DJ Gorena

Life as I see it

Listening to the Right People

John C. Maxwell says that if you have no one following you, then you’re not a leader. I say that if you have people following you, you better make sure that you are listening to the right people to give the people who are following you the best words of wisdom you possibly can! Not everything you think is the best and there is always others who are much wiser than you–this I have learned in my 50+ years.

I asked my grandfather when he was 91 years old this question: “Grandpa, do you think that you’ve arrived now that you’re 91 years old?” I think the wisest way he would’ve answered that question was with the words that he gave me: “Son, I’m just scratching the surface!” Even my grandfather at 91 years old was still learning and still growing. He was a leader for many years. He had his own businesses and he worked for others in management positions. He was a leader in his church and even planted churches and led people. My grandfather taught me many lessons on how to lead and what to watch out for in my leadership. He taught me the snares of those who would try to cause me to fail and how they would set traps if I was walking unaware.

My dad is now 80 years old. I’ve watched him all of these years and the way that he has worked in various positions for others. He has been in management, owned his own businesses, and led people all of his life. He has led music, taught classes both secular and in churches, and helped my grandfather plant the churches that he planted. He learned from his dad how to lead and he has always been able to have people follow him. Between he and my grandfather–my two greatest professors in life–they taught me much about leadership: it’s all about building relationships with people. Always seek to reach out and touch someone and build relationships with them. My grandfather and father never met a stranger. To this day, I will receive texts from my dad when he’s in the Country and he will just send me words of wisdom to live by, something to think about, something to consider for the day, something about relationships.

My professors from college were exceptional. Many great men taught me how to lead. To this day I have kept up with many of my former professors and still glean from their studies both past and present. I seek them out because I want to know what they know now. I learned what they knew then! And they are still willing to teach me and give me the knowledge, understanding and wisdom that they have learned–and I’m not having to pay the course fees anymore (who’s using wisdom now?!?)! These men have taught me great lessons in life on leadership. They have people that they have taught–some of them now for over 40-50 years–and their pupils are literally all over the world teaching others what they learned from these men and they still communicate with these same professors as I do. Leadership with these men is evident as we still follow them.

Leadership advice should come from those we trust. People who have been there, who have led others–who have actually had followers. It is foolish for any of us to listen to those who have never led. If we’re listening to someone who has never had any followers and who have never led people, just because they’ve read a bunch of books about leadership, it doesn’t mean that they are leaders or know anything about leading. Just because they read or write the latest blogs on leadership, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they are leaders. Remember what Maxwell said, if they don’t have anyone following them, they are not leaders!

Let me give you an example. Say that you are about to start your own business. You are planning to open up your own Coca-Cola Bottling Company. You decide to come to me for advice on how to begin your bottling company. Now I’ve never owned a Coca-Cola Bottling Company. I don’t even know the first thing you’d need to do to open up your own bottling company, so I tell you that what you need to do is first rent a large warehouse and then purchase a whole bunch equipment like forklifts, shelves, bottles, crates, and trucks. You also need to hire a bunch of employees and pay them really good wages with benefits so you don’t lose any of them to the Dr. Pepper Bottling Company down the street. You can do all of this with around $100,000 to start. Do you honestly think that I am going to be able to give you good advice to start your Coca-Cola Bottling Company? Of course not! Don’t listen to me when it comes to that! I’ll be the ruin of your bottling company dreams! If you listen to my advice and follow me, then you’re foolish. If you run away from me and seek out someone who has started their own Coca-Cola Bottling Company, has experience in running their bottling company, and is willing to work with you to give you the knowledge, understanding and wisdom to have your own bottling company, go with them! Seek them out! Follow them! Learn from them! Receive from them all you can!

So with whatever it is that you are doing, whether it be in work or ministry, seek advice from those who have been there. Find someone who will invest in you, spend time with you, give you words of knowledge, understanding and wisdom that will advance the tasks and goals that have been set before you. Listen to those who are going to help you, not hinder you. You will face opportunities and challenges, but you need to have those whom you trust to help you through those times. If you don’t have someone, you need someone–find someone–don’t do this thing called leadership on your own.

***For a good study on good and bad leadership qualities, read through 1 & 2 Kings, 1 & 2 Samuel, 1 & 2 Chronicles in the Bible. Through these books you’ll discover what good and bad kings did in life and leadership.***



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Tough Week

Have you ever had one of those tough weeks that you were unsure that you’d be able to see you’re way through it? I have had one of those weeks before…and after that one…and after that one…and after…I think you get the message. You feel like you’re stuck between a rock and a hard place.

Well, let me tell you something: everyone gets stuck between a rock and hard place at times. The difference between people who get stuck between rocks and hard places is how they get themselves out or if they get so stuck that there is no hope of getting out. I’ve been there before–stuck where it seemed that there was no hope. I called a friend of mine and asked if they could help me out from between the rock and the hard place. He said that he didn’t have the time. I called another friend and he said that he didn’t know what to tell me. Yet, with another friend of mine he tried to give me his opinion of why I ended up between the rock and the hard place and then he simply chastised me for getting myself in that position. I had no hope and no help.

Then I called on another friend. I told him what was happening. I told him that I couldn’t find my way out from between the rock and the hard place. He simply said to me,

“In all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Jesus Christ who loved us.” —Romans 8:37

Are you stuck between a rock and hard place? Turn to Jesus Christ and you’ll find that you are truly a conqueror through Him because He loves you!


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How to Use Credit Cards Wisely

Now I have to be honest with you, I’ve not always used credit cards wisely. In fact, I’ve charged way more than I should have at times and have gone broke doing this. But I do think that through the years I am learning a few things about credit cards that I would like to share with my readers. These are just ideas that I am starting to apply to myself and hope that it might be helpful for you. I can tell you, I have already started training my two sons about credit cards as well.

First, know why you want to have credit. If you do not know the reason for having credit, don’t start applying for credit cards and using them. For most, building a line of credit is to show that you are wise enough with money that you pay off your credit cards at the end of every billing cycles and you are always current. This will help those who are planning to give you a mortgage for a home if you are unable to pay cash for the home or even if you are planning on purchasing a car and are unable to pay cash for the car. This helps creditors know that you are faithful in meeting the obligation of paying your bills.

Second, make sure that you read all of the material on a credit card before you apply for it. This means that you should read ALL the fine print. This will help you to know what the introductory interest rate expires and what happens if you make a late payment and the introductory deal expires from this action. The deals that banks make for you to have their credit cards sound really good but you need to remember that it is best for them…especially when you are carrying a rotating balance and not paying the cards off every month.

Third, use your debit card or cash if possible. Use your credit cards for emergencies in the case that you do not have the cash to pay for whatever it is that you want. It is better for you to use your debit card because you will not be able to spend anymore than what is in your account. And it is helps you to avoid buying things you really don’t need because you will keep better tabs on what you have.

Finally, think about what it is that you want to purchase. Don’t just spend money because it is helpful for your psyche. It’s better to plan for what you want and to pay cash or using your debit card then binge buying using a credit limit and being stuck with bills you cannot afford to have.

These are some lessons I’ve been learning. I hope this is helpful. Remember, your credit history matters and if you don’t keep your credit history in good shape, it won’t matter what you want to purchase…you’ll be denied.

Be wise with credit cards. Know what you want and why you want it.

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