Category Archives: What I am Reading

This category is where I write about what I am reading and share my thought, make recommendations, etc. I read a LOT of nonfiction books. Particularly things about business, diet, exercise, computers, education, philosophy, and games.

Leadership. It’s all the Time!

Let's Discuss LeadershipYou are a leader in everything you do. Not just the moments you have positional authority over others. Every second of the day presents the opportunity to lead. This is true whether you are a CEO, receptionist, father, child, coach, or athlete. I’ve been thinking about leadership a lot because it is popping up in my personal life with my wife and kids, at church,  and at work. I’ve also recently transitioned into project management and for the first time in my career, I am managing processes almost exclusively and not directly supervising people. I still deal with a lot of people and I still use essentially the same skill set. However, nobody does anything for me now because of any true authority it’s 100% relationship oriented. I’ve always lead in a way that was dependent on developing relationships. However, it’s still a small adjustment and it started me thinking about leadership in general and how it’s a bit different.

Being a Leader With Your Family:

I was talking to my wife Shawna the other night and she reminded me of something I do consistently that comes straight out of one of my favourite leadership books of all time: The 360 Degree Leader. It was about doing something trivial that everyone knows I do not want or like to do, but I do anyway because I know it is important to set the right example.

“As a leader, the first person I need to lead is me. The first person that I should try to change is me”.  – John C. Maxwell

I’m going to be honest here and say I HATE green beans. I don’t just dislike them, I detest them. However, I am aware they are good for me and I have some picky eaters in my family so I eat them without complaint. Part of it is so they will eat something healthy and see me do it too. Another part of it is so nobody can say: “Dad doesn’t eat green beans so I’m not either!” I was smart enough to know that asking them to eat something they don’t like when I would not, was hypocritical at best and a poor display of leadership. Knowing this, I suck it up and eat them anyway. My wife was using this as an example to one of the kids about doing things you don’t want to do because it is the right thing. Whats funny is this kid knew I did that and acknowledged it. I’ve never mentioned that I do this and I don’t make a big deal out of it, but I can tell you beyond a shadow of a doubt that they know I don’t like them, that I eat them anyway. Honestly I was a bit surprised, but it reinforced the idea that your kids watch and listen to everything you do.

“A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.” – John C. Maxwell

Another example that is a bit more serious is related to dealing with my Adult ADHD. I had gone 42 years and never been on any sort of ADHD medicine. I didn’t want it and honestly, didn’t think I needed it. Both my ex and current wife encouraged me to try something for years and I just refused for a number of reasons. If I’m being honest, I was aware I had some annoying issues,  but I had learned to live with them and I had what was in my mind a reasonable expectation everyone else would as well. 

I have 3 kids with ADHD all three of whom benefit tremendously from taking their medication. I’m not sure what sparked it but two of them were occasionally resistant to taking it and saying it didn’t help. Everybody knows this is simply not true and I had told them how important it was for months but gaining little ground. I had spent a lot of time thinking of ways to show them how important this was and was getting nowhere fast. Finally, one day I woke up and said: “self, you need to take the same stuff they do.” I had finally realized what a hypocrite I was being. Nobody had to tell me, I just reflected one day and realized I was a huge jerk if I insisted they do something I refused to do. That same day I told Shawna: “I think I need to start taking Intuniv too.” Honestly, it was one of the best decisions I have ever made. I am so much happier now and I am able to relax in a way I have never been able to in my entire life. I wish I had done it years ago. Besides feeling better, by taking it myself I was able to show that I was 100% bought into the process of dealing with not only their ADHD but my own as well. My entire family is happier because of it. If you are a parent, you have probably already realized that your children are watching everything you do. Because of this one decision all three of my kids are now happily taking their medication and we have a calmer happier home because of it.

“If you are a parent, you have probably already realized that your children are always watching what you do. And just as children watch their parents and emulate their behavior, so do employees who are watching their bosses.” – John C. Maxwell

Being a Leader at Work

One of the most fun things I use to do as a sales manager was to jump on the phone Saturday morning during our phone-a-thons and set some appointments. It was fun for several reasons. First, I’m a great salesperson and it’s fun to do things you are good at especially if it’s out of your norm. Second, I’m competitive and I wanted to set more appointments than anyone because it’s fun to talk a little smack with my top performers and work hard. More importantly, my mid and low performers saw me demonstrating skills I had taught in training and it reinforced that training because I could prove I not only talked the talk but could walk the walk. Finally, I dialed because they LOVED it. Seriously, everyone likes to see their boss do their job and it’s good leadership to join in on Saturday morning when nobody wants to be there.

Opportunities to lead are everywhere if you are looking for them. in everything, you do someone is watching and learning. My goal every day is to make sure they learn something positive.

For Further Study:

If you are looking to improve yourself and be a better leader in every situation I recommend you buy John C Maxwell’s The 360 Degree leader. 

For Discussion:

Tell me about a hidden leadership opportunity you found in the comments!

Knowledge will set you free… Or will it?

What is the Function of a School?

There is a lot of talk about education right now and a lot of blame cast on the schools for not doing their job but I think it’s important to consider what the job of a school is. Most people would quickly agree that the job of the school is to impart knowledge. I read a very interesting article that talked about the difference between knowledge, wisdom, and insight and I had a bit of an a-ha! moment… if the following is true:

Knowledge VS Wisdom VS Insight

Knowledge is the accumulation of facts and data that you have learned about or experienced. It’s being aware of something, and  having information. Knowledge is really about facts and ideas that we acquire through study, research, investigation, observation, or experience.

Wisdom is the ability to discern and judge which aspects of that knowledge are true, right, lasting, and applicable to your life. It’s the ability to apply that knowledge to the greater scheme of life. It’s also deeper; knowing the meaning or reason; about knowing why something is, and what it means to your life.

Insight is the deepest level of knowing and the most meaningful to your life. Insight is a deeper and clearer perception of life, of knowledge, of wisdom. It’s grasping the underlying nature of knowledge, and the essence of wisdom. Insight is a truer understanding of your life and the bigger picture of how things intertwine.

via What Are the Differences Between Knowledge, Wisdom, and Insight? – Lifehack.

The Function of the School in Education

Then the job of the school is to present the student with facts and information and help them develop some research and investigation skills. That’s really all they are on the hook for. It’s our job as parents to teach values, impart wisdom, and hopefully, help them develop insight. The gamer in me is going to come out here for a second… In Dungeons and Dragons Intelligence (knowledge) and Wisdom are the two primary character statistics related to intellect.  In application: a knowledgeable character knows a situation is dangerous and what type of danger is present. A wise character has a solid strategy based on experience to deal with that situation, and an insightful one knows how to either avoid it all together or benefit from the danger.

The function of the school is to present the student with facts and information #education Click To Tweet

The Role of Parents in Education

I started thinking about parents I know and students I see at the school where I work and it got me thinking about the fact that many parents rely on the school to teach not only knowledge but to also values and wisdom. The trouble with that is that simply isn’t reasonable or wise.

It is not the school's purpose to teach your child a new set of values. #education #parenting Click To Tweet

Knowledge is simply not enough to ensure success in life. You must have the wisdom to apply that knowledge for it to do any good. That wisdom can only come from experience and our job as parents is to provide that. Moreover, I do not think it is smart or wise to rely on strangers to impart a value system on my children. I want them to have their own strong, well-developed value system to the point that they can stick up for their own beliefs.  I do a lot with my kids. We play games, work out, talk, read, and travel together. I also try to expose them to the arts through film, theatre, and music… and you can see when talking to my kids they are very bright. They figure stuff out quickly… That’s what it takes to be successful. and they do this because they have actively involved parents.

Knowledge is simply not enough to ensure success in life. #education #parenting Click To Tweet

What I am Doing

I do a lot with my kids. We play games, work out, talk, read, and travel together. I also try to expose them to the arts through film, theatre, music and museums.  Because of this, you can see when talking to my kids they are very bright and capable. They figure things out quickly on their own and are effective problem solvers even in unfamiliar situations. That is what it takes to be successful. and they can do this because they have actively involved parents.

What My Parents Did

When I was a kid my dad took me hunting and fishing. I spent time in the mountains, we sailed, played sports, and built and repaired things. He spent a lot of time talking and teaching with me. This was not him talking AT me but really talking TO me, and I think that is a big part of what made me successful despite their lack of formal education. My parents owned my success and failure in life and viewed the school system as a tool… I’m not sure as a society we do that anymore.

I have some BIG plans for my kids: backpacking trips, hunting, fishing, vacations, sports, church, volunteering, etc… varied experiences where they learn about themselves and where I can help them apply the knowledge they have gained to be not only wise, but god willing insightful.

For Further Study

There are two books I recommend parents take a look at if you are interested in raising smart wise, godly children. The first is Shepherding a Child’s Heart and the other is Instructing a Childs Heart. Both of these books are going to challenge you as a parent to re-examine your thinking and make changes to how you do things. However, the long-term benefit of purposeful parenting is well worth the effort.

For Discussion

Without overtly slamming the public school system, I’m curious to hear what other people think about this idea. How are you helping to prepare their kids for life? I have not had time to fully develop my thought on this and am interested in the conversation so please leave your thoughts in the comments below.

Do You REALLY Need Milk?

Is Milk good for you?Is Milk good for you?

Is Milk actually good for you? We are told it is. However, it’s worth considering the data available and remembering that the milk of years ago is not the same as what we drink now.

My friend Chris over at Stitches n’ Dishes shared a great info graphic about milk and I thought I should share it with all of you as well. Giving up milk is not easy, but I did that about 6 months ago and it has changed my life. Since I started eating paleo

I have lost about 30 pounds and I eat a richer fuller diet than I ever thought possible. I eat more fresh fruit and veggies than before. Moreover, I eat a lot of fabulous things like crab legs, shrimp, steak, etc… My initial concern was that my kids need milk, but the logic in The Paleo Solution gave me the confidence I needed to give it a go. My other concern was the cost. However,  I quickly discovered my grocery bill dropped about 10-15% when I stopped buying processed foods and focused my shopping on quality meat and produce.

Take a look at the infographic and let me know what you think. Paleo eating may not be for everyone, but it does accommodate vegetarian and vegan lifestyles and it would be hard to argue against fresh food over processed. If you are looking for a comprehensive system to get started or improve your Paleo eating you might also benefit from these Paleo Hacks.

Is Milk Dangerous?

For Further Study:

My two favorite books on this topic are The Paleo Revolution and Whole 30. Both of these books will help you transition to a clean eating whole foods lifestyle. Moreover, they are filled with wonderful recipes that will not leave you feeling like you are missing out on anything. If you need a comprehensive program to assist you in your transition this program of Paleo Hacks is awesome.

For Discussion:

So I’m curious where do you stand on the issue of milk? DO you consider it an essential part of your diet, a luxury, or have you given it up? If you gave it up how do you feel?