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A Fresh Perspective.

28 Apr

Isn’t it amazing when you get that “a-ha” moment as you see something from a different angle, a different view? Like the Quarterback whose thought process slows down when he starts to see more of the field in his passing route progression.  Or the architect that has poured over a set of drawings many times, and comes back to them once more to see how he/she can create that extra space for the den off the master bedroom.  Possibly, the “a-ha” moment comes as you come back to a journal you haven’t  written in for a while, you start to read a couple of the entries and you see how much you have changed in a year.

This was my experience today.  Journaling Is one of the powerful actions I take in the on going process to discover, diffuse, and make sense of the thoughts and emotions that inform my conscious actions, and reactions. It is difficult to see yourself as you are, apart from the bombardment of negative and critical messages, and judgments we are subjected to every moment.  The temptation to compare ourselves to others  and project future success that is not guaranteed.   What is guaranteed is the opportunity to grow; mentally and emotionally.  What I read in those pages from Spring 2018 was vastly different from who I am Spring 2019.

If we are willing to engage in the day we are living  and focus on the process of growth and change; inevitably, our engagement level in tasks, relationships, deadlines, becomes rooted in purpose and an objective that has meaning.  If you have read this far; you may think, this is obvious, “I am highly successful, and work on growth constantly”.  And, you are right, the process of growth and change happen because of intentional focus and relentless drive to achieve.

For you high achievers who want to supercharge your next mission; take inventory and reflect on the year you’ve just lived.  Through the lens of emotional and mental change/growth.  If you have stayed the same; your impact is not as a great as you think.  If you can see authentic shifts in your thought process, your emotional awareness and how these have changed how you show up in areas of your life; your impact has deepened and your influence is tangible.

For those of you in the beginning stages of discovery, In this practice of introspection and growth,  the insights you gain are the cornerstone for more “a-ha” moments.

I was both super charged and humbled by the fresh perspective I received by the power of continually engaging in purposefully becoming a source for myself and others.   





Expectations Can Lead to a Trampled Heart

27 Apr


Even though there is great satisfaction and purpose in being a source; there is humanity that bleeds and hurts when your encouragement, love, and strength are not received well.  Or, as a source, you place expectations on those you love to respond to that encouragement, love, and strength giving.  When, it shouldn’t be about what you receive as that starting spot for the world and its people. I got caught in that expectation yesterday with Carrie.

If I am to be a source of light, authority, life, I must forgo the expectation that I would receive anything in return, the outpouring of life will beget the outpouring of life.  This doesn’t mean that I don’t bleed or hurt; because I am certainly not the Messiah.  If anything,  I hope this fallibility would make me more substantive and attractive to the ones I am trying to be a source for.  Am I acting as a martyr by engaging in this whole source business? Is this road less travelled, worth the pain and suffering that being a lay down light requires?  I

This is what I was made for.  To live out the mission placed on my heart; to wear my heart on my sleeve so that people can see God’s heart, my heart.  Even if, I am last to know what the plan is.  Even if I am last to be loved. Even if,  I am not thanked or recognized for my efforts, Even if, I bleed and my insecurities come to the forefront.  Even if, I am portrayed as weak or gullible. Even if, my heart gets trampled.  I will believe, I will learn, I will serve, I will strengthen my self as a source of life giving encouragement, love, substance, and purpose.  Will you?

Added Value or Self Importance?

9 Jul

Where? How? When do you add value? Can adding value become more about YOU rather than the family member, client, stakeholder, student.

We all want to be valuable to the endeavors and interests that we are part of. We certainly should desire to bring something; a skill set, expertise, knowledge, to the table so we add to the bottom line or desired outcome.

What if we become so focused on “adding value” that our identity and sense of self become dependent on being valuable to your spouse, kids, team at work, students in the classroom, the board of your company.

If you read the statement above and felt a ting or ping inside; value adding has become more about you than the person or group you are adding value to.

As a result of a growing and deepening relationship with Jesus Christ; I am shown on a daily basis when my desire to add value oversteps the margins of my servant heart and strays into shopping for self worth. As a teacher, football coach and aspiring author; I am in the value adding business. I see over 200 hundred stakeholders per day (students, athletes, colleagues) my goal is to add value to everyone one of those interactions; everyday. Not to mention, the three most important relationships in my life; Carrie, Isabel and Colton. When I am at my best; I lead with a servant’s heart and become a source (generative force) for my family, students, players, colleagues and whomever I make eye contact with.

When I am operating from the shadow of self, I need validation for the value I add through people telling me how great my value is.

The stalwart servant Paul in the early Christian movement explained how we can add value and not make it about us.

Romans 12:5-8

So in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.

By being a part of a larger body of people, objective or story; you are thrust into adding value. If your concept of adding value is to serve that body, objective, or story, there will be no space for your shadow to appear. There will be no “void or “lack” to operate from.

When there is no shadow, no void, no lack, adding value takes the form of source (generative force). As part of Jesus Christ’s body; the believer has different gifts. Each of these gifts are a source (generative force) to add value.

In looking at these gifts (value adds) each of us possess these in greater measure than others. I have found when I am trying to do too much; I am not effective in adding value to the body, objective or story I am focusing on.

There are three ways we can stay focused on adding life giving value:

Focus on your strengths as a source (generative force) to add value. From your strengths flow honesty, truth, and steadfastness.

Continue to develop the heart of a servant, it doesn’t matter your title or where you fit on the organization totem pole. Serving without expecting anything in return creates a purpose led satisfaction that adds lasting value.

When you lead, teach, encourage, give, show mercy with a focus on giving life, there is a natural outpouring of value, abundance, and synergy that creates an environment that is rich in substance and strength.

Your body of people, your objective, your story is counting on you to add value that endures, that sustains, that gives life, like an Oak Tree.

Thoughts, Emotions, Anchors

1 Jul

If you were in a desperate place, where would your turn for relief?

If all of the usual answers, choices, behaviors no longer worked what would you do?

Men, too many of us don’t do anything different, yet, we expect a different outcome from those same answers, choices, and behaviors we apply to our situations. Take a guess at what this is called? Insanity.

The image above is a Birthday card from my extraordinary wife Carrie! The principles, honest, steadfast, and true are a good place to start if you find yourself in a desperate place; if you find yourself in an indifferent place; or if you find yourself in a demanding place.

The development of a steadfast spirit is crucial to transforming our thoughts and emotions; so that we can operate with a healthier outlook. Steadfastness looks like; showing up available emotionally and mentally to your obligations: work, relationships, and activities. How do you do this when the pain of “showing up” feels greater than your will to “show up”? If you can find a way to see a basic sequence of actions (and act on them) that will get you to the person or place you need to “show up” to. if you can do this you have demonstrated dedication. Sometimes we have to crawl through the pain before we can walk into the promotion. Steadfastness developed; creates trust, loyalty and devotion. (The building blocks for any rich relationship).

In the Bible; James 1: 2-4 gives incredible encouragement:

Count it all joy, my brothers,[a] when you meet trials of various kinds, 3 for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. 4 And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

Desperate, indifferent, demanding and painful seasons can be overcome by practicing the basics of steadfastness. When you get to a point of “counting it all joy” you are becoming a source (generative force) for yourself.

With the active spirit of steadfastness comes honest and true behavior. One begets the next. There is a certain purity that comes with honesty and truth. Honesty is the quality that reveals integrity, substance and strength. We all know it can be much easier to be dishonest than practice the humbling of our pride so we can draw near to ourselves and others. True represents the culmination of a sustained period of steadfastness that creates substance, strength and purpose led satisfaction.

The substance of our lives are the experiences, people, mountain tops, valleys, values and character that become the anchors with which we operate from. It doesn’t matter if you are a CEO or you wait tables at Applebee’s; the anchors you operate from lead you to purpose led satisfaction, or they don’t. If your anchors are not creating the satisfaction you desire; it is time to change those anchors. If your anchors are creating purpose led satisfaction; it is time to be a source (generative force) for somebody else.

Honest. Steadfast. True. These are the anchors that help me grow in being a source (generative force) which gives me strength and substance in my presence like an Oak Tree.

Awareness and Action Equals Different Standards

24 Jun

I didn’t know; what I didn’t know; as this game was being played all around me and above my head.

As an approval seeker for much of my relational life; I looked for secure connections with friends that fed this yearning to be approved of. Somewhere along the way; I missed out on those secure connections that would have allowed me to approve of me.

Looking for approval in people; especially young men who were exploring their cleverness and building their arsenal of weapons through words; I was an easy target for these quick witted weapons,

Leaving myself open; made for a power struggle inside me. There was no social capital in purity. And, I continuously made the choice to seek approval, which stirred my internal struggle. Try to be clever and use my words as weapons? Or act from a purity that was quickly slipping away.

In order for awareness to grow; we must be willing to be moved off of our mark. Your mark is whatever; wherever, your comfort zone is. Living harder, loving deeper, result from a growing awareness of the substance of our lives; that result from being in touch with the game that is going on around us and above us.

The game is not cleverness, or words that give a back handed compliment and continue to keep us at arms length from each other. The game is changing the standards by which I operate.

The Apostle Paul writing to the church at Ephesus put it his way:

Ephesians 4:29

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.

If we become aware of the needs of others; our standards will change. If we are listening for the needs of others; we will not only hear the game we were not aware of before; we will see the game of life giving encouragement; we will see people stepping into being a source (starting point) for others because their standards for relationships have changed; as a result of a growing awareness that has given way to action. And, purity becomes a sought after form of social capital.

Seeking approval will turn into seeking intimacy and there will be no more arms outstretched with a stop sign; but, a shoulder walking side by side with yours into a new game that everyone wants to be a part of.

How bout you?


16 Jun

What is it about presence (appearance, demeanor, look) of someone or something that can be attractive or even captivating?

Is it the physical appearance or  features of someone of something?  You know presence, when you feel it, seeing presence is only part of the story.  Living in Colorado we GET to be in the presence of majestic  physical geography that lures tens of thousands to Colorado to establish residence and to enjoy the grandeur of the Rocky Mountains.  There is so much to be said for the rejuvenating affects of hiking Mount Princeton or climbing the stairs amongst the red rocks in Red Rocks Park.  We can all think of those places domestically and abroad that light up our spirits with their beauty and majesty.

What about people who have an undeniable presence? Is it physical stature? Beauty? Strength? Perfect smile?  These are undeniable attributes that stand out. I have walked a few steps behind Michael Jordan trying to catch his attention, ran to the feet of John Elway for an autograph, have been huddled around Jack Nicklaus to shake his hand.  John Elway and Michael Jordan had undeniable physical attributes, that made them stand out.  Jack Nicklaus had a warmth about him that stood out even more.  His smile was genuine, his being was inviting.  jack Nicklaus seemed to be more available mentally and emotionally than Michael Jordan and John Elway in those moments that I was in their presence.

Could circumstances have had something to do with these incredible and talented men being open or not? No doubt about it.  Did I project onto them what I believed about who they were? It is very likely.  “You are in the presence of greatness” we have all heard this phrase.  The men mentioned above have achieved greatness in their professions time and time again.  Does this mean they have an inviting and available presence that connects to others?  Not at all.  Does it mean they are not gracious and humble by all of the adoration they receive? Not at all.   A dear friend of mine was on the Los Angeles Police Force in the late 80’s in early 90’s when gang violence was spiking and racial tension was high. I had the extreme good fortune of doing some self defense training with this man.  He consistently talked about having a “command presence”.  In the law enforcement world, military world, and self defense world this is crucial to establish. A  perpetrator, enemy combatant or attacker are looking for any sign to take advantage of you.  Establishing a command presence; not only breeds confidence, it tells your foe they are not going to have a walk in the park, should they choose to engage you.

There are distinct attributes  that indicates an authentic presence; they are freedom, availability, and command.   And, they are interconnected.

AVAILABILITY: Is the essential ingredient to an authentic presence.  Availability means you don’t need anything; you are showing up with an mental and emotional presence that acts from a place of abundance.

FREEDOM: Much like availability; freedom shows up as an abundant posture that attracts people to your emotional substance as a result of life experience and introspection that has led you to greater freedom as a result.

COMMAND: People who have command; are in a secure position, mentally, emotionally and spiritually that allows them to be free and available, yet, have clear emotional boundaries that allow for real warmth and connection without rigidity.

In Matthew 5, His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said

Salt and Light

13 “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.

14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

Jesus, used the word “salt” comparing it to the enhancement of food, salt in the life

of a believer in Christ is a  life enhancer for others.  And, light means exactly what Jesus says, letting your light shine before others.

Our presence is imperative to affect/effect this world. You can be a starting point for yourselves, and:

“Be a Source of life giving encouragement, love, and strength, which leads to an undeniable substance in the way you live and act that leads to a purpose led satisfaction that is rooted deep in your heart; like an Oak Tree coming to full growth.

Can you be more available? Can you be more free? Can you be in more command?

If you are willing to be a starting point (source) examine your availability, choose freedom, and carry yourself with command as a result,  your presence can illuminate you,  and those around you with the substance and strength like the image at the top of this post.  Let them feel your presence, fellas.

Happy Father’s Day!

The Critical Spirit and Condemnation

9 Jun

As a coach and educator; I am constantly asking my players/students to evaluate, analyze, synthesize, build their understanding through the critical lens of thinking skill. Repetition and varied teaching techniques help accomplish these objectives in great measure.

In professional life; we pour over data, evaluate, analyze, and synthesize through the critical lens. We scrutinize production goals, profit and loss statements, that drive the bottom line at corporations through out North America. We critically evaluate the state of affairs in our nation; to a degree that divides us every minute of the day.

There is a school of thought in the West that tells us you have to be maniacal, crazy, obsessed with success if you are to reach the lofty goals you set; to acquire and amass, accolades, recognition, acknowledgement and riches from your critical evaluation of your professional domain.

What happens when this critical drive bleeds into our relationships? Questioning of our spouse and children’s drive and motivation may come up. We may bring the critical lens home; and ask why is he/she doing it that way? Why don’t my employees have the maniacal drive that I do to make this company the best?

When the critical lens seeps into our view of humanity, and relationships, condemnation is not far behind. The critical spirit leads to unrealistic expectations; robbing those around us of their dignity.

The critical spirit manifests it self in me when I focus too much on my needs in my relationships, which leads me to setting unrealistic expectations of the people I love the most. This cycle leads me to feelings of condemnation for those around me and myself. My safety mechanisms around withdrawing from those close to me and painshopping are magnified through my critical lens.

The Solution: be a source of life giving encouragement, love, and strength, which leads to an undeniable substance in the way we live and act that leads to a purpose led satisfaction that is rooted deep in one’s heart; like an Oak Tree coming to full growth.

The separation of mind and heart condemns the spirit. An integrated spirit is the place where we can be a starting point for ourselves and others. Vulnerability with ourselves and others let’s your spirit breathe and pours life into it; so you can pour life out.

In Romans 8:2 Paul proclaims,

because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.

I am never more free than when my spirit leads the way. The critical spirit and condemnation have no room to manifest when I am focused on being a life generating, and life sustaining, source in this world.

“Life begins when we want to give life more than we want to be critical of it.”

When Safety Isn’t Safe Anymore

6 Jun

I was talking to a close confidant the other day and we began to talk about the idea of emotional safety.

When we feel safe; we feel connected, we feel loved, which leads to assurance in the things we do, say, and how we act. It is a glorious existence.

What about those times when a benign comment from someone close to you shudders through your body like lightning. And, alerts you to a threat to your emotional safety; real or imagined?

All of us have these psychological protective mechanisms that alert us to threats to our emotional well being. They look like the sharp tongue; that can back somebody off instantly with a statement that takes their knees out. Or, the passive-aggressive approach; that avoids direct confrontation by firing an angry shot with a mask on. And, there is the deflector; who feels the alert; yet, passes off the alert as someone else’s responsibility or points the finger at everyone but themselves.

There are also my favorites; that I have practiced for a long time. The internalizer and the pain shopper. As a way to protect myself and avoid confrontation when the alert bells crackled through my being; I kept it all in. As a result; I was at war inside. And, that internal battle felt safe because I didn’t have to let anyone in. As a result of the internalization; I found myself believing I was defective (this is shame). To be safe in that shame; I needed evidence. And, that was when the pain shopper was born.

My mind could find anything that would reinforce this narrative; it will today if I let it.

These safety measures are no longer safe! Even as they want to stand up and keep my mind, body, and soul safe. They no longer serve a purpose; they hurt me.

When the pain of relying on your defense mechanisms becomes greater than the purpose they serve; safety isn’t safe anymore.

Fellas, how do we become safe in a world that is calling for our hearts not just our physical strength and check books?

If you are willing to become susceptible to your defenses being broken down; you are willing to be the source of emotional, mental, and spiritual safety for those closest to you. As a result of this purpose; a satisfaction and substance will make you safe with yourself and cherished, revered and loved on levels you did not think possible.

The Potters Wheel

3 Jun

There is an invaluable quality that should be part of your arsenal for life. Not only does it arm you for life’s unexpected arrows and your reaction to it; there lies an empowering humility to it.

“It” is learning. I have been on an intense learning journey that feeds me in a way that is shaping my soul. I can read, evaluate, analyze, listen; these mechanics, skill and discipline are important to feeding yourself.

What I have found more important than the content and the mechanics is this question; am I allowing the learning to mold and shape me?

The molding and shaping can be like that first chiropractic adjustment after going years without having one. Shaking and popping the gaps and spaces in our hearts and minds will inflame them. This is precisely where learning will shape and mold us.

If I am not willing to endure some inflammation; then learning becomes an empty practice that leaves me in a state of apathy.

When I am moved off my mark because learning illuminates my mind and spirit; my best self emerges. Becoming a source and spreading seeds of life, authentic optimism, and reassurance for Carrie, Bel, and Colt.

Purpose led satisfaction is a product of pushing, pulling, moving, shaping and becoming invigorated through learning.

Empowerment and humility are waiting on the wheel.

Strengthening Yourself

30 May




I walked up the steps to my third day teaching middle school.  I took the job in what is deemed a “hard to serve” setting, which means serving kids who do not have access to many of the resources; economically and emotionally that other kids do. Many kids were out side running around and playing ball.  Football to be exact.  I am a football coach.  It would stand to reason that I may have encouraged the boys to keep playing; or give them a coaching tip on arm slot while throwing; or catching the ball out in front of their body.  On this day, I was angry and irritated at 7:30 am because I faced a daunting day of managing these young people to completion of a daily educational objective that I could not communicate with ease to them, nor were they enthused about learning the English language.

As I walked up the stairs to the school; I got hit in the leg by an errant football throw. And, I yelled out to the boys,” learn how to throw the ball!” This event started a season of my life where I became mentally, emotionally, and spiritually exhausted.  My emotions were right at the surface and could be irritated easily.  At the end of a school day I was so mentally fatigued that I could not focus conversations with my family.  My wife, Carrie refused for this season to interfere with our family and our marriage.  She could see the weariness and frustration in my being. At that moment, I realized, it was time to strengthen myself.

As a follower of Jesus Christ, I could look to scripture to read the hardships and anguish Jesus endured, which is my model for strengthening myself.  Many times, Jesus retreated to a place of prayer and contemplation out of the public eye to strengthen himself, and align himself with the will of the Father.  This practice helped me get started, helping me, help me”.  Every morning; before work, Carrie and I would sit in our little nook off the master bedroom and read morning meditations; specifically, for me the word of God.  After reading I would do 100 push ups in 10 minutes while listening to music.  Reading the Bible, especially, the epistles,  my heart started to change for my situation.  Doing 100 pushups in 10 minutes, helped get my body started and inspired a physical response that gave me strength.

These practices helped, yet, I still had to face the day, that included barriers, emotional weight, and unruly behaviors.  I had to change the climate my classroom.  By encouraging myself and strengthening myself, I started to become a source of encouragement and love for these young people; it had nothing to do with school or educational objectives.  Carrie and I delivered turkeys during Thanksgiving week to all of my students; there were 50 plus kids who signed up to receive them.  Delivering the turkeys to all of their homes, gave me a different perspective on the kids.  It gave me a sense of purpose led satisfaction that fostered more strength inside, so I could be a source (starting point) for these kids to experience care and vigilance.  For them to experience teaching to their hearts and maybe changing their minds.  I brought in a spread from Chic Fil A when we were able to get through a week’s agenda with minor difficulties.

We ended the year, by reading the book “Monster”. A story about a young man accused as an accomplice to a murder and his journey through judicial system and prison system.  After reading the book, we filmed our own re-enactment of the book in full costume.  The kids thoroughly enjoyed it!

By entering into the fire of my self pity gap, my pride gap, my control gap, I was able to strengthen myself through reliance on The Source of life, changing my perspective by serving and becoming a generating force for the lives of others.  This experience helped roots grow in this maturing Oak Tree.