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From Brock: My Favourite Leadership Podcast

February 3rd, 2017 | No Comments | Posted in From Brock

brock_150In 2016, the CHRI staff decided to invest in Donald Miller‘s “StoryBrand” course.  From a business perspective, it was probably the smartest thing we did all year!  We now filter nearly every team decision through Miller’s “storybrand framework”.  Given how excellent the course was, many of us have also now started listening to Miller’s (business & leadership coaching) podcast.  Here’s a link to his 2016 “best-of” episode, incorporating the 10 most helpful takeaways from last year’s episodes.

It’s been a wonderful year here on the Building a Story Brand podcast. I want to say thanks to everyone for listening. We’re trying to keep J.J. in line as his newfound minor celebrity status is starting to go to his head. But we have learned a ton from our guests, and I hope you have too.

millerAs we close out the year, we thought it would be fun to select clips from 10 conversations we’ve had on the podcast during 2016 and highlight our biggest takeaways from them.

If you’re traveling over the holidays, this is a great way to find helpful episodes you may have missed or revisit your favorites for fresh insight.

Listen to this week’s episode for select clips and takeaways. I’ve also summarized them for you here with links to each full episode. Enjoy!


Takeaway #1: Your customers are the hero, not your brand.

The Canlis Brothers of Seattle’s legendary restaurant, Canlis

As a fine-dining restaurant, Canlis is in the business of relationships — not just with their customers, but also with their staff. And relationships aren’t transactions, they’re actual relationships. Learn how to instill a focus on the customer in your entire culture, including how you hire and treat your employees.


Takeaway #2: Let customers drive your business, not your product.

Ryan Deiss of Digital Marketer

Ryan reminds us that we have to think in terms of the value we bring to our customers, not simply the product we sell. Otherwise, you’ll get so focused on your product that you’ll lose sight of what people really want. (This advice might have saved Blockbuster and Blackberry!)


Takeaway #3: Keep giving your customers more and more value for their dollar.

David Salyers, VP of National and Regional Marketing for Chick-fil-A

Many businesses try to take as much money as possible from their customers. But they’re missing an important part of the equation, which is detrimental to their success. If they focus instead on adding value for their customers, they’ll up their loyalty, diminish their advertising costs, and have more satisfied customers. Chick-fil-A does this intentionally, and we can learn a lot from their perspective.


Takeaway #4: Be clear about how you help your customers succeed.

Dave Ramsey, Personal finance author, TV host, and entrepreneur

We all love a good story. Businesses that communicate clearly succeed. Dave Ramsey and his team have been doing this intuitively for more than a decade. They break down their personal finance plan into baby steps, which enables their customers to understand exactly what their lives will look like if they engage with Dave and his products.


Takeaway #5: Your clothes are a part of your brand.

Toi Sweeney, award-winning stylist from QVC and executive image consultant

Before we ever say a word, people make big assumptions about us simply from how we’re dressed and styled. Minding your appearance is a part of your brand’s story, and Toi Sweeney explains what we communicate when we wear particular colors. Our clothes are telling a story about us and our brand. Listen to Toi and make sure it’s the one you want to communicate.


Takeaway #6: Time is a resource to be invested.

Rory Vaden, Founder of Southwest Consulting

We all get the same 168 hours in a week. But some people seem to do more. Why? Because they’ve learned how to invest their time wisely so it comes back to them in surprising ways. If you’re constantly overwhelmed by the volume of work you have to do, Rory’s radical perspective on time management will be a game-changer for you.


Takeaway #7: You can accomplish more by doing less.

Claire Diaz Ortiz, entrepreneur and author, one of the first employees at Twitter

One of my favorite books from this year was Design Your Day by my friend Claire Diaz Ortiz. She and I talk about the importance of focusing your time and attention on the 20% of tasks that give you the greatest impact. It’s a great reminder that saying “yes” to one thing means saying “no” to several others.


Takeaway #8: Take time away to get clear on your vision.

Ken Blanchard, leadership expert and author of The One-Minute Manager and other bestsellers

One of our biggest challenges as leaders is to rally our staffers around a big vision. Most of think we’ve nailed it, but when we ask our employees to articulate the vision, we find they’re not as clear on it as we thought they’d be. You’ve got to keep articulating it to them and refreshing it for yourself, which is what Ken and I dig into in this episode.


Takeaway #9: Develop habits to make incremental progress over time.

Ben Crane, professional golfer on the PGA Tour

A lot of the successful people I meet seem to have healthy routines and habits. The make a plan and then execute on that plan each and every day, never allowing themselves to get derailed. As a professional golfer, Ben knows that there’s no “silver bullet” to his success. Just great habits that add up to it. You don’t have to be a golfer to get inspired by his perspective on pursuing excellence, no matter what business you’re in.


Takeaway #10: Outwork everybody.

Scott Hamilton, Olympic gold medalist, figure skater, and philanthropist

Scott offers so much wisdom and inspiration in our conversation, but one of my favorite takeaways is simply to outwork everybody. It’s not always the most talented person who succeeds. It’s the person who is committed to doing the work each and every day. It’s an encouraging word for us, as business leaders, that our hard work and determination can give us an edge on the competition, too.



I hope the Building a Story Brand podcast has helped you (and your business!) grow this year. We’ve got a TON of fantastic guests lined up for 2017, plus more stories of how real businesses like yours have cut through the noise, clarified their messaging, and seen a big growth in their bottom line.

Actor Andrew Garfield on How Easy it Was to Fall in Love with Jesus

February 3rd, 2017 | No Comments | Posted in Lifestyle

“It’s such a humbling thing because it shows me that you can devote a year of your life to spiritual transformation, sincerely longing and putting that longing into action, to creating relationship with Christ and with God, you can then lose 40 pounds of weight, sacrifice for your art, pray every day, live celibate for six months, make all these sacrifices in service of God, in service of what you believe God is calling you into, and even after all of that heart and soul, that humble offering…that humility…even after all of that someone is going to throw a stone and dismiss it. It’s a wonderful, wonderful grace to be given, to be shown,” he said.” – Andrew Garfield

Behind the Scenes of Martin Scorsese’s SILENCE:

While Preparing for Missionary Drama, Actor Andrew Garfield Says He Fell in Love with Jesus

By Diana Tyler, Contributing Writer

Actor Andrew Garfield, best known for his roles in THE SOCIAL NETWORK, THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN and Mel Gibson’s HACKSAW RIDGE, recently revealed that during the making of his current movie, he fell in love with Jesus.

The movie, SILENCE, is a historical drama set in Japan. Based on the 1966 novel of the same name, it tells the story of two 17th Century Jesuit priests who travel from Portugal to Nagasaki to find their mentor and spread the message of Catholicism. The priests, refusing to believe their mentor has renounced his faith after being tortured, risk their lives and endure incredible suffering on their journey to discover the truth.

Garfield’s character, Father Sebastião Rodrigues, is eventually captured and experiences struggles quite similar to those of his mentor. He’s tortured, forced to witness the torturing of others and is even plagued by his own mind with unanswerable questions regarding his beliefs and the unfathomable ways of God. Ultimately, he is met face to face with the hardest question of all:  Whether or not to commit apostasy if doing so will save the lives of other Christians.

To prepare for the part, Garfield asked Father James Martin of America Magazine to guide him through the Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius. For those unfamiliar, the monastic exercises are disciplines designed to help people experience a deepening relationship with and connection to God through four focused weeks of prayer and meditation exercises.

Garfield worked with Father Martin for a full year on the Exercises. In his interview with America, the actor said, “The “main thing that [he] wanted to heal, that [he] brought to Jesus, that [he] brought to the Exercises, was this feeling of not-enough-ness.” He explained this feeling as “that forever longing for the perfect expression of this thing that is inside each of us. That wound of not-enough-ness. That wound of feeling like what I have to offer is never enough.”

“There were so many things in the Exercises that changed me and transformed me,” Garfield said, “that showed me who I was. . . and where I believe God wants me to be.”

When he was asked which part of the Exercises stood out to him most, the actor gazed off into the distance, clutched his chest, and with laughter in his voice, answered: “God! That was the most remarkable thing: falling in love, and how easy it was to fall in love with Jesus.”

This fascinating interview will no doubt leave readers wondering whether Garfield is now a born-again Christian, or if his experience was nothing more than in-depth research, and his reaction to it emotional and superficial. Rather than wondering and speculating about the nature of Garfield’s beliefs, what seems more appropriate, and certainly more beneficial, is to pray for his beliefs.

It’s clear that seeds have been planted in the actor’s heart, but, as Jesus taught, one of the Devil’s strategies is to come and snatch the seeds before they take root and grow into a full bloom of faith (Luke 8:12).

Many of us can relate to Garfield’s excitement. After having spent a significant amount of time in God’s presence, either alone in prayer or with other believers attending a Christian conference or church retreat, we’ve known the absolute joy of feeling inextricably connected to our Creator as well as the desire to learn more about Him and His will for us. We also know, however, that the Enemy hates that joy, almost as much as he hates us as followers of Christ. He doesn’t wait long before he attacks us with fiery darts of doubts, distractions, carnal desires, and negative influences that can quickly derail us.

For all its glitz and glamour, Hollywood can be, and many times is, a very dark place filled with lost and hurting people who are searching for truth and healing and overcome with the feeling Garfield described as that “wound of not-enough-ness.” Prayerfully, God will arrange more divine appointments during which actors, directors, screenwriters, and producers may be exposed to His mercy, love and saving grace.

Finally, let us pray that the seeds which are planted may be watered and nurtured, producing a harvest of lush, sturdy trees which bear fruit for the world to see.

From Ashley: The #1 Thing Couples Fight About

February 3rd, 2017 | No Comments | Posted in Advice and Tips

ashley_150It’s probably not what you think! I’m relatively newly married; we’re only celebrating our 2nd Valentine’s Day as a married couple. I’m eager to hear advice from people who have much more experience!  Dr. Gottman was recognized in 2007 as one of the 10 most influential therapists of the past quarter century. “Gottman’s research showed that it wasn’t only how couples fought that mattered, but how they made up. Marriages became stable over time if couples learned to reconcile successfully after a fight.” He’s seems like someone to listen to! Read below to hear his thoughts on the #1 thing couples fight about.

Do you know Angelina Jolie?

She’s that beautiful actor who adopts Asian babies, and married the world’s most gorgeous man. They even had their own movie, Mr. and Mrs. Smith.

Well, I’ve never met her. She sounds like a deadly assassin with a secret identity.

But I do know Christina.

Like Angelina, Christina is an admirable and beautiful woman. She also happened to marry a beautiful man named Brad.

When they first met, he was something different. Mesmerizing. Passionate. But now there is a huge space between them, and it keeps getting bigger.

She’s frustrated and lonely. He is angry and focuses all of his energy on work.

Yesterday they were trying to pick a place to grab dinner. Here’s what happened:

Christina starts. “I’m hungry. Let’s grab dinner.”

“Sounds good to me. What do you feel like eating?” Brad asks.

“I don’t know, you?” replies Christina.

“I feel like pizza. Let’s do that,” he says licking his lips.

“I don’t want pizza,” she complains.

“Okay, what do you want then?” Brad asks again, this time with a tone of frustration.

“I don’t know,” she says with a puzzled look on her face.

“What about seafood?” Brad suggests, desperately wanting to make a decision.

“No. That doesn’t sound good to me,” Christina responds.

“You always put down every idea I make.” Brad storms out of the room.

Christina starts crying. She feels lonely again.

How has something so small turned into something so big? What are they really fighting about?

According to the Einstein of Love, Dr. John Gottman, the #1 thing couples fight about is nothing:

Christina and Brad remind me of the movie Mr. and Mrs. Smith. They love each other, but over time their disconnection pushes them apart. Next thing you know they are shooting bullets at each other and their love has turned lethal.

Sometimes relationships feel like we are emotionally shooting each other over the simplest things. Things can blow up over which show to watch on Netflix, where to go to dinner, or which part of the house needs cleaning first.

Meaningless Fights Can Make Or Break Trust

Rarely do couples ever sit down, create an agenda, and argue over a specific topic such as finances. Sometimes they do, but typically they hurt each other’s feelings in seemingly meaningless moments that appear to be about absolutely nothing.

What matters is not the fight itself. What matters is how partners respond to negative emotions in the relationship. If couples see the conflict as an opportunity for growth, they can attune to each other and increase their understanding of one another, deepening their trust in each other and in the relationship.

If partners dismiss the negative emotions in these situations, they may eventually reconnect with one another, but trust will erode a little. Over time, small and meaningless incidents will compound until partners are left feeling hurt, sad, and alone.

Instead of reaching out for each other’s hand, you begin pointing fingers and crossing arms. Instead of talking all night, you feel like you’re walking on eggshells. You feel like you’re too scared to speak about how you feel in fear of starting another fight.

Maybe it’s been so long since you connected with each other that you feel like cellmates instead of soulmates. Am I right?

Why Relationships Fail

Negative events will always happen in relationships, but that isn’t what turns us into cellmates. Relationships fail when the Story of Us is focused on the problems partners create, not the love partners offer.

Practically every moment of your life is narrated by a voice in your head. That voice is either going to remind you how amazing your partner is or how terrible they are to you. Those stories are then rehearsed repeatedly in your mind. If your story is focused on the negative, you slowly disconnect, sometimes without even realizing it.

It’s like a stone in your shoe. Over time, it becomes so irritating that you take off your shoe and throw the rock as far away as possible. If we constantly have a narrator telling us how negative our relationship makes us feel, then we start to see our partner as selfish. We stop believing our partner has our best interests at heart. Our potential for disconnection and betrayal increases over time.

The lovey dovey feelings we once had are replaced with loneliness, frustration, and anger. Each small incident only increases the potential for betrayal or breakup.

There is a point in our relationships when the negative story takes over and dominates all positive stories of our lover. Dr. Gottman calls this being in the “negative perspective.” Even if our partner does something nice for us, it is still a selfish person doing something nice. A person we can’t trust.

Fights Are Inevitable In Relationships

Incidents like Christina’s and Brad’s are inevitable in all relationships. According to Dr. Gottman, both partners in a relationship are emotionally available only 9% of the time. This leaves 91% of our relationship ripe for miscommunication.

While many see conflict in a relationship as a sign of incompatibility, it should be seen as a sign that the relationship needs growth to occur.

The feeling of disconnection from your partner can be used to find new horizons of communicating. Your sexless marriage can cause you to take a deep look at your integrity. It can teach you how to embody your deepest desires and how to truly want your partner and experience life-changing intimacy.

Typical conflicts are merely a reminder that a relationship is two different people working together to understand differences and love each other despite flaws.

What Makes Love Last?

When conflict occurs in a relationship, partners need to come together to understand each other better. The negative event is processed, and since partners work with each other, their minds focus on the positives of the relationship. The negative events are forgotten.

Trust is built when we are reminded that our partner is there for us. They reach out for us or grab our hand when we reach out for them. We realize our needs matter to our partner. We  forget the details about our hurt, and the negative event in the relationship slips from our mind.

Now when our partner is thoughtless, emotionally distant, or mean to us, the story we tell ourselves is that they are “stressed.” We trust them, so we repair the incident and reconnect with one another. Laughter and affection fill our disagreements because we know that this event will be resolved and our relationship will be better because of it.

So when a negative event happens in your relationship, don’t be like Mr. and Mrs. Smith. Don’t shoot each other’s hearts over nothing but misunderstanding. Use the event to build trust, to deepen your relationship, and to make it the best damn love story you’ve ever seen.


From Care: 10 Hopeful Scripture Verses to Help You Through a Dark Season (with shareable images)

February 3rd, 2017 | No Comments | Posted in From Care
care_150The winter blues are a real thing.

The season’s days are shorter, darker and colder, and scientifically, it’s not unusual to find yourself in a funk. Yes, winters can be cruel, but the seasons can also give us hope!  There’s never been a winter where a spring didn’t follow and no matter how many tree limbs grow bare, they always bloom a few months later.

Harsh winters not only make springtime feel more welcome, their bleakness carry a promise of the fruitful season ahead.
Here are 10 verses to help get you through:

(adapted from

2 Corinthians 4:17-18

Picture 1 of 10

Remember, if you feel stuck in this dark season, you can always contact:

From Ashlyn: 9 Simple Ways for Busy Women to do Bible Study

February 3rd, 2017 | No Comments | Posted in Advice and Tips, From Ashley

There’s Just No Replacement for Time in God’s Word

There are two things that battle for my attention every morning: the day’s agenda and time in the Word.

I know I’m not alone in this. It’s downright cliche’ to even acknowledge that we women are busy.

And it seems that every stage has its own busy.

I want to share some ways for busy women to get in the Word.  At the outset, we need to know there’s no replacement for unhindered, blocked off, fought for and found time in the Bible.

love devotionals and listening to archived sermons but neither can replace God speaking directly to us from His Word every day.

We also need time. I’ve had days where 15 minutes was all I got before the day marched on ready or not. While fifteen minutes is a great snack, it’s not going to sustain my soul for the day or feed me long term.

So I’m sharing 9 ways that help get me in the Word throughout the day. And more importantly – get the Word in me.


1. No other words before the Word

This was my self-imposed rule when I had a houseful of babies, toddlers and school-age kids. Those were seasons where I was quite literally on active duty around the clock. There was no getting up earlier than my children.

My rule was this: Read the Bible before anything else that day. No emails, no Facebook, no magazines until I’d read the Bible. It worked beautifully. Because we will always read something every day, we can make it God’s Word.

2. Listen to the Word

On the treadmill? Cleaning a bathroom? This is found time to listen to the Bible on audio. Sometimes hearing the Word helps it fall fresh. If you’re studying through a book, this is a great way to listen through it every day.

3. Set it out

I loved this trick that Kaitlyn Bouchillon uses to make sure she reads her Bible every day. Kaitlyn writes:

So I started doing this thing. It is so simple I’m actually embarrassed to tell you.

Right before going to sleep at night, I place my Bible on top of my closed laptop.

That’s it. That’s the trick. And it totally works. For me to do any of my work for the day, I have to literally set the Bible aside. I’m a visual learner, and when I actually see what I’m doing – choosing work over time with Him – it plain stops me in my tracks.

Sometimes the simplest things are the most genius. Your sweet spot might be on your bedside table where you pick it up before scrolling through your phone or next to coffee pot where you head first thing every morning.

4. Check your phone

If we’re going to check our phone fifty times a day, we might as well use it to feed our soul. While conventional Bible apps that let you read one chapter of Psalms, Proverbs or read through the Bible in daily chunks, here are three of my favorite tried and true apps with daily devotions:

5. Stash a Bible in your car

Keeping a Bible in the car is perfect for pockets of downtime like the car pick up line or waiting for a child at practice. Side note: My van is actually my war room. It’s the most distraction-free zone I have and I’ve grown to adore the quiet every morning when the car door shuts.

6. Invite your kids

I know this completely undermines the quiet of quiet time, but on those days when you haven’t been able to find 30 secluded minutes, let your kids get their Bibles and sit near you. You can train your children to read or look at pictures quietly, all the while helping them develop their own Bible time habit.

7. Join a Bible study

The best thing I ever did to help develop a lifelong love for the Word was join a Bible study as a young mom. I love the accountability and fellowship in a Bible study group. There are two ways to go about finding a good, Bible-saturated study.

8. Tap an accountability partner

If you really thrive on accountability, ask a friend or mentor to help you. It can be as simple as texting DONE! Or she can periodically ask what God is teaching you and whether you’re finding daily time with Go. Remember that your spouse may be your best accountability partner. You can do a study together or simply agree to encourage one another in making Bible time a daily tradition.

9. Listen to great teaching

Radio stations, podcasts and sites such as provide hours of updated teaching from some of the country’s best teachers. I’ve found that when I’m in the Word, these sermons often affirm and develop what God has been teaching me in my own Bible study.

I’d love to know what you’d add to this list. What other ways have you found to help you spend time in God’s Word every day?


From Dianne: 12 Winter Cleaning Ideas

February 3rd, 2017 | No Comments | Posted in From Dianne
winter_cleaningThings can somehow seem messier, dirtier and less organized during the winter months. Here’s how to tackle it in time to leave you feeling fresh for spring.

When I was a kid, the U.S. TV channels broadcast a much-parodied series of PSA ads that advised viewers, “Don’t wait till spring – do it now!” To this day, I’m not sure what the actual purpose was of this pithy advice; perhaps it was to drum up work for contractors or tax accountants. But it’s surprisingly good advice for tackling all those little (or not so little!) chores that somehow get away from us during the rest of the year. Here’s a list of ideas to get you started.


1 Go through all your closets and clothes and divide into keepers and giveaways. If you’re not sure, a good rule of thumb is: if you haven’t worn it in two years and/or it makes you feel guilty, it’s a giveaway. Of the keepers, wash, mend or send those that need it to the dry cleaners.

2 Pair up mitts and stack them neatly where they can be easily accessed without falling into a jumble again; singletons should be thrown out. (If you find the mate later, chalk it up to fate and discard it too.)

3 Clean boots thoroughly and spray with protectant; if they need new lifts or other repairs, take them to the shoe repair shop. Polish and clean shoes; many shoe repair shops sell polish in every colour of the rainbow for nicks and scratches.

4 A new year is a great time to create, or overhaul, your budget. Create a budget that has flexibility in it (the number-one reason budgets fail is that they are too strict, rather than not strict enough), and resolve to stick to it. There are many good budgeting programs to be found online, and most are free. Plus, being budget-minded will help you achieve more in the upcoming year.

5 Pull your taxes together; if you start now, there will be plenty of time to go after missing receipts and add up deductions. If you have all the slips you need, you can send your return to your accountant earlier, if you use one, and get your refund faster. If you need to wait for certain slips like a T4, at least you’ll be ready and avoid any last-minute roadblocks.

6 Schedule dental checkups and annual visits to the doctor and various specialists (eye doctor, gyno, orthodontist, chiropractor, etc.), if you don’t have an appointment already scheduled.

7 Make an appointment with your financial advisor or bank, to check the health of your RRSP and other investments and make any adjustments .

8 If your pots and pans tend to end up in a jumble, perhaps you have too many. Consider a more convenient storage system for frequently used pans, such as a hanging rack (or drawer) near where they’re used. Pans that are used less frequently can be stored further away or even in another room .

9 Go through your spices and throw away those that are expired or have just a teeny bit left in the bottom. (A friend of mine labels her spices with the date she bought them and discards them after six months, which is when most dried spices lose their oomph.) Return them to the rack in alphabetical order, making retrieval much easier .

10 Pull all those cans and boxes of food out of cupboards and reorganize them. (If you’re like me, some things get shoved to the back over time, and you end up with multiples. Who needs three cans of baby corncobs?) If it’s still good but you really are never going to eat it, toss or give to the food bank .

11 If you do a lot of work at home or make your living there (or even if you don’t), inevitably piles of papers, books and files grow like stalagmites during the year. Now is the time to go through them systematically. File what needs filing, and recycle what doesn’t. Again, if you’re not sure, ask yourself: Do I need it? Will I need it later? Is there a better place for it?

12 While you’re at it, do the same with your computer. Delete old files; empty the trash; store files you want to save on disks or a hard drive, or using one of the new Internet storage facilities such as or Cloud. Once that’s done, you can give your computer a new lease on life by re-installing the operating system, using the disks that came with the computer. (It will prompt you to either reload the OS while preserving existing files, or wipe the whole thing clean, files and all.)

Get a head start on spring-cleaning

  • Wash pillows, comforters and blankets, mattress covers, bedskirts.
  • Clean the insides of windows.
  • Deep clean the grout in kitchen and bathrooms by scrubbing with a toothbrush.
  • Consider upholstery cleaning.
  • Clean out the basement; if it’s semi-finished, get after cobwebs in rafters and dust in unused corners.

VIDEO: “You’re God of the Hills and Valleys and I Am Not Alone”

February 3rd, 2017 | No Comments | Posted in Artist Spotlight

Story Behind The Song