Technology has made us lose this one important thing…

I love technology and how it has helped me learn and even provide for my family. But I think there is one important thing that we’ve lost (maybe you haven’t, but I certainly have)…

Deep thought about others.

Let me explain.

I’ve been reading Benjamin Franklin: An American Life by Walter Isaacson. We know so much about Benjamin Franklin because of his letters to family, friends, foes, and others. Think of the difference between his letters and our emails, though… often those letters would take not only days, but sometimes weeks to arrive. A simple “never mind that last email” wasn’t as easy to write – or a simple correction to a flippantly sent text wasn’t possible. So much thought and intention went into each one of those letters. So much time was spent thinking about others while those letters were being written.

Physically writing letters forces us to slow down our thought process and be intentional with each word we write – which forces us to think about the person to whom we are writing and our relationship with them!

Think about FaceTime, or even texting. About the deepest we usually go with our loved ones when we’re apart is, “I miss you.” Maybe it’s just me, but it’s easier for me to convey the deeper thoughts of my heart through a longer letter to someone rather than in a text or a FaceTime conversation – or in-person for that matter.

Don’t you have people in your life that deserve more of your thought time? I sure do. Reading this book has made me realize that I don’t give as much well-deserved thought-time towards those that I love.

Off to writing a letter…

Thoughts on Setting Goals

If you’re in any kind of leadership (even just leading yourself), you probably have done some reflecting or evaluating your past and looking ahead to plan what’s next.

Turning over a new year is always one of those times where people hope to make changes in their lives and commit to something that will make them a better person.

Here’s the deal, though… we want to be better people, but we always look at our actions and what we want to change about ourselves. We strive to run more, strive to eat better, strive to delegate more in business, strive to have better boundaries with work relationships, and many other things.

Those are all wonderful things. But the main question should be: who do I need to be in order to make my goals become a reality? This truth has hit me hard the past couple days.

Tim Ferriss has a podcast where he interviewed AJ Jacobs – a fellow self-experimenter alongside Tim Ferriss (here’s the podcast – it’s a long one), and asked, “what bad advice do you hear people giving around you.” Jacobs responds something like, “be yourself. What if you’re an a$$hole? That’s bad advice we don’t want that person to be themselves…” Ouch. What if that’s me?

If we’re honest with ourselves (it’s often hard to be, because let’s face it, we like ourselves), we all have weaknesses and need to grow. We don’t change our eating habits because we like sugar, and it tastes good (am I addicted to sugar?). We don’t exercise because we like to be comfortable, or because we think that our time needs to be spent working on something else rather than caring for ourselves. OK – I’m revealing my faults here…

The reality is that change is hard, and even those of us who like change, we mostly like it when our environments around us change – not when we have to change.

The next time you reflect on your past and look ahead to your future – look at your successes and your failures. Look ahead thinking about not only what you have to do, but who you have to be, in order to make those goals a reality.

Let’s embrace change in ourselves. I think the world will be a better place if we start there (cue song).


*Want a great resource for evaluating and looking ahead? This is what spawned this idea in me… Donald Miller’s podcast / blogpost and resource called “3 Reasons Why You Should Fire Yourself This Week.” It’s brilliant. 

Blogging Restart


How often could we benefit from stopping and simply starting over? When is that the best course of action?

For some things, it means that we might completely scrap the whole thing and start over. Furniture makers, artists, or other craftsman hate to admit this, but sometimes they admit it’s best to take their losses and start from scratch.

For other things we don’t need to completely start over, but reset back a little ways. I’ve done this on projects before, where I know there’s a solid foundation of work done that I can go back to and begin (again) from that point. Good coders and developers are excellent at this.

This next year (2016) is going to be a restart for me in many areas. There will be a little bit of starting from scratch, and a lot of re-focusing where I’m heading and in which direction I need to go.

Here is a list of areas where I’ll be restarting this next year.

  • Exercise: This hasn’t been a priority, but it will be moving forward.
  • Work: I’m going to refocus what businesses are capturing my attention and where my time is focused in running my businesses.
  • Family: Scheduling intentional time with my family more than a week out.
  • Creativity: My goal in 2016 is to create more than I consume. Ask me how that’s going to look in about a month.

What does that mean for this blog? Right now I’m not sure. It may mean a refocus. All I know is that my own adventure in maturing ‘from boy to man’ has been quite a wild ride, and I would like to share more of my thoughts, struggles, ideas, and victories with anyone who might care to read.

Thanks for sticking with me. Here’s to growth and progress in 2016.


What areas in your life do you need to restart in this next year?

Brewing Beer

Today, I’m going to brew some beer.

I need to write about the fact that I’m going to brew beer, because if I don’t, then I won’t. That’s because I’ll find a reason not to brew because I don’t have absolutely everything perfectly lined up to brew the best beer I can.

I think that’s often why I procrastinate – because not everything is exactly in place as it should be, so I don’t get it done until it absolutely has to be done. I think it’s a sickness.

If you’re a friend of mine or even stumble upon this writing, I’d love some follow up to see if I’ve actually brewed some beer. That would help me out.


The women in your life are more beautiful than they think…

As men, how can we help improve how the women in our lives view themselves? Our wives, girlfriends, daughters, mothers, friends?

Please watch this video, and think about how we can help women know that they are beautiful to us…

I hope to be a person who helps improve the way women view themselves, rather than negatively impacting that view. Kind of reminds me of a John Mayer song


What is a man?

What does it mean to become a man? When does that happen? How does that happen?

These are the questions that I continue to struggle with myself, and that I struggle with as I raise (at this point in time) 2 boys into becoming men someday.

As we try to define what a ‘true man’ is like (his characteristics, attributes, nature, etc.), we need to have some sort of standard – some kind of principles with which to begin. As I try to find the principles that define what it means to be a true man, I want to be open about where I am finding those principles. First and foremost, I look to God. I believe that the God of the Bible has the greatest intentions for men, and desires for us to become the men that He has created us to be. He also has given us some pretty good (and also some pretty poor) examples in the Bible itself.

I want to earn your trust, though. I don’t want men to not listen simply because they either don’t believe in God, or don’t believe that He has anything good to say. Please don’t confuse what God has to say with what other people have interpreted Him to say. For every good example of a Christian man, I’m convinced there are many bad examples. I’m sorry if you have been hurt, abused, or led astray by one of those bad examples. I know that God is sorry as well, and I believe (He actually says this) that those men would have been better off “with a millstone hung around their neck and were thrown into the sea.” (Mark 9:42)

So, from this point onward, I believe coming up with the definition of a ‘true man’ has to include talking about the God of Christianity. I plan on being honest and open about my beliefs and struggles as a Christian, and I hope you can be honest about where you are at in life as well – no matter where you are at in your spiritual life or any other area.

I would love if you would join with me in this great journey – or continue on with me. By no means have I arrived, nor will I ever arrive at true manhood. I simply want to be open about my progress, how I process things, and how I consider raising my boys into men.

I’m convinced that our world would be a better place if more men stepped up to become true men – men that they were created to be.

Thanks for joining me. I hope to hear about your progress along the way as well.

Investing in your marriage

If someone told you that investing in your marriage was a wise move, I’m nearly positive that 99.99% of people would agree with that statement. Here’s the trick… actually investing in your marriage! Yes, we just have to make the time and do it!

‘Investing’ means taking a risk with some kind of resource with the hope that you will receive something in return that is greater than the initial resource you risked. When it comes to investing anything in your marriage – my guess is that most things will end up giving you a higher return in the end. In other words, you’re making a safe and wise investment.

This weekend my wife and I attended a marriage retreat, which was the culmination of an 8 week study based on the Prepare / Enrich program. If you read no more (if you do, I’ll include a couple tips we learned ourselves), consider going through this course with either a marriage mentor or a small group – it’s a very wise investment. Continue reading “Investing in your marriage”

The truth trumps discipline

Parenting is tough and it takes a lot of work and thought. I had a realization quite some time ago about discipline and telling the truth, and how they might end up competing with one another.

Here’s the scenario…

My 3 year-old and 21 month old are playing together in their room. I’m not in their room because they play well together and I need to get something done in the other room. Suddenly the 21 month old starts crying. Not one of those, “oh crap, something really bad happened” cries, but something that’s worth going in to check out.

What’s your first response? Mine is to ask the 3 year-old, “what happened.” Here’s where parenting comes into play, and where we’re actually teaching our kids how to respond to us.

Let’s say he tells me the truth, and that he was, “battling with my brother, and just hit him on the top of his head really hard with my sword.” If I would have seen him do this, it would have been natural for me to take care of the issue right away through some means that I may or may not feel comfortable sharing with a large audience on the internet (I’ll let you guess).

BUT, since I didn’t actually see what happened, I’m relying on the word of my son. Now HE has a decision. He knows what the consequence would be if I saw him hit his brother on the head with his sword (because I think I’m a fairly good parent and am consistent).

What is most important to me in this scenario is that my son feels comfortable telling me the truth, and that he’s not learning that I’m disciplining him for telling me the truth. This is where truth trumps discipline.

Ultimately I want to be a safe place for my son to tell me the truth in anything. I am clear in my boundaries with disciplining him (he knows the boundaries, and knows the discipline for each boundary that is broken), and I show him that I love him as much as possible.

And who knows, maybe my 21-month old hit him in the face first? That’s usually the real story…

Parenting: it’s like going from CEO to janitor

I recently visited with close family friends that we haven’t seen for quite awhile – over a year, at least. They have had their first child since the last time we visited them, and there was something different about them. They were still the people we have always loved and adored, but having a newborn changed something about them.

I couldn’t really put my finger on it until I told my wife – I feel like there’s something extremely humbling about becoming a parent, and it feels like you’re going from CEO to janitor in a day.

That is what I felt from this couple. They were now parents alongside us – fellow janitors. Continue reading “Parenting: it’s like going from CEO to janitor”

Pope Benedict XVI – an appreciation

Pope Francis I was announced today as the 266th pope of the Catholic Church. Today I was reminded of my initial thoughts when Pope Benedict XVI announced that he was retiring from his duties as the 265th pope. In short… well done.

I was even more shocked to learn that the last pope to resign under his own initiative was Pope Celestine V in 1294. What?!?!?! There hasn’t been one pope in over 700 years that has said, “I’m getting too old to lead the church, I need to step aside and let someone else do this.”

I don’t know much about what the Pope does, nor do I keep tabs on what each of them are like as a person. I know that Pope Benedict XVI earned my respect as a man who was willing to lay aside over 700 years of tradition and let someone else take the reigns as the leader of the Catholic Church.

I hope I have enough humility to step aside and let someone else lead when I may not be the best man (or in the best place) to lead.