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February 2006
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April 2006


Last year I was the guest on a local Christian radio show.  I was supposed to be on for 20 minutes and the host had gone over a list of quesitons that he wanted to cover on the air.  He had my website up in front of him and we were going to talk about some basic issues pertinent to purpose.

As we went on the air, the host greeted his guests, introduced me, and then posed a question that wasn't on our original list.  "Dr. Stanko," he asked, "how would you define success?"  Talk about being put on the spot.  I scrambled for a second or two to collect my thoughts and then responded, "I would define success as doing what you love, what you really enjoy in life."  After that, his phone banks lit up with callers wanting to ask questions and make comments, and my 20-minute spot turned into an hour-long session.

Doing what you enjoy--that sounds like such a simple statement.  Yet that concept causes more discussion and disagreement than almost anything else I teach.  People respond, "You can't just do what you enjoy.  That's no way to build a business or develop a career."  Yet I maintain that it is and we don't see it happen only because we don't believe it's possible. 

I have been meditating on a verse the last few days found in Hebrews 1:9:  "You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness; therefore God, your God, has set you above your companions by anointing you with the oil of joy."  Jesus was anointed with the oil of joy.  What does that mean?  Can I experience the same anointing? 

I have taught many that the only way to get anointed results is to find what people are anointed to do and allow and release them to do it.  Does this verse pertain to that truth?  I think it does.  Jesus came to seek and save the lost and it gave Him great joy.  Today He sits in heaven, still fulfilling His purpose, still anointed with joy. 

Do you believe you can do what you love, what gives you joy?  Do you believe you can make your living from whatever that is?  I do.  I want this joyful anointing and I want others to benefit from it.  I am doing what I love today and do it every day.  I write, teach and consult so you and others can experience this same phenomenon.  And I don't know why anyone would want to live any other way.

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Back in Florida

I am in Florida, West Palm Beach to be exact, to work with my friend Bill Hobbs.  Bill gave up his career as a golf professional a number of years ago to found what is known today as Urban Youth Impact (UYI). I work here not because I have to but because I choose to -- I love Bill and what he has done and is doing.  Bill is indeed a man of purpose. 

Bill gave up his pro career to begin a ministry to inner-city youth in the Palm Beach area.  In spite of tremendous wealth, this area also has tremendous poverty.  Bill decided to do what he could, and today has almost a $1 million per year ministry that does after-school programs, youth Bible studies and parenting programs.  I only mention the income amount to let you know how far Bill and UYI have come in the last 8 years since they started.

A few years ago, I walked the streets of Bill's target area with him and I was moved by what I saw.  Young African Americans and their families greeted him wherever we went.  It was special to see this tall, white-haired white guy being embraced by so many inner-city residents.  For many years the Thursday night Bible study that UYI hosts was affectionately called "Bill" by the youth who attended, so that you would hear them ask their friends, "Are you going to Bill tonight?"  That gives you an idea of how Bill is loved for his commitment to making a difference in a world where even small differences can save many lives.  Today they have Big Bill on Thursday nights for the older youth and L'il Bill on Friday evenings for those a bit younger. 

When I come here, I try to help Bill build a better operation that will enable him to focus his efforts on raising funds and ministering to local needs.  That's not easy, for Bill now has 12 staff and a host of volunteers to oversee.  They purchased a building last year and are in the midst of a three-phase renovation that will enable UYI to grow and reach more youth.  Growth has its challenges, however, and UYI is going through growing pains as they attract more resources and meet more needs.

If you would like to make a contribution that will touch lives and make a difference, I would highly recommend you consider UYI.  You can learn more about them or make a contribution by going to their ministry website.  Meanwhile, I will be here until Saturday when I return home to Pittsburgh.

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New York, New York

I flew into New York this morning from Seattle.  I flew on JetBlue for the first time, and it met my expectations.  The flight was full, but every seat is leather and equipped with a personal television with 39 satellite channel options.  There are a few extra inches of legroom in each row (as compared to other airlines), and I had the exit row, which gave me maximum space.  As usual, I slept for much of the night.

I arrived in JFK where my wife and daughter picked me up.  So here we sit in New York, and we don't feel like doing anything!  We ordered lunch to be delivered and now we are sitting, laughing and doing not much of anything.  In other words, we are having fun together. 

Tomorrow we will visit my wife's 80-year-old uncle and then I will spend the night by JFK so I can move on to Florida where I will spend the coming week.  But right now, I have to go and do nothing.  And that can be hard work.

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More Living Water

The other day I wrote about John 7:38 where Jesus promised that living water would flow from the inner being of anyone who believed in Him.  John went on to write in the next verse, "By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive."  Now there are many traditions and interpretations of what it means to "receive the Spirit."  I would like to add my own opinion and interpretation to the mix.

The Acts of the Apostles chronicles life in the early church after the Spirit was given.  I have often thought I should write an essay or maybe even a book entitled From Pentecost to Purpose.  After the Spirit was poured out, I see that a vast array of purpose-driven people emerged that changed the course of history.  Here are a few:

1.  Peter made his official transition from Simon to Peter, leading thousands to a saving relationship with Jesus in Acts 2 and 4.  Not bad for a man who had previously run a family fishing business.

2.  A man named Joseph launched a ministry of encouragement and was so effective that the apostles gave him a nickname that took hold and will last for eternity.  The man's new name was and is Barnabas.

3.  A man named Phillip became a famous evangelist, after having served as a deacon to help the poor.

4.  A woman named Dorcas, who was always doing good and helping the poor, became well-known after Peter raised her from the dead.

5.  A doctor named Luke left his medical practice to become a pastor and apostolic aide.

6.  A zealous Pharisee named Saul impacted the early church like no other person except Jesus as he took on a new name and embraced his purpose to the Gentiles.

From these profiles, you can see that a river of living water flowed from each person.  It wasn't just a flow of gifts or personal blessings; it was a flow of purpose.  Remember what I wrote the other day:  A river has flow, direction, life and taste.  Would you say that each person mentioned above had all those?  They did indeed because they had faith, received the Spirit and became men and women of purpose. 

So again I ask you:  Is there a river of living water flowing out of you?  If so, what is it?  If not, what is damming it up? 

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The Big Picture

Today I did my trial facilitation for the material provided by The Pacific Institute.  I think it went well.  At least the feedback from my peers indicated that it did.  One thing has struck me this week and that is just how much I use visualization in my work.  I always take time to "see" myself doing whatever it is I need to do.  And I don't limit myself to visualizing the actual situation. For instance, I will picture myself warming up in the bullpen getting ready to pitch in a baseball game.  Then I see myself being called into the game and walking out to do my job.

What does that have to do with anything, you may ask?  Well, it helps me feel pressure and then seeing myself succeed under difficult circumstances.  When I was in Afghanistan three years ago, I think that particular visualization helped me face a hostile audience and win them over.  I "struck them out," so to speak, just like a big league pitcher would have done. 

Today I did very little preparation of the material I would need, but did hold a mental picture of the people present responding to my facilitation. I "saw" how I would stand and speak, and it turned out pretty much like I pictured it to be.  Right before I got up, I had an attack of nerves, but I kept the picture of me being cool, calm and collected uppermost in my mind.  When we started, I was ready because I had already done the session--in my mind.

We have learned this week that if you can see yourself doing it, then you can help make it happen.  The key is seeing it.  So often we have a picture of ourselves that is less than our potential.  I don't want to play any smaller than I am, so to speak, so I want to hold a big picture of what I can do with God's help.

So how effectively do you use your mind and imagination to prepare and create?  What can you see yourself doing?  How often do you take the time to cultivate that mental picture?  I urge you to play big in your mind and I promise that you will play in real life.  Armed with that knowledge, are you ready to play ball?

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Living Water

This week I am finishing my training at The Pacific Institute here in Seattle.  I am sitting in class every day from 8 to 5 in order to finish my facilitator's training.  Then I look forward to teaching and training others, using the principles I am learning to set goals and deal with the negative internal issues that prevent those goals from being accomplished.

One of the terms we have heard regularly is "free flow" where one doesn't have to consciously think about how to act or behave, one just does it.  That caused me to think about something that Jesus said:  "Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him" (John 7:38).  I got to thinking about this flow and how it relates to the flow I am studying.  Here are some thoughts and some questions I am asking myself:

1.  My faith in Jesus should produce something that comes out from my innermost man.  Is my faith active or stagnant?  Do I have productive faith or doctrinal, narrow and legalistic?  Is it touching others or limited to my use and benefit?

2.  Streams have direction.  Do I know where I am going and what I want to do?  Am I able to carry others in the strength of my current?

3.  Streams have flow.  There is a constancy of movement with a steady supply of water.  Is my creativity pouring forth?  Is there an increasing amount of water coming forth from me as my faith and confidence increase?

4.  The water is living water, able to support other life.  Is my life sustaining life in others?  Do people touch me and feel that their lives have been improved?

5.  The conditions of drinkable water that can sustain life are clarity, taste and purity.  Is my life transparent--am I sharing my stories and lessons with others?  How is my taste?  Does my water taste like me?  Is it bitter or salty?  And is it pure?  Is it free from the pollution of greed, self-promotion and exaggeration?

At any rate, I have said many times before coming here that I want to be in the flow of life.  I will do this as I produce things that are consistent with my values and priorities.  This training will certainly help me increase my flow of living water. 

How about you?  Are you happy with your flow right now?  If so, what can you do to increase your current?  If not, what can you do to find your flow?  These are important things to think about.  Let me know if I can help you answer these questions.

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The Monday Memo

Just a short post to let you know that I am off to Seattle today.  My friend who has been helping me send The Monday Memo and weekly Bible study has been swamped with his own work, and hasn't been able to send anything out this past week.  He probably won't be able to send anything this week as well.  I am grateful for what he has done and don't want to pressure him in any way.

We are still working on our plan so that I can personally send out the Memo and study again, probably utilizing another blog site to which we will be able to upload everyone's address who is a subscriber. 

Thanks for your patience and please spread the word that we shall return soon!

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Leadership Talk

Yesterday I had my second session at the leadership conference here in Myrtle Beach.   I had a good crowd at my session, and I felt like the material was well received, judging from the feedback and questions.  And we sold a lot of books, so that is another sign that my material struck a chord with those in attendance.  Finally, I was invited back for next year's event, so at least I know I didn't offend the organizers!

The title of my talk yesterday was New Competencies for Global Leaders.  Due to the rapid globalization of life and work, I point out to all leaders that, if they are successful, then they will attract attention from people around the world.  In addition, teams today need to incorporate diverse people from different cultures, so even local leaders must learn to pay attention to issues beyond their cultural confines.  That forces today's leaders to be global, thus the need for competencies that make them successful in the global marketplace.

At any rate, the new competencies I see necessary for a global leader are:

1.  Learn to lead and manage yourself.  No one can do that for you.  It is critical that leaders know who they are, how they function best, and what motivates and demotivates them.

2.  Understand the difference between leadership and management.  Leaders rally people to a better future.  Managers tend to identify the strengths in people that will make that future a reality.  Seldom can one person function as both.

3.  Develop an attitude of partnership, not ownership.  People have options and they will exercise them unless they are part of a functioning team doing important work.  Leaders must learn that they don't own the people, the vision or the organization.  It belongs to everyone.

4.  Promote spirituality in the workplace.  This competency relates to purpose--clarifying the purpose of the organization and helping everyone understand how their purpose fits into the overall purpose.  In other words, global leaders today help everyone find meaningful work.

5.  Utilize coaches and mentors.  Every leader needs to develop a personal culture of accountability and feedback.  One way to do this is to utilize others who can keep the leader on course, focused and accountable. 

I wrote about these competencies in my book Strictly Business.  The PowerPoint slides from my presentation can be found on my website.  Feel free to comment on these competencies or to submit some of your own for our consideration. 

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Purpose Talk

I gave my first of two talks yesterday at the leadership conference here in Myrtle Beach.  I think it went well.  My wife said it was the best speech she had ever heard me deliver and those present (about 180) gave me a standing ovation when I was done.  Perhaps they were tired and wanted to stretch, or maybe they were standing to thank God that I was finished. 

The point of my message yesterday was that there is a purpose revolution taking place and it will change and is changing the way we do business and church.  I went on to outline the implications of purpose as I understand them and gave some suggestions of what could be done.  If you would like to see the PowerPoint slides I used, you can go to my website and see them. 

Today I am speaking on New Competencies for Global Leaders and will have that online for you tomorrow.  I hope your PurposeQuest is going well.  Let me know if I can assist you in any way.

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Kathryn's Purpose

Today Kathryn and I depart for Myrtle Beach where I will speak at a leadership conference.  I have worked hard on my presentations and have two sessions.  My titles are "The Church in The Post-Modern Age:  What's All This Talk About Purpose?" and "New Competencies for Global Leaders."  I am looking forward to speaking and making new friends and building new relationships.  I am also excited that Kathryn's is coming along.

When I say "coming along," I don't just mean that she is traveling to be with me.  Kathryn has launched a new line of jewelry called MetaLace and she is showing her work to a shop where we are going.  In fact, she has what is called a "trunk show" in the Washington DC area in a few weeks, that's how good it is.  You can see for yourself since her jewelry is now online to advertise the show at the Zenith Gallery (click on The Shop and then on Kathryn's name to see her work).  We certainly hope that the shop in Myrtle Beach decides to carry her line.

I wrote about Kathryn's purpose in Monday Memo 222 if you would care to read about her PurposeQuest.  We have been married for 32 years and she is one of the most artistic and creative people I know, although she doesn't think so.  And that is so typical of creative people:  They don't think there is anything special about what they do.

I hope you view her jewelry and then read her story.  Then ask yourself what you have that you can produce that will bless others and release your own creativity.  It's there.  Often you just have to work past your own hesitancy about what others will say to let it flow.  And if you live in the DC area, come out and see Kathryn's show March 31-April 2.  Information is on the shop's website. 

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