Category Archives: goal setting

Dream Again

Dream again

Your Never Too Young or Too Old

Recently, I have had the opportunity to speak frequently on the topic of  “Dream Again.” In these talks I remind people that no dream is too big or too small. I also tell people that, “you are never too young or too old to pursue your dreams.” I have sighted such people as Joan of Arc, Bill Gates and Mark  Zuckerberg on the “too young” side of the spectrum and Harlan (Colonel) Sanders, Mary Kay and Julia Child on the “too old” side of the spectrum.

A couple weeks ago this concept was brought to life in a very real way. I was a guest speaker a great church, that is about two hours from my home church. After speaking on “Dream Again” many people approached me after each service to tell me about their dreams (either unfulfilled or fulfilled). One particular gentlemen really stood out to me.  This gentleman was in his 60’s and spoke with a profuse stutter.  It took him at least three times as long to tell his story as a non-stuttering person would have. His story was this… He had always wanted to sing in the choir because when he sings he doesn’t stutter. He had, had this dream his whole life. he had hung on to it and not let anyone take it from him.  Well last year he was invited to join the church choir, and recently he had the privilege of singing a solo.

As he told his story his face told the story of profound joy. The joy of a passion realized, and a dream fulfilled. What dreams are laying dormant in you? What dreams are you still chasing?  I encourage you to keep going; keep chasing that thing that God has placed in your heart. I encourage you to DREAM AGAIN!

Until next time,

Chris Sonksen


“For of All Sad Words of Tongue and Pen, the Saddest are These, It Might Have Been…..” – John Greenleaf Whittier


Success with New Year’s resolutions

new year 2011

Great Start for a New Year

Happy New Year!  Did you make a New Years resolution? I like to ask this question, I get some very interesting (sometimes hilarious) answers! While we often hear the stats regarding people not succeeding with New Years resolutions the fact is that people who make specific, intentional resolutions are 10 times more likely to attain their goals than people who don’t make specific/intentional resolutions.

Here are a few other facts:

  • 40 to 45% of American adult make one or more resolutions each year.

How the most common resolutions are maintained as time goes on…

  • past the first week: 75%
  • past 2 weeks: 71%
  • after one month: 64%
  • after 6 months: 46%

So why make New Years resolutions? I think it is a great way to give a powerful, fresh start to a new year. Well thought out resolutions can be very empowering. Maybe the word resolution trips you up. Wendy Hearn states,

“What about committing to New Year changes and actions, rather than Resolutions? The key to achieving what you really want in life and business is to take action to achieve those changes. It’s the lack of action which stops us from having what we most want. What you want will be different for each individual and may include:

• More time in your personal life
• Less stress and more fun.
• Greater business and career success.
• Balance between work and home
• Altering your management or leadership style.
Thinking about New Year’s Resolutions may have made you aware that there are some changes you want to make. I encourage you to take steps on a consistent basis to make these changes, rather than vaguely tossing Resolutions around and not doing anything about them.”

I agree vague, casually spoken resolutions usually go nowhere. But well thought out, strategized resolutions have huge potential. So make some resolutions, set some goals and put the actions steps in place to achieve them.

Until next time,

Chris Sonksen


“We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year’s Day.”
– Edith Lovejoy Pierce

Life Lessons for All Higher Ground Seekers

Higher ground statue

Keep climbing to higher ground.

Exerts from: In Search of Higher Ground

Regardless of what mountain you are setting out to climb, you are going to be faced with challenges. Marriage has its challenges, but it’s a great experience. Parenting has its difficulties, but there’s nothing like the love from a child. Standing in front of a crowd and receiving a degree is wonderful, but it is preceded by hard work and a variety of challenges. The freedom that comes from owning your own successful business is terrific, but it does not come without its share of problems. Any Higher Ground goal you have for your life will have its share of problems.

I have been privileged to be a part of wonderful projects in my life. Some have failed, some have succeeded, but all have had their challenges. The climb has never been perfect for me or for anyone I know. The problem is that many individuals start off with good intentions of reachiing their goals, but the give up too quickly. Hershey Walker, the famous NFL runningback, said, “My God given talent is my ability to stick with something longer that anyone else.”  That’s what it takes to achieve your desires. You must be willing to work hard and stick it out. It is not necessarily your talent or ability that gets you to the top, it is your tenacious spirit that never gives up. I have found that people tend to give up early in the climb for one of two reasons:


I have talked about this before, but it bears repeating that fear keeps us from climbing. Fear of the unknown, fear of failure, and/or fear of what others may say or think. Fear of not having enough talent, ability or education. Fear attacks our minds, grips our heart, and chokes potential from our life. Fear is a funny thing. It’s being afraid of something that has not happened and has not been proven. It’s like a child being afraid of the dark. When my little girl was a toddler, she didn’t want me to shut the lights off. I sat down beside her and said, “Close your eyes.” She closed them tightly and then I asked, “What do you see?” “Nothing,” she said. Then I said, “Open your eyes,” she did and then I asked her, “Now how can you be afraid of nothing.” In search of higher ground Now that sounds like a logical point, unfortunately it didn’t work, the light stayed on. As adults, we fear what we cannot see or cannot predict, but we allow this fear to control us like helpless children. Next time you are overcome by fear, remember the words of John L. Mason, “Tell fear to go jump in the lake.”


Another reason people give up on the climb to the top is because of failure. Something didn’t go right, a plan fell through, and rather than pick ourselves up and continue climbing, we throw in the towel and let failure get the best
of us. Charles Goodyear purchased an Indian rubber life preserver out of curiosity. He began to experiment with the idea of making a weatherproof type of rubber. It was a known fact that the rubber would become hard as stone in the cold weather or melt in the hot weather.

Mr. Goodyear sank all his money into experimenting with this rubber. For five years he worked at this project. In fact, his family sacrificed their standard of living because of Mr. Goodyear’s obsession with his experiment. Finally, after thousands of dollars and countless hours, his experiment worked. He figured out a way to make a weatherproof rubber. Out of humiliation, hardship and defeat, Charles Goodyear won. He turned failure into success and defeat into victory all because he wouldn’t allow failure to be the final answer in his life.

Your climbing companions may let you down

There is nothing like the joy of having people climb with you on your way to the top. I have dedicated an entire chapter to this concept, and I have dedicated my life to help others succeed and to be climbing companions with me. There is such a joy to journey with others, to experience the ups and downs of life with people who share a common purpose with you. Over the years I have been honored to partner with incredible people. I have brought out the best in them and they have brought out the best in me. I love working with my staff, being their friends, partners in purpose, and being each others’ greatest fans. However, the reality is that along the way people are going to hurt you. There are people that you will pour your life into and they will, in the end, bring pain to your heart.

Realizing that people will let you down, you must determine before you ever journey to the top, that your faith in the human spirit will not be shaken. You cannot allow yourself to ever become isolated, because part of the joy in your journey is partnership, and sharing the experience with others! You cannot determine that because people let you down, that you must do it all yourself. When someone attempts to do it all themselves, they limit their effectiveness. You cannot accomplish more work with less people, and in addition you will rob yourself of the joy that’s found in helping others succeed. Finally, because people will let you down, you will be tempted to doubt others. You will begin to feel that people cannot be trusted. The result will be that your relationships with other climbing companions will always be limited because the shadow of doubt in the human spirit will be lingering in your heart. People will let you down…but never stop believing in others and never determine that your journey will be better if traveled alone.

Enjoy the scenery

My good friend Wes Beavis once said to me, “Chris, remember that the path you are on is a marathon not a sprint, it is a journey not a destination.” He was encouraging me at a time in my life where I was so focused on tomorrow that I was not enjoying today. I must admit that I fall into this trap quite often. I will find myself so focused on the future, and as soon as the future becomes the present, I focus on the future again. It is a trap that robs me of the joy of life. I must constantly be reminded by those closest to me to keep reaching forward in the race, but don’t forget to enjoy it.

Remember, that although we want to obtain our goals to see our dreams become reality and to be known as a Higher Ground climber, we must never become so busy with our futures that we forget the present. There are marriages that need to be nurtured and children who desperately need our attention. There are friendships that need to be cultivated, love that needs to grow, and joy that needs to blossom. Our Creator did not make us to be so over burdened by life that it robs us of the joy of living.

I am thankful for my wife and two children, who have a perfect way of lifting me to Higher Ground while keeping my feet on Solid Ground. My wife wants me to succeed, but never allows me to forget what really matters in life. She helps me remember what I always say to others, “No one on their death bed wishes they had spent more time at the office.” Let me encourage you to keep reaching for Higher Ground, but never forget to water your own ground -the ground you call home, family, and friends. Water them with your love and affection, and your journey to the top will never lack the joy your life was meant to have.

If you keep climbing, eventually you’ll make it

Life has a way of clearing a path for the Higher Ground seeker. For those who want to be more, do more, see more, and become more, life holds a special door open that leads them to the top. Every person who has accomplished something great or has seen their dreams lived out, has faced their challenges, but has found the timeless truth that if you keep climbing, eventually you’ll make it to the top.

Throughout the course of my life I have seen this truth lived out in me. I have watched with my own eyes how a path seems to open up whenever I become determined to reach Higher Ground. The key however is in the phrase “keep climbing.” It’s the ability to move forward and upward and never ever stop reaching. There is an old Christmas cartoon where the characters sing a song that says, “Put one foot in front of the other and soon you’ll be walking out that door.” You can change the words for your own inspiration and say, “If I put one foot in front of the other, eventually I’ll make it to the top.” Cosider this, if you don’t out one foot in frount of the other, it’s a garentee that you won’t get anywhere. If you’re a Higher Ground seeker, your only choice is to march forward and upward…so keep marching!


Set your course towards the top of the mountain where your dreams have been waiting for you. Brush away the dust of insecurity and fear and wipe away the filth of a failed past and begin to see clearly all that you once thought impossible. It is only then that you can breathe life into your dreams! Destiny awaits you, so embrace it with all your might! Stay focused, march forward and never settle. Our personal paths may never cross, but if we set our sights at the top I am confident that we will see each other on Higher Ground.

Until next time,

Chris Sonksen


“Doubly happy, however, is the man to whom lofty mountain tops are within reach.”

– John Muir

Higher Ground Becomes Shaky Ground Without the Balance of Solid Ground – Part 1

time in balance

It is important to keep your life in balance

Excerpt from In Search of Higher Ground

I am one who believes in the human spirit, and that everyone is loaded with potential and has the ability to accomplish great things. I believe in people’s abilities so much, that I have dedicated my life to helping individuals discover the possibilities that lie within each person. However, I must admit that over the years I have met many people that have pursued their personal Higher Ground, and have reached a level of success that many others would desire, but they are not happy. They have a business that’s thriving, financial security, and have many personal achievements, but their life still seems to be lacking. Why is that? Why is it that some people seem to have it all, but still seem to have nothing?

Probably because most people connect the word “success” with the word “money.” When you see someone who is financially independent, there is an automatic feeling that the person is successful. There are a lot of enjoyable things that money can buy, but success cannot be limited to these things. Success must include the things money cannot buy.

It has been said that money can:

1. Buy a bed, but not sleep,
2. Buy affection, but not love,
3. Buy company, but not friends,
4. Buy a wedding, but not a marriage, and
5. Buy a house, but not a home.

I was recently having lunch with a friend who shared with me some sad news regarding a mutual friend. We’ll call this friend of mine “Mike.” Mike has had a great level of success in many areas of his life. He was not born into a wealthy family, but decided at a young age that he was going to make something of himself. In his early 20s he began working for someone else on the weekends while running a small retail business. Over a few years, this business began to grow in such a way that he was able to quit his weekend job and devote himself entirely to his business. He worked hard, dedicated his time and efforts, and year after year it continued to pay off in great dividends.He expanded his small shop and began to build his own place. Soon he was operating his business from a 35,000 square foot shop in which he began to see his business hit a new level of success. Over time he diversified into multiple projects including real estate, and each project brought him success. Everything he touched turned to gold. Mike was an entrepreneur and an icon in the city in which he lived. The sad news that was shared with me at lunch was that Mike had been diagnosed with a disease, and his chance for survival slim. After being  told this news from my friend, I drove back to my office and began to think about his life.

Death always causes you to think about life.

I asked myself, “Was Mike a success?” Then I realized, you can’t answer that question until you define success. So first I thought about his finances. Undoubtedly he is a success when it comes to money. He is a multimillionaire and has enjoyed all the things that life has to offer.  Then I began to think about his personal life. He had one failed marriage and his current marriage is on the rocks. Mike seemed to have worked so hard to make a living that he had forgotten to make a life.

I began to also think about his children. Each of them have shared in their own personal struggles. Drug abuse, illegitimate children, a low standard of values and morals are all part of the story behind Mike’s children. I am not saying that Mike was a bad parent or that his children don’t love him. What I am saying is that, to a certain degree, Mike did not fulfill his parenting obligation by raising his children with a deep level of character. Regarding any spiritual awareness, there has been none in his life and nothing passed on to his children.

Then I thought about the disease that is taking over his body and I couldn’t help but wonder what words would be said at his funeral if he should die. I wondered about the legacy and heritage he will leave. Has there been anything done in his life that will outlast him?

Now that you have a clearer picture of Mike, what do you think? Does the word “money” make him successful?

Don’t get me wrong, money is a great thing and can be used for great purposes, but you cannot classify money as the means for success. You see, Mike had a dream. He wanted to create a successful business and make lots of money, and he did. However, one thing Mike forgot to do was to keep his feet on “solid ground” while reaching for Higher Ground. Mike had forgotten the golden rule behind the principle of Higher Ground. The rule is, “Higher Ground becomes Shaky Ground without the balance of Solid Ground.”

Consider the courageous people called tightrope walkers. They stand on a thin rope suspended high in the air, and they walk across from one side to the other. The key to the entire success of that tightrope walker is one word… “balance.” His entire life is dependent on his ability to keep things in balance. The same is true for anyone seeking Higher Ground. Their entire success is depending on this one word:… “balance.”

Imagine if you will a large wagon wheel that has various spokes coming out from the center. The ability to make a wheel roll properly lies in the balance. The strength and success of that wheel relies on the spokes being in balance. Let’s pretend now that your life is that wheel and the spokes in the wheel represents various areas in your life. These areas include personal, financial, relational, physical, emotional,professional, mental, and spiritual. The success of your life depends on your ability to be successful in each of these areas. In this chapter I want to break down the first four elements for you and provide some practical ideas that will help you raise the bar of excellence in each category.


The first spoke in your wheel is the spoke we call Personal. This is your character, this is who you are when no one is looking. It is the premise of your true success as a person, leader, worker, spouse, parent or friend.

Some people may think character doesn’t matter. If it’s only what you are when no one is looking, then who cares? It won’t affect my business, my family, my finances, nothing will be affected by character because it’s who I am when no one is looking. Nothing could be further from the truth! If character doesn’t matter, then tell it to the person who just found out their spouse is having a secret affair. Or tell it to the person who just discovered their accountant has been skimming from the top, or that their business partner has left the country with all their money. I promise you this, character matters to those people.

Remember, there are many things in life that others can take from you, a family, a fortune or even health, but character is the one thing that cannot be taken from you…only you can give it away.


The next spoke on your wagon wheel is Financial. Finances are a big part of our society and are often used as a measuring stick for where you’re at in life. Finances are not everything…but they are something. Your Higher Ground may not include finances. It may be to raise wonderful children, to learn a second language, to develop as a leader, or to be the founder of a non-profit organization. Whatever your personal Higher Ground is, you must include the powerful benefit of properly managing your finances. I strongly encourage you to discuss your Financial future with an expert. Develop a plan for your future, your retirement, college education, to pay off your home, and any other dream that requires finances. You might be saying, “But I don’t make a lot of money.” It doesn’t take as much as you think. Sit down with Financial planner and you will discover the power of budgeting your finances and consistently investing for your future.


We now arrive at the third spoke in the wheel that will help keep your life in balance, your relationships. All the personal success in the world doesn’t mean anything if you don’t have someone to share it with. Unfortunately, people pursue their personal Higher Ground at the cost of their relationships. Marriages lose their romance, children lose touch with their parents, and families become fragmented under the guidelines of success at any cost. We are a society who is in desperate need of turning our attention to the family. What good does it do to have all the money in the world if your marriage is failing, or to have a thriving and successful business at the price of becoming more of a guardian than a parent?

In the course of my life I have seen people speak with deep regret. Regret for not nurturing their marriage, regret for not spending enough time with their children and regret for not having enough people in their lives they call “friends.” Although relationships are only one spoke in your wheel of life, it is an important one. Keep your life in balance by keeping in mind what really matters!


Let me just say that I am by no means the expert on Physical condition, but I do try my best to stay in shape and eat right. I have got a long way to go, but I am working on it. One thing I will say is that exercising and eating right does affect your approach and perspective on life. It gives you more energy, boosts your self-confidence, and causes you to embrace and enjoy life at a higher level. Oddly enough I seem to get more done with less hours on the days I work out.

Until next time,

Chris Sonksen

Quote of the Day:

“To laugh often and much, to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children. To earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends. To appreciate beauty, to find the best in others,
to leave this world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition. To know even one life has breathed easier because you have  lived, this is to have succeeded.”   – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Why Teams Fail to Meet Goals

goals success or fail

Why did your team fail to meet goals?

If you are a leader or a member of a team I am sure that you have set team goals.  The organization I operate begins to set goals in October and November for the following year.  These goals serve as a guide to direct us and as a thermometer to evaluate the progress of our organization.

If you do this (and I hope you do) you have probably experienced the frustration of teams not achieving the goals that have been set and you wonder why. Why is it that the team failed to meet the goal?  Why did they lose enthusiasm during the journey?  Where did the team or the leader go wrong?

Below are some reasons “why teams fail to meet goals:”

*  Too many goals
If you come away from your planning sessions with pages and pages of goals, most often the team will only meet a few, if any.  Make sure that you keep the goals focused.  Don’t set your team up for failure…set them up for success.  Make the goals slightly out of their reach.  This will cause your team to work harder and dream bigger.

*  Not enough accountability
Do you set goals as a leader and then fail to follow up on them?  If you do, then your team members will sense that that the goals weren’t all that important.  Set goals and then put into place a system of accountability.  Weekly or monthly is up to you, but make sure that you visit your goals and the progress frequently. This will keep your team accountable and it will cause them to take the goals more seriously.

*  Too much leniency
How do you react when a team member doesn’t reach a goal?  Do you simply say “that’s ok, you’ll do better next time.”  Obviously you want to be encouraging and not verbally badger your team, however they do need to feel responsible for not reaching the objective.  They need to understand that it is not acceptable and begin to possess a sense of urgency about the poor results.

*  No strategic plan to reach the goal
We spend time setting the goals, but little or no time creating a strategy to reach them.  That would be like a pilot leaving Los Angeles and setting his destination for Denver and not putting together a plan.  No flight schedule, no thought of fuel, no checking on weather conditions.  The pilot has a goal, but no strategy to successfully obtain it.  When you set goals with your team create a strategy to obtain the goal.  Break the big goal down into small steps and keep the team accountable to each step throughout the journey.  These small victories will motivate them to the end result.

Until next time,

Chris Sonksen

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world.  Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”
– Margaret Mead

Staying Motivated on the Mountain

Don't fall off

Maintain motivation so that you don't fall off your mountain

Exerpts from In Search of Higher Ground

As you search for Higher Ground in your life, there will be times when you feel like giving up. Times when you feel like it’s pointless and you just don’t want to try anymore. You’ll feel like it’s too hard to keep climbing and you’ll simply want to quit. The question is not whether you are going to feel like this at various times in your life, the real question is, “What will be your response to these feelings?” Will you stay motivated enough to climb the mountain and finish the journey or will you find yourself lacking the motivation to continue upward?

I’m reminded of a story my friend told me about a young boy whom the schoolyard bully was picking on everyday. Each day this bully would steal this young boy’s lunch money and the little boy was tired of being picked on. One day on his way home from school he noticed a sign advertising free karate lessons. He inquired within and began taking his lessons immediately. After about a week of taking lessons, the instructor informed him that the free lessons were only good for a week and that each lesson would now cost $5 per session. The little boy didn’t have the money and he figured it would be harder to come up with the money for the lessons than it would be to pay the schoolyard bully so, he quit.

The moral of the story is obvious. This little boy lacked the motivation and found it easier to take the path of least resistance. Unfortunately, many people do that. They start off with great intentions, but lose their motivation. “I’m going to start a new business, change careers, improve my relationships, establish a stronger faith, develop a non-profit organization, or make a dream become reality.” Maybe you’ve said this or something like this, maybe you have even started taking some steps toward these objectives. But in the case of thousands of people, their good intentions weren’t good enough.

Everyone has some type of motivation. They have something that drives them and serves as a passion in their heart… Find your motivation, find the thing that thrills your heart more than anything else. You will find that it will be easier to stay motivated with something you like rather than something you dislike. You will notice that you do not tend to burn out on your strength, but you burn out on your weaknesses.

Stanford University did a study and concluded that only 5% of people that set out to implement something into their lives ever do it.2 The reason 95% of people never finish the task is that they simply lack the resources to stay motivated long enough to accomplish their goals. That is why I am a firm believer in consistently feeding yourself for personal growth. Many people have said to me, “Chris you are going to teach another motivational topic, don’t you know that after awhile the people will go back to normal?” My response to that is, “Of course I know that people will eventually go back to the way they were, but that is why they need constant motivation. You don’t take a shower once and say, ‘That’s it.’ You make an effort to stay physically clean, as you do to stay highly motivated.”

Here’s a list of things I recommend to you to stay on a path of personal growth:

• READ BOOKS – Find books that motivate you and keep you growing and read them.
• LISTEN TO TAPES – Purchase tapes from your favorite speakers and listen to them over and over until they get down into your spirit.
• ATTEND SEMINARS – Make it a habit to attend at least 3-4 seminars per year. These events will help to charge you up and keep you going.
• ASSOCIATE WITH MOTIVATED PEOPLE – I’ve mentioned this before, but it bares repeating. You become like those you associate with. If you want to stay
motivated, associate with motivated people.
• SPIRITUAL RENEWAL – For me personally, one of the greatest forms of motivation comes from my deep faith in God, who is my #1 source for motivation. If God isn’t part of your life, you should deeply consider it…He can do far more in your life than you ever imagined.

Until Next Time,

Chris Sonksen


“Rest if you must, but don’t you quit.
Life is strange with its twists and turns,
As everyone of us sometimes learns,
And many a failure turn about,
When he might have won had he stuck it out.
Don’t give up though the pace seems slow.
You may succeed with another blow.
Success is failure turned inside out,
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt,
And you never can tell how close you are,
It may be near when it seems so far,
So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit.
It’s when things seem worse,
That you must not quit.”


Embracing the Valleys

down in a valley

Choose to trust in the Valley

Have you ever felt as if you were stuck in mud or worse yet, quick sand. I know I have felt that way many times in my life.  Sometimes, processing the emotion tied to these events in our life is challenging. As a pastor I am allowed to feel down,is it ok for others to see this? I say yes and yes. Does that mean when you’re feeling down or stuck you walk around looking like the world is at an end? No. But it does mean that it is alright to let others know that you are human.  On two separate occasions, I came across these two articles. I feel that they tie together beautifully. The first article is by Jud Wilhite and the second is by Bob Gass.


C. H. Spurgeon is one of my favorite dead-guy pastors. He wrote and led in the 19th Century and wrestled with depression most of his life.
I love this insight from him: “This depression comes over me whenever the Lord is preparing a larger blessing for my ministry; the cloud is black before it breaks, and overshadows before it yields its deluge of mercy. Depression has now become to me as a prophet in rough clothing, a John the Baptist, heralding the nearer coming of my Lord’s richer benison.”
Have you ever thought that your depression or struggle could be preparing you for something greater?

– Jud Wilhite

Refuse to Quit

“In 1902, a 28-year-old aspiriring poet received a rejection slip from the editor of the prestigeous “Atlantic Monthly”. Returned with a batch of poems he submitted was a curt note: “Not one worth publishing.”  That poet’s name was Robert Frost.

In 1905, the University of Berne turned down a dissertation by a young Ph.D., calling it “fanciful and irrelevant.”  The name of that physics student was Albert Einstein.

In 1894, a 16-year-old boy found this note from his speech teacher in Harrow, England, attached to his report:”Hopeless…seems incapable of progress.” That boy’s name was Winston Churchhill.

There’s a message here for you. Even when others offer you no hope or encouragement, refuse to quit! Listen to the words of Jacob, who led King David’s army: “Be strong and let us fight bravely…The Lord will do what is good in his sight,” (2 Samuel 10:12 NIV). Jacob knew that as long as you stay on the battlefield, God can give you victory. But if you quit, what more can He do for you?

Never give up when you know you’re right! Believe that all things work together for good if you just persevere. Don’t let the odds discourage you; God’s bigger that all of them! Refuse to let anyone intimidate you, or deter you from your goals! Fight and overcome every limitation! Remember, every winner – every one of them – faced defeat and adversity; and you’re no different.

-Bob Gass

We all get discouraged at times. We may feel blue, down, depressed. Don’t run from it,or ignore it. Embrace it. Let God do His work in you, and your life.

Until next time,

Chris Sonksen


Why are you downcast, O my soul?  Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God. – Psalm 42:11 (NIV)

“Out of the box” thinking Part – 1

Start Thinking Out of the Box

Start Thinking Out of the Box

True leaders are thinkers, at least those who want to do something significant.  If you desire to grow and to move your team or organization to new levels, you must begin to think in new ways.  Often we fall into the trap of doing things the same way. This method may produce results but eventually it will bring you to mediocrity or even lower.

Author and speaker Charles Swindoll noted:

“Competitive excellence requires 100 percent all of the time.  If you doubt that, try maintaining excellence by setting your standards at 92 percent.  Or even 95 percent.  People figure they’re doing fine so long as they get somewhere near it.  Excellence gets reduced to acceptable and before long, acceptable doesn’t seem worth the sweat if you can get by with adequate.  After that, mediocrity is only a breath away.”

This powerful statement describes the pattern of many leaders.  They start off with the idea of “excellence” but end up with mediocrity.  Quit often this results from limited thinking or lazy thinking.  The fact is, if you want to move forward and upward your thinking must become outward.  You must think differently if you desire different results.
Here is the first set of steps you can take toward “Out of the box” thinking…

1)  Embrace change…don’t reject it
Often in organizations people fall into the trap of “same way” thinking.  They have always done it this way and so they will always do it this way.  It has worked in the past so it will work in the future.  Unfortunately this type of thinking will create a downward spiral in any company or organization.  People like Henry Ford learned this in the early years, when other car companies began to adapt to the needs of the customer, but Mr. Ford was resistant to change.  Computer companies like IBM and Apple struggled when people like Microsoft hit the market.  WHY?  Because they were unwilling to change.

Change is difficult.  It requires work.  Challenges thinking. Threatens egos.  Creates friction among the teams and their leaders.  Simply put…”out of the box” thinking is hard work.  However, it is a path that must be taken by any leader desiring to improve his or her organization.  The world is moving and it will move with or without you.  Embrace the change or reject it, but understand your choice will have serious consequences.
2)  Adapt and Grow
Do you have to tell your body to change?  Do you have to inform your cells on what to do?  Is getting old something you have to work on or does it happen automatically?  Do you have to force yourself to get wrinkles or lose hair?  Of course not!  These changes happen by natural circumstance.  We are engineered to grow, to expand beyond today; physically, mentally and emotionally.  The moment we lose sight of this,  the instant we convince ourselves that change is bad, we begin limiting ourselves.

Those who attempt to fight what is natural fall behind.  Do yourself a favor, do your organization and team a favor.  Learn to adapt to the changing culture around you and grow from it.  Don’t settle for the way things are set your sights on the way thing could be!

Until next time,
Chris Sonksen

“When the mind is expanded, it never returns back to its original formation.”

– Oliver Wendell Holmes

Chris Sonksen is a celebrated Motivational Speaker and Published Author; the Lead Pastor at one of America’s fastest growing churches (South Hills Church in Corona California); and the founding member of Celera Church Strategy Group. Celera offers pastor support, teaching, training and mentoring programs that equip pastors who want to learn how to grow church attendance through evangelism using proven church growth techniques.

Creating a life mission

Write out Your Mission Statement and Keep it With You Always!

Write out Your Mission Statement and Keep it With You Always!

We hear a lot about setting goals, establishing values and creating missions.  We do this in our organizations, companies, teams and churches. These are valuable assets to any organization that is pursuing success.  But have you ever stopped and thought about a life mission for yourself?

I am not speaking of a goal or even a set of values, I am speaking about creating a “mission statement” that identifies the objective for your life.  A simple statement that describes what you want to achieve throughout your lifetime.  For instance, the church I Pastor has a simple mission statement “Turning un-churched people into fully devoted followers of Christ.”  This simple statement allows us to measure our success.  It drives everything we do and helps us to stay on track.  We continually refer to the statement to evaluate how we are doing and where we need to improve.

A life mission would not be the same as the church mission statement. However, the idea is the same.  Creating a statement that describes what you want to do in life and referring to it often for guidance and evaluation.  Here are some tips to help you begin developing a mission statement for your life.

1)  Limit your values to a select few
Take some time (not an hour or two) but several days to ponder what you really value in life.  What are the two or three things that are absolutely most important to you?  Some examples would be: Faith, love, authenticity, diligence, career, excellence, encouragement, joy, integrity, wisdom, security, health, freedom, peace, knowledge, leadership and the list goes on and on!

2)  Write down your thought about your values
Once you have identified the two or three most important values then begin to exhaust on paper your thoughts about these values.  Why are they important to you?  How do they play out in your life?  What are the rewards if you live by these values?  What happens if you don’t hold true to these values?

3)  Narrow down your thoughts
If you have identified your values and have exhausted your thoughts on those values, then you must begin to narrow down the words you wrote.  Begin to develop a sentence that would identify your values and state your mission.  For instance, your value may be encouragement so your mission is to “bring out the best in others.”  Your value may be love so your mission is to “model love through words and actions.”  It is important to take your value and turn it into a mission for your life.  This is what makes it a “mission statement.”  (Goal:  Try to keep your mission statement 25 words or less)

4)  Revisit your statement
After you have written out your life mission statement, then set it down for a month and then revisit it.  Repeat this process until you feel completely comfortable with your mission statement.  When you feel you have perfectly identified your life mission statement, then write it out and keep it with you always.  Refer to it often to see if your behavior, thoughts, words, goals and dreams line up with your life mission statement.

Remember your life mission statement is a guide for your life.  It is the statement that lets you know if what your doing is right, if where your headed is correct and if your lifestyle is on track.

Until next time,

Chris Sonksen

Quote for the day

“If you don’t know where you’re going, you’re likely to end up someplace else”
Yogi Berra

Chris Sonksen is a celebrated Motivational Speaker and Published Author; the Lead Pastor at one of America’s fastest growing churches (South Hills Church in Corona California); and the founding member of Celera Church Strategy Group. Celera offers pastor support, teaching, training and mentoring programs that equip pastors who want to learn how to grow church attendance through evangelism using proven church growth techniques.