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Welcome to ChesterGoad.com!

Thanks for taking the time to drop by!  At ChesterGoad.com I’ve combined my three favorite topics, “Leadership, Learning, and Life”–all in one place.  I’m a leadership junkie. I read about it, I write about it, and I speak about it.  I also can’t stop learning and I’m driven to help others learn too! I’m pretty open and I enjoy sharing about my life and helping others find their purpose and meet their goals.   I can’t wait to share everything with you!  Subscribe or add me to your favorites list and visit often because I’ll be blogging, and adding new features regularly!  And of course remember if you need a speaker, writer, consultant or coach related to leadership, learning, or life, I’m your guy!  You’re going to find lots of value here. Keep leading. Keep learning. Keep living.

–All my best, all the time –Chester

p.s. Email me at chestergoad@gmail.com  or find me on your favorite social media! 

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Being an Intentional Neighbor: 5 Things I Learned from the Dream Campaign

Their refrigerator is covered with artwork, homework, drawings and special notes. Scattered about the house are toys, craft supplies, and evidence of completed and uncompleted school projects. The yard is not much different. Sports equipment, and more toys, are constant reminders of the kids. But the kids are not the Paddock’s biological kids. They’re neighborhood kids they’ve learned to love and respect and the feeling is mutual. If you think the days of sending your kid down the street to borrow a cup of milk, an egg, or some sugar are over, think again. Through The Dream Campaign, a non-profit, in Savannah, Georgia the idea of neighbors helping neighbors is making a comeback.

papers cards and drawings posted on a refrigerator

The Paddock’s Refrigerator is filled with love for “their kids”.

The day after Glenn and Morgan Paddock married, they moved to Atlanta to serve an inner city homeless mission. Rather than wedding gifts they had requested friends and family financially support their new adventure. It was through that experience that the Paddocks realized many kids, especially those within proximity of the mission they were working, weren’t dreaming like many kids, or that their dreams were limited. When they’d ask kids what they wanted to do when they grew up most would answer what they knew by referring to working in fast food or at the local skating rink. The Paddocks quickly realized these kids weren’t dreaming because they either found it pointless, or they have never been exposed to anything outside a few miles of where they were living.

But Glenn and Morgan hadn’t been in Atlanta long before their service opportunities there suddenly ended and they found themselves searching for new ways to serve and live out their faith. Their nagging burden for teaching kids to dream bigger never subsided and so they began pursuing the notion of helping kids dream and quickly began searching for the right spot to do it.

The Paddocks prayed for direction and landed in Savannah, Georgia which was surprising but made sense as they already had a built-in support base of friends and relatives there. While some may have been dissuaded by local talk of crime, shootings, and gang related violence, none of that scared Morgan and Glenn away. In fact, it confirmed for the Paddocks that this was the perfect spot to help kids dream, so they moved right in the middle of it.

Research indicates that when kids aren’t taught to dream, or feel unloved, hopeless, or unimportant, they often turn to violence or cycles of poverty. After all, according to Morgan Paddock, “It’s difficult to dream when you’re worried about your basic needs, and you can’t really talk about college or careers when your life experiences are so limited—some of these kids have never even ridden a bike, seen the country, or experienced a vacation.” So the Paddocks base their vision and their focus around Ephesians 3:20.

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us–” Ephesians 3:20 NIV

They founded their non-profit with 95% of their financial support coming from individual contributions and supporters, as well as the support of a local mega church that bought into the vision early on. They remind us that they have been called to walk with kids, share hope, and create a safe place. The Paddocks maintain that what they’ve done is special but nothing that can’t be duplicated. They encourage families everywhere to consider being a good neighbor. Talking with them or following them on social media is uplifting and I have to say I’ve learned a ton just by following their neighborly journey. So here are five things I learned from the Paddocks and The Dream Campaign.

Be an Intentional Neighbor. The Paddocks hold fast to the idea that they’re not out to save the neighborhood. They just want to be a neighbor. Just by following God’s command to love others unconditionally, they’re making a huge impact that could someday pay off in even bigger ways and could possibly save a life. Morgan explains they’ve not been without their critics. They’ve been scrutinized and criticized for their open door policy, and for always being willing to give local kids in the neighborhood what they need or ask for. But they don’t mind the criticism. According to the Paddocks, “If a kid comes to the front door asking for an orange, they’re going to give them an orange. They point to the future, “Someday, that same child may be older, and will really need our help, and she won’t just be asking for an orange, it will be something much bigger, and she’ll know she can knock on our door and ask for our help and we’re going to open the door.” Through being a good neighbor to the kids and others in their community, they’re becoming a part of something greater. The Paddocks emphasize the importance of building relationships. Not because they want to get something out of it, but because that’s how communities are built.

Dream bigger. I have to admit I’ve asked myself since I’ve met the Paddocks, what I could be doing to make an impact in my own community, and I’ve found myself considering the size and scope of my own dreams. When we dream bigger, our results are going to be bigger. When others know we’re dreaming bigger, it holds us more accountable to our pursuits.

 

young african american girl holds a completed school solar system project and smiles

A Completed School Project Brings Pride and Smiles

Encourage others to dream bigger. The Dream Campaign and the mission to help others dream has made me consider my own level of encouragement. How am I helping others in pursuit of their goals and dreams? One way the Paddocks and the Dream Campaign does this is by meeting the needs of kids in their neighborhood in their pursuits of education and employment. They regularly take kids to work or school and pick them up, and neighborhood kids know if they need help with school projects, the Paddocks can help with that too. They have birthday parties for kids who’ve never had birthday parties and they take photos of kids at those parties or working on school projects and put them on their refrigerator. The kids are thrilled to find their faces, homework, or artwork on the fridge, and the Paddocks are thrilled just to be there for them. Neighborhood families are appreciative for the assistance getting kids where they need to be so they too can work or take care of other things and the Paddocks are just happy to lend a hand. When the kids feel that extra support, and encouragement, and when they’re able to get those school projects completed it goes a long way teaching them to pursue their dreams.

Start Now. It’s simple. We can start being an intentional neighbor right now wherever we are. Caring communities don’t have to be a thing of the past. The positive impact of The Dream Campaign in such a short amount of time not only underscores the need for more meaningful neighborhood communities, but it also emphasizes the importance of beginning now. There’s no time to waste. People need to know their dreams can come true, and people need encouragement.

Morgan and Glenn Paddock smile in selfie

Morgan & Glenn Paddock, Founders of The Dream Campaign and Overall Good Neighbors

Don’t Let Financial Need Limit Your Success. The Paddocks will readily tell you, you’re not going to become wealthy by becoming an intentional neighbor, but the personal payoff is worth it. Encouraging others on their life journey and in chasing their dreams or dreaming bigger doesn’t have to cost of lot of money either, and you don’t have to form a non-profit like theirs to show people you care for them in tangible ways. At the same time, while our own finances can serve as barriers in our own pursuits, they don’t have to be. The communities around us and the people we come in contact with everyday can help, but we have to be willing to ask. The Paddocks have found their local community to be incredibly supportive overall and new opportunities are opening up every day because of the personal investment they’re making in the lives of people around them. When we invest and dream within our local communities, our communities are more likely to invest and dream with us.  We’re all in this together.

This article first appeared in the Huffington Post.

Who is Chester? A leader in education, non-profit advocacy, parenting issues, access, policy, and blogging culture, Chester has been quoted in major media outlets such as CNBC, Yahoo, the Washington Post, Forbes Leadership, and others. He is a contributing writer for the Huffington Post, The Good Men Project, and Edutopia. You can learn more about Chester and his Amazon #1 Best Seller at www.purplepeopleleaderbook.com or www.chestergoad.com. He and his wife live in Tennessee with their teenage son. 

 

 

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5 Reasons Leaders Are There For Others, Even When They Can’t Be For Themselves

casually dressed people with hands in a team huddle

This week’s guest post author is my good friend Sean Ackerman from You Leading You.

As leaders in our worlds, both personal an professional, there are times when we are in moments of weakness, that the strength that others look at are compromised by the circumstances that we are in. True leaders see past those obstacles and create the world that the people that look up to us need.

As a father, husband, corporate professional and inspiring entrepreneur, I know that the hats we where can come off at times, and we are not the pillars of strength that others always look upon. I myself found that due to an adverse situation that landed me in the hospital, I changed the way that I used my leadership skills and opened the world to how, with just some mindset changes I present myself to the team.

An Acting Leader

Yes, the Oscars are a time when we celebrate an actors accomplishments on the screen, and those same efforts go extremely far when doing the same thing for the group or team. As leaders in the lives of others we know it is not only what we say or write, but about our actions. When my family and I lost our home and most of our belongings in 2011 due to a Hurricane, I could have reacted like a crushed and depressed man. With my wife and daughters looking up to me, I instead took the opportunity to … sing show tunes! Yes as we slugged our wet possessions into a dumpster, tossing memories away, I decided “put on a happy face” and sing family favorites (note I am not a good singer, at all!). As much as the family looked at me in a sideways glance, they also joined in, together.

Teaching Them To Fish

Leaders recognize the fact that we are not Superman, we are vulnerable. That vulnerability inspires us to find the traits and skills that we need to succeed and pass them on. A true leader uses their mentoring skills to “teach their children well”. Passing on the lessons that create more success are so important. As a father I have a routine of writing with my daughters, which has allowed me to express myself and grow. They grumbled and groaned at first, but over time they have come to enjoy these “dad” bouts of expression.

“Teach your children well, their father’s hell did slowly go by,
And feed them on your dreams, the one they fix, the one you’ll know by.”

Teach Your Children WellCrosby, Stills, Nash and Young

Showing Them They Are Not Alone

In the Oval Office the POTUS may sit alone behind the desk, but we all know that he (or someday she) is surrounded by an army, quite literally, of people that are there to assist and help them achieve success. We as leaders need to ensure our groups know the resources, both internal and external that will help them reach the peak of the mountain they are climbing, even when we struggle. In the coaching space I’ve been blessed to put together launch teams for new initiatives and programs, one of which allowed me to have a 72 year old author surround herself with friends, family, and fans. With the assistance of her team, she launched to being an Amazon best seller. I led the effort, but her team brought it home for her. Truly an eye opening experience when others help to bring your success.

Refills Your Purpose and Passion for Why They Are There

Filling their cup, not emptying it is key to motivation and progress. Being in the bosses chair many times over the years has shown me that the kindnesses we offer in our exchanges and interactions, yields volumes of results. The management style of “cracking the whip” only brings short term success, if at all. An employee, spouse or child will not reach outside of their comfort zone, unless they have purpose (our jobs as leaders) or passion (the cup we need to keep full). I’ve witnessed managers and leaders that “tear down” individuals thinking that fear motivates them. This is not the case, we further disengage those around us when this occurs.

“You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains;
You raise me up to walk on stormy seas;
I am strong when I am on your shoulders;
You raise me up to more than I can be.”

You Raise me Up – Josh Groban

Building the Relationship

Have you had a boss that you would walk through hell and back for? I have, and I have (walked through the proverbial hell and back), and that’s the person I always wanted to emulate. I saw my leaders as someone who had a purpose, but they didn’t sacrifice that for the individual. The time spent with these leaders, secures a human connection, which when harvested correctly blossoms into partnerships that ensure no one is left behind. You as the leader need to craft the mission, whether a corporate initiative, personal benchmark or family focused activity, and then leverage the strength of those around you. Create the kind of bond that makes the other person “walk through fire” for you.

It’s not always easy, we are human too, with weaknesses and failures. Our mission though is to rise above that, to show others what is possible, even staring into the face of adversity. No one remembers the followers, but the leaders create the memorable foundations in our lives.

blogger author sean ackerman About Sean Ackerman: Overcoming adversity has been a skill I’ve had since pre-conception. As my parents were told they would never have children, I fought my way into this world and have persevered, bringing success in whatever I put my mind to.

After 25 years in business management, from small privately-owned companies to large corporate organizations, I’ve had some amazing accomplishments. From my earliest working experience where I constantly climbed the leadership ladder, I was able to consult, speak and teach with such prestigious organizations as Columbia University, the New York State Police and Wal-Mart Stores, to name a few.

In 2011, my family and I found ourselves homeless after Hurricane Irene. Losing most everything we owned, we came back and persevered to put our lives back together. I put my best game face on until in the spring of 2013 I landed in the hospital with what I thought was a heart attack, but surprise it was just little old stress rearing it’s ugly head. 

This was the catalyst for You Leading You, my mission, to share my experience and knowledge to help other leaders learn and grow.

Today I share the message through the business show, You Leading You, with insightful lessons from amazing leaders sharing their stories of success. Speaking and facilitating lessons on leadership with organizations and contributing to such influential platforms  like The Huffington Post, The Good Men Project, Addicted 2 Success, and well as others. 

Join me at www.youleadingyou.com for great content and connect with me for a wingman to your success at sean@youleadingyou.com


Chester Goad is a leader in education, non-profit advocacy, parenting issues, access, policy, and blogging culture, he has been quoted in major media outlets such as CNBC, Yahoo, the Washington Post, Forbes Leadership, and others. He is a contributing writer for the Huffington Post, The Good Men Project, and Edutopia. You can learn more about Chester and his Amazon #1 Best Seller at www.purplepeopleleaderbook.com or www.chestergoad.com. He and his wife live in Tennessee with their teenage son. 

 

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5 Lessons for Creatives from David Bowie’s Remarkably Prolific Journey

david bowie singing holding a mic stand

By Heathen_Tour_Sterling_Campbell/Mark Jeremy derivative work.

Today, I’m taking a break from leadership, learning, and personal stories of life to offer some encouragement to other creatives out there in light of the death of entertainment icon, artist, and fellow creative, David Bowie.

In memoriam of David Robert Jones, aka David Bowie (1947-2016)

The news of David Bowie’s death left an empty hole for the music industry and admirers.  Many around the world did not even know he had been battling cancer.  He lived a life of distinguishable, unparalleled oddity and artistry to the end.  Even in death he was creative, and so predictably yet undeniably “Bowie”.  Here are 5 Lessons for Creatives from David Bowie’s Remarkably Imaginative and Prolific Journey.

Produce until you die and even still, keep going.  Be Creative and keep creating, so that even after your death you’re still prolific and you’re still speaking.  I remember explaining to someone once that it’s my hope to leave a legacy for my son. That legacy would include of life lessons and teachings, faith, and memories, but I’ve also always believed in the eternal power of writing, and publishing books and articles. For me, a good book on a library shelf, resting on a mantle or by the hearth, or even in archives online is a way to leave a legacy.  Written content can be read time and time again.  When we open a book written by someone who’s no longer with us, it’s like holding their hand for a bit while they share their wisdom or creativity with us one more time.  Keep making whatever your own unique, creative soul wants to create.

David Bowie’s death actually coincided with the January 8th release of his 25th and final album “Blackstar”. Of course there are dozens of other albums and projects that will live on.  If you’re committed to never stopping, then whatever it is you’re dedicated to will continue long after your gone.  Every creative has the potential to leave a legacy.  Are you producing things that will make a noticeable impact, and will those things outlast you?

“I’m not a prophet or a stone aged man, just a mortal with potential of a superman. I’m living on.” –David Bowie

Be willing to change but remain true to yourself.  It is indisputable that David Bowie thrived on change.  He was more than willing to evolve, create, or reinvent. He did all he could to forge a reality with his incredible imagination.  Most each time he did so it was a success, or at least it created a stir.  Over the decades David Bowie reimagined his art, his music, and his creativity.  I’m not sure Bowie’s commitment toward fluidity, change or flexibility was necessarily strategic, but he always remained true to himself. He was simply never afraid to try new things.  Changing while staying the same is a challenge but it will make a difference in the long run. What new or innovative things are you imagining? Is there anything you’re considering changing right now?

“I had to resign myself many years ago, that I’m not too articulate when it comes to explaining how I feel about things. But my music does it for me.  It really does.” –David Bowie

Be unique.  Aside from being creative and continually producing solid content or projects, or whatever your creative outlet, creatives have to find ways to stand out.  Scores of people in every business or industry are doing similar things.  Albeit, some people are creating better content than others.  Still it’s crucial to find something that sets you apart in the midst of all the noise.  Sure, the argument could also be made these days that “excellence” is also unique these days.  What is it that sets you apart in your space?

“I find only freedom in the realms of eccentricity.”  –David Bowie

Explore what others are doing.  Early on Bowie listened to everything from Elvis to Little Richard and beyond, and over time learned a dozen different instruments.  He was able to produce and express his creativity and ingenuity across musical genres. So what about you?  If you’re a writer you need to be reading other authors.  If you’re a sculptor you need to visit some galleries or some shows regularly, or even take a class.  I’ve never understood why so many creatives avoid taking classes, courses, or webinars.  There’s so much to learn, and I’m a firm believer that very few people if any ever “arrive” to the point they couldn’t learn from what others are doing.  Who are the mentors and influencers in your life?  What’s the last new thing you learned? 

 “Frankly, I mean, sometimes the interpretations I’ve seen on some of the songs that I’ve written are a lot more interesting than the input that I put in.”  –David Bowie

Stay humble.  Don’t accept recognition just because, and if by chance you do get recognition, don’t let it go to your head.  Hard work, commitment, and dedication, are pre-requisite to success for creatives.  My teenager was always confused and confounded when he’d receive a certificate, trophy, or ribbon in sports for simply participating.  Set your eyes on bigger things.  Focus on the goal or the dream you’re after and don’t get side-tracked by trivial, or fleeting recognition.  When you reach the pinnacle of achievement in your area, you may or may not even realize it, but that shouldn’t be why you do it.

In 2000, Bowie turned down a CBE (Commander of the British Empire) recognition and famously responded, “I seriously don’t know what it’s for.”  Just a few years later he was extended the honor of being knighted by but he refused that as well.  Creatives don’t simply produce just to produce, neither do they create things for fame.  Every creative has a mysterious, relentless drive to imagine and do—and the most important thing to us is that people appreciate the creation or even the process.  The most intrinsic need of any creative or artist is the need for people to appreciate their art. I love it when people read something I’ve written and it stirs a question or a realization in them, or it inspires them in some way. That’s success.

“Fame itself… doesn’t really afford you anything more than a good seat in a restaurant.” –David Bowie

Farewell, Ziggy Stardust.


Who is Chester? A creative and a music-lover who is also a leader in education, non-profit advocacy, parenting issues, access, policy, and blogging culture, Chester has been quoted in major media outlets such as CNBC, Yahoo, the Washington Post, Forbes Leadership, and others. He is a contributing writer for the Huffington Post, The Good Men Project, and Edutopia. You can learn more about Chester and his Amazon #1 Best Seller at www.purplepeopleleaderbook.com or www.chestergoad.com. He and his wife live in Tennessee with their teenage son. 

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5 Things Your Kids Will Always Remember about You

father sun walk at sunset with birds flying in heart pattern

Fotolia.com

Every moment is another chance to make a memory, and whether or not we realize it, we’re creating good or bad memories every day, while indifferent moments just fade away.  We all have regrets.  In reality, a number of woulda, coulda, shouldas, haunt us all, but there doesn’t have to be so many of those.  It’s never too late to make an unforgettable impact. Below I’ve shared five things your kids will always remember about you.

How you love them.  This is the most important one.  Kids may not remember every hug, but they remember hugs.  They may not remember every “I love you” but they’ll recall that they were loved and that they heard you say it.  Kids need to hear that you love them, they need to experience your affection in lots of different ways. They also need to experience your grace.

When my son was small maybe 6 or 7 years old, he made a poor choice and got himself into some trouble.  He had been warned and we had set clear-cut consequences for this particular infraction.  Out of frustration I could have shamed him or harshly sentenced him with the punitive consequences of his deliberate poor choice, but at that time I’d been reading a lot about forgiveness and grace.  I decided that too often I was imposing punitive consequences rather than freely offering grace. Suddenly I was reminded that I had benefited more than once from God’s grace, and I wondered how often I’d extended that grace in a tangible, memorable, meaningful way that might be remembered.

kids bedroom wall is decorated with space theme

A Photo of the wall we painted as a family when our son was much younger.

I sat down on my son’s bed, as he curled up facing the wall silent and sniffling.  I looked around at the stars and planets on the wall.  We had painted that room together as a family, and I had personally painted every planet.  The largest wall read, “In the beginning God…”  It was a Genesis themed room we’d imagined on our own. We’d allowed our son some freedom to assist and for good measure he’d painted a USA Rocket-ship complete with two hovering astronauts.  I looked around and reminded myself why we’d artfully created that theme, and how we had allowed him to add his own personal touch.

I rested my head on the pillow beside him, and explained to him the concept of grace and forgiveness. We also discussed poor decisions (particularly the most current one), and talked about consequences.  Then I did something I couldn’t recall ever having done.  I explained I was granting him grace, and a clean slate, and that the issue would be forevermore 100% closed simply because I loved him.  He looked at me bewildered.  He didn’t fully understand at that moment but I knew someday he would.

We’ve since painted that room many times.  Right now it serves as a family game-room rather than as a bedroom, but we have continually painted around the rocket-ship he painted with his own two hands—time and again. For me, the rocket-remains a steadfast reminder of a moment of love and grace.  Show your kids you love them often. Say it with words. Say it with action.  Say it in ways you won’t even have to verbalize, and do it in ways they’ll never forget.

small handpainted rocketship on bedroom wall

Though he is much older, even today our son’s rocket ship remains on the wall. A reminder of grace, love, and wonder.

Below I’ve listed four more things your kids will remember about you. 

How you love yourself.  How you take care of yourself matters.  Our kids pick up on our self-esteem, our confidence, and our attitudes toward our spiritual, physical, and emotional well-being.  They’ll model their own self-acceptance, and confidence based on the example set before them.  If you hate going to the doctor, they’ll hate going to the doctor.

How you love others.  Aside from a healthy love for ourselves, kids are always watching and listening to how we handle other relationships.  How you treat strangers and the world, whether on the street, in the drive-thru, or at the ball field or the gym will be remembered.  Our conversations about people in public and in private are also heard. Our spirit of giving and serving is under constant observation.  When children see us love or serve others, they’ll model that love and service…eventually. On the other hand, if we avoid the world, or we send the message the world is out to get us, they’ll live believing it’s out to get them too.

How you react under pressure. Stressful situations of all sorts place our character under scrutiny.  From waiting in long lines, to frantically chasing a deadline, or from preparing for job interviews getting fired or experiencing, pain or trauma, we all live through unwanted or unfortunate circumstances.  Grownups are not the only ones experiencing those events.  Our kids are present too.  It’s easy to get so wrapped up in trials and tribulation, to forget they’re living it along with us.  How they act under pressure will often be a direct result of how you react under pressure.

Your sense of wonder.  I’ve always been a creative person, so I’m blown away when I meet people who grew up never learning how to play.  Some have even told me that their parents or friends thought playing was silly or a waste of time, so they avoided it.  As a result, those same people often express that as a result, they feel silly, goofy, or embarrassed when people are having fun, and that in fact they have no idea how to have fun.

That grieves my heart.  As a person of faith, I believe we’re all born with a sense of wonder.  Unfortunately, in so many people it’s never cultivated, or encouraged, and sometimes even discouraged.  I promise you…how you see the world and how you play matters.  Your sense of humor matters. The jokes you tell as well as the content matter.  The best way to give your kids freedom to have fun and a sense of wonder, is to share fun and imaginative things.

When my son was three, he loved Nick Jr’s Blues Clues. We all enjoyed watching Steve and his dog Blue search for clues.   Occasionally I’d put on my striped rugby shirt like Steve’s, grab the scissors, cut-out  dozens of small blue paw prints to serve as “clues” and place them throughout our house.  We’d play Blues Clues for hours.  As he got older, we’d play Star Wars.  Being in the presence of children is a ticket to exercise our imaginations.  They never forget those moments when we’re willing to get lost in moments of wonder.

blues clues steve holds notebook while blue dog hides in back

Photo courtesy nickjr.com/bluesclues

What sort of memories are you making?

Psst. Now’s the moment when you give your mom, dad or kid a hug or a quick call to say “I love you.”

Lead. Learn. Live.

All my best, all the time,

Chester

 

Who is Chester? A leader in education, non-profit advocacy, parenting issues, access, policy, and blogging culture, Chester has been quoted in major media outlets such as CNBC, Yahoo, the Washington Post, Forbes Leadership, and others. He is a contributing writer for the Huffington Post, The Good Men Project, and Edutopia. You can learn more about Chester and his Amazon #1 Best Seller at www.purplepeopleleaderbook.com or www.chestergoad.com. He and his wife live in Tennessee with their teenage son. 

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4 Ways to “Press On” Rather than “Hang On” This Week & Beyond

coffee mug with coffee art leaf in foam

This mug of java is brimming over. But what if it wasn’t? Would you find it half-full or half-empty? Perspective is often the difference between the Victor & the Defeated.

As many of us head back to work I wanted to share some thoughts on victory and defeat.  It’s my hope that your first Monday of the New Year will bring only victory.  Of course, I realize victory means different things to different people.  Even so, we can tell when someone is living victoriously. It shows in most everything they do.  We want to be around them.  After all, everyone loves a winning attitude.

With that said, what images form in your mind when you think about defeat? What do defeated people do? Aside from whining and coming up with excuses, most do absolutely nothing, and they seem deliciously miserable at it.  On the other hand, some of the beleaguered defeated ones are perfectly content to live in a constant state of loss or failure, and more than a handful enjoy the drama brought on by a good setback.  Did you just laugh? You know it’s true.

Surely I’m not saying that victors never experience failure, loss, or setbacks?  Absolutely not.  On the contrary victors experience all of those things often. Sometimes daily.  The difference is they choose not to dwell in defeat.  In the midst of trials or challenges, victors press on. 

Look, choosing to live as a victor doesn’t mean we’re going to win a trophy or get presented a plaque every day for our hard work. As victors we know how to identify the advantages and the value taught to us by a tough lesson.  Nevertheless, each day we press on we’re living victoriously. That’s the life of a victor.

Victors “press on”, while those who live in defeat “hang on”.  And there’s a big difference between the two. Pressing on means finding the gut strength to move forward.  That strength comes from different places. It may be our faith.  It may be our past. It may also be consequences put to good use culminating from those lessons I mentioned.

“Hanging on” implies just that.  Hanging on in the same spot.  Whether you’re hanging by a thread or dangling from a rope, you’re not doing a whole lot else but just hanging.  Ok there’s possibly some flailing about, but flailing is never productive or pretty. Those who press on keep moving.

While those who tend to press on are likely hoping for big victories, sometimes our crowning achievement might just be making it through the week.  We press on any way because we know living as a steadfast victor eventually means becoming a champion.

Here’s a short list of ways you can be a victor this week and beyond!

Believe.  Believe in your ability to accomplish your dreams, your goals or the task at hand.

Take action.  Do something every day no matter how small that gives you a sense of success.  Do something you can verbalize and look back on before you close your eyes and say “Today I’m one step closer because I did this.”

Avoid negativity.  Avoiding negativity includes avoiding negative people, negative habits, and negative thoughts as much you can.  You may have to get into some heavy thought-combat by taking negative or unproductive thoughts captive as soon as you think them.  Remind yourself you’re a victor and you won’t be defeated.

Choose to see the world through more positive lenses.  Victory and defeat are a state of mind and that starts with our perceptions.  This week, consider your coffee mug half-full rather than half-empty.  That’s definitely a skill worth mastering.

Remember the difference between the Victor and the Defeated.  In the midst of failure the defeated finds blame and despair, while the victor learns a lesson and finds hope to press on toward another day.  If you live as a victor you will see more victories. If you live as if you’re defeated, you will most assuredly see more defeat.  Choose to press on my friend, and may this week be a clean sweep of daily victories for you!  Lead. Learn. Live.

All my best, all the time.

Chester

 

Who is Chester? A leader in education, non-profit advocacy, parenting issues, access, policy, and blogging culture, Chester has been quoted in major media outlets such as CNBC, Yahoo, the Washington Post, Forbes Leadership, and others. He is a contributing writer for the Huffington Post, The Good Men Project, and Edutopia. You can learn more about Chester and his Amazon #1 Best Seller at www.purplepeopleleaderbook.com or www.chestergoad.com. He and his wife live in Tennessee with their teenage son. 

 

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My Top 5 List of Upcoming Awesomeness for Leaders in 2016

man running across bridge Awesomeness ahead 2016 Happy New Year Friends!  December 31, 2015 was the first time I didn’t host a big party or attend one.  Instead of celebrating like that I decided to relax and enjoy family time amidst the glow and warmth of the Christmas tree for one more night before returning it to the outdoor shed.  The family however, abandoned me early, foregoing the literal ringing in of the New Year in exchange for welcoming the New Year with a good night’s sleep.  I also broke with tradition shunning all the New Year’s programs, and opting for a low-key documentary playing quietly in the background.  So it was me, the dogs (our mini-schnauzer and our poodle), Netflix, the Christmas tree, and Words with Friends (and strangers) and social media.  In the midst of my peaceful evening, I became truly excited about the coming year.  I believe 2016 holds potential and possibilities for all those who are seeking to live their best life.  Here’s my Top 5 list of upcoming awesomeness for leaders and anyone taking steps toward goals, dreams, success, and peace.

Quarter Life Calling Book CoverQuarter-Life Calling: How to Find Your Sweet Spot in Your Twenties by Paul Sohn.  Paul Sohn, leadership consultant, blogger, and emerging speaker, left his position with a Forbes 50 company to pursue his calling of helping others find theirs.  While Quarter-Life Calling is certainly written with millennials and twenty-somethings in mind, this book offers insight, direction, encouragement and more for anyone seeking their purpose and calling.  This book releases on January 18th.

Check out Paul Sohn’s website.

Join the Quarter-Life Calling Launch Team.

 

book cover stop chasing influencersStop Chasing Influencers by Jared Easley & Kimanzi Constable .  Officially Launching in March, this book encourages readers to stop chasing influencers and choose to become one.  And they show you how!  Stop Chasing Influencers provides practical, actionable, realistic steps to building your platform and your business.  You’ll be surprised at the amount of value these guys share with you.  Readers who act on the information inside will likely save a lot of money, while also sparing themselves a lot of unnecessary or wasted distractions.  Before you know it, you’ll be on your way to sharing your message, and building your dreams and your own influence rather than anxiously chasing others!  Officially Launches in March.

Watch the video trailer, and read more about this important book and project here.

 

joe lalonde stands with hands in pockets tshirt and jeansJoe Lalonde’s Upcoming New Podcast venture!   Joe Lalonde is no stranger to interviews, podcasts, leadership or launches.  In fact, his newest podcast venture launching soon will focus on providing leadership answers for all your leadership questions from a diverse group of influencers who know and live leadership. Joe Lalonde is a Top 30 Blogger committed to empowering young leaders with the tools to thrive in a hectic world.  You’re gonna love Joe’s easy going interview style, and his commitment to all things leadership. Check out his blog. He shares tons of relevant articles, resources, and cool infographics and he’s a consistent blogger.  More importantly, be ready to download Joe’s new podcast this January.   Learn more about Joe Lalonde.

 

catalyst logo abstract octagonalCatalyst Conference 2016.  I attended my first Catalyst Leadership Conference last fall in Atlanta.  It was absolutely amazing and offers something for leaders of all types.  It’s probably one of the most highly attended leadership conferences, and is chock full of value with well-known, quality speakers like Brene Brown, Guy Kawasaki, Andy Stanley, Christine Cain and more.  You can also attend smaller more intimate workshop style “labs” typically a day or so before the actual conference begins.  If you’re a blogger, you’re likely to find blogger meetups scheduled while you’re there too.  The networking opportunities at Catalyst are endless.  These conferences are offered all over, and they offer smaller one day conferences as well. As for me, I’ll be headed back to Atlanta in 2016 and I hope to see you there!  Oh yeah, Catalyst offers an interactive leadership app and a podcast if you want to stay connected throughout the year as well.

Catalyst app 

Catalyst Podcast

Catalyst event locations

relaunch logoRelaunch Podcast with Joel Boggess: Starting over with confidence.  I can’t mention the New Year without mentioning Joel Boggess’ Relaunch Podcast.  After all, isn’t relaunching what the New Year is all about?  Joel Boggess, a life coach, author, and the show’s host, is by no means new to the podcasting scene. The Relaunch Show has over 400 podcast episodes and well over a million downloads. But every episode offers diverse perspectives, and relevant discussions from some of the brightest leaders and experts in their fields. It’s a great way to kick off the New Year and to keep it fresh all year long.  Most new episodes launch on Sundays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays.

Download the Relaunch Podcast

 

Dr. Chester Goad is a university administrator and graduate instructor, a former K12 principal and teacher, former US Congressional staffer.  But those are just his day jobs!  He’s also an author, blogger, and emerging speaker.  He is co-author of Tennessee’s “Dyslexia Is Real” law and has presented on disability and leadership-related topics from Appalachia to Africa.  Currently he sits on the Editorial Review Board for the Journal of Postsecondary Education and Disability, and the Board of Directors for the Association on Higher Education and Disability.   A leader in education, non-profit advocacy, parenting issues, faith, access and policy, Chester has been quoted in major media outlets such as CNBC, Yahoo, the Washington Post, Forbes Leadership, and others. He is a contributing writer for the Huffington Post, The Good Men Project, and Edutopia. You can learn more about Chester and his Amazon #1 Best Seller at www.purplepeopleleaderbook.com or www.chestergoad.com. He and his wife live in Tennessee with their teenage son.  If you need a keynote speaker on leadership, learning, or life, he’d love to hear from you!

 

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Hard Work Pays Off. Farewell 2015!

Work books with caption Farewell 2015

Fotolia.com

Are you chasing your dreams?  Hard work pays off. Just remember to  run in your work boots.

In 2014 I released an indie book, “Purple People Leader” on my own just for the sake of saying I did so, though the message is hugely important to me.  At that time, I committed to pursuing whatever was necessary toward accomplishing my goals of becoming a writer and speaker, and making dreams like self-sufficiency and being debt-free a reality in the coming year.

2015 has been an interesting year, with some health issues aside, I feel like I’ve gotten a pretty good start. I’m not debt free yet, …ugh…but I feel like with every action step I take toward my personal, spiritual, health, and financial goals, no matter how small the step, I’m still light years further along than I was before.

I’m sharing this with all of you because you’ve shared this journey with me and you’ve been incredibly encouraging. I am not sharing this to brag at all. I have plenty to work on and to work toward. I’m no better than anyone else. I just want you to know that if you’ll commit to taking at least one step everyday toward whatever it is you’re dreaming about, then your dream will become a reality eventually. I know you have valuable messages worth sharing, as well as purpose, and calling.

While I haven’t “arrived” yet, I’m still chasing my dreams and I’m on their heels.   I believe I’ll get there because I refuse to live a day without taking at least one step forward. Sometimes I don’t get in bed until 2 or 3 or even 4 A.M and I typically set my alarm for 6:15 a.m.  I have a day job I love and one I am committed to, but I’m just as committed to my side hustles.

Those include contributing to Edutopia, The Good Men Project, and Huffington Post, guest posting for Learning Ally, and submitting to other sites, (and being rejected by many) while also advocating to make environments more accessible for our disabled friends, speaking to organizations and groups, slowly writing a children’s book while working on book two, and trying to establish a presence within my niche “leadership, learning, and life” spaces.

I’ve stayed busy. I’ve joined mastermind groups.  I regularly enroll in webinars and online courses related to all the things I’m working on. I’m constantly connecting with other people I trust in the field at conferences and online so I can bounce things off of them and learn from them. Iron sharpens iron you know. I also regularly try to help others launch their own books, products, or dreams.

You may see me at Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts or anywhere else there’s coffee and free wi-fi. I go there often to write, and to pursue networking and connections with people because…well, I love people. God’s given me a heart for loving people, serving people, and finding ways to use the platform I’m building to help people.

I remind myself daily of the first line in The Purpose Driven Life. “It’s not about you” (me). It’s a drive, passion, purpose or calling that I can’t put my finger on, and that there’s no name or term for—but ultimately it’s a need to serve. Every opportunity I’m given to speak, interview, or contribute in some way whether it’s for a cause, organization, etc. is viewed as an opportunity to give back.

In a recent interview, I was asked a question that led to a discussion on humility and being humble while in pursuit of purpose and calling. The fact is, one of the struggles for anyone pursuing a dream, especially a person of faith, is running the risk of seeming self-serving or narcissistic. Anyone pursuing a dream or a goal especially in the crowded and noisy “leadership space” as I call it, knows that platform-building requires a certain amount of promotion.

It’s crucial to stand up and take forward steps to get your message out there. So yes, that requires what some may see as self-promotion but it’s not about self it’s about others, and it’s about the message, and hoping to be able to make some tangible difference or to bring value to people’s lives.

To do that you’ve got to build what some call “social proof“…in other words, proof for the world (or those people other than your family or friends lol), that you’re accomplishing something, and that you might have some knowledge of what you’re talking about. Anyway, I’ve been working on that too and I’m pasting below a list of the outlets I’ve been either featured or quoted in this year.

I need 2016 to be even bigger. I’m pasting it so you’ll get a sense of the level of work it takes to construct a platform or build a dream. I’m also pasting it, because I see my readers, friends, and family as partners in this, and I need you to hold me accountable. I’m wishing big, BIG, AMAZING things for you this year!  Go after your dream. Take at least ONE step every day no matter how small. Just one, (or 10) toward your goals, and never stop walking or running toward your purpose. And …Farewell 2015. Thank you for being so kind.

In 2015, I’ve been featured in or quoted in the following:
US News Money, INC.Com, Psychology Today, US News, UNICEF Innovation Stories, Reading Rockets, All Parenting, Schools.com, Topical Teaching, Good Call, Edutopia, Wall Street Journal, Augusta Family Mag, Monster.com, Forbes Leadership, Teen Life, Daily Parent,  CNBC,  Bankrate.com, Collegexpress.com, Zliving.com Len Penzo dot Com, CITE Online, NEAchieves, AccreditedSchoolsOnline, Deseret News National, MyWebRoom.com, Savingforcollege.com, Washington Post, Huffington Post, Positive Mom’s Magazine
Benzinga.com, Saving for College.com, Forbes, Wallstreet National, Yahoo Finance, The UN’s GOOD Magazine
Sparefoot, Gradschools.com, Simply K12, Good Call, Proctor &Gamble Parent, Y Scouts, Care.com, Attentiv
Skilled Up, Recruiter, School Links, She Knows, Yahoo Tech, About.Com, The Stir, World Wide Learn, She Knows
Online Degrees 360, Group High, Nerd Wallet, Mom.Me, Affordablecolleges, Family Taxpayers Assoc.Tennessean
PBS, Understood, Intentional Parenting, The Australian, and more…

If you’re still reading, what are you waiting for? Get moving! Take steps toward chasing your dreams and I promise someday you’ll catch ’em! Just don’t forget to lace those boots up nice and tight.
—-All my best, all the time, Chester

p.s. Happy New Year!

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