Josh Clark
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Mom Fail – 3 Truths every Smart Mom Knows (but can sometimes forget.)

This video appeared in my memory feed yesterday. It’s several years old, but it's one of my favorites. Watch it to the end to see a funny mom fail.

I’ve watched it hundreds of times and it still makes me laugh.

I don’t just chuckle because I find it funny. I laugh because it fills my heart with joy!

I love it because it accurately reflects the values my wife seeks to live out with our family. She doesn't always achieve them. But when she does, it’s a thing of beauty.

Heidi's a smart mom. And if you're reading this, then you are too. Her little mom fail reminds me of three truths every smart mom knows but can sometimes forget. (They apply to dad’s as well.) 

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Know Your Why

When you know your WHY, you can find your WAY.

Do you know your WHY? I hope you do. Because if you don't, it will be difficult to find your way. 

And I know what it is to feel like you've lost your way.

It was a sunny winter morning in Southern California, and I was packing up my office after a whirlwind 120 days had left me unemployed and uncertain of my future. 

Just three years earlier, my family and I had packed up our lives and moved some 2,100 miles from ATL to SoCal to lead a church. We knew it would be an adventure. But we had no idea how much this three-year leg of our journey would shape our lives and our future.

Just five months before that winter morning, I had publicly celebrated the fact that our pace of growth qualified us as one of the 100 fastest growing churches in America (with over 1,000 in attendance). We were excited that our church was growing and affecting positive change in individuals and our community. Now, shorter than you can say the words "church politics," I was out as the lead pastor of the church. 

Many of the leadership lessons I share today crystallized in that season. Unfortunately, those lessons were pretty costly to my family, some outstanding people, and the momentum of a pretty good church. 

Someday soon, I'll write more about my failures in that season. They weren't moral or financial failures. They were leadership failures. Failures that have led me to where I am today. Failures for which I am grateful and willing to share. But that's another post.

The purpose of today's post is to help you discover your WHY. You see, almost five years ago, on that sunny, winter morning, I didn't know what I would do next or how I would do it. You could say I had lost my way.

But there was one thing I did know. I knew WHY I would do it.

I knew that whatever I did, it would be something that Inspired Leaders to Pursue their Personal Highest and Best. Now I didn't say it this way back then. I used to verbalize my why like this, "Empowering others to live authentic lives of deep impact."

I expressed it differently back then, but it was essentially the same WHY. Knowing my WHY is what allowed me to find my way.

If you know your WHY, you'll find your WAY.

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Since that day five years ago, my WHY has inspired me to challenge thousands with my speaking. It has allowed me to help other leaders in their journey. And most recently, to lead an Inc. 5,000 tech company to and through a strategic exit. Today, my WHY causes me to encourage you in yours. 

I want you to be as excited about your future as I am about mine. For that to be true, you need to be confident of your WHY.

If you are unsure of your WHY or are in a season where you want to refine it, here are two questions that have helped me with my WHY.

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Are You an Unwitting Participant in the Creepy Clown Phenomenon?

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Creepy clown sightings are a strange and new phenomenon. What began in the Southeastern United States, with men dressing up as clowns and freaking out children has now spread throughout our great land. It’s good to know that weird isn’t confined to one part of the country.

Like with most odd things, I didn’t give these clowns much attention. Then the other morning, my wife caught our kindergartner trying to take a weapon (shishkabob skewer) to school. When mom asked him about its purpose, he replied, “It’s to protect me from the clowns.”

Listen, anything that has my kid raiding the kitchen cabinets for defensive weapons has my attention.

After looking into the phenomenon, I decided that the skewer was not enough. So I have enrolled my five-year-old in Krav Magra and a defensive shooting class with the NRA. JK – but seriously, this creepy clown phenomenon has got to stop. (And it will as soon as people stop blogging about it.)Continue reading

How to Successfully Build Leaders without Destroying your Lawn, Family, or Business.

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I recently fired my lawn guy. Firing him had nothing to do with the quality of the work he was doing. His termination was unrelated to the price he charged or the value I received. Truth be told, severing my four-year relationship with my lawn maintenance engineer had nothing to do with him.

I fired my lawn guy because my boy turned ten. I fired my lawn guy because mowing the lawn is a great leadership development tool. I fired my lawn guy because,

A boy becomes a man when a man is needed. John Steinbeck

Now understand, I don’t think for a minute that my ten-year-old son can do a better job than the professional who has been trimming my turf for the last four years. Nor do I think I’ll be saving any money in this transition. (I did the math, and this change is costing me over twenty times what it cost to outsource.) But I’m happy I made the change and will continue to make changes like this one in both my home and work life. Why? It’s quite simple. I’ve learned that great leaders develop other leaders by giving responsibility away just a little too soon. I want my son to grow up to be a leader. So I’m giving him big responsibility just a little before he’s ready.Continue reading

Why you must dance with both primary and supporting customers.

I’m a dance dad. For those of you outside the “dance community”, let me clarify, I don’t dance, I finance. Being a dance dad teaches valuable lessons, like how to be poor, and how to integrate activities for your entire family with the countless competitions you attend each spring dance season.

I know, you’re already learning a lot from this post. You’re learning there are such things as dance communities and dance seasons. I know, mind blowing. Listen, this dance thing is serious, and it’s serious business. Parents easily invest four to five figures a year in professional training and we do it from age three to eighteen. Why, because the benefits to children who participate in dance rivals anything offered by more traditional kid’s sports.

Several weekends ago, my family and I attended the Monsters of Hip Hop dance convention in Santa Clara, CA.  I enjoyed watching the freestyle battles, tried my hand at krumping, and tried not to notice the booty popping (yes, that’s a thing). But what impressed me the most was how aware the Hyatt Regency Santa Clara was regarding the needs of their supporting customers. Notice I said supporting customers, not primary customers, and definitely not secondary customers.Continue reading

Do you need more tension between your work and relationships?

I’ve been traveling a lot lately. In a period of about 90 days, I’ve worked in New Jersey, Ohio, Colorado, Indiana, Nebraska, Arizona, and Missouri. Oh and one more place, California, yes, I live in the great state of California and am currently engaged in a coaching relationship with the executive team of a leading technology company. I’m also a Teaching Pastor at my church. So, I guess California makes the list.

In my consulting business, I’m privileged to work with dynamic teams from around the country. I love what I do. “Empowering others to live authentic lives of deep impact” is my personal mission statement. Helping leaders increase their life’s impact is incredibly satisfying, and being satisfied with one’s work is critical.

Steve Jobs once said, “The only way to be genuinely satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it.”

There are a determined few who refuse to surrender their aspirations to do something truly meaningful, but for many, as they grow older, their dreams are peeled away by the realities of life, and they settle. They pick jobs for legitimate reasons at the time, but as life goes on they feel stuck. And they begin to accept that it’s not realistic for them to do something they truly love for a living. Settling in work can affect their relationships in one of two ways: 1) they accept their work as necessary to support their relationships, or 2) they resent their relationships for limiting their options in work. Unfortunately, option 2 is the more common reaction.

Others, through the dogged pursuit of work they love create a career beyond their wildest imagination. They have success, significance, and fulfillment in their vocation. They’re doing great work that makes a difference for others, but their vocational success comes at the expense of their physical, emotional, spiritual and relational health. They don’t experience intimacy with their family and lack friendships outside of work. And although they want to, they aren’t giving back to their community.

As I work with high-impact leaders across the country, it seems many have resigned themselves to choosing one of the two paths. A high-impact career, doing work they love or a healthy personal life filled with meaningful relationships.

I reject this choice. Continue reading

Redesign your Life Plan with the “Power of the Pause”

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Tara Brach, psychologist, and author, writes on the “power of the pause” in bullfighting. “In bullfighting there is an interesting parallel to the pause as a place of refuge and renewal. In the midst of a fight, a bull can find his own particular area of safety in the arena. There he can reclaim his strength and power. This place and inner state are called his “querencia”. As long as the bull remains enraged and reactive, the matador is in charge. Yet when he finds his querencia, he gathers his strength and loses his fear. From the matador’s perspective, at this point the bull is truly dangerous, for he has tapped into his power.”

Life’s challenges can leave us feeling overlooked and overwhelmed. Like the bull in the arena, we have a choice.

We can confront these challenges with the “power of speed” or the “power of the pause.”

Speed is enticing. Speed promises a quick escape and quick results.

Speed is deceitful. For if you run at break-neck speed, you will most likely break your neck.

The power of the pause is quite different. If you take the time to pause, to gather perspective concerning your personal life, your vocation, your family, faith, and community. Then, and only then, will you gain the power to design a life you’ll love.

When was the last time you pressed the pause button? Can you even locate your pause button?

I want you to locate your pause button and press it. Set aside thirty minutes in the next twenty-four hours to ask yourself these four simple questions:Continue reading

Is your heart helping or hurting you?

Leaders influence – nothing more, nothing less. If you have influence, you are a leader. Whether you are a CEO, a pastor or a parent, you have the opportunity to change the world around you. Sociologists estimate that even the most introverted people will influence an average of 10,000 people in their lifetime. Think about that. An introvert, who’s personality causes them to minimize their contact with others, still influences thousands.

You can’t separate yourself from your influence. Like it or not, you are a leader. 

As a leader, you have influence over individuals and organizations. But the actual impact of your leadership is determined by how you lead yourself. Great leaders first lead themselves. Then, they move on to lead others, to lead leaders, and eventually to lead organizations and movements. Maximizing your influence means leading yourself. Great leaders know this and monitor the condition of their heart. So let me ask you, as a leader, is your heart helping or hurting you.Continue reading

3 Reasons Great Leaders Practice Abandonment

As a leader, practicing abandonment is difficult. We grow attached to things that have worked in the past; remembering the value they brought to our lives and organizations. We remain dependent on things that are decelerating in their effectiveness; wrenching every last ounce of comfort from their diminishing returns. Endings are difficult, especially when they include products, services, people, or organizations that have added value to our lives. But just like every toddler eventually learns to leave their blanket behind. Great leaders know abandonment is necessary to pursue new growth.Continue reading

5 Reasons Moms are the Best!

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A recent survey of over 1600 moms revealed that 94% of them struggle with mommy guilt. I get guilt; it’s a complex emotion that occurs when a person feels they’ve violated a personal moral standard. I’ve felt guilt before, quite a bit of it.

But I don’t get mommy guilt. I guess that makes sense since I’m not one. I don’t think there is such a thing as daddy guilt. I love my kids and do my best to take an active role in their lives. But as a dad I can be pretty content when my kids have the things they need, aren’t physically harming each other, and aren’t blocking my view of the game. On the other hand, moms tend to set an unrealistic standard for their parenting that often leaves them feeling like they aren’t doing enough or are doing it all wrong.

Moms, don’t be fooled into thinking your kids came to you perfect and anything bad they do is a reflection of your mothering.

As someone who helps others write Life Plans for their future, I know this mentality can rob moms of their joy and confidence. So, on this Mother’s Day weekend, as I sit at a dance competition surrounded by thousands of Moms who are cheering, serving, and celebrating their children. I thought I’d take a moment to give 5 Reasons Moms are Great.Continue reading