Archives For Life

Everyone in their life has guiding principles that shape how they live. Sometimes they’re all neat and tidily written down somewhere and sometimes the only place they live is deep down in your gut. Throughout the course of life, amazing opportunities arise and profound challenges lurk. Regardless, it’s these principles that guide your thoughts and actions. Here are some of mine, in case you’re interested.

You’re Not Me And I’m Not You – It’s first on the list for a reason. I don’t expect you to adopt my principles as your own. We’re different people and that’s the beauty of humanity. Each of us unique. I’m not always right and, well, neither are you. Lets keep that in mind as we live out this short life we have. Empathy goes a long way.

Choose Your Battles – There is a lot to argue about in life, a million things you could spend your time fighting for and bantering about. Endless blogs on both sides of an issue and Facebook comments that never end. At the end of the day the battles I want to fight are for forgiveness, family and friendships.
Don’t Burn Bridges – There are few things in life worth burning a bridge over and it probably centers around the battles you choose. When I move on from something it is always my goal to keep the bridge in tact. You never know when it might be a lifeline to someone or even your own lifeline back. Relationships should outlast your vocation.
You Can’t Control How Others Respond – It’s easy to live in fear of what other people are going to think about you and decisions you make. However, when we’re so worried about making everyone else happy, we avoid the hard but necessary decisions. Be true to who you are and what you need to do.

Give Grace More Than You Criticize – The concept of grace is that we lead with understanding and forgiveness regardless of someone else’s behavior or merit. It’s how we want others to treat us, why don’t we take the lead as often as we should?I hope to get better and better at this in my life as I grow older. Grace is a powerful addition to every situation.

Friends, your life is more about who you bless than it is being right or getting your way all the time. It’s easy to speculate and infer motives from afar but in the end that rarely takes us anywhere good. Rather, lets be people that empathize with others, choose our battles wisely, don’t burn bridges, live in freedom and give lots of grace.


Own It and Move On

July 11, 2014

Are you a dweller? You make a mistake and it haunts you. Or, someone else made a mistake and you obsess over what they should have done differently. You think of everything you never had the courage to act on or actually voice. Why, why, why? What if? Only if I had…


My son Orin just started playing basketball this year; he’s got some good talent but is still learning the basics. I noticed him being overly hard on himself and it occurred to me he just couldn’t get past his mistakes…or at the minimum they would bother him for too many plays. I gave him two little phrases: “Own it and move on.” and “My bad.”  “My bad.”, is a humble recognition that he screwed up; a powerful admission that can put his mind and his teammates’ minds at ease. They don’t need to fear he didn’t see where he fell short, and he doesn’t need to make an excuse for it.  I’ve seen and lived the opposite and know that as soon as you start to dwell, you take yourself out of the moment and the mistakes compound. You forget to live (or play hard) because you’re afraid.  At least I have.

Navel gazing isn’t the answer 

Our decisions have repercussions and “owning” it may take time to repair certain relational, financial or emotional damage.   But navel gazing and working around/ignoring our mistakes takes time too.  The difference is that one is time spent moving forward and experiencing personal growth, and the other leaves you stuck in defeat and discouragement.  

Own it and move on. Whether it be with your spouse, business partner, kids or your teammates. Is there something you’re dwelling on today? It might be time to humble yourself, apologize if necessary, and get back in the game.


Yesterday I wrote about defining success and today I want to focus on how to build on it.

Have you tasted it? That feeling that comes with victory. That sense of accomplishment. The satisfaction of a job well done. What happens when success comes your way? Do you enjoy it? Do you take it easy? Do you fear you’ve peaked? In my experience, there are two roads we head down after experiencing success; we either presume upon it or we learn from it.

Presuming on Past Success

Presumption is the attitude that naively and arrogantly says, “I did it once, I can do it again.” It’s often accompanied by a flippancy that thinks it can get by without all the work this time around, forgetting what the journey looked like to get there in the first place. In an organization this could be accompanied by pedal-to-the-metal, get-rich-quick methods that produce steroid-like growth. You experience a faster flash, a more immediate impact, and put out a greater investment of resources up front to try and buy success. It’s more chaff, less substance; more height, no foundation. The success is short lived.  

[Tweet “Success will lull you to sleep if you’re not careful.”]

Presumers will fail, despite the fact they’re coming from a past experience of success. They may not fail right away and the immediate results may look like success, but over time, without a deep foundation, the results will fade away. This will continue to be the case until the new failures are converted to learned lessons.

Learning from Past Success

Analyzing a victory is so important. What worked? What didn’t? How can I get better? Repeat what you did right the first time, but learn from the mistakes you made so that you can improve. Ask questions of others involved in your success to see where your strengths and weaknesses are. Listen to critique with an open mind and be willing to learn at every opportunity. 

[Tweet “Past Success + Humble Learning = A Future Poised For More Success.”]

Those willing to learn will continue to succeed. They will never be mistake-free, but when they do mess up, they will see it as an opportunity to grow, and persevere until they reach their goal.

So, be bold, chase success, stay humble, learn from it, don’t sacrifice the wrong things and keep after the attitudes that got you there.


Regardless of status or position in life, most people want more. More money, more recognition, more respect, more accomplishments, more success. Success is a universal pursuit. I’ve never met anyone who isn’t pursuing it. Is that a bad thing? I don’t think so but I do think it is important to define and personalize. If you don’t, then your life will be spent comparing yourself to others. That is a bad thing because it robs you of the joy of living your life freely.  

What is success?

At the end of the day, defining success is personal and subjective. But I think it’s fair to say that when someone feels successful, they have accomplished something positive, achieved a goal. Personally, finishing a 1/2 marathon in under two hours was a success for me; I set a goal and achieved it. For someone else, my time would be a total failure. Again, success can be relative, but the recipe for realizing whatever success you are after is basically the same–faithfulness, diligence, and perseverance in your relationships, dreams and opportunities.

[Tweet “A successful life is about building a faithful life.”]

What is it you’re after and why is it important? Have you defined it and are you sacrificing other important areas of your life to achieve it? If you haven’t defined it then you don’t know exactly what you’re after. You certainly won’t know when you achieve it. Spending time to think and dream about your future is an important discipline. Paint a picture of your future and then really examine your motives. What it is going to take to get there and what will be sacrificed along the way? Then ask yourself if it’s worth it. If success in one arena of life leads to failure in another, are you really successful? If you make a million dollars but your family falls apart, is it worth it?

Categories of success

I’m not a fan of compartmentalizing your life into categories but for the sake of defining success, it’s helpful. Take some time and think through your Friendships, Career, Family, Finances, Spiritual Life, Hobbies, Education and any other important pursuits. What does success look like in each area? Where do you want to be 1, 3, 5, 10 years from now? As your dreams begin to formulate on paper, it will inform what’s needed to pursue them faithfully. You’ll be forced to honestly wrestle with your priorities and determine what is most important to the life you want to build and your future success. Blessings. 

Stay tuned for a follow up post: How To Build On Your Success


What’s in it for me? 
Or, to put it more bluntly: “The world revolves around me, don’t you know that!?!” or “I’m really important, didn’t you get the memo?” 
We may not come out and say those words, but we communicate this attitude in a variety of ways. Sometimes, it’s the flippant “I don’t care” comment to those you lead. Other times, it’s ignoring a minor problem that eventually turns into a crisis.
More often, or maybe most often, it’s avoiding an important relationship because you have less to gain from the outcome than the other party. We (I) don’t think beyond myself all that often. I believe we could benefit greatly by taking our eyes off ourselves and opening our hearts and time to the needs of those around us.

That sounds good…but, back to me. 

Why would I do that? What am I going to get out of it? We are probably in the habit of leading with those questions as we think through situations. But what if our first questions were, “What can I give?” or “How can I help?”. In a world where most of the messages we hear center on how to build yourself up, pursue your dreams, and live your most fulfilled life, these questions might feel counterintuitive. On my best days I understand this but on most days I’m still learning.

Five ways to counteract the plight of me-ism.

1. Find someone to serve today. It might be your boss, your kids, your assistant or your spouse. Find something you can do to meet a need of theirs. We usually know what these things are when we take a minute to stop and think about it. Serving is where it’s at, the most powerful antedote to me-ism.

2. Deflect the attention off yourself. Who can you make look good today? Find someone on your team and call them out for killing it. I’m not saying embarrass them completely but find an opportunity to praise someone else, earnestly.

3. Invest in someone else’s success. Someone around you is stuck and needs to borrow your mind. You’ve got a thought they need that can help them move forward. Seeing someone get unstuck is one of the best feelings in the world.

4. Confront something that is hurting the mission. Fighting me-ism is not just serving, praising and helping someone else. Sometimes it’s about confronting someone or something that is opposed to healthy progress. There are never a lot of accolades in putting yourself in harms way but sometimes it’s the most important thing you can do. 

5. Listen, and listen again. Actually hearing the words, and the words behind the words is powerful. What’s in it for me type thinking doesn’t listen well because listening requires taking a back seat in the conversation. It gives the other person the microphone and platform while you observe and listen. Good listening isn’t passive though, it should engage every part of you; a heart that empathizes, hands that are ready to help and a head thoughtful on how to respond.

Which of these five points really stuck out to you? Don’t just file it away and assume you’ll remember it, pick a person or situation to invest in today and see how shelving the “what’s in it for me” attitude changes the game.


I’m Back

April 30, 2014

The last 12 months may have been the busiest on record for me and my family. Busy, busy, busy. Life has been full of these types of seasons but this one takes the cake. Unfortunately, when push came to shove, writing fell down the priority list and I didn’t have the margin to continue writing and posting content. I had to take my own advice and re-prioritize.

Life is still hectic but it has settled down enough to get back in the writing game. If you’ve hung around during this post-less time, thank you for your patience. As I jump back in I thought it would be helpful to give a quick highlight reel from the last year.

1. My oldest son, Caleb, turned 13 in March. Let the teenage party begin! He and I rode the train from Seattle to Portland to watch the Trailblazers take down the Warriors, in spite of Stephen Curry’s 47 points. That guy is fun to watch and it’s even more fun to see my son become a young man.


2. We sold our house and are living in a 2 bedroom condo, still with our 4 kids, while we look for something more permanent. A fun adventure made possible by the generosity of some great friends.

3. The company I help lead opened 3 insanely beautiful (and tasty) coffee shops. If you live in Seattle you need to try Storyville Coffee and if you live anywhere else, well, you too need to try Storyville Coffee. As I’m sure you know, Seattle is quite the competitive coffee market so we worked hard to create a new coffee experience and a memorable launch.

4. Speaking of launch, a good friend of mine has invented a sweet iPhone Camera case that should help revolutionize candid iPhone pictures. Only a few days left to get in on the fun at Kickstarter – $55 gets you a great case and even better the opportunity to support an amazing story.


5. The Seahawks won the Superbowl and I still get goosebumps every time I watch a highlight clip. In honor of the 12th man and our dominance over our rivals to the south, check out this fun t-shirt.

6. My book Authority:The Leaders Call To Serve is still free on my site. If you haven’t got yourself one, would love to share it with you.

7. It’s interesting to see what posts have risen to the top without any promotion over the last year, here are the top two if you’re new to my site and are curious. How my Moleskine makes life more manageable and a book summary of Patrick Lencioni’s The Advantage.

I’m looking forward to getting back into writing, thanks for listening and much more to come.


This post was adapted from my book Money: God or Gift. To learn more about personal finance, money, and stewardship, visit

Are you a Rich Fool?

Sounds harsh, I know. The thing about the Rich Fool is he doesn’t even have to be rich. He simply needs to care more about his stuff than the Creator of all his stuff. We can all fall into the foolish trap and forget that “life does not consist in the abundance of our possessions.”

This trap poses a lot of questions for managing our money. Does this mean we’re to avoid possessions entirely and take a vow of poverty? Should we not then be saving for retirement? How can we be wise and plan for the future without becoming the Rich Fool?

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My wife Crystal recently got me a Kindle for my birthday. I love it. The effectiveness of having so many book options at my fingertips, all stored in one place, and the ability to highlight and export quotes is a huge time saver. Reading is one of the most important things we do in life and I’m a huge fan of any tool that helps me read more effectively.

As an author, one of the most common responses to an invitation to read one of my Kindle books is, “I don’t own a Kindle.” Because I know how helpful books can be, particularly when they are as accessible as Kindle books, I wanted to give you 4 simple steps to reading Kindle books if you don’t own a Kindle. It’s now easier than ever.

You Don’t Need a Kindle to Read a Kindle Book

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Who’s to Blame?

June 11, 2013

“Me or you?” “Him or her?” “Us or them?”

Who’s to blame?

It’s a question that has plagued the human race since the beginning of time.

I had started this post several months ago and never finished it. But I was reminded of it again this last weekend: for the last 8 years, early June has marked the ending of Little League baseball for the Munson family. My oldest son Caleb is 12 now, but has been playing ball along with his 9 year old brother, Orin. (Today is Orin’s birthday, by the way, Happy Birthday buddy). Anyway, both boys were fortunate to make it to the championship games Sunday, so we spent the day at the ball field.

There is perhaps no clearer life example than the game of baseball to study the use of blame casting. Why did we lose? The error so-and-so made in the 2nd inning, the strikeout by so-and-so with the bases loaded and 2 outs, or the umpire’s bad call at home plate. Yesterday’s game was filled with these types of scenarios, and I wasn’t blameless regarding blame-shifting. Orin’s team won their game and Caleb lost but was not void of controversy.

In situations like this, blame was flying all over the place, and yes, the parents are always worse than the kids.

Two people to blame

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Enjoy the process.

This is probably the single most difficult piece of advice for me to follow.

I hear it all the time, but I rarely live it out.

I am so results-driven that it often leads me to be impatient. I want the mission accomplished yesterday. I want the finished product. I want it done. I need it done. The uncertainty of the middle of the process kills me. I’ve written about this topic before—about how we constantly want something more and are not content with what we have. I know I’m not alone in struggling with this.

My tendency towards discontent is most likely a sign of my desire to control my whole life; my need to be in charge of every little detail. It is natural to want to manage my life so that it goes the way I want it to. But it isn’t healthy or godly.

Discontentment is destructive.

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