Does Your Heart Beat This?

Does Your Heart Beat This?

I’m grateful you and I are connected. Think about it. Being connected with another human! Connection is a gift. Especially in a hyper-active, tech-crazy world. Life can quickly become preoccupied building a business, chasing a goal, or finding meaning in life. In this pursuit, often the answers we need, the meaning we long for, and the whole reason for business is right in front of us … people.

Gratitude amplifies connection …

But, are we really connecting (deeply) with the people in our lives? See, no one has entered our lives by accident. From this belief exudes a powerful sense of gratitude and amplifies every interaction with your people! Our spouses, kids, friends, business colleagues, and every relationship thrives when they FEEL your heart beat, “WOW! I get to do life with you!”

What about our social presence and following? It’s the new community where most young people are searching for REAL connection. Do we interact with our followers, or are they simply countless avatars and profiles? They’re humans, too, and they follow us for a reason. Let them know this week that you’re grateful for them! 

Gratitude is a powerful force!

Tim Hooper leads Time4Energy, LLC, a professional development firm, helping new CEOs and front line managers bridge the gaps between their vision and team energy. Tim worked 10 years for one corporation where his heart broke for the drag-in that happens on Monday morning. His book, Got Energy? is unconventionally restoring emotional connection between teams and their work.

Caring Enough To Know

Caring Enough To Know

If we are to inspire the best in our team members, the first attitude of heart is caring. Caring enough to know what’s truly going on inside and helping our employees overcome, grow and succeed. Often, we throw the words, “I believe in you” around casually, and in some cases, these words are used to get people to accomplish company objectives.

Annette Simmons stated, “Genuine influence goes deeper than getting people to do what you want them to do. It means people pick up right where you left off because they believe.” Ask yourself this question, 

Does my life – who I am, what I do and the manner in which I do it – inspire belief. Would my team pick up right where I left off because they KNOW I believe in them?”  

Our stated belief only enters the neocortex of the brain. However, when we care enough to deeply know our people, this belief is felt! The beauty of deeply believing in people is our brains literally give emotions the upper hand. They are designed to do this. If we bark off commands, our commands never grace the emotional power of the limbic brain – the part in the back just above the spinal cord that feels. When we breathe belief, however, and give someone hope, we allow them to feel it in their soul. Truly believing in people sends a shock wave of emotional resonance within.

When we truly believe, we emotionally and powerfully inspire! 

Today, more than ever, people need someone to believe in them, and this belief is backed by care – caring enough to get to know them. In a technologically advanced world, the temptation is away from REAL connection. Mark this down.

Genuine care takes real connection. 

Everyone has a story, a background or some past hurt. This is life. Truly believing in them means embracing as beauty what we may see as brokenness. Some have overcome; others haven’t … yet. Our belief could be the very thing that changes their paradigm. Too often, in our motivational circles, we’re writing people off as either too negative, C-players or someone who won’t change.

Four of the most transformational words are, “I believe in you!” So, why do these words often float around lifelessly? No care to back them up. Stating these words in a genuine way means first having the heart attitude of caring enough to get to know your people professionally – and personally. Your genuine belief, especially in a young generation of employees, could be the defining moment of change in someone’s life!

Several have impacted my life in such a way. When I was a 12-year-old, my mom wrote me a note I’ve never forgotten. The red ink, white paper and shape of characters are banked in my memory. Her message of belief in me is etched on the walls of my soul. My piano teacher, Christa; first employer, Jeff; accountabuddy, Kevin; and many more come to mind.

Yet, have you ever been around the person that scrutinizes everybody? How’d they make you feel? Perhaps their own insecurities were being cast on you. These people compare, tear down and don’t make the time to empathize with others. On the other hand, there are those who believe the best in people. They make the time to get to know the good, bad and ugly and CHOOSE to believe the best in you, even when you yourself haven’t … yet.

Energizers master the art of finding the good side of everyone and building on that. McGinnis writes, “The people who like people and who believe that those they lead have the best of intentions will get the best from them.” Are you looking for strengths in people perhaps others have overlooked? Are you able to find the beauty in people? Can you help people articulate their gifts and inspire them to channel that creative energy into usefulness? 

When we truly believe in and care enough to know our people, even when others or they themselves don’t, we are performing the art of the Energizer! 

Energizers care. When analyzing the profound loyalty Col. Douglas MacArthur received from his men during World War I, William Manchester wrote in his book, American Ceaser, “ … he shared their discomforts and their danger and they adored him in return.” He showed his men that he truly and deeply cared for them! 

When your team KNOWS they’re deeply believed in and you care enough to know and love them, they will engage their hearts and emotions into your vision and truly pick up right where you leave off. 

Purpose today to live your life being a change agent for people by truly caring for them! As long as there is breath in our lungs, we can speak redemption and empowerment to those around us. Accept people for who they are and believe the best in them. See the best even when people themselves can’t see it, and back it up by caring enough to tell them what you see – you’ll change someone’s life.

Tim Hooper leads Time4Energy, LLC, a professional development firm, helping new CEOs and front line managers bridge the gaps between their vision and team energy. Tim worked 10 years for one corporation where his heart broke for the drag-in that happens on Monday morning. His book, Got Energy? is unconventionally restoring emotional connection between teams and their work.

Work/Life Balance … Why It’s A Mirage

Work/Life Balance … Why It’s A Mirage

Remember, work is life and life is work. Avoid looking to the mirage of balance between the two. Instead, be balanced by investing wholly while at work! Be whole and show up with fullness when it’s time. Then, go home, and be home, when it’s time. The question is wholeness and showing up fully and abundantly at the right time. Are we whole?

Too many seek to find their validation or acceptance in work because doing is the quickest way to fill a void in our being. Often, someone from our past left a great big hole, or we’ve allowed someone or our own internal dialogue to devalue the priceless person we are. Let’s be honest with ourselves and ask why we’re doing what we’re doing. If we’re burning ourselves out in our occupation, stepping on people as we climb the corporate ladder, and finding more fulfillment in our work than in the relationships of our lives, we can be sure there are past skeletons in our closets. Wounds we must face.

We must stop putting a pretty bow on the lie – called an excuse – that sacrificing ourselves, our health, our happiness and our family are just part of the business owner’s M.O. It’s not, nor does it have to be! What’s really driving us? The call to find healing – deep healing – is compelling us!

For without healing, we won’t show up whole – able to abound and make greater impact in the time we choose to contribute and charge toward our vision.

Carnegie shares the story of John D. Rockefeller Sr., who at the age of 43 had built up the largest monopoly the world had ever seen – the great Standard Oil Company. Yet at only 53, when most men are at their prime, his shoulders drooped, and he could barely walk. Carnegie states, “the ceaseless work, the endless worry, the streams of abuse, the sleepless nights and the lack of exercise and rest had exacted their toll … they’d brought him to his knees … he was now the richest man in the world yet had to live on a diet that a poor man would have scorned.” Rockefeller’s income at the time was a million dollars a week, and two dollars a week paid for all the food he could eat. “Nothing but medical care, the best money could buy, kept him from dying at the age of 53,” Carnegie concludes.

From this wounded personality exudes an unrealistic ambition. Covey shares that those exemplifying wholeness “don’t become workaholics, religious zealots, political fanatics, crash dieters, food bingers, pleasure addicts or fasting martyrs.” When you work, be all in, so that when you’re home, you’re all in. Seek to find healing so you can become whole and operate abundantly! Let being all in at work – whole and abundant – amplify your energy! Focus on wholeness!

Igniting energy … Tim Hooper


Energy vs. Motivation

Energy vs. Motivation

What’s the difference? Energy’s not motivation although they’re related. Motivation can getus going, but energy (our internal driver) will keep us going.

Motivation’s external; energy’s internal.

Motivation’s someone else’s fire; energy’s our fire – it’s internal. Energy is inner fullness and personal power moving us in a focused direction. It’s “one’s capacity” to accomplish great things. Energy allows us to operate at peak performance every day from a place of abundance.

We can’t “put on” fullness. We’re either entering someone else’s life (spouse, child, team member, client, and so on) from a place of abundance or a place of emptiness. And when our energy’s lacking or empty, the experience will also be lacking.

We cannot give what we do not have.

Motivation can be equated to seeds planted in our minds that, if internalized, can ignite our very own energy. We all want to do better and give our best, but there are obstacles of unbelief, lack of internal passion, and ceaseless inner voices that hold us back. The seeds of motivation can enter our minds and help us to overcome the obstacles by adding faith, quieting the inner voices of fear and igniting our flame!

Motivation can get us going and show us what more effectual living looks like, but we must not rely on motivation. Why live catching motivational fires that blow by externally without igniting our own, down deep in our souls? Let’s ignite OUR energy, firing on all cylinders and becoming a daily powerhouse.

Life happens though, and when some trial or tough situation knocks the wind out of us, wisdom taps into encouraging sources of motivation and inspiration. There’s strength in numbers. Surrounding ourselves with people keeps us centered, connected and hopeful. Being knocked down is often the time we reevaluate our life’s purpose and determine what’s really important to us. So then, every time we’re feeling down-and-out, unmotivated, or stagnant, let’s consider:

What could YOU do every day that would literally add wood to YOUR internal fire? What beliefs could you overhaul that, when improved, would fuel your V8, twin-turbo engine? Motivation can help us imagine a better way, but let’s discover and develop our gifts, eliminate our fears, and map out a powerful vision for our life. Then, let us courageously go after OUR vision every single day!

This is your life; it’s your energy. Is your energy (your internal driver) ignited? Are you charging into your organization giddy about the contribution you get to make? Are you passionately engaging everything with everything you have? Are you building and bolstering your energy every day?

Let this article be the fuel of motivation that ignites YOUR mighty, internal engine of energy!

Igniting Energy … Tim

How To Free Up Your Team’s Energy RAM.

How To Free Up Your Team’s Energy RAM.

Give your energy demands and those of your team a cleanup. Free up some random access memory (aka RAM). Start engaging everything with all of your might, but to do this, we’ll have to eliminate the complexity that comes with uncertainty and procrastination. We have super creative minds – they’re amazing and beautiful. Often, though, we overcomplicate simple “yes” and “no” answers. Ask yourself. “Can I get my heart completely on board with this?” If not, ask, “Why not?” If that why not is true and proves misalignment with your goals, then it’s an easy “no.”

In our workplaces, most would appreciate an employee or staff member who just carries out and obeys commands, right? However, one of the best questions anyone can ask a manager, employer or leader is, “Why are we doing this?” Too often, a WHY question is seen as a threat and a retort is given without really answering and instilling the same belief and insight from the leaders’ heart into those following.

Great leaders, encourage WHY questions. This is quickest and surest way to inspire enthusiasm in your team and garner their conviction!

This will free your teams’ RAM by enabling them to put their all into what it is you’re asking of them. Of course, this demands a thorough understanding and belief of the WHY ourselves. When we don’t make time to distill and instill the reason – our WHY – we miss the truest nugget of gold any leader really possesses. Clear utterance of our WHY demands the hard work of thought and clarity.

Leaders who adopt the Energy Equation and put all their might into their work of instilling the WHY, will in turn enable their followers to throw all their heart and might into achieving the goal! Free up RAM by dumping what you’re half-heartedly believing in; invest all your energies into those things in which you believe whole-heartedly in.

igniting energy … Tim

have you pre ordered your copy of Got Energy? yet

P.S. Regarding stray thoughts and ideas, have a standard operating procedure for getting them off your mind so you can stay focused. I have this practice of texting myself great ideas and going back through at the end of the week to see if anything stuck, resonates or is something I should apply or follow-up on. Text, email, write, chicken-scratch, Evernote, or voice-record it so that you can data-dump and keep RAM freed up. Then, have a routine time to reflect and journal. Your mind will understand, and will begin loving your habit and ease up on you. When your mind knows you will make the time to listen to it, it will settle down a little bit for you. Have this routine so that you’re less stressed and can attack what you’re working on with everything you’ve got!

Founder of Southern Detroit


    My professional career began in manufacturing. As janitor and errand-runner for a machine shop in Smyrna, Tennessee, I experienced the innovation as well as the intensity of the booming automotive industry. Undoubtedly, the automobile has fueled and accounted for more economic growth and expansion than any other invention of mankind. Climbing into purchasing leadership and later leading sales, I was afforded the privilege to travel to Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana, Missouri, Arkansas, Iowa, Michigan and of course, all parts of Tennessee.

    Diamonds tucked away in southeast places like Greenville, Athens and Lawrenceburg, Tennessee; Piedmont and Anderson, South Carolina; Leesburg and Muscle Shoals, Alabama; and Dalton Georgia. These diamonds were the level-one and level-two suppliers to Nissan, Honda, Mercedes, BMW, Toyota, Subaru, Saturn, Volkswagen, Ford, GM and Chrysler. These giant manufacturers grew here in North America or were attracted here. Some may argue that shear economic demand brought plants like these to the Southeast; but history – especially that of Tennessee – proves human vision and leadership play a key role as well. After all, why choose a certain state and city to break ground and build a manufacturing plant?

Motor City:

    Take Detroit, Michigan. This city boomed in its hay-day! Yes, the height of industrialization, the excitement of innovation, and the promise of a good and bountiful life was found in Motor City. The early 1900’s and Michigan united to tell America and the world an exciting saga of the American dream, indomitable spirit, pride of excellence and revolutionized industry. Supporting industries flourished and economic conditions soared. The inventors, city-governments, manpower and resources had to be ready and the fertile field was Detroit. As Counts, Ronson, & Spenser point out in their Sanford University article, “Steel, the Great Lakes shipping industries, and a large and growing workforce all contributed … and, the unique collection of inventors, dreamers, and designers that made the Detroit area their home.” Ransom Olds, Henry Ford, the Dodge brothers, David Buick and Walter Chrysler all started right there in Michigan. They write that even the French explorer who founded Detroit was named Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac.

Southern Automotive Corridor:

    Similarly, the late 1900’s and early 2000’s joined the United States’ southeast region to tell a similar saga. Editor of Southern Business Development, Michael Randle writes, “For about three decades now, state and local governments in the American South have positioned themselves to become outstanding locations for both the aerospace and automotive industries … the fact that the South has captured two of the three full assembly airliner facilities operating in the United States … and twelve major automotive assembly plants in the last twenty-five years is simply astounding!” These accomplishments have established the Southeast Automotive Corridor as a huge, worldwide manufacturing leader. The south has attracted and become the popular destination in North America for “large domestic and foreign direct investment projects,” Randle states. He further points out that one “Big-Kahuna” project can single-handedly transform the economic course of a community and even a state.

    Just thirty-six years ago, news articles like the New York Times, Nissan Takes A Stand In Dixie called automotive plants in Tennessee “bets” and “gambles.” When did the Southern Automotive Corridor start and how did Tennessee play a key role? Tennessee’s Department of Economic and Community Development states, “The southeast has emerged as the driving force in automotive manufacturing in the United States, and Tennessee is its engine.” Tennessee hosts three major assembly plants and the supplier footprint spans 86 of its 95 counties. Nissan North American headquarters in Franklin, and manufactures in Smyrna. This is the most productive manufacturing plant in all of North America! Touring the plant is awe inspiring – miles and miles of robots and workers churning out 640,000 annually. General Motors has infused Spring Hill with economic life, and most recently, Volkswagen has transformed Chattanooga’s economy. TDECD continues, “Tennessee’s committed to invest in training for the state’s high concentration of automotive employment, a number that’s 3.34 times the national average.” So, when did Tennessee become this engine of automotive manufacturing? Enter the founder of Southern Detroit, former Tennessee State Representative, John T. Bragg.

John T. Bragg:

    Bragg’s thirty-year political career spanned 1965 to 1996. Three key ingredients can be found in everything he did, how he thought, how he acted and how he left an impact so notable in Tennessee that highways, buildings and I’m sure children will be named after him. These three key ingredients are the very keys of an energizer. Yes, his perspective, ownership and accountability laid the foundation for the Southern Automotive Corridor.

    According to Dr. Louis Kyriakoudes who serves as the Director of Middle Tennessee State University’s Albert Gore Research Center and Professor of History, “Rutherford County’s connection to the global economy was John Bragg.” While former Gov. Lamar Alexander and other leaders deserve praise for economic growth that automotive manufacturing brought to Tennessee under their administrations, it was the vision of men like Bragg to set the stage many years earlier. Bragg was the energy in government to transform Tennessee into the global manufacturing leader and example to other states that it is today.

    Bragg grew up in Woodbury, Tennessee, later moving to Murfreesboro as a teenager. He enrolled at MTSU when it was still called Middle Tennessee State Teachers College. He served as student body president. He also loved communications serving as editor of Sidelines, the student newspaper. He went to graduate school at UT Knoxville and worked as executive director of the Tennessee Press Association.

    After school and a fine and growing record of accomplishment and achievement, Bragg went on to serve his country in the U.S. Army Air Corps from 1941-1946. Soon after, he’d join his father in the family business – the Rutherford Courier. Then, selling this to his son, Tommy, who’d later become Murfreesboro’s mayor, John Bragg began his political career in 1964. But why call him the founder of Southern Detroit?


    From his first day in office, Bragg infused the state legislature and his colleagues with a new perspective. Perspective is a learned vision and Bragg helped Tennessee relearn its perspective on the global stage. He was a pioneer willing to change for the better. He had to be. Tennessee’s voting regions were antiquated not progressing with the rural to urban shift that was taking place. Furthermore, the legislature also formed a very weak body meeting only every other year. Bragg knew this must change and cast his new vision for a professional and responsible government. Bragg envisioned a strong economy and society backed by solid infrastructure built and maintained by responsible government. A strong legislature with solid principles and trust could build wide channels through which commerce could flourish. He disliked the term politician calling his work “the art of governing.”

    Bragg brought this needed change with passion backed by solid energy! He spoke about the importance of good physical health and solid ethics especially if one wishes to persuade effectively. We’ll see that Tennessee benefited greatly from his skill and trustworthiness in persuasion

    He strongly opposed people running for office with no prior business experience. His depth and energy revolutionized the legislature. Tennessee government became more professional thanks to Bragg’s work. From meeting in the General Assembly every year, committees able to meet year round, and creating the Fiscal Review Committee to serve watchdog over the executive branch’s spending and programs, Bragg cast the vision Tennessee government needed to set the stage for Southern Detroit. Bragg carried and breathed a powerful perspective!


    Bragg was an ambitious leader. When did this start? As a kid, he watched his dad build a business out of his garage, build a newspaper business, and a grocery store. He also watched each one of these burn to the ground. Each time, his father tenaciously rebuilt. John started early as a floor sweeper for his father. This ambition continued as he put himself through school during the Great Depression.

    Bragg took ownership of the state budget and heralded, “Pay as you go.” He watched his father have to live on credit during the depression and Bragg knew fiscal responsibility was the only way to flourish in the long run. President Reagan praised Tennessee for balancing their budget and showing strong fiscal leadership to the nation. With this mindset, creativity is kept alive with gazelle intensity! Fiscal responsibility has a way of setting priorities and keeping your mind sharp. Creativity built value in Tennessee. Wealth and job creation happens when you think big and outside of the box. If you have an income problem, you create more income. For a state, that’s business. Create a flourishing environment and attract businesses. By being fiscally responsible, Bragg and others figured out how to create value in and for Tennessee.

   Bragg knew how to cast a vision and get to work on it. He owned his vision and did not stray. Once, as Chairman of the Industrial Committee for the Chamber of Commerce, Bragg had to ask a company who was looking to move to Murfreesboro to go elsewhere simply because of their poor employee-satisfaction record. The company did go elsewhere and sure enough, the workers went on strike six months later.

    Most notably, Bragg was influential in persuading Nissan to break ground in Smyrna, Tennessee in 1983. According to historical archives, “Susan Bragg donated nearly 2000 slides documenting John Bragg’s official visits for the state of Tennessee to China and Japan.” Nissan brags, “The opening of the Nissan Smyrna Vehicle Assembly Plant in 1983 was a groundbreaking moment, bringing automotive production to Tennessee for the first time. The plant has become a force for economic development, creating thousands of well-paying jobs and inspiring other auto companies and suppliers to set up operations in the state.” Then Gov. Lamar Alexandar stated that “Nearly ten percent of all Japanese capital investment in North America is in Tennessee.”

    In the middle of his political career, Bragg ran for U.S. Congress and lost. The nature of ambition, however, sees even a loss as a gain. I often think of those people who pitch their invention to the TV show “Shark Tank.” Do you think they are any worse off after being rejected? Absolutely not. They not only received valuable coaching from business experts like Kevin O’Leary, Barbara Corcoran, Daymond John, Robert Herjavec, Lori Greiner and Mark Cuban, but they also received the advantage of national coverage and putting together a stellar pitch. Bragg captured many allies and national attention during this time. In fact, he was given a special thanks by president Reagan for “his help working on our Federal initiative to make government work again, to finally get off the our backs and out of our pockets.” I like the quote that says, “No man’s a failure who attempts and in the attempt, attempts uprightly.”  Bragg told a television host once, “I never run a negative campaign. Only positive.” Bragg was a mover and shaker who saw life not as a career, but a calling and made big things happen.


    Bragg could get along with others. He knew the value of teamwork, trust and loyalty. He proved this in the legislature, and staying socially active after he retired. Bragg shared that clubs help people become well rounded individuals and recommended UGF, civic clubs, Blue Raider Athletic Club, Moose Clubs and American Legion.

    He knew how to communicate a vision and communicate it well. Not only is MTSU’s John Bragg mass communications building named for him, his legacy is marked as a great communicator. He served his alma mater’s foundation as president from 1997-1998.

    Bragg was an accountable man early on. He drew on the advice of his mentor, Mr. James Cummings. James, aka “Mr. Jim” also served in the state legislature and Bragg described him as intense and enthusiastic. Clearly, from his personal life and actions as political figure, Bragg practiced openness and transparency. This no doubt compelled his constituents to send him to Nashville term after term.

    Consider the negotiations Bragg conducted with the Japanese when bringing Nissan to Smyrna, TN. The Japanese culture is very close – a family-like feeling must exist. They must sense a strong level of trust to conduct business. Success rises and falls on trust. Bragg worked his entire life to be trustworthy and Tennessee and the entire Southern Automotive Corridor can be thankful he did. The founder of Southern Detroit, John Bragg, was only one man, but like Andrew Jackson said it, “One man with courage makes a majority!” Are we the kind of leaders who continually seek a higher perspective, courageously take extreme ownership, and accept the tremendous resource of accountability to move ourselves forward and light the way for those coming after us? This was the energizer, John Bragg, the founder of Southern Detroit.

… igniting energy, Tim