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Daniel LeMoine is a social entrepreneur, change-maker, and writer. Here he writes at the intersection of faith, work, & building a matterful career.

Filtering by Category: family

The Real Casualty of Us-versus-Them (Instead of "We")

Dan LeMoine

The biggest casualty of having an attitude of 'us-versus-them' (instead of the inclusive ‘we’) is that we rob ourselves of the ability to experience the true fullness of life and the true richness of our humanity. I'm not talking about geo-politics or macro-economic policies. I'm talking about the most basic of human opportunities.

I’m ashamed to say that I was once much more an ‘us-vs.them’-type of person. By the grace of God I’ve grown tremendously in my openness to engaging with humanity — particularly the humanity that doesn’t talk like me, look like me, vote like me, laugh at the same jokes as me, believe like me, worship like me, dress like me, or smell like me. It’s not often easy. Nor is it clean and ordered, black and white. It’s messy and uncomfortable lots of the time.

If I’d continued to remain fixed in this mindset of separation and fear (that’s often what the us-them’ mindset is rooted in) — approaching those different than me with an aire of superiority and a closed mind and heart — I’m reluctant to think how shallow and less colorful my life would be.

Being driven by an us-versus-them mentality means we’d never have met our Syrian friends in a random park on the Canadian shore of Lake Ontario. I’d never have experienced the taste of their homemade grape leaves, the smell of the rich smoke from their argylle, the feel of their warm mint tea in tiny styrofoam cups, heard the pleasant sound of their Arabic and Syrian languages, or the comforting laughter we shared while sharing stories of kids and freedom and religion and life.

Old mindsets could’ve easily labeled them (<—see what I did there) as “weird,” felt superior about my clothes, my food, my skin tone, my language. Man, what an utter tragedy that would have been.

The real casualty of not having a “we”-attitude is us. When we put up walls (figurative and literal), the thing we are hurting is ourselves by choosing a safe, sterile, and hollow life. By choosing a life of fear and scarcity and segregation instead of a life abounding in love and connection, we hurt ourselves by living outside of God’s call to engage and be in community.



Connect With The "Why" To Get Important Things Done

Dan LeMoine

Yesterday I finished the "8 Strategies of Building A Culture That Sticks (or ‘Don’t Just Think About It, BE About It’)” and the 8th Strategy is: Connect Yourself (and Others) to The Why in order to truly bring to fruition the culture you desire. Here, I want to expound on this tactic a bit.

Here's a short and sweet video from the guys at Fizzle (of the above mentioned podcast) which explains this tactic very nicely. Podcast about why our work isn't getting done here:

[Serendipitously enough, I was then in the gym this afternoon and listening to one of my favorite podcasts on honest business building and the hosts hit on something that I think really drives home this approach of connecting with your why, which I'll touch on below. Watch video at right ==>]

When we (re)connect with our Why — the reason a project, objective, or to-do is important to our business — it legitimizes our otherwise non-urgent projects which often got deprioritized by all the urgent “fires" we are forced to put out in our organizations.

By connecting to the Why behind a given objective or project, we’re in essence building a business case (a strong rationale) for doing a thing, especially when that 'thing' falls into the important-but-not-urgent category. Let’s take this vague concept of culture as an example.

In the theme of the previous post, forging a culture you can be proud of falls directly into this category of “important but not often urgent."

Work/team culture is an important thing. I think we can agree on that.

But I can tell you from my time trying to upstart my own venture — intangibles like culture and team morale and whether we’re “living our values” was hard to focus time and resources on when Survival and Urgency were the two modes we operated in most.

Each time I felt the urge to cancel our weekly team pow-wows — where we checked in, enjoyed organic coffee (roasted on premises!), and sharpened each other via Seth Godin’s Krypton Course — I had to reassure myself that this “culture stuff” matters. I had to remind myself that if I wanted to build an organization I was proud of, it was this stuff (ie. the pouring into our humans) that mattered more than the emails I needed to send, the potential partners I need to call, or the interns I needed to direct.

I had to connect to the Why behind pouring into my staff in order to push through the dip of doubt of doing the important-but-not-urgent thing.

Our values are only our values if they cost us something, remember.

How I've used this strategy in brand building

The Doulos Brand Platform is another example of a project where the Why is a primary motivating factor. I’m currently championing and spearheading this project, and in all candor, it’s been a struggle to see this thing to the finish line (because it’s important but never urgent).

[For reference: a brand platform is a guide to how we look, sound, and feel as a brand. It’s the things we believe as an organization and how those practically play out into our brand messaging and how others experience our story. It’s an intentional guide and important first step to making raving fans of our donors and supporters. To get a more visual idea, you can see amazing examples of this here and here.] 

In the begining, my motivating force behind building this brand platform was because it was fun and I was excited about running point on building a delightful brand experience like those of the organizations I look up to. Then, as my zeal naturally waned, and as others stopped asking me this project, it kept being pushed lower on my to-do list.

How will I ever get excited about this again and get it done? Maybe you've asked yourself the same question on certain projects you've started on as well.

I had to reconnect with WHY it is important to our organization. I had to revisit my belief that Doulos can be an enviable brand, and that a well thought out brand will be key to making raving fans. I had to remind myself that a delightfully designed brand is a repeateable and memorable brand. I had to remind myself that our message — a beautiful message of hope and transformation through education — truly matters, and that a consistent and intentional brand message helps to spread our story and multiply our impact. 

Reconnecting with my core beliefs about how brand identity is key to building a successful organization helped me revive this project and get moving on it. 

Practically, it’s helpful to ask: Why is this project so important? (And not just once you’ve found yourself putting off a project, but before, during, and all the way to the finish line).

The guys in the podcast even go as far as advising that as you write out your project, include the desired outcome and Why right there on your task list. This way every time you look at your project task list, it’s right in your face of why this matters.

This tactic has ramifications WAY beyond work, as you can imagine. If i’m able to think through why asking humbling asking for forgiveness from my wife matters, or why revisiting a conflict I had with my parents will help us build a better relationship, or why spending two hours in the middle of my work day to “shalom and granola” with a close friend matters, well, then I’m able to execute on the important stuff that too often gets marginalized in my life. And that, my friends, is key to holistic success.



Compounding What Matters (Not Just Interest)

Dan LeMoine

You'll hear about compounding interest again and again if you dive into any personal financial resource, talk with any advisor, or the watch the squawking heads on CNBC.

We're all familiar with this concept of compounding interest. It's common wisdom to be saving diligently and early to take advantage of the game-changing nature of compounding interest. The earlier you save, the faster and and faster the snowball of your nest-egg will accelerate and grow.

But why don't we hear about the other thing — arguable the more important things — we can take advantage of the compounding nature of?


  • Compounding character...
  • Compounding discipline...
  • Compounding habits of creativity...
  • Compounding humility and mercy...
  • Compounding nature of building your body of work...
  • Compounding faithfulness...
  • Compounding strength (physical, emotional, spiritual)...
  • Compounding love...
  • Compounding influence...
  • Compounding focus...
  • Compounding gratitude...
  • Compounding impact...

Let's focus on padding our nest-egg of with what matters.

What other true, honorable, just, pure, commendable, excellent and eternally-focused things we should be prioritizing in our focus? Anything I missed? 



13 Questions To Help You Win In Your Marriage

Dan LeMoine

I firmly believe we can build meaningful careers, be successful in our work without sacrificing our relationships with our significant others. One of the things that jaded me most about the business world is the number of A-players who, somewhere along the way, sacrificed their marriages in the name of success. I don't want that. Ever. (Who does?)

When my marriage is flourishing I feel like I can take on the world. I’m not sure if you feel the same way, but knowing I’m putting first things first, helps me focus and grow the second and third things. I find it extremely difficult to compartmentalize, so when I’m winning in one area of my life—like my marriage relationship—it ripples into other areas of my life too. (Unfortunately, the inverse is true also). 

You’ll find below a list of 13 Questions (plus a few bonus ones) to help cultivate a meaningful and fresh conversations and a healthier marriage—to help you and your spouse “mingle souls” a bit better.

First, consider kissing for a full 12 seconds. I think I read somewhere it helps foster feelings of togetherness. Then, proceed to the question (or don’t <wink><wink>)

You don’t have to go in order. Browse the questions, like a nice buffet, and pick a few. Save the rest.

  1. What are some of your most vivid memories of our married life so far? (best, most challenging, different houses they lived in, etc.)
  2. How is our marriage reflecting the love of Christ? (Consider Col. 3:12-14)
  3. How can we best make sure Christ is at the center of our relationship? (Ephesians 5)
  4. As we continue to grow in our marriage relationship, what are three practical ways that I could demonstrate my love for you?—ways that say to you “He/she really loves me!” (The ways change so ask this periodically)
  5. What are 5 qualities that we really like about each other? (These may have changed over the years, that’s okay!)
  6. What have I done or said recently that hurts or bothers you?—something that might be putting a barrier in our relationship? (Remember: intimacy means “without barriers”)
  7. What could you share with me that would help me to understand you better?
  8. How have you changed during the time we have been married? (Positive, negative, or neutral)
  9. What is your dream for our marriage? what would you like to see happen? 1, 10, 20 years from now, get crazy.
  10. What do I do or say — or don’t do or say — which negatively impacts our relationship?
  11. What special trip is on your bucket list?
  12. What would you like to do in the next week or two that would be a lot of fun for you? (together, alone…no strings attached)
  13. What is a meaningful gift I could give you today?

What are other questions might you ask each other? 


Here are a few more examples to add to your intimacy and conversational toolkit:

What spiritual gift do you see in me?
What’s the purpose/mission statement of our marriage?
What are some topics you’d like to talk about that we seldom talk about?
What do you think God is doing in our relationship right now?
What way would you like us tot change the way we resolve conflict?
When is the hardest time for you to say sorry?
Describe your most embarrassing moment in HS?
What did you think the first time you met my parents?
Do I take you for granted? How?

These questions came from when we hosted couples night and our focus was a great 50m talk by a friend and pastor of ours and his wife. The talk then ended with John and Debbie Palmer of Emerge Counselling Services asking the audience to break out and ask their spouses a few of these questions. Hope it helps you mingle souls and open fun, hard, and good conversations.

Any questions you came up with?






15 Actions, Habits, & Routines to Feel More Powerful, Peaceful, & Productive

Dan LeMoine

The last 4 or 5 years I’ve really been coming into my own in terms of routines and habits. It’s been a thrash—experimenting with different approaches and tactics, and finding what works for me and what doesn’t. A.M. workouts vs. P.M. workouts. Breakfast or no breakfast. So much is trial and error and finding out what feels most like me. As you experiment with your own habits and routines and disciplines, here are some of the actions that, for me, result in me feeling powerful, peaceful, and productive—little wins throughout the day which help build and maintain good momentum and good vibes.

Hopefully they can be of some help to you as well.

15 Things That Make Me Feel Powerful, Peaceful, & Productive

  1. ROMWOD or yoga—what I love about ROMWOD is that the practices only last about 10-20 minutes, and you’re left feeling like a million bucks.
  2. Morning Workout with a few buddies—getting a quick win right off the bat is key to feeling like an absolute savage during your day. Sometimes we hit it hard, other times we end up talking more about life and marriage and Jesus. Either way, it’s a blessed time.
  3. Quiet time / prayer / meditating on scripture—I'm currently using the He Reads Truth app to help facilitate this.
  4. Good views (mountains or city) — something about gazing out onto a beautiful scene jacks me up and makes me feel like I can conquer the world. 
  5. Hot coffee — freshly brewed coffee just smells like productivity. Nothing better to help you crush your day than a good cuppa.
  6. Cool fresh mountain air in the morning before the pueblo awakes—for me, this is linked to the morning quiet times, being up and at ‘em before everyone else, always gives me a solid sense I'm doing the right things.
  7. Publishing/shipping—when I’m creating and producing I feel like I’m making matterful steps towards building the career I want. Shipping blog posts, or newsletters, or creating content I hope is meaningful is a complete rush.
  8. Learning—there’s nothing like a new book or podcast or course…but I’m self aware encough to know that this can become un-empowering and unproductive if I”m not careful. The danger here is that there is endless info to consume and we can all fall into constanly learning and consuming and not actually shipping and creating.
  9. Checking things off my list (even if they're unimportant)—there’s just something about a well planned day and getting things done that makes me feel unstoppable.
  10. Paying bills, doing my taxes, budgetting, getting squared away on personal administrative tasks, etc.—I know this is weird (I mean, who actually likes paying taxes?). I don’t really like it, but getting it done and off my plate is such a good feeling, and it does kind of feel good knowing I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing — GTD on these type of perosnal administrative tasks generally leaves me with a sense of empowerment and good vibes that I’m doing the right things, paying my debts, tithing/giving generously, saving faithfully, and general feeling that we’re moving in the right direction with prudence and good stewardship.
  11. Connecting with other playmakers and world-changers—nothing like the excitement and good vibes of a new friendship, or potential in a new connection.
  12. Being appropriately rewarded by the market—not about money, but about the validation that something I created is connecting with people, providing value, and gaining traction.
  13. Cold showers and cold water plunges (especially preceeded by a solid sweaty workout).
  14. When my marriage is flourishing—When my gal is well, I’m well and feel invincible.
  15. Solid music to suit the mood and occasion.

It seems like the common thread here is doing the right things, in the right order, keeping first things first, and taking care of my responsibilities, and treating myself with respect. Some things are structuring my environment, some are habits, some are just quirks.

What things are on your powerful peace productive list?



How My 90 Year Old Grandma Will Help Me Win In Work & Life

Dan LeMoine

Today my grandmother turns 90 years old. (Happy Birthday Grandma B! Woot woot!)

She’s had the audacity (yes, 90 years is nothing less than audacous!) to live for almost a century. She was widowed early on and raised 7 wonderful kids all on her own (shout out to my mom and all my crazy aunts and uncs!).  

She’s built an amazing legacy of generosity, and strength, rich family tradition. In my own life she has left a mark, being a big part of my own exposure to the Gospel early on in my life.

As my massive family gather today in Ohio to celebrate her life, I got thinking of my own life and legacy (probably because I’m selfish and introspective and…yeah, selfish. I’m working on that though) —

When I’m 90 what legacy do I want to leave? Spiritually, with my family, with my work and career? What do I want my marriage and family and body of work to look like in sixty years?

It’s fun to think about isn’t it. Go ahead, pause and try it. 

I want my wife to be well loved. I want her to flourish because of how my love and our relationship reflects the unconditional, covenantal love of Christ. I want her beauty to deepen because of our running hard and fast toward Jesus, constantly trying to out-serve and out-love one another with spirits of humility (if I had to guess, she’s beating me in this). I want my kids (if we’re blessed to have them) to be well loved and have a strong sense of who they are and what they stand for. I want them to be well-equipped to confront the stuff of this world and be able to filter their experiences through a Godly framework which results in life and abundance and flourishing. I want a home (not just a house) marked by availability, openness, and the leisure of eternity. I want a career marked by impact, solving meaningful problems, a sense of purpose as a means to help others flourish; a body of work I’m proud of, not just one that got me rich. I desire a path without regret, without shortcuts, and driven by something deeper than money or the promise of some ill-defined retirement.

The challenge is keeping this long-term vision in a world of short-term distraction. There are too many distractions (I checked twitter and IG like 15 times before hunkering down to write this morning.) that tyrannize us with the urgent and constantly rush us back to the immediate. Too many siren-calls which tempt us to make financially-driven moves and play the short game. Too many pit-falls which ensnare us and blur our long-term vision. Too many lies which creep in robbing us from ever being content and grateful and present. 

I guess I don’t know how it will end up. None of us do. There are a lot of variables I can and can’t control, but slowing down and think out 60 years seems to be a nice reframe. At least today it does.

Thinking of 90, thinking of Grandma, gives me a powerful and peaceful perspective — a good reminder to keep actively building in my life. To ruthlessly root out the passivity which bares the rotten fruit of mediocrity. It reminds me to constantly fortify and strengthen my foundation of Truth, each day, while simultaneously building the body of work I’ll be proud of in 60 years, brick by brick.

I’ve heard it said that the people who had the biggest impact on this world, had thier sights set on the next. Yeah, that’s good stuff. For me, it’s can be hard to build with eternity in mind, ‘cause it’s hard to wrap ones mind around something so grand. But I can just about get my mind around being 90—thanks Grandma Bentley—which is a pretty good start.



Failure sucks (and one tiny experiment in how to make it suck less)

Dan LeMoine

Failure sucks. Yes, it’s part of life, but it still sucks when you don’t feel like you’re winning.

I know, I know…Thomas Edison said, “I haven't failed, I’ve only found 10,000 ways it won’t work." Welp, good on ya Tom.

Even the smallest little ways, losing, failing, falling short of what you know your best is, is simply not fun. I have yet to find a way to completely pad myself from the yucky feelings associated with failing.

Today was a blah day…mainly because of a bunch of mini failures which bogged me down. 

I did not get accepted to a group I applied for in Santo Domingo today. I was hopeful and excited for it. It sucked I didn’t get accepted.

I had an interaction with my wife, which, while well intended, was not recieved well and did not result in unity and intimacy. That sucked.

I waited in line at the doctors for two hours only to have the doctor not show up, and me still be the 8th on the list, and I didn’t get seen. (Out of my control, I know, but it did not feel like a win). That sucked too.

I did not get accomplished that which I set out to accomplish at the beginning of the day, for various reasons in and outside my control. I hate the feeling of un-productivity.

Our staff devo today challenged us to make a list of the things we’re grateful for throughout the day. All I have on my list so far today is “decaf coffee.” And that’s a lie. Who really likes decaf, c'mon? So I failed there too. 

This post (more of a journal entry really) is largely an experiment. And it seems to be working. I told myself I’d list out all the ‘failures’ I can point to that are getting me down. 

Something about writing them out — naming them — seems really cathartic and puts them in appropriate perspective. In some way, it seems to clear my headspace and wins from the day begin popping to the front of my mind as I empty the losses onto the page.

  • Costa Rica consulting trip with Next Level Ballplayer, booked!
  • Played ultimate frisbee in the rain and mud!
  • Laughed at ridicoulous riddles with my teammates at lunch!
  • Made plans for some argyle (hookah) and games this evening with friends!
  • 1/25th of the way to my goal of 100 days of writing!
  • Secured another student sponsorship for one of our pre-kinder 3 year olds!
  • I get to ask my wife for forgivenness and circle back with her and let her know my true heart from our earlier conversation!
  • I read like 4 or five thought provoking articles while waiting at the doctors.
  • First golf outing event sponsors and golfers are registering for the event in June!
  • Got an amazing complement from a friend who was touched by a random post on IG this morning.

So many wins it turns out...

We all know failure is key to success, rationally. But it still sucks. Experiment with different ways to capture those meh thoughts and blah moments, process them, remove yourself from the outcome of your efforts, and find your own tactics for making space for the good to surface. This has been my experiment for the day. What will yours be?