Trust and doubt. Fear and peace. Faith and work. Simple word pairs. My life and leadership journey have led me to explore the wide, frightening valleys that exist between the distant peaks of those small words. Through this exploration I’ve learned a lot about myself, but I’ve learned a whole lot more about God and His astonishing love for me and each of us. Learning happened during seasons of intense struggle and fierce spiritual opposition that repeatedly told me “your story is not worth sharing.” But my story is worth sharing. My story is relatable because I’m an everyday leader and person – no fancy titles, no advanced degrees – trying to use the gifts and passions God gave me to be successful and make a difference. God equipped me to do things I never would have thought possible – run a call center, launch a technology project and write a book – after I invited Him into every part of my life. He never gave up on me, even when I was ready to give up on myself.
What’s your POV? What’s your story and who will benefit from hearing it?
That was an excellent question, one I was happy to answer because I had been waiting for someone to ask it. I was attending the weekly breakfast meeting of a local civic organization. I had been invited to speak to them a couple of times before, and while I wasn’t there to speak that day, I wanted to let them know that I had finished writing the book I had mentioned on my last visit. As the meeting concluded, the gentleman sitting across from me began asking questions about the book, the last of which was “Why is your book different?” I offered four reasons (in no particular order of significance):
1. Unlike any other book you will ever read, Leadership In Doubt is my story. That may or may not mean much to people, but that certainly qualifies it as different.
2. I’m not a CEO, a 4-star general or a championship coach. I’m middle management. I’m an EOL – an Everyday Ordinary Leader – a voice that’s not often heard or considered in discussions about leadership.
3. I imagine that most leadership books are written from a perspective of personal strength; my story is fueled by my weaknesses.
4. It was those weaknesses that drove me to cry out to God in the darkest, lowest moment of my life, and in response He lovingly challenged me to trust Him in ways I never had before. By inviting God into my work life, my leadership journey went in unexpected directions as I explored what it meant to live and work with God at the center.
What I love most about leadership is the privilege of building into the lives of other people, the way that great friends and mentors did for me during formative seasons of my life. This is what motivated me to share my story in such a personal and risky way. My prayer is that God will use it to help other leaders like me chart a better journey for themselves and the people they lead.
Leadership In Doubt is now a real book that anyone can buy and read. 8 years and 57 days elapsed from President Kennedy’s famous speech about putting a man on the moon (5/25/61) to the date of the actual moon landing (7/20/69), which isn’t that much longer than the time from the original inspiration for my book (1/19/09) to the date of its publication (2/20/17). That is a handy dose of perspective.
I self-published through Amazon’s CreateSpace tool, which proved to be an easier process than I imagined, although I won’t say that it was without some challenges. I highly recommend it for anyone looking to publish their own work. If you’re interested in learning more about my book you can check out my own eStore at:
The book is also available through Amazon.
When I launched this blog on Election Day last year I had big plans to get back into blogging, in part as a way of setting the stage for the eventual publication of my book. I was very deliberate about my choice of that day because, in my mind, it was illustrative of the dearth of principled leadership in our country; many of the events of the past few weeks (both originating from the White House and in response to them) have reinforced this belief. Adults acting like petulant children are encouraging other adults to adopt a similar attitude, and it feels like you and your side are losing if you don’t.
Where are the voices of reason in all of this madness? Where are the voices that can unite people around shared values? Do those values even exist any longer?
President’s Day doesn’t mean much more to many people than a day off from work or school. I didn’t intend to publish on that day but it feels right to have done so. We have a right and an obligation to expect and demand better from the people who lead us, but if we keep putting bad leaders in office we should not be surprised at the mess in which we live.