Tag Archives: Chris Brady

Viking Leadership

Now if you have read my book, Voyage of a Viking, then you already know that there was more to these Norse warriors than the looting and pillaging helmeted guys we so often see in the movies. In fact, while there definitely were plenty of coastal raids, there were a lot more things that the Vikings did well – things modern leaders can learn from.

The more I looked over these “Viking Laws” the more I liked them, and I started thinking of some of the principles that great leaders employ as they seek to grow their businesses and endeavors.

Let’s take a few minutes to learn something from our Viking brothers

The Viking Laws

1. Be Brave and Aggressive: Be direct, Grab all opportunities – In other words, don’t be afraid to take chances. You do have to do the work to gain success, it doesn’t come to those who just sit around. What are you waiting for? The perfect time never comes.  So don’t be a whiner – instead take the Viking way, get out there and do something! It might get hard along the way (in fact, it probably will) but as the great leader Winston Churchill once said, “If you are going through Hell, keep moving!”

2. Be Prepared: Keep your weapons in good condition, Keep in shape, Choose good battle comrades – Of course, if you are going to get out there and do something you ought to be prepared. Have your weapons (products, information, tools, business cards) ready. Keep in shape mentally through reading great books and taking time to focus on personal growth.  Find people like that to be your “battle comrades” as you continue along your success journey.

3. Be a Good Merchant: Find out what the market needs, Don’t make promises you can’t keep – A great leader is out to meet needs and shows integrity and character in what he or she does. John Wooden, an amazing leader on and off the basketball court, taught his players a lot more than the game. He underscored three basic life rules – never lie, never cheat, and never steal. Living by these three simple things will assure that you are a leader people can trust.

4. Keep the Camp Tidy – This is where I have to break from my Viking comrades and say, “Nope, make a mess!”  Sometimes leadership is messy business, and to get things done you have to wade in and get your hands dirty (see Law 1). If you try to put together the perfect, tidy conditions before you get going, you will never go anywhere. Don’t fear the mess and don’t wimp out.

Now, I’m not saying just charge in a without any care, shattering anything and anyone in your way. Instead, be honest and work on yourself rather than looking around and trying to figure out what is wrong with the world, and encourage your battle comrades to do the same. That’s the only way you will grow (and the camp will stay relatively tidy).

For all that might be said about the Vikings, they certainly knew how to get things done. So grab up your own ax and helmet and start to put these laws into practice in your business. You might be surprised what successes await when you begin leading the Viking way.

Have you applied any of the Viking Laws to your business or other endeavors?

God Bless, Tim Marks

Develop Mental Toughness

Whether you are an athlete on the gridiron or in the boardroom, a certain quality is always found in the guys who remain standing when the storm winds blow.  When rejection hits these guys it bounces off them like spitballs off of a battleship.  They chuckle at groundless criticism.  They bounce back quickly from setbacks.  They feel energized to try even harder after a defeat.  That special quality these warriors are showing is something called “mental toughness”.  Wikipedia defines this as “a term commonly used by coaches, sport psychologists, sport commentators, and business leaders – generally describes a collection of attributes that allow a person to persevere through difficult circumstances (such as difficult training or difficult competitive situations in games) and emerge without losing confidence.” (Emphasis added.)

Each of us will receive a gut shot at some point in our lives that knocks the wind right out of us.  It’s not a matter of whether you will be struck by disaster, but when.  In my first book, Voyage of a Viking, I describe in detail many of the challenges I faced through my life.  I’ve faced my storms and I know that I have more storms awaiting me.  I also know that you do as well.  Rather than sitting around moaning and complaining when we are being pelted by chunks of hail the size of golf balls, we can put on a suit of armor to deflect whatever life throws at us.  That suit of armor is your mental toughness.

You can’t measure mental toughness; you measure its effect.  You can’t measure what’s going on inside a leaders head, but you sure can measure their behavior!  You see it when they lose their biggest customer one month, and it ticks them off just enough to go smash a sales record the next month.    You can see mental toughness when someone is running a marathon and they are gasping for breath, and the only thing keeping them putting one painful footstep in front of the next is their strength of will.  You see it when someone is totally exhausted, yet they keep throwing hundreds of shots into the basketball hoop to perfect their free throw (like my awesome daughter Mya!).  In fact, Mya had to make 1000 free throws; in order to reach that goal, she had to shoot a couple of thousand.   She wanted to quit many times during that experience, but she had committed to a number of people that she would reach her goal.  It’s amazing how a twelve year old girl will follow through on her committment more effectively than most adults.  Mental toughness is courage in action.  When you’ve got it, you cope better than your opponents with the demands you face.

How do we develop mental toughness?  Here are a few principles to get you started:

Principle #1: Realize Mental Toughness Can Be Developed.

Some people might be born with a certain personality, like a “Choleric” or “D” personality type, and maybe this personality type handles adversity a little more effectively than others.  But that’s not always the case, and either way, anyone can develop this side of their personality.  Don’t cop out on yourself by selling yourself any victim thinking, like “That’s just the way I am.”  Brothers and sisters, you can CHANGE.  How do you build mental toughness?  The same way you build muscles in the gym: by pushing yourself to new limits and increasing the pressure or resistance you are pushing against.

Principle #2: Mental Toughness in the Gym Correlates to Mental Toughness in life.

The gym is the ultimate proving ground for “tough guys” and “tough gals”.  You really find out what you’re made of when you’re doing hack squats or leg extensions.  Most people get into the gym, start doing bicep curls, and as soon as it starts to get uncomfortable, they say, “Okay, I’ve done enough for now,” and they stop exercising.  This is actually the exact wrong thing to do, if your goal is to develop your muscles.  You see, when it starts to hurt, that’s the lactic acid burn in your muscles screaming, “Great job! Keep going!  You’re making progress!”  But when most people start to feel discomfort they choose to ease off.

You don’t become successful at anything by letting your foot off of the gas pedal when the going gets tough.  This includes the gym, your marriage, and your business.  When it hurts to do even one more rep of an exercise, that’s when the real muscle development starts!  (By the way, I’m not talking about pushing through pain when you are actually injured; I’m referring to the normal discomfort we feel when we are tearing down our muscles during a workout.)  If you throw in the towel on the bench press, you train your brain to quit when things get tough.  When you force yourself to keep pushing the weight even when you want to give up, you are training your brain to keep pushing.

Principle #3: Champions Fall in Love with Discomfort

Winners know that the path to success is steep and rocky, and the path to defeat is like a sign pointing at a waterslide that says, “Slippery, Fun and Easy to Reach the Bottom in a Jiffy!”  Bad habits are easy to slip into, like a warm bed when you’re exhausted.  Good habits are pretty much guaranteed to feel tough for most people because you end up denying yourself luxuries and pleasures. You must learn to do what is uncomfortable for you. To develop the psychological edge, you must have extreme discipline to give up the comfort zone that you train and live in. Delaying immediate satisfaction is the ultimate sacrifice that all warriors must choose.

 Become a champion and develop mental toughness in your business, your health, your relationships and in life!

God Bless, Tim Marks

 

Resolved to Lead

I love what the movie Courageous teaches about resolutions fathers should make in leading their families. Working with Orrin Woodward and Chris Brady, I’ve learned that many of the same principles apply to leading a team. Within families and all other areas of LIFE,  John Christian Bovee has it right when he says, “Example has more followers than reason. We unconsciously imitate what pleases us, and approximate to the characters we most admire.”

High-performing teams tend to start with high-performing leaders. If a leader is a bump-on-a-log, leading through position or intimidation, any high-performers on their team are probably looking past them with an eye towards gaining the respect and attention of a better qualified leader higher up on the ladder.

If we are ever dissatisfied with how our team is performing, whether it is our team at work, at church, on the sports field or even our family ‘team’, we should never point the finger at the other people involved. We should always have a conversation with the leader in the mirror and ask “What more could I have done, and what more can I do now?”

Bill Hybels says “Speed of the leader, speed of the team.” He’s right. If we cannot say ‘Follow me,’ to our followers – and mean it – then we’ve got a problem, a big one. A great leader has to be able to say, “Follow my values. Follow my integrity. Follow my work ethic, my commitment, and my communication patterns. Fight as I fight. Focus as I focus. Sacrifice as I sacrifice. Love as I love. Repent as I repent. Admit wrong as I admit wrong.”

But it’s not enough for leaders just to say they are going to do these things, leaders worth following must be Resolved to live this way. This is what I love about Courageous. It calls fathers (or anyone for that matter) to live according to certain principles.

    I WILL confront evil, pursue justice and love mercy.
    I WILL pray for others and treat them with kindness, respect and compassion.
    I WILL forgive those who have wronged me and reconcile with those I have wronged.
    I WILL learn from my mistakes, repent of my sins and walk with integrity as a man [or a woman] answerable to God.

These and other statements like them should form our resolve as we lead out in our homes, our churches and all other areas of LIFE. When LIFE Leadership launches on 11-1-11, it will bring with it great opportunity to put these principles of leadership in to practice and change the community building industry for the better forever!

What’s Your Passion?

Here’s a question every leader should ask, “What am I passionate about in life? How much can I focus on my passion? What do I really like to do?”

When I was going through engineering school, I have to be honest, the thing that I was most passionate about was spending time with my wife, Amy, and only son (at that time), Cam. I didn’t get to do that very much, so that passion became dull. I worked hard, but I lost track of that passion.

What's your passion?My mentor, Orrin Woodward, is the co-author of the bestselling book, Launching a Leadership Revolution. He and fellow author, Chris Brady, teach in their book that to truly have success in life and be happy, follow three simple steps.

Step One: Define what it is you want out of life.

Step Two: Learn from someone who has what you want.

Step Three: Go out and Do what that person did.

That sounds so simple, but very few people do it. I did the “Define, Learn, Do” process backwards. I did what I had to do to pay the bills – I went out and got a job. There is nothing wrong with that, it is certainly respectable to have a job. Then, I went to work and learned from a bunch of people who had the same kind of lifestyle that I had or even worse. The things I learned defined my lifestyle. If I had done it the other way, I would’ve asked myself, “Tim, what are you passionate about?”

We often ask children, “What are you going to be?” or “What are you going to do?”

Well, what about you? What do you want to be? What do you want to do? What’s your passion? What’s driving you? Where do you see yourself going?

My son, Nash, is nine years old and he wants to be an NFL football player. I totally support him in that. I am not going to tell him, “Hey Nash, you know, only so many people make it into the NFL and you are homeschooled, so you are really going to have a little bit of a tougher time. You’ve got to have skills and you’ve got to have certain kind of talent. I don’t want to see you get your feelings hurt.”

That’s a line of garbage that we would never tell our children. So why would we ever tell ourselves that? I think the answer is that we aren’t passionate. We have lost our passion about whatever it is that’s important to us. Everyone ought to get a grip on something they are passionate about. Maybe you want to go do missionary work. Maybe you want to be a builder. Maybe you want to be an engineer. Maybe you want to start your own business. Maybe you want to be a plant manager and make a difference.

Figure out what it is that you are passionate about and follow that three step process. Define, Learn, Do.

God Bless, Tim Marks