Mar 12

I’m going to take a break from the “Man-Up” series today, because I wanted to share something with you that I sent to my Member Site group, so here it is…

I couldn’t sleep this morning, so I got up a little after 4 AM. I really don’t mind, in fact I love the early morning. It’s quiet and peaceful and maybe the anticipation of what a new day can bring starts to stir in the back of my mind and gets me excited.

After my coffee ritual, which I have told you about, I opened up a book. I’m not going to give the title yet because I’m only on page 10 but two statements woke me up even more than the coffee.

The first was a quote from Nelson Mandela which said “There is no passion to be found playing small, in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.” What an amazing statement from a man who spent most of his life locked away for his beliefs and for striving to live his life to its full potential.

Then I starting reading the first chapter, it is the real life story of a woman who is changing the world. Right out of college she was given a job with a major financial institution, and rightfully so, that put her in position to indeed change the world. After a few years and a brilliant start she tried to suggest some changes that would have impacted millions of people for good.

She was politely told to keep her ideas to herself and get in line with the corporate culture. In fact if she wanted to move ahead in this major institution she was going to have to “change”.  She was encouraged to “look the part and act the part of a major executive”. When she refused to back down, her boss told her directly “If you don’t change, in time, the culture will change you anyway. So make it easy on yourself and combine your work ethic with a more professional style.”

That statement chilled me to the bone!

The reason it hit home for me was that I was basically told the same thing 20 years ago. Like the young lady in this book, I walked away refusing to allow any culture I didn’t agree with to change me.

Today, the same thing is happening in the USA with a new cultural message of “Submit, get in line, the days of dreams and individual prosperity are over.” I don’t get on political soapboxes for two reasons, first the other side never listens to you anyway, so you’re just preaching to the choir and secondly, I’ve got better places to focus my energy.

But the point is regardless of the culture, regardless of the times, regardless of who “thinks” they are calling the shots-be true to yourself and your dreams.

One of the great things about America is that people from all over the world come here with dreams of a better life, but here is the interesting part, even if it didn’t happen in their lifetime, they passed that dream on to the next generation and the dreams are at some point finally realized. So, like Nelson Mandela said in that opening quote, “Never settle for a life that is less than your full potential”.

Have a great day,
Duke

Mar 10

Today I want to talk about the Crossroads and
Transitions men face.

This is the next area of life where we have to Man-Up,
where we as men need to draw on our strength and
courage to move ahead. Too many men stand at the
crossroads thinking about what they could have done,
should have done, might have done. They stand there
at the crossroads, especially as they get older,
wondering if they can make the transition. They wonder
if they do try something new, will they have to become
someone or something new. Do they have what it takes
to make it?

Fear of failure and fear of rejection both collide here
and it can be a major train wreck if you allow it to
happen. Will you stand at the crossroads crying the
victim’s sad song or will you face whatever it is and
move on?

King David was a man’s man, but in I Samuel 30 there is
a record of David leading his men into battle and when
they returned to their home at Ziklag they found that
it had been raided and all the men’s families taken
captive. Now here is a crossroads!

Do you fall to your knees and wonder why God forsook
you, like so many over the years have done? Or do you
take the responsibility to realize there is nothing you
can do about the past and go to God to see about your
future? That’s what David did even as his own men were
ready to stone him for taking them into battle and
leaving their families behind.

David went to God and asked if he could go after the
raiders and if so, would they get their families back.
Now, stop and think about this!

First of all, it took a lot of guts for David to go
to God and ask this because what if God had said,
“Forget it, it will not work”? Would you want to be
David and come back and tell the men who were already
about to stone you that you were not even going to try
to get the families back?

But King David put himself on the line. That’s what
it means to Man-up. Are you willing to put yourself
and all you believe in on the line? Are you willing
to take the responsibility to face failure and rejection
on the chance that you might succeed?

Thankfully God told David to go after them and that
he would get everything back. But that didn’t just
happen automatically, David still had to do it, he
still had to gather the men behind him, he still had
to pursue and fight the battle to get everything
back-and he did.

When you are faced with a serious crossroad in your
life what are you going to do?

As I see it you have three choices.
1. Freeze and do nothing locked in doubt, fear
and regret about the past
2. Back away from it and admit defeat before you’ve
even begun
3. Man-up and move ahead in spite of the chance of
failure or rejection

Only number three brings victory in your life, so what
are you going to do?

Have a great day,
Duke

PS – If you want help in these areas of life I am here
to coach you NOT to tell you what to do, but to help you
take the right steps for your situation.
Go to http://www.GodWantsYoutoProsperFamily.com
and join today. You can see the resources there and
Monday through Friday I send you coahcing emails. So
check it out.

Mar 04

In our last post I asked the questions “Where is the heart and soul of a man like Joshua who had to step into the shoes of Moses-the man who had done it all?

Where is the heart of a man like Caleb who along with Joshua stood up against all of Israel and declared that with God they could face all odds and defeat anyone who came up against them?”

First let’s realize that there was only one Moses, one Joshua, one Caleb and so on. It’s not about us trying to be courageous like these men by doing what they did. But we can have that same heart and desire to rise to the occasion, but the obvious question is how?

How did Caleb reach the point where he said “I will face all odds regardless of the size of my enemy”? How did Sampson have the strength to say, “Dear God, just give me one more chance to destroy my enemy”? How did Job gather the strength to say, “No matter what has happened, I will not reject my God”?

Who has seen this kind of strength in the heart of man today? And more importantly, how do we get it for ourselves?

I believe that one of the first barriers that keep us from having this kind of heart is how we as men deal with wounds. We are taught that “pain don’t hurt”, which means to just suck it up and keep going.

Men cheered when the old Scottish Highlander in the movie Braveheart took a swig of whiskey and gave out a yell as his son cut an arrow out of his chest. And then we laughed when the old man punched his for cutting it out (If you are a woman reading this I know this makes no sense, but just ask a man and he’ll tell you).

Men look at this “tough-it-out” mentality as strength and courage, but what we have to realize is that most of the wounds we are carrying around trying to “tough-out” will never heal. No matter how long we stay strong these wounds never heal and that makes us weak, just like a broken leg that never heals properly. We are used to getting hurt and getting up, so that is what we do, but even though we are moving ahead we start to limp from wounds that we have never allowed to heal.

Another scene from a movie that carries this same mentality is “300” the movie about the Spartans and the battle at Thermopolis. In one scene the hero has a shield full of arrows and he simply took his spear and knocked off the shafts leaving the arrow heads buried in the shield and once again it all made sense to us men because that’s what we do.

As men we have been taught to ignore the wounds-that’s how we define strength and courage. But then what happens when that unhealed wound is poked by someone? We have the same reaction as if someone deliberately punched an injured area of our body, we get mad, frustrated, angry or just withdraw deeper into ourselves. If there was an open wound this would make sense but because it is not visible no one understands this kind of reaction.

We need to recognize a another side of strength and courage and that is to recognize the wound, admit it’s there and get it taken care of.
Another one of man’s greatest fears is not measuring up, not meeting the mark or being able to stand up to the challenge and this is compounded when those close to him don’t believe in him or doubt him.

I was an average football player from the third grade until I was a junior in High School. I had a very critical and negative relationship with my father and there was no other man in my life that encouraged or believed in me. Then just before my senior year a football coach at our school believed in me and got me to believe in myself. In that one year, my last year of playing in High School, I went from a nobody to an All-State Offensive Center and on to play in college at East Carolina University.

It has taken me years to get over the wounds I received as a kid, I first had to find that strength and courage to admit they were there and then get rid of them. But here is at least one example of someone believing in a young man and, at least for a time, he is able to rise to great heights. If this can be done while still carrying all the unhealed wounds, just think what can be done when those wounds have been healed.

Next time we will look at the crossroads and transition…

Have a great day,
Duke Clarke

Mar 02

I am going to continue today with the general theme of how a man can finally find happiness. It has to start with courage and strength, but it’s a very different view about these two elements of life than most men think.

For most men courage and strength has to do with their testosterone. It’s about how dominating you can be, how bold you can be, how long you can tough it out or get in someone’s face. All of that may work on the street or in gangs or maybe in the business world, but I’m talking about something much deeper and much more productive.

I don’t know how far we will get this morning but concerning courage and strength I’m going to talk about:

– How you handle attacks and wounds in life

– How you deal with crossroads and transitions

– How you Man-up to be yourself

– How you bear up under pressure

– How to weather the storms of hell with the heart of a new dawn

I read recently that for most men their number one fear is fear of failure. This is not something you can ignore or talk yourself out of, so I want to show you how to put on courage and strength and put off fear of failure forever.

I read an interesting record once about Elk, those elusive, majestic, massive animals of the west. The article said that at one time these beasts roamed to open plains of the west in massive herds, but because man evaded their area and hunted them down, the Elk retreated to the highlands, to the deep forest, going higher and higher to get away from the relentless pursuit of man.

Today the Elk is one of the most evasive, elusive animals of the wild. How did they go from being free to roam the plains in abundance to being withdrawn and reclusive? It was their only defense against the slings and arrows of mankind. Every attack, every wound drove them deeper and deeper into the wilderness.

How many men are exactly like the Elk? Yes a man’s body may be present but his soul has been driven deeper and deeper into a wilderness that no man, woman or friend can find. The attacks and wounds that he has exposed himself to in the name of success or even the avoidance of failure have taught him that if he wants to survive, he needs to hid. Yes he is exposed on the surface, but his soul is as elusive as the mighty Elk.

Wives and girlfriends reach out to him, but they can’t find the real man. They get mad at him for being elusive, they get tired of him being withdrawn, they give up on him for not opening up to them. But what they don’t see is that this is how he has learned to survive. He has learned that to expose himself is to die, maybe not at the moment but little by little more of his soul is taken and he dies. So when those close to him call him out, he does the only thing he knows to do for safety—run to higher ground.

Where is the courage and strength of the Christian man today? He goes to church, sits in the same seat, at the same church, on the same hour each week. He picks up his heart at the door as he enters and leaves it with the ushers as he leaves.

Where is the heart and soul of a man like Noah who alone stood against the world while he was mocked, ridiculed and rejected but still trusted God and when the rains came he lived?

Where is the heart and soul of a man like Joshua who had to step into the shoes of Moses, the man who had done it all?

Where is the heart of a man like Caleb who along with Joshua stood up against all of Israel and declared that with God they could face all odds and defeat anyone who came up against them?

How did these men have the courage and strength to do what they did? Tomorrow we will find out more…

Have a great day,

Duke Clarke