, there might be risk.

Okay, ready for this, “THERE IS ALWAYS RISK”.  It is impossible to completely minimize risk when you want to make changes in your life. The key thing to do with this fear of failure is to change your mindset about it. Failure is simply information.

Listen to the post-moredom after a football game especially the team that loses. the coach talks about watching the film, learning from mistakes and making a plan to fix what didn’t work.

If you muster up enough guts to take a few steps forward and something doesn’t work, take a breath, make some changes and try again.  

“If at first you don’t succeed, tweak it before you toss it.”

So think of an area in your life right now that you’d like to improve.  I’m going to read back over the five beliefs – limiting beliefs – and pay attention to the emotional response you have to one or more of them. 

When I think about taking action, I believe 

… I can’t do it.

… I don’t deserve it.

… it’s already been done before.

… it’s never been done before.

… I will fail. 

Which one popped out?  What would happen if you stopped believing that?


051: The Secret 12 Hour Rule [Podcast] – Todd Stocker.com

secret 12 hour rule.001

Have you ever been sidelined because of a criticism or grew a false sense of pride because of a compliment? This secret rule can help you handle both failure and success in a positive and motivating way.


I struggle with something that I know others do as well:  Handling criticism.  

I could have 9 compliments and 1 criticism.  What do I focus on.  What ruins my day?  The one criticism.  

In the podcast, I give an example of a recent keynote speech I delivered and what became of the feedback.

On the opposite side, I sometimes get fixated on a success!  If I stay in the moment of success, I miss opportunities that may present themselves for something greater. 

Ref:  Jim Collins’ book ‘Good To Great’.

Here’s the secret 12 hour rule:

When you lose, you have 12 hours emotionally to cry, throw a tantrum, be mad etc.  Then you have to get back to work.  

Benefit:  You don’t wallow in the loss.  

On the other side is this.  When you win, you celebrate and talk about it and have fun with the win emotionally, but after the 12 hours, you get back to focussing and moving forward.   This it a bit looser because you really want to cultivate positive emotions 

The Benefit:  It didn’t turn into pride.  “A humble team is a winning team.”


[The book I’m writing this year is called “Anchored – Finding Stability In A World Adrift”.  If you’d like to receive free advanced chapters and be notified when its available, sign up below — I’ll send you a portion of the book’s proposal right away!]

Click to sign up:


050:  One Way To Handle The Storms Of Change [Podcast] – Todd Stocker.com

storms of change.001We all experience change in life.  Like storms forming on the horizon, change sweeps down and causes pressures that you need to handle.  But how do you do that?


Rory Vaden’s book Take The Stairs emphasizes the value of hard work, focus and discipline for success.  

Rory recalls, “In Co, where I grew up, we are world famous for the Rocky Mountains. When storms come they almost always brew from the west and roll out towards the east.

What cows do is very natural. Cows sense the storm coming from the west and so they start to try to run toward the east. The storm catches up with the cows rather quickly. And without knowing any better the cows continue to try to outrun the storm. But instead of outrunning the storm they actually run right along with the storm. Maximizing the amount of pain and time and frustration they experience from that storm!

What buffalo do on the other hand is very unique for the animal kingdom. Buffalo wait for the storm to cross right over the crest of the peak of the mountaintop and as the storm rolls over the ridge the buffalo turn and charge directly into the storm.

Instead of running east away from the storm they run west directly at the storm. By running at the storm they run straight through it. Minimizing the amount of pain and time and frustration they experience from that storm.

We should do the same.  Face the storms head on.


049: 3 Success Lessons From Walt Disney Before Mickey [Podcast] – Todd Stocker.com

Walt Disney and Mickey

Walt Disney and Mickey

Walt Disney is one of the greatest success stories of all time.  After failing four times at business, he finally got on track.  What principles can you learn from his early years?


There is a person in history with whom I’ve always been fascinated… that’s Walt Disney.  

Despite what many stories about Walt Disney would have you think, the world-famous animator wasn’t an overnight success. He tried and failed and tried again to build a career for himself in the only field he ever wanted to work: animated films.

The first part of his story is now being told in Walt Before Mickey. Based on the book by Timothy S. Susanin with a foreword by Walt’s daughter Diane Disney Miller, the motion picture is the story of Walt’s early years from 1919-1928, the period of time before he created Mickey Mouse (originally Mortimar Mouse) and released Steamboat Willie (1928). (From Wikipedia)

Mickey wasn’t the first cartoon character that Disney created by any means. Another famous one is Oswald Rabbit, but Walt didn’t own the copyright to that and he had to let Oswald go. Owning your work was one of the many lessons he learned on the bumpy road to success. By the time Walt created Mickey, he was on his fourth animation company and it is the one that stuck: Walt Disney Studios.

So many great themes from the movie and Walt Disney’s life.  One of them is – “If you can’t act, don’t be an actor.”

“When your values are clear to you, making decisions becomes easier.”  – Roy Disney

  1. If at first you don’t succeed, what “Try try again”. You were taught that as a kid and so was I.  
  2. Identify what you’re best at and let go of the rest.
  3. You create an environment wherever you go.  

Environment:  the emotional, physical and relational condition in which one lives.

For Walt his drive, his dream was to create happiness.  Took form in animation, then movies and eventually clean unique theme parks. 

But the environment was always the same.  He wanted people to feel happiness and joy.  To experience fun and joy and relational connection with his characters so that that feeling of happiness would translate to their relationships. 

If you build a house and have the opportunity to design it or when you move into a new place, you want the kitchen to be a certain way, the living room to be set up a certain way… you want to create an environment or atmosphere to accomplish something…

Not only what you build or do with your hands create environments, but who you are does the same.and everybody creates a relational environment around them. 

You know what it’s like to be around a person who is always negative, complaining and can find the cloud behind ever silver lining…  

You also know what it’s like to be around a person who challenges you,  who is confident, who is authentically kind.

So how do you create a success environment around you that attracts others?

By what you do, by what you say, by what you don’t do, by what you don’t say…  Jesus gives some guidance in this as well.  

We follow his teachings to love patiently, love kindly, not to boast, not to be proud, not to envy, but to rejoice in the truth, and to think about things that are lovely, excellent and good.  

That’s that thy of person I want to be around and the type of person I want to be.   


041: CLOUT – A Success Necessity [Podcast] – Todd Stocker.com

influence-igniteflip-horizontalClout isn’t a word we use much anymore.  But understanding its meaning is critical in your leadership and personal success.  On this episode, I use the letters in ‘CLOUT’ as a checklist to develop influence in people around you.


Quote for today: “Imperfect action is way better than perfect procrastination!”

There are many words in the English language that were common just a generation ago that we really don’t use anymore.

  • – Loathe – a feeling of intense dislike or even hatred toward someone or something.
  • – Groovy – this is more slang.
  • – Clout – influence or power that one has especially in politics or business.

I began thinking, “what does a person need to have clout, to exercise influence in business?

Clout is a good acronym to answer the question, “What personal traits can I develop in order to have influence?”

  • Character – beliefs and convictions that are central to personal and corporate success.  Character is both descriptive (characteristics of something) but also a quality of excellence.
  • Leadership – personal leadership and professionally leadership.
  • Optimism – the unwavering ability to confirm reality and declare successful outcomes.
  • Uniqueness – in this case, not unique for the purpose of selling something.  It is a personal style.  There is a confidence in that person.
  • Tenacity – another word we don’t use all that much but it is the quality of being persistent.  focused.

Do you have clout meaning, influence?  If not, use these as a checklist.


028: My Morning Routine – Todd Stocker.com

my-morning-routine.001Did you know that the first hour of your day determines much of your success for that day? Its true. In response to a listener’s email, today I share my morning routine.


Mark asked,  “I’ve seen how many books you write in a year and wonder where do you find time to write?  I’ve got 3 young kids and there just doesn’t seem to be enough time, not only for them, but for me!”

Truth!  Your first hour of the day is really important!  It determines your attitude and your success level for the entire day.  The problem is that most people stay up too late, get up to late and jump right into the day.

I have a disciplined routine that has allowed me to accomplish more and more of the right things!

  • First, I wake up at 5am and make coffee and drink a glass of water.
  • Second, I do a devotion and read my Bible using the S.O.A.P method of journalling and reflecting.
  • Third, I read books and articles on leadership, spirituality and productivity.  I also take this time to write books, blog posts, articles and books.
  • Fourth, I work my Productivity 101 method to give focus and vision to my day.




016: The Best Personal Leadership Question To Ask In Difficult Times – Todd Stocker.com

LeadershipWhat is your first thought when life gets difficult.  When that project fails or you get sick or you run out of month at the end of the money.  This one personal leadership question could completely change your perspective.


How do you deal with sudden loss or failure or frustration. it happens every week if not every day.

For me, often my gut reaction to frustrations in life isn’t my best option.  There have been plenty of times when I was late for an appointment because of traffic, or I started in on a project at home that I thought would take an hour and it took 4 days to complete.

Or if you’re in the work world, your boss piles on an extra project right before the weekend or you get laid off from your job or something changes in your market that forces you to reevaluate how you do business.

A friend of mine was in the jewelry industry, providing the fittings you see for rings and such.  Back in the mid 2000’s that industry started to slip — as did many others — when the economy went down the tubes.  What did they do?  They asked questions.

When trials strike, there are 3 questions we ask in the struggle:

Why, How, What.

  • Why did this happen?  Why did a simple home project take me all day when it should’ve taken an hour?  The why questions seek explanation.
  • How is it affecting me? This hits your emotions.  I just lost my job and it’s affecting my feelings of self worth, it’s affecting my financial situation or its affecting my daily schedule.  E.g. now I have to find a job. The how questions seek clarification.
  • What do I do now?  This isn’t a bad question (in fact none of these are) because this ‘what’ question at least keeps you from getting stuck in a failure and seeks to resolve any problem that has happened. The what question seeks motivation.

But there is a 4th question — a better ‘what’ question, that takes you to the next level as you push through the challenge, failure or frustration you just experience.

Before I tell you what it is I want to tell you where I heard it.

One of the many podcasts I listen to — Michael Hyatt’s Intentional Leadership.  Last year, in passing, he mentioned a question his wife asks whenever frustrations come into her life.  I wanted to remember it back then but forgot until this week’s podcast.

This is the question we all should ask: 

“What does this make possible?”

You see how this is a great question? It changes your mindset and attitude from focussing on why the trial happened and gets you to look forward to get you through the initial shock but on the potential side of the event or the change that you’re experiencing.

While the why questions seek explanation, the how question seek clarification, and the first what question seeks motivation, the “what does this make possible” question give inspiration because you’re inspired to look on the positive or solution side of the event without negating the event itself. 

Listen, you never want to pretend the event, the failure, the frustration never happened — that’s denial.  The best thing to do is acknowledge it happened, quickly as why, how and the first what, but then ask “what does this make possible.”

For my buddies, they didn’t need to know why the industry was changing, they already knew: the economy was bad.  They knew how it was affecting their business as their customer base was dwindling because their customers were hurting, and they knew what they needed to do in terms of making some hard staffing decisions, changing some vendors and the like.  But when they sat down and asked WHAT DOES THIS MAKE POSSIBLE, it opened up a floodgate of focused ideas.  They noticed that the part of their business was still stable and that was dealing with the scrap metal area.  They also noticed a hole in the market for smaller jewelers as the bigger scrap companies gave little customer service to them so they stepped in and embrace the local shops. Now 8 years later, the business is quadruple the revenue as it was before.

The question is reflective of a bible verse in James 1,

“Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy.  For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.”

Even in the troubles of life, God says there is opportunity to grow as a person, to see new opportunities and to thrive.

A danger to this question is asking it at the wrong time.  Let’s say someone had a significant loss in their life.  Don’t ask it at the funeral home.

Whatever that struggle or obstacle you’re facing today might be, try asking yourself the question, “What does this event make possible in my company, in my family, … in my life?”


Go out and Take Back Your Life!


008: 3 Ways To Overcome Fear – Podcast – Todd Stocker.com


Show Notes: (Audio attached at the end of the post)

Listener Question: “Todd, sometimes, I seemed to be paralyzed by fear.  I have things in life that I want to do but I’m always thinking that it might not work out or I’m afraid to even take a first step.  I want to believe that I can live my life fear-free.  is that even possible?” – Gavin.

 The quick answer to that is no.  It’s not possible not to be afraid.  Being afraid is natural, human response that we use for safety.  If I wasn’t afraid of driving my car 120mph, the odds of me crashing increase. If I wasn’t afraid of being on the wrong side of town late at night, I’m inviting trouble and danger.

So where does Fear come from?  First, it comes from the unknown.  If you’ve never been to Europe, there is an element of fear as you step off the plane and try to execute your plan for a vacation.  If you can’t see in the dark, you are fearful of what might be out there.

It also comes from past experiences.  If you’ve spoken in front of a large crowd and you didn’t think it went well, you are less likely to do it again because of the fear of failure.  The interesting thing is that experiences are basically neutral.  We assign meaning to them which we deem as negative or positive.  Let me say that again.  Most events that happen in your life are pretty much neutral.  But based on your experiences, based on what we’ve been told, based on other factors, we bring meaning to the experience.  If you place a negative experience on the event, you’re much more likely to be afraid of doing it again.  (But that’s another conversation for another day.)

How do you combat fear?  Let me give you 3 ways.

  1. Know that God is with you always (Matthew 28:20)
  2. Learn the phrase “Make Reality Your Friend,” from Peaks and Valleys.
  3. Ask yourself, “what’s the worst that can happen?”

Another aspect of fear that you need to remember is this.  You can never be completely without fear in new or strange environments.  So how do you move forward?  “Do it with fear.”  This means, recognize that you are afraid but move forward anyway.


Why You Are Unfulfilled – Todd Stocker.com


[These questions come from readers.  If you have a question, ask it here.]

This week, I was honored to facilitate a leadership retreat for an executives team in Wisconsin.  Huddled in a remote retreat house, the 11 of us discussed topics such as vision casting, defining your purpose and decision-making.  In review, the conversations that were most helpful for the group focused around the questions, “How am I hardwired and how does that affect the way I work and live?”  In other words, each person discovered toward which types of activities they are naturally drawn and what activities they should avoid doing.  When you discover that, then you can focus your unfulfilled life and begin to discover, develop and deploy your purpose. 

The problem for most of us is that we jump right into a life situation based on three things:

  • a life compared to other people
  • an expectation from someone else
  • a desire for what we think is success

In doing so, people often lead lives that are not fulfilling and frustrating.  A recent study showed that 87% of people are working in a situation where they feel bored, overly stressed or unfulfilled.  

God has more for you. 

What you should be doing is figuring out and acting on your “bent.”  Proverbs 22:6 says,


The original meaning of “in the way he should go” means to train the child up in the way they were designed.  As a child grows, parents can see personality traits and tendencies as well as activities that make them come alive.  This is their “bent.”  When you continue to grow, you should continue to study your bent not just to move you toward activities that make life fulfilling, but to keep you from activities that keep you back from all that makes you come alive.  

God’s ultimate purpose for you is to know Him through Jesus.  In doing so, you get to know yourself.  As you are intentional about studying the way you should go, you become a fulfilled person who adds incredible value to the world.

If you’d like to a free Hardwired assessment, Click Here.  



The Secret to a Happy Life

lggEveryone’s looking for that one secret or plan for a fulfilling life. Just do an Amazon book search on the word ‘purpose’ and the results land in the millions.  Walk through a Google search on the word ‘happiness’ and the outcome is infinite.

So is there a formula for feeling fulfilled and successful in life?

The more I study, observe, think and pray, the more I see that the answer is yes.  Yes you can be happy.  Yes you can feel fulfilled.  Yes you can rest well at night, knowing your day had meaning if you can formulate your life’s activities around what I believe is a God-given daily formula I simply call Learn-Grow-Give.

2007-04-waterThere are two large bodies of water in the middle east.  The Sea of Galilee and the Dead Sea.  One is beautiful and full of life.  The other is desolate and stagnant.  They are connected by the Jordan River.  The Sea of Galilee is a luxurious vacation spot for many.  The Dead Sea is a day trip for those who are curious.  Here’s why.

The Sea of Galilee is fed partly by an underground spring, partly by the Jordan River and partly by waters flowing from the surrounding hills.  Teams of fish and plant life make it their home.  This sea empties down the Jordan into the Dead Sea.  The Dead Sea is what its name indicates – dead.  Because of it’s high salt content, nothing lives in it.  Why?  This sea has no exit point.  The water simply stops there, collecting minerals and debris carried into it by the Jordan.  The disparity of these two water-bodies illustrates the Learn-Grow-Give principle of life.

To be happy and healthy, you should always have new resources (incoming water or learning), always process and apply what those resources provide (life-activity or growing), and always be seeking opportunities to contribute back into other people (water flowing out or giving).

Learn:  I was at a meeting in which there was a post-retirement aged leader.  He had put in his time and had been successful leading his organization.  I thought he was at the meeting simply because of the camaraderie of his colleagues but as soon as the presenter started, he pulled out a yellow legal pad and began taking notes.  He was in learning mode!  No matter what stage of life you’re in, leaders are learners.  What have you read or investigated lately?  How are you going to intentionally learn new concepts and ideas?  Are you in learning mode?

Grow:  As a kid, we used to buy these plants called “Resurrection Plants.”  I don’t know what species they are but they can be dried up for 50 years or more and yet when you put them in water, they spring to life. They use the water to replenish their green leaves and unfold into a beautiful desktop foliage.  When you have intake (Learning), you then choose to grown from it and spring to life.  Whatever you’re observing or learning, ask yourself what lessons can you learn.  Process how this can be important or helpful.  Figure out ways to apply what you’ve learned to make life better for you and others around you.  What have you learned recently that has helped you?  How can you grow from your experiences, learnings and observations?

Give:  The human body was design around the Learn-Grow-Give model.  When you eat and drink, you are taking in new items into your body (Learn).  Then your body process the food and water to supply what your body needs to grow and/or be healthy (Grow).  But if there is not exiting of the food and water, toxins build up and you become sick very quickly.  (Remember the Dead Sea).  Your life, like your body, needs to have a giving strategy for a health.  Where are you serving in your church, community or workplace?  Into whom are you pouring your wisdom, experience and life?

How has this been helpful?  Comment below.



The Two Tables of Thanksgiving

000c0065-0000-0000-0000-000000000000_00000065-07e2-0000-0000-000000000000_20121112174243_111212_kidstable_600x300If you come from a larger family, you are familiar with the two tables of Thanksgiving.  First, is the adult table which is aptly named for those who grace it’s lacy clothed edge.  Lit candles, real china and elegantly etched wine glasses decorate it’s festive landing.

Second is the kids table.  Lucky just to have paper plates, this table holds less expectation and prestige as the former since it’s occupants couldn’t care less.  Most of the occupants, that is.

I remember sitting at the kids table at that delicate school age of 6th grade.  That was the time of transition, the time when I sat in view of the adult table.  How I longed to not have to dodge the cranberry sauce globs being thrown at my head by my little brother and sister.

The next year, my father pulled out a chair and I joined the ranks of the outnumbered elite at, (pause for dramatic effect) the adult table.  It is a grand thing to be invited to graduate.

Reflecting on the two tables makes me wonder how many people live their lives at the kids table.  Life has invited them to a better standard, a higher living, a progressed status and yet, they choose to stay with the status quo.  They find security in the mediocre and actually have a fear of success.


If you look around, life invites you to be better, to do better, to achieve and succeed.  Opportunities still dot the hours of your day like cloves in the skin of a well-goldened turkey.  Look.  The world has just pulled out a chair.  It is time for you to take it.