Transform Paraguay

“I need to share this with my kids and neighbors.  This is too important!”  Those were the words I heard from the interpreter speaking into my right ear.  What I saw and felt were the tears and trembling hand that had grabbed my left arm. The young woman had attended the training session because she had hoped to become a better professional.  She had not prepared herself for an experience that would spark a fire for transformation in her own life or feed the passion that burned in her soul for her friends and family.

I was there because I wanted to make a difference with people that wanted to make a difference at a time that made a difference.  I didn’t speak the language, I could not have pointed to my location on a map, and I most certainly did not understand the social importance of Tereré.  What I did know is that I carried a message that had the potential to transform lives.  This message would have been lost in translation however, had I thought that my words, talents, or presentation were going to change the life of a single person.  I knew when I got in the car to go somewhere with someone to do something, that all that I was or had ever been was not going to be enough to do what needed to be done.  I needed to be satisfied with being a “cracked pot” fully relying on God to break down the language and culture barriers so the message could not only be delivered but most importantly understood.  For three and a half hours, I trusted the process, the interpreter, and God to deliver a new hope to a room full of people.

When I felt the trembling hand on my arm and saw the tears in the eyes of the young executive and mother, I knew the message had been received.  I was there because I had hoped to help transform Paraguay.  That may still happen, but I know that day a young women’s world was changed forever.

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A Life of Intentional Living Starts Today

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Did you know that scientific research has shown that 90% of us live our lives on autopilot? This means we mindlessly do a majority of our daily activities without much thought at all. Personally, as I thought about this I began to see how true this statistic was in my own life. I wake up, put my shoes on, grab a cup of coffee (double dose just in case one doesn’t work), and head to the same chair at the same table to begin my daily Bible reading with my son. Most of the time the rest of my day consisted of a similar routine. While the details may have changed slightly based on the influence of things beyond my control, I routinely worked, ate and, read in the same patterns every day.

For years, my weeks all seemed to end the same way- with me looking forward to the next seven days with hopes for a more successful week. I would say things like, “I hope next week I can spend more time with my kids”, “I hope next week to call a friend that needs some encouragement,” or “I hope next Sunday, I can get to church early and help set up.” However, week after week and day after day, my daily routine stayed the same and I still hoped for different results in the “hope” areas I just mentioned. This doesn’t mean that my life was void of any success. In fact, a number of things in my life were doing quite well. My status in my industry grew, my kids and wife wore nice clothes and wanted for very little, and spiritually I was growing (with ups and downs). In fact, I let myself make the “hope” comments for years before something inside of me “clicked” and I realized this old adage was true, “if I kept doing things the way I had always done them, I would keep getting what I had always gotten.” My hopes would always be hopes unless I did something different.

As you reflect on your life and the things that matter to you, do you see random moments of accomplishment and failure with no real consistent patterns of success in doing your “hope to” statements? As I mentioned, one of my “hope to” statements In my life was to spend more time with my kids. The first summer after I left my corporate job to be my own boss I would routinely say, “I am going to take off early to spend time with my kids one day this week.” It wasn’t until their last week of summer vacation before school started that I actually took part of a day to hang out with them- and that only happened because my last meeting of the day cancelled at the last second. In the moment, I am sure that I had plenty of excuses as to why it was never the right time to leave work to have fun. However, the reality is that I missed a number of opportunities that summer to spend time with the ones I love. As I sit here, I cannot think of many things that I was working on those days that could not have been pushed back or given to someone else to do. Thankfully, I have the gospel at work in me and I can move forward without being consumed by the guilt that many of our friends and family struggle with daily. As great as that is, and trust me it is great, I do not want to continue to hope for days when a meeting cancels at the last minute to spend a little extra time with my kids. That is where I would be though if I had not become more intentional about my “hope to” statements.

Today, I can say that I am much more intentional about my schedule and making sure my “hope to” statements become “I want to do that again” statements. What I mean by that is I spend more time saying things like, “I really enjoyed taking my son for ice cream after school today. I can’t wait to do that again!” Don’t get me wrong, I still have a number of “hope to” statements and I would like to spend my time living even more intentionally. I still have a lot to learn to know how to do that and this is what brings me to the point of this post. My friend and mentor John Maxwell recently challenged me to take a journey with him to learn the tools for living a more intentional life. I want to see if you would be willing to take that journey with me. Please know this is not a “quick fix” or “feel good” effort that is geared towards helping us feel better about trying to accomplish our “hope to” statements, but it is an opportunity to learn tools and form habits that help us go from living a life of good intentions to a life lived with great intention.

If you are interested in joining me on this journey, please click here.  As I am sure you know, I put a lot of emphasis on Return on Investment (ROI) and making sure that anything I do is quality. Again, if you are interested, please let me know ASAP by emailing michael@thecolorninegroup.com or simply clicking here.

Your friend and fellow sojourner,

Michael

Welcome to the Faceless Leaders Blog

Thank you for visiting the Faceless Leaders blog.  As someone who has been in a leadership role in numerous organizations over the past 20 years, I created this blog as a resource for those who hope to improve their leadership.  In John Maxwell’s book The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, Maxwell defines leadership as influence- nothing more, nothing less.  If that is the case, then all of us are leaders in some way because we influence people every day.  (My guess is that you already consider yourself a leader to some degree or you would not be reading a blog on leadership.) Unfortunately, we all know people (possibly even ourselves) who misuse or abuse their ability to influence others.

This blog is for the leader who has said, “If I only had better employees, volunteers or students…” My hope is that you will read my posts, learn from my failures, and see that your people are your greatest assets.

This blog is for the discouraged leader.  I hope to share stories, answers to real-life questions, and other materials that I and other leaders have developed that will encourage you in your leadership journey.

This blog is for the leader that says they are too old to change.  I hope that you will read the stories of the many “seasoned” leaders I have encountered and realize you are too old not to change.

This blog is for the young leader who fears admitting that they have no idea how to influence people without relying on a title or position of authority.  I hope you will read my stories, laugh at my ridiculous efforts to prove myself a leader, and realize that true leadership is when people follow you because they “want to” not because they “have to.”

This blog is for the many other leaders that desire bigger dreams, clear direction, and meaningful lives. My hope is that you will find the maker of dreams, the giver of direction and the one who gives life embedded in the words of this blog.

As you read the blog, if you have comments or questions, please feel free to contact me anytime at Michael.willis@thecolorninegroup.com.