Book: On the Shoulders of Giants by Jack Tester

Jack Tester is the President and CEO of the Nexstar Network. And my employer.

I started training for Nexstar in 2004 and took a full time role there in 2015. In this book, Jack outlines the journey of Nexstar – how we have been able to have an incredible impact in the skilled-trades industry.

I’m proud to be in this industry and proud to work with Jack and the team at Nexstar. Check out the book, learn our story.

Check out Jack’s podcast, Leadership Lounge (and my guest appearance).

Friday Challenge: Patterns

You have heard “actions speak louder than words”. I recently saw a post somewhere in the world of social media that said it a little better.

Patterns speak louder than actions.

Patterns are actions, repeated over a time. 

Question words,

Test actions, 

Trust patterns.

The trouble is that for many of us, our own patterns are caught squarely in our blindspot. It is easy to see the patterns of others. It is difficult, if not impossible, to see our own without help.

This is one of the most powerful and vulnerable questions you can ask another person. It is also one of the most possibility-unlocking questions you can ask:

What are the patterns you see in my life?

What would be possible for you if you could see the patterns in your life that are caught in your blindspot?

I have had the privilege of doing handwriting analyses for a few different people over the years. I always find it amazing that these patterns are evident inside the handwriting. And almost without exception, those patterns have been hiding in plain sight. Once exposed, however, the patterns begin to change almost immediately. 

The experience follows a very predictable routine. 

  1. Revelation. “Wow, that really is me. Do you think everyone notices this?”
  2. Contemplation. “I wonder what people actually think of me. I wonder what I’ve missed out on because of this. I wonder what would be different in my life right now…”
  3. Transformation. This tends to come fairly quickly. The challenge is revelation. Awareness plus accountability creates a very expedient path to growth. 

How will you expose the patterns in your own life? Who will you ask? Better yet, who will you ask today?

I want to thank the mentors in my life for their courageous input into my life. You know who you are. I love you.

Insight: The World Is a Beautiful Mirror

The world is a beautiful mirror.

I tend to find that in most circumstances of our lives, what we see most often and others are the same things that exist in us. This seems to be especially true when we have negative traits that seem to be in everyone around us.

For example, if I constantly find the people around me to be arrogant, it just might be true that I am seeing in them a small reflection of what is a prominent characteristic in myself. Our brains have an incredible ability to hide this information from us. And it truly appears as though the problem is only in others.

Jesus uses hyperbole to describe this problem. In Matthew 7 he reprimands:

“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?’

Matthew 7:3, NIV

No one actually has a plank in their own eye. It is telling, though, that the plank is made of the same substance as the sawdust. This is the underlying principle of the mirror.

That which I readily see in others is likely originating with me.

This is equally true only of positive and negative characteristics. If I tend to be highly trustworthy, I will likely find trustworthiness in others. If everyone around me is a thief and a liar, it might to me well to check the mirror for some honest personal reflection.

As leaders, this principle tends to flow through our teams. I have observed this in many different organizations. Business and non-profit, paid and volunteer. I have even come to recognize that the people begin to resemble one another in physical presentation. They look alike. They dress similarly. They speak in similar ways.

What is the application for you? What is it that you are constantly finding in others that frustrates you? What are you finding in others that you like?

The Problem

Seeing your own reflection clearly can be difficult. Your brain has worked a lifetime to hide from you the very things you wish to see. Often, it takes the eyes of another to clearly see what seems hidden to one’s self. Choose someone you trust, and someone who will speak candidly. Resist having this kind of conversation with a person in whose eye you see the ‘sawdust’. Find a trusted, neutral, third party.

And then turn on your listening. Just absorb and contemplate. You may find that you want to defend yourself. That is only reinforcement that you need to dig in and listen.

The mirror is beautiful because it reveals to us that which holds us back. It shows us the way to self improvement. It unveils leadership deficiencies. It is an important part of your growth.

Are you willing to look in the mirror?

Book: The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership by John Maxwell

I read this for the first time as a very young man. I really did not have a clue what leadership was about. 

John Maxwell is the master of lists and sub-lists. You will find this book packed with great information. I would recommend reading with a pen in hand, ready to take careful notes.

With a list of 21 Laws, there is a sense that this book is really broad. Some overlap slightly. All of them have value, and are actionable. 

My personal highlight:

Law 15: The Law of Victory
-Leaders Find a Way for the Team to Win

I have had the privilege of coaching sports for my kids for many years. Many times, I have heard other coaches use the popular refrain “The most important thing is having fun”. These  are usually coaches whose team is doing a lot of losing. Why does anyone play any game without an intent to win? It seems pointless. So manage your team well. Find a way to win. Celebrate winning. Everything about leadership becomes easier when you and your team are winning.

The most important thing IS having fun. I completely agree. And you will have a lot more fun if you are winning.

Purpose of this Website

Within the various posts of this website you will find the following:

Friday Challenges

Most Fridays, I will post a video (approximately 1 minute in length) that will offer a challenge to our way of thinking, acting and/or being. It will be accompanied by a short write up that supports/echoes the video.

Books

Frequently, I am asked for book recommendations. I will write a short post featuring the various books I am reading or have read.

Insights

From time to time, I will write a long-form post that dives a little deeper into a topic I’ve been exploring.

My primary interests are personal growth and leadership development. I am constantly reading new books, looking to learn more about the human experience, and how we can enhance it.

Explore with me. Drop me a note. Share what inspires you.