Questions to live by

I recently read One Question by Ken Coleman, New York Time Best-Selling Author and emcee of Catalyst conference. This book is a “best-of” all the interviews Coleman has done with some of the best Christian leaders in America. I have decided to list some of the most powerful questions these leaders have lived by and the questions they challenge others to ask themselves:

John Maxwell- What are you passionate about? What are you good at?

Marcus Buckingham – What is the best way you learn? How can you apply this principal to both your areas of strength and weakness?

Peter Guber- Are you truly connecting with people or just trying to sell something? Are you being your authentic self with your clients? Are you opening up to your customer’s hearts before their wallets?

Randall Wallace- If you are telling a story, does the story move you? In life are you trying to find your message first or your audience first?

Seth Godin- Are you waiting for opportunities? Or are you ready for them?

T. D. Jakes- What is my vision? Where do I see things that others do not see?

Blake Mycoskie- How can I start small to follow my dream?

Christian Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

I am a counselor-in-training. I find myself using Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) in almost every session with my clients. CBT is a great theory for counseling. It has been proven to be very effective and it is straight-forward and simple enough to explain what we are doing in therapy with my clients. In fact this educational aspect is an important part of CBT.
I am also a Christian interning at a private practice site with other Christians. We integrate faith in sessions if the client is comfortable and desiring to also integrate the Christian faith in their sessions.
I have been studying how faith-based CBT is often more effective than just regular/secular CBT where faith is not involved. I have searched hard to find a handbook or manual of “how-to” do a faith-based CBT different from a regular or secular CBT. I have not found an actual workbook or guidebook with examples and interventions for a Christian or Bible based CBT.
I have some ideas of my own and I will share those but I am very curious to know if such a resource exists. In my mind there has to be. There continues to be a steady flow of research comparing faith-based CBT with non-faith based CBT, so I imagine that the researchers put together a manual or book of interventions based on each group they were studying.
While these researchers may not have been able to sale those plans and books for ethical reasons, I would think that someone else would have thought about making money by creating a “Christian Cognitive Behavioral Manual” by now. Since I am not finding this resource, I am contemplating making my own!
So the point of today’s post is to help me think through what some of the keys to such a resource would be:
-use of Scripture to dispute irrational thoughts
– use of Scripture to replace irrational thoughts with Biblical insight
-use of prayer through-out the process, in-session and out of session as homework
-the advantage of positive, healthy Christian fellowship to help against depression
– the insight of Scripture on topics such as stress, anxiety, depression, emotions, behaviors, and the list goes on
-the advantage of having Biblical morals to stand on
-the opportunity for Christian accountability between partners, friends and/or pastors

Let me know if I am on the right track and if you have some more ideas. Thanks.

What I learned selling books door to door

Alright, so during the summer of 2006 I sold books door-to-door in Columbia, Missouri in an attempt to pay for college tuition and rent. As it turns out, I was not much of a salesman. That summer was one of the most challenging summers of my life. I learned a lot about myself, how to sell and ho to work hard no matter what.

While I did not walk away from the experience as a rich man, as others actually did, I did grow as a person in four major areas: time management, positive self talk, self-care and a having a business mentality or mindset.

Let me explain: In time management, I learned to break days into manageable sections. Selling books door-to-door, my team woke up everyday at 5AM. We showered, ate breakfast and drove to our locations. We had to knock on our first door at 7AM. Then we were not allowed to come back home until 10AM where we ate diner and went to bed. This routine started over again Monday -Saturday. Sundays were hardly a day off, since we had to travel three hours to get to an all-day business meeting with other link-minded book salesman in the same larger geographical region.

The thing about time management, first was focusing in. Focus on the first 3 hours. Map out a game plan and work hard for 3 hours. Do not think about lunch or tomorrow, push hard and focus in on the next potential customer.
The second time management tip is the more obvious stuff. There is no time for emails, going to movies, museums, football games, etc….This is not tourism nor a vacation. This is earning wages and working hard.

During the week-long training in Nashville, before heading out to Columbia, we were given a lot of training on selling, thinking like a business person and  we did a lot of practice role-play to get ourselves ready for the actual summer. After the role-plays, mentors and business experts gave us a lot of tips and feedback. They taught us to think positively. They showed us how to do positive self-talk. In between doors, on our drive from home to our locations and even during potty-breaks we were suppose to sing or shout, “It’s going to be a great day!” and “I am a selling machine!” I was pretty unfamiliar with this idea of positive self-talk up until this point in my life. Especially after a complete rejection from a potential customer who is threatening to call the cops, it really is encouraging to look at the positives instead of getting our psyche thrown off by a ragging homeowner. Even if the positive self-talk was just lies, it was still encouraging.

Okay, well with self-care, I learned how to control my energy level. These were long days, even longer weeks. And as I mentioned earlier, I was not very good at selling. So often times, I came away empty handed. The first few weeks I was adjusting to the ridiculous schedule I was not able to focus in on one three hour time block at a time. I was worried about the entire day and that was draining my energy level. Once I figured out how to focus in on the three hour time block, I was able to get my mind off of the worries of the day and just focus on the next street. Each street was a treasure hunt to find a customer. My positive self-talk told me, “someone on this street was going to purchase books today!” I am blessed to have learned this crazy skill of energy preservation. I used this skill again just this past week at a youth-group lock-in. All of the teenagers were napping by 4AM, I stayed away the entire night and didn’t nap until after the lock-in was complete and I was in my bed at home. Mental self-care was all about focusing in on the successes, that was the only way to survive mentally.

Another part of self-care is that I learned that I do not want to be a salesman. I do not want to be a workaholic that does not have time for anything other than making money. I found my true self and many things that I am not passionate about during this summer. But by going through with the experience I can now relate to people who are feeling burn-out of long work days and of the burn-out of sales.

Finally the main thing I learned is about the business mindset. The company, I sold books with, who will continue to go unnamed, had excellent training materials. I still look back at the sales manual today. The training was a great experience. I am thankful for that. I am thankful for not waking up to the dreaded day of selling books in the summer heat of the Midwest.
So I am blessed to have learned a great deal from my time there that summer. Now I can put these things and other things into practice even today. I encourage others to learn also from my experience instead of through the hard way!

If you could only ask one question

If you could only ask one question to some of the most influential leaders or your favorite leaders or authors, what would that question be? This is the inspiration and idea behind Ken Coleman’s book, One Question: Life Changing Answers From Today’s Leading Voices.  One Question, is a “best of” content from Ken’s interviews with influential leaders at Catalyst Conferences. These leaders include John Maxwell, Rick Warren, John Acuff, Seth Godin, Tony Robbins, Jim Collins and so many more! Instead of merely summarizing entire interviews from these leaders, Ken, focuses in on the some of the best questions he has asked these leaders and their insight from these questions.

I interviewed Ken on the phone, he reported that his goal for this book was to encourage people to ask more questions. He wants to help his readers develop a habit of inquiry. Society today focuses on getting answers. Although, in order to solve problem and succeed in life, it is much better to know how to ask questions and solve problems from those questions. The entrepreneurial mindset is one of curiosity and one that is always learning new things.
Ken declared that One Question, could be a “manual for life coaching.” The book has three main sections: succeeding, surviving and sustaining. Each section is packed with insights from various leaders offering tips on how they dealt with initial success, how they survived failure and difficult times and how they sustained success in the long-run.

The book is a great resource for any life coach, business owner or influencer. It is a great book for anyone who also desires to be an entrepreneur, life coach, or business leader. I highly recommend getting a hold of this book and reading it. The insights alone from these world leaders is well worth the price of the book. What Ken adds about developing a habit of inquiry is also fascinating. From all of 36 leaders, who Ken  featured in this book, one big overall theme rings true, they all asked questions. Ken challenges the reader in the final chapter to never stop asking questions. You can read a lot of reviews and even hear some incredible free content in video, audio and print form on his website for the book!

New Year, New Goals

The end of the year for me has always been a good time to reflect on the past year and to focus on some goals for the new year. Here is my reflections from 2013 and goals for 2014:

Reflections:
1. God has again blessed me with an amazing opportunity. I remember last year, this time freaking out about getting an internship to finish my degree and to become licensed. I had several interviews and nothing was working out. In 2013, during the summer, a Liberty University connection helped me get an internship that will has been vital in learning how to be a professional counselor, getting the hours I need and just a blessed place to work so far!
2. Starting my own business was an amazing dream come true as well! Talk about being blessed! And going from nothing to 4 clients and a lot of potential. 
3. Financially, it has been tough at times, but God has always provided for me this year!
4. I am thankful for the visions I have seen and the direction I am following! I am really blessed.
Goals for 2014:
1. Before the fall, I will finish Counseling internship, pass the NCE and become a Licensed  Professional Counselor (PC).

2. I would like to complete the Board Certified Advanced Christian Life Coach credential/training with the ICCA. To accomplish this I simply need to complete one extra course with the ICCA and then apply for the higher credential.

3. I would like to have a rough draft of my book completed within the next year. This is a matter of spending time each week, writing the book.

4. I would like to have at least five paid coach clients before the end of the year.

5. I would like to start paying off student loans.

The Question

I recently listened to podcast by Apologetics.com featuring apologist and author Greg Koukl who recently authored the book called Tactics. In this book Greg offers several great approaches to talking to people in a way that will lead to spiritual conversations and possibly sharing yor faith with them.

The podcast did not offer everything that is in the book but briefly went over some of the important topics in the book.
One thing that really stands out from the podcast is the simple use of the question.
A lot of Christians are not sure what to say or what to talk about in order to bring a spiritual conversation, some Christians are just afraid…
but the use of questions is an amazing thing.
First it puts the burden of proof on the other person. Second it makes you look like a good guy, you care and are asking great questions and are letting them share thier prespective. Thirdly it is safe. They are relational. They encourage your relationship with others. 
Questions can be leading. can be investigative, or can be curious. If your friend says they do not believe in God for instances…instead of being afraid and feeling like you have to prove God, simply ask “What do you mean by God?” or “How did you come to that conclusion?”
Let them do the explaining…then after they have shared you can be ready to offer your own expirience or opinions in a kind but evangelistic manner.
I plan on getting this book and posting more about this book on my blog eventually. But check out the book Tactics. And the podcasts at Apologetics.com 

REFUEL your relationship with God

I’m reading the book Refuel by Doug Fields…
And I am enjoying this help and practical book.

I love how Doug writes the same way that he speaks. His personality is the same even in his writing, not a lot of authors can (or even try) to express the same sense of humor in writing that they use in their real verbal life.

So far the book has been very helpful. It has confirmed a lot of thinks I have been thinking about, doing, and teaching about myself personally. I hope Doug does not mind me spilling the beans, but the approach to connecting with God is really simple. First we must STOP, then BE QUIET, and MAKE A CONNECTION WITH GOD.

There are a lot of things in our lives that we live that keep us busy, a lot of times we use this busyness as an excuse for not finding time for God. The issue is not our busyness but it is easy to use that as the excuse really our priorities are flawed or we are not managing our time properly to truly live out our priorities.

So Doug tells us to STOP…even for just a few minuets or seconds through-out the day and recognizing God as Lord. Put Him first, seek Him, pray, and read the Word of God….

but the first step of STOPPING can be difficult because of the lives that we live. Stopping does not mean giving God the left overs, we must STOP because if we really want to make a connection with God we must surrender all of our attention to Him. He uses an illustration of getting gas. We cannot fill our car up with gas while it is still moving or even running….we have to STOP the car before we can connect to the pump.