An antidote for anxiety

Lately it’s all too common for me to start the workday with an elevated degree of anxiety about the uncertainty of what lies ahead. When I feel this way I try extra-hard to pray it away. But you know what always makes that anxiety go away? Working…putting my head down and working. There’s no time to worry about anything when the mind is occupied with the business of getting stuff done.

That doesn’t mean that the prayer isn’t helpful. God knows that what I need is not to be rescued from hard work, but to be equipped to do hard work.

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Time Mis-Management

Anyone else finding it hard to stay on top of everything important in your life? In addition to trying (not hard enough) to promote a book and write a blog, we have a side business selling antiques and collectibles. Despite my fervent desires, these things do not happen by themselves. The time required to make any of these successful comes after working a full-time job and being a husband and father, which encompasses meeting the needs of my family and such glamorous duties as grocery shopping and doing the dishes. On top of that, the first time I wrote this paragraph I completely failed to mention the importance of spiritual growth through prayer, study and service. How can anyone find adequate time for some of these things, much less all of them, especially now that The Defenders is out on Netflix?

I don’t want to bore anyone with a post about having a finite number of non-sleeping hours in a week and having to be wise in our choices of how to use them, so I’ll just ask the question – how do you do it? How do you make time for what’s important in your life?

Creativity Block

I set aside time each morning for writing. I put in on my calendar because I lack the discipline to follow through consistently. But putting something on the calendar doesn’t automatically make ideas flow. As often as I have an idea but lack the will to write I experience the opposite problem – a desire to write without any clear idea of what to say.

I’m certain that I’m not alone in feeling this way. I’d be very interested in how others overcome this. When you’re feeling moved to create, but you lack a specific vision, what do you do? Do you create something, even if you don’t feel much inspiration behind it, because it’s better to use those creativity muscles? Or does it feel contrived to try and force creativity?

I’d love to hear how others approach this.

Giving thanks for weakness

“Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.”
‭‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭12:9‬ ‭NLT‬‬

I have a lot for which to be thankful: my family, my health, my job, the Cubs finally winning the World Series. I want to take a moment this morning and give thanks also for my weaknesses. Weakness has caused me to acknowledge and celebrate my dependence on God. Weakness has compelled me to turn to other people and entrust them with glimpses of my true self that I would have preferred to have kept hidden. I have grown the most as a person during the seasons of greatest struggle. All of the self-doubt and anxiety and hesitation…they are each an essential part of my story, as are the times of triumph where I overcame them, and the regrets when I failed to do so.

I know it’s a cliche, but there is no opportunity for personal or professional growth without confronting and overcoming weakness. As hard as the fight can be, the alternative is stagnation and entropy, a slow decline into lifelessness. Who wants to give thanks for that?

So if you’re sharing a list of things for which you’re thankful with family & friends today, take a risk and put yourself out there by giving thanks for a weakness that has made you stronger.

 

 

Help Wanted: Principled Leaders

Job requirements:

Must be willing to spend less time talking and more time listening

Must be willing to assume the best about people with different opinions, not the worst

Must be willing to spend less time insulting people and more time understanding them

Must be willing to look first in the mirror for someone to blame

Must be willing to state your case without shouting down others

Posers, charlatans and megalomaniacs need not apply.

Welcome to Leadership In Doubt

My name is Jae Knowlton and today I’m launching a blog called Leadership In Doubt. I’ve written a book with this same title that I intend to self-publish before the end of the year. The book details the integration of my faith and work lives, and how that has shaped my leadership journey. The blog is a way for me to connect with others who are on, have been on or are willing to explore a similar journey of their own.

I’m not a CEO and I don’t have an MBA; I’m just an EOL – an Everyday, Ordinary Leader. I worked in middle-management roles with a global call center organization for over 20 years, where I learned more about myself and my God-given potential than I could have imagined possible at the outset of my career. God has blessed me with a big dream, one in which this book and my story help and inspire other leaders in similar roles, leaders who may have a hard time relating to the leadership experiences of people who have reached the pinnacles of their professions.

I’ve come to believe that leaders who identify as Christians are most effective when engaged with God all 7 days of the week. That’s one of the most important things God has taught me in my leadership journey, although I don’t pretend that it was easy, or that I was always paying attention to the lessons. Doubt has been a constant companion along the way. Both the book and the blog will explore these lessons and what I learned (and failed to learn) from them.

Blogs are most effective when they’re interactive. People were made to live in community – even when it’s online – so whether you’re trying to figure out how your faith relates to your work life, or if you’ve already made some breakthroughs, I hope that you’ll share your perspectives here so that we can develop a community dedicated to exploring this theme.

It’s no coincidence that I’m launching this blog on Election Day in the U.S. I’m weary of and appalled by this election cycle and its ugliness. Both major candidates are deficient in praiseworthy attributes. Inspirational leadership could unite this country; instead, Americans across the political spectrum have become so polarized and intolerant that they’re assigning people the very worst motives simply because they see the world through a different lens. Inspirational political leadership in America today is very much in doubt. Yet whoever wins, God remains sovereign, and the outcome won’t catch Him by surprise. His ultimate purposes will be fulfilled regardless of who occupies the Oval Office.

Thanks for reading. My hope and prayer is that you see God show up in unexpected ways on your own leadership journey. Please check back for updates on the publication of Leadership In Doubt!