Tag Archives: Logan

The Solution to #SochiProblems

I was rolling in laughter as my daughter read me some of the tweets chronicled under #SochiProblems during the opening ceremony of the 2014 Olympics. Armed with Twitter feeds and lightning-fast zingers, reporters have ravaged the city’s preparation for the Olympics more cruelly than the packs of stray dogs still (according to Twitter) wandering the streets.

Here’s another funny hashtag for you: #snowpocalypse2014. If you didn’t hear, Atlanta was recently hit with an unexpected snowstorm that paralyzed interstate traffic and trapped many on the roads for hours. Just like #SochiProblems, frustrated Atlantans took to the Twitterverse and blasted Governor Nathan Deal and Mayor Kasim Reed for lack of preparation. But that is just half of the story.

At the same time, other Atlantans (including my son Logan) were packing supplies, food, and extra gas into their 4-wheel drives to come to the aid of many folks who had been stranded for hours.

After hearing about my son’s actions my pride alone probably could have thawed I-75, especially when I thought about what a prime example he and many other local heroes are of Leadership Redefined. You see…

Leaders don’t waste energy complaining, but focus their efforts on finding solutions.

Did I mention that Logan had just sat in 5 hours of traffic before arriving home himself?

Whether you are leading an organization with complexities like the Winter Olympics, or just looking to make it home in one piece, I hope that we can remember in the face of adversity or inconvenience to take a moment to laugh, hashtag our own one-liners and then help ourselves and others.

And while we’re at it, if you can find me any tweets about #SochiSolutions or #SnowpocalypseHeroes, please send them my way.

Click here to order a copy(ies) of Dave’s new book Leadership Redefined.

The only resolution you should make this year

The presents have been unwrapped, the turkey’s been devoured, the crazy relatives have been pushed out the door, and we are all sick and tired of eggnog and Christmas music. It’s time to make some New Year’s resolutions. While losing weight, hitting your sales goals, or quitting smoking are great goals for next year, I’d like to challenge you to make only one resolution in 2014—and unlike the resolutions mentioned earlier, this one has the potential to transform every aspect of your life—your career, your relationships, your dreams and your health. Are you ready for it??

This year, resolve to keep the main thing the main thing.

Whatever the main thing is for you—a career goal, a desire to invest in certain relationships, or a dream you’re chasing—keeping the main thing the main thing will minimize your distractions and focus your actions with the precision of a laser pointer.

For example, if my “main thing” is to be the best husband and father that I can be, I will be working hard to be a great provider for my family—but I’ll also be curbing my late nights at the office so that I can take my wife on a date or catch a movie with one of the kids. I will learn that talking to my daughter about her day might be more exciting than whatever’s being covered on SportsCenter, or that walking our two energetic dogs with my wife transforms a mundane task into an opportunity to spend time with her. Wanting to live a long, full life with my family motivates me to eat a little better and move a little more. It makes me a better listener, a more productive employee, and a more generous giver.

So as you think about your own resolutions, I hope you identify your main thing, and perhaps a few action steps that you can take in order to keep the main thing the main thing.  May your 2014 be an exciting, successful year—but most of all, may it be the year when you begin to make progress on purpose.

The Fourth

While warming up on the driving range I had already met Ed and Steve. They were in Orlando for a conference and were playing hooky on the final day to sneak in a day on the links. As we now stood on the first tee, the sun was bright and warm in the Orlando sky and it was shaping up to be a beautiful day for a round of golf.

It was Steve who first noticed him. “Oh great…get a load of this.”

We turned and saw a tall, thin teenager approaching the tee box. He shouldered a worn out golf bag, and was sporting a tattoo on his arm which nicely accessorized his four inch neon yellow mohawk. Clearly, he was to be our fourth.

“I do not need this today,” moaned an exasperated Steve.

“Why do they even let people like this on the course?!” added Ed.

Still 30 yards behind us, the kid yelled, “”Y’all go ahead and hit. Let me swing for a couple of minutes to warm up.”

“Like that’s gonna help,” muttered Ed. “This could be a very long round.”

The three of us took turns teeing off and, for our first hole, each of our drives was respectable enough. The hole was a dogleg to the right and all of our shots landed in the fairway in the neighborhood of 250 yards away. We were off to a great start and the compliments were flowing: “Good ball.”  “Nice shot.”  “That’ll play.”

Then we turned to let “our fourth” come up and drive and were shocked to see that he was still 30 yards behind us, two tee boxes away, with his ball teed up where the professionals play.

When his club hit the ball, it sounded like a cannon. Our heads whipped around as we followed the flight of the ball straight toward the trees. But rather than drop out of the sky like our shots, his ball continued to rise, completely cutting the corner and landing in the fairway at least 75 yards closer to the green than any of our shots.

While Ed and Steve pulled away in their cart, I waited to share my cart with our newest companion. He slowly loped  over to my cart and plopped his bag on the back.

“Great shot!” I said.

“Hit it a little thin,” he said. “But thanks.”

The three of us hit our approach shots on or near the green and then watched as this kid dropped a wedge to six feet from the hole. Then after about 20 minutes of watching us chip and putt, he stepped up drained his birdie putt.

The kid lipped out his eagle putt on hole 2 and tapped in for a second birdie. Needless to say Ed and Steve were now chatting it up with him…wanting to know what driver he was using, his thoughts on putters, what his best score was.

As he sat down next to me to ride over to the third tee, he grinned and said, “I hope I don’t slow them down too much.”

I laughed and said, “Me too, son. Nice birdie. Mom would have loved watching that one!”

Logan, my son, was a scratch golfer and on a number of junior PGA tours at the time. He was also the co-founder of a non-profit organization and had already literally travelled around the world building deep water wells in bush villages across Africa. He was and is truly a world changer.

But Ed and Steve almost missed getting to know what he could do.

Be aware of the preconceived notions you have of others. While none of us thinks we judge others, sadly we do it way more often than we think.

Slow down and give folks a chance before labeling them.

The Price of Integrity

The day we were to leave for the bush country, our local missionary host and translator, Pete, had taken one of the vehicles to the shop to have some repairs done. We were driving through Ouagadougou (the capital city of the nation of Burkina Faso) picking up a few last minute items, and we passed his vehicle on the side of the road surrounded by local law enforcement.

Sure enough, the mechanic had taken the truck out for a test drive to check on the repairs he had made and, while out, had run a red light. Pete informed us that this could mean as much as a day in our departure as he would have to drive into town and take care of all the paperwork and then make arrangements to get the vehicle released from the impound lot. We couldn’t believe this was happening to us.

Pete pulled our vehicle off to the side of the road to see if he could plead our case to the officers. He was going to try the ‘ol famous excuse:
*I’m a missionary,
*I have all these people from America who are here to identify villages to build deep water wells in,
*we are trying to leave soon,
*this is the mechanics fault not mine so please don’t punish us and keep us from helping others in our country”

Come on, be honest, how many of us have tried that old lame excuse…

Well. to make a long story short, the officers would have nothing of it. They were bound and determined to write this thing up and impound the truck. Pete persisted in stating his case and was pleading for them to make an exception.

Eventually the officers decided that Pete could make the whole problem disappear if he would just make a “cash donation” right there on the spot.

I am embarassed to admit that I thought this was a great solution to the problem…let’s just pay a bribe to the officers and be on our way…after all we had lives to impact!

Pete, unfortunately, would not budge. I couldn’t believe he would be so selfish as to ruin the start of our trip by not simply paying these guys off.

The officers clearly wanted to make a quick buck (and I wanted to help them so we could get moving), but Pete was not not about to cave in to their demands. The officers payoff amount then started to diminish as they asked for less and less money until finally, in exasperation, they said, “Just give us one American dollar.”

I thought to myself, “Pete, you da man!!! I would have caved 20 minutes ago and had to pay a whole lot more, but look, you got them down to a buck! Pay ’em and let’s go…here, I’ll even give you the dollar.”

You can imagine how shocked I was when he not only flatly turned them down but now he was getting angry and his voice was getting louder and louder. Honestly, I was thinking to myself, “Pete, it’s a buck…who cares…we’ll never miss it.” Sadly, I was also thinking, “This could be an answer to our prayers…look, they are letting this go away for 1 dollar. Pay them and let’s get going.”

Then Pete made a statement that I will never forget, “My character and integrity are not for sale…not even for one dollar.”

I am so glad that my son, Logan, got to see what a real man of integrity acts like when times are tough and the pressure is on. But I wish it had been me.

You Are Our Voice

After driving six hours across some of the worst “roads” in Burkina Faso (dirt paths with holes the size of Volkswagons) we finally arrived in the village af Kareena. In all that time we only saw 2 other vehicles. We had been told that this community was one which had great need for clean drinking water. It is a very large and remote village with over 850 people and only one working well.

When we arrived we met a pastor there named Pastor Jacques. He gave us a tour of his village and shared their desperate need for water. Well, needless to say when the people of this village saw their pastor walking around with some white guys, it was quite the buzz, and before long we had well over 100 people following us around.

This amazing and articulate man said some of the most profound things to us during our entire trip. At one point we were sitting around an old well which had dried up, surrounded by his fellow villagers, and he challenged us by saying, “If all of the people of my village came together and screamed at the top of our lungs, no one in America would hear us. We have no voice…you are our voice.”

Logan and Conner filmed an interview with this pastor for possible use on their website www.drytears.org or in a DVD that could be shared back here in the states. One of them asked Pastor Jacques what impact water would have on the people of his village. He said that you could not even begin to realize just how powerful and impactful water is to their very existence. Much of every day is trying to figure out how to get, use, conserve, store, and ration water…it is their very life. He went on to say that not only does water meet the physical needs of his village, but even more importantly, it opens the door to help meet the spiritual needs of the people.

When asked how this was possible, Pastor Jacques answered, “Water is evangelism without words.” He went on to explain that when the people of Kareena (or any remote village) inquire as to why Americans would come to Africa, find them, and build a well, he gets to tell them about how much God loves them and that God put the desire in our hearts to do this for them to show them just how much He loves them. This is such a strong message of hope for these people who have no hope that they are drawn into wanting to come to know this God who would do this great thing for them.