What About the Joy

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Last night I sat in the grass outfield of a softball field, that in the fall is used as for 7 year old soccer. As I watched these 7 year olds chase a soccer ball around the field, I began to think of what it must be like being 7, having the mindset of a child.

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One of the things I love most about watching my daughter on the soccer field is the huge smile that never leaves her face. She shines with joy chasing after the ball, getting into the action(she’s the one in the picture leaping, just because that’s what you do when your 7)

So where does it go? When will the pure joy disappear? What happens to us?

Is it possible to maintain the joy of a child? Last night, I realized I really enjoy writing posts(sorry about the hiatus). I also enjoyed my summer, maybe too much, routine and a commitment disappeared. But what I have been realizing is that there can be joy in those things, and I find joy in writing.

I write to share, and hope that by reading you might find a small piece of joy, to discover awesome, to encourage chasing awesome, or joy. So I’m back, I will commit to writing, I don’t know how often, but when there is something I come across that might help you, I promise to write about it.

My end game, is building a platform that helps our youth live a life that will impact the world. I have some ideas of what it might look like someday and sometimes it is overwhelming, but I press on. I commit to continuing to chase my awesome and I will try my best to do it with a smile and a joy of the journey.

How about you? Where could you use more joy in your life?

#22 How to be more than a man

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Running in the Ocean

Being a man, that is pretty simple.  God takes care of that one for you.  You don’t need to decide on that or a special manual to become a man, it’s just going to happen.  One day though you may have the privilege of being a father. This is where things can get a little tricky, this doesn’t come as naturally as just being a man.

Yesterday was Father’s Day-a celebration of dads.  I write this blog with young people in mind.  My Awesome is serving youth and helping them Discover their awesome-and there isn’t anything more awesome than being a dad.

I have two awesome young girls and it got me thinking about the tremendous job I have as their dad.

So men-what is it that makes a great dad?  I have a few ideas and then you can share yours.  I’d love to hear from women and mothers on this also, so don’t feel left out.

1.  Love my wife

One of the most important jobs is to teach my children about love and relationships.  I need to model that, not just tell them.  I obviously want my daughters to one day-a long, long time from now-find men that are loving and respectful to them.  They get that from what I model-not what I say.

2.  Be there

I believe strongly in being there to be supportive of what my kids are involved in.  My daughters are in dance now.  Is it my favorite, would it be my choice, maybe not.

But I’m going to be there to support them, actually I’m going to do more than just be there I’m going to be involved.  I will learn about dance and learn how do to things that are helpful-I can put hair in a bun-this gets me dad of the year at the dance studio.  As I am more and more involved I enjoy seeing them dance more and more.

3.  Discipline them

I know more than my children.  They want a lot of things that aren’t necessarily good for them.  As a dad-my job is to let them know when they are wrong and help them make corrections to mistakes they have made and are going to make.

Discipline isn’t angry or mean.  Discipline teaches a lesson.  I once heard someone say about parenting, “Correct mistakes-punish disobedience.”  I love this advice.  Mistakes will be made and punishing them makes kids afraid to fail.  Being afraid to fail-leads to fear of trying.  Fear of trying-leads to failure

4.  Love them

My daughters might make choices in their lives that I wouldn’t.  I don’t believe that it is my job to tell my kids what they are going to do with their lives, my job is to love them-unconditionally, with out judgement.

I want to allow my kids to live outside of my small box of what is a good life. I want them to pursue their own dreams-their own awesome and I want to love them for it.

What are your ideas of what makes a great dad?  Share them in the comments below.

Happy Father’s Day Dads.

#21 Student Guide to Choosing Friends

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I can’t really remember being conscious about making choices of who my friends were going to be.  It is something that just happens, usually pretty organically.  As I have gotten older, the larger groups of friends have broken into different groups.  All people that I would consider friends, but probably wouldn’t call them on the phone to get together.

As I am reflecting back on this school year as I give my last final exam, I’m thinking about the effect that friends had on each other through the school year.  I see all different groups form through the school year and see how they perform as a whole.  In most cases the group has similar outcomes-they all do well together or they all go down together.  Friends are like that, they have great influence over the direction of your life.

Think about your group of friends how have they influenced you?  Have you been sucked into making bad decisions or been carried along to success by the wave of momentum and good choices.  The truth probably falls somewhere between the two of them.  And sure you can be the influential force in your group of friends, but it is difficult to overwhelm the majority.

As you think back through this school year, think about your friends.  How have they influenced you?  Yes I know you are responsible for your actions and I’m not encouraging you to blame away your current place in life, but here are a couple questions to ask.

1.  Where am I right now?
2.  Am I achieving the results I want?
3.  How have my friends influenced me over the past year?
4.  What do I want to change moving forward?

Hopefully you are able to answer these questions in a positive way.  I know it isn’t easy to head in a different direction from your friends.  I have been fortunate to have a great group of friends throughout my life.  I’ve built some great friendships over the years and think back fondly of all of the people that I’ve gotten to know.

Take some time to reflect on your friendships and be aware of the direction and effect those relationships are taking you.  Which friendships are you most thankful for?

#20 How to Position Yourself, For the Next Big Opportunity

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Final Exam week has arrived.  Students are scrambling around, trying their best to position themselves to maximize their grades.  It is a funny thing students in high schools do.  They get really concerned with their grades when they know that grades are about to finalize and they will be locked in and sent home.  I guess reality comes crashing down, and oh no I should have done this, regret weighs them down and they make one last effort to try to get over the top.

The problem with this is, there are 180 school days, September was 9 months ago.  You haven’t been concerned for 9 months and now you are becoming concerned with what your grade will look like.  Unfortunately, life just doesn’t work that way.  This procrastination doesn’t work in school and more importantly, it doesn’t work well in the rest of life either.

I think about summer coming up, and how I make an attempt to get in better shape for the summer months.  As popular as the quick fix programs are, I can’t expect to not think about being in shape for 6 months and decide I want a six pack for the summer.  Here are my thoughts on how to position yourself for the next big opportunity:

 1.  Think Ahead

You knew that was coming.  You want to have an idea of where you want to be in the future, this relates back to my “Discover Awesome” ideas.  If you don’t have an idea where you would like to be at the end of a school year, there is no way to measure whether you are on the right track.

2.  Over Shoot

You are going to have some set backs.  I have students, who have the lofty goal of passing, getting a D.  They just hope to not have to take a class again.  There are a lot of times when these students end up failing and having to take the class again.  They shot for a D and they missed.  They didn’t leave themselves much wiggle room.  Shoot for a C and when you fall a little short, guess where you are, D and you pass.  I don’t strongly recommend that your goal is to be average by the way.

3.  Be Likable

This doesn’t work for a six pack on the beach, but it might most other places.  You just never know who you are going to need a favor from, need a recommendation from, or need to rely on in the future.  Don’t burn bridges, they help you get to the places you’re heading.

Life throws us curve balls, we never know when the off speed pitch will be thrown and leave us down in the count, and in a position to protect ourselves from making the third out.  Follow these couple of steps to be better prepared for not making the last out.

If you like the information in this post, I’d like to invite you to check out the “World Changer Academy”,  a 6 week course being offered this summer starting in July, that will help you get a better Return on Investment from the time spent in school.  There are a few spots still available.  Get on the list now and don’t miss the free opportunity.

If you don’t want to waste time checking out the World Changer Academy Page, jump right on to the mailing list by clicking here.

#19 Do You Like Gray?

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Gray area is all of the time in our life where there isn’t a cut and dry, black or white answer.  Sometimes we are taught right and wrong in such concrete terms.  This is wrong and it can’t ever be right.  Of course there are some instances where that is true.  There are also a lot of times where what we thought was wrong, maybe doesn’t deserve the treatment we once thought.

Last week I tweeted, “Not everything is black and white.  Be willing to bend, gray is a color too.”  This was in response to bending my rules a little for a student that hopes to graduate high school in a few weeks.  I know there are teachers, standing and yelling at me right now.  No breaks-kids have to learn to meet expectations and if you give them a break they will always never learn.

Yeah, yeah I know all that.  I actually led my classes like that for most of my career, only now I see it differently.  I see my students as individuals, and the lesson that works for one may not work for all of them.  If you are in education, leadership, the world changing business, you can’t manage every person exactly the same.

My goal with my students is simply, “Help them discover their best.”  So I have to look at each situation and decide what helps this student most.

In this particular case, I decided that a little grace and mercy would go a long way to helping shape this student’s life.  Sure I could have shut her down, taught her that things don’t always work out in your favor just because you want them to.  I could have crushed her dream of graduating and told her, “I’m sorry you missed the deadline for this assignment, try harder next time.”

Instead I chose to teach a lesson of mercy…

“You know you messed up.”

“Yes.”

“You know you don’t deserve this.”

“Yes.”

“Okay great, how about I let you make up these assignments and we will see where you stand after you do that.”

“Wow, thank you, don’t worry I’m going to get it all done and it is going to be great.”

This student is in the process of getting her work to me and she has a chance to walk and receive her diploma, something neither of her parents have done before her.  So yeah there is gray, and I hope she learned that you can give second chances to people who don’t deserve them.  I hope she one day forgets about the wrong and says it’s okay, you can try to fix it.

The truth is, I don’t know what she’s going to do with this opportunity, maybe she’s laughing behind my back, telling all her friends she scammed me.  I’m okay with that because…

she probably will never forget getting a second chance.  I don’t know what opportunity will come her way, but I do know there are far greater opportunities with a diploma than without one.

If you are a high school student or you know one.  Keep reading.

How would you like to put yourself in a position to walk into your biggest dream?

I am opening up an opportunity to work with high school students who want to get the most out of their investment of time in school it’s called World Changer Academy.

World Changer Academy is a 6 week tele-seminar.  That will start in July.  There are only a small number of spots open for this first offering.

I want you how to maximize your potential and maximize your experience so you are prepared for the rest of your life.

That might be to get into college, get a job after high school, or maybe you just want a better grade in math, or be a leader on your team.

In the 6 weeks we look at:

1.  Discovering Awesome-this is your definition of success and your end goal.

2.  Chasing Awesome-how are you going to carve out a path to get you where you want to be.

3.  World Changing-now you have arrived, how does your life impact the world.

I’d like to send you more information about the course, and I don’t want you to miss your opportunity to get in this class for free. Click this link now and I’ll send you more details very soon.

#18 World Changers

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Today I walked into a classroom of students, I just started teaching a couple weeks ago-the teacher they had all year is out on a leave.  As I was getting things started in class I noticed a girl I hadn’t seen before.  I stopped and said, “You’re different, I’ve never seen you before.”

She said, “I have study hall this period and my teacher isn’t giving us a good review for the final exam, so I got a pass from study hall to come to your class because I want to be prepared for the final exam.”

I decided this year to focus on having my students learn more and be relational with them was way more important than covering a bunch of content.  My students have stood up for me and I’ve had one of the best experiences with this group of students this year.  This was my awesome-I discovered learning was more important than shoving content down their throat.  My chase was about exploring different ways to get them to dive into the topics we covered.  And they told their friends and one of them figured out how she could finally get into my class.  That’s what it feels like to be a World Changer.

Don’t put a lot of pressure on yourself, world changers are a by product of Awesome.  Remember this is a formula that helps you intentionally live the life you envision.  When you do that-you are a World Changer.  Discover Awesome+Chase Awesome=World Changer.  People take notice of people living lives passionately and they want what you have.  You are changing their world.

I decided that my awesome was about helping students Discover and Chase purpose and passion in their lives.  My discovery and chase-changes the world of the students I work with each year.

I have to admit this vision was not always so clear.  I actually worked backwards, my goal going into a career in education was to Change The World, I just didn’t quite get how it would happen.  I focused on results instead of effort or action.

If the possibility of changing the world excites you, focus on the first parts of the equation-Discover Awesome+Chase Awesome.

This summer I am going to be working with a small group of students that want to dominate high school.  We are going to work to put them in a position to reach their highest levels of success and we are going to start with becoming clear on their vision and putting together a plan to chase after it.  We won’t talk much about results, we will focus a lot on effort.

If you want in, send me an e-mail, tell me you want to be a part of the group and I’ll send you  more details.  This group is going to be free, but there are only 10 spots available so don’t wait.  Send Me an E-Mail Today . If you are having trouble with the link, my e-mail is ryan@ryangaskill.com

If you know of anyone that will be in high school in the fall-pass this on to them.  The spots won’t be open long.

#17 Chase Awesome

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The Chase, this is the bulk of where we find ourselves in life.  The journey to reach our goals and live out our dreams.  This is also where a lot of people see their Awesome slip away.  The Discovery was beautiful, it was exciting and for most of us it is pretty easy.  The chase is where it gets hard.  Everyone is Discovering Awesome, we can do that together, we can tell our friends about how one day we are going to do this and that, and they are happy to dream with us.  When we begin to chase, sometimes we have to go alone, all of a sudden everyone is busy.  It’s like when you need help moving.  The path can be lonely and difficult, but at the end is our Awesome, and our ability to be a World Changer.

I don’t have all the answers as to why so many people fail to follow through on dreams or promises, but here are 6 concepts that you can be aware of to help you avoid being a statistic.

1.  Remember Your Awesome

A lot of times, the awesome is so far away, it seems like it is out of reach. We easily get distracted by the things that are right in front of us.  Maybe something comes along that offers the opportunity to make more money, head in a direction that leaves us lost.  This happens to all of us.  There will be distractions along the way, a pull to come back to the easy road.  Keep in mind, why you are walking down the road you are; remember your awesome.

2.  Know the next step

You can have huge dreams, they sometimes can be things we can’t even fathom.  As long as we know what the next step is we will continue to move closer to the end goal.  Many of the students I work with have a difficult time connecting where they are to where they plan on being.  They miss the next step, they miss that excelling in school puts them farther down the road.

3.  S.M.A.R.T Process

This is a twist to the SMART Goals that are talked about so much in regards to success.  Smart is an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-bound.  I’m less worried about a SMART goal as I am with creating a SMART process.  By process I mean the next step should be SMART.  Most of my students say things like get good grades, study more, work harder, focus, or pay attention, when asked about how they plan to succeed.  Those are canned answers that end up not working out real well for someone trying to make significant changes, and awesome is probably a significant change.

So what I want my students to do is put together a SMART process; Specific-I want to get an A in Algebra, Measurable-I will spend 30 minutes every night doing algebra homework or studying, Attainable-This is more of a question, I wouldn’t go from 0 minutes to 30 minutes everyday overnight.  I might encourage them to start with 10, or 3 days a week, Relevant-their goal is to get into college, A’s help make that happen, Time-Bound-I will have an A average after the 1st 9 week marking period.  Now the student has just one step to think about that helps them in the process of becoming a college student, or pursuing a career where a college degree is a requirement.

4.  It Won’t Happen Tomorrow

Your life isn’t going to change tomorrow and stay changed.  Maybe you will turn things around, but there will be struggles and backslides that they don’t tell you about.  Be willing to fail, this is what happens to a lot of people with New Year’s Resolutions.

I’m going to lose 10 pounds-“Oh great it’s January 6th and I only lost 1 pound, forget it, I will never lose 10 pounds.” Yes you will, just not tomorrow.

5.  Obstacles

What is going to be hard?  Thinking back to my A student, if they know that every night when I’m about to do my homework, my friend comes and knocks on the door and wants we to go play basketball; that is an obstacle.  That is preventing you from making your dream become a reality.  Figure out today what you are going to say tomorrow, when they show up.

6.  Repeat

Now just keep repeating the process over and over again.  My best students do the same things over and over again, the funny thing is, that’s what my worst students do to.  The difference between success and failure is in what you decide to repeat.

Do you want to chase something awesome?  I am going to work with a group of 10 students, FREE, who want to Chase something awesome.  If you want to be one of those 10 students, Click Right Here.  Send me an e-mail, just let me know that you are interested leave your name, e-mail and I’ll be in touch soon.  

If you know of someone who you think could benefit from being in this group, please share it with them.

As always I appreciate you taking the time to read my post and please click your favorite social media share button at the top.

#16 Discover Awesome

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Picture1Working with students, mostly high school student, a discovery of awesome is key to moving forward.  The other day I wrote about my trip cross country and how important it was to have a map.  The map didn’t take away form the freedom to make choices on this trip, it didn’t handcuff us to a timeline, but it provided us with some direction and a vision.  So many students that walk into my room don’t have a clear vision for where they want to go and what they want their awesome to be.

Discovering Awesome is simply having some idea of what you are passionate about and what you would like to be doing with your life. This isn’t something someone else can discover for you, it doesn’t have anything to do with your parents, your friends, or what anyone else thinks of you.  I hear from a lot of students that are afraid to step out of the box and go after their real dreams.  They say things like, “I’d really like to travel and write, but I’m not sure I can make a living doing that, so I’m going to be a lawyer, banker, whatever.”  They have an idea of awesome, but people in their lives have convinced them awesome wasn’t going to pay enough.

Whether you have no idea what your awesome is, or you are afraid of it.  There are a few questions I ask people to think about when they are trying to “Discover Awesome.”

1.  If you had $20,000,000 but you had to do some kind of work, what would you do?

I find this question takes the concern of money out of the equation for figuring out what you are going to do with your life.  Today, there are people making a living in so many different ways.  The people that are the top earners are also the most passionate and dedicated to their craft, they love what they are doing and their love rubs off.  When you “Discover Awesome” you also find a desire to outwork the competition.  When you add that desire and passion with talent you rise to the top.  This question can be followed up by asking, “What does that work look like without the $20,000,000?

2.  When were you really excited about something?

We are usually excited when we are doing something successfully, when we are good at something it is easier to get excited about it than if we are struggling through it.  You might also remember getting some feed back from someone that was exciting for you.  For me it has been exciting to have opportunities to speak in front of groups of kids.  I enjoy encouraging them to push their limits of comfort and pursue a purpose and passion.

3.  What was it about that time that you remember so fondly?

Each tasks takes a lot of different skills.  If you can focus in on what really was exciting about the time, you can transfer it to other areas.  In presenting to groups I discover that the fear of something new is exciting.  So for me, I can introduce something new in other areas of life that presents a challenge and get that same feeling of excitement.

Putting these questions together can be the start of discovery that can lead to some amazing things in your life.  It is of course the first part of an equation that equals “World Changer.”  That is the end goal, and without a clear view of what awesome is, you will have a hard time having an impact on anyone else.

What is your Awesome?  Or less pressure, answer the 3 questions and leave them in the comments below.

I have appreciated all of your feedback about my writing and am thankful for all of your kind words.  If you enjoyed reading this post please take the time to hit one of the social media buttons and share it on the social media of your choice.  Monday we will take a closer look at the Chase of Awesome.

Have a great weekend.

#15 Formula For Change

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I’ve mentioned in a number of posts ideas about Discovering Awesome, Chasing Awesome and being a World Changer.  These ideas might seem foreign or at least vague to many of you.  Maybe something that sounds cool, sure you can change the world.  I want to take the next couple posts to explore each of these ideas in a little more detail.

Why do you care?  What is the value you for you?  I”m not exactly sure about that, but get plugged in over the next week and I will try to help you shed some light on that.

Discover Awesome

First, I believe that we all have the ability to do amazing things in our lives, despite your past, your present, your own doubts-there is something awesome about you.  You were created unique, there is no one else like you.  That in itself is pretty awesome.  The discovery of awesome is personal, it isn’t something that someone else can tell you to do.  On Friday, we will jump in and talk about some questions that will help you Discover Your Awesome.

Chase Awesome

The Second piece of the formula is “Chasing Awesome”  this is the nuts and bolts of getting from where you are to where you want to be.  For most people this is where the wheels start to come off.  When I think of this concept it always brings to mind two things, New Year’s Resolutions and Marriages-both of these the Discovering of Awesome is pretty easy.  We hold a view of how both will change our lives, then most of both-fail.  About 50% of marriages and about 75% of New Year’s Resolutions.  Why is that, certainly no one is going into a marriage thinking that it will shortly end in divorce.  Why does the chase end?  I certainly don’t have all the answers but on Monday I’ll share a process that will get you better results on your Awesome.

World Changers

The final phase is to be a “World Changer.”  For awesome to really be awesome it should impact people and probably not just you.  While success might be measured by the amount of money you are making, being a “World Changer” can be measured by the impact you have on others.  The question now becomes what does that look like.  How will you set an example that people can learn from.  How do you impact the world, maybe it will be from your giving, maybe from your doing, maybe from your investment into the leaders of tomorrow.  The world changes through love, I am aware that sounds cheesy.  Love what you do, love the people around you and watch the world change.  Next Wednesday we will take a closer look at what it means to be a World Changer.

Where are you in your journey or pursuit of Awesome?  

#14 Why You Should Build a “Platform”

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Michael Hyatt is the former CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishing, he currently writes a blog at MichaelHyatt.com about “Intentional Leadership”  helping leaders leverage their influence.  I’ve talked about Michael Hyatt’s blog posts before.  I recently finished reading his book platform, which you can purchase from the link at the top of this post(I will get a few cents from Amazon if you do).

As I’ve been thinking about all of the great information I took from the book, the value continues to grow. Michael takes us through a step by step guide to build a significant “platform.” I read the book thinking about building a blog and putting myself in a position to be able to speak about “Chasing Awesome” to youth and youth leaders. What I have begun to realize is building a successful platform is worthwhile for just about anyone. We all have something to say or something to sell, even if it is to a very small group, or even if what we are selling doesn’t cost any money.

All throughout life we want people to listen to what we have to say, we want people to respect us and be willing to invest in us; maybe their time, their money, maybe by giving us a job, or a spot in their university.  If you are looking to put yourself in a better position or put your students or children in a better position to make a difference in the world, Platform is a must read.

Here are a few of the big picture themes I took from the book.

1.  I am a product

The first part of the book is all about creating a “wow product” that people will want to invest in.  As I was reading through this section, I ended up sharing it with my students and talked to them about how they personally were a product.  They would be looking for “investors” in college admissions offices and the work force.  For them to be noticed they had to separate themselves from the millions of other students out there.  We are, as people, very similar to a product.  Why would someone spend money on us or give us a spot over someone else.  Platform gives a ton of great insight into how to create a great product.

2.  Consistency

A lot of what Michael Hyatt talks about is being consistent.  Be consistent with your message and be consistent with your actions. People want to know what they are getting from you.  They want to know who they are hiring or who they are recruiting and giving a scholarship to.  Be honest with who you are and what your message is and the right people will find you.  “Platform” offers a number of ways to share who you are and what you are passionate about with the world.

3.  Give/Serve

Giving and serving are two values I hold in great regard.  Platform talks about both of these as being keys to attracting people to your platform.  What are you willing to give?  What are you offering that adds value to your audience?  If you have something valuable to offer, people will come gobble it up.

Service is pretty similar, it has just about become the norm for people to think me, me, me.  When you are sincere in your offer to serve and willing to get nothing in return, people pay attention, you stand out.

Michael Hyatt’s book, is loaded with a ton of great information, that I could never do justice to in a 500 word blog post. You can pick up Michael Hyatt’s “Platform” here-Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World.

I’d love to hear more about what you think it takes to get noticed.  What are your keys to being noticed?  Let me know in the comments below.