7 Ways To Get and Keep A Good Name

We can all remember famous people, or just someone significant to us, who have done something to forever ruin their good name. I will not list the names of politicians, sports heroes, and religious leaders that have disappointed us all with their fall. you can come up with your own list in your head. Unfortunately, it seems that a good name is tough to get these days, and even tougher to maintain.

good name

7 Ways To Get And Keep A Good Name

In my last post, we looked at the importance of having a good name or reputation when it comes to running a Christian business. We agreed that our responsibility of representing the name of Jesus demands this. But now I want to look at 7 ways to get and keep that good name.

1. Don’t do it for the name.

While this may seem contrary to what you might think, I really believe this is true. If you set out with the sole purpose of developing a good name for yourself, you might succeed. But it is more likely that this strategy will backfire on you.

The best way to gain a good name is just to begin doing the right thing. Do it because it is the right thing, not because someone is watching. Every time you have the opportunity, you just do what God leads you to do. It is that simple. The hard part is that this takes time. It will not happen overnight, but it will happen over time.

2. Always be aware of others watching.

While this one may seem to contradict #1, it really does not. This is not about doing the right thing just because someone is watching. This idea is more about a constant awareness that you are on stage.

When you associate your good name with the name of Jesus, people will begin to watch you. Some are hoping you fail while others are secretly pulling for you. Either way, you need to know that their eyes are on you even when you are not aware of it. Don’t slip up when you think you are alone. You likely aren’t.

3. Make your decisions ahead of time.

My father always taught me to make my decisions ahead of time. Before I found myself in a tempting situation, I had already made up my mind as what I would do. Then, when the temptation popped up, I was prepared to act – no thinking necessary. Good name intact!

If you will make this a practice in your personal life, as well as in your business, you will see the benefits. No opportunity to “play with the numbers” or omit truthful disclosure in a transaction will trip you up if you have already decided how you will respond.

4. Remember the “Why?”

It is almost certain that there will be times where you are tempted to give in. The devil is good at his job and you cannot anticipate every possibility ahead of time. It is these types of situations that trip up the best.

When you stop to think about what you are going to do, just remember the reason you are committed to a good name. Remember that you have taken on the association with Jesus and giving in would bring a mark against Him as well. Then run!

5. Under-promise and over-deliver.

It is often tempting in customer situations to promise the world. Whether you are trying to sell something or just estimating when the repairs will be complete, over-promising is a common mistake. It is damaging to a good name.

Instead, make it your practice to under-promise. Give yourself some cushion in the timing. Back off a touch on the promised performance of your product. Then, when you come in ahead of schedule or your product exceeds the customer expectations, you both win! This is a well-known, but seldom used business principle.

6. Err on the side of doing the right thing.

There are many times when the “right thing” to do is not black and white. In other words, it is not exactly clear how far you should go in making something right. Maybe you are reimbursing a customer for lost time and frustration. What is the real cost of that?

Here, I am recommending that you go a little further than you might think is acceptable. Get other opinions if you must, but add that one notch at the end. Go a little overboard rather than risk falling short. You won’t be sorry in the long run.

7. Enlist accountability.

We all have blind spots. There are simply areas in which we cannot see as well as others. When we enlist accountability, we can cover these blind spots. Then we are less likely to miss something that could be damaging to our good name.

In my business, it is my inner circle of leadership that helps me avoid trouble. For you, it may be your spouse, chaplain, or someone else. Regardless of who it is, you cannot do this alone. There are too many pitfalls out there that will destroy a good name. It is not worth the risk of going it alone!

P.S. Don’t forget to enter my FREE book give-away going on until midnight 2/28/13!
I am giving away a copy of John Maxwell’s
The 5 Levels of Leadership
[CLICK HERE] to enter!

What would you add to this list?

Have you struggled in any of these areas?

In which of these areas have you seen victory?

Is A Good Name Important In Christian Business?

There have been several incidents lately that have caused me to think about the importance of a good name or reputation and how it relates to a Christian business owner or leader. Most recently, I received a request from Rajeev (my friend in Chandigarh, India). He has faced a challenge or two relating to this idea and asked me to post about it. In this post, we will answer the following question:

Is a good name important in Christian business?

good name

Look To Scripture

As I often do, I want to start by going directly to Scripture to find the answer. If you do a search for “good name” or “reputation,” you will find a handful of verses that fit. A couple of these include:

A good name is better than precious ointment…
Ecclesiastes 7:1

He must have a good reputation among outsiders…
1 Timothy 3:7

The first verse makes it clear that a good name is valuable and therefore should be protected. The author compares a good name to something rare, implying that it is not common to everyone.

The second verse comes from Paul’s description to Timothy of Christian leadership in the family of God. I know of one example where a church runs an advertisement in the local paper, listing the names of prospective deacons and asking for people to submit any reasons why the names on the list may not be qualified to lead. That is strong!

Why Is This True?

So we can see from Scripture that a good name is important for a Christian to maintain. Why is this true?

The more I read into Scripture about why we (believers) are still here on earth and not immediately whisked into heaven when we are saved, the more I believe it is for the purpose of being conformed to the likeness of Christ (Romans 8:29) AND to point others toward Him (1 Peter 2:11-12).

Quite simply, if we maintain a good name through the struggle and trouble this world throws at all of us, then other people are more likely to look at us as examples to follow. If we have a good name, meaning people have little negative to say about the way we live, then they will trust us to share with them the reason for the hope we have (1 Peter 3:15).

Good Name Important For Christian Business?

So, assuming you agree that a good name is important for a Christian to maintain, then the follow-up question remains. Is a good name important for a Christian business?

I think this is a pretty clear answer, but I think some explanation could help as well. I think it is clear to most everyone that a good name is important to any business so it must be important for a business that is run for Christian purposes, right?

The difference here is that the Christian business has additional responsibilities.

Benefits To A Business

For a normal business, there are many benefits to having a good name. First, a good name will help to generate repeat and referral business. This is critical to the financial health and sustainability of the business over time.

A good name says that you have been good to your word over a long enough period of time that it is likely you will continue to do so. This is crucial to establishing new relationships such as those with banks, vendors, and other businesses.

A good name will also give you an advantage in hiring better people over time. These days, sharp candidates are researching the businesses before they apply for a job. Those with a good name will get the higher consideration from the better candidates.

Christian Business = Further Responsibility

These are all desirable benefits for a business that has a good name, but I think the Christian business has further responsibility in this area. For a business that has associated itself with the name of Christ, it becomes even more important to maintain a good name.

I have talked to too many applicants that have told me stories about former employers that claimed to be Christians but acted otherwise in carrying out their business. In these cases, they clearly turned people away from Jesus with their hypocritical behavior.

I was even talking with another Christian business owner the other day. He told me he is very cautious when a new vendor comes to him, claiming to be a Christian. He says he has been burned too many times!

Influence Brings Responsibility

The point here is that when we begin to associate ourselves and our businesses in any way with the name of Jesus, we take on the responsibility of the influence we will have on others. It is not acceptable for us to claim Jesus and act otherwise.

Sure, we will make mistakes. There is no way for us to avoid that completely. At the same time, we must remain aware of those times and respond accordingly to make it right. People will be forgiving, but only if we are quick to admit error and rectify it.

There are too many people in this world that still do not know Jesus. We are here to point them toward Him. If we are bold enough to use our businesses in this effort, then we must be just as diligent to make sure we maintain a good name. It is His name we are representing!

Does your business have a good name?

How difficult has it been to maintain a good name?

Have you seen consequences for the lack of a good name?

Eternal Perspective: What Is Your View?

Christian leadership can be described in many ways. It is servant leadership. It is Christ-centered and it is Bible-focused. Some will say it needs to be meek, gracious, or based on love. But there is one phrase that I seldom hear used in describing Christian leadership. That phrase is Eternal Perspective.

eternal perspective

Serious Oversight

Maybe it is just not a familiar term to most people. Maybe the thought itself is somewhat foreign. Or maybe we have just gone so far to the extreme in our immediate-gratification culture that this idea of having an eternal perspective doesn’t even cross our mind.

Either way, I think this is a serious oversight.

Christian Leadership

In my last couple of posts, I have been attempting to describe Christian leadership. I started in the first post by explaining how it really just boils down to influence – borrowing a quote from John Maxwell – and that we ALL are called to be Christian leaders in our circles of influence. In the next post, I told you how I believe Christian leaders must be intentional.

Today, I want to dig a little into this idea of an eternal perspective and tell you why I believe it should truly be a foundational part of effective Christian leadership. I hope you will come to understand this idea a little better as a result.

Eternal Perspective

First, let’s describe what I mean when I say eternal perspective. Basically, having an eternal perspective means that as we make decisions or take actions, we consider how they will impact us and others in eternity.

Rather than thinking about how a decision will look in 30 days, we think about what it will look like in 3,000 years (and beyond). When trying to decide how to run our business or allocate our resources, we do not merely look at how it will affect our retirement, but also how it will impact eternity.

Scripture Example

Whenever possible, I want to go to Scripture to get our direction. Let’s look at Paul’s words to Timothy in 1 Timothy 4:7-8.

Rather, train yourself in godliness, for the training of the body has a limited benefit, but godliness is beneficial in every way, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.

…The Life To Come

Notice how Paul acknowledges that godliness has benefits for our present life in this world while also for the life to come! This is the perfect example of having an eternal perspective. Training the body also has benefits here, but not so much in the life to come.

So if Paul is recommending this kind of eternal perspective mindset to Timothy, why would it not work in the business world? Why would it not make sense for us to think the same way as we approach every aspect of our lives today – work, school, church, etc.?

Eternal Perspective In Business?

I think it does work. As an example, it is natural for a business owner to think about employees as critical to the success of the business. When viewing it from an eternal perspective, the thinking changes. No longer is an employee ONLY critical to the success of the business. Now the employee is also a soul that needs to find a relationship with God in order to spend eternity with Him.

I do not think this should result in forcing employees to believe in Jesus (won’t happen!). Instead, you can simply provide the resources that would allow (even encourage) it. Resources such as a chaplain program or regular lunch & learn Bible studies could be part of your efforts. Not only will your employees be impacted for eternity, there are productivity and other benefits here and now.

Critical To Following Jesus

I am convinced this kind of thinking from an eternal perspective is critical. In fact, I do not believe we can effectively follow Jesus Christ and think otherwise. For us to attempt to truly follow Jesus while only thinking about the short-term results of our actions or decisions may just be impossible. I think Luke 9:62 fits here:

Jesus replied, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.”

Not Easy!

The difficulty in this thinking from an eternal perspective – and I promise you there is difficulty – is that the world does not think this way. Because of this, the rewards of this world often come to those who think short-term. In this context, short-term is any time-frame on this side of eternity.

I tell you this not to discourage you but to set realistic expectations. Do not begin applying this eternal perspective to your work and expect worldly success as a result. They are not connected.

Eternity In Our Hearts

Instead, recognize that God put eternity into our hearts (Ecclesiastes 3:11) and that is how He expects us to think. The more we think from an eternal perspective, the more our decisions and actions will reflect it. When that happens, the rewards will come in God’s way (1 Corinthians 3:11-15).

Does the eternal perspective make sense to you?

When do you find it the most challenging?

What victories can you name as a result of this thinking?

5 Levels Of Leadership – Free Book Give Away!!!

[title color=”orange-vibrant” align=”scmgccenter” font=”georgia” style=”normal” size=”scmgc-7em”]Free Book Give Away!!![/title]

5 Levels Of Leadership

A Free Book Give Away?

You read that right! I am offering a free copy of John Maxwell’s book, The 5 Levels of Leadership: Proven Steps to Maximize Your Potential! If you have not read this book, you are in for a treat. Readers’ comments say this is a Maxwell book you should not miss! Even if you have read it, you need to give a copy away to someone else you that needs to read it.

How Do You Win?

If you scroll down just a bit you will see the Rafflecopter entry form which outlines a bunch of ways to enter the 5 Levels Of Leadership giveaway. Just complete as many as you would like to be entered to win!

Why Am I Doing This?

I started this blog in an effort to spread the message of integrating the Christian faith into our businesses. I want to see more Christian business owners and leaders begin looking at their businesses from an eternal perspective and running them as platforms for Christian ministry.

While I know my posts are written toward this effort, I thought I would try to step it up a notch for 2013. My plan is to give away one book a month for the entire year! All I am asking from you is to follow the Rafflecopter instructions below. As you enter, you will be helping me to spread the word about this blog at the same time. We both win!

This Month’s Book- 5 Levels Of Leadership

True leadership isn’t a matter of having a certain job or title. In fact, being chosen for a position is only the first of the five levels every effective leader achieves. To become more than “the boss” people follow only because they are required to, you have to master the ability to invest in people and inspire them.

To grow further in your role, you must achieve results and build a team that produces. You need to help people to develop their skills to become leaders in their own right. And if you have the skill and dedication, you can reach the pinnacle of leadership-where experience will allow you to extend your influence beyond your immediate reach and time for the benefit of others.

Enter The Give Away

Follow the instructions below to enter the 5 Levels Of Leadership contest and then spread the word to others! The contest ends at midnight on February 28th and the winner will be announced on Friday, March 1st.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Christian Leadership Is Intentional

John Maxwell said that leadership is not about titles, positions, or flowcharts, but is instead about one life influencing another. So if leadership is about influence, how are we supposed to behave as Christian leaders in the business world? What does this look like?

Christian leader

Christian Leadership Standards

In my last post, I took Paul’s words in 1 Timothy 3:1-15 when he was describing the qualities of Christian leadership to Timothy. As you read verses 14-15, it becomes clear that Paul is not only referring to church pastors and deacons, but to everyone in the family of God! This means we are all leaders in the role He has given us.

If this is true, then we need to know how to be the Christian leaders God calls us to be right where we are. While the list of qualities Paul gives are good to go by, I think we can sum up our responsibilities in three points.

3 Christian Leadership Points

We covered the first one in my last post – Leadership is Influence. That essentially means that we are leaders to the extent we influence others. As Christians, we must be aware of this and live accordingly. I will cover the second point today and the last one next time.

The second point is this:

[texthighlight color=”black” ]Christian Leadership is Intentional.[/texthighlight]


What does this really mean? The problem with leadership being about influence is that you can influence people without meaning to. You can influence people, and lead them, even when you are doing the wrong things or doing things wrong. You may not even know you are leading or influencing them.

For you to be an effective Christian leader, you must be intentional about who you are and what you do. You must seek to live by the standards given in Scripture. You should make sure that anyone being led (or influenced) by you is being influenced in the right direction!

What does this mean to you at work?

Christian Leadership At Work?

An effective Christian leader cannot act one way on Sunday and a different way Monday through Friday or Saturday. Instead, Christian leaders must intentionally be the same person all week long – someone who is being conformed to the likeness of Jesus Christ!

This means you should be making decisions based on what you believe Jesus would have you do in the workplace just as you would in the home or at church. There really is not a difference, except in location.


When given the opportunity to cheat the company, a customer, or a competitor, you must remember that this is not behavior that fits with being a Christian leader. When tempted to try to “fit in” with your peers at work or even on the road at a conference, you have to remember that you are always on display. Your influence does not stop just because you are at work.

Before we digress into a long, legalistic list of things you cannot do, I really want to take a minute to focus on what you should be doing. To me, being an intentional Christian leader is more about the things you do, rather than just the things you should not do.

Scripture & Application

There are two verses I can think of to describe what I am talking about. The first one is part of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, Matthew 5:16.

In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorifyyour Father in heaven.

If you will follow the advice in this verse as you operate in the workplace, you will stand out. Over time, you will be an obvious influence on those around you. I promise you this is true.

If you do this, do you know what will happen? Some people may mock you or avoid you at first. Maybe they will even try to undermine you or oppose you directly. Others will respect you – silently or otherwise. Some will hope you can maintain it because they want to believe it can be done.

They Will Ask Why?

Whatever the initial reaction, over time people will begin to ask you, “Why?” They will want to understand what it is that makes you different. They will come to you for advice when you least expect it.

The second verse that applies here is 1 Peter 3:15.

Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.

The point here is that your “good deeds” will draw attention to you – just like a city on a hill. As that happens, you will be asked why you are different. This verse in 1 Peter explains that you should not be caught off guard by this. Instead, you should be prepared to answer the questions.

Intentional Preparation

You will have to intentionally prepare for this. You cannot be clueless about Scripture and be prepared to answer these questions. You cannot fail to think through your answers and still be ready to respond.

Obviously, there is more to being an effective Christian leader than just applying these two verses. At the same time, this is a great start! Just applying these two verses can multiply your impact and influence on others exponentially! Try it and see what you think.

What other verses do you think fit here?

What would you add to this plan for being intentional?

What challenges have you faced in trying to live this out?

Do You Recognize This Christian Leader?

Yesterday, we had a lesson in Sunday School that is near and dear to my heart. The topic was Christian Leadership and I had the opportunity to teach it! Because the material is so relevant to Christian business, I thought I would share the material and apply it to our situations as Christian leaders in the business world. Before I reveal the identity of the mystery Christian leader below, let’s take a look at the material.

Christian leader

Paul Describes Christian Leaders

The text of the lesson came from 1 Timothy 3:1-15, where Paul is instructing Timothy about the leadership of the church body. As Paul progresses, describing the qualities of the overseer and then the deacons, he gives some very high standards.

Paul mentions critical characteristics like the following:

    • Good reputation with outsiders
    • Good manager of the household
    • Not greedy for money
    • Self-controlled
    • Respectable

Who Comes To Mind?

When you are thinking about Christian leadership and these standards, what comes to mind? Does someone you respect as a Christian leader pop into your head? Or do you think about a leader you know (or work with) that needs to take on some of these qualities?

Either way, most people think about someone else. Maybe it is because they read this text to be directed at Pastors and Deacons in their church. Maybe they just do not feel like a leader themselves.

Someone Else?

Whatever the reason, the vast majority of believers in Jesus do not immediately think of themselves as Christian leaders. If this is true of you, you are not alone.

Unfortunately, being part of the majority (at least in this case), does not make you right. In fact, I will simply say this – if you are a believer and disciple of Jesus Christ and do not see yourself as a Christian leader, then you are mistaken.

Before you get offended, please read on and see if this makes sense to you at the end.

Leadership Defined

To find the definition of leadership, there are many places you can go. I have done this and I think I can save you the time of doing it yourself. By far, the best definition of leadership I have found comes from John Maxwell.

If anyone has read John Maxwell, you know that he understands leadership. He has written more books than anyone else on the subject…in fact, later this week, I will be giving away a copy of one of his books The 5 Levels of Leadership on this site! Make sure to check back with my Friday post and enter to win!

Here is John Maxwell’s definition of leadership:

Leadership is not about titles, positions, or flowcharts.
It is about one life influencing another.

If you don’t mind, I am going to boil this definition down a little:

[texthighlight color=”black” ]Leadership is Influence.[/texthighlight]

Let that sink in.

What Does This Mean?

If leadership is influence, then that means that anyone in a position or role to influence someone else is a leader. Is that right?

Let’s say that again so we make sure we are in agreement. You are a leader if you are in a position or role to influence someone else.

YOU Are The Christian Leader!

Do you get that? Do you realize that this means YOU are a Christian leader? You are the mystery Christian leader in the picture above! If you influence your children, co-workers, friends, or anyone else, then you are a Christian leader. You do not have to be elected or appointed to a particular office – you just have to be an influence on someone else!

That is a big point and you need to make sure you absorb that. At the same time, I have another point to go along with it.

You Cannot Avoid It

This position or role of influence you have – it does not have to be one that you volunteered to take on. You did not have to choose this position or role to qualify you for Christian leadership! The fact that you are a Christian and you influence others (willingly or not) makes you a Christian leader. There is no avoiding it!

Let’s take a look at someone that I would argue has been in a position of leadership, but appears to feel otherwise. Depending on your age (and maybe gender), you probably know Charles Barkley. He played professional basketball for many years and was a superstar in his day.

The following video is a Nike ad that ran at the time Barkley was playing. Watch the video and then let’s discuss his words.

Is He A Role Model?

I will not argue with some of what Barkley says in this video. I agree that parents should raise their kids and not rely on professional athletes to be the sole influence.

At the same time, Barkley is simply wrong when he says he is not a role model. Like it or not, his celebrity is enough to qualify him as a leader. Maybe he is not a good one – not my point. Maybe he is not an intentional one – don’t have enough information.

But – whether he likes it or not – he is a leader. His influence puts him in that role and there is nothing he can do to avoid it.

Also True For Us

Folks, the same is true for us. When we made the decision to follow Jesus Christ, we put ourselves in a position of influence and therefore became Christian leaders. Whether we like it or not, that is who we are and we much accept it.

This Christian leadership is our role whether we are in an entry-level position or a C-level position. We are Christian leaders whether we are still working or retired. Our title, office, or position have nothing to do with this. It is up to us to accept this and embrace it.

Now that we understand our role as Christian leaders, what do we do about it? What does this look like? In my next several posts, I am going to discuss this very idea and try to give you a clear picture of what it needs to look like.

What are your thoughts right now?

Do you agree that you are a Christian leader?

How long have you realized this?

3 Keys To Creating New Habits

In my last two posts, I went into detail about a daily game plan that I am working on in an effort to avoid spiritual drift and remain focused on my life plan. While I am certainly seeing some results that are promising, it is also a struggle for me. In comment on the last post, fellow blogger Kari Scare mentioned this same struggle in creating a new habit.

new habit

Here are her comments:

I would love to consistently use something like this. But, something inside of me…keeps it from becoming a habit. In fact, I did use something similar to this for a while but ended up going back to my list method…I still wonder at my inability to stick with that.

I’m a driven person, very productive. I stick to the focus areas that my husband and I set. Yet, I realize how something like this would amplify my life. SO, maybe you could address some of what I struggle with in another post.

New Habit Struggle?

Do you experience this kind of struggle in creating a new habit? Do you get frustrated at your inability to remain consistent with a new habit even when you know it will improve your life?

If you struggle like this, you are not alone. Just visit a fitness club or gym during the first week in January and again in mid-March. There is a huge difference in how busy it is, right? The fallout is huge!

Magic Formula?

So what we really want to know is how to overcome this struggle in creating new habits. What is the magic formula for beating this part of us that resists new habits (at least the good ones!) and keeps us from improving?

Well, to start off, there is not a magic formula. I will not even try to convince you that I have the silver bullet for this problem.

New Habits Not Impossible

What I will tell you is that it is not an impossible feat to create new habits. People that are faced with decisions between exercising and facing life-threatening medical issues have proven this to be true over and over. Others have done it without the threat to life. So how do they do it?

As I said, I do not have a silver bullet, but I do have some simple insights. Take a look at the following three keys and see if they make sense to you. While this is not a guaranteed formula, I am convinced that if all three keys are present, your odds of successfully creating a new habit will increase exponentially!

#1 – It MUST Be A Priority To You

While this may sound overly simplistic, it is true. Either it IS or it IS NOT a priority for you. If you are absolutely confident that any given tool or habit will make your days better and your life more effective, then you just have to decide if that is what you want.

It cannot be a suggestion someone else is making for you. It cannot be something that would be “cool” if you did it. Nor can it be something you are guilted into doing.

You have to want it more than whatever else is currently occupying the time it takes to do it (e.g. exercise vs. 30 minutes more sleep). You have to want it more than it will cost you in time, money, effort, etc. If you want it badly enough, then you will make it work.

#2 – Enlist Accountability

Look back at Kari’s comments. What is the one thing she mentioned that she is able to stick to? Exactly, it is the focus areas that she commits to with her husband! I do not believe that is a coincidence.

Is this the only way? No. Can we develop a new habit without accountability? Sure. I did not say this is the only way. It will just increase your odds exponentially. So if that is the case, why not enlist accountability.

This step is not really that tough. The accountability partner does not necessarily have to be creating the same new habit as you are (though it would certainly be helpful if they did). You just need to have a relationship with them that would cause you to avoid having to admit failure to them.

Just explain to them what you are trying to do and how you need them to help you with it. Then set up regular intervals for follow-up conversations. Give them a list of several key questions you want them to ask you. You could even make it fun (and increase the pressure) by committing to buy their lunch (or a coffee) every time you fall short of the new habit!

#3 – Embrace Grace!

Sure, it needs to be a habit. Sure it is better if we do it EVERY day without fail. At the same time, even this habit will eventually become stale and you will risk becoming legalistic about it. Instead of feeling like a failure when we miss a day or only half-way complete it, we should just give ourselves the grace that God gives us.

Move on. Start again tomorrow. The world will not end. Your life will not suddenly become ineffective and worthless. Don’t buy into the lie that one miss means the whole effort is over!

Of course, if the missed days begin to equal or outnumber the days you complete the task, then you need to refer back to #1. IS it or is it NOT something you need to be doing?


I hope this discussion helps you as you approach a new habit. My prayer is that we all continue to look for ways we can weave new habits into our lives that will continue to help conform us to the likeness of Christ. At the same time, we cannot see ourselves as failures when we fall short. We just need to get up and try again.

Have you attempted new habits with all three of these keys in place?

What were your results?

What is your biggest struggle in attempting to create new habits?

The Daily Game Plan: A Must Use Tool!

If you have ever worked on a life plan for your life, then you know the process can be somewhat overwhelming. You likely know that maintaining that life plan can become a burden at times, depending on how you have it set up. In light of that, I have come up with a tool I am calling a daily game plan that may just be the help you are looking for!

game plan

Daily Game Plan

In my last post, I described how I progressed from modifying and tweaking my life plan to creating a more simple tool called a daily game plan. Birthed out of an idea I got from reading Seven Days in Utopia, this daily game plan is an effort to apply life plan strategy to our daily lives. Take a look at my last post for more on the thought process behind this tool.

As I promised in the last post, I want to take you through the current version of my daily game plan tool. I will go over each area and explain how I use it. I will also give you the option to download a pdf of it. As I go through this process, be thinking about how you would improve this tool. I am going to ask you for your feedback at the end.

How To Proceed

The best way for you to go through the rest of this post is to [CLICK HERE] for a marked-up, full-screen view of a completed daily game plan. Because each section is labeled to make it easier to follow along, you will likely want to keep this open in the separate tab and flip back and forth between them. If you would prefer, you can also just print a copy. Either way, it will be helpful to have it visible as you progress through my description below.

Section #1 – Key Questions

This first section is fairly simple. As you can see, I put the day and date in the box at the top and then I read through the questions. These questions are some that I pulled together and may change from time to time. You could add your own here.

Sometimes I actually write a one or two word answer to some of the questions. Sometimes I just think about them and leave them blank. The point is to read and contemplate these questions every day. I want these thoughts becoming part of my mindset throughout the day.

Section #2 – Calendar

The next section is a condensed calendar picture of my day – only the highlights. I do not put more than three or four items on this calendar. The purpose of this section is two-fold.

First, I want to think through my day and how it will flow. When I have to write it like this and only have room for the select few events, I have to visualize how they will fit together. The second reason is to remind me of those bigger appointments when I glance over the game plan during the day.

Section #3 – Key Focuses

In this third area of my daily game plan, I write the most important task or project for me to accomplish that day. Sometimes there are a total of three or four of these items when I combine the three categories – Work, Home, Other. More often, there are only one or two items listed here.

While my to-do list is always much larger than this, completing this section of the game plan forces me to determine and prioritize my most critical tasks. This is a great exercise, especially when many days my to-do’s overwhelm me. I find that it is seldom that I do not accomplish all that is listed here.

Section #4 – Outreach & Prayer

In this part of the game plan, I stop to think about the people I am likely to work with that day. Is there anyone in particular, employee or otherwise, that I need to reach out to in a special way? If someone comes to mind with clarity, then I write their name in the space and pray for the opportunity to impact them. If not, I leave it blank.

After that, I write in those areas about which I know I need to pray. This may be something related to my marriage or my children. It could be a pending decision at work or even a habit I am trying to break. Nothing is off limits here (except a confidential request from someone else!).

Section #5 – Potential Problems

This is one area where I have seen the most impact on my days since I have been using this daily game plan. Here, on the left side, I ask the question, “What could go wrong today?” I then write down any potential surprises or obstacles that I think may pop up during the day to come.

I imagine what it might look like if a conversation I plan to have that day ends up going bad. It could be that I might receive bad news in a pending project I am working on. It could even be a temptation that I am not prepared to handle.

Once I determine a couple of likely problems, I ask myself, “How will I (later) wish I had handled it?” This is a powerful question because it forces me to think about how I would script the situation after it goes bad. It is accountability in advance! You would be amazed at how much easier it is to handle a crises when you have already visualized it and scripted your response!

For a detailed description of the meaning of the five terms (Observation, Strategy, See, Feel, Trust), you need to read the book, Seven Days in Utopia!

Section #6 – Scripture Memory

This final section of the daily game plan is the simplest, but also carries power. In the top section, I write the Bible verse that I am attempting to memorize for that week. In the bottom section, I write the verse I memorized from last week.

This rotates each week so I am writing each verse once a day for two weeks. I also glance at the reference during the day and attempt to repeat both of the verses aloud without looking. This may only happen once or twice during the day, but any repetition helps!


As I said before, I tried this on a half of a sheet of paper at first (8.5″ x 11″ folded), but I am now loading it onto my iPad in an app called Notes Plus. It is fully contained on the screen and I am able to easily access it throughout the day. This seems to work best for me as I am carrying my iPad everywhere I go now.

Like I said before, this is a work in progress. There may be parts of this idea that excite you and other parts that leave you saying, “Huh?” That is fine! I don’t expect you to accept it all as/is and start using it that way. My main purpose in sharing is to start the conversation – both in your mind as well as between all of us.

Take some time and think it over. Ask me questions or give me some suggestions. The only advice I will give is to be determined to keep it as simple as possible! Do not give in to the temptation to add two or three (or more) incremental improvements that end up making it too cumbersome to use.

For a blank copy of this game plan, [CLICK HERE].

What are your thoughts about the game plan?

Does it generate any ideas for you?

What additions/deletions would you suggest?

A Life Plan Tool, Simplified?

In business, whether you are a Christian or not, it is important to regularly analyze your assets and make sure you are allocating them in the most effective manner. To do otherwise is fiscally irresponsible and even punishable in certain situations. Should our lives be any different? This is where a life plan helps!

life plan

Life Planning

Life planning is not necessarily a common occurrence among Christian leaders today, but it is gaining recognition and momentum. Effectively, it is a process of creating an overall strategy for our lives. The idea is to focus all of your resources and various roles (disciple of Jesus, husband/wife, parent, owner/employee, friend, etc.) so that they are in alignment with God’s will for your individual life.

In this blog, I have completed a series of posts that take you step by step through the process I use for my life plan. I also included the tools I use in that process. I have told you that I am not even close to having this whole process figured out! To this day, after several years of working on my life plan, I still struggle with consistency and focus at times.

Looking For Improvements

For that reason, I am always on the lookout for another tool, or modification to my current tools, that could help me do a better job of executing this life plan. Wherever I see an article about life plans I clip it to Evernote. If I get a chance to download someone else’s diagram of a dashboard, I do it.

Though I still do not have it perfected by any means, I have made some modifications over the years that have helped. Most of these changes have come in the way of simplifying the process.

A New Idea!

Roughly a month ago, I read a book that gave me an idea I thought could be a big help to me. The book was called Seven Days in Utopia, by David Cook. If you have not read the book, then I strongly urge you to do so. The movie is also good, but the book is more helpful in teaching us about life due to the greater detail.

In that book, the main character (a professional golfer) was advised that he needed his own game plan every time he approached a tournament. He was told that his ability to stick to his game plan would determine his success. If he were easily thrown off his plan by opponents or circumstances, then he would suffer for it.

Daily Game Plan

As I read, I realized I could use a similar process in my daily life. If I could come up with a daily “game plan” based on my life plan, then I may be more consistent in my execution. The more I thought about it the more I liked the idea.

As I thought about what I wanted this daily game plan to look like, I first determined that I wanted to keep it as simple as possible. That meant it would not be able to include every aspect of my life plan or even the dashboard I use to simplify that. It would have to leave out some things if I planned to use it every day.

I also decided I wanted to be able to carry it with me throughout the day. I did not want something that would be too difficult to refer to often with a quick glance. Since I move around a lot during the day – from office to office and building to building – this was going to be an important factor to get right.

Finally, I wanted it to be something I could complete every morning in my quiet time. It needed to be customizable based on what any particular day could hold. I wanted it to only contain information I need for that one day.

Not Yet Perfected!

I will close by saying that I have not completely figured it out yet. I have spent the past month trying various layouts of this game plan. I have tried it on paper and electronically. I have skipped parts on some days and other parts on other days.

I am pleased to report that the results so far are good! I am seeing improvement in the effectiveness of my days. While I am not seeing an overnight tripling of my productivity, I am seeing some very clear benefits. I have seen enough improvement so far to keep me working on the idea.

Details To Come!

In my next post, I am going to show you my daily game plan as it stands today. I will take you through each part of it step-by-step and explain the reasoning behind each. I hope you will find some benefit to the process.

I will go ahead and ask you to take a look and give me feedback. I am interested in your ideas and critiques. If you see something I have missed, please call me out on it! I see this as an opportunity to vet this tool and improve it.


I would love to hear from you on what I have shared so far. Do you see this as a worthy process or do you think I am a nut case for even trying?!? Either way, please give me your comments below and lets see where everyone stands on this!

Do you have a life plan that is helping you to be intentional?

Do you see the need for a daily game plan to work from?

What do you use to accomplish this?