Force and Humility

As the third group of fifty men approached Elijah’s house, the captain was shaking in his boots. He had read the reports how the first two groups of fifty had been consumed by some strange fire from the sky at the prophets bidding. He was in a bad place. He knew disobedience to the king’s order would be treason and punished by death. He also knew, if Elijah spoke the words, he could be burned to death in an instant. The captain had an idea.

The first two units had come in the name of the king with force, demanding the prophet’s obedience. The third captain decided to take a more humble and diplomatic approach. With their lives in the balance, he slowly approached Elijah’s house, took a knee, and humbly asked him to spare their lives and to come and meet with the king. Guess what? Elijah granted both requests.

You think you have the upper hand.
You think you’re more powerful.
You think you know how someone will react.

Leading with force reduces the number of possible good outcomes.
Leading with humility limits the casualties.

And he sent again a captain of the third fifty with his fifty. And the third captain of fifty went up, and came and fell on his knees before Elijah, and besought him, and said unto him, O man of God, I pray thee, let my life, and the life of these fifty thy servants, be precious in thy sight.

2 Kings 1:13 KJV


Opinions vary based on experience and culture.
Opinions may or may not be based in fact.
Opinions can be wrong.

You are entitled to your own opinion, not your own truth.


Your truth determines your actions.
Your actions form your culture.
Your culture influences your opinions.

See the problem…?

And Elijah came unto all the people, and said, How long halt ye between two opinions? if the Lord be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him. And the people answered him not a word.

1 Kings 18:21 KJV

Opposition and Echo

Opposition is uncomfortable. | Echo is comfortable.

Opposition has a different perspective. | Echo resonates.

By nature, we are more apt to engage with echo instead of opposition. The algorithms of your favorite social media platform are built on this very fact. Algorithms are seeking engagement not insight.

How you think and the decisions you make are your responsibility. Be well informed. Surround yourself with people who will push you, not the people who always agree with you.

Bad decisions are made in an echo chamber.
Your opposition is not always your enemy.

But he forsook the counsel of the old men, which they had given him, and consulted with the young men that were grown up with him, and which stood before him:

1 Kings 12:8 KJV

Knocks and Stocks

If something has value, it has cost. Right? We perceive college education as valuable because it is so expensive. Oftentimes, the most expensive tuition is paid at the school of hard knocks.

Quick story on knocks and stocks.
After the financial crisis in 2008, everything was tight and I was thrifty. My wife and I had been working and saving money for a few years. We were really proud to build a 60k nest egg and I thought we were really doing well. I made the mistake of losing focus on the business and started looking for a way to make some easy money. I’m a risk taker but not a gambler…so I thought.

Continue reading “Knocks and Stocks”

Honor and Love

“O, I wish I had a drink of water from the well in Bethlehem.” King David was held up in a cave outside the city. The enemy was stationed there and ready for war. David was tired, thirsty, and wishing out loud, as we all do. Three of his men overheard and went into action. They fought their way through enemy lines, made it to the well, and retrieved the water for their King. David was so moved by the love and honor shown by his men, he would not drink it. He proceeds to pour out the water unto God.

This is one of the all time great stories of humility, honor, love, and respect. The fact that David poured out the water, for which his men risked their lives, is a testament to the reason they went in the first place.

This level of humility begs the question. When was the last time I received a blessing I thought I was unworthy of? 

If being a servant is beneath you, being a leader is beyond you.

Fast and Far

If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go with others.

This has been my achilles heel as long as I can remember. I think all entrepreneurs are soloists to a certain degree. That mindset is absolutely necessary when working 80 hours a week just to get traction, but it will kill you if you want to build a company. There are several things I have done wrong along my journey as an entrepreneur. Here are a few, hope you take note and don’t make the same mistakes.

Continue reading “Fast and Far”

Sweet Sorrow

I know this is not the correct use of the Shakespearean quote “Parting is such sweet sorrow…”, but it came to mind.

Yesterday, I got to witness a young man take the next step in his journey. I am very happy and excited for what life has in store for my friend, Garrett. At the same moment, I am saddened by the fact that we will not be working together anymore. We have worked together for over 14 years, through good/bad, ups/downs, but more importantly GROWTH.

I love being around people that have a growth mindset. Instead of trying to get more of the pie, they make the pie bigger. Our core value, “Others First” is an extension of this mindset. If we are taking care of the people around us, we all win.

At SignMaster, we don’t give gold watches or grandfather clocks as tokens of service. I’m not knocking them, we just don’t do it that way. I have always viewed the people I work with as my extended family. Nobody works for me, they work with me. We learn and grow together. So, if we ever part ways, we are left with something far more valuable, love and respect. It’s always bittersweet to end a chapter, but it is easier to swallow when it’s a win-win!

Justice and Grace

I was in Chipotle a few days ago with my son. Lunchtime crowd and the line was at a standstill. I glanced over at the register to see the cashier and a customer face to face. The cashier was stoic and calm, but the patron was rather agitated. After a heated lesson on the value of her business to Chipotle, the exchange ended with “Give me your name and this store number! I will report this to corporate!”. 

I eat at Chipotle a couple of times a week so I know most of the people that work the line and cash register. When I was checking out I asked, “What was that all about?” Her reply, “She wanted an empty bag.” What?!! “Yes, it is our policy that we can only use the chip bags for chips. We cannot give them to customers.” There was no time for more questions.

When we sat down in the truck, I looked at my son and gave him the only advice I could think of at the time. The Bible says, “a soft answer turns away wrath”. How you respond to a sticky situation will determine the outcome.

Lots of times there is no right or wrong in confrontations. Maybe the lady was a little “hangry” or she got cut off when she was pulling in the parking lot. Maybe the cashier was just following company policy or she had just received news that a family member had passed and she was waiting on her replacement to arrive. Who knows? I don’t, you don’t, and the parties involved don’t.

When a situation arises where we believe we have been mistreated or disrespected, we can choose to do one of two things. We can demand justice or we can give grace. 99.9% of the time, if we can swallow our pride and see the person instead of the transaction, we find grace is the right choice.


I had a specific situation with an employee. This person has an excellent track record of hard work, dependability, and trust. I was totally caught off guard with their request.
Money or Benefits?
Had I done something wrong?
Are they quitting?
Alarm and questions flood my mind.

I had a specific situation with my son. I had a huge problem with the lyrics of the music he was listening to. I believe that your inputs affect your outlook and ultimately your life. I know a combination of the wrong inputs can create lasting problems.
Is he headed down the wrong path?
Did I teach him the right things?
Alarm and questions flood my mind.

Ever heard of Fisher’s Rule? 
It states 90% of the way people treat you has nothing to do with you at all. Most of the time, IT’S NOT PERSONAL. 

The questions that flooded my mind in both situations were self centered. What did I do? This is a great place to start but it is a terrible place to end. Thank God, both situations were resolved with real heart to heart conversations.

Conversations open the door for empathy.
Empathy opens the door to your heart.

… for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.

1 Samuel 16:7b KJV

Stupid Rules

Knee jerk decisions usually result in stupid rules.
What just happened?
How can we fix it?
Create rule.
Set up consequences.
Monitor and punish.

If we make the punishment severe enough, everyone will follow the new rule. Over time this builds a culture of resentment, constraint, and apathy – “I don’t know why. Management is stupid; they just want to make my job harder. Oh well, this is how we do things around here”. Our companies and organizations are not machines. Even though, when all the pieces are moving correctly in a manufacturing environment, it almost looks like one.

The most valuable asset in any organization is PEOPLE!
People generate ideas.
People produce great products.
People give fantastic service.

Stupid rules reduce people to cogs in a machine.
Trust me! The people you want in your organization, don’t want to be cogs.

And Saul answered, God do so and more also: for thou shalt surely die, Jonathan.

1 Samuel 14:44 KJV

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