The Center for Personal Growth & Development

Maximizing your capacity for growth.

Legacy Building…(From my monthly newsletter, The Pathfinder)

Your Legacy…

What do you want others to remember about you? I heard John Maxwell once state, “There are two important moments in one’s life. The moment they are born, and the moment they discover why.” Those were very powerful words to me. I have studied leadership principles over the past few years and have discovered that there is a wealth of information regarding leadership that I still need to learn. However, I have also come to an understanding that I have to intentionally live my life so that when I am gone, others will have no doubt about what my life was about.

You have an opportunity to construct how you want others to remember you. The key is to begin putting some principles in place. First, you must clearly define what you want in life. This means that you must form a direction for your life from all of those dreams, goals, desires, and intentions you have been mulling over all of these years. I once heard Andy Stanley put it this way, “It is direction, not intention, that determines destination.” Therefore you must be intentional about formulating a vision from the big goals and desires of your heart.

Secondly, you must begin to prioritize those dreams, and begin to cast a vision. When you begin to make that vision become clearer in your eyes, you will see that you will need a host of people to help you achieve it. That’s where the third step comes in. You must begin creating a team of like-minded people who have strengths that are different than yours. You are most productive when you are working within your strengths. Therefore, take a strengths-finder survey, and identify what your strengths are. Then, intentionally seek out those who are think similarly to you, yet possess different strengths. As you begin pouring into their lives unselfishly, and sharing your vision with them, you will see that they will begin adding more value to you as well.
Thirdly, once you have your team in place, it is important to consistently add value to them. Don’t just “spend” time with them, invest your time with them. Begin to work with this team on a regular basis because as you work toward your vision, you’ll see that it’s not just about you, it’s about the investment of your time with them in the process. 

Lastly, it is about the process. I have often heard people say that life is about the journey. And while I believe them, I now see life as a process. And it is this process that makes life worth living.

To wrap up, you must believe more in adding more value to other people than expecting to get from others only the things that you want. Life is about creating a team, of those you grow to care about deeply, those whom you want to pour your life into. As you develop your leadership skills, and begin to cultivate leaders within your team, you’ll discover a deeper meaning in life. Most of all, do not forget that life is a process, but it must be navigated. Once you’ve cast your vision, and it has become shared with you team, you will discover that having a navigational plan makes all the difference in the accomplishment of your goals. So, in order to establish your legacy, pour into the lives of those closest to you. And then, continue to pour into them. Then watch them grow. Focus your time, talents, energy, money on developing them. Soon, you’ll begin to see the legacy you are trying to build. And others will begin to see this legacy come to life.

So, take a few moments to reflect, and write down what you want your legacy to be. Then begin living it!

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Manning Mania from my perspective…

In recent days, much hype has been given to the Denver Bronco’s acquisition of the National Football League’s arguably “best” quarterback. Many believed that Manning would join any of a host of teams who were interested in obtaining his skills with the hope of returning to the Super Bowl. As I watched the media frenzy, I couldn’t help but evaluate the list of possibilities through the “leadership lens.”

Several people asked me which team I thought Mr. Manning would choose. Each time, my answer was Denver. There are several reasons why I chose this answer, but most importantly, my answer was chosen because I understand John Maxwell’s Laws of Magnetism, and Lid.

You see, the Law of the Lid states that one’s effectiveness is determined by the level of leadership one has. A person with a lid level of 8 on a scale of 10 would mean that this person would not have much room to grow to being a 10. And this is where I saw Mr. Manning. And since everyone in the NFL was seeking his services, it was obvious that John Elway’s influence, based on his prior performance in the league, made the Broncos a legitimate choice for Mr. Manning.

Secondly, the Law of Magnetism states that, “Who you are is who you attract.” John Elway was a winner as a quarterback, and a good one at that. Couple his winning records with his sole ability to “lift” Peyton Manning’s lid, and you have a logical choice for the much sought after quarterback.

I am not downplaying Tim Tebow, or his ability as a quarterback. Obviously he is a good quarterback, or he wouldn’t be playing in the NFL. However, he has a special set of strengths, and those strengths are best suited for another football team.

Since Peyton has chosen the Broncos, we will see his continued metamorphosis, and watch as he continues to stun sell-out crowds. Please understand that he will be successful wherever he goes because of his unique set of talents.

Many of you will be upset with this post because you are Tebow fans. I understand that. However, one cannot argue that the real reason Peyton became a Bronco was so that he could grow as a leader. Keep an eye on him, because within five to ten years, you’ll see him in the front office of an NFL team as a vice-president. Because after all, John Elway is now his mentor.

Thank you for taking the time to read this. I hope it clarified why the Bronco’s acquired Peyton Manning. Also know that he will now continue to grow professionally, and become a household name in some franchise’s front office.

I’m Guest Blogging this Month…

Hi folks! Just wanted to update you to let you know that the newest #leadership post was completed on my friend’s website (@MarketingMel). Mel was gracious enough to ask me to guest blog for her this month. Please visit her site and post a reply.

Talk with you soon!

Leaders vs. Managers

Have you ever stopped to think about the differences between leaders and managers? Are you in a managerial role, but expected to behave like a leader? Does that frustrate you? Well, take heart. You’re not alone. Many people in the profit and non-profit worlds see the two terms interchangeably. There is a problem with this paradigm however. You see, the differences between leaders and managers has solidly been established for several years. By definition, managers do things right, while leaders do the right thing. It is time for corporate America to recognize and embrace this concept and act accordingly.

Managers are expected to oversee workers to ensure that policies and rules are followed. This is a tough job, and often goes under appreciated. It takes a person who is dedicated to details to make sure that the proper structure is in place in order for the job to get done. While their focus is on getting things done correctly, leadership is not necessarily their forte.

Leaders are expected to do the right things all of the time. This requires the right attitude, the right awareness, and a strong hold on their moral compass to ensure that company is headed in the direction it needs to go. Without a moral compass, leaders’ efforts are futile. There is a concept in John Maxwell’s book, The 360 Degree Leader, that resonates with me as I ponder this concept. One can lead from anywhere within the organization. Leading in this capacity is referring to influence. So the question becomes, “How do I gain influence?”

The answer to this question is embedded in a very basic, yet REAL concept. John Maxwell has stated that influence can be built by nurturing others in each of the following areas:

  1. Relationships – building authentic and engaging relationships with others is paramount to gaining influence
  2. Equipping – What you teach the people who follow you is important. Work to build their capacity to take over your job. While this goes against what feels natural, when you equip others to lead, you multiply your effectiveness.
  3. Attitude – Nothing is more important than attitude because it is contagious. Work to make your attitude positive. If you can’t, you might want to re-evaluate the reason you are in your position.
  4. Leadership – You attract people who are like you naturally. Step back and look at the people you’ve attracted to your organization. What kind of work do they produce? What are their ethics and morals like? If you’re concerned about the direction of your company, it may be time for you to examine your morals and ethics. Why? Because people do what people see. So be what you want the people in your organization to be.

This is the formula for becoming a REAL leader. If you want to know more about how to build up each of these areas, I’d love to sit down with you to discuss a coaching program where I can come along side you to help you develop yourself and/or your business. For more information on how I can add value to you and your organization, please visit my website, or email me.


I know of no one who loves to experience change, myself included. But, there is a fundamental principle that everyone needs to remember when experiencing change: Change = Growth. We do not necessarily need to learn to love change, but we do need to embrace it.

In 2008, I wrote an article for the Domain3, a peer-reviewed journal for the National Association of Emergency Medical Services Educators. In that article, I discussed the concept of change and the change process and offered a recipe for managing change. You see, I firmly believe that no on can lead change. I do however believe that change, and the change process as a whole can be managed and lead.

There are two fundamental type of change, procedural and disruptive. We all experience the former on a regular basis while performing action research. This is a fancy term for trying something for a brief period only to discover that there is a little something that needs to be modified in order for it to work properly. We are masters of this type of change.

Disruptive change involve lots more people, and plainly stated, is messy. This type of change is usually the result of something within an organization, or one’s life, that drastically needs to be changed. It may be a new operations procedure, a way that clients are served, or some other thing that alters how business is conducted. It requires the people within the organization to stretch themselves, and take on a new way of doing things. And, since no one really wants to change the “way we’ve always done it,” the implementation of change becomes a distinct process, LEAD by the leadership team.

The formula for implementing change, according to my article is SIMPLE:

Schema construction and articulation – This refers to the building of the followers knowledge base. This is, in effect, the one way to alleviate fears within the followers of organizations. Provide as much background knowledge, and training, as necessary to educate the people who are involved in the change.

Interpersonal relationships – The most important for the leader of any organization to do is develop authentic relationships with the stakeholders of the organization. Integrity and transparency are keys to the development of these relationships.

Moral purpose – Leaders of organizations in this day and age are looked to almost reverently. It takes a special type of person to want to lead an organization in today’s society. The cultivation of a purpose for an organization rests with the leader, and this leader must make his/her decisions based on a firm moral background.

Professional competency – Leaders are called upon in times of change. Peter Drucker stated that managers do things right, while leaders always do the right thing. If a leader has a firm moral purpose while leading an organization, s/he will consistently do the right thing. People do what people see. Be what you want your organization to become.

Leader as motivator – Not everyone is a motivational speaker. When I first thought of this competency, I was flooded with images of Bear Bryant, Vince Lombardi and the like. Most leaders are motivators naturally. They encourage others to attempt that which they do not know. Remember those of history who never quit when they experienced failure.

Enculturation – Leaders understand that the previously mentioned components of this recipe are actually steps. When implemented properly, they become pieces of the puzzle that make up an organization’s culture.

Therefore, when you see that your organization needs to change, be willing to follow this SIMPLE recipe, and you will effectively manage the change process. No one ever claimed that changing was easy. On the contrary, it is the most difficult task of leading an organization. However, as you plan change for your organization, remember this recipe, and try it.

If you would like to read the entire article, please send me an email. And, no matter how your change process turns out, I’d like for you to follow up with me via email so that I can discuss it with you. I can be reached at

Law of Process…

“Leadership develops daily, not in a day.”  John Maxwell

The first month of 2012 is drawing to a close. Ask yourself, “What have I accomplished in the past month?” For some, the answer to that question will make them feel as though they have been a tremendous success, while for others, they will feel as though they are now behind on their resolutions and will struggle to find further purpose for 2012.

Take a moment and study your life in each of the following areas: physical, mental, social, and spiritual. Now, get a piece of paper and write each in specific parts of the paper. Identify 10 things you can do during 2012 to show progress and development in those areas.

There is a principle that I want to share with you that will help you experience accomplishment in each of these areas. The Pareto Principle states that 80% of your production comes from 20% of your priorities.

So, now that you have listed 10 activities in each of these four areas of your life, prioritize them in order of importance, and circle the top two. On another piece of paper, draw a box, with lines separating it into four categories. Write the headings physical, mental, social, and spiritual in the corresponding category. Beneath each label, write your top two priorities. Now post them where you will see them every day, and make a conscious effort to take a small step in the direction of those priorities every day.

Andy Stanley said, “It is direction, not intention, that determines destination.” So, verbalize these newfound priorities and purposefully live your life to accomplish your goals for 2012. Remember that it is not what you’ve failed to do in January, but what processes you have now put in place to become successful in meeting your goals. Just remember that accomplishing your goals is a process, and if you’ve done this exercise, you are well on your way to success! None of this will be accomplished in a day! It is what you do daily that will help you arrive at your purposed destination.

Leadership Transparency…

I’ve been planning for a book that I expect to release this year on the subject of creating quality professional learning communities. The subject has intrigued me for the past four years, and I simply can’t read enough about them. The first step to creating a professional learning community, a community in which everyone believes in developing their professional knowledge about any topic within a group of people, is to establish true transparency.

Transparency, as most of us understand it, is simply the ability to see through something. In this case, it refers to the leadership within the organization. Every stakeholder who has a vested interest in the organization should be able to see and understand the mechanism that the leaders use to make decisions, and why they make them. In this sense, nothing is held from the public’s eye. If there is not sufficient transparency within an organization, an atmosphere of distrust develops and the climate, and eventually the culture, becomes toxic. At that point, influence by the organization’s leadership cadre within the organization begins to die.

Peter Senge, author of The Fifth Discipline1 offered a set of 5 disciplines that if incorporated within the organization, will assist with transparency, and create a culture in which professional learning communities fully thrive. The disciplines are as follows:

  1. Systems Thinking – This is looking at everything from a systems’ perspective.
  2. Personal Mastery – This is simply knowing the fundamentals of your job better than anyone.
  3. Mental Models – These are assumptions or mental images that influence understanding of the world in which we live, and how we take action.
  4. Building of a Shared Vision – Fostering a shared vision provides an environment where team members excel and learn because they have chosen to.
  5. Team Learning – Team members suspend their feelings in an effort to engage in a true dialogue with other team members. An atmosphere of genuine and sincere trust has been developed within the team. This is a process, and should be viewed as something that will take time to develop.

These five disciplines, if incorporated properly, will begin to challenge previously held assumptions regarding what and how people within organizations.

So, how are you changing the atmosphere within your organization? Which of these disciplines have you purposefully adapted to become a part of your culture? Are there ways that I can assist you with incorporating them? Send me your thoughts!




1Senge, P. (2006). The fifth discipline: The art and practice of the learning organization. (Revised ed.) New York, NY:    Doubleday.

Leading Leaders…

Leadership transcends the field of business. It is found in the home, church, school, sports, the military, as well as a myriad of other places. It is impossible for anyone to completely avoid the precepts of leadership. The reason leadership cannot be avoided is because as John Maxwell noted, “leadership is influence.” Understanding this principle should provoke each of us to desire to study the topic with earnest diligence.

My background is in the emergency medical services, education, and in several non-profit organizations. I understand leadership from several different perspectives, however I also understand that I must become a life-long student of its principles. I am passionate about teaching leadership, and have devoted my life to teaching its principles to everyone with whom I connect.

  • As a paramedic, I realize that I influence not only patients, but my partner, and all other public safety and in hospital personnel.
  • As an educator, I realize that I influence students, parents, peers, and administrators.
  • As a member of a couple of non-profits, I realize that I influence other members, the leadership, and the community.

There is one last area where I have a great deal of influence. As a husband and father, I realize that I have influence with my wife, children, and other family members. The most important realization in all of this is that while I may influence them, they have just as much influence on me. You see, there is a concept of leadership that John Maxwell wrote about in The 360 Degree Leader. We can lead from anywhere in an organization. Leadership in this sense is like a compass. We lead those who follow us, our peers, and those above us.

Again, the words lead and influence can be used interchangeably. We must learn to accept that we will influence many people over the course of our lifetime, and that there are many who will influence our lives. Therefore, I would like to ask you the question, “What are you going to do in 2012 to maximize your influence on others?”

My vision is to inspire, equip, and promote the leadership abilities of individuals in the fields of EMS, education, and non-profits and provide practical knowledge of leadership principles so that they are prepared to lead leaders.

A paramedic’s view of leadership.

I have been studying leadership for several years now, and I am amazed at the body of knowledge that is available on the subject. However, in all of the years I worked on an ambulance, I was never asked to take a leadership class to become a better leader within the various organizations I worked, and there was never any discussion on the importance of becoming a leader.

I have been reading through John Maxwell’s book, Developing the Leader Within You over the past few weeks preparing for an upcoming series of boot camp style leadership seminars. One of the primary groups of people I am hoping to influence contains the men and women who work in the field of public safety. I want to share with them that leadership is a skill that everyone can learn, and that everyone can benefit from.

John reminds us that there are essentially 5 levels of leadership that constitute every organization in the world, and that in order to increase one’s effectiveness, s/he must understand that they collectively represent a process of leadership growth, and recognize these levels require a detailed navigational plan for implementation. The 5 levels according to Maxwell are:

  1. Position
  2. Permission
  3. Production
  4. People Development
  5. Personhood
Each of these levels of leadership are acquired by satisfying the requirements of the preceding level. Therefore, in order to maximize one’s influence, s/he must rely on cultivating meaningful relationships with those whom they influence.
Since paramedics are provided positional leadership upon graduation and passing their licensing exams, it is imperative that they be taught the principles of leadership so as to help them become the best in the field. My desire is to provide an opportunity to these leaders to assist them with their leadership development. And, since everyone leads from various points within an organization, it is of the utmost importance for them to receive the tools necessary to assist them as they grow in influence.
Again, I am designing a series of 1/2 day seminars in a boot camp style format that will indoctrinate those who desire to become better leaders with the foundational principles needed to understand how leadership transformation takes place. Please do not let cost for the series of seminars detract you from contacting me if you truly want to attend. I have a few scholarships that I would be willing to award to those who desire to learn more, but simply can’t afford the seminar.
Additionally, while the series that I am offering are confined to upper East Tennessee, I am willing to work with anyone worldwide to bring the series to where they are. I specifically target public safety professionals, educators and educational administrators, and leaders from the non-profit sector for leadership development. I want to provide a service to them because of what they do on a daily basis for minimal cost. I urge you to visit the workshop page above, and to contact me if you desire to establish something for paramedics in your region. I would be happy to host a 1 to 3 day boot camp on leadership development for your paramedics, along with other leaders wherever you are in the world!

A Reflection on the 21 Laws…

Recently, I was involved with a group who studied John Maxwell’s 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership. I must tell you that when I first began the study, I did not understand the value that I was going to receive. The premise of the book is that “leadership is influence.” As such, it encompasses every aspect of our lives and how we daily interact with others.

As leaders, we are required to “lift the lid” of our effectiveness in order to influence the effectiveness of the teams we either lead or participate in. Once we see a need within the organization, it’s left to us to begin to influence all of those with whom we have influence. However, once we determine our purpose and passion in life, it is up to us to design a and implement our vision to those who follow us. At that point, we must write down a detailed (navigational) plan that will route us to the desired destination. Ultimately, we need to understand that possession of this vision is not an end unto itself. It is the personal leadership piece that makes this vision become a reality. We are to become masters of ourselves realizing our strengths and weaknesses, and pulling others whom we want to share the journey with to us with the focus on adding value to them.

While it is important to note that I have not touched each of the 21 Laws, I have noticed that each of the laws focus on two principles; 1. Being intentional; and 2. Influencing. In each of the 21 Laws, influence plays a big role. Without it, none of the laws will make sense.

In the end, we are charged with the idea that we need to realize that the ultimate success of life is contained in the legacy that we leave. Are we more concerned with tangibles or aesthetics such as values that we pass on to succeeding generations? I like the analogy that is used in the closing chapter of the book in which Dr. Maxwell asks very bluntly what you want said in your euology.

Legacies cannot be written until we move past the selfishness contained in being proud of the position that we obtain and move to making real connections that forge deep and meaningful relationships with those in whom we visualize leadership potential. Additionally, it is important to note that legacies are built once a leader focuses on development of leadership skills in others so that Law of Addition is fully realized.