Is It Possible To Change People’s Attitudes?

Photo by Ryan Hyde

Photo by Ryan Hyde

We’ve Always Done It This Way

I was having a recent discussion with a church staff member who has been encountering change resistance from some volunteers under his leadership. He acknowledges that these volunteers are good people. They desire to minister to others. He is convinced, though, that their style of service needs to adapt to the next generation. Unfortunately, these volunteers are too “old school” for the church’s current needs.

I believe every generation probably struggles with the attitude of “ … but, we’ve always done it this way.” All of us can get set in our ways. We can get hung up on one way to do something. We can become resistant to any kind of change.

Leaders are (supposed to be) change agents. We are the ones who must show and lead the way to those who follow us. The problem we sometimes run into, though, is when our followers don’t want to follow in the change path.

The questions then start. Why is this person resistant to change? Do they not understand the reasons we need to make these changes? Are they just set in their ways? Is this all my fault? Did I try to make too many changes, too quickly? Am I bad leader?

Changing People Is Hard

The reality for all of us who lead teams is that change is difficult. No one likes change. Everybody enjoys their comfort zone.

So, what do we do? How do we change these people?

Is there a training program you can implement? Is there a magical, inspiring speech you can give that will light a fire under these people? Can you give these volunteers a 5-point plan to accomplish the change you want?

Yeah, probably not.

Growth Is The Answer

The answer that this staff member mentioned to me is that you can’t change followers who are resistant to change. Realistically, it’s not possible.

But, you can grow right past them.

You can grow as a leader. You can facilitate the growth of the followers who have captured the vision you want to accomplish. You can grow your base of followers by adding people to the team who see and believe in the vision you want to accomplish.

If this kind of growth takes place, then what? What happens to those who continue to resist the change?

Well, there are a few possible scenarios in a situation such as this.

One, they keep hanging around, and you end up working around them with your other team members. Two, they observe the growth happening around them, and they finally decide to go with the change. Three, they end up quitting because they don’t like the change. Four, you end up letting them go.

Changing people’s attitudes is difficult, if not impossible to achieve. As a leader, don’t get stuck focused on a bunch of people who won’t make the changes you’re looking to make. Focus, rather, on growing past them.

Questions: Have you encountered similar situations in your organization? How have you dealt with this problem?

5 Action Steps For Planning Ahead And Leaving Well

Photo by jimmedia

Photo by jimmedia

The Certainty of Death

One day, you are going to die. Ponder that statement for a moment.

None of us really like to think about or even talk about this subject. One day, though, all of us will pass away.

I recently read the statistic that over 70% of Americans don’t have any kind of written plan for their death. But, as I mentioned above, there is a 100% certainty that we are all going to die. That seems kind of rude, doesn’t it? In our modern society, it would seem that most people aren’t willing to admit that they are going to die and plan for it, even for the sake of their families.

How you live today and prepare for tomorrow has a tremendous impact on your legacy. Right now, you have an incredible opportunity to leave a powerful legacy that can last for generations to come. But, you can’t drag your feet. You can’t wait any longer. The time to do something about it is right now.

A funeral home here in my hometown is currently using a powerful new slogan in their advertising campaigns, “Plan Ahead. Leave Well.” This is great advice that we should all take to heart.

Action Steps For Preparing Your Legacy of Love

  1. Have a written plan. There are numerous legal documents that need to be completed: wills, living wills, trusts, power of attorney, and health care directives. My suggestion would be to get with an attorney, pay a few hundred dollars, and get it all taken care of correctly for your own peace of mind. In your paper work, don’t forget to establish an executor of the will as well as someone to take care of your minor children in the event that both you and your spouse were to pass away at the same time.
  2. Provide for your family’s financial needs. If you were to die today and you don’t have enough money in your estate to take care of your funeral expenses, as well as take care of a surviving spouse, minor children, and any other additional financial obligations, then you need life insurance. A typical rule of thumb is 10 times your annual salary. So, if you were to make $50,000 a year, then you need to have at least $500,000 in quality, term life insurance. Get this immediately. Do not delay. The best legacy you can leave your family is that you took care of them, financially.
  3. Organize all your important paperwork. You need to have all your legal paperwork from action step #1, plus your lists of life insurance policies, important contact information, funeral wishes, and a listing of any material assets that you want to pass on to other people. All of this should be clearly put together in one place.
  4. Place all of your paperwork in a secure location. You might consider a fire-proof safe in your home. A quality safe will run you $150-200. Or, you may want to go the route of a safe deposit box in your bank.
  5. Tell somebody. This means you’re going to need to have “the talk” that no one wants to have. You need to tell your family members all of these details. You need to get with the executor of your estate, give them copies of all your paperwork, and discuss the details of your plan.

Parting Words of Encouragement

Don’t be part of the 70% who have no plan. If you currently do not have an updated estate plan in place, then cross over and become part of a unique club of the 30% who have prepared their future legacy.

None of us have a guaranteed lock on a long life. Be sure to plan ahead and leave well.

Questions: Are you prepared to leave well? For those who are prepared to leave well, do you have anything to add to these five steps? Are there any action steps that I left out?

How To Consume Even More Information Without Going Crazy

Photo by Mark Smiciklas

Photo by Mark Smiciklas

Higher, Faster, Louder

As the information age reaches maturity and complexity, we are now experiencing an avalanche of amazing as well as not-so-amazing content. We have a higher volume of information coming at us at faster and faster speeds, all shouting at us, “read me, listen to me, watch me!”

We have more social media channels to keep up with. We have more bloggers writing blog posts. We have more authors writing books. We have more podcasters producing podcasts. We have more media in general calling us to consume it.

The more I consider how much information is coming at us right now, the more overwhelmed I’m beginning to feel even as write this post. There’s a lot of great content out there that I’d really like to have more time to consume!

But, we only have 24 hours in a day. We all have busy lives. We have other important responsibilities to handle. We can’t just sit around and consume digital content all day and all night. Something has to give.

Here are some strategies on information consumption I have found helpful in this unique time in history.

Consuming More Information, More Efficiently

  1. Edit ruthlessly. Become highly selective, highly intentional regarding what information you do consume. You can’t read everybody’s blog. You can’t listen to everybody’s podcast. You can’t read everybody’s new book. You may need to do a little background work on whose information you are consuming, and who is currently creating “the best of the best” content that you should absolutely be consuming.
  2. Utilize RSS feed readers. Over the last few months, I’ve been building a nice collection of RSS feeds from various blogs in my feedly app. You can even organize the RSS feeds by category. For example, I have specific sections marked as business, writing, personal finance, travel, and leadership. With feedly, I find it very easy to flip through a lot of blog posts, quickly. If I really enjoy a particular post, then I’ll save it to come back to later.
  3. Listen to information while doing something else. I love to catch-up on my favorite podcasts when I have long drives. I can usually knock out a bunch of previous episodes during that time. I also enjoy listening to podcasts and other inspirational audio recordings while I work out at the gym each day. You can’t multi-task effectively on everything, but whenever possible, do it.
  4. Use digital readers. Maybe it’s just me, but I always feel like I consume book/pdf information a lot faster on my Kindle or iBook apps then I do with regular paper versions. Most of the time now, if there isn’t a digital version available, I won’t even buy the book due to this very fact.
  5. Consume other content at faster speeds. You might benefit researching speed reading techniques and applying those general principles whenever possible. Another great tip I recently ran across is speeding up podcasts so you can get through the content a lot faster. If you have Apple products, then check out your Podcasts app. In the upper left corner, you should see a little white box that says “1x.” If you touch that box, you can speed up or slow down the podcast you’re listening to. I’ve found that 1.5x seems to works the best for me. I lose track of the speakers at the 2x setting.
  6. File away the best information for later use. Evernote is a great tool to tag and organize all the great digital content from around the web. So, you can always get into a new habit of scanning information online quickly, clipping it, and saving it to Evernote if you found the information even moderately useful. Then, you can find it and come back to it when you absolutely need it.

Question: How do you consume information quickly in this ever-increasing avalanche of information right now?

Book Review | Let Go by Pat Flynn

Let Go book by Pat FlynnLet Go Day

Today is Let Go Day. Here’s the info on this special day that Pat Flynn personally sent to me just a few days ago:

The event is going to be a blast. Let Go Day is a celebration of everyone who has ever Let Go, bet on themselves and pursued their own path. Here are all the exciting details.

What: Two-hour LIVE UStream Broadcast with me and special guests
When: Monday, June 17th (TODAY!) beginning 12:00 P.M. Pacific / 3:00 P.M. Eastern
Where: letgoday.com
Why: Because who doesn’t like a party?! 🙂
Who: You, your friends, and your future friends

I’ll be hosting the LIVE broadcast for two hours! My family may make an appearance. My Let Go team may make an appearance. And some special guests may make an appearance. We’ll talk about our Let Go stories as well as yours, if you share them with us. There will be a few ways to share your stories:

  • Via #LetGoDay Twitter hashtag
  • In the Ustream chat during the webinar
  • In the comments of the Let Go Day blog post on Smart Passive Income (coming soon!)

We’ll also be holding a giveaway every 15-20 minutes on the broadcast. We’re still finalizing the giveaways, but you can be assured that awesome books and gift cards will be included.

Let Go | The Book

This day is also a celebration of blogger/podcaster Pat Flynn’s first published book, Let Go. I had the opportunity to read Pat’s book over the weekend, and I wanted to share my insights to my readers on Pat’s special day:

  • The book is a super quick read! It only took my about 45 minutes to go from beginning to end.
  • The price point is excellent for a short book. $2.99 over at Amazon.com.
  • Inspirational is the best word to describe Pat’s first book. I came away stoked and inspired to keep working on my own blog and various side projects I have going right now.
  • This book resonates with my message here on my blog: “moving from ordinary to extraordinary.” Pat has certainly done that in his life through building an awesome online empire!
  • I loved all the quotes Pat used for each chapter heading. Great quotes, Pat!

Here are some great life lessons I came away with from Let Go:

  1. Lesson 1: Things work out when you least expect them.
  2. Lesson 2: Great decisions can put you in front of great opportunities.
  3. Lesson 3: Hard work and dedication do pay off, over time.
  4. Lesson 4: Creating a blog is a great tool for the blogger himself to learn and grow.
  5. Lesson 5: Negative events (such as being “let go” from a job) can lead to amazing things. I’ve shared this same principle in my recent FREE eBook Moving From Broken To Superhuman.
  6. Lesson 6: Use times of life transition to learn and grow.
  7. Lesson 7: “This isn’t your fault. We’re going to be okay.” Life stuff happens, but things end up working out in the end. Keep the faith. Play the cards dealt to you.
  8. Lesson 8: Make smart financial decisions during a life crisis. I don’t know if Pat and his wife are Dave Ramsey followers, but they seem to know how to handle their finances, wisely. Love it!
  9. Lesson 9: Podcasts are great tools for personal growth.
  10. Lesson 10: Create mastermind groups of like-minded individuals.
  11. Lesson 11: Hustle, hustle, hustle.
  12. Lesson 12: Going back to school to get another degree isn’t always the best solution.
  13. Lesson 13: Family is the most important thing. Cherish your moments together.

Click on my affiliate link below to get this amazing, inexpensive, inspirational book on Pat’s life story. I’m sure you’ll enjoy it as much as I have.

Let Go by Pat Flynn


Kindle Edition: Check Amazon for Pricing Digital Only

Why You Should Become A Writer

Photo by Jeffrey James Pacres

Photo by Jeffrey James Pacres

Writers Make Their Mark

Great minds read books. Great minds also write books. If you think back across history, many of our most memorable historical figures were writers.

From Biblical history, I think of Moses, King David, King Solomon, and the Apostle Paul. These men were some of the greatest minds of their respective eras and wrote the majority of the canonical Bible.

Outside of Biblical history, I’m reminded of the respective geniuses of people such as Plato, Homer, Plutarch, Machiavelli, Shakespeare, Chaucer, Tolstoy, and Mark Twain.

Why Are Writers So Great?

Writers are, for the most part, highly analytical thinkers. They think about the era in which they live. They consider their place in history in a big, multi-cultural world. They bring a unique perspective to life in their time and place in this world through the lens of culture, family, religion, upbringing, and political leanings.

Writers are typically very disciplined. Some of the greatest writers carve time out of their schedules each day to write. They understand that they need to just show up everyday and write something. One day it may only be 100 words. Another day it may be 1,000. The key though is to keep plugging away at this writing thing. There will be times of great productivity and other times of drought. Great writers discipline themselves to show up each day and pray for inspiration to produce an amazing product.

Because writers tend to be so analytical and disciplined, we can get a view of their world at the time of their writing. We are in essence looking at a snapshot of the mind and the times of the writer in their era.

Clear writing is also evidence of clear thinking. Great writers know what to omit. They understand that they need to edit and re-write to bring clarity to their writing. Of course, not all writing is this way (for example, journals), but the majority of final product writing has been written, edited, and re-written several times.

Why Write?

There are a number of great reasons to be a writer.

One, writing helps clarify your thinking. I know that when I tend to struggle with problems, I find myself journaling and perhaps even writing blog posts on subjects I’m wrestling with. Writing is a great way get all your thoughts out of your head and investigate possible solutions.

Two, writing can instill self-discipline. Setting up a time each day to write can bring discipline to other areas of your life. I know this has been true in my own life. It takes effort to wake up early in the morning and tackle a project such as writing first thing. But, I love it. I enjoy the discipline and process of writing. I look forward to my alarm going off at 4:30am so I can start writing.

Three, writing can leave a legacy to those you care about it. Whenever the Lord decides to take me home to be with Him, my immediate as well as extended family will have a lot of “me” to sift through. I’ve written 2-3 blogs worth of material. I’ve written several journals. I’ve written one e-book to date. If my children want to know the “real Larry Jones,” then all they need to do is read my writing. I can’t think of a greater gift to give your children and grandchildren: a peek into your mind through your own personal writing.

Four, writing could lead to a different career path. I believe there’s a growing trend to hire good writers for any number of positions. In the book Rework by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson, we read the following:

“If you are trying to decide among a few people to fill a position, hire the best writer. It doesn’t matter if that person is a marketer, salesperson, designer, programmer, or whatever; their writing skills will pay off” (p. 222).

Questions: So, are you a writer? Have you ever considered becoming a writer? If you are a writer, how long have you been a writer? What tangible benefits have you discovered by being a writer?

Rework


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The Power of Life Detours: How Unintended Paths Can Lead to Awesome Things

Photo by Don Harder

Photo by Don Harder

Detour Ahead

Does the “Detour Ahead” sign strike fear in your heart while you’re driving down the highway? Yeah, I’m not a huge fan of that sign, either. I’m always wondering if it’s a short detour or a long one? Is this going to make me big-time late to my destination?

Now that it’s early summer here in the Midwest, state transportation departments are already busy at work repairing highways after a brutal winter. I’m starting to see more detour signs as a result. Motorists are having to leave their intended path of travel, take detours off onto side roads, and then eventually get back to their original travel path.

These detours can be fear-inducing, annoying, frustrating, time-consuming, and unwelcome in already busy, stressed-out lives. “Ain’t nobody got time for that” (credit: Sweet Brown) is a popular saying in our current culture that comes to mind.

As with road construction detours, so too in life, we have detours that take us off our intended path. These detours could be the result of accidents, completely out of our control. These detours could be the result of poor choices in our own sowing and reaping. These detours could even be the result of the bad choices of other people. Stuff happens.

So, whether the life detour is our own fault or somebody else’s fault, the key to these detours is our reaction to them. Are we going to get hopping mad and carry resentment around for the rest of our lives? Are we going to over-react at first before we realize that the detour wasn’t quite as bad as we originally thought?

The best choice we have at a time of detour is to just go with it. Embrace the detour and see where it takes us in the end.

Just Go With It

I can just hear you saying, “Yeah, Larry, sure. That’s easy for you to say. You don’t know what’s going on in my life right now. I’m on a major, lengthy detour right now, and I’m way off my intended destination path. I have no idea if I’ll ever even end up back on the right course.”

I get it. Trust me, I really do. A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a post about my own life detour here: Moving From Broken To Superhuman: Your 5-Step Action Plan.

Now that I’m past that particular detour and back on the highway, I can truly say that I’m thankful for the detour. God is faithful and guided my path to better places. I’m a better, stronger person as a result of the detour. Even my barber (always a trusted confidant and advisor) says I’ve recieved a “double blessing” on the other side. I definitely agree with his assessment!

Amazing blessings can come through difficult times. I learned how to be a much better husband and a father as a result. I finally figured out how to manage stress and rest. I’ve been able to get in the best physical shape of my life. I’ve become a better writer. I’ve developed amazing relationships on my journey. I’ve read some great books that have shaped my mind and taken me to new and better places.

Each detour you encounter in life, you really do have a choice. You can fight the detour. You can be mad about it. You can allow it to make you a bitter, depressed, unhappy person.

Or, you can just “roll with it” and see where the detour takes you. Chances are, you can learn some cool stuff. You can meet some amazing people along the way. You can become a better but different person on the journey.

On my own life detour I went from Broken To Superhuman. God shaped me into a better follower of Him. All praise be to God for His amazing grace.

Get My FREE Book

Interested in learning more about my own detour? I believe my 5-Step Action Plan can give you the tools to move through these life detours into a better place.

This little e-book addresses the problems and the accompanying solutions. So, do you want to stay angry and upset about your detour, or are you ready to move forward?

You can’t buy Moving From Broken To Superhuman in bookstores. In fact, you can’t buy it anywhere on the Internet. There’s only one way to get it—by subscribing to receive my blog posts via email.

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All you need to do is fill in the form above or the one on the top right-side of this page. Once you do that and confirm your subscription, I will email you the download link to this amazing, FREE resource.

If you’re really struggling with major detours in your life right now, here’s an opportunity for you to learn and grow from my experience. What do you have to lose? A better question: what are you losing out on if you don’t get my FREE e-book?

Question: If you have read my e-book, what did you think? Feel free to leave a comment and let me know what you thought of it. Thanks!

Why You Should Stick With One Change Before Trying Something Else

Photo by marsmet546

Photo by marsmet546

Change Is Good, Right?

We live in a world full of change. It would seem in our modern era, constant change is our new norm.

In fact, I know some people who love changing things up in their lives, their homes, their ministries, and their work, simply because they love change so much. They can’t sit still in one place for very long. They change for the sake of change.

While I believe change can be a positive force within our personal lives and organizations, we need to be cautious on creating a constant churn of change. Too much of a “good” thing could end up having a negative impact over time.

Do changes need to be made on an occasional basis? Yes, especially in this super-fast paced, crazy, modern world we now live in. But, I do think we need to exhaust all the possibilities of one change before moving on to something else. Massive changes always take longer to take root and establish themselves then we think they do.

So, if you really want to grow and develop something, then don’t go with the following approach: make a change, give it two weeks, don’t see much progress, scrap that change, and then move onto something else. This is not the best plan to grow yourself, a ministry, a business, a church, or any organization.

Cranking Down On The Flywheel

In his book Good To Great, author Jim Collins talks about the flywheel effect and its impact on taking an organization from good to great.

A flywheel is simply a huge, metal, heavy disk mounted on an axle. Because of its size and weight, if you can get the flywheel moving fast enough, it will produce a tremendous amount of energy to keep an engine moving faster and more efficiently.

To get that flywheel moving at first, though, takes a tremendous amount of energy. You have to push and push to get it to finally make one revolution. Then, you push a little more, and it makes a second revolution, and then a third one. Each revolution gets a little easier because of the weight energy stored within the flywheel itself.

All of the sudden, after several difficult rotations of the flywheel, momentum takes over. You can’t pinpoint the exact moment when it does, but there will be less effort required to keep the flywheel moving.

This same principle can be true in our personal lives, businesses, churches, or organizations. When we’re in the beginning stages of making massive changes, it’s going to take a tremendous amount of time and energy. We’re going to have to push our flywheel really hard. We may want to roll over and give up. But, if we know these are the correct changes to make, that this is the correct path to go, then we need to keep pushing with everything we have. If we have enough strength and patience to keep going, then over time, the flywheel effect will take place, we build momentum, and the massive changes we desire will take place.

The key to accomplishing the flywheel effect, though, is don’t stop. Many people and organizations do not have the patience to be persistent with their current change path. They push for a little while, don’t think they’re making any progress, and then give up and try some other change path. This doesn’t work. Simplicity, consistency, and persistence are the only ways to effect any kind of long-term changes in your life or organization.

Questions:  Are you in crisis mode to get something going and growing? Do you have the tendency to change things too often in order to stimulate growth? After reading this post, are you going to approach change differently?

Provide Massive Value First, Then Go For The Ask

Photo by jamesbastow

Photo by jamesbastow

Asked To Complete A Survey

One morning here recently, I was sitting at my iMac doing some writing, and an email came through from a social media/business networking company that I subscribe to. There was nothing outstanding about this email. It was pretty simple and straightforward. In fact, here’s what it said:

Dear Larry Jones,

Thanks for being a member of [company name]! The [company] Research team is conducting a slightly different kind of survey. The 7 to 12 question survey allows you to write answers based on what comes to your mind first after reading the question. Don’t think about your answers too much and feel free to keep your answers short. Your top of mind feedback will guide us in developing products and services to help you.

To take part, please respond in the next two business days. We will close the survey once we receive the desired number of qualified responses.

Please click here to begin the study.

We appreciate your time!

Best Regards,
[lady’s name]
Market Research Lead

See, it’s exactly as I said. A very simple, straightforward email. What I found interesting, though, is that this email immediately pushed me to take action.

Normally, on an email such as this, I would make a mental note and say to myself, “yeah, when I have an extra five minutes, I’ll fill out this survey.” But, not this time. I immediately stopped what I was doing and turned my attention to completing the survey for this company.

One could make the argument that it’s a well-written email with the claim of an easy-to-complete survey with a tight deadline to complete it. Yeah, I can see how that was part of my motivation to complete this quickly for them.

But, for me, the real reason I wanted to jump online and complete the survey is that I really like this company. I have received a lot of value from them. I appreciate what they do for me, personally and professionally. I can’t live without their product. I want to help them improve and become even more successful

You see, when you provide massive value to people, it’s easier to go for the ask and then ultimately get the action you desire.

Provide Value First

I believe the currency of our new economy is adding value. And, you must add a lot of value, too, over a lengthy period of time.

A quality, successful blog is a lot like this. You need to provide months, many times even years of high-value content before you can truly reap the benefits of the time and energy you have put into your content. Michael Hyatt’s blog is a good example of this. He’s currently riding a financial tidal wave of success based on years of blog writing with very little to no monetization on the front end. He built is tribe over several years, and now he’s receiving the financial reward from his tribe.

Of course, building relationships is key to anything we truly want to accomplish, whether it is a quality blog, influential ministry, successful business, or loving family. We must go above and beyond to provide massive value to those whom we influence.

Then hopefully, after we provide value to others, people will read our blog posts, follow our leadership, buy our products, or feel loved and appreciated. It’s as simple as that.

How Do We Add Value?

Adding value to others can be a challenge. I’m not going to over-simplify this. In 20+ years of leadership, I’ve noticed that every personal and professional relationship in the area of adding value varies from person to person.

With some people, you need to add tons of value with them before they completely trust you. For others, you may have an immediate, personal connection, and then they’re willing to follow you to the ends of the earth.

Here are some quick thoughts on adding value with people:

  • Be present. Show up. The only way you can add value in building relationships is to be present on a regular, ongoing basis.
  • Be energetic and magnetic. Is slow and lethargic inspiring? Probably not.
  • Have personal, meaningful conversations with them. Quality communication is key to developing any and all relationships
  • Follow-up quickly. If you promised to do something for someone, make that turn-around time as fast as humanly possible.
  • Provide WOW content. Your sermons have to be amazing. Your blog posts have to be killer. Your products have to be world-class. Your leadership has to be decisive and compelling. Your love must be unconditional.

Once we have added value, once we have gained the trust of those around us, then we can start the process of asking. The starting point, though, is always providing high value to others.

Questions: Are you doing a lot of asking for stuff and not receiving a whole lot in the process? If so, have you examined the value you are providing for others? Has your focus truly been on adding value into people’s lives or simply making the ask?