Category Archives: Family

Here is an official press release recognizing Life Leadership cofounders Orrin Woodward and Chris Brady as Inc. magazines two of the top 50 leadership experts.  I am so thankful to be associated to this organization and the leadership.


 

Orrin Woodward and Chris Brady Named Top Leadership Experts by Inc.com Orrin Woodward and Chris Brady, cofounders of LIFE Leadership, have been named on the Top 50 Leadership and Management Experts list published by Inc.com. These two men are both authors and experts in the field of leadership and personal development.

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(PRWEB) June 11, 2014

It is not often that two founders of the same company are named on a nationally recognized list of top leadership experts at the same time. That makes the accomplishment of LIFE Leadership cofounders Orrin Woodward and Chris Brady particularly impressive. Both men were named on the Inc.com Top 50 Leadership and Management Experts list. Mr. Woodward was listed as number 20, while Mr. Brady came in at number 39 among the top 50 most influential leaders in the fields of leadership and management.

Orrin Woodward is the Chairman of the Board of LIFE Leadership and is a New York Times bestselling author. He has sold over one million copies of his books on leadership and personal development, such as LeaderShift and Launching a Leadership Revolution. His book RESOLVED: 13 Resolutions for LIFE was named one of the All-Time Top 100 Leadership Books and is used by schools and businesses across North America to teach leadership principles. Mr. Woodward regularly speaks to large audiences across the globe on the topics of leadership, success, personal development, economics, mentoring, history, and freedom.Woodward’s blog was chosen as an All-Top Leadership Blog selection and one of HR’s Top 100 Blogs for Management and Leadership. Mr. Woodward’s latest book, And Justice for All, will be published in the summer of 2014 by Obstaclés Press in conjunction with Next Century Publishing and will be featured at an event on June 21 in Columbus, Ohio, in which Mr. Woodward will attempt to set a new GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS® title for the Largest Book Signing in history.

Chris Brady is also a New York Times bestselling author. He coauthored Launching a Leadership Revolution with Orrin Woodward, and he has sold over one million copies of his books on leadership and personal development, including A Month of Italy, which was a 2013 Gold ADDY Award winner and was featured in the movie A Long Way Off, and Rascal, which won the 2013 Living Now Evergreen Book Awards Gold Medal. Mr. Brady is the cofounder, CEO, and Creative Director of LIFE Leadership. He speaks to audiences of thousands around the world about leadership, personal development, success, and motivation and was named one of the Top 100 Authors to Follow on Twitter. His blog was chosen by Online Masters Degree Programs for the Masters Award in Leadership. Brady is a humorist, historian, and the creator of the beloved characters Obstaclés, the villain who tries to stop anyone from achieving excellence, and Rascal, the courageous hero who defeats Obstaclés and stays true to his purpose. These characters formed the inspiration for Rascal Radio and Obstaclés Press, both owned by Brady and Woodward.

Orrin Woodward and Chris Brady are also cofounders of All Grace Outreach, an organization that is dedicated to philanthropic work. Both men are impeccable examples of leadership through a multitude of channels and sources. Their personal development speaking engagements, with thousands in attendance, are a small measure of the insurmountable life guidance they have provided individuals, families, and companies. Well-deserving of these titles through Inc.com, both Woodward and Brady plan to continue inspiring others to live a fulfilled life of gratitude, perseverance, and success.

About Orrin Woodward and Chris Brady:
Both Orrin Woodward and Chris Brady regularly impart their wisdom to others through writing and speaking. Both men are avid bloggers, regularly speak in front of large audiences, and together own multimillion-dollar companies. Both Mr. Woodward and Mr. Brady try to assist others in fulfilling their dreams and becoming the best they can be by thinking properly, applying the right information, and working hard and smart.


 

Matt

 

Harness the Right Mentality: Lessons from African Teams in the World Cup.

“Some people believe football [soccer] is a matter of life and death, I am very disappointed with that attitude.  I can assure you it is much, much more important than that.” ~Bill Shankley (1913-1981; regarded as one of football’s greatest managers)

Ghana soccer club

Ghana lost on penalties to Uruguay in the quarter-finals of the last World Cup in South Africa

I love sports of all kinds.  I’m fascinated by the LIFE lessons I can learn by studying the players, coaches, management and fans.  I am by no means an officiando of sports psychology but I have a growing fascination with what it takes to achieve a winning attitude, whether on or off the field.

I recently ran across an interesting article written by Steve Vickers on the World Cup titled “Mentality holds African teams back at World Cup – John Barnes.”

In 1997 world football legend Pele predicted that an African nation would win the World Cup.  Yet, seventeen years and four World Cups later, no African team has even scored in the top 4 teams.  In fact, since the start of the FIFA World Cup in 1930, no African team has ever been in the top 4.

John Barnes, former Liverpool football elite that played for England in two World Cups, coached the Jamaican National team and is currently an analyst for African broadcaster SuperSport.  He cites many problems with the African national teams:  not paying the athletes on time, poor travel conditions, and lack of communication with the administrators and their respective teams, to name a few.  Barnes further states that African players that play for European teams are treated much better by the European teams than when Africans play for their own national teams.

These are outside circumstances contributing to the lack of success of the African football players.  Yet, I agree with Barnes that there is a potentially bigger reason for their lack of results:  their thinking.

As football fans across Africa are hoping that one of their World Cup representatives can reach the semi-finals or even win the tournament in Brazil this year, …… John Barnes believes that the mental aspect of the game is holding the continent back.

Though the African players are physically and technically equal, Barnes believes  they haven’t adopted the correct mental attitude and desire to win the World Cup.

There are many great lessons to learn from this example.  For starters, how we think about and respond to the outside circumstances in our life will dictate the results we have in life.  In addition, I identified 4 specific lessons to learn from the example of these African football players:  trust, appreciation, attitude, and work ethic.

1) Trust is everything in relationships.  The African administrators have broken trust with the players.  The results of that are underperformance through decreased discipline and desire, lack of unity between the players and administrators, and lack of national identity and respect. If you have a lack of trust, it must be earned back.  As the saying goes, trust may take years to develop, but it can be lost overnight and it takes a long time to re-establish.  Individuals with poor trust in relationships defaults to functioning on minimums rather than living up to their potential.  In order to start building trust in your relationships, I recommend reading the book Speed of Trust by Stephen M. R. Covey as a starting point.

2) The African players are probably feeling underappreciated by their team management.  Underappreciation is a much bigger issue then we realize.  We all feel appreciation differently and appreciation may look different at work than at home.  Ask yourself this question, “How do I feel appreciated?”  Then ask yourself how can you make others feel appreciated.  The more an individual feels appreciated, the more they are willing to perform up to their potential.  Some great reads include How to have Power and Confidence in Dealing with People by Les Giblin and The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman.

3)  Attitude is a choice, regardless of the circumstances.  Why do some people thrive while others flounder under the same circumstances?  Attitude! There is a great book on positive attitude I just read titled The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor.  Attitude really is everything.

4)  Work ethic:  It may not be the external work that is lacking but the internal work of developing and  managing our thinking.  Like Henry Ford said, “Thinking is the hardest work there is, which is probably the reason so few people engage in it.”  I reccommend reading Resolved by Orrin Woodward.

As I have embarked on my own personal leadership journey over the last 7 years, I have asked myself and helped others ask the question, “Am I willing to develop the discipline and adopt the correct behaviors to win in life?”  This sameFIFA world cup trophy question stands before the African football players.  If they accept that responsibility, than with the right information, support, and discipline, I believe they can win the World Cup.  Will you accept the same challenge to conquer your mental game?  If you say yes, I predict a “Word Cup” sized victory in your life too.

Godspeed toward your “World Cup” victories in LIFE.

 

The “Moon Man” – Robert Goddard and Thoughts on Leadership

“It is difficult to say what is impossible, for the dream of yesterday is the hope of today and the reality of tomorrow.”  Dr. Robert H. Goddard

The other day, my wife was working through some writing exercises with our home schooled son when she ran across a sentence that intrigued her.  “In 1914, Robert Goddard, called the “moon man,” was ridiculed by newspapers because he proposed that man could travel to the moon. ”  Hmmm…

To quote best-selling author and CEO of LIFE Leadership, Chris Brady, “There’s a story behind this.”

That one sentence propelled us to look into the “moon man.”  It seems that goddard rocketRobert Goddard (1882-1945) is now recognized, after his death, as the American founding father of modern rocket propulsion.  He was an American professor, physicist, and inventor who is credited for creating, building, testing and launching the world’s 1st liquid-fueled rocket.  In essence, he was integral in ushering in the Space Age but didn’t live to see the age of space flight.  It seems he was a man with a vision before his time.

As a little boy in 1899, climbing an old cherry tree, Goddard imagined how wonderful it would be to make a device to travel to Mars.  He later wrote in his autobiography, “After I descended the tree from when I ascended, for existence at last seemed very purposive.”  On that day, Goddard found his purpose in life and meaning for his existence.  In 1907, while a student at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Goddard experimented on a rocket powered by gunpowder and thus began his lifetime of dedicated work in rocketry.

Goddard was awarded  two U.S. patents by 1914 and by 1916 Goddard published his classic document, “A Method of Reaching Extreme Altitudes,” where he detailed his development of the mathematical theories of rocket propulsion.  Running low on funding, Goddard resorted to sponsored research and the Smithsonian granted him $5000 in 1917 and modest contributions from the Gugenheim foundation.

By 1920, Goddard’s discoveries were virtually ignored by the U.S. government and he received very little public support for his research.  The press and public ridiculed, mocked and insulted him, pushing him into a life of secluded research, only sharing his findings and ideas with private groups. Yet, he held firm to his convictions of what he knew to be true.

“Every vision is a joke until the first man accomplishes it; once realized, it becomes commonplace.”  – Robert Goddard in response to questions from reporters.

In March 1926, contrary to the stinging criticisms, Goddard successfully launched the world’s first liquid-fuelled rocket which ushered in the “Space Age” which would forever change our world.

On July 17, 1969 (the day after the launch of Apollo 11), forty-nine years after its editorial mocking Goddard, apollo 11The New York Times published a short item under the headline “A Correction.” The three-paragraph statement summarized its 1920 editorial criticizing Goddard’s rocketry research, and concluded:

Further investigation and experimentation have confirmed the findings of Isaac Newton in the 17th Century and it is now definitely established that a rocket can function in a vacuum as well as in an atmosphere. The Times regrets the error.

Years after his death (August 10, 1945), at the beginning of the race to the moon, Goddard was recognized as the founding father of modern rocketry.

Goddard held 214 patents, and over 100+ of these were awarded post-mortem. He now has the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, MD, a high school, a postal stamp and a street named after him, commemorating his vision and his legacy.

goodard image quote

Leadership Lessons

What an incredible story of personal leadership, a man with a dream, and what it takes to bring a vision to reality.  I can’t help but believe that if we could only teach these leadership lessons in the general public today we would see countless new discoveries and personal dreams realized.  There are 5 distinct leadership principles that I believe we can study from Robert Goddard’s life:

1) To live a fulfilled life, one must discover his purpose.  Without Goddard’s “cherry tree dream,” who knows where our world would be today.  What is your “cherry tree dream?”

2) Any great idea will take time to develop and often times will require us to dedicate significant “un-busyness” to fully develop that dream.  Goddard used “leaves of absence” from Worcester Polytechnic Institute to focus on his research.  Find ways to lessen your daily busyness so you can focus on developing your life purpose.

3) Criticism, ridicule and mockery will happen, especially when your idea challenges the status quo.  However, if you have discovered and developed your purpose, use the negative push back as a way to strengthen your resolve to follow through on your ideas to the end.

4) Be very selective who you share your dreams with as they may become your biggest critics.  Once the goal or dream is publicly expressed, the enemies of that idea will be revealed.  The Bible says not to cast our pearls before swine. Unfortunately, we don’t always know who will become our judges, critics and naysayers  so use caution!

5) Your efforts may not be fully realized or recognized until after you’re dead.  Do it anyway!  The ripple effect of your dreams and leadership will be part of your legacy.

LIFE leadership is one path to teach common men and women of today how to walk through a leadership journey.  We are all called to leadership yet many of us are not trained how to lead and how to push through the challenges.  Via the LIFE Leadership business, the idea that leadership principles can be brought to the masses is on the table.  We are taking the criticisms and ridicule, yet there are masses of people around the globe that are catching on to the vision.  Men and women are identifying and discovering their purpose, rolling up their shirt sleeves and getting to work to develop their dreams and dedicate their lives to move their vision and goals forward.  Join the LIFE Leadership movement!  God speed on your journey!

 

They won, we lost….. Not Anymore!

Freedom series

I just listened to an excellent CD from the November 2013 LIFE Leadership Freedom Series titled “Three Bubbles” by Chris Brady.  Brady describes three bubbles that are effecting our daily freedoms:  money, commodities, and housing.

The money bubble:  With all the printing of money, currently known as quantitative easing, or QE, our dollars aren’t worth as much.  In other words, it takes significantly more money to buy the same things.  For further information on this topic, listen to the LIFE Leadership audios titled “Camel in the Tent” and “Good as Gold” by Chris Brady.  I’ve also embedded below an excellent video describing the problem by Mike Maloney.  An interesting fact is Facebook has banned this video, labeling it “aggressive content.”   The only thing “aggressive” in my opinion is that truth can be bittersweet to the ears and the manipulation from a few, very large banks has been exposed and “they” don’t like it.   So far, they won, we lost.

The commodities bubble:  Commodities are things we need for everyday living like oil, corn, wheat, beef etc.  In a five-year period, 2003-2008, the average prices of these everyday things rose over 200%.  What’s interesting is how Brady exposes that prices didn’t just inflate naturally, but happened out of design through secret, special deals for a few investment banks.  Instead, we were led to believe that price increases were entirely our fault (a nation of gluttons driving oil-guzzling SUV s).  Again, they won, we lost.

The housing bubble:  Bank failures and government bail-outs of those banks in 2008 led to home values decreasing yet mortgage payments stayed the same.  Because the American public had less money left over each month because of the first two bubbles, they defaulted more on their home loans. They won, we lost.

This post isn’t to throw a pity party for the American public.  Many Americans have spent well above their means, prioritizing entertainment over real priorities. The root of the problem comes down to our thinking lays in our ignorance.

We are lead to believe the problem is Republican vs Democrat, red vs blue, elephant vs donkey.    The winds of truth our lifting the smoke screen and exposing the lies that have clouded our thinking for over a century.  Our political system is broken and we are waking up to the fact we are just a cog in someone else’s wheel.  We are at the mercy of a small group of people who purposefully create these scenarios which has ultimately eroded much of our freedom.  

It is surprising how free we can be when we chose to live by principles and not opinions.  How free we will become when truth and justice are anchored again by a biblical foundation and not moral relativism.

There are great men and women starting to stand-up for truth and the LIFE Leadership organization has become the beacon for many to identify as the leading place to find that truth.   Godspeed on your journey to truth.  Matt

Beauty Is Only Skin Deep

One thing I have appreciated over the years about LIFE Leadership is the culture of acceptance and encouragement while pushing individuals to reach their created potential.  Michelle and I had a unique experience the other night I wanted to share with you.

Do not let your adorning be external – the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear – but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.  1 Peter 3:3-4

Her name is Lily and I met her for the first time while sitting in the bleachers at a high school talent contest.  As the emcee introduced her to the stage, I couldn’t help but recognize the unusual explosion of applause from the student body.  What was so special about Lily?  She didn’t look any different from the other girls.  She sang “The Call” by Regina Spektor and mesmerized us with her beautiful voice.  I could tell the song had meaning to her as she sang from her heart.  Interestingly, when she finished, almost her entire class erupted with a standing ovation!  When the contest was over, Lily won the talent show competition by a landslide against other amazing performances.

I learned later that Lily transferred from another high school for “social” reasons.  Probably bullying or insensitive comments or…you know, the typical immature behaviors that come from boys and girls going through pubescent hormone changes and awful social programming from current influences like gaming, Internet, TV, etc..

What brought a tear to my eye was the massive encouragement that came from the student body.  It reminded me of the power of being around a group of encouraging and uplifting people.  Lily is wonderfully and beautifully made as a creation from God.  On that stage, Lily and her vocal talent was lifted to the heavens by her peers and friends.  It was a memory I’m sure she’ll cherish forever and one that I hope not to soon forget.

Ninety percent of the world’s woe comes from people not knowing themselves, their abilities, their frailties, and even their real virtues.  Most of us go almost all the way through life as complete strangers to ourselves – so how can we know anyone else?-   Sidney J. Harris – from Confidence of a Champion by Tim Marks

It made me ponder why there is so much depression and social isolation today, not just among adolescents but adults as well.  Could it be partly because of the lack of this type of empowering environment?  Could it be partly because of the current technology that can create altered senses of reality?  Gaming has created worlds of make-believe where players can re-create their body and personality.  We can “Photoshop” pictures and watch “reality” programs that aren’t even close to being real.  Our real beauty lies somewhere beneath all of this superficial stuff.

Watch this video!

How can anyone compete with that?!

What I love about LIFE leadership is we are forming adult communities all over the world that continue to provide the kind of encouragement that I witnessed last night with Lily.  Just like those highschoolers, we are learning how to accept and love people unconditionally, ignore social labels, and empower and celebrate people as they develop the gifts that the Creator has given them.  It is a new “third space” concept, a community where the “successful” and “unsuccessful” come together on equal terms.  It is a place where nobodies can become some bodies, not because of how they look, act, or sing, but because a group of people reminds them of how God uniquely created them to love, live, learn and lead.

It’s time for a true transformation in your life.   Join LIFE Leadership!  Think of it as the best dermabrasion to discover and reveal the real you!

God speed on your journey!

Matt

Forgiveness

“I think forgiveness is a great idea until you have someone to forgive.” Ed Dobson

I watched an incredible video on forgiveness today and I want to share it with you.  Ed Dobson was the pastor of a large church for many years before he was diagnosed with ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or “Lou Gehrig’s disease”).

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. Motor neurons reach from the brain to the spinal cord and from the spinal cord to the muscles throughout the body. The progressive degeneration of the motor neurons in ALS eventually leads to their death. When the motor neurons die, the ability of the brain to initiate and control muscle movement is lost. With voluntary muscle action progressively affected, patients in the later stages of the disease may become totally paralyzed.

When Ed stepped down from pastoring his church, he discovered the emptiness of life caused by unreconciled relationships.

How many of us have relationships that require forgiveness?   I know I have too many to count!

Enjoy the 10 minute video and I pray that someday we all can say, “The list is done” as we look for opportunities to forgive and to ask for forgiveness. ~Matt

“When I die, I don’t want people to be silent.”  Ed Dobson

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Click on the link below the picture, then click on the play button (you won’t have to pay to watch the video).

Ed dobson

http://www.worshiphousemedia.com/small-groups/36060/Eds-Story-5-Ask-Forgiveness

Charlie’s Angel – not all she’s cracked up to be!

You, my 3 readers, have the distinct privilege of reading an excellent article from my most awesomeness wife.  I have seen first hand how a woman can lead a fulfilling role in the home as a mother, wife, and home-maker.  Enjoy the article. Matt

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I recently finished a book study on biblical womanhood and it was fascinating, to say the least!  A group of girlfriends, including one of my personal friends and mentors Lisa Hawkins, read the book True Woman 101: Divine Designtrue woman divine designComing from a background of gender competition (I can be the primary bread-winner in our family – and was for a time), it was refreshing to read how God uniquely designed women.  It was a wake-up call to me (again) that there needs not be competition between the sexes.  The book study was a great reminder to continue to strive to live my life as a woman of God, rather than as a woman of today’s modern culture.

I grew up during the 1970’s and the feminist movement had already left the station.  The movement was a rebellion against the traditional ideas about womanhood, marriage, motherhood and morality.  Would I have been a passenger on that train had I been of age? Possibly, but even though I was too young to realize it, I was already being carried along in a culture that was embracing new ideas about women.  As a child of the ‘70’s I yielded my Charlie’scharlies angels1 Angels lunchbox (I wanted to be talented, tough and attractive too!) and sang songs of gender neutrality and individuality from “Free to Be You and Me.”

Feminist ideals paved the way for my right to vote, the encouragement of a father who instilled in me the belief that I could grow up to be a female doctor in a primarily male-dominated profession, and a culture that normalized my desire to succeed, no matter what my gender.

I was inundated with messages that taught me to pursue my rights, my career and my independence as a woman.  As I grew up, the role of wife and mother never seemed attractive as I watched even my own parents “swap” gender duties.  You see, when I grew up, both of my parents worked outside the home.  Yet, my father had a more flexible schedule, so it was my Dad who greeted me after school, sitting at the kitchen table and asking how my school day was as I ate my snack.

Needless to say, I was confused about womanhood.

During the time of my medical training, female physicians were still relatively uncommon.   I remember trying to seek out female physicians to learn how they “balanced” work and home. I somehow sensed that I was still going to need to manage both and that advocating my domestic responsibilities to my husband or daycare provider wasn’t going to get me completely off the hook.

Sadly, I was so career-oriented at that time that getting married during medical school and starting to have children during residency was almost a distraction to my ultimate goal:  to become a pediatrician. Today, I think it’s embarrassing that Matt’s first gift to me (ever) was a cookbook, recognizing that I hadn’t learned that all-important domestic skill!  And I think it’s somewhat ironic that I chose a profession (pediatrics) where I could “practice” being a mom, just not to my own children.  I didn’t get too far away from my inner desire (even if unrecognized at the time) to nurture children!

I found an article from Kathleen Parker, columnist for The Washington Post, published in The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on 2/14/13, that was relevant to my recent book study.  Her article looks at the consequences of Betty Friedan’s “The Feminine Mystique”, written as a manifesto of the women’s liberation movement.  Parker writes that, despite marinating in the mainstream ideas of feminism, women of these last 50 years have experienced a paradigm shift away from feminism that Friedan and many other leaders of the feminist movement may not have predicted.

Parker writes:  “(We) were becoming unwitting hostages to myths that few were brave enough to challenge.  My own skepticism came to full fruition the moment I became a mother.

pink handcuffs“Unlike (Betty) Friedan, I wasn’t tethered to home but to a job.  Rather than resenting the prospect of staying home with a baby, I was stricken by the realization that I couldn’t.  The ‘strange stirring, a sense of dissatisfaction, a yearning,’ words Friedan used to describe thwarted ambition, was for me the sense of having abandoned my son.”

That’s exactly how I felt as the desire to be home with my own 3 children grew to volcanic proportions in me.  I was struggling to balance work and home as my heart was being pulled more toward my own kids, longing to raise them myself.

In October 2009, Time magazine pointed out that, ironically, as women have gained more education, more economic independence, more power, and more freedom, they have become less and less happy.

That was me!  After trying to work 60+ hours a week as a part-time pediatrician and struggling to find time at home with my husband and 3 kids, I had had enough.  I realized that the common myth that life would be more satisfying in the workplace than in my own home was false.

As Kathleen Parker writes, “And while women have the same need as men to lead meaningful lives, the feminist mystique’s great failing was in advancing the notion that caring for children posed an obstacle to self-realization.”

My recent book study has helped me realize that there is no obstacle to fulfillment and true freedom when I follow God’s divine design for women.

I highly recommend the book! And I highly recommend finding a group of friends and mentors like those in the LIFE community to show you the hope and joy that comes with following your divine design to be a wife and mother!

Michelle

Sticks and Stones and Other Things

“…The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart…”  1 Samuel 16:7

Recently, my wife and I attended a 2 hour parenting seminar at our church from author Jonathan McKee, founder of www.thesource4parents.com, an exceptional resource for parenting in today’s complex age.  Jonathan is a cultural expert and has exceptional insight into today’s tech savvy youth and how we as parents need to pick up our game or risk loosing our kids to the “world.”

On one of his blogs, Jonathan posted an incredible YouTube video that has gone viral on the internet on the topic of bullying and self-image.

How many people do you think are effected, either from their past or currently, from bullying, name calling, or being made fun of?  My guess it’s in the billions.

Watch the poetic video below, I believe we can all relate.

The problem is enormous and the cost to society is immeasurable.  How do we combat it?  The more I think about it, the harder it gets to think of anything worthwhile to say.

I believe it is a heart issue.  It stems from the constant media stream of self-absorbed cultural pragmatism.  We are conditioned to see others as objects and not people with feelings and a fragile ego.  The irony of today’s media message is the best way to feel good about yourself is to make others feel bad about themselves.

Well I believe we can change that message.  Let’s start by listening to a great song sung by Britt Nicole.

You were walking on the moon, now you’re feeling low
What they said wasn’t true, you’re beautiful
Sticks and stones break your bones, I know what you’re feeling
words like those won’t steal your glow, you’re one in a million

This, this is for all the girls, and boys all over the world
whatever you’ve been told, you’re worth more than gold
so hold your head up high, it’s your time to shine
from the inside it shows, you’re worth more than gold
(gold gold, you’re gold)
You’re worth more than gold
(gold gold you’re gold)

Well everybody keeps score, afraid you’re gonna lose
just ignore they don’t know the real you
all the rain in the sky can’t put out your fire
of all the stars out tonight, you shine brighter

This, this is for all the girls, and boys all over the world
whatever you’ve been told, you’re worth more than gold
so hold your head up high, it’s your time to shine
from the inside it shows, you’re worth more than gold
(gold gold, you’re gold)
You’re worth more than gold
(gold gold you’re gold)

So don’t let anybody tell you that you’re not loved
and don’t let anybody tell you that you’re not enough
yeah there are days that we all feel like we are messed up
but the truth is that we’re all diamonds in the rough
so don’t be ashamed to wear your crown
you’re a king you’re a queen inside and out
you glow like the moon, you shine like the stars
this is for you, wherever you are

Oh, oh, yeah, yeah, oh, oh,
you’re gold

This, this is for all the girls, and boys all over the world
whatever you’ve been told, you’re worth more than gold
(so hold your head up high) so hold your head up high,
it’s your time to shine
from the inside it shows, you’re worth more than gold
(gold gold, you’re gold)
You’re worth more than gold
(gold gold you’re gold)

So don’t be ashamed to wear your crown
you’re a king you’re a queen inside and out

Songwriter(s):Daniel Muckala, Jess Cates

Other things we can do:

  • Find a GREAT church; one that encourages you to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
  • Find a group of people who are positive and accepting.  I recommend the LIFE leadership and personal development communities that are springing up all over North America.
  • Actively pray for a friend that you can share your thoughts and feelings with and they’ll listen without judgement but with compassion and empathy.
  • Become the friend you want others to be, try to take the focus off of yourself and focus on serving others.

Here’s to a better tomorrow.  Find a stranger, or friend, and look for something good to share with them.  Who knows, you may do more than just  save their day, you may save their life – literally.

Feel free to share in the comments section below a story of people who poured into your life positively, or, how you have invested in someone else in a positive way.

May God richly bless your day.  Matt

Teachable Moments with Children

“You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink….but you can salt his oats.”   Orrin Woodward

lead a human to knowledge

There’s a Leadershift happening in our country and I’m so thankful we have the LIFE business to help us with the transition.

How many of you have come across a situation in life where you know the right thing to do, yet you don’t do it? For whatever reason we as humans have an innate ability to “know” a lot of great things but often times never apply that knowledge at the appropriate time.  But when we do, the results are spectacular.

I love my children.  They provide so much joy and happiness and so many  “teachable moments,” as LIFE founder Orrin Woodward calls them.

Recently, my 14 year old son was playing a basketball game for his Christian home-school team- The Saints.  The game wasn’t very close as Adam’s team outmatched their opponents, winning by a large margin.  I could tell something was happening on the court as I heard one of the opposing players say to his coach,”Tell #5 that he better shut-up.”  Sounded like a little “trash-talking” was going on.  My son is number#31, so I felt a bit relieved that “my boy” wasn’t causing all the fuss.  Yet, I was concerned because these boys were playing on a Christian home-school team and they should be playing to represent Jesus Christ.

As the game progressed I could visibly see the opposing players getting more frustrated as one of the players “leaned a shoulder” into my son as he walked by him.  It was the kind of action that inferred, “Watch out, you want to fight?”

After the game, the opposing coach came over and detailed how our boys were taunting and trash-talking their players.   I could see why his players would be offended, but it was nothing super serious though.  After all, it’s the heat of the game and it’s nothing like we see professional athletes do on TV.    

Not a big deal right?  Not so.  The situation was a big deal to me because these boys are supposed to represent the core of great sportsmanship, self-control, and grace.  They play for a Christian basketball team called the “Saints” for crying-out-loud.  In the locker room I shared with our boys what the opposing coach said, shared my thoughts, and presumed that was the end of it.   Until my son told me he was “one of the boys.”  Geesh.

Needless to say, I was disappointed in his behavior.  We’ve had many discussions over the years regarding good sportsmanship, encouraging others, leading by example, playing above the referees, and so on.

What was done was done and it was time to move on and I prayed it wouldn’t happen again.  I also prayed for another opportunity to play that team and a chance for Adam to make things right with the players and coaches that he offended.

The opportunity came the other day.  A few days before the game, I seized the chance for a “teachable moment” and encouraged Adam to find the player and coach and apologize.  Adam knew the right thing to do but completely rejected the idea because his pride was in the way (You can lead a horse to water…).  He wanted to protect his ego and not look stupid, rather than develop his character and integrity and do the right thing by attempting to fix the relationship

I tried not to press the issue because I wanted this to be his struggle and victory.  I didn’t hear anything from Adam until we were on the way to the game and he decided he was going to apologize.  I could see this wasn’t easy for him as he sat quietly not listening to the typical pre-game music.  I complimented him on his decision but raised the bar by asking, “What about the coach?”  Adam  threw his head back into the seat saying, “Awe Dad!”  The rest of the car ride was deafeningly silent.

During the warm-up I watched the scene unfold.  Adam went up to the player he offended and apologized.  Then he found the opposing coach and did the same thing.  Both player and coach acted quite surprised.  There was a little buzz on their side as athletes and coaches pointed at Adam, smiling as the message of his apology spread throughout their team.  I knew after that Adam had earned a victory no matter what the final score would be.

The game ended with our boys having another lopsided victory.  Yet, there was a different feeling during the game.  One of sportsmanship, hard playing and healthy competition.  After the game I went up to the opposing coach and apologized for my responsibility in Adam’s behavior.  He smiled and told me how he brought his team together before the game and let them know,  “They apologized, It’s all OK now.”  The coach released them of their anger and resentment  diffusing what could have blown-up into something regrettable.

It was a proud moment for Dad to see his son think and act like a leader at such a young age.  Adam showed me what true wisdom (information applied) and humility look like in real life.  Adam was given the right information, thought about it, and acted appropriately which provided a great teachable moment to share with others.

Pride is a huge problem that plagues our culture and prevents us from acting appropriately with the right information.  I’m so thankful the LIFE business helps families and individuals navigate the prideful waters of life.  LIFE is self-directed education that helps teach individuals to identify problems and find solutions.  It teaches us how to think and apply.  I’m not sure how that scenario would’ve played out without the LIFE business, but I do know it gave me the skills to lead the horse to water and help him drink.   Join the movement and experience your own life victories.

Matt Mielke

A Little Pep-talk on Encouragement

A couple of years ago I was inspired by LIFE business co-founder Orrin Woodward to write an article on encouragement.  Its a topic you can’t get too much of.  Without it you can slip into hopelessness and despair and with it you can move mountains.

The root word for encourage comes from an old French word corage – which means heart.  To have courage can be thought of as “to have heart.”  The prefix ‘en’ in encourage means “to make or put in.”  To encourage someone can be literally translated as to give heart or to put heart in someone.

Read the post from my good friend Dan Hawkins, LIFE co-founder and fellow encourager.

Matt Mielke

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As I watched this video I could not help but smile and think of the all the people in the LIFE business who have encouraged me over the years.  Greg was kind enough to send me this link and is a friend who has always had a smile and a kind word for me.

It will take courage to accomplish in todays world and become awesome! Encouragement is the best way to help others muster up the courage to go out and succeed in LIFE.

Enjoy this video and remember to be an encourager of others! Make 2013 your year to be awesome!

God bless,

Dan Hawkins