Millennial’s Matter in November

millennials

Back in September I wrote an article called “Trump is not the Savior”. I received this private comment/message on my Facebook page from an 18 year old millennial:

“I totally agree with your article concerning Donald Trump. My own thoughts on this are as follows: If God is going to use Trump as a modern day Cyrus, what justification do people have to make this claim? Both don’t behave in a Godly manner and both have been placed in an unholy nation suffering moral decay-those are the only similarities. But if that is the case then why couldn’t Hillary or Obama be Cyrus? They are as equally unrighteous. Moreover one thing that disturbs me about Trump is his demeanor. As a part of the younger generation I have been told that I (my generation) is brash, disrespectful, loud mouthed, and rude. We have been told this by our elders who expect us to change. But why should I change when the older generation seeks to an elect a leader that is just as disrespectful, rude, and loud mouth as ourselves. It seems quite ironic to me and perhaps that’s why so many of my peers feel distanced by his stances. These are just my thoughts, I didn’t feel compelled to comment for the sake of keeping the peace and not starting a political feud….”

This comment and these questions have been stirring in me since I got this note. I can’t say that I have a word from God about either of these candidates. Is Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton a modern-day Cyrus? I don’t know.

Here is a quote I found that may help, Cyrus was anointed by God to restore the Jewish people from captivity and to rebuild Jerusalem after Nebuchadnezzar, as a vessel of divine judgment, was called by God to send the Jewish people into exile and to destroy Jerusalem. Two pagan kings, one raised up to bring judgment and the other raised up to bring restoration.

Is Donald Trump a Cyrus or a Nebuchadnezzar, if either? Let God be God, and only time will tell.”

What I do know is that Millennials are looking at the character of these two candidates and what they see and hear matters to them. It is hypocritical to expect young people to be respectful, and kind and yet we have leaders in our nation who can’t seem to behave with civility in this election process.

Trump has several character flaws. Hillary can’t tell the truth. Either way, as a millennial you get to decide how you will behave. You be accountable for your behavior, and your choices. The President of the United States should be a role model for the young people in this nation. But whether he/she is, you choose how you will conduct your business and how you will handle issues you face in your life.

So, how should millennials vote during this election cycle? My recommendation is to vote based on your values and principles. For many millennials that may cause you to pause. You may have to take some time and define your values. Once you define them, grab the information from both parties/candidates and see where you find alignment. Where do the candidates stand on the issues and how do they align with what is most important to you?

The definition of values: a person’s principles or standards of behavior; one’s judgment of what is important in life. If you go into the voting booth and vote based on what’s most important to you, you will leave the voting booth with no regrets. No matter who wins this election.

Voting on personality won’t get the job done in November. Both candidates are fallible human beings. There is no way as a voter you can make a decision with these two, Trump and Hillary, based on the strength of the their character. They both fail miserably. For my young friend that left the comment, character won’t help you make the decision in the voting booth. Knowing where each candidates stand on the issues is critical for you.

Here are some things to consider when preparing to go to the polls in three weeks:

  1. Sanctity of Life
  2. Marriage – and the definition of marriage
  3. Religious Freedom
  4. Federal Judge Appointments – This is significant during this election cycle – the decisions made by the next President of the United States will impact us for the next 40 years or more
  5. National Defense
  6. Terrorism
  7. Human Rights
  8. Immigration
  9. Issues on Poverty
  10. Law and Order
  11. Israel & Jerusalem
  12. Internet Safety and Security

Take some time to educate yourself on both parties. Don’t make your decision in a vacuum or based on personality. Let time unveil whether either of these candidates is a modern day Cyrus. Lastly, go vote on November 8th and make your vote count.

 

 

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Trump is not the Savior

This morning as I was reading the Word, I thought about the comments on my Facebook page as a result of my last article, Political Chat: The Aftermath. I thought about all of my friends who are Donald Trump supporters and choose to vote for Trump, okay. I am fine with that…your vote, your choice! But if you believe Trump will save America, you are sorely mistaken or deceived. Trump is not the Savior! donald-trump

The mess we are in will not be solved by one man – certainly not this man! Albert Einstein says, “the significant problems we face, can’t be solved at the same level we were at when we created them.” As different as Trump may be from the establishment in Washington D.C. he is still part of the problem. Just listen to the mess that comes out of his mouth. The Bible says, “out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.” You may enjoy his brash, self-centered style and personality. His temperament may not move you away from him, but the things that come out of his mouth are important. He doesn’t endear women or minorities with his one-liners and comments. He has no edit button. That is unfortunate. And that should at least cause each of us to pause when making our selection in the voting booth in November.

As the days move toward election day, I see myself and you as the hiring manager for the next Commander in Chief of this great nation. We better be wise in our choice. There are significant core competencies that we should consider when making a hiring decision. Professionalism is one of them. Looking presidential may be the more appropriate term in this case. However my term, professionalism works. My definition of professionalism speaks to how an individual will represent us both in this nation and abroad. His representation of us as a nation matters.  That is not Trump’s strength. I don’t want to wake up every morning and hear on the news that our President has embarrassed himself and us in the process because he has no couth. Because he has no edit button. Because he doesn’t care what people think of him.

Character matters when it comes to leadership. The definition of character: “the mental and moral qualities distinctive to an individual.” Every day when Trump opens his mouth, we see and hear the distinctive moral qualities he embodies. He makes it difficult for the hiring managers of this nation, the voters, to say yes to him. If Trump were interviewing for a CEO position we would have crossed him off the list long ago. The fact that we consider him a viable candidate to run this nation amazes me. Is he better than Clinton, absolutely, but definitely by a nose. My prediction for this election, it will be a photo finish. Neither of them may get enough electoral votes to be the definitive winner…then what?

 

Political Chat: The Aftermath

The debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton was over about 30 to 40 minutes in.trump__clinton Clearly Donald Trump was unprepared. As a leader, that is unacceptable. Period. He had no business showing up on the national stage for all the world to see, with no plan. Donald had zero response for obvious issues Hillary would use as ammunition to support her bid for the Presidency, i.e. the temperament rant.

Donald Trump, “doing Donald” doesn’t work if he wants to be President of this great nation. At least not for this voter.

In the Aftermath of this debate, I am disappointed. Hillary Clinton is a “no” vote for me. I will save that for another day. When the options are selecting the lesser of two evils, both candidates better come out swinging for the fence. Having a tantrum and whining about how your being mistreated won’t garner votes.

I take my privilege to vote very seriously. I will vote in November. The problem is neither of these presidential candidates has earned the privilege to represent me in Washington D.C. for the next 4 years. What’s a voter to do?

Political Chat: Lesser of Two Evils?

lesser-of-two-evilsAs I settle in tonight to watch the upcoming Presidential debate between Donald Trump
and Hillary Clinton I thought I would take a moment and share my thoughts prior to this “epic” debate.  I have been watching the shenanigans for a while.

Here are some of my thoughts:

  1. Leaders should not be determined on a scale defined as the “lesser of two evils”. We own this foolishness as a nation. It is our responsibility as voters to set the standard of leadership in this country. Not the politicians or the wanna be politicians. Surely we have better options in this great country – the United States of America.
  2. Leaders in every sphere of our country should represent the people they are leading. Neither of these two people represent me the way I would like to be represented. How about you?
  3. Leaders should have clearly defined values. When determining who should lead me (or you)…those values should be in alignment with my values (and yours).
  4. Leaders should have integrity. There should be no question about that…
  5. Leaders should work well under pressure. Decisions should not be based on a “knee jerk” reaction.
  6. The leader of this nation should uphold the constitution! This nation was founded on very strong principles and values. Those principles and values allow these two candidates to run for office. Neither of them have my permission to rewrite the script for this nation.

I don’t want to make my decision for this election based on the “lesser of two evils.” And yet here we are. I want to support the candidate I vote for. But I am not convinced by either of these two candidates. It is a sad commentary on us as a nation that these two people represent our best option to be the leader of the greatest nation in the world. It saddens my heart…  I don’t trust Hillary Clinton. I don’t believe Hillary is honest. The truth still matters. Being trustworthy matters. Convince me Hillary that my perception of you is wrong…

I don’t particularly like Donald Trump. He is brash, and rude. I believe he can lead this country but I don’t think he “plays nice in the sandbox.” I want to like my President. I am not looking for a syrupy sweet President but I believe my leader should be likable. “People do business with people they like.” At the same time, I want to know my leader will make the tough decisions as it pertains to keeping this nation safe. Neither of these two candidates have convinced me yet that they are the one.

I am looking forward to watching the debate. My hope is that we move away from the “lesser of two evils” to a clear candidate that will represent this nation well for every citizen in the land!

Dear Cam,

Dear Cameron,

New Orleans Saints v Carolina Panthers

CHARLOTTE, NC – DECEMBER 22: Cam Newton #1 of the Carolina Panthers drops back to pass during their game against the New Orleans Saints at Bank of America Stadium on December 22, 2013 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

The purpose of my letter is to give you some feedback. Albeit, you didn’t ask me for it but I still feel compelled to speak up and to write this letter. Your team lost the Super Bowl on Sunday night. It wasn’t all about you, though you are a huge component to the team. And your performance as the quarterback can make or break a game. Your performance matters both on and off the field. Which leads me to my letter….

The loss on Sunday was a defining moment for your team and for you as a leader. How you handle the loss will follow you for the rest of your life. Losing hurts, PERIOD. There is no way around the mental gymnastics we play in our heads when we lose. The embarrassment, the frustration we feel, the second guessing, and the list goes on. I am glad you don’t like losing but you better figure out how to lose, because more lost games among other things are headed your way. You failed the test on Sunday at the press conference!

“When winning and losing affect you the same way, you will know you are beginning to mature.” The fact that you can’t figure out how to be civil with the media speaks volumes about you, not your team…you. The problem is you represent your team. Your immaturity is overshadowing the lost game. That is foolishness.

There is a reason your team lost the game. Denver’s defense played extremely well. Denver did their homework on the Panthers… Beyond the technical X’s and O’s, your team lost and each of you, you and your teammates have lessons to take away, individually and collectively. Grab the lessons, and reset, and begin again. The work begins today towards getting yourself back in contention to win the Super Bowl again. Acting like a spoiled brat doesn’t serve anyone. Especially you.

I am not a fan of the North Carolina Panthers but you sure had an opportunity to win me over this week. I watched the game on Sunday. I was cheering for your team with a bunch of young men who were die hard fans. They were very disappointed in the loss. What are you teaching those young men about how to handle themselves in the face of loss? What are you teaching the young ones who want to immulate you? Who want to be Cam Newton when they grow up? I would tell them to find another role model. So far you have failed as a role model. That matters!

You made it to the big game, the world stage…over 112 million viewers were watching. Many are still watching. You are a leader in training. You needed to lose the game on Sunday. Your behavior since then confirms that. You are not ready to win. Is it too late for you to redeem yourself? Absolutely not! You are a winner! Getting to the Super Bowl proves that. The fact that you don’t know how to lose will define you unless you figure out how to win or lose with grace. Neither of them should move you to the point where you can’t be civil, polite, and gracious in the face of losing.

“I have won, I have lost, I got it right sometimes and sometimes, I did not, life is a journey, I’ve seen joy, I’ve seen regret…” 

We all have lost. Maybe we haven’t all had public losses on the same scale as the Super Bowl but losing is losing. I dare you to rewrite the script. The lost game on Sunday doesn’t have to define the rest of your life. But you have to make an adjustment. You get to…if you plan to continue to play on the big stage of the NFL. Somebody raised you better. Your coaches taught you better. You know better! Get it together and move forward! I look forward to watching your journey!

Sincerely,

Darlene Marshall

Blueprint for Life and Leadership

Successful people, model themselves after successful people. You want to be a good leader? Find a leader that exemplifies what you believe are key characteristics, qualities, skills and abilities that you need and write them down. That is only the beginning. Watch them, the way they handle situations, people, projects and as much as you can see, their very life. “Take the meat and spit out the bones.” Take from them what will help you, and include in your developing blueprint for your life… as a leader.

What in the world is a blueprint? And why is it so important for you to have one? A blueprint is a design plan, or a model. Builders use them to ensure that what they are building is exactly what the “economic buyer”, that’s you – wants as a finished project. That’s a simple definition. No rocket science needed. Do you have one for yourself? For your team? For your organization? A blueprint for life and leadership is what each one of us needs if we plan to be successful. I know you remember the old adage, “if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” It applies here too, for your life and leadership!

Imagine you want to build your dream oceanfront home in San Diego, California. You own two acres of a lot free and clear right on the ocean. Money is no object. You have it in the bank. You’ve selected an excellent architect and excellent contractor. And they are ready to meet with you and discuss the project. At your first development team meeting, you get asked the critical questions: “What do you want? What would make this oceanfront home perfect for you and your family?” You don’t have an answer for these questions.

MADE-MEN-Blueprint

You can’t see the finished house at this early stage. You figure you’ll get started and see where the project goes. Wrong answer! Without some input from you, the architect can’t put pen to paper and see what you see and the contractor shouldn’t begin building. Much like my scenario we need to have a blueprint for our life as a leader and we should ensure that every person on our team has a blueprint, at least as it pertains to what they do in the organization and where they are trying to go. Especially high-performance people. It is critical that you are clear about what they need to continue to develop and they should understand that they can’t make it to the next level without a clear plan.

Let me say it differently. You need a map. You need a destination that you can compare with your starting point. What is it that you must develop in order to be a strong, respected and credible leader in your organization? What does that person look like? What are your strengths? What do you need to continue to do? What do you need to stop doing? What are your gaps? Areas of growth opportunity? All of this can be included in your blueprint.

Last week, I introduced a series I will be writing called “Under Construction”. For some reason, that phrase has provoked much thought on why we don’t accomplish what we think we should accomplish. Why aren’t we always successful as leaders? What gets in the way of success? Sometimes we fall short of the finished line and we beat ourselves up for not getting the promotion. We beat ourselves up for getting a demotion or we lose a good opportunity – we get fired. How does that happen to someone that came in with guns blazing? No plan for success. No plan to grow. No plan for succession. No plan for our people. No plan… you finish the sentence.

Ultimately our blueprint for life and leadership comes down to us making a commitment “to write the vision and make it plain that men might run with it.” I will write more on this topic as I continue to develop this series on “Under Construction“. Remember to “Cherish your visions and your dreams as they are like children of your soul; the blueprints of your ultimate achievements.” – Napolean Hill

 

Under Construction

Under ConstructionUnder construction signs magnify to the world around them to be cautious because there is work being done – dangerous work. The phrase “Under Construction” is the time period that exists after a building’s construction starts through the time before a certificate of occupancy is granted. There are potential dangers around a construction site. From heavy and small equipment, that most people don’t know how to operate. To holes, and wood, hammers and nails. There is a lot of things going on around a construction site. Kinda like our lives. There is much going in us and around us. As leaders we have a responsibility for the safety of others – people who are “Under Construction.”

As I drove past a construction site early this morning I saw the connection between a construction site for building a new building and the construction site in the lives of people – leaders and the people we lead. We are all “Under Construction!” Can you see the analogy? Each of us, even the leader is “Under Construction.” Or at least we should be. None of us are a finished work, though we live as though we are. Not so! It can take a small crew or even a large crew of men and women to handle the arduos job of building a building. Beginning with clearing the land so that the work can begin, the actual laying of the foundation, to constructing the frame and hanging sheet rock, to the wiring of the building and setting in windows, laying carpet, getting a roof on and walking through all of the various inspections through to occupancy. Who are you allowing to touch the soil of your life and build?

I want to begin a series of post on the importance of growth and growing. On allowing others to help construct us and shape us into all that we need to become.

Like buildings, there is a purpose for our lives. As a leader, you must grow-up. You must allow others to use their expertise, much like a construction site employs various professionals to oversee and complete specific work, so that the building will pass inspection and we are able to occupy it. In my series, we as individuals will represent the building. We are the final product. As far as I know, I don’t believe a building has ever constructed itself without the help of lots of hands, a community. Yes, I am from the generation that still believes it takes a community to raise children. I also believe that behind every great leader are mentors and teachers and coaches and family members that represent the community that shape us into who we are. We have lost site of that, but maybe I will find a way to speak to that in this series of post. Here are some thoughts to consider as I begin to develop my post over the next several weeks:

1. We ALL need a strong foundation. Without it the building will falter and maybe even collapse.

2. We ALL need mentors, master crafts men and women to help shape us.

3. We ALL have an original blueprint and it is important to ensure we understand the design…

4. We ALL need to be healthy – internally and externally.

5. We ALL need to be inspected…really? Really!

6. We ALL have value – whose life are you adding value to as a leader?

7. We ALL influence, either for good or for not so good!

And there is more. These are some thoughts I have as I develop the idea that we are “Under Construction.” Be open to the possibility that I may be missing something. I look forward to your contribution! Feel free to share your ideas about my analogy. Or if you get it and you know there is an area you would like me to cover as I construct these posts, please share it in the comments. I am off to get my hands dirty shaping the lives I get to shape. More next week!