“Control tower your life” – by Lauren Allen

As I’ve grown older I have realized that I carry far more control over my life than I once thought. There will be and have been lots of situations and experiences that “happened” to me, but how I responded and choose to respond are all 100% within my control. Gretchen Rubin wrote “Better than Before” in 2015, it centers on making and breaking habits in order to live a happier life. Herein lies the real roots of my “brain hacking quest.”

I am highlighting just two quotes from the book that resonated with me and have driven me to actively work on my habits and rework them and create new habits and rid myself of unnecessary habits.

“Habits are the invisible architecture of daily life. We repeat 40% of our behavior almost daily, so our habits shape our existence, and our future. If we change our habits, we change our lives.”

The idea of habits being the architecture of my daily life really struck me…more specifically the fact that I was giving habits control of my life did not sit well with me. Especially since so many of my habits were social media driven, which in turn means that I was giving Apple, Google, and Facebook the ability to control my days. I know that may seem like a reach, but essentially if my habits controlled me to log into social media at more than 4 hours a day-was that not what I was allowing?

 “Habits eliminate the need for self-control. With habits we conserve our self-control.

This I love, I am 500% for efficiency. So, the idea that I can use my brain even more efficiently than it already is, is definitely my thing. To tag onto this, Gretchen also says: “Stress doesn’t necessarily make us likely to indulge in bad habits; when we’re anxious or tired, we fall back on our habits, whether bad or good.” Habits therefore, help with my self-control in all situations.

So, a habit that I have gotten into over the last week is playing solitaire on my phone right before I go to sleep. One way that I was attempting to “hack” my brain was to put limitations on my phone by entering a passcode for when I go over my time allowed. Unfortunately, I…failed to write down the passcode. So, I have no way of accessing certain items on my phone when I need to after a certain point. The only way to resolve this is to wipe my entire phone, which I refuse to do…at this point anyway. So, I’ve found a work-around…by staying up until midnight I can tell my phone to give me access for the whole day, so that way I have no limitations. But that requires me to stay up until midnight in order to trick my phone and I am no longer 17 and capable of functioning well the next day if I stay up that late. And when it’s late and I’m tired and annoyed with the phone situation that is 100% my fault, I fall back onto the habit of playing solitaire. To “wind down,” which is code for stay up long enough to trick my phone into allowing me to snapchat with my sister during the day.

Circling all of this back to the first quote….we repeat 40% of our behavior almost daily and that in turn shapes our lives. I guess it’s time for me to implement some new habits.

Reflecting On & Learning from Your Day – A Framework

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

We have all read and heard about the importance of taking time to reflect on our day so that we may learn from the day. However, some of us struggle to do so without some type of framework to guide us through that reflection in a productive manner.

Following are the highlights of a framework that many some of the leaders that I coach have found to be helpful and it is an adaptation of the Daily Examen.

“Some questions you might ask yourself:

  • From your perspective as a manager, what was the high point of the day?
  • The low point of the day”…Again, look for reasons and patterns.
  • When were you working at your best during the day?
  • When did you struggle to stay focused and engaged?
  • How hectic was the day?
  • Think about each of your direct reports. Imagine how he/she might have pictured interacting with you.
  • Look toward tomorrow.”

Go to http://bit.ly/2NgHEso to read the article and to see the model in full.

Hope it is a great day for you!


Want to Remember What You Read? Switch to Paper


“5 Things Really Successful Learners Do” – Inc.com

“5 Things Really Successful Learners Do” – Inc.com

where do you learn?

beautiful shies“A school is wherever a man can learn, Mr. Shafter, do not forget that. A man can learn from these mountains and the trees, he can learn by listening, by seeing, and by hearing the talk of other men and thinking about what they say.”

– L’Amour, Angelique (2010-12-01). A Trail of Memories: The Quotations Of Louis L’Amour (Kindle Locations 728-730). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

quotes on learning from Louis L’Amour

Louis L’Amour was and is one of my favorite authors. He was a man with a love for learning and it permeated all of his books. Following are a few of his quotes on learning that I particularly like. As you read his comments, maybe you can take time to reflect on your own attitude towards learning. Do you have a hunger for learning? Does the complexity and beauty of God’s creation cause you amazement and wonder?

“A mind, like a home, is furnished by its owner, so if one’s life is cold and bare he can blame none but himself. You have a chance to select from some pretty elegant furnishings.

… I seek when I can the company of others who learn, for who knows when my knowledge combined with theirs might prove the answer? Each man learns a little, but the sum of their knowledge can be great. 

Sometimes I wonder if anything is ever ended. The words a man speaks today live on in his thoughts or the memories of others, and the shot fired, the blow struck, the thing done today is like a stone tossed into a pool and the ripples keep widening out until they touch lives far from ours.”

L’Amour, Angelique (2010-12-01). A Trail of Memories: The Quotations Of Louis L’Amour. Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

achieving a different result requires ___________

LAM PatioGood morning! It was a spectacular day here in northeastern Indiana yesterday. Beautiful weather. Angela and I had a nice walk around our neighborhood last night.

One of the things I sometimes struggle with is desiring different results – I want to do some things differently, live differently, think differently and so on. So, I work hard as some of these things, but I don’t get different results. I just get more of the same, plus a lot of frustration. One of the reasons is that while I am working hard, I am just working harder doing the same old thing I have always done and achieving the same old results.

If I, and you, really want to achieve different results in our lives, then that requires doing something different! Simple logic right? Yes – but for some reason most of us don’t get it. What we have to learn is that when we hit the limits of our current abilities, systems, and etc. then maybe we need to look for new models and systems of doing things. We need to learn, adapt, and grow – continually. If you keep doing the same things the same way, you will stay stuck and seldom see any different results.

If you really want to see different results in your life then that requires doing things differently. Get out of your comfort zone, quit doing things the same old way, learn new ways to do things and start to see different results in your life.

Have a great weekend!

A Culture of Growth

Well, this is the week we move our household from southwest Michigan to northeast Indiana! Bittersweet. Sad about the friends and ministry we are leaving, but excited about the new organization, the opportunities and the new friends we will meet. A big week for our family!

Leaders grow – in fact that is one of the defining characteristics of a true leader. Good leaders also lead others to grow and are a part of their growth process. Great organizations have a culture of growth. not just professionally, but holistically as a person.

So, are you developing a culture of growth? Are you driving it deep into the “DNA” of our organization? How are you showing your staff just how important it is to be on a path of continuous growth?

You don’t have to start big, just start by sharing and talking about articles or blogs you have read. Learn your people, what are their dreams and passions? How can you help them reach their goals? Can you provide them resources or point them to resources? Make their growth a part of your everyday conversations with them. Help them to see that it is important and how they will benefit from a holistic approach to personal growth.

Build a culture of growth in your organization and you will be amazed at what happens!

Blessing on your week!

Receiving Instruction

“Whoever heeds instruction is on the path to life, . . . ” Proverbs 10:17

Do you receive instruction well, or do you have everything “figured out”? Too many of us actually don’t “heed” instruction very well. Especially in the areas of our life where we have a great deal of experience and expertise. We often say that we are teachable, but we just don’t seem to run into anyone that we think can teach us!

Starting into the third day of my new position with Ambassador Enterprises, I have been thrust back into the role of a “newbie” and very much in a learning mode. Actually it is a tad uncomfortable, even though exciting. At Life Action I have come to learn that at a certain level, I thought I had things figured out since I had been there so many years and had held my position for quite some time. Not an overt or conscious thing, but very subtle. Entering into a new environment has demonstrated to me that I did not have as much of a learner’s heart as I had thought.

So, my question to you is – “Are you really a learner? Are you really heeding instruction?” Do a self assessment then ask some of your co-laborers – maybe like me, you might be surprised at the answer.

By the way, one of my favorite Louis L’Amour quotes (not exactly probably) is. “You can learn something from anyone, even a fool, even if the only thing you learn is how not to be a fool.

Have a learner’s heart today & grow in your service to the Lord and others.


A Key Characteristic of a Leader – Are You Teachable?

Good morning to you! I hope you have a great day planned today!

We all know, or should know, that it is so important that as leaders we are to be continual learners. I have found that a good many leaders are learners, they do read, go to seminars and so on.

But, are we teachable? Proverbs 10:17 says, “Whoever heeds instruction is on the path to life, but he who rejects reproof leads others astray.” (ESV)

It is one thing to be a learner, it is another to be teachable. Are you inviting others to speak into your life? Is it “safe” for your team members to challenge you on your behavior or your assumptions? Do you accept their “reproof”? Do you actually change based on openly considering and applying the reproof of others to your life?

As leaders, most of us are learners, but it so much harder to be teachable. With being teachable comes the possibility that I may have to say I am wrong and someone else is right and I am the one that needs to change. My pride often gets in the way of that type of attitude.

if you truly want to grow as a leader, not only should you be a learner, you have to have the humility to be teachable. Otherwise, you will lead others astray.

Grace & peace to you today,