The Dream Chaser by Tony Gaskins, Jr.

The first book to jump start this year off is a great read from Tony A. Gaskins, Jr., titled, “The Dream Chaser.” It’s certainly well worth your time and will inspire and encourage those with an entrepreneur spirit in them to keep believing in their dreams. In my own journey towards transformation, I want to share some of the insightful nuggets that stood out to me from the book. Don’t just rely on these few quotes though, go pick it up for yourself! Be Blessed. Be Revealed.

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The Dream Chaser

By: Tony A. Gaskins, Jr.

  • You have to question the path.
  • While studying in school, you should spend just as much time studying yourself.
  • Don’t sleep on your dreams. There are natural gifts inside of you that could change your life.
  • If you want to sleep through life, then get comfortable; but if you want to be great in this life, then you’ll have to stretch yourself.
  • Don’t pretend to be someone you’re not and miss out on who you can become.
  • A fantasy is rooted in pleasure. A dream is rooted in purpose.
  • Don’t wish, just work.
  • Have a vision so big that certain parts of it are blurry and it only clears up as you walk by faith toward it.
  • Don’t get caught up in the system so much that you fail to do what you were born to do. Tap into your gifts and use them to help make your life better.
  • You have to follow the calling, not the crowd.
  • How can God trust you with the world when he can’t trust you with your own home?
  • There is a lot of growth in the climb, just as there is growth in the valley.

    I guarded my eyes and my ears very closely because I was growing.

  • You can’t delegate your destiny.
  • Success is made in the oven. It takes time to become successful, and you have to work for it like there is no tomorrow.
  • It was family time and grind time.
  • Confidence comes from strength. Arrogance comes from insecurity.
  • Don’t settle for mediocre people if you aren’t a mediocre person.
  • Don’t compromise your value, your morals, or your beliefs.
  • You constantly have to be creating and innovating, whether that’s new materials or new products. You have to keep working.
  • Make it simple as possible but not one bit simpler.
  • I knew there wasn’t a downside to having self-respect.
  • Learn something about every aspect of your business, and be consistent in your gift.
  • Three C’s: Confidence, Content, and Consistency
  • When you learn how to love, you learn how to live. Your family should be your first priority.

Go Big or Go Home

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There will never be a “perfect” time but there will always be a right time to dare greatly and go after the dream in your heart. That time is now. Live a life of 100x and believe in something so grand that it will take God’s hand of favor and intervention to make it happen. There is nothing too big for God. In fact, he will surpass our wildest and biggest imaginations. I believe God is pleased with our God-sized dreams. My dad used to say to me “go big or go home!” Friends…I’m telling you the same. Be Blessed! Be Revealed!

From Mark Batterson’s “Chase the Lion”

“The Lion Chaser’s Manifesto”

Quit living as if the purpose of life is to arrive safely at death.

Run to the roar.

Set God-sized goals.

Pursue God-ordained passions.

Go after a dream that’s destined to fail unless God intervenes.

Start pointing out problems, become part of the solution.

Stop repeating the past and start creating the future.

Face your fears.

Fight for your dreams.

Grab opportunity by the mane and don’t let go.

Live like today is the first day and last day of your life.

Burn sinful bridges.

Blaze new trails.

Live for the applause of nail-scarred hands.

Don’t let what’s wrong with you keep you from worshipping what’s right with God.

Don’t try to be who you aren’t.

Be yourself.

Laugh at yourself.

Dare to fail.

Dare to dream.

Dare to be different.

Chase the Lion!

 

 

Dare Greatly. Take Creative Risk.

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I’m “jumping” right to the point (no pun intended). We need to jump. I don’t know about you but I have been passively looking over the cliff wondering every “what if” and fearing my life’s outcome if I was to ever take the leap. Yet, in doing so, I have chosen DEATH to a life of “what if” when I stay on the edge. What am I waiting for? What are you waiting for? Why are we not jumping? It’s time to get in the game.

Author Brene Brown has stated in her book, “Dare Greatly” that one of the reasons we are afraid to take risks or try new things is because we have become disengaged to one another. It’s easier to stay quiet than to share stories, experiences, and ideas, than it is to engage with the world from a place of worthiness. We rather experience other people’s creativity than experience our own. Well, I’m here to tell you that what you have is enough and what you need is already inside of you to do, innovate, or make the very thing stirring inside of your belly.

I was listening to a video from Steve Harvey and it propelled me to write because I am passionate about this topic. I wish I can tell you that when you jump you will immediately experience the most incredible time of your life. I wish I can persuade you and myself into thinking that when we jump, everything will get better. I’m not here to sell a pitch or buy your applause. THE TRUTH IS THAT JUMPING IS SCARY! I don’t even get on roller coasters so why would I even consider cliff jumping on a regular in my life?! The truth is that when we jump, we will get cut by some rocks and our parachute will not open right away. The truth is….if we don’t jump, we will never have the opportunity to soar. The truth is….if we don’t jump, we will never know what can be with all of the potential locked up inside of us.

There’s a story in the Bible about two sisters Mary and Martha in Luke 10: 38-42 that helps illustrate this point. Most people would not consider this text related to a topic such as this because many use this story in regards to Martha being too busy with serving and ministry while Mary choosing the better to sit at the feet of Jesus. It’s a story of choosing the ONE THING, a continued focus on Jesus, while also knowing how to serve. But hear me out. I think it’s more than Mary just choosing… Mary discovered a great TREASURE and she DARED and RISKED to engage Him. In the context of her time and situation, it was not common for woman to sit under teaching, nor was it known when she will ever get a chance to see Jesus again. She chose the better, and what she did will not be taken from her.

In your context and situation today, will you DARE and RISK to seize the treasure hidden inside of you? The job demands will always be there. Your daily chores will always be there. Your bills and other important obligations will continue to pop up. Life goes on. But will you dare stop and enjoy Jesus instead of trying to serve Him all the time? Will you risk starting your own business? Will you dare talk to that neighbor that’s been on your heart for a while? Will you risk your reputation to possibly look like a “fool” for believing in a dream that only you can see? Will you take creative risk in this moment of time and Jump? It’s not going to be easy, but it’s well worth it. We need creativity and authenticity more than ever and we won’t get it unless we all jump.

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I want to leave you with some nuggets by Tiffany Shlain that will help you and I in the process of creativity to jump the cliff and explore the adventure that God wants us to have. Be Blessed! Be Revealed!

  • Act on and go off your “Hunch”
  • Talk about it with your community! Yes, this means you have to be vulnerable.
  • Be a sponge. Read voraciously and ask a lot of questions.
  • Endure the confusion and darkness stages. You will have to wrestle and rumble with somethings.
  • Take a breather.
  • Make room for grace and receive criticism.
  • Celebrate your small victories.
  • Review and find the missing link to bring it all together.
  • Know when you’re done. Repeat 🙂

“There was a very cautious man, who never laughed or cried. He never cared; He never dared; He never dreamed or tried. And one day when he passed away, his insurance was denied. For since he NEVER REALLY LIVED, they claimed he NEVER DIED.” ~ Jeanne Mayo

“Release Your Potential”

There are seeds of GREATNESS inside of you.

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The average human being only uses 10% of their potential. This begs to question, what if we just accessed 10 percent more? What about 15 percent? There is so much that we can do but we forfeit all that is inside of us because we throw away the seeds with the apple. There are seeds of greatness inside of you. Do you believe it?

This message came from my church currently teaching a series called “Release Your Potential,” and it is certainly worth listening to again and meditating on because we need to tap into all that we were created to do and be. (See the link below).

Most people waste the potential of the apple, not knowing that what’s important are the seeds! The power of the seed is so misunderstood that we end up throwing it away or eating it; instead of planting it and nurturing it. What happens when you plant an apple seed, or any seed? It has the potential to grow into another apple tree and produce a harvest of apples!

You have seeds in you that can become a business. You have seeds in you that has the potential to produce 100 times what you produce. You have seeds of creativity, imagination, and wonder, ready to blossom into something beautiful. Think about where you can be in 2-5 years from now if you just plant your seeds?!

Here’s the thing. Are you willing to sow, wait, and give your seeds to God?

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15: 5

In Christ, we can do all things. In Christ, all things are possible! In Christ, your greatest potential can be released beyond your wildest expectations, beliefs, and even your limited capabilities. The seed is small. But it has the power to yield 100 fold results. The less God has to work with, the more He can make happen in your life. Let Him have control of your seed. Its’ in Christ that we can release our potential. So I encourage you to stay connected to the True Vine and Source from where all of our potential rests. Plant the seed and you will see those things inside of you come to life! Be Blessed. Be Revealed.

For all of my Christian rap fans…Fedel’s “I Will Be.”

 

http://victoryatl.com/messages/

I Felt Like Lebron

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Just a few days ago I had a little extra free time on my hands, so I thought I would make use of it and hit the gym and basketball courts from a busy week. From someone who is used to being in the gym everyday of the week and on the court, to now being back in the classroom and teaching is a complete shift and adjustment for my body…however, I found out quickly my mind did not make that transition altogether yet.

So there I was playing pick up basketball with some people in the neighborhood. I stepped on the court, the only female there, and my competitive nature kicked in. Mind you I haven’t played in a couple of weeks or even warmed up my body to prepare for the run, but I thought, “I’ll be alright.” This older gentleman (I’m trying to be nice) was guarding me… so again, in my mind I’m thinking “go to work.”

At first my body wasn’t moving like I wanted it to. Then with a few runs up and down the court, I caught my second wind, hit a jumper in the corner, got a few oohs from the crowd, and picked up my game. Then I crossed a defender and made a drive down the lane and suddenly started “feeling myself.” It’s okay to laugh…I felt like Lebron.

Anyways, that feeling didn’t last long.

Because the next play I caught the ball and came down on my ankle all wrong. So now, I’m walking around with a LIMP. I’ll probably be rehabbing my ankle for a few weeks. It’s alright; I’ll be back to normal in no time. But what does this have to do with you or anything for that matter?

A limp doesn’t stop the walk. A failure doesn’t stop the process. Being tired doesn’t mean I stop altogether. I keep going. You keep going. In the end you’ll win the prize as long as you keep going.

So yes, in the end you can “feel like LeBron” holding up the NBA championship trophy after years of disappointment and close calls. As Christians, our goal is to eventually hear the words, “…Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let’s celebrate together!” (Matthew 25:21 NLT)

Now please, hear me correctly. Do not picture yourself crossing the finish line crippled, or holding up the trophy weak and tired. LeBron was playing his best basketball when he held up the trophy. We too will be walking in full stride and strength when we ultimately win our prize. However, it’s in the journey that we will experience these “limps” along the way. So keep walking! Keep going! Imagine victory around the corner and the taste of triumph in your mouth. We will win if we do not faint.

One last thing…go read my friend’s post from today (link below)…she has an encouraging and powerful message that will enrich and inspire your hearts to never give up! Be Blessed family! Be Revealed!

Source: My Life as a Storyteller

The 5 Levels of Leadership

The next few posts will focus on the topic of leadership and different areas regarding how to become a better leader. The wealth of knowledge on the subject of leadership is endless and the guru himself, John C. Maxwell, probably produced 80% of it! That may be an exaggeration, but you get the point. My purpose is not only to share wisdom on how to become a better leader but also stir you to ask these questions: How do you define yourself as a leader? How do you lead? How do you follow? How do you define leadership? What’s missing in the leadership discussion? Anna Quindlen, novelist, essayist, said it like this:

The choice is ours at each moment and at every moment to learn the lessons of leadership. Unfortunately, we tend to associate learning new skills with youth, but in fact, the possibility of leading is available throughout our lifetimes; with every choice we make, we take charge of our lives. It is never too late to discover our unique voice as a leader.

So I invite you to go on an in depth study of how to lead better and more effective than before. Sometimes we do not blossom in our gifts till later in our lives, but that does not mean we stop watering the seed and shining light on our potential. We will start out with the foundational piece from John Maxwell’s five levels of Leadership. Be Blessed! Be Revealed!

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John C. Maxwell’s Five Levels of Leadership
  • LEVEL 1 (POSITIONAL LEVEL) – Key Word “Rights.” People at this level follow you because they have to. It is the beginning of all leadership. The position does not make you a leader but the leader can make the most out of the position. The upside is that this is the place where we shape and define our leadership. The downside is that the people will give you their least amount of effort at this level.
  • LEVEL 2 (PERMISSION LEVEL) – Key Word “Relationships.” People follow you becasuse they want to. Now you have connected with your people and relationships are established. Relationship with people is the foundation of leadership. Leadership is influence and you cannot influence those that you antagonize. If you’re going to grow as a leader, you’re going to have to grow beyond your title. A relational leader are good at three things:
    • 1) they listen well
    • 2) they observe well
    • 3) they are learners.
  • LEVEL 3 (PRODUCTION LEVEL) – Key Word “Results.” This is the level you start to bring home the bacon. You are effective and you produce results. You produce by example. People do what they see and far too many leaders want to take people where they have not been themselves. You want to be a tour guide as a leader and show them where you have been. In this level, your leadership gains credibility. You attract people that are productive because you attract what you are, not what you want. Momentum is a leader’s best friend. Leaders create momentum, managers solves problems. Yet, a leader knows that if they can generate momentum, 80% of their problems will be solved.
  • LEVEL 4 (PEOPLE DEVELOPMENT) – Key Word “Reproduction.” You grow a company by growing people. When you grow them, you grow their capacity, which increases what you can do and accomplish. Three thoughts on developing people:
    • 1) Recruitment – 80% of success of equipping people happens at the front door, who comes in. Unless you have a clear idea of what you’re looking for, you won’t know when you see it.
    • 2) Positioning – Successful people find their strength zone, their niche, and their sweet spot. Successful leaders discover what other people are good at.
    • 3) Equipping – it’s about compounding. You are not equipping until you see who you mentored is now teaching and equipping another.
  • LEVEL 5 (PINNACLE LEVEL) – Key Word “Respect.” This is when people follow you because of who you are and what you have done in the field. There is a great awe and reverance for your craft. This will usually take a long time to reach. The point is that leadership is always ongoing and a learning process that takes a long time.

 

So What’s In Your Box?

This was not just another message. This was a gut wrenching, life- changing, and heart searching time in the presence of God. I went to my young adult service at my church last night and Pastor Jeanne Mayo left us with a question that I wonder why many of us, including myself, don’t ponder more?

WHAT’S IN YOUR BOX?

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You see there is a gap between what I see and where I hopefully want to be. It is a gap of potential and its actualization. The problem is that most of us, as humans lives far within the limits, far below the maximum, and behaves below the optimum (Duckworth). I don’t want to be the one that fails to maximize all that God has given me. I hope you don’t want to be that person either. So how do we live a life of purpose?

Let’s go a littel deeper. Jeanne Mayo unpacked this quite beautifully. Purpose is not your paycheck. Purpose is not your title. Purpose is not about you. If you’re not careful, if your purpose is not bigger than you, you can easily become your own purpose. Your focus can be all about you and your glory; your career; your ambition.

“A hundred years from now, it will not matter what my bank account was, what car I drove, or where I lived. Rather, the only thing that will matter is the DIFFERENCE I MADE IN ANOTHER PERSON’S LIFE.” ~ Jeanne Mayo

To live a life of purpose is to constantly check and evaluate what’s in your box.Let me explain as best as I can through questions that were asked of me:

  • What do I wish to be remembered for when I die? 
    • Without a clear vision of your future, you’ll invariably become a boring repetition of your past.
  • Realizing that God has wired me up to ENJOY His purpose and destiny for my life…What do I enjoy doing so much that I would still want to spend time doing it WITHOUT Financial pay?
    • Chances are…you may never get paid for doing it…at least, not down here on earth. But the retirement plan in eternity is pretty staggering!
  • How can I tweak my unglammourous NOW to add fulfilling layers of eternal purpose to it?
    • It’s not WHAT your do that makes your work sacred. But it’s WHY you do it.
  • What specific steps do I need to take in the next month (and over the next year) to begin test driving some possible over-arching Purposes in my life?
    • This will usually involve changes in you Time Priorities. “First things first..and last things not at all.” Drucker

 

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So…WHAT’S IN YOUR BOX? Be Blessed. Be Revealed.