Eating Frogs and Turds

This morning I walked with a couple of my girls (we were too tired to run). While we were walking we had a great conversation about doing difficult things.

I was able to string together some great, and funny, pieces of advice I’ve heard from others. It went like this…

If you eat a frog, first thing in the morning, everything else will be easy by comparison.

This is Brian Tracy’s way of encouraging people to stop procrastinating on the hard things! Do them first… and everything else will be easy in comparison! He wrote a book by that title.

The second piece of advice made us all laugh. Well… at least me. It made me laugh (the girls just rolled their eyes).

I can’t recall exactly who said it, but, unfortunately, it’s not original. Here goes…

If you have to eat a turd, don’t nibble!

In other words, if you have to do something that’s difficult… don’t take forever! Get it done quickly!

That’s such good advice!

Do the hard things first… and do them quick. That’s a formula for a good day (assuming you brush your teeth afterwards)!

Hug the Struggle

hugBen Horowitz wrote a New York Times bestseller called, “The Hard Thing About Hard Things.” In this book, he discusses the underbelly of leadership; the hard and unglamorous stuff that few talk about or consider. He tells and dissects leadership experiences… the hard ones… the REAL hard ones!

I actually picked this book up when I heard Bill Hybels recommend it.

Anyhow, the other day I was reading “The Hard Thing About Hard Things”, and came across a “poem” that Horowitz wrote. It flowed out of his experiences, and was sparked by a sentence from Karl Marx, “Life is struggle.” Here’s Ben…

The Struggle is when you wonder why you started the company in the first place.

The Struggle is when people ask you why you don’t quit and you don’t know the answer.

The Struggle is when your employees think you are lying and you think they may be right.

The Struggle is when food loses its taste.

The Struggle is when you don’t believe you should be CEO of your company. The Struggle is when you know that you are in over your head and you know that you cannot be replaced. The Struggle is when everybody thinks you are an idiot, but nobody will fire you. The Struggle is where self-doubt becomes self-hatred.

The Struggle is when you are having a conversation with someone and you can’t hear a word that they are saying because all you can hear is The Struggle.

The Struggle is when you want the pain to stop. The Struggle is unhappiness.

The Struggle is when you go on vacation to feel better and you feel worse.

The Struggle is when you are surrounded by people and you are all alone. The Struggle has no mercy.

The Struggle is the land of broken promises and crushed dreams. The Struggle is a cold sweat. The Struggle is where your guts boil so much that you feel like you are going to spit blood.

The Struggle is not failure, but it causes failure. Especially if you are weak. Always if you are weak.

Most people are not strong enough.

Every great entrepreneur from Steve Jobs to Mark Zuckerberg went through The Struggle and struggle they did, so you are not alone. But that does not mean that you will make it. You may not make it. That is why it is The Struggle.

The Struggle is where greatness comes from.

AHHH!!! I love and hate this! I hate it, because I know how it feels. I love it, because I know that “the struggle” will produce something, if I don’t run… or quit!

So, stay in the game! Pray often. Work hard. Get counsel. Cry. Cuss (not all the time, but sometimes… and not at anyone!). Exercise. Eat some food. Get some rest… and get back into the struggle! The struggle is your friend! It builds your strength and prepares you for the next level! Hug the struggle!

You can get the book (I recommend it), or you can read this article on “the struggle”.

Thinking about “Urgency”

I’ve been thinking a lot about urgency lately.

Here are a few unedited and non-finalized thoughts about this subject:

  • When I am urgent about something I am laser-focused on it.
  • It is almost impossible to be urgent about multiple things simultaneously.
  • Urgency in one area generally means neglect of other areas.
  • How do I live with urgency while maintaining the other areas of my life?
  • It is impossible to work with urgency and multi-task at the same time.
  • Complacency is the opposite of urgency.

I know there is more to say and think about this… and I’m going to be doing that. In the meantime, what say you about this matter of “urgency”?

Do you feel a sense of urgency in any area of your life?

Have you been able to multi-task when you feel urgent?

What other questions should I be thinking about as I process this idea?

The genesis of this line of thinking came from Craig Groeschel’s podcast called “Institutionalizing Urgency.” Check it out in the links below:

 

 

Making space in a packed life

Making Space1“When good things begin to happen, other good things begin to fall through the cracks.”

That is exactly what happened to the leaders of the church when it was in its early days. It’s something that happens to leaders today too. Things start going well, and then things start falling apart, and it’s often the important things that go first: spiritual vitality, relationships, physical well-being, emotional strength, mental growth, etc.

Look at this story found in the book of Acts (6:1-7) (I’m going to insert comments in bold throughout this story):

…as the believers rapidly multiplied, there were rumblings of discontent. The Greek-speaking believers complained about the Hebrew-speaking believers, saying that their widows were being discriminated against in the daily distribution of food.

Believers were “rapidly multiplying.” That’s a good thing.

Meeting basic needs, like distributing food to the poor, is a good thing, but it was falling through the cracks because the leaders were too busy… they had no space in their lives.

When good things start falling through the cracks “rumblings of discontent” will soon follow. Sometimes those rumblings come from inside your home. Sometimes they come from inside your body. Sometimes they come from the organization you lead. 

How long it takes for them to come and from where they come are different for each person. What is always true though is that when good things get ignored the rumblings will come.

So what do we do? Look at what the Apostles did:

So the Twelve called a meeting of all the believers. They said, “We apostles should spend our time teaching the word of God, not running a food program. And so, brothers, select seven men who are well respected and are full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will give them this responsibility. Then we apostles can spend our time in prayer and teaching the word.”

They made a decision to let go of some things. They did not STOP them from happening, but gave them over to others to execute.

Everyone liked this idea, and they chose the following: Stephen (a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit), Philip, Procorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas of Antioch (an earlier convert to the Jewish faith). These seven were presented to the apostles, who prayed for them as they laid their hands on them.

Look at what happened when the leaders let go of those extra responsibilities and focused on their sweet spot…

So God’s message continued to spread. The number of believers greatly increased in Jerusalem, and many of the Jewish priests were converted, too.

Things went gangbusters when the leaders made space in their lives to function in and lead out of their sweetspot!

Now here’s the thing, if you’re in any kind of leadership position, you are going to be responsible for LOTS of people and details… and if you insist on handling everything you will soon run out of space in your life and the rumblings will begin.

Here’s something we talked about yesterday at Church180:

The things you hold onto will determine how far you go.

If you insist of doing everything and letting go of nothing… you will run out of space, the people around you will become discontent and unfulfilled… and you and your organization will soon flatline.
The alternative is letting some things go either by choosing to STOP doing them or HANDING THEM OFF to other people.
Making the decision to “hand off” is tough… especially if you love and feel the responsibility of your organization, but when you do hand off you will discover that there are incredibly passionate and capable people around you that can do things so well that the organization will be happier, healthier, and more vibrant than when you were trying to do it all yourself!
So are some self-evaluation questions for you (and me):
  • Are good things happening in your life? Business? Church? Organization?
  • Have you taken time to determine if other good things are slipping through the cracks as a result?
  • What do you, the leader, need to focus your energy and time on doing?
  • What do you need to stop doing?
  • What do you need to hand off to a team?
  • Are you willing to let go of some things and trust others to do them?

As you’re processing this, remember that the things you hold onto will determine how far you go!

If you are interested in hearing how I taught this story yesterday you can watch it here.

 

When you’re the best man in the room… go to another room.

gym-etiquette_2101068c1This morning I had a conversation with someone about the value of setting goals.

This person is trying to figure out what goals to set. For all intents and purposes this person is doing well: physically attractive, financially set, intellectually sharp, relationally fulfilled. What else could someone want? Right?

We talked for a while and I began to ask some questions… questions that have me thinking and might be helpful for you to process as well:

  • What happens when you’re the strongest person in the gym?
  • What happens when you’re smartest person in the room?
  • What happens when you’re the best… or at least better than those around you?

Not always, but often, you will begin to stagnate. You will be tempted to settle… because you’re already at the top (as least as far as you can tell).

You may be tempted to pride… after all, you’re stronger, smarter, richer, prettier, funnier, etc. than the rest of your friends so what else is there to do but keep doing what got you there?!

That’s a dangerous place to be!

John Maxwell teaches a principle that goes something like this:

If you’re always the biggest guy in the room, you’re in the wrong room.

I’ve found that when I am surrounded by people who are better than I am, it makes me want to be better! It makes me think deeper, dream bigger, work harder, and stick with it longer!

The gym where I train is filled with strong people! Heck, the women in our gym are stronger than the men in most gyms! There are multiple men who are deadlifting over 600 pounds and squatting well over 500 pounds. Benching 300 pounds at our gym won’t even get you on the “strongest lifters in the gym” board.

In most gyms I’d be considered a pretty strong dude. In Brutal Iron Gym, when I do a heavy lift my buddies look at me and say, “Are you done warming up yet?” (Then they celebrate my lift… because that’s how we roll at BIG).

I like that… I like it because it drives me to work harder and be better!

Being surrounded by people who are better than I am makes me want to be better… and it shows me HOW to be better!

The same is true in every other area of life:

  • I want to be a great husband… so I need to spend time around awesome husbands.
  • I want to handle my money well… so I need to spend time around people who handle their money well.
  • I want to represent Jesus well… so I need to hang out around people who live out their faith consistently and well.
  • I want to be a great dad…
  • I want to be a great leader…
  • I want to be a great communicator…

You get the point.

If you want to be better you can’t always be the best in the room! You’ve got to put yourself in environments where you are surrounded by people who are better than you.

Now here’s an important caveat:

This is not a call for us to self-denigrate! This is not the time to begin private messaging yourself saying “You’re no good” or “You’re never going to be that good”… etc. NOPE! This is the time and place to be inspired… to ask questions… to take notes… to see how those better than you are performing so that you can perform that way too!

So, if you’re not sure what goals to set or how to get unstuck… get around people who are better than you! I think you might just like what happens when you’re not the best person in the room!

The “Gut Whisper”

What if you did what everyone is telling you not to do… but your gut was telling you “is the right thing to do”?

Jesus did it. Martin Luther King Jr. did it. There are others, plenty of others, who did it too.

quote-almost-always-the-creative-dedicated-minority-has-made-the-world-better-martin-luther-king-jr-102452

Has there ever been a time that your “gut” was wrong?

In hindsight I see that some of my biggest mistakes and deepest regrets are the result of ignoring my gut. Likewise, my biggest wins are often the result of following that “gut whisper.”

It is possible that your “gut” can be wrong… but it’s not as often as you think.

The biggest obstacle to listening to your “gut” is your head… fear!

Don’t let the bean counter in your head shut down the entrepreneur in your gut!

Remember this, everything you want is on the other side of fear, and what lies over there is whispering to you… through your gut.

 

 

Learn… or be normal.

A while ago I ran across a quote from Henry Doherty…

“It is the studying you do after your school days that really counts. Otherwise, you know only that which everyone else knows.”

Geeze… I don’t want to be normal. Normal assumes that things will get worse unless they are intentionally made better. I want to get better… so I expect to keep learning!

For me books are my go to source of information. I also find helpful coaches and teachers on YouTube.

Where do you go to keep learning? Take a minute to let me know on this poll!