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Don’t…the greatest way to lead

Published on July 25th, 2014

dont mainDon’t is such a negative word. Right? It’s up there with despicable, dreadful, and dismal (I’m stuck on the letter “d”). Maybe “don’t” has been a bit misunderstood though. It actually is a word that brings clarity. It’s the proverbial “line in the sand” kind of word. I recently found a great challenge that happens to include the word “don’t” while giving an explicit call to selflessly take an interest in others. These are tough words that when implemented, have the full potential to change the direction of our lives. I also believe this is the greatest way to lead with lasting influence. Perhaps it’s time for more “don’t.” 

Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too. Philippians 2:3-4



Published on July 24th, 2014

Chandler Surfing MainCourage is an amazing thing. I’d like to think that I am a courageous person, but I’m not so sure. Courage is something that gives an unusual amount of confidence to continue doing the next right thing. It’s facing tragedy, sickness, misfortune, death, and whatever else comes our way with a sense of purpose.

Author Malcolm Gladwell defines courage this way…

“Courage is what you earn when you’ve been through the tough times and you discover that they aren’t so tough after all.”

My friend Buddy Thigpen has courage. My friend Joey Borowski has courage. My friends Dave and Liz Myers have courage. My friend Cami Peck has courage. My friends Todd & Sharon Kanzinger have courage. My friend Anthony Easter has courage. My friend Kenna Hassellof has courage. My friends Mike and Becky Troyer have courage. My friend Karla DeSimone has courage.

These friends have endured more tragedy, sickness, discouragement, and loss than what I can possibly imagine. Yet, they are courageous. Each one, in their own unique way, breaking rules by walking with strength, boldness, and faith. My friends have taught me much about walking into storms. The rain does fall. Their stories continue. Their impact increases. And courage lives. Thank you friends.




Published on July 21st, 2014

initiate mainI need to initiate more. Perhaps you feel the same way. When we initiate, we move forward. We create. We ship something that may be less than perfect. All of this is good. It’s very good. When we initiate there is something unique that happens; ideas flow, systems improve, and the cloud around uncertainty begins to move. It’s easier to wait. Often it just feels better to keep researching. It’s safer to watch others. But there is a time to start. What do you wish to start? What can you improve? Where is there discontent in your life? Make plans and then move forward. Create. Ship. In other words…initiate. You are needed.

Waiting to finalize? Waiting to make one more “tweak?” Waiting for approval from a superior that may never come? Move forward and initiate. It’s time, and your idea, plan, or thought is needed.


a bit o’ prayer…

Published on July 15th, 2014

prayer candles mainAsk God for something. This is what I’ve been thinking about recently. Am I asking for something…anything? Am I asking on behalf of my family, friends, and community? God even invites us to do this. Need a job? Need a friend? Need a solution? Need parenting help? Need ___________________? Ask God for it. If you want to see a different outcome, pray. Ask tenaciously, and throw yourself into the struggle of patiently waiting.

 “The fawning etiquette of unctuous prayer is utterly foreign to the bible. Biblical prayer is impertinent, persistent, shameless, indecorous. It is more like haggling in an oriental bazaar than the polite monologues of the churches.”  – Walter Wink

Get passionate about something. Step into the presence of God. He is ready. So…ask.


Tonia Koehler on summer…

Published on July 10th, 2014

Tonia 3 mainThree out of the last four weeks we’ve had the fun of grandparents staying with us. Now there are just eight of us, and it seems quiet. Today felt like a lazy, summer day at home with my kids. We even bought a new slip-n-slide with a shark on it. I’m not sure what to think about the shark obsession, but it gave me some time to read. Summer season helps me take a little time to work on some areas in life like my laundry room, toys and closets, strategies at home, and spiritual reflection. My reading today was Taming Your Family Zoo, and it gave some helpful reminders for “my zoo”. One phrase that I came back too was, “The trick to parenting is to stay one step ahead of your child.” The author gave some great steps on being proactive in parenting, and I was reminded how taking a proactive approach spiritually is beneficial also.

David’s words in Psalm 9 say, “I will thank you, Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all the marvelous things you have done. I will be filled with joy because of you, I will sing praises to your name, O Most High.” Honoring words of praise to God help me stop and think how I need to thank the Lord. One of the ways I can be proactive spiritual is to begin my day being thankful to God. Writing it down helps me because then I can go back and see my blessings and what God is doing in my life. Praising God before embarking on the day gives me a positive, thankful mind-set so when the ecosystem of fish and snails ends up spilled on the carpet I can still end the day with a smile. Some days I wish the only bad news was smelly fish on my carpet because life has days that are frustrating and sad. So be proactive and start the day thanking God for five blessings each morning for the next five days. Does it help?


the upside of integrity

Published on July 7th, 2014

upside of integiry mainIntegrity – you want it! This is something that matters and can take you far in life. Here’s what integrity will do for you. It allows you to live safely and it gives you a solid platform for meaningful impact. That impact may be your family, it could be your work, it could be your school, it could be your community. Where would you like to see your influence grow? Being a humble person with integrity can help you get there faster.

Integrity is simply being the same on the inside as you appear to be on the outside. Integrity equals consistency (not perfection). Improve your chance for impact in your world of influence by not letting integrity be an afterthought. Chase it. Protect it. Pray for it. Guard it. Grow it. And in the process, watch your influence increase!

People with integrity walk safely, but those who follow crooked paths will slip and fall.  Proverbs 10:9


A Good Brand…

Published on June 19th, 2014

I absolutely love this commercial. As a former Volvo wagon driver (with the 3rd row seat), this reminded me of driving in my “boxy” vehicle with young children. I like Volvo and believe they have a good brand driven by safety and reliability. This commercial not only took me back to my Volvo days, it made me think about what makes for a good brand.

+ A good brand shares a story (it’s not just a product).

+ A good brand invokes emotion (it’s more than an item).

+ A good brand is likable…it’s fun (it’s viewed as a better way to live).

What about your organization? Your product? Your idea? Make it good!



a graduate

Published on June 16th, 2014

graduate cameron mainMy oldest son is a high school graduate. I’m very proud of him! Congratulations Cameron. You are an amazing man! And…I’m still taller than you.


Selflessness…it brings generosity and true help for the hurting

Published on June 2nd, 2014


Love Works…at Work

Published on May 31st, 2014

work mainImagine a workplace where people felt genuine care. Imagine a workplace where there was a deeper interest in people than the bottom line. Imagine a workplace where the leaders were passionate about the advancement of others. When we let love work at work, these imaginations can become a reality. Loving well at work might look like this…

#1: Loving well at work means that I treat people with love no matter how they feel about me.

#2: Loving well at work means that I can still maximize profits and value relationships.

#3: Loving well at work develops greater leaders because it is a higher testament to true leadership acumen.

At work, let love work. Whether you are the boss and the weight of the company falls on your shoulders, or you help manage a smaller group, or you teach, or sell, or organize, or create, or _________________________ (fill in the blank). Thru your actions (your work) let love work. Make a difference this way and you’ll make your organization a better place while bringing personal success.