036: How To Leverage Sowing And Reaping [Podcast] – Todd Stocker.com

sowing reapingThere’s a basic principle that applies to ever person on the planet:  “Sowing and Reaping”.  On this episode, I talk about it and how you can leverage it to make your life more successful and influential.


On This Episode:

In your life and in my life, you should be constantly be looking at the package of the seeds we’re sowing.  Are they seeds that are moving you toward your goals in work or in life?  Do you have goals for your work and life? 

If you don’t, you need to pull away from your daily life and spend some time thinking about where you’re headed, what you want in your life. 

Truth:  You always harvest what you plant. 

Where you are in your life right now is a direct result of the decisions you’ve made in your past — in other words, the seeds that you’ve planted?

The problem is that we plant seeds expecting a different produce!  For instance, you may go deep into consumer debt and then are offered a consolidation loan.  Then you go deeper into debt because you are continuing to sow the seeds of bad financial decisions.  If you are struggling financially, you have to look at the patterns and decisions in your past that got you there.  Sometimes, there are things that happen that you really can’t control but most of the time, they are actions you’ve taken to get you there. 

How do you harvest good things.

  1. Notice the bad harvest in your life and identify the seed from which they came.  Again, if there’s something that is frustrating or wrong, it isn’t rocket science to figure out what you planted to get there.   Example: weight loss.  If you’re eating crap and a lot of it, you’re going to get fat! 
  2. Plant seed for the future but also for the present.  What do I mean by that?
    • Future:  Ask “What do I want my life to look like 1, 3 5 years from now?”  Then set some goals and plant seeds toward those in different areas of your life.  Here’s a resource:  Dan Miller’s power of goal setting worksheet.
    • Present:  Plant seeds that give you immediate joy — that make you come alive.
  3. Have a long view of life.  Weight loss takes time.  Building financial wealth takes time.  In Gladwell’s book “Outliers”, he repeatedly mentions the “10,000-Hour Rule”, claiming that the key to achieving world class expertise in any skill, is, to a large extent, a matter of practicing the correct way, for a total of around 10,000 hours.  There are the weird anomalies in success, the Mark Zuckerberg’s for example, but you aren’t them and you won’t be.  There’s more satisfaction in the journey.
  4. Start now.  One thing about time is that it won’t wait for you.  It keeps marching on.  So if you don’t start planting good seeds now, today, then when will you.

Take your wife out to dinner tonight.  Reengage with your key relationships.  Here’s a challenge:  The next person you meet, after you’re done listening to this podcast, give them a compliment on anything.  You’re planting seeds.  you’re making a difference and if you keep looking at the package of the seeds your planting in your life and others’ lives, and making sure they are good seeds, not only will you harvest joy, but you’ll harvest success in everything you do!

Resources Mentioned:


What Wisdom Can Do For You

next_level_wisdom.001“What is Wisdom and why is it such a big deal?”

The music dribbles from the small black speakers that hide in the shadows of the exposed rafters of the coffee shop.  One young gal is in the corner, chewing on her pencil as she bounces from scanning the Chemistry 101 book in front of her to squinting at the screen that illuminates her fair-skinned cheeks.

There are several like her here.  Some studying out of duty.  Others seem to possess a deep thirst for mastery.  It forces me to ask, “Am I a learner?”

John Maxwell said that “All Leaders are Learners” and since I believe that everyone leads someone — even if it is only themselves — I hold firm that I must be on a constant hunt for wisdom.

Wisdom is greater than knowledge.  Wisdom takes facts and breathes life into them by adding experience.  Wisdom hides in the dry pages of books, film and local communal observation.  Wisdom is more precious than gold and understanding more desirous than silver (Proverbs 16:16).

So take knowledge, put it into action and wisdom is quick to follow.  Take advice, tips and learnings and apply them to life and understanding will soon appear.  Be a lifelong learner.  Learn, grow and give and wisdom is sure to take your life to the next level.



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How to be WISE

Most recently, I’ve begun my day in a way that hasn’t been the norm.  I’ve begun by asking God for wisdom.  Now, normally I pray for help and strength and answers to questions of direction on a given project.  But now I begin like Solomon did by asking for wisdom. So why wisdom?wisdom

Wisdom tops the list of attributes of great people.  Ask any parent and they’ll tell you that ultimately they want their children to be wise rather than simply have knowledge.  Wisdom is different than knowledge.  Knowledge portends static facts about life as exampled in this letter from an elderly dad to his kids:

“Dear kids.  Over my lifetime I’ve come to realize certain things about life.  Here is my list:

  • There is a very fine line between “hobby” and “mental illness.”
  • Never lick a steak knife.
  • Never, under any circumstances, take a sleeping pill and a laxative on the same night.
  • You should never say anything to a woman that even remotely suggests that you think she’s pregnant unless you can see an actual baby emerging from her at that moment.

       More seriously though,

  • You should not confuse your career with your life.
  • Nobody cares if you can’t dance well. Just get up and dance.
  • The most destructive force in the universe is gossip.
  • A person who is nice to you, but rude to the waiter, is not a nice person. (This is very important. Pay attention. It never fails.)
  • Your friends love you anyway.
  • Never be afraid to try something new. Remember that a lone amateur built the Ark. A large group of professionals built the Titanic.”

Wisdom goes much deeper that simple statements on the evidences of life.  Wisdom is the application of knowledge and the discernment of knowing right from wrong.  Wisdom is also only given to those with a peaceful, gentle and humble heart because once you use wisdom for selfish ambition, it becomes dead.

So how do you become wise?

  1. Ask for it.  When you pray, simply ask the Creator to give you wisdom so that you can make other people’s lives better.  He will give it and bless it in and through your life.  (For an example, Click Here).
  2. Wait for it.  When I was teaching my son how to drive a car I would find myself saying “slow down around the curves.”  (He had a tendency to speed up and almost flip the car).  Most of the decisions we need to make are not on the spot, speedy, life-or-death decisions.  When you are needing to determine a course of action, slow down around the curve and dig deep for God’s wisdom to guide you.
  3. Apply it.  Once you ask for it and then wait for it, you need to apply it.  Remember that knowledge finds its victory in action.  Once wisdom has determined what you should do, DO IT!  Your team, family, community group will respect you for it and they will benefit from your wisdom.

Question:  How would you define “wisdom?”




As a leader, I can sometimes be a bit myopic when it comes to decisions.  I use to think a decision is either right or wrong.  Experience has taught me that decisions are rarely a yes or a no and rarely are they completely right or completely wrong.  Author and researcher, Jim Collins, says that successful organizations embrace a “genius of the ‘and'” concept which seeks the beauty in both (or more) options.  This leads to wisdom in the decision making process.  (Read Jim’s article here).

The benefits of seeking Wisdom is that it’s pursuit takes into account ambiguity.  Wise decisions help bad decisions refocus. Wise decisions allow for more input from others and the flexibility to adapt after the decision has been made.

So how do I make wise decisions or at least strive to make them?

  1. Involve others.  You may be smart but asking others their opinion can increase the wisdom factor 100 fold.  (Click Here to read more about Group Think) 
  2. Gain insight from the past, present and future.  What impact has this situation had in the past.  What is the reality of my situation today.  Will I be proud of this decision 6 months from now?
  3. Most importantly, Pray and Act.  Prayer has so many benefits.  As a Christian, prayer connects me with God’s Holy Spirit who already knows what’s going to happen.  It surrenders my pride, will and agenda to His and allows Him to press His thoughts into mine.

Question:  Add to the conversation – How do you strive to make WISE DECISIONS?  Write a comment below …
If you want to go deeper, read the story of Joseph (Click Here).



Sometimes, I think I have the best answers to challenges that face a church/organization. After tasting the leather of my size 10 ½ shoe too many times, I’ve come to embrace the power of Group Think.

What is Group Think? Simply put, it deals with the principle mentioned in Proverbs 15:22

“Without advice plans go wrong, but with many advisers they succeed.” (God’s Word Translation).

It is the intentional seeking out of ideas from others so that YOU can make an informed decision. This is important for people to know – “Who is it that is making the decision?” Sometimes Group Think is as simply as asking other individuals what they think. Other times, it takes place in a scheduled session.

So how do you hold a Group Think session?

  • Invite the right people. Ask “Who has experience in this area and who could bring some fresh perspective?” “Who has faced this issue before and succeeded?” “What character traits of people would I like to see represented?” Also important – “How many people do I want involved.” Remember, you’re not seeking consensus but ideas.
  • Pre-present the issue to the group. Letting people percolate ahead of time staves off the feeling that no one has any contribution to make. This is helpful when you’re brainstorming names of people for teams or venues to expand a brand or ministry.


  • Hold your idea of a solution loosely. Many times, the solution I come up with is only partially headed in the right direction. Keep open to the fact that someone else might have an idea or experience that helps clarify or redirect your initial thought.
  • PRAY publicly! Seriously. In prayer you invite God to take the thoughts of the group conversation, blend it with His will and deliver it to the decision maker(s).
  • State information about the problem selectively. Remember that too much information causes overload and too little cause too many questions. Give them a skeleton of the issue and let them fill out the skin and muscles.
  • Ready? Set? Go! Open it up and create an atmosphere of freedom and safety. You want people to share their ideas without the fear of being criticized. In my experience, it is important to have some one else take notes so I was available to clarify someone’s brainstorming or invite the quieter folks to state their opinion.

Group Think is a powerful way to uncover possibilities and opportunities that may have slipped by you before.

Question: One is one area in life which a Group Think could be of help to you? Write a reply below …


What is God’s Will for My Life?

I heard it again from someone struggling in their work.  Frustration walking the line with Bitterness, this person asked, “What is God’s will for my life?!”  The cry of millions wanting to do more but feeling lost and unfulfilled in the personal and work life.

I’ve processed that question many times.  I’ve poured over scripture looking for the verse that tells me what I’m supposed to do.  But guess what – the specifics aren’t there!  The question “What is God’s will for my life?” should be shortened to “What is God’s will?”  That’s an easier question to answer.

God’s will is that people come to know Him and be saved.  God’s will is that people would come to know that there is forgiveness, peace and love offered through Jesus and that that message is carried and delivered by us.  God’s will for your life is, if you’re a Christ-follower, that whatever you do with the hours you’ve been given, you ask and act on the question, “How can I best spread the message of Jesus today?”  That’s it.  From there, God doesn’t care what you do for a career.  It is no more holy being a pastor that it is a plumber.  It is no more holy being a worship leader than being a window washer.  God has people in every arena of life to be lights to the world.

Once we understand that, the adventure begins.  The journey of discovering how God made you (your gifts and talents), developing your passions and dreams and then deploying them through your work, family and community.

What is God’s will for your life?  It’s to love Him and to use your gifts for your fulfillment and others – all the while waking up everyday and asking “How can I best be a light to people around me?”


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Gaining Wisdom

I know someone who is brilliant.  He holds a PhD, is a well respected professor at a University and has won numerous awards for his writings in his field.  To say his knowledge is vast is an understatement.  But when it comes to common, everyday sense, this person couldn’t figure out how to flip over a rock.  He is rich in knowledge but poor in wisdom.

Wisdom is knowledge with feet on it.  In other words, wisdom is the action behind the knowledge.  Someone once said, “I’d rather have a small dose of wisdom than a truckload of knowledge.”  Why?  Because the most successful people in the world know how to turn a bit of knowledge into wisdom and use it to add value to those around them.  Here are some simple ways to become a wiser and more successful person:

Slow down and observe life.

Start by taking 5 minutes at the beginning and end of the day to think about the day ahead and the day behind.  I have a journal that I use to mark down observations about people, situations and conversations that I notice throughout the day.

Ask “How can I use what I observe?”

There are lessons all around you.  Once you get into the habit of slowing down and observing life, your learning curve will increase monumentally!  Once you notice something of significance, think about similar situations in your life and see if you can duplicate the actions you observed.

Do one thing out of the ordinary based on what you’ve observed or read.

Believe it or not, this is the hardest step for most people – actually doing something.  The Bible says God-given wisdom is experienced by observing life and following His principles.  However, don’t try to change your life in a day.  Transitioning to change takes time but remember, if you are seeking to be successful, action turns knowledge into wisdom.