Tag Archives: purpose


The One Question you Should be Asking

There is a relatively short list of people who have had direct and personal influence on my life like Dave Kraft! He is a man who is a living definition of how Shandel Group defines leadership. All the more, he has stood the test of time. Now in the latter part of his life, he is leading and loving people very well.

Today we are honored to share a recent write-up Dave did on determining priorities.


Alan Andersen

Here’s Dave….

As a leader, you need to regularly ask yourself this question!

What Is The Most Important Thing I Should Be Working On Right Now?

What are the most important things I should be working on…

  • This day
  • This week
  • This month

Not what is…

  • The easiest thing
  • The urgent thing
  • The most fun thing
  • The coolest thing
  • The what-I-most-feel-like-doing thing
  • The keep-people-off-my-back thing
  • The keeps-nipping-at-my-heels thing
  • The what-will-make-me-popular thing

But what is… The Most Important Thing?

The most important thing as it relates to your mission, your purpose, your vision, your gifts, your calling, your capacity, your job description and your deadlines.

It was Peter Drucker who said, “Efficiency is doing things right, but effectiveness is doing the right things.” As a leader you want to be more about “effective” than “efficient.” You can be extremely efficient at things that really don’t matter in the long run. Many leaders are proactive rather than strategic in how they make their decisions and use their time.

Ask yourself at the beginning of a week: What are the 5-10 most important things that you need to accomplish this week?

Ask yourself at the beginning of a day: What are the 3-5 most important things that you need to accomplish this day?

Then, stick to those identified items. Don’t distract yourself with things of lesser value and importance, and don’t allow others to pull you off mission, unless what they are asking is truly of greater value than what you had originally planned to do.

This is one of the most helpful, practical things I have learned in my 45 years of pastoral ministry.

Don’t let the winds of other people’s demands and your own inner compulsions drive you onto a reef of frustration. Paraphrased from: “Tyranny Of The Urgent” by Charles E. Hummel.

Do all of this in total dependence on Jesus as you seek to be led by him, empowered by him and honor him.

–Special thanks to Dave Kraft for sharing his wisdom with us. This was originally posted on www.davekraft.org

This article previously appeared at Shandel Group


Invest to Have Success!

The holiday decorations are down and put away. Life is assuming its regular routine. Perhaps the weather is dismal where you are, and you’re feeling the winter blues. The ink on your New Year’s resolution is barely dry, and maybe you’re feeling disillusioned by the whole thing! Are you wondering – will there be change this year? Will I finally be fulfilled?

You’ve heard it said: The happiest, most satisfied people in the world are, very often, the ones who give the most to others. Their joy is not found in material things, but in the ways they invest in other people. You’ve seen our Wish List for Your 2016, and we desire to keep this list in front of you for a bit longer – let it sink in!

The final items on our list are directly related to investing in people. YOU have gifts and talents that can be used to better others.

Here are some reminders:

  • I want you to see people, not as objects or obstacles but as human beings. I want you to see their strengths and identify their weaknesses. I want you to focus on their strengths and encourage them to use them daily. Try coaching a weakness into a strength by positive transformation (i.e. a poor communicator can be an excellent communicator with self-awareness and instruction.)
  • I want you to celebrate wins and to catch people doing what’s right.
  • I want you to engage in healthy conflict — daily. Disengage from dysfunctional conflict. Know the difference.
  • I want you to seek alignment. That’s a big statement.
  • I want you to have clarity and to truly focus on what matters only, everyday.
  • I want you to live with purpose and lead others in a manner so they can live their purpose.
  • I want you to be heard. I want you to be seen. I want you to be understood. I want you to first do the same for others, be the first to serve.
  • I want you to take care of yourself mentally, physically, spiritually, emotionally. I want you to know your weak area and get a coach or mentor to help you with it.
  • I want you to call out greatness in others and I want you to be great.

Simply, “to be” is the key. I want you to be the best you can be in 2016.

Your Coach,


Photo credit Lizzy Lou Photography

Don’t Waste It!

Have you realized how precious life is? This time of year often causes us to pause and reflect on our lives – are we living with purpose? Are the most important things to us the things to which we truly give our attention? In the New Year you have the opportunity to take your life to the next level and finally live the life you were made to live! If you need help getting clear on what that means for you, check out our coaching programs and Executive Essentials – or perhaps one of our assessments can help you find what motivates you and where your capabilities are. Maybe this could be on your holiday gift list for yourself or someone in your life! Life is precious – don’t waste it!

These tips come from one of my clients, who wrote it as a eulogy. What a great reminder of being present each and every day and moving forward in all areas of our lives! Thanks to Mark Rossi of Avanti Restaurant Solutions.

Don’t Waste It

If you want to say something, say it.

If you want to try something, try it.

If you want to ask something, ask it.

If you want to quit something, quit it.

Time is precious.

If you want to taste something, taste it.

If you want to drive something, drive it.

If you want to visit somewhere, visit it.

And if you want to be somebody, be them.

If not now, when?

Contributed by Mark Rossi

Your Coach,



What’s Your Personal Foundation?

Who doesn’t want to accomplish more in life? Don’t most of us want more time? More money? More love? More satisfaction? Yet, isn’t our tendency to go for it rather than simply having it all come to us?

A strong personal foundation includes 10 distinct stepping stones which, when linked together, provide a solid yet personalized base on which to build one’s life. And, in a world which sometimes appears to be built on quicksand, we all need a personal foundation on which to depend.

These 10 stepping stones of a Personal Foundation are:

  1. A past which you have fully completed.
  2. A life which is based fully on integrity.
  3. Needs which have been identified and fully met.
  4. Boundaries which are ample and automatic.
  5. Standards which bring out your best.
  6. An absence of tolerations.
  7. Choosing to come from a positive place.
  8. A family which nurtures you.
  9. A community which develops you.
  10. A life fully oriented around your true values.

Anyone who is living a meaningful life must have a strong personal foundation so they can afford to look up at the stars instead of down at their feet. Having a strong personal foundation allows a person to fully use their skills and resources, because instead of constantly worrying about the fundamentals of their life, they are free to focus on the task at hand. The process of building a personal foundation also teaches a person how to eliminate and prevent many common problems that are usually thought of as an expected part of life.

A skyscraper doesn’t start at street level. In fact, the taller the building, the deeper the foundation. This holds true for people, too.

What is YOUR personal foundation? If you need help defining your values and purpose, we are here to help! Visit us at shandelgroup.com

Your Coach,



Discovering the Why Factor

I would like you to think for a moment like a great company.

We teach companies that their why (which we call purpose) must be discovered vs. made up. Your challenge is to discover what lies deep within you, correctly name it and then lead with it – this is your why. While the what is strategized and created, the why must be discovered and brought forth – in other words, it is already in there, so go get it.

When True Life Coaching (now Shandel Group) celebrated ten years in business, we were proud to say that our why had not changed from day one. In contrast, our growth requires the what and the how to continuously evolve. Things never stay the same around here … except our why.

Currently on our roster are two companies in the fifth generation of ownership. Both are in the middle of a huge change of the what and how. What keeps them grounded is their unchanging why, which allows for agility as markets change and business models morph. It is super fun to watch new leadership continue their great-grandfathers’ legacy.

At the same time, we are helping two start-ups who are growing spooky fast.

Company A is choosing to invest in the painstaking process of discovering their big why, defining their culture and strategy while differentiating themselves from the competition. The result is they are on track to make nearly two times their projections, and doing it with fewer people, all who love their work!

Company B start-up unfortunately is still in the weeds. The leader is unwilling to take a moment to invest in the why, believing he can lead with his personality alone. The result is a bottom-line accomplishment of the what with a high emotional drain to other team players, not to mention the lost opportunities.

As a leader – whether of a company, a family or life – can you articulate what you are uniquely good at and why you are so excited about living your life? On that foundation, can you strengthen your what and how until you are not just good, but great?

Why does it matter? Why do you matter?

You matter because you have something distinctive and special to contribute to this world before you leave it. That’s why.

Your Coach,



Living the Only Day you Have

Meaning, purpose, and intentionality. You probably know the logical reason why you do the things you do. But you may not know the purpose behind what you are logically doing day after day.

It is an important distinction. As leaders we have established plans, goals, and action steps that fit into our strategies. But we haven’t taken time to figure out why what we do really matters.

Do you know deep in your heart that what you do, and who you are, really matters? To whom? For what? And really – why?

Think about it: If you only had one day to live, what would you do? What matters most? Well, today is the only day you know you have.

Relationships are the key. The truth is, what you do for others is the only thing that truly matters in the end. Think about the times when life hit you hard and you were exposed financially or in another area where you required help. Suddenly you can’t medicate the relationship pain/gap with money, busy living, and success. Look at your life. What do you find? The holes you try desperately to keep hidden are revealed in the spotlight.

So now is the time to exercise your choice. You can feel the emptiness, address the source, and discover your purpose. Or you can find a new way to numb yourself with more self-medicating than ever before. Medicating the gap is a protection we all use to some degree. If only we can come clean and admit it, we can be free to live our purpose.

Where are you getting your purpose, your joy, and your fulfillment? What is the name of the well you are drinking from right now? Every day you drop your bucket into a well – and up comes what? Remember, what you are drinking, you are becoming. Is your well toxic? Is it intoxicating? Is it refreshing? Is it stagnant? Is it full of you? What is in your well?

After you examine what well you are drinking from, then drink deeply – if it is the life-giving sustenance you are living for. If not, then let’s dig a new well! Let’s dig deep for what matters. Now is the time.

Your Coach,




This article and other great leadership tips are available in Clarity: Focusing on What Matters


5 Keys to Define Your Niche – with Debra Trappen

If you’ve been around True Life Coaching or LEXI Leadership for any length of time, you’ve likely heard the name Debra Trappen. Debra is a dear friend of Shandel’s and co-produder of the LEXI Women’s Leadership Summit.

As you read in our post last week, our team is helping out with the blogging for a few weeks while Shandel prepares for her upcoming wedding. It’s our way of showing how much we love and support Shandel and John!

Just like Shandel, Debra has a passion for living out her purpose – and for helping others discover their personal brand and then putting it into action! This post is part of her series on Defining Your Niche. Please visit her site for more greatness!

Debra, we thank you for investing in our team in so many ways, and helping us support our dear Shandel as she gets ready to begin her newest adventure!

With thanks,


Here’s Debra…..

“Becoming known for one thing is not hard… It is saying NO to all of the other distractions that is the hard part.”

Too many entrepreneurs and small business owners start out believing they can or should be all things to all people. They believe they are “leaving business on the table” when they focus on a target market.  However, businesses owners taking on this EVERYTHING attitude risk many issues including burnout, exhaustion, confusion, and failure.  By defining a specific niche (a well-defined segment of a larger market), both the business owner and their customers know exactly what to expect.

Because it is difficult to be all things to all people, business owners must craft niches to suit their business needs and resources.  Creating your niche will give your business the greatest chance of success, but where do you start?

Simply put—> DEFINE IT.

Here are 5 key ways to get you on the path to defining your niche:


Get focused… this is who you are going to work with every day.  What type of lifestyle does your target audience live?  How old are they?  What are they passionate about doing, solving, or being?  Rather than choosing a broad category, narrow your target customer down, think about things like: gender, geographical location, married or single?, hobbies, employer or occupation, etc.  When you define your ideal customer you are also defining the language you use, pin pointing the platforms you use to engage and promote on, and allowing yourself to focus in and learn all you can about that specific demographic.  BONUS: All of these help in strengthening your brand as “THE Go To” in the niche.


Ask yourself a few questions to help you choose:

What industries do you know?  What industries do you love?  What industries do you have influence in?  Is there one industry that is the answer to all three questions?  If so, start there!  Remember, it is important to have a passion for what you do. As an entrepreneur, you get to choose – so choose wisely.  You might know a ton about the wine industry and you may have influence in it, but if you don’t get up every single day with an electric attitude to make, taste, and sell more wine… Well, you get the idea!


Many small businesses make a big mistake here, and try to offer every type of service or product they can for their market. Remember, the concept is being known for a specialty.  For instance, saying  “I sell real estate in Seattle” is just too broad.  “I sell bungalows (or condos or multi-unit buildings) in the Capitol Hill area” is specific.  When you state your speciality, people are able to catalogue it and can refer you business much easier.


There are always groups of people who have specific conditions or needs that automatically make it difficult to find service providers.  Maybe a “generalization” has caused your competitors to label a specific generation “not interesting yet”…  When this group of people find out THEY are your specialty, you will have secured clients for life.  If you market well and provide them a platform to share the story of your business, they will also help you build your business with referrals.


There are many ways to find out trends in your niche of choice.  Get rolling with these:

  • Google or Bing IT!  If you want to start selling personal training services, do a quick online search to find out how many others are in this space, in your area.  This quick snapshot will teach you a lot about the industry you are interested in, how others are marketing themselves, and possibly even show a gap in the space.
  • Set up a RSS Feed to keep up on top industry blogs and bloggers.
  • Work the hashtag searches… and LISTEN on social media platforms!  Over a billion people are on Facebook alone, so social can no longer be ignored.  It provides insight into what your target demographics wants and loves – for FREE.  Join a G+ Community or LinkedIn Group…  set up listening lists on Twitter… If your business matches the Instagram platform/demographic – make sure you are searching for top hashtags around your niche – and use them!

Last, but not least:

FORMULATE YOUR NICHE STATEMENT (ooohhhh… you know how I love formulas!)
In a nutshell, a niche statement formula looks like this: niche + problem + solution + promise = success.

Start by writing down these four elements:

  1. Your niche (I work with _ _ _ _ _ _ _ ) 
  2. Their problem (who want/need to _ _ _ _ _ _ _) 
  3. Your solution (If you are ready to or it is time to _ _ _ _ _ _ _ ) 
  4. Your promise (I will _ _ _ _ _ _ _ )

Here is an example:

“I work with entrepreneurs and small businesses who want to leverage social media to achieve their goals; (niche) those who know they need a strategy and have no idea where to begin (problem). If you are looking to build your business, find a new job, or build your sphere of influence (solution), I can help you clarify your story, define what social media platforms would be best for you to share it on, identify your target niche, and achieve your goals (promise).”

Are you ready to set your business up for success?

Work through these 5 keys, they will help you get clarity.  

Create your niche statement with the formula to help you share your unique selling position. 

Go out boldly, get your target niche’s attention, and ROCK your vision!

What will YOU do first?

- Debra Trappen

unnamedDebra Trappen is the Chief of Sass, Moxie and Experience of d11 consulting.  She founded the firm to help growth-minded women in business, and companies who want to serve them, SHINE online by firing up their personal and business brands – along with their attitudes.  If you want to start a business, attract more ideal clients, build influence, or amplify your voice – but have no idea where to start, Debra can help.  Get ready to: clarify your values, purpose and niche; define what social media platforms are best for you; and ACHIEVE your goals… All with lots of tech tips, oodles of moxie, and tons of fun along the journey.

Learn more about her purpose, experience her sharing style, and connect with her on social channels: d11consulting.com.  Sign up to have her “FIRE UP” messages delivered to your inbox: d11consulting.com/signup


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Vulnerability and The Receiving of Help

One thing I wish I would have discovered earlier in life is that fullness of life requires greater and greater amounts of vulnerability. In my journey, I have learned that my vulnerability has a lot to do with receiving from others. I am a giver by nature and I hope to always be a generous giving person. However, what I have discovered is that giving is the easy thing to do, it is safe, and it does not expose me. Receiving, on the other hand, is something I am learning to do. I have to admit it still isn’t easy, because it makes me feel well…vulnerable.

Vulnerable to someone feeling I am taking advantage of them. Vulnerable to the guilt of asking too much. Vulnerable to taking too much and being seen as selfish. It is all ridiculous and truly it is prideful and disgusting. I think it is a deep seeded fear of rejection and I am sure a host of other fears. The lie I operate from is “I can do it all,” I want to be independent <and not need others. Yet I crave and need the connection that only comes from a community of give and take relationships.

The truth is we need others and it is a giving thing to do to let others help and support us. This allows them to be the giver and they have the opportunity to feel awesome because they helped the giver. Its all so twisted. AND YET as I encourage all of you – I am getting faster to asking for help and for accepting the amazing gifts and talents of those around me.

IMG_5611Today was a victorious day of receiving from so many talented people. I had fun. I worked hard, got stuff done, and enjoyed being me. Why? Because other people invested in me. They helped me. They gave their time and their talent to me and I received it.

Lisa helped me this morning with LEXI Women’s Leadership Summit with her passion and great marketing talent.IMG_5608

Julie is a serious hair master and went the extra mile so the LEXI promo video would be awesome.

Wendy used her 20 years of industry talent and coached me as we shot the video. She made me relax and when I started being corporate – said, “Hey, where did Shandel go?”

Mike generously provided us space to shoot and took us on a tour to find perfect setting.

Jessi after shooting the LEXI video, did one for my new company the Shandel Group.

Loretta jumped in when it looked like a vendor wasn’t going to show up.


Tonight, Kristine will watch “Once Upon A Time” with me and manage the remote so I can multitask.

At the end of the day, my nieces will Facetime and make me smile. I will receive their love and IMG_4872affection with arms wide open.

I am full and I am happy because I humbled myself, I opened myself, and I cared enough about myself to receive the help I needed today. If only, I was more evolved that this was easy…simple, yes, but not easy. You will see me be more vulnerable and ask for more help. But for today, I was satisfied, grateful, and blessed.

Who do you need to ask to help you today?

Your Coach,




Why Do We Worry about Things that Won’t Happen?

Fear, worry, anxiety. Emotions the most successful leaders in the world face every day.

Do they serve any good purpose?

Wired to Worry

Fear is not bad in and of itself. It is a survival emotion (if you will) that ignites our amygdala to prepare our body for a fight or flight response to impending danger. The problem is our body doesn’t know if the threat is real or perceived. Thus, the brain is predisposed to find the negative (the threat) and alert us.

There may be 99 possibilities for greatness — but our brain will fixate on the 1 potential threat.

Thus, we must be disciplined to learn what is a real threat and take action, and let the other 85% of what will NEVER actually happen stop robbing us of our life, our health, and our joy.

What Are the Odds?

I’m not just making up these numbers. In the mid-1990s, researchers Drs. Adrian Matthews and Gerald Wells found that 85% of what we worry about will never actually happen. Furthermore, of the remaining 15%, we effectively handle the situation effectively 79% of the time!

Basically, for a lousy 3% probability, we allow fear and worry to rob our joy, steal our creativity and compromise our purpose.

You wouldn’t make a business decision based on 3% likelihood, would you? Today, join me in choosing to face whatever MIGHT happen with courage and confidence!

Invest in your women

Oh and one more thing – This entire epidemic of fear is the reason our theme to the 6th Annual LEXI Women’s Leadership Summit is FEARLESS. Send your women to it – seriously you need to invest in the women in your life in this area of being courageous and bold in all areas. It is Friday, May 2nd, and here is a special link for my personal discount. SEND YOUR WOMEN!

Let me know your thoughts below.

Fearlessly Your Coach,




Finish Strong: Keep the Main Thing the Main Thing

What is your strategy to stay focused and committed to what matters most in the final days of 2013? Thanksgiving dinner has finally digested. Christmas tree is up. Holiday parties commenced. Cyber Monday over. Back to normal? Whatever that is!!  In the hustle and bustle, I would like you to finish 2013 strong and set yourself up for clarity to focus on 2014. How can you get everything done, honor your values and keep the main thing the main thing?

Answer: Be Intentional

1. What Matters Most to You?

What are the 3 main (top) things in your life that matter most to you? What is is your main thing? For me it is 3 Fs: My faith, my family and my friends. Sadly, during this busy time it is easy to get pulled in so many directions, I give only my leftover energy and resources to what matters most. Thus our challenge is to be intentional and plan ahead. It starts with considering what you must say NO to in order to keep the main 3, the main thing.

50 days2. State Your Intention and Get Support

What outcome do you desire for the rest of 2013? Are there goals you still need to reach? Relationships you need to repair? Habits you need to break? What did you state at the beginning of the year and where are you today? Then look at your main thing – what do you need to put into place each day to make sure you keep the main thing, the main thing?

For me,when I eat too much sugar and gluten, I am unable to be my best and be life giving to my 3 F’s. So this year, I assembled an accountability group during the holidays. We check in each week and only get 10 cheats in 50 days. So far so good. I am honoring my intentions because I have support in my weakness.

3. Be Grateful for What You Have

It’s interesting, but true, that when we choose to be thankful, our perspective and thinking changes. It is also true that when we verbally acknowledge our gratitude, something transforms in our brain and we live it! I love this quote:

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.” – Melody Beattie

For the last two years, I have kept a gratitude journal with the goal of listing the number to correspond with the year. It truly makes a huge difference in my life. So during the last few days of 2013 how about listing the number of things that you are grateful for that correspond with the day of the month… which ironically is 3 for today is December 3rd.

photo4. Share Your Gratitude With Others

Now, here is the challenge – find opportunities to verbally express to others what they are! If you need ideas, check out the 3 ways I use my gratitude list when life isn’t going my way. When I do it, I am transformed and reminded that I am abundantly blessed! So I will model that here… I am extremely grateful to you blog readers. You make all the work I do to write a joy when I know it is helpful to you.

What subjects would you like me to blog about in the last days of 2013? Leave your suggestions below and I will be happy to answer any of your life coaching questions. Ask Shandel podcast will up and running next year sometime. Let’s start now!

Grateful To Be Your Coach,