Why Ask “Why”? …

Why is a dangerous question

Well, the first response to the title might be “Why Not?”, but we need to go deeper.  I think many of us are searching these days, although not for the same reasons or with the same goals …

We are not at the beginning of our careers, relationships, or life, but somewhere in the middle of all this.  We have accomplished things, experienced life, created memories, and learned a bit about ourselves and how we are. 

Now we wonder, for a variety of reasons and with consideration of our individual backgrounds, history, experiences, attitudes, beliefs, and so on … 


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Guest Post: Freedom Day! by Beau Sides

promo_03Our guest blogger today is Beau Sides, who is a different kind of leader … he’s not a Fortune 500 name or someone creating extremely marketable applications to sell us for our Smartphones, or even running for president or other elective office.

Beau is just doing some very good things on a global scale.  This truly is leadership on the edge … enjoy the post, then consider how you can help Beau and what else you might do to make our planet a better place on which to live.

From Beau Sides:  

Freedom Day!

Do you have a day in your life that marks a dramatic change in your vision, focus, and direction?  Well, I do!  My day is January 16, 2004, and I call it my “Freedom Day.”  That was the last day I worked in the corporate world, and I was freed from my desire to have a more prestigious title at work, a job with a higher salary, more direct reports under me, and a better home and car. Yes, I am thankful to say that I have been freed from being self-centered and greedy. My thoughts are no longer all about “me, me, me, and more for me,” but now I am more focused on others and giving.  

While I was working in the corporate world, I was truly blessed to work with some great companies and wonderful people. In fact, I was surprised with the modest success I had and with my overall compensation. I really didn’t feel that I was worthy. However, at the same time, I didn’t feel that what I was doing would matter in 10 years. So I thought about what would matter in 10 years, and my friends and experiences from a couple of trips in China kept coming to mind.  

So, with no knowledge or experience in the area, I decided to start a non-profit to assist children and young adults with their educational, humanitarian, and medical needs . . . in China! Since I was in my mid-forties at the time, I was told I should read a book by Bob Buford called Half Time. In his book, Bob discusses moving from success to significance, and I was hopeful that was what I was doing. Fortunately, I had some people much wiser than me agree to serve on the Board of Directors as I started Global Partners in Life.  

When I donated money prior to starting GPIL, it was only because it was the right thing to do (and because my wife was modeling a giving lifestyle very well for me). Now when I give, I get a great sense of joy, because I personally know who I am helping. I know which special needs orphan will have an operation because of the support GPIL has received and passed along to the orphan. I know the students who have received scholarships from GPiL based on their grades, being English majors, and coming from a financially-challenged family. I have also met the students who became orphans because of a fire in an unregistered fireworks factory in rural China, for whom GPIL paid school fees to keep them in school every year until they graduate from high school.

All of this is to say that I am so thankful to have had a Freedom Day. I can now see how foolish my diligent pursuit of material things really was. I am a much better and much happier person since I realized how much I already had and compared it to how little others have.  

If you haven’t had your Freedom Day, what is stopping you? I would encourage you to learn from my mistakes, and pursue what is on your heart. I will help you if I can!



Beau Sides is the author of Unseen Tears: The Challenges of Orphans & Orphanages in China and Lessons From China: A Westerner’s Cultural Education, both available on Amazon. Learn more about Beau at his website www.beausides.com or connect with him on Twitter @BeauSides.


Guest Post: “Don’t Confuse Motivation With Engagement” by Susan Fowler

Spromo_02usan Fowler is the author of “Why Motivating People Doesn’t Work … and What Does:  The New Science of Leading, Energizing, and Engaging.”  In connection with the launch this week, she has provided some background thinking on an important aspect of her work:  The difference between motivation and engagement and why it matters.  

This post originally published on 9/4/2014 at www.susanfowler.com



Don’t Confuse Motivation with Engagement

There are tons of data supporting the value of having an engaged workforce. However, researchers have only recently explored how people come to be engaged. How do you improve engagement if you don’t understand the internal appraisal process individuals go through to become engaged in the first place?

share_11The appraisal process is at the heart of how employee engagement—and disengagement—is formed. Every day, people are appraising their experience in the workplace and coming to both cognitive and emotional conclusions: I feel threatened, safe, unsure, positive, frightened, fearful, optimistic, etc. When appraisals are negative over time, people end up disengaged or actively disengaged. When people have positive appraisals over time they are engaged or go beyond engagement to what is called employee work passion.

Engagement is the long-term, accumulative result of people’s persistent and positive appraisals of their workday experience. What if managers could help people manage their appraisal process? They can. But better yet, individuals can learn to manage their own appraisal process daily so they are more likely to experience employee work passion over time. How? This bold assertion is key to improving engagement over time: Motivation is a skill. People can learn to choose and create optimal motivational experiences anytime and anywhere. Optimal Motivation is experiencing the fulfillment of psychological needs while in the pursuit and achievement of meaningful goals.*

share_10Motivation is the day-to-day, moment-to-moment experience that ultimately leads to active disengagement, disengagement, engagement, or employee work passion.

Managing people’s appraisal process by understanding the true nature of human motivation and helping people shift to an optimal motivational outlook day-to-day is the key to having a positive effect on long-term engagement.

Engagement efforts have suffered as organizations mistakenly focus on creating metrics out of their survey results instead of the appraisal process that leads to the results. People have suffered from actions designed to improve engagement that actually undermine day-to-day motivation. Despite compelling research on the undermining effects of traditional carrot and stick approaches to motivation, organizations try to incentivize people to improve engagement.

Stop using carrots to bribe people to be engaged. Stop using the stick to pressure them to improve engagement scores. These traditional tactics only thwart day-to-day optimal motivation, destroying long-term engagement. Remember, the quality of a person’s engagement is the result of the quality of their day-to-day motivation.

*Optimal Motivation definition by Susan Fowler, David Facer, and Drea Zigarmi



clip_image002Susan Fowler has 30 years’ experience as a researcher, consultant, and coach in over 30 countries around the globe in the field of leadership. As an expert in the field of personal empowerment, she is the lead developer of The Ken Blanchard Company’s Optimal Motivation product line, as well as Situational Self Leadership, their best-of-class self leadership and personal empowerment program.

Susan is the bestselling co-author of three books with Ken Blanchard: Self Leadership And The One-Minute Manager, Leading At A Higher Level, and Empowerment. A catalyst for growth, Susan also authored the audio programs Overcoming Procrastination and Mentoring. She is a Senior Consulting Partner at The Ken Blanchard Companies, and a professor in the Master of Science Leadership Program at the University of San Diego.

Book Review: “Inspired For Greater Things” by Linda Pulley Freeman

LindaFreeman_GreaterThings_3d-300x300I am a fan of clear, simple, and easy things which result in big positive changes … that’s why I like Linda Pulley Freeman’s approach to change.


Linda uses her life experiences, not to overwhelm us with details, but as quick and focused inspiration to help us make our own way … with a little help.

As with her previous book “Thrive!”, Linda again uses a clean and simple approach. Her formula is easy to follow and yet it results in strong learning, which in turn fuels strong change.

In short (two to three pages mostly) doses, we  consider a particularl focus, read a short scriptural reference and a slightly longer commentary, then reflect on what what this means and what we should now do.

This is effective learning to prepare for transformational change, at its most uncomplicated.

The book is small and easy to carry with you, so you can digest a specific topic or focus anywhere you happen to be or when you really need to clarify your thinking. 

For example, one of my favorite chapters was “Be Pruned“. The scripture (John 15: 1,2) talks about the need to cut off unproductive things and to prune productive things to keep them going.

Far from being a gardening tip, this short consideration focuses on the need to continually evaluate what is in our lives and what needs to either go or be reshaped.

 I found this useful in every aspect of our lives:  work, school, commitments, marriage, children, and so on.  As one interested in leadership, I immediately sensed a strong application here to personal growth, which is a cornerstone of leadership development.  Even troubles and challenges are welcome aspects of growth, painful as they might be.  This strengthens the message of Linda’s book.  

Whether your change goals are personal, professional, or a little bit of both, you will find a clear and effective support system for transformational change in “Inspired For Greater Things”. 

374061_4899864179436_1396184199_nSo, my advice is to go ahead … spend a little money and a lot of time reading and reflecting on the messages for your life which will almost jump off the pages of “Inspired For Greater Things.”

You will not regret either the cash or the time spent … both are wise investments.

Enjoying the continued association with high quality authors and valuable reading in the Heartland ….


Linda Pulley Freeman published her first book, Thrive!, out of her personal struggles and victories, while juggling her roles as an engineer, wife, mom, ordained minister, mentor, community organizer, and program developer. Her second book Inspired for Greater Things is launching in April 2014 and 100% of the proceeds are being donated to help Teen Challenge Cambodia.

Disclaimer:  I received a preview copy of “Insprited for Greater Things” prior to its publication.  Be jealous, be very jealous …

Guest Post: “Flooded With Light” by Linda Pulley Freeman

NOTE:  This was originally published on February 26, 2014 at http://www.iamthriving.org.

Flooded With Light

“I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope he has given to those he called—his holy people who are his rich and glorious inheritance.” (Ephesians 1:18 NLT)


This week has been exciting. It started with the Sunday evening arrival of Erwin McManus, author of the new book “Artisan’s Soul.” Pastor McManus graciously came and spoke to our church about the book and officially launched it at our Rendezvous service last night. We were all mesmerized and encouraged as he talked to us about how we are God’s work of art and God’s artists at work. For me, his ideas are coming right on time as I am shaping the Cambodia Mission Trip for September 2014. I highly recommend this book!


In the midst of learning from Erwin McManus, I had the opportunity to speak to our Trinity Church Miami Leadership Institute (MLI) students on Monday. MLI is a cohort of Southeastern University and all of the students have a desire to enter full-time ministry. My son, Zachary, is the MLI Director. Zachary convened the Monday morning ministry session in the Wynwood district of Miami in the center of the Wynwood Walls. My assignment was to speak the students about urban ministry based on my experiences.

God had impressed on me to talk to them about Jesus being the light and how we are to take that light into any environment He sends us. This light illuminates dark places filled with hate, jealousy, fear, despair, anger, unforgiveness, ungratefulness, depression, and anxiety with life, joy, peace, faith, hope, thankfulness, forgiveness, and creativity. This light is what we have to offer as servants of Jesus. So I talked to them about how I have attempted to bring light to the urban community that through the Peacemaker Family Center at Trinity Church. We had a great day together at Wynwood Walls!


“For so the Lord has commanded us, ‘I have placed you as a light for the Gentiles, that you may

bring salvation to the end of the earth.’” (Acts 13:47 NASB)



Have you thought about how you can bring the light of Jesus to your community? Here is a picture of one of the MLI students, Nelson Ruiz, taking hamburgers to homeless people on the streets of Miami, Florida after the Rendezvous service last night. This is a ministry Nelson quietly started last year.


clip_image005Linda Pulley Freeman published her first book, Thrive!, out of her personal struggles and victories, while juggling her roles as an engineer, wife, mom, ordained minister, mentor, community organizer, and program developer. Her second book Inspired for Greater Things is launching in April 2014 and 100% of the proceeds are being donated to help Teen Challenge Cambodia.

Disclaimer:  I received acopy of Linda’s new book, Inspired For Greater Things, for review before it hit the market.  You should be extremely jealous right now, because this is one spirit-filled and joyful book about giving to others.  Yes, of course I am biased in my support of Linda and her book. I would be crazy not to and I like her useful approach to positive living.

Read the book and I believe you will agree with meSmile.