Category Archives: Intentional

My Reading List – Summer 2017


This quarter’s list has some really outstanding books. Option B and Tools of Titans are must reads for everyone – their content is applicable to adults of all ages. If you didn’t see my list from last Fall/Winter, please take a quick look – there are several amazing 5-star books that I’ve already re-read since then, and highly recommend.

My Rating Scale
5 – Simply Amazing: Loved the style and the content; added significant value to me, and will be one I re-read.
4 – Very Good: Engaged with most of the content and found some fantastic nuggets throughout.
3 – Good: Had a great chapter or two; overall was average.
2 – Ok: Had one or two things that I resonated with or found helpful; as a whole was just so-so.
1 – Pass: My time was better spent elsewhere.

5-Star Reads
Option B by Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant
Simply an incredible book with wisdom for anyone who has ever faced loss of any kind: death of a loved one, divorce, loss of a job, unfulfilled dreams. I enjoyed the On Being podcast interview where Sheryl and Adam talk with Krista Tippett about their learnings. I’m already re-reading the book again, it is rich and deep.

4-Star Reads
Tools of Titans by Tim Ferriss
A monster of a book that took me a couple of months to digest, but was well worth the time. I love how he broke it down by the proverbial “healthy, wealthy, and wise.” I mostly resonated with the wise section, but there were fantastic learnings all throughout. There is something in this book for everyone.
Do Over by Jon Acuff
Gone are the days of working the same job for 35 years. Every single one of us will, at some point, face a change in our career. It could be something that we choose for ourselves or something that is thrust upon us. Either way, no one should attempt to navigate the change without Jon’s wisdom.
On the Clock by Tim Enochs
An inspirational novel that spurs thoughts about our assumptions. If you want a good uplifting book that you can read in one afternoon, this fits the bill.

3-Star Reads
Mastering Leadership by Robert Anderson and Williams Adams
One of the most important disciplines of leadership is taking time to stop and assess your beliefs. This book helps us to do so at a deeper level by looking at and understanding our personal operating system, what is at the core of each of us, and how it impacts how we live and lead.
Uninvited by Lysa TerKeurst
We’ve all felt left out. Lysa shares her own hurts in hopes of helping us to recognize that we’re not alone, and that because we all have similar feelings and experiences that we should draw together in greater community.
Practicing God’s Presence by Brother Lawrence, Robert Elmer
A short book of writings from a 17th century monk who sought to experience God’s goodness and joy through the regular chores and tasks of the day, like washing dishes. It is a perspective-changing read.
The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex by Sheila Wray Gregoire
While not as helpful as I had hoped it would be, there are millions of women who would find Sheila’s style and wisdom helpful.

My Next Review
Below are the books on my current reading list; my January review will include as many of them as possible, and maybe a few others.

Learning to Lead by Fred Smith
The Coaching Habit by Michael Bungay Stanier
Business Boutique by Christy Wright
The Accidental Creative by Todd Henry
The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work by John Gottman
Perennial Seller by Ryan Holiday
Finish by Jon Acuff
To Sell is Human by Daniel Pink
Tribe of Mentors by Tim Ferriss

What was one of your 5-star books over the past few months?
What are you currently reading?

PS: Rather than doing affiliate links to Amazon and putting cash in my personal pocket if you purchase a book from my reading lists, my Amazon links provide a portion of the sale to be donated to one of my favorite non-profit organizations, The Cupcake Girls. I appreciate you making the purchase through my link to support the incredible work they are doing.

My Reading List – Summer 2016

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Lots of business travel over the summer meant that I didn’t read as much as I wanted to, but there are a few that I’m really excited to share about. Below are my ratings for them, as well as a brief summary of how each might add value to your life.

My Rating Scale

5 – Simply Amazing: Loved the style and the content; added significant value to me, and will be one I re-read.
4 – Very Good: Engaged with the majority of the content and found some fantastic nuggets all throughout.
3 – Good: Had a great chapter or two; overall was average.
2 – Ok: Had one or two things that I resonated with or found helpful; as a whole was just so-so.
1 – Pass: My time was better spent elsewhere.

5-Star Reads

None

4-Star Reads

Under New Management by David Burkus
Dr. Burkus presents some fantastic ideas that disrupt the status quo, and prompt us to think about business systems and processes that are basically broken but that we’ve allowed to outstay their welcome. His ideas are backed by case studies of companies that are trying new methods and are seeing some great results. This is a must read for anyone in executive leadership and HR.

H3 Leadership by Brad Lomenick
Want to be a better leader? Start with the 20 habits that Brad outlines in this book. None of the habits will surprise you, but they are all ones that, when intentionally implemented, are game changers. Don’t let their simplicity fool you, they will take courage and intentionality.

Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes
I’ve never seen an episode of any of the hit shows that Shonda is the writer for, and I didn’t know anything about her before I started her book, but she won me over with her authenticity. She’s hilarious, and surprisingly down to earth and relatable for someone who is famous and a multi-millionaire. I don’t agree with some of her personal beliefs, but the first 2/3 of the book is a must-read for every working mom.

3-Star Reads

Giddy Up, Eunice by Sophie Hudson
Our culture teaches us that success is only for a lucky few. This perspective causes unnecessary competition, comparison, envy, and jealousy. Sophie’s book is a beautiful reminder for women that we need to come alongside and support one another instead of tearing each other down and telling each other how we should live. She tells us that our “callings complement one another” and that we need to “bless each other.” Amen.

2-Star Reads

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo
I am a very organized person and thought I would love this book, but honestly, I found her methodology to be bizarre and bordering on OCD. The one thing that I really did like, and will use personally, and with my clients, is that when the time comes to do some purging of material items, that we go through the process of asking ourselves if each particular item brings us joy, and if we recognize that it doesn’t then take that as the cue that it’s time to let go of that item.

My Next Review

Below are some of the books that are on my current reading list. I will post a blog in January that provides my ratings and reviews for everything that I read between now and then.

Do Over by Jon Acuff
The Harvey Girls: Women Who Opened The West by Lesley Poling-Kempes
Wild Goose Chase by Mark Batterson
How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big by Scott Adams
Trust Me, I’m Lying: Confessions of a Media Manipulator by Ryan Holiday
Growth Hacker Marketing by Ryan Holiday
The Magnolia Story by Chip and Joanna Gaines

What was one of your 5-star books this Summer?
What are you currently reading?

PS: Rather than doing affiliate links to Amazon and putting cash in my personal pocket if you purchase a book from my reading lists, my Amazon links provide a portion of the sale to be donated to one of my favorite non-profit organizations, The Cupcake Girls. I appreciate you making the purchase through my link to support the incredible work they are doing.

My Reading List – Winter 2016

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Reading is my happy place, and the books I read during the first few months of this year packed a punch; some of my all-time favorite reads.

Below are my ratings for them, as well as a brief summary of how each might add value to your life.

My Rating Scale

5 – Simply Amazing: Loved the style and the content; added significant value to me, and will be one I re-read.
4 – Very Good: Engaged with the majority of the content and found some fantastic nuggets all throughout.
3 – Good: Had a great chapter or two; overall was average.
2 – Ok: Had one or two things that I resonated with or found helpful; as a whole was just so-so.
1 – Pass: My time was better spent elsewhere.

5-Star Reads

One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp
Ann’s poetic way of writing, which is the complete opposite of what I usually read, had me hooked from page one. I am awed and inspired by the way she views life. I actually read this book twice, back to back, and am currently re-reading it again. You cannot read this book without being deeply compelled to become a more grateful person.

Living Forward by Daniel Harkavy and Michael Hyatt
You may be tempted to think that I only listed this as a 5-star read because it is written by the owner of the company I work for, but in all reality, I chose to join Building Champions because I am in complete agreement with Daniel’s philosophy: our lives are more full and rich when we live intentionally. Daniel and Michael’s book walks us through how to proactively live life on purpose so that every area of our lives is as meaningful as we desire it to be. Learn a little more through this interview with Forbes magazine, or through this podcast with Dale Partridge.

The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown
Wow! Talk about teamwork and perseverance. This is an incredible story that will not only get your adrenaline pumping, but will remind you that teams that work together are able to truly move mountains, and that victories are sweeter when someone else is victorious with you.

Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand
Louis Zamperini’s story is truly the epitome of resilience. My own personal courage was bolstered every time Louis encountered a new, and often more horrifying, situation. When you’re tempted to think that you can’t overcome a certain challenge or obstacle, look to Louis’s example to give you confidence to carry on.

4-Star Reads

Scary Close by Donald Miller
This life is a waste if we’re not going to live it as the person who we were created us to be. Donald’s book talks about his journey of becoming real, of pulling off the mask. His story is an encouragement to all of us to become more self-aware, and to not let fear, shame, guilt, or any other feelings keep us from living life as we were intended to.

Seabiscuit by Laura Hillenbrand
Of all of the characters in this epic story, it is the life of Tom Smith that intrigues me most. Tom’s ability to help Seabiscuit actualize the potential that only Tom saw in him is a thing of beauty; nothing less than art in motion. It is a reminder that each of us have a gift that we are meant to share.

3-Star Reads

Deep Change by Robert Quinn
Not an easy read, but some good wisdom for those of us who have areas in our lives that we are working on and expecting transformational change. He also has a field guide with introspective exercises that are intended to help facilitate the desired change.

2-Star Reads

The Principle of the Path by Andy Stanley
“Choosing the wrong path in life will cost you precious years.” Andy’s book identifies why it is important to follow Daniel Harkavy’s outlined method in Living Forward for how to live a life of intention and purpose.

My Next Review

Below are some of the books that I am currently reading. I will post a blog in July that provides my ratings and reviews for everything that I read between now and then.

The Power of the Other by Henry Cloud
Ego is the Enemy by Ryan Holiday
Do Over by Jon Acuff
H3 Leadership by Brad Lomenick
Under New Management by David Burkus
Becoming an Agile Leader by Victoria Swisher

What was one of your 5-star books this Winter?
What are you currently reading?

PS: Rather than doing affiliate links to Amazon and putting cash in my personal pocket if you purchase a book from my reading lists, my Amazon links provide a portion of the sale to be donated to one of my favorite non-profit organizations, The Cupcake Girls. I appreciate you making the purchase through my link to support the incredible work they are doing.

My Reading List – Fall 2015

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Below are the books I read in Q4, with my rating and a brief summary of what I learned, as well as how I think it might add value to your life.

My Rating Scale

5 – Simply Amazing: Loved the style and the content; added significant value to me, and will be one I re-read.
4 – Very Good: Engaged with the majority of the content and found some fantastic nuggets all throughout.
3 – Good: Had a great chapter or two; overall was average.
2 – Ok: Had one or two things that I resonated with or found helpful; as a whole was just so-so.
1 – Pass: My time was better spent elsewhere.

5-Star Reads

I didn’t have any 5-star reads in my Fall reading, but the best book of 2015 for me was Essentialism by Gary McKeown. Every single one of us would like to have more time in our lives, and Gary does an exceptional job of walking through how to make that happen.

4-Star Reads

For The Love by Jen Hatmaker
Life is difficult, and Jen gets real with her readers making sure that we know it’s ok to let our real lives show, and to not get caught in the trap of trying to make our lives appear perfect and easy. She is hilariously funny and her message will resonate with everyone who has ever tried to make their life look like it’s straight off of Pinterest.

The Best Yes by Lysa TerKeurst
Akin to Greg McKeown’s book, Lysa’s overall goal and intent is to help us determine where our time is best spent and how to say no without disappointing people. She presents us with practical filters to use for our decision-making. I found much wisdom in her easy-to follow, and implement, approach.

People over Profit by Dale Partridge
Our economic, and general societal, well-being is still recovering from the effects of people in the finance world sacrificing their convictions for greed. Dale does a great job of showing us what leads to poor decision-making in organizations, and provides us with seven core beliefs that, when acted upon, will bring health, vitality, and sustainability. One of my favorite quotes is, “Fire others the way you would want to be fired.”

3-Star Reads

QBQ! The Question Behind The Question by John G. Miller
Through some simple questions and disciplines, John teaches us how to take personal accountability. He reminds us, “We can’t change other people. We often can’t control circumstances and events. The only things we have any real control over are our own thoughts and actions.”

You Are A Badass by Jen Sincero
“There will never be anyone exactly like you. You were given special gifts and talents to share with the world, and even though everybody has special gifts and talents, nobody will use theirs quite the same way you do.” If you need some inspiration and reminders that you are strong and capable, this book will definitely provide you with that pick-me-up.

The Prince of the Marshes by Rory Stewart
A fascinating look at life in Iraq during the years following the ousting of Saddam Hussein. Rory, a British diplomat, shares his story about the time he spends in Iraq trying to help the country unite and re-build with its own government and culture. I preferred Rory’s book, The Places In Between, about his year in Afghanistan over this one.

2-Star Reads

Money by Tony Robbins
I had high hopes that a multi-multi-millionaire would bring some great insights in regard to personal finances, but I was pretty let down. The book is nearly 700 pages, but was extremely repetitive; it could have been 200 and retained the few valuable elements. The section about 401k investments was helpful, but overall I’ve learned far better financial wisdom from Dave Ramsey and my uncle.

1-Star Reads

Disarming the Narcissist by Wendy Behary
This is the only book I read in 2015 that I would say is not worth reading. From my research on this topic, there are more helpful articles on the internet. Bummer!

My Next Review Will Include

Below are some of the books that I am reading or re-reading over the next few months. I will post a blog in April that provides my ratings and reviews for everything that I read between now and then.

Do Over by Jon Acuff
One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp
Living Forward by Daniel Harkavy and Michael Hyatt
H3 Leadership by Brad Lomenick
Deep Change by Robert Quinn
Scary Close by Donald Miller
The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown

What was one of your 5-star books this Fall?
What is on your reading list this Winter?

(Here are the links to my other 2015 reading lists: winter 2015 and spring & summer 2015.)

PS: Rather than doing affiliate links to Amazon and putting cash in my personal pocket if you purchase a book from my reading lists, my Amazon links provide a portion of the sale to be donated to one of my favorite non-profit organizations, The Cupcake Girls. I appreciate you making the purchase through my link to support the incredible work they are doing.

Always Be Growing

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I just turned 40.

One of my sisters asked me what one key learning from these past four decades I could pass on. Being that I’m not very quick on my feet and needed time to ponder and reflect, I told her that I’d have to think about it.

At first some of the things that I teach my clients came to mind: taking time to reflect, being intentional about where you’re headed, making decisions on purpose, etc.

Those are all very valuable, and when implemented are certain to make a positive and lasting difference in our lives.

But one mindset trumps all else: Always be growing.

When I look at the people who I admire most and the people who I most desire to be like, I see humble people who set out each day to be better than they were the day before.

I see people who not only recognize their strengths and weaknesses, but who do something every day to strengthen a strength or diminish a weakness.

I see people who face their fears.

I see people who admit that they don’t have all of the answers, and place themselves in a posture of learning.

I see people who take time to rest and recharge, but who don’t allow laziness or complacency to overtake them.

I see people who explore and try new things, and don’t let failure keep them down.

I see people who not only apologize when they say or do something wrong, but who learn from the experience so they don’t make the same error again.

I see people who seek wisdom, understanding, and discernment.

What I love about this is that everyone can grow. We all have the ability to be better today, in some way, than we were yesterday. Maybe it’s in a behavior, maybe it’s about a belief, or maybe it’s acquiring new knowledge or information. Whatever it is, we have control over whether or not we grow.

Today, at 40 years old, I commit to growing every day.

What does growing look like for you today?

Did Your Family Go On Summer Vacation Without You?

Growing up, summers were a blast! There was always so much to look forward to. Whether it was more frequent trips to the beach or practicing our dives and belly-flops at a friend’s pool or camping somewhere along California’s gorgeous coastline or heading to see the Colorado cousins. I can honestly say that my childhood summers were close to perfect, almost idyllic.

The one thing though that would have made them complete, is if my Dad had been able to join us more often.

The majority of my childhood my Dad was building two businesses. He worked hard to provide for our family of six. But in doing so, it meant that he often didn’t join us at the beach, or only came camping on the weekends, or met us in Colorado for one of the weeks we were there.

As I reflect back on this, I know he did the best he knew how. But, I have to be honest with you, I sure do wish that he’d had a business coach who would’ve helped him plan better, strategize more, identify his core convictions more thoroughly, and work through his calendar and teach him how to maximize and prioritize his time.

Knowing what I know now, I’m confident that if he’d had the kind of support and accountability that my Building Champions colleagues and I provide to our clients, that he would not have missed out on so much, and our summer vacations would have been even more amazing.

I say this with confidence because one of my colleagues just helped his client take her first real and unplugged vacation with her family in 13 years. Another former client of ours just took a 4-week vacation to Europe with his wife and was completely free of work obligations while there.

These, and similar successes, happen because, as coaches, we help our clients be intentional about where they spend their time and how they make their decisions.

Did you miss out on time with your family this summer and want to make sure it doesn’t happen again next summer?

Here are some ideas and resources to help you not miss your next family vacation:
1. Greg McKeown’s new book, Essentialism, speaks to the value of disciplined prioritization.
2. Lysa TerKeurst’s new book, The Best Yes, speaks to rising above the endless demands for a woman’s time and attention.
3. I, or one of my colleagues at Building Champions, would love to engage with you through coaching and help you become more intentional and purposeful.

What are you going to do differently so that you don’t miss summer vacation next year?

Living on Purpose

“We shall not cease from exploration;
And the end of all our exploring;
Will be to arrive where we started;
And know the place for the first time.”
~ T.S. Eliot

Maybe it had something to do with being the eldest of four.

Maybe it had something to do with being in an organizational setting as a file clerk at 12 years of age.

Maybe it was because my parents trusted me, championed me, and nurtured me.

Maybe it had something to do with God creating me this way and placing certain desires and interests within me.

Definitely it is all of these, and more.

I’m talking about my interest in leadership, my ambition to be a leader, my belief that being a leader opens doors, and my awareness that leaders are the ones who really make a difference and an impact on our world.

I recently celebrated my 39th birthday, and as with most people I become more self-reflective around my birthday. As I reflect back, the journey hasn’t been exactly what this Type A girl had drawn out at 11 and 12 years of age, but nonetheless, 39 finds me having arrived at the intended destination: living life on purpose and helping others to do the same.

A conversation that began well over a year ago has brought me to this destination, which is actually just the beginning.

In April, I was invited to join the prestigious organization, Building Champions, as a business and leadership coach. Building Champions is one of the leading coaching organizations in the U.S., with clients such as Chick-fil-A, Prime Lending, Bank of America, Morgan Stanley, Northwestern Mutual, Pfizer, and State Farm. We are engaged every day to make a positive difference in the lives of those we touch with this motto: coaching business and life on purpose.

I am honored to be part of an organization that is truly making a difference in the way people live and lead. Being able to combine my loves of business strategy, organizational culture, people and leadership development, vision clarification, and priority management is a dream come true and my intended destination.

With this new beginning as a coach with Building Champions, I am looking for people who need someone to partner with them as they work to achieve their professional and personal goals. I help people and organizations get clear in who they are and where they want to go, define their current reality, and develop very specific actions, plans, and strategies to close the gap from their current reality to where they would love to be.

I am specifically looking for 10 additional new clients by the end of August. Who do you know who might benefit from business and leadership coaching?

Additionally, I am also specifically looking for speaking engagement and workshop facilitation opportunities over the next several months. Who do you know who might benefit from a workshop about time management, vision planning, team building, strategic planning, or culture creation?

One of things I realize as I write this is that you might be led to think that by having realized my dream, that my life might be perfect. One of the beautiful aspects of this new role is getting to share life with my clients and being in community with one another as we experience the triumphs and tragedies, and the valleys and peaks of life. For example, one of my current battles is losing the rest of the 30 pounds that I gained while working toward my Ph.D. My birthday present to myself was a Dr. McBabe’s Walking Desk for my treadmill; it’s such a fantastic invention. I’m also excited to use it to begin training for the 2015 Hood to Coast, which I will be running as part of the Building Champions’ team. Another example, as with anyone who has “Achiever” as one of their top five strengths, I’m working diligently to discipline myself to have one day every week where I completely disengage from anything work-related and spend the time in fellowship, community, worship, play, and rest. This is a very difficult thing for me, but is absolutely crucial if I am going to live a full and meaningful life.

Whether you’re 39 or 59 or 89 it’s never too late to live on purpose. I’m curious, what is keeping you from living on purpose?

Why I Am No Longer Desperate For A Mentor

Our society no longer actively uses apprenticeship as the main means of learning one’s trade or skill. It is not often that we have someone come directly alongside us and commit to teaching us everything they know about a specific area of expertise. For the longest time I had a deep discouragement about this. I desperately longed for a Christian businesswoman who would spend time pouring into me from the depths of her wisdom about what it means to be a Christian woman in the business world, and the ABCs of business.

My frustration at not being able to find a woman like this began to dampen when I started to discover the power of observation. About 15 years ago I started making mental notes of what I observed as examples of good leadership and of bad leadership. Then, while working on my MBA, I started recording specific decisions and actions that I witnessed, from various leaders and managers around me, specifically those I observed from women in leadership positions. My arsenal was being constructed of good tools and ineffective tools, of positive methods and negative methods.

While reading the book of Matthew, as part of the #LentChallenge, I was reminded that Jesus used modeling and demonstration as a means of teaching the disciples. He didn’t hold their hands and “apprentice” them, but He invited them to observe His actions and choose for themselves if they wanted to follow His way of doing things. He also invited the disciples to observe and witness the examples being shown by the Pharisees, and again evaluate for themselves what the better way was.

As I read through these scriptures it reminded me of how wonderful a gift observation is to us, and how much we can learn from it. It also reminded me of the constructs of self-directed learning and autonomous learning that I studied throughout my PhD program. Essentially, both constructs indicate that we are capable of learning more when we purposefully and intentionally show desire, initiative, resourcefulness, and persistence in engaging in a learning activity.

This led me to think about other learning activities that have helped me to be a better businesswoman, a better Christian businesswoman.

For me, the main method outside of observation that I have learned from is reading. I love to read, primarily articles, books, and blogs. I’ve discovered that there is great content out there, and some not so great content, but I can learn something from both kinds. I also learn a lot from podcasts and sermons, which I often consume while on the treadmill. Social media expert, Claire Diaz Ortiz, recently posted this article on ways that she learns. I love her plan for getting the most out of a conference. A couple of years ago, author and speaker, Michael Hyatt wrote this blog about how you can go further, faster. In it he said that the secret to doing so is to “Enlist the help of the best coaches and instructors you can afford.” He gives a really helpful list of the people he’s hired over the years to help him with everything from his golf game to his business and life planning.

The point is, I’ve learned that there are so many more wonderful ways to learn than through direct instruction from someone. I no longer feel the need to have one woman teach me everything she knows because I know I can learn more through these many other sources and methods.

In what areas of your life do you want to learn and grow? What method might best help you?

The True Meaning Of Lent

The majority of my formative years were spent in a charismatic conservative Christian church. Palm Sunday and Good Friday were pretty big deals and definitely had attention given to them, but the majority of the attention was given to Easter. Overall it made sense, given that in evangelical circles the emphasis is on the celebration and the rejoicing, and the triumph of Christ rising from the dead, and the beautiful symbolism of His followers not having to face eternal death but being able to have eternal life. I am truly grateful for the truths laid in my heart because of my upbringing, but it was not until I was 34 years old that I actually encountered Lent and its true meaning.

I had heard of Lent and knew that it had some connection with Mardi Gras, and some connection to why people didn’t eat meat or gave up smoking, but there really wasn’t much that I knew beyond that. I know, call me sheltered and unaware, but I just didn’t know anyone for whom it was a part of his or her life.

Then, while I was in Oxford, England attending and speaking at a conference I had the opportunity to attend the Ash Wednesday service at Exeter College in their breathtaking Victorian Gothic chapel. As I sat in that room filled with its magnificent carved woodwork and stained glass, I listened to a message that brought me to an understanding of Lent beyond, “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.”

I came face to face with a season intended for preparation.

The traditional focus of Lent, the forty days from Ash Wednesday to Maundy Thursday, is as a commemoration of the 40 days that Jesus spent fasting in the desert. And though that focus, of doing what Jesus did, is admirable, it seems as though why He did what He did has been lost in the tradition and ritual of it all.

As I sat listening to the readings from the books of Isaiah and Matthew, I was reminded that the purpose of Christ’s 40 days of prayer and fasting in the desert was to prepare Him for the days that were ahead of Him as He entered His time of ministry. John Maxwell refers to Jesus’ time in the desert as a “screening process,” a time to see if He had what it was going to take.

Since that awakening on Ash Wednesday four years ago, I have purposefully chosen to participate in the Lent season, but with a different focus than that of the traditional focus. For me it start on Ash Wednesday with a time of prayer and confession and posturing myself in a way that acknowledges my humanity and my need for forgiveness, and then moves into 40 days of specific focus on preparation, preparation for the next season that God is moving me into. John Maxwell says that it is during this season that “our motives get purified, our backbone solidifies, and our calling gets clarified.” Each year I have found myself truly prepared by God for what was around the next bend.

This Lent I have joined in with a group of people who are all seeking to be prepared by God through the 40-day season in a special way. Led by author, teacher, and speaker, Margaret Feinberg, we will be reading through the New Testament of the Bible, from Matthew through Revelation, as our #LentChallenge. I am ready and expectant for God to use this season to prepare me for whatever lies ahead, and am truly grateful that God showed me the true meaning of Lent.

Would you like to join us?

Finally…Good Reasons For Valuing Accountability

Earlier this week I joined the monthly Champion’s Edge webinar by Building Champions. One of their executive coaches, Dan Foster, led us through six steps of accountability with the ultimate goal of learning how to harness the power of accountability.

I have to admit, I joined the webinar wondering if I was going to come to the end of the 30 minutes and feel like I had wasted my time. Not because of Dan, he is an exceptionally experienced coach and a pretty smart guy, and I knew he’d share some practical and meaningful thoughts. But, because of the topic.

I mean seriously, when have you ever gotten excited about being told that you need to be more accountable or have more accountability in your life? Accountability has become something of a four-letter word. Take a look at the definition of accountable, “required to explain actions or decisions.” Wow! Isn’t that frightening? Sounds like something you’re super excited to sign-up for, right?!

Well, I spent the 30 minutes listening to what Dan had to say and as I’d hoped, he did not disappoint, and my time was anything but wasted.

He did a great job of articulating the steps of accountability, as taught through the Building Champions methodology, and how it all starts with being accountable to yourself. But, what I love about what he shared, even though he didn’t specifically itemize them or draw special attention to them, was that he gave a really solid argument for why be accountable; why is accountability valuable; what do we stand to gain by being accountable. And, hallelujah, his reasons weren’t the typical cliché ones that I’ve heard my whole life about keeping you honest, or making you trustworthy, or teaching you responsibility. Not that those aren’t important, they are very important; they’re table stakes. But, for once I heard arguments for the value of accountability that actually got me excited to be accountable. Finally, I was given reason to be motivated beyond duty and obligation. Here is what Dan shared, in his words, more or less:
1) Being accountable to yourself and others enables you to be more purposeful.
2) Being accountable to yourself and others enables you to be more intentional.
3) Being accountable to yourself and others provides added motivation.
4) Being accountable to yourself and others provides an opportunity for you to be challenged and stretched.
5) Being accountable to yourself and others provides an opportunity for you to be encouraged.
6) Being accountable to yourself and others allows you to learn more about yourself and discover your unique purpose and contribution.
7) Being accountable to yourself and others equips you to build your vision for who you want to be and where you want to go.
8) Being accountable to yourself and others allows you to live within your sweet spot, thus enabling you to do what Daniel Harkavy says, “Say no to the good so you can say yes to the great.”
9) Being accountable to yourself and others causes you to respect yourself more, believe in yourself more, and be more self-confident.
10)Being accountable to yourself and others shows others that you can be counted on, which increases their respect for you, which increases the likelihood that they’ll catch your vision and follow your lead.

What I love about this is that it becomes the flywheel that Jim Collins describes in Good to Great. You work through the steps of accountability, which you can go and listen to at buildingchampions.com, and as you work through them the momentum starts increasing, your actions are made on purpose, you say no in a way that shows respect for your plan and your intentions, you see others take note, you notice the difference being made, and as Collins says, “The momentum of the thing kicks in in your favor, hurling the flywheel forward, turn after turn…whoosh!…Each turn of the flywheel builds upon work done earlier, compounding your investment of effort.” It’s not just doing one of the steps that causes all of this value to be created, it is all of the steps. As Collins says, “It was all of them added together in an overall accumulation of effort applied in a consistent direction.”

So, accountability that produces purpose, intention, motivation, challenge, discovery, vision, focus, self-respect, self-confidence, influence, action, respect, and accolades?? Sign me up! I’m in!

How about you, what would cause you to value accountability?