Years ago, I read Eugene’ Peterson’s A Long Obedience in the Same Direction. To be honest, I don’t remember much of the book, but the title has long stuck with me.

It’s become a continual mantra for the daily habits, beliefs, thought patterns, and actions that I use to guide my life.

A Long Obedience in the Same Direction

It’s fairly typical for me to have a panic attack on Monday morning. I suffer from anxiety; from the fear of what could be.

At times, it’s overwhelming. couple hiking remote mountains with overlay text a long obedience in the same direction, blog post cover art

Debilitating.

Paralyzing.

In those moments of lost despair, I’ve trained myself to recall the phrase and title of the book, a long obedience in the same direction.

The fear comes from my desire to do it all.

To break free of that fear, I have to remind myself that I don’t have to do it all right now.

My destination is not complete today, instead, I am on the journey.

So what would obedience look like today?

That’s a much simpler proposition:

  • Network
  • Respond to emails
  • Call clients
  • Spend time with my family
  • Eat well
  • Exercise
  • Encourage someone
  • Get to bed on time
  • Repeat

While the specific formula to each day may look different, I guide my life by answering the question: what do I need to do today that could get me one step closer to my goal?

Once I have that figured out, I create the plan for obedience.

Create The Plan – Then Execute

One of the phrases we use throughout coaching is, to begin with the end in mind.

Where do you want to end up in life?

What do you want to accomplish?

Who do you want to be?

Then we can look at your current situation.

If you continue to make the same choices, will you end up where you want to be?

If so, great! Continue to amplify those decisions and live more purposefully.

However, if you won’t end up where you want to be by making similar choices, then it’s time to make a change.

Chart a new path.

Choose a new direction.

Create momentum that will propel you to your ideal life.

Then, practice obedience and begin a long obedience in the same direction.

Frustrated woman with glasses pushed up her forehead asking what do I do when I'm feeling stuck?

One of the most popular questions I get is, “What do I do when I’m feeling stuck?”

It’s a question based on motivation. The question really being asked is, “How do I overcome my lack of motivation?”

I get it.

I struggle with motivation too.

Honestly, if I worked out when I was motivated, I’d work out maybe twice a week. More than likely, once. (Or none at all!)

Motivation, outside of the beginning thrust on a new and exciting project, is largely useless in personal development.

Instead, we need to rely on discipline. Building a life of discipline is simple (not necessarily easy), but it is rewarding.

Here are three ways to build a life of discipline:

1.) Create clear and compelling goals

As I’ve written about before, clear and compelling goals are the greatest asset you have to overcome the lack of motivation.

Good goals are SMARTER

Specific Frustrated woman with glasses pushed up her forehead asking what do I do when I'm feeling stuck?

Measurable

Achievable

Relevant

Timely

Energizing

Rewarding

A lack of motivation could mean that our goals aren’t clear enough. A bigger problem is that we don’t reward ourselves for a job well done. As Shawn Achor highlights in his TEDTalk (and amazing book), by failing to reward ourselves for achieving our goals, we subtly teach our brains that our work doesn’t matter. In other words, by failing to reward our progress we learn that progress doesn’t matter.

Our brain says, “What’s the point?” and gives up.

If you’re struggling with the question “What do I do when I’m feeling stuck?” create clear, simple, and compelling goals.

2.) Be a Part of a Community

It’s hard to go it alone. Whether you’re an entrepreneur growing a business, a spouse improving a marriage, or a coach in athletics, you can’t do the journey of life alone.

Find a supportive community to help.

A community provides support, encouragement, perspective, and wisdom. It gives us strength when we are weak and positivity in a world filled with the negative.

A community of like-minded voices gives us the endurance and accountability to press on when we feel like giving up.

If you’re struggling with the question “What do I do when I’m feeling stuck?” find others to walk the journey with you.

3.) Hire a Coach

A lot of coaching is accountability. More than the community, a good coach asks reflective questions, highlights understanding, deepens insight, and inspires action.

Great coaches help you see through your own bias, false beliefs, internal narratives, and weak spots. They equip you with the tools to overcome those rough edges. They leave you accountable to your action plan.

Just last week I was working with a client who didn’t complete all of his growth homework for the week. After talking about it, we discovered that it was an important goal, but not the most important.

Instead, before hiring another employee (his task he gave himself for the week) he needed to free up time in his calendar (his new task). With more free time, he would be able to get new business, get caught up on billing, and have space to mentor and onboard effectively. Completing these tasks would ultimately do much more than “hire an employee” and instead give him the capacity to build his business.

That’s a much more effective use of time!

Coaches can shorten the time it takes to learn tasks, complete projects, and accelerate to succes.

Looking for any of those? I’d love to walk with you on that journey.

If you’re struggling with the question “What do I do when I’m feeling stuck?” hire a coach!

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.

An Introduction to Burnout (Part 1)

Over the next several weeks, I want to provide an overview and examination of leadership burnout. With the world quickly changing in 2020 and 2021, burnout has unsurprisingly been on the rise. Here are some things you need to know.

A Basic Understanding of Burnout

In May of 2014, with the last speaker winding up his talk in the main auditorium, I sat just outside the building in tears.

The past week had been eye-opening. As I sat with my wife trying to process everything, I came to a realization: I was all alone. An introduction to leadership burnout

At the time, I was serving as the pastor of a small church in a large city. The past year-and-a-half had seen me transition from a one-year contracted associate to the lead person when the other pastor stepped down. The church was dying, marred by years of unhealthy leadership and unsustainable practices.

I had reached out to other leaders and superiors at other churches and was told there wasn’t much they could do. Their resources and energy was going to be spent elsewhere.

I started doctoral school to try to find answers. What I found, were more questions. The passion in my soul to help others was not happening. Instead, I seemed to be facing mounting frustration, fear, and failure.

Is this how all leaders feel? I wondered.

Discovering Burnout

Burnout, at least in the course of my own educational journey, was never talked about. I took classes in dynamic leadership, speaking, counseling, Greek, Hebrew, and social justice. Never once was burnout mentioned.

In May of 2014, I wasn’t burnt out … yet … but I also knew I couldn’t continue with “business as usual.”

I reached out to a professional counselor I knew. He was a professor at the school where I did my master’s program.

“How do you all avoid burnout?” I asked.

His response changed my life.

“We talk about it. We talk about it a lot. From early on and throughout the program we frame it as an ethical mandate and don’t give people a choice. We tell them from day one that they have an ethical mandate and responsibility to themselves, their clients, and to God to be healthy in all areas of their life.”

What is burnout?

Burnout is a psychological condition resulting from chronic work-related stress and has three central factors: emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and lack of personal accomplishment.1

The trouble with burnout is not only the personal aspect of damage it can cause but the relational and financial aspects as well. Burnout is difficult to pin down because it can occur at any time and with little warning.

There are two primary foci that need to be addressed to create a long-term sustainable solution to burnout in leadership. One focus is the personal sphere, something that encompasses the totality of our humanity. Later in the series, we’ll talk about the pictured pyramid (pictured below) and how we can use it to effectively fight against burnout.

The second area affected by burnout is the cultural dimension of work. This is what is so often overlooked.

Maslach and Leiter in their book The Truth About Burnout highlight the great disservice that is done when burnout is discussed only in terms of the personal sphere:

“The conventional wisdom is that burnout is primarily a problem of the individual. That is, people burnout out because of flaws in their characters, behavior, or productivity. According to this perspective, people are the problem, and the solution is to change them or get rid of them. But our research argues most emphatically otherwise. As a result of extensive study, we believe that burnout is not a problem of the people themselves but of the social environment in which people work. The structure and functioning of the workplace shape how people interact with one another and how they carry out their jobs. When the workplace does not recognize the human side of work, then the risk of burnout grows, carrying a high price with it.”2 (Emphasis retained)

The Wrap-Up

To effectively address burnout, we must talk about both the cultural and personal aspects it entails. We will do this in future blog posts.

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.

References:

1: Miner, M. H. (2007). Burnout in the first year of ministry: Personality and belief style as important predictors. Mental Health, Religion & Culture, 10(1), 17-29. doi:10.1080/13694670500378017

2: Maslach, C., & Leiter, M. P. (1997). The truth about burnout: How organizations cause personal stress and what to do about it. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

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.

 

 

 

 

 

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