You will never go any further in life or leadership than your ability to connect and communicate with others. For all of us this includes one-on-one communication. For many it includes communicating to a small group. For some this also means the dreaded, frightening public speaking. Effective communication is key to the effective outcomes of almost every initiative: marriage, parenting, customer service, relationships, construction projects, growing organizations and winning teams.
A man named Matthew, who lived when Jesus did, wrote about the most famous sermon Jesus taught, called the Sermon on the Mount. Large crowds started gathering wherever Jesus went as he taught, encouraged, physically healed and helped people in a way very different than any other religious teacher of his day.
Seventeen years ago my wife, Teri, and I quit our jobs, sold our home in Blaine, Minn., and moved to Fargo-Moorhead to pursue a dream God planted in our hearts. We were happy and comfortable in Blaine; living the American dream. We both grew up in economically very "humble" families and here we were, living in the suburbs of the Twin Cities as homeowners, raising our son, while living close to family and friends.
My father-in-law, Bill, enjoyed a normal day on April 2, until late in the afternoon when he started violently throwing up and experiencing extreme shivers. He was taken into the emergency room and diagnosed with strep throat. While in the hospital, the infection attacked his heart and lungs and when his kidneys declined further he passed away. After rushing from Fargo to Bismarck, we were able to spend the last fifteen minutes of Bill's life next to his bedside. He died peacefully, but our hearts were in deep pain as we were not ready to say goodbye.
Have you ever said "Well, she got what she deserved"? We live in a world with cause and effect, and we are okay with each of us "getting what we deserve." Our mindset is tell me what you have done along with a few surrounding details and I can tell you if you got what you deserve. Teaching our children cause and effect is great parenting. Our challenge, though, is we take that mindset into every area of life, and the truth is we all receive blessings we do not deserve and we do not always get the negative consequences our choices deserve.
One of the inevitable events in life is failure. Perhaps you have experienced failure recently; received a DUI, marriage or significant relationship ended, grades are worse than your capability, struggling at work, spiritually you have fizzled or flopped, an addiction traps you, moral failure, parenting blunder. Maybe you feel like you are in a season of failure. There is no one big event, but a lot of little things that add up and you aren't who or where you want to be.
Famous psychologist and cosmetic surgeon, Dr. Maxwell Maltz, wrote several books telling stories of people whose lives were transformed when they got a new face. Many had been through severe accidents and experienced major facial scars. After they got a new face, a number of them blossomed with new confidence.