LinkedIn…A Self-Promotional Powerhouse

LinkedIn is a Godsend. Here you can post a flattering photo of yourself and verbally put your best foot forward.

Honestly, if you don’t include a photo, some people will simply not look at your profile, so make your “head shot” speak volumes. Every aspect sends a message. Study corporate head shots on various websites. If you can afford a photographer, pay to have your portrait done. This shot will be used in multiple places, especially on business cards. Lighting, dress, background, pose, smile or lack thereof, and retouching, are all elements of a good head shot, and it’s vital that they are considered.

Being an amateur  photographer with professional equipment, I took my own photo with a tripod and a timer and did some post-production.  I tried looking outdoorsy at first, but decided to go with the buttoned-down at-the-desk look. Most in my profession (environmental consulting) go both ways, likely sticking with khakis or jeans most of the time. I thought the button-down shirt lends a little more maturity and professionalism to someone trying to win the trust of a potential client!

If I was looking for employment I’d spend most of my waking hours perfecting my LinkedIn presentation and learning how to exploit it. Being gainfully employed for now, I’m still trying to perfect my page. What I normally do with a new client to which I am sending a proposal is include a link to my profile. This provides instant credibility presented in a classy way. It’s all there, and to my mind, much better than a resume given the endorsements and recommendations

Come to think of it, one facet of your LinkedIn page that’s essential is the recommendations section. Beg, borrow or…well…respectfully request recommendations from key people in your work life. Where else can you get a virtual tailor-made endorsement?

As for groups, join those which are strategic. Also use your memberships to communicate more about yourself. This is where you round out your character. I’m a member of a photography group of a particular brand of cameras. This could say that I spend time outdoors or that an otherwise left-brainer has a creative side.

I’d steer clear of turning my LinkedIn page into Facebook, constantly sharing clips and commentary. Be very careful of what you post. Keep it absolutely professional and apolitical. Share what’s in line with your profession. If you’re a writer and seasoned, share thoughts that can enhance your credibility or help your peers.

How to Be a Self-starter!

Successful people are self-starters. They don’t require managers or supervisors. They wake up each morning bound and determined to get something profitable accomplished. They’re not happy if progress isn’t made. They show real initiative!

To guarantee success, a task needs to be broken down into steps, and the one-at-a-time approach will gain yardage if you stick to it. What if there are numerous tasks to be done? Prioritize and work your list, but don’t ignore the less pressing entries. A little done today will protect your backside if you suddenly realize that your priorities were off!

There will be a time when you approach completion of a task that’s taken some time to work through. That’s when you should break off and focus on this task until it’s completely done. I said completely! This sense of accomplishment will provide some encouragement as you move onto the next task.

I would warn that there will be a desire to kick back after a big task is completed. Instead of taking a mental holiday, it’s best to work on a few lower priority, less stressful tasks to fill the time. It’s important to be conscious of human tendencies and fight against them, or allow for them, with certain diversions and rest. When you work day in and day out, you cannot be expected to work at a frantic pace all day, everyday. This is a recipe for burnout. But most people aren’t nearing their breaking points! Every job’s tough if done for long periods of time. Develop the stamina you need to produce!

I glossed over the essential need to plan. From a plan comes priorities. To keep your plans well-conceived, there needs to be a level of seriousness applied to planning. To some, planning comes easy. To others, it’s just too easy to begin work on something that’s simple or someone else’s priority.

A word of caution. You’ve got to be careful not to take on other’s work. Try to stay out of someone’s path of delegation if at all possible. You’ll need to be assertive to avoid being dumped on. In many cases, this is impossible. This makes planning all the more important! There will always be “best laid plans” that are blown away before you can get started. There is a saying in war that goes something like this, “A battle plan typically doesn’t survive the first shot!” So, perhaps plans need to be fluid. The important thing is to always be adjusting and thinking how progress can be made by the end of the day. Planning is never ending. Planning is habit. Planning is at the beginning not the end.

Before planning you need to know your purpose. In many cases, your purpose is non-negotiable. For a law enforcement officer, it’s to “serve and protect.” This is a good example of a lofty objective within the confines of dispensing what could be unbending justice. We’ll always need to find the higher good in what we do. If there is none, you’ll have a hard time understanding your purpose. You’ll have to root it out or shoot for something else that has a higher calling. If you’re crafting the very best pillow in the world, every stitch will be important. Your purpose is that, not sewing.

A good perspective is essential to operating as a self-starter. Once you find out what is “par for the course,” you’ll not get as discouraged. This requires awareness and observation. What are the certainties in your job? Will there always be customer complaints? Is there a creative way to head them off at the pass? I found out early to tell it like it is. We all want to avoid bad news, or to avoid vocalization of information that might evoke a negative reaction. For example, the price of something. Perhaps early on you set the stage for your cost issue by alluding to an item’s benefits as being expensive but well worth it. Or how about the riskiness of something. Is there a way to defuse a potential issue down the road? This is best done by educating the other party, the person you wish to persuade. Then you’ll feel like a problem solver, rather than a guy who’s hawking some product or a naysayer.

You keep a good perspective when you find out how to deliver your work at a much higher level. Be that person that when some irate person calls up about his internet going down, he hangs up thinking the person on the other end of the line at least had some empathy! But perhaps if you know that you’ll always be dealing with irritated people, you’ll learn some tricks of the trade. Experiment with your high calling in mind.

The chances of you having a good perspective are much higher if you are at peace. Inner peace comes from the assurance that God’s in control, that he can be appealed to, that he can resolve your problems. You acquire this peace through prayer. Purpose comes from him, wisdom comes from him, understanding comes from him. At a more basic level, simple roadblocks can be broken through with his intervention and power. Relationships can be strengthened with an awareness of what it’s like to walk in another’s shoes. Adversity can be withstood. Laziness can be conquered. Motivation can be infused where there is none. Energy can be restored. Anger can be abated.

It’s difficult to get started on your own. Many need a catalyst. For me, it’s my real boss, the Master whom I serve.

Work can be pure drudgery or an exciting challenge. Make some progress with priorities set through planning with a purpose. Get a good perspective from praying for the power to overcome life’s obstacles from the One who possesses an unlimited supply.

The Five E’s–Self Assessment for Job Transitions

I’m going to use “E’s” to hang my thoughts on. Self assessment is crucial if you’re planning a career or job change. You must ascertain and intimately know your essentials,  wisely use your experience, strategically deploy your education, carefully choose your environment, and honestly gauge your excitement when looking for a new career. Miss one “E” and you’ll live to regret it.

These days, however, with all rules thrown out the window due to COVID-19, the process must be accomplished even quicker, perhaps while you work a job just to make ends meet. Good thing is, once the SA is done, it really doesn’t have to be done again, except to fine tune changing environments.

Face it, there’s a whole lot of rethinking going on in everyone’s minds who’s been gainfully employed and now is suddenly out in the cold. What was, may not end up being, what will be. For example, is it wise to open a restaurant, or a small gourmet kitchen/food delivery business? Anyway, let’s get back to the matter at hand.

Essentials

The first question to ask yourself is what are my essentials? You need to be able to use these in any job or you won’t fire on all cylinders. These are your God-given aptitudes. This is how you’re “hardwired.” You’ll know what’s “as easy as falling off a log” early on. Some can learn a language within weeks. Others, like myself, grew up with a mother fluent in Spanish and nothing caught on. Physicians and pharmacists, i.e. scientists, should have the capacity for remembering and pronouncing long complicated words. If you stumble over or can’t remember scientific words, don’t even think about a new career as a nurse. I once thought I might try becoming a dentist. Here’s a guy who can’t even hold onto his own toothbrush! Anything surgical requires fine motor skills or you’re doomed before you start. If you’re not a “math guy,” here’s a warning; don’t choose engineering.

Experience

Next, contemplate your experience and how it might be reworked into your prospective new career. Boil down your tasks to the fundamentals, your transferable skills as they say. You’ll need to know your lowest common denominator because it will become the essence of your sales pitch. In my career change from banking to environmental consulting, in hindsight, in banking I needed to assess financial risk. Now, I assess environmental risk. The knowledge base can be obtained with a little studying. But what was my lowest common denominator, my fundamental? After further review, it was my inherent bent to assess everything, especially risk, that was transferable. It’s my default setting. In reality, I assess everything risky, I mean everything. It’s my nature. So there’s no falloff in my new (well now old) career.

Another point. I often tell people, God did not give you 20 years of experience in something to throw it all away! In 1974, I worked all summer in the blazing sun as a carpenter’s helper. I ended up carrying every board, lifting every board, cutting every board, and nailing every board. I often thought this summer job was going to get me nowhere in my professional career. I wanted to quit everyday. Fast forward to my new position as a management trainee in the real estate division of a large bank. One of my first job responsibilities in the bank when they found out I built houses one summer?  Conducting site inspections for residential construction loan progress payments.

Education

What about your education. It can be a disqualifier actually. After completing a liberal arts education (after flaming out in pre-med, and running into a brick wall with the LSAT), I went directly into my school’s MBA program. I thought it would be a plus. Employers thought otherwise. Now we have to pay him more they thought! I had to assure them I had no such expectations. It became something of a workaround. I was talking to an engineer with a doctorate the other day. To a prospective engineering firm, the degree became somewhat of an albatross. It was threatening and imposing to potential employers and peers.

Now here’s the other side. If you want to switch from teacher to nurse, you’ll need to go to nursing school and dig deep for the funds to do it. If you want to become a cop, you had better have graduated from an academy, or you’ll need to land a job with an agency that will put you through one.

So, as you can see, you may have to explain why you have too much education, or not enough of it! In cases where you need to acquire some kind of degree or certification, you’ll need to count the cost and calculate the time necessary to do it. Opportunity costs!

One final observation on the topic of education. A general business degree  will get you a long way if you persuade a company to allow you to intern for a good part of your senior year.  This is the best educational decision a collegiate can make!  Intern and you dramatically enhance your job prospects.

And one last thing. Don’t forget about learning a trade. There are many people out there who make far more money wiring a building than juggling Excel spreadsheets. I hear the sound of laughing all the way to the bank.

Environment

Next comes the environment in which you will be comfortable and thrive. Many have nailed the first three “E’s” and have landed in an environment they absolutely hate! I recall one woman who got a job in a closely-held family business. The owner locked the gates at 8:01 am and reopened them at 5:01 p.m. You had better have brought your lunch! Then there’s the straight-laced in an office full of  chandelier swingers. This gets old fast.

In a bank, the compliance manuals are your friend. It’s hardly the place to freelance.  The carefree will want to veer away from these structured arenas. Want to be a public relations specialist? You had better be a “lying” specialist. It’s their basic job. Are you a pacifist? The Marine Corps may not be a good career. Do you find locker rooms disgusting? You might want to take up golf. And the list goes on.

So use some keen forethought in your selection of a career. More than that, do some environmental investigation, i.e. sleuthing before you jump.

Excitement

Find a job you can love, they say. That’s easier said than done.

I’m sure I’d enjoy a career as a professional baseball player, but who normally gets to translate his passion into a job? For most, the best case is finding a job that is at least tolerable. It’s important to realize that every job has its own grunt work. Professional baseball players must field buckets of balls everyday. For surgeons, it may be the volume of routine procedures you must perform everyday. For cooks, it may be chopping things everyday. For engineers, it may be data input or report writing everyday. For competitive runners, it may be covering the same miles and miles everyday.  Just realize this!

Here’s some advice. If you can only manage to tolerate your job, develop an array of hobbies for which you can be passionate. Then your off hours will make the mundane worth it, because you’ll have some extra money to fly to the south of somewhere.

Best case really is to find a job you can love. If it meets the above criteria–the first four “E’s”–it’s likely that you’ll be excited to go to work until you die.

Full Employment

Of course, Christmas is all about gifts.

  1. At the center of Christmas is God’s gift to all, Jesus, the only way to eternal life. For us it’s prepaid—bought with no small sacrifice—free if received, and effective if employed.
  2. Christians are also guaranteed at least one spiritual gift, by the way, which is employed in ministry.

As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. 1 Peter 4:17

Since we can’t leave our faith at the door, a spiritual gift can be utilized in the workplace to further enhance your value, but such employment may be problematic in some cases, leading to persecutions (Mark 10:30). Still spiritual gifts employed have spiritual impacts and this can’t be bad!

  1. On the theme of gifts, with reference to what we do at iWork, everyone has some God-given talent or gift that can be employed to gain and sustain employment.

I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; wonderful are Your works, and my soul knows it very well. Psalm 139:14 

Have you discovered how fearfully and wonderfully made you are?

My frame was not hidden from You, when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth. Psalm 139:15 

God was involved in your creation. He skillfully and artfully made you as would an artisan, as would a craftsman, with purpose and intent.

  1. Self-assessment by any number of means can help you discover your design. You may have more than one natural gift, and you usually do.

Let’s look at a few Bible characters to see what natural gifts they were given.

  • David had gifts as a musician, singer, poet, warrior, military leader, and politician.
  • Daniel was a skilled politician, diplomat and administrator.

God gave them these gifts to them to be successful in life, as well as to serve him, and they needed them all!

  1. Have you been shortchanged? No!

To one he gave five talents, to another, two, and to another, one, each according to his own ability; and he went on his journey. Matthew 25:15

I again saw under the sun that the race is not to the swift and the battle is not to the warriors, and neither is bread to the wise nor wealth to the discerning nor favor to men of ability; for time and chance overtake them all. Eccl. 9:18

Put everything you’ve been given to work!

Success in 3D(s)

A determined person gets far in life. Implied in determination is a goal, for why would we be determined if we have no objective? Determined people set out to do something. They’ll always get farther in life than the undecided or ambivalent. Implied is resolve. Implied is single-mindedness. Implied is the application of energy and movement. Implied is drive. Drive and determination go hand-in-hand.

Diligent people set their minds to do something and sustain their determination indefinitely without lag or loss. They keep fires burning. They’re like short order cooks. They don’t squander time. They make the most of it. In fact, they race against it. They don’t watch time from the grandstands like a parade as it goes by. Diligent people plan ahead. They’re prepared. Their brows drip from sweat, but they keep going. It’s a great feeling to see progress.

The disciplined are singularly focused. They’re unswayed by sideshows. You’ll not find them on rabbit trails or gazing into the sky. They’re all business. They don’t engage in small talk. They’re intense. They hate beating the air. Discipline is the engine of determination and diligence.

The detractors would say to all of this activity that you’ve got to stop to smell the roses sometimes. There are generations that can only pull this off for a few years before they must tour Europe. But the determined, diligent, disciplined person says instead that you can’t rest on your laurels. There’s another mountain to climb.

Read these words from the most determined, diligent, disciplined person I know. An apostle named Paul.

24 Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win.
25 Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.
26 Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air;
27 but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified. 1 Corinthians 9:24-27

Just a few words of warning on the application of another set of “D’s,” dedication and devotion. It’s dangerous to apply oneself wholeheartedly as described above for an organization or a boss. The favor may not be returned. All your work may turn out for naught. Always be aware that you are expendable. This may put you in a position to have to reposition yourself with another company or enterprise for which these industrious traits will be appreciated and remunerated! A good example is Jonathan. His father King Saul wanted David dead, leaving him a choice between loyalty to the king or God’s anointed. He chose the latter.

Here’s the key. Paul says, “Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve.” In this way, you’ll not regret leaving it all on the field.

 

Climbing the Corporate Ladder

This wisdom is inspired by Ecclesiastes 4.

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There are many things that rob our joy in our work life. There’s the power structure that might be oppressive, that requires more bricks with less straw. Sometimes you’re singled out as the cause of corporate misfortune. You may have to contend with the evil motives of others, not just unfairness. Perhaps your co-worker sees you as a rival and you must guard your flank as well as contend with those above. He or she may be quite the politician, and you’re not, or you don’t want to play that game.  Then there are those who don’t pull their weight (the lazy) and you must work doubly hard to cover for them. Enduring all this when you think you’re not adequately compensated can be a bitter pill to swallow.

What’s the wisdom for dealing with all this? First, recognize these forces as the default position. Rarely does an organization empower its people rather than overpower them. Rarely can an organization root out all the bad apples. Rarely is there true teamwork and a lack of politics and rivalry in business. Rarely is there not the attitude of “what have you done for me lately?” Once you accept this, the rule is to be “shrewd as a serpent and as innocent as a dove.” (Matt. 10:16)

You want to be an agent of change. You want to turn the tables. It’s like mountain climbing. Get a foothold and then climb from cleft to cleft fostering the good attributes that an organization truly values and codified. Empower people. Foster teamwork. Commend effort and selflessness. Applaud victories. Learn from defeats and disappointments. And so forth. Read about corporate values here and you’ll get the idea.

Leaders instinctively know that nothing really gets done in an environment of oppression and backstabbing. They want buy-in to positive actions. Those who put aside pettiness and jealousy and greed and evil machinations and strive for the greater good will rise like cream to the top. They’re exercising leadership from day one. You really can’t deny an authentic leader. If these inclinations are thwarted, he or she will switch ladders.

Truth is, Christians should be the world’s best employees and managers. They answer to a higher power and possess a higher power to gain traction in an every man (or woman) for himself world

I observed mountain climbers recently in Canada. There was what is called a belayer at the bottom with a safety rope. When the climber slipped, he yelled out and the man at the bottom used his own weight to break his fall. We will need  a mentor/friend to help us up the corporate ladder, and more importantly, to help us if and when we fall.

Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor. For if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up. Eccl. 4:9-10

Friends in High Places–Genesis 40-41

14 Only keep me in mind when it goes well with you, and please do me a kindness by mentioning me to Pharaoh and get me out of this house. Genesis 40:14

Here’s a quick overview of Genesis 40-41.

Joseph was in prison for a crime he didn’t commit. This wasn’t justified nor the place for such a gifted and godly man.

The warden put Joseph in charge of two servants of the king who landed in jail, the cupbearer and the baker.

Joseph interpreted dreams for both men. For the cupbearer, he had good news, for the baker not so good. In return for his service, Joseph asked the cupbearer to mention him to Pharaoh when he got out. Joseph made his case by saying he had been kidnapped and that he’d done no wrong.

Turns out the cupbearer forgot him, but later recalled his gift and told Pharaoh when he had a perplexing dream. Joseph was finally summoned to the court, and thereafter elevated.

40 You shall be over my house, and according to your command all my people shall do homage; only in the throne I will be greater than you.” Genesis 41:40

I gathered these principles from this account.

  • Your plight may not be justified. It might not be fair.
  • You may be godly and gifted, and forced to mark time.
  • Where you are is not where you want to be. Joseph put it this way. He said, “get me out of this place.”
  • This comment can be taken two ways, as a lack of faith, or an awareness of the potential for God’s intervention through this man, if he so wills. “Ours is not to reason why, but to do or die,” as the old saying goes.
  • What we are to learn–what Joseph learned–is that we are where we are because of God’s will. It’s all about his perfect timing. In the meantime, Joseph exercised leadership–and his faith–in the prison, and he was able to demonstrate godliness. In the end, God exalted him, at the proper time.

Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you. 1 Peter 5:6-7

Here are the takeaways:

  1. Use your opportunities to plant seeds.
  2. Pray that God will use these opportunities that come your way for your benefit, in his perfect timing, and in his perfect way.
  3. Grow where you’re planted (see below).
  4. Be ready when your time comes. (2 Timothy 4:2)

“Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, to all the exiles whom I have sent into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon, ‘Build houses and live in them; and plant gardens and eat their produce. Take wives and become the fathers of sons and daughters, and take wives for your sons and give your daughters to husbands, that they may bear sons and daughters; and multiply there and do not decrease. Seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf; for in its welfare you will have welfare.’ Jeremiah 29:4-7

 

 

Stuck in the Gate

Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin. James 4:17

This verse, of course, refers to serious matters where righteousness hangs in the balance. But there’s a worthwhile principle in here. Once you know the right thing to do in a particular situation, to not do it is foolish.

Wisdom is applied knowledge. The flip side, therefore, needs consideration. To not apply knowledge is to be a fool. There’s a saying about leading horses to water. Have you gotten excellent advice and not employed it?

Surely procrastination could be categorized in the Christian life as sin, especially if God has directed you to the right road, and you hesitate to traverse it.

There’s another saying about it being easier to steer a moving ship. Is it that you haven’t begun to move that’s making it so hard? Ponder the concept of inertia.

Inertia, property of a body by virtue of which it opposes any agency that attempts to put it in motion or, if it is moving, to change the magnitude or direction of its velocity. Inertia is a passive property and does not enable a body to do anything except oppose such active agents as forces and torques. A moving body keeps moving not because of its inertia but only because of the absence of a force to slow it down, change its course, or speed it up. Source: Encyclopedia Britannica

It’s demoralizing to stay at rest too long wallowing in self-pity. It’s discouraging to be stuck behind your intimidating fears and what-ifs. It’s high time to put the body in motion, or perhaps to burn an engine to gain more velocity.

It’s fascinating to watch the jockey guide his racehorse to the starting gates. A slow but steady walk. But once in the stall, it’s only a matter of seconds before a bell rings and they’re off!

Are you still stuck in the gate?

Author’s Note: In your career search, the right things to do are first to self-assess, then to strategically plan, then to select and seek out networking partners, then to generate sales tools (business cards, 30-second elevator speech, resume, Linkedin page), then to set narrow goals and go after them. In the meantime, you research the marketplace and your intended targets and read up on the trickiest interview questions. All this is done, as my old boss used to say, not in sequence, but in parallel. There, now you know the right thing to do and the onus in on you! I say this lovingly and empathetically, but somebody needs to light the fire under you!

Everybody Cares About Something

I enjoyed reading these “corporate values.”

My favorites were Coca Cola and Southwest Airlines. Of course, I like biblical values, and I could square mine with these.

I don’t know about “being present, connecting with transparency, dignity and respect.” You might want to discuss this one with someone over a cup of coffee, but not too loudly.

Nevertheless inspired, I decided to see what the wisest guy in the world thought was important, and here are his values from Ecclesiastes 7:

Verse 1—Keep your good name

Verses 2,4—Stay sober

Verse 3—Learn from loss

Verse 5—Listen to rebukes

Verse 6—Laugh last

Verse 7—Pay your way

Verse 8—Finish

Verse 8—Patience

Verse 9—Stay cool

Verse 10—Look forward

Verses 11,12—Know

Verses 13,14—Accept fate

 

 

Three C’s

The inspiration for this post comes from the biblical character Daniel. No, we’re not going to talk about him in the lion’s den, but the characteristics Daniel exhibited administrating and leading under four kings. This is a remarkable feat by itself. Basically the whole time Judah was in captivity in Babylon, Daniel was behind the scenes. While an incredible tenure, Daniel exhibited the same godliness and integrity throughout that time, unmoved by all his trials and tribulations.

It makes one happy to stay consistent at something, maybe at a job for 20 years, or staying fit, for example. Godly living over 70 years with no blemishes on the permanent record is noteworthy. What in your life or in your vocation can you be more consistent? Such a change requires starting somewhere, so don’t quit something before you start mainly because you’ll have to do it for a long time for it to matter! There’s a saying about a journey of a thousand miles. It starts with one step.

I was also struck recently of something new in the familiar story of Daniel cutting a deal with the overseer under Alphanaz to  not eat the king’s food and drink the king’s wine. You’d say that a man so consistent would not be prone to compromise. But lest we forget, Daniel was first and foremost a politician–in a good sense. From his earliest years, he struck compromises that allowed him to stay true to his Lord, and still keep his head–until it was all about him praying to his God. What struck me is that the vegetables he ordered up were still prepared by the king! And the water, who can complain about just wanting water? So the plan was uncanny and it worked. The lesson: Are you sticking to your guns about something that might be holding you back? Have you thought creatively about the issue? Have you prayed for wisdom? You may have created an unnecessary logjam in your career. So try to find a suitable compromise.

Finally, everything that Daniel did from the very beginning required courage. Our crude society calls this trait any number of things, but like the lion in the Wizard of Oz, most of us lack courage to make the BIG DECISION, whether to own up or to step out on your own or to stand up for yourself. Whatever it might be, what would you do if you just had the courage to do it? Well, what are you waiting for!