Calling – Leadership Health and Integrity (Part 1)

A Firm Foundation

The journey of healthy and sustainable leadership happens by building a firm foundation.

The bathroom remodel is nearing completion (finally!).

Over the last several months, it has been a series of two steps forward and one step back.

Exciting progress met by a frustrating setback.

The subfloor was installed fairly quickly and easily.

But then, it took three orders of the shower to get one delivered undamaged, followed by three visits of the plumber to get it installed fully.

But after six weeks, we finally had a shower. So we put up the drywall and painted.

Progress, Setback, Repeat.

That, as it turns out, is much like life.

Slow, Steady Growth

Healthy leadership is a series of growth events. Each is the opportunity to take a step forward. Unfortunately, we also experience moments of setback. 

For every successful meeting or mentoring moment, we belittle an employee.

Every time we set healthy boundaries and engage in personal development, we scream at someone in traffic.

For every trip to the park with our kids or a date night with our spouse, there’s the emotional binge eating for temporary relief.

It’s this continual cycle of growth and progression that encapsulates the leader’s life. It’s also the reason that I started intentionally focusing on seven key areas and aspects of healthy leadership.

Over the next couple of weeks on the blog, we are going to be covering each of these seven areas. In each area, we’ll examine the process of opportunity, growth, and reflection.

First up, let’s talk about calling.

Calling – Leadership Health and Integrity (Part 1)

The foundation for all leadership begins in a calling. God has been calling and shaping people since the beginning of time. Abraham, Moses, David, Jesus, and Paul are a few examples. All have unique and personalized call stories that led them to live a life of mission.

There are two levels of calling that need to be identified. First, is a general calling. The second moves from general to specific.

General Calling

The general call focuses first on the development of leadership skills.

For me, it came as a freshman in college. Unhappy with where I was, how I felt, what I was looking forward to, and the classes I was taking, I remember the feeling of being alone, unloved, and unimportant.

I had gone to college because it’s what I was supposed to do. However, I didn’t arrive with any real sense of purpose or direction. Having spent a semester as a science major, the only thing that I was certain of was that I couldn’t spend any more evenings in the lab staring at a microscope.

I entered into a time of dedicated study, prayer, and reflection. I looked at transferring schools, changing majors,  and dropping out and getting a job. After weeks of prayer and study, I was renewed with a sense of purpose and direction. I was reminded that I had once been called into leadership positions and that it might be time to explore that calling again.

I began to argue with God about what that might look like. In my brokenness, I also listed the reasons why I was unfit and unqualified for leadership.

I suffered from extreme shyness and public anxiety.

I had a lack of public presence and a huge fear of the unknown.

In a sense of divine irony, I sensed the call to read my Bible. I randomly opened my Bible to the story of Moses in Exodus three and four. My reservations and fears had been calmed when I saw that I raised all the same objections Moses had. I became convinced that God delights in using our weaknesses in unique and exciting ways.

General revelations can happen at any time and force future leaders to have open hearts and minds about how God is calling and shaping them.

Specific Calling

Specific call stories take on a more detailed tone. If a general calling echoes my own idea of, “I’m not sure what this means, but I think I’m called into leadership;” specific call stories can fill in the blanks of to whom and for whom.

Originally for me, this meant youth ministry, but it didn’t take very long as a youth pastor to see that this was not what God intended for me!

Over the last decade, I have continued to define and refine my leadership skills and capabilities.

I now work with leaders, empowering them to get the right things done. My time is spent with success-oriented individuals helping them reach peak performance, accomplish their goals, and transform conflict into opportunity.

Growth Points

Let’s wrap up today’s discussion by providing discussion plans and growth points for the leadership journey.

These questions are designed to help you gain momentum in your journey towards leadership health.

  • To whom have I been called to serve?
  • What energizes me?
  • How do I want to give back?
  • What gifts and talents do my closest friends and family see in me?
  • Have I experienced a general calling? What did that look like?
  • Have I experienced a specific calling? What does that look like?
  • Who am I trying to become?

Next week, we are going to begin our look at the four internal aspects of leadership health and continue towards our final destination.

Five Emotional Warning Signs of Overwhelm

On this week’s podcast, Elise and I are talking about the five emotional warning signs of overwhelm.

These are clues to help you (or someone you know) who may be struggling with being overworked and overcommitted.

Experiencing emotions is good and throughout the course of the day, we will experience a lot of them. These are warning signs for when these emotions are either our default mode of response or an unrelenting presence in our lives.

This podcast includes five emotional warning signs and some insights on how to fight against the tide of overwhelm.

My new ebook is scheduled soon for release. To receive a free chapter out of the book, sign up for my email newsletter.

As always, thank you for listening! I really appreciate it.

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In An Instant

I’ve lost track on the number of conversations I’ve had recently about how quickly time seems to be moving.

I joked about it on the podcast.

I’ve spoken with clients who felt like the 4th of July was only two weeks ago.

Our oldest turned ten this year.

I’ve been out of high school fifteen years already, and college more than ten.

The number of people who have told me, “The days are long but the years are short” are only half right.

What do you do when even the days are short?

The Power of Journaling During Change

In my doctoral program, I was introduced to a way of “checking-in” emotionally during a changing season. It gave space to everyone in the room to acknowledge, own, and share their feelings in a safe environment.

Over the years, I’ve also used it with my clients and with myself during seasons of change. It’s a quick focusing technique that can empower us and it’s a great place to start journaling.

Journaling may be a new idea or discipline for you, and it can feel tough to get started.

If so, here is the technique for you to use that won’t eat up a bunch of your short days, but give you immediate power.

Plus, as you continue in this discipline and the journaling and writing process comes more easily to you, it becomes easier to expand on these ideas and create that daily journal to reflect on.

The power of journaling during change is that it gives us memories to look back on. To see how we’ve grown. To see what we’ve overcome. To see the victories.

The power of journaling during change is that it gives us the power to own our narrative. Experience healing. Embrace transformation. To remember that every day is a season of change. That no matter what you’re going through, “You got this.”

How To Start A Daily Journaling Habit

The easiest way to start a daily journaling habit is to remember the acronym S.A.S.H.E.T.

S – Sad

A – Angry

S – Scared

H – Happy

E – Excited

T – Tender

At the end of your day, journal your emotional state using these words. Maybe you experienced all of them in a day. Maybe only one or two. There is no “right answer” only what is true for you now.

As time unfolds you’ll also begin to expand on these. Like the keys on a piano, being able to identify more emotions will expand your “playing range.”

Great pianists can play the full range of the keyboard. Similarly, people in tune with their emotions will be able to feel, experience, navigate and lead from a wider range of emotional states.

A simple journal entry could look like this.

Today, I’m checking in with myself. One thing that made me scared today was when I was running late for work. I thought it would make me look bad to my boss and fellow employees. 

I was angry when I got home from work and saw that my kids hadn’t done their chores as I had asked.

I am excited about our upcoming family vacation. I really need that time to relax.

I am feeling tender at the moment for my oldest. His birthday is coming up soon. I see the man he is becoming and it makes want to parent more intentionally.

Consistent journaling will serve us well in a couple of areas

1.) It gives us the power to own our day. By owning our emotions we can then own our actions and work to get better.

2.) It expands our emotional keys. By consistently checking in, we may soon discover that these words are not enough. Soon enough, something will happen where you won’t merely be ‘happy’ but ‘elated.’

3.) It allows us to reflect. The best time to plant an oak tree was twenty years ago. The second best time is now. The same is true of personal growth, writing that book you’ve always wanted, and growing your emotional intelligence. The best time to start journaling was twenty years ago. The second best time is now. Soon enough, you’ll be able to look back at last week, last month, and the last several years to see where you were, what you’ve overcome, and how you’re growing.

4.) It allows us to shape our future. If we can see where we’ve been and know where we are now, we can better navigate our future. We notice trends, can see recurring patterns, and break out of destructive habits, relationships, or no longer important goals.

Do you journal? What have you learned about yourself? Leave a comment below!

The power of journaling during change is part of our week-long look at how to navigate the “changing seasons” of our lives. To receive exclusive access to all of the content, get an easy to read recap of the topic, and receive my free five-day course on productivity, joinmy community newsletter.