Embracing Your Role As A Leader – Podcast: S01E003

In this podcast, I share 5 ways that transformational leaders embrace their role as a leader to make an authentic and positive impact within their sphere of influence.

These principles and techniques can be applied in any area of life including sports, business, and life. Whatever roles you play in life, you are a leader, because you have influence. Every day, you have a choice to make a positive impact on the world around you.

Episode Outline:

How do transformational leaders embrace their role as leader:

  1. Lead The Way
  2. Inspire a Shared Vision
  3. Create Positive Change
  4. Activate The Performance Of Others
  5. Be Resilient

Employe engagement is essential to making a difference and leading people effectively, and it is important to understand that up to 70% of the people you lead and influence may be either not engaged or actively disengaged according to Gallup Research.

Leading the way is all about making the right choices and decisions in our lives and ensuring that our actions and words are in sync.

Inspiring a shared vision involves connecting with the people you lead and influence in order to communicate a vision that is shared and also heard, received, understood, and incorporated into their lives and everyday tasks.

Creating positive change involves:

  • Challenging the process
  • Asking the right questions
  • Conquering limiting beliefs
  • Being a part of the solution vs. part of the problem

Activating the performance of others involves effectively delegating to others and creating operating principles for effective teamwork.

Being resilient involves possibility thinking when setbacks and challenges occur.

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Don’t Allow Perception To Dictate Your Reality

We sometimes perceive things that are not really true. This occurs when we attach additional meaning to something that is said or done that is not based on fact. There are some examples where perception can be a good thing like offering a word of encouragement to someone that we perceive is feeling down or avoiding a dangerous situation because we perceive it might cause us harm. Yet, there are times when perception leads us to assume the wrong things about someone’s motives or actions and keep us from thinking the best about a person or situation.

I can do it card

We have to be careful to separate perception from reality and think critically every time we experience a perception, discerning whether it is true and real or not. I see the ill effects of perceptions in my work with elite athletes where they let their perceptions guide actions and even worse, dictate their outcomes. This happens when they allow a wrong or misinformed perception to develop into a misguided perspective leading to an unfortunate reality.

I remember I was working with a high school golfer who was debriefing a recent round with me. This very good golfer told me that he hit a shot off the tee into the woods and then tried to aggressively get out of the woods with his next shot only to have it hit the trees leading to a double bogey on the hole. He then proceeded to tell me that his round was over and was all downhill from there. When I asked him what hole this occurred on, he informed me that it was the 2nd hole.

In this moment, he allowed a real situation – not scoring his best on a hole – to become a perception that his round was over and that he would never catch up to the other players in the round, therefore leading to more bad shots and holes. His misguided perception led to a misinformed perspective which spiraled down into an unfortunate round of golf, which could have been avoided by questioning his initial perception in the moment.

we are what we believe sign

I have also seen this occur in other areas of life including work, home, and communities. We often receive what we perceive as “truth” instead of dealing in facts and reality. When we allow a bad perception to become a truth or reality in our lives, it limits us from maximizing our potential and achieving our goals. We box ourselves into a false mindset which leads to tentative or passive behaviors that result in outcomes that are less than optimal and become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Breaking the cycle of a bad perception or perspective is essential to having a growth mindset and becoming who you were meant to be. But, how do you do that? Here are several things that you can do to create breakthrough moments and avoid allowing a misguided mindset to dictate your reality:

  • Question the Perception – Any time you have a perception about a person or a situation, question it first by asking: Is my perception about this really true? Discern fact from fiction or your perceived meaning that you may be adding to the situation. While the gift of discernment can be a very good thing almost like Spiderman’s “Spidy Sense,” I think it is always good to analyze the facts and question whether they are real or not and what conclusion they lead you to.
  • Discern the Truth – Once you have questioned the perception, it is important to discover and discern the truth about a given situation or person. Are your teammates really mad at you and consider you a failure about not coming through in the clutch, or are they just upset that the team did not win knowing you gave your best? Maybe, your kids and co-workers are really listening to every bit of wisdom you are sharing with them! One of the best ways to discern the truth is beginning with a mindset that believes the best about people. This starting point allows you to more accurately seek the truth in every situation and avoid misleading assumptions.
  • Break the Cycle – Break the cycle of buying in to bad perceptions by replacing the perception with statements of truth about you, your strengths, your past accomplishments, and the opportunities that are in front of you.
  • Develop a Growth Mindset – Replace your problematic mindset with a possibility mindset. Think in terms of what’s possible, not your perception about what is not. Developing a growth mindset is a process and depends on your determination to unlearn bad habits and negative thoughts, and replace them with new thoughts that lead to growth and grit.

Don’t allow perceptions to limit your possibilities. Unleash your potential in all areas of your life, and create a reality that you can be proud of and that makes a positive difference within your sphere of influence!

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How To Make An Impact – Podcast: S01E002

In this podcast, I explain 7 essential things that you need to do to make a positive impact, lead well, and make your life count for what matters most:

Episode Outline:

Have you ever thought about the impact you are making? Do you ever wonder about the following questions:

  • Am I making an impact?
  • Does my life count, and does it count for what matters most?
  • What is my calling, what am I being called to do, and who am I becoming in the process?
  • Who am I?
  • Does my life matter?

This week’s show will focus on helping you through this process. This week’s theme is “Impact,” and the following crossword puzzle serves as a great definition for the word Impact:







In order to act and to truly make an impact – a positive impact – you must map out a course of action in the right direction. To be a leader who others want to follow, you must lead yourself well.

But how do you know which direction to go? How do you know the paths that will lead to fulfillment, contentment, true joy, and a life that is invested in the right people and things?

For me, it comes down to 7 essential things:

  1. Mission
  2. Vision
  3. Values
  4. Roles
  5. Goals
  6. Action Plan
  7. Accountability

Mission – Just like a great business or organization has a corporate mission statement, you need to develop a personal mission statement that communicates your calling and why you believe you were created by God. This process engages your heart and head and enables you to commit to say this is what my life is about, and I am going to go all in to make sure my time, talent, and treasure is devoted to this mission and calling.

Vision – Once you articulate your mission, it is important to visualize what this looks like in practice. Clear vision creates focused commitment.

Values – Develop a set of 5-7 core values that you want your life to represent, and create a list of leadership behaviors that further explain what these core values look like in practice.

Roles – Identify and prioritize the roles you play in life, which allows you to engage in and embrace the platforms you have been given.

Goals – Clearly defined roles often lead to very specific goals. The most successful people that I know and work with create compelling goals and then direct their focus on a daily and weekly basis to make them a reality. Also, remember to develop both achievement goals and process goals.

Action Plan – Goals take flight when you develop an action plan to achieve them. The point is that you want to break down the goal you want to accomplish into manageable steps. Goals don’t just happen by writing them down and hoping they happen. It takes a plan with action steps focused in the right direction.

Accountability – To achieve anything meaningful in life, you must have accountability first to yourself and then to others. Self accountability involves tracking your progress and being authentic and real with yourself about how you are doing including what you are doing well and where you may need to redirect more energy, effort, and focus. Make sure that you also involve key stakeholders in your life to help encourage, challenge, and hold you accountable to the goals you have committed to.

This is true not only in achieving your goals but also in becoming the person you were meant to be. To have true impact, you must personally act. Creating your personal mission statement, clarifying your vision, developing your core values, identifying your roles, crafting your goals, creating an action plan, and building in accountability from yourself and others will enable you to make the most of your moments in life and lead you to a fulfilling life not just a full life of repetitive tasks and meaningless minutes.



The Key To Effective Leadership

The key to effective leadership is something we are all searching for. Some leaders think it is all about developing a brilliant strategy. Other leaders place emphasis on systems and structures.  Still other leaders argue that the golden key is found in compensation, incentive, and rewards. Finally, some leaders put all of their attention into modeling the way hoping something will catch on in the process. While all of these methods need to be in place, I have learned that none of these can bring about impact and influence in another person’s life all by themselves.

Do You Want To Be A Leader on a wall

In working with leaders, teams, and organizations, I believe that the key to effective leadership is found in your ability to inspire, impact, and influence other people to grow as leaders and achieve a goal – what we call your “leadership effectiveness.” James Macgregor Burns in his appropriately, yet simply titled book Leadership said it this way:

You can articulate a super strategy, implement seamless processes and structures, and roll out a rewards structure that creates potential financial success; but if you can’t tap into the needs, motivators, and activators of the people you lead, you will never engage the full person into affecting long-term change – in themselves and in their organization.

keys to activating performance

Where this hits closest to home for me is my actual home. I am a husband and a father of five boys and have important leadership responsibilities in both of these roles. I don’t always lead in an effective manner and in a way that is achieving the results and, more importantly, the goals of my calling as a husband and father. Sometimes, I articulate what I think is a brilliant strategy that doesn’t reach its full potential with my boys. Sometimes, I use pay to motivate them. Other times, I stress systems, procedures, and structure. And when these things fail, I dig in hard to modeling the way wondering why no one is following. The key is wrapping all of these methods into an overall approach that focuses on my ability to tap into their unique motives and needs to accomplish a shared vision for their lives. Each of them is wired differently, and I have to understand that concept as a leader in order to affect change in each of their lives.

Knowing and understanding the people you lead is the first step to engaging the talents and passions of your people. Hall of Fame baseball player Reggie Jackson said it this way: “A great manager [leader] … forces you to have a good opinion of yourself. He lets you know he believes in you. He makes you get more out of yourself. And once you learn how good you really are, you never settle for … anything less than your very best.”

That is exactly the kind of leader that I want to be at home, at work, and in my community. As you consider your leadership style, influence, and platform, here are some key questions to consider:

  • How are you tapping into the hearts and minds of the people you lead?
  • What do you do to improve your “leadership effectiveness” and inspire, impact, and influence change and growth in your people?
  • Do you truly know the people you are leading including their needs, motivators, and activators?
  • Are your collecting followers or creating leaders?

Question: What ideas and techniques have you found to be successful in leading others effectively? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

My Interview with Ernie Johnson – Podcast: S01E001

Welcome to Season 1, Episode 1 of the Monday Morning Moments Podcast! I had the incredible opportunity to interview Ernie Johnson, 3-time Emmy award-winning host of Inside The NBA on TNT, for my book Moments: Making Your Life Count For What Matters Most.

Since Ernie has just written a book entitled Unscripted: The Unpredictable Moments That Make Life Extraordinary, I thought it would be great to kick off the first episode of my brand new podcast with this interview with Ernie from a few years ago.

In my conversation with Ernie, we discussed the moment he discovered he had cancer, the faith that sustained him through that moment, and how he strives to live his life with excellence every day, trusting God in the process.

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Be The Change

I am going to make a difference today!  You can too!  And I’m not talking about some pie in the sky “Change the World” mantra that most people forsake out of frustration, because it is impossible for somebody to change the behaviors of six-plus billion people that live in this world.  You can’t change the world, but you can change your world – your sphere of influence.

Be The Change Picture

What if each of us asked this question every day:

How can I make a difference?

So many people just go through the motions tackling the tasks of the day without ever wondering how they can make a difference.  Sometimes, they consider a question like, “Am I making a difference?” but the question, and its potentially disappointing answer, quickly disappear as the urgency of the day engulfs their potential for productive self-reflection.

The truth is that you can make a positive difference and impact within your sphere of influence regardless of your title, position, or role. It’s a choice that requires a different mindset.  It is not hard, but you have to proactively consider 3 things:

  • Your Talent– You have been uniquely created with gifts and talents that were meant to be shared with people in your story. Do you know and recognize the gifts, talents, and strengths that you have been given, and are you embracing and leveraging them to make a positive difference every day?
  • Your Time – We all have the same number of hours in a day.  High capacity people are able to maintain focus of their top priorities and maximize their impact.  You can be effective and maximize your moments if you choose to. Who are the people that you need to invest in, and what are the things that you must do based on your roles and priorities in every area of your life?
  • Your Sphere of Influence – Every person who is in your story is there for a reason.  They are beckoning for your influence and impact in their lives. You must understand their needs and goals in order to help and serve them in the right way. Also, as a leader, you must be able to discern their motivators – what are they passionate about – and their activators – what will move them to action – in order to influence and impact them in the right way. Who is in your sphere of influence that could benefit from your positive impact in their life? Likewise, who is in your sphere of influence that can help you learn and grow?

Making a difference is not a one-time thing; it is a one-life moment! At the end of your life, will they say:

You made a difference!

Intro Episode: Welcome to Monday Morning Moments

Welcome to Monday Morning Moments, my new podcast dedicated to helping you make the most of the moments in your life. The goal is to help you lead a life full of purpose and passion and serve as a catalyst to help you make your life count for what matters most.

Based on my book Moments: Making Your Life Count For What Matters Most and my experience in working with elite athletes, entrepreneurs, and business leaders, I will share stories and teach principles that can help you maximize your potential and achieve your goals. As a complement to my blog, this podcast will focus on how to develop as a leader and create breakthrough moments in sports, business, and life. Specifically, I plan to focus on the following topics:

  • Leadership
  • Peak Performance
  • Teamwork
  • Productivity
  • Goal Achievement
  • Breakthrough Moments

This will be a weekly podcast, and I plan to post new episodes each Monday as a catalyst to help you fully embrace the opportunities of a new week. You will be able to listen to them here on my blog, as well as review the “show notes.”

I also encourage you to subscribe via iTunes to make it easier to catch every episode. There are also several apps that make it more effective to download and manage podcasts on your iPhone including Downcast, which I highly recommend for managing and listening to your podcasts.

Question: Please leave a comment below about topics or ideas that you would be interested in hearing more about in a future podcast. You can leave a comment by clicking here.

Kobe Doing Work

Around midnight, he was still in the gym.  For an hour and a half after the game, he took shot after shot after shot.  This was not some student trying to practice harder on his home court to maybe make the varsity squad.  This was someone who a month prior had won the MVP award of the NBA All-Star game and will go down as one of the best players of all time.  This was Kobe Bryant.

Kobe Doing Work

Who does that kind of thing?  I realize that he missed a shot late in the game earlier in the night that could have helped the Lakers win, but no one stays late in the opponent’s arena after a loss on the road and continues to practice.  At best, the ones who care usually get on the flight to the next arena and act on what they could have done differently to achieve a different outcome.  Others just go on to the next game never learning and growing in the process.

I have always admired Kobe Bryant’s work ethic, his will to win, and the 5 NBA championships that have resulted from his fierceness.  But, this event made me think even harder about how we can apply this kind of dedication, preparation, and perseverance in our own lives in any role that we play.  Consider the following questions and how they might apply to your life:

  • Do you give up too early when things get hard? – When things become difficult in a relationship or on a project at work, do you check out, give up, and walk out? Or do you show resilience and grit to persevere through the difficult moments?
  • Do you want the ball in your hands when the game is on the line? – As a parent, are you investing in the lives of your children and preparing them for the next stage of life?  As a leader, are you using your platform and sphere of influence to mentor others?  As an athlete, are you embracing pressure and focusing on the opportunity to perform at your best?
  • Do you give up on your teammates? – Do you write off people when they let you down, or do you extend grace and mercy knowing that you are not perfect either? Do you look for opportunities to make people better?
  • Do you go the extra mile to become the very best? – Are you doing everything you can to become the best you can become?
  • Do you have a commitment to lifelong learning and growth? – No matter how talented or successful you are, are you constantly striving to grow, learn, and get better even when you feel you have “mastered” your craft?
  • Do you focus on the little things? – Are there times in your life when you go through the motions, or do you place a priority on doing the little things that matter on a consistent basis?

I believe that true champions wholeheartedly commit to preparation, effort, and hard work. They “sweat the details” of the things that they need to do to maximize their potential and achieve their goals in sports, business, and life. John Wooden, one of the greatest coaches to ever live, said, “Success is peace of mind which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you did your best to become the best that you are capable of becoming.”

In other words, it has little to do with others and has everything to do with you!  Commit to doing the work necessary to achieve the results you want!

Living A Life of Humility

A theme can bring energy and passion to your annual goals.  A theme also provides a summary that encapsulates everything that you are going to do and be about in a particular year or for your whole life. A few years ago, I used the theme of “Be Humble and Hungry” as my theme for the year. I also often text this to the people I coach in sports, business, and life.

As a competitor, it is often a fine line to walk between being humble versus being self-confident bordering on arrogance. Your competitiveness and drive give you your edge to succeed, but you don’t want that to tip to arrogance and pride where falls and paths to destruction often occur. As a leader, you need to command the respect of your people and that is often seen as competence and mastery, but you don’t want to come across as a “know-it-all” and someone who is not open to ideas and input from others.

Humility Sign

Humility and vulnerability are words not often associated with the best competitors; yet, they are essential components of the character of champions. Specifically, there are 3 aspects of humility that champions embrace on their leadership journey and allow them to separate from the rest of the field:

  • The Definition of Humility – C. S. Lewis defined it this way: “Humility is not thinking less of yourself but thinking of yourself less.”  In all my endeavors, I want to engage and fully utilize my God-given strengths, talents, and passions to maximize the opportunities within my sphere of influence.  I believe that is what fulfilling your purpose is all about.  As you consider your strengths, talents, gifts, passions, opportunities, and sphere of influence, I encourage and challenge you to fully embrace them in a way that makes a positive impact on others vs solely promoting yourself.
  • The Spirit of Humility – Humility also demands a spirit and attitude of gratefulness.  It means to accept opportunities with enthusiasm and be appreciative of all that God brings your way.  There are many things that have happened in my life that can only be explained through the power and presence of God in my life.  My faith provides the main foundation for my life and is the cornerstone for everything that I do.  I thank God for this moment called my life, and I want to make it count.  Having a spirit of gratefulness allows you to enjoy the journey. When you are grateful for what you have, you are more generous to offer what people need.
  • The Product of Humility – Finally, humility promotes and produces a pursuit of excellence in all that we do.  If you are appreciative of the moments in your life, you will do all that you can to excel and do your best knowing that not everyone receives an opportunity to do what you are uniquely gifted to do. You will lead more effectively serving the needs of others in the process. You will pursue your goals more passionately knowing that the outcome is worth the journey, and you will do it in a way that leads to impact in the lives of the people you lead and influence. In essence, the more humble and appreciative you are, the better you will embrace your role and carry out your responsibilities! That’s the way that I feel about my work and my life.

Humility is not cowering low; it is charging forth with the right attitude and actions toward a mountaintop of opportunities and moments to make a positive difference and accomplish meaningful work! Living a life of humility is all about serving the needs of the people who are in your story with the unique talents and opportunities that are in your journey.

If you want to develop more as a leader who humbly serves the needs of others, connects with people, develops other leaders, and makes a positive impact within their sphere of influence, check out our Invisible Hand of Leadership© Program.


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Your Opportunities As A Leader

As a leader, it is easy to understand your role and responsibilities as they are often defined in terms of an org chart, job description, and company objectives and goals that are handed down to you. Your “duties” as a leader often include completing tasks, managing projects, developing and delivering presentations, meeting with customers, developing new clients and business, and maximizing the profitability of a business unit or entire company. These responsibilities are truly important for any leader to stay focused on and perform with excellence.

Leaders and teams

What are sometimes more nebulous are the “opportunities” that you have as a leader. “Opportunities” are not often measured by a metric and take time to be able to see the return on investment. Yet, “opportunities” often yield the greatest return on investment for leaders in terms of building the production capacity and margin that great teams and organizations need to thrive! Here are some specific “opportunities” that you have as a leader to make a dramatic difference in the lives of the people you lead and influence:

  • Invest in Their Growth – Your platform as a leader provides you with a unique opportunity to help the people you lead to develop and grow both personally and professionally. These opportunities include sharing and teaching principles and techniques that will accelerate their growth and advance their careers. Investing in the growth of another person also allows you to not just manage their tasks but maximize their potential, which enables you and the organization to take on new responsibilities knowing and trusting that they can be counted on to deliver.
  • Connect Mission to Tasks – In his book The 8th Habit, Stephen Covey cites research conducted by Harris Interactive which indicated “only 37 percent said they have a clear understanding of what their organization is trying to achieve and why and only one in five said they had a clear ‘line of sight’ between their tasks and their team’s and organization’s goals.” Great leaders connect vision and values to tasks and time. If someone you lead truly understands how what they do every day connects to the mission and vision of the organization, they will truly invest their time in making a positive difference and will fully demonstrate and represent the core values of the organization.
  • Serve Them Well – The difference between managing and leading is often found in how leaders support their people. Inefficient managers typically tell someone what to do and then measure if they completed the task on time and within the budget allowed. The middle piece of supporting them in in the process is often left unattended and uncared for. Great leaders serve as a resource to them and consistently ask: “How’s it going? How Can I help? What roadblocks have you encountered? What opportunities have you uncovered? What resources do you need? How can I help?
  • Encourage Their Soul – The best leaders that we have studied and worked with encourage the people they lead – not just on the surface but deep within their soul! The words “encourage” and “courage” are rooted in the Latin word “cor” meaning “heart.” To have courage means to have heart in the face of challenges. It’s the quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, or pain without fear. Great leaders discover new ways every week to encourage their people. They recognize what their people are doing well and reinforce their belief in each person’s potential and ability to be and do their best work now and into the future.

Your “duties” and “opportunities” are equally essential to your leadership effectiveness and impact. While your people are expecting you to follow through on your duties and responsibilities as a leader, they are also hopeful that you will recognize, discover and appreciate the opportunities that you have as a leader to invest in their future. Make time in your schedule to identify the opportunities that you have as a leader at home, at work, in sports, and in your community, and then develop an action plan to follow through. The people in your sphere of influence will be so glad you did!