How to make 2019 your BREAKTHROUGH year

2018 is now in the books, and 2019 stretches before us as a blank canvas. As I talk with people about what’s ahead, I hear dreams shared, ideas verbalized, and hopes expressed.

But as James Cameron said well, “hope is not a strategy.”

To get different results, we must do different things. To do the same things year after year and expect different results – that’s insanity.

“The tragedy of life is often not in our failure, but rather in our complacency; not in our doing too much, but rather in our doing too little; not in our living above our ability, but rather in our living below our capacities.”—Benjamin E. Mays

It’s time to live up to our capacity. To get breakthrough results takes intentionality.

“You may be good. You may even be better than everyone else. But without a coach, you will never be as good as you could be.”
–Andy Stanley, leadership author and speaker

As we begin a new year, I’m accepting a limited number of new clients for executive coaching. Through this process, I help leaders and high-potential teams members gain self-awareness, clarify goals, overcome their limiting beliefs, and achieve more than they ever have. I am particular about the clients I accept: a teachable spirit is a non-negotiable.

Are you ready?

Contact me today and we’ll set up a 30 minute call to see if it’s a good fit for us both. And if it is, get ready for this year to blow the doors off last year.

New Speaker Added for Live2Lead!

This year’s speaker lineup is outstanding – John Maxwell, Carly Fiorina, Daniel Pink, and Debra Searle. But hold on to your hats – Tyler Perry will also be joining the team!

You can register to attend Live2Lead Reston here – early bird ticket prices end next week!

Live2Lead Reston 2018!

You're invited to a one day leadership development opportunity that could change the way you lead

I’m thrilled to announce the first event that my new speaking, coaching, and training company, Catalytic Leadership, LLC, is hosting – Live2Lead Reston!

Live2Lead is a half-day leadership, and personal growth event. This simulcast event is an annual leadership gathering developed by The John Maxwell Company. Join hundreds of host sites around the globe by participating in the 5th annual Live2Lead conference for an exciting day of growth, as John and other high caliber speakers teach relevant and applicable leadership tools.

The first half of the day will feature speakers John Maxwell, Tyler Perry, Carly Fiorina, Daniel Pink, and Deborah Searle. We’ll enjoy lunch together, and then have a special Q&A session that I’ll lead, where we’ll unpack and process some of the takeaways from the morning’s speakers. My goal will be for you to walk away with some actionable items you can put into play immediately!

Live2Lead Reston 2018 will be on Friday, October 26, 2018 from 9am to 2pm, at Southview Community Church (2620 Reston Parkway, Herndon, Virginia  20171).

Tickets are now available for this event – click here to get yours.

Ready? Set? Go!

Join me in Israel in Fall, 2019

I’m so excited to announce that Wes Husted and I will be leading a trip to Israel in the Fall of 2019! More details here – you can register now and pay your deposit ($100) to reserve your spot (space is limited). Wes and I will both be teaching for this 10 day experience.

There’s nothing quite like seeing the pages of the Bible come to life as you travel through the Holy Land. We visit sites from the Old and New Testament, teaching from the historical, cultural, linguistic, and geographical context. Past trip participants have commented that they’ve never read the Bible the same way since they experienced Israel for themselves; they see in their mind’s eye the places we visit when they read the biblical text.

One of my goals is for trip participants to see that the Bible is the story of real people, just like us, living in a real place – and that’s what a trip like this brings to life.

If you’ve always wanted to visit the land where Jesus walked and where the church was born, here’s a great opportunity to do so! We’d love for you to join us – let me know if you have any questions.

Next year in Jerusalem!

“Bigger Than You” Leadership

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Last week, I watched my favorite college team, Alabama, secure yet another national college football championship. It was one of the greatest football games I’ve seen: the power plays, the turnovers, the unexpected moments, and the players who pressed through difficulty on both sides of the field.

Many articles and statements have been written about Nick Saban, the Alabama coach who made the difficult decision to change quarterbacks at halftime, from Jalen Hurts to freshman Tua Tagovailoa. This could not have been an easy decision, yet Saban demonstrated yet again the ability to make the tough calls.

What stood out to me during the second half of the game was the now-sidelined quarterback, Jalen Hurts. Many in this position would be feeling a sense of embarrassment or humiliation that he wasn’t able to take the team to victory as he had so many times before. Some would have been angry at being pulled out at halftime in the most public venue possible for a college football player. Jalen, however, showed something different.

As the second half played out, we saw Jalen actively involved on the sidelines, encouraging and supporting not only his teammates, but the freshman quarterback who had taken his place! He not only backed his coach’s decision, but he was “all in” as he cheered on this freshman quarterback that few fans knew prior to the game.  He threw his influence and leadership behind Tua, and ultimately the team pulled out a victory in the final moments.

Jalen was a prime example of a true leader, who was about the mission before himself. He exhibited an understanding that many experienced and much older leaders have not yet mastered – that leadership is about investing your life in something bigger than you.

The Business Case for Leadership Development

Leadership development sounds good, but does it really make a difference? Is there any data to back up the assertion that developing leaders affects not only those leaders, but the company or organization?

Check out this article that deals with these questions.

(Spoiler: Leadership development DOES make a difference, and it DOES affect the company or organization in a positive way!)

I’d love to help you and your team be intentional about this priority in 2018. Choose to grow! You can contact me and set up a time to discuss your goals and how I can help you and/or your company or organization this year.

Will 2018 Be Your Best Year Yet? It Can Be

Do you want 2018 to be different than 2017 was? Do you want to look back 12 months from now at the growth that happened in your life?

It begins with an intentional step.

We all want our lives to matter. We want to live lives of significance. And you can. The key to choosing a life that matters is being intentional.

Join me for my next virtual mastermind group that begins in January.  We’ll meet online for 4 weeks, for 90 minutes each week (either on Sunday nights or Tuesday nights), and grow together. We’ll be reading and discussing John Maxwell’s book Intentional Living: Choosing a Life That Matters.

This is an outstanding learning and personal development experience intended for those who are serious about investing in and taking action to grow themselves both personally and professionally. If that’s you, I’d love to have you join me.

Register for the Sunday group here.

Register for the Tuesday group here.

And let’s step into 2018 with intentionality together.

Global Leadership Summit 2017

I’m excited that Southview is hosting the Global Leadership Summit again this August!  This is a world class leadership development event that I’ve benefited from for the last 18 years; it is a “don’t miss” on my calendar. I always walk away with new ideas, fresh perspectives, and a commitment to get better as a leader. It’s because of the Summit that I’m still working in a local church (that’s a story that I’d love to share with you).

What’s your plan to get better as a leader? Are you intentionally seeking opportunities to grow? As Bill Hybels puts it often, when a leader gets better, everybody benefits. I’d love for you to come and learn with me this year at Southview – you won’t regret it. You can register here.


This year’s speaker line up is fantastic:

  • BILL HYBELS – Founder & Senior Pastor, Willow Creek Community Church

  • SHERYL SANDBERG – Chief Operating Officer, Facebook

  • MARCUS BUCKINGHAM – Best-selling Author; Founder, The Marcus Buckingham Company

  • BRYAN STEVENSON – Founder & Executive Director, Equal Justice Initiative

  • JULIET FUNT – CEO, Whitespace at Work

  • MARCUS LEMONIS – Star of CNBC’s, The Profit; CEO of Camping World and Good Sam

  • SAM ADEYEMI – Founder & Senior Pastor, Daystar Christian Centre in Nigeria

  • LASZLO BOCK – Senior Advisor at Google; Best-selling Author

  • IMMACULÉE ILIBAGIZA – Advocate for Peace and Forgiveness; Best-selling Author

  • GARY HAUGEN – Founder & CEO, International Justice Mission

  • ANGELA DUCKWORTH – Professor, University of Pennsylvania; Best-selling Author

  • FREDRIK HÄRÉN – Author; Business Creativity Expert

  • ANDY STANLEY – Leadership Author; Communicator; Pastor

  • MICHAEL JR – Comedian


New Virtual Mastermind Groups

What’s your intentional growth plan right now – personally and professionally?

Dreams don’t come to fruition on their own. I want to live a life by design, not by default!

For nearly two decades now, I’ve been a student of leadership. For nearly a decade, I’ve led small mastermind groups, studying material from different books and sources and then discussing how the principles can apply to the business, non-profit, military, church, and personal contexts of the various group members. I’ve watched people take steps and grow beyond what they thought they could, and I’ve watched their dreams come to life.

Starting in July, I’m going to take this coaching opportunity online. One of my life goals is to add value to people. I want to see people take steps to live their life on purpose, to grow and stretch, and to achieve their goals.

I’m going to begin with four groups, each meeting on a different day of the week. These will be 5 week groups, meeting once per week for 90 minutes. We’ll use John Maxwell’s book The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth. It’s online, so no matter where you are, you can be a part of this!

Ive got four different virtual mastermind group opportunities you can register for and plug into:

There is synergy of energy, commitment and excitement that participants bring to a mastermind group. These groups offer a combination of masterminding, peer brainstorming, education, accountability and support in a group setting to sharpen your business and personal skills. By bringing fresh ideas and a different perspective, masterminds can help you achieve success.

This is a great opportunity to study leadership, communications, and growth principles/practices in a group setting, create an action plan and have the group hold you accountable for fulfilling your plan and goals.

Are you ready to get intentional about this? Click on one of the links above for the group that fits your schedule!

Invest in Something That Will Outlive You

I recently read Mark Miller’s new book, Leaders Made Here. It is an outstanding read and well worth your time, whether you lead in a church context, a non-profit context, or a business context.  Leadership principles are transferrable and apply across organizational contexts! Check out the post below from Mark dealing with Leadership Talent Reviews.


Does your company do Leadership Talent Reviews? If you’re not familiar with the idea, it’s a very straightforward concept. The process involves a systematic review of all leaders in an organization.

Leadership Talent Reviews are not a new idea. Most organizations do this in one form or another. If yours doesn’t, perhaps you should start. Here are a few of the many benefits we’ve experienced:

  • We calibrate on what’s expected of our leaders. We use the SERVE model as our baseline for conversation and comparison.
  • We calibrate on performance expectations. We talk about actual results – if there are performance issues, this is the forum for discussing them as a leadership team.
  • We also challenge each other. Sometimes, the leader doing the evaluation is biased. When you have to defend your rating of another leader, this brings a level of accountability and reality to the process.
  • We check our leadership pipeline. To accomplish this, we include a category for Emerging Leaders. These are women and men who don’t currently lead people – but could at some point in the future.
  • We talk about how to help individual leaders grow. This is one of the most valuable parts of the entire process. Anyone can be a commentator – far fewer excel at coaching leaders. If this is not the way you think naturally, after you’ve evaluated a leader, ask the question: How can we help this leader grow? Here are few tips…
  • Test for readiness. If you’re trying to change behavior, be sure the leader in question wants to change. If he or she doesn’t want to improve, don’t waste your time.
  • Attack critical gaps. When attempting to help a leader grow, I recommend starting with the big issues. What is it this leader must change if he or she wants to grow their leadership capacity? Start there.
  • Be specific. Avoid broad-brush generalities. Be as pinpointed and as behavioral as possible. If you’re coaching a leader who talks too much, there may be self-awareness issues. However, the behavior you need to address is, “Don’t talk so much!”
  • Provide recommendations. If you want to coach well, move beyond observations to recommendations. Think about a great sports coach – he doesn’t just share observations with an athlete, he offers recommendations for improvement.
  • Provide resources. Some development activities are free. “Don’t talk so much” doesn’t cost anything. However, others may require a financial investment. Don’t be surprised when you have to pay for development.
  • Provide encouragement. To grow is harder than many people realize. Often, it involves personal change. For me, that’s the hardest change of all. And, with change often comes pain. Look for opportunities to encourage leaders who are investing their best effort to improve.
  • Provide accountability. For the leaders we’re attempting to help, you’ll want to decide the level of accountability needed on an individual basis. For me and you, our accountability will come in the next Leadership Talent Review.

Of all the activities leaders engage in, none has more lasting impact than developing the next generation of leaders. Whatever your process, be sure you’re investing enough time, energy and resources in your leaders to create a legacy you’ll be proud of.


Mark Miller is the best-selling author of 6 books, an in-demand speaker and the Vice President of High-Performance Leadership at Chick-fil-A. His latest book, Leaders Made Here, describes how to nurture leaders throughout the organization, from the front lines to the executive ranks and outlines a clear and replicable approach to creating the leadership bench every organization needs.


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