Can We Afford Not To?

earl nightingale

When I first started listening to motivational and personal growth tapes and CD’s in the late 90’s, I heard this quote from Earl Nightingale, “If a person will spend one hour a day on the same subject for five years, that person will be an expert on that subject.” I have heard that same quote several times since then. It is one of the quotes that has guided my life.

Imagine the implications of that statement. No matter who you are or where you are, if you will simply discover what it is that stirs up your enthusiasm and simply spend at least one hour a day on that for at least five years you will become an expert on that subject. If it is something you are truly passionate about, this should not be difficult.

best projectI recently finished a class for professional speakers. It was held almost three hours from my house (which made it about a 6-hour roundtrip). At the first session, the instructors seemed concerned I had to drive such a distance to attend this class. They were afraid I would miss too many sessions to get the full value of the class. I understood their concern but I assured them my passion and enthusiasm would be enough fuel to get me to the each session.

It was a 10-session course over a 6-month period. Not only did I make all 10 sessions but I was the only one in the class to make all 10 sessions! Was it practical? Probably not. Was it worth it to me anyway? Absolutely! It was a great course and I learned even more about what I love to do; fuel people’s enthusiasm through speaking.

well rounded personI invest most of my time into learning how to better help people climb to their God-given potential. I do not have a desire to be well-rounded.  Well-rounded people have no point. I desire to be a pointed person with a specific direction and I will do all I can to learn more and be better at what I do. Even if I have to drive almost six hours 10 times over a six-month period.

I have invested (I like that word better than “spent”) more than one hour a day for the past five years in learning how to best help myself and others climb to their God-given potential. I have invested several hours a day over the past 20 years doing this. And I am more passionate about it now than I have ever been!

In 2000, I asked my brand new wife if we could afford to purchase at least one audio a month on self-improvement. We were newly married, had very little money, and I ran a ministry where I was paid completely through donations. She looked at me and said, “Can we afford not to?” I love that woman for many reasons, but one important reason is that she understands the value of learning, growing, and self-improvement.

We still listen to audios and read books to improve ourselves in our areas of passion. We now have two kids who also love to read and learn more about the things they are very passionate about. We are a family that invests in what we are passionate about and good at so we can become even better.

What are you enthusiastic and passionate enough about that you can easily invest at least an hour a day for the next five years so you will become an expert? All of us have the God-given potential to be an expert in something. I have found mine…What is yours?


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_MG_6842cropTommy Lanham is a dynamic, award-winning speaker who has been training individuals and organizations to ignite their God-given potential for 25 years. With a unique blend of Ziglar motivation and ragamuffin faith, Tommy delivers powerful, life-changing messages filled with humor, hope, and enthusiasm.

Tommy will empower, entertain and energize audiences to achieve extraordinary results and live a life beyond what they ever dreamed possible.

Tommy is dedicated to helping you make your next event the best you’ll ever experience. Your audience will laugh, learn and be inspired as he mixes enthusiasm and humor with motivational stories to deliver a high content message. You will look like a rockstar for hiring Tommy Lanham!

Check Tommy’s availability or leave a note:

Well-Rounded People Have No Point

well rounded 3As a child, I frequently heard people talking about being well balanced. It seemed when an individual fixated on one thing, others looked down on that type of behavior. People talked about being a “well-rounded person” as if that was the goal.

In order to be well-rounded and balanced, we needed to find out what our weaknesses were and work on them. People wanted us to be involved in different types of activities so we could grow up well balanced. It was exhausting.

As I got older, I noticed there were some things I enjoyed and did well. There were other things I did not enjoy and did very poorly. I had little to no interest in improving some of those activities that I did not enjoy. However, if I wanted to be well-rounded I needed to “try harder” at those activities of which I performed poorly.

well rounded personAs I became an adult, I began to notice that many of the people who made the biggest difference in the world were not “well-balanced”, they were intensely-focused. They did not try to do everything equally well, they did just a few things extremely well. They were people who followed their dreams, talents, and strengths in a way that not only served them but served the world as a whole.

Have you ever found it interesting that the higher up you go in education the more narrow your subject matter? Why is that? The higher the quality of education the more intensely focused it becomes.

Please do not misunderstand me, I am not saying we should ignore those areas where we are not very strong. However, most of our time and energy should be invested in becoming even better in those areas where we are already better than most other people. It is not about being balanced. It is about being intensely focused. I encourage people to invest about 20% of their time and energy into improving their weaknesses (maintenance) and about 80% of their time and energy into improving their strengths (mastery).

John Maxwell uses this illustration; imagine a scale of 1-10 with 10 being the highest. Maxwell says if we try really, really hard we might be able to raise our number about 2 points. If we are a 2 in something and we work really, really, hard to improve we might

einstein

get up to a 4. Fours are average. However, if we are a 7 at something and we work really, really hard we could possibly bring it up to a 9. And people pay big money for nines.

Albert Einstein, someone who changed the world by being intensely focused and not “well-rounded”, put it this way, “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” Why? Why would a well-functioning fish think it is stupid?  Because it was not made to climb trees. There are some things you are made for and some things you are not. “Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that” (Galatians 6:4, The Message).

Here is the fact of the matter: well-rounded people have no point! Forget about being well-rounded and instead get intensely-focused on what God created you to do. Well-rounded people may be good people. I am not putting them down. They are contributors to their communities. They live stable lives. But intensely focused people…They change the world!


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_MG_6842cropTommy Lanham is a dynamic, award-winning speaker who has been training individuals and organizations to ignite their God-given potential for 25 years. With a unique blend of Ziglar motivation and ragamuffin faith, Tommy delivers powerful, life changing messages filled with humor, hope, and enthusiasm.

Tommy will empower, entertain and energize audiences to achieve extraordinary results and live a life beyond what they ever dreamed possible.

Tommy is dedicated to helping you make your next event the best you’ll ever experience. Your audience will laugh, learn and be inspired as he mixes enthusiasm and humor with motivational stories to deliver a high content message. You will look like a rockstar for hiring Tommy Lanham!

Check Tommy’s availability or leave a note:

 

Abnormal, Unbalanced, and Out of Step

People who are intensely focused can change the world.

 


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_MG_6842cropTommy Lanham is a dynamic, award-winning speaker who has been training individuals and organizations to ignite their God-given potential for 25 years. With a unique blend of Ziglar motivation and ragamuffin faith, Tommy delivers powerful, life changing messages filled with humor, hope, and enthusiasm.

Tommy will empower, entertain and energize audiences to achieve extraordinary results and live a life beyond what they ever dreamed possible.

Tommy is dedicated to helping you make your next event the best you’ll ever experience. Your audience will laugh, learn and be inspired as he mixes enthusiasm and humor with motivational stories to deliver a high content message. You will look like a rockstar for hiring Tommy Lanham!

Check Tommy’s availability or leave a note:

3 Lessons I Learned From a Cold Bath

About a year after my wife and I got married, we decided it was time to buy a house. Looking back on it now, 16 years later, we were not ready to buy a house. However, we thought we were so we looked, we found, we bought.

 

We both fell in love with a house in Nicholasville, Kentucky. We went through all the actions needed to buy a house like signing 1,263 papers, (exaggerating slightly). We moved in on a Saturday and I had a speaking engagement about 2 hours away the next day.

This was a unique house, to say the least. It was a house that needed some work, but we loved it. It had character. It had two bathrooms (my only request after living a year in an apartment with only one bathroom), one on each floor.

DSCN1638

The upstairs bathroom had a shower that did not yet work and the downstairs had a beautiful cast iron claw foot bathtub. I don’t know about you, but I am a shower guy. I do not like to take a bath. I like for the water to beat the dirt off of me. I do not like sitting in a pool of water with all the dirt floating around me.

Like I said, the next day I had to get up early and travel to a speaking engagement. I was already aggravated because I had to take a bath instead of a shower. When I go to fill the tub and I realize we do not have anything to plug the drain.

I started looking for anything I could to stop the water from running down the drain. I tried a piece of rubber that was laying on the floor… that did not work. I tried stuffing a wash rag down the drain… that did not work. I even tried using a plastic cup…Duh! They float!! So, that did not work.

I never did get the water to stop running down the drain. But I did get it slowed down enough to fill the tub so I could take my bath. Although, by this time I had run out of hot water.

Here I was, already aggravated because I had to take a bath instead of a shower, shivering because I am all out of hot water, watching the dirt float around me while trying to hurry up before all my water runs down the drain.

chrome lever

All of the sudden I looked up at the front of the tub and I saw…..a chrome lever…

I reached up and pulled that chrome lever up.  Lo and behold the water stopped running down the drain!

Let me just say, it takes a pretty secure person to share a story like that! I also believe it is a good lesson for all of us.

Lesson 1:  Laugh at yourself

John Maxwell says, “You might as well laugh at yourself, everybody else is. Why not join them?” Do not take yourself too seriously.

Lesson 2:  We all make mistakes

One thing we all have in common is we all fail. Keep in mind that failure is an event it is not a person. We will fail. Sometimes we fail big and sometimes we just forget to pull up a chrome lever to stop the water from running down the drain. The important thing to remember is when you fail, you are not alone.

Lesson 3:  Learn from your failure

I can count on one hand how many baths I have taken since that day.  But the few times I have, I always look for a chrome lever at the front of the tub. Whatever your failure may be, learn from the experience. Failure is just an opportunity to begin again more intelligently.

Failure is not the end. In many cases, it may only be the beginning. Laugh about it; realize we all make mistakes; and ask yourself, “What can I learn from this?”


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_MG_6842cropTommy Lanham is a dynamic, award-winning speaker who has been training individuals and organizations to ignite their God-given potential for 25 years. With a unique blend of Ziglar motivation and ragamuffin faith, Tommy delivers powerful, life changing messages filled with humor, hope, and enthusiasm.

Tommy will empower, entertain and energize audiences to achieve extraordinary results and live a life beyond what they ever dreamed possible.

Tommy is dedicated to helping you make your next event the best you’ll ever experience. Your audience will laugh, learn and be inspired as he mixes enthusiasm and humor with motivational stories to deliver a high content message. You will look like a rockstar for hiring Tommy Lanham!

Check Tommy’s availability or leave a note:

 

What a Cold Bath Taught Me About Failure (Video)

About a year after my wife and I got married, we decided it was time to buy a house…


Do you need help on knowing where to start?  I offer one complimentary discovery call if you’d like some help figuring out how God has specially gifted you.


Subscribe to the YouTube channel to get notified when new videos are posted!


_MG_6842cropTommy Lanham is a dynamic, award-winning speaker who has been training individuals and organizations to reach their God-given potential for 25 years. With a unique blend of Ziglar motivation and ragamuffin faith, Tommy delivers powerful, life changing messages filled with humor, hope, and enthusiasm.

Tommy will empower, entertain and energize audiences to achieve extraordinary results and live a life beyond what they ever dreamed possible.

Tommy is dedicated to helping you make your next event the best you’ll ever experience. Your audience will laugh, learn and be inspired as he mixes enthusiasm and humor with motivational stories to deliver a high content message. You will look like a rockstar for hiring Tommy Lanham!

Check Tommy’s availability or leave a note:

Keep Your Eyes on Jesus

Stan McDanielMy college professor had a catch phrase he would use whenever the discussion seemed to get to a point of no resolution. A controversial conversation would be taking place and out of the blue Dr. Stan McDaniel would say, “Keep your eyes on Jesus the author and perfecter of our faith.” I think Dr. McDaniel or Stan as most of us knew him, reflected a pretty good philosophy with that statement.

Of course, that line comes straight out of the Bible; Hebrews 12:2, Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author, and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (NIV). What a way to look at the world by looking to Jesus. The Voice version of the Bible says “Now stay focused on Jesus.” In the midst of everything going on in the world and everything going on in our personal lives let us simply “Keep our eyes on Jesus.”

Not only is Jesus the “author and perfecter of our faith,” he is the one and only perfect example of how to live, think, feel, and believe. If we keep our focus on Jesus, we know we are moving in the right direction.

eyesonjesus

When we get bombarded with social and political issues, when we find ourselves in the midst of a theological and doctrinal debate with others and even inside our own minds, when we are so distraught with the burdens of this life, let us keep our eyes on Jesus. When I am in the right state of mind, my focus is not on whether I am right and you are wrong. My focus is not on my financial situation.  My focus is not on the state of my country. My focus is on Jesus. All of these other issues only matter to me to the extent they are related to my focus being on Jesus.

So, thank you, Dr. Stan McDaniel, for helping me keep my focus where it needs to be in the midst of all the distractions. Thank you for giving me a go to verse in the midst of confusion. Thank you for influencing me to be influenced by Jesus!

As we go through the process of discovering our purpose, setting goals, and answering God’s call on our life, as we read and grow to become the best version of what God created us to be, as we climb to our God-given potential let us remember this:

“Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed – that exhilarating finish in and with God – he could put up with anything along the way: cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God” (Hebrews 12:2, The Message).


Do you need help on knowing where to start?  I offer one complimentary discovery call if you’d like some help figuring out how God has specially gifted you.


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_MG_6842cropTommy Lanham is a dynamic, award-winning speaker who has been training individuals and organizations to reach their God-given potential for 25 years. With a unique blend of Ziglar motivation and ragamuffin faith, Tommy delivers powerful, life changing messages filled with humor, hope, and enthusiasm.

Tommy will empower, entertain and energize audiences to achieve extraordinary results and live a life beyond what they ever dreamed possible.

Tommy is dedicated to helping you make your next event the best you’ll ever experience. Your audience will laugh, learn and be inspired as he mixes enthusiasm and humor with motivational stories to deliver a high content message. You will look like a rockstar for hiring Tommy Lanham!

Check Tommy’s availability or leave a note:

Who Has Influenced Your Life? Whose Life Are You influencing?

popeye4I have had many people support and believe in me over the years that have greatly influenced who I am. My dad was a huge influence in my desire to read and learn as well as the developing the gumption to not always take the easy way (Sometimes I think he wished he had not taught that last lesson so well). My mom greatly influenced me in my demeanor. I am not easily ruffled and much of that comes from my mom.

Jack Bunch was my minister when I was a little kid. I created havoc Sunday mornings after church because I would come down the aisle of the church to shake Jack Bunch’s hand.  Then I would circle back around through the crowd and come back out and shake his hand again. I would repeat this to an annoying degree every Sunday.

funny crowd

One day Jack Bunch gently grabbed me by the shoulders and said, “Why don’t you simply stand beside me and shake everybody else’s hand as they walk out of the church building?” If he had given me a million dollars, it would not have meant more to me than that act! For several Sundays, I would stand right beside Jack Bunch and shake people’s hands as they walked out of the church building. Maybe that is where the seed was planted that I would one day become a minister.

EddieA few years later, Eddie Hammond was our minister and he was always supportive of my singing and songwriting. When most adults thought it was funny that a kid was writing songs, Eddie Hammond actually encouraged me. Influences like that have a huge impact. Even today, music is still a big part of my life.

Monty Cooper

A few years later, Monty Cooper was our minister and he helped me write my first sermon when I was fifteen years old. He sat down with me and walked me through some simple steps to developing a sermon. I wrote a 20-minute sermon and it took me all of 5 minutes to preach it. But it would my first of many sermons I would write and deliver.

Don ThieA few years later, Don Thie was our minister and Don took a special interest in me, especially after he found out I was planning on going to Bible college to prepare for ministry. He included me in ministry opportunities in the church. We would practice music together and lead worship together from time to time. He allowed me to preach often on Sunday nights. He even took me on a road trip to visit some Bible colleges so I could make a more educated decision about where I wanted to go.

Dave MaltzanWhile I was in college, Dave Maltzan became the minister of my home church. Dave always helped me along in ministry. I had a weekend ministry in the same town at this time and Dave was a mentor to me. The first time I watched someone die in the hospital, Dave Maltzan was there and helped me through it.

These are just some of the influences in my life. I hope I am an influence in other people’s lives the way they have been in mine. Much of who I am is because of their influence and I am thankful. Thank you, Mom, Dad, Jack Bunch, Eddie Hammond, Monty Cooper, Don Thie, Dave Maltzan, and many others who have been a significant, godly influence in my life. Who knows where I would be without you.

Who has influenced your life? Whose life are you influencing?


Do you need help on knowing where to start?  I offer one complimentary discovery call if you’d like some help figuring out how God has specially gifted you.


Subscribe to the YouTube channel to get notified when new videos are posted!


_MG_6842cropTommy Lanham is a dynamic, award-winning speaker who has been training individuals and organizations to reach their God-given potential for 25 years. With a unique blend of Ziglar motivation and ragamuffin faith, Tommy delivers powerful, life changing messages filled with humor, hope, and enthusiasm.

Tommy will empower, entertain and energize audiences to achieve extraordinary results and live a life beyond what they ever dreamed possible.

Tommy is dedicated to helping you make your next event the best you’ll ever experience. Your audience will laugh, learn and be inspired as he mixes enthusiasm and humor with motivational stories to deliver a high content message. You will look like a rockstar for hiring Tommy Lanham!

Check Tommy’s availability or leave a note:

Will You Take Extreme Steps To Start Saving Money?

Zig Ziglar used to say, “If you do the things you need to do when you need to do them the day will come when you can do the things you want to when you want to do them.” That statement is true in all areas of life, but especially when it comes to saving money.

If we will save money when we need to save it (NOW) the day will come when we can use our money the way we want to use it; whether it is having enough money to cover emergencies, to cover large expenses, or having enough to truly bless someone who is struggling. Whatever our motivation, it will be nice to have the money when the time comes.

burninghouseIf your child, or someone you love, was in a house that was on fire, what would you do to get that person out of the house? …. Yep! Anything you possibly could, and maybe even more than what is possible, to save your child or loved one. In other words, you would not make excuses.  You would go to extreme measures to save your child or loved one.

We will save money when it becomes very, very, very important to us. Not when the economy changes, not when this person moves out or when that person gets a job, not when the new president takes office. We will only start saving money when it becomes very, very, very important. Just like saving the child from a house fire, when it becomes very, very, very important to us, then no excuse is strong enough to keep us from taking action.john wesley
John Wesley said, “Earn all you can, save all you can, give all you can.” We will not have the money to bless others if we do not save the money we need to bless others. Again, whatever your motivation for saving may be, it will not happen because of outside circumstances. It will only happen when we make an intentional decision to save money no matter what happens. It is kind of like saving your child from a house that is burning down around them.

When will you decide to start saving?


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_MG_6842cropTommy Lanham is a dynamic, award-winning speaker who has been training individuals and organizations to reach their God-given potential for 25 years. With a unique blend of Ziglar motivation and ragamuffin faith, Tommy delivers powerful, life changing messages filled with humor, hope, and enthusiasm.

Tommy will empower, entertain and energize audiences to achieve extraordinary results and live a life beyond what they ever dreamed possible.

Tommy is dedicated to helping you make your next event the best you’ll ever experience. Your audience will laugh, learn and be inspired as he mixes enthusiasm and humor with motivational stories to deliver a high content message.

Check Tommy’s availability:

What Can You Do With a Lot of Money?

 

On Tuesday we discussed saving money for an emergency fund. Yesterday we discussed saving money to make cash purchases to avoid debt. Today let’s look at a third reason to save money, wealth building.

Remember, I am not talking about being eager for money I am simply talking about being wise with money. There is a difference. The love of money is the root of all kinds of evil (1 Timothy 6:10), but to be wise with money…well…that is just wise.

savingProverbs 28:20, says; “A faithful man will be richly blessed, but one eager to get rich will not go unpunished” (NIV). Please do not misunderstand me. I am not advocating a prosperity theology here. I believe this verse describes just the opposite. God does bless those who are faithful. All those blessings are not necessarily financial, although they can be. God blesses in many ways.

However, if your goal for faithfulness is to become wealthy, that would be “eager to get rich” and as this verse says, those will be punished. Again, do not be eager for money, but be wise with it. Saving money for wealth building does not have to be an “eagerness for”, it can simply be gaining wisdom with our money.

Someone who is faithful about saving a little money every month over a lifetime will build wealth. Being wealthy is not a sin. It is the attitude behind the wealth and the accumulation of it that makes it right or wrong. There are many wealthy people who use their money for godly purposes.

saving moneyDave Ramsey often uses the following equation: If you save $100 per month, every month for 40 years at 12% interest you will build it to $1,176,477. Then he goes on to say, “what if I am half wrong?” Well, the answer would still be $588,238.50. That is still not a bad retirement. Imagine the people you could help with that kind of wealth!

What do you want to do with your wealth in retirement?


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_MG_6842cropTommy Lanham is a dynamic, award-winning speaker who has been training individuals and organizations to reach their God-given potential for 25 years. With a unique blend of Ziglar motivation and ragamuffin faith, Tommy delivers powerful, life changing messages filled with humor, hope, and enthusiasm.

Tommy will empower, entertain and energize audiences to achieve extraordinary results and live a life beyond what they ever dreamed possible.

Tommy is dedicated to helping you make your next event the best you’ll ever experience. Your audience will laugh, learn and be inspired as he mixes enthusiasm and humor with motivational stories to deliver a high content message.

Check Tommy’s availability: