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What Really Holds You Back?

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Dandelions. These yellow ‘flowers’ populate lawns each spring. Initially, it seems easiest to just run the lawnmower over top of them.  After all, they will disappear…for a day or two.

But the dandelions will soon reappear in even greater force. The only way to truly eliminate dandelions is to get to the roots with a nasty poison or a back-breaking weeding tool.

Getting to the roots of dandelions has a very helpful application to personal change. In personal change, we too often we ignore the roots below the surface that are supporting negative behaviors or patterns. As a result, the change initiative often ends in disappointment or failure. Continue Reading

What’s Your One Degree?

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One degree can make a big difference – especially over time. Imagine your next flight. What if the navigator plotted a course that was off by one degree?

Aviators will tell you that for every one degree traveled off course for 60 miles, the plane will land 1 mile off the intended destination.


So, what does this mean for a trip from Vancouver to London? It means a 79 mile walk (multiplied by number of degrees off course) to gather your suitcases at Heathrow’s baggage claim!

Applying The “One Degree” Concept to Your Life

What happens when you apply the ‘one degree’ concept to your life? There are several applications:

  1. It’s very important to be as ‘on course’ as possible in stewarding your time, talent and treasure.
  2. Making a positive one degree change in your life can have a significant impact over time.
  3. The more strategic the change (more degrees), the more exponential the impact over time.

So, rather than getting overwhelmed and discouraged with all the changes you would like to make in your life, ask yourself these questions:

  • If you could only make one ‘one degree’ change, what would it be?
  • What personal change would give you the most strategic return on investment over time?

Identifying Your ‘One Degree’ Change

To bring clarity to identifying your ‘one degree’ change, consider these two steps:

  1. Ask the Lord and seek to listen to His response. Pray a question like: “God, in what one area of my life would you most like to see change in order to conform me more to Christ and bring you glory?”
  2. You can also ask others you trust—your spouse, friends, supervisor or colleagues. Ask them a question like this: ‘If I were to consider focusing on one area of personal/leadership growth, what would you suggest I consider?’

Future posts will provide some practical and tangible next steps for getting traction on your one degree change. To help guide these posts, could you give some feedback? What challenges do you experience in seeking personal change?


Summer Reading List…

I love summer for a number of reasons. Besides the warm weather and family vacation, I love the extra window of time summer adds for reading. There are so many books and so little time, but here are a few books on my summer reading list:

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Overcoming Squirrels & Other Distractions

“Squirrel!” If you’ve seen the Academy Award-winning animated movie “Up”, you’ve watched “Dug” the talking dog and his talking dog colleagues get immediately and completely distracted by the sight or sound of squirrels. It doesn’t matter what they are doing, Dug and his companions get sight of a squirrel and everything momentarily stops. In some instances, they can’t regain their focus or have completely gotten off track because of their squirrel distraction.

nfocusdesign via flickr

Does this sound familiar? While you might not get distracted by squirrels in the literal sense, many leaders are tempted by ‘squirrels’ that go by other names. Your ‘squirrels’ may be exciting new ideas or possibilities, the next invitation, the new job advertisement or the continual stream of e-communication. Whatever your ‘squirrels’ are, they temporarily capture your attention, distract you from the important, blur focus, take up emotional RAM and sometimes get you completely off track.

Here are three practical tools to keep you focused in the midst of possible distractions:

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6 Best Practices for Second Chair Leaders

In my last leadership tip of the week I gave you four insights to help you maintain perspective as a second chair leader. This week’s tip looks at six best practices that will help you maximize your impact as second in command.

Photo Credit: sonictk via Flikr

1. Build Trust

Trust has been called the currency of leadership and second chair leaders need to actively build a ‘trust bank account’ with their first chair leader. Deposits need to be made over time through delivering your deliverables with excellence, clear and regular communication, effective execution, dependability, strong work ethic, good decisions, positive attitude, listening, encouragement, etc. What is your ‘account balance’ with your first chair?

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Grow Your Mentoring Relationship

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What could we do to take our time together to the next level?

Coffee Mug


This simple check-in question provides an intentional opportunity for the mentee and mentor to reflect and evaluate the mentoring relationship and meetings. It gives both participants the chance to provide and receive some feedback with the goal of growing and improving the mentoring relationship.

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