Category Archives: Life

The Growth Process

Growth is natural, but it is not automatic.

Many people simply think that in order for a person to grow, they don’t have to do much of anything.

WRONG!

Think about it…if a child doesn’t eat food, they don’t grow! In fact, they’ll die.

So, what leads to growth in our lives? How can we choose to intentionally grow more each and every day?

I’ve developed what I call the “Growth Process”. It’s a simple process that if intentionally followed, will lead to growth in any area of a person’s choosing.

Growth is a circular reality, with one thing leading to the other. Let’s begin with the results.

RESULTS HAPPEN IN THREE 3 SITUATIONS:

  1. After taking action in some area of our life
  2. After not taking action in some area of our life
  3. After experiencing something that happens to us (outside of our control)

These results lead to a lesson learned. There is always a lesson learned. Even not learning anything is a lesson learned, since what you believe to have learned is that the results have nothing to teach you.

THERE ARE 3 TYPES OF LESSONS LEARNED:

  1. Positive lessons (who I can become, what I can change, where I can go, what I can do, etc.)
  2. Negative lessons (someone else is to blame, what I can’t do, what I am limited in, etc.)
  3. No lessons (this situation has nothing to teach me, therefore I learn nothing)

Learning nothing (#3) keeps me stagnant in my life, not actively moving backwards or forwards in my life (although the end result will always be backwards movement). Negative lessons (#2) will cause me to exponentially move backwards, doing the complete opposite of growth.

Only positive lessons (#1) will lead to growth in my life.

The lessons I learn will lead to intentional action (or inaction).

INTENTIONAL ACTION CAUSES CERTAIN RESULTS TO OCCUR. THOSE RESULTS WILL SHOW ME:

  1. I was correct (what I previously learned was proven to be correct)
  2. I was wrong (what I previously learned was proven to be incorrect, so there is more to learn)
  3. I was partially correct (I will keep what was correct but there is something new to learn that I didn’t understand before)
  4. I was correct, but still need to learn more (since I was correct, this moves me to a new, and different reality, which requires me to learn more as a result to get even further than I was before)

All of these items give me the opportunity to grow, except for #1.

The danger is when I learn a negative lesson, then through my action and results, believe my negative lesson to be correct, thus changing nothing, and settling into an unending cycle of negativity that leads me backwards in my life.

When we choose to take intentional action, based off of positive learning, we will experience results that will cause us to continue to learn more. Whether the results are positive or negative, we can always learn something that changes us and propels us forward in our lives.

Only intentional action, based off of positive learning, will lead to GROWTH. This is the Growth Process that everyone follows and either leads them to success or failure.

What will you choose?

Coaching Or Mentoring?

Coaching or mentoring?

Action versus information.

Leveraging versus learning.

Doing versus being.

Which ones are most important?

coaching or mentoring
coaching or mentoring

To take action, a person first needs information. To leverage something, you first need something with which to leverage. In order to properly do something, you first need to be somebody.

One is not more important  than the other. Both of them go hand in hand. Understanding the order is important.

First, we get information, then we take action.

First, we learn something, then we leverage that learning.

First, we learn to be who we are, then we do according to who we are.

Mentoring and Coaching both fulfill distinct roles and purposes.

Imagine a glass that you drink out of. Mentoring = pouring into the glass what needs to be there. Coaching = pulling out of the glass what is already there.

Mentoring is absolutely essential. We need to have multiple mentors in different areas of our lives: finances, business, leadership, marriage, parenting, etc. Mentoring can take on many forms: people who know me, books I read, videos I watch, etc.

Coaching is also absolutely essential. Coaching moves me beyond knowledge to actually using that knowledge to accomplish something.

You can be an armchair quarterback when it comes to football, but you can’t be one when it comes to your life.

If we don’t turn our information into action, we end up being useless. If we don’t leverage our learning, we become irrelevant. If we only focus on being without doing, we die.

The biggest issue that I see today is not a lack of information, but rather a lack of action. There is a small group of people that are self-motivators. They don’t need anyone to put their feet to the fire because they do it for themselves.

But if you’re like me and the 99% of other people who are not like that (yes, I made up that percentage), you need someone to get you moving. That is what we call a coach.

Because I had a coach for the team I swam on, I showed up on time to workout…6am almost every morning for 4 years during college. Without a coach, I would have failed.

You’ve got a bunch of ideas, but up until now you haven’t done anything with them. If you need more understanding, get a mentor. But, if you’re ready to take action, then get a coach.

By the way, I am a certified coach. If you need to take some action on life stuff, business stuff, or any other stuff, I would be happy to do a coaching call with you…completely FREE. Maybe you’re stuck and don’t know how to get moving. Let’s talk!

I’m opening this up to a only ten people. Why only ten? I’m super busy! I am a pastor of a church, I’ve got a wife and five kids, and much more. So, if you’re interested, don’t hesitate! My goal is to help you reach your goals.

Click here to schedule a call with me.

I like forward to hearing from you!

 

 

 

 

Leveraging Loss

We all experience loss in different ways. Is there a way to use your loss for greater benefit, both to yourself and others? If you learn how to leverage your loss, then you will be further along tomorrow than you are today. How do you turn your darkness into light?

leverage your loss
leverage your loss

The problem with loss is that in most of our minds we only view it as a negative. Now, loss IS backwards movement. But, the key to understanding forward movement  is the following:

View steps backward like a slingshot. When you experience loss, you can allow one of two things to happen.

First, you can wallow in the pity of the loss, while never actually dealing with the consequences and pain of that loss. This inevitably leads to even greater loss in the future.

Second, you can accept the loss, recognize it for what it is, mourn it properly, then ask yourself this question: “How can I use this loss to get even further than I was before?” This propels you like a slingshot. It accepts the reality of the loss and leverages it to propel you even further than before.

Growth ONLY happens through loss. If you want to grow, to progress, to move forward, you WILL experience loss. And loss is painful. But, if you leverage your loss, that pain can be turned into prosperity.

Loss comes through a variety of factors. It might be due to an intentional decision on your part to lose in one area in order to gain in another. That is intentional loss. But, there is unintentional loss as well. Sometimes, the loss happens due to your own fault or someone else’s fault. Either way, you experience the pain of that loss.

So, how can you leverage your loss in order to propel yourself even further than before? Here is a simple process for you:

  1. Take account of your loss. Ask yourself this question: “What is it that I have actually lost?”
  2. Measure the impact of your loss. Ask yourself this question: “How has this loss affected me?” [emotionally, spiritually, relationally, financially, mentally, etc.]
  3. Mourn your loss. Ask yourself this question: “How can I focus on this loss and honor myself or others impacted by this loss?” In other words, have yourself a “funeral”, in whatever way that applies.
  4. Learn from your loss. Ask yourself this question: “What can this loss teach me about life in general and my life in particular?”
  5. Take account of the benefits. Ask yourself this question: “Does this loss come with any benefits that I might use?” [open doors, lessons learned, new relationships, new opportunities, etc.]
  6. Leverage those benefits. Ask yourself this question: “How can I put these benefits to good use without letting them go to waste?”

I believe that you can leverage your loss if you follow this simple process. Loss is never the end. It can be the mountain you die on or it can be the slingshot that propels you to your preferred future.

The choice is yours!

Are You At The Point Of Breakthrough?

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Breakthrough

Are you at the point of breakthrough?

The breakthrough point is the liminal moment when you are about to pass from one reality to another one.

It’s when your project is almost dead, but suddenly you see a ray of light – an answer – a way out that will bring it back to life.

It’s when your basketball team is down by 10 points with 20 seconds to go, but suddenly everything starts to click, and the distance goes from 10, to 8, to 5, to 2…

It’s when your marriage is on the rocks, but suddently you realize a new truth about what needs to happen, and you begin to rebuild, step by step.

The breakthrough point is a powerful point in every human’s life.

But, you must understand something about EVERY breakthrough:

At this point you’re wondering why you’re even reading my words! But, bear with me!

You see, complacency carries a certain amount of pain, but not much of it. When anyone decides to deal with an issue in order to achieve a breakthrough, that is when the greatest amount of pain starts.

Imagine this…you’re 50 pounds overweight (some of us don’t have to imagine this)! And no, I’m not talking about you!

But, if you were 50 pounds overweight, you would have a certain amount of pain…discomfort, acid reflux, minor back pain, etc.

There is pain to complacency. But, when you decide finally that you want to shed that weight and get in shape, all of a sudden you have a whole other level of pain: early mornings, a proper diet, sore muscles from working out, etc.

At that point, your level of pain dramatically intensifies. This is the same if you want to get out of debt, build a successful business, change your marriage, live a more moral life, or anything else.

But, there is a promise on the other side! The pathway to your success requires pain, but once you breakthrough, you will experience the euphoria of a major change in your life. At that point, the pain becomes worth it!

Maybe you’re going through an incredible amount of pain right now in some area of your life. You’re wondering when it’s going to end. You wish it would just stop.

Let me ask you this: Could it be that you’re on the verge of a breakthrough?

Get ready…it’s coming!

Turning Stones

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I love The Food Network. And, HGTV as well. They’re both channels that I could binge watch all day. They’re both channels I HAVE binge watched all day…but fortunately not recently!

Chef Chris Cosentino, a host on The Food Network, believes that no part of an animal should be wasted in the process of cooking. Use it all!

If we expand this concept to our daily lives, it might sound like this:

Don’t waste any opportunity you have. Don’t waste any resource at your disposal.

How often do we allow different aspects of our lives…abilities, financial resources, influential relationships, new opportunities, etc…simply to be wasted because we don’t take advantage of them?

Proverbs 12:27 says,

   “Lazy people don’t even cook the game they catch, but the                    diligent make use of everything they find.”

The question is this: Are you being diligent?

Are you using every resource, every opportunity, every relationship at your disposal? We are not talking about abuse here, or simply “using” stuff. Not at all! But if God has given you something to be used, then it is a failure to not develop it.

I realized this a couple of months ago as I started to do a bit of fundraising. I realized that there were people ready and willing to donate to things I was developing, but wouldn’t have donated if I didn’t let them know what I was doing!

There’s a common English phrase that is used many times: “Leave no stone unturned”.

Are you turning over every stone around you to maximize the potential that exists? Don’t miss out or let go of your God-given opportunities and resources.

Live to the max!

The Pain of Riches

The Pain of Riches

Right now, I am reading the book of Proverbs. As one of the 66 books of the Bible, it’s unique in that its focus is not about recounting history, but about sharing wisdom about daily life.

There have been many proverbs from the book that have stood out to me recently. One of those is the following, found in Proverbs 13:8. It says,

   “The rich can pay a ransom for their lives, but the poor won’t even get      threatened.”

It’s a pretty simple saying, but it packs a big punch. It compares to classes of people, using money as the connecting factor. This proverb basically admits to a simple reality…while the rich person might be able to get out of a threatening situation with the money they have, the poor person would never find themselves in that threatening situation to begin with.

The equation in this proverb is the following: be rich = get kidnapped, be  poor = live in peace.

Now, this proverb is not simply about being rich or poor. And it’s not really about being kidnapped. It’s communicating this important truth:

With greater riches comes greater difficulty.

Now, let’s expand the concept of being rich. Riches can apply to money, influence, power, relationships, resources,, etc. The richer you are in any area of your life brings with it corresponding difficulties.

Maybe you want to own your own business, build a successful product, gain a lot of influence, or simply do something BIG in some area of your life. Understand that by doing so, you open yourself up to a cost that you wouldn’t experience otherwise.

So, go for it! Accomplish big dreams and big goals, but be ready for the difficulty that comes with living your life at that level.

If you’re ready for the sacrifice, you’ll be ready for the success that the sacrifice will bring. Climb your mountain, but count the cost ahead of time.

May your 2017 be a year of incredible success!

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The Power of Gratitude

 

11-23-16-the-power-of-gratitude2

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! It is a day of gratitude!

Want some history on Thanksgiving? Go here.

Abraham Lincoln, 153 years ago, established the national holiday of Thanksgiving. His statement is powerful, as it addresses the difficulties of the time while recognizing the need to give thanks. You can read that here.

I would like to pull a few excerpts from his proclamation in order to provide some perspective about the power of gratitude in our lives.

1. GRATITUDE GIVES US FOCUS

“In the midst of a civil war of unequalled magnitude and severity”

There is never a bad time to give thanks. Many people in our country are stressed, worried, or fearful about our countries future. Might we agree that being in the middle of a civil war (1861-1865)  would be much worse than where we are at now? If gratitude was necessary in the middle of war, then it is equally as necessary now.

Right after making that comment, Lincoln goes on to describe the good things that were happening in the country…population growth, the growth of wealth and strength in extracting needed mineral resources for the country. If he had only focused on war, he would have missed the positive things.

Things are never all bad or even all good. Life is usually filled with a combination of both.

Might it be better for our hearts and souls to focus on that which is good?

2. GRATITUDE LEADS US TO JESUS

“They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God”

When we choose to live a life of gratitude, it always leads us to the One who has given us those things which we are thankful for. Blessed families, economic security, food at the table, great friends, and many other things that we experience don’t happen by accident. They happen because God has made them available to us.

When we exercise gratitude, we realize that there is a purpose behind all the good that we experience. Gratitude leads us to Jesus.

3. GRATITUDE LEADS US TO ASK FOR GOD’S INTERVENTION

“…commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidable engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.”

If we truly believe that God is the one who is responsible for our blessings, then it is also to God that we direct our requests for intervention in the difficulties we face.

Gratitude was the foundation of requesting God’s intervention in the chaos that existed.

Understand this, thanking God for the good things does not mean ignoring the difficult things that we face…whether personally or as a country. On the contrary…thanking God for that which is good sets us up to pray with faith and hope, believing that our God will intervene to bring even more of his blessings in the areas of difficulty that exist.

4. GRATITUDE LEADS US TO GENEROSITY OF HEART AND ACTION

I don’t have a quote from Abraham Lincoln on this one, but it is something I believe to be true. When we live a life of gratitude, we become others-centered rather than me-centered. In fact, gratitude is the antidote to selfishness and entitlement.

Gratitude sends us on a trajectory of living a healthy life as we focus on that which is positive and as we focus on how we can give, rather than receive.

Gratitude gives us focus.

Gratitude shows us Jesus.

Gratitude allows us to plead our cause to God.

And gratitude leads us to a lifestyle of generosity.

That is the power of gratitude.

How will you be grateful on this Thanksgiving?

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

 

What Now?

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What Now?

Donald Trump will be the new president of the United States of America. What now?

I, like many others (on both the right and the left) were completely surprised that he won. I know people on both sides of the aisle that didn’t think it was possible for him to win, yet here we are!

So, what to do? What’s the next step? What’s the next move? I believe there are a few things that you and I can do to respond to this new season that is upon is.

Before I get to that, let me give you a reference point for what I will say. Have you ever had a conversation with someone, read a blog post, or heard a sermon or podcast where the speaker/author shares a “perspective” with you, without sharing their point of view? But, when you read or listen to it, you know based off of how they’re writing or speaking what they’re really trying to say? They attempt to covertly bring you over to their side without telling you straight out.

Yeah…that is not what I want to do here today. My goal is to speak to everyone, challenging all of us to be the best version of ourselves that we can be. It’s kind of like the movie Shutter Island. Is Leonardo DiCaprio’s character really a U.S. marshal, or is he actually insane? When I spoke to friends about the movie, I loved playing the “devil’s advocate”, challenging their assumptions no matter which side they fell on. I’d like to do the same today. Let’s get started!

Wisely engage your emotions. If you are happy that Trump won, then celebrate! If you are grieving about Clinton’s loss, then mourn! There is nothing wrong with what you feel. But please, for the sake of your friends, family (especially children), followers on Facebook or Twitter, etc. engage your emotions wisely. Only you can determine what wisdom looks like in the context of your emotional state. If you’re celebrating, don’t blame others for mourning. If you’re mourning, don’t blame others for celebrating.

I have my feelings, but most would not know them on Facebook, partly because I don’t even know how to express them properly in a way that everyone would understand…so I have chosen to engage my emotions a little more privately. If airing them in a public manner is helpful to you and others, then do that as well! I’m in no way creating rules here…just inviting you to exercise wisdom in your response.

Exercise EMPATHY over JUDGMENT. This one is huge. In fact, I may write a separate post just about this one. Between last night and this morning, I have been reading hundreds of people’s comments on Facebook and other locations. I am discouraged to see so many people ascribe motives to another person for their vote. That is judgment, nothing more and nothing less. It especially saddens me to see Clinton supporters think of all Trump supporters as racists, or to see Trump supporters think of all Clinton supporters as baby killers (abortion).

Listen my friends, there is only one person who knows the heart of man, and that is God himself. Second to that, we cannot begin to understand a person’s feelings unless we actually know the person. When we choose empathy, we choose to step into the other person’s shoes. I believe that most people voted out of fear during this election cycle. Those who supported Trump were afraid of losing jobs, losing the Supreme Court, etc. Those who supported Clinton were/are afraid that Trump’s election will bring about waves of discrimination against different minority (ethnic, social, etc.) groups. When we step into someone else’s shoes, we begin to know them for who they truly are, which increases our ability to engage them and love them. Choose to step into someone else’s shoes and see what you learn.

Pray. Did God place Trump as president? Was it up to the free will of the people who voted? Different Christians have different theological viewpoints on how man’s free will and God’s sovereignty plays out. I happen to think there is a combination of both at work. Either way, 1 Timothy 2:1-3 states, “I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them. Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity. This is good and pleases God our Savior, who wants everyone to be saved and to understand the truth.”

I get three important things from this call to pray. First, when we pray for Trump, for our nation, for Democrats and for Republicans (and all others), the end result may be peace! Second, this is pleasing to God. And last, there seems to be a direct relationship between people coming to salvation and our decision to pray. Being driven by our desperation, by our fear, or even by our victories can easily jeopardize an opportunity for someone to come to faith in Christ through our example.

Hope. God’s kingdom is eternal. The reigns of Trump, Obama, Bush, Clinton, Reagan, etc. are not! Even the worst dictator has an end to his reign. We place our hope, not in a political system, but in a savior who came to bring his life to the entire world.

If your hope was placed in Clinton, it was in the wrong place. If your hope was (and still is) placed in Trump, your hope is in the wrong place. The end has not arrived, and when it does, Jesus will be right there in the middle of it. Let’s choose to place our trust in the one who has the ultimate say about how all of this will play out in the end.

And lastly, come to church on Sunday. We are followers of Jesus first of all. Regardless of where we land in politics, we are brothers and sisters, part of a great family. We need each other at a moment like this.

If you’re in the L.A. area, you’re welcome to join us! citylifela.org

Love you all!

Jeff

 

Integrity Is All You Have

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Integrity is all you have

Integrity is all you have. We are all imperfect. We make mistakes, we fail, we screw up. Along the way, we make some good decisions as well. In all of this, each of us wants to continue advancing – in business, in personal growth, in family, in the church, and any other area we can dream of. But in the midst of all of this, integrity is all you have.

Sometimes, along this journey of life, we come to a crossroads. We’re not quite sure what decision to make. We tend to analyze our decisions based off of a matrix of risk vs. reward.

This is all well and fine. But, along the way, moments come when the risk is to lose your integrity, while the reward seems to be great. So, you throw your integrity to the side in order to travel the path that seems will benefit you most.

It seems like a great plan. And we tend to justify, saying things like…

  • No one will ever know
  • The (perceived) benefit far outweighs the cost
  • What could possibly go wrong?

The only problem is this: When you compromise your integrity in the dark, the consequences will be seen in the light.

You see, it is impossible for something to START in secret and to STAY in secret. The compromising decisions that we make will affect certain areas of our lives that are visible, even if no one knows about the original compromise.

It takes a lifetime to build integrity and a moment to lose it.

I have not always made the right decisions, but I have always attempted to make honest decisions. I don’t want to lie to myself, to God, or to others.

Everything that you build in your life will influence others, whether it be kids, spouses, employees, employers, subordinates, friends, acquaintances, etc.

Integrity is all you have. Once you lose that, you begin to lose everything else and everyone else.

Sometimes, choosing integrity means choosing loss. If that is the case, so be it. It would be better to lose everything while maintaining the people that you love, rather than maintaining things while losing those you love.

And remember this: once you lose the people, losing the things will follow closely behind.

Integrity is all you have. Remember, the product you deliver is a representation of your integrity. Your product might be a widget, or influence, or relationships. It might be technological, or service oriented, or something else. Whatever your product is, people will connect your trustworthiness and integrity to the things that represent you.

There really is only one way to live.

Integrity is all you have.

Choose wisely.

When The Going Gets Tough

Have you heard the phrase “When the going gets tough, the tough get going”?

It’s a proverb about perseverance and following through, even when things are hard. That is definitely admirable and something that we should work towards.

There is a necessary  step to take after the going gets tough, but before you get going again. That step is this:

Stop and look.

When things get tough, you are going to have to make a deision about persevering through the difficult ircustancecs until you reach the other side. But, before you get there, you need to take a moment. And stop. Then look.

This is especially important when things are tough. At the moment that things turn more difficult than you expected, it is important to ask yourself a few things:

  1. Why are things more difficult now? What changed?
  2. What needs to change in your approach now that the environment has changed?
  3. What do you need in order to make it to the other side, that you might not have needed before?
  4. Will this require a different course of action than what I previously planned?

Taking a moment to stop and survey the road before you is extremely important before you continue.

When things get tough, you definitely should continue. But how you continue makes all the difference.

When the going gets tough, the tough stop and look, then they get going.

I get it…the phrase may not be as interesting now as it used to be! You  might be thinking, “Wow! Jeff just ruined a perfectly good proverb!”

I probably did. But it’s true nonetheless. Take a moment. Catch your breath. Find the best way forward. Then move on!