Life in the garden blog post cover image. A row of vegetables planted in dirt.

I have spent much of my life in the garden. What I have discovered in the soil holds true in my soul: the time spent pruning, watering, and nurturing is never wasted.

Life in the Garden

As a kid growing up on the plains of central Kansas, I spent much of my time in the garden. My family grew a fair amount of our own food, and it was usually one of my daily tasks to spend a certain amount of time clearing the weeds from the produce.

Strawberries.

Rhubarb.

Tomatoes.

Carrots.

Beans

Cucumbers.

Peas

Corn.

We grew a whole variety of food. However, it wouldn’t take long in the humid days of summer to see weeds grow up right along with the crops.

So for thirty minutes every day, I’d be out there making sure only the good stuff grew.

As I got older, I started to hate it more. As a teenager, there were thousands of other places I’d rather be than in the garden doing work. Life in the garden blog post cover image. A row of vegetables planted in dirt.

Now, as an adult, I wish I had more time to devote to my own garden. The thirty minutes a week are far too few.

However, my time in the garden has made me realize the many ways I want to cultivate a fruitful and bountiful personal life.

Here are three takeaways from my life in the garden.

1.) Remove the bad, harmful, and damaging weeds.

I’ve already mentioned my disdain for gardening as a child. Part of it was my allergies. They were so bad growing up, my eyes would swell shut and I found it difficult to breathe. There were many days where a family member would have to escort me around the house because I couldn’t see, my eyes crusted over with goop.

If it were like that inside the house, you can imagine how bad actually having my face near the plants.

However, in those brief moments where I could concentrate and focus on getting something accomplished on a row of cucumbers, I always took satisfaction in seeing progress.

Weeding gave two primary benefits: clear signs of work done, and better yields.

In our own lives as leaders, we see the same benefit. When we weed out the poor, distracting, bad, harmful, and damaging ‘weeds’ of our lives, we see clear progress and get better yields.

Our souls are full of many bad weeds.

Pride.

Arrogance

Destructive relationships.

Bad habits.

False mental beliefs.

Spending time in coaching, counseling, mentorship, business alliances, and other thought-provoking and challenging ideas weeds out these self-perceived limits and gives the good, nurturing fruit of leadership space to grow.

2.) Prune and nurture the good.

As you clear out the weeds, you give the good fruit space to grow. At the same time, this good stuff needs to be pruned, fed, and watered. Carefully cutting off areas of less productivity and overgrowth gives the main plant more time to thrive.

In the garden, watering and fertilizing your plants also leads to bigger yields.

For the garden of your soul, the same beneficial steps need to be taken.

Limit the amount of ‘good’ in your life to pursue the ‘great.’

Take control of your calendar to get more of the right things done (and not just more things).

Limit (and eliminate) time with people who drain you, your time, and your resources.

Spend time with people who bring your more life, vitality, abundance, and joy.

3.) Cultivate beneficial species together.

A lesson I learned early from my life in the garden is the power of beneficial and antagonistic plants. In my raised beds, I made the mistake of planting tomatoes and cabbage too close together.

While it seems like no big deal, in terms of plant production, it was a very big deal.

My main tomato plants, living next to beneficial plants, grew and thrived. I was harvesting tomatoes and cucumbers on a regular basis.

The tomatoes that were planted near the cabbage resulted in both plant species struggling. The cabbage never had more than a few leaves, and the tomatoes stopped growing after a foot and never produced fruit.

Thankfully, I was able to transplant the cabbage, and now both are thriving (well away from each other).

Plants need the right environment to survive. This includes their relationships with other plants.

In our own lives, we have the same problems. When we are too near negative thinking, small-mindedness, hypocrisy, anger, judgment, fear, and limiting beliefs, we start to adapt to the same. Just like in my garden, there is a general failure to thrive when we are in the wrong environments.

Removing that negativity from your life and exposing yourself to like-minded people and beneficial thoughts results in more of the same.

Expose yourself to positive and be positive.

What about you? How have you seen one of your hobbies benefit you in your professional life?

exhausted person with head on desk with overlay text change is constant growth is optional. blog post cover photo

One of the major lessons I’ve been reminded of these last 18 months is that change is constant, while growth is optional.

The unrelenting pace of life can seem overwhelming at times. Late in 2019, things were looking good for many of us. The business sector was strong, plans were in place, and we were excited for a new year.

Then 2020 happened.

We saw the economy derail.

There was political upheaval.

Civil unrest.

A pandemic.

Followed by a recession.

Job loss.

Cancelled plans and changed futures were a new reality.

Fear.

Worry. exhausted person with head on desk with overlay text change is constant growth is optional. blog post cover photo

Doubt.

2021 brought new hope that maybe things could be different.

There was a glimmer of hope.

In many ways, that has yet to be realized as the delta variant as more of the same from 2020 continues.

Throughout it all, I’ve been reminded that change is constant, growth is optional.

Change is Constant, Growth is Optional

In another recent blog post, I talked about asking the question, “Do you want to change?”

The basic idea is that as a coach, I can do a lot of things for you. What I can’t do, is make you want to change. You have to bring that to the coaching relationship.

In order to get to the place where we want to change, we first have to realize that change is constant.

I was reflecting on this the other night as I went on my nightly walk with my dog. Every night, I take for granted that I walk the same route, at the same time, at the same speed, seven days a week.

Because of this, I “feel” like I have a lot of control over that schedule.

Until a few nights ago when a German shepherd on the loos ran at our dog and got ready to attack him.

As I quickly tried to weigh my options I realized for a second that I was stuck in indecision.

Should I let my dog be attacked?

That dog is big, and running fast, what do I do?

Do I sacrifice myself in front of the dog?

I have a stun gun with me, should I use it on this dog?

As I quickly tried to process my options (and readied myself to deploy the stun gun), the dog’s owner came running around the corner yelling at his dog to get back in the yard.

Thankfully, after one quick nip that left our dog unhurt, the German shepherd ran away and went home.

I finished the walk, taking a shortcut home, to return to the safe confines of my home.

When Things Change Quickly

That night reminded me that things change quickly.

All the time, not just in 2020.

A medical diagnosis changes our healthy lifestyle in an instant.

That fight with a friend ends a long time relationship.

When a downturn in the economy finds us unemployed.

A severe storm cancels a planned day at the park.

Whatever it is, we walk around with this belief that we are in more control than we really are.

That’s not to sound fatalistic or depressed, it’s said to acknowledge the reality of life.

And its fragility.

The car accident leads to years of rehab that was certainly never planned (or hoped) for, yet for millions of Americans, it will be a reality this year.

Change happens every day.

Most days it is small, which is why it feels so manageable.

But every now and then, we are reminded of how big the universe is … and how small we are.

A big change hits and our life looks forever different moving forward.

Change Your Perspective

That’s why it’s helpful to change your perspective.

We don’t ‘manage change.’

We can’t even try to control it.

Instead, look for ways to grow through it.

Adapt.

Improvise.

Overcome.

Realize that you’ve made it through 100% of what life has thrown at you already, so chances are high you’ll make it through this next change too.

Planned or not.

Big or small.

Change is constant, growth is optional.

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.

Podcast Cover art, Justin speaking into a microphone

Habits, Goals, and the Success Mindset

This week on the podcast, our mastermind is sitting down to talk about the essential habits, goals, and success mindset that all entrepreneurs and business owners need to have.

Welcome to this week’s Mastermind training! As a new entrepreneur or business owner, maybe you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed. Life can seem overcomplicated. There are staffing needs, finances, marketing, taxes, sales, family, COVID protocols, and a whole host of other things that need to be looked after. Podcast Cover art, Justin speaking into a microphone

How can you make it through and not just survive, but thrive?

You need to make sure you have the right habits, goals, and a success mindset in place.

Developing the Skillset

In this episode, Scott Thor, Juanita Webb, and Justin Hiebert sit down and talk about the essentials skills of a business owner.

You’ll discover what you need to know about:

  • Successful Morning Routines
  • Getting good work done, even when you don’t feel like it.
  • How to overcome obstacles and hurdles
  • Ways to increase your productivity while staying sane.
  • Our best tips to a growing and thriving business

These are skills that we’ve used, utilized, and developed over our years in business. If you feel like shortening your learning curve by decades, be sure to give this podcast a listen.

About Justin

If you’re new to the podcast, welcome!

My name is Justin, and I’m an Elite-Mindset and success coach. Throughout my career, I’ve been a pastor, educator, and serial entrepreneur. I help entrepreneurs, business owners, and world-changers attain elite mental performance through burnout prevention, habits, and compounding daily wins.

About the Mastermind

The Bakersfield Mastermind is a collaboration between Dr.’s Scott Thor and Juanita Web.

To hear Scott’s interview, go here.

Listen hear Juanita’s interview, go here.

To watch video replays, go here.

 

Want to connect with Justin and reach your own full potential and elite mental performance? Email him.