Little Big Things

A small word can make a big impact, when authentic.

One right word can replace ten vague words.

Language has power, when we work hard to define the glossary.

Abstract words can cause lack of clarity without time to explain.

Concrete words can cause harm if said in harsh tones.

Knowing which words to speak at the right time and place can make the difference on influence, movement and charm.

A small word, spoken in the right way, at the right time, can make a big difference in someone’s life.

Watch your words and your influence will soar.


What % Are You?

Do you have those days when you are just excited? The times when you look at things around you and you can feel the momentum, see the influence you are having and know that you are in the right spot in your work and life?


Do you have those days where you feel like the color grey represents you well? Nothing is humming along in perfect sync and your boss threw a pile of work on you while your home life is more in survival mode than thriving mode?


Are you simply in the middle of this spectrum? Life is not bad, but it has been awhile since you have called it “thrilling”. You get up, go to work, do your job, come home, do your tasks and maybe get to watch a favorite TV show.

Which one are you?

Which one of these is your spouse resonating with?

How about your teammates?

If you want to come alive then you must understand what being alive looks like and readjust your world to that.

At GiANT we use a tool called the Peace Index that helps people understand what percentage of alive they are. The instructions are simple.

1. List the % (1-100) of how at peace you feel in each category:

+ Purpose: Your calling in Life, what you do and who you are in what you do.

+ People: Those individuals or groups that are in your life, such as family, friends, co-workers, neighbors, etc.

+ Place: Where you live and work. Your home and your office and your city and state and so on.

For instance I am at 85% with Purpose, 93% with People and 83% with Place. What are you percentages?

2. List the Priority of each one. For me, Purpose is 1st, People are 2nd and Place is 3rd. For others, it might be in reverse.

3. Aggregate the totals and divide by 3 for your Peace Index %.  For those who really like to get into % you will need to weight your top priority a bit heavier and your third category a bit lighter to give more accuracy. For example, if I am at a 60% with Purpose, which is my number 1, but 80% with place, which is my number 3, then I will need to weight the number more appropriately.

4. Make your plans. Where do you need to grow? Is there something in one category that is keeping you from being the best you can be at this season.

This is one helpful tool you can use as you become a leader worth following.


* Thanks for Frog Orr-Ewing for this concept!

The World with Peace

We recently returned from one of the best trips of my life. Me, my wife and three teenagers trekked through 4 countries, 3 different train lines and 4 amazing cities on an epic 8 day adventure through Europe. No fancy hotels. No use of taxi’s other than the feet that carried our backpacks. We experienced people, life and peace.

It was important enough to share some insights of key learnings for those interested.

  • Give Kids the Chance to Lead. This has been a learning for some time for us as a family. Each of my kids were given a city and become tour guide – from lodging to eating to experiences. Kate showed us the salt mines near Salzburg and escorted us through Hitler’s Eagles Nest retreat. Will guided us through the streets of Rome to see the Coliseum and bought massive grapes for us in the local fruit markets. Addison managed to take us to Venice during George Clooney’s wedding to surprise us with an amazing gondola ride with a celebratory dinner. When given the chance your kids will surprise you with organization and leadership.
  • People are People and People are Different. I was reminded at how normal and predictable life is. People have dogs and parents and children and worry about having enough money to eat or go on trips. People are people everywhere around the world. And they are different at the same time. The Lederhosen wearing Austrians live just miles from the easy going Italians. A border separates two distinct cultures of people being people. That was so interesting.
  • Bad leaders are everywhere. Europe is a bit inefficient and seemingly lacks leadership in its complex makeup and centuries old governments. When I asked about the leaders of countries I would get comments like, “our president is a drunk – totally inept.” Or “we don’t talk about them.” It reminded me of a phrase I like to use – “we don’t need more leaders, we need more of the right kind of leaders.”
  • Travel is still Fun. The world is a mess. Leaders are not very effective. In the midst of chaos travel is still open, available and fun. We didn’t experience what the papers were highlighting on the journey – we experienced life, people and fun.
  • Kingdom’s come and go. We stood on the ruins of the Roman empire, climbed through the foundations of the Hapsburg dynasty and ate in the formerly hidden retreat home (Eagle’s Nest) of Adolf Hitler. I was reminded that leaders come and go along with their kingdoms. There is a kingdom that lasts and then there are kingdom’s that rise and fall. It is powerful to actually experience what you have always read about.
  • There is Peace in the World. We experienced it. In fact, after all the castles and ruins and town squares and special sitings and people we met there was one moment that rose above them all. The picture in this post highlights the best moment for me of the trip. 10:27 on September 27th. The Kubicek’s training through the Alps. No one said a word. Addison was dreaming out the window. Will playing a game. Kelly and Kate reading and I sat with peace in my heart, gratitude on my lips as I uttered a simple prayer of thanksgivi
  • IMG_3226

That was the moment where my world was at peace.


Life is adventure or it is not.

Some dream of adventures, some day. Others live out adventures, today.

Adventure’s definition is: an unusual and exciting or daring experience

Does that definition describe your days?

“Seriously,” some say, “maybe once in my life when I was 20.”

What if our days were known for our unusual love for others or our daring to help someone who needed a helping hand in an extreme way.

Life can be an adventure if we choose it to be. Instead of following the norms of expectations placed on us by the ‘norm’ what if we chose to overcome our self-preservation to become influencers – those known for their extreme impact in significant help or memorable actions?

  • Throw a feast for someone who needs friends or fresh perspective. Literally, a feast.
  • Take the day off and take a hurting friend on some mini-adventures.
  • Take one week and dream and plan for a full year of family adventures and do them.
  • Arrange a surprise dinner with friends for no reason other than you can.
  • Find a family that is hurting or having financial difficulties and create a caravan some evening of a dozen friends who would be willing to bless them financially or with food or clothing, etc.

Do the unusual, the exciting. Dare to do something memorable for the benefit of others and you will have years of memories yourself.

Tomorrow, my bride and I are taking our kids on an adventure that we have been planning for close to 20 years. We have always dreamed about taking our kids on a backpacking trip through Europe in the same way that my grandmother took me on a trip when I was 15. My kids are 16, 14 and 12 and each of them have been given a city to create an adventure for the family. We have no idea exactly what they are planning and we have no way to know what adventure lies before us in our train travel over the next week, but we do know that we have each other, our backpacks and a spirit of adventure that will never be forgotten as we travel from our forefathers home of Prague through Salzburg, Venice then Rome.

Now, let’s take that same adventure and apply to everyday living. Start small. Dream big. Plan intentionally. Surprise people.

You don’t need a big budget, just a big idea for someone else in your life. Start with one idea per week. Something this week that will be daring, adventurous and unusual.

Think you can do that?

Email me or respond with your thoughts in time. I would love to hear your adventures and maybe I will share the results of ours as well.

How Full is Your Cup

Picture yourself as a cup. I know that sounds strange, but stay with me.

Each of us has something that others can use or not. Some of us spend a lot of time on the outside of the cup making it look amazing, while others of us simply have a plain looking cup. The outside of the cup is important, but not as important as what is on the inside.

It wouldn’t matter how ornate a cup was on the outside if the inside was filled with black ink, I wouldn’t drink it. Conversely, if a plain paper cup held refreshing water, I am all in.

The Outside of the Cup

Don’t get me wrong, the outside of the cup is important. It can’t have a hole in it and it needs to be strong enough to lift. A person should take care of themselves and make themselves presentable. I have found myself through the years being consistently presentable by trying to stay fit and watching what I eat, etc.

What does the outside of you look like? Is there room for some improvement? I recently made it my goal to lose some weight and trim up via exercise and eating right and am two pounds away from hitting that goal with two weeks to go to my end date. Again, it is important to make sure that we are taking care of our bodies and presenting ourselves well.

The Inside of the Cup

Some of us have cups filled to the rim with crystal pure water and others of us have only a sip left in our cups. Unfortunately, there are some people filled with sludge or worse, poison, that should be avoided at all costs.

The inside of the cup is what shouldn’t be neglected. Whatever is right or true or pure should be added in. Just like we share with our kids our eyes and ears are the collectors of our souls. What we watch and what we listen to over time has the power to turn our water into ink and pollute our souls to our demise. The problem is that you can’t pour water into a cup filled with ink and still drink it. The cup has got to be flushed out, totally rinsed and cleaned before clean water can be added to drink.

If we are to be drinkable then we must remain leaders who choose to pour in the things that benefit our souls – that benefits the inside. And, yes, we should ignore the world’s art that corrupts or wounds or hurts. For instance, I watched a show recently on a Delta flight that has won accolades for its artistic flair and felt as if I needed a shower. That acclaimed piece of “art” offered no value to me nor turned anything inside me to pure clean water.

To Pour Ourselves Out

The healthy leaders tend to be the ones who have an endless source of spring water to drink. It takes discipline. This morning I walked by my son’s room and found him reading an inspirational book before he started his day. He added pure water into his cup.

Instead of starting your day with Facebook or emails or websites, which might start the day off with envy or judgement or frustration, consider some pure water.

How full is your cup?

And what is it full of? Is it drinkable?

Leadership is a responsibility to those you serve. When you stay full or better yet, overflow, you become alive. Others can trust your source and believe that what you have is worth drinking.

Give yourselves away – pour yourselves out- only if you have anything worth drinking. Focus on what is on the inside and make sure the outside is at least presentable. It is a far better life than having a golden outside filled with corroded chemicals on the inside.


The week was long. The stress isn’t leaving. Your co-workers are driving you nuts. While you are busy, you are bored – work is not doing it for you.

If you feel any of these then I would ask you to think about re-recharging your batteries this weekend. That means that if you have gotten to the place where your battery seems to get diminished more quickly than normal during the day or week to the point of a complete shut down then you need help. What you are currently doing to recharge your batteries is not working.

To re-recharge your battery you may need to change up the pace or the activity. Here are some ideas for you to consider going in to the weekend.

Re-recharging if you are an Extrovert:

  • Call an old friend out of the blue and just chat. Remind each other of some funny stories, tell them how much you appreciate them and just shoot the breeze. And/or…
  • Find a few friends or another couple and do an impromptu road trip. Find a funny landmark with a restaurant close by and go have an adventure. My wife and I once took a road trip with other friends to one of the places I have lived to create a great memory with funny stories.
  • Find someone that is in a tough place and invite them over for a surprise party for them. By giving yourself away you will find so much joy. And/or…
  • Get the guts to find someone hurting on the street or in the shelter and bring them a meal or a goodie bag. And/or…
  • Do a marathon movie session with some close friends. Mix it up with a classic, a funny movie and an inspirational drama. Theme it and away you go.

Spice up life a bit with friends and watch your battery recharge significantly.

Re-recharging if you are an Introvert.

  • Plan a Saturday morning hike/walk/run to a special location. Make a new playlist for inspiration for the journey. And/or…
  • Take someone special to a unique brunch spot. Make a list of things you appreciate about them and share it in a creative way. Watch their reaction. And/or…
  • Plan a date night out with someone you love or with close friends. Plan out all the details and surprise them. Sometimes when you are down it helps to do something for others. And/or…
  • Write a letter to your parents or friends that live far away. Be specific in the letter, encouraging them in who they are.  And/or…
  • Clean out that office or kitchen or garage. Do a project where you can see progress. Not too long, but enough to see a difference.  And/or…
  • Plan a fun trip for a future date. Think through all the details and maybe bounce the ideas off of another person.

Be intentional about living. Bring in some music. Connect with God. Reach out to friends. Have some fun.

Re-recharging is vital. It is more than the normal hours of sleep or brief bit of exercise.

Friends, let’s fight to stay alive. When we are dying it affects those around us. When we are alive others come alive as well.

For you always,