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New Year, New Job: 10 suggestions for getting started

job search check list03If you’re looking for a new job then I don’t have to tell you how nerve-racking the process can be. While looking through some notes recently I came across this checklist which I developed while job hunting. I thought it might be helpful to someone else, so here it is. While this list may not be everything you need, at least it will get you started down the right path.

Special thanks to Vicky Mixson, Chief Communications Officer at Wycliffe, for her guidance and professional help during that time.

1. Make a list of possible opportunities … don’t overthink it … start a running list … keep building it.

2. Send resume’ … include full address and email … make it simple to contact you.

3. Include a strong cover letter: customize it, 3-4 paragraphs including introduction, hit the highlights of your career, and tell them when you are going to follow up…usually within one week.

4. Have someone proofread everything for grammar, spelling and accuracy before you send anything that represents you.

5. Put all links to messages, blogs, etc. on the cover letter and if you are applying for a public position include a photograph of yourself.

6. Follow up with a call one week later. When you speak to them, if needed, let them know when you plan to contact them again.

7. Keep good records. Where did you send a resume? When did you send it? Who did you talk to? When did you talk to them? What is your next step?

8. Throw a lot of bait in the water … finding the new opportunity IS your job … or it is your second job, if you already have a full-time job … work the process … no one is going to do this for you.

9. Build an arsenal of references … Don’t put references on resume’ … do not underestimate the influence of someone else speaking on your behalf … deal with references at the interview, if possible … tailor references for the specific job.

10. Be relaxed in the interview.

Above all, as you build your own list remember to pray. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:6-7

 
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Posted by on January 3, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

Best Year Ever

Hightower Wedding_thinking 04Happy New Year!

Do you have a vision of the next 365 days? Maybe you have vision beyond that!

Imagine that one year from today you are sitting comfortably in front of a fire talking with your wife, husband or friend and you make this statement: “This has been the best year of my life.” What would make you say that? Why is that statement true? What would have to happen between now and then in order for that statement to be true?

A vision is a ‘tomorrow statement’ made today. Yet all too often, vision gets dusty because it remains in the realm of dreams or worse…delusions. However, this doesn’t have to be true for you. You can move straight to your vision of the future if you are willing to set goals today.

Goals with clearly defined steps move you toward a desired future.

Effective goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable and Compatible. Or to say it another way effective goals SMAC!

A goal must be specific. What is your goal? In order to accomplish your goal first break it down into achievable steps. Now turn those steps into the simplest possible tasks. Finally, assign each task to what a Daily Action List.

A goal must be measurable. In order to accomplish a goal it will need to be assigned a time limit. Have you set clear and specific deadlines for your goals? DO NOT SKIP THIS: In order to be effective a goal must be written down and include due dates. A goal that is not written down is just a dream.

A goal must be achievable. Be realistic. If you find it difficult to hold down a job you probably should not make it your goal to be a millionaire this year. That would be delusional. Are your goals realistically doable with the time and resources available? Dream within the context of your life and not someone else’s life. In other words, avoid the temptation to measure yourself against someone else.

A goal must be compatible with other goals and highest truths in your life. Is what really matters most to you reflected in your goals? Why is this goal important to you? What motivates you to want to achieve the goal? A scripture? A person? A belief? The problem is not that there are so many options. It may be just as simple as this: you have lost the ability to choose wisely. More choices just mean more choices. But the ability to choose wisely means moving into your best year ever.

Review your goals daily. In fact, rewrite them every day. Years ago I wrote: “There is so much to fill our time that the one who has the greatest desire to achieve the goal will accomplish it because they will fill their time with meaningful activity.” I still believe that to be true because effective goals lead to meaningful activity; and meaningful activity reflects the highest principles and deepest truths of your life.

As you write your goals for this year consider this advice from the wisest man to ever live:

The plans of the diligent lead to profit as surely as haste leads to poverty. (Pr. 21:5)

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. (Pr. 3:5-6)

Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil. This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones. (Pr. 3:7-8)

Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops; then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine. (Pr. 3:9-10)

 
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Posted by on January 1, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

Leading Plan

WINS pic
What is your leadership plan. Your systems are perfectly designed to get the results that you are currently getting.

Here’s an idea that came from our Lead pastor Justin Miller. Actually the skeleton comes from him…I’ve taken liberty to add some additional thoughts. It’s a basic leadership lesson on how to get WINS as a leader. And this is easily applicable to parents or presidents.

W. Who is going to lead? Do you have the best person possible to lead? have you settled for a warm body to fill the spot or did you find a leader of leaders?What are the expected outcomes? When are they expected to have results? Leaders lead best when they are most clear about where they are leading. How will they know if they’ve won the game? Jesus spent the night in prayer before he chose the twelve disciples. A lot of people followed him…only a hand full would go the distance with him. None were perfect. One betrayed him, not because he didn’t love him, but because he loved himself more…greed does that to a person.

I. Intentional. The more deliberate and calculated you are the better those you lead can lead. Resist the temptation of saying silly things such as “God’s in control” when the truth may be that you are using that as a cover-up for ineffective leadership. Don’t merely hope for the best, plan for the best? Choose your activity wisely over merely what will make you look busy. When possible, choose the clearly defined roadmap over a lot of good ideas that are all over the map. Clarity about your destination makes a lot of decisions for you. Work backwards from your desired result. One last thing: constantly look for individuals who are “highly relational-leader of leaders”.

N. What is the Next Step? This is the time to determine where you are in the journey. Clarify what the next step is. Or perhaps you need to take a little different approach and describe the Next Stage – which implies a larger piece of the pie. Just make sure that there are next steps for everyone. Are there clear next steps for everyone and does my team know them? Work back from the desired outcome.

S. Share stories. This is how your organization can clarify and transfer your values and truth to others. in fact stories are the next best thing to actually experiencing an event. Stories shape culture. Experience is preferable over a story. However, the next best thing to experience is a well told true story that captivates a person’s attention and imagination and helps them to paint themselves into it. The well crafted story is the single most powerful tool for bringing about change. It’s not the only thing, but next to first-person experience it is most effective. Don’t just tell facts…tell stories. Stories capture the heart.

In the end, we don’t want to be busy, we want to be effective. I want my life to count.

So that’s the deal…Now go lead.

 
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Posted by on June 13, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

Breakthrough

As I consider my experience in Taekwondo the thing that stands out to me most is that in both Taekwondo and life we should always be willing to give a little more than might be required or expected. In order to do that you may need to learn to concentrate on what you know with your mind rather than what you see with your eyes. Let me explain.

taekwondo break Micah 2014

Action Photography by Micah Holland

One of the first real tests that a martial artist faces is the test of breaking a board. Each time a student begins to learn how to break a board we instruct them to kick beyond the board. To help him or her grasp this concept, we remove the board so that the student is able to visualize the point to which they should kick or strike. The goal of course is for them to concentrate their focus, energy, power and aim beyond the fictitious barrier.

Most students do well in this exercise. Then comes the actual test. Everything changes the moment that they see the actual board standing in the way. At that point something happens in the mind of the student. Rather than concentrating on kicking beyond the board their full attention is captured and placed on the board itself. The board is suddenly obstructing their perfect view of their goal.

Why does that happen? Why will a student agree to concentrate kicking to one point, practice kicking to that point and then suddenly and somewhat unconsciously completely lose sight of their goal? Why do they suddenly become fixated on the board? Is it that the student doesn’t trust their instructor? I think the explanation is a rather simple one. This change of focus happens because the board is real. Breaking the board was a nice goal and thought but actually breaking through the board is another matter entirely. What the student knows in their mind and believes in their heart is hijacked by what they see with their eyes.

Action Photography by CI Roy Reid

That is a powerful lesson in life itself. You may know that there is more then what you might be able to see in this life and so you make your goal to live with faith, courage and determination. Yet, sometimes whenever you face physical, relational or financial obstacles (to name a few) hope, faith and joy can suddenly be hidden from sight. And then what happens? You focus on the problem rather than beyond the problem to the solution. You focus on what may become a source of pain rather than the joy that lies just beyond it. In some instances you may find that you have been fixated on the “board” in your life for years!

Now, because you have lost sight of the goal, you may continually and courageously kick up against the very real obstacle and it hurts again and again. Why are we suddenly afraid of the trouble we face? While there is no simple answer I would like to submit that it might simply be due to a loss of sight. It seems to me that in the same way that a student might be suddenly afraid of seeing the board, although he or she knew that there would be a board to break, that we can suddenly be afraid in life.

We fear the board because we do not want to suffer. We certainly don’t want to cause ourselves unnecessary pain and suffering. And so we do everything in our power to avoid the pain we expect. In other words, we want to break the board, but we don’t want it to hurt! We want to move through the challenge without suffering in any way. Yet suffering leads to perseverance, perseverance leads to maturity / character, and character leads to hope, according to scripture.

Something powerful happens in the human spirit whenever we focus our attention and belief on something that is outside of ourselves and beyond our trouble. For me, whenever I focus my attention on Christ and eternal life that is beyond anything on this earth, I also find exceptional joy and abiding peace. And when I focus on joy I am better able to break through obstacles that life presents. Not always without pain and not always on the first try. But that’s life.

Other lessons I’ve learned include the following: Not accomplishing something the first time is ok. Hurting as a result of trying is ok. Pain does not mean that you are doing something wrong, sometimes it’s a result of breaking through something. However, it is not ok to give up just because you are tired. There is no valid reason for not trying again: if you fall down seven times, then get up eight.

Back to the board-breaking…I learned to focus on a point beyond the board. All was well until I was required to face the more difficult challenge of breaking through concrete. First degree required that I break one 2″ concrete cap with my hand. Second degree black required breaking through two 2″ concrete caps with my foot. The lessons I carried into breaking concrete were things like: Don’t overthink it (huge lesson)…It’s been done before…You are well prepared…Trust your instructor to put you in situations that are both challenging and sometimes difficult…Always give your best.

Having said that, times of testing in both Taekwondo and in life can be useful markers along the journey just to confirm that you are experiencing progress. I like that I am always learning and always teaching.

As I arrive at this place of testing, I am humbled by the fact that while many began this race, few (by comparison) have come this far. I am thankful for each person who invested time, energy, suggestions, training and encouragement. I hope that there will be many opportunities to help others experience breakthroughs to their dreams and goals.

After-thought: Once the testing was over, individuals were allowed to ask questions of me in a public forum. One of those questions came from my wife. She asked me why I did it? She said, “A lot has happened in the year leading up to this point of testing. At any point you could have decided not to move forward. Why did you do it?” “I decided to do it because I knew that if I did and was successful, it would allow me to work toward a fourth degree. But if I didn’t, it would be the end. I didn’t want it to be the end.”

 
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Posted by on May 21, 2014 in Goal Setting, Leadership

 

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Racism

On this episode of Real Talk, Host Justin Miller invites Pastor Brian Broadway to discuss the ramifications of Racism that are still prevalent in today’s culture. Even as far as finding its way into our church!

While on a flight to Amsterdam I asked a young 20 something Dutch man how his people thought of Germans? He said that it depended greatly on the generation of the Dutch person. For example, his grand-parents hated Germans and refused to be around them. Why? During WWII German soldiers took their food and instructed them not to help anyone who was a Jew – a command they ignored, often sneaking food to a Jewish family at great danger. If caught they would have been arrested or killed or both. As a result, his grandparents were intolerant of all Germans. On the other hand, the younger generation had not suffered at the hand of the Germans and as a result were much more tolerant of them.

Textbook definition of racism is the belief that all members of each race possess characteristics or abilities specific to that race, especially so as to distinguish it as inferior or superior to another race or races. To be sure, racism is a a condition of the human race and not only of one race. It seems to me that the ebb and flow of suffering often depends upon how much actual or perceived suffering has occurred at the hand of the aggressor.

So what do you say? Is racism a the result of ignorance, an attitude of superiority, intolerance of differences, or the product of suffering?

Jesus offers a solution” “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 7:12)

 
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Posted by on May 6, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

Personal Limits

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A thought: Everyone has limits – and that isn’t a bad thing – it’s simply true.

Examine your capabilities…maybe you see in yourself a mad pursuit of one thing and then another. Stop.

Maybe you’re in a place where by faith you are prepared to trust that God has ordered your steps according to his own purposes. If that is so, then be patient and enjoy life as God gives it.

If on the other hand your limitations are self-imposed, then do something about it and move on with your new life. How can you do that you ask?

First: Focus Your Mind on Christ. Concentrate on him. If you look beyond whatever is going on in your life you will find Christ. Have you ever wondered how Christ made it through the pain and agony of the cross? He did a couple of things that you can do as well. First, pray – actually cry out. “He cried out to the one who was able to save him and he was heard because of his reverent submission.” No one gets a hall pass from learning obedience. Second, submit to God’s will. “Although he was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered….” Heb. 5:7-8. Third, focus on the joy set before you. “…who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame…” Heb. 12: 3 So, focus your heart. Truth is that you can put up with anything so long as you have focus: cross, shame, whatever. 

Second: Run with Perseverance. Don’t run aimlessly. That’s how Jesus did it. Keep your eyes on the finish line. “Run the race marked out for us.” Heb. 12:1 In other words live life intentionally. Do you know what race you are supposed to be running? Have you noticed the markers?

Third: Throw off everything that is hindering you. Like a runner, strip down and commence to running. Just take the next step. For sure, dump sin: whether its attitudes or habits, dump them…because they are weighing you down unnecessarily. About the sin thing…Jesus said if your hand causes you to sin, cut it off…you’ve read that before (Matthew 5:30). Obviously, don’t actually cut off your hand! Jesus meant that we should deal drastically with sin…as is necessary. He is addressing how you think and what you love. Hey, even a blind man can lust. Most of all, he knew that the more you love the Lord, the more you will seek to please him.

“Moreover, when God gives someone wealth and possessions, and the ability to enjoy them, to accept their lot and be happy in their toil—this is a gift of God. 20 They seldom reflect on the days of their life, because God keeps them occupied with gladness of heart.” – Ecclesiates 5:19-20

 
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Posted by on April 17, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

Mind Your Head

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“Mind Your Head,” the sign read. Not that it mattered because I wasn’t paying attention. I was having so much fun in London, certainly not reading signs and the next thing I knew, “WHACK!” I had hit my head…and it really hurt! Then I saw the sign but it was too late.

“No duh!” I thought. Have you ever done something like hit your head and then get mad like it was someone else’s fault? Only there was no one to blame but you. The sign would have been more useful had I read it before I nearly knocked myself out. There should have been second sign that read, “Told you so.”

Life is a lot like that…just when things are going fantastic, you can become complacent so that you ignore the most obvious signs. Recently, Justin Miller, lead pastor of Real Life Christian Church, gave our team a heads up on three destructive behaviors. Sometimes you may think that nothing can stop you or go wrong for the simple reason that things are currently going so well. Here’s a heads up on what can derail your life and plans…in a big way.

Warning: Please don’t make this all about “church” or “spiritual things” – that would be an enormous miscalculation. The truths mentioned below are just true. If you want to wreck a church, family, friendship or company, ignore these signs. But you don’t want to do that, so here we go.

First, Secret sin will stop you. Don’t live in sin. That is don’t practice sin so that you’re getting good at it and growing your appetite for it. What Achan did in the story of Joshua (chp. 7) was calculated. He knew personally that what he was doing was wrong and his family thought it was a way of getting ahead. Truth was ignored so by the end of that story Achan was aching. The worst part is that his self-centered behavior ruined his family as well. This was a community deal. What is done in secret will be shouted from the rooftop. Everyone suffered because Achan and his family ignored the sign. Don’t be that guy.

Second, Selfish ambition will stop you. If you stand for gossip in your family or backstabbing in your business then look out! Not everybody that you pay is for you and wants you to do well. Not everyone wearing the uniform wants to be on the team; sometimes they’re there because they get a check. And the thing is, as the leader you need to do something about that. Jesus said that there would be wolves among you…people with an agenda. Watch out for those people…and, don’t be one of those people with a secret agenda. If being where you are is all about you, don’t be surprised if it doesn’t end well.

Third, Schisms will stop you. Jesus said a “house divided” couldn’t stand. Not that it would struggle to stand. Not that it would have a hard time standing. No. He said that when there are schisms or divisions you would not stand. Be very careful with hallway conversations and water-cooler conversations. Lots of leaders have ignored the signs of division in hopes that they would just “go away.” Those leaders have suffered for ignoring the signs. Listen, whether or not information about someone is true: gossip, slander, undercutting leaders and co-workers are still divisive behaviors and are therefore a threat to the existence of your family, business, church, or school.

Whenever I witness such consistent negative behaviors in someone, I imagine a sign hanging over his or her head that reads, “I don’t really want to be here.” Don’t misunderstand me…Critics are not all bad or wrong. They’re just critics! When your critics are right, set aside your pride long enough to make some personal changes. However, as Miller said, “I don’t mind having critics, I just don’t want to employ them.” If you are a leader, and you have noticed a consistent negative pattern, then it may be time to release that certain someone to their future.

I hope that everything is going great in your life: marriage, business, church, friends, family, financially. I also hope that your team is pulling in one direction together.

Now…Mind Your Head!

 

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