Do You Have a 2015 Blueprint?

I have a friend who is rebuilding a home. A couple of nights ago I visited the place he is temporarily living and he showed me the plans for his dream.

He recently bought a property that is in disarray … overgrown on the outside and structurally compromised on the inside. Being somewhat of a designer, his first step was to sketch a blueprint of what he intends to build.


After seeing the design, it’s obvious he has a vision of rooms and porches. He can see where furniture will be placed and cars will be parked. Even more importantly, he already hears mealtime conversations around a table and the laughter of his family echoing through the halls.

In June the home will be complete, a near replica of the sketches, beautiful inside and out, filled with laughter and love.

As you begin 2015 do you have a blueprint of the life you want to have a year from now? Can you see a preferred future? Are there relationships you need to rebuild? Is there a cause calling for your time?

I’m amazed at how close we usually get to our target.

In the Bible there is a word that serves as a good reminder of this concept. The word sin. Whether you are a Bible reader or not, chances are you’re familiar with the word. Most of us assume sin is when we don’t do what we should, or we do what we shouldn’t. Actually, the word is an old archery term that means to “miss the target” … “to live without aim.”

I don’t know about you, but the last thing I want to do this year is live an aimless life. 

For my friend, I’m guessing there will be times when he wants to give up. Once the demolition starts it will likely get worse before it gets better. There will be doubters, and it will be expensive.

But I know my friend. He is resolved to build something great and he has two things in his favor. One, a track record of excellence, and two, a blueprint to serve as his target.

December 2015 is coming … fast. The year will end with you living in one of two places. Where you are now or where you want to be. Before things get rolling, take the time to set your aim.

I suggest a blueprint.

Leadership Begins at Home,


What needs to be on your leadership blueprint in 2015?

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In With the New

I hope you had a great Christmas and your 2015 is off to a focused start.

As you begin a new year, let me remind you as I wrote yesterday, not to be merely, out with the old. Bring the good things from 2014 with you.

However, after you decide what good stuff to pack for the journey ahead, it is time to embrace In With the New.


photo creds to Rebekah Gravitt

Remember, the systems and routines you currently have built into your life are perfectly designed to give you the results you are getting. Your mind is a product of your commitment to study and learning. Your body is a reflection of your exercise and nutrition. Your soul is a manifestation of the spiritual priorities you either practice or neglect. If you want to move things to another level during the coming year, it will require a new way of thinking and behaving. I encourage you to look at your current habits and make the necessary adjustments.

So how did you do in 2014?

What changes do you plan to make in 2015?

My hope is you will have the best year of your life. If that is to happen, after you identify the new, DISCIPLINE will be the key to unlock your potential.

The “D” word is heavy. It drips with, “This is going to cost me some effort … consistent effort.” Yikes!

After less than a week, discipline is the word that has us rethinking our New Year’s resolutions. But without discipline, greatness is out of the question.

In Good to Great, Jim Collins says the first “action” of a disciplined thinker is to focus on his or her “Hedgehog Concept” – that place where a person has the potential to be world class.

The problem is most of us are not interested in the necessary actions required to be world class. When it comes to discipline we are easily distracted and, therefore, forfeit greatness.

On his blog, author Donald Miller wrote the following words … “No culture in history has been more distracted. If you are wondering why there are no more C.S. Lewis’ in the world, no more stories as good as Tolkien’s, no cathedrals as great as the gothic’s, no music as moving as Pachelbel’s, it may be because the writers of these books, the tellers of these stories, the architects of these buildings and the composers of these symphonies are sitting on their couches watching television.”

Whether your distraction is television or not, chances are you have a place where you’ll be tempted to loose focus and waste your time. Recognize your weakness, and refuse to be lazy. There are no shortcuts to greatness.

In the end, a disciplined life will cost you less than an undisciplined one. The first will only cost you fortitude. The other will cost you regret.

Don’t miss out on your opportunity to be great during 2015. Make the decision to think in a new way and then discipline yourself to make it happen.

Leadership Begins at Home,


What changes do you plan to make during 2015?

What is your biggest goal for the coming year?

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The Faster We Go, the Harder it is to See

One of my favorite blog posts of all time was written in December, a couple of years ago. For my last post of 2014, I want to share these thoughts with you again. 

For nearly 35 years I have been friends with a guy I grew up with named Stacey. Even though we now live in different cities, we still talk almost every week.

As a 16 year old, Stacey served as more than a friend. He also had wheels … hot wheels. And I am not talking toys on tracks.

Stacey actually had a 1950 Chevy Truck that was painted red. Had we not gotten in the way, the ride would have been a chick-magnet in our small town.

Stacey’s dad could work on anything you put in front of him (all dad’s knew how to fix stuff in those days). So, he helped Stacey rebuild the truck into a real hot rod.

Except for one thing, the truck was loaded.

Cue the question . . . “What was the one thing?”

Believe it or not, it was the windshield wipers. Stacey’s wipers were not like today’s wipers. Back in the day, their was a vacuum motor that had a hose connected to the wipers. Let’s just say Stacey’s hose had pressure problems.

The Chevy’s wiper speed was dependent upon the acceleration of the engine. When the truck was sitting still, the wipers operated really fast. Whenever he would accelerate, the wipers would barely work.

Translated — if Stacey and I were stopped at a red light in the rain, the wipers would fly back and forth and we could see great. However, whenever he accelerated, we could barely see the road.

For the past couple of weeks, I have had conversations with countless people who seem to have a leadership vacuum leak. They have used words like tired, exhausted, busy, rushed, frazzled, broke, and dread to describe their Christmas season.

If you fall into that line of thinking, may I remind you our lives are a lot like Stacey’s old wipers. The faster we go, the harder it is to see.

When we drive, there are speed limits for a reason. They serve to protect, not just a driver, but everyone else on the roads. Don’t you wish there was a December speed limit for our lives? I suspect if there were Christmas speeding tickets our hearts would be reminded to slow down and see what is right in front of us. Maybe then, the family and friends who are on our ‘Christmas road’ would not view us as someone who is blowing through at a reckless pace.

Ultimately the choice will be yours. You will either drive by, or drive through, your Christmas. I say go through every moment, every gift, every conversation, and every memory.

You might have more Christmases in the future, but you will never have this one again.

May this truly be your slowest Christmas ever and may your wipers work great.

Leadership Begins at Home,


Who do you need to slow down for today?

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I am looking forward to applying the principle of the wipers to my own life the next couple of weeks. The blog will be back in January. In the meantime, I pray you and your family will have a blessed Christmas. Thank you for being a faithful reader and for helping me spread the word. I am truly grateful! 

Have You Found Your It?

Dr. Seuss once said, “You know you are in love when you can’t fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams.”

Leaders are a lot like lovers. Once they discover their “passion,” and make its pursuit their reality, it keeps them up late at night.

Do you have something that drives you? I’m not talking about a “high school crush” kind of leadership where you move from one exciting idea to the next. No, I am talking about something that burns at your core and never goes away.

You owe it to yourself and to those you lead to discover what “it” is. But beware. Once you find it, expect some late nights.

Leadership Begins at Home,


What keeps you up late at night?

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Final Exam

Yesterday, I returned home to find my living room floor covered in charts laced with peptides and covalent bonding.

Final Exam

The dreaded biochemistry final exam is today for one of my daughters. I have been amazed at how much she has prepared. Not surprisingly, she has not asked for my help this week. No, this one she has to finish on her own.

As 2014 winds down are there things you still need to finish? Projects that need a bow to tie up loose ends? Fitness goals still within reach? Someone you have been meaning to contact all year? If so, it is not too late to finish strong.

I remember as a student always pushing harder near the end of the semester. It was as if the deadlines lit a fire and helped me have more focus.

I hope things slow down for you the next couple of weeks so you can enjoy the real meaning of Christmas. But I also hope you will make one last push and ace your final exams … whatever they may be.  Identify the places where it is still possible to make an “A” and then hit it hard for a few more days.

Leadership Begins at Home,


What is one thing you need to accomplish before the end of the year?

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