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Resource Dump #3

Hey, it’s a Wednesday post as promised! Thanks for being gracious as I work out a new blog schedule for myself and continue to try to write the best stuff for you to read! Usually in the resource dump posts I try to have different “mediums” of resources to share. Today they are all the same! Today’s posts contain three blogs that I HAVE to read. I don’t know about you, but I have a lot of blog I subscribe to. When things get busy I just skip over some of them. These three I will always read. Since they are that good, I want to share them with you! – I’ve been following Justin’s content (Blog/Twitter/Facebook) for a few years now. I’ve always found it challenging and filled with quality stuff. I don’t believe Justin would post or write about something that 1) he didn’t believe or 2) he felt shouldn’t be asked. I’ve certainly learned a lot about Social Media through Justin and also have really rearranged the way I do things because of him sharing the way he does his things. (Productivity for the Win!) Also, he finds the best stats!

History In The Making (Ben Arment) – Ben is a producer of people. He see’s things or hears of things that people are doing and figures out how to help them be better at what they are doing, or help others through what this person is doing. That’s just a personal commentary from what I’ve noticed afar. I like his blog. Simple, short and sweet. He shares things that he comes across in life and I find those things inspire me in what I’m doing. Also, check out a great conference he runs called Story and his “coaching” program called Dream Year.

Stephen Brewster – I’ve just started following Stephen’s blog in the past year. He’s the Creative Arts pastor at They put out killer stuff. So naturally, I want to know what he’s learning and sharing with his team. If you are involved in a creative process (anywhere) check out his blog. He shares some great tips and questions that help stimulate creativity or get you out of that rut.

These are just three of my must read blogs, I actually have a couple others to share down the road. What blogs are on your must read list?

What’s Your Map?

What’s your map? Do you even own a map anymore? That’s the question I should be asking! Most likely you have a smart phone or some type of mobile device that you use to help you get places. A GPS, Google Maps, Mapquest, etc…they are all tools and structures to help us get somewhere.

All the new tools do the thinking automatically for us, which can be a good thing, but I do think we miss out on something too. Back in the day (whenever that was) it was probably more common to find someone who had multiple maps in their car. Maybe a county map, state map, probably a map of the country. If you had one of those maps, you probably sat down before you went on a trip and picked your starting point, picked your destination, and then plotted your course. You had your plan. You had a course of steps and pre-determined decisions to help you get to where you were going.

I think this concept of plans, or mapping your course, can sometimes be a lost one for us. I believe it’s essential to have plans for the things we engage in daily. For the sake of this post I’m talking about Social Media. What’s your plan? Do you have a personal plan in how you engage online? Does your business have a strategy for social media?

Often times we start these journeys without a real destination in mind. Maybe you do have a destination but you are relying on a GPS to get you there, which they don’t make for social media by the way.

So what do you do? Where do you start? Take a few minutes today and ask yourself, “what’s my goal for engaging online?”. Ask it for yourself or the organization you represent. Once you have that down, start plotting your course. Make the pre-determined decisions for where you are going.

To get an idea on what a personal social media strategy looks like, check out this one here from Justin Wise.

I’d love to hear if you already are doing this. What’s your strategy? What’s your goal?

(Photo Props)

Resource Dump #2

Well, it’s that time again! I thought it was about time to do another resrouce dump and let you know the things that I’ve been loving lately. It’s pretty simple. I’ll share three things (resources) that have been helping in my journey lately. The only think I ask for you to do is to share one resource that you’ve been digging lately below in the comments. It’s pretty easy!


Resource 1) The Way of the Shepherd by Kevin Leman – I’m about to finish this book up. It was recommended to me by my friend Peter after we had a conversation about leadership and managing people. I’d highly encourage you to read this book if you are a manager. It’s short, super simple and the principles are simple, great reminders of how to lead people. The book is written in an engaging way that helps you remember these principles as well. Check it out!

Resource 2)  Flipboard (App) – This is a great app. I know it’s been around for a while and has already received a lot of attention. I tried it a few months ago and really didn’t like it. As of recent, I’ve found myself needing to cut back on some blogs (tech/news/etc) but still wanted a way to catch up or scan through things quickly without it being something I needed to clean out of my RSS Reader. Flipboard became the perfect thing for that. Instead of having news sites or mac rumors dumping into my RSS, I can now open up Flipboard and catch up and read the articles that I want to read. And it looks amazing too. The only down side is that it’s iOS only, so my Android friends can’t get it.

Resource 3) “For The Honor” Elevation Worship (Music) – It might seem weird to put music as a resource but it’s not. It can actually be a great resource. For me, it helps me connect with God. Maybe you read my blog and that’s not something that’s important to you or you don’t like worship music, either way I understand. Just wanted to share this one because I appreciate the hard work, great songwriting, and honest heart that’s presented in this album. Great job to the guys at Elevation Worship.

Well, now it’s your turn! What is your favorite resource right now? Let’s share them with each other and be stronger, creative leaders because of it! 

Who Are You? (Let Us Know!)

I’ve been consistently blogging here at for about 10 months now. It’s been really good for me to be able to share some of the things I’m learning and also to hear back from you who read the posts. The encouragement and challenge has been good. Hopefully it’s been something that’s beneficial for you too.

Since we are still kind of fresh in the year I thought I would take a break from my normal posts and do one that features you! I know that a lot of you also have blogs and write killer content for them. Maybe you don’t have a blog, but there’s that one blog you make sure you read every day.

Here’s how this works, in the comments below copy in the address to your blog (or favorite blog) and let us know what it’s about. If that’s to much work, just copy the link and let us know the author. Can’t make it much easier then that!

My goal is to try to make sure I visit all of the blogs shared, and hope you check others out too. So, share away! Pimp your blog out below!

(Photo Props)

So, You’re Starting A Blog?

Blog is one of those ambiguous words that you don’t know is a verb, noun, adjective or all of the above. When it comes to actual blogging, a lot of people feel the same way. We get into a blog and start feeling frustrated, or think it’s not working, or hate what we type.

I wanted to give you a few things to think through when starting a blog. Wether it’s for personal or business, the same things apply. I do want to give one quick resource. Bryan Allain has some of the best advice on starting a blog AND maintaining one to create a killer community. I highly suggest you check out his ebook 31 Days to Finding Your Blogging Mojo.

So, here are a few things to think through when starting that blog.

1) The first question to ask yourself is who’s going to be posting and who is the blog for? If you are doing this personally, then it will probably be you who will be doing most of the posting. If you are on a team or creating a blog for a church/ministry, then who’s going to be posting? A good way to think through that is to ask yourself who your ideal reader is. In the perfect scenario, who is typing in your blog address and coming to read your stuff?

2) A lot of times bloggers start off with way to big of a blogging schedule. The second question you need to ask yourself is how often will I post? It’s easy to think about blogging 5 days a week because when you first start out you have the energy and material to do so. But after the first couple of months all of the sudden it starts to tank. If you start off with lots of posts, then start to dwindle down to fewer and fewer it might give the impression that you are giving up on it. Start small, once or twice a week. With this blog I decided to post once a week on Monday’s. Other then a couple of posts (this one) I’ve been able to keep that schedule. When the New Year rolls around I’ll re-evaluate to see what’s next.

3) The last question I would ask is what is your win? Very similar to the first question where you are asking who the ideal person is coming to your blog, this question is the result of the first one. If the ideal person (or any person) comes to your blog, what do you want to have happen? Do you want them to do something? Share a story? Leave a comment? Buy a product? Do you want them to feel apart of a community? This is a huge question to answer. Try to be specific so you know how to measure your effectiveness and know where to make tweaks.

There are three simple ways to start off on the right foot. They aren’t the only three things to think through, but they are three major ones.

What have been some of your biggest blog frustrations? And, if you leave a comment, leave a link to your blog too!

5 Tips To Make Email More Useful

Email may possibly be one of the greatest and worst things ever created. For most people, it dictates their day and controls their emotions. As leaders, we are probably always diving into our email to check up on things. There are so many other tools out there similar to email that are better, but still email has remained constant in most of our lives.

Instead of talking about what should be different I’d love to give you five tips to make the most out of this tool. Learn how to tame it like a wild horse and it will make a world of a difference.

1) Use Email For The Right Conversations – Most times we use email for the wrong conversations. We’ll send emails when we are to lazy to pick up the phone. We might send the email when we are to afraid to confront that person. We’ve all done it, mostly because it’s very easy to do. But somewhere along the line this has become the norm and creates major communications problems. Use email when it’s appropriate, otherwise pick up the phone or have a face to face conversation.

2) Keep Them Short – There’s no reason to make an email 5 pages long. Especially if you want it read. When writing an email, keep it short. People typically don’t have or don’t want to spend the time reading a long email. Every now and then you may come across the need to write a longer one but make sure you think through the best way to say what you need in the least amount of words.

3) Find The Right Tool – When I say tool, I mean program or email reader. Find the application that will help you handle email the way that you like. There are so many different options out there, so just pick a couple and try them out.

4) Create A Schedule – There’s no reason that we need to be checking our email 24/7. But, we do it anyways. We think we are going to miss something. One of the best things I’ve done is create a simple schedule of when to check emails. For you, maybe hourly or 4 times a day. Just try it out. What you’ll find is that you start working on the things that need to get done instead of putting out fires all the time. This will be hard and will take discipline, but try it out. Maybe try it with your team so that everyone can see the benefit.

5) Try Inbox ZeroInbox Zero is a way, or practice of approaching email. In it’s simplest forms, it’s keeping your inbox to zero at the end of everyday or every time you check it. I started trying Inbox Zero a few years ago and it has helped tremendously. It takes a little organization (which if you are bad at that, ask a friend who is organized to help) but pays off. It changes your attitude towards email and how you use it. I highly recommend trying it out!

What is one tip that you’ve come to find when using email that’s been a game changer? What’s your favorite tool or app to use for email? Share below!

Best Practices: Twitter Pt.2

It’s here! Part 2 of our Twitter Best Practices posts. You can find Part 1 here or other Best Practices Posts here.

So in this post I thought it would be great to talk about the how. What are the tools or strategies that help when using Twitter. Obviously, this won’t be an extensive list mostly because so many others have covered it. What I’ll bring is my unique opinion and experience along with some of the practical tools that everyone from your normal Tweeter to a Power-Tweeter could use.

Usually one of the first questions you start talking about when using Twitter is what client or “app” should I use? Since the majority of people tweet from a smart phone I’ll start with app’s you can download. These are from the iOS (iPhone) perspective but most of them are on Android as well.

Twitter App – The Twitter App (free) is what most people start out on. It’s a great, simple app to use. It can be basic enough for a newbie to use and it has all the features that a Twitter elitist would want. In my opinion, there are usually to many steps to do what I want. Example, to do a basic replay requires two steps or clicks.

Echofon – Echofon (free or $2.99) has been one of my consistent favorite apps. I spent the $5 for the pro version. It’s worth it for the multiple accounts and syncing with the desktop version. I like the shortcuts it has to do different things, the themes, and it’s interface. It has always been a solid app to use.

Tweetbot – Tweetbot ($2.99) is a newer app. It’s pretty slick. With cool animations and sounds it’s like candy to the eyes and ears. It has most of the flexibility that the Twitter app and Echofon have as well. I’d recommend this app to the person who loves flashy user interfaces.

One key feature that all three of these apps have is Push Notifications. Typically, on Twitter you want to know when you get replied to. These apps will alert you of that even if you aren’t in the app itself.

Next we’ll move onto Desktop Apps. There are mainly just two that I usually recommend. But, there are also two power-user tools as well.

Twitter & Echofon both have desktop apps. They do everything you need them to do, as in the apps. Twitter is very slick looking and Echofon syncs with it’s iOS app. Those would be the two distinguishing features between the two of them.

For power users I’d recommend Seesmic or Tweetdeck. They support multiple columns, multiple accounts, and in my opinion, ugly interfaces. But, if you are a power user you are probably already using one of those apps.

For those of you on teams who may be using Twitter for your non-profit or church, there are two good options. One is CoTweet and the other is Hootsuite.

CoTweet is very expensive. It is also the better of the two platforms in my opinion. If your organization can afford it, I’d recommend it. Simple options like “who’s on duty” to receive alerts, to a extensive database keeping track of interactions. I will say that Cotweet offers a free version, but you can only load Twitter accounts. If you manage a Facebook page (which I imagine you do) and a Twitter account, this price jumps exponentially.

Hootsuite is much more affordable and includes bother Twitter and Facebook integration at that affordability. Again, the interface isn’t as intuitive but it’s easy to learn.

The key to both of these options is the team based platform. You can have multiple people represent one Twitter account or FB page. And you can do this without giving out the “master keys” (login info). Hootsuite is what I’ve been using now for about 6 months in a team environment and it’s been working well.

I want to wrap up this post there. It’s getting long enough. Maybe I’ll have to do a Pt. 3 with some other tips and tricks when it comes to using Twitter.

I’d love to hear from you. What’s your favorite tool? Android users, what’s your go-to Twitter App? 

Resource Dump #1

I thought we’d take a little break from our normally scheduled blog post to share some resources today. I’m calling this the Resource Dump post. I’m sure there will be many more. Here’s how it goes. I’ll try to share with you three different types of resources that are really helping me out. I’ll also try to make sure they are different types of media too. (Books, Video, Audio). All I ask in return is for you to share one resource back. What’s one resource that has been helping you grow?

Resource 1) EntreLeadership Podcast – I started listening to this podcast a couple weeks ago and can not get enough of it. It’s loaded with some serious leadership gold. The podcast is produced by Dave Ramsey’s company and based of his recent book called EntreLeadership. It’s just a matter of time till I pick up the book. Each podcast usually contains a snippet from the EntreLeadership training courses they do and then they also include an interview with a leadership expert. I can’t recommend this podcast highly enough!

Resource 2) Making Ideas Happen by Scott Belsky (Book) – Do you have ideas? Are you ever in charge of making ideas happen? Do you consider yourself creative? Do you struggle keeping things organized? Are you breathing? (yes, I went there) Then this book is for you! This book has been highly transformative in the way I do things. I’m actually going over the book a second time and pulling out action steps to put into practice right away. The book lends itself more to the project manager or creative individual, but I really believe it can give a lot of people a step in the right direction.

Resource 3) IAmPaulAtkinson & LeadershipFreak (Blogs) – I know this is two resources. I wanted to include them both in this post. Some of you may already follow Paul’s blog on leadership stuff. Despite working with him every day and being pals, I still ready his blog because it’s always got some good, practical advice. I just started following Dan’s blog (Leadership Freak) a few weeks ago after hearing an interview with him on the EntreLeadership podcast. (seriously, you need to go subscribe to that podcast right now in iTunes) He also has some very practical tips on leadership on his blog. Last week I tweeted a few links to their blogs. Check out this link for a few posts of theirs to start on. 

Ok, it’s your turn! Share with us what leadership, creativity, social media resource that you’ve been eating up lately. Heck, even if it’s a post from your own blog share that with us below in the comments. 

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