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Authenticity Is About Being Who You Really Are.

Authenticity Is About Being Who You Really Are.

There’s a word that I kind of hate. Want to know what it is? Well, you don’t have a choice. Here it is. Authenticity. There you go. I’ve confessed. With my confession let’s talk about the first one. Authenticity. I hate it. Really. It’s so over rated. It’s so misconstrued. And yet it’s part of our culture. “I like them, they’re SO authentic.” Give me a break. I want to hurl.

What’s the deal with authenticity? Tons of people want it. Most don’t have a clue of what it means. An in all honesty and transparency — I don’t either. But I do have some thoughts. Let’s start with some Shakespeare

[shareable]This above all: To thine own self be true, And it must follow, as the night the day, Thou canst not then be false to any man. – Hamlet, Shakespeare[/shareable]

Your friends and family all struggle with this one. Being authentic. Being real is kind of tough. Cause when you show your weaknesses. When you show that your feelings can get hurt, people don’t know how to handle it. Maybe they’ll respond by mocking you.

Here’s a little secret. Everyone struggles. Everyone has hurts and pain. We all struggle with being scared. We all struggle with having negative or bad thoughts. When we don’t allow people into our hurt and fear this happens. How you respond in those times will help you know what kind of leader you will be.

There was a really popular song on itunes and the radio. My kids sing it like crazy. There’s even a Minecraft version of it. It’s called Demons by Imagine Dragons. Now, this song isn’t about devils that are red and have horns and a pitchfork. It is about how we all struggle and how we need to be real with the people around us. Here are some of the lyrics:

“When the days are cold
And the cards all fold
And the saints we see
Are all made of gold
I wanna hide the truth
I wanna shelter you
But with the beast inside
There’s nowhere we can hide
When you feel my heat
Look into my eyes
It’s where my demons hide
It’s where my demons hide
Don’t get too close
It’s dark inside
It’s where my demons hide
It’s where my demons hide”
Being authentic. Being real means that we let people see us just as we are. Big scary warts and all!
Here’s the deal around this. There’s no middle ground with authenticity. Either you are authentic or you’re not. And, what I know about authenticity is that people prefer it over being fake. They may not initially agree, but eventually they will.
So, what kind of leader do you want to be? My guess is that you’re telling yourself that you want to be authentic. You want to be real. Don’t we all? But our inner desire and reality are very, very different.

Question: What is it about you that’s keeping you from being from authentic and real? What are you willing to do to get there?



Every Great Story Starts With The First Step…100% of the Time.

Every Great Story Starts With The First Step…100% of the Time.

Everyone likes a good story. Whether it’s a comedy, romance, action or horror. They’re all there. The question is, what will yours be? Also, is the question even something you’re asking? I know I have been. It keeps coming up in a ton of different ways. From what I’m reading, listening to, or from the conversations I’m having. The question keeps being asked, “What do you want your story to be?”

Over the first weekend of 2016, Kristen and I were blessed with a weekend away into the mountains around Vail, Colorado from our oldest daughter. It was much needed. The stresses of the past year had been building up and up and up. The closing of a church and the subsequent spiraling on my part had affected our marriage and my heart.

On one morning as we were talking, Kristen asked me how she could help me. I didn’t have an answer. So she asked a follow up question. “Who can help you?” Thankfully, I had some thoughts. And equally as thankful, we both knew that we had friends in our lives that could and would help. Long story short. 3 weeks later I was driving to South Dakota to spend a few days with our pastor, marriage mentors, groomsman and dear friends. It was life giving. Cup filling. Bank depositing! Use whatever metaphor you want, I needed the time away.[shareable]The first step towards getting somewhere is to decide you’re not going to stay where you are J.P. Morgan[/shareable]

What came out of my time in SD? An increased desire to pursue my story. An increase in desire to have a story. So I started to journal around something that I hate. Setting goals! I’ve come realize that I’ve lived under the shadow of a misguided belief that setting goals is a recipe for failure. So, I’ve always fought against setting goals.

Thankfully, my thoughts are changing (hopefully for the long term) and I’m setting goals. Goals for a story. A story that has meaning and purpose. A story that will inspire.

Regardless of where you are sitting, or standing; if you want a better story, you have to take the first step. It’s always been that way. It will always be that way.

Let me share some of the resources that have been helping.


Essentialism by Greg McKeown

The Dip by Seth Godin

The Deeper Path – Kary Oberbrunner

How To Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie

Living Forward by Michael Hyatt & Daniel Harkavy

The 4 Hour Work Week – Timothy Ferris

The Tipping Point – Malcolm Gladwell


This Is Your Life – Michael Hyatt

The Tim Ferris Show – Tim Ferris

Andy Stanley Leadership Podcast – Andy Stanley

Elevation Church – Steven Furtick

Question: What are you willing to do to pursue your story? 


Lessons From My Daughters Birthday Slumber Party

Lessons From My Daughters Birthday Slumber Party

I wrestle with being silly. I’m not entirely sure why. When I worked with students, I was always the center of the silliness, or coming up with the crazy ideas (like bobbing for Oh Henry bars in a toilet full of Mountain Dew). But then I got married! Then, I got “serious”. Sound familiar? In all reality, it wasn’t getting married that did it or having kids. There’s something about “adulthood” that sucks the silliness out of us. And you know what? It’s just plain wrong. Being silly and goofy is amazing. It’s life giving, it’s needed.

That’s why I’m writing about my daughters 11th birthday slumber party. Avery had some of her friends over for a night of fun, sugar, laser tag and no sleeping. Somewhere in the midst of the piñata and a 3 layered, sparkler-candle covered cake there was a mention of makeovers, and my name was first on the list! All the girls started freaking out, including our 22 year old. What was a dad to do? I went along with it. It was awesome (sometimes a bit painful), it was crazy and it was a huge memory, for everyone. One of Avery’s friends said (multiple times) that it was the best part of the party (her dad is not 100% in the picture).

I’m so glad that I was able to get past my “adulthood” and simply be crazy for the girls. I’m so glad that memories were made for the girls (and our boys). I love this quote from baseball great Lou Brock. [shareable]Show me a guy who is afraid to look bad, and I’ll show you a guy you can beat every time. ~Lou Brock[/shareable]

Let me suggest a few things to find your silliness.

  1. Get over yourself!
  2. Ask yourself, “What/Who is most important right now?”
  3. Get over yourself!
  4. Ask yourself, “Are memories more important than my pride?”
  5. Get over yourself!
  6. Have some fun!
  7. Get over yourself!

See a pattern? Sometimes, we are our own worst enemy at having fun. If you’re a parent, you need to be all about your kids. If you’re dating someone? Stop trying to pose as someone you’re not. Let loose and have fun. If you’re married w/o kids, enjoy the heck out of your spouse. Laugh until you’re crying and your belly hurts. Why? Cause when the pain and hurt comes you’ll have some joy to cling to. Bottom line, being silly is life giving. Laughing is contagious. And Joy, is so, so much better than sadness.

Question: Why are you so serious? List out the reasons. What are some ways you can laugh today? Write out some ideas. Then, ask a good friend to participate in a silliness intervention.

Living A Full Life Requires Knowing Where To Take The First Step.

Living A Full Life Requires Knowing Where To Take The First Step.

Honestly? I love adventure. I love exploring. I love learning. I love experiencing new things. There’s something about all of the previous statements that brings out a huge sense of purpose and excitement in me. The problem? It’s all been haphazard. Sporadic. Random…to a degree. One of my heart cries is to live a life that is full of adventure! A life that is always on the edge. The other problem? Adventure does not necessarily mean Indiana Jones or James Bond or the Tomb Raider (for all you ladies!).

I’m on a journey. Just like most of you. A journey to figure out what is important. A journey to figure out what really matters and what gives meaning to me, and then in turn influences my family. I thought I knew. I thought that I was on the right track. But now I’m not so sure.

9-5 doing the same thing over and over. 9-5 fulfilling someone else’s “idea” of what’s important. It’s not adding up. It hasn’t always made sense. Sometimes, the “9-5” has driven me crazy. Now don’t get me wrong. I’ve been fortunate to experience and work along side of some amazing people and see some incredible life change. But I’m not sure that I’ve been experiencing it for the right reasons.

So what? What do I do now? What do you do now? Well. Let me suggest that the “now” is a single step. A single step forward. I love this quote from Martin Luther King Jr.

[shareable]If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward. – Martin Luther King Jr. -[/shareable]

What an amazing thought. How many of us, when we have become stuck,  have stopped moving? Stopped thinking ahead? Stopped altogether? I’ve been there. Even recently. But you know what? I’m tired of being stuck. I’m tired of being overwhelmed or underwhelmed!

So again I ask. What now?

Take a step. Take a step forward and ask for help.

Here’s some suggestions, if you’re open to them.

  1. Take a deep breath.
  2. Then take another step.
  3. Pray. Meditate. Get centered. Then…
  4. Write a list of what’s important to you (cut through the material stuff).
  5. Write a list of your dreams (go crazy on this one…who cares all the money stuff).
  6. Write a list of what you’re willing to do to fulfill the 2 lists.
  7. Share it with those who are truly important in your life.
  8. Find someone(s) who can guide/coach you into fulfilling what’s truly important.
  9. Take another step.
  10. Dive into the rabbit hole of a life steeped in adventure.

Here are some suggestions for getting started:


The 4 Hour Work Week by Tim Ferris

Living Forward by Michael Hyatt

Essentialism by Greg McKeown

Scary Close by Donald Miller

Love Does by Bob Goff

Question: What do you want from life and is there purpose behind it? It has to be more than money and stuff.

Being Grateful Is Everything

Being Grateful Is Everything

Gratitude is everything. Really. Life isn’t easy. Curve-balls are hurled at us all the time and, unless we develop a gigantic sense of gratitude and thanksgiving we’ll never make it. My wife is exceptional at this. She’s been maintaining a daily 5 point Gratitude list on Facebook for over 5 months now. There are times when it takes her several hours to write the list. But she still writes it. Why? Because it helps her remember that despite some of the junk life throws at her, it can always be worse. And you know what? She is regularly stopped, texted or messaged about how her list is encouraging others out there in Facebook land.

Last week we took the family to California to visit Disneyland and Santa Barbara for a much needed familyIMG_2901 getaway. It was a ton of fun. I love to hear my family laugh. We detoxed from technology and just hung out. Near the end of the trip, we were in Santa Barbara at our hotel. It was the middle of the night and I woke up. I just laid there in the dark. To the left of me were two of my kids in one bed and to the right of me the other two in another bed. Next to me was my incredible wife. I was overwhelmed with gratitude. I was overwhelmed with love and affection for this family that God had blessed me with. I don’t deserve them. But their mine. And I’m theirs. Good or bad.

Sometimes life has a way of distracting us from what really matters. Sometimes relationships, jobs, careers, school and a myriad of others things can tear us away from the most important and essential things. For me it’s my faith and my family. Without those two key ingredients I wouldn’t be who I am today. And I am so, so very grateful. [shareable cite=”Charles Dickens”]Reflect upon your present blessings, of which every man has plenty; not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some.[/shareable]

Let me ask. What are you grateful for? Anything? Are you so overwhelmed right now that you can’t see past your nose? Let me suggest that you pause for 15 minutes or more and just start writing some things down that you’re grateful for. It may take a few minutes. It might be a struggle. But you know what? It’ll be worth it. Let me help. Here are some things that I am grateful for today.

  1. My relationship with Jesus
  2. That He has always been faithful
  3. The Bible
  4. My wife
  5. Being married for 15+ years
  6. 4 amazing children
  7. Being healthy
  8. Our house
  9. Living in Colorado
  10. The Rocky Mountains
  11. Music
  12. Food
  13. Ethiopia
  14. Technology
  15. The ability to read/listen and learn