“Integrity is choosing courage over comfort; choosing what is right over what is fun, fast, or easy; and choosing to practice our values rather than simply professing them.” ―Brené Brown
“Integrity is choosing courage over comfort; choosing what is right over what is fun, fast, or easy; and choosing to practice our values rather than simply professing them.” ―Brené Brown

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3 Key Revelations About Effective Teams

How Collective Feedback Creates Clarity and Innovation

This week my team met for strategic planning. We set aside several days so the leadership team could review our values, goals, and budget. We’re just finishing up today, actually.

team exercise

But Day 1 was dedicated not just to leaders, but to the full team. Why? I prioritize my team. Customers are important for a business. But without a stable, effective team you can’t serve them well.

How to Become a Big Thinker

7 Steps Anyone Can Follow to Develop This Critical Skill

Last week I wrote about how the mindset of a successful creative differs from less successful ones. I listed thinking big as the No. 1 characteristic. Over the years, I’ve heard from countless people who struggle with this.

thinking big

I get it. When we’re young, parents and teachers tell us we can do anything. We can become whatever we want! Then we grow older, and these same people tell us we must become more realistic.

Usually, that’s just code for small thinking.

Why You Should Welcome Problems

4 Upsides to the Challenges We Face on the Job

Several years ago, I was having a really rough day at the office. It seemed everything that could go wrong was going wrong—at the worst possible time.

A flat tire

I was the CEO of Thomas Nelson then, and one of my biggest authors was threatening to leave. I had a major position I couldn’t seem to fill, despite numerous interviews. And several of our customers were upset over what I had thought was a minor policy change.

“When will it ever end?” I thought.

"Never give up on a dream just because of the time it will take to accomplish it. The time will pass anyway." -Earl Nightingale

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7 Ways Successful Creatives Think Differently than Unsuccessful Ones

It Takes More Than Talent

As a publishing executive, I worked with authors for more than three decades. I’ve also worked with speakers, recording artists, designers, and other creatives. I have had the privilege of working with the best—and the challenge of enduring the worst. What separates the two?

creative team

That question is of greater importance now than ever before because creative work plays a bigger role in business today than at any time previous. Ask any entrepreneur.

Why You Should Never Start With Your Most Difficult Task

(And What You Should Do Instead)

Years ago, I heard a motivational speaker encourage his audience to “eat that frog.” The line has a long history. And it makes sense: Stop procrastinating and just do the thing you fear. Once you do that, everything else is easy.

Open notepad

While that may be helpful in overcoming procrastination, it’s exactly backwards for big goals and projects. Instead, you should tackle your easiest task first.

10 Research-Backed Ways to Create the Breakthrough You Need

Including One Trick that Works Especially Well for Introverts

Leadership and entrepreneurial breakthroughs depend on creativity. But we don’t always feel very creative, do we? Thankfully, research suggests we all have access to the kind of creativity we need to get the results we want—even if you don’t feel especially creative.

pensive planning

Last week I went fly fishing on Hesse Creek in East Tennessee. Nothing takes my mind off work like fishing. Worries and challenges fade into the background, and I find myself fully immersed in the present moment.

But it’s not about avoiding difficulties. When I’m finished I often find I have the clarity I lacked when I started. There’s something about the relaxation that actually sparks my best thinking.

"The expert in anyhting was once a beginner." -Unknown

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3 Leadership Lessons from the Cubs’ Historic World Series Win

Because it Takes More than Skill to Beat the Odds

I’m not much of a baseball fan. I played in high school, but I lost interest after breaking my elbow. So while most of my friends were deep into game seven of the World Series, I went to bed. Then they woke me up.

Pitcher in motion

Several of us were staying in a vacation home for a marriage retreat. It was almost midnight when I started hearing voices rise in the house. There was laughing and a lot of excitement.

I tried to go back to sleep. But I couldn’t. Now I was curious. What was going on out there? I wondered. Surely the game is over by now.

What Happens When Companies Forget About the Product

The One Thing You Must Do to Preserve Your Innovation Mojo

I used to watch Apple’s product events with eager anticipation. But when I watched the most recent one, I was disappointed. I’m a serious Machead. But if I’m honest, I think they’re losing their mojo. It’s a cautionary tale, one that Steve Jobs actually warned about.

ipad-goodbye

Using IBM and Xerox as examples, Jobs explained the evolution of large, successful companies in two stages. In the first stage companies focus on products that solve customer problems. In the second they focus on sales and marketing.