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Building Community Through Better Relationships

Who’s Driving This Car?

Concept 26

Organizations without real leaders are like a car with no one driving. Ordinary cars perform every function that they were built to do; yet they lack the ability to navigate challenges directly in front of them. Newer models are beginning to acquire that functionality. Likewise, successful leaders are developing the functionality to perform in more dynamic environments. And, with each success they develop people to accomplish more. These leaders intentionally develop others to help accomplish what is in everyone’s best interest. Better people contributing more effectively create more productive and satisfying environments. These leaders are who need to drive the car.

Lead As You Learn
Individuals who lead the same they were taught typically create more problems than they solve. Old paradigms helped organizations, but marginalized people. Eventually, that approach resulted in marginalized organizations. Realize that an organization is a group working toward a specific goal. Groups can be missionaries, sports teams, or corporate executives. To facilitate progress, leaders must get teams to move forward their joint interests. As team members grow and evolve, the leaders must meet their changing needs and priorities. Promising a gold watch after 40 years is no longer enough.

Leadership is dynamic. Old teachings no longer apply to modern workplaces. The solution is to lead as you learn. Conversely, success is realized when you learn as you lead. So, when the question arises whether learning or leading comes first, the answer is yes! By actively serving people under their watch, leaders can keep their needs as the focal point. Because everyone’s needs evolve quicker than ever before, effective leadership demands hitting multiple moving targets. Simultaneously, leading and learning offers the only fighting chance to compete and win.

Lead For Results
Because organizations’ objectives include winning, scoring systems must be established. Scoreboards make it easy for a sports team to identify winning. Publicly held corporations have stock markets as intrinsic metrics to identify winners. But what about individuals in the bowels of these organization? Or, what about professionals like educators or research teams? Scorecards are effective management tools to facilitate measurement over specific time horizons. SMART (Specific Measurable Achievable Relevant Time-based) goals work well where quantifying outcomes gets tricky. Nevertheless, always measure results.

Leaders must tell their teams explicitly how they perform. These performance targets pave the road in front of the organization. They reveal where the organization is heading. Consequently, direction provides what followers require to determine their individual objectives. Then, the leader can channel their desire to deliver the team’s needs for mutual success. The team can now identify their desired results.

All of this sounds great, but it only works when the group knows who is driving. Where is the authority? That knowledge is necessary for the team to position itself to respond to ongoing directions. As teams gain alignment, productivity improves. Next, results improve. Then, all contributors benefit. Such awareness only occurs with clear direction and progressive leadership. “Because I said so”, may meet the quarterly numbers. But, it ultimately leads to short tenures for leaders. The leader who drives the car such that others understand how and why has a significant advantage. That leader and the team now both enjoy power. That power promotes encouragement, motivation, preparation and results which then leads teams to their rewards.

By Glenn W Hunter
Principal of Hunter And Beyond

August 16, 2017 Posted by | Better Business, Better World | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Naughty Manager

Old School Manager

Bad managers aren’t born. They are made. Unfortunately, they are often made very early in life. Unlike genuine leaders who continuously evolve and grow, immature managers get some authority and park. It is not really the managers’ fault that they were made that way. It is totally their fault that they refused to acquire skills and evolve to the point they develop team members. Consequently, they fail to deliver sustainable results. Their small mindedness is evident in their behavior, motivation and lackluster productivity. Leaders take responsibility for their teams’ results. Mangers should aspire to assume responsibility for others, as opposed to barking about their authority and whining about their lack of respect.

Old School Guy
“I’m just an old school guy. That is how I came up in the business.” is a common statement by stagnant managers. What that really means is that they are old and lazy. You don’t want to work to improve. You don’t want to be held accountable for progress. Progress requires learning skills. It also requires accepting responsibility for better communications. Old School Guy complains that no one listens. He is oblivious to demonstrating respect or earning it with people skills.

When results become a problem, discipline is the default. Teams do not produce for Old School Guy because they do not like him! While this manager quickly points to his 20 years experience in the business, his more mature superiors regretfully recognize that he really had one year’s experience 20 times! But like any naughty child, opportunities to learn to improve happen. If only he grasped the opportunities to learn. If only….

New School Results
Communication, inclusion, dialogue are not fads. Results emerge by getting colleagues to buy into both vision and goals, then working hard toward metrics. Being the boss is not most important. Delivering results is. Communication requires listening first. As a leader, authority means having the last word. Is the first one necessary, too? For leaders who listen poorly, practice using phrases like: why do you think that?; what have you seen work in this situation?; how would your idea impact your direct reports? The magic happens when the leader embraces the silence after the question and listens!

Better questions yield better answers. Honest dialogue cultivates better solutions. Ask any child, the threat of pain promotes additional lying. Remove the pain through open, pre-emptive dialogue and more honesty results. Subordinates tend to respond better when they are genuinely heard. As a leader, make the decision. Also, consider other perspectives. Disregard the team’s input long enough and leaders will have no followers. And, a parade leader without a marching band is just someone with a stick taking a walk.

Ironically, the beauty of team success is that when it happens, enough credit is available to share. This by no means suggests rewards are distributed equally. It means the team wins. Nevertheless, mistakes happen. All knowledge does not reside in the masses. Bad decisions occur. Naughty managers start blaming everyone else in those times. However, according to leadership expert, John Maxwell, “Leadership is taking responsibility while others are making excuses.” Leaders stand tall with integrity in tough times when that attribute is most valuable. No excuses. No threats. Just clear direction and accountability. Seize opportunity to lead. Or, just pout alone with no other toys to abuse!

By Glenn W Hunter
Principal of Hunter And Beyond

August 2, 2017 Posted by | Better Business, Better Communication, Better Person | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Outwork The Next Guy

running uphill

Two hikers walking in the woods come across a large bear playing with her cubs. Mama bear roars at the hikers! While both hikers try to remain calm, one hiker reaches into his bag and slowly pulls out his sneakers. Mama bear roars again while deciding whether to maul the intruders or just scare the people. The second hiker whispers, “You will never outrun that bear.” As the first hiker finishes tying his second shoe he quietly responds, “I don’t have to outrun the bear; I only need to outrun you!” The first hiker clearly understood what many competitors miss. He does not have to defeat all competitors, he just needs to outwork the next guy.

Be Prepared
“Fortune favors the prepared mind”, according to Louis Pasteur. Preparation comes before success alphabetically and procedurally. Who really packs tennis shoes to go hiking? Preparation is not a singular event. It is a habit; a mindset! Obsessive preparation halts progress. Everything is planned and nothing happens. But, purposefully planning to win works.

Effective preparation begins with the end in mind. Defining goals is a great start. Defining success is another essential element. If the plan is weight loss, then identify a target amount. If the goal is to earn a million dollars annually, then personal results dictate earning $500 per hour for a plan to work 40 hours per week and enjoy two weeks vacation. Setting goals, creating a plan, and executing that plan is essential to success. Unfortunately, performance does not occur in a vacuum. Achieving lofty goals demands outworking others.

Get Started
“A journey of 1,000 miles starts with a single step.”, according to Lao Tzu. So, what’s the first step? In academic settings, students receive a syllabus which outlines class expectations and guidance for how grades are calculated. Reading the syllabus is a great way to get started toward earning an A. Competitive athletes start preparing for the next season after a brief period of rest and healing, by targeting specific skills to improve. At that performance level, the competition is particularly fierce, leaving little room for backsliding.

But, preparation is just the start. Next, repetition becomes the focus. Identifying areas of improvement is useless without dedicated skill development working toward progress. High performance results from preparing, starting, and executing. Each step closes the gap toward the goal. Measure progress. Keep score. Tenaciously work toward specific metrics to stay ahead of the competition. And, if progress is unsatisfactory, then reevaluate preparation and the plan. Confirm that the stated target is the desired outcome. Changing routines for better results is allowed.

Back to the hikers, packing sneakers in the bag was a great idea. However, if the hiker was grossly out of shape, escaping the bear is futile. Good preparation without dedication toward improvement leads to being mauled by a bear. Prepare, start, execute! Regarding results, consistency applies equally to collegiate athletes and second grade students; the same for social workers and CEOs. Most importantly, collaborating with the other guy that you outrun, elevates both of your performance. Iron sharpens iron. And, if you are both prepared, then get started, and execute with excellence, you both may outrun the bear!

By Glenn W Hunter
Principal of Hunter And Beyond

July 26, 2017 Posted by | Better Person, Better World | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Next Best Idea

Biz Team Ideas

Great leaders do not have exclusive rights to great ideas! Mediocre leaders definitely do not, regardless how much they believe they do. In making decisions, request ideas with the expectation of exploring them. The purpose is to create an environment of creative problem solving, not placating contributors. Every idea is not good, nor salvageable. But, the right process increases perspectives and ideas for circulation. Progress despises ninth place trophies. Monday’s idea may be dumb, but Wednesday’s idea may be game changing. But the group never gets Wednesday’s idea, if Monday’s ideas are choked. Avoid embracing the second best idea. But, the next idea may be the best for organizational growth.

Trust the Process
Encourage contributions. Leadership conveys authority, not ultimate intelligence. Evaluate and digest each suggestion. Celebrate creativity and input. Effective brainstorming accepts all ideas before a vetting process starts. In many circumstances, time does not permit the acceptance of all ideas. However, by creating the environment where encouraged ideas surface, more ideas emerge under any time constraint because of trust in the process. More ideas, more diverse opinions result in more opportunities for an optimal solution.

Leaders belittling inferior contributions effectively choke future contributions. Not discouraging the idea is vastly different from endorsing inferior input. Accepting and evaluating assorted contributions need to be part of the organizational culture. Contributors with seemingly dumb suggestions often facilitate discussions that challenge assumptions. The possibility clearly existed, but fear of challenging established protocols most likely stifled it. Open processes generate unconventional ideas that lead to innovation. Allow the group to benefit from new ideas.

Reward the Result
Leaders have authority which typically involves making decisions. Weak organizations fixate on making motions and casting votes. Sometimes protocol dictates that process to prevent abuses of power. Other times organizations default to that position to pretend to value all contributions. Still other times, organizations default to mediocrity by cowering behind fairness. But, effective leadership makes decisions! Part of the decision making process is rewarding contributions. Ideally, the expectation becomes that the best executed opportunities will deliver the best results. Give the organization the opportunities to execute the best ideas. Encourage ideas with clear and conspicuous rewards based on open input.

Requesting more input enables more innovation. Many problems result from old assumptions leading to poor performance. Poor performance can be avoided by growing a culture that actively welcomes and rewards the best ideas. Seek the best paths to the most favorable results. Assuming that the leader has all the answers is a recipe for disaster. Leaders make errors. They subscribe to poor theories. Sometimes they genuinely believe lies, then innocently spread them. Consequently, test seemingly bad ideas to unlock potentially valuable insight. Cultivate different perspectives. A different set of assumptions and experiences may result in unexpected value.

Ultimately, leaders who genuinely ask for contributions get them. Dealing with suggestions honestly, respectfully, and authentically creates an environment where suggestions have a chance to contribute to the greater good. All ideas are welcome. They may be discarded. They may be lousy. But, they are welcome. Seek the value in the bad ideas. Challenge assumptions. Leaders may have more authority. They do not have exclusivity to accuracy. Solicit ideas. Be open to new insights. The proposed solution may be lousy. But the next, best idea, that surfaces because the group believed in the process, may be the most valuable of all!

 
By Glenn W Hunter
Principal of Hunter And Beyond

May 10, 2017 Posted by | Better Business, Better Communication | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Escape From Your Comfort Orbit

Spacecraft in Orbit

It is sickening how professional speakers pathetically encourage people that they can have success by “moving beyond your comfort zone.” These commentators are entitled to their limited world view. But extraordinary achievement requires an extraterrestrial grasp of reality. “Escape Your Comfort Orbit” suggests a greater effort and much greater results! But, what is a “Comfort Orbit” and how can someone escape it?

Create A Stronger Force
Any zone, including a comfort zone, is a place marked by boundaries. Rules forbid leaving the perimeter. An orbit literally has boundaries that are defined by gravitational force that restricts escaping. Still, a zone reflects limited territory in the sense that the area is clearly defined. Beyond the boundaries anyone who escapes can be relatively easily retrieved. But, upon escaping an orbit, the stars await. Success requires more than resisting this force. The ambitious adventurer must completely escape it.

Beyond the orbit’s restriction, freedom and adventure reign. Orbital forces are strong. But, resistance is not futile. Exerting exceptional energy leads to breaking free. The first scientists to launch a rocket to the moon had to learn to use Earth’s rotation and gravitational forces to help generate enough speed to escape the Earth’s orbital pull. Extraordinary achievement demands unique and creative solutions. Escaping social, personal, and professional boundaries require solutions with similar imagination. Seek additional solutions to launch your dream if the first one fails. Escaping the orbit is hard work. It is worth it!

Soar Beyond Constraints
Upon breaking the gravitational pull, progress benefits from suddenly lighter burdens. The force that allowed you to escape, is now unburdened, and effortlessly propels toward greater distances. It is simple physics. With the same mindset that escaped greatness-inhibiting burdens, identify and attain new heights. The weight that held you back is no longer a factor. All acquired knowledge and experiences are free to empower a new trajectory.

Embrace the new trajectory. Without the reality of gravity’s tug, prior constraints no longer apply. Continue to soar. Education, background, past mistakes have less authority in the new frontier than most people realize. Open your mind to dream bigger. Gather your tools. Learn the knowledge. Acquire the skills. Achieve your greatest ambitions. Mediocrity, like gravitational pull, only matters in close proximity to familiar terrain. In unchartered space, prior constraints no longer apply.

ULTIMATELY, the freedom to reach greater achievements does not mean they can be recklessly pursued. Specifically, be WISE to use the tools to launch a significant escape:
Work – Make the effort with an expectation of results.
Iterate – Try, fail and try again.
Service – Help someone; you may even create an ally.
Experiment – You were stuck in the orbit based on your prior habits; Get new habits.
Upon escaping your comfort orbit, success is available. But first, get started. Then, be WISE. From that point, create your own limits to pursue!

By Glenn W Hunter
Principal of Hunter And Beyond

April 27, 2017 Posted by | Better Person, Better World | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Prepare to Win, Perform to Win

allen-iverson practice

“We’re talking about practice. Not a game!… We’re talking about practice.” Hard core professional basketball fans still love quoting Allen Iverson’s practice rant from 2002. Iverson was making a point about the importance of performing even at the risk of minimizing preparation. Despite being an exceptionally unique and productive performer, history argues that he may have benefited from better practice habits. Unsurprisingly, in other competitive arenas, like business or entertainment, that truth regularly faces performers. Yes, we are talking about practice!

Preparation
Preparation for superior performance is not a singular act. Musicians practice regularly regardless of immediate performance obligations. Likewise, highly accomplished business professionals routinely identify opportunities for additional training in their areas of expertise. In fact, over-achieving professionals, will take time to train others in order to sharpen their own mastery. The preparation involved in their presentations promotes peak performance. The process clarifies their best thinking so that they can effectively provide maximum value to their audience and marketplace.

School children learn that practice makes perfect. Athletic coaches are fond of saying, “Perfect practice make perfect.” The truth about preparation regardless of the field, is that it is a necessary part of the process toward excellence. The more repetition endured in preparation, the better prepared the competitor will be to maximize their performance when the stakes are highest. Undoubtedly, talent provides several advantages. Yet, skill can be developed and improved. Preparing to perform is a skill that in turn enhances skill. This two-step tactic delivers superior results.

Performance
So, what happens when it is time to perform? And, how important is experience? Simply put, more experience produces better performance. When stakes are highest, no professional performer really wants to be searching for a solution. More practice, more preparation, and more learning activities eventually result in better equipped opportunities for superior performance. “If you stay ready, you don’t have to get ready.”

Skills and knowledge necessary for peak performance have typically already been explored. Perhaps a coach is available to share their experience in managing potential situations. Perhaps the repetition of intentional and intense practice included multiple scenarios expected to occur in competition. Successful sales professionals consistently rehearse and refine their pitch so that they can effortlessly overcome objections and conquer competitors. “Fortune favors the prepared mind.”, according Louis Pasteur. Take the time to prepare in your area of expertise so that your knowledge and discipline are engaged to propel you to targeted success.

The benefit of practice is that the prepared mind secures the advantage. In any competitive endeavor, the competition most likely expects to win, also. The nature of competition demands outperforming an opponent. Practice provides the edge. Structured and disciplined practice provides a bigger edge. Regardless, of the field, winning through competition produces rewards. Generate more sales, score more points, raise more money, discover a cure faster, save more souls. Winning is not an event; it is a process. Target the results. Prepare to win. Perform to win. Embrace the rewards.

 
By Glenn W Hunter
Principal of Hunter And Beyond

April 13, 2017 Posted by | Better Communication, Better Person | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Yellow Means You Can Do It

yellow-traffic-light

Never has running a yellow light been so hazardous! As more people migrate to Tennessee for the great cost of living, good quality of life, and beautiful changes of seasons, they all bring their native driving habits. Particularly, Californians who move to Tennessee have to adjust to a dramatically different driving culture. Tennessee’s driving culture sees yellow lights as a warning that the light will turn red, so let’s stop. In the hustle, bustle and unfathomable traffic of California, their drivers interpret yellow traffic lights to mean to go faster: “You can do it!” Same traffic light, but different cultures, results in multiple collisions.

Can Do Attitude
Regardless of which culture is right, the resulting accident is bad. But, the crashing of the two cultures still intersect at a common understanding. The yellow light literally means caution, but a pervading attitude is “you can do it.” People relocate for a better life, regardless of any number of factors that ultimately drive the decision. That sense of optimism generates hope and opportunity. By setting goals, the mindset assumes a perspective that a better existence results from achieving the stated goal. Whether it is a healthier lifestyle, a better career, or educational accomplishments, acknowledging that “you can do it”, is an essential first step. Naysayers and failure are often around the corner. All the same, see the caution, then go for it anyway!

Still Pay Attention
Despite the decision to seize opportunity, the yellow light still means caution. Risk remains. Not every entrepreneurial venture is a roaring success. Some ideas never take flight. Effective planning helps mitigate some risks. Better information and creative alternatives provide options to the original plan. Inner confidence contributes an even heightened priority because people who want to squash progress and achievement everywhere. Sometimes they are part of the journey. The line between being concerned for someone and selfishly wanting to hold them back is often indistinguishable. Be wise. Be alert. Be courageous.

Yellow lights are not a license to speed, nor permission to enter a congested intersection, regardless of what Californians say. But, they are right when they believe that the caution signal means “You can do it.” Find an intersection. Life is full of crossroads. Drive through it. Don’t let your old ways, prevent you or anyone else from advancing. Recognize the risk. Perform the necessary internal calculations. Then, seize the moment. Take the chance. Set an ambitious goal. Accomplish it. Or, fail at it. But either way, take the experience, then speed to the next intersection. The road leads to more opportunities. Recognize the caution. Then, proceed to get somewhere new. You can do it!

By Glenn W Hunter
Principal of Hunter And Beyond

March 31, 2017 Posted by | Better Communication, Better Community, Better Person | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Get An Old Man

Two Men Talking 2

“You have to get an old man” advised the half-crazy upperclassman tutor to a group of freshman trying to survive their first term at an elite university. The freshmen were baffled how an old man could help navigate their coursework. Then, the tutor elaborated that the old man was for wisdom, not education. This was real-world knowledge. In any complex organization, success requires more than raw, intellectual firepower. Negotiating cultural landmines and systemic distractions requires understanding and revelation that only comes from wisdom. Figuring out any large institution demands more insight than any one individual can acquire in a few months. It takes scar tissue to navigate the intricacies of complex systems. Why not benefit from someone else’s wounds?

Wisdom
“Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterward.”, according to Vernon Law. Wisdom comes from learning the lesson and surviving to tell the story! Lessons are not simply endured, they must be learned. Old men have already learned the lesson. Imagine the advantage of having the lesson before the test. Youth involves absorbing experiences for the first time. The advantage of maturity is knowing that someone’s first time, is most likely not the first time something happened. Youthful exuberance does not provide that perspective. Every old man was once young. Identify one that has walked the trail that youngsters are preparing to walk. Realize that the old man does not just know the challenges, they know how to avoid them.

Results
Another benefit of old men is that they have seen great ideas come and go. They have seen talented people long on vision and short on execution. They understand that results matter! The upperclassman had personally witnessed brilliant students that struggled because they had always excelled alone. They had never needed help, so never learned how to ask. Corporations, academia, bureaucracies are full of these types. The wise old man knows what newbies need before they do. He is not competing for a grade, or a promotion. He wants to be part of their success. Wisdom will be shared with someone and it will be valuable. Get in line and receive it.

The most fascinating part of engaging an old man is what he gets out of the deal. Some youngsters avoid bothering an old man because they have nothing to offer back. Their intelligence blocks their understanding. They assume they cannot reciprocate, then applaud their brilliance. Old men vary; often relevance is all they seek. Other times it is repaying an internal debt from when they finally accepted wise counsel. Occasionally, they see the greatness in a potential protégé that the youngster is afraid to embrace. Regardless, seek wisdom. Wisdom does not follow age. But, wisdom ages well. The old man does not have to be old. It does not have to be a man. Mentors only require understanding that can guide toward a desired result. Get an old man. Then later, remember to find a young person!

By Glenn W Hunter
Principal of Hunter And Beyond

March 22, 2017 Posted by | Better Community, Better Person | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Bloom Where You’re Planted

bloom-where-planted

Community gardens uniquely reflect growth! The location’s inherent beauty and the unconquerable human spirit jointly emerge regardless of the surrounding environment’s condition. The individual may suffer. Aggregately, life thrives despite the surroundings. Whatever conditions may dictate the environment, in the presence of community, life perseveres. Similarly, great ideas are birthed wherever the human spirit intercedes. Today’s dilapidated warehouse becomes tomorrow’s technology hub. Like the garden in a field of asphalt, the result demonstrates that life, people and ideas have the capacity to bloom where they are planted.

Breakthrough
Before the garden spreads, the first seeds must have their breakthrough. All the seeds have the genetic capacity to emerge in harsh soil. However, certain seeds have either genetic tenacity, or a fortuitous crack near their germination which results in their breakthrough. People, and subsequently communities, must take advantage of breakthroughs as soon as they happen. Blooming never gets the chance without an available opportunity. Call it luck; call it favor; call it destiny. But to bloom where planted, the individual has to answer the call. Whenever someone emerges successfully from squalor despite nearby death and destruction, that individual seized their breakthrough and then absorbed a disproportionate amount of radiance and nutrients. Another nearby person may have had more innate talent. Yet, they failed to seize the resources that were available to all. Blooming requires grabbing resources where seeds take root, then expanding beyond the local boundaries. Do not wait for the next turn. Fight for resources that provide individual transformations.

Spread
Greatness is not a singular event. The bloom that emerges in their desolate environment needs to spread seed in the environment so that additional growth can occur. The garden is not successful with one stalk. Success requires a community of vegetation to make the soil healthy enough for more growth. The goal is to bloom where you are planted. It is not bloom, then wait to be transplanted. Even with expanding growth opportunities, no guarantee exists that every new seedling has a breakthrough. Bloom where you are planted requires cultivating a more vibrant and fruitful garden which enriches the soil to reproduce additional growth. The pockets of life interact. Their networking strengthens their aggregate opportunities to benefit each other and grow. A community does not grow one individual at a time. It grows and flourished when multiple pockets emerge in the same general location. The groupings share resources and nourishment, then the garden eventually changes its characters. The asphalt gives way to fertile growth.

Creating a vibrant community requires a symbiotic, pro-growth environment. Tilling, seeding, watering, pruning are all components of growing a garden, even a community garden. Spreading ideas and opportunities into pockets of growth facilitate the next generation enduring the same routine. Blooming is not a singular event. Growth demands time and replication. To change the environment, the enriched soil must be maintained. Remove weeds that choke the growth. Also, introduce outside influences that understand how to grow gardens so that they benefit from proven practices. Blooming communities require the ability to develop and nourish each other. It is difficult, but it is worthwhile. But to start, the first intentional cultivation must bloom where it is planted.

By Glenn W Hunter
Principal of Hunter And Beyond

February 22, 2017 Posted by | Better Community, Better World | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

All My Previous Addresses

mansionshack

“I think we are a product of all our experiences.”, according to legendary banker, Sanford Weill. That quote became crystal clear when a pastor friend became privately furious when someone tried to take advantage of him in a business deal. The adversary mistakenly took the pastor’s kindness for weakness. Consequently, the pastor planned to attack more than his character. Considering that the pastor grew up in violent communities, his plan involved more wrath than forgiveness. Nevertheless, the small group erupted with laughter when the pastor threateningly snarled about his adversary, “He doesn’t know all my previous addresses!”

Where You’re From
As a man of God, the pastor had attained a respectable position in his community and among his congregation. As a troubled youth he had learned how to extract revenge and never show weakness. Whether earning a PhD from Oxford or a GED from the School of Hard Knocks, people apply lessons from their individual history into their personal growth. Every individual’s past is a foundation for their future. The strength used to navigate through a ruthless past is the same strength used to develop unconquerable character. The caterpillar that enters the cocoon has the same character as the butterfly that releases from it. The transformation equips it with better tools, but the tenacity to escape and ability to fly was in there all along. Success requires acknowledging the past; all of it. Channeling experiences from early conquests to develop new and improved skills result in future victories.

Where You’re Going
Everyone is heading somewhere. Many sermons point out, “You’re either going into a storm, in the middle of a storm, or coming out of a storm.” Regardless, progress is about the journey, not just the destination. Be aware of both. The journey is not linear. Pick a direction anyway. Pursue the mountain top that everyone sees, yet fear prevents them from ascending. Those left behind will hurl discouragement from the valley. Others will present obstacles from above fearing progress will soon overtake them. Nevertheless, grasp all previous experiences to build momentum. Let the insults and obstacles serve as stepping stones toward progress. Feel free to lead others also willing to ascend toward higher destinations.

“Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.”, according to President Theodore Roosevelt. Ultimately, individual skills, experiences and values are the most prized possessions. Limits do exist. But, they usually exist well beyond where most people dare to climb. You did in fact live at your previous address. And, then you lived at another address. No one needs to know all your previous addresses. But as you climb, the new address is the one that matters. And, the next one does too. Furthermore, the same skills and characteristics that began the ascensions serve as the foundations for the next plateau. Progress prohibits remaining at previous addresses. But, it is essential to remember the lessons they provided, and the power that they birthed!

By Glenn W Hunter
Principal of Hunter And Beyond.

February 8, 2017 Posted by | Better Community, Better Person | , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment