Walk Around the Elephant

When you think of an elephant what’s the first impression or thoughts that come to mind? My sense is something that is big, heavy, slow, rugged and wrinkled. These characteristics remind of me middle to old age, would you agree? You know that place around our mid-fifties or so. Yes, I’m approaching the spot. I just couldn’t resist talking about this unpopular subject as we transition onto another year. Actually, old age shows up quite earlier than you and I would like to acknowledge. I remember turning forty years old, and soon after my daughter looked at me with tears welling up in her eyes. I asked, “What’s wrong?” She responded, “It’s sad to see you aging, dad.” That was the first time someone made reference to my aging.

So what’s the big deal about aging anyway? There must be a time in life when reality sets in and we come to grips that life is ebbing away faster than we like to acknowledge. In other words, the life we got left is a lot shorter than the life we’ve already lived, and concede, “Wow, life has brushed by so fast. The rest must go faster.” So instead of living, we pause for a moment to consider death’s approach. Let’s just make sure we don’t stay there for too long.

So how does one handle the aging blues? Some people spend lots of money making themselves look younger but they still can’t change their aging problem. “Facts are stubborn things” one once quipped. So I’ve come to a simple conclusion – walk around the elephant. We can’t avoid aging, the sag and wrinkles, but we can still enjoy life in every precious moment of each day.


Latino Townhall’s Top 25 #LatinoQuotes of 2010

Most people are not afraid of change but what the process of change reveals about them. –Joel Garcia (January 9th2010)

The life you live is the truth you follow. –Joel Garcia (January 15th 2010)

The greatest challenge for creating change is talking people out of doubt. –Joel Garcia (January 30th 2010)

Giving up is okay because one realizes a limitation; the key now is to ask someone for help. –Joel Garcia (February 7th 2010)

Capacity is the space we create within ourselves to hold and sustain something greater. –Joel Garcia (February 8th 2010)

A significant gaffe leaders make is to be long on vision and short on relationship. –Joel Garcia (February 10th 2010)

The process reveals our character to show us what is required to make it to the other side. –Joel Garcia (February 24th 2010)

Optimism is an attitude that shows up around springtime. –Joel Garcia (March 13th 2010)

You can handle the present challenges when you commit yourself to the future. –Joel Garcia (May 1st 2010)

Love lights up every room. –Joel Garcia (May 8th, 2010)

Before you set out to change the world, you’ve got to change one little universe; your mind. –Joel Garcia (May 14, 2010)

A mentor is a catalyst for change in a young person’s life. –Joel Garcia (June 11, 2010)

Courage is faith bottled up in a crazy person. –Joel Garcia (June 18, 2010)

Legacy is when your life continues to speak and influence after you. –Joel Garcia (June 22, 2010)

Friday is just another day like Monday but with the feeling that you have a two-day free pass. –Joel Garcia (June 25, 2010)

You cannot possess a place or a position you have not prepared for. –Joel Garcia (August 11, 2010)

Fun makes the day go faster. –Joel Garcia (August 13, 2010)

Personal growth is incomplete without addressing the spiritual dimension. –Joel Garcia (August 13, 2010)

We live in an age where you can no longer explain it – you’ve got to be it. –Joel Garcia (August 15, 2010)

Failure is a teacher to help you realize you missed something or someone along your journey. –Joel Garcia (November 3, 2010)

Vision without heart is just a fantasy. –Joel Garcia (November 7, 2010)

Your daily job is to perfect your craft and character until time and opportunity call you forth. –Joel Garcia (November 9, 2010)

Critical times call for creative minds. –Joel Garcia (November 20, 2010)

Innovation is the human drive to reveal the divine imprint within. –Joel Garcia (December 23, 2010)

There’s no change unless one presses the boundary of personal limits. –Joel Garcia (December 28, 2010)

Five Principles of Life Domination

The five key principles of life domination are easily extracted from a real life story found 1 Samuel 17. The story takes place in the valley of Elah, where a battle between the Israelites and the Philistines took place. During a long stalemate a menacing giant, named Goliath, opposed Israel vehemently for 40 days. Each day Goliath would come out and taunt the Israelites; challenging them to a one-on-one “winner takes all” duel.

It happened one day that an obscure shepherd boy, named David, entered the fray. Was it by accident or was it by Divine appointment? David on a mission from his father was sent to gather news about his other sons. Once on the battle lines, David, heard a nasty voice defying the army of the living God. This aroused David’s sensibilities and through strategic communication, David eventually navigated his way to King Saul, who would eventually give him permission to fight the giant.This story is no fable; it is real life history, which reveals five critical life domination principles. If you desire dominion over mediocrity, you should consider adopting these five principles from David’s life.

1. David imbued passion

One of David’s great attributes on the day he defeated Goliath was his passionate cause to remove the reproach, which had fallen upon Israel, and to restore his people to their proper place. Passion is not something you can conjure up on the spur of the moment; you either have it or not. The root word for passion originally meant, “being affected by” something. This “affect” goes so deeply to the point that it calls forth the totality of your person, regardless of the price, ridicule and suffering to get you to achieve your objective. Passion can be easily broken down very simply into three syllables:
> Pass – I – On
> I – Pass – On
> On – Pass – I

No matter how you scramble the word passion it means the same thing; having the guts to pursue your mission regardless of the price one has to pay is the ability to imbue passion.

2. David’s faith garnered him Divine favor

Faith is the currency that engages heaven’s resources. When you embrace faith you begin to touch the heart of a loving God. In return, He releases His resources on your behalf so you can accomplish the mission before you. In other words, faith summons Divine benevolence and resources. The writer of Hebrews notes:

And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.”

Faith supplies favor, and favor simply means, “God is for you not against you.” Simply put, God is on your side bestowing his grace and power upon you so you can succeed in your mission.

3. David spoke forth a powerful faith declaration

A “faith declaration” is the verbal release of faith; a sound voiced with passion with a clear objective in mind. David spoke a powerful faith declaration, and then moved quickly toward the giant, using a simple yet familiar weapon at his disposal; a sling shot. David’s faith declaration went like this:

David said to the Philistine, “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, who you have defied. This day the Lord will hand you over to me, and I’ll strike you down and cut off your head. Today, I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds of the air and the beasts of the earth, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel.” (1 Samuel 17:45, 46 NIV)

God demonstrates His power through a simple act of faith. The equation is simple: David believed – he spoke a powerful faith declaration – then moved toward his objective with confidence.

4. David sought the offensive position

An interesting observation must be noted at this point; David never allowed the giant to use his weapon(s) against him. This means that David took the first shot, thus, taking on an offensive posture. This is a simple principle most people miss. From David’s perspective, he could not take any chances, and neither should you! David sought the offensive position by striking the giant first. Some people may call this maneuver unfair but when the choice was between “freedom” or “bondage”, there are no rules of engagement, just winning. If you are going to be a winner you must think and act like a winner. David triumphed because he placed value upon engaging in an offensive posture.

5. David ensured his viability

David stood over the fallen giant on the ground, then took the sword from the giant’s scabbard, and used it to cut of the giant’s head. David did not want his nemesis coming back a second time, much like many Hollywood movie scripts where the enemy returns for one last attack. You and I are called to dominate, so ensure your viability!

Are you living a life of domination or just a medioce life?

Picture by Caravaggio, 1599

3 Vantage Points of Leadership

Leadership is a dynamic process requiring a leader to adjust his or her personal leadership style depending on the situation he or she encounters. For this reason a leader needs to learn “how” and “when” to lead from the three vantage points of leadership. For instance, most of the time leaders will lead their followers from the front by exerting their influence and authority. Then there are moments when a leader needs to be among his or her followers to take a pulse of their wellbeing, connect and build relationship. Other times a leader empowers followers through delegation and encouragement, this is leading from behind. A good leader knows when to adjust his or her leadership style to fit the moment. The three vantage points of leadership are:

1. Leading from the “front”

How does one lead from the front? Frontal leadership requires one to lead with character and competence, then communicating an inspiring vision that instills purpose, which motivates followers. A leader in this phase is decisive, and displays courage. Leading from the front is not always easy; many times people will not agree with your decisions. A leader takes risks no one else is willing to take and takes responsibility for his or her actions.

2. Leading from “among” your people

Leading from among your people requires a leader to be highly interactive, engaging followers with questions, being personal by caring for their needs, showing genuine compassion, and at times following up to ensure team members needs are met. Leaders take on a “shepherding” role during this phase of leadership. Great leaders purposefully set out to know their team’s strengths and weaknesses then train each one accordingly. A leader is highly interactive at this point and makes purposeful connections, while building influence and loyalty.

3. Leading from “behind”

Leading from behind does not mean that one abdicates their leadership role, authority or becomes a passive leader. Rather a leader from this vantage point empowers through delegation, encouragement, and following up by providing honest feedback that redirects followers in a positive way. Leaders who lead from this vantage point empower by providing what their team members need to do an effective job.

How do you lead others? Have you led from anyone of these three vantage points before? Reflect on them. Which vantage point do you feel more comfortable leading from? List your strongest suit? Weakest? How can you improve as a leader?

3 Governing Dynamics of #Leadership

I will prepare and someday my chance will come.” – Abraham Lincoln

Leadership is multidimensional in nature; much of it depends upon three crucial variables such as a person’s preparation, the context and time in which they live, and what happens within this context and time to compel a potential leader to step out of their comfort zone to lead change and transformation.

The example of one of our beloved presidents, Abraham Lincoln, should suffice to make my point. First and foremost, Lincoln studied law (preparation), and eventually opened a law practice, which just happens to be a foundational career for legislative office. To add to this, Abraham Lincoln lived during a specific period of time in history (context and time), where he would eventually be summoned to the National forefront to lead the nation through a difficult crises. Abraham Lincoln would have had a good life as a small town lawyer, but the circumstances surrounding him (an emerging problem or dilemma) thrust him into a significant leadership role in history.

Today, Lincoln’s legacy is second to none. Lincoln’s contribution as a national leader was winning the Civil war, thus, saving the Union, emancipating the slaves, and inspiring not only his generation but generations to come with his famous address at Gettysburg. One of Lincoln’s famous quotes sums up the leadership Law of Governing Dynamics, “I will prepare and someday my chance will come.”

1.  The Preparation Phase

The first critical component of any leader’s development is the preparation phase. For example, Jesus, the Christ, prepared himself for 30 years for just 3 years of impacting and fruitful ministry. His impact and legacy was evident from just 10% of his life, so the other 90% of his life on earth was all preparation.

The three phases of your life are:

a. The Learning Phase: birth to 30 years of age, where masterful learning takes place.
b. The Leadership Phase: 31-60 years of age, where you manifest your best.
c. The Legacy Phase: 61-90 years of age, where you give back from all your accumulated knowledge.

This is true for others who prepare for long periods of time for a short impacting life. Each and everyday a person makes choices about his or her life, which will prepare him or her for a leadership role or simply disqualify a person for when opportunity arises. I call this critical phase the preparation phase, which happens during the first 30 years of a person’s life. This is when a person makes the critical choices of the character he or she will chisel in their personal constitution; whom they associate with and why, many of these relationships will open doors for them at some point; whether they chose to drink and experiment with drugs or not; the vocation one chooses; and the school one attends, or the mentor(s) who will prepare him or her for their chosen career are all factors for preparation. For instance, Lawyers and Doctors learn way up to their late twenties, for a long career in their respective fields. People who complete their Bachelors go on to study for their Masters, which can take them well into their mid to late twenties.

Many other factors can be listed in this phase. This phase, however, is where conscientious choices are made to prepare oneself for life regardless if a leadership role ever emerges. However, it takes two other governing dynamics to thrust a person into a more pronounced leadership role.

2. Context

We all experience and live within a certain context in time, whether that context is small or large, significant or insignificant does not matter, at least not yet. For example, my context consists of my family, church, school and work, and other social gatherings my wife and I wish to attend. In a nutshell, my context is an accumulation of my life’s choices. For instance, I operate within a local context of which I have already alluded too but I am also engaged in a larger one, although minimally. I love America; my nation is important to me and the decisions those in authority choose to legislate will impact my life, limit my liberty and impact my family and future, good or bad. If I don’t like something I get involved in politics and recruit others to do the same, therefore, enlarging my context.

Today, technology through the Internet and social media have enlarged all of our contexts to a global scale. You and I now have access to more information at the whim of our fingertips by accessing an iPhone application, and the Internet from the palm of our hand. No matter the scope of our context; the things we choose to get involved with are important to us, therefore, we make choices to engage in creating change.

There is one thing that will draw you and I out of the shadows of our context and to lead in a more significant way – this is an emerging problem or dilemma that stirs you and I into action.

3. An Emerging Problem or Dilemma

There will come a time during your daily context when a leadership opportunity will emerge through a problem or dilemma, which only your personal offerings; your gifts and abilities will be sought after to remedy the problem. Let’s get back to Lincoln. He had prepared himself thoroughly as a lawyer, and lived in a certain context and time in history. When an emerging problem or dilemma emerged in his day, he was at the right place at the right time ready to meet the demand placed upon his life.

Lincoln vehemently advocated the end of slavery during his campaign speeches for Congress and as candidate for President of the United States. He eventually became the nominee for the Republican Party, and the rest of his life is read in history books. Lincoln became a history maker.

Lincoln was a perfect fit for his time. So are you for this time, if you take the time to prepare yourself! A person who is prepared can easily see opportunities as they emerge before them. You don’t have to have a national stage to be an impactful leader. You can make a difference in a smaller context like your family, in your job, community or city, even a larger context like influencing and impacting the global landscape.

Do you see the 3 Governing Dynamics of Leadership working in your life? If so, tell us your story.