Don’t Do Your Best, Do What It Takes

This is the stuff they make movies out of! I’m talking about the amazing run the Tennessee Titans are having right now. Here’s the breakdown:

Last year the Titans had the best record in the NFL. There were high expectations this year that fizzled quickly as they started 0-6. The decision came down to start the relative rookie over the veteran that had played in a Super Bowl before. When they won their first game, everyone assumed it was a fluke. Then they won again. And again. And again! Last week they faced a pretty good Arizona Cardinals team, who had themselves won three in a row. At this point no NFL team had ever won five straight games after starting a season 0-6. Three huge mistakes by the Titans put them in a situation where the only way they could win was to get a touchdown – a field goal wouldn’t cut it. They got their last possession, with just a few minutes left in the game, but the ball was on their 1 yard line. The relative rookie rallied his team and took them down the field, converting several 4th downs along the way. Finally, with just seconds left, it was 4th and goal. The Titans HAD to score or their winning streak was over. Sure enough, a pass into the end zone as time ran out was caught for the game-winning touchdown. The Titans had made history.

But, amazingly, the story isn’t even finished yet. At 5-6, the Titans are only two games away from having a winning season. But first, they have to get through the tough, undefeated, Indianapolis Colts. This will be a huge game. Again, Hollywood couldn’t have scripted this better!

Have you ever faced loss after loss? Sometimes all the platitudes and trite sayings in every leadership book you have ever read won’t do any good. As author Andy Andrews recently said, “It is not always enough to do our best… Sometimes, we have to dig in and do ‘what it takes'”!

Are things down right now? What excuses are you hiding behind? The economy? The sales team? The manufacturing team? The creative team? At the end of the day, only you can change your destiny. That’s not to say others won’t throw obstacles in your way, but what responsibility are you taking? Are you working longer, harder, better, and faster, or are you allowing the losses to pile up and have given up the season simply because no one has ever come back from that kind of a bad start?

I don’t know how the Titans season will end up. Yes, the opposition is tough, but by “digging in” and “doing what it takes”, they have a good chance at coming from a huge deficit, and pull out a winning season. That means you can do it too.

Are you doing your best, or doing what it takes?

Thanksgiving Thoughts

I always hear about how we gloss over Thanksgiving, but I think it’s getting worse. Thanksgiving is no longer thanks-giving day, it’s a day of rest before the big shopping race. I heard a commercial on the radio today announcing a certain store will be open ON Thanksgiving day to accommodate shoppers a little earlier. Now, the actual day is no longer sacred.

I honestly don’t remember in years past Halloween AND Christmas decorations being out at the same time, but this year I saw it in several places. Commercialization at it’s finest.

I think the reason we are diluting Thanksgiving as a legitimate holiday is because we aren’t GETTING something. For Halloween (which, according to some, is now the second most celebrated holiday of the year) we get candy. For Christmas, of course, it’s all about the gifts. Even Easter has become a time of “getting” (new clothes, presents in your baskets, etc.). But Thanksgiving has always been about taking time to pause and consider. Well, we can’t have that, now can we? So what do we do? Center the day around sales, and shopping, and GETTING.

Here’s a suggestion – instead of being just “thankful” tomorrow, try being grateful. What do I mean by that? Being thankful, to me, is synonymous to manners. “Thank you for holding the door open for me”. Gratitude implies indebtedness – “There is NO way I could have done this without you”.

So, using my definitions, how would that change how you look at tomorrow, and the rest of this weekend? Does it change your perceptions of the people you are thankful for? Does it change your attitude towards God? What have these people done for you that you couldn’t do for yourself?

You see, if you want to make Thanksgiving about getting, make it about what you have already been given. Show gratitude towards your wife who, for most households, keeps it together like you never could alone. Be grateful for the friends that love you unconditionally all year long. And, of course, be grateful for what God has done for you. And, by the way, He would have done it just for you. He did it for everyone, but He would have done it JUST for you. Ponder that…

Tomorrow, and this weekend, I choose gratitude. I have been given much already. Much of what I have been given, I could never have done for myself. I will choose to stop, rest, and ponder all of it.

What about you?

When Will You Stop Denying Who You Really Are?

I’m an introvert. Or am I?

I have always gravitated to positions that put me in front of people. I have found, over the years, that I love it. Which is TOTALLY contrary to who I feel I am. If given a choice I would rather stay at home and, with the exception of family, be by myself. I don’t like parties. I don’t like social events.

And I hate confrontation. I will go out of my way to avoid it. My number two strength on StrengthsFinder is Restorative. I seek harmony, and seek to establish harmony. When you are in the relationship business, conflict is a natural progression of almost any relationship.

I’m also painfully shy. I hate meeting people for the first time. My natural tendency is to become friends by osmosis – hoping that close proximity alone will draw us together, not the act of meeting and talking.

What’s even more interesting is that I love being around people. But if I’m at a party, I would rather be the wallflower – observing, not interacting. I love watching people at the airport or mall. Just not talking to them.

The reality, though, is that my life has played out very differently. I have had jobs in retail, customer service, and sales – all jobs that put me in direct contact with people. And I’ve had success in these jobs. And not just success –  at the risk of being arrogant, I am good at building relationships! What?! How can an introvert be good at building relationships? And on top of that, enjoy building relationships?

If I had to define my dream job, it would be a job where I could speak in front of people, then leave. One way communication. It’s one of the reasons why I loved being on the radio. Unfortunately, I don’t have a message. That’s kind of a problem. So, I’ve worked in positions where I get to communicate, but I’m also forced to relate.

So, all that being said, I guess my real question is have I learned to become interactive because I’ve had to for jobs, or have I really been an extrovert all these years and just didn’t know it? I honestly don’t know.

What I do know is that here I am again in a position where the whole job is building relationships. And you know what? I love it. I love getting on the phone and chatting with new people and finding out their story. I love that I can serve them and make some new friends along the way. I love finding out their needs and meeting them. Would I rather be by myself? Sure. Am I energized by my daily interactions. You bet!

So, I press on – living with this juxtaposition in my life and, hopefully, finding success in something I fear.

Is there anything about yourself you’ve been denying? What fear is holding you back from working in your sweet spot?

On Being Unemployed

I play the scene over and over in my head. It’s the one in the movie “The Incredibles”, where Mr. Incredible (now reduced to being “just” Robert Parr) comes home frustrated with how his life has turned out and the neighbor kid is sitting in his driveway. Mr. Incredible, very irritated, says to the kid, “Well, what are you waiting for?!”, to which the kid responds, “I don’t know. Something amazing, I guess…”

That’s how being unemployed feels like to me. I’m frustrated with my life. I know I can be something big. I know I have a lot to offer any company. But I feel like I’ve been reduced to being “just” Scott. Like I’m not useful anymore. Like I’m waiting for something amazing. I guess.


Today is the seven month “anniversary” of my position being eliminated from a job I loved. I must admit, this has been the most emasculating experience I have ever been through. Doubt, fear, feelings of failure and inadequacy are constant companions. But, at the same time, there have been some good things. Here is a partial list of what I have learned over the last few months:

  • When in shape, the body of Christ is amazing. I have chronicled on this blog a little about our church search, but we landed at a church earlier this year. It is so obvious that God led us to this church, and this small group, to help us through this period. There was a time when those around us would have wondered what sin in our lives had caused all this to happen. Not these people. They have been gracious, loving, accepting, and giving – everything we are called to be as Christians. Lest you think all of this has diluted the spiritual side, think again. They have been our constant encouragers, making sure we are in the Word and in prayer. If you need a church home in Franklin, ask me about it.
  • I have been blessed with time. From house projects, to a summer (and now a fall break) with my wife and kids, I have had time that I would not have had if I was working. I have even had the opportunity to teach the aforementioned small group, something I love to do. While I am surprised by how fast this time is going, and I’m sure I will wish I had done more, I am so thankful for the time to focus on other things.
  • I have re-established, strengthened, or made new relationships.  They say 70% of people find jobs through networking. I have been doing a lot of that, and it’s been great. Many of these people are very well-connected and influential people in the publishing industry and, no matter what happens in the future, I will be able to count them as personal contacts.
  • My faith is so much stronger. I have no idea what the future holds. At times it scares me (especially as it gets harder and harder to pay bills). But this I do know, now more than ever, God will never leave me nor forsake me. We watched the movie “The Hiding Place” recently, and Betsie Ten Boom said it best, “There is no pit so deep, that God is not deeper still.”

There are more lessons, and more to come I’m sure. I’m ready and open to learn them. While I have these dark feelings, they are also accompanied by an undercurrent of anticipation. I know something amazing is going to happen. I don’t know when, or how, but I KNOW it. I don’t have to guess. All I have to do is wait. And sometimes that is the hardest thing to do.

Finally, I must give credit where credit is due. I have had this blog post in my head for some time, but haven’t taken the time to write it out. Lindsey Nobles (a former Nelson co-worker) had the courage to write this post on her blog that inspired me to finally get my post out of my head. Thanks, Lindsey.

Character Counts, But So Does Skill: A Lesson in Humbleness

I learned a hard, and embarrassing, lesson last week. I’ve been unemployed for over six months and I desperately need a job. I am now in the “ANY job is a good job” mode. I was happy when I got a letter from Comcast saying they wanted me to interview for an installer position I had applied for. Not the most glamorous job in the world, but the pay was better than unemployment, good benefits, and lots of opportunity for advancement. The only foreseeable issue was that there was a manual math test. I am not good at math. Maybe you didn’t catch the “under” in that understatement. I am NOT good at math. I decided to pursue it anyway. I thought that I could gloss over the lack of math skills and wow them with people skills, presentableness, and convince them despite that one shortcoming I was the best man they could put on their front lines.

The letter, and subsequent emails, I got before the interview were VERY clear about their minimum requirements regarding driving records, criminal background, and even the dress code for the interview, which they said was “professional”. I decided that I would go ahead and suit up, even though this was more of a “blue collar” position. I figured it would help with the image I was trying to give of being “a cut above”. When I got there, of the 10 other people in the room, only one had a tie (no jacket), others had golf shirts, a couple of dress shirts with no ties, and one person in jeans and a ball cap. I thought to myself, “I have SO got this!”.

As we moved through the process, everyone had to double-check their applications to make sure they were correct, and sign the normal barrage of paperwork about background checks, etc. Although there was no doubt about the background requirements, several people still thought they were the exception and asked things like, “My license has been suspended before. Does that count?”. (the letter, emails, and paperwork in front of us CLEARLY said NO suspended licenses. Ever.). I was starting to feel pretty good as the candidate pool dwindled right before my eyes on these character issues. I even told myself how LUCKY they would be to have someone like me on their staff.

Then came the math test. Like I said before, I assumed I could take the test, move on to the interview stage, and talk my way out of it. No chance. The test was computerized, and when I was finished they called me over and said I didn’t meet the minimum standards. I was summarily dismissed just like the others with background issues. I was lumped into the same category as “cap and jeans” guy (who had left earlier because of his background). I had sat in judgement of all these other people because they knew the minimum requirements before showing up but thought they were the exception, yet I had done the same thing! I knew math was a part of it. I knew I wouldn’t pass the test. Yet, in my arrogance, I went anyway wasting a lot of my, and their, time.

I took three things away from this experience:

First, never stop practicing—especially with the things you aren’t good at. Even if you struggle with something, the worst thing you can do is perform the bare minimum to get by, and then forget all you learn (like I did with math in school). I’ve done that with other things, too. I took classical guitar lessons for a few years in high school, played some in college and as a young adult, but haven’t played much since. I can still strum along, but can no longer make the beautiful music I did 20-25 years ago.

Second, never discount the value of a well-rounded education (whether it’s in school or in life). When kids say, “Why do I have to learn this! I’ll never use it in real life!”, feel free to share this story. You just never know when you might need it. Always be learning, and once you’ve learned it, go back to point number one.

Finally, pride goes before a fall. Man, was I arrogant. In hindsight, it isn’t the end of the world that I didn’t get this job, but what if it had been my dream job? I have a lot to offer any company. I know that. And part of the interview process is convincing them of that, but the moment I think I’m above anyone else, I’ve already lost! Balancing character, skill, and humbleness is an art-form that we all need to be reminded of from time to time.

I believe this quote from C.S. Lewis sums up my experience nicely:

Pride is essentially competitive—is competitive by its very nature—while the other vices are competitive only, so to speak, by accident. Pride gets no pleasure out of having something, only out of having more of it than the next man.

Open Mouth, Insert Foot

Social Networking/Social Media are HUGE buzzwords right now. Let me just say right up front – I am NOT a social media expert. I have social media knowledge, I have opinions on social media, and I use social media. That’s about it. There are plenty of social media experts out there, and they are MUCH better at it than I am. There are still many who resist social media like people resisted computers for the longest time. Regardless of where you are on the spectrum, social media is here to stay and if you have any kind of brand, product, or business (and you all do, wether you know it or not) you need to decide what you are going to do about it. Something happened to me today that made think about it all over again.


First, some background. I block my Twitter updates. I don’t like the spam, and I really don’t want complete strangers following me. That’s probably a good reason why I’m not a social media expert. I just prefer to interact with people I know, or have a solid connection with. That being said, I do follow people I don’t know personally, but I am connected to in some way. Thomas Nelson authors and (now former) co-workers for example. I’ve only met Shelia Walsh a couple of times in passing, and she wouldn’t have any idea who I was, but I enjoy following her because of the Thomas Nelson connection. Since my Twitter account is blocked, anyone that wants to follow me has to request it and I have to approve the request. Recently, I was sent follow requests from two people that ARE social media experts and are sort of Twitter celebrities here in the Franklin area. I’m still not sure how I got the privilege of getting follow requests from them, but I assume it was through my other Nelson connections (whom they are connected to). Needless to say I was flattered, but I’ll be honest – I don’t know these guys AT ALL. Because of their reputations, and the many mutual friends, I accepted the requests and started following them as well, but that was about it. Never looked at their blogs, read about them, or anything. Then…

This morning, I was catching up on Tweets and saw an exchange between a former Nelson co-worker and one of these new followers. They were talking about the Christian band Big Tent Revival. “Hey”, I thought to myself, “I know Steve Wiggins from BTR, I’ll let them know he’s on Twitter!”. (To be fair, I know Steve’s wife, Misti, better than I know Steve, but yes I know Steve in real life) So, I jumped right in and let both of them know. Minutes later, my new “friend” informed me that he was IN the band BTR. Talk about embarrassment! I quickly sent a message to him letting him know I felt like a dork for not knowing. To make it worse, just a cursory glance at his bio and it would have told me he’s a co-founder of BTR, and to say he knows Steve WAY better than I do wouldn’t even qualify as an understatement. Grrr! It solidified why I don’t follow strangers and don’t interact online with people I don’t know. But then I thought that there was a bigger lesson to be learned here, which brings me to the point of this long story (sorry)…

I’m out there! Yes, I was embarrassed. If I ever meet Spence Smith in person (to whom I will give another HUGE apology), I will be embarrassed all over again. But, regardless of that, I’m out there engaging and interacting. That’s what social media is all about – connecting and conversing. Spence, an influential and well-connected guy, now knows who I am (albeit I’m “that idiot”). It would never have happened if I hadn’t been out there experimenting and taken the risk to say something!

So, again, what are you doing about social media? What connections have you made? How have you expanded your network today? How have you promoted your brand (either your personal brand, or your companies’ brand)? You will never do any of those things online if you aren’t doing ANYthing…

A Brand New Day

This is a carry-over from This was a “family” blog that we used to keep family up to date with what was going on with us. Occasionally, I would use it to rant. Since most of our family is on Facebook, and we keep up that way, we haven’t touched the blog in over a year. I always felt guilty about using the family blog to write my personal stuff, so I started this one just for me.

Always Wintertime

I have kept some of my previous posts, and I’m working to clean up the family updates. Otherwise, this is just a landing pad for me to purge the things running around in my head. It isn’t supposed to be profound. It will never win any awards. It’s really more for me, but you are welcome to peek in and see what’s going on.


Diary of a Church Hopper – Chapter Two

Well, it’s been a while since we’ve written. We have been so busy! We have traveled as a family, I have traveled for work, Melinda worked some over the summer, and with our kids on this crazy school schedule, they have actually been in school for over a week! This summer has been full of blessing, adventure, and joy. I can honestly say that it has been a GREAT few months!

Last we wrote, we were looking for a new church. While we haven’t found “the one”, we have been blessed to see several different types of churches and hear some exceptional teaching. I’ll take just a few lines to describe a couple…

As we alluded to before, worship is a big sticking point for us when it comes to church. We aren’t die hard classicists in that we have to have a magic formula of choir, piano, and organ, but we do like a good balance. We have never been fond of the “rock ‘n roll” scene on Sunday morning that dominates so many churches these days. For example, we went to one church that had great music from a quality standpoint, but their worship experience left a lot to be desired. We just don’t like going into a dark auditorium with multi-colored lights on the stage where the focus is on a single person and participation seems optional. In other words, you feel you are at a concert to be entertained not to worship collectively. The contrast was the teaching at this church was amazing. Still we couldn’t reconcile the two.

We went to another church where they decided to eliminate the discussion altogether and didn’t have any accompaniment with their worship – just voices. While I like a good a ccapella song now and again, that was on the other side of the extreme for us.

Then we attended another church where we had one of the best worship experiences we’ve had in a long time. It was refreshing to hear something so contemporary in style, but conservative in execution. We definitely want to go back there, but we have at least one more church on the list to visit.

The great thing through this adventure is that we are being fed every time we go. All of the messages we have heard have been solid and appropriate. It has been proof that God’s Word is living and powerful. We love sitting under good teaching and learning how to live a more faithful life for our Savior.

I would like to clarify one thing – the title of these posts. I used the term “church hopper” as a semi-indictment to the process we are going through. I do not advocate church-hopping, and firmly believe that we need to establish ourselves in a local body so that we can minister and be ministered to. Our desire is to find a grace-based, God-centric group of believers that have the desire to accept us for who we are (flaws and all), and very importantly have the ability to care for Anna so that we are free to experience church in a way we haven’t been able to for a long while.

I will let Melinda write more on some of the other things that have happened this summer. We are at a great time in our lives and we love being together as a family and seeing what is around the corner as a family. As we enter into another season of school and work after our summer break we have so much to be thankful for and can’t wait to share more here!

Diary of a Church Hopper – Chapter One

I am convinced more and more that when we get to heaven we are all going to be surprised at how wrong we were/are about this thing called “church”. With so many different interpretations how could we not have messed it up? It’s frustrating and, frankly, distracting.

Recently we made the very tough decision to leave the church we were members of for almost 5 years. There wasn’t one thing that happened to make us do it, but years of various preferences, issues, and differing philosophies added up, and the timing was right, so we cut the cord. Enough said about that.

So, here we are looking for a new church. One of the things that we challenged ourselves on was to question everything. We didn’t want to assume that anything was right simply because we had always been taught that. Anything that comes up that is different, we want to carefully examine before passing judgment.

We visited our first post-exit church this past Sunday. It was different. That didn’t make anything wrong, but it was different than what we had experienced for the last 5 years. The music was louder, the people were more animated, and it was a whole lot bigger. We were quickly faced with the very thing we were trying to avoid – automatically judging because our of preconceived notions of how church is “supposed” to be done.

We had done some research online and the one thing that we wrestling with was that this church does infant baptism. They were very quick to point out that the act of baptizing the infant doesn’t mean that the child is saved. They would still be responsible later on to come to faith and trust Jesus on their own, through the teaching and influence of their parents and their church family. However, they didn’t advocate another public baptism after the profession of faith – something completely contrary to what we have always been taught. We had to make a choice – would we hide behind our current beliefs, or would we open up and explore that their might be other interpretations of Scripture that weren’t necessarily wrong?

For the most part, we enjoyed the service although it was harder to open our minds than we thought it would be. We aren’t sure if we will go back, but I will tell you this – it has nothing to do with the infant baptism. As long as they aren’t misleading the parents into thinking that the act of baptism saves the child, I can’t really argue with the reasons why they do it. Just like I can’t argue with the fact that they have drums in their worship music. It is one interpretation among many that does nothing to dilute the message that Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life and that no one comes to the Father except through Him. That is the one undeniable fact that bonds all believers together, and that is what church is – not a building, not a constitution, and certainly not a person, but the corporate group of people called by God into a relationship with their Savior.

I look forward to writing more as we make this journey. I have no idea how long it will take, but we already have several churches lined up that we plan to visit over the coming months.

Be a Part of History

Firefox is an alternative browser to Internet Explorer. The latest updates you see in IE7 are direct results of trying to compete with features that have been in Firefox. Even still, Firefox is faster, more secure, and overall easier to customize (if you are into that). I’ve used Firefox for years now and would never go back to IE.

If you want to have some fun, and help Mozilla (Firefox’s creator) to break a world record, click on the badge to the left. They are trying to break the software download record in a 24-hour period when they release Firefox 3.0.

In the meantime, you can download Firefox 2 from the link above, or if you are a little more adventurous, you can preview Firefox 3 here.