Anytime you plant a seed into the ground, you are expecting that seed to grow and mature and take the shape and essence of the plant, fruit or vegetable you planted. You may not see the results for a couple weeks, a month or even a year, but the expectation you have is that growth will take place.
A seed is the most powerful thing in the world. And even though the analogy I just referenced applies to seeds that produce plants, fruits or vegetable, I am now referring to the seed within you and that seed represents your potential and your dream.
The title of this section is “Am I Willing to Sacrifice to Reach my Dream? and that is an appropriate title for this section, but let’s ask the question in a different way with a slight change. Ready? Here’s the question. “Am I willing to Pay the Price to Reach My Potential”?
Potential is one of my favorite words because it speaks to the possibilities. The possibilities of who I am. The possibilities of who you are. It speaks to what hasn’t happened yet. Potential asks the question “What more can I give that is inside me?”. Potential is always about how much you can give and NOT about how much you can get. In my book “The Brand of a Man”, I say that Potential is “Untapped Power”. Potential is like a stick of dynamite. Dynamite without a spark to ignite it does absolutely nothing. It’s dead. It’s dormant. But when that stick of dynamite has been ignited, it has so much power within it that it has the force to take buildings down. You my friend are like a stick of dynamite. Within you lies all this power ever needed to accomplish your dreams – to make a dent and a difference in this world. To change the environment and culture around you. You my friend are to inspire those around you by who you are and what you do – because who you are, matters.
So let’s go back for a second and address the original question. The question is “Are you willing to pay the price to accomplish your dream”? The emphasis being on “willing”.
Let’s go back to the seed analogy. When you plant a seed into the ground, in order for that seed to reach it’s full potential, the seed will undoubtedly have barriers it must break through along the way in order to reach its 100% growth capacity. First of all, without water and sunlight that seed will not grow. We know this from the fundamentals of biology. We also know that seeds must be buried into the ground, the soil, where it also receives its nutrients in order to grow, but here’s the kicker. As the seed tries to grow, it must break the barrier of the soil it actually lives in. It also needs to maneuver amongst the rocks within the soil. It must maneuver around the snails and worms already living in it’s environment and it must have enough strength and determination to rise above all other barriers around. You are like this seed. You’ve been planted, you’ve studied, you’ve prayed, you’ve invested time, effort, energy and money preparing yourself to accomplish your dream and you’ve recognized that now is the time for you to kick down the door and burst through the barriers of your own dream challenges. You’ve recognized that in order for you to grow or your business to grow, you must decide to be placed in the environment conducive for your growth and accomplishments.
Anytime you make the decision to pursue the greatness within you, you will have obstacles (seemingly intentionally) working against you preventing you from succeeding. Sometimes these obstacles are your family or those close to you. At other times, your obstacles may be co-workers. But most importantly, it’s important to understand that the obstacle may be you. Often times, it’s you getting in the way of you that is preventing you from growing. It’s how you think and how you approach accomplishing your dream that is the challenge. Remember, accomplishing your dream is a process and it requires a strategy. A strategy in execution, but also a strategy of the mind.
The dream that you have will strain you to bring out the potential within you. The growth you experience in being pushed and stretched will be insurmountable. You will grow as a leader and you will become even more aware of who you are while taking notice of your strengths and weaknesses. Like lifting weights in a gym, the pursuit of your dream will show you where you are strong and where you are weak and you have to be okay with not being skilled at everything or knowing how everything works. The price of your dream will cause you to take inventory of your own life and stretch you to live by way of self-leadership. At some point, you must make the transition from being the dreamer of the dream to being the leader and investor of your dream. Someone has to pay the price to pursue your dream and that person is you. Dreamers are a dime a dozen, but dream builders are a different breed.
As you prepare to strategize your dream and the price to accomplish it, I would encourage you to be very careful of becoming someone that you are not naturally. The pursuit of a dream can easily cause the dreamer to have a one track mind. Focus on the dream is an absolute must but dismissing and neglecting all the other aspects of your life; including your wife and kids should never happen. Family is priority #1. I would also encourage you not to compromise your values or your health. Your values are the core of your soul. They make you who you are. To change your values for the pursuit of a dream will cause an emptiness in your soul because you have forfeited the very best of you. As for your health – well, in time, your health will always catch up to you. You cannot build and realize your dream if your health won’t allow you to. Take the time to eat right and do what is necessary to ensure a healthy and prosperous life reaping the benefits of your dream.
As I close, here is a list of areas you should be aware of when paying the price for your dream.
The accomplishment of your dream may take longer than anticipated. Be okay with a flexible timeline. Stop trying to control the deadline and the results. Patience is a virtue. Getting ahead of yourself can often cause your dreams to miscarry.
Be willing to pay the price of criticism. People are brutal. We live in a society where people will disagree about what you say or what you do. Everyone has a different perspective on life based upon what they’ve been taught and their own experiences. Determine how you will react to the negative criticism. Learn how to shield yourself from others while moving forward. Have the heart of a lion, but the skin of a rhino.
Learn how to manage your fears. Fears can steal your dreams if you let them. Fears can sabotage your life’s purpose. Fear of failure, fear of discomfort, fear of not knowing, fear of sharing your message, fear of technology and fear of confrontation amongst others.
Procrastination: Don’t procrastinate. If you know you need to do something – get it done. “Procrastination are the seeds which make difficulties grow”. When you have something to do, plan ahead and get it done. Stick to your calendar and your tasks as best as you can.
Hustle: Hustling is your ability to stay on task and get things done. It’s a mindset followed up with consistent action and execution. Individuals who hustle are working hard but they are also working smart. They are making things happen for themselves and for their business. They are leaving no stone unturned and they are willing to make mistakes in the process.
What are the areas in your life that are fears or potential stumbling blocks preventing you from accomplishing your dream?
In this video, I want to talk about the 6 common problems men often face preventing themselves from being leaders at home and work. As a man, I believe each of us were called to be leaders in our home and in the workplace. Home and work is where we spend 90% of our time day-to-day, and therefore developing the capacity to lead and lead well is critical not only for our need to contribute, but also to make a difference in the lives and well-being of others.
#1 is Clarity. Clarity is so important. Why? Because without clarity you can’t pinpoint your destination. Clarity is like your internal GPS. It’s important to have a sense of who you are and what you want to accomplish and where you want to go with your passions, your ideas and your thoughts on a day-to-day basis. Clarity allows you to see your future although you are living in the present. It allows you to begin looking at your life in a way which you can forsee the results of your planning. Clarity is the piece that every man needs in his life. Clarity is vision for your life. Clarity in your business. Clarity in your decision-making. Clarity in choosing a vocation or changing a vocation. Clarity in choosing a spouse. Clarity in making large purchases. Whatever it may be, clarity is MUST in your life. I work with many individuals and organizations that lack this attribute in their personal or organizational mission and the advice I give them is really simple, AND IT’S THAT it’s extremely difficult to accomplish anything unless you know what you want and you have a plan on how you are going to achieve it. It’s like the old adage that says, “aim at nothing and you will hit it everytime.” You don’t want your life to be a fluttering existence or live life without purpose, without a reason, without clarity, SO THEREFORE, be clear about what you want to accomplish and make strategic moves to get there.
Problem #2 is all about Strategy. You must have a strategy for your life. If you run a business, you must have a strategy for your business. I don’t know why we as men think that we shouldn’t have a strategy for our life, but we should. A strategy keeps you focused and it allows you to create a plan of action for your life. Most men tend to focus on long term goals rather than short term goals, but it’s the daily commitment and attention to detail that wins out. It’s the one-step-at-a-time approach that works best in reaching both short term and long term goals. Creating a strategy and sitting with it for a while also gives you the opportunity to test your ideas which give you the flexibility to make adjustments in your plan carefully and confidently. So what can you do today to strategize the next big thing in your life? What is it that you want to accomplish and how are you going to accomplish it? You need to have a strategy. As a basketball and football coach, I work with strategy all the time. I know my line-up, I know the skillset and the talent each individual brings to the team and I put the players in situations where they can thrive, where they can succeed and as a team we can ultimately win. Shouldn’t we apply these same principles, applications and strategies in our own life? Don’t you want to win in life? Isn’t it important to see and know exactly what you need to do in order to have a positive outcome in your life? Strategy makes all the difference and it’s important for you to understand this (especially you young men) because I want you to have success. Strategy is so important.
Problem #3 is all about permission. This is important to understand. We need to be able to give ourselves permission to do the things we know we are gifted to do – what we are purposed to do. Think about this. How many of us men are doing things in our life and career we’re not gifted to do, don’t have the aptitude for or doesn’t bring a level of personal satisfaction or fulfillment, BUT INSTEAD we are doing things that someone else told us do. You need to give yourself permission to do your thing. I know personally for me AND for many years, I believed that I needed someone else to give me permission or “approve” my gifts and talents and validate what I should pursue for my career or do in my life. For me, my desire was to design, speak, coach and teach. HEAR ME ON THIS, whatever gift you’ve been blessed with this is the gift you should be using. It wasn’t until after hitting my head on the wall a few times that I finally realized I didn’t need someone to tell me or authenticate the gifts and talents I have – I should know this myself by recognizing my own skills and testing my own abilities. So why is it that we give other people permission or jurisdiction over our life? Why do we give people permission to tell us where we belong and what we do best? It’s because we do not know ourselves. Truly, we haven’t taken the time to self-reflect or carve out personal growth time to examine our own life. I don’t think people necessarily know what’s best for us – they may be able to judge our performance, but deep down within us we know what we are suppose to be doing. Give yourself permission to become great. Give yourself permission to make amazing things happen in your life and in the lives of others. Give yourself permission to think big. Come outside of your comfort zone. Give yourself permission to grow into the awesome young man and adult man of greatness – become a person of influence, a person of leadership that you know you can become and that you will become. Why? Because you are great and have a purpose for your life. Give yourself permission TODAY to make a difference and begin taking action on it immediately. Make it happen for your life. You expressing the best you is what the world needs. We don’t need anymore copycats, duplicates or factory junkies that look the same, think the same and perform the same. Give yourself permission.
Problem #4 is all about fear. Fear is a HUGE problem. You and I live in a world where fear is present every day and we must find a way to deal with it. Fear cripples the world. Fear has crippled you my man from accomplishing your goals – whatever they may be (big or small), fear has a stronghold on your life. But I’m telling you right now NO MORE!. Tackle fear to the ground. If it’s fear of failure – acknowledge it and understand where it comes from, but also understand that failure is part of the process that is needed for you to accomplish the greatness that lives inside you. Hands down! For most men, without fear, what is going to propel you to move forward and make change? For many of us men, fear is the roadblock between success and failure. I once heard a unique acronym of the word fear which said “fear is false evidence appearing real”. Wow! How powerful is that? You know what’s even more powerful, “Faith”. Faith is the opposite of fear. Faith is the confidence that what you hope for WILL come to pass. It’s the assurance and belief in someone or something even though its not tangible now. In short, faith is belief developed and nurtured in your mind and heart.
Some men are also afraid of success. They are fearful of success because they don’t have a plan or a strategy to manage their success or build upon their successes, and therefore decide to play it safe and not pursue life with a clear understanding, responsibility and ownership of their purpose. How many men do you know who have accumulated great wealth and have affluence in their life but end up losing it all because they didn’t know how to deal with their success. From this point forward, I want you to deal with fear in the most powerfully way possible. How do you do that? You do it anyway. You face fear head on. You move forward in the midst of fear. You do it by being strong and courageous. Joshua 1:9 says “This is My command – be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Wow! Sounds like we have a guarantee that God is with us. And understand this, when you are being obedient to what God has commissioned you to do – He will see fit that what you put your hands to becomes successful.
So do you want to know my fear? Do you want to know what I’m afraid of? Here is what I’m most afraid of. I’m afraid of not reaching my potential. I’m afraid of not using all the God-given gifts given to me. I’m afraid of not experiencing life to the fullest. I’m afraid of settling for less. I’m afraid of not having enough vision and faith in my life to pursue what God has already put into my heart. I’m afraid of dreams unfulfilled. What are you afraid of?
Problem #5 is about focus: You must have focus for your life. Focus – laser beam focus. When an eagle comes down and scopes out its next meal miles away, side distractions are eliminated and its commitment to capture its meal for himself or for his eaglets becomes priority. To be able to accomplish greatness and fulfill your goals and dreams – you must not allow other areas of your life that are not going to complement (or work in tandem) to overwhelmingly impede or distract you. It’s okay to let the non-important things and non-productive things of your life go. It’s okay to re-prioritize your time and resources. You can’t do everything and you for sure can’t be everything to everybody. I know the culture of our society expects us to give and give more, but you need to focus in the areas of your life that you are gifted in and have vision for. The areas of your life that you know you can tackle, manage and be effective and allow other people that you trust to be your support system. Success is achieved when you have the time to do what you need to do. Most of the time, we have to carve out time and be intentional about it. I have learned that even though we all have the same 24 hours each day – it’s how we spend our time that makes the difference in our life. Anything ever achieved in this world is because someone had focus. You deserve to achieve awesome things in your life. Your ability to focus is a gift to the world and you will ever be appreciated for it.
The 6th and final problem is commitment: You must be committed daily to the tasks you have. Commitment is not a word that is often used in today’s society and it’s very disheartening, but commitment is an excellent and necessary virtue if you ever hope to achieve anything great in your life. Commitment is a choice and it’s a daily decision. Commitment requires action and your ability to be disciplined over your goals over a period of time is what truly sets you apart from men who speak a good game from men who REALLY DO have a good game. I encourage you to be a man who has great game.
Today, I’ve given you insight into the 6 problem areas preventing men from being leaders at home and work.
If you can just learn how to be competent in these 6 areas, you will catapult your life to another dimension.
In closing, I look forward to hearing from you about how the information shared in this video has inspired and helped you to take control of your life and to begin dreaming bigger.
I believe each of us has a theme or themes in our life that need to be noticed. We often don’t see or recognize our theme simply because we aren’t listening and we don’t see the clues around us trying to get our attention. Recognizing your life theme is often subtle, but every once in awhile your theme may slap you upside the head to get your attention as a way to guide you to become who you are to become and do what you are suppose to do with your life. Much like a movie, or a play on stage or Broadway, we all have a character that we play and our character represents our authentic self. It represents our life role and the truth of ourselves.
I will give examples of life themes in just a second and will share my theme with you, but first I want you to answer these two questions as best as you can.
What are the common experiences and situations in your life that often repeat?
What experiences do you have that seem to share and support an overarching thought or idea that seem to validate a course of action for your life?
“Life themes are repeatable recognizable experiences communicating to you who you really are and what you are to do in your life.” – Anthony Fisher
A life theme is the idea or motivation that drives you throughout your life. It is the answer that you are always “searching” for. The answer to the question of “why am I here”?. In a nutshell, it is your search for the “meaning of life”.
You may or may not know your life theme. Recognizing your life theme is going to be different for everyone. For me, recognizing my life theme came from a strong desire to “know”. I was enamored with finding an answer. I was seeking it out. If you’re like me, you seek to desire the meaning of your life and you inquire about it and put significant time researching to find the answers.
Knowing your life theme can provide you with significant insight as to why you react the way you do to certain situations or why you even do particular things. Once you know what your life’s theme is, it’s much easier to actually work on attaining your goal and do the work you love to do and were meant to do.
Finding and recognizing your life theme is like you finding a hidden treasure. Your life theme guards you from pursuing activities and putting resources into areas that go contrary to what truly satisfies your soul and supports your efforts. Your life theme also guides you to seek opportunities and confidently move forward in areas that support your theme and truly satisfies your soul.
Let’s Figure it out
I’m a lover of books and movies. I read about 20 books a year and watch countless movies a year. Let’s use books and movies as our example on how finding your life theme works. Fiction books and movies are great to use as examples.
As you read your book you will want to identify the moral or theme of the story. What was the hero character (also known as the main character) trying to figure-out? What is the problem he/she is having? What are they trying to solve? Were they trying to figure out their purpose, how to do something, how to overcome their fears or live with courage? Let’s take the movie Lion King for example.
Symba (son), didn’t know who he was. He was afraid of stepping into Mufasa’s footsteps (his father) as King because he was fearful of the past, intimidated of the responsibilities of kingship and didn’t have the courage to face his demons and his internal fears in order to be a great king. The movie time and time again through Nala (lioness), Rafiki (the baboon) Timon (the meerkat), Pumbaa (the warthog) and Zazu (the hornbill) tried to show Symba that he was the rightful ruler of the kingdom. In this example, Symba received many clues of this destiny throughout his childhood and was guided accordingly to listen to the friends and voices guiding him to step into his authentic rightfully owned purpose.
What about your life? Have you been trying to figure out who you are consciously or unconsciously? Are you beginning to listen and see the patterns of your life trying to guide you to your destiny?
It’s important for you to know that your life theme can change over time as your experiences and perspectives change. The person you are at age 20 is not the person you will be at age 40
As a young kid and throughout my 20’s, I’ve always prayed and asked God “Why am I here? What is my purpose and the role am I to play in this massive planet called Earth?” Through time, God began to reveal to me (through various life experiences) who I am and these experiences are the foundation of who I am today and what I do today.
My overall life theme is “leadership/coaching”. What am I always trying to achieve? A lesson learned in order to create a successful and life-changing result in my life and the lives of others. Leadership and coaching go hand-in-hand to me.
I was able to recognize my life theme by observing (through time) what I do, how I do it and how I tend to react to people and situations. For example, if I’m reading a book, I tend to highlight or underline areas that resonate with me. Highlighting or underlining is my way to pinpoint what I need to review again so I can apply it to my life and in-turn help others apply it to their life. I’ve also recognized that I seem to always take a leadership approach to a situation and look at life through coachable opportunities and moments. Often when I speak, I’m speaking from an angle of how-to and improvement.
Finding your life theme is different than finding your purpose. A life theme is overarching. A purpose can be and often is specific. However, occasionally they can share similar expressions. For my case, the expressions are the same.
Who are you? What do you stand for? What do you believe in?
I believe that we are here in this world for a purpose. Everything that happens to us, good or bad is part of a masterplan and serves as a lesson to help us discover and understand what our purpose(s) are and to fulfill them. I also believe life is about two things: Discovery and Recovery.
Discovery in the sense that as we develop into men, we are constantly learning about ourselves. We are in constant discovery mode putting ourselves into situations that force us to learn and try new things. We recognize the need for improvement and advancement and therefore, we can only mature and develop as we discover and try new things.
As men, we must understand that the world is constantly moving, changing and evolving and in order for us to play, compete and win in life, we must have a strategy and position ourselves to learn new things. In my desire to improve, change and position myself for success, I have become aware that I am learning new things about myself, my aptitudes and gifts and talents that I never realized I had 5 or even 10 years ago. I am constantly discovering fresh things about me that were hidden before. Think about it. When we were birthed into this world, our curiosity spawned us to take action. We were curious about everything. We were curious about foods and textures and items to touch. We were curious about sounds and voices we heard around us and the miniature size football and basketball we picked up.
We are curious people with the aptitude to learn about the world around us which eventually through time matured us to become proficient and experts at a task or skill. As we moved into high school and/or college we discovered that there were subjects to increase our knowledge about and how those subjects relate to life, and in our discovery we came to understand that there were certain subjects we enjoyed and others we didn’t. We discovered girls and how they made us feel. We discovered this thing called “potential” and “possibilities” because of the success we experienced by participating in certain activities like sports and clubs. As we’ve gotten older, we’ve discovered and realized that if we continue to work hard and pursue a dream, that dreams are actually possible to attain. We discover and realize that not all people see and experience life like we do. We discover that faith, belief in oneself and a higher power plays a huge role in what receive and experience out of life. Make no doubt about it, we are in constant discovery mode.
Life is also about recovery. Recovery in the sense that as young men and adult men, we often find ourselves trying to recreate the positive experiences of our childhood. As mentioned earlier, we were in constant discovery mode and it is our discoveries that shaped us to be the men we are today. I believe we are trying to recover what we lost as children. Children who unabashedly and openly looked at the world with intrigue and limitless possibilities. We were living, we were explorers, we were taking risks, enjoying life without a care in the world and all we wanted to do was to have fun. As children we were not yet fully shaped, nor did we experience the stress and responsibilities of the world. We are trying to go back in time and recreate the good experiences we had.
We are also trying to recover “who” we are. I think we’ve lost our mojo as men. We’ve lost our sense of self, our confidence and we no longer dream. Life has a way of influencing us, sapping out the best in us and we eventually become men that we don’t want to become. All the negative influences, the not-so great childhood experiences, the unfortunate physical and emotional injuries we’ve had to endure has caused us to move forward in life with much trepidation. We have stopped in our tracks and have become overwhelmed in the quicksand of life’s disappointments. We desire to recover our passions, our dreams, our youth-like worldview. We desire to recover the friendships we had growing up, the freedom of sports play, the freedom to hangout with friends until the early morning. We desire to recover the spark of dating the girl of our dreams, scoring the winning shot, pleasing mom and dad, etc. We wish to recover and recreate our best experiences. I believe everything you do in your life today stems from the root of discovery and recovery all for the purpose of becoming your best you.
Please understand this, your true purpose (what you were born to do) can only be discovered when you look deeply inside your heart, when you intently observe the current themes of your life and you honestly assess who you are, NOT who you think you are or what you fantasize to become or want to be. Knowing thyself is important. Know that you are the soul of your brand. You are one of a kind. No one has the same experiences or think the way you do. You are truly unique and you exist to solve a problem that someone has. You must find out what you have inside you to determine rather or not you are shaped to serve and solve that problem.
You have probably heard this quote once or twice in your life. It’s a quote by Yogi Berra (famous baseball player, coach and manager) who said “If you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll end up somewhere else”. Another quote like it by Pastor Hollowood, said “Aim at nothing and you’ll hit the mark every time”. What these two quotes are saying is that clear direction is worth a heartache of misinterpretations. If you want to become successful in life, you need to become clear about what your dream looks like and what success looks like to you. Having vague dreams leave too much room for interpretation, but being clear and writing down your dreams are powerful and purposeful.
I have a two questions for you:
Question 1: How would you ever know you accomplished your dream unless you wrote it down with specific details?
Question 2: How would you know if a specific prayer was answered unless you prayed with clarity and wrote it down?
Once again, vague dreams and vague prayers have the potential of having you guess rather or not they were truly answered. Just something to think about.
Your goals to your dreams come in all shapes and sizes, and recording them in a way that is measurable allows you to see your progress and track rather or not you are actually reaching them. Your goal may be to bring in an income of $100,000 or be promoted to a manager or vice president position. Maybe your goal is to be published in a book, speak at an industry-related conference or be interviewed by a respectable television or online agency. Maybe your goals towards your dreams are to attain more prestige and awards rather than receiving financial incentives. Whatever your goals to your dreams are, it’s important to track your progress and mark off what you’ve accomplished along the way.
When you think of yourself as a brand and work diligently in creating value in the workforce, your reward will become a boost in your leadership ability, self-esteem and income. All three practically go hand-in-hand.
As I think about my dreams, I have found that my experiences have taught me valuable lessons on what to ask. Part of the success equation for me often comes in me answering the questions “In what ways am I offering value to others and are they making progress on reaching their goals”? I’ve recognized that I can’t control the outcomes or the circumstances in their life towards their growth experience, but what I can do is give them the resources and tools that can support their dreams.
As you think about the value you offer, your customers will always believe that the more money they pay, they will in-return receive a better product, service and value (which means living up to and delivering your brand promise and often providing stress free results and preventative solutions to decrease their pain).
So, what will it take for you to live the way you want to live and what does that look like? What does it look like as it relates to your physical health, spiritual health, financial health and emotional health? Is the desired lifestyle you want going to bring happiness, joy, contentment and give you more time to pursue other areas of interest? Will living the way you want to live allow you to fulfill the passions, values and convictions you carry? Will living the way you want allow you to be you and will it bring out the best in you?
I have a question for you. What is your definition of manhood? What does it mean to be a man? When do you become a man? I have asked this question to men between the ages of 17 and 45 and results vary across the board. My conversations with these men clearly indicate that men lack the understanding and clarity of what it means to be a man, and because of this, men live in a perpetual state of contusion.
Men are often boys trapped in an adult body. On the outside, we look the part and can even speak the part and act the part, but the reality of who we really are, are confused men doing our best to fake it till we make it. The unfortunate reality of our lives is that we’re not “making it” as men and we have become utterly lonely, disappointed, drifting men who create major problems in society and in our home – all because we don’t have a clear vision of what it means to be a man and we don’t have a vision and purpose for our life.
Many men have never had a mentor man to show them or communicate to them how to be man. The epidemic of absentee fathers is rampant in our world and our young men are reaping the whirlwind of confusion because they don’t know who they are. Our young boys who eventually grow into the body of a man never had a clear pathway to help him transition from boyhood into manhood. And because of this, men physically grow up with boyish behaviors and boyish perspectives in life, but never truly mature in their thinking, in their actions and don’t have a clue on what it means to be a brand of a man.
Manhood is a process, but establishing a firm foundation of what it means to be a man is absolutely critical. You don’t become a man when you turn 18 or 21. You don’t become a man when you have your first alcoholic beverage. You don’t become a man when you join a gang.You don’t become a man when you have sex for the first time. You don’t become a man when you have your first job and you don’t become a man when you purchase your first house.
Now some of these things are honorable and important, but manhood is more than what you do and create – it’s also about who you become, what you stand for and living life with integrity, vision and purpose. Men, we are to be leaders in our homes, leaders in our community and leaders in our workplace. It’s time to RISE Up and and become men.
In this module, I have identified the current state of manhood. As a man you will identify with most – if not all of what I have to say. I encourage you to begin to position yourself to make changes in the areas that resonate with you most as this course will inspire you and give you the tools to develop a strong brand for yourself while increasing your vision and purpose as a husband, father, employee, employer and entrepreneur.
I have a question for you. Are you existing or living? Do you know the difference between the two? Existing means you are here on this earth “drifting”. Drifting means you have no strategy for your life, no plans, no goals, no vision and you are just coasting through life without a purpose or reason for your existence. Living means you approach life with a passion and desire to live life fully. You respect your life and you respect others. You realize each day is special and you choose to live with a call-to-action for your life. Living is what a small percentage of men do. Most men simply exists. We settle in life and for many of us we don’t know how we got to this place in our life.
So what does existing look like? Existing looks like the work you do everyday. Your life is a pattern. It’s the regurgitation of the daily routine you are so accustomed to. It’s the predictable play-by-play of your life without any change-up. You settle for base hits. You’re okay with walks. You’re in the batter’s box, but you strike out more often than not. You no longer can identify who you are on the field of life and hitting a homerun (living life) is a concept far from you. You yearn for something different in your life. You yearn for the opportunity to play again – to be in the game and make a difference where difference really matters. You feel stuck, trapped, shackled, paralyzed and incapacitated to break out of the chains of your internal frustration and misery to become who you know you truly are. You’re lost. You’re okay sitting on the bench. You’ve bought into the lie that your job represents who you are. You’ve played the game of trade-offs. You’ve gotten ahead financially, but at what costs? You stay long hours at work and substitute money in exchange for being home on time and spending quality time with your family. You’ve substituted moving up the corporate ladder rather than climbing the ladder in your backyard with your kids. You would rather purchase the new car with the new car small rather than spend time with your kids on the field smelling the fresh cut grass at the park. You are like a pitcher who gets substituted each batter trying to win in life, but winning eludes you. Instead of making strikes, you strike out. Instead of stealing the base, life steals the best out of you. Existing gets you nowhere other than the opportunity to live life safely, but as you anticipate your life on your deathbed you end up having regrets. The should ofs and could ofs of your life were never realized because life was passing you by and you didn’t know how to transition from existing to living.
So what does living look like? Living is the totally opposite of existing. Living is the audacious commitment to yourself to live life in a passionate and purposeful way by exercising your gifts and abilities to the fullest and showcasing them to the world. Living is the commitment to create a body of work with focus and intention so that people know who you are and what you stand for. Living is the understanding and personal conviction that you were placed upon this earth by God to create something, to communicate something, to execute something, to make a difference in someone’s life and to express that commitment in everything you say and do. Living is you not settling for less, but expecting more from yourself. It’s about leading yourself to the potential that lives within you. When you live, you create a strategy for your life. You are intentional about your decisions and you are in the game. You are the quarterback. You are the leader, you call the plays, you direct the routes, you make audibles when necessary. You have coaches and mentors in your life guiding you through the game of life and they help you navigate the pitfalls that so easily entangle men of all ages. When you live, you win and you share that winning experience with others on your team. When you win, you teach other men, your wife and your kids on what it takes to win and you help them through their own problems, challenges and fears. You are the spokesperson for your life because you understand and realize that you are a brand – a unique, special, one-of-the-kind, gifted, talented, blessed man who has great potential to change the world. Living looks like taking the bull by the horns. Living looks like taking the driver’s seat of your own life. Living looks like spending time with your family and investing the best of you in them. Living is a choice. It takes action, a commitment and a response to owning your performance and your results.
Some people believe that your destiny is 100% predetermined and that the Hand of God has 100% control over your life to place you into your destiny regardless of your actions or inactions. I don’t believe that. I think your actions and inactions play a direct role in rather or not your will achieve your destination. If you have identified your life plan, worked that plan, recognize your gifts and talents and work smart and hard, the high probability of you succeeding outweighs than not succeeding. I do believe your destiny (your ultimately place of fulfillment and purpose for living) was divinely selected and entrusted to you by God, but it is still up to you to go after it and achieve it.
So what does success look like to you? Have you defined it for yourself? No one can tell you what success should look to you and no one should paint that picture for you. Only you know what you want and only you can determine the paths and routes you need to take in order to accomplish the success you want. The reality of a man is that we say we want success, but we haven’t defined what success is. We haven’t qualified it and when you don’t know what success looks like for you, you will attract what you may not want simply because you haven’t identified what you want. You can’t hit a target you can’t see and if you aim at nothing you can be sure to hit nothing every time. Aim at target and you will eventually hit it.
I believe that true success is not always about money and as a man I know that can be hard to swallow sometimes. For years I put too much thought about money and became anxious about my salary and I realized in my own self that it was never enough. A little more money would always be helpful and although that may have been true, I’ve come to realize that money isn’t the end all to be all. I know men who are extremely wealthy, but they have no joy in their life. I know men who make lots of money, but they are not fulfilled in the work they do. They are always missing something. I believe that true success is doing what you love to do – doing what you were born to do and being paid well to do it. For me, that gets me excited. It’s like seeing the work I do not as a job, but rather an opportunity to play and be creative and test my own limits. When you love what you do and you do it well and you get paid for it, it’s like hitting the lottery.
So how do you know when you are living and not existing? Glad you asked. You will know you’re living when you notice you are flowing in your gifts and talents and you can’t determine rather you are working hard or playing hard. When your life’s work becomes integrated with who you are and what you do, only then will you know that you’re living an authentic life. That’s when you know you’re living.
Did you know that average employee spends more days at work than sleeping. Did you know that many employees not only work their 8-10 hours per day, but they also bring work home for an additional 2-3 hours. As men, we are constantly working unable to detach ourselves from our jobs. Some of it is our doing and some of it is the expectations from the employer. I know this to be true because I worked 12-13 hour days for years for my job on top of running a design and coaching business all for the sake of bringing in an extra income and thinking that the extra money is a means to financial security. I’m a go-getter and striver by nature and have always been blessed to have work find me, but I also know there were many nights where family activities and husband-to-wife and father-to-children communication opportunities were lost all because of work. My point is two-fold, if you’re not “living” the life you want or doing the work that excites you and brings fulfillment to you, then why are you doing it in the first place? The second point is that as men, we must come to grips with how much time we spend outside of the home. I believe being an example at home is priority #1, but if you’re never home because of work, how can you be an example to your family? How can you teach your kids about life and help them shape their identify from your perspective? Let’s go deeper. I’ve talked to many men and one area of contention in their family life is that their kids are undisciplined, unruly, lazy and don’t respect their authority. I believe respect should be given no matter what. You are their father. You are to set the example, be the leader, set the tone, speak into your kids life, tell them and show them that you care. Tell them you love them. Do what is necessary for them to see your love for them. The problem is that too many of us men are passive. Instead of having purposeful confrontation, we default to lettings things be and allowing the kids to figure things out on their own. This could be why they don’t respect you as a man and why you are struggling trying to get your house in order.
Men, we are living a life of quiet desperation. We assume that our life and the work we do to be a struggle. We have it in our mind, that if we’re not working hard and long, then we’re not working at all. That’s not true. We are suppose to do work that we love. Work that uses our natural gifts and abilities. For crying out loud, that’s why we have them. The very things we want to do in our life are right in front of us and we are missing it. We’ve made the job and work thing too complicated. Let’s simplify the work we do and began to make a difference by way of our personality, gifts and talents.
We live in a society that tells us that working for someone else is the best thing to do if you want to be successful. We live in a society that values money more than meaning and purpose. We live in a society that pushes us to pursue a paycheck rather than looking within ourselves to learn how to create wealth and opportunities for ourselves. We live in a society that promotes spending money on cars, houses and other material possessions rather than using that money towards our kids needs and their education. We live in a society that teaches us to be selfish and compete for what we want rather than working together for the common good.
Living, rather than existing is a decision to be made by you. No one can make that decision for you. You must decide what you value more because no matter who you are or what you do, you are paying the price for something. Listen, we get one shot at this thing called life. Life is meant to be lived – that’s why they call it “life”. If you are not living, I pray that God stirs your heart and begins a process within you to create a vision for your life. I then pray that you would be attentive enough to recognize what you love doing in the marketplace. I pray that your desire for more out of life and what burns within your heart. I pray that the seed of potential with you becomes a spark and that spark into a flame, and that flame into a torch and that torch into a burning call-to-action for your life.
- Rise Up is the audacious commitment to yourself to live life in a passionate and purposeful way by exercising your gifts and abilities to the fullest and showcasing them most powerfully to the world.
- Rise Up is your life’s statement that says “This is Who I Am”,”This is What I Do” and “This is What I Offer”.
- Rise Up is the commitment to create a body of work with focus and intention so that people know who you are and what you stand for.
- Rise Up is the understanding and personal conviction that you were placed upon this earth by God to create something, to communicate something, to execute something, to make a difference in someone’s life and to express that commitment in everything you say and do. Rise Up is turning your spark into a flame, your flame into a torch and your torch into a burning call-to-action for your life.
- Rise Up is “You accepting you” and taking the initiative and responsibility to get your voice and message heard in order to make an impact in the world.
- Rise Up is you not settling for less, but expecting more from yourself. It’s about leading yourself to the potential that lives within you.
Men, it’s time to RISE UP!