Hey Passengers I typically give you a business card as you board but, today I am giving you a Post card that reads:
This guy’s walkin’ down a street when he falls in a hole. The walls are so steep he can’t get out. A doctor passes by and the guy shouts up, “Hey you! Can you help me out?” The doctor writes a prescription, throws it down in the hole, and moves on. Then a priest comes along and the guy shouts up, “Father, I’m down in this hole; can you help me out?” The priest writes out a prayer, throws it down in the hole and moves on. Then a friend walks by. “Hey, Joe, it’s me. Can ya help me out?” And the friend jumps in the hole. Our guy says, “Are ya stupid? Now we’re both down here.” The friend says, “Yeah, but I’ve been down here before and I know the way out.
Taken from the West Wing, the topic of this week’s series on life and leadership. Kick it! (Today’s song for the post)
I didn’t intend to get sucked into West Wing but, I did. In fact, I was always one of those people who said, “how do these people have time to watch a TV series?” Then it happened…
The Bible, The West Wing and “Who Moved My Cheese”…must sees!
I was visiting close friends in Atlanta and they shared with me that they had started watching the award-winning West Wing TV drama that ran from 1999 – 2006. I came home and decided to watch ONE episode. Well, I ended up paying for and downloading all the series, yes, all the years, And I’ve binged watched them several times gleaning new information from them each and every time, each and every episode. You might say I’m hooked, actually … addicted.
But do you know what caught me totally by surprise? It turns out there are really powerful Biblical as well as leadership lessons in each episode. They are not just leadership lessons, but life and biblical as well. The way President Bartlett leads, the staff interactions, the battles they fight with their constituents, the way they treat each other and other people. Now maybe, this is a gross rationalization for continuing to watch the show. But, at least I am now investing this leisure time with a different eye.
Like all of us here riding the LifeTrain, I encounter many challenges. I have been exposed to the greatest of military and civilian leadership…and unfortunately the worst. But, in each case I have been able to either deal with or appreciate this leadership more having studied the lessons in this series. As a matter of fact if I were to own my own company again (and I ‘m serious) you would not manage in my organization without viewing this series and reading the book “Who Moved My cheese”.
So, I hope you will profit from just a few simple lessons I have been reminded of on leading well.
Leadership Lessons from the West Wing
Be decisive. Seek the facts, (pray), make decisions.
Move quicker. There is much to do.
Build your team with people you know and believe in.
Truly care about each individual on your team.
Have high expectations.
Treat your “enemies” with respect and dignity.
I have a ton of West Wing stuff to share…Hope you’ll come back for more…Till then
A while back, I wrote a blog post about giving people the benefit of the doubt, and suggested, as I often do, that people rarely intend to be hurtful.
Someone wrote in the comments that I’ve obviously never encountered a sociopath. This got me thinking about the many times I’ve heard women refer to men they’ve dated as sociopaths and narcissists. It occurred to me that many of those men likely treated them horribly, but may not have had mental disorders. There are sociopaths out there, but more often than not when people hurt us, it’s not because of psychiatric diagnoses. It’s because they’re hauling around pain from their pasts and crashing it into everyone they meet.
Thank you for riding with me…All Aboard!
When someone knowingly manipulates or uses others, or deliberately tries to control or intimidate them and they aren’t mentally ill, it’s rarely a happy, well-adjusted person who simply decided to be heartless and cruel. In understanding this, we can be compassionate—but that doesn’t mean we need to willingly accept mistreatment. The question then becomes: how do we know when to give someone the benefit of the doubt, and when to withhold it?
Last week a reader shared an insightful Oprah quote that read, “When people show you who they are, believe them.” While I don’t believe any one action defines who someone is, I think there’s something to this. Actions speak louder than words. And repeated actions are what shape our character and reputation. If someone says they want to spend time together but repeatedly fails to show up, they are communicating that they aren’t willing to follow through on their promises. If someone says they’re trustworthy but repeatedly lies, they are communicating that their word can’t be trusted. If someone says they want to change but repeatedly fails to make an effort, they are communicating that they aren’t willing to do things differently.
Acknowledging this isn’t forming judgments. It’s recognizing the facts so that we can make a wise choice based on how things are—not how we want them to be. We may recognize we’re being mistreated and choose to set and enforce a boundary. We all deserve second chances, and sometimes a third or fourth. But other times we need to open our eyes so that we know when enough is enough.
It’s never our fault when someone else hurts us, but it’s within our power to stop allowing it.
Hey Passengers, All Aboard and Merry Monday! Let’s start this week out with a smile and a smooth stride down the tracks here on the LifeTrain. For those of us who may have to travel through a storm or two this week remember, there is peace in the midst of the storms!
Kick it (today’s song for this post):
Peace is not just the absence of a storm, but rest in the middle of the storm. Many of us could use that kind of peace right now, and it is the kind of peace that you can have right now if you’re resting where you ought to be.
Peace be still this week…
As our headlines have become dominated with new dangers and so many hearts have been struggling with new anxieties and fears, we’re ready for the incredible peace offered in Psalm 46. It is good news for troubled times and should be our word for every day! “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” The more troubled things are, the more present God makes Himself. The psalmist then says, “Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.” Everything’s collapsing, even things that have always been there for us. Have no fear because “God is our refuge and strength.”
I know each Monday we espouse about the virtues of making Monday’s Merry. I know that the below is for someone today (and perhaps tomorrow). So, please check out the story below, consider passing it on or letting someone you know who might need this, have them come here, to the Train.
And oh yeah, as per LiFeTrain protocol, Monday’s are never blue…they are Merry…so “Merry Monday”.
Three trees were discussing their hopes and dreams when the first tree said, ‘Someday I hope to be a treasure chest. I could be filled with gold, silver and precious gems. I could be decorated with intricate carving and everyone would seethe beauty.’ Then the second tree said, ‘Someday I will be a mighty ship. I will take kings and queens across the waters and sail to the corners of the world. Everyone will feel safe in me because of the strength of my hull.’
Finally the third tree said, ‘I want to grow to be the tallest and straightest tree in the forest. People will see me on top of the hill and look up to my branches, and think of the heavens and God and how close to them I am reaching. I will be the greatest tree of all time and people will always remember me.’
After a few years of praying that their dreams would come true, a group of woodsmen came upon the trees.
When one came to the first tree he said, ‘This looks like a strong tree, I think I should be able to sell the wood to a carpenter,’ and he began cutting it down.
The tree was happy, because he knew that the carpenter would make him into a treasure chest. At the second tree the woodsman said, ‘This looks like a strong tree, I should be able to sell it to the shipyard.’ The second tree was happy because he knew he was on his way to becoming a mighty ship.
When the woodsmen came upon the third tree, the tree was frightened because he knew that if they cut him down his dreams would not come true. One of the woodsmen said, ‘I don’t need anything special from my tree, so I’ll take this one’, and he cut it down.
When the first tree arrived at the carpenters, he was made into a feed box for animals. He was then placed in a barn and filled with hay. This was not at all what he had prayed for. The second tree was cut and made into a small fishing boat. His dreams of being a mighty ship and carrying kings had come to an end.
The third tree was cut into large pieces and left alone in the dark. The years went by, and the trees forgot about their dreams. Then one day, a man and woman came to the barn. She gave birth and they placed the baby in the hay in thefeed box that was made from the first tree. The man wished that he could have made a crib for the baby, but this manger would have to do. The tree could feel the importance of this event and knew that it had held the greatest treasure of all time.
In the midst of any storm this week, remember….Peace be still…
Years later, a group of men got in the fishing boat made from the second tree. One of them was tired and went to sleep. While they were out on the water, a great storm arose and the tree didn’t think it was strong enough to keep the men safe. The men woke the sleeping man, and He stood and said ‘Peace’ and the storm stopped. At this time, the tree knew that it had carried the King of Kings in its boat.
Finally, someone came and got the third tree. It was carried through the streets as the people mocked the man who was carrying it. When they came to a stop, the man was nailed to the tree and raised in the air to die at the top of a hill. When Sunday came, the tree came to realize that it was strong enough to stand at the top of the hill and be as close to God as was possible, because Jesus had been crucified on it.
The moral of this story is that when things don’t seem to be going your way, always know that God has a plan for you. If you place your trust in Him, He will give you great gifts.
Each of the trees got what they wanted, just not in the way they had imagined. We don’t always know what God’s plans are for us. We just know that His ways are not our ways, but His ways are always best.
Welcome aboard once again, glad we are starting the week out together.
KICK IT! (The music for today’s post, like wine with your meal):
The # one LifeTrain rule: NEVER GIVE UP!!!
As I started my week off this morning shaving my bald dome I marveled with disappointment in myself. Like most Homo-sapiens I sometimes lament over past mistakes and bad decisions. But, I reminded myself that like EVERY one else, I am “perfectly Imperfect”.
It’s during these times that I tap into what is rather cathartic for me, turn on music and WRITE (about what’s troubling me). So I headed to the keyboard. All the while something was whispering to my spirit, my soul, psyche and mind about
bad decisions made and what ifs. What if at the fork in the road I should’ve gone left instead of right? Why could I have made such a stupid decision? Why am I not perfect, why am I not a Vulcan, devoid of emotions. Why am I so, so human (LOL)? Fortunately I stay buried in research (and the Bible) so that at just such times of doubt I can refer to logic, faith and Christ.
I quickly reminded myself that I cannot undo the past. I also decided to share my thoughts so that when this type of thing hits you, maybe even this week you can employ some of my
But I realize, God made us Human and there are no such things as Vulcans…
tools. For example, as much as possible I will always try to obtain counsel. In difficult decisions it’s wise to get spiritual and practical counsel from the godly leaders in your life. A pastor,
elder, parent, or simply a mature believer can often contribute important insight, answer questions, remove doubts and confirm inclinations. Make sure to choose individuals who will
offer sound biblical advice and not just say what you want to hear. Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.~ Proverb 15:22
Remember, and this a “BIG” one for me…Sometimes your heart and feelings can trick and mislead you. And, sometimes you can be too heady, intellectual and become stuck in paralysis of analysis. Don’t just “brainstorm.” A more holistic
approach is to engage your brain, heart and spirit. This week, be prayerful asking God to speak to your heart and mind.
QUOTE: “Every passing minute is another chance to turn it all around.”
This week, join me in being creative and willing to think outside the box of comfort, tradition and people pleasing. AND! …and may we always remember we can’t afford to blame or expect everyone to understand and co-sign our decisions.
Another BIG one for me is to forever keep in mind is to NOT be in denial or fantasize. We all must consider the alternatives, risks and consequences.
As you hop off the train I will hand each and every one of you an index card. It reads:
How will our decisions this week (and going forward) impact our relationships, health, income, integrity, time, values, opportunities, career, character, education, travel, peace of mind, etc?
I suggest KAIZEN. That is a Japanese word for gradual and continuous improvement.
…1/10 of 1% continuous improvement.
One more thing if I may…There may come a time this week when you might need to remember…”When the world comes tumbling down …Please, just…
“MAKE THE BEST OF WHAT’S STILL AROUND…”
I Hope you’ll continue to ride along with me in this thing called Life…here on the LifeTrain…
ALL ABOARD!!! So glad you decided to hop aboard and ride the Train with me today!
KICK IT!!! The Mood, (The music for today’s post)
Summer is turning gently, slowly, gracefully around to reveal Fall’s first crisp breeze and first brightly colored leaf. It’s a perfect time of year to revamp on the inside, to literally turn over a new leaf and reveal a fresh and improved version of ourselves. I think we can learn a lot about change from observing good old Mother Nature:
We can witness how those luscious, sweet, balmy summer nights slowly transition into something crisper, softer, cooler. It’s quite a breathtaking process. The shift takes place so gradually—just a tiny, little bit each day, building steadily towards the season’s change. Nothing is ever forced.
Fall does not walk in and scream to summer, “Get out!” and we should not do this with ourselves either. A seemingly slight change that isn’t twisted or forced can transform us more deeply than we know.
As I’ve (very frustratingly) realized, the more I push for results, the less I see them.
It can feel like a cruel trick, right? But, as we watch the seasons shift, it’s a good reminder to revel in the beauty of our inner process. We are all always transitioning, in one way or another. Although I often want immediate change, I’ve (also very frustratingly) realized, this is rarely how it goes.
All Aboard!!! The LifeTrain!!!
It can be so difficult to sit back and have faith, but that is exactly what we need to learn to do, above all else. Look to nature, and see how she beautifully trusts that summer will turn to Fall. This process is not questioned; rather, it’s supported and allowed to unfold exactly as it needs. We need to mirror this more passive, supportive attitude within ourselves.
On the inside, we are often changing seasons, too.
Personally, I’m trying to transition from the harsh and unforgiving season of “ Intense Anxiety” into the more calm and collected season of “Balance and Confidence.”
There are so many steps on the way. Each of them is equally important, even though sometimes the whole process can be difficult to accept. Some days, it feels like I haven’t changed at all. My mind races, and my anxiety surrounds me like a heavy black cloud, following me relentlessly wherever I go. But, there are also days where the anxiety is only there in the background, as though it’s been dialed down to a “low” setting.
On the hard days, it’s hard to remember that the good days exist.
At times, I feel incredibly discouraged and disappointed, and it seems useless to continue to work on myself. Instead of wallowing in my self-pity (with a double cheese, pepperoni pizza and Netflix), I try to make it a practice to look to nature:
It strikes me deeply how despite anything, she is sturdy and unquestioning in herself. She is so darn confident in her process. Sometimes, this makes me feel worse, envious even. But, sometimes, it inspires me to pause for a moment and be more confident and unquestioning in my own process.
It inspires me to embrace my frustration, to scream and cry if I feel the need. Who’s to say that this, too, is not part of the journey down the tracks on the LifeTrain? Maybe it’s actually quite a beautiful and key part.
It’s all about the balance…All Aboard!
As I’m slowing and moving from anxiety to balance, it feels very much like shifting from the hot, intense sun of Summer to the fresh breeze of Fall. I’m just beginning my change, and thankfully nature is there to remind me that this is perfectly okay.
All of these steps, these feelings, and these difficulties are a part of the transition: the beautiful, at times maddening transition on the journey down these tracks to becoming ourselves.
Whatever inner season we are moving towards, let’s try to embrace the exquisiteness of the process. And, as the leaves start to change, it reminds us that we can, too.
Thank you so much for hopping the Train today! It’s lonely here without you. Leave a comment sometime…
As you board today I give you a business card with just these words on it:
“ALWAYS” go with the needle and thread”…
Kick the music and ride (read) on…
From the now “Old Guy” to the young cats…
As I find myself in the last trimester of life I realize that there were lessons learned, some too late and some just in a nick of time…that I should share.
There were times as a young cat I realized that the Old Cats knew a thang or two. I listened to some of the old cat stuff and it saved me from some stuff. But, it took a while for the spirit of what I am about to throw out into the universe to take hold on me. I can only pray that a young cat or two will take heed. Oh, and thanks to all the old cats that took me aside…
Leave a comment and Friend me on Facebook…
Always go with the needle and thread…
I didn’t always know this because as a young buck I was seduced by a BIG behind. Now I realize it’s a big mind that should be priority one. Young bucks, don’t let your eyes deceive you.
Young dudes, first PULL YOUR [deleted] pants up!
Second remember try as we might, we are NOT superman. We can come close but, trust me; life will rip that “S” right off your chest. It’s at that time you will find that a woman will do one of two things. She will try not to trip over that “S” as she walks away. Or, she will get out her needle and thread. A good woman will sew it back on, kiss you, hug you, smack you on the [deleted] and tell you to man up and fly!
Young cats, take it from the now old cat, always go with the one who has a box labeled Jesus containing needle and thread…
Not a sermon, just some thoughts… C. Prince Daniel