The 315 Project: My Story

Over the past three months I have been consulting with The 315 Project. Their mission is to help Christians know and share their story. As part of our journey together, I went through their process of knowing and sharing my story.

I have been on quite the journey over my 29 years here on earth. God has continued to demonstrate Himself through me and my story. I share my story to inspire, teach and give hope to others who are struggling in life.

June 26th: Best Links Of The Week


I am currently reading The God Ask by Steve Shadrach 

If you are only able to check out 3 pieces of content this week, let it be these three links...

Top 3 Links

automaticity: the x-factor in habit formation

Have you heard it takes 21 days for form a habit? Perhaps you’re the wiser, having read the details of psychologist Pippa Lally’s research at the University College of London that suggests habits take much longer, up to 254 days, or about 66 days on average. That’s as far as most people get. But to really understand habits, especially why some are so elusive, you must understand the x-factor…automaticity.

Girl Scout cookies

Teaching young people to sell is a priceless gift. The confidence and clarity that comes from being able to engage and to cause a transaction is a trait that can pay off for a lifetime. 

Prepared (Video or Audio Message)

Are you ever afraid someone will ask you why you believe what you believe? Do you fear someone might question what you believe?

Responding to people's questions and challenges can get complicated. But what if you were confident you had the answer to the most important question about your faith?


How Can I Motivate Myself To Work Hard?

How Can I Motivate Myself To Work Hard?

If we are not motivated to work hard we are likely missing Purpose and Vision.

Purpose is our why. Why are we working? Why should we get out of our comfort zone to do hard things?  Purpose propels us forward. It is what pushes us to do what we need or want to accomplish. 

Vision is our where. Where will working take us? Where will we end up when all is said and done? Vision pulls us forward.

In the carrot and stick analogy, purpose can act as our stick (push motivation) where vision can act as our carrot (pull motivation).

When we don't start something, it is likely because we don't have sufficient purpose. 

If we have the motivation to start something but not to finish, we likely have an insufficient vision (or confidence in it) for it.

When we combine a strong purpose and vision, we are able to start and finish what we set our mind to. This is the key to becoming an achiever.

Photo by Victoria Bilsborough on Unsplash

Are We Busy or Productive?

In 2011, I was on the lookout for a tool I did not know existed at the time, but eventually it found me.
Several years ago, Mark Newton founded the idea of irunurun out of desperation when his business was failing. He was extremely busy working on many things, but he was not making any progress in the business. In fact, from his perspective, it was all coming to an end.
Upon arriving at a place of desperation, he felt compelled to go into his office and throw away his business plan binder. He proceeded to go to his desk and write down the 5 actions he knew he needed to do to move his company forward. By writing them down, he could now see if he was actually doing the actions which would result in the success of his business. With this tracking in place, he quickly came to find out he was scoring poorly on these actions. He was really busy doing many things that were not helping him grow.
Busyness distracted Mark from what mattered. In this chaos it was hard to see why he was not succeeding, but as he began to focus, it was clear why he was not moving forward. With this revelation in hand, he now needed a way to help him execute the actions he was not doing. He proceeded to reach out to his friends for accountability. He would send them weekly, a spreadsheet of his actions and scores. Quickly, he came to realize this new-found accountability fostered the drive to make progress on fulfilling his actions.
Slowly, he began to crawl out of the pit he had gotten into and towards what he defined as success. While it was not easy to follow through and enforce the discipline he needed, he arrived at the point where he was consistently executing the actions he needed to do. And, as a result, his insurance practice began to grow.
When I found out about, it helped me change my life. I was living a life of mediocrity, chronic inconsistency and I knew I could do more. I knew my potential, but I struggled to bring this to fruition. As I share on their blog, my struggle to find the key to this locked door was not an easy one.
I recently read a blog by Sara Curtis of the Leaders Lyceum, who introduced me to irunurun. The blog talks about how 'busy' is the new 'fine'. She states in her blog the following: 
"We find our days consumed by reacting to the urgent rather than investing in the important."
Like me, like Mark and like so many others we can find ourselves in a place of busy. Sometimes it's time for us to take a moment and ask ourselves, are we actually being productive? Are we actually moving towards what we have defined as success?
For you, which is it? Are you busy, or productive?

The Jump: Transitioning Your Organization From Chaos To Order


This post is part of a series of posts about IDEMA. IDEMA is a process that came out of the Noodlehead Marketing journey. 

While using the IDEMA framework we realized the power it had as it continued to permeate our organization. Everything changed for the better the more we used it. While we saw and experienced the value, we had a disconnect in conveying the value of this system to the outside world in way which was sustaining. We had trouble transitioning from chaos to order. 
We knew the power of IDEMA, but practically speaking how was an outside organization going to migrate to it when they were in organizational chaos?
Learning A New Way
It wasn't until our year of release did I learn how to bridge the gap. For a while, I had attempted to bring the system of IDEMA into our personal life as I saw it as a way for our family to be more organized and focused. For various reasons, my wife was not interested in using or going through any of my processes. This required me to set aside my way of doing things and figure out a new way to approach this.
At the time she was resistant, my wife had become exhausted taking care of the house, kids and her community responsibilities. This had resulted in a situation where our home life was in a bit of chaos. I wanted to help alleviate the pain, so I asked her for some time to discuss how I could help her. She proceeded to tell me she had no time and was so tired she couldn't even talk with me on how I could help her. At this point she began feeling despair thinking there was no way out of this cycle of chaos she had been in. 
I began thinking to myself about how I could help. Sometimes we just know things we could do to help and so I just began asserting myself taking care of things. I began getting up early with the kids and letting her sleep in. I made breakfast, and I began doing different chores around the house. While I was doing this, I was writing down all of these actions that needed to be done. I began grouping these actions into manageable categories. 
The Epiphany 
Now my approach before was to take the idea, discover it, build it and then maintain it. In this situation I just had to assess the situation quickly and identify where I could help. Each day I would find more ways I could help, and eventually I was able to alleviate enough pressure to establish a comfortable margin. I was now holding up many responsibilities she once held. This gave her a break and allowed me to review it all objectively in order to discover how we might manage it all better.
What I learned from this season of chaos was, IDEMA is limited in how it can help us in a state of chaos. In this place, we need someone who can transition us towards a system such as IDEMA as a way of helping us out of the chaos.
We need help capturing the rogue activities and getting them done so things don't get worse. 
We need help organizing these actions in a way we can begin to properly discover them. 
We need help with clear accountability so we don't stay stuck.
But, it gets messy. It's as if our cart is in a trench in the mud. There is not a clear and easy process to get back on the road. We just need to help pull each other out and grab the pieces of the cart worth salvaging. Once we get out of the trench (chaos) and onto the road (order) we can now make real progress towards our vision.
Our Transition Requires Two Initiatives
Chaos to Order Transition
When we work with an organization in chaos, we need to have two initiatives running. 
The first initiative is rogue idea and action management. Rogue action management is a process we go through to identify what actions we know, without discovering, need to get done to move the organization forward. We establish accountability for these actions and create a scheduled followup to ensure we are doing them. Our intent as an organization is these rogue actions decline over time. 
Our second initiative is process oriented idea and action management. In our case, this is where we take existing and new ideas through the IDEMA framework. We want to properly discover and execute them. We want to ensure we are maintaining with excellence. We want to schedule time when we regularly audit ourselves to ensure we are going the right direction. Over time we should be more process oriented and less rogue oriented.
This is the journey from chaos to order. A journey where chaos is minimized and order is created. It results in an organization dependent on systems, not people. 
This allows us to execute with excellence. 
This allows people to thrive and community to flourish. 

How can this transition framework help your organization?

The Audit Stage - Continue, Change or Stop?

This post is part of a series of posts about IDEMA. IDEMA is a process that came out of the Noodlehead Marketing journey.

Audit Overview

  • Have you ever been in a situation where you were doing something the way things have always been done wondering why you were still doing it that way?
  • Have you ever been in a situation where there was a better way to do what you were doing and you wondered why you had not switched to the better way?
  • Have you ever wanted evidence the actions you were taking were having the impact you wanted?
  • Have you ever been in a situation where some activity you were doing probably should have been stopped long ago?
If you have ever asked yourself something like this in your work or life, you now know the value of an audit. People, circumstances, resources change and we must change in order to stay effective in what we are doing. If we don't we are likely to maintain a behavior and culture in our organization which will lead to our demise.
The audit helps to reassure us and guide us forward. It helps us to see what is working and affirm it. It helps us to see what needs improvement and change it. It helps us to see what is no longer working and stop it. 
In order to gain the value of an audit, we must take ourselves through a vigorous process. It is a process which, at first, may be uncomfortable. For a moment, we may be exposed but it is essential if we are to grow and improve.
We have broken the audit into three main stages.

The First Stage - The Painting Of Three Portraits

Our first stage in the audit process is where we paint three portraits. The portrait of our past, the portrait of our present and the portrait we want our future to be.

Our past is important because it gives us insight into our origin and where we came from. It also allows us to learn how we succeeded and how we failed. These lessons are invaluable as we move forward.

When we have a clear picture of the present, it allows us to see how we have changed from when we started. It also gives us our starting point in moving towards our future.

Our future is important because it will be the vision which leads our actions. The contrast between the present and the future allows us to see and prioritize the gaps we must bridge in order to arrive at our destination.

The Second Stage - Reflecting On Our Portraits

Our second stage is where we reflect on our findings and determine how we will respond. We will have three options as we reflect on our organization, department or project.
  1. When our present and future portrait are the same, or the difference is not worth pursuing, we continue doing what we are doing without change
  2. When our present and future portraits are different, and the difference is worth pursuing, we will change our way of doing things.
  3. When we have no future portrait worth pursuing, we will stop.

The Third Stage - Our Next Step

Our third stage is where we decide what we will do next. We have seen the portrait of our past, present and future. We have determined we want to keep going, change or stop.

If we chose to change, our process revealed insight which led to ideas for improving what we were doing. Our next step is to create a plan for beginning our journey of change.

If we chose to continue without change, our process ought to have affirmed us that what were doing was in deed the best way to accomplish what we were intending to accomplish. At this point, our next steps is to memorialize the audit process story for future reference. 

If we chose to stop, our process has saved us from wasting future efforts and resources in an endeavor ultimately leading to termination.

Audit Areas

When we intend to run an audit, there are several areas we can focus this effort on and like an onion, an organization has layers. We believe there are three meaningful layers. A core (Organization Foundation), a support layer (Departments & Campaigns) and an external layer (Projects). 
An audit can be done in each of these three areas.

The Core

The Core (Purpose, Vision, Mission & Core Values) is the most important element of our organization. We want our core strong because it will be what holds us together through time and tough circumstances. Auditing the core assess it's strength and accuracy. We follow a process to determine how strong it is. Where elements of the core are missing, we will work together to fill in the gaps.

The Support Layer

The Support layer (Departments) is how we segment our organization so we can easily delegate categories of authority to operate within our organizational structure. A support layer audit will focus on a specific department. We will evaluate the structure of the department, its goals, priorities and projects. For a department audit, we would select a department such as marketing and evaluate it. Our intent is to identify elements within this department, but we will restrain from diving deep into individual projects.

The External Layer

The External layer (Projects) is how we segment our departments into tactical actions. These projects tend to directly address a specific gap and are key to bringing the vision of an organization to life. The everyday actions come as a result of a project. For a project audit, we could assess a website, email marketing campaign, new member orientation, or sales process.

Where do you need an audit? 

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Grow Your Life With Jason Scott Montoya, Atlanta Georgia
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