Who doesn’t love a day on the challenge course with over 100 freshmen from 17 high schools? I know I do…I loved challenging these young leaders to meet the objectives of the day:
1. Have oodles and oodles of fun.
2. Meet new people.
3. Step out of our comfort zone and stretch our preconceived limits.
4. Encourage, encourage, encourage.
Check out the pictures below of the students meeting their goals and accomplishing their objectives.
The goal of any Ropes Course is to challenge students to implement their goals and objectives of the day into their everyday life. As a leader, you should challenge yourself daily to have fun, meet new people, step outside your comfort zone, and of course…to encourage. We ask young leaders to start establishing these traits in a safe and structured environment so they will be ready to lead at school, at home, at church, and in every phase of their life.
Have you ever been to a challenge course? What is your favorite memory from that day?
Founder, Paradigm Shift
This last Saturday I traveled to beautiful Stillwater, OK to interact with Student Support Services Students at Oklahoma State University. Early in the day we worked on leadership, camaraderie, and communication.
After a great lunch and a few great words by Scott Cady, we reconvened in the Noble Research Center and engaged in a discussion about the “Music Makers and Dreamers of Dreams.” Check out our prezi below:
I hope all of the OSU SSS students are becoming the dreamers of dreams and the music makers. Make it happen!
Founder, Experiential Adventure
I was able to spend a rainy Saturday with some of my favorite people…the Refuge Leadership Team at M1A. The focuses of the day were camaraderie, leadership development, and overcoming adversity. The interns, mentors and Catalyst members dominated the rigorous activities, shared their dreams and goals, and celebrated their successes as a strong team. Enjoy the photos below!
Founder and Lead Facilitator
Oh, The Places You’ll Go. Dr. Seuss is a certified genius in my opinion. The man was a literary wordsmith…and Oh, The Places You’ll Go is the pièce de résistance of his wonderful catalogue. I was recently asked to present a keynote address to a group of Upward Bound students at Redlands Community College in El Reno, OK, and we talked about moving mountains. We started reading this famous book, and if you aren’t familiar with Oh, The Places You’ll Go, here is an excellent version of the book…
I think Dr. Seuss was on to something…we all have mountains we want to move. Some of us have huge mountains we want to move: going to college, getting married, getting a promotion, landing that new account. Our personal mountains are those Big, Hairy, Audacious Goals that are standing in our way…the thing we really want to accomplish in life.
Where are you going?? What mountain are you going to move?? You should write that down. Actually, do it right now! Take out a pen and write that goal down. This is something you should see and review everyday.
So, now that you know your goal, how do you move that mountain? How do you get to the places you are going? These 5 steps will help you move your mountain!
Step 1 – Use your resources:
You are amazing! You are achieving great things, and some of you are doing so on your own. You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You are reaching great heights. But, if we rely on each other, if we ask someone for help, we will go just a tad bit further. These resources are the little bit of difference that helps us move mountains. Maybe it is a school counselor, a spouse, a minister or a trusted friend. Whoever is your resource, use them!
Step 2 – Choose your resources wisely:
There are people out there who are not helping you move mountains, not helping you achieve your goals. They might tell you what to do and then do something else. They may even tell you what to do and never even want you to achieve your goals. These people might even seem like they have your best intentions at heart, so be wise and know the difference. Like the book says:
You’ll look up and down streets. Look ‘em over with care.
About some you will say, “I don’t choose to go there.”
With your head full of brains and your shoes full of feet,
you’re too smart to go down any not-so-good street.
Step 3 – Shout from the Mountain Tops:
One of the best ways to move mountains it to tell everyone you know about your goal. “This is what I am doing! This is the life I am going to live.” Tell everyone you know what your future plans are. “I am going to attend OU and be a physical therapist.” “I am going to go to Redlands and become a nurse.” Most people will encourage you, help you, and hold you accountable to your goals if you shout them from the mountaintop.
No, Really! Shout Out Your Goal! Do it right now…stand on your desk and shout out to the mountain you are going to move! People might think you are crazy, but they will know your goal.
Step 4 – Celebrate Small Successes:
To get to the places you will go you must celebrate the small victories in your life. We all love a little encouragement from time to time, do we not? Check out this video.
People will applaud your big victories, they will celebrate you when you move mountains. Rightfully so too, you deserve the recognition, you moved a mountain for crying out loud. How many times in our life do we get exulted for the small successes? How often do we do a celebration dance after completing our to-do list?? YESSS! I totally put a cover sheet on my TPS report!!!!
These small victories are not as exciting as accomplishing our huge goals, but they are necessary to complete our vision. I find it is utterly important to take a few seconds to celebrate my small victories…to do my own little ping-pong dance…to keep me motivated to move my mountain.
Step 5 – Never, Ever, Ever, Give In:
Winston Churchill’s famous speech inspired an entire country, even an entire world to keep fighting. This speech was a pivotal moment when the United Kingdom was doomed for disaster and defeat…a moment when the whole world was changed by one man’s speech. Never, ever, ever, give in. When someone leaves you, never, ever, ever give in. When you lose all hope, never, ever, ever give in. When life is harder than you could ever imagine…never, ever, ever give in. If you truly want to move mountains (and you 98 3/4% guaranteed), you must never, ever, ever give in.
You can do this. You can move your mountain. So…
be your name be your name Buxbaum or Bixby or Bray
or Mordecai Ali Van Allen O’Shea,
You’re off the Great Places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting.
So…get on your way!
Ryan Eller, Founder
Twitter. It is huge. If you aren’t on Twitter you should be, it just may be taking over the world. The social media site is used as a marketing tool, to spread news, to entertain, and even has even changed the world.
Of all the things I like about Twitter (including all the live tweets about the OKC Thunder), my favorite aspect of this expansive social network is the ability to follow superstars throughout the world. Many Twitter users follow entertainers, and if you look at the top 5 most popular people on Twitter you easily recognize this:
I, however, follow very few entertainers (OKC Thunder players excluded, of course), but superstars in the leadership, team-building, and motivation world. People like John C. Maxwell, Tom Peters , Dave Ramsey, or even the Association of Experiential Education.
Some Twitterers, like Craig Groeschel post about their work in this world, some like Scott Williams, tweet about their blog, their family, and their everyday life (and love of the Thunder). Others, such as Petteri Tarkkonen, mostly share quotes about their passion.
I encourage you to use Twitter in whatever capacity you feel appropriate. To aid you in that process, I have collected some awesome quotes about leadership that are Twitter-ready. They are shorter than 140 characters, include the source, and even have some of the actual Twitter accounts of the people who shared their wisdom. Copy them, add a hashtag when applicable, and start sharing with your followership. If there is one thing I know about Twitter, the more you tweet, the more people will listen.
The challenge of leadership is both moral & one of developing the characteristics that make us respected by one another @LouisFarrakhan
Your greatest asset is your earning ability. Your greatest resource is your time. @BrianTracy
I suppose leadership at one time meant muscles; but today it means getting along with people. – Mahatma Gandhi
Everyone enjoys doing the kind of work for which he is best suited. – Napoleon Hill
Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other. – John F. Kennedy
Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things. – Peter Drucker
It’s not what you know; it’s what you use that makes a difference. @TheZigZiglar
Effective leadership is not about making speeches or being liked; leadership is defined by results not attributes. – Peter Drucker
Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it. – Dwight D. Eisenhower
Relationships are the hallmark of the mature person. @BrianTracy
Effective leadership is putting first things first. Effective management is discipline, carrying it out. @StephenRCovey
Example is leadership. – Albert Schweitzer
You don’t lead by hitting people over the head – that’s assault, not leadership. – Dwight D. Eisenhower
Absolute identity with one’s cause is the first and great condition of successful leadership. – Woodrow Wilson
Good leadership consists of showing average people how to do the work of superior people. – John D. Rockefeller
I have a different vision of leadership. A leadership is someone who brings people together. – George W. Bush
Leadership to me means duty, honor, country. It means character, and it means listening from time to time. – George W. Bush
Chance favors only the prepared mind. – Louis Pasteur
I forgot to shake hands and be friendly. It was an important lesson about leadership. – Lee Iacocca
Leadership does not depend on being right. – Ivan Illich
Leadership is influence. – @JohnCMaxwell
Character matters; leadership descends from character. – @RushLimbaugh
Wherever there is danger, there lurks opportunity; whenever there is opportunity, there lurks danger. -E. Nightingale
Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality. - Warren G. Bennis
Leadership is, among other things, the ability to inflict pain and get away with it – short-term pain for long-term gain. – George Will
I am not a saint, unless you think of a saint as a sinner who keeps on trying. – Nelson Mandela
Leadership is intangible, and therefore no weapon ever designed can replace it. – Omar N. Bradley
The task of leadership is not to put greatness into humanity, but to elicit it, for the greatness is already there. – John Buchan
To have long-term success as a coach or in any position of leadership, you have to be obsessed in some way. – Pat Riley
The art of leadership is saying no, not saying yes. It is very easy to say yes. – @TonyBlairOffice
The book you don’t read won’t help. @OfficialJimRohn
The key to successful leadership today is influence, not authority. – @KenBlanchard
Leadership should be born out of the understanding of the needs of those who would be affected by it. – Marian Anderson
Don’t necessarily avoid sharp edges. Occasionally they are necessary to leadership. – @RumsfeldOffice
Leadership in today’s world requires far more than a large stock of gunboats and a hard fist at the conference table. – Hubert Humphrey
There are many elements to a campaign. Leadership is number one. Everything else is number two. – Bertolt Brecht
The growth and development of people is the highest calling of leadership. – Harvey S. Firestone
Leadership is getting someone to do what they don’t want to do, to achieve what they want to achieve. – Tom Landry
The secret to success is good leadership, & good leadership is all about making the lives of your team members better. @TonyDungy
If there is such a thing as good leadership, it is to give a good example. – Ingvar Kamprad
The function of leadership is to produce more leaders, not more followers. – Ralph Nader
One of the tests of leadership is the ability to recognize a problem before it becomes an emergency. – Arnold H. Glasow
Any person who contributes to prosperity must prosper in turn. -E. Nightingale
Honor bespeaks worth. Confidence begets trust. Service brings satisfaction. Cooperation proves the quality of leadership. – JC Penney
I think the greater responsibility, in terms of morality, is where leadership begins. – Norman Lear
Without initiative, leaders are simply workers in leadership positions. – Bo Bennett
The biggest mistake that you can make is to believe that you are working for somebody else. –E. Nightingale
Leadership cannot really be taught. It can only be learned. – Harold S. Geneen
Leadership is practiced not so much in words as in attitude and in actions. – Harold S. Geneen
Most people dabble their way through life, never deciding to master anything in particular. @TonyRobbins
Management is about arranging and telling. Leadership is about nurturing and enhancing. @Tom_Peters
Leadership must be established from the top down. – Sam Nunn
Always render more and better service than is expected of you, no matter what your task may be. – Og Mandino
Education is the mother of leadership. – Wendell Willkie
Leadership is the key to 99 percent of all successful efforts. – Erskine Bowles
Remember: Jobs are owned by the company, you own your career! – Earl Nightingale
We need leadership, and we need it now. – Byron Dorgan
A real decision is measured by the fact that you’ve taken a new action. @TonyRobbins
It is the responsibility of leadership to provide opportunity, and the responsibility of individuals to contribute. – William Pollard
We need leadership. We don’t need a doubling down on the failed politics of the past. @RepPaulRyan
The art of communication is the language of leadership. – James Humes
Leadership demands that we make tough choices. – Alan Autry
Leadership involves finding a parade and getting in front of it. – John Naisbitt
Leadership requires the courage to make decisions that will benefit the next generation. – Alan Autry
Leadership is an active role; ‘lead’ is a verb. But the leader who tries to do it all is headed for burnout. – Bill Owens
The test of leadership is not to put greatness into humanity, but to elicit it, for the greatness is already there. – James Buchanan
Leadership offers an opportunity to make a difference in someone’s life, no matter what the project. – Bill Owens
Leadership appears to be the art of getting others to want to do something you are convinced should be done. – Vance Packard
Leadership is unlocking people’s potential to become better. – Bill Bradley
The very exercise of leadership fosters capacity for it. – Cyril Falls
The best way to sell yourself to others is first to sell the others to yourself. – Napoleon Hill
Actions, not words, are the ultimate results of leadership. – Bill Owens
Leadership comes in small acts as well as bold strokes. @CarlyforCA
If you think you’re too small to have an impact, try going to bed with a mosquito in the room. – Anita Roddick
Ninety percent of leadership is the ability to communicate something people want. – Dianne Feinstein
I hope you can use these…I will post more Twitter-ready quotes from time-to-time, so follow along. What is your favorite quote? What is your favorite leadership quote? Let me know if I need to add it to my list!Tweet on Tweeters.
Founder, Experiential Adventure
Hey folks…it has been awhile. I’ve missed ya. Sorry for the lack of blog posts (I know all the 10s of you have been missing me!). My lapse of blogs is due to several reasons, some good, some bad.
Reason #1: I love this little girl.
I love spending time with this little girl. She is tons of fun and I get so much joy watching her with Kristin. She has her mother’s easy demeanor, laugh and looks, and she lights up when she sees me everyday! It is hard to spend time writing about leadership and experiential-based activities when I could be hanging out with this little one.
Reason #2: Work has had me hung-up.
I have been incredibly busy at work! I work for a brand new Educational Talent Search grant at NSU-Broken Arrow as a grant coordinator. Basically I help students who desire to pursue a post-secondary education and get them into the college of their choice. My new coworker Lindsey and I have been hop-scotching all across the state recruiting new students, meeting with administrators, and taking students on campus tours. This leaves very little time for me to blog. I have been busy, but when you are doing a job you love, busy is good!
Reason #3: Traveling the world!
I have been traveling all over the US hosting leadership camps, facilitating workshops, and delivering keynote addresses. Momentum is building, and as my good friend and personal assistant Jerrod Murr always says, “Once you get Big Mo rolling…watch out!” I love traveling, I love facilitating and meeting new people, but it makes it hard for me to blog.
Reason #4: 70.3 = busy
I am training for my first Half-Ironman. The race is in September, includes a 1.2 mile swim, a 56 mile cycle, and a 13.1 mile run. I recently joined the world’s nicest gym and have been pulling some two-a-day workouts. I typically workout before work and on my lunch break just so I can get my body adjusted to this type of training. I love it and look forward to seeing the tangible results of my swimming and weight training (I typically drink 1-2 gallons of water while swimming). It is hard to blog while swimming, but I may try it while cycling, 56 miles is a long way to ride.
Reason #5: I have been as tired as David Ott.
When you are going like I have been going, it is easy to get tired. It is almost as easy to get complacent and lazy as well. I have just been too tired and too lazy to blog. This stops today. I have only a few events coming up, so I plan on updating my blog consistently.
A few things to look out for in the next few weeks:
1. Reflections on my recent trainings.
2. Many pictures of Sweet Baby Jane and hilarious stories of her jovial antics.
3. A list of Twitter-ready quotes. Twitter>Facebook.
4. The latest and greatest videos YouTube has to offer on experiential-based activities.
5. Several book reviews (you know you love ‘em).
6. New (and free) activities to use with your group.
7. An update on my 2012 goals.
8. My thoughts and musing on leadership.
9. Rundowns of my happenings with TRiO, ODSA, SWASAP and ETS (and explanations about TRiO’s fascination with acronyms).
10. My upcoming Leadership Conference in Brazil, and the big news about 2014. (Huge news!)
I’ve missed you. Hopefully you haven’t completely forgotten me. Let’s get reacquainted over the next few weeks. I’ll send out some blog posts, you’ll read them, it will be awesome.
As always, let me know if there is something you want me to blog over. If it isn’t ridiculous (hard to get ridiculous with me), than I will make it happen. Comment below and subscribe if you are feeling frisky.
If you are a high schooler in Oklahoma or Missouri and want to stretch your leadership skills, you should sign up for the 20 Leadership Camp. Spring Break 2012. Be there. Click here to sign up.
This past weekend at the SWASAP SLC, I met Juan. Let me rephrase that, I met Juan again! Juan is a student at Weatherford Upward Bound at Weatherford Community College in Weatherford, TX. (That sentence gets an award for most uses of the word Weatherford) Juan is an outstanding young man, one with character, values, and strong leadership skills. Of everyone I met at SWASAP SLC, Juan had the most refined set of leadership skills. He was patient, kind, thoughtful, respectful, and easy-going. He was never over-bearing, he spoke with authority, and he was eager to learn.
This is what Juan wrote on my Facebook wall after camp:
As you can tell, Juan wants to be a lawyer. He plans on attending Baylor University and is working on becoming a better student and a better leader. Here is his scholarship-winning essay he wrote about leadership which was posted with his permission. I am proud of you Juan and I will believe in you no matter where you go.
Everyone is a leader whether they realize it or not, but what distinguishes a good leader from an average leader are five very important qualities: trustworthiness, communication skills, respect, determination and responsibility. There are all qualities that I feel I display, and this is why I feel they are important.
One of the first things that a leader needs is to be trustworthy. Trustworthiness is very important because if the people who need leadership can’t trust their leader then the project will fail. The next thing a leader needs to have is great communication skills. One reason people are unable to communicate and feel left out is because the leader can’t or won’t share his or her ideas. Being respectful is the third characteristics that any great leader should have. If a leader doesn’t respect the people that he or she is leading their followers will not cooperate with them. A leader must give respect in order to receive the respect that he or she feels they deserve.
Determination is a must and it must shine through as a good leader. The reason that determination is so important is because if the leader is not determined to accomplish the task at hand, then he or she is setting a terrible example for the rest of the people in their group. The fifth characteristic that a leader should have is responsibility. They must be responsible because there is a date that something is due and someone must take charge. Therefore the person that takes charge of the task is the one that is responsible for the outcome of the task.
These are things that good leaders should have, but are not the only qualities that they need to possess. I don’t consider myself a great leader like Dr. Martin Luther King or George Washington, but I do believe that I am a good leader. Every time I have been given the opportunity, I have risen to action. One of these times was in my math class, I was put in a group of five, and we had five days to finish the project and very little class time to work on it. My group didn’t work the first two days, and there wasn’t really any communication between anyone. So I began to work on the project and assigned everyone a part in the project so that no one would feel left out. On the fifth day, I took it all home to put in order and turned it into the teacher. We ended up getting the best grade in the class.
I think these five qualities make a great leader, and I hope that one day I can be considered on as I continue to reach for my goals and learn more about leadership.
Juan, you are a great leader, and I look forward to seeing great things from you!
Welcome back to my Labor Day Challenge. I am physically wore out from a great weekend at the SWASAP Student Leadership Conference, but I am mentally and emotionally fired up from the activities we accomplished, the people I met and the future of our students. This will be a short post tonight, since I am finally home and spending time with my beautiful wife and soon-to-be daughter.
I wanted to share with you what Benito Soto from Houston posted on my Facebook wall…
This is why I do what I do…this is why SWASAP hosts these leadership conferences. I am continuing to be inspired by students who are fulfilling their dreams all across the USA. I love SWASAP, I love leadership conferences, and I love experiential education. These students are igniting my passion with their passion, and that is what my Labor Day Challenge is all about.
I am still at SWASAP SLC, and I am having an unbelievable time. I am literally meeting some of the best and brightest the southwest has to offer. I am following through on my Labor Day Challenge, and focusing on the leadership conference this weekend. Today we heard from Shannon Hernandez, the coordinator of the John Ben Shepperd Leadership Institute, who thrilled the students with hands-on activities and initiatives. The group traveled to Dinosaur Valley State Park to volunteer with the park department where the students gladly picked weeds, cleaned out gardens and moved materials. As an added bonus we were able to explore the park and see the dinosaur tracks!
On the way back from our community service project I rode next to Rachel, an extremely intelligent and inspirational junior in high school. She truly inspired me in so many ways. Rachel is a first generation college student, meaning no one in her family has a college degree. She grew up in the north side of Houston and is a participant with Lone Star North Harris Upward Bound. As a participant in Upward Bound, Rachel gets career and college guidance, as well as a summer program that allows her to receive tutoring specific for her post-secondary success.
Last night I challenged the students to determine their most important goal. I asked them to declare their dream, their passion, their vision. I challenged them to start declaring their goal, to say, “I am going to be a physical therapist!” or “I am going to graduate in the top 10% of my class!” To tell everyone they meet that they were going to achieve their dreams.
As we talked on the bus, Rachel looked at me very sincere and asked if she could share with me her dream. She said that people say she is crazy, that she can’t achieve her dream, and that she was nervous to tell me. After encouraging her to share, she said that the thing she thinks about all the time, the thing she was most passionate about, her main dream…was to cure cancer. I told her that was a lofty dream, and asked her how she would achieve her dream. Excitedly, she shared that she had spent time at Rice University this summer with a biomedical engineer studying DNA code and causes of cancer. She told me that she was planning to either attend Rice or the University of Philadelphia because they were some of the best places to study biomedical engineering. She detailed to me the necessary steps to be accepted into those universities and what scholarships she had applied for. She had researched the universities that would fit her personality best and her needs to be successful. She declared to me that she was going to become an oncologist so she could further promote cancer awareness and cure cancer. She was so determined, so honest, so passionate that even if I wanted to, I could have not convinced her she couldn’t cure cancer. After our conversation she had me convinced she could cure cancer, or do anything else she put her mind to.
I told these students that they are the future. They are the next doctors, lawyers, educators and professionals who will guide this earth. When I meet young people like Rachel I know we are in good hands. She gives me hope, she gives me inspiration, and I am genuinely blessed to be here this weekend. So many adults give up on their dreams and ambitions, they get swallowed up on the hassles of day-to-day life. These students are different, they have a burning desire to reach their goals and dreams. I hope to have their passion, I hope to empower others as they empower me. I am learning so much, and that is what my Labor Day Challenge is all about.
Hello from Glen Rose, TX and the Riverbend Retreat Center. I am facilitating and speaking to almost 100 of the best and brightest students from across the SWASAP area. SWASAP is short for Southwest Association of Student Assistance Programs, and encompasses all of the TRiO programs from Oklahoma, Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas and New Mexico. I was brought in to provide experiential learning activities for the students as they traverse their leadership journey at the SWASAP Student Leadership Conference.
As a part of my Labor Day Challenge I wanted to present at a leadership conference. I will be here tonight until Sunday, and I am already loving my time here! These students will be equipped the tools necessary to be leaders at their high schools and colleges, they are being provided with direction for their dreams and ambitions, and will no doubt be successful. I love asking these students their dreams because I see their eyes sparkle when they talk about their passion. These are not average students, these are exceptional students who decided to take time out of their busy schedule to attend a leadership conference. These are students who want to be doctors, lawyers, nurses, educators, and leaders. These are students who see all of the obstacles that have been placed in their way, and fight through them. These are students who will one day be leading this world into a new frontier.
I will post about the SWASAP SLC everyday this weekend…I hope to profile a couple of students over the next couple of days and let you know the type of individuals I am working with here. As usual, I came here to teach, and I am being taught. I am learning how to persevere, how to dream and how to survive, that is what my Labor Day Challenge is all about.
Welcome to Day 24 of my Labor Day Challenge! I am nearing the end of another week, and it has been packed full of Challenge activities. I am definitely ready for the weekend, especially because I am going to Glen Rose, TX to facilitate at the SWASAP Student Leadership Conference. I am pumped, but more on that throughout the weekend!
Today I am absolutely worn out, mostly because I spent most of my lunch break with a good friend, Cay Percifield, who gave me swim lessons. Swimming is one of the hardest workouts for me. I consistently fight the water and struggle for air. Usually more water ends up outside of the pool than started in the pool, therefore, I knew I needed some help.
I swam with Cay partially because I would like to become a better swimmer. I am someday going to compete in an Ironman competition. It consists of a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bicycle ride, and a 26.2 mile run. The area I am weakest in is swimming, and I need to learn how to smoothly glide across the water now so when I am ready to train 100% I will have the tools needed to be successful. I am learning this now, even though I do not know when the right time for me to train for an Ironman will be (It is certainly not now).
I strapped on the skin-tight shorts and goggles (you have to look the part) and headed to the pool. He taught me proper freestyle technique, proper breathing technique, and even how to do the flip turn at the end of a lap! I had a hard time forcing my head straight to the side when catching a breath, and felt unnatural when flipping and kicking my feet. Towards the end, however, I felt much better about my swimming stroke, my breathing and even my flip.
Even though I went today to become a better swimmer, the real reason I swam was because I love spending time with people who are passionate. Cay swam competitively in his youth, was an all-stater in high school, and excels as an athlete. I love spending time with someone who is passionate about what they are doing, they are the best people to learn from. Cay was an excellent teacher because he was excited to teach me new practices and techniques. He really did care about how I was doing and wanted me to do well. I hope this exudes from me when I am facilitating, working with students or speaking to a group. I hope people are able to recognize my passion and want to learn from me. I certainly learned that today from Cay, and that is what my Labor Day Challenge is all about.
Welcome back. I am over the hump and past the halfway point of my Labor Day Challenge. I, of course, can not achieve any of this without your support, so keep it coming! I also can not do this challenge without becoming organized.
I have been known to have the organizational structure of anarchy, and every time I am asked my greatest weakness in an interview, I immediately think of my lack of organizational skills. (I of course, never admit to it, I cop-out and say something like…”I am too passionate” or “I just work too hard!”) Although I am an excellent interviewer, the fact remains that I am poor at staying on schedule, I lose things often, and I forget things when I go places. Not once, but twice last month I stayed at my parent’s house, and brought undies, undershirt and socks and forgot slacks and a dress shirt. Twice! I have put in hard work (made my student workers work hard) and prepared for a school visit, only to show up and have left everything in the office. I have been known to double-book, forget dates, and show up late. This all stems from the poor execution of organizing my life.
When I was a kid, I loved being organized. Actually, I had by far a cleaner room than my sisters, and would even sort out my drawers and closet. I would lay in the floor and rearrange my baseball cards by different orders, only to find myself sorting them differently later. Some of that still remains with me today, and my closet is a good example. I place my shirts in the same direction on the same type of hanger, organized by type of shirt and even by color. I tell you all of this to let you know that I have a sense of organization, just not a grasp of it.
Therefore, I have started organizing my life. I went through our house and sorted everything when we had our garage sale. I cleaned my car out today and moved stuff where it needed to be. I even organized the attic and the garage. Outside of my home, I started using my calendar, making sure to mark events immediately and creating a daily to-do list. Whenever I get a new task or tell someone I am going to do something, I write it down and mark it off by the end of the day. I have been creating a weekly to-do list as well, and trying to do my hardest task at the first each day knowing it will give me the boost needed to finish the rest of the list.
I don’t particularly enjoy this challenge, it is something I struggle with daily. However, I know that if I do not start getting organized now, I will never achieve my dreams, and that is what my Labor Day Challenge is all about.
Day 21! You know what this makes me think of…
I am halfway there! I spent my middle of the Labor Day Challenge day waking up early, eating some great food, working, and hitting the gym. I love the Challenge so far, and thanks for following me on this journey.
As part of my journey, I wanted to challenge myself to listen to an audiobook on my commute. Today I finished Zig Ziglar’s “A View From the Top,” and I can’t wait until I get to listen to another one. I have previously listened to Seth Godin’s “Purple Cow,” and I am going to try to find another audiobook to listen to on my commute.
In “The Success Principals,” Jack Canfield talks about how important listening to the masters can be during your commute. He says “the average person commutes 30 minutes each way to and from work. In 5 years, that is 1,250 hours in the car!” I commute twice that far, so that is 2,500 hours in my car, which is about 105 days! Think of all the audiobooks I could listen to if I committed to it…all the knowledge I could gain from the masters of certain fields.
I have really enjoyed my time during my commute lately. The hour goes by faster, I start work refreshed and come home reinvigorated. I challenge you to go to the library and get an audiobook, buy one, or get one from a friend. You could either listen to the same song on the radio, a trashy morning show, or listen to a master talk about how they became successful in a certain field. I have forgone the radio and sports talk to educate myself for life, this is what my Labor Day Challenge is all about.
Have a great day!!!
Happy Sunday to you! I hope it is wonderful, I know mine has been…I am 20 days into my Labor Day Challenge, and I used today as it was intended…as a day of rest. I even took a nap this afternoon. I love naps, and I think I may write a book someday about the importance of naps. It is one of the things I mastered in college, as a necessary tool to survive the late nights (of studying, of course!). However, I also used today as an opportunity to try and contact professionals who are already successful in the fields I would like to pursue.
I think it is unbelievably important for everyone to try and learn from people who are already successful in the areas of your life you would like to improve. Jack Canfield hits on this subject in “The Success Principles,” where he tells his readers to find the most successful person you know, and try to learn as much as you can from them. He tells a story about a hairdresser who was prepping him for a TV interview. In true consultant style, he asks the lady what her dreams and aspirations were, and she told him she would one day love to own her own studio. He asked her why she hadn’t, and she hadn’t tried anything because she didn’t know how to open her business or even how to start. His advice was to go to the most successful salon owner she could find, and offer to take her to lunch to see how she had become successful as a business owner. He said if that owner didn’t want to go to lunch, go to someone else, and then someone else until you found someone who was willing to talk. His bet, as is mine, was that mostly everyone is willing to talk about the things they are passionate about, and are willing to talk about the things that were necessary for them to become successful. I took this advice to heart and emailed or called several people who I admire and would love to emulate. So far, I have had no reply, but I am going to keep asking until someone lets me in and gives me some advice. (I also asked very prestigious, busy people, so I knew it was going to be slow going.)
I want to be an experiential learning expert, so I contacted Karl Rohnke, a man synonymous with experiential education. He helped found Project Adventure, the godfather of experiential learning in the world. I have been to a PA training, and I want to go back. These people are living my dream, they just have been doing it longer and are in Boston.
I want to be a leadership expert, so I contacted John C. Maxwell, the world’s premiere expert on leadership.
I want to be successful, so I contacted Jack Canfield, the writer of over 80 New York Times Bestsellers.
I want to be more sacrificial, so I contacted Brett and McClain Baggett, people who literally have given up their belongings to follow their passion.
I want to be a consultant, so I emailed Daryl Essensa, an already proven consultant.
I want to be able to provide CEU credits for counselors, social workers and therapists, so I contacted someone already giving credits.
I encourage you to find the people you know who are successful in the areas you want to be successful in, and contact them in some way. Go to a training, attend a conference, email them, call them, send a letter, Facebook them or follow them on Twitter. You have nothing to lose by trying to learn from them, and everything to gain. I know I have yet to be successful in this endeavor, but I am going to keep trying until I get the advice I need to be successful. I hope this to be a habit I keep for the rest of my life, that is what my Labor Day Challenge is all about.
Welcome back to the Labor Day Challenge…I hope you are having as great a day as I am! I stayed up way too late last night (not what I have set out to do during the 6 weeks), ate too much food, but got to spend some great time with some great friends. Today I got up super early and ran with the great H1, and then headed to RSU in Claremore to facilitate at the Hilltop Challenge Course.
I love going to the ropes course, both as a participant and as an instructor. Today I was an instructor, leading activities for the Rogers County Leadership Group. I love being able to work on the course so I can practice my facilitating skills and hone my debriefing techniques. I am very passionate about experiential education, and a ropes course gives me an opportunity to pursue my passion.
We started out with activities on the ground, trying out some name games, icebreakers, initiatives and team building exercises. Our sequence was as follows:
Milk the Cow
Thumbwrestling in Stereo
Rock, Paper, Scissor Olympics
Fast Finger Olympics
After having a great time on the ground, we graduated to the low ropes course, were we completed Wild Woozy and dominated Islands. After lunch we moved to the high ropes course, where the group moved quickly through the course, pushing themselves outside of their comfort zone. I belayed the incline log, and watched as participants fought through fear, physical exhaustion, and preconceived notions of their ability to climb the course.
I literally got to see people live up to mantras I have set forth for myself throughout my Labor Day Challenge. It inspired me to keep going strong, especially since I have been struggling in a couple of areas of the challenge. If these people can push through to build confidence, self-esteem and leadership, I can do it too. I hope to become an excellent ropes course facilitator, I would even like to someday have my own course. I am doing the things now to make those dreams a reality, that is what my Labor Day Challenge is all about.
Howdy! It is getting nice and chilly in Oklahoma, and I am appreciative. We had an unusually hot summer, and we even set a record for the hottest month ever in the US this July. Ever! What a record to hold, I am so proud. When it gets cold it is easier to run, easier to dress for success, and easier to sleep. This was my Labor Day Challenge (get caught up here) subject for today. I want to sleep better and feel rested when I wake up.
Sleep. I love it. Who doesn’t really? I know a few people. For starters, I think God didn’t want pregnant women to sleep, and babies in the womb either. Sweet Baby Jane, my soon to be daughter, feels the need to kick Kristin most of the night. She is already going to be ornery, just like her mother. I’m not placing all of the blame on God and Sweet Baby Jane either, Kristin moves around and tosses the covers like she owns the entire bed. We have discussed getting a California king sized bed, but I think we would end up the same way every morning, with Kristin laying on her back with her arms and legs fully extended resembling a star fish, and me hugging the side of the bed trying not to fall off. Kristin also has the bladder of a mouse and the ability to sleepwalk to the toilet. I however, sleep light and have a hard time falling asleep once awoken. I know you guys aren’t really feeling sorry for me, but you get the point…I need sleep.
If I want to accomplish the things during my Labor Day Challenge, I must go to bed early and rise alert and ready to go! I am waking up early enough to cook a healthy breakfast and driving an hour to work to be on time – I can’t be late!. I am working out or running almost every day of the week, writing a blog, thank you notes, working, etc. etc. etc. I also want to spend quality time with Kristin and my favorite pup Lucy. After all this busyness, I am usually tired, but have a hard time falling asleep. My mom battles insomnia, and can be up late regardless of how tired she is, and I think she passed it down to me.
I am combating this by going to bed before 10 everynight. I should rephrase that. I am trying to go to bed before 10 everynight. Last night it was 10:06, pretty close, but I need to be better. The night before it was 11:35, and when I finally did get to bed, Kristin was snoring so loud I had to sleep on the couch. That isn’t good at all. I am being honest with you when I say I am struggling. I need sleep, I crave it, but I am still not doing the things needed to get sleep!
I did turn off the TV in the bedroom, and will get rid of it soon (more on that later). I know my exercise is helping me sleep. I am trying some new “go to sleep” techniques that will help out, I’m sure. I’m making my bed more comfortable, keeping the room cool and dark, and even counting sheep.
I am going to get there tonight. I will do whatever it takes for Kristin to be comfortable at night. I will even massage her belly and get Sweet Baby Jane to go to sleep. I know getting on a routine and waking up refreshed will be good for my body, my soul, my relationships (I get cranky for sure).Sleep…it will feel so good. This is what my Labor Day Challenge is all about.
Still appreciating all the love for my Labor Day Challenge. I get statistics from WordPress.com telling me how people get to my blog, and I even had a person google “ryan eller leadership.” Whoever that was, you made my day! I have broken my record for blog visits 4 times already throughout this process, and I hope more of you will continue to follow me.
Funny I ask you to follow me, because that is my focus today…I want to become a better leader. To symbolize this, I have been posting a leadership quote to my Twitter (@nsueller – follow me!) and Facebook everyday.
I know that posting a leadership quote on Twitter does not make you a leader, but it is reminding me every morning that I have a responsibility to do more, to be more.
Leadership is currently a hot topic in all walks of life, whether it be professional, spiritual, organizational or personal. People and businesses are realizing that managing your life or company is not going to cut it in an ever competitive world. You must lead people into a new future, guide yourself towards your vision, and direct your life in the best possible way.
For as long as I can remember, I have been surrounded by strong leaders. My parents are strong leaders, parents who never wavered in their conviction, integrity or character. My older sister, Leslie, has always been an example of grace, cooperation and fairness. My wife is a model of consistency, dedication and commitment. My brother-in-laws show me how to be good husbands, fathers and friends. My friends are incredible leaders, and have taken me to levels I could have never dreamed. No one, however, has challenged me as a leader as much as my twin sister, Melissa.
We obviously go way back, and we have always been thick as thieves (well, mostly always, there were a couple years we needed some distance). Our first experiences as leaders were shared, because wherever one was, the other was right around the corner. It was hard to say who was the ringleader in all of our adventures, but we sure had some good ones. My very oldest memory was from preschool, and it involved an adventure with Melissa.
On the day we were supposed to dropped off at the baby-sitter’s house for the first time, but no one spread the news to the bus driver. He dropped us off at the house, and drove off, never knowing any different. This left us, two four-year-olds, at our farm, in the middle of nowhere in front of our locked house at 12:15 p.m. We knew mom wasn’t coming home until 5 and that dad was in a pasture bailing hay, so we decided to take charge. I can remember our conversations about breaking into our house so we could watch the cartoons that came on in the afternoon. I didn’t want to miss Darkwing Duck, and what kid didn’t? We decided to grab the slide next to the house and pull it up to the small window above the laundry room, it was only big enough for a small child to crawl through and was wired shut from the outside (this wasn’t the Chatsworth Estates). I climbed the slide and Melissa stood on my shoulders as I boosted her through the small window. She jumped down onto the washing machine and unlocked the door, and we celebrated our victory. We proceeded to make some PB & Js and sit in the living room (a huge no-no) to watch our favorite caped duck. We were never scared, never in doubt and always in charge.
At about 3 we ascended to the top of a tree and jumped on top of the barn, where we ran around in our underwear. We set on the edge of the roof to holler at the Big Dad as our feet dangled 25 feet above the ground. I don’t know if my mom ever got over that one. Melissa stepped on my back to see if the burner was hot on the stove (it was). Melissa helped unlock the medicine cabinet so I could drink an entire bottle of Dimetapp, and it tasted so good!.
In middle school and high school Melissa led the way as a student and as a leader. She was student council president and active in most activities. We both went on mission trips, volunteered our time and led groups. We went our separate ways in college, and were able to create our own identities, even though we became more alike while we were apart. She has never allowed me to be complacent and has a higher standard for me than I have for myself. She has always worked on improving herself and improving others. She is a motivator and influencer, and a huge impact on my life.
The one thing I take away from her as a leader is the fact that she has always worked hard to improve herself and she has proven it with her life. She has completed her classes for her Ph.D and is a professor at John Brown University. She is a mentor to hundreds of kids and teens in Fayetteville through Potter’s House and the Joshua Center. She adopted the most precious boy I have ever met, and plans to adopt more. She challenges others to be the best they can be.
I want to be more like Melissa. Don’t get me wrong, I know I am a leader, but I want to be more of a leader. I want to challenge people to be the best they can be, and empower others to do the same. I want to travel the world as a leadership consultant and conference presenter. I want to write books and train experts. I want to host leadership camps across the US, giving others a chance to improve themselves. I want to challenge people to mentor others to become a leader. I am currently taking the steps necessary to achieve my dream. I honestly believe this is within my reach.
We were able to host a leadership conference in Cuba for around 300 Cubans. We are planning to do the same in Peru in the Spring and eventually on the six continents. We are in the process of taking the 20 Leadership Camps to all 50 states. I plan on pursuing my Ph.D in educational leadership at OSU in the upcoming year. I have already trained leaders with Experiential Adventure in 5 states since I founded the organization. I am able to impact students with Educational Talent Search and as an adviser on NSU’s campus. But I have so far to go, and so much to learn. I do not want to settle for a life of mediocrity when excellence is an option.
John Maxwell tells a story of a young man who attended his conference and fervently took notes and was attentive to all of the speakers. Maxwell brought the young man on stage and encouraged him to do whatever it took to be a leadership expert. Take notes, go to conferences, interview leaders, read books, etc. and in 20 years, he would be in the prime of his life and career and people would wonder how this 40-year-old man so instantly became an expert. He calls it the Law of Process. Building on past successes, information and ventures to achieve your vision.
In his book “The Total Money Makeover,” Dave Ramsey tells his readers that if they want success they must work at it, they must put in the effort to become successful. Jack Canfield says the same thing in “The Success Principles.” You must take 100% responsibility for your life. If you want to be a leadership expert, then who is holding you back? Do what it takes to achieve your goals.
This is why I tweet leadership quotes. This is why I read leadership books. This is why I attend conferences and interview others who are known leaders. I want to be more like Melissa. This is what my Labor Day Challenge is all about.
I am headed to Cuba on Tuesday, and I couldn’t be more excited. This is such a wonderful opportunity for me as the founder of Experiential Adventure, as a facilitator, and as man. I expect this to be a monumental trip…some would say it is going to be epic…and I hope to be able to blog about all the experiences when I get back!
The team will be traveling early Tuesday morning to Miami, where we will be able to experience the Miami lifestyle for about 3 hours before we hit the hotel early for our 4 a.m. charter flight on Wednesday to Camaguey, Cuba. We will then host a leadership conference for about 300 Cuban men striving to be ministers. We will be able to provide the necessary tools to for them to become certified preachers. Experiential Adventure helped provide the structure and activities for many of the workshops and plenary sessions provided for the conference. We will be engulfed in the Cuban traditions and culture, eating their food, living part of their life, and hopefully be able to see part of the island. Wish us luck!
Recently I was able to go to beautiful Mountain View, AR with Jerrod Murr and present at Ozarka College Student Support Services Leadership Conference at the Ozark Folk Center. The day started off with some technical difficulties, so we were not able to use our awesome Prezi, which surely would have blown their socks off, but we persevered, . We tried out a few new activities, such as Dream Catcher, an activity which forces the participants to create their dreams, declare them audibly, and then narrow the dream in focus.
We also led them through an activity called Rank a Quote, where the participants were shown a quote about leadership, and then were asked to rank that quote on a scale of 1-10 on the quote’s relevance to their life. This activity created great conversation and “debate” between the participants.
We focused primarily on a change of culture within the participants. Assuring them that this is their time to change their life, change their future, and create a new norm within their life. The following Prezi sums up our presentation…
After our presentation we were able to go to the Ropes Course they had on site and watch all of our participants put their new-found leadership skills into action!
Thanks to Okarka College for allowing us to present to your wonderful students…it made our day!
This post is a little late, OK, a lot late, but as the old motto says “better late than never,” and this is certainly better than “never.” Diane Walker, Shelia Fritts and myself traveled to Muskogee to the Indian Capital Technology Center for a Leadership Workshop with their top students, “The A Team” from their multiple campuses.
This workshop focused on communication, teamwork and vision, and we had tons of fun. The day started with some icebreaker activities, including One-Minute Frenzy, Gotchya, Change Train, and Fast Fingers.
The group was separated into three teams, and they rotated between Diane who led them through “Number Line Up,” Shelia who led them through “Play-doh-nary,” and I led them through “Zoom.”
Each group dominated their activity and were able to meet our objectives and their goals. Thanks for allowing us to be there!
The Learning & Leadership Summit hosted by NSU Educational Talent Search is always one of the highlights of my year, and this year was no different. The Summit was attended by 26 “rising sophomores” from all across Northeastern Oklahoma and nine different high schools were represented. The students spent two rigorous but fun days learning about their college potential and personal leadership character through fun, innovative initiatives and experienced presenters.
We started the day with fun icebreakers, name games and energizers that really got the group laughing and out of their shell .
After getting to know each other a little better, we discussed our personal leadership traits and strengths as a group. The group delved deep into what leadership meant to them, and what characteristics of leader was the most important to them. This was done on “Fred Lee Jones” the ETS Leadership man…check out all the great traits and words they came up with to describe a leader.
After discussing what traits each individual thought they displayed and the traits they wish they had, we moved on to a campus wide scavenger hunt at the beautiful Northeastern State University. The students learned what the different offices and colleges on campus had to offer, and where to eat, sleep and play while living at a university.
The students completed a great initiative, Lizzles, and learned about teamwork, patience and focus.
At the end of a long fun day the Summit participants spent the evening and night at the Arrowhead Resort on the Illinois River where we played lots of fun games and activities. The group completed the initiative the Magic Swinging Door where they had to develop a strategy and plan ahead to accomplish their goal, and also Fill the Basket where the group was rewarded as they set goals and accomplished them. To top off the end of the day we even had an ice cream sundae party!
Day 2 started off with an informative session with current college students on involvement and leadership, and then the group tackled the initiative Lego Man, a challenging activity that stresses the importance of clear and concise communication, both verbal and non verbal.
The group also completed Mass Pass, a complicated activity that encourages all the participants to become involved and forces the team to work as a whole unit to accomplish a task.
The Learning and Leadership Summit ended with a parent’s session and an awards banquet. This event was amazing, and allowed the students to see their potential and gave them hope about their future. It gave me an opportunity to sharpen my skills and I had a blast!
Prezi is a wonderful website that is a must-have tool for all speakers, presenters, facilitators, students and educators. It is a user-friendly website that creates bold, dramatic, and impressive presentations, the type of presentations that will have your participants asking how you made your video! Check out my video below, which I made in about 15 minutes…scroll through the presentation by clicking the play button…
I encourage everyone to add this program to your repertoire and start impressing your crowds right away!