September 2015

Win Yes But Always Be Courageous

let me win but if i cannot win let me be brave in the attempt, special olympics motto

Let me win, but if I cannot win let me be brave in the attempt.

Special Olympics Motto


This is one of my favorite mottos. I think this should be a motto for anyone, at all times. 

Play, work, live, love with the gusto you need to EXCEL at whatever you are doing. And when you do live with such intentionality, then, even if you do not achieve what you want, you will have been brave in the attempt. That is its own reward.

Low Performers

You either hired them that way or you made them that way. 

W. Edwards Deming, one of the truly great leadership gurus, gave us those thoughts about "low performers."

There are some people who are just not productive. They are not productive because of ____________ (fill in the blank). There are many reasons why one person is not getting results. Deming says there are one of two reasons why you have low performers.

They were low performers when you hired them. Bad hiring - bad mistake on your part.

They were satisfactory or even good performers when you hired them, but through poor management, supervision and leadership, they have become low performers. Bad supervision - bad mistake on your part.

Speaking Truth

Having the courage to tell the truth and ask for it in return,
increases truth and our ability to work together.


What truth are you not telling?
Why aren't you telling it?
What will be the results of not telling the truth?

Have you had the experience of others not speaking to you?

No Substitute for Results

there is no substitute for great results

There is no substitute for great results.


I am not saying that results are the ONLY thing that is important... although, if you don't want results - why are you doing what you do? 

And yet - it is striking how little we monitor progress toward results... and how little we work to make corrections so we can get results. We make the mistake of thinking, "I am busy, so that is good!" Not true. There is busy and then there is productive busy.

Being busy is not the goal. 
Being busy doing good things is not even the goal.
Getting the results that are important to your organization's mission - that is the goal.

G.B. Shaw on True Joy in Life


This is one of my all tme favorite quotes on vocation, purpose, meaning in life, commitment to the things that matter most. I am using this as a core reflection assignment in an upcoming 90-5-U Leadership Community.

If you want the handout for reflecting on this - send me a note.

Brian K. Rice
Leadership ConneXtions International


Who Gets the Credit?

you can accomplish anything in life provided you do not ind who gets the credit, Truman quote

You can accomplish anything in life, provided that you do not mind who gets the credit.  Harry Truman

What do you want? Do you want to get the job done or do you want to get the credit for getting the job done? What is most important to you? Results or accolades?

There is nothing wrong with wanting to be affirmed for good work. However, the ego is always involved in this need for affirmation. The fallen, self-obsessed ego is easily aroused. The insecure, competitive ego is waiting to make a statement. Our culture pushes us hard to be recognized. Even more - to stand out from the crowd in being recognized.

So we are too often, too concerned about who gets the credit.

Pursuing Greatness

you cannot pursue greatness and comfort at the same time, greatness quote

You cannot pursue greatness and comfort at the same time.   Todd Henry

There are two thoughts I have about this.

First, Todd Henry is right.
Greatness is never achieved by the comfortable. Greatness is achieved through hard work, discipline, sacrifice, struggle, failure (learning opportunity), diligence, persistence, resilience... sustained over time. Our "comfort oriented" culture will inevitably see a decline in greatness. We already do see such a decline. You will never stumble upon nor stroll into greatness.


How Suffering is Used in Our Lives

The truth is that our finest moments are most likely to occur when we are feeling deeply uncomfortable, unhappy or unfulfilled. For it is only in such moments, propelled by our discomfort, that we are liekly to step out of our ruts and start searching for differnt ways or true answers.  M. Scott Peck

In a fallen and sinful world, where foolishness is common, deception prevalent, diversions and distractions constant, and many of us profoundly unhappy . . . it is the suffering itself that opens us up to a greater answer than what our culture has given us. 

It is all about you. We know that doesn't work. Especially in relationships. In fact, we now know this is the very reason for our greatest unhappiness!

The Journey of Life (M. Scott Peck)

M. Scott Peck quote, the journey of life, the Road Less Traveled

The journey of life is not paved in blacktop; it is not brightly lit, and it has no road signs. It is a rocky path through the wilderness. M. Scott Peck

Whether it is Augustine's Confessions, Bunyan's Pilgrims Progress, Dante's Divine Comedy, or Miller's Blue Like Jazz (I know the last author does not deserve the illustrious company in which I include him, but his genre and spirit are the same), this is how we must understand life.

The wisest Christians through the centuries have understood - this is the narrow way of the road that is traveled by few. Jesus told us this long before Frost and Peck borrowed his ideas and images.

Life is Difficult

Life is difficult.

With these three words, psychologist, M. Scott Peck began what would become a best selling book - The Road Less Traveled

There are fewer things, more important, then for you to have a "theology of suffering." For suffering happens. It happens to all of us. And for some of us, massive suffering happens.

If there is one thing that upsets the faith of Christians, it is when they suffer. I need to rephrase this. If there is one thing that upsets the faith of 21st century Christians living in North America - it is when they suffer.

We Are All Beggars

we are all beggars, martin luther quote, humility quote

We are all beggars.
Martin Luther

No matter our position or status in life, we are all in the same sinking boat on the same stormy seas. 

Perhaps this is a lesson, most vitally important for those called to leadership. For such people tend to see themselves as the heroes, the rescuers, the savers, the great women and men who will make the difference in the lives of others.

Vanity, vanity, all is vanity. 

The World Needs you to "Get On With It"

You owe it to all of us to get on with what you're good at. W.H. Auden

These words from W.H. Auden really, REALLY spoke to me. Concise, clear, compelling.

You are good at something. Maybe you are good at several things. 

What you are good at, has been entrusted to you. You are a steward of what you are good at it.

It has been entrusted to you for a reason. You are to take what you are good at, and get about doing that very thing(s).

Churchill's Advice on Going Through Hell: KEEP GOING

winston churchill quote, if you are going through hell keep going

If you're going through hell, KEEP GOING.
Winston Churchill

Maybe this is such powerful advice, because right now I am on the 23 Canto of Dante's Inferno. "Must keep going." The Inferno is a profoundly insightful book on the nature of sin and what it does to us. I am reading alongside it, How Dante Can Save Your Life by Rod Dreher. An excellent companion to walking with Virgil and Dante.

Real Christian Living

Christian living is participation in God, in "the supreme loveliness of his nature."  Dane Ortlund

Among the greatest themes of the Christian life is that we are in Christ and Christ is in us. Union with Christ, Union with the Triune God. We participate in the life of the Trinity. True Christianity means the experience of God. There is the mystical aspect of our faith. We are caught up in something, or better SOMEONE who is infinitely wise and good. God is present with us and we are present with God. 

Psalm 139 is one of the Psalms that help us understand this sovereign and loving presence.

Love and Skill

When love and skill work together, expect a masterpiece. John Ruskin

Ephesians 2:10 reminds you that you are masterpiece, a work of art, the craftsmanship of the creator God.

Psalm 139 says -you are fearfully and wonderfully made.

Psalm 8 - you are just a little lower than the angels, and God is mindful of you.

In your life, the love and skill of the Trinity work together to form a MASTERPIECE. This is what you are. 

Then, in the world around you, you are invited to participate in the creative work of the Trinity, using your own love and skill to form masterpieces.

The Pessimist

PESSIMISM: Life is just one long process of getting tired.

Well, life is draining and it does tire us out, but that is why we need great intake means of replenishing energy. Or we will wind up like this little guy. Hoping and praying that you have great replenishing pathways to restore your soul.

Brian K. Rice
Leadership ConneXtions International


Enthusiasm: Get It, Keep It, Lead With It

Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm, Ralph Waldo Emerson quote

Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm. Ralph Waldo Emerson

Christian leaders should resonate with this word from Emerson. After all, the word actually means God indwelt.

en - in, indwelt
theo - God

Enthusiasm is because God is in you, with you, through you, for you and all you have is because of God.

Leaders are enthusiastic about God, about people, about mission, and about empowering people for participation in God's mission. This enthusiasm gives birth to vision. It must be shared in a context of resonance that invites others to join in with what God is doing.

The Mystery of the Trinity

Mad is he who hopes that our reason can go down the infinite path taken by one substance in three persons. Be content, human kind, with the quia.  Dante, Purgatory, iii 34-37

I am a reasonably intelligent person (although I am quite capable of being a dunce at any given moment). I read substantial books in the fields of philosophy, theology, literature, history, spirituality, and leadership. I think (analyze, critique, synthesize) and reflect (pray, discern, imagine). I give quite a bit of my daily time to these activities.

I like to figure things out. 
Interpretation and discernment (making sense and meaning) and helping others understand and align to wisdom, is my vocation.