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Kids & Family

Systems for Success

Updated about 1 month ago

Kids & Family
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This podcast is for people who have the courage to learn and to do what it takes to design the life of their dreams. Many people think success is something that just happens to you if you’re lucky or work hard enough. We believe that behind every success is a system in action. Join Lonnie Gienger and his family as they share real life stories and learnings from our journey to create specific processes that produce success in business and in life.

Read more

This podcast is for people who have the courage to learn and to do what it takes to design the life of their dreams. Many people think success is something that just happens to you if you’re lucky or work hard enough. We believe that behind every success is a system in action. Join Lonnie Gienger and his family as they share real life stories and learnings from our journey to create specific processes that produce success in business and in life.

iTunes Ratings

21 Ratings
Average Ratings

People need this!

By Torii Weber - Sep 17 2018
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Love the values and passion this family has! It’s so true, we can all aspire for a more fulfilling life and this podcast really dives into the practical issues of life in a rich and encouraging way. I truly find that the concepts shared here can be applied to any single individual wherever they find themselves in their walk. :)


By Sheen oconnell - Feb 14 2018
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One word: practical.

iTunes Ratings

21 Ratings
Average Ratings

People need this!

By Torii Weber - Sep 17 2018
Read more
Love the values and passion this family has! It’s so true, we can all aspire for a more fulfilling life and this podcast really dives into the practical issues of life in a rich and encouraging way. I truly find that the concepts shared here can be applied to any single individual wherever they find themselves in their walk. :)


By Sheen oconnell - Feb 14 2018
Read more
One word: practical.
Cover image of Systems for Success

Systems for Success

Updated about 1 month ago

Read more

This podcast is for people who have the courage to learn and to do what it takes to design the life of their dreams. Many people think success is something that just happens to you if you’re lucky or work hard enough. We believe that behind every success is a system in action. Join Lonnie Gienger and his family as they share real life stories and learnings from our journey to create specific processes that produce success in business and in life.

Warning: This podcast is a series podcast

This means episodes are recommended to be heard in order from the very start. Here's the 10 best episodes of the series anyway though!

Rank #1: 9. Pathways to Multi-Generational Legacy | Presentation

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What would it be worth to you and your family if you had a process that you knew could help you leave a harmonious world changing legacy for many generations? Your family legacy includes all that your family holds dear and wants to preserve in future generations.

In this episode, you’ll hear the content from a presentation that I have been doing recently at conferences for wealthy families.  I share a strategy and case study illustrations from my own family as I’ve spend the last 16 years trying to figure out how to create my own multi-generational legacy.

Sixteen years ago I met a man named Greg Gunn who asked me a question that rocked my world.  He said, “Lonnie, why do you invest so much time developing and implementing clear mission, vision, values and strategy for your business but you don’t take the same intentional approach to leading your family?”

I honestly had never thought about it that way.  I didn’t even know where to begin leading my family that strategically.   So what I am sharing with you in this episode is based on many years of coaching and trial and error practice in our own family.  A I believe this is a strategy that can help anyone develop multi-generational harmony and world changing legacy.

Great legacies are no accident.  Mere hope is not a likely pathway to a legacy you’ll be proud of.  A great legacy requires a clear strategy and action.

This process for creating family legacy results in a more harmonious family with greater sense of shared identity and purpose.

Here’s an overview of the two-stage process for creating multi-generational family legacy.

The first stage is defining your family compass that will provide consistent direction to your family now and in future generations.  Your family compass has three components:

  • Family values
  • Family mission
  • Family vision.

The next stage is planning your strategy for implementation of your family compass using specific

  • Relational pathways
  • Structural pathways

I’ll be providing you with the principles that drive each of these components, a process you can use to do this in your family and some practical case study illustrations from our family.

Check out the link in these show notes Resources for the PowerPoint presentation that has all the questions and processes  you need to work through in order to begin to implement this in your family.   I’d recommend that listen through the podcast once to get a good overview.  Then, if you want to actually do something to impact your legacy, listen again following along in the PowerPoint presentation and pausing the podcast and answer the questions on your own or with family members.  Yes, if you want this to actually make any difference in your life, you’ll need to actually take action on it. :)


Download the PowerPoint presentation used during my recent presentation on this topic at the IMN Family Office Conference, check out Family Legacy Presentation-IMN Conference, 5-15-17


Thanks again for listening to the show! If it has helped you in any way, please share it using the social media buttons you see on the page.   We'd also really appreciate any feedback or questions that might guide what we talk about in future episodes.

Additionally, reviews for the podcast on iTunes are extremely helpful and greatly appreciated! They do matter in the rankings of the show and we read each and every one of them.

  • Subscribe to the Systems for Success Podcast on IOS or Apple Itunes.
  • Subscribe to the Systems for Success Podcast on Android or Windows OS.
  • Enter your email in one of the email opt-ins on this site for regular emails from Lonnie Gienger or the Gienger Family on additional Systems for Success.
  • Follow Systems for Success on Instagram @systemsforsuccess
  • Follow Lonnie Gienger on Instagram @lonniegienger
May 23 2018
49 mins

Rank #2: 13. Business Leaders that Transform Society

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Business leaders build a better world on three levels. The first level is simply building a good business that provides value to people.  Second, they go beyond basic business expectations to do things in and through their business that provide extra benefit for people and communities. On the third level, business leaders intentionally use their businesses as a platform to make a transformational impact on society, to literally rebuild the world.

If you are in business, you are already on Level 1. You are already building a better world just by doing good business!

Level 1: Building Your Business

At the most basic level, when you build a business you play a vital role in meeting people’s needs and thereby building a better world. If you do nothing but build a business that meets needs well and makes a profit doing so, you not only provide a product or service that society needs, you create the resources that put food on tables, roofs over heads, and kids in school. Even better, if you create a healthy culture in and around your business based on enduring values, you can create a little slice of a healthier society.

What I have learned is that ministry happens in the margins. Going the extra mile only works if you’ve got gas in your tank at the end of the last mile. If you don't have a business that allows you some margin in your finances, time, and emotional capital, it's hard to use your business to do effective ministry that goes beyond the goodness of simply doing business well.

So what’s the pathway to create more margin to be able to do more ministry for the world through business? I have found that the pathway is through implementing the right processes. The secret is in the systems that cause success. Implementing the right systems in your business is one of the most valuable means to be more effective at Level 1 and ultimately to allow you to enjoy more time and energy to function at Levels 2 and 3.

To do more on Level 2, you must learn to build a business that accomplishes the mission of your business through implementing effective business operating systems in nine critical areas. If you’re interested in learning more about these nine categories of business operating systems you can check out the additional information in the Appendix at the end of this book. As you continue to implement processes that produce better outcomes and create greater margins of time and money, it will help launch your business into more Level 2 activity and impact.

Level 2: Building Beyond Business

Once you have a business that is generating some consistent value for others and creating some consistent profit, you have the greater ability to move to the next level where you are building beyond business. At this level you are going the extra mile to intentionally create value for others beyond the fundamental value of doing good business.

Even if your business isn’t focused on changing the world, when your business goes the extra mile to create out of the ordinary value for employees, customers or their community, you are applying best practices that some of the greatest companies in this world follow. Such Level 2 initiatives are a good warm up for playing in the “big league” of Level 3 where you intentionally use your business as a platform to shape society and rebuild our world.

Level 3:  Rebuilding the World

After you have basic success in building your business and some wins at building beyond business, at some point you begin to embrace the paradigm that your business is actually a powerful platform (some might even say an elaborate front) to transform society. You begin to see that the real power of business is more than creating valuable products, services, and environments. It's even more than going the extra mile to benefit humanity. It is actually a powerful tool to transform the world. For those who are followers of Jesus, their business can become a powerful platform to perpetuate the values of Jesus on this earth. For those who are church-going Christians, their business could even become an extension of the ministry of their church to intentionally infuse God's good purposes into the world.  Regardless of your religious affiliation or lack thereof, your business can be a powerful platform to make what's wrong in the world, right!  Your business is your pathway to transform your part of the world!


In this episode I refer to the nine categories of business operating systems that every successful business needs to have in place.  Following is some overview information and a few key questions about those nine business operating systems:

Overview of the Nine Categories of Systems for Success in Business

Building a business that gives you the margin needed to build beyond business and do more to rebuild the world requires the disciplined planning and implementation of nine foundational categories of business systems.  Each of these business operating systems are powerful tools that will help you organize key areas of your business for maximum effectiveness. Together they work to make your entire business run like a perfectly constructed machine giving you the consistent results and margin you need to change the world through your business! I’ll give a brief overview of these nine systems, and also give a little insight into why each one is important to the success of your business.

Like the designer of anything great, you cannot build a successful business that gives you the results you want and the margin you need to rebuild the world without first creating a blueprint; a vision of what you want your business to be. That’s why the first and most important system you use is the strategic planning system.

Strategic Planning Systems

Do you have a clear vision for your company and a step-by-step plan to achieve it?

Success doesn’t just happen; you have to plan for it. In fact, the biggest mistake business owners make is failing to come up with a blueprint for their success. When you get caught in a cycle of firefighting, it is difficult to do anything but react to the crisis of the moment. Strategic planning is the way to get proactive about your business.  It starts with a clear understanding or your personal mission, vision, and values so that you can intentionally build a business that is an outgrowth of who you are called to be.  Then you will develop a crystal clear mission, vision, and the core values that set the direction and DNA for everything you do in your business.  Based on this, you will develop specific strategies, objectives, goals, and action plans where you decide in advance exactly what needs to be done, and how you’ll do it.  Your direction, strategies and goals will be in writing so it can be clearly communicated and consistently executed.

You and your employees will know the specific tasks needed to accomplish each goal. With each positive change you make, your business will become what you designed it to be. But your designing work doesn’t end with the creation of an overall strategy for your future success; you also need to design each of the individual systems that have to work together to achieve your strategic plan.

Here’s one powerful tool you can use to identify which systems you need to implement or improve in your business. It’s called the Performance Gap Analysis. In strategic planning, the performance gap is the difference between where your business is today, and where you want it to be in the future. Once you define what lies between you and your goals, you’ll be able to come up with a strategy to bridge the gap between the two. When you analyze where your business is today in terms of its strengths and weaknesses, you’ll be able to create a specific plan to leverage your strengths, and overcome your weaknesses and take your business where you want it to be.

Marketing Strategy Systems

Every business needs customers, but where do you find them and how do you get their attention? The purpose of your marketing strategy system is to create and communicate your unique competitive advantage that will attract the most probable and profitable customers to your business.

Do you have a written marketing plan that clearly identifies your product, pricing, distribution and promotional strategies, and how they will be implemented?

When you understand the characteristics of your target market, the trends in your industry, the strategies of your competition, and your products’ unique benefits, you’re able to make sure you spend your marketing dollars where they will produce the best results. Your marketing strategy takes into consideration everything you do in your business that impacts your customer, like your products’ features and benefits, hours of operation, customer service policies, and credit terms.

But it goes deeper than that. Did you know something as simple as changing the color of the clothes you wear can increase or decrease your sales? So can the image your correspondence or invoices present, and the expression on your face or the tone of your voice. You can lose a customer just as easily over a little thing as you can over a big one.

Your strategic marketing system will give you the confidence to launch a successful marketing program based on research and planning rather than on a gut feeling. It’s a powerful tool you can use to take the guesswork out of all of your marketing systems.

Workflow and Organization Systems

More effective marketing systems will attract more customers, but more customers can lead to more chaos. That is, unless you have work flow and organization systems to keep the inner workings of your business running smoothly.

Do you have systems in place that ensure time is spent on the most important priorities for your business, and nothing is falling through the cracks?

Workflow and organization systems specifically address the issues of time and your efficiency. Where is your time going now? And how can you create more time to do what is most important? For example, when you use a delegation system, you create time for yourself by assigning responsibilities in a way that ensures the task will be done properly, and on time. A project control system helps you save time by giving you instant information about every activity and deadline in your business. That’s so you don’t have to chase people down to see what is getting done. If you have inventory, an Inventory Control System ensures you have the right amount of the right products in stock. It also makes certain your cash isn’t tied up in a lot of slow-moving products.

With business operating systems in place, you don’t have to spend time rethinking or explaining each and every task over and over again, hoping it gets done correctly. Organization systems create procedures for everything your business does on a repetitive basis, like opening and closing your business each day, maintaining equipment, handling customer complaints, or any other area of your business where you want consistent, predictable results.

There is no such thing as “good enough” when it comes to building a successful business. Your operating systems can’t remain static. Your business environment is constantly changing. What works today may not be sufficient tomorrow. So you need a way to continually improve all of your business operating systems; a system to improve your systems! Here’s how:

First, you have to decide which system to improve. Next, identify the specific goals and purpose of that particular system. Third, evaluate your current situation, and do a Performance Gap Analysis to identify your desired outcome. Next, brainstorm new ideas to bridge the gap, to improve the existing system. Then evaluate your ideas and select the one that seems most likely to succeed.

That last step is where many business owners go wrong. They may have plenty of new ideas to work with, but most business owners don’t have a system to help them choose and implement the right ideas. Your strategic plan and market strategy help you identify the right ideas. Then you can use a different system to test, measure, and implement each one.

This is called your “TMI Formula”. The first portion of the TMI formula is to test your new Ideas. For example, you may want to test a new print add by placing it in a small local paper before committing it to something more elaborate. New ideas can be expensive, especially if they don’t accomplish what you hoped they would.

The second portion of the TMI Formula is what really separates the designer from the specialist. The designer doesn’t just try something new; the designer measures the actual results of the change to determine its success.

So a designer who creates an online ad campaign will also set up a tracking system to monitor the new business that ad brings in. To measure the new business, you need to know where all of the new business comes from. Did the customer read the new ad? Or did they walk into your business off the street? Or did a friend recommend they come in? One simple way to gather information is to ask, “How did you hear about us?” whenever a person walks into your business or calls. With a good system for measuring results, a designer can tell how many responses the ad generated, how many sales resulted, and how profitable the sales were. Then you can determine with absolute accuracy whether or not the idea was a success.

That brings us to the third step of the TMI Formula: Implementation. This is more than saying “Let’s do it”. Implementations is taking what works and turning it into a system. It’s taking the results of testing and measuring your ideas, and using that information to create procedures that will produce the same positive results over and over again. For instance, if you discover greeting a customer with a question like “Have you ever been in our store before?” leads to a higher percentage of sales than greeting them with “May I help you?” you’ll want to implement that greeting into your sales process. The procedure that gets the best results is then documented in writing; every employee is trained to follow it properly, and each person is accountable for using the system you’ve developed for a particular situation. The final result of the TMI Formula isn’t simply the creation of positive changes; it’s the systematic use of the changes to achieve consistent, predictably good results in your business.

Personnel Management Systems

Your employees are crucial to the success of your business, whether you already have people working for you, or you’re thinking of bringing someone on. Personnel management systems will help you get the most productivity and profit from your employees and create a highly empowering work environment that fully engages the best of each person. This helps you manage the entire personnel process, and it goes far beyond hiring and firing. You know you need to hire someone when an employee quits. But your personnel management systems will also help you forecast your future work force needs and develop a step-by-step process to attract the right people for the right jobs.

Your orientation systems will prepare your new employees to become a dedicated part of your business and share your vision of what your company is all about. With effective personnel management systems in place, even disciplinary problems can be dealt with in a way that will reduce stress and miscommunication.

How would you feel if everyone in your company loved what they did and consistently went above and beyond the basics of their jobs?

When you take the time to develop your personnel management systems, you will reap the benefits of having employees, while you minimize the headaches. The right people, with the right qualifications bring valuable experience, needed skills, and renewed enthusiasm to the business. You will be creating a positive work environment where productivity is higher, communication and cooperation is better, and potential problems like low morale are likely to be avoided. The effect will be felt by everyone; you, your employees, and even your customers.

Promotions and Advertising Systems

Good advertising is as much as result of good planning as creative talent; whether you are selling a product or a service. Your advertising and promotion systems will help you get the most out of your advertising dollars, no matter what your budget is.

Do your advertising and promotional efforts generate the response you would like?

While the marketing strategy systems help you to position your product in your market, promotions is the job of presenting your product in a way that makes the consumer want to buy it. Advertising, personal selling, public relations, and online marketing are all considered promotional activities because their ultimate objective is to make sales. Advertising is one of the best ways to promote what you are selling. But unless you know what you are doing, it can be risky for a small business owner with a limited budget. The promotional and advertising systems you implement will help you understand the ad buying and pay per click process, so you can create advertising that gets noticed by the right people. Even if you have someone else create your advertising, it’s important you understand the elements of an effective ad, to give the direction needed to ensure success. Whether creating an ad for a print publication or for online presentation, your promotional systems will help you create an effective message that will reach the right people at the right time, and generate the sales you want.

Business Communication Systems

As a business owner, you probably spend most of your day writing, speaking or listening to someone. Business communication systems help you master the skills you need to document your other systems, and clearly communicate your ideas to form better relationships with everyone you come in contact with. If a breakdown in communication has ever caused problems with your employees, or your customers, you know resolving these problems will cost you valuable time; sometimes money. Business communication systems will help you get your message across in any situation: one on one, in a group or when you need to resolve conflicts or negotiate agreements. Most importantly, you will hone your listening ability and use it as a tool for better understanding.

Without good communication skills, your strategic plan will never get off the ground. Your promotional strategies won’t reach their full potential, and you certainly won’t be able to lead and motivate your employees, or build strong relationships with your customers. Since so much is riding on how you communicate, it is important you develop the systems to help you do it well.

Personal Selling Systems

While your marketing and promotion systems will attract prospects to your business, you still need effective personal selling systems to turn those prospects into costumers and achieve consistent sales results.

Do your sales people have a systematic way to discover what the customer needs and wants? Do your sales depend on the talent of a particular person? Or do you have a sales system that enables all your people to produce consistent results?

You can reach a certain level of growth while your sales are still dependent on you or another sales person. But unless you have the right systems in place, you’ll eventually hit a ceiling, where your sales will eventually drop off. Maybe you suffer from the “Peak and Valley” system. You can go out and sell as much as you can; then your business comes to a grinding halt while you switch hats and deal with the orders you just got. You may be waiting for a superstar sales person to show up and solve your problems, but there is no guarantee they will be able to work their magic in your particular business, and if they leave, your sales expertise goes with them. When results depend on your own selling skills, or those of someone else, your bottom line will constantly change, and so will the messages sent to your customers. Personal selling systems will give you predictable control over increasing sells from your existing customers and developing the new business you want.

Financial Management Systems

Financial management isn’t just about keeping track of historical information or keeping the IRS happy. It’s about systems to plan and create the future of your business. Your financial management systems will give you a complete and accurate picture of what you did in the past, where you are now, and what adjustments you need to meet your future financial goals.

Do you have a system in place to project your income and expenses so you can accurately predict your cash flow?

Do you know how to use the information on your financial statements to help you anticipate and prevent problems in your business? How your business is doing financially at any given time should never be a mystery to you, or an assumption you make based on appearances. When you have the right financial systems in place, you will always know where you stand. But you will also have the ability to forecast future sales and expenses, so you can prepare for the future. Once you understand the key components of financial management, and the systems you need to run your business properly and predictably, you can begin to solve problems before they get out of hand, and you can take advantage of new opportunities that come your way.

Leadership and Motivation Systems

This final system for success you need to have in your business may be the most important of all. Your leadership and motivation systems have the power to make all of your other systems exceed your expectations. No matter how good they are, systems by themselves can’t create success; people do. When well led, highly motivated people turn on the systems you design, you will be able to expand your vision for your company to create whatever success you desire.

Do you have systems in place to lead, motivate, and inspire your employees to pursue your vision for your business as passionately as you do?

Do you have a system to assess the levels of ability and motivation of each employee? And a plan to lead each one to a new level, where they can operate independently and with confidence? You probably know you can’t motivate anyone yourself. You can’t control or reward your employees into consistently effective behavior. To go above and beyond the basic requirements of their job, employees need to be internally motivated. What you can do is put the right systems in place to create an environment that fosters self-motivation. The ultimate level of effectiveness you can reach with your leadership and motivational systems is to have systems in place that not only develop followers, but develop other leaders in your business. When your business grows with followers, you will be limited to growth by addition. You merely begin to develop and add new employees. But when you develop by leaders, you’re able to grow by multiplication. You have other leaders in your company who can add and develop new employees, expanding in leadership effectiveness. Your leadership and motivation systems are the secret to creating a self-running and self-perpetuating business that provides a platform for you to change the world!

Imagine what it would be like for your business to take on a life of its own, apart from you, but according to your design. These nine systems are the crucial components of your ideal business. If each one is in place and working together, they become your systems for success.

This all starts with the mindset and practice of approaching your business from a designer’s perspective, rather than the perspective of a specialist. The designer perspective helps you recognize and bridge the gap between where your business is today, and where you want it to be. From this basis you will then design and implement the specific systems that work together to get your business to the point where it is achieving consistent and predictable results, giving you the time and money margin you want to do even more to build beyond business and build a better world. You will have a business that works hard for you, rather than you working so hard for your business.

The goal of this appendix has been to stimulate your thinking and give you some proven concepts that will help you get even better results from your business.  But just knowing what to do isn’t enough, you also need to know how to go about it.

If you want to solve problems that stay solved, if you want to create that special kind of business where customers love doing business with you; if you want a place where you and your staff can’t wait to come to work each day; if you want to a business that gives you the time and money you need to build a better world, don’t just read this. Take action now to develop the systems your business needs to go to the next level!


Thanks again for listening to the show! If it has helped you in any way, please share it using the social media buttons you see on the page.   We'd also really appreciate any feedback or questions that might guide what we talk about in future episodes.

Additionally, reviews for the podcast on iTunes are extremely helpful and greatly appreciated! They do matter in the rankings of the show and we read each and every one of them.

  • Subscribe to the Systems for Success Podcast on IOS or Apple Itunes.
  • Subscribe to the Systems for Success Podcast on Android or Windows OS.
  • Enter your email in one of the email opt-ins on this site for regular emails from Lonnie Gienger or the Gienger Family on additional Systems for Success.
  • Follow Systems for Success on Instagram @systemsforsuccess
  • Follow Lonnie Gienger on Instagram @lonniegienger
Jul 31 2018
55 mins

Rank #3: 14. Building a Passionate, Fulfilling Marriage

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Finding and keeping a passionate, lasting and fulfilling marriage relationship does not have to be an elusive dream.  It can be your reality if you are willing to make finding and unconditionally loving your spouse the number one most important project.

Listen as our daughter, Chelann, interviews Shelley and I about our marriage.  She asks us key questions her generation of entrepreneurs wants to know about how to find and keep a passionate and fulfilling marriage relationship.  We hope these unvarnished stories and learnings from the failures and successes in our marriage will benefit young and old alike.

Some of the questions we answer in this episode: 

  • How do you know you’ve found “the one”?
  • What are the core characteristics/traits to look for when choosing your spouse?
  • Why do confident men sometimes become cocky when they’re around a confident woman?
  • How can women start empowering men to be MEN instead de’MAN’ing them?
  • What do we wish we would have known in year 1 of our marriage?

We held nothing back in this conversation. Whether you’re single, dating or married, this episode will empower and inspire you.


Thanks again for listening to the show! If it has helped you in any way, please share it using the social media buttons you see on the page.   We'd also really appreciate any feedback or questions that might guide what we talk about in future episodes.

Additionally, reviews for the podcast on iTunes are extremely helpful and greatly appreciated! They do matter in the rankings of the show and we read each and every one of them.

  • Subscribe to the Systems for Success Podcast on IOS or Apple Itunes.
  • Subscribe to the Systems for Success Podcast on Android or Windows OS.
  • Enter your email in one of the email opt-ins on this site for regular emails from Lonnie Gienger or the Gienger Family on additional Systems for Success.
  • Follow Systems for Success on Instagram @systemsforsuccess
  • Follow Lonnie Gienger on Instagram @lonniegienger
Aug 14 2018
1 hour

Rank #4: 11. How to Build a Better World | Reveal

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What if what you are doing in business right now is actually the most powerful platform you could possibly have to make this world a better place? Think about that!  In what other world could you find a better opportunity to impact every element of society?  Let me explain.

I’ve spent the past thirty years straddling two very different worlds: the world of building businesses and the world of building churches. I have been involved in starting businesses that serve many people well. I have been involved in starting churches that serve many people well. My prevailing paradigm over the years was that the world of building a business to create happy customers and the world of building a church to create happy followers of Jesus were very separate and distinct.

Of course, I tried to take my faith into the work world, and I tried to take some basic business savvy into the church world. In reality, though, it seemed quite normal for church and business to be very different spheres.

As I entered the second half of my life and started focusing more on meaning, I began to experience an internal conflict.  When I was in the business world, I felt  that I should be focusing more on the church world to do things that “really counted” for my life mission and legacy. When I was in the church world, though, I had a similar gnawing angst–that I needed to do something in the business world that could effectively change society in ways the church world was not.

A few years ago, I felt convicted to write a book on this subject. It was not because I had any ambition to be a published author. It simply felt like I needed the discipline of slowing down to ponder what, if any, connection there was supposed to be between these two worlds that could potentially make me and others more effective at building a better world.  I needed to figure out at a deeper level what is the ideal system for building better world.

  You’ve Got to Wonder “Why”?

On my journey to understand what, if any, intersection there was supposed to be between the business and church and non profit worlds, and what would be the ideal system to build a better society, I started by questioning a lot of my paradigms and assumptions.

  • Why is it that it seems more noble or spiritual to build a church than it does to build a business?
  • Why is it that more parents (especially religious parents) aren't telling their kids that the one of the best things they can do to build a better world is to build a highly effective business?
  • Why is it that the pursuit of profit is seen by many religious people as somehow being an  “unholy” or second class pursuit compared to being a missionary or working in the ministry of a church?
  • Why is it that business leaders don't often add to their scoreboard of success the value they create for society just by doing business well and providing quality products, services, jobs and thereby helping to build healthy communities?
  • Why is it that churches don't celebrate the transformative effect that the business leaders in their church have on their city through the meaningful value they provide to society through their product, service, and/or culture?
  • Why is it that when pastors are celebrating the food, clothing, shelter or education their church provides to needy people in the community through charity, they don't at the same time celebrate the business leaders who also provide food, clothing, shelter and education to thousands of people in their community through the income they provide employees, taxes paid and the goods and services they produce?
  • Why is it that being Christian has often come to mean being religious people who isolate themselves from the evil influence of the world rather than being world-changing culture creators, as was the founder of Christianity?
  • Why is it that the church is not more effective at accomplishing its original mandate of actually transforming cities and nations?
  • Why is it that the church has become more known for what happens in the programs it holds on the weekend than for the influence it has on society throughout the week?
  • Why is it so rare for the effects of the church to show up in improving economies and providing for people’s tangible needs?
  • Why is it that churches, businesses, and governments have not been able to agree on an ideal system for improving society so they could cooperate more effectively to  build a better world?
  • Why doesn't everyone understand the role businesses have in building a better world and why isn't there a defined model for doing this?
  • Why is it that faith has been either largely ignored by successful business leaders or relegated to a religious notion that is perceived to have little bearing on success?
  What Are We Missing?

As I though about these questions, I really started to wonder: what am I missing here? Could it be that the way I was defining the role and system of church in this world might fall short of the originally intended paradigm?  Could it be that the way I was defining the role and system of business in this world might fall short of the ideal value proposition?

What do you do with the fact that the leaders Jesus chose to start the original church were not religious people but where actually successful business people and strong leaders in the secular community? The four books of the Bible that Christians call  “the Gospels” (Mathew, Mark, Luke, and John) were all written by marketplace leaders, not religious leaders. Matthew had a tax collection business. Mark was the manager of a family business/trust.  Luke had a medical practice, and John owned a commercial fishing company. The key women, highlighted in the Bible as influential in the early church, were business leaders. Dorcas was a clothes designer. One of the most famous women in the early church, Priscilla, was a partner in a commercial tentmaking business. Another influential woman in the early church, Lydia, owned a textile brokerage company. Men and women who built the early church were actually building businesses.

The founder of the Christian faith was actually a successful business leader in his community. Jesus wasn’t viewed as anything close to a religious leader for at least thirty of his thirty-three years on this earth. He was known as a regional business leader. He was known as a businessman who ran a profitable business by serving people well as he ran his family construction business.

Jesus didn’t go to religious seminaries, temples or synagogues to find the key leaders whom he intentionally chose to launch a world-changing movement. None of the twelve core leaders that Jesus chose were religious leaders, priests or rabbis. Not one of them. They were all leaders in the marketplace.

As I began to ponder these basic facts of history, I had to wonder why for much of my life as a business leader, I’d had this nagging feeling that when I was doing business I was not really doing all I could be doing for God–that if I was really devoted to God and His church, I would just be a pastor or a missionary and forget all this business stuff. If I was really spiritual, I would just build the church and not worry so much about building businesses.  At the same time I had to wonder why for much of my life as a church leader, I had this nagging feeling that when I was doing church stuff, I was not really having the depth of impact on building a better society and transforming the world for God that I could be having–that if I was sold out to seeing the church be as strategic and as well led as a highly successful business, that somehow it would transform cities and nations like it was supposed to.  I have believed this som much that I even started a non-profit that trains and coaches pastors on how to lead churches more strategically and for 20 years now we’ve been coaching pastors to lead churches more effectively and have seen many churches become more effective at accomplishing their mission and vision.

The Consistent Key to Success in Building Society

More and more these days as I do business around the world, I see that building successful businesses is the most consistent system for building successful societies across all nations.

Our family was recently in Ireland.   In the period of one day, we toured ruins of a village from 1000 B.C. and a market from 1000 A.D. Then we walked through a modern, vibrant shopping area.

Toward the end of the day I asked Sky, “From what you've seen today, what are the top two or three most common elements that build society in all cultures, in all times, in all places?” This led to a very interesting discussion.  You want to know what our conclusion was?  We concluded that all societies, at all times, are built on two fundamental things: family and business.  And that’s one of the reason why when we started this podcast a couple months later, we decided to focus this podcast primarily on systems for success in family and in business.   I believe that when done well, family and business are the two most fundamental pillars of healthy societies.

We have a lot of content in these podcasts on systems for success in families and we have some on systems for success in business. Many of the systems for success apply to both realms.

Societies throughout all times and in all places have been built on families. As far back as we can go in history we know that people have lived in families. There is no time in history where this was not the case. There has been no society that has succeeded very long by trying to destroy the system of family . . . There have been and continue to be plenty of proposals at changing the family system. And despite many actual experiments over the centuries, actual results have proven that human societies work best when there are healthy family units.

Yet families have always been economic units too. Throughout history, they engaged in doing business. What they could not hunt or farm for themselves, they traded for by offering something of value to others. They formed cottage industries and engaged in money-making activities.

As I do business in many of countries these days, it has become glaringly clear to me that building better businesses is a vital key to building a better world. The heart of building our world is constructing businesses that make families, communities, societies, and nations flourish.

Yet much of society believes that the church or non-profits are the key to building a better world. There is this huge perceived chasm between building businesses and building churches. For some reason, most people don’t see any correlation between pursuing commerce and pursuing cultural change through non-profit ministries. There is this giant perceived gap between going after commerce and going after God.

I am now starting to see that this perceived gap continually perpetuates a cultural paradigm that hold the church back from having ask much tangible power as it could have to make the world a better place. It also blinds business leaders into missing the real value in they bring to building a better world and accomplishing God's purposes on this earth.

So, as I’ve been journaling my journey on this subject in recent years I started to crystallize new paradigms and processes that are giving me fresh insight and inspiration regarding how my life as a business leader impacts building a better world.

God Loves Business!

Another one of my initial core conclusions is that God actually loves business and God really loves business leaders! God doesn't hate money, and He doesn't hate people who make a ton of it by serving their fellow man well. In fact, I'm not sure there is anything that makes God smile more than seeing business leaders create so much value and serve people so well that those people are willing to give up this thing called money in exchange. At the risk of this statement being a bit of a spoiler, I will say that I am increasingly convinced that God might have even chosen business as His preferred method to manifest His presence and perpetuate His values in this world.

What if what you are doing in business right now is actually the most powerful platform you could possibly have to make this world a better place? What if what you are doing right now as a business leader is really God's ideal strategy for doing His best work to transform society on this earth to be more like His original intention?

I have spent my life being very involved in many wonderful churches and other non-profits which are valiantly attempting to meet the desperate needs of society. Churches are full of wonderful people, including wonderful business leaders, who believe that the people and programs of the church are the best way to solve the massive societal problems facing our world.

Many churches certainly play a valuable role in attempting to address these problems. Churches mobilize tremendous talent and pour out significant resources to address these needs. Churches have invested two thousand years of hard efforts trying to meet these needs through what we have considered the directly sponsored ministries of the church. The results are mixed, though. In fact, the brutal reality is that churches are not making the progress that they want nor the progress the world needs in overcoming these global challenges of society..

Dare I say that the church is not winning the war on poverty, illiteracy, hunger, etc.? For sure, the church can show that it is making some progress. The church can show many benefits it is providing that help meet the social needs of the world. But its contributions are small in comparison with the scope of what really needs to happen in this world. The reality is that there are very few churches or non-profits that make a truly significant dent in these global problems.

Why is that? There are many reasons. Let me just address a couple of systemic reasons which cause obvious limitations: money and manpower. Most churches and non-profit agencies believe they could do more if they had more resources. If they just had more people and time committed to the cause, if they just had more money to pour into the mission, they believe they could make a bigger dent in the problems.

This is no doubt true. But the practical reality is that most churches and non-profits operate on a small percentage of the income of their constituencies. Because of this there will never be enough resources to meet a large percentage of the world's needs. Even if everyone donated 10% of their income, there would never be enough money to meet 100% of the world’s needs. There will simply never be enough donor money to deal with the realities of the societal challenges of the world on a large scale.

So, one of the practical challenges the church has is a basic resource problem. There’s an old gospel song that says, God owns the cattle on a thousand hills.  Well If God owns the cattle on a thousand hills, then where are the cattle when it comes to meeting all the needs of the world? They don't all seem to be in the church. Where are the resources to meet the practical and tangible needs of our world?

  Only Business Can Create Resources

Resources are created in business! In fact, all money is actually created by business. Business creates resources when it meets a need at a profit. Business receives revenue when it serves the needs of people in a way that makes them happy. Business earns profit  when what it costs the business to serve the needs of others is less than the dollars that are received from the customer. That profit is what pays the business owner for the skill, risk, and time he or she invested to serve that need. That revenue produces incomes for employees and results in taxes that fund the building of society and in also results in personal charitable donations that fund the building of the direct ministries of the church and other non-profits.

Some Christians and certain other religious groups actually see profit as evil, as if business only makes a profit by taking advantage of or doing harm to people. Yet they profit system is pretty simple.  Profit is simply the difference between the price that is paid for a product or service and the cost to produce that product or service. It is profit that empowers the business to create more value to benefit the world. It is profit that allows a business to invest in meeting whatever need the business finds, and profit that allows it to meet that need in ever-increasing magnitude. It is profit that allows the business to increase the scope of the value it provides to more and more people. For example, if you can make a profit by serving ten people, then you have a pathway to make a profit by serving one hundred people, and then a thousand, and then a million. It becomes a self-perpetuating, ever-increasing vehicle to meet more needs in society.

Not everyone sees or uses their business as a platform to make the world a better place.  But my increasing conviction is that is not only the highest and best use of business, it is the use the system God designed to make the world rebuild the world with sustainable values, norms and outcomes.

Historically, many pastors believe that the primary value business or business leaders bring to the church is that they will give more donations to the church if they make more money. But after two thousand years, that paradigm has not yet successfully fully resourced the direct ministries of the church or the direct outreach and social service programs of other non-profits. It has not yet enabled non-profit institutions to meet the ever-increasing societal needs of the world.

Of course, business should continue providing resources to the valuable programs of churches and other non-profits. And business leaders like me should continue donating to those good causes. However, what I am proposing here is that business not only has the power to create resources for the mission of the church, it also has the power to build great value in the world just by doing business well.

My closing challenge for you today is to first change your paradigm about the power you have in business to make this world a better place. And second, think of one or two things you might do differently if you really believed that what you do in business could have an impact way beyond just the doing of business.  What could you do that would make life better for your coworkers, your customers, your clients, your suppliers or the people in your community that your business effects?  What could you do that would in some way influence better values, better relationships, more joy, more fulfillment in the people whose lives that you touch in business every day?  Go beyond just doing business. The time you spend in the business world is your system to build a better world.


There are no additional resources on this subject right now.  But watch for the book coming out soon!


Thanks again for listening to the show! If it has helped you in any way, please share it using the social media buttons you see on the page.   We'd also really appreciate any feedback or questions that might guide what we talk about in future episodes.

Additionally, reviews for the podcast on iTunes are extremely helpful and greatly appreciated! They do matter in the rankings of the show and we read each and every one of them.

  • Subscribe to the Systems for Success Podcast on IOS or Apple Itunes.
  • Subscribe to the Systems for Success Podcast on Android or Windows OS.
  • Enter your email in one of the email opt-ins on this site for regular emails from Lonnie Gienger or the Gienger Family on additional Systems for Success.
  • Follow Systems for Success on Instagram @systemsforsuccess
  • Follow Lonnie Gienger on Instagram @lonniegienger
Jun 26 2018
52 mins

Rank #5: 15. The One Force that Influences Everything

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What if you could have the one ring that rules them all? What if you could leverage the one force that influences everything in this world? Those of us who are leaders in the business world, have an incredible opportunity to make the world a better place…much more so than we typically think about or believe.  

Virtually everything we can see that is man-made was made by someone who had a vision to start a business, and that business provided income so that people would have jobs, and those jobs created incredible blessing. When you make money you serve everybody, you bless everybody. Everything that is not in its natural state is there because somebody had a vision they turned into something that would bless somebody, something that would give value to someone.

There's nothing like the impact of a business that provides jobs. All the employees then contribute to society. Those jobs create incredible blessing to society. Even a plumber with two can change the world!  The process of making money is a way to make the world better.  It’s a powerful process to serve and bless people.

As the late, great Steven Jobs said: “Everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you; and you can change it, you can influence it, you can build your own things that other people can use.” 

What Transforms Societies?

Some may argue that business isn't the only thing that influences the world. They're right! It's not. As I see it, there are seven primary forces that shape society in any city, nation, and country. They are: Family, Religion, Media, Arts and Entertainment, Education, Government, and Business.

Of these seven forces, there is one that has the most pervasive effect on shaping or driving the other six. You guessed it. That one force that influences all the others is business. Business is the primary driver or influencer of all the other six. 


Government certainly has a significant impact on society. But where does government get tax money so it can operate? From the income created by business. People who make money in a business pay taxes that support the government.

Arts and Entertainment

There is no question that arts and entertainment shape cultural norms. What drives the growth of arts and entertainment in society? Who have been the primary patrons of the arts? Who is on the board of directors of the arts councils, the cultural centers or museums? Is it a homeless, jobless guy? Generally, it is the wealthy, who have become so through business. It is mostly business leaders who are the influencers of the makers of art. Robust businesses drive the arts and entertainment, which are influencers of society. If there was never any money exchanged or given to the artist or the one who created, what would happen to art and entertainment? If art has changed society or culture over time, it's because somebody was offering it as a business. If someone sets up an art studio or a theater, they do marketing, sell tickets, provide customer service, and maybe have employees, etc. Of course, there's a lot of good art that never results in money or has anything to do with money. But generally, art that transforms culture has a business element attached to it. Sitting in your room and painting or making music just for your own pleasure is good, but it is not going to transform culture. That work has to be marketed, as a business.


I firmly believe that healthy families are the foundation of any healthy society. Yet the family requires money to function, and that money is generated by some type of business. Even if your family has inherited wealth, someone at some point made that money through business. The Bible indicates that if you don't work and provide for your family you are “worse than an infidel.” Unless you are stealing to provide for your family, you will probably be providing for them as a result of some type of commerce. What has given me the opportunity to focus on raising our family and for my wife to homeschool our kids has been businesses that produced income that allowed my wife to be home to give the best efforts of some of the best years of her life training our children.


Religion has certainly had a significant influence on shaping society throughout the ages. Every dollar that every church has ever used to do the good work it does, though, was created by a business. You can't give offerings if you don't have money to give. Where does that money come from? Business!  Who is on the boards of churches? Who is on the financial committee? Who are the volunteers? None of these important roles are employees of the church. They are all employed by some business. Every volunteer in the church, by definition, is not paid by the church. It is those volunteers who do most of the important work that is done for communities by any church.


Media doesn't just report on what's happening in the world; it influences what people know and believe about the world. How does business influence media? Every media company is ultimately a business. Furthermore, many types of media are strongly influenced by the businesses that become their customers. When a company says, “Our business will not pay for this million dollar advertisement on your media because we don't agree with your agenda”, they have real influential power over that media. Business influences media by voting for or against any media outlet with their dollars.


Education shapes the future of society in many ways, and educational institutions are ultimately run as businesses if they are going to survive. Who is on the boards of universities? Where did money come from to build and run those educational institutions? Even educational systems that are completely free to the student ultimately receive some type of funding (with money created by business) and/or have leaders who volunteer their time on boards who make money to support their lives and their ability to give to causes through business.

I'm not saying that business is the entirety of what shapes this world. All seven of these forces shape the world along with some less dominate factors that I have not mentioned. And certainly, there are other integrated or overlapping influences between these seven forces. For example, one could argue that government or religion could influence all the other forces. But you can see that business has an inordinate influence! Business and business leaders don't control the other forces that shape society. They simply have a significant impact, both through the influence of being an economic driver as well as through the systems and processes of business within each of those other six areas.

If you took business out of a community, the other six forces would suffer greatly and eventually disappear. Of course, government could try to control all the other six forces. It might have the power to take control of resources and even to eliminate businesses. The Soviet Union tried that and demonstrated that this doesn't create sustainable success in society. Of these seven forces that shape society, business has proven over many generations and in many cultures to have the most profound and consistent impact on all the others.

One has to at least ask the question: “Since all the primary forces that shape society are all influenced by and fueled by business, what is the best way to influence the world? What is the highest potential platform to transform society?”

My bet is on business!  And if you are a business leader, my bet is that you have more power to change the world than you might think.  There is probably something each one of us can do to better leverage our business as a platform to improve society in some way. I’d like to challenge you to think of at least one way that you could more effectively use what you do in business to make your part of the world a better place. 


Thanks again for listening to the show! If it has helped you in any way, please share it using the social media buttons you see on the page.   We'd also really appreciate any feedback or questions that might guide what we talk about in future episodes.

Additionally, reviews for the podcast on iTunes are extremely helpful and greatly appreciated! They do matter in the rankings of the show and we read each and every one of them.

  • Subscribe to the Systems for Success Podcast on IOS or Apple Itunes.
  • Subscribe to the Systems for Success Podcast on Android or Windows OS.
  • Enter your email in one of the email opt-ins on this site for regular emails from Lonnie Gienger or the Gienger Family on additional Systems for Success.
  • Follow Systems for Success on Instagram @systemsforsuccess
  • Follow Lonnie Gienger on Instagram @lonniegienger
Aug 29 2018
31 mins

Rank #6: 12. Keys to Healthy Accountability

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Keys to Healthy Accountability

Is it possible to hold people accountable in a way that is healthy for relationships?  Why has accountability received such a bad rap?  Why is it such an unpopular subject?

Many people have had bad experiences with unhealthy accountability that feels more like control, judgement, manipulation and even punishment.

It is not your job to punish a spouse, friend or employee for not doing what they are supposed to do.  It is not your job to force him or her to stop or change the unhealthy behavior.  Accountability is not about trying to make someone else be or do what you want.

You are not responsible for your partner’s actions or decisions.  If you have permission or request from your spouse to point out when they get off track from something they want to do, your job is just to point it out, not to control or cajole them. What he or she does with that information is out of your hands.

Healthy accountability starts with a servant heart. It starts with, how am I here to serve you?  It is not at all about I am here to make you shape you or break you.

More effective words for accountability might be how can I help “support”, “encourage”, or “assist” you in accomplishing what you want?

The foundation for beneficial accountability is a strong relationship characterized by unconditional love and complete transparency.

Healthy accountability thrives in a safe environment where there is unconditional love and transparency.

Healthy accountability requires fostering honest, open communication.  People need to know that sharing the good, the bad and the ugly will all be received with the same love, acceptance and even forgiveness when needed.

Healthy accountability thrives in an environment where people know that nothing they do or don’t do will make you love them any more or less.  Honest mistakes do not make me look down on your or punish you, whether in family or in business and regardless of the size or consequences.

Radically close relationships require radical transparency.  And transparency is a pre-requisite to healthy accountability.  For example, in our family we give each other full access to each other’s life including passwords for everything.

Hiding things or lying is a cardinal offense because it destroys transparency and trust and diminishes the ability to have healthy accountability in that relationship.

Whenever accountability moves towards control it becomes cancerous to the relationship.

Accountability can easily turn to judgement and control easily whenever the actions desired become more important than the relationship.

Accountability requires relationship and permission. You only know how and when to hold someone accountable best when you have a close relationship with someone.

In reality we can't truly hold someone accountable, as if we had complete control over someone else's behavior.  We can't force someone else to be accountable.  We can actually only hold ourselves accountable.  Self accountability is taking extreme ownership for our own actions.  What we can do is hold ourselves accountable for supporting someone else in their efforts to hold themselves accountable.

The specifics of how accountability is done will look different in each relationship.  However, there are three steps that seem to be fairly common in any healthy accountability relationships.

Simple Three Step System for Healthy Accountability

Understand what the other person wants and determine best way to help them.

  • Seek first to understand their desires.
  • Ask questions like, “What do you really want in this area of your life (or business) to look like? What would you need to do to make that happen?”  That means the other person has to have a desire to be do or have something different. You can't make that up for them or make them want something that you think is better for them.
  • Sometimes you can serve them well by helping them figure out what they want. This is more often the case in the work environment.

Agree on clear expectations and get their permission to help.

  • What are you telling me that you’d like to do differently?  Are you serious about doing that? When do you want to start taking action on that?
  • Would you like me to help, encourage or support you in doing this?  How would you like me to support or encourage you in doing what you’re saying you want to do?

Follow up.

  • Care enough to pay attention to what is happening in their life.  Do what they’ve asked you to do or given you permission to do in supporting them.  Make the call. Schedule the meeting. Send the reminder. Ask the question.  Etc.
  • Celebrate the wins and have the difficult conversations when needed.  Look for any possible opportunity to encourage, celebrate and cheer them on for any progress they have made toward their desires.   And be willing to have the tough conversations in love when needed. Always remember, the relationship is more important than the results.
Cautions about Accountability

Accountability does not mean punishing them for not coming through, by yelling, the silent treatment, ignoring them, complaining... taking something away.  Those things create no value in the relationship or in their life.

For example, if we ask someone to do something or show up in a certain way and they don’t, what can we do?

It helps to first gain some clarity. If someone does not follow through on something they agreed to, then we need to discuss it with them. We need to listen to what they want to tell us (not what we want to hear, but what they want to say), and then we need to accept it.

At that point, we need to honestly state our truth without beating them up. Focus on exactly how you feel now and/or the impact on you or your family or team now, not the other times they let you down by doing something that you or they wanted.

When you ask yourself how you feel or what the impact is on you, it takes great self-awareness to separate the current situation and impacts from past situations and impacts. Some people have a deep-seated feeling of low self-esteem or disappointment with your own life and those people sometimes try to hold others accountable because of that perspective of neediness in their own life. They need to show us we’re worthy and when they don’t come through, for many of us it is additional indictment to our level of self-worth.  They have once again proven how unlovable we are reinforcing our failures.   That is obviously never a position from which you can create healthy accountability in relationships.

Ask yourself some questions to clarify what is happening inside of you.  Is this a significant incident in the overall treatment we receive in the relationship — is it the standard operating system of this person not respect me?  Or is this an isolated incident?  Or does this incident really have nothing to do with their respect for or honor of me?  Is this about them meeting my needs in an appropriate way?  Am I doing everything I can be doing to meet my own needs? How do I treat myself?  Am I respecting my own boundaries? Am I saying what I mean and backing it with action?

If I’m remiss in how I treat myself, it is more likely that others will mistreat me.  We must practice self-care, love and respect. In self-care, we shift the control of ourselves from waiting or wanting someone else to fulfill us, to making sure we are honoring ourselves. We must begin with self-acceptance, which includes where we may judge ourselves harshly too. Often, those who have a huge inner-critic also are tend to judge others harshly.

Self-care doesn’t mean we do everything on our own. It just means that we’re willing to do what we need to make sure we’re taken care of and that includes having boundaries for how we want to be treated.

It always comes back to us when we’re talking about accountability. If we’re serious about a relationship, we need to be clear on those boundaries and what it means to uphold them.

And if we’re not treated appropriately by others and we’re treating ourselves with respect and love, then it is probably time to re-evaluate our expectations of that relationship. Settling when we really love ourselves is not an option. It’s when we don’t really love ourselves that we want to hold everything outside of us accountable for that lack.

Speak up with love, look within our thoughts and feelings to get clear follow through with action to back up our words, thoughts and feelings.

If you’ve done this and you’re sure that the tough conversation you want to have is not driven by some of your own insecurities or internal deficiencies, then have the courage to have the difficult conversation.

Having Crucial Conversations

We recommend that you read the book, Crucial Conversation for more specific training on how to have healthy, tough conversations.    Defining moments in life come from having crucial conversations (as these create significant shifts in attitude and behavior). This book focuses on techniques on how to hold such conversations in a positive space when surrounded by highly charged emotions. Their findings are based on 25 years of research with 20,000 people.

Their model has essentially 7 steps:

1)  Start with the heart (i.e empathy and positive intent)

2)  Stay in dialogue

3)  Make it safe

4)  Don’t get hooked by emotion (or hook them)

5)  Agree on a mutual purpose

6)  Separate facts from story

7)  Agree on a clear action plan

Our success in life is dictated by the quality of relationships we can engender. Some people seem better at negotiating better quality outcomes (for all) than others do – they work with people rather than through people. They are able to hold deeper, more honest conversations that create a new level of bonding and are able to transform people, situations and relationships.  By being prepared to hold these conversations (often early) they ensure clarity over responsibility, define expectations and hence maintain high levels of performance.  When we let these conversations go by, we let standards slip and unwittingly give permission for unwanted behavior to continue.

Crucial conversations lie all around us – all the time: from performance appraisals at work, up to discussing problems over sexual intimacy in marriage. The skills we need in the boardroom are the same skills we need in the bedroom.

Instead of having these crucial conversations, people tend to fall into one of three behavior camps: Those who get emotionally drawn in and resort to threats/name calling; Those who silently fume; and those who speak openly, honestly and effectively. Upon analysis they found those in the third camp were more likely to stay together.

Communities that embraced the issues and discussed things in open honest dialogue were ‘healthier’ than those who either tried to control or ignored them.

Crucial conversations, by their very definition are important and can affect a person’s life. There are three factors that tend to define a crucial conversation: 1) Opinions differ 2) The stakes are high and 3) Emotions are high.

If handled properly they create breakthroughs. If handled badly they can lead to breakdowns. Whole relationships can hang on how these are dealt with. And the reality is many people do not deal with them well – or at all. They live in either a sub-optimal state or hope the situation will resolve itself.

  EPISODE RESOURCES: and sign up for several free resources including a simple questionnaire to help better understand our own style when under stress.


Thanks again for listening to the show! If it has helped you in any way, please share it using the social media buttons you see on the page.   We'd also really appreciate any feedback or questions that might guide what we talk about in future episodes.

Additionally, reviews for the podcast on iTunes are extremely helpful and greatly appreciated! They do matter in the rankings of the show and we read each and every one of them.

  • Subscribe to the Systems for Success Podcast on IOS or Apple Itunes.
  • Subscribe to the Systems for Success Podcast on Android or Windows OS.
  • Enter your email in one of the email opt-ins on this site for regular emails from Lonnie Gienger or the Gienger Family on additional Systems for Success.
  • Follow Systems for Success on Instagram @systemsforsuccess
  • Follow Lonnie Gienger on Instagram @lonniegienger
Jul 10 2018
57 mins

Rank #7: 19. The Best System to Shape Society (Socialism or Capitalism?)

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Hi Systems for Success Family!

Well we just finished the 2018 midterm elections and it seemed there was more focus and more debate generated by these elections than any I remember in many years.  And some of the conversations and debates around this have made me want to address something in this episode that I think is really important to the future of this country.  

I had a conversation with one millennial recently who was really frustrated with some of their friends for thinking they could just not vote and still complain about the way things were going…or that other of their friends could vote for politicians and policies that focused on increased government control, taxes and redistribution of wealth and still expect to see the same abundance for their kids as they experienced. 

Then there was a public opinion poll from Harvard's Institute of Politics, that came out right before the elections that said likely voters claimed to favor socialism over capitalism by something like five points, and the majority supported things like single-payer healthcare, federal job guarantees, and free college. According to Harvard's new poll, millennial Americans have grown to distrust capitalism and free enterprise.  

There was also a Fox News poll earlier this year that showed an uptick to 36 percent of the people polled who had the view that moving away from capitalism and toward socialism would be a good idea.  The article I read said that Historical surveys from the late 1930s to the late 1940s show that only a tiny fraction of Americans embraced the socialist label.  And now 36 percent are in favor of heading that way?  What’s up with that?

Let me be clear, this isn’t about the voting that happened last week.  I think everyone should get out and vote their conscience.  This is not a political commentary podcast and I’m not trying to turn it into that.

What I’m talking about here goes way beyond political viewpoints.  I’m talking about a system for success that built this country and I think really built our world…a system for success is now at risk.  Political victories are temporary bandages over what I see as severe national threat posed by the revival of historically discredited systems like socialism as the system for success in societies.

Somehow there have been all kinds of purveyors of global capitalism, from free-trade champions like Bill Clinton to way right-wing leaders like Paul Ryan, have failed to persuade young Americans that the free market has been significantly responsible for global income per person increasing tenfold--that the free enterprise system has been responsible for eradicating poverty for hundreds of millions of people around the world, and a massive increase in both the length and quality of life.  Many people, especially it seems in the younger generation, have begun to imagine that a fatally flawed system of having government control of who gets what will create long term success in societies.

So in this episode, I want to share with you some thoughts about what I think is the antidote to that flawed system. Let me tell you what I love about the system for success of a free market economy.  I share some of these thoughts in my book, Beyond Business, that will be published the last week of November. So if you want more inspiration on how business shapes our world, you can get that on Amazon soon.  

So here’s what I love about the free enterprise and why I think it is the best system to shape healthy societies.  I love that it is a system where money is earned by serving someone else well.  It’s a system where there is a built in incentive to serve someone well enough to make them happy with what you provided. If I paint your house, fix your car, make a certain tool that you need, you give me money. That money is in essence a certificate proving that I served you. With these certificates of service that you have given me, I can then go online and order some new tool I need from Amazon that some other business leader made well enough that others traded their certificates of service for it and were served well enough that they gave it a five star rating.

Essentially, Amazon says, “When you place your order, you’re making a claim on something that some other business leader created. You’re asking this other business leader to provide value to you. But first can you prove that you provided value to someone else?” And I say, “Of course I can!” Amazon essentially says, “Prove it.” So I enter my PayPal account linked to my reservoir of certificates of service and prove that I have provided enough value to others to receive the value of this new tool I am buying for myself.

Commerce is really an exchange of value. Money is just the symbol of value exchanged.

Obviously, some people are more effective at creating value for society than others. Is it magic that they receive more certificates of service (make more money) than others who provide less value? Think about Bill Gates, for example. Why is his income so much more than mine? It’s because millions of people use the software his business created. I'm using the software he created right now as I type this manuscript, because it makes me more productive than just writing it all by hand. The mission of Microsoft is to empower every person on the planet to achieve more. Their mission is not to make money. Their mission is to serve people by helping them achieve more. I pay hundreds of dollars a year to the company Bill Gates started because it empowers me to be more productive. People pay me less than they pay Bill Gates because I haven't provided as much value to as many people as he has.

            There are some who would say it is not fair that Bill Gates makes so much, especially compared to others. They would even cheer the government on in trying to take more money from him (and other wealthy people like him) and give it to others. In doing this they are basically announcing to the world that they don't agree with the deliberate decisions of millions of people to give Gates’s company their hard-earned certificates of service. They are negating the decisions of millions of people who felt they were getting more value than they were giving up when they bought the products and services of his company. Instead, they are suggesting that we should use the arbitrary control of government to nullify all of those deliberate, independent decisions and redistribute those certificates of service without regard for the value created.

Just as an aside, when you think through this lens, it almost appears that income redistribution is just a government-authorized version of what a robber does. They take what rightfully belongs to one person for the benefit of someone who didn't actually earn it.

Free Enterprise Is a Gift to Humanity

Think about the self-perpetuating system of positive regard for humanity that is built in to this free enterprise system of business. There is a built-in incentive to provide value to others before I receive value myself. There is a built-in system to reinforce the positive principle that the greatest servant will become the greatest success. There is a catalytic mechanism to encourage the Golden Rule of doing for others as we would want done for ourselves.

Harvard Professor Steven Pinker says, “Commerce, trade and exchange . . . mean that people try to anticipate what the other guy needs and wants. It engages the mechanisms of reciprocal altruism.”

That, in a nutshell, means that business makes people want to serve others’ needs. That sounds to me like a real gift to humanity!

Now think of the alternative. For the sake of contrast, let’s talk about socialism. A socialist economy can essentially say, “Lonnie, you don’t have to provide value to other people in order to deserve the value that someone else produces. As long as you’re a member of our party, we will take what your fellow man produces and give it to you based on equality or need rather than based on what you produce.” This system has been well proven throughout history not to create sustainable success in relationships or true abundance in society. When it comes to relationships, Alexander Solzhenitsyn, a Soviet dissident who won the Nobel Prize, said that the Union of the Soviet Socialist Republic was a government at war with its own people. The very nature of the socialist system diminishes the dynamics that cause sustainable success in relationships. Peace and prosperity for societies have not resulted from such systems; quite the opposite.

Socialism has demonstrated fairly well that if you take away the free enterprise business system of profit for productivity, it is likely that the real wants and needs of people won't be met as effectively. In our generation, some countries that have historically been most deeply entrenched in socialistic and communistic systems are now becoming more capitalistic in their approach to commerce. They simply realize that this creates healthier relationships and stronger societies. China is a great example of this transformation.

When I started making regular trips to China a few years ago, I would have never even put “communism” and “capitalism” in the same sentence. Yet now that I have done a lot of business in China over the last three years, I can honestly say that China, while still clearly communistic in government, is one of the most effectively capitalistic in business. I vividly remember getting off a bullet train in Guangzhou, and my Chinese business partner mentioned that this was considered one of the wealthiest cities in all of China.

I asked, “How does the Chinese government measure wealth in cities?” I was thinking he would respond with measures like we use in America: per capita income or average household income, but no. He said with great clarity, “In China we measure the wealth of a city based on the number of new businesses that are being started and the success of those businesses in providing value to people in the city based on how much profit they make.”

Wow! The Chinese government measures the wealth of a city based on these leading indicators of success rather than lagging indicators like household income. They clearly understand capitalism, maybe even better than some governmental systems in America. The rapid social and economic transformation of China over the last three decades has once again demonstrated the power of capitalism to improve societies.

            In general, in a free market society, people who are wealthy have become so by providing substantial value to other people. I’ll provide a few well-recognized and somewhat extreme examples to illustrate this point. Think about the extraordinary value these business leaders have provided to people that has enabled them to earn billions of dollars.

  • Jeff Bezos, through Amazon's efficient shopping and data systems
  • Steve Jobs, through Apple's revolutionary products
  • Mark Zuckerberg, through making people more connected than ever before with Facebook
  • Elon Musk, through developing Paypal to enable simple and secure online money transfers for people around the world and then creating Tesla’s most energy efficient yet powerful luxury cars on the market
  • The Mayo Brothers through developing Mayo Clinic as the number one medical clinic in the world solving health challenges no one else can solve
  • Richard Branson, through his four hundred plus companies that provide products and services that improve the lives of people around the world

Branson says, “I've always seen business as a group of people trying to improve other people's lives.” Zuckerberg started simply with a clear passion to help people be more connected. The Mayo brothers didn’t intend to build the number one medical center in the world. They began with a simple radical vision to eliminate disease in humanity. Often, these titans of business begin with an altruistic vision to provide value to society, and society rewards them handsomely when they do.

 Do we really mind that these iconic business leaders became very wealthy or that their companies made a lot of money? Do we really wish they had kept their ideas to themselves and not offered to sell them to us for an amount of money that would allow them to continue to make better products and services that we value? Do we begrudge them for making a lot of money? No, because they gave us so much “bang for our buck”! We’re grateful to them!

When Steven Jobs died, a cartoonist showed him entering heaven as he was welcomed by Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Edison. Is there any doubt that these three people contributed more value to society than they received? Ben Franklin contributed too many inventions and discoveries to name. How could we ever repay Thomas Edison for lighting up the world? How could we ever repay Steven Jobs for putting the world of information in our hands in the form of smartphones?

These people gave more value than they received by far. Isn't that a beautiful and virtuous cycle that we would want to see continue, whether on a large scale or happening at your favorite small local restaurant that continually makes better tasting, healthier food served in a great environment that fosters relationships? What these business leaders do with the free enterprise system is truly a blessing to humanity!

Profit Perpetuates Customer Satisfaction

            Whenever the profit incentive is missing, the probability that people’s wants can be safely ignored is the greatest. This is because the ability of a business to make a profit depends on two simple factors. The first is whether the business is producing a product or service that society values enough to pay what they are asking for it. The second is whether that business is well led enough to use limited resources in a way that is efficient and effective enough to consume less resources than the resources others are willing to give in exchange for it. That’s how profit is earned, and it makes profit dependent upon meeting people’s wants and needs.

As I have mentioned, I have spent a lot of time in both the non-profit and the for-profit worlds. I have led boards in both worlds, and I can tell you that in general there is a higher degree of consistency in customer satisfaction in the for-profit world than in the non-profit world. Why is that? I believe it is because in a free market economic system, profit is a built-in catalytic mechanism to constantly encourage service and value creation as of primary importance. Capitalism is compelled by the profit motive to look for and respond to people’s needs and wants.

I'm not saying that capitalism or the free market economic system always produces other-centered people or companies. Certainly, greed and corruption can and do enter in to this system just as they do in many other good systems. At the same time, this does seem to be the system that is most closely aligned with the principles of an ideal society where the one who serves others best becomes the greatest success. In a healthy free enterprise system, the pursuit of profit by serving people and the building of what some might call “God's kingdom on earth” are one and the same.

No one argues that the free enterprise system is perfect or free from abuses, but I believe it is the system that most effectively promotes the principles of God's ideal society where the greatest servant becomes the greatest leader.

So here’s the question.  Since free enterprise has proven to be a system for success that has build a better world wherever it is done well, what can you do to either spread the word or to actually get involved in free enterprise yourself.  Do something that will put some heat around this topic and continue to raise the value and appreciation for free enterprise as a powerful system for success to build a better world.

Nov 16 2018
39 mins

Rank #8: 17. Make Money More

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I’m going to do a little rant today on a subject that impacts every single one of you every single day.  

The success of individuals, families, companies, and nations rises and falls on this subject.  This subject is often not talked about much in the home…sometimes as hush hush or as embarrassingly glossed over in homes and schools as the birds and the bees.  Yet our understanding of this subject has a significant influence on the height of our happiness, the breadth of our impact on the world and the depth of our bank account.  

Wanna know what the subject is? Okay, I’ll tell you. It’s a one-word answer. Money.

Okay, when I say that word, “Money” what thoughts come to your mind? What emotions fill your heart?

I was raised in a religious environment where the prevailing notion about money was that it was somehow evil or at least that it caused a lot of bad things. I actually had a mindset that was a bit afraid of it or at least afraid of having too much of it and I didn’t even know how to define what too much was.

But more and more these days, I’m getting these crazy good opportunities to hang around people who have a very different view of money. Shelley, Chellan and I got to spend a couple of days last week at the Prestel and Partner Family Office Forum in San Francisco.  It was hosted on this amazing 100ft yacht in the SF Bay. According to their website, the average Net Worth of the families and individuals at this event was $500M. I have no idea how they know that they sure didn’t ask my Net worth at the door, and it’s probably a good thing as they might not have let me on the ship cause my Networth would have lowered the average too much.

Anyway, from how I used to think, you’d think that this would have been some uppity up event with people who were selfishly absorbed in making more money and having cooler stuff.  But it was absolutely the opposite. There were a bunch of normal but ambitious business people but people with a driving passion to make the world a better place through what they do in business and through the money business creates. Honestly, the majority of the presentations and roundtable discussions were all about how to make a bigger positive impact for good on this world. And this wasn’t just for some feel-good stuff. Like we invest to make money but want to have it look like we are doing some good for the world in the process. No, these people are serious about real impact to the point of having very specific ways to measure and report on the impact for good.

Impact investments are investments made into companies, organizations, and funds with the intention to generate social and environmental impact alongside a financial return.  The focus is on providing or creating the money needed to address the world’s most pressing challenges. There were presentations and roundtable discussions about how to do this in sectors such as sustainable agriculture, renewable energy, conservation, microfinance, and affordable and accessible basic services including housing, healthcare, and education.

Loved hearing one dad talk about how they play this game with their teenage kids where they pick one major problem in society and have a time limit for coming up with out of the box business ideas and plans that could address that challenge in society.  From illiteracy to homelessness, to aids to racial injustice, etc. It was so refreshing and energizing to be around business leaders and families who truly view money as a tool to make society better. So different from the prevailing paradigm I used to have. This made me really wonder, why is it that money seems to get such a bad rap, especially from many well-meaning religious folks? Some people think that the Bible says that money is the root of all evil. In reality, it says: “The love of money is a root of all kinds of evil.”[i] If when you think about the money you have thoughts of evil or fear it will lead to one path that will miss the power I believe it was intended to do for Good on this earth.

Far from being evil, money is meant to be the result of loving people well. It is only when we love money more than we love people that it causes all kinds of problems. Whenever my company begins loving the money more than we love the process of serving our customers and our team, we ultimately end up with all kinds of challenges. That’s why a couple of the core values in every business I’ve led for the last twenty-five years have been to always act in the best interest of our customers, and to always do the right thing regardless of the personal or corporate cost. These are non-negotiable guiding principles that keep money in proper perspective as the measure of how well we are serving people. Sustainable success and positive influence come from putting the needs of other people first.

Not every company or business leader thinks that way. Because some people love money more than they love people, the wealth that commerce can create has sometimes been seen as something that is bad. But there is a long tradition of cultures that see business success as the epitome of service to society.

Have had the opportunity to get to know several wealthy Jewish families at some of these events.  Interesting to learn more about how the Jewish tradition has no problem with wealth because it is seen as resulting from and producing a great benefit to the community. Rabbi Daniel Lapin wrote a great book I’ve read a couple times now.  Highly recommend it. Thou Shalt Prosper, recounts how money and wealth were viewed throughout the history of the Jews. It's insightful to understand how historic Jewish people understood money and wealth.

Money as a Medal

Jewish people believed that the wealthiest person in the community was the greatest servant in the community. Wealth was simply a measure of how well and how much you served humanity. Every dollar bill represented a certificate, or medal, proving that you had served someone, just like a military medal received for service to your country. Money was viewed as a medal for giving your life in service to humanity. Thus, in the traditional Jewish paradigm, if you had no money, you were not serving society. In historic Jewish communities, they gave the best seat in the house, the best seat in the synagogue to the wealthiest man. This was not because they were trying to suck up to him. No! It was because they truly saw the wealthiest person as the greatest servant of society, deserving the best seat.

Today people often view making a lot of money as a sign of greed and spending money as a curse to avoid. We view spending as a curse because we feel we lose something by doing so, or we feel an aversion to materialism. Yet in the Jewish mindset, spending is a blessing to the world because we are paying for a product or service that adds value in some way to the world.

The Tale of Two Tactics for Influence

Let's go back in history to some time in the Middle Ages to a little Jewish community somewhere in Europe. Let’s make it a village in Germany, where my grandparents were born. In that little community, they would take their Jewish boys and find the most aggressive, self-motivated young boys and send them to school for a rabbinical education. Then they would bring these boys back to their community. They were now highly educated, self-motivated young boys. As the boys came of marriageable age, the community would arrange a marriage, possibly to the daughter of the wealthiest man in the community.

Then this highly educated young man would say to his young growing family, “Kids, let me tell you, the money that you're going to end up inheriting from your grandfather isn't yours and it isn't mine. Let me tell you a story. If it weren't for Mordecai, Esther, Daniel, Shadrach, and Joseph, most administrations in every city our people have lived in would have killed us. We exist today because of the platform that previous generations have built for us. This wealth that we have is for us to manage and protect because it is designed to give us the ability to add value in and therefore influence every one of the cities and cultures where our people live. This is so our lineage can survive and thrive in future generations. So I want you to know, grandkids, you are not to spend this inheritance, wasting it on yourselves. Use it to build a business that builds a platform to add value to society. Your ancestor Mordecai, who saved our people from certain death, wasn't working a job somewhere in a field. He was a leader with influence where he could hear about the plot of King Artaxerxes to kill our entire people. Thus he was able to save his life and save Esther and thus keep our people from being killed. So we've got to continue stewarding our wealth by using it as a platform to create value and build influence in society. This wealth that we have and the wealth that we can create is designed to give us influence in every city. It isn't yours to be wasted on yourself.”

With this ethic, the Jewish people became influential in many of the countries and cities where they lived. In Germany, for example, by 1923, 150 of the 161 privately-owned banks in Berlin were Jewish. About 75% of the attorneys, and nearly as many doctors were Jewish. Although only 1% of the German population, representing a negligible electoral power, by the early twentieth century the Jews’ economic, social, and political impact was considerable. By the 1930s, who in Germany owned and controlled most of the companies and industries? Who controlled the steel industry, the fur trade, the newspaper industry, etc.? It was the Jews.

Now, in a normal society, this would simply be an example of how business and the wealth it generates can allow a minority population to exert significant influence on society. Unfortunately, as we all know, the Germany of the 1930s was taken down an abnormal path by an evil madman named Hitler. The evil forces of this world wanted to exterminate this group of people who were leading influencers in building a better world through doing commerce well. Hitler absurdly made the Jews’ influence in society into a scapegoat for society’s ills instead of honoring them for serving society and we all know the atrocities that followed. However, this story and the Jew’s resurgence of influence illustrates how much impact a healthy view of the value of wealth generated by a business can have on a society, even when exercised by a small and even unpopular part of the population.

For contrast, let's go back to that same place in Germany, only let's go to a Catholic community instead of a Jewish one. Now the Catholic community takes their aggressive and self-motivated young boys and sends them off to the Jesuits and they come back as highly educated, self-motivated and aggressive young boys, many of whom become priests. These educated young boys begin influencing all of Central and South America and parts of the United States for Catholicism. These young priests are like pioneers. They gain vast amounts of wealth for the church and influence society quite a bit. Fifty-four cities in the United States are named after Catholic saints (Santa Fe, Santa Barbara, San Francisco, and Los Angeles are just a few of the more famous examples). Yet because these celibate priests didn't have families, the wealth they collected over their lifetimes was passed on to institutions.

Institutions are not wealth creators. Individuals and families doing business are wealth creators. Wealth was never designed to be managed, protected, and built upon inside of an institution. Attempts to build wealth within an institution inevitably cause the influence of the institution to be viewed as paramount over the influence created by serving people well.     

I have come to believe wealth was designed to be managed and built upon inside the family and used as a platform for people to serve society in increasingly effective ways across the generations. This is a new paradigm in recent years for me. It has caused me to cast a new vision for my family and even revise my estate and trust structures to accommodate this new paradigm, where the wealth I create in this generation is passed on to the next generation, not for them to spend on themselves, but as a platform in trust for them to use as a basis for adding more value to society and rebuilding the world. This is, in many ways, the Jewish model throughout the centuries. Although there have certainly been abuses and mistakes made in this model, it has resulted in an inordinate influence on societies.

Today, the Jewish people are relatively few in number (there are less than 15 million Jews in the world). Yet in relation to their numbers, they have a huge business and financial influence. Though more persecuted than almost any group in the world, Jews control more wealth per person than any other group. Arguably, they have more influence per person on society than any other group in the world. There are undoubtedly multiple causes for this inordinate influence. However, one significant cause is clearly their deeply embedded belief that money is a medal of honor for doing business that blesses society.     

Today, the Catholics are huge in number with more than 1.2 billion in the world. There are many highly successful and influential Catholic leaders around the globe. Some are my dearest and most respected friends. Yet in relation to their numbers overall, this people group doesn’t have nearly the economic strength or influence the Jewish people group has on society. In fact, many of the poorest countries in the world are primarily dominated by the Catholic Church. There are undoubtedly multiple causes for this. However, one significant cause is the historic religious belief that money and materialism are evil and that commerce is a necessary evil to make a living and create donations to the church.

This also illustrates that churches existing on donations cannot exercise the same influence that businesses can. The Catholic Church primarily created wealth through donations, not by providing a product or service for a profit. On the other hand, the Jews primarily created wealth by providing a product or service for profit. Thus, their influence is both wide and deep, especially in proportion to their numbers.

A company is in some ways like an extension of the family concept, where people work together to create value that has a positive influence on society. Those companies and families who understand how money and business can redeem culture are world changers and history makers.

An Ancient Teaching on Influence

Jesus was one of those history-making leaders who really got this. A couple thousand years ago when Jesus was teaching how God’s ideal society would develop in cities, he told a story that illustrates how business leaders who are able to turn one gold coin into ten gold coins are the ones who would end up having influence over ten cities. Society is built by business leaders who multiply their money and increase their net worth by providing a product or service or creating value so that it multiplies. This is what Jesus taught about how God's ideal society (what he called God's kingdom) is designed to grow. Yet it is interesting that the Catholic Church, which is supposed to be one of the primary vehicles for bringing God's kingdom to earth, ended up following a system that was not at all based on the system Jesus taught was to be used for building God's ideal society on this earth. Instead, the Catholic Church fostered what is, in reality, more like a socialistic system that takes from the producers to give to the non-producers. And for the most part, the institutional church around the world continues to perpetuate this basic paradigm of taking from the producers to give to non-producers more than it perpetuates the paradigm of people producing tangible value to build a better society.

Don't get me wrong. I do believe there is great value in producers giving to help people who can't produce. I do believe there is great value in generously giving to the church or charity you believe can use those resources to do really good and important work that wouldn't otherwise get done in this world. For the last forty some years, my wife and I have regularly donated a pretty good percentage of our income to churches and charities like this. And I think many of our donations do make a positive impact on the world. I am simply making a statement about the systems that I believe will ultimately have the greatest impact on transforming our world. I would put transformational commerce at the top of the list.

God's ideal society is not built best on a paradigm that takes from the one who produces and gives to the one who doesn't. I believe “the church” as Jesus envisioned it, as you will see in subsequent chapters, was actually designed to be people providing value to society through the marketplace.

One Last Lesson on Leadership Influence 

This notion first started to dawn on me one day when I was reading the apostle Paul's last speech to the leaders he had been mentoring for years. Paul is known as the leader who did more to build the early church than perhaps any other person after Jesus. He developed leaders (none of whom were paid professional religious leaders) to oversee the church in various cities. He was about to make a long trip to Jerusalem, where he knew he would very likely be killed for going against the religious norms of that time. Just before he left, he gathered these church leaders, what we would call “pastors” today, and gave his farewell speech. With tears, Paul gave these pastors his final leadership advice for building the church.

He didn't tell them to preach better sermons, build better buildings, start more programs to feed the poor or raise more money to fund the ministry. What he said was that he had not coveted silver or gold or clothing.[ii] In fact, he said he had always produced the money for these himself: “You yourselves know that these hands of mine have supplied my own needs and the needs of my companions.”[iii] Paul had worked for his own money, and he had been able to help others with that money too. He suggested that they do the same: “In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”[iv]

In his last speech to the pastors he is mentoring in the early church, Paul is essentially saying, “I want you to be like me. I want you to produce so much profit from the work you do in business that you have plenty of money to give to those in need.”

Now that's a switch. He's not telling pastors that the secret to success is to get their congregations to give more. He was telling pastors to make more so they could give more to their congregations! I want you to make enough money so you can give! Make profit so you can give to those who have a need in your congregation!

I don't know about you, but I have never heard a sermon on how pastors are supposed to do so well in business that they can give to people in the congregation. That, though, is the essence of Paul's last speech. Clearly, Paul did not see money or business as the root of all evil but instead as the basis for blessing society. When this dawned on me, it became clear that business and the church are supposed to have a more significant influence in building a good society than what most of us understand today.

So I’m going to challenge you to really evaluate your underlying subconscious beliefs and paradigms about money.  Do you view it as an evil thing or something to avoid being around too much or to avoid having too much because it might somehow tarnish you?  Or do you view it as a medal of honor for the value you create for others? Do you view it as a sinful or sinister thing or as a certificate of service that simply lets you know how much good you are doing for others or for this world?  Embrace money as a measure of the value you give in serving humanity and humanity will be that much better of because of you.

Much of the potency of business to permeate every aspect of society for good flows from the genius of the free enterprise system in promoting good human relations and creating value in society.


Sep 25 2018
39 mins

Rank #9: 18. How to Examine and Take Control Your Life

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How to Examine and Take Control Your Life

Most people begin their lives reacting to whatever life does to them. This may be okay for an infant. But as adults, it’s important to develop the skills required to examine our lives, cultivate our personal values and make decisions that reflect those values. Many people find themselves reverting back to this reactive state in adult life because they aren’t intentional about making decisions and evaluating the outcomes of those decisions.

I love how Tony Robbins explains life. He uses the metaphor of a raging river to describe life. You can read more from his book, Awaken The Giant Within. And this is what he said:

“Too many of us don’t make the majority of our decisions so doing, we pay a major price. In fact, most people live what I call ‘The Niagara Syndrome’. I believe that life is like a river and that most people jump on the river of life without ever really deciding where they want to end up. So, in a short period of time, they get caught up in the current: current events, current fears, current challenges. When they come to forks in the river, they don’t consciously decide where they want to go, or which is the right direction for them. They merely ‘go with the flow’. They become a part of the mass of people who are directed by the environment instead of by their own values. As a result, they feel out of control. They remain in this unconscious state until one day the sound of the raging water awakens them, and they discover that they’re five feet from Niagara Falls in a boat with no oars. At this point, they say, ‘Oh shoot!’. But by then it’s too late. They’re going to take a fall.

Sometimes it’s an emotional fall.

Sometimes it’s a physical fall.

Sometimes it’s a financial fall.

It’s likely that whatever challenges you have in your life currently could have been avoided by making some better decisions upstream.”

Why don’t we always take the opportunity to take control of the future of our lives through our values?

Once we understand the circumstances and reasons that can throw us off track we can address the issue of living without critical decision making and how affects our personal values. While we are all individuals and can experience different things that can influence us to misstep, the most common factors that cause us to live unconsciously are:

  • Distractions in the present time
  • Your attention required in other areas of life
  • Lack of intention in the decisions we make today and how they influence our future

As you can see, there is a theme with these three factors, attention and intention. That is why I like the analogy that Tony gives that life is like a raging river because it is. We become caught up in the rapids of doing the things that life seems to demand of us day in and day out.

Goal setting and evaluation are primary tools we can use to keep the raging river of life from sweeping us wherever it wills. Many people set goals. But not many have a disciplined process to evaluate their progress on those goals.

One of the questions I often hear is “what do I do when my family or team sets goals and forgets about them in a short time?” People set goals with the thought of the direction they want to go with their life, but often it doesn't happen because they get caught up in the river of life that just pulls them downstream wherever that river's going. The key to ensuring that we're floating on the right river in the right direction at the right pace is taking time to review the course of our life through regular examination of our progress toward living what we say is important.

Living an Unexamined Life

A quote that many are familiar with was uttered by Socrates right before his trial which ultimately led to him being put to death was “The unexamined life is a life not worth living.”

Do you think is that true? And if so, why is that true? Why is the unexamined life a life not worth living?

Many don't realize the importance of self-awareness and of living with intention. But at some point, we will all arrive at the end and will have the opportunity to look back and reflect on where the time went and what we did with it. If that is the only time you examine your life, you’ll probably be settling for the status quo, falling in with the herd mentality. The quality of our experience is determined by the focus of our attention. If our attention is fragmented, pulled in a million different directions, easily distracted, shallow and fleeting, then that is what our experience of life will be.

If we are not examining our life and revising our focus toward living our values and goals, we will get distracted and sucked downstream on the river life creates for us, caught up in the current of noise, circumstance, and unconscious decision.

If you wouldn’t want to go out on a hike, without a trail, a planned route, and destination, why would you then want to go through life the same way?

A Philosopher’s Lesson

I think staying true to our values, staying on our chosen path happens best through the discipline of intentional evaluation of our lives on a regular basis.  We naturally tend to resist personal examination, because it brings back subconscious negative thoughts of examinations or tests we were given even in grade school days. We wanted to be right, to get the A, but we were often disappointed so why put ourselves through a self-examination.  The possibility of failing makes us resist that opportunity to examine and reflect.

Socrates actually chose death rather than giving up his right to gain wisdom from examination and reflection. “The unexamined life is not worth living”

He felt obligated to live a life where he questioned not only what was going on in his life but also the rights and wrongs that happened. He would rather give up his life than not be able to question what was happening.

He was such a threat to the s0ciety he lived in because he was such an examiner. He valued the love of wisdom more than anything else. He ultimately was given the choice to stop seeking wisdom through examination and live in exile where he could never question anything or influence anything or create wisdom again, or he could choose to die. And that's when he said if I can’t gain wisdom by examining my life it's not worth living. So he chose death.

There’s another saying from a philosopher more ancient than Socrates.  David says, “teach us to number our days aright, so we can gain a heart of wisdom.”  He is saying, examine life based on the brief number of days we have and in that examination of each day, we will gain a heart of wisdom. That’s what makes a life worth living.

Tools to Examining Your Life

So the question I want to ask you how can you number your days intentionally, what tools help you live each day to the fullest? Are there regular activities and personal disciplines that you can engage in daily to help you examine your life?

Here are several tools that have been shared:

  • Daily Journaling: Find a process that works for you. Asking yourself questions like what you want to accomplish today, what will make today great, including your daily affirmation or mantra, and a reflection on what made today great or what could have made today better.
  • Mentorship: Having the opportunity to gain information from mentors who are willing to speak into your life can be a huge eye-opener rather than when you are the sole examiner of your life. Mentors can point out specific things that you may have failed to examine yourself.
  • Evaluate Your Day/Week/Month/Year According to Your Written Values: Formulate a question in line with your values like, “How did today matter in light of my values? How did today’s actions matter in terms of living the life I want to live? Did I create value in the world that God wants me to create?”
  • Having a group of people, friends or family, that you can come together with and reflect on your personal compass, values, and goals. Celebrate how far you have come and how much more you get to grow. Create an activity that allows you to examine yourself: “If each person around the circle it only had 30 days longer to live what would you do differently? What would you want to say to each person or to this group of people? What would you want to do together? How would you spend the next few days? What would you want them to know?”

Sometimes you may think back over my task list for the day and wonder if it was all worth it. What were all those emails about? But when you ask yourself the question, did today really matter in light of my values and goals, chances are you’ll know the answer.Did today matter? If so, great. Do more things like it tomorrow. If you don’t remember anything that made a difference? Do something different tomorrow. Before you start every day, take a few moments in meditation to connect with God (or your spiritual self), focus on what’s really important in life and decide what you’d like to see happen by the end of the day. After doing this, take some time to prioritize your calendar and tasks for the day. What’s most important? What is realistic to achieve?When you take just a little time and intention to examine your life, you’ll know where you are in relation to where you want to be and you’ll have a much better chance at making progress. Ask the Question Steve Jobs Asked Himself Each MorningSteve Jobs, the man who started Apple and brought it to become the first trillion dollar company in the world, was a master of living and working purposefully. Each morning, when Jobs woke up, he asked himself this one question:“‘If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?’ If the Answer is ‘no’ for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.”You may think that it is a bit morbid to think about your mortality at the start of the day, but in reality, this is actually very motivating and filled with optimistic to do better in life, every single day.  It helps us “number our days” so we can gain a heart of wisdom, live life to the fullest and create the legacy we’d like to leave in this world.


Thanks again for listening to the show! If it has helped you in any way, please share it using the social media buttons you see on the page.   We’d also really appreciate any feedback or questions that might guide what we talk about in future episodes.

Additionally, reviews for the podcast on iTunes are extremely helpful and greatly appreciated! They do matter in the rankings of the show and we read each and every one of them.


  • Subscribe to the Systems for Success Podcast on IOS or Apple Itunes.
  • Subscribe to the Systems for Success Podcast on Android or Windows OS.
  • Enter your email in one of the email opt-ins on this site for regular emails from Lonnie Gienger or the Gienger Family on additional Systems for Success.
  • Follow Systems for Success on Instagram @systemsforsuccess
  • Follow Lonnie Gienger on Instagram @lonniegienger
Oct 30 2018
40 mins

Rank #10: 16. How Personality Clashes Can Build Relationships | Round Table

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Turning personality conflicts into complements that create healthy relationships and positive outcomes is a powerful process that is within the reach of every person in every family and team.

It starts with this basic belief system. The people who are in our family are there for a purpose.  They are there to complete or balance us in some way. The people we work with in business are there to make your work and life more effective.  Because of this, it is worth investing time to understand the unique strengths and contributions each person in our family and each person in our business team can best make to create great relationships and outcomes.

Three Keys to Better Relationships in Family and in Business

Understand your own unique behavioral strengths. This is the key to personal growth and finding roles where you will be most effective.

  1. Recognize and respect the behavioral strengths of others. This is the key to effective interdependence in families and in teams.
  2. Learn to blend the differences between people in your family and on your work teams in a way that best utilizes the unique strengths of each person in each situation or project. This will result in greater harmony, productivity and effectiveness.
Core and Adapted Personality Styles

We all have a core behavioral style that comes most naturally to us and that we revert back to especially when under pressure or stress.  This core personality style does not change much from late teen years throughout life unless you experience a life-changing personal event like the death of a spouse or child.

We also have the amazing ability to adapt our behavioral style based on what we believe it takes to be successful in our current family or team dynamics.  These adaptations are generally a very healthy part of good human relationships. Be aware however, that significant adaptations in your overall behavioral style, over long periods of time, can cause personal stress and lack of effectiveness because you aren’t operating in your natural sweat spot.

Communication Adaptations

Another key to success in family and business relationships is for individuals to learn to adapt their natural communication style with others so it is most effective for others.  Without great intentionality, we tend to communicate with others based on the way we like to be communicated with.  However, servant leaders are always looking for ways to serve the people they do life with more effectively and will therefore seek to adapt their communication style to the style of the person they are communicating with.  This means that we must understand our own strengths and weaknesses and understand and value the strengths and weaknesses of others.

Ideally, this is a two-way street where both parties are seeking to understand and adapt to what the other person needs.  So consider what you might need to do to express to your family or team members how you want to be communicated with based on your personality strengths.  At the same time, take responsibility to proactively find out how others prefer to be communicated with and then communicate with them in this way.  If you do this, your relationships and your effectiveness will increase over time.

The Law of Differences to Build or Destroy Relationships

This law is as predictable as the law of gravity.  When I experience someone who has different strengths (or something that based on my strength, appears to be a weakness), I have a choice to make.  I can choose to judge that person and see that difference as a weakness.  This will lead to isolation (physical and/or emotional) which eventually leads to death in the relationship.  You may physically spend less time together, choose not to go over and talk to them at events, no longer comment on Facebook posts where you once did, stop responding the same way to texts, etc.  Judging a difference as a weakness leads to some type of isolation and eventual death in the relationship.

But we have another choice we can make when we see or experience a difference in personality styles.  We can choose to value that difference as a strength that I can learn from or that can benefit the situation or relationship. This draws people to us which leads to unity which leads to life in the relationship.

The key to the unlock successful outcomes from the law of differences is understanding.  It requires understanding your strengths and their strengths and the way these can be beneficially blended.

Think about where you are judging the different personality strengths or weaknesses of your family members or co-workers in a way that is causing you to view them as “weaker” in some way.  My bet is that this is leading to some type of isolation or diminishing of what the relationship has been or could be.  There have been times where I have needed to apologize and say, “I am sorry the judgments I was making about you that was isolating you.”

Where are you viewing the differences in others a weaker, lesser, undesirable and it is not leading to greater unity and life in the relationship? Through understanding and humility, you can move from death to life in relationships.

The foundation of this process is an individual commitment to stop judging differences and start valuing individual differences.  We want each person to be valued and be fully empowered to play to the strengths they bring to the table.  We don’t want anyone to feel like they need to change their personality in order to belong to this family or this team. And when conflict occurs we will learn to value each other’s opinions and approaches, which will bring us closer and allow us to see things we wouldn’t ordinarily be able to see.

Learning to recognize, value and blend personality difference is another key system for success in family and business.


Purchase the Leading From Your Strengths assessment.  Enter Promo Code: "Advantage" for a discount price of $19.95.

Purchase the Strengths Finder assessment for $49.99.

Purchase the Classic DISC Profile for $64.50.

Take the free 16 Personalities Assessment based on the Myers Briggs process.


Thanks again for listening to the show! If it has helped you in any way, please share it using the social media buttons you see on the page.   We'd also really appreciate any feedback or questions that might guide what we talk about in future episodes.

Additionally, reviews for the podcast on iTunes are extremely helpful and greatly appreciated! They do matter in the rankings of the show and we read each and every one of them.

  • Subscribe to the Systems for Success Podcast on IOS or Apple Itunes.
  • Subscribe to the Systems for Success Podcast on Android or Windows OS.
  • Enter your email in one of the email opt-ins on this site for regular emails from Lonnie Gienger or the Gienger Family on additional Systems for Success.
  • Follow Systems for Success on Instagram @systemsforsuccess
  • Follow Lonnie Gienger on Instagram @lonniegienger
Sep 10 2018
57 mins

Rank #11: 10. How to Control Money so it Doesn't Control You | Round Table Discussion

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Money is not important enough to let it control our life! So why not learn how to control our money so we gain more control of our life?  But money is like water.  It's a valuable resource necessary for life that can easily slip through our fingers.  The key is to not let it slip through our fingers without our permission.

In this round table discussion, we share some of the things we have done to build money management paradigms and processes into the fabric of our individual and family finances.  We reference The Gienger Good Stewardship plan that we developed to help debt proof our family and give our kids a solid financial foundation for their adult lives.  Several times in this episode, we reference the following introduction to the plan which we used when we first presented these concepts in our family:

The Gienger Good Steward Plan

Gienger Family Mission Statement:  To courageously lead generations of people to become devoted friends and sold out followers of Christ.

Gienger Family Vision Statement:  To be intimate Friends of God and effective Kingdom Builders.

Gienger Good Steward Plan Purposes:

  1. To develop our kids into effective manager’s of God’s resources which He provides them so they can be generous on every occasion in ways that result in thankfulness to God.
  2. To teach our kids to be channels of God’s material blessings to the world so that people will be lead to become devoted friends and sold out followers of Christ.
  3. To help our kids learn to give, save and spend money wisely and avoid consumer debt in order to give them a solid financial future.
  4. To gradually turn over to our kids the money required for their care and support as members of our family.
  5. To trust them to be good stewards of a portion of the Gienger family resources.
  6. To provide a foundation of personal financial management training that will serve them well the rest of their lives.
Plan Guidelines Salary and Other Income

While on the plan, kids will receive a monthly “salary” that will become theirs to manage. The amount of salary will be determined by the parents.  Salaries will be subject to annual review by parents, or more often as deemed necessary.  Salary will be reviewed and may be increased on the first day of each new school year at parent’s discretion according to the kid’s real needs and demonstrated ability to be an effective and wise financial manager.  Note that additional money may be earned to supplement the base salary from income producing jobs…inside the home for specific pre-agreed extra tasks for extra money beyond normal “privileges” for being a part of this family.

Giving and Saving Requirements

Kids must give away at least 10 percent of the total salary and other income to things that directly build God’s Kingdom.  They must save or invest at least 10 percent of total salary and other income in a real bank or other parent-approved investment vehicle.    The balance of the monthly salary will be used according to the kid’s plan and in keeping with our family’s values.  Note that kids can give additional money and/or save up more in short term savings for future larger purchases from additional earnings or under spending.

Financial Responsibility List

Kids will have a list of items and activities the parents will no longer pay for while the kid is receiving a monthly salary.  The list is subject to review and revision at any time by the parents.  Additional items will be added to the list on the first day of each new school year related to the increase in salary.

Home Privilege Responsibility List

Kids will continue to have a list of tasks they will be responsible to do as a privilege because they are part of the community of this family.  Citations with fines may be required if these tasks aren’t done in the time or manner agreed.

Spending Plan and Record

Kids are asked to develop a plan for how much money they intend to spend in each category and keep a record of actual expenses by category.   The next month salary will only be given after the record of all spending from the prior month is shown to parents.

Once It’s Gone, It’s Gone

Kids will not borrow money from anyone including parents, not even for five minutes.  There will be no “advances” on ahead of pay day.  It they run out of money before the next payday, that’s their choice, but there will be no more income until the next pay day.


Parents will not criticize or interfere with the kid’s management decisions as long as the child follows these guidelines and demonstrates their ability to live and manage their salary according to the family’s values.

Graduation Date

Kids will graduate from the Gienger Good Steward Plan within two months after they are no longer full time students or when they move away from home, at which time their salary will cease.

  • If you'd like to use the cash envelop spending system that we reference, it is helpful to have an envelop for each budget category.  That envelop gets funded at the beginning of each month with the monthly amount of cash budgeted for that category.  All cash spent for items in that budget category comes out of that envelop and you write a something on the front that describes what it was spent for.  We just used standard legal size envelops, ran them through the desktop printer and then punched holes in them so they could be held vertically in a regular three ring binder.  If you want to create your own cash spending envelops, here's a link to our word document which you can customize and print.  Envelop Spending Record
  • At the end of each month you total up what you spent in each category as recorded on each envelop as you spent the money throughout the month.  Then you write the total amount of spending for each category on a summary spreadsheet that shows your budgeted amount for each category and the actual amount that you actually spent that month in each category.  At the beginning of each school year, we created a new list of expense items and monthly budget for those items that each child was responsible to pay for with their "salary" money.  And we also listed which expenses that mom and dad would continue to pay for.   Here's a link to the spreadsheet we used which you could customize for yourself. Spending Plans-Blank

Thanks again for listening to the show! If it has helped you in any way, please share it using the social media buttons you see on the page.   We'd also really appreciate any feedback or questions that might guide what we talk about in future episodes.

Additionally, reviews for the podcast on iTunes are extremely helpful and greatly appreciated! They do matter in the rankings of the show and we read each and every one of them.

  • Subscribe to the Systems for Success Podcast on IOS or Apple Itunes.
  • Subscribe to the Systems for Success Podcast on Android or Windows OS.
  • Enter your email in one of the email opt-ins on this site for regular emails from Lonnie Gienger or the Gienger Family on additional Systems for Success.
  • Follow Systems for Success on Instagram @systemsforsuccess
  • Follow Lonnie Gienger on Instagram @lonniegienger
Jun 12 2018
1 hour 11 mins

Rank #12: 8. How to Develop Great Relationships | Round Table Discussion

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Relationships are the carrier of all success in life and in business. So why not plan and implement specific systems that will develop the relationships that are important to you?  Why not be as intentional about the practices that develop healthy relationship as we are about the practices that develop healthy bodies or healthy businesses?

Why do we focus on relational systems?  Because relationships are the primary mechanism to carry your family and business legacy to multiple generations.

Children don't rebel against authority, they rebel against lack of relationship.  How is that teenagers will do everything their favorite coach or favorite teacher tells them to do? But they don’t listen to their parents? Why is that?  Because that relationship is important to them.  How is that teenagers will live under authority of their friends or the gang and yet they will live in rebellion to their parents.  Because the teens don't rebel against authority they rebel against lack of relationship.  Those relationships with their coach or teacher or friends are often stronger and more important to them. Where family identity and relationship is strong, peer pressure is weaker.

So how do we make sure we are continuing to build relationships within our family so we aren't driving them outside the family to get their identity and vision for life?   We have found that you do that by implementing a consistent strategy of specific relationship systems.

Following are some of the relational systems our family has practiced over the last 25 years which we mention in this round-table discussion:

  • Family goal setting retreats
  • Family compass review vacations
  • Family council meetings
  • Family nights
  • One-on-one dates
  • Family connection time
  • Monthly “Shield Meeting” with Spouse to review relationship values and standards (Kylon & Te)
  • Intentionally working together
  • The “Listening Game” (An intentional process to listen well)
  • Intentional variety to keep relationships vibrant
  • We do this all together as a family at the Beginning of each new
  • Take 4 hours of solitude and silence where each family member journals on their successes in the last year and writes down goals for the new year
  • After everyone takes time alone to work on their individual goals, Then everyone comes together to share so we celebrate each other’s successes and plan to support each other’s goals

If you’d like more information on this check out the Systems for Success Podcast Episode 2 where we do a round table discussion right after doing our annual goal setting retreat.


We do a fun annual vacation that the whole family enjoys in the middle of the year every summer. Our family loves backpacking in the mountains so that’s usually what we do.

During these annual vacations we Plan intentional time and specific activities to review our family mission, vision and values

  • We Celebrate successes that we see individually and as a family in living out our mission, vision and values.
  • We take time to discuss how to better live it out
  • And most importantly, we make creative memories related to our family vision, mission and values. We’ve done plays and skits about our family mission vision or values.  We’ve built things that represent our mission or vision.  We’ve made up songs and chants about them.  One time we wrote our visions statement with 15-20 foot tall letters on beach that you could see for miles away.

This is the official guidance group of the family especially as our kids have all become adults and most are out of the home.

  • Comprised of family members who are actively engaged in guiding family activities in a way that is informed by and responsive to the family compass and goals.
  • Meets every two to three months in a formal meeting with clear agenda, leadership and minutes.
  • First generation families can start with this as its only regular family assembly.
  • As the family grows larger and to multiple generations, the family council may be an elected subset of the entire family assembly that includes all family members. In this case, compose the family council so that it looks like the family, with representation from all generations, both genders, in-laws, active and passive owners, etc.
    • In larger, multigenerational families, the family council is a representative group of the entire family for more efficient planning, creating policies, and strengthening business-family communication and bonds.

Following are some good questions to ask during Family Council Meetings:

  • What is something you are really proud of that our family or a business or individual in our family has accomplished since our last meeting?
  • What have we done as a family or individually since our last meeting that demonstrates the living out of our family values, mission or vision?
  • What could we do to continue to improve our relationships or communication?
  • Does anyone have a problem they’d like help solving? What can we do? How can we help?
  • How are everyone’s business and entrepreneurial pursuits going? How can we help, support, collaborate or synergize with each other more?
  • Do you have personal needs or challenges that any of us can support you with or at least pray for you about?
  • What do we have planned between now and our next meeting that might benefit from coordination or communication about family schedules or resources?

Following are the responsibilities of our Family Council:

  • Celebrate family and individual successes.
  • Steward of family mission, vision values and constitution.
  • Oversee family Investment Committee and monitor performance of family investments.
  • Managing and drafting legal documents concerning the family estate planning.
  • Managing the family’s philanthropic efforts.
  • Overseeing family property and asset management.
  • Resolving family conflicts if haven’t been resolved informally.
  • Managing the strategic and tactical goals of the family enterprise.
  • Organizing activities that strengthen family bonds.
  • Formulating policies for family members working in family businesses.
  • Define the responsibilities of a family office.
  • Forum where family members can share personal objectives, concerns and ideas with reference to matters affecting family values, family unity and business success.
  • Strategic planning for family businesses, family non-profits/foundations and the family council.
  • Formulating policies including inclusion or exclusion of spouses in council or other family entities.

It’s best if this is the same night every week and we all make it a high priority so nothing else gets in the way of this important night.

  • The primary purpose is to build relationship
  • Do something fun and interactive that builds relationship. Don’t just watch movies or play video games
  • And sometimes take some time to share stories and/or discuss questions or concepts related to your family mission, vision or values
  • First priority is weekly date with spouse (if you’re married)
  • And have typically done a date with each child at least once a month
  • When you’re having this valuable one on one time, Look for opportunities to celebrate ways they are living family mission, vision or values and look for opportunities to celebrate progress on their personal goals
  • Primary purpose of these dates is to build relationship. Have fun and make good memories.

Find a daily time to connect with your wife and kids who are living at home.   It’s amazing how easy it is to get so busy that we don’t even share meals together.  We’ve found it important to prioritize

Finding at least 30-60 minutes a day to turn off all media and just communicate and build relationship

  • This could be during a meal, first thing in the morning or right before bed.
  • Take this opportunity to ask some meaningful questions like:
    • What did you learn today?
    • What was the high and low experience of your day?
    • What are you looking forward to tomorrow?

You’ll be amazed at what these simple relational systems do to build strong relationships in your family!


For more information on the concepts behind "The Listening Game" referenced in this podcast, check out Building Reflective Listening Skills.


Thanks again for listening to the show! If it has helped you in any way, please share it using the social media buttons you see on the page.   We'd also really appreciate any feedback or questions that might guide what we talk about in future episodes.

Additionally, reviews for the podcast on iTunes are extremely helpful and greatly appreciated! They do matter in the rankings of the show and we read each and every one of them.

  • Subscribe to the Systems for Success Podcast on IOS or Apple Itunes.
  • Subscribe to the Systems for Success Podcast on Android or Windows OS.
  • Enter your email in one of the email opt-ins on this site for regular emails from Lonnie Gienger or the Gienger Family on additional Systems for Success.
  • Follow Systems for Success on Instagram @systemsforsuccess
  • Follow Lonnie Gienger on Instagram @lonniegienger
May 07 2018
1 hour 6 mins

Rank #13: 7. How to Accomplish Big Goals | Round Table Discussion

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Our latest learnings about how to accomplish big dreams and goals by setting a plan of action, and following it. In this family round table discussion, you’ll learn what we’ve discovered about how reaching goals takes a systematic approach to planning & action.


--Think of some big dream or goal you’ve had that felt so massive that you didn’t know if it was possible, but you ended up finding a way to accomplish it? What was the dream or goal? Why did it seem overwhelming when you first set your sights on it? What did you end up doing to break it down into actionable steps and discipline yourself to make progress? What did you learn from that process?

--What do you think keeps people from setting or effectively pursuing big, important goals?

--What has helped you personally move past your hesitations to accomplish big goals?

--What is the most effective system you’ve currently found to break down your big dreams or goals into action plans that help insure regular progress? What are some real-time learnings or best practices about how you are doing this now?


Chelann referenced the goal setting system that she uses that is described in her book. Following is an excerpt from Dear Millennial, If you want to order the entire book, you can find it on Amazon or Audible.


The point of an audacious goal is to reach for something that appears to be bigger than life, and most definitely bigger than what seems realistic. That’s why it’s a goal—it seems just out of reach, and that is the exciting part. The challenge is that we get excited in the moment, and once that excitement wears off, we tend to become daunted by the dream. This leads to feeling like it’s too big to accomplish.

That’s why action steps to your goals are going to be your best friend. They take a giant objective and break it down into small and realistic action steps. When we are goal setting we constantly apply the saying, “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.” Although, on a side note, I’m not sure who ever wanted to eat an elephant in the first place. But it works for the analogy.

As I mentioned above, too many people stop at creating their mission and values. They may read over them a couple times here and there, but because they aren’t taking action on them, they get discouraged and stop all together.

A car without wheels is of no use to anyone. Your mission and values are your car (the foundation and engine to your dream) and your goals are your wheels. Goal setting is your map to success. And with a plan, your dream will seem more than realistic to accomplish. You’ll feel fully equipped to chase it instead of stressed about the unknown.


If a 15 year-old can create a compass for herself without having any idea of what she’s doing, you can, too, no matter what your age. I’m going to help you break your dream down into actionable steps with your mission and values as a foundation.

When it comes to my compass, I break life down into spheres. A sphere is each major component of your life. You can create your spheres in whatever fashion you would like. I have a sphere for myself spiritually, mentally and emotionally, financially, physically, and for me as a business woman, which contains sub-spheres each of my business endeavors below it.

Underneath each sphere is a description of my overall object for that sphere that year. This helps me categorize different areas and roles in a more organized fashion.

Here’s an example of what one of your spheres could look like. This is a sub-sphere underneath the overarching sphere of business; it’s essentially what I used to break down the giant objective of writing this book plus or minus a few details.

Sphere: My first book

Overall objective of that sphere: I will have my first book published the week of September 26, 2017. Through the book, resources, and processes that come from it, I am establishing authority as a young entrepreneur and inspiring and empowering the younger generation to live in extreme freedom and complete life balance through the platform of being an entrepreneur and Christ follower.

Yearly Goals:

- Book published by September 26, 2017. - Have 5 cold lead documents for exercises throughout book - Over 10,000 copies of book sold within a year of publishing - Have book reach Amazon best seller status in two categories - Get over 100 positive reviews on Amazon within first year - To be generating $$$ a month from book sales - Grow email list to 5,000 - Have a process/program people can purchase through book (convert readers into customers)

Monthly Goals:

- Finish writing rough draft of book - Hire an editor - Research how to create an audio book - Research how to create pdf book - Create two of the cold lead documents

Weekly Goals:

- Write three chapters for rough draft - Publish an ad for editors on Upwork - Ask 3 people who’ve created an audio book how they did it - Research pros and cons of pdf book vs print - Create one cold lead document

After reading through that goal sphere, do you see how all of a sudden my giant goal of writing my first book before the age of 21 not only has a step-by-step plan but also feels realistic to make happen? This is one of my favorite topics to talk about because no matter how big the goal, there is always something you can do today to get a step closer to accomplishing it!

As you can see, I started with my overall objective. This is basically a phrase that summarizes your overall goal in a sentence or two. I like this sentence to be formatted in the present tense, like it’s already happening. That way, when you read it, it affirms your ability and desire to achieve it.


Next, make your yearly goals. Take your overall objective and break that down into bullet points of specific SMART goals that need to happen for that overall objective to be accomplished. It’s very important that these goals are SMART goals.

SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timed. Meaning, I’m not just going to put “sell a lot of books” as one of my goals because, when do I reach that goal? When I sell a hundred books or when I sell 10,000 books? Instead, I put a specific and realistic number of books to sell by a set time. As a result, I know without a doubt exactly when I will reach that goal and can celebrate that victory. Your yearly goals are the big overarching goals that you need to have done in order to accomplish that big main objective.

Next come your monthly goals. These goals are your yearly goals broken down into what you need to accomplish month by month. I usually go through each of my yearly goals, picking them apart and placing them into my monthly goals in a way that results in them being completed within a year’s time.

Now we get to the fun part—your weekly goals. Go through each of your monthly goals and break them down into your week. Break them down into specific action steps that need to be done each week.

This part isn’t on my compass because that would be one long document, but the next obvious step is breaking your weekly goals into daily goals. Every evening, I sit down and look at the weekly goals I need to accomplish in each sphere. From there, I write down what I need to accomplish for the next day. One of my most effective hacks for having a productive day is planning out the day the night before! Waking up with a plan is one of the best feelings. It leaves no room for wasted time or purpose.


If you’re super list oriented like me, you’ll take those daily goals and organize them into a time-blocked timeline for that day. Time-blocking is a simple system I use each day to insure that I stay on track with what I need to accomplish for that day. I’m sure you’ve heard the concept of a task expanding to the time you allot to it. Well, I’ve tested that out multiple times and it’s true. If I allot one hour to finish a chapter in this book, it’s going to take one hour. I time-block by starting from the end of my day moving backwards. If I want to be in bed by 10:00 p.m., then I’m going to start time blocking from that point backwards.

Here’s an example of what my time-block schedule could look like for any given day:

10:00 p.m.- bedtime 9:30 p.m. – get ready for bed 9:00 p.m. – time-block tomorrow 8:30 p.m. – get home from family dinner 6:00 p.m. – family dinner 5:30 p.m. – get ready for dinner 4:45 p.m. – edit and finalize one Entrepreneur Before 25 Podcast episode 3:45 p.m. – respond to all messages (emails and texts) 1:45 p.m. – edit 3 chapters of rough draft of book 12:00 p.m. – workout 6:45 a.m. – work at NUYU Juice Bar 6:15 a.m. – get ready for the day 5:00 a.m. – morning routine

You get the picture. Notice how I have set and given myself a realistic amount of time for each task. I like to add this buffer to make sure I set myself up for success. I know that it might not take me an hour to respond to all my messages, but I’m going to allot myself that much time anyways just in case I’ve fallen off schedule somewhere else in the day and need some catch-up time. Now, time-blocking might not be for you, but I would encourage you to at least give it a try. Time-blocking allows me to get everything done that I need to throughout the day, and with my personality, that level of organization takes my stress levels down from where they would normally be.

Through this break-down process, we took a giant objective and broke it all the way down into what you need to accomplish today in order to make your big, audacious dream a reality. How exciting is that?

Don’t be overwhelmed by this process. It’s a process that can take place in many different forms. You just need to find the one that works best for you. But no matter what, goal setting usually has this same type of foundation.

If you have a dream that scares you, and you feel like is bigger than life itself, you can and you will accomplish it using this process.


Now it’s time for you to take action to create another system for your success. Download the systems for developing your personal mission. Then take some time answering the key questions that will help you begin to define your personal life mission.  Go ahead.  Take this foundational step to designing the life of your dreams...a life full of fulfillment and purpose!


To access the Tello app which was referenced in this podcast as a tool to help you organize your goals and tasks, go to or you can search for it on your mobile phone app store.

For a template on creating the goal portion of your compass, go to this link:


Thanks again for listening to the show! If it has helped you in any way, please share it using the social media buttons you see on the page.   We'd also really appreciate any feedback or questions that might guide what we talk about in future episodes.

Additionally, reviews for the podcast on iTunes are extremely helpful and greatly appreciated! They do matter in the rankings of the show and we read each and every one of them.

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Apr 23 2018
1 hour 3 mins

Rank #14: 6. Mission Made Simple!  Developing a Powerful Personal Mission

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Your personal mission statement is about the contribution you want your life to make in this world.  Values define who you want to be.  Mission declares what you want to accomplish with your life.

If you have listened to the last episode on values and taken action on’ve taken some time to think about and hopefully write down your personal values… In that episode I recommended that you take some time to think about how you want to be remembered by the most important people in your life in terms of the guiding principles that affect how you interact with people — how you live your life. Who you want to be.

Your personal mission statement takes that a step further now. You’re values answer the question of how you want to be remembered in terms of character. Now think of the same relationships categories in your life and ask yourself what you would want the key people in your life to say about what you did in your life — your contributions, achievements, and experiences.


What would you want your spouse to say what you accomplished with your life? What would you want your friends or business associates to say about what you contributed to this world?

What would you want your kids to say about the experience you left behind on this planet when you’re dead and gone?

I think the first time I did something significant about this was after I went to a Stephen Covey seminar in the mid 90’s.  Covey talked about looking at my life through the lens of the different roles and relationships I have.  He suggested that the place to start understanding life purpose is to get clear on my purpose for each key role in my life.

Here’s what I wrote down back then.

My spouse - My spouse is the most important person in my life. I will treat my spouse with love and respect at all times.

My children - My children inherit the future. I will provide them with every opportunity within my means to develop them to their fullest potential.

My friends - My friends are my devoted support structure. I will not neglect my friends but will always be there for them, as they are for me.

My business associates - My business associates look to me for leadership and guidance. I will set the example of honesty and integrity in all my business relationships.

My God - My God is the highest priority in my life. I will strive to live my life in a way that is honoring to Him.

My community - My community is where my family lives, works and plays. I will be involved in making my community a better and safer place for all who reside here.

Some people find that defining a purpose statement for each of the key areas of their life like this is the easiest way to start on the journey to living life with a clear mission behind everything you do.  If you haven’t done this yet, you might try that approach.

Think about each of the important people in your life and imagine how each would want to describe their thoughts and feelings about what you have accomplished in your life. Think about the key roles you play in your life. A student, friend, sibling, son/daughter, partner, employee, and so on. What impact do you want to have on others in each of those roles? What impression to you want to make? When you are at the end of your life looking back what would you feel really good about accomplishing in each of these key roles of your life?

You may start with a written purpose statement for each of the roles you fulfill.  If you just stay there for a long while that could serve you very well.

Eventually, you might want to develop one single statement of purpose for your life as a whole.   And in fact, some people find its best to start there with one statement rather than statements for each role in your life.  Some do both.  There’s no one size fits all to this.  It’s a very personal thing.  What counts is that you find the system that works for you to have great clarity on the purpose that drives what you do in your life.  The mission that will make your life matter.

If you want to move from purpose statements for each role in your life to one life mission statement look at all the purposes phrases you list for each role of your life and look for themes that may inform you of the overarching purpose for your life.


In my journey of seeking clarity on my life mission over the years another helpful system I’ve discovered is to think about my heroes. Who has impacted you in the most significant, positive way? Was it a friend? A teacher? A relative? A peer?  Make a list of your personal heroes.  Then list the qualities, accomplishments and values you most admire in them.

I don’t remember all the heroes I listed when I first did this exercise years ago.  Some heroes stay the same and some change over time as we learn and grow and meet new people. Some heroes are alive, some are historic figures.  Some are people I actually know and others are people I have just read about.  As I reflect back on my heroes over the years, they all have certain qualities and accomplishments in common.  All my heroes are courageous leaders who did and said things to positively influence millions of people around the world.  They all left some type of multigenerational positive impact.  They all left a pattern of success that they taught or that others could learn form and follow to become more successful, more fulfilled, more effective.

And that’s one of the reason why our family mission statement starts with to courageously lead generations of people.  And that’s one of the reasons why my personal mission statement is to develop and implement self-perpetuating leadership development systems that draw millions of people around the world to understand, live by and promote God’s universal systems for success.

Hopefully as you identify your heroes and write down the characteristics and accomplishments that you most admire in them, you will get valuable clues to help you develop your own powerful statement of life purpose.


Another way to get at understanding your life purpose is to envision and build the specifics for your perfect day, your perfect week, month and ultimately life. This is an exercise that starts to initiate you dreaming again. Moving you from your current situation to where you want to be, fully activated in your life purpose. The goal is to become passionate and committed, knowing you are in the process of living out your ideal life purpose.

Here’s how The Perfect Day Exercise works:

  1. Spend twenty minutes just imagining what a 24 hour day would look like where you were fully living out the ideal purpose for your life.
  2. Write down hour by hour what your perfect day would look like.  We’ll include on the Perfect Day Worksheet in show notes.
  3. Be as specific as you can about your feelings, what your environment looks like, smells like, and people that you are around.
  4. What time you wake up, travel, eat, meet, every aspect is to be as detailed as possible.
  5. Write down how you would feel inside as you go through your day.

After you’ve gone through this initial brainstorming process outlined there, you’ll take all the information and write as a narrative story called “A Day in My Perfect Passionate Life” authored by you.

If you want to go the extra-mile, write a narrative for your Perfect Week!

Take the Perfect day and write out a perfect week by repeating the Perfect Day process for seven consecutive days. Watch out this could become motivating !


So this last system is a set of questions that will help you begin to think deeply about the passions, abilities, values and dreams that are deep within your heart and will provide clues to discovering your life purpose.

  • Find a time and place where you will not be interrupted. This is something that would be a great guide for an hour or two or even a half day of solitude and silence.
  • Write down your answers to each question. Write the first thing that pops into your head.
  • Write without editing. It’s important to write out your answers rather than just thinking about them.
  1. What meaningful activities make you lose track of time?
  2. What do you care deeply about? What makes your heart sing? What lights you up? What energizes you?
  1. What’s wrong with the world that drives you crazy? What makes you weep or angry at the wrongness of it?
  1. What are you naturally good at? What do you usually get great results from doing?
  1. What do people typically ask you for help with?
  1. If you had to teach something, what would you teach?
  1. Imagine you are now 90 years old, sitting on a rocking chair outside your porch; you are blissful and happy, and are pleased with the wonderful life you’ve been blessed with. Looking back at your life and all that you’ve accomplished and all the relationships you’ve had; what matters to you most? List them out.
  1. Who inspires you most? (Someone you know or have learned about…family, friends or authors, artists, leaders, etc.) Which qualities inspire you, in each of those people?
  1. What do you value most in life? What character qualities do you want to be known for at the end of your life?
  1. If you could get a message across to a large group of people, who would those people be? What would your message be?
  1. What would you regret not fully doing, being or having in your life?
  1. If you had all the time and money you need to accomplish anything, what would you be doing with your life?

After you have taken some good time alone to write down your answers to these questions, review all your answers and then start writing some statements or phrases that capture the themes you see in your answers. The act of even starting to write your personal mission statement is transformational because it causes you to declare your life priorities and you’ll be amazed at how your behaviors start changing to support what you say is important.


A personal mission statement can take many forms, from bullet points to a paragraph to a sentence.  But I’ll give a bit of guidance here on what I’ve found after helping thousands of individuals, families and companies develop mission statements as what I’ve seen is the most effective structure an ideal mission statement.

Don’t get hung up on the form or even getting the exact right words as you are starting to do this.  Just start writing statements that capture the essence of the answers you’ve given to these key questions.  I’ve seen people end up in their first drafts with several bullet points that they are really excited about.  I’ve seen some early drafts that are a long paragraph or even a few paragraphs.  Ultimately, I’ve found it’s ideal if you can boil it down to one simple sentence that is compelling and easy to remember.

Ideally, a personal mission has 3 parts:

  1. WHAT do I want to do?  List key action words or phrases that indicate what you want to do.
  1. WHO do I want to help? List everything and everyone that you really want to help.
  1. What is the RESULT? Identify the key outcome you see for your life…the value you will leave in this world.  How will the WHO from the second part benefit from WHAT you do? What difference, what result do you want your life to make?

Review your answers to the 12 Life Mission Discovery Questions and/or the 8 Purpose Factors that we discussed in the previous family round table episode on this topic. Review your answers from the Heroes exercise or the Perfect Day process.  Look at all your answers and categorize key words and phrases regarding WHAT you want to do. Then the key words or phrases that reference WHO you want to help.  Then list the words or phrases that describe the RESULTS or value for society that you want to leave behind at the end of your life.



To empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.

WHAT: To empower

WHO: Every person and every organization on the planet

RESULT: To achieve more


To market the most appealing and widely worn casual clothing in the world. We will clothe the world.

WHAT: To market the most appealing and widely worn casual clothing

WHO: The world

RESULT: Clothe the world.

LONNIE’S PERSONAL MISSION (first drafted in 1996)

To develop and implement self-perpetuating leadership development systems that draw millions of people around the world to fully experience God and His enduring systems for success.

WHAT: To develop and implement self-perpetuating leadership development systems

WHO: That draw millions of people around the world

RESULT: To fully experience God’s systems for success.


To courageously lead generations of people to become devoted friends and sold-out followers of Jesus!

WHAT: To courageously lead

WHO: Generations of people

RESULT: To become devoted friends and sold-out followers of Jesus!


To lead generations of people to take extreme ownership, achieve their full potential, live gratefully and love unconditionally.

WHAT: To lead

WHO: Generations of people

RESULT: To take extreme ownership, achieve their full potential, live gratefully and love unconditionally.


Now it’s time for you to take action to create another system for your success. Download the systems for developing your personal mission. Then take some time answering the key questions that will help you begin to define your personal life mission.  Go ahead.  Take this foundational step to designing the life of your dreams...a life full of fulfillment and purpose!

  • Download the Roles and Relationships Purpose Exercise if you want to start this journey of living a mission driven life by first identifying the purpose for each of the important roles and relationships you have in your life.
  • Download Your Heroes Exercise to help you think about the qualities and accomplishments that would be most important for your life.
  • Download  The Perfect Day Imagination Exercise and take some time to expand your dreams for what might be possible in your life.
  • Download this Mission Statement Made Simple System and thoughtfully answer these 12 questions that will pull from your deepest core what is really important to you in your life.  Then create a draft mission statement using the guidance on the last page.  Once you have done this, you are now in the good company of the smallest percentage of people who make the biggest positive impact on this world!
Thank You!

Thanks again for listening to the show! If it has helped you in any way, please share it using the social media buttons you see on the page.   We'd also really appreciate any feedback or questions that might guide what we talk about in future episodes.

Additionally, reviews for the podcast on iTunes are extremely helpful and greatly appreciated! They do matter in the rankings of the show and we read each and every one of them.

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Apr 07 2018
42 mins

Rank #15: 5. Mastering Your Life Mission

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Clarity on your personal life mission is one of the most powerful things we can do to insure a life of real meaning and significance.

Once you have defined your personal values you need to determine how your LIFE MISSION will represent those values. Your personal mission statement defines the impact you want your life to have on this world — the overall purpose for your life. It describes who you want to be and what you want to do in your life.

There are a lot of people who go to work day-in and day-out, putting in long hours of hard work, who never feel any personal connection with their work, much less any personal reward. They feel dissatisfied, directionless, without purpose. They don’t have all of the elements of their lives working together toward a common purpose.

If you have ever experienced absolute joy and satisfaction in the midst of circumstances, a project, or other opportunity, prompting you to say, at least in your heart, “I was made for this,” then you understand what it’s like to discover your purpose or what some might call your calling.

When you live your life with a clear purpose, you have the direction you need to make wise choices, judge important issues in your life and live life with overflowing joy and passion.   The goal is for you to know the answer to a couple critical questions like: Why am I here? What is the purpose of my life on this earth?

The most effective thing anyone or anything can engage in is the ultimate purpose for which it is created.  Doing what something was meant to do results in great outcomes.  And if you are the one who is the designer or creator of something, it brings you a lot of joy when that thing you created is used for its intended purpose.

I personally believe that there is a God who created me and the good things I see around me. And I think that my Creator takes great joy in seeing the work of his hands skillfully performing the functions for which He made them.

Some of the most renowned scientists in the world who may not believe in a personal God, still point to the reality that there is clear evidence of intelligence design.  That there is some master designer behind everything we see in the natural world.  That things were created for a purpose and things generally work best when the fulfill the purpose for which they are created.  If that is true of everything from the tiniest atom that predictably performs the purpose it was designed to perform.  And it is true of the huge stars and planets in our solar system that consistently perform the purpose for which they were designed. Why wouldn’t it be true that we as human beings might each find our way to a powerful purpose for which we are ideally designed to accomplish?

Unlike atoms and stars or even animals, we as humans have freedom of choice and many motivations and distractions that can sidetrack us from finding or living out a unique design for our life.

I believe that there is placed within each and every person unique gifts, passions and talents that are clues to specific purposes for which we are well designed.  And I personally believe that God is a good God and therefore he surely wouldn’t make us for a great purpose and then not reveal that purpose to us.

What is a Personal Mission Statement?

A personal mission statement simply captures an overriding theme or direction that is probably already present in your life. It puts down in words the real work that you are here to do: the cause you will pursue, the wound in individuals or society you want to heal, the problem you will devote your life to fixing. It states the highest, purest, most others-oriented aim of your life.

A personal mission statement is like a constitution by which you make all decisions for your life. The more you check in with it, the smoother things run. But, hopefully we at least check in with our personal mission statement when we are making decisions about new directions for our life. Ideally you want to write a mission statement that you will remember easily, check often, and speaks to YOU as an individual.

Trying different things can be a valuable part of the process of beginning to understand the specific purposes for your life.  But keep in mind that your life mission is broader than your vocation.  Your purpose is broader than any position you may have at any point in time.  Your purpose is what will fill your position with meaning and fulfillment.  Your position is just the platform by which you will live your purpose.   Your career is just the vehicle by which you can express your calling.  In fact, as you discover your life purpose you may be surprised to find that whatever business or career you are in now (even if currently mundane or even downright boring) could take on completely new meaning as you find ways to live your purpose even in your current vocation.

In doing this with people over the years I have found that some people with a clarity on personal mission find that this breathes whole new purpose and meaning into their existing business or career.  Or you may find that clarity of your life purpose will lead you over time to choose a different vocation or business that more effectively allows you fuller expression of your life purpose.  But the reality is that most people can find ways to live out their life purpose in any occupation.  In fact, I have seen people live out the same purpose in several different jobs over time...from truck driver, preacher to plumber.

You can call it a credo, a philosophy, you may call it a purpose statement, or a personal mission statement. it's not as important as to what you call it.  What’s important is that you end up with some written statement that describes your current best understanding of what you see as the ideal ultimate outcome for your life...the legacy you want to leave...the contribution for good that you want to make on this world.

Benefits of a Personal Mission Statement

- Clarifies what is important to YOU

- Provides focus

- Helps you design YOUR life, instead of having it designed for you

- Guides your day-to-day decisions

- Helps you understand, clarify, and put into action your values

- Gives you a greater sense of meaning and purpose

Most have heard of the importance of beginning with the end in mind.  In our lives, the most effective way to begin with the end in mind is to develop a mission statement that focuses what you want to be in terms of character and what you want to contribute to this world by the end of your life.  When you live your life with a clear purpose, you have the direction you need to make wise choices, and judge important issues in your life.

What Keeps People From Defining and Living a Magnificent Mission? 

Other voices-  By the age of 18 today, young adults have taken in more than 10 million discreet marketing messages from highly sophisticated marketing companies seeking to convince you that you need a product or service.  In this noisy culture, it's hard to remain clear about who you are.  Other voices come from within.  Maybe you hear the voice of a parent bouncing around in your head saying you don’t measure up or you can’t do anything right. Or maybe an important voice is missing from your past.  Or the voice of a coach or teach who in a moment of frustration say you wouldn’t amount to anything.  Those voices, those messages that play in your brain can prevent you from hearing the good voice about a good future and a powerful purpose for your life.

What voice are you listening to now?  It is critical to learn to distinguish the good voice in your mind that speaks of a good future for you...from all those of other voices.

Fear - The number one passion killer. Whether it is fear of the unknown  or from the past.  Maybe you hear the voice of a parent or failing, we often stop before we every start considering what we could become passionate about.

Focus - If you can’t find passion in all your activity it may be that it is buried in being busy! Being busy doing a ton of good work can be the greatest enemy of benefiting the world with the greatest work you could do.

So take the time to think beyond where you are now and what you are doing now.  Drop the fear of failure.  Take the time to think deeply about what your life could be like if you were living life to its full potential with maximum purpose and fulfillment. Once you become clear about and committed to your personal purpose that becomes more powerful more significant, more influential, than the baggage of the past, or the noise of your present circumstances.

Process to Develop Your Personal Mission

Let me start with some basic guidelines:  First, understand that creating a mission statement is not something you do in an hour. It takes deep introspection, careful analysis, thoughtful expression, and often many rewrites to produce it in final form. One of the best ways to get started is to take a half day to a day of solitude and silence to just really make space to reflect and listen. Most of us don’t need more information, we just need to make space and time for reflection.  And if you believe in God, I would say...time and space to let God to speak to us.

Do this in a large block of time to get started and then in your daily meditation and journaling you will get more direction over time. Even then, it may take you several weeks or even months before you feel really comfortable with your mission statement, before you feel it is complete and concise expression of your innermost values and directions. Even then, you will want to review it regularly and make minor changes as the years bring additional insights or changing circumstances.

  The Purpose Factors Exercise

A personal mission statement is impacted by and takes into consideration eight areas that I call purpose factors.

The eight factors in determining your life purpose are your core values, your personal strengths, your special gifts or natural talents, your life experience, your passions, your dreams, the current needs of culture and your skills.

Core Values:

What kind of person do you want to become? What character traits do you want to possess?  What values do you want to be known.  What you want to become and what you want to accomplish should be based on the core values you have identified?  Make sure your values are the foundation of your personal mission statement.

Values are the non-negotiable principle that will guide the way you go about living your life purpose.

Personal Strengths:

Understanding your unique “wiring” that shapes how you process information, communicate, deal with risk and contribute to others.  Personality profiles (like DISC or Leading from your Strengths or Strengthsfinder) can give you insight into personal strengths you could leverage to help you be most effective at living out your purpose.  Find ways to live your purpose that are a match with your personality and core behavioral strengths.

What is your personality like? What are your core behavioral strengths?  How do these personal strengths play into forming or fulfilling your personal mission?  What assessments have you taken?

Personal strengths help you know what behavior style will be most effective and fulfilling and sustainable in how you live out your life purpose.

Special Gifts and Talents:

What are the exceptional talents that you have that just seem to come natural to you?  Some people call these spiritual gifts because they often seem to be strengths that you were almost born with in a supernatural kind of way.  Or they are like natural talents that just come out of you in almost a spiritual kind of way because it seems easy to you.  Other people look at you doing that thing and say, “Wow, that’s amazing how you do that!”, and to you it just seems natural and normal.

When you understand the special giftings you have then you get an insight into the unique ways that you can contribute to others.  These are skill or action based strengths like the natural ability to be great at teaching, giving, leading, showing mercy, administration, faith, etc.  If you haven’t taken a special gifts inventory, go online and take one of the many free spiritual gifts assessments.

What are the exceptional talents that you have that just seem to come natural to you? How do these play into guiding or helping you accomplish your personal mission?

Spiritual Gifts define the supernatural empowering methods you will use to live out your purpose.

Life Experiences:

What are some of the experiences that have shaped your life? To understand your unique life purpose you must be clear about who you are, both in terms of your inborn behavioral strengths as well as the how the experiences of life have shaped you and prepared you for some purpose. Learn to understand the “parable of your life”.   Become aware of your personal journey including situations that have caused pain and loss as well as those that have caused great joy and abundance. I had a purpose coach one time that told me to do a timeline of your life and make note of key milestones, important people, times of great joy and times of great pain and times you heard some clarity about what was really important in your life. Was amazing to reflect back on these things and then think about How might all of these life experiences be used to prepare you or focus you in a powerful purpose for your life?

What are some of the experiences that have shaped your life? How might all of these life experiences be used to prepare you or focus you in a powerful purpose for your life?

Life experiences prepare you and focus you on a unique purpose for your life.

For example, maybe you experienced abuse as a child and because of this you have deep compassion for abused children.  Or maybe you had an amazing teacher as a child that changed and redirected your life for the better gave you a deep appreciation for the power of mentoring children.   


What do you care deeply about?  What would I love to do on a daily basis that gives me energy? What would I be doing if money were not a factor?  What makes your heart sing and what makes it weep?  What lights you up and what energizes you?  What makes you get of your chair so you can’t sit still anymore? What is wrong with the world that drives you crazy?

Passionate discontent can lead you to your place of divine calling. That extreme joy you feel at certain times can lead you to your place of powerful purpose.

Your passions help you know where to live out your calling and provide motivation or energy to excel at it.  Passion moves us to action where we bring what we have to offer…our strengths, gifts, experiences, skills etc.  

For example, if I am passionate about children and have the gift of mercy it might indicate that my life purpose has something to do with showing mercy to children.  Working with children, (my passion) will give me the motivation and energy to excel at showing them mercy.  But if my primary gift is leadership and my passion is children, then it might indicate that I need to find a way to lead an organization that does something valuable for children.

Understanding your personal strengths and skills can lead you into an understanding of where you will excel as you look for your ideal life purpose. But it is not the fuel that keeps you moving forward. You need to discover your passion. Many people are skilled at what they do but would rather be doing something else that they are more passionate about so never really reach their full potential. If you are not fulfilled and passionate about what you do, you will not perform at your maximum capacity.


What do you want to accomplish in your life? What dreams do you want to fulfill?

Your dreams of what you would love to accomplish inform you of the outcomes that God may want to see fulfilled in your life purpose.

Following the example above, do you dream of children being free from hunger or free from sex slavery or free from poverty?  Or do you dream of providing and safe, comfortable home for every child?

Current Culture and Needs:  

What is the current culture surrounding you? What are the needs surrounding you?

Your life mission will take place in the culture, the generation and even the community in which you were born.  So interpreting the situations and events taking place around us is just as important as understanding what goes on inside us.  When your life purpose intersects with the deep needs in people around you, powerful results take place.  Frederick Buechner says, “The place God calls you is where your deep gladness and the world’s hunger meet.”   Take some time to open your eyes and your heart to the reality that your life has a powerful purpose in this time and in this place in history.  YOU are a key part of the plan to make this world a better place at this point in earth’s history!

What are the needs you see and care about in the current culture surrounding you? How does the current culture and needs influence your personal mission?

Current culture and needs is the context in which you are placed that provides clues to the powerful world changing purposes that you could fulfill at this point in time in history and in this place.

For example, if you are deeply connected in a major city or community where child sex slavery is rampant, then this might give you an indication of your life purpose.


What are you really good at?  What do you do that regularly produces good outcomes?

What are some skills that you recognize that you are really good at and what might that say about your life mission?

Your skills give you ideas for how you can be most effective in getting something done that is of importance to your purpose.

For example, if you are really good at marketing and advertising then maybe the way you go about solving sex slavery will leverage this skill to reduce problem by huge public awareness that gets a whole city involved in your cause.

Write down your answers to the questions in these eight purpose factors. Then analyze your answers for common themes and synergies that will give you valuable insight into the highest and best use of your life.

  Resources: Thank You!

Thanks again for listening to the show! If it has helped you in any way, please share it using the social media buttons you see on the page.   We'd also really appreciate any feedback or questions that might guide what we talk about in future episodes.

Additionally, reviews for the podcast on iTunes are extremely helpful and greatly appreciated! They do matter in the rankings of the show and we read each and every one of them.

Join the Systems for Success Community!
  • Subscribe to the Systems for Success Podcast on IOS or Apple Itunes.
  • Subscribe to the Systems for Success Podcast on Android or Windows OS.
  • Enter your email in one of the email opt-ins on this site for regular emails from Lonnie Gienger or the Gienger Family on additional Systems for Success.
  • Follow Systems for Success on Instagram @systemsforsuccess
  • Follow Lonnie Gienger on Instagram @lonniegienger
Mar 26 2018
1 hour 5 mins

Rank #16: 4. The Secret to Sustainable Success in Life

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Identifying and living by your core values has more to do with creating sustainable success in life than what most people realize.   Here’s why:

  • True and lasting success is based on who we are way more than on the goals we set or even the goals we accomplish.
  • Sustainable success in all areas of business and life is based on who we are.
  • Character is the creator of who we are. Therefore character is the creator of all true and sustainable success.
  • The foundation of character is knowing what you stand for and standing for what you know.  Therefore, the basis of character is knowing and standing for your personal values.

What are Personal Values?

Our personal values are your standards of ethics and behavior.  They set the boundaries by which you live your life.  They are the overarching system for how you define success in your life.

Our values affect every area of our life:  physical, mental, social, emotional, spiritual, financial and certainly our business life.

Values are not practices.  They are guiding principles that effect everything.  Our guiding principles are fundamental, enduring truths that have universal application. Those principles give meaning to our life and a reason for being.

Concepts like integrity, honesty, quality, service, excellence, and fairness are principles that guide human conduct.

What Are the Non-Negotiable Principles that Guide Your Life?  

If you haven’t taken time to define your personal values, now is the time.  If you’ve read many books or gone to many seminars on business success you’ll know that defining core values for your business is foundational to creating a culture of success in your business.  Just like every successful company has clear values that guide decisions and actions, so every successful person has clear individual values that guide their decisions and actions.

What Does It Mean for You to be a Good Person?

When you ask some people what they want out of life, their number one answer is often something like, “I want to be happy.” Or “I want to make more money.” I think our whole world would be in much better shape if the number one answer was “I want to be a good person.”

We’re going to encourage you to take time to write down a list of the values that guide your life…those things that define what it is for you to be a truly good person.

For example, do you value, always doing the right thing, or authentic friendships, or a healthy lifestyle, or continual personal or spiritual growth, or strong family relationships?

Personal values refer to the standards of ethics and behavior that are important to you. They set the boundaries by which you live your life. They help set priorities in your life and draw lines of what you will and will not do to reach your goals. They influence every decision you make.

Values are the guiding principles that affect every part of your life: physical, mental, social, emotional, spiritual, financial, and business.

How to Begin Discovering What’s Really Important to You

One way to help you identify your personal values is to think of how you would like to be remembered if you died today. What would you want to be written on your tombstone?

Personal values like honesty, hard work, fatherhood, and love for family. These principles give meaning to your life and a reason for being. When your business is aligned with your personal values your work gains purpose.  When your family values are aligned with your personal values then your family takes on whole new direction and meaning.

If you did die today, what would people say about you and your character — how you lived your life?

More importantly — what would you WANT them to say?

What would your spouse say?

Your children and family?

Your friends?

Your business associates?

Your God?

Your community?

How you want to be remembered by each of these relationships can help you understand what’s really important — to you.

Not What You Think You SHOULD Value

Identify the values that are important to you. Don’t confuse them with values you feel you should have. Your core values are not what others think you should believe in or what you think others think you should believe in. Trying to live up to values that are not your own will only lead to resentment.

Basis for Family Unity and Success

Your personal core values will lay the foundation for the core values that you establish and live by in your family.  Every decision, action or reaction in your home will be guided by these values.  Your future generations will be guided by these values that are an overflow of what you value.  Your core values, more than any other factor, will impact the quality and impact of the legacy that you leave behind on this earth.

Basis for Business Meaning and Success

How does getting clear on your personal values relate to your business or work life? Life is more than just a paycheck. Your work is a part of you.  You invest a significant portion of the best days and best years of your life in making a living.  So, make sure that the way you go about making a living is in alignment with your core values and allows you to live out your non-negotiable principles of behavior.

Integrating your core values into your vocation is one of the rewarding aspects of owning a business. If you are a business owner, you have the privilege of creating a business that has core values that reflect your personal core values. When you align your business values with your personal values, it’s a powerful motivating force. Your work gains purpose. It will instill passion and energy in you. And, if done in a participative manner, it will also instill passion and energy for your business in your employees, customers, vendors, and anyone else you work with.

How to Discover Your Personal Core Values

Start by brainstorming a list of potential core values that you want to define your life.  To help you get your started brainstorming your potential values, we are providing a list of sample values that might spark some ideas in your mind. There’s a list of simple one word values and another list of values that are expressed as an action phrase.  Either way of expressing your values is fine…however, there is often a little extra power in turning your values statements into action phrases so we are going to encourage you to do that by the end of this process.

The list we post or the values we share are by no means an exhaustive list of personal values someone could have. And again, we are not necessarily recommending any of these specific values for you.  These are just samples.  So please only check those that are important to you and write in others that come to your mind that are important to you but not on this list.

This is for YOU to define what it means for YOU to have been a really great person who succeeds in all aspects of life.

Prioritize Your Values

After you brainstorm a list of potential values that could be important to you.  Then see if you can prioritize and write down your top five or ten personal values.  Ideally, you’ll end up paring the list down to number of values that you can keep in mind, keep in front of you and keep using to guide all your decisions and actions.  Ideally, you’re going to post our core values somewhere where you will be reminded to live your life based on these values.  Ideally over time you will evaluate how well you actually live each of your values and what you would need to start, change or stop to live each value more fully.

If you’re like me, there were quite a few things that are important to me.  I mean, who wouldn’t say that “honesty” is good, right?  But even though you may be an honest person, you may not be as passionate about the value of honesty as you are about the value of compassion or maybe the value of excellence. So, your next step is to prioritize you’re your initial list of all the things that are important to you down to your top values.  Read back through all the values you initially wrote and rank them in order of priority then select the top 5-10 that are most important to you.

Make sure there is an enduring basis of truth behind each of your core values.   That there is a universal truth behind your core values.  If you say you value having 1000 followers on social media, that’s not necessarily an enduring truth that could guide actions and decisions for the rest of your life let alone for generations to come.  Your core values should be principals that will stand the test of time as being enduring non-negotiable principles.

Now it’s time for you to take action to create another system for your success. When you finish listening to this episode, click on the resource links below and work through the system that will help you identify your personal core values.


Kylon Gienger's Personal Core Values (Stated as Active Affirmations)

1. I have a positive attitude and I think positive thoughts at all times. 2. I do unto others as I would have them do unto me. 3. I am a leader, I lead by positive example in all situations. 4. I defend those who cannot defend themselves. 5. I am a man of integrity, I always tell the truth, my word is my bond. 6. I am humble, I do not seek recognition for my actions. 7. I have self control, I control my emotions and my actions regardless of the circumstance. Even keeled, steady, constant 8. I never quit, I am resilient, I persevere and thrive on adversity. 9. I am a trendsetter, an influencer, I am creative and innovative. I am an outside-of-the-box thinker. 10. I am healthy and strong, physically, mentally, spiritually, and emotionally. 11. I am a wise manager of my time, money, and resources. 12. I am hungry, self confident, and ambitious. I can do or have anything in life through DESIRE, FAITH, and HARD WORK. 13. I take extreme ownership in all situations 14. I am formidable 15. I am abundant in all things

Lonnie and Shelley Gienger Personal/ Family Core Values

(with Business Value Corollaries)

  • Continually growing toward more intimate friendship with God
  • Seeking God’s Kingdom and his purposes and interest above everything else.
    • Business Value Corollary: Building beyond business
  • Basing all our thoughts and actions on the model of Jesus
  • Developing positive, authentic friendships
    • Business Value Corollary: Creating quality relationships.
  • Investing our lives in helping people experience God
  • Enjoying vibrant physical, mental and emotional health and energy
  • Seeing value and finding something to appreciate in everything
  • Demonstrating a positive attitude at all times
  • Continual life-long learning and adventure…enjoying life with passion and fun
  • Beginning with the end in mind (setting worthwhile goals we act on)
  • Wise management/stewardship of time, money and resources
  • Excellence, thoroughness, persistence and self-discipline
    • Business Value Corollary: Continually pursuing excellence
  • Always doing the loving thing and considering the preciousness of others.
    • Leaving everything and every person better (building people in every interaction) Business Value Corollary: Building People
  • Seeking first to understand before trying to be understood
  • Leading through serving (influencing and inspiring through a servant’s heart)
    • Business Value Corollary: Leading through serving
  • Creating and experiencing quality music and art to honor God and inspire people
  • Creating value and building a better world through entrepreneurial ventures

Lonnie’s Business Values:

  1. Doing the Right Thing
  2. Acting in the Best Interest of Our Partners
  3. Defining Wealth by Who We Are
  4. Building People
  5. Leading through Serving
  6. Continually Pursuing Excellence
  7. Building Beyond Business
  8. Creating Quality Relationships
  9. Enjoying Life with Passion
Resources: Thank You!

Thanks again for listening to the show! If it has helped you in any way, please share it using the social media buttons you see on the page.   We'd also really appreciate any feedback or questions that might guide what we talk about in future episodes.

Additionally, reviews for the podcast on iTunes are extremely helpful and greatly appreciated! They do matter in the rankings of the show and we read each and every one of them.

Join the Systems for Success Community!
  • Subscribe to the Systems for Success Podcast on IOS or Apple Itunes.
  • Subscribe to the Systems for Success Podcast on Android or Windows OS.
  • Enter your email in one of the email opt-ins on this site for regular emails from Lonnie Gienger or the Gienger Family on additional Systems for Success.
  • Follow Systems for Success on Instagram @systemsforsuccess
  • Follow Lonnie Gienger on Instagram @lonniegienger
Mar 12 2018
50 mins

Rank #17: 3. How to Stay On Course Despite Obstacles to Your Dreams

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Stories about a backpacking adventure and what it takes to stay course toward accomplishing our dreams despite the inevitable and unknown obstacles and challenges that get in the way.

The key in backpacking?  Following a map!  The key in life?  Following a strategic plan. What’s that? Simply put, it’s a map to turn your dreams for your life into reality.  It’s a way to turn your dreams for your business into reality, your dreams for your family into reality, your dreams for your health into reality, your dreams for your finances into reality.

In a sense, it’s a like creating a recipe for success.  Big picture, strategic planning is the process you’ll use to actually get what you want from life.

You’ll use strategic planning systems to build your ideal life, your ideal family, or your ideal business.

How Does It Work?

First you define what critical focus AREAS are most important to your life, your family, or your business at this point in time.  So, if you are in business you would decide what areas are important to focus on in your business this year.  Or if you want to develop a strategic plan for your health, you would decide what areas are important for you to focus on in your health this year.  Then you focus the necessary ATTENTION and RESOURCES on those issues.

As the result of this process like this, a strategic PLAN is created that charts the path to your success.

As you go through the planning process, you’ll begin to put write down the results of each planning stage.

  1. You will first write down your vision, your ideal for some area of your business or life.
  2. Then you will write down a few critical focus areas you can focus on to make progress toward that vision.
  3. Then for each critical focus area you will write down at least one objective.
  4. Then for each objective you will write down a few specific, measurable goals that will help you accomplish that objective.
  5. Then you will write on your calendar specific action plans that will help you accomplish each goal.

Make Your Map

Strategic planning bridges the GAP, between where you are TODAY and where you WANT to be.  It creates a bridge from where you are to where you want to be in some area of your life.   You create specific plans and action steps that form the road over that bridge from your current reality to your desired future.

You create a strategic plan for the same reason you take a map along when you don’t know how to get to where you’re going.  You need direction.

Think of your plan as a map you’ll follow to reach your destination…to the other side of your gap between how things are in some area of your life now to how you want things to be.

Most people start journeys with some destination in mind.  Most people start new ventures with some vision in mind. Everyone starts their marriage with some vision I mind.  If you’ve had kids, everyone starts having kids with some vision in mind for the kind of family they’d like to have…the kind of relationship they’d like to have with their kids.  If you’re in business, when you started your business you had some destination in mind.

But here’s the kicker.  Even though most people have some idea of where they want to end up, they rarely take the time to create a map for exactly HOW they are going to get there.

So they still start on the journey toward where they want to end up but inevitably they hit some bumps in the road…some circumstances that threaten to take them off track or sideline them from achieving their dream.  Without a clear plan, you may make some progress toward your dream but you won’t know what to do when you hit that first bump in the road?

Without clearly defined goals and a well-thought-out plan for how to get there, every time you hit a bump in the road, you’re likely to stop your vehicle, get out and analyze — the bump.  Or worse yet, decide to take a new direction. Or just throw in the towel.

You may have tried a lot of things to make some area of your life successful. Any one of the things you try might have worked for a certain period of time and in a certain direction.  But too often all those good efforts fail to accomplish the desired outcome because they weren’t part of a well-thought-out plan.  A plan that would move you toward your goals for that area of your life.

You need a strategic plan so all your resources— time, energy, people, and money — are headed in the same direction to make the progress you want in that area of your life or business.

Keep on Planning, Keep on Refining, Keep on Correcting

 Although a planning system like this does result in a written strategic plan with a clear vision and specific objectives and goals, it doesn’t stop at that point.  You’ve probably already learned that in life, changes occur all the time.  For a business or for any area of life to remain successful— you need to reassess and revise your strategic plan when necessary.

Planning your future requires — commitment to a process. Sometimes that can be a battle.

I’m not a big boxing fan.  But I am sometimes inspired by the “never give up” attitude I sometimes see in fighters.  One of my favorite quotes on persistence to overcome obstacles is from James Corbett, an American boxing champion during the end of the last century.  This guy understood commitment to keep going even when the going gets tough!

“Fight one more round. When your feet are so tired that you have to shuffle back to the center of the ring, fight one more round.  When your arms are so tired that you can hardly lift your hands to come on guard, fight one more round.  When your nose is bleeding and your eyes are black and you are so tired that you wish your opponent would crack you one on the jaw and put you to sleep, fight one more round — remembering that the man who always fights one more round is never whipped.”

To plan effectively you need to be innovative and creative not only at the beginning but as you begin executing on your plan and hit obstacles.

Where to Start

The first step of the strategic planning process for your life or for your business is to define your personal aspirations.  Once you understand what it is you want out of life, you can build a family, a business or career that gives it to you.  One you understand what you want your life to stand for, you can build a family that stands for that too.  You can create a business or career that fulfills your personal aspirations.  You can create a family that lives your personal values.

In future podcasts, we will break down a system for defining your personal values, mission and vision.  These things will be the basis for specific plans you create for your life, your family or your business.

For now, begin by being honest with yourself about areas of your life, your health, your family, your finances or your business where you have given up on your ideal for something because it just seems unreachable.  Or maybe some area that you have made resolutions or plans to improve but things haven’t seemed to get better…so maybe you’ve given up on plans to improve in that area.  The first step in creating a better future is often to frankly admit that the way things are now is not okay and MUST change.  If you could make any area of your life, your health, your family, your finances or your business better and know for sure that you could create plans that could get you to that ideal, what would you change?

  • Watch for a video link of Lonnie talking to business owners about creating a roadmap to overcome fractured thinking in your life and business!
Thank You!

Thanks again for listening to the show! If it has helped you in any way, please share it using the social media buttons you see on the page.   We'd also really appreciate any feedback or questions that might guide what we talk about in future episodes.

Additionally, reviews for the podcast on iTunes are extremely helpful and greatly appreciated! They do matter in the rankings of the show and we read each and every one of them.

Join the Systems for Success Community!
  • Subscribe to the Systems for Success Podcast on IOS or Apple Itunes.
  • Subscribe to the Systems for Success Podcast on Android or Windows OS.
  • Enter your email in one of the email opt-ins on for regular emails from Lonnie Gienger or the Gienger Family on additional Systems for Success.
  • Follow Systems for Success on Instagram @systemsforsuccess
  • Follow Lonnie Gienger on Instagram @lonniegienger
Feb 25 2018
39 mins

Rank #18: 2: Expand Your Vision and Achieve Your Wildest Goals | Round Table Discussion

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An inside look at a powerful system for success that our family has been following now for about 15 years.  It has helped us expand our vision and achieve dreams that are bigger than we ever thought we could.  

It’s a system for success that I’m pretty sure you won’t hear much about in many other places. But this has been a critical process for us individually and as a family. Like many good things in my life, I learned about this process from a mentor who had focused on success in this specific area of life more than I had. I will be forever grateful to my family coach and good friend, Greg Gunn for opening my eyes to this life changing system for success.  

In this episode all eight of us gathered around the table for a fun discussion right after we finished our 15th Annual Gienger Family Goal Setting Retreat.  What is that?  Here’s how it works. We all get together as a family at the beginning of each new year to celebrate our successes in the last year and set goals for the new year. We start with a a focusing talk by dad.  Then we spend 3-4 hours in solitude and silence where each family member journals on their successes in the last year and writes down goals for the new year.  After everyone takes time alone to document their successes and work on their individual goals, we come back together to share what we have written down.  This gives us a rich space in time to celebrate each other’s successes and become aware of how we can support each other’s goals.

After we finished our time of sharing this January, we all sat around the table, clicked record and reflected on the experience.  As you listen to us discuss the following questions, we hope you will gain insights that could help you create a system like this, in your own way, in your own life.  

  • What are some of your earliest memories of doing our Annual Gienger Family Goal Setting Retreats?  
  • Can you describe what it has been like for you to do this when you were young kids?  
  • How would you describe the actual process we have used in our annual goals setting retreats?  
  • To the spouses who married in to the family (Teliah and Auren): Do you remember when was your first time joining us in an Annual Family Goal Setting Retreat?  What was it like for you to participate in this process?
  • What do you think have been the benefits of doing this for you and for our family?  What’s the value of this from your perspective?
  • What are some of the highlights or most meaningful elements of what we experienced or what you heard or shared in this year’s Annual Family Goal Setting Retreat?
  • How do you see this carrying on into the next generation?
  • Check out the Family ID podcast by Greg Gunn who was Lonnie's initial coach on this topic. 
  • Kylon and Te referenced their excellent Successful Dropout podcast for young people looking for an alternative to the traditional institutional university education route. 
  • After listening to the podcast, some have asked for a copy of the questions that we have used over the years to guide us through our celebration and goal setting process.  If you're interested, you can check out our Gienger Goal Setting Annual Retreat Questions. As with all systems, we hope you can learn something from our process...but please be sure to customize this system in a way that works best for you. 
Thank You!

Thanks again for listening to the show! If it has helped you in any way, please share it using the social media buttons you see on the page.   We'd also really appreciate any feedback or questions that might guide what we talk about in future episodes.   

Additionally, reviews for the podcast on iTunes are extremely helpful and greatly appreciated! They do matter in the rankings of the show and we read each and every one of them. 

Join the Systems for Success Community!
  • Subscribe to the Systems for Success Podcast on IOS or Apple Itunes.
  • Subscribe to the Systems for Success Podcast on Android or Windows OS. 
  • Enter your email in one of the email opt-ins on this site for regular emails from Lonnie Gienger or the Gienger Family on additional Systems for Success.
  • Follow Systems for Success on Instagram @systemsforsuccess
  • Follow Lonnie Gienger on Instagram @lonniegienger
Feb 12 2018
55 mins

Rank #19: 24. What Will Your Family Look Like Seven Generations From Now?

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What Will Your Family Look Like Seven Generations From Now?

I was really on the hot seat. I felt like I was being interrogated! Almost a hundred people were staring at me as I stood under the bright lights. One after another they bombarded me with deeply personal questions like: "What is your deepest fear in regard to this?" and "What is behind that fear?" and "Isn't this really all about you wanting control?"

I had to answer too. Was I sweating it out!

The scene of my mental torture was a conference in Miami for families and family business owners. The facilitator of the conference had asked me that morning to volunteer at her session if no one else did. I had easily agreed. I am not uncomfortable on stage. I figured I’d be up there for a couple of minutes and that would be it. Simple. Yet the hour-long grilling was so intense, I wished I had never agreed to be a guinea pig!

The facilitator has a proprietary system for how to solve problems by asking effective questions. The questions were effective all right--effectively making me wrack my brain to come up with answers to things I never thought I would be asked in public.

At the beginning of the session, the facilitator had asked everyone in the room to write down their current most pressing issue or concern in their family or family business. I had known instantly what mine was. My son and daughter-in-love had recently announced they are having a baby girl, and the thought had hit me as a stunning reality on the flight to the conference. It was happening; with the second grandchild coming soon, we were really a three-generation family; a new era was already dawning. This was real.

When asked, I read this pressing concern out loud at the conference:

“What do I do now to help ensure that our family legacy, especially our values and purpose, flourish in the third to seventh generations?”

The audience had promptly asked: “Why seven generations?”

I explained that it was based on the seventh generation principle of the Iroquois. It comes from their constitution, a model for our own very successful Constitution. Iroquois leaders of tribes and families are to consider how their choices will affect seven generations. Talk about forward thinking!

The history of the Indian nations shows that it is only those families that rigorously maintain this seventh generation thinking that actually reaches the 7th generation and beyond to actually become a tribe. And I’d like to think that maybe something our family is doing in this generation could eventually result in a tribe that will have a specific impact for good on this planet 200 years from now.

The World Will Get Better When We Do Family Well.

I found the Iroquois perspective very compatible with my own ideas of leaving a lasting legacy to future generations. I believe the future of our world will be dictated by the progressive health of families and businesses in society. There is an undeniable rule of progress that any time you can build on the failures, successes, and learnings of something that happened before, you are more likely to have a better outcome in the next iteration. Unfortunately, the prevailing paradigm is that somehow families are the one exception to that rule. We have come to believe that each generation is supposed to stand alone, that there is no need to build on the successes, failures, and learnings of prior generations. But the way the world will get better is when we do family in a way where each generation builds on the shoulders of the prior generation to become increasingly more successful…however that family intentionally defines success.

After all the pointed questions from the audience, I was required to write down all the solutions offered and commit to doing three of them. One of them was to have an open conversation about this with my family, which I did. The results are in the Systems for Success podcast, episode 24. You might want to have a listen.

The eight members of my family going back and forth about this was easy in comparison to the probing questions of that audience! Still, my adult children are autonomous, critical thinkers and they did some ferreting out of their own. I am grateful that they agreed that leaving a lasting legacy to future generations was a worthy and valid goal.

First, we went back and forth about what success in that would look like. Next, we came up with ways to make it happen.

Success in families and/or in business doesn’t just happen. It has to be intentional. The right systems and processes have to be conceived and put into place. Many people think success is a matter of something that just happens if you are lucky or work hard enough. On the contrary, we believe that behind every success is a system in action. The magic is in the system.

How many people are systematic about how they approach their family’s legacy? They may be very systematic about bequeathing money and property. But what about the non-material legacy? What’s the plan for passing that on? What will success in that look like and what should be implemented in the present to make it happen in the future?  

Affinity - A Common Thread

My family and I agreed that a minimum baseline of success would be a clear bond of affinity throughout our extended family seven generations from now. We looked at one definition of affinity that seemed to resonate with all of us: “Close connection marked by community of interests or similarity in nature or character”

Seven generations from now, we wanted our relations to feel an affinity with their extended family, including us. Beyond this, in our maximum vision, their individual and family compasses would contain some reflection of our current generation’s values, mission and vision. Was it realistic, we asked ourselves, that our seventh generation descendants would share "a community of interests" with us? No; we doubted our descendants were all going to play instruments or like backpacking and skiing like we do. What we hoped was that there would be a "similarity in nature or character…or value set" or, as we put it, a common thread.

We decided that our main common thread as a family was spirituality. We hoped our descendants would share that. This doesn’t mean being the same religion. It shouldn't be rigid, and it has to encourage the creativity and expansion of future generations, including people who would marry into the family from differing backgrounds. Even now, in our family, we have different approaches as to how we live out our family values and mission statement. Yet spirituality binds us together; it is our main common thread. If our descendants shared that, it would be a marker of success.

But how to pass down this and other parts of our family mission vision?

A Tangible Legacy

We thought it could help maintain the philosophical legacy if we could also leave some tangible legacy, like books that were important to us, documentation of past goals and accomplishments, documentation of individual family values and visions, videos of important family moments, memories and stories, maybe even some physical memorabilia that represent things that are important to the family. We talked about our ancestors’ journeys from Europe to America and how we wanted to pass down their stories through an oral tradition, but that we should also document our lives well.

I told them about the office of a family business in Minneapolis, a national company in its seventh generation of family ownership. In the center of their office, they had dedicated a small little museum area to the family--all the generations from the 1800s. There were artifacts of the family's projects, interests, and milestones--even old love letters!

They had the first generation’s copy of Poor Richard’s Almanac, open to things he had marked as important: values and principles related to money and good business practices. The family still tried to align their business with those values and principles.

From that, we realized that we had to document our lives with what we wanted future generations to know about us. We needed to leave tangible items that told our descendants who we were and what we stood for.

Individual Yet Part of the Whole

Then we tackled the question of how to create and preserve a family legacy but to allow for new interpretations and variations on the themes because of people’s individual personalities, interests, and approaches.

Here the married among my adult children made large contributions. They had already faced the fact that they wanted to be loyal to the family’s values and vision but that they also needed to create their own unique family identity. We decided that the best way to describe it would be that each new family would have its own “flavor” (and that prospective mates would probably be attracted to members of our family because they had a similar “seasoning” in their backgrounds).

We realized that without extension and creativity, without each generation adding to and expanding the vision through their unique interpretation and bringing their own strengths to it, the family legacy would be weakened over time. Also, we decided we would not want future generations to think they had dishonored the family name because they had their own passions and interests, and their own autonomy.

My wife Shelley summed it up: “If you guys did not expand beyond what dad and I originally taught and instilled in our family, I would feel like we would have failed. No parent wants to see their kids be stagnant but to be leaders of change and good in the world.”

Timeless Values

I had done some study on lasting family businesses and families. I had discovered that some families could flourish to the fourth generation by luck or by accident or because of common interests. Other times it was because they all lived in the same part of the country, or because of the sheer force of the strong personalities of the first generation. Yet none of that was enough to carry to the seventh generation. To last to the seventh generation, something had to withstand the test of time. There had to be timeless values.

Love and acceptance, we decided, would have the strength to permeate and unite seven generations. With love and acceptance, even during the messy process of growing and changing and being different, things would hold together. Relationships were more important than being “right.”

To last to the seventh generation, something must withstand the test of time.

Maybe, we speculated, it would boil down to a few broad words like leadership, health, love, service and family. Those simple words and concepts have been honored in every society, in every generation. It is hard to imagine a future society where courage is not admired, friendship abandoned, service and leadership de-valued, or family ties completely dead. Timeless values stand the test of time. They traverse generations.

Your Seventh Generation Descendant

Now I’m going to ask you to imagine your seventh generation descendant. He has your eyes, Uncle Larry’s voice, and your granddaughter’s lithe physique. He plays a mean piano, just like your Great Grandmother Lucie.

What else do you want him to have in the fiber of his character that can see him through the challenges of the 23rd century? What ancestral whisper do you want to come to him as he faces life? Courage? Family? Service? Leadership? Total acceptance and love?

What can you build into the spiritual DNA of your family now that will strengthen him, that seventh generation iteration, who is a lot like you and plenty different? What lasting legacy can you give to him so he can steer straight in a world that will undoubtedly be very different from our world today? What can you give him that will be a lasting legacy?

It’s worth thinking about. It’s worth being intentional about, and it’s worth fighting for now.

After all, he’s family.

Mar 20 2019
1 hour 9 mins

Rank #20: 23. More Rest Equals More Success

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Time is precious in our high speed, high-pressure world. We want to achieve more for ourselves, our families, and maybe for our communities. In order to do so, we need time, and we need to look for ways to maximize that scarce modern commodity: time.

We often try to beat time by spending less time resting. We eke out one more hour of watching a late night show or using social media. We fuel our tired selves with caffeine.

Such a lifestyle, though, hurts us in both the short and long terms. Less rest has been linked to Alzheimer’s disease and decreased longevity. Studies show that losing as little as three hours of sleep in a night can halve the effectiveness of the immune system!

Too little rest affects our minds as well as our bodies. It can result in depression, paranoia, and even hallucinations. What’s more, we become irritable with those we love and work with. We lose focus. Creativity becomes just too big a hill to climb, subtracting from our joy in life and work.

Let’s think about the flip side of this issue. What results do you want in your body and wellbeing? My wife, Shelley, is a professional health coach and she often talks about what she calls her five non-negotiable health results: brainpower, energy, motivation, calmness, sex drive. Who wouldn’t want their life to be full of these five outcomes? Shelley goes to great lengths to help her clients understand that a lifestyle of appropriate rest is foundational to every one of these health results.

Let’s start by talking about sleep. Research has shown that seven and preferably eight hours of sleep per night are optimal. Are you getting enough?

Reset, Rewire, and Refresh

During sleep, the body heals. It absorbs natural, soothing forces that energize it after the daily grind of use and abuse. It is similar to bodybuilding. Muscles are built after they are torn during the workout process. They repair and rebuild during rest. Similarly, we grow stronger through rest after the work of the day. Our bodies are revived, rebuilt, and strengthened at night.

A day’s work expends a lot of energy, and that energy has to be replenished through rest. Your body recalibrates its systems for a new day. (Weight loss tip: we actually release body fat when we sleep!).

Our minds rejuvenate during sleep too. We dream out a lot of mind overload during sleep. It is similar to unplugging all electronic devices and letting them rest for a few minutes before plugging them back in. This clears up any signal jams. Good rest “unplugs” your mind and lets it reset, rewire, and refresh.

For maximum vitality and clear-headedness, rest is essential.

Ways to Get More Rest

  • Try the app “Sleep Cycle”.

This app tracks and assesses your movements during sleep. It will give you a baseline of your sleep percentage (deep, moderate, and light).

Don’t stress if you don’t sleep pristinely according to this app! Just use it to get a rough idea of your rest levels and to measure improvement.

  • Use herbals.

Many mature men suffer from an enlarged prostate, which causes them to make several bathroom trips per night, a big sleep disrupter. Taking Saw Palmetto (readily available wherever vitamins are sold) helps balance hormones and promotes prostate health.

Drink few or no liquids after 6 p.m., and finish a light supper three hours before bed to prevent sleep-interrupting bathroom visits.

Other helpful herbals are:

  • Organic, raw apple cider vinegar. Take a couple of tablespoons in a little warm water with a bit of raw honey just before bed. This stabilizes blood sugar and heals your gut while you sleep. Thanks to Tim Ferriss, Tools of Titans, we know that this makes the body more alkaline and rejuvenates hormones.

  • 200-400 mg of L-Theanine before bed is very relaxing. L-theanine is an amino acid found in green and black tea as well as Bay Bolete mushrooms. It's also available in pill or tablet form at many drugstores.

  • Ashwagandha root has been used for about 3,000 years as a natural stress-reliever; several studies show it lowers levels of the stress hormone cortisol. 500-1000 mg during the day helps balance cortisol and encourages sleep at night. It also supports energy levels, which in turn helps reduce stress and improve immune health.

  • Seriphos or Phosphorylated Serine can be incredibly useful in cases of insomnia caused by elevated nighttime cortisol levels. If you have trouble falling asleep, get a second wind late at night, or wake up between 1 a.m.- 4 a.m. and can't get back to sleep, a cortisol imbalance may be the reason. One way to find out for sure is to get a cortisol test that will give you a snapshot of cortisol levels over 24 hours.

  • Seriphos, an amino acid, acts to rebalance cortisol levels. Taking 1000 mg just before dinner and another 2000 mg by 10 p.m. on a regular basis is ideal. If you take it after 10 p.m., it may interfere with the morning cortisol spike that is your body’s wake up call.

  • Lavender essential oil, rubbed on the bottoms of the feet, will help you fall back asleep if you wake up in the night.

Four Facilitating Factors for a Good Night’s Sleep


As breathing and heartbeat indicate, the body thrives on rhythm! Circadian rhythms are your daily bodily rhythms or your body clock. If they are thrown off, say by an international trip or a sleepless night, you may have a headache the next day or remain sluggish for hours.

People need deep sleep, known as Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep, to repair body and mind. To make sure you get enough:

  • Be in bed by ten p.m. or earlier.
  • Avoid caffeine or at least cut it back after 12 noon. Caffeine wreaks havoc with your body clock!


  • Sleep in a dark room.
  • Make sure there are no green or blue lights visible in the bedroom.
  • Use light-blocking bedroom shades or a sleep mask.
  • Shut off all electronic screens one hour before bed.
  • Read a paper book before bed.
  • Don’t turn on screens if you wake in the night.
  • Dim lights in the evening.
  • Wear blue-light-blocking glasses in the evening.


Noise bring us out of deep sleep or keep us from going into deep sleep. So monitor both sound noise and “electronic noise”. A white noise machine can neutralize night sounds. Earplugs help too.

  • Earplugs are especially handy if your bed partner or pet snores. Silicone ones work well. Pull the upper ear back and up to insert. If worn properly, you won’t even hear the snap of fingers.

  • Turn off your WiFi to reduce electronic noise. Four or five years ago, the University of Melbourne completed an extensive study on how electromagnetic field (EMF) radiation from WiFi networks affects the quality of our sleep. Our bodies sense EMF radiation as if it were light. Then the pineal gland reacts and slows down melatonin production, the hormone that regulates our sleep and circadian rhythms.

  • Put your phone on airplane mode, unless loved ones may need to call. In that case, keep the phone 8 - 10 feet across the room to cut down on this electronic “noise”.


  • Put your legs up the wall and/or do stretching yoga poses before bed.

  • Exercise outside, even on cloudy days, to stimulate the neurotransmitter serotonin, which then makes more melatonin at night.

  • To fall asleep or back asleep, take slow, deep breaths (4-5 count inhale, equal count hold, 4-5 count exhale, equal count hold, and so on).

Try one method at a time for a week or so and see what works best for you.

Rest without Sleeping  

Sleep is the foundational daily system for rest. However, other avenues of rest are important too.

Daily Rest

Even a minute of rest here or there helps. You needn’t go to sleep; you just need to go into a restful mode.

  • Meditation and/or prayer in the morning can be vital to starting the day with a clear and calm mind.
  • Go for a nature walk instead of taking a coffee break.
  • Close your eyes for a moment or two and visualize a beautiful natural scene or revisit happy memories.
  • Just breathe. Close your eyes and breathe deeply.

Weekly Rest

For one day a week, I stop doing things that I normally do to make money or accomplish things. Ceasing my own striving to succeed develops a trustful attitude and a sustainable lifestyle.

  • Pursuing spiritual activities is a great rest from the hustle and bustle of the world. Take a weekly rest day and spend it doing soul-nourishing activities.

  • Nurturing relationships with God and other people is restful and restorative. Good relationships are an important part of happiness and health; serving others results in a “helper’s high” and the reinforcement of belonging. It even affects longevity!

  • Reading things to edify the spirit is important instead of reading potentially stressful news items. I spend time reading Psalms, Proverbs, and the rest of the Bible. I also read self-help books. I find these books realigning and refreshing for my inner self.

  • Take the time to exercise more on a weekly rest day. I know exercising more on your rest day sounds like an oxymoron but for most of us who live a fairly sedentary life during the week, this can be one of the most rejuvenating things for your body and soul. Your rest day is a good day for a nature hike or other outdoor activities.

  • Enjoy the process of making a healthy, gourmet meal and eating it in a leisurely way.

Monthly Rest

Have you ever had the electricity go out for a day or so and found yourself feeling deeply rested and peaceful inside?

  • Once a month, take a media break or fast for a day or two. This will give you deep, internal rest from the constant signals and stimulation of the electronic age.

Yearly Rest

  • Be sure to take that annual vacation!
  • Don’t cram it so full of activities that you don’t have time to get bored and laze around.

Vitamin N

We are part of nature; thus, nature gives profound rest to our bodies and spirits. We spend most of our week inside, in front of computer screens. We rarely get a chance to get out and see the sun or feel the wind.

Research shows that spending time in nature reduces stress and improves health. You will know by the sense of relief and liberation you feel once you are under that blue sky! So get some Vitamin N into your system!

  • Go for walks or hikes.
  • Cultivate a garden.
  • Develop an interest in different kinds of trees, plants, flowers or animals.

Nature is deeply restorative.

Dr. Oz is more than a TV personality; he is vice chairman of the surgery department at Columbia University's medical school. He says, “When we put patients into nature after [surgical] procedures, they actually recover faster.”

Rhythms of Rest

Never think that it is counter-productive to set aside significant chunks of time to rest the body, mind, and spirit. Medical science can track the benefits of doing this. Sufficient quantity and quality of rest pay dividends in better memory, healthier immune function, healthier weight, relief for depression, stress management, improved energy, longevity, and curbing inflammation that is linked to heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and arthritis.

Develop your own system for success in creating the rhythms of rest that will give you the health results you want. Make a list of a few things you’re going to change, starting tonight. Enlist someone who will encourage you on your journey.

None of this is time wasted. When the body, mind, and spirit are rejuvenated, we are more effective. Some of the world’s greatest discoveries have been made when someone took a rest! Rest was when it all gelled in the mind and the person had a Eureka moment. Rest reveals fresh perspectives. We are more productive when we are well rested!

Rest well to live optimally. More rest = more success!

Mar 08 2019
1 hour 8 mins

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