Dangling Participle: Becoming a Proper Subject

If my English teachers from school knew I was about to write an article on dangling participles they would probably die from laughter. They were generally thrilled if I simply knew the difference between a noun and a verb. So I caution you up front; this is NOT an English lesson. It is about succeeding at something that truly matters. Your life.

In short, a dangling participle is a modifier without a subject. An example would be:

“Hopefully, tomorrow will be a better day.”*

‘Hopefully’ is a dangling participle in the previous sentence. I don’t really mean tomorrow is hopeful it will be better. It is I who hopes tomorrow will be better. Yet, in the sentence, the subject (‘I’) is absent.

Many of us are living as dangling participles. We are hoping tomorrow will be a better day, but we leave ourselves out of the equation. We feel it is dependent upon ‘tomorrow’, our circumstances, opportunities, luck and coincidences. In placing our dependence on those things, we become absentee participants in our own future. We have delegated our responsibilities and have undermined our ability to make choices that will insure that tomorrow is indeed better.

“The greatest obstacle to living is expectancy, which hangs upon tomorrow and loses today.” – Seneca

In other words, you can long for a better tomorrow or you can choose your tomorrow by what you do today. However, many of us fail to make that choice because we just expect that somehow it will get better. We will get our break. Things will change and we will get our chance. Day after day we become more despondent because we are expectant rather than proactive.

Being a dangling participle devastates our standing, power and ability to achieve our goals. We belittle the reality of the impact our actions have on the future we get to experience. We become victims to the day tomorrow hands us rather than choosing today the parameters to which tomorrow must adhere.

I am hopeful tomorrow will be better because of the choices I made today! I choose to do what is right. I choose to learn. I choose to grow. I choose to exercise a contemplative mind and an open heart. I CHOOSE!

Therefore, tomorrow will be better or worse as a direct result of the choices I made today.

I refuse to be a dangling participle. I will be a proper subject; active and present in the determination of tomorrow.

My name is Warren Martin. And I am hopeful of a better tomorrow because of the choices I made today.

How about you?


* Apology. I realize there may be some grammarians reading this article that are objecting to my usage of ‘hopefully’ as a dangling participle (among a slough of other grammatical errors in the piece). There is a controversy among grammarians, with some holding the view that ‘hopefully’ in this case is in fact a disjunct and not a dangling participle. I will simply say that if that is your concern with this article, then you missed the point. Read it again! It is NOT an English lesson, but a life thought meant to challenge you to be present in the choices you make today! So, if you are a grammarian, make a choice not to waste your time correcting my grammar (my English teachers gave up on me years ago), and just spend some time thinking about the point of the article. Thanks.

————————————

Coaching and training is available from. Contact Warren Martin for more information.

————————————

About Warren Martin

WARREN MARTIN is a philosophy graduate of Texas Tech University. He is an author, teacher, minister, artist, quasi-philosopher and speaker known for his unique teaching style. His passion is to share the grace of Christ and to inspire & invest in the next generation of leaders. Learn more here...

© 2015 Warren Martin. All Rights Reserved.

Pandora Revisited: HOPE!

The myth of Pandora is rarely told accurately. It is told of a woman who brought forth evil into the world. The actual story is the opposite. It is the story of hope.

Pandora was created by Jupiter and sent to Prometheus to punish him and his brother for stealing fire and giving it to man. She was sent, unknowingly, to sabotage man.

While in Epimetheus’ house, Pandora’s curiosity led her to look into a jar. It obviously held a secret, and secrets are meaningless unless they are discovered. When she opened the lid, all manner of emotions and plaques were loosed on mankind.

Pandora quickly tried to reseal the jar, but alas, all had escaped save one — HOPE!

If you can get past the male chauvinistic retelling of this story, its really about how even though mankind is weak, reckless and sometimes just stupid…hope never entirely leaves us. No matter how bad things seem to be, there is always a way forward. We just have to open our eyes to the hope that remains.

As Norman Vincent Peale said, “Become a possibilitarian. No matter how dark things seem to be or actually are, raise your sights and see possibilities — always see them, for they’re always there.”

Or as the good books says, “With men it is impossible, but not with God; for with God all things are possible.”

No matter how dark the days ahead may seem… Hope remains!

No matter how daunting the task may seem… Hope remains!

No matter how limited the possibilities seem, there are still possibilities… for HOPE REMAINS!

————————————

Coaching and training is available from. Contact Warren Martin for more information.

————————————

About Warren Martin

WARREN MARTIN is a philosophy graduate of Texas Tech University. He is an author, teacher, minister, artist, quasi-philosopher and speaker known for his unique teaching style. His passion is to share the grace of Christ and to inspire & invest in the next generation of leaders. Learn more here...

© 2015 Warren Martin. All Rights Reserved.

Anchored to Destruction

 © 2015 Warren Martin. All Rights Reserved.

© 2015 Warren Martin. All Rights Reserved.

I believe it is important to be involved in your community. Most of my life, I have been involved in a variety of groups: church groups, social groups and community groups. Most of those groups were created long before I was born. Most of them continue the legacy of making a positive impact in there respective community niche.

I'm all for them and proud to be a part of them.

That being said, many of them are headed towards destruction!

Each was created as a ship to transport others towards a better life. However, while hurtling full-speed towards that goal, they've thrown out the anchor in the rocks of generations past. They are coming to the end of their chain. When they do, the anchor is going to rip them to pieces.

The question always being asked in these groups is "how do we get more people involved in what we are doing?" It is the wrong question to ask most of the time. The question is an anchor in the rocks of tradition. It is an attempt to hold onto doing things the way we've always done them.

Don't get me wrong ... tradition is important! The key is deciphering which traditions we hold and which we do not. Many hold to the traditions of what they've always done, rather that holding true to the traditions of who they are. And yes, there is a big difference.

The vast majoring of groups I've been involved with began doing what they do, because that was how they could meet people where they are and help. The initial actions of these groups in most cases where actually efforts to break traditions in order to meet a need.

The question that should be asked is "how can we change what we do to meet people where they are?"

You don't have to surrender your values to adapt. You have to surrender apathy. Most clubs do what they do and call it a tradition because it is easier than finding new ways to engage their community.

Apathy holds the anchor tight. When the storms of life drive the ship forward and the chain draws taut, the ship is ripped apart because we are unwilling to ask the tough questions. Unwilling to adapt. Unwilling to respond. And unwilling to hold to the one tradition that started most of these groups; the intense desire to find a new way to engage the community in order to make people's lives better!

Are you anchored to destruction? Or are you ready to ride out the storm and help people along the way?

————————————

Coaching and training is available from. Contact Warren Martin for more information.

————————————

About Warren Martin

WARREN MARTIN is a philosophy graduate of Texas Tech University. He is an author, teacher, minister, artist, quasi-philosopher and speaker known for his unique teaching style. His passion is to share the grace of Christ and to inspire & invest in the next generation of leaders. Learn more here...

© 2015 Warren Martin. All Rights Reserved.

Public Speaking: From Fear to Confidence

 © 2014 Warren Martin. All Rights Reserved.

© 2014 Warren Martin. All Rights Reserved.

It is no secret that one of the top fears people have is the fear of public speaking — glossophobia. There are several strategies people employ in the attempt to overcome this fear. However, most of those strategies are focused towards a successful one-time presentation rather that dealing with the root of the problem.

The real issue driving the fear of public speaking for most people is a lack of confidence. Overcoming glossophobia and developing your confidence is not simply a matter of knowledge comprehension, its about experience.

Confidence is only built through experience.

We need to understand the root cause of our lack of confidence (i.e. lack of experience in speaking). No human is a natural speaker. There has not yet been born a baby that came out of the womb and stood up and gave a rousing speech to the delivery doctor. In fact, you don’t event get to choose the language you are going to speak. You are taught speech through modeling. Consequently, most of us simply speak the way the people around us spoke when we were growing up. Let’s explore this idea further.

How talented of an artist are you? Most adults draw at a twelve-year-old level, and most adults response to that statement is, “If even that!”

How much do you like to read? If you don’t read on a daily basis, then you probably read at a twelve-year-old level. Don’t get me wrong, your knowledge base and vocabulary have certainly expanded beyond that level. However, unless you read on a regular basis, your speed and comprehension will parallel that of a twelve-year-old. In fact, most best-sellers are written at an eighth-grade level for that very reason.

Most adults also speak at a twelve-year-old level. Again, your subject knowledge and vocabulary may be well beyond that level, but most adults will present the information with the style and confidence of a twelve-year-old.

Why? What is so defining about the period of our life around the age of twelve?

The years around the age of twelve (plus or minus) are the “awkward years”. We are transitioning from childhood to adulthood and discovering ourselves. Everything about us undergoes a change of some kind during this period of our life. The vast quantity of changes creates uncertainty and undermines our confidence.

It is during this period of lack of confidence that decisions are made establishing the habits that will dictate our developmental experiences. For many, those habits will dictate the rest of their life. However, as we will see in this article, we can choose to change our habits.

It is during this time when we are doodling on a sheet of paper in class and a friend asks us what we are drawing. When we tell them what it is, they proceed to laugh at the drawing. So, we decide that we are not an artist and give up drawing. Our decision limits the number of drawing experiences we will have in the future and stunts our development in this area.

In the same way, one day we are sitting in class and the teacher asks us to read a specific paragraph. It just so happens that the paragraph we are assigned to read out loud has a word in it we have no idea how to pronounce. As we stumble over the word, the rest of the class laughs. So, we decide we are not a reader. Again, the decision limits our experiences and stunts our growth.

Speaking is no different. We’ve all been in the situation when the words wouldn’t come out right, or we were told not to speak. I can’t tell you how many times growing up I was told to keep quiet because “this is adult conversation”. So, we keep quiet. We limit the number of experiences we have in speaking publicly and stunt our growth.

The key point we need to understand is the fact that the fear of public speaking for most adults is really a confidence issue that exists because of a lack of experience.

It is experience that develops confidence. Confidence alleviates fear. The question then becomes, how do we gain experience?

You can always take the route of trial and error and jump in head first at every opportunity. However, the outcome of this approach is very uncertain. It could just as easily destroy your confidence as build it.

It is far better to take a strategic approach to gaining the experiences you need to develop confidence to overcome the fear of public speaking.

There are seven steps you can take to develop a strategic approach to building your confidence in public speaking:

1) Develop the Goal

The most important question is why do you want to develop your confidence and improve your ability to speak? It is vitality that you define the goal with clarity. In a world where more and more of our communication is done via e-communications, public speaking (and face-to-face communication) is becoming a lost art. This means one of your greatest opportunities for career advancement can be found in developing your communication skills — especially public speaking. Developing the goal should consider both why and what. Why you want to develop in this area, and what you want to look like when fully developed.


2) Develop the Model

Speaking is primarily a modeled art. We speak like the people around us. If you grew up in the South … you generally sound like it. Therefore, it is important in developing confidence to begin listening to, associating with, and modeling ourselves after people who speak the way we want to speak. It is amazing how many people overlook this step. It is vital that you identify people who model what you want for your life.

3) Develop the Method

There are a number of different styles of speech presentation. The wrong approach here is to consider what is the most popular style. The correct approach is what fits with your abilities and presentation tendencies. You might have to experiment with a variety of styles to see what works and what doesn’t. This is where practice comes into play. However, practicing a speech does not develop our confidence. It is not an “experience”. Nothing replaces the actual experience of giving the speech.

4) Develop the Growth Plan

The Growth Plan takes a look at the foundational blocks necessary to successfully execute an experience. It might be a class that gives you mastery of the subject matter you will be presenting or to gain the credentials necessary for you to be asked to present. I re-evaluate my growth plan on a regular basis to continue to develop the skills that will enable me to more effectively present content with greater clarity and across a broader subject base.

5) Develop the Experiences

This is a consciences effort to gain experiences in a specific area of your life. It involves the intentional effort to schedule opportunities to gain those experiences. This might include joining a speech club, joining a social club that requires regular presentations, volunteering for a role in an upcoming conference, or other roles which enable you to gain experiences.


6) Develop the Feedback Process

This is generally where the wheels fall off the bus. Most people rarely seek critical feedback. We just like to be patted on the back and complemented. However, this does little in the development of our skills. It is vital that we have competent people to provide us with valuable feedback that doesn’t undermine our confidence, but challenges us to improve. This means we have to be very selective in who we choose to listen to for feedback. Ideally, if you are able to develop a mentoring relationship with some of the people who are currently modeling the type of presenter you want to be, they can provide the best feedback that will challenge you to build your skills.

7) Develop the Refinement Approach

Feedback is meaningless unless it is put to use to refine your skills. This means we have to develop a refinement approach that evaluates the feedback we receive. Then, develop an action plan to implement changes to address the feedback. This is where trial and error comes into play. It is good to experiment with different styles and presentation techniques. However, trial and error is only valuable if you have adequately developed your strategic approach that enables you utilize trial and error in a meaningful way.

Confidence is not a character trait with which you are born. It is the result of successful experiences. Developing a strategic approach to building your confidence can fundamentally transform your life. However, it won’t just happen. You have to be very intentional in the development and execution of the strategic approach.

Experience develops confidence. Confidence overcomes fear. Therefore, you have the ability to confront your fears and develop your confidence by the experiences in which you choose to take part. So, make a choice and go be GREAT!

————————————

Want to develop your public speaking ability? Coaching and training is available from Cinnatus Consulting. Contact Warren Martin for more information.

————————————

About Warren Martin

WARREN MARTIN is a philosophy graduate of Texas Tech University. He is an author, teacher, minister, artist, quasi-philosopher and speaker known for his unique teaching style. His passion is to share the grace of Christ and to inspire & invest in the next generation of leaders. Learn more here...

© 2014 Warren Martin. All Rights Reserved.

Character Flaw

 © 2015 Warren Martin. All Rights Reserved.

© 2015 Warren Martin. All Rights Reserved.

Most people have a character flaw. The rest of us are probably just liars.

One flaw many people have is thinking they get to choose their character. Then, they are offended when people don't see them as they see themselves. In order to look at this issue, we have to understand the difference between ethics an morals.

Ethics can be defined as the determination of right an wrong in a social context. Ethical positions are dependent on a consensus of other individuals for definition.

Morals can be defined as the determination of right and wrong on an individual level. It is a determination defined by internal beliefs and standards. The word "morals" comes from the Latin word for custom. It refers to what we individually do. Another way to express it would be with the word "habits".

Ethics on the other hand comes from the Greek word for character. It is the same word used for an individual in reality or as a part in a play. There is no differentiation. A character in a play is defined by how their actions on stage are perceived by the audience. Likewise, an individual's character is defined by how others perceive their actions.

You DO NOT get to choose your character! You do get to choose your habits. It is critical to understand this reality. Your character is defined by how your habits are socially perceived by others.

To change your character, you must first change your habits. It takes time to form new habits. They are adopted through repeated impressions of an activity that occur over time. It takes even longer for your habits to be recognized by others and credited towards your character.

When people are attempting to "turn their life around," they often become easily frustrated if they don't understand this reality. It can feel that they have initiated an exercise in futility because their habits have changed, but no one has recognized them. They become frustrated and give up.

The character flaw most of us exhibit is that we are unwilling to hold true to a positive habit change long enough for it to be perceived by others as our character. We become discouraged and slump back into our old habits. Thus, we often feel we are constantly making efforts to improve, but are experiencing little life change.

Perseverance and consistency are the keys to character development. They enable us to hold to a newly developed habit long enough for it to be socially perceived as our character. They unlock the door to expanded opportunities when others perceive we are becoming more valuable as individuals.

You don't get to choose your character. You do get to choose your habits. Choose well! Your choices will determine your character and the opportunities you get in life!

————————————

Coaching and training is available. Contact Warren Martin for more information.

————————————

About Warren Martin

WARREN MARTIN is a philosophy graduate of Texas Tech University. He is an author, teacher, minister, artist, quasi-philosopher and speaker known for his unique teaching style. His passion is to share the grace of Christ and to inspire & invest in the next generation of leaders. Learn more here...

Chicken Coop or Chicken Poop?

 © 2015 Warren Martin. All rights reserved.

© 2015 Warren Martin. All rights reserved.

Roosters love to crow! Chickens produce eggs. Those are the facts.

Chickens are known for their penchant to establish a pecking order. Whenever you put a brood of chickens together, they will quickly establish a pecking order from the lowliest chick to the dominant rooster. They will flaunt, peck, challenge and intimidate each other until each chicken knows its place. The pecking order is generally established in the chicken yard amongst all the chicken poop.

The real production takes place in the chicken coop. In the coop it comes down to individual chickens doing what they do ... producing eggs. A good chicken will produce an egg a day.

Rooster are leaders. Yet, they don't rule the coop, they rule the yard. They love getting all the chickens out in the yard, because they love ruling. They enjoy running the gambit of the pecking order, because they always come out on top. They love to hear themselves crow and see all the other chickens respond. However, the more you gather amongst the poop, the less production there is in the coop.

People are a lot like chickens. They are going to get together. They will establish a pecking order. And most of us enjoy hearing ourselves crow!

There are two different ways people get together: meetings and wastings.

Most of the get togethers I'm invited to are actually wastings led by some rooster who enjoys hearing themselves crow or wants to run the gambit of the pecking order.

If you are a rooster (leader), be careful how often you crow! Now, let's get back to the coop and start producing.

————————————

Coaching and training is available. Contact Warren Martin for more information.

————————————

About Warren Martin

WARREN MARTIN is a philosophy graduate of Texas Tech University. He is an author, teacher, minister, artist, quasi-philosopher and speaker known for his unique teaching style. His passion is to share the grace of Christ and to inspire & invest in the next generation of leaders. Learn more here...

Color Coded: Who do you ask for advice?

 © 2015 Warren Martin. All Rights Reserved.

© 2015 Warren Martin. All Rights Reserved.

I have always seen colors differently. When asked what is the color of something, I often disagree with others on how to define the color. In fact, in elementary school I was ordered to see an optometrist because I got into an argument with my teacher about what color a crayon was ... she honestly thought I was color blind. I was most likely just stubborn!

However, I have come to believe that it is the artist in me that changes how I see colors. My mind works from the perspective of figuring out how to recreate the color with paint. I define colors by the way I would mix primary and secondary colors to duplicate what I see.

This may put me at odds with others on how to describe something, but I understand clearly how to recreate it. I understand the color code and how it works.

I think there is a good principle here to glean: a very important perspective to consider on any issue is that from an individual who understands the issue inside and out. They understand how it works. They understand how to recreate it or prevent it from being recreated. They can read its code.

We have a tendency to prefer the advice of people who have been through what we are going through. There is much good that come from those people. However, I believe it is also important to gain the advice of people who haven't gone through what we are going through. People who could've easily ended up where we are, but found a different path. They have the ability to open our eyes to that alternative path.

The key is choosing people who understand how it works. Who know the code. We don't like that, because they often describe the colors of the situation in different terms than we do. They talk differently. They don't as readily empathize with our feelings. But they tend to understand the code and how it works. And perhaps the change we need is not for someone else to understand how we see the situation, but to learn how to see the situation the way they see it.

It is difficult to talk to someone who understands the code behind a situation. We often just want people to validate our feelings and show us empathy. If we want to become greater, we have to figure out how to make choices that move us in that direction. Validation and empathy make you feel better about the mess you're in, but they also tend to leave you in the mess.

Gaining advice from people who understand the code behind the issue discounts how we feel and goes deeper than the obvious. This is the where real choices can be made that move us closer to the extraordinary people we long to be.

So, who do you tend to ask for advice? Maybe it is time to step out of your comfort zone and ask someone who might hurt your feelings, but cares enough about you to open your eyes to a new path.

————————————

Coaching and training is available. Contact Warren Martin for more information.

————————————

About Warren Martin

WARREN MARTIN is a philosophy graduate of Texas Tech University. He is an author, teacher, minister, artist, quasi-philosopher and speaker known for his unique teaching style. His passion is to share the grace of Christ and to inspire & invest in the next generation of leaders. Learn more here...

A Key To Success: Be a Party Pooper!

 © 2015 Warren Martin. All Rights Reserved.

© 2015 Warren Martin. All Rights Reserved.

I recently did something I rarely do, probably voluntarily gave all my personal information away on Facebook taking one of those stupid quizzes. The quiz was a series of questions to determine which Disney character you most resembled. The answer for me was Genie - as in the movie Aladdin.

So, what is your wish? To be more productive? Let me help you with that!

The results listed my strengths as being optimistic and a joker. True. My weakness: "Always wants to leave parties early." Also true.

Yet, I don't see that as a weakness. It is important to be boring at times. In fact, it is vital. That's how you find the time to get things done.

Here is a real life example. I don't watch a movie I'm not into. It is amazing how many people will sit and watch an entire movie only to walk away and talk about how bad it was. I don't care how much money you spent on the movie. If it ain't any good, don't waste your time along with the money you just wasted. Walk away!

Don't get me wrong. I socialize and have fun ... ask anyone. I rarely meet a stranger and I tend to be towards the front of a room. But it is important to have the strength to withdraw and be alone. That's where my greatest work is done. Have the courage to leave early!

Sometimes a key to success is in knowing when to be a party pooper!

————————————

Coaching and training is available. Contact Warren Martin for more information.

————————————

About Warren Martin

WARREN MARTIN is a philosophy graduate of Texas Tech University. He is an author, teacher, minister, artist, quasi-philosopher and speaker known for his unique teaching style. His passion is to share the grace of Christ and to inspire & invest in the next generation of leaders. Learn more here...

Assumed Understanding: A note on effective communication

 © 2015 Warren Martin. All Rights Reserved.

© 2015 Warren Martin. All Rights Reserved.

In the short story often attributed to Earnest Hemingway, we find a unique perspective on understanding. The story in its entirety reads,

“For Sale: Baby Shoes, Never Worn.”

In six words a moving story is told, but what story?

I’ve asked many people what the story means, and everyone has a different take on it. To some it is of a stillborn child, others a miscarriage and still others an adoption that didn’t pan out.

In fact, most people’s understanding is shaped less by the words on the paper, than by the bias of the reader. It is most often our greatest fears and our personal experiences that shape our understanding of words being shared. We read our bias into what we are reading or hearing.

The danger comes when we assume that everyone else understands the same thing we do. That is rarely the case.

Great leaders have the ability to see the multiple ways their words and actions impact people. They contemplate the words, the delivery and where their audience is coming. They have the courage to walk in the shoes of others to foster true understanding.

————————————

Coaching and training is available. Contact Warren Martin for more information.

————————————

About Warren Martin

WARREN MARTIN is a philosophy graduate of Texas Tech University. He is an author, teacher, minister, artist, quasi-philosopher and speaker known for his unique teaching style. His passion is to share the grace of Christ and to inspire & invest in the next generation of leaders. Learn more here...

Clutter is a State of Mind

 © 2015 Warren Martin. All Rights Reserved.

© 2015 Warren Martin. All Rights Reserved.

If I do anything but share the truth on this matter, my friends and family (my wife in particular) would be quick to set the record straight … so, I acknowledge that I’m comfortable with a good deal of clutter surrounding me.

The walls of my office are covered in items from around the world. My desk is “artfully” arrayed in semi-disorganized piles of information. In short, I live in what most people would consider a world of clutter. However, I tend to be a highly focused individual on the task at hand. My organizational style does little to slow me down.

I don’t sweat the clutter. I’m not a time-manager. I’m not a detail person, but I get the job done. Often more effectively than others around me.

I consider myself a problem-solver. If it ain’t a problem, there isn’t any need in addressing it. When it becomes a problem, I solve it immediately!

I have come to realize that clutter is a state of mind, not a state of inanimate objects! I know people who live in clutter and are highly effective. I also know extremely organized people, who can’t get anything done. The question is how cluttered is your focus? Do you have a clear or cluttered state of mind?

I was recently reminded of this in my new position. Our curator showed me two notes she found in the files when she first arrived on the job and began processing the collection. The notes emphasize how, even if it seems to be extremely organized, we actually create clutter that distracts us from our focus.

While combing through the files, she found a note in a file folder that reads: “When opened April 15, 1992, this folder contained nothing. Whereabouts of contents unknown. Signed 4/15/92.” What? Why would you ever refile this folder? Organization or lack of organization is not the problem here. The problem is lack of substance.

Another note was found in the folder marked “75th Anniversary Celebration.” When the folder was opened inside the note read: “This folder was created in anticipation of receiving photos of the 75th Anniversary Celebration. None have yet been donated. Signed March 2, 1992.” Again, kudos for organization, but the substance was missed entirely because of a lack of focus on follow through.

People who are extremely organized don’t impress me. People who are disheveled don’t scare me. What are you getting done? That is the question that matters.

If you keep diligently working on projects that never seem to be moving forward, the problem is most likely NOT in your time-management technique or your filing system. The problem is most likely a cluttered state of mind! You are not focused on the goals and objectives necessary to accomplish the task. I can not tolerate clutter there!

————————————

Coaching and training is available. Contact Warren Martin for more information.

————————————

About Warren Martin

WARREN MARTIN is a philosophy graduate of Texas Tech University. He is an author, teacher, minister, artist, quasi-philosopher and speaker known for his unique teaching style. His passion is to share the grace of Christ and to inspire & invest in the next generation of leaders. Learn more here...

Leadership is Lonely

 © 2015 Warren Martin. All Rights Reserved.

© 2015 Warren Martin. All Rights Reserved.

Leadership is lonely! If it ain't lonely ... it might not be leadership.

There is a famous cartoon of a man resembling the iconic image of Moses who is asking if a bunch of people passed by this way. He asks which way the people went? How many of them were there...etc. It ends with him, after inquiring into everything a leader should know, stating that he is their leader.

There is also a quote that states something along the lines of "If no one is following you, you're not a leader. You are just out for a stroll."

We have this idea that leaders must have a mass following. However, the greatest leaders I know (Jesus, Martin Luther, Ghandi, George Washington Carver, etc.) in the beginning stood alone. There was no following.

The greatest leaders are often the ones who stand against the crowd ... not at the front of it!

————————————

Coaching and training is available. Contact Warren Martin for more information.

————————————

About Warren Martin

WARREN MARTIN is a philosophy graduate of Texas Tech University. He is an author, teacher, minister, artist, quasi-philosopher and speaker known for his unique teaching style. His passion is to share the grace of Christ and to inspire & invest in the next generation of leaders. Learn more here...

An Invasion of Ideas

 © 2015 Warren Martin. All Rights Reserved.

© 2015 Warren Martin. All Rights Reserved.

America. Land of the free and home of the brave! However, our international claim to supremacy has long been established in the currency of innovation, rather than the supremacy of militarization!

Whether you look at the innovative spirit of those first rebels who forged this great nation, the industrial giants who consolidated international trade, or the IT gurus who reinvented social communication; innovation was and is our democratic currency. America brought us into the Atomic Age, was first to put a person on the moon, and brought to heel the world-wide domination of Fascism and Communism. We truly are a super power! How unfortunate it is that we think we owe that designation to the supremacy of our nuclear armament.

We are the nation of innovation! Yet, we fail to understand the importance of ideas. This neglect will undermine the supremacy of our nation.

Do not misunderstand me; we owe a great debt to those brave men and women who have given so much—and at times all—in defense of our nation. They are well deserving of the honor we bestow and the thanks we gladly render.

History is full of relative super powers in their age. Chief among them is Rome. It fell not from want of military strength, but collapsed from within through the deterioration of the social fabric from which they came.

America sits upon the precipice.

Danger, like a hungry lioness, lies in wait to devour our society and feed its own. Ready to spring the ambush on those of us who hide behind the strength of our military might.

The modern day Ares stands at the door. To his right and left are his sons, Fear and Terror, taunting us to exchange our freedom and innovative spirit for security.

Still we do not see the danger. We see the pinpoint accuracy of our weapons. We see the massive destructive capability of our forces. We see the heroes who stand strong, so we can live long. We see the full military might of the US Armed Forces and wonder who could possibly stand against us?

What we don’t see is a diminishing threat!

Many stand against us. The more that we strike down, it seems, the more that rise in their place. How can this be? We are a super power!

Victor Hugo, in his work History of Crime, provided us with the key. He wrote, “An invasion of armies can be resisted; an invasion of ideas cannot be resisted.”

It is no secret that our current struggle is against ideologues. No amount of military might will ever change their minds. It empowers them.

What America is missing today is a tactical invasion force of ideas!

We are consumed with corporate and individual profit, rather than the societal principles that created the opportunity for profit. We are obsessed with the expression of freedom, rather than the fundamental values that established our freedom. We are compelled to share our own views, rather than paying homage to the views that founded the fabric of this great nation.

We are distracted by test scores and how our students match up with other students in China, India, Europe and the rest of the world. We compare our math and science scores and fear that we don’t measure up. So, we reduce or eliminate arts, music and humanities programs for the sake of improving our test scores.

In doing so, we remove those very aspects of our society that facilitate innovation.

Arts, music and humanities are the primary building blocks of free expression, right-brain development, problem-solving skills and, thus, innovation.

We are not struggling against our enemies today because we lack military fortitude. Our forces stand at the ready and will successfully carry out their duties.

We struggle because we have neglected our duty to provide an effective invasion of ideas!

Our forefathers took the world by storm because of an idea. We went to the moon on an idea. Every nation stands or falls on the worthiness of the ideas behind it.

If we want to defeat our enemies, the question is not how best to militarily advance against them. The question is how do we invade their territory with ideas that cannot be resisted?

Innovation is the key to victory. Providing an invasion of ideas that promote life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Ideas that provide a pathway to a better tomorrow with more freedom, prosperity and meaning.

Some reading this will claim that our enemies are not interested in those things. They are only interested in a radical ideology. No doubt that is true of the leadership. However, no movement has power without followers. I have traveled the world and found that people are people all over the world. They just want a better tomorrow for themselves and their kids. They are looking for ideas on how best to accomplish those goals. They will cling to those ideas, however insane, that they believe will most likely enable them to live.

We are loosing the war of ideas in the Middle East and in other places around the world. We have not invaded these regions with innovation in such a way that their people are convinced they can embrace new ideas and live a better life. It is more than providing access to the internet and social media, or the latest techno-gadgets. It is infiltrating the region with innovative principles upon which people can choose to build their own future. And you can't do that from 30,000 feet in the air.

Our infiltration is stymied primarily because we have forsaken the fostering of innovation within our own nation, educational system and businesses. We have chosen the illusion of security over freedom. Freedom of thought. Freedom of expression. Freedom to create. Freedom to fail. Freedom to risk all for a truly innovative idea that could undermine radical ideologies and bring about a better world. That is what made America a super power in the first place.

If America desires to retain the mantle of Super Power, we must once again become a nation that fosters innovation at all levels! For indeed, “an invasion of armies can be resisted; an invasion of ideas cannot be resisted!”

Innovation is the essential invasion force that will bring victory!

————————————

Want to develop your public speaking ability? Coaching and training is available from Cinnatus Consulting. Contact Warren Martin for more information.

————————————

About Warren Martin

WARREN MARTIN is a philosophy graduate of Texas Tech University. He is an author, teacher, minister, artist, quasi-philosopher and speaker known for his unique teaching style. His passion is to share the grace of Christ and to inspire & invest in the next generation of leaders. Learn more here...

© 2015 Warren Martin. All Rights Reserved.

Greatness: Rarely stopped by failure...often stopped by division!

 © 2014 Warren Martin. All Rights Reserved.

© 2014 Warren Martin. All Rights Reserved.

Greatness is rarely hampered by failure. In fact, most great people suffer far more failures than they do success. They just try that many more times. Baseball players almost always strike out more than they hit. Michael Jordan has missed more shots than you or I have even taken. The greatest golfers can be at the top of their game and never make a hole in one. Failure isn't that biggest obstacle that prevents you from experiencing greatness...often the greatest hurdle is DIVISION!

We understand the devastating impact division can have on a business, church, organization, family or even sports team. We don't even have to have that discussion because everyone would be in agreement. Division can keep the greatest teams from ever winning a game and the best of families from ever experiencing love.

However, the division I am speaking of here is not the division between groups of individuals. It is the division within ourselves. The division that occurs when we are torn between who we were created to be and who the world wants us to be.

I am reminded of this type of division every year about this time as the basketball season gets going full steam. Everyone is looking in the paper and on the internet for the line scores to see who beat who. Posted with the scores is usually a few awful words that build an icon but destroy the sport - "Scoring Leader."

Everyone wants to see their name as the lead scorer. However, those couple of words tell us nothing about the game of basketball. They don't tell of the rebounder who stoked the scoring drive with the quick outlet pass. They don't tell of the steal that gave the winning team the advantage in the game. They don't tell of the countless passes that moved the defense out of position to enable the score. They do very little, except ruin the game and destroy the greatness that is TEAM.

We all want to be noticed. Don't believe me...take a look on Facebook and see how many pictures you have taken of yourself. On most profiles selfies outnumber all other pictures put together. Now look at how many selfies depict people with different looks, hair styles, and faces. I would wager that 99% of teenage girls have the "fish face" picture on their profile somewhere. I would also wager that most teenage boys have the "gangster" pic up somewhere (it might just be a hand gesture or turned hat). We all want to fit in. We want to be talked about. We want to be noticed. We want to be mentioned in the line score notes - Leading Scorer.

Often this leads to us trying to be something we are not. We destroy greatness in an attempt to be an average somebody else. I am convinced many people would rather be the star on a losing team than the sixth-man on a championship team. That is why greatness is so rare.

We are divided within ourselves. We, each of us, have greatness within our reach. We were created to be great. God created us and the Bible says, "Great are your works, Oh Lord!" You were created to be great, but you can only be great by being YOU. Being the unique individual you were created to be who impacts the world in the way only you can.

All of us are on a team - family, work, school, sport, church - we all have a position to play. The media might not care about your position. The world might not care about your position. But I promise you this, coaches who understand the game of basketball plan for the player that runs the floor and holds the team together, the player that takes away their opportunity for second shots, the defensive player that can ruin the tempo of the game. They don't just plan for the leading scorer.

In the same way, others plan for the great people in this world and how they can stunt their greatness. Far to often it is by tempting them to always be the leading scorer rather than the player they were created to be. And I'm not talking about basketball. I'm talking about the dad who does the everyday little things that make him great and is tempted to give them up for fame or fortune. I'm talking about the worker that quietly changes the world for the better while the CEO takes the credit. Far to often this leads to her quitting her job (because she didn't get noticed) and no longer is the world being made better.

God knows greatness. God is Greatness. And God has put greatness in you! He knows what it looks like and he smiles every time He sees it in you.

The question is are you able to accept greatness? Are you able to accept who you were created to be? Are you willing to play your part to the fullest potential regardless of whether or not your position is in the headlines? Are you willing to look for greatness in others and cheer them on? Are you willing to look behind the shot, to see the pass, the outlet, the rebound, the steal, and the coach that prepared the team?

Or are you going to be an average idiot your whole life, only see the score, live in division with yourself and never experience greatness?

You can have the leading scorers of the world. I'll take the great players that are never mentioned. And trust me, we will kick you butt every time! Because GREATNESS is found when position players work together as a TEAM!

————————————

About Warren Martin

WARREN MARTIN is a philosophy graduate of Texas Tech University. He is an author, teacher, minister, artist, quasi-philosopher and speaker known for his unique teaching style. His passion is to share the grace of Christ and to inspire & invest in the next generation of leaders. Learn more here:
Warren's Website

© 2014 Warren Martin. All Rights Reserved.

Downtime Motivation

 © 2014 Warren Martin. All Rights Reserved.

© 2014 Warren Martin. All Rights Reserved.

Millions of dollars are spent every year to motivate employees. Companies bring in motivational speakers and host key events to inspire their staff right before the company does a big push, at the beginning of a project, or right before the “busy” season. I know. I’m one of the speakers they will call. Yet, in doing so, we often miss the moments when motivation has the greatest impact—in downtime.

My wife, Wendy, and I had the pleasure of going on an Alaskan cruise some time ago. One of our excursions was to “The Great Alaskan Lumberjack Show” in Ketchikan, Alaska. Outside the gate to the show was a climbing pole that, for a tourist-trap-rated price, you too could strap on a pair of spikes and climb the 75’ pole. I couldn’t pass up the challenge.

I strapped on the pole spikes, climbing belt and safety harness. It took a couple goes to get comfortable with driving the spikes into the wood and leaning back into the climbing belt. Once I figured out the mechanics, it was fun to act the part of a lumberjack and climb the pole. Up I went. Gradually, however, my pace slowed considerably.

Driving those spikes into the wood and slinging the heavy climbing belt up the pole was a workout. At about 35-40 feet up, I was spent. I started thinking to myself, “Why am I doing this? I’m on vacation. This is too much work. No one up here knows me. If I quit, no one will ever know, except my wife and she won’t care.”

Finally, I convinced myself. I stopped and rested a few minutes to confirm my decision with myself. I called down to my wife and said, “This is a lot of work. I think I’m done.”

Standing next to my wife was a gentleman who was watching me out of simple curiosity. He heard what I said and immediately responded, “You can’t quit now! You're almost there. Get up that pole!”

Sounding like a high school football coach encouraging his team to win the state championship, he kept yelling up to me and encouraging me to climb higher. He literally started grabbing people walking by and making them clap for me and encourage me.

What did I do? What else could I do? I CLIMBED THE POLE!

I made my way to the top and touched the finish line to cheers. I then began to make my way back down the pole. Upon arriving at the bottom, the only person there was Wendy. Everyone else had their own vacation to tend to. Once the goal had been accomplished everyone moved on.

I never got to meet the man who so enthusiastically encouraged me that day. I don’t know his name or even where he was from. However, he made a significant investment in my life.

One of the primary concepts I teach people about is the value of consistency of choice. We get to choose the opportunities we will have in life based on the consistency of our daily choices. We understand this when it comes to the big things. It is in the mundane choices of daily living where we often loose our consistency.

Like I was on that pole in Alaska, we see some of our choices as being inconsequential. Who will know? Does it really matter anyway? Why expend the effort? We don’t realize that its not the individual choice, but the consistency of choice that defines who we are.

I have always told my daughters that your success in life will be directly proportional to how well you can manage loneliness and boredom. Those are the times when most bad decisions are made. It is in the downtimes that we lay the foundation for the success or failure we will face in the future.

Also, like me on that pole in Alaska, it is during the downtimes that we are most open to the influence acts of encouragement and motivation can have on our lives. When there is no expectation for someone to speak into your life in a powerful and meaningful way, and they do…it makes an impact!

Most leaders rarely think of encouraging and motivating their teams in the downtimes. Then, we often wonder why the team was not prepared when needed. Companies are like people: both experience downtimes. People have to learn how to effectively navigate loneliness and boredom. Companies have to learn how to effectively navigate off-season and idle times.

We have a tremendous opportunity to make a significant investment in our teams and lay the foundation for success during the downtimes. The goal is not simply to have a ra-ra-ra pep talk every day, but to make an investment that develops a consistency of choice. By understanding the significance of every choice we are empowered to lay a strong foundation for the future.

Great leaders invest in their teams when they are most susceptible to being influenced, inspired and motivated to make positive changes in their lives. Downtimes are the perfect opportunity to make that investment. Greatness doesn’t just happen. It has to be chosen. Whether you are in the heat of the battle or on vacation, make a choice to invest in others and go be great!

————————————

About Warren Martin

WARREN MARTIN is a philosophy graduate of Texas Tech University. He is an author, teacher, minister, artist, quasi-philosopher and speaker known for his unique teaching style. His passion is to share the grace of Christ and to inspire & invest in the next generation of leaders. Learn more here:
Warren's Website

© 2014 Warren Martin. All Rights Reserved.

Never Punish a Child!

 © 2014 Warren Martin. All Rights Reserved.

© 2014 Warren Martin. All Rights Reserved.

I firmly believe you should never punish a child. I know many will be shocked by that statement. People will posit the objection that many of the problems we face today are a direct result of too little punishment being dispensed. They will contend if we punished our children they would turn out better; our society would be better. They are wrong.

The punishment of children is one of the many factors that is contributing to the degradation of our society. What children need is discipline. What our society needs is discipline. There is a world of difference between punishment and discipline.

Imagine you are driving down the street one day and pass a high school football stadium with the team in full practice. The coach is barking at the players as they run up and down the bleachers. They struggle beneath their gear in the intense heat. Monday's practice is going to be long.

You drive down the road and pass another high school football stadium only to see the same scene repeated with another team. Both teams participating--willingly or otherwise--in the same activity. However, one of the teams is being punished and the other is being disciplined. What is the difference? Focus.

The first team is being punished. We know this because of the words and body language from the coach. He is screaming about how poorly they performed on Friday night. He tells them they failed miserably, embarrassed the entire town and should be ashamed of themselves. The focus is entirely on the loss Friday night.

The second team is being disciplined. They too lost on Friday night, but the coach is not focused on the loss. He is focused on the next game. He is encouraging his players to understand if they want to win, they will have to be in better, stronger and tougher than the team they will face come Friday. The focus is entirely on the next game.

Focus is the difference between punishment and discipline. When we punish our children we compel them to focus on what we don't want them to be. When we discipline our children, we acknowledge the wrong done in the past, but there is a greater emphasis to focus them on the person they need to be in the future.

This is a trait that separates great leaders from the pack. Great leaders have the ability to address issues by focusing the team on being better in the future. Poor leadership is held captive by the failures of the past. This is what we see coming out of Washington today.

Washington politics are held captive by the past. The last election. The latest poll results. Digging up dirt on rivals from decades ago. You hear nothing out of Washington that constitutes a compelling vision for the future; be it fiscal issues, campaign finance reform, gun control, immigration reform, or any other issue on the table. I can think of no other venue where there is a greater need for discipline.

David Campbell, founder of Saks Fifth Avenue, said, “Discipline is remembering what you want.” Discipline is all about keeping the focus on the desired goal and it demands that we not be held captive by the past.

Want to see a change in your own life? Remember what you want. Remain focused on the goal. Dedicate yourself to being disciplined. If you want to see a dramatic change in the lives of children, develop and employ consistent discipline. If you want to be a great leader, regardless of circumstance, address failures but keep the focus on the goal.

Want to see a change in Washington? Stop voting for political parties or individuals who you think can beat the other candidate. That is all about punishment. Stop voting for individuals who go to Washington and forget what you want.

Start voting for individuals who are disciplined. They are the ones with a vision for the future and an uncanny ability to remain focused on what they believe is best for the nation.

Whether as a parent, manager or politician, leadership is always undermined when the leader implements punishment as a motivator. You might get the desired results in the short term, but you limit the potential for greatness by destroying loyalty, creativity and collaboration.

Discipline equally addresses the short term, but remains transfixed on the goal and fosters greatness.

Discipline is leadership.

About Warren Martin

WARREN MARTIN is a philosophy graduate of Texas Tech University. He is an author, teacher, minister, artist, quasi-philosopher and speaker known for his unique teaching style. His passion is to share the grace of Christ and to inspire & invest in the next generation of leaders. Learn more here...

© 2014 Warren Martin. All Rights Reserved.

Vulnerability: God Helps Those Who...

 © 2014 Warren Martin. All Rights Reserved.

© 2014 Warren Martin. All Rights Reserved.

Finish the statement: God helps those who …

Aesop once told a fable of a wagoner from long ago. He was driving his wagon down a muddy lane when the wheels sank so deep in the mire that the horse could no longer pull the load. In that moment, the wagoner called out to the heavens for help.

Hercules himself appeared, as the fable goes. He said, "Put your shoulder to the wheel, man, and goad on your horse, and then you may call on the gods to assist you. The gods help those who help themselves."

Years later the one true God, Jesus Christ, walked beside those who were themselves stuck in the mire. At every turn, He helped those who were unable to help themselves.

Yet, even today the echo of Hercules resounds with the implied authority of Jesus Christ: "God helps those who help themselves."

Stuck in the mire with a load, the weight of which is beyond measure, we are encouraged to put our shoulder to the wheel and goad the horse on. We refuse be to vulnerable to even our closest friends. We hide our weaknesses. We wallow in loneliness thinking we must fake it till we make it and then God will assist our efforts.

Like Milkolka in Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment, in a stupor, we goad our horse on to accomplish the impossible. "God helps those who help themselves!" we declare and push forward with all our might. We yell, shout, whip and beat in an effort to gallop when we can't even move an inch. And in the end, like Milkolka, we beat our horse to death trying to move the unmovable.

"God helps those who help themselves," people say. "For they bind heavy burdens, hard to bear," Jesus explains, "and lay them on men's shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers." (Matthew 23:4)

God does not help those who help themselves. God helps those who cannot help themselves. God helps those who have no hope. God helps those who are stuck in the mire unable to move. God helps those who cannot carry their burden. He exchanges burden for burden – His burden for theirs.

"Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you shall find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light." (Matthew 11:28-30)

God came to the valley, because we were unable to climb the mountain. God loved us, because there was no love within us. God brought salvation to us, because we were incapable of saving ourselves. God helps us, because we are unable to help ourselves.

God does not expect perfection in leadership, but integrity. That requires that we acknowledge what we can do and what we can't do. Vulnerability is not a sign of weakness, but of strength and wisdom. It allows for collaboration in our areas of weakness so that we can be stronger as a whole. It begins with how we view God and his involvement in our life, and is extended to how we lead our teams.

God helps, even now. God does not wait for us to get bogged down in the mire. Coasting along on a good road with no obstacles in our path, Jesus sits beside us and says, "Can I help you? Will you let me drive? The road ahead is smooth at times, but it also has mires, potholes, and deep ruts. We've got to go through some of that to get were we're going. I'm going to be here no matter what, but if you will let Me, I'd like to take this burden. I would like to take over the reigns and insure the safe delivery of My precious cargo. That precious cargo is you, My child. Can I help you?"

God helps those who cannot help themselves. Will you let Him? And will you model that spirit on your team?

About Warren Martin

WARREN MARTIN is a philosophy graduate of Texas Tech University. He is an author, teacher, minister, artist, quasi-philosopher and speaker known for his unique teaching style. His passion is to share the grace of Christ and to inspire & invest in the next generation of leaders. Learn more here...

© 2014 Warren Martin. All Rights Reserved.