Running The Race

Coach John Wooden is almost 100 years old. He is one of the most famous and celebrated college basketball coaches in history. One of his keys to success is the amount of time he puts into preparation, both for himself and for those he coaches.

“How you run the race – your planning, preparation, practice, and performance – counts for everything. Winning or losing is a byproduct, and after-effect of that effort.”

I recently posted the following on Twitter: “Took 5 min to write down 5 things I want to get done today. Perhaps the most productive 5 min of my day. “Plan”+Action=Priorities Done.”

And it’s true. I focused on the 5 things (important things) that I needed to get done and guess what…I got those things done!

http://i2.cdn.turner.com/si/2008/writers/arash_markazi/10/27/wooden/john-wooden.jpg

I Saw Excellence

I’m a firm believer in the statement: What gets rewarded, gets repeated.

With that being said, I need to tell you a story. A story about excellence. In fact, it is a story about excellent excellence.

Kenton

Here goes…Once upon a time I had the privilege of hiring an Assistant Director to work alongside me in my role as Director of Campus Life on our campus. I say, privilege, because the person I brought on board was a former student by the name of Kenton.

Kenton was one of our University’s finest student leaders. As he assumed the role of Assistant Director of Campus Life, he quickly demonstrated the of value he brought to the position, to students, and to the campus of his Alma Mater.

The heart of my story takes place this past weekend. Kenton had been working closely with one of our current student leaders – let’s call him, Rob (because that’s his name) on an event that would take two commercial buses full of students down on a shotgun trip to Disneyland (students had earned a free ticket from Disney by helping locally with a Haiti relief effort). The plan (known as Plan A) was to leave campus at 5pm on Friday, drive all night (15 hours), arrive on the doorstep of Disney on Saturday when they opened their gates, play all day at the Happiest Place On Earth, get on the buses at midnight, and drive home, arriving back on campus around 5pm on Sunday. It had all the makings of a great weekend and experience.

Am I Stuck Or Am I A Student?

I just read a tweet on Twitter (that just sounds funny) from a guy that was disappointed with the online music service, Pandora. Now if you haven’t tried out Pandora, I invite you to a great way to listen to music.

The gentleman was frustrated because he kept typing in the names of the band that he wanted to listen to and Pandora wouldn’t play music from just that band. He didn’t like it because Pandora kept playing music from bands that he had never heard before…but their music was similar to the band he had chosen.

That, my friend, is EXACTLY what Pandora does. Here’s what they say about themselves…

How To Find Time

Sometimes I think that time is hiding from me. That throughout the day, a few hours here and there will sneak away and I’ll lose sight of them. So I end up with only 18-20 hour days. And I find myself asking, Where did the time go?

I think busyness allows time to hide from me, and poor planning, and perhaps a lack of discipline. Have you noticed how some people seem to accomplish a lot more than others? Have you ever met with someone on a regular basis and that person keeps showing up with new projects completed and new ideas implemented? I know I have…and I sometimes want to punch them in the neck.

But before I throw any blows, I want to ask these people how they do it. How do you find the time?

Talk On Listening

I had the privilege of speaking at Real Life Church in Nampa this past Sunday. They meet in a Middle School gym and are pastored by a great guy by the name of Dana Hicks.

This is about the fifth time I’ve been invited to share with the people there. They are an encouraging mix of young and old who are authentically walking as a community in their spiritual journeys.

My talk was called: Listening – Must Be Present To Win.

If you’d like to listen to any or all of it, they’ve posted it on their website: Real Life Podcast (4/18/10)

During the talk, I speak about the importance of being fully present in order to fully listen. I think we live in a day where silence is quite scary for some of us. In fact, at one point I say, “In a world of too many words, silence affects people who are no longer affected by sound. Plenty of us who are defended against sound have no defense against silence.”

If you have a chance to listen or download the talk, let me know your thoughts and reactions in the comments.

Camp Won’t Change Your Life

Every summer, I get the opportunity to speak at two or three Jr High or High School Summer Camps around the country. It is awesome. I love camp. There are so many great things that happen at summer camp.

As a speaker, I tend to tell a lot of stories…that bring a lot of laughter…that make a point…that encourage students to make a decision in their spiritual life. There are typically a couple of key times throughout the week that students will find they want to make some changes – they want to live in a different trajectory.

I am always in awe of students who will do the hard work of looking at their own hearts and recognize they need to change the attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors that are blocking their own growth. My message is simple – follow Jesus…put your faith and your future in God’s hands.

Not only do I get to share stories, but I get to hear their stories. They talk about pain, about poor decisions, about success, about failure, and about hope. They come to camp where the distractions of an overly busy life are set aside for a few days. As they hear and respond to a simple message – they make some decisions and those decisions count. Sometimes those decisions are considered to be breakthrough moments and sometimes they just happen as a result of quiet contemplation.

Near the end of camp, I always share the following with these wonderful students…

Best Weight Loss Plan

I will often tell people that when I stopped growing up, I started growing out.

If they giggle, I’ll usually follow up with – I’ve noticed that a lot of people are afraid of heights…I’m afraid of widths. (thank Steven Wright!)

If they’ve stuck around and found my robust, self-deprecating humor somewhat entertaining I’ll conclude with an I’m twice the man I used to be.

At this point in my life, I’m not necessarily a candidate for Biggest Loser…but I’ve definitely got something to lose. I believe that life plays off of itself – if I am in better shape physically it will also improve my mental, emotional, and spiritual health.

So here’s my confession: I know what the best weight loss plan is for me…but I don’t follow it as much as I should.

In my situation, based on my metabolism, and my body type, my best plan to lose the unwanted and unnecessary weight is this…

The iPad: To Buy Or Not To Buy

It is really difficult being an “early adopter” sometimes.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s fun to know about (and sometimes own) the latest gadget and software inventions. I am glad I have an innate curiosity to know what’s out there and what’s next on the horizon.

But I’m often caught in the upgrade mindset. This is where I come to believe that my life is going to be better than ever if I can get my hands on the next big thing. I don’t want to miss out – and if I don’t get it…I kind of feel like I am. Which is where I find myself in regards to the iPad.

It came out just over a week ago and I find myself asking the question: Have I waited long enough?