Monthly Archives: January 2012

2012 Winter TEAM/LIFE Leadership Conference in the History Books!

LIFE is changing lives for the better and making a difference.” Dan Hawkins

Call it a huge success!  The 2012 TEAM/LIFE Leadership Convention in Columbus, Ohio was one for the history books.  I was reading Dan Hawkins Leadership blog this morning and I loved the comments from attendees Dan recorded.

As usual from the highly professional Leadership events the TEAM puts on, there was laughing, crying, inspiration and introspection.  Lives are changing by the tens-of-thousands and it’s no coincidence why the LIFE is leading the way as the premier Leadership development company on the planet.  It is the place where common men and women are realizing their God given potential and changing their lives.

Top 10 reasons people quit something worthy

My favorite talk was from Life founder and leadership guru Chris Brady on Saturday night when he spoke about the top 10 reasons people quit something worthy.

  1. No mental toughness.  The courageous male is an endangered species.
  2. Self-doubt.  “If it’s hard it must not be meant to be,” is the excuse millions are using to settle for mediocrity.
  3. Unwillingness to accept personal responsibility.
  4. Relational challenges.  Conflict resolution should be taught starting in grade school and repeated every year for the rest of one’s life.  Also, the concept of grace for people needs to become an established norm in all our relationships.
  5. Dream is not big enough.  When we pursue our goals and it starts to get hard, we give up and use the excuse, “It wasn’t worth it anyway.”
  6. Comfort and the lure of lesser things.
  7. Distractions – broken focus.
  8. Lack of character.  “Everywhere I go there I am.”  LIFE founder – Tim Marks
  9. Closet sins.  We hide them from the world, yet they fester underneath eventually revealing themselves destructively.
  10. Pride.  Everybody wants to look cool and put together, but few will do what it takes to truly win. It shouldn’t be important what people think of you (reputation), but what God sees you as when no one is looking (character).

Each one of those is a topic for a future article.  Michelle and I decided 5 years ago that we were going to shift gears and pursue a life with meaning and purpose.  We gave up a really good life-style, for an exceptional life.  We are so blessed to be associated with a bunch of “common folk winners” on our team – The Red Eagles.  I’ll paraphrase one of my favorite comments from the weekend from Josh and Christina Meinel.

I never thought we would be involved with saving someone’s marriage. But, because Josh went out of his comfort zone to share this information with another young man, the information and association has saved this man’s marriage.

It doesn’t get much better than that.  To repeat Dan Hawkins beginning quote, “LIFE is changing lives for the better and making a difference.”  If you attended the weekend, feel free to comment and share your favorite part of the conference.  God Bless!

Amazing what one honest man can do… with a cause!

The American Civil War (1861-1865) resulted in over 1 million casualties.  The General’s from that war most talked about today are Ulysses S. Grant (Union) and Robert E. Lee (Confederate).

American Civil War 1861-1865

After the war, Lee was loved and hated at the same time.  Quartermaster General Montgomery Meigs proposed that 200 acres of Arlington, Lee’s family property, be confiscated for a cemetery (Arlington cemetery) and serve as a reminder for the price that was paid for Lee’s disloyalty.  Yet, after the war, Lee wasn’t court-martialed, executed, or punished, but became president of what is now known as Washington and Lee University.

“Every one should do all in his power to collect and disseminate the truth, in hope that it may find a place in history, and descend to posterity”  ~ General Robert E. Lee to General Beauregard, 3 October 1865.

I was watching the movie Gettysburg with my two boys the other day and was struck by the profound wisdom embedded in the dialogue.  After you get over the fake beards, and get use to the Southern accents, a beautiful, yet tragic, story emerges on the battlefields of the Civil War. Both sides fighting for what they believed was right.  Men left home in pursuit of honor through courageous acts of bravery on the battlefield.

If you study the history of the leadership from both sides of the war, you’ll find the best and the worst of all human qualities.  But General Robert E. Lee stands out above the rest.  Volumes have been written about his war strategy and genius.  His leadership accolades are unquestionable, but the quality that stands out the most to me – his Character.

I’ve been reading a book with my 2 boys authored by Richard Williams titled The Maxims of Robert E. Lee for Young Gentlemen.  Williams captures Lee’s thoughts and writings in almost devotional form.  I have to admit, reading Gen. Lee’s prose was challenging.  Lee thought, spoke and wrote at such a high level I need to sit with a dictionary with my two boys and frequently stop to dissect Lee’s message and translate it into today’s vernacular. The outcome of our study together is accomplishing same as thing as I’m sure it did 150 yrs ago when Lee penned his words: Growth in our thinking.  Williams captures many different areas of Lee: Humility, Education, Christian Faith, Duty, Wisdom and others. I want to share one character trait, duty, that Williams shares when Gen. Lee was called upon to testify at Jefferson Davis’ preliminary hearing for treason after the Civil War.

…The attorney was baiting Lee in order to exonerate himself and make it appear that [Jefferson] Davis was primarily responsible for the war and its outcome.  General Lee….stated: “I am responsible for what I did; and I cannot now recall any important movement I made which I would not have made had I acted on my own responsibility.”  Gentlemen must be willing to take responsibility for their failures, as well as their successes – regardless of the potential costs.

Lee could have “passed the buck” and let Jefferson Davis take the responsibility for the war, yet, Lee took responsibility for his actions.  His decision to command the Northern Army of Virginia forever changed the lives of so many families as the flower of their youth were lost on the battlefield.  How would you have responded knowing you were one of the biggest reasons for the loss?  Would the country you fought against allow you to come back and live a relatively normal life, or, would you have been run out of dodge.  Would your legacy be of a criminal, or, revered as one of the greatest men in history?

“Amazing what one honest man can do with …. with a cause.” Gen. Beauregard regarding Gen. Lee

Lee disseminated truth and a cause which earned him an honorable place in history.  Today, I have the privilege to work alongside men with “Lee-like” qualities.  Orrin Woodward, George Guzzardo, Dan Hawkins, Chris Brady, Bill Lewis, Claude Hamilton and Tim Marks are creating a legacy as they have stood in the gap for truth and integrity exhibiting all the qualities Gen. Lee did 150 years ago.  Their cause is to develop over 1 million leaders for our future seeking truth and the pursuit of principle-based living.  Men, women and children are being impacted by the thousands because of their teaching and wisdom through the LIFE business.  It is such a relief to know that courageous men and women do exist in today’s predominately leaderless world.

 Now more than ever, we need to take action to develop our “Lee-like” character and follow others to change and create a brighter future for our children and grandchildren.  Perhaps, like Lee, if we pursue a principled based life, our cause will find its place in history.  Start your journey with LIFE and Godspeed.