The Cost Of Leaving Vision Behind


"Without a clear vision, odds are you will come to the end of your life and wonder.  Wonder what you could have done-what you should have done.  And like so many, you may wonder if your life mattered at all."

        -Andy Stanley

In the coming weeks we (Epic Living) will be introducing a program that will guide you to your better future.  In your life, in your business, and in your career.

Don't leave your vision behind.

How To Measure Greatness In A Leader

You never know the leader's true core until the "crushing blow" comes. 

The following video from Business Week features a conversation with Jim Collins.  He lauds the journey of Steve Jobs. There is much to learn from his observations.

My friend Matthew told me yesterday that it is most important to focus on the "what" and not the "how."  It seems to me that people like Steve Jobs get this too.

Learning From Your Mistakes


As I looked at my father's gravesite for the first time today, I couldn't help but think of his ability to just "move on."  That's a very valuable tool in life and career.

He had presence, but he always had this sense to know when the game was over.  Almost like a coach saying "we're down by twenty and there's only two minutes left…time to accept the loss and prepare for the next one."  Knowing that you'd be better for the lesson of losing-no matter how painful.

We live in a time where success (outward wise) and glory matter a lot.  Even though there really isn't as much value there as we think.  The idea of mistakes/failures do not resonate very well in environments like ours.  We'll peek behind the curtain only if no one is looking.

So whether you're responsible for a big project or trying change a behavior at home, you need to allow yourself room for mistakes.  For example, when I first started to make running a part of my exercise routine I never considered breathing.  I thought my breathing was fine just like always.  Wrong!  But the mistake (manifested by my lack of energy to finish) drove me to ask questions.  Runner's World magazine helped me with the subject of proper breathing and my running got better.  See my point?

Here are some ideas to consider, life and career, that will help you learn from your mistakes:

  • Maybe the time has come for you to stop being afraid of making a mistake.  People who are living to not "screw it up" are heart attacks waiting to happen.
  • True love is found in mistakes.  It stays even when the crowd disappears.  This can be a great way to know who is really for you.
  • Mistakes are indicators of your willingness to learn.  See Thomas Edison's story for more on this.
  • Mistakes are essential in the process of innovation. 
  • Mistakes will give you a gauge on your risk tolerance.  If you're always avoiding mistakes, you won't dare something great.  Greatness implies risk.
  • Your followers are watching to find out if making a mistake is "OK."  Your willingness, or unwillingness, will cast a wide shadow.
  • Learning from your mistakes increases the chances of not repeating.

Are You Leading A Tribe?

Found this speech, given by Seth Godin, on TED.  Seth is a gifted communicator and his ideas are in tune with our current time.

The bigger question is; can a tribe trust you?  You know what I mean, are you safe, will you forget about the money when the moment demands it, will you stick with me when no one else will?

This video was somewhat prophetic as I have been processing much these days.  Thanks to Marc, Terry, Matthew, and my wife for being a part of the confirmations.

Enjoy the speech!

The Idea Of Pain In Life And Career

The following is an article/post that really moved me.  It's a story you may know, but the lessons are timeless. 

I found a part of myself in Mr. Jackson.

by Charles R. Swindoll

They called him "Old
Hickory" because of his tenacity and grit. His mother chose "Andrew" on March
15, 1767, when she gave birth to that independent-minded South Carolina rebel.
Wild, quick-tempered, and disinterested in school, Andrew answered the call for
soldiers to resist the British invasion at age thirteen. Shortly thereafter, he
was taken prisoner. Refusing to black an enemy officer's boots, he was struck
with a saber—Andrew's introduction to pain.

Although he bore the
marks of the blow for the rest of his life, Andrew's fiery disposition never
waned. A fighter to the core, he chose to settle arguments in duels and lived
most of his days with two bullets painfully wedged in his body. After he
distinguished himself on the battlefield, his name became a national synonym for
valor and stern persistence. When politics nodded in his direction, "Old
Hickory" accepted the challenge: first the Senate, then nomination for
President. The shadow of pain appeared again in another form as he lost a narrow
race with John Quincy Adams.

Four years later,
however, he ran again . . . and won! But pain accompanied the victory. Two
months before he took office he lost his beloved wife, Rachel. Grief-stricken,
the President-elect pressed on. Even as he was being sworn into office as our
nation's seventh President, he fought the anguish of a raging fever caused by an
abscess in the lung.

Some time later, one
of the bullets within him had to be surgically removed. He endured that
operation—done without anesthetic—in typically courageous fashion. Even his
political career was painful. A nasty scandal split his cabinet, and critics
clawed at him like hungry lions. Although he stood firm for many months, the
telling signs of pain began to manifest themselves. He was one of the few men
who left office, however, more popular than when he came. "For once, the rising
was eclipsed by the setting sun," wrote a contemporary sage. And it was pain,
more than any other single factor, which drew the qualities of greatness out of
Andrew Jackson.

Pain humbles the
proud. It softens the stubborn. It melts the hard. Silently and relentlessly, it
wins battles deep within the lonely soul. The heart alone knows its own sorrow
and not another person can fully share in it. Pain operates alone; it needs no
assistance. It communicates its own message whether to statesman or servant,
preacher or prodigal, mother or child. By staying, it refuses to be ignored. By
hurting, it reduces its victim to profound depths of anguish. And it is at that
anguishing point that the sufferer either submits and learns, developing
maturity and character, or resists and becomes embittered, swamped by self-pity,
smothered by self-will.

I have tried and I
cannot find, either in Scripture or history, a strong-willed individual whom God
used greatly until He allowed him to be hurt deeply.

It was just such a
person who wrote these words for all to read:

knocked upon my door and said
That she had come to stay,
And though I
would not welcome her
But bade her go away,
She entered in.
Like my own
She followed after me,
And from her stabbing, stinging sword
moment was I free.
And then one day another knocked
Most gently at my
I cried, "No, Pain is living here,
There is not room for
And then I heard His tender voice,
"'Tis I, be not afraid."
from the day He entered in,
The difference it made!

—Martha Snell


Excerpted from Come Before Winter and Share My Hope, Copyright ©
1985, 1994 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved worldwide. Used by

On The Brink

Sometimes disappointing news comes in doses we would rather not take.  I have stopped trying to figure out how to reduce/eliminate the issue.  I'm continuing to learn the art of response.

As I continue to process my father's passing from 3 months ago, I have received more disappointing news than I thought I would this year.  Virtually all of the compartments of life have been touched.  The significance doesn't lie in the juicy details or whether I deserve to receive the news.  It comes down to the learning and the authenticity that flows afterward.  I strive to be someone who's journey is worth following.

I am confident that what unfolds before you will leave, if not lead, you to a better place.

The following post from June of last year seems appropriate for re-visitation:

Navy Seals Insgnia

The above insignia is for the U.S. Navy Seals.  I didn't realize how
significant the symbol was until I talked to Erik whose brother is a
Navy Seal. 

Erik and I didn't talk much about war or fighting, but we did talk about knowing your limits.

The Seals go through very difficult training in the pursuit of
becoming a Seal.  A part of that training is discovering your limits. 
My understanding is when a Seal discovers their limits they are better
prepared for the extreme situations inevitable in their job.  Some say
enlightenment arrives as well with a discovery of one's limits.  I
would agree.

So how about you? Have you discovered, and do you know your limits? 

In years past I didn't want to know.  I thought knowing my limits
would bring me too close to the "brink."  So many times I chose the
expedient and practical  The brink is good for you though.  I say this,
knowing how painful it can be.  No one signs up for it (except maybe
the Navy Seals) and many times we just want a break.

Here are some ideas around discovering and knowing your limits:

  • When the storms (business drop-off, health issues, job loss,
    relationship troubles) come, stop.  You're heading into a time of
    discovering your limits.  Ironically, the choice is yours as to the staying
    and fighting.  You could choose an easy route to escape, and many do.
  • Focus on what is being produced inside of you.  This is a
    future-forward perspective.  In other words, a seed is planted, but you
    don't see the fruit for some time to come.  You have to believe.
  • Prepare for people to desert you.  It's not personal, but it is
    true.  Limits are markers for what many people see as dangerous,
    frightening or pure madness.  When you find someone willing to stick
    with you during your discovery and knowing, you've found someone you
    can count on. 
  • Don't get bitter or resentful over anything.
  • Don't be too hard on yourself when the mistakes are made.  Mistakes are a part of the process.

The Navy Seals are an elite group of people.  They've set a good
example of what we all should be willing to do in our career,
relationships, health and dreams.

Discover and know your limits.