The 3 Enemies of Empathy

There are three enemies of empathy that lie deep within all of us that can significantly impair our ability to connect with other human beings.  If asked, most people could not articulate the difference between the words sympathy and empathy.  While they align in some ways, there are a few degrees of separation that drastically change the intended impacts of their use.   Sympathy vs Empathy I have always believed that sympathy is when you have actually walked in someone else’s shoes.  You are able to connect with them on the basis of physically and emotionally experiencing what they have in life.  Connecting on that level is instantaneous and

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Unforeseen Conditions

Unforeseen conditions are unexpected and unavoidable.  They happen without our permission. Every leader WILL experience these conditions at some point in their journeys. I was Nineteen years old, a sophomore in college, working parks maintenance for the city, and venturing into adulthood when the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 happened. It was the most notable of unforeseen conditions in my lifetime. I got up that morning like every other American, got prepared for my day, and headed into work. There was ZERO chance that I could have foreseen what would transpire that day. Never in my life has there been a day in which the world started

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Eight Qualities of Human Leaders

There are eight qualities of human leaders that separate ordinary leaders from extraordinary ones.  There are countless books, podcasts, videos, and articles on the subject of leadership.  The key component to any leadership style is the human element.  The human element may be the easiest to look over, but the most important overall.  When I think about those individuals that taught me true, genuine leadership, I first think about the quality human beings they are.  I was fortunate in the infancy of my career to be surrounded by friends, who just happened to be leaders.  They were small business owners, pastors, elected officials, coaches, and educators. These special

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Clarity Above the Fog

There is always clarity above the fog. In the world of meteorology, fog is a collection of dense water particles that accumulates near the ground. The word fog can also be associated with a state of mind, one that leads to confusion and disorientation. Either way you look at it, fog makes it difficult to see and think clearly. Recently, I was headed for my weekend hike at Kennesaw Mountain. As I drove towards the destination and was a couple miles out, I could see the tip of the mountain peeking through the dense fog surrounding the base. Once I arrived, I was in the midst of that

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Unlikeliest of Friendships

We can develop the unlikeliest of friendships in our lives.  These are people that intercede our journeys.  We connect with them, not because of our similarities, but mostly our differences.  A unique arrangement that can develop the strongest of bonds.       My friend Shirley passed away almost a year ago today at the age of eight-seven. The memorial service was delayed due to COVD-19. This past Saturday, her family honored her and her husband Red who proceeded her in death by one month. I had the opportunity to speak at the memorial service. Fulfilling A Commitment Shirley always told me that she wanted me to speak at her

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The Gravitational Pull Towards Ordinary

Every leader faces a constant gravitational pull towards ordinary. The existence of these opposing forces is undeniable and at times unstoppable. These daily forces can actively work against our ability to be extraordinary. The pull towards ordinary disrupts our intentions to do more and be more. Intention vs Direction I’ve heard it said two ways. Andy Stanley said, “Direction, not intention determines your destination” and Kyle Idleman said, “intention doesn’t determine direction.” Both statements draw a clear delineation between our intentions and the direction we are heading. The tension between ordinary and extraordinary. Not sure about you, but I wake up with the best of intentions every single

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The Full Story Helps

Whenever a leader receives information, the full story helps. Receiving a portion of the story, missing an underlying point, or being communicated to vaguely does not help a leader in their decision making. Having the full story helps, always. The Big Game The scene is a highly anticipated first round matchup between the defending Super Bowl Champion Acworth Warriors and the undefeated Hillgrove Hawks. An early season loss had impacted our seeding headed into the post season tournament which created this tough first round matchup. Everything was on the line for this eight-year-old football game! Don’t judge. My quarterback that season was a kid named Peyton. He was

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A Willingness to Better Others

Difference makers in local communities display the ability and willingness to better others and the worlds they live in. Everyone has the ABILITY TO, the key differentiator is WILLINGNESS. A select group of the willing are about to take the stage and assume their starring role in making their communities better. Their stage is the classroom. A Front Row Seat While I am not an educator, I have a solid perspective on the work they do. I have had a front row seat for Shannon’s twelve years of teaching. In fact, as I write this post, she’s spending her last Sunday before school starts preparing for the first

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Every Jersey Tells A Story

On the sports field, every jersey tells a story. I grew up playing America’s past time, the great sport of baseball. The rules of the game required us to wear jerseys. The jersey usually had to contain the team’s name, the player’s last name, and the player’s number. The contents of a jersey can tell you a lot about the player. The stories are told through each meticulous stitch of fabric that displays their name, number, and the patches honoring others. The words and numbers represent who they are as an individual and who they belong to as a team. Every morning we prepare to go to work,

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No Rain, No Flowers

Where there is no rain, no flowers grow, pretty simple.  Water is a necessary nutrient for any plant to grow.  When it comes to certain varieties of plants, their flower sets them apart. My family and I are at Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida this week.  Sometimes, I will head into writing days with no topic.  I either pick one from a list in my Evernote or something comes to me that day.  While I prefer processing a concept thoroughly through the week, I also enjoy the challenge of writing to a title that just comes up.  As I was walking through one of Universal’s theme parks one

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