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John Maxwell Team

John Maxwell Team Certified Member

Priscilla Archangel is a John Maxwell Team Certified Coach, Teacher and Speaker.

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    The Giving Challenge


    What would you do with $4.5 billion? Most people would start with a list of how they’d invest it and what they’d purchase.  But John and Laura Arnold have decided to give it away. John began his career as a successful natural gas trader at Enron. He left before it went bankrupt, and founded a hedge fund. He’s known as an introvert, very smart and low key, but diligent in his research of every detail around his oil investments. His ability to correctly anticipate gas and commodities prices paid off handsomely so that in October 2012, a few years shy of age 40, he closed his fund and retired.

    He and Laura, a Yale grad and former corporate attorney, then focused their energy on the John and Laura Arnold Foundation, with the vision of giving money where it can produce the most good. For example, they’re funding projects that could make a difference in criminal justice sentencing guidelines, or how our bodies process food which could impact how obesity is treated.

    The Arnold’s know that some of their projects will fail, but they’re betting on the upside risk that some will be a big success and will positively impact society.  Young Man with money in one hand outstretched to give it away, and money in the other handTheir style of “high impact philanthropy” is increasing among the super wealthy. Rather than simply writing a check to the many existing worthy causes, they’re looking for opportunities to fund social initiatives, eradicate societal ills and solve vexing problems. They want their money to have a long term effect.

    They also don’t believe in “dynastic wealth”, or giving the money to their three children, because they feel it’s important for them to learn to create wealth for themselves. They’ve seen too many examples of children who’ve made poor decisions with such an inheritance, and don’t want theirs to feel entitled. John and Laura also think it’s a mistake to believe that having more money makes children happier or more productive. They share the perspective of other billionaires like Warren Buffett that there’s no value in gifting large sums of money to their kids.


    While most of us can’t directly relate to building this level of wealth, much less giving it away, their story raises some questions that we can relate to.



    • Are you making money for what you can do with it, or for how you can help others? Even while the Arnolds were massing their fortune, they were talking to others about causes that they could fund. So as you’re making money are you thinking and talking about who you can help, or just what can you buy? Are you looking for opportunities to help others? Are you looking for meaningful causes that can benefit from your support?


    •  Do you believe your giving can make a difference in the lives of others? Maybe you don’t have “high impact” funds, but low impact is better than no impact.  If you’re able to help only one person and make a difference in their life, then it’s a worthwhile effort. You can pay it forward.


    •  Are you giving a gift that keeps on giving? Yes, there are times when many people need a “fish”, but at the same time they need someone to “teach them to fish”. So will your gift help better a life or a situation long term?


    •  Are you taking a risk with your giving? Philanthropists know that the organizations they give to won’t always be successful in their mission. There are risks involved, and the greater and more game changing the potential impact, the greater the potential risk. But sometimes those are the causes that need benefactors the most.
    • Do you investigate the credibility and effectiveness of the organizations that receive your money? In spite of the risks associated with various social initiatives, you should still scrutinize the organizations that receive your hard earned funds with the same degree of detail that you would scrutinize a potential investment decision. You do have a responsibility to ensure that you properly evaluate their track record of accomplishing their goals, and reaching the target market.


    •  Is your giving reactive or proactive? Requests for donations come from many sources.  There are appeals for support from robocalls during the dinner hour, panhandlers on the street, co-workers’ fundraising initiatives, church building drives, political campaigns, financially strapped friends, and educational institutions.  Many of these entreaties are for worthy causes, but every worthy cause isn’t the right cause for you. You are chief steward of your resources, and it’s important to proactively determine your giving priorities, and the circumstances under which you’ll respond to such requests instead of letting someone else determine them for you. This will provide the framework for you to appropriately respond when the time comes.


    So if you don’t have $4.5 billion, let’s start a little smaller.  What would you do with $450, or $4,500 or $45,000? What are your giving priorities? What organizations would you allocate it to? How would you use it to make an impact in the world around you? Spend some time pondering this, and as you do so, you’ll begin to find more meaning in your giving. You can make a difference at whatever level you are…..just give.


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    Do You Tebow?

    By now even non-NFL fans (like myself) are very familiar with Tim Tebow, the University of Florida Heisman Trophy winner and quarterback for the Denver Broncos, who is well known for his public confessions of faith. Tebow is credited with helping the Broncos to win seven of their last eight games with breakthrough fourth quarter plays, until they fell to the New England Patriots this past weekend.

    Tebow was born in the Philippines where his parents were missionaries, and home schooled along with his siblings when they later moved to Florida.As a result of a new Florida law providing home-schooled students with equal access to high school sports, he played football in Ponte Vedra Beach then attended the University of Florida where he helped the team win two college football national championships.While there, he used his developing fame to raise money for charitable organizations, and spent his free time volunteering with the poor and needy, and with prisons.


    He was a first round draft pick in 2010, and in his short career with the Broncos, has many critics of his playing style and capabilities. But he consistently proves them wrong as he performs better than expected in each game. He is one of the most talked about NFL players each week, not only for his exploits on the field, but because of how he interjects his faith into his sport. While he claims that God really doesn’t care who wins the game, after every touchdown, he points toward the sky, and drops a knee on the field in prayer. He begins post-game interviews by thanking his “Lord and Savior Jesus Christ”, and closes them with “God bless”. Tebow is also known to write words like John 3:16 and other Bible scriptures in the black paint under his eyes while playing, so that when the camera focuses on him, he’s able to share the Word of God.

    While other athletes also invoke the name of God, or point a finger upward at various times, Tim’s commitment to bowing in prayer while on and off the field has made him somewhat of a phenomenon, and this physical posture is now called “Tebowing”. While some other players now “Tebow” as a form of mockery when he misses a play, it went viral when another fan set up a website ( filled with pictures submitted by people who “Tebow” in various places around the world. Whether mocking him, copying him, or committing like him, “Tebowing” is well known as a form of acknowledging God. Continue reading

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