Get “The Legacy Builder” For Free!

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Through October 14, get The Legacy Builder: Five Non-Negotiable Leadership Secrets for free on Vyrso! 

This ebook isn’t a leadership guide in the traditional sense. The Legacy Builder is a modern-day parable, written by speaker, author, and founder of the Coaches of Excellence Institute, Rod Olson, that tells a story about a man in over his head and the five principles of leadership that help him change his life. With this illustrative story that speaks to real-life situations and challenges, Rod Olson unpacks principles taught by Jesus and applies them to how we can grow to become better leaders.

For a limited time, you can get this ebook for free on Vyrso—download yours today and share this freebie with friends, family, and anyone who is looking to become a better leader.

Here are some incredible testimonials for this ebook:

“I wholeheartedly recommend this book to those that want their life to be impactful and meaningful. To those who want to make their mark on their family, friends, marketplace and community, this is a must read! The principles of true leadership illustrated in this book provide a great blue print for leaving a legacy.” — Augie Mendoza, senior executive at the YMCA

“Coach O weaves a great story that’s not preachy or pushy but powerful. It’s a wakeup call for all of us who may have sidelined our will to be significant in the lives of others because we’re too busy trying to be successful.” —Mitch Jelniker, anchor, at ABC 7 News, Denver

“Why would anyone wait to buy this book? After reading only the first 39 pages, I realized it’s not just another book on success . . . it’s a blueprint driven by real-life examples and principles that make a difference in the way we live and the things we achieve.” —Jerry Moore, former head coach and three-time national champion at Appalachian State University

“When it comes to leadership, there are many books on store shelves that discuss the ’Want To’ of leadership—but desire is never enough. This book will give you the much needed ’How To’ that is necessary to lead others, making The Legacy Builder a must-read for anyone involved with 21st-century leadership.” —Clint Hurdle, manager of the Pittsburg Pirates MLB

 Get your copy of this must-read ebook for free through October 14!

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Act Like a Shepherd, Not a CEO

Be a Shepherd

When I think about leaders, I think of people like Steve Jobs, Jeff Bezos, Oprah, and U.S. Presidents—all well-known, influential individuals. John C. Maxwell once said, “I have come to this conclusion: Leadership is Influence. That’s it. Nothing more; nothing less.” 

I think this is true. But it’s not the whole picture. 

While influence is often the mark of a strong leader in politics, business, and industry, regard for influence alone ignores the driving force behind it—the relational work.

Halee Gray Scott, PhD, builds on this famous quote in her book, Dare Mighty Things:

“Biblical leadership is not just about influencing others toward a goal, for the task of the shepherd-leader is much more comprehensive. It involves knowing the flock, their limitations and their needs, knowing the goal or destination, and knowing how to get them there.”

Scott writes that shepherds in the ancient world were not regarded as influential people, yet over and over again the shepherd is seen as an illustration for leadership of the highest esteem.  We read, “The Lord is my shepherd” (Psalm 23:1-3), Jeremiah 3:15, John 10:11, and many, many more instances of this powerful illustration.

The shepherds of the ancient world had four main duties. Shepherds:

  • Were in the physical proximity of their flock and actively aware of what was going on around them
  • Protected their flock with vigilance
  • Provided for and met the needs of their flock
  • Guided the flock with consideration of the flock’s abilities and limitations

When it comes down to it, a shepherd wouldn’t be able to do their job without intimately knowing their flock, knowing its strengths, abilities, and limitations. Relationship and understanding have to come before influence.

If we want to become better leaders, we need to take a lesson from the shepherd’s duties:

  • Be present with the people you lead—make small talk, actively listen, and be there in times of need.
  • Be an advocate and a teammate, don’t leave your team high and dry.
  • Be attentive to the needs of others not only in a work capacity, but on a personal level.
  • Guide others with consideration of their abilities and limitations—presenting opportunities for growth, not setting people up for failure.

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Halee Gray Scott’s ebook, Dare Mighty Things, is now available on Vyrso. How can you be more like a shepherd in leadership? Leave a comment and let us know!

 

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Building a Better Workplace

Creating a Better Workplace

Many of us—over 119 million people in the U.S.—are employed in some shape or form, whether it is a part-time job flipping burgers or a high-end career in law. It’s safe to say that most of us go to work on a regular basis.

Interestingly enough, a majority of people don’t like going to work.

In a study released early this summer by the Conference Board, fewer than half of American workers indicated that they were satisfied with their jobs in 2013. Over the past three-year period, U.S. employees have never been more dissatisfied with their work. Why is that the case?

I believe that a large portion of this dissatisfaction stems from the lack of quality leadership within organizations. Good leaders can see places that need improvement in their sphere of influence and take purposeful action to make improvements. How can we improve this statistic to build a happier workplace?

It can be as simple as showing gratitude and brightening someone’s day at work, or as complex as asking the right questions to learn from others. Here are three activities you can start doing today to create a more enjoyable workplace for others and yourself:

1.   Pray before every meeting or phone call

This doesn’t have to be an incredibly fancy or intricate prayer. Just simply ask that God would be with you in the meeting and that you’d be open to hearing him speak and move in the meeting. The key here is to listen and watch for where Jesus leads!

2.   Thank one person—every day—for the work they do

You can simply send an email, write a post-it note, or even thank them face to face! Even go the extra mile, maybe get them a gift card to their favorite coffee shop. When we take the time to show that we value our co-workers, employees, and bosses, people’s attitudes improve and they know when they’re doing great work.

3.   Ask questions

 In my opinion, the best leaders ask great questions. They know how to let you think that you’re providing the answers—even if they already know the answer themselves. Questions also indicate interest in what others have to say and a willingness to listen and learn. Ask questions of your superiors, of those who report directly to you, and of your family and friends. This will force you to listen in on the conversation rather than dictate it.

What is one simple task that you do every day that has improved your leadership this year? Leave a comment below!

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A Writer’s Life with Philip Yancey

What's So Amazing About Grace?

Today’s guest post is from Philip Yancey, a best-selling evangelical Christian author. You can get Yancey’s best seller, What’s So Amazing About Grace?, for free on Vyrso through the month of October!

A writer’s life is a strange combination of isolation and busyness.

The act of writing itself requires quiet, reflective time. I can’t write if someone walks into the room. I block out distractions by listening to music through my headphones, and by shutting off my cell phone and email program.

Eventually, though I have to pay for the isolation. Right now I’m sitting on an airplane frantically trying to catch up on the accumulated emails and scheduling details that I put off while writing. A new book is being released—Vanishing Grace: What Ever Happened to the Good News?—which I’ll be presenting to a group of pastors in Boston. While flying east for that event, I’m reviewing notes and fine-tuning a PowerPoint file. Soon I’ll take that presentation on a seven-city book tour.

When I’m writing, I focus on one thing only. When I’m catching up, I flit from place to place like a hummingbird. Flying across Ohio, suddenly I remember a strange and confusing passage I read in the Bible this morning. It appears in the latter part of Ezekiel, a series of very detailed instructions on the building of the temple and the resumption of animal sacrifices. Many of the rules described echo those in Leviticus, but some have changed. Why is so much space devoted to these details? I ask myself.  And what does this passage have to do with us today? I wonder how modern Jews, who have nothing resembling the temple described, interpret these chapters with their architectural specificity. Are the blueprints symbolic or literal?

When a line of questioning starts bugging me, I have great difficulty getting back to other tasks.  Magically, because I have Logos Bible Software, I can look up the answers right now, sitting in a chair in the sky zooming across the American heartland. I have access to hundreds of Bible resources on my laptop computer, and in a few minutes I can survey a variety of opinions from scholars who have addressed my very questions.

Last weekend I spent hours moving hundreds of books and reference works out of danger from a basement flood. Thinking back, I have to smile at the contrast between those books, which take up so much space in my office, and a software program I can carry in my coat pocket. In some ways I’m old-fashioned. I still listen to classical music, I stubbornly cling to my flip-style “dumb phone,” and I don’t use Twitter. I must tell you, though, that I am forever grateful to live in an age that makes it possible for me to carry the wisdom of the ages with me, wherever I go.

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Check out Yancey’s upcoming tour for his new book, Vanishing Grace: What Ever Happened to the Good News? and download What’s So Amazing About Grace? for free all through the month of October.

 

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Great Leaders vs. Bad Leaders

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Today’s guest post is from Russ Crosson, president and CEO of Ronald Blue & Co., a  strategic wealth management firm that oversees over $7 billion in assets. Russ is the author of four ebooks including Your Life…Well Spent available through October 14 for $2.99.

There are several qualities which I’ve observed that I believe distinguish a good leader from a bad leader.

Great leaders support the strengths in others. One interesting thing I’ve noticed is that in any entity, the men and women who emerge as tomorrow’s leaders will likely have more skills and abilities than the current leader. And therein lies the greatest distinction between a great leader and a bad leader.

Great leaders aren’t afraid of the strengths found in others. Bad leaders are intimidated by them. 

As a leader, you have the choice to either bring talented individuals along and allow them to grow by using their talents and gifts or be intimidated by their strengths and look for someone not as skilled and gifted so you will never be challenged. The latter is what bad leaders do. Great leaders build winning teams—teams that will endure for generations to come.

Great leaders have strong relational ability. A great leader is easy to have a relationship with; a bad leader is hard to have a relationship with. Leaders who are fearful of losing their positions or being overshadowed by others will continually be watching their backs. They won’t let themselves be vulnerable or get too close. They keep their cards close to the vest. In doing this, these bad leaders believe they will always be needed. The business relationships they do have will generally be at a surface level only.

Great leaders relate to others in openness and with transparency. These leaders spend time with their people training, coaching, mentoring, teaching and doing whatever is needed to prepare them for future leadership. When they’re at work, they’re “all in” and engage with others in order to be a holistic mentor to next-generation leaders.

Great leaders accept feedback. Because great leaders don’t fear strengths in others, they can listen and accept feedback without feeling threatened. Great leaders value input even when it’s not what they want to hear or they disagree with the opinion. Bad leaders tend to be threatened and go on the defensive, ignoring advice that’s contrary to what they think. These types of leaders tend to listen only to what makes them feel good and often misinterpret lack of agreement as disloyalty.

In conclusion, outstanding leaders willingly lay themselves aside and concentrate on the mission rather than on their personal goals. They help others grow and perform to the best of their abilities. They promote the success of others rather than promoting themselves. All leaders have a choice where they direct their focus: on others or themselves.

Great leaders focus on others . . . where will you choose to focus?

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Interested in reading more? Check out all of Russ Crosson’s ebooks on Vyrso today!

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Drowning Out the Parenting Horror Stories

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Today’s guest post is by Suzanne Hadley Gosselin, a regular contributor to Thriving Family magazine and Boundless.org. She writes children’s resources for several publishers. After having three children in fewer than five years of marriage, Suzanne and her husband, Kevin, who is a children’s pastor, consider themselves on the family fast-track—a blessing they wouldn’t trade for anything. Gosselin is the author of the newly released, Expectant Parents: Preparing Together for the Journey of Parenthood available on Vyrso today!

When I was single, I received mixed reviews on marriage. There were some who seemed to truly enjoy matrimony. Others spoke of marriage as being “hard work” but worth the effort. Still others offered horror stories.

When Kevin and I were newly engaged, I remember one woman saying: “There will come a day when you will wake up and realize you hate the person lying in bed next to you. Just trust the Lord and keep going.”

Yikes.

While many people offered words of encouragement when Kevin and I were wed, others were quick to point out the freedoms we would lose and the adjustments we would have to make. I braced myself, thinking, Maybe marriage is going to be completely different than I’m expecting. Maybe it’s going to be . . .  gulp . . . horrible. (OK, so I didn’t really believe that or I wouldn’t have done it.) I was relieved to discover that I loved being married. Everything I loved about my relationship with Kevin before we tied the knot was just that much better as we shared our lives together on a deeper level.

Then came pregnancy. Almost from the moment I announced we were expecting, the horror stories surfaced again.

“Have fun now, because that’s all about to change.”

“Be prepared to see the worst in your husband.”

“That first week may be the worst of your life.”

Kevin and I were taken aback by all the naysayers. I’m sure they were simply trying to prepare us for a transition that can be difficult. And I am not meaning to downplay the reality that adjusting to having a child can be challenging. But at some point, Kevin and I agreed not to listen to the horror stories. Everyone’s experience is different. And, wouldn’t you know it, I saw the best come out of my husband, we still have fun, and the week after Josiah’s birth was warm and memorable, culminating with Christmas Day!

A few days after we arrived home from the hospital the reality of the change set in. The following morning, my brother-in-law was going to drive Kevin to the mechanic for a tune-up. It was a simple errand that just a week before I would have done. Now I felt like I couldn’t. I burst into tears — over driving to the mechanic! When I explained how I felt, Kevin said, “You can drive me. We can put Josiah in his car seat, and you can go! This being parents thing is what we make it.”

Though I let my brother-in-law do the errand, my husband’s words were comforting.

Things were going to change with a child; I knew that. But we didn’t have to be restricted by other people’s horror stories. How we moved forward as a couple and family was up to us. That is the joyous thing about life with our God; we are not doomed as we take the path He has for us. Each day is an adventure of His love and grace. So don’t believe the stories. Make your own.

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You can download Suzanne Hadley Gosselin’s newest ebook, Expectant Parents, today on Vyrso for just $9.74!

 

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Five Traits Found in a Good Leader

Five Traits of a Good Leader

Yesterday I had the opportunity to spend some time with our friends at the Catalyst Conference, an annual conference focused on addressing topics specific to the next generation of leaders in the church. I’m really excited about the work they’re doing to make an impact and stir up excitement in the hearts of leaders. A ton of Vyrso authors spoke at the conference, including Mark Batterson, Andy Stanley, Christine Caine, Dr. Caroline Leaf, Tim Keller, Craig Groeschel, and many others. As Catalyst wraps up today, we’ll be ramping up our emphasis on leadership for the month of October. All month long we’ll be highlighting content, featuring titles, and sharing thoughts about leadership. We’ll emphasize what it means to be a leader in your home, workplace, and church. As I sat in Catalyst and listened to the amazing speakers, I couldn’t help but think of how important it is for leaders to focus on improving their skills and pursuing growth. With that in mind, I’ve outlined five traits that I believe make up a strong Christian leader. 

1. Availability

A good leader has to be available. To be a Christian leader, we first need to be willing to go wherever God tells us to go, even when it seems like a huge stretch. Sometimes this means traveling to West Africa to work with relief efforts fighting the spread of disease, but it can also mean staying right where you are located. One of the most challenging aspects of being available is being willing to do unpleasant and unseen work. If you’re not available, you’ll most likely miss the opportunity to learn something or to be a part of something bigger than yourself.

2. Rooted in the Bible

This one seems like a no-brainer. Without a firm foundation in Jesus and the Bible, the Christian leader will not be able to sustain growth. But how often do we overlook this trait and chalk it up as a daily task to check off? If we want to grow a church, business, or community, we need to get our encouragement from the Bible. We might sustain growth for a short season without this, but eventually our efforts will crumble.

3. Open to change

To be a change-maker you need to be willing to be changed first. We all have shortcomings and weaknesses, and good leaders are willing to identify these points within themselves and make active changes before expecting others to do so.

4. Strives for progress

A leader loves progress, not only in their own lives but in the lives of the people around them, their surrounding community, and in the world. A leader loves seeing the effects of their work and the work of others. They rejoice at progress, even when they don’t get the credit or attention!

5. Courage

Finally, leadership takes courage—courage to take bold leaps and pursue things that are outside your comfort zones. Courage encompasses big and small acts and decisions. This could mean something as big as moving to a new country or as small as walking across the room to introduce yourself to someone you don’t know. Both situations take courage, and without it positive change and progress can be hard to come by.

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What is one trait you find essential in Christian leadership? We’d love to hear your thoughts— leave a comment below!

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Sneak Peek from The Way of Wisdom—Now Available!

The Way of Wisdom

Today’s post is an excerpt from Boyd Bailey’s newest devotional, The Way of Wisdom: A Journey Towards Spiritual Growth. This book of daily devotionals provides wisdom that is grounded in scripture and packed with practical guidance. Here are two excerpts from the ebook:

Comparison’s Crazy Cycle

When Peter saw him, he asked, “Lord, what about him?” Jesus answered, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me.” John 21:21-22

No one wins when comparison is the criteria for being valued. If people are the plumb line for a sense of success—then there are always those who are smarter, prettier, and richer. An unrealistic appraisal of others feeds a feeling of failure. On the other hand, pride puffs up with a subtle notion of superiority when it looks to others as a standard for living. Jesus smiles and says, “What is that to you?” Comparison is not a win for anyone. Yes, we can be inspired and instructed by a life that seeks to emulate the Lord, but we are not to idolize any individual. Of course, we are wise to learn from the mistakes of others, but not with a secret delight that believes we look better when the unfortunate look bad. Our discontent is compounded under the demanding nature of comparison. We cannot enjoy what we have for the allure of what we don’t have. Comparison kills contentment. It is a crazy cycle! “We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves.

When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise” (2 Corinthians 10:12).

Related Readings: Proverbs 8:11; Ecclesiastes 4:5-6; Romans 12:15; James 3:14-16

Demolish Strongholds

We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:5

Strongholds are Satan’s attempt to strangle spiritual life out of the saints of God. The enemy is not slack in his attacks, indeed he is always on the prowl to pronounce judgment and dispense shame. Some of his strategic strongholds are pride, addiction, and self-absorption. He sucks in a susceptible heart and a wandering mind with alluring sin. The devil builds a faithless fortress and launches missiles of doubt with false ideologies. How do strongholds take hold and grow in our lives? Ironically, a strength can become a stronghold. Healthy confidence drifts into arrogance. The gift of discernment grows into a judgmental attitude. The discipline to work out regularly and eat right becomes an obsession that consumes every minute of our discretionary time. The goal to get ahead financially grows into greed and a sense of superiority. A strength can be a stronghold. Divine strongholds defeat Satan’s. Trust in the Lord tears down demonic strongholds and erects His faithful fortress over them.

“The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; and He knows those who trust in Him” (Nahum 1:7, NKJV).

Related Readings: Psalm 9:9; 27:1; 37:39; Lamentations 2:2-5


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Do you have any examples of a way you’ve demolished a stronghold of the enemy or became more content? We’d love to hear your stories—share a comment below! If you haven’t had a chance yet, you can get your copy of Boyd Bailey’s The Way of Wisdom today on Vyrso for just $7.49!  

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Get the Newest Ebooks for Less with Pre-Orders

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This month on Vyrso we’re excited to announce that we have a number of pre-order titles available at discounts you’ll only see on Vyrso. We’ve lined up 25 of the best pre-order titles shipping in the next 5 months from authors like John Ortberg, Andy Stanley, Trip Lee, John C. Maxwell, David Platt, and more! I’d like to note that these aren’t titles that have been out for months or years, these titles will be the ebooks you’ll hear people talking about for the next six months. Titles like The New Rules for Love, Sex, and Dating, Jesus Swagger, and John C. Maxwell’s newest ebook The Leadership Handbook are all great reads that are sure to spark lasting conversation among your family, friends, and church. These discounts won’t last long—they’ll disappear on October 31, so make sure to reserve your ebook at the lowest price today! Unsure of how pre-ordering on Vyrso works? The process is simple—click pre-order, we’ll lock in the price, and once the product is ready to ship we’ll remind you that your credit card will be processed. Once the product ships, your ebook will automatically appear in your Vyrso app! Here are the 25 titles we’ve discounted, exclusively on Vyrso:

Pre-order your favorite or all 25 titles to lock in these discounted prices!

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Get a Free Devotional from Boyd Bailey!

The Way of Wisdom

Through October 1, get a free devotional sample from Boyd Bailey’s The Way of Wisdom: A Journey Towards Spiritual Growth.

Boyd Bailey has written some great devotionals that provide readers with wisdom, insight, and a starting point to build daily habits of prayer and reflection. Inspired by Proverbs 13:20, Boyd founded Wisdom Hunters, an Atlanta-based ministry group that publishes daily devotionals.

In his new devotional, The Way of Wisdom: A Journey Towards Spiritual Growth, readers will find daily devotionals that aim to sharpen discernment and provide insight into what God intends for our relationships with him and with others. Boyd writes day-by-day reminders as he touches on matters ranging from conflict resolution and forgiveness to navigating life’s transitions and working through uncertainties.

For a limited time, we’re giving away a sample from this new devotional for free on Vyrso.com. Simply head over to the product page, enter your email, and we’ll send you an email with your free devotional to download and keep. This sample devotional comes in .PDF format, which you can download and read on your computer or mobile device.

Want to read more? The Way of Wisdom: A Journey Towards Spiritual Growth, is available for pre-order on Vyrso and will go live on October 1. Vyrso pre-orders are simple—pre-order the ebook and once it goes live, the ebook will automatically appear in your Vyrso library. Don’t worry, you won’t be charged until the book goes live.

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Get your free devotional sample and pre-order the brand-new devotional from Boyd Bailey,  The Way of Wisdom: A Journey Towards Spiritual Growth.

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