Cornerstone Leadership

Building You Better

Everyday Leadership #96: Keep Going...

Dec 18, 2023 (2 min read)

Driving to the office this morning, it was quite foggy. Even though it's dark at 5:30 in the morning, I can usually see offices, restaurants, shops, and even the snow-capped mountains in the distance. Not today, though.

It was foggy enough I couldn't see anything that was beyond the immediate road I was driving on. And even then, at times, it was heavy and dense enough I couldn't see the stoplights ahead of me until I was within a few hundred yards of them.

I could have stopped and just waited it out, hoping it would clear up. That wouldn't have been a very good idea, though, because I would have sat in my car just idling for who knows how long (the fog has already been here since yesterday). Plus, I'd probably have gotten in trouble for just not showing up at work.

Instead, I just kept going. I drove ahead because I could see just enough in front of me to let me know I could keep going. And doing so, I made progress little by little until I got to the office this morning.

Nothing fancy about that. Nothing earth shattering or overly inspiring in doing that. Everyone does this every day as did thousands of others around me this morning. So why post about it?

Because in the quiet of my drive, it occurred to me that we often can't see the big picture. It's hard to see far down the road of where we're going. It can be difficult to visualize what we can't see. And it can be challenging to see the beauty around us on our journey.

But, when we just keep going, putting one foot in front of the other, we make it through. We see enough to keep going, even when the fog is heavy around us, and as such, we should keep going. It's the effort that gets us wherever we're going, even when we can't see it fully.

So keep moving forward using what you can see to let you progress. In time, your ability to see will become clearer as the fog lifts.

#everydayleadership #buildingyoubetter 

Everyday Leadership #95: A Team Mindset

Dec 12, 2023 (2 min read)

My 6-foot 3-inch fifteen year old son is playing high school basketball this year. He's worked hard to get here, and I couldn't be more proud of him - and yet, he gives me reasons to be every day.

Last week after practice when I picked him up, we started talking about practice. He said his legs felt like rubber. They had run really hard and done several high intensity drills that day. One of those drills required the team to make 25 layups in a row while running a specific routine on the court and while passing a couple of basketballs through a designed pattern.

They got to 23 and missed one.

The drill started over.

8 months ago, my son would have told me who it was. He would have likely even complained about the drill or possibly even a teammate who he didn't feel was doing their best that day. He would have shown frustration and been down on himself and on his team. He would have struggled through a head game with himself more than with the basketball game in front of him.

But this time was different. In fact, since he made the team over a month ago and in the weeks before that, it's been different. He's been different.

Not thinking about how my question positioned him to easily start down the road with a negative mindset, I asked, "Who missed the layup?"

His response was good - really good. He said, "It doesn't matter. We missed."

He then told me they got back to work on the drill and made it though the next time immediately after missing that shot.

That right there is a team mindset. If one of them loses, they all lose. If one of them wins, they all win. If one of them works, they all work. There is no "I" in team, as the saying goes.

I love how he teaches me perspective, models effort and the "next play" mentality, and helps me understand what being part of a team really means and looks like.

What are you doing to develop a team mindset?

#everydayleadership #buildingyoubetter #teammindset 

Everyday Leadership #94: Discipline & Direction

Dec 4, 2023 (2 min read)

Have you ever set a goal but took forever to accomplish it? Or, have you ever felt really productive and organized but didn't know what for?


If so, then you've been at the crossroads of discipline and direction.


When you know where you're going but don't stay within a clear set of rules for performance (discipline), you'll struggle to reach your destination as quickly as you'd like. And, it will cost you more in the end - whether that be in your time, resources, or your effort - it will cost you more than you planned and anticipated.


If you're disciplined and follow a great schedule or have really well developed routines in your life but you don't know why (you lack direction), you'll get nowhere fast. Your productivity, your effort, and your results won't be what you wanted in the end and won't have a meaningful impact on you.


It's the combination of discipline and direction that produces desirable outcomes. It's when you clarify what you're aiming for and establish your rules for getting there and follow them that you'll engage better and find deeper satisfaction in the attainment of your goal and in the process getting there.


Discipline + Direction = Improved efficiency, effectiveness, and attainment


And improved attainment of desired outcomes equals improved satisfaction, motivation, and fulfillment.


#everydayleadership #buildingyoubetter #discipline #direction

Everyday Leadership #93: Quiet Leadership in Guatemala 

Nov 20, 2023 (2 min read)

My time in Guatemala recently helped me see the influence of quiet leadership in action.


As I visited with the team in the area and visited with staff and local Church leaders, it was impressive to see the level of understanding between the two groups. It was also interesting to observe the different approaches of individual leaders on the team. I loved watching one of the Managers identify maintenance work that needed to be done or issues with the quality of work that was done. He could have called it out in front of the team of the 5 of us to show his expertise and skill, but he instead would pull back quietly from the group to talk with his staff responsible for the work. He would point out what he was seeing and coach his team up to the expected level of performance expected.


Quiet leadership. It was inspiring and so fun to observe.


We worked long hours during our week there. We regularly wouldn't sit down to dinner until 8 or 9 at night before finally going to our hotel. But, all that said, they also taught me the value of stopping to enjoy the moments and the scenery along the way. The work will always be there, but if you don't stop and look around every once in a while, you'll miss the view and the feeling from experiencing the view. And the pictures don't do it justice... or capture the feeling of the experience of being there.


Thank you Josué and Pablo and team for a great week in your beautiful country of Guatemala!


#everydayleadership #buildingyoubetter

Everyday Leadership #92: You're Awesome

Oct 30, 2023 (1 min read)

Sometimes we all just need a little reminder that we're awesome.


My daughter gave me this note yesterday. She's awesome for believing this and for sharing it.


It's a message we all need sometimes. You're doing better than you think. Every once in a while, it's worth looking in the mirror to remind yourself of that.


Happy Monday!


#everydayleadership #buildingyoubetter

Everyday Leadership #91: Actions Speak Louder 

Oct 26, 2023 (3 min read)

She didn't say a word. I didn't even know her, but she made me feel so special in that single moment because she cared.


I visited western Africa last week for the first time in my life. I spent part of the week in Ghana and the other part in Sierra Leone. I was there for work, meeting our facility teams, working with our leadership, and inspecting several of our buildings around the area.


While we were visiting buildings in Bo in Sierra Leone, we came to a building where there happened to be a few people in it and some activity going on. We walked around outside for a few minutes before finally going inside. The doors were already open, and I happened to be the last one to walk in.


Just as I walked in, I turned to my left and immediately this little 4 year old girl came running toward me. She ran right past my colleagues statewide to me. And then, with a smile on her face, she just hugged me. She held onto me for several seconds before letting go and looking up at me with a big smile on her face.


I'd never met her before in my life, but in that moment, I felt cared for. Not a single word was spoken. Her actions did all the talking.


Maybe she mistook me for someone else or maybe she sensed that I missed my 7 kids who were at home. Or maybe, and more likely, she just loves people and likes to show people she cares.


We can say a lot of things to help and let people know we care. We live in a world that loves words, and we've become a people of incredible artistry in writing and saying words in a way that is moving and beautiful. But, nothing compares to the simple actions we can take to hashtag#show others you really do care.


Actions speak louder than words. They amplify the message that you care. What can you do today to show your teams, your family, or your friends that you care?


#everydayleadership #buildingyoubetter

Everyday Leadership #90: Take a Break 

Oct 10, 2023 (1 min read)

Sometimes you just need to take a break and breathe.


Getting out of the office or the house or wherever we're spending our time, especially when it's outside, does wonders for the soul. I had that chance yesterday morning, and it was worth every minute on my way to the office. No noise. No distractions. Fresh air, and a mountain full of color. It was almost perfect but only "almost" because it wasn't nearly long enough.


"In every walk with nature, one receives far more than he seeks." -John Muir


Make sure you're taking a minute every now and again to get away from it all, whatever "it all" is for you, and just breathe.


#everydayleadership #buildingyoubetter

Everyday Leadership #89: Courage In Adversity 

Oct 4, 2023 (2 min read)

My 11 year old son is my hero today.

He is playing football this year and started at quarterback the last 2 games. This past Saturday was tough. He threw 7 interceptions, a few of which were not his fault. 1 was tipped in the air by his own receiver and another one happened because his receiver decided to tackle his defender instead of run his route. It was an ugly game. They lost 50 to 0.

My son cried during the game. He was frustrated. He got hit again and again while throwing the ball and was running for his life most of the game as his offensive line struggled to block anyone.

He could have quit, but he didn't. He could have blamed his teammates, but he didn't. He could have played it safe and asked coach to stop calling pass plays, but he didn't. He went back in again and again. He ran the offense just like coach wanted him to. He never quit on Saturday.

It hurt so much to watch him hurt and struggle, but it was equaling inspiring to watch for a different reason. He displayed exemplary courage in adversity. He didn't quit just because it was hard.

Some of our greatest growth comes from passing through struggles and difficult situations. Some of our greatest learning about ourselves comes at the times we may want to quit the most. Watching my son go through that showed me another glimpse of who he is and who he has the potential to be. And he reminded me that I can have courage in the face of my adversity and do hard things, too.

Don't quit today just because it's hard. Don't give up. Take courage and keep going. You'll find a better you on the other side of whatever challenge you're facing.

#takecourage #everydayleadership #buildingyoubetter  

Everyday Leadership #88: Grateful People Are Happy 

Sep 14, 2023 (1 min read)

I was reminded yesterday why I love working with the Filippono people so much.

Last night, I jumped on my weekly call with our team in the Philippines, continuing our preparation to pilot some changes to our operational processes in the area. In that meeting, I was introduced to 2 new team members, and as they introduced themselves both expressed their gratitude for being on the team and their interest in learning together.

It just struck me in that moment again that the reason this group is so good to work with is because they are so grateful. The are grateful for everything. They expressed thanks for everyone being there and for their time. They expressed thanks for answering their questions. They expressed thanks for asking questions. They even expressed thanks for the bad dad joke shared during the meeting and how much they appreciate humor.

They just couldn't meet without expressing their thanks - and it made my day to see them so happy. And they were and are so happy because they are so grateful in and for so many things.

Gratitude like theirs is an attitude of choice. Choose to be grateful today for something - for someone. You'll find yourself feeling much happier because you are.

#begrateful #everydayleadership #buildingyoubetter 

Everyday Leadership #87: Use What You Have; Do What You Can 

Sep 5, 2023 (2 min read)

What do you do when you don't have everything you need?

You get creative and you get simple.

On Saturday afternoon, we arrived at my son's football game ready to go. A few minutes after getting there, we realized that no one brought a folding table for the water and Gatorade jugs and cups. We checked around to see if anyone had an extra but no luck.

Not wanting to have to lift up these 2 large jugs for the boys all game long, I saw an open trailer near the concessions with several large, empty trash cans inside and asked the concessions staff if we could borrow a couple of them. They weren't being used, so they gladly obliged.

Very gratefully, I walked over to our sideline with these 2 trash cans in hand. I got a few looks of confusion from our team parents, but as I walked up, I flipped them upside down and set up a make-shift table for our team for the game.

It didn't look great, but it did its job.

Sometimes that just happens. Sometimes someone doesn't show up prepared or something is missing that you needed for that meeting or presentation. Sometimes you go out with your kids and forget to pack the one thing you needed while you were out. That's life.

But, how you respond matters. When you run into situations like this, get creative and get simple. Then do what you can with what you have. That's what matters most. Use what you have. Do what you can. Don't let little hiccups become big stumbling blocks to your progress and success.

#everydayleadership #buildingyoubetter #usewhatyouhave #dowhatyoucan 

Everyday Leadership #86: My Toughest Race Yet

Aug 28, 2023 (2 min read)

It was the toughest 5k I've run... not because it was a hard course or the conditions were tough.

It was me - all me.

I've never had to walk before in a 5k, but after the first mile or so all up hill, I finally took a second and walked. I never walked again during that race but I never felt so out of shape as I did in that race on Saturday morning.

As the group spread out over the course, I quickly found myself mostly alone. I was roughly in the middle of all the 5k-ers, but my mind was crowded, racing its own race and competing with thoughts of inadequacy and encouragement. I own that my preparation was nearly non-existent. I've let my health slip off several times over the last few years. It's been one of my greatest challenges, but I committed to doing this race and 3 more still this year, and I wasn't about to quit on Saturday.

I felt so alone yet so encouraged as other racers and fans cheered me on to the finish line. And as I finished, I felt I needed to cheer a few others on behind me to help them get over the line as I needed it. And as I did, I was momentarily overcome with all the emotions and thoughts that ran through my mind and body realizing how I'd let myself down yet how much power I had to change myself.

I didn't quit then and I won't quit now. I promised myself I'd do this this year and plan to keep #thepromise to myself to get better and to improve my health. Jason Hewlett, CSP, CPAE thank you for the encouragement in the face of adversity!

3 more races to go this year and many months of improvement to come.

#everydayleadership #buildingyoubetter #thepromise 

Everyday Leadership #85: Who Is Making You Better? 

Aug 22, 2023 (3 min read)

One of my sons started playing football this year. It's completely new to him, but he's loving it.

For those who aren't familiar with football life, it can be a tough-love world and experience. While my son's coaches never tell at them, they are extremely direct and pointed when talking to the boys.

My first reaction in watching them practice was to protect my son from the almost ruthless correction and hard-nosed coaching style. They require perfection and don't give much allowance for the learning curve. Game time coaching is even more direct and demanding.

But as I came to pick him up from practice last night and found them running and doing bear crawls to improve their conditioning (primarily because they played poorly on Saturday), what I saw impressed me.

They were exhausted. Coach gave them time to breathe and to get water but he was pushing them hard. One of the boys took off his helmet and nearly in tears from exhaustion was ready to quit. Coach called him out to get back on the line. He did. My son stood out to me in that moment.

While several of the boys had their hands on their heads or hips to catch a breath, my son got into his 3-point stance and was waiting for coach to blow the whistle again. When he did, my son sprinted to the other line, turned around, and got into his stance again - ready and waiting for the whistle.

He loved it. He was thriving with someone was pushing him to find his limits. And he responded with more grit and determination than I've seen in him before.

That's when I realized just how good it feels to be pushed to do hard things.... to be pushed to be better than we are. And I recognized the value of this coach with these young men who recognized their potential and knew how hard he could push them.

Is someone pushing you to be better?

It feels good to be pushed. Find someone who will push you to be better today and tomorrow and the next day. You will realize and even exceed your potential so much faster when you do.

#pushyourself #everydayleadership #buildingyoubetter 

Everyday Leadership #84: How Do You Start A Fire? 

Jul 26, 2023 (3 min read)

How do you start a fire?

I was always taught you need oxygen, fuel, and a heat source. The best fires are built using small, dry kindling - like twigs, wood shavings, or newspaper - because it ignites quickly. That is under your soft woods because they also ignite quickly and burn hot fast. Once the kindling lights the soft wood, you get to the top where you have the hard woods. They burn long and slow, and this is what makes a fire enjoyable.

The key to getting it to light quickly and burn slowly is how it's built.

If you take all your materials and stack them right on top of one another, you'll find a pile of charred wood sooner than later - and no fire. Why?

There's no space.

There's no space between your materials. They can't breath and instead suffocate each other. It's the space that allows the spark from a match to combust with the materials that starts a fire. Without that space, the fire never gets going.

When built with space, then you can build a fire that you can enjoy and that serves a purpose - heat, protection, enjoyment, a place to cook, and light.

That space is critical. It's the same for us. It's essential so we can burn bright and provide the benefits we're hired and designed to provide. You might not have the right amount of space if you're feeling like you don't ever have a minute to stop, breathe and think about anything.

So, how do you build that space into your day?

-Try ending every meeting 15 minutes before the hour.

-Avoid scheduling more than 2 meetings back to back without at least a 30 minute break.

-Block off 30 minutes (or more!) just to think.

-Plan time daily to go for a walk outside for 15-20 minutes.

-Turn off your screens and notifications for the first 30 minutes of your day.

-Go sit on your front porch for 15 minutes without your phone.

-Plan no less than 30 minutes for lunch daily and make sure it's not at your desk.

-Cancel unnecessary meetings. In fact, try to shorten all your meetings to no more than 30 minutes and maximize other avenues for getting your work done (ie email, shared work tracking system, etc).

-Schedule some fun into your work regularly.

No matter how you do it, make sure you're building your life with space. I have 3 teenagers and 4 other younger children. My wife and I are never-ending Uber drivers right now for our kids, except without the payment part. We barely see each other most days with everything we have going on ourselves and with our kids especially. Our life "space" is hard to build into our routine and activities and even harder to maintain. But I can tell you we thrive individually and together much better when we're intentional about building and maintaining that space into our days and weeks. And it's with it.

I challenge you to build space into your day. Revisit all you do and be intentional with your space. It's what will let you ignite your fire and burn right.

#everydayleadership #buildingyoubetter #space 

Everyday Leadership #83: What Is Your Mindset? 

Jul 20, 2023 (2 min read)

"Many people aim at nothing and hit it with amazing accuracy."

That's a saying that has stuck out to me a lot recently. What am I working toward every day? Every week? Every month? Every year?

What am I focused on?

Often, when I find myself in a lull or seemingly distracted or feeling a little lost, it's because I've lost focus on what I'm working toward. I don't keep my vision in my foresight but instead find myself glancing in my rear view mirror or looking at something that's distracted me on the side.

Life is meant to be enjoyed, and there are plenty of times that reflection and distraction are a necessary part of life and growth. But if I'm constantly looking at nothing but my past or allowing myself to constable be distracted without a clear vision for my future, I'll go nowhere really well and really fast.

How do I combat the ease of doing nothing or not moving forward?

First, I have to have a vision that inspires me to be better and to achieve. I have to know where I'm really willing to go and what price I'm willing to pay to get there. A vision for myself that is strong enough to make me want to sacrifice for it is essential.

Then, do 1️⃣ thing - just one - every day that gets me closer to where I want to go and who I want to be. It doesn't matter how small that thing is. It matters only that I do it every day and continue to build on that one thing.

That alone will keep me from being an expert shot at aiming and hitting nothing with amazing accuracy. Besides, I'd rather aim at something I want and miss it because now I know where to aim and can fix my shot. It's then that I'm making progress and growing.

#everydayleadership #buildingyoubetter #aim 

Everyday Leadership #82: What Are You Aiming At?

Jul 17, 2023 (2 min read)

"Many people aim at nothing and hit it with amazing accuracy."

That's a saying that has stuck out to me a lot recently. What am I working toward every day? Every week? Every month? Every year?

What am I focused on?

Often, when I find myself in a lull or seemingly distracted or feeling a little lost, it's because I've lost focus on what I'm working toward. I don't keep my vision in my foresight but instead find myself glancing in my rear view mirror or looking at something that's distracted me on the side.

Life is meant to be enjoyed, and there are plenty of times that reflection and distraction are a necessary part of life and growth. But if I'm constantly looking at nothing but my past or allowing myself to constable be distracted without a clear vision for my future, I'll go nowhere really well and really fast.

How do I combat the ease of doing nothing or not moving forward?

First, I have to have a vision that inspires me to be better and to achieve. I have to know where I'm really willing to go and what price I'm willing to pay to get there. A vision for myself that is strong enough to make me want to sacrifice for it is essential.

Then, do 1️⃣ thing - just one - every day that gets me closer to where I want to go and who I want to be. It doesn't matter how small that thing is. It matters only that I do it every day and continue to build on that one thing.

That alone will keep me from being an expert shot at aiming and hitting nothing with amazing accuracy. Besides, I'd rather aim at something I want and miss it because now I know where to aim and can fix my shot. It's then that I'm making progress and growing.

#everydayleadership #buildingyoubetter #aim 

Everyday Leadership #81: Perspective in Tokyo, Japan

Jul 10, 2023 (2 min read)

Last week, I was in a meeting with one of our project teams. We were discussing next steps to take and how to approach each step.

In that discussion, I provided some guidance of things to avoid so as to not waste their time. One of the team thanked me for keeping them from going down that rabbit hole. Jokingly, I responded that sometimes when you go down a rabbit hole, you'll find a rabbit's foot and that's lucky.

Without hesitation, one of the project team said, "It's not lucky for the rabbit." 😄 Spot on!

Seeing it from that perspective definitely made me think differently for a minute.

As I visited Tokyo recently, I visited the Sky Tree, which is one of the tallest towers in the world. I went up to their observation decks - one at 350 meters high and the other at 450 meters high. The views were amazing. Seeing the city come to life at sunset was amazing. The perspective I gained from seeing the city from that different viewpoint helped me grasp just how huge the city really is.

I knew it was big - one of the biggest cities in the world! But fully understanding that and being able to visualize that only really came from experiencing a different perspective from up in the Sky Tree tower where I could see so much of the city at one time. It was amazing and beautiful. And again, it helped me gain better understanding and think differently about my original assumptions and beliefs.

Often, we take our belief system and experiences and project them onto those around us. We believe and champion our way of thinking and doing things as normal, acceptable, and even right, if not the only way to see and do things. But when we are aware enough and willing enough to change our perspective and see things from different angles, our thinking can be expanded and our decisions can improve.

And when that happens, our experiences change, which can help us be better people. And when we're better people individually, then we have the capacity to be better leaders.

How has a different perspective helped you be a better person and leader?

#perspective #everydayleadership #buildingyoubetter 

Everyday Leadership #80: Tokyo, Japan

Jul 3, 2023 (2 min read)

I had the privilege of visiting Tokyo, Japan last week where I facilitated a design workshop with our area team. With people from Mongolia, South Korea, Japan, Guam, and the Micronesian Islands, the cultures, grographies, and the languages couldn't have been more different.

From one of the most populated cities in the world to one of the least populated countries in the world to being separated by thousands of miles of ocean where access to resources is difficult, the challenges the area faces are enormous. Our task last week was to evaluate our existing organizational structure, roles and responsibilities and to recommend what changes should be made.

With all the stakeholders in the room and a dominant culture of obedience, facilitating open discussion and ideation was challenging - especially with 3 languages in the room where English was not the dominant language and I don't speak any of their languages.

Slow to start, the Area team took off. Engaged and motivated by the liberty to freely express ideas and challenges, the team honestly worked through difficult discussions and found new ways to think about their work and to make it better. It was amazing to experience their candor and respect and to see the wheels turning inside each person in the room.

I can say it was one of the most rewarding experiences I've had, knowing that the solutions they proposed were their own. They felt empowered and owned that responsibility with exceptional care, and I couldn't be more impressed with the professionalism and leadership demonstrated by this team.

It was an incredible week and one that will impact their future for years to come as we now begin to develop and formalize their recommendations into realities.

Thank you Yuzo Fukawa and Junpei D. and your team, for your hospitality, and for your leadership! It was an incredible week together!

#leadership #design #everydayleadership #buildingyoubetter 

Everyday Leadership #79: "Failure is success in progress."

Jun 19, 2023 (3 min read)

We played 14 games in the last 2 weeks! That was on top of a basketball camp and regular practices during that same 2 weeks.

It's been an emotional roller coaster of highs and lows. And it culminated in losing the tournament championship game by just 4 points in the last few seconds of the game.

Over the last 2 weeks, we lost a couple of games, some of them badly. Then we won one by over 40 points. Then we lost again with poor play but followed that up with a really close game but lost again on a last second shot. Then we won the next one in overtime on our own last second shot. We nearly repeated the same scenario in the next game but won in regulation with a 3-pointer in the closing seconds of that game. Then we lost another close game.

Then the tournament began. We won 4 in a row, most of them very close right to the end. We were feeling great and riding high on our emotional roller coaster by Saturday afternoon with all those wins. And then the championship game was like a combination of the last 2 weeks all at once. We played poorly at the start - the other team took a 15-point lead by half time. We battled back into it and took the lead with about 2 minutes to go. And then it was back and forth. Tied with less than 30 seconds to go, we got our perfect shot at taking the lead but missed it.

They scored after a foul to take the lead. We couldn't recover with such little time left on the clock and had to resort to fouling and hoping a miss or two would give us a chance with only a few seconds remaining. We lost the championship and by just 4 points.

Our team was exhausted and upset. And rightfully so. They fought hard and earned the right to play in that game. The mood was almost angry and ungrateful for a few minutes.

That's when we, as coaches, called them out and told them to hold their heads high. Their memories were short-term at the moment and forgetting how we played as a team just a month ago when we started playing in our league and joining tournaments.

We started only winning 2 of our first 10 games and regularly lost by 10 or more in every game. Since then, we've closed the performance gap and have won 7 of our last 14 games, and had 4 in a row to get into this last tournament championship.

We are making progress - significant progress. Our ceiling is much higher than these boys realize right now, and it took them a minute to realize that after Saturday's loss.

While they might consider not winning the championship a failure, we, as coaches, see it as a step in the right direction and making real progress toward much bigger opportunities in their future.

"Failure is success in progress."

-Albert Einstein

No matter what the circumstances or the outcomes, stay focused on learning and moving forward. Every "failure is success in progress."

#success #future #everydayleadership #buildingyoubetter 

Everyday Leadership #78: How Are You Playing the Game?   

Jun 6, 2023 (2 min read)

We were playing the game Pass the Pigs the other night.

It's a game of complete chance that requires you to throw 2 pigs. You get to throw them as many times as you want to on your turn. The way they land (on their back, on their feet, on their side, leaning on their nose, etc) earns you different point values, but there are 2 combinations that either make you lose your points for that round or wipe out all your points for the game so far. The winner is the one who gets to a certain point total first.

It might be said that it's a strategic decision when to stop throwing the pigs if you have earned a significant number of points on a turn.

And that's what happened Sunday night.

My wife and a few of my kids were playing. My son had the terrible luck of losing his points each round in 8 of the 10 rounds he threw - an unheard of experience for us playing together! My wife, on the other hand, had had a few slow turns with only a few points each round. Then, she scored big. Throw after throw she was racking up the points. The more the got, the more the tension grew to stop her turn and not risk it anymore.

We checked her points before she decided to either end her turn or throw one more time.

She was only 15 points from winning...a reasonably easy total to get in 1 or 2 throws. She hesitated and the nervous energy was palpable. Then, the decision was made. WHY NOT?

She threw one more time. All of us sat back in total disbelief as the loss hit us. 20 points! Game over! My wife's decision to take the risk paid off!

The experience, though simple, made me ask myself how am I playing the game of life? Am I taking the right risks at the right time? Am I playing to win or not to lose?

I think this reminded me that I'm here to play to win. How are you playing the game of life?

#everydayleadership #buildingyoubetter #playtowin 

Everyday Leadership #77: I Did Everything Right  

May 30, 2023 (2 min read)

I did everything right.

I submitted my application with an updated and tailored resume and cover letter. I spoke with an individual that I've known for more than 10 years currently in the role for an hour on my own to learn more about the role. I got another individual currently in the role with whom I had worked closely over the last year to provide a recommendation for me to the hiring manager. I got a division director, someone with some influence, to likewise provide a recommendation. And I had a highly positioned manager endorse my application.

I knew all of these individuals and did everything I knew how to position myself the best way possible for the job.

Then, I got the call. It wasn't that I wasn't qualified for the position or that the team didn't think I could do the job well. It was just a feeling that they needed to go with a different individual.

I requested specific feedback that differentiated the other candidates from me and for suggestions on what I could improve for future opportunities. The response was empty. They instead referred back to the feeling to go a different direction.

It was disheartening, to be honest, especially without having a clear understanding for why I wasn't selected. But it's just a speed bump on my road to success.

It's not a dead end or a road block on my path. It's instead a learning opportunity for me....a brick I can add to my foundation for future growth and success.

Don't let temporary let-downs become long-term road blocks. Use those experiences to learn and grow and to refine you. Success will come. All of these experiences are part of that journey. Just stay consistent and keep living forward, day by day, enjoying the process of your growth and success. It will come with time.

#everydayleadership #buildingyoubetter #growth 

Everyday Leadership #76: The Law of Substitution  

May 30, 2023 (2 min read)

I found myself scrolling the other day. And every time I put my phone down, I found myself drawn back to pointless scrolling.

What was I looking for? What pulled on me to pick up my phone again to look at the plethora of useless information and pictures only to feel unsatisfied with the time spent?

I was looking for value - to feel valued or to find a way to produce value for others.

There was a lull in my work for a short time as things slowed down temporarily, and in that time, I founnd myself needing to be needed some how. I felt a pull to feel valued by someone. And in that moment, I looked to my phone to give it to me.


Because that's where I do a lot of my communicating and connecting. That's the mechanism through which I often can fulfill that desire to feel valued and to produce value for others (I work a lot with international areas, and thus most of my time working with others is through technology).

This is where I allowed the law of substitution to be in control of me instead of me controlling it.

The law of substitution is the replacement of something with something else. Simple, right? It might be a thought or a mindset that is replaced by a new thought or mindset

It might be a behavior that is replaced with a new habit

In my case, my endless scrolling replaced my connection with others that produced value for me. As such, my fulfillment that comes from the value I feel when connecting with others was voided.

What's important to note to me as I thought about this is that the law on substitution can control or be controlled. And I want to be better about controlling it.

Don't let things, ideas, or tasks of lesser value replace good habits, ideas, and behaviors for you. Be intentional and act accordingly. You will find greater satisfaction and fulfillment with all you do when you are in control.

#everydayleadership #buildingyoubetter #beintentional 

Everyday Leadership #75: How Do You Respond?  

May 22, 2023 (3 min read)

Saturday night just after I laid a few of my kids down, one of my sons called out to me. He said, "Dad, I have a bloody nose."

Exhausted from the day, I turned back around and went into his room. We walked into the bathroom together to start getting him cleaned up, but we couldn't. Within a minute his nose started bleeding significantly. It became a big mess very quickly.

I called for my wife to come up and help because he was bleeding so much.

After about 10 minutes, it hadn't stopped or even slowed down. I called my sister, who is a nurse practitioner, to talk about it and while we were on the phone, my son started bleeding from his eyes. We immediately headed for the hospital.

My son was visibly shaken. His breathing rapidly increased while his ability to stand up and stay balanced decreased. He was bleeding through every wad of tissue we put on his nose, and his vision was going blurry. It was unnerving to see.

I got the car ready, and my wife kept our son balanced and helped him try to keep his nose plugged to stop the bleeding. The nearest hospital was over 30 minutes away.

My wife during all of that experience never flinched. She remained calm and encouraging to our son. She jumped in and got right to work without a doubt everything would be fine. And in that moment she recalled there is a duct between your nose and eyes that was likely the reason our son's nose bleed was also showing up in his eyes as the blood - because there was enough of it - was traveling through that duct as we tried to plug his nose.

After bleeding for over an hour and within a few hours at the hospital, we learned an artery in his nose burst, causing the significant bleeding. They fixed it, and we were on our way home at midnight.

It got my heart beating quickly to see my son like that and not know what was happening. My wife, on the other hand, responded to the emergency with a calm confidence that was reassuring to all of us. She fell back to her training as an EMT earlier in life. She knew what to do and did it.

How do you respond to emergencies? To adversity? While the answer may differ and may depend for everyone, the answer is simple: #Training.

We all fall back to our level of training and preparation. It's important then that we train well so when the moment comes, you're prepared for it. Whatever your field of study or career path you're on, just train well. The opportunities and moments will come when your preparation will be needed.

"We don't rise to the level of our expectations; we fall to the level of our training."


#everydayleadership #buildingyoubetter #training 

Everyday Leadership #74: Accountability Breeds Success  

May 14, 2023 (2 min read)

Accountability breeds success.

On Friday night, my wife and I went out to dinner to celebrate our anniversary. We ordered our meals, and several minutes later they were brought out to us.

Our waiter quickly noticed that my wife's plate didn't look right and before he even put it down realized the wrong plate had been made for her. We assured him it wasn't a big deal and that it was fine to leave the plate with us. The meal they brought out by mistake was actually one of her favorites at that restaurant, so she had no issue eating it.

Just a few minutes after bringing our dinners out, he returned to let us know he'd identified the reason for the mixup. He had written the order down incorrectly and gave it to the kitchen that way. He then shared with us that he'd spoken to the manager about his mistake and proposed a solution to help make up for his mistake. We would get a free dessert with our dinner.

Our server could have easily blamed the chef or some other reason for the mixup, but he didn't. He recognized his own mistake, owned that mistake, and proactively sought out a way to make it right the best way he could. He didn't wait for anyone to tell him what to do. He owned the situation and acted.

"At the end of the day we are accountable to ourselves - our success is a result of what we do." -Catherine Pulsifer

I expect that server will experience great success is his life. His integrity and accountability to himself were top-notch, and I hope I can hold myself to the same standard in my life regularly as he did.

#success #everydayleaderahip #buildingyoubetter 

Everyday Leadership #73: Backwards or Forwards?  

May 3, 2023 (1 min read)

Did you know that Kangaroos can't go backwards?

Most animals are capable of moving backwards, but kangaroos can't. Neither can emus. Their physical characteristics make it impossible to do so. Forward motion is their only option - their only direction.

If you haven't noticed yet, a lot of the world around us is designed for forward motion. Planes take off and fly in forward motion. Signs are in front of you so you know where to go. You only have eyes in the front of your head. And while parental "eyes in the back of our heads" are really a thing, sadly, they don't really exist. Your car has a large front windshield (and only small rear view mirrors). It, like a bike, is designed to drive forward.

The world is all but forcing us to move forward.

While it is important to know where we've been and to even glance back every now and again, like we do when driving a car, our focus should always be forward. We'll never get to where we're going - or could go - if we're stuck focusing on where we've been.

Don't live looking or going backwards. The world is willing you to look ahead and to move forward because that's what you were designed to do.

#lookforward #everydayleadership #buildingyoubetter 

Everyday Leadership #72: Attitude and Effort 

Apr 28, 2023 (1 min read)

Is there ever failure? Or is it just learning and progress?

I love Giannis Antetokounmpo's response to this reporter's question after his team, the Milwaukee Bucks, lost the playoff series to the Miami Heat. The expectations were definitely higher for the Bucks this season, but I love his attitude and thought process. What do you think - is it Success and Failure?

Or is it Success and Learning?

#success #learning #everydayleadership #buildingyoubetter

Everyday Leadership #71: Attitude and Effort 

Apr 26, 2023 (2 min read)

Control what you can control.

Life throws a lot at us every day. Sometimes it helps us, sometimes it distracts us, and sometimes it stresses us out.

The weather ruins plans to be outside all the time. Traffic jams come and go and are just as predictable as the weather. Deadlines shift and complicate schedules regularly. Flights get delayed and canceled routinely, creating a domino effect of changes for individuals, companies, and families.

And in every one of these situations, I have little control over the circumstances. However, I have significant influence over my experience in each situation - because I control my Attitude and Effort.

My kids regularly do chores in our house, and cleaning their bathrooms is one of them. None of them like to do it, especially when it comes to cleaning the toilet. But my 4 year old is a glowing example of controlling what he can control. He is smiling and working hard doing a chore no one wants to do. He figures he might as well enjoy it and get it done if he has to do it anyway.

Attitude and Effort.

My oldest son's basketball team has been in a few tough spots in their last 3 games. We lost all of them, but the coach we are working with has maintained an awesome cool and collected approach with these boys. During Monday night's game we fell behind by nearly 20 points. We called timeout and in the huddle, coach said, "Don't look at the scoreboard. Just focus on doing what we've worked on. I don't care if we win. It's not you that will get fired if we lose. So just play the game and do your best."

5 minutes later as we closed out the first half, the team was energized and had closed the gap to single digits. They played some of the best basketball they've played so far this season.

Attitude and Effort.

Lots of things in life are out of your control. Focus on what you can control, and your experience in this life will be much better.

#everydayleadership #buildingyoubetter #attitude #effort 

Everyday Leadership #70: Identity: Discovery or Elimination? 

Apr 21, 2023 (2 min read)

Do you know who you are? Who you want to be?

The challenge most of us have in life today is discovering our own identity. It's not a singular event that defines it for us but ends up being a journey of detours, back-ups, right and left turns, and sometimes straight aheads that gets us there. I'm still on that road myself.

Getting there often requires us to try new things and explore our interests. We don't know what we don't know more than we realize, but self discovery is not only a process of discovery.

"Finding your identity is more about a process of elimination so that you end up with more room for the things that feed you." -Matthew McConaughey

In practice that looks like this:

You may not know what you want or like, but you Know for certain you don't want more of or want to be that.

It's a necessary part of the journey to eliminate what you don't like and to remove paths you know you don't want to take. The important thing is that you take the journey. It's the only way you'll eliminate and discover who you are.

#everydayleadership #buildingyoubetter 

Everyday Leadership #69: Service

Apr 18, 2023 (2 min read)

What does a heart for Service look like? What does servant leadership look like? Like this.

"Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth." -Muhammad Ali

My dad, at 11pm last night, got on a video call with my daughter to help work through some school work that was really challenging... until 1:30am! Neither her mother nor I could help her as the subject was beyond our capability and memory from school so many years ago. So I called my dad for help, knowing he likely knew the material and is a night person and would still be up.

And from him came no judgements. No criticisms. No questions. No bravado to show how smart he is. Just love and a willingness to jump in and help immediately. His desire was for nothing but the best for his granddaughter. He focused on her and worked through the assignment with her in a way that helped her understand it so she could succeed. His sole focus was her understanding and success. He never once made it about him.

It was good of my daughter to ask for help when she needed it. This experience wouldn't have happened had she not. And it just goes to show that there is value in asking for help because there are many, many people out there ready and willing to share, help, and serve.

Don't wait when you need help. Just ask. It's OK to do so. People are good and willing to serve and help given the chance.

I'm so lucky to have a dad like this. He continually lives as a great example of love and Service through his actions and has a heart of gold. Thanks, Dad!

#everydayleadership #buildingyoubetter #servantleader #help #love 

Everyday Leadership #68: Just Getting By Isn't Good Enough

Apr 14, 2023 (2 min read)

Do you settle?

While I visited New Zealand, I hiked a volcano with members of our project team - Rangitoto.

It had been rainy and cooler than normal the morning we planned to hike. The trail conditions were unknown, and the ferry ride to the volcano was pretty rough with the winds that morning.

Once we got there, there was a break in the rain, and we decided to go for it. The hike was uphill all the way. It was tough for a portion of it, particularly near the end, and we were on a time limit if we wanted to catch the next ferry back to the city.

About a half mile from the top there was a view area. It was set up with a platform and a beautiful view of the east side of the volcano and looked out into the Pacific ocean. It felt great to get there especially after the last section that climbed steeply.

It would have been easy to skip the hike. It would have been just as easy to not climb up the last half mile. It would have been easy to just do enough to get by and say we did it. It is always easier to just settle.

But trust me, the view and effort to climb to the top - to not settle - was worth it.

Just getting by - settling for what's easy - isn't good enough. You can do better. I can do better. We all can do better and live up to our potential. We can hold ourselves to a higher standard and live better every day because just getting by isn't good enough. We can live better today.

#everydayleadership #buildingyoubetter #livebetter 

Everyday Leadership #67: Don't Burn Bridges

Apr 13, 2023 (2 min read)

Don't Burn Bridges. Build them.

Several years ago, I worked in property management taking care of rental property. We regularly filled our contracts and were growing a waiting list year over year. We had great momentum and a great reputation.

I met one of our main competitors not too long after I started working there. He met with my boss, the owner, and I soon learned he would come by regularly. He toured our units, I met with him and showed him how we managed our maintenance program, and even shared our marketing practices with him.

Each time we did this I was a little dumb founded that we would be so open with him about everything. This became especially surprising as I learned more and more about his rental property. Our marketing brochures started to look the same. Our furniture began to look the same. It was like he was just copying us in everything we did and yet was not equally open and willing to collaborate when it came to visiting his property. In fact, I would say the relationship was much more focused on what we could do for him than what he could do for us. It was very one-sided and very cold. It was definitely not a love-filled relationship by any means.

This was the norm for us the entire time I worked there. Then one day, the owner (my boss) and I pursued expanding our property management services to a large, new property in the area. We developed our proposal and did our homework and finally got the chance to visit with the new property ownership team to present our proposal.

And to my surprise, in the ownership team of this new property was this owner who copy-catted everything we did at our current property.

Had my boss soured that relationship years ago, I'm very confident we never would have been invited to share our proposal.

While I worked for this owner, he would regularly say to me, "Don't burn any bridges." He lived that every day. I learned very clearly that day why. You just never know when that relationship may impact what you do in your future.

Your network is invaluable. Every person in your network is or may be invaluable at some point, regardless of how warm or cold that relationship is. Don't burn those bridges - ever. Build them and maintain them. You just never know when you'll need them to cross over to get to a new destination.

#everydayleadership #buildingyoubetter #buildbridges 

Everyday Leadership #66: Manage What You Can Control 

Apr 11, 2023 (2 min read)

I was wrestling with 2 of my sons on the trampoline. I turned my back after pushing my 4 year old away so I could focus of my 11 year old for a second. Next thing I know, I hear a scream and turn around to my 4 year old airborne with his knees out heading right at me!

I could have totally lost it on him for being too aggressive or dangerous or for potentially hurting me. But, I didn't. I laughed and caught him just in time to roll him over me and wrestle him down.

You see, we're in control of 2 important things in our lives: our attitude and our effort.

Those are choices we make every day. It's easy to get distracted and even focus on other things in life that affect us but that are completely out of our control. No matter what, though, what we can control is how we approach life every day and how much effort we put into it daily.

I'm coaching one of my son's basketball teams again right now, and one common practice is for players (at all levels of the game) to blame the refs for their lack of success. Or they'll focus on what the other team is doing to take advantage of their team. Or they'll blame a teammate for a bad pass that results in a turnover and quick basket on the outer end.... all while talking to the ref or walking up the floor while the ball is in play still.

What's missing in those scenarios? Attitude and Effort. The play is still going, so make an effort. And get your head in the game and fixate on what you can do to contribute and to reduce errors to help your team succeed.

I can't control whether or not we win the game or if I get that promotion at work. I can't control when my 4 year old is going to do a flying superman on me while wrestling on the trampoline.

But I can control how and what I think and how much effort I put into what I do every day.

Attitude is a choice every day, so pick a good one. And make the effort.

#everydayleadership #buildingyoubetter #success #attitudematters #effort 

Everyday Leadership #65: Deriving Value 

Apr 10, 2023 (1 min read)

Several weeks ago, my 6 year old told me, "Uncle Trevor is cooler than you."

He was standing with him outside while our good friend showed him his Tesla and all its bells and whistles (which were impressive, I might add). My son was enamored and loving every minute of it. Then, as we walked into our house, that's when he said it.

I couldn't agree more with him 😀, but it did get my mind thinking about value and how we associate value to people and to things and ideas but to people, in particular. My son, at the great age of just 6, finds value in a person's tangible things - like a Tesla. That, combined with the good heart, great natured kindness of Uncle Trevor (who actually isn't even related) is the basis for how my son identifies value.

For me, value in people comes from a different angle. Value comes from more than what a person has. It comes from who they are, what they believe, how they live, and what they do for others.

Uncle Trevor is definitely a person of value - but it's not because he owns a Tesla. It comes from his belief system, from how he treats everyone around him, and how he lives each day. And one day, I think my son will (and hope) that he begins to recognize that.

Let's value people for the right reasons.

#everydayleadership #buildingyoubetter 

Everyday Leadership #64: Play Your ACE 

Mar 31, 2023 (2 min read)

Have you ever wanted to increase your capacity?

Your capacity to lead? To be a better father or mother? To be a better student? To be a better athlete? To be a better person? To write better? To run faster?

The good news is you CAN. The better news is it's all up to you. You just have to play your ACE - your Ability, your Commitment, and your Effort. Using these 3 effectively are the key to successfully increasing your capacity over time.

Your ABILITY is not your capability alone, which is what you have a natural knack for doing. Your ability includes your capabilities (your gifts and talents) but also consists of the skills you develop and the knowledge you have and continue to grow. Your ability is your toolbox of skills and knowledge you develop over time to improve.

Your COMMITMENT encompasses your mindset, your willingness, your confidence, and your vision which guides your actions. It establishes the groundwork on which your mindset is built and anchors your willingness to achieve. It's how you think about who are you and who you have the potential to become.

Your EFFORT is manifest in the way you live each day. It's visible in the schedule you keep, in the boundaries you establish for how you want to live, in the tactics you use to succeed and in the training you participate in to further develop yourself.

And each one of these is completely in your control.

If you're looking to increase your capacity in anything, start asking yourself a few questions:

-What skills do I lack but can develop?

-What boundaries can I set for myself that will help me succeed?

-What activities can I do daily to improve my mindset?

-Do I have a vision for who I want to be and how I want to achieve my potential?

-What training can I take to up-skill my abilities?

Once you've identified these opportunities, then it's time to get to work. And while it may seem over-simplified to outline it this way, the reality is it really is that simple. You are in control of your capacity to be more. Just get to work on it. Play your ACE today.

#everydayleadership #buildingyoubetter #ace 

Everyday Leadership #63: Best Place to Learn Leadership? 

Mar 28, 2023 (3 min read)

Where is one of the best places to learn leadership and what it takes to succeed?

The list is long what it comes to what you can learn, and in many cases, should learn about leadership and the path to success:

-Having a vision

-Making a plan

-Managing expectations

-Conflict resolution

-The value of teamwork

-Work ethic

-Personal growth and development

-Finding and exceeding your limits

-Overcoming fear

-Patience with the process

-Continuous learning

-Taking action

-Empowering others

-The true value of trust



-Imperfection and what is good enough


-The power of identity

-Motivation and inspiration

And everything else not on the list. Where have I learned and continue to learn my most valuable lessons on these subjects?

In my home - in partnership with my spouse and raising my 7 children.

My home isn't perfect. It's loud. It's messy. It's fun. One of these days I won't have to hound my kids to always pick up after themselves or brush their teeth regularly. It's hilarious and gut wrenching all at the same time. It hurts (especially when you step on a lego without shoes on!). It's exhausting. It's stressful. It's exciting. It's loud. It's the single most challenging thing I've ever done and the single most rewarding. Did I mention that's it's loud?

I'm no perfect parent. I'm learning every day and recognize just how much room I have to grow through every experience I have.

But I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world. It's the best university I could ever attend. Every lesson I learn is directly applicable to what I have to do at work and in life every day. It's the greatest teacher I could ask for.

As a father of 7 and married for almost 20 years to the same, most amazing spouse, my home is the foundation of all that I am, all that I believe, and all I have learned about leadership and success.

Where would you say your best learning has come from? I would bet if you take a few minutes to honestly reflect, regardless of what your home life and experience have been, you'll find that your home really has been one of your most, if not the, most influential teacher of leadership and success.

#leadership #success #everydayleadership #buildingyoubetter #homelife 

Everyday Leadership #62: "...then I act."

Mar 27, 2023 (1 min read)

At 4 year's old, this guy is full of spirit and, most recently noted, wisdom.

Last week, my little guy was up to usual antics and playing. And out of the blue he did something simple but that impressed me. For the life of me, though, I can't remember what he did.

What I do remember is asking him how he did it. And without skipping a beat, he looked at me and said:

"I think. Then I act."

What a great nugget of wisdom from a 4 year old! The instinct and approach is basic but impactful. It embodies the simplicity with which we should live each day.

Think - then act.

That is the formula of success right there.

#success #everydayleadership #buildingyoubetter 

Everyday Leadership #61: Brownie Points

Mar 24, 2023 (1 min read)

Brownie points!

That's what my 2 youngest boys wanted yesterday. They figured it out pretty quickly. Doing extra chores around the house and helping mom and dad would earn them Brownie points.

They cleaned all the windows they could reach. They emptied the dishwasher. They vacuumed the floors, and they cleaned up the living room. And they did it all voluntarily and with smiles on their faces.

After each chore they finished, they asked if they earned a brownie point. The answer was yes each time. Why the drive to earn brownie points?

They wanted to play the xbox.

The cost came in the form of some work around the house. Now, they rarely get to play on a school day and almost never during the day itself. But, they had a goal and worked for it almost all on their own. How could we say no to that?

It's a pretty simple actually. If you want something, work for it. And sometimes you have to do a little extra to get what you want - just like my boys, cleaning windows and doing other chores on their own so they could play the xbox.

#everydayleadership #buildingyoubetter #workforit 

Everyday Leadership #60: "I dont' know, but I'll Try."

Mar 21, 2023 (2 min read)

"Just start. You will learn so much by doing." -Richard Branson

On Sunday while sitting in church, my youngest son (4 years old) decided he would draw me a picture. He leaned over to me and whispered he was going to draw me a spooky forest and asked me what he should draw first. I told him to draw the moon first.

He looked at me and said, "I don't know how to draw the moon, but I'll give it a try."

He got to work and drew 2 moons on his paper. With a big smile on his face, he showed me what he'd done.

Not too long after our first meeting, he was heading into his individual class but didn't want me to leave his side. I talked with him and encouraged him that he could go without me.

After a few minutes and getting a drink of water, he told me, "I'm nervous but I think I can do it." And off he went.

I love my son's attitude on Sunday. What a great way to live life!

Your attitude and approach to the unknowns or the hard things in life are a choice. They're not always easy to make, but they are your choice. And when you choose to push yourself, you learn so much by just doing - by just trying what you don't know. You gain confidence in your abilities when you push through what makes your nervous. You learn a little bit more about what makes you uniquely you.

I had that reinforced to me by my 4 year old this weekend and am again committed to an attitude like his. I don't know how to do many things, but I'm going to try. I am nervous and unsure of myself with a few things, but I think I can do it.

Let's get after it this week and see what we can do and where we can go because we tried.

#justtry #attitudeiseverything #everydayleadership #buildingyoubetter 

Everyday Leadership #59: Preparation is Key

Mar 18, 2023 (2 min read)

Turn on your sound for this video!

This is my oldest daughter and her best friend performing a duet on vibraphone and marimba. You will notice that each one of them has 2 mallets in each hand, which if you're unfamiliar with percussion instruments and playing this is very challenging as each hand is controlling 2 mallets that play different notes and rhythms throughout the song. It is incredible.

I am so proud of my daughter for finding something she LOVES and putting in the work on it. Her dedication and consistency have paid off as they scored well enough at the district level to make it to regionals.

This level of performance requires significant preparation, and preparation comes from practice, consistency, and dedication. She clearly understands that and has preformed at a high level because of it. On her solo selection (not shown here), she is one of only 3 that received all superior ratings - the highest ratings possible - and qualified her for the state competition.

No matter what you do, preparation is a must. Preparation precedes performance. It is the secret sauce to excellence in all you do.

I'm proud to see my daughter excel and to get these incredible results when she knows she's paid the price in preparing for excellence.

#everydayleadership #buildingyoubetter #preparation 

Everyday Leadership #58: Things Not to Say as a Dance Parnter...or a Leader 

Mar 14, 2023 (2 min read)

There are things you should never say as a Dance partner... or a Leader.

Over the weekend, my oldest son attended his first dance. While that gave me flashbacks to the Electric Slide, Unchained Melody, and the YMCA and the ever-awkward asking a girl to dance experience, my primary concern was if he could dance. When I asked my son, he grinned with a tinge of nervous confidence that he'd be fine.

Well, just in case, I decided we better practice and be sure. We stood in front of each other, and I gave him some instructions. Was it wierd to dance together? Absolutely!

But, it helped. To try to make it less awkward, I jokingly told him I like liked his moves. And then, getting ready to dance, he placed one of his hands on my lower back and said, "Oooh. I like your curves!"

We lost it at that point. 😄 You don't say that to your dance partner - ever!

That's just one thing you don't say as a dance partner. I know there are plenty more! Lesson learned and a funny experience together, but it got me thinking later that weekend. What are the things we shouldn't say as leaders?

Here are a few I have heard and identified:

"It's not my fault."

"...because I'm the boss."

"You don't need to know why."

"Just trust me."

"You're lucky to have a job."

"That's impossible."

"It's not my problem."

"I'll just do it myself."

"You're on your own on this one."

"I'm too busy right now. I don't have time for this."

There are plenty more, I'm sure. And likewise, in the right context and setting, one or two of these phrases may be appropriate, but my experience leans towards these statements having a negative connotation and often have undesirable results. They erode confidence and trust in leadership and detract from unifying teams to a singular vision of what's possible. These phrases impede engagement and demotivate inspired individuals and teams. And they deteriorate culture, creating environments that focus on individual preservation and accomplishment in lieu of organizational growth and success.

What phrases would you add to the list of things not to say either as a dance partner 😁 or a leader?

#leadership #success #everydayleadership #buildingyoubetter 

Everyday Leadership #57: The Brighter Side of Life 

Mar 10, 2023 (1 min read)

What's the positive side of having covid?

Well, I got home from New Zealand over the weekend and had about 2 days before my body signaled something was off. We already had a kid with pink eye and one with the flu through the weekend. Sunday night when I went to bed, I noticed my body was achy. By 3am, I couldn't sleep. By 7am, I was heading downhill fast. By Tuesday agreeing, I had tested positive for covid and into isolation at home I went, much to the dismay of my family (with 7 kids, we always isolate for things like pink eye, the flu, covid, etc... if we don't, we just do a round Robin of passing the same sickness from one person to the next until we've all had it at least twice... it cab go on for months! And if we're really lucky, then we get stuck with something new and start all over again. 😄).

I had just come home and was more or less gone again for a few days - my wife juggling the demands of our family of 7 kids on her own again like a champ.

Then my 4 year old, who desperately wants to be by my side all the time, started to get a little runny nose and to complain about a soar throat. So, we tested him here at home for covid and sure enough, he tested positive.

His reaction was priceless. After being told he had covid, he immediately smiled and shouted, "Yeah!! Now I can snuggle daddy!" .... and with that he ran to me and gave me a big hug.

There is always a brighter side to life if we'll look for it. Thank you, little man, for being so happy to be sick because now we get to hang out together instead of going through this alone.

#perspective #attitudematters #everydayleadership #buildingyoubetter 

Everyday Leadership #56: Culture Matters 

Mar 8, 2023 (1 min read)

I spent nearly the last 2 weeks in New Zealand with our operations team, leading an operational design workshop.

It was an incredible trip. The people were amazing. The food was amazing. The country was beautiful. But what stood out to me the most was their culture.

Their culture runs deep. It holds great meaning to everyone individually and influences everything they do - from the words they use to the way they behave. Their culture informs their beliefs and vice versa. Their belief system is their culture. Meaning is embedded in everything they do, and for me, it was powerful. It drew me in and impacted me deeply.

At first I thought it might just be the leadership team as we met with them first. We spent 2 days with just them to kick things off and to see the area, their facilities, etc. But as other team members from all over the area joined the workshop - from Australia to Samoa to Fiji to Papua New Guinea - it quickly became apparent that the culture was real and ran through every level of their organization.

Kudos to the leadership team for instilling such an incredible culture in the area and for living it every day.

If you don't think culture matters or that it's just a buzz word that will pass at some point in our future, I would argue otherwise. Go visit a company where culture runs deep and you'll see what I mean. The islands of the Pacific helped me realize that on a whole new level these past weeks, and I'll be forever grateful for that experience and learning. Culture matters.

#culturematters #everydayleadership #buildingyoubetter 

Everyday Leadership #55: Work for It 

Feb 20, 2023 (1 min read)

No one can do it for you.

To be the best in the world, Usain Bolt had to beat the best of the best - again and again. He did just that in the Olympics in Beijing, in London, and in Rio de Janeiro. He spent hours training every day for years just to prepare to compete.

There were times he said he felt alone and that he didn't feel much purpose in doing it anymore. He'd already won so much that it was difficult to stay motivated to train to compete again from one race to the next. The training was repetitive. It required long hours and discipline in everything he did. He had to sacrifice what he wanted that would temporarily satisfy for that which was hard but would provide a much deeper gratification.

Bolt did it, though. He overcame himself to be the best version of himself that he could be. When asked about his career and being the best, he put it simply:

"You want to be a winner, you 'av to work hard to be a winner."

That's it. There is no shortcut or fast-track to being a winner. It requires accountability, commitment and effort (ACE). Just like Bolt said, it requires hard work. And only those willing to put in the work will get the result.

Put in the work. Hold yourself accountable. Commit and put in the effort. Be a winner today.

#everydayleadership #buildingyoubetter #beawinner 

Everyday Leadership #54: Keep Going 

Feb 17, 2023 (1 min read)

Have you ever seen flood gates open?

When they open, there is a torrent of water so powerful that nothing can stand in its way. The sheer volume, force and power of the water is overwhelming. And the speed of that moving water is overpowering.

Sometimes in life it feels like the flood gates are open. No matter what you do, you can't withstand the torrent that life is throwing your way. All you can do is hold on and hope the flood stops soon.

If you're feeling that way today, my message to you is to just keep going. Keep paddling your boat the best you can. If you don't have a boat, then keep swimming as hard as you can. No matter what you do or how you do it, just keep going.

Rachel Joyce said, "If I just keep putting one foot in front of the other, it stands to reason that I'm going to get there."

It doesn't have to be beautiful. You don't have to be amazing. You don't have to be fearless. If you can't run, walking is fine. If you can't walk, crawling is fine. If you can't smile through it, crying is fine. Just keep going.

Your destination is always only just one step away.

#keepgoing #everydayleadership #buildingyoubetter 

Everyday Leadership #53: Does 1 Make a Difference? 

Feb 13, 2023 (2 min read)

Does 1 person really make a difference?

Over the last month, my oldest son's basketball team has won some tough games. We've managed to play well enough and with enough heart to win in the last minute of each of those games - until this last Saturday.

Our game was off. We were winning at half time, but we started the 2nd half with a series of turnovers, similar to how we started the game. We scored and kept it close at first. Then we missed several defensive assignments. That was followed by more turnovers, and that was followed by some poor decision making offensively, missing our positions and spacing on several plays.

We just had an off game. But what really was the difference on Saturday?

We were missing 2 key players.

We had a substitute player from another team, but the hole to fill was too big. We were missing the hustle, the aggression, the size, and the leadership these 2 players provide to this team. They regularly contribute by rebounding and playing great defense in the paint.

Not having that, even though we had enough players and good enough players to win that game, had a huge impact on our chemistry and ability to execute well as a team.

Does 1 person really make a difference?

Take a look at professional sports teams. The round Robin of trading players to get one marquee player in hopes they can change a franchise for years to come should tell you YES - 1 person really DOES make a difference.

The same holds true for any team. Whether that be an office or administrative team or a manufacturing team or a project team. 1 person can make the difference in your success. My team's experience this past weekend highlighted that same learning for me. Does the same hold true for you?

#everydayleadership #buildingyoubetter #leadership #success 

Everyday Leadership #52: What Are You Saying? 

Feb 1, 2023 (2 min read)

What are you saying to yourself?

Yesterday afternoon, my 4-year old decided he would make his own lunch. He decided what he wanted and grabbed what he needed out of the pantry. Getting his food ready, he needed to open a jar of a spread for his sandwich. The lid was on fairly tightly, but he went to work on it anyway.

While he was trying to open the jar, I heard him quietly talking to himself. I paused to pay closer attention to what he was saying, and this is what I heard:

"I can do this. I'm strong enough. I can open this."

So awesome and inspiring to listen to him speak to himself so positively and with such encouragement. Listening to him made me question how it is we speak to ourselves regularly and especially when we face difficulty.

In my personal experience, I've more than a few times found myself saying negative things to myself or thinking pessimistically about myself. The reality is, though, that I'm my biggest fan. You should be your biggest fan, too.

During my race over the weekend, I found myself facing a challenging situation. I was running, my feet hurt, it was cold, and the race course was snowy and icy making the run that much harder. In the middle of it, I heard myself saying and thinking things that weren't encouraging and decided I had to change my internal conversation.

I made up my mind and started saying the affirmations I have written on a card on my mirror. Within just a couple of minutes, my breathing changed and my attitude improved. My physical stamina improved.

What I learned from watching my son and reviewing my race experience this weekend is that what you say to yourself matters. It matters a lot.

Encourage yourself. Be positive with yourself. Say the things that will motivate and inspire you, and stop criticizing yourself. Avoid cutting yourself down or identifying all the things you think you're doing wrong. Stop finding fault with yourself consistently.

While it's important to recognize we all have room to improve, what we say to ourselves on that journey matters a lot. Stay positive and believe you can and you will.

#everydayleadership #buildingyoubetter 

Everyday Leadership #51: Mindset

Jan 30, 2023 (3 min read)

Success this weekend!

Saturday morning, in the snow, I ran my first race of the year. I'm not fast. I'm not a top competitor by any means. But I did it. I finished 1 minute 20 seconds faster than my Thanksgiving Day race.... and I did it while running on a snow covered and icy trail.

And to finish out, I jumped into a frozen lake.... water at roughly 28 degrees. I had a moment where I thought I shouldn't do it, but it passed quickly. When the time came, I jumped and just did it.


Then, the rest of the day was coaching my 2 sons on their basketball games.

Both games were some of the most physical games we've played yet. My one son looks like he sprained his thumb while my oldest son likely broke his nose near the end of his game. Both gutted it out, and both won.

Both games were close right to the end.

My one son's team went back and forth the whole game. With a few minutes to go, they were tied but finally broke free and went ahead by a basket. They held on for the win with a minute to go.

My older son's team was down by 2 with 30 seconds left. The other team had the ball and were ready to stall and hold on for the win.

They were inbounding under our basket. We pressured them heavily, and as they made their pass, we stole it right under the basket and scored to tie it up. A quick transition and missed shots between the 2 teams turned into a foul on one of our players on a shot. He made 1 of 2 free throws to put us up by 1 with 3 seconds to go. They passed the ball in quickly and heaved a desparation shot nearly 3/4 the length of the court that fell far short of its target. We won by 1.

What was the difference maker in both games, and how is that related to me running and jumping in a frozen lake?


While both teams fully contributed to their wins, each team had an X-factor.

Guage, on my younger son's team, relentlessly attacked the basket. And he defended the other team's best player. During a timeout, we encouraged him to continue to attack and to not let their best player score. He looked at me and with a determined smile that showed his grit, he patted his chest and said, "He won't get away from me, Coach. He's not scoring on me."

My older son's team also had a player who tirelessly attacked the basket. He went full speed the whole game both offensively and defensively. He ended up on the floor more than any other player during the game, going after loose balls and getting knocked down and hit by guys easily a foot taller and well heavier than him. But, his mind was made up. He made the steal at the end of the game, made the basket to tie the game, and made the free throw to win it.

And me? I'm no hero like these boys, but I decided months ago I was running and jumping in that frozen water. I didn't hesitate when it was time because my mind was made up.

Lesson learned: There's nothing more powerful than when you make up your mind. That's always the difference.


Everyday Leadership #50: Taking Opportunity

Jan 24, 2023 (3 min read)

It was a hard-fought and tough game Saturday evening, but we scratched out the win late in the 2nd half.

My son's team sat tied at half time, wondering if we would lose another game in the second half. We had lost 2 earlier in the season where we literally collapsed in the 2nd half of those games, getting blown out by teams we should have competed with. We had been working hard in practice lately on hustling and playing aggressive defensively. We knew it would take great decision-making and execution to win this one.

The 2nd half started, and the game continued its back and forth motion right where it left off - like a kid on a swing going back and forth effortlessly kicking their legs and enjoying the ride. They would score. We would score. They would miss a shot. We would miss a shot.

The momentum finally shifted part way through the 2nd half when we stopped them and then scored to take the lead for the first time in the game. The energy in the gym surged. The boys were hungry and it showed.

Every possession the other team had the ball was more difficult than the last the last 7 to 8 minutes of that game. Every pass was tipped. Every shot that they missed turned into a desperate fight for the ball. And every loose ball saw hands and bodies fighting relentlessly for it, like a hungry man searching for a meal.

My boys showed up with a hustle and heart I hadn't seen before. Nearly every loose ball had our hands on it... diving on the floor, sacrificing their bodies, reaching and sprinting every play to not give even an inch to the other team, taking every opportunity given to them to win that game.

And they did win. And the celebration began. The excitement and joy they felt (myself included!) was inspiring and overwhelming.

The difference in that game was simple. Their hustle and heart led them to take every opportunity given to them in that game. The believed that every loose ball was theirs, and they fought for it. The even created their own opportunities by executing defensively, tipping passes and blocking shots. Every play was an opportunity to be taken. They just had to be willing to take them - and they were.

Life often treats us the same way. Opportunities are regularly right there in front of us. Sometimes they're easy to see, and sometimes we have to create them ourselves. The difference for those who win in life is that they are willing to take those opportunities and run with them, and other times they create their own and win anyway.

What opportunities are right there for the taking with a little hustle and heart for you? Taking #opportunity just might be what helps you win today.

#takingopportunities #everydayleadership #buildingyoubetter 

Everyday Leadership #49: Have You Played Build Up?

Jan 16, 2023 (3 min read)

Have you ever played the game Build Up?

The object of the game is to strategically place uniquely shaped blocks in a balanced position so the tower can be built as high as possible. Each block can only touch the last 2 blocks on the tower, and the blocks you use are determined by selecting 1 of 3 cards randomly dealt to you that indicate which blocks you can use. Everyone takes turns, one block at a time, and each block has a different point value. Don't be the one to topple the tower or the person who went just before you gets the points!

My sister-in-law and her family have been here the last few days, and one of our favorite things to do together is play games. And we played Build Up last night.

After several rounds, we got to the round shown in the pictures. We started building, and of course, everyone was competing, trying to make the next person's turn more difficult so they could get the points. Funny enough, though, about half way up, the attitude in the family changed. We saw a tower that seemed improbable and that definitely could not take another block - or could it?

We moved from competition to collaboration. Everyone was helping everyone else to see how high we could build it. We talked through which cards to select together, even when it wasn't our turn, and coached each other on how to place the blocks.

And the tower grew to the highest tower I've ever seen playing the game...until finally, it fell.

I observed 2 key lessons from this experience last night:

First, a common vision of what can be - the potential in the situation - unifies a team. It drives out competition and self-preservation in the pursuit of a common goal.

Second, balance can be achieved in everything, but it comes at a cost. Balance is delicate and only takes one thing being ever so slightly out of balance to topple the whole structure. Balance is not the ideal. Building up strategically and in a way that compliments each piece's strengths and characteristics allows more to be achieved in a way that can withstand adversity better in the long run (ie the table shaking or a slight bump while placing the next piece).

And so it is with life and leadership. Vision unifies. Find one that inspires you, your organization, and your family. And instead of seeking for balance, pursue a more strategic approach in life, recognizing that there is no one right way to build up your life. Each part of your life has unique characteristics and strengths that can compliment one another and make you stronger in the long-run.

And if you're looking for a fun game that everyone can play, give Build Up a shot!

#everydayleadership #buildingyoubetter #leadership 

Everyday Leadership #48: Don't Measure Yourself by the Gap

Jan 10, 2023 (2 min read)

How do you measure yourself?

Do you constantly compare yourself to others and their success? Do you look at what you've done and regularly run through your list of "should haves" and "could haves"?

I should have done this better...

I could have done that better...

Next time I should....

This time I could...

While we should always look forward to maximize our true potential and growth, measuring ourselves against "the gap" won't help. The gap is the space between where you are and where others are OR where you think you should be. It's a negative mindset that imposes a great shadow over who you are and what you've accomplished and can accomplish.

Instead of measuring the gap, measure yourself by how far you've come.

Look at your progress and growth over time, knowing that your goal is to always move forward - to grow more. But who you are today should be a measure of how far you've come, not how far away you may be from where others are today. Comparison...measuring the the thief of joy.

Stop measuring the gap and start measuring your progress.

#everydayleadership #buildingyoubetter #growth #success #stopmeasuringthegap 

Everyday Leadership #47: Lessons from A Wrestler

Jan 9, 2023 (3 min read)

I have several nephews who wrestle. One of them is particularly inspiring when you read about his recent experience told by his dad, my brother-in-law Peter Schmidt;

"I have 2 sons that wrestle. One

places at national tournaments and is 27-0 on the season. My other is a 95 lbs freshman with cerebral palsy.

We have to modify how he wrestles because of this and it's a tough task. He is 2-12 on the year for JV, and those [wins] are his first 2 wins in 3 years.

Every day he shows up and grinds for 2 hours. We have frequent talks about goals where he vents his frustrations with his condition. But he keeps showing up and grinding.

Our starting 103 lbs [wrestler] was injured [so tonight my son] wrestled Varsity. We knew it would be a close duel and

told everyone we couldn't give up [any] pins.

We won the duel 36-34 where

they won 7 matches and we won 6.

He lost 9-0 but fought off his back every time and didn't get pinned. All of his other losses this year have been by pin.

When he came off he

was disappointed but said, "he didn't pin me."

It won us [the team] the duel. If he would have been pinned, we would have lost 36-36 on criteria. Never been anything but proud of this kid. He felt like the champion he is tonight when I explained to him what

that effort meant to the team.

Love this kid and it has nothing to do with his win loss record!"

This story represents so many good lessons.

1️⃣ Every member of the team adds value

2️⃣ When you understand how you add value and contribute, your self-value increases

3️⃣ Great coaching, like his dad exhibited, helps connect effort to contribution and outcomes

4️⃣ Leadership is painting a vision and giving clear expected outcomes so the team knows what is necessary to succeed, just like the coaches did for these boys

5️⃣ Leadership is gratitude and love and showing that to the team

6️⃣ Growth comes from small successes built upon one another over time

7️⃣ True effort is invaluable

8️⃣ Losses are a part of winning and sometimes the most important part

9️⃣ Great leaders see the champion in everyone and set them up to reach their potential

🔟 Inspiration is all around us if we'll pay attention a little more

Hopefully you are as inspired by this story as I am to be better, to lead better, to understand your role and contribution better, and to give all you've got a little bit better today and going forward. Happy Monday to you!

#everydayleadership #buildingyoubetter #learn #grow #success 

Everyday Leadership #46: If they don't know what they're doing wrong, they can't fix it.

Jan 5, 2023 (3 min read)

We lost our last 2 games by over 20 points. That was tough to handle for our basketball team after winning our first 2.

As the coach, I identified several things we could improve on as a team and likewise individually. I spoke with my son, who is on the team, about it first and asked him for feedback on my coaching. I asked him if how I was coaching was effective and helping and asked him to point out things I could improve.

Then, I asked him about giving feedback to each player individually and not just as a team. As I've watched my boys play, I've become aware that they seem sensitive and withdrawn to feedback - especially when it's something to improve. And it's made me cautious in how I've coached them.

My son, though, said what I needed to hear. He said, "Dad, if they don't know what they're doing wrong, they can't fix it."

Great wisdom from my 14 year old, which showed me not only a great attitude but a great desire to compete and win and to learn and grow. And it showed me the type of coach I needed to be and these boys needed me to be.

So at practice after warmups, I told the team I was there to coach them to be better and reassured them that I love them and think highly of their skills and abilities to play the game. Them I told them I was going to share individual feedback with them that might seem critical but was coming from a place of a desire to make them and our team better.

Then I challenged them to take the feedback and put in the work. I told them I was going to push them harder than I had been to see how far we could go.

They all accepted the challenge and agreed to be pushed.

Our practice was one of the best we've had all season. And all thanks to the reassuring wisdom from my son.

I'm excited about our next practice and what's to come with the rest of our season. And I'm excited to be a better coach to this team. Now that I know what I've done wrong, I am now fixing it to be better.

#everydayleadership #buildingyoubetter #coaching 

2023: What Do You Want to Become this Year?

Jan 2, 2023 (2 min read)

2 years ago on New Year's Eve, I asked everyone in my family to share what they're 2 or 3 big accomplishments were for the year. It was amazing to listen to each of my kids and my wife share!

I did the same thing again this New Year's Eve, and again, it was amazing. From stretching themselves to try new things to excelling in school and sports to making good friends, my family inspires me.

Then, yesterday, I decided to take this activity one step further. I bought everyone a journal, and every Sunday we're going to sit together and answer 1 question a week and then share with each other our answers and thoughts. My oldest daughter inspired our first question this year:

⭐️What do you want to become this year?

Asked another way, who do you want to become? What type of person do you want to work on becoming this year? What kind of growth are you looking for?

The answers were again amazing... and funny.

From my 4 year old - a bunny... a good boy, too, but mostly a bunny (his favorite animal).

From my 6 year old - a doctor or a janitor.

From my other kids and myself and my wife:

-A better brother

-A positive person

-The MVP of my team

-More organized

-More active

-More fit

-More confident in myself

-The type of person others want to be around

It motivated me to hear them share their focus and to see their vulnerabilities as well. Some of us said it wasn't very comfortable to share these things together. It helped reinforce that everyone is a work in progress and that we all have opportunities to continually grow and improve. And it helped us see we can work on this together as well.

So here we go 2023. Me and my family are working on growth this year - on becoming the type of people we want to be every day.

What do you want to become this year?

#becoming #growth #everydayleadership #buildingyoubetter 

Everyday Leadership #45: Life is Connection 

Dec 24, 2022 (2 min read)

I ran to the store yesterday to pick up a few last minute items for Christmas. A couple of my kids were with me, and we realized after a minute we needed help finding one of the things we were looking for.

Alforno was nearby working in the produce section, trying to keep up restocking with the craziness of the holiday season. I walked over and asked him to point us in the right direction. After he helped us, which only took a second, I asked him where he was from.I noticed he had a heavy accent and was just curious.

He said Argentina, and I responded back to him in Spanish. He immediately smiled, and for the next few minutes we chatted in Spanish. I shared with him that I learned Portuguese and speak that comfortably but had only studied Spanish in high school a long time ago and wasn't very proficient with it. He invited me to come practice with him any time I'm at the store.

As we left, we wished each other a Merry Christmas and were on our way. My son commented he really enjoyed the interaction. I asked him why, and he said it just made him feel good to make that small connection with Alforno even for just a few minutes.

What's great is my son didn't even talk with Alforno. He just listened and smiled. But in that moment and being a part of that interaction, he felt something. He felt the power of CONNECTION.

Of all the things that are important today, there are few more important than connection. It's what we crave and often seek for in the wrong places. It weaves us together and is the fabric of life that gives feeling and meaning to our relationships. It's deep, and it's real.

Our few minutes in conversation with Alforno gave us the opportunity to connect. It didn't take much - a little effort to ask a question, a few minutes to listen, and finding common ground. That's it. And it didn't take long.

Our connection was tangible. It was real, and we could feel it.

I invite you to look for those same opportunities, regardless of who it is. Do more than just give the normal pleasantries. Give a little extra and strive to connect.

#connection #everydayleadership #buildingyoubetter 

Everyday Leadership #44: Do You Love What You Do? 

Dec 19, 2022 (2 min read)

Do you love what you do?

One of my sons was helping clean bathrooms a little over a week ago, doing his part of the chores in our home. But he did extra that day, cleaning the toilets in all of the bathrooms in our home so none of his siblings had to.

Then, when it snowed, he jumped out to the driveway and shoveled our driveway without being asked. He did the neighbor's as well. And just a few days ago, he swept and mopped the kitchen floor in the middle of the day without being asked.

He's only 6, but he loves cleaning and working and helping - just because.

While cleaning the bathrooms last week, not complaining one bit but enjoying every moment of it, he asked me, "Dad, can I be a janitor when I grow up?"

I got a laugh out of his question as that's not the job most people aspire to have. But it got me thinking. Why would he ask that?

Because he loves what he's doing. He loves to clean, loves to work, and he just loves to help.

And when you love what you do, it changes how you feel and approach the task at hand. While most don't find cleaning a toilet or shoveling snow the ideal chores to be doing, to him it brings great enjoyment and satisfaction because he's doing what he loves to do.

Do you love what you do? It really does make a difference.

#everydayleadership #buildingyoubetter #success #lovewhatyoudo 

Lead Like A Superhero

Dec 12, 2022 (2 min read)

Yesterday at church, I heard a talk about superheroes, start athletes, and rescue-bots. Who knew that could be a topic for a Sunday sermon?

It got me thinking, though, particularly about superheroes.

We love superheroes. We admire them for their unnatural gifts and often impeccable character. But we also know they are flawed - sometimes to a fault.

And one thing almost every Superhero does at some point in their lifetime is to save that one person everyone else has abandoned or left behind. They put themselves at risk to save the one.

And that's what got me thinking. Leadership is simple and complex at the same time. It requires flexibility, adaptation, understanding or empathy, vision, and the ability to inspire others to be better. Leadership often is highlighted at the macro level for dynamic transformations and significant successes, which, don't get me wrong, is completely good and worth acknowledging.

But does leadership only really succeed when it happens at the 1-to-1 level?

We love our superheroes when they save a whole city or the world time and time again, but isn't it when they save the one that really makes them superhero to us? That makes us gravitate to them?

And in our real world every day, not to discount great organizational leaders by any means, but isn't it when we're led individually by that one "hero" that really makes the difference? Isn't that where true leadership really succeeds?

Leadership success happens at the 1-to-1 level. It's the superhero leadership mentality. So try leading like a Superhero today and see what happens.

Woild love to know your thoughts and experiences with leadership success. Is it happening only because of a great organizational leader or is it the 1-to-1 leadership happening within the organization that is making the difference?

#leadership #success #buildingyoubetter #everydayleadership 


Dec 6, 2022 (2 min read)

I ran a 5k on Thanksgiving Day. My wife and I woke up early and got out in the cold together to do it.

We were supposed to do it last year but not got covid a day or two before the race.

My training had been lacking in preparation for this race, and I told my wife to go run her race and not wait for me. (She's a better and faster runner than me all day long! And that's OK - I don't mind chasing her!)

I hadn't run this race before, and I had plenty of reasons to complain. I was tired. My training and preparation was not adequate. It was cold. And my feet hurt while I ran that morning.

That all changed as the race got under way.

From seeing people dressed up like Pilgrims and turkeys to others in just shorts and tshirts, the mood was light and fun right away. And more than that, the entire race course was lined with signs - signs from race participants that said what they're thankful for. It changed my mindset that morning.

One in particular stood out to me. It asked a question. "Do you take for granted or for gratitude?"

I knew at that moment my mind was and had been in the wrong place. I definitely have taken for granted many things, many situations, and many circumstances that I instead should have an abundance of gratitude for.

So in the season of reflection and change, I'll work to be better at having gratitude more in my heart - at recognizing how blessed I really am.

In what areas of your life can you improve your gratitude?

#gratitude #everydayleadership #buildingyoubetter 

Everyday Leadership #43: Teamwork

Dec 4, 2022 (2 min read)

My word for 2023: RUN.

What many of you don't know is that I have struggled with my weight for years. I can be incredibly disciplined and see enormous success in my fitness and health. Last year I rode a bike 3,770 miles and ran in a couple of 5k races and lost over 50 pounds.

This year has been a massive struggle to stay motivated to maintain good fitness and to get back on my feet after my car accident earlier this year. I've gained a lot of weight back and have let my good habits slowly disappear.

I've returned to a state that doesn't make me feel good about myself or even think positively about myself often enough.

So it's time to turn a permanent corner and not look back.

I've gained and am gaining a better understanding of my relationship with my nutrition thanks to Jody Moore and Katrina Ubell, MD.

I'm not committing to better fitness. I'm making a promise to myself and my fitness, thanks to Jason Hewlett, CSP, CPAE.

I'm finding ways to do something, even little things, consistently because something is better than nothing. Joy Mcadams regularly teaches me that.

And a whole host of others are encouraging me, inspiring me, and helping me see what I can become - Paul Lemieux, Jr., Brian Buffini, the John Maxwell Team, and so many more.

I have to give those shoutouts because while some of them may not know it, they are driving forces behind my desire to be better. As such, I have planned my 2023 year of fitness and have signed up for 5 races throughout the year. My promise means nothing without action. So here it is. There was no reason to wait to get started.

I look forward to a better me physically as well as in every other aspect of my life as my physical fitness improves.

Start planning your 2023 now. Then start working on it now. You're worth it. I'm worth it.

You can follow my journey on my blog at or at

Happy New You!

#health #success #buildingyoubetter 

My Word for 2023: RUN

Dec 2, 2022 (3 min read)

My word for 2023: RUN.

What many of you don't know is that I have struggled with my weight for years. I can be incredibly disciplined and see enormous success in my fitness and health. Last year I rode a bike 3,770 miles and ran in a couple of 5k races and lost over 50 pounds.

This year has been a massive struggle to stay motivated to maintain good fitness and to get back on my feet after my car accident earlier this year. I've gained a lot of weight back and have let my good habits slowly disappear.

I've returned to a state that doesn't make me feel good about myself or even think positively about myself often enough.

So it's time to turn a permanent corner and not look back.

I've gained and am gaining a better understanding of my relationship with my nutrition thanks to Jody Moore and Katrina Ubell, MD.

I'm not committing to better fitness. I'm making a promise to myself and my fitness, thanks to Jason Hewlett, CSP, CPAE.

I'm finding ways to do something, even little things, consistently because something is better than nothing. Joy Mcadams regularly teaches me that.

And a whole host of others are encouraging me, inspiring me, and helping me see what I can become - Paul Lemieux, Jr., Brian Buffini, the John Maxwell Team, and so many more.

I have to give those shoutouts because while some of them may not know it, they are driving forces behind my desire to be better. As such, I have planned my 2023 year of fitness and have signed up for 5 races throughout the year. My promise means nothing without action. So here it is. There was no reason to wait to get started.

I look forward to a better me physically as well as in every other aspect of my life as my physical fitness improves.

Start planning your 2023 now. Then start working on it now. You're worth it. I'm worth it.

You can follow my journey on my blog at or at

Happy New You!

#health #success #buildingyoubetter 

Everyday Leadership #42: Persistence

November 28, 2022 (2 min read)


Firm or obstinate continuance in a course of action in spite of difficulty or opposition.

Yesterday afternoon, my boys and I went outside together to throw the football around. My 10 year old and 14 year old were running routes against each other while I'd throw to them.

My 10 year old was not having much success again his bigger and taller brother who easily has a 6-foot arm-span and towers over him by about a foot. (Granted, I can't say that every ball I threw to him was considered "catchable" 😁).

After this happened a few times, my 10 year old's frustration began to show. He ran a route again and again missed making the catch. He did it again. Another missed catch. Again. Another miss.

This happened again and again and again. My son probably ran a route 40 or so times, missing the catch every time. His frustration reached its maximum - but he didn't quit. In fact, he didn't say much. He simply ran back to me and set up again. He was determined. He was persistent.

And finally, as the sun went down, he ran up the right side of the yard, gave a fake to his older brother, and broke free deep in the yard. I stepped up and launched it toward him. His older brother, running to catch him, looked back to see the ball coming and reached his long arms up as high as they could, jumping at the last second to extend his reach as far as it could possibly go. And with that, the ball sailed past him and into the hands of my 10 year old. He nailed the catch.

Instantaneously he smiled and started cheering. I ran down the yard screaming with my hands up, picked him up like he just won the championship game, and we all celebrated fantastically.

That catch was the talk of the night for him. And it wouldn't have happened had he not been #persistent - had he not used his frustration to focus himself more to overcome the difficulty that was trying so hard to make him just quit. The reward for him, and for me, was that much sweeter when he overcame his difficulties and succeeded.

The road to success can sometimes, even often, feel like my son felt - there are nothing but failures and difficulties and frustrations all along the path. But those that are persistent, that know what they want and stick with it and use their frustration to focus their effort, will succeed in the end.

Whatever difficulty might be on your path today, stick with it. Keep going. Stay strong and be persistent. Success will come.

#success #everydayleadership #buildingyoubetter 

Creative Outlets

November 21, 2022 (2 min read)

I spent yesterday in a number of meetings for church and even work. By the time I was done, I was spent and wanted nothing more than to kick up my feet and be left alone for the night.

As a parent of 7, though, that doesn't happen very often. And my wife, who had already shouldered our family responsibilities mostly alone for the day, was ready for some help getting these guys into bed for a little more quiet in the house.

So after a quick dinner, I helped get our littlest 2 guys into bed, and then my 10 year old asked me if I would build legos with him before he went to bed.... that was last thing I wanted to do, but I hadn't spent much time with him this weekend, so I did.

30 minutes later, it was bed time for him, but I couldn't stop looking for pieces and building. My wife reminded me it was his bed time, and he dutifully cleaned up and got into bed but for 20 more minutes I couldn't stop. I kept looking for that "one piece" and then the next "one piece" (which everyone who has ever played with legos knows that one piece is always just one scoop away in the massive pile of endless mixture of legos).

I finally quit, defeated that I couldn't find that one piece. And I finally went in to say goodnight to my son who was waiting for me, laughing at me the whole time that I couldn't find that one piece. Is my creation beautiful or amazing in any way? Nope. I just started from scratch and built a plane because my son told me we were building an airport and a fleet of planes. But what I felt was unexpected.

After the day of meetings and running from one thing to the next and just feeling tired, in that moment, I felt invigorated and a bit of a surge of energy.


I had experienced a few minutes of pure creativity with my son, and it was a significant mental break for me yesterday.

Honestly, I never thought creative activities could produce that kind of mental "rest" for me, but I'm thinking I may need to do more activities like this when I'm tired.

I love creativity and opportunities to create in my work and in organizing my home. I love creativity when intentionally having fun with my kids by making up games to play or writing silly rhymes or songs with them. I love creativity in arranging and writing music occasionally. And I love creativity in processing thoughts and ideas that turn into content for me to share.

But I've never considered creative activities and creative work as a mental release before in the way it made me feel last night.

What kind of creative activities do you engage in, and do you use these activities as a mental release or for other purposes?

#creativity #everydayleadership #buildingyoubetter 

Everyday Leadership #41: Providing Value

November 16, 2022 (3 min read)

What does providing value really look like?

My car broke down in the mountains driving home from California last week.

I had been gone a week with my daughter on a marching band trip and was finally on my way home after a long day at Disneyland. It had rained for 2 days straight. The kids were all on the busses, and I was loaded up in my car - wet and tired - and took off.

After getting through some traffic and climbing up a small mountain pass outside the city, my car started beeping at me. The check engine light was one - but it wasn't just on. It was flashing at me.

I pulled off at the next closest exit a few miles up the road. 2 gas stations, a McDonald's, a Subway and a no-name motel were the only things there.

A quick car manual check and Google search told me continuing to drive could cause catastrophic engine damage.

Wonderful news. 🙄

It was late that night. No auto shops or parts stores or anyone that could help me were open or around. I booked a room for the night and waited it out.

The next morning, I called my auto mechanic back home, Garrin's Automotive, and explained what was happening. They jumped into action right away. They told me what to try and what to do, and they explained what the likely problem was.

I was able to get into a city nearby. I had a dealer check my car out but they quoted me over $2,000 to do the repairs and couldn't start for about 2 days. That wasn't an option.

Garrin's had my back. They called me back after walking through the repairs and determining exactly where in the engine the problem likely was. Based on our relationship and knowing I had some tools with me, they told me I could likely do the repairs myself and walked me through them.

After getting the parts nearby, I made the repairs myself. It took me 20 minutes and cost me $66. Garrin's cost themselves far more than that diagnosing the issue over the phone and then coaching me through the repairs. And they even checked on me later to make sure I was on my way and that the car was working well again. And they didn't charge me a dime for their time.

They put me ahead of profit and are an outstanding example what providing value looks like. They've solidified themselves as a service provider I trust, will recommend and will return to time and time again. A huge thank you and shout out to Garrin's and their team for impeccable service to me and my family, even from a distance.

What are you doing to provide value to others?

#addingvalue #buildingyoubetter #everydayleadership 

What Success Looks Like

November 14, 2022 (3 min read)

I've spent the last few months watching my daughter and her marching band compete almost every weekend since September.

This last weekend they had their last 2 competitions of the season, back to back. Friday was state championships and Saturday was Bands of America. (BOA), which is essentially a large, regional competition of multiple states.

Her band took 2nd in state and 4th overall out of all the bands that competed on Saturday in BOA - 4th out of bands from Utah, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico and California. Honestly, it was AMAZING to witness and be a part of!

Success like that, though, with a school that is only 4 years old doesn't just happen. If you've ever been in or watched marching band, success at that level only comes when a huge mixture of things come together the right way at the right time.

Every person has to know where to march and hit their spots exactly right.

Every person must know their music and play it perfectly while blending with those around them.

Each drum major has to know the music inside and out and stay in sync with each other in order to lead the band from several different spots on the field.

The band and drumline have to be in sync together throughout the show.

The visuals from colorguard have to be in sync and on time.

The teachers have to lead their sections individually really well so the band collectively can perform well.

The band director must constantly teach and coach and then ultimately trust them to perform as he or she can't do anything more to help them once it's showtime.

And in this case, even a little luck has to fall your way... in our case, the weather had to cooperate so they could do their flyover (the huge flag pulled over the band in the video). Any breeze at all and that marquee moment in the show wasn't possible.

And with all that, no matter how well or good one individual does, the band only wins as a single unit. And on Saturday, this band did just that. Under the direction of a great leader, all these pieces and so many more came together in the ultimate culmination of success.

That's what success looks like individually and organizationally. Every person knows their role and performs it at an extremely high level for a common goal - a shared vision painted beautifully by their leader who trusts them to perform when it's time.

Success couldn't be painted more beautifully than that. Thank you, Cedar Valley Bands, for teaching me that!

#success #buildingyoubetter #everydayleadership 

Be So Good That...

November 7, 2022 (3 min read)

Just recently, my daughter's high school was incorrectly identified on social media and labeled as a racist school due to the actions of some teenagers a few hundred miles away. The backlash has been enormous and the school and the students have been targeted heavily this week because of it.

The response to clear up the mistaken identification has been slow and challenging. It's made many feel unsafe and worried because of the attention this has captured (even outside our state).

But in the midst of this, I heard the band director teaching his students, my daughter included, a great lesson. He told them the school was at the center of attention right now for the public and that everyone was watching what we do. Perception is reality.

The band is traveling for competitions this weekend and is in a major spotlight because of these recent events, and appropriately so, he's concerned about perceptions and safety of his students. And in his discussion with them, he said, "Be so good they can't find any way to complain about you."

I loved that powerful lesson in such a few words.

It's a powerful approach to life - Be so good that _________ - you can fill in the blank.

Be so good they can't ignore you for that promotion.

Be so good they can't find a reason to complain about you.

Be so good that they have to and want to support you.

Be so good that everyone around you gets better, too.

Being so good at something takes intention and effort. But when you're so good at that thing, it's amazing what perceptions and understanding others gain of you in their experience. So today, take a minute and think on what you're doing. Are you doing your absolute best with it? Are you doing it so well that ________?

What can you be so good at today?

#besogood #everydayleadership #buildingyoubetter 

Throw Some Punches Back

October 28, 2022 (2 min read)

"Life is going to beat you up. It wouldn't be fair if you didn't throw some punches back at it." -Bradley Bowman

The last 6 months have definitely felt like life is beating us up a little:

👉Car 1 transmission leak... attempted repairs didn't work; still leaking

👉Car 2 accident; car 1 repairs on hold

👉Back injury from accident

👉Backyard flooding from neighbors yard

👉New used car blower and other parts failed

👉New used car transmission failed; no warranty

👉2 ER visits with 2 of my sons on the same day in different locations for head injuries

👉1 year old personal laptop failed and won't restart

👉Pay raise request denied

👉Drama with our teenagers

👉New used car NEW transmission failed and replaced

👉New used car alternator failed

👉A different son broke his wrist

👉Wife cut her hand and a nerve in her finger; ER visit

👉Wife now needs surgery to repair the nerve in her hand

I share this not to draw sympathy to me and my family but to hopefully help others feel you're not alone. Life is tough sometimes. But, more importantly, this is to encourage everyone - especially me - to throw a few punches back at life.

Because of this and after some time and preparation over the last year-plus, I am punching back and launching my own speaking, coaching and training business:

Cornerstone Leadership, LLC

If you're interested in coaching services or need a speaker for an event, please reach out. From my experience over the last 18 years in facility management and raising a family of 7 kids, I'll share and help you navigate whatever life throws your way by developing your self-leadership and growth opportunities and by helping you, your youth, and your organizations find ways to build you better. You can visit my website (a work in progress but online and available!) and schedule time with me here: or at

I look forward to working with you and to building you better!

#buildingyoubetter #everydayleadership 

Negative Emotions

October 19, 2022 (2 min read)

Negative emotions are OK to feel and have, BUT...

Letting negative emotions persist interrupts our daily activities, affects our health and can take over our minds. It's OK to allow time to just be in our emotions and to experience them. In fact, emotions help us realize what matters to us. They help us recognize what we value. It's important, though, that we learn to process them - and eventually learn to use them for our good.

Use your emotions to produce positive outcomes instead of letting negativity rule the day. It's not easy to do this, and honestly, this post is more for me than anyone else, but it's important that our negative emotions serve a purpose... that they have somewhere to go.

Turn your Anger into Action...your Despair into Determination...your Frustration into Focus.

When you do, I think you'll find your ability to experience and process negative emotions can actually be a very positive experience and opportunity for you.

What do you do to process your negative emotions, and how do you use them to produce positive outcomes for yourself?

#emotionalwellness #opportunity #success



Small Wins Matter

October 12, 2022 (2 min read)

A win is a win, no matter how small.

Success doesn't happen overnight. It's a combination of small wins, failures both big and small, lessons learned, and consistent effort to keep going forward.

It's the small wins that build momentum over time.

For me yesterday, my small win and maybe my only win was that I called our insurance provider to get some clarification on our policy as it relates to some things I'm working on. It took 5, maybe 10 minutes of my day. It wasn't anything big at all and wasn't very hard to do. But it was a win!

For you, it might be as simple as waking up on time or doing the dishes today. It might be answering that one email that's been bugging you for days. It might be doing a single pushup today so that you've exercised or it might be that you read a single paragraph of a book instead of watching tv right before bed. Every and any one of these might be a win for you today, regardless how small or insignificant you may think they are.

Just know a win is a win, no matter how small. So be sure to recognize and count them all.

So today, pick just one thing you've been wanting or needing to do. Plan the time to get it done, and then do it. Then, once it's done, recognize your accomplishment, write it down and celebrate your win! You'll be amazed when you look back at the last week, month and year how much you've won and accomplished.

#success #smallwins 

Everyday Leadership #40: Modeling

October 11, 2022 (3 min read)

I told them they had to do their chores before they could play the xbox.

As usual, Saturday morning started just like any other. They were up but thrilled not to have to get ready for school. They were hanging out in their pjs with the TV on, each sporadically taking a turn to get themselves breakfast. My kids only get to watch TV on Saturdays and often only get to play their xbox then as well. My wife and I were going to be busy running several of the kids around for their activities that day while also getting ready to celebrate one of our kid's birthdays. So the kids were excited at the chance to play xbox maybe a little longer than usual.

And as usual, I told them they had to get their chores done before they could play... get dressed and ready for the day, make their beds, and clean their bathrooms. Nothing too demanding.

My kids sprung into action, motivated to play the xbox. The teamed up, made a plan together, and helped each other get everything done.... or so they thought.

After about 30 minutes, they said they were done and ready to play. It only took a minute to discover only 1 bathroom had been cleaned. They thought as long as they got one done they were good to go. Nope! :)

I told them they were awesome for what they'd done but had to finish the whole job and had another bathroom to do.

Pouting ensued.

I encouraged them to work together again and tried to motivate them by reminding them how quickly it could done working together as a team like they had already.

And as I said that, my 4-year old pipes up and says nice and loud and with a smile on his face, "Teamwork makes the dream work!"... something I've said a few times.

The job got done, they got to pay the xbox not not too much later. That moment got me thinking, though.

What kind of things am I modeling? My kids are obviously watching and listening to my what I say and do. My teams are, too. So am I modeling what I want to see in my "reflection"?

As a parent or a leader or an individual of influence, people are watching what you say and do. It's important then that you model the language and behaviors you want to see because your people - your children or your teams - will reflect what they see.

#modeling #leadership 

Is There a Difference? Environment vs Culture

October 7, 2022 (2 min read)

Is there a difference?

A great environment or a great culture - are they the same thing? I don't think so.

An environment is created in the physical space. It's built and affected by lighting, furnishings, finishes and spacing. It creates an atmosphere that can stimulate different experiences... fun, focus, relaxation, etc.

Culture is part of the workplace experience but it's more than that. Culture is really driven by attitudes, beliefs, and behavior. It's how people act in tough times and how they work together to problem solve. It's the way people treat each other every day and how they approach their work. It's built by leaders with vision who model keystone behaviors as much as it's built by leaders who don't. Culture is built whether a leader wants it to and plans for it or not and is built regardless of the environment (although environment can influence and enhance a culture).

The environment often requires a more substantial investment of resources to build and maintain than culture does but doesn't often produce the same ROI as culture does.

So important as it is to find a place to work with a great environment, focus on finding a great culture. The ROI for the company and for you will be much greater than just making sure you get to play air hockey on your breaks with your colleagues.

#culture #experience #environment #leadership