A few months ago, I flew to Orange County, CA. On my return flight, I experienced turbulence somewhere over the Colorado Rockies. Sensing my nervousness, my seat mate looked at me and said, “Do not be worried, if it is your time, it is your time.” Really? You mean to tell me that is the best thing you can say?
He gave me absolutely no comfort! I have never received comfort from people who say, “If it is your time, it is your time.” It does not matter if you are in a car, or on a bus or plane, if it is your time, it is your time. What if it is the pilot’s time? It may not be my time but it is the pilot’s time. The truth is, at some point, we all worry.
Today you become a man. Becoming a man is more than reaching a milestone. It’s a process that began on that day eighteen years ago when you took your first breath and will continue until that time in the future when you take your last.
Being a man is not about accomplishments, athletic ability, academic ability or pursing popularity, power, possession, or prestige. Being a man is more about character, compassion and courage.
A man has character when he is a person of integrity who can be depended on. A man has compassion when he not only cares for others, but demonstrates it by putting their best interests ahead of his own.
A man has courage when he does what is right even what it’s difficult. I believe you are a long way along this journey to becoming a man. You have learned so much already. You show so much promise. As you journey into manhood, I’d like to share my experiences and help you go further faster.
Be proud of who you are. You are a Stowers and we determine our values, why they’re important, and live them out. Don’t be afraid to be an individual. Own it!
Listen more than you speak. You will learn more by paying attention to what others have to say, and people appreciate being heard.
Add value to people’s lives. Look for ways to inspire and empower others. Look for simple ways to help others.
Stand on your word. Doing what you say you will do is a rare thing in our world today. It is one of the easiest ways to stand apart.
Be confident but stay hungry and humble. You can accomplish anything you put your mind to, so don’t doubt your abilities. On the other hand don’t think too highly of yourself. Never get too high or too low.
Keep grinding. The process of working toward a goal is often as rewarding as the achievement itself.
Intelligence and wisdom are not the same. Intelligence is the ability to learn. Wisdom is using knowledge and experience to make good choices. You can be both.
Never stop learning and growing. There’s a whole world to be explored beyond the classroom long after graduation.
Own “IT.” Whatever life throws at you, embrace. Change, obstacles, accomplishments, difficulties, adventures, success, failure are all opportunities to grow. Enjoy the moment.
Love God and people! Be a man who is known by his affections and his actions. Value your family and forge friendships that last.
These eighteen years you have been alive also happen to coincide with the best eighteen years of my life. That’s no coincidence. Your coming into this world has profoundly changed mine. No words can adequately describe my love, my pride and my hope for you. I am blessed to call you my son. And today I am also pleased to call you a man. Happy 18th Birthday Son! I love you man!
I confess: Google is my trump card when I need to know something really fast. Recently, I searched “top skills you need to be successful” and I was blown away. I quickly discovered:
Everyone has their own definition of success
Everyone has their own list on what it takes to be successful
Most results centered on power, prestige, possessions, and popularity
Now I understand why we are confused
How would you define success? A lot of my Google search results considers power, possessions, prosperity, and prestige to be the highest of goals. It is true…God blesses some people with positions of power or wealth.
Lately, a lot of “so called” experts believe the church is in decline. I don’t.
As a result, there are plenty of conferences offering their latest and greatest pitch to stop the church’s decline. Each year we’re invited to hear “celebrity” pastors share God’s plan for the church and how we ought to adopt it and be large and successful like them. Frankly, I’m surprised that there hasn’t been a venue to really address how and why churches grow.
Many pastors & church leaders make their annual pilgrimage to Catalyst, Saddleback Church, Willowcreek Association’s Leadership Summit, North Point’s Drive Conference, Greater St. Steven FGBC, The Potter’s House, etc. and come away excited and delusional with unrealistic expectations. Ed Stetzer calls it ministry pornography.
You hear it all the time, but do you know what it means to live below your means? More importantly, have you figured out how to do that? The truth is many people live above or beyond their means. “Between 1993 and 2008, personal savings rates in the U.S. declined, hitting the lowest levels since the Great Depression in 2006 by falling into negative territory, according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis,” according to Glenn Curtis of Investopedia. It took a credit crisis and near-global economic disaster to get Americans to close their wallets and stop spending and “acting” rich.
First, let’s clarify by what I mean by “rich,” as this is a subjective term. It’s an ever-moving target. It’s like trying to nail jello to the wall. Defining “rich” is as personal as taste preferences of food or fashion. Many times, even when you are considered by others to be rich, you don’t think of yourself that way. Why? It’s all about perspective. The problem is you don’t “feel” rich. For the sake of this post, I won’t define rich…I’m leaving that task to you.
Recently, I shared the first reason why you’re broke is because you don’t have a budget. Remember, money without a direction will disappear. You can read it HERE. Next, I shared the second reason you’re broke is because of bad habits. Bad habits interrupt your life and prevent you from accomplishing your goals. You can read about it HERE. Now that you’ve caught your breath, let’s talk about the next reason why you’re broke…living ABOVE your means.
Most churches have mission statements. Corporations and businesses have mission statements. Mission statements are meant to infuse an organization with long-term vision and set the tone for all company goals, accomplishments and efforts. So, what’s a mission statement?
What is a Mission Statement
A mission statement acts as an invisible hand that guides the people in the organization. It explains the organization’s reason for being, and answers the question, “What business are we in?” However, a personal mission statement is different. And there’s a scene from the movie Selma illustrates the power of having a personal mission statement.
Setbacks are disheartening. They can leave us feeling disempowered and discouraged. Mostly setbacks can leave us feeling as though we have no real control over our lives. Yet there are some people who are successful despite the challenges and setbacks they experience. What is their secret?
Setbacks Help You Gain Perspective
Successful people view setbacks different. The difference is that they have a different perspective on setbacks. While they realize that they can’t always control the world around them, they can control how they respond to circumstances. In other words, successful people use setbacks to gain perspective when they experience circumstances beyond their control. They see setbacks as an opportunity to REFOCUS and find an EVEN BETTER WAY to achieve their goals. Setbacks don’t stop them, they simply slow them down for a short period of time.
“If it is important to you, you will find a way. If not you’ll find an excuse.” – Unknown
The new year is here. Many made resolutions to do better and be better. You’ve written goals and shared them with your family and friends so they can hold you accountable, right? Wrong move!
Psychologist know when you tell someone your goals, and it is acknowledged by them, you are more unlikely to do the job to achieve your goals. Why? Your brain can’t tell the difference between talking and doing. When we talk about what we’re going to do (our goals), two things happen:
When we share our goals and others acknowledge them, gratification and satisfaction tricks your brain into feeling that the goal has already been accomplished. The satisfaction you experience in the telling removes the motivation to do anything it takes to actually make it occur. Keep working and keep your goals to yourself. It could spur you to work harder to meet them.
“After hitting on a brilliant new life plan, our first instinct is to tell someone” — but Derek Sivers says “it’s better to keep goals secret.” He presents research stretching as far back as the 1920s to show why people who talk about their ambitions may be less likely to achieve them. Check out his TED Talk and discover why keeping your mouth shut may actually help you accomplish your goals.
Most people don’t take into account how many mistakes account for success. For some there is the idea that if you fail it’s the end: The end of the world, the end of the opportunity, the end to your chances for success. In reality the opposite is true. Mistakes are good for you because mistakes provide the biggest opportunity for growth, learning and development.
Why Mistakes Can Be Good for You
The only complete mistake is the mistake from which we learn nothing. Jacob Braude
Of all the great scientific breakthroughs, inventions or discoveries, not one of them achieved success on the first attempt. In fact when Thomas Edison was ridiculed for his more than 200 failed attempts to create a light bulb, his response was not full of self-pity or anger. Instead in his defense, he simply stated that he’d learned more than 200 ways of how not to do it. For Thomas Edison every mistake was a learning opportunity. How many of us could do the same?
There is a tendency when we make mistakes to get mad at ourselves. We tell ourselves that we should have known better, been more careful or thought it through more. But in reality we will never know it all. Making mistakes is simply part of living. The bible tells us that much: “For we know in part……but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears.” 1 Cor 13:9,10.
The easiest thing to say is often the most complex thing to do.
No matter what you’re doing, there comes a time when you are going to want to take things up a notch. Many want to get to the next level but are clueless about what it takes. Again, the easiest thing to say is often the most complex thing to do.
Getting to the next level requires a plan, sacrifice, skill, mental toughness, & hard work. Getting to next level is not the only goal – staying there is the goal. Getting to the next and not staying there is like buying your dream home with no money left to furnish it. What do you have to do to take your game, your career, your product, or your life to the next level? Getting & staying on the next level hinges on knowing the answers to two questions:
Where do you want to go
How are you going to get there?
Like I said, The easiest thing to say is often the most complex thing to do.