A Few Words From Paul: What does all this mean?

I have referenced Victor Frankl’s work, Man’s Search for Meaning, many times throughout my career and in my personal life. So many times, that I should ask everyone before I mention it, “Have I told you about Victor Frankl already?” You know you are getting old when you start to tell the same stories repeatedly. I keep telling myself they work so I keep on telling them. Persistence, I guess.

Anyway, I believe we all go through tough times, and if we are not, we need to push the envelope a little more because that is where personal growth happens. Phrases like the following: “That which doesn’t kill us makes us stronger,” “I never said it was easy, I only said it was worth it,” “No pain, no gain,” etc., etc., etc. Most all of these focus on the meaning we assign to the events that take place in our lives. We can endure anything if the “why” is strong enough.

It is our choice to create the meaning we attach to any event in our lives. Always.

Things happen and we decide what they mean to us. Usually, we do this through the stories we tell each other. Even more importantly, we do this through the stories we tell ourselves. That inner narrative is so crucial to our success, our vision, our leadership.
Those of us that can tell a different story – one of meaning, one of hope, one of possibility – can do amazing things with the time we have.

Unfortunately, many of us tell a different story. A story of excuses. A story of lost opportunity. A story of unfairness.

What is your story? What meaning do you attach to what happens to you in your life? I recently finished the book, The Power of Meaning by Emily Esfahani Smith, and it blew me away. I read so much that it is rare for me to get giddy about a book, but this one did it to me. It speaks to what we do at LeaderShape…helping people find their purpose, their meaning, their vision.

I could not stop thinking about the differences between having a vision and having meaning or purpose in your life. Is there a difference? I think so, and I think the big one is that if you have meaning behind your vision, you keep going. You persist. You persevere. You do what it takes to make it happen.

You also realize that having meaning or purpose in your life may be enough. All you need to have a wonderful life.


I wonder how the world would be different if everyone just knew their purpose. How they are uniquely qualified to make a difference in the world. Even without the accomplishment of achieving your vision, I think we would feel a little more secure and be a little more resilient when things happen in the world that we don’t understand.

Take a few moments today and think about your purpose. Not your vision, but your purpose. Why you are here.

Share it with us at LeaderShape.

That’s our purpose.

Paul is the President of LeaderShape and pinches himself everyday for that opportunity. He is a father, son, husband, athlete, avid reader, eternal optimist, and sucker for the underdog.

To lead, receive.

To lead, give.

To lead, receive.

To lead, stop and think about why you do both. Just a thought, but perhaps one of the best ways to stay on track toward your vision and to lead with integrity.

At this time of year, many of us get caught up in all the things we must do that we stumble from mid-November to January in a flurry of activity, deadlines, and tasks to complete. The pace starts to pick up as we approach the end of another year. Perhaps we think that we need to make up for all the things we didn’t complete this year or maybe the expectations placed upon ourselves really are not possible to meet.

toleadgiverecieveSo, it makes me think about giving and receiving. My children are all about what they are receiving this year as we celebrate a holiday important to my family. My wife and I are thinking long and hard about how to instill a sense of giving in them and less receiving.

I am wondering if we have it backwards.

The ability to receive a compliment, a gift, or a kind word is hard to do. As we get older, we are expected to be able to do this yet we do not want to be perceived, much like my children, as “wanting” or “deserving” of these gifts. At LeaderShape, I have been very shy and humble about receiving gifts to our annual fund every year. Almost as if I was reluctant to accept them or that we were not deserving of these gifts. I had a realization during our annual fund request these last couple of weeks…I need to be open to receiving so that I truly honor someone sharing a gift.

When someone gives to you or a cause like LeaderShape, they are believing in you, showing they care for you, wanting to help you. When we receive a gift with honor, gratitude, and sincerity, we acknowledge someone’s effort and thought. It is a necessary skill to learn how to receive gifts from others in order to truly show appreciation and acceptance of this thought.

Giving is a trait of all good leaders. Receiving is just as important. But this does take time and attention. We must slow down a little bit, look someone in the eye, and show our appreciation.

Maybe that is the true magic of giving and receiving. Slow down and appreciate the gifts you receive whether they be someone’s time or resources.

Even if it is another pair of socks or a nasty, scratchy sweater.

Yes, I have plenty. Lucky guy.

Paul is the President of LeaderShape and pinches himself everyday for that opportunity. He is a father, son, husband, athlete, avid reader, eternal optimist, and sucker for the underdog.

A Few Words from Paul: Risk is Scary

Risk is scary.

Like watching a movie when you know something is about to jump out, but they keep you waiting and waiting and waiting until BOOM! That kind of scary. I get tingles in my stomach just thinking about it. Why do so many of us feel this way about risk?

I think I know why.

How would you like to be running for President these days? How would you like to be running for anything in the public eye? Shoot, just think of how long you wait before posting something on social media that could be perceived as “edgy” or controversial. Or maybe you don’t do any of that and just sit tight in your own little nest we call the comfort zone. Ahhhh.

It is so hard to take a risk for fear of being seen unfavorably. In fact, I believe it keeps us from living in possibility.

LSH-all-banners-LO-RES-13Don’t do anything stupid. Make sure the right lens filter is used for your picture. Double check your spelling. Ugh. It is so tiring having to spend so much time to be seen in a good light. And what does it do for us other than perpetuate the myth that we all have it figured out and we are perfect. Worse yet, it encourages us to be right and never be wrong. If I don’t risk speaking out or sharing myself, I will never be criticized or judged. No chance of messing up.

In an age where everything we do is monitored digitally, we can’t afford a mess up because it will eventually come out when we do something big, public, or courageous. Risk is something we just can’t afford. Or can we?

What if we all got a little bold, a little brave, a little less concerned about the outcome, a little more inclined to jump first and show the way? What sort of world would that be? I know it would be a messy world for sure. We would make a lot of mistakes. We would be held accountable…and, we may just achieve a breakthrough.

That is the cost associated with not taking a risk. We will never know what could have been.

We ask Institute participants, “What would the world look like if everyone led with integrity and a healthy disregard for the impossible?”

We will never know until we take a risk and try.


Paul is the President of LeaderShape and pinches himself everyday for that opportunity. He is a father, son, husband, athlete, avid reader, eternal optimist, and sucker for the underdog.