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Pay Attention to the Cracks

Step on them and there goes your momma’s back. Well, not exactly. But for a leader, few things are more dangerous than cracks.

Cracks are easy to overlook. They often blend in,

surrounded by lots of area where everything looks and feels normal.

But don’t be fooled. Those tiny crevices have been the undoing of some great leaders. A shortcut here, a half-hearted effort there, and the next thing you know the crevice turns into a crack and integrity and influence are out the window.

Today I challenge you to do some soul searching and see if you can identify any cracks in your leadership. If you do, deal with them immediately. You have too much going for you to allow the small stuff to wreck your impact.

Leadership Begins at Home,


What are some areas leaders allow cracks into their lives?

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YOLO. Short for You Only Live Once.

It has become a buzzword. My kids filled me in on the lingo a couple of years ago on one of our beach trips. Cool Dad alert!

YOLO is a great reminder for those who find themselves in the wrong groove, aka ... a rut.

The tendency for those who are experiencing success is to become complacent. Complacency leads to playing it safe. Playing it safe is anti - YOLO.

YOLO understands that you are the only one who can show up and be you. One shot - regrets or fulfillment hanging in the balance.

Where do you need to go "YOLO" in the coming week? Is there a place where you are holding back? An area where you have lost your passion? A project you have been putting off?

If so, go find a mirror, look at the guy staring back at you, and scream out loud to him (or her), "You only live once. Stop holding back!"

YOLO is not as hard as we make it out to be. It just requires initiative and courage.

Want to spice up your life?

Remember - YOLO!

Leadership Begins at Home,


What is one "YOLO" action step you need to take in the coming week?

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Do You Have a Normal Pattern of Behavior?

A while back I received a call. Not a call I wanted, but one I needed. Actually my wife answered the phone.

It was from my credit card company. Seems somebody wants to be me.

Miss Credit Card wanted to know if I had been to California the prior week and made a $91 charge at a liquor store outside of San Francisco? Fifteen minutes later there was a $35 charge at a convenient store just 5 miles from the liquor store. "That doesn't match your normal pattern of spending," the woman said.

"Excuse me? The week in question I was over 3,000 miles away from San Francisco, and besides, I don't do liquor stores."

Can you say I.D. theft?

Thankfully, there are some things about my life that are predictable. Avoiding liquor stores and California are near the top of the list.

As a leader, are there things in your life that are predictable? Do you have patterns of behavior that tell the story of who you are? Leaders cannot afford to be sneaky.

Perhaps as important as the principles and practices you live by, are the people who have your back?

For me, there was someone who recognized the red flag and was willing to confront me with the suspicious behavior.

Do you have people like that in your life? And I am not talking about people from your credit card company. I am talking about friends and family members who know you really well. People who you don't hide things from.

Have you given them permission to keep you on track? I hope so. Your integrity is like your ID and this world would love to steal it and see you become a statistic.

I encourage you to ruthlessly guard your integrity. One of the best ways to do that is to have the right routines and the right relationships.

And of course ... stay out of California.

Leadership Begins at Home,


Why are predictable behaviors important for a leader who wants to maintain his or her integrity?

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Is it Time for You to Disenthrall?

I am a big fan of Sir Ken Robinson.

In his book, “Out of Our Minds,” Robinson remembers these words of Abraham Lincoln, spoken to congress in 1862. “The dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate to the stormy present. The occasion is piled high with difficulty. As our case is new, so we must think anew and act anew. We must disenthrall ourselves and then we shall save our country.”

Robinson comments, “I love the word ‘disenthrall.’ What he (Lincoln) meant was that we all live our lives guided by ideas to which we are devoted but which may no longer be true or relevant. We are hypnotized or enthralled by them. To move forward we have to shake free of them.”

When it comes to your leadership world, where are you enthralled these days? That hypnotic place where you have married yourself to what used to work. Perhaps it is time to wrestle with what is relevant and make a commitment to “shake free” of something that is holding you back.

Disenthrall literally means, “To free from bondage.”

If the status quo has you in chains, it is time to disenthrall.

strong>Leadership Begins at Home,


Why do you think leaders are so bound to ‘what used to work?’

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A few weeks ago I was in the ballpark in Atlanta and happened to catch a milestone. Braves catcher, Brian McCann laced a bloop single into left field for the 1000th hit of his Major League career.

The hit was not a lot different from the other 999 hits McCann has amassed. Truthfully, it was less impressive than many of his previous ones. Throughout McCann’s career there have been home runs, game winners, and clutch swings to give his team the lead.

But this hit was different. In fact, they stopped the game and presented McCann with the baseball. Why? Because it was a milestone.

Baseball is really good at celebrating milestones. Chances are if you attend a game something memorable, if not historical, will occur.

Personally I have witnessed a few baseball milestones. I was in Arlington, Texas the night Nolan Ryan chalked up strikeout number 5,000. I was in Chicago the night Cal Ripken, Jr. recorded hit number 2,500. I have seen a player hit three home runs in a game on two different occasions.

As leaders, we would all do well to learn from baseball and celebrate our milestones. So many leaders are horrible when it comes to celebrating. They never take time to appreciate all the hard work and sweat it took to achieve success.

For Mcann 1,000 hits is important because it says, "I've been around a while and I belong here. There will be more hits, but this one matters."

If you’ve been around awhile, you are bound to have a few things worth celebrating.

For me, today is a milestone day. It happens to be the 500th different i2ileadership blogpost I have written over the past three plus years.


Today’s post will not be looked at as my best, and it will not be the most impactful. But it is important to me.

Why? Because it reminds me I’ve been around awhile, and that there are people out there who believe integrity and influence matter to a leader.

So here’s to i2i. Only half way to McCann, but a milestone, nonetheless.



How are you doing when it comes to celebrating your milestones? 

What is your favorite i2i post of all time?




Where Did All the Truth-tellers Go?

Where did all the truth-tellers go? When I was growing up, no one had a problem telling me what they thought – about anything.

Times have changed. Most leaders are too insecure to have open conversations about the brutal facts.

English novelist, Virginia Woolf (1882-1941) once said, “If you don’t tell the truth about yourself you cannot tell it about other people.”  

If you find yourself having a hard time being honest with others, it could be you are lying to yourself about one or two areas in your own life.

Leaders who pursue integrity and truth start with the man in the mirror. 

Einstein was famous for saying, “Once we accept our limits, we go beyond them.

There is no area where this is more true . . . than the truth.

If you want to be a truth-teller, you might want to start with Y-O-U.



Is there an area in your life where you need to be honest with yourself?



Do You Have a Fuse Problem?

Over the past few months the radio in my car has not been working. It just went out one day. I thought perhaps it had a short in the wiring, but I was not sure? I finally discovered the problem. I had the wrong fuse in the fuse box.

The car is somewhat of a relic . . . a 1974, BMW 2002.


When I drive the classic, my wife and kids call me Mr. Magoo. They refer to the car as Maggie (every 40-year-old car deserves a name).

Believe it or not, the radio in Maggie worked for a couple of years, even with the wrong fuse. Go figure!

With all the silence, it occurred to me that I might have a fuse issue.

After googling make and model, I discovered a diagram showing the fuse pattern Maggie requires. The former owner somehow confused red and white. You would think such a clear-cut choice would be obvious.

Maggie's former owner is a lot like some of the leaders I know. When a fuse is blown, there is no power available to a radio. Likewise, when a leader blows it the power is drained out of a team.

If today finds you with the wires crossed on your leadership circuit board, why don't you take some time to do some evaluating?

As the leader, you are the one who will provide the power for your organization. Make sure you are doing the right things, and in the right way.

Your integrity matters. It is the key to maximizing your influence, and that's what i2i is all about.



What happens when a leader is misaligned in some area of life?



Do You Need to Come out of the Shadows?

A while back I was out for a run when I found myself going through a tunnel on a local running path. All of a sudden two women riding on a golf cart came flying into the tunnel. They were talking faster than they were driving which was scary. Realizing they were not paying attention, I tried to hug the wall of the culvert. The ladies slammed on their brakes just before they plastered me. Thankfully it was dark and I’m pretty sure they couldn’t see that I was starting to cry.

The woman driving looked toward me and said, “I’m so sorry, I couldn’t see you in the shadows.”

It is never a good idea for a runner to be in the shadows. The same can be said for a leader.

Leaders who live in the shadows will eventually shipwreck their influence. Yet so many leaders have a propensity to try and hide.

Whether you are a Bible reader or not you will recall the Creation story of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. When sin entered the world, the Bible tells us that Adam was trying to hide from God. In Genesis 3:9 Scripture reads, “The LORD God called to the man, ‘Where are you?’”

Let’s be clear. God was not asking the question because he could not find Adam. He knew exactly where Adam was. God cannot be beaten at hide-n-go-seek.

He asked the question because He wanted to give Adam a chance to come clean. A chance to“come out of the shadows.”

So where are you?

Are there areas in your life where you are living in the shadows? Been keeping secrets from your spouse? Hiding something from your kids?  Holding back on your team? Skimming financially? Taking short cuts physically?

If so, you are headed for a collision. Why not make the decision to come back into the light and pursue a life of integrity? Why not make the decision to stay out of the shadows.



Is there an area where you need to come out of the shadows?






The Scales Don't Lie

Do you have a set of bathroom scales?

If so, do you use them every day? If you want to a sure fire way to “practice” your integrity, step on the scales.

The scales don’t lie.

When it comes to integrity, leaders like to talk about honesty and truthfulness. Both are vital if you want to be authentic. But integrity is much broader. It literally means “wholeness.” If you want to be a truthful leader, you must also pay attention to your physical body.

There are many ways to measure how you are doing physically, but nothing beats stepping on the scales.

Every day I step on the scales. It is an important moment in my day because it is the moment where I have to be honest with myself the most. The scales represent truth. A simple number that reflects exercise, diet, rest, and stress.

If you want a way to intentionally pursue integrity start stepping on the scales. They will tell you how you are really doing.



What physical disciplines do you incorporate to keep yourself “fit to lead.”




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