Hello, this is Carl.

Hi Carl. A mutual friend gave me your card. Is this a good time to talk?

Sure. How can I help?

Well, I’m not sure if you can. The card says “Criticism Coach.”

Yep. That’s me.

I gotta be honest. I’ve never heard of a criticism coach.

Neither had I until the day I decided the world needed one.

So you just sort of made this up?

Well, I formalized the idea a couple of years ago. But I’ve been criticoaching for years.


Yeah, that’s my shorthand term for it. I did make that up.

What is a Criticism Coach?

So at the risk of asking a dumb question, what’s a criticism coach? [click to continue…]

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Lost for Words

by Andy Wood on July 22, 2013

in Esteem, Following Your Passion, Life Currency, LV Cycle

Speechless LoveThere are over 3,000 words in the English language to describe some kind of feeling.  According to design student Pei-Ying Lin that’s about 21 words short. Lin, in working with colleagues from London’s Royal College of Art, identified 21 words from other languages for which there is no English word.  Example: The Russian word, Tocka, which means “Great spiritual anguish, often without any specific cause…ache of soul, a longing with nothing to long for.”

You can find out more, and see Lin’s infographic, by clicking here.

Of course, what Lin has accomplished, while significant, is no real surprise – especially for anybody who’s ever found themselves not knowing how to express exactly how they felt.

Sometimes the gratitude is too great. [click to continue…]

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Lean 2

A few years ago Mike Ashcraft came up with a revolutionary idea.  In considering what we all intuitively know – that New Year’s resolutions are inherently powerless to produce real life change – Mike proposed capturing the essence of the person we want to become, or what we most want God to do for us in one simple word.

“My One Word,” he called it.

The idea caught fire, and his web site, myoneword.org, became a gathering place for people all over the world to share their core essential idea for that particular year.

I arrived late to that party when a LifeVesting reader pointed me to the site a couple of years ago.  I was captivated by the idea, and landed on the word, Finish! as my word for that year.

I revisited the idea when I wrote this post about things to do before the end of the year.  I learned in the process that Mike, along with Rachel Olsen, has since written a book that is now available to guide you through the process.

In prayerfully considering what my one word could and should be for this year, I began searching for the themes the Lord seems to have been playing out in my life recently – what I call the Descants of the Soul.  Those themes have a way of ebbing and flowing.  And it didn’t take me long at all to land on what my one word should be… [click to continue…]

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Gloriously Never Enough

by Andy Wood on December 31, 2012

in Life Currency, Love, Words

Miles to GoThe more you love someone, even God, the more you’d better get used to the World of Never Enough.  Some days that’s a peaceful and practical place to be.  At other times it’s mind-numbingly frustrating.

As we’ve been repeatedly told over the last decade, everybody has a “love language” by which they both measure and naturally express love.  Doesn’t matter.  Whatever language you speak or listen for, at the end of the day you’re still inadequate to communicate all that’s in your heart or all that those who depend most on you for love need.

Take words, for example – one of my most trusted tools.  There’s a lazy streak in me that wishes I could just find the magic words and loop them over and over, without having to think of any more ways to say it. The problem is that words, despite their power, are gloriously limited.

That’s when you action folks take the stage.  “Love is something you do,” you opine.


So do it.  And when you’ve done all you can do today, guess what?  There’ll still be more to do tomorrow – especially for those you love most.

Now.  You have two choices when it comes to the World of Never Enough.  [click to continue…]

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Old friend called yesterday.  It had been a while.

“I’m calling to ask you to pray,” she began.  “I’ve just had a bombshell dropped in my lap.”

Like you would do, I’m sure, my mind started racing at the possibilities.  Family?  Finances?  Health?  It could be anything.

I won’t tell you what hers was, but it really doesn’t matter.  What matters is that she was handed some bad news she didn’t see coming.


What matters more is that she was really making some progress in some areas of her life, and this jeopardizes all that.

Kabloom again!

And what matters to you is that next time it could be you.

Have you ever noticed that when you start moving in a positive direction, life has a way of testing you out of center field with alarming or disarming stuff?  And it comes dressed in any number of ugly outfits. [click to continue…]

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Strike up the band celebrity endorsements, hang those chads, and God bless the United States of America!  It’s that time again!  Voters in many parts of the country are already heading to the polls to vote early for the upcoming election, and the turn-off (um, I mean turnout) is high!

What better way to remind you that these are humans, not just 8 x 10 glossies, than with another round of Hanukkah Hams?

Since it’s been a while, let me give you the talking points on what a Hanukkah Ham is.  Named in honor of somebody who suggested that his Greenwich Village Jewish customers would love a big ham for their next Hanukkah celebration, a Hanukkah Ham is a really bad (translation:  stupid) idea concocted by usually really smart people.

Previous Hanukkah Ham stories have explored the worlds of  electricity, money, college life, Christmas, air travel and hunting, to name a few.

But with so many words flying these days, what could invite more people to ask, “Did he just say that?” than political races across the country?  Ever since I heard Philip Johns promise to get grits au gratin taken off the lunchroom menu in seventh grade, and Richard Tyson promised to build a student center in ninth, I’ve heard people running for office – any office – say some pretty outlandish things.  I guess it just comes with the territory. [click to continue…]

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I spend a lot of time trying to think up new things, or new ways to say the familiar things.  I’m a big believer in singing a new song to the Lord and the exquisite beauty that comes from being completely random every once in a while.

That said, our brains were build to learn by repetition, and our hearts were made to be renewed by reminders.  That’s why the Bible has four gospels, Kings and Chronicles, and the books of Deuteronomy and 1 John. All built on some form of repetition.  That’s why the early church met daily from house to house or had a regular assembly on the first day of the week.  To be reminded.  To be renewed.

I know I accidentally repeat myself plenty of times, but today I thought it may be time for a little deliberate renewal – some purpose-driven (sorry, Rick) reminders of the big stuff – a harvested collection of some of the good stuff.  Not my stuff, but those themes that keep us going and keep going themselves long after we’re gone.  So here goes… [click to continue…]

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In my job I encounter a lot of difficult people in situations. I’m having a hard time seeing them in God’s eyes, so how do you love unlovable people?

Well, you’re already a step ahead of most people because you used the word “love” as a verb.  The reason most people have trouble loving difficult people is because to them “love” has something to do with a feeling, and they’re waiting around for the feelings to change.  All the while Stanley Steamroller is still on a roll right over you, or Oliver Obnoxious is still giving you all the reasons you should feel inferior.

Grrrrrr.  God loves you… but He doesn’t have to put up with you every day.

Can you imagine what it would be like to be on the other end of a frustrated phone call all day, every day?  Or to work at a Customer Service counter where, no matter who shows up, there’s a problem and they aren’t happy about it?

Can you imagine being a server in a busy restaurant on Sunday when the after-church crowd comes rolling in?

Oh.  Then there’s the bosses.  The coworkers.  The neglected or needy friends.  The family member.  And those are supposed to be for you!  I remember one place I used to live.  I didn’t have any enemies that I knew of.  My friends made me want to leave town.

How do you feel love for people like that?

Another problem with loving difficult people is that we tend to wait until we’re face-to-face with them before we head to the love dispenser.  By then it’s too late. [click to continue…]

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(Subtitle 1:  Nine signs of an integrated life)

(Subtitle 2:  Nine things to look for in a prospective leader)

(Subtitle 3:  Why you love your representative but hate Congress)

Year in and year out, it’s the number one answer to what people want in their leaders, regardless of the arena.  It’s more important than technical competence, talent, or even being nice.  “It” is integrity.

In election years integrity is rolled out as the reason you should hire Candidate A over Candidate B.  And yet who hasn’t shuddered at the extremes to which people in the high-profile political, business or ministry realm are examined for any cracks in their moral foundation or skeletons in their closets?

Hardly a season passes where we aren’t wagging our heads at another icon of power being exposed; Arkansas football coach Bobby Petrino is the latest, but hardly the last.  Soon we’ll be hearing some new cautionary tale about how someone laden with talent and brains lost their moral compass in the magnetic field of leadership power.

Hey, I get it.  Both sides of it.  I understand why integrity is so vital from a follower’s perspective, and so elusive from a leader’s perspective.  I’ve also learned the hard way how difficult it can be to restore once you’ve lost it.

But it’s important to go beyond buzzwords and stop crowing about hypocrisy.  When we’re talking about integrity, what, exactly, are we looking for?  When you are about to select a leader in the making, what evidence are you looking for that he or she is a person of integrity?  Or when your integrity has, um, “hit the ditch” (sorry, Coach), where do you start rebuilding it?

Here’s a place to start.  Here are nine signs of an integrated life. No one lives this perfectly.  But people who value integrity in their lives and leadership will be pointed in this direction: [click to continue…]

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The Quiet Words

by Andy Wood on March 30, 2012

in Life Currency, Words

It’s 11:15.  Things are starting to wind down.  The day has had its share of sound and fury, and it isn’t quite over yet.  Not in the world I inhabit these days.  But as the curtain does begin downward on this day it brings a change in the vocabulary.  The language of commerce and connections gives way to something different.

I love it when I’m drawn to the rhythm and melody of The Quiet Words.

In a world filled with the shrill and loud words, the passionate and proud words, where turning up the volume and dialing down the listening are commonplace, does your heart ever yearn for something more… still?


Intentionally peaceful?

Mine does.  I find myself drawn to, and longing for, The Quiet Words.

Behind the din of the marketplace, the duties of the workplace, and the drama and demonstrations of the worship-place, I’m ready for Elijah’s surprise[click to continue…]

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