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Leader's Inner World_Defining Moments

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Welcome to Defining Moments. Today we are going to view a video that talks about a critical subject for leaders. The clip is from Wayne Cordeiro's talk at the 2006 Leadership Summit titled, Dead Leader Running. Wayne is a long-time friend to me, Bill, the Summit, twice a faculty member. He's the founder and senior pastor of New Hope Christian Fellowship in Hawaii. He's the consummate church planter. He's led an effort to plant over 100 churches around the Pacific Rim in Northwest U.S. He directly mentors and leads 36 of the affiliated churches. In 2010 he became President of New Hope Christian College in Oregon. In 2006 when he gave this talk, he had come from season of intense burnout. He described it as having a meltdown on the inside manifesting physical and emotional symptoms. His doctor told him to take 6 months off total rest. Following that time of rest and solitude, he agreed to share the principals for nurturing the inner life of a leader that he learned from that experience. Bill, many of our leaders relate to what Wayne went through. In you own leadership, you have some strong opinions and thoughts about self-leadership and self-care. I look forward to that conversation. Let's look at this clip first. One thing the doctor said was "Wayne, when you go on this break, you have to do everything that fills your tank." Would you write this down. Frist, you have to know what fills and drains your tank. You have to know that. It's similar to this. I'll draw on this board. It's like you have an emotional tank, and you have a drain and an input. If your level, serotonin or emotions are at a high level and it's full because you have good input coming in - wonderful. You can do many things. If the drain becomes greater than your input, you begin to decrease inside. When it gets to first mark, alarms need to go off. Because you will have an anxiety attack. You will feel it. Alarms should go off. If you do not start to fill, it will drain to second where you'll have an emotional breakdown. If you ignore it, and like me continue to be a dead leader running. If you're not careful and it gets down to here, this where they say you have a nervous breakdown. Alarms should be going off at each level. You need to know what fills you tank and what drains it. You need to write that down. For me, sports. I ride a motorcycle. I paddle out in the ocean. I love to read. Do devotions. Travel with my wife. Those are some things. You need to know what fills you tank. During this time, I had to only do things that filled my tank. There are some things that drain. Too much counseling for me drains me. When I have unresolved problems at home. When I have staff that have unresolved problems that continue as if they live on level of mediocrity. It bothers me. There are certain things that really drain me. These are overtaxed schedule, overbooking myself, inability to say no. These things drain me. What happens is when you get too busy and the drain is increased, what happens is when you say, "I am too busy, I can't play basketball anymore." I'm so busy in ministry I can't take time to ride a motorcyle or go paddling or can't read or do this or that. Why? I am too busy. When that happens it's called suicide. If you have an increased drain and you shut off input, guess what happens? When my schedule gets busier, I now increase my playing. In fact right now, I'm on a 5-day motorcycle trip. I parked my bike in Billings and flew here to be with you. When I get back, I'm going to travel through Yellowstone. The busier your schefule, the more taxing, the more you increase your fill. But what's our inclination, we usually cut off the fill because have too much drain. Do you understand how nuts that is? We do that all the time. You write down what fills and what drains. Here's what I'd like to give you as an assignment. You have your spouse do the same thing. Have her or him fill out what fills their tank. Ask yourself these three questions: what am I doing? who am I with? where am I doing this? that when I do this I feel most alive and the fullest. That will help you think through what fills your tank. You have to know yourself in that way because when times get tough you're going to make sure... you can handle all kinds of drain if you have a lot of fill coming in. If you don't, you're in trouble. As minsitry gets more complicated, the drain increases and that which used to fill your tank is not going to keep up with the drain. Some critical things there for leaders. The stakes are high if leaders get this wrong. When you think of this talk, Bill, what are the top things that hit you first? It's a subject matter that never grows old. There are some things you talk about in leadership and you say, "I've talked about that enough now, I'll let that rest for 6 years and I'll pick it up again and think new thoughts." This subject matter of self-leadership, of keeping your tanks full, and watching the relationship of the infill and outflow. This is ever-present in a leader's mind. If you don't get some measure of success going in your life, it will be your downfall permanently. This is the subject matter that never goes away. I do mentoring events globally with pastors and leaders, this is as much of an issue in South Africa as in Canada, Singapore or Argentina. Wherever I am in the world, some time in a 3 to 4 hour mentoring session someone will talk about: how do I keep myself replenished? how do I keep from burning out, melting down? Bill, I think I heard you begin talking about it 20 years ago. I started to think about it in my own life and haven't always gotten it right. But it changes because leadership is dynamic. Life changes. Life is dynamic. Your responsibilities change. Then the strategies you employ to keep yourself replenished need to change also. For you, what are some red flags in your life that start to tell you, "You're starting to head down a path that is not good." Before I get to the flags, you mentioned 20 years ago in the early '90s. I hit a wall. I had a similar meltdown. I was operating under a faulty premise. I want to get this out early in our conversation. I was under the belief that if I was in Christ - walking close with Jesus, prayerful, devotional, humble before God - if I was in Christ and in shape physically - running, working out, eating right, resting - I was invincible. How long did that last? I did it for over 15 years. I was past my limits. I was breaking many boundary rules and emotional limits. But if you work on a faulty premise, eventually it will be exposed. When my faulty premise got exposed, it was shattering to me because I had believed so firmly in it. If you have Christ at the center and you are really in shape, why wouldn't you be invincible? If I recall correctly, the results were unbelievable. They were never better at that time. All the charts were going up. My point as we start to unpack this is everyone right now listening they are working with a premise. They have something that has gotten them to where they started in leadership to where they are now. I want to say, "What is your premise?" If it's solid, comprehensive, and take you to your God-anointed finish line, that's great. But if anything we say in our interaction exposes a faulty premise, then have the humility to acknowledge this before something terrible happens and look more closely at the premise you have been working with. Did you consciously have that framework of 'in Christ, in shape, invincible' or was it subconsious and it revealed itself when you hit the wall and it was on later reflection you figured out that was my point of view. And the point I am trying to make is if leaders have a point of view, they all have a framework they are living their lives through, but if they are not conscious about it, they can't be intentional with it. That leaves you exposed. It was subconscious. I had never written that equation out before. After I went into this meltdown that I had to spend a lot of time sorting out, I had to look back and say, "What was I banking everything on?" I was banking everything on being in Christ and in shape. I thought, "I'm bulletproof if those two things are right in my life." What did that reveal in your life upon reflecting on hitting that wall? The biggest thing was that there is an entire other reality I was not paying attention to. This is what Wayne referred to in his talk. The whole emotional category about the fact that the work leaders do and the kind of energy that leaders have to put forth has a lot less to do with physical energy than it does with emotional energy. I rarely get physically wornout. I don't get rundown spiritually often. I can spend a little time with God and it feeds me a lot. It's the emotional arena that I was unfamiliar with. I did not have that category. I was never trained in it. I didn't grow up in a home where we talked about those sorts of things. I didn't know what things I was doing was a big or minor emotional outflow. I had to spend time with a Christian counselor to catch up with something beyond the spiritual and physical arena. This mysterious world of emotion. Bill, I have had a front row seat watching you lead over these past 19 years, and I have seen senior pastors around the country. One of the most troublesome things I see is that your schedule, unlike mine, this is not true of my life, you guys are on a schedule of output that is relentless. If that Sunday is coming, you can't deliver only when you're filled up. It's going to come and your scheduled to talk and you have to talk. It always seems to me that without serious proactive strategies to deal with the reality of the incessant output from you every week. I don't know how you could last a career with that kind of output. I talked to a business-orieinted individual who wrote a book. The book was successful so he had to give talks on the book. He was invited to several places. After 6 to 8 weeks of giving one or two talks a week from his book, he called me in a panic. He said, "I find that I'm doing energy or emotional management all the time now. I built an entire business and never felt like I had to do energy or emotional management. But once I book the fact I am going to talk somewhere, everything leading up to that talk I have to manage carefully so that I am in optimal condition to deliver on that talk. A CEO might do one vision talk a year. Those who teach on a regular basis, the minute you're done on Sunday afternoon, the clock is ticking. You're in consistent emotional or energy management mode in order to time it right so you're good physically and spiritually and you have your emotional equilibrium about you and a full enough tank that you can deliver God's word with a vitality. You can't fake that over the long haul. You had another hitting wall experience about 15 years after the first one. You learned about the emotional world the first round, what did you learn the second round? I had come back from an international trip and had caught some bug on that trip. I couldn't shake it. What I learned more the second time around was 20, 30, 40 years into a sustained leadership and communication role I had to be more careful on the physical side that had nothing to do with emotions. By then you had instituted many things that helped replenish your emotional side, the spiritual side was still there. Even leading up to that trip, you were getting sick almost annually on the international trips. It was pounding your physical side to the point that then was the piece... I was not expecting that either because I have kept my physical disciplines well. I wound up at the Mayo Clinic. The guy said, "Does it come as a shock to you that someone in their late 50's is not going to recuperate from multiple international trips as quickly as someone in their late 20's." I said, "Frankly, this is shocking to me." I said, "I still feel like a kid. I still run the same distances. I'm still in good shape. So why would my recuperation time be any different 30 years later?" He gave me a basic course in physiology in 15 minutes. He said, "You have to make adjustments on the physical side once you have sustained a lot of energy output for decades." So after that learning, what are the signs that tell you something is not right, I need to make some adjustments? You asked that earlier, what are the flags that go up? They are different for everyone. For me, the first one is irritability. Small things that when I am ought to be with God, good emotion, good physical shape, I have the capacity and the fullness of spirit to let small things be small things. When I am not properly replenished in one of these areas, small things set me off. That's a flag. If my wife parked her car behind mine and took the keys so I can't get out of the driveway in an expeditious manner. I'll go, "There she goes...oh, Bill. We each have cars. She's a wonderful person. The keys are right in the....this is a 30 second delay. Noone got killed here. This is a small thing." Someone who's late for a meeting that I was on time for and I'm more put off than I should be. Little signs of irritability are one thing. Another sign for me... I have only heard this from a couple of other people around the world... if I feel as if I'm starting to press because of my schedule or of bad choices I have made, I want everybody to feel that way. So if people walk in my office and they say, "I just got back from a wonderful trip, and I'm having fun..." I think, "You're not supposed to be having fun. I'm not having fun. I want you to feel the pressue. I want them to pay." My good friends have given feedback to me and say, "We've watched you do this when you press you want everyone to be under the same gun you feel you're under." I see that pattern now. The third one for me is escapism. When I drive home and I think, "What would it be like to keep driving?" Or when I'm on my boat I think, "What if I never came back to harbor?" That's a little flag. Especially when that starts to look very attractive. When you pack food and stuff... Or when you're in a plane and think, "It wouldn't be so bad if the plane went down." This would get me out of a big jam. Later, Wayne talked about lightning rod people, friends who could speak into his life, that knew him well, loved him, were all for him and that he has some of those people in his life. You referred to it earlier. Talk about the role and the need leaders have to have these kinds of unconditionally for you people who can speak truth to you when some of this stuff starts to get off the mark. It's vital. You learn you have to have it over time. Nothing magical about it. The Bible talks a lot about accountability, about encouraging each other, speaking the truth to one another in love. When you reach a certain level of earnestness about leading a Christ-like life, it would be natural for you to say to your trusted friends "If you see troublesome patterns in my life, would you please bring them up to me?" A friend asks me the question because I use the replenishment tank drawing in my teaching. He'll ask, "Do you mind me asking, how are your tanks? What's your tank level? Are you filled, half, are you empty?" I know when he's asking me that question he's for me. He wants them to be full. He may have seen something in my life that would indicate to him that they are not full. He'll send me an email or catch me around the church and say, "Just wondering about your tanks. How are your tanks?" It's a good accountability. I have another person I have invited to ask me another question. I really like this question, "Do you like who you are becoming?" That single question, do you like who you're becoming, that opens many things up in me. He asks me every 6 weeks or so. He says, "Remember you gave me persmission to ask you, do you like who you're becoming?" Sometimes I can answer, "Right now I do. That must mean things are OK." Other times if it's asked in a season I'm not proud of, for me to say 'no', that's big. I say, "Thanks for asking. I'll get back to you on this." Sometimes I'll drive home and say, "So I'm living a life and making choices that result in me not liking who I'm becoming. That has to stop." I think the key is to invite a few friends to ask you the kinds of questions that help the thought process for you. You probably have to give guidance to people on what questions. And permission, real permission. It does no help for someone to ask me, 'are you busy.' The answer will be yes every time. It's not informative in any way. Are your tanks full, that's a very informing question. Do you like who you're becoming, that's very informing. What are other questions you would like a few trusted people to ask you? I have another friend who knows he's leading a healthy enough life if his golf score is good. So his life works if he's golfing enough. That fills him up. He has a friend who says, "What's your handicap? What are you golfing?" That's code language for I care about you, I want your life to be sustainable. Are you doing the things that fill you up? Why is it so hard for pastors to do this? And whose job is to line these people up for pastors? I think the more public you are the more often you stand in front of people and open God's word and speak, the more exposed you feel. Then you compensate for that by closing in and saying, "I'm so public every 7 days. I want to retain some measure of privacy." Sometimes that measure of privacy gets overworked in a pastor's mind and privacy means I'm not going to properly self-disclose to anyone. There's an accumulation I find in pastor's lives over many years, they've tried some of these self-disclosing relationships, been burned before. Or got a group going where it worked and people moved away. They are on a trajectory of busyness, a full life, a lot of public exposure. A confidant-type of relationship falls by wayside and they don't have energy to rebuild another one. They think, "I'll probably be OK." That's pretty dangerous thinking. I'm not excusing it, I'm just saying there's an explanation for it. When I talk to pastors who have gone off the rails, I say, "Did you have these kinds of friendships in your life?" Most will say, "I did when I was younger. I did at another point. Then this or that happed and for the last 10 years I have been without one." I've seen that pattern enough that it's predictable. Henry's numbers did not surprise me. Wayne talked about if you're going to manage this emotional tank better, you need to be really clear on what fills your tank, what activities fill you tank, the kinds of people that need to be around to fill your tank and the environment where you're doing that. Talk about that from your prespective. It's very hard for pastors to think those kinds of thoughts. To admit there are certain kinds of people that fill you up. When you preach, let there be no partiality, God is not a respector of persons. When you preach the body of Christ is an eye, a hand, a nose, a foot, we are all bringing our gift to the party. Then to segregate your life or to secretly rank order 'I like some people better than I like others' That guy drains me. You feel guilty about that because of all the teaching you do to mitigate that in life of church. The other thing, pastors are very aware of what would look good to the congregation with regard to what replenishes them. It would be great if every pastor were truly replenished by gardening. Because it's inexpensive. It's accessible to everyone. You can do it in your backyard. You can talk about it and everyone thinks you're wonderful. Wayne said he needs to paddle board or motorcycle. When you do that sort of thing there's one-third of your congregation who says, "I can't afford a Harley (motorcyle). I don't want to hear about it. You're on a 7-day motorcycle trip. I haven't had a week off." Paddle board suggests you live by the water. "I can't afford to live by the water. How do you get to the water?" There's a lot of pastors who have worked through what are the acceptable ways to replenish themselves. I've talked about this for many years when I had to admit to myself that boating... I avoided doing it the first 15 years of my ministry. I thought it as scandalous. We were in non-stop building programs. We were asking people to give everything they could give. For me to have a used, banged up sailboat. But I had one. It was very hard to reconcnile in my mind. There's a lot of confusing dynamics that occurs in pastors' minds... Know yourself and be honest but be wise about it. Those are some of my recommendations. I want to make sure we talk about, Jim, is whatever your replenishment strategy is right now, even if working well for you, it's probably not the same one that's going to happen 5 or 10 years from now. We have to adjust our replenishsment disciplines through every stage and phase of life. I've watched you as your kids are grown now and your kids are moving on their own. I remember when you had 3 little children around you all of the time. You had totally different parameters around your replenishmennt capabilities. Now you're in a different phase of your life. You can change your approach because you have more freedom. I watch some pastors or leaders instill some practices and ride them too long. They don't work as well in another phase of life but they don't innovate with their replenishment strategy. I think you have to think about your replenishment innovations in the same way you think of your methodology innovations on ministry side. That's a fantastic way to look at it. Not only in family and personal life changes, but the life stage of the organization you're leading. Are you planning a church? Are you in high-growth mode or in turn-around mode? The season of your organization also dictates a different strategy. Speak to a new reality that we're all living with today a 24/7 accessibility between leaders and their teams. With internet and email, you can literally be on the job all of the time. Speak to how that has changed the dynamic of your replenishment strategies. It's complicated it. I'm not the kind of person who says, "I hate email." Email makes my life work in some ways. I stay very connected to my kids, to my colleagues. I get information flow. I like how most of it works. You have to border it. You have to have a fast 'delete' finger. You have to decide what you are going to deal with and what you're not going to deal with. The thing I am most concerned about with email is it puts you on the defensive too much, puts you in response mode. Those who lead organizations, our job most of the time, if we understand what leaders do, our job is to move something ahead. I rarely get an email that says, "I'm here to help you move your thing ahead." I don't get emails like that. I get, "Would you help me move my thing ahead? Would you help with this?" If you are a dutiful personality type and you're returning all emails, you're taking some of your energy that should be moving your organization ahead and you're treating your time as if you had an open door to your office all day which you would not do if you had to get work done. I have a young leadership team around me now. We talk a lot about is this a tool that helps us move our church ahead? Or does this become a distraction that puts us in respond mode instead of moving ahead? Those are good discussions. Bill, from other discussions, you have communicated that it's our job to build a life of sustainability, primarily. That being understood, what's the role of the organization in that? Is there anything or is it completely on the employee? It is mostly on the employee. I drive a stake in the ground. If you allow yourself to be the victim of any kind, If you say, "It's that terrible board of directors that doesn't understand what a reasonable life looks like. It's that terrible boss who puts more demands..." Whoever you start blaming, that's taking the time where you should be spending that time owning responsibility to make needed changes. I've had employees who have said, "Bill, for me to live a sustainable life, I need you to adjust my job description some or I need to work somewhere else." I respect those types of conversations. Good for you. Most of the time, I'll make the organizational adjustment to help them. But they had to come to me. They had to show up. They had to say, "I'm happy to work somewhere else. I'm not going to be crazy." I'll make organizational adjustments. But I want them to own that responsibility. One last thing, the replenishment rhythms you have in your life, where emotionally you look at things in chunks of time in terms of replenishment cycles. Talk about that. I think a lot of leaders end up in trouble because they look at replenishment rhythms from annual perspective. My life will work if I take a 3-week vacation in August. I don't agree with that strategy. Replenishment needs to be looked from a daily strategy. Quick thought: if you allow yourself to be totally depleted in one day that you can't start the next day at zero but starting at minus 5 and do the same thing the next day, then third day you're at minus 10. Project that out. There will come the 3 week vacation and you're so far in hole you can't dig out from being negative 4000. I say, "I'm going to back this up. I want to be able to do a day so I can find some form of brief replenishment so when I begin my next day I start at zero or in some territority." Then weekly, I try to take Mondays off. That's the rule. If I can't get sufficiently replenished on my days off in a weekly basis that I start next week in the hole, I then have a weekly rhythm problem. I look at it monthly and annually. What you're doing is keeping vacation from being triage of all damage that's occurred. So you can go into a vacation at a place where it's going to build on the positive side when you come back, more energized. Even the way we talk about surviving leadership...I want to do more than survive. We are supposed to thrive. The Bible says, "Abound in the work of the Lord..." Jesus says he wants us to live life in all it's fullness that you may have joy. We get it turned upside down when we only think we will survive this. It's the wrong mental paradigm. I agree. With that we need to close. We could go a long time on this topic because it's so critical in our own lives and lives of leaders. Thank you. Proverbs 4:23 says, "Above all else guard your heart for everything you do flows from it." As we relived this subject, I was thinking how I need to reconsider, rethink and restrategize my personal replenishment strategies. Please, I emplore you and your team to reflect on where you may be close to burnout, what are your strategies, do you need to innovate those strategies and make the necessary adjustments so you can enjoy best God has for you, your leadership and all impacted. Thanks for joining us.

Video Details

Duration: 39 minutes and 13 seconds
Country: United States
Language: English
Genre: None
Producer: Willow Creek Association
Director: Willow Creek Association
Views: 822
Posted by: landsm on Dec 13, 2011

Wayne Cordeiro

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