Live UP to Your U.P. (Untapped [unpopped] Potential) — Lessons from a Microwave

Type_Up1-150x150If we see the word UP as an acronym for “Unlimited Potential” or “Untapped Potential” it gives even more meaning to the phrase, “UP Only!”.

We all have untapped potential.  We can all be a little bit more or do a little more than we are doing.  No one can be perfect, but all of us can grow and improve and uncover more of our potential each day.  Isn’t that what this school called life is truly all about, constant growth and never-ending improvement?

With this in mind, the word “UP” is showing up in my life more and more all the time; I have been flooded with ideas recently on ways to increase our UP Potential using the word UP.   I decided I will share them with you weekly and I will start today by reposting something I wrote in 2013 to get the ball rolling.

To increase our UP Potential, we must first Live UP to our full potential.

imagesWhen I was living in Chile as a missionary, my parents sent me a home video of our family with some microwave popcorn.  My mom knew I would love the opportunity to sit down and see what my sisters had been up to and to hear some live messages from home.  And who doesn’t like to enjoy a little popcorn with their movie?

The Chile of today has made some fantastic advancements and is an increasingly modern and quickly developing nation.  When I was there, however, it was still considered a Third World Country and needless to say, microwaves were extremely rare.

For months I carried that microwave popcorn around with me from place to place.  I actually developed quite an emotional attachment to that small plastic wrapped bag of unpopped kernels because it represented a piece of home to me.  For about 9 months I made sure that the popcorn was where I could always get to it should the opportunity present itself.

imagesFinally, I met a family that had saved up to buy a microwave.  The mother of the family was so excited about the new purchase she could hardly stand it.  She enthusiastically told us over and over again how quickly the microwave could boil water and melt butter!  “It melts butter fast!  You have to see it!” she repeatedly exclaimed.   I shared her excitement and congratulated her, but thought to myself, a microwave can do so much more than just melt butter!

You know where I am going don’t you?

You got it.  I invited myself and my companion over to spend time with their family one night and asked if they wouldn’t mind if I brought a family video over to watch with a treat.  They were very excited to see my video from home and looked forward to any treat I might bring.

220px-Popcorn_bag_unpoppedWhen we showed up, I asked first for permission to use their microwave and suggested they might want to come watch.  I slipped the popcorn out of its plastic wrap, placed it in the brand new microwave, shut the door and turned on the timer.  Then I stood back so they could all step forward with an unobstructed view.  The dad, the mom, and the three kids all gathered around the microwave like they were watching the last seconds of a tied-up soccer game with Chile in possession of the ball.

I had a feeling this was going to blow their minds.

imagesThe kernels began to pop.  You know how it goes, Pop! (wait several seconds) Pop!  (wait again) Pop!  Pop! (wait some more).  The family leaned in towards the microwave in anticipation of each new pop, surprised and excited by every sound. Then the pops gained momentum and finally in climatic fashion, like the finale in a Fourth of July fireworks show, the bag exploded with several simultaneous pops all at once!   The family who had patiently anticipated each pop and stood watch for the whole production, imagesexploded in applause and delight as they saw the bag expand and could smell the delicious aroma of the finished product.

Suffice it to say, this event was more entertaining for all of us than my family’s video.  It is a memory I will never forget.

The question I have now is this:  how many of us are going through life just melting butter when we have the potential to do so much more?

My purpose is not to make you feel bad about what you are doing or not doing, but to get you to think.  Are you staying comfortable?  Is there room for growth?  The answer is almost always yes.

Consider something you know you could do or something you know you should do, but have put it off for another day when you have more time, more resources, or more knowledge.

You have what you need.  You have had it all along.

22281ozthe-wizard-of-oz-posters2When will you look down and recognize that you have Ruby Red Slippers?  Remember the scarecrow had a heart all along, the Lion never lacked for courage and the Tin Man’s heart was always inside his big tin barrel chest.

You will never outperform your own self-image.  Take the time to evaluate that image you have for yourself.  Remind yourself of your God given potential and passionately go and tap into it.

And remember, be patient!  Not all the kernels pop at once!


Follow me each week as I explore and play with the word UP to share more ways to increase your UP Potential and that of those you influence.

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How to Increase the Odds of Reaching Your Goals by 85%


Did you know one simple step for goal achievement can increase your chance of success by up to 85%? That’s a remarkable increase don’t you think?

The simple yet often missed step is ACCOUNTABILITY. To set yourself up for success, make sure your goals are SHARED and SUPPORTED. I call it the principle of “return and report”.

The American Society of Training and Development (ASTD) did a study on accountability and found the following statistics:

The probability of completing a goal if:

  • You have an idea or a goal:  10%
  • You consciously decide you will do it:  25%
  • You decide when you will do it:  40%
  • You plan how  you will do it:  50%
  • You commit to someone you will do it:  65%
  • You have a specific accountability appointment with a person you’ve committed to:  95%

The likelihood of getting new habits to stick, of following through on your assignments and reaching goals is remarkably higher when you set a time to report back to someone on your progress. In other words, return and report to a person or group that is aware of your goal or assignment.

“When performance is measured, performance improves. When performance is measured and reported, the rate of improvement accelerates.”  — Thomas S. Monson

Here are the three best ways to increase your accountability and odds for success by up to 85%:

1.  Find a coach

A coach will partner with you and push you to achieve the results you want. Setting a regular scheduled time to “return and report” to your coach not only increases accountability, but a good coach will expand your thinking to create new ideas, enthusiasm, and momentum towards achieving goals faster than you could on your own.

Contact me to set up a free Power of Momentum Strategy Session to see how coaching can work for you.

2.  Join or create your own accountability group or master mind group

If you are in the Los Angeles area, I am starting a master mind group on Jan 29, 2015! For 8 weeks (Thursday evenings), we will study the 15 Invaluable Laws of Personal Growth, by John Maxwell.  As a group, we will push, encourage, share ideas and hold each other accountable to reach our potential and keep building momentum towards our dreams for 2015.

3.  Find an accountability partner

Pick someone who also has goals and is someone you can trust to hold you to your very highest standard. Set a designated time to return and report to each other.


Doing any one of these things will certainly increase your odds for success.  You can do one or better yet, all three and blow 2015 out of the water!  Your choice.

Below is invitation with more information for the Mastermind group:

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Deliberate Practice is The Key to Preparation and Antidote for Fear

Most athletes and coaches too, (in fact, all human beings on the planet) have a fear of failure or of not being “good enough” or “letting others down”. Many believe that they are not tall enough, smart enough, fast enough or talented enough. While these concerns feel real and often jeopardize or sabotage our success; beliefs like this imply that our success is based purely on natural talent and the rest of us have no hope.


It is important to point out that we have a significant amount of control on our level of success.

Malcolm Gladwell took a detailed look at success and asked the question if there was really any such thing as natural or innate talent. In his book, The Outliers, he points to a mind-blowing study done by psychologists at the elite Berlin Academy of Music. They studied violinists and pianists. What they learned is that yes, by the age of five, the students studied had some level of talent, but when the students were around the age of eight, real differences started to emerge. Those that ultimately became the best, practiced significantly more than anyone else.

In fact, he found across disciplines, sports, and the arts that there was a magical number: ten thousand hours of “diligent, intentional, informed practice” resulted in mastery and the highest level of success. So those that achieved success at high levels not only practiced more and practiced harder, but they most importantly practiced smarter.

With each hour of deliberate preparation we put in as coaches, we increase our players confidence.  When Olympic Gold Medalist and current USA Women’s Volleyball National Team Coach, Karch Kiraly considered how he most wanted to be remembered as an athlete and teammate he said, “well prepared.”


Over the years, I realized that if I’d done everything possible to prepare myself for matches and tournaments, it took a weight off my shoulders and allowed me to play without fear of losing. When you’ve done everything you can to train yourself for competition, you’ll sleep well when the tournament is over, win or lose.   –Karch Kiraly

We may not have 10,000 hours, but in order to reap the rewards of preparation, we must put in as many hours of mindful, intentional practice as possible. For leaders and coaches it requires strategically and purposefully preparing an environment of focused practice every day for those you lead. The results of daily deliberate effort will show up in constant never-ending improvement and an overall increase in confidence on and off the court.

If you prepare, grind, improve and compete all week, then on game day your athletes can put on their party shoes and confidently play the game they love.

The same goes for you as you continue to develop your leadership, self-mastery and play this wonderful game called life.

Good luck to all coaches and athletes in the 2014-15 school year!

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#8 The Law of Intuition

Leaders Evaluate Everything with a Leadership Bias — John Maxwell

What exactly is intuition, who has it , can it be increased, and what makes it a law of leadership?

child-prayingI love how Wayne Dyer explains intuition.  He says, “If prayer is you talking to God, then intuition is when God speaks to you.”

Albert Einstein explains it differently, but still brilliantly:

The intellect has little to do on the road to discovery.  There comes a leap in consciousness, call it intuition or what you will, and the solution comes to you and you don’t know how or why.

Either way, we all have experienced those moments of clarity when the answer to a problem seems to pop right out for us.

Not all people are intuitive in the area of leadership, but every person possesses intuition.  We are most intuitive in the area of our strengths and where we spend our greatest amount of focus and energy on a daily basis.  You will naturally look at things in your area of strength differently than others do.

Artists see the world with a different eye and know just what colors will bring reality to their work.  Musicians can “jam” with other musicians they just met because they have developed the gifts to intuitively know what sounds will create the common experience they want.

Through experience and developed intuition, successful teachers can get results from a class of rowdy teenage students that would baffle the CEO of any large company.  A CEO of a large company uses the gifts of his or her experiences to intuitively and quickly make high pressure decisions around enormous sums of money that would cause most of us to go into a panic.


Great coaches can walk into a gym and intuitively know what needs to happen to take their team to another level. They can almost smell potential problems, sense attitudes and detect drops in the level of chemistry before they are presented with consequential facts or detrimental situations. With this bias, they can immediately implement their intuitive solutions to improve morale and team chemistry before problems become irreversible.

A leader’s intuition is quite often, the one thing that defines a great leader. It could be argued that some are born with great leadership intuition and others develop it through experience, more accurately through their own failures and successes.

That is the good news! Leadership intuition can be developed and increased for everyone; if you weren’t born with natural leadership intuition, you can still build it! Like a muscle, you must exercise it and use it in order to strengthen it.  Spend time increasing your areas of strength, building your knowledge of leadership, living the principles of leadership, and most importantly leading!

Scott Tolzien

Quarterbacks often make impressive play calls in the middle of an intense game with little time left on the clock.  What most people don’t realize is that they memorized dozens and dozens of plays for every possible situation before the game; as a result, they can instinctively make the best intuitive call in the heat of the moment.  Because of hard work and preparation they gain a heightened awareness, the answers come with clarity, and intuition is there because they are ready.

As a leader I relish success, but I also know how important it is to fully appreciate the lessons learned in my mistakes. Like it or not, the trials and “failures” are what sharpen my intuition most if I am willing to learn. At least I intuitively know what NOT to do next time. 🙂

Consider the areas of your life where you hope to develop more intuition and decide now to spend the time necessary to prepare and make it an area of strength for you.  Choose to appreciate the knowledge gained in all your experiences. You will be amazed at your heightened awareness on the subject and how your intuition will grow.

21-irrefutableThe Law of Intuition is the 8th Law in John Maxwell’s The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership.  Look for Law #9 The Law of Magnetism coming soon.




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#7 The Law of Respect


Few young teens have gained respect from world leaders, educators, and students around the world like this young girl in a burqa. From the tender age of 11, Malala who is known mainly by just her first name, bravely stood up for her right to be educated. At a time when the Taliban was attacking girls’ schools in Pakistan and ordering them to be closed, Malala began writing a blog for the BBC under a pseudonym.

Over time, her name was revealed, but she did not stop speaking up. Eventually, the Taliban lifted the ban on the education of girls, but they continued to threaten Malala and her family over the radio, the internet, and in letters addressed to her home. She never thought they would actually harm a young girl, but she did worry about her father.

Malala was 15 years old on October 9, 2012 when her small school bus was stopped by three masked men. One of the men entered the back of the bus and asked, “Who is Malala?” Her classmates looked at her then at the gunman, innocently giving away her identity. The young gunman, just a college student himself, shot Malala hitting her three times with one of the bullets going through her forehead and lodging in her spine.

imagesHer recovery was long and uncertain, but on her 16th birthday she triumphantly spoke at the U.N. for the first time publicly after the attack. She addressed 500 youth education advocates from around the globe that respected her courage and were inspired by her commitment.

The voice of the girl whom the Taliban tried to silence a year before had been amplified beyond what anyone could have thought possible.

When asked what she thinks the militants achieved that day, she smiled and said, “I think they may be regretting that they shot Malala. Now she is heard in every corner of the world.”

The 7th of The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership is the Law of Respect, it states:

People naturally follow leaders stronger than themselves.

Raised in a country where young women are often kept in the shadows and told to remain quiet, Malala spoke up. Even with a bullet to the face, Malala showed great strength in leadership and has become a beacon of hope for many that follow and support her cause.

Today Malala says she still thinks of what she would say if ever faced with another encounter with the Taliban.  She resolutely comments that she would tell them how important education is and that she even wants it for their children.  Then she would say, “that is all I have to say, now do what you want.”

With her courage, she has raised awareness around the world.  World leaders have taken note, she has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, and she has given priceless hope to thousands of young girls with dreams of education in Pakistan.

Leadership is INFLUENCE, nothing more, nothing less.  By standing up with unyielding courage for what she believes in she has exerted tremendous influence.

As leaders we are in the business of creating influence and lasting change in the lives of those we lead.  Whether you are a coach, a teacher, a CEO, a manager or a parent. Consider your own leadership abilities and note whether or not those that you lead truly respect you. As a leader, how can you increase the level of respect you earn from those you lead?  franco%20coaching

Maxwell gives us six ways that leaders can increase the respect they receive and the effect of their influence:

1. NATURAL LEADERSHIP ABILITY- If you have natural leadership abilities, people will respect that and follow you.

2.RESPECT FOR OTHERS –When leaders show respect for others, it is easy for others to return the behavior.

When people respect you as a person, they admire you
When they respect you as a friend, they love you
When they respect you as a leader, they follow you

3. COURAGE – A leader’s courage has great value: it gives followers hope.

“A leader does not deserve the name unless he is willing to occasionally stand alone.”  – Henry Kissinger

4. SUCCESS– A leaders success is important because people will follow to be part of it in the future.

5. LOYALTY – When a leader remains loyal, even during difficult times, followers will respect them and their actions.

6. VALUE ADDED TO OTHERS – You can be sure that followers value leaders that add value to them.

You may currently be in a leadership role because you were hired to fill a position and lead a group of people or students. Maybe you are a leader because over time your actions naturally earned the respect of those around you and as a result, you were awarded with their loyalty.  Either way, pay attention to how your actions convey respect to those above you and how you earn the respect of those below you.  Without respect, a leader is only a manager.

Always treat those that respect you with equal respect. They will respond in kind.  Even young children and teens crave respect.  Remember it may take years to build up the respect level of great leaders, and beware it can be washed away with one small event.

For me, the definition of success is having the respect of those closest to me.  If my family (those who know me best) and my clients and teams (those I work with on a continual basis) have respect for me then I am a success and my leadership will be effective.



I personally plan to continually gauge myself on the six qualities of a respected leader listed above and work to raise my leadership level. Will you join me?

21-irrefutableThe Law of Respect is the 7th of Maxwell’s 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership.  Look for Law #8, The Law of Intuition coming soon.


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#6 The Law of Solid Ground

Trust is the Foundation of Leadership

SONY DSCWhen I think of solid ground, I think of integrity and stability. While hiking and exploring, I test the stability and integrity of a bridge before crossing to the other side. There have been times when I didn’t feel the bridge was safe, the downed tree was sufficient, or the ice was thick enough to make the crossing. As a result, I added additional time and distance to my hike looking for a better spot I could trust.

The Law of Solid Ground states that trust is the foundation of leadership.

Consider the cost in time, energy and sometimes money when a team and a coach, an employer and employee, or even a husband and wife  don’t trust each other. Instability in a relationship, be it your professional life or personal life, stems from a lack of trust and ultimately compromises the solid ground we all seek to stand on.

In his book The Speed Of Trust, Stephen M.R. Covey points out that high trust results in high speed and low cost, whereas low trust equates to low speed and high cost. He cites the case of aviation security in the United States as a perfect example. Prior to 9/11, I remember I could arrive at the airport just a half hour before my flight. My parents or friends could take me right up to the gate and I easily made it on board.  There were even times, I admit, when I ran through security and made it to the gate without a second to spare.

airport-security1Why? Because there was a higher level of of trust in both travelers and in aviation security. Today we are required to arrive at the airport nearly 1.5 hours before our domestic flight  in order to serpentine slowly through the maze of long lines, make it through the gauntlet of security, reorganize our backpack, re-tie our shoes and get to the gate on time.

If we are flying international, we must plan to arrive nearly 3 hours before our flight.  Certainly the extra security measures have made flying safer, but not without cost.  The cost is felt in terms of our precious time and as Covey points out, on our wallet, due to the TSA security fees that get tagged onto every airline ticket.

A perfect example of the speed of trust is the story of my dad purchasing the land to build our first home.  I wasn’t even three years old yet, but I often hear how my dad met the contractor on the vacant lot my parents decided to purchase. The two men came up with a verbal agreement and sealed it with a handshake.  Six weeks later we moved into our first brand new home.

cliqueHow was such a big transaction accomplished so quickly and with just a handshake?  Because two men of strong character and integrity decided it was enough.  Like judging a bridge stable enough to cross, they chose to work with the speed of trust.

John Maxwell points out that character makes trust possible.  And trust makes leadership possible.  That is the Law of Solid Ground.

Emphasizing the importance of trust and character, General H. Norman Schwartzkopf once stated:

“Leadership is a potent combination of strategy and character. But if you must be without one, be without strategy.”

Without character, trust is difficult to achieve, relationship foundations are unstable, and leaders find themselves alone.

Maxwell wrote: “People will forgive occasional mistakes based on competence, they will give you time to connect, but they won’t trust someone who has slips in character.”

Make developing your character every bit as important each day as improving your skills and increasing your professional knowledge.  Constantly strive to exemplify integrity in all your professional and personal relationships.  Work daily to connect with those you influence.

As you do, you will be amazed not only at the positive results, but by the speed in which they occur as you work to make trust your foundation of leadership.

What are you currently doing to develop your character?


21-irrefutableThe Law of Solid Ground is the 6th law of the 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership by John Maxwell.

Look for Law #7, The Law of Respect soon!

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#5 The Law of Addition


Leaders Add Value by Serving Others

This is certainly one of the most beautiful laws and one that could likely make the biggest difference if more of us lived it on a consistent and habitual basis.

Whether we believe it is right or wrong, it seems we live in a world where we accept that CEOs of large corporations have tremendous power and are expected to enjoy prestige, lavish lifestyles, and astronomical incomes at the expense of many.

That is why it is refreshing to learn about Jim Sinegal, the former CEO and founder of Costco. Although Costco is the fourth largest retailer in the United States  (5th in the world), Sinegal had one of the single shortest CEO employment contracts. He made sure it stated that his salary was to be capped at $350,000 a year and that he could be “terminated for cause”. Granted, today he has a net worth of $2 billion, but that salary put him at the bottom 10 percent of CEOs of large corporations.

Even more impressive is that in 2011, his last year before retirement, Sinegal took a pay cut. He essentially paid the new CEO in training with his bonus. In his very last year with Costco, Sinegal’s take home salary was just $100,000.


Sinegal wears a name tag at work, has an unremarkable office, and answers his own phone. He is clearly more interested in adding value to people by serving them than on serving himself or making himself richer with an excessive salary.

Sinegal claims his formula for success is to offer a limited number of items, rely on high volume sales, keep costs as low as possible, and not spend money on advertising. But what truly separates him from competitors with similar strategies is how he treats his employees.

Costco employees are paid an average of 42 percent more than the company’s rival and Costco employees pay a fraction of the national average for health care. Sinegal believes that if you pay people well, “You get good people and good productivity.”

Some would say that he is altruistic, he says, “This is not altruistic. This is good business.” I think you can also say, this is good leadership!

Imagine the course of our economy and lives if Costco business practices and Sinegal’s leadership style was the standard practiced by all businesses over the last 25 years.

Many people believe that leadership is achieving a high position and success is climbing the ladder as high as possible. John Maxwell argues that “the bottom line in leadership isn’t how far we advance ourselves but how far we advance others.”


Whether your leadership is exercised at the office, on the field, or at home, there is only one important question to ask: Are you making things better for the people who follow you?  

All relationships and interactions either add to or subtract from a person’s life. If you lead others, then you are either having a positive or a negative impact on the people you lead. Unfortunately, natural human behavior is to be selfish. To add to another takes a much more conscious effort and often is beyond our comfort zone.

Great leaders are adders and although the specifics as to who they lead and where they lead may differ dramatically, one thing is constant — they intentionally add value to others. When you add value to others, you lift them up, make them a part of something bigger than themselves, and you become a leader others want to follow. The longer you add value to others, the more it begins to multiply.


Albert Einstein said, “Only a life lived in service to others is worth living.” Great leadership means great service.

Maxwell gives four guidelines for adding value to others:

  1. To add value to others, we must truly value others
  2. To add value to others, we must make ourselves more valuable to others
  3. To add value to others, we must know and relate to what others value
  4. To add value to others, we must do the things that God values

As a little girl, my parents established high standards but really only asked that we live by one basic 4,000 year old rule:  “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”  Yes, the Golden rule. Admittedly, I was probably 8 or 10 years old before I realized it wasn’t the “Goulding Rule”. Nevertheless, it is no accident that this one rule has stood the test of time.

Consider how you feel when someone goes out of their way to be kind or simply acknowledges you with a smile. Even small acts of service leave lasting impressions. Going the extra mile for others, particularly those you lead, can have tremendous dividends.

Challenge for all of us:  work to develop the habit of serving others each week to accomplish something they couldn’t do on their own. Do it without seeking credit or recognition. Watch for what it attracts to your life.

Watch the way this one big brother serves his little sister who is following him.

You may not lay down and become a human bridge for those you lead, but as you add value to others you will become a better leader and you will help others to accomplish goals beyond what they believed they could achieve.

That is the power of the Law of Addition.

Have fun serving!


The Law of Addition is the fifth law of the 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership. Look for Law #6 next week, the Law of Solid Ground.

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