Ben Arment’s Dream Year: I Love This!

Ben Arment is a bright, energetic, do-something young leader I admire greatly! He’s a former church planter, so that got me interested in following him initially, but then I attended his Whiteboard and Story conferences and admired how he was encouraging the church to think more creatively.  Ben’s Dream Year project is perhaps my favorite of all that he does.

I’m a proponent of dreaming big…I’ve written frequently about it here and even did a series of dream posts once.  Dreaming keeps marriages healthier, it builds careers and dreaming gets us closer to realizing some of the glory of the great God that we serve. No dream could ever be too big for our God. Ben is empowering others to live out their God-given dreams!

What’s your dream?  Maybe Dream Year is for you:

Dream Year Trailer from Dream Year on Vimeo.

If you are reading this in a reader you may need to open the post to see the video here.

Encourage me…inspire me…What’s your dream? Share it here.

Let My Marathon Training Help Plan Your Life

Are you feeling stressed? Overwhelmed? Over-worked? Like you can never complete everything you are supposed to complete? Do projects never seem to be as good as you want them to be?

Here’s an illustration I hope will help.

I’m training for a marathon. I didn’t start with a 10 mile run. Actually, I’m a consistent runner and try to stay in good enough shape to run a half marathon anytime I choose to run one, but when I started marathon training, the first day out I only ran 3 miles. Why? Because I’m running a marathon, not a sprint.

Take a look at my first few weeks of training (I use a Hal Higdon Training schedule):

Now consider my last few weeks of training:

Do you see how this works? It takes time to train for a marathon. This plan includes 18 weeks of training. I can’t instantly start running 26.2 miles…or even 15…sometimes even 10. A couple weeks before I actually run the marathon, I’m not scurrying to get last minute training in…I’m resting up for the big day. After many weeks of endurance training, I’m ready to finish the big day with excellence!

Here’s where you may come into this blog post.

Some people try to complete a marathon project in church or in business by starting at the last minute… They start planning for the big events just a few days or weeks before the event is to occurs and they run out of time to get everything accomplished they hope to complete. The project overwhelms them and fails to be as good as it could be.

Many try to run their life that way… They sprint rather than pace themselves through life and before they finish their goals they wear out or if they finish they achieve less than desired results.

Allow my running plan to help your life plan.

Spread out the load…discipline yourself….write a plan….schedule out the key assignments…put timelines and benchmarks on paper…get the proper training and coaching….buy the right equipment…pace yourself….work the plan…

Then run the race strong to the finish…

The idea is not to create an elaborate or sophisticated document. The idea is to get something on paper that will be a workable and realistic plan to get you to your desired goal with excellence!

Do you need to better pace yourself so you can accomplish more and better results?

Often being “overwhelmed” with work is not a matter of having too much work as much as not having a plan by which to do it.

Why not spend a few minutes today writing a few goals, then back out a plan over a reasonable time, with benchmarks along the way, to achieve your goal with excellence?

Just curious, what tips do you have for pacing yourself, what calendar system/planning tools do you use?

John Wooden on What is True Success: Ted Video

I love exploring for exceptional videos. I don’t get to very often, but when I do, I find great stuff.

Here’s one you should consider watching. It’s about 17 minutes long, and honestly he rambles at times, but you’ll get some great wisdom and reminders from a great man. Here’s John Wooden on the subject “What is True Success?”

Do you agree with Wooden’s definition?

Waiting Doesn’t Always Mean NO Activity

Inactivity rarely produces anything…
Waiting on God doesn’t always mean doing nothing…

Jesus said, “My time has not yet come” (John 2:4)… He was in a time of waiting…yet He continued to act on what He could do…carrying out His Father’s work…

Do what you know to do today…
Take initiative towards change you know you should make…

In Joshua 3 they had to get in the water before it started to part…You may have to get in the water first, before you start to see results…

Create action…it is often then God begins to reveal the destination He is taking you towards…

What action do you need to take today?

Be a “Can Do It” Person!

Don’t be a “can’t do it” person…Be a “can do it” person…

Some people are just naturally wired to kill other people’s dreams. Others live in a world of caution and fear, never wanting to take a risk…always opting for the safest side of the street. Sometimes that’s not in an attempt to be negative, but just the way a person is wired…

I realize there is a place for the questioner…There are people inclined to find holes in an idea in an attempt to strengthen it (I use this tactic sometimes to challenge deeper, more critical thinking about an issue.)

I am not advocating running blindly…I’m not impressed when someone comes to me with an idea with no intent to research, collaborate with the team, set goals and objectives, or develop a plan to accomplish the idea…

I like common sense….


I also know that life is full of risks….

I realize that in order to achieve anything of significance some chance for failure must be on the table…

Personally, I am far more motivated when I hear “You can do it” or “Give it a try” than “We’ve never done that before” or “I don’t know if that will work”.

If your tendency is to naturally be a skeptic or if you find yourself normally on the negative side of an issue, try taking the positive approach for a change…You may just discover you like it!

Are you more likely to be a naysayer or an encourager of risk?

Monday’s Preparation Brings Friday’s Success

I was helping someone think strategically recently. We were looking at this person’s ministry, trying to design a system, which would allow for continual growth and improvement. The ministry has grown rapidly and the leader barely feels she can keep up with the current demands. She recognizes the need to delegate, grow new leaders, and spread out responsibility and ownership, but she can’t seem to get past the current demands of details to develop a plan to do so.

Have you ever been there?

While attempting to create a system with her, I think we may have gotten to the root of her problem (and one I’ve had many times personally). She looked at me with complete sincerity and said, “I just don’t have time to prepare…”

Have you ever thought that?

Do you see the problem with that statement? It’s a common misperception of all parts of life. We don’t feel we have time to do the required preparation to do the job right, so we continue in the mediocre success, while drowning in details. The reality, however, is that preparation time is often the most important part of the work. An inch of preparation is worth a mile of success.

It’s Monday. Take a few minutes to prepare. It will make the rest of the week much easier and more effective. (I hope even the most literal thinkers can realize this isn’t just a Monday morning principle….)

Have you learned the value of preparation? Share your methods of preparation to encourage others.

Read more about the value of preparation HERE and HERE and HERE.

One Statement and One Question that Impacted My Life

Recently, actually in the same week, I had a statement made to me and a question asked of me that made me stop and reflect.   Does that ever happen to you?  Can one word or phrase someone says jump out at you and challenge you to think about your life for a moment?

Either way, here’s what happened to me and I thought it was important enough to share.

One Statement:

I have become friends with our local university president. Recently while we were having lunch, I talked to him about the possibility of getting my doctorate.  I just completed my second masters degree this past month.  He was encouraging, but questioned how I would do that and continue to pursue the big dreams God has me in the middle of right now.  His statement was:

Ron, at our age, we can’t afford to waste a moment of our time.

Wow!  Do you see the urgency in that statement?  He’s right.  What he didn’t know at the time is that I didn’t plan to quit everything else to pursue a doctorate, but the point is well taken.  I need to be more purposeful in my life these days than ever before.   I’m thinking…perhaps…that you do also!

One Question:

My son Nate has always been part of my personal accountability, whether I asked for it or not.  He’s home for the summer and recently while throwing a baseball he asked me this question:  Dad, are you going through a mid-life crisis?

He was referring to my increased passion lately for writing, networking, and connecting online.  He specifically wanted to know if I was building my platform for my own sense of accomplishment.  He wanted to make sure I wasn’t getting a big head.

I answered him by saying something such as, “Well, if it’s the kind that you’ve heard about, where a man grows his hair long again, gets a new moustache, a girlfriend or a motorcycle, then the answer is ‘No!’.”  The truth is, however, and what I went on to explain to him, is that I am more purposeful than I’ve ever been in my life.  For the same reasons my university president’s statement resonated with me so loudly, I want to be even more purposeful these days than ever before in my life.  If that’s a mid-life crisis…so be it!

What about you? Why are you doing what you are doing?

When and How Did You Become Disciplined for Spiritual Growth?

Nate asked me an important question this weekend.  He asked, “When and how did you become disciplined in spiritual growth?”  That’s a great question.  I wish I could say I was most excellently disciplined, but I’m not…just disciplined.  I wonder though if some of you may be equal curious as to the answers to this question.

I first got serious about becoming a student of God’s Word and having daily time with Christ in my mid-twenties.  I wish it had happened earlier. I grew up in church, but it wasn’t until then that I really took my walk more serious than a Sunday routine.

As to how I disciplined myself, which may be the more important answer, that really has a two-part answer.

  • I developed a passion for spiritual growth. The bottom line for most of us is that we are only going to do those things we want to do.  For me, thanks to the encouragement of a pastor at the time, I gained a sincere desire to know Christ more; serious enough that I was willing to discipline myself to do it.
  • I found a system that worked for me. At first, I didn’t remember to tell Nate about this one, but it was an equally important part I believe in me becoming a self-learner.  Many people have a desire, but they never come up with the system that will accomplish the desire.  I found a system that fueled my passion, but also kept me disciplined enough to follow through each day.  I haven’t kept the same system I had then continually, but I know even today that without one I’m less likely to be disciplined in spiritual growth.  (I once wrote about that system HERE.)

There’s my answer to when and how I became disciplined in spiritual growth.  What’s your answer…or is this a question for which you still need to work on finding an answer?

I encourage you to start today!

Help Promote This Ministry…

I write mostly about leadership, family, and having a personal walk with God. I continue to be honored that people would choose to read what I write. This week alone I received over a dozen emails from church leaders looking for help with a leadership situation they are facing and/or from believers who need guidance for life.

I don’t share that to brag, but simply to help illustrate two points. First, the power of the Internet to network and connect people; and, second, it’s the reason I continue to market my blog. If something isn’t making a positive difference, I don’t want to waste my time with it. If it is working, I want to use all of my abilities to make it better.

I see this blog as one of the vehicles through which the ministry God has called me to do is accomplished. It’s often a front door for me to be able to help people grow in their leadership, family life, or their personal walk with God.

With that in mind, today I’m making a shameless plug asking my readers for your help to promote this blog.

If you appreciate what I write, would you consider any of these options:

1. Add my blog to your Google or RSS reader (to receive it by email). You can do that HERE.
2. Link to my blog from your blog.
3. Suggest my blog to your friends.

Thanks so much for your continued support of my writings. As long as you keep reading and God allows, I’ll keep writing!

Are you enjoying my posts?

Thanks in advance for your support!

Don’t Confuse Activity with Success

Here is a principle that works in many areas of life.  You’ll find it helpful in businesses, in organizations, in churches, in relationships and in your personal life.  Here’s the principle:

Don’t confuse activity with success.

I once wrote that growth covers over a multitude of problems.  (Read that post HERE.)  I know many organizations and people that mistakenly believe for a time (before it catches up with them) that busyness means things are moving in the right direction.  That may or may not be true, but long-term success always depends more on the quality of activity than on the quantity of activity. In the short-term, you can mask success with an abundance of action, but substandard performance will be discovered in time. (For more on this thought process, read my previous post, The Tortoise and the Hare Principle of Organizational Growth.)

If you want to ensure success, consider the goals and objectives trying to be attained, determine whether they are currently being achieved, and, depending on your findings, be willing to adjust activity accordingly to achieve better results.

Have you been guilty of being busy rather than being successful?  In what areas of your life are you more likely to allow that to occur?