Archive for January, 2011



A Life with Purpose

I never saw it coming. The voice on the other end of the phone said in a frail but determined way: “If God gives me four more weeks of life I will finish this book. I’ve been working on it every day.” My eyes swelled up with tears immediately. The man speaking those words, Billy Hornsby, has been battling an aggressive form of cancer that has now moved into his brain. He’s a good friend, a great leader and one the authors I represent. But he didn’t stop there. He paused and then spoke again, “God has been so good to me and I want to help people to discover the amazing life He can give them. I just need a little more time.” overwhelmed by Billy’s response I had to pull over and try to get myself back together. Just hours before I had a completely different conversation with…

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Communicators: Embrace Social Media or Quit

If you’re a communicator, you cannot afford not to be engaged in social media. I know this sounds like a mandate, and it is. Even if only a part of your job is to communicate the vision, mission and direction of the organization you lead, you, more than anyone else in your organization, should lead the social media charge. I meet with leaders who refuse to embrace any social platforms. Their excuses are always the same: I don’t get it. I don’t have time. I’m a private person. I have nothing to say. Until recently I used to go down a list of why it didn’t take that much time and how to manage time. I patiently talked about how even a private person could have a dynamic online presence, and how even the most introvert of leaders has something to say to his or her organization as well as…

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Don’t Label Me

Sarcasm and name-calling were survival skills growing up. If you’re going to make it in my family, you had to be quick, witty, and ruthless or you got “taken down” by a sibling or a parent. In my Brazilian household, you could not afford to be timid or slow. Name-calling for us became a sport during meals where the whole family often created nick-names for friends and even other family members. It was all meant in good fun. Today, I must confess, I have the propensity to do the same thing with people around me–most of whom I see places like the Y but have never formally met. Recently I have become convicted about my labeling. So what’s the problem with labeling people you don’t even know? Well, plenty. Here’s some of the people I see on any given day: Stinky Crazy Guy Angry Doc Skinny Girl Surgery Boy Leather…

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You Don’t Need a Logo. You Need a Plan

The conversation starts with familiar words: “I’m starting a new business. I need a logo and a brand identity.” That’s an exciting place to be. Creating your brand early in your business is crucial to establish your place in the mind of the consumer; however, I have seen a lot of entrepreneurs spend more time tweaking their logo than working on their most important task: their business plan. I’m a marketing guy. And I think every organization should have the best brand representation possible starting with their logo, brand statement and identity item. However, before you pick colors, shapes, paper and all that shines and sparkles (and I love that process), make sure you think about: Your target audience. Do you really have a firm grasp on your ideal customer? Only after you do, you’re able to create an identity that speaks to your core audience. Even if you’re a…

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My Prayer for the American Church

Someone asked me yesterday “so what do you think is the future of the church in America?” Boy, that’s a loaded question. A lot of people smarter than me have speculated on where the American church is headed. Some feel hopeful but many others have pointed towards the spiritual darkness of the European landscape as its future. While I’ll leave the speculation to pollsters, here’s my prayer for the Church in America: I pray that the church will continue to seek those outside the faith. I believe that nothing is closer to heart of God than rescuing those for whom He sent his Son to die on the cross. I pray that the church will live its faith out in authentic community where the broken as well as the whole can do life together. I pray that the church will continue to remind Christians that while we are change agents…

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Say Yes to the Prompting

Yesterday afternoon I was running errands and felt led to call a friend I hadn’t connected with in a few weeks and gave him a call. My message was short: “hey, I’m thinking of you. I hope you’re well.” Not long afterward I get a text message saying he was dealing with a family crisis, which he assumed I had heard about. I had not. I was just following the prompting to reach out to a friend and and say hi.”It must have been the Lord” he texted me later about my overture. My mind went immediate to the times that I had the same prompting but did nothing. I’m probably not alone in this. Throughout the day, we think about people whom we haven’t seen or heard in a while, or even those who are closest to us, and, most of the time, we just keep moving to our…

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Sometimes Only A Song Can Capture the Moment

From time to time a song comes along and speaks to so many people. This one spoke to me. I have heard that prayer changes people. Well, maybe not in this case. Should I feel bad for enjoying this song?

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To Iron or Not to Iron? The Rise of the Wrinkled Shirt

Lately I have been wearing wrinkled shirts. On purpose. The iron hasn’t been near them. I call this the “crumpled look.” It has not been an easy transition for me, but I have found a strange freedom from the Land of Starch where I lived in for so many years. I remember going to the cleaners with my cotton shirts and asking for extra, extra starch on my button down shirts. The starch would build up after a few washes and eventually the shirts could stand up on their own. Once I even nick my neck with a particularly sharp collar. So today I’m wearing something that’s not only not starched, it actually has wires sewn into the shirt so I can bend and twist the fabric in case it doesn’t look crumpled enough. I must confess that it has taken me a while to get to this point. So…

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Your Marriage, Your Career

I have been thinking about some of the business advice I have given lately to clients and friends. One in particular sounds out of place. It doesn’t fit neatly in the “business” category but in my experience it has more to do with business than most any other nugget of help I have both given or received from someone. Perhaps the greatest impact in my business career has been whom I chose to marry. I cannot tell you how fortunately I am to have married well–“Way out of your league” as a friend once reminded me. This personal decision has had a greater impact in my business career than any other single choice. Being married to Gwen has allowed me to pursue my dreams to a degree I would never had done alone, and much less if I had married a lesser person. Marrying well will: Provide encouragement to to…

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You Are Now a Global Brand. Yes, You.

I was in Sao Paulo, Brazil at the lobby of a hotel waiting with my client to meet our Brazilian hosts whom I did not know. One of the men looked up from his cell phone and startled me by saying, “Aren’t you Maurilio? I follow you on Twitter.” The same scenario happened a few weeks later in Singapore as I attended TWR’s Asia partners’ meeting. Since then I have heard from people in New Zealand, Europe, Africa and other parts of the world who read my posts. I have come to grips with the fact that I’m a global brand. While that might  sound pretentious and grandiose, I think it’s true of anyone who has an online presence. We all know the internet doesn’t stop at the end of town, ( I had one client who wanted to launch his website in Tennessee first, however), but I’m not sure…

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