This short video will provide some great insights into Men’s Fraternity
Life is a journey. As with most journeys there are good times, as well as hard times. Over the last several years, my journey has been to become a better leader. After all, you can’t teach what you don’t live. Recently, I met a new friend who introduced me to Men’s Fraternity, an organization that teaches The Quest for Authentic Manhood. As I am nearing the completion of the course, I realized that to be a leader a man must first become an authentic man. Thinking that I was already a man, I entered the course to see if I could glean some wisdom to share with my clients. However, I soon learned that I was not the authentic man God designed me to be.
At the start of the course, Dr. Lewis concludes that men are confused today. This is primarily due to three events in our society.
1) The first is the industrial revolution. Prior to this time, men were at home working alongside and mentoring their sons. After the industrial revolution, fathers were at work during the best part of their day. Only leaving the remnants for their families.
2) The second occurrence was World War II. War is a terrible affair and to make it through, men became detached. To avoid the pain of losing friends, they became friendless. They withdrew from any close bond with other men. Unfortunately, many men remained detached from relationships when they came home.
3) The third event was the women’s movement. Although women are equal in every way, there are specific roles under God’s design. Today we see popular media reversing those roles so men really don’t know who they are nor do they know how to be authentic men.
The game plan to regain authentic manhood is straightforward. The first session involves healing old wounds. Next is realizing what God desires a real man to be. Jesus being the example. Next is learning how to interact with family and friends according to God’s word. Most men are never taught these truths by their fathers or mentors. Most men truly don’t know how to be an authentic men. Once we do know, we need to take the final step. Quit being passive and assume the responsibility of being a leader. Be the initiator, take action, be the one serving rather than the one being served.
John Maxwell, my mentor from afar, often speaks of the fact that you can’t become a leader outside the home until you become a leader inside the home. Leadership and becoming an Authentic Man are really the same quest but the training ground for leadership is in the home.
In my life, I have made many mistakes when it comes to leadership. One thing I do is that I claim the forgiveness that is in Christ and I press on. So if you’ve fallen short, or don’t even know what an authentic man is supposed to be, I strongly recommend enrolling in Men’s Fraternity and going through The Quest for Authentic Manhood. If you’re a follower of John Maxwell’s Leadership, apply those same principles at home. It isn’t easy; it’s hard! But it is our honorable duty to God as a man. We will reap rewards today and forever.
Developing other leaders within your organization is the key to GREAT LEADERSHIP.
This means the leader has to have the right knowledge, the right skills and the secure confidence to develop and empower others. In order to reach this level, a leader must take the time to listen and learn who his team members are as people, to engage and empower them, to ask how that leader might assist them and to do and dare others in joining him in fulfilling the organization’s vision.
This leader can now say iLEAD because I have earned the trust of my team through empathy, performance and accomplishment.
The very strengths that allow football players to excel on the football field sometimes limit their potential off the field.
On the field, that antagonistic determination to force your opponent to submit to your dominance serves a player well. That is what the game is all about! As a game starts there is a lot of give and take, especially if the talent and techniques of each of the players are equal, but eventually the one who is willing to keep going; the one who is willing to endure more will come out the winner. As Coach Bryant used to say, “Football is an easy game. I hit you and you hit me. We both hurt. Eventually one of us is going to quit – and it’s not going to be me!”
This focus of doing your job also serves well in all other endeavors but it need to be tempered. The volume needs to be turned down. If players don’t learn to adapt their behaviors, the very strengths that created their success will become their greatest liability. This dominate behavior pattern, if allowed to go unchecked, can become impatient and non-empathetic. If a company is looking for a player as a spokesperson, it’s more than just standing in front of a camera. It is also about meeting clients and employees and developing a relationship so that when they walk away from the player they tell all their friends what a “good guy” he is. To increase their effectiveness, they need to develop genuine sensitivity to others and thus become more patient and empathetic with those they encounter. This does not happen when behavioral tendencies needed on the field are displayed at social gatherings. If left unchecked they can appear controlling and at times belligerent.
It would help many players to have training. By learning the different strengths, and weaknesses, of each behavioral style, they move from judging others based on their own preferences to understanding how and why people are not like them. Once this understanding is developed they can move on to respecting those differences and appreciating the fact that people are different and that they also bring qualities to our society that they need. As a player learns to appreciate the differences in people, they value others and their differences.
Business is about people. People need “to be valued”. Everyone wants to be respected for who they are and what they have done. By learning behavioral and communication skills they will enhance their reputation and become the type spokesperson every company would appreciate having on their team.
Have your strengths turned into weaknesses?
To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some. 1 Corinthians 9:22
In looking to brand my company, I began looking around the house for a caricature of myself that I had received back in 1978. It was a picture of a tough, rugged ball player with one exception; the head was a wild boar’s head. Whenever I’m called “Hog”, people ask me if I’m offended and I let them know that I am very proud of that name because it represents a strong point in my personality.
In football, teams will usually review their game films to see how they played , correct mistakes and find ways of getting better. Early in the season my rookie year, we were studying the previous day’s game when my coach noticed my block. Having played at Alabama during the wishbone days, I had grown accustomed to a four-point stance and when we got into short yardage situations, we would get low to the ground. Well on this play it was third and one on the one and we needed the yard to score the touchdown. Needless to say, I got down in my best four-point stance with my nose inches above the ground. When the ball was snapped, I came off the ball and started driving. Although I wasn’t moving very far, my legs kept churning and finally the ball carrier hit the hole behind me and scored. Seeing my block, Red Miller, my offensive line coach yelled out, “Way to root hog him out of there!” With that one of the veterans started chanting Hog, Hog, Hog. And the name stuck.
To me it was always a compliment to be called Hog because it was a tribute to my tenacity and my attitude of persistence. Some way – somehow, I was going to get the job done. The problem is that the same strength, when not dialed down, became my biggest weakness. Getting the job done was more important than anything else and I didn’t mind who or what I left in the wake. My goals became the focus and everything else had to take second place. If I sensed that people on my team weren’t giving their best to win, they would feel the wrath of Hannah. My wife calls this, “The Grizzly”.
Persistence and focusing on winning are good things but we all have to consider when they’re out of control, when our greatest attributes become our worst weaknesses. So in the future please continue to call me Hog. I look forward to it. But, I hope I am never called “The Grizzly” again.
“Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord Almighty.
Have you ever been in a situation when no matter what you did, you just couldn’t win? I had a day like that against the San Diego Chargers. I was in front of Larry “Hands” Johnson. He was strong and quick; I was ready for him – too ready.
I had decided to get into him quick so that he couldn’t put a lot of moves on me. He decided to take advantage of my aggressive style of play. Each time I dropped back into pass protection, he would act as if he was going to my outside and I would attack. The only problem is that when I attacked, he would come back to my inside which is the straightest route to the quarterback. Needless to say, he got there. Rather than do what I needed to do, I got more intense and tried even harder. Finally, my offensive line coach, Jim Ringo who was an All-Pro Center, yelled at me to sit on the bench and calm down. He came over in a little while and gave me one of the best pieces of advice I had ever received. “Hog, I want you to sit here and calm down and think about what he’s doing to you and figure out what you can do to stop him.”
The next day he related it this way, “As an offensive lineman, you need to build a tool chest filled with many techniques. In the same way that a mechanic needs a different tool for each job, you need to have different techniques for each style of defensive lineman you’re across from. When someone surprises you don’t cinch-up, instead calm down and think about what he’s doing and what you need to do to prevent him from doing it. Remember, you never get beat because the other guy is better; you get beat because you’re using the wrong technique.”
I learned three things that day:
- I’m as good as anybody with my own special strengths.
- Never loose your cool in tough situations – think your way through them
- Be prepared by always learning new and better ways of doing your job so that when needed, they’re there.
“Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you.” I Peter 1:13
Needless to say, I’m not overly thrilled at cocktail parties. I much prefer smaller gatherings where you have more intimate conversations. A few weeks ago, I attended an elaborate dinner party with all the right people included. For the first hour, we stood around with our cocktail glasses in hand, making small talk. The reserved conversations naturally focused on current affairs, but without many conclusions or beliefs being stated. If someone mentioned a belief, it was always in keeping with socially acceptable, politically correct norms. After what seemed to be an eternity of idle chatter, we were strategically seated to enjoy our meal. The showpiece of the dinner was desert. The lights went down and out came a beautifully decorated cake. The sculpted icing appeared as if a floral garden had actually been grown while baking. The piece I received had a big yellow rose on it and I couldn’t wait to take a bite. When it was placed in front of me and I took a fork full, I quickly realized there was very little cake and a whole lot of icing. My first thought was that the cake was a lot like the party and society in general – a whole lot of image, but not a lot of substance.
My favorite cake has always been pound cake, plain, filling, and delicious. No false pretense here. What you see is what you get. In this media age we are living in, everyone has been bombarded by marketers, image makers, and their branding concepts to the point that we have actually modeled them into our lives. Our primary concerns focus on our appearance and how we are perceived by others. We are so busy making sure that we don’t offend anyone, that it seems we have forgotten the primary ingredient for success.
Integrity is defined by The American Heritage Dictionary as, “Steadfast adherence to a strict moral or ethical code.” Our values, what we believe in, dictate how we live today and formulate our vision of tomorrow. Without it we are like an empty shirt or like the elaborate cake, pretty to look at but not much on the inside. Having integrity is not always popular. It is not always attractive to the general population, especially when life is easy. We are taught by today’s society not to offend others by standing firm for our beliefs, but the real tragedy is if we are not true to our core values. The issue is how we live them. We can communicate our values and our faith without being dictatorial and offensive. We must be certain that we are not unpleasant towards others in our unwavering observance of our values. If we make sure that we are walking our talk, we have nothing to fear, nor should we be ashamed.
Do you have a set of values and beliefs? Are you firmly adhering to them or are you hiding them? When life becomes unsettled, we need integrity. It becomes our solid foundation so that when the wind blows, we remain standing after the storm.
No one lights a lamp and puts it in a place where it will be hidden, or under a bowl. Instead he puts it on its stand, so that those who come in may see the light. Luke 11:33
Have you ever been in Alabama in late August but if you have, you know what I mean when I say it’s like walking into a sauna. When I was at the University of Alabama, I had the pleasure, or displeasure depending on his mood, of playing for Coach Paul “Bear” Bryant. He was known for putting his players through what he called a “gut check”. Mine came my sophomore year on a really hot and humid Saturday, a week before we were to play a great Southern Cal football team.
It all started as we were sitting in the tunnel that connected the coliseum to the practice field trying to keep cool before practice. As Coach Bryant came walking through, he was singing amazing grace, a sure sign that it was going to be a tough day. Practice started just as usual – warm-ups, individual position drills, and then scrimmage. That day we were going to have what is called a controlled scrimmage. For those of you who don’t know what that is, let me explain. The offense takes possession of the ball on their own 40-yardline and they try to march down the field sixty yards to score a touchdown. If you don’t score, you have to go back to the 40-yard line and start over again. If you do score, you get to go back and do it again. It’s a subtle difference but there is a difference. We had been doing this for about an hour and a half when the tackle next to me just fell to the ground. A little later another went down. Final tally for the day, Coach Bryant had sent about ten guys to the hospital with heat stroke and dehydration. Finally practice was over; we crawled off the field and headed to the athletic dorm. When I got there, I heard guys packing their bags, loading their cars, and heading home. I was going to join them but I was too hungry and tired. So I laid down for a little while before dinner. Luckily I fell fast asleep and when I came to, it was the next day. So I said to myself, “Well, since I’m still here, I might as well stay.”
At three on every Sunday, we had team meetings. We would first meet all together in the large meeting room that looked a lot like a theater. There was a big screen in the front with each row of seats facing the screen a little higher than the row of seats in front of them. Coach Bryant came walking in at five till, just like he always did, winding his watch and saying that it was a little early but we’d go ahead and get started anyway. His speech went like this. “Well boys, you learned a big lesson yesterday. You’ll push yourself and you’ll push yourself and you’ll think you’re going to die, but the human body is an amazing machine. It will always pass out before it dies.”
I thought two things. First was, this man is nuts! Second, I’ve got three more years of this to go through.
But now that I’m a little older, I appreciate the lesson he taught me that day. My father put it this way. He said, “John, you push yourself and then you’ll hit that wall of self imposed limitations and back away. As long as this happens you will never be as good as you can be. But someday either fear or anger or someone, like a Coach Bryant, will cause you to break through that barrier and you’ll discover that there is a whole new world of opportunity out there for you.”
Although I never want to go through a “Black Saturday” again, I realize that I learned a lesson that day that most have never been taught. There are a lot of people out there who are smarter and more talented than me, but few that can outwork me and that has paid off in a big way throughout my life. At Alabama, we believed with our whole hearts that if the game was fairly close in the fourth quarter, we would win. We knew we were in better shape than the other team and we knew the game meant more to us than it did our opponents because we had paid a dearer price. Later when I got into business, I carried these same lessons with me. I knew if I dedicated myself to my job, I would be better prepared than the competition and because I had worked so hard, I wanted the customer’s business more and do more to win their trust and confidence.
As Coach said, “If you believe in yourself and have confidence and pride-and never, never quit – you’ll be a winner. The price of victory is high but so are the rewards.”
You know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize. So run to win! All those who compete in the games use self-control so they can win a crown. That crown is an earthly thing that lasts only a short time, but our crown will never be destroyed. So I do not run without a goal. I fight like a boxer who is hitting something – not just the air. I treat my body hard and make it my slave so that I myself will not be disqualified after I have preached to others.
1 Corinthians 9:24
Football is a unique team sport. When you think of other team sports, everyone who competes does the same thing and as a result, all have the same talents, abilities, and strengths. On a baseball field, all the players catch the ball, all throw the ball, and all hit the ball. On a basketball court, all the players shoot the ball and all defend their goal. On a football field the players are specialized. On offense the quarterback throws the ball, receivers catch the ball, running backs run with the ball, and offensive lineman protect the passer and make lanes for the ball carrier to advance the team. Each position requires a different body type, a different personality, and very different skills. It is the most like business of any sport because It is the only game that combines the diversity of people to accomplish the ultimate goal – winning the championship.
Business is like football. To be successful you need different people with different strengths to be successful and as your company grows, leadership and people management become the most critical element of success.
As coach or your business team, the first element of building your team is making sure you have the right person for the job. When I first got drafted by the Patriots, Jim Plunkett was the quarterback for the Patriots. He was a great passer with pinpoint accuracy. However, Jim was not the fastest guy in town. Our offensive passing game was predicated on getting four and five receivers into the pattern. This meant that the quarterback needed to get rid of the ball in at least three seconds. Needless to say, Jim had a hard time getting back reading the defense and getting the ball to the right receiver in that amount of time (His offensive line was young and not that good either). He was soon traded to San Francisco, where he encountered the same problems. Eventually he got traded to the Oakland Raiders. During that era, the Raiders ran three and four man patterns. By having the backs help the offensive line protect, the quarterback had four seconds to find the open receiver and throw the ball. This offense fit Jim to a tee and he did what he should have been doing his whole career – winning the Super Bowl. What a shame Jim didn’t enjoy the success he should have early on in his pro-football career. What a waste that the teams that hired him didn’t know how to use him to become champions.
As coach of your business, do you have players on your team that are out of position? When you hire someone, do you understand their strengths? As the coach, a manager needs to analyze several factors about his organization and what is needed to win. Coaches need to understand the culture of their organization and whether a person fits with personalities that comprise his team. If you’re a hard charging, “let’s take some risks so we can get results” type firm and the person you are considering is more interested in making sure that all the I’s are dotted and the T’s crossed, it may not be a good fit. While everyone else is charging ahead, the new player is nervous about the potential problems that might arise. This might not be your best draft choice, especially if you like your team the way it is. However, that person could be a great asset for the firm. A person with these strengths could save the team a lot of dollars by seeing problems before they occur and designing systems that eliminate or reduce the risks. As the coach, if you decide to change the scheme, you need to be ready to motivate the new player, as well as the tenured players. They need to learn to respect their differences and appreciate the strengths they bring to the team. They need to understand that each is important to the other and the contributions that each team member makes. As the coach, you will also need to create an environment that allows the player to use his strengths to become a top-performer.
Managers need to understand whether a person has the tools to fill the needed role. To do this, coaches need to identify all that is required for the position. Too often, coaches don’t look deep enough. They want to make sure prospects have the talents, abilities, and strengths to perform at a high level. The problem is that coaches sometimes don’t prioritize these three elements of success in the right order.
Tom Brady had some talent and abilities coming out of college but not to the magnitude of other quarterbacks. Because of that, he was drafted in the lower rounds. What most teams didn’t consider was Tom’s natural strengths. He loved football and wanted to be a great quarterback. Because of his love of the game, he was determined to work hard to improve his talents and abilities. Any person that finds a spot that is satisfying and brings happiness and fulfillment to their life will typically work to be the best they can at their position and that is what Tom Brady did. Talent and ability can be improved but the one thing that no one can improve is their natural strengths. When a person’s strengths match their role, it isn’t work to them, its fun because they are doing something they love and something that they’re good at and, if they enjoy working at their job, they turn into the MVP of a Super Bowl Champion.
Each one of us has a body with many parts, and these parts all have different uses. In the same way, we are many, but in Christ we are all one body. Each one is a part of that body, and each part belongs to all the other parts. We all have different gifts, each of which came because of the grace God gave us,
These three things continue forever; faith, hope, and love. 1 Corinthians 13:13
I Corinthians 13:4-8 Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous, it does not brag, and it is not proud. Love is not rude, is not selfish, and does not get upset with others. Love does not count up wrongs that have been done. Love takes no pleasure in evil but rejoices over the truth. Love patiently accepts all things. It always trusts, always hopes, and always endures. Love never ends.
We tend to think that love is an emotion. God’s definition of love is a defined set of actions. These actions relate to the way we conduct ourselves and our attitudes towards others. Love is the third leg of a successful life.
Who are we to love? When asked what are the most important of God’s commands, Jesus summed up all the commands into two sayings. The first is to love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, your entire mind, and all your strength. The second command is this; Love your neighbor as yourself.
You may be asking, How do we love God? “Respect the Lord your God, and do what He has told you to do.” Deuteronomy 10:12. We revere God by doing what he teaches. It is through our willingness to follow His teaching that we demonstrate that we love God. It is when we choose to live life according to His manual that shows that we have faith that He exists and that He rewards of those who believe in Him.
The second command is really a set of two actions. Notice that it says that we are to act toward others in accordance with how we act toward ourselves. It is not until we love ourselves that we can truly show concern for others. It is when we understand our value, have confidence in our gifts and strengths, and are truly comfortable inside our own skins, that we are free to love others. We have no need to compare ourselves to or compete against others. Instead, we are free to be of service to them. When we realize that we can love ourselves in spite of our faults, we can forgive the shortcomings of others and appreciate their strengths.
Jesus promised that when we give we will receive. “We will be given much. Pressed down, shaken together, and running over, it will spill into your lap. The way you give to others is the way God will give to you.” Luke 6:38. God’s purpose for us is to find ways to serve others. Whether it is providing them medical care, repairing a car, or providing investment advice, your motive that moves you to action should be to please God by helping and serving others.