A shadow cast on a brick wall of a giant in armor with overlay text slay your giants while you're young. Blog post cover art.

That’s why it’s so important to slay your giants while you’re young.

Her words hit me like a ton of bricks.

Not only is she incredibly beautiful and funny, she’s also really, really smart.

I’m lucky she’s my wife.

We were talking about the importance of marked leadership growth and reflecting on the life of King David in the Bible.

Setting the Stage

I was walking her through a talk I was getting ready to give, and we were reflecting on what David’s life might have been like as he neared the end of his life.

A Forgotten boy to a ruler.

From shepherd to king.

Giant-slayer to sage. A shadow cast on a brick wall of a giant in armor with overlay text slay your giants while you're young. Blog post cover art.

Desert dweller to palace ruler.

As he neared the end of his life, he had to spend time reflecting on all that had transpired. A surprising amount is written about David in the Bible. We see his faith and folly as he is featured across the pages of Scripture.

Someone described as “a man after God’s own heart” has killed giants, led a country, been to war, stolen another man’s wife, committed murder, written songs, and experienced rebellion and treason from his own family.

Throughout it all, he remained committed to God and in trying to understand how to lead well.

And as my wife and I were discussing this, we were talking about the many ways in which his experiences of God may have changed, but the need behind them hadn’t.

That was true throughout the Israelite story.

It’s true for us as well.

Having Experiences

We all have a quest and desire to connect with God.

Unfortunately, we also want to keep having that same experience.

When the Israelites that saw God in the pillar of fire still wanted to see him like that. The problem is that as circumstances change, so do the experiences.

That’s why it’s important to slay your giants while you’re young.

David experienced God when he slew the giant Goliath. But he was never supposed to become a perpetual giant killer. Once he accomplished that mission, it was time for a new one.

Slay Your Giants While You’re Young

As leaders, we are all called to progress.

Grow.

Adapt.

Change.

Overcome.

In new ways, every day.

Far too many of us, however, take pride in slaying the same giants over and over.

Battling with addiction instead of getting help.

Hiding behind our fears and weaknesses instead of soliciting a mentor to overcome.

Engaging in the same pointless battles again and again.

I’m reminded of a story I heard once. An elderly leader was being interviewed about his life and influence. Having just passed 80 years old, he had a lot of wisdom to share with the crowd.

The interviewer asked him, “What’s one battle you regret not winning?”

Immediately, the 80-year old replied, “Porn.”

At 80, he was still trying to slay the same giant as his teenage self.

Instead of being able to be a person of wisdom to his community, he was stuck in a cycle of shame.

Don’t fall victim.

Slay your giants while you’re young.

Blog post cover photo abundant generosity text over a coin jar with a plant

The capstone of great leadership is a life capable of resisting burnout, and that happens through a life of abundant generosity.

You cannot have that, without financial health.

Ultimately, you will never be able to fully resist the pitfall of burnout if your financial life is in order.

Getting Started

In the early days of my coaching practice, this is exactly where I found myself. I wanted to be there fully for my clients, but often wondered how quickly they were going to pay. If it wasn’t soon, I wasn’t going to be able to pay my bills. That sort of internal struggle makes it hard to be fully present.

Maybe you can relate. Maybe you’ve woken up with a knot in your stomach wondering how you were going to make it through the growing pile of bills.

If you’ve ever lived at a point of having more month than money, you know the stress of too little money.

But a life free of burnout goes one step farther. It’s never just about having enough money, it’s about giving back. To be free from burnout as a leader, you give of your time, your resources, your skills, and your expertise. The final commitment is to give your money.

Great leaders not only get their financial life in order, but they also practice living a life of Abundant Generosity.

Abundant Generosity

Abundant generosity is about giving extravagantly. It’s charitable giving, yes, but it’s so much more. It is the openness and willingness to propel others to their own successes.

Abundant generosity is a joyful state of abundance.

It calls for greatness out of yourself and others. Blog post cover photo abundant generosity text over a coin jar with a plant

Abundant generosity opens up the well deep within your soul to provide monetary donations, wisdom, and acts of service to better the causes, communities, and people you care about most.

A number of years ago, I changed part of my pricing package to include a “generosity” option. In short, when people purchase a certain coaching contract with me, I move part of that money into a separate fund that provides scholarships for people that can’t afford full coaching services.

The individual receiving coaching wins by receiving free or discounted coaching services.

I win because I get to help more people.

The person who made the donation wins because they get to practice abundant generosity.

But as I’ve said, finances are only a part of the picture. Sometimes, they know the person who receives coaching. They nominate someone in their organization who then gets the added benefit of a promotion because of their growth through the coaching process.

The end result is a recurring cycle of growth in individuals and organizations where all are giving and receiving. Abundant generosity, in this case, is about bettering the community.

As we wrap up this eleven-part series, I want to encourage you to practice abundant generosity where you have the chance. Give freely and deeply. Bless others. With your money, your time, your gifts, your resources, your network, your business, and your passion.

Start by freeing yourself from the burden of debt. Then, accumulate as much knowledge as you can and give it all away.


The Wrap Up

If you or someone you know is facing burnout, please get help. Email me to set up your first appointment.

Looking for more ways to fight against burnout? Here are 50 self-care tips.

 Want the entire series as a Kindle book? Go here.

The angel tells Elijah to go take a nap

Sometimes, the best thing you can do is to tell yourself, “Go take a nap!”

This is a continuing series. Today’s post is “Go take a nap.” In this series, we are examining leadership burnout and the steps you need to implement as a leader to avoid (and recover from) burnout.

Contain within the Hebrew Scriptures is one of my favorite stories of all time. Written like a great movie blockbuster, this story has it all.

Murder.

Betrayal.

The beginning of a revolution.

Drama.

Rebellion.

Intrigue.

The Backstory

Elijah, a prophet to the nation of Israel is confronting the King. The wicked ruler Ahab has ravaged the lady with wife, the cruel and anti-God Jezebel. Elijah, the one urging the people to remain faithful to God, can only do so by confronting the King. The angel tells Elijah to go take a nap

In 1 Kings 18, he does just that. After years of prophecy, it is time for action. Elijah emerges from a foreign town called Zarephath (which means ‘melting pot’, probably a sign that it had economic ties to military arms production).1 Elijah, a prophet of Israel, emerges from his hiding place, located inside of Israel’s enemy, from a town producing tools to destroy Israel, to tell the king it’s time to face the music. The nerve of Elijah. 

Yet as we shall see, this will also set the stage for his coming burnout.

Elijah confronts the king, his evil wife Jezebel, and her wayward prophets of Baal in a showdown to determine the true ruler of Israel. A comedic set of circumstances follow.

Elijah seemingly gives the prophets of Baal every advantage. They get to build their altar first, perhaps ending the confrontation early if Baal shows up. They get to pick the best bull for the sacrifice, and they can have as long as they want to win the showdown.

After hours of worship and devotion to Baal, the prophets begin to tire. Elijah starts taunting them. Here, many translations limit the effectiveness of this passage by saying that perhaps Baal is busy traveling, deep in thought.

A better and more literal translation has Elijah taunting the prophets of Baal that perhaps they caught him while he was going to the bathroom. Baal would surely come to their rescue just as soon as he could finish relieving himself. How embarrassing!

Elijah’s Response

After taunting the prophets, Elijah changes his tone. Now, he gathers the watching Israelites and begins to instruct them in the proper way to live. The drought the nation is experiencing is because of their inability and lack of desire to follow God. The drought will end when they realize this.

He rebuilds their broken altar, has the bull sacrificed, orders water poured on it, and prays to God to accept the sacrifice. Immediately, fire from heaven consumes the offering, the altar, and the water. The people are astonished.

Elijah orders the false prophets killed and murders over 400 people. Because of their faithfulness, the people will be rewarded with rain.

Elijah warns the king to prepare. After three years of no rain, it is about to become a torrential downpour!

The Burnout

At the conclusion of this story, Elijah is exhausted.

The teaching.

The sacrifice.

The murder.

Additionally, the text tells us that Elijah then flees the scene and runs to another town that was twenty miles away.

It is here that Elijah falls victim to burnout. He has started to believe his own hype and self-importance. One author comments

“Elijah, in fact, is a vivid biblical example of Freudenberger’s observation that burnout “is the letdown that comes between crises or directly after ‘mission accomplished.’”… He expended a great deal of physical, emotional, and spiritual energy in his conflict with the prophets of Baal…His success caused the Israelites and their king to come back to the worship of the only true God. Shortly after that incident, he expended more energy by climbing to the top of Mount Carmel, spending an intense period of time in prayer… and, when that prayer was answered…outran King Ahab’s chariot.”2

The story then tells us that Elijah is overwhelmed and wishes he were dead. He complains to God. To him, death is better than continuing down this path.

(On a side note, we see this in burnout all the time. It’s one leading reason why the highest spike in suicide happens on Sunday night as people start preparing to go back to a job they hate).

God’s Response

In words that I have come to use often on myself and others when they are feeling overwhelmed, I love God’s response.

After listening to Elijah he gives his two commands: eat something and take a nap.

Elijah, you just did something important. You accomplished a big goal. Then you ran twenty miles. You’re tired. Exhausted. Spent. Have some meat. Eat some bread. Drink some water. Then go take a nap. We’ll talk after that.

Elijah follows these commands, and wouldn’t you know it, he wakes up refreshed and ready for the next challenge.

We too need to hear these words. After significant challenges, we can fall victim to overwhelm.

Don’t listen to those voices!

In future posts, we’re going to look at specific ways to prevent and fight against burnout. For now, it is enough to know this: if you’re exhausted, eat something and then go take a nap. We can talk after that.


The Wrap Up

If you or someone you know is facing burnout, please get help. Email me to set up your first appointment.

Looking for more ways to fight against burnout? Here are 50 self-care tips.

 Want the entire series as a Kindle book? Go here.


Sources:

1.) Brueggemann, Walter. 1 Kings. Knox Preaching Guides. John H. Hayes. Atlanta: John Knox Press, 1982.

2.) Minirth, Frank B. “Unfulfilled Expectations: The Burnout Burden.” In Beating Burnout: Balanced Living for Busy People, 41-42. New York: Inspirational Press, 1997.

Blog Post Cover Photo. An anthill with ants and overlay text that says everything has consequences

Recently, I took my oldest son on a two-day camping trip. It was the start of his milestone ceremonies as he transitions to manhood. Our theme this time was, “Everything has consequences.”

Milestone Ceremonies

I am designing these milestone ceremonies to happen at significant moments in his biological development. At each age and stage of life, he will discover more responsibility and insights into his plan and ultimate objective into life. It’s like an extended “coming of age” ceremony.

  • 8 – Pre-Puberty.
  • 12 – Puberty
  • 16 – Driving and Freedoms Blog Post Cover Photo. An anthill with ants and overlay text that says everything has consequences
  • 18 – Adulthood and Goals
  • 21 – Final Milestone Ceremony

Each of these trips is designed to teach him something about the way the world works, his capacity as a man, and what it means to live a life of service and dedication to others.

This first trip, happening at a primitive campground in the high desert of California, was raising him to the awareness of his body, the changes that will happen, and to start him thinking about planning his future choices.

He was (partly) responsible for packing appropriate things, and helped me set up and tear down camp. We also learned a bit about how to make a fire, hunt animal tracks. pay attention to our surroundings, and emergency medical and hazard situations.

In the heat of the Friday afternoon sun, we were blessed with what became our theme, somewhat unexpectedly.

The idea stuck: everything has consequences.

The Results of Our Choices

Underneath the hot afternoon sun, we spent time watching an ant colony work. Suddenly, two dozen beetles came and landed near the colony. Instantly, the ants swarmed and started attacking the beetles. The beetles, encumbered by the swarm of ants, tried to escape. Some were successful. Others were quickly dispatched and stuffed down the hole of the ant colony.

In the middle of our observation, Jackson turned to me and said, “Dad, are you for team beetle or team ant?”

“I dunno. I’m just interested in watching and seeing what happens. I want both to win.”

As we sat there in silence a few more minutes, I started our conversation.

In life, everything has consequences. That’s not a bad thing. Consequences don’t have to be bad. They are just the result of what we choose to do. What happens if we help all the ants kill the beetles?

All the beetles lose their lives. Justin and Jackson camping

Right. And what happens if we help the beetles escape?

The ants have nothing to eat.

Correct. You will make choices that affect other people. In fact, every choice you make has an effect on something. Be sure you make choices you can live with, morally, ethically, and practically.

As he sat there in silence for a few more minutes, he finally muttered. “Huh. Everything has consequences.”

Building a Life of Choices

The life you’re living today is a result of the choices you’ve made along the way.

Good, bad, or indifferent, you are exactly where you should be because of the choices you’ve made so far.

The great thing is, if you don’t like where you’re at, you can make different choices.

Chart a new path.

Create a new outcome.

Change direction.

Channel different energy.

Just because this is where you are, doesn’t mean this is where you have to end up.

Your story is not over.

If you’re ready to make new choices, I’d love to be a part of your story and help you make a new destiny.

Just remember: everything has consequences.

 

 

 

 

 

Attend the 2021 Overcomers Conference

Blog Post Cover: Business Operations Professional People Skills

We’re continuing our look at Marcus Whitney’s Book Create and Orchestrate by examining what it means to have a strong sense of business operations.

If you missed any of the previous posts, don’t worry, links are at the bottom.

At its core, the purpose of operations is the indefatigable elimination of risk in the business.*

The Structure Of Business

The United States has a dizzying array of tax codes, legal standards, and licensing requirements for businesses. I’m not a tax professional, and I understand very little about the different structures and benefits to each different type of business entity.

What I do understand, however, is risk mitigation and people management.

Yes, creating the right entity matters.

Of course, you need to have insurance, file the proper paperwork, and utilize the right tax incentives.

But above all, it’s the measure of people’s development, conflict resolution, and personal investment that really shapes the future of your business.

Effective Business Operations Includes Substantial People Development

Years ago, I was coaching an individual that often touted his own leadership capabilities. He was convinced that both his ideas and his methods were right. It came as an absolute shock then when he was passed over for a promotion.

To hear that he didn’t play well with others, handled criticism poorly, and was developing a negative reputation in the organization truly came as a surprise to him.

Early on he expressed his anger and frustration. Everyone else’s inability to see his greatness was offensive. It was then that I asked him a fundamental question about his leadership. Blog Post Cover: Business Operations Professional People Skills

“Great leaders produce more leaders. Who are other people you’ve developed that would identify you as their main source of influence?”

He sat in silence for several minutes, ultimately unable to come up with a single name.

He was slowly beginning to realize the difference between ordering others with tasks and leading people effectively.

To his credit, he took the insight seriously and began to change. His method and approach to interacting with others improved greatly. He led his team more effectively and radically improved his leadership capabilities. As a result, his overall business operations improved. His happier (and more well-developed people) made for a better culture, which made for a better customer experience. Everyone won.

Your Key Three Takeaways

To effectively grow your business operations and, as a result, your overall business, you must, as they say, play well with others. Ultimately it will all come down to how well you invest in the people and culture of your organization. Here are three things for you to practice this week:

1.) Think Through the HR Logistics

One of the reasons businesses call me is because they sense that a change is needed in their HR policies. People are leaving. Customers are unhappy. Turnover is high. What’s going on? Most times, the business owner hires an employee but then stops the conversation. Outside of the occasional business meeting, there is little to no talk of promotion, a pay raise, or leadership development. If this is you, your business operations are in need of a serious overhaul. Start with people. End with people. Develop people at every step along the way. Think through those logistical questions and treat your employees with respect, trust, and goodwill. It goes farther than you think.

If you’d like some help with this, feel free to email me and we’ll set up a time to talk.

2.) Praise Publicly – Criticize Privately.

I almost wrote, “Don’t criticize.” It’s not that people don’t need to hear good, constructive feedback, it’s that it’s so often done poorly. Coach your people through problems. This gives them the opportunity to listen and learn from their mistakes by applying critical thinking to their own actions. The most effective way to change behavior is through good, insightful coaching.

On the positive side, be generous with public praise. I once worked with an employer that openly refused to praise their employees.

“I give them a paycheck, why should I praise them for doing their job?”

The short version of that story is that employee turnover was extraordinarily high and morale was constantly low.

Praise frequently and extravagantly.

Let someone know when they do a good job.

Better yet, make sure others know it as well.

3.) Win Relationships, Not Arguments

Several years ago, mired in a personal conflict with someone else, I learned a very harsh reality: If I win the argument but lose the relationship, I’ve lost everything.

I’m sad to say that I lost everything. My moments of weakness, poor leadership, and even worse conflict resolution ability cost me a friendship and ultimately a job. As a person in charge of business operations, this decision haunts me.

From that moment on, I was determined to never let it happen again. Since then, I’ve never been disappointed. Even when it means swallowing my pride or allowing the other person to be right (even if factually I am) it’s always been worth the extra effort and energy to win the relationship.

As a business owner or other leader, be sure to win relationships. With your employees, your customers, your superiors, and your community. Sacrifice the idol of always needing to be right and instead work towards always needing to be loving. Demonstrate grace, compassion, and empathy as a leader.Create and Orchestrate Book Cover

Eight Core Concepts

This list is updated as the blog series continues. Click on any live link to go to that post in the series.

  1. Leadership
  2. Finance
  3. Operations
  4. Growth
  5. Product
  6. Service
  7. Sales
  8. Marketing

*  Whitney, Marcus. Create and Orchestrate: The Path to Claiming Your Creative Power from an Unlikely Entrepreneur (p. 69). Creative Power. Kindle Edition.