The key to the life you want is inside you.
One question lies behind every struggle we face: How do I deal with myself? Behind all our stumbles, behind each of our missteps, behind every one of our failings lies an inability to handle what Van Moody calls the “I-Factor.” More than self-worth or self-respect, beyond even character and perception of purpose, the I-Factor is about managing yourself—your whole life—well. In his inspiring new book, Moody reveals how to get hold of your I-Factor.
Moody identifies three dynamics essential to winning the battle of the I-Factor: identity, significance, and perspective. When you understand your identity you know who you are, setting your foundation for everything. When you understand your significance, you see the purpose and the greatness you were created for. And when you understand perspective, you can view the problems you face as stepping-stones to greatness rather than stumbling blocks. Properly understand these three dynamics, and you will be able to master your I-Factor.
Weaving together personal stories, practical principles, and profound biblical truth, The I-Factor provides the key to achieving the life of greatness that you are destined for.
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About the Author
Van Moody serves as pastor of the Worship Center in Birmingham, Alabama. In addition, he is on the board of Joel Osteen's Champions Network, is a member of Dr. Oz’s Core Team, and is an associate trainer in Japan for Dr. John C. Maxwell’s EQUIP leadership organization. Moody, his wife, Ty, and their children, Eden Sydney and Ethan Isaiah, live in Birmingham, Alabama.
Read an Excerpt
How Building A Great Relationship With Yourself Is The Key To A Happy, Successful Life
By VAN MOODY
Thomas NelsonCopyright © 2016 Vanable H. Moody, II
All rights reserved.
More Than Meets the Eye
If you want to be truly successful, invest in yourself to get the knowledge you need to find your unique factor. When you find it and focus on it and persevere your success will blossom.
— Sydney Madwed
"IT'S BEEN EIGHTY-FOUR YEARS," RESCUED PASSENGER Rose DeWitt Bukater reminisced in the movie Titanic, "and I can still smell the fresh paint. The china had never been used. The sheets had never been slept in. Titanic was called the 'Ship of Dreams.' And it was. It really was."
I'm sure you have heard about the majestic passenger ship, Titanic. It was the finest vessel of its day — larger, faster, and better equipped than any other. It boasted all the engineering and shipbuilding expertise of the times and every luxury its wealthy travelers were accustomed to. The ship had been called unsinkable, and no doubt those aboard felt safe, pampered, and privileged.
If ever a ship seemed destined for success, it was the Titanic. No one could have possibly imagined that this ship would go down. It would go down in history, for sure, they must have thought, because it was such an excellent vessel, but they were also convinced it could withstand any challenge it met at sea. An employee of the Titanic's parent company, the White Star Line, said, "Not even God himself could sink this ship."
But at 11:40 p.m. on Sunday, April 14, 1912, only five days into its voyage from Southampton, England, to New York City, the Titanic's lookout sent an urgent message to the bridge: "Iceberg, right ahead." Less than forty seconds later, the ship hit the iceberg. Within three hours, the celebrated vessel rested at the bottom of the frigid Atlantic Ocean, and more than fifteen hundred lives were lost.
The lookouts in the crow's nest did not have binoculars. Had a simple pair of binoculars been available, someone could have seen the iceberg ahead, and one of the greatest tragedies in maritime history might have been avoided. As it happened that day, the time elapsed between the first sighting of the iceberg and the ship's impact was a little more than thirty seconds. Here's my point: the Titanic sank not because the iceberg was in the ocean, but because no one saw it in time to steer clear of it.
As I researched the iceberg the Titanic hit, I saw varying statistics about its size. One source said the iceberg was estimated to have been about six hundred feet long, with five hundred feet of it below the ocean's surface and one hundred feet visible above the water. I also learned that typically, seven-eighths of an iceberg is underwater, which means slightly more than 10 percent of an enormous mass of ice would be visible to a captain or a ship's crew. Where icebergs are concerned, what's under the surface, invisible to the naked eye, does much more damage than the part of the iceberg people can easily see. This was certainly true for the Titanic.
Believe it or not, the story of the Titanic and the theme of this book, the I-factor, have a lot in common. Let me explain. Many people in the world have all the trappings of success. Like the Titanic, they are decked out with everything the world finds impressive. They not only have good looks, designer clothes, the best car, and the right address, they also have a sterling educational pedigree, a broad social and professional network, strong skills, and a bright mind. Everything about them seems destined to succeed — just like the Titanic. If there were ever any sure bets for success, they would be on these people.
But sometimes these people crash and burn — and no one understands why. The reason is that the world places such high value on who we are on the outside and pays little attention to who we are on the inside. To use the metaphor of an iceberg, it's what's under the surface that can sink a person's whole life, not what's visible to others. The totality of the difference between success and failure is not in any degree we obtain, position we hold, label we wear, car we drive, or amount of money we have. The difference is what's on the inside of a person, who he or she really is at the core, underneath all the trappings and accessories of success. It's those internal dynamics that will cause us to sail or to sink as we go through life. While relationships with other people are vitally important, your relationship with yourself, which is part of what the I-factor is all about, is even more important.
The I in Lie
How does the I-factor precipitate a person's downfall? One of the stories that best illustrates my point happened to a man you probably have heard of. In 2007, he was named one of Time magazine's most influential people in the world. He was the National Father of the Year in 1996. He's appeared on Sesame Street, Saturday Night Live, the Olympics, and Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, just to cite a fraction of his television experience. This man has won twelve Emmy awards, and as of December 2014, his salary was ten million dollars per year. His personal brand seemed untouchable and his celebrity credentials were strong. Just three months later, in February 2015, he was suspended from his job without pay and had lost not only his influence, but his credibility too. I'm sure you know who I'm describing, former NBC news anchor Brian Williams.
Williams was part of a fairly exclusive lineage. At one time in the United States, before the days of cable news, the most powerful voices in media belonged to the men who occupied the anchor chairs at the big three networks: ABC, CBS, and NBC. With recognizable voices and just the right amount of gravitas, they were media kings. When they reported the news of the day, people believed them. People had no reason not to believe them. Viewed as trustworthy American icons, they held the public trust for decades.
When Brian Williams ascended to the helm of NBC Nightly News in December 2004, the evening news anchor job was still admirable and considered quite an accomplishment, even though by then a host of other news broadcasts had joined the big three. Williams quickly became one of America's favorite news anchors, a popular and reliable source for the important information and stories of each day, and he typically outscored his competitors in the rankings of evening news broadcasts. By all appearances, he had reached the pinnacle of success. Had he chosen to do so, he should have been able to cruise his way into retirement from his seat behind the evening news desk. The respect he had gained in about ten years was his to lose — and lose it he did. Big time.
He did not lose it over a major scandal or some type of serious journalistic error. He lost it because somewhere in the midst of all his fame and fortune, he was not satisfied. He wanted more — more acclaim, more oohs and aahs, perhaps a chance to show a little more bravado on the television screen. In the quest for even more than he already had, he told a lie. Actually, he told several lies, but the one that really got him in trouble was that he had been in Iraq in 2003, riding in a helicopter that came under heavy enemy fire and was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade.
I assume the world would have believed him had crewmembers who were in the helicopter that was hit not called his bluff in Stars and Stripes. That was the beginning of the end for Williams at the anchor desk. After six months of suspension, NBC gave the anchor job to Lester Holt and relegated Williams to the position of breaking news anchor on MSNBC and breaking news anchor for NBC live special reports, a significant demotion to say the least.
Many people have questioned why Williams embellished his story. From the moment I first heard about it, I could make only one assumption: the reason had something to do with his I-factor. I did not know all the details or realize he would ultimately admit that the helicopter story, and others that were also embellished, were "clearly ego driven," and born of "the desire to better my role in a story I was already in" (emphasis added).
A quote from the website Politico characterizes the situation accurately: "You'd think that Brian Williams, a mega-successful, handsome, funny, high-status millionaire journalist wouldn't need laurels beyond the ones he's already collected. You'd be wrong." The Politico writer instinctively understood that what Williams did left much of America scratching our collective head, totally baffled.
I mention this story because of its shock value and its connection to the I-factor. People all over America and even around the world were stunned that a US media darling could fall so far, so fast. They were even more stunned that the wound to his career and his character was self-inflicted. I cannot count the number of times I read or heard someone say, "Why would he do this to himself?" The incredulity in our country was palpable for days after the story broke. As a culture, no matter how many times we witness it, we still marvel at the way people sabotage themselves.
When we orchestrate our own demise or our own delays on the road to success, we try to explain it away. Sometimes, though, those explanations are faulty because our insights into our own souls are not as sharp and clear as they should be; they are dulled and clouded by our desire to view ourselves in the most positive ways, instead of the most honest ways. These personal struggles, along with our continued bafflement over why other people do what they do, all happen for the same reason: we do not yet fully understand the I-factor.
What's the Problem?
How many times have you heard a shocking story similar to the one about Brian Williams — when someone in your community, your country, or the world seemed to have it all together and then, to the amazement of most people, suffered a tragic fall? These types of scenarios surprise and confuse us. Depending on the situation, one question floods our minds: How could this have happened? Then we go on to tell ourselves that the person who crashed and burned was so smart, so good looking, so funny, so talented, so strong, so prosperous, or so savvy — whatever adjective applies. This kind of thinking is so common in America that I'm not sure we realize how problematic it is.
We have a tendency to assess and esteem people based on their external qualities. We look at their tangible assets, such as educational credentials, physical attractiveness, financial strength (or apparent financial strength, which may be nothing more than debt), professional experience, social position, or worldly influence, and we assume these people are successful. We also look at their intangible qualities, such as personality or charisma and intelligence, believing these attributes make people successful.
We take the same approach toward ourselves. When we struggle to get the job we want; the relationship we want; the influence we want; or the house, car, or designer clothes we want, we immediately try to fix something external. We go back to school; we get another certification; we find a mentor; we lose weight and get in shape; we moonlight until we have enough extra money to buy the possessions we think will make us feel better about ourselves. Sooner or later, though, we realize that none of those things solved our real problem. They may have provided some temporary relief, but when we look in the mirror each day, we still see the same person wrestling with the same challenges.
While external factors do contribute to success in certain ways, none of them and no combination of them form the bedrock for a successful life. They can take people part of the way toward true success, but they can't keep them there. In order to attain and experience genuine success, the I-factor is another element that must be involved. It's often a silent partner in the formula for success; it's also the most important one. It may be something you have never considered and no one has ever told you about.
The I-factor is as intensely personal a matter as there can be. It affects your relationships with others, but it is the basis of everything about your relationship with yourself. It's completely unrelated to everything a person has working for him on the outside; it's all about what's happening on the inside — thoughts, emotions, motives, self-talk. It's the foundation of the way you relate to yourself. While self-esteem and self-respect are closely related to the I-factor, they don't encompass all of it. The I-factor also includes a person's innate integrity. It's the often unseen "why" behind what you think, say, and do. It's a combination of internal dynamics that forms your identity, shapes your character, and influences your life far more than you may realize.
Think again about Brian Williams. His lie about being in a helicopter under enemy fire was not the biggest problem. The biggest problem was whatever was happening inside of him that caused him to tell that lie and others. A person with a weak or negative I-factor would understandably lie in that way — because something on the inside felt deficient. In Williams's case, as he admitted, he wanted "to better [his] role in a story [he] was already in." So that's part of the story behind the story, part of the psychological explanation for what he did. But the question that leads us to I-factor issues is this: Why did he want to better himself, as good as he already was? The answer is that deep inside he still felt lacking — not good enough — in some way. None of the acclaim or fame or fortune was enough to empower him to see himself as many others saw him. They saw him as nearly perfect; he saw himself as needing to beef up a story so he would seem better. That's an I-factor problem.
Though we seem to be hearing about more and more such situations on the news websites these days, I-factor problems are not new. They stretch back for centuries, at least as far as the Old Testament, in the story of two young men I will share later in this chapter.
You Are the Key to Your Success
Often, when people fail to reach their goals, fall short of achieving their destinies, or tumble from a place of position or prominence, they quickly begin playing a blame game. Almost immediately, they find a reason that things did not work out as they had hoped. Usually, it's something like this:
"Well, that opportunity didn't work out for me because that company never hires people from the school I went to."
"I didn't get the job because of my gender."
"I ended up with this addiction because I needed something to numb the pain of my past."
"My marriage fell apart because my parents were divorced and they did not teach me the relational skills I needed."
"I'm deep in debt because of all the designer clothes and the car I had to buy in order to make a good impression on my coworkers."
"I never finished school because I couldn't get the grants I needed."
"I'm overweight because I have to cook for my kids and they won't eat anything healthy."
I have heard people blame their problems and shortcomings on everything from their parents to their children to the government to race, age, or gender, or to the neighborhood where they grew up.
When disappointments or troubles happen to Christians, they often blame the enemy, making comments such as, "The devil is trying to steal my destiny!" or, "I'm under attack from the enemy! He's hindering my success!" While I am quick to affirm the reality of spiritual warfare, I also think spiritual warfare is cited as the reason for many things that have absolutely nothing to do with the spiritual realm.
The hard but absolutely transformative truth of the I-factor is that, more often than not, no person, no organization, and no situation is responsible for what happens in our lives. Almost always, something within us as individuals is what causes our greatest frustrations. Many times, we are our own worst enemies. The good news is that as we resolve our I-factor issues, we become our own best friends and biggest helpers.
Excerpted from The I-Factor by VAN MOODY. Copyright © 2016 Vanable H. Moody, II. Excerpted by permission of Thomas Nelson.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
1 More Than Meets the Eye, 1,
2 It's Time to Peel the Onion, 19,
3 The Best-Kept Secret of Sustained Success, 37,
4 Your True Self Is Your Best Self., 55,
5 Proof of Identity, 73,
6 The Journey to Significance, 91,
7 A Training Ground for Greatness, 107,
8 The Biggest Favor You Can Do Yourself, 123,
9 Success Is an Inside Job, 143,
10 Don't Stop Now, 163,
11 Head First, 181,
12 The Power of Perspective, 199,
13 Seven Steps to Greatness, Part 1, 219,
14 Seven Steps to Greatness, Part 2, 235,
A Final Word, 255,
About the Author, 265,
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
You may be wondering, what is The I Factor? The I Factor is bigger than self-worth and self-respect according to Van Moody. Moody says The I-Factor is about managing yourself and your whole life well. The keys to The I-Factor are identity, significance and perspective. Throughout The I-Factor, Moody uses examples from his life, the lives of those in the Bible and the lives of famous people to help readers see how to best understand and help their I-Factor improve. Moody encourages you to look to God, maintain your integrity and be true to yourself. He also encourages you to see that God is growing you through the difficulties and challenges that you face. I especially appreciated that chapter. Throughout The I-Factor, Moody offers a lot of wisdom and advice that readers would do well to apply to live a better life. The last two chapters offer seven steps to greatness. Moody says only you can define what greatness is for you and what you were created to do. The People Factor, Van Moody's first book that I read, is a favorite of mine. The I-Factor is also quite good and one that I will keep in my personal library along with the first book. The first book is about relationships with others and this book is about being the best person that you can be as you live for God--building a good relationship with yourself. Moody writes in such a way that it feels to me like he is my personal mentor. His writing style is quite conversational and easy to understand and apply to the life you are living to make improvements. Each chapter has a summary of the principles in that chapter, entitled Internal Building Blocks. Each chapter also concludes with questions to ask yourself or to discuss in a group setting to help you learn and grow in a section called, Strengthening Your I-Factor. I would recommend The I-Factor to everyone as I think most everyone could learn and grow through this book. I received The I-Factor from Thomas Nelson. I was not required to write a positive review in exchange for the book.