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Your First Hour

The alarm rings and you sit up, what do you do? You have two choices:

1. Hit snooze or

2. Get up

You want to get up, but you just can’t. Why is it so hard to get up?  You really wanted to get up and start your day off well. You planned a morning with purpose so your day has purpose. The alarm rings again. Now you have to get up because you are late. The first decision you made in your day you already regret because now you are hurried and the momentum of your morning will follow you all day. You rush out the door, tear down the freeway and weave past hundreds of cars. You are easily frustrated. You have no patience for people, computers, phones, reports, etc. You drop things. You forget appointments. You have a small fuse and little things set you off. And all you think about is getting back to bed. You even promise yourself you would go to bed early that night to get yourself back on track the next day.

Sound Familiar? 

According to new findings, more than a third of American adults hit the snooze button at least three times each morning, and more than half of people ages 25 to 34 press snooze daily. Furthermore, the snooze button will make you wake up sleepier then when you originally woke up. 

(Click for study

What you do in the first hour of your day sets the tone and direction for the rest of your day.

 Here are four tips for having a great first hour of the day: 

1. Get Things Prepared the Night Before.

Before you go to sleep, develop a routine. Get coffee in the pot with water and all you need to do is flip it on. Lay out your clothes. Make your lunch and put it in the fridge. Do everything you can so you don’t have to think or worry about it. Now you can relax and enjoy the morning. 

2. Get Enough Sleep.

I have a few friends who are convinced they can live off of 4-5 hours of sleep a night. I once had a conversation with a lady who napped 2-3 hours a night and spent the rest of the time working. I am not making this up! Sleep is good. Think about it: when children are growing, they sleep more; when people get sick, they sleep more. Don’t underestimate your need to sleep. Get 7-8 hours of sleep. See how good you feel. 

3. Slay your Dragons. 

Take care of the important issues right away. Work out, read your Bible, eat breakfast, etc. Click here to read my post, How to Slay your Dragons. It’s a good one.

4. Use Your Time Wisely.

Have a game plan what you would like to accomplish before the morning begins. Have a routine you like. In my ideal first hour, I would get up on time, spend some time reading my Bible, get ready before my kids are up, help my wife get the kids ready for the day, and enjoy breakfast with the family. Doesn’t that sound nice? When I use every minute of my first hour, I am intentional with my time and my family, I can accomplish my goals and stay focused throughout the rest of my day. Now on the days this doesn’t happen, it’s usually because my first choice of the day was: hit snooze. Make the better choice – GET UP!

How to Make Bad Decisions

How to Make Bad Decisions

You made a wrong choice. It happens, but why did it happen to you? Leaders are forced to make many decisions throughout the day. Some are necessary; others can wait. This is how you avoid making bad choices

You have reasons to worry. You have better reasons to stop!


You have plenty of reasons to worry

This post is not going to persuade you to think you have nothing to worry about. Of course you do! Daily we find ourselves plagued with worry.

-       Will I ever have enough money?

-       Will I ever get my dream home?

-       Will I succeed in my job?

-       Will I get a decent job?

-       Will we win the game?

-       How am I going to pay for college?

-       Will I ever find the one?

-       Will my kids turn out ok?

-       Do I have any real friends?

-       What about my health?

Each new question raises two, then four (and so on) new questions in its place. It is a never-ending cycle that can easily lead to terrible decisions and/or depression.

There is always going to be something to worry about. This worry will ruin your health, your money, you relationships, and your achievements, if you let it.

So why do we do it? Because we lack control. We will never be able to take control of these issues and questions. This is why we worry. We worry about the control we will never have. Life is uncertain, and so we worry.

“Worry assumes the possibility of control over the uncontrollable. The illusion of control lurks inside your anxiety. Anxiety and control are two sides of the same coin. When we can’t control something, we worry.” – David Pawlison, author of Seeing with New Eyes

You have better reasons not to worry

 You can let go of the control. You can live in the moment and make decisions with wisdom about your future, but recognize that you ultimately don’t have control over it. Your retirement or 401k may disappear when the market crashes. When all is said and done, what or whom do you put your trust in? If you are trusting in yourself to control all the problems and challenges that come your way, you will regrettably fail. You are only human and limited by nature. I am a Christian. I decided (and have to remind myself daily) to trust that my Creator has a bigger purpose in everything.

Read Luke 12:22-34

This next section is a direct quote from an amazing book by David Powlison, Seeing with New Eyes

There are 7 reasons to not worry:

1.     Your life is so much more than food or clothing.

2.     Jesus tells people to look around the world.

look at the crows, they eat just fine

3.     Which of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?

4.     “Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow.”

wild, beautiful, and without much

5.     Don’t seek what you are going to eat and drink.

watch out for obsession, are you doing it because everyone else is?

6.     God promises you…Himself.

most significant of all – its God’s world so life works the way He says it does

7. Having given you so much, your Father calls you to the radical freedom of giving your life away.

we are afraid of losing what we have and will get. We desire only a life of comfort and leisure not purpose. Jesus gave Himself; we should do our best to give as well

You will experience anxiety. It is part of the human condition. Nothing is safe or for certain.

You need a game plan (here it is):

1.     Name the fear/pressure or what drives the anxiety

2.     Name how you normally respond to that fear/anxiety

3.     Ask yourself why are you feeling fear/anxiety

4.     Read Jesus promises from the list above

5.     Pray to your Father. (This is the easiest one)

6.     Give (do something for someone else)

You may be overwhelmed. You may even be overwhelmed reading this post. Do what Jesus did and give yourself to something bigger or different then your problem.



Good Leaders Make Hard Decisions

Success or Failure Sign.jpg


It will happen. Someone will challenge your vision. Something will get in the way of progress. A cancer will develop and grow unless dealt with in the proper way. As a leader you will face opposition on your road to success. It isn’t fun, it isn’t easy, and it is always necessary. I once read, “To think that you are going to lead without making mistakes results in procrastination.” This in turn makes you simply ineffective.

So what do you do when you know you need to make the Hard Decision?

1.    Weigh your Options

What will be the fallout from this decision? Will it be positive or negative? Will people be angry even though it is the right call? Can you live with that? The best leadership advice someone told me was, “Choose you battles wisely.” Is this one worth fighting for?

“What is right isn’t always popular, what is popular isn’t always right.”

2.    Seek Counsel

Do you have a group of trusted advisors? Do you have someone you can bounce ideas off of or get advice from; someone who sees the bigger picture? You will not be able to see all angles yourself. There will come a time when you need to depend on other trusted friends who understand the Big Vision and endgame. This is a very important group because your leadership will succeed or fail based on the advice you receive. 

3.  Make decisions with the information you have now

Hindsight is always 20/20.  As a leader, you will never have 100% certainty that you have all information. You must act when you need to. You may be criticized later for not knowing certain information, but this can’t deter you from making a decision with the information you had at the time. You must do what you can with what you have at the time.

4.    Focus on the Future

Recently, two of my top athletes came to me and said they were only willing to make 3 practices a week accompanied with a short list of demands. These two athletes would guarantee victories for most dual meets. I had to make the Hard Decision. Character is more important than wins. I communicated to them my expectations about coming to practice everyday and putting their team first. They made the decision to not participate on the team this year. The Future consequences outweigh the immediate needs every time. The consequences will be a program full of athletes that respect and trust their leadership. These lessons will not only affect their sport but their future as adults.

5.    Own the Fallout

You will not be able to prepare for everything. Not making a decision is deciding to do nothing. This is leadership suicide. Don’t be afraid to fail. Make a decision, learn from it and become a better leader each choice you make. Own the consequences and take personal responsibility. Those you lead cannot be thrown under the bus because you listened to them. You are the leader and the final outcome of any decision is on you. 

Think like this:

Good outcome – your advisors get the credit.

Bad outcome – you take responsibility.

Regardless of the outcome (good or bad) your advisors, audience, followers, athletes, or employees will work hard for you because they feel safe in your leadership.

Decisions are at the heart of your leadership success. There will be times when the critical moment for a decision must be made and it can be difficult, nerve-racking, and accompanied with much anxiety. Great leaders balance emotion and anxiety with reason to make the best decision they can with what they have. They think about their employees, customers, athletes, and the future success of their program or organization.

Can you make the Hard Decision? When have you had to make the difficult choice? How did it turn out?