Overcoming Significant Challenges: Perseverance.
In the summer of 2012 my wife and I decided to participate in a foreign hosting program that brought orphan children to the United States. After that experience we decided to adopt our third child. That choice proved to be one of the most difficult decisions we have ever made.
We hit obstacle after obstacle.
These obstacles arose, despite our deep knowledge of adoption through the foreign adoption of one child and our ongoing process to adopt another child.
It wasn’t just paperwork delays. It was lost paperwork. It was financing the adoption. It was being denied grants despite being on one income, and adopting special needs. It wasn’t just the fact our adoption didn’t work the first time we went to court. It was the heartache of it not working out when we were in front of a judge. It was the devastation and belief that adopting a child we had grown to love was no longer possible. It was watching a country plunge into civil war, but unable to bring our child home.
All of our fears and worries piled up.
Despite everything seemingly pointing against us, we chose to persevere. We chose to keep trying. We enlisted the support of our friends, and asked anyone who was prayerful to remember us in their prayers. We threw our hands up in frustration. We cried. We trusted. Two years, various amounts of cash, and five trips to a foreign country later we finally completed one of the most difficult journeys of our life.
Reflecting on this experience we now understand that what we endured at the time was preparation for our future. Additionally, it was as if we were being asked on a daily basis, “Are you 100% certain you want to do this?”
Our answer every time – yes! To this day we are challenged to say yes.
Think of a moment in life when you felt all hope was lost. How did you endure it? What helped give you hope? Where did your strength come from?
The blog has been quiet for a reason. Our family has been doing something we’re very passionate about, and as such it took a precedence over the blog.
I hope you will appreciate both the work we’ve been doing, and the reason.
We’ve adopted two children in a years time, are hosting another, and trying to encourage people to support orphans. Please check out a small story about what we’re doing.
And, if you think it can encourage just one person, would you share the link?
On a trip to Ukraine in March, I devoured Leaders Open Doors. At the time I was unaware that the author, Bill Treasurer, sold the book prior to it being picked up by ATD Press. Apparently, it had sold well.
Becky Robinson’s team at Weaving Influence was instrumental in helping me become aware of such a valuable resource dedicated to serving others.
Bill Treasurer demonstrates why it’s important to serve others, to help others win, and how the right attitude helps all people in an organization, and in turn entire companies.
What stands out the most in Leaders Open Doors is the consistency of the message. The author never walks off, forgets his message, nor his readers. It’s refreshing.
The next element of the book that makes it shine is found in the epilogue. I don’t recall any point in any book I’ve read that makes me want to refer my readers to go and see the epilogue. Yet this book is unique enough to do so. Why? It’s loaded with some of the most trusted names you can imagine in the “leadership” space sharing how they got started as well as who “opened” their door. Not only is it powerful, it’s priceless.
The read is relatively quick, but do not assume that it’s 124 pages will be short. The spacing is tight, while every page is filled densely with content. Once you reach the final page, you’ll undoubtedly know you’ve spent your time with an almost singular purpose: helping share opportunity with others.
To finish out this post I thought it would be fun to hear your stories of how a leader opened the door for you. How did it energize you? What was the long-term impact it had on your career? How have you passed it on?
The Leadership Pill is a very quick read, less than three hours and 112 pages. In those few pages you’re dropped into a fictional setting with an unnamed leader.
If you do not like the parable style of teaching leadership Ken Blanchard is famous for, you won’t like this book. However if you like learning from others, simple to the point illustrations, and messages you can remember this book is for you.
The story follows the path of two separate teams, one led by a leader who takes a newly created pill, the leadership pill. It’s considered the latest and greatest development, and companies are clamoring for it.
Yet there is one extractor. A proven leader who believes that leadership isn’t something you bottle, and take like a supplement. Needless to say this leader guides the other tea., and a year long battle ensues.
The most powerful point demonstrated throughout the book is: “Leadership is not something you do to people it’s something you do with them.”
If you only learn to apply that single message, this book will be worth your time and money.
Too often people in places of authority mistake their position as a place of leadership. Simply put by Ken Blanchard and Mark Muchnick, “the true test of leadership is to win the trust and respect of the team, keep their motivation running high, and help them reach new heights.”
Therefore true leadership cannot be commanded, only earned.
Take a moment to reflect on yourself, your team, your church, or your business. Are you a true leader? Are you helping or hurting your organization? Is your leader commanding, instead of earning behavior?
If there is a less than desirable response, consider this: “Leading with integrity means being the person you want others to be.”
That’s simply stated and biblical (think “golden rule”).
How do you live the way you want others to live? What is one outcome you have noticed as a result of your example? Leave a comment below.
Sprinkles, by Chip Bell, has all the appearance of a beautiful, fun, and exciting book that you’ll love holding your hands. The front cover has raise type, colorful pictures, and is unusual in size, which makes it stand out. In addition to this, it has a powerful subtitle, “Creating Awesome Experiences through Innovative Service.”
All of this draws you in.
The main concept in the book that I enjoy, and believe you will too, focuses on creating an exciting, over-the-top experience for a customer. Unfortunately the message is sometimes lost throughout the book. At times it feels like elements are forced together, instead of a tightly woven tapestry, which is disappointing. This is demonstrated as the author tries to weave stories of his delightful granddaughters into personal examples of businesses delivering superior customer experiences to him.
Fortunately, not all is lost.
Chip Bell does drive home another critical message: customers have high expectations and to be able to stay above the fray, companies must do more than over-deliver. Companies must add sprinkles on top of their already impeccable service.
The truth is, this book is a sampling that only wets your appetite. You will want more, but it’s not included. You won’t suffer from reading Sprinkles, but it’s overall value at it’s current price point ($13) is missing.
Have you read Sprinkles? What books are you currently reading? Ever read a book that left you wanting more?
Leave a comment below.
For regular readers, I wanted to tell you about two exciting things:
- Our adopted daughter, who is blind, has a chance to win a bicycle that would allow her to ride with her family. Please visit her site, and either register with Facebook or your email. Your vote matters – thank you for your support!
- A review I wrote about The Culture Engine, by S. Chris Edmonds is in People Development Magazine. You can read it here. This was the best book I read in 2014, and I believe there is tremendous value for any reader.
For visitors from People Development Magazine, welcome! This blog is devoted to helping people. You can check out a few of our favorite posts below, and while you’re here, sign-up for updates (posting about once a week).
- Audacious Dreams: The Project Prayer Post with Ngina Otiende
- Life Lessons Unleash Greatness
- 3 Must Have Podcasts to Change Your Life
- Quickest Way to Change Your Perspective
- Act, Influence, Mold – Trusting God to do Amazing Things
Thank you for stopping by and enjoy!
The book is a story about how to unlock your energy, creativity, and passion by learning to love what we do, even if we’re not doing what we love at the moment. We all have to acknowledge where we are. We could be in a great department or, as the character in FISH, the department that is the punch-line of jokes. Wherever we find ourselves we make a conscientious choice regarding our attitude. “There is always a choice about the way you do your work, even if there is not a choice about the work itself.” Your job could be watching paint dry, picking up trash, being a “hole-watch”, or any other task that feels repetitive, boring, or uninteresting. However, you can choose to make it better, with your attitude. This is “simple to understand, but more difficult to do.” Your background, your life story, and your current life situation can impact the attitude you bring to work every day. Realizing that may be the case, may require you to do some “soul searching” according to the character Lonnie who described himself as having a “chip on his shoulder” and having “too much invested in being a victim”. Some folks may view personal development as a waste of time. Yet when faced with a challenging environment we can either have a help or hinder mind frame. Ask yourself, “Which one would I prefer to work with?” Imagine this: a person who always puts up roadblocks, makes excuses, and refuses to accept responsibility. Now picture a person looking to offer helpful solutions, a person willing to accept responsibility, and who makes a pathway. Which sounds more inviting to you? When reflecting on the needs of organizations and people consider the following: “The needs of the organization and our needs are the same. Creativity, passion, flexibility, wholeheartedness…” Reflect on how much time you spend in your workplace. Do you want to spend half of your life in a place you hate? Do you prefer to show up every day to an energy zapper? Would you be excited to wake up every day feeling like you are in a prison? The obvious answer is no one wants to live life or work in a place that makes us feel this way. When you find yourself in a bad place what do you do? Typically there are two answers – do nothing, or do something. “The fact is that the risk of doing nothing is probably greater than the risk of acting.” This applies to a toxic workplace, or a place of not meeting expectations. Don’t be afraid to try something, even if it doesn’t work out the way you would hope. As you reflect on yourself, your environment, and those you interact with think about learning and growth. Chances are that you will notice some have stopped learning and growing (perhaps you too!). Reasons for a growth and learning stoppage are many. We shouldn’t judge as to why a person has stopped choosing to learn and grow. We should try to find out how to learn and grow ourselves. By choosing our attitude we can choose to be an example. Demonstrate what it looks like enjoy learning and growing. Make it infectious! Key Message #1, CHOOSE YOUR ATTITUDE. Who wants 30 years of misery? Who wants to have regretted every moment of life? NO ONE! “Life is too precious just to be passing through to retirement.” Regardless of how you define your life, you have the ability to choose how you react to your circumstances. You are never forced to react in a specific way. You choose how to respond to the good and bad. “Feeling like a victim is not going to solve the problem.” Situations and circumstances may not be fair. Those are things we cannot change. We CAN change how we respond to them. Key Message #2, PLAY. Others may say that, “This work is so boring and all we hear are complaints. We feel like we are always under attack.” It’s hard to absorb that kind of onslaught of negativity. So what do we do? The characters in the book discovered they “could be serious about business, and still have fun with the way we conducted business”. Do you have fun in your workplace? Is it acceptable to have fun? Key Message #3, MAKE THEIR DAY. Look for as many opportunities as possible to make great memories. “The playful way we do our work allows us to find creative ways to engage our customers”. Often times, doing things for others helps remove the focus off of ourselves and generates positive feelings. Key Message #4, BE PRESENT. Just because you learn something new and exciting – doesn’t mean you can effectively make others learn or appreciate your same experience. You, as a leader, will need to have or create a learning experience for them to have it on their own and allow time to internalize that experience. When reflecting on an experience at a business recently, a customer noticed how much fun the employees were having. The only problem was, they were having fun with each other, and not me the customer. If I had been involved in the experience, it would have been a different experience. How do you help people discover it (FISH!) for themselves? When everything else is going on all around you, and you totally focus in on another person and what they’re communicating to you, you demonstrate what being present is. Also, consider ways to help others be present. One way is to ask, “Is now a good time?” Books for choosing your attitude: Personal Accountability: Path to a Rewarding Worklife, Raving Fans, & Gung-Ho.