Blog

Candidly, every leader I work with struggles with the stress and strain of leadership. The demands of leadership weigh on us day after day. Over time it can take a real toll on our souls and outlooks. Through the grace of God showing up through my wife one weekend, I was stunned by the power of three ways to reduce stress and regain perspective.

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Imagine being asked write about the most famous person in the history of the world. A man who was so incredible that every year over 1,500 books a year are written about him, according to Phillip Yancey. That is surreal. Yet, he is so well known, we can think we know him when we really don’t know him that well.

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What would it be like to be one of the top athletic coaches, like of all time? I mean, it must feel incredible to win championship after championship on some of the biggest stages. I have to admit, I am definitely intrigued by those coaches who consistently win over time, and are known for integrity and caring about their players. That brings up a really good set of questions: Who are some of the greatest coaches? What are they like? How might we see the character of God in them? And, how might you be called to adopt these qualities into your own life and leadership?

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Fear. Man, fear means business. I know about the quote about that “the greatest fear is fear itself,” and that it’s meant to downplay the power of fear. But boy, fear can do some major damage in preventing us from leading well and enjoying our lives. I’ve learned some things about Jesus and dealing with fear of late, that I believe will help us all reduce the destructive power of fear in our lives.

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One of the greatest questions to wrestle to the ground is: why am I here? Aristotle’s mentor put it this way: “To what end are you in the world?” When our purpose is clarified, and then molded into a compelling vision, we have done some major work; work that can propel us into living a life that we enjoy as much as we can, and that matters as well.

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While relaxing on the steps of a building on Harvard’s campus (on our family vacation), I had a few moments to reflect. It was a beautiful sunny afternoon, and my gracious wife was keeping our younger kids entertained so I could have some time to be still. As I soaked in the beauty of the campus, and imagined all the amazing thoughts that have been thought there, I felt God’s pleasure sneak in as I thought about how much I loved thinking and ideas. It felt so good. That unexpected experience raised a really important question: when do you feel God’s pleasure?

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One of the more destructive foes I encounter in my coaching and clinical work is self-criticalness. This nasty guy comes in and drains, diminishes and even immobilizes often without leaving a trace. Learning to recognize it and defeat it is critical to growing and flourishing.

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Feeling fulfilled is one of the greatest longings I believe any of us have. By fulfillment, I mean having that feeling of fullness and gratitude well up in our hearts, as we look at our lives and say, honestly, “Wow it’s been a really good life, and I’m so glad about how I used the time I was given.”

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It was the neatest thing. Here I am at my four year old daughter’s dance recital (where I also got to do a Daddy/Daughter routine that was just precious!), and I notice a family in the row in front of me. I was especially struck by the dad, who was at an angle where I could easily see his face. When two routines were performed, I was stunned by how much his countenance changed.

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It was the funniest thing. I was enjoying relaxing in about two feet of water, in the shallow end of a large pool at the health club. There was hardly anybody in the pool, and I’m leaning against the side of the pool, praying some, reflecting some, and all of a sudden I start noticing my body moving back and forth, back and forth. What is going on, I wondered? I’m in a pool, not the ocean!

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