Attitude isn’t Everything

I came across an incredible thought today. I was listening to a leadership lesson by John Maxwell. John has influenced my leadership greatly over the last 10 years through his books, tapes and seminars. The quote that got my attention was from an unknown source.

“Attitudes are when we learn to think correctly without acting. Habits are when we learn to act correctly without thinking.”

I used to think that attitude was everything. If I had a great attitude things would go my way. I have found that is not true. A great attitude definitely gives you an advantage in life, work and relationships. However without great habits the best attitude in the world won’t get you through the hard times. It really takes both.

I try really hard to have a good attitude, but sometimes find myself with a bad attitude because of circumstances or people. In those down times I need good habits that will carry me through.

Some of those habits include:
prayer, time alone with God, reading my Bible, fasting, silence, solitude, rest, journaling, confession, listening, worshipping God, seeking wise counsel, serving someone else, giving, going to church, community, exercise, focus, organizing and planning.

Not all of these things are habits for me, but some of them are. I am working on it, along with my attitude. Often I find that when I am getting discouraged or down I have strayed away from some of these basic spiritual habits. As I get back into them I experience God and that changes everything.

If you are experiencing a hard time in life look at some of these habits and start to work on them. As you do, you take the focus off of your hard times and onto growing in your relationship with God. Your attitude and habits will keep you centered. Your habits determine what you are centered on. Are you centered on Jesus Christ or yourself?

Obligation or Opportunity

I am reading a small but powerful book called “You Don’t Need A Title To Be A Leader” by Mark Sanborn. That title says a lot, and I have always believed that, but I have not always lived it out. I grew up in the corporate world of banking and consulting and titles were very important. What level of Vice President you were gave you status and power. My goal was to become President and CEO. Great titles, right, but those titles didn’t make you a good leader, it just shows who is in charge.

Some of the best leaders I have seen were not the CEO or President. Great leaders don’t wait on a title to start leading. They take initiative and help get things done. They look for ways to make a difference and improve things. They make suggestions and give their opinion. They don’t back down when confronted, but take a stand for what they believe in. They persevere and are patient when they have to. They are humble and yet persistent. They get things done and work well with other people. They encourage team members and are willing to do the dirty work.

In Sanborn’s book he talks about opportunity versus obligation. This is what he writes “How do you live your life? As an obligation, or as an opportunity? Those who see life as an obligation want the task at hand to be done with as quickly as possible, with little regard to the outcome. The people who change the world around them-for themselves, their companies, communities, and families – rarely act from a sense of obligation. In fact, the people who act as leaders almost always act from a sense of incredible opportunity. They don’t interact with the world around them because they have to. They do so because they want to.”

So how are you viewing your circumstances, your job, your marriage, your church, your community, your school? Are these obligations or opportunities? When the phone rings do you respond to each call as an opportunity to impact someones life or an obligation to answer a question. The busier you get, the more pressure you are under, the more you tend to view things as an obligation and you miss many opportunities. As you feel the pressure and the stress your motivation goes down and your sense of obligation goes up.

To change your perspective maybe you need to simplify your life. Maybe you need to narrow your focus and re-evaluate your priorities. Viewing life as an opportunity to do your part in God’s bigger story will increase your motivation and drive. You see, God has a plan for your life and my life. Every day God gives us opportunities to make a difference, to be a miracle for someone, to be a light, to be an encouragement. Begin to look for opportunities to make a difference and pray for the courage to dive into God’s story.

Steps

We kicked off a wellness program this week for our staff at NewPointe. We are on three teams and competing in several areas. The idea of course is for all of us to get healthier. I am excited about this new program because it has already motivated me to get into better shape. I went on walks the last two evenings. I would like to invite all those fellow blog readers to join us in this wellness effort.

This week we are counting our steps for an entire day. On day one I only had 9,300, but I got my step counter after first service Sunday. Todd Colucy was the big winner on day one with over 36,000 steps, wow! Today I am at 13,000 steps.

I know we all want to get in better shape and for me I need a little motivation. This may be the catalyst that I need to get over the hump and lose the weight, body fat etc while lowering my cholesterol.

I want to challenge everyone that reads this to set some goals for the next month. Get out and walk once or twice this week. Go on bike rides, stretch every morning, whatever it is for you. Then get out and start doing it.

It is the same for us spiritually. Set some achievable goals to pray, read the Bible, listen to messages or read a book. Then start doing it. Spiritual and physical health doesn’t just happen, it takes some effort, planning and accountability. Next time you see me ask how my diet & exercise is going. You can also ask me how my prayer and Bible reading are going too. If you ask me, I will ask you.

Personal Growth

My personal mission statement is “Growing in Faith, Character & Leadership” To me the most important part of that statement is the first word; “Growing”. Growing means that I am learning, changing, adapting, failing, planning, attempting new things, going, doing, thinking and focusing.

If I am not growing then I am declining. I want to grow in my personal faith, becoming more intimate with my Lord. I want to know Him and experience His presence and learn His ways.

I also want to grow in character, which usually happens through adversity. I want to be known for the character qualities others see in me, not the accomplishments. Qualities like dependability, flexibility, patience, responsible, determined, gentle, wisdom, discernment and courageous.

I want to grow in leadership as well. To become a better leader with the people that I have influence with. Leadership is about influence and I want my influence to grow. I want to be the leader that God created me to be. To step out and take chances and live life to the fullest.

So how do I grow? One way is I read a lot of books. I love to learn from other people. The more I read the more I grow in knowledge and understanding. I just finished three books I had been reading over the last couple of months. Each of those books challenged me in a different way. It fed my desire to become a better husband, employee, pastor, friend and Christ-follower.

Reading is very important in growing. Remember as a child how reading played a significant role in your development. In school I had to read, in college I had to read even more. Now I read because I want to. I read books on leadership, Christianity, discipleship, business and management. I also read fiction, usually stories about ordinary and extraordinary people. My favorite fiction writer is John Grisham, my favorite non fiction author is Erwin McManus.

As important as reading is in personal growth, so is going and doing what what I read. I need to put into practice what I am learning or it is wasted. If I read the Bible and don’t do what it says, all that reading is wasted. My challenge to you is to Grow. Don’t stay where you are at spiritually, emotionally or intellectually. Read, listen to Cd’s, watch DVDs whatever works for you, but don’t stop learning and growing. The more you grow the more God can use you.

Adversity

We all face adversity in our lives, some more than others. Some of it we bring on ourselves by making bad decisions and others just happen to us because he live in an imperfect world. I have been slowly reading through a book called “Beyond the Summit” by Todd Skinner. It is about mountain climbing, but has many great principles for our lives.

Todd talks about adversity while on the side of a mountain. I can’t imagine trying to climb a vertical wall 2,000 feet high and having to watch for falling rocks and storms. That is real adversity! This is what Todd says; “You can’t dodge a rock until it falls… we are more often stopped by the fear that a rock might fall than by a rock actually falling. But we can’t cower under an overhang, seeking shelter from any rock that might fall, and climb the mountain.”

As I read that I had to think about the church, not just NewPointe, but the church in general. Has the church been cowering under a safe overhang hiding from rocks that might fall? Am I as a leader hiding in a safe spot because I am afraid a rock might hit me or I will get caught in a storm? The church cannot reach the summit (all people groups) if it doesn’t keep climbing. It starts with us as leaders, getting out on the mountain and start climbing.

It is through adversity that we are shaped and molded into the men and women that God can use. The storms of life draw us closer to God and build our faith. The adversity helps us to make the changes we need to make in our lives. With no adversity or storms in life, we would never change. God does not want us to remain the same. We cannot change and grow if we don’t face our fears and start climbing. When a rock falls you dodge it. When a storm comes you persevere through it.

We as individuals and a church need to remember that we have the greatest mountain climber in the universe along side us. God is with us through every storm, every step, every circumstance, every rock slide. With Him we can reach the summit and beyond. Adversity can be a blessing, because it helps us to grow our faith, character and leadership.