The Biggest Decision of the Day

A friend of mine joined me for lunch yesterday. As we headed to the car, we were faced with a big decision. The same big decision we are faced with each time we go to lunch. “Where do we want to eat?”

While the lunchtime location is a hard one to decide, it is not the biggest decision of the day.

(tweet) The biggest decision of the day is the first one you make … It is the decision to bring energy and engagement to your work as opposed to holding back and living half-hearted.

(tweet) Leaders who fail to engage at the beginning of the day end up missing out on opportunities to influence others.

Why not make it a practice to ignore your circumstances and focus on the facts?

The truth is, your attitude is a lot more important than you might think.

Focus your mind and heart on being positive in everything you do, and you will be well on your way to a life of greater impact.

Leadership Begins at Home,


What other big decisions determine the success of a leader’s day?

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Great Leaders Have Great Character

Never does a day go by that I don’t think about working on my character.

The truth is, I think about my character even more than I do my conduct. Why? Because, through the years, I have discovered that my character always determines conduct. (tweet)

Whether you call it character and conduct, or as I like to say, integrity and influence, if you want to change the things you do, start with who you are.

A+As a kid, like many of you, whenever it was report card time, my parents would always ask the same question first. “What is your conduct grade?”  Never did they ask, “How did you do in math?” Never, “Did you bring up your science grade?”

It was always, “Let me see your conduct grade.”

The reason? They knew my conduct was a reflection of my character.

So how is your conduct grade these days?

The answer to that question is not simply a reflection of what you do. It is an indicator of who you are.

You will never be a great leader without great character. (tweet)

Why not work on your character today?  I know I plan to.

Leadership Begins at Home,


What happens when leaders focus more on conduct than they do character?

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Yesterday my daughter came home excited about her part in the upcoming school play. She said she is looking forward to seeing the script.

I have not done a lot of acting in my day, but my kids have. Whenever there is a musical or play on the horizon, there is always a pile of scripts lying around the house. If you want to know what is going to happen ahead of time all you have to do is read one of the scripts. Every scene is perfectly mapped out.

The actors are expected to memorize the scripts. No deviation is allowed. Deviation is referred to in theater circles as ad-lib, and from what I am told by all the thespians who live with me, it is frowned upon by a director. “Stick to the script and avoid conflict,” they tell me.

When it comes to leading at home, perhaps some of us would do well to tear up our scripts.

ScriptsMost of the people I talk to about family life seem to have conflict over the same old scripts. Especially when it comes to marriage. There is the money script, the communication script, the kids script, the schedule script, and let’s not forget the sex script. Almost every argument falls into one of these categories.

Many times we see conflict as an opportunity to win an argument or to make our point. We forget that the goal of conflict in a marriage is not victory, but unity. Let’s face it, if you win every argument with your spouse, you’re sleeping with a loser. (tweet)

What would happen if you and your spouse recognized there are scripts in your marriage? Would you be able to see conflict coming ahead of time? Able to avoid confrontation altogether?

For all 5 of the scripts mentioned, may I suggest you turn your focus away from yourself and instead seek to build up your spouse. Perhaps the following verses of Scripture will help you the next time one of your scripts pops up.

Philippians 2:3-5 . . . ”Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus.”

Could you imagine a marriage where both people lived by those words?

As you seek to lead at home, pay attention to your scripts. In fact, why not deviate from them? The same old fights about the same old things will only lead to the same old hurt feelings.

There is no better place to value someone else above yourself than at home. (tweet) You can do that by listening, understanding, sharing, prioritizing, and sacrificing.

A great marriage is available, but it requires abandoning your scripts. You don’t have to act the part anymore.

It is time to get rid of your scripts!

Leadership Begins at Home,


Do you see other scripts that affect a leaders home life?

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Let Me Off This Plane: Day 4

Yesterday’s blog ended with me missing my Tuesday flight from O’Hare to GRR.

I was headed to my friend Dan Webster’s part of the country where we are working on the sequel to Finding Your Way. More on that in a few months.

My lack of airport speed (yes I literally ran a half mile through the terminal) landed me on a standby flight. The best moment of my day was hearing my name called and given a seat assignment.

Last SeatThe most challenging moment of my day was the moment when I laid eyes on the seat. Last row, against the window. Not as challenging as last Friday’s situation, but a legroom nightmare nonetheless.

While the flight was short, by the end I was thinking, “Let Me Off This Plane.”

Leaders are not real big on being last. We like being out front and setting the pace.

Sitting in the back row gave me a different perspective. That of a follower.

Has it been a while since you thought of those who are on the “back of your plane?” If so, I challenge you look through their lenses. What would you see if you did?

Great leaders create an environment of excellence and appreciation for everyone in the organization. There are no Back Row Joes.

Raise the bar on how you treat those who are last and, not only will you have more people who want on your plane, you will have fewer who want off.

Leadership Begins at Home,


Why is it important for leaders to pay attention to their team members who are in the trenches?

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Let Me Off This Plane: Part 3

Truthfully, I thought this airplane series would only be two days. Wrong!

Yesterday I visited the “classroom” twice more, first on a flight to Chicago, and then on a leg to Grand Rapids. I’ll save GRR for tomorrow, but the Chicago flight proved to be my third test in a week.

For some reason we were rerouted, and by the time we landed in Chicago I was 30 minutes late. Did I mention my connection was only 35 minutes … and on the other side of the airport.

In spite of an announcPlane Doorement to allow connectors to de-board first, I knew it would be close. I ended up being the first person off the plane. Every second I waited for the door to open felt like an hour. “Let Me Off This Plane.”

A half mile sprint through O’Hare yielded nothing. I missed my flight.

Thankfully, there was another option a couple of hours later and I was able to grab a standby seat. Because I refused to be derailed by my delay I ultimately made it to my destination.

The alternate flight reminded me that there are many times when things don’t happen how or when I think they will. As a leader, there are times when I need to chill and look for another way. Can you relate?

If you have unmet goals, dreams that have faded, or hopes you have put on hold, I encourage you to press on. You can still get there. But only if you refuse to be derailed by your delays.

Leadership Begins at Home,


Why do so many people give up on their dreams at the first sight of trouble?

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