What makes Ten different from all the other self-help books already out there?
One of my primary goals in writing the book was to connect the incredible power of creating a better life to the exponential power of leadership. Regardless of who we are or what our natural inclinations or talents might be, when we strive for a better life, we must lead others with us down the path to the best possible reality. Life is not only about us. It never has been. That’s why the book focuses on “others-help” rather than “self-help.”
Not being satisfied with what we have is often cited as the root cause of many of today’s woes. Yet in Ten, you write that you believe the problem is that we don’t want enough. Could you elaborate?
I couldn’t agree less with the idea that most of our problems result from wanting too much. I think we should want more. Not more stuff, but more life. Jesus said that His purpose was to give us “life—life in all its fullness.” Why would He have made such a statement if we’re not supposed to want it? I believe a more fulfilling life—a life in all its fullness—is the future that God dreams for us. I also believe we have the ability to tap into this dream and create that more and better life for ourselves and others.
In the book, you outline a seven-step plan to creating a TEN Life. What are those seven steps?
- Awaken: Wake up to God’s dreams for your life.
- Discover: Learn how to discover your life’s calling.
- Imagine: Learn how the discipline of imagination makes the future real.
- Grow: Develop the life infrastructure necessary to sustain success.
- Act: Take action to create your future.
- Lead: Learn to lead yourself and others to the best possible future.
- Go: Accept the call to get started living the life God dreams for you.
Of all the steps, the one requiring us to grow seems the most difficult. Why is personal growth so important?
The greater our God-inspired ambitions, the greater our need to develop the secure foundation necessary to sustain them. We must become bigger people if we desire to live a bigger life. We must be willing to expand as human beings in order to become the persons that God sees us capable of becoming. And the more ambitious we are, the more we must be willing to fully develop ourselves in every aspect of our lives.
A large portion of your book is dedicated to developing leadership skills. Why is being a leader so important?
Who wants to enter a preferred future alone? If we are to live the best possible life, then we must be obligated to more than just ourselves. We must be obligated to the countless people we have direct or indirect, immediate or future influence over. Leadership is about accepting responsibility for others. A moral future—a God-inspired future—is an inclusive one.
But what about those people who don’t see themselves as leaders?
I believe everyone is a leader in some capacity. If you are a mother, then you are a leader. If you are a teacher, you are a leader. If you are gifted in the arts, you are a leader. Excellent athletes are leaders. Managers, politicians, pastors and CEOs are all obviously leaders. While most people may not be born with natural leadership skills, it is a skill that can be learned and developed. It can be studied. For our own survival and the survival and success of those around us, it is imperative that we learn effective leadership skills. Trust me, you can learn to lead if you have to, and I think you have to.