Not For The Faint of Heart

Do you have the heart to be an effective leader? Leadership isn’t for the faint of heart!

Nearly 735,000 Americans suffer from a heart attack each year. The rise of heart problems has opened doors for Americans to seek out healthier lifestyles, such as better eating habits, exercise programs, and taking up stress management.

Likewise, our leaders are suffering from “heart disease.”  Unhealthy habits have skyrocketed, causing a host of bad practices to prevail in the our leaders. Being a true inspirational leader is not for the faint of heart.  I believe one of the main difference between true leaders and those that have the “position,” is that the true leader has heart!

Let me give you a few healthy practices for you to begin creating a healthy heart and to get you back in shape again as a leader.

1.  Fast Food, Fried Food, and Fake Food

“Dunlap” disease and “dad bod,” has been my lot in life lately. LOL!  Fast food, fried food, and fake food has been the contributor to my “beautiful physique” these last couple years.  As I get older I become more cautious about what I eat.  I’m finding out that heart disease runs in my family.  You see, it is a big deal what food we put into our mouths.

What the leader ingests makes a big difference in how they lead.  We find that bad leaders are bad because of what they learned from other bad leaders.  Making positive “meals” each and everyday can develop us into healthy, happy, and high performing leaders.

When I say meals, what I mean is the type of information you receive and process.  Here are a few poisons that will clog your leadership arteries:

  • Negativity– Is definitely the single most poisonous substance.  It spreads and is contagious.  Negativity will drive effective leadership in the ground.
  • Micro-leading- This is the same as micro-managing, but not everyone is a working manager.  But leaders feel they have to control every aspect of everyone’s, every move.  Micro- leading will lead your team to not being efficient and never making a decision on their own.  They will wilt away and never shine their true personality and skills.
  • Bullying–  Many leaders fall in this death trap.  They become bullies and treat their followers like dirt.  Leading by fear is their M.O.  Belittling and berating your crew is the death knell to any high performing team and stunts any growth that you may have gained.

These poisons are brought on by past experiences, past mentors, and personalities that aren’t willing to change.  Lay down the “potato chips” and “sodas” that seek to destroy ability to be effective, but rather choose healthy alternatives to grow you, and promote you as a leader.

2.  “You Are Just Not Working Out”

In more way than one!  Leaders do not work out because they fail to build upon a positive foundation and develop the skills needed to be an effective leader.  These individuals are faint in heart and weak because they stopped  growing and learning.

This world needs strong leadership.  Leaders with no morals, no motivation, and no mental strength are weak.

There’s a few exercises you can do to develop the heart of leadership:

  • Resistance Training- According to, ” Resistance training is any exercise that causes your muscles to contract against an external resistance with the expectation of increasing muscle mass, strength and/or endurance.” As a leader we are going to face resistance and push back.  Resistance can be people, even giants we face with ourselves, or any external force for that matter.  Our ability to workout will determine our ability to “workout” as leaders.
  • Cardio Training- This is the one I hate!  Running, sweating, and that overwhelming desire to throw up!  Don’t you love it?  What does cardio do for you?  It builds endurance.  Leaders need endurance to keep them in the race. Those that lack endurance, burn out quick, get tired easily, and tend to quit           prematurely.  They are faint in heart and fall at the first sign of fatigue.  Where’s our leaders that have no quit in them?  They keep going in face of all odd.  Where are they?
  • Strength Training- If we want our heart to truly be in it we must add strength training to our repertoire.  Strength training is lifting heavy weights in hopes that our muscles get bigger and grow stronger.  Many many times as leaders we are called upon to lift heavy weights.  Quite a few leaders flake out because they aren’t strong enough to carry the load.   You do not become an effective leader overnight just like you do not look like Arnold Schwarzenegger overnight.

You must train and train hard.  Yeah, you will have days where you don’t feel like working out.  But may I encourage you to press on and develop those skills necessary to get your heart into leadership so that you will work out in the end.

3.  Courage to Change

Last, of all you need courage to change.  People with heart disease must change their whole lives to reverse the years of damage they have done to their hearts.  Change is necessary for leaders to remain relevant and respected.

People aren’t happy with the way they look physically or happy with their health.  Yet, they aren’t willing to make the changes needed to fix the problem.

I heard this a long time ago and it makes so much sense, “Keep doing the same things and you will keep getting the same results.”

“Leaders” are the same, they complain about their team, they complain about money flow, they complain pretty much about everything but themselves.  What you need, is to look in the mirror, see yourself for who you are, and be willing to simply change in the areas you are lacking, that is causing you to not have your heart into it.


This was kind of a long blog, but I find it necessary that we as leaders get a checkup on ourselves and be evaluated on the health of our ability to lead.  Most leader’s hearts aren’t in it and the ones that are trying don’t have the right training to be effective.  May you find yourself working out and training yourself and by other leaders to find your way to the top of your respected field.

Dustin L. Carr



The Inspired Leader

Do you struggle with inspiration? Or, just need an extra shot in the arm? This article is for you.

I have a book called The Inspirational Leader, by John Adair.  This book begins by describing the need for leaders to inspire others to maximum efficiency.  To be a leader one must rally their people around the common goals that are set forth by management.  But may I say that we have few inspirational leaders, because they aren’t inspired themselves.  I want to break away from the “Anatomy of the Leader” this once and just encourage you to be inspired.  If you lack inspiration here are few helps to get you back on track.

Look For Inspiration in Everything

I was watching a show hosted by Steve Harvey, called Little Big Shots, and this boy came out in an electric wheelchair.  He was famous on the internet for his videos of him singing and rapping.  What I loved most about this kid, though he has a bone crippling disease and has every right to have a bleak outlook on life, this young man had the most positive energy and can electrify a room.  His singing was second to none and it was awesome, but his attitude was even better.  So what does this have to do with leadership?

Leadership, many times is a frame of mind.  How we think determines our actions.  Watching a young man like that makes me wonder why I grumble and complain, and feel the “drudgery” of life.  Leaders have to dig down and find something or someone that can inspire them and help them to develop a positive mindset.

“If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up the men to gather wood, divide the work, and give orders. Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea.” Antoine de Saint Exupery

Oh let us lead by example, with intelligence, with confidence, but let us never fail to lead by inspiration.  What about those famous coaches that inspired teams to greatness and championships.

These coaches were hard on their men and women, they worked them to the limits, they disciplined the players that did not want to do right, but foremost they were championship coaches because they inspired their teams.

You can motivate by fear, and you can motivate by reward. But both those methods are only temporary. The only lasting thing is self motivation.        –Homer Rice

Find something that inspires you.  Enjoy the feeling.  Relish the moment.  And share it with others.

Quotes Are Not Fixes

I love quotes and I believe they are important.  Quotes are small windows into the life of geniuses that preceded before us.  They are bursts of inspirations, that may enlighten us, lift us, brighten us, and many other emotions, but may I say the most important outcome of quotes are meant to change us.

Inspiration is great, but let us use it as a tool.  Your goal as a leader is to always be changing.  Remember this, “No leader has ever inspired people to change, that were not first themselves inspired to change.”

Leaders should wake up everyday thinking, “What steps can I take today to get me to where I want to go?”  What changes can you make?  How can you bring these quotes into reality?  In your everyday grind, when you’re sweating, when your working, when your raising your kids, living the real life, you can’t live on quotes.  But when you get tired and your vision begins to wain, you have mental block, and you face a little depression, then I say break out the quotes.  Do not let quotes give you just a good feeling, but let them be the reps that builds your strength, to help you carry on.

A Picture Is Worth a Thousand Inspirations

Every morning when I wake up I go into my sons bedroom and pick him up to take him to lay with his mother.  I do this for two purposes:  The first, is so my wife doesn’t have to wake up to go get him when he starts crying, so she can sleep in a little.  The second reason, is to hold him and kiss him, and to feel my inspiration.  He is my inspiration!

My wife and I could live on next to nothing cause we know how to survive.  We have eaten a lot of sandwiches and Vienna Sausages! LOL!  But when my son came along, inspiration hit me right in the heart.  I have a helpless beautiful angel that needs me to succeed and provide him the best opportunities that I possibly can.

When I need some inspiration, I unlock my phone and look at the hundred of pictures of my little man and it reminds me why I work a full time job, strive as a manager, and go to college full time to get a business management degree.  He has been to church ever since he was two days old.  I strive to be a christian and lead by example in front of my son.  Deliver messages that will hopefully get to his heart one day.

I see those pictures and it inspires me, it moves me, it changes me, it raises me, it creates hunger, drive, it’s a true deep inspiration.  Not superficial, not selfish, not temporal.  I want to leave a legacy and that’s what makes me want to be the best leader I can be.

Now, that’s what drives me, what drives you?  What inspires you?  Take a picture of it hang it up and let it raise you to new heights and burn  a blazing fire inside you!

So, when you wake up in the mornings and you feel the need to lay out of work, to not do your best, to relax or let up, DON’T EVEN THINK ABOUT IT!  BE THE INSPIRED LEADER.

Can You Hear Me Now?

I loved those famous cell phone commercials featuring two individuals communicating on their phones with one another; with one confused and listening real hard, as the other person is saying over and over, “can you hear me now?”

Watching this scene reminds me of a lot of conversations that I have had in the past with those that were my superiors.  As part of the anatomy of a leader, I want to discuss the ears of the leader.

It was funny, as a young manager, when my boss was trying to correct me on an issue. I would always respond, “I hear you.”  He would then ask me, “Yes, I know you hear me, but were you listening?”

That has always stuck with me, and I want to pass on a few lessons we can learn about listening.

The Vincent Van Gogh Effect

In 1888, a painter by the name of Vincent Van Gogh cut the bottom part of his ear off while under severe depression.  A world class painter painted a self portrait demonstrating his ordeal with his separated ear.

To be a true leader, one must master the art of listening. This can be applied to anyone in any position.

A listening master has a lot of similarities to great artist.

  • You must study:  Study to be quiet, but may I say to you, take it a step further and study to listen.
  • You must practice:  Be conscious in your next 10 conversations and practice listening.
  • Develop mastery:  When you study and practice, you begin to build an amazing art that most individuals will never have. You will stand out among your peers.

Do not cut your ears off. Rather listen with an artistic touch!

The Waitress Effect

“I said, I did not want any onions!” There are two types of waitresses – great ones and those that are terrible. I hate going to a restaurant, and I tell them, “No onions,” and the cook puts those big round onion slices on my burger. There are a few reasons for this that can teach us some valuable lessons on listening.

  1. Write down notes– When I say no onions, the waitress tries to commit it to memory because she’s a”professional.”  It is best to write down notes when your employees, or anyone for that matter, is talking to you.
  2. Listen with your face– I despise a waitress that is taking your order down, but she’s more interested in the large party down at the other table. Or, she is so consumed with her own issues that she is half listening.
  • Smile, be friendly.

  • Make eye contact 

  • Nod your head in agreement

  • Ask questions like, “What else happened?” Or “Tell me more.” 

  • Then listen with sincerity, and make it a point to to understand.

Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.                 -Stephen R. Covey

The Good Ol’ Boy Effect

Trying to “up” each other is the ultimate sin when it comes to listening.

The good ol’ boys stand around telling their fishing and hunting stories. One of them tells the other, “I caught a 5 lb bass the other day!” And as he proceeds to tell this amazing fishing story, the other person interrupts and begins to top that story.

Have you ever been around those that won’t let you get a word in?  With a lot of leaders, there’s no back and forth communication. They do not listen and try to understand you. Instead, they just run you over. Here’s a few tips:

  1. Do not interrupt. EVER!
  2. Listen with empathy all the way through, even if you disagree with their point of view.
  3. Do not be selfish. Let someone else talk once in a while. 

We have two ears and one mouth, so we should listen more than we say.

-Zeno of Citium

In closing, do not be that person that volleys back and forth with an onslaught of words to get your point forced into someone’s mind, but rather listen and seek to understand. Then you will find you can direct others and lead with confidence with the respect of others.

Watch Your Mouth!!!

“If you don’t watch your mouth, I’m going to wash it out with soap!!!”  How many of you heard that before?  How many of you actually had to stick a bar of soap in your mouth, or brush your teeth with soap because you slipped up and cursed in front of your parents or smart mouthed them in one way or another?

Words are a powerful tool!  The Bible says, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue” Proverbs 18:21.  All the ancients understood the magnitude of this part of the body.  The way a leader communicates is paramount in their success.  How you talk to your kids, how you speak to your spouse, your co-workers, your church members, or any team member, is the difference between success and sure failure.

Some “leaders” need to wash their mouths out with soap and clean up their conversation.  When was the last time you had a boss talk down to you?  Or when was the last time you heard a parent belittle their child?  Look at the reaction of the co-worker and the child and tell me how effective the “leader” was.  I want to give you a few ideas on how to use your words to get the most out of your relationships, and especially the ones you lead.


One of the most powerful phrases that I ever heard was, “Think before you speak.”  You love your team right?  Your children?  As a leader you should have a passion for your co-worker’s success, right?  If that’s the case we as leaders should stop before we speak, so we can examine our words before we catapult them out there.  Here are a few things to consider.

  • Learn restraint – Control your emotions and hold back your outburst.
  • Remember your teammates are humans and they aren’t perfect.  They aren’t underneath you, they should be beside you.
  • Consider the outcome of your words before you filet their emotions

Some “leaders” keep their teams scared and nervous because of their constant abuse with their tongues.  Yeah you may get them to do what you want and even achieve some sort of success, but the long term affect on your people will be crippling.

The most powerful tool you can use to motivate your team is not money, gifts, and trips, but words of encouragement and inspiration.

“You can say whatever you want, as long as you say it in love!” -unknown

Choose Your Words Wisely

Your ability to manage your words can increase your effectiveness greatly.  There’s many great books out there that teach us the power of our words.  A book I have that I love to read is, How to Say It to Sell It, by Sue Hershkowitz-Coore. This book teaches you phrases that increase your odds of making the sales.

You may not be in sales, but as a leader learning how to effectively communicate with others is the difference between “leaders” and leaders!  Here are some examples of communication, and take notes.

  • Verbal Communication
  1. Be clear and concise in what you say.
  2. Mirror the other person’s speed and talk.  But nothing silly, just connecting with the other person.
  3. Use clean language. Never vulgar.
  4. Project your voice. No mumbling.
  • Non-verbal Communication
  1. Make eye contact. But don’t be weird.
  2. Stand up straight.
  3. Stay out of the other person’s comfort zone.
  4. Smile and stay positive.

There are many other cues to consider but we are just hitting the highlights in this article.

 “The challenge of leadership is to be strong, but not rude; be kind, but not weak; be bold, but not bully; be thoughtful, but not lazy; be humble, but not timid; be proud, but not arrogant; have humor, but without folly.” –Jim Rohn

“Running Your Mouth”

“Running your mouth” is like running a business, it takes a lot of  work and lots of management.  If you want to become a master of communication, you must be willing to change.

  • It takes training.
  • It takes growing.
  • It takes maturing.

“Run your mouth” like a professional manager runs a top notch business. Be willing to educate yourself, read books, articles, take courses, and PRACTICE, PRACTICE, and PRACTICE some more.
My sister was called “Mouth of the South” for many good reasons. LOL.  She actually ran her mouth non stop, mainly because I aggravated the death out of her.  I was a little angel!

Most managers, parents, “leaders” are very juvenile in their communication.  Most feel like no one listens and frustrated because they can’t motivate others.

The art of communication is the language of leadership.  -James Humes

So watch your mouth as a leader. You can be a very effective communicator. Turn yourself into a communicating ninja!

-Dustin L. Carr






“Eye” Dare You!!!

Let us dig a little deeper into the anatomy of a leader. We will look at the eyes or rather look through the eyes of a leader!  “Eye” dare you to adjust your vision, broaden your scope, and look through the lenses of a true leader!

We find ourselves in a generation “of the blind leading the blind.”  Wandering around aimlessly, bumping into every opportunity, but never seizing upon the gift of success that was handed to them and their teams.  I want to pose three different ideas to help you clear up your vision.

Get Your Reading Glasses On

Never forget this, “Leaders are readers!”  Now, there are many things we can read. Libraries, magazine racks, and the Internet are stocked  full of goodness for us to indulge our inquisitive minds in.  But remember, you have to be reading the right stuff.

I ask you, “What are you passionate about?  What is it that you desire to do, or what field do you want to go into?”  Find every available material to consume and become an expert in your field of study.

Sales?  Customer service?  Automotive?  Entrepreneurship?  Pastoral?  Hair stylist?  Anything that gives you the information to help you stand apart from your competition, gives you the advantage to becoming successful.

A readership crisis is really a leadership crisis.  – Michael Hyatt

The more you read, the more you learn.  The more you learn, you develop the ability to maximize your skills to their highest potential.  When you accomplish that, you get noticed, recognized, and you become an industry authority.  In other words, the “go-to person” in your field.

What Do You See Right Now?

Reading, learning, educating, describes the process and the in and outs of your particular passion.  That includes YouTube videos and websites that can give you another outlet to learn.  Sometimes that means taking courses and going to college to get a certificate if need be.  I don’t know about you but I want a nurse that has gone through school and has a nice diploma showing that she satisfies the states requirements, to legally practice her profession.

So, you want to be a leader?  Awesome!  Now study!  Do the little things now to make a big impact on your future.

The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. Lao Tzu

One of my personal motto’s this year is, “embrace the grind.”  Most people don’t want to do the hard part to get to the easy part.  Look at the hear and now, and determine on what you need to do to make you a success.  Leaders understand the power of the present.  Seizing opportunities and creating discipline in their lives that will affect them positively down the road!

That’s why you need to create a “dream board.”  Get you a pin board to hang on your wall in a prominent spot.  Pin a picture of what it is you ultimately want.  Then put underneath it or put it at the center with strings stretching from the center to another picture that describes a step that you’re going to take everyday that is going to help you reach your goal.  Keep it in  front of you so you can see it!

Remember, the first step is the most important step!

Look to The Stars

Peering through a microscope gives you the details, gazing through a telescope gives you inspiration.  We need daily inspiration to help us maintain the drive and vigor needed to get us through the hard times.  Inspiration will do a few things for you:

  • Help prevent burnout or at least get over it-  Burnout affects everyone and in order to keep from getting in a rut, you need inspiration.  My inspiration is my family’s future. I keep that in mind when I get weary and tired and it helps me to “embrace the grind.”
  • It keeps you evolving- Look at the NASA program.  At one time people were looking with their own eyes at the moon with wonder.  Then the inspiration came to peer closer, so they built a telescope.  They were so inspired that eventually they built machines that gave man the ability to put earthly boot prints on the surface of the moon.  When you can see your future and what it is you want you will keep changing and adjusting your attitude and mentality of the here and now.
  • You give inspiration to others- “Hey come over here and look at this!”  When others see you looking through the telescope they get curious.  You get excited because you give them the opportunity to see the splendor of what it is your looking at.  After all what is a true leader?  A leader that creates other leaders!

One person said that, “Inspiration is better caught, than taught!”

“Eye” dare you to lead!  “Eye” dare you to make it happen!  Become top of your field!  Shine bright, stand out, help others get to where they are going, and I promise that the leader within you will break out like Clark Kent.

-Dustin L. Carr

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Having a Major Headache

Have you ever had a bad migraine?  The kind that debilitates you?  Shut the blinds, turn the lights off, take two Ibuprofen, and hit the hay?  Boy, I have and it’s miserable!  For the next few blogs I want us to consider the anatomy of the leader, starting with the head.

Being an effective leader starts in the head.  Many so called “leaders” that I know are nothing more than a big headache!  They debilitate their teams!  They shut down forward progress.  Their teams are left uninspired and never challenged.  Allow me to ask you a very important question, “What’s going on between those two ears of yours?  Do you think like a leader?”  Let’s look at a few points to help you from having a headache or giving a headache.

That’s How To Use Your Brain!

Why do people in leadership positions feel they have it all figured out?  The reason they give headaches or do not  understand why their teams are frustrated and dismayed, is the fact they do not understand what it means to be a leader.

  • They lack knowledge on people skills.
  • They lack knowledge on problem solving.
  • They have poor self awareness

My attitude is never to be satisfied, never enough, never.
-Duke Ellington

Leaders get satisfied at a certain level and they plateau.  God help us to never grow complacent, in a place where we are lukewarm and settled.  Leaders should constantly be expanding their knowledge on what it means to be a leader!

Big Heads and Swollen Egos 

Knowledge is powerful, but humility keeps everything in context.  The humble leader may have the most knowledge but seeks opinions of his team.  They may have the strategy that brings the victory, but they seek to share the spoils with the rest.

The leader doesn’t lord over everyone “beneath” them.  No micro-management, never!  No putting down people, or flexing your leadership muscles, showing everyone who’s the boss!

Some leaders can’t get into the doorway because their head is so big from their over inflated view of themselves.  -Dustin L. Carr

I am not talking about lacking confidence and authority.  But rather a person that everyone feels comfortable following and taking direction from.  I have been around those husbands, bosses, managers, that have to motivate by threats.  Then I have been around those that I could gladly get behind and feel that this person is sincere, they know what they are talking about, and they have that quiet strength that rallies everyone behind a cause and march forward to victory.

A leader is best when people barely know he exists, when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: we did it ourselves.
-Lao Tzu

The Headless Horseman

After reading tales of the Headless Horseman, I began to see a couple correlations with bad leadership.  The first similarity is obvious, they have lost their head.  You look at the horrible leader and see a man or woman with no direction.  The head directs the body and the mind instructs the body what to do.  Seeing some “leaders” in action make me set back and scratch my own head wondering where their thinking went.

But, on the other hand leaders know how to direct.  They set the goals, implement the plans, and put the right people in the right places, playing on their strengths and putting together a team that moves forward in one accord victory after victory.

Another thing I noticed about the Headless Horseman, is that he is nothing more than a legend.  This goes back to what I was saying about humility.  These types of leaders think they are “legends” or seek to be a “legend.”  And in reality they will never amount up to anything other than a bad example.

Leaders have their head on straight.  They can think, and make their ideas a reality.  Their team can rely on their steadfastness and ability to be level headed.  Have you ever had a “leader” that was a headache?  Or leaders, have you ever been a headache, because your weren’t making the right decisions?  I encourage each and everyone of you to maintain a level of professionalism and you will be “headed” in the right direction!

-Dustin L. Carr

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Take The Quiz…I Dare You!

Before you take this quiz, consider these few thoughts I’m having:

  • What is a leader?  Answer:  A person of influence

Don’t make a leader to mean some millionaire business mogul.  A leader can be                      anyone, and since your more than likely a leader in some form or fashion, do you not            desire to be the best person of influence you can be?

  • What cause can I take up?  Answer:  Any cause!  Do you want to raise your children up to be the most successful person they can be?  Do you want to lead your congregation to fulfill their greatest potential?  Do you not desire to be the best teacher you can be?  What about your company?  Do you want your employees and business to scale heights they have never ascended before?
  • What motivates you?  You will have to answer that for yourself.  But, I challenge you to find something worth fighting for!  Worth changing for!  Worth growing for! And take it on as if you’re charging Hell with a water pistol!

OK, here is your quiz, and be honest with yourself.

  1. Are you a true leader?  Y/N
  2. Do you desire to grow others?  Y/N
  3. What’s your goals: Short term goals, 1 year from now, 10 years from now, 30 years from now
  4. Do you have plans to meet those goals?  Y/N (Write them down under your goals, be specific as possible)
  5. How’s your network of friends?  Short Answer
  6. Is your priorities in line?  Short Answer
  7. What risk have you taken lately to further yourself?  Short Answer
  8. What book/classes have you read/taken lately to educate/motivate yourself?  Short Answer
  9. Do you wish to make a difference?  (Y/N)
  10. Are you willing to be different?  (Y/N)

Write these down in your journal and be brutal, analyze, and pray.  Ask others or your spouse to be honest with you.  Please comment on my page or email me.  Would love to hear your goals and your desire to be a leader.

The quality of a leader is reflected in the standards they set for themselves.
-Ray Croc

Dustin Carr