So It Begins
I remember it like it was yesterday. As I waited to board a flight to Ft. Worth Texas, I hit the usual newsstand to pick up a magazine or two. Out of the corner of my eye I spotted a red, black and gold book titled The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, by John Maxwell. I don’t know why I was compelled to pick it up, but I was intrigued by the title.
I had no idea people actually wrote books about leadership. That might sound a little naïve, but you have to understand that at the time I had already created a great business by the world’s standards. Up until that point my idea of leadership was “do as I say and I’ll pay you on Friday,” and it was working pretty well. I learned that technique from a four-year tour in the Marines, and as I recall it worked pretty well for them too.
I boarded the plane, settled into my seat and opened the book. From that moment on, I was mesmerized by the content. The first chapter was titled “The Law of the Lid,” and I thought to myself, “I understand that law pretty well, almost well enough to write a little on the subject.” With a puffed chest, I turned to the second chapter, The Law of Influence, and realized that I was really lousy in that area. I realized that not only did I need help, but if I could improve, I might just make a little more money. This up and down pattern continued as I made my way through the book. Some of the laws I did well, but for many of them, I was a miserable failure. The book had a way of exposing my weaknesses, but it also challenged me to do better, and it had a profound impact on my life as a leader.
After reading that book, I sought out other books and resources. The more I read and researched, the more my perspective and understanding of the purpose for my business changed. For almost thirty years, I have operated Cornerstone Solutions Group, a landscape construction company with locations across the state of Florida. I have witnessed economic times when it seemed as though money was raining from the sky to times when we struggled just to keep the doors open. I began to see that God had a purpose for choosing me to lead my business. It wasn’t for my benefit, but for His.
My faith has played a big part in the building of Cornerstone. Surprisingly, I’ve never been very fond of digging holes and planting trees, but I am very passionate about what a strong business can do to advance the Kingdom. I have had the opportunity to work with many people from all walks of life and build relationships with some incredible individuals. There’s nothing better than watching someone fulfill their God-given purpose to make a difference in the area that God has placed them. For some, the realization and implementation of their purpose comes quite naturally, but for others like me, God reaches them through the inspiration of others.
One night a couple of years ago, I was writing an article about the theme of finding God’s purpose for your life and then living it out to further the Kingdom. It was based on Ephesians 2:10, a verse that has significant meaning to me. As I wrote the article, I thought back to my experience on that flight to Ft. Worth and how much that one book changed my life.
The vision for TwoTen came to me that night as I pondered the following question: What if I could recreate for others the feeling I got upon reading a book about leadership that day on the airplane? What if I created a magazine based on the thoughts, processes and experiences of successful Christian business people? What would I call it? As I looked back at the article the verse jumped off the page. Ephesians 2:10.
"For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do."Ephesians 2:10
That same night, I emailed Richard Hayes, a friend and business mentor and explained the vision I had for a magazine that would be called TwoTen. His response was one word, “Awesome.” The idea never left our minds, and the more we discussed it between ourselves and others, the more confirmation we received to move forward.
The magazine that you are holding in your hands is the result of a hard working team of individuals and the grace and favor of God. If you have never had the privilege of having a mentor to guide and counsel you on your leadership journey, TwoTen aspires to fill the gap. Our goal is to give you access to the wisdom and insights of the best godly leaders from across the nation and throughout the world. Some of these leaders will be easily recognizable; others may not. All have an equally compelling story that is relevant to the concerns facing the leaders of today. If you are able to improve your leadership skills as a result of reading TwoTen, we consider our mission accomplished.
By: John Faulkner
John is a Co-Founder of TwoTen Magazine and is active in his community, currently serving on the board of Digital Lightbridge and Sealund and Associates. He is presently a member/alumnus of The C12 Group, Lifework Leadership and Grace Family Church.
John is a U. S. Marine Corps veteran, author, blogger and frequent speaker on culture, leadership and his personal testimony.
John resides in New Port Richey, Florida. He has been married for over 30 years to his beautiful wife, Julie, and is the proud father of an exceptional son, two beautiful daughters and four way-above-average grandchildren.Read More Articles by John Faulkner