Are We Being Audacious Enough?

I’m a member of the #StartAlum. We’re a group of folks from across the US and around the world who have joined forces with Jon Acuff to follow our passions and chase our dreams in the hope of making the world a better place. We loved the initial challenges so much that after 24 days of Jon’s leadership, we chose to do it again.

Jon’s challenge to the alumni of the group this week was to identify an audacious dream, whether we could accomplish it in 24 days or not. This challenge stirred a lot of ideas in my mind, making the wheels in my head spin. I have an audacious dream, and although I’m not at liberty to share it with you at this time, rest assured I’m making steps toward it.

My challenge to you is, what is your dream? What would you choose to do if you knew you couldn’t fail? Is it audacious enough? Don’t let fear get in your way! You are more capable than you realize. Dream that audacious dream and then chase after it! You’ll have challenges along the way, but you have the ability to overcome each of them. The journey will take you further than you imagined.

Let this Mark Twain quote be your mantra. “Life is short, break the rules, forgive quickly, kiss slowly, love truly, laugh uncontrollably, and never regret anything that made you smile. Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines, Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

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Stretch Armstrong

Remember the Stretch Armstrong dolls from the 70’s? You could pull and tug on that doll for days, and he went right back into shape. Do you ever feel like you’re being pulled in too many directions? Wonder if you’ll ever live a normal life? I think we all feel that way sometimes.

Being stretched is  one way we identify what we’re truly capable of doing. We discover our capacity when we’ve been pushed to the limits.

So create some goals, and set your bar high. You’re more capable than you realize. Don’t let fear prevent you from being stretched into the person you were made to be. More importantly, have some fun with it!

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11

Notes from the Willow Creek Global Leadership Summit

I was offered the opportunity to volunteer at a local simulcast of the Willow Creek Global Leadership Summit this week. For those of you who may not be familiar with WCGLS, it’s hosted each year by Willow Creek Community Church, near Chicago.

Before you dismiss the remainder of my blog, thinking that I attended a church conference, and you’ve “heard all that before”, let me say, this was a Leadership Summit. The speakers included Bill Hybels, lead pastor of Willow Creek Community Church; Colin Powell, a four-star general, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and former Secretary of State; Patrick Lencioni, author of business management books such as ‘The Advantage’ and ‘The Five Dysfunctions of a Team’; Liz Wiseman, author, motivational speaker and former CEO of Oracle; and Bob Goff. Bob is an attorney, author, founder of Restore International, and Consul to the Republic of Uganda. There were some unquestionably intelligent, experienced speakers in the room.

Here are a few notes from the summit. They’re so profound, I feel I should share them.

Bill Hybels: “Church leaders learn from business managers.”

“The more we utilize social media, the more we hunger face-to-face interaction.”

Colin Powell: “Perpetual optimism is a force multiplier.” 

“Get mad when you have to; then get over it.”

“Adapt to the personality of your subordinates.”

“Leaders are the kind of people who solve problems.”

“If you don’t have the guts to do it; you’re not leading any more.”

“When someone isn’t working out in a role, sometimes you have to throw them off the train.”

Patrick Lencioni: “Anonymity is a killer in the workplace.”

“Your job [as a leader] is to create joy for someone who is otherwise hopeless.”

“We have to help people find what their relevance is.”

“All humans have a need to be able to measure success.”

Liz Wiseman: Ask questions and let others find the answer. That’s how you lead leaders.”

“Provoke genius in others.”

“Be a genius maker, not the genius in your organization.”

Bob Goff: “You don’t want in-laws and employees. You want friends. Do stuff together.”

“Give the wheel over to someone and let them land the plane. Be not afraid.”

“Don’t be a poser. Be you.”

“See who people are becoming, not who they are now.”

“If you want to lead strong in your community, when some crazy opportunity comes along, say yes.”

There was much more great information, and yesterday was a fun, exciting experience. I hope to go back again next year.

 

What I Learned From an Exchange Student

I was recently reunited with a young woman who spent the 2011-12 school year in NC as an exchange student. She lived with a local family during that time, and we developed a relationship through our church’s student ministry.

I’ll call her Sarah. She returned to NC this summer to visit her former host family and the friends she made here. My husband and I spent some time with her, both in our home and in the mountains of NC for a few days during her stay.

I learned a few things from Sarah during this time. As Americans, we take too much for granted. Sarah reminded me how to appreciate the natural beauty  that surrounds us in everything from flowers, to trees to insects.

The simple pleasures in life can be so sweet. Take time to appreciate the beauty around you. Enjoy the beauty you behold.

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