Tag Archives: vision

The #1 Quality of Exemplary Leadership

Jake Porter

Ohio has a lot of big high school football games. But none of them were bigger for two teams and a kid by the name of Jake Porter than the one on a Friday night a few years back. Let me tell you the story. Jake Porter has a disorder called Cortisol Fragile X. That means he is cognitively challenged. But Jake loved football and turned out for the team. He went to every practice, every workout, and suited up for every game. He did this all despite knowing that he would never get in a game. It simply was not safe and would put him at risk.

That all changed the last game of the season. His coach wanted to put him in a real game. He went to the opposing coach before the game and explained Jake’s condition. He asked if the game got lopsided if it would be okay to put Jake in for just one play. They had practiced taking a snap and handing the ball to Jake who would then knee it down with no risk. The opposing coach agreed. As fate would have it, the game did become one-sided. It was a brutal 42-0 blowout (Jake’s team was down) with only five seconds left. The coach sent in Jake and the crowd erupted! Just then the opposing coach came sprinting across the field. He said he did not just want Jake to get in the game, he wanted him to score.

Now in football a shutout is a big deal. This coach decided that it was a bigger deal for him and his team to let Jake score. Jake’s coach said, “Wow, we didn’t practice that!” The opposing coach assured him. If he gave Jake the ball, they would make sure Jake scored. So Jake’s coach called his team together in a huddle and said boldly to Jake, “Big boy you’re going to the house!”

They lined up. Jake started jumping up and down. The quarterback took the snap and handed the ball to Jake who slowly began to knee it down while the coaches, the crowd and the players collectively yelled, “NOOOO!” Then, teammates, coaches, refs, and opposing players all started pointing towards the end-zone.

21 players opened up like the Red Sea before Moses and Jake took off for the Promised Land.

Slowly at first and then faster he ran! A 49 yard touchdown run! Number 45, Jake Porter had scored. Players celebrated, fans hugged and big, manly coaches cried.

A lot of young men played football that year, lots of games with lots of big plays, but of all the moments in that season, Jake Porter’s 49 yard touchdown dash will be the one they will always remember.

What Jake’s coach showed, that is belief.

And belief in others is the #1 quality exemplary leaders possess.

  • Leaders who lead with belief say, “You belong here and you can excel here!”
  • Leaders who lead with belief say, “I’m glad you are on my team and you’ll make an outsanding contribution.”
  • Leaders who lead with belief say, “You might find all of this a struggle. Well, so do I. Let’s make something extraordinary together!”
  • Leaders who lead with belief say, “Big boy, big girl, you are going to take it to the house!!”
  • Leaders who lead with belief say, “I see leadership in you!”

Who can you take to the house?

Image Credit: TheCommunityPaper.com

Five Questions that Will Prepare You for a Successful 2013: Part 2

Imagine asking the single most important question for your leadership, having the courage to answer it and having the courage to pursue it! What does Madonna and the success of my leadership journey have in common? Well, believe it or not, I owe Madoanna a lot. Several years ago (prior to starting my company), I was watching True Hollywood Stories. It was actually a fascinating biography. It was on the journey of Madonna’s unending rebranding and re-making of herself over a dozen times.


Although I am not a huge fan, I do like some of her music and can very much respect her courage to remake her career and stay relevant as an entertainer. The big “Ah ha!” moment for me was when she said “I always grant myself permission for do-overs.” It made me consider what I want to do next and what do I want to be now.

That leads us to the second key question in our sure-fire strategic success plan for 2013.

Number Two:
What do you want to be and do in 2013?

Can you courageously answer that? What is your fundamental driving purpose? Really, why do you exist?

For me, it is all around inspiring greatness in individuals and organizations. I feel most alive speaking, training, and coaching. I am a teacher at heart and I exist for others, equipping, inspiring, and empowering.

  • What is your fundamental purpose?
  • What is your mission?
  • What is your vision for 2013?
  • What do you want to be and do?

Vision is a picture of the future which creates passion in the present.

When you see that picture clearly, focus and execution are close on the heels. Vision is that motivating spark. Please, don’t jump into goals and action items until you gain that exiting vivid picture for your business and personal leadership.

One more component to consider:
What is your code of honor? What are the 10 or 12 promises that you make and keep for your extraordinary 2013?

My code of honor consists of points such as:

  • I promise to blueprint out my days each and every day.
  • I promise to uphold health and fitness as a priority by exercising 4-5 times each week.
  • I promise to nurture my soul with prayer and solitude.
  • I promise to build my schedule around accomplishments and not just busy work.
  • I promise to spend 20-30 minutes each day in personal development.

Take a coaching tip from Madonna: grant yourself permission for a “do-over.” What do you want to be and do in 2013?

I trust this will be your best year to date!
Next week we will go over question three, but don’t let this week pass without careful consideration of question two.
If you missed question one, you can read it here.

Steve’s Favorites: The Fog of Battle

They call it the fog of battle, where all you see and hear is gunfire. When you are in a battle it is hard to maintain clear perspective.

My phone was ringing. I looked down at it and read the caller ID and thought “Wow, one of my favorite coaching clients.” I gave a cheerful hello only to hear a faint voice on the other end. You see, my friend was sitting in his car in a parking garage unable to get out. He was trapped in his car by his own fear and fatigue! This once confident and self-assured president of a company was now child-like and meek.

He related to me over the phone how a series of downward disappointments had beat him up. He couldn’t gather himself to “pull it together” and get out of the car to face another day of “battle.”

I turned from coach to counselor. Trying my very best to encourage him to open the door and head back into it. I promised to meet with him soon for a day of VISIONEERING. Slowly my friend’s voice picked up volume and realization as he stated “Steve, I’ve lost vision. All I see is the battle.”

Vision is a picture of the future which creates passion in the present

I did follow through and I drove to meet him at his location. We spent three hours together rebuilding, rediscovering and renewing his vision.

Vision Question: How is your Vision? Not your sight, your Vision.

What do you see in your future?

Here is a simple but powerful place to start: Ask yourself, “What is it that I really want to accomplish?”

You may want to choose two or three areas to focus and map out on a single sheet of paper. Do not get frozen or fearful. Imagine the possibilities in your career! Your health! Maybe you want to turn that blog into a book. Maybe you want to turn those daily bike rides into a successful bike race. There are so many possibilities that you can accomplish in your life with the right type of Vision!

I once wrote a post about about Michelangelo’s creation process of David. Michelangelo stripped away everything that wasn’t David. But first, he Imagined his Vision of David in his mind.

Ask yourself: What type of person do I want to be?

That question is a great place to begin developing your Vision. Perhaps you want to be more spiritual, more healthy, more fit, more optimistic, or to have remarkable energy that is just irresistible! Here is one activity that can really help build and maintain the power of your Vision:


Lin is an award-winning interior designer. So admittedly, she is a natural at creation. Naturally, when I took Lin through the process of building her vision board, it turned out spectacular! It was aesthetically pleasing and organized. But not all boards have to be beautiful, they just have to display your vision in a way that you understand and that inspires you. On Lin’s board, she placed a picture of her husband and her boating in the San Juan Islands. She had a picture of her working in her garden at home. She had inspiring phrases and quotes.

You get the idea! It was a colorful reminder of her vision of her future life. The idea of the Vision Board is to be a reminder of what we are striving to reach even when we are stuck in the fog of battle. It is a visual vacation that can pull us toward our future selves. Once you regain and maintain your personal and professional vision, energy and oxygen course into your soul and it will fuel your days!

This is a discussion, so help me out here

  • What is that inspiring vision you have for the next two or three years?
  • What do you really want to accomplish?
  • What type of person would you be proud to be?
  • If you were able to get out of the battle for three hours, what would your Vision Board look like?

I am pleased to report that my friend from the beginning of the post is better than ever. In fact, he recently sent me a wonderful spiritual read with a note that inspired me. “Steve, stay encouraged and stay spiritually whole. We need you.” Wow, he just gave me some Vision!

Imagine Your Vision Today!

Please comment below any questions, comments, suggestions, or thoughts. Your thoughts count!