Posts Tagged ‘legacy

15
Jan
15

Do Unto Somebody What Somebody Did For You

mentoringToday is Thank Your Mentor Day! Without mentors, this world would have ceased to exist a long time ago. Indeed, mentoring gives you the chance to live your life over and over again, well into eternity.  And to honor those who shaped my world in ways I never could have done alone, I salute you and share three ways you can pay it forward so someone else can have a tremendous life!

Feel My Pain: Life is too short to make every mistake there is to make. This is where a mentor can save you years of anguish and unspeakable pain. We like to think that to be a mentor we have to constantly be dispensing all kinds of crazy wisdom and dazzling brilliance. But did you know that one of the best ways you can mentor others is by sharing your mistakes? There is something inherently redemptive about bearing witness to your own pain in an effort to lessen the pain of others. Thank you Cumberland Valley School District for showing me numerous classroom films that vividly displayed the effects of drinking and driving, chewing my food too quickly, contracting STDs and other horrors of becoming sexually active,  and frying your brain on drugs. You saved me from some of life’s biggest mistakes!

The Door of Opportunity: Many of us feel that mentors are supposed to be these unbelievably well-connected individuals who, with one call or nod of the head, can make the impossible happen.  While it’s really great if you have such a person among your contacts, being a mentor is as simple as providing developmental opportunities for your mentee and taking an interest in developing them. In other words, by making a simple recommendation or submitting someone for an award, you create a favorable circumstance for them. Case in point: in 1984 I was a cadet at New Mexico Military Institute preparing to graduate. I was uncertain what I should do next academically when my Air Liaison Officer, Major John Schaeffer, nominated me for admission to the US Air Force Academy. I didn’t realize this was going on behind the scenes until he handed me my acceptance letter. The fact that he took the time and effort to put my name in the hat for such an incredible opportunity is still one of the most defining moments of my life.

A Few Good Words: All great mentors are able to get right to the point with the fewest of words. Too often we erroneously assume that we have to invest years and countless interactions before we can make a difference in someone’s life. This is just not true. A few words said at just the right time may be all someone needs to launch them into orbit. When my father was on his last breath, he squeezed my hand and told me he knew I would take his business to levels he never could. That was the sum total of our succession planning and the only thing I needed to propel me forward. Even years later, I still feel the squeeze of his hand and the whisper of his voice as I put my nose to the grindstone and go about the challenges of running a business.

So go out there and do for others what somebody did for you! Share some insights, submit an award, make a phone call, or utter a word of encouragement. You never know what these small, yet incredibly impactful, events might make on someone’s life. I know what a difference it made in mine, and I will continue to live the Golden Rule of Mentoring until my last breath and then spend an eternity watching the legacy unfold.

16
Oct
14

The Mystery of Self-Motivation

MOSMConsider how hard it is to change yourself and you’ll understand what little chance you have of trying to change others.
My father, Charlie “Tremendous” Jones, told me that you don’t find motivation, motivation finds you. But there are things you can do to ensure the rays of motivation shine down upon you. Motivation is attracted to positivity, kindness, humility, meekness, and selflessness. If you keep surrounding yourself with books and people that model and amplify these, you will actually begin to morph, one motivated molecule at a time.
It starts slowly, and then it explodes. The more motivation you spread, the more comes back to you. My father literally burst at the seams, so powerful was his lifelong transformation. Once motivations takes hold in you it must find an outlet, and this is where the magic happens.
This is why the person who has solved the mystery of self-motivation is unstoppable. We cannot rely on any physical presence on this planet to be there for us. That’s why I am always so repeatedly surprised when people’s hopes are devastated by a person or event. The only guarantee you have in life is your belief in yourself.
When you have matured to the point where your own motivation is built-in and self-recharging, you will begin to experience life in a way few others have. Learning the dynamics of motivating yourself far exceed that of being able to motivate others. And in actuality, you can’t have the latter without the former.

Today marks the six-year anniversary of our founder’s—and my father’s—homegoing. To celebrate, we’ve published his timeless wisdom in our latest Life-Changing Classic, The Mystery of Self-Motivation. Go online today to get your copy and enjoy a 30-percent-off sitewide celebration until the end of the day. Thank you for helping us change the world one book at a time!

26
Sep
14

that’s gonna leave a mark

RobertLouisStevensonThe natural growth of a leader is from doer to developer. But it is so rarely put in these terms. Those that are good as individual contributors are promoted to positions of leadership, but the skill set required is quite different.

In my younger years I made my professional mark as someone who got the job done. I was an executor of various tasks. But when I moved up the ranks I found that my job revolved around developing those underneath me. Some in positions of leadership lament that the majority of their time is spent “baby sitting” adult behavior.

But if we find ourselves in this funk, we need to re-evaluate the criticality of our roles. In, Leaders Without Borders, author Doug Dickerson points out teamwork should be a blessing, not a burden.

Leading a team takes a blend of coaching, disciplining, and motivating. In essence, we are the sower of the seeds into the fields of those whose development we are entrusted with. If we resort back to the role of reaper, as is often the case, we leave the role of leader vacant and future fields barren, incapable of bearing any fruit.

At the dedication ceremony of Disney World in Orlando, Mrs. Disney was asked to give the comments as her husband had already passed. The emcee commented he wished Walt could have been there to see this development. Her response, “He did”. Leaders see the possibilities of future developments long ahead of everyone else. It’s called discernment and is the rarest of leadership traits.

Do we see the potential in those we are leading and sow the seeds accordingly? We are responsible for the eternal harvest that they will eventually reap. Making sure your team continues bearing fruit long after your departure is the surest mark of a true leader. Your legacy is your eternal harvest as a leader. Make sure it’s a bountiful one.

10
Jul
14

houston, we have a puppy

Roscoe Jones, Chief Barketing Officer at Tremendous Life Books.

Roscoe Jones, Chief Barketing Officer at Tremendous Life Books.

On June 14th, I lost my constant canine companion of thirteen years after a ten-month battle with lymphoma. I have been through a great deal of heartache and loss in my life, but this experience literally took me to my knees.

These last four weeks I experienced an outpouring of prayer that bathed, comforted, and protected me in a way only possible by the power of our loving Father. I read each of the notes, cards, posts, and tributes with an overwhelming sense of gratitude, enabling the “loss” to be turned into a tremendous time of thankfulness. All that kept going through my heart and head is that I was given such a special companion to get me through the greatest triumphs and tribulations of my life.

In honor of Mr. Blue, I began looking for a pup in his similar situation to rescue. While I completely respect those that do not want to go through a repeated loss of the love of a dog, I also had the intense awareness that my grief does not diminish the population of homeless animals and that hesitating for even one day can mean life or death.

Mr. Blue was from a large litter, born out in the country in Texas and with a glorious Basset Hound stature and soul mixed with his Australian Shepherd side. I needed another low-rider mutt in my life. The search led me to a rescue in Santa Fe, Texas: Southern Comforts Animal Rescue.

A Springer/Basset mix stray had been caught outside of Houston and had delivered eight pups on March 8th, 2014. There were four remaining males when I got to choose my “pick of the litter”. The one I was drawn to was described as the biggest, the smartest, and the most laid-back. That sounded just like my Blue boy.

Arrangements were made and two weeks later my new fourteen-week-old soul pup made the direct flight from Houston to Dulles. When I laid eyes on him I immediately burst into tears. He peered out of his transport crate and calmly looked at me with the same old wise-soul look of his predecessor. I knew at that moment the next leg of the legacy was about to begin.

I have the blessing of caring for another one of God’s creatures. I also have the blessing of continuing the legacy Mr. Blue started. Just because a physical presence is no longer with us means absolutely nothing to a child of God. I work in the world of books and many of them contain the achievements and sacrifices of those who have gone on before us, including the legacy of my father who started this company fifty years ago.

If we live in view of the eternal, the grief we suffer now is just one small iota of the glories to come. Letting that sidetrack us on our life’s journey is the only true loss in life.

19
Jun
14

Carpe Dogum

Mr. Blue gives his last speech June 12, 2014.

Mr. Blue gives his last speech June 12, 2014.

Last week was a week filled with unbelievable highs and lows. I had three very important speeches. One was just me, one with our Chief Excitement Officer (CEO) Ruby Red, and one with our Chief Motivational Hound, Mr. Blue. In the middle of the week Mr. Blue had an oncology appointment to get another chemo treatment. Unfortunately the doctor determined that his blood count was too low and postponed the treatment to the following Monday. Mr. Blue never made it to that appointment.

Determined to fill his prior speaking engagement, Mr. Blue mustered up the strength the very next day to go and share with a group of tremendous seniors at the Diakon Lutheran Social Ministries’ Cumberland Crossings Senior Living Community, sharing pawsome hound wisdom such as Stop Playing Dead and Old Dogs Must Learn New Tricks.

As the senior citizen in the group, in his 90s by human years, Mr. Blue was received with great respect and warmth by this group of seasoned humans. They understood exactly where he was coming from. They were excited about continuing to hear, learn, and think new things, just like Mr. Blue! They spent time petting and talking with my soul dog despite the fact that he was not feeling his best and couldn’t dispense his world-famous kisses.

Growing up, my father, the late, great Charlie “Tremendous” Jones, told me upon crossing each milestone birthday that the current decade was far better than the previous one. And he didn’t just say it, he lived it. This is one of the main reasons that I embrace growing bolder, not older, and wiser with each passing day. After all, the more seasoning you have, the more you can flavor the earth.

Whenever someone would tell my father they had retired he would tell them “Don’t talk so stupid!” His reasoning was that if we are still on this earth, there’s a purpose we are meant to fulfill that goes way above and beyond a life lived solely for leisure.  I watched him on his hospice death bed, so frail from the ravages of cancer, yet scribbling notes for me to send to people and calling for friends to come and read to him. You see, we are all terminal, and if that doesn’t amp up your urgency to live life to the fullest, your spirit is already dead. We ought to go to our graves like prunes: spent, wrinkled, and shriveled.

So as I came down from the high of three amazing speeches, I ended the week with Mr. Blue taking a very pronounced and rapid turn for the worse. Friday night his legs gave out and by Saturday morning his breathing was labored and his awareness gone. And just like my father had done over five years ago, Mr. Blue finished the race strong, right up to the last minute. I held him in my arms for one last kiss, and he dispensed four of his powerful licks as if to say, “Thank you for finishing this with me!” before slipping away.

My father always told me he wanted to pass to Heaven while he was on the stage speaking. While the setting was different—a hospice bed and a cancer-ravaged shell of a body instead of a stage with a physical presence larger than life—what he was doing was not. He shared and enriched the lives of others right up to his last breath. And I am humbled and thankful, and not in the least bit surprised, that his granddog would triumphantly bound onto the other side just as victorious!

Carpe Diem; Carpe Dogum. Drink deeply from the water bowl of life right up until your last pant!

16
Oct
13

you’ll be the same person five years from now….

IMAG3735 (1)

Five years ago today my father triumphantly entered the gates of Heaven.  My mother and sisters and I all were with him when his soul left his body.  As C.S. Lewis said, “There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind.” And although my father lived each day as if it was the greatest adventure in the world, it was all because of his commitment to his faith in the absolute saving grace of the Lord Jesus Christ. His real joy came from the fact that he never, ever got over how God could love a wretch like him.

He always told me that I would be the same person five years from now except for the people I met and the books I read. With his return home, I was given the amazing opportunity to test this quote in a way I never had before. I can say with absolute conviction, that I am a completely different person than when I said my final goodbye to my father five years ago.

They say comparison is the thief of joy, so I knew that trying to “fill his shoes” would be an insult to both my earthly and heavenly fathers. I turned to 2 Kings 2 for my direction where Elisha picks up the mantel of ministry of Elijah and prayed for double the blessing; double the spirit of faith, obedience, and courage. I had no idea the transformation that was in store, nor did I have any idea of the ceaseless support of our friends and business colleagues.

Your constant encouragement, referrals, purchases and prayers enable us to donate money to 8 tremendous organizations: Bethesda Mission, Word of Life Ministries, Mennonite Disaster Service, Central Penn College, Lancaster Bible College, Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Capital Region, Dayspring Christian Academy, and the Association of Baptists for World Evangelism.

Your constant prayers and support are what built the Charlie “T” Jones Conference Center. It is my prayer and hope that there are countless more interactions and books read in the years to come so that we, too, can leave a tremendous legacy. I smile whenever I walk into this facility because I could just imagine my father calling each of you all day long and holding marathon reading sessions in here.

This plaque allows everyone coming through these doors to know about the adventure upon which they are about to embark. Thank you for continuing to be such an integral part of this tremendous journey. It means more to me and my family and team members than words can say and we could not have carried on this mantle without you. People constantly cry out, “Where have all the great leaders gone?” and I answer with a tremendous shout, “They’re right here in front of me!”

15
Aug
13

What’s your DISC?

DISCThe DISC is a popular and effective personality-profiling tool commonly used to improve work productivity, teamwork and communication. The letters stand for Dominance, Influence, Steadiness, and Conscientiousness. Some people are high in some areas and lower in others but most of us are a varied blend of strengths and weaknesses across the quadrants. For example, if you’re high “D”, you’re assertive; high “I”, you’re a networker; high “S”, you’re dependable; high “C”, you’re organized.

However, there is a special DISC profile in which every leader must be high all four areas. That is your leadership character profile. Here, the DISC terminology stands for Discernment, Impact, Strength and Contentment. You need to score significantly in all of these areas to truly be a leader.

High “D”: To pass the litmus test of truth, you must have a keen sense of discernment. Some refer to this as your gut instinct or intuition, a heightened ability to sort the wheat from the chaff, even a spiritual gift. It is most certainly all of the above. If you don’t have it, you will make decisions based on distortions, emotions, ego, and even outright lies.

High “I”: How do you measure your impact as a leader? Do you leave an organization with more leaders than when you started? Or is it the proverbial, “When the cat’s away the mice do play”? Do you only make an impact with your physical presence? Or can the effects of your leadership on the organization be felt and referenced for years to come. No one is indispensible. They key is how long your impact is felt after you leave the building, or this planet.

High “S”: You have to be strong to have the character of a leader. You have to be strong enough to deal with the fact that all people are flawed and that we simply do not have the ability NOT to let each other down. The sooner you realize this, the sooner you’ll learn not to put your expectations in people. You’ve got to put it toward the vision, the purpose, and the mission. It’s lonely at the top. You’ve got to be resiliently strong of character to handle that and be ready to pay the price of leadership of character.

High “C”: You must be content with the journey, not with the status quo. The leader always has to be inspiring the people toward a common collective goal, while at the same time bringing out the best in all of them. It’s easy to get discouraged with the day in and day out of never-ending personnel challenges and business problems. However the leader can never display this emotion to the team. Responsibility will make you miserable if you’re not ready for it. Real leaders enjoy the trials and tribulations that go with the territory. As my father used to say, “You can be miserable-miserable, or happy-miserable.”

Your personality is one thing. You can be strong in some areas and not in others. Not so with your character. A leader must assess highly in all four areas of the DISC profile, not just one or two. Your strengths, not your weaknesses, are what define you as a leader. So put yourself to the test and determine if you are cultivating your discernment, impact, strength, and contentment with the journey!

 

 

 

27
Mar
12

the greatest compliment in the world

My mother recently made a comment about my father who had passed away in October 2008. She said, “It’s as if he’s still here.” And for all impactful purposes, she is right. The toughest challenge we’ll ever face is filling the shoes of those who have influenced or changed our lives; of continuing to touch and inspire others the way they did us. We all pick up various legacy mantles in our lives; our heroes, our mentors, our parents, our teachers, the list goes on and on.

Continuing a legacy is not about perpetuating a persona, but rather the ideals and principles they inspired in you. As a leader in the workplace our goal is to always strive to leave an organization better than when we entered, able to continue its upward trajectory long after we’ve left the building.  As a parental role model our goal is to teach lessons and instill confidence so when our children leave the nest they can soar with the eagles and live a life that surpasses the one we lived.

None of us is around forever but the impact of what we believed in and stood for will be.  A family friend stopped by the office last week. He had just started a new job and his predecessor had “warned” the staff that the firing would commence as soon as he started. Needless to say he was set up to fail. As he decorated his office, he placed a picture on his desk of himself and my father.

The worker who most feared him immediately noticed and said that my father had made a significant impact on her life and was one of her heroes. At that moment my friend became the greatest boss in the world in her eyes. After all, anyone who loved one of her heroes was most definitely a-ok in her book. And this woman went on to become one of my friend’s strongest workers and allies.

Will we be able to instill change from the great beyond? If we inspire enough people in the most tremendous of ways we most certainly will and people will be paying us the greatest compliment in the world long after we’re gone.

04
Oct
11

what’s your sign?

During my dog, Mr. Blue’s, recent book tour, we set up tents and tables at each city to display his book and other marketing pieces. We had a banner with our logo on it which we hung on the back of one of the tents. At the one-year anniversary of my father, Charlie “Tremendous” Jones’, home going, we rebranded the company to include what we affectionately call the “kicking-man logo”. This outline was symbolic of my father’s classic stance where he would declare “Life Is Tremendous!” and “I’m so tired of being happy it’s wearing me out!”

In St. Louis, a woman ran up to our booth exclaiming that she almost got in a car wreck when she saw the logo and whipped a U-turn to come and see if we were who she thought we were. Turns out she had heard my father speak many times throughout her young career. In Austin, the local fire marshal came into the facility where we were holding our event to do a cursory check for emergency exits, looked at the logo, and exclaimed, “Hey, I know who that is! I read that book 25 years ago!”

So what’s the sign you’ll be recognized by long after you’re gone? Is it the cross, love, or heroism? Or is it the mighty dollar, a fabulous sports car, or a business empire? We are what we focus on, where we decide to dedicate our resources during our time on this Earth. Some of the signs we invest in will last throughout eternity and will be honored for generations to come. Pericles said, “What you leave behind is not what is engraved in stone monuments, but what is woven into the lives of others.” So what’s your sign?

12
Apr
11

when less really is more

Tax season is a formal record of my yearlong giving, whether it’s to the government or to more altruistic entities. It’s the time all Americans gather their receipts to assess what went where. It’s a snapshot of where our giving has gone. I am currently involved in two fund raising initiatives raising money to build facilities that will bring spiritual benefits to thousands of people for generations to come. During my training they covered the different ways of giving.

Legacy giving was one of them.  Our ears perk up when we hear that word: legacy. It signifies something bigger than any of us, something that has eternal value and has broken free of the bounds of time; the gift that costs you nothing. At the other end of the spectrum was the here-and-now philosophy which one of my friends so aptly summarized as “Do your giving while you’re living so you’re knowing where it’s going.”

Donating your money, land, or resources to something that lasts forever is a tremendous return on investment. My father was adamant that “giving” was a dirty word. Instead, he countered, we should call it “returning”, since everything that passes through our hands on this mortal coil is transient and on loan anyway.

We are preoccupied with time, but the only things that last are those that are timeless. We obsess over becoming better versions of ourselves, but the only person who touches hearts is an individual who is selfless. Businesses are obsessed with cutting cost and price, yet the top category of perceived value is something that’s priceless.  And when we search for solutions we read the wisdom of the ages, not the wisdom of the week, in order to fill our minds with something timeless. Keep your focus on these qualities and you’ll wind up with more than our limited minds could possibly imagine!




Tremendous Tracey


CEO Tremendous Life Books. Book Evangelist

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