Use Your Gifts

Recently I enjoyed a book by Tyler Perry entitled “Higher Is Waiting”.  It is an entertaining and challenging read about his faith journey and always striving to go higher.  The fact that we are all gifted in some way should not be new to any of us, but the fact that our gifts often remain hidden or unused is a great reminder.  Search out your God given talents and use them!  Consider this excerpt from the book…

I realized that we all have gifts within, but they’re too often hidden. We have gifts we have never used, even though they are within reach.  If we only knew where to look, we would find them.  These gifts are special.  They might even change our lives and help make the world a better place.

We all have gifts given to us by God. Look for yours.
– “Higher Is Waiting” by Tyler Perry



It is difficult for a person to claim that they have wisdom.  Being wise, or having wisdom, is a trait recognized by others.  Wisdom is hard to find but you know it when you see it.  I have written in the MMM before about the elusiveness of wisdom.  We search constantly for it, and while we may feel wise at times there are others where we are totally lost.  But there are places to start and steps to take towards wisdom.  Consider this…

“Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom.”
- Thomas Jefferson

Start your book of wisdom by being honest this week! 


The Charles Schulz Philosophy

A Quiz…
1. Name the five wealthiest people in the world.
2. Name the last five Heisman trophy winners.
3. Name the last five winners of the Miss America pageant.
4. Name ten people who have won the Nobel or Pulitzer Prize.
5. Name the last half dozen Academy Award winners for best actor and actress.
6. Name the last decade's worth of World Series winners.
How did you do?  The point is that none of us remember the headliners of yesterday.
They are/were the best in their fields. But the applause dies, their place in the world changes.  Awards tarnish, achievements are forgotten, accolades and certificates are buried with their owners.

Here's another quiz. See how you do on this one…
1. List a few teachers who aided your journey through school.
2. Name three friends who have helped you through a difficult time.
3. Name five people who have taught you something worthwhile.
4. Think of a few people who have made you feel appreciated and special!!
5. Think of five people you enjoy spending time with.
This one was much easier, right?  The people who make a difference in your life are not the ones with the most credentials, the most money, the most accomplishments or awards.  They simply are the ones who care the most.  Surely your life has been touched by such caring people.  Be sure to touch the lives of others in the same way yourself.

A great life reminder from the creator of Peanuts!



To blame or not to blame?  There are appropriate times to seek and place blame, like when lives have been lost or when property has been damaged. Often, in matters of less importance we try too hard to blame others.  Admirable is the notion of taking responsibility for ones’ action.  It is too easy to place blame, point a finger, or deny responsibility.  We all do it to some degree, but in highly visibly situations, on important issues, and in teaching moments, great leaders pass on blaming others (even if somewhat justified).  The high road is one taken without blaming others and a wise choice to make.  Think about that at home in the example we set for our kids.  Unfortunately, our younger generation seems extremely quick to lay blame.  Take responsibility for whom and what you are.  Pass up the finger pointing opportunity and lead by example.  Consider this quote…

“The search for someone to blame is always successful.”
- Robert Half


Love & Forgiveness

As we celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day today, give some thought to Dr. King’s quote:

“We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love. There is some good in the worst of us and some evil in the best of us. When we discover this, we are less prone to hate our enemies.

Consider the relationship between love and forgiveness. 



We are all leaders.  Some are formal leaders with titles, others informal leaders with influence.  We lead at home, church, in our community and at work.  We lead our children, our peers and our employees.  If you do not consider yourself a leader you are ignoring an opportunity to influence those around you.  Below are some keys of quality leadership.  Embrace these and be a great leader! 

  • Hope - Great leaders give people hope for a better tomorrow.
  • Consistency - When followers never know what to expect from a leader they will stop expecting anything.
  • Influence - People do not respond well when pushed, forced or directed. They respond best when influenced by leaders they respect. 
  • Honesty & Trust - Trust and honesty are established when words and actions match up.
  • Accountability - Leaders understand that followers need to see leaders who are willing to be accountable. 
  • Humility - As leaders we should be concerned with what is rightnot if we are right. 
  • Respect & Caring - People do not care what you know until they know that you care.  


Why do we care?

Why do we care so much about what other people think?  Too often we let that thought drive our decisions and actions.  I know I do; I care.  I want people to like me, or at least think positively about me.  We should not let that motivation change who we are, or what we believe.  We should never be too absorbed by what others think.  Taken one step farther, we need to be realistic about our ability to influence.  While I am a strong proponent of leadership through influence, we do not control others’ thoughts and actions.  We can model leadership behaviors.  How people chose to act in their own lives is not dependent upon our behavior.  As humans we are independent thinkers and make our own decisions, it is a power God has granted us.  As such we have influence but not control over those we love and lead. 

Just be careful about taking yourself too seriously.  It can be dangerous…

Don't take anything personally. Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won't be the victim of needless suffering.
- Miguel Angel Ruiz