The Power of Change

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Change requires power. Any kind of change is a formidable challenge for most people. Yet the Lord asks us to change from our old ways and do things His way. Not an easy task!

“Put off … the old man, … and be renewed in the spirit of your mind; and… put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.” (Eph. 4:22-24) “Be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” (Rom. 12:2)

In your daily world, especially in this hectic instant access global culture where technology changes by the minute and you have to be adapting constantly, change is inevitable. You are being pulled in diverse directions and the older you get the less elastic you become. You get in the habit of doing things a certain way and become less tolerant to external demands to alter our lifestyle. Modifying learned responses to habitual routine tasks often causes stress and anxiety, especially in older persons.

However, when the Lord requires you to change your lifestyle, He not only gives you the power to do so, but the result is a much more powerful you! Some people say they love the Lord but refuse to make a commitment because they’re just not “ready” yet! If only they realized that with the Lord everything goes smoothly, peacefully, and painlessly! Yes! Really!

First of all, it’s your love for Him that prompts you to make adjustments. Secondly, He has given you the Holy Spirit to be your comforter, counselor and help. (John 14:26). All you need to do is lay your life before Him and ask Him to fashion you into a precious vessel for His use. You cannot change on your own. He is the potter, you are the clay. The clay just lies there as a lifeless lump on the potter’s wheel while the master twists and turns it until it is just right. All that is required of you is a willingness to want to be like Him.

The more readily you give yourself fully to Him the more instant the transformation. It all starts in your mind. Once you align your thoughts with those of Christ and understand His Word and His ways, then all the old habits and mindsets fall by the wayside. Suddenly they don’t seem so important any more. When you were in the world your mind, alienated from God through ignorance and blindness, prompted you to do things your own way. Once you know the Truth, you will want to put off all the vices and let your mind be washed by the Word.

Besides the Holy Spirit, the Lord also knows that you need tangible support here on earth. That is why He has established you, who has been called out of the world, into His Body, the church. There He has provided leadership and support “for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ; till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ!” (Eph. 4; 12-13)

I pray, with Paul, that you will be strengthened with might by His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your heart by faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may come to comprehend His Love and be filled with all the fullness of God! He is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to His Power that works in us! (Eph. 3:16-20)

Leadership Self-discipline

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Champions are not made on the field of play, they are only rewarded there. Champions are made from their daily routines. They work on sharpening their reflexes so every move they make becomes second nature. Champions never take short cuts because they know it will only expose a weakness. No matter how gifted an athlete is, they will never reach their maximum potential without self-discipline.

Just like athletes, leaders must be the masters of self-discipline.

During seminars, one of the most common things I hear people say about leadership is: “It’s easy for you, because you were born with these gifts.” While I agree that some people naturally have greater gifts than others, the ability to lead is a learned skilled which can be continually improved upon.

I grew up in the area my family lives in now and every so often we run into old classmates. You know how this goes, at some point they ask: “So what are you doing now?” My answer always brings awkward faces because the fact that Justin Ledvina ended up being the CEO of a multi-million dollar company, a published author and public speaker is just shocking to many. Indeed it is so shocking that some members of my own family have yet to wrap their heads around this. Why should this be? Well, I never showed any ability as a leader in my younger days. This is a skill learned later on in my life that I constantly work hard on.

A great example of someone who didn’t have all the raw talent but became great through self-discipline is Larry Bird. Even though I’m from New England, most would agree that during the ‘80’s, if the game was on the line, then you wanted the ball in Larry’s hands. We can also agree that he didn’t dazzle us with his blazing speed or atomic dunks. He was great at putting the ball in the basket from some of the most ugly angles. Larry spent most of his youth shooting the ball into the hoop. When he became a pro he knew that his talents alone would not keep him there. Bird was always he first to practice and the last to leave and he worked hard on hitting shots from anywhere on the court.

This is why I believe anyone can become a successful leader through self-discipline.

What is self-discipline?

Self-discipline is the ability to get yourself to take an action regardless of your emotional state.

Why is self-discipline important to being a successful leader?

Author H. Jackson Brown Jr. once said: “Talent without discipline is like an octopus on roller skates. There’s plenty of movement, but you never know if it’s going to be forward, backwards, or sideways.”

Imagine how long people would follow you if they never know what direction you were going to take them in. Followers are looking for leaders they can depend on, they are not looking for a constant state of chaos and confusion.

Here are some key points I focus on to develop my self-discipline.

Cut the excuses

Excuses are the reason why we stop doing something or anything. I’d be lying if I told you Justin wasn’t the king of excuses. I had a reason why I couldn’t do anything except be a loser. Proof of this is the shock mentioned earlier when people find out how successful I’ve become. Making excuses why we can’t do something or why we have to stop doing something is easy. We all do it at some level. To me, this is why there are so few successful leaders and so many followers. Anytime an excuse pops into my head I challenge myself to replace it with just one reason to fight through the pain.

To help cut down on my excuses I take a few minutes out of each week to set up a schedule. Nothing like a minute-by-minute break down of each day, instead it’s just some key objectives to keep me on track.

As an example, last week it was decided to increase our company’s presence in the market. Part of this required me to design all new advertising. I took a few minutes to figure out how many ads we needed and approximately how long each one would take. From there I was able to create some quick objectives that were broken down over the course of the week. I shared these objectives with my team to hold me accountable. This prevented me from making up excuses and trying to cram all of that work in at the last moment. In this situation, if I had allowed myself to make excuses and ended up not getting the project done, it would not only have hurt myself  but would have hurt everyone else associated with the project.

Know my skill level

Even though leaders are visionaries, do not assume this means they do not think in reality. I am constantly aware of where my skills are at. This allows me to raise the bar slightly, each day, forcing myself to push further without discouragement. Being unaware where a skill is at and raising the bar too high, we set ourselves up for failure.

Life experiences have taught me that slowly building up my skills each and every day is easier long term than trying to change them drastically overnight because doing the latter has always lead me to burn outs. The goal here is a steady, constant growth and not a roller coaster of large up and down swings.

Focus on the results

This one is key for me and let me share with you why. The second my eyes are taken off the prize, my brain starts to focus on all the hard work instead. Wow, just reading what I wrote there sent a shiver down my spine. When I’m focused on the work and not the results of my work, the feeling of being an employee creeps in. Every one of you that is self-employed probably got that same feeling. It is so much easier to do the work when you can envision the fruits of your labor.

Something I’ve done to keep myself focused on the results is put visuals in my work area. My mission statement, which is my big goal, is clearly visible in my office. Actually this is the very first thing I look at each work day to remind myself why all the hard work put in is well worth it. Under my whiteboard, which sits one foot to the right of my desk, are printouts of progress of some of my smaller goals. As an example during the writing of our first book I printed out the cover and a few of the pages. I cut them out to the exact size the book was going to be and taped them to the wall.

Learning to be a leader doesn’t happen overnight, because like anything worth having it takes time and dedication to achieve.  We must be willing to pay the price and go through the process. The good news is we will see progress along the way. Don’t forget this is a never-ending road. You must be willing to constantly soak up knowledge like a sponge along the way.

When we practice good self-discipline, everything we do becomes second nature and we no longer think deep on our actions. Your ability to lead becomes rapid-fire reflexes like a champion athlete.

Decisive Decision Maker

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Theodore Roosevelt said it best “In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing you can do is the wrong thing, the worst thing you can do is nothing.”

When you are clear and sharp on your decision, others will not second guess you; instead, they’ll back you up. There is no magic in developing the ability to be decisive. It is simply a mindset; a mental attitude that comes with practice and persistence.

Don’t forget to checkout my blog post, by clicking here, which goes into deeper detail on this topic.

Motivated for Monday Mornings

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I remember when the days when I had a “real” job how I dreaded Monday mornings. The best part about doing what I love is Monday’s have been replaced with Saturdays! I eat, sleep and breathe my business so when Monday comes around, it’s pedal to the metal baby!!

However Jim Rohn said it best “Motivation alone is not enough, if you have an idiot and you motivate him, now you have a motivated idiot.

What’s Good About This?

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No one is immune to chaos, negativity and bad situations but the good news is we don’t have to let it take control. I made a quick video on how I take control of these negative situations.

Whether we know it or not a continued pattern of allowing negativity to control us leads to a pattern of failure. I’m not perfect and I’d be lying if I told you sometime it takes me awhile to realize I’m allowing the negativity to control me. It’s never too late to stop yourself and ask the question, while it’s better to always to remain in control our human sin nature prevents us from doing so all the time. This is a skill I’m still working on perfecting but I’m already seeing huge improvements with the way I handle situations.

People have different ways of getting themselves back on track. What do you do when these things happen in your life?

Maybe you never thought about taking control back before today, do you think the technique I am using can help you?

If you kill it you got to eat it

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My grandfather had a rule “If you kill it you got to it eat”. You see to him hunting wasn’t a sport it was a resource. This rule kept me from wasting lots of animal meat just for fun.

I also have a rule “If you quote it you got to be it”. Not as cool as my grandfather’s rule but it makes just as much sense. You see Twitter, Facebook and even our conferences have been a sport of who can drop the most quotes. A great quote doesn’t do anything unless the person saying it is living proof of it. Let me give you a great example of me using a quote that holds no weight because I’m telling it to you. An apple a day keeps the doctor away. Does anyone believe I really eat an apple everyday or even 1 a week?

Here’s the thing anyone can drop great quotes making themselves sound awesome that’s the easy part. The objective isn’t to get 20 people to like your facebook posts or to retweet your quotes from some famous dead guy. The goal is to be that shining light for others to follow and this can only be done through ACTION! I’m not going to lie to you that message isn’t sexy and it’s a lot of hard work but the pay off is far greater then being the master of other people’s quotes.

Action does, and will always speak louder than words. Do not fall into the trap that you can just say great things and great things will happen. I challenge you to stop being the master of great quotes and become the master of great action. Become that beacon of light that shines so bright others are drawn toward you because of it. Challenge yourself to stop taking the easy way out and start taking the road less traveled. Don’t be afraid you won’t have to go it alone there are many of us that will walk with you.

Remember the next time you drop a quote ask yourself “Am I living what I’m saying?” if the answer is no print that quote out paste it next to your computer to remind yourself one day you’ll be able to say that quote with confidence. If you kill it you got to eat it!

Are you living what you teach? If not what can I do to help you move in that direction?

Leadership learned from a carpenter

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I never envisioned myself being a leader, it wasn’t something in the cards for me. Not having responsibility was what I cherished my plan was to work for myself, by myself. This way I would be able to avoid any conflict, headaches and stress because of someone else. All the reasons I hated having a 9-5 job and why I had no other choice but to be my own boss.

Over the last year something change that set a fire in my gut. I went from being a lazy internet marketer to someone who’s responsible for making sure 7 families are fed. The problem was, even though I had this great desire to be the leader, I had no idea how to be a successful one.

First I needed to know what leadership was and this definition jumped right out at me – “Leadership is what gives an organization its vision and its ability to translate that vision into reality”. I then was able to break that down into four basic components: a leader, a group, a goal, and a method to get to the goal. This is when I turned to my faith.

The Bible teaches us in the book of Genesis these basic leadership components in action. After He created the heavens and earth, God proposed, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping things that creeps on the earth. God blessed them; and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea…’” (Genesis 1:26-27).

There is a Leader (God), a group (man), a goal (procreation), and a method (people maintaining earth).

There is action, communication, vision, purpose, planning, problem solving, and delegation. This is a common theme throughout the bible. I could go on and on over every bit and piece of leadership I’ve learned but the one that stands out the most to me is this. Jesus taught the “Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many (Matthew 20:28). As you and I walk through life, we actively spread God’s values through our good example, by being the servant to God’s creation. Jesus called that being salt of the earth, and the light of the world.

I have a long way to go before anyone can call me a successful leader but I’m standing on the foundation of a rock with a manual in my hand that will not fail me.

What Does Leadership Mean?

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Randy Ritter’s conference was another homerun, if you missed it here is a recording of Randy leading a group of like minded individuals on the topic of “What Does Leadership Mean to You?”

 

 

Should this video peek your interest you can join us every Tuesday @ 6pm EST in the TrafficExchangeLive webinar room. No worries it is completely free to attend and you will not be pitch a product when it’s over. This is strictly 1 hour + of like minded individuals discussing topics that will improve our business and lives.

I want to leave you with the same question Randy left us with, what does leadership mean to you? Leave your comments below so we can all share in your knowledge!

Who or What Exactly is a Leader?

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Lately I’ve been doing quite a bit of thinking about what a leader is. It’s a question that I’ve never really found a perfect answer for and I’ve been asking tough questions in the community about it (whether they know it or not).

What is a leader? I decided to grab a few definitions and the first one is from Dictionary.com it states: Leader – a person who guides or directs a group. Ok well that is kind of vague lets grab one more and see if we can’t get something with more substance. Wikipedia states: Leadership has been described as the “process of social influence in which one person can enlist the aid and support of others in the accomplishment of a common task”. Maybe it’s me but neither of these capture the essence of being a leader.

While trying to discover what being a leader truly meant, I stumbled upon this quote from philosopher Lao Tzu:

” With the greatest leader above them, people barely know one exists.
Next comes one whom they love and praise.
Next comes one whom they fear.
Next comes one whom they despise and defy.
When a leader trusts no one, no one trusts him.
The great leader speaks little.
He never speaks carelessly.
He works without self-interest and leaves no trace.
When all is finished, the people say, We did it ourselves.”

This quotes takes out all the glitz and glam of what a good leader should be. I have to be blunt it scares the heck out of me because it requires a delicate balance but at the same time it comforts me knowing a leader is someone willing to put their heart and soul making their team successful. When it’s all said and done that’s all we really want, a team of people we care deeply for, succeeding on levels they never thought possible, through their own efforts.

After writing this blog post I need to readjust some of the things I do but one of the greatest things I’ve learned is you never stop growing in all areas of your life.

I want to leave you with a question.  What qualities do you think are important for a leader?