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Here is a repost of a blog that I wrote a couple of years ago.  Life is full of choices.  What choices are you making?

There should be a law against allowing a donut shop to open up a couple businesses down from a gym.  There should be a non-compete that stops it from happening.  I decided to join a gym again to get into shape.  In the same shopping center as the gym there is a new donut shop.
Can I justify a purchase of a couple of donuts because I had a great workout?  Life is full of temptations.  I spoke a couple of weeks ago about the decisions that we make affecting our destiny.  We are tempted everyday in our careers to take the easy path and always agree with our peers.  We want to be that corporate "yes" man that quickly gets promoted up through the ranks.  Do not cause any trouble, you may be limiting your potential.

If your fellow managers treat their staff a certain way and they are producing results on paper that impress your corporation, we try to mimick them.  This seems to be a logical choice to make.  If you want to get ahead, then do what others are doing to get ahead.  I have learned over the years to not set aside your religious beliefs in your pursuit of success.

Romans 12:2 (New Living Translation)

Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a
new person by changing the way you think.  Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.

Resist the temptation.  Just because your peers approach is one way, does not mean that you have to lead your team that same way.  I am not saying that you go against the company goals and vision.  You still have objectives that need to be reached.  You still need to manage your team and the processes needed to complete the job.  The way that you treat your staff needs to show the traits that you have developed as a leader that is guided by your faith in God. 

Do not expect your team to have the best working experience if it goes against your value system?  Be true to your faith.  The expected behaviors are given to us in Scripture.  You can still produce the end results required of your team, but through a stronger team approach based on the values and priorities presented in the Bible.  You can find out more in my book, Faith Guided Leadership.

It may be a longer road to success by creating your own path.  Hold true to your faith and do not be tempted to just blend in with society and the main stream way of managing people.  Let God show through in everything that you do.  God bless you and keep Him as your guide. 



 
 
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What do you think of when someone mentions diversity? Most people think about a person’s race.  I want you to take another approach to it.  Diversity is much more than race.

Everyone is as unique as there are snowflakes.  We all have different traits as well as our appearance.  Every organization needs diversity to be successful.  If everyone thought the same way, performed the same way and approached every situation the same way, the organization would become stagnant.

Just as a human body has a wide range of parts that all do different functions, an organization needs the same thing.  I recently did a management assessment with my company and saw how I matched up with the other managers.  It is an interesting combination of personalities, approaches, management styles and strengths that make up our team.

Some are more natural leaders while others are more natural finishers of projects.  Some are better coaches and some are better at analyzing things.  The more we can learn how to integrate these diversities into our team, the more successful we will be.

God has given all of us our gifts and talents for a purpose.  This part of scripture sums it up well.

Romans 12:4-8English Standard Version (ESV)

For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.

Do not decide to exclude someone from your team because they are different.  Embrace their unique qualities.  It may be just the thing that your organization needs to grow stronger. Let your team members embrace their uniqueness and what they can bring to your team. 

What makes you unique?  What are some of the unique talents of some of your co-workers that enhance your team?




 
 
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I had the opportunity this month to be a guest on Kathy Chiero's radio show. She broadcasts from Radio AM 610 in Columbus, Ohio.  The show was about New Year's resolutions and goal setting.  Too often we set new goals at the beginning of the year and a few week's later we let them fall to the wayside.

Click on the image to listen to the podcast of the show.  I am the guest for the first half of the show.  I discuss my book, A Marathon Journey: Lessons in Goal Setting. What goals have you set for 2015?  How are you progressing towards them.

Two weeks ago, I was able to run my second marathon.  This was a big accomplishment for me, but even greater for members of my family.  Seven members of my family ran the Disney World Marathon in Orlando.  Three of them had never ran a 5k before starting the training last summer in preparation for the race.  This proves that if we remove the barriers that set in our minds about our capabilities we can achieve so much more in our lives.

I challenge you to reach for new heights in your goals for 2015.  Let me know how I can help you achieve them.



 
 
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Happy New Year!  Today, many people have established resolutions for the new year.  In a few weeks, too many of them will resort back to their old habits.  We tend to settle for less than our full potential.

Philippians 4:13 simply states that we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us.  So why do we settle for less than our potential?  It is because we do not really challenge ourselves.

Dream big and challenge yourself to accomplish it.  Once you establish a big goal, you need to break it down into smaller steps.  Concentrate on achieving the smaller goals and the big goals will happen.  When I started running two years ago, I could barely run one mile.  I initially only decided to complete a half marathon, not run the full distance.  I was perfectly happy to run/walk it and just finish.  It was not a big enough challenge to really reach my potential.

After completing it, I decided to see what my body was capable of doing.  I started running for two miles and walk, run two miles and walk.  Each time that I would go for my run, I would try to go a little bit further before walking.  It was a small goal, but 6 months later I was able to run the full 13.1 miles in the St. Louis half marathon.  I could have settled for less than my potential and kept run/walking but I decided to challenge myself.

Next week, I will be running in my 2nd full marathon at Disney World.  I never had an interest or thought that completing a marathon could be possible for me.  It took challenging myself to make it happen.

What are your goals for 2015?  How much will they push you out of your comfort zone?  If they are too easy, we tend to not focus on them enough and fall short.  There is not enough motivation for a difference in our lives to keep our focus.  Your goals maybe health related, financial, or wanting to do more volunteer work in the community.  Set strong enough goals to make a difference in your life or the lives of those around you in 2015. 

Approach 2015 with the right attitude.  Thank God daily for what He is doing in your life.  He plays an active part every day and sometimes we do not realize it.  I believe that the more we appreciate what He does for us, the more He will bless us.  It may not be reality, but the more you are aware of your blessings, the more that you feel that you are blessed.

Do not limit your potential.  Keep pushing for more out of your life.  Someone approached me recently and asked how she could figure out her passion and purpose in life.  You do not find your passion/purpose.  It finds you.  Do what you enjoy doing and keep pursuing your dreams and God will direct you to what His will is in your life.

Sign up to receive my blog by e-mail and get a complimentary goal setting template. 

Stay blessed.

Tom




 
 
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As we approach the end of the year, many of us reflection on what took place in our lives throughout the year.  We recap in our minds certain events that took place and how they affected us emotionally.

In my year, there were three major things that took place.  In February, my dad passed away.  He was, and still is a major source of inspiration for me in many areas of my life.  I ran my first marathon and used the experience to help others attain their goals by publishing my third book.  A Marathon Journey: Lessons in Goal Setting was released this fall. The third major event was beginning a relationship with a woman that I had not seen since high school.

The next step that we take this week is looking forward to the new year and anticipating what is to come.  Do you create New Year's resolutions for yourself?  Are they the same ones from last year that you quit pursuing before the end of January.  For many, this is the case.  This year I would like you to achieve these goals.  Let's look at your approach.

When you decide on a specific goal, determine the real reason for the goal.  Let's look at the goal of weight loss that we tend to put high on the list.  Is the weight necessarily the issue or is it that you want to get healthier and have a higher self esteem?  Maybe the goal should not be stated as a certain amount of weight loss.  The goal may be to be more active.  Be realistic in your approach.  Can you add a certain amount of exercise into your routine each week?  Can you make different meal choices? 

Do not try to completely change who you are overnight,  You are asking for failure if you do that.  Choose smaller steps.  As you accomplish these smaller goals, you will start to take on larger ones.  These accomplishments bring you closer to a healthier lifestyle and improve your opinion about yourself.  Remember that just because someone is skinnier than you does not mean that they are healthier or happier.

Reflect on the past, but focus on the future.  Let's make 2015 your best year ever.  It starts with your attitude.  Philippians 4:13 says  "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."  Let God be a big part in your goal setting and witness His powers in your life.

What are your goals for 2015?  I would love to hear from you. For more tips, contact me here.






 
 
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A strong leader will have a vision of what they want the team to achieve in the future.  Teach your team what your vision is.  You have to have a true conviction to accomplish this.  You have to be an inspiration to your followers.  They can help you develop the strategies to get there.  Sure, you can get them started on that path.  If they do not truly understand and support your vision, you will not have a team effort toward reaching your goals.   

What is part of the reason that you hire such a strong staff? I would assume that part of this is because of their intelligence. Why do some managers not want to tap into this valuable resource? Once your team has bought into your vision, they can probably give you the insight as to numerous ways that you can get to that same result. Sometimes, you will make your company more money. In other cases, it might make your company a safer company to work for.

I have always taken the approach that those working the front line have a better working knowledge of how to do the job better than I do. They are the ones that do it day after day. They will know how to be more efficient. They know what is needed to make the job safer.  All you need to do is ask them. Think outside the box.  Just because it is always been done one way does not mean that it always has to be done that way.

Your team has a wealth of knowledge. You need to learn how to use it.  This is a huge motivator. When your team has input into your systems and procedures they end up with total buy in.  It is now their vision, not just yours.  They will put more effort into programs that they have put into place than those that were just given to them.

What is your vision for your team?  What are you doing to convey it to your team?  If you are unsure how to get your team to buy in on it, let me know.  I would love to help you improve the strength of your team.




 
 
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Are you ready?  Do you have big plans to feast on turkey, stuffing, and all the trimmings?  Are all of your relatives getting together?  Are there parades and football games that will take all of your attention throughout the day?

You probably have many traditions in your family.  We just need to make sure that we do not forget why we celebrate.  It began with the pilgrims in 1621 to celebrate their first harvest.  The Native Americans had taught them how to provide for themselves in this new world.  They celebrated for three days.  We can not do that now because it would get in the way of black Friday shopping.  The key is to give thanks for everything that God has provided for us.

God is our Great Provider.  By ourselves we are nothing.  He provides for all of our needs.  The close family that you celebrate with is a blessing.  You are reading this because of modern technology which many people do not have access to.  You are probably going to have more food than you could ever imagine eating.  There are people who do not know where their next meal will come from.  Think about all your material possessions.  The friendships that you have developed over the years are priceless.  

I can go on for a long time in listing my blessings.  I pray for those that do not have the blessings that I have.  There are homeless people that have struggled to find a warm place to spend the night.  We have so many freedoms in this country that we just take for granted.  I am thankful for all of those that have served in our armed forces to earn us these freedoms.  I pray for those in other countries that do not have the luxuries that we have.  We do not stop to think about how good we really have it here.

Even as much as we have, we are greedy for more.  It is never enough.  We want to work more hours and jobs so we can buy even more.  Have you noticed that people with more money are not necessarily happier?  That is because material things in life are not what is important.  I celebrate my good health and the love and support of my close friends and family.  I am thankful to have a God that will always be there for me.  No matter what is going on in my life, He never leaves my side.  I have faith that His plan is much better than my plan.  I am thankful that He is finally getting through to me to see that.

I wish you and your families have a Happy Thanksgiving.  Just remember to say thanks.
 
 

 
 
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This past weekend, I ran another half marathon.  This was my third so far this year that I have ran.  My times for the past two races were 2:27 and 2:23.  I decided that I would try for under 2 hours and 20 minutes for this race.

I felt that it was a realistic goal and figured that my fullest potential for running would be to, some day, run it in 2:15.  Race day came and I was at the starting line.  Since I had a hip injury in February, I have been leery of a potential injury again if I pushed myself too hard.

I quietly said a prayer.  Please Lord, keep me healthy throughout this race.  If it is your will, please let me run fast enough to break the 2:20 barrier.  The race organizers provided pacers for different time goals.  I decided that if I could keep up with 2:15 pacer through at least ten miles, I could reach my goal.  Not only was I able to do that, after the 12 mile point, I decided that I could go faster than he was going.  I finished with a personal best of 2:13.

This proved to me that I had put a limit on my own potential.  It states in Philippians 4:13 that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.  Christ gave me strength that day.  What areas of your life are you limiting your potential?

My third book, A Marathon Journey: Lessons in Goal Setting, has just been published.  I encourage you to get a copy and read more about bringing God into your goal setting.  You will be blessed with what you can accomplish with His strength.  It is available through Amazon and Barnes and Noble.


Through Christ, everything is possible.  There are no limits to His potential to use you for His glory.  Remember to be thankful for all of the blessings that He bestows upon you.  By doing this, the blessing will continue to flow.



 
 
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We live in a fast paced society.  It is a balancing act to keep up all of the activities and not go overboard and create stress.  The hours that we work keep creeping up.  You may still be able to keep the hours at the office to 50 hours or less, but have you really added up all of the time that your mind is on work during your “off” hours.  With the advances in the cell phone industry, we are working more than ever outside of our regular work schedule. 

The cell phone sounds its annoying tone saying you have another e-mail.  Years ago, you would not realize that an email had come in or even care.  Now we feel obligated to read it.  Once you read it, you might as well act on it, right?  Your customers should understand that you need “down time”.  Why do you feel obligated to act on requests 24 hours a day?  

You should be able to ignore the e-mails in the evenings.  Rarely is it ever anything that just has to be taken care of.  Not everyone works daytime hours, so there can be e-mails coming in during the evening.  These people are probably answering some of the e-mails that you sent during your normal shift.

I know that you have witnessed individuals that answer their phones when they are in the rest room.  Why can’t they draw the line on when to ignore the ringing of the
phone?  They are out of balance.  These are the people that live with continuing stress levels. You need to be able to “turn off” work.

I know that it would be hard to go from never ignoring the phone and the e-mails to being completely off work when out of the office.  Start with baby steps.  It may start with leaving the phone in your car when you go out to dinner with your family.  That way, there is no way that you can be tempted to sneak a peek at it under the table. If you are that addicted, you can look at it after dinner.  Enjoy the time with your family and give them your attention.  It will do wonders for your stress level and you do not get the opportunity to relive these moments with your family.  It is unfair to them to not have your full attention.

Share with me what you are planning on doing to get your life in balance.  We can all learn from one another.  What do you do to make sure that you have time for yourself and not just taking care of the needs of others?

 
 
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“Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.”  Ephesians 4:29

All of us need encouragement.  This is a difficult world to live in.  At some point in our lives, most of us will experience financial struggles.

Relationships are pushed to the limits at times and we wonder if we can save some of them or not.  Doubt sets in when we look at our goals after we hit a stumbling block.

Think about how you have felt when someone said just the right thing at the right time and it lifted your spirits.  This is something that we can do all day long and it does not cost us a thing.  “Words of encouragement cost you nothing, but they have a great value to others.” Thomas Mayberry  Go ahead and tweet that.  Look for the opportunity throughout the day to encourage others.

I have had co-workers that have come to me in desperation because of circumstances beyond their control in their lives.  I have found that the best encouragement that I can give them is to offer to pray for them.  Sometimes they do not give you specifics about the circumstances.  That is fine.  God knows the circumstances.  You just need to lift them up in prayer and God will take it from there.

Giving someone praise for the job well done at work is a form of encouragement.  They will try harder in the future if they know that someone is noticing and they feel appreciated.  We are too fast in offering counseling for the things that people do wrong, but too slow to point out the good things in people.  Take the time over the next week to look for opportunities to point out the strengths of others.  If someone is struggling, offer to help them in the area of their struggles.  Sometimes people’s pride does not let them accept help.  This is where you can pray that they get resolution to their struggles.

Let everything you say be good and helpful.  Do you remember the phrase, “If you do not have anything good to say, do not say anything.”?  It is a good practice to get into.  Stop for a minute every time that you feel like saying something bad about someone.  It will change your attitude and will help your relationship with that person going forward.