Leaders are Readers

It has been said many times that leaders are readers, and this statement could not be more accurate.  The biggest leaders I know are all voracious readers.  My personal mentor Claude Hamilton is constantly reading books in all different areas to help improve those areas of his own life, and be able to help other’s in those areas as well.  Orrin Woodward, with whom I also mentor, has read thousands of books!  He can devour a book (or two) on a flight somewhere, never giving up  ”spare time” to learn from the experience of others.  That is what reading is, it’s learning from the 40, 50, or 60 years of experience one man or woman has had in their area of expertise without having to go through all the same struggles they went through.

When I finished high school I told myself I would never read another book, I didn’t enjoy reading and wasn’t going to waste my time on it.  However, when I was introduced to Claude Hamilton, and the Life Leadership organization, he told me I had to read if I wanted to achieve the goals I had set out for my wife and myself.  Reading was not easy at first, I was a slow reader and was frustrated by my lack of progress.  Eventually, after reading a few books and applying the principles in them into my life, I realized how wrong I had been about reading (good books).  It added so much value to my life and helped me through so many hurdles I was dealing with.

Recently, a book was published entitled Turn The Page.  I wish this book had been around when I started on my leadership journey and my reading expedition.  The tips in this book are invaluable if applied to one’s reading habits.  There are so many good ideas on how to read like a top leader, and get the most out of the books you are reading, I urge everyone who doesn’t like to read (or at least thinks they don’t) to start here.  Pick up this book, apply its principles to the rest of your reading and you will see a huge difference in how much you enjoy reading and how much you get out of it.

There are a few tips from this book that really stood out to me when I read it;

Write in Your Books

Whenever I read a book I didn’t want to make a mess of it, so I never thought about writing in it.  I learned though, through mentorship and through this book, that writing in your books as you read them is such an important part of reading.  When you write in your books it makes reading an active process, it makes you really think about what you are reading as you take the words on the page and turn them into thoughts and then sentences in the margins of your book.  Then you not only have the author’s thoughts in your book but also your own, which can be helpful when you look back at books you have previously read.  It is much easier to find important points if you made notes about them when you read through the book originally.

Start With a Question

When I started reading books, I was reading them just to read them and therefore not getting much out of them. Claude told me however that I needed to start with a question before I opened the book.  Readers will get much more out of books if they are looking for the answers to questions, not just reading for the sake of reading.  ”Leaders understand that important answers often come from unexpected places, so they don’t limit themselves to getting business advice only from business books, mentoring advice only from mentoring books, and so forth.”  As you read more and are thinking deeply about what you are reading, the answers to your questions can pop up in places you never expected them to.

Read Several Books at Once

This advice came as a bit of a shock to me at the beginning because I could hardly focus on one book enough to finish it, let alone four or five.  However, as Turn The Page points out, there are so many benefits to reading more than one book at a time.  Readers are more likely to read more if they have more than one book on the go.  They may not feel like reading book A, but they might feel like reading book C.  If they were only reading book A at that time however, they may not have picked up a book at all that day.  Another amazing benefit of reading more than one book at a time is the connections you can make between books that don’t seem to be connected at all.  I love reading a book in one area, then picking up a book in a completely different area and making connections that help me find answers to the questions I started with.  Making these connections makes you think more which stretches you as a leader.

Read Anywhere

Reading anywhere is something we can all take advantage of.  Claude encouraged me to always have a book on me incase I ever had a few spare minutes to read, I reluctantly agreed even though I really thought I would have no spare moments.  I was quickly proven wrong.  Waiting at the doctor’s office, on my lunch break, waiting in a store while my wife tried on clothes.  There were so many opportunities to read a few pages here and there, and I finished books so much faster than I ever though I could.  I always carry books with me now, because I never know where I will get a chance to sneak in a couple of minutes of good reading.

Read and Reread

When I started reading, I was so happy to finish a book and cross it off my list, the thought of picking it back up and reading it again was not very high on my priority list.  However, there are so many benefits to rereading books.  You already know what to read because you know which books were helpful and full of good information and you know which ones were not.  Some questions that Turn The Page suggests asking yourself before rereading a book are extremely helpful in deciding if it would be beneficial; did it change me?  Am I better for having read it?  Did it inspire powerful action in me?  A second great reason to reread books is to catch all the details you missed the first time through.  There have been many occasions (almost every time I have reread a book) where I could have sworn the book had changed since the last time I read it because of how much new information I picked up.  ”In this way, rereading will help you achieve greater depth in your reading and better understanding of the valuable nuggets of truth that are sometimes hidden in the pages.”

Turn The Page is a phenomenal book on how to read like a leader.  I urge anyone who is serious about leadership, or wanting to become serious, to pick up this book and learn how the leaders read, because leaders are readers, but not all readers are leaders.


God Bless,



Posted by on July 20, 2014 in Following, Freedom, Leadership


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Seasons of Growth

Throughout my life and my business I have had many different seasons; seasons of happiness, seasons of grief, seasons of explosion, and seasons of frustration.  Everyone goes through these different seasons in all areas of their life, business owners or not.  While the seasons of happiness and growth are exciting, the down seasons are full of lessons that build our character and will power.  I am so thankful for these ‘down’ seasons because it is there that I have been able to see the most growth in myself and my wife.  However, the ‘up’ seasons are definitely the most fun and energizing.

I am so excited for the season we are just entering!  Summer is such an awesome time of the year.  The sun is out, golf courses are open and I get to hang out with all my friends more than I do all year.  It has also always been my favourite season for building my business, and often ends up being a season of explosion for myself and business partners.  There are three main reasons, that I have found, why the summer is one of the best times to build my LIFE Leadership community;

Running the Roads

Driving is a big part of my business.  Whether it is driving 20 minutes or 5 hours, I drive a lot to go visit friends and business partners.  During the summer, the roads are often clear and dry which makes for perfect driving conditions.  Most people are more willing to drive on dry clear roads than the ice-covered roads we have in the middle of winter.

Longer Days

A second benefit of the summer is the hours of sunlight, the summer has the most hours of daylight all year.  People tend to stay up later in the summer because they have more hours of sunlight.  This extends my hours of doing business and often makes me more productive.  Claude taught me years ago to take advantage of nights I assign to business.  Its more efficient to have three or four meetings in one night than have one meeting a night, four days in a row.  Having multiple meetings in one night is much easier in the summer because people are willing to meet later because of the later hours of sun.

Vacation Season

Most people wait until summer to take their vacations from work; to spend time with their kid who are off school or just to take advantage of the nice weather.  I have found that there are many more people out and about around town during the summer than in any other season.  With so many people out, I run into so many people who are looking for different options in their life and are willing to sit down and take a look at what we have to offer.

Summer stacks the deck for business building.  The cards are all in our favour we just have to take advantage of them.  I’m so excited for this season of the year to become an awesome season of explosion in my business and all my friends’ businesses! Take advantage of the nice weather we have and drive your business deeper than you ever have before!

Love ya,



Chart Toppers

What an amazing weekend!  Chart Toppers is one of our favourite weekends of the year!  Raylene and I love the association with the top leaders in the business, the people who are serious about changing their lives!  And we love that everyone has the opportunity to join us in Florida whenever they decide to move on!  This weekend was packed full of fun in the sun and amazing teaching and leadership.  I love the feeling of being involved in a community that are all focused on a common goal.  The camaraderie of these weekends is almost tangible.

I also love that some of my best friends get to come down and spend the weekend with us hanging out by the pool, going out for dinner and hearing from the top leadership experts in the world!  Here is my friend John Lewis’ perspective on this amazing weekend;

I love to travel.  So when LIFE Leadershipannounced that the 2014 Chart Topper event would be held in sunny Fort MeyersFlorida, Michele & I immediately started making plans to attend.  I was excited to say goodbye to this long cold Ontario winter, if only for a few days.

World Class Leadership Teaching

Something special happens when a community of leaders get together. Chart Topper is an opportunity, to have fun, learn, be inspired, relax, and create great memories.  If you weren’t able to make it this year, be sure to attend the next one.  These are essential to developing a strong sense of community through association.

Quiet evening at the resort

If you were at Chart Topper, feel free to leave a comment sharing your favorite moment from this event.  There were so many memories that I will never forget but perhaps the most awe-inspiring memory for me was the talk by LIFE Founder Bill Lewis about the power of being part of a community.  He was truly courageous and shared from the heart.  Thank you for the example you set as a leader Bill!

A huge thank you to the LIFE Leadership office, including CEO Chris Brady and the rest of the LIFE Founders for designing this awesome event.  See you at the next LIFE Event!

I hope you guys make the decision and run hard to join us in Florida next year!  Can’t wait to see you down there.


God Bless,




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Marriage is not a Mirage

When I got introduced to Life Leadership, and decided to start my own business, one of the things I did not expect to gain was an amazing marriage.  It was a business, I expected to gain business knowledge, hopefully make some money, gain my time back, but I did not expect to have the marriage I do today.

Our marriage is at where it is today because of two things; the influence of other great marriages like Orrin and Laurie Woodward and Claude and Lana Hamilton, and because the books that we have read because of our involvement in Life Leadership.  Our marriage was never terrible, but it was never as good as it is today, and it only grows stronger everyday.

When I thought about marrying Raylene, I thought that everything would be smooth sailing.  We would cook our meals together, go do things together, be happy all the time and never have any real problems.  We wouldn’t have to put any real effort in, everything would just work out.  That image of a marriage I realized, was a mirage.  It wasn’t real and it didn’t exit anywhere.  The reason why marriage doesn’t work like that is because a marriage is a relationship between two people who aren’t perfect, have different personalities and different needs and desires.

Early on in our time in business Claude recommended I read Personality Plus by Florence Littauer.  While this book can be applied to any relationship in your life (friend, child, co-worker, bank teller), I found it especially enlightening in our marriage.  I discovered that Raylene had phlegmatic tendencies which made her very easygoing.  I thought that was a great trait for my wife to have, until reading further and learning that “Peaceful Phlegmatic never wants to cause trouble and will quietly accept the status quo rather than ask for a change.”  I would ask Raylene what she would like to do, or like to eat and because she didn’t want to upset me, would just let me pick.  Often however, I would pick something she didn’t want and she would be upset and I didn’t even know why!  Learning about her personality helped me understand her so much better, and made our marriage stronger the more I applied what I was reading.

Another book we read early on was The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman.  This book was huge in breaking the mirage I thought was our marriage.  I would love Raylene the way I would want to be loved but it never really made a huge impact.  I never understood why she didn’t appreciate it as much as I did when I would do the dishes for her; because my love language is acts of service, and her’s isn’t.  This book is where I learned that I really had to put in some hard work to make our marriage as successful as it could be.  Chapman says “I am convinced that keeping the emotional love tank full is as important to a marriage as maintaining the proper oil level is to an automobile.  Running your marriage on an empty ‘love tank’ may cost you even more than trying to drive your car without oil.”  To make Raylene feel loved I have to consciously make an effort to speak her love language; spend quality time with her and give her gifts.  This isn’t always easy, as it is so much easier to just love her in my love languages, but loving her in my love languages is no where near as effective in  keeping her love tank full.

Claude recommended another book to me to read, The DNA of Relationships by Gary Smalley.  One of the most critical points I took from this book is that “though we can choose how we will participate in relationships, we have no choice about whether we will participate in them… Our only real choice is whether we will work to make our relationships healthy; whether we will do things that hinder or enhance them.”  Gary talks about how relationships are a natural part of human life, we have no choice about having relationships, it is in our DNA.  But we have to work to make those relationships thrive.  This is what I had never understood.  I thought people got married because they loved each other and they didn’t have to put in a big effort to make the relationship work, it just happened by itself.  The illusive mirage.

I have learned so much through my years being involved in Life Leadership and through all the materials available.  These books have been invaluable to me as their effect on our marriage cannot be measured.  Having a good marriage is a lot of work, some days you may not feel like putting in the extra effort; folding the load of laundry, spending the extra 20 minutes talking to your spouse, complimenting them on an accomplishment, but those little bits of extra effort accumulated over time is what makes a marriage great.  Like Orrin Woodward always says, “I can’t promise you easy, but I can promise you worth it.”

God Bless,



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LIFE Changing Weekend

What an amazing weekend!  LIFE Leadership just had its Winter Leadership Convention in Columbus Ohio where so many amazing things were unveiled.  Life Coaches Orrin and Laurie Woodward, Dan and Lisa Hawkins, Bill and Jackie Lewis, and Claude and Lana Hamilton were all there to share their amazing insight and experience, as well as Policy Council members George and Jill Guzzardo, Holger and Lindsey Spiewak, and Raylene and myself.  Also, for the first time ever, LIFE’s CEO Chris Brady and his wife Terri shared the newest enhancements to the LIFE Leadership company.

One of the new enhancements to this amazing company is the Community Advancement Bonus (CAB).  This is a revolutionary pay plan that will change the industry.  More money is available to more people than ever before.  This new addition to the compensation plan will take the market by storm.  It is just one more way that LIFE Leadership is committed to helping families get what they want by having fun, making money, and making a difference!


Another major addition to LIFE Leadership is The Next Step Program.  This is a step by step process laid out to lead everyone to becoming Professional Business Owners (PBO).  This plan makes it so simple for the newest person to know what to do next to become successful!


Finally, the thing that everyone in the LIFE Leadership community has waited for, the new Compensation Plans!  This plan is so comprehensive, with so many ways to make money!  Anyone can succeed if they put in the necessary work, and the new compensation plans make it so much clearer as to what you have to do to make what amount of money.  Everyone can just pick an income level and it will outline what needs to happen for that to become a reality, using all 15 and a half ways of making money!

15 1:2 ways

One of my favourite moments of this Winter Leadership Convention was seeing great friends of mine, Rick and Lindsay, be recognized for the huge achievement of Round Table.  They are at an elite level that only a few couples share in, and they achieved this level in only 12 months!  Seeing them up on stage being recognized for all their hard work was amazing.  I know their hearts and their passions and how much hard work it took to be up on stage.  I am so proud of them and know they are just at the beginning of their amazing journey with tons more to come!

My favourite talk of the whole weekend was when Claude Hamilton and Orrin Woodward collaborated to give us answers to all our questions about the new CAB.  As one of the most exciting new announcements at the convention, the Community Advancement bonus needed to be covered, and these guys did it from start to finish.  They explained where the idea came from, how it developed, why it is better than any other pay plan in the industry and how we can all take advantage of it to become as profitable as possible.  Hearing the insight from Double Life Coach and Founder of Life Leadership, Orrin Woodward, was priceless.  Getting inside the mind of the innovator of the CAB was such a great opportunity for everyone there!

With such an amazing weekend full of so many new things to help business owners grow their businesses even faster I am so excited for the next few weeks!  There are going to be explosions of growth throughout the whole company!  The excitement from the growth will be overwhelming, and I can’t wait to see so many of my friends reach their goals and start living the life they have always wanted!

God Bless,



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Winning Gold

With the Olympics going on in Russia , I have thought a lot about the athletes in competition.  What they have done to get to the level they are at right now, competing in front of the world for a gold medal.  Some of these athletes’ whole lives have led up to this moment, when the whistle blows or the gun fires and they finally have a chance to show everyone back home what they have been working for, and how hard they are willing to fight to get it.

When most people watch the Olympics on TV they may be amazed at how fast people can ski, or how high skaters can jump.  But what I am most impressed by is the background work, their dedication to their sport in all the years leading up to the games.  I have so much respect for these athletes who were willing to give up a lot to get to where they are today.

When you are an elite athlete, or elite in any profession, you don’t live like other people who aren’t chasing a dream.  You are always focused on your dream and you make sure everything you do is going to help you accomplish that dream, if it doesn’t help, it isn’t worth your time.  When athletes are in training I’m sure they pass up opportunities to do things that are good, like going out with their friends or taking the night off to relax with their families, to attain something that is great, their gold medal.

They are so dedicated to their dream and their goals that people might even think they are a little crazy.  But people should think they are crazy, because people without a dream don’t know what its like to have one.  When you have a dream that you really believe in and are willing to give up everything for, its not hard to give up the good things for the great.  Most people don’t understand that, and wont ever understand that because they don’t have that kind of passion in their life.

When Raylene and I were running for our goal of financial freedom, never being financially obligated to go to work 40 hours a week, people thought we were crazy for giving up some of  the things we did.  We didn’t go home to visit our family for years, and it wasn’t because we didn’t love them or didn’t miss them, we did for sure, but we knew if we stuck it out and accomplished out goals, we could see them whenever we wanted.  We missed family events, we missed things that our friends invited us to.  They would have been good to go to, we would have had fun, we would have laughed and enjoyed ourselves, but they would not have helped us secure our financial future.  That was the main goal.  We listened to our coaches, Claude and Lana Hamilton, and by sticking to our main goal and sacrificing the good for the great we are now able to spend every minute we want with our son Beau.  We never have to go to a job again, trading time for money while paying someone to watch our child.  We get to raise him ourselves.

When you live like this, you should make others really uncomfortable because you’re always talking about your dream and your goals.  I’m sure the Olympic athletes, in the years leading up to the games are constantly talking about and visualizing their goals, winning their medal, standing on the podium and hearing their national anthem play.  Talking about these things would make others without any goals really uncomfortable.  This feeling, I believe, comes from the realization that everyone has a choice.  A choice to be great or be average.  Olympic athletes have chosen to be great, they have picked something and devoted their lives to it.  We all have a choice to excel at something, but some people don’t make that choice. Their discomfort is a feeling that comes from knowing they could be doing more than they are.  Sometimes that discomfort is enough to motivate them into making a choice, setting a goal and running after a dream.

I encourage you to get a dream, make some people uncomfortable, and run after it with everything you’ve got.

God Bless,




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Be A Team Player

Last Sunday, the Seattle Seahawks won the Super Bowl over the Denver Broncos.  This outcome was NOT expected.  The broncos have one of the best quarterbacks in the league, Payton Manning, who broke two records this season.  He threw 55 touchdowns, beating Tom Brady’s 50, and threw for 5,477 yards, beating Drew Brees by one yard!  Even with a quarterback with these record, the Broncos were defeated.  This is a perfect example of the phrase “Individuals win awards, teams win championships.”  The Seahawks came together and played as a team to beat the much favoured Denver Broncos.


So what makes a good team?  First you need to have people who are good team players, then after you have your players, you need to develop and maintain good team chemistry.  John Maxwell wrote a book called The 17 Essential Qualities of a Team Player.  This book has amazing information about how to personally become a better team player.  I am going to highlight five of the 17 essential qualities that make a team player.

1. Adaptable: “Teamwork and personal rigidity just don’t mix.  If you want to work well with others and be a good team player, you have to be willing to adapt yourself to your team”.  If you aren’t willing to work with your team and bend a little, you will never be a great team player.  To be adaptable you need to be teachable, willing to learn a new way to do things.  They are emotionally secure and do not see every ounce of change as a personal threat to the way they do things.  Team players are creative and they are service minded, focused on whats best for others or whats best for the team.

2. Committed: “Human emotions go up and down all the time, but commitment has to be rock solid.  If you want a solid team…you must have team players who are solidly committed to the team”.  Commitment is usually discovered when it is tested, as Vince Lombardi said “the harder you work, the harder it is to surrender.”  Your commitment doesn’t depend on your abilities in some area, there are people who had all the natural ability in the world but weren’t committed and therefore didn’t succeed.  Commitment is a choice, when you chose to be committed you give yourself, and your team, the opportunity for success.  If commitments are based on values, it is more likely to last.  Commitments made in the moment are almost always doomed to failure.

3. Enthusiastic: “There is no substitute for enthusiasm.  When the members of a team are enthusiastic, the whole team becomes highly energized.”  To be an enthusiastic team player you have to take responsibility for your own enthusiasm, choose to be enthusiastic!  Sometimes this involves acting your way into feeling, if you wait to feel enthusiastic it may never come, so act like first.  To help you act and speak enthusiastically you need to believe in what you are doing, believe it is important and focus on the positive aspects.  Finally, to become more enthusiastic spend time with other people who are enthusiastic.

4. Selfless: “No team succeeds unless its players put others on the team ahead of themselves.  Being selfless isn’t easy, but it is necessary”.  Generosity is one of the keys to being selfless.  Being generous helps unite the team, and advance the team.  Avoiding internal politics by worrying about the good of the team instead of personal benefit is also essential to being a selfless team player.  Displaying loyalty to the team, not to yourself and valuing interdependence will lead to selflessness as well.

5. Tenacious:”Even people who lack talent and fail to cultivate some of the other vital qualities of a team player have a change to contribute to the team and help it succeed if they possess a tenacious spirit.  Being tenacious means giving all that you have, but not more.  If you think tenacity is giving all you have and more, you will be unmotivated because the goal is unattainable.  Giving all you have will set your team and yourself up for success.  To have tenacity is to work with determination and not wait for luck or fate to intervene.  You need to quit when the job is done, not when you are tired.  You show your real tenacity when you go beyond where you think you can in order to finish the task at hand.

Developing team players is not the end of the process of developing an unbeatable team.  Once you have a group of team players, everything is not guaranteed to go smoothly, we are people after all and people aren’t perfect.  Two things that a team must commit itself to are good relationships, and unity through conflict resolution.  These two commitments will lead to good team chemistry which allows success.

Claude Hamilton, in his book Toughen Up, outlines guidelines for great relationships.  These are just a sample of the wisdom he shares on how to build great relationships;

  1. Build Depth: Building deep relationships takes time.  Spending quality time with teammates will build deep bonds that will last through struggles and missed goals.  If relationships are not deep, the team has the potential to fall apart as nothing is holding the members of the team together.  You have to care about the people you are building deep relationships with, and show them that you love and care  about them.
  2. Use a Team Approach: Working towards a common goal with 20 people or even 10 is a lot more fun and feels easier than with just two.  Working together is key.  People will often work harder for the other people on their team than the will for themselves.  When this happens, results will appear faster and inspire people to believe in themselves and join in with the work.
  3. Think Long Term: Every team will encounter conflict at some point; people will argue because they don’t see eye to eye on something, someone will feel hurt by an innocent comment someone else made, people will argue about the best way to achieve a goal.  What is important to maintaining good relationships is learning to make the relationship more important than your feelings.  You have to be willing to have the hard conversations and communicate with other team members when you have been hurt. Being honest can break through barriers and bring teams closer together, where staying quite and harbouring resentment towards others will only break down relationships and eventually the team.

The second aspect of creating great team chemistry is unity through conflict resolution.  In Orrin Woodward‘s book, Resolved Primer, he discusses five steps for conflict resolution.  If applied correctly, these steps can help teams to work through conflict and be stronger on the other side. These steps can be applied when needing to have a conversation with a teammate about a conflict that has arisen in your relationship.

  1. Affirm the relationship: The conflict between team members is not the purpose of the conversation, the relationship between team members and the team is the purpose for the conversation.  This needs to be established right away.  By establishing this first, you affirm in the other person’s mind that your relationship matters and you remind yourself what the true purpose of the conversation is.
  2. Seek first to understand: The key here is to listen to your teammate and try to understand the conflict from their perspective.  It is especially important at this point to not take what the other person says personally and react emotionally.  You are there to listen and let them share their feelings with total freedom.
  3. Seek to be understood: Now you can respectfully share your perspective on the issue.  Remember that you are not here to prove who is right or wrong, you are here to resolve this conflict and move forward with a deeper, stronger relationship which leads to stronger team chemistry.
  4. Own responsibility by apologizing: Here, you want to own as much of the conflict as you can while still being truthful about the situation.  This step can be difficult because people are reluctant to admit their imperfections to others.  However, a sincere apology will create more good than denial and justifications ever can.
  5. Seek agreement: Now the goal is to unite and strengthen the relationship and therefore the team.  Flushing issues out of a relationship leaves only stronger bonds of love, trust, and unity.  In a team, unity creates harmony and success which is every team’s ultimate goal.

By becoming a better team player individually by applying the information from The 17 Essential Qualities of A Team Player you will increase your value in the team.  But for a team to increase it’s value overall, it needs to develop good chemistry through good relationships and unity.  When a team can focus on mastering these, that is when they win championships.

God Bless,




Foreign Language

Communication in any relationship is crucial.  Whether it is your relationship with your husband, wife, kids, co-workers, friends, parents, or anyone else you interact with, good communication is vital for a healthy relationship.  My best friend and mentor, Claude Hamilton, recommended I read the book The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman, to help with my communication in my relationships.  At first I was hesitant to pick up the book because it was purple with a big heart on the front.  But I am so glad I listened to the advice of Claude and read it despite what it looked like.  The information I learned from this book is invaluable, as it made me aware that I needed to speak to people not only with my words, but also through their love languages.

One of the biggest things I learned from this book is that, despite the love language of the individual, you have to keep their love tank full.  The easiest way to keep their love tank full is to speak their love language to them.  It is easy to love someone in your own love language, because you are comfortable with that.  Sometimes it is a little uncomfortable to love people in their love language because it is foreign to you.  But speaking your love language to someone who does not share that love language with you is like speaking German to someone who only speaks Chinese.

There are five love languages, each unique but of equal importance. They are;

  • Words of Affirmation
  • Quality Time
  • Receiving Gifts
  • Acts of Service
  • Physical Touch

Words of Affirmation includes verbal compliments and words of appreciation.  When speaking this language, straightforward statements such as “you look beautiful in that dress” or “thank you for taking out the garbage yesterday, I really appreciated that” are best.  The person on the receiving end of these statements will have their love tank filled, knowing exactly what you think and appreciate about them.  One of my love languages is words of affirmation, so all Raylene has to do to make me feel loved is tell me I look good in my new shirt, or tell me I did an excellent job in a meeting.

Quality Time is not just spending time with someone.  You can spend time with someone at a movie theatre and not talk to them for 2 hours.  Quality time with someone is giving them your undivided attention, talking or doing an activity that you enjoy.  This lets the other person know that they are a priority to you and that you care about them.  This is a powerful communicator of love.  Raylene is quality time, and I had to learn that if I came home to a house with dirty dishes on the counter, she would rather me sit and talk to her for 20 minutes and ignore the dishes than do the dishes and ignore her.  The dishes could wait, she wanted me to invest in time with her, invest in our relationship, and her love tank grew fuller as we sat and talked.

Receiving Gifts can be a love language that is hard to speak because it is the only one that costs money.  However, some people may view this money as an expense or an investment.  Those who look at love languages as a way to express their interest and love for another person will see the money spent on gifts as an investment.  A gift is something the recipient can hold in their hand and look at and know the giver was thinking about them.  Raylene’s second love language is receiving gifts.  When we learned about the love languages and we realized this was one of hers I was worried because of the money it could cost me.  But I realized that the gifts do not have to be diamond earrings and Rolex watches.  They can be little things that cost only a few dollars, in fact sometimes these are the gifts she likes the most because they are thoughtful and personal.

Acts of Service means doing things like cooking, cleaning, setting the table, filling the car with gas, vacuuming, and taking out the garbage.  Little things that require thought, planning and time.  If these things are done with the right attitude, a positive one, they are expressions of love.  My second love language is acts of service.  I know Raylene loves me, and is trying to show me she loves me when she takes my clothes to the dry cleaners, cooks a meal for me, or does the dishes.  When she does these things for me, it tells me that she is thinking about me and wanting to serve me in some way.

Physical Touch is a powerful vehicle for communicating love to someone, especially in a marital relationship.  Hugging, holding hands and kissing are all actions that communicate you love someone.  These actions are vital in relationships where one partner’s primary love language is physical touch.  In non-marital relationships you can love those whose primary love language is physical touch by high-fives, pats on the back for a job well done or touching someone’s arm when you talk to them.  These simple actions can communicate love in an appropriate and professional manner.

When you are interested in building relationships or becoming closer with people you already have a relationship with, learning and speaking their love languages is key.  Speaking someone’s love language will solidify the relationship, where not speaking it could kill the relationship.  It is important to choose to love people in the way they respond to love most.  When Raylene and I read this book and discovered what our love languages are we were encouraged to show love the more love was shown to us.  The more she loved me, the more I wanted to show her love as well.  As our love tanks were filled, the more we wanted to fill each others.  The opposite is true also, the more empty our love tanks were, the less we wanted to show love to one another. In those situations it was so important for one of us to chose to break the cycle and show love regardless of how we felt.

Have fun learning your love languages and the languages or others, and thinking of ways to show those around  you that you love and care about them!

God Bless,



Posted by on February 1, 2014 in Family, Following, Freedom, Friends, Fun


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The Trilateral Leadership Ledger

The Trilateral Leadership Ledger

One of the best books I have ever read on personal leadership and developing yourself is Launching a Leadership Revolution, by my good friend Orrin Woodward and his colleague Chris Brady.  One of the key things I took from this book the first time I read it was something called the Trilateral Leadership Ledger.  I had never heard of it before, but it made so much sense.

For leaders, growth cannot be optional.  Continual improvement must be present or you will be left behind.  The only way to keep pace with increasing responsibilities is through increased ability.

Personal growth must come before your influence with others because your influence stems from your personal abilities.  The process of becoming a leader starts with a lot of effort, which results in internal improvements the outside world cannot yet see.

Because personal growth is internal, and results show up much later, it is helpful to have a way to self-assess and track progress.  This self-assessment tool is the Trilateral Leadership Ledger.


Leaders can use this tool to measure their leadership abilities in three main categories; Character, Tasks, and Relationships.  The left vertical measures the effectiveness of the leader in the three categories across the bottom horizontal.  Effectiveness ranges from zero (worst) to ten (best).  Every leader’s goal should be to grow in the mastery of each of category.

Three Categories of Personal Effectiveness


Orrin and Chris make a bold, yet accurate statement in regards to character; “Nobody lacking character will succeed in a meaningful way”.  So those looking to be successful in something meaningful in their lives have only one choice, develop their character.  For the purpose of using the TLL to gauge personal growth, character is considered to include:

  • Honesty
  • Integrity
  • Courage
  • Proper values based on absolute truths
  • Faith
  • A humble spirit
  • Discipline
  • Self-mastery


This category represents the ability to get things done.  No leader can succeed without the ability to complete the necessary tasks to win.  For assessing a leader’s effectiveness in the task category, the following should be considered:

  • Acceptance of responsibility
  • Work ethic
  • Availability
  • Willingness to invest time
  • Tenacity
  • Perseverance
  • Execution


This category measures a leader’s ability to get along with, and form lasting bonds with people.  Leaders cannot experience success alone, they must accomplish things through, with, and for people.  Without the ability to build strong relationships, that accomplishment would be impossible.  Leaders can asses their effectiveness in this category by looking at their abilities in:

  • accepting people
  • approving people
  • appreciating people
  • seeing the good in people encouraging people caring for and about people
  • putting others first
  • seeking win-win arrangements
  • helping people accomplish tasks
  • living the “Golden Rule”

To use the TLL you must first begin with an honest self-assessment.  This will offer your starting point.  You can then estimate your improvement with re-evaluations.  This way, as a leader, you can keep yourself on track and be sure you are always in a state of improvement.

To get your TLL score, estimate yourself in each of the three categories and give yourself a ranking from 0 to 10.  Then to get your overall score, multiply those values together.  For example, character (3), tasks (1), relationships (2), would give you an overall score of 6.  Character (4), tasks (2), relationships (1) would give you a score of 8. But be wary of overestimation, only when you confront the brutal reality of where you are, will you be able to achieve where you want to be.  Asking a mentor’s opinion of your self assessment would be a good place to start to determine if you have over (or under) estimated yourself.

A perfect score on the TLL would be 1000 (10x10x10), which seems daunting considering the examples just given.  But if the individual in the first example goes from a 3, 1, 2 to a 4, 2, 3, their score will increase from a 6 to a 24!  Small improvements can make a huge difference when using this leadership tool.

It is important for leaders to remember to grow in all three areas, not ignoring their weakest points and assuming their stronger qualities will make up for it.  If someone scored a 0 in the task category but was a 9 in character and a 7 in relationships, his overall score would still be 0.  If they even increased that score from 0 to 1, their score would jump to 63!  It is so important to grow in all areas of the TLL.

The compounding effect of the three categories is astonishing.  Real leaders won’t let themselves stay ineffective in one category when it is holding back their overall influence.  If honestly considered, a leader’s score can reveal their blind spots and identify an area that needs improvement.  If there is an area that is holding them back, a plan for improvement can then be developed.

The ‘perfect’ score of 1000 is unattainable.  We are imperfect humans and therefore we will never arrive at perfection.  However, we should never end our pursuit of it.  If we think we have arrived at a level that is ‘good enough’, we have already started to slip backwards.  It has been said that if you are not improving, you are getting worse, there is no staying still. Continual improvement in all areas of the Trilateral Leadership Ledger is key to attaining success and becoming an influential leader in something meaningful.

God Bless,



Understanding Each Other

Have you ever wondered why your spouse can never remember where they parked the car, or why your child will organize all of their toys just right and get upset if anyone touches them?  Without proper understanding of the four basic personality types, these things can seem extremely foreign and unnatural.  In order to understand people; the way they talk, act, work, and even have fun, a basic understanding of personality traits is fundamental.

There are four basic personality types that are concerned with where one draws their energy (internally or externally) and what motivates a person (tasks or people).  The traits are broken up as follows;


For a detailed explanation of the four types I would recommend two books; Personality Plus by Florence Littauer and Positive Personality Profiles by Dr. Robert Rohm.  While these two authors use different title to describe the different personalities, their definitions are very similar.

Let me use professional life as an example of how the different personalities operate:

Popular Sanguine volunteer for everything even if they don’t know how to do it.  They think up new activities, are creative and colourful, and look great on the surface.  They are full of energy and enthusiasm, they inspire others to grow and charm others to work.  Professions where a popular sanguine would thrive are actors, comedians, and politicians.

Perfect Melancholy is very schedule oriented.  They are perfectionists with high standards and are very detail conscious.  They love order and an organized work environment that is neat and tidy.  They will see the problems and think of creative solutions, always needing to finish what they start.  They love charts, graphs, figures and lists.  Becoming an accountant, attorney, scientist, or pilot would be a perfect fit for perfect melancholy.

Powerful Choleric are people who see the whole picture, are goal oriented and seek practical solutions.  They move quickly into action, delegates work, and insists on production.  These people thrive in the face of a goal, deadline or opposition.  Excellent career choices for powerful choleric are police officers, navy seals, and umpires/referees.

Peaceful Phlegmatic is competent and steady.  they are peaceful, agreeable, and has great administrative ability.  they meditate on problems, avoid conflict and are excellent under pressure.  Jobs suitable for peaceful phlegmatic are hostage negotiators, personal support workers, relationship counsellor, and bomb defusers.

Each personality type has amazing strengths as I have noted.  There are professions that are more suited towards people with specific personality traits, and the world needs people like them.  A sanguine may not be suited to be an accountant or an actuary, just as a phlegmatic would probably not make the most effect border patrol officer.  These are jobs we need, and I am thankful that there are people out there with the personality traits that fit them so they can be filled by people competent in those areas.  I’m not saying that someone couldn’t do a job that their personality traits were not complementary to, however they may find it uncomfortable and unfulfilling, and most likely have a career change in mind.

Another great example for explaining the differences between each personality type is their expectations on time matters. A choleric is easy on themselves, but hard on other people.  Even if they are late to an event or a meeting they would just consider everyone else lucky they even showed up.  But if someone was late to an appointment they had arranged and was important to them, they would not be understanding.  Sanguines are easy on themselves and easy on others.  They aren’t even really sure why they are going to most appointments, they probably lost track of time, and if you showed up late to a meeting they would be just as happy to see you.  Phlegmatic are hard on themselves and easy on others.  A phlegmatic would never want to be late because it would bring attention to themselves or make someone else upset, and if you showed up late they would understand any reason for your tardiness.  A melancholy is hard on themselves and hard on others.  They run on a schedule and wouldn’t miss an appointment, and if you were late to a meeting with them they would be annoyed that you disrupted their schedule for the day.

You can probably start to sort out who in your life has what tendencies.  Your spouse who forgets where they parked the car probably has some sanguine traits.  Your child who organizes their toys probably has some melancholy tendencies.  As you look into the four personality profiles more you will start to understand those around you better, and become better at interacting with them and understanding their methods of communication.

As with anything, there are positive and negative elements to each of the four profiles, so I will leave you with a message to each;

Choleric, look up!  You may be able to destroy the world, but remember, you didn’t create it.

Sanguine, button up!  Tell one less story every time you talk.  Yes, all these people will miss out on your amazing story, but they will appreciate you listening to them.

Melancholy, lighten up!  Nobody is perfect, we don’t expect you to be perfect, so please give us some grace too.

Phlegmatic, get up! a body in motion tends to stay in motion.  It’s great to rest but you truly feel better about yourself when you are accomplishing a task.


God Bless,