Breaking the discipline – habit barrier

I used to tell my kids discipline is doing that which you don’t want to do in order to become what you want to become. Getting your children to be disciplined is a hard sell. It’s not just a hard sell for kids it’s a hard sell for adults as well.

Solomon says in Proverbs 25:28 “like a city whose walls are broken through is the person who lacks self-control.”

I don’t know anyone who wants or says they enjoy discipline. Discipline requires willpower. Discipline requires determination. Discipline is fighting through the excuses. Discipline requires making a choice and sticking with it even when your mind body and emotions are telling you to quit.

But something magical happens when you stick with discipline. A switch flips in your mind. And honestly most times you don’t notice when it happens, it just happens. And when the switch flips you’ve just broken the discipline to habit barrier.

Habits are different than discipline. It’s discipline that builds a habit. But habits do not require willpower, they run on autopilot. Habits do not require determination or making a choice. The choice was made long before and the pattern is ingrained in your mind. That which was hard to do now becomes normative and a part of your lifestyle.

The key to maximizing your life is breaking the discipline to habit barrier over and over again in different areas of your life.

What habit do you need to establish in your life?

One More Step

When the obstacle is so big it seems there’s no way around it I will take one more step.

When the crowds are all long gone and no one is cheering me on I will take one more step.

When I have failed and it seems like my dreams are fading I will take one more step.

When I’m in the valley and I cannot see the finish line I will take one more step.

When the odds are against me and my soul is overwhelmed I will take one more step.

When the pain is so intense that I don’t know if I can carry on I will take one more step.

When I hear the whispers of complaints and criticism I will take one more step.

As long as God gives me breath and urges me forward I will take one more step.

The Upside of Leadership Challenges

I don’t like facing leadership challenges. They get in the way. They create distractions.  And to be honest they sometimes wound my sense of leadership confidence.

But I have to confess once they’re over I’m thankful for them.  I’ve discovered I grow the most as a leader when I’m in a position of total dependence on God. When I look to Him for perspective and wisdom He uses the leadership challenge to deepen my insight, sharpen my skills and enrich my understanding of HIs character.

So if you’re facing a challenge today.  Remember this equation. Challenge + Dependence = Growth

What lessons have you learned through your leadership challenges?

My Journey From Fatigued to Fit

When I was 40 years old I woke up one day and realized I had no energy. Ministry was taking a toll on my health. I was overweight, stressed and just plain tired. As I prayed through my physical condition I told God I didn’t want to do a diet. I had been there and done that!  I needed something different…A lifestyle change.

I recently shared my health journey with Greg Orham, founder of Pastorfit You can check it out below.

What is your biggest challenge to getting fit?  Let me know in comments below.

10 Questions to Help You Become a “10” Leader

Great questions stimulate great thinking, great ideas, great motivation and ultimately help you grow as a leader. Here are a few questions I’m thinking through, so I thought I’d invite you to join me.

  1. What 10 books should I read over the next year?
  2. Who are 10 leaders I can ask to meet with and learn from? (What are 10 questions I will ask them?)
  3. What 10 companies, churches or organizations should I be learning from?
  4. What are the top 10 Scripture passages I can study to grow my character in a specific area?
  5. What are 10 questions I can ask myself to help me capture God’s vision for my life and leadership?
  6. What are the top 10 barriers I face in accomplishing my dream?
  7. Who are the top 10 people I should be investing my time in?
  8. What are 10 tools or resources I need to help me do my job faster and better?
  9. What are 10 things I need to stop doing?
  10. What are 10 most significant things I want to accomplish as a leader in the next year?

What questions would you add to this list?

Watch my Periscope on this post

How to Read a Book in a Way that Produces Change

One of the keys to the success of anyone’s leadership development is knowing how to read a book. For years, I would set a goal of reading 52 books between January 1 and December 31. And for several years I accomplished that goal. I still think that’s a good discipline for a young leader, but as I grew older something inside told me to slow down. I sensed I was at a stage where I needed to focus less on information and focus more on transformation. So I started reading fewer books. But that still wasn’t having the growth impact I was longing for.

It took a while, but I finally developed a 6 Question System for reading that seemed to take me deeper into the content and impacted my thinking in a more tangible way. Today when I read a book, I start by reading the table of contents and dividing it into sections. Sometimes a section is one chapter; sometimes it’s 2 or 3 chapters. Instead of applying all six questions to every single chapter, I apply the questions to the larger sections.

The following six questions force me to read each section on a deeper level.

What stood out to you the most?

I don’t actually write the answer to this question. But I answer this by using a highlighter to mark every sentence that stood out to me. In a 10-page chapter this may be as many as 40-60 sentences that stood out as important or as key thoughts. Continue reading “How to Read a Book in a Way that Produces Change”

Five Tips for Getting Better Faster

Do you ever find yourself wanting to get better at a skill, ability or talent, but you can’t seem to make any progress?

You don’t have to struggle your way blindly through mediocrity there are actually things you can do to get better faster. Here are five tips that might help.

Tip #1. Exposure -Get exposure to experts

I just finished reading Steal like an Artist by Austin Kleon. (Check out his TED Talk)   To refine a skill he recommends you find an expert and exhaust yourself studying that one person. Hey says, “If you try to devour the history of your discipline all at once you’ll choke. Instead, chew on one thinker- writer, artist, activist, role model – you really love. Study everything there is to know about that thinker. Then find three people that thinker loved, and find out everything about them.”

Tip #2. Goal Set: Write two to five goals

Establishing a few goals will cause your mind to focus on progress. Think through why you want to learn this skill? What would it look like if you perfected it? How would it benefit you and those you lead? Picture what good performance looks like and then set a few goals you can strive toward. When you write down goals it makes you more accountable especially if you make the goals public by sharing them with a friend or small group. Continue reading “Five Tips for Getting Better Faster”

Get Around Big People

If you want to grow bigger in your character or leadership competency one of the best things you can do is get around big people. A big person is someone who’s character you admire.  It’s someone who’s had bigger experience than you, bigger success than you, bigger ideas than you and a bigger network than you. It’s someone who has a bigger company than yours, bigger team than yours, bigger influence than yours and a bigger vision than yours. Continue reading “Get Around Big People”

Are You Being Honest with Yourself?

Integrity is essential for leadership credibility.  And for many leaders the starting point of losing integrity is when they stop being honest with themselves.  

When you lead an organization, team or church all eyes are on you. The success and progress of your organization is strangely intertwined with your significance and self-esteem. This is what makes it difficult for us to be honest with ourselves. There are times when things are not going as well as we like. The organization is in decline, resources are drying up or people are jumping ship. And instead of looking at the cold hard facts we try to convince ourselves that everything is okay. We find excuses for why things are not going well and worse we even put a spin to make it look like these things are positive.

Continue reading “Are You Being Honest with Yourself?”

Pay the Price for Growth

I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone who doesn’t have a desire to grow. We know that growth increases our sense of joy and contentment. It increases our self-confidence and sharpens decision making. And it produces a depth of wisdom and understanding that impact the quality of our relationships.  With all these benefits who wouldn’t want to grow?

Continue reading “Pay the Price for Growth”