By R. A. Megargel
The List -
5. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, by Stephen Covey
4. Strengths Based Leadership, by Barry Conchie and Tom Rath
3.Think and Grow Rich, by Napoleon Hill
2.Managing Oneself, by Peter Drucker
1. The Holy Bible (Specifically The John C.
Maxwell Leadership Bible
If you’re into leadership or just growing in this season of your life, every book on this list will challenge you to reflect on your current paradigm. What I love about each of these books is the fact that the knowledge is applicable to your life. No matter who you are, where you are, or how old you are, these books get you thinking in new ways. This list is full of life changers. Much of the success I’ve experienced has been because of the influence and ideas presented in these books. I encourage you to read each of these multiple times and in various seasons of your life. We’re all on this journey together. I hope that each of these blesses you like they’ve blessed me.
Rather than telling you what each book is about (because you can find summaries all over the internet), I’ll attempt to help you select the right book for what you’re trying to accomplish or learn. For best results, read them all and practice what they preach.
Goal: I’m good but want to be great!
If you’re already leading and have been for some time, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey is a great book to dive into. It’s loaded with stories to help even kids understand all the major points. It’s been around a while so there’s a good chance you could buy a copy at a local Half-Price bookstore for three or four bucks. It helps you analyze your weaknesses. It gets you thinking about who you are on the inside as much as who others see you as. If you’re already good but want to be great this book will help you get there!
Goal: I am who I am. How can my strengths solve your problems?
Everyone has weaknesses. But why do we spend so much of our life working out of those weaknesses or working on those weaknesses? Wouldn’t it make more sense to use our strengths to solve problems? If you’re frustrated with the way things are, this book will help you consider where you should be. Maybe you don’t even know what your strengths really are. This book along with Strengthsfinder will pinpoint who you are in this season of life and how you can lead.
Goal: I wish I was more successful, wealthy, healthy, and happy. How do I get there? How do others do it?
Most people are ready for new experiences. We get caught up in desire and dream of more. The ones that pursue their dreams face roadblocks and hurdles of every kind. What many forget is that there have been others before us. Some have been ridiculously successful. And those that have, had Napoleon Hill taking notes. Most modern books on leadership and management borrow ideas from Napoleon Hill. If you haven’t read anything from him, grab number three on the list and it will all make sense. If you think Napoleon is too old fashioned and you want someone of this era, try Tim Ferris. He’s basically doing what Napoleon did but doing it with the best of the best of today.
Goal: What’s my purpose? I don’t know how to get started. I just know I need to do something different.
Managing Oneself by Peter Drucker is one I require my students to read. So many people have been pushed into careers they didn’t really want or aren’t really suited for. As a result, most aren’t living fulfilling lives. More and more people in our society are disengaging. We’ve gotten to a point where nothing we try is satisfying. Drucker poses a few questions in this half-hour read that will turn your life around if you’ll seek the answers. It’s simple but effective. Once you have the answers to his questions, you’ll have clarity. At first I was blind, Drucker helped me see.
Goal: Who else leads like me? Who do I lead like?
The Bible is controversial if you allow it to be. Regardless of your thoughts on the faith, the Bible has so many examples and lessons on leadership. I highly recommend the leadership bible put together by John C. Maxwell and his staff. It’s excellent. He ties almost every concept of every book he’s written into it. If you want to see the qualities of a leader, he gives you examples, references, and analysis. If you’re facing a specific leadership issue, he guides you through numerous books of the Bible to help you solve your problems. His leadership laws are spread out through the entire Bible. Honestly, the most successful moments in my life have come from times where I was heavily invested in this book. I read the situations life was giving me, diagnosed the problem(s) and went to this book for answers. The answers revealed themselves through reading and I just did what it said. If you want to be successful do what successful people do.
Leaders are readers. There’s no denying it. So what are you waiting for? Pick up a copy or download a PDF of each of these and get going! Lead yourself somewhere better.
While visiting a local farm for some fall festivities over the weekend, I got to thinking about the decisions Jaala and I have made to protect our time together. One of the most life-giving decisions we recently made has been the decision to monitor our screen time and set some boundaries (primarily on social media with our smartphones). While social media certainly has its place in our life - allowing us to keep up with family and friends who we don't get to see often as well as running our business from wherever we are - we realize life isn't truly lived by scrolling our Facebook News Feed, double tapping little squares on Instagram, and checking current (more times than not, completely irrelevant) news on Twitter. Life is ultimately lived by being present and available to the people around you, especially those wonderful souls who live in the same house as you.
Here are a few boundaries we've implemented in our family, some being adopted from folks we greatly admire and respect, that are helping us keep screen time at bay:
1. Phones are off and/or put away for at least one full hour a day, one full day a week, and one full week a year.
2. Close down all screen time an hour before bed.
3. No phones allowed in the bedroom.
4. Before or after certain hours, only answer calls and reply to texts and messages from certain people.
Granted, we haven't mastered these disciplines, but we are working toward making them part of our daily routines (#ProgressOverPerfection). Two scenarios that we have to remain flexible on are (1) when we're both away from Miles at the same time, at his current age, and (2) when Jaala is "on-call" for crisis situations with her work schedule.
The world can wait. What culture says is urgent isn't always important. Every notification isn't an emergency and you don't have to be available to everyone at all times.
Miles is obviously growing up in a touchscreen, social media-saturated world, and we want him to know his value isn't found in the popularity contest many people play online (which leads to the comparison trap). As easy as it is to complain about the frequency of technology use by the next generation, we have to ask ourselves how we arrived here... How did we get to a place where our society prefers pixels over people? If we're honest, most of us can admit that we've all played some small part, one way or another. Either way, we realize distracted parenting leads to disengaged children. That said, we want to steward our time and resources in such a way that we don't look back with guilt, years from now, disappointed that our son was raised by a phone or a tablet, seeing more of the tops of our heads instead of the smiles on our faces.
We’d like to hear from you. Have you placed any boundaries around screen time in your home? If so, tell us about it below.
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